Anima sana in corpore sano

The plantar fascia is the connective tissue in the foot that strings all them toe bones together… to make sure they don’t drop off. And because of its finger-in-every-pie role, it is like the nerve centre for the foot. So what happens is… the minute your PF gets inflamed, which mine often does, you end up limping like a duck without its webs.

My feet, after I had it appraised by a running expert, is flat as a trowel. This zero arch situation makes me very susceptible to Plantar Fasciitis, a condition that I’m now trying to correct with maximum stability shoes (there’s a hard rubber bridge in the middle of the shoe that gives me the arch I don’t naturally have).

The brand I finally elected to use was Asics. Somehow, I feel safe in their shoes. They costs an arm and a nut sac though. My running consigliere calls it the Mercedes Benz of shoes.

Yesterday, I discovered something very interesting. The acronym for the latin term “Anima sana in corpore sano” is ASICS. Translated it means, “Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body”

So what have I been up to of late

brewing
A friend of mine said this to me the other day, “You are the most busy non-working guy I know.

I chuckled at the truth in his statement. I typically start my day around 9:30, 10, and normally call it a night at 2am.

I think I worked 50% less when I was working.

One Month Consultancy
For a month I was a consultant at a home grown interactive agency called Integricity. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as much a shock to the system as I had anticipated. In fact I was reminded of how much I loved doing what I was doing before. That when I left that life behind, it wasn’t because I was completely unhappy. I was merely answering that silent knowing that there was something greater I first had to accomplish, something outside the realm of advertising.

New Facebook Page
I’ve been asked a few times why I abandoned my old Facebook fan page for a new one. Believe me, it was a hard decision to make, and costs me the fans that were already following that page.

The problem with the old page was that it was set up some time ago as a community page, which naturally defaulted visitors to ‘The Wall’ (long distance runners cringe at the word). What I wanted was for people to land on a specially prepared page with information on the book.

Facebook users who set up their pages today can change their categorisations, but not those who had set up their page a long time back. To not be dinosaured into Facebook’s old system, I took that leap. And from that we’ve now got www.facebook.com/fueldabook

If you haven’t, please visit the page and be a fan of it. And as you read its contents, pretend that it is Obi Wan Kenobi speaking to you, and do all that it tells you.

(FYI to you developers out there. If you delete your page and try to get the same name back, you’ll never ever ever get it back, ever. To prevent name sitting, FB doesn’t allow it, and that name will be kept in a vault to which only Elvis has the combination.)

Job Hunting
Yup, been looking for a job for a few months now. Have not been getting too many calls though. With jobs being so specialised these days, I think most companies don’t know where to place my bi-polar potpourri  of skills.

StART Society
I’ve cut down on my classes at StART to limit the number of kids who will be affected should I return to full time employment. I miss them O So Dearly.

Recently, StART organised a very interesting event called the XTraMile Run. A runner, Alex Au Yong, volunteered to run 100K to raise RM100K for us. My role was to provide LIVE updates of the event. Never before had I tweeted and Facebooked as much.

55 FB Updates, 98 Tweets, 66 pics and 3 YouTube videos from a moving vehicle.

Over the 17 hours the run lasted, I think it works out to be one piece of communication every 4 minutes. Not too bad coming from a motion sick guy who gets nauseous from a half hour train ride, from one who threw up watching the shaky camera action in Bourne Supremacy.

The event was a great success and we exceeded the amount we aimed to raise.

New Book Website
The official site for when I first launched Fuel was justjezza.com, my blog site. The problem with that was no one could tell from the URL that it was a website for a book called Fuel. With www.fueldabook.com now set up, I’m now able to slap the book’s logo on anything and just include the URL, and people would know what it relates to and be able to find out more.

Fuel Running
The process of writing, publishing and promoting the book landed me neck deep in the world of running. Throughout the journey, almost every day of it actually, new word plays on the subject would appear in my head. Often I’d say to myself, “Hey, this would be great on a shirt.”

I finally got on my ass (I did it all sitting down), and jumpstarted my ideas to life.

I launched the Fuel Running line with 6 Collections. I’ve got dozens of other ideas locked away in this brain of mine, and each is calling out, “Pick me, pick me.”  My goal is to add a new collection each week… till the voices stop.

Go check out the site: www.fuelrunning.com, or be a Facebook fan, www.facebook.com/fuelrunning

What’s on the Horizon?
I really need a job. The hole in my wallet makes the one in the Ozone look like the eye of a needle. Here’s my resume: www.justjezza.com/misc/resumeJeremyChin.pdf

Feel free to pass it to anyone you think might be interested.

On the book front, I’ve yet to get my books out to the newspapers in the UK and Australia, oh, and to Running Magazines. The Star, the nation’s leading paper, promised me a review last Sunday. I nervously flipped through the papers three days back but… nothing. Copies have also shrapnelled across the United States to the 40 largest newspapers. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed on that front. If you happen to have ties with the media anywhere in the world, I hope you’ll help me get my book in.

