Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation


Has it been only a week since I last wrote to the loyal troops? I'm experiencing the displaced time-matter phenomena with which we are all familiar. Last week was a month ago. I look back at a distant time when Laree and I packed the car with our excess of baggage and muttered that we were off to a late start. Late, we discovered, was very good as we maintained breakneck speeds clear through the usual traffic hot spots and arrived in Marina Del Rey in six short hours. Just in time for bed.

After breakfast at Maxwell's we cruised the World Gym, which has most recently emerged at the unlikely congested intersection of Washington and Lincoln Blvd. in Marina Del Rey. Curious, fifteen years ago I made a similar journey down the coast for the grand opening of the World Gym in Venice. To be fashionably late for the affair and not liking to eat at parties where cameras abound (Flex Mag gossip... here's Dave with mayonnaise all over his face and his fingers in his mouth) I delayed my arrival by feasting on a steak and salad at a Sizzler Restaurant. In time, The Sizzler fizzled and Joe Gold bought the building and adjacent properties to relocate his famous World headquarters. I now stood on the gym floor and noted that where the rack of dumbbells lined the wall I once sat eating my protein and roughage. In its incongruity, nothing changed and everything remained the same. I was caught scratching my head.

Joe's gym, an unpretentious affair, is small compared to the fitness palaces blighting the neighborhoods these days; pint-sized, comfortable, functional and popular. Cool. My kind of place: shoot the treadmill and turn on the gravity. Tomorrow I plan to be doing crunches and leg raise where the Sizz salad bar was positioned a lifetime ago. The Pre-Laree Age where hungry dinosaurs roamed aimlessly.

With our Day One embracing of old buds at the gym completed and plans for a workout and the dubious gathering of stars the following day set in motion, Laree and I took on the L.A. freeways and headed for the Weider Offices. Amazing. Less than twenty-five minutes and we were standing before tall glass doors under a colonnade of marble and granite. An inconspicuous louvered brass plate imbedded in the wall scratchily asked us to state our names and our business. "It's the Bomber to see Joe" apparently wasn't clear to the little brass plate so Laree, Miss Smarty, reworded our introduction and we gained access to the Citadel.

We were greeted by more marble, a broad staircase reaching the heights of a bold balcony, ornate chandeliers providing light for a city, austere bronze busts and statues of muscular beasts in action and life-sized painted portraits of bodybuilding champions framed in garish gold. A pair of girls with ample shoulders agreed we were legit and said Jeff O'Connell, the Muscle & Fitness features editor, would be down momentarily. We paced the opulent interior reviewing the art and wondered where the hounds and men in armor were staged. We felt safe but weren't sure from what. Jeff came down in street clothes and escorted us upstairs where the sight of a sea of soundproof, uniform cubicles put everything back in perspective.

Jeff briefly shared his office space and his most recent projects, one of which was the completed proof and artwork of an article called Holiday Blues in the January issue of Muscle & Fitness in print this month. I think you'll recognize it�and the author. We then made a large loop around the remarkably quiet offices and stirred up the hive of writers and editors of both M&F and Flex. At one point we stood together gabbing as if a team collaborating on ways to review, excerpt and editorialize Brother and Sister without unprofessional overlapping. These very nice and good people welcomed us as insiders. The trample of bureaucracy that kills never reared its ugly face. What privilege.

We reattached ourselves to the freeway system and flew again like eagles. Some days just go that way. Scary. We were back in twenty-five minutes sitting at Kinko's reading our email and IronOnline. The world is round and wears a smiley face. We went to the movies and later we slept like babies.

I'm running long and late. Till another good day, bombs away. Drapes

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