Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Wayne Benfell Gold
March 13, 1924 - May 25, 2010

I didn't know much about my Grandfather. To me he was a man amongst men. A manly man who loved hunting, fishing, hiking, camping... anything to do with the outdoors, really. I can't recall any time that he spoke ill about anyone. He always had some constructive criticism or advice, not unwanted, to give. One of the last things I remember him saying to me was advice on how to get a girl. He didn't tell me to play games, or show off to attract their attention. He told me to make sure they know that you care about them and that they can feel safe having you around. Easy for him to say. That's another blog post for another time, though. My grandpa must have known something about the subject because he was married to my Grandmother for 53 years. If my he was wonderful she was absolutely amazing.

The reason I'm writing this is because a friend of mine lost her "Papa" this week. I didn't know what to say to her when she told me he might not make it through the weekend. Today a facebook post told me that he had passed. I hadn't attempted to say anything to her about it between the awkward "I'm sorry" response and just about an hour ago when I saw her post. I wish I had the words. Religious people always have the seemingly packaged responses such as: "He/she's in a better place now", "You'll see them again" or something like "He and so-and-so are probably looking down on us now". Nothing like that is fitting for the non-religious types. In person I'd just offer a hug, that usually takes the place of possibly empty words most of the time.

I don't deal well with death. When I was a kid, around 4 or 5 I remember waking up from a sound sleep terrified at the thought of one day dying. In tears I ran to find my mom, bawling my eyes out yelling "I don't want to die!". I can imagine my mom thinking something terrible had happened, "what's wrong with this kid!". I've come to terms with it but I still get uneasy at the thought of ceasing to exist.

More later...

Monday, March 14, 2011


I just came across this story on Reddit. It reminded me of when I used to get picked on in school. I mean REALLY picked on. Sometimes it got so bad that I went several miles out of my way to get to school or home from school just to avoid the kids that bullied me. I can't pinpoint exactly what it was about me that made kids, wherever I went (I was always "the new kid"), want to pick on me. I can say that I was definitely on the small side and desperately wanted to fit in. No doubt there were times that I may have done some pretty dorky things to garner attention from my peers to only have it backfire and bring the wrong kind of attention my way. As I watched the video associated with the story I thought back to a particular instance where I was walking from one class to another, in Junior High (probably 8th or 9th grade), with a friend who was substantially bigger than me, not to mention bigger than pretty much everyone in the school. Not "fat" or "chubby", he was just BIG, tall, strong... like he hit puberty a few years too early. Come to think of it, he may have been held back a year or two... His name was Jake, he was socially awkward, a "new kid", a little bit of a trouble maker, etc.. I probably gravitated towards these types because they were easy to befriend.

Anywho, we were walking down the hall on our way to our next class, maybe lunch,  when all of the sudden I was shoved HARD from behind, enough to make me fall forward catching myself on the ground with my hands. While I was down there I remember thinking: "great... now they're going to kick me, take my backpack and throw it down the hall, and who knows what else"... bracing myself for all of what was to come... but it not happening. I got up, looking backwards, over my shoulder I saw my friend Jake turning around... now this all has happened in a matter of seconds but it was all in slow motion, or at least I remember it that way... Jake had his arm cocked back, fist balled up and was winding up for a punch. I saw his intended target, it was one of my regulars; one of the kids who made me a frequent target. Jake released one of the biggest punches I have ever seen, even to this day, landing squarely on my assailants chin knocking him out cold and sending him flying backwards onto his back into a crowd of students. Jake and I turned around and walked away, calmly, slowly, almost as if nothing had happened except for Jake shaking his hand out and massaging his knuckles a few times. I shook his hand and thanked him for standing up for me.

