Saturday, May 05, 2007

Backfire

[Dave/Scott]
It’s 0600 and I’m sitting in an early-morning CIB (Commander’s In-Briefing) about sexual assault. I was focusing on keeping my eyes open when I’m approached by my platoon sergeant, who whispers to me that he wants to see me during lunch. Rowe, a buddy of mine, figured I had fallen asleep during the briefing and that the meeting would equal pushups. I had no other idea for why the platoon sergeant would need to see me in his office, so I wasn’t about to argue with him.

After waiting in line outside his office, the platoon calls me in, telling me to shut the door. I was almost certain that pushups were imminent at this point until he tells me the reason for meeting, being complaints filed by my roommate. The sergeant summed it up by saying I wasn’t a “nice roommate” and then started pretty much making fun of my roommate for a couple minutes. I gave the sergeant no BS, stating that my roommate’s behavior gives me no reason to go out of my way to be a “nice roommate,” and yet hasn’t given me enough cause to go out of my way to be a total “shit-bag of a roommate.” My platoon sergeant stated he believed I wasn’t the kind of guy that actively seeks to piss people off and decided that moving my roommate as the best course of action. I guess my roommate’s plan backfired on him.

Ok, I’ll admit, I’ve had my clashes with roommates in the past. I’m not the easiest guy to live with if you leave the living space a trashy mess, but other than that, I leave people alone. If you go complaining to some sort authority, have better reasons for doing so other than the scowl on my face unsettling you. I figure I must look pissed normally, but I think that comes with the territory of having an ugly mug. This is the military, bitching won’t be taken seriously unless you’ve got some serious reasons to do so.
♪…BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME, TAKE A LOOK AT YOU
CAN’T YOU FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO?
POINT THE FINGER, SLOW TO UNDERSTAND
ARROGANCE AND IGNORANCE GO HAND IN HAND…♪
Song of the Moment: “Holier Than Though” by Metallica

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Leave That Seat Up

[Dave/Scott]
Broken ToiletRecommended Reading: Melissa Leong and Misty Harris. “Calculation puts a rest on bickering over toilet seat.” National Post. 1 Feb. 2007.
Scientific research into the long debated question of whether the toilet seat should be up or down suggests that the social norm of leaving it down is actually inefficient.
Honestly, I’ve never encountered too much trouble with the opposite sex over the orientation of the toilet seat after use. I guess I’m just thinking towards the future when the inevitable argument will arise, where in argument I will be victorious due to scientific reasoning, yet ultimate concede the point to the fairer sex. **sigh**
♪SITTING ON AN ANGRY CHAIR
ANGRY WALLS STEAL THE AIR
STOMACH HURTS AND I DON’T CARE…♪
Song of the Moment: “Angry Chair” by Alice in Chains

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

And the Meek Shall Inherit the US…

[Dave/Scott]
Recommended Reading:Testosterone Tumbling in American Males.” Yahoo Health. 27 Oct. 2006.
The testosterone-fueled American male may be losing his punch.

Over the past two decades, levels of the sex hormone in U.S. men have been falling steadily, a new study finds.

For example, average total testosterone levels in men aged 65 to 69 fell from 503 nanograms/decileter (ng/dL) in 1988 to 423 ng/dL in 2003.
I’ve noticed that males in the U.S. today tend to be less confrontational than I would’ve expected out of human beings with testicles. Granted my view on this could be horribly skewed considering that I went from attending an Institute of Technology, where the males are more likely to attempt to reach a compromise rather than trying to assert themselves, to joining another institution where assertiveness is often looked upon as an a positive trait. I digress, such a topic is for smarter men to debate.
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Song of the Moment: “Fluff” by Black Sabbath

Government-Issued iPods

iPod[Dave/Scott]
The government issues me a lot of equipment to help fight our war against the asymmetrical threat of terrorism throughout the world. Some of the standard issue stuff includes the M-4 rifle and Kevlar-and-ceramic-based body armor, and the uses of both are obvious enough so that I don’t have to spell it out for you. Just a week or two ago I was issued a 30 GB iPod Video. The reasoning behind this I can’t tell you, but feel safe knowing that your tax-dollars are spent on keeping me somewhat entertained with the latest-and-greatest in Apple technology. Over and out.
♪…HEAR THE CRY OF WAR
LOUDER THAN BEFORE
WITH HIS SWORD IN HAND
TO CONTROL THE LAND…♪
Song of the Moment: “Phantom Lord” by Metallica

Monday, July 10, 2006

...because I've recently become enamored with the sound of my own voice.

Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp[Danger]
Danger here, reporting from our nation's capital (or thereabouts) on pretty much nothing. Changes in my life are limited to a change in job (though not workplace) and the boring reports that involves. So what to say? In a word...yarr.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is loaded with awesome. Though I realize it is exasperating to many to see an adjective used as a noun, it is appropriate to use it when writing about this movie. It was overflowing with awesome. It shot out of the screen every fifteen seconds or so, bathing the audience in it. Leaving the theatre, it was hard to tell whether your feet stuck to the floor due to dried soda or due to concentrated, dried up awesome trying to keep you there for another showing.

"How was it so awesome?", you might ask yourself if you've bothered reading this far. There are pirates, to be sure, which is a good thing right there. In the great pirate-ninja debate, which grew old and tired about forever ago, I've always been a pirate fan. I even cheer on the Buccaneers ifI channel surf past them. That isn't enough, though. To bring its awesome factor to heights once thought unattainable by people other than Sherman, Roosevelt (I'll let you pick whichever of the two you like more) and Batman, it had to pull out some big guns. It had ghosts, it had diabolical contracts, it had black magic women, it had Orlando Bloom achieving a respectable (?!) performance and it had sea monsters. Not enough for you yet? Then you're likely a snobby liberal (like myself) that can only garner enjoyment from foreign films (not quite like myself). This, however, is where Pirates scores awesome points that puts it within the enjoyment of effete elites.

