Alex Camacho
Crosby, TX, United States
Born in Houston, Texas and raised all over living the life of an Army Brat. I Went to eight different schools (three elementary, one middle school, four high schools) and have one little brother who’s not so little anymore. I’ve been married for nearly fourteen years now to a woman who rocks my world and I've been blessed with two wonderful children. Our dog, Sally, is a big black lab saved from a local shelter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

'Itsu Baby!

We tend to be a bit obsessive about our passions. Whether it's a poker obsession or costume fabrication, we dive straight to the deep waters. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wasn't any different. Marcel started, Lana joined and I wasn't too far behind them when I saw how much fun they were having.

After 15 days of being wrapped & splinted from surgery, m... on TwitpicWe're still training and we still have a pretty intense love for the sport. As soon as I felt comfortable with my newly mended finger, I hit the mat. I lost some serious flexibility and strength with that finger. According to my orthopedic, it won't get any better. It aches now and then, especially when it's cold but it hasn't slowed down my love for the sport. Hell, Lana trained all the way up to thirty seven weeks pregnant. I think the only thing that stopped her was a sudden realization that she may break her water on the mat if she didn't stop soon. Did I mention we're expecting a baby boy any day now? I'm sure she'll be back on the mat the first opportunity she gets. Marcel took a small break when a new obsession took over his brain, but he's back on the mat too. When I break out the mats for drilling, it's really hard to do anything with the little girl constantly trying to get your back or get an arm bar. Not too long ago Lana asked her, "Guess what happens when you turn five."
Her response was "I can go to Itsu?!" To say it's become a family love is an understatement. :D

So with all that said, I think I'd like to start posting more often but don't be surprised if more posts are going to be directly related to my passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Call this a re-dedication to posting I guess.

jeffglover28jan2012I recently went to the Solis Martial Arts Academy's New Year's Tournament. To my stunned surprise, I received my blue belt from my instructor, Master Henderson of Henderson's ATA. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Solis arranged for Jeff Glover to come out for a seminar. I have to say, I had a great time. I've decided to really dedicate my game to honing deep half guard as a viable tool for me. For the next month I really want to commit to getting there. I've decided to focus on one primary thing this month and three things from there.
  • Deep half guard transitions (from guard, side control bottom, bottom mount, etc.)
  • Homer Simpson sweep
  • 101 Shutdown sweep
  • Outside Hook sweep
As far as mental state, what I've honestly been focusing on a lot is really increasing my intensity level when I roll. I'm really trying to make a conscious decision  to be aggressive. Attack, attack attack, and attack some more. It's a lot harder than I thought.

Tonight's Solo Drill
  • Balancing on stability ball
  • Long step with stability ball
  • Spider guard pass on stability ball
  • Guard pass stepping with stability ball
  • Shrimping
  • Crunches
  • Unstoppable drill
  • Dips (Power Tower)
  • Pull ups (Power Tower)
  • Leg ups (Power Tower)
Anyway, that's all I got for now. I'm tired and in need of a shower. Plus I wanna read some more Wizard and Glass. 'Night!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Screws to the Finger

Pretty blue & purple now & I can almost close my hand... on TwitpicIt's been quite an adventurous past month or so.  I've been meaning to write a little something up but it's been rather difficult with just one hand.

Last month, on the 20th, I was drilling at Jiu-Jitsu class.  We were working on standing guard arm bars when my partner started giving some resistance and wondering how to counter.  I really didn't think anything about it until he really laid into breaking my lapel grips.  Now something to keep in mind;  I was hanging from him like a baby monkey.  I stand at 5'4" and he somewhere around 6'2" at least.  I'm sure it looked pretty comical.

