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In Praise of the Iron Gym

One of the greatest joys in the world is the iron gym.

What's an iron gym? It's hard to describe. It's easier to say what it's not.

An iron gym isn't a fancy fitness club. An iron gym doesn't offer jazzercise. An iron gym doesn't have wooden panelling and beautiful adornment. An iron gym doesn't have awesome, clean bathrooms. An iron gym's locker room is spartan, at best. An iron gym has mostly free weights, with very few machines. An iron gym isn't a place to mingle with the opposite sex. An iron gym doesn't offer yoga or other classes. An iron gym has no amenities, niceties, or anything like. An iron gym is usually obscure, with nothing special in real estate. It's often in a basement. An iron gym doesn't have a salesman to give you a tour of the place and show you around, doesn't ask for a one year commitment to join, or anything like that. An iron gym doesn't have fancy membership cards, swipe-in/swipe-out, or anything like that. You just show up and nobody hassles you.

So what's an iron gym? It's a spartan, bare bones place with free weights and a few very basic machines. It's often dirty and disorganized. There's no classes offered there. There's almost never women in an iron gym, if you go every day for an hour you'll maybe see a woman once a week. Maybe.

And I fucking love it. I love being at an iron gym. It's just a place to push iron. There's no posturing, no showing off, nothing like that. If you need a spot, someone will give you a spot. Everybody's cool. People don't talk too much, don't socialize too much. Nobody's doing business or trying to get a date or trying to move up the social hierarchy. There's just one thing there. Iron. And you lift and it's good.

Thailand: Tigers, Sharks, Elephants, and a Leopard

On Tynan

On the last day of my last trip to Thailand, I learned about two things that I could have done if I had more time: pet a tiger and swim in a shark tank. Ever since then, I've been looking for an excuse to go back.

My excuse came this year when I discovered that flying from Tokyo to Berlin would cost about $600 one way, but that a one way ticket from Tokyo to Bangkok and another one from Bangkok to Berlin would cost $500 combined. I wasn't getting a free trip to Bangkok-- I was getting paid to stop there.

Bangkok has some amazing malls- the apparent king of them being Siam Paragon, at the Siam skytrain station. Besides a movie theater with fold-nearly-flat leather recliners complete with pillows and duvets, a Lamborghini dealership stocked with cars, and one of the best food courts I've ever seen, it also has an aquarium. A big aquarium.

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