Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Aside from That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was the Play?

I noticed quite a few police cars with sirens on my way home from work yesterday. I assumed it was because yesterday was Free Ice Cream Day at Ben and Jerry's, and they couldn't contain their joy. But no such luck. I was about two blocks from the Ninja Fortress and I asked someone who apparently saw what transpired.

Guy: There was a gunfight, right here. [points to where we're standing]

LadyBehindMe: Oh my G*d, I hope no one was hurt.

Ninja: Oh my G*d, I hope that doesn't hurt my property value
when it's time to sell.

[looks of disapproval from Guy and Lady Behind Me and other lady]

Ninja: and uhhh, I also hope that no one was hurt or something. Cuz,
yeah, I'm like a humanitarian...and stuff...

Since I can be honest on here, I will say that property values were the first thing on my mind. Say what you want about gentrification, but there are lot less of these incidents since they started building luxury condos in my neighborhood. There are also nicer places to shop, better restaurants, and bars that you can take a girl to without her thinking that you are about to sell her to human trafickers. The only "restaurant" that was around before gentrification was a chinese food place that required you to order from behind bullet proof glass (not making this up).

I moved in a couple of months after the first supermarket opened in this neighborhood. I don't know where poor people got there food from before I moved there, but it's not something I think about a lot because it makes my head hurt. Since I've been there (only 3 short years) they have opened up trendy restaurants, bars, and now a mega retail place with Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Washington Sports Club, and Staples. This place is starting to look like Bethesda (and I mean that in the nicest possible way).

Since I like my neighborhood the way it is, if you're thinking of shooting someone in my neighborhood, why don't you go someplace else and do it. As you can see from this METRO Map, you can take the Green and Yellow Lines from my neighborhood to other neighborhoods where you can kill each other without affecting my investment. It would be really nice if you took the train to the last possible stop. The Green Line train can take you to Branch Avenue or Greenbelt and the Yellow Train can take you to Fort Totten or Huntington. Thanks for your cooperation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DC Frustrations and the Jedi Mind Trick

I don't want to turn this into an anti-dc blog, but if you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have no love for the DC police department, whose mixture of incompetence and laziness is only rivalled by their stupidity.

This weekend I'll be helping a friend of mine move. Being from the midwest, he probably was underestimating how dangerous his neighborhood would be. But after his third mugging in a year, he's had enough of his neighborhood. The first two times he fought the muggers off*. But this time there were four of them and one of them had a gun.

He was sitting on his stoop drinking coffee and working on some papers when they approached and pulled a gun on him and demanded his money. He said he didn't have any money on him, which was true. All he had was coffee. And not even good coffee at that. Unsatisfied with the java, they ordered him to open up the door to his place. Two of his female roommates were asleep inside. He didn't know what would happen to his roommates if he let these guys inside, but you can bet it wasn't going to be good. He said he wouldn't do it. I'm sure if he had, the odds are good that it would've turned into rape/robbery or rape/murder/robbery. But being from the midwest he was willing to take a bullet to protect them. He said no again, and was able to bluff his away out of it. "There's 8 people in that house man, it's not worth it, just walk away." And surprisingly, they did.

Now, I've always been a fan of Star Wars and, as a kid, I wanted to be a Jedi. (shutup, you know you did too). The coolest thing about Jedis (aside from the light saber) was the jedi mind trick. I always thought that the Jedi Mind Trick was fake (like light sabers), but maybe Lucas was onto something. Imagine how much easier life would be if the Jedi Mind Trick was real.

Boss: Frankly, you hardly show up for work anymore and when you do, your work
sucks. we're not giving you a raise this year, ninja.

Ninja: Yes, you are.

Boss: Okay, we are.

Or in other contexts! For instance, my site is number on the interweb when you do a Google Search for Rachel McHottie. And it just so happens that Rachel McAdams is in DC RIGHT NOW filming a movie with the asshat who shall remain Russell Crowe. Imagine if I had the Jedi Mind Trick for this:
Rachel: Look, I don't know how you talked your way past all my security guards, but this is my movie trailer and I don't like coming in here and finding you going through my underwear drawers. So, take your flowers and 24 pack of condoms and get out, I'm not marrying you.

Ninja: Yes you are.

Rachel: Okay, maybe I am.

Back to the story. So he did what you're supposed to do when someone points a gun at you and tries to rob you: he called the cops. Now, I don't know if there was a sale down at the Dunkin' Doughnuts store, or if the whore house was giving a buy one get one free deal on deviant sex, but those cops took their time in coming (no pun intended). They got there 2 and half hours later.

I'm sure you're not surprised that they didn't find the guys. It doesn't take very long to flee a crime scene, but in 2 and half hours, you could pretty much crawl back to your hideout, stop for some pizza on the way, chat with some friends, smoke a cigarette and rob someone else and still have time to make it home before the cops get there. TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!

