Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

When I was a kid back in missouri, I had He-man I remember looking at the little plastic doll, and thinking "that's what I want to look like when I grow up." Hell I already had the stupid "dutch-boy" haircut (thanks Mom). I also remember thinking that it wasn't really possible to look that way. That there was something wrong with this picture. I actually started lifting weights when I was 8 years old. I got a little bar, and some plastic concrete-filled weights and curled and pressed my little heart out. I never saw any difference (someone should have told me "hey kid, wait till puberty." Puberty came and I spent most of my time reading comics. Wolverine was my favorite character. A compact stocky loner. Prone to losing control of his emotions. I dreamed of being that lean, mobile, fast, and athletic. I identified with his singluar status, his inability to control himself.
When I got to High-school I spent most of my time lifting or working. Ever since I have read every scrap of information I could find on getting Bigger, Stronger and Faster. I don't think my experience was isolated. Chris Bell's movie explains his version of this story. His version isn't much different. He found power-lifting when I found rugby. We did the best we can with our potential, and people suggested to us that there is a way to go beyond those boundries. We both politely declined. The movie explores the stories of those who didn't, and in some cases still aren't. The movie explores americans who are feeling the crush to excell to excede their potential, the steps they take to do so, and the side-effects of those measures. It's a really well made film, and one that examines our national cultural afinity for excess.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Earned my garlic fries.

Went to the Mariners game tonight, but first I trained at the gym at work:
warm up on the heavy bag.
man-makers @ 30
10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 equal rest to work.
5x heavy bag "sprints" (throw punches as fast as you can for 50 each hand)
cool down.
then off to the ball park. The M's stink, but the food is good. The cards won today..
Good day.

quick update..

Went to see Bigger, Faster, Stronger* last night at the SIFF. It was awesome. Full details and review later.. prolly tomorrow. New job this week has ment my blogging schedule is all off, sorry folks. I'll get it together here soon. Going to see the mariners tonight.. poor substitute for the redbirds, but it'll have to do for now.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Started the new job today. It is so great to work somewhere your skills are appreciated. Huge relief. My life just got better by an order of magnitude. My commute is 20 miles shorter EACH WAY. The job is better, the company is better, and I am better. That said, I am exhausted. No training today. I will get back on schedule tomorrow with gym time tues, thurs, saturday. I'll go to class for a time almost every day now that the professor has changed the schedule.
I hope you're all doing well as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Touch the earth.

I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly
-Dixie Chicks
That's right, the Dixie chicks, you got a problem with that?

Good weekend.
The fights Saturday were great. B.J. Penn put on a striking demonstration at a level very few people in the MMA world could match. His jab was lethal, and he used it to great advantage to set up power shots. Sean Sherk was doing the best he could to counter with his left hand, but he's still in the "stand and bang" mode, and B.J. was at a higher level. As soon as he realized Sherk was trying to counter the jab with a loaded up left hook, B.J. made a very high level adjustment. He doubled up the jab, and threw a right hook. I don't think many people in MMA would have made that adjustment. It was really impressive.
Wanderlei Silva proved that he was still a force to be reckoned with by absolutely destroying Keith Jardine.
Tito Ortiz didn't have enough left in the tank to push Lyoto Machida, and got pretty roundly handled in the stinker fight of the night.

Sunday was all about gardening.After seeing S.J.'s urban micro-farm (complete with livestock) I planted some vegetables. We put up hanging pots with tomatoes, and strawberries. We planted carrots in a half barrel planter, and in a planter box put in peas, corn, fennel, and beets. Hopefully it'll be a productive venture.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Last white stripe.

