Thursday, July 20, 2017

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

Today at the end of class coach Phill was discussing a way of seeing called ooda. The idea is to create loops of your own and break loops of others. In my head, the idea of creating loops within loops within loops is normal - I cannot even begin to explain the nuances of my brain, not even to myself, but I'm in a constant diagram of connecting several different things to one another. Like the madness you'd expect to find in an analysts head, I'm not sure whether I seek balance in the chaos of the loops or if the chaos is the balance I need. Now, breaking the loops of others is an interesting concept to me. It's not really a way of thinking I've explored, though to create advantages in life it makes complete sense - out pace people by being in a constant loop ahead, or break down their will to try to keep up in your loops.

If I observe and see an opening, I need to orient myself and then decide whether it's a good thing to act upon. Acting upon that observation requires the other person to then observe what just happened and they need to start their loop anew. If my loop is continuing forward while they're orientating themselves to the first position of my loop and I'm into my second, the pace stays on my side. Though, at least in jiujitsu, being tactful enough to keep your loops from being broken is much easier said than done. People have explosiveness to get themselves out of awful situations that you don't anticipate, people are really strong in weird places, people are cunning, and patient, and will catch you when you do not expect to be caught.
So is it the ability to continue to see loops everywhere you go or is it the ability to not let others who happen to break your loops demoralize you to the point that you can no longer observe situations and start a loop anew?

The more I look at that question the harder it seems to answer. Being demoralized to the point of giving up, and choosing to not observe your situations anymore is a frequent position to be in when the chips are down. It's easy to say, 'yeah, I gave up, it was too hard'. Way too easy. Though I do not wish to live a life of regrets. I have far too many as it is and I'm not even halfway through this life. I'd rather have my loops broken again, and again, and again, instead of not looking for a new one. Again though, easier said than done. In waking life, I've given up far too many times. I've done things I shouldn't have done. I've backed away from things that I should have absolutely done. I've started to do things that I love and let them slip away from my fingers like handfuls of sand. What must we do, as individuals, as groups, as a collective whole - to keep ourselves orientated to the observation which best suits our current situation? How do we know when it feels right to decide and act upon the decision?

To lack feeling is to be dead, but only children act on every feeling they have.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Apply the choke ; on laziness

Jiu-jitsu is the hardest thing I've ever done. Not probably the hardest, not might be the hardest, for sure, the most difficult thing. It is in a whole category on its own of difficulty. The difficulty arises from the physical side of jiu-jitsu blending with the mental, having control over both of those simultaneously, and most of the time it's a complete mystery to me. When it works, it works great and I most likely couldn't tell you right away how I got from point A to point D. The flow state is usually what takes over for me when I have success in jiu-jitsu. 

I feel the need to clarify that the practice of not thinking, or no mind, doesn't actually mean I don't know what I'm doing, more so that what I'm doing is so natural for my body that my brain doesn't need to think about step A, B, C, and D, it sees D as an option and runs A to C with precision and speed, and it's exactly the latter of that duo which I lose from direct thought. For many more times than I can count, when I'm in a roll, I'll stop and over think the situation and whatever opportunities I had in front of me to think about are long gone by the time I can actually work the technique necessary to accomplish the sweep or control or submission I was looking for. 

Today in training Nathan was showing us a ten finger guillotine choke to butterfly sweep from mount, in order to samurai roll and take the back. There's tons going on here, and breaking it down is not easy at all. I was struggling to keep my posture during the sweep, going from mount, to butterfly guard, sweep back to mount. It was during the sweep back to mount where I was losing it. Nathan broke down for me that I need to actually apply the choke for the sweep to function correctly.

Cue light bulb going off. 

