|Pressure Cooker: Tips to stay fit ~ First article in a series designed for extremely busy people.
Ever find yourself saying “There are never enough hours in a day?” or find that you attempt to ride out the week with as little as five hours of sleep? If this is you, then count yourself a member of the Pressure Cooker lifestyle. Simply put, the Pressure Cooker lifestyle is described as people who have a full time job, attempt to work part time to make ends meet or to fulfill other life-goals. Those of you with children that do not hoist them off to a regular child care provider should consider yourselves the Special Forces of the Pressure Cooker lifestyle. Balancing sleep times, meals, perfect school attendance and the menagerie of activities and costs that children can bring is tantamount to a logistical nightmare.
In this article, I will present a couple of ways for you to stay fit and healthy that you can incorporate into your busy daily regime.
One of the most important factors in staying healthy is diet and exercise. The goal one should have when on the go is to break up exercise sessions into bite size chunks. Imagine primitive man during hunting and gathering sessions. They didn’t roll into a gym and spend two hours hitting the weights, and then spend thirty minutes basking in the sauna. They were running from giant leopards and dodging snakes all day! You want to remember three things, push-ups, planks, and stairs.
Push-ups are a very simple way to stay in shape. They require no weights, very little space, and most importantly not much time to complete. Challenge yourself to so a hundred in a sixteen hour period. Find yourself on a fifteen minute break at work? Hit a quiet area and knock out twenty.
Planks are an exercise for your core area and very easy to do. You lie on the floor, resting your palms in push-up position. You push-up from the floor, resting on your elbows, and keep your back flat. Hold for twenty to sixty seconds and repeat five to ten times. The optimal time to do this exercise is when you find yourself at home watching television. Simply change your position from the couch to the Plank and you’ll be properly rewarded with nice tight abs in a few weeks time.
Lastly, hit the stairs. Any chance you get you should take the stairs. Standing on an escalator? No. You’re walking on that escalator. If you find yourself in areas devoid of a large amount of stairs you can do squats in the same intervals that you should do push-ups and you’ll be fine. To perform a squat simply spread your legs shoulder width apart, then bend your knees as if you’re about to sit in a chair. When the backs of your thighs are parallel to the floor, stand back up. That is a squat.
Purchase a small portable cooler and fill with easy to munch items like apples, baby carrots, and turkey sandwiches. Use reusable bottles of water refilled throughout the day to supplement your diet as you go about your day.
The end goal of adding these simple habits to your busy lifestyle is that you will find that you’ll feel more energetic, have more muscle tone, and most importantly sleep better.
Star Shine ~ A very short story about the end of the world.
It was cold. So cold his bones felt chilled to the marrow. He felt the steel bed of the pickup truck through the denim of his jeans and cursed himself for not wearing his long-johns.
“Hurry up.” He complained.
His companion looked up from his strange contraption with a bemused look.
“Didn’t wear you long-johns, huh Frederick?”
He didn’t like it when people called him Frederick. He fancied being called Fred.
“How’d you know what I was thinkin’?” Fred asked his companion.
The man stood up and stretched his long limbs. Fred always thought this man was weird. The way his dark eyes seemed to see through to his mind. Yet, the man had proved that he was a capable being. Someone that could give him what he’d wanted for so long. The man was a magician, or seemed like one because he knew how to make things happen. Fred had seen the man have animals take on tasks impossible for them if they had not been ordered to do so. He had seen colorful, electrical power spring from the man’s hands. He had felt the man’s sweet kindness as he made Mary-Lou Simmons, the town sweetheart, hurl sexual pleasures onto Fred wave after wave.
“Yeah, it’s cold though, when you gonna be done?” Fred asked.
The man twisted a knob on the contraption and a sliver of starlight shone down onto a tiny crystal. “I’m finished.” Said the man. “And I will give you your reward, as promised.”
“Yeah.” Fred flushed. “I wanna em all, all the holes in town, spread out in the barn, like a giant wall a’ human flowers. I’ll run around in circles with my tongue out lashin’ them vagina’s like I’m a god-damn perverted bullwhip!”
Fred’s voice echoed out among the giant field. The man smirked. The starlight glowed brighter, then formed a thin, bright beam which shot up to the heavens. “What?” Questioned Fred. And before Fred could take a breath there was a giant hum.
Before him and his companion floated a giant dull metal saucer which blotted out the sky. Before Fred could react the man grabbed his wrist. There was a whoosh and a thump. Fred was in a barn. The man wasn’t there, only women, which were in various states of disrobe. Fred smiled large and goofy. The women ran towards him and pulled his clothes away. They massaged him, licked him, and made him feel good. The barn was warm. The hay was soft.
