lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Nana Spider speaks in riddles and rhymes, but Alex finally gets some vital information about her true nature:

That's right, folks, the newest installment is up on WattPad for your enjoyment.  It's a little shorter than usual.  My apologies.  But this morning was eaten up by Mason's "celebration" (read: faux graduation) from Elementary School.  Certificates were handed out, applause were applauded, and there was cake.  I had to laugh though, because martial arts has kind of ruined my child.  We haven't been to Kuk Sool in well over a year, but after all the belt ceremonies and whatnot, it's still very ingrained in Mason that you shake hands and then you bow.

So, there goes my child to shake the principal's hand and then he her offers her a bow.

Afterward, he kind of realizes he's done something a bit off, looks vaguely awkward, and yet, when his teacher hands him the certificate and shakes his hand, he does it again.

It was kind of cute, especially given that none of the kids of Asian descent did anything remotely like that.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
My instructors at Kuk Sool Wan were finally able to corner me and make me test. Damn their black belt, ninja skillz, anyway! Their evil trick was to offer to level up Mason at the same time, knowing full well that I'd show up if only to bring him to a test. Mason is now a blue belt, red stripe, and I'm a blue belt. For reference, in our local KSW dojon it goes: white, white/yellow stripe, yellow, yellow/blue stripe, blue, blue/red stripe, red.... (some don't award stripe promotions, we do.) Pictures will follow on promotion day. We don't have our belts and stripes yet because that part of testing always took ten times longer and it's already a gruelling two hours of sweaty hell.

This guy apparently thinks I'm ready:
kuk sool olympics 017

I only listen to him because he scares me and reminds me of this guy:

The testing was weirdly fun for me this time and I'm entirely convinced it had to do with the "name game." One of the things about my dojon that I have always, ALWAYS adored is their fondness for games, even if some of the games really do flash me back in a post-traumatic stress way to 3rd grade gym class (aka "state sponsored terrorism," as Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes would say). One of the games we play in class is a version of bombariment, which I remember reducing me to tears in grade school. Seriously.

But, at tests, the head instructor (see above) goes down the ranks and expects that everyone there knows everyone else's name (first name only, thank fate!) However, this usually means that before the test, everyone--even people who have known each other for YEARS--suddenly freak out and start introducing themselves to everyone else. We were a large crowd, and so it was hillarious the various ways people tried to make sure you remembered their names. I know my name is unusual and hard to prounce even when you know it, so I told the very little kids to think of someone who tells a lot of LIES and add a DUH! Lie-DUH. For adults, I used ASL to spell out the letters--with the thought that if they were looking at me (which everyone is when it's your turn to be named,) I'd simply spell it out for them when the head instructor was looking at them. Cheating, yes, but it gets us out of crunches.

Of course, under pressure a lot of people forget even their very best friend...or their own names.

But, the head instructor noticed that we were all very dillegently introducing ourselves and giving each other surprise pop quizes on the names of people testing AND the instructors (because since we normally just refer to a lot of the instructors as ma'am or sir, it super easy to never learn their names.) So, he instituted a kind of horrifying "fun" thing we had to do that involved jumping down, doing a kind of push up, hopping back and jumping up in the air WHEN WE GOT IT RIGHT. Hard to describe, but... weirdly invigorating. The first time we did it, I found myself jumping in the air and shouting "Yay!" at the end which inspired everyone else to make similar happy noises. And, since we'd all done a pretty good job with the introductions, there was a lot of joyful jumping and yelling "Yay!" right before the test.

It put me in a good mood.

Which may have been the clever plan all along....

And we test with all ages, so it was really cute at one point because there was this TINY boy at the beginning of the white belt ranks who Sa Bum Nim (the head instructor) actually picked up and held over his head so people could see who needed to be named.

This is the other thing that keeps me coming back to my dojon. All the instructors clearly adore the little ones and they kind of dote on them in a super sweet way, given how F*CKING SCARY THEY ALL ARE.

As someone taking a belt test, I was also required to pass a written test. I know I got my name right and the name of my martial art, but a good indication of the rest would be my answer to "What is Community?" I answered, "An excellent TV show."

And yet they passed me.

I love them.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Every year for the last four years, my dojon has an in-house competition that they've dubbed the Kuk Sool Olympics. Participants compete tournament-style in various categories: obsticle course, forms, techinques, sparring and mystery event.

Normally, both Mason and I compete, but this year for various reasons (mostly monetary,) only Mason did. I was invited to try out the obsticle course, but since I have been known to fall off the 'balance beam' (usually just a strip on the floor) I decided that while it looked like a blast, I wouldn't get very far, espeically since it was required at one point to be able to do a full bridge.

