What’s Your Anthem?

Ok, I learned something. When you’re working on your blog from work, check the Wi-Fi status because otherwise you might not be able to upload your post. Oops. We’ll just call this Spartan Sunday this week.

If you’re an avid gym goer, you’ll most likely bring your music player and headphones, crank the volume at the highest level for your earholes without going deaf, and let the music take over your workout. Some of us train to electronica. Others workout to hip-hop. Or maybe it’s Britney bitch….or something in the pop genre. Or you’re just like me and tune in to some good old fashion metal. Music is a force like no other as it has the ability to make you happy, sad, angry, or inspired in a single song. And if you pick the right songs, it can motivate you like hell in the gym.

I’m going to share something that most people don’t know. Before I leave the locker room to start my training, I put on my Bluetooth headphones and turn on my Amazon music. I scroll under my custom soundtrack (It’s titled Spartan Mix) and search for Motorhead – The Game and for a brief moment, I feel like I’m HHH about to enter the ring minus the spitting of my water because that’s just unsanitary. You may judge, but plwase continue reading while doing so.

Every year I try to pick a specific song and make that my anthem during my time in the gym, especially if I’m training for something important. My very first anthem was an instrumental from The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack that I used when I ran my first OCR in 2013. It was Hans Zimmer’s Imagine the Fire and I chose that because it started off pretty slow, but intense, like you’re about to endure the biggest challenge of your life. But then the tempo picks up and Batman’s theme starts with a small twist in the percussion. Then about halfway in, the mood changes again with a more aggressive approach, almost like you’re about to hit a wall, but then it changes one time with a stronger tempo and in the background you hear a chant that can be translated to “Rise” When you think about it while running, it almost matches your pace and I thought it was pretty appropriate. Plus, it’s Batman.

Since then, I’ve used several tunes to make my “anthem song” of the year when starting hitting the gym on the first day of the calendar. When I started my first Spartan Race, I chose Godsmack’s “Whatever” out of dedication to my friend Sean who initially pushed me to run when we were teenagers. I think he would’ve crushed those races if he were still with us. Two years ago, before my injury, I chose Throne by Bring Me the Horizon simply because I wanted my medal. But last year was the most significant because this was my first run since my injury and as I mentioned a few Fridays ago, I needed my win back so I went with an unorthadoxed choice in Vengeance on my Mind by G-Easy. Not everything in my playlist is metal, but most are appropriate for the occasion. This year I’m going with Adelitas Way – Still Hungry. I have a few more races left in me and I intend on running a few this year so this was a solid choice. And I have a ton of other songs that are on my playlist (92 to be exact) that push me to finish a workout or a run. Shout out to Pop Evil for their songs “Waking Lions” and “Be Legendary” because those songs had EVERYTHING to make the finish line.

So whether you got Metallica blasting in your eardrums or Lady Gaga or Kanye West, it’s good to have a playlist when tackling the iron. When focused, you’d be surprised how far you can go in a session by listening to your motivational soundtrack. And personally, having that anthem fuels the blood even more because when the year is over and you begin to reflect, you can ask yourself “did I hit my goal?” Or “Did I meet my own hype?” Trust me, it feels good when you do succeed. It gives you another challenge and a new anthem to march to next year.

Tbt: Party Like it’s 1999

Ah 1999. The final year of the 20th century. It was so anticipated, Prince made a song about it in the 80’s. So much happened that year such as the rise of Britney Spears (and the pants of every teenage boy), the beginning of the Star Wars prequels *cringes*, the Woodstock riot, and Napster. But something that was very notable and hilarious was the Y2K bug and how end of the world theorists were freaking out to this countdown. They freaked out over a calendar!

I think people were hyping this phenomena up a year prior to midnight because when computers started to take over our daily lives, nobody knew what would happen to the clocks. Would they reset? Would Skynet become self aware? Would every motherboard on the planet simultaneously shut down? Regardless it was fun seeing people lose their mind over it. I remember in the early stages of the “bug”, the news advised you stay away from airports and subways. You know, the same news that said we’re currently going through a crises……😒.

When you look at the whole y2k bug, it was a comical moment in our time. Religious folks screamed the end of days, people dumped their life savings on bunkers, and I was trying to get through an episode of Monday Night Raw in peace. Obviously, nothing happened and all was right(ish) with the world. It was the first of many apoloclypses that we went through. Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I’ll reminisce that another time.

Well played WWE

Over the last several weeks, WWE has had quite the slump in terms of quality writing. Boring segments and predictable results were making watching RAW and sometimes Smackdown a bit of a chore. But this past week, WWE stepped their game up and delivered a solid product. It’s not a real surprise as the writing team tends to struggle the hardest towards the end of the year, but rebounds around the beginning of the year and into the Royal Rumble. Not trying to give excuses, but at least the content is where it should be now.

After months of talk and speculating, WWE finally revealed the design of the Women’s Tag Team Championship and to be honest, I’m very happy with the look of the belts. I have nothing against the other designs, but these stand out from the others which is a refreshing pace. And instead of some traditional tournament that’s usually done to crown a new champion, WWE decided to place three teams from each brand and have them compete inside the Elimination Chamber to determine the inaugural champions, which to me is a great decision because if you want these brand new championships bad enough, you’ll go through hell for them.

Another pleasant surprise was a major title change on television. Dean Ambrose defending the intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley. These three needed something new and fast because, as much as I love Ambrose and Rollins, their storyline wasn’t really going anywhere which isn’t a good sign heading into Wrestlemania season. Having Lashley win the Championship was a nice and much needed swerve because honestly, Lashley was getting stale pretty quick so him capturing the IC title should revitalize his character, at least for a couple of months.

