Monday, January 02, 2012


for anyone who doesn't already know, I've moved.

i miss this place, i really do. i started here and never wanted to move, but i really like the new place, too.

hope you'll follow me there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Go ye forth and yet read him.



The thing is, you don't get to bargain with life. You are not allowed to say, "Okay, this far, but no farther." I mean, I guess you could say that, but it ain't going to help none. You make what room you can to accommodate whatever new conflagration arises and still maintain some hold on what you believe matters to you most, what's inviolable, and you draw the line there.

Unfortunately, this just serves to make your foolishness stand out in starker relief.

You best get out the way, cause that line is getting crossed.


I don't know. I guess that a good measure of pain accompanies every necessary transformation. We want things how we want them. We want control, we want a voice, we want something done! But maybe a large part of that pain is from fear and resistance. Nothing new there.

Still, it feels like a revelation when it's happening to you.

Don't it.


So, opening to it. Rolling with it. And keeping your eyes open for the slim little gap of daylight you might be able to jam into and pry open, so you can breathe for a minute while you try to think things through.

It's something to shoot for.


I feel so damn crazy right now. That storm just keeps building, the dark clouds scudding lower and lower, all charged up with electricity and the sky gone dark green and a thousand miles between you and the nearest shelter.


"Stahm's a-comin'"




Friday, November 11, 2011



Three days off.

Thanks, Veterans.


So, the Wild Woman of Borneo is living under our roof now, waiting for the miracle of birth. We are all on pins and needles, except for her, it seems. She tends to get all unraveled with the little shit that bugs her, but the big stuff just seems to roll off her back.

Maybe the small stuff feels like she has some control over the outcome, I don't know. That woman is the deepest mystery of my life, how she turned out to be the way she is, what she is, how to interact with her. A writhing, seething mass of dangerous contradictions.

She's got this boy hanging around her now.

Talk about an awkward romance. I think of him as Joseph, dragging Mary around from inn to inn, looking for a place to crash.

They are both in recovery and under the court's thumb. It breaks your damn heart to look at them, it really does.

You never seen anything more fragile seeming in your life.


Myself I feel pretty damn good. Tethered to my amazing woman I feel as grounded as I am likely to get, and ready for the storm. Not tensed up about it, either, just ready. Almost healed up, too.

It's all good.


Open, open, open.




Monday, November 07, 2011

ECQC Los Angeles 2011


So, made it back alive from Extreme Close Quarters Combat. And just like last year, I had the goddamn time of my life. Even better, I got to go with my "little" brother, the monster. The picture above shows one of the two-on-one evolutions from the last day. You can see the guy on the ground has managed to access his clinch pick trainer to try to even the odds a little bit, but with two guys on top of you, it's really difficult to get anything done at all. He's already lost his protective helmet and eye protection that everyone starts out with. In most classes that would be the end of the drill, but Southnarc does an outstanding job of monitoring what's going on, and he keeps the evolution going as long as possible as long as everyone is respecting the spirit of the fight and not taking cheap shots or shooting a guy in the face who has no protection. He steps in and calls it as soon as things begin to fall apart, but he keeps it going long after you've gassed and wish you were dead. He lets you get in the deepest of holes and makes you keep fighting, working, struggling, trying something, anything, to stay alive a little bit longer. He won't let you quit, and that's what we all love about training with him.
No matter how deep the hole, you have to keep fighting.


The Brave One at the start of his two-on-one. The little guy in the shades is SouthNarc, our sensei.


That's my bro up above, wearing his training company T-shirt ( Spartan Training Resources.) This was his first time at ECQC, and I was excited to be there for it. He's got a good base in striking, ground grappling, muy thai, and, of course, firearms.

It showed.

Getting rounds off in the fucked up tangle

Here he's lost his helmet and eye-pro, he's getting dragged to the ground by one assailant while the other guy is wrapping up his legs, but he managed to shoot bad guy two twice in the head on the way down.

Then it was time to solve the other problem with a little over the shoulder head shooting.

The guy is a little bit of a handful.


The Dishwasher dancing with his assailant.

The Dishwasher getting rolled.

I learned a lot in my evolutions. The shot above is me in the one on one with my assailant. In real life he is an active duty Marine in a special operations group with ten years of downrange experience. He schooled me but good.

The thing about these things is that you really do learn a lot more from your failures than you do from your successful outcomes.

Things are falling apart for me here.

Here he's got me on my back with my dominant arm pinned behind my head. He's reaching for his weapon behind his hip. 

I'm entering a world of pain.

Now I'm being gut-shot by my new friend.

I'm on my back, my arm pinned over my head, getting crushed and gut-shot by a Special Forces Marine. So, end of evolution, right?

You know better than that.

The fight for control of the gun.


