Random haiku

Surfing the 'net, I was inspired to try haiku.

Charge in to attack
Tori sees, moves my center
Gracefully, I fall

Rotten tomatoes welcome.

Wednesday Night at the Dojo 11/29

Aikidokas: Tim, John, Keith, Oliver, and Joey.

Ukemi: A little work on a new roll: rotator. At least thats what I'll call it. Stand facing a near wall, go up on your toes and rotate on them so that you're now facing the opposite wall. Now you just take a nice forward roll. I did one decent one on the right side, a bomb on the left, and then a not so great one on the right. Practice, practice, practice. Gonna have to work on these, they're not intuitive.

The Walk: as usual. Facing into a circle this time. Then, at Sensei Raymond's suggestion we did another round of the Walk, left side only. That wasn't too bad until we got to the parts that, after doing only half of that movement, had us facing 180 deg from starting position. That was weird.

Big falls went ok. The one that everyone liked, technically, is the one that was least comfortable to me.

Releases: Worked with John. Some tweaking on 7th release


Worked with John on 6-10, right side only.

Sensei Raymond had some improvements on Oshi-taoshi for me: move like a scared rabbit when you have the final upright kazushi on uke.

Ude-gaeshi was ok, need to look out for uke's minions while exerting control over uke.

My first attempt on Ude-hineri for a night seems to result in me not getting the first off-balance.

Waki-gatame needs to have uke's elbow going through the space between his shoulder and his ear for folks my size and smaller. I attempted to get more off-line for John after being uke for Keith on this technique in the past. Apparently, the height relation between John and I is within the nominal working range.

Did a test run of Kote-hineri and it went ok. I can't remember the entry this morning. That's the main difference between it and Oshi-taoshi.

Spent the rest of the evening on Kote-gaeshi. My main problem, as far as I'm concerned, is the entry footwork. The off foot needs to circle behind the anchor foot and then extend down the line of uke's momentum. Short-changing that motion eliminates any chance at kazushi. I did manage to throw John on it once and came close, by his admission, several times.

Watched Keith work with John on Kote-gaeshi. I was concentrating on his footwork and it appears he has some of the same issues.

Aftermath: No new pains from this session. Ankle is still bruised and swollen.

Dojo looks properly festive for the season.

There's a possibility we may try to be a stop on a Japanese Sensei's potential U.S. tour. That would be fabulous if the stars align for it to happen. More on this I will not say.


Monday Night at the Dojo 11/27

No aikido.

Instead, we spent the evening getting the dojo ready for the Christmas season. Garland, lights, decorations ad whatnot all spread about the joint.

Some of the stuff is hanging in John's way and, since he's blind, he'll be running into it and possibly making rude comments about it. ;)

It looked pretty good when I left and that was with most folks still working on it.

Aftermath: Ankle is still sore and bruised. It actually hurts to tie the laces of my normal shoes on that foot as the tongue presses down on the bruise. I must have really whacked it good.


Saturday at the Dojo 11/25

Aikidokas: Tim, Keith, Robert, Oliver and Joey.

Ukemi: Ankle is still not happy, so no cross-legged ukemi. Other than that, ok

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with Oliver. He's working at making his attacks more obvious and I'm still late. Sheesh.


Worked with Oliver. I ran through 6-10. Got lots of tweaks on #9 for the eye flash. Got some tweaks on the wrist lock for #7. Overall went pretty well.

Uked for Oliver on #6. Spent some time allowing him to get used to someone of my height.

Uked for Keith on #6 in an extra-curricular session. It's really not a technique likely to be used on an uke of substantially greater height.

Aftermath: Bruised and swollen ankle. V. pretty bruise.


A&M won

We beat t.u.! 'nuff said.

Close game. I lost a bet on the outcome, and boy am I glad I did. No BCS for tu.


Turkey day

At my mom's. My sister and her family, with the niece's fiance. Kim's parents and Keith and Sheila from the dojo, as well.

Cornish hens, spinach casserole, sweet potatoes, dressing, etc. Pumpkin, pecan and fudge pecan pies.

