The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #241: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Exercise in Seclusion and the Start of Like a Hood Ornament 1

Episode #241: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Exercise in Seclusion and the Start of Like a Hood Ornament 1

On this week’s show, I thought I’d touch on the topic of exercise, specifically what you can do if you happen to be isolated (either due to a global pandemic or imprisoned for other reasons, like Logan in one part of The Thirteenth Hour, which we’ll be reading from shortly.

As it turns out, there’s actually quite a lot you can do even if you can’t go to a gym.  Although being quarantined does not necessarily mean you can’t go outside (the virtues of short duration outdoor physical activity is something we discuss briefly though a scientific paper – see the abstract below), you can do a remarkable amount inside, even if you have little to no equipment.  I’ve done a version of the workout that inspired the little passage in The Thirteenth Hour for decades.  That workout was really nothing special – just having been the body weight exercises we did in martial arts classes and other calisthenics I recall from an old Canadian Air Force fitness manual I had as a kid that we probably got at a garage sale.  If you’re interested, Arnold Schwarzenegger put together a similar routine that is available for people to access here.


Here’s the passage from The Thirteenth Hour:

They’ll break you if you let them.  I wasn’t the strongest person out there, and though I always had hope, now I had purpose again.  I started from the beginning, with my body, the only way I’d learned how.  Every morning, after I woke up, I would wash my face and clothes, if they needed washing.  Then I did calisthenics – pushups, sit–ups, stretching – like I had done when I was in training.  My muscles felt deconditioned from lack of use and malnutrition, so much of my strength had left me, and everything was more difficult now. 

It’s hard to take it slow when your never–resting mind can envision all the things it’d like your body to be able to do once more.  But in the end, sometimes it’s best to just get busy trying and spend less time thinking. 

When I could comfortably walk around my cell and jog in place, I slowly motioned through the different hand–to–hand combat techniques that I had learned during my training.  Who knows, I thought, if I make a break for it, I’ll need those techniques the most.  After a few weeks, my stamina began to reassert itself, allowing me to wage ongoing battles against that cloaked magician, Klax.  Whenever I felt myself growing tired, I saw his form in my mind and practiced harder. 

More than once the guards rushed into my cell, thinking that I had collapsed or died because I was lying face down on the cold stone floor.  I was actually just resting, but my guards had grown somewhat fond of me, they said, and didn’t want anything bad to happen to me.  I was never sure if they were telling the truth or not; I’ll bet Klax would have had their necks if they had been so careless as to let me kill myself without his being able to see. 

My agility came back last.  The cell was not large enough for much, but the ceiling was high and my boots were padded, so I figured it was worth a go.  Pretty much anything is, though, after you’ve been cooped up in the same room for weeks. 

I tried standing on my hands again, at first with my feet resting against the wall to accustom my arms to the change in weight they’d be frequently bearing in the near future.  Then handstands without the wall.  Then handsprings, and finally, aerial techniques.  As for the latter, the first few times, the guards must have heard the sound of my feet slamming into the stone floor because they came running.  They saw what I was doing, took it as a suicide attempt, doubled their checks on my cell, and, of course, made me stop at once, lest, by golly, I crack my head open on the hard stone floor.  I was too far into my regimen to really care what they thought, and it just meant I had to practice when they were asleep or weren’t looking.  And try to land softer. 

There were a few times when I did go overboard and missed beaning my noggin on the stones out of sheer luck.  It goes with the territory … sooner or later, everybody ends up bailing in midair.   One minute you’re in the air, next thing you know, your jump seems off or things just feel weird, and if you have time to think anything at all, that’s about when you think some bad words, along with “this could hurt.” 

But I knew that once I regained confidence in my body and what it could do, I would stop bailing.  I knew my body would get used to being in strange positions in the air again, and I knew the best way to not get hurt was to go all out on each technique.  I just wasn’t quite there yet, resulting in a few midair problems and hard landings on an unforgiving stone floor.  I hurt an ankle after a bad landing – an easy thing to do if you’re practicing on a hard, uneven surface like the floor of my cell – but thankfully escaped anything worse.  Luckily, I had a good set of boots – one of the few things Darian’s Army did right – that were light and flexible with thick, padded soles meant to withstand miles upon miles of marching and other abuse.  Later, Aurora found me a mattress, which she intended for me to sleep on (which I did, of course), but what she didn’t know was that it was the mat I used to soften my landings.

So I finally took the plunge and created a little profile on Tik Tok.  To be honest, I don’t get 95% of the stuff on there, but it has some videos of people making stuff and doing flips, so that’s enough for me.  I mainly just use it to post some videos of the resin minifigures I’ve made.  This is the backflip animation whose frames are above.

Today also marks the first Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Now, obviously, there have been many episode mentions about the Rocketeer before, though here are a few:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

But this week’s show marks the first time starting an actual segment (kind of like how I used to do a starving artist segment before) that I’m calling:


That’s “Like a Hood Ornament” if your interface doesn’t support graphics (that’s you, iTunes show notes).  You may recognize the moniker as a line from the 1991 film.  Today’s we’ll start out with the fictional bio most likely written by Dave Stevens for his protagonist, Cliff, who inspired Logan in many ways.

More coming next week!  Stay safe!




There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up ( and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!


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