Lately some of the guys I train with have been telling me that I have become one of the guys. What this means in the shallowest context is that they will say things about girls who come in for the other classes or they will talk about their weekend shenanigans with no thought to edit it for a lady in the room. I roll my eyes and make sarcastic comments when they do it but I really don’t mind.
I don’t mind because I know it is their way of showing that they respect me and consider me one of them. One of my teammates told me “you’re one of us because you train like us”. It actually makes me really happy to hear them say things like that. I train like a maniac and it’s very hard for me because almost everyone I train with is stronger and bigger and sometimes it just sucks. So knowing that the guys see my hard work and respect me for it gives me the warm fuzzies. I am glad they don’t consider me to be different than them because we are all jiu-jitsu nuts at heart.
But I am different. Sometimes I can’t deny this. I often have my own changing room at the gyms I go to, that’s kind of nice. I don’t have to wear a cup which is both good and bad (the guys often use them as weapons!). I can’t wear a gi without anything underneath the jacket without causing controversy. These are basic differences we all know exist between men and women.
But I know I am not one of the guys when I roll too. It saddens me to admit that but it’s true. I know that sometimes the stronger guys have to completely hold back any use of strength in order not to just crush me and hold me down. I know that they often go to extra efforts to not put all their weight on me so I won’t get smashed. I know that for guys it is tricky to roll with girls sometimes and I really am appreciative of the guys who are not only willing but eager to train with me.
But as much as it is tricky for guys to roll with girls, it is equally tricky for girls to roll with guys. If a guy is using no strength on me than I don’t feel like I can use any on him and it just turns into a flow roll. On the other hand if a guy is using a ton of strength it is sometimes tricky to know whether it’s in my best interest to try to use strength back and thus encourage him to turn it up a notch or just go into defense mode and hope that I survive the round. And sometimes I can just feel my training partner’s lack of desire to be rolling with me, either because he is uncomfortable, afraid to hurt me or whatever reason and then it’s just an unpleasant roll for everyone.
This is not really a problem for me when I train at my gym because I know those guys so well and we are comfortable with each other, but I often go to other gyms to train and am faced with these awkward situations when rolling with new guys. I would like to point out that I am not complaining or trying to say these guys are jerks. I understand that it takes a tricky balance to roll with a girl when you are a big, strong dude and I really do appreciate any guy who will take the chance to train with me. But if you are a man who has ever had a difficult time trying to figure out how much strength and weight to use when rolling with a girl and find it to be somewhat puzzling, imagine being a girl who has to figure this out every roll!
So no matter how much I love rolling with the guys, it will always be different than rolling with girls. I know that they often have the capability to out-muscle me and escape techniques because of size and strength disparity. I have learned to handle strength much better and I know as I keep training and my technique gets better this won’t be as big an issue anymore but even when I can beat a strong guy with technique, he is still stronger and I have to adjust my style to handle that. The same goes for size. There are techniques to deal with someone bigger than you (isn’t BJJ supposed to be the small man’s defense?) but again you have to adjust your style of BJJ when fighting a big guy. How I roll with the guys will always be different than how I’d roll with girls who are closer to my size and strength.
While preparing for the NY Open I had the opportunity to train with women that I don’t typically train with. It made me realize how important training with women is, especially if you want to compete. It is a very different experience to be able to give 100% of your strength and technique to a roll and be able to handle your partner giving 100% back. Also it is so much easier to move around when your partner is closer to your size! The NY Open has come and gone but I have pledged to make it a priority to keep training with these women. I think that it is beneficial for us all plus it’s just really fun.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still love training with the guys. I will probably always train with guys more than girls, that’s just the nature of the sport. I also think that training with the guys is important for every woman, especially when you are training for self-defense. But if you are a woman and you want to compete, or you just want to know what it’s like not to be outsized and outstrengthed all the time, than I think it’s crucial for you to find other women to train with as well.
I enjoy my position as one of the guys at the gym. I earned it and I feel like I am one of them as well (you know from the training standpoint…boys are still hairy, smelly and gross). But I think now and then I just need to be one of the girls.
