long weekend.

California metropolitan growth rates

So, uh...I know they're just McDonald's employees, but boy, those people are idiots. It reminds me of the Milgram experiments, but come on, exactly what kind of blind submission to authority (and lack of personal integrity) does it take to force a 14-year old customer to strip and perform lewd acts because a voice on the phone tells you to? It's one thing under real duress--the Holocaust lecturer in college liked to point out that "it's easy to fight evil when no one's pointing a gun at your head"--but this is just pathetic.

On Friday night I went to a warehouse going-away party in West Oakland. It was nowhere near as dodgy as I'd been led to believe, either in location or content: I actually know the area, and it was pretty nice ("pretty nice" in West Oakland typically means "there are no houses there"). The warehouse was amazing, built like a beautiful complex theater set, with stairs and levels and walkways everywhere. The two main events were karaoke and wrestling. I got bullied into wrestling, and ended up against a guy about 3 inches and ten pounds bigger than me. I'd resisted, because I'm at a stage in aikido where I have enough power and technique to really hurt somebody, and it's very hard to take care of someone who doesn't train. For aikidoka, if someone puts a wrist lock on us, we understand that continued pressure in that direction will eventually break a bone or three. People not used to wrist locks don't understand, and will fight back in ways that can get them hurt. I learned some important lessons:

  1. Don't wrestle someone 3 inches and ten pounds bigger than you.
  2. Don't wrestle after 3 whiskey+cokes and a beer. It just gets all unpleasantly sloshed around.
  3. Never get into a physical engagement where you're not allowed to hit somebody. I'm not very good at grappling, and one reason I never worry about it is that if someone attempts to grapple violently with me, I am fully committed to hitting them repeatedly until they stop. At the very least I'm trained to use strikes or feints to get an attacker off balance and draw them into committing to an attack.
So it ended up being a brute-force exercise, reminding me why I do aikido instead. And I lost, but since I didn't break his wrist, I'm okay with that.

I've been thinking a lot about some stuff my friends have been saying or pointing out...someone just commented that by my bearing and habits of speech I bring out in other guys the tendency to play the male status game of conversation. That may or may not be true; but I act as I do usually for a reason. Over the past month I've gotten to explore some of the conflicts between what I perceive and what people tell me, and a few instances where I believed other people instead of listening to my voice inside. I think the overall lesson is really to listen to my voice. I need to listen to everyone else, too, because I'm not inevitably right; but I think when I'm right, I know it, and I should have faith. I know what I see, and I think I'll also see about being less shy about it.