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Hot Yoga Habits

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Me 90 seconds into a hot yoga class

Like any good citizen of Los Angeles, I exist on a never-ending merry-go-round of health trends (RT if you’re also actively avoiding Whole 30), food fads (it’s called Oat Milk and just WAIT till you see where the udders are), and whatever the “in” workout of the month is (swipe up for my Barry’s Bootcamp discount code). One of these is hot yoga. What is hot yoga, you ask? Basically it’s like regular yoga, but…hot. The studio I go to keeps things at a balmy 105º-111º for the 70 minute sessions which is a great way to take an already difficult workout and turn it into the sort of workout that makes you feel like you’re in the parts of the 80s-movie training montages that they cut out: sweaty, overextended, and without the internet to distract you. That said, there’s a few little things I do during my hot yoga sessions to keep myself from losing my mind during these trying workouts and having my cardio-induced glisten go from 80s action hero sweaty to 80s action villain greasy. They are as follows:

• Put my mat down as far away as possible from an attractive girl.
While impossible to fully avoid attractive men and women (it is LA, after all), hot yoga (as with any yoga) is meant to be primarily an internal practice of betterment and improvement of the self through pushing, testing, and expanding one’s limits. It requires focus on several different mental and physical aspects at once, and nothing shakes that focus quicker than wanting to show off for the Alison Brie type two mats over from yours. My general rule is: I look like garbage when I workout (and debatably when I’m not working out, too) so I like to pretend no one can see me, and the least I can do is extend that same courtesy to the other yogis in their practice.

• Snag a spot by the door.
This may the pettiest/babiest one, but when you’re dealing with temps in the triple digits, every little bit helps, and if you are able to snag a spot by the door, you absolutely MUST do so. People drop like flies in hot yoga classes sometimes — to the point that the instructors usually give a little disclaimer at the beginning of class that is something like “Even if you get too overworked or exhausted to do the workouts, just go down to your mat and try to stay in the room because that in itself is enough of a challenge” — but if people can’t take the heat (literally) they’ll step outside for a breather or leave altogether and man when that door swings open and wafts a little (relatively) cool air over you, it’s just about the closest thing you can get to Heaven in LA (except for actual Heaven, the combination dance club and acupuncture clinic on Sunset).

• Find a mantra du jour.
My favorite yoga instructors will cue this at the start of class and maybe even offer the group one of their own if you’re drawing a blank (as I often do), but finding an inspirational word or short motivating phrase to come back to when it’s a hundred degrees and you’re balancing on one leg and somehow pulling the other leg over the back of your head and now they want you to do squats on the first leg and oh yeah don’t forget to breathe! can be super helpful to give you something to think about than how each of these yoga poses finds a new way to shove your flab into an even more un-ignorable position than the last one. Ones I go to a lot are things like patience, trust, sending energy to oneself or a friend, or part of  Bible verse I read that day. But they can also be less dramatic things too like just remembering how good that pizza is gonna taste knowing you already worked it off. No pineapple, please.

• Saying The Lord’s Prayer during the quiet part at the end.
During the last couple minutes of class, once you’ve finally gotten through the last difficult postures they’ll usually guide you through a little cool down stretching and finally let you land in something called “shavasana.” Translating to something along the lines of “corpse pose” (and believe me, that is an apt name since you will absolutely feel like a corpse by the end of a tough hot yoga class) this is literally a posture where you just lay on your back for a minute or two and let your body cool off and replenish all that mental and physical energy you just used and get ready to use all that new energy you just created before you go back out into the world. Since my mind is usually totally shot by then from the workout and I’m not really in a state to come up with anything epic or fresh, I like to silently fire off The Lord’s Prayer in my head as we’re ending our practice and starting to come “back to life” in every sense of the word. It’s automatic enough in my brain that I don’t really have to think much about it, but it also has all the comforting principles and reminders that I like to carry into the next part of my day/life.

