The Worst Workout.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with rowing machines.  I was first introduced to their use as training equipment by a friend who was a rower, and he was so very keen that I felt almost obliged by his enthusiasm to give it a shot.  His suggestion was that I try doing a 3k race, with the aim of getting a split time of 2min/500m, so just 12 min total time.

For 12 minutes, it’s hard going.  It’s not a relaxing experience.  I would find myself trying to arrange my workouts round the 3k because if I started with it, I ended up going full out and wouldn’t want to do anything after it and if I left it too late in the session, I had to lie down on the floor next to the rowing machine because I felt too dizzy and sick to stand.  There have been a few times that gym staff have been concerned enough at my post-rowing state to come over and make sure I’m not going to pass out.

In recent years, though, as my fitness and motivation waned, I cut out the rowing.  I just couldn’t face it and, to be honest, the thought kind of scared me because I knew that a) I found it hard going when I was fit and b) I was no longer fit.

Last night I thought I’d try my hand at a 3k race, just for the hell of it.  I started with 20 mins of cycling to warm up, stretched, and then went for a row.  I was going to type something along the lines of “wasn’t too bad” or “I did OK” but again following the spirit of total honesty in this, the last 500 m felt like I was going to spit out my lungs.  I had forgotten how insanely painful it is when you hit that last 750m and you just start going for it because this is your last chance to make up for all those seconds you’ve lost on the middle section.

In other news I’ve been up at 6.15 twice this week for 7 am Body Pump classes.  I upped the weights this week, and although I reckon I could stand to put a little more on the bar, my elbows have been complaining about the lack of a thorough warm up, so it can wait another week before I start attempting anything heavier.

Today’s music is…

First Aid Kit, an acoustic folk duo from Stockholm.  I was listening to Huw Stevens’s show on the Norway music scene on Radio 1, and in between laughing my head off at the various artists all conforming to the stereotypically Scandinavian interview style (i.e. telling the interviewer at great length why their hometown is the best possible place on the planet – because why else would they be here now were it not for Oslo/Bergen/The Musicality of the Swedish Language/Iceland’s Mimetic Legacy of Song etc etc), I actually enjoyed listening to some of the acts.

Not all of them, though.  Some were just plain bad.  Casio Kids, on interview, sounded like really nice guys but I couldn’t really reconcile finding the lead singer to be an affable chap with the less than exciting music they offered up.  Maybe it’s just a question of taste.

Mind you, I found it funny that despite visiting a Scandinavian music festival, pretty much all of the songs they aired had English lyrics, and the smatterings of Norwegian/Swedish/Icelandic/etc were limited to wet jingles that reintroduced the host.  That said, I imagine quite a few artists write and release songs in the “international” form of English to approach as broad an audience as possible.

So yes – First Aid Kit.  There is an album up on Spotify, which is always good.

On a side note, extremely weird web stats for this morning, as I’ve had 2 visitors but 66 pageloads.  Methinks the stats counter isn’t too good at spotting spiders.


…German retailer Galeria kaufhof pull all violent media from their shelves, responding to the fallout of Tim Kretschmer’s murderous rampage last week. (link from Reuters, via Kotaku)

I was going to expolde into vitriolic fury over this, but I can’t seem to find the motivation. Much like corrupt politician Keith Vaz, the retail chain is simply acting for the sake of appearing to leap into action, aiming the barrel of their misguided “oh won’t someone think of the children” morality at the first straw man they can find.

What does this change? Nothing. Will people suddenly rise up and shake off the fetters of a media conspiracy to keep us numb and drooling with the violent and gory media that Galeria Kaufhof has shunned?

Not likely.

Update: German retailer Saturn has apparently jumped onto the bandwagon, pledging to pull all 18+ material from its shelves. (source: Gamepolitics)

Meanwhile…Police in the UK arrest a student for writing a protest against infringement of civil liberty, in chalk, on the pavement. “Criminal damage under £5000”.

Ludicrous. It would be funny if it wasn’t so incredibly scary.