Monday, March 31, 2014

Training -- Mon 31/03/2014


4x2x120kg -- Felt heavier than Saturday.

SLDL/Calf Raise


Step Ups


NLC/Sit Ups


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Training -- Sat 29/03/2014

Seeing as it's been a week since I've worked out (due to uni) and about 3 months since I've trained remotely seriously, I decided to see how much I've lost. Only a person lacking sanity like me would do this and say he really enjoyed it. Squat was down 20kg and bench down 10kg. I didn't attempt real 1RM's today, I just got to the point where it felt like my form was going to turn to rubbish if I went heavier.



Bench Press

10x60kg -- I noticed from the 3rd warm up set onwards that I was getting good and tight in my right side, but my left side insisted on taking a nap. This isn't new behaviour, but it was pronounced after a week off.

Barbell Row/Calf Raise


1-arm Swing


I weighed in at 66.45kg this morning. I still have more body fat than I ever thought I'd have at this weight, however it can't be too bad, given the veins in my arms while working out today. I also went the extra mile and took bicep, waist and hip measurements (was too lazy to do thigh and calf measurements). Respectively, I measured in at 35cm, 77cm, and 91.5cm. I did the math on my waist:hip ratio, and apparently I'd like to take me out on a hot date.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Evangelion Act 3

There's one sure-fire to kill an angel, and that is to destroy its core, also referred to as its S2 organ. The S2 organ basically gives an angel unlimited energy. It's the next best thing to immortality. To get to its S2 organ, you'll need to break through its AT field, which is basically a force field that both angels and Evas possess, composed of the "light of [their] souls." So in the climax of the series, when Unit 01 goes berserk, becomes aware of herself and her surroundings, takes on a nonsensical sync ratio with Shinji ("over 400%"), shreds the Angel's AT field and eats the Angel's core, it's a good time to consider the possibility that humanity might just be screwed.

In the final act of Evangelion, we're on a rapid ride to the end.

Of the world.

S2 Engines are tasty. *****/5 stars.

Before the plot can take a step forwards, it takes two steps back. It turns out that a 400% sync ratio has happened before -- to Shinji's mother, who was absorbed into Eva and declared dead. And it turns out that as Unit 01 has become aware, Shinji has been absorbed into her. Psychedelic stuff happens ans Shinji spends a month without a body while the staff at Nerv carefully construct a means to reintegrate his body and soul.

Professor Fuyutski is abducted for interrogation, and when that happens we get filled in on a lot of the details about Nerv's past, including the 2nd Impact and the relationship between Gendo and Yui Ikari. We learn that there's a striking similarity between Yui and Rei, Ritsuko Akagi's mother -- who, after Yui's "death," had a relationship with Gendo -- was so delighted by this similarity that she killed Rei and herself. Yes, childhood Rei got dead. Plot hole? Not just yet.

The release of Fuyutski costs Kaji his life. Remember, while Kaji hasn't done a lot to directly influence Shinji, he has spurred Shinji on, helped Shinji to think things through, and was the motivational voice that drove Shinji to man up at the end of Act 2. So, Kaji turns around dies. The man that has been helping to bolster Shinji up is now ripped out from underneath Shinji. But that's okay. Shinji's still got his co-pilots, right?

Shinji's relationship with Asuka: Asuka believes that she needs to be the best in order for her life to have value and meaning. So every time Shinji progresses, Asuka regresses. By the time the 15th Angel attacks, Asuka's regressed so much that her performance as a pilot is slipping ans she's demoted (if you will) to Rei's back-up. But she won't have a bar of that, so she charges on ahead, only to get her mind raped by the Angel. The Angel cuts through all her bravado to expose her for the ravaged, traumatised child that she is, to the point that the next time she pilots Unit 02, she won't even be able to make the Eva move.

Asuka withdraws from everyone, and declares her hatred for Shinji, Misato, "that bitch Rei," and herself. She shuts down, and the search for the 5th Child as her replacement to pilot Unit 02 commences. As Asuka shuts down, there is no longer anything left for her to give Shinji. She can no longer build him up in any way. The girl who became for him the representative of the reality of womankind fades away into oblivion.

