Honesty

Posted in Uncategorized on 7 September, 2011 by Troy

I’ve been aware of and appreciating honesty much more if late.  Honesty amongst friends, co-workers, in business and most importantly ourselves can seem hard pressed to come by some days.

I’ve had some good run ins with honesty and local businesses as of late, which has gotten me thinking about honesty in general.  They could easily have provided their services and taken my money but they ended up being honest with me and talking me out of a sale.  That type of honesty takes integrity and makes me want to return to those stores to buy something more, even if I don`t need it.

Having a friend that’ll be completely honest with you and call you out on your shit, for good and for bad would be a good definition for “friend”.  At times we bite our tongues or sugar-coat our responses to not hurt other’s feelings but in the end aren’t we just doing to opposite?  I think friends like that are rare.

On the end of the spectrum we can get so defensive and clouded by emotions because of the honesty of others that we don`t end up remaining honest with ourselves.  I guess that`s where ego and pride comes in and the ability to step outside ourselves, being objective about who we are and life situations regardless of the harshness and conclusions we come to.  Yeah it can come to the realization that we’re wrong or realizing you’ve made mistakes in life but I guess that`s where we learn.  In that sense I somewhat pity all those people that seem to always do things right and never make mistakes in life.  Do they learn?

I think we could all be more honest.

Contentment

Posted in Life, Random Thoughts on 11 April, 2010 by Troy

For a long time this was a dirty word for me.  The thought of being content with something meant being complacent about it, that it was time for a change and to shake things up again.  Contentment meant not evolving, not trying new things and not breaking comfort zones.  It meant being static and not wondering what was around the corner and not growing as a person.  The word’s of Tyler Durden ring through my mind when I thought of contentment, of burning down my flaming pile of shit little world every once in a while, of living life with little or no attachment to my personal belongings and materialistic items and of letting the chips fall where they may.  Deliver me from perfect teeth, clear skin and contentment, is a line that always stuck in my mind.  My fear of contentment has driven me to do a lot of different cool things; break free of my cubical, travel, get an education, pursue my passion and simple break a lot of comfort zones.  I shudder at the thought of being content with my drafting job and living the majority of my life in the cubical I briefly lived in. 

I guess that’s what leads to contentment; a lack of curiosity and wonder with the world around you.  And I guess that’s the bad thing about not being content; always wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. 

Lately my life drifts more and more towards a life of contentment, of enjoying what’s around me, living life and not wondering what around the corner and what life would be like elsewhere.  I must be getting old.  Lately I can’t help but enjoy that contentment and stability in my life; my comfortable apartment, my stable job, hanging out with friends and just plain old living life as it is.  I almost feel somewhat dirty about it and a younger me would be dismayed at how things have become, with my original plan of work, travel and play being laid aside for the comfort of things that taste good and the community of those around me. 

That all said I guess I can still continue to break that comfort zone and that sense of contentment while not having to completely overhaul and change up my life.  There are still a lot of things I haven’t done and there always will be a lot of things I haven’t done.  A lot of those involve shedding contentment, breaking a comfort zone and going on a journey of their own with plenty of personal growth and evolution.  Now it means I have to start smashing those walls of contentment and expanding those zones of comfort.

*As a side note:  I can’t help but wonder how much Fight Club has influenced the growth of MMA fighting these last number of years
* As another side note:  I think Fight Club should be a monthly or bimonthly watch.

Rollins

Posted in Life on 13 March, 2010 by Troy

The Iron
By Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say shit to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Travel

Posted in Life on 25 February, 2010 by Troy

Travel has come up a number of times lately.  It doesn’t help that the people I regularly consort with are all well-travelled individuals and continuing to travel when time allows them.  With the talk of travel and other friends going on trips, my mind inevitably drifts to going on a trip.  It’s been 3 years since I came back home from my 15 months abroad.  I never thought I wouldn’t have not travelled for this length of time when I got back home those years ago but here I am.  In hind sight I should have gone when I had the chances and the funds but alas. 

As for now the thought of a trip leaves me feeling a bit weird.  I guess it has to do with the fact that my previous travel experience was a long-term trip that I didn’t think I’d return to Edmonton let alone Canada from.  For me travel was a journey not only physically but mentally, emotionally and albeit it sounds weird, spiritually.  It was an opportunity to go away, be someone else, do something things that I never would normally in a million years do, experience and see and never in a million years do again.  Alcohol, parties, drugs, sex…those weren’t part of my trip.  I could do those in Edmonton.  My experiences were a once in a life time and even to this day they’ve effected me more than I can imagine.  I thank/blame/attribute my current profession and livelihood to that trip and experience. 