So he grabs my hands and just starts ripping away.  I'm trying to keep em of course when one of my knuckles pop a little and I get a nasty finger sprain - or so I thought.  My left ringer finger swelled up pretty fast.  I could move it enough to finish most of the class but bumping it made me a little dizzy now and then.  I still thought it was just sprained.  When it was time to roll I even managed to for one round.  By the time it was time for the second round I couldn't close my hand so I quit for the first time in class.  I think that hurt more than the finger.

alex_xray02The next day my finger and palm looked like a rainbow of colors.  I was still thinking just a sprain.  Fast forward two weeks and I was beginning to suspect it was broken since I still couldn't make a fist, my finger couldn't flex out all the way, it still hurt like a bitch and it looked - crooked.  So I sucked it up and went to my family doctor.  She took one look and confirmed what I feared. I had officially broken a bone in my body for the first time.  She chastised me for waiting so long, then sent me to Radiology.

I honestly expected a hair fracture or two.  I was a little shocked when I saw it snapped clean in two.  I was told I had two options.

Option One:  I could let it finish healing.  I would lose about half an inch on my finger length, I might not be able to hyper-extend it or close it all the way again, I would lose gripping strength and it would be crooked.  Forever.

Option Two:  Surgery.  Full anesthesia.  They'd open my finger up, remove the new bone growth (you can see it in the x-ray), straighten it out, then screw it in place.  Full recovery with no side effects other than an even stronger finger.

alex_xray03aI went with option two.  It really wasn't much of a choice really.  Did I mention I'm left-handed?  I also like to think of myself as something of a shitty artist too.  I love to draw, I sculpt, I do a lot of digital graphic work, woodworking, I sew and quite a bit of fiberglass work.   The point is, I love working artistically with my hands.  So I really kind of need my finger.  Nevermind I can't really write my own name without gripping the pen like a one year old.  Plus?  I really miss Jiu-Jitsu.  Badly.

I was pretty nervous about the surgery.  Waking up was very disturbing and disorienting.  I laid down listening to Before He Cheats in the operating room and woke up in a bed with my left arm in a cast.  So now I'll forever carry around two screws.

My follow up appointment is next week so hopefully this half cast will come off and I can go back to Jiu-Jitsu, finish the ocarina's I started, finish the poker table I'm building and work more effectively on the few digital projects I got on the back burner.

I haven't been completely idle though.  I can still type even if I do get laughed and pointed at by Marcel whenever he sees me typing with my thumb.  I even managed to create and update my Obsidian Portal site for my GURPS Shadowrun 4th Edition Conversion.  It was mostly copying and pasting since the work was already done but it still took a couple of days.

If your a cyberpunk fan (and I know you secretly are even if you don't know you are), then take a gander.

I'm totally geeking out on Obsidian Portal lately for lots of reasons but that's for another post later.

So I'm out for now. It's time for some more Vicodin and maybe even some food.

Oh, this post? One-handed with a thumb punch now and then. Go me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Paper Mountain

sortingbooks01Warning:  The following post is link heavy so be prepared to use those tabs.  :D

I realized the other day, staring into my mountain of books, that I've been on a pretty long sci-fi trek the past year. The more I thought about it though the more it really just makes sense. Science fiction is my first love when it comes to books.

My love for reading started with The Invisible Man when I was around eleven I guess.  I ordered it out of our weekly reader.  I remember being lost in to the misery of the invisible man and shocked by the ending. That book put me on course to fall in love with science fiction. I devoured The War of the Worlds when my dad gave me his worn copy. I soon discovered Ray Bradbury through Dandelion Wine and The Martian Chronicles. It was probably somewhere around The Illustrated Man I discovered Robert Heinlein and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.  It wasn't long that I soon discovered Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series.

So it's now a whole new year and I've decided to try something a little new. On our road trip I got to catch up on my reading. I'd been reading the Hunger Games Trilogy with Marcel after it was recommended to us by Helen. I really enjoyed the first book. It was very reminiscent of Heroes Die to me but with a younger audience in mind. So with all the science fiction I've been consuming lately I've also been reading a great blog by Frederik Pohl. Then the idea hit me. This year I would make a point to go back to my roots.  I'm gonna go back to those classic science fiction books I fell in love with and even read the ones that I missed.

