Here’s a link to another bloggy blog for you.

Yasha’s Thoughts.

I don’t know Yasha personally but I know I’ve seen him at national meets over the years.  One of his blogs popped up on my FB feed.  Every one I’ve read since has been gold.  This one in particular is about the always under appreciated shoulder press as it is applied to weightlifting.


I’m going to preface this “review” by saying that this isn’t truly be a review of this LP. By definition, that would entail me going through this thing looking for different aspects to critique. I do enjoy doing that but I also enjoy sitting and enjoying which is what I did here. Vinnie and Co. are guys who I consider to be my friends. Kevin has actually been my best friend for quite some time now so obviously I’m going to be a fan of anything this guys do.

That being said, Vinnie Guidera & the Dead Birds released their debut LP last week which culminated in a release show. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend. But like I said before, these dudes are my friends so I’ve been to quite a few of their earlier performances. Bummed that I missed the show, I hopped over to Dimple Records to pick up my copy of the LP which also comes with a redeemable download code (righteous!). What comes next is a few thoughts now that I’ve spent some time with the record. It’s material that I’ve heard many times before in coffee shops all over midtown but it’s always interesting to hear the transition to the recorded format. Perhaps most impressively, this effort was entirely DIY and done VERY well. Just take a look at the clear “coke bottle” pressing.


Sweet Christmas, that looks good.

The subject matter is heavy. Loss is the reoccurring theme throughout; something instantly relatable and altogether very personal. Vinnie does a fantastic job keeping his songwriting very sincere, leaving the record feeling intimate (no homo) and full of character. You start and end each song feeling like you’re listening to Vinnie’s experience instead of another’s. Vinnie also doesn’t shy away from his influences (I especially enjoy during his live performances when the band will cover The Misfits-Skulls). On certain songs I’ll pick up a little David Bazan. But in the end, Vinnie will always write and sound like Vinnie. The Deadbirds (Ian and Kevin) sound fantastic. It’s hard to believe that this was recorded in someone’s living room. You could tell on certain moments that Ian really gets to have fun. His symbols especially shine though the mix adding lushness and warmth. Kevin compliments Vinnie perfectly, providing the bottom end to wrap the compositions up. Sonically speaking, the recording leaves a healthy amount of attack so the guys seem right there next to you. Honestly, that’s right where you’d want to be (no homo).

All in all, the LP is impressive. For such heavy material, the record leaves you feeling hopeful. Vinnie helps you reflect on your own experience by giving you a window into his own. You feel ready to go forth and make new memories, make new mistakes and do the whole LIFE thing. Great job, guys.

Here’s a link to their bandcamp where you can download the album or get the LP which comes with the DL code.

The Alley.

November 24, 2015

The Alley that our gym is located in got some new artwork the other day.


Personally, I liked what was up there before.  But change is good so they say.

This was a nice little surprise I opened up the garage door to the other day.

In general, I will never post a review of anything negative on this blog.  This is mostly because I usually only post about things I like and this is no exception.  That being said, I’m going to preface this post with:

I like Werksan Equipment.

If anyone reads this and goes around saying “Ben hates Werksan” I’ll reach through the computer screen and slap you across your simple face.

I’ve chosen to build up the rest of my stock of bumper plates with Eleiko “Sport” training plates, but that’s simply because I aesthetically like them better.  I believe them to be equal in performance.  However I do have a great deal of experience with Werksan equipment (including the 3 barbells that we own from them) and I can assure you that their product is top quality.

However there is this.


You see these plates? It took me well over 3 months to revive these two plates.  But that’s actually not why I’m writing this post.

I can understand if a company is out of stock or backordered on a particular item.  Heck, I’ll even forgive waiting over 3 months to receive an item.  But during the course of those 3 and a half months, I left numerous messages over 3 different routes of communication.  No response.

During those 3 months, I actually ordered more Werksan equipment.  Except this time, I ordered through Rogue (who’s customer service is BOSS).  That order came through, but more importantly, Rogue answered my questions when I wondered if THAT order would come through.

Moral of the story, if you like Werksan equipment, I advise you to go for it. But order through a 3rd party vendor like Rogue.

Take this as a data point and nothing more; a snapshot in time.

Your milage may vary.


White Dwarf-ISM Demo.

November 12, 2015

I had a few people ask me about the song I used in my latest video I posted on the Occam Facebook page.  This is White Dwarf.  Their demo is one of my favorite things released this year.  They basically sound the most like SLEEP since SLEEP.  I’d like to hear a full album from these guys for sure.

Here’s a track.  Click on the link and download all 4 songs for $FREE.99!


November 4, 2015

I took a temporary retreat yesterday with a group of strangers.  Honestly, it came at a good time even though it’s the middle of the week and I never leave the lair during the week unless it’s work related.  However, for me to sit down and be forced to interact and speak personally with a group of strangers is one of the things I need to work on the most.  Because I hate it.  But I do value how that situation forces you to organize your thoughts into words in real time; organically, not written such as on here.

One subject that came up was courage.

To me, one of the most courageous things one can do is to look introspectively.  Taking a good look at yourself and seeing all of your flaws, seeing all the room for improvement isn’t fun and certainly doesn’t feel rewarding.  However in my opinion, the pay off when applying what you find to whatever it is you do with your time (whether its lifting, or coaching or being in a long term relationship or being a father) is the only true path towards personal development.

I’m inspired to be more courageous every day by seeing people do this themselves.  Go forth and keep being courageous because it inspires the rest of us to do the same.

Trust the process.