The Mind's Eye


That Ringing
This is killing me. Years of DJ-ing, performing live onstage, going to loud concerts, and riding a motorbike. Kids, protect your ears...

Tinnitus -

Tinnitus/ˈtɪnɪtəs/ or /tɪˈnaɪtəs/; from the Latin word tinnītus meaning "ringing" is the perception of sound within the human ear (ringing of the ears) when no actual sound is present.

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\\ Coresect
Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest - Denis Diderot, 1751

The Words


Shoulder Down..!

People get excited when an elbow touches down in MotoGP, but in street racing they get their shoulders scraping walls..!

IF this is your photograph get in touch, I'l credit you or take it down. Whichever you prefer. I can't find your details.

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My Ninja

I've been away, got a new job, sorted some things out, and bought a bike.
Kawasaki GPZ500r, also known as a Ninja 5r.

So much fun...

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Alice in Wonderland Grew Up

Alice is back, and she's mad.
Don't you just love video games?

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Nuclear? You Have to be Kidding...

Don't forget to vote.
Japan is getting worse.

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Chaotic Evil

Which one is your favourite?
Mine is, of course, chaotic evil.

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You have to shitting me,

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Marty Feldman
"I am too old to die young, and too young to grow up," he told a reporter -- a week before he died. I feel like that too...

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Keep Your Enemies Closer...
Here's a great article about living a public life online, based on Tim Ferriss: 7 Great Principles for Dealing with Haters:

1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.

Concentrate on the positive, not the detractors, always.

2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it.

3. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” (Colin Powell)

4. “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” (Scott Boras)

5. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” (Epictetus)

6. “Living well is the best revenge.” (George Herbert)

“Attack hate by showing how you are doing fine.”

7. Keep calm and carry on.

Don't feed the trolls...

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Freedom of Speech
We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. ~John Stuart Mill

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P90x Days 25 to 30 - 4 November 2010
And the P90X adventure continues, and I'm now a third of the way in.
So, Day 25 was X Stretch. Nice and easy, bit of stretching, and I do enjoy this one. I did it last thing before hitting the sack.

Day 26 was the dreaded Core Synergistics once more. I tried harder this time, and managed to roll about on the floor like a pro. That doesn't sound right. What kind of pro rolls about on the floor? Anyway, I did the whole routine, upping my reps from two days before, adding weights where I'd skipped them the first time round, and pretty much forgot about the sand kicking debacle from day 24. I can't say I nailed it, but lets just say C.S. didn't snigger quite so loudly this time.

Now on Day 27 I actually kinda came off the wagon, whoops. It should have been Yoga X, but apathy, tiredness and plain old forgetting meant I suddenly realised it was 11:30 in the evening and I still hadn't done it. I was tempted to call it a night and go to bed, maybe swapping it for the X Stretch the day after, but no, I had an idea. Instead I went for Tony Horton's One on One Fountain of Youth lesson: 45 minutes of yoga. All in all it's still a bugger to get through, but half as long, so I only feel half as guilty.

On Day 28 I decided to take the rest option and do bugger all.  I nailed the resting - no question.

So that was Phase 1 over, and now I was on to the next level: Phase 2... In reality only two out of the 3 weight routines are changed, everything else stays the same. Nevertheless, this small change is great for someone who did 60 days of P90 (most of which were the same 2 videos...).

In at the deep end, Day 29 was the new Chest, Shoulders & Triceps. followed by the not so new Ab Ripper X. No surprise that this new routine has loads of press ups, and it's no surprise to me that I stopped missing them three press ups into the routine. There are slow motion ones, sliding about ones, hand clap ones and my personal favourite (not) the one-handed variety. I tried to start each type on my hands and feet, and quickly ended each one on my knees. Most of the weight routines were done with my lighter 5 Kg dumbbells, and only a few felt too easy. This is a problem, because it means that this routine is crying out for another dumbbell set, so I'll be pausing the video to change weights on my adjustable pair. Anyway, I felt pretty pathetic after today, this is what that whole muscle confusion deal is all about, I guess. After getting into the first three-week series of videos I was getting confident, and now suddenly my muscles are guessing what to do, and mostly giving me the wrong answers. It's all good though. Ab Ripper X on the other hand was a breeze, kinda. 349 reps with only a small amount of grunting.