He heard explosions and screams somewhere far away, but for some reason, he didn’t care. Let it all burn he thought to himself. They didn’t see this coming did they? They didn’t see the laughing stock of the whole town send them to their destruction.
And as the world burned the last humans shot through space towards another time and another place.
A Lost Night At The Crescent ~ A man wakes in a hospital and remembers a fire.
They sat and stared at me as if I were an angel. Lungs filled with smoke, I coughed, collapsed, and heard someone call for an ambulance. The siren sang a far away song as the front soles of shoes smiled at me then blurred. The scent of antiseptic in the hospital was welcome as opposed to the stench of charred hair. I opened my eyes. White curtains flowed above my head womblike. Shadows entered the room, visitors for the other bloke, I knew he was a guy by the way he coughed, guttural, like an old man. His daughter and wife soothed his soul with words of encouragement, healing words that promised the death of whatever sickness assailed him. Sleep snuck me from behind.
Time meant nothing to me anymore. Sunshine and a new cellmate appeared clone like by my side. A younger man this time, black. Only a tad bit younger than me. He smiled at me once, I think I felt a smile back at him through the numbness of my face. Flowers arrived, set by my tableside. More and more they arrived. A jumble at the door, the entry way blocked. Were those news cameras? What was happening? The nurse answered my pleading eyes as she poured letters out of a canvas sack.
“Mr. Garret, seems you have a lot of fans.”
The angel, she smiled and walked off. I took a letter in my gnarled toothpaste textured hand.
Dear Mr. Garret:
I just wanted to write you to say that you have inspired me to quit drinking. Your selfless act of heroism has compelled me to look around and see that there is a world worth living for. Thank you so much for all you have done and sacrificed.
I buzzed for the nurse. Tears sprang from my eyes by the time she arrived. I couldn’t speak for some reason. She read my angst riddled expression well and answered my question by holding up a newspaper. The headline read: HOMETOWN HERO SAVES 33 PEOPLE! The photo, taken from a cell-phone, showed me running from an inferno holding a body in my arms. I read the article, found out the building that burned down was called the Crescent City Condominiums, and that I suffered third degree burns on sixty percent of my body helping the people trapped inside out. I put the paper down.
Three days passed and I received so many offers for endorsement deals and movie deals that they gave me my own room. None of that mattered though. Because I began to remember. I recalled that night at the Crescent, I was there on a job. What kind of job I don’t recall. I lit the match and watched the trail of gasoline shimmer rhythmically across the tile floor of the lobby. It set fire to the drywall then I heard a child scream. The rest, an adrenalin rushed flurry of carrying weight. Old peoples breath gasping into my ear ‘Thank You.” Fire, at times rushing down my throat, turning my vocal cords into charred carbon. It’s what I deserve. Before I go to sleep I write a note for the nurse. It tells her to please clean the room of all flowers, letters, cards, deals, no calls, no nothing. I want to get better, then go home. If I even have one. THE END.
Night Walk ~ An evening of unsolicited villany on the streets of New Orleans.
The fact that I feel sorry for the guy as I bash his face in proves I’m not a lout. The fact that I don’t steal his wallet as he lays unconscious in an alley proves I’m no simple brigand. No, the bastard had it coming, he just didn’t know it’d be from a complete stranger. I left him to his slumber where he’d most likely dream of busted lips and artichoke hearts as I wandered the musty streets of New Orleans.
My right hand, the knuckles on the index and middle fingers, don’t hurt at all, but remember the feel of that poor souls cranium. When you punch someone, feel the bones underneath tissue things change in your heart. The duality of good and evil become apparent, and no matter how bad you thought about yourself the sorrow of the split second is the only thing that reminds you that you are human.
I stop. I’ve wandered too far. Darkness shrouds movement barely heard, but I hear them. Wolves, coming from the park to dance with me in the night. Growling and snarling their teeth can be viewed. White haired boss in front of the other two brownies. Will I escape? No, I’m imagining things. Active imagination. My walk through the park goes without carnage as I walk through my beloved uptown neighborhoods. A long way home yet, but I don’t mind. Gives me time to think.
Think about how to pull it off. How to transcend my hollow existence into something worthy of the image I appear to have at the moment. Black and white by nature and action I can turn on a dime at any given moment. Self-control thrown to the winds of fate I give no thought to the feelings of others. Hungrily satiating my unholy desires. The abyss beckons every lonely night as I fall asleep and escape the trouble right outside my door. Strangers and their detached lives to fall in league with.
