3rd Wheel

Yeah, that pretty well sums me up. Not that I mind being in the company of friends - I very much enjoy it. I do not like being the odd one out when it comes to conversations...

You know, two people get to talking & then two other people get to talking & there I am, left fidgeting with nothing else to do. Really, I H-A-T-E the pity party stuff, but I really am tired of being "that guy".

Yeah, I even got to hear about how one of the other guys there had a "really hard time" meeting women. Oh, gee, I'd have no freaking idea what that's like (rolls eyes)!

Basically, unless there's some divine intervention on the way to get me out of this funk, rut, tradition of dateless nights, I'm really screwed.


Worth A Light

While perusing the "normal" blogs on my list - Harvey, you know that's just a figure of speech in your case! - I came across a link to this hilarious page simply called Indexed.

OK, I'll put it to you this way: If you don't like that site, e-mail me & I'll throw you on the communist list. It's just that good.

Indexed involves - appropriately enough - scanned index cards with various diagrams on them. Lots of humor to be found in an everyday item. It's done with such genius but you'll wonder how you never came up with the idea.

Check it out. You'll be happy you did.


Confidence Builder

My other little sister, Liz, wants me to do something different for Lent. I wouldn't have ever come up with this.

Instead of giving up something, she wants me to write down one positive thing everyday. The goal is to work on my confidence - which, unfortunately, is something in which I am VERY lacking.

I couldn't put my finger on where this exactly became my trademark problem. For a large part of my life, I am fairly confident in my ability to accomplish goals. However, there are a few notable facets of my existence in which I feel little more than inept:

1) Martial Arts - OK, this isn't the big one. Heck, I work hard at this & enjoy it so I wouldn't say I feel completely inept. Actually, I'm not bad at all. I'll never be of the ability I'd like, but it won't stop me from trying.

2) Socially - I've always felt a bit awkward in this area. I was pretty outgoing when I was young & became more introverted as I got older. It was around the time we moved from KY to SC, I think. I don't believe I got the best reception there & it just stuck with me. School can be rough that way.

3) Women - Yeah, this is the BIG one. Look, I know everyone has their sob story about the other gender & I can't say mine's so different from anyone elses. My biggest problem is completely not believing I have anything to offer over any other guy - that a woman would do just as well, or better, with someone else. Essentially, that I can't compete. Not helping is the fact I've only ever had one woman who said yes to my asking her out. In all other cases it's blind dates, friends setting me up, etc. Getting shot down repeatedly doesn't temper you for the next round, it tends to wear you down a bit.

So, I have to overcome all the above (the 1st one will be easy) & manage to write something positive about myself for the next month. I can do this, I'm sure. How it'll make me more confident is something of which I'm not certain.

How do I manage to convince myself I DO have a lot to offer, I'm a good person, etc? Friends tell me this all the time but they are, by association, a little biased to my side of things. What can I find in me that reinforces those statements & gives me the confidence to move beyond this weakness in my personality?


The Camera's Here

Product: Canon PowerShot A640 - 10 megapixel
Cost: $304.99 (shipping included)
Where: Amazon.com

Oh, how I already looove this new digital camera! The Canon PowerShot A640 gets the job done, has a great repeat rate for shots & is incredibly easy to use. I even let one of my classmates in HKD snap a few pics & got a couple of my little sis, Sarah (she's so darn cute!). They all turned out clear as a bell.

The weight of the camera is excellent - it doesn't have that light, plasticky feel like many other cameras. This provides stability for clear photos. The amount of detail in said pictures - as expected for 10MP - is brilliant.

The lens is interchangeable, allowing flexibility for semi-professional photographers (i.e. - not me) & it's easy to utilize the functions included.

I'm still exploring all the myriad options this fine product has to offer. So far there's only one disappointment: Why on earth would Canon "throw in" a 32MB SD card for a 10MP camera? On the standard setting, this allows for about 10 to 12 pics & at best that lets you try the thing out. C'mon, Canon! Give us at least 128MB! Memory isn't that expensive.

