Before you get started with preconceived notions, this post is not about male enhancement. I did try that shit once, though, since I saw the Levitra commercial with the guy throwing the football through the tire swing and was like “wow, this shit can make me fucking manly”. What they don’t tell you is that it’s all bullshit. I tried for hours to throw that goddamn football through the swing, and the raging boner did fuck all to help me!
Anyways, I posted something on Facebook today about crowd funding my arcade addiction. As those of you who
hate yourselves read this blog faithfully already know, I’ve been on a spending freeze for my arcade habit since before Christmas. I’ve recently been able to make plenty of headway in repairing the machines I already have, and as of this writing I only have 2 that are not playable. One is Asteroids, which I have no fucking idea what’s wrong with, and the other is Missile Command. MC works, but I need new optic boards for the trackball to be able to play it. This information is frustrating as hell, since it’s ~$50 for the parts, and I’m on ice. Truth be told, I was really only posting out of whiny frustration. I wasn’t really serious, just playing up my emo misery. Problem is, sometimes I don’t understand the people around me….
A friend of mine on Facebook asked me for my email address, which I thought nothing of. I get asked it all the time for people wanting to send me stuff they can’t send over Facebook, and as I met this person through the preschool the wee beasties attend, I figured he probably snapped a cute pic of them to send me. That was, of course, until he told me to check my paypal. I then saw that he gift funded me the amount I needed to get Missile Command up and running. I was struck at that moment. I’m not used to people doing things like that for me, especially for something I really have emotional investment in. I was actually in a semi-state of shock, not knowing how to react. On one hand I thought I should return it, since I’ve always felt weird accept charity/help from others, especially when it came to money. On the other hand, it’s fucking Missile Command, and I also didn’t want to be insulting or come off like a total grubby dick.
In the end, I kept it, ordered the parts, and will return the money when either our tax refund or my bonus arrives, whichever comes first. What I was surprised by was how well I feel I reacted to the whole situation. In the past, when shit like this would happen, I’d act like a basement dwelling nerd getting hit on by Olivia Wilde. Enjoy that imagery for a moment….. Anyways, I guess I’m finally starting to come around to the societal norms most people take for granted. I’ve never been good at accepting gifts (just ask the Lish), so maybe I’m growing as a person…..or maybe this is what heroin junkies do when someone buys them a fix. Either way, it’s totally awesome. A very big and special thanks to Mr. M for helping me out with this, for his caring and generosity, and for his enabling of my video smack habit….wait, that sounded too much like porn, didn’t it…..crap….Well, Thanks anyway, from the bottom of my pixelated heart!!!
As many of you already know, this past summer I went to Pennsic. I had a great time there, and really loved the entire experience. While there, I watched a fair amount of the fighting, and thought it looked pretty interesting. I was asked by a few people if I’d be interested in learning, but I declined. I declined, not because I wasn’t at all interested, but because I know myself all too well. If I were to try it there, and get really into it, it would’ve consumed much of the little time I had there, and I really wanted to enjoy the time away with the Lish. Recently, however, I’ve been thinking about Pennsic and the SCA. I spoke with a close friend, who is responsible for getting us into this in the first place, and decided to give the fighting a try. Her and the head of her household, whose gracious acceptance of us at Pennsic made it even more appealing to delve into, arranged for me to attend a local fighter practice. I went for the first time two weeks ago, and will go again tonight (last week I missed due to snow). For those who are unfamiliar, I’ll describe my noob experience.
First thing to note, I read a TON of shit about it before even stepping through the doors. From reading about the rules of combat to the creation of a pell, sword, and armor, I definitely read my fill at that point. Nothing was really left but to go try it out. Another close friend of mine joined me that night. We met up with the contact person I was introduced to, and went inside to get to work. First thing I noticed, everyone was totally cool. Very nice, very helpful, no bullshit or condescension. I dig that kinda atmosphere. One thing I can’t stand is elitism. Not to say that nobody in this hobby IS, since every hobby has them, I’m just glad these folks weren’t. Anyways, the majority of the night was spent doing a strength building exercise. The swords they use are made of rattan, and one end has a basket of some sort. This makes one end heavier. For the exercise, you hold the sword by the tip, heavy end away from you. Hold your left arm straight out to your side, palm out, and slowly rotate the sword to go parallel to the floor and touch your outstretched hand. This may not sound so bad, but for an out of shape fuck like me, holding your arm out to your side for 20 minutes is goddamn brutal. I had to take a break for a few seconds every couple of minutes to ensure that my arm didn’t decide that the pain wasn’t worth it, and chose to secede from my union. I will say this, though. After about 30 minutes or so, either the pain subsided considerably, or it blended into the background as my body decided that this was part of our homeostasis and accepted it. I wasn’t sore the next few days, which surprised me.
