Stealing

Before I begin? The best Tweet I have ever seen: @nerdreign Southern girls are told we catch more flies with honey, but I can catch plenty with your hollowed out carcass, so this can go either way.
So Robin Hood is famous for stealing from the rich to give to the poor. No one really seems to question the appropriateness of this mission.
It’s easy to romanticise the evil rich. They’re born with a silver spoon in their mouths or they are disconnected from the ‘every man’ or whatever. They’re why the patrician Paulie boy John Kerry who couldn’t act lost to the patrician George Bush who could (and this was after Bush’s first term, God help us all).
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but this notion of redistribution and equality just bugs me. I’m all for equality of opportunity and meritocracy. I’m all for working your way up from the mailroom. But there’s a reason that management makes more than staff, and that white collar people make more than blue collar people. Whether or not it’s fair to pay the CEO millions a year while the line cook makes minimum wage is another question entirely … the flatter the hierarchy the easier these things are.
Sometimes there is a fixed pie. There are only so many freshman spots available at Cal. You give one to one person, you deny it to someone else. Yes, many factors to consider. What is fair?
I conducted some spring cleaning (well, it’s spring somewhere in the world) of my apartment this weekend. Firstly, I needed to find some E*TRADE deposit slips, but also I wanted to recycle a bunch of stuff and find all my unworn clothes to donate. I kind of did a half-assed job at the latter. Attachment is hectic. And I can’t find my Strangefolk CD, speaking of attachment. During this cleaning I stumbled upon an Alumnae Horae from my boarding school, talking about the memories of one graduate  who survived the Titanic sinking, and his recollections of the insanely rich John Jacob Astor, who also happened to graduate from St Paul’s.
What struck me? The story about how Astor asked to accompany his pregnant [18-year-old] wife on the lifeboats, was denied, and didn’t kick up a ‘Do you know who I am?’ fuss.
One wonders if today’s rich & famous wonderboys would do the same. I wonder if I would do the same. How badly do you want to live? Would you accept your fate according to these arbitrarily-drawn survival based on gender rules? Or do you think you’re better than everyone else for whatever reason, and decide that the ends justify the means? Well let’s hope aliens never invade or the robots never rise up or a nuclear holocaust or war for water or other such horrible thing occurs in our lifetime.
But it might. Last week, one of our employees had her iPhone stolen, right from our offices. Say what you will about attachment, but that hurts. Theft is just wrong. You can resent someone having more than you. Heck, I can even partly resent  someone stronger or faster or smarter or better looking or whatever than me. I suppose I do, in my own way, no matter how happy I may be with my own condition.
But here’s the thing. Steal someone’s possession, they get over it. Steal someone’s opportunity, or their moment …. That doesn’t come back. That’s taking steroids to win, or faking a test result.
Nice guys finish last? You have to cheat to win? Well, we’ll see.
So this week brought with it the last workout of the CrossFit Open, a workout that might as well be called HELL ON WHEELS. I was just not in the mood. Like, really, completely, utterly, did not want to do this workout. Thrusters? Fine. Chest-to-bar pullups? Yech.
For me, as for most other people, this workout was 4 minutes long. 15 thrusters, 15 chest-to-bar pullups, for rounds & reps. I did the first round just fine, then I had the awkward realisation that I had to keep going. Yeah, not my cup of tea. My head was not in the game. Not that I didn’t try; I did try. But there’s a difference between trying hard and WANTING it and also trying hard. Specifically, that’s the difference between last week and this week. Last week I was in the zone. This week I just showed up.
Similar thing on the Saturday. I attended a powerlifting competition by 100% RAW. This one was a full meet with squat, bench press, and deadlift. Even from when I woke up I wasn’t really in a competition mood. As you may recall, I’ve been having shoulder issues so I didn’t want to go too heavy on the bench press.  The other challenge is that I don’t have the foggiest idea of my max squat & deadlift. I haven’t done a max deadlift since I hurt my back a year ago, and I am not sure I trust my max squat since I set it at a place where I don’t really trust the accuracy of the weights.
Plus, one doesn’t want to fail a lift on that platform in front of all those people. It’s one thing to fail on a technicality as I failed my first squat (double bounce at the bottom but that had to do with nerves not strength), it’s another thing to fail a lift.
So my opening squat at 92.5 I failed, but it wasn’t for strength reasons, so I went up in weight to 97.5 for the next lift which should also have been a safety lift. And it was. Next one, 102.5, also easy. Apparently that max is somewhere closer to 110.
