The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fiddling About

I've been fiddling with my exercise program for decades. It's part of what amuses me and keeps me engaged with something that otherwise might get pretty boring. As I ramp my fitness up another level in preparation for visiting my first karate instructor, Steve Muhammad, in May, I noticed that I was having problems with recovery. I wasn't sleeping well, and was too damned sore. And started wondering if I was just hitting the age wall. I knew that enough yoga would compensate, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I rebel at the idea of spending more than an hour a day engaged with my body directly--feels a bit like a distraction, even if it's only temporary. But I"m experimenting with a cluster of exercises designed to produce not only fitness, but recovery, in less time (I'd like to get to Bikram once a week, but need the benefits every freaking day.) I'll talk about this more as time goes by, but I think I've got my hands on something very interesting:

Morning: Warrior Wellness joint circles. Djurus (silat patterns). Kettlebell minimums (either five minutes of Get-Ups, or 12-20 minutes of H2H Intervals, or "Fat Rippers" [intervals using a treadmill for "active recovery", one minute one and one minute off]).

All right...then my "Five Minute Miracle" work, every three hours a couple of minutes of Scott Sonnon's Prasara series. These are yoga flows, five basic versions, comprising a total of about 25 poses. The brilliant thing about the Prasara sets is that the transitions between the poses are as important as the poses themselves. Potentially more sophisticated than Ashtanga, because Ashtanga uses the exact same "Vinyasa" to connect every pose with the next, while Prasara demands that you look for the smoothest, most efficient route between each pose, leading to some really elegant and wild maneuvers. These connective asana are just great, and if you're warmed up they release the residual muscle tension as well takes 90 minutes of Bikram to release the tension. I've been finding that doing three minutes of Prasara five times a day is damned near comparable. I'm not sure if that's right...need to go to Bikram this week and see how it feels. But damned if it doesn't feel like I've cracked that nut.


Better still, I throw a die or draw cards to decide which one I'm going to do. The result is that my body has to be ready to move in any direction at any time. So far, so very very good.


Lotsa work today, and just got back from Norwescon last night, feeling a little dragged out. Need to take a slow day, let myself recover a bit. Toni, my ex, was here at the house visiting with Nicki. Apparently, Jason had them watch one of my favorite old monster movies, "Caltiki the Immortal Monster." Best "Blob" movie ever made. Really good cheese. Would love to see the Mystery Science 3000 version.


We're going back down the rabbit hole for the third Tennyson Hardwick novel, "From Capetown With Love." It's going to be wild, and tense stuff. At the same time we're juggling a half dozen other things...but you know, I still wish that things had gone better over at Searchlight. That whole thing about everybody being frightened to do movies that haven't been done before. Black films, as such, are pretty much confined to comedies, family dramas and gangster stuff. No horror, science fiction, adventure, or thrillers. Yeah, you get black stars in such things, but they are usually a tiny island of melanine in a sea of pale flesh. Our script would sell in a second if we removed the racial references, but then we'd be betraying the original book, and I can't do that. But damn, it's frustrating.


Anonymous said...

Interesting exercise perspective; my must-do is a heavy set of squats once a week; Pareto effects, everything else put together is the icing on the cake.

Mike R said...

I liked the second Tennyson Hardwick novel quite a bit, it was a fast enjoyable read like the first, but I do have two problems with it, one minor and one more major;

Minor: (SPOILERS!) You ended it with him being rich! Not "Fuck-off" rich, but he no longer has the wolf at the door. I don't really see why that had to be done. Having Ten need the money for the cases in Books 1 & 2 gave him an additional motivation and now that's gone. Besides, having the Detective being broke in a honorable tradition in detective lit, and it became a tradition because it naturally adds drama and conflict to a story. Now, that's gone.

Major: In Book 1 I really felt like I got to see what it was like in the world of rap and hip-hop. I felt like a door was opened up to a culture I'm not familiar with. When you announced the basic plot of Book 2 I was really looking forward to exploring the culture of professional sports, but I never got that. I never felt like I really got to explore the culture of professional sports the way that Book 1 explored the music biz. This was kind of a let down.

Pagan Topologist said...

I have been wondering about something, Steve: It occurs to me that a movie like you were trying to sell might have been more likely to be approved by a white exec than a black one. If it goes bad, the black executive who approved it could be accused of being blinded by racial issues in approving it. A white one would be mostly immune from that, and would have less to lose, career wise if the movie flopped for that reason.

Is this a possibility, or am I missing something important?

Steven Barnes said...

I think you have a point, but mostly because black film execs are such a rarity. They dare not make a mistake. If they were represented according to population statistics, that wouldn't be true. I think.

Steven Barnes said...

Mike: I feel you. We want Tennyson to be a bottom-feeder in Hollywood, which means he has to make money, or he's not in the game at all. In comparison to the average person, he has money, yes. But not in comparison to the people he rubs shoulders with, and that will drive him nuts. I don't remember Spencer ever being short of money...

Mike R said...

I get that Ten has to be wealthy compared to Joe Six Pack, and he has to be making some decent money from his career, but I thought the size of the lawsuit settlement just went above and beyond. That was, what, about what Ten has made legitimately over the last five years? Ten years?

The lawsuit gave some drama and was nice background noise. It could have been a great a B or C story, but it felt like it was wrapped up too quickly and too happily with a nice little bow at the end. Ten was going up against one of, if not the, most powerful women in Hollywood. That's a big opponent to take on, and it brought up a bunch of his past issues with himself - great! That's all good drama. But then at the very end of the book, with pretty much no real buildup and almost as a post-note, we find that the most powerful women in Hollywood caved, completely and utterly, to a B or C actor with past history of prostitution. Hmm. I don't see the dramatic benefit of having that happen.

Ten DECIDING on not prostituting himself and then going forward with the lawsuit was a huge risk and big step for him. But once that lawsuit was in motion, where was the sacrifice or effort from Ten? I'm not saying he shouldn't have won, eventually, but it shouldn't have been so easy for him. It should have been a strugle. I thought it was going to carry on over to book 3 and be a big weight over his head. Instead, it ended abruptly with a huge settlement that solved his money problems for at least the next couple of years. With that big fat settlement, is Ten really going to need to push himself the next year (which given the ending of the book is when I assume the next book takes place)?

AF1 said...

Personally I like that in the old days there was a stigma attached to working in porn. Kept most decent folk away from a dirty industry IMO.

It seems like it's not as taboo now.

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