Friday, September 18, 2015
9/18 - stretch, squats, leg raise, calf press
vsflex's Progress Photo Update - BodySpace: "TRANSFORMATION! Curious to see where I started? Back then I was active and still strong from gymnastics days, but had no clue what I was doing in the weight room and ate anything and everything I wanted. I've learned a lot in the last few years and worked hard every day. Soft 90-95lbs to a current lean 107 :)"
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
"“Delete your ego” is, of course, a primary game played in cults... Corporate America studied this in detail and has applied similar techniques..."
Magick.Me Blog — Why You Should Have a Huge Ego: "Since I got into spirituality, people have been laying this “kill your ego” trip on me.
The Ego is a concept created by Sigmund Freud to denote “the organized part of the personality structure that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions.
It was part of Freud’s unique internal cosmology and has no direct analogue in Vedanta or Buddhism, which have much more complex terminology for the self. The Buddha, of course, came to a realization that there is no actual individual self—the idea that you have a unique, core, true “self” is—according to the Buddha—actually a kind of cognitive illusion created by the interconnection of phenomena.
Now… both of these concepts got mashed up by 1960s psychonauts who started taking really really fucking potent LSD, and entering states in which they momentarily perceived their selves as, well, cognitive illusions. Afterwards, they tried to explain their experience first in Freudian terms (“I realized the ego is a lie”), and then with a bit of Eastern mysticism (“The Buddha said the self isn’t real and that’s what I saw on LSD”). These then got mashed together as the general idea that you have an “ego” which is “bad” and that if you “delete” it, you get closer to “god.” (Because psychoanalysis and Buddhism aside, Western people are Christians deep down, and what we’re really looking for is a communion wafer and some penance and lashings to make us more “good.” Hence acid and “killing our egos.”)
“You have a big ego” is a covert game by which spiritual, New Agey and occult people police each other’s actions. It actually means “you’re not doing what I think you should,” “your actions do not jibe with my ego,” or even “immediately cease thinking for yourself or questioning, and think and behave only as I or the group leader wish you to.” It means “you are not following my/the group’s script.” “Delete your ego” is, of course, a primary game played in cults, and a primary way in which compliance among cult members is achieved and enforced. Corporate America studied this in detail and has applied similar techniques to organizational psychology and human resources in order to control employee behavior. So let me say this again: “You have a big ego” means “you are not on script.” “Delete your ego” means “get in line.”
You’re goddamn right I have an “ego.” I have a right to have likes and dislikes, to be angry or “negative” when I want, to have lust, greed, pride, envy, sloth and the rest. These are part of what make me human. And to simply amputate my basic humanity doesn’t serve me at all: It only makes me compliant, docile, easy to manipulate by others.
So this is a key point: I have an ego. I have a right to my ego. I can turn off my ego if I like, or leave it on if I like, but what I do with my ego is fundamentally nobody’s business but my own. Spirituality need not and should not hang an “open season” sign on your sense of individuality and self-worth. Cherish your ego. Follow your own script."
“The moment you join a group [or party], you start to identify your identity with the group’s identity, and then you merge..."
‘Dilbert’ Creator on How Trump Is Like The Founding Fathers & Jesus - The Daily Beast: "“If you’re keeping score, in the past month Trump has bitch-slapped the entire Republican Party, redefined our expectations of politics, focused the national discussion on immigration, proposed the only new idea for handling ISIS, and taken functional control of FOX News,” Adams blogged, frighteningly. “And I don’t think he put much effort into it. Imagine what he could do if he gave up golf.”
“My political position is basically to do everything I can [to] not to be a joiner,” he explains. “The moment you join a group [or party], you start to identify your identity with the group’s identity, and then you merge, and the group’s opinion starts to become your own—and then you lose all credibility.”"
Monday, September 14, 2015
9/14 - deadlifts, situps, back xt
Habits of Strong Lifters (and People) - JimWendler.com: "Consistency - Without a doubt, the strongest and best lifters in the world have consistently busted their ass in the weight room. For decades. Not weeks, not a year, but decades.
...consistency doesn’t always mean they’re going balls out, every day. It means they chip away slowly, but surely.
