Julia Child and Julie Powell – both of whom wrote memoirs – find their lives intertwined. Though separated by time and space, both women are at loose ends… until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Mahn – both of whom are probably narcissists – find their lives intertwined. Though separated by time and space, both men are at loose ends… until they discover that with the right combination of testosterone, goals, and chalk, anything is possible.

In the movie Julie & Julia, Julie Powell’s character finds herself in a quarter-life rut. She missed writing, enjoyed cooking, and was missing fun and passion in her life. This story line mirrored that of Julia Child’s as she learned French culinary arts. Julie set out on a mission to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about her troubles and triumphs in cooking and life.

I wouldn’t actually want to take this approach using Arnold Schwarzenegger as my example… lest I end up losing half, and 18 years of child support.

/save your ‘half of what? half of negative money???’ jokes.

But it might be interesting to try to blog my way through a successful weightlifter, powerlifter, or bodybuilder’s book or workout logs. Or maybe its just fun to visualize a movie montage of me failing to poach an egg stick an Olympic snatch, until near the climax when I finally succeed.

Moving on…

Recently I discovered a blogpost from a fellow wordpress writer that had the sensational title  “Texts Guys Just Shouldn’t Send Girls”. It outlines just about everything I actually do.

1. Winky Smiley faces

Ok my smiley faces never wink but come on! Who doesn’t like receiving a smiley face? Have a heart.

4. A 1st, 2nd, or 3rd date request

Not even 3rd!? Things went well the first two times and I can’t text you “whats your level of interest in seeing This Means War friday night?”

5. The word “beautiful” at the end of an obviously mass-text

I don’t really know what that means. Obviously the culprit that inspired #5 doesn’t know that all mass texts should be focused toward one particular name in your phone book. Example: pick out every Katie in your phone and send “Merry Christmas, Katie!” Muah hahah. I’m so stupid.

7. Too many LOLs. (One’s pushing it…Actually-just don’t use LOL at all.)




Hat tip to Jack.

This blog post inspired one of your fellow readers to attempt the holy graille of date proposals. Asking a girl out using an internet meme. I sent him this to help him on his way:


Please don’t ever send that to someone. Ever. Ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever.

Ok, maybe as like a 45th date request to a girl that you are entirely sure is aware of what memes are, enjoys them, has a reddit account, and checks imgur first thing in the morning. Every morning. Amateurs need not apply. Professionals only.



Reader Karlyn says

1) mike, you are so right about a serious lack of space Rom-coms. Here’s hoping for a brighter 2012 for this genre.
2) practical magic was a great movie. I dont care what anyone else says.
3) happy valentine’s day to all!

I am hopeful for 2012 as well. But I think 2013 is the year we have been waiting for. Check out Timeless. A widower looks to travel back in time to solve a matter with his wife and he learns she has left him her fortune. The only rumored cast member is Liam Hemsworth, but I’m sold.


On sunday I went for a 300 lb squat. I did my first set fine. Made my 5 reps and it was obviously hell. On the second set I only got 4 reps and then racked it. On the 3rd set I went down and did not come back up.

Yesterday I went for 300 again. This time I did 2 reps and got pancaked on the 3rd. It might have been 3 reps and then pancaked on the 4th. I’m not sure. It was hard to think. Then my legs stiffened up and I couldn’t do anymore reps until I dropped the weight down to 225. I did another set at that weight.

Considering I started this blog Dec 17, 2011 and did 3 sets at 225, its not too shabby to be at 300lbs right now. Still.. I need to deload.


Hat tip to @1lilchuc1.


Inspired by a friend photo-shopping sad Keanu eating with sad Andy reading, I am making this an all-internet-meme post. And as part of my descent into internet nerddom and the discovery of a meme generator app for iPhone, I will probably be responding to all text messages with personalized internet memes. Enjoy my annoying behavior while it lasts.







@allennatt’s twitter drafts


Jeremy Ln’s Father


Actual facebook friend’s status (I added omg for effect)




Topless Spurrier is really a valentine to myself.


