Parking Lot Friends

I’ve gotten into a bit of a routine. It works for me on 80% of the days when I’m on what a could be considered a “regular” schedule. Of course, with my schedule, that only really happens about 30% of the time. And to be fair, I hate 100% of all statistics so I don’t even know why I’m describing it all this way.
parking guy

But basically, I’ve gotten friendly with some of the guys who run the parking lot near the gym by my work that I try and go regularly.

In fact, lots of people have. They’re two of the friendliest guys in Culver City.

One of them calls me “Red hair.” I gather that’s likely because I have red hair. He says, “There she is. Reeeeeeeeed hair! Headed to get her workout on!” and as much as I can be a little hermity weirdo at the gym and don’t always like to make friend with the parking lot people because I’m strangely antisocial sometimes, I’m kinda crazy about these guys. They have a natural charm that unnerves me. One of them always has the biggest smile on. He especially seems to really enjoy talking to people who are coming to and from their car. They always make a point to smile and say, “Hi!” I see them chatting with everyone. They make what could be a mundane job into a really interesting and fun one. They create a sense of community and warmth that makes me look forward to seeing them when I am able to make it to the gym.

In fact, their friendliness is infectious and puts me in a good mood. And that makes me grateful to them. And that makes me feel connected to them. Even though we haven’t said more than a few words to each other. And that’s inspiring. And very cool.

And I like having friends.

And that is all.

Personal Space

I get not everyone knows gym etiquettepersonal-space-animals

I understand that it can be uncomfortable to take a class for the first time when everyone else seems to know what’s going on.

I even applaud that people can be in classes they’re way under-qualified for physically because they want to challenge themselves.

Cool, mama. Do your thing.

But there are some basic human interaction rules that still apply while you’re in class.

And there was a lady in the last Kickboxing class I took that was apparently completely unaware of all sense of personal space of basic class etiquette and it drove me bonkers. And of course only really affected me because God has a wonderful sense of humor.

So it started out like this. I get to class (on a rare rainy day in LA) on time. I’m in a good spot towards the back so I won’t get yelled at by the intense teacher I love but with direct eye line to the front. I’m evenly spaced out from the other participants, as is custom, and I’m ready and rearing to go. Class starts and a girl snags a spot a little too close to me, but it’s next to her obvious friend so I let it go.

And then she strolls in. About 10 minutes late. Casually strolling. The woman that will become my enemy throughout this class. I shall call her “Nancy.” Short for “Fancy Nancy” because she wasn’t so much kickboxing as she was doing whatever fancy move she felt like.

Nancy chooses the respectable spot open just in front and to the left of me. Nancy decides to start doing really whatever she feels like while the rest of the class does specific, disciplined moves. She kinda flops around. Of course I find this hilarious and am immediately distracted, but I let it go.

Until Nancy, about five minutes into her own unique workout, starts creeping near me. She starts straight up invading my personal space.

Now, let me remind you what kind of workout this is- Cardio Kickboxing. We are moving non-stop and we are kicking and punching. So if you get too close to someone, they could kick and punch you. And Nancy had, slowly but surely, gotten into my own kick and punch bubble.

But see I didn’t want to move. I can be really unreasonably stubborn about certain things. I got a good spot in class and I was maintaining my area as was everyone else in class, so why do I need to adjust to this woman? Instead, I did what I do best and got silently angry and mumbled “GO AWAY” to her between punches. I legitimately almost punched her a few times. In fact, about 15 minutes into class, when Nancy was basically standing on my left foot, I started using my frustration for her as inspiration for my hardcore punches.

I thought about shoving her.

I just admit that on the internet.

I, a pacifist who meditates regularly and believes in balance and happiness and zen, legitimately considered shoving a stranger out of my way.

That’s how frustrated I was.

I didn’t shove her. Eventually I glared her down and made a dramatic gesture to move to my right so I could have more space. I made a point to look around and see if anyone else was struggling with this. Of course not. Everyone else in class was having a perfectly normal class experience.

personal space dilbert

Nancy was standing so close to me it looked like we were friends so it made the teacher think we were pals and she equated us.  I know this because at one point, the teacher came over to break down some moves for us and looked at both of us and said, “Watch me, girls.” Then did the moves. I got pissed. We were not equals. I was kicking butt and taking names and Nancy was making fancypants moves all over the place.

Eventually, the only other girl slightly affected by Nancy (the one who originally got a little close to me to do the class next to her friend) left to get some water. When she came back, she chose to stand in the No Mans Land spot Nancy had abandoned in order to tie herself to my leg. I was glad the girl did this. I hoped it would encourage Nancy to move into her spot farther away from me. It did not. I had to keep moving.

I kept getting more pissed.