Anyways, after a while, we were taught how to correctly perform a strike. It looks simple enough, but in practice it must be done precisely to be correct. This is very similar to the martial arts I’ve practiced in the past, since a small adjustment in technique can mean the difference between a brushed off blow and a knockout blow (porn works the same way, with the same nomenclature). My personal assessment of my own skill, after witnessing the correct way and then MY way, is that I did fair. Most of the motion is correct, but what I was doing was hurting my thumb which is incorrect. I need to correct that before going forward.
That was pretty much the extent of the first lesson, which was fine with me. Overall, I enjoyed it, hence why I’ll be attending again. I spoke with a few people afterwards, who had concerns about my desire to get into armor and start hitting people. I was somewhat confused by that, since I wouldn’t wanna spar with someone in martial arts if they didn’t know how to throw a punch correctly. Just means someone is gonna get hurt. Apparently, though, not everybody thinks that way. This discipline of fighting, just like other martial disciplines, will take a lot of time and repetition to really get down. I’m cool with that, since for right now it doesn’t require a monetary committment outside of a few bucks a week for the practice space. I’m definitely curious what it’ll be like to wear 50 lbs of gear and then try whacking someone across the face with a stick wrapped in duct tape, but I’m in no particular rush, since my technique is a large bag of shit currently.
If I do get far into this, there are some options. Different types of weapons and configurations are allowed, and all are used differently. I’ll see what suits me best, since I’ve been told that I’m at a disadvantage with a sword due to my arms being long enough to drag the floors. There is also the option of light weapons, such as fencing. I’m built better for fencing, but I’m gonna take this one piece at a time. Best case scenario would be that I could do both. This way I can be struck with and without armor on a regular basis….wait, why am I doing this again?
Truth be told, what makes this more worth it is the people involved. My experiences with the SCA have included some seriously choice people. The friend who introduced me to the scene is super cool about it all, and has helped me a lot along the way. She introduced me to her household, which is run by people who I was able to fully respect virtually instantly, which for me is saying something. I don’t typically give people my respect outright, even if they’re in a position of power. I’ll give the position respect, but not necessarily the person. Just ask my boss, he’ll tell you. Anyways, even others associated with the household were awesome. I also have another good friend who runs his own household, and he did his part to make my experience great. He also helped me with information about fighting and whatnot, complete with what to look for and what to avoid. All in all, if this kinda shit interests you, get some info on local groups and give it a whirl. It’s a good time, and from my experiences it’s with good people. What’s not to like?!
That being said, do I think I’ll end up becoming a knight in the SCA someday? Most likely not. I’ve always been a shitty fighter in other disciplines I’ve studied. Also, I really enjoy the loose party and fun aspect of Pennsic. I love the freedom, the parties, and the revelling. If I was serious about fighting, I’d have to minimize that a lot due to practices and battles, which would be a bummer for me. Let’s face it, fighting isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly good at. Drinking, partying, and making an ass of myself, however, comes very naturally, and I’m a pro at it! Good for a jester, but not exactly the values of a respected knight who follows the code of chivalry. Still, that doesn’t mean I won’t learn to fight, develop good technique, and do my best. If I get good enough, I’ll be able to help teach new people, since I did quite a bit of that when I was in Tae Kwon Do. Basically what I’m getting at is this: Just because I don’t wanna go all the way, doesn’t mean I can’t participate. That’s a cool thing about this, you get into what you want, at your own pace, and to the level you decide. No pressure, and nobody breathing down your neck. For me, those close to me who are in this are just happy that I’m involved, however much that may be, and that acceptance and caring is more than worth me giving it the best try I possibly can.
If you’re interested in reading about this stuff, check out the SCA homepage HERE. If you are interested in learning about fighting, you can find info for that HERE. There’s so much interesting shit to get involved with, it’s really worth a look.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the change in lifestyle that I’ve gone through over the past 10 years, and had some ideas to look up. I was actually not surprised that this has been studied lately, and it’s not exactly good news.
I used to have a very active lifestyle. I was always outside doing shit, I had a job in warehousing that involved a lot of moving around, and typically the only times I sat were movies, some tv/video games, and driving. Now, I sit in the car, sit all day at work, sit almost the entire time I’m home, and don’t really do shit otherwise on a regular basis. This actually does get to me quite a bit, since I enjoy being active during the day. I’ve found that I’m much more tired over the past few years, and get depressed when I’m not able to actually DO something during the day.
