dal niente

Month: October, 2006

Perspectives

It’s usually desirable to find something that makes  you feel satisfied or that makes you feel ‘good’.  But have you ever found a reason to be self-destructive?

I’m not asking if you’ve ever done anything self-destructive.  I’m asking if you have ever intentionally done something for the sake of being self-destructive, and not just been self-destructive as a symptom of something else.  Have you ever given into fear?  Have you ever done (or allowed) something that just made you more scared?


When it comes to me living, I find it useful sometimes to look at my being as several distinct but unified bodies.  Father, Son, Holy Spirit– something like that.  Separate but one.  I’m not the trinity mind you, but there is in my head a little coucil– the dreamer, the planner, the worker– that ultimately convenes and leads up to what I ultimately am to the world.

Not often, but sometimes, the Dreamer asks the Planner and so the Planner does what he does best: he comes up with a plan. to make something happen.  But sometimes the Worker doesn’t want to get started, because the Worker has ideas of his own. But the Planner is kinda creative– where asking nicely doesn’t work, a little fear might help.

Yes, willing myself to get something done is sometimes an act of agressive coercion.  The Planner unchains the three headed dog of everything he knows scares the Worker shitless.  And the Worker isn’t happy, but he wants to survive– so he runs in that one direction and works his way through that jungle, which is exactly what the Planner had planned.  The Dreamer doesn’t like this, but when fear is used to manipulate the Worker, the end result comes.

Back when I was younger the dance between the three parties was a lot more kindergarten.  There might’ve been some bargaining, some bullying, some ‘you’re full of shit’.  Nowadays, it’s politics.  The Worker’s been through a lot of shit, the Planner has been given some pretty inconceivable tasks to actualize, and the Dreamer has had his share of dissapointments.  Now the three have that sort of love hate relationship characteristic of only the strongest families– and every now and then, they disagree, they fight bitterly and there is a lot of suffering but in the end it’s all done for the good of their world, which is the me as a whole.


Of course, there are times when none of those three know what to do.  But whatever.


Today is Halloween. 

While I was picking up some rackets downtown for a stringing job, I heard a troop of daycare kids singing to a march, them being a little platoon of zombies, witches, ghosts and pokemon.  They’re all clinging to one of those mutli-kid cloth things with twenty handles that keep them in line, all tromping by the fountain to the tune of a daycare person who looks like she’s having a real ball.  At the backend of the troop is another daycare sergent, there to make sure there are no stragglers, his voice also booming.

I don’t have a spidersense or anything, but there are moments where you can ‘feel’ something in the air, a tingling.  Those two daycare workers weren’t just any daycare workers, they weren’t just some 15 year olds doing a summer job.  They were two middle aged folks, and as I watched them tromp by I was surprised to find from them fighters’ aura.

I mean, though you might think otherwise because here were two grown adults skipping about like children, if you watched closely they were alert and aware.  Their eyes scanned the crowds for potential threats.  Their eyes were alive, constantly counting and recounting how many kids were there if they ever had to turn their heads away, steering clear of people with hot coffee and avoiding the janitor wheeling about with the trash bins.

I see people like that taking their jobs seriously and it makes my day.  When I have children, if I ever was forced to put them in daycare, they’d go with people like this: people who are alert, who look after the children as if they weren’t just daycare workers per se but as if they were bodyguards to a dozen little presidents.

And yet, here they are, singing a song and skipping about the mall tiles.  They make it look so easy, and if you weren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t even notice how alert and alive their eyes are.

Someday I too hope to lend my eyes to protecting something big (or in this case, many small things).  I see something like this and I feel more safety and more substance in a pair of middle aged daycare workers than I do in the average metro cop.

Thoughts on Gender Roles

United States uses the terms “Lady Liberty” and it was commonplace for Allied Nations to refer to “Lady Luck”.  Many countries such as Ireland and France refer to their countries as the “Motherland”.  On the other hand, there is that expression “the sins of our fathers” which never as far as I’ve known been rewritten as “the sins of our mothers”.  We have words like ‘forefathers’  that are used interchangably with ‘ancestors’ but what ‘foremothers’ are there?

