On Famine Farming


I once had a garden. A dream of one before that. It was a small garden, at first. Okay, just four tomato plants that I had bought at the Home Depot. Though it consisted of four humble plants that I repotted to a larger planter, it was my garden. I watered it faithfully, and waited for the cherry tomatoes to grow. About forty days later they did, and I was ready to eat the one or two a day that ripened by the time that I returned home from work. I always saved a few for the wife. I lived in this easy bliss for a few weeks until they came. Ravenous, furry, grey locusts – squirrels. They would ravage my humble crop daily. I would pull into my driveway to find scenes akin to a Spanish Tomatina. It didn’t take long for me to render myself; helpless, to the pulpy, fleshy carnage and I quietly, grudgingly withdrew to the easy comfort of autumn decay.
Continue reading “On Famine Farming”


Happy New Year, Readers!!!

How I felt the majority of 2016:


I’d like to take a moment to reflect on 2016… There that’s it. I’ve taken the moment. Thanks for nothing you dick punch of a year!

Now on to the hopefulness that the new year brings. For many of us this is the time to make resolutions, though I realize that many of us have already fallen off the wagon. (I tried not to eat a cookie today.) Well so much for that one, but I only really have a couple of resolutions, and so I think that makes my job in 2017 a little easier.

Here is my short list:

  1. Keep to my word count – 1,000 words a day (Including novels, posts, short stories)
  2. Submit 2 literary submissions to agents a day (This is quite low, but should be quite doable given the abundance of agents…many of whom have not seen the brilliance of my work.)
  3. Get to the Jiu Jitsu mats more – 3x a week (in aggregate – I’m including time in here for the likely bumps/bruises/my general bitchassness)
  4. Get the boys to school early enough to make “snack time”. (Translated: Get them the hell out of the house for my sanity’s sake.)
  5. Last but not least – Be a better dad/husband. (Have no idea how to do it but I’ll try.)

That seems like such a manageable enough list that I won’t fuck it up! (I left out the cookies. One can’t expect miracles!)

Here’s looking at you 2017!


© J. Manuel



Ray, A Bucket of Gold & A Very NYC Thanksgiving (Part 1)

November 29, 2016: Money Makin' Manhattan - Somewhere between West 48th St and 5th & 6th Ave down the street from a couple of bums and a gimpy hooker...


So Ray. He looks like a Ray so let’s just call him Ray. Ray is just walking down the street minding his own fucking business like any good citizen of the Big Apple. For those of you who don’t know because you’re a potato person from the Midwest with eyes all over your lumpy russet head and you’re used to awkwardly rolling down the street at a leisurely pace, that’s not how civilized people walk. Keep those beady eyes straight ahead, put a kick in your step like the cops are after you, and most important of all mind your fucking business, and if anyone asks, you didn’t see nothing, and you don’t know nobody. Continue reading “Ray, A Bucket of Gold & A Very NYC Thanksgiving (Part 1)”

On the Gentle Art #3

bjj evolve

Does size matter? Well, let me pose the question differently. Does mass matter? If you’re Catholic I guess it does to some extent, but no I’m not talking about that mass, the one with God. I’m talking about the mass with the God-particle; the Higgs-Boson to be precise. The Higgs, unlike the aforementioned God, didn’t create the universe, and no one claims that it did, but it does do one thing that matters (forced pun), and that is that it gives substance to um… matter. Higgs particles interact with one another to create a Higgs field, and when matter interacts with the field it gains mass, at least that is the theory. Think about this the next time you are stuck under someone’s mount, and you’ll realize quickly one of two things: One: quantum physics sucks hard; Two: you shouldn’t be thinking about quantum physics when someone is crushing the life out of your lungs.

Well back to the science lesson. You see as the particles interact with the field they gain mass. Some particles are more massive than others, and matter with more particles tends to have more mass. As we scale up out of the quantum realm, which is quite a weird, counter intuitive place, we surface into the “normal” world; the one where things behave in more predictable, common sense ways, and where normal physics restores order. Now back to being stuck under mount.

Imagine that you are stuck under a training partner who outweighs you by 50lbsyour skill set being equal or within grappling distance (no striking on the BJJ mats, that’s frowned upon). Well your opponent has the Higgs working heavily (pun) on his side (it could be a she, but I’m guessing she wouldn’t appreciate you talking about her weight, and she might hold onto a submission longer than necessary). Unfairly, there is more of him interacting with the Higgs field than there is of you and it’s all on your chest. Now how do you overcome this predicament? Well you summon what you know about BJJ. Use Classical Physics to combat Quantum Physics. In BJJ this means one thing: Leverage! Archimedes famously stated, “Give me a lever large enough, and a place to stand, and I will move the world.” (Citation omitted). Who am I to argue with Archimedes, or lever mechanics?

We’ve all done it; changed a tire, used a car jack, a pulley, a wrench, all to make whatever task we had to accomplish that much easier. In BJJ, the same principle applies. You don’t use force against force, especially when your partner’s force is greater than yours, that’s a losing propositionremember quantum physics! (Oh yeah, I forgot. More mass gives you more gravity too, and on Earth you experience that as weight; the force that is measured in the pounds or kilograms that are crushing your chest.) So you, a jiujitero, redirect the force, or apply your smaller amount of force against a place where there is an imbalance in your partner’s force. If there isn’t an imbalance, you create one: Leverage! So how do you escape the mount of a larger opponent? The answer is create a force imbalance using your levers. (1) Tie-up one of your opponents arms to remove an anchor of stability. (2) Ensure that your power base, hips (fulcrum), is under your partner’s base of balance. (3) Trap one of your partner’s legs by placing your leg outside of theirs. (4) Apply your force through your hips by bumping and bridging your body in the direction of the trapped arm and leg. (Your legs are the lever through which you deliver the force to your hips which act as the fulcrum to move your heavier partner.)

Now the basic mount escape detailed above should work. Notice I said should. The should takes into account the very real possibility that your partner knows what he is doing and may counteract your force by shifting his base in a manner where he redirects your force, and you end up right where you began namely under the crushing weight of his body, the world, and the God-particle. Fuck you Quantum Physics!

Part #4 will come once I figure out another mount escape.

© J. Manuel Writes