The site is moving

I have decided that I want to do more things than just blog, and so tumblr is no longer my best fit.

.

Come follow my shenanigans at www.thelovingninja.com

Seeya there!

xoxoxo

Week 8 goals recap, week 9 goals (kinda?) and sexy new project

Week 8 re-cap and Goals for week 9

.

So, my goals for week 8 were:

1.Become left handed

2.Yoga everyday

3. super secret projects

4.Finish the book I’m reading

5.Keep up with restricting facebook and twitter use.

.

Am I left handed yet?

.

Do you know why I am right handed? It’s because being left handed is stoopid. 

.

This last week, I tried my best to eat all my meals left handed, cook, surf the web, use my phone, and even write (pad and pen, not laptop) left handed. I even wrote a check left handed!

.

First off, my hand writing looks like squiggley gibberish. So pretty much just a step below how I write with my right hand.  Writing with my left hand was the worst. It sucked. I could envision it paying off, let’s say, 15 years from now. Maybe longer.  Frigg.

.image

Brushing my teeth was also difficult, but that was nothing compared to writing. 

.

I am wondering, right now, how I feel about this little experiment. It was interesting, that is for sure. It was definitely annoying. I didn’t really even get any pleasure from it, other than the sense that I was committing to an annoyingly annoying annoyance, but I still think I will try to maintain a bit of left handedness. Just pour le fun.

.

Yoga 4 lyphe

.

Yoga is le fun. I am enjoying doing it. I am going to keep this thing up for as long as possible. I am doing it for roughly 45 minutes a day. Like I have said before, I do it in my living room, but damn would I love to do it in a hot room every day. Maybe turning the heat on in the summer time will be good enough 

.

I suck at yoga, that is for sure. But maybe that is one reason why I like it so much. It is definitely challenging, it is relaxing, and it is also humbling.

.

Finish book

.image

I finished the book I was reading on Inuit customs and laws. I loved the perspective. I love pretty much all perspectives. Perspective is like this thing that opens your world and your view of it. Imagine living in a house, and you never left your house, ever. You had one set of windows, on only one wall of your house. You learn about the outside world by looking out that window. You can study it all you want, use a telescope, document everything you see, and know it by heart. Master it, even. You think that you knew everything outside your house.

.

Then one day somebody comes and installs windows on the other side of your house. My lord! Your entire concept of your life, your surroundings, your universe would be shaken to its core. You would be forced to see (assuming you looked through that window) your universe from a completely different point of view. New things would be perceived, new information, new ideas, new models; and all would help form a new perception of how you feel about yourself, your place in your surroundings (universe/life), and how you are to act during that life.

.

Sounds a bit much? I highly doubt it. Perspective is one of the most important things in life that opens and expands your sense of reality.

.

So, that was a bit of a tangent from this Inuit book. I loved the book because it was simply interesting, it was quite new to me, it was foreign, and it offered me a really interesting perspective. I definitely feel better for it.  Thanks Joe!

.

Less of the facetubing and the tweetfacing

.

Keeping it restricted is nice. I find myself insanely more productive when I am restricting my facebook/twitter/internet news searching. I get shit done, which is nice, though I do enjoy getting the news and ideas being shared online, and they are an important part of my interests.  

.

I am going to keep this up for sure. I am a bit more out of the loop in terms of reading the news and what is going on in the world, but I don’t really mind that as much as I thought I would. I know that I can let the news affect me, especially if it is negative (as it almost always is), and it is something that I have consciously thought about over and over and over. The pros and cons of being informed, the effects on quality of life, and also the opportunity quality (something I came up with, a derivative of opportunity cost) associated with spending that time being updated and informed vs. spending that time doing something that might increase my quality of living, bring me happiness, and improve myself.

.

I have lots of little projects that I want to do, and no time to do them. This is one avenue that will free up some time so I can do some things that interest me 

.

.

Week 9 Goals

 None (kinda).

.

This week, (last couple of days) I was sick, and I am quite busy with various errands, so I think I am going to just put goals aside for this week.  I will keep up with all the things that I have added to my regular every life now (healthy eating, exercise, recycling, yoga, lucid dreaming, left handedness, restricting fb/twitter/tv, etc).

.

Though I would like to state one of my super secret projects that I have been thinking about is to start a podcast! I am pretty excited and semi-nervous about it. I have a few ideas about what kind of things I would like to do on the podcast, but to be honest I don’t want to box myself in. So yeah, I need to find some time to start it up, and still thinking about the format, having a co-host or not, etc.

.

So stay tuned! I think it will be fun to do, even if nobody ever listens. I have no idea if anyone even reads these blogs, but I still enjoy doing it as a fun hobby 

.

Xoxoxo Have a great week!

Week 6 recap, goals for week 7, week 7 recap, goals for week 8!

Week 6 Recap:

My goals for week 6 (Feb 11-18) were

1.Finish Ninja’s suspenders

2. Begin practicing lucid dreaming

3/4. Begin super secret ninja projects #1 and #2.

.

How did I do?

.

So Ninja’s boots and suspenders system are all done. The whole thing cost a total of about $10, much cheaper and WAY easier to use than store bought dog boots. The suspenders were just added to ensure that they stay on her feet while she runs through snow, and if a boot were to fall off, it wouldn’t be lost in deep snow, as we had experienced before in the past.

.

So, we got the suspenders working, JUST in time for winter to start to become milder and ninja doesn’t really need them much anymore!  Oh well, it was a fun experience and Ninja will have them for many-a-winter to come 

.

Trying to lucid dream is, well, weird and hard. It is hard to do something that you don’t really know how to do. All that I can do is try to do the techniques that I have learned about. There isn’t too much to report here. I have had a couple of cool experiences though.

Both of these happened in the span of two days.  The first happened in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day.  I went to have an afternoon nap because I was exhausted from not sleeping properly a couple nights in a row (a result of trying to focus/meditate/WAKE method of inducing lucid dreaming that backfired on me). When I took my nap, or rather, when I woke up, something strange happened.

.

I was completely lucid, for what seemed like the last 3-4 hours of my sleep. As in, I was looking up, at the wall at the end of my bed. I didn’t have any thoughts whatsoever. Just staring. It felt like 3-4 hours, but I only napped for about an hour, so who knows. Time is definitely dilated while dreaming.

.

The experience was bizarre. Just imagine being asleep, your body and, I suppose, your mind as well, yet having your eyes open and taking in sight sensory information. Then, completely seamlessly, I woke up, yet my vision and sensory experience was completely unchanged. It was quite bizarre.

.

At first I thought, wait, I was awake? No, I was definitely asleep and I did in fact just wake up. But why was I seeing the room while I slept? Someone might suggest that I was just dreaming of my room, then awoke to see the same room that I was dreaming of. I would say that although that is a possibility, I didn’t open my eyes upon awakening. Also, I just don’t think that is what happened. I have woken up from seemingly real dreams before. This wasn’t quite that. Also, it is quite rare to just ‘dream’ of a still image of a room for what seems to be hours.

So that was my first experience.

My second was when I was trying to meditate before bed. It was pretty awesome. I have tried a few things when meditating: focusing on my breathe, focusing on how the air passing passed my lips feels on my lips, focusing on a desired ‘scene’ for my dream, etc. In this instance, I was thinking about an idea I had earlier that day.

.

We have, for the most of us, the sensory experience of different colors. I can see different colors. This in itself, is a large factor for being able to distinguish between two different objects (using my vision). Now, I thought to myself, imagine if every single thing in existence was the color white. No different shades of white, all the same shade. Look around your room right now. Your hands, your arm, your shirt, your computer, your wall, the floor, chairs, furniture, cabinets, doorknobs, everything. Look for example at the nearest junction between a doorknob and door, or the floor and the wall. If each were the EXACT same color, how would you be able to tell if they were or were not connected, and just a single contiguous ‘physical entity’? 

.

We think of ourselves as one body. But those are just words. In fact, we really aren’t a body. If you zoom in a little bit, we are organs, veins, bones, tissues all connected. Zoom in a bit more, and it’s just a bunch of cells and aqueous solution (water with stuff dissolved in it) that are touching each other. Zoom in even more, and it is just a string of contiguous molecules constantly in contact with each other. Zoom in a bit more, and it is just “atoms” (if such a thing even exists) that are “bonding” together. Zoom in even more, and you have electrons, protons and neutrons that take up almost 0% of the entire volume of this “atom”. Zoom in even more, and we have subatomic particles, quarks and such.

So when you look at your finger tip and think that it is connected to your shoulder (your arm is connected to your shoulder, whatever), is it? Why does it stop there? If you could shrink yourself to the size of half of a hydrogen atom, and stand at the tip of your finger, and looked at the boundary of the last bit of “you” of your finger tip (cell membrane, proteins/lipids/carbohydrates sticking out of the outermost cell of your finger), it would be in direct contact with some sort of gas molecule, maybe oxygen, maybe carbon dioxide. And if you were to look in the other direction, inward from the outer most region of your finger tip, it would just be those proteins/lipids/carbohydrates in direct contact with other chemicals.

.

So why is one connected to the other?

In fact, they are not.

.

That is what I was trying to demonstrate with the thought experiment of imagining EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE being the exact same color of white. Taken a step further now, imagine if every gas molecule in the air was pure white too. Now how could you tell me that things were disconnected?

.