Just what differentiates a “Motherland” from a “Fatherland” like Chezch Republic or Germany?

What comes first? The chicken or the egg?  Was it national identity or the individual?

…how much of this is arbitrary?  If the world were to start over, would it necessarily go in this direction of valuation?

Every now and then, it feels like I’ve hit the ‘reset button’.  It’s not that anything has really ended or that anything has really started.  It’s just the perspective that’s changed– that which was now up until a moment ago just stops and suddenly anything and everything lies before you, coming at you– and the choices will be reaffirmed or changed.  They are moments when I allow myself to be vulnerable to myself to see what comes from some honest dialogue, with myself… it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s worth mentioning for the records.  It doesn’t make me feel better overal, or worse.  It’s just something that needs to be done every now and then I find, it’s like sobering up if only so that you can sense the world around you again, to give yourself choices again, even if it’s just to have another drink.  I mean– you need to be sober to enjoy a drink, don’t you?

Or something.

I digress.

And now, off to bed.

Doctorology

I met the actor, Leslie Neilson, today at work.  Made a bit of smalltalk, he even shook my hand.

Apparently he’s filming in some movie called “Doctorology” or something like that, I didn’t catch all the details cause I was rather busy at work today.

Some notes:

  • Actors trying to act like doctors and nurses is even more ludicrous to see in person than it is to see on television, after the fact.  It’s strange, because though I watch Scrubs all the time, it never occurs to me that so much of this is exaggerated because they’re just little people dancing in my YouTube.  But when they’re in front of you acting, you realize how funny it is when they work to project their voice, or how they’re all facing the same way so the camera can see the fronts of their bodies, and how there are spotlights mere feet from their faces that really do look quite painful for their eyes.
  • Leslie Neilson has a very bass voice.
  • I got trapped in the admissions office twice because they were shooting some sequences and I wasn’t allowed to exit to upset their takes.
  • I got a lot of free granola bars (5 in total) from the catering table that was reserved for extras.
  • Movie sets use a LOT of lights.  When they were packing up, aside from the heavy looking spotlight thingees, I saw something like a good  20 flourescent light tubes that they were hooking up left and right.
  • Camera Angles: It’s funny how the camera points in a particular direction only to shoot a scene but will avoid certain angles.  So, you’ll have part of our hospital’s lobby set up for filming in one direction, but mere feet away, things are super messy and disorganized.  There is like a delimited zone and angle for filming, and everything else can be whatever.


My workplace has set up a firewall to block xanga, myspace, and youtube.  I’ve still got google video but who knows how long that will remain… and they’ve blocked all the phproxy servers that I might have used to sneak my way around. T_T  Work suddenly became a really boring place.

(These ducks are intimidating sometimes)

When push comes to shove

Badminton yesterday was so so, a mixed grab bag of success and
failure.  Fortuantely I didn’t have to work yesterday morning so
that meant that I had the opportunity to be theoretically well rested.

That is, if that situation hadn’t come up at the last minute.

Yes.  After a tirseome night at the MAC, works wasn’t over. 
I had to save the galaxy.  You know how it is when you’re with the
Federation Space Police.  Shit goes down at the drop of a hat,
next thing you know I’m putting on my power suit and flying off to
Zebes to stop the Space Pirates from developing a new superweapon.


The battle to save the universe ended at about 3 am.

As a result, I just wasn’t feeling quite as ‘fresh’ as I had hoped I
would.  Playing badminton then was thus somewhat annoying at times
and somewhat gratifying.  Annoying in that when I played with
partners who weren’t being serious about things, it seemed like a waste
of my time to even be on that court wasting what precious energy I had
for meaningless games.  On the other hand, when I did play with
people who wanted to win, winning or losing didn’t matter– as long as
there was energy on that court, it was okay.


Some thoughts on under and over estimation.

There are people I know who overestimate themselves, and that’s
annoying.  But I never thought that people who underestimate
themselves could also be annoying.

