Limited Edition Doritos – The Taste of Emptiness

A fairly well known fact to anyone who has made Justice A. Gray’s acquaintance is that I am a Christian with a capital C.  What does that have to do with eating processed corn chips?  Not much…on the *surface*.

pizza_pepper_jack_doritos

Recently I’ve been reviewing my church’s series on the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible (an excellent series, by the way – you can give it a listen here).  Ecclesiastes is the story of King Solomon – the wisest man in the Old Testament – reflecting back on his life and finding *everything* to be meaningless.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes does not actually mention *anything* in relation to eating Limited Edition Pizza and Pepper Jack Doritos.   However there is a *lost* book of the Bible referred to as “The Acts of Solomon” (1 Kings 11:41) that no one has ever seen.   If I had to make a reasonable guess I believe Solomon *might* have covered it off there.  Or it’s a proverb somewhere.  I mean, the guy wrote more than a thousand proverbs and we only have 31!  Can you really say that he *didn’t*?  You don’t know!!

Anyway, this article is not so much a biblical exegesis as it is a review of both of these flavours of Doritos, which your hero ate this weekend.   I’m normally completely impenetrable when it comes to marketing but for one exception – throw the words “Limited Edition” on the package and I will buy it.  It doesn’t matter if the product is identical. I will gladly fork over money for those Limited Edition Rice Krispies that are the same as normal Rice Krispies.  It doesn’t even matter if the product is terrible.  I will happily hand over my cash for that Limited Edition Horse Manure flavored Mountain Dew.  It’s *Limited Edition*!!  How do I even know that it will still be in stores tomorrow?  Don’t make me tell the lobster story.

I hunted for these Doritos across Vancouver and could *not* for the life of me find them anywhere no matter where I looked.  Finally I decided to dedicate some quality time to this search, so after 30 minutes of scouring multiple 7-11s, a gas station, a grocery store and several Macs’ outlets – and let me tell you, there is nothing suspicious looking *at all* about a man walking into a convenience store, looking from side to side and then immediately walking out again, so I do not appreciate those stares, cashiers – I *located them*.  Like any reasonable man who likes to eat healthy, I bought 2 bags of each.  Before you rush to question my eating habits, I would like to point out that when you train and eat like a human hurricane 6 days a week (plus appropriate supplementation) you are actually encouraged to take a small break once a week to reset your metabolism.  Now you know.  And of course

The other half is being a behemoth of a man
The other half : being a mastodon of masculinity

For anyone who likes to ignore the titles of articles, you are probably wondering whether these things were worth the wait.  I’m going to let Solomon field that answer:

“All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.”

- Ecclesiastes 9:7

These chips?  They are terrible.  I chased after these suckers for weeks, even twittering the @DoritosBC account, only to sit down, bite into a chip and find it wanting.  What do they taste like?  Pretty much every other Dorito you’ve ever eaten.  I gave a Pepper Jack chip to my wife and she remarked, “That’s it?”  Exactly.  That’s it.  That’s it for you and me Doritos.  I’m done buying your chips and regretting the purchase immediately upon opening the bag.  For years, I have kept coming back for more punishment every time you release some other “limited edition” flavor out into the wild.  Tacos at Night.  Guacamole.  *Mountain Dew*.   All of them like eating sewage!!  Yet still I ran out to try and buy these thinking they would be different.  No more, Doritos.  You and I are done.  Unless you bring out those Jakked Buffalo Wing and Blue Cheese ones that I can only find in select locations in the States.  Now those actually *were* terrific.  But until then, Doritos, consider this epitaph my notice that we are through.  No more chasing after your multiple flavors only to find myself saddened, lonely, and unsatisfied at the end of every bag.

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 2:11

Next: where a real man eats *real food* in Vancouver BC!

 

Then Die – Stories of Inspiration From Justice Gray

I want to apologize for yesterday’s post, as I know that finding out about your hero struggling with *anything* probably led a lot of you to shred your tear-stained, lipstick-ridden “Potential Friend of Justice Gray” certificates.  Alas, if you were foolish enough to do this, you will have to find some other token to pass along to your children one day in order to show them that their parent was capable of potentially befriending a force of nature.    I also want to apologize for *today’s* post, because if you thought that was shocking information you need to close your browser down immediately. I’m not responsible for the aneurysm you’re about to suffer.  For those brave, manly souls who think they are capable of reading onwards, here goes.

Hard as it is to believe, even your role model has role models.

