I missed the past two weeks of practice due to illness and a rare viewing of Labyrinth in the theater. This week, the fighters had their monthly beau geste tournament. This is a local competition they do, where they all fight and crown a champ each month. Pretty cool thing, and fun to watch. I learn quite a bit observing how different fighters react in certain situations.
For me, this week, I just worked more on the pell. I started getting my striking speed up while maintaining accuracy, and I seem to be getting the hang of it, albeit rather slowly. I also learned a bit about how the wraparound strike works. I was able to get some off, but I’m really sloppy and need a ton of work on it. Overall, though, I think I’m starting to get the gist. I’d like to really boost my accuracy, speed, and comfort (my thumb was killing me) before really getting into armor. Some other shit has also come up in life, which I’ll discuss in another post, that may cause this to go to the back burner for a bit, which sucks. Time will tell.
Last Thursday, I FINALLY got my Asteroid arcade game to work. It took a lot of troubleshooting, and sending the game board out for repair, but it’s playable and awesome!!! I celebrated with about an hour of repeated gameplay, though I don’t seem to be getting the hang of it all that well yet. Still, it was great to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and I gladly put my DMM away in my toolbox. All of my games work now, with the exception of the multicade my friend found in the trash. That one will need a new monitor, so I might end up getting rid of it if it can’t be converted to use a standard arcade CRT.
The next day, I felt a little bummed. I’d been working on that machine for so long, and every day I went downstairs to either test something else, or rebuild something. Now, I’m in a weird position. I have nothing to fix! I know that may sound a little odd, but I take a lot of enjoyment in working out the problems. I like the puzzles. I like being able to take something that doesn’t work, and breathe life back into it. Now, though, the only things left to do are purely cosmetic, and they cost money I don’t really have. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy doing the cosmetic work as well, but right now I lack the funding for the control panel overlays, flash memory kits, flipper rebuild kits, etc. I even briefly considered parting with a machine in trade for more project machines. I’m a sick, sick man.
I’m not really sure what to do with myself at this point. I still enjoy going down there and playing the games, but I think they were best as a distraction for the times when I was stumped by another machine and needed to clear my head. Oddly enough, that was when I played some of my best games. Don’t get me wrong, there is still shit I can do, such as shop out my Stargate pin, but I’d like to do that when I have the flipper rebuild kits in hand. I’d rather it be all at once.
I guess this can relate to me having a follow through issue. I’m great at starting projects and getting things most of the way there, but it’s the finishing touches that I seem ok to walk away from. Some of the other people I know in the hobby have an OCD when it comes to restoration. It’s not done until it’s perfect. I’m not like that. I leave shit half finished all over the place. I’m not entirely sure where that comes from, but it can potentially be a problem, and I’m gonna have to work on that. For now, though, I could really use a machine to fix…
SO, if you know me personally, and live near me, GO BUY A BROKEN ARCADE MACHINE!!! I needs me some fixin’!!!!
So last night I attended practice again. I actually learned a fair amount this time. Much of the previous outings were spent learning footwork, most of which I already have a good grasp on due to my martial arts background. This time, we worked on striking technique. The first basic strike I have a fair handle on, but this time we learned the other 3 basic strikes. It’ll take some getting used to, of course, but it was great learning from some of the guys who were teaching us this time, as they’ve been in the game much longer than our previous teachers. They definitely seemed more used to teaching.
We also went over some learning techniques which will be very useful, such as a few striking and footwork drills, and slow motion sparring. The latter was actually a really cool thing to learn, and is similar to one-step sparring in most martial arts, only done much more slowly. It gives a good idea and grasp on how your offense or defense can be exploited, and what to do about fixing that. If practices continue like this, then that’d be awesome since it was very enjoyable.
That being said, I also found that I have some serious strength training to do. After practice, my shoulder was fucking killing me, and I could feel the strain in my forearm during practice and after. We did go over some strengthening exercises, but all that shit takes time to happen. Still, it’s not like i’ll be fighting in any tournaments or anything, so I can totally take my time. I did get a kick out of when the instructor referred to “when we fight in tournaments”, or “during real battles”. I’m not about to let him in on the secret…
Finally, funny thing happened after practice. There is a woman who comes to practice and fights sword and board. She came up to my friend and I and asked for our names. Apparently, our given names are too difficult to remember, or just plain suck, so she looked for nicknames for us both. My friend mentioned that he’s just a big leprechaun, and I’m just some asshole. She decided that I am “Braveheart” (which I’m TOTALLY fine with!), and my friend will be “Leprechaun”! I was cracking up, since he obviously wasn’t happy about this, but he did it to himself! I’m not sure what’s worse, being named Leprechaun, or being named Otis, which is what we started calling him last time….Either way, it’s fucking hilarious!
I was browsing through the arcade forums the other day, and came across a thread with some interesting stuff on it. It was just a general discussion about a game, whose name I don’t recall (I forgot to bookmark the link). It ended up going into how quite a few of these guys have kids, and their kids won’t play arcade games. They play bullshit smartphone games, and console/PC games, but not arcade. Now I’m definitely a more “to each their own” kinda guy, but the reasoning irked me. They said it’s because the games are too hard.