My fudge pecan pie was a little runny. I don't know if it needed to cook more or if the extra butter I added made that much of a difference.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 11/22

Aikidokas: Tim, John, Raj, Keith, Oliver, Sheila and Joey. 4 Dan grade, 4 Kyu grade.

Ukemi: A little work on the new rolls. Messed up one of them somehow and have a nice 4"x4" bruise on my left ankle to show for it. I was doing a cross-legged roll to the left and my ankles slammed into each other as I was going over. Ouch.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with John.


Worked with John on 6-10. Worked with Oliver on Shihonage. His knees were a little off, so I said throwing me from vertical was ok instead of ending up in the wrist control posture.

Aftermath: Bruised and swollen ankle.


Monday Night at the Dojo 11/20

Attendees: Raymond, Randy, John, Keith, Robert (yay!), Sheila, and Kim.

Ukemi: Worked on adding more varieties to my repertoire. Still haven't added what I call the pivot rolls. Need to do that soon. No big falls tonight. I just need to find some open mat time and just work on rolls. Rest a bit after I ding a shoulder and do some more.

The Walk: as usual. Got called on by John to do the counting. He called out "Zrubek". I responded with: "There are two of us. Which one?"

Releases: Worked with John. We got through his releases and he wanted to go on to whatever was next. I had to remind him that I hadn't had a chance to practice mine yet. :D

Randy asked Raymond to come out and teach a little hand randori. So, we spent an hour working through some rules for randori: never more than two consecutive steps along the same line, if you're caught try a release motion, and a couple more I've forgotten.

I worked with Randy all evening, feeling pretty incompetent. My brain wasn't all there.

Aftermath: Kim and I stayed a little bit to apply some Killz to the sheetrock repair she did on Saturday.

Also, a couple of months back I didn't just tweak Keith's shoulder, I cranked, wrenched or destroyed it. I'm not sure what I did to it, but he's not happy with the description of tweak, so I will overstate the case here.

We also turned the heat on for the first time this winter in the dojo. It was down to freezing overnight and the added warmth was welcome.

Aftermath: Took naproxen sodium as a precaution.


Saturday at the Dojo 11/18

No aikido, but the semi-occasional dojo cleanup.

It started around 9 am. I wasn't able to get there at that time as I was babysitting to roofers at home. Kim was able to get there and managed to complete some sheetrock repairs that needed to be done after some plumbing issues were resolved.

Mat repairs were abundant. Lots of nick and cuts in the top of the mat that needed to be sealed so that they don't turn into rips and tears.

Washing, scrubbing, tidying, organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day reaching toward the 20'-ish ceiling trying to sweep away the spider webs. I also climbed on the roof of the bathroom to sweep and clean up there.

We called it a day around 5pm. The dojo looks better than it has in years, according to Sensei. And it's a little more insulated.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 11/15

Aikidokas: Tim, Keith, Oliver, Sheila and Joey.

Ukemi: No real issues. A little more work on the new rolls. Big falls went fine.

The Walk: as usual. Did a partial run-through with Joey and Sheila to give Joey more reps.

Releases: Worked with Keith. I was using a lot of power this evening. Maybe a holdover from last night's volleyball?


Worked with Keith on 6-10 and then 1-5. Hiki-taoshi needs to have a little better entry. Gedan-ate as well. Did some tweaking on Ushiro-ate. Avoided mucking up his shoulder on Ude-gaeshi.

Aftermath: Nothing major. Took pictures of sheetrock work to do at this weekend's dojo cleanup.


Volleyball season done.

Well, we lost 2 out of 3 against the number one team this week. They even brought in a player from past seasons who is a big hitter. They only had 5 players though.

I did ok. Took a spike right in the left eye. Left my arms too far apart on a block. I had a couple of nice blocks, a couple of nice spikes.

Next season doesn't start until February. I might fill the time until then with aikido. Just have to see what happens.


Monday Night at the Dojo 11/13

Attendees: Randy, Keith, Oliver, Sheila, and Kim.

