Thursday, 25 April 2013

Rocky Babblin' Balboa

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It's Wednesday 24th April - I’m on the flight from Milan to New York writing this now, just reflecting. Reflecting on all the things I've done during this godforesaken 100 mile mission. Wow, I’ve done many things over the last 3 months. I’ve turned vegan (that’s zero meat, zero fish, zero eggs, zero diary/milk – eating only plants, fruit, vegetables, seeds, grains, nuts and legumes). I’ve taken a shit in a dog-park in Milan at 5:30am in the morning after running non-stop for 5 and a half hours doing a mental midnight marathon. I’ve collapsed in tears, a physically and mentally broken man, doing my first marathon after only a few weeks training. I repaired that broken man and did my first ultra marathon, 38 miles, just a few weeks after my first marathon. I’ve seen a lady of the night sucking something that looked like a lollipop as the guy next to her looked down smiling, in my little park in Milan at 3:30am in the morning – it was so silent around the park I could even hear her slurping. Berk. I’ve fallen in love with a goddamn Asian masseur. My new girlfriend, Victoria, got all jealous and suspicious of my new secret saucy relationship with the goddamn Asian masseur. I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of walking lunges in below freezing temperatures, in the snow and ice in my little park in Milan. I’ve ran half marathons all over London, Paris, New York and Milan all thru the January and February fashion weeks – morning, noon and night.

I’ve got lost at night in Bois de Boulgone in Paris and have seen men of the night dressed like ladies of the night, but who really looked like goddamn aliens from outer space prowling around touting for business. During the same evening, in the same Bois de Boulogne, I saw an elderly man (must have been approaching 70 years old) enticing a young boy (must have been close to 16 years old) into the dark woods.

Why is it that the freaks and the weirdos and the perverts think that they own the night? Why can’t simple folk who want to dress all in black and imagine themselves to be a goddamn black panther and go running marathons thru the night; why can’t these goddamn black panthers just be free to own the night too without intrusion from these goddamn weirdos? (I’m seriously wondering now if there is a transvesitite in Paris writing a blog asking why these men of the night dressed as ladies of the night but who look like aliens from outer space can’t just be free to roam the night without intrusion from weirdos dressed like goddamn black panthers jogging thru their woods LOL).


Anyways, I’ve made lots of new friends – people whom I was not even aware existed before January 2013. Likewise, I’ve entered the lives of people who did not even know I existed before January 2013. I’ve had beeturia – an infection caused by eating too much beetroot where the symptoms are that your poo n pee turn bright red/pink (it looks like bright blood – both your urine and stool – that was really scary for a few days until I discovered it was only beeturia). I’ve opened myself up and completely exposed myself to the world, bearing all and sharing some of the most intimate moments of my life – sacrificing privacy (and maybe integrity!) for the sake of the greater good (this is even more scary than your poo looking like it’s got lots of blood in it the day after you’ve ran 38 miles for over 8 hours non-stop). I’ve damaged the tendons and ligaments in my achiles heels, and pulled the muscles in my calfs. Because I’ve damaged my calf muscles I’ve also then damaged my lower back; having to see a chiropractor to unlock it so I could walk and sleep again. I’ve received messages of support from friends and complete strangers from as far away as Korea, Ukraine, Essex (lol), Brazil, Germany, China, Australia, UK, and the USA – including one kind soul offering to send me photos of herself doing a strip-tease with one less article of clothing in each photo for every Rocky Step I climb in Philadelphia on Sunday 28th April – much appreciated – cheers!! LOL. I’ve drank 5 whole raw eggs in one go at 6am in the morning, just like Rocky Balboa did.

All of this I’ve done while working like crazy in my full time job at Diesel, lots of times working 7 days per week, 16 hour days, during January and February as fashion weeks arrived and passed.

All of this I’ve done 99% alone, taking embarrassing stoopid goddamn pictures of myself in the mirror.


All of this I’ve done to build up to one day. One long 30 hour non-stop day. One day; Saturday 27th April from 10am, thru an entire night, finishing sometime in the afternoon of Sunday 28th April – my brother’s 40th birthday. And all of this still may not be enough to achieve the goal of running from New York to Philadelphia to finally climb those goddamn Rocky Steps.

What I want to say to you is; what I wanted to share with you now are some beautiful moments from the Rocky films. Because what I’ve also done since having this crazy goddamn idea in the first place is to watch the Rocky films all over again over the last couple of months. These films are the inspiration for this challenge – for Simon’s Rocky Road. Without them it would not exist. So, I watched every one of them again (even the shit one, number 5, with that goddamn stiff-neck Tommy Gunn in it). Because, when you watch these films as a kid you just think they are cheesy feel-good movies, and switch off when the credits start coming up. But, please, I’m asking you. I’m begging you and urging you to watch them over again. Go to amazon or netflix and get them. Get them NOW. What are you waiting for? Watch them right from the very beginning – start with the very first one and watch them all over again.