I think it is just our sensory perceptions deceiving us. If we had evolved to have a different set of sensory inputs, or none at all, our perception of reality would be quite different. 

SO!

I was thinking about this in bed one night, almost meditating, or just envisioning, a pure white world. Me, my head, my body, then my bed sheets, my bed, the floor, the walls, everything. Envisioning that everything was white.

What happened next was almost a lucid hallucination. I felt like, literally, the fabric of the universe was simply one blanket, a white blanket. Everything was connected. There was nothing outside the blanket, the blanket was the universe. I pretty much dissolved into the blanket. And up popping at different spots of the blanket were different ‘things’ that ‘exist’ in the universe.

.

I got freaked out! I was unaware of myself being lost in this moment, then when I become conscious of myself being in this weird state, I opened my eyes and was pretty much amazed at what had happened. I wasn’t asleep, and I wasn’t technically hallucinating as my eyes were closed, so I wasn’t ‘seeing things that weren’t really there’. But I WAS transported, in a sense, to something that felt quite quite real, in my mind.

.

Since then nothing else has happened. Just calm, really relaxing meditation sessions, but no lucid dreaming  I will keep working at it and maybe one day something will come of it.

.

As for my super secret projects, well, one is still in the works (I actually am doing a few), but one that I can now discuss is that I am doing a “Fight hunger seminar series” for any group of people (gyms, clubs, companies, or just anybody that wants to be a part of it. The idea is fairly simple. I am doing this for free, and just ask people to donate a minimum (feel free to bring more) of $30 worth of ORGANIC food to be donated to the local food bank. I have spoken to the Ottawa Food Bank and they are fully on board  That was really encouraging.  Also, if anyone brings in $100 or more for the seminar, I will also provide them with a free 1 hour private training session.

I put up a post or two on facebook in the span of two days, and since then I have had 2 confirmed seminars already (Guelph and Ottawa) and hope to get many more. 

.

I’m excited to do this because, well, I feel that I have more than enough to safely get by. I truly believe in eating real food. To me, real food means as little processing or chemically treating a food. If I poured you two glasses, both were pure 100% water, and then I added a drop of chemicals into one glass, which would you want to drink? Which would be more natural? Which would be healthier? Is the glass of water still, in fact, water? Or is it now something different?

Now, if we took the same concept and applied it to an apple, or cabbage, or meat, would you not prefer to food option that doesn’t have the chemicals added to it? Is it not the same for the water example?

Part of this project is to give back, part of this project is to get a discussion about organic foods going, and perhaps get people who have no experience with organic foods online, in the library, and get them reading and learning about it. Another part of this project is that I believe that REAL FOOD, as in, naturally occurring, is how every living thing should be eating, ideally. I think that the less fortunate deserve it too. Are we donating food to ward off hunger for a few hours, or is the purpose of donating food to give them life and health? Or is it to donate the cheapest, least tasteful, calorie dense, nutritionally poor food, just for the sake of feeling like you helped? What is the original purpose to give food to those in need?

.

Anyway, I hope that this thing keeps going and that people get behind it and support it. I would have no problem donating my time to every single martial arts school in Ottawa, if they had me 

.

Goals for week 7!

I didn’t officially write them, but I had some in my mind. I won’t include things like lucid dreaming, as it is an ongoing work in progress, nor eating healthy, nor recycling, nor my super secret projects. So this last week it was:

.

1.YOGA IT UP!

2. Only use facebook once a day, and twitter max twice a day.

.

Both were pretty easy actually. I wanted to do yoga because, well, it is a form of exercise, it is peaceful, and I thought it was in line with my desire to exercise, be healthy, and also keep a calm mind. I have been doing it at home while I play a video on my tv (youtube/downloaded routines etc) and it is awesome. I am not new to yoga, but I was really humbled by doing it. I have only one body. It is all I have. And somewhere along the way I haven’t taken enough care of it, to the point that I can’t physically do things as simple as being able to sit upright with a straight back and having my legs extended in front of me.  Weird things like stretching and feelings like something is falling asleep, and just a complete lack of flexibility. So, yeah, I think that yoga would be a good combatant for those kinds of worrisome things

.

Facebook and twitter minimizing…

.

I am someone that makes lists. I get that from my dad. He makes lists reminding himself to make a list. For seriousness. I have the list making gene. I make lists for anything, I have different lists, and systems on how each list works. Although I am experimenting with a systemless list currently! How exciting!

.

Anyway, lists means you have intentions to do things. But it seems at times that I am adding things to the list faster than I can take them off. And I’m all like, ‘what up wit dat?’.  What could I do to free up some time?

.

I had considered deleting facebook a couple of months ago. I have my thoughts on the impacts of using facebook, not just personal consequences, but that of relationships. For example: If I can easily send a message or just view what a friend is posting, I ‘feel’ like I am not so distant from them, perhaps semi-up to date with their lives. But in truth I am not. So instead of calling them to chat, or making plans to see them, I might feel satisfied with just facebook interactions. Things like this. But I am on a sine/cosine.

.

So, yeah, I have thought about reducing my facebook, since it does have many great benefits, maybe I just have to change its utility. So for this week, I would only go on facebook once per day. This was pretty sweet, and I found myself with a big amount of free time. Spending 10 minutes here and there throughout the day really adds up. Twitter, well I use it purely for reading news stories. So I would read in the morning from what might have happened while I was sleeping, and then again at night, before bed for what happened during the day.

I follow pretty much only news twitter accounts, and much like having any 24/7 news network, a lot of it is just rehashing the same thing, literally re-tweeting the same thing, or letting people know what kim kardashian or Justin bieber just had for lunch, which I could give two p00ps about, and honestly feel disgusted and angry that this is promoted and considered newsworthy. I not only don’t want to hear or read the celebrity gossip, but I don’t even want to hear or read the headlines. I think it is gross but that is another story. Always with the tangents!

So yeah, it was a good thing to do. I really enjoyed it, and will keep it up again for this next week.

.

Week 8 Goals:

1.Become left handed

2. Yoga every day

3. Keep up with super sexy secret projects.

4. Finish the book I’m reading.

5. Keep up with restricting facebook and twitter.

.

Become left handed:

So, this one started out a while ago with me simply waving my fingers on my right hand in a way like this: Stick your right hand out, palm down to the ground. In a smooth wave like manner (flowing from finger to finger) lower your pinky down (keep it there), then lower your middle finger (keep it there), then your middle, etc etc. Once all your fingers have lowered down then raise your pinky back up, then ring, etc etc. Basically forming a wave. Hopefully you got me.

.

Now, try and do it in the opposite direction! When I try, it is much more forceful and difficult. Clunky is the word. It takes me like 3x as much time to do the wave, and thus, isn’t very wave-like.

.

Why does this matter?

.

What is intelligence? Are there other types of intelligence? According to the model that would suggest that memory and thoughts and thinking occurs from your brain (the brain is the source), this model would suggest that information(intelligence, a thought, recalling a memory) occurs when one brain cell (neurons/glial cells) communicates and is excited by another (electrochemical gradients, neurotransmitters, small molecules, other cell surface receptor activations/interactions and the downstream subcellular signaling cascades that occur afterwards).  This ability to recall this information (faster ability to think, better memory, clearer understanding of concepts as you recognize the words, their meanings, etc) would be then the measurement of the speed, efficiency and capability of your brain cells to communicate.

.

If this were true, then what about the ability for your neurons to communicate to other cells, wouldn’t that still be a form of intelligence? Since we reduced intelligence (potentially) being the efficiency, ability and proficiency of your brain cells simply communicating?

.

So, why can’t I do the wave in one direction with my fingers, but perfectly capable in another direction. What does that mean in terms of physiological and biological events?

.

Taken one step further away from being trivial, why does one person have a better reaction time than another person? Why are some people less coordinated than others? 

.

When I want to lift my fingers to do the wave, the event starts with my mind. I think about it, and through my central nervous system causes and effects occur (again, electrochemical gradients, etc) causing my fingers to move up. At the end of the day, you can call it lack of training, you can call it habit, you can call it whatever you want, at the end of the day, the reason why I can’t do the wave in the other direction with my right hand as smooth is because my ability to efficiently connect my thoughts of controlling my fingers, and the muscles, tendons and ligaments in my fingers are not as great in one direction. 

.

So, is this a form of intelligence, or lack thereof? It is a miscommunication, poor communication and definitely slower communication between your brain and other parts of your body. Specifically, your neuron and another cell. So, is the communication between this non-brain cell and brain cell still a form of intelligence?

.

I think it is. 

.

Back when I was fighting for Sengoku, in Japan, and in the featherweight grand prix tournament, I learned something really interesting. The favorite to win the tournament was the formerly #1 ranked featherweight of the world, Hatsu Hioki. He was a shooto champ, and is a current badass in the featherweight division of the UFC. Although we have met a few times, even here in Canada in Montreal, he didn’t tell me this. A buddy and former training partner, who was living in Japan at the time became friends with Hatsu. He told me something really interesting. He told me that part of his training, Hatsu would go to a specialist and train him on mental drills, working on his reaction time, etc. It was quite an amazing angle to take to improving yourself “athletically”. You could do hardcore complex training methods that is more than uber popular in North America, especially in the MMA world of cross-training, or (though I am sure he still did hardcore physical conditioning as he never tires) you could train your mind-body connection to become better and thus improving certain aspects that are considered athletics (reaction time, hand eye coordination, coordination) by a seemingly non-athletic and atypical training style.