I hadn't asked this of Jake. He never told me he'd stick up for me. It was never mentioned again in the short time I knew him. I didn't know what his motives were. I can imagine he probably felt some sort of empathy for me. Perhaps he was the victim of bullying in some way or at some time in his life and didn't want anyone else to suffer like he did. I feel quite the same way when I see, or even just hear, about someone being bullied. I'm older, wiser, bigger, fairly well-versed in a couple very effective martial arts and would probably come unglued if I witnessed something like my friend Jake did when we were just kids. I felt like nothing could touch me that day and for a little while afterwards. As most things do, it faded and it was back to business as usual and I had to endure a lot of bullying for the rest of Jr. High and High School. I did learn, however, to befriend those kinds of guys. I don't know how, but I always knew the types. I can pick you out of a room full of people if you're one of those gentle giants willing to defend those who may not be able to defend themselves. I don't need it these days as bullying takes on different forms as you get older and out of the schoolyard environments. I still don't put up with bullying in any of its forms to this day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Motorcycle helmet wrapped in 3M Di-noc carbon fiber film... FAIL

So I went out riding the bike today to unwind and to get out of the house... unwind after being in the house all day?? Strange. Anywho, I stopped by my sisters place to give her the money I collected for my niece's girl scout cookie sales... her dog hates me. After leaving there I decided I'd finally give the carbon fiber wrap a shot on my helmet. I thought I was going to be able to do this alone. HA! Maybe if I were an octopus. Luckily my roommate and his son, Nate, were home and they lent a hand for a little while. Let me tell you, this was no easy chore. It wasn't hard like digging ditches is hard, just time consuming and slow going... did I really think I would be able to do this by myself? Even with the help of Pedro and Nate we were thinking it'd be nice to have a couple more pairs of hands. We got about 1/3rd of the way done and it was time for Pedro to take Nate to his moms... thus leaving me with no help for the rest of the night. Because of the nature of the Di-noc material, it's not something that can be set aside half-done and started again later. So I scrapped it. I blame the lack of foresight on my part for wasting $120 worth of material without enough left over to start again when I have more hands and more time to work. Oh well, live and learn. What we did get done looked AWESOME. It would have looked amazing once it was finished. I'm sure I'll give it another go sometime soon. 

This is what I was going for:

This helmet was wrapped in the carbon fiber film and looks SWEEEET!

Jiu Jitsu - it's how I roll

So I've been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a few years now... just around 4 to be exact. I train at a small gym in West Jordan, Utah. We have been the best in the state for 4 years running... even though we only bring a few competitors to tournaments in comparison to other gyms around town. We can attribute it to the attention to detail our instructors, namely our head coach Rob Handley, give when teaching us new techniques. Rob has the experience needed to illuminate the smallest details of a technique to increase its effectiveness. He knows how to pick techniques that will work for everyone... then adapt them to meet the specific attributes of a given fighter. Tall, short; skinny, "thick"; strong, not-so-strong... you name it, he's got the answer. I feel very fortunate to have such a great place to train and learn all there is to know about Jiu Jitsu. We also have the opportunity, once or twice a year, to learn under a Grand Master of Jiu Jitsu, Flavio Behring. Master Flavio learned directly from the source of what we know as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today, Helio Gracie. I have a few pictures of Master Flavio "smashing" me during the last seminar we had:

It's such an honor to belong to such a lineage as this.

Of course, training at a gym where the instruction is such high caliber leads to some pretty heavy competition amongst teammates. Lately I've felt that I'm at the bottom of the pile, so to speak, in regards to this notion. All of the guys who are ranked similarly to me (I'm a blue belt with 3 stripes) seem to be progressing at a much faster pace, I can't seem to keep up. To add insult to injury... or in this case, injury to insult... my foot has started to bother me quite a bit. I can't put pressure on the outside edge of my left foot without considerable pain. I don't think it's broken, I don't know what's wrong with it to be honest, it's just causing a world of hurt. But I digress. I am going to see if there are some things I can do to step my game up and progress faster and remain more competitive with my fellow blue belts.

I'm going to try this out... see how it works.

I have never been one to write down (or type, for that matter) what goes on in my life, probably because I'm afraid of what people will think. I tend to do that a lot: care too much about what everyone else thinks of me. I'm going to do attempt to do something about that, beginning with this blog.