I hit google and found a great list of The Classics of Science Fiction.  I'm gonna try to write a little about the experience as I go so stay tuned.  Every month I'll try to post a little something about my progress and whatever else I'm reading.  I'm aiming for at least one book on the list a month.  That should still leave me room for the occasional horror novel, friend recommended book, etc.  So here's a short list (duplicated from The Classics of Science Fiction) with just the top twenty five.  I've also compiled the list on Amazon listed as Classic Sci-Fi Mission 2011.






Demolished Man, The Bester, Alfred
More Than Human Sturgeon, Theodore
Dune Herbert, Frank
Foundation Trilogy, The Asimov, Isaac
Canticle for Leibowitz, A Miller, Walter M.
Stand on Zanzibar Brunner, John
Left Hand of Darkness, The Le Guin, Ursula K.
Time Machine, The Wells, H. G.
War of the Worlds, The Wells, H. G.
Childhood's End Clarke, Arthur C.
Martian Chronicles, The Bradbury, Ray
Space Merchants, The Pohl & Kornbluth
Stars My Destination, The Bester, Alfred
Ringworld Niven, Larry
Dispossesed, The Le Guin, Ursula K.
1984 Orwell, George
City Simak, Clifford
Mission of Gravity Clement, Hal
Man in the High Castle, The Dick, Philip K.
Brave New World Huxley, Aldous
City and the Stars, The Clarke, Arthur C.
Stranger in a Strange Land Heinlein, Robert A.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Farmer, Philip Jose
Rendezvous with Rama Clarke, Arthur C.
Forever War, The Haldeman, Joe

Anyone wanna read along? I just ordered the first two books on Amazon and they should be in by next week! :D

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Colorado Christmas

christmas2010__122510_0119bchristmas2010_02The holiday season is gone and it's a whole new year. We had a pretty good Christmas. We decided to surprise the kids with a road trip to Colorado. I'd been talking for years how I always wanted the kiddos to experience a real white Christmas. Yeah, it snowed in Houston that one year, but it didn't really give us that full experience I grew up with. Snow-covered houses, sledding on the hill in my backyard, building snow forts for snowball fights, etc. Playing Laser Tag in the snow pretty much sucked though. The damn laser would bounce off the snow nevermind try getting the straps on and off with gloved hands and a snowsuit.

20101220_gardenofthegods_0156gardenofthegods_083aAs it turns out, we decided to go during a record-breaking warm December and drove in during hurricane winds. The next morning we were greeted by news stories how the winds blew roofs off homes and semi trucks off the road. For the most part, we all slept through it except Lana who just gave us that look. She was the lucky one who got to drive through it while the rest of us napped. Needless to say, there was no snow on the ground. So we enjoyed the local surroundings without the snow. We took in the local cuisine, we climbed rocks, and we eventually found our snow. There was even a small adventure involving a trip to a small place called Hartsel where we had some awesome tamales.

gardenofthegods_102aberthoundstop18We had to drive a few hours out, resupply at a local goodwill for proper snowsuits and gloves, and take the scariest drive up winding mountain roads, but we found it.

Our original destination was Frasier Tubing Hill. We set out on our mountain trek through the scariest and most breathtaking mountain drive in the afternoon but didn't get close to our destination until late. Then I managed to take a wrong turn somewhere around the rest stop where we played in the snow. I ended up on some lonely road winding up the mountain just beyond the locked down mine. The truck started sliding down the road when we all decided this was not a good idea. Thankfully Helen was paying attention and realized I missed my turn so we decided to try one more time to find the place.