.

SO! I basically just thought that just like learning something new, a new language, or learning to play an instrument, I thought that manipulating your body in a new way, with improved efficiency, would be an interesting (and with utility!) way to increase brain function.

.

I will do as much as I can with my left hand- writing, using my phone, using my keys, eating, scratching my butt and the occasional nose pick.

.

Yoga everyday:

I think I explained that well just before. Simply healthy and mentally beneficial.

.

Super secret projects:

I can’t do any talking here.

.

Finish the book I’m reading:

I started a really interesting book last week about the laws (I don’t want to use that word because they don’t, or at least traditionally didn’t, but I can’t think of another) and customs of Inuit people. It is really something great, and I really appreciate and enjoy hearing the perspective.  I just want to make sure I finish it and not let it sit.

.

Reduce twitter and facebook:

Same reasons as before. It is good for me, je pense.

.

Wish me luck and have a sexy week!

XOXOXOXO

End of week 5 and goals for week 6

End of week 5 (feb. 3-10) and Goals for week 6 (Feb 11-18)

.

1. My goals for this last week:

.2.Keep up with recycling (keep this permanent)

3. 1 day this week try to do 1 pushup per minute that I am awake (or 1000 limit)

4. Exercise 4x

5. Finish suspenders for Ninja

6. Research lucid dreams + try to put a plan in place to work towards lucid dreaming

.

Here is how I did:

.

So for Goal #1, this was pretty easy. Like I mentioned previously, I used to recycle often, and it is quite easy and there really isn’t a valid excuse not to, at least not for me and my living situation. I will remove this from future goal lists, as it will simply be absorbed by my everyday living. Kind of like eating organic, and actual food, rather than food products (no ingredients; if it has a commercial, it probably isn’t food).

.

The great thing about recycling and just being a minimalist in general is that I don’t produce much waste. I do end up taking out the garbage a few times a week, but that is 99% from my roommates. I think I probably add a handful of waste a week, probably less.

.

Goal #2 was quite the event. I rolled out of bed at 9:36am, EXHAUSTED! I just lied in bed the night before, not able to sleep. I woke up not feeling up to the challenge, but then I quickly said fuck it and pumped out 10 pushups once my feet touched the bedroom floor. 

.

Throughout the day I had to take two separate bussing journeys across Ottawa, ranging from 60-90 minutes in length, depending on my bus catching schedule luck. Also I had to do groceries. Oh, and I had a personal training session where I would be doing an hour long circuit with one of my students. 

.

All this to say, the day sucked! And yet, it was awesome. In total I did 864 pushups. Not bad. It was fairly doable, to be quite honest. The hardest part was how annoying it was. The day started out with me doing like 25, 20 or 15 pushups and thinking “ok, I’ve got like 20 minutes until I need to pump out some more. I’m good.” The thing with that is, time just keeps moving forward. Or at least that is how I have been perceiving it for the last 29+ years of my life.

.

So I was stuck doing pushups all day. Feel free to call me a gangster, because that is what I pretty much am.

.

The next day, and the day after (today) my body has been frigged right up. When I ran for like 45 minutes today and my sweeping beautiful man-pecs jiggled in the sweet smelling air, well, they hurt. True story.

.

I’m glad I did it. It would have been cool to say that I did 1000 pushups in a day, but, well, you know what else is cool? Not doing 134 pushups at midnight when you are exhausted and want to teleport to sleep land.

.

Goal #3 was exercising four times in the week. Done, done, done and done. I’m actually feeling SIGNIFICANTLY more fit and in shape, and less barfy-feeling. 

.

This is a nice thing.

.

Goal #4 was to finish the suspenders portion of Ninjas winter boots. This goal never happened 

.

Sadly, I was only able to buy the materials needed. I will do them early this next week, but the end of this week was just insanely busy for me. I didn’t have any time 

.

Goal #5 was to research a game plan on in order to work towards lucid dreaming. LEARNING IS POWER!

.

So, there are a few methods and things that I plan to do towards developing my ability to lucid dream. The first couple involve things that I can do throughout the day away from sleepy time.

.

Technique #1 – Keeping a dream journal.

Here, I will write my dreams as detailed as possible AS SOON AS I WAKE UP EACH MORNING. I am not supposed to get up and pee, think about my future day, nothing. I am to immediately write my dreams out right away, before the memory of them seeps away. Not only is this something that I have wanted to do almost my entire life, as I have the most awesome dreams every single night, but it will aid me in my quest to lucid dream as I will learn more about my dreams, recognize any patterns or repeating aspects that my dreams might have.

.

Technique #2 – Reality Checks.

Am I dreaming or awake right now? Not sure? Well, do a check! 

.

That is the basic idea behind these reality checks. Essentially I will pick a couple of ‘tests’ to do consistently throughout the day, in the area of 10-15x a day. They should be done spread out throughout the day, as well as at occurrences throughout the day where something ‘odd’ might have just occurred, or at a transitional event.

.

The idea behind this is that if you consistently do these reality checks during waking life, they will become integrated into your consciousness, and thus, eventually, become regular occurrences in your dreams.

.

The consequence of such a reality check occurring during a dream would be to realize that you are not, in fact, actually awake. This should prompt you to realize that you are dreaming, and allow you to take advantage of this knowledge to begin lucid dreaming.

.

Examples of reality checks include jumping, since in dreams you may float or fly after a jump and experience gravity in a different way, looking at yourself in a mirror, pinching yourself, asking yourself how you just got to where you were (as dreams often just jump settings and lack continuity), wave your hands in front of your face (may appear blurry), etc. There are many.  I think I will try the jumping and asking yourself how you got to where you are.

.

Technique #3 – Meditation.

This one will be pretty important, and I think quite healthy whether I ever get to lucid dream or not. Meditation is a powerful thing (apparently). I have never really meditated, or at least not with purpose or with serious effort. So this will be a challenge.

.

Meditation will prep my mind for the lucid dreaming, melt my state of consciousness and attempt to separate my consciousness/mind from my physical body. This is an important part of lucid dreaming, as we generally, and passively, sleep the night away with our bodies and minds shut off, kind of hostage to our dreams, and thus minds.

.

Apparently someone well versed in meditation can reach lucid states of consciousness where they are completely detached from their body, are free to experience whatever they want, wherever they want, and for what is experienced as for however long they want. It is an interesting idea. Dreams, after all, seem to last all night long, for hours and hours. In reality they only last a short amount of time; minutes even. This is quite important to note. If you could experience what FEELS like 5 hours worth of life experiences in just 5 minutes of “real” (and I use that term fairly loosely) time, well, what does that mean? If those 5 hours experienced feel just as real as any other experience, why then, should we ever discount them? Simply because it didn’t happen in this waking life? It seems like a silly reason to discount them. 

.

guess what I am getting at is, imagine if you could reach a meditative state where in what appears to be a minute of time, you are able to experience an entire lifetime of experiences through your altered state of consciousness. It is simply a more extreme version of your dreaming state where a “5 minute” dream feels like it lasts for a few hours. If one happens nightly without effort, how can one possibly state with confidence that the other is not possible with extensive training and mastering of ones own mental capacities?

.

I find it an interesting thought.

.

The other techniques I researched involved what to do right before bed, or even in the middle of the night. These are often listed with acronyms such as MILD (mnemonic induced lucid dreaming), WILD (wake induced lucid dreaming) among others. I will summarize them here.

.

Technique #4 – Mantras and self-assertion.

Essentially you can do this either before bed, or set the clock 5 hours into your sleep so to wake up in the middle of a REM sleep cycle, where most dreams occur (apparently; I often dream immediately upon falling asleep). For this technique, you repeat something to yourself such as “The next time I dream I will lucid dream” or “I will enter a lucid dream”. The idea is that as you fall asleep you will continue this thought with you into the dream state and thus keep this train of thought going, leading to the realization that you are dreaming and thus, are able to begin lucid dreaming.

.

Technique #5/6 – Meditation/Visualization of your lucid dream.

You can do these techniques either before falling asleep or again in the middle of the night by setting your alarm clock ahead of time. Here, you will meditate and reach a state of lucidity, or simply relax, concentrate and visualize a dream you might want. You can try to force it, or simply just go with the flow and see where it takes you; the key factor is to really focus on it and stay with it, not to let other distracting thoughts come to mind (ie. Tomorrows plans, stress, etc). The idea here is that you will be so focussed on this that your body will fall to sleep, but your mind will simply continue in its state. You will maintain your state of lucidity, and thus, be lucid dreaming. Essentially, your thoughts before being asleep just fuse/flow into your dream while your body sleeps. This technique can also be accompanied by hallucinations as well as sleep paralysis.

.

So those are the techniques I plan to put into place for my journey towards lucid dreaming. I want to lucid dream because, well, I have a brain, or rather, I have a mind. This mind is quite powerful, I am sure of it. I don’t think I am using it as well as I could be, and I think that it would be incredibly fun, interesting, powerful and well… I suppose life changing if any of the things that I have thought and read about were to actually come to fruition.

.

Week 6 goals (Feb 11-18):

.

1. Ninjas suspenders!

2. Begin practicing lucid dreaming techniques.

3. Begin super secret project #1 (can’t speak of until it is done(semi-long term)).

4. Begin super secret projects #2 and #3 (hopefully be able to speak of them in the next 1-3 weeks).

.