Shinji's relationship with Rei: Act 1 ended with Rei putting her life on the line to protect Shinji, but Shinji ultimately saving her and everyone in a big emotional moment. In the battle against the 16th Angel, Nerv are reluctant to send Shinji up to fight. Apparently a self-aware beast that's capable of going berserk and now has unlimited energy is somewhat of a liability. But, when all else fails and the 16th Angel is merging itself with Rei through Unit 00, Shinji is sent up to intercede. However, his efforts are in vain, and in order to prevent the Angel from merging with Shinji/01 as well, Rei opts to contain the Angel within her AT field, absorb it into herself, and self-destruct.

Think about what this symbolises for Shinji. All this time, Shinji's relationship with Rei has been building him up. Now that he's taken his first real step of manning up, Rei sacrifices herself for him, and from that moment on can longer be there to lift him up. Shinji is no longer able to depend on anyone else.

Rei seems pretty dead right now, right?



Noticing a pattern here? Rei dies --> tada! She's alive. Rei dies!! --> TADA! She's ALIVE! Like mother like daughter, Ritsuko becomes jealous of Rei's relationship with Gendo, but doesn't take it out on the Rei we all know and love. Instead, she brings Shinji and Misato down into the depths of Nerv, where the components for the dummy plug system (which almost killed Toji) are made. The "components" being an LCL-filled tank of Reis.

And Ristuko kills every last one of them.

Just for added creep factor, we get to hear them giggling while their bodies crumble and dissolve in the LCL.

Now let's do the math here:

  • Rei has a disturbingly affectionate relationship with Gendo (well, as affectionate as the two least affectionate humans on Earth can get).
  • Rei is protective of Shinji.
  • Shinji identifies motherly qualities in Rei.
  • Rei looks a lot like Yui.
  • On one occasion, Rei has specifically offered to risk her life because: "If I die, I can be replaced."
  • The dummy plug system is a mass-produced series of Reis.
Those are the facts the series gives us at this point. Care to fill in the blanks?

The Fifth Child:

Asides from Shinji, each of the other Children have been decimated. Toji has lost limbs. Asuka has lost her mind. Rei has died repeatedly. And Shinji can no longer relate to any of them.

Enter Kaworu Nagisa, the 5th Child.

Kaworu will appear to Shinji as a fulfillment of all of his needs, and the perfection of the roles of each of the other Children. Kaworu immediately connects with Shinji and offers Shinji his love. This is love that crosses all definitions. This is brotherly love. This is the love of friendship. This is unconditional love, which Shinji will never have to earn. And this is romantic love.

I should interject here and point out that at no point thus far has Shinji shown any hint of romantic interest in males. At one point, Kaji (jokingly?) flirted with Shinji, to get the flat rejection: "Kaji, I'm a boy." This is somewhat out of character, but I feel that to make sense of this relationship, we shouldn't be looking at how it fits with the characters, but how it fits thematically. And how it fits thematically is, in one person, to fulfill the needs that every other person in Shinji's life has failed at.

To top it all off, as an Eva pilot, Kaworu is exquisite. Shinji showed some real Chosen One potential early in the series, and the story has kind of progressed around that ideal, but while Shinji has had to "work hard" and undergo endless trials to grow as a pilot, Kaworu has such mastery as a pilot just by showing up that it is fair to say he pilots Unit 02 as naturally as any normal person breathes.

Kaworu might even be able to mend damaged bridges. After all, while Shinji can't relate to Rei any more, that won't stop Kaworu, who tells her that she is like him.

Everything looks so good...for about 10 minutes.

Kaworu is almost looking like a Messiah, but perhaps he's a little bit closer to an Antichrist. If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. It's probably Kaworu, instead. Kaworu is the 17th and Final Angel.

While the 14th Angel managed to make its way into the outer regions of Nerv, Kaworu makes his way into the deepest part of Nerv, where Lilith (the 2nd Angel, who has previously been presented as Adam, the 1st Angel) is hung up on a cross. And Shinji must make a choice: kill Kaworu and save the world, or let Kaworu destroy the world for his own personal gain.

Finally, Shinji commits to what he couldn't commit to with Toji.

The End of the World:

Everyone wins!

Most fans were not happy with the last 2-3 episodes, seemingly because of the direction they went in. My main complaint is just that there were only 3 episodes when the story needed more like 6: an extra episode or two to make me care about Kaworu ("Hi, I just met you, and this is crazy, but I love and now I'm going to destroy the world" just doesn't build the character up enough for me to feel the betrayal); and an extra episode or two to get us from that battle to the Human Instrumentality Project which unfolds in the final two episodes.