I’ve been talking a lot with a friend of mine recently about something that happened at her gym. She has recently switched gyms and started training at my former weekend school and has fallen in love with BJJ all over again. She always loved it and trained regularly but now she’s found a gym that’s a better fit for her. I am extremely happy about her switching gyms as well because we are part of the same team now and can train together. Her old gym used to be affiliated with a certain large organization which recently disbanded amidst a ton of scandal (I won’t name names) and they did not allow training outside of said large organization.
When she moved gyms there was also a surprising spike in new female membership. At the beginning of the year there were only two women at the gym, one who has a hectic schedule and does not get to train that often and me who only trained there on the weekends. First my friend joined and then three new girls shortly after her. We tripled the girls in a matter of weeks!
For those of you who are not familiar with what happens to an experienced woman at the gym when a new woman joins, let me explain. I have discussed before that when there are two women training, it is just assumed by everyone that they will drill with each other. It does not matter if one is more experienced or they are nowhere near the same size, they are both chicks and therefore expected to train together.
So as an experienced female grappler, when you see a new woman come in, you know your destiny in class for the foreseeable future. I will admit that sometimes this is frustrating. Sometimes you might want to drill a move with resistance or to roll hard but you are drilling with someone who requires more time and patience to get through class. I realize that both men and women have this experience and that we have all been the new, confused person in class who couldn’t figure out how everyone was locking up a figure 4 for the triangle. It is just that when the new person is a woman, if there is another woman who trains, she is going to spend the majority of her time with the new person in contrast to a new man who has multiple training partners to choose from.
But I really can’t complain too much about this. As women we are particularly invested in keeping the new girls in class. Many women are lucky to have even one other woman at their gym so when a new girl shows up, the excitement over a potential training partner is big. We are willing to invest our time and our training in this new person in the hopes that they will be a good training partner for us in the future.
When I first started at my weekend school, I would be paired with the other woman who trained there every time we were in class together. She has almost 3 years more experience than me and I would often feel bad that she was spending her training time with my spazzy, white-belt self. I said something about it to her one day and she told me that we always want to help our training partners no matter what but that particularly we want to help the women. She told me that she’d help me however she could and that one day I would hopefully be able to pay it forward. I remember this often and always try to be a mentor to the new women who start at our gym.
So back to the present. My friend found herself in the position of being the mentor to all the new girls at the gym because she is there more than any of the others (especially me since I had to stop training there). This was the first time she had been in this position as she trained with higher belts at her old gym. The girls all bonded quickly and would not only hang out in class but also regularly text, Facebook message and plan fun nights out.
Just a couple of weeks ago I asked her how it was going with the girls at the gym and I tried to gently warn her that there was a possibility they might not stick with it. Since I was part of the gym when they started, I am still in the loop somewhat and I was recognizing the signs of someone who was losing interest in training. I have seen many people come and go at my gym and sometimes you just know when someone is not going to stick with it.
Well not surprisingly she texted me Monday and told me that the girl had just informed her that she was quitting. My friend was really upset about it because she felt she had invested a lot of time to help her and now it had gone to waste. I completely understood her frustration. I have been there. Not only are you losing a potential training partner but you’ve just invested weeks, maybe months of your own training time trying to help this person out and it was all for nothing. I also think that as people who are absolutely obsessed with jiu-jitsu it’s just hard for us to understand why anyone would quit anyway…it’s the best thing in the world!
Is it a waste of our time trying to help the new girls if we don’t know if they’re going to stick with it? I can honestly say that I don’t regret any of the time I’ve spent with the new girls at my gym. I would encourage her, and any other woman, to keep doing the same thing. It’s always going to stink when someone you tried to help decides that BJJ is not for them and leaves. You are always going to be sad to lose a potential training partner and friend. But they are not always going to quit BJJ. Every now and then someone will stick with it and you will know that you were a large part of that.
So women, keep helping those new girls out. BJJ is hard for anyone who is new but particularly for women and having you there is going to be a big help for them. Hopefully you will get the privilege of seeing some of them stick with it and then pay it forward with other new girls. And I am not leaving you out here guys. If there is a new girl at the school, drill with her every now and then. It’s good for everyone to have a variety of drilling partners and friendliness from some of the guys might help her feel more comfortable. We all have some BJJ kindness to pay forward.
Well I am sure you are all waiting for an update on the NY Open. Was it my moment of triumph? Did I go down in defeat? Did I get so nervous that I was in the bathroom puking when they were calling my name and never made it to the mat? Read on to find out!
