Winter is Coming. . . .

Posted on October 13, 2011


Fuck you, Starks. This is Canada and when winter approach’eth, it fucking approach’eth.  Every year, too, not every 10.

However, let me get to the point: With winter comes snow, sub-zero temperatures and miserable fucking weather all ’round. You sure as shit can’t go running around barefoot or get in [cheap] frequent movement. Also, winter = lethargy for a lot of people, and I’m not immune to its venomous sting, even with liberal daily doses of Vitamin D. (As an aside, Vitamin D made a huge difference for me last winter — I can’t even describe how vital it was for maintaining an upbeat attitude and staying healthy. I might also dabble in some magnesium.)

So what’s an urban Primalist such as myself to do when he’s not swinging his sledge around in his apartment? I can’t go barefoot. I can’t go for hour-long walks in quiet neighbourhoods as the sun’s setting, since it sets at around 2:30 in the fucking afternoon by the time January rolls its frozen ass around.

Back to the question: What’s a guy to do? Climbing and kickboxing, that’s what. Oh, and take mandolin lessons, naturally. (As a rule around here, don’t ever say “natch.” I’m not kidding. Write it in the comments and I’ll ban your ass. Fucking “natch.” It’s right up there with “chica.”)

There’s a Your City Deals thing for a kickboxing place near me, so I decided to do an intro class a few weeks back (kickboxing bags/drills) so I could decide if I wanted to spend the $99 for 8 weeks of kickboxing insanity, as well as use of their small gym, personal training in the gym, etc etc.

It was fucking awesome. I’m not a broken sack of shite like I thought I’d be, but my shoulders hurt around my shoulder blades, and that’s a new soreness. Even hours after the class, I had that muscle-lightness feeling and it was great. As IniQuity on the MDA forums had written about a while back, I’d been taking it too easy with my workouts, I think. They were yielding results — albeit slowly — but I wasn’t pushing myself quite enough.

Enter a pretty intimidating kickboxing instructor whose first words to me were “No, you’re not good. No one here’s good.”  There’s no mercy at that dojo! In all seriousness, though, Mr. Anderson (“I’m Steve, but you call me Mr. Anderson.”) was great. He has an excellent merger of strict rigidity but has an easy-going sense of humor. He doesn’t cut anyone any slack but he boosts people through humor: “Lookit Patrick. This ain’t nothing to him, is it? He’s just floatin’ through this. The guy’s laughing. I must be getting soft in my old age.”

Then he’d reign it in: “You better be watching. Men always screw this up, and new guys especially. Watch the women here; they get it.”

My point being that he doesn’t get a rise from teaching; he’s not there to demonstrate some kind of superiority as a teacher, which is a very common flaw/failing in many martial arts instructors. He’s there to teach and ensure people learn. He never stops gauging people and chatting. He totally fucked with me while we were doing our final drill: the guy with the pads would hook punches at the main person, tapping a glove, and the main boxer would then cross with that hand, then cross with the other (hitting two pads). It took some getting used to.

As we were nearing the end of the interval, Mr. Anderson started asking me about some random shit and I couldn’t keep track of which fist was going where and I turned into a car wreck. The point? The movements and responses have to become rote. You should be able to have a conversation about Nietzsche’s mustache while deflecting, rapid-punching, shifting your feet, crossing your punches, etc. It should be as natural as swinging your arms when you walk, or talking while still being able to breathe.

Anyway, I was pretty impressed. He was a good teacher, the gym/school had a relaxed and comfy feel, and the other students were pretty awesome. I’m all in.

And that leaves us with climbing. Yeah, I want to climb as an all-round activity to replace at-home working out. I was thinking of swimming, but do you know what’s worse than a miserable fucking winter in Canada? Swimming in the miserable fucking winter in Canada, that’s what. There’s a climbing gym halfway home from work for me and my friend, so we checked it out. It’s called Vertical Reality and it’s great for what it is, and it’s not terribly expensive. So if I get in climbing once a week, kickboxing twice a week and mandolin lessons once a week, I’ll be rockin’ and still have a bit of time for social stuff in the evenings, as well as flat-out fucking relaxing sprawled out on my couch.

So yeah. Gotta keep busy this winter. Glad I planned it all out ahead of time. I bought a $92 Smoky Mountain starter mandolin at Steve’s Music. Along with a strap, tuner and case, it was $145 after taxes. I got some good info on mandolins from the guy I spoke with at the Ottawa Folklore Centre, who was nice if a bit stinky. Most of OFC’s mandolins are all $295 +. That said, there was a damn sexy solid wood, flat blah blah blah mandolin for $500. I mean it was fuckin’ nice, but I am not dropping $500 on a mandolin after having only had a single lesson in my life. Maybe a year after I’ve had instruction I’ll look at a decent mandolin, but for now my A-frame Smoky Mountain piece of crap will do.

That’s what’s up with me these days. Oh shit! I didn’t update the update (the post before this one). So let me update things here: I took the business development job (for a small design firm) and officially declined the letter of offer from my former place of work. That said, I signed a freelance contract with that place, albeit in another capacity. Yup, it’s all good! Having a blast with my own office and such fanciness, though I’m being kept busy.

Don’t panic: I’ll try to come up with something worth reading soon. Until then, keep it Primal, all! I’ll leave ya with a picture from after Canuck Thanksgiving this past weekend:

taken on Oct 10, 2011