Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Is The Veneration

 /r/TheVeneration is trying to reach 1,000 subscribers, so I thought I would try to do my part. So yeah, this will be a little plug-y, but that won't change the fact that it is a great place.

I found The Veneration after /u/Regalzack posted an album on the Male Fashion Advice subreddit. Finally, there was something that wasn't about bright colors and looking like you took fashion advice from the Internet. Here was something about jeans, plain t-shirts, leather jackets. Things I might actually wear without feeling like a try hard. At first, I just checked out the album, but didn't bother to subscribe or anything, since it seemed to mostly be about motorcycles.

A day or so later I saw an x-post from /r/wicked_edge. By then, there were the bare beginnings of a community, and there was stuff on everything from dress to motorcycles to wet-shaving. Stuff I liked. They have even branched out into fitness and cooking.

But The Veneration isn't just about sharing knowledge or stories like most subreddits. It really is a active, fun community. There are a bunch of daily threads, including:
  • Daily quote
  • WAYWT (What Are You Wearing Today)
  • Morning Routine/Shave of the Day
  • General Discussion
As you can see, these cover a pretty wide range of things. There is even a thread every day called "General Discussion" where people can just talk about what's going on, or what ever comes up.

Then there is a daily recurring thread, a different one each day. They are:
  • Man Cave Mondays
  • Tech & Tool Tuesdays
  • Work Project Wednesdays
  • Throttle Thursdays
  • Fitness Fridays
  • Stock Knowledge Saturdays (cooking)
  • Spirits Sunday (alcohol)
You don't have to be interested in every one to enjoy The Veneration. I don't ride, but I still will look at the bikes and read about others' adventures, along with the other threads. Besides, there's a surprising number of cyclists there too. Who knows, maybe you find out you have another hobby. Like cooking. /u/artofsushi makes some great threads about just basic cooking knowledge on Saturdays.

A couple of weeks ago there was discussion as to how to summarize what The Veneration was. It started out with /u/Regalzack saying it was basically about things that interested him. In the end, the best that they could find was something along the lines of, "A spin off of MFA, with motorcycles." It is really hard to summarize something  as all-inclusive as The Veneration.

In short, it's complex. But so are people. So maybe their subreddits should be too.

One more time, this is /r/TheVeneration, or on Pintrest or Facebook.

If you enjoy this blog, subscribe by feed and e-mail, so I can save you time by letting you know when a new post is up. To know what I'm all about, check out this post and this page.Enjoy!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

School Has Started Again

I started school again on Wednesday, so posts will be less frequent for a while until I can build up a good buffer. I've got a heavy course load, so it may be only one or two posts a week for a while. Hopefully I will build it up to three, but that may be a winter break sort of thing. Just stick with me for a little while.

If you enjoy this blog, subscribe by feed and e-mail, so I can save you time by letting you know when a new post is up. To know what I'm all about, check out this post and this page.Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Isolation--Transformative and Terrifying

 We are by nature afraid of the dark. It concerns us to be unaware of what is going on around us. The dark, though, also aids us in our watch. In darkness, movement stands out like the sun; our other senses an amplified. We exist as flowing systems, and thus, we adapt to the darkness. Isolation is no different. Like every trial, when, and if, we come out on top, we are better for it. We learn to adapt to the situation, and carry some of the benefits of that adaptation with us. It's how we become individuals: through adaptation. Our circumstances and happenings make us who we are.

Isolation is a unique trail. It pits us against the thing we should fear the most: ourselves. We tend to launch ourselves into impersonal situations like careers, social events, or even exercise rather than face ourselves without others to mediate the process. Nowadays, our, "self-actualization" happens in self-help seminars, offices, and churches. Our post-industrial glorification of mental strength has caused a decay of our capacities towards spiritual strength. Rather than face our own fears, we instead turn to the fears of others and accept them on our own. Where once we revered the lone monastic, the hermit, the ascetic, almost the point of deification, we now exalt the businessman, the scientist, and the self-help guru as our temporal spiritual leaders.

Courtesy of BrainQuote

In many cultures it use to be a tradition for young men to face periods of at least relative isolation. Native American tribes had the much romanticized vision quests. The original Christian monastics know as the Desert Fathers were individual, isolated hermits in the North African desert. Among the Thais, a man was not considered marriageable until he had spent a few weeks or months in a monastery. The Quakers hold their meetings in silence until someone is moved to speak by the Spirit. Across the world, there is a strong connection between isolation and spiritual adulthood. A connection we are currently losing.

This post will cover my own experiences; the role of the mind; the complexity of isolation; and how to benefit from isolation.        (8 minute read)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventure Report: Wet Shaving


About six weeks ago, I got a Gillette Slim V2 Adjustable from my grandfather.  He has switched to a electric razor, but I had learned online about wet shaving and thought I would try it out. Before that, I had ditched my canned shaving goop for Ivory soap and aftershave, while still using a cartridge razor.

This week, I finally got the opportunity to pick up some soap, a brush and a mug. Using them for the first time was amazing. Easily the best shave I've ever had, and I'm sure it will only get better as I improve my technique.

Right now I'm face lathering, so I can get by with one bowl that is filled with a puck of soap. The one thing I'm worried about is that the bowl is wooden, but I can't find care instructions online. If anyone reading this knows, if you could leave a comment it would be much appreciated.

What I learned:

Cutting the tip of your nose sucks. While I was doing my second pass against the grain along my upper lip, I slipped and cut the part of my nose which separates my nostrils.  It may be the most painful cut I've ever had. When I splashed water on my face to wash off the excess lather it was the most painful thing I've had happen to me all summer. And remember, I stabbed myself in the wrist and sparred this summer. It even beat taking out my contacts after putting on acne medication with salicylic acid in it without washing my hands (because sometimes I'm an idiot).

