12.15.2008

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 12/13/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: Normal set, I did take a couple of big falls with some extra padding out.

The Walk: As usual. Once at a moderate pace and once at my more preferred slower pace. And I spent some timer with Tom working on the last three stones.

Releases: with Brad.

Techniques:

Ju Nana Hon Kata

Brad and I did some work on his shomen-ate and his aigamae-ate.

Koryu Dai San No Kata

Trey and I worked on kote-gaeshi and Ryote-mochi-sukui-nage (Uke grabs both tore's wrists and stands. Tore lifts arms, off-balancing uke, then turns uke into roll-out). I must remember to push uke up, and not out. Then rock him back and make certain both of my legs rotate at the same time to send him sprawling.

Aftermath: None of note.

Geocaching 12/14/08

found MagCreek #1 - Welcome to Magnolia Creek
found MagCreek #2
found MagCreek #3 - Miscellaneous Military
found MagCreek #4
found MagCreek #5
found MagCreek #7 - What's Your Sign?
found MagCreek #8 - Deja Vu
found MagCreek #10 - Skirting the Next Leg
couldn't find MagCreek #11 - CHARGE!!!

K., the dogs and I went out for a pleasant afternoon of caching. This was nice series along a path through a new subdivision.

Don't know what's up with the one we did not manage to locate. I'll get back there to look again at some point.

Weekend update

Friday:

Corporate Holiday Party. I managed to win a $50 gift card to a local chain. K. joined me after leaving her party. We did a little dancing and some chatting before heading home

Saturday:

Finished some work on the main workbench in the shop. Did some work on some more clamp hangars.

Aikido

Dinner at Joe's

Watched "Curse of the Judas Chalice" on late-nite TV

Sunday:

Slept in

Geocaching

Some more work on the clamp hangars. Did some design work for the home entertainment center.

12.11.2008

Snow

Snow!

Snow?

Snow.

A tie in the records books for earliest recorded snowfall in Houston. Tied with 1944.

We only got about an inch or so, and it melted away when the snow turned into rain (cue Dan Fogelberg), but it was pretty while it lasted.

I like snow.

12.08.2008

In the shop

I spent a fair amount of time in the shop this past weekend and got some minor things accomplished.

My uncles spotlight platform has been cut, routed and sanded and is ready to hand over to him.

I've finished a stop block for the table saw. It took me a couple of tries to get this right. I had to properly drill for the elevator bolt and get the insert to seat properly.

I got the drill press up and running. It had not been set up since the end of the construction. Once I got it set up, the table would go up, but it wouldn't go back down. So, I had to take everything off again and oil/wax the pipe the table wraps around. After that it worked like a champ.

I also did some work on the plumbing for the skimmer I had modified. It's just about in final, ready-to-use shape.

Aquarium update

Current occupants:

3 Green Chromis - we've lost two recently. They were smaller ones and I believe they got picked on by the bigger ones

1 Coral Beauty Angel - doing well

1 Clarkii Clown - giving the tank a couple of more weeks to relax before getting a second clarkii

1 sandsifter goby - doing well

4 Pajama Cardinals - for about 3 days one of these guys was missing. Where he'd been hiding, I have no clue

Xenia, Blue snowflake and a toadstool

Weekend update

Friday: Aikido

Saturday:

Geocaching on the way to Harmony stained Glass. I wanted to see if they knew anyone who was looking for an 8' light table. I've got one I'm trying to get rid of.

Aikido

Some shop time

OU/Missouri football game

Sunday:

Shop time
Install two new lights in the house
Get and put up new sets of Christmas lights
Dinner with the in-laws
Dallas/Pittsburgh football

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 12/06/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad and Tom.

Ukemi: I helped Tom wokr on his ukemi for a while. He's getting better.

The Walk: As usual. Once at a moderate pace and once at my more preferred slower pace. And I spent some timer with Tom working on the last three stones.

Releases: with Tom, teaching him the first 4 releases.

Techniques:

Ju Nana Hon Kata

Trey and I did some work on his kote-gaeshi.

Koryu Dai San No Kata

Trey and I worked on kote-gaeshi.

Aftermath: Sore leg muscles just above the knees as a result of the knee walking.

Aikido Friday Night - 12/05/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Greg, and Trey.

Ukemi: The usual set. Pulled out another mat and took a big fall from Tim

The Walk: As usual

Releases: with Greg

Techniques:

Owaza Ju Pon

We did some work on kote-hineri and tenkai kote-hineri. I'd jump in as uke from time to time as a break from practicing my knee walking.

Trey did some work with me on kote-gaeshi at the end.

Koryu Dai San No Kata

Trey and I worked on oshi-taoshi and gyakugameate. Actually, Tim is changing the gyakugameate into a gedan ate. These went ok.

Aftermath: None of note.

12.07.2008

Geocaching 12/6/08

5 attempted caches this weekend. 4 smilies.

GC1HCCG - Found it with no real issues

GC1J09P - Took me a while to find it. The sun bouncing of the drab green turned grey caught my attention

GC1J09W - Nestled under some concrete

GC1J09F - I entered in the coordinate by hand. I entered them in incorrectly. As a result, I spent about 20 minutes wandering around in briar thickets with the GPS alternately telling me I was 4 feet from it to 150 feet from it.

GC1HCD4 - I wasn't prepared for this one as it turns out it's a micro. I did not find it

12.02.2008

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/29/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, Trey and Brad.

Ukemi: The usual set.

The Walk: As usual

Releases: not today

Techniques:

Trey and I went through 6-13 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. We spent a lot of time on kote-gaeshi without much success. Trey's still having some issues.

We did a little suwari waza work for meal.

Kim and I went through 6-13 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. We spent a lot of time on kote-gaeshi without much success.


Aftermath: Sore. Once again.

Aquarium update

I went and picked up some fish over the weekend: 2 Clarkii clowns and a Coral Beauty angel fish.

Every looked good for a day or so. Then we could not find one of the clarkiis. 3 hours later it showed up, barely swimming. It later died. I'm really upset about this, they were supposedly a pair.

Now to get a smaller clarkii as a replacement.

In the shop

I've got most of the cabinet tops done. I blew out the bearings on two flush trim router bits by doing something stupid. So, now I have to get another bit.

The light table is functional and ready to roll.

When I get a chance: doors and drawers.

Thanksgiving weekend

Thursday:

Up early to bake pies: standard pumpkin and a "Bon Appetit" pumpkin. Off to mom's for the meal. TAMU vs tu football game, We did better than I expected.

Friday:

Off to some fish stores around town. I planned the day so I could hit some geocaches before the stores opened. Hit Fish Gallery and TnT Fish and Reptile. Also hit "The Cutting Edge". They're going out of business :(. we also saw "The Music Man" downtown. It was a nice local production.

Saturday:

Shop time. Aikido and Durango's. We have a tradition of going into the Half-Price Bookstore after we've had our margaritas. It turns out that while we were in the book store, the owner of the neighboring liquor store was being gunned down. We never heard a thing.

Sunday: Shop time. Football

11.24.2008

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/22/08

Aikidokas: Trey.

Sensei Tim was still under-the-weather, so I got to run another class

Ukemi: The usual set and we worked on some knee-walking to get Trey introduced to it.

The Walk: Twice. Once with the eyes closed. I really messed up in the midst of one stone on the Walk and ended up 90 degrees from where I should.

Releases: with Trey. I was not doing well: rushing and being late at different times

Techniques:

We went through 6-13 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. We spent a lot of time on kote-gaeshi without much success. Trey can see what he needs to change, but he's not having luck changing it. He stops moving partway through and should keep moving throughout the technique. When he stops, I can regain my balance very quickly.

We also played with oshi-taoshi and came up with some information that was new to both of us.

Normally, you get the initial off-balance and uke's lead foot lands. If there's sufficient off-balance that uke has to take a step with the trailing foot, the angles for taking uke to the floor change.

In the normal case, we say tori should go over the mountain, taking uke's elbow through his ear. This does not work if the non-lead foot is in a strong position for uke. If you go over the mountain from this position, uke will land in a heap, possibly on his back or shoulder. I found this out the hard way.

We played with the foot positions and angles for a bit and discovered that over the mountain works for the normal case because uke's fourth toe is right in line with over the mountain direction, so tori ends up taking uke's balance off of his fourth toe which will lead to a fall.

We then played with the angles for the second case and discovered that tori needs to take uke's elbow out over the fourth toe of the non-lead foot. This is just a little in front of uke's face and allows a good fall and face plant.


Aftermath: A nice solid workout that caused some muscles to ache.

I certainly hope my muscles get used to this work.

Back on the hunt for caches

Saturday morning I was able to hit the caching trail on my way into town to run some errands. I found the following caches:

At the Point (Traditional Cache)
Winnie-The-Pooh Cache (Traditional Cache)
Memorial TB Hotel (Traditional Cache)
Life's A Beach (Traditional Cache)

A gorgeous morning to be wandering in the woods hunting for tupperware.

Aquarium update

Ran by some fish store on Saturday and picked up a number of fish:

3 Green Chromis
2 Tomato Clowns
1 Pink spotted Goby

I also picked up some corals:
A Blue Xenia
Polyp of some sort

I just found out that one of the clowns did not make it. K. found it dead in the tank this afternoon. Bummer! I was worried as I was not able to take the time I would normally like to acclimate them when I got them home.

In the shop

I managed some more time and made progress on the face frames. They are installed on 80% of the cabinets. The final face frame is glued up and drying. I plan on installing that one this evening.

I went out and bought some 2x4s for the work surface. I'll start working on those tonight: start laying out where half-laps need to be cut, etc. When the final cabinet has the face frame installed I can start installing the work surface. I'm going to lay down the 2x4s and then put a sheet of 3/4" plywood on top and then a sheet of hardboard or something similar.

I need to adjust the wing table on my table saw. I didn't do a great job of installing it and now where it meets the metal table of the saw it is out of alignment. It needs to be fixed. But, I have to take off the fence to do it. Urgh.

