Getting down to business

About 15 years ago, I was averaging between 65-80 Kg’s (170 lbs).  Playing sport’s helped and I was happy with my weight.  I never intended, nor did I have any desire to be the most ripped or best built person, but I always wanted to be comfortable in my body.

About 7 years ago, things changed when a accident had my barred from gym for 2 years.  There was also limitations put on any home workouts as I had very strict instructions not to put strain on my body.  Only after two years did I get the go ahead from my Doctor, only to injure myself once more.

You can say then that for the last few years it has been a up and down struggle.  Not until a few weeks ago did I realize that I am far from happy in my body.  And this has now spurred me into action.  But it is not as easy as people tend to make it out to be.  Obesity and also having the ability to work through this especially if you doing so alone is challenging and has made me realize that I have to do so unless I intend on ending up as a overweight middle aged individual.

Look, don’t get me wrong, I have put on a lot of weight since the days of me playing sports, but I am comfortable in putting in the hard work to get there.  So here is the breakdown:

-Weight is currently at 242 lbs.  Leaving me to lose about 35-40 lbs.

-Due to limitations in my gym routines and to avoid any injuries, I can only work out for the most 4 days a week.

-Dieting is expensive and can become quite a pricey affair, especially if you have to eat regular small meals.

-I work during the night, so my sleeping/eating patterns is different to the average individual.

I have looked up work out plans because to be honest, this is stuff you can learn on the net instead of paying a ton of money to an instructor at Gym who spends half of his/her lesson on their Social Media accounts.  I have also worked out my own eating plans.  But after considering the latter, I decided that maybe I should go see a Dietician.  My health plan covers this but there may be a pay in.  I have slowly worked my way back into the workouts and have been going frequently. Eating wise I consider myself to be generally good, but this can be different on the weekend which kinda defeats the purpose I suppose.

Which is why I am appealing to anyone with suggestions, tips or just some knowledge on how to shed the kilo’s.

Let me pick up the torch

For the last few years Hip Hop has gone through a transition where the elitist is busy counting their money from all their royalties, where Rappers became business men who is too busy increasing their respective brands instead of making the music that we have loved for so many years.

20 years ago, the Rap Game saw two of the most iconic rappers battle it out.  Christoper Wallace and Tupac Shakur had the world divided.  West Coast vs East Coast, Death Row vs Bad Boy Records, Outlawz vs Junior Mafia.  There was so many subplots and even though it made for entertaining of the highest quality, it also meant the demise and death of two of the most gifted artists in the genre’s very dark but also lucrative history.

For year thereafter, the likes of Nas, Jay Z, DMX, Lil Wayne and recently Drake and Kendrick Lamar have been putting out hits and claiming to be the self proclaimed King of Hip Hop.

A heavy crown to carry considering that it carries a lot of pressure, and have rappers lyrics gone through with a fine tooth comb.  And this made me think of a few things.

I have always been a huge fan and critic of Nas.  The self proclaimed God Son, has changed and adapted to the times, his last critically acclaimed outing “Life’s Good” was a commercial success after his divorce from R&B singer Kelis.  The artist, showing off his new style swagger in his videos showed us glimpses of his “Illmatic” side in a few of the tracks.  With the artist due to drop a new album, I am sorry but the Hip Hop community is in need of a “Illmatic”.

Enters Kendrick Lamar.  The Compton native recently released his much anticipated LP “Damn”.  I have not seen the ratings of this, neither do I intend on doing a full write up of the album, but all I can say is that if you are a fan of Hip Hop, get your hands on this one.

Not since Stillmatic and Life’s good, have i ever managed to not skip a track.

Seems like Kendrick just picked up the torched.

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Pick me up Monday

Happy Easter to one and all celebrating!

For those of us that have to work, just a question as we head into this Easter Monday.

“What is your favorite performance by a artist or band and why?”

For the average music lover, they will think about their favorite artist/band and just choose that as their most watched.  But what people sometimes forget is the impact, reason and message these performances signify.  It can either be very a very technical reason, or just pure passion, which in my opinion is scarce in the world we currently occupy.

As young as I am, I have fond memories of VHS tapes and stories that my parents shared with me.  This lead me to just love music more.  So strangely, my favorite would happen 1 month after my birth, but I first saw the tape about 5 years later and instantly fell in love with it.  As I became older, the message and reason became even more clear and this lead me to just believe more in the power of music, as well as the message it can potentially carry.

