Frequent blog reader Tav recently commented on a blog post, asking about my New Year’s Resolutions.* Actually, I’m making pretty good progress so far this year. One goal that didn’t make the resolution list is my desire to work as a bouncer in a night club for a week. Of course, the clubs don’t hire just anyone for those jobs. You have to be HUGE, menacing, or have SPECIAL SKILLS. Since I’m not gigantic, I’ve had to focus on the later two qualifications.
It’s no secret that I am training to become a cage fighter.** What do you need to know to be a ninja? Grappling, jujitsu and striking. Combine those abilities with speed, agility, strength and cunning and you’re well on your way to MMA greatness.
Several of you saw my office boxing match posted on YouTube a year or so ago. Sadly the video doesn’t display the details of the match: Me: 5’10″ 195lbs vs Tyler: 6’5″ 250lbs. I was outgunned and should have died. I did get off balance and stumble once, likely because I was winded and I’m a bit top heavy and because Tyler is a giant of a man. Also, my boxing form sucks. In sum, the match was sloppy and I had no endurance. You should also know that we had an a priori agreement which banned punches to the head.
That was then. After that match, earlier this year, I joined the Throwdown Elite Training Center in Orem. Throwdown is a fighting gym with classes in Muay Thai kickboxing, Jujitsu, boxing, etc. I’ve also increased my protein intake– I drink several Myoplex or Muscle Milk shakes each day.
What is my fighting background? Well, I am the youngest of three brothers and Chris and David used me as a punching bag when I was younger. Consequently, I can take a hit. I also enrolled in Taekwondo (at BYU), studied jujitsu (with Michael Pease) and took Kobayashi Shorin Ryu (with Sensai Tim Gilbert)– yes I can break boards with my bare hands.
** Do I have my reservations about competing in the ring, fist to fist with crazy-eyed, meth-head thugs? Yes. Primarily I’d not like to get my nose broken. I have a nice nose and it would be a shame to mess that up.
Overheard: A good friend just emailed me this thread, which appears to be a rude conversation between two misogynistic guys grumbling about women. I’m posting it here for your review. Warning: it’s a bit harsh in places…
Guy1: Women make mediocre CEO’s
Guy2: And second-tier athletes.
Guy1: That’s a good one. And bad soldiers.
Guy2: And inept pilots.
Guy1: And second-rate doctors.
Guy2: They’re great at cleaning.
Guy1: And whining.
Guy2: And spending money.
Guy1: Our money.
Guy2: Yeah, and they can’t do math.
Guy1: And they are terrible at giving directions.
Guy2: They’re no help if you have to build anything.
Guy1: They’re a drag on camp outs.
Guy2: They have to pee way too often.
Guy1: They have far too many names for colors.
Guy2: They’re afraid of spiders, mice, the dark, and getting fat.
Guy1: They spend countless dollars and time transforming themselves into something they’re not, and then complain that men are dishonest.
Guy2: They can’t do pull-ups.
Guy1: They yell if you don’t read their minds.
Guy2: They can spend all day with their girlfriends, but begrudge you a three hour ballgame.
Guy1: They are terrible board game partners.
Guy2: They are useless in an auto body shop.
Guy1: They bring home stray cats.
Guy2: They’re a liability in a hostage situation.
Guy1: And in the White House.
Guy2: They can’t wire things up.
Guy1: They have a scarcity mentality.
Guy2: And are distrustful and suspicious.
Guy1: And they want to know what you are thinking all the time.
Guy2: They can’t believe it when you reply “nothing.”
Guy1: They paint their toenails and then wear closed-toe shoes.
Guy2: They have cold hands and feet.
Guy1: They’re always making you turn up the thermostat.
Guy2: And roll up the window.
Guy1: They just weigh the car down when it’s stuck in the mud.
Guy2: They criticize men incessantly.
Guy1: They panic in emergency situations.
Guy2: Horrible rodeo clowns.
Guy1: They enjoy the worst movies.
Guy2: They’re always rearranging the furniture.
Q. What might a conversation between two men-hating women look like??
Growing up, I stored my clothes in a piece of furniture I thought was called the chester drawers, (perhaps named after a gentleman named Chester?) It was only as a senior in high school that I learned its real name was “chest of drawers.” I know, I know, I’m a genius. I am reminded of Ramona the Pest (a character and a story by Beverly Clearly), where Ramona believes that the national anthem speaks of a donzerly light. Now that I think about it, I was once convinced that Jingle Bells referenced a “one horse slopen sleigh.” Clearly I have a thing or two to learn about listening. Maybe my New Year’s Resolutions should have included, “become a better listener”, instead of “Work at McDonalds for a week.” I donno. A week at McDonalds would be pretty fun. In my mind, it would go something like this:
Now that my time in Miami has come to a close, I contemplate the travel adventures I’ve had over the past few years. When I go overseas, particularly to third world countries, I dress for the occasion– frequently wearing cargo pants, plain tee shirts and a safari vest. Safari vests (aka photographers’ vests or fishing jackets) are also sported by Blackwater mercenaries worldwide. They’re convenient (lots of pockets), have breathable fabric and look sharp (at least I think so.) Kristen and Larissa thought it hilarious to take photos of old men in similar vests during our recent Eastern Europe trip. Very funny, ladies. They even coined a new name for them: Utilivests.