Drive/Perseverance - Even with injuries, plateaus, loss of training partners, gyms, etc., the great lifters will find a way to adapt and overcome. If that means training alone in a barbaric gym in their garage, they do it. If that means having to train in a commercial gym by themselves, they get it done. If that means they have to train around an injury, they research and find a way.
Nothing will stand in their way and when an obstacle appears, they don’t get frustrated; they simply find a different route around it. It’s easy to be motivated and excited to train when everything is going your way. It’s another thing to hit a wall, scramble, kick, and scratch until you look back and see the marks of blood and sweat you leave behind.
A lifter MUST have a core, a philosophy that he adheres to. He has to STAND for something. Yet he also has to learn to open himself up to new ideas and be smart enough to place them into his training without upsetting his core beliefs.
Now those are the “mind musts” of being involved with lifting for a long time.
Here are the “body musts.” Stretching and mobility should be a priority. Maintain decent conditioning levels... Use a full range of motion. Understand the difference between muscles and movements. You didn’t start lifting weights to become smaller. (Some of you really need to let that one sink in.)
...Don’t be afraid to do what you want, not what others want you to do. Don’t hold yourself to others’ standards – especially when your standards should be higher. Training should be fun; there’s joy in the pain of the process. When it becomes tiresome or becomes a “job” remember why you began training in the first place. It’s not supposed to appease anyone but you. Fads come and go, but the barbell remains the same. Respect it accordingly."
"I can’t help but approach science and history from the standpoint of language. Because I’m a writer, sure, but also because that’s where those things truly live. Science can produce the greatest poetry of the age. Even headline writing at otherwise sober institutions like phys.org take on mad poetry, just because that’s the way things are now. Actual headline: “Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun.” An UNKNOWN PHYSICAL MECHANISM ON THE SUN. Just let that sink in. Because that bit alone is some demented Lovecraftian genius.
Which may only be topped by THIS actual headline about the NASA NuStar satellite: “NuStar captures possible 'screams' from zombie stars.” This is the real music. “Cosmology in ghost-free bigravity theory with twin matter fluids: The origin of "dark matter".” And, a personal favourite: “Crystals May Be Possible In Time As Well As Space.” Science is beautiful, and mysterious, and a source of constant wonder. It is our new wilderness landscape, the new forest full of weird animals and spirits sliding in and out of view on the edge of the clearing and the pool. Now we have, and here’s another headline: “NASA Funds Electricity-Harvesting Robotic Space Eel With Explosive Jet Thrusters and Electroluminescent Skin.” Once, that was all folklore, the stories we told ourselves in order to try and understand the world around us...
Everything tells us that we should be overwhelmed by our accelerating future that’s happening faster than we can prepare for. But Stewart Brand said “we are as gods and might as well get good at it,” and he said that forty-seven years ago, the year I was born. And we are monsters, and might as well admit it: we’re pursuit predators who can heal almost any wound, show up just when you think we’ve gone away, and we’ll attempt to have sex with pretty much anything in the universe. Don’t be afraid of the future. We will never die, we can do everything we ever want, and we love stories more than anything. Stories are magic, magic is science, and science is what makes us human. Don’t be bored, and don’t be afraid. The future is coming, and we’re going to win." - Orbital Operations newsletter, Warren Ellis
Your inner child doesn't need a hug. You need concrete, practical alternative thought processes and behaviors. Cognitve Behavior Therapy 101.
'F*ck Feelings' Book Argues That Emotions Are Overrated - The Atlantic: "Put down the talking stick. Stop fruitlessly seeking "closure" with your peevish co-worker. And please, don't bother telling your spouse how annoying you find their tongue-clicking habit—sometimes honesty is less like a breath of fresh air and more like a fart. That’s the argument of Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett, the father-daughter duo behind the new self-help book F*ck Feelings. The elder Bennett is a psychiatrist and American Psychiatric Association distinguished fellow. His daughter is a comedy writer. Together, they provide a tough-love, irreverent take on “life's impossible problems.” The crux of their approach is that life is hard and negative emotions are part of it. The key is to see your “bullshit wishes” for just what they are (bullshit), and instead to pursue real, achievable goals. Stop trying to forgive your bad parents, they advise. Jerks are capable of having as many kids as anyone else... If you happen to be the child of a jerk, that's just another obstacle to overcome...
