humor, martial arts, work

All kids are drunk almost always

A new iteration of Facebook profile formatting reminded me today that I used to write “Notes” about little events in my life, and that I started this blog because I hated Facebook’s “Notes.”
Here’s one I started in January of 2010, and shared with all my coworkers at Karate Job.  Boyfriend recently noted that kids are basically tiny adults with a drinking problem.  Seriously.  The next time you see a kid walking around, playing with other kids, or just sitting staring at her hand, you’ll see the truth: All kids perfectly, unintentionally, and constantly mimic drunk adults.  See below for (way too much) proof.

In my time at Karate Job, many things have changed, but the one thing that has remained constant is the ridiculousness of the kids, and the weird nonsense that comes out of their mouths. I plan on adding to this as the hilarity ensues.
Sensei = me
kid = unnamed student

i made this

i made this

Sensei- Ooh, the Trust stone! Who can tell me what trust is?
kid- (raises hand)
Sensei- Yes? What do you think?
kid- Um… one time, I was with my brother, and he said that, um, there was no rock monster, and, um, but then, there was a rock monster, and my brother, it was him, and the rock monster, um,… it was.
Sensei-…Ok, good job, who else knows what trust is?

Sensei Richard was doing cow stretch, then cat stretch, mooing and meowing, chewing slowly and smiling when one kid looked at him and said, with a completely serious face, “Stop chewing like a cow.”

Sensei- What did you do this weekend?
kid- I went to a party, and you know who was there?!
Sensei- Who?
kid- Bob!!
Sensei- Wow, cool.
kid- Yeah!!
Sensei- Did you guys have fun?
kid- Yeah!! And then, you know what I did?
Sensei- What?
kid- I put my hand, in his mouth!!
Sensei- …What?
kid- Yeah!!
Sensei- …Is Bob a dog?
kid- No! He’s jello!
Sensei- …Jello?
kid- No! He’s MADE of jello!
Sensei- … Ok, time for an obstacle course.

kid- Vrooooooooommmmm!!!
Sensei- Wow, are you a car?
kid- I’m a Ferrari!

kid- The cheetahs are sleeping!
(whispered as he sat in a circle for Animal Cards)

Sensei- Ooooh, the ant card, ants have good patience, and good teamwork. What do you think about the ant?
kid- Um… if… if there’s a… a giant spider… theeeeeeeen… um… it would stomp on us.
Sensei- Uh, yeah, but spiders aren’t that big, so I think we’re ok.
kid- Oh. Ok.

(All the kids are running around the lava pit)
Sensei- Ok, now do a bear crawl! Who can growl like a bear?
(All the kids growl)
Sensei- Now who can hop like a frog?
(All of them hop around)
Sensei- Now who can hop like a bunny?
(Immediately, half the kids put their hands up to their heads and make bunny ears with their first two fingers, as if that is the only thing that distinguishes frogs and rabbits)



Sensei- Hi everyone! Ok, let’s bow and say ‘osu’ as you come in. Hi, how are you?
kid- I’m good! Osu!
Sensei- Awesome! Let’s have your card, and start running! Hi, how are you doing?
kid- Awesome, Sensei! Osu!
Sensei- Woah, cool! Start running! Hi, how are you?
kid- I have pink eye! Osu! [holds out card]
Sensei- …Um… What?
kid- I have pink eye! They put drops in my eyes! Osu! [holds out card]
Sensei- …Ok, cool… Where are your parents?
[turns out he HAD pinkeye, but was cured of it recently]

Sensei- Ok everyone, feet together, make a butterfly, flap your wings!
kid- Hey Sensei!
Sensei- What do we do when we want to talk?
kid- [hand shoots up] Um, Sensei! Sensei!
Sensei- Yes? Thank you for raising your hand.
kid- We were reading a book about bugs outside, and one of the bugs, they-
Sensei- Can you tell me about it after class?
kid- Ya but this one bug, it-
Sensei- Can you tell me about it after class?
kid- Ok, but this one bug-
Sensei- Tell me about it after class, ok? It’s karate time now.
kid- Ok, but this one bug-
Sensei- Tell me about it after class. We’re not talking about that right now, ok?
kid- Ok, but the bug-
Sensei- [name], can you listen to me please? What did I just say?
kid- Ok, but the bug-
Sensei- What did I just say?
kid- After class, ya, but this one bug-
Sensei- No, what did I just say? Did I say we should talk about that now?
kid- No, but-
Sensei- Tell me after class, not now.
kid- Ok, but it’s just this one bug-
Sensei- [name], come here please.
kid- [pause] What?
Sensei- I asked you to come here please.
kid- Oh. I couldn’t hear you all the way over here.
Sensei- Yes you can.

