Adventures of Darth Daddy

Monday, November 29, 2004

New stuff

Well, let's see.....

TRUCK NEWS: Got the grill, and bumper, and the lights all installed. Looks good. Only thing is...when I bent the frame back into place, (about 2 inches), i didn't realize that even though it was "evenly pulled out), the whole damn thing was still 3 inches impacted. This means that the grill and the frame won't meet up nicely. So much for my "only take cosmetics to fix it" idea. It looks good, but if you open the hood, you'll be able to see that it's been "modified". Only a problem if I try to sell it.

Darth Logan: Still exhibiting some terrible 2 periods. He'll be fine, then just SNAP. And by snap, I mean turn into a non-listening, evil, and sinister little shit. The kind of kid you see in the grocery store and think "I'd beat that kids ass if he were mine". We really are trying to strike a balance between "calmly setting limits and guidelines for him" and "aint takin no more shit from this little menace". He's only testing his boundries....but often test our patience as well. Overall, we still our lovable little karate kid! He'll come in the room, and give me a big hug and a kiss. Then want me to follow him to the other room , and show me some toy that he wants me to play with. I love this "daddy" job!

Darth Lance: This little munchkin has suddenly developed a personality! He now will smile, anmd giggle...and, when I drop something and swear outloud (Im trying not to..really), he'll even start laughing. Now that he's started to put on weight (he's around 9lbs 2 oz now), his little cheeks are starting to get chubby! I'll post a photo or 2 if I get the chance.

Karate et.all. : Sucks missing practice cause of a holiday. I will probably pass on this coming Thursdays practice too....we're having a birthday party for Darth Logan at a Pizza Hutt (same as last year). Last year, I dressed up as a Teletubbie, and made a "guest appearance". This year, I was thinking either Scooby Doo or Spiderman. Too bad I didn't order that Schrek costume. He'd go nuts!! Due to the dojo owners trying to sell me my $15 test for $50.....I think Im going to seriously re-evaluate ANY testing that Im going to do while training there. Only 3 TKD belts to go before I test for black, but the tests increase in price as we go along. Im really starting to wonder just how much this black belt will mean to me, considering I don't really like the style, or the owners. Paying too much for a test makes me get a "Damn right I passed....I payed for it.....give me my friggin belt" type attitude. And that's not how I want to think of testing. I want to feel happy that I leanred something new..and am now proficient in it. Ive decided to at least skip the December TKD testing. Thi swill give me more time to decide if I want to test at all inTKD. Ive already decided not to test in Kung Fu. I know I can pass..the Sifu knows I can pass.....that's good enough for me. It's not like there is some nationaly recognized Kung Fu Union that will back up my rank....or give me a nice certificate to display that shows that I am "legit". I just wonder how long the Jujitsu testing will go unnoticed. As soon as they decide to get their grubby little fingers into THAT as well, I will stop advancing in rank in jujitsu as well. Money grubbin people piss me off. Ain't no Zen to help with that.

Well, I've typed enough. I broke my "split keyboard" the other day, and am having a hell of a time typing on a standard one. My hand are big....and I keep having to backspace to correct spelling mistakes. I was hoping not to have to spring the $20 for a new keyboard (another one that is split)....but as my fingers are cramping, it looks like i may just have to!

Off to the kitchen....then to B E D .