Olga Khazan: Do you call this approach something? This idea that you’re going to not obsess about closure, or the roots of your problems, and focus more on solutions—is that a certain branch of psychology?
Michael Bennett: The important thing is not what therapy you follow but that you stay grounded in common sense, and whatever therapy or therapies you're pursuing, you ask yourself repeatedly, have I reached my limit? Has this taken me as far as I’m going to go? So that you don't get stuck in the “if I did it better” or “if I did it longer” or “if I found a better therapist.” And it’s more, “Has this taken me as far as I’m going to go, and what am I going to do now?”
...The idea that there's so much life you don't control, and to accept that and still be a person, is still very hard. I think there's a core of that in Judaism and Christ parables, and in Buddhism. So there's nothing new about this. Sometimes it sounds very 19th century when we’re saying [that] sometimes when you feel strongly and you need to communicate, you're still going to do better to shut the fuck up.
Khazan: How would you sum up your approach to life’s problems, whether it’s love or childhood issues, or work?
Sarah Bennett: The first step is accepting what you can't control. So many people who come to my father—they want something they can't have. They want a happy relationship that’s never going to be happy, or they want opportunities that are not easy to come by. So it's going into accepting what you can't control, the factors that are out of your hands, and seeing what you can do with what you can control. And learning to be proud of yourself not just for accomplishing what you can, and not beating yourself up for what you can't. Not seeing yourself as a failure, when you haven’t really failed because it’s not something that you could have controlled in the first place. And admiring your ability to withstand a feeling of rejection, and the frustration and the pain, and keep going on towards a more reasonable goal while being a good person. That’s also what’s emphasized so heavily. Figuring out your own values and sticking to them.
Michael: A big part of this—and it’s so hard to capture—is being able to laugh at how much life sucks. If you can laugh at it, you don’t take it as personally. That moment when you can laugh at how much life sucks and open your mind to the idea that, there you are. What are you gonna do?
We always try and make sure that people know that we don’t hate feelings in general. That we aren’t total Vulcans. But this is more of a book about solving problems. It’s to not make feelings the most important factor in how you would approach a problem. In terms of getting to the source of problems, the issue with that is a lot of people think about it like, “If I can remember where I last saw my keys, then I can get them and everything will be okay.” If you can get to where you last or where you first saw this issue, that doesn’t make the issue go away. Sometimes the search for the source of a problem can be a distraction, and it can also be a disappointment. A lot of the time, knowing why, for example, you pathologically cheat on partners, and you can say, “Aha, it’s because my dad was a jerk and he cheated on my mom.” That isn’t immediately going to flip a switch in your brain and make you monogamous.
We know … getting at what you really feel can be liberating, and important. There’s nothing against having that emotional catharsis two or three times and seeing where it gets you, but there’s some point where you’re still often left with some really severe limitations and have to deal with them. And if you don't get past the emotions, if you don’t stop seeking emotional resolution or improvement, you really get stuck.
...It’s sort of an axiom of cognitive therapy that when you're unhappy, your thoughts are going to be negative and self-critical. You're going to wonder what you did wrong, what you could have done and should have done. Part of it is going through a cognitive exercise and really trying to determine, “Did I do a good enough job?” Because if I did, I'm going to shut this investigation down. I know I will never be fully satisfied with how I behaved, but if I go through an investigation and try to look at it rationally, and with friends and be open about it, and I think I’ve done a good enough job, I'm going to try to take a stand on that. Much as I would have if I just went through either a legal or workplace investigation of something that didn’t go right. You assume that your feelings are going to tell you, since you’re unhappy, that you did something wrong. But that if you can do an inventory based on your own values, you're really doing a good job. And you’re doing a good job in spite of the fact that you’re miserable. That deserves higher praise. I think that’s sort of a basic paradox—that to live with pain and still be a decent person and make a living is a much higher achievement. It’s what you do when you’re not happy that’s so telling.
The other litmus test, too, that’s extremely helpful for me—I can be very self-critical—is when I think things like “I could have done that better” [or] “that was so stupid,” would I say that to a friend if they came to me? No! I would be encouraging, I would point out the positives. It’s always good to take yourself out of the situation and ask yourself, would I judge someone else I care about in this way?