• Throw up The Roc and give ’em a “Hova!”
As we close out class, the instructor will usually give a mini thank you speech and closes the class with the traditional “namaste” — surely you’ve seen it on trendy athleisure shirts or in someone’s instagram caption of their brunch — loosely translating to “the light and teacher in me sees and recognizes the light and teacher in you” and they have you put your hands up to your forehead in this little triangle shape and bow in as you say “namaste” (this is all optional and not as weird as it sounds by the way, I don’t want you to think you’ll see me in the next cult documentary on Netflix). Now that’s a beautiful sentiment on its own, but because this is my personal practice, after I say “namaste” I also like to throw a little “HOVA!” on the end of it. “Hova” is the self-appointed nickname of one of my favorite rappers, Jay-Z, and loosely translates to “I’m not afraid of dyin’ I’m afraid of not tryin’.” Because your hands are already essentially in the same triangle shape as Jay-Z’s signature gesture The Roc and because Hova is another sort of energy that I also like to channel with me into my days it’s only fitting that following up a nice heartfelt “namaste” feels twice as good when you fire off a nice, equally heartfelt “Hova!” on your way off the mat. Honestly give it a shot, you’ll be stoked at what a confidence booster it is before a big date or important meeting.

• Be polite and grateful, damnit!
And then very very last, you’ve worked hard for an hour plus, you’re tired and ready to hit the showers, but don’t let a combination of exhaustion and lowkey resentment of your instructor for putting you through that make you any less grateful. It takes a lot to keep an eye on everyone, learn all the terms, guide with confidence, display all the postures in their most correct form and give hands on corrections when needed — and do it all with a calm voice and a controlled demeanor, not just barking orders like Barry’s Bootcamp. So no matter how wiped you are, always make sure to give them an audible “thank you” on your way out the door. And if Rachael Bell is your instructor (@rachaelkathrynbell on IG/twitter or her instructor account @rkbyogi) you can be like me and spout off a hearty “Thanks Rach” so that everyone knows you’re thankful AND that you’re on a “casual monosyllabic nickname” friend level with the instructor, so they’ll be extra impressed (hey, the class is over after all, I’ve got to go back to being attention hungry, narcissistic, and insecure at SOME point, right? Right??? Wait where are you going? I promise I’ve got a great oat milk latte spot you just HAVE to try…)

And hey, if you’re ever in the LA area, come take a hot yoga class with me! You can Venmo me for the pizza afterwards.

 

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every other Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my get band’s latest music. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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The WORST Horror Movies of All Time

It’s February, the month of love, black history, groundhogs, and awards shows (and if they ever have an award show honoring the most lovely groundhogs in all of history, you can bet that event would take place in February). With the Academy Awards and love on the brain, it seemed like the right time to countdown the worst horror movies of all time. So here they are. (I’m not big on segues).

The WORST Horror Movies of ALL TIME

The Passion of the Christ
Blood! Guts! Zombies! While this movie contains all the staples of a good horror movie, it really fails to deliver that jump-from-your-seat terror that we’ve come to expect from modern horror movies. Mel Gibson just doesn’t have the directorial chops to pull off a horror movie of this magnitude, hopefully things will look up for his career after this misstep.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
This may be a movie about a blood-thirsty alien that crashes into Earth with the intention of savagely devouring its inhabitants to slake its bloodlust, but the only thing that crashes and burns here is the idea that this alien could be a danger to anyone. Drew Barrymore as a child pulls off the screaming victim ok here, but ultimately the terror of this film just falls flat.

Toy Story 2
The much-anticipated follow-up to the terrifying legend about one boy’s dolls that come to life and terrorize an entire town, the sequel sadly doesn’t live up to the scare-levels of the original. With not nearly enough blood and gore for die-hard screamsters like myself, Toy Story 2 is at best not scary, and at worst infuriatingly tame. Some parts are even downright laughable. But in true horror movie fashion, once they get one sequel made they just start cranking them out nonstop, so don’t expect Toy Story 3 to be any better (and SHOCKER, there’s already a Toy Story 4 in the works. It’s the Saw franchise all over again).

