Weekend update

Spent Friday night at the dojo taking pictures. I took some pretty good ones and I'll post them to flickr sometime soon. Worked with a couple of them and added a little spice to the dojo web page.

Watched Deathtrap after getting home from the dojo.

Saturday morning saw us at the seminar for "Legal Aspects of Self-Defense". Small turnout, but a pretty good seminar.

Saturday evening we went to a local Italian restaurant to celebrate some birthdays. at the end of the meal we had a chocolate tasting. We had around 13 chocolates to sample and rate. I'll post the names and the results soon.

Sunday was spent mostly in the yard. I weed-whacked all of the curb edges and then mowed the lawn. I think about 2 or 3 hours all totalled.

Ran some errands and put away the Imperial Star Destroyer Lego set. It's safely ensconced in its box.

Now if only I'd slept well at some point over the weekend.

At the movies

Deathtrap, 1982: 4

Starring: Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon

A whodunnit about whodunnits with a shocking, for that time frame, guy-to-guy kiss.

This was the movie my wife and I saw on our first date and, since the 25th anniversary of our first date was this past week, we saw it again. It held up fairly well. We'd forgotten a lot of the movie since we first saw it, so it was still suspenseful.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 4/25

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim.

Ukemi: Not bad, did twice as many reps as usual, since it was just me. Big falls were fun. I put a little more energy into throwing punches at Tim, so I was a puddle of sweat by the end of warm-ups.

The Walk: per usual. Tried to widen my stance.

Releases: Worked with Tim on Koryu Dai Yon no Kata.

Hand Randori: Did some drills and work through some escapes for grips that can occur. And then did some sessions of hand randori. Did ok, need many more years of practice.

Aftermath: Bruise on the foot is getting better.


Volleyball, 1-2

Tonight it was 6 on 6. Again, we had to rotate in an extra woman.

We played Green Eggs N Slam, a team with the same record we had.

The games were close: 19-21, 23-21, 15-10.

My serves were decent, I don't think I hit any into the net or out. I think we won a string of 7 or 8 points on my serve in the second game.

That's the end of the season. I don't know how long before the summer season starts up.


Monday Night at the Dojo 4/23

Aikidokas: Randy, and Kim.

Ukemi: Not bad. I made a correction of dropping the chin instead of dropping my shoulder for the left side big falls. It was quite a different sensation than what I'm used to. It felt different than the right sided falls. I did not garuma though, so it made an improvement. Just have to get used to how it feels.

The Walk: Twice, with eyes closed.

It was kind of a free-form evening, so I'm not sure if I can remember everything.

We did some work with a jo resting on the belt knots of two people and those two people then trying to move in a coordinated fashion without letting the jo fall to the ground. Not bad for a first time.

Did some two-handed work. Mainly a heaven and earth throw. Randy threw me once on this and it was supposed to be a roll-out. I felt him still holding onto the wrist (don't know whether he actually was or not), so I felt inclined to take a big fall. It went fairly well, even with little to no support. No pain.

We also spent a lot of time exploring hand randori. Move from the center at all times is the gem I took away from the session. Yes, I've heard that several times over the past year. No, I don't know why tonight it stood out in a glaring light.

It was interesting seeing Sensei Randy (rokyudan) doing hand randori with Sensei Raymond (hachidan) and almost before they started a sequence of randori, Randy was already falling into a hole. And this was at a glacial speed.

Aftermath: Muscles are a little stiff this morning.


At the movies

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, 2006: 2

Starring: Unknowns, except for a cameo by Vin Diesel.

A high school student is shipped to Japan as a last resort to live with his father and to escape prosecution for running through a house under construction with his Mopar vehicle (don't remember the model).

Within days, he's involved in the Japanese underground and racing scene and back to doing his same old stuff. But, he's got to learn how to race, drift style.

Straight-forward, predictable plot. Not much in the way of acting. Fun car scenes, though. Having a classic Mustang racing drift-style and seeing the damage done to it was just painful.

Weekend update

Friday: Made it home from work after a scare at nearby JSC with a contractor killing his boss and then taking his own life. K and I loaded up the truck with the various things we've been holding onto until the city had its Spring Sparkle. At Spring Sparkle the city takes refrigerators, lumber, and yard waste at a city park. Saturday was Spring Sparkle. We also watched "The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift."

Saturday: Up early to place geocaches for the library's Geocaching Ramble that was a part of the FIG (Friendswood is Great) Festival. Then in line at the Spring Sparkle to get rid of the load in the truck. Off to the library to get ready for the Geocaching Ramble.

The library opened and we had about 24 people show up over the day for the ramble. Most folks seemed to have a good time. Turnout was lower than last year, though. Probably because so much was happening around the Houston area (MS 150, International Festival, etc.). The weather was absolutely gorgeous!

