Thursday, October 01, 2009

Welcome to the Ghetto part II

(Roman numerals because that's classier)
So this past weekend was fantastic: I co-taught capoeira on Friday night; I co-taught capoeira on Saturday morning, and then my capo-brother and I went to Ypsilanti for more capoeira (, they had a kid's batizado so the kids were real cute. And big ups to Gatinha and Charuto for attaining their respective green cord and yellow cord! Then I get back to the -Zoo on Sunday night and have only one half of the door to be functioning at my house. Sometime between Sat. afternoon/evening and midnight of Sunday, someone attempted a B&E. Deadbolts rock (this is the 2nd time the deadbolt has prevented someone from entering). Apparently the culprit got frustrated at my house, and went next door and broke into a back window and took a lot of stuff. My neighbor is selling his Mercedes-Benz to recoup some money.
Photos of my door:

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome to the Ghetto

So I have a house. This is a moderately recent development. I like the street I live on; I like my house number; I like my neighbors (they give me food!). Some of my neighbors must be super-worried about my eating habits:

I appreciate the sentiments; I, too, worry about my breakfast dietary practices... But their method of delivery leaves something to be desired. Welcome to the ghetto.

Apparently, though, my block is pretty good. A few blocks north or east, and it's worse. Also a few blocks west or south aren't too great, either.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bank accounts...

So I have had a bank account at two different banks for the past four years. We did this because the bank of choice at Western Michigan University is whose initials start N and end with ational, and C and ends with ity. And I've been pretty happy with that bank; the tellers have always been talkative and nice.

When I signed up for work with my current employer in Dec 2007, I asked to have my checks deposited split up between these two banks: so much money in one account, and the rest in the other. I even spelled it out that way in my application with them. This, however, is apparently too much. And even more, why should -they- care? It's -my- money.

So I abandoned my NC account in March with a total of $9.09. I could have gone to a movie with that money, but you know what? I just forgot about it. I -abandoned- it.

Some people get account balances every month. I would get account balances every three months. I had no problems with charges to my account from March through September. That's 6 months of inactivity. Apparently, that's when they start charging you for holding onto your money. Three months of being charged without my knowledge and I have an account balance of negative $13.41. Hm.

So I email the company, asking them if we can just close my account, seeing as how they have stolen all (as far as they know) my money. But they can't close it because it has a negative balance. So now I'm supposed to pay them for stealing my money so that they won't steal any more. WTH.

So I went to the branch office to close my account and let them know most of this information. (I was not aware that I was only receiving quarterly statements until I got home and after they told me that I should have received other statements.) They did reverse the most recent charge to my account, so I only had to pay $5.91 to close my account.

I doubt I'll be able to show them that I only get quarterly account statements and get the other charges lifted. I don't even think I'm going to worry about it. I'll just complain for a day, to get it out of my system, and move on.

PS While I am invited to return my business to National City, I don't think I will.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So I've been thinking

But first, I should do the whole blogger bloggy thing and tell you *just absolutely everything* about my life (abridged, shortened, and only a very little bit). I have moved back to Muskegon from Kalamazoo. I am saddened slightly by this turn of events because it seems that many people who love me are in Kalamazoo (in point, friends of mine from Kalamazoo have called me many more times than my friends in Muskegon [though I am aware that being married and/or having a child does make a person pretty busy; I would not mind tagging along!]). That is actually the biggest thing I have to say... Plus, the job market is weird and, well, no one has ever hired me on the first (or second) interview. I am the one they call after two or three other people didn't work out. So I'm not employed for more than five hours per week. (Work for family members doesn't really count because it's basically lots of work for little actual money [it's mostly room and board and internet and television].) I'm digging this quasi-self-employed situation, if only it would last for more than the start of next year's school year.

I've been thinking, to recall to the title of the post, about many things. First I reflect (something many many teachers and mentors have been trying to get me to do for a very long time) upon the people I have met in Kalamazoo, and I ponder upon the workings of the world and the character of people in general, and I look at myself and the person I am becoming and who I could become and who I once was.

My friends in Kalamazoo have many similar characteristics - they are people on whom I could always count on, even if something happened and they couldn't help, the thought can count with these folks. I know it would be true (it's not quite like the commercial about the anniversary and the guy didn't get the girl any gifts, he was just trying to save himself...) because I wouldn't have to ask "Why didn't..." I have met many amazing people from that little city with the long name.