Fortunately, I was able to secure a 1GB MicroSD card from SanDisk (adapter included) for $25 at Best Buy. Now I can take up to 400 photos & store over 2 hours of video.

If you're in the market for a well-made camera that offers remarkable ease of use, I'd say this one's worth the relatively low price.


I Saw My Imoto!

I went to Hapkido tonight. Of course, that's pretty much my regular thing. Monday through Thursday with TKD & HKD. I just skip TKD on Thursday - for the most part.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. About 1/2-way through class, my little sister, Sarah, showed up! Surprised didn't quite sum it up. I haven't seen her in almost three months.

Needless to say, I was very happy she was there. It's important she's doing well & keeping up with her overall feeling is a priority of mine. She's in good spirits & working hard in school. Her grades are good (a little trouble with one class, but she can do it!) & she's been working hard on her musical.

Oh, that's right! She gave me a ticket for that. It's next Friday & I'm having to ask for a couple hours off work to make it...but I will definitely make it!

We had the chance to catch up a bit on how things are going for her - pretty well by her account - & it does my heart good to see a nice, well-mannered young lady like her in this world. I know if she stays true to that, she'll realize all the great potential she has to be a success. It helps me feel I'm being a good brother to her.


A brief introduction

Howdy folks. A humble thank you to HapKiDo for the opportunity and responsability to handle his blog in his absence. I hope I can meet everyone's expectations. He has much much more experience doing this.

What I thought I might toss out there to everyone is what I read tonight in American Rifleman, the NRA magazine. Mr. LaPierre pointed out that the 2nd amendment is clearly not intended for the government but for the people who establish that government. For evidence, please check out the state constitutions of the many 50 states.

I won't go into the details of the article now as this post is merely an advance introduction (and teaser ;) ). Let me say though that if there ever comes a time where the government prohibits the possession and ownership of firearms this nation will no longer be free. My wife saw a NH LP last night. Know what it says on there? "Live free or die." Well, if the government takes away your ability to protect your freedoms, you are truly dead.

But hey, you all probably know all this now so I'm preaching to the choir right? If that is the case, let's tune up for a quick rendition of the Yellow Rose of Texas.

I'll see you all next month. HapKiDo, thanks again.

New Blogger!

I'd like to offer a quick welcome to Idlike2bnTX. He's signed on as a guest blogger for while I'm on vacation.

Hopefully, he'll be happy to post here from time to time during "normal business".

His particulars can be found in the sidebar (right at the top, as befits a Texan) & his blog can be found here.

Take the time to check his page out. You'll be glad you did!


Communist Times

The New York Times, the paper who, along with NY elected representatives, makes me ashamed to be a New Yorker, has received a "high honor" - not that there's such a thing - from Cuba.


Because reporter Herbert Matthews decided to prop up Fidel Castro 50 years ago.

Yeah, it's great (& not at all surprising) that a NYT reporter loves a communist. He even spoke of how his personality was "overpowering". Not only do these folks loathe everything for which America stands (except freedom of the press, of course), they're also kissing the collective posterior of the very ideology which sought for so many years to subjugate the rest of the world.

Similarly, Walter Duranty - in 1931 - received the Pulitzer for kissing up to Stalin & ignoring that silly little fact that 12 million people were starved to death by the brutal dictator.

Well, NYT, looks like hats off to you. I'm sure even the French envy your ability to completely collaborate with the enemy.

Does Anyone Really Care

Britney Spears has checked into rehab (again). The supposed reason is a mental or nervous breakdown. It seems more likely it's a lack of media limelight.

What exactly has she done recently to garner such rampant attention? She shaved her head. Well, alert the media! It must be news.

Here's a person whose famous for the fact she's famous. Sure, she made a few albums in the past, but short of riding in the front of an SUV with her unrestrained child, she hasn't done much since.

It's just silly to put media focus on this person. It's about as productive as both Houses of Congress with their "non-binding" resolutions. Both are unbelievably sad & useless.

