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Galanthian Deities

For centuries the old gods were worshipped unopposed until the rise of the prophet Hethgin. Hethgin advocated on behalf of a new pantheon. The new gods were less idealistic and represented more of our carnal expressions. Followers of the old gods felt that it was sacrilege to accuse the gods of mortal desires. Before tensions escalated out of control T’Lika stepped in to mediate a truce. That is a story for another time. For now, let me introduce you to the old and the new. You may decide who is right for you.

The Old Gods of Galanthia:

Draymond – Neutral god of magic and balance.

Bellequa – Chaotic neutral goddess of beauty, fertility and flowing water.

Nyzz – Lawful evil god of misfortune, pain and night.

Occulare – Lawful good god of knowledge, sight and daylight.

Rouxi – Chaotic neutral goddess of nature, harvest, fate and destiny.

Llorne – Lawful neutral goddess of justice, mercy and war.

Undari – Chaotic god/godess twins of life and death.

The New Gods of Galanthia:

Evesham – Neutral god of thought, curiosity and listening.

Gargok – Chaotic neutral god of transformation, strength and hunger.

Zidel – Evil god of magic, fury and pain.

Berman – Chaotic evil god of rumor, greed and disillusionment.

Val – Lawful good goddess of charity, service and accountability.

Arshus – Chaotic neutral goddess of gambling, sex and revelry.

Gruffin – Lawful good god of loyalty, friendship and stubborness.

Kiyara – Neutral good goddess of family, war and retribution.

Phaeus – Lawful good god of wisdom, composure and accuracy.

One final note: Word is spreading around news of a new clairvoyant. They go by the name Auhmni. Not much is known about Auhmni, but they speak not of new gods, but of one singular, continuous thread of existence.

-jbb

Mom’s Wisdom

Hanging out with the World’s #1 badass! Love you mom!

I’d like to share a few of the more memorable words of wisdom that my mom shared with me growing up. While they speak for themselves, I’ll share my takeaway from them below.

  1. “You know what happened to thought don’t you? Thought thought he farted but he really shit himself.”
  2. “Experience is the hardest teacher, it gives you the test first and the lesson after.”
  3. “I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but some way, some how, it always works out.”
  4. “It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.”
  5. “If it don’t apply, let it fly.”
  6. “If you have enough food but your neighbor doesn’t, give them half. Sure you’ll both still be a little hungry, but neither of you will starve.”
  7. “If you want something to cry about, I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Again, none of these are particularly ground breaking, but they definitely helped shape my perspective.

  1. I learned from an early age that it wasn’t wise to make an assumption. The idea of thought being a person who crapped his pants was more impactful than the usual “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.”
  2. The most effective way to learn something is by doing it. Mistakes will happen and that’s ok. It’s all a part of the process.
  3. Never count yourself out. Commit, believe, achieve. Remaining positive in the face of adversity is important and will lead to a better outcome.
  4. It’s never a bad thing to be prepared.
  5. This one today would probably read “haters gonna hate.” Essentially, you can’t control what other people are going to think or say and if you know it’s not true, don’t worry about it.
  6. If you are able to help someone without hurting yourself, then do the right thing. We’re stronger together than we are alone.
  7. When mom gives you “the look” knock the shenanigans off. This also was a major lesson in learning to be accountable and accept the consequences of my actions.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but merely a few selections that have echoed throughout my life. Were any of these a part of your curriculum as well? What are some of the other lessons you remember from your childhood?

-jbb

Welcome to Galanthia

The Queendom of Galanthia has been ruled by Queen T’Lika for the last thousand years. T’Lika’s reign has never been considered anything other than fair and just. When followers of the new gods clashed with zealots of the old gods, T’Lika brought them together. Through tactful diplomacy she was able to convince both sides that they could coexist. When a twenty year drought ravaged the lands, T’Lika inspired hope throughout Galanthia. She worked with the farmers to discover new crops that relied on less water, she lowered taxes and made sure that her people did not starve, and she was even able to send aid to the coastal Kingdom of Sh’Rook.

