Thursday, December 7, 2017

Self-Care is Essential for all Massage Therapists

Massage Therapy as a profession can be brutal on the joints of your fingers, thumbs and elbow. These joints usually suffer the most abuse. Excessive joint compression can be a factor but most often the cause of problems is simple: chronically over-used and over-tight arm muscles that pull on where their tendons attach at these joints, causing inflammation (tendinitis) and functional misalignment resulting in pain and dysfunction. When your arms and hands don’t work, you don’t work. When I worked as a sports massage therapist, my lack of a daily maintenance routine stunted my career and limited my effectiveness.

By the time the pain in my own arms and joints became obvious, the latent, building tension already had been there for months. Silly me for thinking I was somehow immune… Ahh Youth! Just because your muscles don’t obviously hurt yet doesn’t mean they aren’t already tight and restricted with ‘under-the-radar’ tension and limited ROM.

That’s the professional downside of being a hands-on therapist and also the irony…your own muscles get tight while you provide relief to your client’s tight muscles.

So if you use your arms and hands every day, you ideally need maintenance every day to get back full ROM. And just like daily brushing your teeth is virtually mandatory for oral health, it’s best to have a daily maintenance routine to regain ROM in your arm muscles, simply and easily. But how to deliver effective technique without fatiguing yourself or without taking the time and expense of going to another MT for relief?

Here’s how I suggest to D.I.Y. Arm Massage without special tools:

You need two things to successfully maintain arm muscle ROM: the right technique and a tool to apply the technique easily and efficiently without fatiguing the free hand and arm that’s doing the applying.

The technique I suggest has many names, it depends on what therapeutic discipline you may have trained in. This technique is widely regarded as the absolute best to relieve the muscle fiber adhesions that limit ROM. Here’s a few names you probably have heard of: Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Active Release, Pin (or Tack) and Stretch and several others. No matter the name, they all have this in common: finding the sore (trigger) spot, hold pressure on the sore spot, and slowly and fully stretch the muscle that has the sore spot while maintaining pressure. All the while maintaining a level of pressure that feels like “useful pain” or “hurts good".

You already know that most tight muscles are only revealed through touch, and that’s why an every day maintenance routine is vital for the active therapist.

Now that we’ve established the technique, time to describe the tool. You’ll be able to save wear and tear on your applying hand and digits if you can amplify your efforts with a tool.

You can use a ‘found’ object as your tool…. It can be anything that has heft, weight and mass, has slightly pointed aspect and well as a rounded feature and can fit into your hand easily. I find that using a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or golf ball just doesn’t have the heft and mass to easily put pressure on those trigger points. So I prefer to use a small 2 lb. dumbell, a rounded rock, a large food can … anything that can offer pressure through it’s weight and mass instead of you having to exert enough muscle pressure onto the spot with your upper body.

Place your forearm on the edge of a table and allow your hand to drape over the edge so you can stretch the muscles in your arm by moving your hand at the wrist. Roll slowly and gently over your forearm muscles, looking for those pesky trigger points then apply the Myofascial Active Release type technique described above.

Find sore spots anywhere from your thumb to your upper arms and apply the same technique of “find a sore spot, put pressure on it and move the muscle that has the soreness."  A few maintenance minutes a day will mean all the difference in the quality and length of your career.

Terry Cross, Holistic Health Practitioner and founder of The Armaid Company. 
Terry invented and manufactures the self care tool Armaid and lives and works on the coast of DownEast Maine.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Why Do We Give?


The opposite of taking is giving. It just feels good to give to someone who needs what you have. For us, as a company, and as individuals it's a wonderful aspect to being in our business that we can make a difference in someone's life without needing or wanting to exchange money in every instance.

Giving is an aspect of human nature that most of us share and are eager to do so when the opportunity arises. It ennobles us and makes a direct connection that satisfies the need for a socially loving connection. It's like my life matters when I give without taking.

One of my favorite maxims for living is take with one hand and give with the other...never take with both hands.

We have a personal and company policy to give Armaids to anyone in the Blue Hill Peninsula area who is in need. Payment in money is not encouraged, we love to barter. We have received organic farm-raised eggs, bacon, vegetable produce, lobsters, carpentry skills, tree pruning, house cleaning, firewood, dried sea-weed-vegetables, granite and stone building blocks and steps, gourmet meals and much else in exchange for Armaids from our neighbors.

Often we just simply give Armaids to those in need. Their relief and blossoming into self-care-autonomy is our joy!

