some scattered thoughts about identity & skateboarding

Skateboarding is still the best thing I’ve ever decided to do. It is the peak of my existence. All I want to do is chill, skate, and be outside.

I truly can not fathom that I actually skateboard, though. I never plan to learn any tricks, really. Particularly because I wear canvas shoes as a vegan. If I learn to ollie, I will need to get new shoes every few weeks — or have ugly shoes that I pre-emptively add trick tape onto. I also just don’t like heavy knee impact.

I do plan to learn no-complys, though. That’s the only trick I want to learn so I can go up tall curbs. No shoe damage there.

This changes a lot about everything I do and everything I am, though. My shoes are different, my every day carry is different, and I will tend to be carrying a skateboard just about everywhere I go. The most vivid change here is that I plan to be outside for longer periods of time than I have in a decade.

How do you go from wearing huge Doc Martens to tiny Vans-style slip ons every day?

I am now a skateboarding, reading (enough to own a Kindle), mandolin-playing (sometimes, need to do this more though), retro gaming (need to write about this more), film obsessive,

Let’s go over a list of everything I do:

  • Skateboarding
  • Reading journalism
  • Reading books
  • Reading blogs / email newsletters
  • Studying programming
  • Maintaining this blog
  • My 9-5 job
  • Bollywood films
  • English films
  • Maintaining absurdly large Spotify playlists
  • Retro gaming
  • PS4 gaming
  • TV shows
  • Occasionally jump roping
  • Occasional resistance band workouts
  • Cooking in my instant pot
  • Chores + Podcasts while doing my chores
  • Mandolin
  • Being a social human being

That’s a lot.

It’s hard to find an identity somewhere in there.

But sometimes, something comes along and you know it changes your entire identity. Skateboarding is something that’s just impossible to ignore in that sense. My fashion is going to have to revolve around skateboarding now. I’m newly into the idea of long-sleeve pullovers because that’s skate style.

I hope I stick to this, but I also just hope that I can get back into mandolin as well. It’s really hard to maintain so many daily things to do. You focus on one thing at a time, and it leaves no room for other habits that need to be picked back up again.

fear and loathing in las vegas

Fear and Loathing reads to me like the most extreme, and probably effective, anti-drug PSA I’ve ever read. The problem is, I know that if I had come across this seven years ago, I would’ve thought this was the manifesto for living.

Back when I was a professional writer, this life of jumping from destructive adventure to destructive adventure was the best way to live.

Now, as an adult who’s realized that a better way to live is just to sit at home and chill out, all of Thompson’s rudeness towards the average American just seems incredibly rude.

The graphic violence and drug use makes me very uncomfortable, and I’m not sure what the intention of it is. I understand that this is a retrospective on the 60s, and it feels that way, but it’s also subtle.

Objectively, I know this is a brilliant book. It made me so uncomfortable.

I like Thompson a lot for writing this, I just don’t know if I like this book… Painting the whiplash of the 60s as all the darkness of drugs and the sex as dark as this is is a brilliant stroke, but it’s hard for me to get a read on whether or not that was the intention.

I guess my interpretation is that in their search for the American Dream, the conclusion was really just that the dream of the 60s was a lie, and it just glorified and left behind people as terrible and messed up as Raoul Duke and his attorney.

But I just can’t get over how unlikable the characters are. Again, I’m aware they’re supposed to be that way, but it’s hard because there was no …contrast. There was no pure angel to contrast with.

Again, objectively, this is brilliant. Objectively, I love Hunter S. Thompson. Objectively, he is one of the best 20th century writers who is able to capture a moment and make it timlessly relevant. David Foster Wallace wishes.

Subjectively, maybe it was just too much for me. It wasn’t the right time. I don’t know what to take away from it… But, I wonder if that’s the genius of the message.

Not knowing what to take away from it is exactly how everyone must have felt when Nixon was elected at the end of the 60s.

i started skateboarding.

I bought a skateboard last week.

