Monday, January 25, 2010

Odds and Ends

Well, I'm going salsa dancing for the first time in a while on saturday. It's kind of a birthday thing. I haven't been to The Salsa Room in ages, but hopefully I still have some impressive moves. Back when I was dancing pretty regularly, I was asked a couple of times to join a performance group, but I seriously doubt that anyone would ask me that now (unless all the top dancers in the area died in a horrible plane crash and they started looking for improbable replacements). I think once I reached a certain level of skill with salsa, it stopped being a challenge, and I found other things to do. I didn't want to to keep at it long enough to be the best, because although I liked it a lot, it wasn't my life's passion or anything.

Someone asked me if I was going to keep doing jiu jitsu until I reached black belt. I don't know if I'll want to devote another 8 years or so to that goal, but I'm not as good as I want to be yet. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be where I want to be and find a new hobby. But jits is complicated and people keep inventing new moves all the time. I've heard from others that 10 years ago, no one played half guard, but nowadays there's people who specialize in butterfly guard, half butterfly, rubber guard, the 50/50 guard, X guard etc. Maybe it's sufficiently complex that you could do it forever and never master it? Or maybe working in an office means that I need some kind of physical activity to keep myself grounded. And there is nothing more physical than trying to rip someone's arm out of their socket when they are bigger than you and don't want to get their arm ripped out of it's proper socket. Just a thought.

Also, I started watching Lost recently. I don't want to be one of those annoying people who watches Lost and talks about it constanlty, but it's not bad (it would be much better if they killed off Charlie and Michael, who are incredibly annoying though). I think I find it tolerable because I can watch it on Netflix and not obsess about the cliffhanger endings. I can just go to the next episode and watch what happens. I am on Season 2 now, but I hope to be fully caught up by the time the final season comes on so that I can watch the last season with the rest of you losers...err, I mean dedicated fans. In the spirit of comraderie and fanship, here's a low-budget video re-cap of the first few seasons of Lost in 5 minutes. It was done by a guy and his extended italian family. All scenes were shot in his living room and basement. The special effects are pretty low-budget (and hysterical).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thoughts on Steroids

Mark McGuire admitted being on steroids during the season when he set the record for the most homeruns in baseball. This is disapointing, but not surprising. If you look up Olympic gold medalists, you will find Carl Lewis' name displayed, but if you are old enough to remember the olympics that year, you will remember that he was smoked by a certain Canadian who was built like Schwartzenegger, but was stripped of the gold after her tested positive for roids. For all eternity, whenever they show old Carl winning the gold, you will see him getting beaten by a guy who looks like the terminator, and the announcer will tell you about the steroids and disqualification. If Mark is stripped of the record, I wonder if Sammy Sosa will be the Carl Lewis of baseball. (and if Barry Bonds is reading this, just because you haven't come clean like Mark doesn't mean that you are fooling anybody).

The difference between someone who bats .200 and someone who bats .300 is an extra zero on the end of your paycheck. That's a lot of money for such a small difference in performance. When there is so much money at stake and people keep expecting feats from sports athletes that are, literally, not humanly possible without steroids, it is not surprising that athletes will resort to that. The surpirsing thing is that most of the people who use steroids are not professional athletes. They are weekend warriors in the 30s looking for an edge. For them, it's not about money, it's about winning. And if you decided that winning is more important than winning fairly, then I guess you can justify all kinds of things like insider stock trading, rigging a presidential election, creating a mortgage apocalypse, or getting the government to bail out your sh1tty car companies. Maybe steroids are just a side effect of a winner-take-all society?