Khazan: One thing that surprised me—at one point you say, if you have an asshole parent, that as an adult you shouldn’t worry so much about forgiving them if you were traumatized by your childhood. Could you explain the thinking behind that?"
Michael: If you find that your parent is one of those people who is really just a jerk, it's sort of like forgiving a cockroach for being a cockroach, or a snake for being a snake. Forgiveness tends to assume that people had a choice and made a bad choice...
Sarah: What people seem to conflate forgiveness with is getting someone to admit what they did, and to beg for forgiveness. When you’re dealing with someone who’s an asshole, that’s never going to happen. Let it go in a way that you don't feel compelled to [wait] for them to have that revelation. Because waiting for that is probably going to be painful or disappointing."
See Olivia Munn Pull Out All Her Learned Psylocke Skills In Impressive Fight Sequence - CINEMABLEND: "Munn has been training very hard all throughout the course of production on X-Men: Apocalypse, and she has been using her Instagram feed fairly frequently to show fans her new skills. This particular video showcases some of the sick moves that she has learned to perform with a sword - and it's pretty damn impressive. She definitely earns the fun little wink she adds at the very end."
A video posted by Olivia Munn (@oliviamunn) on
Sunday, September 13, 2015
"...if you believe you can make intelligent decisions on politics based on inaccurate information and lies, why aren’t you already rich from doing the same thing with stocks?"
Brilliant points. Who is Smarter - the Smart People or the Dumb... | Scott Adams Blog: "On one side we have the self-described smart people. These folks will tell you that a rational person can learn about political issues, with a little effort, and thus make a meaningful contribution to the democratic process. All one must do is be open to all points of view and do some independent research to fact-check the professional media. You don’t need to be an expert because most issues boil down to a few key factors, and you can understand those few things. That sounds smart to you, right?
The dumb people – who have been labelled such by the smart people – are the ones who vote for whoever says what the dumb people want to hear, or whoever makes them feel good. This group is more about emotion than reason. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I am ashamed to be in the same country with people who refuse to use their brains. DUUUUMB! You agree, right?
Good, because that’s the set-up for the cognitive dissonance. You just hardened your sense of identity as a smart, rational person who believes an informed citizen can make a meaningful contribution to the system.
In the investment world, the person who understands that the available information is not credible is the smart one. That person plays the odds correctly and invests in an indexed mutual fund with low fees. Every study says that is the smart play. Most of my readers already know that what I just said about investing is true. And unlike most topics, this one really does not have well-informed critics. All informed people hold the same view: Individuals should not do their own research and buy stocks based on that research. But you still think smart people can research political policy options and come to reasonable and useful conclusions… even though you observe that half of the population disagrees with the other half no matter how much research anyone does.
Cognitive dissonance should be hitting some of you hard right now. If you feel unusually angry and determined to reply, that’s a tell. Or a false-positive. One can never be 100% sure.
The popular media is staffed mostly by writers and art majors and other people who tend to believe in magic. It is no surprise that they don’t see how absurd it is to expect citizens to have useful opinions based on the misinformation that that same media provides around the clock. Seasoned investors, on the other hand, have learned to be more humble. They know there is no amount of research that can convert unreliable data into reliable decisions.
My point is that if you find yourself mocking Trump supporters (or Republicans in general) because they have some distance from the issues, you are probably the dumb one in that conversation no matter how your education and IQ compares with your intended targets. And if you believe you can make intelligent decisions on politics based on inaccurate information and lies, why aren’t you already rich from doing the same thing with stocks? I’m a big fan of voting (when other people do it, not me) because it gives people a sense of ownership in the process. So please vote. But don’t confuse that with being psychic.
My book on systems versus goals will probably get more attention when people realize Trump is a systems thinker. He follows the odds without always having one specific goal in mind. Recently Trump made his brand so powerful that a lot of folks thought he should be their leader, just because, well, Trump. Under the “goal” view of the world, Trump failed three times to become president, so you assume he will fail again. But the “systems” view says Trump failed toward better odds each time, largely on purpose. And here we are."