I look at my unused phone for the tenth time and realize that its silence could either signal birth or death. Does distance truly make the heart grow fonder or destroy all memory?
Every bad thought I’ve ever had about myself rips through me on this leaden walk home. Giant pencils from heaven cleave hatch marks into uneven concrete, days until my demise. Fire burns in my future, hot, heady, with its purity, and rejuvenating properties.
Service to the team is all that matters. Family. Friendship. Honor. Sacrifice.
There will be many more strangers in the future. Many more concussions from these mighty fists, these hands created by God. This body, given riches by heaven will no longer squander the breath of life. Destruction and deliverance from evil will reign supreme.
The animals will not bite.
The line will not hold.
When The Hero Takes A Fall ~ An ancient alarm blares, and an old hero returns...
Man, am I out of shape. This is what I think to myself as I get out of bed to the sound of an ancient alarm, one that hasn’t rang in twenty years. Not that I’m fat or anything just terribly, terribly thin. A little pot belly to keep me company, my pot belly tells me I should go back to sleep, that I should ignore my signal, my call to action. There’s a nice thing about my room up here way above the city, the view. It helped me all those years ago when projecting my flight patterns. It also helped me to see just where the trouble was. Like now as I look down Fourth Street and see a building fall I know where to go, where to fly…
You wont believe my story, it’s a short one so don’t be afraid. My parents and I came here in a rocket ship many years ago, jettisoned from a doomed planet far far away. We landed here on Earth and discovered that we developed strange powers, things that set us apart from the rest. Dad became a Policeman and Mom a detective I grew up normally as any Earth kid would then came the day when Mom and Dad were killed by a super-villain named Mongrel. I vowed that day to get revenge and worked hard to develop my powers, my mind, my heritage.
What helped me out a lot were comic books, those people that wrote those books definitely had some serious imagination. Gave me all kinds of ideas, ideas on how to use my super powers, how to defeat certain types of super villains, loads of great material! I was ecstatic! I began to become famous knowing that out there somewhere Mongrel was watching, waiting to complete his job of decimating my Family but that time never came. I began to search him out at night under the cover of darkness. For months I searched the world until one night in a tiny little out the way bar in Turkey, I pounced upon him and dashed his brains out. He didn’t even see it coming. I drank heavily that night in my joy, my life’s work had been complete, my Parents deaths avenged.
After that I faded from the public eye. I was easily forgettable. I had never had a real job in my life, whenever I needed money I would just steal it from drug dealers, eventually I just stole a whole bunch of money so I wouldn’t have to steal anymore. I lived my life quietly and every now and then would show up somewhere to save someone. Eventually I lost a lot of my strength and a large degree of invulnerability began to fade also, I can still fly but very slowly. My costume doesn’t fit properly anymore, it sags at my hips and shoulders but I don’t care. I may look like a fool but I do not give a damn. One touch of a button and my panoramic window slides open with a hiss. The night air smells of dust as I see another building go down. I mentally activate my powers. I feel the floor give out from under my feet as I rise slowly, I feel my muscles tighten as the invulnerability kicks in, I use my telescopic vision to target my prey and I’m off…
Slowly but surely I make my way to the hulking demon that is my foe. Why is she destroying buildings, I have not a clue and I don’t care, I’m here to stop her, to etch my name in history as the man who saved the city. Plus there’s the fact that if I don’t stop her she’ll probably destroy my building and all my stuff too. I decide to land a short ways away from her. It’s crazy down here, there’s dust and debris flying everywhere. Through the smoke I see her silhouette large and looming. I walk slowly into the haze of destruction to see her yellow eyes stare down at me. With a ghastly leering grin she pummels me into the ground as if I were an afterthought. As I lose consciousness I feel her use me as a cannonball to destroy yet another building, I don’t think I will die. A building collapses around and over me and the world goes black.
As I open an eye It appears I’m in some sort of hospital and I cannot move, I try to speak yet I can’t. A very pretty nurse appears before me and smiles, it’s a nice smile but she shows no teeth. She seems sad, some weeks later I find out what happened after I lost consciousness. The she demon leveled the city. Her face, her leering grin has stayed with me from that night. Locked in my vision as if burned in my retina by an arc light. Then one morning an image superimposes itself over the she demon. That of Mongrel, my defeated foe from Turkey all those years ago. The resemblance is uncanny, was she his Daughter, Mother. As I lay here broken and useless I activate my powers to see if I still have them and I do. They are feeble yet still there.
Toad ~ A martial arts fantasy.
Damn the screenwriting books damn all the rules this is our movie and I’m writing it the way i want to!
A brick wall. Sounds of punches and kicks ring out, someone’s catching a beating, lets find out who.
