Friday Five – June 3

Happy Friday! It’s time for me to once again share what I’ve been up to during the past week. And this week’s edition starts by hopping in the wayback machine.

What I’m listening to: Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A Changin’”

I’ve found the words to this song oddly comforting. The relevance to anyone whose life in transition is obvious. Beyond that, I’m fascinated by Dylan. There are no epic Dylan guitar riffs, his voice sounds weathered and scratchy, and I find his harmonica kind of annoying. Yet Dylan’s songs are timeless. His influence on rock and roll is arguably second only to the Beatles (and maybe even first, considering his influence on the Beatles).

What I’m reading: I mentioned Pavel Tsatsouline in a previous update. I mention him now because I’m following the training program spelled out in his most recent book, Kettlebell: Simple and Sinister (Amazon). What I like about it is that there are no frills. Tsatsouline dislikes the “paradox of choice” that exists in American culture–we have so many options, we either jump between all of them too quickly, or get overwhelmed and try none of them. I suffer from both sides of that problem. Simple and Sinister uses two exercises. That’s it. The advice also reminds me of my Romanian family. A sample: “(The get-up) teaches movement lessons that cannot be learned through sissy exercises with balls, bands, and Ken and Barbie dumbbells.”

What I’m using: If you must know, I’m starting the program with a 16kg kettlebell from Onnit. Part of it is convenience; Onnit is headquartered up the road in Austin, and I received my kettlebell two days after ordering it. But it’s also motivation. I am working toward the the day when I can swing the Gorilla bell because it looks awesome.

What I’m reading, Part 2: I had an unfortunate first this week: I wasn’t able to finish a book before my library loan expired. The book was 10% Happier by Dan Harris (Amazon), an account of how a television news anchor found meditation after an on-air meltdown. It was disappointing not to get to the end of the book and learn Harris’s conclusion. But then I was linked to an essay by Ben Casnocha that connected to many of the book’s key points. I recommend 10% Happier, but if you don’t have time to read an entire book, at least read Casnocha’s work.

I also enjoyed this piece by Joe Posnanski, which is redundant because I love everything written by Joe Posnanski. He is a great sportswriter, but first he is a great writer.

What I’m doing: Continuing with the reading theme, I’ve started posting my book notes on my blog. The Book Notes page is going to be a placeholder with links to everything I share. As of now, three books are on there. I’ll try to add another book any day where I don’t post something else to the blog.

Have a great weekend.

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