Weekend update

Friday: officially teaching my first aikido class

Saturday:

Geocaching
Stops at: Fish gallery, City Pets, Woodcraft, Fish Bowl and more
teaching my second aikido class
Durango's

Sunday:
In the shop working on face frames
Grocery shopping
Frito Pie for dinner and lunches for the week

Aikido Friday Night - 11/21/08

Aikidokas: Kim, Trey and Tom.

Sensei Tim had a cold, so I got the opportunity to run my first class as a Black Belt. I knew it was coming, but I did not expect it so soon.

Ukemi: I worked with Tom on his ukemi and took a brief set of falls to warm up

The Walk: Twice, as is the usual custom

Releases: worked with Tom on 1-4. He started to grok the stuff

I worked with Tom on the Walk and releases on a one-to-one basis. We also covered moving from your center, and falling instead of stepping.

Techniques:

I worked, very briefly with Trey on Kote-gaeshi at the end of the session. I took one right-sided fall and dang if my left calf didn't act up again.

Aftermath: Left calf was offended at my kote-gaeshi fall.

11.17.2008

In the shop

I finally got some concentrated shop time this weekend and was able to make some progress on the face frames for the shop cabinets. I'd glued up some panels earlier, but I finished up the remaining ones. I then ripped them to near finished width, planed them smooth, checked for proper length and then ripped to final width.

I've got one set that I still have to check and cut to proper length. Then I can start assembling the rails and stiles and decide if I'm going to use biscuits.

Progress!

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

E-Waste recycling drop-off
Stop by mom's to drop off some stuff
Mass nursery for some blueberry plants
Feed store for some dog food
Bay Area Aquarium to browse
Aikido
Joe's Bar-B-Q
In the shop for some work

Sunday:

Late to rise
In the shop for some work
Home Depot for some RO/DI parts
Short geocaching stint
Football
Pumpkin cake

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/15/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Kim, and Trey.

Ukemi: The usual set

The Walk: not today

Releases: not today

Techniques:

Richard worked with me on starting the Koryu Dai San No Kata. I need to know the first 16 of the following.

Suwari-waza (Kneeling Techniques)

Uke Kneeling
Tori Kneeling

1. Oshi-Taoshi
2. Gyaku-game-ate
3. Kote-Gaeshi
4. Ryote-mochi-sukui-nage

Uke Standing
Tori Kneeling

5. Tenkai-kote-heneri
6. Shiho-nage
7. Gedan-Ate
8. Hiji-Kime

Tachi-waza (Standing)

9. Kote-mawashi
10. Uchi-tenkai-nage
11. Gyaku-gamae-ate
12. Hiji-Kime
13. Mae-otoshi
14. Ushiro-waza-mae-otoshi
15. Ushiro-waza-tenkai-kote-heneri
16. Mune-tori-kata-gatame

I'm not certain if the above are as I'll be learning them. The second one does not appear to correspond to what I learned on Saturday, so I need to get some official information. #1 and #3 are correct, though, as is #9.

It was very interesting work.

Aftermath: Sore, sore, sore, sore, sore. My ankles, toes and knees weren't sore. My upper body was. I think it was because of different muscle groups being used for working in a kneeling posture.

I certainly hope my muscles get used to this work.

Aikido Friday Night - 11/14/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, Trey and a new student whose name I've forgotten.

Ukemi: I worked with the new student, introducing him to rolls on the crash pad.

The Walk: as usual, with our new student in the middle of the rest of us

Releases: none tonight

Techniques:

I oversaw Kim and Trey learning: Kote-Hineri, Kote-gaeshi, and Tenkai Kote-Hineri. I'd demonstrate it and then they'd work on it alternating roles as uke/tori. Then I uke'd for each one of them a couple of times.

Aftermath: None of note

11.14.2008

At the movies: The Fall

The Fall: 4

This one is a borderline 4. I'd really have to watch it again to know whether I'd watch it again.

I missed this when it came to theatres, but I'd hoped to see it so much I went out and bought it with a Best Buy gift card.

From imdb.com

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.

Starring
Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)
Catinca Untaru

Catinca did a fabulous job. I think she was absolutely stunning in her role as the little girl.

I was able to follow the story that was told fairly well, but I think I got a little lost toward the end when they flashed back to the cause of Roy Walker's (Lee Pace) injury. I think seeing it again will clear things up quite a bit, so I'll probably watch again soon.

But, that probably deems it a failure as a movie: it doesn't tell the story clearly enough. Now is that failure caused by the distractions of watching at home as opposed to the theatre? I think a re-watching might answer the question.

I loved the sets, costumes and colors of the movie. Very reminiscent of "Pushing Daisies".

11.12.2008

Aquarium update

Current inhabitants:

2 Chromis
4 Pajama Cardinals

We've lost several chromis, but it appears to be stabilizing.

I expected to get my cleanup crew in the mail today, but it did not arrive. I'm waiting on getting them into the tank before I acquire any more fish.

I've got a potential deal in the works for some coral in trade for my stained glass work table. I hope it works out.

I'm still not quite done with my RO/DI system. I'm waiting on some more tubing.

Black Belt aka Shodan

I had my black belt demonstration this past weekend at a seminar in Killeen. It went far better than I thought it would. I'd had far less time to work on the stuff necessary for this demonstration than I'd hoped.

Friday night I spent two hours working with Russell, a student at Full circle Aikido, getting used to each other and preparing for the demo. It was pretty disastrous and I was beat. I'd not done that much work as tori in a long time.

Saturday I participated in the morning and early afternoon seminar sessions. Sensei Tim then declared the mat was for use by the folks who would be demonstrating, so I got one last run-through of the material.

The demonstration itself went fairly well. The A/C was off so instructions could be heard and as a result, according to my wife, I was melting during my demonstration. I was a puddle.

I don't know of any major screwups, but I'm not certain if I did an effective set of Owaza Ju Pon. It felt good, but uke may have been taking a fall.

I still need to work on this quite a bit.

Next up: Owaza Ju Pon 1-10 and Ni Kata 1-16, I think.

Weekend update

Friday:

Travel to Killeen for an aikido seminar.
The evening session had me working with Russell on my demonstration prep. Everyone else was working on balance breaks.

Saturday:

Offensive and defensive jo work from San Kata
My black belt demonstration

Sunday:

Drive back to Houston
Stop by Bay Area Aquariums to see if my stuff was ready
Dinner at Joe's

11.05.2008

Volleyball, 1-2

We ended the season at the bottom of the ranks. Bummer.

We had a good time, even if it would have been more fun to win.

We'll get 'em next season.

11.04.2008

Aquarium progress

Stopped by Bay Area Aquarium, watched the huge crowd ebb and flow and then chatted with Minh. I picked up 4 pajama cardinals and got Minh to work on modifying my PM HOB skimmer.

PJs are doing ok so far, even with the Chromis in the tank. One of the PJs may not be eating. I hope he comes around.

Weekend update

Friday:

Traveled up to Conroe to help with the Houston Open Judo Tournament. I help with putting down the mats and setting up the venue. K. helped with getting folks registered.

Saturday:

Houston Open Judo Tournament - K. helped with registration and scorekeeping while I just did scorekeeping. It seems the tournament was not quite as full as last year, but I don't have actual numbers to back that up

Drove home and went to Durango's with K. and K.

Sunday:

grocery shopping
aquarium shopping
football

10.30.2008

Volleyball 0-3

Next to last night of volleyball this season turned out like all of the others. Even though we were playing one of the other last place teams. And we had 6 players to their 5.

*sigh*

I don't think we're that bad.

10.28.2008

Weekend update

Friday:

aikido

Saturday:

Walk in the park with the boys
Aquarium water change
Off to Bay Area Aquarium to acquire some fish
Acclimate the fish
Aikido
Football
Baseball

Sunday

Walk in the park with the boys
Install the other suspended garage storage rack
Football
Baseball

10.27.2008

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/25/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Greg, and Trey.

Ukemi: A normal set.

The Walk: as usual.

Releases: With Tim. Some tweaks.

Techniques:

We started introducing them to the next 4 of Ju Nana Han Kata. We had time to work on Kote Hineri and Tenkai Kote Hineri. They did really well.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/24/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, and Trey.

This was a night of demonstrations. Kim and Trey both demonstrated for their 3rd Brown Belts, or Sankyu.

They did fabulous jobs. It was the most consistent set of demonstrations I've seen.

Congratulations to both of them

Aftermath: None of note

10.20.2008

Aquarium progress

The 55 gallon aquarium is just about ready for occupants. I've done a couple of water changes and the sand has settled down some. I need to do some NH3/NH4/NO3/pH tests and see if the numbers are in a good spot.

If they are, I'll order some snails/diatoms, etc and then contact Bay Area Aquarium to order the fish I want.

St. Germain

St. Germain, my blood-red F150, is finally whole again.

Two years ago, I used him to haul mats to the Houston Open Judo tournament. That was apparently a bad decision, as I think it was too much weight for him to pull.

After the tournament, the brakes were iffy, the clutch went haywire, there was an extra rattle while driving, etc. I started putting him into the shop shortly thereafter. It's taken a while, but he seems to be whole again.

The last little bit of repair included the following:
exhaust/tranny bracket
clutch work
alignment & new tires
cruise control switch

It was one expensive use of the truck. Probably over $5K in repairs since the tournament.

Billy Bluebonnet Butt

A nickname that has been bestowed upon me for my tradition of sowing bluebonnet seeds on our property each year. We're starting to get a pretty good patch of them. In fact, this past Spring, people stopped by and took pictures in the patch. I was very pleased.

I sowed some more seeds this weekend. I also sowed some Red Corn Poppy, Indian Blanket and Indian Paintbrush. I hope some of them come up.

Weekend update

Friday:

aikido

Saturday:

Mow the lawn
Sow bluebonnet, paintbrush, indian blanket and corn poppy seeds
Work on installing suspended garage storage.
Football
Aikido
Dinner at Joe's
Baseball

Sunday

Complete installation of one suspended garage storage rack
Aquarium water change
Route out spotlight back for Leo.
Help K. set up her backyard post-Ike
Football
Baseball

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/18/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, and Trey.

Ukemi: A normal set.

The Walk: I counted this out for Kim and Trey. They were of the opinion that I counted waaaaay too slowly. They're probably right.

