3rd Gup

T’was the morning of grading,
When all through the hall,
Blue belts and red belts
Geared up to maul.

You’re probably sick of these, but if you want to stop reading, feel free to. I graded again today, and alas, double promotion escaped me. I think it’s an unspoken rule that anyone above Blue-2 is not allowed to double promote. Ah well, t’was an excellent day.

On Friday at the end of class, I asked Kwanjangnim Carmella (I’ve decided that, while that’s her formal title, I can never call her that)  if I could buy a red belt. The belt system in Oh Do Kwan is basically White, Yellow, Blue, Red, Black. Each belt has three tiers, 1, 2 and 3, except for black. Black belts have Dan’s. 1st Dan when you first get your bb, 2nd Dan two years later if you’ve earned it, 3rd Dan three years etc. Ross and Carmela both have 7th Dan’s which means they’ve been black belts for 28 years or more. Up until 10:55 this morning, I was Blue-3, aka 4th Gup. So anyway, I ask Kwanjangnim Carmella if I can buy a red belt. She looked puzzled and asked me if I’d graded. I said, No, but I’m about to. She smiled and asked, "What if you fail?" I gave the only answer I could: "I believe I won’t." She smiled and told me the story of a blue belt who had wanted his red belt a day or two early. After giving in and selling it to him, the guy broke his leg the day before grading. Karma, anyone?I will admit, the longer I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I would break my leg before this morning, or maybe during the grading itself, so not only would I break my leg, but I’d fail simultaneously and never have the right to wear a red belt. However, I was fortunate enough to survive the encounter.

My old enemy the Red Board challenged me again. I had trained for that moment. The first time they sprung Mr Red on me, I was not prepared and did not devote myself enough. The next time we faced off, I was over-prepared and stumbled upon myself as I tried to exert too much power. Today I was determined to be single-minded, focused, and strong all at once. Or maybe I just kicked it in the right spot. Either way, I broke the red board with a push kick, and a side kick (yop chagi). I bowed to my shattered opponent  and skipped back to my place quite dreamily.

There were, in all, perhaps 16 blue belts going for grading. 12of them were younger than 8-years-old, two of them were older than 40. That left me with Rebecca, the only person remotely near my height. I take no pride in saying I was better than her. She honestly got scared of me after a little while. I felt very bad and apologised to her after every move (all of which resulted in her lying on the floor with some kind of joint lock). When we were about to start sparring, she said "Please don’t hurt me", and something inside me died. But… Sparring… This was my chance to shine. This was my chance to show how I had mastered the techniques and could apply them. And here was a girl who had asked me not to hurt her. I felt terrible, truly awful, so I did not demolish her, but neither did I take it easy. Later, I asked if she was all right, and she said she was. I hope she forgave me.

All in all, I did all right. Aboubt a 70 point average, which wasn’t spectacular, but I was pleased. I got 80 in my power test (AAAAHAHAHAHA! TAKE THAT MUTHA F-) which was pretty cool, and I’m looking forward to resuming training. What’s that? Mock exams? TEE? Good heavens, you’re right! Better upgrade from three to twelve sessions a week. Okay, maybe not twelve(though that’s how many are available to me), but around  6-8, and an extra 2 if I can still enter that novice tournament (for people who’ve never been in one before) on the 21st… Kickboxing will have to wait until next year… But hey, sure, why not up the ante and train every day. If I were to go to *every* session available to me, it would average about $1.50 per. :D Viva Oh Do Kwan baby.

Anyway, peace out from the red belt!

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Australia in the 90’s

This had me cheering. God, what a childhood.


You watched the ABC more than any other station. Those days are long gone.

You made worms by squeezing your Vegemite or peanut butter crackers together.

The best parties always had fairy bread.

The Waugh twins. Go! Aussie! Go!

Getting the Easter Show/Royal Show guide from the paper and circling all the show bags you wanted.

Blinky Bill, Mr Squiggle and Gumby.

SuperTed, Widget The World Watcher and Samurai Pizza Cats.

Going to the Easter Show with a big group of friends from school once you were old enough to go without Mum and Dad.

Doing research for school projects by going to the library or looking up an encyclopaedia rather than using the internet.

Paul Keating was some guy that ran the country and John Howard became the only PM you really ever knew because you were too young to care before that.

Banana Man, Bangers and Mash and The Raggy Dolls.

Game Boy.

Waking up early everyday to watch Agro’s Cartoon Connection or Cheez TV.

Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

Trying to make the Rainbow Road shortcut on Mario Kart 64.

Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and Lift Off (that show with the dirty, eyeless doll named EC).

