Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blog resurrection, Part IX

Shit!!! We're using X's now for the series, that's a big ugly crunch isn't it!?

Well, soldier on if you will.


The book is coming along well, chapter 9 is almost done and the new chapter before it will be done by tonight.

That's good news, lets hope for more this weekend.

posted by Seth # 7:49 PM

So I am going to brag about my cooking skills briefly before the real content. But as usual this is a convenient setup to the point.

Mmmm, just imagine 3 lbs of lean beef marinated overnight in olive oil, basil leaves, rosemary and finely chopped onions. Now put it in an oven in a sarcophagus of salt to seal in all the beefy goodness. To go with it is a rich red wine gravy based on the leftover marinade and full of herbs and a pinch of the salt crust. Couple this with roasted onion and vegetables and you get my lunch. And now I can barely move.

I am not one to wallow in my hedonism, I just have to give due credit to my culinary skills. Speaking of skills, I feel obligated to pay homage to some of the finer skills in life that cannot really be taught without firsthand experience.

Have you met my younger brother? If so, you know about the dangers of whining in front of him and probably have heard the sound of the ‘waaahmbulance.’ Something the brothers and I share, to varying degrees and specialties, is the ability to come up with a good comeback.

There may be nothing sadder than a decent insult being followed by an incredibly lame comeback that just makes the insulted person look like even more of a fuckup. Its like when Ganon throws a ball of lightning at you...time a decent swing right and it goes right back. Miss, and you get fucked. Now sometimes he hits it back a second time, you just gotta keep swinging til someone gets hit or deflect the blast.

That’s called banter.

Sometimes the comeback is probably 6 times funnier than the actual insult, if so you can also follow up with yet another stinging retort. That too is sweet.

But what makes a comeback good. Generally, it has to be funny, witty/clever, or just so fucking mean that it turns all conversation into quick drawn breaths and someone muttering ‘god damn, that was racist!’

Wade is probably the harshest among us. I give you an example (paraphrased.)

Scott: I don’t know what we’re gonna do tonight.
Wade: Yeah, because you suck at life.
Scott: But...
Wade: But nothing, you’re worthless, everyone hates you just die!

Now in reading back what I’ve just written it occurs to me I have left something out. Delivery is just as important, if not more so, than the content. Its easy for me to recall the exact inflection and tones that Wade would use, but if I imagine say...Paul Floyd saying his part I know that it wouldn’t be funny at all. Why? Because Paul sucks at life.

As for me, I try to take a wittier tack, often just some sort of incredibly bad pun of dennis miller style obscure reference. Take a real life example from senior year in high school in which Shane Mellor and I discussed female relations.

Shane: Man, I know more about girls than you ever will.
Seth: Ha! You don’t become a wine connoisseur by drinking welches grape juice.

A stinger to be sure, but while I’ m going on about Shane I should add that sometimes comebacks aren’t even verbal. After the prom we were all chillin’ at the breakfast place. I was sitting down across from him with Hailey on my right, he was leaning back in his chair and being like a steroidally enhance male version of Kelly. At one point he made a crack about the swim team not being popular. Now I was captain of swim team and it was my duty to not let a bitch like him get away with it. Instead of breaking out any sort of menacing commentary I just smiled and kicked his chair over with him in it. It was beautiful.

Now Lucas has a particularly well-suppressed anger that does pop out on occasion and when it does you get mean-assed ad hominem attacks. Someone cracks on you, you remind them of something particularly embarrassing. I cite ‘Super Troopers’ to demonstrate.

O’Hagan: Look Grady, this is your last chance. Either you cooperate or I am going to embarrass the hell out of you.
Grady: What, like naked in a dream embarrassed?
O’Hagan: No...embarrassed like you were in ‘72 when you got caught fucking your cousin.
Grady: She’s not my cousin.

I wish there was a good way to write the sound of a spittoon getting hit with a well fired spit.