Yes, it is true, I actually have people in my life that I look up to.    There are not *many*, but there are some.  One in particular I’m going to get into a future post as he deserves a post all of his own, but today I’m going to talk about two others and give you a glimpse as to how I pulled myself out of the physical abattoir I found myself in.

Ages ago I read the “Four Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss (actually *not* one of my role models, though I like the guy).  It’s a terrible book.  Don’t read it.  We’ll get into why at a later date, but I *am* grateful for reading it as I came across this anecdote from Richard Branson, who with his fantastic hair, killer smile, and rugged entrepreneurialism is pretty much the Justice Gray of Virgin Records.

I rest my case
I rest my case

At a function he was asked:

“Richard, how can I be more productive?”

His answer:

“Work out”

When Richard says work out, he means work out.  He doesn’t mean “hack your life, do the bare minimum you can, and get some abs”.  He said work out.  When he is at home, he does not mix cinnamon, garlic, do some air squats and inhale 55 pastries.  When he is at home he swims for an hour and a half a *day*.  Every day.

A second hero of mine is a man who was pretty much the *pinnacle* of physical perfection, Bruce Lee.

This is one classy gentleman
This is one classy gentleman

Now, I may be a supremely confident individual but even I know that a comparison between Bruce Lee and myself is *ridiculous*.  I mean, he’s a Chinese American and I am Canadian!!  As a result, we couldn’t be more different.  If you’ve worked out at all in your life, you’re familar with the story below.  And if you *aren’t* familiar with this story, then I need to apologize for a *third time* because

  1. whatever you call “working out” is not *real* working out
  2. you’ve probably never really worked out in your life.   

“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile]. So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-”if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

-John Little

“A man must constantly exceed his level.”

 

A man must constantly exceed his level.

That is the kind of working out that your hero does, the kind of working out that is good enough for everyone who actually gives a rats’ @$$ about being fit.  That is actually the kind of *everything* I do, and that is the kind of everything *you* should be doing, not your one pushup a day or your 5 minutes of walking or your 20 minutes of sipping a latte and getting in touch with your freaking inner swamp.

If you’re reading this, tears in your eyes, donut crumbs on your chin, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to stop doing nothing and start doing that everything.  Tomorrow’s a new day.  But the next hour is a new hour.  Don’t push off getting started.

Otherwise, my advice is the same as Bruce’s.

Next: Limited Edition Doritos!!

Memories Are For LADIES

Trust me, this is related
This is related.  Trust me

If you ever wanted a viewpoint as to how different the sexes are, read the following:

“Baby L is now Little L.  Rolling progressed into crawling that has now become wild running.  Receiving blankets are no longer a staple for going out, but good shoes definitely are…

I guess I have some “big feelings” that I’m not sure what to do with, either.  :/ And though I love entering this new season, full of life and laughter and learning, I am admittedly a little sentimental about how short the last one turned out to be.  The sleepless nights were hard, as were the clingy days, but how quickly the rain and the haze have brought forth the flowers’ bloom.”  

“Justice, when did you write this?”  I don’t think so, jack.

I will grant you that yes:

  • this is truly poetic
  • only someone who has truly mastered the prose art form could write it

but no:

  • this was not written by anyone with testosterone
  • this was *definitely* never written by any man who has ever fathered a child.

I will grant you that reading those words touched me (or would have if I were not hard as a diamond and cold as steel), but not because of some wispy, flowery nostalgia for the “good days” of the first two months of my daughter’s life.  No I am touched because this article indicates that my wife has suffered short term memory loss.   Show of hands, dads…who out there actually wishes they could go *back* to the days of their child being 1 or 2 months old?  No no, not you with the tiny dog in the stroller walking down Davie Street.  That is not a baby, and you are not its father.  Put your hand down.

Let me tell you as the half of the greatest marriage in North American history that actually *remembers* what those first months of my daughter’s life were like, I do not miss them at all.  The only thing I can tell you is that my daughter is fortunate that she has a superhuman for a father, because a lesser man would have faked his death and ran out of town after the first 6 weeks.  But no, for the sake of his family, yours truly managed to keep it together despite replacing his traditional workout routine of 17 thousand bicep curls with a “routine” – if you could call it that – of:

  1. walking around in a circle with my daughter for 4 hours at a time to put her to sleep
  2. sitting down and realizing in the dead of night that since she was in my lap and I couldn’t wake her, the only thing I could do was stare into space.  
  3. Play a funny game with myself I liked to call “have 5 minutes passed or 5 hours?” every 5 minutes (or was it five hours?)
  4. passing my daughter to my wife so she could have her turn at this for a couple of hours (except with added nursing)
  5. lay down in bed, pray for death

Repeat every day.  Forget about the gym.  When you are doing this grind for months at a time, just being able to look yourself in the mirror without bursting into rugged, hyper-masculine tears is a gigantic accomplishment.

