Going with the flow

I recently made some purchases from the online ‘superstore’ oo.com.au, which is essentially an ebay-type website which delivers a variety of new goods usually at a discounted price. I’d been in the market for some noise-cancelling headphones to sincerely help with study and gaming in a noisy household, and I saw a pair in their catelogue which was 66% off. After a somewhat lengthy review process, I ended up buying a  different pair (these), which were delivered about a week later.

As I was going through the store, I couldn’t help but notice they were selling ess boards for a crazy $25. Having been introduced to my friend’s board, the unique style of riding instantly won me over as the next coolest mode of transport, following ice skating, roller blading and unicycling. From the boards I’ve seen, they can be anywhere between $90-$200, so I instantly bought myself one, which Bethwyn paid for as a birthday present.

 

Sadly, these irresistable bargains did not last as long as I expected. Although the headphones I decided on were apparently functional and worked as well as the more expensive sets I’d been considering, after owning them for one week, they snapped in half in my hands. Ironically it was while I was reviewing the headphones for the website, telling everyone how great they were and how much of a bargain it came to be. I stopped mid-review to complain about it, and after reviewing the returns policy, sent them back to get repaired/replaced.

 

The ess board on the other hand was awesome. It took a while to get any further than two metres, but after a few hours practice I was able to build up speed, slow down, balance on the two wheels while stationary and turn at varying degrees. Yesterday I thought I’d finally test it for what I’d intended it- I’d ride it to the library and train station, then ride it around campus between classes and work. Unfortunately I’m not that great yet, so my speed bonus was between 1.2x and 3.0x normal walking speed. It took a surprisingly large amount of effort and I fell off once quite spectacularly, landing on my back. Fortunately I curled into a ball so the momentum was absorbed rather than resisted, allowing me to rock back up onto my feet and dust myself off a moment after, but it was still a little embarrassing. Having stopped to rest a few times and quite exhausted before the working day had begun, I realised I didn’t have enough skill to ride it around moving people yet so I ended up carrying it on campus. I figured after work, the trip home would be another chance for me to get better at it. I guess I was getting smoother/faster- until I hit an ordinary gap in the pavement and the front wheel snapped off. I’d gone over plenty of gaps and been stopped at quite a few more, but this was apparently one too many as the wheel broke the plastic surrounding it irrepairably. I decided not to bother with the postage back to get a replacement.

 

When I finished the exhausting walk home with the dead weight ess board, I arrived in time to sign for a new package- my replacement headphones had arrived! With utmost care I removed them from the packaging and laid them down, to be ever-so-gently put on my head lest they snap in half again. It seems that with the death of one thing comes the arrival of another- the ebb and flow of the world. I don’t regret either of the purchases, but I think in the future I’ll fork out the extra few dollars to get a higher-quality brand.

 

And another important lesson I learned? Ess boarding actually isn’t very cool. Having lost the board itself I figured it was time to watch the instructional DVD it came with. It was a bunch of kids and teenagers riding around on the board doing tricks that were kinda lame, especially when contrasted with the pumping rock music they were playing in the background. Although it’s still a cool way to get around, I don’t ever want to take it so seriously that I start learning hardcore ‘tricks’ like jumping from board to board or wobbling my hips like my life depended on it. I think my ess board craving has been well sated for now.

 

There you go kids, take it from Uncle Johnny. Ess boarding is kinda lame, and cheap brands just aren’t worth it.

Day Zero Project

Okay, so it turns out the 101 in 1001 thing has a name: Day Zero Project. A few friends of mine have recently started up their own Day Zero Projects, and although the thought of waiting another 1001 days to finish another list is daunting, I do kind of miss having those goals to cross off my list of life.

So here’s what I’ll do. I’ll make a list, as long as I want it to be. Doesn’t need to be 101, but that’s the aim if I can get to it. Just things that I want to work towards over the next three years or so. Let’s see how it goes!

