Friday, July 30, 2010

Training - Day 2

Hello World!

So, yesterday was an interesting day. Before we went to bed on Day 1, David told his brother we'd show up at the course at 10:00. We woke up around 1:00 pm, and visited Travis' work to film some stuff, so that was interesting.

We started off heading over to the store, where David introduced me to the most awesome Peanut Butter *ever*. Now, those who know me, know I *love* eating peanut butter, especially right from the can. With a spoon. It was my fall-back food once I was required to stop eating chocolate. Anyway, this peanut butter is whipped like a mousse, and still was crunchy... Anyway!

It was fun heading over to Travis' work, and watched him do some fancy-work for the camera. He's got a lot of guts... He was jumping from stair rail to stair rail about 20 feet above steep ground... No WAY I'd attempt that :P Quite the nimble guy!

We moved on to the course around 5:00 pm, and trained a little bit. I was really sore, but downed quite a bit of aspirin, and after a little bit of running around on the course, I loosened up a bit. I didn't fail the ANW Rope Swing once, which was a big confidence booster, as well as I was 4 for 5 for beating the Warped Wall. Still unable to defeat the Jumping Spider, but I was able to hold myself for a couple steps when jumping into it from inside it.

After a bit of that, we kept working on increasing the course, building new stuff I don't think I can talk about yet. I'll just let David announce it when he's ready :) Anyway, he did some recording of us, asking some questions to Michael and I as he stood around and did nothing, all day :P (Just kidding...)

Later that night, David and I went down to the beach and ran a mile in the sand. That was fun, but David's phone failed miserably at recording the time. Nonetheless, that felt good on the legs.

We ended the day heading over to David's work, where he had the 4cm cliffhanger he built for his very first entry video built. He let me try it a couple times, with some gloves he uses. I almost had it twice... It's recorded, and I'll figure out how to get them uploaded soon. I'm just gonna post this now, but I'll re-announce on Twitter and Facebook later if I can get it uploaded.

Today, we're heading out with Brian (Whoop Whoop!) to the course, where we're going to work on some more on the course, and I'll be training specifically on the Jumping Spider. I really want to get it down before tomorrow, for the Training going on, with a digital HD camera G4 sent him just for this.

Anyway, Brian's over now, pushing us to leave now, so I'd better finish for now.

More later, maybe!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Training - Day 1

So, Day 1 of training over at Davids ended yesterday after a strange day at the Airport.

The beginning of the day started at midnight after a single hour of sleep, so I could continue packing for the flight as well as moving out of my apartment, into a house. Fortunately, I have a group of *amazing* friends who are helping move the last things out of the apartment while I'm gone, including my Salmon Ladder which required a bit of disassembling, so I want to treat them when I return, if I have any money left.

From there, my best friend from Middle School on, gave me a ride to the airport. I caught an hour or so of sleep along the way, instantly doubling what I had. I woke up to some old rock and started jammin along before I realized what I was doing, but was having fun so I kept on keepin on. When we arrived to the airport, I was still a full 4 hours early for the flight... So thank God for moving walkways! Kept me entertained for hours.

From there, I finally burned the spare time, but about 5 minutes before my flight was supposed to take off, I realized that although the flight was still going to Cali, the flight number was wrong! So I asked innocently about it at the desk, hoping for a "Oh it's fine, just sit down" response, but instead got "Well, last time I checked, 425 is different than 438... Your flight moved down to another gate..." And I was off... Sprinted through the airport, hopped over things ninja-style, and got there within time... just to sit down and realize I was at the back of the call line. But hey, whatever! Finally on the flight!

I arrived a couple hours later, after attempting another hour of sleep (up to 3!), and watching a *really* crappy pilot for a show called "The Middle". Holy CRAP that show sucked. Malcom in the Middle, but the focus on the mom, and every joke was stupid and not funny. Couldn't wait until it was over.

