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Archive for February, 2008

🙂 Not to bore you all with another good weekend story, but that’s what happened. Saturday was swords in the afternoon, mounds of sushi in the evening, and Rock Band for the night.

Sunday wasn’t much as far as adventures, just got some new pants and shirts and a couple of ties.

Today, my dad went into the hospital for knee replacement surgery (finally!). I’m glad he finally did it, his knee is getting more and more painful to him, and it’s limited his mobility tons (there was basically no cartilage left in it). He can’t afford that health-wise, or practical-wise. As in, he needs to keep moving and keep physical for his health’s sake, and for his ability to hunt, go to gun shows, and take care of his mom.

I called him this evening, and although he was a bit blurry and slurry, he related some of how he was doing and such. I talked to his wife, who is staying the night there with him, and keeping an eye on him (thanks, Susan!). We still don’t know if the hospital is going to send him straight home after his stay (3 or 4 days), or directly to a rehab center. Susan is hoping the rehab center, so he can get training and help right away, and won’t have to walk around their house, which is NOT disability-friendly. Plus, she can get back to work and know that he’s getting what he needs, instead of not working and using up precious vacation.

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Biiiiiggg kudos to my former roommate, Toni. She sent me notice of the eclipse that’s going on tonight. I had sort of heard of it, but it somehow passed thru my consciousness with but barely a ripple, until she sent me an alert at like, 2149 or so.

So I spent over an hour in the beautiful, balmy 25ºF (aye–twas a bit nipply) night watching the Moon being eaten by the Dragon. Wonderful. Awesome. And I even saw the flash and streak of a meteor! (Or maybe it was a falling satellite… 🙂 )

And now the Moon’s being reborn. I’ve been watching as the bright slice slowly grows and grows (albeit spending more time inside for that portion).

There’s always been something in crisp, cold, clear, nights that has drawn me out. I don’t know why, or what it is; just some sort of longing I can’t explain. Not a melancholy–just… well, sorry, I just can’t elucidate it. Maybe one day. Though maybe that’s why I’ve always been drawn to “space” stuff and the like.

Update: the Moon’s almost all the way back! And it is bright out there! Gorgeous!

Update to the update: here’s my fuzzy pic of the beginning of the eclipse. Alas–with cellphone.

lunar_eclipse_0220082148.jpg

I’m just amazed that I was able to get it in frame at all, let alone centered like that!

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As are many devoted fans, I’ve been waiting for the next episode of the webcomic Platinum Grit. Ms. Trudy says she’s been delayed for quite a bit, but is still working on it. (Yay!)

I searched her forum and found this page with the Episode 19 cover on it. Plus a few more from earlier episodes. Enjoy.

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Naturally, I get into discussions with friends about what I think about “Global Warming,” and other such environmental issues. The problem is, I typically suck at trying to make a point that is more complex than a simple yes or no whilst talking, and anyway, when listening, it seems to be hard for people to hold the whole position in their head.

So I ended up writing a “point paper” on my thoughts so far (and this is an important point on its own–I always am reevaluating with the information that I get, I don’t believe I know everything, and I’m not just attached to one position forever), that I could whip out and let people read through, so that I could say what I needed to say, before anybody gets hung up on the just the first or second points (which in relationship to each other may seem contradictory at first glance), and emailed it to a couple of friends, with the intent of putting it up here sometime.

So here it is:

A summary of my beliefs on Global Climate Change (sometimes now known as “Global Warming”) at this time, based on the evidence I’ve been presented and the experience I’ve had.

Global Climate Change (GCC) happening?
– Yes!
Human caused?
– NO!!!!!!
Human influenced?
– Maybe
– We don’t know how, or how much we have influenced GCC.
– Maybe we’ve sped it up
– Maybe we’ve slowed it down
Part of natural cycle?
– YES!!
– Ice ages, anyone?
Mitigation
– Can we stop the cycle?
— Not in short run. But nothing is impossible.
– Should we?
— PROBABLY NOT
– Disaster/Crises mindset
— Drop it!
– Best mindset
– Realize that this is part of a natural cycle; a grand turning of seasons. Nobody freaks out about Wet/Dry seasons, or Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter, and nobody should freak out about GCC. Just prepare sensibly, but on a longer time scale.
– Lack of human causation of GCC is not an excuse to not prepare
– Lack of human causation of GCC is not an excuse to continue to use inefficient fuel/power sources
– Lack of human causation of GCC is not an excuse to continue to pollute
— Chemical (e.g. Acid mine drainage)
— Biological (e.g. Homones in food, water system)
— Etc.

Alas, the formatting didn’t carry over very well… but as you can see, I don’t ascribe to either/or thinking in this, and I don’t, typically, in everything else in life. For instance, I don’t think that CO2 is the most pernicious thing going on, but rather, the pollution in our environment from all the other sources.

I think that power and energy generation should come from efficient, renewable sources, whether or not Global Warming or Cooling or whatever is the result. Living in harmony and using tech responsibly will be the key to the human species continuing to exist and thrive, and continue expanding to the stars.

Just a thought.

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As I think I touched on in an earlier post, I finally picked up the first two seasons of the Muppet Show. It’s freakin’ great. I’ve viewed about six 20 minute episodes so far, and watching it now, all these years later, two things really stand out.

One, is that the performers are excellent, and very sly. First off, the puppet actors are fannntastic. I mean, watching it, especially as a kid, you don’t really notice how good they actually are, which means they are really, really good. Making a preposterously shaped little bit of cloth and padding with a hand up its butt seem alive and have you suspend your disbelief like that is an amazing talent.

