Monday, May 26, 2008


I know what you're thinking. I'm not talking about those speedos! I'm talking about the water shoes. I went shopping today and managed to pick myself up a pair of Speedo Surfwalker water shoes. My latest project is to clad my feet with more minimal shoes to strengthen my feet and improve my awareness of the ground. Why bother? Well, I've fully detailed that in my latest Zenfulness blog post. Basically, recent news combined with my own personal experience has convinced me that constant wearing of supportive and protective athletic shoes leads to foot and ankle weakening. I'm trying to transition closer to doing things barefoot to strengthen my feet and ankles. Don't worry though. I'm not planning on completely giving up shoes (or even my current tennis shoes).

I'm not completely willing to be one of those alternative folks who walks barefoot everywhere, so I'm taking an intermediate step by getting some thinner soled, more minimalistic shoes to emulate the barefoot experience. The first trial run (or actually walk) was fun. I could definitely feel the ground better, and I did feel my feet and lower legs working harder during my stroll. I also got the impression that the thinner sole allowed my toes to be more interactive with the ground. I may start switching solely (pun intended) to minimal shoes for my martial arts training. I feel that they'll give me extra sensitivity to the ground and allow me to stabilize my structure better.

My tennis shoes I'll be keeping around for rope jumping and any other activity where I feel I need the extra cushioning (like when I need to do a lot of walking on pavement). I still think regular athletic shoes have a place on my foot. But minimal shoes will most likely get more foot time in my shoe rotation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


One of my goals this year is to simplify my life. I've managed to get a lot of clutter out of my life simply because I live in a small apartment and I constantly have this thought of having to move again (and not wanting to pack a bunch of extra stuff). But in other ways I haven't managed to simplify my life. I live closer to work this year, yet I've ended up being busier than I was when I lived further away. I managed to fill my time. Just like a gas expands to fill a vacuum, my activities expand to fill my free time.

Since I've moved closer to Philly, I've managed to ramp up my martial arts training and teaching, intensify my physical conditioning training, start blogging, build websites, make my Chinese learning more consistent, participate in surveys for fun and profit, become more vigilant about trying to be more environmentally conscious, etc. All of those things take time. A Bruce Lee quote would be fitting for how I feel now: "It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential."

Exactly what I'm going to hack away still baffles me though. I'll probably cut back on the survey thing. They don't actually earn me much cash anyhow, and some of them are an utter waste of time. At some point, I'm going to stop tracking so many things on my training logs. I think I can safely say I've transformed my eating habits already, so I can probably safely stop tracking my food intake. I'll still need to track my strength and martial arts training to keep myself on track though. I'm torn about cutting back my teaching though. Though it really eats into my free time, I really enjoy seeing students make progress and it's good training for me to teach.

What to else to hack away? If I were insane, I'd say sleep and my refusal to drink caffeine. But I'm [arguably] not insane. Too bad there's no pithy quote about what the unessential is.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New websites now live

Ok, it's official. My websites are now online and actually have something on them. Granted, there's not a lot on the sites now, but I'm working on it.

I plan on keeping this blog running, but I think I want to migrate my official online identity to something associated with my name. Zenfulness is my next blogging experiment. It'll be fun to see how it turns out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Flying punch of power and puny bells

So, our YMCA has got some new toys. For some reason, they got some kettlebells and a punching bag. Of course, this being the Y, they made some poor choices. First, the punching bag is free standing and they keep forgetting to fill the base of it with sand or water. I hit the thing expecting something pretty solid. I nearly sent the stupid thing flying. Good thing I didn't kick it. And then there's the fact that they decided to put the bag right next to a huge pane of glass. Now, they've made the wonderful decision of putting a rowing machine like 2 feet away from the bag. There are also two punch mitts and a set of gloves next to the punching bag. I think a whopping 3 people in the gym actually know how to use the mitts. The gloves and mitts are in the weight room next to a rowing machine and punching bag. There's like 4 square feet of working space unless you take the gloves and mitts somewhere else. The pure lack of planning astounds me.

