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.