Guest Blogger

Since vacation is a couple weeks away, I've begun the search for a guest blogger.

Three of my friends were considered. Of these:

Scott isn't very familiar with blogger. Also, I'll give him the fact he's got a wife & three kids - not exactly screaming "free time" there. ha ha

Ron, who works more hours than two people, cited time constraints & while I'm inclined to believe this - especially with my not-so-veiled threat of breaking their fingers - I can't help but think this short poem he penned says it all:

Jack be nimble Jack be quick
Jack show Ron, Hapkido Kick
Jack show talent and Jack show skill
But Jack learn the bullet is quicker still. >;)

Ron gets the creativity award for that! Not surprisingly, that's why I wanted him to guest blog.

JP has accepted the guest blogger job & will be "taking over" March 5th. I'll post later with an introduction of this Texas gentleman who is generously giving of his time so I can go on vacation.


Why Businesses Need To Keep It Together

With the recent weather cancellations on the east coast & my flight to SC looming in the near future, I sure hope AirTran (my airline of choice after this) doesn't go "Jet Blue" on me & have passengers sit for 10+ hours waiting for nothing.

Yeah, the odds of that are low, at least. We're supposed to have good weather in the coming weeks & I wouldn't appreciate being stuck on the ground for any amount of time with a bunch of cranky passengers.

I'm not a big fan of litigious action but I'd definitely file suit if airline management decides to show that little concern for paying customers. Businesses seem to have gone more cynical than a French soldier surrendering to Germany. I honestly believe they think, "Heck, we've already got your money. We'll roll the dice to see if you sue".

I'm not a firm believer that the customer is ALWAYS right - some customers are just stupid. That being said, I do think a company should be grateful you give them business that contributes to their bottom line. If any company doubts this gratuity should be forthcoming, please, check out how well Ford & GM are doing compared to Toyota.

Every time I so much as talked to Toyota they treated me like I was going to buy the whole lot. Ford & GM (Chevrolet in this case) dealers deal with customers more like door-to-door insurance salesmen than people looking for a product. Yes, I have good credit & income which is exactly why I can afford to never deal with Ford & GM ever again.

All businesses should take a lesson from that.

Recommended Black Belt

So far I'm liking the new techniques. There's only 15 of them but in place of quantity the specifics are brought into even greater focus.

Except for the two "hostile handshake" techniques, the grabs are all what I'd consider unconventional. Bear hugs - to be specific - from front & back, over & under arm.

They really do seem simple at first. That's where you'd be wrong, though. I don't think these techniques would work for a middle-level belt. The subtleties lie in how high/low the grab is & what the attacker is trying to accomplish - something not too often considered for lower-belt levels.

The last set is advanced defense against kicks. Yeah, doing them is fun but falling for them is another story. There's one off a front kick where you're literally trying to flip the attacker in mid-air. It's not subtle like the other three but it will get the job done.

Since I'm pretty much 100% healthy now (nevermind my right knee), I should be able to go full bore starting next week until I take vacation at the start of March.

Where's Little Sister Sarah?

She hasn't been to class in a loooong time (for those not in "the know" that's over a month) so I'm wondering if everything's OK with her.

Yeah, I suppose I should e-mail her & make sure everything's going well. It's been so long since she's been to Hapkido, I haven't even given her Christmas present. Yeah, it's been that long.

Little sisters - I tell you, it's a handful trying to keep tabs on those three...

New Toy On The Way!

I just received the best kind of notice by e-mail. My PowerShot digital camera is on the way as of this afternoon! I'm not too thrilled about the February 21 to March 2 delivery window but them's the breaks.

At the very least, I can be sure it'll be here prior to my trip to SC on March 5th. I'd really be upset if it didn't make it.

I'm especially excited about the fact it works with the photo function on my MP3 player! That's the reason I decided to switch from Sony (memory stick) to Canon (SD card). My MP3 holds Micro SD so I'll have the memory in the camera & my 8GB MP3 player to store anything that won't fit there.