In the last post I jokingly mentioned that I would like to see a romantic comedy set in outer space. For some reason I thought about this A LOT today. Why aren’t there space rom-coms? There are romantic themes in a number of popular, and slightly less popular, science fiction movies. Han Solo and Leia in Star Wars. Trinity and Neo in The Matrix Trilogy. George Clooney and his dead wife in Solaris.

/best not to go any further about solaris.

But romance is not the central theme of these movies. The fantasy genre, on the other hand, has explored the rom-com and dramatic romance genres more thoroughly. Think of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of The Nile, or Stardust.

But why not a science fiction movie where the plot hinges around a “will they or won’t they” plot? Star Wars was essentially a western set in outer space. Could you take some of the formulas, themes, and standard tropes of contemporary rom-coms and port them to an outer space setting? It introduces a number of possibilities. Distance between characters can be expanded to near infinite distances. Time-travel devices can be a #gamechanger in terms of the structure of the story (picture how many times you have seen a movie where one character sees something they shouldn’t have out of context etc. well now you could go back in time… or something). The best friend characters that offer good or bad advice and serve as comedic foils could be alien species with entirely different cultural attitudes.

The rom-com that started it all, Taming of the Shrew by Bill Shakespeare, was penned over 400 years ago and it was about that many years before the contemporary 10 Things I hate About You. Am I going to have to wait 400 more years before Taming of the Shrew in Space?

Speak of the devil and he doth appear. Ding! says

Please rename blog “Born Loser, the Michael Mahn Chronicles.”

When I start getting zero page views I will re-launch with this title. For now though, I will stick with an obscure Jimmy Buffett song title.

Ding! also says

Who says troll besides Charlie Sheen and this dork?

Jack says

Practical Magic was crap, but Overboard looks delightful!

Who references Charlie Sheen besides Charlie Sheen and this dork?

Ummm.. Practical Magic is NOT crap. Overboard IS delightful. Seriuously.. Check it out. Also, are you inciting a flame war?

Nora says

Practical Magic is the best movie ever. I wanted to comment on an old post about the chemical that is released when one falls in love. A more complete relationship is based not just on a chemical that might disappear but on mutual likes and dislikes. If you enjoy body building, it would help to find a girl that does as well. This is why so many cultures that had the parents find a suitable mate worked. Often our parents know us about as well as we know ourselves.

Glad we cleared up that Practical Magic debate. I’m not a bodybuilder, but I do respect the sport. Bodybuilding is a sport where athletes compete by posing and flexing their muscles. They are judged by body fat percent, muscle size, and body symmetry.

Weightlifting is a sport where athletes compete in lifts and their goals are entirely based on lifting heavier and heavier weights.

There is overlap in training methods but ultimately they are different sports. Honestly I don’t do either. I am doing very basic strength training. Table Tennis strength.

As for finding a girl. I did. She’s very far away. But it’s ok. I’m just going to watch Going The Distance everyday till I figure things out.


I have been feeling great lately. I did 3 minutes of a deep squat consecutively yesterday working on my mobility. I also did wall sits. Today I squatted 295 3×5. The last 2 reps I went all jelly legged but fought through it. The bar stopped moving at one point which is never good. I pressed 145. At first I wasn’t focused and actually failed the reps and did push presses. Then I re-focused on technique and kept the bar as close to my nose as possible on the way up and did 3×3. Finished the workout doing power cleans at 135. Again, I wasn’t focused on technique at first and the results were sloppy. But the last set I focused on pointing my elbows out and it was the best 5 cleans I have ever done (3×5).

Power Yoga tomorrow with @1lilchuc1. Holla atcha boy, @blaironeal.

Alright people. We need to talk about something. There are about the same amount of page views as usual but there are not as many comments coming in on each post via wordpress, twitter, facebook, or text messages. I miss my troll readers… They kept things interesting.

Reader Jessie says


I use italics when pasting comments. Italics make emoticons look physically disabled. Honestly, everything is well. Tudo bem.

