Limosnero y con garrote?

Beggar with a stick?

Even though I am perfectly capable of defending myself I do not like to fight people. Martial arts have helped me realize that real power comes not from becoming stronger but from knowing how to control your strength. It has been a while since I even considered using force, but a beggar today almost made me react with violence.

After having a wonderful lunch with some friends at the Colombian restaurant some of us decided to head downtown KCMO to take some pictures. The day was gorgeous, warm but with a wonderful breeze. The buildings looked awesome because of the clear sky above. We were joking around, having a great time when someone approached us.

I am used to beggars. I spent six months working downtown Chicago and during that time encountered many. Only once before had I had any issues with a bum. One night out with some of my motorcycle friends did a beggar actually tried to start something. He was not very bright, six guys with their motorcycles to protect from being tipped over by an excited beggar, yea, that could have turned pretty ugly. However, that day one of my friends decided to just talk the guy out of harassing us for money and actually ended up getting a free pen from the guy. Not sure if it was my friend’s talk or that he saw that more and more dudes were getting off their motorcycles and surrounding him.

I have the feeling that the guy that approached us was more of a mugger than a beggar, but he just did not get the chance. He was working with at least two other people but I did not know that when he first approached us. As he approached us he made his first mistake, he insulted the Cubs by saying that I should burn my T-shirt. I know that beggars that really want your sympathy are going to lie and say they love your team no matter what shirt you have on. That made my brain go into alert mode, this might not just be a beggar but someone trying to maybe grab our camera and run for it. If he would have known that both of the guys there had just played soccer earlier during the day and we were spent maybe he would have tried.

He asked for 90 cents but his story for needing it was just to discombobulated to even remember. I said we had no cash, which was true, and proceeded to tell him sorry. I was with 3 other people, two of them being woman. I am very protective and I was ready to push him away if he tried to touch any of us. Lucky for him, he decided to keep walking. The other guy with us is 6’2″ and can bench press my weight with no problem. I kept an eye on the guy as he walked away and we continued our walk. I started to look around to see if there was other people but the street was pretty empty. During our time downtown we had see a couple of cops on segways but they were not on sight now.

While I was looking around me the guy had just scored a dollar from someone else he asked for money. At that point he has no reason to comeback with us if basic math is part of his begging logic. Then I notice the two other people working with him. There is a girl sitting on some steps outside of one of the buildings and a younger kid. I eventually see them all talking.

We had already decided to go home to catch a TV show and we started to head for the car. I kept on checking the street and seeing what was going on all around. I was very surprised when I saw the guy following and picking up his speed. I told the group to keep going and move. We were one street away from the car and the guy was going to catch up right as we crossed the street.

I stayed two steps behind and waited for him. I was ready to hurt the guy at this point. I knew that the people I was with would have enough time to get to the car if I held the guy there. Lucky he did not come near me but he did ask for 64 cents. I told him you already got a dollar so just move along. He mumbled something under his breath and I yelled, just leave us alone.

I crossed the street and waited for everyone to get in the car while I waited on the corner making sure nobody was coming our way. I got into the car and we took off.

I had people that I felt needed to be protected and I was ready to do so. I know that it is not the smartest thing to confront people like that, but I was left with no choice having no money to give. I was ready to inflict harm on someone else and I do not like that feeling. Even thought I knew what I was going to have to do, I was not looking forward to it. I am glad that guy decided just to keep on going instead of starting some kind of confrontation.

Posted in KC

Wizard Lv 75 Geek +5

I attempted to play D&D once with Aaron, but coming up with a character took too long that by the time we were going to start playing we were all too drunk, come to think of it we were already drunk when we started LOL. He is the only DM I know personally and I have always made fun of the whole D&D crowd thinking I am a Computer Nerd with coolness +5 because I know how to drag knee on a motorcycle and can accidentally wheelie, danger + 10 I can probably enter a TKD tourney and with a couple of months training do fairly good.

Daniel’s visit has sparked my curiosity for role playing games. He plays with a group of his friends and I find it very cool, he even has his own geek bag. I am not a jealous person, but I really think it would be cool to either start a group or get into one. It would be nice to tell Daniel to bring his geek bag so we can get our RPG on. Then Filegirl posted about Rodney playing with his friends, while kind of trashing geeks and their possessive girlfriends*, and she kind of made me start looking for a local group of nerds to play with or create my own.

