2018 An Attempt At Balance.

I just wrote that title and my first thought was yeah good luck with that.

We’re only five days into the new year and one quick glance at the headlines shows that balance may be a problem considering the absolutely amazing shit show we’ve seen thus far.

But, when it comes to my personal life, balance may be an achievable goal.

As a country we’ve certainly lost our balance, our ability to have nuanced discussions on a multitude of topics from politics to social issues and everything in between.

This is unfortunate but perhaps if we can find the balance in ourselves we can begin to apply that to the world.

Yeah I won’t hold my breath.

For me the new year weekend was a time of reflection.  I decided, instead of doing my usual eating pizza and watching movies thing, that I would do a 3 day fast/cleanse to truly reflect on my past year and think about my goals for the upcoming year.

Really I learned a lot.  Mainly however I learned that it was a really stupid thing to do.

No one should be sitting on their couch on new years eve thinking FUCK I’M HUNGRY!

But there were some positives that came out of it.

A) Most importantly I learned that if you are going to do a cleanse like this, don’t do it over a holiday when you should be shoving food into your cakehole.

B) It did seem to reset my sugar craving which had been very high as of late.  I’m sure it’ll get back up there eventually but to not actually be craving donuts and other things has helped in resetting my eating habits.  Which can only be a plus.

However the biggest benefit was the insight I gained during the time I was fasting.

Before I got sober a little over four years ago I was an incredibly aggressive and self destructive person.  Not to say that I was an asshole…though I certainly was more of one than I am now; I was fairly quick to anger and that anger was never channeled in a positive way.

Anger rarely is.

But, since getting sober I’ve really tried to better myself and to become a better person in all aspects of my life.

One of the keys to this new path has been meditation.  Meditation is wonderful and I do think its benefits far out way any detriments. However, it is possible (in my opinion) that I may have been meditating too much.

I was meditating every day for about 20 minutes, but sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays when I had a lot of time I would meditate for up to an hour or even hour and a half.

Now of course on the surface there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s certainly better than drinking or using and of course it’s not hurting anybody.  However, I do think I have gone too far to the other side of who I was before.

I have found that perhaps there is a greater timidity to my personality than there used to be.  I am less driven than I used to be, because I am simply happy living in the moment.

I have found that, while I do not want to be overly aggressive, I may in fact not be aggressive enough in my everyday life.

It’s hard to describe and when I say aggressive I don’t mean just going around being a dick, I simply mean feeling that fire, that passion that drives people and can even contribute to your self worth.

And I want that back.

I don’t want the fire to turn to anger as it used to.  I want that fire to feed my passion.

Passion is the engine of the creative and that fire needs to be stoked constantly and evenly so that the engine neither dies nor explodes and I am determined to find that again in 2018.

The middle ground, the center path.  Able to bend without breaking.

To run through the forest without setting the fucking thing on fire in my wake.

This I believe is not only attainable but will in fact be incredibly positive.

So that is what I learned, this is my goal for 2018.

I’m not calling it a resolution, my resolve was set when I got sober.

It is simply a reminder that we all do better when living in balance.

Okay that’s all the hippie bullshit I have time for folks.

I do hope everybody had a great new year and that you are moving forward into 2018 in a positive way.

See y’all next week.

Jonathan

Hey look, links to crap:

Perilous Podcast http://bit.ly/2och5LE  A quick end of the year conversation.

Perilous Vlogcast  http://bit.ly/perilpod Are we living in a simulated universe?

As usual you can follow me on twitter, Instagram and facebook.

Instagram http://bit.ly/1XgDJfc Stupid pictures I post of me doing stupid life stuff.

Twitter http://bit.ly/1YIWqZA I say stupid stuff in small snippets.

Facebook http://bit.ly/fnbrjwp Probably pictures of me getting beaten up.

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1XpMF4k Read my reviews before you buy my novel.

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Amazon http://amzn.to/1MwzPG6 Buy my novel already!  Jeez!

If you’re in Los Angeles head on over to Skylight Books in Los Feliz and pick up a copy there. They’re a great independent bookstore and it’s a nice way to show support for them.  We need all the independent stores we can get.

 

 

 

Sobriety and BJJ. It’s a game changer.

Hey all,

Happy Monday!  There’s actually going to be a ton of pics in this post for a change so that’s fun right?!