Let’s talk about how this all got started…

Quarantine has been a really interesting time to think about the life we want to live afterwards.

I’ve been getting a lot of takeout from my local spots, and since that’s the only times I’m outside all week, these sessions feel exhausting in a way life never did before. It is definitely taking me longer to walk half a mile now than it did in January.

There’s no grocery stores within a few blocks of me, and I just really wanted to be able to move within a 2-3 mile radius of my apartment without a car. Then, life would be perfect. I could stop by the grocery store quickly if I just needed mushrooms tomorrow.

I keep fantasizing about a time when I’m back outside going to dinner with friends 3x a week like I used to. That feels like a fantasy now — was I ever really that popular? I wanted to go there, put my mode of transportation in a backpack, and walk with them a bit after without my mode of transportation getting in the way.

But specifically, a lot of people I know are looking at cars closer than ever before. I agree. I think we need transportation that isn’t public. I can’t drive though, so I was looking into electric scooters and electric skateboards in order to fulfill that “last mile commute.” Maybe I should live a little further from public transport and get a last mile commute vehicle to go to the bus or train stop.

I didn’t think it was possible for me, though. Maybe a scooter, but how would I transport it? I always fear people stealing scooters. I really just want something relatively small, but that helps me go further than 1 mile. I really can’t walk more than 1 mile at a time.

Then last month… I started working out again.

Specifically, I started jumping rope. This meant that for the first time in years, It’s a fairly low impact cardio sport that doesn’t hurt me at all. This is the first time I tried something like this in a decade.

Skateboarding around suddenly became a bit more of a viable option.

This obsession all started and continued via YouTube. First, I subscribed to a bunch of electric skateboard review channels. Slowly, it morphed into manual skateboards. I learned I wanted a mid-size cruiser board to just go around the city. I’d watch skateboard advice videos for hours a day… I just got obsessed.

First, I just wanted an electric skateboard. However, a good entry-level board is about $700. I talked to my mom about it, and she said to just get a normal skateboard first. If you like it, then get an electric skateboard.

How cool would it be to just kick & push my way over to Lake Merritt, sit on a bench and read for an hour, then come home? That’d be the coolest thing ever.

I looked around, and she was right. I was expecting to spend about $100 on starter skateboard gear — just a used board, helmet, and knee pads.

I looked for a few days last week and I couldn’t find anything viable for around $60. Factoring in the cost of transportation to meet people was also a problem. BART rides themselves cost $10. At that point, I should just buy something cheaper and new…

I saw that Z-Flex was a brand that was recommended around for ~$100. I bit the bullet and bought their cheapest cruiser board. That was the 32″ Chisel. It was $80 on sale, full price is $120.

I was scared of getting a “bigger” board because it’s harder to turn, but I thought it should still be small enough that I shouldn’t run into major issues.

I also grabbed a helmet and pads on eBay. I decided to use my old workout shoes because it wouldn’t make that big of a difference when I was starting.

It’s important to note that I thought there was a 50% chance that I’d immediately hate it. It’s hard to overstate how out of the box skateboarding is for me. I’ve basically never ridden on a board before.

I used to ride a fixed-gear bicycle, but the reality of the size and speed made me really uncomfortable. I didn’t feel in control, and it felt like it worked against me a lot. I’d nearly been doored several times. It was a scary experience overall. I liked it… I wanted to love it… I just didn’t.

That was a huge financial drain too, I think my family spent $600 on my bike and gear. It was worth it for what it gave me at the time, but $600 is basically an electric skateboard amount of money.

Balancing on a skateboard sounds very difficult and riding on sidewalks even sounds absolutely terrifying. My body might immediately and viscerally nope, or I might reach an early plateau once I’m on the sidewalks and decide it feels too dangerous. I wanted to spend as little money as possible with the very high likelihood that I would not continue.

The skateboard arrived on Sunday.

how’s it been?