You might think that a man who spends all of his waking hours staring into space and mentally rattling off the names of all the Generation 1 Transformers (in catalog order*) to keep himself sane does not have a ton of time available for the gym.   You would be correct.  In fact I had no time for the gym.  For months.  And it was in this sorry (yet still handsome) state, looking in the mirror four months later, that everything began to change.  But that is a story for:

Next time: probably *not* the continuation of this story!!  But it’s coming!  Take a look at this heartbreakingly pretty face instead to pass your time…

 

Not yours truly, but *even better*
Not yours truly, but *even better*

* what did I tell you?

A Dramatic Segue Into Unstoppable Fatherhood

I recently read an article from a long-time admirer of mine talking about some gaga he called reflective parenting.  Listen, I like Phil.  He means well.  He cleans up okay, he’s married to an Asian wife like another person I know and respect immensely, and he’s not a bad writer.  But I stopped reading this article the moment I got to

“Look, I’m not trying to claim I’m the world’s greatest dad. But I was given a coffee mug with that claim by my kids. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty sure they did a quantitative exhaustive analysis of all da”  FULL STOP.

Listen.   You don’t need me to tell you that Justice Adam Gray is the greatest father on the planet; you already know that.  *I* already know that!   Do you think I need my daughter to verify that?  I tell *her* that.  Every day.  That’s called confidence.

Thereby, I can *also* tell you that any article that dares to claim otherwise automatically invalidates every other claim it has ever made on every single post ever written.  Now, if Phil had written a post saying, “Justice Gray is the best daddy around and I wish he was old enough to be *my* daddy!!” I could’ve gotten behind that.  Really, if you read between the lines that *is* what his post is saying, but I digress because we have things to talk about here that *don’t* involve Phil Haack for once.  And they are about how you can be half the dad I am…less than that if you are female though.

What in the world does this have to do with getting ripped and tearing apart a fully grown horse with your bare hands?  Well, not much…to the untrained eye.  But bear with me, this will all unfold into a rich tapestry* before you know it.

To set this up, I’d like to present you with something a fatherhood expert wrote on my wife’s blog about fourteen months ago, after the 19th comment thread about how to nurse.    As a bonus, you get to see pictures of one of only two people on the planet who are considered better-looking than the author!

“All Right, Enough of This Estrogen Fest”

By Justice A. Gray

Finally.  After all the “skin to skin”, “what’s my milk production like” and whatever other lady part-related stuff had been going on here, this is Baby L’s dad here in a guest post to talk about how my daughter is growing up to be a REAL MAN.  So proud!!  In addition to hating shopping almost as much as her father, she is also trying to emulate many of the other ways in which his masculinity is UNCHAINED…but in a feminine way.

babyl1

This photo occurred after I came home from the gym and told my daughter that her father busted out 20 chinups in a row.  As you can tell by the positioning of her hands my daughter obviously was ready to bust out a set of her own.  What enthusiasm!!  It would have brought a tear to my eye if I was capable of crying, but I can’t.  Apparently according to “Baby’s Best Chance” Baby L cannot either, another way she is just like her dad. 


Anyway, I’m nothing if not a responsible parent so I explained to her that she was a bit too young to actually do chinups, and that we’d revisit this in a year or two.

babyl2

Awwww.   But note the complete lack of tears.  My little lady has gigantic cojones!!  Metaphorical ones of course.

I then walked off for a couple of minutes to prepare for my shower.  I have a pretty elaborate ritual for showering:

a) take off my shirt

b) do my best Frank Zane behind the back bicep pose in front of the mirror

c) (optionally) take off the rest of my clothes

d) shower

Imagine my surprise however when after step b), I looked over to see this happy little face!!

babyl3

So if you’re one of the many ladies (or gents, I know you’re out there) wearing a frilly pink dress while reading this blog you’re probably thinking I made up this entire story just as an excuse to post pictures of my daughter.  First of all, I’d like to stress that this story in its entirety is true, Mrs L can verify.  Second, allow me to explain fatherhood from a man’s perspective – no bastion of testosterone ever posts albums upon albums of his child no matter how cute they might be (“ooooo yes you *are* Baby L!!  Yes *you are*!!  Daddy loves ya!!”).    That is what wives are for.

