Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Memorial Day Weekend

First of all I really didn't do anything significant to the holiday.

I went to karate camp.

I packed up four kids, a tent, and a van-load of gear and drove a bit less than 20 miles to unload it all again. My 9 and 11 year olds wanted to camp and this way we were close enough to bail out if they couldn't handle the reality of "out in a tent overnight."

Camp was great. Primarily it seems to be about gathering upper level people from all over, who may have their own Kojosho Karate schools, so they have an opportunity to compare notes and get some instruction themselves. A handful of color belts who are local get to go too and it's just mind-blowing.

The most fun thing was applying the wind element to self-defense holds. I'm talking about those "someone grabs you and ends up with their arm twisted behind their back" things. I hate those. It's not just that I forget how to do them, it's that I can never figure it out to start. We had spent the morning doing the 18 animals and elements postures having to squint our eyes shut when gusts of wind picked up the dust and after lunch Mr. Absher said that we were missing an opportunity to work with wind.

I never did quite get wind when we were doing postures, you sort of swirl around twice before starting the next element, but even doing it so wrong I could feel the wind in the movement. Doing the self-defense moves with wind was the first time they ever made sense to me. I think it's because I wasn't moving my foot "there" and my hands "this way" and shifting my weight "like that." Instead of separate things it was one thing. And it worked. Very much too cool for words.

Also too cool for words was the opportunity to recieve instruction from Mr. Absher. He actually spent quite a bit of time with the three children at the camp and I wonder if he likes that because they don't know enough to get all stressed around him. I get stressed. After working out for two days and sleeping in a tent *nothing* looks right, certainly not that rising block, and you want it to *be* right. And you just *know* that he's going to think that your little blue belt traumas are silly... but he doesn't. And somehow he watches for just a moment and tells you the one thing that makes an abstract form make sense in application.

I'm very new and just getting to know people. I recall someone saying that we don't have masters, only students. So far I've never heard someone call anyone Sensei and certainly not Master... other than behind Mr. Absher's back. The "old guys" seem to want everyone to know why there is a note of awe in their voice when they describe the man who spent at least part of this last weekend helping three little girls collect pine cones.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Komodo vs. Cobra

I'll admit it, disaster is not my genre. I prefer action-adventure. But I may just change my mind. If I do, you can blame Komodo vs. Cobra.

I'm flipping along past the sci-fi channel and there's a huge komodo dragon and three scared people standing in a river and the old guy says... "Don't move! Whatever you do don't move!" Seeing as komodo dragons are big on eating carrion I find this rather confusing. Does dead stuff run away? Or do they just not want the big lizard to get tired before it eats? One guy runs and gets eaten.

Cut to a scene with a guy in uniform with hair over his ears.

So I go make dinner and come back to my puter for the next installment.

A bunch of highly photogenic young people with backpacks along with an even more photogenic reporter and camera-man enter a huge house to find that no one is there. The camera man goes outside for a smoke (Don't do it! You're gonna get eaten!). An incredibly cute brunette with a gun appears and tells them they all should leave. Oh, no... they're from Earth First and they are going to expose the military secret! So there! She says they should all go, if they've got a boat. And I'm thinking... why is she there arguing instead of half-way to the lagoon? They've got a boat! Survival is apparently not this lady's forte. Oh, well, screaming ensues as they are interrupted by the consumption of the camera-man by the giant snake.

My husband gets home so I go show him where dinner is and return to my puter and the mind-numbing terror.

More time with the military guys with the bad hair. Oh, they plan to take care of the problem by killing everyone on the island. Obviously.

OH WOW... we find out that Komodo dragon saliva is highly toxic... (bah, it's the rotting flesh in their teeth, people die of infections from it.) We shouldn't have messed with nature!

Wow, the peace-niks sure seem to carry a lot of fire power. The reluctant scientist bullied by the military at the beginning was armed as well.

I don't know how many people have been eaten by now but even these huge creatures should be finding a place to lie in the sun and digest... but it's night and cool so they are less active. Whew... maybe the people will get away.