Yesterday at class it was me and one very new guy. The professor showed us a couple of very basic moves. I got to demonstrate, and then help coach the new guy (Seth) through a couple of the subtle details while we were working on the moves.
One of the strengths I have as an athlete is a sense and feel for detail/technique. It's what allowed me to play prop forward at a fairly high level weighing around 200 lbs (most of the time less). I really enjoy coaching, and getting the fine points of a sport. Some times it's the best way to really learn something is to have to explain it to someone else. After the technical part of class was over, the professor pulled me aside, and explained that he normally doesn't promote in small informal classes like this, but when he sees a player demonstrating a higher level of game he acknowledges it. I'm kind of dense so I didn't understand what he was getting at, until he started unrolling a piece of tape. I was awarded my 4th and final stripe on my white belt. The next promotion (which I don't expect will be any time soon) is my blue belt.
I don't know why, but the blue belt is the biggest deal to me. The blue belt means that you are officially not a novice, you have established yourself in the school. Purple and brown are markers of knowledge level, (black is a whole level beyond) but blue for some reason means more emotionally.
I think this is because I've felt like an outsider for a good part of my athletic career. When I was in high school, my weirdness, my outsider status was excused because I busted my butt, because I could play ball. I kept to myself, and that was worrying to some folks, but when I put on a football helmet I was something they could understand. In college, some of the guys understood the things I stood for, but couldn't quite understand the extremes of my opinions. My teammates were family; we got along, we had a strong bond, but outside of "family events" we were different, and did our own thing. We didn't have to be friends because we were brothers.
After college, I had teammates that were friends, but I was back to high school: he's weird, but he's game to do whatever it takes to win. Now it's different: first of all it's Seattle, so the all of the labels I have self applied in the past are far more common out here (punk, straight edge, vegetarian, etc), secondly I am more laid back in my old age, and finally and more importantly this sport attracts more "Different" folks.
I've blogged before that I feel like I fit in there, but here is always that quiet voice in my head. It says you're still weird, still an outsider. That voice drives me.. always has. I respond to it with "fine, I'm weird, but I'll break myself to help my team win. I'll do the hard work, anything it takes to win, no one is an outsider on a winning team."
At Ballard, it's different. It's family, and friends. I have so much to learn, but I'm lucky in that I have a lot I can teach. That all said, that voice is still there: you're a white belt, a novice, an interloper, an outsider. Up until the Pan-ams I would get butterflies in my stomach before every class. I was afraid I would show up and something would change, I'd be an outsider. It's home now, and as I move forward jiu-jitusu that voice gets quieter.

Good fights on tonight. B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk is the big fight. Shirk has a lot to prove. He was stripped of his title and is understandably ticked off about it. B.J. seems to be motivated, fit and prepared which many people think is the final missing piece in the prodigy's arsenal. Machida vs Ortiz is the fight I want to see, I think Tito is going to push the pace and put "the Dragon" in an uncomfortable place.. I'm interested to see if he can respond.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Duct tape.. I'm holding together with it.

My back is just good enough to go to class and drill. No live rolling. I have been improving my 1 arm rows. doing sets of 8@90, 6@95 or 4@105. And lots of pull-ups. I haven't done any pressing other than push-ups. Open chain pressing puts too much stress on my back, so I've been making due. Lots of ice, lots of boring glute medialis work to try to protect my Sacroiliac joint in the future.
It's funny, last night I was looking at my "attendance card" for BJJ, you can see where I had a job, because there are little gaps in my training attendance here and there, but as soon as I "went on vacation" there are no gaps, and in a couple cases I've doubled up.
The back is feeling better today, but that's when it's the most dangerous. I have to stay disciplined and not roll or push it during training. patience is not one of my more prolific qualities.
Have a good holiday weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No matter where you turn, your backside is always behind you.

Couldn't help including that line from the classic film "the Seventh Seal." I watched it this afternoon, it remains one of my all time favorites. Training wise the last week, or two have been very productive, and well not so much. I have been to at least one jiu-jitsu class all but one day in the last nine. My game has improved immensely in that time. My back has been healing up, but my foolish pride keeps pushing it too far too fast. So I've had set-backs. So I declare no sparring for 1 full week. No heavy leg work for that same time. No point having a great game, if you can barely get off the couch.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not everybody's working for the weekend.