We give Armaids away to local auction fund-raisers for the Blue Hill Library, Halcyon Grange and public supper auctions to raise money for persons in financial need locally.


I give because I am grateful to and responsible for the communities of which I am a part: The community of the Earth, the community of all living things, the community of humans, the community of my country, the community of my town. My gifts are an (incomplete and insufficient) expression of my love.


The sense of community in Maine is unparalleled, at least in my experience. The communities are small and incredibly supportive. When there is a disaster, illness or death in a family, the community rallies to collect money, make food, starting a donation system, taking in people who are displaced, offering temporary housing, etc. The sense of giving without taking, supporting without expecting and being part of a community where this is just a given, implores me to do and be the same. So, while I am not in the financial place to give monetary donations often, giving, supporting, encouraging and being part of a very giving community humbles me to the core and really ingrains the idea of giving the shirt off your back. While not a very wealthy community, it is pretty amazing that the 2017 graduating high school class, of only 20 students, received over $30,000 in donations and scholarships from local organizations and businesses.

Maine giving story:

There was a story that was shared around the office about two neighbors. One was better off than the other. The more financially comfortable neighbor learned that his neighbor and his family were struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. Like many generous neighbors the wealthier neighbor went over to offer support. He told his neighbor that in the unlocked garage is a freezer filled with food and to please help himself. Days go buy and the hungry neighbor stops by to take a few items from the freezer as offered, consciously not taking more than he knew his family needed. His kind neighbor was not home. So he just went home, closing the garage door behind him. They next day the generous neighbor stops buy with two large grocery bags filled with more frozen food and says, "Don't you ever do that again!" "Don't you ever go hungry again, when I have a freezer full to share. Help yourself anytime. And take as much as you need."

Friday, November 17, 2017

Giving Guide

Below are the organizations we support individually, collectively and as a business. It is important for us to give back and support the organizations we believe in. As we start the holiday season we welcome the reminder to give to those who need our support.

Access Fund - Today, 1 in 5 climbing areas in the United States is threatened by an access issue—whether it's private land lost to development, public land managers over-regulating climbing, or climber impacts degrading the environment, the list of threats is long and constantly evolving. But they can be managed. At Access Fund, they are on a mission to protect climbing access and the integrity of America’s outdoor climbing areas.

American Civil Liberties Union - For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

American Friends Service Committee - AFSC is vested in using peace-making and conflict resolution tools to effect long-term changes in society.

Ark Animal Shelter - The Ark is a no-kill animal shelter located in Cherryfield, in DownEast Maine. Founded in 1984, The Ark is committed to providing compassionate care and placement of homeless animals through the shelter operation, spaying and neutering pets to alleviate overpopulation, and promoting and improving the welfare of all animals through community education and outreach.

Blue Hill COOP - A belief in good quality, organic, local foods available to everyone on the Peninsula. Supporting a local cooperative grocery store supports the local farm, farmers, food purveyors and in turn nourishes us with the abundance that is around us here in Maine.

Blue Hill Heritage Trust - Conserving in perpetuity land and water resources that support the long-term health and well-being of the natural and human communities on the Blue Hill Peninsula. 

Blue Hill Public Library & Brooksville Friend Memorial Library (our local libraries) - Beautiful, comfortable public spaces that offer a wide range of free programs and equal opportunity space availability.

Dress for Success - An international organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Friends of Holbrook Island Sanctuary - Holbrook Island Sanctuary protects many different ecosystems, which visitors can explore and enjoy.

Human Rights Campaign - The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

MaryAnn Snow Bates Education Fund for Brooksville Residents - This is the Brooksville Education Fund flagship unrestricted fund. It supplies the bulk of their scholarships as well as grants to the Brooksville Elementary School.

MPBN (NPR) - Not an alternative organizational structure, but a wide variety of interesting and valuable news programs. Also, let's keep classical on the airwaves - it's good for the brain.

The Nature Conservancy - Supporting and sustaining the natural world is important. This organization doesn't exclude humans and human activities from Nature, but recognizes that we are part of the Earth and must be part of keeping the Earth whole.

Ready by 21 Mentoring - Ready By 21 Mentoring is a comprehensive mentoring program built to empower young people to live healthy, happy, productive lives. A joining of ages that is inspiring growth and possibility while fostering mutuality and wide spread collaboration. 

Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition (RRGCC) - A group of volunteers dedicated to securing and protecting open, public access to rock climbing in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky and promoting conservation of the environment on the lands where we climb.

