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.


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.


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.


Weekend update




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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


Weekend update




Stringing Xmas lights


Visit a craft show
Dinner at Durango's


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.