Recently I had an odd one year anniversary.  Odd in the sense that one does not usually celebrate an anniversary of this nature, but I’m going to.

Just over a year ago I left my regular gym and joined a MMA gym.  No I am not suffering from delusions of grandeur and have no plans to go pro.  In fact I make it very clear that the pros who go to our gym are training there.

Me, I’m taking classes.

See the difference?

Anyhoo, when I first started I was doing combat conditioning along with Krav Maga and it was great.

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We take Combat Conditioning very seriously at Gabe’s gym.

However, while I enjoyed Krav I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I had hoped.

Like all kids from the valley I did Tae Kwon Do and later Tang Soo Do, when I was growing up.

I boxed in high school and studied Karate when I lived in Japan.

Not to say I was a badass or anything, but they were fun and I enjoyed them all.

However, I didn’t seem to be learning anything in Krav Maga that I hadn’t learned before.  I was just learning it in a new way.

Then about six months ago I got tricked (yeah that’s right tricked!) into trying the no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, and that was a real game changer for me.

I instantly realized two incredibly important things.

  1. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the perfect martial art for a sober person.
  2. I suck at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
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This is Sandy. She’s very sweet and one of the fitness instructors at the gym. She’s also incredibly terrifying.

BJJ is completely different than anything I’ve ever done before, and as a sober person it has absolutely changed my life.

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I honestly don’t know why I’m smiling in this picture, I was frickin’ exhausted.

It’s hard to describe and possibly hard to understand, but alcoholics wrestle with a lot of cognitive dissonance in the sense that we tend to be filled with a lot of self destruction and self loathing and at the same time incredibly over inflated egos.

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Me annoying Sha, who does administrative stuff at the gym and as usual Sha very patiently putting up with my shenanigans and bullshit.

Sobriety and ego don’t tend to go hand in hand.  And keeping your ego stripped is incredibly important.  And let me tell you something, nothing keeps your ego in check like BJJ.

If you go in with ego you’re doomed.  You need to leave that shit at the door man.  Also, nothing keeps you humble like having the shit choked out of you by a 12 year old girl.

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Not in this picture, the evil little 12 year old girl who keeps beating me up.

In my defense, she’s really good.

There’s an odd mindset in BJJ that I compare to skydiving.  If you’ve never been skydiving, A) you should and B) there’s a strange thing that happens in the jump plane as you take off and head to 15,000 feet.

Everybody sort of looks around the plane and there’s this silent conversation that goes something like Oh, you’re an idiot too and about to do something pretty dangerous and foolhardy?  Cool.

That’s the basic attitude I’ve found in the brotherhood/sisterhood of BJJ.  Because quite frankly, BJJ is a really bad idea.  It’s an insane way to spend your time and if you do BJJ you’re going to get hurt.  It’s inevitable.

My first class I bruised my ribs.  Since my first class I’ve bruised them again on both sides, sprained my wrist, broke my pinky toe (it healed sideways and I’m pretty proud of that), torqued my knee, pulled a calf muscle and am generally in constant, dull pain.

You will never hear from a practitioner of BJJ “It gets better”, in relation to the pain.  The only thing you hear is “You get used to it”.  And the great thing is, you actually do. Which is a plus.  I think.

BJJ is truly a journey with no end, which means for the next 30 years or so I’ll be learning and having my ego kept in check which is great for a guy like me.

But when it comes to BJJ and the school it really boils down to the guy running it.  I thought all gyms were like the one I go to, but I’ve heard horror stories from guys who go to our school about other schools, where things are not as chill.

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Class time is serious time, picture time is fun time. This was the day I bruised my ribs for the third time so I wasn’t smiling but I was still happy.

I say “chill” to mean that there are absolutely no attitudes at our school.  And that all comes from the top.  Even the pros who train there are really patient and gracious.

We have some great professors and coaches at the school, but everything stems from Gabe Ruediger, the owner.  He’s never come right out and said it, but I really think Gabe would rather not have the money than have an asshole at the gym.

Supposedly this is pretty rare, so I am incredibly lucky.

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The day Professor Ruediger gave me my first stripe. Probably not gonna get another one of these for a looong time so I really savored the moment.

But our school is more than just a school really.  I’ve become good friends with some of the guys there and we all hang out…a lot.  This may sound hokey, but it’s tough making friends the older you get, so for a guy like me, it’s been a really nice experience.

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Grabbing some lunch at our favorite all you can eat vegan restaurant.