Finally arrived at the airport, nervous to finally re-meet up with David and Michael Henglebrok. It had been a year since I last saw anyone, so I was pretty psyched to finally meet back up with them. After I failed spectacularly to throw in some jokes, I took another quick nap, and soon arrived at David's brothers place, where he had all the obstacles built. Epically incredible. I couldn't wait to get started, so we changed into our training clothes and got started.

After watching David absolutely demolish his course, which was expected, I gave it a try. Not gonna lie... I failed hard the first couple tries. First obstacles were the Quintuple Steps into the ANW Rope Swing. I tried jumping too high on the Steps, only landing two before falling into the middle. I tried taking them like ANW's, which was the mindset of of to run the Dome Steps. Go higher, roughly mid-way, and bounce back and forth. David corrected that though, saying to bolt through instead, off the bottom of the steps. After that, it was cake. Still, disappointed that I failed my first time. Felt pretty stupid.

Moved on to the Rope Swing, which once again... failed. At this point, I started wondering about why I'm even here. Yes, his obstacles are harder, but I was expecting to fail the harder ones, not these. Especially after I destroyed the actual ANW Rope Swing. I still have trouble getting the momentum up to cross it, but have managed to cross it about twice or three times. I need to be able to defeat this consistently before ANW, just for a mental standpoint, as well as get a time on everything.

From there, Jumping Bars. Piece of cake. So, the Warped Wall was at the base of the hill, so I sprinted down to give it a try. Maybe it was just because I was physically tired or something, but since I wasn't able to reach the first couple of tries, I just kept going back and forth, like a half-pipe. It truly got me dizzy, which... I don't get dizzy. So maybe it was just a lack of water and sleep or something, but eventually I reached the top. I beat that one about 3 times, but didn't spend as much time on it as the Rope Swing, or more importantly... The Jumping Spider.

The obstacle is one I absolutely must conquer... No exceptions. If I don't, then there is literally no reason for me to be here IMO. I mean, what's the point? I bought new shoes, attempted to strengthen my legs, practiced between other walls... I really didn't know what else to do besides buy sticky spray, and I plan on using that as well.

Anyway, so I tried it at Davids, and did exactly how I expected. Failed immediately. Yes yes... Harder. Fine. Failure = failure. Michael had me start at the top and try to just walk myself forward and down, which with my frame and height, makes it dramatically harder. Also, it seems I was doing it wrong, and need a different style going through, so I'm going to practice that and see if I can condense myself, into this 'ball-esque' shape, practicing that. Nonetheless, this is going to be an uphill battle. I hate to say it, but I honestly wonder if my best chance is sticky spray. And I absolutely refuse to rely on that.

So, I have a lot of work ahead of me now. I hope that after a full night sleep and some food, that I will be doing better, but we'll see. Although concerned, I'd be far more worried if I didn't have over a week to train first. Thank you God and everyone at Home Depot for letting me do this!!!

Anyway, finished the night with some awesome Mexican food, and headed back to David's for a night sleep. I had a strange double cramp in my right thigh, which is odd since I've never had a double cramp before... but it turns out that that's due to a potassium deficiency! Great to know! So David had me take a type of supplement, and I'm feeling a bit better now. Gonna get some 12:00 breakfast, and get to training!

I have footage, but it's just simple stuff of me failing the first couple obstacles, so I'll see if I can get some footage of me getting through the first 4 in one go, and post that today if possible.

Bye for now!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Salmon Ladder up! Plus new footage!

Wow... what a crazy week it's been! So much done, yet so much more to do! Can't wait to get back to the grind :D

First off, the Mini-Salmon Ladder is done! Thanks and *massive* props to my friend Roger, my small area in my apartment went from holding nothing but metal pipes and disassembled Original Salmon Ladder parts, to an apartment sized Salmon Ladder. It's 9 feet tall, with each set of rungs at 6'6", 7'6" and 8'6". This is important, since I'm 6'4", and the outside area is 9'6" high, so it's a very tight fit.