"The physical appeal of the candidates... is a HUGE factor in any political race. That’s why we don’t elect short, bald, male presidents."
Scott Adams' series on Trump, linguistics and persuasion is pretty fascinating. Trump Engineers a Linguistic Kill Shot for Fiorina | Scott Adams Blog: "A kill shot is designed with one necessary element to distinguish it from a mere insult. The kill shot has to put words to what you were already thinking in a vague sense. If you disagree with the main idea in the linguistic kill shot, it has no power. Trump only picks kill shots you agree with on some visceral level.
For example… Jeb Bush does look “low energy.” We agree as soon as Trump says it, even if we had never had a concrete thought about it until he voiced it. Ben Carson does seem “too nice” for the difficult job of staring down foreign leaders. We agree.
And I’m going to come right out and agree that Fiorina’s face was bothering me. But I never would have voiced that opinion without Trump going first because it sounds terrible. I wouldn’t want to be associated with the thought. [Note to Outragists: The first sentence in this paragraph is the one to take out of context. You are welcome.]
When I say Fiorina’s face bothers me, I am not referring to her looks in general. She looks fit, stylish, and attractive to me. But she does have what I call the angry wife face when she talks politics. Guys, you know the face, which is usually paired with a tone of disapproval. It is your greatest nightmare.
It is the face that says you did not do a good job, at whatever. The outragists in the press will report Trump’s comments as sexism. And by today’s standards, I agree with the classification. But what every adult male who has ever had a relationship with a woman saw was Trump putting words to their own personal nightmares: That face."
I think most voters see a guy competing in a beauty contest and commenting on the beauty of another contestant. People do cast their votes based on looks, and that includes the attitude that a candidate’s face projects. The physical appeal of the candidates – both men and women – is a HUGE factor in any political race. That’s why we don’t elect short, bald, male presidents. It works both ways. Trump spoke the ugly truth."
How The Atlantic's September Cover Story, ‘The Coddling of the American Mind,’ Came to Be - The Atlantic: "One case that was much on my mind had taken place in the fall of 2007. At the University of Delaware, as part of a diversity-focused orientation program, students reported being made to “take a stance” on one side of a room or another, displaying their personal views on polarizing topics such as affirmative action and gay marriage—even if they didn’t yet know where they stood. Such an activity is not only reductive and unscholarly, it is a classic demonstration of the all-or-nothing thinking I had struggled with...
The resident assistants who implemented the program had been given training materials that sought to define racism, and included statements such as “the term [racist] applies to all white people living in the United States” and “people of color cannot be racists.” While such claims may be good topics for debate, they seem on their face to be examples of several classic cognitive distortions—overgeneralizing, dichotomous thinking, and an inability to disconfirm. Campus leaders seemed to be telling students that they should overgeneralize, personalize, and magnify problems. I began to wonder whether campus culture, more generally, was coaxing students toward distorted thinking. And I began to wonder whether distorted thinking patterns were not only interfering with truth-seeking, but also perhaps leading to a worsening of student mental health...
I began reading about trigger warnings and microaggressions in the spring of 2014, and just weeks later, I started encountering these issues in my own teaching at New York University. For example, to prepare students for a class discussion on wisdom, I assigned a magazine article that described the dilemmas a physician faced as one of his patients was dying of cancer. A student complained (in the homework assignment) that I should have included a trigger warning, so that students who had lost a relative to cancer could steer clear of the article. In another course, I lectured on weakness of the will, and I described Ulysses’s wise leadership in tying himself to the mast of his ship, so he could resist the Sirens’ song. I showed a painting of the scene in which the Sirens try but fail to lure Ulysses and his men to their death. Like most mermaids, the Sirens in the painting are topless, and this led to a complaint (in my teaching evaluations) that the painting was degrading to women, and that I was insensitive for showing it."
Increasingly, professors must ask themselves not just What is the best way to teach this material? but also Might the most sensitive student in the class take offense if I say this, and then post it online, and then ruin my career?"
I blame the patriarchy, naturally. Japan's 'Black Widow' Arrested Again After Poisoning Her Eighth Male Victim | Broadly: "Dr. Scott A. Bonn writing at Psychology Today. Unlike murders committed by men, murders committed by women aren't typically motivated by sexual or sadistic drives. Bonn asserts that women who kill serially are much more practical. "Female serial killers are much more likely than males to kill for financial profit, comfort or revenge," he writes."