Maybe those fat doughnut eating morons aren't as dumb as they look. If you knew that there was a guy running around with a gun, and you'd run into him if you got there quick enough, maybe you would take your own sweet time too. Or...if you're not going to do the job they are paying you to do, maybe you should quit and become a panhandler.
And Breaaaaathe!!!!
Soooo....what are you guys up to this weekend?
*His Jiu Jitsu is better than mine, and his Muay Thai standup skillz are pretty good too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

10 Things I Have Learned From Girls I Dated

  1. The girl on Sex and The City with the horse face is Sarah Jessica Parker. (women like her because she has a horse face but wears nice clothes and dates lots of guys);
  2. If a woman sees you holding a baby and not looking terrified, it's better than foreplay (the key is to wear your terror on the inside);
  3. If you ask a girl what's wrong and she says "nothing", she is lying (that's why you should pretend not to notice);
  4. Girls like watching you do guy stuff, like fixing things. (they like it almost as much as watching you hold a baby while not looking terrified);
  5. Girls are better drivers than men (they can drive and have conversations with full eye-contact at the same time while killing a suprisingly low number of pedestrians);
  6. Yes, girls do need that many shoes (supposedly);
  7. If a really attractive girl walks into a bar wearing anything remotely sexy, then she is a bitch, and where does she get off walking around with those hooker shoes and last season's Dolce? (and no, I was not checking her out...really...I swear...what?);
  8. For attractive girls, a cover charge is like a neutrino. It exists in theory, but no one has ever seen proof of one in person (same thing for speeding tickets);
  9. If you do her a favor and wash some dishes or something and she says "does this look clean to you?" it's a rhetorical question; (and she's a b1tch);
  10. Women who don't like dogs can't be trusted (they are those pygmies in africa who eat their babies and talk with that clicking sound).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vision Quest Meets Rocky

Well, I continue to search for things that I suck at, but I am so awesome that it's difficult to find anything. Let's add submission grappling to the list. But first...some background.

I started learning karate when I was about 12. Only it wasn’t just karate. The school was taught by an old school karate master and an old school judo and jiu jitsu master who thought that by combining grappling with punching and kicking, it would make you a more effective fighter. Although this sounds obvious to anyone who watches Ultimate Fighting, in the 1980s it was really radical thinking. It was like saying that Cold War would end without a shot fired, or that women in p0rn would one day ditch their crotch afros and go completely bald. Crazy talk!

Eventually, I got a few months more Judo training from this guy. I stopped when I got a concussion. But even then I realized what a useful skill ground fighting was. If you could hurt someone that bad by accident, imagine what you could if you were doing it on purpose. If something existed at the time that had let you do more grappling, with less crazy throwing-people-on-their-heads moves, I probably would've done it. Not that I mind throwing people on their heads, but in class you usually take turns doing stuff, and the part where I land on my head kinda sucks. Nowadays, there are a lot of jiu jitsu schools where you learn of lot of groundwork and not a lot of throws, but they weren't around in the 80s.

My training in grappling isn’t extensive, but what little I know has come in surprisingly handy over the years. A big drunk a-hole doesn’t think anything of punching a little guy in the face if he’s had a few beers and his girlfriend is checking me out, but alcohol makes it surprisingly easy to knock him off balance and he usually don’t fight very well after he falls face first into a bar stool or the floor.

I started training in jiu jitsu again recently. I do okay against the people in my class (even though I’m usually the smallest guy there), but I wasn’t sure if it’s just because I was eventually figuring out their weaknesses, so I wanted to enter into a tournament to see how I do against strangers.
Now, I have competed in karate tournaments (punching and kicking) but never in a jiu jitsu tournament. Grappling against someone who knows what they are doing is much different than some random drunk or crackhead.

I like training jiu jitsu because it’s a really good workout. If I go to the gym, it’s hard to stay motivated because lifting weights is really repetitive and borCheck Spellinging. But I have no motivation problem in jiu jitsu. It’s easy to stay focused and motivated when there is a fat guy with his knee on your chest trying to rip your arm out its socket or choke you unconscious.

So a couple of people in my class decide to go to a tournament "nearby". It turns out it was almost 3 hours away, which meant that I was going to have to wake up at 5am to get there. For some reason I thought the tournament was only a half an hour away. Geography is not my strong suit.

Me: Why are we meeting at 5:30 am?

Friend: We're taking D's truck to the event.

Me: Doesn't his truck have second gear?

Although it was kinda far, and although I didn't get down to the weight I wanted to, I decided to do it anyway. I ended up at the bottom of the 160-180 lb category, instead of the top of the 140-159 lb class. Which meant that a lot of those guys walk around at 200 lbs and they dropped weight to compete at 180 lbs. Not good for me, but whatever. I'll try anything once. I won't bore you with a play-by-play, but here's the pics that I have from the event. I competed in about 5 events. Some were with gi (uniform) and some were no-gi, they were in the novice division.