In training it's easy to be lazy, yesterday I was lazy when training with Jon while taking his back during samurai rolls. Today I wasn't applying a ten finger choke on Tyler as I should have been. For technique to work correctly you need to train it correctly, something that I need a constant reminder of. After figuring out the correct pressure I needed to execute the sweep properly all the pieces fell into place, another good tool to add to the arsenal. I'm glad I have training partners as good as Tyler and Jon to help me see more areas of my game that have significant (all areas) opportunities to develop. This week has been a couple of steady reminders to remove laziness from the game.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Thirty

I read the other day that Bruce Lee died when he was 32. I know I've read it before but reading it again after turning 30 was a punch in the gut. He accomplished a massive amount in his short life and is still remembered to this day as one of the best to ever do it. On a related note, I also watched a video about Doctor Dre and Eminem meeting for the first time and there was a great saying from a producer who said that race horses wear blinders and run straight because if they try to look left or right, they stumble.
On my walk to the gym this morning I felt a sort of euphoria, I'd describe it as a high more than anything else. I'm not sure what the cause if it was, I had some vitamin d3 and coffee before leaving, and not much else. It's encouraging to find tiny moments like that in the day where you feel exceptionally well, it's not often that they happen and when they do, acknowledge it. Bam was back after a week of training in Venice Beach to further his own learning. We focused on internal and external strength in our chest and shoulders for the most of the day. Our workout was maximum effort chest presses and rope pulls while staying in internal rotation by keeping a kettlebell pushed down into our lower abdominal muscles. I fell apart more on the rope pulling than I did on the chest presses.
It was easy dispelling the sense of urgency in life that I had in the former part of this posting while working out, nothing really makes you feel younger, well.. I guess if the body isn't doing well nothing can make you feel older at as well. I'm thankful my body isn't too damaged. Though as easy as it can be to be in a state of no mind while doing difficult shit, it's these quiet moments that come back haunting me. I have equal parts screaming to figure it out and equal parts screaming it's cool. Though they don't cancel one another out, more like they add up to a singular sense of dread. I don't mean dread in the way it sounds, not really, I mean sense of dread as I have a lot of shit to do and only myself to not allow it to happen. This sense of needing a savior is strong in the human condition. Hundreds of millions of people flock to religion and put their eggs in that basket, God will save them as long as they live a good life they'll have their rewards in eternal heaven.
I am not a patient man. I don't want to wait for my rewards, I want to earn my rewards, I want to tear them from the hands of the universe and sew my own threads of life. It's the only way I know how to really live. Though my lack of patience is not a great thing, I need to take my time and find out what I actually want to do to support my family and loved ones while I keep myself sane and happy.
Study, test results, and repeat. 
In jiujitsu we learned today to force yourself into a more advantageous position. Nathan started class off with a breaking exercise, focusing only on the out breath. Fire breathing is what he called it. The idea is that when you breath in you are nourishing your body, and when you breath out you're expelling the bad. If you only focus on the out breath, and really force it out from your hanna, the muscle under the belly button, you'll eventually get into a rhythm and be able to keep it up for a few minutes. It definitely clears the head, having to focus on just the one thing to be able to complete the movement.  The lesson today so far has been the same in most things - you have to make it happen for you. From work, to life, to love, to jiujitsu, sometimes you have to force things to happen. The balance between that is flowing with the go. We're always moving forward in this dimension so obsessed with time. 

Thirty years to figure out that stagnation leads to death.. I'm just glad that it didn't take longer.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Infinite Jest ; a review

Wow.
I finished this last night, at 3:33am (that's a number that hits me in life a lot)

There were times where I did not think I would get through this book. There were times where I was so frustrated the begging question was, why the fuck am I still reading this ?

To answer my own question, I continued reading entirely because of how fucking good of a writer David Foster Wallace is. I found myself continually re-reading lines that were just utter genius. I asked myself out loud, on multiple occasions, how can this guy be such a good writer? How is his vocabulary so god damn extensively vast? Why am I googling pedalferrous at 2am? (It means fast driving).

The story unfolds, and is great, but you won't have an utter perfect recall here. Certain chapters will stand out to you. Certain passages. If you value intelligence, quirks, wit, and the love of words, stop wasting your time and read the book.