Here are the three points of this post:

a) my daughter is not only an aspiring lifter like her dad

b) my daughter obviously has an eye for burgeoning bodybuilding talent

c) most importantly I did twenty chin-ups in a row yesterday.

Thank you for your time,

A Mastodon”

Next: The tapestry unfolds!

* rich

Meets All Anti-Doping Regulations: The Story of Justice Gray and Athletic Alliance

When you are a paragon of physicality, you end up entertaining a *lot* of potential merchandising offers.   Whether the offer is for promoting someone’s software product, having my face on a cereal box, or licensing my signature so that it can be tattooed on people’s body parts, I eschew them all; I take being a role model for millions fairly seriously.   If there is *one* thing that Justice Gray is, it is a man of virtue, trust, and integrity!  But if there is a second thing Justice Gray is, it is a man who loves every supplement product currently produced by the lovely people at Athletic Alliance.

This is not going to be a post where I tell you that I received my first set of supplements from AA and immediately went to the gym and bench-pressed 700 lbs over my head 700 times*.  However, it *is* going to be a post to tell you all about why I do love this stuff:

1) Speaking as a superficial man, this packaging is the best looking packaging of any supplement brand I’ve ever seen.  Take a look for yourself:

If it was any better, you'd be sniffing it off of a glass table
If it was any better, you’d be sniffing it off of a glass table

Also note the message on each packet in small font: “meets all standard anti-doping regulations”.  In other words, people are going to suspect you are on steroids once you start using this stuff.

2) The protein supplement has colostrum in it.  For those of you not familiar with colostrum, it is the “liquid gold” that a mother produces in the first week post-childbirth.  I have no idea where Athletic Alliance is getting all this colostrum from.  What I *do* know is that if you don’t have a newborn mother whose breast you can suckle from, drinking Athletic Alliance protein is the next best thing for getting ripped and jacked.

3) I have to say, after two or three days worth of taking the protein and the pre and post workout stuff, I felt absolutely amazing.  Keep in mind who is telling you this – it is a man who routinely walks down the street ready to throw around moving vehicles because he is so hyped up.   This thing might meet anti-doping regulations but they have to be putting something else in there!  And whatever it is I could care less.  I cannot get enough of this stuff!!

4) Mixes well?  Sure.  Tastes great.  Of course!  Would I bother posting about this if it wasn’t true?  Many confirmations of that out there.  But let’s focus on what’s truly important here in point 5:

5) If there is only one thing that you take from this post, it is that if you want to be like Justice Gray…well forget *that*.  Don’t dream impossible dreams!  But if you want to be as close as you can be to it without resorting to illegal substances, I *highly* recommend buying 17 tubs of every supplement Athletic Alliance sells!!

* though I might’ve

A Dramatic Introduction To Unstoppable Masculinity

[To start this sucker off I’d like to liberally crib from a *previous* introduction I wrote back in the day, as the hip kids say…]

“I was in the checkout line at the grocery store last week, leafing through the Archie Digest when I heard the squeak of a lesser man’s voice.  I turned to find the grocery clerk gesturing at my bags, asking “Sir, do you need any help taking these out to your car?”  

I put the Archie Digest back without paying for it like any man with the testosterone of one thousand rampaging bulls would do.  Then I looked at him, flexed my massive arms, and snarled, “Do I *look* like I need any help?”  The clerk immediately soiled himself and dropped into the fetal position.  You might ask me why I was so callous to take an action that obviously mentally broke this man forever, never to recover.  And I would simply answer this is what a cage fighter does.

That is the point of this series – and as an aside, my wife asked me what indicated something like *this* would be a series, and my answer is simple – this post title ends with the word “Introduction”.  Obvious to the trained reader!  Anyway, the point of this series is to give you some exposure into what it’s like to be a man like me, who pretty much fights in kumates every single night.  Sometimes they are physical kumates, sometimes they are software development kumates, and sometimes they are kumates on the dance floor, but nevertheless my record is currently one billion to zero.

People think being a cage fighter/kumate master is not all fun and games, but trust me when I say it is.  Just look at the fun Steven Seagal has in any of his multitude of movies from the 90s.  Little known secret: if you have ever seen any Steven Seagal movie, you have seen something loosely based on my everyday exploits.  That is, except for the one where he is in a coma for 10 years straight, then comes out of it one day and *immediately* starts beating the crap out of people with hospital utilities – that is actually a complete rip off of my life from the ages of 7 to 17. 