After the hour-long meet-and-greet, I went off to my company's picnic at JSC. Hung around for a bit, had a hot dog and zoomed back home.

Then went to "The Cutting Edge", a woodworking store. I wanted to take a look at the various pieces of equipment and try to come up with preferences for the items I'll be purchasing.

Sliding Compound Miter Saw:
1. Makita L81214FL - I think I like the grip and the fact that sliding mechanism is in the base instead of the blade area.
2. Bosch 5412L

Powermatic 1791229DXK - I probably meant the 1791279DXK. This is a 6"

Makita 2012NB - They didn't have one. They had Powermatic stand planers, though.

Jet 708749 JWBS - 16" They didn't have one on the floor, so I couldn't check it out.

Table saw:
1. Delta 36-L31X-BC50 X5 - better location of tilt/elevation wheels, better on/off, better mobile base
2. Jet 708715PK JTAS-10X50-W1

Got home from that, after a near-accident at 70mph on the Beltway, and then went to pick up the caches from the Ramble. We then went out to eat with K and S who used to work out with us at the dojo. 3 hours of food and trying to solve the world's problems. A very good evening.

Sunday: A meeting for the Houston Open judo tournament. 2.5 hours at a local iHOP.

A very busy weekend.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 4/18

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim.

Ukemi: Not bad. Big falls were fun, as usual, but some were not as soft as I'd like. Had one where the legs ended up on top of one another and resulted in aggravating the bruise on the right foot.

The Walk: per usual. Tried to widen my stance.

Releases: Worked with Tim, all evening on Koryu Dai Yon no Kata. I think it's a Sandan level kata, I'm not sure.

A good portion of the kata is based on the first 4 releases plus the addition of two new releases. You take the releases and extend them into falls for uke. Backfalls for releases 2 and 4. Front rollouts for 1 and 3.

There are variations for the first 4 releases where uke does not let tori complete the release and pulls back on tori's arm. That results in tori either stepping in a circular motion (if uke is inside tori's elbow) resulting in an aki nage or tori stepping down the line (if uke is outside tori's elbow) resulting in a gedan-ate.

There are also releases in which tori's hand is in a knife blade position, but we didn't get to that.

Aftermath: Bruise was getting better, but got made a little worse tonight.


Monday Night at the Dojo 4/16

Aikidokas: Randy, and John..

Ukemi: Not bad. I was doing some diving on the left side big falls.

The Walk: No walk this evening.

Releases: No releases this evening.

Techniques: with John.

Worked on Shihonage and Tenkai-kotehineri

Shihonage: 4 off-balances. Keep the arms unbendable for the last off-balance.

Tenkai-kotehineri: Slow down. Wait for uke to take the steps. Push, but don't over-push.

Nami no waza:

We did some work on a new set of combinations for me. I know I can't remember everything.

Uke attempts Shomen-ate. Tori counters with Waki-gatame.
Uke counters with ????. Tori counters with ????.
Uke counters with ????. Tori counters with ????.
Uke counters with Kote-gaeshi. Tori counters with Shomen-ate and the cycle repeats with roles reversed.

I know there's a Gyakugamea-ate in there and, I think, another Kote-gaeshi and maybe a Gedan-ate. My brain is blank this morning.

Aftermath: Bruise is getting better.

At the movies

K-19 Widowmaker, 2002: 3

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson.

A brand new Soviet nuclear sub has been commissioned and is set to patrol off of the eastern U.S. It doesn't make it, suffering a coolant problem in its nuclear reactor.

Ford doesn't work well as a Russian. He does manage to keep the accent fairly well, though. I just don't see him as a Russian. Maybe he was having to really work at the accent and it came through? Neeson works better, seemed to have less of a time with the part.

The rest of the cast seemed to do a good job, and it was an interesting film. I didn't develop a lot of emotional investment in the characters. It did make me want to look up the actual historical event. Haven't done that yet.

Weekend update

Mild weekend. K and I went out and about Friday evening and ended up trying ome single malts for the first time. Good stuff, considering the affordability. I thought so, K., not so much.

We got up later than we should have on Saturday, so no aikido. We spent part of the day in the yard doing stuff. Also baked a couple of loaves of ciabatta bread. I'm close to getting the process down.

Sunday was some more yard work and then scouting the area for cache locations for this Saturday's F.I.G festival. The library's putting a couple of geocaches out with some information on the history of the area in each cache.

Watched K-19 Widowmaker to finish off the weekend.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 4/11

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim.

Ukemi: Not bad. Got a lot of work on basic rolls. Keep the trailing foot barely touching the ground. My step is a little shorter than it should be on the right side. Big falls were fun, as usual, but some were not as soft as I'd like.