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Day 2004

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Money grubbin SOB's

Well, McKarate has struck an unexpected blow today. The other night, the kung fu sifu was talking about testing fees. He said, if left to him, he's charge $15 ($10 for the sash, $3 for printer ink and paper to print us up a certificate, and $2 for a frame to put it in). THis, of course, was unexceptable to the money grubbin pricks that own the place. The owners of American Gold Martial Arts , in their neverending quest to make a profit, decided that student must have a kung fu uniform to test, AND pay a testing fe of $50. THe uniform is no problem (this is their way to sell uniforms to all the kids that go their for karate daycare.). But $50 to test. This $50 fee is exactly why I haven't bothred pursuing any TKD rank yet. I have 2 babies that can make better use of $50 , than just lining the pockets of stuffy female owner, and her stuck up asshole "You're not good enough to join MY kendo class" husband. If you can't tell, this really burns my ass. Knowing that the sifu would only charge a modest amount, and they want to rake in the money ...ewww im pissed. ANd what gets me the most is....well, a few things that get that they are making money hand over fist in a disguised daycare center. They run a covert daycare center, disguised as an all day tae kwon do program. This means that they are avoind being licensed. A day care has to have a certain amount of staff members for how many kids they take care of. They are circumnavigating this by calling it a day program. No inspections, no lisences, nuffin. And on top of that, they have the balls to have the dojo run as a non-profit organization. Im sure this helps avoid taxes. These people better hope they don't piss off the wrong person. One call to city hal, and they aren't just out of business....they are off to jail. calm down a bit.....I purchased a street styles sign, that says "Warning: Snake Crossing". It has about 5 different snakes on it, in color. My plan was to get all the students (adult students) who are taking Kung FU (and testing for their white sash) to sign it. At the end of the test, I was going to present it to him, and say something like "On behalf of all of us, who are privelidged at being the first students that you have ever tested for rank, we are honored by your patience, and would like to present this to you". Now, maybe I'll have to just change it to a Christmas present. Or, if I calm down enough by the testing day, maybe I'll show up , and present it a nice jesture. He already knows that Im not going to test, and why. He seems to understand my position. But it really bites. He conducted a mock test tonight, as used my performance as a benchmark to the other student to follow. It's not that I wanted the sash that badly....just bites that now, when we line up in class, Im no longer going to hold the second spot....but I get booted down to the end with the new people (if we get any). This may not be the case, but it might be. Hard to say how sifu will react once people have sashes. Will he allow experience to take precedent? Or will color coordination , for the sake of the owners watching, mean that we all line up according to color? (As it should be, if not for my $50 testing fee complaint). Ok..Im fired up again. Let's move on to other topics..

I bought a laptop, (Ebay: $210), as a back up of vital busniess related programs. 3 singing telegram programs, and one credit card processing program. Also, the web site publishing program for my compaies website ( . Problem was, it came with Windows NT installed. This confilcted with a few of my programs, so I also installed XP on it. It ran fine for a while, then went to hell in a handbasket. So last night, I reformatted the drive, and installed XP from scratch. Then, had to install all the "gotta haves", like System Suit 5, Search & Destroy Spybot, Winamp, Winzip, etc. Before I knew it, it was 4am!

TRUCK NEWS: I have (on the way) 2 new headlights, a front grill, and a bumper. Only need a passenger side turn signal light housing, and the truck will be street legal. I'll need a new hood, but this can wait till I get some money. (Still gotta pay McKarate tuition, student loan, phone bill, dr visit bill, and a few other things).

I have a 10am Grim reaper telegram to deliver tomorrow, so Im going to end this for now.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

"I got your WAAA, right here." Posted by Hello

Darth Daddy, Darth Logan (middle), and Darth Lance (right).  Posted by Hello

3am eternal

Here it is...almost 3am, my fever just broke (not a bad one, I'll admit)..but now Im wide awake. Thank God for the internet! When I was a kid, the best I'd have hoped for at this hour was a good comic book. Now we have cable tv stations, internet..all the ingredients for accessing info, even at this late hour.

Lance is doing ok - still gets congested when he lays flat though. Last night, Logan woke up very upset - a nightmare perhaps? Wanted to be held, and took about 30 minutes to finally stop whining, and settle down. He wanted a drink, then cried when I gave it to him. Poor thing just didnt know 'what' he wanted. Tonight, so far, not a peep out of him. It'll be nice when he is a bit older, and can tell us better "what is wrong". At 'almost 2 yrs old', they can't just come out and say " I got a nagging headache" or" wow..what a dream I just had".