I have quite a story to tell gentle reader. I have been quiet for a while because I am lothe to tell incomplete stories. The story is close enough to complete as it stands, so here it is:
Written on Tuesday the 13th.
This past week has been truly dreadful.

One week ago today I hurt my back. I spent the entire week hobbling around and couldn't roll. Then on Thursday I had two job interviews that seemed to go very well. I was hopeful that my job situation (which as many of you know has been truly unbearable) might be finally improving. I went to work with hope on Friday morning.

The past few weeks things at work have been weird. The company I worked for was bought out, and people have been scrambling to make our division more profitable. The guys in the engineering group used to go out for coffee nearly every morning, and I stopped getting the invite after the buy out. I didn't think anything of it. I just figured everyone was so busy that I'd been overlooked, and my boss had been discussing moving my desk in with the other guys in engineering, talking about future projects, so while it seemed strange, I wasn't worried.

Last friday at around 2 my boss asked to come see me in his office. Nothing unusual about that, when ever there was a problem or a new project he'd bring me in and we'd kick it around. I turned the corner and there was a woman from HR in his office.. "I'm screwed," I thought.

I had just trained a guy to "assist me" and what I'd really done is train him to take over (for far less $). I was and still am disappointed in my boss. He could have told me the truth and I'd have trained the tech just the same, if not better. It'd have given me time to get things in better order to change jobs. I could have said goodbye to my friends there. Instead he shoved me out the door, and I don't think I'm the only one (I think.. only my opinions here folks) but our senior engineer got written up by our boss a couple of days before I got the sack, I'm pretty sure he's next. It's a big salary dump, and it creates a built in excuse for bumps in the road. Pretty amazing in it's Machiavellian simplicity.

He stood over me and wouldn't allow me to get any of my personal emails off the server. Hell I didn't even get to remove the pictures of the wife and I on vacation from my hardrive. I was handed a box and forced to clean out my desk, and walked out the door. I was treated like I'd stolen something from them. This is a company I'd worked a 40 straight hour day for in the past. When I started there were 3 engineers, and we had 1/2 the capacity, before they hired my "assistant" we were turning out double the product and I was the only engineer. I don't think I was ever put in a position to be successful, just varying degrees of failure.

I was driving home with my box of stuff next to me in the cab of my truck, and I got a brief moment of pure joy. I never have to go back there again. That moment was fleeting though. I have prospects, but no job. I was given a small severance, but it's not going to last long. I went to the boathouse to train the guys, I told them what'd happened, and they responded like true friends.

The workout was lots of slosh pipe work, and some wall-ball. I didn't trust my back to make it so I just coached. Afterwards the wife and I went out to dinner with my old pair partner. It was fun, we talked a lot about anything but. I had the wife just drive me home. I decided I'd just drive her car to BJJ in the morning then we could pick up my truck at the boathouse later. She was parked in the garage in our basement. I was pulling out and clipped the side of the car on the side of the garage.. it was one of those straw that broke the camel's back moments. I felt like once again I had blown it. The wife was counting on me to just suffer through that crappy job a few more weeks, and I couldn't do it. She trusted me with her car, and I screwed that up too. I lost control, I balled. Not just crying, but deep soul wrending loss of control. I felt emotionally beat to shit. The wife heard me bang the car up. She came down, and patched me up. The car's not too badly hurt, plastic piece of molding, couple hundred bucks that we don't have right now, but it can wait. I got it together and went to jiu-jitsu.

Probably wasn't the best thing for my back, but I needed to be in the moment, not to think about things like money, cars, house payments. I met the wife and we went and got some coffee. We read our books, and just spent time together. I lifted a bit later.

Sunday was mother's day. I cooked a lot and we went to her grandparents house. We didn't tell anyone I was unemployed. It killed me. I felt like I was lying to her family. My in-laws are great, and very supportive, but I didn't want to burden them. I didn't want to explain, or deflect condolences, or offers of help. I just wanted to have fun. I did.