  • Go on holiday for a week with Bethi.
  • Go to Japan and train in a dojo there.
  • Go snowboarding.
  • Go skydiving.
  • Participate in a parkour lesson.
  • Enter a marathon.
  • Practice tameshigeri.
  • Pass 20 games.
    • Assassin’s Creed II
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
    • Pokémon Snap
    • Perfect Dark Zero
    • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
    • Mass Effect 2
    • Puzzle Quest 2
    • Dead or Alive: Dimensions
    • Raskulls
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
    • Runespell Overture
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
    • Fat Princess: A Fistful of Cake
    • UFC Undisputed 2009
    • Okami (at last!)
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
    • Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
    • Jetpack Joyride
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
    • Half-life 2
  • Donate blood.
  • Read (or skim read) the childcraft books.
  • Be vegan for at least one week straight.
  • Meditate or have reflection time every day for at least a month. (Yes!!)
  • Do the Wii Fit test every day for a month.
  • Write a letter.
  • Leave an anonymous letter or note to cheer someone up.
  • Don’t complain about anything for a week.
  • Stay up all night.
  • Score over 9000 in the Dragon Punch machine.
  • Break a coconut with a single punch or strike.
  • Go camping.
  • Go paintballing.
  • Participate in a lesson of capoeira.
  • Participate in a lesson of a grappling art like BJJ.
  • Get into a full contact fight.
  • Watch Karas.
  • Watch season 1 of “24”.
  • Watch a full season of Futurama.
  • Participate in a lesson of aikido
  • Watch all episodes of D-Gray Man.
  • Watch the cult classic Seven Samurai.
  • Sit an IQ test.
  • Make a new friend. (Ashley/Rainbow)
  • Learn to juggle pins.
  • Walk on stilts.
  • Ride 200m on my ess board without stopping.
  • Watch a sunrise with a friend. (Thank you, Mandy, for one of the most treasured conversations I’ve ever had.)
  • Study 5 non-fiction books for the pleasure of learning.
    • “Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls”, edited by Melinda Tankard Reist
    • “The Art of Happiness”, by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
    • “You Can Heal Your Life”, by Louise Hay
    • “Teach Yourself to Meditate” by Eric Harrison
  • Read 20 fiction books for the pleasure of reading.
    • “The Emperor of Nihon-Ja”, by John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice, Book #10)
    • “Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together”, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    • “Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe”, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    • “The Hunger Games”, by Suzan Collins
    • “The Warrior’s Apprentice”, by Lois McMaster Bujold
    • “Obernewtyn”, by Isobelle Carmody
    • “The Farseekers”, by Isobelle Carmody
    • “Ashling”, by Isobelle Carmody
    • “Brisingr”, by Christopher Paolini (one of the only books I’ve ever read twice)
    • “A Game of Thrones”, by George R. R. Martin
    • “Inheritance”, by Christopher Paolini (SO SATISFYING)
    • “A Clash of Kings”, by George R. R. Martin
    • “Star Wars Episode 1 Adventures: The Fury of Darth Maul”, by Ryder Windham
    • “Star Wars Jedi Apprentice #2: The Dark Rival” by Jude Watson
    • “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”, by Dan Millman
    • “Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior”, by Dan Millman
    • “The Three Musketeers”, by Alexandre Dumas
    • “The Man in the Iron Mask”, by Alexandre Dumas
    • “A Storm of Swords”, by George R. R. Martin
    • “Brotherband”, by John Flanagan
  • Learn to ice skate backwards.
  • Attend the midnight premier of a movie.
  • Volunteer
  • Go rockclimbing.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Become an assistant instructor at a martial school.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Spend all day playing video games.
  • Spend a day naked. (Or, alternatively, in my PJ’s or underwear.)
  • Go for a day without speaking.
  • Earn my black belt in karate.
  • Attend a birthday party.
  • Learn another poem by heart.
  • Write a short story.
  • Draw a picture.
  • Have a candlelight dinner.
  • Go barefoot for a day.
  • Make bread (or damper) from scratch.
  • Use Dictionary.com’s word of the day every day for a week.
  • Pay for the person behind me.
  • Move out of home.
  • Identify 101  things that make me happy.
  • Get a job related to social work.
  • Get 4 High Distinctions in a row. Or, if I choose to, four less-than distinctions.
  • Start learning Japanese, Spanish or Italian.
  • Plant a tree.
  • 100% a game.
  • Go on a martial-arts based training camp (or any training course over a few days).
  • Do 10 consecutive chin-ups.
  • Go to a concert.
  • Pay for everything in cash for one month.
  • Learn Morse Code.
  • Learn Braille.
  • Seriously start working out/going to a gym.
  • Walk somewhere that takes more than an hour to reach on foot.
  • Collect all the current gen consoles.
  • Pray every day for one month.
  • Get and read all the Animorph’s books.
  • Re-read the Rurouni Kenshin manga.
  • Attend a movie marathon.
  • Read all of Eric Van Lustbader’s “Nicholas Linnear” novels.
  • Join another volunteer organisation.
  • Go for a night time walk/jog.
  • Go on a double date.
  • Wear matching outfits with Bethwyn, or get matching jewellery.
  • Be early to every appointment for a week.
  • Go without my phone for three days.
  • Go without a car for a week.
  • Sign up to a dancing class.
  • Try a tai chi class (hopefully with my mother).
  • Gamble with real money.
  • Buy a game the day it comes out.
  • Legitimately use an ukemi outside of practice.
  • Participate in another lesson of Wing Chun.
  • Learn how to use a semi-automatic weapon.
  • Go on a pilgrimage.
  • Plant a seed and raise it to a seedling.
  • Spoon without arm discomfort.
  • Rip a phone book in half.
  • Estimate remaining daylight.
  • Cast shadow puppets.
  • Play with soft toys.
  • Ride a bike somewhere.
  • Learn how to use a jian.

