At the movies

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World : 4

I think I've seen it before, so I have to give it a 4 since I enjoyed it this time, too.

Good sea battles, a nice storm. What more could you want? A good looking lady? Yep. But it's a sea story from the 1800's, so you're not likely to get one.

At the movies

Girl with a Pearl Earring: 3

Scarlett Johansson in a movie about the Dutch painter Vermeer. It kept me involved until about the time Griet was assaulted. It seemed to lose its way at that point. Or else I was exceptionally annoyed that nothing was done to the assaulter, but I doubt it.

At the movies

Fantastic 4: 3

A fun movie even though Dr. Doom was a very 2-D villain. Not much character background.mov

At the movies

Alexander (Director's Cut): 2

Big epic. Looks like ones from the 50's. Oliver Stone fails on this one. I stopped caring somewhere along the way.

At the movies

The Day After Tomorrow: 2

Hokey Science Fiction. Not great acting. Decent special effects.

At the movies

Tears of the Sun: 2

A Bruce Willis vehicle. Not a tremendously good one either. Bruce Willis does Special Ops in Africa. There's one shot with which the director tries to get character growth. That's it.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 8/22: Ouch

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim

Ukemi: Decent. Big Falls were a little off tonight.

The walk: as usual.

Releases: as usual


We spent some time going through the modified curriculum. Things went well until we go to kote-gaeshi. We did some attempts with me as tori. We then tried some with me as uke. I thought I might be able to strike tori with my off hand and mentioned that I would be attempting to do so.

The next attack ended poorly. We tumbled. I landed on my shoulder separating the AC joint.

While recovering, I had to lie down to prevent passing out.

Aftermath: Separated AC joint. Out for, I'm guessing, 4 to 6 weeks. Driving a stick shift with a bum right shoulder is an adventure. I try not to shift into 5th gear.


Volleyball : 0-3, 0-3

I think I missed the last two matches in volleyball.

We played Fandango, usually the best team in the league, two weeks ago. We played well, but lost all three games.

Last week we played Three Eggs and Slam. We played poorly, our 6 to their 5, and lost all three. We should have been able to win at least two, but didn't.


Weekend update

Friday evening was spent waiting for the A/C guy to finish fixing the unit. He spent about 3 hours working on it, finding issues. It didn't end up costing us too much. We hope to recoup all of that from the electrical contractor.

Saturday was spent at the dojo filing the ATAA technical board's discussion of how to teach the techniques. I now have to edit the 5 hours of tape down to something manageable.

Sunday was a lazy day until around 6pm. We then got out and did lawn work. Our neighbors are doing the bulk of the work while our mower is being repaired. Kim did some push mowing and I did some weed whacking and some hand weeding.

I got nailed by a stick that our neighbor ran over. Hurt something awful at the time, but there's no lasting damage.

Monday Night at the Dojo 8/20

Aikidokas: Sensei Randy, Sensei John and Kim.

Ukemi: Decent. Big falls were way off this evening.

The walk: as usual.

Releases: With John. I had a final destination in mind when I got off-line. that's not right.

Techniques: We spent the evening altering all of the techniques to match the technical board's decisions on Saturday. A number of the techniques need to be changed to match the defined curriculum.

1. Shomen-ate :::
This is now a far quicker technique and gake ends up at tori's rear corner
2. Aigamae-ate :::
a little more use of the initial working hand to the chin/cheek of uke
3. Gyakugamea-ate :::
off-balances and gake to the corners
4. Gedan-ate :::
same change as 3
5. Ushiro-ate :::
Big 10 version. Init off-balance 90 degrees.
6. Oshi-taoshi :::
Up and over the mountain. Small circle pivot.
7. Ude-gaeshi :::
Same change as 6
8. Ude-hineri :::
No real change. Maybe add a little wrist twist.
9. Hiki-taoshi :::
Same change as 8
10. Waki-gatame :::
No change
11. Kote-hineri :::
Same change as 6 and 7
12. Kote-gaeshi :::
Big changes.
Lead in with off foot.
Small circle retreat with lead foot.
Small step with off foot to fourth toe for gake

I was then uke for Kim on Oshi-taoshi. She wanted a tall uke as guinea pig. The timing is a bit of an issue, but she was throwing me out like yesterday's trash. Next stop: control of uke and the armbar.

Aftermath: none.


Armadillocon pictures

are available at:


Enough drama, thank you

Everyone's ok, thank goodness.

Yesterday was day 1 of a 2 day electrical switchover related to the new construction. We're adding a bunch of circuits in the new place and changing the line from the street to the house from overhead to underground. One or two of the circuits being added are 220V for woodworking equipment.

