Gym updates (+ a little Sumo talk)!

I went to Body Pump on Saturday, and I went again yesterday, and the wound on the back of my ankle hasn’t bled again, so I seem to be back for real this time. I have to call that door accident “the dumbest thing to ever keep me out of the gym.” I outdumbed myself with that one. I mean, I can’t say that I ran into a door. I have to say that a door ran into me, and that I provoked it.

I’m going one increment lighter on the back track on account of the quick little “jump” you do to get under the bar for clean and press/power presses. I’m still not doing lunges, because when I tried them on Saturday, I could feel the pulling on the scab. Other than that, everything’s the same in Pump.

As for cardio? Not yet. It’s too early to wear shoes other than high-tops at the gym. (I actually prefer to lift weights in my high-tops because I like the flat soles, so that’s nothing new.)

Speaking of coming back from recovery, September’s Grand Sumo Tournament is less than three weeks away, and Tochinoshin (my favorite Sumo wrestler) has this one opportunity to regain the Ozeki rank he lost to injury in July. He’ll need eight wins to get that rank back this time. He needed ten wins to regain it in May! He got his rank back in May, and he can do it again in September. The thing about Sumo at this level is that you can lose your rank because of injury. Sumo is the only combat sport I can think of that has this feature, which makes for an even more dangerous life for the wrestlers. They already have a shorter life expectancy due to the obesity they need to maintain in this violent sport. What we risk in the name of passion and drive, right?

For anyone interested, here’s a short video showcasing Tochinoshin’s ten wins in May:

 

 

Also speaking of Sumo, we’re looking forward to watching it at 2020’s Summer Olympic Games in Japan! Sumo will be included in the program for the first time, and it’ll be great to see it performed on the largest stage (pun not intended) for the world to appreciate.

 

 

Mr. Nightmare + GYM horrors! (And my Michael Myers horror look.)

I was thinking of doing a gym updates post, but then I came across a video featuring three gym horror stories – creepy horror, not bad-experience horror – and, well, you know me. Gym? Horror? Hello?

Mr. Nightmare is a YouTube channel on which (allegedly) true stories are told, videos that are basically podcasts with visuals. Ranging from mildly disturbing to downright spooky, all of these stories are disquieting in the sense that the events really happened (let’s trust in this) and that they do happen, or at least can happen.

The channel covers a broad range of situations and scenarios. I would say just stay home and lock up, but as we know from Mr. Nightmare’s “home invasion” and “home alone” videos, we wouldn’t be safe at home, either. Plus, we’d starve, because we couldn’t order food for delivery. Who wants their food with a side of terror?

I scanned through the channel’s video titles and deduced that if you don’t want creepy-ass shit to happen to you, here’s how to avoid it:

  • Don’t get a roommate.
  • Don’t stay home alone.
  • Don’t order food for delivery from Postmates, DoorDash, or any food delivery service.
  • Don’t order pizza delivery.
  • Don’t be a pizza delivery driver, or any kind of food delivery driver.
  • Don’t hitchhike.
  • Don’t go to house parties, birthday parties, block parties, or pool parties.
  • Don’t celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the Fourth of July.
  • Don’t house-sit, dog-sit, or baby-sit.
  • Don’t have neighbors.
  • Don’t have or go to sleepovers.
  • Don’t date anyone online, enter chat rooms, check your email, or have anything to do with any social media platform.
  • Don’t enter basements, playgrounds, attics, crawlspaces, movie theaters, or schools.
  • Don’t look in the trash.
  • Don’t play hide-and-seek.
  • Don’t ride the subway.
  • Don’t drive on the highway at night.
  • Don’t go hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping.
  • Don’t go to the mall.
  • Don’t go on spring break.
  • Don’t take vacations, field trips, or any kind of trips.
  • Don’t get caught in thunderstorms, snowstorms, fire drills, or blackouts.
  • Don’t go into the sea.
  • Don’t play Pokémon Go, and don’t play with Ouija boards.
  • Don’t take an Uber.
  • Don’t have an automotive breakdown.
  • Don’t go into the swimming pool.
  • Don’t enter the Deep Web.
  • Don’t watch found footage.
  • Don’t lose your phone or your laptop.
  • Don’t work the night-shift.
  • Don’t go to haunted houses.
  • Don’t run into spiders or clowns.
  • Don’t go to Walmart.
  • Don’t go to the airport.
  • Don’t be a trucker.
  • Don’t go to the beach.
  • Don’t go into the forest.
  • Don’t enter abandoned buildings.
  • Don’t play sports.
  • Don’t join the police force or the boy scouts.
  • Don’t buy anything through Craigslist.
  • DON’T GO TO THE GYM LATE AT NIGHT, AND DON’T WORK IN ONE LATE AT NIGHT, EITHER.