Roger came over on thursday, and we got to work around 11 AM. Around 6 PM, the rain/hail/sleet/nasty stuff was starting to come down, so we stopped for dinner, with the original intention for the Salmon Ladder complete. It was exactly as wide as the outside porch is, which wasn't so good for the glass slider-door, and the half-wall made it a tight fit. So, while feasting over pizza and spaghetti, at the chance of losing a friend, I asked if there was a chance we could narrow the structure about a foot, down to 48" wide exactly. He said that was cool, so we finished eating and got to work again.

Using his circular saw, we disconnected the vertical posts from the base, and narrowed the width down to 4' (48"). Reassembling it was easy, and after attaching a single post to form it into a make-shift A-frame, the Salmon Ladder is now sturdy as a rock. I love it. The A-Frame wasn't completely connected though, as the screws holding it in stuck out about 2 inches, since my battery operated Ryobi drill died on me.

Nonetheless, I still couldn't help but play on it the next morning. Friday before work, I recorded myself practicing it, after I was able to make it from the bottom rung to the middle one. I have the video on YouTube, and will add it here, later. Well... I was able to make it, as I said. This is important to me... as the previous version I built in a great friends backyard was *huge*, larger than the real thing, which was built specifically to have a bed under it to catch you. Well, that was *too* big, and I was never able to move up a single rung. Heck... Even Ruselis Perry was barely able to beat it, but he did darn well on the thing :)

So now, I can practice it far more often, at any time, and it's much more manageable. I hope to have it in my entry video soon, so that I can progress up both rungs, then back down, quickly and continuously.

In addition to that awesome news, I also went down to Ruselis' gym again last night. Practiced a couple things... As well as something I never thought I'd have the guts to do. Something that scared the crap out of me.

The gym had a line of 10 balance beams, lined parallel to one-another, roughly 6 feet apart. After building courage, and many, many attempts, I was able to run along all ten of them. Oh man... did that feel good. The first time I tried it, I nearly racked myself as I fell onto my face. Fortunately, there's padding on the ground, so it was a soft fall. Cursed it, got back up, drank some water, took a breath and tried again. I was up to running across 3 in no-time. Never thought I was actually going to get it... surprised myself heavily. Just kept setting small goals... something I need to work on.

Aside from that, I continued practicing the "Tarzan Rope Swing" thing they have set up. 4 ropes hanging from the ceiling, a good distance apart. I practiced swinging from one to the next and back again, which takes some decent grip, so it wont tear your hands up if you slide down. I can cross to the other side, and come back without dropping, which I recorded last night. However, as I started the 'return trip', a couple freerunners decided to do some front flips right in front of the camera. Not that I have a problem with that, but they totally showed me up, making me look like an idiot just swinging. Gotta re-do that.

On the bright side, the footage I added (although I'm going to re-do some parts), added 1 minute of time. I'm now up to 3:30 of a 5 minute video. Last year's video was 4:07 if I recall (Wow... kinda scary if I'm accurate on that...), so I don't have too much longer to go. It's not like I'm trying to fill the 5:00 minutes. When it's done... it's done.

Things I'd like to add/redo:

1.) Sprinting mile time
2.) Tarzan Rope Swing (Redo)
3.) Salmon Ladder (Redo)
4.) Practicing a Dyno at the nearby park
5.) Walking on a Taught Rope

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More preparing for ANW2

Well, been busy lately!

Friday, as usual, I headed over to Ruselis' gymnastics center for more training, and found they had 4 strands of rope hanging from the ceiling, about 5 ft apart from each other. Figured this would be great practice for the Rope Swing, and practiced a bit, beating it once before my hands got torn up.

It's been 2 weeks since I was able to train there, since Ruselis was moving. SO... my hands became soft, and I ripped 3 blisters that night, quite quickly, so I had to leave early.