I just uploaded 2 pic to the shows Logan putting a paci in Lance mouth. Lance started to cry, Logan dropped what he was doing, picked up the bottle and the paci, and ran into "take care of things". He's a bit forceful, but tried to be so gentle to Lance. I looked over , and he popped that paci right in. Such a sweet big brother. Now if I can keep this warmth going, I may not have to deal with the "He stole my prom date" fight when they are 16! to the kitchen for a snack, and either cruise the web for info, or pop in a movie.

ps. Found a nice hanbo (small, stick like fighting weapon) on Ebay from same people as I just bought a few other weapons from. I think I will wait till the other stuff arives, just to make sure the seller is reliable. BUt the price is only $12, plus $6 for shipping. Local prices are around $25.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Such a good big brother. Here's Darth Logan helping Darth Lance, by pushing the buttons for him to make the pretty lights and music play. Warms my heart. Posted by Hello

Beaten down

Man, I feel so drained. The pressure in my head has lessoned a bit from yesterday, but now congestion as come to visit, and my chest is starting to feel like someone is squeezing it. I went to jujitsu and Kung FU practice last night, but stayed home tonight. Yesterday was kinda bla. And Im not sure if it was because of my cold, or if it would have sucked regardless of my health. There is a married couple in my JJ class. They are very nice, in the mid to late 20's or so. Sensei mentioned that she would like us to get some sparring equipment in the near future. I have tons of extra stuff from my YMCA encounter. (Background--I took a few months of TKD at the local YMCA. There were several students (adult and children) who were too poor to buy their own sparring gear, so I started collecting inexpensive gear from Ebay. I now only need 1 set for myself, and a small set for Logan to wear when he plays karate. I offered to bring in the gear, and give it to them at now cost. Admitedly, I put this off for 2 weeks, but there was no deadline on when we needed it. Yesterday, I brought in a few pieces, showed it and gave it to them...then found a very polite note (and the gear) at my bag after class, saying they appreciated it, but they wer talkign with the owners about buying some new gear. NEW gear?! Instanly, the word YUPPIE came to mind. The gear I have is not trash.....most is barely worn. Some peices are even brand new (foot covering and hand gear). I knwo that sparring gear can run into some money, expecially if you buy it from someone else, instead of hunting for the best deal. And it really burns my ass to know that they are more willing to pay twice as much for it (as they would if they shopped around) buy purchasing it thru this McDojo. They are very profit driven (the dojo owners). I try to help fellow students out, and all I get is a "Thanks..but no thanks".'s their money. Let em squander it if they like. Oh oh oh...also, they only have 1 lightweight TKD uniform to wear. They want to get a heavier weight karate gi, and will probably end up spending 2 to 3 times more than necessary...if they listen to me and shop around. They love mine....a 14-16oz weighted one (brushed cotton...very nice). Got mine off Ebay (brand new) for about $45. It's almost identicle to the expensive version that sells for around $150. I'v always stressed to them, that if they want to buy something thru me, I woudl add no mark up at all. They would only pay what the item costs. Oh well..

Added to this feeling of uselessness, the kung fu sifu has finally started to organize his thoughts, and created some neat training patterns. Similar to karate katas. Some are just for a specific animal, some demonstrate the various ways to strike with the hands, and also uses various stances. Bad thing is, he's still in " trying to work it out " mode, so watching him do it , and talk thru it, is like asking a 5 yr old his detailed plans for when he grows up. Both are excited, and envisioning, and will tell you a books worth of, "if I do this.." or "maybe I will do this". Maybe it was just my cold making me groggy. I couldn't help but think.."Look it out, then show me". Normally, I would have been right there with him, trying it out as we went. But I sat there on the mat, watching the clock instead. Hope I didn't miss an oportunity for enlightenment. It's hard sometimes, seeing that he is in the infancy stages of creating the structured "how to teach what I have learned"...not being able to help him out. I don't knwo what he it's hard to me to offer help. And when I do offer a suggestion on how to better get a lesson across to students, there have been times when MY way includes something that he doesn't want them to learn quite yet.
EXAMPLE: Karate and TKD teaches us (genreally) to strike with only 1 hand at a time. We were learning a double punch. Both hand move at the same time. Left hand extends to a backfist strike (high) , the right hand extends to a punch. A 10 yr old couldnt quite get the idea of moving both hands at the same time, so I asked permission(very important), got a stick, and had him hol dit. He held it on his right side (up and down.)...his left hand grabbed it high (thumb up)...his right hand grabbed it low (thumb also up). Now, when the stick it pushed away, and to the left, the hand execute (if no stick were held)a left backfist and a right punch. It worked great. The kid was able to do it without the stick in a few minutes. BUT, afterward, I got the feeling that I had done something if I had taken the empty hand lesson of the sifu, and turned it into a weapons lesson . I got this feeling from the sifu, who started giving off a weird vibe after he saw I was successful. He has often said that once we learn how to move our bodies, we will be able to learn weapons so much easier....because the movements are the same...only with a weapon involved. I wonder if he feel I "jumped the gun" by using a hando. Oh more teaching for me. I'll let him figure it out, and enlighten myself on the way.