Gabe is also one of those guys that actually cares about his students and really works hard to foster a community.

I was incredibly busy a couple weeks ago and wasn’t able to get to the gym for class.  I was only out for a week, but that Friday, I got a text from Gabe just checking in to see if I was okay.

Who does that?!?!

Now, it’s not like I’m his favorite or anything he checks in with most students if they disappear for any length of time, and that is all down to his character and again that permeates the school.

Instead of just charging your card once a month he really makes it clear that he wants you to get better and that you’re a part of the community.

For a guy like me, that’s pretty much everything.  It’s more important than AA.  More helpful than a sponsor.  It is the place that I feel welcomed and inspired.

Even though I’m the worst student there.  Seriously that’s not me being self deprecating or shitting on myself, that’s fucking science.

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Paintball in the day, Professor’s Bday party in the night.

But, I have a breakthrough at least once a week when in class and I suck a little less each time.

The training keeps me focused, the rolling (sparring) keeps me humble and my fellow students keep my ego in check.

By beating and choking the ever loving shit out of me.

No person can do sobriety the way another person does.  Each person has their own path to walk, their own journey.

For me, the new journey on my path is BJJ.

You have to face a lot of fears when doing BJJ and that’s a good thing too:

The fear of injury (you’ll get used to it).

The fear of inadequacy (you’ll overcome it).

The fear of humiliation (humility comes from the loss of ego).

The fear of being claustrophobically smothered with someone’s nuts on your face (gonna be honest here, you’re probably not gonna get over the Arabian Goggles but you’ll work through the claustrophobia).

Plus the workout is damn incredible.  I’m in the best shape I’ve been in, in about 25 years.

Give it a shot, you may suck at it, but you’ll suck less the more you do it and it will keep you humble, keep you focused and could very well help keep you sober.

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Just a reminder that my band Three Penis Death Punch. We’ll be at the Pickle Box in Austin on November 5th so come check us out.

And if you’re really lucky you’ll end up at a place like my school where it’s more than just professors and students.  It’s a real community.

Have a great week everybody and I’ll see you all Friday.  Friday I’m gonna start a series of micro-stories and poetry posts, so that should be really pretentious.  Yay!

Instagram http://bit.ly/1XgDJfc Stupid pictures I post of me doing stupid life stuff.

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1XpMF4k Read my reviews before you buy my novel.

haka

A new day a new challenge, got to work on my posing though.

Amazon http://amzn.to/1MwzPG6 Buy my novel already!  Jeez!

Twitter http://bit.ly/1YIWqZA I say stupid stuff in small snippets.

Perilous Podcast http://bit.ly/2och5LE  Current episode is about The Philadelphia Experiment.

Facebook http://bit.ly/fnbrjwp Probably pictures of me getting beaten up.

Perilous Vlogcast  http://bit.ly/perilpod It’s the video version of the Podcast.

Okay let’s take a breath…

Hey All,

So I think we can all agree it’s been a hell of a week.  I’m not going to get into what the President said or who’s right or who’s wrong here.

However, I do think a general metric in how you live your day to day life can be summed up as followed:

If the former head of the KKK thanks you for something you’ve said, you’ve said something horrible.  Unless you happen to be the current head of the KKK, in which case…well done ya ignorant, racist bastard.

Angie and I are actually going to be preempting our usual podcast this next Friday and will be airing an “emergency episode” of The Perilous Podcast this Wednesday in which we cover the current shit tsunami and dig deep into the conspiracy behind the alt-right, the far left and what really happened in Charlottesville and why you should actually be way more scared than you already are.

However, in the meantime how’s about a nice way to start your weekend.

Over on The Perilous Podcast site I sit down with Bryant Dillon, co-founder of Fanbase press and fellow writer.  We talk about how comic book super heroes are becoming the new pantheon of Gods and it’s far more light hearted and fun than what’s going on now.

On The Perilous Podcast YouTube channel we have the video broadcast of our Black Dahlia podcast from last week, plus other past episodes in video form.  So you may want to give that a watch.

As for me I’m getting ready to do a bit of traveling.  I’ll be in Denver (I think) in late September for a couple days, followed by a trip to Phoenix in late October and then a jaunt down to Palm Springs in early November, so yay me and my hotel points program.

I’m pretty excited about my novella coming out in January and my new novel set for release in spring of 2018 as well as some other stuff in the works I just can’t talk about right now…but it’s all good.