Sensei- Ooh, look, the “otter” card! This is sensei’s favorite card!
kid- Yeah?
Sensei- Yeah, because the otter is very playful.
kid- Yeah. Y’know what? He likes to play games.
Sensei- Yeah, he does.
kid- But he doesn’t always know when it’s his turn.
Sensei- …What?
kid- Because, because it’s, um it’s my turn, his turn, my turn, [faster] his turn my-turn-his-turn-myturn-histurn-myturn-histurn… and then… histurn histurn histurn histurn.
Sensei- …Ok, time to meditate.

kid 1- My sister, she’s 16, she karate’s me all the time. And I karate her back.
kid 2- (under his breath to some other kids) He doesn’t understand martial arts.

Sensei- Ooh, the antelope card!
kid- I like deer.
Sensei- Yeah, me too. I saw a deer once when I was camping.
kid- I saw a bear once!
Sensei- Really?
kid- Yeah, I was, um, in the forest… um… and my parents wanted to be there with me, but I’m really careful.
Sensei- Uh huh…
kid- And um, then, I saw a bear, and I ran as fast as I could, but he couldn’t catch me.
Sensei- Yeah? So you were in the forest… alone?
kid- Yeah, I’m really careful around bears.

[I use those foam noodles to make a bridge for the kids to duck under and run around the dojo, then I put them on the floor for them to jump over. I usually wiggle them around and say , “Who can jump over the ssssssssssnake?”]
A new kid in the class comes to a screeching halt when it’s his turn to jump over the snake.
Sensei- Hey there, jump over! Jump over the snake, you can do it!
kid- [pause] Um… is it a nice snake?
Sensei- Uh, yep, it sure is. His name is Howard. Can you say hi to Howard?
kid- [waves at the noodle] Hi, Howard.
Sensei- Great job, now jump over Howard!
[kid jumps over the noodle no problem]

time to fucking meditate

time to fucking meditate

Sensei- Keep running guys!
kid- [panting] It’s so refreshing to get a good workout!

kid- [running around the dojo to warm up] Sensei! [raises hand]
Sensei- Yes?
kid- [comes to a complete stop right in front of me] I lost my racetrack,… but I can find it later.
Sensei- …Ok, good. Keep running.
kid- Ok!

Yesterday we were talking about outer space, and I mentioned black holes. None of the kids knew what a black hole was. I described it as “something that’s super tiny that can eat anything and everything up.” Then I told them that after something is eaten up, we lose track of it. No one on Earth has any idea where it goes. The kids could not believe what I had just said. A couple of them literally thought I was lying. I said, “Really! It’s a huge mystery. Even the smartest people in the world don’t know where it goes after it gets eaten up by a black hole.” Then I did what my dad used to do: I made them try to think up an answer all by themselves. I asked, “Where do you guys think it goes?” They were all quiet for a few seconds, until one boy said, ” Maybe it goes into the future.”
Wow. Just… wow. I couldn’t believe he said that. How awesome is that kid’s brain that the future is the first thing he things of. Not a place, a TIME. HAHAHAHA!! Amazing!

Sensei- Alright, everone reach for your toes!
kid- Sensei? It smells like bacon in here.
Sensei- Uh, that’s ok… Who knows where bacon comes from?
Sensei- C’mon guys, who knows what animal bacon comes from?
kid- Bacon monster?
Sensei- Haha, no you silly boy! What animal does bacon come from?
kid 2- A crocodile made out of bacon?

My first day working at a different KK location, we were stretching and a new boy was lookin’ pretty worried.
Sensei- Hey buddy, everything ok?
kid- Um… I think I have to go to the bathroom…
Sensei- Ah, ok quick, let’s go!
The kid takes two steps, then stops and clamps his legs shut. His crotch is already visibly wet. He looks down, then back up to me with an extremely worried expression on his face and says, “I think I’m LEAKING!”
I picked him up by the armpits, took him to the door to use the bathroom. Not a drop on the mat! lol