The film has a plotline (ok, it has about a dozen plotlines, but I'm referring to this one) that is a thinkly veiled attack upon corporate influence on the world. The East India Trading company makes a showing in the film, representing the forces of tyrannical imperialism trying to rob the world of its magic and freedom in order to make money. At least, I read it that way. However you look at it, though, there is definitely some sort of social commentary going on there and to have that come from a Disney ride inspired movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer is surprising, refreshing, and earns the movie enough awesome points to push it above Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, and Six String Samurai. So, avast, ye mateys, and set sail for Port Awesome on the good ship Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, yarr!

I can't believe I actually wrote that preceding sentence.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hyped Code?

Sophie[Dave/Scott]
My Aunt bought me a paperback edition of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code a couple weeks ago for me to read it before watching the movie. I had initially avoided it because it was one of those books that everyone was reading, but after finishing it a couple days ago I realized it wasn’t bad. I’ll have to agree with Jack, though, that Brown’s Angels and Demons novel, set before the events of The Da Vinci Code, was much more intriguing. However, the latter was much more controversial in its subject matter and ended up receiving all the press, mostly due to the fact that everyone finds conspiracies intriguing. The movie wasn’t as bad as all those critics out there deemed it to be, though it was a bit long. It is however, still a popcorn movie, nonetheless.
“You asked what would be worth killing for. Witness the biggest cover-up in human history.”
Song of the Moment: “Chevaliers de Sangreal” composed by Hans Zimmer

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!

This afternoon, I left my apartment to go get cash for rent. (My apartment building is a cash-only kind of place, if that gives you any idea about the condition of it…) As I was leaving, there were two chipper fellows in ties carrying backpacks coming into our parking lot. These fellows were clearly Mormons—not only were they wearing the uniform, but there is a Mormon church right next door to my apartment.

Some part of me wanted to go find a giant bell to ring and emphatically shout, “The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!” Instead, I just smiled at them as I departed.

Upon my return, I went to the building manager’s apartment, and knocked on his door. He didn’t answer. But his car was here. I knocked again. Nothing. I went back to my place and fucked around on the computer for a little bit. Regardless of the ghetto-ness of where I live, the neighborhood is very quiet. Today was silent, with the exception of the rhythmic knock knock knock knock knock, pause, knock knock knock knock knock, pause. The knocks always came in fives.

I listened as the knocks moved up and down the walkway. Inside, I debated as to how I was going to react when they knocked on my door. Should I open the door and say, “Thanks, but no thanks?” Should I hide in the bedroom and pretend I’m not home?

Miraculously, I did not have to make a decision because they never knocked on my door. They knocked on the neighbors’ doors on either side of me, but not mine. I watched from my window on the third floor as the two left, no less chipper, and headed back towards their church. As soon as their feet left our parking lot, it was as if the apartment complex came back to life. The apartment manager opened his door and came out to look around. About thirteen other people did the same. My neighbors two-doors down came out with folding chairs, cigarettes and beer. The guy from apartment thirteen came out and began working on his yellow pickup truck. Peace was ours, once again.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ninja Vanish!

Ninja 002[Dave/Scott]
Recommended Reading: Greimel, Hans. “Last Ninja: ‘Be able to kill your students.’” The Mercury News. 26 Apr. 2006.
"Young kids might be more interested in other sports that are flashy or fashionable," concedes Makinori Matsuo, an associate professor of martial arts at Tokyo's International Budo University.

"They tend to be turned off by the image of martial arts as sweaty and smelly," he said.

Ninja is a compound word from the Japanese characters for "stealth" or "endurance" and "person," a reference to their traditional role as spies, mercenaries and assassins working for medieval warlords.

Traditional weaponry such as swords and throwing stars feature prominently is Hatsumi's lessons, as do handclaws for climbing walls, blow darts and chili pepper dust to throw in an opponent's eyes.

But true ninjutsu, Hatsumi says, is self-discipline and balance in the boardroom and the battlefield. It's about mastering one's weaknesses, including laziness and fear, and exploiting a rival's needs, such as sex and pride.
I have to agree with Hatsumi, popular culture’s got the wrong idea when it comes to ninjas and ninjutsu. While living in Hawaii my brother and I picked up a book on ninjutsu technique. We were excited, thinking that it would have crazy shit in there that would make us badasses that could jump 30 feet in the air and chop up dozens of chumps with a katana. After flipping through the book, I noticed a lot of those preconceptions were wrong. Swords like the katana were rarely used because one-on-one, face-to-face combat with a samurai in swordplay was often a sure way to die. The book seemed to emphasize opportunistic techniques instead, seeking to deceive and unbalance opponents for easy kills or escapes. I guess stealth and opportunism aren’t sexy enough to be cool in the eyes of the popular cultures of the west, at least in their views of martial arts.

Instead people who’ve never really had the chance to practice Asian martial arts watch “dance” films like Hero, or anything else by Jet Li. Don’t get me wrong, the “dance” scenes are beautifully choreographed, but they’re not fights. Go look at footage of martial arts matches in say the Olympics (Tae Kwon Do and Judo) or other big tournaments around the world and you’ll see something more dirty and mean than flashy.
“This is not a dance.”
Movie of the Moment: Batman Begins directed by Christopher Nolan

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