Toolman

Keep a diary of what you're hitting, what's frustrating you, and your goals.
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C-Fan
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北斎

Post by C-Fan » 23 Jan 2021 20:10

TOP POST PAINTING!!!

Image

Ejiri in Suruga Province, by Hokusai.

Here's a really cool NYT feature that analyzes the details of the painting in depth:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... e=Homepage

Decided to post it here, since your last post highlighted lots of big changes in your life, and this painting is amazing at evoking the sudden drama and power of change. I'm excited for you, though it is also important to remember that big changes are also never easy.
mtoolan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 12:57
I haven't been out west really at all so spending part of my summer there is exciting. My thesis will be seeing how different measures of fire severity and intensity affect clonal regeneration in quaking aspen communities.
I'm currently playing a video game called Firewatch, which is set in a forest in Wyoming in 1989 where you are a firewatch. It's a mystery adventure game and I'm not done with it, but visually its very relaxing and involves a lot of time hiking through aspens. Here's a short video to give you an idea of what it looks like:


mtoolan wrote:
22 Jan 2021 12:57
over the past year I've quit both drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. I've been thinking of quitting for a long time but didn't have the confidence and motivation until recently.
Good on you Mike. Quitting those two have well-documented health benefits, but I'd argue that quitting anything and sticking to it has the mental benefit just of making you feel more disciplined and in control. Even something that's not bad for your health (I dunno, say biting your nails or something) is good to quit, just for the mental discipline aspect. I pretty much gave up booze 3 years ago, and while I didn't notice any real physical benefits, just keeping a streak going felt meaningful. I also found the longer the streak went, the easier it was to keep going. Always happy to talk more at length on this with you too. Last name at gmail if you want to take me up on it.

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mtoolan
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Re: Toolman

Post by mtoolan » 05 Feb 2021 09:23

I've already talked to Ken about the Top Post Painting, but just so the rest of you know, I found the interactive article fascinating. I used to have a poster of Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa hanging in my bedroom, so to learn more about him and the context of his work was really cool.

Footbag motivation was low this week. It's been hard getting out of my warm bed early enough to kick for a bit along with my other exercises. I purchased one of those stability/balance boards (rounded, not long) to use while working at my standing desk, so if I don't have the motivation to head up to the attic to kick I'll practice stalls and atws on the balance board to warm up for my other exercises. The good news is they've opened up a new climbing gym in the area that's doing a really great job of dealing with covid-related issues, so I've finally started easing back into climbing during their slow hours.

I was hoping to have a short video to put out at the end of January, but I wasn't able to accumulate enough footage after my submissions for the New Years Jam online comp. I guess I could just count that submission as my January video. I have a few clips from another session that I'll incorporate into a potential February video. It'll depend on how many free days I have this month that reach ~40 degrees. I really miss stringing tricks outside and drilling in the attic does not satisfy the itch.

In non-footbag news, I got a fun new gadget for my guitar that should keep me occupied for a while. I've been playing a lot more since I got a new guitar for my birthday in October. I'm hoping to start training certain aspects of it in ways similar to how I train for footbag.
Mike Toolan
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Re: Toolman

Post by boyle » 05 Feb 2021 11:45

Have you seen some of the stuff Jakub Worek does on the balance board? He is very good at it. He posts clips on Instagram sometimes along with the footbag stuff.

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Re: Toolman

Post by mtoolan » 05 Feb 2021 12:01

Yeah, he's the one that first got me thinking about purchasing one. The style he uses tends to run higher than my price range, so I went for something a little cheaper/simpler to get started. I picked up this one specifically:

https://www.target.com/p/ignite-by-spri ... lsrc=aw.ds

I haven't yet used it for any of the things they recommend aside from pushups and just standing on it as I go through my work day. It has been fun to practice stalls, tricks, foot juggling, and ball juggling though. The lack of stability really makes it challenging.
Mike Toolan
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Re: Toolman

Post by boyle » 06 Feb 2021 12:46

oh yeah, a bit like the Bosu balls they have at the gym. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitne ... ique-twist

I have been working on some balance stuff at the gym, so things like standing on one leg on top of these things is a good one.

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Re: Toolman

Post by Cass » 15 Feb 2021 11:24

Hey Mike! I noticed you mentioned yoga in a previous blog entry. If you are still looking for some motivation, there is a great app I use multiple times a day for practice called “Down dog”. It has lots of settings and options so it doesn’t get too repetitive and you can select the level of difficulty as well. I would recommend giving it a try 😄

Loving my pumpkin bag btw. Derek and I use it for warm up all the time lately.

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Re: Toolman

Post by boyle » 15 Feb 2021 12:29

I think I know one of the guys who made that app. Met him in Chile.

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Re: Toolman

Post by mtoolan » 02 Mar 2021 12:52

Cass, that Down Dog app is seriously awesome. I've been using it once or twice a day for the past week or so and I'm loving it. It feels like all the best parts of attending a class without having to leave the house. And one of the best parts (for me) is that it's free for students through July (for pandemic reasons). Being a student can be tough at times, but I'm really gonna miss the discounts when it's all over. Thanks for the recommendation! If you have any recommendations for a mat, that would also be great. I'm currently using some $20 mat I got on amazon over a year ago, and it's worn through and torn in a bunch of spots. I got my wife a Manduka mat for her birthday and we love it, but it was a bit pricy (~$90) so I haven't gotten one for myself yet.