Now, while I haven't talked about it much, the Human Instrumentality Project has been mentioned consistently throughout the series. What have we been told about it? Jack diddley squat, which is exactly why I haven't told you anything about it.

The final 2 episodes give us a somewhat positive representation of the Human Instrumentality Project. It's still messed up and weird, but through the Human Instrumentality Project, Shinji learns to stand on his own two feet and not just be in the world having life imposed on him, but to become proactive about his life. Yay, happy ending.

The movie, which I don't recommend watching unless you like having a cartoon rape your face, decided to show us how we actually got the that point. And just how did we get there? Just a little thing called 3rd Impact, which the Eva pilots and most of Nerv* have been trying to prevent all along.

*Most of. As in, not all of. In fact, Gendo has been orchestrating everything all along so that 3rd Impact will happen, but on his terms. What a nice guy.

The movie gives us a less positive outcome -- while the series leaves us in a state of hope (or confusion, for most fans), the movie takes Shinji back out of the idea of what could be, into the reality of what is.

The Mechanics of 3rd Impact:

When Kaworu faced Lilith (though he was targeting Adam), the Nerv systems had already identified him as an Angel. Then two more AT fields exploded onto the system, each wielding incredible strength. One was Lilith's. The other...was Rei.

This is how he and Rei are the same. Both are human. Both are angelic.

Rei is made from Yui Ikari's body. Unit 01, after absorbing Yui, possesses her soul.

In Nerv, Lilith is on the cross, while Adam, still in chrysalis form, is merged into Gendo's hand.

Gendo's goal appears to be:

  1. Merge with Adam
  2. With Adam, merge with Rei
  3. With Adam and Rei, merge with Lilith
  4. With Adam, Rei and Lilith, merge with Unit 01, to become a god with his wife, Yui.
That doesn't go according to plan, and so Rei absorbs Adam out of Gendo, but refuses to merge with Gendo. He misses out. Ha!

Once Rei, merged with Lilith and Adam, becomes a god, projections of Rei appear everywhere to collect the souls of mankind. This function occurs retro-actively: as a god, she's no longer limited in time, and so prior to this event we see her projections collecting the souls of characters who have already died. This also explains why we saw a living, healthy projection of Rei at the start of episode 1, despite her being all but dead at the time.

When it's time for Unit 01 (with Shinji inside) to merge with Rei/Adam/Lilith, instrumentality begins.

Training -- Fri 21/03/2014



Such a huge workout. I came in planning to do front squats, back squats, deadlifts, SLDLs and calf raises. But as soon as I started warming up for squats, my right hip was giving me problems at the bottom, so I decided to just do deadlifts and leave.

No training for Saturday because of reasons.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Training -- Wed 19/03/2014

Bench Press/Pull Ups


DB Shoulder Press/Fat Gripz Row


Monday, March 17, 2014

Training -- 17/03/2014


3x10x97.5kg -- If you're really observant, you'll notice that I went up in weight by 12.5kg from last week. I intended to only go up by 2.5kg, and not realising I'd fudged things, I proceeded to do the first set thinking: "Wow, this feels much heavier than I expected!" When I realised why it felt so heavy, I decided to follow with the trend.

This also lead me to the conclusion that I'm ready to do some more focused lifting again, so instead of going on to upper body work and making this a circuit, I decided on the spot that it was time to revert back to an upper/lower split.

Step Ups/Calf Raise

10x30kg/13x360lb -- I'm highlighting this set instead of the heavier 40kg set because at 40kg my technique left much to be desired. 30kg was a much better working set.

NLC/Calf Raise

2x6x1.25kg/8x380lb -- My first ever weighted Nordic leg curls. Granted, I used the lightest weight available, but it wasn't too long ago that doing these without assistance was a huge achievement for me. Despite it being only 1.25kg, it is a PB.

1-arm Swing

3x12x12kg -- This felt much better than the last time I tried doing 1-arm swings. In general, the swings with my left arm seemed smoother than the swings with my right arm.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Training -- Sat 15/03/2014

High Bar Squat

20xBW -- Drop set

Incline Bench Press/Pull Ups/NLC


DB Shoulder Press/Cable Row/Calf Raise


I was going to do kettlebell swings after this, but instead I ended up doing an ab exercise called Violently Regurgitating Everything You've Consumed In The Last 6 Hours. It was super-effective. Twice the flavour, half the calories.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Training -- Wed 12/03/2014

OHP/F.Squat/Cable Row




Monday, March 10, 2014

Training -- Mon 10/03/2014


3x10x85kg -- First set felt really off. In a truly unusual twist, I wrapped my thumbs around the bar rather than over (normally this makes low bar squats feel awful for me) in the 2nd and 3rd sets, and this seemed to help. Third set was the best.