A good lather is hard to make. To me it seems it would have been easier if I was doing it in another mug, but two mugs is just too hard to juggle. Instead, I did it on my face. The result was one side of my face had too much water in the lather, and the other had too little. It was a great way to learn what not to do, but lead to a bit lower shave quality. Today's was a bit better (to little water overall), so I'm learning at least.

Really, I've been using a DE razor and just Ivory soap for a while, so this wasn't a big change. It was a nice one though. Shaving should be enjoyable, and this makes me look forward to every shave. It's like a series of challenges: get a perfect lather; spread it evenly; shave without cutting yourself; how dry can I get the brush; waiting just the right amount of time for my aftershave to dry on my hands. But even when I don't quite hit all my goals, it is still a delight.

If you enjoy this blog, subscribe by feed and e-mail, so I can save you time by letting you know when a new post is up. To know what I'm all about, check out this post and this page. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

3 Life Pro Tips To Actually Use

For the most part, Lifehacks, or Life Pro Tips tend to be pretty useless. They claim to help you make your life better by instituting small changes in the way you do things. However, they rarely accompany deeper lifestyle changes. They may make you more efficient, which is a great thing in itself, but in the end, without accompanying changes in how you approach and look at life, they don't bring success. Now, for the most part, they don't make this claim outright. However, in places like /r/LifeProTips, /r/Lifehacks, and Lifehacker, the assumption is that technology and tips will lead to a better life. Recently, Ludvig did an article on incremental changes. You don't reach success by changing how you brush your teeth. You reach success by winning, by breaking through the walls around you bit by bit.

For all of that, some of them aren't useless. A lot of them are inane, but some provide ways to either track lifestyle changes, or ease their implementation. Below are the three I find worthwhile.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Adventure Report: MMA Sparring

For some reason, a major fixation in my life has always been fighting. From martial arts films and online tutorials, to shadow boxing, to strengthening my shin bones, I've learned a lot over the years. I haven't had many opportunities to use it. Some fencing bouts, which I mostly lost (except the first one, I won that). Messing around with foam swords when I was younger. I've taken a break from it mostly except for trash talk with my friends.

This past school year though, I've gotten to know some people who are pretty into this sort of thing. MMA, and boxing mostly. I learned a ton from them, but only now go to put what I'd learned into practice.


In short, I got my ass handed to me. I had only a vague idea what I was doing. The friend I was sparring with was stronger, faster, a little bigger, and most importantly, more experienced. I, on the other hand, had pretty much stopped training for martial arts two months ago. I was, quite obviously, out of my league. But I did it anyways.

We did, of course, have some ground rules. No uppercuts, gouging, or knees or elbows to the face. Other blows to the face were okay. Grappling was okay, but didn't end up happening much. And yes, we had gloves.

I found out early one that it was much harder to land blows than I anticipated. My friend had have a very sore bicep the next day, because about half my punches landed there. About a quarter hit air, and the rest landed on his body. I don't think I ever hit is face.

I got hit a lot. He's more flexible than me, and faster, so evading his kicks was pretty much impossible. He would also switch his stance around, which made landing body shots even harder. When I tried switching stance, my jabs ended up having the force of a kitten, and my crosses did a ton of damage to the air.

There was a lot more dancing around, back-and-forth than I anticipated. Dodging blows, keeping him back, my strategy was try not to get hard enough to have to stop. There were a couple of good hits to the head that surprised me a bit, but I was pretty good with the body shots. Until he closed distance.

Overall, my strategy sucked. I wasn't blocking, or moving nearly as much as I should have been. My combos were mostly jab-cross, try a hook, but miss or hit his elbow. I had never fought a moving, thinking opponent before. It was a lot to take in.

Luckily, my friend was great at teaching me. He'd point out the good and bad, tell me some tips before we'd engage again. And even though I got whopped, I think I did okay.

What I learned:

My mind isn't always working for me. No matter what I did, I couldn't hit his face. Even when he gave me an open shot to try it out, I pulled back to soon. The ones I did try were wild hooks I knew wouldn't connect.

I need to train more. Getting back into jumping rope and shadow boxing is a must. More pull-ups, push-ups, dips and ab work. More flexibility training. Overall, I need more chances to get feedback from my body. Here, it told me to look more at my fitness goals, and alter my routine with those in mind. There seem to be a ton to tools out there for biofeedback, but none can beat your own body.

I can take a punch. Continuing my learning experience from stabbing myself, I'm still pretty sure I can hold my own in extreme situations. However, it was obvious that my body still isn't to the point where I can trust it completely to take me to the edge, so that will have to be remedies

If you enjoy this blog, subscribe by feed and e-mail, so I can save you time by letting you know when a new post is up. To know what I'm all about, check out this post and this page.Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Limits of Possibility

"I don't know...anything is possible in 3 dimensions."--Z-man
Follow his finger.
A friend of mine said this when asked a question is math class. Being him, he didn't quite get the whole meaning of what he had just said. It gave me a lot of food for thought though. Just what was possible in this 3D world of ours, and how could we find it? The answer to the second is simple: reach the limits. That will tell us the answer to the first. However, in simply attempting to reach the limits of the possible, we run into a very basic problem: how do we know we are at the limit?

This post will cover my take on all that by exploring: the reality of a 3D world; an interpretation of Genesis; practical limits; and hidden limits.