(a kid – let’s call him Jack – kept looking over his shoulder to see his dad, who was quietly reading outside. Dad got up, and the kid couldn’t stop looking around for him)
Sensei- Hey buddy, I’m over here. Dad’s just around the corner talking to Mr. Kevin at the desk. See his stuff is still on the chair, he didn’t leave.
kid- Oh. Ok. (keeps looking)
Sensei- Jack, it’s ok, he’ll be right back. It’s karate time, try to focus, buddy.
kid- But what if he doesn’t come back?
Sensei- I guess you’ll have to come home with me and have a Sensei sleepover. We’ll do Sensei stuff all the time. Y’know what Senseis do at home?
kid- What?
Sensei- EAT ICE CREAM. All the time. Non-stop. Just ice cream, om nom nom!
kid- *heh, heh*
kid 2- You’re gonna get FAT.
Sensei- Haha, wow, yep, I guess it’s a good thing your dad’s here, Jack.

In the lobby chatting with a parent, the younger sibling of the student trips over a chair and makes a huge CRASH BANG BANG BANG. She puts the char upright, crawls back up to her feet and announces, “Good!… I’m ok!”

kid- I had coffee today!
Sensei- Decaffeinated?
kid- [shakes head] Caffeine, I love caffeine. [jumps up and down]
Sensei- You had caffeinated coffee?
kid- [stops jumping, nods furiously] I put 5 sugars in it [holds up fingers]. BIG ones.

(after tripping over something in the obstacle course)
kid- I’m ok, I’m tough. I hurted my toe really bad, but I’m BRAVE.

(we picked the deer card in Sensei Circle)
Sensei- Ooh, who knows what this is? It’s a deer!
kid 1- A reindeer!
Sensei- Almost, yeah, good idea. It’s LIKE a reindeer.
kid 2- [with a dead serious face] It lives at Christmas.
Sensei- Wow, um, yeah, I guess that’s true. It lives all the time though.
kid 2- Right.

(sliding on his stomach through a castle obstacle)
kid- Sensei! Sensei look! I’m a penguin!
Sensei- Wow, you sure are! Good job!

(a little girl was grabbing her crotch as she ran around the dojo. Let’s call her Emily)
Sensei- Hey Emily, c’mere. Are you ok? Do you have to go potty?
Emily- [looking worried] No…
Sensei- No? Ok. Are you ok? What’s up, sweetie?
Emily- I hurt myself when I was bear crawling.
Sensei- …Really?
Emily- Yeah, I kicked myself. [still clutching crotch]
Sensei- …Okaaaaay… Do you want to sit down, or do you want to keep going?
Emily- I think I should keep going.
Sensei- Ok, good idea, go for it.
[Emily continues to hold her crotch with one hand and run]

I set up a new obstacle with a heavy ball, and told the kids it was really special so they would pay special attention. When one boy went through it, he put the ball over his head with great effort and said, “Rrrgh! So… special!”

Upon seeing that we had drawn the bat card:
“I saw… a bat… with dinosaurs… and I was the fairy… and mom was the dinosaur.”

Sensei: Hey June, you did an amazing job in class today!
kid: Can I have a high five?
Sensei: How about a hug?
kid: [super excited] Oooh! Ok!

After the death of Osama bin Laden:
kid: Sensei! The criminal… He got shot with a missile.
Sensei: Wow, really?
kid: [nods] Yep.

[after laying down rope between obstacles]
Sensei: Uh oh, don’t step on the snakes, guys! Jump!
kid: Oh no! Are they poisonous?
Sensei: Nope, they’re venomous!
kid: …oh. They’re not poisonous?
Sensei: Nope, snakes aren’t poisonous. They’re venomous. Everyone say, “venomous!”

Normally shy little Japanese boy (age 4ish) hands me the biggest piece as we’re cleaning up the obstacle course.
Sensei: Wow, you got the big one, you must be pretty strong today.
kid: I’m all man!
Sensei: …What?
kid: [gets shy and starts drifting away]
Sensei: What did you say? Say that again.
kid: [bashfully] I’m all man! [runs away]

kid: Sensei! Did you know, that the bad guy, they shot him, with a missile. [in reference to Osama bin Laden’s death]
Sensei: That’s right, thank you.

Sensei: Ooh, the squirrel card. What is the squirrel holding?
kid 1: Acorn!
Sensei: That’s right! Very smart, an acorn. What does the acorn grow into? A mighty…?
kid 1: Nut tree?
kid 2: Squirrel?

