12.21.2009

Lunching out: Boondoggles

A local bar & grill with a good selection of beers (foreign and domestic) available. I chose the Robusto pizza in the slightly larger than personal size. I should not have eaten the whole thing, but I did.

Good food, good service and, if I need a breather from the workday, good beers.

At the Movies: Doubt

Doubt: 3

An interesting movie starring Merryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. A nun and a parish priest clash over alleged sexual advances of the priest with an altar boy. Rumor, innuendo and assumptions play a big part in this movie.

I thought it was a well-acted movie and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 12/19/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, and Will.

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Will.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: With Brad.

Techniques:

I spent a good portion of the afternoon working with Will on The Walk, starting at the 8th stone and moving onwards.

At the end of the session, Tim had Trey go work on the left side of Hiki Otoshi. It's still a tough technique for him.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 12/18/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom, and Sal.

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Sal.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: With Sal.

Techniques:

I don't remember what the bulk of the session was concerning At the end of the session, Tim had Trey go through 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata, left side only. He did fairly well. He had troubles on Hiki otoshi.

I also got some time and worked on 1-8 standing of Koryu Dai San No Kata.

1. Kote Mawashi

Took me a bit to figure this one again

2. Uchi Tenkai Nage

This one went surpirsingly well.

3. Gyakugamae Ate

Pivot (rotate) at the end (for kake)

4. Kote Kajiki

Still having troubles getting into the proper position on the first try to make uke need to fall

5. Mae Otoshi

Still not smooth

6. Ushiro Waza Mae Otoshi

Still not smooth

7. Ushiro Waza Tentai Kote Hineri

Still not smooth

8. Mune Tori Kata Gatame

Not bad. Need to use the ankle more to get uke to turn over.

Aftermath: None of note.

12.14.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Car inspection
Box purchases for shipping and storing wood craft stuff
Aikido
Corporate Holiday party

Sunday:

Cards and dinner with the in-laws.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 12/12/09

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

Ukemi: Light warm-up. Tim wanted us to start working quickly.

The Walk: None.

Releases: None

Techniques:

I was the subject of work today. We started off with the kneeling portion of Koryu Dai San and then did some work on Owaza Ju Pon. No, it was the other way around: Owaza Ju Pon and then Koryu Dai San. Trey got some time on Owaza Ju Pon as well.

We started off working on the garumas: Kube, Ude, and Hiji. They all are started by getting uke's hand to tori's hip. If you don't accomplish that smoothly, it's not going to work.

After Trey and I did that, I went through Kata Otoshi, Aikinage, Shihonage, Ushiro-ate, Kote-gaeshi, Ushiro Kubi Gatame and Shizumi otoshi.

Next up was the kneeling portion of Koryu Dai San. We only managed to get through the first three: Oshi Taoshi, Gyakugamae Ate, and Kote Gaeshi. There were some tweaks to all three.

On Oshi taoshi, I need to knee walk with a purpose. There should just be two steps to get to the arm bar. The second one (with the right knee off the ground) should have uke's arm on top of the leg in order to keep him under control.

We did a major change on Gyakugamae Ate. Previously, as uke strikes, I've been moving my left knee into uke at a 45 degree angle. I would end up with my knee behind uke's knee. The change is for me to just open up my stance by moving my knee horizontally so that it ends up in the same line that it started out. Uke reports that this is a far softer techniques when done this way.

Kote gaeshi acquired a tweak to the initial off-balance and a reinforcement of the knee-walking at the end. For the initial off-balance, I had been taking uke at a 45 degree angle. According to Trey, this is tough to recover from and we want uke to be able to recover and pull back. So, I am now supposed to take uke down the line of the punch he throws.

For the knee-walking portion, Tim reiterated that that is what is turning uke over. I need to keep my hands in my center while knee-walking and make certain that the two steps are full knee walk steps.

At the end of the session, Trey and I both did some slow work on Aigamae-ate and managed to do ok.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 12/11/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, Sal, and Will.

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Will.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: With Sal.

Techniques:

We spent the evening on Shomen-ate. Improvements are coming as he gets the feel for the off-balance and how to let uke settle back slightly.

At the end of the session, Tim had Trey go through 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata, one try each side. He did fairly well.

Aftermath: None of note.

12.11.2009

Citrus County Fair

Our local AgriLife Extension Agency held a citrus competition in conjunction with a brief presentation last night. There were all sorts of citrus in the contest: satsuma, lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarins, blood oranges, etc.

The only thing I have that is currently fruiting is a Moro Blood Orange. At K.'s insistence, I chose three good luck specimens from the tree and submitted them to the judges. Unfortunately, I did not win. It looked like mine had the most red of any of the submitted fruit, though, so I was not completely disappointed.

The Blood Orange group was a little strange. They awarded a 3rd place and a 2nd place, but no 1st place.

There were several folks in the contest who entered multiple varieties in each fruit type. I think one farmer entered in about 20 different varieties throughout the various types. Some folks are very into the fruit.

Maybe next year I'll have some lemons to show off, too.

At the Movies: Monsters vs. Aliens

Monsters vs. Aliens : 2

I was really hoping to like this movie better than I did. I think it ended up being all frosting and no cake. There wasn't much substance to the movie.

It was visually pleasing, but the story lacked any attraction to me.

12.07.2009

Sale in my ArtFire studio - with link

I keep forgetting that these posts appear in Blogger and in Facebook (where my studio is not a visible as it is on my blog).

Use the coupon code 10PERCENTOFF for 10% off any pen or bottle stopper from now until December 31, 2009.

I'm trying to generate my first sale(s). I did receive my very first sale over the weekend. If you're local to Houston, let me know and I might hand-deliver the item. If I can, I'll come up with a free shipping coupon.

My studio is here.

SMOFCon27 - Texas Hold 'Em tournament

When SMOFCon is held in a state that allows it, a Texas Hold 'Em Tournament is held. Texas allows private games, so this year's SMOFCon had a tournament.

I was one of 26 players in the field and was seated at one of the three tables. By random chance, all of the Texans in the field were seated at the same table.

I did not have very good hands throughout the tournament. I had "Big Slick" once. Other than that, my top hands were: pair of tens, pair of sevens, and pair of fours.

Weirdly, the most important hand I had was 5-4 off suit. When I was dealt this hand, I was down to 1 $1000 chip, barely more than the big blind, and I was the big blind for that hand. At the time there were just 6 players left in the field and everyone wanted a piece of me on that hand. So, they all bet what I had in my stack $1000. They knew I had to get into the hand and they figured my hand would probably suck. And it did.

But, the flop did not hurt me as it was ( 4, 2, 7, I think). That gave me a pair of 4s and nothing else looked threatening (no flushes).

More betting went on in the side pot, but I was really just a ship on the ocean. There was not much I could do.

The turn card comes and it's a 3. That gives me an open-ended straight draw to go with my pair.

More betting ensues on the side pot.

River card reveals an Ace. One of the other players remarks that it makes the 5 good. More betting ensues and then it's time to reveal the cards. A-2-3-4-5 straight for me.

I turns out to be the winning hand. The side pot is won with a pair of Aces, I believe. But I go from $1000 to $7000 in a hurry. I'm now able to play.

I go from playing so tight I can make a dollar bill squeak to much looser. I start being active the cards, while still nothing to speak of,allow me to increase my stack, until I'm down to a head-to-head matchup. I think we play 7 or hands before we get down to what turns out to be the final hand.

The final 5 players were of the following nationalities: Texas, Canada, Canada, Britain, Texas.

For the final hand, I was dealt J-10 off suit. I felt this to be a decent hand in head-to-head, so I did a decent bet ($5K). I get called.

The flop was 10-2-7, I think. I see top pair for me, with a good kicker, so I bet at it. I get called.

Turn reveals a Jack. I've got two pair, so I bet again. I think my opponent raises and we end up all-in.

He turns over his cards to reveal J 9, so I believe he had a straight possibility, but I had a good lead with my two pair to his one pair. I think the river card was a King or Queen, so there was no damage done to my lead.

I won the tournament! I'm still flabbergasted.

SMOFCon 27 - an encapsulation

I spent this past weekend at SMOFCon 27, since I run the Art Show at Armadillocon.

I made it to Austin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, but wasn't able to really see the con until after dinner. I had to remotely oversee a software build that was happening back in Houston.

After dinner was the Icebreaker. This year's task was to prepare for a (fictional) WorldCon bid in under 2 hours. The members of the team of which I was a part chose the available London Underground location as our site. Our motto was "Get Ripped Underground." This lead to a theme of Zombies and Jack the Ripper for the convention.

I think I hit the Con Suite and the lounge for a bit after that, but turned in fairly soon.

Saturday, I was up at my usual time and headed off to breakfast at Annie's. Shortly after I arrived, the Division Heads meeting for Renovation showed up. As a crowd of 22 folks, they were about 80% of the patrons of the restaurant. At one point during their breakfast, most of the folks turned, as a group, to look at me. It turns out they were all boggled by the fact that someone from the convention would be up at that hour without a good, solid reason.

