Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gotta Get a Gible

...And now I have one.

Looks like this is probably gonna be my last blog. Looking back, I don't believe I really said anything important or meaningful in the last 12 or 13 posts, but I guess that's okay. I don't think the point of this was to change the world or come to some huge revelation about who I am as a person; it was probably just to get the ball rolling and get classmates interacting. I think it did that for the most part. Not for me, but I always was way too much of an introvert to be affected much by such things. I've come to the conclusion that I need to have taken a class with someone else at least once before I start opening up to them. Probably goes back to childhood fear of abandonment, I don't know. Nor do I care to figure it out in the next 300 or so words.

What else is there to say? Still pretty much the same nerd I was when I started the blog, so no real progress there. I've caught 50 or 60 new Pokemon since then, but that probably only adds to the nerd factor. Quick aside on that - there is an eagle Pokemon named Braviary. I think that is like the most incredible and creative name ever, I'm serious. I'm like in awe of it. It's like Brave + Aviary, combined in such an incredibly genius way that I can't believe it wasn't done sooner. I have one, I love it. In all honesty, it's not the best Pokemon to have on your team, but come on. Braviary. BRAVIARY! Amazing. This one is going in the next academic paper on Pokemon that I write, just watch.

Anyways, I'm surviving six classes and even doing better than I thought I was going to a couple of weeks ago, which is nice. It's nice to not feel like a total failure all the time. My ribs still hurt, kind of shocked about that. I think my asthma is getting worse, not too happy with that either. Other than that, nothing really new has happened.

So what have I learned so far this semester?

**If you're the quiet kid in a hypothetical prison situation, taking on the persona of a serial killer seems to be a red flag of some sort. I thought I was being original by not being a gang member or drug dealer.
**If you are going to take on a different persona for class or acting, anything stupid, twisted, or gross you do is all a part of the character.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
**If I'm never gonna see or interact with most of these people ever again after this semester, why care what they think? It won't stop me from being awkward, but it's food for thought. Last time I thought like this I ended up with a trophy.
**It is much harder to guide than it is to lead, but people don't learn if you do everything for them.
**I am seriously never going to be a teacher.
**Group projects are only fun if your group is competent.
**Sometimes new situations aren't as terrifying as one might think.
**Taking two very similar classes back to back on one night is a recipe for disaster.
**I seriously hate participation grades.
**Renting textbooks > buying them
**People come and go. I just seem to consistently get people who are going rather than staying.
**It is so hard to not care what other people think, especially when you make yourself vulnerable. Vulnerability sucks and will never be intentionally allowed by me again. Live and learn.
**After 10+ years, you have still gotta catch 'em all.

I don't know who is going to read this or who has been reading all semester, but yeah. This is it. See ya later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hi, I'm A.J. I'm here to defeat you.

Cool title, right? I promise it has a purpose.

I mentioned in my last blog that I went to a karate tournament the day after Spring Break started and got second place in sparring, or kumite. I won my first two matches, surprisingly. Literally. I was shocked. In my last match I went up against a guy who I am about a foot taller than and about ten-fifteen years older than me. This guy is one who is at everyone of these tournaments, and he has a history of winning every division we are both in, or at least coming in second to the not-me person who ends up winning. I think we were about 3-3 as far as points were concerned when he landed a thrust kick right to my ribs. I don't know what I was doing as far as blocking was concerned, but he nailed this kick. A direct hit with one of the most powerful techniques around. Needless to say, he got that point and I recoiled pretty badly. For the record, we wear pads on our hands and feet and head, but nothing for the ribs is required. Additionally, the kick was with the bottom of the foot, mainly the heel, which is uncovered by the pad. Since the first to five points wins, we had to have another round, one which I tried to fight back in but ultimately failed. I tried my best not to show the damage to my ribs, but I really couldn't breathe at that point. Now, over a week later, my ribs are still killing me. I run for a little bit and I'm aware of the stabbing pain there and the three sit ups I tried to do also ended in similar pain. So, I'm still on the mend, but it could have been worse. If he could have reached my nose he probably would have broke that as well.