Releases: With Trey. Very smooth

Techniques:

We ran through a 3 iterations of Trey's demonstration syllabus. He's doing great. I notice some stuff each time around, but it's really not worth correcting at this point. It's very minor stuff, and really is tweaking for higher grades.

Probably another hundred fall night for me.

Aftermath: Ibuprofen. I was sore the next morning. Ouch.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/17/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, Trey, Greg and C.

Ukemi: Helped C. with her falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Greg.

Techniques:

We ran through a couple of iterations of Trey's demonstration syllabus. And I worked with Greg on exposing him to 11-14 of Ju Nana Hon Kata.

Trey's reps went very well. He's going to do exceptionally well this Friday.

Greg and I worked on #11 and #13, exploring the off-balances and the need to push instead of grab. We worked on the armbar for #11.

Greg wanted to work on kote-gaeshi, but I wasn't prepared to open that can of worms. Next time.

Aftermath: None of note

10.17.2008

Books read since Ike

I've been on a very slow book reading stint for the past year. The time waiting for power after Ike got me back reading again. Here are the books I've read since the hurricane.

Old Man's War John Scalzi
The Ghost Brigades - John Scalzi
Beholder's Eye - Julie Czerneda
Lost in Booth Nine - Adam Troy-Castro
Roman Dusk - Quinn Yarbro
Dragon's Tongue - Laura J. Underwood
Crystal Dragon - Lee & Miller
The Blue Girl - Charles deLint
The Clan Corporate - Charles Stross
The Gospel of the Knife - Will Shetterly

10.15.2008

Volleyball, 1-2

We finally got back on the court after Hurricane Ike did a little damage to the court.

We did pretty well considering we were playing the second place team. 5 points the first game, 11 the second and then we won the third game.

10.14.2008

Texas Renaissance Festival

K. and I went to the Ren Fair as part of our anniversary celebration. We'd signed up and paid our money for the King's Feast, the nice meal with entertainment that they've had for about 10 years now.

We left around 8:30 and got up there around 10, leaving us an hour to wander around before we were to be seated.

The meal was a 6 course meal and it was pretty good.

Fruit and cheese plate
Salad
Soup
Vegetables and Chicken
Prime Rib, Pork and Sausage
Dessert

In the past (we've gone to a couple of these), there would be some entertainment during the meal, usually from the various acts that perform on the stages around the grounds. This year it was just the belly dancers from one of the stages plus a group of four folks that were in-house entertainment.

I was drastically underwhelmed. I hope they improve over the coming weekends (this was the first weekend of the festival), because it was pretty bad.

We wandered around the fair a bit, after the feast, but our timing was a bit off everywhere and we did not stumble on to any of the shows just as they were starting.

We had an easy trip home. I'm not sure I'm glad we went. It was ok, but not worth the expense of the Feast.

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: Aikido. Durango's. D&D at Robert's.

Sunday: TexRenFair and the King's Feast, football, baseball, pizza

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 10/11/08

Aikidokas: Tim, and C.

Ukemi: Help C with her rolls.

The Walk: Went ok. Slowing down so that C. has more of a chance to see what's going on, and then spending more time on the individual sections

Releases: With C., introducing her to them. She's worked on 4 of the 8 now

Techniques:

We had a few minutes at the end of class to work on Shomen-ate. She got one good one in and we ended class on that high note.

Aftermath: none of note

Friday Night at the Dojo 10/10/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, and Trey.

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

We ran through a couple of iterations of Trey's demonstration syllabus. It's looking great. It varies between an 85 and a 95 as a grade, in my opinion, so he will do well when the actual event occurs. That event is scheduled for two weeks from now.

I went through 1-7 of Ju Nana Han Kata and then , at the end, threw Trey with Kote-gaeshi.

I still don't feel I'll be ready for Shodan demonstration anytime soon and I am scheduled to demonstrate at the upcoming seminar.

Aftermath: Ibuprofen. Also, I broke in a new gi this evening. A seersucker gi from Tozando. It was really nice, but quite a bit warmer than my usual one which is about 20 years old.

10.07.2008

Weekend update

Friday: aikido and Durango's with K. and K.

Saturday: cleaning up the bamboo scraps from Ike and trying to turn them into whistles. Aikido. D&D at Robert's, got a new level for Ragamon.

Sunday: football, work on the restarting the aquarium, creme brulee

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/04/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Trey, Brad, and C.

Ukemi: I spent the ukemi portion of the night working with C. We're still using the crash pad, but she started falling from an upright position instead of just her knees. She's making great progress

The Walk: No issues.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

Trey and I ran through his demonstration 3 times: Releases and Ju Nana Hon Kata (1-10). Even the third one, when we were beat, was pretty good.

Sensei Tim then had us work on hand randori for the rest of the class

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/03/08

Aikidokas: Tim, K., Trey, and C. (a new student).

Ukemi: Normal routine.

The Walk: Went ok. Slowed down at spots to allow C. to better see what's happening

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

Trey and I went through a couple of repetitions of what his Sankyu demonstration would be: Walk, Releases and 1-10 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. It went really well.

After that, I spent some time with C. showing her the first release. I probably spent more time than I should have. I should have shown the release, spent some time on it and then moved on to the second release.

Aftermath: Ibuprofen and a margarita, not at the same time, were called for after all of the falls.

9.29.2008

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: yard work, mowing, aikido, dinner at Durango's with K. and K.

Sunday: Heroes new episodes, water for the aquarium (since we're starting it back up after the power failure), football on TV, Garden Drive block party

One of the neighbors down the street decided that the recent neighborliness generated by Hurricane Ike should not be wasted. To that end, she invited the street to her house for a fabulous meal. We went over there and spent about 2-1/2 hours talking, eating and watching football. It was a great evening.

There are rumors of plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 9/27/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Brad, and C. (a new student).

Ukemi: Took a few big falls with no aftereffects.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Brad.

Techniques:

Brad and I worked on 1-5 Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate for him.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 9/26/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and C. (a new student).

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

Trey and I worked on 1-5 for each of us and then 6-10 for him and #6 for me.

Relearning Shomen-ate and working on Aigamae-ate (left-sided) occupied most of my time as tori. I'm at a bit of a plateau with those techniques at the moment.

I'm also having to correct some footwork on Oshi-taoshi.

Trey did fairly well. He made a bit of a verbal mistake that I found hilarious. We'd finished up his techniques for the evening and were getting some water before continuing on. He thought he'd done fairly well, and he had, and he said "It would have been really good if I'd had a trained uke." Now, I'd been his uke all evening so I cracked up laughing. I knew what he meant, somehow, and knew it wasn't intended as an insult.

I still don't feel I'll be ready for Shodan demonstration anytime soon.

Aftermath: It's great to have another student on the mat.

9.24.2008

Power

It came back on at 7pm last night. 10 days, 17 hours after it went out.

9.23.2008

You know you live on the Gulf Coast when...

Got this from my darling spouse.

You know you live on the Gulf Coast when....

1. You have FEMA's number on your speed dialer.
2. You have more than 300 'C' and 'D' batteries in your kitchen drawer.
3. Your pantry contains more than 20 cans of Spaghetti O's.
4. You are thinking of repainting your house to match the plywood covering your windows.
5. When describing your gutted house to a prospective buyer, you say it has three bedrooms, two baths and an open air feel to it.
6. Your SSN isn't a secret, it's written in Sharpie on your arms.
7. You are on a first-name basis with the cashier at Home Depot.
8. You are delighted to pay $4.00 for a gallon for regular unleaded.
9. The road leading to your house has been declared a No-Wake Zone.
10. You decide that your patio furniture looks better on the bottom of the pool.
11. You own more than three large coolers.
12. You can wish that other people get hit by a hurricane and not feel the least bit guilty about it.
13. You rationalize helping a friend board up by thinking it'll only take a gallon of gas to get there and back.
14. You have 2-liter coke bottles and milk jugs filled with water in your freezer.
15. Three months ago you couldn't hang a shower curtain; today you can assemble a portable generator by candlelight.
16. You catch a 13-pound red fish - in your house.
17. You can recite from memory whole portions of your homeowner's insurance policy.
18. You consider a vacation to stunning Tupelo, Mississippi.
19. At cocktail parties, women are attracted to the guy with the biggest chainsaw.
20. You have had tuna fish more than 5 days in a row.
21. There is a roll of tar roofing paper in your garage.
22. You can rattle off the names of three or more meteorologists who work at the Weather Channel.
23. Someone comes to your door to tell you they found your roof.
24. Ice is a valid topic of conversation.
25. Your drive-thru meal consists of MRE's and bottled water.
26. Relocating to South Dakota does not seem like such a crazy idea.
27. You spend more time on your roof then in your living room.
28. You've been laughed at over the phone by a roofer, fence builder or a tree worker.
29. A battery powered TV is considered a home entertainment center.
30. You don't worry about relatives wanting to visit during the summer.
31. Your child's first words are hunker down.
32. Having a tree in your living room does not necessarily mean it's Christmas.
33. Toilet Paper is elevated to coin of the realm at the shelters.
34. You know the difference between the good side of a storm and the bad side.
35. Your kids start school in August and finish in July.
36. You go to work early and stay late just to enjoy the air conditioning.
37. You are prepared to wait in line at Starbucks for 2 hours to get a cup of coffee.

A. I. Day 9

Trees left to process: 0

State of power: off

Estimated power turn-on: unknown. I'm guessing 0-6 days.

State of the weather: fabulous, all things considered. Nice breezes are great. I wish they'd continue through the night, though.

We spent a couple of hours at the library last night, reveling in the A/C and accessing the internet.

9.21.2008

A. I. Day 8

Trees left to process: 0

State of power: off

Estimated power turn-on: unknown. I'm guessing 1-7 days.

State of the weather: fabulous, all things considered.

I cut up the last pine tree and the tallow tree that were in the creek/ditch. I did not complete it, but until I get access to a chainsaw, I'm done.

We've hauled all of the debris to the curb, except some onesies and twosies of limbs. Nothing major is left to get to the curb

9.20.2008

Aikido Friday Night - 9/19/08

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

Trey and I worked on 1-10 for each of us and then 11-17 for me.

It was an ok night. Hurricane Ike had an impact on our performance. We all spent most of the previous week dealing with the aftermath, so he made his presence known on the mat.