Birthday parties at McDonald’s.

A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month. No returns!

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Arguing over which was better – Nintendo 64 or PlayStation.

Don’t push me, push a push pop!

Nobody made "not" jokes… NOT!!

Bathurst stopped being Holden vs. Ford and all those European cars came in until they came to their senses.

Who shot Mr Burns?

Watching Captain Planet and then driving your parents mad by always singing the song.

That’s so funny, I forgot to laugh.

Playing Gran Turismo and MGS on PlayStation.

Roller coasters at Wonderland, Sydney.

You decorated your room with glow-in-the-dark stickers.

You played marbles and could name all the different types like blue moon, oily, candy, red wine, galaxy and red devil. You never played anyone for your god marble.

Feeling sad when your Tamagotchi died.

Singing "a ram sam sam, a ram sam sam, guli guli guli guli guli, ram sam sam, a rafi, a rafi, guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam".

Seeing a small rack of DVDs in the video store and wondering if anyone ever rented them.

Getting up early to watch the Rage Top 50.

Friends when they were all actually just friends. Why didn’t Phoebe and Joey get together?

Sonic the Hedgehog.

Watching The Simpsons back when it was funny, every night on Channel 10.

Power Rangers becoming cooler than the Ninja Turtles, even though the Turtles will always be cooler.

Watching South Park for the first time and being really excited by all the swearing.

Watching Hercules and then being disappointed when Xena Warrior Princess replaced it. Nobody was cooler than Herc.

Blowing on the Nintendo cartridge before putting it in the console to make sure it worked properly.

Smell the cheese.

Vulcan, Tower, Flame… Australian Gladiators.

Playing Mortal Kombat and trying to do a fatality but just ending up punching accidentally.

Pokemon! Gotta catch ‘em all!

Watching Hey Dad! and then seeing little Arthur McArthur go on to star in that famous Sorbent ad.

Full Frontal, not Comedy Inc.

Chatting with your buddies on ICQ.

Going to see Titanic.

Mighty Max and Polly Pocket. Max and Polly always got lost because they were so bloody small.

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Waiting for Tony “Plugger” Lockett to break that record.

Australia didn’t always win the cricket.

The Socceroos couldn’t qualify for the World Cup.

John Eales captained the Wallabies and we won the World Cup.

Ray Martin hosted A Current Affair.

Zoopa Doopa ice blocks were only 20c and if you couldn’t afford it, you asked the canteen lady to cut it in half so you could split it with a friend.

Listening to boy bands like Human Nature and girl bands like Girlfriend.

Barbie, not Bratz.

The Spice Girls.

Happy Meals were only $2.95 and the toys were simple but actually good.

Person 1: Who farted!?
Person 2: Whoever smelt it, dealt it!
Person 1: Whoever made the rhyme, committed the crime!

Brad Fittler was the best in the world.

Thorpe won lots of gold medals and wasn’t so gay.

Opposite day.

We all loved Pat Rafter and almost cried when he lost to Goran Ivanisevic because our Pat deserved that title more than anyone. Definitely more than Hewitt ever did.

Giving a friend a backage in the canteen line. If it was your best friend, you gave them a frontage.

Pogs and Looney Tunes Tazos.

You laughed at the fat kid on the Cottees cordial ad and changed the song to "My Dad picks his nose…"

You ate Smarties instead of M&M’s.

Girl germs! Boy germs!

Goosebumps.

You had to actually call your friends rather than send them an SMS.

Paul Jennings’ Gizmo books.

Matchbox cars.

The Secret World of Alex Mack.

Talk to the hand!

Johnson and Friends, Noddy and Humphrey B. Bear.

Collecting Yowie toys. Aussie wildlife was way cooler than any stupid Kinder Surprise toy.

Playing truth or dare with your secret crush.

Slap bracelets.

Jurassic Park and those toy dinosaurs where you could pull a piece of the skin out to see its insides.

We had paper money.

Telling those Dobbers where to stick it by singing, "Dibba dobba dibba dobba number nine, wearing nappies all the time" and, "Dibba dobba Cindy went to kindy, stepped on a bindy wa wa wa."

Good on ya Mum! Tip Top’s the one!

You could buy more than enough food from the school canteen for only $2.

Begging your parents to go to McDonald’s for dinner.

Rocko’s Modern Life, Rugrats and Hey Arnold!

Noni, Monica and that bald guy named George on Play School.

Going to World 4 Kids to look at all the toys.

Watching The Lion King and feeling Simba’s pain when Mufasa died. Disney just doesn’t make them like that anymore.

