This article is about how hurting yourself a little bit can turn a shitty day around.
A bad day isn’t a day that contains pain. A bad day is a day that contains no feeling at all. A totally neutral day. Frequently I have days like that, where I don’t feel anything, and for some reason I feel like shit at the end of those days. Styrofoam shit.
When people talk about how working out elevates mood, I think it’s actually that working out is painful. And you only feel awesome once the pain is gone and the endorphins come. But it was the pain that got you there. Nobody ever felt awesome after a half-assed workout.
Lately I’ve been exposing myself to pain where possible because it gives me a chance to wage war against myself, mentally and physically, and to win or lose some self-respect. If I can string together enough days where I can, for example, shower with only cold water – I seem to gain power and momentum for the rest of the day. That shower couldn’t fuck with me, so what’s next?
If I can’t take the shower I’m pretty much retreating into my shell, weakened, and certainly not feeling very powerful. Pussy Ryan won. The Ryan I want to be is nowhere to be found that day.
By default, I don’t at all want to feel pain. Nobody is wired to seek pain, we’re all wired to go for comfort and pleasure. But I make myself feel it anyway when I can bring myself to. I do this because I know the voice in my head that discourages me from feeling pain is the same voice that discourages me from taking risks, manning up, going for broke, and doing the meaningful things in my life. It’s the voice telling me to run from fear instead of smashing into it head on.
The voice is my inner wimp complaining. The voice in my head coming up with completely rational reasons not to do the belly flop (Thanks Ty!). And thanks Kyle, for leading the synchronized flopping with flawless form.
We have more respect for people who can push through pain, and less respect for wimps. Exposing ourselves to pain, even just a little, is a way to win some self-respect and the feeling of being a badass every single day. It’s a way to turn shit around if we woke up feeling like thumb-sucking infants fresh from shitting the crib, then crying about it.
It’s funny how I’ve never noticed how much a player’s “approach” factors into the force they generate during a pull. But after watching this footage it’s obvious that footwork plays a huge role in adding distance into a throw.
There seems to be a consistent “big last step” in which all that lateral force is planted into the lead foot and translated into torque. It looks like everyone instinctively does this. To get even more yardage, it looks like many players also “hop” into that big last step, probably storing even more elastic energy in their muscles and tendons during those last microseconds of their wind up.
One thing that’s really interesting to watch is what the “non” frisbee hand is doing. For backhand pullers, most of them seem to be using two hands to wind up, then (obviously) letting go with the non-throwing hand at the moment the forward twist begins. For my forehand throw, I actually seem to use my left arm to generate whiplash and “pre-trace” the path which the disc will take. Super strange!
This drill will turn your hands into plastic-magnets. And yes, contrary to popular believe, plastic IS magnetic. Watch the video for proof.
Ultimate frisbee players are handicapped much in the way football players are – it’s tough to improve throwing and catching skills without a buddy, nice weather, and lots of space. Getting way better at frisbee doesn’t need to depend upon the availability of friends. You can jack up your skills by yourself, in your own backyard.
For this drill I’ve isolated the pop pass for practicing. If the Backhand is King and the Flick is Queen, the humble (but important) pop pass is certainly on the dais during every feast. It just doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
A new player using a strong fake followed by a reliable pop pass (to a dump or up field) can damn near eliminate typical short range errors. Short range flicks and backhands, by contrast, are tough to catch and difficult to throw. So we pop.
This pop pass/catch drill is designed to improve the certainty with which you:
Throw pop passes at super short range.
Catch single-handed on both sides.
So, as promised, here’s the video for turning your hands into PLASTIC MAGNETS:
Splitting wood brings me joy. So much so that I’ve made a video detailing how it has completely replaced my previous workout with an olympic barbell. It’s just one of those things that makes you feel like a beast. It’s probably in our DNA to get satisfaction from splitting wood, and one of those rare things we can do which is super destructive yet legal and socially acceptable.
