Scouting things



Saturday, May 31, 2014

Taekwondo and my first Love-Hate Relationship

Before you start reading this post it's important to know what a Mcdojo is.

Once you've gotten the general idea, moving on.

I have been taking Taekwondo for over a year and a half at an ITF school.  What belt you wonder? Doesn't really matter.  I'll get to that later as well.  I won't really say the name either. So don't wonder.  Look around.

To be honest, we had a done a whopping total of 0 hours of research!!!! That's right!  Partially because of martial arts myths, and partly because at the time, it was really a short term idea.  You don't research tennis classes, and you don't research soccer games.  As a sport, everything is cool! You don't need to learn anything really.  But, that also defeats the purpose of doing MA over running, swimming, or weight lifting. 

Getting to the love-hate part, this is really complex and I might catch myself drifting around, so bear with me.

(TL;DR warning. I've had this floating in my head for a really long time). 

(Deceptively small)Table of Contents
1. Day to Day Taekwondo
2. Bimonthly  Taekwondo
3.Year-to-year  Taekwondo
4. A Compare/Contrast between Boy Scouts and Taekwondo.

 That tag spam. :)

More after the break :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thoughts from Costa Rica (Que es un ferreteria?)

Speak softly and carry a big sword.

Hello reader!

About that follow up post on leadership?  I'll get to that sometime.  I am on my first legit vacation in Costa Rica.  I've been here twice before, but on serious mission trips with solo one day por hanging out.  Costa Rica is not actually the rich, beachy, palm tree resort that one would think.   The land is dominated by farms, rainforest, vegetation, and small, shack-like houses.  Larger houses and resorts periodically appear along the road, and there are a handful dense, packed cities.

As far as Spanish goes, I can speak it pretty well, and I have an idea of how to form sentences and think ect, but it is impossible to comprehend what people are saying to you.  :P  Most of the time, brief questions followed by confirmation or complex answers take place instead of the neat, clean cut conversations that one sees in a textbook.  A lot of things have happened on this trip, and I'll give you a brief layout of the events.

We started off in San Jose, el capital, and kicked it off with a 4-hour car drive to Guanacaste, one of the seven provinces in Costa Rica.  Our place was near several beaches on a coastal strech, and we went snorkeling about every day.  The food was great; fresh fruit, fish, and chicken are very cheap and...  bueno? We went to a relative's wedding, and then we drove down to Alajuela, which is near the capital.  From there, we decided the city wasn't the place to be, and made literal last minute reservations at a small hotel place, where I am writing this post. 

A few things I thought to bring up about our time here. I save best for last.
1. Arroz con pollo
Literally translated as "chicken with rice", this is actually a fried-rice style dish with chicken pieces and a great sauce-y taste.  This is my favorite standalone dish in Costa Rica.  Even better than the fancy wedding food and fish.   It is inexpensive and delicious.  Always good and filling. :)  I would think that its the signature dish from Costa Rica.  Other than fried platanos.  Those are good.

2. Soda
Contrary to first impressions, a soda is a small family owned restaurant that serves super local and cheap food.  When I say small, I mean small.  It's like your kitchen with extra tables. Depending on where you are, they have beans, rice, meats, and smoothies for a unbelievable price.  (5 people for $25 USD) Not bad.  Some places are super sketchy, but other places are very clean and nice.

3.  There are mosquito everywhere.  Even underwater.
On the beach, you must choose between sunburn and bug bites.  I chose bug bites.  Well, the snorkeling was great, but I had to choose between bug repellant and sunburn.  The bug bites weren't so bad at first, but the wedding reception and dancing which I did not participate in took place outdoors, and we were eaten alive by insects. 35 bug bites. Ack.  However, by moving around every few minutes, I managed to avoid the big, bad bites, and get the smaller, less itchy bites.

4. What is a ferreteria?
Ferreterias are awesome.  In concept at least. On the road, I would always be looking for them.  Why? 
The English word for ferreteria is a hardware store.   Why a hardware store?
 In rural countries, especially Costa Rica, there is a ton of overgrown vegetation and weeds, jungle, and large chunks of meat.
A ferreteria is where you can buy ...

wait for it...

 A machete.   ~toggle happyness~
 Here in Costa Rica, it's totally cool to walk down the street and wave to amigos with a machete.  Life here is pure.  Pura vida!!

You're probably wondering why I want/need a machete.
Well, this year, I joined the Venture Crew,which is like level 2 Boy Scouts with less rules and more blades and fire.  That's how I would sum it up.
"Anyone got some lighter fluid?"    "Let's see if I can use this knife to cut the chicken."    "Don't forget your Gerber."   "Will this burn?"    "Check out this cheese wire".    "What's your longest knife throw?"     
"Let's try to melt this aluminum ball around this sugarcane pole". 
(me) (I'm a hardcore scientist)
Anyways, night hikes and bathroom runs are super sketchy, and there is nothing like an 18" blade to ward off coyotes.  And cutting meat.  And coconuts. And brush. 

5.  Back to Costa Rica, every time I saw a ferreteria, my face would light up.  Like In-n-out, an Apple Store, a Macy's, or whatever you people like.
Machetes are legally farming tools.  So like a shovel I guess. Heh heh.  The middle of useful ness and knife ness. 18" is long enough to chop stuff, but short enough to avoid nicking myself or some nearby bloke. 

6.  POPs. 
It's an Ice cream store. Go there.

7.  The Kane Chronicles
This is another series by Rick Riordan, and it is pretty great.  I think.  Some ideas are repeated, but the storyline is new and fresh. 
Discount Artemis Fowl. *ding
Discount Percy Jackson.  *ding 

Karter is a jerk to everybody. *ding

You can't really do parkour here. Too many dang red ants and mosquitos.
The number of bugs here is too darn high!!!