My favorite passage is still this,
“We all have our little solipsistic delusions, ghastly intuitions of utter singularity: that we are the only one in the house who ever fills the ice-cube tray, who unloads the clean dishwasher, who occasionally pees in the shower, whose eyelid twitches on first dates; that only we take casualness terribly seriously; that only we fashion supplication into courtesy; that only we hear the whiny pathos in a dog’s yawn, the timeless sigh in the opening of the hermetically-sealed jar, the splattered laugh in the frying egg, the minor-D lament in the vacuum’s scream; that only we feel the panic at sunset the rookie kindergartner feels at his mother’s retreat. That only we love the only-we. That only we need the only-we. Solipsism binds us together, J.D. knows. That we feel lonely in a crowd; stop not to dwell on what’s brought the crowd into being. That we are, always, faces in a crowd.”

I mean, fucking look at those words. Look at the structure of it. Dissect it. The descriptions of our everyday, menial tasks are set to hold us higher to ourselves. We all do it. Every single one of us is guilty of it. Though I've never seen it said so perfectly. With such truth. Every one of us has our own unique mind, where we are the star of the show, and everyone else is literally just a face in the crowd. All seven billion of us. We interact and play and love some of the other faces, but we are really each our own God. We decide what we do every minute of the day. We critique ourselves into believing we are the only ones who care about what is going on in life. We build ourselves out of it. We become what we think, and we become the masks we wear.
Billions of masks in a crowd, pretending to be whatever will make us enjoyable to others, while precariously holding onto all of our own individual traits. I'm quite certain DFW hit the nail on the head that we aren't all quite as unique as we like to think we are, but he is right that all those thoughts we do have, are very much our own.
I wish DFW was still alive, 700 pages ago, I would have wanted him to buy me a beer for getting that far into Infinite Jest. Now, at the end, I wish I could just have a weekend to talk to him, and pick his brain, and tell him thanks.


The Stormlight Archive: Book 2. Words of Radiance ; a review

Spoilers ahead..

This book is difficult for me to even wrap my head around enough to review. It's massive. We're talking an 1100 page hardcover book. I had more people comment on the size of the book as I was carrying it around than I ever have had before. It's not just a large book to lug around either, this book has a lot going on within. The story progresses and moves along tremendously well. For the past few days I've just been thinking about it. My head has been trapped in Roshar, which you won't find me complaining about. 
Cover art by Michael Whelan

I didn't possibly think that this book would be better than the first. Of course I was wrong. This book expands the series in such a solid, perfect way that I've been having trouble getting my thoughts in order to even write this review. 

Way of Kings ended on such a high note, with so much to look forward to and so many questions that needed answering. At the end of book one, I had a couple of characters sticking out to me that I was yearning to figure out. Sanderson is great at having the story of a character naturally progress. You don't get the entire back story right away, you get glimpses and flashbacks. Slowly you start to piece together the reason a character is the way he or she is. Slowly you start to realize the depth of a characters words and what they mean as they are talking, or what they are purposefully not talking about. That something I appreciate a lot in life. I think too often people have a knack for spilling their personally story too soon when they meet someone. I don't want you to know everything about me because we had fucking coffee together. You don't get those secrets. They are mine. These are what hurt me most and they are trapped behind layers of armor so deep, you better have some kind of shardblade if you want to find them. This is how people are. We look out for ourselves and if I give you a piece of information about me, I'm mainly telling you something you'd be able to find out with a quick google, or something that you couldn't ever use against me. There's maybe four people on the planet who have some of those deep knowledge secrets, and only one of those four who has them all.
That's a solid point for Sanderson. I don't find this in many other authors work, he builds a back story for the characters that you actually care about. You make judgments of who the character is before you find out and when you actually see what's making them tick, and you have these feelings as you're reading for hundreds of pages, then you feel like a giant asshole for making those judgments early on, but that's what we as humans do. We make judgments all the time about everything. There's one chapter that Kaladin finds out more about Shallan, as they are both certain they are about to die, that slaps him hard across the face for a wake up call. It was pretty great. I as the reader was feeling pretty similar to Kaladin at the point he was making assumptions about her, Shallan, when she started to digress about her life a little more, it was pretty heart breaking. Equally heart breaking was the wonder in Kaladin at how she can continue to just smile. It was a wrenching moment for the characters I cared about. 

