Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snowboarding = Fun

Check my shit out! Just 3 hours or so after I first put a snowboard on!

Yeah, I went snowboarding for the first time ever this weekend. Things like snowboarding kick an insane amount of ass for the simple reason that you can get pretty good at it in a relatively short time. Pretty good meaning that you can cruise down a hill slaloming back and forth, and a relatively short time meaning in like 5 or 6 hours.

All my Lazy Mo Frakkies, put your ass in a chair,
And languish around, like you just don't care.

You see, folks, here's the thing: I am lazy. Terribly lazy. It might not seem so given the relative success I've enjoyed in my adventures, what I'm good at, etc etc, but to be perfectly honest, 90% of my actions are done in an attempt to ensure less energy expenditure in the future. Take work for instance. The first thing I do when I go to a new job is look at how they do things and do things my own way to create the same results doing far less work. Just about everything I'm good at is stuff that I'm just good at, meaning that I have an ability or an aptitude for it, or I really enjoy doing it, so the amount of work required for me to be good at it is far less than other people who might be pursuing the same objective. I don't really consider myself a hard worker. Smart worker? Yes. Hard worker? No. Unlike the Japanese people I find myself surrounded by, I see no inherent "goodness" in working hard, especially if it can be avoided, and it usually can in an office environment. Does it feel good to relax after a hard day at work? Probably, but I wouldn't know, I can't remember the last time I did that. It feels good to relax after breaking myself off at the gym or getting my ass handed to me on the mat, but "working my ass off" isn't really something I'm down with. Feel me?

The main drawback to my slovenly, lazy lifestyle, is that while I've been lucky enough to have a knack or aptitude for a lot of things, there really isn't anything that I'm particularly great at, unless you include the ability to waste enormous amounts of time doing nothing. Yes, all that time I save by coming up with sneaky ways to do things? Completely wasted. Anyway I just can't be bothered to achieve greatness, and I lack the self-discipline, attention span, or ambition to be a master of anything. Am I saying "Oh I could be great, I just don't feel like it"? No, because I've never been great at anything, so I'm not so sure I could pull it off. In fact, I'd play it safe and say that I am not made of the stuff of greatness. But I'm totally fine with that -- being a jack of all trades is much more my style, and gives me flexibility in doing a lot of things, and if nothing else, enough information to bullshit my way around and appear to be smart, which is most important anyway.

....and anyone who knows me will tell you this: When I'm bad at something, I'm REALLY bad at it. Like "OMFG you've got a HFA lolz" bad at stuff. Namely simple arithmetic, things requiring sense of direction, or anything having any association with the two. Don't ask me to figure out anything having to do with numbers, because I will be really far off. I might be able to explain to you very eloquently how to get an answer, but numbers and my brain just don't jive, and I will give you an incorrect answer. And unless I've been somewhere at least 10 times on the same route and paid really close attention, don't make me in charge of getting from point A to point B. This can lead to a lot of stress for me, like when a major part of your job involves driving people around Kabul, but in that case I just demanded to drive everywhere so I could get a feel for the city and carried around a garmin. Otherwise, I avoid numbers and directions like the plague.

Sure, I take on things that I'm not good at from time to time, and eventually get good, but at the end of it all, what it boils down to is that I just hung out and failed miserably at something until finally, through osmosis or meatheadedness or muscle memory, I gained a "knack" for it. If you do something long enough, you're going to get good at it. Even if it takes a few years. But yeah, for the most part, I can't be bothered.

So this is why I liked snowboarding so much. It's something that's suuuuper fun that you can pick up really quickly. Since I don't have any aspirations to become a professional snowboarder or do tricks or impress anyone, I'm pretty happy to have been introduced to it, and I'm a little pissed off at everyone I know who snowboards for not being a little more coercive in trying to get me to pursue it. I will probably go out and blow an inappropriate amount of money on snowboarding gear, as I need to catch up with the rest of the world. I'm a little mad at you, the reader, for not getting me involved with this activity when I was in my teens. Oh, you didn't know me back then? Stop with the excuses. Man up. Buy me some snowboarding trips. You owe me at least that. Again, not enough trips to become "great", just so that I can become "pretty good" or maybe even "really good" sometime in a couple years. That's all I ask from you.