Yesterday I got up and cleaned the house, then walked the 2-3 miles to jiu-jitsu. It was a sunny day and a good walk. One of the purple belts ran the class. I learned a lot. Small class and well run. I rolled with the guy that ran class during sparring. He caught me in a submission that I didn't recognize and asked me if I tapped. I rather puzzled said 'no' he applied a little pressure and I quickly changed my story. My right arm is bruised to hell. Lesson learned. If someone asks if you tap.. you do. Now I am just waiting. Cleaing house here and there and running errands to pass the time. I have applied to a few other jobs, but I am hopefull that I'll hear from thursday's interviews tomorrow. I am hoping against hope that this will work out, and soon.
(Written Sunday May 18)
Tuesday, I wrote that I had no idea where I stood. I had no work, and the house was as clean as my meager domestic skills could make it. The jiu-jitsu school was my refuge. I trained every day last week. Partially because I needed that human contact, partially because you can't think of anything but jiu-jitsu while you're rolling. If you think of anything else you'll get nailed. I lifted some here and there, but with my back all screwy I can't go hard enough to force any real level of focus.
Wednesday the folks from the new job called, only to say I got a job, but that they couldn't talk compensation yet. It was a mild relief. I have a job, but it still didn't answer the question "can I afford to pay the rent?" Stressful, I have to take the job regardless, but if it doesn't pay enough, then I have to keep looking, which is aweful. I like this company and my perspective boss, I'd hate to do that to them.
Tomorrow (Thursday) they'd put the compensation package together and let me know. Up until Thursday, nothing had gone right for a week plus. I went to the D.O.L to get my address changed on my D.L. The woman there took pity on me and didn't charge me for my license (I renewed just before pan-ams, but forgot to change the address, so they sent the D.L. to the wrong address) Finally something went my way. Thursday the prospective employer called to say that they needed one more day.
Friday morning I had coffee with S.J. and talked about chickens. The afternoon rolled around. My back was better, and I went to class. After class I went to lunch with D and gone over some training stuff. Set him up with a training system rather than the patchwork he had been dealing with. I was drawing up the plan for the guys when the phone rang. My heart stopped. I answered. It was the wife "have they called yet?"
"Not yet," I replied. Gotta be soon. When I hung up the phone I had a voicemail. It was H.R. lady. She was emailing me an offer. I went to my computer and refreshed about 675 times. The email came through. The offer is roughly the same compensation, but with 100% of benefits covered by the employer, and a commute that is 20 miles each way shorter. I couldn't be more stoked. I called H.R. lady back, "Looks great, I'll take it."
It will take them this whole week to get everything together, so I'll have some time off. I'm going to do some projects around the house, and spend more time at jiu-jitsu. I tweaked my back yesterday. I tried to lift heavy and my back responded how you'd expect; it is pretty sore today, but in the face of all the rest, everything is great. I have spent the weekend upgrading my work wardrobe for the new job. My friends and family, have been super supportive, and the wife has pulled me through this. It seems to have worked out for the better, and It's a sunny day in Seattle. What could be better?

Friday, May 9, 2008


After yesterday's workout, repairs were made to the slosh-pipe. I added more PVC cement to one end, let it set partially and duct taped the holy be-jesus out of it. Then I hack-sawed off the other end, used a chisel to remove the cut off pvc from the cap. re(partially)filled her, then put the cap back on and then applied a crap ton of pvc cement to the seam, and duct taped that end after letting the cement set up for a while. A better blogger would have pictures, but you get what you pay for.

My back is better, but not Better.. if you get me.
Tonight will be another 'careful' training session for me, Saturday will be jiu-jitsu technique, and maybe some light rolling.

The boys however, they'll be taking the newly repaired pipe for several spins this evening.

that is all.
Carry on.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Take'er easy.