I’m not talking about the people who I usually blog about, i mean, the
complacent types who whine about missed opportunities and such and
don’t get started on making themselves happy.  Though they do fall
into a subcategory of the same bunch.  I mean people who are
operating with mental blocks tied around their necks.  It is
frustrating to play with these sorts because they’re not on the same
wavelength as you and it seems that if you decide to die for that game,
it’s wasted because their lack of commitment makes it meaningless.

I had previously considered the issue of mental toughness to mostly be
about the ability to remain calm in underdog situations so as not to
lose technical or tactical focus.  I beleive that something should
be added to the requisites though… and that’s the ability to give it
your best, regardless of the level of opposition.  It is true that
if you’re more pressured, you are more likely to ‘push back’
more.  But what about playing, for example, easier
opponents?  Is the lack of heated engagement any reason to take an
opponent less seriously?  Do you need to rely on the opponent’s
battle aura to function?

There are a number of partners and opponents I’ve had who don’t take things seriously and that pisses me off.

See, up until now I’ve sort of critisized people who don’t get off
their asses from an external point of view.  External, in the
sense that in the end, it doesn’t affect me.  I was wrong– it
very much affects me when others sit when they should stand or shut up
when they should speak up.  It reminds me greatly actually of how
Sartes asserts that we have a responsability not just for ourselves for
all of humanity in our actions, for we are never excluded from it or
its effects.  And so people who aren’t willing to go all the way
are just wasting my time and effort.



(Is this you?)

There is always the argument that “I’m just recreational” or “I’m just
doing this for fun”.  Fine.  You can’t expect me, for
example, to suddenly become a competitive jazz balerena or something–
I just wouldn’t be into it, and I can’t be held responsible for how
much energy I put into it if I was plucked and tossed into that sort of
situation.  But note I’m not talking about proficiency, I’m
talking about energy.  I mean, spirit.  How much of your spirit are you throwing into this activity?

And if you’re not willing to do that, why are you doing this? 
WHY?  People tell me sometimes they do things for ‘social’
reasons, as in, you can play badminton not because you enjoy it but
because you enjoy hanging around the crowd, or it’s something to pass
the time.  It was the same thing back at the MAC back in the
day.  But let’s get one thing straight– there are people who
‘know’ how to socialize and others who put themselves in social
situations with the hopes that something will magically happen. 
But they lack the ‘substance’ to pull it off.  Because when they
go with social intents, they’re not even throwing their spirit into
that.

People, understand something.  Your existence in itself means
NOTHING just by virtue of your presence. You have to actualize, you
have to assert, you have to emmanate and take in.  If you’re
passive, you will be passed by and no amount of mislead good intentions
or nice-guyness will do you a bit of good in the world.  While
good people are… well, ‘good people’, because they’re not ‘bad
people’, that doesn’t mean they deserve anything good to happen to them
unless they work for it.  This is why ‘bad people’ get results…
because they work at it.

Would you like to know why a moral high horse is pointless? 
Because people think that being ‘nice’ or a ‘good person’ in itself
saves the world.  People aren’t implicated in the problems of the
world because they think that they’re good people because they don’t
steal, kill, or commit other sorts of crimes.  Well, you know
what? That’s the moral high horse– and while people are up there
sitting and looking around prancing, there are people on the ground and
in the dirt, so dirty you can’t see if they’re good or bad, but they’re
working the land, they’re solid
And so as they say, evil wins because good people do nothing.  It
is a sad misconception that being ‘not bad’ in one’s heart is enough to
get by.

People often question me on this topic– they wonder if I feel that
people have an obligation to their fellow man.  I don’t beleive
it’s intrinsic, as in, I don’t beleive you’re born with it.  But
for every year you spend on a planet, this debt does grow.  So
their follow up question is why?  Why should someone do something
good?  Why should someone throw themselves into a labor? 
Why? Why?  Why do this?

