Saturday, July 28, 2012

How I got into martial arts.

When I was around five years old, the people who lived next door sold their house to a family who made a living by selling "unlicensed pharmaceuticals." I don't remember how I got to know their youngest son, but it was years later that he and I became friends. I think I was maybe around 10 or 11. Anyway, "T" had been taking Karate lessons and was very much into martial arts movies and especially Bruce Lee. I'm pretty sure I was never exposed to any of this before. It was all new to me and seemed pretty cool so I took a liking to it. I have a sort of "kick ass" part of my personality anyway so it seemed pretty natural that I would like it.

Since his dad was a purveyor of unlicensed pharmaceuticals, T had pretty much any toy, movie, video game or any other thing that he wanted bought for him. I'm pretty sure he had every Nintendo video game ever released. He also had every Bruce Lee movie ever made and watched them obsessively. He also had all kinds of karate and kung fu magazines. T was pretty good at drawing, and his favorite subject matter was, of course, Bruce Lee. I liked to draw too, and it sort of became a competition of who could draw the best Bruce Lee pictures. (I pretty much have T to thank for really getting me to hone my drawing skills.) T would even pause the movies on video and we would draw whatever scene we thought was cool.

One of the neatest things that I remember us doing was sending away for various catalogues. One of them was Kung Fu Supplies Company in Hong Kong. (I'm pleased to see that they are still in business.) It was so cool to us, being kids, that we could send away for something on the other side of the world and get back a catalogue with all sorts of authentic items in it. Of course, T got all the Bruce Lee themed items and even the authentic fingerless sparring gloves like Bruce had in Enter the Dragon and the yellow tracksuit from Game of Death.

Eventually, we started looking into different martial arts schools in the area to see if any taught kung fu since we wanted to emulate everything that Bruce Lee did. We found a school who's owner taught kung fu and was even taught by Yip Man himself, so we begged our parents to send us there. (The school was affiliated with Clan Kai Sai.) A miracle occurred and I was allowed to go to. That's when I started to learn Wing Chun kung fu as well as some other styles. I only went there a couple years, if I recall correctly. At that point T was losing interest and my parents were never into it and I broke a toe in an unrelated accident and stopped going to class.

T and I drifted apart as we were getting older and going to different schools. But that was how I got into martial arts and I still have a love for them til this day even if I don't practice like I used to.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tonight's post...

...brought to you by unisex see-through lace pants. Slung low. Because admit it. Everyone was high in the 70's. All the time.

I've had a very exhausting day and I wish I had a nice, stiff...erm...drink. Yeah, that's it. Dealing with morons is exhausting. I've been dealing with morons all day and it's making me be redundant here. Such a bunch of morons. Morons who can't get the simplest crap straight. Then more morons in traffic. So many morons. Morons everywhere. I'm soooooo tired of morons!

Let me explain. Moeder got a summons for jury duty but has a legit medical excuse to not have to serve except she has to have a doctor's excuse. Called doc's office last week and he wasn't there but would be returning today. Left message with receptionist. Yesterday, when at doc's office to see the other doc, moeder talked to one of the managers and explained to her that she needed the note from the doc. My moeder has a way with words :::sarcasm alert::: and seemed to be going around and around with the conversation. The manager said that she'd leave the message with doc and we could come pick it up today.

Well, guess who gets tasked with going to pick it up? If you guessed moi, then you win the prize! So I go in there, tell reception what I'm there for and then waited around for 20 minutes. Then after they give me the damn note, I noticed that they didn't have the correct date or my moeder's correct age. Then I had to tell the receptionist that the info was incorrect and then I had to wait for another 15 or so minutes for them to make the corrections. In the meantime, I see the manager who we talked to the day before giving me a dirty look through the glass and then disappearing to the back. Fucking bitch was probably making me wait deliberately. Anyway, finally got what I came for then went home. Morons. Lot's of morons in traffic, too.