Worked out tonight.. carefully. My back behaved pretty well.
(during one of these sets the thing in my back popped and felt much better)

3 point rows.

Glute hams:

5x 1minute on 1 off lateral push on slide board.

Then various recovery (foam rolling, mobility work, and time on the inversion table)
Feeling much better.

Back in the day, when I was young I'm not a kid any more..

Well, you know the song.
Since I don't have any training to log, I guess I'll have to regale you with tales of old.
As a family tradition when it is your birthday in my family you get to pick the place and the whole famn damily goes out to dinner to the place of your choice. When I was 8 (and several years later) I picked a local Mexican joint (mostly for the fried Ice cream). Sometime between being seated, and getting my supper I had to go to the bathroom. I quite literally ran into a man who was coming out of the can. I was always a big kid, none too thin, and this guy was bigger than anyone I'd ever seen (which is saying something as my uncle Stanley was pushing 3 bills at the time). I caught my bearings, and said "Excuse me, sir."
The huge man looked down at me:
"No problem kid... You're a big kid, do you play football?" he asked in a deep baritone.
"No, I can't" I was a little bummed, "I'm too big, they won't let me play."
"Well, don't worry about it, you keep plugging along, and you'll be good one day."
Puzzling encounter, but I didn't think anything of it, but a couple years later I saw that man on T.V.
It was Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf.
He had just finished up his last season playing football for the Cardinals. Who knows why he was at Casa Gallardo (dinner I'd imagine).
Ten years later I'd have dinner with my prom date at his restaurant.
I don't know why he talked to me, maybe he was trying to see if I recognized him (I didn't).
Funny encounter, but one I don't imagine happening too often these days.

I've got an owie.

My back is coming along. It still spasms when I stand up if I sit for more than an hour at a time, and I am very conscious of my posture these days. However, I am going to do some light training tonight (push-ups, pull-ups, chest supported rows, maybe some cardio stuff) hopefully Saturday, or maybe Monday I'll be able to participate at jiu-jitsu class (prolly no sparring, but at least do technique). Last night I went to class. I didn't train (obviously) but did go to see the folks, and watch the techniques of the day. Last night's was a cool transition from guard, to take the back, to choke, to arm-bar. I'll have to try it once I get right.
I hope you're vaguely rockin.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

If it weren't for setbacks we'd all be millionaires.

Yesterday's workout started off fine. I warmed up, started squatting. I worked up to doubles at 225+chains. I was having some issues with my hips coming up faster than the bar, but I thought I'd work it out. Well my 4th set first rep I came off the box and "POW" something popped in my lower back just left of my spine, I knew I was in trouble because it wasn't just a sound or feeling, but I saw a flash in my vision. I calmly racked the bar, cleared the weights, then went home to ice. I'm pretty fricken sore today. This is an injury, not just an owie. I'm going to be on the shelf, at least for a few days. You train hard, sometimes you get hurt. It's my own fault. My form was off, I knew it, and I decided to try to correct it as I went. I'll have plenty of time to think about it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Skinny guys fight till they're burger..

Small class at jiu-jitsu last night.
I was the only "big guy" at class, so I rolled with smaller folks. First we learned rear naked choke to choke to arm-bar transition, then a funky arm bar from back control, that I didn't quite get.
Most of my rolls were pretty good. One was frustrating. I hate it when upper belts decide to "take it easy" on me. It's one thing to leave an opportunity and see if I know how to exploit it, or try something you're not sure of to see if it works in sparring. It's wholly another to get into a position, and then lay there, with the attitude of "ok, submit me so we can move on," or worse not only give up a submission, but "lean into it." You're the upper belt if you're in a position you don't like or a submission, get out of it (or at least check the submission to make sure it's tight). To just give in is disrespectful and it doesn't teach the lower student anything. I'm not saying you should flatten and annihilate lower belts when you roll, but show them the respect of competition. Try things you're not very good at, but try. It in retrospect it's not a big deal, a waste of a roll, but I don't like to waste anything.
"You can drill and waste your time or you can drill and get better. Either way we will drill."
-Dan Gable
This is not the norm, and I could have a lot more to complain about. Still, it bugs me.
Happy 5th of May.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Couple of weeks ago I did some assessments on myself (and the other guys) I wasn't going to post it, but since CES posted his from this morning, I was inspired. First off CES totally kicked butt. He's dropped a ton of weight, and has become an athlete again.

