LGN 76: Passion

Inside: Nude erotic yoga; Interview; Realities of training; Anybody here ever apply for a grant?; Walking the Schnauzers; WFH; The passionate

NUDE EROTIC YOGA (NSFW)

‘Nuff said. This is art, not porn. But it is NSFW. It’s beautiful and a little uncomfortable maybe. (That’s what happens when you search for anything without “Safe Search” turned all the way on.)

http://www.vivastrakamayoga.com/index.html

THE MUNDANE ASPECTS OF TRAINING

Here’s something I didn’t account for. Almost two and a half years after I started strength training and yoga (although the yoga lapsed for a long while) my training clothes are starting to fall apart. I’ve already bought new, smaller clothes. I would like to get some shirts that fit me better (that don’t sag and act as a heat trap).

Not an ideal time, budget-wise, but that’s life. Convenience doesn’t have anything to do with it.

I did get a new pair of training shoes. The New Balance Minimus Crosstrainers. Great shoes. I recommend them. They’re almost as comfortable as the running Minimus shoes except the soles are a little more substantial. You can run or walk and if you step on a pointy pebble or gravel you won’t get a jolt of pain up your foot.

I hope I don’t have to start thinking too hard about money vs. fitness. The strength training and yoga are things I’m more than willing to pay money for. Additional classes if it comes to that, too.

I had a momentary thought about what would happen if I all of a sudden had car payments again. That would suck it. Of course, in December when it’s time to renew the lease the rent here is going to spike.

I can adapt, of course, but like I said I don’t want to have to think about it or the trade offs involved.

But enough of that. Such is life. There is now.

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?

Someone asked me how long I’ve been training at Underground Athlete. Nearly two and a half years now. She asked me if I ever got bored or felt like I was in a rut.

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt bored with it. Physically, there’s always something new and challenging going on. The people are great.

I have felt socially stagnant at times but, you know, that’s not really a gym thing. That’s a me thing.

I’ve felt worn out. I’ve been frustrated. Intimidated sometimes. I’ve questioned the need for that level of intensity. There are times when I’ve questioned why I’m paying someone to torture me even if it is for my own good. There have been days where I was already very tired and/or sore and down or stressed and I dreaded the thought of getting my butt kicked.

Being honest here. I’m pretty sure that one can achieve fitness without it being grueling. Through moderation and discipline and social structure or something.

BUT, there’s a lot to be said for intensity and general mental toughness. There’s a lot to be said for being in an environment where everyone is supportive and helps you to push yourself by pushing themselves.

There’s a lot to be said for training like an athlete. Training like you’re going to compete. You will be tougher, stronger and faster than you would be otherwise. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. There is no substitute for working hard and working harder and working your hardest.

When I ride with the Gears and Beers meetup group I try to hang with the leaders. And I do for a while. They are so freakin’ fast. But I wouldn’t be able to even think about keeping that pace for 8 to 12 miles if it weren’t for UA. (I really need to work on distance and long exercise and activities. That’s always been my weakness.)

WALKING THE SCHNAUZERS

Weight loss challenge. Here’s a weird analogy for you.

I really need to buckle down and be consistent. Man. I’m all over the place. The vacation weekend with the family didn’t help at all. I was lay-zay and ate like crap. Something about road trips results in crapsnacks for some reason. It’s like my brain goes into survival mode. But that’s just lack of discipline on my part. Then I annoyed my family by talking about “too much sugar”. Oh well.

My exercise/eating divergence reminded me of something. A few years ago I dog-sat a friend’s two Miniature Schnauzers for a week. Cute dogs. They weirded me out sometimes but very cute. Whenever I was standing they’d be around my feet looking at me. Watching. Staring. If I was sitting down they’d be sitting next to me staring at me. “What? Stop staring.”

So I would lay down and then they would lay down, maybe snuggle next to me or one of them would lay on my chest. Alright, let’s go for a walk then.

Two dogs, one leash in each hand, right. They were all over the place. One’s going this way. One’s going that way. Each of them stopping to sniff whatever dogs sniff. It was chaos. Then one time I had to pull a poop bag out of my pocket so I put both leashes in one hand. All of a sudden they started walking calmly side by side.

I don’t understand how or why but that turned out to be a repeatable phenomenon. If I held both leashes in one hand they walked calmly side by side. If I held one leash in each hand their trail looked like Billy’s from “Family Circus”.

That’s how it is with my exercise/eating. I’ve had each in different hands recently and they’ve been all over the place. I need to get back in the zone so that my efforts are coming from one place, one source.

WORKING FROM HOME

I’m officially working from home now. We’ll see how that goes. It wasn’t bad today. I got some good advice on the Facespace.

But I didn’t go outside or take a real break. That was a mistake. The day flew by in a stuttering attempt at productivity. Then by early evening I had cabin fever. Fevuh! I almost went to the apartment fitness room to hit the treadmill but — I didn’t. Went for a little walk which ended up at Chipotle.

This could be very cool, though. Time for walks and rides. Maybe a lunch time bike ride up to Whole Foods. I can ride my bike to the gym in the evenings now. Or change up the schedule. Go to the fitness room. I likes.

But this evening my motivation was derailed by an email about an interview I went on a few weeks ago. It wasn’t one I went looking for. It found me and I figured why not. The email stated that they were looking for someone with more hands-on development experience.