Kim arrives home for lunch and sees the electrician's vehicle in the driveway. She walks into the house and passes by the fish tank. Or is about to. Something catches her attention. Flames.

The timer that regulates the lights for the fish tank is on fire. She reaches over and unplugs the powerstrip for the timer. The fire goes out.

She talks to the electricians. They discover that 240V is running through some of the circuits. Something happens and that problem disappears.

Kim and the electricians do a survey of the house.

Items that fell victim to the "power spike" (I think it was electrician incompetence):

Power adapter for network router
Answering machine/phone
Air conditioner logic card

So, we are currently without internet and A/C at home. The logic card may take 3-4 days to arrive. I hope to find an appropriate adapter for the router today. Failing that, I'll get the new route I was planning to get once the construction was done.

We also discovered that the thieves took the microwave/vent hood for the new addition that we had stored in our dining room.

If Kim had been a few minutes later, we would probably be out our entire house and our pets. So we had some good luck there.

However, if our trend of luck continues, Dean could be a real issue next week.


Armadillocon Con Report

The middle of the con stunk, but that's because it ended up being the end of the con for me. And it was beyond the control of anyone on the con committee. Damn thieves!

The rest of the con was great and went far smoother than I expected it to.

I pulled in to Austin around noon on Thursday and had plenty of time to do nothing. The art show equipment had been loaded on the truck the night before, so we were just waiting until after dinner to unload it and set up the show.

After dinner, we unloaded and set up the show in about 2 hours. We were done by 10:30, I think. I headed to the con suite, had a beer and turned in for the night.

Up bright and early to start hanging the art in the art show. It went really well. I had a number of helpers whose names have slipped my mind due to later events. We were very close to being as done as we could be by the time we opened at noon, Two hours before registration opened.

Bidding went well Friday. We had a piece already designated for the auction by the end of the night. I really do enjoy having the show open during the Opening Reception. I think having easy access to alcohol does help loosen bidding fingers.

I glanced in a couple of room parties, but it's hard to entice me to stay, but I quickly headed for slumber.

Up again early to open the art show. Matthew Duarte and Laura Domitz were absolutely indispensable to me over the weekend, allowing me some time away from the art show to handle stuff and check out the Charity Auction.

The Art Show Auction had 22 pieces in it. There was some lively bidding on occasion, mostly on Peri Charlifu's pieces. I even ended up coming home with one of them.

About this time my weekend went to hell with the phone call telling me of the break in at home. I scrambled to set the art show so I could abandon it in the morning. We closed out all of the folks who wanted to settle their bills and then set to doing as much as we could before closing up for the night.

Pictures from the con should be up sometime soon.

I've been asked to run the Art Show again next year and have said yes.


Animals are back home

Tank returned home yesterday morning at 7 am.

Mercuri returned home yesterday evening around 7 pm.

It's good to have them home. Now we can concentrate on thinking bad thoughts at the perps.


Burgled, bugger it!

Saturday afternoon, while I was running the Art Show at Armadillocon and Kim was at work, our house was burgled.

They broke into the house with a brand new crowbar (they left it behind), destroying the doorjamb on the back door. They proceeded to thoroughly toss our bedroom, ightly toss the study and moderately toss the guest bedroom.

Mattresses were all askew. Drawers have been thrown hither and yon and some were actually taken.

Pets missing (the burglars didn't have the decency to close the door apparently):
Jack (canine)(was found and returned fairly quickly)
Tank (canine)(out and about without his collar)
Mercuri (feline)(out and about with her collar)

Items missing:
A number of unique items that, if pawned, would be recoverable. If they get melted down, it'll be a travesty.

They missed some stuff in plain sight.

I got a call from Kim during the art auction which I had to ignore. She called again shortly thereafter when I was handling art show checkout and I was still not able to talk. I called her back shortly thereafter and heard the news.

I organized my affairs at the con last night so that someone could handle most of my duties for the art show in my absence. I got some sleep and drove home this morning. It was not a fun drive. My mind was playing out all sorts of scenarios about what could have happened overnight. Tank and Mercuri were prevalent in my thoughts. Dire
retributions were played out upon the perps.

I was able to look at the pictures from our construction camera and get an approximate time of the event. One of the pictures shows Mercuri walking in the backyard about 1 hour before Kim was due home from work.

These criminals had either cased us, or knew us relatively well. They guessed/knew that I was out of town and knew that Kim was at work. Although, no cars were at the house so that would be a major clue for anyone.

