Batten down the hatches

Tomorrow, I leave for California with my family. Today, I battened down the hatches in preparation for hurricane Irene. The brilliant sunshine of the day was a bit ominous as the storm heads up the East coast. While the storm has just been downgraded, it still represents a bit of risk to my home since I won’t be here to address any issues should they come up. I took the day off to pack and it turns out that I was quite a bit busier than I expected.

Moving all possible projectiles into my garage was just the start. I emptied my pool a few inches and left the evacuation hose out. If the pool floods, I may be able to have someone turn on the pump to empty it a bit more. I secured my BBQ to our jungle gym. I might even secure the jungle gym to the trees in my backyard. I have a special pump that activates every 60 seconds and turns off after a few seconds if it detects no water. It wasn’t set up right so I set it up properly and ran the hose away from my house. If a tree falls on my house or we lose power then there is not much I can do. Flooding from the excessive rain is my main concern and with the pump set up, there is little more I can do.

The goods news is my mom is going to ride out the storm in my house while I’m away. Her house is more or less in the flood zone so it’s smart to be out of there so you don’t have to evacuate during the storm.

I wish all my NY friends luck this weekend.

Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and Judo

As many of you know, I’ve beent taking Tae Kwon Do since I was about 26 years old… that’s almost 16 years. Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art and competitions are almost entirely kicks. In 2000, I got a black belt and in 2005 I got a 2nd degree black belt. I competed in two tournaments, got a gold medal both times, but was never really a complete ass kicker. My technique was very good in some areas and very poor in others. I was always a bit pudgy and my attendance waned over the years. For whatever reason, I hit a wall and was losing interest. Plus, I was doing triathlon training for the past two years and a guy only has so much time in their calendar. I’d like to one day return and get my 4th degree which is a big milestone where you’re considered a master, a title of considerable respect. But for now, me and Tae Kwon Do are taking a break.

In the meantime, I figured I’d try something new. While on a boat trip with my brothers and a few friends, my brother Tom’s friend Ken was talking about Judo. He said it would be an excellent martial art for Marco since if can compliment wrestling rather well. I was intrigued as well so I figure I’d take a couple classes myself and bring Marco in once I’d gotten familiar with the school. As it turns out, Marco has a very busy calendar since Football is keeping him pretty busy, and I’ve only been able to get him to one class. Sera and Antonio also took a class. Everyone liked it and I’m sure I’ll have them al-l going once a week once school starts.

As for me, I’m pretty hooked. Judo is taught on some days and Brazillian Jiu Jitsu on other days. The classes are far more brutal than I’m used to. I’ve been choked, stretched, and contorted in ways I didn’t know were possible. The classes are all over an hour and a half  and I typically stay for almost two hours for open mat. All of the technique is totally new and foreign to me. Its harder. It hurts. The other students are all strong and experienced and I’m basically getting my ass kicked ten times over.

But it’s a lot of fun and I’ve been feeling my flexibility come back and feeling my strength come back. For the past two years, I’ve been doing these crazy triathlons and while the training definitely helped improve my stamina, the training is not something I love to do. It’s not something I look forward to. Right now, I look forward to these classes and  they seem like the right thing for me to be doing right now.

Zachs Bay with Journey and Foreigner

On Wednesday night, my brother Tom took his boat out with me and our older brother and four of my cousins. Our destination? Zachs Bay. The special thing about Zachs Bay is that it’s right outside the Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh. Tom parked the boat and we had a lot of laughs while listening to Journey and Foreigner songs. We could see the audience pretty clearly,  there were tons of lights shining on them and the music was pretty easily discerned. We saw a nice sunset, just to the right of the Theatre and watch the blood-red moon rise to the east around 9pm. I only had my cell phone on me so I don’t have a good picture of the moonrise.

To relieve ourselves, we peed in a canister about the size of a plastic pretzel barrel. The canister was, by the way, actually a plastic pretzel barrel. We had to do this because the boats that were parked around us were rather close. So we basically got down low, did what we needed to do into the plastic pretzel barrel, and dumped the yellow contents overboard. To be nice, we would wash out the canister (you remember, the plastic pretzel barrel) with sea water. When we did that, we noticed a wonderful glow that happened when we disturbed the water.

What was this?

We were fascinated. So, we went to the back of the boat and began to stir up the water by hand. What we found was a billion billion jelly creatures that glowed when you disturbed them. It was amazing. I thought at first they were jellyfish, but then we caught one in our hands and it didn’t sting. Recall why we were all peeing and you can imagine how we were seeing double rainbows in the water with these little fucking jellies.

Soon after, a group of sea birds (maybe swans) came by to greet us. They waddled along and just started at our boat, floating and waiting patiently. Now, I know you’re not supposed to feed these cute guys (they are actually kind of big and scary-looking) but I wanted to do it anyway. My cousin was like, NO DUDE DON’T DO THAT. I was like, LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS MAN?! Then he went onto say how the goose would come on board and wreak havok. I can remember wanting to feed them more than ever after hearing that. In the end, it was toward the end of the night and we had EATEN EVERY BIT OF FOOD ON THE BOAT. So there was none left for the geese.

When we got back to Tom’s dock, we ordered a pizza and hung out for a while. We had a lot of laughs that night.