Well, there isn’t much to say here. Goal #1 is just an extension date from last week, since I never got it done. Goal #2 is the execution of the techniques I researched throughout last week. This should be quite difficult to do. I won’t be doing them ALL every single day, but I will slowly ramp them up over time.

.

Goals #3 and #4 (secret projects 1-3), well, are super top secret and thus can’t be discussed. Two of them I will be able to talk about in the next week or so, but one of them is a quite long term thing, and so I won’t be able to talk about it for many-a-moon!

.

Oh! A few people have been telling me about how they have been reading my blog and that it has got them trying new weekly things too! This is great stuff, and I’d love to hear about it. So if you do something like that, even if you think it is something small (all of my things are just something small), please feel free to share it 

.

Have a great week!

.

xoxoxoxooxoxo

End of week 4 and Goals for week 5 (Feb 4-11)

Let’s get straight into it, shall we?!

This weeks goals were:

.

1. Jog twice and exercise twice

2. ALL waste must be recycled (no garbage)

3. TV  Only allowed to watch documentaries/educational programming.

4. Make Ninja some winter boots

5. Try adding to our stop motion youtube channel

.

So, pretty much all the goals for this week went well.

.

Jog twice and exercise twice:

Jogging and exercising went well. I’m out of shape, but so I wasn’t running any marathons, but it was very nice to get back into exercising semi-consistently. My conditioning has been so dismal that for the last few weeks I have been hypochondriacing, (this is a word now) thinking I must have lung cancer or something.  Exercising is ultra important. I will be doing more of this.

.

Produce no garbage:

This was kind of annoying. I produced no non-recyclable garbage, which made things quite easy. Recycling, or just putting recyclable material into a recycling bin, is quite easy. The annoying part was dealing with food scraps like egg shells, carrot gratings, etc. I saved that in a large zip lock bag, since I don’t have a compost bin myself, thinking that I would bring it to my parents who did have one. 

.

The only problem with that was that my parents stopped composting, so now I have a zip lock bag of bits of organic ‘waste’, and no compost bin.  I think I will probably just bring the zip lock bag on one of my snow shoe walks and just empty it in a field or something. That is pretty much no different than composting, and is natural, so I don’t see it as a problem. Just not quite what I imagined but no biggie xoxox

.

Only documentaries/educational TV:

This was easy. I have no desire to watch tv or movies, so it wasn’t a big deal. We watched some Crash course in world history youtube shows, episodes of The untold history of the united states by Oliver Stone, and a great Werner Herzog documentary about trapper/hunters in northern Russia. It was called Happy People, and it was great. Fairly similar to the VICE guide to living alone in Alaska, if you have seen it.

.

Make Ninja winter boots:

Last Sunday Jen and I went to fabric land and bought some supplies to make Ninjas boots. We got some vinyl, some fleece, some elastic stretchy material and Velcro.

.

Jen and I each had our own design ideas. My idea lost :(

.

Ninja was quite unsure of her new boots, but they go on fairly easy.

Her first walk with them went… not great! She ran in deep snow and lost 3 of her boots!  We spent a good 10 minutes digging in the snow to find them all, but we did.

.

I believe my original idea of having them in suspenders will work best. The suspender system, with Jens Velcro boot design will be perfect. To be continued…

.

Try adding to our stop motion youtube channel:

Didn’t happen. This week was really busy, and our stop motion videos are semi-time consuming, so it never happened this week. Oh well. 

.

Week 5 Goals:

1.Keep up with recycling

2. Exercise 4x this week

3. 1 day during this week either do an average of 1 push-up per minute, or 1000 push-ups in a day, whichever comes first.

4. Finish Ninja’s boots (suspender system)

5.  Research lucid dreaming, develop a game plan and set it in place to work towards accomplishing lucid dreaming.

.

#1 – Keep up with recycling

This is simple, and easy.  I used to recycle more, and lately got lazy. This is too easy not to do.

.

#2 – Exercise 4x this week

Again, this is simple and easy enough. I’m pretty proud of how I am eating these days, but my lack of exercise is, well, anti-good.  I had some good fun this week moving my body to the point that it got a) tired, b) sweaty and c)filled with lactic acid. I want to continue these things.

.

#3 – This is a random thing. Jen and I did a circuit this morning and afterwards while showering I had a weird idea. It came into my brain, and my brain thought that it might be a good idea. I figure, if you are awake for roughly 16 hours, roughly 60 push-ups an hour is almost 1000 push-ups in a day.

.

That is one push-up per minute, or a blast of 10 every 10 minutes. Of course, I will be busy throughout the day, be on a bus for 1-1.5 hours.. so I will have to play catch up after.

.

Pretty much, my arms and chest will be game over. It will be an interestingly sore and stupid day of pain. But, you know, why not?!

.

#4 – Finish suspenders for Ninja

Self explanatory. Ninja will be pimped out and ready to walk the streets as a lady of the night.

.

#5 – Lucid dreaming

So, I have been thinking a little bit about lucid dreaming over the last several months. On a forum that I love, The Otherground, somebody made a thread recently that caught my attention. He basically said that he was a virgin but he gets more action than anyone else, because every night he lucid dreams and becomes a P.I.M.P.

.

The mind is a powerful thing. In fact, I think it is the only thing. Every single thing in existence, or rather, in my existence, only exists IN and VIA my mind. I THINK that right now there is this plastic/metal thing in front of me that I am typing on. I can claim to be sure that it is there, producing little clicking sounds every time my finger presses on these semi-hard, little buttons. I can claim to be sure that there is light coming from this device, and it is showing me the text that I have just typed. The thing is, all of those sensory experiences that I just mentioned: touch, sight, sound (hearing), they are all produced and experienced in my mind. 

.

For sound: all sound is, if it does in fact exist outside of my mind, is a compression of molecules of air. The force of my finger tapping the keyboard causes a vibration, and that vibration is translated to molecules of air, and from those molecules of air, to the next, and the next and the next, until it is translated to the molecules of air that are in contact with my physical body. My ear, ear drums, little hair follicles, and all the physiology responsible for receiving these waves of sound. There is nothing implicit in that ‘wave’ of ‘sound’ that creates a sound. If, instead of air between my keyboard and my ears, there was simply a void, a perfect vacuum, then there would be no sound. If I lacked ears (and the aforementioned necessary physiology) there would be no sound. If my sensors for sight were evolved so that I could see the ‘sound wave’ moving through the air, there is nothing intrinsic in its nature that would lead me to believe it created a sensory output such as ‘sound’.

.

It is only when the (supposedly) external events of compression and expansion of air molecules (sound wave) hits the sensors of your body that are able to receive it, and in turn, react with their electro-chemical effects, does a signal eventually reach your brain. This signal is in turn received and interpreted by your brain as something we call a sound. 

.

So really, at the end of the day, there is no sound occurring on my keyboard, there is no sound occurring in my ear. I don’t hear a sound. We say that, but that doesn’t make it so. We sense vibrations. Our brain MAKES the sound.

.

Right now you might be experiencing one of a few possible reactions to what I wrote. Maybe you think it’s neat, maybe you think you might agree, but most likely, you think what I am saying is silly or…. A potential possibility, but that it isn’t representative of reality, and so what is the point of even thinking that way.

.

But what is reality?

.

There are people that taste sounds, see music, hear flavors, etc. It is called synesthesia. They comprise, (if I googled it I would know, but let me just make up a number) let’s just say 0.000001% of the worlds population. So we can say that their version of reality is wrong, and THEY have a genetic disorder. Their version of reality is wrong, it isn’t represented of what is TRULY reality.

.

But what if it was the other way around? What if almost everyone on the planet smelled colour, and saw sound? Would those people say the same thing about someone who saw light, heard sound, felt touch? That their version of reality is wrong?

.

You might once again say, oh what a neat way of thinking, but you might also think, well, it ISN’T that way, and it is probably THIS way for a reason, whether it is because of evolution or whatever. But what if a comet came and hit earth and the only survivors were a group of people who have synesthesia (maybe they were at a support group meeting), and as they procreated, all future humans had THAT experience of reality. Would their idea of reality be wrong? 

.

Synesthesia aside, today, you or I could go under brain surgery. Throughout the surgery, the doctors might stimulate certain parts of your brain, and in doing so, you can ‘experience’ certain sensations; smell, sight, touch, sound, memories, etc. They would seem as ‘real’ as they would be if they came about in natural every day life.

.

I am getting tired of trying to show my point. Which is, reality is quite subjective. I am not convinced that there may even be a true reality.  Every single thing that we experience is only experienced through the mind. The entire universe, the galaxies, the sun, our planet, my house, my family, my field of vision as I write this, are all produced, experienced, and exist in my mind. That is the only thing that I can be sure of.

.

So, yeah, I feel that the mind is an incredibly powerful thing. 

.

SO, getting back to lucid dreaming, I feel that if you could harness the power of controlling your dream universe, it would be almost like playing god. Dreams are insanely real. I don’t think that I have ever had a dream that did not feel real WHILE I was in the dream.

.

I have had dreams that were so real that it wasn’t until after I showered that I realized it was just a dream, and literally was disappointed to come to that realization.

.