I've gotta say it...



6 Ways To Offer Bad Advice

I came across this article on msn.com where they purport to give advice to men & women on asking the opposite gender out.

Sure, that's awfully nice of them. However, you usually get what you pay for & this particular article costs nothing. Turns out, you don't get ripped off when you see it that way.

The silly post goes so far as to give you a way to "customize your vernacular" by way of an oh-so-handy spreadsheet. Are they serious with this crap?

My favorite line? Oh, that has to be:

“Pick an afternoon… I’ll meet you outside your office with bubbly and my crème brulée torch. If we kiss, I’ll even share the recipe.”

Oh please. TELL me they're joking with all this tripe! Who on this earth, short of an amorous Frenchman, would dare lay something like this on the ears of a woman? I, for one, can't imagine a lady hearing this & thinking how smooth a fella she's found.

I'd hardly call this worth a read. I'm perpetually single & can tell you stupid, grandiose gestures are worthless. Point blank - women are looking for the highest bidder in whatever they're buying. If you don't have it, you won't get them.

Embittered advice? Yes, that's the case. I see dating as a burden because of all the games & crap that are expected nowadays. Any time I meet a lady to whom I'm attracted, I immediately let it go.

Sadly, it's become more worth it to avoid the heartbreak than to have the emotional peak.


Changing Banks

After posting on the recent decision of Bank of America (BoA) to allow illegals the opportunity to get credit, I discovered my own bank, Wells Fargo is doing the same thing.

In the linked article from Michelle Malkin I read that my bank is offering home mortgages to illegal aliens in California & they're considering a program for credit cards.

Obviously, I find that unacceptable. Rewarding illegal activity is hardly something I expect from any organization with which I entrust my money. If that's how they want to do business, I'm taking mine elsewhere.

Does anyone have recommendations for banks?


I Told You So (Unfortunately)!

The minimum wage increase pushed by the Democrats as one of their 1st 100 hours objectives unfortunately had the result I predicted.

Remember way back when I mentioned that higher payroll would lead to job cuts? Well, that's exactly what happened.

Some teens in Arizona have been laid-off because of mandatory payroll increases from $5.15/hour to $6.75/hour. Even the Federal Reserve did a study showing for every mandatory ten percent pay increase to minimum wage, there is a corresponding decline of two to three percent employment.

For those of you in la-la land, that means when you tell businesses they must pay more, they also MUST cut jobs to meet their budget.


Someone needs to get that point across to the left side of the aisle.

Far from stimulating the economy or improving incomes across the board, the left-wing agenda once again has caused more harm than good. Intentions always count over results for liberals & this is another tarnished example.


Day By Day

This is a great website I found by way of Bad Example.

It's a politically-based cartoon site & not-so-subtle in getting its point across with twisted humor.

I highly recommend checking this one out. I've even added a link on my sidebar under "Modern Arts".

Valentine's Day

Ah, the wonderful day where love is celebrated to such a point that sweetness is redefined...

By the way that saccharine sickness gives you a cavity.

Of all the "holidays" out there with zero meaning, Valentine's day gets the "obnoxious headache-inducer" award. It gets shoved down your throat every year & anyone whose single feels like the world's biggest dope.

Yeah, I know, they have all these websites & news programs showing what singles can do by themselves on the day. Sure, why not further incense the bitter feeling of solitude that's expected of those who are sans significant-other?

Well, if you haven't guessed I'm among the single crowd. Strangely (after reading the above), I don't have a problem with that most days. Crappy days like Valentine's are like a sadistic boomerang, though. You throw it away & every year it's the same smack in back of the head.

I'd just ask the lovey-dovey types leave us singles alone & keep the diabetes-inducing cuteness behind closed doors where it belongs.

Bank of America or Mexico?

Now the Bank of America has cast it's ballot in favor of illegal immigration AND higher interest rates on its credit cards.