All right. Into the belly of it.
This book is an epic fantasy. Truly epic in scope, the world is even bigger than you thought it was in the first book, the characters are even bolder, the stakes are higher. I must say that I never really feared for any of the main characters - which isn't a bad thing, but I appreciate a little hesitancy in what I read and what decisions the people I'm reading about are making. The scope of the story is just too vast to tell you about. There's the main plot for each character, the sub plots for each character, the side characters, the interlude chapters, the shadow organizations, and more.
My favorite scene had to be Adolin (who is a full shardbearer, meaning blade and plate) versus 4 full shardbearers in the dueling arena. It was epic. I was on a book high for about four days after reading that single chapter. It was just insane, they were out to cripple or kill Adolin, not letting him get his hands up to forfeit the duel. No one would jump down to help him out. Every "honorable" person turned their face away when Adolin's father, Dalinar, asked someone to help him. It was that point where Kaladin, wearing no armor and not having a shardblade, jumped into the pit with just his spear.
“Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do.” 

Kaladin is able to draw stormlight, meaning he can heal himself and make himself much stronger and faster than most people, but a shardblade through the neck, chest or spine will instantly kill someone, no matter what. Kaladin had two full shardbearers attacking him at simultaneously and he was weaving in and out as the air from the swords was barely missing. He was guided by more than skill and instinct. He was the wind.
Second favorite scene, of course, has to be when Kaladin uttered the third oath to become a Windrunner. I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right. This is where Kaladin realizes that it's about more than just himself. Just because someone has done something wrong in the past, doesn't mean it's okay to not defend them now, in fact you show yourself to be the best person there can be by defending someone who might have no one else to defend them.
I wish I had my own Syl, she's just such a bad ass who is essentially the moral grounding for Kaladin. The one time I was scared for a character was hers. She's just so, pure. Her wit doesn't diminish at all in this book. If I could draw, there's a few scenes I would love to put to paper that I have in my head of her and Kaladin. The twist at the end with her was perfect. I couldn't have imagined it being better. There was a line where was absolutely scolding Kaladin. To be clear, Windrunners are meant to protect. The oaths are just that. I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.
“What happened?” Kaladin asked. “The Stormlight drained from me. I felt it go.”
“Who were you protecting?” Syl asked.
“I . . . I was practicing how to fight, like when I practiced with Skar and Rock down in the chasms."
“Is that really what you were doing?” Syl asked.

That's the moral check that she pulls on Kaladin. When he's not acting how she believes he should be, she'll pull the plug. She is an Honorspren, and he must be acting in accordance to the laws of a Windrunner to receive her abilities to give him the powers of that Radiant. 

Shallan and pattern were absolutely fantastic in this book. They were lacking a little in the last, and I gotta be honest, they were the part of the book I was least looking forward to. How quickly that changed. I laughed out loud hardest and most frequently during her chapters. Her chapters also had the most intriguing things happening. She had a rough start in this book, a lot of shit went down fast. Pattern (who is her spren, like Syl to Kaladin) was hilarious for the entirety of the book. The whole I am a stick scene was one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. She develops into an amazing, integral character. As her back story develops I felt more pity and sorrow for her character than I did any others. She has this just, insanely hard childhood and early adulthood. The more you learn about her the more impressed you are with her. I'm not sure what direction she'll end up going, but from her current path, she's going to be one of the more complex and interesting characters in the story.
“He saw it in her eyes. The anguish, the frustration. The terrible nothing that clawed inside and sought to smother her. She knew. It was there, inside. She had been broken.
Then she smiled. Oh, storms. She smiled anyway.
It was the single most beautiful thing he’d seen in his entire life.” 