I’ve been upset for one specific reason but it’s not anything people need to worry about. Other areas of my life are coming together nicely. Instead of dicking around through the rest of my 20s, I am trying applying stress on my mind and body. You already know that I am trying to get physically stronger and more athletic through barbell exercises and mobility workouts. Well, I’m also attempting to teach myself Portuguese. It is the first academic endeavor post undergrad para mim (for me).

There is something I have noticed recently about the internet. Based on your clicking, searching, or viewing patterns, a number of websites attempt to recommend different things. Netflix does this. And my recommended titles frighten me. HAVE I REALLY WATCHED THAT MANY COMEDIES WITH A STRONG FEMALE LEAD?!

IMDB has been pulling this crap on me too. However, it did lead me to discover the movie Just Like Heaven. A lonely landscape architect (Ruffalo) falls for the spirit of beautiful woman (Witherspoon) who used to live in his new apartment. That sounds awesome. Underappreciated genre- that fantasy/scifi rom com genre. Keeps things light. I like that.

Hopefully I can watch enough time-travel, ghost story, space rom coms that Netflix tells me “hey, you should totally check out this rom-com about a Martian that bets his buddy that he can lose a girl within 3 dates but the girl is from Venus and had wished upon a shooting star but that star was actually an intergalactic spaceship capable of influencing the fate of the universe.” It will be called When You Wish Upon A Star.

One can dream, can’t they?


I have been eating well, sleeping well, and not binge drinking as much. I squatted 290 3×5 (PERSONAL RECORD… and 1.5x my body weight) with a belt on. It started out pretty easy but the last 2 reps were brutal. I did bench press too. 195 x3 and then had a spotter help on the next 2 reps. I did 185 x5 without a spotter. And then tried to do 185 again but I think I got help on the 5th rep and then a lot of help on the 6th rep. I feel like my chest is getting weaker.

Finished the workout doing some barbell complexes. This is a form of conditioning. I was inspired by college football’s winter conditioning season. Anyway, it consisted of doing 5 power cleans at 135 and then 5 front squats and then 5 romanian deadlifts- all without putting the bar down. It was my own personal hell. I did 2 sets of that and then did 1 sets of 5 power cleans.

I really want to get two more weight room sessions this week and hit a 300lb squat this week.

An example of the advice I received this weekend was “you should meet someone that lives closer to you”. That seems too… sensible. In my defense I think I have been trying to meet someone that lives close to me for my entire life but you’re right- JUST NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH.

A part of me wishes the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind treatment was available, affordable, and safe. The other part wants to cling to all happy memories in spite of my current state of mind. I should have left Eden to go next door to The Bottomline and I wouldn’t be upset right now. But then I wouldn’t know how happy I could be.

Last Saturday a group of friends came back to the apartment with my roommates and I. After hearing that I owned the movie French Kiss, one of the girls demanded I put it on. Naturally, I obliged. Shortly into watching it (and after rehashing plot points several times to drunk people… what do you not understand about a thief smuggling a grape vine into France falls in love with an ex-american soon to be Canadian chasing down her fiance???) I realized that I can’t watch this movie. Damn it.

I’m just going to move on to the meathead portion of this post.

The only positive development this past week was that I met my goal of going to the weightroom three times this week. Each time I maintained the linear progression in my squats programming by increasing the weight 5 lbs each workout. Hit 3×5 at 275 Monday, 280 Wednesday, and 285 Saturday.

When I read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book The Education of a Bodybuilder, he frenquently explained that while he was training to become Mr Universe or Mr Olympia that he would not let himself be in a serious relationship with women. He understood that they would distract him from his goals. He still socialized with women, and probably a lot more… but he never made himself available. I think he understood that the second he let someone into his life then his perspective would change and some of his more personal goals would not seem so important. This will be my temporary inspiration due to events outside of my control.