So with all that in mind my thoughts go to travel and going on a trip and I feel somewhat hesitant to even conjure up an urge to want to go.  15 months is a long time, so for me the thought of travel requires hitting the road for a good amount of time.  The notion of going somewhere even for a month is foreign to me and I can’t help but wonder and question if it’s at all possible to find that mental, emotional and spiritual experience that I once went out looking for in such a small time frame.  I suppose I should ask if I even want that same level of experience again and if not having it is a bad thing? 

That all said I still wonder where I’d like to travel to next.  Iceland sounds awesome; Hana and Elmar regaled me with some amazing stories.  India would be epic but that would require at least six months of travel and I’m sure would provide those same level of experiences I refered to.  A month in the Maritime would be cool as would a month in Croatia as originally planned.  Or maybe even a month away from everything and everyone.  A cabin in the woods, a house on a lake or place near the ocean like I had on Kangaroo Island.  Completely alone with just me, some books and my thoughts.  Strangely enough, that last one sounds the most appealing…

What Next?

Posted in Life on 11 January, 2010 by Troy

It’s a simple question but with huge connotations that I feel I’ve been asking myself for a long time.  I complete or experience something in life and I just can’t help but think, what next?  Perhaps contentment is unattainable and merely something one spends one life striving for but never to obtain.  Perhaps it’s just me.  Perhaps it’s a good thing.

What next, where can I go from here and what can I get out of this as a person?  It’s that constant quest for a different experience that drives and keeps me restless.  The saddest thing about life is that it’s so short and eventually ends.  There’s so much to experience, see, do and be in such a short lifetime that you have to pick and choose wisely.  We live so many different lives within our own life, like different hats, clothes or haircuts that go with who we are.  I’m sure if we could jump to different times in our life we would almost think we were meeting a different person and perhaps we would be.  I believe I can say that at one time I have lived the life of bizzaro me.

I think that’s what I loved the most out of my travels.  It was a series of different lives condensed within that one trip.  I wore many different hats, held and was held in different perspectives and opinions and was a different person in each situation.  Each time I went to a different place I wondered what will I get out of this as a person?  Where will this take me?  What will I learn?  I saw it all as a chance to do things I would never normally do, never have the opportunity to do and never be able to do again.  I did things I said I would never do or want to do if I had stayed home but I made a go of it out there.  I suppose it’s because of all those questions I’m a bit hesitant to travel again.  I can’t help but wonder what will I get out of this a person?  Haven’t I already been down that path?  Really I should go to have fun but the question dogs me.

So what next, where can I go from here and what can I get out of this as a person?  I’ve closed a chapter in my life and I’m looking around as to what the next experience is.  What can I get out of it?  Who will I be?  What uniform will I wear this time?
What next?

Grab Bag of Thoughts

Posted in Comings and Goings, Random Thoughts on 9 January, 2010 by Troy

VAG
I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery the other night.  It was pretty cool, it’s been a couple months since I’ve been to a gallery or museum.  They were showing landscape art, which does sound kind of dry but there were some pretty nice pieces.  Some of the old oil paintings from the early 19th century were quite something.  The depth in some of them were amazing, it was like it was in 3D.  They also had quite a few done by the Group of Seven.  I wasn’t much a fan of most of it but Harris caught my eye. 

Besides paintings they had a number of photos, some dating back as far as 1860.   The photos really caught my eye.  It’s amazing the quality and detail of photographs dating as far back as 1860.  They’re the closest thing we have to time machines and times and lives long gone.  What photos they had at the VAG really inspired me and got me thinking more and more about photography, specifically the old Cannon 35mm my Dad has.  I’ve never been too much into photos or photography, never having taken a lot of personal photos through my life but I oddly have a fair bit of education in video and photography.  I’ve never really jumped on with digital cameras.  The seemingly mindless point and click aspect can be fun but I feel marginalizes the whole art of taking a proper photo.  Taking time with each shot before taking it and being discerning about what you’re going to shoot seems like a lost art that I’d like to refined and explore.

