Category Archives: cool things

The Bruce Lee School of Culinary Arts

Went to a surf n’ turf party the other night.  A surf n’ turf party is a party that starts out as a lobster bake, but grows to include a number of people who don’t eat lobster and so show up with steak.  I was a steak person, because I am a terrible Nova Scotian and I hate lobster (more for the rest of you!).  This was a kickboxer’s party, and ridiculous things tend to happen at kickboxer’s parties when things need to get tenderized.

Meat and Fists!

The best thing is, it was the most tender steak I’ve ever had, swear to God.  Possibly because I beat it way longer than was necessary, because punching things is an act of joy for me, but still, man, good steak.  I highly suggest that every serious chef procure, as a matter of a complete kitchen set, a martial artist.

I partnered with Phil in kickboxing yesterday, and that was very good because he really kept me on my toes.  I was dropping my right hand, as is my stupid tendency, and Phil just hit me in the face to remind me to not do that.  I returned the favour, because this is what good partners do (for real).

Biking is going well.  I tried biking in a skirt, while wearing shorts underneath, just because I was sick of always wearing jeans.  Alas, the skirt did eventually get stuck in the spokes.  There is probably some trick to skirt-biking where I bunch it all up and look ridiculous, so maybe I’ll just stick with jeans and shorts and blah blah blah.  I do love my pretty skirts, though.

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CLA Insanity!

I have had a sufficiently insane week to last me for a while.  I wound up volunteering for the Canadian Library Association’s 2011 Conference as Classy Erica’s photography assistant, which meant I went to every single event and wrote down every single person’s name, pretty much.  The basic gig was writing down the names of people in Erica’s photos, and it was so incredibly fun, you guys!  I got to go to fun events from daybreak to sunset for free and hang out with Erica.  I spent the entire four days pretty much living off of trade show cookies, because those are really easy to grab while you’re running around, but at the end of the fourth day this kind of leads to a stomach ache.  Anyway, librarians are incredibly nice people, photography looks a lot like networking, and my advice, you awesome people, is to always say yes to everything, because sometimes this leads an unemployed loser to the VIP party.  (Also, if you can pull it off, try to wander past Erica at the precise moment she’s looking to grab a person for the sweetest, craziest volunteer gig possible.  This is the moneymaker.)

I’m trying to think of what the hell else I’ve done, but CLA sort of filled up my brain for the past little while.  In kickboxing last week we practiced a lot of clinch stuff, which is always fun.  Clinch with the big boxing gloves on is a huge pain, especially when you’re in a clinch and trying to get your hands between your opponent’s arms.  It’s incredible awkward and you get all scratched up by the velcro on the gloves, but that’s how it is in the matches, so it’s how we must practice.  Anyway, knees in the clinch are a ton of fun!  We were trying knees when you’re the one being held in the clinch.  It’s a “I’m just going to keep hurting you until you let me go” kind of thing.

Watched UFC 130 at Bubba Ray’s the other night, but I’ve been up early so much for the conference I was practically asleep by the main event.  It ended in a rear naked choke, which is my favourite choke, and I didn’t even notice or care, I was just ready for bed.  Struve vs. Browne was my favourite fight, anyway, because it was a 6’7″ guy against a 6’11” guy and I was imagining Tokyo all around their feet.  Seriously, how do weight classes even work with guys that tall? I’m pretty sure Struve was trying to use the edge of the cage to armbar Browne at one point, they’re both so tall they were just towering over it.

Ugh, my apartment really needs to be tidied.  I was running in and out of it so quickly all this week, just throwing everything down, and yesterday was “rest” day, so today is the day I’m pretty sure I have to actually clean and stuff.  Yuck.

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MMA Days!

