Welcome To My World


Welcome to Zen Madman Dot Compadre!

I’ve been contemplating this move for over a year now. I’ve finally decided to go ahead and divide my writing interests into 7 semi-broad categories. I’m going to publish one article in each of these areas every week. The categories are as follows:

Continue reading

More exercise, slightly better diet

Going pretty well on the exercise front. My arms in particular are tired. It’s entirely possible that I’m going for too much too soon, but that’s sort of how I do things. Time will tell.

My plan it’s pretty simple. Start with 10 minutes of running or biking, followed by 10 weight lifting exercises. I’m starting with 2 sets of 5 reps of each exercise, followed by 6, then 7, then 8 in future sessions. After my 8 rep session, I’ll bump the weight up and drop the reps back down to 5. Rinse and repeat.

In terms of food, I ate a little after midnight last night, but only because I stayed up pretty late. I didn’t gorge myself, so that’s a start. It’s only 9pm now and I feel like I may be done eating for the day, so perhaps this is where I start the improvement in my diet. Fascinating stuff, I know.

Follow this link if you’d like to be more entertained in the next second than you were in the last three paragraphs: John Oliver Crap

Exercise? Check. Diet? Meh.

I have started/continued my new program of exercise. I’m feeling pretty good about it, both because of and despite the soreness throughout my body. It’s still a work in progress – not 100% sure how it’s going to shake out, but some combination of weights and cardio sounds right.

In terms of diet? Well, so far no good. That’s not to say that I’ve been eating a large amount of terrible food, but my whole thing about not eating before midnight has yet to come to fruition. Not sleeping last night was part of that. So if I go to sleep tonight at a reasonable hour, I can avoid eating after midnight. More news on that tomorrow.

New plan, same as the old plan

Ready for some whiplash? Good.

In my last post, I pondered the idea of ending my commitment of daily posts. I’m not going to do that just yet. Instead, I’m going to temporarily turn this into my fitness blog, because that’s the way this zen madman’s path is currently rambling.

I joined a gym this week. Did some cardio and weights. That’s because my current #1 goal is to regain my fitness and health. I’m probably in the worst shape of my life right now. There’s an extent to which I feel like I’m just getting old, but I also know that I’m not that old.

Everyone is always getting older. That’s the nature of time. The only people not getting older are dead people. So getting old beats the alternative, from my point of view, anyway.

Tomorrow/today, I plan to do a good chunk of cardio along with some weights. This feels like a good place to start. Build muscle. Burn fat. Diet is an important consideration as well, but I’m going to start out with a simple gremlin diet. No feeding after midnight.

188 more posts? Maybe not.

2015 is nearing its midpoint, and I have made a pledge to myself and to my handful of readers. That pledge was to post to this site every single day for the rest of the year. I had my reasons for making this commitment, but I’ve been pondering the idea of divorcing myself from it.

My initial intention involved self-promotion and self-discipline, and I feel like this exercise is contributing to neither. I have been getting a bit more traffic around these parts, but I haven’t actually been doing much in the way of self-promotion, and I haven’t felt like this exercise has improved my writing discipline.

Consider this a forewarning. I may revoke my challenge. I won’t do it at the end of a day on which I have not written a post. No, I’ll do it in advance. How far in advance? Not quite sure yet. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Way of the Poker Warrior:
Twelve Moves Away

I have never had the “pleasure” of fighting my teacher. I have, however, witnessed him playing with some of his other students. I say “playing” because the students never really have a chance. They get hit here, there, and everywhere, and even the very talented fighters never seem to land anything. Now, my teacher clearly has a huge edge in terms of experience. When you teach someone everything they know, but not everything you know, then you know more than they know. But this does not account for the entirety of his insurmountable edge.

I have played with some of my own Taekwon-Do students, and I have found the same to be true. This massive edge comes from knowing exactly what my students are capable of. Being someone’s teacher is the easiest way to have a perfect read. I know what they’re thinking because I told them to think it. I also observe them fighting each other on a regular basis, whereas they rarely get to see me in action. There is an informational disparity.

In poker, there are two parts to every decision:

* Make assumptions about how your opponent plays.
* Choose the most profitable play against that opponent.

If you have accurate assumptions about your opponent, you will be able to consistently choose the most profitable play, hand after hand. While you may wind up teaching some students and having an edge on them, you’ll play most of your hands against relative strangers. You need to find a way to obtain information on them more efficiently than they obtain information on you. To do this, you must know what to look for.