The corporation begin offering credit to customers without Social Security numbers and no credit history. The catch? Well, they must have an established checking account without an overdraft in the past three (yes, 3!) months.

Oh yeah, and they have to be here ILLEGALLY!!!

Now, I'm no economist but it seems to me that if Bank of America is going to take a significant risk - which they are here - with their money, someone's going to assume the liability for that risk...

You guessed correct: all the people with Bank of America credit cards are going to eat higher interest rates when the bills come due and, "surprisingly", none of the ILLEGAL aliens will honor their obligations.

Now, this might be shocking to BoA but people who tend to break the law & literally flaunt it by protesting in the country they've illegally entered probably aren't going to feel too bad if they don't pay for the free money they think they're owed (you know, like health care, social security, retirement, etc).

Canon PowerShot Digital Camera

I was looking for a new digital camera to replace my current one which isn't compatible with my new MP3/Video/Photo player.

I got my brother's, Mike, help & found this little guy on the Amazon.com website. 10 megapixels, 4x optical zoom, adjustable LCD screen & a Digital Teleconverter.

Yeah, this bad boy is going to the next Hapkido seminar!

On the flip side, this sucker is a power hog. It takes 4 AA batteries, so you know it'll run through recharges like a bad burrito through a tourist in Mexico.

Also, the price tag - while discounted - is still a high one: $310.00 with free shipping. The worst part is that I have to wait until 2/19 before it ships. At least that does give me something to anticipate.

Reviews have been excellent with one "semi-professional" photographer saying he preferred it over a 6MP SLR. Yeah, I find that slightly difficult to believe...but I guess if he says so.


Hey, Bill!

Since you're not too keen on the "word verification" thing I have on my page, I took it off (I'm sure my brother, Matt, had trouble with it too). This means two things:

1) You can now easily place comments on my posts.

2) You'd *better* easily place comments on my posts! :-)

How To Save A Life

Start by not listening to anything by "The Fray" when you're around me.

I'm telling you. That lead singer has all the clear enunciation of a mute with marbles & peanut butter in his mouth.

Awful doesn't begin to describe it. It's this lackadaisical-sounding voice that just "feels" lazier than a silver spoon-fed trust fund baby on a job search - you get the idea no one took a listen to see if the group could actually perform before signing them to a record contract (which isn't, IMO, worth the cost of one CD).

I'm really recommending against this group. Somewhat because I think they're bad, but mostly for the fact I'll go on a *bleeping* rampage if I hear someone passing this crap off as music.

Hurry Up & Heal!

Argghh! I want this stupid back injury to GO AWAY!!! I am thankful the soreness is gone. There's just this bit of tenderness & "weird" feeling that tells me I'm not quite through it all.

For Heaven's sake! I just made recommended black belt & want to learn some techniques! I have six months to get my stuff in order for 1st degree & that means the new techniques have to be learned. Also, the current ones need much refinement.

Not to put even more pressure on there, but 2nd degree in TKD is coming up & you need to heal quickly to get that all prepared.

On a side note, I thought the benefit of being a senior rank was not testing so often. It turns out that was incorrect - You test less often & worry about testing A LOT more! ;-)


Most Redundant Headline Ever?

The Drudge Report has this link titled "Socialist candidate in France unveils far-left platform...".

I don't know where to start.

Well, "socialist" & "France" are pretty well repetitive. Then again, so are "socialist", "France" & "far-left". Perhaps it's best worded as "French candidate says more of the same"?

Of course, I'm just poking a little fun at the Drudge Report. I think he (Matt Drudge) does excellent work & it's the first page I visit to get my updates on the web.

As for the article itself, we see the usual far-left stands: Raise minimum wage, more pensions & guarantee jobs/ongoing training for recent college graduates. You know - take from the people who "do" & give to the people who "don't".

The most unique idea I see is the preemptive surrender program for the military. This is where juvenile delinquents are sent to "educational camps" run by the military. This, I presume, is so they can learn the proper way to accept terms, collaborate with the enemy & undermine their "allies" at every turn.