Long story short: had to deal with more morons to go to the post office to mail the whole damn thing back to the jury pool and then a while later more aggro to go return an item at a store and then some more crap to put up with at the grocery. Aggro and morons makes for an exhausting day.

Now I'm going to hit the hay. Maybe Ma Nature can give me some nice sexy dreams to go with all the frisky hormones I've been dealing with lately to make up for the moronathon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bruce Lee and Mixed Martial Arts

Jeet Kune Do, the martial art system developed by Bruce Lee, is essentially mixed martial arts. Anyone who knows about Bruce Lee knows that he studied Wing Chun kung fu under the famous Yip Man, but he also studied many other diverse styles as well.

The first style Bruce was taught was Tai Chi. He learned that from his own father. Over the years as he grew, he also learned Hung pugilism, Choy lay fut, Judo, internal and external boxing, Western boxing, Shaolin kung fu, and Jit-kune. After he came to America, he compared what he knew with that of Western boxers, Karate experts, Judo experts, and Tae Kwan Do experts. He couldn't seem to get any advantage so he evaluated his own skills in order to find out his weaknesses. He concluded that the Southern Chinese kung fu styles that he had learned were lacking in soft and skillful kung fu. He immediately picked up the book "Fundamental Training on Martial Arts" by Tsai Lung-yun and began training himself. Bruce also learned escrima and nunchaku from Dan Inosanto and Tae Kwan Do from Jhoon Rhee.

Bruce recognized that all martial art styles have their strong points and weak points; therefore, no one style is better than any other style. He took all the strong points from the various styles that he learned and combined them to create Jeet Kune Do. The theory of Jeet Kune Do became "Taking no form as form; taking no way as way."

I have to wonder what Bruce Lee would think of the modern sport of MMA.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Medium Well Xul

Oh mah gawd, it is sooooooooo hot! I had to take the dog to the Humane Society for his annual vaccinations and it was like eleventy bazilion degrees outside! Well, more like 90F/34C, but it was HUMID and there's that damn Sahara Desert dust cloud keeping in all the heat.

When we got to the place, they were just re-opening after their lunch break and there were already four other pet patients in front of me. The place where they do the vaccinations is quite tiny. There are two rooms: the first, where you sign in and pay the fees, is maybe 3x3 meters and the second, where the exams and shots are given is maybe the same size as the first room. You have to sign in and then go wait outside where they have many benches against the outside wall under a small awning.

I ended up waiting almost an hour to be seen. My dog was ready to keel over by then. I was ready to keel over. The actual shots only take a couple minutes to administer so I have no idea what was taking so long. When I signed in, the others in front of me were there for shots, too, so WTF? So when I was finally called back inside, there was a vet tech in the exam room prepping the syringes and giving the booster shots but the rabies one has to be done by the doctor. The vet tech gave my dog his boosters and then went to see where the doctor disappeared to. She came back and said he went to the bathroom and would be back in a minute.

Well, several minutes passed and she went to go see what was happening. I felt like asking if he was "pinching one off" but that might have been taken the wrong way so I didn't say anything. Then a few more minutes passed and the tech went to go check on the doctor again. I felt like saying, "Maybe he needs to eat more fiber!" but I held my tongue once again. Then the tech came back and said the doc wasn't feeling well. Then after another few minutes he finally popped in, took the syringe with the rabies vaccine and stuck the dog. It's really ridiculous to wait that long (around an hour and 15 minutes) for something that takes less than two minutes to do, all because the State won't allow the tech to do the rabies shot.

Anyway, needless to say, we were happy to be getting the hell outta there. It has been a little more that three hours since we got back home and I feel horrible and cooked from being in the heat that long. I am very happy that Willis Carrier invented air conditioning for I shall be spending the rest of the day inside enjoying his Most Holy invention. There really should be a national holiday in his honor as well as many large statues of him as tribute.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Underutilized Martial Arts Techniques

If anyone has been paying attention, you know that I'm a fan of Mixed Martial Arts as well as being a practitioner of Kung Fu. That being said, it would come as no surprise that I am quite opinionated on the subject. I've noticed that most of the MMA fighters being shown on TV would fall into just a few categories: stand-up fighters, Brazilian Jujitsu fighters, wrestlers, and some who have good combined skills.