My numbers:
wt: 210
bf%:16% (Good for me, fat kids have a hard time not being fat adults I'd like to get this in the 11-13% range)
Ideal wt (10% bf):194
resting hr:57
Vertical:21" (not great, but better than previous bests)
Broad jump:83"
*this assessment was done the day after a max deadlift workout, so the jump tests are to be taken with a proverbial grain of salt.
My posture looks far better, and I passed the impingement tests, so good for me and my repaired shoulder.
Now, more blue-collar work on mobility, and strength. Keep the diet as is, and try to get leaner by getting stronger, and pushing the LBM up.


Saturday, Kept my "light" week rolling. BJJ technique: arm-bar from knee on belly, and rolled with Paul for about a half hour during open mat. No lifting.

Sunday went and saw Ironman. Phenomenal movie. Better in the theatre. Robert Downey Jr. does a fantastic job playing the charming, almost smarmy, wise cracking playboy Tony Stark. Everyone else does a good job of not screwing it up. The chemistry with "Pepper" Potts (aka Gwyneth Paltrow) is good. The effects are very smooth. It is a great example of someone not dicking around with the source material, and taking what made it great and bringing it to life.
I would venture that this is the best marvel adaptation yet.

Later watched American Hardcore this was pretty good. I love/ed a lot of the band in this movie (Black Flag, 7seconds, Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, SSD (before the metal years), and Minor Threat) There were performances by.. EVERYONE, which was very cool, however the movie was a bummer. The people in this movie, looked really old.. well I guess they/we are old. Mike Watt is bald and drives a Micro-bus, Mugger is a well-heeled accountant in SoCal, Greg Ginn is puffy and grey. It was like watching mortality on display. Talking corpses chatting about the good old days.

The other thing that bummed me out is they discount us; the hardcore kids that came after them. For them Hardcore ended in '86, ignoring bands like The Youth of today, Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Slapshot, Chain of Strength, and Better than a Thousand, just to mention a few of my faves. To them Hardcore ended because they moved on, but the scene was still there. It was different, the kids that I came up with we wanted to make our mark. Our influences were those older guys. The Sex Pistols, and Ramones were cool, but how could they mean the same thing when you've already heard Black Flag? We were the middle children. Too close to the original be something new, but late enough to the party that we were totally discounted an ignored.
"You don't know how it was, you should have seen it in '82." To hell with '82, to hell with '92. I hope that in this Republican recession-ized age there is some kid practicing in his basement, and writing ticked off lyrics, playing music that no one who doesn't share his experience can possibly relate to. As long as that's happening, no matter what the music sounds like Hardcore will still exist. It's not dead, it's just passed us by. That's what the folks in the movie were too self centered to realize. The attitude still exists, we're just too old, too fat, and to comfortable to recognize it. It's not for us. If you liked these bands, it's worth watching to see the performances and hear the stories, but you can't go back.
Hope you had a good weekend.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Friday workouts was all about two things: prepping the guys for more explosive work later in the summer, and having a little fun.
10 sets of 5 double leg jumps and 5 single leg jumps over various obsticles
4 sets 10 reps @5rm lightened with MM bands.

then Medicine ball drills and throws and fun stuff.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Float away, Float away.