I drove to a training partner’s house early on Saturday morning and we went to NYC together. We got there early enough to watch a training partner go. He lost his first match by one point and then we had a lot of waiting left to do until our divisions (mine was still about 2 hours away, his was 5) so we settled in to watch the action.
As we were sitting there I was looking around the venue at the other girls who were most likely competing. I was surprised to find that instead of the usual panic and fear I feel when looking at potential opponents, I just felt mild curiosity. I have met so many BJJ people recently, including lots of girls, that I am learning not to feel intimidated by them. BJJ people are awesome, whether you are fighting them or not.
My coach arrived shortly after we settled in and came up to give us pep talks. We talked about game plans and being aggressive and fighting hard. All that good stuff. I was so paranoid about making weight that I kept checking my weight to figure out if I could eat or drink anything. Nothing would have been worse to me than doing all that hard work and then missing weight (I weighed in about 3 pounds under but was still paranoid until the last second).
It came close to time for my division so I headed down to the bullpen area and tried to do some warmups. I talked to my coach again, tried my best to settle in and then continued to try to figure out who was in my bracket. Again, I was surprised that I still didn’t feel the fear that I have become accustomed to at tournaments. I felt nervous and anxious but I wasn’t scared of the other girls (yes this is how I often feel at tournaments).
They started calling girls for my division and I knew I would be the first match because I was seeded first. I didn’t realize that we were going right then but whatever, better to get it over with. I think the nerves definitely ratcheted up a notch when I stepped on the mat. I forgot to shake the ref’s hand, I almost walked in at the wrong spot, I was a total mess. I was so concentrated on attacking her first, that I was antsy and ready to go.
Finally the match started. As soon as we bumped fists I moved and tried to see if I could go for the double. She got grips high right away so I knew it wasn’t there and moved on to my alternate plan of two handed lapel trip/throw thing (it’s hard to explain). I went for it and it sort of worked but not all the way so it ended up being more like a guard pull.
I don’t really remember how but she got to half guard and then passed to side control. Dammit. I hate side control. I hate side control more than any other position in jiu-jitsu. I will happily give someone my back instead just because I hate trying to get out from under side control. I managed to get my outside arm between her body and mine and I was going to hook her arm and shoot out from under her. I like this escape because I find it is easier to move myself than to move my partner off of me.
As I went for the escape she went for mount and I turned to my side and got up into turtle. I love turtle. It’s been my go-to defense for a while now. I am very comfortable there. Unfortunately for me, she seemed to be quite comfortable attacking from there. As I rolled up she followed close and tight, got a grip on my lapel and threw on one hell of a clock choke. I tried briefly to roll and push and get her off me but ultimately I could not and I had to tap.
I tapped. I lost. I spent months training for, dieting for and visualizing this moment. It was supposed to my moment of victory and I blew it. I stood there as they raised her hand, hugged my opponent and congratulated her and then walked off the mat feeling angry and defeated. My coach gave me my stuff and told me we’d talk in a few minutes. By now he knows I typically need some time to pull myself together after I lose a match.
I found an empty set of steps and sat there and sulked. I tried to think of what I had done wrong. I felt like I had probably panicked when she got that clock choke and I should have kept fighting through it. I thought about how my match had probably lasted a minute or less and how maybe this was the final sign I needed to show me that I am just not good enough to compete.
I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face and headed back to where my teammate was sitting. He told me good job and I told him I wasn’t quite ready to be ok about it. He understood and headed off to take a break (he had nicely sat there with everyone’s stuff while I competed). I sat there with my head hung low thinking about how awful I had did.
My coach came up to talk to me and started with “I know there is nothing I can say to make you feel better yet…” and I immediately started tearing up. I hate this. I am not a crier at all in everyday life but it seems like as soon as something goes wrong in BJJ, I turn into the stereotypical weeping woman. I feel bad that he has to deal with this but I think he is getting used to it by now.
I told him that I was upset because I felt like I had panicked and tapped and I know I can do better than that. He told me that he doesn’t care if we win or lose, he was happy that I executed the game plan (going right in and going for the takedown) and that I didn’t give up but kept trying to fight when I got in a bad position. He told me that I just got caught and that’s something you can’t really train for.