I went to the following panels on Saturday:

"Printed & Electronic Publications - How & When to Distribute Them"

"Managing Your Bid with Time and Money"

"Programming Timelines for Different Types of Conventions - WorldCon vs. Regionals"

"Artists - What They Need and Expect from Conventions"

I was the moderator of this panel in name only. It took on a life of its own and I was unable to do much to control it.

I expected the discussion to go in one direction, that of how to best serve the artists of the Art Show. It went in the direction of how to serve the interests of the artists who are attending the convention. Below are some snippets of items I noted during the lively discussion that occurred:

Artists have a product that is useful for advertising the convention. If you can afford it, look into using their art ( with permission ) for at-con and pre-con marketing material and signage.

If you GOH brings along a companion, make certain that you meet both of their needs, if possible. Pay special attention to the needs of the mobility-, visually-, etc. impaired.

Make the Art Show a fun place to be. Set up places to sit, places to draw

Artist's Alleys are debatable in their worth. you need to be able to drive extra traffic

Lighting = Sales. Improve your lighting. We need a standard to help art shows judge whether they've got enough lighting or not. Does one exist?

See about creating artists' workshops

"Hands on" tours of the Art Show for the visually-impaired. Can this be done for 2-D works?

Concept Art website

Awards for the artists. They're relatively simple to do and can provide egoboo for the artists.

I did mention some items that folks had suggested I throw out to the crowd in relation to art shows:

Make it easy to find the forms and rules
Get the Art back quickly
Give the artists numbers to determine if your show is right for them
Send an after show report with numbers
Help them meet the deadlines
Be polite
Let them know if their application has been accepted

Some numbers that folks were interested in receiving about a show:

Percentage of attendees that buy art
Avg & median sales/buyer
Avg & median price per original sold
Avg & median price per print sold
Avg & median revenue per artist
Percentage of art for sale that sold (i.e., exclude NFS)
Percentage of prints that actually sold
Total Sales
Avg sales per panel

Somewhere in there, I had a bit of a lunch break. I didn't go eat, but I did go with Chuck Siros to see the site for next year's Armadillocon. We're changing hotels and I wanted to see where we will be putting the Art Show. It's an interesting space and will be fun to fill with panels.

After all of the panels, I went to Threadgill's for dinner with a few friends.

When we got back, it was time for the "Fannish Inquisition" This is a part of the con when seated WorldCons and prospective WorldCon bids make their presentations in front of most of the SMOFs. It was interesting to see that 2012 ans 2013 are unopposed for their years. Chicago in 2012 made a statement during their presentation that the winner of that night's Statistics and Probability Seminar (aka Texas Hold 'Em Tournament) would become the Chicago bid's Treasurer.

After all of the WorldCon bids were done, the SMOFcon bids were presented.

After that, it was time for the Statistics and Probability Seminar (aka Texas Hold 'Em Tournament). I'd been looking forward to that for quite some time. I ended up winning the tournament. I'll have a more detailed post in a bit.

Sunday:

Up early to find breakfast. Unfortunately, no non-hotel restaurant opens before 9 a.m. So, I wandered around downtown Austin in a light drizzle looking for food. I gave up a little before 9 and then went back out at the magical hour of 9 a.m. and dined at El Sol Y La Luna.

My only panel of the day was:

"How to Run a Remote Convention"

I thought about sticking around, but I wanted to get home. So I took off for Houston.

A good convention. I had a good time.

Weekend update

Friday:

Up at the crack of dawn to head to Austin for SMOFCon 27. I drove through bits of sleet and snow, but nothing too bad. Arrived at the hotel around 9:30 a.m. I spent the next 8+ hours getting a software build out to production.

Dinner at El Sol Y La Luna

More SMOFfing

Saturday:

Breakfast at Annie's (French toast and oatmeal)
SMOFfing
Dinner at Threadgill's
SMOFfing
Poker

Sunday:

Breakfast at El Sol Y La Luna
SMOFfing
Drive home in constant rain

12.02.2009

Weekend update

Thursday:

Baking
Eating
Football

Friday:

Stringing Xmas lights
Aikido

Saturday:

Visit a craft show
Aikido
Dinner at Durango's
D&D

Sunday:

Football
Bathe the dogs

Sale in my ArtFire studio

Use the coupon code 10PERCENTOFF for 10% off any pen or bottle stopper from now until December 31, 2009.

I'm trying to generate my first sale.

11.30.2009

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/28/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did the usual warm-up no air falls. Led Trey through some air falls.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Uked for Tom

Techniques:

We tried to work Tom through 1-5 of Ju Nana. We made through number 3. Trey and I would alternate serving as uke. I think he made some great strides.

Treay and I then did some work on Owaza Ju Pon.

Kubi-garumu - this went fairly well

Kata-otoshi - we spent a lot of time on this with Trey. It is the most sensitive of the techniques of Owaza Ju Pon.

Aiki-nage - You must keep uke close and in an arm bar.

Shiho-nage - I can never remember the footwork for this one. I *may* have it down now though. Left back, right back, pivot, forward.

Ushiro-ate - No violence is needed: move your center

Kote-gaeshi - uke should end up pretty much on his original line of attack.

Ushiro-kubi-gatame - off hand must participate in making a beach ball out of uke, otherwise the choke does not sneak up on uke.

Aftermath: General soreness in the knees. I have no idea why.

We ran the session for about 2.5 hours, about 45 minutes longer than normal.

Aikido Friday Night - 11/27/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Tom..

Ukemi: Full warm-up with self-induced air falls. Those were a bit rough.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None

Techniques:

We spent the evening on aigamae-ate. It is currently the technique that drives Trey and me nuts. Tim wasn't very happy with our performance either.

I don't know why we do it so poorly so often. Possibly because we're too late or not late enough. You can do this only on a body rise, really, and if you are late on the first one you have to wait for the second one.

Aftermath: None of note.

Thanksgiving

Living in the same town with my mother and one of my sisters, Thanksgiving is always a family affair. We generally rotate duties from house to house. This year's Turkey was at my sister's and Christmas will be at my house.

I was up kind of early making pies and other desserts. I made a chocolate pecan and a pumpkin pie and then the first batch of pecan pralines of the holiday season.

The feast at my sister's was huge, plenty of food for everyone. My brother-in-law is a professor, so he invited several of his graduate students to join us as they were away from their families.

Good food, good fun.

Lunching out: Gabacho's

Lunching out on the Wednesday of Thanksgiving Week, I turned to Gabacho's. It's a small Mexican restaurant that has had severl a occupants over the years, but it looks like they're going to make it. They're doing some construction to expand.

I had no idea what I was interested in, but the specials on the whiteboard looked interesting. I tried the stuffed avacados. Two avacadoes, halved and stuffed with mushrooms and chicken, reassembled and lightly fried. Very good. The rice and charro beans as sides were quite good too. The chips were boring but the green salsa was ok. I did not try the red salsa.

I'd be willing to go back.

11.25.2009

Strider update

Strider is continuing to improve. He is still breathing with a little difficulty, but less than previously. He is eating well, almost as much as his big brother Vlad.

We are continuing to pill him with antibiotics (3 pills a day), which he does not enjoy too much. We are also applying ointment for his ringworm.

I think he's turned a corner, but we're keeping an eye on his health.

11.24.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Up to take Strider to the vet to get pilled and get the catheter taken out.
BAGS Christmass gathering to take pictures
JEMCO to get another set of Lindstrom pliers
Aikido
Dinner at Durango's with K and K

Sunday

Football
Keep an eye on Strider
Pecan pie
Grilled out for dinner

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/21/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Brad and Will.

Ukemi: I did a condensed warm-up and watched Will.

The Walk: Twice as usual.

Releases: Brad and I did some intensive work on the releases. We made it through number 6.

Techniques:

Brad and I did some work on Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate, really working on the initial off-balance. Tim had me change up my attack a bit for the afternoon.

At the very end, I had Brad try the initial off-balance for Oshi Taoshi. We need to get him onto his next set of techniques.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 11/20/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Sal, and Will. Will's a new student.

Ukemi: I did a condensed warm-up as I was watching Will.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Trey and I worked with Sal on his releases while Tim worked with Will on the Walk.

Techniques:

At the end of the evening, I uked for Trey on 1-17. He did a good job. There were a few minor stumbles, mainly in the usual places, but nothing major.

Aftermath: None of note.

Lunching out: Alamo Tamale and Taco

This report is a bit late, but at least it's being made.

Alamo is located within spitting distance of where my company's new offices will be, so I thought I'd give them a try. It's a small joint with no tables, but it does have some bar stools arranged around the outer wall. I got my meal to go, so I could get back to the office.

I ordered 2 pork and 1 chicken handmade tamale with a side of rice and a side of beans. The tamales were kind of bland, but not bad. the rice was okay, but the beans were the star of the meal. They tasted like they might have been cooked with bacon fat.

I think the meal cost me around $6 or $7 with a drink. Not a bad meal. If they're still in business when our office is up and running, I'll probably be dropping by often.

11.17.2009

Strider's under the weather

Over the weekend, Strider lost some of his vim and vigor. He took to sleeping more and eating less. He was scheduled for his booster shots today, so we didn't rush a new appointment.

It turns out he has several ailments. Apparently his ringworm has not been cleared up. Sometime over the past few days he has managed to consume about 3 already used staples (no sharp pointy ends for his GI tract). And he's having issues breathing.