Saturday I pressed 150 x2 with strict form and then failed the third attempt and switched to sort of a push press to get the bar moving. I will drop this to 145 next time and try to perform it strictly. I deadlifted with a double overhand hook grip up to 315 x3. Then did a reverse grip 355 x3 and then 375 x1 with a break and then x1. Finished the workout doing back extensions with a 50 lb kettlebell 3×5 and 3 sets of 10 body weight dips.

Goal for the week: get my sense of humor back. Going to start by going through every dumb image on imgur.com.

“No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.” says Ernest Hemingway in the Oscar nominated Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris.

While I would not describe this blog as affirming courage and grace under pressure, I am trying to take to heart the idea of writing honestly. Without brutal honesty these posts would not be very compelling. I try to maintain a level of self-awareness and will not shy away from making jokes at my own expense but the idea of staying true, open, and accessible leaves me exposed and vulnerable.

This is a long way of saying that I need to stay vigilant in keeping everything sincere, albeit humorous, so that I will not feel embarrassed sharing my thoughts. Stop me if none of this is interesting anymore. Wait. Don’t do that.

/can already see the tweets coming in telling me to stop.

Today was a productive day for me and was not half-bad ASIDE FROM WAKING UP AT 5:55 TO DRIVE THE SWEETEST GIRL I HAVE EVER MET TO THE AIRPORT TO CATCH A FLIGHT BACK TO BRAZIL FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Y’know, other than that.

The rest of the day made me feel like Bradley Cooper in Limitless. I teleworked- and accomplished more work tasks than normal, surfed the internet less, half-heartedly watched several movies as well as TNT’s finest: Las Vegas. Also managed to do all of my laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, mobility work (new years resolution HOLLA), and studied Portuguese vocabulary.

While it would be nice to rest on my laurels after an errand filled day, I would rather take my time to re-commit to the goals I have set for myself. And since Valentine’s day is coming up I would be wise to steer clear of dead-end relationships and resume my annual tradition of doing a solo-op movie theater viewing of a kids movie (tradition began in 2009 with Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief so good… yet so sad). Journey to Mysterious Island with The Rock should do the trick.

For a while there I had found a groove writing here and basically comparing any life events to relevant romantic comedies… but that would just depress me today.

Jessie says

Whats the deal with you and girls from foreign countries?

I’m not real sure. I think its easier for me to fall for girls that I know will soon be 10 hour flights away. But in this case it didn’t really feel like that. I think if I met an American that was sincere, sweet, pretty, and not have a trace of snark, cynicism, or sarcastic qualities then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So… I suppose I’m on the look out for that?

Workout Section

I have been eating a lot more calories and protein lately and I did a little mobility work today and it seemed to have paid off. Squatted 280 3×5 on only 2 days rest. This is also a belt-less PR and my form felt better than last workout. VERY encouraging.

Benched 195 3×3 and did assisted reps. Feel a little bit weaker here. I think eating more will help though. Rowed 180 x5, 175x 2×5 and then backed down to 135 x8. Pushups and Pullups.

It seems like every trainer in the gym was doing some group body building isolation exercises today. While I don’t do this kind of work usually it was a very enthusiastic gym which definitely breaks up the mundane and boring nature of some weight room trips. Also I actually listened when someone told me their name today. SOCIAL IMPROVEMENT!

Let me take you back in time. Back to simpler times- a time when Freddie Prinze Jr ruled hollywood. Ok, ‘ruled’ may have been an exaggeration. But there was a time when highschool, college, and young professional rom-coms were dominated by Freddie Prinze Jr’s name on the marquee.

Of all the movies to be thinking about this week- Down to You, starring Freddie Prinze Jr and Julia Stiles (surprisingly with Ashton Kutcher and Rosario Dawson as well) popped into my head. If you are unfamiliar, it is a pretty straight forward rom-com about two college freshmen that fall in love, out of love, and back in love.

