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Monday, March 31, 2008

the other side of older
i recently had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine over pizza and beer, a setting where many interesting conversations have been had. we got on to the topic of getting older and it turns out he and i had very different views on the behavior one acquires as one gets more experienced in the world. one of us argued that as we get older, we have more fear because we know the consequences of our actions as seen in the world around us. and as we get older, we have more at stake with the risks we take, so those consequences can cost us more, tying back to the fear of putting anything out there to begin with... risk more = lose more. the other person argued that age dissipates fear as we get more comfortable with ourselves and realize the path we want our lives to take. becoming older means we are able to make our own decisions and can have full faith in those choices because we're not trying to fit in by emulating the actions of our peers... more like nothing ventured, nothing gained.
i think my friend was as surprised by my strong stance on this topic as i was surprised about his, as we have shared similar life experiences (about the same age, have traveled and lived abroad, diverse friends and activities, etc). i'm not going to say which side of the coin was my point of view, but as life moves forward, i am definitely curious about that other side...
current mood: either way, experience is a great teacher

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

by the way
i realized i forgot to tell you that i medal'd in vegas. it's shiny.
(and it's for weapons).
current mood: recovering

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

spring break means a quiet office, quiet enough for me to sneak over to the library to pick up a couple 7 books or so. i find myself accessing the library WAY more nowadays than i ever did as a student. i also find myself going in for one thing, and coming out with, well, 7. it's kinda like target or costco... you can't help but overbuy. here's what will be flooding my nightstand... and floor and coffee table...:

* passkey to the GMAT
* the insider's guide to the GMAT CAT
* how to prepare for the GMAT w/CD-ROM ((jeez, what a nerd... oh wait, have i told you all i'm going to grad school?))
* the opposite of fate by amy tan
* on gold mountain by lisa see ((b/c for some reason, i love chinese-american literature))
* giving: how each of us can change the world by bill clinton
* made in america: from levi's to barbie to google ((just because it looked cool))

my arms are going to get killed hauling all these to my car.
current mood: excited

Monday, March 24, 2008

back to retirement
i came out of retirement from karate tournaments for a period of about 4 minutes total on saturday. after receiving my score and bowing out of the ring after kata, i was officially back in retirement. i realized again that i'm not really a competitor... i'm just not in it to win it. i like to have fun and goof around, and once i reached the level of the most competitive division in the world, all the goofiness evaporated into a concentrated air of fierce contention. where's the fun in that?
i was met at the ring with a couple of girls i used to compete with back in our green and brown belt days. i give props to them for sticking with it since then, which was more than i could do. i also thought it was strange for them to be equally excited and disappointed to see me. it was like a happy reunion with a lurking knife aimed at my back, since i generally tended to win our division. but it was still nice to see some friendly faces out of the generally scowling ones.
i originally made the commitment to go to the vegas tourney as a way of motivating me to train, to pull me off the plateau and back in to the family. it didn't work very well, and actually only worked to delay any sort of decision i need to make about the future. and now, i'm back to retirement, and the uncertainty of future it brings.
current mood: where do we go from here?

Monday, March 17, 2008

danger in the ring
i had the bi-annual pleasure of donning the horrible horrible monkey suit (click here to see what i mean... what you can't see are the gray slacks and black shoes to decidedly NOT match the navy blazer and red tie.) to act as an official for sunday's district AAU tourney. i feel sorry for the competitors since my shodan ranking qualifies me to judge them, and that's about it. i actually turn different colors according to the event i'm judging: red for weapons (since you have to actually score them), gray for kata, and white as a sheet for fighting since i don't know what the heck i'm doing. on sunday i lucked out, having to endure only one jumbled up group of mixed divisions in weapons where my scoring was usually off of everyone else's. guess which one was mine: 7.2, 7.5, 7.4, 8.0, 7.3... i was then moved to a kata only ring, which was much easier with flags. two people performed their katas at the same time, and we three judges held up the flag for the one we thought performed a better kata. that part's easy. the hard part is keeping a straight face when the karate students do something odd, such as the guy who kept getting SO close to me that i would have to move my flags in order not to impale him in the ass with the pointed end. or rather, have him impale himself. wearing the suit conveys an enormous and surprising amount of power, and with great power comes the great need to conduct oneself with decorum before you insult someone's parents and get jumped in the parking lot.
current mood: i don't really know what i'm doing

Monday, March 10, 2008

look, don't judge me
i've found that most people don't believe me when i tell them that i'm shy. it's true. i can qualify it in a sort of "bi-polar shyness"... i'm so gregarious at times that no one notices the really quiet times. that's most demonstrated in the center-of-attention arena. while in groups, i feel totally comfortable taking the lead, but when it's just me to begin with, i clam up and shut down. anyone's fixation on me leaves me fumbling and pretty useless. which would explain my lameness with boys, but i digress.
so it makes sense the somewhat debilitating anxiety that comes over me in regards to competing in karate. walking in to a ring to perform a solo kata automatically gets no less than 5 pairs of eyes judging me, at every corner plus one. not to mention the other competitors, teammates and whoever else may be checking out the ring. it's so bad that i have trained my coaches to not actually look at me when coaching me as i end up in peals of laughter or frozen to the spot if i know they're there to check out my moves. they've gotten better at their subtlety.
i made a commitment to enter one of the largest international tournaments in the world, entering for the first (and probably only) time into the most prestigious of divisions (that part, i didn't really have a choice on). i decided to do this to try to motivate myself in continuing my karate training rather than hanging out on the plateau i had gotten used to. it didn't work. unfortunately, i have fallen to a pretty extreme case of my own head, with me psyching out myself about the competition. the concept of going up against current champions, international champions, and those who have 20+ years on me in the sport is not settling well on my desire to train or compete. in fact, the only thing i have gotten really good at is talking myself out of it before i even start.
at first, i thought "oh, wouldn't it be cool if the 4 of us black belt girls from our dojo (international and current champs included in that number) were the top 4 finalists?", which, as weeks of my sedentary non-training continued, turned in to "i'd just like to make top 10", which morphed in to "please don't let me get last place." at this point, i'm just looking forward to going to see LOVE, where i hope no one will be judging me anyway.
current mood: i just want to put in a good showing

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

wait a minute, mister postman
for the third time in a few days, my coworker and i try to explain to the tired delivery man that keith richards does NOT, in fact, work with us. we happened to be in the office late (shocking!) when the dhl guy came a'knocking. i hear him trying to convince my coworker that the flat package actually DID belong to us, and i interrupt him to correct his assumptions, and bring to light the fact that we had received 2 other wayward mailings late last week: another one addressed to that handsome, handsome man of the rolling stones, and one addressed to everyone's favorite documentary-er (documentalist?) michael moore. except that one was misspelled micheal... something funky going on here.
not only were the addresser's information on all 3 documents oddly similar, all foreign to california (hey, IA is far away lands!), but all phone numbers were disconnected. as i started sleuthing these pieces together, the delivery guy was awkwardly complimenting my coworker's "beautiful eyes". i finally just told her to sign for the package in order to shed him quickly, and i dialed campus police.
maybe it was overreaction, but i remember the days of anthrax going through the mail. and i also am QUITE aware of the college shootings going on lately. not to mention the fact that a certain known student has been angrily stalking another co-worker of mine recently.
this morning i drove by my office first to make sure it was still standing. the cops came by to get my report, and their suggestion was to send the letters back to the carrier service. the same guy came by and, looking annoyed, picked them up. so hopefully i remain unpoisoned and un-letter-bombed going forward as well, but trust me when i say i'm acutely aware of it walking up the steps to my office each morning.
current mood: sigh.

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