I watched the aforementioned “3 Disturbing True Horror Gym Stories” video yesterday:

 

 

Mr. Nightmare is a binge threat for horror fans, especially. The videos are short. Since they’re like podcast episodes, I like to listen to them while I’m doing mundane tasks around the house… I’ve listened to scary-story podcasts, and Mr. Nightmare’s YouTube channel is better, in my opinion!

Craigslist appears on the channel numerous times – I counted five Craigslist videos, each containing several stories – which brings to mind the lady who dropped by to purchase something (my microwave, if you must know). I think it was last week that I told you how I almost forgot to change out of my Halloween Michael Myers t-shirt before she arrived.

That post prompted a request for a Halloween shirt selfie, and it so happens that I took one the other day! I’d just come in from some wild monsoon winds, so my hair was appropriately insane. I tried to get my expression to look like Michael Myers’. I think I got the mouth part right. Also, can we admire how the knife hilt leads up into my coiling hearts tattoo?

 

 

Michael Myers (Halloween) inspired look

 

The end, my friends. Please to check out Mr. Nightmare on YouTube. You will learn SO much.

 

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Since this blog tends to cycle around various topics, I thought of what I haven’t done in a while. I post a lot of gym updates. I do a lot of general updates. I’ve written a couple of movie reviews lately. I’m overdue for a Geronimo (Sonoran desert tortoise) update, but there’s not much to report right now because I don’t see him often enough in this heat! Geronimo comes out ready to rock during summer storms, but it hasn’t rained much… I read yesterday that the last time we had such a dry summer was in 1988. They’re calling this year’s monsoon season the “Non-soon.”

It’s been a while since I’ve written a mental health update, but I do plan to do one in the near future. We’ve also got writing updates, office updates, pretty much you name it, etcetera, plus random thoughts and story-time posts.

Today, though, I come bearing a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. The last time I did one was in May.

For this fourth poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series,  I have a short lyric that’s as wistful and whimsical as the previous poems in this series.

Standard explanation: To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way. Then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. This is actually a great creative writing exercise, I’ve found! I don’t change anything in these lines except for obvious typos (“sic” would disrupt the poem), neither do I alter punctuation or caps.

Standard disclaimer: Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections for me to gather and combine.

Without further ado:

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Long ago and oh so far away
Night Swimming
Floating past on the lazy river
Where the wild things are…

Furniture Guy
Hiking the mountain
Card players
Sitting on bed in the bed of a white truck
dispensary chick
In and out
Plasma worker
Bowling!

just fun
so…

Hey neighbor….

 

 

The Art of Self-Defense: element of surprise. (No-spoiler film review.)

A young man recovering from a brutal street attack happens upon a martial arts dojo and decides to join in order to learn self-defense.

Seems like a premise for a simple, straightforward plot, right?

We’ve been lucky with movies lately, Callaghan and I. As infrequently as we go to the theater, it’s pleasing when two consecutive outings put us in front of brilliant cinema. First we watched Midsommar, and then The Art of Self-Defense.

