Interesting times

Friday morning there was a large earthquake in the Pacific Ocean that sent a huge tsunami at Japan. Some amazing before and after photos can be found here, and a video here. Meanwhile, unrest in Libya continues. Meanwhile in Cape Town, this protein powder tastes terrible … usually lemon water can mask the taste of anything but geez… but this stuff happens all the time, right? And then we spend a bunch of time looking at videos and pictures and then quickly get caught up in the next most interesting thing (Tom Brady’s hair, apparently). Until it happens to you.

I guess the closest I ever experienced to a natural disaster was that massive ice storm that hit Central Mass a few years back. And I wasn’t even there that night because I had Babson the next morning so I was sleeping in Newton. But driving back into town (the main road was closed and you had to drive around the roadblock), and there was no power, and trees down, power lines down, etc. – I said at the time it looked like driving through a war zone, but I’ve never been to a war zone so who am I to say. I was reading an article the other day about what happened if massive solar flares knocked out power stations, and places could be without power for weeks, months, or years. I can’t actually imagine that, but I suppose we would adapt wouldn’t we? Seems like humans are pretty good at adapting, until something comes along that breaks us.

So we do live in interesting times. All times of history have been interesting of course, and the future will be more interesting still. But I feel very lucky to be alive in this time, and a lot of things are starting to happen in this place. A lot of things I’m involved in, even … it’s time for CrossFit and social enterprise and Silicon Cape to explode. As I said, the future will be more interesting still. Maybe I’m crazy but it always feels like when things are really difficult they are probably wrong, and when things are really easy they are probably right. So it feels to me like a lot is going right in my life just now.

For some reason I haven’t been able to stop listening to this song the last few days. Maybe there’s something in it that just makes me feel like the world is alive with possibility. That or we’re just living in a computer simulation.

Friday was a very different day to Thursday. On Thursday I spent most of the day with a white board doing systems design (and thank goodness I took a photo because the cleaner erased it!). Friday I spent most of the day in the field working with our GrowZones. Had a bit of a breakthrough with Mama Rosie; she took me aside after we met and told me what was really going on (stuff she couldn’t talk about in front of an audience). But still, establishing that level of trust is important. I am also quite encouraged by what’s going on at the other GrowZone. Slowly but surely we’re getting to where we need to be.

In Friday’s CrossFit class we practiced clean & jerks (well, really, clean and push presses given the specific objective which was to help us get fast for today’s event). Then we did a sprint workout: 3 rounds of 10 burpees, 5m walking lunge, 10 nose-to-wall handstand pushups and 5m walking lunge. I was annoyed that my strength gave out on the 10th handstand pushup but Chris let the rep count anyway. After class, I had the luxury of time so I did some band-assisted strict pullups, practiced knees-to-elbows (it’s no longer hurting my shoulder, thanks probably to the chiropractor), and ring pullups. I was saying I missed doing box jumps so Chris suggested I do some box jumps for height (for fun, mind you). I got a new PR … not sure by how much, we didn’t measure yet but probably something like 7cms (previous best was 83cm). So, yes, this is what I do for fun on Friday afternoons.

Had a lovely dinner with my friend Kerry from the gym, talking about her business idea, a little bit about my work, our mutual friends, and my chances for the Regional CrossFit Games. Such a chill and fun evening!

Saturday started with what might be our last beach workout of the season, another take at “Sandy Helen.” For some reason I really didn’t go all-out here at all. I think the workout scares me. But now that I have my own kettlebell I can go do it on my own sometime. OK that’s pretty sad too that I would even consider such a thing…

After lunch (where the subject du jour was how cricket works and strategy for the Regionals … sensing a pattern here?) I headed up to Bellville to teach some friends how American football works. This was something else, to teach a bunch of rugby fans how it worked! Super fun though, I think they realized quite quickly the strategic aspect of the game. Other than the concept of giving the ball to the other team being quite foreign (I can see this), the notion of TV timeouts was also quite scandalous: “Oh, no. If they stopped a Stormers-Bulls game to play an advert people would riot!” So first we watched the Super Bowl, then we watched the Pats-Jets game. Wow that was even more painful to watch than I could have anticipated. Never, ever, ever underestimate your opponent. Yeesh.

I left a little bit after 7 because one of the guys from the gym was having a belated birthday braai/party in Camps Bay. That was a super fun party, and it was good actually that I got there so late because I didn’t drink as much as I could have had I started 5 hours earlier! I did manage to drink enough that I wound up wrestling with one of our coaches and then engaging in a burpee competition (he won, but if there was ever a situation in which I was set up for failure it was that!). Rematch is coming up. I’m an affectionate drunk, what can I say? Great time though, such a fun crowd of people. I think I’ll be smiling remembering this party for a good long time. Also, I care about some of these people a lot.

So I’ve been thinking a fair amount about how we make decisions, and specifically big ones. We are all so different and how other people’s minds work I am sure will always remain a mystery (probably good thing, I mean consider the alternative – the alternative is a recipe for boredom!). I was emailing to someone a few days ago that I didn’t know what was holding him back from something, but then said well I know myself better than anyone and sometimes I don’t know what holds me back. Fear of failure? Fear of success? Maybe not actually wanting what you might think you do? Being afraid to admit that you actually want something? Fear of getting in too deep (this is a bit different than fear of failure or of success). Well, as Peter always says, if it weren’t for doubt we’d all be gods, right? And self-confidence is the ultimate defence mechanism. Yes, that’s a mind fuck (excuse the language) but in my opinion it’s completely true.

Sunday started off with a very intense yoga session (we were on our backs with our legs up in the air for something probably like 25 minutes – by the time we came down I was drenched in sweat, it was awesome!). I ran some errands then went on a road trip to the northeast. No particular destination, just wanted to get out and see the country. It makes me so happy. Sorry, environment. At least with higher prices here for petrol I pay more for the externalities than I would in the States. The rest of the day was largely spent preparing paleo food for the week, and doing a little bit of work with one of my co-workers.

And now, Monday morning: this is going to be a tough week. Next week is a short one because Monday is a public holiday. A lot will be done and decided between now and then, so, as always: bring it on!

• “Look, it’s Black Adder!” – Marc (this was in reference to Tom Brady)

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