The breathing issue is of the most concern. The other two should pass without serious attention.

I'm waiting for the results of the bloodwork.

11.16.2009

Weekend update

Friday

An evening out with K. - Dinner at Bira Porretti's and then Jewel in concert at the Verizon Wireless Theater

Saturday

3 craft shows in the area to check out: Webster, Kemah and Clear Lake Shores. Webster was all Christmas stuff. Kemah was a less themed and more hand crafted affair. Clear Lake Shores was a less formal, outdoor, handcrafted sale. I probably would have been most comfortable at CLS, then Kemah and finally Webster.

Aikido

Dinner with K. and the in-laws at Durango's. I wanted to try Dos Hernandos, but they've gone out of business and now La Familia is getting ready to open in its place.

Sunday

Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Cheesecake
Football
ArtFire inventory update - I think I've got all of my inventory on my artfire site now.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/14/09

Aikidokas: Tim and Trey.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up.

The Walk: Not today.

Releases: Not today.

Techniques:

Apparently it was my day for work. I worked on the first 5 kneeling of Koryu Dai San. I would have worked through all of them, but my left toe developed its usual blister after #5. I then also worked on all 8 of the standing Koryu Dai San.

I was, as usual, too tense. It can take me a while to relax if I haven't been tore for a while.

After that, Tim started to have Trey go through Ju Nan Hon Kata. We made it to #2 before Tom showed up. This was after about 2 hours of work for Trey and me, so Tim decided we were too tired and should uke from there on. So, we worked on Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate with Tom. He's a lot softer than he was just a couple of weeks ago.

Aftermath: Bandage on the toe.

Jewel, in concert

Thursday morning, I was glancing through the paper while waiting for reports to load in CCAP and I noticed a small blurb stating Jewel was in concert Friday night, downtown. I love her voice, so I was itching to go even if it meant missing aikido. K. had already mentioned that this was a week she would not be going to aikido, so we chatted and decided it would be worthwhile to check out tickets.

There were decent tickets available at reasonable prices, at least before the service charges were added, so we made it a date.

Friday evening, I got home, we fed the animals, and headed into town. Traffic was light and we made it downtown with 2 1/2 hours before the concert. We expected this and headed over to Bira Porretti's for dinner with a $10 coupon in hand. Dinner was decent. K. was disappointed in their "crepes" as they were wrapped in pasta instead of crepes.

After dinner we had about 1.5 hours until the concert, so we wandered aimlessly about downtown. We also people-watched for a while and noted the number of same-sex couples coming in for the concert were about the same as the number of mixed gender couples.

The concert started with Holly Williams, the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. She did a short intro set that was quite nice.

After a short intermission, Jewel came out and started her set. She said she had no prepared set list, a tradition from working with her dad that she likes to keep up. I have not been able to, yet, find anyone on-line who has reported the list and I was not prepared to write it down. She opened with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and closed with her hallmark yodelling. In between, she sangs from a number of her albums and was constantly asking the crowd what she should sing next.

Jewel's set seemed a little short to me. We got out of the concert hall at 10:30 p.m. Her set ran 1.5 hours maybe less. I didn't check to see how long Holly's ran, nor how long the intermission was.

11.13.2009

Nutcracker market

K. and I went to the Nutcracker Market at the Reliant Center in Houston. This is a money raising venture for the Houston Ballet and we'd never been.

I'd glanced through the paper yesterday morning, saw it was running yesterday and that we could get in for half price after 5 p.m. Given the fact that There was no way we could get there before 5, that was perfect. I thought it would be a good outing for us and her parents, but the parents declined.

We got there about 5:30 and shopped for a couple of hours.

Paul Michael took up about one third of the space used for imported Christmas decorations. There were a bunch of places with jellies, jams, and sauces. We bought 5 jars of marinara sauce made by a local Italian ladies' group. It's annually praised by a write for the Houston Chronicle, so I had to give it a try. Most of the jars are for gifts.

We bought a few other things and stumbled across some Tupelo Honey. After listening to the Van Morrison song over the years, I had to try some. It was great! We ended up getting the vendors small bottle. It's a very light colored honey with a mild flavor. I'm looking forward to a breakfast in which I can use it.

11.12.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

I went to a couple of craft shows in the area. Shopping on the surface, for gifts, but really for places for me to sell my stuff in the future.

Aikido

Dinner at Durango's by myself.
Dungeons & Dragons at the usual spot.

Sunday:

Football.
Prepping for the arrival of the in-laws back from Colorado.

11.09.2009

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/07/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Brad, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, with a big fall.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Watching Tom and Brad.

Techniques:

Tim gave me a light day after the intense Friday Garuma evening. I worked in from time-to-time while Brad and Tom were working on getting Aigamae-ate from the 4th release. I'd give a couple of initial attacks to tweak what I was feeling and then let the other guy in to take most of the falls.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 11/06/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Kim, Tom, and Sal.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, with a big fall.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None

Techniques:

I the evening working with Trey. We spent most of the evening working on the garuma throws from Owaza Ju Pon: Kube Garuma, Ude Garuma, and Hiji Garuma. We worked on the off-balances at first and once I got confident with his approach on the techniques, I was ready to take the big fall if he got everything right. We did about 5 big falls on each of the throws worked in around 30 to 40 of the off-balance falls.

Trey was then my uke to work on Kata Otoshi. My key points on this are the timing and getting far enough off-line that my arm will not collapse.


Aftermath: None, immediately, of note. I was sore Sunday from all of the falls.

11.04.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Aikido

Dinner at Durango's with K. and K.

Sunday:

Yard work, shoveling sand, mowing, weed whacking

Trey's wedding

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/31/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, Tom, and Sal.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, with a big fall.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None

Techniques:

I spent the afternoon working with Brad. We were playing with a variation of the 4th release. I would trap Brad's hand on the release entry, and he would then move in while extending my balance. He worked on that quite a bit, playing with the off balance, finding it, losing it and seeing the results.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/30/09

Aikidokas: Just me.


Ukemi: None.


The Walk: Somewhere between 15 and 20 times.


Releases: None.


Techniques: None.


Aftermath: None of note.

Lunching out: Charley's Sandwiches

A very late lunch (3 p.m.) had me find something very close. Charley's fits the bill.

They're a small sandwich chain with a focus on cheese steaks. And they do a good job. I got there during a lull ;), so I got a fresh batch of fries to go with my made-to-order sandwich. The bill was about $12 for a large, deluxe cheese steak with fries and a drink.

I'd be happy to go back again when I'm looking for that meal.

Strider

Pictures of the newest addition to our family











Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

I went looking to adopt a new kitten and came home with Strider (nee Traveler) from League City Animal Control.

Aikido

We ordered pizza in so we could spend time with the new resident

Sunday:

More time with the new resident

Grilling out with K. and my mom.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/24/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Brad, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, minus the big falls.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Round robin.

Techniques:

We played with a variation of the 4th release to generate a garuma fall.

Aftermath: None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/23/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Kim, and Sal. We had a visitor watching and considering joining us.


Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, minus the big falls.


The Walk: Twice, as usual.


Releases: Watched Kim and Sal.


Techniques:

I don't remember what we worked with Sal on.

Kim worked on Kote hineri and tenkai kote hineri

I think I worked on kneeling kote gaeshi

Aftermath: None of note, except our visitor ran into my pickup when he was pulling into the parking lot. Luckily, there was no serious damage, just some paint transfer that should come out fairly easily.

10.22.2009

In the shop - pictures of pens

6 new pens over the past couple of days......





10.19.2009

Lunching out: Miller's Cafe

Another small, local chain location near the office.

Purchased: Burger with grilled onions, onion rings, and tea.

The burger was okay, the bun arrived flattened and the onion rings were worthless. Comparing it to Burger Tex, another recent lunch spot.......

Patties : about even, slight advantage to Miller's
Bun: advantage Burger Tex
Accessories: advantage BT (dress your own burger has an advantage)
Side: tough to compare, since I didn't buy the same thing, but the fries at BT were better fries than the onion rings at MC were onion rings.
Drink: I didn't really attempt to think about the tea

Summary: The local burger spots in order of preference: Fudd's, BT, MC

Missing pets

When I left the house this morning, Vlad had not returned from his Sunday afternoon saunter. I think the last time I saw him was when I went out to get the paper Sunday morning. I was not home most of the day, so he might have been around at other times.

He normally returns home around 10 p.m., although he's been returning more promptly since Mercuri went missing.

Saturday morning I went out to look at the local pet adoption agencies for someone to fill the hole that Mercuri left. I'm now concerned that I might have to fill two spots.

I found a couple of contenders: "Charcoal Charlie" at Bay Area SPCA and "Clancy" at Second Chance Pets. I think "Charcoal Charlie" is the name, but I'm not certain. There were 3 cats in the cage I checked out and all three were male. The label on the cage said 2 were female and 1 was male, so who knows who I held in my arms?

CC was a brave little kitten. He was quite comfortable riding around on my shoulders while I was at full height. He was also a terror running around the area.

I also held "Blue Grass" a Japanese Bobtail mix. He was happy to just lay in my lap and be scratched.