Shambala Press - Shambhala Publications specializes in books that present creative and conscious ways of transforming the individual, society, and the planet. With that in mind, they have launched an initiative to minimize their environmental impact through responsible choices in their book production process, printing on responsibly forested trees and produced with 30% postconsumer waste.

The Simmering Pot - Simmering Pot is a non-profit entity under the umbrella of ROSC (Resources Organizing for Social Change). It provides weekly wholesome and nutritious meals free of charge to anyone, regardless of income, in the Blue Hill Peninsula community. Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, supporting local farmers. More than one hundred dinners are served each week. On the first Monday of every month, volunteers from Blue Hill Memorial Hospital generously prepare the dinner.

Tree of Life Food Pantry and Turn Style - Tree of Life is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to providing emergency and supplemental food for the community, providing and selling good used clothing, and fostering self-help and education on the Blue Hill Peninsula. The Tree of Life Food Pantry and TurnStyle Thrift Shop work together as a unique, self-supporting organization.

WERU - Volunteer powered, "a voice of many voices", Maine Community radio, bringing an alternative organizational structure, independent news sources and Triple A music.

Wildlife Rehabilitation & Environmental, Education at ACADIA WILDLIFEAcadia Wildlife Foundation was founded in 1994 with the goal of caring for injured or orphaned native animals and releasing them back to the wild. The care of wildlife, or wildlife rehabilitation, is done by trained professionals with licenses from the state of Maine, and the federal government. Animals are brought to the clinic by game wardens, vets, police, marine patrol, and by many members of the general public from three counties of central, coastal Maine.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trees in Maine

Inspired by nature this month, the changing leaves, and the apple harvest season, Terry M. Cross, took a walk through Blue Hill to observe and learn more about the trees around town with Blue Hill Tree Warden and dear friend, Phil Norris.

We're Surrounded by Nature - Our Commutes to Work

Maura's commute is about 15 mins to Armaid Central
This is only a small portion of the entire landscape. To the left of this photo is the bridge to the islands and more open sea. To the right of the photo is the remainder of Walker Pond. From this spot I like how far I can see and how the landscape and weather varies. Sometimes the fog blocks the view. Sometimes it's dark, cold and breezy at the water's edge, but up here, on the ledge, the sun is warm and the air is still.

Jessica's commute is about 30 minutes to Armaid Central
 View of the Bagaduce River from Greytown Rd., Sedgwick. This is a view that comes up on you suddenly, and gives a nice vista down the river.

Bridge over the Bagaduce River, Brooksville. I love this view. Every day the water and sky are doing something different, depending on the weather and where we are in the tide. Today it was high and very placid, which actually, is pretty unusual.

Western County Rd., Penobscot - I am always drawn to the sudden contrast of the marshes appearing in the middle of the woods. This one is particularly vast. I also like the hint, to the left, of Blue Hill mountain in the background.

Alix's commute is a little over 30 mins to Armaid Central 
This is one of my favorite views just before the bridge. Sunrise offers some of the most amazing views and colors traveling off island. The sea fog first thing dancing across the water and the rainbow colored skies are my favorite.

I have to cross this bridge everyday. We often get to go under it too on our boat in the summer (just not on our way to work). The bridge is over 75 years old and there is construction on it constantly. When the winds blow down the Eggemoggin Reach, this thing gallops and jumps, you can sometimes feel the tires come off the surface!

This route is a back-way to Blue Hill, and this was taken last year. I don't take this route very often, but whenever I do I question why I don't take it more often. This day in particular there was an accident on the main road, so I had to go this way, which was fine by me, it was quiet and beautiful. A great excuse to drive slowly in a snow storm.

Terry's commute is about 5 minutes to Armaid Central and is filled with wonderful creatures to greet his day.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Climbing in New England by Mike Morin

Mike Morin is the Northeast Regional Director of Access Fund. He works with local climbing organizations, advocates, and land managers to protect and expand climbing opportunities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Here is Mike's list of climbing spots in New England:

New England offers the adventurous and dedicated climber a multitude of opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. From the pink granite cliffs of Acadia National Park to the trap rock out crops of central Connecticut, opportunity abounds in every corner of the region. Here in no particular order, are some spots that should be on every New England climbers tick list.

Acadia National Park, ME – With seaside cragging and mulit-pitch trad climbing on impeccable pink granite cliffs, Acadia National Park, located on Mount Dessert Island is a true climbing paradise. Rappelling down to the churning seas at Otter Cliffs can be as exhilarating as the climbing itself and the views from the top of the South Wall of Champlain Mountain (aka-The Precipice) simply can’t be beat. While the island isn’t known for it’s sport climbing those looking to clip bolts can get their fix at Great Head where a few, steep, bolt protected routes that start at the waters edge have been established. Take note however, that the majority of routes still require gear.

