Saturday, June 26, 2010

Best of the Web

This week on the web, I was inspired by Hannah's post on becoming someone's miracle.  Her writing is amazing, and the quality is just so much higher than what you typically find on blogs or online articles.  She makes you want to frame her posts.
On a lighter note, I cracked up at Gaijin Ass's hilarious post about a particularly foul taxi driver.
Hanley found a way to simultaneously entertain me and enrage me in his post about the wringer that our President is being put through.
The Art of Manliness posted an excellent guide on "The Duties of the Best Man."  I  do not have a situation scheduled where I will need this, but it's the type of post that you want to print out and save for when you need it.
Bryan threw down a gauntlet, raising the stakes in the "The Great Currency Save of 2010." The poor kid is going to go down hard.
Carlos, over at The Cruelest Sport, wrote an entertaining post on the boxers in the world most likely to talk a great game before getting laid out in a sub-par performance.
And then there is Juliana, who makes me glad that I don't have a menstrual cycle, or that I need to hang out with her during hers at  "Instead of Killing someone, Write a Blog Post"
Charles's Zero-Carb site had an excellent post on why exercise isn't enough, and how hormones play a bigger role in fat accumulation than calories in-calories out.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hari-Kari & Many Happy Returns

Comrades -

Hail and Good Morrow.

It was not my intent to neglect my duties here, but life is often a troublesome and needy mistress, one who sucks my time and my soul, rapes my energy, and occasionally makes off with most of my money.  Fortunately, she is dynamite in the sack and makes a hell of a sammich.

What news from my corner of the world?  I am glad that you asked.

For one, I am engaging in a battle of wills with my brother at arms (and of blood), and we are in a dead heat in our quest to spend less money than the other on food and strong drink.  As you can see from his post, his spirit is nearly broken, and I am confident that I will have his still-beating heart for breakfast.  His failure will go well with my morning coffee, spritzed with a spoonful of heavy whipping cream, and enjoyed before I dive into my newspaper of choice.

What else, you ask?

I have acquired all needed equipment to begin anew my beer-brewing proclivities, and I may set forth on this quest within the hour, provided that my inner rage does not weaken to a mere simmer.  Far better to let it boil over.

But surely there is more, you may ask.

And again, noble visitor, you would be correct.  My profession has been taxing of late, requiring of 2am conference calls, unpleasant meetings, and stress beyond any previous standard.  I considered ending it all with dignity, seppuku-style, but I reminded myself that a man living the rugged life must see, hear and feel all of the notes of life's song, both the high AND the low, and I am confident that I will come out of this current debacle with straight back, set jaw, and only slightly more bitter than I was before.

Also, while I have not updated this site for too long, I have been word-smithing, and a few of my articles got picked up by the No BS Boxing site, here and here.

But what of fun, of cheer, of debauchery?

Well.  After a short respite from the ring, I have begun again my dedication to the art of fisticuffs, getting back to work, sparring, running, and shadow-boxing until my shadow gets tired.  My co-ed kickball league is off to a glowing start, and while we usually lose, I am meeting men and women of good spirit and kindly nature, and that is the more important of the two.  More importantly, the Papa will arrive this weekend, and we will be sure to properly imbibe of the 3 most important B's, of which the uninitiated will most likely need an explanation.  In short, Beer will be drank, dead animals will be consumed via BBQ, and hot Beaches will be enjoyed.

Love & Peace in the Middle East,


Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Lesson in Intimidation

I recently watched the 2009 documentary "Tyson."  It consists of about 90 minutes of interviews with former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson.  In a sport full of strange stories and stranger personalities, Tyson stands above most.  A former hoodlum as a teenager, the last prodigy of the legendary trainer Cus D'Amato, a savage and ferocious finisher in the ring.  Convicted rapist, one of the youngest champions to ever live, a father, and a man who's rise and fall were as dramatic as any combatant in the sport's history. 