Here are some pictures of the tournament:

kuk sool olympics 016

Highlights for Mason included: winning one out of two sparring matches (he'd never won any before), and the mystery event--which was a Angry Birds style game that involved flinging socceer balls at a pile of pads and orange cones with piggy faces on them. I think Mason really liked coming up with the team name--theirs was: Mighty Mustached Narwals. I tried to get some action shots, but my camera has been refusing to get anything but blurs when there's even the slightest motion.

kuk sool olympics 029

And, then, just to prove just how much my head instructor looks like Ikkaku, I present the following evidence (I missed a good action shot with spear sparring, alas, otherwise it would have been even more evident.)

kuk sool olympics 017


Anyway, I was extremely disappointed that I didn't get action shots of fan form because it's my one and only total kuk sool squee. I just go all melty when I see super-buff men kicking a$$ with hot pink fans (and then fluttering them in front of their faces, which, btw, is PART OF THE FORM.)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
So yesterday, I was quite convinced that my printer was going to defeat my plans for Mason's Solstice gift. For those of you just tuning in, on Solstice, this pagan family attempts to give gifts that are 'from the heart'--which has come to mean, homemade rather than store bought or of SOME DEEP SIGNIFICANCE. For instance, I once spent quite a bit of money on a pair of earrings for Shawn for Solstice, but they were perfect replicas of a children's story about Raven that we read to Mason when he was quite young. It's the story of Raven stealing the sun and the earrings were Native made and actually included a sun in the raven's beak.

But, so I started out thinking that to make Mason's tee-shirt, I would need to use our printer and heat-transfer paper that I bought at Michael's (a craft store.) This assumed that what I had at home was an InkJet printer... which I thought I had, but it turns out not so much. In fact, the heat-transfer paper nicely went in.... AND PROMPTLY MELTED COMPLETELY, like didn't even come out the other side AT ALL. Very smelly. Very impressive. I do believe, however, that my printer may actually survive this mistreatment. BUT, I had to give up on the printer option. My friends on the Interwebs suggested trying Kinko's, the lady at Kinko's said they had no InkJet printers so, nope, try Office Max. The Office Max helper also said, "No, sorry!"

I thought, perhaps, I was defeated. Because, while I can draw, I normally am baffled by straight lines (which this design would require.) But, I gave it a go anyway:

prexmas 025

I think it turned out pretty well. You may be wondering why I am gifting my son with the number 11 in kanji. The answer is, of course, Bleach related. The 11th Division kicks butt and, since Mason might be wearing this to kuk sool (which requires black tees under the gi) this will give him extra kickiness to his buttness, I'm sure. We already swear in Japanese as part of our key-yop. Luckily, these folks are Korean, so shouting the s-word equivelant really doesn't make much of an impression. Plus, our Japanese is crappy enough I'm SURE no one notices.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Hey, I'm writing to you from my old, new computer. Remember the one that kept crashing? Well, I had to send it back to the manufacturer and they swapped out the hard drive and sent it back free of charge. It's still slow and stupid, but it's mine! All mine. Bwah, ha, ha, ha, HA! I can bookmark ALL THE PORN!


In other news, I sent off the fanfic proposal to the Loft. I went with just a fanfic 101 class, instead of a "making the switch to pro" for now. Fingers crossed that they take it. If not, I'll try the other idea out on them for next year. Given the amount of interest in this subject I've gotten from adults, I think they'd be missing out on a big market if they passed on it... but who knows?

For sure I'll be teaching SF/F to teens. Now the only Loft proposals I need to put together are for their online classes. I may try to teach another one of those, though I have to confess to finding them much more difficult. I'm a better teacher face-to-face. Dialogue is my strength. My crazy, non-linear energy works much, much better in person than in a static medium like the online.

I'm the band you want to see live. My performances are just that much better. (Ask anyone who's seen me at con.)

My NaNoWriMo status tells me that if I continue at this speed, I should be done by sometime mid-February. Whoever came up with that particular feature on the NaNo stats should be shot because it totally undermines the point of a deadline. I look at that and say, "Oh, February? That's not bad."

On the flip side, I handed the first bit out to Wyrdsmiths and Eleanor really enjoyed the first chapter. She gave me some things to consider in the meantime, and I've been trying to work on that.

In other writing news, Google Docs rocks. I've been having a blast co-authoring some fic with [ profile] empty_mirrors. It's like MAGIC. You can watch the other person composing real-time even though they live thousands of miles away. I love the future. It's AMAZING.