HOME STUFF: We got a new stove(oven) today. The inlaws bought it as a christmas present to the wife. It's really nice. 4 burners (2 each side) and one in the center. It can be a standard flame burner, or cam be used with a cover as a griddle for pancakes and such. (It's a gas range, by the way).

TRUCK STUFF: I spent and hour yesterday with the new truck. I took off the bumper and most all the front"stuff" that was broken. I used a Gorilla bar to pry back the crushed sections. A pair of vise grips and a monkey wrench helped bend things back into place. The fender is salvagable, but the hood won't line up. It'll need to be replaced. Then I hit far I got a very nice looking grill for $90, and a set of headlights for $85.There is a bumper for auction that ends in a day or (if no one else bids) will be $45 shipped. That leaves only the turn signal markers to get. They have tons for around $30 (for the pair). I found the drivers side one to be in perfect Im gonn ahold out for a cheper auction that has only the passenger one. Worst case, I'll spend $30 and get a sportier looking pair of them.

Well....that covers martials arts, the junk in the driveway, my crappy day at the dojo, and this annoying pressure Im feeling in my chest. Time to eat and fall asleep to a movie.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Preaching karate from my soapbox

Im trying to piece two different topics together...hopefully, it'll make sense when Im done.

Bruce Lee was noted, as a martial artist, for developing, or promoting a fighting style that was "no particular style". (I admit to very little research on this, so if Im wrong in my statements, feel free to comment on them). In essence, Bruce felt that each style thought that it was the ultimate and best fighting style. This arrogance made each styles practitioners blind to the weaknesses of thier art. Bruce proposed that the best "style" to fight with was "no style" at all. To take a literal interpretation.... this is a really dumb psoposition. How can you expect a person to effectively combat anyone, if they have no training at all? I wonder if Bruce meant to learn various styles, learn their strength, their weaknesses, and fight with ALL of them? This makes more sense. FOr example, I train in Tea Kwon Do. If I was to spar another TKD person, I feel that I am proficient. But I also know 'how' they will attack. What would happen if , when they came in with their round house kicks, I switched to leopard style kung fu, and bruised their leg from their ankle to thier knee? Or if they were to punch, and I twist them in a pretzel using jujitsu? They would not be prepared for it. But before I enacted MY technique, you could say that I " had no style". When I face my opponent, I do not face them as a karateka, or a TKD practicioner, or a jujitsu a student. Untill they attack, I am simple present at the show. How I react....which style I use to respond, depends on how they attack (physically as well as the level that they are commited to hurting me). It also depends on how badly I want to inflict "knowledge" on them. I wonder if Bruce had said " the best style is many styles"...if we'd have people boasting that they had the RIGHT combination of arts. relate that to religion. I believe in God. I can appreciate the randomness that the universe has to offer, but can't escape the feeling that there is more to "it" than what we see. It is arrogant to think that a greater power than ourselves doesn't not exist. In the " what religion do I raise my son in" dilemma, the thought occured to me that religions are just like martial arts. Each has it's own "style", it's own rules, it's own traditions. Some are similar....others are very different. Each, however, tends to think that it is the RIGHT way...the ONLY way. A judo student may think "if you train in kung fu, you're going to lose the fight". Likewise, a baptist may think if you're a mormon, better not expect to enter heaven. It's arrogant. And really turns a lot of people away from choosing a religion. Prehaps the best thing for me to do is to use Bruce's approach. The best religion guessed...NO religion. Not to be a heathen, mind you. But rather to not accept any 1 religion as "omnipotent". each religion has some nice thing to offer......the Buddhists respect to life, the Hari Krishnas respect of whatever religion you want to follow, the Jehovas Witnesses insight into bringing multi-racial people together.....each has something "good " about it. On the other hand, each have some pretty funky shit they tack on. Like a really good intentioned Senate Bill, with a shitload of "pork" added to it, causing it to fail.