I’ve been out for 3 sessions. It’s been a weird time in Bay Area weather which complicates things a little bit, but I’m trying to go for ~30 minutes after work most days. I want to at least keep trying for a month before I give up.

I’ve just been going to a nearby parking lot and practicing. My helmet actually hasn’t arrived yet (it is this Saturday) and my pads have no ETA so… I’ve been pretty unsafe so far. It’s definitely scarier to ride without a helmet or pads. Specifically the helmet. I refuse to go outside of the parking lot until I get that.

It was an almost immediate yes for me. It’s too soon to tell because I haven’t progressed to the point where I can actually truly ride, but the learning curve is one of the most satisfying things I’ve experienced.

Within one hour of riding, I was able to get the stance, cruise at walking speeds, push myself off, etc..

At the end of day 3, I’m starting to learn how to turn, I’m practicing kicking and pushing, I’m working on how to deal with inclines, and my stance is really solid.

It’s different than anything else I’ve ever done. It might actually be the best hobby I’ve ever pursued.

There’s something magical about it…

  1. I get to go outside in beautiful Oakland, something I’ve lamented missing all summer due to quarantine.
  2. I get a workout — not a huge workout, but enough that it feels good.
  3. I get a stress-relieving hobby.

It’s a 3-for-1 deal.

What makes it really unique is that it’s not an achievement-based hobby. The extent of the skill cap I want to get with it is being able to ride around (obviously), ollie up curbs, and manual off of curbs. Remember that ollies are the first tricks skateboarders learn. I expect this learning curve to be about 3-6 months. It’s definitely a significant length of time, but it’s not a lifelong pursuit.

Once I’m able to cruise around comfortably, that’s the extent with which I want to be with my board. After that, it’s just riding around, listening to indie music, and just feeling the wind in my hair.

I haven’t had a hobby like that that doesn’t have some sort of tracking, measurement, or achievement at the end. A hobby that is literally just chilling is really different, and so vastly superior. It makes me want to throw away my reading goals and just ride around for hours.

I really hope I stick with this. I hope my body likes it. My brain thinks it’s the most awesome thing ever.

let’s talk about gear.

I went on a buying binge this past week. I kept finding the limits of what I have and wanted something quality to ensure that I gave myself the best chance for success. Let’s talk about each part.

board: z-flex 32″ chisel cruiser complete skateboard

I bought a complete, pre-made board because that seemed to be cheaper than buying a used board, ironically enough. Most used boards seemed to be like — $50, needs new trucks. Well, how much do trucks cost? Oh, $30. Pretty much every part on a skateboard seems to cost somewhere between $10-40.

I think that’s alright for the longer-term. I’m happy to replace something from wear. But for my best chance at the start, buying entirely new parts, possibly even if they’re lower-quality than the $30 trucks is fine.

I’m happy to have gone with a reputable brand and gotten a cruiser board. I knew 100% that I didn’t want a Walmart board. I went out of my way to get a quality mandolin when I was starting to learn that and I think it made a huge difference.

Good hardware makes learning hard things easier. It’s worth the cost.

This also quickly went back up to $120 in price after I bought it, so I’m happy that I bought it when I did.

helmet: retrospec cm-1 classic commuter helmet

I originally bought something for $10 on eBay. I got a message saying that they couldn’t ship it from China. Since I was already skating, I wanted something as fast as possible. While I was at it, I decided I should get something certified.

Helmets are generally useful to have, so why not? So, I got the cheapest thing on Amazon that was certified. This was about $25 at the time.

I got the orange color so I could be more visible at night. I would’ve preferred a bright green, but I’m really not picky.

pads: something cheap off of ebay

Unlike a helmet, I think pads are less essential for the long term. I generally think I want a good pair of knee pads, but I will want to stop wearing elbow and wrist pads as soon as I’m comfortable.

So, I wasn’t really ready to drop $40 (which is how much the cheapest quality set on Amazon costs). The problem is, since I got something from eBay, it’s probably going to come in late September. At that point, I will have been riding without pads for a while. I’m honestly not even sure if they’re going to fit. So much of the cheapest stuff is only made for kids.