And finally to today: Day 30 and it's good old Plyometrics. Hmmm. My chest and shoulders are aching today, which means tomorrow will be hell on legs. I need to eat some bananas, they should help with the pain.

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P90X - DIY Pull Up Bar

The only things that you need to do P90X (apart from will-power and sheer bloody mindedness) are dumbbells (which can be substituted by resistance bands), a mat and a Pull Up Bar. Yeah, you need a towel and water, and sure, Tony does tell you to have a little bucket ready, but so far I've made do with a mop for the sweat.
I had some weights and a pair of dumbbells, but I might get some bands soon too just to help when I need to switch weights for some exercises. The company that makes P90X do recommend you buy their own products at every opportunity, but that's fair enough, they have money to make. In the UK and the States pull up bars are easy to come by, but here in Italy it isn't the case, you're lucky to find the simple twist-in-place bar if you venture down to your local sports shop, and they need some fastening and don't offer multiple hand positions. A much better idea is the kind that hooks on a door frame. No screws or nails, and no big ugly bars on your walls, something my girl would never have allowed in the living room. So, faced with extortionate postal charges to ship one from the UK I made my own out of steel water pipes. The pipes and joints come in a wide range of sizes and are all threaded, so with €17 I bought the bits and screwed them together. As added security I welded the joints up, but I think that was overkill in reality.

Here you can see the form, no rocket science, it just exerts force on the wall in two directions (forwards and backwards) and locks into place when I need it. A couple of rubber feet help save the wall on the back (and I put some tape on the there to stop the feet marking the wall). The side legs are covered in fowm and gaffer tape. I might put some padding on the bars sooner or later, I was thinking bicycle handlebar tape, but for now I wear gloves when doing pull ups.

My P90X story so far.

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P90x Days 23 & 24 - 29 October 2010
I had a moment of realisation as to why the workouts are leaving me so weary in the past 10 days or so, or at least it's an idea, namely my low carb diet. In fact, reading the P90X nutrition guide book it does mention you will feel that you don't have enough energy to finish the workouts for that very reason. This could explain it then. It's a "doh!" moment, I guess... My question now is: do I move into Diet Phase 2 (40% carbs and 40% protein) or keep on in Phase 1 till my Body Fat Index is lower and I've lost the last of my stomach fat. I think I might head over to Reddit later to ask the hivemind their opinion.

Anyway, Day 23 was a new workout, namely Core Synergistics, and it was humbling as usual.
C.S. is all about your trunk, from and including your buttocks to your chest. There's a few push ups, somewhich see you running, jumping up, rolling on your back and then there's a load of banana moves... What's a banana move? Well, basically you lie on your back and point your arms above your head. Now get your legs and arms off the floor and imagine you're yellow. That's easy till you have to spin on to your side and then your stomach, each time with nice pauses for grunting. Whilst on the videos the gang make it look coordinated and athletic, I look like a fish out of water, literally. The grunts are only interrupted by shrill screams as I roll off the mat on to the icy tiled floor. In future I'll wear a T-shirt for this routine. I wish I could have celebrated this number 23 better, but C.S. kicked sand in my face and sniggered. I couldn't keep up with the gang for many exercises, and some I had to stop the video to try and understand what the hell they were doing. This routine is also the first that could really do with a bigger room to do it in.

Day 24 was Kenpo X and apart from sliding about during stretching it's not a bad routine. I still can't do the combined block routine, no matter how many times Tony say, "block, stab, stab, block" I end up doing block, grab, wave, scratch my knee... i did my own DNA removal as Tony puts it (sweating) so it's all good. Still, tomorrow is X Stretch, relatively painless.