I set up an obstacle course where the kids had to switch hands doing a hammer fist Right/Left/Right/Left. One kid kept using his right hand. The kid in front of him noticed and demonstrated using his left hand, saying, “Look. See what hand I’m using? Like that.”

kid: Sensei guess what!
Sensei: What?
kid: Um… My birthday is next year!
Sensei: Oh, that’s cool… I think all our birthdays are next year.

A girl fell while running across the balance beams, and instead of stopping or helping her up, the boy behind her just stepped over her as she started to get up, and kept running.

[kid raises hand in Animal Card Circle]
Sensei: Yes? Thank you for raising your hand.
kid: I have so many puppets.
Sensei: …Yeah?
kid: Yeah, but they’re not real.

A new student runs around the lava pit with the other kids, when suddenly he turns around, comes to a screeching halt, holds up his hand and yells, “STOP!”
Sensei: Hey, don’t stop, keep going!
The kid laughs and keeps running.

Sensei: Why do we meditate?
kid: It makes our anger go away, and makes our body awesome, and it makes us cool.
[When I told this kid’s mom about this, she said that he meditated when his friends overwhelmed him.]

Sensei: Ooh, the skunk card. What does the skunk do?
kid: He’s stinky.
Sensei: Yes, the skunk is stinky, but what does he do?
kid: He throws stuff.
Sensei: Uh, close, he sprays stuff. What does he spray?
kid: [big smile] Garbage.

Sensei: Ooh, the horse card. What is the horse good at?
kid: Running fast!
Sensei: That’s right, a horse can run faster than a person.
kid: …unless you run on the horse.

A special needs kid who said everything on his mind sat down with the other kids while I built an obstacle course. He looked outside and said, “Exit.” The room was totally silent otherwise, so cute.

Sensei: Eyes closed guys, meditation time.
kid: [blinking]
Sensei: Eyes closed, buddy.
kid: [still blinking] I can’t close my eyes.
Sensei: Yes you can.
kid: [closes eyes] Oh.

kid: Sensei! Sensei I fell! But I’m ok! I’m ok Sensei!

Sensei: Everybody frog jump! What sound does a frog make?
kid: [super loud] wih-BIT?!! wih-BIT?!! wih-BIT?!!

kid: I have five guys. They’re robbers or something.
Sensei: Yeah? Does your mom know about them?
kid: [nods] My mom knows, my sister knows… Usually I have two, but I just have one now.
Sensei: One robber?
kid: No, robbers aren’t real!

Sensei: Ooh, the skunk card! Who knows what the skunk does?
kid: He gets scared!
Sensei: That’s true, sometimes skunks get scared. Then what happens?
kid: Then, he has bad, bad, bad… gas.

Sensei: Ok guys, show me some strong kiais!
kid: Sensei, see THIS kiai… KI-YAAAAAAAAAAAAI!!!

UPDATE: May 6, 2013
Buzzfeed threw together a bunch of gifs (this thing) with an almost identical title to this post a week after I posted!  Copycats!

anime, goodness, martial arts

Oh, Yoshimi

I’m addicted to a new (old) song: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots part 1, by The Flaming Lips.  It’s a hilarious, adorable, excellent song, and it’s about me!  Get it?  I’m a black belt, I defend my man with my awesome karate skills, and I might as well be Asian (what with all the food, anime, manga, martial arts stuff I do).  Bam.  I’m thinking the pink robots are a metaphor for something.  Ex-girlfriends maybe?

workin’ for the citeh

goodness, life, martial arts, school, work

A quit and a launch

i'm flying!!

I had a big day.

I bought my ticket to Dublin, Ireland!  So exciting!  I’m leaving May 31st, coming back June 13th.  I’ll have to head straight to work the next day (no recuperation time), but it doesn’t matter!  I’m going to spend some time in Ireland, see Edinburgh, visit a friend in Scotland who I met in Romania, and maybe visit another friend I made in Romania (who is a native of Arad, Romania, and lives in London now, and works as a freelance translator).  Who knows, maybe I’ll take the chunnel to France, and visit anyplace at all, because I have two weeks to bum around Europe.  It kinda depends on whether Diminutive Roommate and come along or not.  Either way, I’m going abroad for two weeks!  It’ll be my first vacation since London with my family, more than three years ago.

thanks fer sneezin' on meh!

After I bought the ticket, I put in my letter of resignation to Karate Job.  My last day there will be May 18th, giving me time to go to Sister’s law school graduation and cover for my coworker at Office Job who could definitely use a day off.  I’ll miss the kids, that’s for sure.  They’re so funny.  I’ll miss getting their drawings, and hearing all the weird nonsense that goes on in their heads.