Peek around the corner, oh, five guys beating up a man in a karate suit. Hm, he mustn’t be too good to let common thugs beat the crap out of him.
The thugs leave, he lays there. He is TOAD...
A cat strides up to him and licks his face.
The cat speaks to Toad with subtitles, no voice.
Get up Toad...
His eyes open, he is a sad man, the world has beaten him.
I’ve arranged a driver...
A car appears out of thin air, a wily woman drives it, a woman of dubious nature... She helps Toad up, he nods his head, the bloke can’t speak for some reason.
Aw, Toad. We have to get you a notepad or something. You probably asked for directions huh?
They drive, he looks out of the window, watching the RUTANIANS. Humanoid creatures that look like people in animal costumes. They stand on street corners and do nothing but watch, with their large impassive black eyes they survey the denizens of this world. They stare at Toad as he passes.
Things were fine until they arrived...
Toad strokes the cat and grimaces sadly.
SUPER: Some time ago...
Toad has a brighter demeanor now as he instructs children in the martial arts. He smiles, laughs, taunts, and runs from the kids as they display team work in bringing him to the ground.
The happy children gather around Toad as he displays a closed fist to them sternly.
This is what they see.
They see a fist. An object of oppression. A symbol of might.
He opens his hand.
This, children, is what you must show them.
He moves his open hand rhythmically.
You must remember openness, adaptability, willingness to avoid the conflicts that they will feed you.
The children watch his hand trancelike.
And tickle like mad!
He tickles them and they laugh, the kids dog pile on top of him.
And up above them, in the trees, lurks a lone figure, a DARK NINJA who watches them.
EXT. BACK YARD--DAY
Shirtless, Toad pounds iron spikes into a yard, he unfolds a solar panel and installs it.
A woman that looks similar to Ingrid Bergman (Annette) serves him Lemonade. She wears a green Adidas shirt.
You must get tired working so much.
Toad sips his lemonade.
More people need solar power luv, plus I almost have enough credits to start my own dojo. I like your shirt.
Toad ZEROES in on the flower logo of her shirt.
The two stare at each other like they share some kind of perverted secret.
Moments later, they smoke a bong on her couch.
Toad’s nice and high now.
Well, off to the bank.
Toad passes an old HOMELESS MAN.
Hey homey Kevin Von Erich was the shit!
Toad stops, backs up and gives the fella some cash.
That he was, my friend.
Suddenly HOODS run out of the bank. Toad lets them run past.
The overweight security guard, out of breath, asks Toad.
Why didn’t ya stop ‘em Toad.
It’s just money, that is no reason to hurt someone.
Man, I wish we could carry guns.
You don’t need a gun. When i start my dojo you can come for free, I’ll show you how to live without the gun.
The security guard nods.
Hey, thanks Toad.
INT. SIGN SHOPPE--DAY
A polished wooden sign that reads SIN JUKO MAYO.
The sign maker smiles as Toad pays him.
Can’t wait ‘till you open up, I know my kids’ll go there for sure.
This is a fine sign, I’m very happy you made this for me, thanks.
Toad holds the sign like a baby as he walks home.
Suddenly, the RUTANIANS attack him.
Toad does his best to keep the sign safe but the Rutanians take it from him. They beat him into submission. The last thing he sees as he slips into unconsciousness is a gorilla suited humanoid destroying the sign.
The driver stops outside a house.
I did some leg work for you. There's a fella in there named FAM LEE, he’s good with a Bo staff so I got ya something special.
The Driver hands Toad a boken. Toad accepts it.
He looks at the cat.
Beat him and you can find out who took your voice.
The dark Toad brandishes his weapon intent on finding answers. He stalks up the stairs, and knocks on the door.
FAM LEE opens it a bit then closes it when he recognizes Toad. Toad runs in after him.
Fam Lee opens his hands in fear.
I didn’t do a thing. I know nothing.
Toad finds a note pad and scribbles. GIVE ME A NAME!
Toad gives him a look that would make a wolverine quake.
He walks into his BACKYARD, runs forward and snatches up a BO STAFF.
In a circle on the screen the Driver says.
Told ya he was good with a Bo Staff.
They fight, and Fam Lee does an incredible job against Toad.
Toad however once disarmed of the boken proves that his body is so tough he can flinch off blows from a staff enough to deliver a punishing blow to the FAM!
He stands over his defeated foe.
Sheisty looking business men watch Toad on several monitors, it’s like there are invisible cameras that follow Toad because there are frozen moments on the monitors. They smirk that smirk that one does when they plot a good persons demise.
To be continued...