Dalinar is one of the coolest characters in the entire story. The dude is a mans man. He's all about what's honorable, but isn't afraid to (literally) kick the shit out of people to prove his point. I'm pretty sure he bullied a god into doing what he wanted. I'll root for this guy until the end.
“I fear not a child with a weapon he cannot lift, I will never fear the mind of a man who does not think.”
His visions are becoming more troubling, and he's now entered a count down until the end of days when the Voidbringers will return. With no one taking him seriously, he devises a plan to risk it all for the salvation of humanity. Assassination attempts and coup attempts, people mocking his name and the things that are happening to him. He has the hardest role in the entire story. He's balancing a fine line of ignoring his nephew the king and ruling in his stead versus playing politician. He's always been a warrior, he is the Blackthorn. Taking a step back and letting his son, Adolin, move into the warrior leading the house must be very difficult, and it plays heavily on him. Though he has no choice but to follow what he feels is right, whether or not it will be to his death. 

Adolin may have stolen the show for me though. Someone who was just a minor character in book 1 has become probably my favorite character in book 2. He's the son of arguably the most powerful person in the series, he's a full shardbearer, he's the best duelist in the world, and he's one of the best battle commanders in the army. He's a womanizer, he's pretty hilarious, and when you get down to it, he's a very decent person.

“People think I know a lot about women. The truth is, I know how to get them, how to make them laugh, how to make them interested. I don't know how to keep them." He hesitated. "I really want to keep this one.” 

Ahh, I know all too well how that feels, Adolin. After a string of bad courtships and pissing girls off to no end, he gets a message from his sister that she's found a betrothal for him in Shallan. I loved the pair. They make each other laugh, they make me laugh, and they can even make stormy Kaladin smile. She asked the age old question, what do you do when you have to poop while your in your armor? and he answered it. Adolin Kholin, Brightlord and son of Dalinar, nephew to the King of the realm, as shit his armor 5 times, on purpose. I laughed pretty damn hard during that scene, it was such a real conversation to find a fantasy book, very refreshing. Adolin comes to earn the respect of our main characters, and is always charming in a way. My turn around for being indifferent about him to thinking he was great was when he stayed in prison as long as Kaladin was being imprisoned.

Kaladin frowned. “Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?”
“Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated.”
“Storms, you’re spoiled,” Kaladin said, smiling.
“I’m refined, you insolent farmer,” Adolin said. Then he grinned. “Besides, I’ll have you know that I had to use cold water for my baths while here.”
“Poor boy.”

I enjoyed the development. It honestly caught me off guard, and I think it was a solid scene to include. It breaks down the character to more than what you thought he was. Yes, he's a spoiled son of Dalinar, Yes, he's pompous, but he wasn't sentenced to prison, he was there because Kaladin was being held for bullshit reasoning by the king. It really worked to progress key plot points and develop the character. The ending, with Adolin doing something that I absolutely did not see coming, really changed the entire way I thought the story was going to play out. I'm curious as to what's going to happen, and I really hope he just owns it, and doesn't have any ill regret towards his decision. He would be far more of a bad ass to just own it. I won't reveal what it is, but it's a pretty stark change (for the good).

Over all, the book was amazing. It shattered my expectations (which were high) for how good the sequel could be to Way of Kings. Please do yourself the favor to read these books, these are some of the heaviest hitters in fantasy right now. The thing that I didn't see coming was that he ties these books into the same 'cosmere' as his Mistborn series, and his Warbreaker novel. I'll have to read those soon.
“All stories told have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.”