I think that I will approach my son's religiosity the same way I plan to approach his martial arts training. There is no ONE way of doing something. But you should be aware of how others are doing it. Effectiveness is not in the technique, but in the application. You don't ask the Kung FU Tiger to keep your car running...likewise, you don't make a prayer that you pick the right lottery numbers. The universe has better thing to worry about than you. Salvation is not a mystical afterlife event....but salvation comes in reflecting on what you did , at the end of a day, and knowing that you lived a good life, in that one day.....each day. Religions tell of a judgment that will come "someday". Most people could use some judging a lot earlier than "someday".

Now, to explain this someday soon to the inlaws and my THAT may require a small prayer to the infintitely busy cosmos!! I may not have all the answers..but I can definietly spot the wrong questions when I hear them.

ADDITIONAL INFO: The insurance people wouldn't budge from $770 for the wrecked truck. We accepted it. Not to fix it. The additional money will go directly to pay for the 1999 Caravan that the wife picked out. Im just hoping that my analysis of the repair is correct. Most of the repair cost was labor....and buying new parts, to return it to "new " condition. I should be able to buy after market parts, make it look much nicer then "new", and at a fraction of the cost. New left headlight and new turn signal lenses. Later, a new grill, new hood, new passenger fender. At first , it just has to be street legal...THEN I can worry about making it pretty.

Lance is much better......but today, I can't stop my nose from running.....and Im sneezing up a storm. It's more like allergies than a cold. My nose is raw from blowing it. But better me than this kids.

Logan is still going thru the terrrible 2's, but today was a very very good day for him. I took him shopping with me, and we had a blast. Only a few times of outburst from him, then he settled down.'s 2:45am now. Think I'll go pop in my new Chronicles of Riddick dvd, and drift of to sleep. (that is, until Darth Lance needs to feed!!)

Night all....

Monday, November 15, 2004


Not much to post today. I renewed with Suncom (cell phones) for anothe ryear. They suck, but I dropped us down to the $5 a month plan (with 12 cents per minute usage). This way, we'll still each have a phone for emergencies (rather than stopping at a payphone). Since I will have both babies with me once she goes back to work, I'd fel more 'safe' if I had emergency services on call at an arms reach (if needed).

Tracking some auctions on Ebay for truck parts to fix the wreck. Found a really neat looking grill for $100....then found a stock one for $60 (both prices include shipping). Now Im torn. I don't have much money to start with, but Im getting the truck for basicaly free. Do I go with the cheaper stock grill? Or splurge, and get the aftermarket sportier one? I have to tomorrow to decide on that one. I think I will slip away to the junk yard tomorrow, and scan the yard for pieces parts. If I can't find anything, I'll go from there (make a better decision on what to buy off of Ebay). In the long run, I'd even like to get that big ass metal grill protector, that you can mount spot lights on. Maybe turn my wife's ex-sissy truck into Jungle Shannon's Action Adventure Outback/Swamp Vehicle. Sounds more manly that way (HEHE).

Lance is getting over the cold - we occasionaly have to suction the snot out of his little nose. Logna is almost 100% back to normal. He is going thru the independant reellion of the terrible 2's. At this rate..the poor child may not make it to see 3. It's the simple things that he throws the biggest fit over. Like morning diaper changes. Or, another example...we'll say that he wants to go for a road trip, then refuses to put on "going out" clothes. Finally, when the fight is over, and we get him dressed, he's happy to go on a trip (like to eat). Happy, that is, until the house door is open...THEN he wants to run around in the yard. Try to put him in the car seat, and you might as well prepare yourself for a 15 minute lesson in the finer points of jujitsu. (which I am more than prepared for...but this doesn't amuse me or the child). He started to get violent when he throws his tantrums. Swinging and kicking...he's a hazzard to pick up. We've decided, for now, to discontinue his access to the Karate Kid dvd, and to any Jackie Chan movie. I wanted to train him in martial arts...but not to have him turn it around and whoop my ass when he's only 2 (not even 2, really....not till Dec 2nd.)

