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Gym Playlist

Nirvana as a Buddhist concept literally means the state of perfect happiness and that is what happens to me when I listen to Kurt Cobain and friends (yes, the drummers did come and go). I am completely in the zone when it is with me—be it the iPod or smart phone. And it is not just when I am relaxing on the couch at home eating my favorite snacks along with tossing back a few beers. These are the times that the speakers are roaring. It is frequent enough. It also is my music of choice at the gym to accompany my frequent workouts. It is on the top of my gym playlist.

Exercise and fitness are not really an obsession like Nirvana is to me, so you certainly won’t find a home gym hiding in my garage, but it is necessary and does me great good. So I persist with a little help. If I can combine my passions at one time, it is more than efficient and productive. The music allows me to even go to the gym at all. It lures me there, knowing it provides an hour of intense aural experience. I am not so sure I would indulge quite so often.

I do the usual stuff when working out: lifts with weights, sit-ups, crunches, pushups, a little sparring, and a little aerobics. I ride the treadmill with glee. I use straps for stretching and that big inflated plastic ball for balance and support. I lunge and squat along with the best of them. It is a thorough plan of action. But without the music, it is bland and dull. It goes nowhere.

Seattle born and bred, Nirvana is alternative music, but not to me. It is the staple of my listening existence and a number one priority. It is no wonder that it gets me pumped at the gym, letting me pump iron in style. People ask why? Try it for yourself and see what you feel. The remastered album is amazing, featuring the Live and Loud concert from 1993. YouTube videos are a great way to be acquainted. I am here to get converts and it isn’t hard! You go back to 1989 to experience the vocals, from quiet and soft, to loud and energetic. The music is a display of similar contrasts. In Utero was far from mainstream and garnered numerous followers, who are still on board. But Nevermind was the real winner for many years earlier.

Rock knows no parallel in terms of dynamic contrasts. I eat it up. Doing reps at the gym goes by fast and furiously as I absorb the sounds of Seattle grunge. Was it really that long ago? I ponder this question as I burn calories. I get visual images going back decades. They seem like yesterday. It was a landmark time in rock, never to be forgotten. I think people forget how influential Nirvana was, making alternative rock a permanent music genre. It has its place in history, but it is still alive for me.

Camping with the Music

Camping is a singular privilege in my book. However, we don’t all live near good sites and have the time to take off on a whim to escape the routine of our daily lives. If we can, it is pure joy. Getting away from it all sounds like a cliché, but it is oh so true. Everyone needs a change of scene and a way to refresh the body and spirit. You can do this at the gym, in a spa, residing in an urban four-star hotel, or in your man cave in the basement of course. I like the idea of outdoor camping in the wilds. There is nothing better and it is the cheapest of them all.

I have one condition, however. I have to have something to do while “out there”. I can’t just sit tight and daydream or twiddle my thumbs. I can go for a hike, get on a bike, cook up something yummy on the campfire, or swim in the lake; but when it comes down to it, at night I want to relax and listen to my favorite music like Nirvana – yeah the whole Kurt and Courtney show. You ask why? Let me tell you about punk rock… well, that’s another blog.

I need a generator along to power up the batteries that are sure to go dead as much as I like to play and replay my favorites on a cell phone or iPod with my trusty little speakers. The right music lifts my mood and sets a tone. I get juiced and inspired. Did I say camping had to be relaxing? I have been known to move a bit in time to the beat, in private that is. No Instagram photos here please.

You think a generator is a lot of trouble? Not really. They aren’t all huge – there are plenty of modest small generator models on the market that are easy to transport and have just the right amount of power for little things like your night light or laptop. Honda makes a good one for an affordable price. You will never be bored. You want to drive a hairdryer or electric toothbrush? You can do that too. It is a handy device for even a very short trip. It doesn’t take much room in the van and isn’t heavy to tote around. Better yet, get a friend to accompany you who likes your kind of music and they can do the dirty work for you!

I once forgot my backpack with all my essential musical gear loaded inside. That was a tough weekend. I had to hum to myself (just kidding). My friends all laughed and thought it was amusing that I was so at sea. They had their music, of course, and it wasn’t to my liking. They would blast it just to irk me. This lapse will never happen again or I will find new friends with better taste. They think they are more current and up-to-date, but I beg to differ. There is a certain era you can’t replace in my opinion.