 

 

When independent film distributor Bleecker Street released The Art of Self-Defense, we didn’t take notice. The movie wasn’t getting a lot of attention, and we weren’t paying a lot of attention. It slipped by us into the theater as quietly as a ninja too broke to buy a ticket.

As it turned out, we almost missed it! The showing we caught at Alamo Drafthouse would be the last of The Art of Self-Defense not only at that theater, but at any in our vicinity.

I didn’t know anything about this film beforehand. Sitting down unaware that I was in for a black comedy – a favorite genre of mine – proved to be a fascinating experience in and of itself, a treat of a discovery. The film’s comedic elements appear at the beginning (Rex Kwan Do, anyone?), while the dark aspect stalks through at its own, measured pace: it develops incisively and in tandem with the protagonist’s own development as a karate student.

More than comedy with a dark underbelly, The Art of Self-Defense stands as a feat of comedy and horror merging agreeably while maintaining their respective identities. It’s a film with a lot of personality considering its small cast of characters, a black comedy whose darkness takes on a voice and insistence of its own, as if to challenge the humor. First I was amused, then successively perplexed, frustrated, and appalled… and in the end, I was rewarded. I found the ending of this film to be immensely satisfying. A rarity!

(You might be wondering how I didn’t know that The Art of Self-Defense is a black comedy when the words are printed right there on the film poster. This is where I admit that the poster only caught my attention because it features people wearing karate uniforms. I didn’t read the quoted text.)

The Art of Self-Defense stars Jesse Eisenberg  (Zombieland) as its protagonist, and it was written and directed by relative newcomer Riley Stearns. Beyond a sharply penned black comedy piece, Mr. Stearns wrote a straight-up satire on toxic masculinity, the concept of which slaps you in the face over and again as the story progresses, as a good satire should. If you’re unfamiliar with toxic masculinity before seeing this film, I can guarantee that you’ll have an idea of it after seeing it. The Art of Self-Defense is a smart, successful film; it’s jarring in its boldness, which is the paramount feature of exploitation cinema.

My only regret in seeing The Art of Self-Defense is that I got to it so late in its run-time. I wish I’d seen this film early enough to recommend as a theater viewing! You may find it lingering in theaters here and there. No matter – it’ll be just as clever and fun on a smaller screen.

 

 

You can’t kill the Boogeyman. (Horrors!)

Horror 1: We watched Train to Busan (original title Busanhaeng) on Netflix on Saturday night. Of all the zombie movies I’ve seen, Train to Busan is the only one that actually made me nervous about leaving the house. I was impressed. Zombies are not my favorite horror sub-genre, but Train to Busan is easily one of the best films I’ve seen this year, out of any genre.

Horror 2: Our internet’s been inconsistently slow and prone to disconnecting, as it is every year in August/September. We have a theory that this is due to university students flooding our section of Tempe by the hundreds, if not thousands, stressing our area bandwidth as they settle in for the new academic year. Things always go back to normal around mid-September. It’s not a big deal.

Horror 3: I returned to Body Pump on Saturday and carefully favored my left leg, doing easy squats, passing on lunges, and trying to avoid going up on my toes (difficult to avoid while doing high pulls and clean and presses)… but I still managed to make the wound on my ankle bleed again after it hadn’t bled for days. I learned. I’m staying out of the gym for another week. The dumbbells have migrated back into the house for a home upper-body workout. I’ll head back to Body Pump this Saturday!

Horror 4: I didn’t think I’d be seeing anyone yesterday when I plucked my Halloween horror movie t-shirt out of the closet, but then I got the idea to post an item on Craigslist. Within hours of bowing to this whim, I had a buyer who said she was coming over right away! I headed back to my closet to change.

It occurred to me that she might not appreciate meeting a seller who opens the door wearing a black t-shirt with a shadowy, masked face floating above two pale knives fading ominously into the dark. I quickly changed into my happy brick-red and yellow Lion King shirt with young Simba and his meerkat and warthog friends traipsing above the carefree “Hakuna Matata” line. I figured the buyer would be more comfortable entering the home of a person wearing a sunny Disney animal shirt than a black horror movie t-shirt with murderous Michael Myers in his white mask with his big pointy knives. Am I considerate or what? Come into my lair and buy my stuff. Nah.