I’m a fairly small adult, but still. It won’t offer too much protection.

I had hoped to buy my “quality” pads and helmet at a skate shop, but I couldn’t wait for the helmet. I hope that I can go to a skate shop by the time I buy real pads.

skate tool: zeato skate tool

This seemed a little premature, but for $7, I think having a skate tool around is a good deal. I just put it in my bag for safety.

shoes: straye ventura

I thought I didn’t need skate shoes this early.

I got deep into rabbit holes about ollieing (again, the only trick I want to learn) and foot braking (imo, the best way to brake) and I realized my Nike training shoes weren’t going to last very long on this board.

I happened to have an old pair of Keds around. There’s not a ton of grip on them and they were never meant for skating, but I stepped on my skateboard one morning with them and then stepped on them with the Nike’s… I realized I have no grip with the Nikes and I need to change to something else ASAP.

I spent a few days obsessing over finding a high-quality, women’s-fashionable vegan skate shoe with a removable insole. That’s a lot of requirements.

I had settled on getting Vans Slip-On Pro in monochromatic white because of the removable insole, but then found out the stuff that makes it “Pro” is suede. Luckily, I found these Vans rip-offs called Straye.

I looked at a few reviews — apparently they last 2x as long as Vans. So, they’re a higher quality shoe, and they’re $20 off at full-price. That’s awesome.

The black monochromatic slip-on shoe was 50% off when I looked. I wanted white, but that wasn’t worth spending 2x more. Black is fine. I got a skate shoe for around $30 including shipping. I hope and expect that it’ll last around 6 months. That seems like a fair deal to me.

The ETA on these is unknown for now. It’ll definitely be a few more weeks skating in the Nikes.

future gear

I’ve been watching so much YouTube about skateboarding. I know so much of the future gear I want.

Luckily, I have most of the basics down. Most of what I need is just accessories at this point.

Let’s just make a quick list of things I suspect I’ll need in the future:

  • Quality ($40-60) knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards
  • Shoe Goo ($5, extends the lifetime of a shoe)
  • Grip Gum ($5, cleans up the grip tape)
  • Footbrake sole ($15, can extend the life of a heavy footbreaking shoe by several months)
  • Replacement parts (wheels, bearings, etc..)

Pretty much just your typical sport replacement costs moving forward. Just like getting new strings or picks with my mandolin.

Overall, I’m really excited about this new hobby. I hope I stick with it. It’s simultaneously cheaper and more expensive than I suspected.

There’s a new category for skateboarding because I pre-emptively hope I’ll have more to say in the future.

favorite song of 2016

Deep down, I am basic.

I despise Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as a film and I think Karan Johar is the most toxic person in the entire industry. His films have weird amounts of male entitlement, he has cranked the nepotism lever up to 11, and he’s a bad person.

But, like everyone else on the planet, I absolutely adore the soundtrack.

I think everyone has a different favorite song from this movie because everyone has a unique taste. It’s such a varied album with such unique and memorable tracks.

I happen to absolutely adore Cutiepie.

It falls into my favorite music mood of all time — describing hot and irresistible girls with an air of unreachability. Everyone knows this girl is hot and everyone notices her when she walks into a room. Something about this genre just makes me feel confident. I know I am NOT this girl, but I wish I was. Sometimes these songs are from a male perspective describing the girls, sometimes it’s just a girl saying she’s hot.

Songs like Cutiepie, Buzz (ish), Baby Doll, Kaun Nachdi, are all examples of this.

This is a big one for me because this is the first Punjabi song that I know all the lyrics of. Punjabi is usually extremely difficult for me. I just love singing along to this song whenever it comes on. The immediate hype that enters my body is unreal.

My favorite lines from the song are as follows:

Neend churana naujawano ki to theek hai,

(Stealing sleep from young men is fine)

Buddhon ka kaahe blood pressure badhaye

(But why do you also raise the blood pressure of old men?)