There’s even a new main event for the Royal Rumble (thank God) with Brock Lesnar now defending the Universal title against Finn Balor. I can’t put into words how relieved I am to have someone new and worthy to finally challenge for the title and no better person than the Demon. Now if you look at the two side by side, I can understand the mismatch and can even predict how the match will end (hopefully I’m wrong and they’ll finally take the belt off Lesnar) but with the way WWE has changed their direction, anything is possible at this point. Balor definitely deserves this push as he’s been getting lost in the shuffle as of late which is a shame for a guy of his talent and fanbase. I’m crossing fingers for a successful 2019 for this guy.

If you noticed how WWE handled their shows this week, you’ll notice a little edge and, dare I say, a little attitude in their product. A little sex appeal was used on both shows without being too scandalous (although you never know with today’s sensitive society) and the backstage segments were a little more violent than your typical PG product. Not to mention they’ve been very lenient with their language which if daytime television can get away with, I can’t see why Primetime WWE tv can’t throw a “bitch” every once in a while.

I can say this was the happiest I’ve been with the product in some time and as most of you know, I’ve been pretty cranky lately. A lot of unpredictable outcomes and some new edgy angles were introduced along with some neccessarry last minute changes going into their busy season. I’m not saying we’re on verge of witnessing an Attitude Era 2.0, but this was a change WWE needed and I hope this keeps up for awhile. Until then, well done WWE, you’re back in the driver seat……But I still want a job with you guys 😁. My resume is in your database.

Supporting Locals: Steve McDaniel Review

To all my locals in the Poconos, I have a different music review today that you might be familiar with. Over the weekend I saw an old buddy perform at my favorite spot, Sarah Street Grill. His name is Steve McDaniel and he’s been in the local music scene for years as a solo performer and in his group The Steve McDaniel Band. He plays modern bluegrass which I thought I wouldn’t be into, but he really has some catchy tunes and puts a cool spin on some modern music. I met him through some friends back when I was still in high school and since then, I’ve watched him perform at local bars. His positive vibe and good tunes have made for great nights out in the bar scene.

He has his own original material, but I posted something he did with his buddy and bandmate, Steve Herring. For all you Queen fans, it’s Under Pressure and I love hearing these guys perform this song. My other favorite cover of his is Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice. Have you ever heard bluegrass so G and still pull it off? Because Steve definitely does.

Anyway, Steve’s an awesome guy who loves his fans and greatly appreciates the support. Check out his facebook page and listen to some of his music on iTunes. Until then, Here’s a video of his version of Under Pressure.

I am Jason. I am a Resolutioner

Every year we run through the same formula; Jan 1 new year new me; Sign up for gym membership; workout for two weeks; and by February a select few are left standing with their goals. We see the memes all the times and us regular gym goers laugh because it’s true. I’ll admit, I laugh because I compare this time of year to the Royal Rumble where everybody bunches up in the gym, battling for a bench or a machine and when it’s all said and done, one person is usually left in the gym. We call these people resolutioners and I was one of them.

I started my weight loss goals the same way. On January 2011, I made the decision to join this gym not too far from me (shout out to 209 Fitness, RIP) and the process was EXTREMELY slow. I only went twice a week and even then I dreaded every bit of it. Having to wake up early to do cardio for 20, sometimes 30 minutes bleh. Why put myself through that when I can be at home eating a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich while washing it down with chocolate milk? But I kept looking at this picture of me and my gut hanging over jeans to which I said “nope! Back to the gym.” I really hated fat J.

So two a week became three times a week and by this point I developed a routine when I was working out. I focused on different body parts per day while maintaining a cardio exercise at the end of the session. I noticed the results very quickly but that was mostly in part because I was walking everywhere, especially when I was briefly living in NYC. You can say I overshot my goal by the end of the year when I weighed 155….oops. I did eventually gained some of that weight back and maintained a healthy 185 with the occasional holiday weight.

Personally, it’s ok to laugh at the occasional meme, but some people are trying to change their lifestyle and for some people it’s not as easy. So a quick tip: if you see a new gym goer or Resolutioner struggling in the gym, help them. Give them a quick tutorial in between your sets and show them how machines work. We all started somewhere.

And here…we…go

It’s that time of year again! Some people get excited over the NFL Playoffs, I get Wrestlemania fever. Where the countdown starts at the Royal Rumble, drives through a ppv or two, then culminating on the biggest stage in sports entertainment for four, maybe five hours of hard work performed by all involved. But more importantly, this is the time of year where my head hurts the most and my stress goes up a few notches because my creative juices start pouring out and ALL I WANT IS A JOB INTERVIEW TO PRESENT MY IDEAS….sorry, it’s been a rough 30 years.

Since I was a kid, I would come up with creative ideas and try to bring them out anyway I can. In the beginning, I used my action figures and performed my own shows utilizing my dog cage as the Hell in a Cell, firecrackers as pyros (DON’T DUPLICATE. Especially indoors), and I even created my own Buried Alive Match. My biggest regret would probably be creating my own Inferno Match….RIP plastic Mankind. But as I got older, I decided to go from action figures to pad and pen and start writing my ideas down. I always thought Chris Jericho was under utilized during the Ruthless Aggression Era had potential as the franchise in the company during that period. Now, I just rant on Twitter hoping somebody from Stanford hears my relentless cries of frustrations.

For the next couple of months, I am going to ask everybody to bear with me on Wednesdays because this is the time of year where I start going ballistic over some of the creative decisions. The sad part is I’m not even getting paid to get upset and stressed. I do it because I love the business and would love to see another boom period like I saw in the late 90’s. I’m not expecting to see another Attitude Era because realistically, that’s never coming back and I’m ok with that. What I do want to see is people wearing wrestling shirts in the supermarket or in the park like I did when WWF was on fire. They have the talent and the resources now they just need to find the right direction…hi, I’m the right direction 👋.