Luckily, unlike my frustration with the texting chick next to me in Yoga class, I was able to actually kick and punch away my anger during this class. Eventually the girl abandoned the No Man’s Land and I got fed up with Nancy. I stopped moving (a big “No no” in this class), let out a deep sigh of frustration, glared at Nancy, and moved up to the empty space that gave me plenty of personal room to get the rest of my moves in easily and happily.

Nancy didn’t even notice I was gone. The only thing she noticed was that she now had a direct view of herself in the mirrors and apparently liked what she saw. So she spent much of the rest of the class staring at herself and doing her own “Fancypants Nancy” moves in them while the rest of us pushed through a very difficult class until the last minute.

In the locker room afterwards, Nancy was talking to her friends were talking about how difficult the class was and dabbing off the mild sweat that had accumulated from staring at herself while other people around her got their asses kicked.

Nancy is what I like to call a Personal Space Cadet.

Tampon

tamponListen. I’m not gonna call myself a Saint.

But… I’m basically a Saint.

I mean, I changed someone’s life significantly for the better. I made a difference. I showed a major act of kindness without any expectation of reciprocation.

If that doesn’t qualify me, I don’t know what will.

Probably writing about it so everyone can congratulate me on my good deed. Fine then. I guess I’ll continue.

The burden of my new Sainthood is already weighing so heavily on me.

This is what happened. It was a normal day at the gym in the locker room. I had just finished a really Saintly workout, when I went down to grab my things and go feed starving children in 3rd world countries without bragging about how great I am. A woman was next to me in the locker room. I considered giving her a hug just because that’s basically what people naturally want to do with me since I’m such a warm, good person and shit. But instead, I kept my head down and gathered my stuff while praying for world peace.

Then she spoke to me. Beckoned me, really. Because that’s what you do with a Saint.

She asked if I had a tampon.

I hesitated. Only because, as a near-Mother Teresa, I didn’t want to lie to her. I wanted to be honest like my Saintly peers. But I told her I thought so. And then I looked. And I did.

I had an extra tampon.

She had asked everyone else in the locker room for one. But they were all mere mortals. None of them were Saints who plan ahead for something like this. She was actually almost ready to go home and not workout (how easily we lose faith, my loyal followers). But then she asked me. A Saint. And I’m glad she did.

I gave her that dry wad of cotton to stick in her unmentionables to keep her from embarrassing herself and ruining a good pair of underwear. And then I smiled, allowed the halo around my head to glow a little brighter, and floated to my car.

When I got home, I replaced the tampon I gave away in order to prepare for the next woman who may need an incredibly life-changing and generous gesture.

You’re welcome, world.

Love,

Saint Briana of Tampons

Fight Club

fight clubSome of you are repeat readers of these blog posts. And for that, I sincerely thank you. If you’ve been a long time reader, you’ll know that I once wrote about a time I wanted to start a fight at the gym.

To be fair, I was very sleepy and very hungry. A dangerous combination for me.

I don’t always know how to conduct myself at the gym (since I sometimes want to take down old men), but I do know how to conduct myself as a human being. And I do know that I find people being assholes to each other hilarious.

So now that you also know that information, let me tell you what happened at the gym the other day. Because it was hilarious. And doesn’t involve me.

Everything was going normal and I was listening to my cheesy pop love ballads while doing some sick free weight chest presses, right? (I’m telling a story about the gym… I’m gonna tell it like a bro. Chill, brah.) So I’m between reps trying to let my muscles recover a little so I can get totally massive and this dude comes in like hot. I don’t mean hot as in he was traditionally attractive (like Brad Pitt in the pic above). I mean hot like he’s on a mission and everybody around better get out of his way.

His mission, it turned out, was gathering all the possible weights he would need for his lifting session and putting them near the one bench he commandeered. Little gym etiquette: If it’s busy (like it was this day), it’s a pretty shitty move to gather up a bunch of weights and hold onto them as you do all your sets. It’s much more common (and just general common courtesy) to only use the weights you’re going to use and wait between sessions. If the gym is empty, have at it and set yourself up with whatever you need. But when it’s busy, don’t be a dick that hoards all the weights.

So this total dick was hoarding all the weights, right. And he’s got his earphones in and he’s like singing to himself and stuff and he’s walking like an all-around douchebag who’s oblivious to everyone else. I already didn’t like him, but I don’t like most people who are near me at the gym and he was sitting on the bench right next to me so I especially didn’t like him. Or the guy to the other side of me. But at least that guy was quite and ignoring me so I was able to be neutral to him. This guy was loud and obnoxious so I didn’t like. No likey. No thank you. No.