The Latest Scoop

dignose

Just a quick update from me on the book. I’ve pushed the second edition of Fuel out on Amazon. E-book versions are also available on The Kindle and The Nook. This new edition contains a number of changes that improves the story’s flow. And because I was rushing the book out for Christmas, I made a number of slipups in the First Edition. Those have been rectified.

I’ve also released a trade paperback edition on Lulu.com. This was an important move for me because I wanted affordable worldwide reach. Although Amazon considers themselves to be international, shipping is pricey. If you live outside the United States, it costs an arm and a healthy testicle. Lulu, on the other hand, from what I understand,  prints the book in the country you are ordering it from, so shipping is a lot less. With all my channels in place, I can now market the book mercilessly.

World domination aside, Fuel is also available at The Bee, my new favourite spot to write (sadly, I don’t write as much as I used to these days). I love the food there, and the music, and the overall atmosphere. An old classmate of mine runs the place, and has granted me use of the stage to promote the book. I just have to think up something good to talk about, that preferably would not scare their customers away. Actually, I’m planning on doing a book reading for the deaf one of these days. Jonah Ong, a huge proponent of the book, is a signer, and he has agreed to do this with me. Maybe, The Bee, Baybee.

Other news. Fuel got its first official review last week. It appeared in the New Straits Times. All the nail chewing have worn my teeth out.

A few weeks before the NST article, I got an unofficial review (more a vote of confidence) from an article that was written by MPH Editor, Alan Wong. This was following a book reading that I had done on my birthday at Readings in Seksan. Another welcomed surpised I had received came when an English professor, Dr Anthony Sibert, was impressed by the book and started a push to have my book incorporated into the curriculum at higher learning institues in Malaysia. Personally, I don’t think my work qualifies. But maybe the level of education really has gone down as much as people have been saying.

Oh, I got a reply from Dato Rais Yatim about my request to place Fuel in all libraries nationwide. His office has referred me on to the Director of the National Library, who will make a decision on how many copies they would like from me. I have my fingers crossed that they would want my remaining stock. The University of Missouri have also promised to stock my book, along with the National University of Singapore.

I’ll be targeting local magazines in the coming week. US magazines and newspapers the week after. The UK after that. Still haven’t figured out how to take on the running community full force.

Will be making an appearance on Feb 26 at MPH bookstore in Midvalley, where I’ll be talking about my journey as a first time author. Fuel will also be featured at the Readings from Readings book launch on Feb 25. On the writing front, I’ve not started on my second book, but have been contributing articles here and there. The latest to be published was in Bettr Magazine. Lastly, I’ve entered Fuel into the Fourth Annual Amazon Breakthrough Award Competition. Winner gets published by Penguin. One can only dream.

Exercising times ahead

Many people ask if I run, especially since I’d written a book about running and all. I tell them, “Hell no. I only get the runs.”

I don’t know. Running has never appealed to me. For one, I’ve never been too good at it. Something always ends up breaking when I run. Besides breaking a sweat, I’d get shin splints, tear some ligament somewhere or get side stitches. Personally, I think I just wasn’t built for running.

Also, besides improving my fitness, I never really saw a point to the sport. But I guess the same could be said of tennis, basketball, football, badminton and golf, all of which I thoroughly enjoy.

Alternatives
If the grass in my back garden grew any longer, the VC could hide in it. So last week, I got myself a grass cutter. It took me an hour to trim the garden, and another hour to sweep and bag the severed grass. I was covered in sweat and mosquito bites by the end of it.

Today, I spent three hours lacquering the driveway with slate seal. By the time I was done, my thighs and forearms were sore. I spent a whole minute admiring the glossy driveway in the evening.

Of all forms of exercise, I’ve always found that the most fulfilling has been activity where I’d have something to show at the end of it. And that’s why I think I enjoy working with my hands so much, things like carpentry–disassembling old stuff, re-assembling them into new things, watching the sweat on my brow drip onto my craft. The best thing is that, unlike sports, you have an end product, something that isn’t merely in the form of a score.

I was thinking to myself earlier, “Wouldn’t it be great for there to be a fitness club that builds houses for people who are in need of one?” Someday… I’ll start one. Maybe.

driveway

Roti Tampal

Anyone who grew up with me knows this, that I’m a big sports person, not just as a vociferous fan, but as a vociferous participant too (these same people also know that I’m a compulsive talker, and that in my world, a gag order from a judge would be the same thing as a death sentence). Despite being fond of activity, the past few months, have been a bit of a sad thing. Since taking on my book, I’ve sat glued to the computer, from the early hours to the wee hours. And the effects have started to show.