I was hoping to be able to get to know "Bill", "Notch", and "Whimpy", but I think they were off at a local Petsmart being shown.

At Second Chance Pets, "Clancy" was happy to be held in my arms and had a charming meow. He sounded a bit like he'd been smoking cigarettes, a nice gravelly sound. I was hoping to meet "Friskies", but they'd not brought him with them.

Here's hoping we only have one spot to fill.

In the shop - at a class

I spent most of Sunday in an "Introduction to Bowl Turning" class hosted by a local woodworking store and taught by Paul Kendall. Six hours of instruction, minus time for a few breaks, got us from green bowl blank to a semi-finished bowl. The bowl now needs time for drying and then final sanding and finishing. Apparently, our bowls will take between 6 and 12 weeks to dry to a state that's dry enough to work on.

I received some individual attention to improve the control of the tools while working. I hope I manage to remember it. I probably won't be turning any bowls for a while, but the instruction should prove useful in all my turning.

Weekend update

Friday

Aikido

Saturday

Helped my mom with some tax issues
Out to run some errands and visit some pet adoption places to fill the hole Mercuri left behind.
Aikido
Dinner with K. and K.
Shopping with K. and K.

Sunday

Bowl turning class on the other side of town
Football

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/17/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom, and Sal..

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, minus the big falls.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None.

Techniques:

We spent a lot of time playing with initial off-balances for Shomen-ate. If tori continues to rotate his center while he's still attached to uke's lead hand, he can continue to keep uke off-balance. Eventually, this will cause a fall without any other interaction from tori.

Trey, at the end, wanted me to do some work on Aigamae-ate. My first attempt was a non-starter. On my second, I was late, so I turned it into Gyakugamae-ate. On the third, I managed an Agamae-ate although it was not pretty.

Tim then called for me to get gedan-ate. My mind became very unaikido-like in demeanor: I was determined I was going to get the technique. I think I had the off-balances nicely, but kake was rude. I had extended my leading leg further behind Trey than I normally do, so when our centers met, he had my nice tall knee that he had to fall over. He ended up in the right spot, but rotated about 90 degrees from his normal position. We were working on an extra layer of mats, so the fall wasn't too bad.

Aftermath: None of note. I think I may need to add big falls back to my warm-up routine soon.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/16/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Kim, and Tom.


Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, minus the big falls.


The Walk: Twice, as usual.


Releases: With Tom.


Techniques:


Trey and I spent a lot of time on Kube Garuma, in both roles. The key to this, on this night, was the positioning of the lead hand. It has to make it to your hip in a smooth motion. If it's not smooth, or it's not to the hip, uke has no compunction to take the fall.

I also did some work, with Kim as uke, on 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the kneeling portion Koryu Dai San. We came home and discussed the attack that uke makes for Ryote Mochi Sukui Nage and I'm at a loss, at the moment, to find a fault with her thought that uke is trying to pull tori flat on his face. I think that the traditional situation would have a table involved, so that pulling tori onto his face would not be possible, but I'm not certain.

I also worked with Trey on that same technique, with a slight variation. Instead of inciting uke to take a roll-out, if you hold onto their lead hand you can generate a sumi-otoshi fall out of the technique. It really startled Trey on the first attempt. If I'd gotten it right, it really would have messed with his mind.

Aftermath: None of note, the suwari waza went ok.

10.17.2009

In the shop - pictures

Folks have asked for pictures, so I'll post some.  Some of the items are listed at ArtFire, but they're all for sale.


Actually, I'll post them on my flickr account as it's unwieldy to post them all here.  The one posted is made out of Canarywood.

Here's my flickrstream

10.14.2009

Weekend update

Friday

Filmed a Judo seminar

Saturday

More Judo Seminar filming
Dungeons & Dragons

Sunday

Delivered a trundle bed we sold via craigslist to the purchaser
Wandered around the Bayou City Art Festival (nee Westheimer Colony Arts festival). We only visited one of the two locations, but it took use several hours to wander around. We picked up some Xmas gifts for nieces and the business card for an artist I want to invite to Armadillocon.

10.07.2009

In the shop

A bit of a summary from the past two days:

Monday: 5 bottle stoppers. 3 Tulipwood, one Canarywood and 1 Madrone Burl. I had to throw away a Sycamore as it did not get properly placed on the lathe.

Tuesday: 5 b/s. 3 Tulipwood, 2 Canarywood.

I've only got hardware for 3 more bottle stoppers, but I think I'll turn 5 more tonight. I've got enough Bubinga for 2 and one acrylic blank. I'd also like to try turning some Mesquite.

Then it's on to pens, ornaments and keyrings for a bit.

10.05.2009

In the shop

Trying to turn some more bottle stoppers and use up all of the hardware I have for them.

So, I attempted two more English Walnut and one Sycamore. The Sycamore is the only one that made it off the lathe and onto the hardware.

The first EW I completed, polished and was ready to put on the hardware when I spotted something I didn't like. Back on to the lathe it went. Big mistake. What was a simple change expanded due to carelessness and a nice stopper got destroyed.

The second EW was 80% turned, but I thinned it down before completing the stressful turning. When I started the stressful turning, the thinned down section gave way and it blew out.

The Sycamore turned fairly well.

I also used a jig I purchased on Saturday to get a nice edge on my turning tools, I think it helped.

At the movies: Zombieland

Zombieland: 3

Another zombie movie, this one starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin with a cameo from Bill Murray.

I normally don't like horror movies, but the trailers for this one played up the comedic bit enough that I was interested. I was not disappointed. There were some good, funny bits. The scene with Bill Murray is something you can predict, up to a point.

They don't do a great job of dealing with the fact that 99.9% of the population is dead or zombied, but I'll let it slide.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 10/03/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, minus the big falls.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Trey served as uke for Tom's right-sided releases, I served as uke for the left-sided ones.

Techniques:

I got to work on Shihonage and, I think, Shizumi-otoshi from Owza Ju Pon.

We also worked on Gedan-ate with Tom, using a circular entry to make it a little more flowing than our normal approach.

Aftermath: Sore rib, still. More pain-killers.

Aikido Friday Night - 10/02/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Kim, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did a full warm-up, minus the big falls.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None.

Techniques:

Trey and I spent a lot of time on his Owaza Ju Pon, with him giving me roll-outs since the garuma falls are not a lot of fun. And, on the first one that Trey "got", he did not let me roll-out. And I was not prepared to not roll out and I landed hard. I think it's the 7th or 8th rib on the right side on the back that's not feeling perfect. I had to sit there for a second and regroup. Almost had the wind knocked out of me.

After that, there were no issues. He was, as everyone does, having troubles with Kata Otoshi. By the time we got to Aiki-nage, he was a bit worn out.

Aftermath: Sore rib. Definitely an Aleve night.

Lunching out: Burger Tex

A small, local chain of hamburger joints. The nearest one is occupying an old Pizza Hut, which has also been an "El Lago Burrito Company" in addition to its current incarnation.

They offer burgers, fried shrimp and other item. I didn't really check out the menu much. I ordered a 6 oz w/o cheese. They didn't ask how I wanted my burger cooked.

They serve it up plain and you doctor it up yourself at the vegetable bar. Tomatoes were not outstanding, but it was decent otherwise. They did have jalapenos, so that's a plus.

The bun was nice, they do grill them up before putting your patty on them. The fries are nothing to write home about, but overall it's a decent deal.

They will be considered when I'm thinking about a burger. The only current competition is Fuddrucker's. I need to try some more options.

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Across town to a jewelry supply store to look at some pliers and to Woodcraft to take advantage of a sale.
A lady was supposed to come out to look at the trundle bed we're selling for a friend, but she was a no-show.
Aikido
Dinner and a movie with K. and K. (Zombieland)

Sunday:

Someone finally showed up to look at the trundle bed, but they had misgivings, so they didn't take it.
Had another inquiry on the trundle (this make about 8, I think), this one from Navasota. No way they'll be interested in it.
Aquarium cleanup
Our satellite DVR/receiver went out, so any TV we watch is over at the in-laws for the next week. We can't take the dogs in with us, so we won't be watching too much.
In the shop for a little work. Very frustrating.

10.02.2009

In the shop

In the shop on Wednesday for more turning.

I rescued an English Wlanut stopper and turned two Box Elder Burl and one Spalted Maple. I tried to turn a second Spalted Maple, but apparently the pilot hole I drill was wonky and it would not stay on the lathe. It's possible, I suppose, that the blank had a fault in the middle somewhere.

So, 4 more stoppers. I need to spruce up the EW one, as the efforts I expended to get it off the chuck dulled the finish.

I had some energy at the end and managed to put up 4 more clamp holders on one wall of the shop. With the light table gone, there's more room and some accessible wall space.

Volleyball, 0-3

The final match of the season, and probably the year. 0-3. We had a good time and played decently, but got skunked.

Oh, well, there's always next time.

9.28.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Cragislist provided a potential buyer for my light table. He came out and looked and said he'd be back Sunday with a truck and money.
Aikido
50th wedding anniversary party for our neighbors.

Sunday:

Loaded up the light table for the new owner and watched it drive away
Football

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 9/26/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Jeff, Gail, Trey, and Sal.