Now that was particularly scathing not only because it was embarrassing, but also because Grady couldn’t come back with anything but denial. Nothing is lamer than coming back with ‘no I’m not!’ or ‘No I didn’t!’

Now I have to go watch the matrix 3 trailer and get my paycheck. Look forward to 3 chapters of the book when I return. I will probably start posting progress as I get edited versions completed in order. We’ll see though.

posted by Seth # 10:23 AM

I know I haven’t written in a while, so be calmed and reassured by this that I am not dead, nor have I lost my fingers, eyes or ability to read the English language. My week has been tiring to say the least.

For some context, I am the haggard looking brown haired white guy sitting next to some girl in a green shirt on the 2nd floor of DH Hill library. Some ho’s celly just rang, I pondered killing her for 1.78 seconds…much higher than the usual 1.2 with a standard deviation of .31. Also, the thundercats shirt today got me noticed by Chiwi and a guy wearing the inverse (red shirt, black logo) said the ‘huh-oh’ part of thundercats HUH-OH.

There’s really no good way to right ‘ho’ so it has 2 syllables, lets move on. Well a new measure of stress in my life could be time spent with Jodie Jensen. I know what you’re thinking…

10 Mention some girl
20 Rant
30 Go to 10

But if you’re familiar with the whole ‘ad hoc ergo propter hoc’ thing (IE correlation does not equal causation) then you should understand. Time spent with Jodie means time spent studying like a freak. Having 3 tests this week means lots of Jodie time, stress and coffee. So therefore since Jodie time = Stress = Library = Coffee, then we can conclude that stress = coffee.

I just got out of econ and walked down the ‘sborough. The day was neither hot nor cold, it was neither windy nor still and the overcast clouds made it neither bright nor dark. It was a bunch of god damned neutral nothingness to follow the equally neutral test. IE, I did well enough not to cry about it but not well enough to feel any sort of pride either. Bleh, and I have 5 hours of studying to look forward to.

Now before I do that, and I’ll probably get some golden dragon later to ease my suffering, I decided to educate my dedicated reader with somethings they might find interesting or relevant.

First, someone asked me the other day what is the difference between a neurosis and a psychosis…it may have been Jimmy, he’s in abnormal. Anyways, it’s a simple distinction that I did not know offhand so I looked it up and will now deliver in my creative metaphor format. Heigh ho, here we go.

Neurotic behavior is anything that is not considered normal but is also not necessarily considered dangerous. Personality disorders are often neuroses rather than psychoses. People that can’t decide whether they left the gas on, or can’t step on cracks in the side walk or bite their nails constantly have neurotic tendencies. Jack Nicolson’s character from ‘As good as it gets’ is a good example. Basically people who have a distorted picture in terms of relative relevance can be considered neurotic (this may mean everyone to a degree). Its kind of like being drunk. Reality is still there, and many perceptions are familiar just delayed or slowed down or dulled or sensitized (take my detachment vs crying like a bitch when I get hammered) The point is reality stays the same, and you just aren’t getting a good representation of it.

If neurosis is like being drunk than psychosis is probably like tripping on Acid. I don’t know how similar the two are being neither a fan of acid nor a psychopath, but from what they say and people’s descriptions of the two it seems pretty solid to me. Psychosis is when you are detached, separated, or just removed from reality. Its hard to imagine how this happens when we take so much of the world for granted. But let me walk you through the distinction between a normal person and a psycho.

The universe does not exist in the sense we see it without our perceptions to base direction, position and metaphors in. Its nothing unless you have something to see, hear or touch it with. Can you see out the back of your head, or from your hand? No, trying to ‘see’ the universe without sense organs is like putting your hand in a box and trying to determine the color. Consider this blank slate in which nothing exists until you can detect it and work from there. Your senses not only perceive the universe, they define it. Color is a pretty obscure form of distinction when you consider the small variations in wavelength and frequency, but we distinguish fairly well with light, sound and temperature.