And kuk sool makes me sweaty. We did a horrible excercise tonight where I thought I was actually going to pass out. Ankle grabs. Not good for the asthma. I don't think I would have represented the 11th Division very well by passing out like the Nelly Queen I am.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
So, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, they have this thing called Oktoberfest.  It's kind of a big deal.  This last Saturday was the kick-off, which is a THREE HOUR parade, which includes every highschool band in the area as well as the UW-L alumni band, floats, politicians, and... giant semi trucks.  You know, the usual, except with more leiderhosen. 

My family went down to visit my folks and to participate in the insanity.  Though, I'm happy to say that the North Side, where I'm from and where I have always celebrated Oktoberfest (sorry, South Side, folks, the big fair grounds is NOT my scene,) was dry this year.  They still had all the usual carnival rides and midway games, just minus the drunken stupidity. Mason fell instantly in love, and also blew through a ton of our cash.  But, I got to relive the experience of the Tilt-a-Whirl, which... honestly, is still pretty awesome.  Mason also got his face painted on Sunday:

lacrosse 046

He's also holding the giant inflatable swords that he won doing the Thor hammer slam thing, where you have to ring the bell.  The folks at kuk sool should be proud because in order to mentally prepare himself, Mason did a ki-yop in the proscibed way (as though about to break a board.)  It was very impressive.

For myself, I had an excellent visit with the folks, chatting about life, the universe and everything.

Monday, however, has been tough.  I believe, later tonight, we will be having a discussion about Maslow's hierarchy of needs with Mason in terms of what money gets spent on fist.  This, I'm afraid is the natural consequence of having a weekend of, "okay, sure, honey" on the fairgrounds.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My family and I did some fun things over the last coupe of days.  Some friends of mine turned me on to the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival at Como.  I'd never been before, and considering what a hardcore Anime/Manga fan I've turned into, it seemed right up my alley.  Mason LOVED the idea of being anywhere after dark.  (Shawn, unfortunately, has been gearing up for an interview at work, wherein she has to apply for the job she already has.  Long story.)  At any rate, we set off some time after supper.  We actually found a pretty good parking and admission was cheap, $8 for the both of us ($5 for adults, $3 for children.) 

There wasn't a lot TO DO, per se, at the festival, but there were things to see, admire, and demonstrations to enjoy.  We watched a bit of music and fan dances, admired all the kimono and cosplayers, and tried some kakigori.  I was particularly excited to try kakigori, since I had written about it in my fanfic based only on wikipedia entries.  I can safely say now that it is exactly as advertised -- sort of weird, yet yummy (my description of a lot of Japanese food, honestly.)  We tried "ichigo" flavor because Mason was utterly enchanted that he got to say the name of the hero of BLEACH and end up with something strawberry flavored.  Kakigori, btw, is shaved ice with flavoring and sweetened condensed milk poured over the top of it.  It is also sometimes served with a bit of mochi and/or red bean paste.  Not unlike my favorite character, I'm a HUGE fan of red bean paste, so we went with both. 

We wandered around and looked at other booths.  Mason got his name writen in katakana, and we checked out the Japanese language versions of Shonen Jump (though we didn't buy any, since they all contained spoilers for where Mason is in the Manga/Anime.)

Probably Mason's favorite part of the festival was watching the folks from the kaishin dojo do a kenjutsu demonstration.  These were serious fan boys playing with live blades.  If I were twenty, I'd have joined the dojo on the spot.  But, one thing I noticed right away is how few women were in the demonstration team.  In fact, there was one.  Her job?  To hold the ribbons on a stick while the boys cut them.


In fact, after the demo was over, I asked one of the boys handing out fliers for the dojo's open house where all the women were.  "We have some," he insisted defensively.  "I see one," I pointed out.  "Without a sword."  He had no response, so I asked, "If I signed up to your dojo, would I feel welcome?" He sniffed, "We have a women's changing room."  To which I said, "That's like saying you have a women's bathroom.  What I want to know is if any women are IN IT."

He walked away.

Yep. Seriously.

This is why I'm once again profoundly pleased that I found Kuk Sool Wan.  They might not be perfect, but they have never made me feel weird being a woman who wants to hit stuff and kill people with swords.  Oh, yeah, speaking of that, I sensed this gender divide might be a problem when, in a demonstration of ki, the kenjustsu head instructor was looking for volunteers from the audience and only chose big men.  I piped up with, "Does it have to be dudes?"  He, at least, looked at me and said, "No, honestly, attitude is more important than physical strength," and he let me join the guys trying to pull his arms apart.  For the record, while we didn't pull sensei's arms apart, my side totally broke the grip of the other ALL MALE side of the tug-a-war.