Here, I’ve got a pic of Yours Truly in said Lion King shirt. This is from a few weeks ago. I wasn’t going to post it here (it’s on instagram), but while 1). we’re on the subject, 2). I have standing requests for selfies, and 3). I don’t have another pic for this post…

 

(Went to see The Lion King on July 22)

 

Incidentally, Halloween (1978) is my all-time favorite horror movie. I love that t-shirt!

 

 

Radiance! (July Favorites.)

I’ve found that pictures and links speak quite effectively on their own when I present my list of favorite “little things” from the previous month, so that’s what I bring to you on this first day of August: a quick and dirty list of favorites for July with little in the way of text. As always, take my favs as recommendations if you’re so inclined, and with the idea that what works for me may not work for you, whether it’s entertainment, food, or products.

Enjoy, and Happy Friday Eve!

 

1). The Art of Self-Defense (film)

 

 

When your bad day at work becomes a bad night after work, and the realization that your whole life follows this script prompts you to take action.

 

2). Midsommar (film)

 

 

When your relationship is fragile and your co-dependency leads you to take a summer trip overseas. (Take note: horror)

 

3). The Lion King (film)

 

 

When you’re a talking animal whose life plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy, except not everyone dies at the end. (Take note: not a cartoon)

 

4). La Casa De Papel Part 3 (Money Heist S3) (Netflix series)

 

 

When the capture of a beloved family member gives you an excuse to ride your dormant adrenaline waves, and those waves turn into a tsunami.

 

5). Fleabag (Amazon Prime Original series)

 

 

When you’re a sex addict struggling with grief. (Take note: this comedy series is outstanding and hilarious, but it’s NOT “family-friendly.”)

 

6). Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate Signature Dark (72% Cacao). (Organic, vegan, paleo, and soy-free.)

 

Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate Signature Dark

 

A taste of dark chocolate was in order, so I thought I’d go for something new. It’d been so long since I’ve had chocolate that there was a lot of “new” to explore! I ventured to try this dark chocolate bar because it’s sweetened with organic coconut sugar, and sugar was a concern. I’d say that this is the least bitter and crumbly of the 72% + dark chocolate bars I’ve tried in my life. I highly recommend it if you’re wanting a healthier dark chocolate that’s creamy and not overly bitter.

 

7). e.l.f. Jelly Pop Face & Eye Gloss in Icy Pop. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

e.l.f. Jelly Pop Face and Eye Gloss in Icy Pop

 

When e.l.f. cosmetics offered free shipping for a period of time in July, I felt I should order something in addition to the lip product I wanted to try. I looked at their newly released products, and this face and eye gloss caught my attention. I’m actually surprised by how much I like it and its glowing effect! On days I don’t wear make-up, I take just a dab the size of a pinhead and tap it lightly onto my cheekbones and eyelids. I don’t wear it to the gym, so I can’t say how well it’d hold up through a work-out, but it lasts all day when I’m just home or out and about running errands.

 

8). e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stain in Dewy Nude. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stain in Dewy Nude

 

This is the e.l.f. lip product I wanted to try, and I’m happy to say that it works for me. It’s a simple lip stain that does what I want it to do: it adds just a hint of lip color, it wears well, and it doesn’t make my lips feel dry. I put my regular lip balm over it, and I can’t even tell that I’m wearing a lip stain.

 

9). Pacifica Mineral SPF 50 Body Butter Pineapple Flower. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Pacifica Mineral SPF 50 Body Butter Pineapple Flower

 

I’m always on the look-out for a body lotion with a strong SPF that doesn’t feel and/or smell unpleasant. This one by Pacifica is a game-changer!