Occasionally there would be a skeptic. Someone who questioned how T’Lika had lived for so long. There was one such uprising, led by Xandar Wesqling. Xandar convinced two-hundred Galanthians that Queen T’Lika was a supernatural being. Some kind of demon whose plague needed to be exorcised. On the night of their coup attempt, Xandar was met by T’Lika in the main square of Galanthia. T’Lika offered forgiveness to anyone that laid down their arms. She understood their concern, but asked them to point out any ill deeds done to them by her. Upon reflection, one hundred and seventy-eight of the two hundred rebels stood down. The remaining twenty-two died in combat while Xandar was captured and charged with high treason. His sentence was to remain imprisoned as long as T’Lika ruled.

The Xandar Uprising was roughly 400 years ago. Xandar Wesqling remains in the dungeons of Galanthia, and rumor has it that he looks to have aged only a few years. For those that believe the rumors, there are opposing beliefs. Some argue that the castle is enchanted while others believe that Xandar himself made a supernatural pact in order to see the end of T’Lika’s rule. What both sides agree on is that Xandar, like T’Lika, would not still be alive if he were a simple human.

Lately, there has been less concern over Xandar and more worry over Galanthia. The days have grown cold and damp, the once fertile soils have become barren, and T’Lika’s presence has waned. The people of Galanthia are struggling and are becoming desperate. Without leadership, violence and unrest are increasing.

Is this the end for T’Lika? Of Galanthia? Is there anyone that can help fill the absence of hope?

Stay tuned…

Spring Revival

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Happy Spring!!

I don’t know about you, but I am excited for Spring 2021. Spring is the season of renewal both of the physical world and the metaphorical. The revival of energy brought forth by lingering sunlight, blossoming trees and menu changes for locally-sourced restaurants featuring seasonal produce.

Over the weekend, Emily and I walked to Coffee Commissary over on Fairfax. It was a beautiful morning filled with sunshine so, rather than heading back home right away, we chose to sit down out front and enjoy people watching. Ok, ok, I was dog watching and getting excited any time a new furry best friend came walking by. After a few minutes, a guy sat down across from us and for the first time in over a year I made a new friend.

For the next 3 hours we chatted with Hassan. Originally from Egypt, Hassan had just moved to LA in December 2019 after finishing grad school in the Bay Area. He’s a college professor of management and entrepreneurship and loves baking pies. I’m excited for the day that I get to try his coconut cream pie, it’s one of my favorite pies!

It was during our hangout with Hassan that we learned about the return of indoor dining in LA. A year after our city was shutdown, signs of life were showing. This weekend was reinvigorating in so many ways and I know it’s just the start of something incredible!

-jbb

Be Present.

Photo by Micah Boerma on Pexels.com

I’m a pretty lucky guy. I was raised by a single mom who recognized she was in a toxic relationship and was able to get out. The same couldn’t be said for a lot of the kids I knew growing up. At the height of our disfunction, my brother got arrested and had to spend time in jail. This allowed me to navigate the world in my own way without him continuing to project his opinions and insecurities onto me. In 8th grade I won an X-Box from Taco Bell. Senior year of high school, I won a raffle for some spending money during our senior trip to Disney World. A few months after I moved to California I was struggling to come up with rent one month and then I won $500 on a scratch-off lotto ticket. However, one of the reasons I truly consider myself lucky is that I somehow escape anxiety.

I typically credit my mom’s belief of “I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but somehow, someway it always works out.” This credo has always been a foundation for my calm. It probably also helped that I was told multiple times that worrying wouldn’t get me anywhere and that I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Her pragmatic and practical approach mixed in with a few good clichés were successful.

It might seem strange to listen to or take advice from someone who doesn’t struggle with anxiety, but I often find success in seeing an outsider’s perspective. Anxiety is unease about the future and it is common for our brains to create a variety of hypothetical outcomes that deliver a ton of stress. One of the tools that I use to combat any wild thinking is journaling. By writing something down and then being able to read it, I am able to usually calm myself down. Journaling allows me to gain a pseudo third person perspective which brings rational thought to my issue.