I told him I shouldn’t have panicked in the clock choke and should have kept fighting. He told me it looked pretty tight to him (my teammate backed this up when he returned). I sat there thinking about what he said. I thought about that clock choke. Although I am familiar with them and have drilled them and occasionally go for them myself, they are not something I see a ton of while training. Was my defeat due to something as simple as a lack of experience and not because I had messed up on some epic level?
In the end I have to accept that this is the case but I also know that I need to do some more hardcore training to get ready to compete. I also need to continue with my healthy diet because I think I am still a weight class over where I should be.
I ran into one of the coaches at my gym on Friday night when I was out getting supplies for Saturday at the grocery store. He asked me how I was feeling about the tournament and I told him I was ready. That I had trained harder than I ever had before and I felt I could win. He told me that no matter what happened that was training that would not go to waste. I keep telling myself that as I try to not let myself got bogged down in self-pity and doubt. I learned a lot in the last couple of months of training for this tournament and I have made significant progress since my last tournament in February when I basically panicked and shut down.
It is really hard not to feel awful about losing and I am dreading going in tonight and having to tell everyone about it but I am not ready to give up yet. I feel like there is a breakthrough coming and I just have to work hard and keep training and I’ll get there.
Ironically I ran into a friend of mine later in the evening and she told me I had a good match. I told her that no, I had done pretty awful. She said “hey you went out there, that’s more than most people will do”. I remembered my own words from Friday and smiled at her and said “you’re right”.
Finally it’s tomorrow, the NY Open! As I prepare for battle I have been thinking about competition a lot.
Probably anybody who has competed and lost has had a coach or training partner or friend tell them “it takes a lot of guts just to compete”. I have heard this after losing. I always figured it’s just something nice that people tell you when you’ve lost and they don’t know what else to say.
As I’ve been around competition and training more though I’ve realized that this is more than a consolatory phrase uttered to a defeated athlete who is wondering why they competed in the first place, it is the God’s honest truth. Competing in a jiu-jitsu tournament is about so much more than just fighting. You are going one on one with another person and putting yourself on display for all to see. The wear and tear on your psyche is far worse than what happens to your body (hopefully). Just the thought of doing this is so terrifying to some people that they will never step foot on a competition mat. Just by doing so you’ve won a battle that most people are afraid to fight.
One of the things that takes the most guts is going back to competition after a loss. I have seen more than a few guys at my gym go to their first competition with all the confidence and swagger that athletic people in their early 20s tend to have only to see their opponent’s hand raised at the end of the match. Later when the topic of another tournament comes up at the gym they say something along the lines of “I have to train more to be ready” or even the very honest “I don’t want to lose again”.
I hate to lose. When I do poorly in a tournament, I typically spend the next day moping on the couch, eating junk and thinking about why I keep doing this to myself and how I should just stop competing. Shortly after that I think about what I can learn from it. Then I drag my beaten, defeated body back to the gym and work to fix what went wrong at the tournament. It is always hard, especially that first day back when everyone wants to know how the tournament went, but I do it because I feel it’s the best way to improve.
I have worked everyday since my last tournament on improving my game. I have worked to be more aggressive, I have worked on my attitude and I have worked on my diet. I have spent most of every weekend tournament training, much of the time as the only girl fighting a bunch of big, scary dudes (that’s how I see them anyway).
I am ready to win tomorrow. I also know that it is possible I will not. No matter what if someone tells me afterwards that it takes a lot of guts just to compete I will smile and thank them because I know it’s true.
Before I start let me offer my apologies for the delay between posts. Between tournament training, a client going live last week and me being a procrastinator and waiting until the day before they were due to do my taxes, my life has been quite hectic and the last week.
I am in the final preparations for the NY Open on Saturday and am feeling relatively good. I have trained like a maniac, followed my diet and am doing a lot of visualization to try to work on my mental game. The NY Open has been my focus for so long that I am eager to go and put all my hard work to the test.
But as much as I am looking forward to it and trying to use visualization and doing my best to listen to my coach about negative thoughts, I can’t help having moments of doubt. When they creep up I try to tell them to go away and start focusing on positive things but sometimes they just grab hold.
Yesterday was one of those times. As we sometimes do when people are about to compete, we did matches in my gym yesterday at the end of open mat. My coach first paired me up with a blue belt guy. It went awful. I didn’t want to try takedowns because I thought I had little shot of getting him down so I pulled guard but apparently not that well. He was able to get to a standing half-guard, grab my arm and go for a kimura. With him being much stronger than me and in good position from my crappy guard pull, he got it pretty easily and my “match” was over in about 20 seconds (and I might be adding 10 to make myself sound better). Well that was just the ego crusher I did not need while getting ready to compete.