The addition that we are building was lightly vandalized a couple of weeks ago. We have no way of knowing if this burglary ties in with the vandalism or not.

I expect the next few weeks to be unpleasant.

If you expected to see me at the 'Dillo today, this is why I disappeared.


Volleyball, 2-1

We had a full team. In fact the team we had from about a year ago is back as a unit. We did ok the first two games, but the third game got away from us early. The other team's server hit lofters that we couldn't handle.

A fun evening, nonetheless.


Monday Night at the Dojo 8/6

Aikidokas: Sensei John, Oliver, and Kim.

Kim's parents accompanied us to the dojo for the first time and sat and watched. Not sure they're going to be joining us on the mat anytime soon, though. :D

Ukemi: Decent. A little pinging of the shoulder on the roll-ups.

The walk: as usual.

Releases: With John. Needed to keep pushing this evening.

Techniques: With Oliver

Kote-gaeshi for him. Sumi-otoshi for me.

We were so bad that Sensei Raymond got out on the mat to instruct us.

For my Sumi's the following recommendations were made:

Maintain a constant speed. No superfast entries.
Body drop, center drop.
Release tension after the center drop to allow uke to attempt to rise
Bring the trailing foot up after the hip switch to improve gake percentage.

Aftermath: Knees are slightly sore for some reason, and have been for a couple of days.


Friday Night at the Dojo 8/3

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim, Sensei Randy, Sensei John, and Raj.

Ukemi: Decent.

Friday is Black Belt practice night. It's not a hard-and-fast restriction, but it is an opportunity for the Dan grades to work together without kyu grades wandering around. Kim was going to work on the sheetrock, so I went to see if I could get some mat time in.


Sumi-otoshi and Mae-otoshi working with Randy.

Mae-otoshi: After entry, the off-hand must be palm up under the elbow, it then slides through rotating 270 degrees as the off shoulder moves into uke's armpit. As the two bodies "collide", tori moves as if to take a front roll-out which gives uke a urgent impetus to take a roll-out as well. Tori stops short of actually taking a roll-out.

I did ok on this. Still need repetitions, but it went ok.

Sumi-otoshi: After entry it's body drop, center drop, and the hip turn. These are very quick transitions. According to Sensei Ray, as you enter you recite the words "body drop, center drop" to yourself performing those transitions in time with the words to get the correct timing.

The body drop is the entry move when the off-foot lands off-line. Center drop is an adjustment of the feet so they are closer together while the knees bend and the hands arrive in a low-center position at the same time. Uke reacts and tori executes a hip turn, keeping the hands in center causing uke to go over. Tori almost has to be predicting uke's reacting to the center drop, if uke completes his reaction, tori will be late. You have to know uke will react and be executing the hip turn while uke is reacting.

I managed one or two sumis before the evening was over.

Aftermath: none of note.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 8/1

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim

Ukemi: Decent. Continuing to working on popping up after the fall. Actually managed to pop up after a roll from one knee. I was dumbfounded

The walk: as usual.


Koryu-Dai-Ni no Kata: Tim want to do some exploration of this kata. I'm not sure where this comes into demonstrations. Maybe Nidan?

1. Katate-mochi-kata-gatame
2. Ryote-mochi-gyaku-gamae-ate
3. Ryote-mochi-irimi-nage
4. Ushiro-waza-ryote-mochi-kote-gaeshi
5. Jyuji-garami-nage
6. Ushiro-waza-gyakugamae-ate
7. Ushiro-waza-oshi-taoshi
8. Ushiro-waza-tenkai-kote-hineri
9. Ushiro-waza-kote-gaeshi
10. Ushiro-waza-oshi-taoshi-nage
11. Ushiro-waza-juji-garami

Anyway we explored the techniques on a one-by-one basis. Tim ran through them as tori a couple of times to refresh his memory, then I'd get a chance to tori. It was a good evening.

The last technique (Ushiro-waza-juji-garami) proved to be very difficult, or at least not well-suited, when tori is taller than uke. That's mainly because uke is trying to get a forearm choke on tori. In the real world uke would practically have to jump on my back to accomplish this. We did try it out with me sitting in a chair (getting attacked at a bar, for example) so that uke could manage to get a good angle for a choke. In that situation, the difficult part is getting out of the chair after the first off-balance.

You've managed an off-balance of uke to their (and your) front left and your right leg is likely stuck between the legs of the chair. At this point, the technique continues with tori rotating counter clockwise about his left foot. That means the right foot will be moving to the left and it's currently between the legs of the chair. That's going to take some work to figure out how to best accomplish.

Aftermath: none of note.