It’s also just important to note that this was SUCH a good year for music and it’s really hard to choose just one song. But, that’s that. (I’m sorry Kar Gayi Chull and Kala Chashma. I’m so sorry!)

humko deewana kar gaye (2006)

I have watched the little known, critically mediocre, average box office, and immensely forgettable Humko Dewaana Kar Gaye 4 times this year.

This is the only Indian film that I think has never been off of Netflix. I don’t know why. Somewhere in Netflix, it will show that since my family and I got Netflix streaming, we have seen it more than 8 times for this reason.

Every few years, my mom comes across it — sees the poster of Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar, and says “We haven’t seen this one!”

My sister and I yell, “WE HAVE, MOM. WE HAVE,” because we have not only seen it once, we have seen it several times over our lives.

Yet, if you asked us what happens in this movie, we wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the plot.

I watched this last night, let me try and recap the plot for you:

A dude is engaged to Bipasha Basu. Then he goes to Canada and meets Katrina Kaif. They fall in love. It turns out Katrina Kaif is engaged to Anil Kapoor. They have a misunderstanding, and then they get together at the end.

That’s literally just the cast list plus a 2-line Netflix summary. I saw this last night and I can’t tell you anything more about it.

But, I’m starting to realize I love this movie.

I’m going through a few phases right now, and this movie weirdly hits the middle of all of them.

  1. I am realizing I have an intense, immense crush on mid-00s Katrina Kaif. I have never been really physically attracted to people before, but wow, Katrina Kaif. The heat rises in my cheeks when I see her smile.
  2. I think there’s a place in everyone’s life for hopeful, good people having a good time in our media. This mainly results in consuming a lot of children’s media for me, but this movie falls into this.

This movie is very bad. There’s awkward writing, the dubbing for Katrina is all over the place, and nothing happens. I distinctly remember the stock footage scenes being particularly grainy in comparison to the real film.

But, there’s something really magical and hopeful about a movie like this.

Instead of telling you about the plot… let me tell you about the characters’ journey.

Akshay Kumar is a romantic. He’s charming, a family man, and he’s good at his job. He believes in good things. He has an arranged marriage with the imminently gorgeous Bipasha Basu, and believes he loves her, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

He thinks he loves her, but he doesn’t know what it’s like to be in love yet.

Katrina Kaif is delicate. She’s the child of a broken home, but born into a high status, high wealth society. She’s never really dreamt of anything, she’s always known she would first be a proper socialite daughter, and then be a proper socialite wife. She’s a little lonely.

She accepts the love in her life, because she doesn’t know it’s even possible to have anything more.

These two meet, and Akshay is immediately enamored with Katrina. She’s gorgeous, but he doesn’t think much of it until they run into each other again… and again…

He finds out she’s a bit of a romantic as well — not as far as him, but after the immense practicality that is his relationship with Bipasha, the fact that Katrina even entertains his ideas of destiny and fate are refreshing.

For Katrina, this is the first time in her life that she’s met anyone — romantically or platonically — that cares about her for her. Not for her name, not for her dad. Akshay is just nice and charming and caring. It’s hard not to be his friend.

Slowly, they fall in love, always walking the line between this being a friendship or a relationship. Whenever anyone else asks, though, they’re just friends. They’re both engaged. They don’t know what’s happening, but if they question it, it’ll stop. Neither of them wants it to stop. Let’s live out this fantasy as long as we can.

From a viewer’s perspective — it is really nice to see two good people fall in love with each other before our eyes. This story isn’t disjointed, we see basically every interaction they have. We see every moment between them. Because Akshay and Katrina have such good chemistry, the romance feels real despite the dubbing. Any other pairing on this screen would’ve made this movie so much worse.