It’s not complete yet, because I know there are things I want to do which I haven’t listed here. I guess they’ll come in time. For now, no set date or incentives other than the pleasure of pursuing my goals. Let’s see where this goes!

EDIT: All righty, the list is about 100 items long, and all of them are things I want to do. Some moreso than others, but rather than replacing them I’m just going to extend my list for as long as it happens to grow. I will try and set a goal date though: Perhaps 1001 days from now will be as good a time as any. Very well then! I am to cross off every item on this list by August 16th, 2013. Let’s begin :D

I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad, that the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had

Last night I dreamed I was doing to die. I had found out from a doctor that the chemical in my brain that allows you to breathe while you’re asleep was being inhibited, and for some reason I didn’t think to use a respirator, or to take medication. I simply accepted the knowledge that the next time I fell asleep, I would die and never wake up again. And you think something like that would get you upset- you’d be mad at God, sad at life and scared of death. But I didn’t have time for any of that crap, because when you’ve got about six hours to live, all that really counts is you tell things you’ve been bottling up inside, and that you are kind to your loved ones. I hugged goodbye to a few people, like Craig-kun, who was on the bus with me, and I briefly considered organising a will, but Eugene said it was very straightforward and for good reason- most of my stuff, if unattributed, would go to taxes (which was apparently a very good thing). There was a moment when Beth became hopeful that I could put it off somehow- just stop sleeping or take the medication, and I actually got angry with her for trying to keep me there when I had already decided there was nothing I could do about it. Then I told her there wasn’t enough time in the day to be fighting, so we didn’t. (I don’t know why I didn’t try and preserve my life, but I think I knew at the heart of me there was nothing I could do, or no other right course of action.) Other than that, the day continued as normal- I helped Beth run the inn we just bought together, and I sent a text message to everyone on my phone saying goodbye. And then I went to sleep.

When I next woke up, I was in a traveller’s lounge. A teenaged girl in a school uniform walked through the door and said “Hey”. “Hey”, I said. “I’m dead.” She looked at me before asking thoughtfully, “What are you doing here?” “Oh-” I paused a moment. “-just on my way out I guess.”

At that moment, another man in the hostel yelled out if anyone had seen his books. I said to the girl that they were just on the table, underneath some magazines, somehow intuitively knowing that no one else would be able to hear me. When she went to the table and checked, there were a few cutouts from adult magazines there. He went to take them but she grabbed them, scrunched them up and declared that he shouldn’t be reading that rubbish and no one else should. Then she turned to the barkeep and ordered a beer, handing it to me and saying that she didn’t trust that other guy with it so I should have it. So I drank it slowly, savouring the flavour, the texture, the scent of that golden, frothy drink. And as I was drinking it, I realised that the barkeep hadn’t actually poured a drink- the girl had asked for an imaginary drink for her imaginary friend that no one else could see. And I was overcome with such a small act of generosity, that she would go out of her way to be kind to me and that the bartender was loving enough to do it even though he didn’t understand touched me deeply. I woke up crying.

So I just wanted to say that, having gotten a little perspective overnight (though it’s already wearing off as I forget it), life’s not worth being upset or angry over. There aren’t enough hours in the day to fight with those you love- if you must, yell at them once, and then forget it forever. Let it go. It really, really isn’t worth it. Be kind to everyone, because even the smallest gesture can have the greatest effect when given at the right time.

Driving force

I was driving home to Bethwyn’s house a few nights ago after a day of work, and there came a junction where I could take the most efficient route to Bethwyn’s house to be with her as soon as possible, or I could branch off to the Causeway and take a slightly more scenic route, if a little longer. I decided within moments and came up with this saying: “Life is all about the pleasure of the drive.”

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