Funnily enough I miss doing the weights some. I'm actually glad C.S. has some push ups, weird huh?

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P90x Days 17 to 22 - 28 October 2010
Still here and still going strong. So far I'm into the fourth week and I still haven't missed a single turn. There have been a few moments when I've felt weary, too tired to bother, but in the end I've gritted my teeth and worked my way through another 60 minutes or more of Tony and his gang.
Saturday was Yoga, and as always it's a tough one. I did the routine in the afternoon, and it seemed harder than normal, but maybe it was just me. I held the Crane Position for a whopping 6 seconds (hands on floor, knees on elbows, lean forwards and balance on hands), though I doubt I'll ever try this one without a cushion in front of me for the inevitable faceplant. I usually do pretty well with the yoga for the first 25 minutes and then it gets hard. The Right-Angle Pose to Extended Right-Angle Pose & Grab is still a killer, and the Warrior Three to Standing Splits are a strain but then the Half Moon to Twisting Half Moon just leaves me crashing out and putting a foot down. Even my oms at the end don't seem as good as the guys on the TV. No real progress there...
Sunday was day 18 and that means Legs and Back followed by ARX. As far as legs are going I'm not too bad on that front. I've decided that the only shoes that don't slip during the Wall Squats are a pair of crocs (my walking in the garden shoes). This time I managed the 90 seconds two legged and even nailed the Single Leg Squats too. In total I did 116 chair assisted pull ups, compared with 97 from the week before. I think I might try and do some unassisted during Phase 2, wish me luck. ARX was fine, I kept up with the gang and even knocked out a couple of extra Mason Twists and did the harder version of the Leg Climbs. Next Phase I'll try the other harder versions too.
Monday was a bit more tricky: I didn't have time for Kenpo till after my dinner (around 10) and I still bugger up the block combination move every time. I'm going to have to practice that one during the day I think, otherwise I'll keep on punching myself and twisting my own arm. It's not so much self defence as self attack right now.
Tuesday and again I did the routine (this time X Stretch) after dinner. It's funny to discover myself reaching further and stretching more after such a short time.

And with this routine I've finished the first three weeks of P90X. Now I have a week for "Recovery". What this means is I have no weight training, and no pull ups. Don't get your hopes up too high though, because this week you get Yoga x 2, and a new routine called Core Synergistics x2 along with Stretch x 2 and one Kenpo.
So I wearily did Yoga X Wednesday, in the afternoon again. Not a good call, I have to do these routines in the morning when I can, I feel much better doing them earlier for some reason. So, what can I say about yoga that I already haven't? It hurts, it's hard. I can't do Half Moon to Twisting Half Moon at all, it's a bit better than before, but not by much. I managed 16 seconds for the Crane Position, but I did end it by falling on my head. sure glad I had cushions ready. I also managed to touch my heels for the One/Two-Legged Hamstring Stretches, a good improvement.

Now for other thoughts. Diet-wise I've not really gone to the lengths that the course reccommends. I have cut down the fat as much as possible, and tried to replace as much carbohydrates with protein as I can manage / afford. It should be 50% protien to 30% carbs, but I quickly realised I'd need to eat 6 egg whites for breakfast, fish for lunch and turkey for dinner to get close to that. I got some protein powder to up the protein intake and I have a scoop with my morning oats and then again after workouts in a milkshake with a banana. However, I got the cassein powder which is slower acting than whey, so next month I'll try some whey to see what difference it makes to me. I'm trying to get my extra snacks in the morning and afternoon to keep my metabolism going fast and I avoid eating 3 hours before going to bed. I cut down my 3 large bottles of beer a day (3 litres...) to 1 or two small cans a week (it's hard). I tend to finish any wine there is on the table so I'm only getting a couple of bottles a week. Self discipline is not one of my strengths, it would be better if someone rationed my wine intake to a glass every meal or less, but as long as there's no wine in the house (and my neighbours lock their doors) I'm ok.
Monday night I actually took the dog out for a (brief) run. Probably only a kilometre and a half, but it felt easy, so I might do it again and go further.