OK.  That was a super long post.  I have a lot of stuff more that I would like to mention.  Did I just use that sentence?  I've spent too long on this. :P  I have to say, after 1.5 weeks of using colones(money), swimming, getting bug bites ,and hiking, I do wish to return home.  Is this what you call homesickness?  Well, I wouldn't mind a return to the regular life.   I do miss martial arts, church, parkour, and fast internet. DDD:< 

Catch you later!!

Life is fine!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rant: Who's watching you? - Line-cutters

Before I get into this, let me start by saying that this is a rant, and there isn't going to be a philosophical light bulb buried here. I'll probably follow up with another with actual lessons in it.

So, this Sunday, our church had a celebration week with catered taco stands and cookies and lots of fun stuff.  The events and services were pretty specific,and logically, there was a massive crowd in between services, which led to longer lines as well.  When the services got out, in addition to the regular attenders, the SLs and leaders got out too.
After a brief discussion whether to wait or return later, I found the back of the line and began the wait.

Now, when you're standing in line, there isn't much to do except hang around and watch stuff going on.  About this time, a group of 5-6 SLs (between 12-20 y/o) came out from the building area and were walking past the line, when they noticed some of their "friends" in the middle/front of the line.  They were wearing staff shirts and badges, and it was deadly obvious that they were associated with the church in general.  I was a couple families behind them, which was the worst place to be, since I could hear everything that happened, but couldn't interfere or step in.  D:

The entire group of them cut into the middle of the line, and it was super obvious and outraging at the same time.  The main person kind of gave shifty glances and mushed in.  Not only that, but a TON of people noticed, and the SLs were laughing and joking about it because "everyone is doing it."  Not only were they cutting the line, but they were joking about it and calling friends over. I already was aware that they weren't the best people in the world, but it still deeply bothered me.  Even worse, they cut right in front of a new family who was visiting.  Acckkkkkkkkk.  (One of the children was in my class, and I talked to him a bit in the service.)
 Nothing super big.  Ok these people are jerks but that's fine as long as the people behind them don't mind too much.
Then, to top it off, when they were ordering, the new family behind them asked one of the leaders (with a badge and shirt) why she cut the line, and her response was "Well, I serve in kids ministry and I need to get to the service."




Rant time:
Don't you know you are the scum of society??
How can someone do that at church?? Especially as a student leader?  Is there no responsibility involved with the position?  What about being a role model or setting a good example?
Who are they serving? Are they really helping other people or are they in it for themselves? 

 When the person asked them why, they could have at least just admitted "I'm a terrible person doesn't care about anyone and just wants to eat."  The position as a leader is the worst and lamest excuse possible.  They were representatives of our ministry to parents and kids and all the people in the general area!!!!! Gahhhh!

 Line cutters are the worst.  :P  Using the excuse that "everyone else is doing it" is even worse, especially when you are a leader.  The family didn't have an overly visible reaction, but the memory of it still makes me cringe. It was a poor reflection on the values of a church and especially a leader.  Way to give everyone a bad name.  People who cut lines are people who will take advantage of others and have little regard for rules or personal conduct.  These are the type of people you don't want to be near in an emergency.


Yeah.  Ok I got some of it out now.  :P

But in James it says not to judge other people.  That's tough. Really tough. So I guess I'll let it      out. No.  I will not reference it.  XD

That was probably the worst experience in my entire SL career. Even worse than getting kicked and puked on and getting stuff thrown at me.  :P


Vroom Vroom

Hello readers,

It has been way too long since my last post.  Ack.
He's not dead. Not yet.
 I actually kind of thought my blog would just die off, but about a year later, stuff gets stirred up again. 

The thing that got me thinking about this actually happened yesterday and I'll make a post about it later today.
 And a good amigo of mine is starting up his own blog.
I read over the posts I wrote as an SPL for some nostalgia.

Some upcoming posts:
Who's watching you? Setting a good example.
On Taekwondo and Mcdojos.
One does not simply complete an Eagle Project (3 part)
Chinese School.  The best and worst.

Meanwhile: some updates.
 "We are no longer in the 4th inning.  We are in the 9th!"

This year, instead of rechartering with my Scout Troop, I joined the venture crew (675).  It's a lot like scouts except nobody cares about character development.  And you can detonate fires.  And carry massive blades.  It's sweet.   In a venture camp out, it's totally cool to throw anything into the fire.  We aren't super active, with one meeting a month, but the charter fee was 20$. Can't beat that.

Another thing is that I've joined the SSM band. (Youth group).  Yea.  Not much to say about that at the moment. I play once every monthish.  (Keys).  What I wanted to mention.  We are officially called the Cluster of Students Irvine.  Abbreviate that into:

Wait for it:
If you don't know about CSI Miami, look it up on memebase and the internet.  I have found it in my duty to make cheap one liners every time I can think of one. 

Sir, the band leader's guitar fell of the stage, but nobody told him.  
Well I guess you could say...
( •_•)>⌐■-■
They didn't want to break it to him.
And, lastly, I have worked up to Red Belt in TKD.  This is kind of a love-hate relationship, and I'll write/rant about it more later.  Curious? Look up what a Mcdojo is and isn't.

I've been doing a lot of parkour, especially at church in the mornings.  We meet at a high school, and I do a lot of vvork (volunteer work), and I can jam in between. :)

I haven't posted in a while and so I suppose I felt obliged to make it up with an oversized post.
I'll get back to you all later.