I certainly don't feel I'll be ready for Shodan demonstration anytime soon. Maybe I'll feel better later.

Aftermath: None of note.

A. I. Day 7

Trees processed today: 2

Trees left to process: 2

State of power: off

Estimated power turn-on: unknown. I'm guessing 3-9 days.

State of the weather: fabulous, all things considered.

I cut up the last pine tree and the tallow tree that were in the creek/ditch. I did not complete it, but until I get access to a chainsaw, I'm done.

We've still got a lot of debris to haul to the curb.

My mom got power yesterday, so it's just my sister and I now left in the family without power.

9.19.2008

A. I. Day 6

Trees processed today: 1

Trees processed previously: 4

Trees left to process: 2

State of power: off

Estimated power turn-on: unknown. I'm guessing 3-9 days.

State of the weather: fabulous, all things considered.

I cut up one of the pines that had fallen across my creek/ditch. One of
the branches was under far more tension than I thought it was. It
released the tension quickly when I made the final cut. I was not in
its path when it did so.

The next two trees are going to require getting into the muck to make
the cuts, so I've got to find my rubber boots.

No cutting tonight as the dojo is up and running and it's a night for
aikido.

9.18.2008

Hurricane Ike: a summary of events

Thursday, Sept. 11

8:15 am: Friendswood announces voluntary evacuation

8:45 am: I decide to evacuate and head home

10:30 am: Finish packing, with K.'s help. Say a tearful goodbye and head north

1:30 pm: Arrive at the in-laws' place

Friday, Sept. 12

9:00 pm: Take Jack and Tank out for the last chance to relieve themselves before the storm

Saturday, Sept. 13

1:30 am: Call from K. giving the conditions in Friendswood

4:30 am: Hurricane Ike arrives, causing the structure to sway slightly for the next 7 hours

6:20 am: Power goes out

10:30 am: Attempt to take Jack and Tank out to do their business. Jack cooperates, Tank decides it's too windy.

1:30 pm: Storm has abated, leaving a very light rain falling. Tank decides he can go to the bathroom now.

Sunday, Sept. 14

3:00 am: Call from K. with conditions in Friendswood

10:00 am: Finish packing to go home and head out

1:00 pm: Arrive back in Friendswood

End of timeline

Surveying the damage, we got off very lightly. A total of 7 trees lost major limbs or gave their lives in the storm. The bamboo plant also lost a number of shoots. None of them damaged the house.

Trees left to process: 3

State of power: off

Estimated power turn-on: unknown. I'm guessing 4-10 days

State of the weather: fabulous, all things considered.

Pictures when I can get them off the camera

9.10.2008

Volleyball 0-3

Another winless night. It was a set of 3 close games, so I'm not disappointed. We were outmanned 6 players to 5.

I managed to get one ace, plus a couple of good serves. Nothing like last week, when I won around 9 straight points off of my serve.

A couple of kills and a couple of blocks rounded out the evening.

Oh, plus a tweak of the ankle I sprained back in March. I'm limping today.

Hurricane Ike, still

Picked up more plywood for the protection of windows and doors, along with some more Plylox. Spent the time after volleyball sizing the plywood and the 2x4s necessary as adjuncts. So, should we decide to do it, we can board up the final windows and doors in an hour or so.

I don't expect to do it, as it looks like Ike will come in south of us. We will likely get some rain, but not the really high powered winds.

The shop has, according to K., been filled with loose stuff from the yard.

Unless things change, I'll be riding the storm out at home.

9.09.2008

Brief political quote

A great (unattributed) quote from Lynn Flewelling's LJ:

"Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

9.08.2008

Hurricane Ike

It looks like Mr. Ike might be headed my way.

Yesterday afternoon, I got home and saw the projected path. It looked like he was likely to come straight up the gut. So, I went out to the shop and got down all of the storm boards.

I spent some time spray painting them with labels that are easier to see than the Sharpie I had used previously.

I also cut the plywood for the windows of the addition, and figured out how they were going to get installed.

K. came home and helped me get the last board down from the shop and we started installing them. We had to do some size adjustment along the way, along with learning some tricks of using Plylox. If you place the Plylox further away from the ends of the board, it makes it easier to install them.

It took judicious use of prop boards and cinder blocks to install the boards on the addition, but we got it done.

We got in from the installation and sat down to check the news on Ike. Now it looks like he's going to hit South Texas instead of the Upper Texas Coast. Grrr.

We need some more plywood for two doors and the big windows (107" x 52" and 107" x 72"). K. is out picking that up now, with her dad. We're going to need 'em at some point, so might as well have them ready.

I'm really glad I've got the shop now. I've got a plywood cutting methodology down after doing so much for making the cabinets for the shop. It made the cutting of the new boards, and adjustment of the old ones relatively pleasant.

One car is gassed up. It's the one that will be staying in town with Kim. She's a part of the city's emergency team.

She's using the truck to get the plywood and will fill that up during her errands. I'll use that to transport myself and the animals to our chosen destination. That might be the family place in Granger. I haven't checked to see if there are prior claims on the space there.

But, I'm now thinking I won't need to leave. And, I'll be busy unboarding the windows this weekend.

Gig 'em Aggies

Not a convincing win, but a win nonetheless.

Now onto the Hurricanes of Miami. I'm not optimistic.

In the shop

I managed to get some design work for the face frames for the cabinets done. I've got a cut list ready. Now I need to go to the Borg to see what they've got in affordable poplar and figure out what I need to buy.

Weekend update

A weekend of pleasant temperatures and decent humidity levels. Still warm, but it felt so good, comparatively.

Friday: aikido

Saturday:

aikido
picked up a load of vegetable mix for a new garden
Clear Lake Symphony concert
listened to the TAMU/New Mexico game when I could
watched some of the tu/UTEP game

Sunday

prepped for a smoking of some ribs on the grill
did a little design work for the face frames in the shop
moved the vegetable mix from the truck to the garden
dinner with the in-laws
watched a little of Colts/Chicago

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 9/6/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Brad.

Trey was leaving early, because of the Aggie game, so we had to work him out early.

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

We spent a lot of time working on shomen-ate this afternoon. We're all having trouble with the new version, but we're slowly getting a handle on it. I think I've crossed the line from confused to competent.

We played a lot with the initial off-balance and the quick transition into the entry for the technique.

Before Trey left, Sensei Tim wanted Brad to see the aikinage. Trey got to be uke again, and we got the same result as the night before: air time for Trey.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon as uke for Brad on shomen-ate.

Aftermath: None of note, a good afternoon. Ibuprofen afterward.

Aikido Friday Night - 9/5/08

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

We had some visitors watching the session this evening. Potential students. Mature women. So, Sensei Tim spent some time talking to them while Trey and I did the usual things, with a bit of an ear out for stuff Sensei Tim wanted us to show.

As they left, they implied they'd be back next week. We'll see.

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

All I remember of the techniques for the was the aikinage Sensei wanted me to try before the ladies left the dojo. It was cool, and generated a comment from the ladies: " I want to be able to do that."

I hit the timing right so that as Trey put down his foot, he wasn't able to put it down. His other foot was already in the air, so he got some air time on the fall. Not a lot, but some.

Aftermath: None of note, a good evening. Ibuprofen afterward.

9.05.2008

In the shop

The cabinet carcasses have been installed. Finally.

There were some alignment hassles, but not many. My in-laws, whose apartment shares a wall with the shop, thought I was messing around in the ceiling with all of my banging. I used a tool of persuasion to get some final adjustments. It ended up pretty level.

Next step is the face frame. Then the 2x4 frame for the countertops, plywood on top of that and then hardboard on top of that.

I had to do a bunch of rearrangement of the shop to create space to move everything in position. I've reached the point where the mobile light table/ stained glass workbench is taking up too much room.

I've got to get rid of it. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and head into town to put up a flyer at stained glass studios. craigslist has not worked yet.

50 Things

Stealing from surricatus, autojim, and liz williams:

1. Do you like blue cheese? I suppose
2. Have you ever smoked a cigarette? No. Puffed a cigar once. One puff.
3. Do you own a gun? No. Dad committed suicide with a gun, prefer to not have them around.
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? None
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? With chili, cheese and onions, please.
7. Favorite Christmas Song? Most of them.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Milk, then tea.
9. Can you do push ups? Yes
10. What's your favorite meal? Creamed chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes,
11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I've got 3 of 'em: Aggie Ring, Wedding Ring and Opal Ring.
12. Favorite hobby? Aikido.
13. Do you work with people who idolize you? No way.
14. Do you have A.D.D? No.
15. What's one trait that you dislike about yourself? Laziness.
16. Middle name? Scott.
17. Name 3 thoughts at this moment. Friday! Why won't the disk mount?
18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday. Only 2: Dr. Pepper, 3 Musketeers.
20. Current worry right now? Car.
21. Current hate right now? Politics.
22. Favorite place to be? Home.
23. How did you bring in New Years? By sleeping.
24. Where would you like to go? Port Douglas, Australia.
25. Name three people who will complete this? I don't know 3 people who read this blog.
26. Whose answer do you want to read the most? See 25.
27. What color shirt are you wearing? Orange.
28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Never tried 'em.
29. Can you whistle? Yes.
30. Favorite color(s)? Grey and maroon.
31. Would you be a pirate? I'd be a pirate's bookkeeper.
32. What songs do you sing in the shower? None.
33. Favorite girl's name? Otille.
34. Favorite boy's name? Rhys.
35. What's in your pocket right now? Keys.
36. Last thing that made you laugh? Orange County Chopper.
37. Best bed sheets as a child? Unknown.
38. Worst injury you've ever had? Sprained ankle or separated shoulder.
39. Do you love where you live? Somewhat.
40. How many TVs do you have in your house? One.
41. Who is your loudest friend? Kimm.
42. How many dogs do you have? Two.
43. Does someone have a crush on you? I doubt it.
44. What's your favourite beer? It's slipped my mind at the moment.
45. What is your favorite book? "Nine Princes in Amber".
46. What is your favorite candy? Malted Milk Balls.
47. What is your favorite sports team? Texas Aggies.
48. What song do you want played at your funeral? "Amazing Grace", sung by a duet of Aaron Neville and Laura Love.
49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? Sleeping.
50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? Turn off alarm.