I've started my Xmas shopping. Unfortunately, Ive only shopped for myself! Got a nice blue kung fu uniform , a 3 section ( screw it together) flexible staff, and a 3 section nunchuck styled staff (all from Ebay for really cheap). Mom asked what I wanted for Bday and Xmas.....and its easier fo rme to get things, and give them to her to wrap. (she just reimburses me whnever). This year, she will suprise me with Seasons 3 and 4 (boxed set dvd) of Farscape. I just have to remember to give them to her to wrap for me. Gotta figure out something nice to get the wife. Maybe I shoulda waited and not opened up that new shop vac. A big bow, and I coulda made her happy thinking it was hers! (just a joke).. However, my wife is a big tomboy. She actually DOES perfer to get tools instead of jewelry. We are quite a pair ----she's one in a million/ Im won in a raffle!!

Guess I had more to say than I thought. Let's see- some final notes......The inlaws have taught Logan how to make the sign of the cross, and fold his hands (they say grace before every meal). He looked so cute doing it. Gues they took for granted that he'll be raised Christian (no dirty looks now, Grant). Maybe I'll suprise them by teaching him a Buddist prayer chant or something. The issue of what religion (or religiosity and raising your kids) is approaching fast. Better give THAT ONE some thought soon as well.
-----Oh - another plan of mine - I hope to go back and print up a hard copy of each of my Blog entries soon, then have them bound at Officemax, into a small little book. The Chronicle of Me. I'm just worried that one day, this blog host will be gone, and all my entries with it. Need to make a printed copy soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The wrecked Blazer Posted by Hello

Cold, hearses, trucks and Ebay

COLD: Well, Darth Logan has regained his positive Force.....unfortunately, Darth Lance now is bogged down with the dark side. Poor little thing has a cold now. We have to prop his head up in his crib, or he becomes very congested. Most of the time he is OK, but when he starts to wheez...the heart sinks, and that "first time parent panic" smacks ya. It's 3am, the baby is couching and wheezing...and you wonder "How bad do I let it get before I rush to the hospital???". We did take him in to a Dr visit...they said it was a cold (they drew blood and said he had a virus). Hopefully, he'll be better soon.

HEARSE: Almost done with the interior structure "stuff". Only 2 more attachments to drill in, and it'll be ready to carry the kids in.

TRUCKS: The wife went ahead and bought a 1999 Dodge Caravan. It's red, with a dvd system in it for the kids (specially the big one that takes up the whole 3rd row....ME!!). I gotta admit, it's pretty nice. Roomy, in very good condition. But, after driving it a short distance, I realized that I was being overtaken by the "got something to prove"syndrome that I hate all other male minivan drivers for. After getting a grip (and getting off of the interstate), I handed the van back over to the wife. I must remember that all cars are not to be driven like my Firebird.

Speakign of the firebird, it looks as if I may have come to the passing of an age. The age of the sportscar. I still need to get rid of the 87 Firebird in the driveway...bad tranny. My 89 firebird is fast, but the damn t tops leak, and flood the rear area every frigin time it rains. Neither can comfortably fit both kids in it....or both kids and the wife if needed. So, it looks as if the wrecked Blazer will be mine now. The insurance company wants $750 for us to keep it. Gonna see if we can talk them down to a lower number. Personally, I've never really liked her truck..but it is nice (good overall condition). And it has the 4x4 button on the dash. The front of it looks so bad after the wreck, that they totaled it. When I finally got all up in it, and pryed the hood open, I found that it's not as bad as the estimated. A replacement hood and passenger fender can be dealt with later, as can the front bumper. It'll be ugly, but things can be hammered out so that they at least "fit" back into place. I was shocked to see that what was needed to "fix" the front (make it drivable), was plastic and glass parts. A quick cruise of Ebay showed me that at worst, I was looking at $350 to replace the entire lighting and grill front of the truck. Worst part will be the radiator, if it need replaced. Advanced wants $230 for a new one. so basically, for between $350-$580, I can fix the truck, and we end up with $5,000 to put towards her new minivan. Pretty sweet deal , if ya ask me. I end up with a family vehicle, the wife gets a new minivan for $2,000. Considering no one was injured (only inconveinenced), and the other driver had no insurance......this seems like a rainbow of fortune. A rainbow, unfortuately, that won't have a Firebird under it once the truck is road worthy. (it's either my firebird, or my hearses......and Im NOT giving up my hearses!!)