Mount Washington Valley, NH – Home to the famous granite ledges of New Hampshire, the Mount Washington Valley offers traditional climbing, with easy access, and spectacular views. Cracks and slabs are the name of the game here, and the valley’s Conway granite can take some getting used to.  The massive White Horse Ledge with it’s broad east facing slab has routes at grades accessible to most climbers, however be prepared to run it out, as there is little to no fixed protection on most routes on the slabs. Those looking to jam and stem will find plenty to do next door at Cathedral Ledge, where beautiful cracks ascend steep immaculate faces. When topping out on Cathedral be prepared to be bombarded with questions from curious visitors that drove to the top to take in the view. 

Rumney, NH – Steep, technical climbing might be the best way to describe the style at Rumney, but the persistent and frequent visitor will find all styles of climbing on the flanks of Rattlesnake Mountain. Visiting climbers can show up with nothing but two fists full of quick-draws and a rope and have an amazing day on the mountain a rarity in the Northeast. Across the street, the idyllic Rattlesnake Mountain Campground is a true climbers campground, with camping in grassy fields and one of the best swimming holes in the region right down the road on the Baker River.  

Ragged Mountain, CT – This staunchly traditional area provides those in the southern part of the region with truly world class climbing on unique and interesting trap rock. Gear can be tricky on many routes here and climbers need to have solid anchor building skills as there are no fixed anchors on the cliff. A long static line is handy as many of the trees typically used as anchors are a considerable distance from the cliff edge.

Lincoln Woods, RI – Climbing in Rhode Island? You bet! Lincoln Woods is home to an amazing assortment of granite boulders, tucked on the outskirts of Providence and Pawtucket. While the climbing at Lincoln Woods definitely has an urban feel you can’t deny how good the rock is and for those living in or visiting Southeast New England, this spot should not be overlooked. Also, when the temps get into the 20’s and 30’s and you’re thinking about adding another layer, the bouldering here is just heating up as the friction on small crimps and slopers becomes impeccable. 

If you are visiting New England make sure you check out these beautiful spots.

Thanks Mike for sharing!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Love on the Rocks

Rock Climbers and Why It’s So Cool to Climb

I like to call the sport, art, passion and the yearning to climb the original anti-gravity experience. Three things are at play. There is gravity, the weight of the climber’s being, and finally the interface to bring the first two forces together.

Climbing combines many of the great metaphors for life because it’s all about efforting upwards, climbing to a new plateau, getting to the mountain top (and we all know there are many paths to the mountain top), choosing the path of least resistance, it’s not the arrival it’s the going.…

There is a purity about climbing that attracts the noblest aspects of us. It’s simple in definition: climb, upwards. But it’s infinite in expression of how to do it and the places and time to do it in. It fully involves the individual’s senses, effort, intention and ability. All these are improvable aspects of our nature. So it’s an unlimited activity with no boundaries of expression. The climber is always in a dance with the first and foremost element, gravity. The earthly dance we all embrace since birth but brought to new expression and awareness in climbing. Climbing becomes a performance piece of art for one - the climber. The climber’s buddies may applaud the crux move (the difficult pivotal moment of the route one’s climbing) but it is only the climber in the moment, facing the consequences of failure when gravity wins over technique and effort.

I believe it’s the consequences of climbing that is the ultimate fundamental of why people climb. If the climber doesn’t learn to use the gear and rope correctly to protect future chances… you will only have to fall once. Because if you don’t do it right, you fall. Period. If there wasn’t any element of falling/failing then what would be the point? It would then be an activity on par with lying in bed or sitting. Not very demanding and quite safe.

But people are born for expansion and achievement, a yearning for betterment and expression. Make it too easy, and interest is lost. Make it too hard and nobody will gain the confidence and the experience of growth. Climbing has the ability for anyone to meet themselves in a here-and-now expression of effort, no matter the level. We grow inside ourselves when we can just learn to attain the next upward fixed point on the rock face.