I have a group of local anime geeks with who we meet regularly to watch anime and just chat. Some of them have become friends and we hang out whenever we get a chance. Most of them are female and they do have an RPG game going, but they are all girls and I am not about to create a Vampire in Drag to play with them (kind of exaggerating.) They have their own group and I am sure they would welcome me, but its more of a girls lusting over cute boys kind of thing.

I kind of wish I could game with the group Daniel does. They sometimes use a Firefly inspired game, which I think would be awesome to play, but I think it is mostly because I have fun talking to Daniel and hanging out would be cool. I used to play poker with my college buddies after we graduated but it went from two times a month to two times every month to not happening at all. I do enjoy poker, but I think RPG’s would be more fun… I am a programmer so calculations and logic are always being stimulated, the fantasy part not so much unless I am reading.

So here is my cry for local geeks to start (or let me join) an RPG group. Maybe it is time to go check out meet up dot com.

* Maybe I should check with the wife before going on the quest! LOL

Fast slow pace

My Mom and her boyfriend were here this weekend. We picked them up and the airport and went for breakfast to IHOP. Immediately my Mom noticed how slow paced the life is here compared to Chicago. We did a lot of touring around KC downtown, the Liberty Memorial, The Plaza, The Zona Rosa, The Casinos… it was a weekend getaway for them that went too fast.

Growing up in Cali, Colombia, I was used to living in a big city where the pace of life was faster than a rural area but not quite a huge metropolis like Chicago. Living my high school and college years in Chicago made me learn about being stuck in rush hour traffic for hours and sitting on a car just listening to the radio. It also taught me that people don’t have any “time to waste” and can be always on the run.

Then I lived in Midland, Michigan for 3 years and the life pace there was somewhere between turtle and snail. Even though I tried to make the best of it, there was not much to do unless you loved the outdoors. When someone goes to visit there, the tour of the city lasted all of 10 minutes and you would have seen pretty much everything. The biggest man made structure was probably the mall. Even when going to Detroit, it was depressing to see how much of the city is just run down.

Kansas City is not as big as Chicago, but it has all of the convenience. Great food, great art, great places to go. When wanting to go to a Casino, even thought I don’t like gambling, there are 4 all less than 30 minutes away. When wanting some great food, there are ethnic restaurants Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean, Hawaiian, Mexican all inside of a 10 mile radius. Make that 30 miles and you can find pretty much any kind of food you want.

The comedy club here is not attached to an arcade/bar/club/laser tag place. The comedians we have seen here have been great. There are 100 movie screens less than 20 minutes away. And if shopping is your thing, we have a mall about 10 minutes away and every single other store you can think of less than 20 minutes from here.

As far as Colombian products, even the local store has some of the basic stuff like Milo (Chocolate), Maizena (Corn flour) and I can get better produce here than I did back in Chicago, at least good plantains and yuca are sold in the local neighborhood store. Panera has awesome bread and even the local walmart has killer bagels.

I love Chicago, but the pace of life there is just a little too hectic for me, I love slow place but not quite country living. I think in Kansas City I have found the happy middle ground that I was looking for. We are not sure if we will live here forever, moving back to Colombia some day is still an option, but for now I think we are going to call Kansas City our home for quite some time.

KC vs Chitown Round One

You would think that KC cannot even begin to compete with the city of Chicago on any level, but it is actually growing on me every single day. Even though I have many great friends living in Chicago and still love this city, KC has a certain charm that Chicago is having a hard time matching.

One of my biggest complaints about Chicago is traffic. I have disliked not commute times as much as sitting inside car in stop and go traffic. I have a less than 5 minute commute now, but even if it was 45 I would not mind driving here because traffic does flow. There is nothing more infuriating that having and ever changing commute every day that can take you 45 minutes one day and 2 hours the next.

Road construction in Chicago seems to be another headache that can back up traffic for ridiculous times, and it is also present here in KC, and what is worse is that the alternate routes are either already slow by congestion or just simply not a smart idea because of safety. KC seems to keep up with their growth and expand their highways accordingly, Chicago just simply cannot keep up. Every single highway expansion I have seen there seems to be about 10 years late.

Tollways are the other annoyance that Chicago presents. Even though not all highways are pay to drive ones, some of the main ones coming in and out of the city are. The worse part is that someone from out of town pays double for not having an Ipass (a little box that automatically deducts the fee from a preloaded account.)

Even though I am comparing cities in two different “weight” classes, and the judging is highly subjective (maybe I can do a stats one next), I think that round one goes to KC. I think it is going to be a great fight and I still don`t know who is going to win. So how does your city come out if they join the fight?