Yesterday was the last rowing class of a session. I always have fun with these classes, I like coaching and it's fun to see people "get it." The students row in an 8 and I follow along in a little fiberglass skiff. The skiffs are always semi-full of water, and I always just kick my shoes off on the dock and go barefoot (yes, I am a hill-billy.. you should know this by now). We had a great class, the sun was shining, and the weather finally warmed up, and the kids (all local university students) were really humming along (considering this was their 8th class on the water). Before "Opening Day" in Seattle the boat traffic is pretty minimal, so the water was great. We finish up class and head to the dock, I gun the motor, then turn it off to let the skiff sort of glide into position, and a huge wake comes along and throws my little skiff away from the dock. I have to get my paddle out and re-orient the boat and paddle back to the dock. I make it, cursing the jerk that waked the crap out of me, and am thankful my students were already safely on the dock (rowing boats swamp pretty easily, a big wake can actually fill them up with water). I tie the boat off to the cleat, and look over to see a strange shape floating in the water.. That's weird.. it looks like MY SHOE!! both my shoes! they were floating off, headed for Ballard. I quickly untie my skiff and fire the motor back up and retrieve my shoes. I love these shoes (mine are brown, the picture is "charcoal") They are a flat sole that mimics walking barefoot. They come in all kinds of spiffy styles, and float marvelously.

dead lifts from a 4" advantage:
worked up to 475.

8 supinated grip
4 1 hand neutral/1 supinated
4 (switch)
4 pronated

Incline bench (oh how I loathe thee)
5@135 (long pause)

3 point 1a rows (feet on the ground, 1 hand on a bench)

good mornings (playing with lighten method)
2-3 more sets of same only with MM bands lightening the load on the decent.

Potluck today at work, which means lots of tasty Vietnamese food.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You can't hide a redneck under that hippy hair..

-Doug Sahm

Well, actually you can.. at least politically (especially on May day). The term Redneck has come to mean a lot of things. Those that self identify as such might be surprised where that term comes from. The first usage of the term is in Scotland, not Appalachia. Where presbyterians wore red cloths to represent the blood of Christ. Here in the states the most reasonable explanation for the term has more to do with Mother Jones than Minnie Pearl. In 1921, coal miners in Logan County, West VA wore red bandannas around their necks in clashes with Government troops to identify who was "fur'em" and who was "again'em." Most famously at the Battle of Blair Mountain. Union wars are at the core of what it means to be a true redneck, but for some reason working folks in the south have lost sight of their own left leaning history. Too many pill popping idiots and goofy man-child faux-texans have created this idea that to allow the company you work for grind you into a pulp is noble. That you have to let government subsidies leverage your family farm, that you have to suffer in silence while the rich get richer and you get poorer. Take today to embrace your redneck heritage. Look at some of the links above, see who you have more in common with? An Ivy League Connecticut Yankee? Or the daughter of an Irish tenant farmer?
Don't get caught up in politics and names, look to see who's looking out for you, and who's looking out for their pocketbook. Remember that in November.
Happy May day!

Stripe the third.

Gah, this early into my BJJ blogging and I've already run out of witty titles, perhaps it is just my brain this early in the morning. Either way, it's a damn shame. Bear with me gentle reader, and I will have a better showing next time around.
I digress. I got my third stripe last night. Pretty cool. When I was a kid and went to the local Tae Kwon Do "McDojo" there was this whole "testing process" that you had to pay to go through whenever you felt ready to get "promoted." It was formal, stuffy, and completely impersonal, and in no way took into account what you actually could do with your art. With jiu-jitsu the professor simply decides that you have made it to the next level. It's a personal recognition from the professor. It has meaning and weight, and that's important. It gives it far more value than a "tested for" rank.
Worked on a hip-bump sweep that I am terrible at last night. I think I've figure out where I was getting it wrong. Then rolling, lots of rolling. I had 4 sparring sessions, it was one too many. Anyone who trains in a grappling art like BJJ is going to get little injuries. Your first few sparring sessions, you block them out, or modify to protect them, but as you get tired, your resolve slips, and those small injuries become more difficult to block out, and the whole experience becomes a bit more unpleasant. I have to make sure I pace myself. Keep myself from going past that area of self control.
Happy MayDay.