ASS IN FACE (A Gym Story)

I’m not much of a talker at the gym…a nod and smile usually suffices most interactions – as the large majority of people just want to be in and out as soon as possible so the entire ordeal doesn’t drag any longer than necessary…

So like many others I put in my earphones and just silently do my time as if counting down a horrendous prison stretch…each set of exercises representing another etched line on the cell’s walls that leads up to freedom and release to the outside world – where sweaty groins and burning muscle pains are a lot less frequent. Unless you’re a pole dancer I suppose…

Pole Dancer GIF

Anyway that doesn’t stop the chatty Kathys out there unfortunately, or the other talkative people who are not called Kathy for that matter. No Sir! There are still a few bizarre individuals who feel the best time to enter into conversation with strangers is when they are one squat away from being sick all over the dumbbell rack, or one strained leg press from caking their underpants…let me tell you this right now: these people are stupid – they should let people die alone, not interrupt their struggle and offer unwanted opinions on the weather and current events!

It makes me deeply saddened to report that despite being in South Korea I am not immune to these types. Just yesterday one entered my life, and just like herpes once you have a new buddy (even one that is against your will) there is no getting rid and you will have to face it every day. If you are in this situation you have my sympathy – but there is nothing that you, a doctor, or a personal trainer can do about it…you simply have to learn to coexist…errr yeah, I think I lost my train of thought a little…

Metaphor GIF

Also may I add you may hear that a flamethrower will help alleviate this problem – I am not legally at liberty to comment. But…yeah, DO IT. 

Anyway so back to the story – I was sat at a bench, except not a nice bench like a park bench, on which I can do nothing but listen to the birds sing in the trees, and smile at babies who just stare back dumbfounded…no you see this bench is different. On this bench I have to lift up heavy things, without moving them anywhere, and then put them down again…and then repeat. As if I am really indecisive like “hmmm where shall I put this, perhaps over here, perhaps over…err…nah just put it down and think again.” REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT! So is the life of the gym goer, and so was my situation in that moment.

So anyway while I was sat there an older but still rather fit looking (as in healthy, settle down you!) lady got right in front of me- despite there being quite literally all of the rest of the gym to stand. She then began some weird very bum orientated moves that I don’t know the name of, there was a lot of gyration going on…too much. They were like squats I suppose but more butt, and each movement was so close to me that I got a bit of a breeze with every rep.,.it made me uncomfortable…very, very uncomfortable…each bum jerk was the equivalent to a sloppy Aunt kiss when you’re 12 years old.

Awkward Workout GIF

Now I’m a nervous fella at the best of the times but I felt like I knew how to deal with this one…so I deployed the good old half a clock method; I simply looked down at my phone, looked left at the Korean drama beaming on a small TV screen, then back to the mirror (looking only at myself…not even a glimpse to the right, oh no!) – and then repeat! You see I didn’t want anyone wagging a finger and shrieking “DID YOU JUST LOOK AT THE BUTT I AM SHOVING IN YOUR FACE?! HOW BLAAADY DARE YOU?! YOU FIEND YOU!” 

Nahhhh, it was far too early for that sort of exchange – so I stuck to my guns. Even when the butt turned around, I stuck to the strategy…even when she stared right at me from two feet away, I tried…even when she began waving her hands in my face…I…well yeah, at that point I had no choice…

“Errr, hello?” I mumbled, removing my earphones which I had been led to believe served as a magical artifact which lets people know you are totally not up for conversation.

“How are ya?!” asked the butt lady, who seemed very keen to know all about me despite my dour expression. I nodded and mumbled something, before remembering my manners (after all I didn’t want to be mean). She then rambled on about something gym related that I didn’t understand at all, so to both change the subject and be kind I thought I’d try a compliment; “wow, you’re English is great by the way!” “Well yeah…I’m American.” she said in a solid monotone. 

“Haha…well that explains that then…”

Awkward Oh GIF

She snapped back from the silence and continued with questions as I wondered when it was socially acceptable to put my earphones back in and continue with my workout. You know, the REASON I am here in the first place! Five minutes passed and that time didn’t seem to come…then ten minutes trickled by….and then I felt I had to make it happen myself, so made my excuses and got my sweaty body out of there, despite not being done.

