Friday, December 11, 2015


12/11 - stretch, deadlifts [PR 500 w/chalk, belt & mixed grip]

Last heavy deadlift workout of 2015 and hit a 1RM PR.  Pretty satisfying.  Objectively, 500 isn't a huge #, but it's the goal I set when I first started deadlifting 2.5 years ago.  I've been chasing 1RMs pretty hard the last six months as I switched from the regular 5/3/1 to the 5/3/1 for Powerlifting template so I could work heavy singles into the routine.  Adaptation is specific and all that, so if you want to get better at heavy singles, you've got to pull heavy singles.  

Ideally, I'd have pulled this at a lighter bodyweight but ultimately I had to decide whether I wanted to stay lean or I wanted to get stronger.  I went with stronger.  Put on about 25lbs in 2015, including about 15lbs in the last 6 months.  Not all muscle, obviously, as the waistline expanded a couple inches as well.   Of course I was using the #EatAllTheThings as the nutrition template, which is almost harder than the workouts, tbh.  In 2016 I'm going to temper that and tighten up the food a bit, change up the assistance template some and improve some body composition markers and settle in for slower - but probably ultimately more healthy - gains.

Road to 500 - without training I pulled about 308-315 during a random workout in 2012 and during one of my first workouts the summer of 2013.  Started deadlifting when I started 5/3/1 a couple weeks after that.  After about 4-5 months of neural patterning, working on form and with a belt and some chalk I hit 396 for a single.  Standard 5/3/1 doesn't really play w/1RM much, instead using repPRs.  I worked up to 396 for a triple in late summer of 2014.  Kept working repPRs for the next year, slow-steady progress and then switched up to 5/3/1 for Powerlifting in Aug of this year.

Next up in long term goals is 600, ideally at a bodyweight of 200 for a triple bw deadlift.  Ever onwards.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

"Every single person who has ever done anything worthwhile or exceptional or difficult or extraordinary...  everyone encounters difficulties, there is no easy road...  And here's one way you *never* better yourself - when you come up with excuses for why other people are successful and you're not...  It's hard as shit, but that is what makes you a person."


12/0 - press, dips, situps, speed bag, sauna
12/9 - Smith machine squats [forever unclean/beggars can't be choosers], leg press, chins, alt db curls, skip rope
12/8 - speed bag, bench, sauna

Wednesday, December 09, 2015


 "You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing."

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

"The ego behind adults telling other adults what words they can say or not say is amazing."

 "I never trust these people as they clearly have nothing going on in their lives and instead, spend time policing the world.  No Man (or Woman) of Action would ever bother with this. They are simply too busy getting shit done than weeping like a martyr. Being a victim is not sexy." -

Wendler is my spirit animal.

Psst! Politicians are all pretty much the same.

"...reason is not in play anyway."

I keep finding Adams' analysis of Trump pretty fascinating.

Risk Management - (Trump Persuasion Series) | Scott Adams Blog: "But will it work? It appears that Trump is playing the odds, and smartly, whether you like it or not. ISIS, or its supporters, will certainly strike again. And each time that happens you will try to imagine what can be done about it. And you will only know of one option – the Trump option of shutting down all Muslim immigration for now. You can hate that option or you can love it. But you probably don’t know of any other plan...

It is the only plan you know, flawed as it is. And when a monster attacks, you escape through the door that exists, not the one you wish existed. Advantage, Trump. As President Obama would remind us, a change to gun laws would also address domestic terror risks. But I don’t think the public sees gun control as a terror solution. That topic is more associated in our minds with ordinary domestic bloodshed. And according to the Master Persuader filter, reason is not in play anyway...

The Master Persuader filter predicts that Trump’s call to end Muslim immigration will help him in the polls, not hurt him. The degree of benefit depends on how many terror attacks hit U.S. and ally soil in the coming months. Allow me to pause here for my usual disclaimer. As I often remind readers, I am not endorsing Trump or anyone else. I am not smart enough to know who would be the best president. They all look qualified to me.  My political preferences don’t align with Trump on several issues. My interest in Trump is his talent for persuasion, which is astonishing...