Grrl power, bro.  That's what I'm talking about.

The lantern lighting part of the festival was quite lovely.  I sat on the grass and listened to the Anime fans next to me talking about their favorite shows, while Mason snuck up along the path for a better view of the actual ceremony.  Mason was really kind of bummed when it was time to go home because he's at that age where darkness is both spooky but also REALLY COOL.

Yesterday, Shawn took the day off work to celebrate our break from quarantine to go to the Minnesota Zoo (aka "the big zoo.") We wanted to try to catch the dinosaur exhibit before it closes on September 2.  What we discovered is that you have to pay EXTRA to get into see the dinos.  This sort of sucks because that's no clear in any of the literature and by the time you get to the far side of the zoo where the entrance is... you've come pretty much through the whole thing and a long way.  But, we coughed up the extra bucks (almost twice what it cost to do the entire Lantern Lighting Festival), and walked through.  Mason, at least, found it amazingly awesome, so in that regard it was worth it.

zoo and more 049

The zoo itself was much the same as always, but Shawn hadn't been in a zillion years so a lot of it was new to her.  And it's always fun to show off some of the more interesting new exibits to someone who's never experienced them.  Plus, we sat through a lot of shows -- we watched the penguins getting fed, the aquarium feeding, and the bird show.  Probably the favorite was the bird show because it's full of bad puns that Mason found hillarious and the flying birds really are rather spectacular. 

A good time was had by all.

Today, I'm hoping to finally get back to Kuk Sool, speaking of, and promote up to my blue stripe.  Did I mention I passed my test?  Yep.  I'm excited, but you know I always resist promotion.  I don't know what's wrong with staying a yellow belt forever, but... whatever.  :-)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Mason and I went back to kuk sool after a couple week's absence.  We had a great time, but my calves, of all things, are sore this morning.  I suspect that it has to do with being out of practice of standing in a stance.  Also we did kicks... who knows.  All I know is that the more I go, the better I feel.  So it's good to be back at it again.

I'm tired today because I spent last night hanging out with a friend.  We met up at Izzy's icecream parlor last night after martial arts, and, by chance, we also ran into some friends from Crossroads and their kids, Ava and Gavin.  To people who say St. Paul is a dead town after 5:00 pm, I call bull.  That place was HOPPING, and there was a whole sidwalk culture happening up and down that entire block, thanks to everyone hanging around outside, eating icecream.  In fact, it was so noisy, my friend and I had to retire back home so we could hear each other talk. 

Mason got to stay up late, since Shawn is away on a business trip.  That meant I was in charge of bedtime, and, since I wanted to stay up and chat myself, Mason got to stay up too.  He built himself a fort on the front porch and read, while the grown-ups talked in the living room.

It was actually pretty awesome.

But I'm paying for it a little today.  I have things to do, but all I really want to do is nap and possibly do a bit of writing.  I do, at least, have a loaf of zucchini bread in the oven.  I was thinking, given how many zucchini I STILL have in the fridge, we may have to sign up for the kuk sool barbeque just so I can drop off several loaves and flee.  :-)

Otherwise, I'm going to turn into that weird neighbor who leaves zucchini at people's front doors.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I'm mostly over my rant about the Super Seminar. It helps that on Saturday, Mason and went and had a fabulous time with our local folks. No one yelled at me for making all "drama" noises in the middle of our sparring excercise, even though I think at one point I even made the "buzzwhum" noise of a lightsaber. :-)

Plus, talking to another KSW friend at a mutal friend's kid's birthday party I got a real emotional boost. She said, "You know, don't you, that you're a real asset to the dojon?" and she was talking about my goofy happiness, and how infectious it can be. This was made particularly awesome and profound because this is a person with whom I've had a dubious past in the writing community. Not terribly long ago she was on my list of "do not put me on a panel with this person." On Saturday, I told her how awesome she is and offered to help her get her short stories out into circulation.

How times change, eh?

And, it also reminds me that, while I go through these... huh, what I need here is a word that's the opposite of an "emotional crush", something like a brief, intense, passionate hatred... anyway, one of those with various writers in the community, they are, in point of fact, temporary, and even the worst of them can mend in time. So, while I *am* an evil Scorpio bastard, my Leo Rising generously allows for people and myself to change.

On Sunday morning, I got up early and rewrote the first chapter of SAMURAI HIGH. I'm currently waiting on a fencing friend to vet my swordplay, and then I'm going to let a couple of othe friends check it over and then it's off... to hopefully seduce an editor into buying the whole thing. Fingers crossed. It would be nice to be rewarded for all the engery I've put into my fanfic. Think of it! All sorts of samurai research ALREADY DONE! Dude, ask me anything about Edo period toliets!

