Dragon's Tail! Monkey's Paw! Uh... Knee To Face!

Sunday night I went to see Ong-Bak, a film which really marks a return to the best - and worst - of the early martial arts films.

In the pro column: ridiculous stunts, no wire work, no CG bullshit. Just absolutely insane physicality. It's the kind of movie that forces you to stop and say, in a strong, clear voice, "What the FUCK?" because some guy just got kneed in the chest thirty feet above the ground and fell. Hard.

Con: plot? What plot?

The main character's martial art is Muay Thai, which I'm guessing is the same thing as Thai kickboxing. It's a fluid, graceful, and remarkably asskicking art in the hands of Tony Jaa. However, two of its odder characteristics are a) a reliance on knees and elbows, which while powerful come with a severely reduced range as price, and b) a particular move I like to call 'The Shove of Doom,' wherein Jaa stands in place and pushes people. Crude, yet effective.

My personal favourite mixed blessing of this movie, however, is the enemies our hero, the marvelously named Ting, faces at an underground fight club. Each appears to be an exemplar of some particular form of martial art. They include, in order of appearance:

A) A gargantuan Australian man who appears much like what would happen if Slash had been injecting steroids into his arms in lieu of playing guitar solos with no amplifier during the November Rain video. His martial art appears to involve slapping people very hard and molesting women. In short, he's much like most Australians.

B) A skinny Asian guy with an afro whose skill appears to be shuffling his feet back and forth rapidly. I don't think he actually hits Ting at any point, he just stands there shuffling his feet like some kind of retarded minstrel show.

C) Some wordless white guy who fights exclusively with furniture. Seriously; every move the man makes involves hitting Ting with chairs, hitting Ting with tables, hitting Ting with bits of tables, or defending against Ting with the occasional sofa bed.

My goal in life is now to develop a martial art revolving entirely around furniture. I'll be the first Ikea-ka in history, teaching my devoted students how to manipulate the enemy's futons and affordable blonde-wood cabinets in such a way as to defeat them using nothing more than an Allen wrench.

Man, FUCK medicine. I have a new dream now.

Love in an Elevator

The romance started quietly enough; I held the door for a woman. I wasn’t so much attempting to be chivalrous as simply polite, but she must have read more into my gesture than I intended. The smile she cracked lit up the hallway like a sudden dawn over the limb of the earth.

I turned slightly, took a closer look at the beneficiary of my courtesy. Shoulder-length brown hair framed high cheekbones, a pert nose, and disturbingly blue eyes. Her lips were twisted upwards on the right, a sardonic grin quickly replacing the beaming smile she’d displayed only moments before, perhaps realizing the ludicrousness of appearing so grateful for my not letting the door slam in her face.

“Thanks,” she said, with the barest hint of a laugh at the tail end.

“No problem,” I muttered. I was shocked at how gravelly my voice sounded, but upon reflection I realized I hadn’t spoken aloud in several hours. Paperwork and the drive home had given me the voice of a B-movie villain.

I cleared my throat and licked my lips, dried out from the winter air. There was a high-pressure system sweeping down from the Arctic, hugging the eastern edge of the Rockies and sucking the moisture – not to mention most of the fun – out of the city.

She raised an eyebrow quizzically, noticing my wandering tongue. Shit, I thought. She thinks I’m coming on to her. I thought some more. Wait a minute. Maybe I want to come on to her.

I let my eyes flicker downwards, just long enough for her to notice, but not for her to know that I knew she noticed. She was wrapped in a nylon parka, in the same red that would adorn a Chinese restaurant, for luck. She’d opened the garment in the parking garage, however, and practicality parted ways to reveal a deep brown sweater, horizontal stripes highlighting her breasts, the sweater tight enough to reveal a bra worn one size too small.

I moved through the door into the hall, and repeated “No problem” with a voice suddenly clear. Her mouth dialed up to the right even more, and for some reason she reminded me of Elvis Costello: Little sniggers/on your lips. I broke eye contact, turned, and sensed her follow.

We passed through the next door into the lobby, repeating the same social niceties – “Thanks no problem” – but with that sudden undercurrent of eroticism throbbing beneath.

I leaned against the mahogany rail, and stretched. The far edge of my vision caught her eyes searching me as I did so. Long-quiescent capillaries suddenly dilated, and I felt a surge of blood. I looked at the ceiling, my mouth a parody of her smile, and hoped she noticed.

We found ourselves the only two passengers on the elevator. She pressed the button three floors below mine, and our hands briefly grazed. Her skin was warm and just barely damp with sweat. She withdrew quickly, embarrassed, taking in a small breath through suddenly parted lips.

I smiled in a way that I hoped was reassuring, but which probably came out looking predatory. She smiled back, her cheeks now reddened.

The elevator jerked to life, grinding slowly up the rails. It was an old seventies model, the electronic beeps announcing the passage of each floor now as grating as my voice had been. We tried not to be caught looking at each other, failing miserably. Finally, somewhere around the tenth floor, I fixed my eyes on hers. She drew in a deep breath this time, her nostrils flaring from what I assumed was her arousal.

“Jesus,” she said. “Was that you?”

What? “Um…” I forced out.

“What the hell did you eat? Oh, Christ.” She looked away as my eyes began to water.

“Oh… oh, shit. God, I’m sorry,” I stammered, my deflating erection revealing my penis’ disappointment with me. “Look, I just started this new medication, and it’s got all these intestinal side effects…” The words rushed out despite the awful and immediately apparent futility of the situation.

“Yeah. Whatever. Just…” She broke off in disgust as the door clanged open at her floor. Her figure, mirrored in the battered steel side of the elevator, shook its head as it stormed down the hall. She gleamed through the film of tears now standing on my eyes.

Gasping for oxygen, I stumbled out of the elevator and into my apartment, sagging against the wall, too tired to move. Eventually, I picked myself up, tossed off my boots, and went into the kitchen to search for a meal with no simple carbohydrates whatsoever.


Rollin', rollin', rollin', fuck you Fred Durst

So: I know it's been a while since I've posted much of anything on this blog. But that's because I've been busy, honest! Third year med does get kind of insane, to the point where you wonder whether you'll ever have time to do anything else with your life. But I'm assured it gets better as it goes along.

In any event, tonight I want to talk about a simple pleasure, [i]viz:[/i] rolling coins. My sister bought some little plastic coin rollers, and gave the extras to my mom, who gave the extras to me. This prompted me to go out and buy some of my own, and get the giant pile of coin off my desk.

The end result? $67.50 in dimes, nickels, and pennies. No quarters. It was a big pile, I'm telling you.

In any case, it's all part of my 'get my life back in order' plan. Step one is to clean the fuck out my apartment. Step two is to get back writing. At the present time, there is no step three; but really, is any self-improvement plan ever done? Can you ever say, 'OK, I'm perfect, don't have to work now?' Unless you're, like, NHL hall of famer Ken Dryden, you probably can't. I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that one shouldn't settle for how they are. There's always room for improvement. Especially in you.