Trump’s plan to discriminate against immigrants based on religion offends me to the core. I hope it offends you too, on some level. Religious freedom is about as basic an American right as you can get. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we sometimes have to make hard choices based on our assessment of the odds. So let’s look at the odds...

The odds of a Muslim immigrant being a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer is probably far lower than 1%, assuming we’re good at screening. I don’t know the exact odds, and neither do you, because it depends on how hard ISIS is trying to infiltrate in that particular way. If they are trying hard, one assumes the number is higher than if they are not trying. But the bottom line is that we don’t know.

I propose that instead of calling fellow citizens racists or idiots we do a deeper dive into the risks and put a price tag on our preference for religious tolerance. If the risk of future terror attacks is tiny, most of us would prefer maintaining our respect for religious differences. But if the risk is more than tiny, can you put a price on your love of religious tolerance? In other words, how many dead Americans are you willing to accept? I’ll go first. Personally, I would accept up to 1,000 dead Americans, over a ten-year period, to allow Muslim non-citizens to enter this country. 

My calculation assumes we are better off accepting some degree of tragedy in the name of freedom. That is often the case with freedom. If you believe there is no risk from allowing Muslim immigration to continue as is, please explain that thinking in the comments. I have not seen that argument yet. And if you believe there is some risk of a Muslim terrorist slipping through our current system of screening, what level of American deaths do you consider an acceptable tradeoff?"

Religious folks are good... to the extent they ignore their religion.

I've been frustrated for years by 'pick-and-choose' religious folks, as it tends to offend my sense of intellectual honesty and seems little more than a rationalization for perpetuating archaic and outdated modes of thinking.  That being said, honestly, those 'moderates' who do allow the doctrines in their infallible magic books written by omniscient absent Sky Daddies to be tempered and edited by their own morality - influenced by society at large and the evolving understanding of the world and culture - are actually a far better option than the fundamentalists who actually buy into the crazy.  Or as Harris notes, "It’s not an especially honest endeavor, but it’s not all that harmful either."  It still bugs me when people I know, whose intellect I respect for, have this huge blind spot for silly fairy tales.

Sam Harris: The ‘Salon’ Interview: Sam Harris: "...many people believe preposterous and divisive doctrines that come straight out of scripture—and these beliefs affect their behavior. Many people believe that changing one’s religion is wrong, even a killing offense. Many believe that Jesus will be returning to Earth to raise the dead and that he disapproves of masturbation in the meantime. Many believe in past and future lives and that you can be reborn in this world as an animal. These are not ideas that people are bringing to their holy books...

It’s true that people also take their values to their texts and purport to discover what they already value there. This is especially true of moderates and those who are in the process of losing their faith. When you talk to moderate Christians or Jews and ask them how they read the bible, you find yourself in the presence of people who are using their values to interpret (and effectively edit) their scripture. They believe in human rights and secular tolerance, and they’re making a heroic effort to ignore the barbarism in the Old Testament and to find the pearls of wisdom that can be salvaged. They ignore all the crazy prophecies about the end of the world. Clearly, their core values have come from a larger cultural conversation, and they are doing their best to find support for those values in their faith tradition. It’s not an especially honest endeavor, but it’s not all that harmful either...

When we’re talking about fundamentalists, however—those who read their religious books more or less literally—then we really are talking about pulling values and behavioral commitments directly out of the text. Here you find people thinking and saying and doing things that they would never endorse otherwise. It’s not an accident that millions of Muslims shun alcohol and bacon. It’s not an accident that they make pilgrimage to Mecca. It’s not an accident that they pray five times a day. And it’s not an accident that many of them despise Jews as the spawn of apes and pigs, treat women as second-class citizens, and answer the call to jihad. These beliefs and practices come right out of scripture...