There's a bunch of cool stuff to unpack here - male/female psych, science funding, relationships, "Big Condom" & corporatism, and a healthy dose of unhealthy U.S. attitudes on sexuality. Pulling Out Is as Effective as Using Condoms | Broadly: "What most media coverage doesn't reveal is that research puts pulling out on par with one of medical professionals' favorite forms of contraception: the condom. "Withdrawal...is about as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy" begins a 2014 study published by Contraception, an international journal on reproduction. When practiced perfectly—in other words, when the male partner pulls out before ejaculation during every incidence of vaginal intercourse—only 4 percent of couples who use the pullout method will get pregnant within a year. Imperfect, or typical, use bumps that to 18 percent. (Male condoms failure rates are 2 percent for perfect use and 17 percent for typical.) This is a minor discrepancy, yet pulling out has a reputation for being dangerously cavalier, while condoms are the gold standard of sexual responsibility. Several of the medical professionals I reached out to for this piece were sympathetic to withdrawal use but afraid to say so publicly...
Even when presented statistics clearly put withdrawal level with other forms of birth control, as in a recent Marie Claire piece, the method is still described as—you guessed it—"super risky" and "not a 'method' as much as 'better than nothing.'"
...withdrawal is derided when pregnancy is the only point of discussion, too. Articles on the topic usually steer readers towards hormonal options and IUDs while brushing off even the possibility of successfully using pulling out—which means there's more going on than just STI concerns and old-fashioned sensibilities...
Corporate interests are another element at work. Manufacturers of condoms, hormonal birth control, and implantation devices are FDA-required and commercially incentivized to perform numerous studies on the efficacy of their products. No one profits from pulling out, so it's harder to find funding to regularly test it. More important, perhaps, is that no one profits from advocating withdrawal or promoting the solid research that already exists on it. Those who do promote it may even risk censure...
Then there's the pervasive mistrust of sperm-producing partners, the direct result of a social environment that insists on treating men as lust-mad maniacs who can't control themselves when they're aroused. Unreliability and untrustworthiness are regularly cited as the biggest problems with pulling out as a method: It gives a man far too much control; he isn't capable of doing it in time or won't be able to sense when it is the right time; he won't even try because it feels better not to.
While this might be a sensible presumption in early-stage dating situations or one-night stands, during which an amount of skepticism is healthy, it's an awfully bleak view of the cooperation possible between two committed partners—the type of couple that seems to most commonly use the withdrawal method for long-term pregnancy prevention...
Some of this stigma is grounded in woman-to-woman sexism, surely a result of internalizing the idea that unintended conception indicates a catastrophic failure of both morals and practical vigilance on the part of the pregnant party. But the idea of the irresponsible urban bimbo too drunk and too flippant to be bothered with a "real" form of birth control isn't just misogynistic, it's dead wrong. A recent study in which Jones participated found that many women use pullout in conjunction with other forms of protection, including birth control and condoms. "There is a reputation of withdrawal users as being lazy," one of the other researchers told RH Reality Check, "but at least in this sample they seem to be extra motivated to prevent pregnancy or uneducated."
...In the words of the seminal 2009 study on withdrawal cited earlier, "if more people realized that correct and consistent use of withdrawal substantially reduced the risk of pregnancy, they might use it more effectively." The knee-jerk dismissal of withdrawal as a useful birth control method is is unhelpful if not outright dangerous; the practice certainly isn't going away, but the current rhetoric around it obscures the idea that it can be effectively executed. "We can't assume people's needs when choosing birth control methods, or try to foist things upon them," Manduley says. Rather than withholding information or denying existing studies, "professionals should be educating folks about what's available and helping them navigate the options.""
"One of the worst national reactions... was an outbreak of premature certainty masquerading as tough-minded moral clarity."
My 9/11 Anniversary Slogan: ‘We Don’t Know’ - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "It's the false omniscience, the habit of mind that reacts to an unfathomable event by blotting out all complexity and doubt, and replacing it with utterly confident assertions about the stubbornly unknowable and unplannable future."