Indefinite Hiatus

I am not sure what I am doing with my life right now, but it may involve too many things to post here on a regular basis. I am trying to sort it all out at the moment. On top of that, I am REALLY eager to build an audience for my other blog because I can do more with that than I can with this one. To all my faithful readers here, please make the transition to:

bullyfreefitness.com

See you in the future, sometime.

Steve

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Nostalgia Is NOT Always a Waste of Time

Ever think back to the days of your youth? I do…a lot. That’s because I still live in the area where I grew up. It’s also because I have a lot of regrets. The biggest ones have to do with times when I didn’t have the courage to do things I wanted to do more than anything, like stand up to a bully or ask out the girl that I REALLY wanted to take to my senior prom. (If only I could find a picture of THAT Brazilian beauty!) Some people think reminiscing is a waste of time, but I think there are times when it’s actually useful.

Sometimes I look back in an attempt to see where my life went off the rails. (Well, as far as careers go anyway.) How did I wind up in so many dead end, low-income jobs? I can easily see one mistake that I made: focusing too much on my creative writing. I’m not saying I regret having that as a passion, but I wish I’d pay more attention in the classes that could have landed me a decent-paying job. Writing can pay well, but only after years and years of slogging away for pennies. I got four kids to support NOW. No room to goof off.

Okay, so there is my answer. Writing more than I studied is why I am in this spot. That is why I have to work so much overtime that I practically live at the office. So what can I do about it now, other than complain?

In this case, it turns out I can do quite a bit! My approach to school was where I screwed up. Therefore the obvious solution is to go back to school, FOCUS, and get myself a better job. But this yields another question: go back for what? Well, I have always regretted the fact that I lost my grip on the Chinese language, so I could go back for that…and either this fall or the next, I will be doing just that.

In this instance, my nostalgia resulted in some digging that led to a solution. It’s not always like that. Sometimes there is no good that can come from dwelling on the past. My prom date fail is a prime example of that. I wanted to ask out this Brazilian exchange student, but back then I was afraid of rejection. Instead, I asked out a girl that I knew would say yes, even though I wasn’t attracted to her in the least.

So what good can come of THIS stroll down memory lane? None. That ship has sailed. It’s a waste to dwell on it.

Or is it?

Think about this: the reason I failed to achieve what I wanted was cowardice, stemming from an overwhelming lack of self-confidence. So the question became: how do I fix that? Once again, by dwelling on it I got my answer. (Well, partially anyway.)

For the record, all my years of consciously searching for ways to improve my self-confidence yielded no results. It wasn’t until I got into home fitness programs that I stumbled upon my answer: getting into better PHYSICAL shape meant getting into better MENTAL shape.

More often than not, nostalgia/dwelling on the past can be a waste of time. (EXAMPLE: You had great chemistry with that one classmate in high school, but you never asked her out. Well, that was twenty years ago. Thinking about it now will do no good.) However, in these examples here I’ve found a way to put those memories to good use, and it makes sense. I mean, who wants to repeat the same mistakes over and over?

So what I’m saying is: don’t just dwell on and mope about the past. Use it as an inspiration to make your present better. After all, the past is gone…the future isn’t here yet…and to quote the flaming Lips, “All we have is now.”

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More Language News

There have been some updates regarding my future attempt to learn Chinese again. Read the full article here:

http://bullyfreefitness.com/2015/05/12/more-language-news/

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Another Missed Blog Day

Yes, yesterday I neglected my self-imposed blogging schedule AGAIN, only there was no excuse of illness this time.

Read more about it here:

http://bullyfreefitness.com/2015/05/11/not-another-missed-blog-day/

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Learning Chinese Again

Today I went to meet my old Chinese professor, James Hargett, who also happens to be the head of the Department of East Asian Stuides at the University at Albany. The reason for my visit: I wanted to get back into the swing of the Chinese language. However, having already taken Chinese 101/102 and 201/202, AND having graduated from SUNY already, I didn’t know what my options were. Well, he laid them out for me.

There were a couple that were completely NOT realistic at all, like going to China for a year. While I would love to do this kind of “dive in at the deep end approach,” I can’t…because of my kids.

Another option was to do some kind of 8-9 week course during the summer, but again…I need to stay working. Got kids to support.

Then finally, we got to the option that I could do. It is still tricky, but I will find a way to make it work…

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, PLEASE VISIT:

http://bullyfreefitness.com/2014/09/16/learning-chinese-again/

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New Blog

Well, call this a lame attempt to satisfy my “Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday posting” quota if you want…because it is. However, I wanted to take a moment out of my blogging schedule to announce a new website and endeavor.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are currently reading the words of a man who is once again a Team Beachbody Coach. And if you go to the following URL, you can read MORE of his words. I give you…

BULLY FREE FITNESS (aka…BFF)
http://www.bullyfreefitness.com

Over the last few months I have been obsessing more and more over this whole fight against bullies. I was also planning on getting back into the Beachbody Coach deal. It didn’t take long before I realized I should join the two together to create my “brand.” After all, what’s the one thing in my life that helped me develop the self-confidence to stand up for myself? Getting physically fit. And what helped me get physically fit? Beachbody workouts!