We also spent a lot of time on Sunday dong a ton of errands, including a trip to Uncles to deliver the last of my Fallen Hosts, and getting a massive amount of yard work done. It was also, apparently, Pride Weekend. I haven't been to a Pride in years, partly because I find I miss the frightened huddle we once were, compared to the huge commericalization we've become. My friend who did go told me that she didn't even get many condoms or lube hand-outs. WTF! That's not my Pride! *tease*

A Caveat

Jun. 22nd, 2012 01:25 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As happy as I was with the sword part of KSW's super seminar, I was equally as angry about something else that happened Wednesday night. If you've been following the story so far, you know that there is EXACTLY one reason I am a member of my dojon, why I do martial arts at all. It's a simple thing, and it is this:

To have fun.

So, on Wednesday night, in the middle of learning some sparring move, we'd be stopped periodically by the visiting instructor (some super-high ranking guy) to do push-ups for being too slow or not getting it or whatever. This is par for the course in my dojon, so I suffered through it all holding on to my usual smile. The third time we go down into push-up position, he tells us that the reason this time was that we were _smiling too much_.

We got a whole mini lecture about how we were meant to take the whole thing seriously and not "show our teeth."

Dude. The only teeth of mine you're seeing from now on are my FANGS. Because, you know what? I nearly quit on the spot. I'm not kidding. If there had been a way to stand up, respectuflly say, "no, sir, I will NOT take punishment for having a good time" and not cause my local instructors to lose face, I would have done it. I would have dropped my belt on the floor and walked away with no regrets.

You know, I understand that I can be too loud. I also get that my enthusiasm can be seen as disruptive at times, especially when class is over and I'm getting too wild with friends. I usually keep things like that under wraps during class, but I can get silly even when I don't mean to and I know that can be distracting to some of the other students. If my head instructor told me to stow it and give him push-ups in one of those situations, I wouldn't begrudge him for a moment and I would do them with an honestly penatent heart. But, when I laugh at myself for stumbling through the excercises, I consider that "right attitude." It is my very indominable spirit that smiles when I just ripped the hell out of my toe (which I'd done) that gets up to happily do it again and again.

I also understand that there are some cultural differences here. "The nail that sticks up will be hammered down." But, not ten minutes ago, the grandmaster of our tradition talked about how the secret to long life was having a happy home, a heart made lighter by mediation practice, and good living.

If smiling when I stumble isn't part of that, I really don't understand what life is all about and I really don't belong as part of this tradition, this martial art.

I am utterly mortified that I was asked to be ashamed of being enthusiastically goofy. I'm even angrier with myself that I gave him those push-ups.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
In today's installment of "why my martial arts kicks your martials arts's ass" we will return to the dropping of the sword in Aikido.


Instead, I spent the last hour or so whacking my partner with my Korean bokken (which is probably called something else.) It was everything I wanted from my bokken class ONLY IT WAS IN KUK SOOL.

The only kind of fun thing for me was that because I had taken bokken for those four classes, I felt very, very comfortable swinging the sword in the downward thrust. I did have to try to remember NOT TO DROP IT, but, you know, that's fairly instinctual.

Thank you. That is all.

Actually, I have a lot of news to report, though I'm going to have to keep it short tonight. Because we were at super-seminar until 8:00, I have to put Mason to bed now, much, much later than normal. The only other really exciting bit I must share tonight, then, is this Romantic Times review for Tate's Precinct 13:

In which the review repeatedly uses the word "series" as though Precinct 13 begins one. News to me. Hopefully, this will mean, however, that my editor, will in fact, make it the thrilling beginning of a new series.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Last night was my last bokken class through community ed. Sean said to me afterwards that he could almost HEAR my head exploding (though perhaps, more accurately, it imploded,) when sensei attempted to "sell" us on continuing bokken by explaining that pretty much this was it for all of eternity. It never got any cooler, it was all about dropping the sword and "letting go" and then you die -- he seriously said that last part. No. SERIOUSLY. And then you die.

After sensei said that, he continued with a little joke, "Of course, I don't know what happens when you die..." To which I couldn't resist saying, "When you die, you go to the Soul Society and you get a really awesome zanpakto." To which, Tom, the one guy in the class who wasn't Sean, said without missing a beat, "Yeah, Senbonzakura."

Dude. All this time I had a fellow Bleach fan in the class!? If we weren't in the middle of a lesson, I totally would have argued that Zabimaru was by far the better zanpakto...