The only simple answer I can come up isn’t an answer to your question,
but rather, a statement that parallels the matter at hand: For every
time you ask “Why?” instead of doing something, that just cumutively
adds one more gram of weight to that scale of life that leans towards
‘unhappy’ or ‘unfulfilled’.  People want concrete cause and
effects?  1 + 1 = 2?  Think chaos theory, people– just
because you don’t understand the small scale equations, or there don’t
appear to be any, doesn’t mean that the system doesn’t work on a larger
scale.  Just because you can’t calculate it doesn’t mean that
relationships don’t exist.

Look around you.  Feeling unfulfilled? Unhappy?  And look at
those who ‘suffer’ for their passions, look at those with substance,
and when those people stand still they still stand taller even with
broken backs and tired legs than someone who has clean hands.

I digress.

I don’t mind playing with beginners or experts per se– the level of
skill doesn’t bother me.  But what I need is to show some respect
when you’re on the court and play like you mean it, regardless of
levels.   For beginners– show some courage.  For
experts– show some maturity.  Throw some of your spirit into it–
it’s not just a battery, it’s not just something that differentiates a
dead car from a running one.  Show some balls.  This isn’t
just a game, this is your fucking life.

The Return

I went to Dawson yesterday.  It’s been the first time in forever
that I remember checking the place out.  A lot of the ‘basics’ are
the same– yet there are a good number of differences.  An entire
section of the school is walled off, I’m told perhaps it’s going to be
made into a memorial.  There’s more lockers everywhere now, I
guess that means the population there is going up too.


AM and I were on our way to the pharmacy to pick up some photos she had
had developed and suddenly, someone ‘random’ on the street stopped me.

“Hey, are you [Jinryu]?”

“Um… yes.  You are….?”

“Hi, I’m Nat [Something].  I’m the current president of the Dawson Martial Arts club!  Nice to meet you!”

It’s always interesting when random people know not only my real name
but also can pick me out of the street by face, especially since as far
as I know there aren’t all that many photographs of me in circulation.

The main reason I went to Dawson yesterday was to check out the current
Martial Arts club.  I’d heard that the current club executives
were looking for me, something about participating or organizing their
next tournament, or something… so I wanted to check it out. 
Also, of course, I wanted to roll a few rounds and see if I could still
do it.


First of all, the club’s changed quite a bit. There are a few
differences from what it was like in my era… for one thing, there
were a lot more karate folks in my day, perhaps even the occasional tkd
kid.  Nowadays it looks like Wu Shu has taken over the room, and I
walk in to a combat room half full of people trying butterfly kicks and
other sorts of intersting aerials.  Forgive my lack of
description, I don’t know anything about wushu and couldn’t for my life
name any techniques except what I think may be a
butterfly kick.  It’s the kick that is vaguely reminiscent
of  grassy hillsides rolling in the wind amass with butteflies.

Or something.

There’s very few mixed martial arts fighters.  The interest in
boxing has gone up, which is nice, but the interest in ‘body fighting’
(heavy contact boxing, but no hitting to the head) has also gone up,
which in my opinion is a waste of time… but anyway.

One of the people who told me to go check out the MAC told me that
‘it’s garbage now, there’s no real fighters there like there used to
be’. 

I disagree that it’s garbage.  It’s true that the people there
strictly concerned with ‘fighting’ has gone down, but the energy level
in the room is pretty high– people are working hard at what they’re
doing, and more importantly, they’re enjoying it.  It really does
look educational in there, and in that sense, though the focus is on a
different angle as the old MAC, it still has that same fundamental
level of spirit which is always good to see.  The fact that the
population of the MAC consists largely of outsiders also says to me
that the club is popular and that people want this enough to come from
far away.