Bench press, opened at 60, that was easy and didn’t hurt the shoulder. 65 hurt it a little bit so I stopped.
And then the deadlift! Best advice I got all day was essentially to yank the bar off the floor. No, not with bad form. Set up properly (I’ve learned a lot about that recently!), but don’t pull slowly, pull fast. Kind of like a clean or snatch where your second pull should be fast. Lifts were 115, 125, 135, all stupidly easy. Time also to re-test that max deadlift.
This sport needs more females. There were four lifters, each of us in a different weight class. Silliness.
Then, thanks to David Cross for letting me use the rest of their equipment, I did my muscle up buy out and then a few more for good measure. I was trying to teach someone else (who gave me the compliment of saying this was the best coaching they’d had on the muscle up in months), but this required a few demonstrations. Well, the more you practice the easier it becomes. Virtuosity.
Speaking of compliments, I got an amazing one this week. After gym on Wednesday I went back to the office, unceremoniously set off the alarm by not punching in the code fast enough, then became very upset at the poor response of security. One more thing to add to the list. But I wasn’t going back there for fun, I was going back for a conference call with California, as one does when a number of time zones ahead. So Friday, the guy I had the call with introduced me via email to another company as a ‘thought leader.’ This is the sort of thing you aspire to, the sort of thing that you laugh at people who try to label themselves that. Quite the ego booster, that.
I came to a slight realisation this week, when I was thinking about whether or not, on balance, I really do like being the boss. Of course, will say my family, you’ve been bossy since birth. Haha. Funny cuz it’s true.
It comes with a lot of responsibility, yes, and the associated stress which is doing very bad things to my body. But on the plus side, I get to take care of my people and our customers.
I’m a defender. I’ve always preferred defense to offense. I’m also a protector. I guess in a way that’s a mantra that works for me.
I’m loving the autumn air. Autumn has always been my absolute favourite time of year. Yes, it means winter is coming. But seasons have their place. Change has its place.
Here’s the thing with goals.  If they are too low, they’re pretty pointless.
If they’re too high, they’re pretty pointless.
If you don’t really care about them, they’re pretty pointless.
Where is that magical line between being detached from the outcome enough that you don’t take on all sorts of inappropriate baggage (like I did last year before Regionals), and attached enough that you don’t show up and perform kind of OK, and stay in your comfort zone? How to get out of your comfort zone? Why can I do it on a 500m row and not a chest-to-bar pullup workout?
It’s funny. I was thinking what I should do for the next powerlifting comp is let coach decide my lifts for me, and not even tell me. Then I realised that is completely the wrong lesson.
It’s NOT how strong I am. It’s how strong I think I am.
The test isn’t my muscles. It’s my mind.
  • “You don’t have the Cape Town spirit!” – Adam (apparently you HAVE TO hate Joburg. Whatever; not gonna happen!)
  • “This feels like the workout that never ends!” – Hon
  • “As long as it’s not cinder block walls divided by tin you should get pretty good Wi-Fi pings.” – Scott
  • “Our view is that simplicity will win.” – Scott
  • “Our stuff is easier to sell than the Wi-Fi itself.” – Scott
  • “Life is too short to be mediocre.” – Lance
  • “I dropped the bar on my neck because my arms didn’t want to extend.” – Hes
  • “Well, you did want to drive with me!” – Adam
  • “…so that gives you 40 seconds for the thrusters and 40 seconds for the pullups …” – Neil
  • “Yeah, I don’t want to encounter that wolf.” – Tim
  • “Are you saying our page is not user-friendly?” – Ellie
  • “Well it would work if you kept the bubbles there.” – Dave
  • “I mean, that’s not normal. You don’t redirect something to itself.” – Adam
  • “No, don’t shoot yourself. Call him, then shoot yourself.” – Ellie
  • “Skyrove is certainly doing some interesting things.” – Kian
  • “What sort of hole can we plug. Or we just make a hole.” – Tim
  • “Not so much sabotage as modify.” – Tim
  • “Never a dull moment.” – Michael
  • “Thanks David, for sure i remember Ellie we had a nice drinking party in SF with Finbarr singing aloud.” – Cedric (quote included because firstly it’s hilarious and secondly … I don’t remember the singing)
  • “If there’s too much urine, do I throw the rest away?” – Michelle
  • “I’ve never deadlifted before.” – Tristan
  • “Deadlifting is all about being ugly.” – Howard
  • “You’re stronger than you think you are. You know that, right?” – Howard (story of my life …)
  • “I even bring chalk to yoga.” – Lloyd
  • “The more you practice, the luckier you get.” – Lloyd 

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