Hence, I was only able to record myself doing one thing that night, and it's now in my entry video as well. It only added about 6 seconds of video, but hey, whatever. :P Next week, I hope to get me swinging on the ropes in. I also hope to do it a bit better :P

BUT... the main thing about this blog, is that due to some *incredible* help from a friend of mine, I was able to finish the Salmon Ladder in my apartment today! It still scares the crap out of me from last year when I had it in a friends backyard. In fact, it scares me even more... There's no fluffy bed to land on if I fall now :'(

However, I'm not going up nearly as high as I was before, it's far more sturdy, and it's actually constructed properly, so I'm not as worried. I'll get it down soon, so here's to more practice! :)

Now if only the weather would stop sucking... It took us about 10 hours to work on the Salmon Ladder today, the latter half during the Rain/Hail/Snow mix... GAH. Go away! It's frickin spring!

Either way... Pictures and video here tomorrow!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bored at Work... Again.

Well... It's sunday night. No customers in the store, and it doesn't help that it was snowing earlier. In May. It didn't stop for long, but it still demoralized customers, which in turn demoralized workers. And then, the customers all left... so they cut all the part-timers and sent them home. Oh well... makes me glad I have 40 hours a week, and a job.

Nonetheless, my warm bed can't come soon enough.

I'm truly glad I worked on my entry video when I did, as the weather has slowly been taking a turn for the worse. It seems to be trading off each week... Last week had good weather on my days off, so I used it to film a bunch of footage, but I doubt I can do that again this week.

My hands have been cracking easily... which surprises me. I haven't gone to the Sport Climbing Center in the last 10-or-so days, only climbing the steps outside my apartment for my video. But if I put lotion on my hands, it'll soften them up (although heal quickly), so they'll tear the calluses off easily. Not good this close to tryouts.

The one-legged squats are coming along. I keep falling on my butt if I don't support myself, but if I lay my hand on a shelf as I do it, I barely push down on it, and can squeeze out 2 sets of 6 for each leg. My left leg struggles during the last one, but that's ok.

Still working my calves at work too. Well, technically I've been working the one-legged squats while at work as well. Anyway, I can start to feel it in my legs. It's not much, but I can still feel *something*.

I *need* to start running though. I haven't done it in a while, and I need to get moving so I can reduce the time while I still can. Yet... I feel low on energy. Not motivation, just energy. It's probably just my late night schedule which forces me to sleep late and wake late, but that's just an excuse, and excuses don't mean squat, especially if I fail again at ANW2. And I'm NOT going to fail! So! I need to figure out something. And now.

A friend of mine started telling me about a friend of hers who may be looking to date someone. I saw her picture on Facebook, and found out some hobbies of her... She's quite cute, and the hobbies she does are *awesome*. My friend also said she's very nice... So I'm hoping I can meet her when she returns from her current competition. Fingers crossed... A date right now (that would go well), would truly boost my enthusiasm and encourage me to keep training harder.

Well, that's all for now. I'll put up more footage when I have it :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

ANW2 Entry Video, Version 1

Another relatively short Blog post, but yesterday was my second day off, so I filled the time working on my entry video.

I only had a little bit of footage to work with at the beginning of the day, so I shot about half of it right there as I edited it. I even changed clothes for the different things I was doing, which made me wonder. There was an ANC1 video of someone who did the whole thing in one take... What if I did something like that? Hmm...

Anyway, I was actually surprised how well my FiveFingers Flow in the green camo have held up this entire time since I bought them in August. I've worn them every chance I've had since I bought them, and they're *still* sticking to the walls darn well. You can see it in the entry video. Makes me wonder if I truly needed the Black Flow I purchased strictly for ANW2? Either way, I'm still glad to have both pairs :D

Well, take a look at the video. It's only half done, so there's more to come!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Tryout Shoes Are In!

Yay! They're in!!! on Twitpic

Well, my shoes are finally in! I wish I could just jump into them and start training... but sadly, that would ruin them a bit beforehand. Nonetheless, you'll be seeing them in my entry video :D

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lacking motivation

Well, things have been kinda down lately, training-wise. It's kinda hard to keep motivated the whole time, which is understandable... but right now it's crunch time. Do or die. Now or never.

