ALL BLOGS · MUSIC

Impressions: “Dirty Computer” album by Janelle Monae

dirty computer cover

 

Janelle Monae has quickly risen to my favorite “diva” among her contemporaries, however she is much more than that.  In only her third album she has really peaked as an artist and her ever growing and critically praised  Hollywood acting career further prove that she is a “true tour de force” and can do it all.  She reminds me of a futuristic Lauren Hill if you will.  As a matter of fact when she says she is from the future I believe it.  The scope of her talent and depth of her art whether singing, dancing, or acting seem extra terrestrial, otherworldly, and hard to define and categorize when considered in the context of her fellow modern entertainment peers.  As a matter of fact her recent admission of being “pan sexual” sums it up best and truly personifies thos multi-faceted being from another time and place, that we call Janelle Monae.

Just like her first two albums, the production and structure is cohesive, entertaining, and captures her wide gambit of talents from beginning to end.  Actually this third effort is the best one yet and I think she pulls this off by the going in a confident and explicit direction with tracks like “Screwed” and “Pynk”.  The opening and title track “Dirty Computer” produced by the legendary Brian Wilson, lays a brilliant foundation for what is to come on the album.  Not only does the analogy of her being a virus laden computer afflicted with the filth and dirt of cyber sin brilliantly sum up the modern onslaught of information we deal with today, it also sets the tone for the aforementioned more explicit version of Monae that we get to witness.  Each track is a show case of this women’s incredible array of artistic skill such as “Django Jane” in which she brilliantly displays her vocal prowess as an MC and with one track easily eclipses the efforts of fellow female MCs like Cardi B and Niki Minaj, not to mention a whole generation of modern male Soundcloud, dare I say “MCs”, or “rappers”.  Her choice of production and ability to capture the producers signature sounds like on “I Got the Juice” with Pharrell cannot be understated and never seem contrived or derivative of that producer.  Her work with her mentor, the late, great Purple one continues, the long legacy of beautiful, talented divas that he was able to discover and groom, and as a matter of fact she establishes her position as the best among them.

 

ALL BLOGS · BOOKS & FILM

Currently Reading…

own the day cover

 

Own the Day Own Your Life – by Onnit founder Aubrey Marcus

This is a  profound and easy to read book about  optimizing a single day from the morning when you wake up to evening when you go to sleep.  In the vast world of self help and improvement literature, this one stands out for it’s easy to follow guidelines, easy to understand concepts, and both it’s humor and very relevant modern references.

ALL BLOGS · SPORT & FITNESS

Workout Logs 4/21/18 – 4/27/18

 

gym image

 

I decided to keep this in the very brief, multi days format from last time.

4/21/18 :

  • 5 on 5 outdoor Full court basketball (2.5 hours total)

4/22/18 :

  • Yard work (4 hours total)

4/24/18 :

  • Home warmup (inversion, stretch, lacrosse ball therapy)
  • Gym (body weight and hi rep total body focus with interval cardio between each 2 strength training sets) 1.5 hours total

4/26/18:

  • Home warmup (inversion, stretch, lacrosse ball therapy)
  • Gym (heavier weight compound lower body excercise focus with interval cardio between each two strength training sets) 1.25 hours total
ALL BLOGS · SPORT & FITNESS

Workouts 4/14/18 – 4/19/18

kettlebell pics

 

**Since I was unable to record the exact details of my workouts during this past week, I thought I would try something new and just simplify things by recording a very brief summary of my workouts during this time.

  • 4/14/18 – Full Court Basketball Outdoors , 5 on 5 (around 2.5 hours total)
  • 4/15/18- 3 mile green way hike around lake with family
  • 4/17/18- Gym (strength straining- lower weight and body weight/higher rep focus with interval cardio at beginning, middle, and end)
  • 4/18/18- Active recovery (very light and including foam roller)
  • 4/19/18- Gym (heavier weight lower body focus and TRX full body, and also interval cardio at beginning and end)
ALL BLOGS · PHILOSOPHY · SPORT & FITNESS

Time’s Up, (Age and the Athlete)

hourglass

 

At UFC on Fox 29, a battered and bruised, long time MMA favorite Carlos Condit was choked unconscious.  The former champ found himself the loser of his last four fights and questioned himself post-fight on whether he “still had it or not”.

On the same fight card, a young, dangerous prospect and title contender, Justin Gaethje headlined the card against a long time, surging veteran and fellow title contender, Dustin Poirier and they put on an instant classic.  It ended violently for Gaethje and in his post fight loss, he explained how he is not in it for titles but in it to put on a violent show for the fans and that based on this mentality, he has about 5 more fights left in what is a relatively young career.

On the hardwood of the NBA playoff basketball court, a resurgent Dwayne Wade, once again reunited with the team synonymous with his soon to be hall of fame career was able to go back in time to his athletic prime and single-handedly  carry his team past a surging young Sixers squad that had a ton of momentum and had not lost in over a month.