Yes…I know…Beachbody is not the be all, end all of fitness. I could have gotten fit in any one of numerous ways. However, I didn’t pick those other methods. I went with Beachbody. End of story.

So head on over there. It isn’t much to look at right now, and there is only one thing there (the “About Me” page), but keep your eyes open. It will have more material soon.

My stay here has been fun, but I really need the freedom that a PAID website allows me.

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It All Started With Bruce

Recently someone told me that they were intrigued by my strong spiritual connection to China, and they wanted to know more about it. I said that would be cool, but I needed them to ask or say something so I could figure out a starting point.

Their question: “What is your first memory of being attracted to China?”

Well, the initial attraction did not seem like an attraction at first. Not to the country as a whole anyway. Just to one facet that I think is a pretty common entry point for most people, at least for white teenage American males. I am tempted to say “leave off the white part,” but I don’t think I should. First of all, that is the way it came out so it is unedited and pure. Second, I think it is accurate because, if it weren’t for what I am about to describe, I don’t think a lot of white males would give China a second thought. Hell, even WITH this one thing, not many bother to go on and investigate the country and its culture as a whole like I did.

I’m talking, of course, about Bruce Lee. Most white males see him doing kung fu moves, think it looks “cool,” and they want to look cool too…so they might investigate enough to know Bruce was from China, but that’s it. They don’t pursue like I did.

Anyway, I have this memory from sometime during my junior year of high school. My d*ckhead stepdad was still around, so I spent a lot of time in my bedroom writing. At the time, Cinemax and HBO were offering some special feature where you could order both channels for a reduced introductory price. Mom decided to invest in it. On the first night we had it, they showed three of Bruce Lee’s movies. For the record they were THE BIG BOSS, FISTS OF FURY and WAY OF THE DRAGON. Needless to say, I was immediately hooked. I went out and signed up for a judo class. (This was not what Bruce studied; he learned wing chun from a gentleman named Ip Man, who is the father of MY teacher’s teacher. Why did I sign up for a style that Bruce didn’t take? Because it was close…only about a 5 minute drive from my house.)

Junior prom came around. Two of my friends and I (who also had no prom dates) decided to have a “loser’s night” and went to see the Bruce Lee biopic DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY. During this movie I learned that Bruce had authored a book called THE TAO OF JEET KUNE DO. (Side note: unlike what the movie shows, Bruce DID NOT publish this during his lifetime. The book was assembled from notes he wrote and then published posthumously.) The one word in that title, “Tao,” was familiar to me. I’d heard of Taoism before, but never really looked into it. I did not go looking for any more literature about it at the time, but it wouldn’t be long.

Freshman year of college: 1994-1995. By this time I was studying at a place called the Capital District Tai Chi Kung Fu Association. (Still no wing chun? No, simply because the night I went looking for it, I stumbled across the Association first.) When I looked through SUNY Albany’s course catalog and saw they had Chinese literature courses, I immediately signed up. I went wild with learning about Chinese culture. During my freshman registration, it slipped past my attention that the school offered the language; I vowed to make up for missing it in my sophomore year.

Shortly after New Year’s, I located the wing chun school and went to watch a class. I immediately liked what I saw, quit the Association and joined wing chun. The minimal movement was more ideal to me because, after all, I am not a loud, flamboyant, flashy character. I like keeping to myself. Plus I am more laid back than most people, and an effective wing chun practitioner is always relaxed. All around, the style fit me like a glove.

I think it wasn’t until sophomore year when I read TAO TE CHING. (I remember being exposed to the second most important Taoist text, CHUANG TZU, in freshman year.) It talked about following instead of leading, the ruler who is like a shadow is the best, and (most importantly) about being like water. These philosophies seemed to live and breathe in wing chun. Together, they had a synergistic effect in solidifying my love of the culture from which they both came.

Sophomore year, I started taking the language. Maybe it was due to my musical ability, but I adapted to the pronunciation and inflections of the language with ease…making such an impression on the main professor and his assistants that they remember me TO THIS DAY. That really cemented my love of the culture, and it was the last brick in the wall for that attraction.

Actually, that isn’t true. I remember one time in 2013 when I was in Vegas, riding a bus up and down the Boulevard. I met this Chinese guy, and we started talking about whether the language was hard to learn or not, traditional versus simplified writing characters (he was amazed I knew the difference), Mao Zeong, the Cultural Revolution (he was amazed I knew about this too!), and other things.

Eventually he said to me, “I get a very Chinese vibe from you.”

I laughed and said, “Okay. Is that a good thing?”

He said, “Well, Chinese people don’t like a lot of excitement. They like things to be calm, and you are very mellow.”

I said, “Okay, so you are saying I’m an honorary Chinaman?”

(Yes, it is normally an offensive term, but I had a feeling I could get away with it.)

He said yes, and we high fived. That was a pretty cool interaction, and especially to hear that from an actual Chinese person instead of just some white boy being a smarta$$ and saying, “Damn, dude, why you so into this Chinese stuff? You think you a Ch*nk or something?” (Believe it or not, I HAVE heard things like that before.)

And so that, ladies and gentlemen, is the history of my long spiritual connection with China.

The title didn’t lie.

It all started with Bruce.

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