Oh, and the kettlebells are amusing. I will first say that my Sifu doesn't speak highly of kettlebell training, so I'll probably just play around with them and not spend too much time incorporating them into my workout. It's probably better that I not have my teacher annoyed that I'm training kettlebells. Not that I could incorporate them much into my workout anyhow. They only went up to 25lb kettlebells. Could they go any lighter? I never do the bells, and already the weight is too light for me. I guess they're aiming them at the middle aged moms who come into the gym, because the bells are brightly colored.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Festival of blurbs: Cinco de Mayo post

Let me start off by saying ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! I don't really celebrate the Cinco de Mayo, but there should always be some good excuse to celebrate something. Today is as good a day as any to have a fiesta. I'm still stuck at work, but when I get home, watch out. I'm going to be a loco hombre. Ok, so I probably won't do my wild man routine today, but it's a fun thought. I think the biggest celebration we'll be having is enjoying a hearty dinner of quesadillas with salsa and guacamole.

We do have a small cause to celebrate. This past weekend was the Ardmore Blossoms. It was basically a small community event with some live music, some vendor and charity group stands, and some freebie stuff. I actually had two soft pretzels (which is a huge increase in my usual refined flour consumption). I just couldn't help myself when presented with a free salty, doughy product with mustard. Anyhow, the most important part of the event (to me) was the electronics recycling drop off. Finally, I rid myself of some extra electronics crap that probably would have been hard to unload otherwise. That combined with our recent donation to the Sisters of the Holy Rosary thrift store means that we have a lot less stuff cluttering up our precious floor space. I estimate that we freed up between 5-10 square feet of floor space when we unloaded our donate and recycle boxes. That's a pretty significant increase in useable floor space when you live in a tiny space like we do.

Another cause for celebration is the return of our hot water. We had to resort to taking one shower at the YMCA (which was actually no where near as bad as we had originally pictured). Boy, do I ever appreciate the convenience of having hot water at home, especially now that I've been deprived of it 4 times in the past few months.

I've recently signed up and been approved for a membership with PhillyCarShare. I sold my car not too long ago. Not owning a car is reason enough for me to be happy. I'm much happier not having to maintain a car, a fact which I'm sure baffles my dad. I suppose I'm just not the typical car-loving American. I think of a vehicle as a means to get me from point A to point B, preferably with an acceptable level of comfort and safety. That being said, I am looking forward to driving a Prius and Mini Cooper for a future driving errand.

I guess the final reason for celebration would be friends and family. I've managed to keep up my enjoyable habit of calling my mom nearly everyday and slowly increase my Chinese vocabulary through daily conversation. And I think I've finally gotten to a point in my life where I actually know enough people that it's difficult keeping up with everyone. It can take a lot of effort to keep in touch with all the friends you've encountered in life. But, all things considered, that's not such a terrible chore.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mysterious dissapearing creature comforts and slowing posts

Well, it's happened yet again. We have no hot water. This is like the 4th time it's happened to us. Nothing sucks quite like waking up in the morning trying to start your day with a nice hot cold shower. Then it comes back for a little while, so we go to the gym, only to come back to another hot water outage. I'm sure I don't smell too pleasant now since I definitely poured sweat from my jump rope session at the. But I've been loathe to take a cold shower. I can't bring myself to shiver under the cold water quite yet.

Also, my blog posts have been slowing down lately. That's probably a relief for the whopping 3 readers of my blog since I can type up a storm when I get on a roll. Anyhow, life has been catching up to me. Trying to keep my martial arts and conditioning training up while preparing food for my 5ish daily meals, trying to be environmentally conscious in an environment more conducive to just tossing everything into the trash, and trying to shorten my to do list is really time consuming. Then I had to decide to try to build my web presence. So, building my mini web empire has been sucking my time, both in learning the software tools and working on implementing them. Anyhow, I've added sidebar links to my work-in-progress web sites. Feel free to visit them and offer any suggestions.