But whatever you do, make sure you don’t make a stoopid movie theme night like some cocky bastards do, like organising to watch all the Godfather films one after the other until you’ve finished them at 8am in the morning – only cocky bastards do things like that and I know that ain’t you. You’re better than that! I’ve never understood that – I mean who the hell organises their life so that they can watch all the Star  Wars films one after the other taking up a full weekend without sleep? Well, if you want to do that then go ahead. Who am I to stop you? In fact, I’d respect you more if you were muttering in your head right now: “who is this cocky bastard telling ME not to watch the Indiana Jones trilogy one after the other all thru the goddamn night – it’s MY life and I’ll do what I want” – and you know what? You would be dead right! I’m sorry I even mentioned it now. Man, I wish I knew more people who had your guts and protective instincts. Seriously, I need more people like you in my life. People who stand up for themselves. You are wild. You are amazing. You are my hero if you were muttering that in your head just now. In fact, I love people who organise movie theme nights watching the Die Hard movies one after the other until 7am in the morning. The world NEEDS MORE people just like YOU. So, please, go for it. Just for me. No, for yourself. No, for US. Go and get the Rocky movies from netflix and organise your buddies to come around to your pad, get some spirulina, spinach, broccoli, avocado and lemon juice, blend it up all into oblivion in your equivalent of Victoria and then seriously sit there sipping it with all your best mates and watch every one of those motherfucking Rocky films one after the other until the dawn breaks and the birds start singing outside. I guarantee to you that you will have a blast.

Anyways, what I wanted to ask you to do was to watch the Rocky series of films again. It doesn’t matter if you watch them one after the other until you finish them without getting any sleep. And it doesn’t matter if you watch them one every Friday after you finish work, or one every Sunday when you wake up just after you take the dog for a walk, or one every day starting on a Monday so that you’ve finished them by Saturday night so you can go out and party or do salsa and relax with a clear conscience on the Sunday. If it was me what I would do is watch one every Tuesday night, for 6 weeks, with my girl chilling together on the sofa sipping a glass of Baileys before taking a shower together, then going to bed and making love. But that’s just me. The important thing is that YOU watch them. The important thing is that you start from the very first one and watch all the series – because not only is the first one the original and the very beginning, but it’s also the best. If all else fails you can’t really go wrong if you always start things from the very beginning. It helps you understand the end a lot lot more clearly, it really does. Remember that, just remember that and it will help you simplify a lot of things in your life. Seriously, if the want to understand clearly the end of any goddamn thing then it’s really important that you start things at the very beginning. So, if you want to understand clearly the end of Simon’s Rocky Road – and that end will come with reaching (hopefully) those goddamn Rocky Steps in Philadelphia on Sunday 28th April and it will come with the 40th and final blog post soon after (one for every year of my big bro’s life) – if you really want to understand clearly the end of Simon’s Rocky Road then what I’m begging you to do is to watch the Rocky films all over again so that you can understand clearly the beginning so that you can clearly understand the end. Clear?

Anyways, I first started writing this stoopid blog post simply to find a way to slip in some Rocky quotes just for the whack of it. I don’t know if I’ve been able to clearly make the link and set the stage up but I’ve rambled out my jibber-jabber anyways, Here below I will whet your appetite as we approach the end of Simon’s Rocky Road by sharing with you some Balboa clips and quotes (together with my own reflections of them just for the whack of it). We will clearly start from the very beginning – the ‘Rocky’ films – starring Sylvester Stallone...

ENJOY...



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ROCKY QUOTE:
You’re gonna eat lightnin', and you're gonna crap thunder!

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
You’re gonna eat M&M’s, and you’re gonna crap in a dog-park!


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ROCKY QUOTE:
All your strength, all your power, all your love. Everything you've got. Right now!

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
This is what I have put into this blog and everything to do with Simon’s Rocky Road over the last 3 months. I could have done more. But, I’m not an athlete. I’m not a blogger. I’m not a writer. I’m not a film maker. I’m not a social media expert. I’ve done my best. I’ve also got a full-time very demanding day job. That said, I have put all my strength, all my power, all my love – everything I’ve got into it. Right now!


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ROCKY QUOTE:
The last thing to age on somebody is their heart.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I think about the last thing to leave someone before they die is their hearing, and I think about my Dad’s last word to me in that hospice. Then I think while my heart is still beating I will keep doing my best to make him (and my Mum) proud.