On the workings of the world and the character of the general public, the world is a wondrous place and I often find a great amount of beauty in it. (Though this beauty takes many shapes... from a sunrise, to a flower, to a lightning storm, and tornadoes.) I cannot fault the world because the world cannot respond but rather only turn. People, however, can only be judged on a person-by-person basis. The beauty that we are capable of is diminished by the social mores and norms imposed on us by those around us. Have you ever thought of something beautiful to say, for instance... Being thankful for the air you have to breathe, the times that you are in, and the friends you have to share both? Written like this, of course, takes away from the majesty of the sentiment. What I am trying to say is that feelings, emotions, sentiments, things from the very center of your being are often stifled because it sometimes doesn't seem like it should be coming from you... I am capable of so much beauty. [there is more I want to say, but I don't know how to say it]

There are some constants about myself - I will always be one goofy son of a mother (I'm left handed, I can't help it). But it seems to me that the person I was as short as a few weeks ago was much more goofy and blind than the person I am now. Quite often I feel like the little boy who has been let sit at the adults table. I feel I am always screwing up my face trying to think adult thoughts. I look, I (sometimes) act, and I feel like I am seven years younger than I am. I desire to express that which is in my heart without feeling like a fool. Is it that beauty makes everyone uncomfortable? (Beauty has often been the main point of my meditations recently... A theme I seem to recur often.) The person I am is desirous of possibilities though stubborn of which possibilities I want. I have investigated the military and it is a wonderful thing, but it is not what I want (plus I'd have to get a haircut). What I need is someone to kick my butt regularly, and friends to share this schedule, and then an income and Maslow's hierarchy filled. I'm slightly backwards - fulfilling the top before I've eaten, but I've already covered that (see first sentence). But I'm aware that I'll never always get what I want. So I will work towards something do-able. And the person I could be is never better than the person I am when I am playing capoeira in a roda.

I seem to have spoken much, and I fear I have said little. And I have asked myself a question that I believe has no answer... "Who is taken more seriously: the wise man, or the fool?" On the one hand you get a very funny joke and on the other, a harsh criticism of society. I'm not certain which is which.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Batizado 2008

So this time, I'll try to write it all out, though I can't remember everyone's names, or links to all the websites...

I wanted to be there on Wednesday. My teacher told me to ride down with a classmate on Friday. Friday comes and he gets a phone call from another classmate that his ride isn't going, and we've now got three in a car. Had I only known before... But 5:30am friday, I get a phone call saying that he's on his way. He goes to pick up Forte from his dorm and then they both drive down to get me from the 'Craft.

We get all three of us loaded in his two door Ford Ranger, plus all our bags and equipment and an on-the-road PS2. We're on the road for Illinois by 7am. Approximately five hours later (40 minutes of getting-lost detour) has us there and we'd arrived just in time for the morning roda. I did not jump in. Honestly, though, it was intimidating, with Eddie Gordo (of Tekken fame) and Virgulinho, and Suassuna... And everyone. At the end of the roda, Machinha, Virgulinho, and Espirro were attempting parafuzos to kick a sock that was hanging approximately seven feet (more or less) from the ground. Then we all drove across town to the gymnasium to start the afternoon workshops. We had an hour of warm up which, to me, could have passed for the first workshop (this is a recurring theme), and then one-hour workshops until about 5pm for clean-ourselves-up and dinner-party at the academy. We did not make it to the dinner-party (which was sad for me, because I had had about five and a half hours of sleep while my two other compatriots had about three each).

The next day, I'm up at 6:30am, breakfasting at Starbucks, ready to hit the road for the first things first at 11am. Nothing ever gets started on time, but that's fine. Killer warmup, and workshops and workshops and workshops. And workshops. I think it was Saturday that one of the workshops was directed by Mastre Marcelo Caveirinha (or, Eddie Gordo). At some point, there was a workshop with Mestra Marisa of Gingarte in Chicago, and Mestrissimo Suassuna. Amazing things. Went to a little party on Saturday... Played some guitar...