And how are the videos now I've seen them at least 3 times each? Well, Sometimes Tony still makes me smile, often unwittingly. Anyone else notice the frisson of sexual tension when Tony strokes Shawna's neck going into X Stretch? She can't resist a smile there, something's afoot methinks. It's hard to see if she smiles later in the video when he touches her arse, mainly because she's lying on her back with her knee by her nose. I know, weird things to notice, but when you watch a video several times you start paying attention to the little things.

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P90X Day 15 & 16 - 22 October 2010
Another two long days at work - dash home (little under an hour on the scooter) - change - sort out dog - and straight into the routines.

Wednesday was Chest and Back, and I must have worked pretty hard because I can definitely feel them bits today. Even just doing the ballistic stretch Huggers is kinda painful today. As I've said before, this routine is basically push ups and pull ups, and I hate push ups. Rather than trying to just pace myself I went for max on the first run through, which meant for the second I was knackered. During the second set of incline push ups I'd set my target on 15, but as I got to 10 my arms buckled and I almost chewed the floor. Oh well. ARX was fine, but I took a 5 minute break before starting it. I only just missed out on maxing the reps, missing one rep on the dreaded Roll Up / V Up Combo.
Thursday was Plyometrics, and I'm almost keeping up now. The guitar leaping things are a bugger, and I can't throw left handed, but apart from that it's ok. Heart rate was up at 150 bpm the whole 55 minutes, with one peak out of my zone at 170 bpm... 2 or 3 calories were burned, probably.
Today was Shoulders and arms, and my chest and back are letting me know I worked them Wednesday. I've left the dumbbells at 5 kg and 10 kg, though I wish I could have some 6's, 7's, 11's, and 12's, but for now this is what I have. All reps were increased.

Today I nailed Ab Ripper X, maxing all the reps! That means 349 of the swine. After next weeks recovery week I'll be able to start adapting the moves to make them harder. The 6 pack is still only peeking though, that last level of fat is hanging on for dear life. I'm going to have to get stricter on the diet I think.

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P90X Day 12, 13 & 14 - 19 October 2010
Didn't write anything about the last three days as I was too tired and didn't have time. Sunday I skipped Legs and Back in the morning, and did Legs and Back in the afternoon instead (did you think I was going to chicken out after just 12 days? Nah...).

It was hard work with wobbly legs. I just can't do the Wall Squats, mainly because the tiled floor in my home means my feet slide away from me no matter what shoes I wear, or if I don't wear any. Not sure how to solve that one, apart from going outside in the garden to do them.
Monday I got back from work late but rushed about like a madman and got through Kenpo in time before eating at about 8:30 p.m.
Today was pretty much the same, home just before 7 p.m. and straight into the easy one: X Stretch, or Stretch X, I don't remember which. Surprisingly I'm already more flexible than last week, though I still get the odd twinge in my lower back.

The next two days will be rough: work and big work outs. SO it's "do your best, and forget the rest. Bring it", and all that motivation baloney like "decide, commit and succeed". Oh well, whatever, I have different ways to motivate myself, like getting a six pack for Christmas. It would be easier if Santa Clause brought me one though...

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P90X Day 11: Yoga - 16 October 2010
I was actually looking forward to yoga today, but I started late in the morning and for some reason half way through I was tempted to quit it.

Still, I kept at it, starting to shake like a shaky thing with the shake button pressed all the way down and in the distance a robotic female voice calmly repeats, "Warning, shaking in cryogenic unit, repeat..." at about 35 minutes, and then for a few moves I couldn't keep at it at all, and I had to straighten up, and then try again to get back down into position, maybe with a foot on the ground.
I managed about 6 seconds of crane, and I didn't fall on my head this time, but it was close.
Tomorrow is Legs and Back. Hard work for sure.