“See ya tomorrow then John!” 

Argh man…I mean she’s so nice, bless her. But I don’t need a bud every morning at the gym (but now I have one, so oh well) I just need to be in and out! You know, put my body through hell till it cries so maybe, just maybe, I can eat pizza, bacon, and cheese without quite as much guilt as I do when I just have a lie in. I’m not a powerhouse masochist superhero model  type who has ‘NO PAIN NO GAIN’ tattooed across their balls – instead I’m a degenerate blob who isn’t fond of movement across the board, especially (most) movements which make me grunt. ohLIGHTBULB MOMENT! 

What if I grunt really weirdly and say strange things when doing exercises?! Just brainstorming at this point but what about something like; “URGHHYEEEAAAAH, URGHHHH-AHHH-MILKKK, MILKKK, MIIIILKKKKKKKK! OHHHH – YOOLKKKS! EGGYYYYAAAARGHHH!” 

I mean, surely no one will speak to me then? Even people named Kathy…well I’ll give it a go and let you all know…in the mean time enjoy your freedom my friends, unless you’re reading this in the gym – in which case, you have my pity…

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Kid’s Tall Tales

This internet age we live in is amazing; it brings humanity closer together, communication has never been easier, there is a wealth of information at our fingertips – and it’s true to say Storytime with John wouldn’t exist without it! So, what’s not to love about that?!

Creepy GIF

This guy knows…

Well…whilst I accept all of those points highlighted (especially the latter), I must say I’ve noticed one thing that the internet has well and truly ruined…and it’s a big one I’m afraid…

And that is, tall tales. You remember those? When you could hear a fact from your friend, who heard it from someone else, who heard it from his cousin’s ex-wife’s pet giraffe…and yeah, naturally by the time it reached you it was convoluted and contorted into a completely nonsensical story that no longer resembled anything close to reality…but still, it kept life interesting! 

You would probably know at least one person solely renowned for being a “bullshitter”, someone who would tell “tall tales” and basically just come out with absolute tripe that no one could possibly begin to take seriously…but it was fun. and people would crowd around to listen anyway – dissecting the whole story apart, and picking out bits that may be true ,and bits that must be total fabrication…adding in what they had heard from various unconfirmed sources…and so the cycle continues…

Lying GIF

Lies make the world a more engrossing place to be, let’s be honest.

Now what would happen these days, huh? If someone steps out of line, and dares to dream…has the pluck to just start waffling absolute garbage they basically know nothing about – some killjoy is certain to whip out their smart phone and Google whatever it is that has came into question…

“Ah-ha-ha, I have to stop you there…it says here that sushi is technically not raw fish as not all sushi involves raw fish” 

  • complete with a smug smirk despite the fact it wasn’t even pulled from their own brain bank…urgh, makes life dull doesn’t it? 

That’s another reason I love kids. They don’t give one solitary shit about truth, honesty, reason, and logic. Much like myself. They can stand in the face of facts and argue ardently on a point they barely even comprehend – now that is dedication, now THAT should be admired! You see they haven’t matured, I guess that’s what it is – but let’s not consider it in a negative light…instead let’s herald it as a much more interesting way to view the world…

You see a child hears something, perhaps something serious and very grown up…and they don’t full understand it…so they fill in the gaps with hearsay, rumor, and their imagination…and what comes out the other end is sheer unadulterated brilliance!

Hobbit WOW GIF

“That can’t be…is…hmm…tell me more…”

Like today for example, I was talking to some elementary kids about the MERS virus that is currently causing hysteria in South Korea, and they certainly had a lot of errr, riveting perspectives on the whole thing…like how about this? One kid told me that he’d heard the MERS virus crawls around while you’re sleeping – and goes into ladies with baby bellies…eats the baby inside and then comes out to go onto the next unfortunate victim. Horrifying and worthy of a sequel film, but a great tall tale all the same…

But did I reach for the phone? No – I argued in the traditional sense…told him it wasn’t true, and that he needn’t worry. But he insisted he had watched it on the news, and had asked his mother who had added credibility to the claim…so that was that, there was no convincing the lad.  So I admitted defeat, instead requesting he double checks his facts (you know, just in case!)