So about 8 months ago I stupidly asked my buddy Tyler if he could teach me how to bake bread. I didn’t even know or care what kind of bread we’d be baking, so in many ways the suffering I later endured was completely Tyler’s fault.
Tyler bakes sourdough. The most challenging fucking bread in the world to master.
Why Sourdough is so Fucking Difficult to Bake
This isn’t baking a cake. There’s no middle-ground. Either your bread is world-class or it fucking sucks. And when it sucks and you’re just starting out, you just want to scream at the ceiling and rip all of the hair off your body because it took you DAYS to get that bread made.
You don’t get to use commercial yeast. No. You get those fuckers out of the motherfucking AIR and from the flour itself. And that takes a long god damn time to happen. Days in the summer, weeks in the winter. Then only hours when you’re a Bread God and have a little colony of yeast domesticated in a jar in your kitchen, ready to bake with when you god damn well feel like it.
For something with such simple ingredients (only flour and water, with some optional salt) – sourdough technique is next fucking level. If you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, you’re completely fucked. You stand exactly a 0% chance of getting it right. Luck can’t help you. You stand no chance. It’s that hard.
However, if you know someone who can teach you how to create sourdough bread, you’re marginally less fucked. I’m only saying marginally less fucked because during that first bake with a sourdough master, there’s going to be so much going on that you simply don’t have the ability to see – yet. The master has spent months developing a refined sense for each step of the process – from how “strong” the dough should feel after folding it, to how “alive” the dough seems after fermentation (all jiggly and full of air). The beginner only sees a ball of dough in a bowl.
The subtleties of fermentation are pretty much impossible to get a sense for by reading a blog or watching videos. Though you still have to spend many hours reading this blog if you want to stand a chance. Even with all that reading, you’ll likely have to fuck up dozens of god damn times before the table starts to turn in your favour.
Here’s a photo of a shitty loaf I baked:
Every time one of these came out of the oven, I was very sad.
There were so many more depressing loaves like these. These things had the texture of hockey pucks. I threw some of this “bread” to a squirrel during the winter and it jumped over it. I baked some for my relatives and they made fun of both me and the bread. I would have laughed at me too, the bread was fucking terrible.
Even near the end, when I was getting some success by using some angry-ass rye flour to power-punch my fermentation in the face, I still had to resort to using a pull saw to get through the bread:
It turns out that after months of fucking around and failing over and over and over and over and fucking over, I’d developed reasonably acceptable sourdough technique. Through repetition alone, I had gained a pretty obsessive understanding of the timing for fermentation and the development of strength, flavour, and how temperature retards or accelerates everything. I learned how to shape these shits with a drywall blade. It seemed like I was doing everything right.
But after half a year of failure, my bread still fucking sucked, and I was very sad. I had tried everything and nothing was working. Lia thought it was the flour that was causing the repeat failures. So I texted Tyler.
The TSN Turning Point
The next day I went down to the most reputable bakery in town and ordered 25kg of their no-fucking-around STRONG BAKER’S FLOUR.
And then I started dominating the absolute shit out of sourdough.
The bread was so soft and beautiful a normal bread knife couldn’t cut it without totally squishing it and ripping it apart. So I ordered the bread-equivalent of a god damn Japanese samurai sword.
And now I’m happy.
I wanted to give up so badly. And to tell you to truth, I did twice. In my head I’d quit. Fuck this, it’s way to fucking hard, I’m done.
But then I’d read something new like how you’re not supposed to cut into the bread until 1 full hour after you’ve removed it from the oven because it’s still bakingand if you cut into it too early it will be all dense and shitty and the crust will be really thick and hard.
So I’d be like, “Well, I have to try that.”
And then through brute stubbornness, I stumbled into the solution, which was to switch up the god damn fucking shitty flour I was using.
And the final triumph felt amazing, made all the more blissful from all the struggling and failure.