...we shouldn’t lie about the zero-sum contest between reason and faith—and, therefore, between science and religion. Religious people do make claims about the nature of reality on the basis of their faith, and these claims conflict with both the methods and conclusions of science. If you believe that the historical Jesus was born of a virgin, resurrected, and will be coming back to Earth, you are a Christian. Indeed, it would be controversial to call oneself a Christian without believing these things. But each of these claims rests on terrible evidence and stands in contradiction to most of what we now know about the world. The odds are overwhelming that Jesus was neither born of a virgin, nor resurrected.  And he didn’t ascend to some place in the sky where he could abide for thousands of years, in a form that leaves him free to use his powers of telepathy to eavesdrop upon the private thoughts of billions of people. Nor will he return from on high like a superhero, flying without the aid of technology, or magically raise his followers to meet him in the stratosphere for the Rapture. All of these expectations—which most Christians harbor in one form or another—entail claims about biology, history, physics, and the nature of the human mind, that defy the centuries of intellectual progress we’ve made on these topics. To believe any of these things is to ignore one’s commonsense and a dozen specific sciences at the same moment...

I regularly hear from people who have lived their entire lives under the shadow of a paralyzing fear of hell that was drummed into them by their parents. They were told that they would burn for eternity in fire if they doubted any of the preposterous claims that spilled into their lives each Sunday from the pulpit. And they accepted this, of course, because they had no choice at all in the matter. They were children. I have two daughters who are young enough to believe almost anything I tell them. If I told them that everyone they care for in this world is liable to be burned for eternity if we don’t do X, Y, and Z, there’s no question that they would believe me. And the growing struggle to maintain this faith in the face of every rational challenge would become a source of tremendous anxiety for them. I genuinely feel for people who are struggling against this form of indoctrination."

Monday, December 07, 2015


12/7 - stretch, deadlift, sauna, shadowbox
12/6 - treadmill, stretch, chins
12/5 - treadmill, stretch, chins, bench dips, db curls

'Assault weapons' are a '"politically defined category" based on scary looks rather than criminal significance' or technological capacity.

I only know slightly more than average about firearms, but that's enough that it's obvious to me that politicians haven't got a clue what they're talking about when they talk about "assault weapons."  Which, if they were really serious about finding some kind of solutions beyond simple minded rhetoric, education on the topic would be the first step.  Otherwise they sound - at best - naive and at worst like idiots, on the subject.  

Obama Wants to Ban 'Assault Weapons' but Does Not Know What They Are - Hit & Run : "The editorial board of the Times seems dimly aware that "assault weapons" are not machine guns, since it says they are "modified" versions (albeit "barely" or "slightly" modified) of guns used by soldiers. Likewise Collins, who correctly calls the guns she wants to eliminate "semiautomatic," meaning they fire once per trigger pull—unlike machine guns, which fire continuously, or assault rifles, which can fire either way. But Collins, who claims "semiautomatic weapons are totally inappropriate for either hunting or home defense," clearly does not understand how broad that category is, encompassing any gun that fires, ejects the empty casing, and chambers another catridge when you press the trigger. 

The semiautomatic weapons that Collins deems "totally inappropriate for either hunting or home defense" include many different models of hunting rifles and virtually all modern handguns except for revolvers. Collins says "the San Bernardino murderers were wielding assault rifles, with which they were able to fire an estimated 65-75 bullets in rapid succession." 

Actually, the long guns used in the San Bernardino attack—a DPMS A-15 and a Smith & Wesson M&P15—were not assault rifles, which are capable of automatic fire. They were not even "assault weapons," according to California's definition. And Collins is wrong to think they fire especially rapidly. They fire exactly as fast as any other semiautomatic, which is about as fast as a revolver: as fast as you can pull the trigger.