It strikes me as interesting how the focuses can really change… back
then, it seems to me that my generation of MAC was leaning increasingly
towards mixed martial arts (allowing for everyone to be relatively more
evenly rounded in standup fighting as well as grappling) and with
tournaments in mind, this seemed like a very logical step.  But
what strikes me as odd is how they’re planning a kickboxing tournament
but the people who are participating haven’t really trained for
kickboxing…? I mean, in the sense that I look around the room and the
camps are divided– there are those I see who are going the
‘boxing/kickboxing’ route with the heavy gloves and just slugging it
out, but they’re hitting to the body only… I’m looking around and
only a handful of people actually keep their hands up and protect their
heads. It strikes me as very odd to consider that the majority of the
people who want to participate in this tournament don’t do something as
simple as keep a realistic guard up… but well, i guess there’s
nothing like a first tournament against other cegeps who hate your guts
that brings things down to earth quickly.

I was asked to participate in the tournament… it’s a possibility I
guess, but probably not likely.  I’m not in the condition to be
sparring, I haven’t got the reflexes specific to fighting anymore, all
I have left is what I’m trying to cross-apply from badminton.  I
was also asked to be a judge or something like that, and I’m not sure I
even want to do that.  I’d have to see more of the MAC in action
to be sure, but with the grade of the fighters in there, I wouldn’t
want to judge a tournament like that… it’d just get too messy,
there’d be too many surprises.  If the tournament was among the
Dawson folks alone, I think that’d be managable, but inter-Cegep? It
strikes me as a bit dangerous.

It’s funny how back when we were organizing the original tournaments
all the ‘authorities’ were against the idea, or they wanted us to be so
specific with every little detail and rules and I thought they were
just being hardasses.  The thing is though, whether or not they
knew what they were talking about, the fact is that today who I am now
and what I know now, I wouldn’t support an inter-cegep tournament
anymore.  It’s got nothing to do with the fact that I play
badminton instead of do martial arts now– it’s WHY I do badminton
instead of martial arts.  It’s because of the injuries.  We
trained really hard back then.  And now some of the most eager
fighters that I used to train with have also retired from the mats.

But I will go back to the MAC more often I think, just to roll for old
times sakes.  Despite not being comfortable with either standup or
ground fighting anymore, it is still fun.  IN the meantime that’ll
give me a chance to know these new people a little better, maybe I’m just underestimating everyone.

Updates

“I understand you’ve been running from a man / who goes by the name of the sandman”

(For bonus points: Name that song or the band without naming that song!)

So,
I have a great deal of trouble finding time to sleep.  There’s
just too much to do.  Greedy I am, say some.  But well. 
I think really i’m addicted to sleep deprivation… and yes, I’m
admitting that I can’t quit even if I want to.



Above
is a video of the Minibosses who played at PAX 06.  Forgive me for
reitterating, but I’ve got a soft sport for classic NES games, 80s
style riffing and video game soundtracks.  What more could I ask
for in a single youtube video?


Mideival Philosophy Paper Returned– Grade: A.

Oh for god’s sakes!!!!!! WTF do I keep getting good grades for last minute work!!! How will I ever learn!!!

It’s
not in all classes mind you but really, I finished this midterm exam
DURING the class that it was due and then i just showed up for class
and handed it in.  It was a really ugly midterm too, i mean,
aesthetically ugly.  The page was 14″ long with two questions per
page, and you were supposed to write your answer in.  Write it
in?  You’re kidding me, with my handwriting?  So I typed it
up in the computer labs and took a pair of scissors and glue to it,
finally answering the age old question of ‘what good is
kindergarten’.  I had not previously read any mideival philosophy
texts, I just spent the night looking up stuff on Wikipedia and on
Google and handed it in.  Today I come in and here we are, handing
out papers and I’ve got one of the top 5 marks in the class.

I
am not, mind you, gloating.  Rather I’m just stating how
dissapointed I am with the way this system works.  Truth be told,
the people who got worse marks than me probably know a few times as
much about mideival philosophy than I do… but I don’t get caught.

How
many stories do you know where a character was just searching for self
destruction as the only means of affirmation?  Everytime I get an
assignment i leave it later and later– procrastination isn’t about
laziness anymore, it’s about the challenge, it’s about the setting of a
stage of chaos to see if you can survive.