Without going into tons of specifics (and you know I would if I had time) its easy to imagine everyone having several aspects from each of their sense organs that add info into our brain which turns nothing into…tah da! Something. What we understand comes to us in parts. Lots of light and vibrations come into our range but we see, hear and feel them separately and integrate later. Normal people perceive within certain tolerances and can be deficient in one or a few areas and still function well.

Extend this principle to human interaction. Take the girl to my left. I have never seen her before but I understand that she’s a girl, she’s slightly taller than me, she’s got a decent rack but is only a 6 on the adjusted boneability scale. Now I know these things not because they are inherent to the fabric of the universe, I have lots of data tucked away to compare and contrast each moment of experience to my past and predicted future ones. Sounds much neater than life really is I’m sure. The point is, if I didn’t have that data or if the memory or processing of that data was corrupted, changed or distorted then I might not have a clue what the fuck a girl or a shirt or even the color green was.

Psychotic people do not have access to the same degree of truth that normal people’s brains can handle. This isn’t an intelligence thing either, smart people can be deluded assholes just like the dumbest of us. Its an experience thing. If your brain told you that every person was probably evil and out to kill you, and you had no way of thinking ‘hey that’s a crazy thought’ you’d be a psychopath. It’s a problem not of motivation or mindset, its being stuck in a world where the rules that apply to you are totally different than for everyone else. Maybe not always, but this is no mere woozy glazed over perception. This is full on hallucination.

But what exactly is a hallucination? Its an interesting thing to ponder, you may do so if you like.

Done? Ok, well consider that a hallucination is just a misdirected report. A normal person sees someone else because their eyes picked up light which corresponds to familiar patterns which the brain recognizes and relays (somehow) into your consciousness. That, to me, is fucking outstanding. Now a hallucination is when something that does not exist to normal people exists to you. Just because its not real doesn’t mean your brain isn’t insisting that it is. People wonder why crazy types can’t straighten out. Well, if your eyes painted a picture of the world that wasn’t accurate you couldn’t get around any better. You’d also probably be annoyed by the people you keep bumping into who insist on your shaping up your inability to comprehend them.

Ah the joys of being a psychologist. Speaking of which, lets talk about tickling for a moment.

One of the best indicators of whether I will get along with you (this goes for females only) is ticklishness. Girls that can be sent into hysterics with a tap or a poke are just delightful when feeling like abusing someone without causing physical harm. Girls that aren’t ticklish, are usually missing a sense of humor also. And that is just unacceptable.

A great mystery of life is about to be revealed, that is why squeezing just above someone’s knees provokes an immediate jerking of the leg and probable cause of pain or discomfort.

Everyone knows that if you tap someone’s knee in the right place they kick. But does anyone know why? I do, and so will you. It’s a reflex, and most of the body’s functions do have some useful purpose. This is no exception.

The muscles in your leg are big and scary. They could easily yank your knee cap off or split a bone or themselves if allowed to contract fully and in unison. Having a hundred or more muscle fibers to an axon means muscle control is spotty at best and used mainly for gross or rough movements. To prevent some kind of damage, the tendon has a little detector called the golgi tendon organ.

Whenever you get a sudden contraction of too many muscles this thing is triggered and it does the fun part of a reflex arc to create the stretch reflex. Muscles only contract you know, so rather than slow the muscle by reducing its contraction, the opposing muscle will ‘brake’ for it. The result, tap a knee and the flexor reports sudden change, in response, the extensor contracts and you kick out your foot. Now since your flexor wasn’t really doing much the net is a little kick.

The other method of provoking this is the aforementioned contralateral knee squeeze. Now, since my mind is somewhat refreshed, I am off to study bio psych and run through 242 for tomorrow.

posted by Seth # 2:54 PM

Today was characterized by a fun little hike up morrow mountain. Trust me, it was short, light and brisk. Not a bad diversion, but not really a hike either, more of an autumn stroll. Anyways, about half way through the dad and I (mom was far behind most of the time) had good talk about genetic engineering of people and then about southern language.