Here I am fighting for second place in the no-gi event. Sadly, I lost and got 3rd. This guy was a wrestler, and I hate fighting wrestlers.
I had a match right before this and I was dead tired. They only gave me 2 minutes to rest, then I was at it again. I had no gas left in my tank and this guy was good...and he fights dirty. He kept grinding his knuckles into my face and trachea when the ref couldn't see.

Here's the beginning of the fight.

I move so fast that existing technology can't capture my movements. They make photo equipment that can capture a bullet in midair, but nothing is fast enough to catch me.

Long story short, eventually he got me in a RNC, and I defended it. He was clamped around my jaw, not my neck and it was uncomfortable, but I could have easilly held on 'till the end of the match. The thing was, that he was way ahead on points and I was out of gas. So if I held on for another minute, he would still win, and if I broke free, I had nothing left in the gas tank so he would win. So I tapped. 3rd place for me! Anyway, I'm not making excuses, he beat me fair and square and even if I was rested, he was really good and would've probably won.

It's hard not to get nervous when your sitting around waiting for your turn. I tried to keep my self psyched up by listening to my iPod while practicing my drills during my downtime. If you ever need some god psyche yourself up music, I suggest some NWA or some of this.

In a way, the best fight I had (even though I lost in the first round) was the open division. The open division takes balls to enter because, like the old school ultimate fighting, it's open to all weight classes. So you have to have to be really dumb....errrr, I mean brave to enter because you could be fighting someone who's 150 lbs heavier than you.

Which happened to my friend Cody. D'oh!

Here I am in the open division. This guy looked like ex-military (there were a lot of people rockin' USMC tattoos at the tournament).

This was my last fight of the day. At this point I was thinking "another fight? can't we all just get along?"

If I remember correctly, he shot for a single leg takedown and I sprawled out of it.
Here I am starting apply my guillotine choke. I cranked this guys neck so hard that I thought I would rip his head clean off his body, but he was tough as nails. He wouldn't tap. Eventually, he got his neck free and got me in side control.

It went downhill from there. After several submission attempts and escapes, he tapped me out with about a minute left in the fight. He had me in an armbar, and although I started to stack him, I wasn't about to try to muscle out of it. I've got a mortgage to pay and getting my arm broken for a medal isn't worth it.

From left to right, here's Sajira with 3rd place in the women's open division, James the instructor, Cody with 2nd place in one of the Gi events, me with 3rd place in one of gi and one of the no-gi events.

I've been on ibuprofen for a couple of days now and both my elbows are hyper-extended, but I got a cool anecdote, some medals (and blog post) out of it.

Here I am with 3 medals. I don't count the third, because for that event (over 30 years old, novice, 160-180lbs, gi) I won because no one else was in that weight class. I wasn't even going to pick up the medal, but I did because I wanted my school to get credit for the win.

So that one I won for being the right weight. Of course, when I tell this story to my grand kids, it will be for killing a lion with my bare hands.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coming soon...

I think it's been more than a couple of weeks since my last post, but I'm not dead (knock wood), just busy. I had hoped that this year would be the first year in a long time when I filed my taxes on time without asking for an extension...but apparently next year will have that honor.

Ironically, I have been trying to get my sh1t organized for some time, and at a party a couple of months ago I met a cute girl who is a professional organizer. I got her number but am so disorganized that I lost it and didn't find it until yesterday. So I called her and we have an appointment set up for a consultation at the fortress, then she's going to put her OCD issues to work on my life. Although she's a hottie, I'm only interested in her professionally. There's no shortage of vaginas in this town, but finding someone who will spend hours sorting through your closets and files so that you don't have to is pretty freaking awesome if you ask me. I hate dealing with own mess, so if you devote your life to fixing other people's messes, you are like those Catholic Nuns who work with lepers or blind kids, in my book.

Before anyone asks...yes, I did lose some weight for that tournament last week...but, no, it was not enough. I ended up near the bottom of the 160-180 lb weight class instead of the top of the 140-159 lb weight class. I'll post a few pics from the tournament next time and tell you how I did, but do it in a way that makes me sound like I'm trying not to brag...even though I am awesome.

There is a (bigger) national tournament next week near Richmond, but I don't think I'll go to that one. I'm not ready for it, quite frankly, and I don't see the point in driving four hours each way and paying a lot of money to have complete strangers kick my ass when I can have people I know do it here for free. Also, no offense to Richmond, but serioulsy...Richmond? on a saturday? I'm sure Richmond is a fine place to start a family or open a meth lab, but I'd much rather spend my weekends around here.

So how have you people been since I was away?