If there are any bullshitters still out there…then long may you live, and prosper – you add much to the tapestry of life, and I am sad to see your numbers dwindling.

This article is dedicated to my old friend in first grade class, who would tell me his father’s job was to be an Indiana Jones type figure who fought off villains and gorillas in some distant land someplace. I still believe you.

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The Psycho Stalker…

Some stories write themselves…and some take years, and years…well this particular one has been waiting in the drafts for a long, long time. Every time I went back to it I just couldn’t find the words, I couldn’t express all of the oddness, craziness, and horror on the page! I came close, but it didn’t ever seem quite right… 

So at long last it is done! But in the form of a video – seriously the funniest one so far, and well worth a watch! If people need a giggle…and also a way to not fall asleep at night (sorry in advance for the impending nightmares!) then press that play button!

How would you have dealt with this one? Remember I don’t know kung fu, so that’s out the window…

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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Fitness Fails

To long-time readers it won’t be a surprise to hear me say that I have a rather…unorthodox approach to fitness. That is…only if I truly have to and/or are made to cry in a corner because of constantly being called a big lumbering hippo. Basically whenever I feel humongously gross enough that the townsfolk may be at my door any second with flaming torches and pitchforks – that’s when I renew my gym membership. 

Every single time is an uphill climb – which is ironic I guess, as I never use that setting on the treadmill. Instead I just read up on some exercises that I will probably never do, look at diet plans I definitely won’t stick with, and imagine the figure I will possess once all of my hard work is realised…an adonis…a walking God amongst mere mortals. 

Muscular GIF

Form an orderly queue, no shoving – no cutting in…

Some of my friends back home are really into it. They have all of the supplements, pills, lotions, and potions (alright, I’m embarrassing myself with my lack of knowledge here – but you know what I mean) – basically it isn’t a game to them, it’s some serious stuff. And no investment is thought of as too pricy, no addition unworthwhile…

I feel the same way about food so can totally empathise with their ardent dedicated stance…for me it’s like – “do you really want extra bacon, and cheese on this?” Yes, of course – don’t bother me with such stupid questions. “But John…it’s ice cream you shouldn-” 

JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN! 

Snape Approves GIF

But with these things you can often go overboard, and my friends have told me upon numerous occasions this has indeed happened…you really have to get the balance right with some of these pre-workout formulas it seems…obviously they help a lot or there wouldn’t be a market for them – but go too mad and you will be running around in circles for three days chasing a mirage of Arnold Schwarzenegger…

That’s due to the various chemicals you’ll find on the list of ingredients…which is basically a chunk of text only a scientist can make much sense of – all the (soon to be ripped) user needs to know is that it will get you well and truly pumped up! But wait, on the other end of the spectrum you have me, the struggling artist with my big cup of coffee..thinking I’m all that, until one of my fitness freak friends notifies me that some of those products out there have enough caffeine for 20 cups of coffee!

HOLY RAMBO BALLS THAT’S A LOTTA CAFFEINE! 

As we all know, too much caffeine can lead to heart issues, and consequently difficulty with sleeping…so unsurprisingly my more fool-hardy (nice way of saying moronic) friends who well and truly over-dosed spent the subsequent nights staring at the ceiling shaking with excitement, or in one case lifting weights at the gym for four hours straight…only to be rudely interrupted by a phone call from a confused girlfriend asking what he was doing, and inquiring why he wasn’t home for dinner yet?! Well in his own words it was like he was high in a nightclub…and the weights room was his own private rave…there was no stopping him…

Rave GIF

“Micky…MICKY! YOU DROPPED YOUR DUMBBELL MICKY!”

Anyway, I’m off for a pizza – but if fitness is your thang you can head over to etbfit.com and browse their selection…who knows, maybe it’ll be the difference between being a couch potato fitness fail connoisseur (me), and something more…just make sure you get the balance right unlike my pals!

#ETBFitFail!

