thunder thunder lightning ahead.

(excellent song.)


It looks like maybe someone has used Google to alter the meaning of a powerful political phrase.

People sometimes wonder why I'm so hard on the non-coastal states...

...of course, then Oregon wants in on the stupidity.

Americans don't deserve America. Fucking morons. Best quote so far this year (not least because I said it over a year ago): "The terrorists have won. They have successfully convinced America to attack itself."

And lastly, the humor section. Excellent; outstanding; and (a followup) HAH.

After doing pretty well and getting to bed by midnight--I never have any trouble falling asleep, it's just staying that way I can't seem to manage--I woke up at about 2:14am, suffering from a great deal of anxiety about the airplanes flying low over my house.


Well, as it turned out there were at least one or two airplanes, but most of what I was hearing was thunder, which I didn't used to wake up to. It's a shame I wasn't in better shape to appreciate it. I love thunder, but I never seem to be around when it happens here, so when I woke up I just kept imagining there was some sort of crisis, like another terrorist attack, that caused Oakland Airport to reroute planes in such a way as to cause me a great deal of pain.

I'm contemplating a trip to New Orleans in the fall, maybe with some friends. I think it'd be even more fun now that I have money: eat at more nice restaurants (e.g. Antoine's), and see some stuff outside the French Quarter. I haven't gone back to look at my journal, but I really can't remember what Mona and I did there besides eat--I sort of remember wandering aimlessly and seeing cool buildings and stores and stuff, but as far as actually doing something, I don't know. It feels like we just wandered through the Quarter, moving in the living pulse of the place, and stopping to eat things when we got the urge. There always seemed to be random things to poke at and read and admire and absorb.

Kayla-sensei has been sick, so Cynthia taught class on Wednesday. Apparently she loves tanto (a sort of side knife from Japan--we use wooden versions at our level), so we spent the second half of class playing with knife attacks. There's something about knife work that's much more visceral and immediate than being unarmed and attacked by a sword or a jo (staff); it could be that a knife attack is much more likely in real life, but as it turns out, as you're receiving and responding to the attack, a knife seems to be much more difficult to control than a sword as you bring the attacker down and disarm him. One of the ideas with tanto is to train as though it's a real knife, which not only makes the technique more martially applicable, but also encourages attentiveness and awareness of where you and your attacker are, and what you do with the knife once you have it (in training, place it somewhere inconvenient for the attacker and watch him while stepping away). Eventually, during one of your black belt tests, they'll break out some live blades to attack you with, at which point everyone will find out just how aware and attentive and specific you really are.

If that sounds unreasonably unsafe to you--well, maybe you shouldn't do martial arts, but understand by the time someone tested you with a live blade you'd have been training for years and years and should be perfectly capable of handling it safely. It's not something they'd do to someone at my level. They could, I guess. I'd probably even survive, but I'd be surprised if I could do it unharmed.

Aikido is a little weird for me in spots these days. It's hard to tell what's what because I'm unrested, but it sometimes feels like I'm not really progressing or developing. Except that I am, and I can feel that, and the problem seems to be more an ego thing regarding testing for 5th kyu, so aikido has become an exercise in being ego-less as much as I can manage, and just training for itself without a goal or concern for how other people see me (which is something I'm a bit confused about sometimes). I did realize today that if Sensei wanted to give me a ball-busting 5th kyu test, as she is wont to do, I might not do very well. So more time is probably good.

These times happen, though, in any learning process. But it's the practice that's really the important thing, not what you get out of it--just to go and do it, regardless of what I feel I'm accomplishing or gaining.