I was always fascinated with the affect of age on high level performance, especially when it comes to athletics.  Diminished physical, athletic ability with age is an inevitable reality for the athlete.  At the highest professional level of sports, the difference between winning and record setting, is incremental and even fractional.  It’s somewhat redundant, but diminished physical abilities with age affect an athletes ability to perform at the same level as in their prime as well as maintain their position as an elite performer, record holder, or even a victor in competition.  How much of this is the physical degradation of the athlete versus the mental aspect of the athlete when it comes to age?

Is the youth and vigor that leads an athlete to be aggressive and attacking vs cautious and calculated what causes the athlete to lose their position on top of their sport?  There are countless examples of the old athlete channeling the youthful mentality and energy on a given night and performing as if in their athletic prime, i.e. the aforementioned Dwayne Wade.  Perhaps the bigger questions is how frequently can this be channeled and how sustainable is it for the aging athlete?

Since flow states of peak athletic performance seem to be achieved instinctively and subconsciously, is it possible for the aging athlete, despite their compromised physical attributes, be able to deliberately get into this peak state at a moments notice and sustain it for long periods of time, or as long as their physical body will allow barring catastrophic injury?  When we see an athlete like Carlos Condit on what appears to be an athletic down slide and facing brutal consequences, is it because his physical gifts are so compromised that the results are inevitable against younger competition, or is this a mental state that has the aging athlete consciously acknowledging the diminished gifts and as a result conceding defeat before each contest takes place?

Does a guy like Gaethje solve the aging athlete dilemma?  He has decided to fight with an unbridled intensity and violence like sort of a young hungry animal, regardless of the stage, the opponent, or the circumstances.  His priority is not a victorious outcome or sporting prize or accolades, but rather recreating this intensity with each contest. This mentality is to the point where he realizes he is on borrowed time or has a limited window to sustain this approach, or “five more fights” as he said.  If he makes good on his goal it is an approach and mentality that is counter to that of the conventional aging athlete.  The conventional aging athlete’s mind set and approach seems to be to get into  a peak state and channel their youth for select moments depending on the stakes at large and their current compromised, physical state.  This puts the the aging athlete in a precarious spot as far as when they can channel this youthful performance and at what cost. Gaethje’s philosophy removes the arbitrary and unpredictable nature of the conventional aging athlete’s approach by believing that there is a limited window in which the athlete can consistently sustain peak performance so that the performance will only take place within that window and not after that window closes.  This is an interesting philosophy that is a pure, honest assessment of what the athlete is and what the athlete will be capable of, nothing more or nothing less.  It avoids the delusion and denial that is prevalent with many aging athletes about where they are athletically in their career and what they are capable of at an advance age and which many times leads to tragic results.

Seeing a guy like Dwayne Wade defy age and critics and channel his prime self is something to behold and addresses one of the fundamental appeal of sports,which is seeing someone physically defy the odds.  At the same time, seeing a guy like Gaethje who knows the limits of his ability and chooses to approach it with wreck less abandon is equally fascinating.  Regardless of which philosophy the athlete believes and which approach they choose to take, the affect of age on the athlete can’t be denied and inevitably age becomes the athletes biggest opponent.

ALL BLOGS · SPORT & FITNESS

Workout Log 4/12/18

kettlebell pics

 

Late Afternoon Run (5:40 PM to 6:15 PM)

  • Outdoor Run ( Walk/Sprint Intervals throughout. 2.35 miles total)

Pre-gym Home Warmup (10 min total)

  • Plyos
  • lacrosse ball therapy (feet focused)

Gym (10:20 PM to 11:30 PM)

  • Cardio Pyramid Circuit (6 min total Cycle)
  • Stretch Cage Circuit (total body)
  • Dumbbell circuit (heavy, progressive loading/compound exercises. upper and lower body)
  • Weight plate halos and calf raises in between dumbbell circuit sets.
  • Battle Rope Circuit (30 sec intervals 5 min total)
  • Rope pull down Circuit (30 sec intervals 5 min total)
  • body weight exercises (total body) between Rope Circuits
  • Push up bar circuit (push up variations)
  • Stack weight circuit (squats and curls with rope and increased loading)
  • leg stretches in between stack weight circuit sets

 

 

ALL BLOGS · SPORT & FITNESS

Workout Log 4/9/18

kettlebell pics

 

Home Warmup (20 min total)

  • lacrosse ball therapy (total body)
  • Plyo circuit

Gym (10:15 PM to 11:20 PM)

  • Cardio Circuit Pyramid (10 min total (5 min each cycle and treadmill)
  • swiss ball freestyle circuit
  • body weight excercises circuit
  • ballistic stretching circuit
  • kettlebell circuit
  • goblet squat set (progressive loading)
  • bench dip set between goblet squats
  • Cardio H.I.I.T. circuit (cycle, eliptical, treadmill (30-40 cal each station, 10 min total)