The Stormlight Archive: Book 1. The Way of Kings ; a review

Hot damn.
Lyrics come to my mind first, and they're Hello, is it me you're looking for?  The answer is a resounding yes. This is the book you are looking for. Brandon Sanderson, you are an absolute genius.
Roshar, a fantasy world where war is being waged it seems, everywhere. Ancient cities built by gods. Betrayal from the men who were cast to protect everyone. Six foot swords, impenetrable plate armor, magic, love, and lore. The child in me wants to scream and run around the room. The adult in me wants to tear through the pages faster than possible. This is a true and great fantasy book.
I find myself in life reading books that have messages for whatever it is I'm dealing with or going through at that time. Same is said for this book, the creed.
  • Way of Kings cover art by Michael Whelan
    Life before death - The Radiant seeks to defend life, always. He never kills unnecessarily, and never risks his own life for frivolous reasons. Living is harder than dying. The Radiant's duty is to live free.
  • Strength before weakness - All men are weak at some time in their lives. The Radiant protects those who are weak, and uses his strength for others. Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.
  • Journey before destination - There are always several ways to achieve a goal. Failure is preferable to winning through unjust means. Protecting ten innocents is not worth killing one. In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.
Those are what hit me first and foremost. Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. One of the characters in the book has a great line, the destination for everyone is death. As I sit squabbling over my minor problems in life, whether it be I don't know what I'm doing in terms of moving or that I dislike my job, they are so petty that it's asinine to even compare. It's a great wake up call, to me, that I'm reading this characters hardship and having moments of self doubt in the comfort of my life, while he has having moments of self doubt as a slave, forced to run into on coming arrows with nothing to protect himself with. Straight slap to the face, wake your ass up and figure it out, to me anyway.
It's inspiring. I can't help but feel inspired by the triumphs of the characters in the book. The honorable route is worth the difficulties that are tied to it. I related heavily to both of the main characters, Kaladin and Dalinar. I thought both of their personal struggles were displayed in a very real way. I was finding myself so amped during certain scenes. It was invigorating to be cheering for a character so heavily. There were times when I thought both of those main characters were in very real danger, and other times when they both expressed qualities of one another that I found to be a great message, we aren't all complete. We aren't the best we can be no matter what, and it might take a slaves words for you to realize that. It might take someone who is a figurehead to an idea that you distrust so badly, but he says the right words to you to make you understand, this whole mess of life isn't meant for you to sit around and distrust everyone. Not everyone is bad. If you had nine people tell you something horrible, you can't anticipate the tenth to drive the nail in.
There was a scene, Kaladin was the only person running back to rescue another who was entirely surrounded. No chance of survival. Kaladin didn't have any reason to go help these people, they had betrayed him many times before, but it starts with one person doing the right thing. If no one does it, how can anyone follow? All it takes is one, you, to do what you feel is right for the right reasons. You can change the world that way.
With these prospects in mind, I went for a walk (it was really to go get the second book), I usually walk after digesting 1300 pages in a week. Collect my thoughts. My feelings. Certain passages weighed heavy on my mind. I was caught off guard while walking as a woman in a winter jacket came up to me and asked Could I have ten dollars? Ten dollars I thought? No.. I told her, and walked away, thinking that's a weird request to ask. I give change to the homeless here and there, but not as often as I probably feel like I should. Though it weighed on me as I was walking away. I don't need that ten dollars. I'm doing okay, and as it happened, I had a ten dollar bill on me. I walked back and handed it to her, she stared at it and I walked away before she could even look back at me. I'm not sure what she needed it for, but if you're asking strangers for ten dollars, you probably need it more than I do.
Now I'm not specifically saying that this book is going to make you give to the homeless, but I am saying that it made me feel like I should the better version of myself as often as I can. It's not about being being safe at home every night, it's not about the ability to relax after a days work. It's the friends you make and the journey you walk. We're all going to end up dead in the end, and I honestly believe it's how we get there that is all that matters. Live a life you're proud of, and don't just let these days float by.
“And so, does the destination matter? Or is it the path we take? I declare that no accomplishment has substance nearly as great as the road used to achieve it. We are not creatures of destinations. It is the journey that shapes us. Our callused feet, our backs strong from carrying the weight of our travels, our eyes open with the fresh delight of experiences lived.”