I have woken up happy from dreams, sad, angry, and scared. Imagine that, dreaming, not thinking, but dreaming; it is SO real that I can actually scare myself. This dream that I had that scared me, it was me putting my hand into something (I can’t remember), but what happened next was a giant snake came jumping out at me. I screamed and woke up incredibly afraid.

.

How can this be?

.

Now, while awake, I can close my eyes, or keep them open, and try to think as clearly as possibly of the same scenario, and a snake jumping out at me, and I feel and experience nothing. No fear. 

.

Why is this?

.

It certainly isn’t as real, that is definitely a major reason.

.

So why is dreaming so real?

.

I don’t know why, and I am not trying to answer that right now. What I do know, is that it does feel completely real, in the moment. I have no control over my dreams, these seemingly real events that occur in my life. But what if I did? What if I had control over my dreams, as they come to me in my sleep, and they seem just as real as any other dream, which is to say just as real as reality. 

.

I can’t answer that question. But I can imagine. I can imagine what it would be like if I could jump out of my sofa right now and fly. Well, I can and I can’t imagine that. I think I can. But as far as I know, I can’t do that…not in ‘real life’. But what if I could do that in a dream state? A state that isn’t ‘real life’, but feels EXACTLY like ‘real life’.

.

I think it would be pretty intense. In what I imagine as a perfectly controlled lucid dream, the lucid dreamer would be able to experience more life. Instead of being awake for 16 hours and asleep in a ‘turned off’ state for 8 hours, you would be awake and living for 24 hours (give or take depending on rem sleep cycles, etc).

.

Pretty much, I want to be neo from the matrix.

.

I won’t be doing it this week, maybe not even this year. I just want to start to learn about it, learn about strategies to ATTEMPT to lucid dream, and maybe develop a game plan on how to attempt it, and work towards it.

.

Wish me luck!

End of week 3 (jan 22-27) and week 4 goals

What a week of badassery!

Jen and I went to the beautiful and kitchy (sp?) land of Niagara Falls! There was no snow there though :(

We brought our snow pants and the snow shoes, but didn’t get to use them. The falls were beautiful, maybe even more so in winter.

We had a really great time there, doing all sorts of sillynessicity. 

.

We went to a haunted house that scared us like a bunch of little girls. Basically, I acted the age I look without my beard.  We don’t have pics of us being scared and crying, but these pretty much mirror our experience:

.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/the-45-best-scared-bros-at-a-haunted-hause-of-2012

.

Anyway, the goals for this week were:

1. Try new foods

2. Stop motion videos

3. Finish reading the book I was reading and start another.

4. Exercise at least 3x.

.

#1: Try new foods.

.

I have, even up until the last month or so, been vocal about how silly it is vegans or vegetarians eat veggie burgers, or veggie sausages, etc, etc. The idea of shaping their food to look and seem like meat was quite silly to me. I have tried various veggie burgers semi-often lately, but not because I miss meat or enjoy the taste of meat. I have been trying them simply because they are a new food or mixture of foods to try, that are fairly healthy.  I don’t eat them in a bun or anything, and I have no desire to mask veggies into some burger type food format. I just call them veggie burgers because…well… that’s what other people do?

.

Jen and I made up some home made veggie burgers this week, and home made hummus (with some almond butter in there too). We were quite impressed and they were quite delish.

I have gone from eating shawarma 3-4x a week, to about 1x a month now. I had a craving recently and gave in. I ordered a chicken plate, and felt like a saucy little monkey boy and asked my shawarma friend to load up on the hot peppers for my salad.

.

IT WAS DELICIOUS! 

only one problem…… I found a long black hair in my salad.

Game over :(

.

But from that, I was inspired to make my own hot pepper salad.

I’ve never really eaten peppers, especially hot peppers. After doing some google-tubing on the youface, I found out that they are pretty much super hyper mega awesome for you. So if you want to be mega awesome, I suggest. Oh, and they are cheap as frigg. I’m talking half a buck for a handful of any given pepper. 

*I haven’t found any organic hot peppers besides red hot chili peppers.

.

Also, I tried a plantain for the first time. I’ve had dehydrated dried plantain chips before, but never the deal dealsie. 

I put this bad boy into my smoothie one day this week. Tasted just like a banana, maybe a bit less sweet.

.

I made a stop motion of the smoothie experience. Fairly typical of the one I make every single day. These things are like getting the leaf power up in mario bros. 3.  Better than a mushroom, better than flower power…almost as good as the star. Maybe the smoothies are like the star. It’s a tough one. I will have to give it some thought. Maybe it’s like up up down down left right left right b a select start?.

Anyway, here is a link to Jen and my youtube channel for some stop motion vids we made this week. That was part of our Goal #2.

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50CVIPuNIAM

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSLC3rY6MI0

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6B2_waVhYw

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22VBlwfJBD8

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP99KAuOWqs

.

Stop motion is pretty fun, and we are slowly getting a bit better. Jen is much more creative than me, which is something that I want to improve upon. We are going to keep up with these kinds of things. We really enjoy doing them :)

.

#3 Finish book and start another

.

I finished reading harperland, which was a decent book. I don’t really have much to say about it, at least not here.

.

I started reading a book called ‘the eco-travel guide’, and by read, I mean basically look at the pretty pictures and read a little bit. My brother just gave me a book that he got from up north, while he was in Iqaluit. It is called Harpoon of the Hunter. It looks really short, as in 50 or so pages. I will read that probably today, and start another book. I have about 15 books sitting in my living room to pick from. I haven’t decided which one I will read, maybe a piece of literature (fiction), or maybe another philosophy text. 

.

#4 Exercise 3x

.

I did it! Like a big boy!  I think I exercised 4 times this week. From MMA training, to dodgeball, BJJ grappling and a killer circuit on the weekend.  It felt good, and quite humbling to be honest. It is hard to realize that your image of yourself doesn’t match reality. I’m not in super human to the point that it doesn’t make sense shape anymore, now I’m in sub-human to the point that it doesn’t make sense shape. It is good to be humbled.

.

Week 4 goals of love!

.

1. Jog 2x a week and two other separate exercising workouts

2. Produce ZERO waste.

3. TV —> Only documentaries/educational.

4. Make Ninja her winter boots.

5. Trt adding to our stop motion youtube channel Jen Nick (email is hashtagyourbutt)

.

Goal 1:

Self explanatory. I want to start jogging outdoors. One, because it’s free. Two, because it’s pretty outside, and bet than jogging indoors.

.

Goal 2:

I have been lazy on recycling lately. I want to produce ZERO waste. What I mean by that is, I don’t want a single thing I do to end up in a garbage can/bag this week. Basically, produce nothing that will end up in a landfill. So, my waste for the week should be 100% compostable and recyclable. Any extra food/scraps will either be composted (my parents), or Ninja can just eat.

.

We don’t produce any food waste really. Maybe the outside of an onion, or the skin of a squash or something, but still, that shouldn’t go into the garbage.

.

Goal 3:

I have no problem whatsoever not watching tv. There are SOME things that I do find to have value, and add value to me when I watch them. Sunday night Jen and I watched Fargo. I had never seen it before, and it was a really great film. It was funny, but also sad, and I felt there was an overall message in the movie that was really valuable.

.

The thing with tv/movies is, sometimes it can be quite hard to know what will be positive/valuable before watching it.

.

I can’t see myself ever watching another horribly negative, offensive and destructive message carrying show/movie. Actually, that isn’t true. I know I will. It is inevitable. I should say, I don’t want to.

.

I want to guard myself from those kinds of things. Hardly anything on tv has any value, and if I want my life to have great value, because it is extremely valuable, the addition of anything without value to it will by default lower its value, or its ‘mean’ value.

.

Goal 4:

Make Ninja winter boots!

Look at this sexy bitch!

.

Jen and I love Ninja. Boston’s suck at winter. They can’t handle it. I take her outside and within 30 secods her paws freeze and she stops and lifts up her paws and doesn’t want to walk any more.

.

It’s super important that dogs get lots of exercise and stay stimulated, both mentally and physically.

.

I’ve tried getting her dog boots from the dog store, but they all suck. They are made too small, so it is impossible to get her paws into them. If they are too big (and thus easy enough to get into), they are too loose and come off easily. I tried for 15-20 minutes at the dog store trying to get ninja into their boots. I couldn’t get all 4 paws booted up. There is no way I will spend that much time, 4x a day, everyday, dealing with that stress and frustration.

.

So, Jen and I went to fabricland by our house and bought some materials, which were super cheap, and we are gonna try out making her home made doggy boots. I have a couple of design ideas in mind. So hopefully one of them works!

xoxoxooxox

End of week 2. Goals for week 3

Do you know what is really fun? Having fun is fun! And it is quite easy to have fun.  

With that said!… Last week, week 2, my goals were:

1. Try new food

2. No wheat

3. No internet for 2 days of the week

4. Train Ninja a new command

5. Read 2 books

6. No tv for a week (unless it is educational/documentary).

.

Try new food:

I got these at Market Organics downtown. Sexy little quail eggs. They are like 1/6th of a normal egg (1g protein/1g fat). 

So I cooked some up and had a taste. Tasted just like chicken eggs. Throughout the week, and I still do, just add a couple to my regular chicken eggs.

.

I also tried organic veggie burgers this week, which were yummy as well. Actually I tried quite a bit, which is nice.

.

No Wheat:

.