Something the northeners don't really comment or care about the southern language is its ability to soak up sarcasm.

Consider the phrase 'well bless your heart.' Its as much a condolence as it is a knife in the back. What a great piece of sarcasm in a southerners arsenal. "Man I can't believe how much my feet hurt." Oh well bless your heart. He's so ugly, bless his heart. "Jed got shot in the leg and they had to amputate, bless his heart."

You hear some criticism that southern dialect and the way we talk is roundabout and indirect. Its really more devious than anything. But, I got plans tonight, so I gotta cut this short.

posted by Seth # 3:57 PM

So lucas snagged a certain movie on DVD before the release date...one, "matrix reloaded"...oh yes, and it was sweet!

Ironically I was thinking about just that earlier today before my swim. Specifically the line that Sereph says: "You do not truly know someone until you fight them." It got me thinking for my 4.17 miles today.

And yes, that is what makes me King Shit of Fuck mountain, thank you Bob and David.

Anyways, fighting is the topic. But there are many kinds of fighting. Verbal, physical, indirect (some other violent or physical contest) and of course, war. Even these classifications have subareas to consider.

Physical can be anything from sparring to a bar brawl. Here is my take on some kinds of physical incursions. Much like Jonathan Hemlock, if someone starts shit that you don't want I say any means, methods or objects to smite them are fair game. Thankfully, this isn't an everyday occurence. Most people dont fight strangers, they fight with their friends and loved ones. When fighting a friend or brother there are certain rules you must follow. Why, or what's the difference you might ask? Well your friends are probably gonna be your friends afterwards and family is inescapable. I have only decked one guy and I hated him like no other. As many hundreds of fights that wade and I have been in, or any combination of brothers, you never punch the face. Its just how it goes.

Then again, in contrast to Mr. Hemlock, formal fighting is a whole new ball game. Its really not a ball game, but when you mix rules and man vs man you get what I call True Sport. You may have seen my away message about wrestling before, but if not i'll summarize.

"When you wrestle, you are bound not only to your opponent but to the rules of the mat. Then he causes you pain and everything comes into focus. At first you recoil from the pain, the urge to run, to give in and submit runs through your head. Anything to escape. But, there is another force, something deeper and fearsome lurking in your cells that does not let you go. It urges you to stay, to call on your strength not to run but to fight. This is Killer Instinct. You still want to run, but you want to hurt whoever is hurting you even more no matter the cost. Though the fear is gone the rules remain, and even if you prevail if you break the rules you are the loser. This is the essence of True Sport. Savagery and rules, hand in hand with the biological imperative."

Now if you're sparring you can't throw sand or poison your knife without bad things happening. You do, and you're a damned cheater. Its a sport, an organized contest of strengths, skills and nutsack. Verbal arguments take the opposite course with organization and familiarity.

It would be a rare thing indeed to have a formal debate with your parents, or a round tobin discussion with your friends. No, people talk shit and scream at their familiars. Its only formally organized debates that maintain order and those are almost always with strangers or colleagues. You of course can still get into a scathing verbal bout with a stranger, but that's just part of life.

Going back to a contest...isn't a fight really about who is tough shit and who is dogmeat? And aren't all sports simply a test of some aspect of strength or some particular skills? So in a way, every sport is a kind of indirect combat. Now I know you're about to say 'even badminton and bowling?' And the answer is yes, ping pong is style of fighting.

Simple physical strength is rarely what we measure though. Weightlifting and some track events are really the only ones (and swimming to a degree, but i'll make that a special example later) that stick to pure muscle. Its more about finesse or some combination of skills. People can get sick competitive though.

Take me and my sports. One, racquetball. Rball is not about who can knock the fuck out of the ball or run the fastest. In my year or so of playing Tristan this has become apparent. He's much more buff, but I win almost every time. Rball is a sport where Presence is necessary. Note the formal use of Presence. This is a game where being a sneaky annoying bastard gives you the advantage. You could hit the shit out of the ball and make your opponent chase it, or just hit it where he cannot go. To be good at racquetball you need only one thing: Brute Finesse.