I've been saving money for quite a while for this try-out, with the original intention of having around $1400 for the whole deal. Last trip, I had it all figured out: $50 a day for food ($350 total), $150 for the hotel, $50 for the share of gas and $250 for the plane. $800 seemed perfect... until I returned home with only change in my pocket. I figured $50 a day was *far* more than enough, since I'm used to only spending $10 a day here.

So, I've tried to save a lot more this time around, since I'm leaving for two weeks. The first week for more basic, last-minute training, and the second week that I *hopefully* this time make the semi's and finals.

Believe me... Nothing hurt more last time, than being eliminated early, only to sit out the rest of the week on the bench. The worst part was that I felt as if I was wasting my vacation time doing it. Well, most of it. Still a lot of great memories non-ANW related with my friends all over the USA, but that's getting off subject.

So this time I was hoping to have around $1,200 saved, after the plane ticket was purchased. From there, I was going to purchase some new FiveFingers about a month before I flew out, to have only a little time to break them in, yet retain the sticky rubber on the bottom.

Yet... expenses always seem to arise, and unless I figure out a plan, I'll only have $1,000 to use for two weeks. Cutting it a bit closer than I would have liked to... So we'll see.

Next up was the shoes themselves. Ever since I fell last year... which mind you was partly the shoes, partly lack of leg strength and form/technique... I've been driven to clean up all of the small mistakes I was afraid of making last year. Things such as the climb through of the Spider Walk (Shoes, technique AND leg strength combined), ensure I don't fail the Rope Swing (Although I passed it last time) by getting the perfect form and foot position and strengthening my hands for the Pipe Slider/Warped Wall/Rope Swing/Jumping Bars.

I've also been trying to eliminate fears. The Salmon Ladder still spooks me... The thought of using all of your body momentum to hurl yourself upwards, holding onto nothing but a free pole... scares me. Not a horizontal, sideways or downward jump of any means, just a leap upwards.

So, I've been working on it. At the climbing center, I've been practicing jumping upward from one piece to another, using both hands. It's pretty scary, not gonna lie.

At Aerials, Ruselis has been helping me with a few different things. One is learning how to do muscleups, as I feel that will help the process of getting over the Warped Wall quickly. I learned that at Ninjafest... I was quite slow pulling myself over the top. Now I may be faster now than I was then... but this is Sasuke. Every second counts.

He's taught me a little bit of bar-work, such as the jumping bars, as well as how to swing myself higher. To teach me this, he's places a large, 6'x6'x6' (or so) box about 7 or 8 feet away from a parallel bar of also about 8 feet. I'm pretty tall, so I can just reach up and grab the bar without jumping to it, but due to that height, it's hard to get momentum going, and keep it through a jump. The point is to get myself on top of the box, and once comfortable, move it back. It's taken me a while, but I'm starting to get it.

The next part is backflips. He's just started teaching me the basics, and it has no relevance to Sasuke (Nor will I be using it... Arsenette :P), but it's to teach me to conquer fear, and believe me... it freaks me out. Which is the only true reason I'm learning it. Front flips are more fun anyway :P

There is one side effect to going to Aerials, and I talked about this last blog, was the girl I met last week. Well... she didn't show this week, which dissapointed me a little. But... new possibilities may arise. Who knows... Only God :)

In the end, well... just feeling the training is stacked against me currently. Low money flow, strugging through defeating fears, and other things. But that's the whole thing... No-one said this would be easy, did they?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bored at work.

Well, we're in April 18th... time is ticking by slowly yet quickly at the same time. Funny how it does that, isn't it? Many things that are far away always approach so quickly... like parents seeing their kids grow up or time until someone achieves a college degree. Yet things always go slowly when they're present in the moment... like waiting at the doctors office, or for me... waiting for the time I can finally go home from work.

It's another day, another dollar here... but I should be thankful to even have a job. Let alone work full time, let alone still how I'm being paid well enough to sustain myself and save up for my upcoming tryouts.