What I've noticed with the stand-up fighters is an over-utilization of regular boxing and kickboxing techniques, mainly straight punches and low roundhouse kicks to the legs. The kicks to the legs is more of a Muay Thai kickboxing technique and is very effective. I've seen many Muay Thai fights ended because of repeated leg kicks to the sciatic nerve or femoral artery. The only problem with the way it is currently being used in MMA is it is very predictable. A few good kicking techniques that are underutilized in my opinion would be the crane kick(faked flying knee then high straight kick to the head with the other foot), the straight front kick(to the face or to the body), the front kick from the lead foot, the low kung fu style kick(low straight kick with toes pointed outward) to the legs, the Dutch kick(sort of a side kick/stomping kick delivered like a round-house), and the liver kick. Anderson Silva is one of the few who can deliver a knockout with the high front kick and Bas Rutten was the master of the liver kick.

As far as the arm techniques go, I'd like to see more uppercuts and elbows. In the Mark Munoz vs Chris Weidman fight this past weekend, Weidman KO'd Munoz with a beautifully timed short elbow to the face followed by a few punches to the face of the grounded Munoz before the referee jumped in to stop the fight. I couldn't have coached that better myself! I was cheering that it was about time someone used such a beautiful elbow technique! Usually that's the realm of Jon Jones, except he usually delivers spinning elbows.

Oh! And let's not forget the knee to the head of an opponent who is trying to come in for the wrestling style take-down!

Anyway, just my two cents worth on the matter.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sichuan Eggplant

I had a couple small eggplants hanging out in the fridge for a while so instead of letting them sit in there until they went bad, I decided that I'd make some Sichuan eggplant. It's a fairly easy recipe and I have all the ingredients on hand since Chinese food is one of my favorites.

I just cut up the eggplants into small cubes and then saute them with a little oil in a large saucepan. Once the eggplant is soft, I then add about two stalks of scallions finely chopped, a few rehydrated red chili peppers finely chopped, a couple cloves of garlic(minced), a little less than a tablespoon of red chili paste, a tiny bit of minced fresh ginger, a drizzle of sesame oil and two tablespoons corn starch dissolved in two tablespoons of water. Then I mix it all up and let it cook for a few minutes longer then take it off the fire.

It turned out really well. The original recipe that I had called for a full tablespoon of red chili paste but that is some pretty powerful stuff! The bit that I used had my snot flowing like a stream. It was pretty spicy but not 'blow the top of your head off' spicy. The only problem is going to be the "goes in hot, comes out hot" principle. LOL Going to the bathroom in the morning should be an adventure!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Carburetors, C*nts, and Caves

Well I managed to get the damn mower going. But first I shall tell about how I acquired the parts. Firstly, I had to go to Wally World to go buy a new spark plug and air filter. The old air filter was extremely filthy and even though I cleaned it the best I could, I figured it should be replaced. The stupid Wally's near my house closes their outside garden department early (where they keep the lawn mower parts) so I couldn't go on Saturday evening; I had to wait until Sunday. So I get over there Sunday afternoon and get out to the garden department and I almost needed the paramedics to come give me some oxygen and carry me out on a stretcher after the shock I got when I saw the prices. My mower has a Briggs & Stratton engine and the Briggs & Stratton filter for my mower was nearly $7! And if that wasn't bad enough, the damn B & S spark plug was nearly $9! Holy shit, I was hopping mad! $9 for a freakin' spark plug that should cost around $2 and a tiny paper filter with a bit of rubber around the edges almost $7. What an unbelievable rip off!