Collins is also wrong when she says "assault weapons" are "the armament of choice for mass shootings." According to the Mother Jones tally of such crimes, handguns are by far the most commonly used weapon, accounting for 94 of 143 firearms used by mass shooters, or 66 percent. Only 20 of the guns, or 14 percent, would qualify as "assault weapons" under a 2013 bill proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). 

As Brian Doherty noted on Friday, "assault weapons" account for an even smaller share of all homicides. Rifles in general, which include many guns that are not considered "assault weapons," were used in about 2 percent of homicides last year. Collins notes that "assault weapons...used to be illegal under a law that expired in 2004" and wonders, "If the law had stayed on the books, how many victims would have survived in San Bernardino, or at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn.?" We can say with some confidence that the federal "assault weapon" ban would have had no impact on either of those mass shootings, since it did not cover the guns used to commit them. Neither did the "assault weapon" bans of the states in which the massacres occurred, which were broader than the federal law."

"The Times, which says "certain kinds of weapons...must be outlawed for civilian ownership"—by which it means not only that future sales should be banned but that current owners should be forced to "give them up"—is confident "it is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way." But it does not propose a definition, presumably because such an exercise would make it obvious that the "assault weapon" label hinges on features, such as folding stocks, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and flash suppressors, that make little or no difference in the hands of mass shooters or ordinary criminals, who in any case overwhelmingly prefer other types of guns...

In a 2014 essay titled "The Assault Weapon Myth," ProPublica reporter Lois Becket noted that these demonized guns are a "politically defined category" based on scary looks rather than criminal significance. "The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference," she wrote. "It turns out that big, scary military rifles don't kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do." Apparently the editors of the Times missed that essay, even though they published it. I guess they also missed the paper's own coverage of this issue, which has intermittently explained how arbitrary the definition of "assault weapon" is and noted that AR-15-style rifles like those used by the San Bernardino murderers are among the most popular guns in the United States. At this point—27 years after the Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarmann recommended targeting "assault weapons" based on their "menacing looks," taking advantage of "the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons"—there is no excuse for continuing to parrot myths about the special murder-facilitating features of these firearms. Either Obama, Clinton, Collins, and her colleagues at the Times do not know what they are talking about or they are deliberately misleading the public."

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Addiction isn't a disease. "Addiction is learning, very simply. It's learning a habit of thinking. It's deeply entrenched learning."

This Neuroscientist Argues That Addiction Is Not a Disease and Rehab Is Bullshit | VICE | United States: "Marc Lewis traveled the long, tenebrous road of opiate addiction, but he emerged out the rabbit hole a neuroscientist, science writer, and author...  His latest literary endeavor, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease, asserts labeling addiction a disease is not only specious, it's downright harmful...
VICE: You're critical of the rehab industry because, according to you, it pulls addicts in under the ruse of medical treatment. However, it offers little more than 12 steps and pep talks. You've called it a canard. Can you elaborate? 
...I'm criticizing the way the medical model is used both to conceptualize addiction and to underpin, support, and reinforce the philosophy of the rehab industry. Because it fails people so often, the medical model and definition of addiction should be seriously challenged, but it isn't and there's something really wrong with that. It's a self-reinforcing system that waves this banner that says you have a chronic disease that will kill you, so you better come to us. The rationale that they have a disease has a lot of weight, especially because it's backed up by a lot of high-level bodies, like NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). NIDA funds about 90 percent of addiction research in the world, according to some reports. You're giving money to people who are doing research on the biological or cellular mechanisms involved in addiction, but they're not giving money to people who are challenging the disease model, so that in itself is a self-perpetuating system. In other words, medicine does not have much to offer addicts? Does that mean treatment is really a testament of will? Will has an awful lot to do with it. A lot of addiction experts feel that self-empowerment, self-motivation, self-directed activities, self-designed goals for [addicts'] own progress are critical steps on the road of overcoming addiction. The medical model says you're a patient and you have to do what the doctor tells you.