I guess my last update was about a month ago. Around that time I came down with a shitty virus (not covid or the flu), and that knocked me on my ass for over a week. And really, it's only within the last week or so that I feel back to 100%. So my weekday workouts/footbag suffered a bit during that period. The yoga app has really helped me ease back into the exercise routine (thanks again, Cass). I've also been going to the climbing gym 2-3 times a week, which has been great for decompressing after school/work. I plan to get back into my morning footbag routine some time this week (when I can motivate myself to go back to my crappy attic).

I was lucky enough to have an hour or so free one afternoon last week where the temp was over 50 degrees, so I took advantage of that. My normal tennis/basketball courts were covered in snow so I scouted out a different spot on campus and was able to play for just under an hour before it started to rain. Since the start of the new year, I've been able to have 3 outdoor sessions. One of them was just filming for online NYJ. Then I had another in late January. So I decided to make a short video of my last two outdoor sessions to share with all of you. There's nothing cool or new in the video, but it felt incredible to be able to play outside and to me that's worth documenting. So here it is:

Mike Toolan
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Re: Toolman

Post by Cass » 07 Mar 2021 06:12

Sweet! Another cool thing about down dog is they will give you a free subscription if you can’t afford it. You also get the meditation and HIIT apps by the same developer with your subscription.

As for mats, I am partial to Jade mats, which are similarly pricey. I find them to be grippy and decently durable (although I still need a new one every few years because they start to lose traction). I haven’t tried many other varieties though.

Outdoor shred at this time of year is intense!! Way to go.

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Re: Toolman

Post by boyle » 12 Mar 2021 00:38

That looks so cool with the snow in the background!

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Re: Toolman

Post by Muffinman » 28 Mar 2021 19:40

Was gonna comment but realized that I already did on Youtube lol. The first outdoor sessions of the season always feel amazing. It’s great that you’ve been able to manage that so early in the year. It’s pretty cold still up here!

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Re: Toolman

Post by mtoolan » 23 Apr 2021 09:34

Hey, all, it's been a minute. Grad school has been kicking my ass, but in a good way if that makes sense. I'm busy and stressed all the time but in a way that is kind of invigorating as long as I'm getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately depending on how you think about it, I haven't been very motivated to kick at all. In fact, most of the time I feel like doing almost anything else when I have the time to exercise. I know that sounds like I'm about to disappear again, but I think it's a good thing, though we'll have to see how I come out on the other side of it. I'm definitely in the middle of some sort of transition in my footbag life.

Worlds honestly has me a bit stressed out. On the one hand, online worlds is an incredibly rare opportunity for me to compete on a worldwide stage and to give back to the community that's given so much to me, and I should be taking full advantage of it. On the other hand, I'm in a weird stage in my game where I'm becoming less and less interested in the style of playing that is needed to make competing worth my time. Staying guiltless no longer interests me, and I've been steadily moving away from a lot of the standard stuff I've been doing for almost two decades. This is for a number of reasons, but the most important are 1) at 31, my body is telling me those moves aren't as mechanically appropriate as they used to be, and 2) re-honing those same tricks and concepts over and over has put me in a very small creative box at a time where the creative side of footbag is really all I care about. I feel some level of obligation to compete in as many events as I can, but I know that I certainly don't have the time to make that worthwhile, and with the time I do have, I don't want to spend it trying to solidify all the same old things. So with all that in mind, I've decided that I'll compete in routines alone. Shred off, sick 3, and shred 30 style events have never been my thing, and I see no sense in continuing to force it.

With all that in mind, the 4 or 5 times I have kicked in the last two months have been mostly enjoyable, particularly when the weather cooperates. And aside from footbag I've been enjoying all manner of physical activities like kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and yoga. I feel like I'm living a very rich life in some ways. I'm lucky to have a diverse group of interests and the ability to choose whatever strikes me as most fun at any given time. This seems to be the prevailing trend in my life, where I'd rather be halfway decent at many things than totally proficient at only one thing. I've heard that sentiment from many people in the footbag community, though I know some prefer a different approach.

Anyhow, life is good at the moment. My semester is winding down, we're both fully vaccinated and settling in to our new place and loving it, I'm starting to get the logistical ball rolling for my field season in Utah (June/July), and I'm absolutely digging the transition from winter into true spring. The nature nerd side of me is always at full throttle this time of year and since starting my masters I've been constantly learning new things that I can then see play out on the landscape. It's like learning to read an entirely new language, but not a spoken language, more like music notation or coding. Every little thing you learn adds another piece to the puzzle, which you then use to inform the way you see the world. And now that I've gotten myself all jazzed up, I think I'm going to go for a nice mid-day stroll.
Mike Toolan
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Re: Toolman

Post by Muffinman » 28 Apr 2021 10:08

Sorry, I was gone for a while, what are you taking in school?
Grad school was actually the height of my footbag career so far!

Competition also stresses me out, so I just don't do it. I feel you on the opportunity that online Worlds provides though. I'm tempted to do something just because it seems so much less stressful. Don't push yourself if you're not into it! I'm excited to see where your game goes next. I've always been jealous of your smooth, effortless form!

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