Didn’t happen :(.  I failed this one. I think one of the first days of the week I had home made french onion soup, and so I really frigged myself there. But, in the end, french onion soup is new for me, so I don’t see it as that big of a deal.  I think I probably ate one more wheat product throughout the week. My diet is very anti-heavy on wheat anyway, so I guess it wasn’t a big deal for me.  I think in the end I made too many goals for myself this week and it was hard to keep track!

.

No internet for two days:

.

This was semi difficult. Especially since I love reading the news online, I of course use facebook, I don’t use cable tv, which means that I use netflix and youtube; both of which use interwebtubes. 

.

Another problem is that when I am working at Ronin in the evening, I require the internet for certain things. I simply made a rule to myself that I could use whatever was required at work, but that was it. No facebook or google searches or anything.

.

It was nice not being connected to the internet, and I didn’t feel like I missed much. However, when I went on twitter the next day, the number of news stories I missed were quite many, but I felt separated in a good way, like it wasn’t as important or urgent for me to read them all.

.

Train Ninja!

.

Ninja took on the task of learning a new command this week: Drop!

.

I used a simple guideline to train her. Basically I kept her food out where she couldn’t see, but is easily accessible without her noticing. I would get her excited to play with her favorite toy (bouncy red rubber ball), and then throw it. Of course, she would go crazy and go after it.

.

What I did next was approach her with some food in my hand, without her noticing that I had it (otherwise she would just drop the ball and run to me), and say “drop” while I brought the food to her mouth. She would drop the ball in order to eat, then I would give her lots of praise and positive reinforcement. After that, I gave her back the toy so that she didn’t associate dropping the ball with anything negative (not getting it back).

I would do this in short bursts, like 5 minutes, throughout the day. I don’t use treats, just her regular food. Training Ninja at her regular food times, and with regular food, has been a key to successful training since the time Jen and I found her. For a long long time I would feed her solely by hand, and always asking her to sit, stay, down (lie down), come, in order for her to get her food. We still do that with every meal, except not by hand.

.

Ninja got the concept within two 5 minute training sessions. By the end of the day she would drop the ball on command, even when I was across the room and without any food. She isn’t ‘trained’ yet, but I will keep doing this forever and ever, just as I do with all her other commands.

.

This was a great goal for both of us, because we got to spend time together, it was a fun learning experience for both of us, and she had some mental stimulation, which Boston terriers (and all dogs) crave and need.

.

Read 2 books:

So this was not completely successful. The first book I read was ‘think and grow rich’ by napoleon hill. I got it from the library after somebody recommended it to me on an online forum, the otherground, that I go to religiously.

.

I made a thread asking if anyone that is a lawyer, or knows lawyers, who work part time. I had been considering for a while now going to law school. The problem is, I don’t want to work 80,60 or even 40 hour work weeks. I don’t need much, so I am part-time of a part-time job kind of thing here. Anyway, that is a separate issue. 

.

So I got this book from the library, knowing ahead of time it would be one of those books that shows you how to become successful (think and grow rich), and that is what it was. It was a good book. It wasn’t really necessary for me to read, as I feel it was telling me everything I already knew and do. Ie. If you want to do something, do it. That would be an extremely over-simplified message of the book. However, it was a nice and easy read, and it was a positive message, which is always nice. 

.

I also happen to believe it was written by a freemason, as their were strong masonic undertones and themes throughout the book. Would I recommend it? Well, I won’t be using this book to try and grow rich, as I don’t really want money. But I think anyone that wants to accomplish a goal, whatever that is, and maybe has a hard time accomplishing goals, would benefit from this book. 

.

It is unfortunate that there are people who have a harder time than others realizing dreams, making things happen, and accomplishing things that they wish to accomplish. No matter what it is, whether it is in business, in personal traits, in sport, whatever, once someone knows how to execute their goals in one thing, they know how to do it in anything. I have felt that way all my life, ever since I knew how to do whatever it is that I wanted. I think if you haven’t experienced this line of thinking, and want to, this book is a great step in that direction.

.

The second book I started to read, but sadly couldn’t finish (got a bit past half way) is called “harperland”. It was published in 2010, and follows Stephen Harper from before his political career, to where he is at the time of the publication. 

.

It is a decent book, semi-bland, however many things that I have read in it are news to me. One reason why I picked this book is because of my lack of knowledge in Canadian politics. I spend so much of my time reading about US and global politics and events, that I forget about my own country. I want to minimize my Canadian ignorance.

.

No tv for a week (minus educational):

This was really easy for me, as I have less and less interest in tv. The only shows that I am interested in that are not educational (documentary/historical/travel/geographical) are the x-files and star trek: the next generation!

.

Jen and I watched lots of crash course in history youtube episodes, as well as the untold history of the united states. This is a GREAT tv show by Oliver Stone that I recommend to anyone that enjoys learning, that is not afraid of gaining a new perspective, thinks critically, and does not have a sensitive ego (can’t accept their viewpoints may be wrong).

.

Each episode is an hour in length, and features 100% historical media footage. It is narrated by Oliver Stone.  Check it out!

.

As for my Week 3 Goals, here they are!:

.

1. Try new food (yes, once again!)

2. Make 5 stop motion videos.

3. Finish reading harperland and start another book.

4. Exercise three times this week.

.

#1: Try a new food. 

Food is amazing, and I love it. From someone who ate boiled chicken and rice 3x a day for well over 5 years, new food is the best thing ever!

.

#2: Make 5 stop motion videos.

Jen and I watched some stop motion videos from the Canadian national film board. I loved them! Stop motion films are so fun and interesting. So I thought to myself, I can try that!

.

The first one I made was with a digital camcorder. I made it as a Christmas gift for Jen, from Ninja. It was a video where I ask Ninja what she got Jen for xmas, and Ninja walks upstairs, gets dressed, comes back downstairs, and shows me what she got her. It was not very well done, but that is what made it so fun and great.

:)

Next, I found a stop motion app on my iphone. Basically instead of taking video in short segments (which is what I did with the camcorder), you just take photos and then the app compiles them together into a video file. Jen and I did this for when I shaved off my beard. The video can be found on my facebook page. 150 pictures = 10 seconds of video, so it is a long process, but awesome!

.

Anyway, Jen and I want to do this because it is really fun, you are exercising your brain by being creative, and for me that is a great thing because my creative brain muscles are quite weak!

.

#4: Exercise 3x this week.

I used to train twice a day. I used to be a professional athlete. Now, not so much! I am still visually fit, but functionally, and metabolically, I don’t think so. Doing low intensity exercise is quite a lactic-acidy experience for me these days. This is not a good thing, and not in line with my lifestyle of being as healthy as possible as I can, through what I eat and don’t eat, how I think, act and behave, and how I view and react to the world.

.

I exercised once last week and it was killer. My body was sore for days, like it was the first time I had ever exercises. I am going to keep it going and exercise three times this week, at a minimum, and next week keep the ball rolling.

xoxoxoxo !

End of week 1 and start of week 2

Week one of at least one week, done. My four goals for this week were:

.

Do something new.

Eat something new.

Eat only REAL food.

Don’t watch tv for two days of the week.

.

So, with the week done, only goal number three was tough. 

.

Do something new

.

This was pretty easy. Specifically, I bought a pair of super sexy snow shoes. I got them for $42 from Winners, and they are pretty sweet. They are new-age snow shoes, aluminum, and appear high quality. Maybe they are the model from last year or the year before, but they certainly do the job.  It was a pretty big deal for me, oddly enough, as I couldn’t seem to make up my mind if it was a good idea or not. In the end, I decided to splurge, as I feel it isn’t often that I treat myself (aside from shawarma and cheesecake).

.

I also went to value village and bought some super classy snow pants for $7! Jen got some too. These snow pants ride up in my man parts nicely, which adds to the beauty of the outfit. 

.

We took a walk to the park near our house, I snapped on the snowshoes, and we went trotting through the snow. It was pretty fun, and actually decently tiring. Jen had a harder time since she was just in winter boots, so she sunk deeper into the snow, but like a boss, I stayed on top of the snow.  

.

We stayed out for over an hour, and it was really nice, warm (snowpants, mitts, rabbit fur hat, scarves), and great to be able to spend lots of time outside. I used to REALLY love taking ninja (our boston terrier) for long walks outside, getting lost in the neighborhood, or just exploring. Ninja can’t handle the cold very well, so that makes it hard in the winter time. At least now I can go by myself, or with Jen!

.

I went again by myself for a nice long trek later in the week. Definitely something I will be continuing 

.

Eat something new:

.

This was easy. A lot of my diet lately comes from new recipes, but I didn’t want to cop out and use one of those. I just went to the grocery store and decided to find some new produce that I have never tried before.

.

Note: Do NOT touch all the prickly exotic fruit you’ve never touched before. I don’t know which fruit decided it hated me so much, or why it did…but it did. Have you ever had a splinter? Have you ever had a splinter from a hair? Have you ever had a splinter from fruit hair? Have you ever had a splinter from fruit hair that is 1…maaaaybe 2 mm in length, thus making it impossible to pull out? Have you ever had these splinters all over a finger? Have you ever had 5 fingers? Have you ever had 5 fingers covered in these splinters? 

.

I feel like you might get the idea. In case you don’t, it was annoying. #1stworldproblems

.