The other day one of the kids wouldn’t stop clearing his throat.  When I asked him what was wrong, he said, “There’s a frog in my throat!”  I said, “What’s his name?”  The boy thought for a second, then said, “Coffee.”  I asked him why, and he said, “Because he makes me cough!”  Naturally.  That’s the stuff I’ll miss.  My bosses were nice enough, and pretty straight forward kinda people.  I mean, they all have their own eccentricities (anal-retentiveness, hyper-controlling, obliviousness to the plight of the sensei’s, etc.), but I’m beyond complaining about it today.  I’m leaving soon, and after that I’m going to spend two weeks in Europe, and after that I start grad school.  I have nothing to complain about today.

goodness, life


if only valentine's day took place some other month...

It’s mah burfdah month!  February is the best (after October for obvious reasons).

Plans for this month:
Go to cardio every Tuesday– It’s time to get fucking toned.  I was feeling pretty great when I did cardio on a regular basis about a year ago.  It’s time to get super sexy again.
Get blueberry pancakes– BLD has the best blueberry pancakes!  If I can get the day off from Karate Job (they owe me!), it’s gonna happen.
Go ice skating!– I love ice skating, and I don’t have any friends who share this passion (Los Angeles doesn’t get much snow).  Still, I’ll go alone if I have to!
Nap– I have trouble napping, but for one reason or another, I haven’t been able to sleep in for over a month.  Yesterday, Boyfriend’s phone went off, and I was cranky all morning.
Read– I haven’t had much time to read on my Kindle (walks to and from work and the car don’t really count).  Lovecraft awaits!
Take a shot of Patron– I don’t drink much at all, but am a fan of tequila.  The Patron on the counter is calling to me.  Limes, watch out; I’m coming for you.
Watch Call of Cthulhu– It’s a classic!  I can’t believe I haven’t seen it.  And now that I have the story, I’ll have to read it first!

badness, work

Too many bossy bosses

My boss at Office Job, who we’ll call Little Mole Boss for her previously explained propensity to close her eyes for long periods of time while talking, is, by and large, a good boss.  Most of the time she is considerate of others, generous with her time, and a hard worker.  She takes time every morning when she comes in to say hello to everyone, ask us how our weekends were, etc.  If someone calls in sick, she seems genuinely concerned, and never complains about their absence.  Overall, an excellent boss who makes my experience at work pretty stress-free, especially compared to other bosses I’ve had.

I’ve noticed, however, that she feels free to interrupt us, her subordinates, while we speak, even if one of us is answering a question she asked.  One of my bosses at Karate Job (we’ll call him Frantic Boss) has a similar problem: He’s so high-energy that when the person he’s talking to finds a spot during his frantic monologue to put her two cents in, he won’t look her in the face while she talks, and once she’s finished talking, he’ll say something like, “That’s an excellent point.  So what I was saying was…”  It’s like he’s just waiting for his turn to talk instead of listening.  He interrupts people mid-sentence with phrases like, “I totally understand where you’re coming from,” as if his commiseration is enough reason to stop talking.  I’ve seen him do this to several people including his boss, the owner of the karate school.

I really dislike when people interrupt each other.  Interrupting someone is a socially semi-acceptable way to say, “Stop talking.  Whatever you’re about to say, it’s not as interesting/important/pertinent as when I’m about to say, so just save yourself the trouble and shut up.”
Or, somewhat more absurdly, “I feel clairvoyant around you.  Your predictability so bores me that I can’t help but attempt to force you to shush by verbally bulldozing you.”

It’s so rude!  People who do this drive me nuts.  Since I’ve noticed this in my bosses, I’ve been keeping an eye on myself, and I realize I do this sometimes at home while chatting with the roomies.  If we’re talking about something funny or whatever, the conversation goes more quickly and talking over each other is only slightly more acceptable.  Still, I’m going to be more vigilant about this.  I like hearing them talk, they’re fun and smart.

So now I get to hop up on my high horse and point out how I think my bosses could improve:

1. Be willing to conduct an uncomfortable/negative discussion in a professional manner.
Karate bosses are actually really good at this, which is great.  Little Mole Boss cannot do this at all.  She got so uncomfortable once when we were talking about some nasty emails flying around within an organization we assist in running, that she put her head down on the table we were sitting at, and left it there for a solid minute or so while my two coworkers attempted to sound comforting while hiding the amusement in their voices.  She just wanted to disappear, which made me want to disappear.  Not a good leadership technique.