The Walk: per usual. Tried to widen my stance.

Releases: Worked with Tim, all evening.

We worked on having releases stopped by uke, and recovering from that occurrence. There's always a door that opens if uke applies his weight, or strength, to keep you from doing something.

We also worked on moving from the releases into techniques, concentrating on techniques 1-6.

A key point was to continue uke's motion until he reacts to that continued motion. If he doesn't react, drive him into the ground.

This was a very brain intensive evening. My brain fried with about 30 minutes to go, so there's no telling what I've forgotten.

Aftermath: Bruises are getting better.


Volleyball 0-3

Tonight it was 6 on 5. A full complement for us. Actually, we had an extra lady. Weird.

We played Fandango, the best team in the league. I think we played decently, but we were never really in the games. We did have leads a couple of time, and the last game was 10-15 or so, but we knew we were going to lose.

I got a few hits, only remember three kill. My serves were decent. I think we won a string of 5 or 6 points on my serve.

No game next week, everyone's off. Two weeks, an 8 o'clock game and the last match of the season. I don't think we'll make the playoffs.


Construction website

I've assembled a couple of pages with links to snapshots of the construction site and to the design that is being built. If you're interested, take a look at:

Zrubek Construction Camera

Rings, rings, rings

After a volleyball injury a couple of months ago, the joints on a couple of fingers had swollen ever so slightly. This made it impossible for me to put on my wedding ring. Since I couldn't wear the wedding ring, I chose not to wear the other two rings that are a normal part of my wardrobe.

I tried the wedding ring this morning, though, and it went on without a hitch. Yay!

I am properly bejeweled this morning. Watch and see if I don;t injure the joints again tonight at volleyball.

Star Destroyer, destroyed

My dear wife gave me a Lego Imperial Star Destroyer kit several years ago. We spent many hours working on it together.

There was just one problem with it. It's huge. It requires a space about 3'x3'x2' to be displayed. There's just one space in our house where it could fit comfortable: the dining room table. Yes, that location has issues. Who wants to eat dinner with something that could tractor beam your mashed potatoes off of your plate. Not me. Not Kim.

After a couple of months of moving from place to place in the house, it was start to lose some of its integrity. Pieces were falling off and getting chewed on by the animals. I had to disassemble it.

It took a couple of hours, but all of the pieces are in ziploc bags. I don't know if we've got all of them, if we didn't, it's some of the little decorative pieces. The structural pieces should all be there. I don't know if we'll ever put it together again. If we do, I'll have to make a display case in the new shop for it.

That and the Rebel Blockade Runner that I have yet to assemble. Apparently the kit is out of production.

Monday Night at the Dojo 4/9

Aikidokas: Randy, John, Robert, and Kim.

Ukemi: Not bad. I was doing some diving on the left side big falls. Sensei Raymond noted that and made a suggestion for me to bring my trailing foot up. I implemented it and the diving ceased.

The Walk: per usual. I forgot my place in the walk while doing the counting. I was trying to count, do the walk, and concentrate on making some adjustments. Too many items for my little brain to contain.

Releases: Worked with John. Did some tweaking on 6 and 8. I must keep my hand in my center as it's going over my head, if I continue to push out, uke twirls around instead of being forced backwards.

Techniques: with Robert. 5 sets of left side/right side Kote-geashi and 5 of Shihonage.

Robert went as tori first and did really well on Kote-. He had some entry issues on the left side but it went really well.

He had some amazing Shihonages. Apparently on one, he thought about doing the entry for Kote-, changed his mind and did the Shihonage entry. My off-balance was pretty substantial and I was toast. Shihonage works really well on me because of my height so, if you can get the off-balance, I'm gone. We did some adjustments to his control stance at the end of Shihonage. Nothing major

My Kote-geashi. Hmmm. My entries were off on a couple of reps. The main thing I need to do is to fall at gake and have uke hold me up. If that happens, uke will take a step and then my weight will be on his hand and he will have to take the fall.

Shihonage went fairly well. I've got to remember to feel for uke's arm and how far I can push it before forcing him on balance.

Aftermath: Bruise on Metatarsophalangeal joint (bulge on the inside of the foot near the big toe) on both feet from taking big falls. A little sore to walk, but not horrible

Plumbing leak has reappeared in the dojo. I'm going to go over and strip off some sheetrock panels to make it easier for the plumber to find the problem.


Saturday Morning at the Dojo 4/7

Aikidokas: Rob and Kim.

Ukemi: Not bad.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: Worked with Kim.

Techniques: worked with Rob and Kim.

Ran through a couple of attempts at Kote-gaeshi with Rob. Did not do very well. Probably his height had something to do wiht it.