Ukemi: Worked on adding more varieties to my repertoire. Minor ping on one shoulder that had no lasting effect.

I'm still looking for ukemi bipolar meds.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with Oliver. As usual I had a tough time figuring out when he's moving.

Techniques: Ran through 1-10 with Oliver.

Aigamae-ate: A little late on hip switch.

Gedan-ate: Stay controlled. Don't rush.

Oshi-taoshi: No grabbing. Push.

After working on techniques we did some "chicken-in-the-middle." At least, that's what I call it. Tori stands in the center of the mat and everyone else on the mat gets to randomly choose to be uke. Only one uke at a time, but a second uke can start an attack as soon as the first uke has broken ma'ai.

The goal of uke is to tap tori on the head. The goal of tori is to not let uke tap him on the head and to disrupt as many attacks as possible by redirecting uke or executing a technique on uke.

Aftermath: Took naproxen sodium as a precaution.


Houston Open Judo Tournament

Occurred this past weekend.

I'd been in training for scorekeeping, so I was scheduled to help. I was also scheduled to move mats from Pasadena up to Conroe so that the players would have something kind of soft to fall onto.

I managed to get out of work early Friday by working later on Tuesday. I got to my dojo around noon and waited for the guy whose trailer I'd be using to show up. I think it showed up around 1. Hooked up the trailer and took off to Pasadena. Sensei Raymond and Oliver ran some errands on the way to Pasadena, so I got there early and waited for folks to arrive so we could get into the dojo and start loading.

Loading didn't take too long and then it was time to hit the road with a well-weighted truck and trailer. My truck didn't particularly like the extra weight, but it managed to pull it. If I got the speed up to 60 mph, the whole combination got a little unsteady. Travelling at 55mph was good though. The amount of room I needed for braking was a little scary though. Fools would cut in front of me and start braking. There were a couple of close calls on the way up. Oliver rode up with me. He was mostly just baggage. :) He caught up on some sleep.

The directions I'd written down for the convention center were a little sketchy, so we had fun driving around Conroe, eventually finding the spot. We dropped off the trailer. Oliver then joined Sensei for the drive to College Station to pick up more mats for use in the tournament.

I went over to the hotel and stated helping with registration. Kim joined me shortly thereafter. We were up until around 11 working registration. We set our wake-up call for 4:30 am so we could help set up mats and set up registration at the convention center.

After that, the tournament began. I chose the less exciting of the two mats to work. I worked the juniors and masters. The seniors had a lot more cheering and near-injuries.

My mat did have one guy pass out from a choke hold, one near pass out and one who had too bloody of a nose to continue.

I think the matches wrapped up around 5pm. My truck was loaded and on the road by 6. I made to Champion Judo around 7pm. We unloaded most of the mats there and then went to Buck's (Sensei for Champion Judo) to unload the rest. Made it to Clear Lake Aikido to drop off the trailer around 8 and then back home by 8:30.

In bed by 9. Up Sunday morning at 9, back to bed at noon. Up again at 3 and then back to bed at 7.

I think I may be caught up on sleep for this weekend and the previous weekend at WFC.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 11/8

Attendees: Tim, John, Keith, Oliver, Sheila and Joey.

Ukemi: No real issues. Need to expand my repertoire of rolls by a couple. Wish I'd known earlier.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with Keith and his brand spankin' new black belt. I need to use less muscle.


Worked with Keith and Oliver on 6, 8 and 10. Did some work at 1-step distance at Tim's suggestion.

Aftermath: General annoyance. Wasn't sure I'd be in a good mental state for the evening. It wasn't as bad as I was afraid it might be.


WFC 2006

I left for Austin Wednesday afternoon.

I planned my route so I could stop by Berdoll's pecan stand on the way up and pick up a supply of pecans for Christmas. I got there shortly before they closed and picked up 10 pounds of pecans: 5 lbs. halves, 5 lbs. pieces.

Arrived in Austin in time to check into the hotel and talk to my roommate for the weekend: John Picacio. We then went to Iron Cactus with guests and committee members for dinner. Ok Mexican food, but not great.