Bench Press/Pull Ups/Calf Raise


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Training -- Sat 08/03/2014

High Bar Squat


Incline Bench Press/Pull Ups/NLC


DB Shoulder Press/Upright Row


KB Swing/Calf Raise/Suitcase Walk

8x32kg/10x360lb/50mx32kg -- Strength Sports Gym does not have the same range of kettlebells as Masterpiece Strength Academy. At Masterpiece, I could scale my way up from 8kg to 30-something. At SSG there's just 2x12kg KB's and 1x32kg. Slight problem for incremental increases. It turns out swinging half your body weight is no easy task. There was a very fine balance between setting my weight far enough back not to topple forward by the drag of the KB, without being so far back that I fall backwards. I didn't count the reps where that happened.


In other news, I helped out in a working bee this morning before training. "Just think of it as a free workout, just think of it as a free workout, just thin of it as a free workout..."

Last night I went to an event called Gospel Theatre. The things it had in common with a regular church service were: someone said stuff on stage; part of the bible got read; there was an audience; there was food and conversations afterwards; it was in a church building. What it didn't have: singing, public prayer, an assumption that the audience is made up of Christians or people who can be motivated with a little inspirational story into becoming one.

For 5 years I've been a Christian, and for 5 years I've not invited any of my non-Christian friends to any specifically Christian things, because said Christian things are good for giving Christians fellowship and discipleship, but for the non-Christian you're basically stuck on the outside looking in, or you feel like you need to act like a Christian to be welcome -- or, whatever the case, the whole thing doesn't really cater to you. Gospel Theatre was the first event I've been to that I think non-Christians would feel relatively comfortable in.

Additionally, it had a panel up the front for some interviews at the start and to help out in lengthy Q&A at the end. Questions were encouraged, and that included oppositional questions which challenged the points and ideas raised during the talk. Such questions were received humbly and given consideration, rather than being invalidated or dismissed. I wasn't timing the Q&A section, but I'd estimate it went for about 20-30min, with some serious discussion happening.

Included in the people there last night were pastors; students; a 24yo woman and 29yo man who both have the emotional stability of a freshly traumatised 14yo; at least one guy who sees Christianity as a bad thing; binge drinkers; a drug addict; weird people such as myself; and others I didn't get to know.

This was a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Training -- 06/03/2014

OHP/Front Squat/Cable Row




Calf Raise/Leg Raise


Monday, March 3, 2014

Training -- Mon 03/03/2014


10xBW -- Dropset

Bench Press/Pull Ups/SLDL

2x10x60kg/8xBW/10x80kg -- That was brutal. Note to self: NLC's work in a circuit; SLDL's murder you.

DB Shoulder Press/Fat Gripz Row


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Training -- Sat 01/03/2014

Thursday and Friday the 13-14th of February were spent in a business conference. Highly romantic. I came home with some added savvy and a free bonus cold. I started exercising again at the start of this week, but have been very busy, and the workouts have been very lackluster, so I couldn't be bothered recording them. Today was slightly less lackluster.

High Bar Squat

10xBW -- Drop set from final loaded set.

Incline Bench Press/Pull Ups/Nordic Leg Curl


DB Shoulder Press/Upright Row/Calf Raise


Kettlebell Swing

2x10x12kg -- 1 set each of single arm swings. That was fugly and I couldn't see any way in which ongoing practice is going to get me into a groove for it.

Then I started coughing like crazy, which was a good sign that I should stop about 10-20min ago.

All up, this workout was about an hour. I like that. I've had too many long sessions over the last year, and right now I just don't have it in me. But apparently I have circuits in me, so that's what I'll do for the time being. How long will this last? Who knows! I have exactly zero personal fitness goals right now other than to show up and enjoy myself, so I have the pleasure of being able to change the way I train at the drop of a hat and not be going off the mark. But I think I'll stick with this full body circuit training for a while. Or not. We'll see.