Weekend update


Thunderstorm that probably killed our central a/c


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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




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


Birthday dinner and movies for members of the family


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


Weekend update




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

Armadillocon prep





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.


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.


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.