Thursday, November 30, 2006

Legends of the Fall

So after all that ballyhoo I ended up taking a brief respite from my ass-kickings. I hurted my poor back & was buried at work. And I had a hangnail. Actually my back really has been tender lately & was starting to bother me when someone would plant their knee on it while going for a choke. A couple months ago I was taking a nice chicken dish out of the oven & felt something twinge in a very uncomfortable way. But I tell people I hurt it cliff-diving on the Ivory Coast…sounds a little more dashing. And I really have been buried at work too. I have another assistant though, so my goal is delegate everything short of tying my shoes. I guess I’m approaching that point when you realize that while you may be reasonably skilled at what you do, the world is in no way improved by you doing it.

And once again, that time of year is upon us. Jesus died for our sins & they made a bunch of awful movies, cartoons & musicals to celebrate the salvation of mankind. The fact that Willem Dafoe can play both Jesus Christ & the Harry Osborne (aka the Green Goblin), both with considerable gusto, is testament to the fact that he is the unsung American Olivier. But I digress, faithful readers. I just wanted to brag that I won last weeks’ office football pool, thanks to me picking always-a-bridesmaid Tennessee over the sputtering Giants. This weeks’ hot picks? Arizona over St. Louis, Minnesota over Chicago & Buffalo over San Diego.

People forget that Arizona took Chicago to the edge, & have as good a chance of winning on the road as they do at home. And SF had the Rams on the ropes last week. So I think this could be Arizona’s big chance to get their 3rd win of the season over a below-.500 indoor opponent.

Minnesota is also below .500, but I like the fact that they’ve stayed on course & haven’t self-destructed in the face of adversity. I personally think that the Bears are the most overrated team in football. That record is very deceiving. Me & my girlfriend could take that schedule & go 9-2. Yeah, they beat Seattle…without Sean Alexander! Whoop-tee-fucking-do. Grossman has a bad habit of throwing off his back foot when the pressure’s on, so I predict one or two key interceptions that sway the game in favor of Minnesota.

Buffalo over San Diego?! Yep. It’s gonna be a snowy Sunday in upstate New York. I don’t think Ladanian Tomlinson will be his usual self when he has to run, block, pass & receive in weather so cold it literally freezes the snot in your nose.

So there you have it. I guess it took me a while to get interested this season, what with all the UFCs that have been on tv

Thursday, November 02, 2006

supine & amplified

I know I said I wouldn’t go on & on about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but here’s a short walk-though of how I’ve been spending Monday & Wednesday nights. Actually I’ve missed the last couple Wednesdays. I think I have a virus or bug or whatever. I’ve been feeling tired as all hell, have had a lingering backache & have been at the mercy of a mutinous digestive tract (i.e. I’ve been making bubbling sounds). So I opted to just go once a week the last two weeks to minimize the possibility of soiling my jockstrap after an awkward hip-throw or botched single-leg takedown.

Anyways, what we do is start stretching on our own while people are still showing up. They don’t hold your hand through a bunch of particular stretches; after a couple of classes you know what needs to be limbered up. Then we pair up & do wrestling drills, working underhooks. That’s where you try to get your arms under your partner’s arms, alternating sides. Once we get in the flow, we start moving around, pushing & pulling while we go for double underhooks (both arms around our partners, under their arms). Once you’re in that position, you can pretty much do whatever you want with them, so we restart from there. That gets your arms, chest & shoulders warmed up & ready for the fun. The head instructor gives us a demonstration of the move we’ll be working on by doing it on one of the advanced students. Then we pair up again & go to work. Sometimes we just focus on a simple movement that we need to have imprinted onto our muscle memory, sometimes we actually work on submissions. This week we worked on taking the back of an opponent throwing punches in our guard. That translates to me, on my back, trapping my opponent with my legs, dodging his punches & scrambling around his torso to end up sitting on his back.

Once in a while we put the gloves on & practice some basic boxing, mostly jabs & straight rights. Invariably, this is just a lead-in to throwing a jab, then diving in for a takedown. Getting taken to the ground costs ten push-ups at the end of the round. We also start off on the ground, in the guard & try to pass. For each time your opponent passes your guard (gets out from your legs & gains control), you do ten push-ups at the end of the round. Needless to say, I’ve been dong my share of push-ups.

Then, the grand finale: free training. Pick a partner, put in your mouthguard & let each other have it. We start off on our knees, facing each other. Shake hands before each go-‘round & get to it. This is where most of my bruises come from. Someone like me, introverted & introspective, has a very tough time with a lot of this, especially since I’m loathe to let strangers into my personal space & try to avoid conflict, albeit more out of laziness than cowardice. Trying to strangle someonewith my forearms while they try to bend my arm backwards, rolling around on the floor all the while, is challenging on many levels for me. Which, at the risk of paraphrasing G. Gordon Liddy, is why I must keep doing it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


It’s been a while! Let’s see…what’s been happening?

I stayed on the South Beach Diet (well, stayed as close as I could) & lost approx 35 lbs. I suspect most of that was due to my no longer eating fast food 2-3 times a day. Oh yeah, & I finally got my ass into a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. So I’m bruised & sore but happy about it. I was gonna make a whole ‘nother blog about my training but it would be pretty repetitive. If I ever make it into a competition (next year maybe) I’ll be sure to give all the gory details. Right now I’m just happy to not puke after class.

I’m going to the fucking dentist next week, for the first time since who-knows-when. I think L.A. still had a football team last time I went.

I hadn’t updated this jaunty journal for a few moons, & was ready to scrap the whole thing. The way I figured, all I was doing was the literary equivalent of doodling on a piece of scrap paper. Then, for some stupid reason, I stumbled across the blog of a childhood friend, now living in the Bay Area & working in the music industry in some vague capacity. I was astonished to see that this fellow was keeping a blog, since my recollection was of him barely being able to write his name in the dirt with a stick. And I thought to myself, “Surely, if this is the crap floating around the toilet, there’s no harm in me adding to the mess.” Sadly, it’s the same kind of thinking that allowed Bill O’Reilly to get his own show. Truth be told, I’d rather just keep a journal for myself, but this is easier.

I think my truck needs new fuel injectors (or 02 sensor maybe?) She’s running rough & seems to have less power. I make my last car payment in a month. That’ll be something.

Oh yeah, & I finally got something to read! I picked up the complete Sherlock Holmes, parts 1&2. It doesn’t get much better than that. Oddly enough, I had just re-read (well, more like re-perused) the first story (“A Study in Scarlet”), so I felt like I had hit the ground running when I jumped into “The Sign of Four”. I also snagged the second NY Times Monday thru Friday crossword book. By the time I hit Thursday or even Wednesday I start to feel dumb but for me, finishing a crossword is one of life’s little joys.

I’m here at work writing this & this modern-day confederacy of dunces is planning how they’ll spend the money they win on tonight’s super-lotto. Truth be told, I wish they would go ahead & win already. That way they could quit their jobs here & be out of my life. It’s been a long journey from hanging out on Burnside to sitting on my arse in a cubicle. My birthday present to myself will be a new job.