9.02.2008

Aggie football

We got outscored in the first game of the season. Unfortunately, I did not manage to listen to the game. I though it was on 950AM, but when I went to that station, it had the Texas Tech game.

We'll get 'em this week.

beat the hell outta the Lobos!

At the movies: Death Race

Death Race: 3

Jason Statham, Joan Allen in an update of "Death Race 2000". Inmates of commercial, for-profit penitentiaries compete in a race to the death for the right to walk out of jail a free man.

A fun, big screen version of Car Wars. There are a number of plot holes, but it was decent time in the theatre.

Not to be purchased for the home collection.

In the shop

Back in the shop over the holiday weekend, working on the last set of cabinets for the shop. The only big thing I'll have left is the assembly/table saw outfeed table, and I really need to work on that soon. It's a pain working with sheets of plywood without it.

Sunday, I made the big cuts and glued-up the middle divider. Left that to sit overnight. Assembly needed that to be ready, so I was done for the day.

Monday, I came in and started making dadoes. I was too rambunctious and did think properly think through the measurements I made. Result: a worthless middle divider.

So, I had to re-cut the components and glue the thing up again. I waited a few hours and then worked on the dadoes, hoping the joint had dried enough. The dadoes came out where they needed to be this time, so I was able to glue up one half of the cabinet.

It's now sitting in the shop, waiting for me to get home tonight to glue up the other half.

Tomorrow I should be able to put all of the units in their places and contemplate face frames.

Weekend update

Friday: Aikido

Saturday: Delayed prepping further for Gustav as it looked like it was going elsewhere. Slept late. Aikido. Dinner and a movie out with K.

Also, went by Office Depot to pick up a custom order for next year's Armadillocon. They'd messed up the order by not noting the font and color when transcribing from paper to computer. So, I'll be getting it for 1/2 price, sometime this week.

Sunday: Made the final determination to not do further prep for Gustav. Mowed the lawn in case we got a bunch of rain, just in case. In the shop working on the final set of cabinets. Dinner at Joe's, with K.

Monday: In the shop screwing up and recovering from the screwup. Entertained the neighbor's dogs. Also looked through our neighbor's house, trying to find her most current will and power of attorney, just in case.

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 8/30/08

Aikidokas: Tim, and Richard.

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Not today.

Releases: Not today.

Techniques:

Richard and I worked together. We worked through 1-13 of Ju Nana, alternating role as tori.

I had my usual issue on Ushiro-ate, not enough initial off-balance.

We spent some time on Kote-hineri. I had to work on timing issues for the second off-balance. I was seeing a step and it was the wrong step, a late step. So, I attempted to correct that.

We spent a lot of time on Kote-gaeshi, trying to get Richard more familiar and comfortable with the new version.

We spent a fair amount of time with me on Tenkai Kote Hineri. I was not getting a strong lock and was also pulling Richard toward me instead of down his fourth toe.

Aftermath: None of note. A very good workout.

Friday Night at the Dojo 8/29/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Greg, and Trey.

Ukemi: No big falls.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Greg.

Techniques:

Blum line with thre three of us switching as tori through all of 1-7 of Ju Nana.

Not a bad evening. I had issues with Shomen-ate. I have yet to "get" our new verion on a consistent basis. I have occasional issue with Ushiro-ate, generating enough of an initial off-balance.

Aftermath: None of note, a good evening.

8.28.2008

Gustav preparation

I've got the feeling that Gustav is going to head right toward Galveston early next week.

My mom and aunt have made reservations at a hotel in San Antonio for next week. I bought 4 more sheets of plywood for the windows on the apartment last night. I don't know if I'll get down the already prepped boards tonight or this weekend.

Landfall looks to be around 11pm Monday night. 72 hours ahead of that is 11pm Friday night. I want to had out 72 hours ahead of time. 55 hours lead time is what I had for Rita, and that was too little time.

55 hours in front of Monday 11pm is 4pm Saturday. It could be an exciting weekend.

8.27.2008

Volleyball 1-2

Played against a team with only 5 players. We actually had 6!

We were down 8-16 in the first game but made it close in the end: 19-21.

Second game was a disaster.

Third was fairly close, but I don't remember the score.

8.25.2008

Aikido weekend in Killeen 8/22/08

Sensei Tim arranged with Jeff in Killeen to come out and hold a seminar this past weekend. He wanted me along, with an ulterior motive, so I arranged my schedule and was his passenger on the trip to and from.

He picked me up at 10am Friday and we made it into Killeen by around 3pm, I think. We recuperated at the hotel until around 5 and then joined Jeff and Gail for dinner at a nice little Mexican joint near their house.

Adjourning from dinner, we went back to their place and got ready for the first session on the mat for the weekend.

There were aikidoka there from Austin, Houston, Killeen, and the DFW area. I think we had around 12 or 14 folks there Friday night.

It turned out the weekend's topic was to be the Koryu Dai Yon No Kata. We started out with the first 11 on Friday night. Saturday morning, when we reconvened, we started with the weapon sections. We made it through the knife and bokken techniques, but did not get to the jo techniques before everyone's brain was sufficiently fried.

Sensei's secret plan in getting me up there was to get me some time working on Owaza Ju Pon. I got about 45 minutes of work on the first technique. At least it felt like it. It may have been much less.

I did ok. One guy, Andy, proved to be impossible for me to complete the technique on. I have no idea why.

After finishing up with the Yon Kata stuff, we hung around Jeff's place a bit and then went back to the hotel. We zipped over to "China Star" for dinner. It has been voted the best Chinese restaurant in Killeen for 11 years straight. Ugh.

On the plus side, I did not get sick from eating there.

We were up bright and early Sunday morning and on the road. We mad it home by a little after noon.

It was a great weekend. I got to meet some new friends, renew some old friendships and get an aikido workout. Good stuff.

My legs are sore.

8.20.2008

Volleyball 0-3

Second week of the season and we run into the buzz saw that is Fandango. We actually stayed relatively competitive, but got beat.

We played well, with a sub for our third woman.

Armadillocon recap

Another Armadillocon under the belt, I think this is my sixth for which I was the Art Show Director. This one went much better than last year's, mainly because my house got burglarized during last year's and I had to abandon the con.

We sold about $3700 worth of art, down substantially from last year's $5500. The main difference was we sold two of Gary Lippincott's originals last year.

I think the quality of the art was well-received, and I received some compliments on the organization of the show. So, I'm happy.

I did mess up some stuff, but it magically all worked out. I've got ideas on how to correct them for next year. I've also got some ideas to generally improve my process and improve the experience for everyone, I think.

Armadillocon Monday

I didn't sleep well, waking up at 5am and unable to get back to sleep for 1/2 hour. Then, woke up later than I liked, a little before 8.

Got my act together and got all of the mail-in art loaded into the truck. Said goodbye to David Lee Anderson, who was leaving from the garage while I was loading up.

Went to the Post Office, mailed those packages.

Went to FedEx, mailed those.

Went to Office Depot and sent off the UPS boxes.

Went back to the hotel and loaded up the rest of the stuff, including the multiple coolers for the grass-fed beef I was scheduled to pick up in Burton. I then left the hotel premises for another year.

First stop was for gas. Next stop was at the Academy, right next to the gas station, for a big cooler. I had no confidence in the ability of my current complement to handle the 200lbs of beef I was scheduled to pick up.

And then onto the highway back home.

Knowing the lack of food was going to affect me, I tried to guess where I'd be around lunchtime. Chappell Hill was my guess, so I planned on hitting a little cafe on the freeway that I've been passing by for decades.

When I got there, it was a nice little diner. Good food, good prices, quick service.

From there, a stop in Burton for the beef (I would have had enough room without the new cooler), and then home.

Another Armadillocon successfully completed.

Armadillocon Sunday

Up for breakfast in the cafe. Into the Art Show by 9.

Handle the mad rush that is check out for all of the purchased art while handling the checkout of all of the artists and the unpurchased art. Laura does another fabulous job packing up all of the art for shipping.

One artist and one purchaser delay the proceedings until 2 pm.

We then proceed to dismantle the show and load all of the steel and pegborad on the carts by 4 pm. We get the carts loaded on the truck by 5. We manage to get to the storage facility and get stuff unloaded by 6:10 and then head off to dinner.

The County Line. Bar-b-q served family style. Everyone else had already arrived and been seated, so the art show dismantlers had to eat amongst ourselves. I think the seven of us managed to polish away more meat than the rest of the tables (35 people) combined.

Mmmmmmmmm. Cow.

Back to the hotel and accounting work for the art show. Do artist totals and take the control sheets to the front desk for copying. Get them back, slap them into the artist's boxes and do final prep for shipping in the morning.

Off to the Con Suite for some smof'ing and imbibing. Then off to bed.

Armadillocon Saturday

Up, again, at 7. Breakfast and then into the Art Show.

Supervise the end of silent bidding at 5pm. Organize the items going to auction, 13 in all. Organize the items that were bid upon, but not going to auction.

The auction. One piece generates enough interest that I start giving back massages to the bidders to encourage more bidding. I think pictures were taking. Negatives will be burned if I can acquire them.

Reopen the Art Show for art pick up and sales. Laura takes over to let me run get dinner at Fudd's.

Close the show down at 10 and I run off to the Con Suite for a brief visit and then to bed.

Armadillocon Thursday

I set the alarm for 4:45 am. I woke up at 4:43 and decided I could sleep another hour, so I reset the alarm.

Up at the appointed hour. I do the final loading of the truck. I'd done most of it the night before. The only stuff left was the art that would ride in the bed of the truck on the way to Austin, and the bag of clothes for the weekend.

With a quick stop at Shipley's, I was on my way.

Took the Beltway around, up to 290 and off in the direction of Austin. Traffic was a breeze and, when the decision point came, the timing was such that I decided make the detour to Taylor for kolaches for the weekend.

Onward to the hotel. They had my room ready, so I off-loaded everything into the room. It took me about 5 trips with my dolly.

Then on to various local errands.