Now you might say, “But Persona, I work out every day, so I’m immune to this shit!”. Well, according to some researchers, you’re actually not. The term for you would be a ‘Active Couch Potato’. You’ll still suffer from the same kinda shit, just slightly less severe. “Severe?”, yes, severe. Sitting on your ass all the time is linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, etc. Experts have labeled this epidemic the “sitting disease”. Don’t kid yourself, it’s real, and it DOES affect you if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Now you might be asking yourself “What can I do?”. Well, apart from seeking out a more active method of employment, I have no answer for you. Some say to take activity breaks every so often to walk around and do something, but how effective that would be is anyone’s guess. Could be completely negligible, who knows? What I can give is a bit of anecdotal proof. When I was in warehousing, I felt much healthier, had much more energy, and didn’t feel as much “vague depression” or depression that has no apparent trigger or reason. Don’t try googling that term, I just made it up, so there! Don’t get me wrong, I did suffer from bad depression years ago, but I KNEW what I was depressed about. Now it’s just an overall malaise with nothing standing out to prove causation. I assume that this lifestyle of being plopped on my ass all the time is a large factor, since times when I’m very active during the day, I tend to feel much better. I guess only time will tell.
So stay active, my friends, cuz studies are showing that even with advanced medical technology, if we sit on our asses all day, we’re gonna all die earlier. I dunno about you, but I’m REALLY not cool with that. Oh, and if you’re a smoker still, then you’re doubly fucked. Congrats!
Yesterday, we got a wee bit buried in a surprise snowstorm. I say surprise, since nobody expressed any concern about it until after it was upon us, which seems to happen at least once a year. I’m not sure what the deal is with the yearly ninja snowstorm, but it allowed me to remain home and work remotely, which was good. I prefer not have to drive to work in that shit, not because of my own driving ability, but because other Long Islanders seem incapable of driving in snow, even though it happens every fucking year. While working, however, I ended up doing what I said I wouldn’t do anymore. I got involved in debates on Facebook.
As you might have heard by now, since it was trending like a motherfucker yesterday, there was a Coke ad during the superbowl that starched the shorts of a bunch of people. I spent a fair amount of the day, on and off, debating people about this, not that it did any good. It did, however, give me a good reason to bitch about something else, but I’ll get there. The ad in question, which I’ll embed below, had a bunch of different people singing “America, the beautiful”, all in different languages (yes, English was one of them). It was actually a really nice commercial, reminding us that our country is built of (mostly) immigrants who came here in search of a better life. They showed that this country is beautiful because it’s full of beautiful diverse people. It serves as a reminder that our country is a melting pot, with different cultures intertwined, and that this is something that should be accepted and embraced. However, for a shitload of uptight people, this isn’t how it was universally taken.
Quite a few people were bitching about it because they feel that song is sacred, and should only be sung in English. Some of them said it was because it’s our national anthem, which it isn’t. Some said it’s because English is our national language, which it isn’t. I even saw a few people that said they’d now boycott Coke because there was a Muslim in the commercial. It seems that the intolerance that many races and nationalities were supposedly escaping, came with them after all. There is a huge trend in our country that’s focusing on assimilation. Basically, if you don’t abandon your ancestral culture for wings, Bud, football, and BBQs, then you don’t belong here. I understand their point about not speaking English. After all, even though it’s not technically our national language, it’s spoken predominantly in the US. If you’re a citizen, you should learn the language, which is a requirement for pretty much every other first world country. But this xenophobic view, where something like this is seen as insulting the spirit and/or patriotism of our nation, just comes off as short sighted and uneducated. We’re a nation of immigrants, we’re a blend. That’s what made us strong. This all just reeks of fear, as if embracing something like that would somehow appear as though they don’t love their country or some shit. Wanna be proud of the US? Then you can be tolerant, work together, not be a fucking bigot, read some history books, and be a part of us taking steps FORWARD, and not backward. Granted, this is America and they have every right to be intolerant, all I’m saying is that may not be the best route to go if we want to advance as a country and society, especially since it just breeds hate.
Anyways, onto my rant. I know, you thought that was it, but nope. Don’t worry, it’ll be short. The majority of the people who bitched about this are conservatives. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. The thing that twists my nuts is that people consider ME a conservative because of some of my views on topics. I HATE when people lump me in with them, just as I HATE when people lump me in with the liberals. I’m a middle of the road kinda guy, when it comes to politics. I do my fact checking, check the available information, and make my decisions based on logic as opposed to emotion. Unfortunately, this has the result of pissing off both sides, and I get into “discussions” rather frequently, usually on Facebook. I’ve been trying to not engage anymore, since all it really does is aggravate me. This topic kinda broadsided me, since I was really amazed at the amount of people saying they were boycotting Coke now because of this. I just hope that, one day, they can look back and see the message for what it actually was, and be thankful that we live in such a diverse place full of different cultures. It’s awesome, if for no other reason than its ability to keep things interesting…
Oh yeah, ‘Murica!