One thing that was super sly, but really impressed me, was in one of the first episodes when they were filming two or three members of the Muppet band playing an instrumental. They didn’t play it for humor, but rather, completely straight. And the lighting and cinematography on it was straight out of the best concert footage I’ve ever seen. Brilliant. It was so good that I didn’t know if they were trying to be serious, or ironic. But it was spectacular.

And Two, the female guest stars were just as beautiful and sexy, or even more so, than I remember as a kid. I mean–Juliet Prowse. Wowsers. Connie Stevens. Must’ve been the Jessica Simpson of her day (well, the Brooklyn-born Irish-Italian one, anyway). Rita Moreno. I don’t EVEN know where to begin, with her…

There were reasons these girls were stars. And in the first few episodes of the Muppet Show (the middle 1970s), you know they were getting the stars that had already peaked in the 50s and 60s–and these women are spectacular… funny, graceful, sexy, bee-yoo-tiful.

Anyway–I feel good about falling in love with these women as a kid. My taste was good, and it still holds up to this day! 😉

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Trojan Man

I love my Brits. I mean, other than a bit of business back in the 1700s, and, well, maybe in the 1800s, we’ve all gotten along pretty well.

But one thing that always kills me is this thing about everybody turning into Patrick Stewart when they’re in a movie or play set in the time of either classical Rome or Greece. What is *that* all about???

You get Billy Bob from down on the farm, put a toga on him, and suddenly, he’s in the thea-TAH, enunciating in stentorian tones like Derek Jacobi in I-freakin-Claudius

So anyway, I’m sitting there minding my own business, wondering what to watch after The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Lena Headey=birdie num-nums…), the only show this season that I watch. I mean, if something comes on TV and I happen to be watching and there’s nothing else going on (like blogging, for instance), then I might watch it. Typically, there’s maybe one show a season that I intentionally turn the TV on to watch, except maybe Sunday morning political shows. If I’m around I’ll sit down to eat brekkies and watch Fareed Zakaria or George Stephanopoulos.

So like I said, I’m flipping through my 5000 channels and pause on AMC, because Troy was on. You know–the one with Brad Pitt. Believe it or not, I, Mr. Sword and Sandal, have never seen it. So–I pause my surfing, take the mute off, and watch.

If there’s anything to be said in favor of the “British-isation” of the voice acting of classical Greece, it’s that at least it’s fairly consistent. I mean, it may be unrealistic to have staid, stoic Northern European people act out what were no doubt flamboyant, passionate, non-restrained Mediterranean types (okay–maybe the Stoics, but the rest, come ON)… but at least they all sounded like they came from the same language group.

In this Troy, the first thing I see is some guy–apparently Vinnie Barbarino’s cousin–croaking out, “Hey, YO, Achilles… what’s we gonna do?” Then we slide over to the Trojan camp, where some stentorian British guy is weighing in on something. Cut to James Cosmo, the Scot, of Highlander fame (“There’ll be nooo burrrrrrnin’ heeeerrrrr’ today!”).

Then Eric Bana–“Roight, let’s go dan undah, and throw a few Greeks on the bahbee…” Followed by the wonderful Peter O’Toole, an Irishman, with that wonderful, majestic, but slightly intoxicated sounding voice of his. “We must defeat these Grrrreeks, for they mean to steal our beloved casks of wine! Damn their eyes!”

(I have a deep love for Peter O’Toole, based in large part because he looks almost exactly like my late Grandfather Ralph…).

Now, maybe that’s not EXACTLY what they said, but that’s kinda what it started to sound like to me. And as you can imagine, I was in hysterics. I haven’t watched the rest of it, and I don’t know if I ever will. Maybe one day. I would like to see the fight scenes, I suppose.

Nonetheless, it was quite an enjoyable five minutes. 🙂

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Good training day, today. My fencing buddy Paul made it up from Newport News, so a group of us that practice sword fighting of various types got together for some practice. Mostly longsword, but eventually, just about every weapon came out of the bag. Was good fun.

[Ed. Note: “schnitt” is the technique of slicing or a sliding cut, as opposed to the impact chop type of cut…]

I had received a Christian Tobler book (signed by the author!) when I purchased my waster, and reading it and practicing what I’ve read really accelerated my learning in the art. So I broke in my waster, and was able to perform the drills with no problem, whereas before I felt like I was practicing blind, even though I had attended a couple of times before.

I’ve handled enough sticks, swords, and other weapons that this stuff came right to me. Generally a weapon is a weapon–the fun part is finding some of the unique ways that it can solve tactical problems. I’m no master, and I have plenty of areas to improve, but what I do have is an “instinctual” feel for distance and time and an awareness of how things are happening around me. And a really good feel for making any implement an extension of my body. So weapon handling comes relatively naturally to me now.

I put “instinctual” in quotes because I don’t know if it truly is that, or just so much practice over so many years that it feels instinctual.

That and the fact that although I learn names of guards and techniques and such, my emphasis has shifted over the years to the principles behind what’s going on. I mean, I do a lot of research on this stuff, both physical and other (books upon books, videos, etc.), and I consider that training just as important as the actual physical motion of punch, kick, or cut.

After a long afternoon of training, we got some mexican chow, then picked up some videos to watch. Started off with an episode of the Muppet Show (guest star John Cleese), then into a really wild movie, Nightwatch. Maybe a review of that later, maybe not.

Cheers.

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