We had the greatest kickboxing class.  MMA class!  This is, Mixed Martial Arts, which is what UFC is all about.  Basically, it’s mixing grappling and kickboxing, in this case kickboxing while on the ground.  So first my partner, a big guy, sat on my chest while I punched up at him for at least three minutes, I couldn’t see the clock but holy crap it’s hard to punch up.  I had to keep moving around, too, and trying to bump him off, which means basically bucking up with my hips to try to get him off my chest.  The poor guy wasn’t very used to grappling, though, so I had to remind him a few times to be really heavy on me and actually have his full weight on my chest.

Next!  I got to sit on a heavy bag and punch down on it.  So much fun, not even kidding.  I always wondered how the UFC fighters threw proper punches on the ground, since they didn’t have the full range of motion, but you can really get your hips going!  I now love hammerfists, and I only just discovered them in that exercise.  Also, we did an exercise where we laid on the ground and scooted in a circle on our backs while kicking right up into a front kick.  Basically, kicking the person in the face before they try to get past your legs and into your person.  These are the lessons that will get me confused in grappling class.

In another day entirely, I finally went to a co-ed grappling class!  And I even rolled with a man!  Very exciting!  (Although, when I explained it to Classy Erica, I phrased it, “I went with the men!  Now my knees are so bruised.”  I need to get better at saying things.  I am covered in awesome new bruises, is my point.)  We played a great game called Bulldog, which is sort of like Red Rover with your eyes closed and also violence.  Hard to explain quickly, but it is full of testosterone and badass and I enjoyed it.  I hope to play it more once I get better at it and the guys know me better and are more willing to tackle me.  The learning part involved a lot of really fun take-downs that I can’t remember the names of, so I can’t link to them here.  The important part is that I remember how to do them (I CAN’T REMEMBER HOW TO DO THEM).

Yesterday was my pre-mother’s day visit with Mom, an event celebrated with sushi (every event, people, I am telling you, sushi).  Then, a party with Sam, where I was sociable and talked to people I didn’t know, which was “everyone other than Sam”.  I was competing with other partygoers, to see who knew the fewest people there, and I was the proud winner of that game.

Today I got a last-minute invite to see the play Top Girls, which is seriously awesome and I love it.  The first, long scene could probably just be the whole play, although the rest is worth watching, too.  I have learned about several badass historical ladies I did not know about at all, how terrible is that.  Lady Pope?  How did this chick escape my notice for so long?  Yes, she’s legendary and probably not real, but I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I choose my reality based on it’s fantasticness.

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Extending the lesson

So many exciting shenanigans, I can barely keep up.  (Everyone please remember, I have a very loose definition of “exciting”.)  I went for a cottage weekend with various of The Girls last week, to celebrate our freedom from MLIS-dom.  I ate such a ridiculous amount of food, I am not joking.  If I ever want to become truly skinny, I have to stop being friend with people who are such good cooks, I swear to Christ.  But that would entail losing both wonderful friends and fabulous food, and I’m pretty sure I look awesome anyway, so I’ll just keep everything.

The cottage was lovely, even though I had to leave a day early for work, like a big big loser.  But I had some forest shenanigans.  I did nature yoga!  I did my tree pose on a rock by a still lake, then I found a rock in the middle of a running stream, so I did tree again on it!  It was harder in the running stream, because of the movement.  This is science with yoga I am doing, not fucking around in the woods on one leg.

Then I had to part with the most precious thing, my mother’s car.  Yes, strangely, after Mom got back from her Caribbean adventure she seemed to want her car back.  Also, her cat.  Madness.  I tried to make a run for it, me and the cat against the world, but I can only get places via Google Maps, so the cops can find me pretty fast if they just check my search history (“Come, Kitty, to the Amherst liquor store!  Then the New Brunswick border, and freedom!”).  Also, if I got lost (and I would), I would probably call Mom, which makes stealing her car a little unrealistic.

Hanging out in Truro was good times.  I again played board games with six-year-old Tyler, and again lost to him.  This time it was Trouble, so it’s less likely he was cheating, the little sneak.  Next time I go up, he wants to play chess with me.  God, as you may remember from this, I have played chess exactly once and did pretty badly (though eventually won).  And considering how much this kid kicks my ass, he’s probably going to be giving me pity do-overs.  I think I need to start studying my chess moves in time for my Easter chess beat-down from my tiny nephew.  I’ll play against the three-year-old after, to bolster my ego.  (He will eat my king and I will weep.)