Tasting Things
First, I’ve been loving IPA’s lately.  I’ve tried a number of beers high and even moderate on the IBU scale but just couldn’t get my palate around them.  Finishing a pint was a struggle and all I could taste was hops, which I didn’t like.  Fast forward a couple months and beers when I was at a local pub and for some reason I decided on an IPA they had on tap from a local brewery they were recommending.  I wasn’t expecting much and was in mid-conversation when I took my first sip and had to stop and look at my glass with wonder; Where have you been all my life?  It blew me away.  The subtle balance of hops with a citrus, lemony balance.  It tasted “bright”, whatever that means.  Since that one beer from Storm Brewing in Vancouver I’ve been really enjoying the IPAs and developing my palate more and more.  I bought a case from Propeller Brewery in Halifax last week.  At first I didn’t like it all that much and again could only taste hops but by the third bottle I could really taste the golden maltiness on it.  IPAs are good.

Second; Lamb.  Went to a local French establishment the other day, Les Faux Bourgeois.  Awesome meal and great little place.  They’re beer menu could be better but alas…  I ordered the lamb bourguignon.  I like lamb but I rarely have it.  I think I’ve cooked it up twice for myself but if it’s on the menu where I’m eating there’s a good chance that’s what I’ll be ordering.  I think lamb will be what I try to fill my freezer with next.  It’s pretty tough to find local/free range around here but I wonder what it’s like in Alberta to get a freezer full…

So long 2009.
Good riddance.  Much too much a mundane year for me.  Yeah I guess school filled up a good chunk of it but that’s no excuse for a rather boring year.  If it wasn’t for school I’d say this last year was rather uneventful.  So with 2009 gone and 2010 started up again we’re back at that time of year of New Years resolutions.  I don’t believe in it.  Yeah I’m all for people bettering themselves and making positive changes in their lives but it’s just the way people go at it and make those changes is inane.  I suppose it’s sort of a reflection on our society as a whole these days; quick fixed, fast gains and the magic pill to solve it all.  I really like Mark’s recent write-up on NYR.  It’s directed towards health/fitness but I think it can be used on pretty much anything. 
So resolutions cast aside I’m a firm believer in goals and I’ve a couple for this year:
*Strength. I’d like to continue getting stronger while staying injury free. Any injury is too many and last year I had my share.
*Photography. I want to play around with that Cannon of my Dad’s, learn to take some good pictures and make it a new and consistent hobby. 
*Fun.  Just simple have more fun in 2010.  It’s the most simple but most important

Quality

Posted in Coffee, Food, Life, Likes on 4 January, 2010 by Troy

My mind has been drifting to the word “quality” as of late.  It seems to keep popping up in discussion lately.  The last number of years it’s taken on a more and more encompassing role in my life.  I suppose I became aware of it after I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Somethings are just better than others for perhaps small and minor reasons.  Food, coffee, liquor all slowly filled the definition of quality for me but lately I’m becoming more aware of those those items and products out there that fit the definition too.  Things that are built to last a long time, have weight to them when you pick them up and feel like their from either a distant land or a forgotten time.  I like those items.  They ooze quality.

My Dad has a Cannon 35mm that he bought in 1969.  I played around with it a bit when I was there last and can only assume that it still works and takes great picture.  It had some good weight to it and looked to be made of stainless steel.  I’m definitely going to get some 35mm film when I get back and try it out.

I recently bought a safety razor as a gift to myself for finishing school.  It’s an old style razor that doesn’t use the excessive and expensive cartridges but instead a plain old razor blade.  I’ve already lost a pint of blood using it but it gives an amazing shave.  It set me back a pretty penny but it definitely fits the definition of quality.  The thing has got some good weight to it, it’s stainless and it comes with a lifetime warranty.  The shop-owner said it’ll last me the rest of my life. 

I bought a pair of headphones nearly 10 years ago now.  They cost me more than I’d like to admit but they put out an amazing quality of sound.  When I think of those headphones, I think of the hours I’ve spent listening to them where everything else in the world doesn’t matter and is shut out or moments I’ve had with them on where the song I’m listening to is so amazing it’s indescribable.  I think back to all those moments and I think they were one of the best things I’ve ever bought.  Now I just need to get around to buying an amplifier for them.

Unfortunately these items are so few and far in between.  Instead everything these days seems to be made to have a 2 year lifespan, is improved upon in some inane way or has a digital clock added to it and re-sold.

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