The slide is pushed to the rear. It won't fire like that. I've got a slim chance.

He's got the gun, and he's a lot stronger than me, and in better shape. I'm gassed bad now and I can't out muscle him. I've got one hand on the gun and I've got the slide run back so he can't shoot me, and I'm grabbing his gun hand wrist, which he's trying to pull off. I'm not going to get the gun from him like this...

Getting my knee to help me out.

So I manage to bring my knee up. Now I can break his grip on the gun using the leverage of my hips and the strength of my legs against his arms, a better deal for me. This worked for me, and I managed to get the gun from him. But it took so much out of me that I quickly lost position. I threw the gun away so at least he couldn't keep shooting me, but I wasn't able to take the initiative back. I knew I had to do something, but for the life of me, I didn't know what that could be. All I wanted was for this shit to stop. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I was completely helpless and getting run like a fucking sock puppet. There was no way out.

back in a bad place.

He's crushing me now. I can't breathe, I'm all out of gas, and flat on my back.

Keep fighting.

Southnarc kept me fighting long past the point that I could do anything effective, but I grunted and screamed and thrashed long enough that he took pity on me and finally called it.

Out of gas, game over.

So, other than getting stuffed, pinned on my back, arm pinned over my head, and gut-shot, I think I did pretty good!


I did better in the two on one, going up against the same Marine and another great guy who is a full-contact stick fighter from the Dog Brothers. Managed to stay on my feet for a long time (also known as running away!) and got some shots on both assailants before I got my shit stacked again. I also dominated the car-jacking evolution, where you fight inside a car against a guy who's got a gun to your head. I got the muzzle averted, drove hard against him as I raised my hips up to the ceiling and crushed him down into the corner of his seat and the passenger side door. I got a knee on his belly and braced my back against the roof, then stripped the gun from him and fed him a couple of head shots. 

It were more fun than losing, I noticed.

Plus, it didn't hurt nearly as much.


I didn't get a lot of pictures of the last day because we were up there in the foothills, fighting in the mud in the pouring rain. Then in the rain and hail. Then in the rain, hail, and lightning. 

My brother and I were rolling around in the mud, getting pelted by driving hailstones, fighting over a gun in a lightning storm, and he pauses in the middle of the fight and looks at me, grinning, and says, "Well, it's official. This is the best fucking training ever!"

Then he kicked my ass, took the gun from me, and shot me in the face.




Thursday, November 03, 2011

Coffee break is over, back on your heads.


It's that time again. Southnarc's Extreme Close Quarters Combat class. Three glorious days in LA, getting the fuck beat out of myself and rolling around on the ground with a bunch of violence-fueled apes.

What could be better?

Last year I went with my work partner. He claims I broke one of his ribs, but I doubt I did more than pop it out of joint or something. This year I'm going with my brother, the world's most dangerous man.

I may not survive.


I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me. Last week at dinner with my mom she told me how when I was a little baby I was scared of absolutely everything. Not like my little brother, who took it all in stride. Anything that moved, I jumped. Anything new, I shied from like a nervous colt. I cried a lot.

She had to make sure to introduce things to me real slow so I wouldn't bust into tears.


I'm not much changed.

I put a brave face on, but there's still a nervous little poodle working the controls.


I don't know how to resolve the contradiction, and I don't guess I ever will. I fucking love to shoot and bang and fight, to kick doors in the pre-dawn dark, to hang it out over the line. There's nothing that makes you feel more alive than the surge of main-line adrenaline when your brain has turned the tap wide open.

And yet I'm afraid all the time of the simplest things. Anxious and sleepless over money or work or relationship matters. Forget about Sundays, man, the thought of going to work on Monday ruins the whole day.

A fucked up tangle of tough and lazy, clever and stupid, fearless and trembling. Like Private Joker said about Paris Island, the home of the fake tough and the crazy brave.

And at forty-seven, I should perhaps have these issues better resolved than I do.


At any rate, that's where I'll be for the next few days.

I don't know how that woman of mine puts up with me, but she seems decided in my favor. It takes all kinds, I guess.

I am damn lucky for it.




Mr. Spock


In the dream Spock stood at the lectern, his hands gripping hard on either side. His head was slightly bowed and he looked up through the ridges of his forehead at the classroom. His lidless eyes bulged and it seemed to me that he had Down syndrome, perhaps, although
it was hard to say for sure. His face was red and his body shook with something like suppressed rage. The tin insignia on his uniform breast trembled against a field of blue polyester.

He was saying something about Melville's use of imagery in Moby Dick, but everybody knew he wanted to teach us physics instead. It wasn't in his nature to teach the humanities, but he struggled on.

He was at war with something inside of him, that much seemed clear, but there was nothing to do but watch him fight it out. It was not something that could be helped, it was what he was made for.