Anyway, the fruit I decided to get was longan fruit. It is like this, shelled berry fruit with a hard pit/seed in the middle. Roughly the size of a large grape. It was good, nothing to go crazy over. It wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it was nice to try something different, even if there was only a 5% survival rate following the vicious attack I received from the produce section.

.

<a href=”http://tinypic.com?ref=ykw1u” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i50.tinypic.com/ykw1u.jpg” border=”0” alt=”Image and video hosting by TinyPic”></a>

No tv for two days of the week:

.

This was uber easy. I did it on Monday and Tuesday. I didn’t break any loopholes with using the internet, or youtube or anything. Since we don’t have cable, what I meant by tv was pretty much just that – downloaded content, streaming, youtube, Netflix, tv/movie/dvds, etc. I can’t remember what we did instead of tv, to be honest, but we probably played yahtzee or taboo, or just chatted and played with ninja…ie. Human interaction – which was the whole purpose

.

Eat only real food:

.

This was a bit difficult, and required some planning ahead. 

.

My first encounter with adversity came when I started cook myself eggs for breakfast. I was planning on making myself a kale omelet, but realized I couldn’t use my new favorite condiment – hot sauce! I didn’t know how to make homemade hot sauce, so I sad for a second, but then got over it.

.

Basically I ate a lot of eggs, I bought myself organic local beef this week (buying meat is a once every 4-8 weeks thing for me), fruits and veggies of course, herbs, homemade soup and chili, and milk. The challenges were that when I usually make my chili, I season with chili mix (a no no for this weeks goals), as well, I use a can of diced and a can of crushed tomatoes – even those two products contain many extra ingredients (preservatives), so I had to try my luck at doing it aux natural.

.

I bought tons of tomatoes, and various kinds. Some I just diced up, others I rolled up my sleeves are squeezed and mashed with my hands to give the consistency of ‘crushed’ tomatoes from a can. Not quite the same, but it was still super sexy. As for the chili and garlic powder I often use, I just minced up real garlic, and added in seven chili peppers, which made the chili super spicy. Definitely a success.

.

The other issue was eating while I was gone from the house in the afternoon/evening for like 7-8 hours. I usually have a veggie/herb/fruit smoothie every morning for breakfast. So I just pushed it up to dinner time and took it to go.

.

The biggest issue, and I guess I faltered, was when I was forced to deal with food that was going to spoil.  Early in the week I had three ripe avocados. I didn’t want them to spoil and just go bad, but I also can’t imagine eating 3 avocados just like that. I used some in an omelette, but that barely put a dent in what I had left. I have eaten avocado by itself before, and I am not a big fan. I felt justified Saturday night in my decision to break my rule so that food didn’t go to waste. I made myself guacamole, which I’m pretty awesome at making by the way, and ate it with my favorite organic blue corn chips. They only have four ingredients, corn, oil, salt and hydrated lime, so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

.

Overall, the week was fairly easy, and just needed a bit of planning to deal with my change in diet. It forced me to be creative with my meals, learn a new way of cooking one of my favorite meals, and of course, it was definitely a healthy experience. I also started snow shoeing, which is awesome! I look forward to taking my snow shoes to my property this winter and seeing how the land looks covered in snow.

.

Week 2: Jan 14-Jan 20

.

My goals:

1. Try a new food (again)

2. No wheat

3. No tv  for the week (minus educational)

4. Read two books.

5. Train my dog ninja a new command

6. Pick two days that I don’t go online.

.

Try a new food:

Self-explanatory.

.

No wheat:

See ‘try a new food’.

.

No tv for the week (minus educational):

.

I really love watching history documentaries lately. It isn’t the same as reading or having a real life discussion, but it also isn’t the same as watching mindless garbage that can negatively influence your character – and that is one thing that I am seeking out of removing tv from my life. My overall aim is to increase my quality of life, and I think education is a part of that.

.

Read two books:

.

I should rephrase this as, finish two books. I have a pile of books in my living room in queue to be read. On top of that, I just got three books out of the library. I am halfway through one book, as of right now, so that will be easy to finish, so on top of that I would like to start and finish another book this week. 

.

Reading is awesome, and unlike tv (although this is possible but how often is it done?) you can pause and think about something you just read, re-read it again, and again, then continue once you are satisfied. I find this to be much more healthy, and a better way to get a grip of the information coming towards you, and also puts you into the discussion. This way of receiving information is much more active, as opposed to being passive, which can be quite dangerous. I believe that if you don’t question and analyze any and all information that comes into your mind, you will passively accept it into your psyche, and this may apply to things you don’t necessarily agree with or want to shape your psyche.

.

Train my dog a new command:

.

Ninja is a boston terrier. She loves exploring outdoors and going for long long long walks. The problem is, bostons can’t handle the cold very well. This winter, when it is cold outside, we have literally had to take her for  30-60 second walks, almost always ending with me having to pick her up and carry her inside because she is too cold. If she hasn’t done her business, I will let her warm up, then go back out again. Sometimes she can last a bit longer, but still, she isn’t going to be going for any 10-20-60-90 minute walks.

.

Imagine you lived in a house. You couldn’t leave unless somebody brought you with them. A lot of the day is spent inside, seeing the same things, the same people, the same smells, day in and day out. When you go for walks, you can only see whatever the person taking care of you shows you. You and I get to experience whatever it is we want. We can walk to the store, go to a movie, go on a road trip, see friends and family, go to shawarma palace, wait in line for 5-10 minutes and salivate over the beautiful bounty that is about to overfill our stomachs, we get to see, meet and experience so much. We are getting an insane amount of stimuli. A family pet requires just as much stimuli. 

.

It is an animal, just like me. It wants to be wild, and experience and smell and meet everything out there- even a lazy dog like ninja that naps all day and night. So it is important, especially in the winter, when ninja is less active, to give her lots of stimuli. For that reason, I want to exercise her mind and find a new command for her to learn. I just need to think of one first!

.

Pick two days to not go online:

.

I don’t know how difficult this will be. For someone who LOVES reading the news and learning new things, this will be difficult since the internet is where all this stuff exists. 

.

I want to be less dependent on the internet. Yes, it is pretty sweet, but so is experience things in real life. I get SO bummed, when I am on my phone on the bus, I look up, and see everyone (including myself) looking down, slumped forward, on their phones. We (me and maybe you) want/expect/need to be entertained every single minute. Waiting for the bus? Check my email or facebook. My girlfriend gets a phone call from her mom – grab my phone and check out my favorite forum, the otherground, going to the washroom? Play my next move on words with friends. I think this kind of behaviour has some very dangerous consequences, in terms of character and mental functions, and at the least, we (me and maybe you) should spend more time enjoying what is in front of us, as it is just as interesting as anything else. We (me and maybe you) should try and use our brains more, and just think, rather than need to be occupied and entertained with every moment. 

New years experiment and resolution (of love)

Happy new year!

.

I have never really made a new years resolution, at least not that I can recall. I usually find it humorous that other people wait for a specific date to make a list of goals for themselves. It seems arbitrary. I have always had goals for myself, well defined goals. Making goals and working towards them have always been easy. Not anymore!

.

Since I have retired from MMA, I have found my life has been extremely different. I find myself to be extremely different. It is quite an odd feeling to go from living a life with 100% focus and purpose, to a life where you don’t really know what you want for yourself.

.

I have this general idea of just improving myself. That means educating myself in various parts of life, living a more simple and less materialistic/vain life, trying to be a better person, and also figuring out what a better person means, exactly, eating and being healthy, try and grow my own sense of community…pretty much just enjoy being alive.  A big, pretty much all encompassing part of that is respecting the fact that  I(we) am(are) a human animal. But that is a big idea for me, and requires its own attention.

.

I like the idea of living life as much as you can, experiencing as many things as possible. This is coming from the guy who literally ate boiled chicken and rice 3x a day, every day, for half a decade. I thought I was living healthy, but I don’t think I quite knew what healthy was.

.

So with that, I have decided to have a little fun and at the same time, improve myself and hopefully raise my quality of life. I decided that this year, for the first time I would make a new years resolution and see where it takes me.  

.

I resolve? I resolute? I am resoluting?! I dunno what the correct English is, but I plan to make a list of goals each week, and accomplish them. They can be anything from practical things (clean bathroom, buy a reverse osmosis water filter), to health related things (exercise everyday, eat 100% organic, try paleo/vegan/raw diet), to lifestyle choices (no tv for a week,no facebook/texting, no internet, no iphone, instead of texting someone, call them/write them/see them in person), to being environmentally responsible (consuming no plastic and other forms of packaging, producing zero waste, only walk/bike), to expanding my horizons (trying something new, taking a class or lessons in something I would never think of trying, trying different ethnic foods), to being a better person (volunteer, make an effort to be extra kind/helpful to others, let people around know that I care, surprise someone with something nice).  

.

Things along those lines. My girlfriend Jen and I made a list of weekly goals we could strive towards, and we may do some together, or some separately, and I welcome you to try something like this out, and to recommend some to me 

.

I think the weekly goals is great, as no matter how difficult or challenging a goal may be, one week seems doable. A year can seem overwhelming, and it can be easy to get down on yourself and feel negative and guilty if you fail. If I accomplish my weekly goals and they were quite difficult, I can swap them for another new set of goals, giving me a brand new weekly experience, or if they weren’t too difficult, and I found them enjoyable, then I can continue those goals and pack on a few new ones for the next week, or not.

.

