• Me:I'm okay
  • What I really want to say:why are negative numbers considered real they don't actually exist except if you use the example of debt but debt is a mere human construct it doesn't actually exist in reality it's an illusion created by man and fuelled by capitalism so back to negative numbers why don't they fit into complex numbers it is a true conundrum

The first day back from winter break can be restless.

Many children are still coming down from the excitement of the holidays. Two unstructured weeks away from school — with strange food, rituals and relatives — can be overwhelming for many children, especially when it grinds to a halt after the new year and normality resumes.

But for students whose families are struggling in poverty, time away from school isn’t an exciting blip on an otherwise calm school year. For them, it can be a crippling time of insecurity when it comes to food and shelter.

How To Help Kids In Poverty Adjust To The Stability Of School After Break

Illustration: LA Johnson/NPR
Why I Only Train My Core Isometrically, and Why You Should Too

weightliftingcanadian​ was nice enough to write an article on core strength for my website!

I only train my core isometrically. Without movement. No sit-ups, no side bends, no toes-to-bars, no Russian twists, none of that. I do this for two reasons: safety and functionality.


Firstly let’s look at the spine. It is made up of a series of bony vertebrae with vertebral disks in between them. Vertebral disks are made of two parts, the outer, solid layer called the Annulus Fibrosis, and the inner, viscous layer called the Nucleus pulposus. A herniation occurs when the inner layer pushes its way out through the outer layer, often (very painfully) impinging a nerve coming off the spinal cord. I don’t need to tell you that as an athlete, you don’t want this. No one does. If you do herniate a disk and it hits a nerve root, you’re looking at a lot of pain, rehab, and potentially months off of your sport.

Core exercises that involve movement of the spine increase your chances of suffering a disk herniation. Research shows that repeated spinal flexion (bending forward) is needed to cause disk herniations [1][2]. If a researcher wants to herniate a spine specimen, they will put it through thousands of cycles of flexion and extension with moderate compression. That is exactly what you are putting your spine through every time you do a sit-up or a poorly executed back extension on a GHD (compression in this case is caused by your own core muscles, think of each vertebrae as a book stacked on top of another, your muscles squeeze down on the stack of books to keep them from falling over). Why would you put your spine through that? There are several safer, more effective alternatives to train these muscles.

Research also shows that repeated twisting also makes you more vulnerable to a herniation by slowly wearing away at layers of the annulus fibrosis, making it easier for the nucleus pulposus to herniate [3]. Sure, Russian twists are working your obliques, but at what cost?

The human spine is very good at absorbing compressive forces, the vertebrae–disks and vertebral curves all allow for this. The spine is not, however, nearly as good at handling forces like shear. For example NIOSH, a health and safety board recommends a spinal compression force of no higher than 3400N during work tasks, while the limit for shear forces is only 1000N [4]. The exact numbers are not important, but safety experts agree that our spines are about 3.5 times better at handling compression than they are shear. Excessive shear becomes a problem when the spine is fully flexed forward[5] (think sit-ups, toes-to-bars, etc). These exercises definitely do a good job of working your rectus abdominus, but not without introducing potentially dangerous and unnecessary shear forces on your lumbar spine. Exercises that keep the spine in neutral or near neutral are safer because they put the spine in a position to handle forces compressively instead of introducing shear forces.

At this point is when someone would usually say something along the lines of “Well I do exercises X and my back is fine! This can’t be true.” Your back may be fine if you’re doing these exercises now, but it may not be in the future. You may be fine in the future too even if you continue to do these exercises, but you are definitely increasing your risk by continuing to do so. To succeed in any sport, you need to stay healthy. There is no reason to put your spine through potentially dangerous exercises when safer alternatives exist (more on these alternatives later). Also, you should keep in mind that the absence of pain does not mean the absence of injury. Only the outer layers of the annulus fibrosis contain sensory nerve fibers [6], so during the early stages of a herniation, pain would not be an issue.


Almost every sport I can think of requires a core that is neutral or near neutral (don’t think of neutral as a perfect position, think of it as a certain small range of motion around that position), and a core that is braced isometrically. The only example I can think of where this isn’t true is gymnastics (but gymnasts are freaks of nature, so let’s ignore them) and maybe swimming or rowing. I’m sure there are more, but that doesn’t really matter. Most sports require a neutral, isometrically braced spine.

This is especially true of strength sports. The squat, Snatch, and Clean & Jerk all require a neutral spine that is braced isometrically. Those who bench with an arch won’t have a neutral spine and some deadilfters prefer pulling with their spine in a little bit of flexion, but both of these exercises definitely require the spine to be braced isometrically. If strength athletes always need isometric core strength, the majority of their core training should be isometric as well. Since the spine is capable of moving in three different planes, the core should be trained isometrically resisting motion in all three of these planes. You should select exercises that resist flexion and extension (bending forward and backwards), lateral flexion (bending to either side) and rotation (twisting). Below is a list of exercises that I have had good success with implementing in my training, that challenge the core in all three planes of motion. Assuming you have the basic stability needed to do them, these exercises are a solid foundation.