...so I was a little worried about it going into it -- am I going to really suck, is this going to be really hard for me, and am I going to make a scene on the mountainside? Am I going to fall a lot, completely lose my composure, and have a tantrum? But good news -- it was fun -- like really fucking fun. My friend that we went with was a snowboard instructor at Tahoe, and was able to explain it to me in a way that I could understand -- i,e. how you explain things to kindergartners -- and I was able to comprehend and apply the mechanics and coordination to figure shit out. The lady friend was also in the snowboarding club at her university, so she was able to add in some input too, and we now have a little wintertime hobby that we can enjoy together. Iddn't dat shweety weety?

So here's to my oldest favorite thing -- laziness -- and my new favorite thing -- snowboarding -- and how they compliment each other oh so well. I mean cripes, you're CARRIED up a mountain in a chair, and you get to the bottom by sliding down using low friction, an inclined slope, and gravity. How lazy is that?

Here are a couple other pics from the weekend.

Here are the Japanese Alps. Or as I like to call them, the Jalps. As you can see, the scenery is made all the more pristine by above-ground powerlines.

Here's Mt Fuji from the car. It's a shitty shot, but whuttevs.

Here's the ski area.

Pictures of ski areas look funny, because it appears that everyone is just standing there on the mountain. Ironically, that's the case a lot in Japan, because there was no shortage of people just sitting on their asses or not moving on the slopes. This caused me to fall a lot because I didn't want to crash into them. That and the fact that it was my first day and I sucked. But gimme time, I and will achieve sub-greatness -- the kind of sub-greatness that can make people who have never snowboarded before think I'm pretty good, which is all I'm really shooting for anyway. Wish me luck.


Blogger brando said...

Go get em you snowboarding fool!

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Cory said...

You've just convinced me to try snowboarding. I was trying to decide whether to go snowboarding or go back to skiing (which I never really enjoyed), but with your assurance that snowboarding ain't too hard, it may be something me and the missus may enjoy now that we're in snow-country.

Hey, I'm going to be in Tokyo in two weeks. For about 9 hours at a layover in the airport, so we probably can't get together, but I will tell everyone we hung out and got in crazy drunken misadventures while I was there.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Snowboarding is the bomb. I took my first lesson when I turned 30 and picked it up real quick too. The snow was way too icy where I was though, making it way too easy to catch an edge. And you know what happens when you catch an edge...


8:08 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

cory -- hell, with photoshop we can make it seem like you and brando were out here at the same time. let's come up with some fake activities to not do when we don't go get pseudo-drunk together. anyway as you can see, i recommend snowboarding, and i know you share my lazy gene. right? i mean, that whole PhD thing was just an attempt to create less work for yourself in the future and generate thai boondoggles right?? (btw -- take snowboarding lessons or go with someone who can teach. everyone i talk to who just goes and tries it has had a miserable time..)

hammer -- yeah.. i discovered that falling on a snowboard is a little more violent than skis, and that the options tend to be limited to eating snow or ass-planting. i feel like such a douche tho. like the guy who just now discovers Bob Marley and runs around telling everyone how great it is like it's some new thing.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Nah man, if you enjoy it you enjoy it. A lot of folks are intimidated by the assumption that it's too hard to learn, so you're doing them a favor by encouraging them.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous brando said...

Man, looking at that pic of Fuji reminds me of how I was robbed of my climbing experience on account of cold weather. Damn you weather!

4:38 AM  
Blogger Jinxy said...

You look like Ricky from "Better Off Dead" when he went after Layne Meyer on the slopes.

I don't even know what the hell that means.

Too esoteric?

9:46 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

ricky went on the slopes? i thought he was just trying to get on the french exchange student who pretended not to speak english.

10:21 AM  
Blogger brando said...

He just kept trying to put his testicles all over Monique.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

You snowboard the K-12 dude, and girls will go sterile just looking at you!

2:30 PM  
Blogger cyberninja said...

I'm getting really excited to not hang out with you Paul. It'll be awesome. I'm goona get hammered.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Uncle Mike said...

nice pics!

5:19 AM  

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