Over the years there has been tons of performances.  Listed below is 5 that springs to mind and can be notable mentions:

  1.  Michael Jackson Motown 25- As always, a very good rendition of Billy Jean, but more notably the debut of the Moonwalk.  Even though Jackson did not invent the move, he certainly became synonymous with it.
  2.  Prince Superbowl XLI-In my opinion one of the best performances seen at any Superbowl, Prince has always been a very interesting artist, and his renditions of Purple Rain, Best of You, Let’s go crazy, Proud Mary and All along the watchtower is one of the best performances in Superbowl history.
  3. Beats by Dre Live-Not in the traditional sense, but this is iconic in the fact that when Dre launched his live Apple Beats channel, he chose to promote his 90’s playlist by having the actual artists perform.  The likes of Nas, Dre, Bone Thugs, Pharcyde, A Tribe called Quest, Method Man & Redman and many others dawned the mic for a icon of the Hip Hop scene.
  4. AC/DC Live in Riverplate-If you want to see a massive amount of people in the same stadium, rocking to the tunes of the classic band, look no further.  They absolutely rocked the stadium and proved once more the caliber that they posses.
  5. Nirvana Unplugged-Probably the best MTV Unplugged next to notable mentions of Lauren Hill and Eric Clapton, Nirvana was just full of raw emotion.  You could also see the psychological state of Kurt Cobain, the show being one of his last public performances before his sad passing three years later.

Which brings me to my favorite live performance;

Queen-Live Aid-Wembley

Let’s be honest.  The world has never and will not ever see a more majestic performer like the late Freddie Mercury.  The man was an absolute genius and he put all his love in his music.  Bohemian Rhapsody, We will Rock you, We are the champions, Crazy little thing called love, Hammer fall and Radio Gaga, all packed into 24 minutes.

What amazed me more was the crowd anticipation.  The man knew how to attract their attention and this made it even more worthwhile.

What is yours?

 

Public Enemy Nr 1

With the removal of his Finance Minister and the everlasting doubt over his leadership, clear favoritism and his corrupt ties, President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma has triggered what will be the biggest protest in the country’s history.

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Since abolishing Apartheid in the 90’s, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the return from exile for a lot of the African National Congress, the country just can’t seem to catch a break.  Zuma, who himself is a controversial figure, has come under immense scrutiny as well as calls for him to resign his seat as President of the Republic.

A President that did not finish Primary School, who has over 700 charges of fraud and corruption against his name, a healer of HIV by taking a shower, and who spent over R250 Million ($27 Million) of State money to build and upgrade is home in Nkandla.  How much more can the country take?  With the removal of his Finance Minister and 15 other Ministers and their Deputies, the country has decided enough is enough.

His own leadership group within the ANC has blasted him in the media over his latest screw up and one only has to wonder if this will be the beginning of what could easily become a Civil War.  If you look at the bigger picture and compare his reign to Robert Mugabe, one has to fear that the most powerful economy in Africa may just become a second Zimbabwe.  While the country cannot boast about Oil, or their infrastructure, they can lay claim to being one of the richest countries on earth in terms of their natural resources.  If I have to go on about the countless things this tyrant has done we would be here all night.

Instead, in case you don’t know, here is a few of my favorite pictures from Zapiro, a popular cartoonist from South Africa, who has made it his job to come up with some of these classics:

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-Before he became the President of the Republic, Zuma claimed that after having sex with a HIV positive female, he washed it off by taking a shower…hence the name…and drawings of a Showerhead.

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He off course has multiple wives and has fathered over 20 children.  The state pays for them too.

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His repeating ability to get away and manipulate the Justice system.

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His relationship with the Gupta family.

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Suing cartoonist Zapiro for damaging his reputation.  The case was thankfully dropped later.

 

The Weekend that was Binged

Binge watching.  One of he modern times’ most favorite hobby…OK, one of mine instead.  I’m sure that plenty of you have done this, especially after a few hectic days/weeks and all that you require is to kick back, relax and catch up on your favorite viewing pleasures.