My next match I was paired up with another blue belt girl. As we were going for position on our feet, she accidentally poked me in the eye. It hurt. I told my coach that I needed a minute and tended to my eye the best I could but they had (thankfully) moved on by the time I returned.
So I sat there watching the rest of the matches and cheering and offering advice when I could. After class I went to gather my stuff and sat on the bench, feeling defeated and beat up, exactly the opposite of how I should be feeling going into a competition.
I left the gym and the second the wind hit my eye it got extremely painful and watered like a fountain. I managed to get myself home, driving with only one good eye and running from the parking lot to my house to minimize the wind exposure in my eye. After I got in and cleaned up, I was sitting on the couch trying to mop up the water running out of my eye and feeling sorry for myself.
A BJJ friend of mine had texted me about something earlier and I answered her back and mentioned that I was having a bad BJJ night (anyone who trains gets this). She asked me what was up and I told her of my awful night and how I was feeling not so great about my BJJ just then.
She basically then did exactly what I needed and told me to snap out of it. She told me how much she likes training with me because of my drive, technique, strength and movement and that it was time I believed in myself because I was too good to have doubts.
I really appreciated the kind words and encouragement right when I needed it. This situation is sort of the epitome of the BJJ experience. I felt defeated and was feeling doubts about my ability to continue fighting and an awesome teammate was there to remind me that I needed to get over it and keep fighting.
Everyone has doubts about their jiu-jitsu whether they compete or not. What matters is how you respond. Do you back down and listen to that voice telling you that you are no good or do you stand up and fight? So as I am once again sitting on my coach dealing with a watery eye (saw the Dr. this morning after a rough night…just a scratch!), I am eagerly awaiting tonight’s class and matches. Today is a new fight and I plan to bring everything I have to the mat tonight.
I am deeply ensconced in preparation for the NY Open on April 20th. I have talked a lot about working on my mental game, which I am still doing, but I am also working on being very aggressive when rolling. I had an “aha” moment on Friday when training at a friend’s gym. I was rolling with people I hadn’t met before and I guess I reverted to a more passive, defensive game. It is something I didn’t even realize I was doing. I was about to roll for a second time with a white belt guy and he asked me “did you go easy on me before?”. Without thinking I told him I had not (I didn’t do anything consciously anyway) and he said “oh I just expected worse when I saw your blue belt”.
Now obviously this peeved me off a little bit. I thought “well if he wants more, I’ll give him more” and after we bumped fists I just attacked. I submitted him twice in the six minute roll. I took this attitude into the next couple of rolls and had similar success (they were all white belts but bigger than me…so it’s ok to beat them up!).
I tried to keep this killer mentality going into training on Sunday and it worked out very well for me. I even got some compliments from the guys (my favorite being one of the guys asking me “do you have a key for this lock?” in reference to his inability to break my guard…he said it was harder to break than some of the men’s!). I thought about my good weekend of training afterwards and I realized that getting in touch with my anger on Friday had really helped me roll aggressively.
I was very excited to take this new attitude into training last night and when class ended and open mat began, I eagerly prepared to roll. I rolled with my brown belt instructor first. No amount of aggression was going to help me there, he is just way too good. Next I rolled with another blue belt girl. I told her beforehand that I was in tournament mode and trying to be aggressive so to let me know if she wanted me to take it down a notch. She was a good sport while we rolled but I accidentally kneed her in the head once and I think I hit her in the face at some point and who knows what other nasty stuff I did that I didn’t catch or she didn’t mention. I rolled with one of the guys also competing in the NY Open next and similarly managed to hit him in the face a few times as well.
I think this is a large reason why getting in touch with my aggression is so hard. I was feeling like a badass going into class yesterday, ready to fight the world. After class I felt like a bully. I had beaten up on a teammate who weighs 25-30 pounds less than me and who is not training for a tournament and then I continued the trend in my next roll.
I got to thinking about this and why I felt so guilty after yesterday’s class and not after Friday or Sunday’s training. I think the difference is that these people are my regular training partners and my friends. I don’t want to hit my friends in the face (well most of them anyway). I didn’t really know any of the guys on Friday and Sunday we were training for a tournament so the expectation was we were going to go hard.