Man, was I ever pissed off. While I was in there I needed to buy a wiper blade for my car so I headed off to the automotive department. While I was back there I decided to look to see if they had any other brands of spark plugs that might fit my mower. Well, lo and behold! Good old reliable Champion brand had small engine spark plugs for $1.83 for the standard one and $2.64 for the upgraded one. I got one of each (just in case) for WAY less than the B & S one. So the pack of cunts at Briggs & Stratton can kiss my ass with their hyper-inflated prices.

Anyway, by the time I got home from Wally's, it was too late to mess with the mower. (Too late because I had the old woman in tow and she takes for-freakin'-ever while shopping. I didn't actually get around to working on the mower until Monday evening after I brought my mother back home after her doctor appointment.

So I haul the mower upstairs and proceed to replace the spark plug and the air filter. Then I took it outside and primed it and then pulled the start cord and the damn thing fired up and then cut out faster than before I replaced the old parts. SHIT!!! It must be the damn carburetor!

Aaaarrrgggghhhh!!!!!!!!! Now I had to haul the mower back into the house and then go find the manual so I could look at the schematic and see exactly how I was supposed to get to the carburetor. Grrrrrr. The old mower had a Tecumseh engine and the air filter, bowl float and primer bulb were readily accessible on one side of the engine. With this fucking Briggs & Stratton I had to practically disassemble the whole damn thing just to get at the bowl float and carburetor. Well, long story short, the carburetor looked pretty clean but in getting at it I managed to drain quite a lot of gas out of the bowl float. When I put it all back together I took it back outside, primed it, and then pulled the start cord and the thing started up! Yay me!

I didn't want to risk the damn thing cutting off again so I went ahead and started mowing even though I was only wearing flip-flops and shorts and not my usual mowing attire. I managed to do the right-of-way by the street and then I started by the side of the house. There was a fallen palm frond in my way and when I went to pick it up and get it out of the way I let off the throttle a bit and the damn mower cut out. I tried to start the thing back up but it wouldn't start. So freakin' frustrating.

So I had to wheel it back to the car port and let it cool down before I could deal with it again. This time around I figured that I knew where the problem was. It seems that if it gets over primed and the bowl float has too much gas in it then the thing just floods out and won't start. After it cooled down, I had to take the thing apart yet again to get at the bowl float. I loosened the screw at the bottom and drained the gas out into a cup and then tightened the screw back up and put it all back together again. I primed it a few times and pulled the start cord and voila! It started right up and I proceeded to finish mowing the rest of the yard.

When I got to the back of the house I beheld a curious sight. My mother was sitting on her ass right in the dirt in the back yard. I started chuckling to myself as I knew what had happened. She had went out back to water the plants and had managed to trip over the hose and fall down. Since she has bad knees and weighs about 100 kilos she couldn't get herself back up. So I had to spend the next 10 minutes trying to get her back to her feet. I was getting a good chuckle and she was scolding me that it wasn't funny(Well, maybe not for her! LOL). I managed to get her back up but by that time I had already ran out of sunlight since it was nearly 8:30pm so I took the mower back into the house and I'll just have to finish up tomorrow.

Where do caves come in, you ask? Well, I watched a pretty interesting program a while back that showed some place in the NL that had caves and an abandoned quarry that had some cool cave paintings(including dirty graffiti--penis pics and such) and was opened for tours. Well, I couldn't for the life of me remember where the hell that was. Apparently, it's in the Maastricht area. That town has some tunnels under it and after some further searching, I think what I was looking for was the Velvet Cave under the Valkenburg Castle ruins. The whole area is just so damn cool that I'm going to have to add it to my bucket list! Oh! Nearly forgot! The Natural History Museum in Maastricht has a genuine rat king! Definitely a must see.

For in the eighth day of the seventh month was the wrath of the Great Xul kindled against the c*nts at Briggs & Stratton, and her anger did wax hot. For the Scrolls of Instruction were massively illogical and the scribes thereof needed much ass-kicking as due recompense.