Mary Poppins
The premise is a tried-and-true one: a supposed children’s caretaker flies into town on the wind of a dark spell and uses her evil magic powers to wreak havoc in the lives of all whom she encounters. Whether it’s trapping her young wards into mystical drawings, or imprisoning children in chimneys, this is one bad-news nanny, but that sadly doesn’t make up for a lack of scares that leave this movie feeling more like a walk in the park rather than a scream-filled fright-fest that viewers want. Even when the nanny summons her dark familiars like her demon-possessed umbrella harpy, or her chimney-sweep henchman, this movie fails to make you feel like there is ever any real danger afoot. Better luck next time, Scary Mary.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Stop-motion animation can definitely make for some spooky movie-making, but this film about the dark lord of the netherworld rising to take-over Christmas for him and his dark minions feels more like a daydream than a true nightmare. Too many stockings, not enough stalkings for THIS horror-movie-lover.

The Little Mermaid
The well-known Hans Christian Andersen tale — about a young mermaid that wants to steal a part of a prince’s soul so she can get into Heaven but ultimately can’t bring herself to kill him, so she kills herself by throwing herself off a cliff into the craggy rocks of the seaside — FINALLY gets the big screen treatment it deserves. BUT unfortunately the Hollywood Machine does what it does best and totally ruins the source material with this horror movie. Say goodbye to Andersen’s trademark gory details about the Mermaid getting her legs split with a sword and having her tongue ripped out by the Sea Witch’s curse (and who could forget the cost of the spell, that any movement the Mermaid makes with her legs will feel like she is constantly walking on sharp knives), and instead get ready to see a Mermaid that’s so untrue to her source character that she doesn’t even commit suicide at the end. Just like the mermaids in HCA’s tale, this movie turns into sea-foam and fizzles away before we get the horror movie we wanted!

…Hope you got some ointment for those BURNS, would-be horror movies, maybe next time you won’t short us on the scares that we crave! ;) On the upside, I finally got my hands on the film adaptation of the famous Brothers Grimm’s scary story, Snow White, so I’m excited to let that one scream me to new heights of scariness (I’m especially excited to see how they depict the scene where Snow White and her prince force the Evil Queen into a pair of glowing-hot iron shoes and force her to dance until she drops dead as punishment for her attempted murders).

Play on,
Dustin

I haven't seen this horror movie yet, but I imagine it's a lot like Taken.

I haven’t seen this horror movie yet, but I imagine it’s a lot like Taken.

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Live, Die, Repeat…Repeat

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Tom Cruise’s summer action movie, Edge of Tomorrow, was more lackluster than blockbuster, so when they released the movie on BluRay and digital, they retitled and rebranded it as “Live. Die. Repeat.” hoping the more straightforward title would attract viewers that passed over it the first time. But what you probably didn’t know is that it kickstarted a trend with the studios that has made retitling movies the new hot marketing tactic in Hollywood. Here is a guide to the films you may recognize and their new release titles, feel free to use and share it with your friends.

MORE ACCURATE REBRANDED MOVIES:

X-Men: Days of Future Past = The Original Jennifer Lawrence Leaked Nudes

Divergent = Hunger Games

Transformers: Age of Extinction = Michael Bay’s Three-Hour Explosiongasm (Plot Optional)

Neighbors = A Less Good Version of the Movie ‘Old School’ for People Too Young to Remember ‘Old School’

A Million Ways to Die in the West = Forty Million Dollars to Waste in New Mexico

Captain America: The Winter Soldier = Avengers 1.5

The Fault in Our Stars = How to Lose a Guy in Eight Days

Godzilla = Breaking Dad

Blended = The Brady Bunch (with Fewer Laughs)

Guardians of The Galaxy = Christ Pratt & The Quest to Determine Who You’re Less Familiar With: The Alien Characters on His Superhero Team or The Actors Playing Them

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 = The Only-Amazing-By-Comparison-to-the-Tobey-Maguire-Trilogy Spider-Man

300: Rise of An Empire = 300: Fall of a Franchise

Grand Budapest Hotel = Wes Anderson and The Exact Same Actors As Always Make a Movie Only Your Elitist Hipster Friends Saw

Aaron Paul’s Need for Speed = Aaron Paul’s Need for Work

Noah = Anything As Long as Russell Crowe Isn’t Singing

Draft Day = First Round Bust

22 Jump Street = 22-Year-Olds Love This Movie

The Purge: Anarchy = Leaving Las Vegas

Wish I Was Here = Zach Braff’s Ponzi Scheme

TMNT = Megan Fox’s Last Shot

The Expendables 3 = theexpendables3.torrent

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For = Sin City: An Audience to Kill For

The Maze Runner = Hunger Games

Sex Tape = All Your Favorite References From Five Years Ago

Malificent = #YesAllWomen

The Giver = Hunger Games

And there you have it…remember boys and girls, if you’re gonna watch, watch educated.