After that we assembled the Art Show panels. We didn't hang any art as it was too late and we weren't able to completely assemble the show. We had to allow passage for the Dealers to move their stuff and that required them to move through the art show space.

Thursday morning up bright and early for breakfast in the hotel and then to the art show. We did some hanging in the moorning and helped the artist's hang their art as well. I got to say hi to Gary Gianni, Charles Vess, Gregory Manchess, John Jude Palencar, Mark Rogers, David Deen, Thomas Bishop, Vincent Villafranca and a bunch of others.

Thursday afternoon I was making copies of some paperwork in Con Ops. I see one of the staff chatting with a lady who is clearly upset at the quality of the art show.

She states that she talked to someone associated with the con earlier in the year when she mas making a decision whether to attend WFC or NASFic(?). she had asked which art show was the better fantasy art show. The unknown person responded that WFC was far and away the better one for her interests.

The irate fan had arrived at the hotel, checked in, checked in to the convention and gone straight to the Art Show (her husband and not yet checked into the hotel for some reason). She was displeased with the preponderence of black and white items and with the large number of horror pieces. We attempted to tell her to give the show time as it had not been completely set up yet, but she was steadfast in her opinion.

She demanded her money back. She had planned her vacation for the express purpose of seeing a fabulous fantasy art show at WFC. Since she wasn't going to be able to do that, she wanted some compensation for her trouble. Unfortunately, policy beyond our control forbade us from giving a refund.

As far as I know she, and her husband, left to go home that afternoon and were not seen at the con again.

Art show stuff kept me busy for quite some time and I ended up going to Amy's ice cream for dinner at around 10 pm. Mexican Vanilla with strawberries as mix'ns. Gooooood.

I think I managed to stay up until around 2 am, somehow.

Friday morning had me at the art show around 9 to get it up and running with Kimm. the day passed in a blur of folks stopping by and handling bidding and whatnot. We closed up a little after 6 and I ran off for a solo dinner at Threadgill's. Shortly after I arrived, a bunch of dealerfolk took a big table nearby for dinner. I got out of there in short order and made it back in time for the mass autographing and reopening the art show for the artist's reception.

I managed to get most of the signatures I was after, but a couple did escape me. With the large number of authors and artists in attendance, it's not surprising.

The reception ended around 11 pm. I wondered the halls for a while (trying to avoid my hotel room because next door to it was the DelRey party) and stumbled across Sharon Shinn, Renee Babcock, and Gary Gianni in conversation. I joined them for another hour of fun chat. Ask Sharon about scurvy, swaying and sharonshinn. I dare you.

Up again too early on Saturday for breakfast where John and I were joined by Greg Manchess and Irene Gallo. Good company and good food. Who could ask for more?

The day went by in a blur of art show stuff. We had enough volunteers that I was able to get around the con and take pictures for the first time in a long time. However bidding did end today, so we had to handle the last minute stuff that that created. Some folks were flying out the next so they had to pay for and pick up their art. It didn't take too long. I was out of there by around 7, I think.

Dinner was a quick dash across the street to TGIFriday's. I had to get back and take pictures during the awards banquet.

The awards ceremony was great. Brad Denton had a fabulous intro. You really should have been there.

Sunday up again too early on Saturday for breakfast where John and I were joined by Greg Manchess and Irene Gallo. Good company and good food. Who could ask for more? Well we got more. Irene picked up the tab!

Final day of the con. Handle all transactions for people picking up art. Art show tear down. Dinner at County Line Bar-B-Q. Early to bed.

Monday morning up again early so I can get on the road by 9. Home around noon. Asleep by 1.

A fun con!

Pictures at: http://www.itmm.com/Conventions/WFC2006/

Volleyball. Sigh.

Well, we lost all 3 this week. :(

That said, we played decently, just not well enough to win.

It annoys me when teams bring in guys from other teams to fill out their roster for an evening. Ringers, as it were. We still probably would have lost if they hadn't had the ringers playing, but it's annoying.

Solidly in last place.