Swimming is similar in a not so apparent way. If you land an awesome killshot in rball people comment on it. No one has ever said "damn, did you see the angle his hand hit the water, that's flawless!" Trust me, its never happened. Swimming is however just as Presence dominated as any other sport.

The key to this is grace. No not Grace, but just simple elegance. If technique were dresses, this is the one that Ms America picks so it doesn't fall apart or look bawdy. You can tell the difference between a good swimmer and bad very easily. N00bs in the pool swing straight armed and splash and wobble around on every axis. Its pitiable. Each stroke has its pitfalls, but freestyle is to me the easiest and to others teh hardest.

Consider the difference between running and swimming. You have your whole damned life to practice standing, walking, running and jumping. Time spent in a pool is somewhat less then time out of one. Its like learning to dance, except instead of rhythm you need water. Both require devotion to succeed. Now on dry land I am a clumsy ass bitch, but stick me in some chlorinated water and I am like a swan. Ugly duckling comments aside, lets look at the physics that make grace work.

Ok...these noobie fucks that take up my lane have so many things wrong that i just want to strangle or drown most of them. Clumsiness is such a waste of energy in the water. If you go up and down or wander around in the lane you are swimming more within a fixed distance. Straight lines are the way to go man! and level straight lines are even better.

Another thing. Buoyancy is pretty important. Why? Because water is like 6000 times heavier than air. Ever movement should count. Also, if you can set up your pulls outside the water they use less energy. And if you can kick yourself out of the water there is less drag. That's olympic style shit, but its cool to see guys that can lift themselves out of the water almost up to their waste and fly on top of it.

Now, an understanding of efficient stroke comes from practice and extensive teaching. Butterfly is the most energy intensive thing I think the body can do. But even strong people have trouble with it...why? Because flight, and this stroke comes closest to emulating it, is a complicated and graceful task humans are just not suited for. The timing, movements, strength of the second kick compared to the first are all intuitive but teaching them is just damn hard. Rather than dragging yourself through the water, you try to make yourself a sine wave flowing through it. You try to go up and out of the water, push forward through the air and stabilize/reorient upward with the first kick and push forwards with the second just a bit later. Sounds goofy and complicated but to see people do it in perfection is sublime.

Appreciation comes from knowing worth. And to me a graceful stroke is an underappreciated form of elegance. And swimming is an unappreciated form of combat.

I wish there were an olympic event that was two guys pitted against eachother in single combat in a 15 x 15 meter pool that is 4 meters deep. That would be sick cool! The point is that practice makes perfect and combat declares who is 'perfect' so we can all kiss their ass.

It doesn't explain how many fucking imbeciles watch professional sports and get psychotic over some arbitrary team halfway across the country...but war does!

What is war? Yeah I know, a bunch of guys killing eachother with sticks/swords/guns/planes. But they don't all just decide to go out and fuck shit up. Someone else sends them. Chiefs send their tribe to fight, Lords send their kerns and knights into battle, president bush wipes up Iraq with smartbombs and a horde of farm boys and college rejects. Its another pissing contest. Only people's lives get pissed away for political gain and access to resources.

Isn't that what the first fight was about? Some blob of goo is going to eat me or I will have to eat it, multiply and keep eating! People do the same thing but for food or gold or oil...and sometimes just for pride. Wouldn't it suck if your feudal lord just didn't like some other guy so you and a bunch of dudes go duke it out with metal suits and points just to satisfy some fat nobleman's pride? Hell yeah, and that's nationalism.

To a lesser degree its also sports from the opposite angle. Bunches of peons stake their pride on the muscle and vigor of a bunch of other guys that they have little or no connection with. And the owners make millions. Ain't life grand.
posted by Seth # 8:40 PM

posted by Seth # 6:41 AM

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