Ukemi: I did a little warm-up of my own and watched over Sal.

The Walk: None.

Releases: Sensei had Trey and I get our releases in while he worked with Sal while we waited for Jeff and Gail to arrive

Techniques:

We did some work on Koryu Dai Yon No Kata for J & G. I can't tell the technique names right now. I'll double-check my books at home.

Richard wanted to play with the various approaches to kote-gaeshi he sees us work with, so we played with that for a while.

Treay and I worked on the first five of Owaza Ju Pon with Jeff as an uke and then Sensei chased us off the mat as we'd been active for 4 1/2 hours.

Aftermath: No unusal ailments.

Aikido Friday Night - 9/25/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, and Tom. We also had a visitor, a previous student of Karl Geis, who is looking to get back into aikido after 20 years.

Ukemi: I did a little warm-up of my own and spent a lot of time working with Brad.

The Walk: Twice, as usual. Once in Japanese and once in Czech.

Releases: None.

Techniques:

We spent most of the evening on gedan-ate as a continuation of last week. The timing, the fitting-in, etc. This, in my opinion, is the toughest of the Ju Nana Hon Kata to be able to break down into its constituent parts. The initial off-balance and the eye-flash can be broken out easily, but the fitting-in and kake are a tough nut to crack.

After a while working on this, Sensei wanted Trey and I to do some stuff for the visitor. So, Trey ran through 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. I ran through some of Owaza Ju Pon and a couple of Koryu Dai San.

Aftermath: Nothing's been cleared and nothing new has been added to the ailment list.

9.24.2009

In the shop

Got into the shop last night for a couple of hours. We've had a bit of a cool front come through the area and it's really quite comfortable out there now.

I managed to get 4 stoppers turned last night. One of Box Elder Burl, one of Sycamore and two of Madrone Burl. It's interesting in that some of the species have been "stabilized" and they seem to have a distinctive aroma when I turn them.

Ranking them by the attractiveness of the wood itself, from most to least:
Box Elder
Madrone
Sycamore

Ranking them by ease of working, easiest to hardest:
Madrone
Box Elder
Sycamore

The weather's pleasant, temperature-wise, today, so I hope to be able to get back out into the shop tonight. Maybe get 6 more turned?

I've also been thinking about packaging and presentation for the stoppers, pens and wands. I've tried to find pre-made boxes for the wands, but have had no luck. I think an appropriate size would be the size of rolls for player pianos, but I don't know if purchasing those would make sense. I could come up with a design for my own cardboard boxes, but I've been tossing around a design for a wooden box for both the wands and the stoppers instead.

I'm also thinking about a laser-engraved design for the lid of the box, but don't know about the economic feasibility of that, either. Using a nicely printed label just would not look good on a wooden box.

I also need to make stands for the stoppers when they're on display. Do I add in a little slot in front of each stopper spot to have little tag with information on the wood used, etc.? Would that be too much of a hassle? Would the stoppers get placed back in their correct spot? Would it make a difference if it's on display at a convention art show as compared to a craft show?

If Peri catches this, I'm wondering about the ratio you mentioned (1/3 or 3x). At shows, did you expect to sell about 1/3 of your stock on hand? Or did you always have enough stock to do 3 shows at one time? Or am I misremembering your comment?

9.23.2009

Volleyball, 0-3

Next-to-last match for the season, against Fandango. They're, traditionally, the powerhouse in the league, although this year they have lost more games than normal.

They had 6 players, we had 5. As usual, our line-up was different than last week's and that takes w while to get used to. Overall, we played decently but were outclassed.

It would be possible for us to end the season tied for last instead of in last all by ourselves, but it's not very likely.

9.22.2009

In the shop

There's a craft show coming up this weekend that's essentially no cost to the vendors. K., however, says I need more stock before going to a show. And she's right. I need more pens, stoppers, wands and chainmaille before trying to sell stuff.

I've got a full day of aikido this coming Saturday besides, so I really can't fit the show into my schedule.

But, I still need more inventory. So, back in the shop to do a little more turning.

I recently purchased a bunch of blanks for stoppers and a few blanks for pens, so I've got a selection to choose from. Last night I chose blanks of English Walnut and Spalted Maple to turn.

The EW was first on the lathe, and it turned out well. However, I could not get it off the chuck. I even tried chilling the chuck to get it to shrink: no dice. So, I had to destroy the stopper. :(

Next up was Spalted Maple and it turned out nicely, too. It really is quite pretty when turned and polished.

I had some issues getting it assembled. I had to drill the hole a bit deeper and use a vise grip to help me get the threaded insert into the wood.

Working through that issue inspired me to go back to a Tulipwood stopper I'd made a while back. I'd had the same issues with it that I'd just had with the Maple. With the Maple, I was bound and determined that it was going to get assembled, it was too pretty to send it to the trash. The Tulipwood, I was not as inspired, originally, as I have a number of blanks laying around. The new approach to assembling stubborn stoppers worked on the Tulipwood, so I ended the evening with two new stoppers.

Tonight is volleyball, so it won't be convenient to turn. Instead, I'll work on getting my Tormek set up again. It's been sitting idle, but since I'm doing more turning I need to be able to sharpen my tools.

9.21.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido
Started prepping for the garage sale

Saturday:

Up early for the garage sale: first customer at 6:30 a.m.
Closed down the garage sale around 1 p.m. We had fairly good business, but my light table did not sell. Took the leftovers to Goodwill.
Aikido
Pizza for dinner
Fell asleep watching football

Sunday:

Football
Mercuri is still missing

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 9/19/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, Tom, and Sal.

Ukemi: I did a little warm-up of my own and watched over Sal.

The Walk: None.

Releases: Sensei had Trey and I get our Releases in and then move straight on to Owaza Ju Pon.

Techniques:

Trey and I worked on Owaza Ju Pon in the teim we had before Trey went off to the Aggie football game.

Aikinage, Kata Otoshi, Shihonage, Ushiro Kubi Gatama and the off-balances for the Gurumas.

We spent most of Trey's time on Kata Otoshi. It's an interesting technique on uke's side of things. I noticed that when Trey nailed the timing, I'd just find myself taking the rollout and not really thinking about getting out of it. If the timing was off, and most of the time it was early, I would sort of stumble out of the technique. Occasionally, when he was early, I would notice my foot compensating for the technique he was trying to apply: it would move off-lie to catch my balance.

We also worked on aikinage for him, and he is catching on quite well.

For me, we worked in a few reps of Shihonage, Aikinage, Ushiro Kubi Gatame, and Ushiro Ate. they went far better than either of us expected.

Trey disappeared and I then served as uke for the other guys on Aigamae-ate, Gyaku Gamae Ate and Gedan ate. We got some good work in, and I made progress on my next 10,000 falls.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. Nothing affected the right elbow or right middle finger tonight.

Aikido Friday Night - 9/18/09

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

Ukemi: I did a little warm-up of my own.

The Walk: None.

Releases: None.

Techniques:

Trey and I worked on Owaza Ju Pon all night, since we were the only folks around.

Aikinage, Kata Otoshi, Shihonage, Ushiro Kubi Gatama and the off-balances for the Gurumas.

We spent a large amount of time on the off-balances for the Gurumas and Trey made marked improvements as the night wore on. You need to direct uke out and around to get the otoshi and the guruma. The otoshi is very similar to the entry for a blown shomen-ate if you extend uke too far.

We also spent a large amount of time on aikinage. At the end of the work I made a bit of an improvement in my approach by getting the non-working hand much further over uke's shoulder. This allows me to get aikinage and Ushiro Kubi Gatame more reliably. A nice light bulb moment.

I spent a bit of time on Shihonage. It seems my problem with this technique stems from the third off-balance, or lack thereof. If my timing and distance are cool, it is the "up" off-balance that, if it fails, destroys my technique.

I don't remember much of our work on Kata Otoshi.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. Nothing affected the right elbow or right middle finger tonight.

9.17.2009

Volleyball, 1-2

We played well on each point, but we just didn't win enough points. We had 5 players, as did our opponents. My theory still holds: we need to have the same 6 team members over a period of at least 2 weeks to be playing at our best. We've not had the situation for some time.

An opponent landed under the net on top of my foot. When I attempted to move, I slightly aggravated a tendon or ligament, as my foot was still trapped. It seems ok now.

Also, after 6 hours of painting with a long extension on Sunday, my shoulder was a mess. Volleyball aggravated it and now an injury that I thought I'd managed to get rid of has come back. Aleve, "Heat" and specific sleeping positions are the order of the day.

9.14.2009

Mercuri still missing

We let Mercuri out, as has been our ritual for the past few years, around 6 p.m. Thursday night. We called for her around 10 p.m., when she is usually nearby and ready to come in, but she was not around. This didn't worry us greatly, as she occasionally spends the night outside.

When we woke up Friday morning and she was not waiting at the door, that concerned us.

As of now, Monday afternoon, she is still missing. I'm hoping for the best, but preparing to not see her again.

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido
Wandered the neighborhood looking for Mercuri

Saturday:

Went to look at an estate sale in League City
Got caught up to date with my book database
Aikido
Dinner with M., K., and K. at Durango's

Sunday:

Painting M. and K.'s house
Dinner at Joe's with M., K., and K.
Collapsed from weariness (6 hours of painting will cause that)

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 9/12/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Brad, Tom, and Sal.