For one, my joints have started to creak. If I were to gracefully sway my body from one side to the other, the way a ballerina goes through her warm ups, you’d be treated to a symphony of cricks and cracks, almost as if a car were slowly rolling over a flat sheet of bubble wrap. It really is worth a listen. Really.

To add to my woes, my knees have lost strength, and I’m a lot less sure about doing the things I once knew I could do. So pirouettes are out of the question (they used to be out of question before, now they are even more out of the question).

~.~.~.~.~.~

I attended a funeral the day before Chinese New Year. He was of friend of mine since childhood—same Sunday school, same Church, same Secondary School. For a year, I sat beside him in class, when we were sixteen. So I’m sure, a big piece of him had been imbibed in me.

Paul left in his wake, and at his wake, a wife and two kids–one was 4-years old, the other 2, the same age as my Oliver.

Sometimes, when I’m gone for a few hours, Oliver asks, “Where’s Daddy? Daddy come back. Now!!”

How do you tell a kid that age, that Daddy’s not coming back? Ever.

It really gets you thinking, when someone your age gets a heart attack and drops dead. You stop taking things for granted. For awhile anyway, when the memory is still fresh.

The death of a friend also sends you a message that you’d better start smelling the roses before they make them into wreaths for you. And it reminds you that you should say your I love Yous frequently; if not in words, through your actions. It also tells you not to squander a good thing, and that life is short, so eat your vegetables, and wear your sunscreen. There is no need to make your existence here shorter than it already is.

I read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari about a month back. It was probably the most cheesy book I’ve ever picked up, but I must say, I gleaned a lot of useful things from it. As the book had suggested that we all do, I’ve incorporated meditation into part of my daily. It’s amazing how the simple act of focusing your mind someplace else triggers physical change through your body. Meditation makes you aware of many things. Often, I don’t realise that I’m walking with my shoulders scrunched up and tense; my neck, stiff like an aroused penis.

I’m sure there are different ways to meditate. I do mine in a quiet room with the lights turned off, Lisa Gerrard’s Sanvean playing in the background. Eyes closed, I breathe deeply once the music starts, and my body magically relaxes. Suddenly, you feel alive once more, as if your blood, which without your permission stopped flowing some time during the day, started to flow again. Often, my mind wanders, just like in church. But I let it. Fighting it, I feel, is unnatural, and strenuous, and would defeat the purpose of the whole exercise. As you can probably tell, I make a lot of this stuff up as I go.

The monk manual also suggested that I engage in rigorous exercise, daily. But to go in head first was ill advised, not in my fragile state. Anything more rigorous than climbing a single flight of stairs would probably cause my limbs to dislodge from my body and crumble into pieces, the way wooden blocks tumble following a wrong Jenga move.

So, to jumpstart my exercise regimen… Correction. So, to slowly move my exercise regimen into gear, I chose to do strengthening exercises first—stretches, lunges, some yoga and the like. It really has helped, and I’m a lot less wobbly these days.

~.~.~.~.~.~

After two weeks of mild conditioning, I felt my body was ready to take on something bigger. No, not Roseanne Barr.

I went for a jog this morning. The route took me from the house to the park, a lap around the park, a walking lap to catch my breath, another running lap, and after that, I dragged my feet to the roadside stall for breakfast, across the street from my house.

Again, as almost every time in the past, I was the only Chinese fella there. I ordered an ice tea and unfolded myself a Nasi Lemak. Their version here is unique; they have a small square of salt fish embedded into the rice, and it is sublime. There was a dead ant in my rice. I ate it without a second thought. I think that only happens on Tuesday mornings (Man Vs Wild is on at 8 every Monday night).

The stall filled up quickly after I took my seat, to the point where a Malay guy had no choice but to share my table with me. He ordered a Roti Tampal. I had never heard of it before and was curious. Translated, it meant ‘patched bread’. I waited in anticipation for his Unidentified Food Object to arrive. When it finally did, I couldn’t quite make it out. It looked like there was some kind of coconut layer married to a piece of Roti Canai. The guy didn’t look like he welcomed any questions, so I paid for my meal and left.

~.~.~.~.~.~

My writing has taken up a very prominent center in my life. On my jog, I was thinking of my book. Well, of that and of my burning thighs. Quite often, when I meditate, my mind wanders to the book as well. The same thing happens when I’m going through my stretches, or taking a dump, lathering my body, lathering my teeth, trying to sleep, while driving, while gardening, while watching TV.

This morning, while walking back to the house after breakfast, I realised I did not once think of my book over breakfast. And it was nice. Like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I asked myself how it happened and came to this conclusion: I was too busy thinking about what the other people thought of me, sitting there, almost alone, a thorn among the Kembojas. In that moment, it occurred to me, that in this country, more important things than the bread needed to be patched.