Frist stop: Central Market for root beers for the weekend: Frostie, St. Arnold's, Hank's, and one other (maybe Weidman?). Not impressed with the one whose name I can't remember, but the others were quite nice. Frostie is my favorite, but I need to do a blind taste with the other two.

Next stop: Aikido of Austin. I was going to miss the sessions back home, so I thought I'd try to watch a session while in Austin. It was cool. They did jo work, which is not something we do in our classes.

Texas Store Fixtures. I bought some stuff for the slatwall in my woodworking shop: baskets and shelves and such.

Hung around the hotel a bit, calling some artists that I was trying to meet. then we started unloading the art show steel. That went quickly and by the time we were done, it was time to head off to dinner at Threadgill's.

I was blessed with the task of getting the Guest of Honor, John Scalzi, to the restaurant. I was given general directions and made it to the general area of the restaurant quickly. At that point, I knew not how to proceed. So, I asked for directions at a local tire store. The restaurant was just one block away at that point. We made it safely and drew a round of applause as we arrived.

After dinner was a trip down to see the Congress Street Bridge Bats. They decided to fly out from the bridge over the river instead of straight up into the air. Our viewing pleasure was reduced because of this decision of the plying mammals, but it was still neat.

Then on back to the convention hotel to set up the steel for the Art Show. We managed to finish around 11pm.

Off to the Con Suite for a brief break and then to bed.

Armadillocon Friday

Up at 7 am to start the day.

Off to the hotel cafe for breakfast. $18 for a buffet?!? Ouch! But, they've got a monopoly on convenient places to eat now. The local Owens restaurant closed and changed into a Chili's over the past year. Other restaurants require a drive, so it's not worth the hassle.

After breakfast, on to the Art Show to start hanging the art. That got completed around 2pm, with various artists showing up to hang their own art. Joe Haldeman showed up to hang his art, as well as John Picacio, and others.

We opened up the Art Show around 2, I think. Before the convention itself was officially open!

We stayed open until around 6 or so. Laura went out and some food from Enchiladas y Mas, I think. Good stuff.

We re-opened from 8 to 10 to be open during the "Meet the Pros" event. Alcohol is available during that event and it tends to loosen the wallets some.

At 10 pm we closed for the evening and I went off to the Con Suite for a brief visit and then to bed.

Volleyball 0-3

Pretty sad showing last week, but it was our first week as a team. Also, it's been 4 months since I last played.

8.11.2008

Armadillocon prep

Final preparations are underway for Armadillocon. On my list of things left to do are:

Charge my phone
Load more CDs into iTunes and sync up the iPod
Organize the 3-ring binders
Email the artists whose artwork has arrived over the past few days
Put the hotel confirmation in my organizer
Put the 3-ring hole punch in the art show container
Get some more shipping tape for mailing packages back out to the artists
Locate another cooler or two for the trip back
Get a map to the butcher for on the trip back
Locate a supplier of Austex chili in Austin
Decide on go/no-go to Taylor on the way into Austin
Pack suitcase
Pack the art
Pack the camera

In the shop

Got in the shop for a few hours on Saturday.

I managed to get the backing plywood cut and attached to the cabinets. I then moved them into their assigned spots where they fit like they were supposed to.

Now, I need to finish the design, and build, the final cabinet section. Then I can attach them all together, level them, and work on face frames, doors and drawers.

Olympics

I'm impressed with NBC's coverage this year. It's much improved. Far fewer puff pieces of War-and-Peace length. A greater variety of sports shown.

The sports I've seen so far:
Boxing
Swimming
Traps
Archery
Weightlifting
Road Racing
Beach volleyball
Indoor volleyball
Diving
Rowing
Basketball
Soccer
Equestrian

Some of the improvement is because I now have access to multiple stations on which they're being broadcast. I'm able to jump around if they start a puff piece I'm not interested in. But, they seem to be doing fewer of them. Probably because they have two channels devoted to just the puff pieces.

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: Mow the lawn. Work in the shop on the cabinets. Aikido. Dinner out with a friend. Olympics in every spare minute.

Sunday: Olympics. Lunch out with the in-laws for m-i-l's birthday. Painting the living room. Cards with the in-laws.

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 8/9/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, and Trey.

Ukemi: No air falls today.

The Walk: Not today.

Releases: With Trey. Worked on Nami no Waza. We spent about an hour working through these, making tweaks, Correcting incorrect progressions. Went well.

Techniques:

We then spent the last minutes of the session working on getting initial off-balances. For that, we chose Aigamae-ate. Over and over and over.

I also had Trey work on taking me around in a circle in case the initial off-balance does not feel right. I then exaggerated my steps while being led around in the circle to give him more time to see the body rise and body fall. It seems like a good tool to help with the timing for techniques.

Aftermath: Beat. Sweaty. Optimistic that my issue with initial off-balances is reduced.

Friday Night at the Dojo 8/8/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: 1 air fall each side, I think. A slight ping on the left calf. It might have to do with how I'm being led out for that fall, I'm not certain.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

Trey and I worked together. I was uke for him for 1-10 of Ju Nana Han Kata.

He was then uke for me for the same.

Pretty much a disaster this evening. I could not get initial off-balances for the life of me. Trey had similar issues. Sensei got a little annoyed.

Aftermath: Tired. Worked up a good sweat.

8.08.2008

In the shop

Been out in the shop the past two nights, sweating in the 95 degree heat. I managed to get the carcasses for the two sections of cabinets completed, mostly.

Still need to be done:

1/4" plywood on the back
face frames
doors
drawers

I'm probably going to but the back on these two sections and then start and the last section of cabinet before doing the drawers and doors, etc. on all of the sections. It'll probably be a month or so before all of that gets done. I've got a bunch of weekend commitments coming up, so I won't have much shop time.

8.06.2008

In the shop

I had some inspiration and some time, so I got out into the shop.

I lacked a little bit of restraint, though, and ended up making a mistake or two. I don't have to go out and buy more wood to correct those mistakes because I predicted I'd do something stupid. I bought enough wood beforehand to allow some room for mistakes.

My mistakes: thinking that I had not already cut two pieces. This caused a second mistake: cutting up a board that was already in final dimensions into sizes for the aforementioned two pieces.

So, tonight I have to cut two pieces 26 1/4" x 29 1/4". I've got a full sheet of plywood, ready and waiting.

Edouard, pt. 3

Edouard was the cause for me to work from home, for a whole day, for the first time. Not tremendously fun. K. was home, and it was always tempting to go help her do whatever she was doing.

I got started late and, therefore, finished late. But, I still had some hours to reset the yard to the way it was before the storm. I also had some time to work in the shop.

Ikkyu demonstration, part 3

Ikkyu demonstration, part 2

8.05.2008

Ikkyu Demonstration, part 1

Edouard, pt. 2

Well, Edouard is a bit of a bust. Overnight he turned a bit north, so we did not get the dirty side. We have not received much of anything. In the 6 hours since the rain started, we've had 1.5" of rain. We've had a little wind, but not much.

I spent a couple of hours prepping the yard for the arrival and it wasn't necessary. And I'll have to spend the same amount, or more, un-prepping the yard

Still, with these things, it's better to be safe than sorry.

8.04.2008

In the shop

Saturday, I finally got off my duff and finalized the design of two of the three remaining sets of cabinets in the shop. At least I've finalized the carcass dimensions and where the doors and drawers are going. I have not finalized the design of the drawer fronts or the doors.

Sunday, I spent 3 hours in the shop, sweating like a pig. I managed to get the major components cut to size. I got the one panel, that needed to be glued up, glued and clamped.

The next step will be to cut out the necessary notches and then the dadoes.

Edouard

This tropical storm, likely to be a hurricane, is coming right up our drainage pipe. I don't expect it to be too much trouble, but we're storing loose items away.

Creme brulee

I've wanted to make creme brulee for a while, but have lacked some of the implements to make it easy: ramekins and a torch.

I finally "splurged" and purchased those items.

And I've attempted 3 recipes. 2 of which turned out ok. One turned out better.

The two that turned out ok were the first two I tried. I've learned that they need to be watched in the oven and not left to overcook. I like mine a little soft/liquid in the center, so I have to keep an eye on them. If you let them go, they tend to turn cake-like.

One of the other issue with the recipes is they all say to chill them after cooking. I don't like chilled creme brulee. I like it warm, and soft.

I took a chance on the last batch and did not chill them. I also took a chance and altered the recipe the first time I made it, which is something I normally avoid like the Black Plague. I did not change it much, but I did change it.

Below is the recipe as I prepared it.

1/2 cup plus 6 teaspoons sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk*
2/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/3 cup Rum

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place four 8-oz ramekins in large roasting pan. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks and whole egg in large bowl to blend. Combine cream, coconut milk and coconut in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Whisk into yolk mixture, slowly, a little bit at a time. Pour custard into cups, dividing equally.

Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are just set in center, about 27 minutes. Remove from water. Cool.

Arrange custard cups in a square baking pan. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over each. Tilt the pan slightly, to make reaching each ramekin easier. Using a torch, heat the sugar until it browns and start to liquify.

Overheard in the car

"I want you to check out the hookers"

Inter-species cooperation

We were outside Thursday, doing some yard work. We noticed that Jack was getting very possessive of something. I walked over and took a look. What I saw was a recently born animal, about 4 inches long, with its eyes still closed. I attempted to get Jack away from it, but he grabbed it in his mouth and took off. I attempted to get him to spit it out, but he refused. In fact, he swallowed the poor animal, still squeaking.

A few minutes later, we found another, smaller, newborn. We managed to protect this one and get it out of the yard before Jack dealt with it, but I'm sure it did not make it.

We think Vlad, one of our cats, brought the newborn in from outside of the fenced area.

Jack did not seem to suffer from his large meal of protein.

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: design work for the shop, aikido, dinner and shopping with friends

Sunday: in the shop working on cabinets, a sister's birthday celebration (dinner and an Agatha Christie play)

I kind of guessed who did it in the mystery, but not really.

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 8/02/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: No air falls today.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Brad. Went well.

Techniques:

I worked with Brad on shomen-ate. It went ok.

I also server as fill-in uke for Trey when he was working on gyakugamaeate. He was having issue with Richard as uke and we wanted to make sure that Trey could get the technique. He nailed it on the first attempt with me.