Ukemi: Watched Sal and then demonstrated why it's not a great idea to have your leading arm go across your body on front rolls.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: With Sal.

Techniques:

Monkey in the middle with outside the arm off-balances. I did a little work as uke and then spent the rest of the afternoon watching and making suggestions. They started to get it fairly well by the end of the session.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. Right elbow and right middle finger are minor concerns.

Aikido Friday Night - 9/11/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did a little warm-up of my own. Tested to see how the left hip is doing.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None.

Techniques:

Trey and I worked on Kata Otoshi and Aikinage all night. Kata Otoshi is a bugbear of technique for me. I did manage to nail it four times in a row and then three times in a row. I think I need more reps. The determining factor seems to be my timing: I tend to be in a hurry. I need to slow down.

I did manage a left-sided Aikinage, though. Go me!


Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. Right elbow and right middle finger are minor concerns.

9.11.2009

Lunching out: Tony's Seafood House

I'm reporting this a week late, but at least I remembered.

This week, I tried a relatively new place: Tony's Seafood House. I could walk there from work on a nice day with plenty of time to kill.

I ordered a 6 shrimp and 2 pieces of catfish plate, iced tea and their pecan pie. I was underwhelmed. The shrimp was ok, but the catfish was spiceless. And don't even mention the pecan pie, it was pretty bad.

There was a mix-up with my bill and I could have walked out of there for around $6, but I returned the extra $10 bill.

What the future holds:

If I have to have seafood and it has to be close, ok. Otherwise, no.

9.10.2009

Volleyball, 1-2

Another week with not a full team. We started off with 4 players and ended up with 5.

I got a number of good sets in the first game, but they soared off court when I hit them. I improved a bit in the second and third games.

We won the second game and came close to winning the third, so it was a decent night.

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Up early to go mattress shopping.
Also stopped by Bay Area Aquariums to look at their fish and corals
Aikido
In the shop to turn two pens
Dinner at Durango's
Made baklava. Awesome.
Started work on a batch of bread

Sunday

More work on the bread
Grilled out for dinner with my mom and aunt

Monday

Off to an early showing of G-Force. Disappointing.
Waited around for mattress delivery
Hand and foot with the in-laws.

9.08.2009

At the Movies: G-Force

G-Force: 2

An animated feature about a group of Guinea Pigs, a fly, and a mole who form a spy team. They attempt to save the world from the greed of an appliance manufacturer. Bill Nighy (Davy Jones from POTC 3) stars as the CEO of the appliance company.

It was not as bad as I was afraid it might be, but not as good as I hoped.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 9/05/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Brad, and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups and did a little warm-up of my own. I actually took a self-imposed big fall as part of a demonstration for Brad, iirc. the landing wasn't great, but I walked away from it.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Watched Brad and Sal work on them

Techniques:

We tried another drill for working on Shomen-ate. Uke stands in front of tori and goes up on his toes, tori attempts to strike uke just when uke's heels touch the ground. Sal did ok. I did poorly. Weird.

It seems like there should have been something else, but I can't remember it.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play.

Aikido Friday Night - 9/4/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups and did a little warm-up of my own

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

I worked with Sal on his releases for most of the evening.

At the end of the session, Sensei had Trey and I attempt to execute iriminage on Tom and Sal. It was quite a change from working with Trey. I could feel a huge difference, mainly in their reactions. Trey did a better job figuring out what the difference was, I think.

I also attempted a left-sided iriminage on Trey once or twice. My footwork was confused, so it did not go well.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. I think I've finally figured out how to fold my hakama properly. I've started a tradition of wearing it on Friday nights and finally managed what I thought was a good fold. This week it also helped a slightly sore back as it provides more back support than a gi does.

9.02.2009

At the Movies: 3:10 to Yuma

3:10 to Yuma : 3

A western starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, and Alan Tudyk. The story of a man trying to make it in Arizona as a rancher. Beset by all sorts of trouble, his only hope of saving his ranch is by hiring out to escort Russell Crowe's character to a train to send him to prison. Both characters grow through the movie and it's a fun little jaunt.

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Slept late
Aikido
Started working on a pot of ranch style beans, from scratch

Sunday:

Ranch-style beans
2 Peach pies
Fuddrucker's hamburger buns
Burgers for grilling out
Grilled out

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 8/29/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Jeff, Gail, Trey, Brad, and Paul. Three folks from Killeen in to see the demonstration.

Ukemi: I did a light workout of ukemi, both sides.

Trey and I ran through the techniques once and decided any more work would be detrimental.

Shortly thereafter, we were called up for his demonstration and the the Walk, Releases and 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. He did a great job and was awarded his Ikkyu.

Brad was called up afterwards and was awarded his Yonkyu. We had a stealth demonstration for him a week ago.

I then helped Brad work with Paul on his releases and some other basics.

Aftermath: I was beat. Six of us went out for Mexican afterward and had a good time, as is tradition when folks from Killeen come to town.

Aikido Friday Night - 8/28/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups and did a little warm-up of my own

The Walk: Twice, as usual. Tom got to count once.

Trey and I worked on the stuff for his demonstration. We went through 1-17 and spent some time on problems that popped up. Problems always pop up the night before a demonstration, it's just the way things work. There were no show-stoppers, though.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. Still trouble for suwari waza and some of the big falls.

8.24.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido
Thunderstorm that probably killed our central a/c

Saturday:

No a/c
Out to the local seafood markets for fresh fish and shrimp
Aikido
Cooked out the seafood
Watched a couple of dvds

Sunday:

No a/c
Baked some more ciabatta. It turned out better.
Grilled out chicken
Cards with the in-laws

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 8/22/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, and Tom.

Ukemi: I did a light workout of ukemi, both sides.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Tom and I worked on releases. Sensei Tim came in and made some corrections on my releases.

Techniques:

We had Tom and Brad show us what they know of the first 5 techniques. They look pretty good.

Trey and I went through 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. A pretty good run through. Did not do big falls with #17.

Aftermath: A tough workout. Ibuprofen was necessary afterwards.

Aikido Friday Night - 8/21/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups. Still improving.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Sal and I worked on releases.

Techniques:

I was the uke for some "strike the dummy" work for Sal.

Trey and I went through 1-8, and 10-12 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. Pretty good. His demonstration's coming up in one week.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. It is feeling better, but I can still tell it's there.

At the Movies: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army : 3

Ron Perlman stars again as Hellboy, the foundling from WWII who is almost indestructible but not that bright. This time the direction was handled by Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth") and the movie felt like a cross between Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth.

Hellboy's task is to save the world from the evil elves and express his love for Liz. A number of hijinks ensue along the path and they're enjoyable.

Would I have spent the money to see it in the theatre? I think so.

At the Movies: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor : 3

The third installment of Brendan Fraser's Mummy franchise. (Apparently, there's going to be a 4th one, according to imdb.com) This time they're in China and Shangri-la and the uncover the Terra Cotta Warriors. The typical mishaps and adventures occur and the world is saved, yet again.

Emperor Han's control of the elements is hinted at, but not fully exploited by him. He should have been almost undefeatable. Probably overconfidence is what led to his downfall.

I missed Rachel Weisz in this film, and they had a humorous little line that acknowledged that she was not in this film. They did add Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh to the cast, but they were under utilized.

8.21.2009

Weekend prep

I'm planning on doing some more ciabatta baking this weekend. In order to follow the recipe a little more closely, I needed some Italian "00" flour. The place known to have it in stock was H.E.B.'s Central Market.

So, K. and I went out there, got our flour and grabbed dinner from their "cafe on the run." She picked up a muffaletta and I picked up one of their chicken portabello mushroom sandwiches. I'll manage to get four meals from that sandwich. I don't know about K. she got a 3 inch sandwich.

We got to eat, listen to some music and smell Hatch peppers roasting while eating our dinner. Not a bad meal.

Lunching out: Tree House Bar and Restaurant

I allow myself to eat out for lunch once each week, usually on Fridays. Most of the time I go to Franca's for Italian food.

This week, I tried a place I've been wondering about for 20 years: Tree House Bar and Restaurant. Calling it a restaurant is a bit of an overstatement, but what I ate was decent.

I ordered the special: Fried Shrimp with french fries and iced tea. The shrimp were quite large, probably colossal sized in seafood market terms, and nicely prepared. The fries were nothing special.

The atmosphere was typical bar: dark with a stale cigarette smell. I came out of there smelling of smoke.

Overall, I'm glad I went, if just to know what lurks behind that door. I probably won't go back, just because of the smell of my clothes after eating there.

At the Movies: Coraline

Coraline: 3

An enjoyable adaptation of a Neil Gaiman story. I'd not read the NG story before watching the DVD, so I wasn't certain what I was getting. What I got was a story of a little girl having to rescue her parents from the clutches of her "other mother".

The main problem I had with the film was, as far as I could see, there wasn't a vary good reason for the "other mother" to agree to the contest Coraline proposed.

It was a visually appealing film and, despite the flaw, a fun one.