In additional to journaling, I believe in the power of mindful meditation. Mindfullness is intentionally being present without judgement. Mindfulness meditation has shown to increase positive brainwaves that replace the negative Nancies. Here’s an article from Psychology Today if you’d prefer it in more layman’s terms.

To close, I offer the wisdom of Lao Tzu, who once said, “if you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

-jbb

Work

A non-comprehensive list of things I’ve done to earn money in no particular order:

  • Clean up and wood splitter for a tree removal company
  • Construction laborer
  • Dishwasher at a pizza joint
  • TSA baggage handler
  • Wawa gas attendant
  • Delivery driver at another pizza spot
  • Clerk at a wine shop
  • Volunteer fireman
  • Camp counselor
  • Before and after school program worker
  • Youth sports coach
  • Bellhop at Disney World’s Tower of Terror
  • Food service at Sea World
  • Bartender/server at numerous bars/restaurants
  • Lyft/Uber driver
  • Personal Trainer
  • Community Manager
  • Assistant stage manager
  • Assistant events coordinator
  • Actor
  • Fitness model
  • And, as a kid, the extremely glamorous job of “pooper scooper” for my neighbor who was a breeder of Shar Peis.

As you can probably imagine, that last one was clearly my favorite.

Yesterday, Em and I took an adventure to one of my favorite donut places in LA. It’s roughly a 2 mile walk from our apartment and along the way we stopped for coffee and a second time for brunch. It was a beautiful day for a walk and during our leisurely stroll we talked about a number of things. On the way home we came to a discussion about work and money.

Growing up we didn’t have a lot, but my mom always made sure that we had what we needed. I’ll forever appreciate her making sure that I understood the value of appreciation. Her insistence that while we may have been poor financially, we would always be rich in love and spirit. That perspective has been an incredible source of comfort this past year as I’ve been mostly jobless since March 2020.

After a year of sending out resumes and cover letters, I was all set for my first interview last Wednesday. I woke up Wednesday morning, got a bike ride in, worked out with my November Project crew, showered and had breakfast. I was ready to own my day when I received an e-mail telling me that the company I was set to interview with was going in another direction and that they were sorry for any disappointment. Reading that definitely took the wind out of my sails a bit, but then I told myself to find the silver lining. I told myself to appreciate their transparency and that they didn’t put me through a meaningless interview.

My Ted Lasso-like optimism reminds me that it’s all going to work out. Some how, some way, it always works out. After all, thanks to my mom, my friends and Em, I am still rich in love and spirit.

-jbb

Peloton

I briefly mentioned Peloton yesterday while talking about the adversity I’ve faced since I haven’t been able to run pain free since November. For those that might not know, Peloton is a fitness brand that has changed the game. Most often Peloton is associated with their at-home stationary bike, and while the bike is what they are most known for, they are so much more than that.

First, I want to skip the bike and the treadmill and talk about their app. Did you know that you don’t need their bike or treadmill to benefit from the app? Yes, having their equipment makes it easier to follow along with the cycling or tread classes, but I have a few friends who sought cheaper alternatives and still enjoy the Peloton classes. The bigger thing to me though is that in addition to cycling/tread classes, Peloton offers yoga, meditation, strength, stretching, outdoor guided runs, and cardio HIIT classes! These are world class coaches offering classes anywhere from 5 to 90 minutes long and all available right in the palm of your hand. Oh and a digital only membership is currently $12.99/month! All-access membership with the bike or tread is $39.99/month which is still cheaper than any spin studio I’ve ever been to, and allows for multiple household users so the cost is split for myself and my partner Emily.

If my excitement for the app didn’t pique your interest, then perhaps this paragraph will. I’m big on high fives and an even bigger community guy. I love being a part of a bigger collective that supports one another and loves to see people shine. I love giving kudos out on Strava, which by the way here’s a little Strava hack that you might not know!

(If you do a group run/workout/ride/whatever with multiple people and you want to give everyone kudos, bring up the list of people who participated and shake your phone. Doing so will bring up the option to Kudos everyone or just friends that you follow. You’re welcome!)

