Archive for July, 2008

Life of Riley

Lately, I’ve been really grooving on this chick: T. Riley.

Also seen at her MySpace Page.

Good stuff, really enjoyable. Haven’t seen her live yet. Everybody says, “so and so reminds me of…” etc., so here’s my bit: She reminds me of a cocktail of Mary’s Danish (anybody remember them? Well, I liked ’em!) with a splash of The Donnas and a garnish of Garbage.

Me like–bought the “album” on iTunes.


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Speaking of training in my below post, just as a recap, last Friday was a blast at the VA Dueling (as opposed to “Duleing,” Dan 🙂 ).

It became fairly hard training for a bit. We started off on longsword, as is usual. I’m finally starting to get the hang of the specifics–I was showing a young maiden some of the proper form, and asked her to strike at my head on this side… however, as I was attempting to hold the proper guard on that side, she actually struck to the other side.

To my very pleasant surprise, I acted without thinking and actually executed the proper parry on the side receiving the attack. It has always been thus–I seem to actually execute best technique when surprised (after much training, though). So I think some of it’s finally starting to kick in.

And–not surprisingly, it happened as I was… instructing. Yep–I’ve found that when I have just enough knowledge and skill to be, err, knowledgeable, instructing someone somehow ends up crystalizes what I’ve been learning into something usable. To me, that’s one of the joys of teaching. Helps ya learn.

But, altogether, that portion isn’t yet particularly active, because we aren’t at point where we can do a lot of free play without too much danger. The longswords are meant to thump, and thump they will, whereas rapier and smallsword are much more congenial to earlier freeplay, being lighter and more intended for poking.

So, when we got into the rapier portion of the class, we had a little bit of instruction, then it was: “go find a partner and go half-speed until you are comfortable with some technique, then free play.” And so we did.

And that was a riot (almost literally 😀 ). My first couple of guys were pretty young and active, so I got a good workout, though my skills in ÊpÊe seemed to have carried over pretty well, and I gave them a pretty good workout too, including giving a good disarm to one of them. Great fun.

That’s one of the things about fencing I love, is that you can really go almost all out, and still not do too much damage, like when you play with a good aikidoka.

In fact, because I get my adrenaline going, I have to be careful that I don’t play through too much pain or injury, ‘coz I just don’t feel it until I’m done. I had really twisted my ankle last week, badly, and I went ahead and played through the first Friday of the injury, then the next on. I was still limping a bit, beforehand, but I actually think it felt better afterward. And now, I only notice a bit of stiffness when I stretch it in the direction I hurt it.

(Note that I went to friend Nicki’s Steak and Pool party the day after my injury, so I think that helped a great deal–thanks Nicks!).

But it’s been a while since I fenced with that much intensity, so I felt it a bit in the hamstrings the next couple days. Nothing debilitating, just enough to know that they had been worked. And I can feel it in my main shoulder a little. But that’s a problem I have to watch out for–I can go at it so hard I hurt myself. I actually cooled it a little with the Olympic-style fencing a while back because of that.

Older styles of fencing, and balanced martial arts (that you practice bilateral training in, such as Systema and Aikido) take the strain off of your “leading edge,” that is–the side you’re holding your weapon, so it’s easier not to overtrain the one side.

I can really feel it when I fence sabre, because for one thing, I use a freakin’ club (practically–it’s still a blade, just a big, stiff, thick, heavy one), and really extend out there, so that leverage is working against me. Fortunately I have the strength to do that, but it comes at a price.

And of course, I did a couple of light workouts with kettlebells the last couple of mornings. Good stuff. I was hoping to get in some swimming and tennis with some friends, but it didn’t work out last weekend. Maybe this weekend, we’ll see.

The kbells, swimming, and jacuzzi (yes, I hit the Y) are good recovery for the explosiveness that I fence with. I probably could use a good massage, too. But who couldn’t? 🙂

In Ferro Veritas

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I’m usually pretty sensitive to forms of humor such as irony.

However, this evening, it took me until my first sip of sherry, after several puffs on my pipe out on my back deck to appreciate that the gentle relaxing music I was listening to was my “Health and Longevity” subliminal CD (on iPod, I had started listening to it earlier whilst I was watering my neighbors’ and my lawn). 😛

(I’m already a wild Uncle–I fully intend on being an awesome Grandpa one day. I’m in training–pipe-smoking and having a shot of something strong in the evening when the work is done; those kind of things 😀 )

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Yep–saw Dark Knight. And it was good…

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I just loooove her (note that I have updated the video–the previous one below was “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” but for some reason it was removed):

These guys aren’t too shabby either, in one of their versions:

Be sure to check out their whole “No Quarter” DVD. Fan-freakin’-tastic…

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Just to remind you that I am indeed a geek, here’s Niall Ferguson discussing his book, The War of the World. If you have a minute…

I read the book, and it’s fantastic, especially if you like reading by the pound. 🙂 In any case, I ended up seeing the PBS documentary a couple of nights ago, but only part of it, so I started looking for it on YouTube. I did find part–the beginning, but it’s only a few minutes.

However, I also found this interview he did with Harry Kreisler, which does a great job of explaining the book, it’s thesis, and why he wrote it.

Also, I couldn’t resist, because he actually says “huge tracts of land,” whilst looking at the host and struggling to keep a straight face. 😀

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Some Clarity

Just so’s we’re clear on this:

I’m not a motorcyclist because I own a motorcycle
I own a motorcycle because I’m a motorcyclist

And that’s how it be 😀

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