Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One…

In which RVA talks about martial arts instructors…

Sometime ago, a friend was telling me about a feud in his martial arts school.  The instructor of his instructor (I’ll call him Granddad because martial arts takes itself too seriously) had a falling out with a student.  This student left Granddad’s tutelage and renounced all his teachings.  There was cussing, there was shouting, there was bad blood.  This was also in the infancy of the internet, so the personal feud spilled over onto the sparsely-populated message boards.  Granddad’s (now former) student left the system.

Lo and behold, some of the remaining students learned that less than a year later, this student had opened a school and was teaching as the head instructor.  The students were furious.  They started talking of rolling up to his school and explaining a few things to him.  They started talking about how this was an insult to Granddad and their system and their lineage and on and on and on. Continue reading “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One…”

Weekly Lament

In which RVA has had it…

Some days, I sit at this desk and I try to conjure what to write.  Should I touch on something narrative or professional?  Or should I tackle an issue in the larger world?  Fitness?  Art in general?  Some days, I have an array of topics I want to discuss.  And other days, the words simply aren’t there.

It’s getting harder and harder to write these days.  There’s a shadow that’s cast over all of us.  A pallor from which we can only momentarily escape.  I disdain to be melodramatic, but its hard to think of things in any other terms.  We are being overshadowed by, what seems to be, a wave of oppression.

We’re still in the wake of Alabama’s abortion ban.  We’re still feeling out similar laws in other states.  We’re waiting to learn when these will be heard before a Supreme Court which is a farce at best.  A basic concept is on the line, a basic tenet of the world is under attack.  It’s a hard time to really try to think of words.

There are few things that benefit a society like reproductive rights and health in women.  The data is clear, every bit as clear as it is on things like climate change.  Curtailing a woman’s right to control her health and to make her decisions is bad on every level, from the macro of society to the micro of one’s ethics.  Passing these laws is an attack on 52% of the population, plain and fucking simple.

Sorry, no pithy remark today.  No clever scenarios or poignant observations.  Just blunt, rude honesty.  The ruling powers are trying to send women back to being bare-foot, pregnant, and chained to the stove.  And I’m sick of it.  Worse, I’m sick of so many people acting like it’s some kind of higher calling.

You’re a fucking sexist who think women are less than human.  At least have the decency to admit it.  Dressing up harm as some form of care is the modality of abusers.

These laws are sickening, they are disgusting, and those who support them, quite simply, hate women.

Writing Career

In which RVA discusses the path (or lack there of) to success…

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to realign my professional direction.  I’ve been working hard to break through this plateau I’ve been at as a writer.  It culminated in the Kickstarter to make a Rhest for the Wicked short film, but a lot of other efforts went towards that goal.

One thing that I’ve ruminated on time and again was trying to better understand how people found new books to read.  I surveyed different groups of friends, peers, co-workers, and acquaintances.  I asked some strangers at shops and stores and restaurants (usually the people working; stopping other customers always seems like a bad idea).  I tried to get some consensus as to where people went to for reading information.

Overwhelmingly, the answer was nowhere. Continue reading “Writing Career”

Auto Woes

In which RVA learns how much automotive mechanics can suck…

I don’t know anything about engines.  Pretty much nothing.  I know a little bit about combustion as a physical act, so I conceptually understand the basic premise of an engine.  But in reality?  I’m lucky to know which side of the car has the engine in it.

Periodically throughout my life, I have undertaken efforts to remedy this shortcoming.  I learned to change my oil.  I’ve changed headlights and replaced a few other dodads and thingababobs.  I got some jack stands and some books and really dove into all the material I could find.  But I quickly reached a point where the learning just wasn’t taking. Continue reading “Auto Woes”

What To Work

In which RVA talks about different training programs he’s tried…

So pursuant to two weeks ago where I discussed my dietary history, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss my history with some of the training programs.  Like dieting, exercise is surprisingly easy and yet there’s a whole industry that complicates it.  And like dieting, finding a good program is equal parts experimenting and knowing yourself, as well as keeping honest about your goals.  You can say you want to be athletic all you want, but if deep down you want big shoulders and a chiseled midsection, you are going to be disappointed to some extent.

I’ve been exercising most of my life.  I started doing martial arts when I was 12, which quickly was joined by general fitness and physical activity.  I started lifting weights sometime in my early teens: calisthenics at first and then a whole lot of machines.  I didn’t really embrace free weights until my twenties, and I didn’t really get into kettlebells until my thirties.  So that should give you some idea. Continue reading “What To Work”