I can do this, repeat... I CAN do this...

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P90X Day 10: Shoulders & Arms - 15 October 2010
Time to up the ante, and that means heavier weights. Sure, one of the selling points of P90X is you need very little equipment: pull up bar or resistance bands, a mat, and dumbbells or bands. Now, I have a set of 5 Kg dumbbells, and another set with various weights. The problem comes when you need to change weights from "lawnmowers" to "curls". It takes time and you lose your flow. So, I started with just two sets: 5 Kg and 8 Kg. It worked the first week, but this week I went up to 10 Kg for the heavier ones, and for some moves it was good, some too light and others pretty heavy. I'd love a variable set, but they cost mega €, so maybe a band or two might be a cheaper alternative for when I really need a different weight.

Anyway, today's session was pretty tough but still enjoyable.
As usual I finish the session with a nice protein - banana milkshake.
ARX was good, upped the total rep number another 10 or so, damn those pulse ups are killer.

Still going strong, might check some measurements on Sunday, but I don't see much change in reality. I have a four pack, with a blob of fat under it. Can't get rid of that last roll.

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P90X Day 9: Plyometrics - 14 October 2010
By George, I do believe it's getting better. Plyometrics today was not the absolute nightmare that it was last week. A few moves I finished a second or two before they superheroes did, but only when my heart rate monitor beeped to warn me I was up above my 85% limit (160bpm). All in all it was a good workout, hard work, heart up in the mid 140's for the whole deal.

We had a power cut half way through and without dropping a beat I started watching the video on my PSP. I must be mad.
Sure, the guy with one leg is still doing better than me, but I can now see light at the end of the tunnel, all I have to do is kick his decent leg out from underneath him and we'll see who's laughing.
Shoulders and Arms tomorrow, so it's time to up the weights. Wish I had more of them, or even those incredibly expensive adjustable dumbbells, but on the other hand I'm lucky I'm not working with sand filled detergent bottles.

ARX tomorrow too, will I manage to finish all the reps this time? Probably not, the Fifer scissors and Pulse Ups are still way out of my league.

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P90X Week 2: Chest & Back, & ARX - 13 October 2010
After yesterday's easy X Stretch it was all set to start week 2. Chest and Back, followed by Ab Ripper X

For Chest and Back I got through 116 push ups, and 68 (assisted) pull ups and chin ups. Pushing it a bit harder.
I also upped the reps in ARX to 325, 13 more than last week. My idea is to get up to the maximum reps, and then start the harder versions (hands in air, crossed legs etc...).
Tomorrow is Plyo, and that's the one that does my legs in, all those jumps and lunges leave me a gibbering wreck.

Whatever, we can do this, this is just the same as last week, and I'm alive, aren't I.

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P90X Day 6 & 7: Kenpo : X Stretch - 13 Oct 2010
So, as I was working in Rome all day Monday I had considered for a moment the idea of getting up at 6 a.m. to do Day 6 of P90X, namely Kenpo, but ater laughing hysterically for about an hour I decided I'd see what happened after I got home.

It went like this: finished work at 5, home at 6. Change, feed dog, walk dog, and bam! as Tony would say, I'm kicking and punching like Bruce Lee for an hour.
Except I'm not, I'm punching ok, sometimes punching myself, sometimes kicking the fireplace, and I'm flailing.
Not so much Bruce Lee, more Bruce Forsythe (don't ask). It's funny, I laugh, it's better than whining.
But it's ok, because I'm doing it instead of sitting on my arse.

And I ache. Monday I ached good, which I think was more Yoga X from Saturday than Sunday's Legs and Back (I have a two day delay for my workout pain, you see). I was worried that my pain might be from Sunday, and therefore Monday's suffering was a mere taster for total paralysis on Tuesday. But today I ached, but lived, so I'm happy.