Look everyone, let’s try to stay calm, maybe even distract ourselves a bit (ain’t nothin’ wrong with that) and enjoy our weekend.

I have a lovely weekend planned as I recoup from my latest Jiu Jitsu injury, including a Tchaikovsky concert this evening, a bit of work tomorrow recording some podcasts followed by a night in and then I’m hoping some video games Sunday followed by a movie before going back to training on Monday.

Plus I scored some great plums at Costco this week so that’s good.

Anyhoo, why not follow the links below for all of your distraction needs.  Pick up a copy of my pulp novel The Geek. or maybe just unplug from everything and go for a nice long hike.

But seriously, buy my book first, I don’t see why you wouldn’t.  Links for that are below.  However if you’re in the Los Angeles area or live in Los Angeles and like supporting independent bookstores why not head into Los Feliz and go to Skylight Books to pick up The Geek in paperback.

Skylight is awesome.  They support and promote local and indie authors and it’s a great place to pick up a book and browse.  I love their counterculture stuff and they have a great selection of quirky fiction.

Plus it’s right down the street from Fred 62.  A great diner with awesome milkshakes, so you can stop by there before or after your trip.

No I am not the owner of Fred 62…but I eat there frequently.

Here’s a link to skylight with their address and hours:

http://www.skylightbooks.com/search/site/jonathan%20latt

And one for Fred 62, because it’s tasty:

http://fred62.com/index.php

Have a great weekend everybody.

Best,

Jonathan

Instagram http://bit.ly/1XgDJfc Stupid pictures I post of me doing stupid life stuff.

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1XpMF4k Read my reviews before you buy my novel.

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Amazon http://amzn.to/1MwzPG6 Buy my novel already!  Jeez!

Twitter http://bit.ly/1YIWqZA I say stupid stuff in small snippets.

Perilous Podcast http://bit.ly/2och5LE  Current episode is about Superheroes becoming our new gods.

Facebook http://bit.ly/fnbrjwp Probably pictures of me getting beaten up.

Perilous Vlogcast  http://bit.ly/perilpod It’s the video version of the Podcast.

The Fragility of Sobriety…and some other horse shit.

Hey all,

Thanks for stopping by.  Wednesday I’ll be getting back to the micro stories, but today I felt like I should post something a little more serious.  Just for today then it’s back to the usual.

I had a bit of an odd weekend, but before I get to that I think I should fill you in on who I am and where my life is at.  For those of you who are new to my site and for those who may enjoy my posts but not know what’s up with me.

So the long and short of it (and we’ll get to the long) is that I am sober.  On the 22nd of May I will have exactly 3 and a half years of sobriety under my belt.  While I’m extremely happy with that and really can’t believe on a daily basis how much better my life is now than it was, I am also very conscious of the fact that when it comes to being sober I am still in the very early stages and don’t know shit.

I try to keep this in mind daily while not letting it overwhelm my life and thoughts.

When I first got sober I was incredibly embarrassed about it.  Hell, when I got out of rehab I told my neighbors I’d been away at a writer’s retreat for 30 days.  Over the course of my journey I’ve become very comfortable with it.  Who I am, what I was and of course what and who I’ve become.

I really try not to be that guy. You know the guy that just talks about his sobriety all the time…I hate that guy.  I’m sure I bore the ever loving fuck out of people sometimes, but I really try to not let it define me as much as I let it define my life.

And it should define my life, and of course it does.

Sobriety is a tricky mistress.  No two people can do their sobriety the same way.  I know people who never go to meetings and they’re doing great.  I also know people who hit 3 AA meetings a day 7 days a week and they too are doing great.

The main point here is what works for one person definitely will not (or more accurately will probably not) work for someone else.  For example, the thought of hitting 3 meetings a day every day really makes me want to drink.  I don’t know why but that’s just how it goes.

I’ve come up with a routine that brings me much peace, keeps me humble and more importantly helps me live a happy life as a sober person while not simply being sober.

The gist of that is that there is a difference between living a sober life and just being dry or “white knuckling” it through the day.

I have joined a great gym called Systems Training Center that really fosters a sense of community.  I do combat conditioning twice a week and Brazilian Jiu Jitus twice a week at STC.  The professors, instructors and fellow students have become friends and for a guy my age that’s a really nice bonus.