Kickboxing on Friday!  We took a trip to Thai-land, as in Muay Thai, which is seriously fun.  The stance is different, with the hands out in front instead of up next to your face.  It feels very natural for punching, but defensively a little exposed, since I’m used to getting smacked for not having my hands next to my face.  Also, we were supposed to have our legs straighter and bouncier, but I’m pretty sure I immediately forgot that, the way I immediately forget my grappling stance in grappling, because apparently my legs only like to do one thing no matter how stupid that is.  So, we were blocking an overhand hook, grabbing the partner in a one-handed side-clinch, then kneeing him in the stomach.  Then, block the punch, push the face, knee the stomach.  Muay Thai apparently involves a lot of kneeing people in the stomach, which is a thing I can get behind.  We ended with a bit of the old spinning back-kick, which is fun to do once but hard to do, like, twelve times in a row.  I think I need to practice spinning without getting dizzy or something, if that’s a thing, Classy Erica probably knows.

Also in kickboxing, we did an exercise where we had five minutes for holding a plank.  You didn’t have to hold it for the whole five minute, but as soon as you dropped out of the plank, you were done.  My plank is so crappy, I usually can’t hold it for more than a minute, but then I go in and out of it.  So for this, I didn’t want to be the first person in the class to drop out, so I just tried and tried, and lost all track of the concept of time and anything else, and when I finally collapsed it was three and a half minutes.  Holy crap!  I thought I had the worst plank in the whole world!  That time isn’t the best by a long shot (a few people kept it for the whole five), but it’s way better than I ever even dreamed I could do, so I was pretty excited.  Apparently, according to the Plank Gods, if you can hold a plank for two minutes you are Officially Fit.  But the Plank Gods are kind of biased.

Saturday three-hour bootcamp!  Whoo!  We couldn’t go to the gym, so we did it at the club.  This just meant a little less weight-lifting, a little more whatever-insanity-Gerald-could-come-up-with.  The best insanity was a balance exercise where you stood on one leg with your other leg extended as high as possible, in front, to the side, to the back, while moving your arms up, to the sides, in front.  For a very long time.  Seriously working those balance muscles that I’m pretty sure just don’t exist on me.  My balance is so bad, I had to stand facing away from everyone else, so everything I was looking at was completely still.  I managed to zebra up my legs because I retarded when it comes to skipping ropes, as it turns out.  We also did piggyback calf-raises, and I actually collapsed when my piggybackee hopped on me the first time.  She was bigger than me, and my piggyback posture is apparently bad.  I’ve always been strong enough to power up from my bent back with partners my own size, but it’s different when they’re heavier than you.  So!  Long-time readers may remember my guide to being a piggybackee.  Now I will impart the lessons on giving a piggyback ride.

  • Keep your back up straight.  You’ll want to lean forward, to equalize the weight.  This will actually throw off your balance!
  • Have your legs bent and shoulder-width apart, with one in front of the other for balance.
  • You are strong enough!  Booyah!

Today I finally got back to grappling.  I missed it for the past few weeks because of crazy homework and the like.  But I’m back!  We learned a really cool take-down called the head-snap.  Basically, you just grab the back of your opponent’s head and shove it down quickly, and then they’re on the ground!  And if they only go halfway down, then you choke them.  If they don’t go down at all, then I don’t know what to tell you, my algorithm has failed.  Then we did the Fireman’s Carry Takedown, which is fun as hell but really not something I plan on busting out until I practice it a little more.  You wind up in a weird position after the person flips.  At the end, rolling!  I used the head-snap, which is so simple and effective, so much love.