It was kind of a blow to the ego considering that I have about two decades of hands-on front end development experience. (Granted, there’s so much stuff out there and a very diverse spectrum.) That’s not their fault, though. I really pooched the interview — the tech part.

My skills are a hybrid of UI (user interface)/UX (user experience) design and front end web dev. But as it goes for one with hybrid skills, as the work environment at my current job has changed my role hasn’t involved much dev in the past few months. And I’ve never been good at talking about coding. My terminology is weak and I really have to prepare to sound intelligent and constructively geeky. It was awkward.

So I can’t blame them at all. And my portfolio that I put together was a blend that doesn’t provide any “tangible” examples of coding (can’t show them the defense contractor code). In retrospect, I also didn’t realize that I was interviewing for a UX developer position whereas I’d like to lean more toward a UX position.

So it goes. Rejection always blows but getting hung up on it is pointless.

Lesson learned. Preparation, a home project so that there’s something publicly available and shareable and maybe a little caffeine.

And that brings me to passion.

PASSION

Another friend said that if/when my current project goes the way of the Dodo it might be time for me to start that photography business.

Nah. I don’t think so. I do enjoy living under a roof and eating. It would be really tough to make a living via creativity. I’m also not sure that I want to. I kind of do. I kind of don’t.

I read an article about passion recently. And then another one about why you shouldn’t try to start a business out of a sense of passion. Because all of the logistical, mundane things can kill it.

http://unicornfree.com/2011/dont-follow-your-passion

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/a_fine_whine/2005/12/bitter_brew.html

I don’t fully agree with those articles in an ideological way. Follow your bliss, y’know. But I understand the sentiment and there is truth in there.

There have been periods where I’ve tried to keep myself afloat as a jazz bassist and sometimes guitarist. Unless you’re on tour with a big name that’s some tough stuff. Not sustainable. It generally doesn’t pay all that well so you’d have to be playing constantly. Also, I wasn’t top notch. There’s a huge difference between weekend warriors and the pros (even the local, regional pros).

That’s a lot of lugging of equipment and driving to and fro — San Jose to the Peninsula to Oakland to San Francisco to Pleasanton to Santa Cruz or wherever it’d take you. Oh. By the way, all of those drunk Hispanic guys cruising the clubs in downtown San Jose on weekend nights who saw me carrying the upright acoustic bass and predicted that I was going to get some p**** that night? You were wrong. Get your act together.

Or Baltimore to DC to Northern VA to Frederick to Annapolis. A hundred dollars for a 3 hour gig. Sometimes for just a meal if you just need to play and keep your chops up. Getting home at 2 or 3am and then unloading. Burning gasoline like crazy. The occasional hell gig.

Then you don’t have much time for just jamming or composing or even practicing. It takes its toll. That’s why I’m more content writing and recording tunes at home these days than gigging all over the area. It has its cost, though. Tradeoffs.

So the photography thing. I love it. But I can see how easy it would be to fall into a similar rut. I look at some of the pros online and how they practice their craft.

The one guy who does music and concert shoots. You get a pass to the photographer pit to big concerts. It’s a reserved area but usually only for the first two or three songs. Sometimes you might get cut off after one song. One song! They get great shots but they’re all from the same angles. Imagine ten photographers in a narrow pit next to the stage. Maybe the same ten for pretty much every concert. It seems very limited as far as a means of expression goes.

Another photographer does photoshoots of famous actors, musicians and occasionally CEOs. I’m sure he makes fat bank. He must. He often uses a $50,000 medium format camera body. But then in his comments on his photos he’s always mentioning how the actor or singer gave him about 30 seconds and then was rushed off by handlers. And I mean literally 30 seconds or less. One pose, flash flash. “Okay, that’s it, Mr. Photographer. We good? We’re good. We’ve got an interview to get to.”

Or paying $1,400 in baggage fees to ship crazy amounts of camera and lighting equipment all around the country.

I am passionate about photography but none of that sounds appealing. A friend did send me an email about a $25,000 artist’s grant. Or is it $2,500. I just might submit an application. (Does anyone know what “new media” is?)

Luckily, there are many different ways to be a photographer and an infinite variety of subjects to photograph. Someday I’m going to find a way to combine all of these hobbies into … something. The possibilities.

THE VICISSITUDES OF PASSION

A few of the commenters on the articles I linked to above talk about passion as some kind of immature idealism.

One said something like, “The people who talk about passion all the time are always the ones who can’t sit still, change jobs at the drop of a hat, can’t maintain relationships and leave a trail of destruction in their wake.”

Wow! Harsh.

I don’t know about all that, but I do think that idealizing passion is like idealizing love. You know, when the idea of being in love becomes more important than practicing love. The idea of being in love trumps the work and compromise to make a relationship work beyond the emotional ups and downs.

When pursuing the idea of being passionate or the feeling of passion trumps the work and discipline that it takes to create and sustain, well, anything.

The point of one of those articles is, before you rush off and start that business make sure that you get joy out of the act of running that business in support of the activity or product that so inspires and drives you.

So that’s something to think about. Taking what you love to the next level in a way that doesn’t burn you out.

Anyway, that’s it. I guess that’s a wrap. I’m gonna go ahead and call it a Friday.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Get outside and have some fun.

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