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In Praise of the Iron Gym

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

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.

Switching to a dumbphone

On Shane Dowling's Blog

I am aware, that while there is a trend towards smart-phones there are quite a few articles around on the subject of people swapping back to a dumb-phone or even using your smartphone as a dumphone. Apparently it can help your marriage... I'm not that naive. Frankly, my reasons for swapping away from my smartphone is pretty pragmatic, it was simply a persistent call to mindless action. That I carried around in my pocket. Everywhere.

I found myself in a constant state of half-living, meaning half of my mind is on the present moment and the other half on a device. I've flipped to it when I'm communicating with people, commuting or even watching TV. Apparently TV is no longer enough of a distraction for this half-living brain I seem to have developed.

Sure I could just not use those features, like the Gizmodo article I linked to. I tried this, and cut pretty much everything but the useful stuff out of my phone, it boiled down to maps, public transport apps, RunKeeper and Whatsapp. However, I still constantly found myself in a tug of war where I would uninstall, then re-install browsers for an information fix. Just because it was easy and I could. It got to the point where I discovered a really small(100KB or so) browser so I could get my internet fix even faster. I realised my phone wasn't giving me enough benefit for the mental costs. Maybe I'm particularly weak, I'm sure others can happily keep their smart-phones at a healthy distance, but I accepted that I simply couldn't.

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