8.20.2009

Armadillocon post-con

Armadillocon was a 5-day affair for me this year, as it has been most years. Leave for the con on Thursday, return home from the con on Monday in order to be able to handle the Art Show stuff that needs to get done.

Day 1 - Thursday

Up at 5 a.m. and on the road by 6 a.m. Minimal traffic, especially once I get on 290. I made it to Elgin by around 8:30 and made a call to my kolache dealer, telling her I was a little ahead of schedule. I made the connection with her, picked up some Granger sausage, and then drove back roads to get to I-35.

I stopped off at Woodcraft in Austin and received a call from Kimm to discuss delivery of a powered chair to my room for one of the guests of the con. Then went to the hotel, checked in and unloaded the truck. I then went and watched an aikido class and then stopped by my aunt and uncle's place to chat for a while.

I had to leave there and get back to the hotel to for a conference call for work and then wait around for the power chair (which got delivered to the front desk, not my room).

Then to dinner with the con committee and then Art Show assembly. We managed to complete the build in an hour and a half, so I was done for the evening by about 10 p.m.

Day 2 - Friday

In the Art Show bright and early to start hanging art. We managed to get most of the art hung by around 2:30 (later than usual), except for a few local artists who were the victim of some old information. We were completely done by around 4 p.m. and we stayed open until about 10:35 p.m. when the panel that went through the art show was done.

We had a lot more activity on the art than is normal for a Friday. I'm not certain why.

Day 3 - Saturday

In the Art Show bright and early to try to enter everything into my web software. Unfortunately, the connection in that area is poor if you have purchased a connection through your room. If you've got a connection for your conference it's good, but that costs a chunk of change. So, my plans were foiled.

Stayed in the Art Show most of the day. A couple of jaunts out to wander in the Dealers' Room and buy some books.

We stopped silent auction bidding at 5 p.m. and had the auction at 6. We had some lively bidding, sometimes a bit acrimonious. Dinner in the Art Show with the Art Show crew (Laura, Jimmy, and Rhonda) and then we re-opened for people to pick up their art and make more purchases.

Closed down around 10 p.m. and wandered through some parties, briefly. Tried to chat with Bill about my role for Texas 2013 Worldcon, should we win it, but was interrupted by a fan/pro from San Antonio.

Day 4 - Sunday

In the Art Show bright and early to handle final sales and start tear down. We finished quickly and got everything on the truck before the Dealers' Room stuff was on the truck. A first, I believe. I actually had a few minutes to just sit, with my job done, before the post-con dinner at County Line Bar-B-Q.

We did drop some stuff at the storage unit and then the rest of the stuff was emptied at Chuck and Willie's place. We then went to the County Line and were the first folks there for dinner. Sweet!

From there, back to the hotel for the dead dog. I did some paperwork first and stayed just a short time at the dead dog, before hitting the sack

Day 5 - Monday

Up early, skipping breakfast, so I could hit USPS, UPS and FedEx on my way out of town to ship back the mail-in art. Stopped by Berdoll Pecan company on Hwy 71 and paid a king's ransom for 5 lbs. of pecan halves. We're almost out and it's getting time for fall baking.

I stopped by and picked up my receiver that'd been in repair for a few weeks and made it home by 12:30 p.m. At K's suggestion, I crashed for about 3 hours.

Another Armadillocon mostly done. I still have to send out the check so the artists.

And now it's time to start prepping for the next one.

8.12.2009

Clients that drive you crazy

I was proactive and sent an email out to a client, with whom I have lots of dealing, saying that I was going to be out of town for the next five days. It also contained phone numbers for me and my backup, should they need to contact us during that time. This resulted in emails sent to my higher-ups that their needs were not going to be handled and how dare I go away while there are issues with the system.

You just can't win.

If I'd not sent the email, they'd have complained that I did not let them know I was going to be gone.

Volleyball, 0-3

Ugh. Just ugh.

First game was good and close. The other two were disasters. 'Nuff said.

Not a great way to start off a new season.

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Up early to start working on ciabatta bread using two different recipes.

Aikido

Birthday dinner and movies for members of the family

Sunday:

Up early to finish the ciabatta. It was tasty bread, but the texture is something I can't get right. I made some minor goofs along the way, so I need to try both recipes again.

Nap. Woohoo!

Cooked out salmon and skirt steak. Salmon was fabulous.

K. and I played some poker on-line. She loves to bluff.

8.09.2009

At the Movies: Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia: 4

The story of a New York City worker who decides to blog about her experiences going through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 365 days.

It also covers Julia's experience in getting the book written and published.

I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not certain the political parts of Julia's experience as the wife of an embassy employee were very pertinent though.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 8/8/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Trey, and Tom. We also had a couple watching the session as potential new students

Ukemi: I watched Tom in his ukemi. I did a bit before we bowed in for the afternoon.

The Walk: Three or four times, trying to improve Tom's performance.

Releases: Tom and I worked on releases. All afternoon. We went through 1-7 working on the off-balances and making it so that I can't "land" on him during the releases. I think he may have had some light bulb moments, I don't know.

Techniques:

None.

Aftermath: A nice afternoon. I should have taken some ibuprofen after Friday night's session. Took some ibu after this one.

Aikido Friday Night - 8/07/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups. He's making good progress.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Trey and I worked on releases. Better than last week.

Hand Randori: Trey and I worked on this for a little bit. Not bad.

Techniques:

Trey and I went through 1-11, 13, and 14 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. A much better run through this week.

Aftermath: The hip joint issue is still in play. I'm in Austin next weekend, so I'll be taking a week off from aikido. Hopefully that will help the healing.

8.07.2009

Worldcon 2013

Found out last night that Texas fandom is bidding for Worldcon 2013 in San Antonio. They announced the city last night. I was expecting it. I was hoping for the bid to be for Houston, but didn't think we had the facilities, yet.

K. had promised to help work the con only if it was in Houston, so she won't be helping out. I plan on helping out, possibly in the Art Show, maybe Security. We'll see if/where they want me.

This also sets up some travel plans for coming years. I'm very likely to be going to NASFiC next year, Worldcon in Reno in 2011, and Worldcon in Chicago in 2012. I've got SMOFcon in Austin later this year.

I need to start purchasing memberships.

I need to see if K. wants to go along. To that end, I need to commit to some non-con days during those trips.

Do a good turn

I took a woodturning class last night. I think it's my first one. This one was on how to turn "European" style pens.

I was running late because a problem popped up at work, just as my normal day ended. I stuck around as long as I could to ferret out the issue, but had to leave to make it to class.

I arrived about 10 minutes late. Luckily, there were only two students signed up to take the class so I didn't hold anyone up. They'd gone ahead with starting the class. The other student was already busily working.

I had an issue with my first attempt, the brass tubes were not well secured and I ruined the first set of blanks (padauk) because of it. The second set of blanks (rosewood) were prepared properly and the turning turned out ok.

I was a little aggressive, probably with the sanding, and the wood ended up being a little small and did not match up perfectly with the hardware. I also got a little to much glue on it and marred the finish a bit.

Overrall, I'm pleased.

And, of course, I spent money in the store after class. Just like they wanted me to. I got a new roughing chisel and the bushings for the "European" pen.

Blood repairs

Nothing medical in this post, Blood is the name of my '99 F-150.

She'd been running rough the past couple of weeks but we though it was because of some bad gas. K. had filled it up with non-premium (I've been running the vehicles on premium gas for years) and we thought that might be the cause. However, after a couple of tanks of the usual hi-grade stuff, it was still running poorly.

Took it into the dealer (I get a free loaner car while they repair the vehicle), and had it looked at. Prognosis: spark plugs, wires and ignition coil need to be replaced. These were the original spark plugs, etc. that came with the truck. 140K miles and almost 11 years on a set of spark plugs? I'll take it.

I'd have preferred a smaller bill, but she's running like a top now.

8.03.2009

Weekend update

Friday:

Aikido

Saturday:

Errands - dog food, jewelry store, book store, office supplies

Armadillocon prep

Aikido

Durango's

D&D

Sunday:

Armadillocon prep

Blueberry pancakes and muffins

Peach pies

Grilled out some fabulous steaks

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 8/1/09

Aikidokas: Tim, and Brad.

Ukemi: Tim watched Brad and I got in a pretty full set of ukemi. No left-sided.

The Walk: Twice, as is the usual routine.

Releases: Worked with Brad on his releases. Tweaked his work with someone of my height. We spent most of the afternoon on this.

Techniques:

We quickly worked on Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate before our time ran out.

At the very end, Richard showed up and Tim and I demonstrated the groundwork we covered in Alabama.

Aftermath: Left my belt behind at the dojo. :(

Aikido Friday Night - 7/31/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups. He's not getting any propulsion from me to get over, I just watch and comment now

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Trey and I worked on releases. Rusty was I.

Techniques:

Trey and I went through 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. His demonstration for Ikkyu is planned for the weekend of August 21, so we're trying to get him ready. It was a good run through. Techniques that proved troublesome were: Aigamae-ate (his current problem technique) and Mae-otoshi. We still haven't generated air falls on Hiki-otoshi and I'm leery of taking left-side air falls at the moment because of my hip, so we've not done a full-on demonstration level practice yet.

