Category Archives: autobiography

Things I Think Are Cool: Nunchuks

I myself was a student of the martial arts, and in my younger days I tried to learn to use nunchuks. The weapon proved a harsh mistress. It requires not only a great deal of dexterity, but a degree of quick thinking and forethought. You see, nunchuks recoil. So not only do you have to concentrate on hitting your opponent, but you have to be prepared for the weapon to bounce back and have a move in mind for the next swing. It proved too much for me, and so I concentrated my efforts on the samurai sword. And then later on trying to find a girlfriend. I met with varying degrees of success on both counts, but I’ve always kind of wanted to take another crack at the nunchuks.

The Thrilla in San Francisca

So I boxed Friday night. It was the first time I had done so. I’ve wrestled and fought MMA, but never stood toe-to-toe and been taught lessons in the sweet science. And on Friday I learned a few. It was the culmination of a six week “boxing boot camp” where I had been on a crash course training regimen of working out every single morning at 6:00. The idea was to end the bootcamp with a fight night wherein the participants would form pugilistic pairs and perform in bouts before our friends and family. Unfortunately I was in a higher weight class than all the other boot campers and so the trainers brought in a ringer. I knew nothing about the guy going in. I didn’t know his age, weight, height, skill level or anything else. I didn’t even know who he was until it was time to step into the ring. Things went fairly well. I took some thumps, and gave him more than a few. I did get horrifically tired and by the end of the third round, it was all I could do to tiredly grab into a clinch. All the bouts were exhibition matches, and so no winner was declared although I think my opponent clearly had the better of me if it went to the judges. After it was all over we had a manly hug, and he filled me in on a fun little fact:

“I’m a professional.” he said.

So unless he moonlights as a trick hoe, this could mean only one thing. I fought a professional boxer and lived to tell the tale. Not bad for a guy with the reach of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He must have taken it a little easy on me, but I think I acquitted myself well. But I think that will be the last time I box. Better to stick to what I’m good at

The King of the Vagabonds Presents: Tuesday’s True Travel Tales

I’ve been a few places, done a few things. I’ve been known as something of a traveller in my day, putting miles and miles of foreign road under my boots. They’ve got all kinds of things on them: bone dust from the catacombs beneath Paris, muddy snow stains from Mt. Kilmanjaro, etc. In the course of my travels, I’ve had more than a few misadventures of varying degrees of wackiness. Anyone who’s ever shared a beer with me knows I’m something of a storyteller, so I have decided to recount some of my exploits here for you. With any luck it will be a regular thing, but I haven’t had stellar luck with weekly posting yet. Anyway, the adventure begins:

After too many pints of stout there’s no telling what a man may do, and fifteen pints is too many, even for me. They didn’t know that at The Stag’s Head, though they would learn later. My thoughts were getting slow and my voice was getting loud. This is a sure sign that I’m losing the battle and the alcohol will soon have its way with me completely. I found myself swearing more, and particularly enjoying the slurred “F” at the beginning of the word “fuck” which I was liberally applying in and around my sentences. I especially like to use it as a noun without changing the case. I am apt to call anyone who earns my ire “a fuck”, or if I’m feeling particularly salty, a “fucking Fuck.” Never a “fucker,” although sometimes a “Motherfucker.”

The Temple Bar area is in the middle of Dublin, and while it can occasionally get a bit touristy there are enough students and locals in the many pubs to make it worthwhile. The atmosphere is festive, without falling into the sordid bacchanalia of places like Bourbon Street and the Tallahassee strip. I was staying at Trinity, a large University that’s proximity to Temple Bar ended up causing some very enjoyable problems for me that summer. It put me within stumbling distance of my bed, no matter which pub I decided to hit. Continue reading…

More Possible Autobiography Titles

“Tantalizing, But Meaningless”

“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The History of a Hip-Hop Icon”

“Such Potential, Unfulfilled”

“That Hideous Strength”

“He Probably Should Have Known Better”

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”

“Always Outnumbered, Never Out-punned”

The Time Has Come

The reason why I posted the greatest Survivor song of all time in prose form earlier this week is this. I have recently signed up for a boxing bootcamp, and am rising way earlier than a normal person should to train for an hour-and-a-half before work. My body is adjusting to the shock of exercise. I haven’t really exerted myself since relocating to the West Coast, and a serious workout is long over due. The time has come for me to cast off the oh-so-comfortable lethargy of the last few months and once again become a pugilist. Sedentary no more! Despite my fighting career, I am a horrible striker and know very little about the sweet science. As a grappler, my strategy was usually to get punched in the face repeatedly until I could take down my opponent and ground and pound. It worked, but tended to mar my movie-star good looks for a few days.

This bootcamp is ideal for me, because it assumes a very basic level of boxing knowledge and focuses more on fundamentals and fitness. The workouts are good, but not too intense. I’m no Jack Dempsey, but I’m getting better. If only I could find a way to lengthen my arms and improve my reach, I would be unstoppable. As it is, I’ve been compared to everything from a Tyranasaurus Rex to a bulldog. Fierce and mighty creatures, to be sure, but hampered by a lack of arm length. Imagine the sheer lethal carnage that a T-Rex with long arms could cause. But I digress.

I admit the running is the hardest part for me. Even in the best of shape, I was a horrible runner. Slow and labored. And now when I do I can’t get “Eye of the Tiger” out of my head.

Dun. Dun Dun Dun. Dun Dun Dun. Dun Dun DUN…

A Parable Regarding the Ocular Organ of a Certain Jungle Feline

Rising up back on the street, I did my time and took my chances. I went the distance and now I’m back on my feet: just a man and his will to survive. So many times it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory, but don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive.

Face to face out in the heat, I’m hanging tough and staying hungry. They stack the odds, but still we take to the street for the kill, with the skill to survive. Because I’m rising up. Straight to the top, because I had the guts, and so got the glory. I went the distance, and now I’m not going to stop. I’m just a man and his will to survive.

It’s the Eye of the Tiger, my friends. It’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival. And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night. He’s watching us all.
With the Eye of the Tiger

Some Possible Titles for My Autobiography

“The Snarl of the Brute”

“Freedom’s Just Another Word For The State of Being Exempt From External Control or at Liberty Rather Than in Confinement or Under Physical Restraint”

“Guy Walks Into a Bar…”

“The Man With No Game”

“Unconsummated Eloquence”

“Semantic Drift”

The Lamest Thing I Said Last Week: Pun-ishment

I say many lame things. Jokes that people don’t get and/or are not funny, references to cartoons, and stories that go nowhere- I’m guilty of them all. For example: One day this week, I was discussing The Office Christmas episode with a co-worker (which by the way was by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, as it should be) and I talked about my love for the show in either of its trans-Atlantic incarnations. But I didn’t let it end there. In an ill-advised attempt to sound clever I told her I was an “Offic-ianado.”

Blank stare. Crickets chirping. God Help Me.

If I were to describe my appearance…

I would probably just say something like “bouncer-like.” It’s vague but suggestive enough that you probably have a fairly accurate mental picture. But if you pressed me to be more specific I would say, from top to bottom:

1. Round-headed

2. Squinty-eyed

3. Puffy-cheeked

4. Thick-necked

5. Broad-shouldered

6. Short-armed

7. Barrell-chested

8. Beer-bellied (slightly)

9. Wide-assed

10. Stout-legged

11. Wide-footed