Kenpo is about doing a punch 25 times, then the other arm, then two punches, then three, then 4, then blocks, then kicks, then punches and kicks, and then block too, each time starting with one and ending with 4, for both sides, again and again, And running on the spot, and jumping jacks, and stretching, and oh look, after 10 minutes my heartrate is at 135 bpm and then for moments it touches 165, and for an hour it doesn't drop below 125. You sweat. And then you get really wet.

And then, today I got home, did the usual, and then took that X Stretch and made it my bitch. Well, I think that's what you say when you manage to survive a workout. Did I say workout? Ah, well... Actually it's just a really relaxing 55 minute stretching session. I actually enjoyed it. I feel like I'm cheating.

Whatever, tomorrow I'm back to Chest and Back: pushups, pull ups and dumbbells galore, and then Ab Ripper X, but I don't care: I got through week one of P90X and screw you guys, I'm going on.

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P90X Day 5: Back and Legs & ARX - 10 Oct 2010
And what better way to start Sundau morning than 75 minutes of sweating and straining on your own? Well, yeah, apart from several hundred things, like sleeping some more, a fry up breakfast like my mum makes (sigh) but no! That's not the right spirit.

Without further ado, this is what I did:

Legs & Back

Balance Lunges - otherwise known as the lunge and wobble.
Calf-Raise Squats - like squats but standin on your toes at the end. So, like quats but worse.
Reverse Grip Chin-Ups - Tough but good for ya, like eating all your porridge.
Super Skaters - balance on one leg send the other one back and an arm forward, you look like speed ice skaters, well, you might, I look like someone with cramps.
Wall Squats - How can squats hurt more? put your back against a wall and pretend you have a chair under you. Strain, this is another Hernia X exercise.
Wide Front Pull-Ups - the classics, I long for the day I can do a few unassisted, for now it's a distant dream.
Step Back Lunges - forward lunges not hard enough? DO you want to fall over and step on things ni your living room? Then this one is for you.
Alternating Side Lunges - enough with the lunges already.
Closed Grip Overhand Pull-Ups - pull ups but harder, I think. The pain is the same.
Single-Leg Wall Squats - I hate you, the horse you rode in on and the inventor of this pain.
Deadlift Squats - Squats are about as much fun as lunges.
Switch Grip Pull-Ups - pull ups with a change of grip every two up. I count every one, they count every two I think. So now I feel even more pathetic.
Ballistic Stretches - Make a like a chimp and swing yer arms. This bit I can do.
Three-Way Lunges with Two-Kick Option - Take a lunge, add a kick.
Sneaky Lunges - so sneaky I can't remember what they were.
Reverse Grip Chin-Ups (again) - We need more pull ups.
Chair Salutations - so, you're sitting on an invisible chair and you lean forwards and touch the sky. Why? I've no damned idea, must be for the pain.
Toe-Roll Iso Lunges - lunges on tip toes. Did I mention I don't like lunges?
Wide Front Pull-Ups (again)
Groucho Walks - Crouch with legs wide, walk forwards, walk backwards, make Groucho Marx jokes. I shot Tony Horton in my pyjamas, what he was doing... oh never mind.
Calf Raises - Stand on tip toes about 2300 times while holding weights.
Closed Grip Overhand Pull-Ups (again)
80/20 Siebers-Speed Squats - pretty much one legged squats. Half as much fun as normal ones.
Switch Grip Pull-Ups (again)

and then straight into Ab Ripper X (I hate it, I hate it). I went a step further, bringing my ARX number of reps to 312 (23 more than last time, I like that number).
Highlight of the routine now is my recovery drink straight after I've worked out and checked meagre progress in every mirror in my flat. One banana, some skimmed milk and water, and chocolate flavoured protein powder. Yummy.
Yesterday we ate out, and my diet regime sucked some. I was careful though, and I ignored the beer (unfortunately I had a long conversation with the wine instead).

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