Ok, so the Peloton community. Aside from being able to give out high fives to other folks doing the same class as you, there are endless amounts of groups on Facebook, Strava, Reddit, and the likes that are created to have people come together to share success stories and inspire one another. It truly is a lovely community where you can find people to connect and sweat with from all over the world.

Finally, the equipment. I can’t talk about the treadmill as I’ve never used it, but I do own the bike. Admittedly, it’s an investment. The bike starts at $1895 and the bike+ at $2495. Personally, I have the regular bike as I got it before the bike+ came out. I’m financing the bike and between the bike and membership I am splitting the cost with Emily so we each pay roughly $51/month. One thing I appreciate about Peloton is that after I ordered the bike, they launched the bike+ and reduced the cost of the original bike and subsequently credited my account since I had ordered at the higher cost. Usually companies will offer hollow apologies in regards to price drops like this, but Peloton took the initiative to e-mail me and I thought that was awesome. Oh and financing is interest free and didn’t tack on any additional charges. I 100% believe the bike is worth it and if I compare it to the cost of unlimited yoga/spin/meditation/strength classes here in LA, I’m saving thousands of dollars a year. #nobrainer.

If you’re already on Peloton, add me @buckbrennan. If you’re deciding to order one, go ahead and use my referral code XJY43D and you’ll receive $100 towards accessories. I recommend the bike mat and cycling shoes if you don’t have any.

Oh and for some of my favorite instructors here ya go:

Cycling – Emma Lovewell, Matt Wilpers, Denis Morton, Alex Toussaint

Yoga – Denis Morton, Ross Rayburn

Meditation – Aditi Shah, Anna Greenberg, Chelsea Jackson Roberts

Strength – Chase Tucker, Olivia Amato (abs)

Honestly though, they’re all incredible and I’ve never regretted taking a class with anyone.

Do good,

jbb

Identity Check?

For the last 7 years my athletic identity has been as a runner. Within the last couple years I finally decided to take my running seriously, with last year being my most dedicated year yet. Covid cancelled most of my races, but I maintained motivation by chasing FKTs and setting challenges for myself.

I first started with a challenge to run 81 miles in a week to take the place of my 81 mile race that was cancelled. Some months later I tackled my first ever 100 mile week and not long after that I captured my first FKT. Heading into October, I was looking to push myself to run 250 miles for the month. I had been averaging 40-50 miles a week at that point and felt great so the notion of adding another 12 miles didn’t sound so bad.

Well, October came and went and I made it to 250 miles, but along the way I developed some back pain and spasms. Foolishly I had ignored the warning signs and was stubborn enough to run through the pain.

Since December 1st I have run almost 51 miles. Aside from being great physical exercise, running has always been my place to decompress and work things out inside of my head. With running disappearing from my life I was feeling a bit lost. Luckily I was able to get new health insurance from Covered California which allowed me to finally go see a physical therapist. Turns out that I’ve got weak cheeks.

In addition to added attention to my derrière, I started cycling more and added kettlebell training into the mix. Cycling has been awesome and I’ll have to write a separate post for Peloton cause this is already getting long. (Typical Jesse story.) Kettlebells have probably been my favorite new addition because they’re not something that I’ve used often even back in my collegiate rugby days. I’ll write my love letter to kettlebells soon and hopefully inspire you to give them a shot!

All of this is to say that I was faced with some adversity in regards to my known athletic identity and took it as an opportunity to expand my repertoire. I’m slowly returning to running and hopefully I can soon recapture my Griffith Park FKT that was broken. I encourage you to search for the positives that can be found amongst the adversity. You grow through what you go through and I know you are strong and capable.

Do good,

jbb

My Morning Routine

GOOD MORNING!

Unlike your favorite food bloggers, I’m going to get to the recipe first and then talk about my reasons and experiences.

My Morning Recipe:

Wake up at 5am

Make morning salt water concoction*

Get some movement in

Work my brain a bit

Eat breakfast and enjoy some coffee

*Recipe for salt water concoction*

  • 10-12 oz room temp filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • juice from quarter to half a lemon depending on size

I should first mention that I get ready for bed between 9-10pm so I’m aiming for 7ish hours of sleep. It is now 5am and my alarm goes off. I settled on 5am for a number of reasons. The first being that I’m a major fan of sunrises and I always seem to feel more productive if I start my day early rather than having a late night. I also really appreciate my solitude and getting up at 5am gives me a couple hours to myself in the morning before my partner Emily wakes up around 7am.