Trey then served as my uke for a couple of attempts on Tenkai Kote-hineri and Kote-gaeshi. The first couple were a little rough, but the final one was good.

Aftermath: None of note.

Friday Night at the Dojo 8/01/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim (yay!), and Trey.

Ukemi: 1 air fall each side, I think. A slight ping on the left calf. It might have to do with how I'm being led out for that fall, I'm not certain.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: I don't remember.

Techniques:

We ran a Blum-line tonight with Trey and Kim as tori. 1-10 of Ju Nana Hon Kata, right side. Sensei Tim joined in as uke for the first 5. I then was uke twice for each tori for each technique.

We had issue with tori getting off-line. It finally resolved itself around Ude-hineri or so.

At the end of the evening, I got to throw Trey with Kote-gaeshi and Ude-hineri. Went ok.

Aftermath: Tired and likely to be sore. Beer for the evening. Ibu the next morning.

7.28.2008

In the shop

Well, almost. I spent some time looking for the designs for the cabinets in the shop. Once I found them, I spent some time fleshing them out some more, correcting possible problems.

Now I need to work on where to put doors, drawers, etc.

I also spent some time working on a design for a new entertainment center for the house. K. has asked that it be complete by Christmas, when we host 60+ people for my family gathering. The design is getting close to being ready. I based it on a design in ShopNotes a while back.

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: Oil change for the pick up. Some design work for the new entertainment center and the cabinets in the shop. Aikido. Some sample painting in preparation for repainting the kitchen and living room. Joe's bar-b-cue for dinner. Hand and foot with the in-laws.

Sunday: Work on the deck area, incorporating some path work we did a few years ago and had to move when the construction was occurring. The Dark Knight at the theatre and then The Incredibles at home.

At the movies: The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight: 4

Heath Ledger does steal the show here. Christian Bale does a good job as well. The make-up for Two-Face was impressive.

I'd happily go see this one again. Heath does deserve an Oscar, the movie might as Best Picture.

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 7/26/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Greg, Kim (yay!), and Trey.

Ukemi: 1 air fall each side, I think. No issues.

The Walk: Went ok. I counted in Czech for one iteration.

Releases: With Kim. It's fun and a challenge working with her on almost anything. Our height differential, and weight differential, alter the approaches on everything.

Techniques:

We had a visitor for a while, so Sensei Tim went to chat with him. I was left in charge and had Greg and Trey work together while I worked with Kim.

We worked through 1-10 for her. 1-5 both sides and 6-10 right side only. I'd do one or two reps first and then let her go at me.

Gyakugamae-ate (#3) is tough for a short person to get on someone my height. You've got to break me down quite a bit.

At the end of the session, Greg and Trey were working on Kote-gaeshi. Sensei Tim brought me in to try to help them. Trey wanted me to throw him with it, as well, before the end of the session.

Aftermath: Tired and likely to be sore. Ibuprofen.

Friday Night at the Dojo 7/25/08

Aikidokas: Sensei Tim.

Ukemi: Normal warm-up

The Walk: None.

Releases: None.

Techniques:

We worked through 14-17. We actually went to gake on all techniques. Normally, Sensei Tim limits his falls, but tonight he expanded his limits. We also worked on Kubi-garuma and Aiki-nage of the Owaza Ju Pon.

He spent some time making Shihonage more difficult to achieve, countering if my off-balances were not there.

We spent a lot of time on the foot work for Aiki-nage. My timing's decent, usually, but I'm still concentrating on uke's feet. My most consistent issue is my distance from uke. This is a technique where uke is your best buddy. you've got to keep him in close. I don't do that so well at the moment.

Aftermath: A nice active evening. Sensei Tim got hassled a bit from Mrs. Sensei for all of the falls.

7.25.2008

F4DZ-5461705-A

F4DZ-5461705-A? What the heck is that?

It's the part number for the seat track for a '93 Ford Taurus SHO. A part Ford no longer makes or stocks. A part my dealer could not find. Well, kinda.

They found a listing for the part at a dealer in Iowa. When they checked with that dealer directly, it turned out that they didn't have one.

They did a search of used parts places and turned one up in Oklahoma somewhere. It would have cost $300 in shipping to get it here and there was no way to know what sort of condition it was in. It was coming off of a vehicle with 300K miles on it, more than twice the mileage on my vehicle.

The lack of this part does not make the care unsafe. It can make the care impossible for me to drive, if I can't move the seat back far enough for me to get into it.

My car is rapidly approaching the point at which it can not be repaired if something goes wrong.

7.22.2008

At the movies: Beyond the Sea

Beyond the Sea (DVD): 3

Kevin Spacey in a movie about Bobby Darin's life, mainly as an adult.

A pleasant vehicle to get some of Bobby's songs on film, sung competently by Spacey. Covers his rise to fame, his time in the 60's and the problems presented by a childhood bout with Rheumatic Fever.

At the movies: Crank

Crank (DVD): 3

Jason Statham in the role of a hit man who discovers he has been poisoned and will die if his heart rate drops to normal levels.

I don't know if this was meant to be a comedy, but it was one to me. Not a top-notch film for acting, but a lot of fun action.

Weekend update

Friday: Aikido

Saturday:

Started up the lawnmower, ready to mow the yard again. Put it into gear and it started going. Shifted into higher gear and it stopped moving. The exact same issue for which I put it into the shop 4 weeks ago. So, I needed to put it in the shop again. Went to the library and swapped vehicles, got the mower loaded into the truck and went off to Alvin.

Got there and waited about an hour for them to get to it. Since it was a re-repair they got to it that day. It took them about 15 minutes to fix it. I test drove it around their lot for about 5 minutes and brought it back home.

Mowed the yard. Got a nice sunburn.

Aikido

Joe's Bar-B-Cue for dinner. Mmmmmmmmm.

Sunday:

Goofed around. Went to the Dog Shows in town with a friend. K. was doing schoolwork.

Got back and grilled out steak, sausage and chicken. Bar-B-Cue all week for lunches. Sweet!

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 7/19/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Tess.

Ukemi: Went ok. Didn't do any big falls today.

The Walk: None today.

Releases: None today.

Techniques:

We worked on the Nami no Waza. We managed to make it through 1, 2, 2b, 3, 4, 4b, 5 and 6.

On the chain starting with the 6th release (I think) we explored whether Tenkai Kotehineri is in the chain or whether it should be Kote kajiki (I have no idea if that is the correct spelling).

Aftermath: Tired. Sweaty. A good workout.

Friday Night at the Dojo 7/18/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Mea.

Ukemi: 1 air fall each side. Left side was good, right side pinged the left calf a little.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

We worked through 6-10 for him and 11-16 for me, all from Ju Nana Han Kata.

Spent some time on Oshi-taoshi and Ude-gaeshi exploring pivots and such.

Spent some time on Shihonage for me and Sumi-otoshi.

Aftermath: None of note

7.16.2008

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 7/12/08

Aikidokas: Tim, and Richard.

Ukemi: Went ok. Didn't do any big falls today

The Walk: Went ok. We're altering one of the stones, the footwork thereof, and that's requiring a little adjustment. Although I have done that footwork when Sensei Mike has suggested it.

Releases: None today.

Techniques:

We worked through 1-12 for both Richard and me, both sides. We worked far slower than I'm used to and it was a good learning tool.

Ushiro-ate: not enough off-balance. Rushing the rest of the technique.

Oshi-taoshi: I was not going up and over the mountain enough.

Ude-hineri: too far away during the initial off-balance

Waki-gatame: not letting uke into my house enough.

Aftermath: Tired. Sweaty. A good workout.

Friday Night at the Dojo 7/11/08

Aikidokas: Tim, and a new student whose name I did not catch

Ukemi: We went through basic slaps and started to work on forward rolls with the new student

The Walk: Went through this a few times

It's amazing how much time introducing a new student can take. I hope she sticks around.

Aftermath: None.

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: Grocery shopping and then Weed-eating for two hours in the morning. Riding mower is still in the shop.

Aikido in the afternoon.

D&D in the evening. First time I've had room in my schedule for that in several months.

Sunday: not much. Grilled chicken, steak and sausage out on the grill for dinner. Made a Peach Pie, too.

7.07.2008

Accomplishments during the days off

Here's the list of stuff I had hoped to get done over my days off, with the ones marked that got done.

Done - Wait for the AT&T guy to fix the DSL
Done - Mow the lawn (1 acre) with a push mower. The riding mower is in the shop.
Not ready - Pick up the Taurus from the shop
Nope - Go blueberry picking
Nope - Go up to the in-laws?
Done - See Wall*E
Done - See Wanted
Done - See Hancock
95% done - Finish assembling the extension to the deck
Not ready - Pick up the 1/4 cow, if it's ready
Done - Call Adobe for help with my Photoshop issue
In the shop:
Uncle Leo's base
Assembly/feed table
95% done - Dog barrier for the other door
Reset wing on table saw
Done - Aikido on Saturday
Not enough folks - Gaming Friday or Saturday night
Did not do - Try to take some HDR photos

Looking at the list, I got almost everything accomplished. I made a mistake on the deck, so I have to fix that. I need to go through and finalize the home network after the DSL fix. I had to get the router reset and that messes everything up.

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 7/5/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Greg, Trey, and Tessa.

Ukemi: I worked on extending my legs through the falls some more.

I took a Big Fall. Without Pain. Yahoo! Now to continue the tradition.

Nami No Waza:

We worked on the first 4 chains. They are based off of, respectively, releases number 1, 2, 2, and 3.

Kogueri Double Hand Grabs:

We did the first 4 of these as well:

Two-hands to the chest.
One hand to the chest.
Heaven and earth.
Two hands to the same side and then bump uke.

I tried to do these with my eyes closed to get a better feel for uke's balance.

Aftermath: I was an absolutely dripping mess by the end of 2+ hours. Lots of overall soreness. Not calf pain!

At the movies: Wall*E

Wall*E: 4

A Pixar movie. Really, what else needs to be said?

I enjoyed the heck out of this one. Got consistent laughs when Wall*E recharged and made the MacOS boot sound.

