Sunday, March 29, 2009



Grandpa here. I hope your doing well in school. Why aren't you studying now? :-) I went for a jog two days ago, two miles there and back. At the park that I ran to, I did some gymnastic rings exercises - pushups, decline rows and dips. My arms were shaking like crazy. It's been so hard for me to be consistent, to be disciplined. I wonder if you have that problem too, if maybe not being able to stick to a plan is genetic. I'll try harder and hopefully you will too.

I have a test and a paper due at school this week. I was procrastinating, and worrying about procrastinating and procrastinating by worrying when I got some good news. I got an 87% on a test I took a few weeks back. You know how smart your grandpa is, but, I have to confess, I still get surprised when I get A's. Almost as if I don't believe that I should get A's, that I deserve them. I hope I'm there for you when you feel that way, so I can tell you how much I love you, and how much you do deserve them. Because we all deserve good things. We just don't always do what it takes to get what we deserve.

I've been working at this nursing home for the last month or so. I see these old folks and their families walking around, and how they get along. Everytime I come here, I feel an overwhelming urge to write to you all. I want you to know that I was young once and how I thought and felt, when I was strong and able, before I got to be forgetful and a little embarrassing. I look at these elderly people and I wonder what they would say if they could still say it, what's stuck in the pipes, trying to get out to no avail. When you see me next, what will I try to say that I've forgotten? Well, hopefully, like with the jogging and exercise thing, I'll stick to this log and write enough here that you won't have to wonder. Hopefully I'll write enough that you'll know everything I had to say, good and bad.

I never really knew my grandparents. My parents loved them so much, and I didn't know them at all. I find that sad, sad to the point of offensiveness. How could something like that happen? If my brother came up to me with a girl at his side and said, "Oh, Rhonda? I've loved her my whole life, didn't I introduce you two already?" how would I feel? That's why I'm devoting my next entry to your great-grandparents. Without a doubt Patricia Veronica Eileen Rogers and Anthony Leroy Devonish are the reason why I was at all, why these words even exist. I love them so much - as much as you love your parents - and now I'm going to tell you why...


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Academedia part I

To my beloved grandchildren,

These were the classes that I took when I was a kid. I spent hours studying them. If you ever wonder who I was, below will give you a clue:

Transformers - Thundercats - G.I. Joe - BraveStarr - Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - Bucky O'hare - The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show - My Pet Monster - C.O.P.S. - Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Captain N the Game master - Reboot - Beast Wars /Beast Machines - Batman the Animated Series - X-men - Spiderman - Inspector Gadget - Action Man - Conan the Adventurer - Rurouni Kenshin - Futurama - Cowboy Bebop - Samurai Champloo - Justice League - Tiny Toons - Animaniacs - Darkwing Duck - Tail Spin - Ducktales - Star Wars: Ewoks - Star Wars: Droids - The Smurfs - The Bots Master - Skyland - Ghost in the Shell - GitS: Stand Alone Complex - Appleseed - Dragonball - Dragonball Z - Babar - Gargoyles - Bionic Six - Captain Planet and the Planeteers - Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers - He-man and the Masters of the Universe - Arsene Lupin/Nighthood - CyberSix - The Adventures of Tintin - Silverhawks - Voltron - The Racoons - Rupert - Exosquad - Samurai Jack - Ninja Scroll - Macross Plus - Ivanhoe the King's Knight - Rugrats - Duckman - Avatar: The Last Airbender - Spawn - Astro Boy

Reading this list, I'm astonished by how much of what I think is cool or interesting has an element in one of these shows. And some of them are frankly...pretty lame. But what fills your mind when you're a kid becomes your own personal heaven, the things you love the most.


Friday, March 13, 2009


I've participated in martial arts for a long while now. I feel confident that I'm an expert, even though I've never been in a real fight. The reason why I'm an expert in martial arts is because really the only guaranteed way to win a fight is to not engage in fighting. The martial arts are meant to keep people safe; I've led a very safe life. I can stand up for what I believe in and confront people without being confrontational. I can destroy my enemies by making them friends. It's a much more long term approach to violence I feel.

As for the actual dirty work of failing to get along with people, failing to see ahead, failing to find common ground and finally having to resort to hitting people, well I appreciate that what knowledge I have in that is more theoretical than practical. But to get actual practical experience in actually being in danger and actually getting out of danger I would have to actually put myself in danger. Which runs contrary to the martial arts. See the dilemma for anyone who actually thinks about these things...

There is a message board. I know what you're thinking: message board, place where the nameless and faceless meet on matters so important that you never think to see who it is you're actually talking to. But this board is special. Bullshido exists to try and combat all the assumptions in the martial arts that cause reasonable people to be even worse off in a fight: by giving the wrong impression that they know what they're getting into. This was a noble endeavour. But like so many things on the Web, the site went viral. And now a cause started out of love for something slowly transformed into something more or less driven by hate. Someone cared enough about the martial arts to say "Hey that guys teaching shit, listen to your heart and head first!" and that's where it started. Now it basically amounts to "That guys doing something different than what I think works ergo he's full of shit!" It's become a game, a game to see who can discredit something without any experience in it first.

And for what really? The momentary self-gratification that comes with the insignificant, biased self-assurance that what you're learning is the truth and what everyone else is learning is "bullshido"? Is that supposed to make you more dangerous, more safe? The martial arts are a physical undertaking. All the talk and all the reading in the world isn't going to make you an authority on it. No one's punch or ground game ever got better by spending 3 minutes to write a post about how this style or teacher is full of crap. And even if you fought the guy and beat him, does that mean that your style is better? Or does it just mean you were better than him today? If you lose, should you call the dude "master"?

Bullshido used to be a place by which those with no experience who wanted to start into the combat arts could get some sage warnings about what to look out for, where to start. Now its little more than a clique: like the 'plastics' in Tina Fey's 'Mean Girls', trying to validate themselves by invalidating as much around them as possible.

Which brings me back to my original point. The only certainty in the martial arts. Don't have to fight! People who don't have to fight never lose. People who only fight when its the last resort don't get sued! We like to think that there are more certainties than that: fights going to the ground, knives coming out of boots, tasers putting someone down - but that's all theoretical. Fighting is like water running down a hill. It never takes the same path but the result is always the same. Water runs downhill. People who fight get hurt. To assume anything else is to be full of as much "bullshido" as anyone else. They see a vidclip of some new martial art or some fool claiming to be a master, and it isn't enough just to be skeptical - they have to be outright hostile, certain that there's nothing of any value in it. Which sounds to me the way most older martial arts reject out of hand anything different that comes along. The new martial tradition has come full circle, and become the thing it despised...

Lindsay Lohan (of all people) said it best in Mean Girls: calling something stupid doesn't make you smarter, calling someone ugly doesn't make you prettier. All the posts on Bullshido claiming something is fake doesn't make the posters more legit. All the posts saying someone is weak doesn't make them stronger. I just hope they spend as much time thinking about which techniques will work 100% of the time as they spend writing about which techniques of other people will fail 100% of the time. Because at the end of the day, after we've put down every fighting style and teacher in the world, there will still be just that one technique that will definitely guarantee victory. And you can't practise it on a punching bag...