It's been a busy day, which is good. Busier than usual, probably due to all of the fog lingering around the last couple days, as well as this morning. But that's the fun part... the knowledge you're entire city is engulfed in a cloud. So, now that the fun is gone, people are starting to realize that the snow is gone, the rain is here... and it's time to start working on the gardens. Woo hoo.

It's finally time for me to get to work as well, since the snow is finally gone for good. I've been waiting since winter kicked in last year to work on the miniature version of my Salmon Ladder. Ever since I had to move my large version out from my friends house, I've been thinking of ways to trim it down to fit in my apartment. I have been working on the base, but it's finally time to start constructing the side-pillars that hold the rungs. Can't wait to get started. :)

I have been thinking of more ideas to populate my ANW2 entry video as well. I want to prove that I've been working hard in the off season. Now winter may be my "lazy-time", as it really demoralizes me and makes me not care for much of anything, but there's nothing like a good tournament and great friendships to get me revved up and ready to go. Too bad I've lost time training, but that's how it's always been.

The main focus of my video that I want to make, is that I *never* make the same mistake twice. I failed on the obstacle that I never figured I'd fail... The jumping spider. Although I had the blessing and the help from a guy I admire heavily, something went wrong with the shoes he suggested, and I wasn't able to walk between the walls, causing a fail. It still tears me up watching the video... and it's not going to happen this time.

I instantly returned the shoes the day after I flew back last year, and bought some new shoes that happened to be all the rage during the last competition. For the many people that used them, they stuck like glue between the walls, which is what I naturally am hoping for this tryout. But buying shoes can't be the only thing I do to change my training... it would show I didn't learn anything.

I've been running more as-of-late, trying to get myself back to a point where I run a mile faster than I could have last tryout. I have some catching up to do with my old self, as well as my buddy Brian Kretsch, but I am confident I can do it. Well, I have to do it.

Also, I want to work on form and posture between the walls. I see many competitors simply fly through the walls, and although they have been working on that for a while, I don't have that luxury. Most of the walls I can practice between are the wrong size or are a different material that makes it hard to stick to, such a concrete. You'd figure that Vibram FiveFingers would stick well to that, being the rubber they are, but I'm not. I still wonder if it's my form. Either way... I really can't wait to fly out to L.A. and practice on David's course, and truly learn.

To practice my leg strength, I've been doing a few different things. I occasionally practice the Legs and Back video of P90X, occasionally attempt One-Legged Squats, and occasionally prop myself between the painted walls of my apartment (Which are too short for me to climb vertically) and do squats between the walls. I look like an idiot attempting all of these, which keeps me from wanting to continue... but I need to suck it up and just do it. Hopefully I can look ok enough soon to add it to my entry video.

You probably are thinking "Wow, that's a lot of overkill for just one obstacle...", and you'd be right. But it was *painful* to be the only one among my friends to not make it to the semi-finals round last year. And it was even more painful to fail an obstacle I was confident I would destroy, and blew off completely. I practiced it quite a bit back in the Springs, and even put a little bit of it in my entry video. I literally took the Rope Swing with more consideration than the Spider Walk, and why not... I was only one of four people who failed the stupid thing.

But as others will (hopefully) tell you, is that when it comes to preparing, I can't prepare enough. I may not train as hard as I should, but I will always over-analyze an obstacle to death. There's always an easier way to defeat an obstacle... and it pains me to watch someone casually attempt something, and then fail due to not properly studying the opponent they wish to face. Yet... it pains me even more to see someone not care about it whatsoever, and then demolish it.

But... I've been training. Not just physically, but mentally. Which brings me to the next point of today's blog.

A few days ago, on Friday night, I headed over to Ruselis' Gymnastics center like I have been for the last couple months. I go to work on flips, other basic physical fun things, and record myself doing them to add to my video. But something happened that normally never happens... there was a girl there.