Here are some of my favorites!

  1. Planks (resisting extension)
  2. Reverse Planks (resisting flexion)
  3. Side Planks (resisting lateral flexion)
  4. Hollow holds (resisting lumbar extension)
  5. Side hollow hold (resisting rotation)
  6. Back extension holds (resisting flexion)
  7. Kneeling 1 arm press (resisting rotation)
  8. OH barbell spins (this is a bit all of them, but mostly resisting rotation)
    1. No video for this one, but you basically hold a barbell over your head, keep your core tight and move turn your feet until you do a full 360
  9. Farmer’s walks or single arm dumbell carry (resisting lateral flexion)
  10. Ab Wheel (resisting at the bottom)

This list if by no means exhaustive. Get creative and find what works for you.

At the end of the day, you can train your core muscles in whatever way you want to train them. Just be aware of the risks and rewards that come with your choice of exercises and take this information into consideration before your next core workout; it’s probably not worth it. Stay safe!

if you haven’t had water in a while, go get a refreshing glass of it.

be sure to take a step outside today. even if it’s just outside your door.

don’t skip your night routine. it always feels good to warm down before bed.

remember that all big problems are handled with small steps put together. focus on the steps, not the problem.

you matter, and i care about your well being.

“It seems like I can date later. I like the idea of being a campus couple, but what would become of the two of us later when it doesn’t work out?. I think staying single until until having a job wouldn’t be bad, because economically it seems like a relationship at that point could be more stable. I don’t need to think about dating seriously, but all of my friends think about marriage, at least a little bit, when they’re dating someone. So, if I see my friends dating someone, practically speaking, I think that for them dating seems a bit difficult.”
“How old do you happen to be?”
“I’m 21.”

“연애는 나중에 해도 될 거 같아요. 캠퍼스 커플도 좋지만 결국 둘 다 아무것도 안 될 거 같기도 하고… 나중에 직장 가지고 사겨도 나쁘지 않을 거 같아요. 그게 경제적으로 더 안정적일 거 같고요. 심각하게 생각할 필요는 없지만, 주변 친구들이 연애하는 걸 봐도 결혼 생각을 전혀 안 하면서 만나진 않거든요. 그런 커플 보면 경제적으로 좀 힘들 것 같다는 생각을 해요.”
“혹시 몇 살이신가요?”

What is Concrete anyway?

Concrete is made up of cement, and other stones. Cement is made up of a chemical mixture primarily of Calcium, Silicon, Aluminum and Iron. When water is added to the cement powder and the aggregate (sand, pebbles, ground stone, rock) to bind into the stuff we see EVERYWHERE in the city.

Now, concrete IS different than Asphalt, which is generally black in color which contains petroleum derivatives. For this, we don’t want that. Mostly because Asphalt reacts with heat and much lower temperatures, and using oil based products in magic for me sends the wrong messages.

So What is Concrete Good for?

Binding, of course. But Concrete can have other meanings if we think about the role concrete plays in our lives.

Concrete can represent safe travel.
Concrete can represent foundations, and stability.
Concrete can represent a chosen path, destiny, fate laid out by someone else (possibly by deity of choice).
Concrete can represent strength. Concrete can stay stable though many events, including weather related ones. It can hold us up, or what we need.

How can I incorporate Concrete into my magic?

For magic, collecting bits of concrete that have broken off are the easiest.
Add to your alter. Carry a peace for safe travels. Add to a satchel for strength. Light fires on it somewhere safe and legal. 

For binding, that seems simple. Pick up some cement from your local hardware store, follow directions and use ALL safety precautions then bind whatever object/paper or  in whatever size thing you want to do. You can make tiny amounts for things in like an ice cube tray, or egg carton. Do this for something that you want to keep bound but close by. Concrete does not erode as easily as other natural materials, so please do not throw concrete balls into other peoples yards. Incorporating it into some actual project would be cool, but ask someone if whatever you are placing in the concrete will not effect the structural integrity of the project.

Why would I want to?

Yes, Concrete isn’t the best thing in the world. Humans use it in excess, it is difficult to erode, and energy that goes into making it and destroying it burn up fossil fuels, and other things. However,cement and concrete has helped us build safer buildings, improve travel, can be used for art,  and pretty much makes urban living possible. It is a part of our everyday lives, especially in an urban environment, and represents progress. I for one will use concrete, after all  I walk upon it everyday, my apartment sits upon a concrete foundation and I find myself going to distant places into the nature that I dearly miss living in an urban environment.

*Image by tpsdave, under an CC0 public domain though pixbay.