In a movie that’s all about the characters, half of this is the story structure of it being a slow burn, the other half is entirely carried by the chemistry between Akshay and Katrina. It’s their first film together, and it’s the only movie they’ve done together where the focus of the film is just displaying their chemistry in their purest form. It’s lovely to witness if you walk in with the right mindset.

He knows he’s in love with her before she knows she’s in love with him. She’s a little cautious about it. Akshay seems to forget Bipasha exists fairly easily, possibly because Bipasha is half a world away. She finally gives into it after holding herself back.

More importantly, they both learn something about themselves along the way. Katrina Kaif dares to dream. She’s met someone who’s finally given her permission to have her own desires, her own dreams. I’d like to think that after she marries Akshay, she even thinks about getting a job and making some real choices in life.

Akshay learns what love really is, and that it’s the most important thing in his life. He was always a bit of a romantic, but he didn’t know it would be possible to have such intense feelings that he can’t live without someone. A hole in his heart has been filled, and he didn’t even know that hole was there.

I gotta be honest — if you can’t tell, I think Katrina has the more interesting character in this film. Akshay is practically perfect from the start, but he has more plot, so it sort of evens out.

And… just then, the actual tension / plot starts.

The ending of the movie is about an hour long. The first 20 minutes of it are decent, and I would’ve accepted that as the ending, but it just starts to get a little out of control when so many conflicts are suddenly introduced.

The first two hours of this movie are an absolutely joy if you’re in the right mood, and the last half hour has the potential to ruin the film.

Despite this slog of an ending, why do I love it so much?

I don’t think we make enough movies that are simply about good characters, good people, and the cute moments between them. It’s a simple, hopeful film. There’s not much threat of death. There’s very little grandness to the situation until the forced dramatic ending. It’s just nice to escape into a mildly fantastic world where you see two normal people have a normal love story.

Let’s be honest — they’re not a very popular style of film. They happen to be some of my favorites, though.

Before Sunset is my favorite romantic drama in English.

And look, this might be a bold statement, but Humko Deewana Kar Gaye is 70% as good as Before Sunrise.

I’m not kidding.

I love this genre of film. I love happy stories with happy endings. I love characters growing together. It’s everything that’s good out of life.

And if cinema, or art in general, doesn’t talk about the simple goodness of life, what’s the point of art?

my new workout routine in quarantine

Right before quarantine started, I had just started going to my (free, at work) gym three times a week. I started doing /r/bodyweightfitness’s recommended routine.

This was pretty good. I relied heavily on the TRX suspension system in order to do assisted push-ups, pull-ups, and rows, though.

As we moved into lockdown, I thought it would be 3 months top, and I’d be back to being a busy, city-living girl who walks a few miles a day and does strength training at the free gym.

So uhh… here we are, 5 months later.

I finally caught up on some other habits I wanted to get better at (specifically balancing my eating), so I was ready to start thinking about working out again.

I wanted something I could do at home (obviously), and bodyweight… despite its claims… wasn’t it. You need some equipment:

  • Pull-up bar. I was afraid of hurting my (rented apartment) doors with a bad pull-up bar.
  • Gymnastic rings. You need enough vertical space to use these properly, and I couldn’t see where I could do this in my studio apartment.
  • Somewhere to do dips, rows, etc.. They say you only need a sturdy table and two sturdy chairs. I, once again, live in a studio. I use TV Trays + my couch as my dining tables for friends.

It just felt risky. I wanted to try something else.

I got an ad for resistance band strength training on YouTube, and at the same time asked a friend for advice. He also said resistance bands. I could replicate weights in a way that’s comfortable and less prone to injury.

I also got pulled into the jump rope side of YouTube. Apparently, jump rope is really good cardio. It’s low-impact and high-intensity.

I decided to go with both! Maybe it’s a bit ambitious, but strength training alone just feels way less healthy when we’re all leading such sedentary lives in such a small radius. I want more cardiovascular health, and I want to work on getting stronger.