Soft serve cones were only 30c and they never tried to up-sell a Flake because they didn’t have it.

Nesquik without the Nes.

Troll Dolls.

The Kids’ Works at Pizza Hut with unlimited drink refills. You made an ice cream mountain covered in choc chips and marshmallows and could never finish it.

Thomas the Tank Engine and TUGS.

Ba-na-na-na-na! Ba-na-na-na-na! Make those bodies sing!

You had to get your photos developed.

Competing with your friends to see who could eat the most sour Warheads in one go.

The Channel 9 logo had dots next to it and the Channel 7 logo wasn’t a folded piece of paper.

No Hat, no play….(no school today)

High five! Up high, down low, too slow!

Watching Round the Twist and getting pissed off that the actors kept on changing. You still loved it though.

Cheating in Heads Down, Thumbs Up.

Collecting basketball cards, whether you followed basketball or not.

Collecting hundreds of tickets from Timezone just so you could trade them for some crappy prize that you could have bought from Woolies for ten bucks.

Skipping ropes and Jump Rope for Heart Day.

The Ferals. Rattus, Modigliana, Derryn and Mixy were cool until they started that five minute piece of crap, Feral TV.

Hypercolour T-shirts.

Who Dares! Who Dares! Who Dares Wins!

Growing up in Australia in the 90s was rad.

Doppelgangers

I had an interesting dream last night. Basically, good-Eugene said he’d be right back, and then bad-Eugene pushed me out of his room and locked the door. When the door opened, good-Eugene was gone. I’m not sure what my logic was, but Eugene had taken Eugene from me, and I desperately wanted him back. So I fought with him. I used all kinds of weapons, including a lead pole which I used to break his nose with. Of course, because it was a dream, all I  did was graze his skin a little and tap him heavily enough to hurt a bit but not to do any damage. He seemed impervious to all my attacks, even when we were dueling with radio antennas. I just kept yelling at him to tell me where Eugene was, and when I wasn’t attacking him, I was tearing his room apart to find the secret passageway that lead to the safe where Eugene was being held. Mum came along and asked what was happening, and I assume Eugene told her the reason why he was bleeding. I eventually yelled "MUM! WHERE’S EUGENE!" out loud as I opened my eyes. Fortunately, neither Eugene nor Mum responded. It was very interesting, and very troubling.

I hate 2am stops, and yet I find them so… Embracing.

To Anyone Who Cares

No, I don’t have the right to complain. I may have more things to do, but I’ve had more time to do it. And I just wanted to say that I’m quite stressed, yes indeed. So stressed that I wanted to call someone and tell them how foolish I am. Anyone. But I don’t want to disturb them if they’re studying or sleeping, so I’m going to just write a blog entry addressed "To Anyone Who Cares". Can’t imagine there’d be too many of you- not only am I a distant part of your life, you’ve got your own things to worry about.

So it’s Tuesday night. Tomorrow I have Music Literature and Applicable. I’ll get up at 0630hrs, do a little bit of work, go to school. Have my ass kicked in human biology and economics because I’m about two weeks behind on work.
Thursday is human biology, my literature oral presentation, and after school, a piano performance. Not even going to think about Thursday.
Friday is economics (sweet mother of Jesus), literature essay and music composition.

I have four chapters of human biology to read, understand and learn.
I have an applicable assignment to do by tomorrow, as well as notes to take in for the test.
I have to study, memorise, intimately understand and be prepared to write about two or more Gwen Harwood poems by Friday, as well as prepare for my speech on Thursday.
I have until tomorrow Period 2 to learn everything there is to learn about Ravel’s Piano Concerto, Copland’s ballet and Sculthorpe’s Kakadu.
I have two chapters of economics to read, understand and study.

Eugene just got home, so that’s the end of peace for me. Thursday night is the piano performance, so there’s three, maybe three and a half hours gone. Wednesday Eugene will be home baking cake and being an awful nuisance while Thank God You’re Here sends him into a strange delirium. All in all, if I were to do all the work I wanted to, it would take me roughly 15 hours, without a break. It’s possible, but that’s a very bad idea. So I’m going to go to bed now, get as much sleep as I can, and just hope that I don’t break down again before the weekend.

The more I think about these things, the more stressed I get. It’s gotten quite awful, so I’m just going to stop thinking about them, distract myself when I need to, relax when I can, and study, hopefully, when I should. Too late for long term plans. Now I just have to cram, do a test, forget everything to make room for more cramming, and hope all my scores are 70+. Hahaha, no problem. Avoiding hysteria, going to bed now.

Don’t know how I’ll survive whilst Eugene’s at home, but nature will find a way. Survival of the fittest, and if this is the end of me… Going to bed now.