But seriously, that manual was horrible. Instead of an "exploded" diagram which any human with some sense would have had in a user manual these morons at B & S had some stupid parts diagrams in no particular order. Therefore I had to spend much more time than necessary trying to identify the parts(done in simple line drawings). It was difficult to actually identify anything. Then I had to remove four different parts just to get to the carburetor. I'm still annoyed at the whole thing and what an utter rip-off their brand of parts is.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Odds and Ends

Recently, the satellite company decided to nix the AMC channel and replace it with something called HD Net. Since I really didn't watch anything on AMC it was no biggie. At least this HD Net channel shows MMA from time to time and they also show a kickboxing program from Belgium. I like that show quite a lot. It's much more fast paced than MMA since there is no grappling. Just punches and kicks and knees. The last one had a bunch of buff Dutch dudes kicking the shit out of dudes from assorted Middle Eastern countries. Very entertaining.

Tonight I was watching the prelims for UFC 148, Chael Sonnen vs Anderson Silva. One of the fights got a little chippy with the Japanese dude doing a bit of eye poking and grazing the other dude's junk a bit. The announcer described it as Old Time Kung Fu--all eye gouging and kicking you in the balls. LOL!!! As a practitioner of Old Time Kung Fu, all I can say is guilty as charged! That's why kung fu isn't the best for MMA. It's the best for real life dirty street fighting. The more vicious the better. And I have some questions for my gentleman reader: Have you ever been kicked in the balls? And have you ever been kicked in the balls while wearing a cup? And if so, does it really hurt that bad even with the cup? Because some of these MMA dudes seem to carry on excessively even if they are only slightly grazed in the nether regions.

In other news: now the damn lawn mower doesn't want to work properly. I figured it was a problem with the spark plug the last time I was mowing since it would start and then crap out. Unfortunately the back-up plug that I had was used but not as dirty as the one being replaced. It worked enough to finish the yard the last time but today when I took out the mower it would start up and then cut out after a few seconds. The air filter was REALLY dirty like it had an entire peat bog sucked into it so I cleaned that out and reinstalled it but it didn't seem to have much of an effect. Then I changed out the gas just in case it was stale. No dice. So I'll have to go buy a new spark plug tomorrow and hope that that's what the problem is. Otherwise it could very well be a carburetor problem. That should be really fun for me to fix. Maybe I should pick up some carb cleaner while I'm at it. I really hope it's just the damn spark pug.

Friday, July 06, 2012


Technically I'm a day early with this but it ties in nicely with the little Japanese theme I've got going on tonight. From time to time I get emails from a certain Japanese Museum and Gardens about 45 minutes drive to the North of me and the latest one is for Tanabata:
Tanabata traces its origins to a legend about lovers that are allowed to meet just once a year—on the seventh day of the seventh month. In Japan, children and adults write wishes on strips of colored paper known as tanzaku, and hang them on bamboo branches. Mirroring that tradition, visitors can write their own wishes and place them on the Tanabata bamboo in the museum lobby.
Well I just happen to have a clump of bamboo growing at the front of my house so maybe I'll go out and make a wish! LOL

Anyway, since I've gotten really out of control with eating lots of crap lately, I've decided to get back on the Healthy Wagon. So when I got hungry for a midnight snack tonight I went and broke out the wakame so I could whip up a quick portion of seaweed salad. I coudn't quite remember the exact ingredients so I just rehydrated the wakame and rinsed it a couple times and squeezed out the excess water. It always smells skanky like a fish's ass so instead of using rice vinegar I decided to use sweet mirin and sesame oil and then added black and regular sesame seeds. The mirin really seemed to knock down the skankiness. I like the texture of the wakame but I generally can't stand that fish smell. I ate the tiny amount that I made and that took care of my appetite. Seaweed is supposed to be healthy and it kills my appetite so I guess that's a win-win.