Sunday, I'm up at 630am, breakfasting with Cobra at Starbucks. Sunday's workshops was a warmup by Xará (which kicked my ass) and two hours of capoeira Angola, with Mestre Cabelo (who was in Querétaro two weeks beforehand with at least one of my friends from my old academy). I really like Angola, but I couldn't really get anything done by the time the warmup finished. And then the Batizado.

The mestres played before everyone else, I think... Amazing games. they kept an eye on the chandelier so that it didn't get kicked. And it was, you know, ceiling height. The little kids played and then had their batizado (and they were doing moves that I can't yet fathom how to do). That was cool.

Then it was green cords. I played against Paulo Batuta, and I wasn't quite able to keep my balance for the entire time... To the point that we started over once... And I really want to see the footage of my game... Forte played against Machinha (Machine) and that was a funny game... Esponja played against I don't know whom, but that game was amazing... Falao played against Marisa, and that game was amazing... Green-yellows played... My teacher got to keep his Blue-Yellow...

I forgot to mention earlier about the show on Friday night... Put on my Chad Dunn, percussionist extraordinaire... And the mestres played... There was a maculelé demonstration... Virgulinho showed off why he's so dangerous... It was an amazing show. I purchased Espirro's Capoeirence 2007 dvd, and a beriba bag and a necklace from Cabelo (who remembered the names of my friends in Mexico), and a cd of Mestrissimo Suassuna.

And then we drove back Sunday, about 7pm. Right inside Michigan, there was a horrible traffic accident, which was bad. But it gave us a lot of entertainment, because after 72 hours of which 13 hours was sleep, and much more than half was capoeira, and not really any food... We get loopy, especially being cooped up in a two door truck for hours on end. Got back home about 2am. Planned on getting up at 5:30am, but that didn't happen. Took at a job at 10am, and was at work by 11am.

Now I'm on Spring Break #2.

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Something short

So I'm on Spring Break #2 now. No work this week, the high schools are on vacation. And this is my feel good post. I drove my other house-sister to the University at noon today. Went to buy some gasoline at $3.50 per gallon, and the lady at the station complimented me on my necklace (I bought it from Mestre Cabelo at the batizado that I haven't written about yet). Drove all around Kalamazoo, trying to find the McDonald's I wanted to stop at to redeem a free coffee coupon (I got lost once or twice because I couldn't quite remember where it was...), and as I'm walking inside, a girl who was leaving complimented me on my necklace... I'm all smiles and being nice, and my main and pretty much only thought is how glad I am that I made the purchase. Then I get some emails from people whom I had written and they were very nice. So today is seeming like it will be a Very Good Day (regardless of the overcast weather). I'm quite looking forward to my class tonight, and the potluck dinner afterwards hosted by a classmate's co-op.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Batizado 2008

So last weekend was a blast.

More to come when I have more time to type.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What? Me? Worry?

Last night to this morning had me at a spring equinox party. There was a drum circle. It was a good time. I ran to my car and got my caxixi and played it like samba. Later on, a person I knew and some people I didn't arrived. And I was introduced.

Those who know me know I don't really worry about things. And this topic came about in conversation and I was asked, "How do you do it?" So I thought I'd write about that.

I don't know how I do it. Certainly, I've got some things I worry about. Like velociraptor attacks (find a string of this at and rogue unicorns (ref: Flight of the Conchords). I worry about making rent money and having money for fuel for the car. I worry about being able to eat lunch, which, sure, happens for me more often than others, but certainly less often than the rest. Beyond this, most things are superfluous.

For instance, (and my one reader (Hi mom!) isn't going to like this) I am a pretty good driver, and I now have a car with a hand brake. So I'll turn my car sideways headed downhill on pack ice. I watch the oncoming car as it approaches its stop sign and I'll drive on. If it hits me, it hits me and then what? I either have more bills to pay, or I don't have any more bills to pay. I always end up landing on my feet.

This next statement is going to sound very pompous... I'm very cool. That's not to say I'm fashionable, hip with the lingo, nor the most popular guy in the world (although I am starting to get pretty well known). I'm very cool in the sense that, though it's taken me a little while and I was off-balanced a few months ago, everything will be okay. No matter what happens, life will continue.

And that is how I stay worry-free. It was from a book I read a few weeks back, Slaughterhouse Five, that had a page with the image and words that said, "Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts."