Thursday, August 25, 2011

Look, I am doing new things!

For a pathetic creature of habit such as myself, it has been an exciting two days.

A friend that I talk to every few months called me out of the blue to ask me to go rock climbing. Outside. On actual, vertical rocks. We're talking goddamn cliffs. Being gullible I said yes, and he then countered with wanting to go out this week to practice before risking life and limb on a thin rope and hard rubber shoes. So we did just that on Tuesday night. He brought the equipment and the experience, I brought a 145 pound frame with skinny arms and an over abundance of self confidence (arrogance, in other words). Surprise, surprise, it was a great time. We started out 'boulderng' in six foot walls with no belay ropes. It was good practice for finding your footing and moving sideways without burning out your arms. Plus if you fell the ground was padded enough that only your ego was bruised.

Just when I started to get tired it was time to move on to actual walls to climb. The first thing I did was look up, which was a mistake, because these things were roughly thirty feet to the tip. They were different colored runs for different skill levels. Being an arrogant ass I attempted one a few steps up from the easiest and failed at the same point several times. There was a mental block that I could not get past, or maybe it was just a giant block I could not figure out how to get over, either way, it was not happening. Back on the ground we moved down to an actually beginners track and I tried again, this time mapping out hand and foot placements on the ground before throwing myself at the wall. It worked, and after a few tense moments and slips I found myself touching the ceiling. After a bit of congratulations it was time to get down, only I didn't know how. This last, most important step was left out of my instruction.

Since I am not typing this from either that precarious perch or from the friendly confines of a hospital it is clear that I made it down. The real test comes on Saturday when it is time to test my freshly minted (and rather dull) skills against actual rocks.

Step two in my week of being out of the box was Street Fighter 3. I played Third Strike all of two or three times in the arcade and then again a few times when it was released as part of a Capcom compilation on the oXbox. Much like rock climbing, this shit is hard, unforgiving, difficult to find good instruction in, and any given attempt can end quite quickly if the proper precautions are not taken. Third strike won't kill you if you have the harness on wrong, but Ken of Chun Li will make incredibly short work of you health if you let them hit confirm a crouching medium kick into supers that I swear hit on the very first frame. It was very difficult to find a character that I felt comfortable with. Having a default street fighting position of down back I had to try Q, and he was large and difficult. Ryu felt like Ryu, only all rush down and no zoning. I have the most fun (but not the most success) with Hugo, mostly because seeing him throw himself ass first into people is now my favorite thing in the whole world.

The game will be played from time to time, but it is years and years too late to actually play the game 'seriously.' At the end of the night I left the friendly confines on player matches with people I knew and jumped into ranked. Matches were difficult to find, and when I did find them I was dominated by Kens who all knew how to parry and used the exact same combos. Screw that. If I wanted that kind of abuse I would play AE.

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