[Del. Dan Morhaim, a doctor and Maryland legislator] is quoted as saying addiction is "a medical issue that has disastrous social consequences." That's very typical. Take those words, turn them around and you have something that's much more accurate: It's a social issue that has disastrous medical consequences. Throwing people in jail and prohibition are responsible for a lot of the harm that comes with addiction. The prohibitions create this narrow passageway by which addicts have to squeeze themselves through, which drives them into crime, which breathes life into criminal organizations and cartels that get rich on the war on drugs...

...defining addicts as patients makes them passive. It makes them fatalistic and it makes them pessimistic. If you're told you have a chronic brain disease that causes you to do all this nasty shit, you don't think you'll ever get free of it. But, in fact, most addicts do recover and the statistics are very clear on that, whether they're soft drugs or harder drugs like heroin. So, it's a chronic disease? Really? The second thing is it tends to overshadow other approaches to treating addiction that relies on much more individualized psychological methods. There are various kinds of psychotherapy, counseling, support networks, and mindfulness meditation approaches that are also being shown to be very effective. If you believe you have a chronic disease and so does your care provider, they're not very likely to recommend mindfulness meditation, but it's been shown to be very effective...

While opiate and alcohol withdrawal can wreak physical havoc on addicts, you argue that addiction is purely behavioral rather than physiological, like, say, cancer is? 
That's another discrepancy. You have substance addiction on one hand, and behavioral on the other: gambling, sex addiction, porn addiction, a number of eating disorders, internet gaming. The cool thing is when you do brain scans, you get the same neural activation patterns in behavioral addictions as you do in substance addictions. That should be enough to knock out the disease model. If addiction is a disease, then people who spend 12 hours a day playing video games are suffering the same way people who are addicted to heroin do...

What all these patterns have in common is they involve deep learning—a set of assumptions of what you need to get through the day; that learning gets entrenched through repetition and you're addicted, but there's nothing disease-like about it. People recover from all addictions, which means it's all about neural plasticity. It's not that you go back to where you were, because development never goes in reverse, it's that you learn skills that help you overcome your impulses and you learn new cognitive habits. All learning involves changes in synapses, which means creation and strengthening of certain synapses, and the weakening or disappearance of synapses that aren't being used...

I've talked to Nora Volkow, [the director] of NIDA and a very powerful policy maker. She doesn't want to hear it. She's basically saying that addicts need to be told they have chronic brain disease because that will reduce stigmatization. But people like me come along and say, "No, it doesn't look like brain disease. Brain change, yes. But that's what a brain is supposed to do because it's learning." That's when the wall comes down."

"If addiction is not a disease, does that render the "alcohol gene" a fallacy? 
You get little things that show some genetic correlation with alcoholism, but there is no gene, or cluster of genes, that create addiction. Rather, there are personality traits that have a genetic loading, like impulsivity. So you get these cross-generational correlations that are real and do have genetic loading, but there's nothing like a particular gene or set of genes specific to addiction...

In layman's terms, what is addiction if it isn't a disease? 
Addiction is learning, very simply. It's learning a habit of thinking. It's deeply entrenched learning. So are relationships when you're in love with someone. If that person happens to be abusive, you might still be in love with them for 12 years or the rest of your life. That's through learning. So is being a sports fan or a Jihadist. Religion is another deep substantiation of deep learning. That's what I think it is. The fact that it could be gambling, or eating, or heroin, or meth, it shows there are certain addictions that involve substances that create physical dependency. Physical dependency is a whole other layer of shittiness on top of addiction. Psychological and interpersonal tools are very important. Addiction has to do with isolation and feeling alone, not having a support network and not being able to deeply connect with other people. You can superficially connect and have a nice circle of addicts, but not connecting with people in a way that's harmonious and fulfilling, those are the people that are really vulnerable to addiction. They're lonely, depressed, anxious, and traumatized. It's just like the Rat Park [Canadian study into drug addiction]. What I said doesn't just apply to humans, it applies to other animals, too. Isolation is really bad for you and it's the underlining factor of addiction."