Then hoarder makes a mistake. He grabs some weights from a machine and starts to walk away with it. The machine, however, was being used. It wasn’t being used at the exact moment hoarder grabbed the weights, because the man standing right next to the machine. But he was clearly just between reps. So machine man starts immediately yelling at the hoarder because taking a man’s weight while he’s using it is basically fighting words at the gym. But hoarder compeltely ignores him and keeps walking back to his bench with the weight. Machine man yells louder and louder until he’s basically screaming “HEY!” right in hoarder’s face in the middle of a crowded gym. Hoarder finally gets the hint, takes his (obviously really excellent) earphones out when machine man tells him he took his weight. Hoarder could have been cool about it and apologized and moved on. But this was a dude who was hoarding weights at a very crowded gym. Hoarder is clearly not a very considerate man.

So instead, he yells back at machine man and claims he wasn’t use the weight. Machine man explains that he was between reps, as is what happens at the gym. He also explains that there are a ton of these weights not in use that hoarder could have taken. But instead of, again, being cool about it and apologizing because he was by all standards completely in the wrong, hoarder gets mad again at machine man and tells him he didn’t have to yell at him. Machine man, at this point beside himself and clearly enjoying the audience he has from everyone else in the crowded gym, explains in very close proximity to hoarder’s face, that he had to yell because he tried several different volumes that hoarder consistently ignored.

Most of the crowded gym has stopped their workout to watch all of this go down because it was entertaining as hell. I think everybody wondered if there was going to be a fight. I certainly wondered it. I wondered out of curiosity, of course, but also out of safety because this whole thing was going down right next to me. I got remnants of hoarder’s spit and machine man’s sweat.

Once I realized my proximity, I realized that most people who were looking at them could steal a quick glance over to me. And that’s when I caught my expression in a mirror. It’s the same look I get when you tell me I’m about to see an adorable puppy that’s going to tell me hilarious jokes. I’m holding back giddiness and laughter. Which, at this particular supercharged moment in a gym filled with frustrated, muscly dudes with a lot of testosterone who want to prove they’re more than their boring day job… was probably not the smartest face to have.

But I couldn’t help myself. The whole thing was hilarious. Confrontation is hilarious. People being assholes and unaware of the world around them is hilarious. People picking fights with other humans for petty reasons is hilarious. Life is all one giant, cosmic joke and sometimes I think only a small percentage of us get it.

Of course I agreed with machine man. But at the same time, we’re all just flesh and blood idiots trying to hide the fact that all of us want to be loved and accepted and are terrified of our own mortality. So who cares if hoarder was acting like a total douche. This is obviously one of the only places he can act like a badass and can find some sense of stress relief. Yes, what he did was stupid. But do you need to yell at him? Why raise your blood pressure and embarrass him and make a scene just because he’s an idiot? I dunno. Just say something quietly. Or go grab another weight and go up and give it to him and get yours back on principle. Then maybe give him a hug and say you’re more than willing to help spot him if he wants to max out on his last rep. And afterwards maybe you two can get coffee and bond over the fact that this meaningless activity will help prolong a life that most likely has no actual impact at on the outcome of the universe but it’s still fun to do.

Or maybe that’s just because I listen to a healthy mix of Star Talk and Pop Ballads at the gym, so I tend to get in a strange head space.

Whatever, the point is there wasn’t a fight but there could have been and I found it all very funny.

At least I think that was the point.

Are you still reading?

You poor thing.

And also thank you.

Batgirl

batMy good friend Whitney (who has a hilarious website you should check out here) has this contraption. It’s for hanging upside down. Or maybe upsidown, depending on your education level. I had heard of these contraptions and heard they were good for you before, but I had not experienced it for myself.

Well thanks to Whitney, I got to experience it for myself. I got to hang upside down like a bat. It was kinda awesome. And very intense.

Whitney helped me flip over slowly. And truth be told, I didn’t go all the way upside down my first try. That’s pretty intense for anyone and I wanted to take ‘er easy. But my second try I did. For a total of 20 seconds. Then I got the giggles and had to come back up to catch my breath (thanks a lot to my hilarious soul buddy who got me giggling while I was hanging). But even just angled mostly upside down is very intense. The blood rushes to all sorts of places it’s not used to going and your body gets jiggly in ways you didn’t know it could jiggle.

If you’ll recall my last post, I had a minor back issue for a week or so. I tried this hanging thing to help it out. I didn’t feel anything at first except a good (and odd) stretch all over. Then as I was coming back up, there was a very specific point when I could feel my vertebrae screaming at me. We isolated the pain! I found the exact angle I needed to stretch it out a little on this terrifying medieval torture contraption. And I worked it out. And cried a little. But as a creative-type, most of my friends are used to randomly crying at any given moment, so everybody stayed cool.