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ROCKY QUOTE:
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
‘Nuff said. I think this one’s pretty clear.

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ROCKY QUOTE:
Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Clear?


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ROCKY QUOTE:
Every once in a while a person comes along who defies the odds, who defies logic, and fulfills an incredible dream.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I hope. Honestly. I hope. Because in my physical condition it really is a one in a million chance that I will complete this. Let’s re-visit this quote if/when we reach the Rocky Steps on Sunday!!! Aie aie aie. I am frightened.

 

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ROCKY QUOTE:
Rocky: I can't do it.
Adrian: What?
Rocky: I can't beat him.
Adrian: Apollo?
Rocky: Yeah. I been out there walkin' around, thinkin'. I mean, who am I kiddin'? I ain't even in the guy's league.
Adrian: What are we gonna do?
Rocky: I don't know.
Adrian: You worked so hard.
Rocky: Yeah, that don't matter. 'Cause I was nobody before.
Adrian: Don't say that.
Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Simon: I can’t do it.
The Mirror: What?
Simon: Run 100 miles.
The Mirror: Non-stop?
Simon: Yeah. I been out there walkin’ around, thinkin’. I mean, who am I kiddin’? I ain’t even in these guy’s league. I mean I couldn’t even complete a marathon non-stop running. I’m no ultra distance runner. I ain’t even a basic jogger. I’ve already crippled my weak achilles heels and they’ll take at least one year without running to completely recover.
The Mirror: What are we gonna do?
Simon: I don’t know.
The Mirror: You worked so hard.
Simon: Yeah, that don’t matter. ‘Cause I was nobody before.
The Mirror: Don’t say that.
Simon: Ah come on, Simon, it’s true. I was nobody. I am a nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I can’t run 100 miles non-stop. It really don’t matter if this road cripples my ankles and achilles heels either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance from New York to Philadelphia dressed as Rocky Balboa before, and if I can go that distance, you see, and we reach those goddamn Rocky Steps, and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from Stoke.

 
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ROCKY QUOTE:
Adrian: Einstein flunked out of school, twice.
Paulie: Is that so?
Adrian: Yeah. Beethoven was deaf. Helen Keller was blind. I think Rocky's got a good chance.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I love this. Does this mean that I have got a chance too?


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ROCKY QUOTE:
Rocky: Hey... you know how I said that stuff (Apollo said) on TV didn't bother me none?
Adrian: Yeah?
Rocky: It did.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Simon: You know how I said that all that stuff that people said to me didn’t bother me – you know that stuff that I was too fat, that I would never be able to do it, that I should be in a mental institution for even imagining this idea.
The Mirror: Yeah?
Simon: Well, it did.


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ROCKY QUOTE:
What is keeping him up Bill, I dont know.(Fight Announcer)

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I really really really really really hope (and pray to God) that the A-Team in the support crew in that SUV will be saying this during the last 50 miles as they are watching me in torture. And I really really really really hope (and pray) that there is a small crowd of people, some of whom have taken the time to make signs saying “Yo Stephen – Happy Birthday!”, waiting for us to arrive at the Rocky Steps on Sunday afternoon saying this when they see us arrive.
Follow live tweets for updates as to what time we will arrive.
We’re estimating to arrive between 1pm-4pm – www.twitter.com/simonsrockyroad .


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ROCKY QUOTE:
Adrian: Why do you wanna fight?
Rocky: Because I can't sing or dance.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Singers sing. Actors act. Dancers dance. Fighters fight. And Simon runs 100 miles dressed like Rocky Balboa.



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ROCKY QUOTE:
PREDICTION: PAIN.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
PREDICTION: PAIN.


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ROCKY QUOTE:
What's so crazy about standing toe to toe with someone saying "I am"?

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
What’s so crazy about imagining yourself to be a goddamn panther, all dressed in black, and going out at midnight to run a marathon on your own – saying “I am”?


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ROCKY QUOTE:
It doesn't matter how this looks to other people. If this is something you gotta do, then you do it. Fighters fight.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I have embarrassed myself immensely during this Rocky Road. Search youtube for “simon whitehouse raw eggs” and you’ll find a VERY embarrassing video of me looking VERY stupid dancing and jumping around after eating raw eggs like Rocky. But, you don’t understand. This is something, for some reason, that I HAVE TO DO. I gotta do it. Singers sing. Actors act. Dancers dance. Fighters fight. And Simon runs 100 miles dressed like Rocky Balboa.

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ROCKY QUOTE:
You got everything money can buy, except what it can't. It’s Pride. Pride is what got your ass out here, and losing is what brought ya back. But people like you, they need to be tested. They need a challenge.
SIMON REFLECTIONS:
True.