The lil girl dragged me up the lift every time. She would loo... on TwitpicWhen we got close to the place, we saw the most amazing thing. It was a massive hillside covered in snow, divided into half a dozen sledding lanes. The best part? A conveyor belt took you to the top. We immediately turned in and decided this was the place. Turns out we were at Colorado Adventure Park. We hit the hills until the park closed. The little girl and I went down the hill together and she almost made it to closing time. She would point to the hill she wanted to hit next, I'd drag her in the tube to the conveyor and she'd drag me to the top as she ran her way up again.

Overall, I have to say it was a pretty amazing trip. We played most of the trip by ear as far as schedule went once we got there, but that's how we roll. We have more fun that way and get to enjoy stuff we would have completely missed out. I'm pretty sure the kids walked away with some really great memories. I know I did and I'm really looking forward to going back.

Still reading? How bout some more pictures of our Colorado trip and a crazy video of Livie and me going down the hill?

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to play in the garage. It's time for attempt No.2 on the wooden ocarinas. :D

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post Turkey

sanatonio_mitierra05sanatonio_mitierra07Lana recently did a Passion Party out in San Antonio for some friends and came back telling us about the most awesome Mexican food restaurant she'd been to in a while. So, spur of the moment, we decided to load up the kids and head out for a day or two. Marcel was out for Thanksgiving break so there was no "Please excuse Marcel's absence..." note to write.

The food was incredible and the atmosphere was just as good. If you've never been to Mi Tierra, you should stop in next time your in San Antonio. They even have Menudo on the menu - at any time. I didn't try it, but I will next time. When you walk in the first thing that hits you is the smell from the bakery. Then you notice the crazy stuff hanging from the ceiling in waves of streamers, tinsel and color. The mariachis playing in the background only add to the festive and welcoming atmosphere. I loved it. I can't wait to go back. We stuffed ourselves on tamales, Guacamole, Spanish Rice and Refried Beans. We skipped desert only because we planned on hitting the bakery on the way out. We took tamales to go for breakfast. Don't judge, be jealous.

The wall photo? I took a picture of it because it looked so much like my grandfather and I really wanted my Dad to see it. Am I crazy Dad or does that look like him??

sanatoniozoo_0102sanatoniozoo_0053After devouring our breakfast of tamales, waffles and cookies, we headed out to the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. We had never been to it before and were more than awestruck at just how amazing the place was. We managed to get there just a few minutes after it opened and managed to see just about every exhibit before we left. We were honestly a little bit in awe at everything about the place. The staff was friendly, the paths were clean and shady. The animals themselves were in fine form with the chill in the morning air. My favorite part had to be the Lory Landing exhibit.

You walk into the exhibit and feed these beautiful parrots from Australia. Having been exposed to a parrot before, the little girl took a little coaxing to go in. She loved looking at them but didn't want them anywhere near her hands. These little parrots were anything but shy. They'd bully, squawk, and bite their way to anyone carrying a little cup of bird crack (a.k.a. Lori Nectar). They were quiet amusing. Except the dirty bird. Their was one weird bird who kept putting his nasty little tongue in my ear. His buddy was content to perch on my head but the dirty bird insisted on tonguing my ear now and then. There are pictures and I even posted a few of them in my Zoo in San Antonio set. We had a good time. So much so that by the time we walked out of the zoo we were animal'ed out and voted against our usual trip to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. With aching legs and grinding knees in one case, we hit the Japanese Tea Garden next door and grubbed down on some barbecue just down the street.

It was a great couple of days and the best part is nobody had to burn sick days, vacation days, or worry about being called in to work. I know my woman's job isn't always stress-free and as easy as she makes it look, but I'm grateful she rocks it out. She's damn cool and pretty funny in cause you didn't know that already. And she can probably take you in a fight. :D

With turkey day gone now, it's time to get back to our Jiu-Jitsu and walking to work off all the thousands of excess calories I consumed at Calvin's and Louan's place. I think I'll kill the ham they were nice enough to let us take home first though while I wait for Marcel to get off the Xbox. I need to beef up my Modern Warfare killin skills so he won't laugh at me anymore.