I meditate almost every day, do a little yoga once a week or so and do a very mild workout at home on the weekends usually just hitting the heavy bag for about 20 minutes.

I don’t go to meetings often but I know they’re there if I need them.

BJJ has been a really important, new aspect to my sobriety.  Staying humble is one of the best things for a degenerate alcoholic.  And nothing keeps you humble like getting the ever loving snot choked out of you on a regular basis.

Having said all that I also need to be careful that I don’t replace one addiction with another.  My body has been telling me for about a month to take a little time off but I haven’t been listening.  Which is stupid.

So this week I’ll be skipping the gym to let my body heal up, while still concentrating on my spiritual development.

This isn’t all for my sobriety though if I’m being completely honest, though it just happens to work out with the timing.

I’m in the last stretch of finishing my novella The Eastern Road, which I plan on releasing in August and it is hard to lose yourself in writing when you know you have to be somewhere…like the gym.

So this week is a double bonus.  I’ll be finishing the novella and let my body rest so that next week I can go back in full bore.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking.  You’re thinking “Wow Jonathan I do not give a fuck about any of this boring ass, self aggrandizing horse shit!”

Fair enough, I get that but now we get to the point of the post.

So, this past weekend (Saturday to be specific) my friends Ben and Keith came into town.  They’re two of the nicest guys anyone could ever meet and I’m grateful they came into my life.  Plus we’re all just massive nerds so hanging out with them is always a total hoot.

We met up for dinner and it was just a great fun evening.

I got home and there was an email waiting for me from an old friend and drinking buddy who wanted to let me know that he was giving up the booze and wanted to live sober.  He even stated that I was partially responsible for this change in attitude.

I was humbled by this and reached out to him, just to let him know that I was here for whatever he needed.  We’re exchanging emails and hopefully I will be able to help him.

But, after I read this email I went to Facebook and there was a post about a friend of mine who’d been found dead in his apartment on April 28th.  I met this guy in rehab and we became good friends.

He’d struggled with his sobriety and I’d received maybe 5 or 6 drunken phone calls from him over the past 3 and a half years when he would relapse.  Some of the relapses were singular events but some lasted a month or more.

But, he would always get back up and recently seemed to be doing well.

The odd thing about this is, we had been playing phone tag over the past month or so.

I actually called him a few times in early April and he never returned the phone call.  Then, a few weeks ago he called me back but I selfishly didn’t pick up.  I was working on my book and part of me was annoyed that he took so long to call me back.

I didn’t return his phone call until early last week.  Not knowing that he’d already been dead for two days when I finally returned the call.

This hit me pretty hard last night.  Not the death itself which is heart breaking.  He was a young man and a father.

No, what hit me was the guilt. Did I let my friend down?  Did my selfishness contribute to his death?  Questions with no answers but a lot of blame.

I know enough to know that in all likelihood no, my not taking his call and not calling him back for a long time had nothing to do with his death.

But then again, maybe it did.  I wasn’t his sponsor but I was the one he seemed to call when he was in trouble.

These thoughts in and of themselves may seem selfish to you.  The fact that I’m making this about me and not about my dead friend.  Well, if I’m being honest with you dear reader, drug addicts and alcoholics are a selfish, narcissistic lot.  That’s one of the defects that tends to contribute to alcoholism.

But to be way more specific, I am fully aware that his death is far more important than my guilt.   But my guilt is what’s important to me, as selfish as that may sound.

I believe 100 percent that a person’s sobriety is their responsibility, but no one can do it completely alone.  A good support group be it AA or family, friends, gym mates is incredibly important.

But routine, humility and honesty with yourself are just as important.

I keep to my routine but don’t let it rule my life.  I have a great support group but don’t rely on them to keep me sober.  I stay humble as much as possible and at times can be a bit too honest with myself.

My sobriety is my responsibility.  Should I fall it will not be anyone’s fault but mine.

However, I will always wonder how different things would be at this very moment had I picked up that phone.

Did I help bring someone who thought of me as a friend to his death?  I just don’t know.  I’ll never know.

But I’ll live with it.  Try to make peace with it and move forward trying to be better, and more understanding of my friends who suffer.

If you think you have a problem there is help out there.  If you’re sober, remember to work your routine without letting it rule your life.

Stay honest, stay humble and live.

No self promoting links today, no plugs, just a weird post by someone trying to be a better man than he was who may or may not have failed a friend in need.

Best,

Jonathan