Climbing attracts all types of people. Great numbers of engineers and pragmatic souls come to climbing to express their ability to blend problem solving with movement. Romantics, who yearn for the essence of true life experience that blends danger with achievement, leaving the low-land modern mindset of safety and assurance behind to depend only on their gear, their willingness to stretch their soul and the acceptance of the possibility of failure. It’s an adventure every time one climbs, no matter if it’s in the newly prolific rock climbing gyms or the face of Everest. Climbers are usually not great golfers…the titillation of hitting a little ball into a small cup hundreds of yards away doesn’t offer the same rewards or wholesome demands that climbing offers. But, people being who they are, I’m sure that if the two sports could be combined there would be a market.

So for all of us, climbers or not, we applaud the beauty of vertical effort. Because every time we see someone climb, we are carried upwards with them, innately knowing and inspired to find ourselves ever higher, ever enjoying the endless achievement of moving through time and life, one motion, one consequential choice at a time. In that sense, we are all climbers dancing with time and gravity, heading upwards.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Preparing the Therapist: Stopping Exercise Routine and Soreness

As part of the customer service that comes with your Armaid purchase we offer 1-on-1 sessions with our therapist and inventor Terry M. Cross. He will address your concerns and questions and make personalized recommendations on what is the best course of treatment and use of Armaid in your arm health maintenance.

We save the transcripts from these sessions, maintaining privacy of our clients of course. We thought perhaps there may be helpful nuggets of wisdom for those of you out there with similar questions, ailments, concerns, etc.

We will have a new section of this blog that features these conversation transcripts in hopes of helping those who do not reach out.

Best of arm health to you all. Search more through the "Preparing the Therapist" label.


Client Question: 
My PT brought up the idea that I stop my exercise routine.  Apparently it could fatigue my forearms further and interfere with my recovery. So I am taking a break. I typically use Armaid through tout the day. I didn't this morning but I did this evening. Now, immediately afterwards, I feel a lot of soreness. I am looking for advice and encouragement. I am aware Armaid can be "overdone."  Should I use it more or less than the recommended starting of 2-3 times per day?  What does the soreness mean? Do you have more advice related to tendon issues? 

Therapist Reply: 
I would agree with your PT about limiting or stopping the exercise. Your muscles are already getting 'exercise' with the daily demands it sounds like. Although stretching and using Armaid in a gently rolling and general circulatory method in this case might be very good.  I suggest you don't concentrate on one particular spot too long but rather patrol the whole forearm as well as the biceps and triceps.  Go gently rather than too aggressively in trigger point spots.  

Other factors to consider that have a powerful negative effect: Are you drinking enough water?  Are you eating mostly vegetables in your daily diet? Are you keeping the stressors in your daily life in perspective with meditation, walking, whole body exercise?  As it relates to sugar, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods are these being kept to a minimum or not at all?  The whole body must be considered when dealing with pain and repetitive strain issues. 

Tendon troubles start with too tight muscles.  And tightness can be caused from too much overuse as well as the inner cellular environment that bathes and replenishes the cells.  So concentrate on 'flushing' (rolling, Circulatory Therapy) with a softer Armaid (Grey or Black) attachment or use the attachment you have more gently. Do your gentle Armaid routine before you begin your work as well as after?  Even if for just a few moments, without doing major time and too much concentrated focus on one spot.  Learn your muscle-tightness patterns and focus on the 'repeat offenders' of which muscle groups are always the ones you find that are sore and overworked. 

I hope that helps. If you need more assistance I will be happy to help. Even Skype if you like.   

All the Best,

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Outliers… or how Elvis became Elvis

Outliers: Defined as something or someone that is outside or separate from the norm, be it behaviorally, statistically or geographically.

Let’s just regard a person for a moment who might be labeled an ‘outlier’ from what they have accomplished when compared to the majority of humans. There are many people who take up playing the guitar, but there are very few Eric Claptons and Jimi Hendrixes out there….or Elvis Presleys.

To be different from others is fairly easy to do on the surface. But to be effectively different in a pursuit, occupation or skill takes multiple factors. As Malcolm Gladwell states in his famous book Outliers, there are several components that constitute a successful outlier, or someone who is able to take things to a higher, rarified level of contribution and development.

Opportunity and timing - Being born at a particular time and place. For example, Elvis Presley growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in Mississippi with an intense early exposure to the type of music that was the precursor to Rock & Roll: Gospel, Blues and Country Western.

Early upbringing - Elvis’s family was poor financially but there were extended layers of family that poured love and support upon him, especially when he expressed interest in music after being involved in spiritual and gospel singing in his local church and community. Gladwell says that the quality of upbringing is even more important than pure IQ.

Enough time spent honing that skill - Researchers state that an approximate amount of 10,000 hours of experience, conscious development and practice is what it takes to ‘master’ something. By the time Elvis became a legend, he had his time in.