Sean and I had a talk about my reaction to this whole class on the way home. I'm sure that Aikido is an amazing martial art. In fact, if it came down to a showdown between Sa Bum Nim (my Kuk Sool head instructor) versus sensei Jon, I wouldn't put money on either of them because I have no idea who would win. However, I wouldn't put it past an Aikido 3 dan to be able to kick anyone's a$$ into next week. That's not the problem. I get that Aikido is potentially wicked awesome.

Letting go is not, however, a philosophy I can easily embrace.

Again, I get the significance of the idea. I even think that if I were thinking about martial arts as a meditative, self-improvement path Aikido is probably the best for that. But that's not why I do martial arts. I do martial arts because, for an hour, I can pretend I'm Jackie Chan (or Renji Abarai). The point is, Kuk Sool with all it's yelling, kicking, jumping around and getting whacked by pool noodles is much more conducive to my desire to PLAY.

Aikido is serious.

I don't do serious. Not for fun. And if I'm going to invest time and money, it had better be fun.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Not only is there no yelling in Aikido, but it's also kinda... boring.

Don't get me wrong. I'm easy enough of a student that anytime sensei tells us to get a bokken from the collection and hold it, I'm already made pretty happy. However, last time we practiced letting go. Uh, literally. Holding our swords over our heads, and then dropping them.

It was all very mystical, you know, letting go and _LETTING GO_, but I kept thinking to myself, "No way Renji Abarai would do this. He'd never toss Zabimaru on the floor." Followed by: "Dang it. I wanna cut something."

You may not know this, but Mason and I started at KSW through community education too. We took a six (or maybe eight?) week class, but SBN and JKN were smart enough to make the community education classes ridiculously fun and addictive to the fan-personality. There was YELLING. There was hitting and rolling and jumping and kicking and lots, and LOTS of demonstrations of the awesome. Nearly every class through that community ed course ended in SBN showing off -- spear form, sword form, all the wicked cool stuff -- that made Mason and I say, "Oh, holy CRAP, I want to learn THIS! I NEED to learn this NOW!!"

I found out that I could take JUST bokken through the Center for Mind-Body Oneness at a pretty reasonable price per month, but I'm just not sure. It's COOL to hold a sword, it's even more fun to actually hear people say a few words in Japanese ocassionally, but... I'm not sure I'm adult enough to spend an hour letting go.

Dude, this is why I'm a dark sider. The Force is f*cking boring, man.
lydamorehouse: (renji art)
Mason spent Saturday afternoon from 4 - 6 pm (yes, kids, that's 2 HOURS) testing for his blue stripe. As a proud ima, I'm happy to announce that he passed!

Traditionally, I'm about two or three months behind Mason... part of this has to do with the fact that Mason is still a junior, and so there are fewer requirements for him to move up, but also because I have the worse memory for techniques and my instructors know I need the extra time. So, Mason will out rank me for a while. Luckily, that doesn't mean too much at this stage... except he gets to be in front of me in line and closer to the "cool" side of the room when we line up (the cool part being, of course, where all the black belts are.)

If you're wondering, the ranking system in our martial arts goes as follows:

white belt
white belt, yellow stripe
yellow belt
yellow belt, blue stripe
(and then up through blue (+ stripe), red (+stripe), brown, and black. The browns have several iterations of "stripes" and, of course, there are multiple degrees of blackness, as it were.)

As a surprise gift for Mason, Shawn framed up an animation cell from Bleach that I purchased at Anime Detour. The cell is a close-up on his favorite character, the prodigy captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya. It's hand-painted and pretty awesome, actually. He was THRILLED. Plus, mom made us all a lovely lasagna dinner, so the day was really fairly wonderful all around (except, I'm sure for Mason, all that sweating and grunting for two hours... though he got to quit before the brown belts, so he probably only went an hour and a half.)

Anyway, today I'm trying to resist the urge to hunker down and hide from all the snow and cold.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday, Mason and I managed to "hit the slopes" for a little while in the afternoon. It actually snowed (and stayed,) so we had to venture out to attempt a little sledding. The hill at the Country Club is awesome because it's steep enough that I'm not sure how necessary snow really is... a slick piece of cardboard would probably work just was well in the summer time, if you know what I'm saying.

In the evening, we went to Kuk Sool Wan. That, as usual, was a lot of fun. I'm setting a couple of goals this year, and one of them is to finally really GET the tornado kick. Luckily, we worked on it last night. Then a couple of friends and I went out for coffee, which was a real treat. Grown-ups! Granted, they were the sort of grown-ups with which I could fannishly go on about Bleach with, but hey, that actually works for me.