Ooops... more people get eaten. Boat is gone. Now they need to find a different way.

Now it's night, time for everyone to get all introspective... OH PLEASE can we get back to eating people?

Ooooo.... reckless men have transgressed the boundaries of nature. Can't have that. Nature is best you know.

Military guys again... underling is starting to show some spine in the face of the murderous 3 star general with the bad hair... future insubordination to save the lives of civilians is not assured.

LOL! The "straight from high school to boot camp" former Airborn Ranger is/was a Captain. Oh, and I should mention that he could do voice-overs for Sylvester Stalone.

Yay! They're in the water again, so maybe someone will get eaten. SNAKE, SNAKE, Oh no it's a SNAKE. Oh, well, false alarm. It's just giant leaches. Ewww. So is the guy going to bleed to death from the anti-coagulent? Nah. Would it be too nit picky of me to point out that the bite wounds are the wrong shape? I can see not getting military advisors for the movie, but how about a biologist?

Uh Oh... the enlargement matrix can be passed by mosquitos. All creatures can get huge. When do we get the 50 foot woman? Scientist lady who worked on it says, "unknown"... like I said, she's got no concept of survival whatsoever.

On second thought. I'm pretty sure they aren't using the phrase "enlargement matrix".

The military now knows who is on the island. The general says bomb it any way because it's too dangerous.

Leach boy is feeling sick. I wonder if he'll die or if he'll save the day as the 50 foot eco-avenger. I wonder if he'll have to eat enough to assimilate the extra mass.

They got to the helicopter left by the military guy that bought it earlier... must have been while I was making dinner.

Oh, no! The giant Komodo is back. They can't reach the helicopter. And don't forget that the military is on the way to bomb the island.

Oh, the heroic Jerry, otherwise known as leach-boy is distracting Komodo... instead of honoring his sacrifice by saving themselves they are going to try to save him. Cobra arrives... Jerry is EATEN!

The Komodo and Cobra commence battle!

The helicopter won't start! Wait... they try something.

The bombers arrive!

The helicopter escapes!

The bombs destroy both Komodo and Cobra!

And the evil plan of the military is revealed because the reporter got her camera out!

Happy day. The island doesn't look very destroyed though. LOL... one of the dead guys just woke up with snake eyes and a forked tongue.

So... should I watch the sci-fi original Sabertooth next? It's incredibly tempting. ;-)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Diana Irey

For all of you wondering what to do about Murtha.

It's just too bad I can't vote for her.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How many women are abused by husbands or boyfriends?

According to this article, 40% of us.

I'm calling BS. Seriously folks, what is going on here? If I were a woman who *was* abused I'd be pissed. Well, okay, probably I wouldn't be angry at all. Probably I'd have such a poor concept of my own worth that it wouldn't occur to me to be angry on my own behalf.

13% of women reported that the abuse went on for 20 years. Now that makes more sense to me. I've known abused women, had co-workers who were abused... and most of them would stay for 20 years. The rest of us have arguments or bad days and exchange snotty, pouty, and hurtful remarks. Some of us grow past this and have our tear filled shout fests *without* the hurtful remarks. Most people have good times and bad times in their relationships. This is normal.

Most of us can tell the difference between being abused and our partner (or ourself) having a bad day. Typically women who are abused stay with their abuser. The reason that this is *typical* is that women who won't stay with an abusive man... don't. I've known or worked with women in that situation as well. They leave him. They don't leave him after it builds up over time, they leave him *now*. Does every self-respecting woman leave her husband or boyfriend when they have their first fight? No.

Does name calling in an fight hurt? Yes. Is it better not to do it? Yes. Is it the same sort of thing as the determined long term tearing down of a person's psyche, you're ugly, worthless, no one else would want you, sort of thing that happens in an abusive relationship? No.

It's not just quantitative, it's qualitative. Abuse isn't the same only more... it's *different*.

Jay Babcock has an agenda

Nothing wrong with that. He's anti-war. Nothing wrong with that.

