Happy Labor Day. I hope you didn't have to work.
Fairly busy weekend, I guess. Saturday turned out to be the California Aikido Association Friendship Training, which turned out to be a full-day seminar and not just "everybody show up for class from out of town"; Sunday was the CAA semi-annual meeting. It was nice to see everybody from out of town, from Sebastopol and Monterey and Humboldt and Portland (the CAA is a fairly loose organization, promoting no specific style or teaching lineage of aikido, and people tend to belong to it just because they want to or they come from a CAA background; the dojos range all the way to New Zealand and around Europe, and probably elsewhere as well), people I see at other seminars and camps. It's like a family reunion every time...much like my nieces, I'm not sure everyone remembers me, but if we get along just as well each time we meet again for the first time, that's cool, too.
Saturday night I ended up going to a comedy show at the Little Fox Theatre; not usually my thing, but Karl had heard good things about the headliner, and I felt a need to leave the house. The first two comics were sort of middling, very cookie-cutter: it struck me how formulaic most stand-up is, in the rhythm, the attempts to get the audience involved, the banality of their observations. I tried with little success to figure out what was different about comics who stand out more, like Chris McGuire, the headliner, or comics at the level of George Carlin or Robin Williams.
I got up very early this morning to go horseback riding in Half Moon Bay with the loved one, which was tons of fun, since I'd never ridden a horse before. If the horse is okay the basics aren't really that hard; a lot of it seems to be how you interact with the horse. For that I trace my lesson back to a girlfriend who did dressage: at the stable one day, a horse with attitude started eating her shirt, and she gave it a substantial "WHACK!" on the side of the head. Intimidated by these giant animals that, it seems, could kill me pretty easily, I asked if that was prudent and maybe not a little cruel. She responded by inviting me to look and feel exactly how massive the thing was, think about how hard one would have to hit to really hurt a skull that thick, and consider that horses are bred through countless generations to obey humans. I also, after a year of aikido, feel much better about the possibility of being thrown from a horse than I did before, and my ability to pay attention and take such a fall without serious damage--hey, even a falsely-founded confidence is still confidence. Beautiful time, overall, tremendously foggy, nice and cool, cooperative horses, good company. And a nice breakfast afterwards.
Today's phrase is, "Shut up and enjoy it."