Ancient Greek Hero ; mythos


       The ancient Greek hero was not always a warrior. Though the mythos suggested that most men were brave men at arms, and most women were lovely and generous, it is in my opinion that the writers as the philosophers were the same kind of human beings as we. It is with clarity that I can say that those are the reasons why most heroes have flaws. The Greek intellectuals wish to write them as we are, fallible. Related to us in a way that we can look to the heroes for inspiration.
Hector, for example. Homer lets the reader know that Hector is known not only for his courage but also for his noble and courtly nature. Peace-loving, thoughtful, and bold. A great son, husband and father, and without darker motives.  When the Trojans are disputing whether the omens are favorable, he retorts: “One omen is best: defending the fatherland.”  What was his downfall? Pride. He killed Patroclus, Achilles' cousin, his protege. Hector knew the dangers of war, he knew that people die. He of all people should have never stepped out to battle Achilles in single combat.

“Alas! The gods have lured me onto my destruction, death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and there is no way out of it – for so Zeus and his son Apollo the far-darter have willed it, though heretofore they have been ever ready to protect me. My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.” - spoken by Hector when facing Achilles, after a missed spear-throw. The Iliad, lines 299-305.

Pride is the downfall of great men. The Greek mythos put it there for a reason. What would we as humans do with not understanding to be too prideful is in error? The question that really could be answered from one hundred different people with one hundred different answers.

The Greek writers were writers like today. They told a story, and in that story they hoped to give people encouragement and ideals to live by. Though thousands of years have passed since the ancient Greeks and modern times. It's said that history repeats itself, and though it may be true in a sense, I do not personally believe it. History is there to learn from, to look at for guidance. To dwell, and figure out what you could do better, is not meant for our minds. We are meant to be present and now in our decision making capabilities. The Greeks had many free thinkers, many philosophers who paved the way for modern ways of thinking, processing, perspective, and ideology. It is now in our hands and minds to continue the road, to not go down a path that will lead to our end.

There's a Greek hero in all of us. Even if it's just an idea. Use it, and make your world a better place.
In closing, live your life as if your story was being written. Be the hero. Make your dreams as amazing and wonderful as you could imagine.

Originally published in October of 2013

The Last Stand ; a short

The smell on the air was acrid, with the taste lingering in the back of my throat.
I would speak, but my men are gone. My children, dead. My wife.. I prey had a quick end.
I led this defense and suffered the fate they said I would. All I can do now is die with my sword in hand. A glimmer catches my eye to my immediate left, an old gem.. shattered in the fight sometime.
With it, I scratch my last words into a stone.
My joints ache, after days of battle. I can smell my wounds. Arid in the air.
The puddles in front of me begin to shake, as the ground rumbles. It sounds like elephants in a stampede, coming to flatten me down. It grows stronger, and yet the images in my head fly in front of my eyes faster than an arrow. The first time I held a sword with my father. The smile he had when I first sparred against him. The first sword that he had crafted for me. The rumbling is getting closer. The first time I bested my father in single combat. How proud he was of me. The first time I saw who would be my wife, the first time kissed and the taste of honey on her lips.
Boom Doom.
Boom doom.
The death of my father. The arrows I pulled out of his throat and chest. The sobbing of my mother over his body. The first time the armorer fitted me for plate. The feel of my gauntlets gripping my sword, and how I thought I could conquer the world.
The puddles are shaking violently.
The first time I saw my son. The last time I saw my son. The last time I saw my wife.
A warrior is meant to be brave. A husband is meant to be strong and loving. A father is meant to be forgiving. A king is meant to be brave, strong, loving, and forgiving.
The sound is here.
I long to meet them in battle.

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