But that doesn't give him the right to misrepresent either facts or information in the service of that agenda.

In his interview of Sully from Godsmack (which was mostly about Jay, but nothing wrong with that) he talked about doing research on the issue and that he was right.

A post to the comments section questioning his "facts" gets deleted.

A post that points out how disrespectful of young people he's been gets deleted.

A post suggesting that the military respects young people gets deleted.

So someone posts a comment about how all the defenders of Godsmack use profanity and call people fags. Well I can explain that too... post a critical comment that *doesn't* use profanity or call Jay Babcock a fag and it will get deleted. Unlike most blog owners or forum administrators, rather than delete profane posts he leaves them, and deletes the non-profane rational arguments.

Anyone who reads the comments will be convinced that any contrary arguments are entirely without merit.

This is dishonest.

He does leave the polite posts taking him to task for his methods so long as they agree with and affirm his politics.

Perhaps he's not accustomed to talking to people with a variety of opinions and it makes him nervous. More likely it's that he's got an agenda that *requires* the world view that young people are too stupid to make decisions about their own lives and *requires* that
the military be some sort of fantasy organization that takes away whatever few neurons recruits start out with and turns them into zombie killing machines.

Viewing young people as too stupid to have their own ideas about the world also means he's got to delete any comments that might lead them astray. He's got to stack the deck for their own good.

You know... the military won't treat you the way Jay Babcock treats you. They aren't going to stick you at the craft table with dull scissors and non-toxic glue. They aren't going to treat you
like a kid because you're only 18 or 20. The military is hard but doing something hard makes a strong person stronger.

Smash has a good discussion and links.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

St. Baldricks - The Shaving!

The Kojosho Karate shaving team! Donations can be made for the next three months, though by that time they'll have HAIR.
Who needs hair? It just gets in your face. (That's my husband in the back.)
People with long hair sent it to Locks of Love. (I don't know who had the longest hair but I think that Taylor's was the prettiest. Some little girl with cancer will get a fantastic blond wig. I don't think she'll worry much about boy-cooties.)
People with hair over two inches long put it in a baggie. I'm not sure what they did with it.
The Klingon Princess.

I'm not old enough to have a son who looks this grown up. (Actually, I am, some of my friends have kids out of the house already. EEep!)
Prettier than Natalie Portman. :-)

I'm told the donation pages will be active for the next three months. Donations can be made to the team or to individuals (scroll down and click on their pictures.) Hey, it's a good cause and it will really give the kids a boost.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bumble Bees

I find all the different sorts of bumble bees in my garden fascinating. Where I grew up in Minnesota we just had one sort... a big black and yellow bee. Here are two that were on my lilac today. The first is a tan bee about twice the size of a honey bee. The second is just huge, probably three quarters of an inch long and nearly as wide. The orange band around it's middle was absolutely vibrant in the sun. This is at 6800 feet in the Sandia mountains. I wish I knew the names of them.

Infant mortality rates?

Why do people not trust science or intellectuals? Maybe because this article never mentions anything at all about how infant mortality is counted in different countries. It's just too much fun to have a headline that shows the US in a bad light.

This is the kind of stuff we get all the time from one source or another. Why do we not trust scientists who say the sky is falling or anything else? Because over and over and over again we see that *facts* don't matter.

Who believes that medical care in the US and pre-natal care in the US is sooooo bad that we've got one of the very worst infant mortality rates in the 1st world? Hint... we count births differently.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Special Forces survival tools?

I have a question, should anyone stop by who might know. I'm writing a scene where my SF/SF trainer guy takes off into the woods to find a missing Airman. I've given him a .45, one extra magazine and a knife and figure that he'd have brought water (canteens? camelpack?) and some sort of food bars. (He's got zero expectation of combat.)

He is probably expecting to find the missing person suffering from some degree of exposure.

What items might he be expected to have at hand and bring with him? His start point is a camp in the mountains where SF have been training. If he originally brings a pack of some sort he's going to lose it, so mostly I need to know what is tied to him or in his pockets.