Speaking of which, I'm planning on attending Anime Detour for the first time this year. Listen, when I jump into a fandom it's with both feet, damn it! Sadly, Bleach is really kind of old school for a lot of people, so I'm not sure what I'll have to talk to anyone about. Still, it should be fun to go. Perhaps I can try out my rude Japanese.

So, yeah, I've been meaning to post about the further adventures of "John Learner" the hero of my language tapes. I picked up these Japanese language tapes at Half Price Books, and started trying to learn polite Japanese while driving in the car (they're cassette tapes). The author of the tapes decided that it would be a good hook to have a kind of story happening in the background. John is in Toyko to meet up with his college chum Toro and to negotiate a business deal with his company. (This is 1984, everyone is in Japan on business). John has the sort of adventures you might expect on a language tape. He has to go through customs, take a taxi to the hotel, check in, etc. A long the way, he learns to say "hello (polite form)" and count to ten.

The other day, I'm driving and half-listening to some simple phrases, "I want coffee" and "I would like tea." And, then out of the BLUE, John says, "I want to live." I nearly swirved off the road! John!!! What's going on???

I suspect he's preparing to say something like, "I want to live in Toyko," but he never goes there. He just WANTS to LIVE.

So, now on my list of things that I really want to have on a language tape is a whole series of misadventures, because really, when you're in another country, especially one where you don't speak the language, things NEVER GO SMOOTHLY. The time when you're really desperate to know how to speak the local tongue is usually when your bag is missing or the hotel has lost your registration. So, I'd like to record a sort of "flip-side" to the John Learner tape in which poor John arrives in Tokyo and the first thing he hears from the airport officials is, "Could you step out of line, sir?"

And things go badly from there.

I was thinking it would even be fun to have a scene where the taxi driver dumps poor John in the crappy neighborhood and demands extra money before taking John to hotel. John, having wasted his money bribing officials to let him in the country, decides to tell the taxi drive to stuff it... this is where the tape will introduce the listener to all sorts of rude Japanese while John tries to get back to the hotel in one piece.

"Don't shoot! I want to LIVE!!"

You'd listen to a tape like that, wouldn't you?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Mason and I have signed up for the Kuk SoOlympics, our dojon's in-school competition, and I find myself in desperate need of a man. As part of competing in sparring, Mason needs a peice of sports equipment that is solely in the realm of man-things... something I have heard of, joked about, but never in my entire life (even as a straight girl in high school) have I ever seen or had ocassion to even observe in a store.

He needs a *cup.*

Luckily, I have a man on speed dial. I'm going to see if I can enlist his help on our shopping trip. This is one of the few times when neither Shawn nor I have even an iota of expertise. We're at a complete loss. :-)


Feb. 13th, 2012 09:26 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My gerbil XOXO seems to have had a stroke. We had a gerbil in the past that suffered from epilepsy, so I suspect his sort of thing can happen as well. On the flip side, after I took her out of the cage and helped her eat, she's been foraging around on her own with a lot of lurching enthusiasm.

Mason is quite distraught, as she seemed pretty listless earlier. I actually have a bit of hope seeing her working really hard right now, flinging seeds around and finding a corner to prop herself up in. But, then, I'm always the hopeful one....

In other news, Mason and I decided to spend the first day of his winter intersession by completely wasting our minds on a Bleach marathon. We have now completed the Bount arc, and will have to order DVDs of the next series. We spent the entire day in front of the computer, and we fortified ourselves with raspberries, Japanese candies that I'd bought for the event at an import store, Doritos and cheese, and Izzy's pop. It was AWESOME. My brain felt pretty rotten by the end, but it was actually a lot of fun.

Mason and I went to kuk sool this evening, which was fun, even though I was the only adult. I think we burned off a bit of the Doritos and other junk. Then, I managed to miss a podcast call that was supposed to happen at 7:00 EST and I mistook that for 8:00 CST, instead of 6:00... but I wasn't the only author involved, so even though I feel dumber than a post, I didn't really inconvenience anyone but myself.


Hope your Monday was as fun.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today is Thursday, my busy day. I started it off with a trip to the library to return some stuff (my drawing Manga and some of Mason's Bionicle books). Now, I'm in the relatively lull period before I have to head back to Mason's school for volunteering, first in the classroom and then at chess club. After chess club, will be kuk sool wan. We're going to try to make it tonight because it's sparring, which Mason loves (and has special gear for). Then, I'm off to Wyrdsmiths.