I didn’t really remember all of the plot points until I read the synopsis today on IMDB. But what stuck with me from the one and only viewing of this movie back in 2004 at 3am sophomore year on tbs was the debates between Freddie Prinze Jr and his roommates during their freshmen year regarding whether love can last or will it always be fleeting. The crux of his roommate’s argument was that love is essentially a chemical reaction in your brain and is no different than a reaction caused by a drug. And like any other drug, your brain will adapt and there is diminishing returns of the effect it has on your emotions. Eventually the person you love has no effect on you.

Of course, this was not real life. It was a movie and SPOILER ALERT they get back together in the end. It’s a scary thought to think that the person you love may not matter as much to you in the future.

I don’t mean to be nihilistic or anything. I do believe there is value to family, building equity, sharing your life etc. It’s just scary to think that if love is akin to a drug then it can wear off or even worse you could go through a sort of withdrawal if it is taken away.

I probably should have just quoted lyrics from Huey Lewis and The News – I want a new drug and moved on to the weightlifting section.


Maaaaaaaan I watch too many movies.

I mentioned last time that I felt like Timothy Hutton in French Kiss. Ironically, I watched that movie Saturday with the girl that made me feel that way and she hated his character (which is to be expected). By the end she was on to me. However, I think she saw herself as Meg Ryan and thought of me as Kevin Kline. It probably helped that I was attempting to speak with a French accent for the rest of the day.

Reader Jack says

I just found your site by searching ‘blog jack nicholson rom com weightlifting’. Just so you know that’s gonna be my way of finding your blog and not a sign your perfect audience found you.

Oh my perfect audience already found me. You had me at hello.

The sad thing was uncle Al’s weight training log was the first hit. But he wasn’t discussing rom coms. He was talking about ROM.

Only blog in the world discussing Rom Coms and ROM (range of motion).

Workout Log Section

I finally started eating better this past weekend and today. Except I ate skittles right before working out. I took a nap and then tried to workout and for some reason I thought sugar might give me an energy boost. I have actually heard of crazy talented weighlifters that eat candy throughout their workouts every day. Well it didn’t really work.

Squatted 275 3×5. A little better form than last time but still did not feel strong at this weight. I am considering either dropping weight/deloading or putting the belt back on.

Overhead pressed 160 3×3. Didn’t have good form either. Kind of a push press. Power cleaned 160 3×2. Backed off to 135 and pressed 5reps. Curled 85 3×5. Dips 3×10.

And then I finished the bag of skittles I bought earlier. I don’t think skittles are making it into my routine.

This blog had slipped to my lowest priority this past week. But hopefully I can cram as many rom-com references and weightlifting info into one post as possible before I get distracted again.

Ordinarily the only search terms used to find this blog are Die Hard quotes, however, this week someone found it by searching for ‘ask a girl out on a date’. Obviously, this is the worst place to research that query. I can probably teach you how to ask a girl out on a date using text messages. You’re on your own otherwise. I wonder how it went for that poor soul. For actual relationship advice try Fort Lauderdale Sex in Relationships by Ashley Jarvis or You lost Him at Hello by Jess McCann.

Both of those blogs are written more for females but they are rich with legit advice. If you want to learn how to sabotage and torpedo your personal relationships then STAY RIGHT HERE!

Which brings me to the point of todays post (totally buried the lede). I sabotaged my most recent relationship last Saturday. I was suppose to meet up with a girl and her friends at a bar and instead I stayed at a club with my roommate, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s friend. I did this because I became completely enamored with her friend. I would feel worse if it was an actual date I was blowing off instead of just going out to a bar.

Have you ever seen French Kiss? It felt like that. No, not Kevin Kline’s character. More like Timothy Hutton’s character. When he goes to Paris and doesn’t come home to his fiance because he is drunk in love with a french woman. Only instead of going to Paris, I went to Eden, and instead of a French girl it was a Brazilian girl, and instead of a fiance it was a girl I went on one or two dates with. OTHERWISE TOTALLY SIMILAR.

Anyways, I would rather be like Timothy Hutton’s character in French Kiss than hitting on a jailbait Natalie Portman as Timothy Hutton does in Beautiful Girls. So there’s that.