Meaningful work – If you feel there is real purpose to your work, it’s more likely you will work hard. Elvis knew that he could make others experience profound emotion and connection when he sang. He felt deeply the personal glow, glory and human connection of singing about God, love and the human condition, and what effect his music playing and singing had on his extended family, friends, community - and especially his mother, whom he deeply wanted to please. He could make a difference with his voice and guitar. It spurred him on to work harder and become increasingly better.

Values - Drive our behavior. Our values are often passed down from generation to generation. Elvis was learning to take his place among the many musicians who were venerated and had come before him. He felt there was a place for him if he worked at it.

It’s not just innate talent that sets someone apart from the crowd, but rather several factors when brought together creates a truly unique contribution and a raising of the bar.

Elvis may have left the building, as the old saying goes, but nearly everyone, even 40 years since his death, can still remember their favorite song from the King. That is one effect of an outlier on all of us.

- Terry M. Cross

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pong Night in Maine

When I moved to a small town on the coast of Maine over ten years ago, I had the good fortune to be invited to Monday Night Pong by a local farmer. I've been going almost every Monday since.

Monday Night Pong has been a mostly male local institution for over twenty years. Held in the same 2-story barn all that time. No matter what holiday that Monday falls on, the doors are always open and somebody always shows up. The tables (2 tables: one upstairs and one downstairs) are usually clean enough to play on unless, the owner of the barn, has been doing wood projects and needed a large table to work on.

We clear the table of the dust and chips and ready the net. We make sure the unevenly placed six working lights are all plugged in. Occasionally somebody mutters about fixing the weirdly placed burnt-out florescent bulbs, but we make do. Our pong-playing fierceness lights any dark corners in the barn.

Usually there's about six to twelve guys that show up, ranging in age from twenty to sixty. Our eldest player will turn eighty-eight in May! We ask him, "You gonna make it to Pong this Monday?" He always replies with either "Is the Pope Catholic?" or "Does a bear shit in the woods?”

As with most of us, it is just too much fun to miss. We almost always play doubles, switching partners often. There is zero trash talk. We deal in compliments! We are there to be playful. It's simply a chance to play no matter our skill level. Play doesn't happen so much for a lot of us after we 'grow up'.

We are unleashed for a few hours into the world of simple play, unfettered by anything more important than just getting the ball back over the net. We prove to ourselves by showing up, that we're young enough to still have abandoned fun, one more time yet again. At the end of the evening, we feel tired, yet refreshed knowing we showed up and give our all to play well.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Recovery and Bacteria - Health with Terry M. Cross

Bacteria came first in evolution, way before people, there was bacteria. Bacteria even created oxygen (through stromatolites), before plants evolved.

Our bodies wouldn’t function properly without the hundreds of favorable varieties of these little buggers placed throughout the many folds, crevices and surfaces of our skin, never mind in our guts, our intestines. There is an estimated 4.5 pounds of bacteria that live just in our adult digestive track alone.

Ideally there should be a ratio of 85% beneficial bacteria to 15% ‘bad guys.’ This ratio keeps us healthy and our immune system strong. Processed foods that contain high amounts of sugar, bad fats, salt and simple carbohydrates, create an environment for bad bacteria to flourish. The ratio between good and bad becomes reversed and the consequences are far reaching and numerous.

This was brought home to me most painfully after taking a 2 pill dose of doxycyline antibiotic to combat the possibility of Lyme Disease. I had a particularly nasty tick bite where the tick literally embedded most of it’s body into my shoulder. Lyme symptoms haven’t emerged but I’ve been suffering from a devastated gut for months: inflamed bowels, hemorrhoids, constipation. The double edged sword of modern medicine has left me Lyme-free but my tummy and gut are traumatized.
Improving my diet to support the good bacteria has included:
  • Removing simple carbs, grains and sugars
  • Increasing raw and slightly cooked veggies
  • Taking prebiotics to set the right environment for favorable bacteria
  • Taking regular amounts of broad spectrum probiotics

There are several swell books on this subject of maintaining favorable microbes, here’s a few that I can recommend:

All of us owe it to ourselves to understand what is arguably the single most important aspect to maintaining health. The healthy gut is over 80% responsible for the strength of our immune system.

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.” – Mike Adams

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” -Anonymous

And from the original medical big thinker recorded from history:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Armaid Staff's Favorite Movies

These are the films each of us has watched over and over, or can quote whole scenes from, or can sing entire soundtracks to. Movies are like music, in that they are deeply personal in their connection and transformative for each individual at that point in their life, forever changing the way the viewer sees the world.