 

10). Schmidt’s Bergamot + Lime Natural Deodorant. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime Natural Deodorant

 

I’ve also found it challenging to find effective vegan and cruelty-free deodorants. For me, Schmidt’s deodorant works better than standard ones. It doesn’t behave or feel like regular aluminum deodorants in how it applies, though; it took some getting used to. I press it firmly into my armpit and hold it for a good ten-Mississippi count, and then it’s soft enough to apply. Other qualities that may be down-sides: it’s a little grainy in texture, and it’s white (not invisible), so it will leave marks on your dark clothes if you’re not careful. But it really works! That’s a big enough up-side for me.

And that’s it for July!

(La Fin)

 

 

PSA, Part 2: No pain? Lots of blood? Go to the E.R. (Learn from me!)

Welcome to this unexpected follow-up to my last post.

I thought I had everything under control after I slammed the steel door on the back of my ankle. It took an hour, but I got the bleeding to stop, right? Only after my late-night shower did I realize that the situation was not under control, and it was beyond my management capabilities. I noticed more blood seeping through the jumbo band-aids (I’d stuck a second one over the first).

Of course it was past 11pm! Isn’t it always when you finally decide to go to the E.R.?

At the E.R., the doctor looked at my ankle and said that I needed stitches, but it was too late; the risk of infection was too high. I should’ve gone in for treatment within six hours of the accident. “I’ve been here all day,” he remarked lightly. He was kind.

He leaned forward in his chair as he pensively studied the wound, elbows resting on his knees, hands folded together, chin propped on his knuckles. Then he shook his head and said, “All I can do at this point is try to close it with steri-strips.”

Callaghan, who was sitting on a stool behind the doctor, later told me that the wound was gaping open and jagged around the edges. I’d had no idea. I’d thought I was dealing with a clean cut. The diagnosis on my paperwork says LACERATION, OLD – NOT SUTURED. It then explains that the wound is deep and required stitches, but “in your case, too much time has passed before coming for treatment. That is why your wound was not sutured.”

Can you hang your head in shame and roll your eyes at yourself at the same time? Yes. Yes, you can.

The doctor cleaned out the wound and applied the steri-strips (sticker sutures) to hold the separated tissue together. I felt pressure and pulling, but still no pain. It turned out that my nerves were damaged, so they couldn’t send pain signals to my brain.

This brings me to today’s important Public Service Announcement: if you’re bleeding persistently from an open wound, go to the E.R. right away, even if you’re not feeling pain.

I had it the wrong way around. I didn’t think it was that serious because I felt no pain. It didn’t help that I couldn’t really see the back of my ankle when my foot was up in the basin, but that’s neither here nor there. There was bleeding… it wasn’t stopping… I should have gone in for treatment, period. Instead, I flew into problem-solving mode and focused on resolving the issue myself. I only partially blame the Army for this.

A nurse wrapped the wound with an Ace bandage, and I went home with a set of crutches.

 

When band-aids aren’t enough.

 

Funny thing, Callaghan didn’t even know about the accident until he read my blog post that night! He found out when you guys did. I forgot to tell him about it when he got home from work.

We were told that it could take up to four weeks for the wound to heal completely, but I can get back to weight-lifting after one week of inactivity. It’ll be at least two weeks before I can do cardio again. The wound will fill in from the bottom and the sides, and it’ll scar, to which I say whatever. It could’ve easily been worse. It was my Achilles tendon’s lucky day!

Anyway, guys, if this happens to you, don’t do what I did. If it takes an hour to stop the bleeding, something is wrong. If it’s still bleeding after even 20 minutes, something is wrong! You’ll need professional treatment, and you should go get it within six hours. I waited more than 12 hours, putting myself at higher risk for infection. My scar will be deeper, and my healing time will be longer.

Also, while I’m at it, do remember to update your tetanus shots every five years. That was one thing that concerned the doctor that I actually got right.

[/PSA]

p.s. I found out how to remove ads from my blog! You’re welcome!