Last night I went with various (former) classmates to watch some archival footage from the thirties in a church.  It was strangely engaging.  There were home movies of someone’s honeymoon from 1932, documentaries about porpoise hunters, and also the greatest short, ever.  It was about burglars and mushroom casserole and it seriously needs to be remade by Jerry Bruckheimer as a summer blockbuster stat.  No one else in the church seemed to find it as hilarious as us, though, which is weird, because it had the most bizarre plot, but everything hung together perfectly.  Like a perfect short story, that ends with a pile of burglar corpses strewn merrily across your livingroom while everyone laughs.

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Library-House-Party-Hard!

There was a charity bottle-drive at the Library House last night.  You brought your bottles, full of alcohol, emptied them accordingly, then donated the emptied to the Student Union.  I actually lost my wine bottle mid-emptying, which was probably for the best, since I could have fun regardless and not be hungover for kickboxing.  It’s win-win!  Presumably, the bottle was adopted and consumed by some vagrant first-year and donated.  Win-win-win!

I learnt many fascinating things, including things about book clubs.  Did you know, Internet, that the cool book clubs barely involve books at all?  And I have been declared cool enough to join these cool book clubs?  Now I just need to find one!  Or start one!  Maybe I could advertise it, like, COME TO MY BOOK CLUB.  THERE’S NO READING LIST, ONLY A WINE LIST.  VODKA COUNTS AS WINE.

After Library Party, I went out dancing with Andrea and her friend Julie.  I haven’t gone out dancing in a million years!  I’d seriously forgotten how fun it is.  I incorporated my bellydancing, just a little.  It doesn’t work too much on the regular dance floor, but I was working the hip circles in, and Andrea assured me I didn’t look completely stupid.  That’s all I hope for from any situation, really.

I went to bed at 3 last night, which is the latest I’ve gone to bed in years.  How do people function like this?  I’ve been making a habit of late nights, what with this blasted social life and all, so I may have to rethink my “always up at 7am” rule.  It’s just getting ridiculous.

Coolest thing I learnt in kickboxing in a while.  When pregnant, which exercise do you think suffers the most?  Try to guess, but it’s totally mindblowing.  OK, here it is: pushups!  There’s no way to do a full pushup, because you’ll crush your little baby!  I just found that so entertaining.  You’d think situps or something like that, but it’s pushups.  No one argue with me about this, by the way.  I have no backing, a kickboxer who had recently had a baby just told me this.

I’ve decided to move towards sparring at some point, so I’m going to buy some boxing gloves and all the other gear.  I’ll put up a picture of myself all decked out whenever I get it.  If anyone takes a picture of me getting my ass completely whupped, I’ll also post that.  Should be good times.

Holy crap, do I see sunlight?  Can I leave the house without getting rained all over?  I can put on clothes and everything, sweet-ass!

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Dreamy

I had my last hulahoop class of the summer today, so it’s time to move on to a new project.  I’ve decided on: lucid dreaming!  It all flows so nicely, right?  I know, you may think this is because of that movie Inception, but it’s really not.  Well, indirectly, but just because the movie is probably the reason the New York Times ran this really cool article on nightmares, which reminded me of a lucid dreaming book I read when I was thirteen, and NOW is the time to act on it, goddammit.

(This is what happens when you people leave me to my own devices for an entire lunch hour.)

Anyway, the advice in the book was this: draw a C on the back of your left hand with permanent marker (or on tape on your hand for you “losers” who don’t “poison” in your “blood”).  The C stands for Conscious, and every time you look at it, remind yourself that you’re awake.  The idea is that, eventually, you’ll start noticing in your dreams that you don’t have the C, realize that you’re dreaming, and BAM, you’re lucid dreaming.  I remember it actually started to work when I was a teenager, but I stopped because I kept waking myself up when I woke up in the dream.  So I’m trying again.

Now!  I’m taking dream requests!  If/when I start lucid dreaming, anyone have anything they think I should dream about?  The tough thing about lucid dreams is figuring out what to do once you realize it’s a dream.  Yes, the flying is obvious, but I can’t help but feel there’s so much more out there.  So, hit me with your best shots.  No reasonable offer will be refused.

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