I guess the point of this post is that I'm refocused now. I forget how fun tournaments are until the moment after it's over; I'm usually pretty buzzed for a while afterward. All the dread and worry before hand is usually gone by the middle of the actual competition, leaving me with the desire to get out there and fight. I'm planning on kicking my training up for the next tournament in April. Honestly, I hadn't kumited since last October, and even then that was the only time I did it in the last two years. I was incredibly out of practice, yet I still managed to make the finals. I've learned not to be cocky, though, so I'm gonna work harder. It's not really even about winning the actual tournament; it's more about beating this guy. That's probably gonna rack up some bad karma for me, but it's the truth. A week and a half of rib pain needs to be avenged with a shiny, cheap plastic trophy at least one place higher than his. Haha. But seriously, it's more about getting better. I know what I need to work on because I had my butt handed to me, and that's all you can ask for in a loss.

I would love to be a state champion, though. My ego would love the recognition. It's also kind of like an affirmation that I've got better during the time that I've been taking karate. I guess I don't really need it; karate has already given me a lot. I've met a ton of awesome people that I would have never known, I've got some semblance of self confidence, and I have lost a ton of weight. I never would have thought I would be competing like this as regularly as I do, so that's a major boost for me. I'm more willing to try potentially awkward situations now because of my experience in karate. So, I guess the state title would just be icing on the cake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It Was Worth the Wait

So, yesterday, March 6, was the United States debut of Pokemon Black and White. I had originally planned to buy both versions, then I planned to only buy one, then I wasn't going to get either until I got paid on Wednesday. Somehow I ended up having the money yesterday, so I went ahead and tried to find a copy on release day. My first stop was Wal-Mart on Sunday morning; it's usually quick, one stop shopping and I wanted to get some game time in. Wal-Mart, though, wasn't as interested in the release of the game as I was. Despite having huge posters/displays advertising its debut on March 6, the video game attendant notified me that they probably wouldn't have the game available until Monday, as they hadn't unloaded it or whatever. I wasn't happy.
Across the street, though, was K-Mart, but I wasn't really expecting to find it there. Our K-Mart usually has about the fifth of the selection that Wal-Mart does, and this was one of those occasions that I figured that selection would have mattered most. I still went, though; I wanted that game. Turns out they had it. A lot of it. Like ten or fifteen copies of each game as well as limited edition Nintendo DS systems to go along with the release. I ended up getting Pokemon White as soon as I found it and as I went to pay for it, I noticed that K-Mart was running a special on both games: buy one, get the other fifty percent off. Needless to say, I got both. This was both random and awesome.

So, I've been logging some hours on Pokemon. Pretty good start to Spring Break, I've been able to juggle playing Pokemon, karate, and trying to chip away at my pile of homework. I probably won't accomplish much other than that this week, but whatever. This week will end too fast, but I guess that's okay too. I kind of need this semester to be over with ASAP, the burden of knowing that I'm going to have all of these finals and projects due at once is something that I have never been able to get used to. I could normally handle knowing I have a bunch of papers due at once, but this time around I have to do public project/volunteer work for two different classes. Volunteer work is fantastic, but having to do it in a group in addition to everything else is kind of overwhelming. It'll be over in like eight weeks anyways, so there's not much to really complain about. I still will, though.
Oh, and I guess it's worth mentioning that I went to a karate tournament last Saturday. It was the first one of the year, which is usually a pretty good indicator of what I have got to work on for the rest of the year. It was also a pretty good chance to see how I measure up against people with similar ranking from other schools. It wasn't too bad; my performances in kata and weapons weren't as good as they could have been, but somehow I ended up doing really well in both regular sparring and sword fighting, getting second in both. We really never do either at our school very consistently, so it was pretty much just my long arms and legs combining with what experience I do have. In any event, I have a nice trophy and medal from that day. Just another thing to keep working on.