After waking up I head to the kitchen and make my morning salt water. The pink Himalayan salt comes from one of the oldest and largest salt mines in the world. It is minimally processed and contains minerals not found in traditional refined table salt. This drink helps me hydrate and also replenishes some of the salt that I lose when I’m working out. I’ll admit that it probably isn’t for everyone, but I definitely believe that starting your morning off with a hydrating glass of water will benefit everyone.

I’ve hydrated and now I get some movement in. Some days it’s a simple yoga flow or a few sets of body-weight exercises. Other days I hop on my Peloton and get a ride in at zerodark:thirty. Either way I make sure to treat myself to some movement to get my blood flowing and deliver fresh oxygen throughout my body.

Once my body is warmed up and my brain has had some time on autopilot, I grab whatever book I’m reading or find some puzzles and get some mental exercise in. Currently I’m reading How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan which is a fantastic exploration into the world of psychedelics based on scientific evidence as well as the author’s own experience. Puzzle wise I go a few different routes. I’ll work on crosswords, google random riddles, or do some logic puzzles. Nothing with any high stakes to it because I’m not trying to overload my brain and be worn out by 10am.

Finally after a couple hours of being awake it’s time for breakfast. I don’t have many food rules, but I do try to limit the amount of sugar and processed foods that I eat. Breakfast for me can be a sweet potato hash, bacon and eggs, oatmeal loaded with nuts, berries and seeds, or some incredible millennial approved avocado toast. I could talk about food for days and I know there are tons of people telling you what your “diet” should be. The truth is though that what works for some people might not work for others. I encourage you to experiment and find what works for you and to listen to your body.

That being said, there is one bit of advice that I do believe is universal and it comes from Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

There you have it, my morning routine. Since I made this a consistent practice, I have seen nothing but improvements in my life. My mood is much more upbeat and stable, my energy doesn’t have ups and downs, and my productivity is through the roof. Maybe some of this will work for you or maybe you’ll find other practices that compliment your lifestyle more. Play around with your morning and find what’s right for you.

Have a fantastic day and do good,

jbb

Little update

Hey,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. For a while I felt bad about not posting and then I’d get an idea before ultimately not following through with its creation. This cycle continued for a bit, which led to feeling guilty about letting my insecurities win and then dealing with imposter syndrome.

I started making little changes here and there to see if I could break the pattern. I started reading a new book, incorporated a new morning routine, meditated daily, altered my workouts, changed what I was eating and even started standing up while playing video games. If there was something small that I could experiment with, I decided to give it a go.

The initial results were awesome. My new morning routine had me waking up at 5am, reading for a bit, moving my body and feeling re-energized. I added kettlebells into my workouts which has had a profound impact on my mobility and balance. Food wise I already ate pretty good, but I eliminated some more of the processed foods that I was eating and started cooking new recipes that I’d never tried. Playing Call of Duty already puts you on edge, but standing up takes the intensity up another notch, not sure I’d recommend it haha.

All of this had me feeling an improvement both physically and mentally. However, when I went to write, I’d come back to the thought of “it’s been a while.” The associated guilt would follow that thought until I heard Peter Crone on Aubrey Marcus’s podcast.

“What happened happened, and it couldn’t have happened any other way because it didn’t.” – Peter Crone

I must have rewound that part at least 5 times. Like holding a stretch for at least 30 seconds so that the brain can signal the muscle to relax, I wanted to make sure that my brain was getting the message. All of a sudden that feeling of guilt transformed into a hunger to create.

In the coming days I plan to expand on my morning routine, my new workout strategy, new meditation writings, new creative writings as well as an update on my direction in life. For now though, embrace the wisdom of Peter and remember:

“What happened happened, and it couldn’t have happened any other way because it didn’t.”

Do good,

jbb