Well......I hear the kids coughing....gonn asneak in and check up on them. Catch ya'll later...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It's cold season

Well, November has finally arrived, and my son is the first victim in the house to fall prey to a nasty cold. The por thing has a faucet where his nose used to be. He has "up " times, and is happy, but then those dreaded "bla"s happen. Duringthis time, he whines and complains, and just can't seem to figure out just what he wants (Lord knows I'd give it to him just to quiet him down!!!). The wife took baby Lance (now a little over a month old), to shop for a new car/truck/minivan. She seems hooked on either a Dodge Caravan or a Chrylser Town and Country. I think it'd be totally ironic if she ended up with the Town and Country. The hearse that I've been modifying, fixing up, or pimping if you a 1977 Chrysler Town and Country. It's a very rare hearse. Interesting that it evolved into a minivan from a station wagon.

Let's see..what else......I fixed the windshield wipers on the hearse today. The last time I had used them( and they broke on me) was over 5 yrs ago. Hard to imagine that the car has just sat in the driveway for that long.

It's starting to get down to around 45 degrees(F). The dog has the garage to sleep in, but it's still gonna start gettign rather cold in there. Tomorrow I gotta decide on whether to make her a super dooper insulated dog house....or figure out a way of keeping her in the kitcken overnights. Kitchen is perfect to keep her....tile floor( I say tile cause I cant figure out how to spell linoleum right), back of the house. Only problem is the kitchen is where the cats food and potty are located. Ohh....perhaps I should describe thier potty. I had the standard sized kitty litter box. After one day, they'd fill it up(3 cats), and each morning (like clockwork) of those little fuzzy bastards would shit on the floor right outside the entrance to it. So.....I invented the CrapMaster 2000. I took a HUGE rubbermade storage container....cut an entry hol ein it, and VOILA..the Crapmaster 2000. It easily holds an entire box (40 lbs) of litter....and now I can go about 4 days without seeing poop on the floor. get back to the doggie story....moving the Crapmaster 2000 is a rather big task. Also, keeping puppy OUT of the CM2000 is an issue too. We'll see how this one works itself out.'s almost midnight now.....time to get somethign to eat and watch some tv. Need to wind down from a great night at Jujitsu and Kung Fu.

Playing catch with my son

Today was a blast (at least at times). The best of which included a $4 ball and mitt (with velcro attached) from Walmart. Logan put the mitt on, and aimed the open part of the glove at me. I counted to 3, then threw the ball into the mitt (at which point the velcro latches on, and he thinks he caught the ball". The first time the velcro stuck, he got the worlds biggest grin on his face. In his world, he had just done the imposible..he had actually caught a ball thrown by dad. He smiled, he danced, he called for mom to tell her about it. It was adorable.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Martial arts thoughts

The babies have been fine...but have kept me very busy. Been trying to squeeze in some work here and ther eto keep the bank account alive. Tonights thought rant will be about "traditionalism" and the martial arts. (I have been reading another blog about martial arts that prompted tonights topic. The author has mentioned having some physical discomfort at certain activities, but is pushing herself to do better, for the sake of "getting it right". I posted a comment on her site, and figured I post it, and a follow up here on my own site.

Traditionalism can take on many meanings. I declined several dojos, because they weren't "traditional" enough. No one bowed when entering/exiting the mat, attention was lax, no order was maintained...bla bla bla. Traditional, as I mean it tonight, it to say that you must lean something a ceratin way, perform it a certain way, because this is the way that it always has been done. No allowances to personalization, or modification.