It's a continuation of the "French Way". That, of course, runs counter to the "American Way" - which involves kicking a**; taking names; making the world a better, safer place; and doing it all without the appreciation of the European community.


I'd Help Fund This

Here's a positive story about activists, for a change.

The anti-Soviet opposition is proposing a dual commendation of the late President Ronald Reagan by renaming Katowice's "Freedom Square" to the "Ronald Reagan Freedom Square" while erecting a statue of the former President as the centerpiece.

The push may not happen anytime soon due to funding constraints in Katowice, Poland. The $168,000 bill is something to which I'd be willing to contribute.

There are far too few examples of hope in the face of adversity. President Reagan set a shining example of what a clear moral compass, dedication & the will to act can accomplish in the favor of liberty. He's a beacon to all who love freedom & the opportunity it provides.

That...& I really like the idea of thumbing our collective noses at the now-defunct communist regime.

Test DVD

I watched the copy of the test on DVD that Master Rion made for me. He was concerned it would turn out weird because it was filmed in wide screen but it turned out just fine.

Quality-wise, that is.

As for my test...well, let's say I did quite a few things right. I was good at most of the techniques to the point I'd expect.

Now, my air falls STINK! I mean NYC garbage dump bad. I didn't think they were awful, but the tape shows otherwise. The height just isn't good. Sure, I think the basic motion is there but unless I get more "air" in the fall, I can hardly keep calling it that.

Second, many techniques look plain sloppy. Yes, they were done "correct" in the technical sense. Really though? I would have thought I'd have done much cleaner technique. It seemed to me that I looked awkward in more than a couple moves.

Yes, we're all our own worst critic. Yes, nerves were probably part of it. Overall, I'm working with people who have a great ability to execute these techniques with coordination & precision. For some reason, I didn't see the same in my performance at test.

In that regard I'm a bit disappointed in seeing my results. It's good that I remembered all the techniques (I didn't see any I missed) but there's a long way to go before I can really consider myself a black belt. The others seem to have a better grasp (pardon the pun) of the "how" whereas I have the "what".

Finally Getting Feeling Back

I "slightly" injured my back on Tuesday night at test. Now, I know that's a surprise considering I was only jumping head-first over three people. It's not the impact that caused the injury...it was the fact the floor decided not to move at the same speed I was.

Well, needless to say my lower left back wasn't feeling at the top of it's game by that point.

I actually had to see the chiropractor the next day. I'm not one to rush to the doctor but in this case, it was warranted. He did his thing, it loosened me up a little & it's getting progressively better.

Which reminds me: If any of you have sore muscles (even if they're not related to body part-attrition) you've GOT to try Icy-Hot Patch (about $6.75 at Target). It did wonders to keep me healing & I can feel I'm well on the road to recovery.


Revenge On Marriage

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance - don't be fooled, this is a far-left organization - filed an initiative that, if passed, would require all heterosexual couples to have children within three years or the marriage would be annulled. Furthermore, a condition of marriage would mean the couple has to demonstrate fertility.

Gregory Gadow of the DOMA in Washington state sums it all up:

"For many years, social conservatives have claimed that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation ... The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine".

Ah yes, those darn evil conservatives! What I see in that quote is more along the lines of, "You wouldn't let us redefine marriage 'our' way, so we're going to the opposite extreme".

Notice, in typical leftist fashion, the agenda they're pushing has nothing to do with progress (which serves to make the term "progressive" ironic), rather it serves only to hold another group - in this case heterosexual couples - back.

This is what I often get from reading anything from the "out of left field" crowd: If we don't get our way, we're gonna throw a tantrum!

It's actually very inventive. I think I tried it a time or two when I was four years-old. Fortunately, I had two parents - who by the way, didn't have their first child (me) until they were married three years - willing to show me why such a thing was silly, childish & ineffective.

Too bad the liberals can't have some folks like that...

Gee, Why Come To Work At All?