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The Shit Sandwich

Sometimes life doesn’t go smoothly. No sorry…let me rephrase that –  life never goes smoothly. And you know what? That’s good! This is what makes life interesting in my opinion! The thrills, the spills! The highs, the lows! The laughter, the tears! All of this serves to add vibrant colour to life’s pages, and forges memories that make your short window of existence somewhat less dull. You see smooth would be boring. I mean look at peanut butter if you want further conclusive proof of that. It’s all about those nuts. 

BoringGIF

But sometimes that bumpy old road can take a horrifying turn; an unexpected pot-hole that has you crashing into the bowels of the earth…into the fiery brimstone of hell, where all evil resides, and all horrors of the underworld come out at once to strip you bare and thrash you – cutting into you with ragged daggers, and pouring vinegar into your open wounds whilst playing anything off the top ten, over, and over, and over. I’m speaking metaphorically of course, I just got a little bit too into it – my apologies – but hopefully you get the picture ~

“Shit happens” – as the rather detached and emotionless expression goes. That probably sums it up a little bit more coherently. And my goodness me, the aforementioned shit certainly does make an appearance every so often. Like last Thursday for example…I was notified that a debt collection company was calling my school, asking if I was still in the country as they were hunting me down – something about an unpaid phone bill. So the day after (just before leaving for Japan) I went into the store with my Korean friend to ask what was going on. After all I don’t even use the phone’s calling plan anymore, my now ex-girlfriend cancelled it MONTHS ago.

I hope GIF

Well yeah, about that…

It had been rolling on, and on, and on…and had been stopped only for a short window – before continuing with it’s destructive course like a giant tumbling Indiana Jones boulder…my jaw was hanging open, my eyes dumb with confusion. I could barely believe the situation. Rather desperately we had to make a call to the external debt collection people as it was no longer on the phone company’s books – in fact some Korean guy is now using my old phone number, which is nice…I like recycling…yeah, but anyway when my friend rang up they let him know in no uncertain words that it was the last day for me to pay – or they would be sending the police around to my door, in order to eject me from the country, never able to return again. EXILE…pretty cool right? In like Game of Thrones or whatever…but in real life, kind of a bummer. A life ruiner, if you will. 

He pleaded with them. There was no way I could pay whatever costs the whole palava had accrued…I mean, we were on our way to Japan! Literally on the airport shuttle bus! We would be back on Monday if they could find it in their hearts to wait…well, thankfully upon hearing this they gave us till Tuesday morning – and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief. Only momentarily though. As when I read the total cost ($830) I was instantly back to puffing, and panting like a dying asthmatic Darth Vader.

Breathing Hurts GIF

My Korean friend called it “a shit sandwich” – an expression he had probably picked up watching US movies (this is how he taught himself English), but in all honestly I don’t agree. After all a shit sandwich implies there would be bread, perhaps some salad, or extra sauce involved, maybe even a side dish – not just the shit filling. Bits I would sort of enjoy. So no, this wasn’t a shit sandwich – this was just a complete and unadulterated humongous turd. With absolutely no garnish. Thanks life. 

But the wheels keep turning, and the clock keeps ticking – this hiccup just means I have to do some extra work in order to afford my July/August trip to Thailand (TBC)…and there are so many who have it so much worse, so I am not wasting time moaning or complaining…after this post of course! This is my therapy. 

So wish me luck my friends, and I hope you are having a somewhat smooth ride today – but at the same time there better be some nuts in there too…it would be bland without them.

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Kiss Me, I’m not Irish.

So it is upon us again…St. Patrick’s Day! Or as I like to call it “the day Americans tell you they are Irish because their Grandmother’s half-cousin once dated a guy who once had a teacher who was Irish.” ..so yeah, with that in mind it should come as no surprise that the global Irish population expands temporarily by about 10,000% (just for the festive weekend, of course!)

Go on GIF

But what’s the harm? None really. So you pull on something green, sip something strong, and head on out to celebrate life – and just have a fucking good time! Perhaps the true meaning has been lost, but it brings people together in a joyous (although slightly blurred)  beautiful moment – so I’m all for it!