A read the last 2 posts from the author, and had mixed feelings. Thinking it was that Im still in the "honey moon" phase of my kung fu training, I let some conflicting thoughts bounce around in my head a while. After reading what Galen had to say, I think that I really agree with that point of view. I'm all for the internal struggle to make your body do what you want it to....and not have it dictate what it wants to do. But there is wisdom in what it may be telling you. If you have a bad knee, then perhaps instead of making a bad situation worse (forcing the knee to work extra hard), it may be better to allow your body to compensate for it. If your horse stance isn't all that deep, and it is functional for you, I think it is better to be effective and comfortable. If you start practicing a deeper stance, and the time comes to use your art in real life, your body may feel more comfortable not going so dep. Rather , using a stance that allows the body to be an effective weapon, but compensate for any short coming you have. I myself have a bad right knee and really sore left shoulder, so I don't mean that anyone is less of a martial artists if they have less than perfectly functioning body parts.

In thinking back, I'll use a high rising block for an example. I remember always being corrected on exactly where it should stop. Not too forward, not too overhead, not to straight, and so forth. It was as if there was one magical way of doing it "right", and numerous ways of doing it wrong. In reality, these factors are a concern, but you also have to factor in the actual attack. If you're so worried (or programmed) to do a block the "one correct way", if may prove ineffective against a strike that is not "perfect".

One of the first things that the sifu told me was that "in kung fu, there are no right or wrong ways of doing something....there are only 'moves'. Where right and wrong come into play is whether or not the 'move' was efective, and did what you wanted it to do." This was ery liberating as a martial artist. Also, this was very enlightening. I saw that there was no "one perfect way" to execute any technique. This doesn't mean that practicing got easier. Quite the opposite. It also meant that because thre were multiple ways of doing it, all ways must be practiced. Instead of practicing the right way to throw one punch, I was now examining the effective way to throw 10 different punches (all with a closed fist).

Im sure there are those that would say that I'm throwing 'tradition" to the wind. Perhaps. I also train in traditional jujitsu (not brazilian or Gracie style). I am a martial artist that can appreciate keeping the purity of an art form for the sake of purity. Try to keep it as uncontaminated, and pass it along to others. On the other hand, I can't see packaging it as a cure all, when it only relives some symptoms. Meaning that I can see how some of the JJ techniques need to be learned because they are traditional, even when I don't consider them very effective. But I'd hate to learn them, and think that I "knew " it all. Cross-training is somethign that I can't recommened enough of. It allows you to see what others are learning, teaching you to "fill in the gaps" in another style, and put much more in your arsenal.

It's very interesting to be in kung fu class, learn something, and see how a karateka would be able to beat that move. I am seeing this a lot in jujitsu class, seing how kung fu would be able to defeat it. Jujitsu emphasizes joint locks, arm bars, and other ways ot using the anatomy of the aggresor against themselves. Several techniques rely on the opponent being rigid. If the opponenet goes soft (or soft, then hard, as in snake style KF), the technique is wasted. It sure is nice not being blinded by a dedication to one particular art. Don't misunderstnad me...Im dedicated to every art I study. I do my best to learn what it tries to teach, and make it work. As a student, there is a kind of responsibility not to learn things half hearted. I study Kung Fu with everythign I can give. I also apply that same amount of deidication when Im in Jujitsu class. (We all know that Teakwondo is a joke, so honestly, I just screw around with that art!!) In the end, when patience is gone, options are no longer avaliable, and the shit is about to hit the opponent will not face a jujitsu student, or a kung fu student, or a kenpo student...but a well rounded martial artist, with a masive bag of tricks, and an ablity to sense when to change styles, and when to use whatever technique. And that , my friends, can open one major can of whoopass when needed.

Well, I've ranted enough for tonight...... at least on that.

More stuff: I got the black hearse insured. As soon as I get some time in the next few days, I will remove all the "stuff" in the backseat/trunk area, and take it for a real drive. Not just around the hood, but TO somewhere. And se if it'll bring me back home when Im done. I bought another valve cover at a junk yard, but it was the wrong size. And after the oil change, I saw that I'm not going to lose a significant amount of oil or pressure out of the small leak on the existing valve cover. Im very excited. If it stays running, I go tSO much internal pimping to do. CD radio with mp3 ability, dvd player, 2 lcd screens for the back seats, 10 disk mp3 changer, a few amps, new's gonna rock! That is, IF it stays running.
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