Miyagi’s Match

I considered for a while whether to write this in first person or third person. Both are arrogant, but I decided to be more open about it and go for first person.

Around 9pm, I heard a buzzing in my room- could it have been some kind of far-off construction, or a vehicle maybe? Unlikely. I tried to ignore it, and of course by consciously trying, I failed. Leaving my TISC reading for a moment, I looked around to search for the source of my distraction. It was only after about a minute that I found the fly with my ears- it had been hiding between my blinds and window. When I opened the shutters, it flew out and rammed itself into my wall repeatedly. I walked calmly to the centre of my room, eyes never leaving my target, and-
Snatch!
My hand shot out and closed on thin air. The fly darted away but I tracked it, never losing sight of it for more than an instant. That in itself was actually quite challenging. It swung past me once again;
Snatch!

Close, but it narrowly avoided my fist. Inwardly, I smiled to myself, enjoying the challenge. Reflexes, precision and speed. My opponent was a wily one, no doubt about it, but I would become wilier. To use the cliché, time seemed to slow for a moment as I saw its flight path and shot out my hand.
Snatch!
I got it!

Without so much as blinking, I calmly left my room and walked to the laundry, unlocking and wheeling open the two doors. I threw my fist out into the night air, opening my hand as I did, and pulled it back in quickly, shutting the door after it. The fly vanished somewhere into the night. Walking to the bathroom, I washed my hands and grinned to myself.
"That was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my whole life."

And I didn’t even break a sweat.

Excerpts from my Journal

August 26th, 2006. 1925hrs.

Humans have come far enough. We preserve those whom nature does not favour. At times, we even revive the dead. Humans, so concerned with the trivial, are ripping apart the world. I wish I hadn’t told Angela Earth was worth saving. No one can help us now. Not until ALL of us want to help ourselves. Ya killin’ me guys, ya killin’ me.


06/09/07
1120hrs

Mrs Hay was going through her daughter’s dance night photos and, being the closest to the front, I joined her shortly after. Mr Lim was there too- as Mrs Hay went through photo after photo of pretty girls he wanted to see the bikini section. A little while later, I sat down as half the class crowded around the computer. When they realised nothing was happening, they petered off again. See? I’m a leader too! Anyway, when she announced she’d found a picture of her daughter, I was the only one who seemed interested. I raced up there and one or two people glanced up. My reaction? A very audible,
"Oh, wow."
Crude and witless jokes were shot at me, but I think Mrs Hay took it as a compliment. the girl inherited the best of both her (decidedly sub-par) parents. She had a beautiful smile, and an almost kalifian glow about her. I wonder if there’s some way to let Mrs Hay know?


7th August. 1231hrs.

In many ways, my spirit is breaking. These past months, years perhaps, I have trusted that if I lived naturally, I would survive. After all, nature’s greatest talent is survival. If I hurt myself, I’d think back to the earliest humans, before they invented medicine and salves, and tried to act similarly. By listening to my primitive instincts, my body would heal itself, just like the olden days- no need for medication or special treatment. Yet, for the first time in my life, I now contemplate seriously if nature has its limits. We spread to the far reaches of the planet, molding our environment to adapt to us instead of vice versa. Where is the balance? We farm other species, ravage the land, pollute the seas and skies. Why hasn’t nature restored itself? Maybe it’s been trying to, but it can’t. Not without help, as parasites spread throughout its entirety and drain it of its life. But who will come?

***

Imagine a figure, human if you want, lying in the dirt as maggots
tunnel into her. Other insects, spider things, creep across her skin,
draining the goodness of life (pure, white energy) from her. These
parasites glow a green, sickly colour as they spread into her
vulnerable wounds, burying themselves into her exposed flesh. Their
desire is to consume her, and as they do, excreting waste that burns
her. She writhes helplessly. There is no point in screaming- there is
no other to hear it. All she can do is struggle to survive by her own
strength as billions of tiny organisms are intent on sating themselves
with her life force.

***

I see two choices. Someone must destroy the parasites and replenish the lifestream, or otherwise the parasites must choose to stop abusing their host and hope that it can recover itself. Planting a tree or two might help, but at this rate, I can’t see how anyone can save poor Gaia.

Humans have gone too far, but… What can I do?

Human females

A girl can bitch at you all she likes, but as soon as you say one remotely bad thing about her, you’d better have a Get Out of Jail Free card handy, because hell, you’re in for damnation.

Guys, you know it’s true. Girls, you’re probably plotting against me already. That’s why I’m changing my name and moving to Alaska. Peace out.