Steven Seagal - Hard To Kill
Also known as “Justice Gray: A Love Story”

Each week or so, we will be exploring the following topics:

  • I will regale you with an amazing story of my ferocious physicality

  • You will marvel at this feat and make a mental note never to tell your wives, girlfriends or pets about this blog lest you destroy your relationship forever

  • On certain installments  you might be lucky enough to get a fitness tip that will lead you – should you choose, no, dare to implement it – to become a raging 1% body fat, 575 thousand pound engine of destruction

A disclaimer:

This is not some series for nancy boys who like charting waist-to-hip ratios, so if you’re busy counting calories on FitDay, telling your girlfriends how that cheesecake went straight to your thighs, gorging on McDonalds each weekend and then crying your eyes out under a pile of pizza boxes, I recommend you unsubscribe from this blog immediately.  Instead, if you are looking to become the He-Man or She-Ra of your friends and peers so that like them, you will be ripped and toned enough to wear bondage gear in public without the slightest hint of embarrassment, this is the place to be!!”

He-Man
The Original Cagefighter

The good news: this series, long dormant, is now ready to be continued, three years later!  The bad news:  you are not yet ready to hear it.  In the meantime, I recommend you print out this post twice – one copy for keeping underneath your pillow and another for your bathroom.  However I’m not responsible when your significant other questions why you’ve got a picture of He-Man and a picture of a terrifically handsome face next to each other in your shower.  Then after your inevitable breakup, you’ll be ready for “A Dramatic Introduction…Part Two!”

Next: a shocking but equally dramatic interlude!

Why I Lift – Part One of An Infinite Series

Justice Gray
Manliness in repose

Contrary to popular opinion, there is more to life for people like your hero than simply saving companies from themselves one project at a time.  Now I’m not here to brag; it takes a great man to be humble, and when it comes to humility there is no greater man than yours truly.  However if we are talking about being multi-faceted, the only proper analogy is that Justice Gray is like a great, mighty diamond hewn from the rock itself.   But I’m not a braggart.  So pretend this entire paragraph didn’t happen, and that should be easy because you are probably busy staring at that picture above trying to figure out

  1. how to make it into a poster
  2. why that man took a picture of himself looking like he got punched in the face!!  That’s called cultivating a rugged look.

It is with the spirit of monumental mountain man-ness that I write to you today telling you that after a long absence from the public, your hero is *back* because he has a passionate mission –  and that mission is the fitness of every man, woman, child and animal in North America.   Particularly those tiny hand-sized dogs I see people pushing around in *strollers* in Vancouver.  No one likes those dogs.  You know why?  You know why nobody liked Scrappy Doo?  Because you could snap him in two over your head with a well-placed backbreaker.  If nobody likes you, I can *guarantee* it’s for precisely the same reason.  But don’t worry, yours truly is here to save you from yourself…here to save you from being the Scrappy Doo of everyday existence.

Scrappy Doo
Please.

So why do I wake up at 4:30 AM every morning, stand in front of the mirror, look myself square in the eye, french kiss my reflection, and stomp off to the gym?  Why wouldn’t I just sleep?  Why wouldn’t I “just go for a walk, that’s exercise, isn’t it”?  Ask me this question in person one day and the next question you’re going ask is “why did you just give me a chokeslam through a burning table?”  And you’ll know why!

I do it – the waking up, the working out, the gorilla press slamming through burning furniture for my wife, for my daughter, for my friends and family, and even for myself, but most of all everything I do… I do it for you.

If that doesn’t get you revved up for the gym, nothing will

I do it because you need me to.  That’s right – you!  You sitting there wolfing down your delicious Oreo Cakesters, melting in your mouth as you read this.  You!  Hitting that sumptuous carton of espresso gelato instead of hitting the bench press. Lying in bed curled up with your computer, planning some “quiet time” with my picture instead of planning out your next set of chin ups.  Telling yourself “I’m still a man after doing 5 minutes of intense Zumba” instead of pulling on the women’s undergarments that said action deserves.  But that’s okay.  You’ll get there.  And when you do you will owe me one million dollars.

Next: an introduction.   “But I thought *this* was the introduction?”   Whose blog is this, jack!?  Let *me* do the talking.