After that we went through some of the groundwork stuff we covered at the seminar. Fun stuff

Aftermath: The hip joint is affecting just about everything I do. It limits the amount of techniques I even attempt. It has improved, but it's not healed yet.

7.31.2009

Weekend Aikido in Alabama

The umbrella organization for my aikido dojo (American Tomiki Aikido Association) held its semi-annual seminar/clinic this past weekend. It was, in name, the Spring Seminar delayed by several months by all sorts of things.

6 dojos and 5 cities were represented by the attendees. We had: Nick Lowry's Windsong Dojo (Oklahoma City), Frankie Canant's Kumayama Dojo (Bessemer, Alabama), Tim Cleghorn's Clear Creek Dojo (Houston), Jeff Duncan's Full Circle Dojo (Killeen, Tx), two folks from West Houston, and two folks from Arlington, Texas.

Totaled up there were 22 aikidoka and, at the start of the weekend, 15 yudansha. At the end of the weekend there were 17 yudansha. And, a day or two after the seminar, we found out that Frankie Canant is to be promoted to Rokudan! I have no idea what the total number of dan grades were, but we had an amazing group to work with. This was the biggest group I've ever worked with and the most experienced group by far.

Trey, Tim and I flew out to Birmingham Friday morning. we were the only folks who flew to this gathering, everyone else drove. 12 hours on the road does not thrill me, but maybe it would have been the better approach? We arrived early in the afternoon and headed to Frankie's place. Most of the folks were already there, so we got the chance to renew friendships and make some new ones before heading over to the local Y for the first session.

I think the first session was spent working on what will likely be a new kata at some point in the future. A groundwork kata! Jeff Duncan had been playing with ideas in his dojo and presented them to us to learn, play with and improve.

His base for the groundwork was Ju Nana Hon Kata. Translate as many of those techniques to be usable from the ground. If I remember correctly, the following techniques have analogs on the ground: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12. It was interesting and challenging working with these ideas and trying to figure out where the appropriate off-balances are. We also played with height differentials on the ground. They do make a difference.

At one point my partner and I were working on one of them and thought we saw a spot where uke would be likely to collapse in on tori. Sensei Lowry called me over to try doing that on him. I still feel where his elbows were pointing into my chest. Ouch.

We did some exploration of tweaks to make to some of the releases. The first release you can flip your wrist over and will generate a nice body drop. The second release, if uke turns inside you can pretend to be the Queen of England waving and then get a nice arm wraparound. The second release, if uke turns outside, you can get a nice wrist lock (my notes are incomplete on this). The fourth release can turn into the 7th release which then morphs into kaitenage. At that point if toir attempts to put his finger through uke's ear, uke will do a nice whole body rotation before hitting the ground. You can also, on the fourth release, point the fingers on your knife-hand down and get a nice body drop. We also played with shihonage and if it doesn't feel right at the fourth off-balance, you can release your hand from the grip and get a nice ushiro-ate.

We then adjourned back to Frankie's place for beer, food and conversation.

The next morning we convened back at the Y for another session. We did some more exploration of the groundwork and then did some work on randori. Normally, we do the randori where there is no designated uke or tori, both players try to find an off-balance, an opening, or a mistake by the other. This time we tried assigning a role to each player and working from there.

One of the folks I worked with was Sensei Lowry. OMG. He toasted me so often, and I was supposed to be tori. He felt the slightest amount of tension in my hands and arms and was able counter 98% of what I did. I did manage to find an opening two, or maybe 3, times.

One of the things he noticed was that when working with him, I was directing my center perpendicular to his. If I managed to point my center through him, things were more likely to go my way (if I also had very little tension in my arms).

I'm not certain I took as much advantage of that opportunity as I could, but I'm still glad I had the opportunity.

We then broke for lunch back over at Frankie's.

We came back after lunch, but I can't remember what we worked on. We then had two Shodan demonstrations. Congrats to Russell Stewart (who was the uke for my Shodan demonstration last November) and Jamey Best. Jamey had real struggles as his back was quite painful, but he made it through.

We then went back to Frankie's place for a great spread provided by his wonderful wife Joy. After dinner there was more drinking, and storytelling long into the night.

We flew back home on Sunday. We tried to change our flights to get back earlier, but it would have cost us $50 each. It wasn't worth, even though we sat in the airport for about 4 hours.

I'm not certain how many different folks I worked with over the weekend, let's see if I can come up with most of the names: Sensei Lowry, Allen, Larry, Paul, Christian, Cameron, Russell, Steve, ........

7.28.2009

At the Movies: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince : 4

I'd happily go see this movie again, but you have to take it for what it is: a treatment of a book as a movie. As such, there are subplots and scenes from the book that just can't make it to the screen. There are also scenes that are changed from the book.

I'd overheard people talking about the movie commenting on the fact that it was not as "dark" as the book: too much humor, etc. I do not agree. My thoughts are that, without the humor in the movie, you don't want to take any suicidal friends to see the film.

I don't know if I'll see it again at the theatre, but I wouldn't mind doing so.

7.20.2009

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 7/18/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups. He's already moving up to the non-kneeling version of the rolls.

The Walk: Four times, I think, today.

Releases: Worked with Sal on his releases. We managed to get through the first two fairly well

Techniques:

I then worked with Trey, as uke, as he ran through 1-11 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. It went very smoothly. He had a couple of bobbles on Aigamae-ate, as is the current trend, and a couple on Shomen-ate. At the end, kote-hineri, things got a little loose and he let go of me too early. I tried, but failed to keep my head from bouncing off of the mat.

Aftermath: Trying to reduce the strain on the hip. Trey's Ikkyu demonstration is, currently, scheduled for August 21st or 22nd. I've got to be able to take the falls by then. There's a seminar this coming weekend, so I've got to be careful there.

Aikido Friday Night - 7/17/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Tom and Sal.

Ukemi: I watched Sal during his warm-ups.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Worked with Tom on his releases.

Techniques:

I spent some time working with Tom on Shomen-ate, Aigamae-ate, and Gyakugamae-ate. It went pretty well for a first serious look at the techniques.

Then I did some work on Shihonage of Owaza Ju Pon. Normally, this is done right-sided only. Sensei had me work on both sides. Getting the footwork for left-side was very challenging, but it managed to be passable at the end.

I then worked with Trey, as uke, as he ran through 15, 16, and 17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. Trey's starting to get comfortable with these. We haven't tried the air fall finish for hiki taoshi, yet. Because of my hip, I'm trying to take back falls instead of air falls.

Aftermath: The hip joint is affecting just about everything I do. It limits the amount of techniques I even attempt.

7.13.2009

Weekend update

Friday - Aikido

Saturday - Blueberry pancakes, Aquarium work, out in the shop to do some turning, Aikido, dinner at Joe's, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Sunday - Blueberry muffins, out in the shop to do some turning, baked two pies: cherry and peach, dinner at the in-laws, Armadillocon work

Wish someone would put HP and the Order of the Phoenix on the tube. I need to see that before this weekend's HP and the Half-Blood Prince.

I've been working on turning stuff for display at Armadillocon. We've got enough empty space in the Art Show that I feel ok putting some stuff in the show.

I wanted to try out another recipe for Ciabatta bread, but did not do it. Maybe tonight.

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 7/11/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Richard, Trey, Brad, Tom and Sal. Our biggest group in quite some time. Richard was there for Jyodo, but came on the mat to help Sal.

Ukemi: Not quite full set. The hip's ok in warmups, most of the time.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Not tonight.

Techniques:

I did some work on some techniques. We were going to do some suwari waza in Koryu Dai San, but my hip is not allowing me to move properly at the moment. I can't put my legs 90 degrees from each other at the moment.

Owaza Ju Pon

1. Kubi Garuma

2. Kata Otoshi - I tried this, but the pivot for the technique is another hip wrenching move at the moment.

9. Ushiro Kubi Gatame

I then worked with Trey, as uke, as he ran through 11 through 17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. We've not tried roll-outs on a left-sided Hiki Otoshi yet, but we're getting close.

One of the falls for Sumi-otoshi was a little stunning. Trey's grip slipped (whether because of his sweat, or mine, or both who knows) and I landed with no support. The landing was soft enough, but my neck tweaked a little for some reason. (I think I may have been attempting to look for Trey's missing hand.) I really expected that the muscle would lock up on Sunday, but it wasn't too bad.

Aftermath: I hope the hip heals soon.

Aikido Friday Night - 7/10/09

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Tom.

Ukemi: I watched Tom during his warm-ups.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: Not tonight.

Techniques:

We spent a bit of time with Tom on "strike-the-dummy" and the moved on to shomen-ate. We're working on reducing the tension in his off-hand, as the current amount of tension tells uke a awful lot about tori.

Then I did some work on some techniques.

Standing Koryu Dai San

1. Kote Mawashi
2. Uchi Tenkai Nage
3. Gyakugamae Ate
4. Kote Kajiki
5. Mae Otoshi

I then worked with Trey, as uke, as he ran through 15, 16, and 17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata. After we finished working on those, we ran through Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate, briefly.

Aftermath: My wrist is finally (3 months after the massive kote gaeshi day) comfortable, but my hip joint is still troublesome.