Here’s a list of equipment I got/use for each:

Jump Rope

  • Jump Rope. I went with the Wirecutter recommended rope, which was a pain to adjust but it seems fine. I guess any beginner jump rope seems fine. One thing to note is that this was originally $7, but during the pandemic the price has been upped to $11. I think that’s okay, but it’s definitely a huge percentage increase.

That’s it. We’ll discuss more about what I maybe should get in the future down below.

Resistance Bands

  • Resistance bands with handles. I’ve used loop bands before for physical therapy and the like. I think the handled ones are more akin to weights. The convenience makes the form pretty good. They REALLY jacked the price up on these. You should only spend between $20-30 on resistance bands. I got these refurbished for $20.
  • Yoga mat. I bought a yoga mat for the gym at work back in February. I wanted something that I could sink into because that’s my preference! I got mine for $16.

For the resistance band strength training, this is all I need! YouTube covers the workouts. There’s no other equipment necessary for the next year, which is awesome.

So with both, I spent around $40 since I already had the yoga mat. I think that’s amazing compared to a gym (assuming they last!).

YouTube for fitness

This all started on YouTube. I don’t remember how it all started. I think I was looking for ways to do bodyweight exercises without equipment. I either got ads or got recommendations in the sidebar that led me to my two newest subscriptions:

  • ACHV Peak for resistance band training. This couple seems super chill which is why I like them! I’d never seen follow-along aerobics DVD-style workout videos on YouTube before. I really like the style, the editing, and the humanness of seeing two people work out with you, (sort of) live.
  • Jump Rope Dudes for jump rope. I don’t like following along with their workouts since I work out outside. But, I like their style and delivery. I like keeping up with the weekly videos just like any other channel I’m subscribed to.

I fell down a rabbit hole for HOURS last weekend to settle on these two channels. I’m happy I’ve reached this point now. I feel like I’m okay with this commitment.

Schedule and routine

I started working out on Monday. My jump rope arrived on Sunday and it took over an hour to adjust (I kid you not). Now that it’s done though, I’m happy with it and I like how little friction it requires to get out there and do it.

The best thing is getting up and getting it out of the way first thing in the morning.

I just get up, grab my rope, go outside on the deck at around 8am, and go. I’m wearing my PJs and athletic shoes.

Right now, I’ve been focusing on just going for 10 minutes. I’m trying to work on my form so that I don’t get bad jumping habits. This means I’m not even jumping much and I’m still fairly worn out.

It’s been good, but despite being low-impact, my shoes are fairly thin and I definitely need my inserts. I just put them in yesterday, but the inserts are new. They’re stiff. It’s going to hurt for a while, but I hope I’ll adjust.

I’m jumping rope every day that I’m not doing strength training. The resistance band training happens 3 days a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Resistance band training has been much easier as far as adjustment process goes. I need to learn some more form (quickly jumping into push ups is hard when I’ve never done a raw push up before), but other than that, I think it’s pretty easy! Especially since it’s indoors.

So, currently my schedule is as follows. All workouts are limited to around 30 minutes (but I’m starting a lot lower):

M-W-F: Resistance band training

Tu-Th-Sa-Su: Jump rope

Future equipment

I really like this. I know I’m only in week one, but I haven’t had much trouble sticking to the routine and I hope that I can continue to do this for a while yet, even after gyms open up. I’ve never felt better about workouts.

So, with that in mind, if I’m sticking to it ,there’s a few upgrades worth considering:

Resistance bands

I don’t really need anything for this. My resistance bands will eventually break, at which point I may want to switch to a more premium brand like Bodylastics.

If I need more flexibility in resistance levels, I should probably switch to loop bands. I’ll figure out how to deal with loop bands when I get there. For now, the handles are very convenient and I want to stick with them as long as possible. (I’ve seen some options where you can hook handles onto loop bands, though!)

I expect this to cost ~$60-80. Not bad.

Jump rope

All cardio has its limits! There’s a lot more upgrades here.