I was wearing these green jeans I have for some reason, which I thought looked cool…but which actually make me look like a demented pixie. But it was too late, I was on the subway – and people are usually against strangers stripping off in public. Especially in tight spaces. But I eventually got into Seoul at 12, and we immediately went hammer, and tongs with the soju, and beer. And lunch…but honestly that was an after thought. After which we headed over to a big event that was happening – probably guffawing as I laughed manically at my friend’s moderately funny jokes. I read a quote someplace that said something along the lines of, “when you laugh, laugh like hell” – which I guess is saying, make the most out of happy moments…

Crazy Laugh GIF

Well I imagine I looked worse than this…how much worse though? I picture myself as a pterodactyl who just learned to fly…shaking my massive head around in celebration – and making bizarre squawks at irregular intervals. That much worse.

Mind, I loved the performances that were going on…so many talented people – dancing, singing, playing musical instruments – the lot. My favourite were these guys who played hip hop songs with violins…each time it took me a minute or two to realise! Fantastic stuff! It was also wonderful to see so many old friends, acquaintances, and naturally new people – I love things that bring people together, and this was one of those events ~

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 Anyway, great times…with some great people…what more can a person want, ey? If you are celebrating, enjoy yourself – if not, kick back, and eat some bacon or something. Toodles! 

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Birthday Blues

Well I have just returned from a few days in the coastal city of Busan, in South Korea – couldn’t have wished for a better holiday to celebrate my birthday! Unfortunately there was to be one final hiccup – and I am still scratching my head wondering how it happened (while eating some birthday toffee, so not all bad I guess!)…

You see, I lost my bank card! But not in the usual fun way a person does during a heavy week…something like taking 1,000 flaming shots, then getting in a fight where you are punched so hard you’re physically sick, and somewhere within the throws of all that madness your card is gone, never to be found again…no. You see instead of a fun story I simply lost mine at a rest stop…on the way back home in broad daylight! Like how does that even happen?! 

Scratch Head GIF f

The coach pulled in to the stop, and the fella said we had ten minutes. So I scrabbled around for all my necessities…which were only two items; my phone, and my bank card. I then made my way to the scruffy bathroom, that had blatantly never seen a wash – and then continued on to the little store they had there. I was suddenly very excited about the fact that I would soon be scoffing down delicious cheese flavoured snacks! My tongue was salivating at the selection, as I grabbed bags of cheesy doritos, and eagerly joined the line. But when it got to my turn, I went through a pathetic mime routine…touching my pockets, and shaking my head, without uttering a word – as if the loss had stupefied me into a dumb silence against my will.

I retraced my steps, which inevitably led back to the piss trail of the horrendous public bathroom. Which was not a welcome discovery…the hot dog brine type smell that lingered there, greeted my nostrils with a horrible flare, so strong that I could taste it. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, so looked frantically at the floor – faintly hoping (kind of) that I would find it somewhere in, and around the sporadic clumps of men’s stray pubic hairs.

Frodo Gross GIF

But it wasn’t to be. 

As I got back on the coach defeated, I was obviously a little bit annoyed. But I can now say that I have extracted a few positives from the situation – which I would like to share with you all…

Firstly I was relieved that I had lost my card right at the tail-end of the trip, as it really only hindered me getting snacks – which is a huge deal to me, but I know not literally the end of the world! Anyway people offered me things, and another friend paid for my taxi home once we arrived. I then let a Korean friend know I had lost my card, and he was immediately on the phone to call up the bank. and cancel it! Then the day after I was invited out for dinner, and drinks by a Nigerian friend I don’t even know so well – so of course I declined, explaining my situation – my friend was there with a card he had loaded with 100 dollars, and told me that “brothers always have each other’s back…” I was touched, but desperately tried to jam it back into his pocket – he wasn’t having any of it. Then the next day a work friend greeted me in the morning with a McDonald’s breakfast (some of you will know how much I love those bad boys!) as she knew I wouldn’t have been able to buy myself breakfast…my point is, there are some truly good, honest, and kind people out there – and I am lucky to know a handful of them!

Awesome GIF

Oh, and special shout out to the lady at the bank for getting me a new card on the same day! She’s a miracle worker!

Well I’ve rambled on a bit, hope you don’t mind me sharing these little tales – I just thought they served as a reminder that the world isn’t all doom, and gloom – egos, and selfish ambitions. Have a great day my friends, and perhaps try and be the best part of someone else’s too! 