2. Listen to your subordinates.
Naturally, there is an implied “without interrupting” at the end of that sentence, but I’ve already gone over that.  Really, the point is that my karate bosses do not take criticism or suggestions from their subordinates well at all.  In fact, our opinions get out-right ignored, even though our bosses spend almost no time talking to our clients and students.  They sit in their ivory tower and make sweeping changes to the curriculum and policies on a monthly basis, regardless of what their subordinates say.  It’s a shame because we would be an excellent resource for them, and because it demoralizes us.

3. Acknowledge your short-comings.  Learn to depend upon your subordinates for their strengths.
This must be a tough one.  As a boss, I would imagine I would feel like I was the best at most things.  How else would I have gotten where I was?  Little Mole Boss is technologically somewhat inept, considering that she’s in her 70’s, and her generation lacks the constant exposure to computers, etc.  So when the prospect of online interaction with our clientele came up, she was against it.  When I suggested an iPhone app for a huge event we host with several thousand people, she shot it down.  When it was time to send out holiday cards, she asked me to find something affordable and religiously neutral.  When I sent her a dozen cards with price points, she responded with one card twice as expensive, and ignored my suggestions to use something more cost-effective, thereby rendering my efforts pointless.

Being a boss can’t be easy, I understand that.  I’m not sure what kind of boss I’d be.  It sounds lonely.

badness, martial arts, work

Be strong, Sensei

I teach a kid who just could not give less of a shit about what he’s learning.  He’s been taking class at the dojo for a couple years at least, and he has a horrible attitude.  He doesn’t want to try, doesn’t care if his form is terrible, and laughs at the other kids when they make mistakes (which I nail him for every time, and he still does it, that little shit).  He’s a bad student because he doesn’t want to be there no matter what we do.  It doesn’t help that his mother doesn’t demand respect from him, obviously has plastic surgery, and has a new color highlight in her hair every time she comes in.  Whatever they’re doing with him at home, they’re doing it wrong.


Did I mention he looks just like David Dastmalchian?  Yeah.  He does.  And it’s fucking creepy.  Y’know those people who have weird faces that make you wonder, “What did that person look like as a child?  Were they cute?”  Answer: absolutely not.  This kid (let’s call him Mini-David) is, in fact, creepier than the guy who was chosen to play a role in a major movie because his facial structure tells us he’s crazy enough to be one of the Joker’s henchmen before he says a word.  Given my experience with Mini-David and his complete lack of respect for authority, I feel I can honestly say that he belongs in the army, or Arkham Asylum.  I’m just waiting for the day when his mom approaches me and tells me about how he drowned his pet cat over the weekend, and, “Could you talk to him about that?”  Or something equally horrifying.  Mark my words: he’s learning bad behavior from someone (I’m gonna say his dad and/or older siblings), and he will be a violent person.  GOOD THING HE’S LEARNING KARATE, AMIRITE?

Creepy kids are the worst because they impossibly carry within themselves the darkness of a lifetime, the look of someone who has served in several wars, the kind of eyes that look at you and say, “I’ve done some terrible things in my day.”  But they’re six.  Yikes.

humor, life, work

Cats do what muppets can’t

I just found out that my hours are being cut at the dojo without gaining any days off.  How the hell does that happen?  I’m only teaching two classes on Mondays now.  Pointless.  And depressing, considering I have a new car coming, and my other job can’t afford to give me more hours.  I’m not feeling too hot about it.  They cut hours whenever we lose students, which sucks for the students that remain because they get fewer options for classes at the same price they were paying before!  It’s a fucked up system.

So naturally I looked up that skit that the muppets did on Sesame Street singing along with “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” only to find that YOUTUBE AND I ARE NO LONGER FRIENDS.  I can’t believe it’s not on there.  And since the natural progression from muppets is cats, I watched this video instead.

I know how you feel, man

humor, life, martial arts, work

Let me introduce Teen, Enthusiast, and Mouth

Three sisters came to try out classes at the dojo yesterday, all different age groups.  Each had their own very distinct personality, and each made the day very interesting, and at times very challenging.