So after nearly two years, I decided to catch up on The 100 the past weekend.  It came to fore after a few hectic weeks where I decided to take an additional day off.  After meeting up with a old friend for lunch, after coming home I decided to sit back, get out the snacks and start my binge.  Heck, I did have two full seasons to catch up on and after receiving some rave reviews from a few buddies, Seasons 2 and 3 would make for some entertaining Binging….(is that even a word?).

Halfway through Season 3.  Must say that it has impressed me.  Kinda reminded me of an old book I read in school about 15 years ago, The Lord of the Flies.

Written in the 50’s by William Golding, it tells the tale of a bunch of school children stranded on an uninhabited island and their struggle to form some sort of governance.  It tells the tale of how preadolescent children turn to savagery in order to survive.

And somehow, this relates to how The 100 plays out.  At first, a bunch of children sent to Earth who they believed was uninhabitable, only to me met by Grounders, Reapers and the Mountaineers.  It tells the tale of how children are made to act like grown ups and fend for one another.

10 Episodes to go.  Makes me think…Who will be Piggy in this tale?

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Music is the Soul of the Man

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
-Bob Marley

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At times, it speaks to a situation, to a part of your soul that no one can comprehend
to your heart that no one can understand and to your sanity because without it, you
may just grow to dislike everything that you once stood for.

Everyone has their own Genre, everyone has that one particular sound that makes you
forget what life is throwing at you, and just being able to breathe again.  Whether
it be the reassurance of Freddie Mercury and Queen, the passion of life Bob Marley
portrayed or even the inventiveness of Michael Jackson when he was in his peak.

Playlist are made to fit your mood.  The Shuffle button is there if you want to be
random.  The repeat function allows you to relive a moment in your life that you
don’t want to forget.  Music, is the universal language that we all speak.

AC/DC made us want to get on the “Rock and Roll train”, Nirvana reminded us to “Come
as you are”, Queen told us “We are the Champions” while Bon Jovi laid you on a “Bed
of Roses.”  I can go on for days and cannot stress the importance of Music enough.

To be honest, had it not been for this, I would have been declared insane.  This is
a fact that I have laughed about, but sitting here thinking of the severity of how
different my life could have been, makes me appreciate it more.  And while I am a
stickler for the older generation of music, I still occasionally put my feelers out
to see what the world of entertainment can offer.

There is no amount of playlists that you can create, that will ever be either perfect
or complete.  Something, someone will always be missing and it can be a good source
of banter between your mates.  While some will not like the fact that you prefer Green
Day over Limp Bizkit, or prefer the newer kids on the block, whether there is a
preference for Kendrick Lamar over Drake or if Whitney Houston had a better vocal
range then Adele…the debates is endless.

If you had to ask my now, what my favorite 30 songs would be, I would probably end up
giving you 120 and that would not be enough.  The same can be said for Artists because
while you have your preferences, you also get those that will have a track or two, that
you feel directly speaks to you.  And that is what Music is about, lyrics or beats that
speaks to your soul.  Music that when heard, you just nod in agreement and close your eyes.
It sets you free and can bring you back from the darkness.

“It’s better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you’re not…”
-Kurt Cobain.

Getting back into the act

We are all aware of the storms that life can throw at you.  There will always be the days when you wish you were on some distant planet, or very far away from your current circumstances.

Every person, no matter what their  background, have to sit and find a way back to an acceptable level of productivity or even sanity if you may.  And no matter how easy you perceive your circumstances to be, it can become a struggle.

Me?  The last few months has been tough.  Tough in the sense where Personal Development in the work place has been replaced by unbearable conditions for productivity.  Tough in the sense where my health has taken a decline and I just can’t seem to care about improving this in the least.  Tough where I have been pressurizing myself to an extent where it has effected my sanity.

Where to from here?

Work:  No longer am I sitting back.  I have applied for positions with other firms.  I am still giving my 100% as I always will, but will keep my reservations.

Health:  Starting to Gym again.  have a decent work out plan so cannot wait to get back in the swing of things.

Mental State:

And this is where the idea for the post comes from.  Since I have not posted in a long while, this will once more be a good avenue to get back to a level of sanity acceptable to my day to day workings.

Reading more.  I have not read a proper novel or auto in a while.  Speaking to like minded individuals, I have decided to get back to this too.  Nothing says strong willed than someone willing to chill with a book.

Think I should change the name of this blog…

No, will rather keep it as is.  But I promise I am back.