So I think every week I will post my goals for the week, then at the end of the week describe how it went for me, how it was good/bad/easy/difficult. Whether I accomplished my goals or not, and all the interesting things that came with them.

.

So, for week 1 (Mon January 7,2013 – Sunday January 13, 2013 – inclusive) I have chosen four goals:

1. Do/try something new that I have never done before.

2. Eat/cook something new that I have never eaten before.

3. Buy/eat/cook only ‘REAL’ food.

4. Two days in the week = no tv (I don’t have cable so that means downloaded material, Netflix, youtube, etc).

.

1. and 2. are similar, in that I simply want to experience as much of life as possible. Imagine having the same routine for your entire life. Or for 30 years. Or 15. Or 5. Or 1. Or 3 months. Whatever. Eating the same things, doing the same things, going to the same places, with the same people. Could you argue that you really lived for 30 years? 15 years..etc (whatever the time frame was)? When Bill Murray was reliving the same day over and over again in ground hogs day, was he really living? If you live the same routine day in and day out for the course of 100 years, could you say that you lived 100 years, or you simply lived one single day, repeated 365 x 100 times? It is an interesting way of looking at life, I think. I don’t want to relive the same day over and over again, so doing something new is a step away from that.

.

3. I am a hardcore health person. This is a truth. When given the choice between a food product that is natural (historically, biologically, evolutionarily) vs one that isn’t, I will always choose the natural one. Whether we like it or not, we are animals. We are IN nature,or rather, we ARE nature,  and we can’t escape that fact. Just because someone rationalizes the benefits of a food process, chemical treatment, etc, whether it has benefits economically, sociologically, whatever, that rationalization has no bearing on the reality that we are evolutionary animals. If you are unclear what that means, and the consequences of this are, I am sure I will write about it one day, but for now let me just say that our entire biological system is based on chemistry that our bodies are simply trillions of bags(cells) of water containing chemicals that react, hopefully in a balanced way (health). The instant you add in a foreign chemical that your biological system has never seen before and had a chance to deal with (evolution), there will be consequences. This is called a stress, and I don’t want it.

.

This is why I like REAL food.

.

What I mean by REAL food is pretty much, if it has ingredients when you buy it, it isn’t real. I put my limit at 2 ingredients, so that I can drink organic milk (ingredients = milk and vitamin D). I can make something with multiple ingredients, such as chili, or soup, just as long as none of the ingredients contains multiple ingredients (ie. Chili powder, or even tobasco/hot sauce). This pretty much leaves fruit, veggies, meat, herbs. This is what I mean by ‘REAL’ food.  Buying/eating something from a package, such as crackers, has too many additives, chemicals and processed food. This would be a perfect example of something that isn’t real food, for me.

.

4. I have this wild and crazy idea of wanting to never watch tv again. For someone who has a 55inch and 40 inch tv, it probably isn’t going to be easy. Especially because it is something I have done my whole life.

.

Why would I want to quit (extremely limit?) watching tv? Many many reasons. Again, I know that my life on this planet is finite, so I would much prefer doing and experiencing as much on this planet as possible. One could argue (or try to) that watching tv IS doing something and experiencing something. I don’t even know if I would indulge that thought. Yes, it can be enjoyable, and funny, and thrilling – but so is real life. The idea of watching other people have fun, or do interesting things, rather than yourself, is such a bizarre concept. The time spent watching tv could be used towards an infinite number of better things. TV is easy, but rarely is something productive and worth while easy. Yes, documentaries are great, and information is great, and learning, and yes of course especially the arts. I haven’t figured out my stance on documentaries, but I surely wouldn’t consider 99% of what is on tv as ‘the arts’.

.

Another reason I want to distance myself from tv is that it forms you, your mind, your psyche and your perception of reality.

.

Who believes that if you shoot a gas tank that it will explode? I thought that was the case. But it simply isn’t true. I wonder why I was under that impression. I have never seen, for myself, in real life, a gas tank shot at, so how is it possible that I had such a firm belief? It is because I learned this concept of reality from tv. It wasn’t through bill nye the science guy who taught me that shooting gas tanks = explosions, no, rather it was passive. Through the countless hours of tv/movies, I experienced countless hours of action scenes and explosions, and countless times where a gas tank was shot, followed by an explosion. Something as harmless as showing this on tv/movies, re-iterated over and over, allowed for this idea of cause and effect to seep into my mind, imperceptibly, forming a construct of reality that simply isn’t true.

.

So with that said, how do you think other seemingly harmless (and even the seemingly harmful) things we see on tv shape and mold our perception of reality? What would I, or you, know about human relationships, about sex, about dating, about social faux pas, about sexualisation and mistreatment of women, about violence, about anything and everything from how a functional family should behave, to how a gas tank would explode if shot at, if it wasn’t for tv?

.

I remember when I was in elementary school, while watching saved by the bell, having an idea.  I never had talks with my parents, brother, teachers, friends, anyone – about what happens in a healthy/non healthy relationship (boy/girl). Nobody ever sat me down and said this that or the other. I observed my parents, yes, that is true. But I had an idea of what was ‘normal’. Even at that age, I realized that my idea of ‘normal’ relationships came from watching shows like saved by the bell, or other shows on tv. That, above all else, showed me day after day, year after year, examples of relationships, their conflicts, their joys, and the balance between them. Essentially, what a normal relationship was. 

.

Maybe it isn’t a bad thing, maybe it can be a good thing, or just a neutral thing. Maybe once you are aware of this, you are less likely to be affected. I am not sure. All that I do know, or at least think, for now, is that I would much rather have my perceptions and beliefs be based off of my own thoughts, and formed by myself, whenever possible. Someone might tell me “Oh well whether it is from a book, a movie, a friend, a family member, you are still formed by other people.” Maybe so, that is a possibility. I am not saying that it is a binary thing, that your perception of reality is formed by tv if you watch it, and formed by yourself if you don’t watch it, I am sure that it isn’t as simple as that. I just think it is a step in the right direction.

.

And so with that, week 1 begins!

Following your heart runs in the family…

I am pretty much a clone of my dad. I learned this one day while eating breakfast one morning before high school. My dad approached me from my left, as I was sitting at the dining room table, and showed me a picture of a boy on the beach with two older people. The picture was black and white. I told him that I didn’t remember taking that picture, as the boy in it looked identical to me.  He told me that was because it was a picture of him.

.

My dad is 70 years old, and he has followed his heart, just as I try to do. He quit a quite comfortable job, once upon a time, to pursue a passion in the world of writing and publishing. Things didn’t work out exactly as he had hoped, but that is not the point, the point is that he followed his heart.

.

After his retirement over half a decade ago from driving taxi, he bought seven alarm clocks. One for each day of the week. He set the alarm clocks, one for each morning, for his usual time to wake up for work. Each morning, after hearing the sound of the alarm clock going off, he would proceed to open his bedroom window, unplug the alarm clock, and throw them out the window, each one - day after day, until all seven had met the same fate.  

.

It was a funny little symbol of his freedom from waking up early to go to work. The funny thing is, he began waking up even EARLIER! He wakes up at 4am now, eager, not to work, but to follow his heart and his passion…writing!

.

My father, John, has written a trilogy since he has retired, titled Other Times, Other Places . He has lived almost completely in the world he has created for himself through his works. Not in the sense that he has gone crazy, but in the sense that he lets his imagination run wild, and in doing so, has created simply a great story between two people, and all the things that come with them; emotions, places, baggage, desire, duty, confusion, justice, pain and love - something I should hope we all can relate to.  

.

Oh and there is sex. Lots and lots and lots and lots of sex. Did I mention my dad wrote this?!

.

His first book of the trilogy, Tell Her I Said Hello, is now available as an e-book (for kindle, kindle apps for smart phones, or computer download) through amazon.com which can be found here, along with his website that is under construction:

.

http://www.amazon.com/Other-Times-Places-Hello-ebook/dp/B009SPU3RS

.

http://www.jcdenisauthor.com/

.

His other two books (Books II and III), The Other Side of the Moon, and Under Tuscan Skies, will be released in the coming months.

.

I love hearing great stories. I love getting insight into other peoples lives. My girlfriend Jen, a pastry chef, also makes super awesome fancy cakes for birthdays, parties, celebrations, whatever. One of the great things I get out of her work, other than cake scraps, is hearing the stories of the people she is contracted to make cakes for. Her cakes always have different themes, and they reflect the person or persons they are made for. I get a little snapshot of someone else’s life, and I take great pleasure in this.

.

My dad’s story is another example. It is part autobiographical, but not really. He places bits of his personal life in there, (although I get killed off in his book!) but still grounded in fiction. The story spans time, from the 1940s into the near future, and space, from continent to continent. The story follows a man who wants nothing more than to become a priest, and a woman, a temptress!…but much more than that.  They have to navigate their lives through obstacles, constantly weighing desires, needs, goals, right and wrong and all the struggles, problems and beautiful moments that come with them. Life, essentially.

.

If you are someone that knows how to read, enjoys stories, and embraces life for all the great and horrible that comes with it, then please support my father and his passion.

.

The first few chapters of his book are available to read for free on the amazon link provided above.  It would make a great gift for people in your life, or for yourself.

.

And please, do not try to pirate this book. My dad is not a huge conglomerate corporation, nor is he out to become rich. He is just trying to share something of quality, and would greatly appreciate the support.

.

Take care you sexy ninjas!!