The eldest sister (Teen) was relaxed and happy before class, but didn’t seem to realize she was going to have to sweat and run and generally get a workout, so I had to keep an eye on her to make sure she wasn’t walking instead of running during warm-ups.  After that though, she seemed to have a good time.  She seems smart and coordinated, so I’m excited to see her progress (and it always puts a smile on my face to see a teenage girl do some martial arts).

The middle child (Enthusiast) seems happy, energetic and ready to have fun.  She’s a listener and a doer.  She’s going to have a blast.  Can’t wait.


she had two states: placated, and "mouth"

The youngest (Mouth) is very overweight, has trouble taking direction (I chatted with her mom about this; it’s because she speaks only Spanish at home, which isn’t uncommon with our Hispanic contingency, but kids learn fast so I think that will be a short-term issue), and is what’s generally known as a brat.  She screams “no” repeatedly every chance she gets, no matter what’s happening, accompanied by copious amounts of crocodile tears (see picture).  She cries and loses her mind at the drop of a hat (I saw her throw three separate tantrums).  But she got all the way through the class without a single outburst, mostly because her family did a great job of watching the class without interacting with her, just like I asked, and I didn’t give her any positive attention when she misbehaved, or comfort when she fell (which happened a lot, and she said “ouch!” every time, lol).  She’s adorable, overweight, and totally spoiled, but she didn’t have an outburst during class because I didn’t let her speak without raising her hand (which she refused to do), and demanded a level of independence from her that she enjoyed but is clearly not used to (her eldest sister, mother, and aunt seem to do everything for her).  My goal for her is to teach her respect for her classmates (I lost track of the number of times she said, “My turn now!” and cut in line), respect for her mother (who she defied at every turn, seemingly without consequence), and to instill a sense of healthy independence that doesn’t involve mouthing off, but rather enables her to do things like put her own shoes on, etc.  I think she could have a huge social growth spurt at the school.  I’m really looking forward to working as a team with the family to invoke a positive change in her approach to others and herself.  She is exactly the kind of child who should be in our program.  I’m glad she’s there, even if it makes my job harder.

martial arts, work

Skip this one, I’m just blowing off steam

I have two jobs: Office Job and Karate Job.  Karate Job is unique in the sense that if I want any time off, I need to ask the other sensei’s to cover all my classes for me.  As a result, I have yet to take a vacation from this job (I’ve been there close to two years).  With the exception of two one-day occasions (one was Sister’s engagement the day after Thanksgiving why don’t we get that day off, the other was ComiCon), I have never asked for coverage for anything other than being deathly ill.  Having a job means showing up and doing that job every day, even if you don’t want to, even if you’re hung over or tired and want a vacation.  You suck it up, and do your job.

hey, wanna help me shirk my responsibilities? thaaaanks!!!! 🙂

Most of the sensei’s are actors, so they’ll ask for coverage at the drop of a hat (“I just landed this really big gig and I need to be on set for the next three days!!!”), but they won’t commit to cover for anyone else (read: me) if I want to make plans a month in advance (say, for something like a vacation) because what if their big break comes along and they’re stuck covering someone else’s classes omfg worst day ever.  So when a sensei who has never covered for me (even when I had that stabbing sensation in my intestines every fifteen minutes for two days) asks for coverage because his friends are in town and he wants to be a good host and show them around LA, guess what.  NO.  A thousand times, no.  Everyone wants to hang out with friends, but guess what.  You have a fucking job.  DO YOUR JOB.  When my cousin from Australia who I haven’t seen in a decade came into town, did I ask for time off?  No.  Because I have a job, and living my life shouldn’t stop other people from living theirs.  It’s just that simple.

I think this bothers me so much because I have two jobs, and if I cover for anyone, that automatically means that I will work two weeks without a day off.  Most of my time off is spent at the Kung Fu studio already, so the idea that someone would shoot me a quizzical look when I say “Sorry, I can’t cover for you that day,” makes my blood boil.  Especially the sensei’s who ask for coverage at the Valley or Near Valley locations.  They just don’t understand how not-worth it it is financially.  Let’s break it down:

Let’s say the sensei needs four classes covered.  At $25/hr, that’s $100; after taxes it’s around $66.  It’s 30 miles to and from Valley or Near Valley schools from my place on the Westside.  That’s about $16 worth of gas in my current death trap of a car.  That drops my pay to about $50, which means that I’m now getting paid just $13 per hour to teach kids who don’t know me in an unfamiliar school in the fucking Valley.

So no, sensei, I can’t cover for you up there.  I can never cover for you.

