Thursday, December 22, 2005

Capoeira Angola, Ralph Gracie Jiujitsu, and Layoffs

Capoeira Angola
I recently started taking Capoiera Angola. It's the total opposite of Kali in that the use of hands is not allowed, except for walking. I've been to 3 classes so far and I still feel like a little kid, because there's just so much to learn. Usually a new martial art is easy for me to pick up, but this time that is not the case. In the first class one of the exercises was for everyone to walk on their hands from one side of the room to the other. Yeah right! The scary part is that everyone else could do it, and there wasn't a tumble among them. Except for me. Even with the constant feeling of uncoordination, it's great to be in a place where I feel like I'm learning something new. I can't wait until I figure out how to apply Kali principles to the movements.

Ralph Gracie Jiujitsu - Don't sign anything!
Before I begin, I should say that the instruction and instructors at the Berkeley School that I attended was awesome. As were the students. A great familial atmosphere, and some extremely talented players.

Now the bad stuff.

When I signed the contract that said they could deduct monthly payments directly from my checking account I was told that after 3 months, I could chose to end the contract. After 2 months, I had aggravated too many old injuries, and a few months later provided a written notice stating that I'd like to end my membership.

Contradictory to what I was told verbally, the contract says I have to pay for 12 months, and the folks that process the payments for the school don't seem eager to stop dipping into my cookie jar. It's an extremely bad mark on an otherwise stellar organization. Remember, don't sign anything when you join the school. I'm not the only former student experiencing this problem.

In other bad news, my boss, her boss, and most of her peers were laid off last Friday. Merry Christmas. Needless to say our group has been decimated. I still don't know who I report to at work, although that hasn't stopped me from working on our group's public-facing web page design. To those folks affected by the cuts, you have my sincerest condolences. Good people all. Happy holidays. :-(

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blood Moon Regale Photos

I've talked a lot about Shab and her bellydance troupe Ooh La La, but I never have pictures. So, here's a photo of me on stage drumming for Shab. For more images of the event click here.

It was a fun time, and Shab and her troupe did great. More details on the performance can be found at my earlier post Drumming @ The Blood Moon Regale.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Airport Incident

While waiting in the Southwest B line to board my daughter onto her flight, a man gets in line and stands with the woman and two daughters that have been in front of us for the past hour. I wasn't sure whether he was part of the family until one of the girls tells the guy that we (my daughter and I) should be ahead of him.

It was thoughtful for her to say that, and it gave me the opening to strongly suggest that the guy assume his rightful position at the back of the line. To which he replies "So what!", and "Fuck You". At this point my immediate reaction, as it always is in situations where people cut me in line, was to grab his shirt and toss him in that direction. One problem, though. I'm in an airport trying to board my daughter on her flight.

The thought of having my daughter miss her flight, having to pay for another ticket, and maybe being thrown in jail with no one available to take my little girl home was more than enough to keep me composed. So, when the line began moving, I walked in front of the guy, turned and faced him, which stopped the line, then told my daughter to come join me in front of the idiot. She did and we continued to walk toward the boarding gate. The moron, now behind me, started to snicker as if to taunt me for not doing more. What he didn't realize was that by getting in front of him, I had a much better opportunity to explain the situation to the attendant that was boarding the passengers. This I did successfully, and the guy was taken out of line.

At this point I gave my daughter a hug and a kiss, and started to walk away. I was partially satisfied that the guy had to wait for everyone else to board, but part of me still wanted to beat some respect into the guy. After taking a couple of steps away one of the younger female passengers made a remark about his rudeness, and then he told her "Fuck You". The attendant then had a few more words with the guy and told him he couldn't wait for the line to pass anymore, he had to physically walk to the back of the line.

So, I stopped and watched him walk to the back of the line, waiting for him to give me the opportunity to defend his next insult victim. Now I was even more pleased seeing his apparent dissatisfaction, and deference to the commands of the flight attendant. I still wanted to hit him though, the thought of which has puzzled me for the last week.

Logically, no one was hurt, the guy was made to go to the back of the line, and my daughter made it home safely and without incident (I had Southwest security call me on her arrival just to be sure). However illogically, though, I was emotionally nowhere near being through with the guy. And it occurred to me that in my last post "The Truth About Fighting" I guess I glossed over the difficulty of empathizing. It's really hard to do when someone swears at you in front of your kid.

In hindsight there really isn't much I would have done differently. Everything turned out okay, especially considering that I'm here writing instead of sitting in jail awaiting federal felony assault and battery charges. To be honest, if my good friend the line jumper had just asked nicely, I probably would have smiled and said no problem.

Did I win "the fight". We both did, because we both chose not to engage physically when the opportunity was more than apparent. However, move that line from an airport to a movie theatre, and there would have been a much different story. Emotion makes choosing not to engage a not so easy choice.