Now, call me odd... call me whatever you want. But she was... different. WAY different. She was cute, did well on the balance beam, but most importantly... she was overflowing with confidence and a positive attitude. In this age, where people are losing their jobs, relationships are being cut off due to petty reasons, and people find problems and error with everything... this girl and her attitude was remarkable. It absolutely floored me. It still does.

She asked me, among other things, what I could do on a balance beam. I laughed at first, telling her nothing. Then she asked me if I had ever done a cartwheel on one. I laughed a bit more, telling her I couldn't.

That's when she started doing what surprised me. She said "Of course you can. You just haven't tried yet."

Within 15 minutes, she had me doing cartwheels on a practice balance beam. And I have it recorded, for you nay-sayers.

As a matter of fact, I've been doing my best since Friday night to keep that incredible positive energy going. Yet, it's been hard. Managers at work who are only interested in keeping their bonus high, which requires denying customers of policies plastered all over the walls, and undercutting employee breaks so more things can get done, all while cutting hours to... once again... boost their bonuses. Then there are the customers we bend over backward to help, who would rather blast us with double barreled shotguns before turning to face us, smile and say hello while we greet them.

Life makes it hard to keep a positive attitude. Smiling and being happy instantly degrades people's opinion of you. If you grumble and despair through life, then life is pointless and life goals are not worth achieving. But if you do your absolute best to keep a smile on and enjoy the most out of every moment on this earth, you're instantly labeled as a moron. I wish life wasn't like this. Call me crazy... but I just wish everyone would be happy, and celebrate in the happiness of others. Why is this so hard... Everyone wants a pain-free life, but no-one is willing to help everyone else achieve it. It's teamwork people...

Which brings me back to the girl. Hopefully you see why, out of knowing her one hour of my life... I've pretty much fallen hard for her. I love her attitude. Her personality toward life is astounding. Now sure, maybe she was just having a good day, and she isn't like that. But that's just life talking, trying to bring me down. And I pray that's not the case.

I hope I see her again next week. And until then, I *will* be working on my positive attitude, my ANW2 entry video and my training.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Interestingly enough, I find it ironic that my very first blog post is named Cornerstone... the foundation of my blog. I didn't do this intentionally... the idea came up when I was walking around work, bored.

While at work, a new idea for a gameshow came up. I decided to call it Cornerstone. It was basically a mix of two of my favorite gameshows... Millionaire, and Sasuke (Known in America/outside Japan as Ninja Warrior.)

The premise is simple: 12 physical obstacles that the contestant moves through, one at a time. The obstacles get harder and harder as they progress, but there are checkpoints... called "Cornerstones", where the player will be guaranteed a certain amount of money if they lose from there on out.

As I said, there are 12 obstacles, so there are 4 (Technically 3) Cornerstones. Each one happens at the Third, Sixth and Ninth (Since making the 12th obstacle means winning the game).

The obstacles start out dirt simple, such as walking across a balance beam within 30 seconds... something only those with bad luck or horrible concentration can fail. However, later obstacles get seriously difficult, such as transfer between multiple poles on a traverse, where the last gap has a large red ball the contestant must not touch while jumping the gap.

However, the game can not have obstacles that change every single game. Yes, most will... but for my idea, the cornerstone obstacles, will become staples of the game. Obstacles that viewers and want-to-be contestants can admire-yet-despise. Viewers can see an obstacle, and instantly recognize it. They can realize how difficult it is, remember how the last person failed it, and then start sizing up how the current contestant will do against it. It will naturally build suspense.

On top of that, the final Cornerstone obstacle... the 12th one... won't change much. It will constantly remain the same, until finally someone beats it. From then, it will only change in design, not the basic concept.

The money design will be based similar to Millionaires system. As the player progresses, they will earn more and more money, while the Cornerstones are set in place to both allow a player to not walk out empty handed, as well as urge a player to continue after reaching a level.