And the next couple days I really felt great. I’m actually considering getting one of these contraptions myself sometime. It seems to work wonders and Whitney swears by it.

Plus, if people ask what you’re up to, you can say “Just hangin’ out” and then laugh uncontrollably at your own cleverness.

What a Pain in the Back

back pain

I hurted my self a little.

Mom, be cool. I’m fine. No need to call me and suggest I go to the doctor right now. This post was written about a week after I hurt myself and will be published about a week from the day it was written. By the time you read it, I’ll be absolutely back to 100%. Also I love you and please send money.

I woke up one morning with a severe pain in my lower back. I couldn’t figure out what I did. I have a pretty strong back and am careful about doing certain back exercises because plenty of people in my family have hurt their back through work injuries or dumbass crossfit instructors.

But this was a definite pain in my lower back that wasn’t like a pinched nerve or a tight muscle (which I’m unfortunately extremely accustomed to). This was like that dull, debilitating, feels like it’s coming from your spine pain. Yeah. It sucked.

I had to slowly get up and down from my bed and chairs for about a week. I hobbled around like an old man because the only position that felt comfortable was slightly hunched and walking slowly. I yelled at kids to “Get off my lawn!” even though I live in an apartment complex. I avoided back exercises and stretched as best I could I did whatever it took to felt better.

As I was trying to figure out what did it and a particular move came to mind. The day before I woke up in pain I had been doing dumbell deadlifts. I had used a higher weight than normal. It had been a while since I did a deadlift. I got cocky and paid very little attention to my form because I never had issues with them in the past. I made sure to really use my back and rely less on my hamstrings and arms to make up for it.

Basically… I over did it.

It took about a week to recover. I’m slowly starting to get back on track (BACK! HA! GET IT!? BACK on TRACK!? BAHAHAHAH… sorry). By next week I’ll probably start to reintroduce some back exercises to help strengthen it again so this doesn’t happen. And I’ll introduce them slowly. And carefully.

It’s like that old saying goes, “Once you go bad back, you don’t ever go back.”

Cologne Incapacitation

I’ve said it before. I will say it again.5170609728_24be6c86ba_z

I know a body like the guy in this cologne ad requires a lot of time at the gym. I get it. And I thank you for your service to society by creating such sexiness.

But my god- I cannot breathe when you spray heaps of cologne on your body then begin to sweat it off at the gym. It becomes more potent than it already is without sweating. It is awful. I need to gasp for air.

Please. Please. Please, fellas. If you feel the need to be attractive at the gym, do so with an extra tight shirt or fitted spinning pants. Please… spare us with the cologne.

This is my last nice warning. The next time I write about this, shit will get real.

Thank you.

I Hurt Everywhere

Bad-Personal-TrainerI’ve mentioned before that I get a personal trainer every once in a while. It happened again recently. I was grateful because I needed a little physical boost. I hadn’t been great about getting to the gym so I figured a personal trainer would be a great excuse to really go hard and get a good workout in.

The result… I hurt everywhere for three days. This guy really did me in. He’s a good trainer. He’s excellent at intuitively knowing how to push you just past your limit. We did metabolic training. I don’t do metabolic training on my own. I was breathing hard and screaming profanities a lot. I knew it would hurt.

And it did. For a few days. I walked slow and went pee carefully. Everything was sore. Nothing was easy.

And I’m grateful for it.

It was the best workout I’ve had in a very long time.

Energy!

arnoldI’ve talked before about being in shape for my career. Many times.

But when I was filming a short western pilot I wrote a couple weekends ago, I learned first hand exactly why it’s necessary.

You need energy to film action sequences during long, hot days in the desert without air conditioning while wearing heavy and thick outfits. You gotta keep up your energy and enthusiasm. And if you want to do that, you need to go into filming in great shape.

Having only focused on simpler comedy before the western, I didn’t really know the exactly value of being in good shape. But after the three days of filming, I now know. I was lucky to be in decent shape. But if that pilot gets picked up like we hope it will and turned into a series, I’m gonna have to get in great shape before filming. Because we’re gonna be doing even more stunts in even hotter weather wearing even more ridiculous outfits. And I don’t want to be fighting exhaustion the whole time. I wanna be giggling and enjoying every moment of it.

Fit for Film

averageI’m shooting a short Western this weekend. I’m very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very (deep breath) very very very very very very very very veeeeeery excited about.

There are gonna be stunts and horses and gunfights and shenanigans. I’m stoked.

I’ve been pushing myself to get in great shape for it so I have the endurance to keep my energy all the way up all weekend long and have the body strength to make my character even more badass and awesome.

Because I don’t want anything about this project to be average. Myself included.

So push it.

I apologize for the use of this cheesy Fitspiration here. It’s too perfect for my current mindset not to use it.