Only have one quibble. I think they messed up the scale of the two ships. The one that lands on Earth with Eve seems much smaller in space when compared with Axiom than when you compare their footprints on Earth. A minor quibble.

I'd happily see it again. It might be added to the library when the DVD comes out.

At the movies: Hancock

Hancock: 3

Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Jason Bateman star in a film about a superhero who's not as much of a poster boy as you would hope for.

Fun special effects and a decent story line. I just don't think I'm terribly interested in seeing it again. I can't think of any specific reason why not.

7.02.2008

At the movies: Wanted

Wanted: 3

Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and others star in a movie about an everyman who discovers he has the genetics of the best assassin in the world. This everyman is then trained and welcomed into the brotherhood of assassins.

A fun movie with lots of bang of lots of chases. I did not spot the twist coming but I think my wife did.

The end scene pushed a bit of dialogue too far. I found myself thinking "they're more like guidelines".

At the movies: Ronin

Ronin: 2

Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce

A suitcase is desired by Russian and Irish agents. Much mayhem arises from the quest for said suitcase.

You'd think that this high-powered cast would be able to pull off a decent movie, but I guess the script was sorely lacking, or the director was horrible. The movie was not that good. It felt very low budget.

This movie has an interesting tie-in with the film "Munich". There's a role in this movie that almost exactly matches a role in "Munich" and is played by the same actor.

At the movies: Munich

Munich: 3

A Spielberg movie about the Munich Olympics and the Israelis taken hostage during that time. It then follows the retribution taken against the planners of the hostage crisis.

A good movie. I suppose I need to see how much of the retribution is factual.

This movie has an interesting tie-in with the film "Ronin". There's a role in this movie, "Papa", that almost exactly matches a role in "Ronin" and is played by the same actor.

6.30.2008

Plans for the week

I'm going to be off work for 6 consecutive days, and there are a number of things that should get done during that time. Let's see what I've come up with and then see what actually gets done.

Wait for the AT&T guy to fix the DSL
Mow the lawn (1 acre) with a push mower. The riding mower is in the shop.
Pick up the Taurus from the shop
Go blueberry picking
Go up to the in-laws?
See Wall*E
See Wanted
See Hancock
Finish assembling the extension to the deck
Pick up the 1/4 cow, if it's ready
Call Adobe for help with my Photoshop issue
In the shop:
Uncle Leo's base
Assembly/feed table
Dog barrier for the other door
Reset wing on table saw
Aikido on Saturday
Gaming Friday or Saturday night
Try to take some HDR photos

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: work for 12 hours trying to get a release out the door. No aikido. durango's for dinner

Sunday: work, again, for 12 hours. Watch baseball (Chicago/Chicago) in the evening.

Rest of the week? Work Monday and then off until July 7th!!!!!

6.28.2008

Friday Night at the Dojo 6/27/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: No air falls. While waiting for Trey to show up, I had a little extra time to run through reps. Got about 3x normal number of rolls in. Spent a little time after each one checking for things that might be issues on an air fall. Might upgrade to air falls again soon.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey. We found something to correct in each release.

Techniques:

We worked through 6-8 for him and 1 (Kubi-guruma) of the Owaza Ju Pon for me.

Trey was doing fairly well on his techniques.

I was re-introduced to mine on the right side and did ok. I went through three of the four steps of learning it.

1) Push uke's leading hand and let him roll-out.
2) Push only uke's neck and let him roll-out.
3) Push uke's hand and his neck and let him roll-out.
4) Push uke's hand and his neck and have him take the garuma fall

Then I worked on the left side. I only did the first step on that side.

Aftermath: Slight tweak of left calf muscle on a fall for ude-gaeshi. Trey told me to hurry up and get my Shodan before I fall apart.

6.25.2008

At the movies: Syriana

Syriana: 3

George Clooney, Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Robert Foxworth, Christopher Plummer, Jeffery Wright, Amanda Peet combine in a story of oil, the Middle East, Texas, the CIA and corruption.

Some violence, some torture and good acting.

At the movies: Pride of the Yankees

Pride of the Yankees: 3

Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig in Lou's life story: from childhood to retirement from the Yankees.

Good stuff. Almost drew a tear from me at one point.

At the movies: Bourne Ultimatum

Bourne Ultimatum: 3

Jason Bourne comes back yet again and finds out how he got to be the way he is.

A fun movie, with amazingly indestructible vehicles yet again.

6.24.2008

Weekend update

Friday: aikido

Saturday: K at work. I worked on shipping some stuff, but the local shipping outlet was closed, even though their sign said they should be open.

aikido.

Dinner at Durango's with a double, horizon-to-horizon rainbow.

Sunday: work on the extension to the grilling deck and dinner with mom at Valentino's Seafood.

Little did I realize that ratcheting the lag bolts for the deck extension would really give my thumbs a workout. They're sore!

6.23.2008

Saturday Afternoon at the Dojo 6/21/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Greg, Trey, Tessa, and Brittany. Tessa and Brittany are two NASA co-ops, here for the summer. I hope they'll continue to grace us with their presence.

Ukemi: I worked on extending my legs through the falls some more. I think I'll work on that some more on Friday and try an air fall on Saturday.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Greg.

Techniques:

Tim had Tessa show us Ikkyo, Nikkyo, and Sankyo from the Ueshiba style. Pretty interesting. Ikkyo does not have a direct corollary in Tomiki. Nikkyo is our Tenkai Kote-Hineri. Sankyo shows up in San Kata.

Trey wanted to run through ude-hineri before we went home, so I served as uke.

Aftermath: None of note

Friday Night at the Dojo 6/20/08

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: No air falls. I'm trying to ascertain whether I am curling my legs mid-fall. I think I am. I worked on extending them through the falls and it does seem to improve things.

The Walk: Went ok.

Releases: With Trey.

Techniques:

Trey and I were not having a great night. We worked through 1-3 for him and 1-5 for me. I think I was attacking poorly, was not interested in some of the techniques.

Aftermath: None of note

6.19.2008

Mechanical issues

Taurus needs to go into the shop for alignment and, maybe, suspension work. I was driving home in the rain the other day and the car started drifting while the wheels were straight. Also, when we go over Botts' dots, the car seems to do the Charleston.

I attempted to mow the lawn with the riding mower yesterday and it stopped moving after about 5 minutes. I attempted a fix for this a while back, but it doesn't seem to have worked. Into the shop it goes. The faster I get it in, the faster I get it back, the sooner I can mow with something besides the push mower. In this Texas heat, that can make quite a difference.

6.18.2008

Quality, I haz it

I went looking for some information on a drive enclosure that's giving me trouble. The link provided by a store appears to be the wrong site, as they don't mention and hard drive enclosures in their product list. However, the intro flash struck my funny bone.

I still need to find info on the drive enclosure. My 1TB drive is currently inaccessible.





6.17.2008

At the movies: Night at the Museum

Night at the Museum: 3

A down-on-his-luck divorced dad gets desperate and takes a job as a night watchman at a museum. The museum comes to life at night.

I'm amazed that I'm not upset that I watched the movie. I generally don't like the concept of Ben's movies. Maybe the scene with Ben and his mom made me give it a chance? I don't know.

A very well-respected cast, if not a strong script for the cast. Mickey Rooney had a fun part.

At the movies: Jumper

Jumper: 3

It's been a long time since I read the book. I can't even find my copy of the book. : ( But, not much of the movie resembled the book. I think the lead character, his girlfriend and his ability to teleport are similar to the book.

Still a fun movie.

Weekend update

Friday: Japanese class. Home after 10

Saturday: Japanese class. In town by 9am. We were going to go back out and go shopping in the Asian section of Houston afterwards, but K. decided it would be too taxing on the two students. So, we stayed home, baked some chicken and watched a couple of movies.

Sunday: Japanese class. In town by 9am. Back home to grill out for Father's Day: steaks, and salmon. Then the NBA Finals.

Japanese class is done!!!

6.13.2008

Blueberries

We finally made the time to go out to the local-est blueberry farm in Houston. It's not local. It's about an hour and a half away, but it is the closest one.

We got there around 6 pm, not having had to struggle through too much traffic.

We grabbed our buckets and dove into the bushes, not to surface, or see each other, for about two hours. K. and I had big buckets. Our niece, E., had a small one.

When we emerged, the two big buckets were mostly filled. The small bucket had a couple of layers of blueberries in it. Turns out she'd been eating more than picking, but that's ok.

Returned uneventfully. Grabbed some dinner and watched the NBA Finals.

Time for some blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes. Yahoo!

At the movies: Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda: 3

Saw this with my niece. We did skip out before the very end of the credits.

An okay movie. The voices were not overpowering. That is to say, they did not obscure the dialogue. I had trouble recognizing the voices, even though I knew who a couple of them were.

Anyway. Good movie about following your dream, doing things no one thinks you can.

6.10.2008

Nihongo

I spent the last weekend in a Japanese class with my niece and two other folks. All together, there a four folks in the class: two adult, two not.

The youngsters are doing the best, far and away. I'm having fun, but the brain gives out around 2:30 each day.

The hardest part is paying attention to what the instructor is saying as she's asking me to translate. I have to concentrate hard, process what was said, and the process the translation. It requires a lot of energy.

Drama

A bunch of, potentially high-stakes, drama in my little aikido world. I hope it all straightens out well. Some of the events that have already transpired are one-way tickets, I think.

Somebody's got to blink.

Also drama in the publishing world.

All of this drama is caused, IMOGDO, by lack of communication. Talk, people!

6.05.2008

Publishing excitement

I got involved in a book deal several years ago, mainly to get some of Roger Zelazny's lesser-known works republished and available to a wider audience. The book got published, and it may or may not have sold some copies.

It was not the wisest move I've ever made, at least the way it looks at the moment.

Things have happened in the past couple of days to inject some life into the cold, sodden ashes of the project. Sparks are flying and threatening to burn down houses.

Interesting times.

6.03.2008

At the movies: Troy

Troy: 2

Sparta vs. Troy

Wow, were there a lot of big names in this film: Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Peter O'Toole, and Brian Cox (Ah! He was in Bourne Identity). Unfortunately, they didn't have much to work with. I don't know why, but it was just "blah." No real tension. I didn't have much of a reason to be rooting for any particular character.