Normally, I also try to clean the fish tanks and any other number of household things done as well (hey, at least I already got the recycling out)... but probably I'll end up reading my Wyrdsmith homework and not doing much else. Though I do need to have dinner pre-made or there will be no hope of anyone eating tonight.

Last night I had my second hula hooping class. It was a lot of fun. I was smart this time and brought my own music because... well, I'm old, and I don't appreciate that NOISE that passes as music these days. Having my own beat to hoop to helped quite a bit, though I'm still not getting the "hip thing" as everyone calls it. I was told by the instructor, though, that sometimes that's the last thing that clicks, particularly for adult students. I did, weirdly, totally rock the trick steps. (Again, I think I blame my martial arts training for this.) My shoulders have been sore since Tuesday's KSW, because we played a "game" that actually involved a whole LOT of push-ups -- and one of my goals this year in KSW is to actually do REAL push-ups (not "girly" ones from the knee, and also ones where your chest actually nearly touches the ground.) I suspect my entire torso is going to be sore, sore, sore by seven o'clock tonight.

So imagine me running around the Cities today with achy muscles.

Hula Fail

Feb. 2nd, 2012 08:53 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Hula hooping looks much easier than it is. I had my first class last night, and I have to say this: hula hoop = fail; KSW = for the win. The reason my martial arts won over the hooping is that I could not get through the class without "yes, ma'am"ing my instructor more than once. Also, at one point when I was concentrating on trying to get the back-and-forth (not round and round!) rhythm down, I found that I had my hands up in front of my face, as if blocking for sparring.

I must have looked quite the sight.

What was funny too, is that when she suggested that the proper stance for hula hooping was with one foot forward I had a hard time not just going into "ready position" for the KSW forms.

So sads.

Luckily, about two-thirds of the way through the class, I realized that hooping was less of a "sport" and more of a dance. I almost got it going several times. I did, at least, rule the two hand twirls she taught us, because the motion needed to keep the hoop spinning was exactly like twirling nunchucks (which we call jool bong.)

I was certainly the only lesbian in class (though there was another woman "of a certain age" with comfortable shoes, but whom I suspect of being the kind of butch certain grandmas decide to be when they're done doing all that stuff straight women do.) There was one guy. Frank? Who was, sadly for him, not gay. He had all the grace and poise of a dorky white boy. Thus, I felt a certain affinity with him instantly. It helped that we were both so uncoordinated that we flung our hoops at one another from time to time.

The rest of my classmates were divided among the teen to twenty-somethings girls who could already hula hoop like pros, and the super-skinny-stay-at-home-mom types who came dressed for a fashion show.

Another reason KSW wins. I never feel like quite such an oddball there.

Still, there's only a half dozen classes or so. My goal is to actually figure out how to keep the stupid hoop going around my waist before class is over. I purchased a hoop from the instructor which I'll get next time and so I can continue to hoop as an "at home" excercise. I will say, given the state of my stomach muscles already, I suspect hooping is very good for "the core," as people say. (I say "already" because my experience with KSW is that I don't usually wake up with muscle soreness the morning after a hard workout, but that it comes on closer to twenty-four hours later. If that's still coming from hooping, I'm going to need to take Advil BEFORE class next time.)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
The windchill is some kind of Arctic tempurature, like, -22 F. Which, means, of course, it's devestatingly sunny out. Just looking out the window (if I don't notice the massive amount of frost build-up), I'd think, "Wow, nice day for a long walk!"

Today is Thursday, which means I will be super busy. To that end, I have started beef stew in the crockpot and am defrosting the kneffla (German from Russia homemade noodles) to add closer to dinner time. If we actually accomplish everything we INTEND to do, it will go something like this:

Changing the fish tanks,
At 1:45 pm volunteer in Mr. G.'s classroom and stuff Thursday folders,
Stay and volunteer for chess club (which really doesn't need me, so I may beg off on this part),
pick up Shawn at 4:30/5:00 pm,
Eat pre-made dinner,
Go to kuk sool wan at 6:00 (which I'm beginning to doubt we'll make. I'd forgotten how late chess club can go, and eating after 7:00 pm is very European, I think both Mason and I would faint before achieving that,)
and somehow do all the other things that normally need doing.

Yeah, that last one is probably off too. :-)

I suspect this means that I will have to DRAG Mason to KSW on Saturday. This will make neither of us happy until we actually get there and experience class.

Otherwise, I don't expect to get much done. As I mentioned in the earlier post, I'm currently working on a short piece for the Gaylaxicon chapbook. I'm also, having just finished revisions, starting to percolate/brainstorm ideas for other series, novels, etc., for my agent which will need to become proposals over the next several weeks.

That's about all the news I can think of at the moment.

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