a good day.

I passed my 6th kyu aikido test! Go me. It's nerve-wracking, demonstrating the techniques in front of everyone. But I did pretty well, because I do know the stuff. We did a bit of jiyu waza/freestyle (it was three people, so it might have been randori, I'm not sure), and afterward when we were getting changed, Declan commented how serious I get when I'm doing that. I should learn to relax and laugh more. But it was fun, overall.

Of course, in the freestyle practice during warmup I busted my knee enough that it swelled a bit. God forbid I should go a week without a subtantial injury. Bloody hell. I think I want to rest until Tuesday, get some sleep and let the various parts of my body heal themselves properly. So frustrating.

And I found some work, of all things! (It's a day of exclamation points. That should say something. I rarely use exclamation points. I'm rarely that excited.) My friend Mike sent me a lead from a recruiter, since he's already working; for some reason that woman traded or gave me to a guy in San Mateo (the recruiter network is kinda funky that way), and he put me up for this three-day commando job. It's a relatively small feature add that none of their staff has time to get ready before a conference next week; not that I knew how to do it with they asked, but they didn't ask if I knew how, they asked if it could be done and if I could do it (which are the right questions, in my opinion, because I can learn stuff). It's also a probation of sorts: apparently the reason my resume jumped out at them is that I just spent four months dealing heavily with XML protocols, and they're going to be rebuilding their software to use XML instead of the somewhat perplexing methods they use now (essentially the different parts of their software communicate by sending email messages back and forth, which is a valid choice, but it's cumbersome and inelegant, and can be fraught with difficulty as the world of email is replete with both standards and popular software that violates the standards). So if I do good on this one, I would say there is a substantial chance they will want me to do other stuff, especially since my value to them increases the more familiar I become with their systems. And they're in Hayward: for the first time in my life I don't have to go east-west by crossing a bridge or taking 237. They're in an inconvenient corner of Hayward, so the 20-mile commute was about an hour when I left at 4:15pm, but that's still at least a half hour shorter than leaving at the same time from either San Mateo or Sunnyvale.

I'm also getting paid an hourly rate that makes me snicker repeatedly. Who knows how much I'll have left after next year's imminent governmental mugging, but for the moment it makes me smile and extends my unemployment insurance. They don't seem to care about the cost so much as getting this thing done and ready by Monday. I seem to have impressed them somehow (according to the CEO), even though they didn't ask any technical questions. I guess I got points for wearing my blue jeans with no holes, and being really focused and businesslike? I asked lots of questions to gather information, so I could establish the scope of the problem and figure out if I could do a good solution quickly, then I told them what was up. Although I know it's the case, I'm a bit boggled that there are people who don't do this. But hey. I'm happy to be effortlessly impressive if that's how it turns out.

So today got busy in a big hurry, since I met with the recruiter at 0815 (he's really, really nice) before the clients at 0900, then I drove home and got lunch and my laptop and went back and worked, then braved traffic to get to aikido, had my test, then we all went for Chinese food...obviously I'm not any more rested than I was yesterday. Unfortunately going to bed early means I'll just wake up early, not being more rested. And I just had a truly excellent conversation with someone special, so all told this is the best day I've had in a while, certainly since my job with UCSB ended. Outfuckingstanding.

I was telling someone this week about what's been happening with my life, and she looked at me with some surprise and said, "You're showing yourself to people." Which I am, and while it's vaguely disconcerting, it's a nice feeling. I'm not so concerned now about being seen as I want to be seen: if I find myself wanting to speak to improve someone's opinion of me, I keep my mouth shut and remind myself that I said or did whatever I did, and I need to let it stand and not try to make it look better, and everything will play out fine in the end. People want to know who I am, and that should include the times when I am arrogant, overblown, pretentious, or generally shooting my mouth off. If I want to be seen differently, the way to do it is to change my behavior so I don't do those things so much, not to try and make that behavior look better.

Speak truth, from the heart. Really. Start with the idea of "consequences be damned" and then work backwards to see if there really are any consequences worth compromising for.

One of many things I'm discovering about aikido is that I enjoy teaching it. I'm not usually a huge fan of explaining things, because I'm not very good at it, but maybe I like it in aikido because maybe 60% of teachiing a technique involves using it on the learner, so if they're having trouble doing it to me, I can tell them what to pay attention to as I throw them. I try not to be overbearing about it, and stay focused on what we're doing--there's one senior student who's really nice, but he tends to be displeased with some aspect of your technique and spends the time having you go over whatever you're doing imperfectly. Aikido, as least as our dojo does things, is still hierarchical enough that you don't argue with your seniors in the dojo, so training with this guy is often an exercise in learning what you can from the experience, because it's usually difficult to learn whatever Sensei is trying to teach.

And while I think the primary joy comes from being able to help other people "get it"...yes, it's an ego boost to have other people ask for help. *grin*

I'm going to take the remainder of my really wonderful day and meander off now.