Now I’ve spoken about my reasoning for preferring arcade titles before, and I mentioned the difficulty aspect. Newer games are more about instant gratification than real challenge. I seldom need to replay a level in a new game more than a dozen times, max, before getting past it. Before you get all uppity about that, keep in mind that I’m pretty shitty at video games, despite how much I’ve played them. Anyways, older games are where the real skill comes in. Any gamer who’s played an FPS or ten can blow through the newest Call of Doody without much of a problem. Ask any of them to get over 50,000 points in Missile Command or beat level 30 in Donkey Kong, however, and they’ll wind up in anger management classes. Why? Because it’s fucking hard as hell.
Like I said, normally this wouldn’t have set me off. I recently read an article and lengthy cartoon about “millennials”. For those who don’t know, that’s the name of this generation of teens, typically born between the mid-late 80s through to 2000. It was all about them not really having any sense of entitlement issues, or instant gratification problems, or poor work ethics, etc.. I’ve known and worked with plenty of the people this guy was talking about, and they all fit the stereotypes. They thought they’d get out of school and right into a high paying job without paying their dues first, thought they could fuck around at work and keep their jobs, etc. Why am I saying all this? The instant gratification part.
Keep in mind, I’m not only targeting millennials here, the article just set me off. The thing that irks me is that so many people, kids and adults alike, don’t find any enjoyment in doing something difficult. If it isn’t something that can be either instantly mastered, or mastered with relatively minimal effort, then it’s not worth it. I’d wager that this is due to the sense of accomplishment high you get when completing something or excelling at something. I believe people need and love that feeling, and would rather have it more often and with less effort. Most people wouldn’t equate the difference between someone saying “I beat God of War” and “I reached the kill screen in Donkey Kong”, but the difference is staggering. I personally get it, and I find it much more gratifying when I’m able to do something difficult successfully. Hell, some things sound difficult until you learn about them, and then you realize it’s relatively simple. A good example I can give is my current arcade addiction. If someone told me, before I got into the hobby, that they took an old machine, rewired it, rebuilt the monitor, updated the controls, etc., I’d have been like “holy crap dude, you’re like some electronics jedi! Let me be your student, and teach me the ways of the force feedback!”. Now that I know, it’s more like “Dude, anyone can do this, it’s not rocket science. You just gotta get over the intimidation.”. Honestly, I feel the same way about knitting. I see people make crazy sick shit, and I’m like “holy crap dude, you’re like some knitting jedi! Let me be your student, and teach me the ways of the fleece!”, but I’m sure if I took the time to learn about it, it’d be much less intimidating.
The real irony here, is that there are plenty of arcade titles that can be instantly gratifying. Sure, there are the punishing games, but there are also a shitload of others that are great to just play and enjoy. Beat-em-up games like Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Dungeons and Dragons (both of them), TMNT, Simpsons, X-men, and Metamorphic Force are all fun titles that can be beaten with enough quarters. I actually play them with my 5 year old every so often, and he enjoys them. Now, games like Donkey Kong, Pacman, Missile Command, Robotron, Gravitar, and R-Type are the games that require real skill to get through. You can’t just coin up your way through, you really have to develop skills and learn patterns. There are also intermediary difficulty titles like Black Tiger and Rolling Thunder.
What I’m really getting at
and taking FOREVER to explain is that A) doing something difficult is much more rewarding, in my opinion, than something easy, and 2) just because something looks intimidating, doesn’t mean it’s actually difficult or impossible. Basically, don’t get into that mindset of dumbing yourself down and taking the easy road every time. If you do, you’ll end up blindsided when something truly difficult is thrown your way.
This is sort of a retro movie review. I’ll be doing a few of these, but I wanted to start with one of my favorites that most people haven’t seen. That movie is Freaked, starring Alex Winter and Randy Quaid. You may know Alex Winter from his portrayal of Bill S. Preston, Esquire in the Bill and Ted movies. This movie was one of his babies, and this shit is killer.
Made in 1993 by Alex Winter and Tom Stern, who also had a TV show called The Idiot Box, Freaked is a absolutely ridiculous comedy about an actor who gets hired by a huge multinational corporation to promote a controversial chemical called Zygrot 24. He is sent to South America with his best friend, where he gets captured by a mad scientist running a freak show, and mutated into one of the attractions. The main character is played by Alex Winter, who is awesome in it. The mad scientist is Randy Quaid, who is a combination of Wilder’s Frankenstein (pronounced fronk-en-steen), and Cousin Eddy from the Lampoon movies. William Sadler plays the head of the corporation, E.E.S. (Everything Except Shoes), who is also brilliant. Other actors include Mr. T, Brooke Sheilds, Megan Ward, and Bobcat Goldthwait. Keanu Reeves also plays the role of the dog boy, but goes uncredited for it.
The problem with trying to review this movie is the risk of spoilers, which I won’t do. I’m not gonna ruin it for anyone who’s geniunely interested in seeing it. There’s some slapstick, some gross out humor, and enough wit to fill a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. There’s a lot of random, stream of consciousness stuff as well, which is a big part of what I love about it. The special effects are also top notch for the time. Lots of costumes, prosthetics, some claymation and stop motion, etc.
To say this movie is stupid and ridiculous is a gross understatement, and this is why it’s one of my favorite comedies of all time, right up there with Airplane!, Naked Gun, and Coming to America. Honestly, stop reading my inane ramblings and go watch this movie. I don’t care if you buy it legit on DVD or BluRay, or obtain it more nefarious ways. Just do it if you like the kind of shit I described above, and you won’t be disappointed. If you do like it, buy it, the DVD extras are totally awesome!!!
TL:DR – Great Movie!