I’ve averaged one day of coverage per month since I started working there.  If someone would like to give karma a call and let her know that I’m due for a vacation, that’d be nice.  It would mean more if it didn’t come from me, y’know?  kthx!

not pictured: boss winding up for an undeserved sucker punch

Side rant: What is it that compels bosses to tell their employees that they’re doing a great job, the kids are happy, the parents are (literally) outraged when I’m not there when I’m sick, everything is great.  But hey, are you starting classes on time?  I heard you weren’t.  Yeah, last Friday I lost track of time and we started one of the classes a minute or two late.  Ok… Starting on time is important.  You need to start doing that.  Right, of course, it was an anomaly, my classes usually do start on time.  Ok great… it’s just that I heard that it was a thing with you… That’s odd, because it’s not.  Have the parents been complaining?  No, I just wanted to make sure you knew that-

*sigh*  Yeah.  Just keep reiterating your point.  That’ll help.  Because I’m a small mammal or a child, and I don’t understand English too good.  I was intelligent when you hired me, but being a subordinate has made me stupid as all hell, so yeah, please just keep repeating yourself.  Maybe I’ll crack under the pressure and tell you that you’re right and I’m wrong even if I’m not.  Go ahead; bully me into lying to you.  That’s a good work relationship, right?  Right?

life, martial arts, work

Pity party

nectar of the gods

It occurred to me recently that I’ve become a very busy person.  I don’t particularly like being super busy; I’m not one of those people who has to be doing something all the time to feel useful.  I’d like to sleep in at Boyfriend’s house, read, have some eggs and tater tots with Cholula and ketchup, take a walk, lay out in the sun (finally finish that last LOTR book), maybe have some sex, take a nap, watch a few episodes of Buffy or The Office, try to cook a delicious meal from that recipe app I just got (go get phở after probable, massive failure) or go have dinner with friends, followed by 5-hour table-top gaming session.

THAT is a perfect day.  Here’s what I do instead:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Office Job: Alarm goes off at 7:21am, snooze until 7:45, get dressed, make PBJ sammiches, leave by 8:15, chastise self for being late so often.  Park car in giant parking structure, take tram to campus, walk to building, attempt to work until 1:30pm.  Drive to Redondo Beach to teach a few karate classes to kids who either:
a) Love it, and love me
b) Have a great attitude, even when I tell them to do something hard
c) Love having fun, but therefore must be entertained, lest the unhappy face make an appearance (I call it “The Crank”)
d) Didn’t get their nap, and are close to flopping on the floor and giving up every second of the class
e) Don’t want to be there at all.  Want to go home.  Now.  Home.  Home!  NOW!

pictured: option D

Fridays I go to Santa Monica to teach karate, where the kids tend to have nannies, a stronger sense of entitlement, and parent who tend not to want to hear anything that might resemble criticism.

Repeat above Office Job portion.  Go home to the Westside, eat ramen (or broccoli omfg I love it so much), relax for a few hours, change into Kung Fu clothes, leave by 5:15 to help with beginner’s class, take cardio class, take intermediate class.  Five hours after I left for the studio, I arrive home to eat something easy, shower, and go to bed by 11:30.

SLEEP IN!  Repeat above Kung Fu portion.

SLEEP IN!  This is the only day I truly have completely off.  I spend most of it sleeping, eating, gaming with friends (poker!), and generally not standing up.

Alarm goes off at 9:21am.  Must leave by 9:45, but snooze until 9:39 most of the time.  Drive to Redondo Beach dojo, stop by McDonalds for two egg mcmuffins (eat both in car), park car at dojo, walk across PCH (scary!) to Starbucks (grande iced mocha with whip cream).  Teach four classes, and maybe a weapons workshop.  Done by 3 or 6.  Go home, repeat Saturday plan.

Most of my fellow Sensei’s are actors, so they all need time off at the drop of a hat, and refuse to cover for anyone else too far into the future for fear of double-booking on the day of their yet-unbooked big break.  I’ve been covering a bunch recently because of the incoming car purchase, meaning I haven’t had a full day off in almost three weeks.  I drive almost 200 miles per week just to get to my jobs on my own shifts (not counting Kung Fu which adds 20mi).  Monday comes zooming up on me since Sunday is a work day, then I’m sleep-deprived until three days later when I get to sleep in on Thursday.  I look forward to sleep more than I look forward to food at this point.  Which is sad.  Maybe that’ll change if I make one of those amazing pumpkin dishes!  🙂