I'm fairly certain that this is why you don't see many fat Japanese people other than sumos. Japanese food is just something that you don't want to eat a lot of. Too much skanky fish ingredients and other assorted dried things from the sea. It's certainly not my idea of comfort food.

In other food related news, I've already harvested two delicious pineapples from my garden and I'm waiting for the limes to get a bit bigger then delicious limeade here I come!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth! I'll be BBQing ribs and chicken all day and trying to avoid getting shot by the morons around here who can't fucking understand that if you shoot bullets into the air that they are going to come back down again. Of course, I could always take the gunpowder out of some shotgun shells and make some fun homemade fireworks! Or not.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Unrelated Stuff

Okay. I've decided that my MMA walk-up song will be Estuans Interius from Carmina Burana because that song kicks ass and who the hell else would have that for their walk-up? No one, that's who. Besides, the first line is translated "Burning inside with violent anger..." so that is appropriate for MMA.

Because of all the expensive crap that is happening here, I had to break down and call my dad and ask for money. I am loathe to ask anyone for money ever because I hate to owe anyone anything and there always comes quid pro quo when money is involved. Anyway, my dad was leaving to visit his SiL for the holiday and won't be back for a week at which time we'll discuss the matter further. One of his conditions was that he get his old high school year book back from you know who and also some old family still-life paintings from the old country. So once again, I'm glad that I didn't listen to you know who when she was being vindictive and wanted to throw away the aforementioned paintings. She can be such an asshole. It's not like they are Rembrandts or Vermeers but they are my heritage and wouldn't she think that I might want to have them? Well I did want to have them. And I know I saved the biggest one. The little one I can't remember if it got saved. A third one turned out to be just a framed pic from a magazine and I'm pretty sure it got tossed. I hope my dad will be satisfied with getting one back.

Something that really pisses me off is when people try to rip you off for mucho dinero over a repair that is actually quite simple. The materials to do it are not expensive and all it would take is a helper and you know who to get the hell out of the way with all the negativity and just let me do it. But somehow some asshole who will no doubt do sloppy half-assed work will end up doing it because you know who thinks that that person has some kind of "special" skill and expertise in the matter. Seriously, all kinds of shit would get done around here if it wasn't for her but because she's such a pain in the ass it's just easier for me to avoid the conflict and not do anything. So I am at a permanent impasse. That is all for now.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

One of the Many Reasons Why I Don't Listen to My Mother

At my house there is a crawl space that sits between the two attic spaces-one upper and one lower(split-level house). For as long as I can remember it has been used for storage. It had a massive amount of old suitcases in there and they were all nasty with attic funk and the hardware on them was rusty from the heat and humidity. I have a nice new set of luggage and the likelihood of these old nasty things ever being used again was nil so the decision to toss them was made.

While I was taking them out to the truck for their trip to the dump, I noticed that one of them felt heavy like there was something inside. Being late in the day and since the dump closed early, the luggage got to sit out in the truck until the next day. So the next day I decided to take all the luggage out one by one and do a thorough search since I couldn't remember exactly which one felt like it still had some contents. So my mother was like, "Oh, I don't know why you're bothering with that! I would *never* leave anything in there!" So I ignored her. I knew that one of them felt heavy and I was going to find out what was in there.

Like I said, most of the latches were rusted and I couldn't get some of them open but it was obvious that they were empty. One of the little toiletry cases had some old soap and some other assorted crap. Then next to last was our winner! Lo and behold, I open it up and there are a bunch of old framed pictures that I remember from my grandmother's house! A pic of my great-grandmother, one of my great-grandfather, another one of my great-grandmother and a great aunt, one of my aunt when she was in the army, and my grandfather's expert .38 caliber pistol certificate from the Coast Guard. Yeah, I like how nothing would EVER have been left in the luggage.

So I called my mother out to take a look at what I had just found. She was quite surprised. I told her that that was one reason why I don't listen to her. LOL She had no real reply other than she can't think of how those pictures got in there. Well, I don't know either but I'm very happy to have found them.