As a fighter, I have a list of things to look for:

* Which leg do they favor?
* Can they punch effectively?
* Will they drop their hands if I throw a punch or a waist-high kick?
* Will they keep their hands too high if I throw some head shots?
* Can I slip my back foot towards my front foot without them reacting?
* How do they like to attack?
* How do they like to counter?
* Do they have any tells?

If this book were strictly about fighting, the list would be a lot longer. But you get the point.

I also have a list of things I look for in poker:

* Will they open limp? (And is there an open seat to their left?)
* Will they fire the third barrel?
* Can they turn a made hand into a bluff?
* Do they induce bluffs with reasonably strong hands?
* Will they screwplay the turn or sexy the river?
* Do they wait for the turn in position with big hands?
* Do they wait for the turn out of position with big hands?
* Will they call down light?
* Will they make super-thin value bets? Too thin?
* Will they make tough laydowns? Too tough?
* Can they raise bluff the river?
* Can they 3-bet bluff the turn?

The list goes on and on. You must compile your own checklist. Exactly what to look for depends on which form of poker you’re playing. But there are a couple of general guidelines that may help:

* **It’s easier to determine that someone *can* do something than that they *cannot*.** If you see someone raise bluff the river, then you know they are capable of raising the river as a bluff. But how many times must you see them *not* raise bluff the river to determine that they will never raise the river as a bluff? I can’t give you an exact number, but it’s more than one.
* **Identify tendencies that make a player stand out.** It’s not very useful to learn that a particular tight aggressive player does something that most tight aggressive players do. It *is* useful to learn that this player does something that only loose passive players typically do.

Learn what your opponent is capable of. Think about what they’re likely to do before they do it. Like a chess master, think 12 moves ahead of your opponent. Like a fighter, leverage this information to hit them where it hurts.

A day at the office

Today was my first day working in my new office. Well, I must say it was awesome. Never thought I would take to working in an office, but the significant reduction in distractions was most excellent. Of course there is wifi that I could use, but I chose not to even set it up, so as to avoid the temptation of checking baseball scores and engaging in other nonsense. I did indulge in a little Steven Pinker, but now I can finish those books at home. The rest of my days will be spent hammering on the keys, making movie magic.

Tuesday’s just as bad

They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.

In fairness, there was no actual storm on Monday and, nonetheless, Tuesday was not quite as bad. But the air was gross and it was supposed to storm, and there was more construction in my bathroom. Spackle over the sheet rock, and all that’s left now is a Thursday painting.

Wednesday’s worse, and Thursday’s also sad.

So what’s left? As the great Jimi Hendrix once said, “I still got my guitar. Look out, now.” So I’ll play a little guitar and listen to a little music, and perhaps pen a song about writing or write a story about playing guitar.

The miracle of duct tape

When I say that my bathroom ceiling caved in last night, that might be a slight exaggeration. The emphasis there is on the word “slight.” Because pieces of my ceiling fell onto my floor, along with water and goop. There was a gaping hole where those pieces of ceiling had been, and more of the ceiling was hanging down, threatening to pull the rest with it. Not fun.

I considered this an emergency but, unfortunately, the super and maintenance folks in my building were unavailable. So I turned to Michael Westen’s best friend – no, not Sam Axe – duct tape. With a little bubble wrap and a lot of duct tape, I was able to stitch the ceiling back together until the morning, when the maintenance dude came and fixed the upstairs plumbing, then installed a new bathroom ceiling. Good times.

A leak

A moment ago, I was sitting in my bathroom with an umbrella open. There is a leak in my ceiling, and the building refuses to do anything about it until Monday. Sort of seems like an emergency to me, not because I don’t like holding an umbrella on the toilet, but because I estimate there is a non-zero chance of the ceiling caving in. Maybe it wouldn’t be a toilet falling through the ceiling like it would if life were written as a comedy. (It sort of is written as a dark comedy, isn’t it?) But a bunch of ceiling plaster and other stuff might rain down on my bathroom floor from my bathroom ceiling. At least it’s raining outside, too!

Quoth the Bradbury

I was looking around for a particular Ray Bradbury quote when I stumbled upon another interesting one:

I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves – you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.

Aside from likely being known to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon prior to their writing of Good Will Hunting, I found this quote to be particularly relevant to me today, as I have just decided to make the public library my new writing office for the next week. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll report back next Friday.