Garden State - “You know that point in your life you realize that the house you grew up isn’t your home anymore. Even though you some place to put your shit, the idea of home is gone…you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist.” So many great lines in this movie. And a kickass soundtrack too boot

Prime - “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days - “Our love fern, it is dead. Are you going to let us die? You should think about that!”
Girl Fight - kickass lady fighter!
Arrival - A.M.A.Z.I.N.G Time is completely arbitrary human construct. #mindblown
Camden International Film Festival - the whole weekend of awesome documentaries

A&E 1995 production of Pride & Prejudice

Jazz, Ken Burns - documentary
The Buddha - PBS documentary

Cast Away - “I have made fire!” “Wilson!”

Friday, March 3, 2017

Interview with Ryan Tillotson - Filmmaker, Producer, Writer, Director

Ryan Tillotson is a young writer, director, producer living in Los Angeles, CA. He has produced a number of short films, music videos, a few feature films and attended the Cannes Film Festival. His career has taken him all over the world. Ryan is also a beloved family member of The Armaid Company and is an all around cool dude.

Ryan’s IMDb page:

Ryan grew up in San Diego, CA and started making short skating videos with his friends and eventually started writing and producing short films. Last time we connected with Ryan he was making promotional marketing videos for a few craft breweries around San Diego. Craft beer is another one of Ryan’s passions.

AA Co: How long have you been living in LA and has the move greatly changed your film industry options?
RY: I moved to LA around a year ago and it has completely changed the opportunities available to me. I’ve already worked on 4 films and I continue to receive many opportunities and meet a lot of people in the industry. So much of living in LA is the networking. Every time I go out I end up talking to someone who is an actor, producer, writer, director or knows someone to build a good connection with. The opportunities are more readily available. I am not so sure my career would have grown in the way that it has here, if I were still in San Diego. I still have family, friends and even a few clients in San Diego, so I visit often. In fact, I am there now. I just got a coffee. After this interview I am driving back to LA.

AACo: Coffee is the best! A morning is just not the same without it.
RY: It’s not! Man, coffee is the best. I couldn’t make my own this morning, but this one is pretty good [I can hear him take a swig out of his lided take-out paper coffee cup)

AACo: What are you doing in San Diego?
RY: I had a meeting with one of my remaining craft brewery clients here. I really enjoy working with them and they make really good beer too! Mother Earth Brew Co. in Vista, CA They are one of just a few clients I still have in San Diego who I make marketing videos for.

AACo: Is craft beer still a passion of yours?
RY: Totally! I love good beer! I am actually working on a bottle shop concept with a business partner and brewmaster. We have a business plan and some collected capital. We want to open a place in Long Beach. I am really interested in having a ton of bottles and people bringing their own and everyone tastes all the different bottled beers available. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as we had hoped to get licensed. We wouldn’t exactly be a brewery because we may or may not make beer. I am more interested in the tasting environment and trying different bottles, like you do at a house party. The cities are basically giving away brewery licenses and permits in Southern California, but you have to brew 100 barrels of beer to be a brewery, which really isn’t that much. 1 keg is a half a barrel, but my brewmaster doesn’t want to do something on that small level. So were are still figuring out the details, looking at spaces and trying to figure out the remaining funding of the bottle shop concept.

AACo: What is are you currently working on?
RY: To make money and pay the bills I work with businesses producing and shooting visual reels and marketing videos. My personal project I am currently working on is a 10-episode web series. We actually just shot the first episode a couple days and tomorrow I am editing. I am really excited about the project. We are going to complete a couple episodes and then start pitching to a couple of web series production companies, like Amazon and Netflix, in hopes that it gets picked up and we can fund the remaining episodes.

AACo: What is the web series about about?
RY: I worked for a self-help publishing company producing videos for 2 years. I traveled around the world interviewing self-help authors, healers and gurus, the web series is inspired by this time. The concept is a comedic mockumentary fictionalizing the many unique personalities of the self-help publishing world.

AACo: Tell us more about those 2 years traveling for the self-help publishing company?
RY: I traveled all over the world, staying in awesome Air B’nBs, interviewing amazing people in the self-help industry. I was able to hire my own crew to come with me, so I had buddies with me doing the audio and shooting. Although it was a work project, I was with my best friends. We shot in really cool locations and fancy rented Air B’n’Bs. We had an expense account and had our travel and accommodations paid for. It really was an amazing experience, but it also didn’t provide me the time to create my own projects. I was unable to write, direct or produce much of my own passion projects during that time, and I also did not have much of a life outside of my responsibilities to the publishing company. While I really appreciated and enjoyed the experience, I was okay stepping away to focus on my projects.