The prize for defeating the final obstacle will be 2 Million dollars, however, there is a catch that will almost always limit it down to 1 Million dollars. The player will be given 1 spare life. That is, if they ever fail an obstacle, they have the choice to attempt that obstacle again and remain in the game... but the amounts of money the player can earn will change depending on their position.

For the first three obstacles, there is no money awarded unless the player reaches the first Ccornerstone, which earns them $5000. The money will then increase, up to the point where Cornerstone 2 (Obstacle 6) earns them a guaranteed $50,000. After Cornerstone 3 (Obstacle 9), which earns them $250,000, the money will fluxuate.

Obstacle 10 will normally earn the player $500,000, unless the player loses their spare life, in which case the money will drop to $300,000. Obstacle 11 will normally earn $750,000, but losing the spare life will reduce it to $550,000. And the final obstacle will earn the player $2 Million, unless they lose the spare life, which reduces it to $1 Million.

The point of the game is all about the mentality of the contestant, not just their physical being. The player will begin to start with a strong mindset, but begin to question themselves as the obstacles increase in difficulty. Each obstacle will be do-able on it's own, but in succession, the game becomes increasingly harder on their physical and mental being.

The money set for the final amounts are no different toward the players mind. When they lose their spare life, they will realize they will lose their safety net, but also they will see the amount they can walk away with slip out from their hands.

If the player happens to be within the final 3 when he loses his spare life, the mindset will be hit even harder. Although the money amounts they can walk out with be huge, the fact that losing their spare life will reduce the amount they can walk out with, will hit them hard.

For example: Player A just defeated the 3rd Cornerstone, guaranteeing themself $250,000. Moving on toward Obstacle 10, if they win, they will win $500,000, yet failing it will reduce the money for Obstacle 10 (and the rest). Lets say they lose. Now their given a second shot at it, but now they have to beat the obstacle to move on, but doing so will only grant them $300,000... which is only $50,000 more than the previous Cornerstone will guarantee them. This will hurt their morale, but in Player A's situation, they will be sitting on a Cornerstone, and they will attempt a second chance at the obstacle. Will they pass or fail? Did they learn their mistake, or will their body be too sore to let them pass? Pure drama.

Next example: Player B Just defeated Obstacle 10, and still has his second life. He is currently guaranteed $250,000, but by beating Obstacle 10, he can walk out with $500,000. Instead, he goes for the next obstacle, and fails it. His money just fell out from under him, and he's now only earned $300,000... once again, only $50,000 more than the Cornerstone guaranteed him... and that's only if he walks away right then. But maybe he/she's frustrated, figures they know what they did wrong, and feels they can earn it back by beating Obstacle 11, earning themself $550,000. Or maybe they feel the tiredness in their body, want to walk out with as much as possible, and step out with only $300,000.

Imagine the possibilities with the final Cornerstone.

There's even the potential to have some competitors go against the contestant, such as TV stars or comedians. Using an obstacle where the two can race each other to finish a goal would be good, or basically something the two competitors cannot fail except by not finishing faster than the other person. These contests could be run after the first or second Cornerstone, best ran at Obstacles 4 or 5, and 7 or 8.

However, I find that the most drama should be used in mystery. Once again, this is meant to mess with the competitors head. Right before a Cornerstone obstacle is run, it should be covered. Say, put sheets on all sides of the obstacle, and dim lights that illuminate a very basic showing of the obstacle, so no-one truly knows what it is until the sheets fall. Having bright lights shining would show too much of the obstacle, and not give enough mystery.

One last thought, would to have some sort of ability for the player to gain an extra life somehow (possibly by beating a celebrity?), or to make it harder, the game could carry the "extra-life=more money reward" for the final group of obstacles, down to the third set of obstacles as well. However, I would emphasize that the third cornerstone would remain at the same value, so the contestant doesn't lose all hope at a strong goal. Because of that, I'm not sure that reducing the money down would work too well, but I do think that only having 3 obstacles fit under this rule/idea with the extra life, would be too constricting. I guess it would have to matter with the actual obstacles used.

Well, that's my idea for today. I wonder how well it would work.