  • Jump rope. Apparently, cheap jump ropes wear out within a few months. There’s this super premium brand called Crossrope which comes with weighted ropes and steel band cables. They’re supposed to last ~2 years for ~$100-150. I don’t mind spending more for the better workout… once I get to that point.
  • Jump rope mat. Concrete is terrible for our joints and the jump rope. I have a deck right now. Wood isn’t as hard as concrete. However, I may move or I may reach the limits of this soon. I think my family has an extra treadmill mat at home I can use instead. It all just serves the purpose of having a thin, softer landing pad for the rope and my feet.
  • Sporta bra. Jumping can get really high-impact. I bought a cheap $20 sports bra off of Amazon. I’m not going hard enough right now to need anything more than a normal bra as is. But, if I’m jumping 4x a week, I definitely need one more sports bra, and I’ll probably opt for Athleta or Lululemon.
  • Basketball/training shoes. My shoes are thin right now. I definitely need better shoes if I’m going to stick to this. Something flat like basketball shoes is probably best.

This is going to cost a lot more to slowly upgrade to. I don’t even have an estimate, but a few hundred dollars. Just for jumping rope! I thought this would be a lot cheaper. It’s cheap to start, but not cheap to stick to.

It’s fine, I’ll get what’s needed when I need it.

ultimate spider-man (#1-27)

I just finished the first four story arcs of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series. I was surprised to find out that I’m 20% done with the entire run.

I’ve only been reading it for ~20 minutes (1 issue) a day, so since it’s a 10 year run, I got through 2 years of comics in about 1 month. I now understand why comic book readers have so many subscriptions! It sounds expensive.

There’s a lot of comics in Hoopla I want to read, but I’m still going through Ultimate Spiderman, so I’m enjoying it for now. The pace is definitely frenetic though, and it somehow feels like all the time in the world has passed & also no time has passed. This comic has the long-term pacing of a soap opera. It starts to mess with you if you think about it too hard.

Anyway, how am I enjoying it so far?

I like it. It’s getting darker. The world still feels so new, though. I just can’t fathom how there’s 8 more years of Peter still being what, 16? It kind of feels like nothing has happened yet compared to the pace of a superhero movie or TV show. The world is still being established!

I want to keep up reading comics, although I think I hoped that keeping up with a weekly comic would be… longer. I’m not sure.

I get some Comixology stuff free with Amazon Prime, so maybe I’lll try that soon. I just want to get to the point with comics where I’m waiting for weekly issues to drop. I don’t know if I’m ready to commit to Marvel for that, though. I need to explore a LOT more.

I guess I’m just still having a hard time wrapping my head around comics although I am enjoying this series.

get a financial life

All personal finance books are bad.

This one is written with clearer language than most, and it gives some direction. But, it still gives too much. It still doesn’t grab me by the horns and say to DO THIS.

It’s got some good explanations that helped me, so it was worth a read. But, if I didn’t already have my financial life in order… this wouldn’t have helped me start. I would’ve definitely just read the book and continued procrastinating.

I recommend this only if you seriously know absolutely nothing about finance, and you’re not a high earner.

favorite song of 2015

I love Himesh Reshammiya.

I was a baby when the glory days of the Hello Brother and Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge soundtracks came out.

I was a kid when the chart-topping brilliance of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and Afsana Bana Ke came out.

People have underestimated his newer work, but his compositions are still brilliant and catchy. His voice has lost a lot of charm, but he’s still a really catchy composer.

He’s not my favorite composer anymore (that goes to Amit Trivedi), but he’s definitely top 3.

The Prem Ratan Dhan Payo soundtrack was a big deal. I didn’t really love the songs until I watched the movie, but the song that made the biggest impact on me was similar to my experience with Do Dhaari Talwar.

The song had never released before the movie came out, and the first time I heard the song was in the theater.

It made an immediate impact. Neeti Mohan has a great voice in this song. Himesh has some catchy instrumentals as hooks. It’s been stuck in my head for 5 years now.