This video below was one of the most powerful scenes in the film, and it is worth a watch even if you are not a boxing fan.  Tyson describes his emotions and mindset as he gloves up before a fight, to the long walk from locker room to the ring, and obligatory stare-down of his opponent across the squared circle.  There has not been a more intimidating presence in the sport since Sonny Liston ruled the heavyweight division.  Watch this and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Whiskey Dreams Part 3

Part 3 of a fiction series.  Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

I didn't put my thumb out for the first full day.  I had this idea of walking through the desert like Jesus of Nazareth.  Also, being a kid from the suburbs, you are told early and often about the dangers of hitchhiking.  I had no desire to get chopped up in cubes and having my organs sold on the black market.  Also, I was not yet hungry enough, thirsty enough, or bored enough to start looking for short cuts.  The other thing was that I literally had nowhere to go and nowhere to be.  Everything is within walking distance if you have the time.  So I walked.  At first, I hugged the freeway, walking along the shoulder.  It seemed safer than the barren and flat wilderness that spanned for miles in every direction.  If I followed alongside the freeway, I couldn't get lost.  Every now and again, a diesel truck would roll by.  I would feel it coming a mile before, as the hot asphalt began to vibrate and hum at its approach.  Heavier and louder and bearing down on me, until it would whoosh past, half pushing me away and half sucking me in, the sound a million decibels in my eardrums, and then it would be gone.  I should have been able to feel the tiny vibrations becoming more and more faint as it fled, but the dramatic noise that its arrival had caused created a vacuum, and my senses took a while to return to their former sensitivity. 

I guess that I spent the time thinking, but I couldn't tell you what about.  There were some snatches of conscious thought that made it through the filter; thoughts about my family, my friends, sporting events.  I thought about being a kid a lot.  I remembered hanging out with my Dad while he was BBQ'ing, and putting my hands on the grill to lift myself up to see.  I don't remember being taken away by an ambulance for 2nd degree burns on my palms, but I imagine what it must have been like all the same.  I remember when we lived in Oceanside, just north of San Diego.  This was before my brother was born, and I would walk with my parents down the boardwalk, feeding french fries to the sea gulls and watching the crabs scuttle around the rock jetties.  I remember that we always finished these walks with a stop at the ice cream parlor, where I always chose the neon blue bubble gum flavor.  I probably still have traces of bubble gum in my stomach from those days.

One thing that I did not think about was any consideration or doubt about the choice that I made.  I had expected to feel excitement, freedom, and a sense of adventure.  I did not.  Failing that, I had expected to feel doubt and worry that I was throwing my life away, or making a stupid decision.  I didn't feel that way either.  I didn't feel much of anything really.  My everything was tied up in each individual footstep and each individual breath.  I rationed my water, but I knew that at some point, I might have to hitch a ride to the nearest town in order to restock.  I was in the type of place where you would come across signs saying "next fuel stop, 12,163 miles away," and I was pretty sure that I didn't have enough water to walk that far.  It was hot as hell out.  I had soaked a bandanna in water and wrapped it around my head, but within minutes it felt like jacuzzi water leaking down the back of my neck and the front of my shirt.  Sometimes, when I walked in the middle of the freeway for novelty's sake, my shoes would pull the melting asphalt along with it, and black tar covered the bottoms of my Reebok hi-tops. 

As the sun started to slink behind the horizon that first night, I realized that I would have to decide on a sleeping situation.  Without a tent, my main concerns were snakes, scorpions, fire ants and spiders.  As I was limited in my ability to do anything about any of that, I benignly ignored the possibilities.  I left the comfort of the paved road and found a small outcropping of rocks a quarter mile off the shoulder.  I looked around carefully for ant holes or piles, and for smooth tracks where snakes may have slithered.  I didn't know how to look around for signs of scorpions, or even if there existed such a methodology.  To a novice eye like mine, everything looked as safe as I could be assured of, and I pulled out my sleeping bag from the backpack.  A foam pad would have been an awesome thing to bring, but it had somehow escaped my attention during the packing process.  I slipped inside the synthetic sleeping bag, freshly purchased from my local REI, and waited for the sun to go down.  I wasn't hungry.  I wasn't even thirsty, so I just watched the light slowly make its escape, dwindling until it was just a sliver of gold over the end of the earth, and then disappearing completely.