AACo: In those 2 years was that when you went to Cannes?
RY: Actually, I have been 2 times. The first was when I was working for the publishing company and they were looking to buy films to produce. I didn’t actually submit anything for competition that first year. I was surprised to learn that Cannes really is about buying films, screening films, and networking. Cannes is more like a convention where the booths are production houses looking to pick up films. So as a filmmaker you have to go around constantly pitching your next project. There are screening of those films that were entered for the competition. I went to a lot of screenings. I learned about how much of a business movie making is and I met amazingly influential people. It was funny because you collect so many business card in the night and you stick them in your pocket, at the end of the night they blur together. I wish I had taken notes on the cards, I found myself asking, “Who is this?”

AACo: We didn’t know you went to Cannes twice!
RY: The second time I went, I went for myself with a short. I was pitching as a filmmaker. I learned so much from my first experience at Cannes. It was such a huge achievement to even be there, but this time around I knew the tricks of what to do. I knew how to get my short film “in”. I was there for 2 weeks the second time. The festival is much longer than is perceived. There are so many films, production companies, screening and networking events that happen beyond just the public red carpet event. I knew the second time around that being at the Cannes convention center was not the best way to network, but instead going around to all the neighboring hotels. Having a drink, sitting around, chatting in hotel lobbies and bars was the way to build meaningful connections that could develop as your project develops.

AACo: It is interesting to hear that Cannes has that business element. We only see the red-carpet fancy Hollywood event. What do you love about being a film maker and what do you dread?
RY: I realized since I have been talking to you, the thing I dislike most is the constant networking and selling yourself and the next project. At Cannes they don’t care what your current project is, they only want to know about future project, so you always have to be thinking about those projects, how to pitch them, how to network to get them picked up, and networking/pitching for funding. It exhausting and I really don’t like talking about myself that much. Cannes is the only film festival I have been to, but I am pretty sure that is how all festivals work, selling, pitching for future films.

As for what I love….I love the whole process of filmmaking. I also, surprisingly, like the scheduling, organizing and managing the process. I thought I wouldn’t like those parts because they are not the creative parts, but I like seeing it all happen and collaborating with people I trust. I love being on set, there is nothing like it! That constant energy, enthusiasm and momentum. There is always a problem or there will be a problem. So there is the anticipation of the problem and also I really like the struggle to figure out the problem. There are so many things you are working against in film making - time, budget, personalities, actors, technical issues, materials, etc.

Actually for the first episode of the web series we searched for weeks of a set to shoot, and eventually we found this perfect warehouse. We got everything in motion to shoot, setting the date, getting equipment, coordinating with the crew and actors. We show up to the warehouse and there are signs everywhere saying no trespassing and very scary warnings about fire marshals and the police. The signs were not there when we scouted the location; we didn’t know what to do. We were all ready, everyone was there, so we decided to set up and start shooting. In the middle of shooting the fire marshals and police showed up and forced us to leave. They were serious and threatening, we had to stop everything, pack up and leave. We had budgeted 3 days to shoot at that location, and now we didn’t have the location and we had lost a day of shooting. We figured it out, finding a new location, one of the actor’s had a connection. We completed the shooting in 2 days and on budget. Nothing ever works out time wise, but we made it work! I love that scrambling energy on set, where everyone is there to make this great thing come together.

I also love post production. It is tedious to assemble audio and different video footage, but I love the process of making it all come together. You spend so much time in the editing room combing through footage and audio to create the best experience. It can be a pain because syncing is not always smooth and there is constant organization, by shot, audio, and take, and then reorganized again. But I start from the beginning and circle the takes I like. Once we’ve gone through all the footage, circling the takes I like, we go back and start compiling and editing those takes. You have 2 cameras shooting the same scene from different angles so sometimes you have to choose which view you want to use in scene. For the first episode of the web series we will comb through 7 hours of footage for around 20 minutes of final footage. It is a lot of rewarding hard work.

AACo: What is your goal, to make feature-length films and be a big Hollywood filmmaker/producer?
RY: I think that is the goal. I mean, yeah, I would love to be making big box office features, so long as it is a passion project. I don’t want to make films for the business of making films. I want to make films that I believe in. In the perfect scenario I would be able to continue to make my passion projects and they would get big recognition.