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Memo to Peter Bart: Don’t Be A Dick

I was perusing the trades (that’s slang for entertainment industry trade papers) recently in an effort to live vicariously through the people who actually do what I just imagine doing for a living, and I came across an article by Peter Bart (former Editor-in-Chief at Variety) regarding The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and his foray into the world of film directing (the dickishly titled “Memo to Jon Stewart: Stick with Your Day Job Behind the Desk”).

Artist's rendering of Peter Bart, who believes that creative people should be neither seen nor heard.

Artist’s rendering of Peter Bart, who believes that creative people should be neither seen nor heard.

You can read the article if you like, but the general idea is that Peter Bart spends 600 words essentially just shitting on Stewart’s desire to sit in the director’s chair. How does Peter Bart justify his Debbie Dickhead attitude toward Jon Stewart’s project? Well, Bart points out, Bob Dyaln was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was bad! Not convinced? Well, Bart says, Madonna was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was also bad!

So just to recap: because Bob Dylan made a bad movie in 1978, no one should try to direct a movie ever again. Got it. And obviously this has everything to do with the fact that Dylan and Madonna were already established stars that tried to transition into directing, and nothing to do with the fact that they were just bad directors (the Dylan film’s final cut clocked in at OVER four hours long, but yeah, I’m sure it was only a flop because he was a celebrity trying to direct). Double got it.

Bart goes on to reference successful directors (Clooney, Sean Penn, Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Elia Kazan, and Francis Coppola) who didn’t release their best work until later on in their directorial careers, and whose first projects either weren’t well-received or just weren’t that good. Basically Bart’s message is if you haven’t already done something, you shouldn’t do it.

Um. What.
Continue reading

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Ten for Ten: Old School

What is 10 for 10? On the tenth of every month I take something really cool, underrated, badass, or worth remembering from ten years ago and tell you about it here, a decade past its prime. You may even notice similar posts pop up on the 20th and 30th of each month. Because as a child I was always told to recycle, and they never said that concept doesn’t apply to gimmicks, too. Check out previous Ten for Ten posts from March and February.

“We’re all going streaking!”

“You’re my boy, Blue!”

“He’ll do one!”

“Earmuffs.”

Just a scant ten years ago, those quotes were only glimmers in Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn’s eyes. A decade later the movie Old School is, itself, becoming old school, but still holds up alongside the R-Rated blockbuster-comedies of today. Hits like The Hangover, Knocked Up, Superbad, Bridesmaids, The 40-Year Old Virgin, etc. all exist because Old School showed that comedies for grown-ups can be funny and (more importantly to Hollywood), profitable.

old school

In addition to giving us a new movie genre, a far superior (and F-word-laden) version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, and the legendary “tranq gun” scene, Old School also gave us arguably the most important comedy element of the 2000s: Will Ferrell. In 2003, Will Ferrell was on the uncertain precipice of a comic actor trying to transition from TV to film…so what kept Big Willie Style from succumbing to the same fate of obscurity as his fellow SNL alum Cheri Oteri, Chris Kattan, Tim Meadows and the like? Old School (combined with Elf’s success) gave Ferrell enough street cred to make Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro, Step Brothers, and a half dozen other movies that redefined the modern day comedy movie.

When you see Hangover III this summer and complain that it wasn’t funny as the first one (even though it will have just made 300 million dollars at the box office), remember that if it wasn’t for Old School, the only funny movies they’d be making for grown ups would be Grown Ups…and nobody in the mood for a funny movie wants to see an Adam Sandler film (speaking of washed up SNL alum, Grown Ups 2 comes out this July).

So grab some buddies, a case of the cheapest light beer you can get your hands on, pop this ’03 comic masterpiece into your DVD player and get ready to laugh. And bring your green hat.

Play on,
Dustin

Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox. Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…I don’t even like me enough to keep up with all that.

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