But they don’t understand… It’s adventurewear. My philosophy? If you dress for adventure, adventure happens. Of course, it doesn’t always happen– my brother, hoping for a different kind of adventure, brought a flashy clubbing shirt to our Belize trip last year. He wore it to the only club-like establishment we could find– a karaoke bar in the middle of the dense jungle where we were the only patrons…
Upon being named the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, Barack Obama was asked to write his memoirs. A year later he published Dreams from My Father, A Story of Race and Inheritance. The book is well written (maybe it’s too good? my brother suspects it’s ghostwritten) and is the melancholic reflections of a troubled man and his struggle for self identity, meaning and purpose.
It chronicles Obama’s life in Hawaii, Indonesia, and inner city Chicago (as a community organizer) and his first trip to Kenya. Warning: the language is at times course and vulgar. On the upside, you’ll find the book is very open and honest; Obama admits to drug use, alcohol and smoking and womanizing. The 442 pages take a while to read because the book raises thoughtful questions about race relations, family ties, and the controversial Reverend Wright.
Fast fact: his friends and family call him Barry. Here’s an excerpt from the book, page 287:
[They would ask me,] Why don’t you come by on Sunday? And I would shrug and play the question off, unable to confess that I could no longer distinguish between faith and mere folly, between faith and simple endurance; that while I believed in the sincerity I heard in their voices, I remained a reluctant skeptic, doubtful of my own motives, wary of expedient conversion, having too many quarrels with God to accept a salvation too easily won.
Unlike Eastern Europe, Miami does have laundromats*, or at least one anyway. And that’s where we are now. Because I chose to bring ten books and two laptops and not check luggage, I didn’t have much space for clothes. That means I ran out on day two. So here I am on day five, having paid three fifty for an ancient, medieval washing machine that, to start, took the foreign attendant reaching into a gaping space filled with electrical wires where the control panel should have been and flipping a switch a few times, before, with a loud knock, the machine sputtered to life.
I don’t mean to blindly follow the trend of incessant Twittering about mundane minutiae, but who am I to oppose such a momentous tide? As I sit here, watching the rotors on the machines turn back and forth, I’m lulled into reflection about Miami.
It seems that the majority of people in Miami speak a language other than English. For instance, on the cab ride back from the Vizcaya mansion last night, the cabbie (from Haiti) and I conversed in French. PAUL, a great sandwich shop where we’ve eaten every day, is staffed by French people, though they haven’t been particularly enthusiastic about talking to me. We’ve meet friends from Italy, Canada, South America, various island nations, etc.
Spanish language people must account for half of the population here. As a result, though it irritates my brother, I like trying out my foreign language skills with the locals. Do you appreciate diversity?
* Most people (including you) pronounce the word lawn-dra-mat, instead of lawn-dro-mat like it’s spelled.
I’m not much of a fisherman. There have only been a few fishing experiences in my entire life. The oldest such memory was when I was maybe 8 years old and my dad and I went fishing, for one of the famous special day outings. I’m not sure I caught any fish, but I do recall that my shoe got stuck and lost in the mud.
So it should come as no surprise to you that I decided to go deep sea fishing today aboard the 76 foot Miami Reward. Deep sea/sport fishing is just like regular fishing except that out in international waters you can catch a lot more fish and licensing doesn’t seem to be enforced.
How was it? Well, there we were, the Byrd brothers and twelve others, tossed back and forth by the irregular pitching of the boat. Several miles off shore, we were in 150′ deep, turquoise water. Squawking gulls circled overhead. The drunk, yet sprightly boat crew hurried about with large grins, fishhooks and cans of beer. A strong fishy aroma of the freshly caught bait floated on the light breeze. Across the bow, the Miami coastline was a barely visible ghost along the horizon. The low, droning hum of the boat motor underlied our conversations as we slowly reeled in our line under the beating sun.
What did we get? Well, our trip landed dolphin (Mahi Mahi), a Remora (suckerfish), and King Fish. No neither David nor I got anything- my line snapped and David’s fish was stolen away. But, a good time was had by all. Plus, I didn’t lose a shoe…