Xero from Quake was
searching for someone to kill him, because he was too good.  Same
with Jashugan of GUNNM.  Big Boss of MGS3.  It’s a character
arechetype that makes no sense to most people… but it makes sense to
me.

It is not that I am too good, don’t get me wrong.  It’s
that I’ve found certain things to be ‘easy’ and so I have to find
something bigger, something more difficult, otherwise it feels like
it’s got no value whatsoever as a form of mental exercise.

….
it’s funny though because there are some classes that i get marks
effortlessly in, and there are others where no matter how much work
into them I can’t get past a certain B grade.  What’s up with that?

Am
i learning from my studying habits?  All I’m learning is that hard
work doesn’t mean good marks, and last minute work doesn’t mean bad
marks.

…somebody proove me wrong.  Pretty please…?


This might interest you folks in the US, though really, it’s a good idea for just about anywhere.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaEECHjWptU

Hyperspace

I always thought it was something frikking amazing back when I was a kid and I saw action movies with slow motion.  I don’t mean things like the Matrix– to tell you the truth when I first saw the Matrix I thought that the fighting was really pretty bullshite.  But I was watching those old classics like Once Upon a Time in China– it’s not actors moving in slow motion or CG done for slow motion– it’s actually people who are moving fast and with accuracy that they slow down in retrospect because the moves look nice in replay.  (The fighting in the Matrix doesn’t actually look good slow or regular speed… the fighter in that series who really showed any promise was Seraph)

“Time dilation”

The same sort of thing happens in Star Wars, in a sense, with hyperspace jumps.  The stars on the horizon streak into starlines.

This isn’t a consistent description that I’ll be using all the time, but sometimes ‘hyperspace’ feels like the only right word for it.  It’s a moment where you are surrounded by all sorts of things– be they physical attacks, or immaterial information, or whatever.  You are basically being bombarded.  And through it all, you do exactly the right thing– time is not going slow but if someone had taken a video recording of what you had just done they would see that you did everything just right, even if examined in slow motion, as if it was coreographed.

I am not just talking about physical activities, although there, the video recording metaphor works better.  It could be anything.  It could be a chance intersection that occured between perfect lighting, angle, and subject, that you were just lucky enough to have a camera out and snap up.  Or it could have been all those problems in life preventing you from doing that one important thing– but you manage to keep your cool, parry those attacks and cut to the chase.  Whether the events and objects around you are for or against you, the point is, they all demand attention and in a split second you somehow, either conciously or unconciously, do what is just right.

A “hyperspace moment” that i’m trying to describe is thus an intersection between intention, commitment, and results.

Well, of course, I guess there’s also the question of ‘who gets the results’.  If you do like me and you think of your life as a story, there is as a result an underlying sense that everything is building up to the next moment.  You could, for example, have a hyperspace moment where you’re just dodging left and right and then dash … only to run your face straight into a straight punch.  All that clutter and stuff that you did avoid, parry or counter is all hyperspace, but it’s not YOUR moment– it’s your opponent’s.  You might actually have built up that moment for your opponent to deliver the descisive counter.  After all, you’re not the only character here– reality is a series of crossed paths.

(Counterpunches in action– just who’s the hero of this story?)





Homogenization

Has anyone noticed how things are just… merging?  Or maybe it’s that they were always merged but that we didn’t know about it before.  Softdrinks and most snacky foody things fall into pepsi or coke camps wheras they used to be a lot of individual, private and distinct companies, maybe even family businesses.  Youtube and Google are now one and the same.  And the other day, I just noticed with horror that Cow Brand baking soda was no longer separate from Arm and Hammer baking soda– now, it’s the one and the same: a  hammer wielding cow baking soda that’s the fusion of the two companies!




OOps.

A client of mine was nice enough to inform me that I forgot to bill him for the last order that I shipped him about 3 weeks ago.  (This is the second time that I do this.)  And so today I sent him the invoice for 406$ canadian.  Oops indeed. 
Lucky for me he’s an honest guy otherwise I’d be out a good clip.  Lesson: Keep better agenda.