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ROCKY QUOTE:
I must break you.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Go ahead.

 
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ROCKY QUOTE:
Duke: Apollo was like my son. I raised him. And when he died a part of me died. But now you're the one. You're the one that's gonna keep his spirit alive. You're the one that's gonna make sure that he didn't die for nothing. Now you’re gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare you’ve ever dreamed. But when it’s over, I know you’ll be the one standing. You know what you have to do. Do it.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I feel the angels of your brothers and sisters. I feel you thinking about your relationship with your brother and/or your sister. I will go thru pain. I will go thru hell for a bigger cause, a greater good, than only the relationship between me and my big brother. I know what I have to do. And I hope I do not fail you.


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ROCKY QUOTE:
Now when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man, the edge! And now you gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?
Apollo Creed

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
That’s why I’m telling you to watch all the Rocky movies again. Please, this weekend, when you’re thinking of me doing this 100 mile run, please WATCH THE ROCKY MOVIES this weekend. And YOU will get the Eye of the Tiger too...


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ROCKY QUOTE:
Women weaken legs!!

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
The chance would be a fine thing LOL


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ROCKY QUOTE:
No, maybe I can't win, maybe the only thing I can do is just take everything he's got. But to beat me, he's gonna have to kill me, and to kill me, he's gonna have to have the heart to stand in front of me, and to do that, he's gotta be willing to die himself and I don't know if he's ready to do that. I don't know, I don't know.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Aie aie aie, I hope nothing bad happens to me. Because I will not stop. I will not stop.

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ROCKY QUOTE:
Win Rocky, win.

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Run Simon, run.

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ROCKY QUOTE:
Cause if you’re willing to go through all the battling you got to go through to get where you want to get, who’s got the right to stop you? I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to someone, something… and you’re told no, even after you paid your dues? Who’s got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody! It’s your right to listen to your gut, it ain’t nobody’s right to say no after you earned the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do!…

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
I am sad that Sylvester Stallone’s agent told me last week that even though Sly has heard about Simon’s Rocky Road, he knows all about it, that he can’t even do a little note to wish my brother a happy birthday. ‘Cause if I’m willing to go through all the battling I got to go through to get where I want to get, who’s got the right to stop me? I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to someone, something… and you’re told no, even after you paid your dues? Who’s got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody. So, who’s got the right to stop me getting a message from Sylvester Stallone just saying “Yo Stephen – Happy Birthday!”. Who? Nobody, that’s who. It’s my right to listen tomy gut, it ain’t nobody’s right to say no after I earned hte right to be where I wanna be and do what I wanna do!!

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ROCKY QUOTE:
Duke: You know all there is to know about fighting, so there's no sense us going down that same old road again. To beat this guy, you need speed - you don't have it. And your knees can't take the pounding, so hard running is out. And you got arthritis in your neck, and you've got calcium deposits on most of your joints, so sparring is out. So, what we'll be calling on is good ol' fashion blunt force trauma. Horsepower. Heavy-duty, cast-iron, piledriving punches that will have to hurt so much they'll rattle his ancestors. Every time you hit him with a shot, it's gotta feel like he tried kissing the express train. Yeah! Let's start building some hurtin' bombs!

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
My ankles, my heels, my achilles are destroyed. This is a one shot for me. I been doing walking lunges in the park all thru winter because I couldn’t run. So, what I’ll be calling on is good ol’ fashion blunt force trauma. Horsepower. Heart. Heavy-duty, cast-iron, piledriving strides that will have to hurt so much they will rattle MY ancestors. Yeah! Let’s start building some hurtin’ bombs!

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ROCKY QUOTE:
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

SIMON REFLECTIONS:
Rocky as his reflective best. When I read this I imagine the symbolisym of the black dog beating me to my knees. And I visualise the symbolisym of a blank canvas to describe the depth of blankness when I first faced depression. And what a mantra for life. If you think it’s easy; if you think your life is perfect and you won’t face trauma one day; if you think that no-one you know will ever face depression then YOU ARE WRONG. I take these words from Rocky as great inspiration thru my battle with depression. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward. No matter how hard it is. No matter how much you feel like giving in. Don’t stop. KEEP GOING FORWARD. Take control of your life and don’t blame anything on other people. Do something. Move forward. Create. And what a mantra for ultra distance running, in particular for running 100 miles dressed as Rocky Balboa from New York to the reach the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia.

 

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ROCKY:
“Yo Adrian... I did it!”
SIMON:
“Yo Mum... I did it!”

(omg, I hope...)





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