I have been hanging out with her this week and it has felt like a Hall & Oates song. Press Play.

Honestly. Honestly. HONESTLY? I kind of felt like I have just been going through the motions until this last week. But there is one hitch… she is leaving the country in 4 days.


It’s fine.

You can probably stop playing that Hall & Oates song now.

Workout Logs

Tuesday I squatted 275 3×5. Overhead pressed 155 3×3. But it might have been more like a push press. Deadlifted 315 x3 and 345 x1. RDLs at 165 3×5. I have not been eating enough food. My weight is going down and it’s not helping things. I think I basically did a good morning on one of the 5th reps of squats and that is certainly no bueno.

Friday I worked up to 275 x3 and then backed off and did 225 x8. Benched 195 3×5 but its bullshit. Spotter was stabilizing the weight. I feel like I might be getting weaker. I need to eat a lot more calories and protein and less empty calories (read: beer).

I also need to be squatting 3 times a week but I feel way too sore to do this every other day. So I need to do light squats in between days that I go heavy until my legs are conditioned.

The primary reason I am training is for softball season. The first year I played on the Carolina Softball team I hit 1 homerun. Last year I hit 4 homeruns. This year I want to hit a dinger in every game. It’s a restricted bat league so when we play with fences you pretty much need to be strong. When we play on the mall you just need to hit it over the outfielders head. I hit the top of the fence last year. WARNING TRACK POWER. I need to be squatting, power cleaning, and deadlifting a lot heavier to get these softballs over the fence.

That is what I did this morning. It snowed/sleeted friday night and for some reason I forgot to check to see about an inclement weather late opening monday morning.

This past week I turned a mass appeal viral video concept and reduced it to an extremely narrow appeal video. I should probably learn how to be funny in a slightly broader sense. My apologies for saying ‘Tarheel Blue’ when any UNC fan would say ‘Carolina Blue’- I wish I got that wrong on purpose-  then again my idea of Carolina colors is Garnet.

@1lilchuc1 says
@MrMichaelMahn Just to keep you in the loop: Bench: 45×10, 135×8, 185×5, 205×3, 225×3, 235×2 (failed on third rep) #CouplesBlogShoutout?

Good work using your 140 characters. Every tweet is precious and should not be taken for granted. I noticed you went with a full 10 rep warmup of the bar. Surprised you didn’t go for 2 sets of 10 to start and really warm up those muscles. Seriously though, the worksets are pretty strong. You’re only getting a shoutout because you used a hashtag that is probably only useful in other contexts.. like RedsicoverYourMarriage.tumblr. com/fakedumbgenericblogidea

I did three of those 205 lb sets on friday. I also worked up to 225lbs in squats but my legs were killing me and still sore from earlier in the week.

Reader Tim Colishaw says

I want to jump out of a building every time you post this self centered garbage. What’s amazing to me is how highly you think of yourself, it boggles the mind. Your a loser, you hit on bartenders at a chilies. Really?? I would say your worse than jersey trash, a lot worse! Do me a favor and jump in front of the metro today. PLEASE

Are you columnist Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News but you committed a typo while submitting your comment? I enjoy how you bookended this trolling comment with how at first you wanted to commit suicide but by the end you realized that you wanted me to commit suicide. This reads like it was written by a bot programmed to repeat key words and phrases but auto-corrects to the wrong grammatical format and spelling. So if you’re out there Tim Colishaw, please let me know you’re real and ok.

@lizhirschhorn says
@MrMichaelMahn Also I’m concerned about this “rom-com” genre. There’s nothing funny about range of motion. #jokethatsalreadybeenmade

oh yeah?

Full Range of Motion Lateral Raises

This one goes out with much love. And hopefully it kills this particular internet meme. Because I CANNOT make anymore personalized viral videos. Unless you pick up a bar tab. Looking at you @1lilchuc1. Concidentally, as I was publishing this video to youtube, @allennatt tweeted “On the way to Blacksburg to see my Tar Heels!”