With Kim, we ran through 6, 7 and 8. We spent a lot of time on the footwork for 6/7. It seems to be the most difficult footwork of the first 17, I think.

We then worked a bit on the arm bar for 8.

Aftermath: Cold and rainy as we left the dojo. It's April. It's not supposed to be in the 40's.


Wednesday Night at the Dojo 4/4

Aikidokas: Tim and Michael S.

Ukemi: Not bad. Did some experimenting with big falls to see what changes on tori's part eliminate the garuma I often have on the left side.

The Walk: per usual. Tried to widen my stance.

Releases: Worked with Tim, and Michael.

Techniques: with Michael.

We ran through 1-16 before my brain decided it was unwise to continue to #17.

It was interesting seeing the different approach Michael takes with the techniques. Interesting showing him how we do things differently.

Hearing his approach on uke'ing shed a little light and will hopefully improve my abilities in that department over the coming weeks.

Once again I was a puddle of sweat at the end of the evening.

Aftermath: None of note.


Construction update

Plans supposedly go to the City today for approval. I don't know how long the approval process takes. The engineering plans have been being drawn up over the past two weeks.

Construction camera is in the house. I'm working on getting it set up to automatically upload pictures to a soon-to-be-revealed location. Hmmm. I could have it post to my blog every 15 minutes. Naaah. That'd be annoying.

Sears has managed to annoy us. We purchased a bunch of appliances from them about six weeks ago. Part of the plan was that one of the appliances would be free due to a rebate they were offering. They didn't tell us, before the purchase, that you had to make the purchase with a Sears credit card or with a zero-financing plan. We paid cash.

We got the rebate rejection in the mail yesterday and noticed the clause on the rebate about the financing/credit card requirement. Sears, on the phone today, has been dismissive of our plight. We will probably get Kim's dad involved in these discussions, since he's get a better gift of gab.

Since we haven't taken delivery on the appliances, we can use that as a potential tool to leverage the rebate out of them. Do they want some profit or no profit?

Volleyball 1-2

Tonight it was 6 on 6. A full complement for us. Actually, we had an extra lady. Weird.

The games felt close, but I know the middle one was 21-13 or something similar.

I got a few hits, but only remember one kill. My serves were pretty ineffective. I think we lost all of the points on my serve even though all of my serves went in.

All in all, a disappointing evening.

Next week, another 9 o'clock game. Blecch.


Woodworking tool list

After the construction finishes (it does have to start first), I'll be populating the shop portion with some woodworking tools. Here is a list of what I'm considering at the moment:

Sliding Compound Miter Saw:
Bosch 5412L
Makita L81214FL

Powermatic 1791229DXK

Makita 2012NB

Jet 708749 JWBS

Table saw:
Jet 708715PK JTAS-10X50-W1
Delta 36-L31X-BC50 X5
Left or Right tilt? Don't know. My Craftsman is right tilt.

Monday Night at the Dojo 4/2

Aikidokas: Randy, John, and Kim.

Ukemi: Not bad. John chatted with me about ukemi concerns for the next demonstration. It turns out Tim has been working with me on them and I'm, in my mind, in a good spot as far as they are concerned.

The Walk: per usual.

Releases: Worked with Randy. Did some tweaking on some of them

Techniques: with Randy.

We were going to just work on Shihonage, to be kind to Randy's knees, but we ended up working on 11-14.

Kote-hineri: my hand must be against the inside of my knee for the proper hand positioning.

Kote-gaeshi: make a loop with the trailing foot. Big toe should not leave the mat.

Tenkai-kotehineri: do not overdrive uke. Extend the armbar to remove slack from the tendons.

Shihonage: all 4 off-balances and do not cut off the circular hand motion into a rectangle at the very end.

Aftermath: None of note. Plumbing leaks in the dojo appear to be fixed. Will re-float and -joint the sheetrock soon.

Weekend Update

My sister and her kids came into town at various times over the weekend. E came in on Wednesday, so Kim and I went over to my mom's house on Thursday and picked them up for a visit to Moody Gardens. We have a connection there, so we were able to get in free and get a guided tour of the rainforest and the aquarium.

We held Friday open in case some outing got planned, but nothing did.

Saturday, the rest of the clan arrived in town so Kim and I went over to mom's and chilled while everyone recovered from their travels. There was no aikido at the dojo because a haganah seminar was using the space.

Sunday, we went over in the afternoon with the boys for a brief visit and a long walk in the neighborhood. We weren't interested in spending the time cleaning the house for them to come over to visit the animals, so we took the dogs to see them.

Monday, they left for the Mayan Dude Ranch. They'll return on Thursday and we'll get together on Friday for dinner somewhere.


Yon Kata video

Ni Kata video