It got me thinking about what it means to be a good training partner. I am training for a tournament but the majority of people in the gym are not. Is it fair for me to be in tournament mode when I fight them? If you read any blogs or articles about annoying training partners, one of the top complaints is someone who goes ridiculously hard when rolling. I myself have complained about it!
But in this case I am training for a tournament. Am I being a jerk by going that hard when it is in preparation for a tournament in less than two weeks? Does being a good training partner also mean that you should be willing to go really hard for a while to help a teammate get ready?
I don’t want to let my desire to be nice and my guilt get in the way of my aggression, particularly when I can see what a difference it is making, but I also don’t want people to hate rolling with me. I guess the best solution for now is to roll with guys who are also getting ready to compete and to tell people to let me know if I am making them uncomfortable. I just figured out how to let me inner badass out and I cannot let her out of my site until after the tournament!
Sorry again for the long delay in posts. I had a nasty cold come on Sunday and then had to go to a technology conference for work Tuesday and Wednesday which meant I was not training for a couple of days and not in front of a computer thus I had little to write about and no opportunity to do so.
Further impeding my ability to blog was an assignment given to me by my coach. I had a somewhat difficult weekend of tournament training (I go to other schools on Friday and Sunday for tournament training which means we go very hard) and was not feeling so great about my jits by the end of Sunday. During one of my matches the stripe on my belt (I am a one stripe blue belt) came off on the mat and I made a joke about how it had abandoned my belt in shame after my poor performance.
As I said I was not feeling great about my BJJ after Sunday’s training but this is not something that is unusual for me so I continued with business as usual and went about my day afterward. While hanging at my parent’s later in the day (as you recall it was Easter), I got a text from my coach. He told me that he really liked how I have been pushing myself and he saw some big improvements but he did not want to hear me say anything negative about my skills before the NY Open on the 20th.
At first I thought he was overreacting, I just made one little joke! But then I really thought about it and realized that he was right (as he usually is). I thought about the little things I was doing and saying all day that showed that I did not think I had any game. Not only was this obviously apparent to everyone around me–my coach was able to pick up on it despite pretty limited direct interaction–but it most likely affected my training as well.
I have myself noticed lately (and even blogged about it!) that when rolling if I think positively it really helps my game. Lately when I start to feel down about my game or doubt starts to creep in I think about the quote from Henry Ford “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right” (I have seen various versions of t this quote and am not sure which is correct but you get the idea).
So I thanked my coach and told him I was only joking but I did feel very flat that day (probably because a monster cold was invading my body) but I had made myself push through and was happy I had done at least that. He then told me that he was very serious about me not saying anything negative before the tournament and that I would see a big change if I followed his advice.
So I am doing what my coach says and it is very hard. A huge part of BJJ is mental. I think everyone at some point in time has thought that they are the most untalented person to step foot on a mat and they should just give up because clearly BJJ was not meant for them. Moving past this self-doubt is probably a huge part of advancing.
So although I know that there are things I need to work on, I’m only going to focus on the positive for the next couple of weeks and hopefully go into the open ready to take on the world. In the interest of being positive I am going to make a list of things I think I am good at in BJJ. They are, in no particular order:
- Shoulder pressure – I have the nastiest shoulder in my gym, it is just the right size and shape to choke people.
- Chokes – my choke game is tight.
- Half-guard passes – I always manage to get into half-guard and thus have much practice with this.
- Holding guard – Being smaller and weaker than everyone means I have had a lot of opportunity to work my guard and it is super hard for even the boys to break it.
- I am tough – You have to be when you are a girl who trains with men 95% of the time.
- Back escapes – I very rarely get choked out from the back.
- Turtle – I can flatten myself into the shape of a rock if needed.
Wow that was a longer list than I envisioned it being when I started it. So see? I am good at more than I would typically give myself credit for. I am going to focus on this list and try to get myself into these positions where I feel I can dominate.
And now because I referenced it in the title and because it’s Friday and because you cannot hear this song and not smile, here you go…enjoy!
I had a cold and have been at a conference for work the last few days. I promise to post something worthwhile soon. I will try my best to make it extra witty and insightful so it is worth the wait.