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Curse of the Ninja

Was reminded of this childhood memory by Melanie, after my previous post regarding childhood lies!

When I was in primary school, like most kids my age – I used to love The Power Rangers. The kicking, the punching, the flipping, the monsters, and the explosions…I mean, the whole package appealed really. So it wasn’t a rare sight to see me, and a couple of friends acting out crazy fight scenes in our school break times! We’d be jumping out of trees, doing killer rolls…the whole works…basically just battling evil wherever we found it…

And we didn’t skimp on any of the realism…oh no…we’d be using elaborate formations, working together to beat these savage creatures which had every intention of taking over the world. We’d jump in, one by one; “HIIII-YAHH! HUHH! PAAAH! KAPOWWW!” 

Power Rangers Boss GIF

It often took a few hits, especially if our foe was one of the big bosses – but we always, always triumphed…I mean, we’re The Power Rangers, we’re only ever going to win – that’s kinda the whole deal.

But one of these bouts stands out…you see, one of them was very, very different…

Which is odd, because it started out very much the same; we fought over who gets to be who, and then fought again over who gets which stick…just the same as every other time – but after these usual formalities, we were able to continue with our normal crime-fighting ways as per! …but this truce wasn’t to last – and before we knew it we found ourselves  arguing over something else…something which hadn’t ever been an issue before…

“YOU JUST SAID A SWEAR WORD!!!” protested one of my so called Power Ranger colleagues – wagging an accusing finger in my general direction.

“No…no, I didn’t!” I argued, unsure of what he was referring to. I assumed he had misheard one of my amazingly realistic “SHIPOWWWW!” sound effects as something more menacing. So I pleaded my case, I was innocent GODDDAMITTT!

Power Rangers Oh No GIF

“NO. NO. NO. I’M TELLING.” He smirked out the side of his mouth…the grin sent my blood boiling – did he really think I had swore, or was he just trying to fuck with me? I wasn’t sure…but for once, I hadn’t actually done a thing! So I tried to grab him, I had to keep him from spreading his lies – his arm alluded my clutches, and I found myself pulling desperately on his empty jumper sleeve…but with one big yank, he was free – albeit with a stretched bit of material that was now twice the length…

“YOU FUCKING BACK-STABBING PIECE OF SHIT!” I screamed after him, as he ran towards the classroom. Well obviously I didn’t really say that; I was eight or nine – so it was more likely I said “GET LOST, YOU BUM HEAD!” Which roughly translates to the same thing.

I ran away in the opposite direction, hoping that this would somehow make all of my problems go away – or at the very least bide me some time. It didn’t work. Before long I found myself in front of my teacher Mrs. Mc.Dermott…she was usually so friendly; she always appreciated my artwork – even the ones using paint which I constantly messed up. But she wasn’t friendly now, after all he had whispered his bullshit into her ear – and she had believed him.

He was sent away, and the interrogation began. Why had I said it?! What had driven me to use such horrible language?! Where had I learned it?! I tried to explain, tried to sputter out my defense – but she wasn’t buying it. So it was a stalemate. I didn’t know what to do…and hunger pains began to pulse through my body…urgh, now I come to think of it – I was STARVING…

“LISTEN, JOHN! You either own up, and apologise – and then go for your lunch. Or we just sit here. Your choice.” 

 Well obviously I admitted to it. It was like the carrot, and stick – except it wasn’t a carrot on the end of it…it was a lovely chocolate doughnut, apple juice, and whatever other goodies I had waiting for me in my bag. I’d probably do the same thing now, food trumps just about anything…for me anyways! 

You see I needed my energy. I’d be playing Power Rangers again in the afternoon break – and there was a new enemy I’d need every bit of strength to take down…“HIIIIII-YAHHHH!”

Power Rangers Beat GIF

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DRUNK Snorlax!

My second YouTube video…this is my first real story, story…so I hope you enjoy it!  Hopefully it’s funny – I mean, I never really know until I get people’s reaction! 

On an unrelated note, thank you for everyone’s kind words regarding last week’s unfortunate situation – I wanted to bring it back to the fun times, rather than focus on the negatives. Take care, love from me as always!

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