The Power of Touch

It was the day I impatiently awaited after four years of tests, homework, detention, SAT’s, college preparation, community service, dress codes, uniform sweaters, and all-black shoes: Graduation. It was finally here in all its glorious ruin. After slickly slipping schoolwork’s clutches and excelling at crafting cheat sheets to pass exams without studying, one last hurdle was ironically lodged in-between me and my freedom from the tortuous prison that was High-School. My journalism teacher pulled me aside after class and informed me she offered my services as a lector during Graduation Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, a ceremony that would host four hundred plus people – students, parents, teachers, and clergy included, even the Cardinal. My scholastic penance for avoiding all productive responsibility like Neo did the bullets in the Matrix. It was inevitable.

My stomach was practicing gymnastics the morning beforehand. I felt like I swallowed a grenade. My mind went into the blackest tunnel vision. All I could think about was how I hated having to go through with the reading. I had been a lector in middle school and experienced similar nervous reactions prior to stepping upon the pulpit, but in those cases, mostly, mass would fall on a day when only the dedicated churchgoers and homeless people showed up. It was really just time outside the classroom to flirt with the pretty girl who read the Responsorial Psalm and sat next to me. But, Graduation Mass was in front of a hefty crowd and to make matters worse, I would be the opening act. I thought I was going to step on the stage and melt like a sloppy magic trick. A family squabble in the car ride to the church only intensified my headache which was eating its way into a full-blown migraine.

As everyone settled into the pews and readied their cameras, a giant hush blanketed the cathedral. The school’s vice principal motioned for me to approach the rectory. As we bowed in respect to the massive, haunting crucifix centered at the nose of the architecture, he whispered to me to take my time and that he would place his hand on my shoulder if I needed reassurance that I wasn’t alone. I nodded but thought to myself, “how calming an experience does this guy think his palms are? Maybe he’s been to one too many church services”.

I took my place at the podium and gazed at the crowd ahead. Everyone’s eyes fixed on me. This was it. The moment I dreaded was here. I swallowed what felt like a brick of saliva in my throat as it cleared. I refreshed a few key points in my mind before I opened my mouth: “Enunciate, flow at a steady pace, and look up from time to time to diffuse any notions that you’re an android”. I found the assigned psalm and just as I said the first word, I felt his hand on my left shoulder. It was surprisingly comforting. The fact it didn’t move made me feel secure, that I was there for a purpose, and everyone now knew it. This wasn’t an exercise in degradation as my self-conscious nature had insisted. It was a celebration’s beginning, one that brought so many families together. It was about much more than me that morning. It was about us, the graduating class of 2010, and the proud people who came to see us and place their supportive hands on our shoulders to help ease the pressure. Retrospectively, as I regret my inactivity and corner cutting as a scholar, I realize there was one valuable opportunity I did not squander, a memory that burns brightly till this day, gracing that stage.

I read flawlessly. As I walked back through the pew to my assigned seat, my classmate looked over his shoulder from a row forward. “Good shit, Johnson.” I smiled and responded, “Good looks”. It was over. I had survived. I had actually performed well. The stomach throbbing was gone and my thoughts had slowed down to their normal pace. What my mind made into a horror, a peaceful touch restored to its dignified form.

Animated 2Pac Interview

The single most influential and captivating Hip-Hop artist of our time, Tupac Shakur has left a legacy that still overshadows the musical landscape. Blank on Blank brought a new angle to the man’s words by animating a very honest interview with the deceased artist. As a fan, I’ve heard damn near every interview the man has done in his career. But, I must say the images add shade to his words, casting new meaning and emotion to his offerings. Nice little video. Enjoy.

Courtesy of Blank on Blank & WorldStarHipHop.

250lb Bodybuilder vs. 150lb Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt

Muscle isn’t the most important weapon in a fighter’s arsenal especially when technical prowess can overcome physical advantages like size and strength. If you know how to properly maneuver and divert damage in an attack, you can ultimately dominate the affair. When this bodybuilder, Lance Bachelor, faces off with Jiu Jitsu black belt Pedro Sauer, it becomes a matter of technician versus athlete, skill against muscle, brain facing brawn. Sauer showcases a cool hand in the mouth of fire by using technique to best a rather intimidating brawler.

Caution: don’t assume you can just kick a bodybuilder’s ass because you took karate lessons when you were little. That’s a surefire way to get your face broken. Sauer is an 8th degree Gracie Jiu Jitsu red and black belt. He’s been training in various martial arts since he was five years old and practiced with the Gracie family including Royce Gracie, arguably the most influential figure in the history of modern mixed martial arts, on a daily basis. It took a lifetime of training for him to learn how to operate against bigger and more powerful men intent on punching his head off.

Nonetheless, enjoy the video.

Courtesy of LiveeLeakkk

Geek Heaven: Goku vs. Superman (No, For Real)

Image courtesy of Comicvine.com

This video just reawakened my inner nerd. As a kid, I watched every episode of Dragonball Z I could get my filthy little hands on. The epic fights, the magical blonde Super Saiyan hair, the energy oras and levels. The long, drawn out expressions that took up half the episode. God, it was truly awesome. I don’t know anyone my age that isn’t familiar with the anime series.

Then. there’s Supes. The God of the comic book world. The prototype that can’t and won’t be improved. I mean, the guy is sheer perfection down to the curl. Initially, I saw Superman the same as a lot of other comic book heads who chose to spend their time on other heroes because he was just too omnipotent. Where’s the excitement when you know for a fact Superman is going to win every time? But, in actuality, Superman is more than an crime-fighting alien. He’s a symbol of equality, justice, and peace. Everything else was just a bonus.

But, the question was always who would win in a fight, Goku or Superman? I thought I knew the answer. Boy was I wrong! I stumbled upon this YouTube video and it enlightened me on all things related to these two mega warriors. I just had to share. Weigh in on this clash of the titans and tell me what you think.

At The Movies: 2014

2013 is coming to an end. So, that mean it’s time to look back and give thanks for all the wonderful offerings the year has brought us. Here’s my list:  Man of Steel. Dallas Buyers Club. 12 Years A Slave. Captain Phillips. This Is The End. The Great Gatsby. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Thor: The Dark World. Gravity. 

That’s a tough line-up to follow. I hope 2014 is cool under pressure. Let’s see some trailers for up and coming movies set for release next year and see how they stack up. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 

Ride Along

The Nut Job

I, Frankenstein

The Monuments Men

RoboCop

Non-Stop

Noah

A Haunted House 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

X-Men: Days of Future Past

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