It looks like our poor, ineffective "representatives" are complaining about the horrible working conditions in the halls of Congress. What could have them up-in-arms? Working with unsavory characters? Unrestricted access to government resources? Lobbyist payoffs?


It's the disgusting thought that they'll have to work FIVE DAY WORK WEEKS!!!

Needless to say, I'm mortified by the thought these people - who can vote to raise their own pay, bicker endlessly along party lines instead of representing their districts & generally are a poor use of taxpayer dollars - might actually have to work the same number of days the normal American worker does.

IMO, they should be paid the same amount as the national average wage. This won't affect too many of them since they've inherited (or married into) wealth. Still, we waste over $160,000/year per representative. The majority of that money would be better served in our military. Heck, it'd be better served to cushion seats than given to career politicians with no sense of responsibility.

So, members of Congress, why don't you try sucking up the five-day work week & quit complaining? It might mean you actually get something done for once.

Sure, I'm not counting on it but America is the land where any dream can come true.


Difference Between "Fact" & "Opinion"

I recently saw this post on a Weather Channel-associated blog concerning, you guessed it, the ongoing liberal pet project of global warming.

*Groan* Again?

You know, I'm all for open debate on this subject. Based on the knowledge I have on the topic, I'm hardly qualified to say global warming is or isn't man-made - I just don't think the evidence presented offers a concrete argument.

In the blog, Stu Ostro presents the following:
"Say 'the majority of current global warming is as a result of human activities' and a lot of people have a visceral reaction, but say 'tornadoes don't all touch down' and folks just don't seem to get all hot and bothered. Why? Because even though twisters, like climate change, can have a significant impact (what tragically happened last night in Florida being an example), the process of tornado formation usually isn't thought of in terms of politics or ideology."

Well, excuse me Mr. Ostro but I don't think a comparison between a fact (all tornadoes don't touch down) & an opinion (global warming is predominately man-made) demonstrates the argument well. Yes, people may get "hot & bothered" with facts they don't like. However "facts" - by nature - don't often require debate, argument & massive amounts of funding to be stated.

Let me give a basic example of fact vs. opinion:

Fact: Over 1/2 of our planet is covered with water.

Opinion: The Weather Channel is pushing an agenda on man-made global warming.

The former example is an undeniable fact - no one of sane mind would dispute it as anything other than fact. The latter is definitely an opinion - we can agree, disagree, debate, discuss, compare & contrast. Whether it's true is certainly up for debate.

Though after reading that post, I'm not so sure...


My recommended black belt test went very, very well last night. The test itself lasted about one hour, one long, brutal hour. :-)

Starting off, we did the normal warm-ups, rolling falls & air falls. I thought my 1st one was strong & the 2nd was OK. I kind of psyched myself out (that's the only reason I think anyone ever drops the ball at this level) on the jumping fall over three people but did clear two with no problem.

Moving into techniques, the group of us went over everything (post-testing) & we couldn't find anything I missed. You have no idea how good that feels when you have 160 techniques! The time all my classmates, especially Mr. Reif, spent helping me prepare was apparent throughout the test.

I had a few places where I saw room for improvement - which is true of any test - and still I'm largely satisfied I tested at the expected level.

Defense against kick & punch went well. I "made up" something on the spot & did a sort of rotating tackle on Mr. Reif. I think he was as surprised as I was! It worked & no one got hurt, so I'd call that a win.

After a brief "Circle of Death", we moved into groundfighting. Now, I want to say (as an aside) that Master Rion must've really wanted to test me. That's because he decided I'd groundfight Mr. Reif 1st & Mr. Willfong 2nd. Mind you, Mr. Reif isn't what anyone would call "easy" to groundfight - he's strong, agile & keeps his wits in any situation. However, Mr. Willfong is all these, young & completely lacking in any mercy. ;-) He armbarred me with a triangle body lock in about 25 to 30 seconds. By comparison, I'd call the match with Mr. Reif a draw - with him edging towards an advantage.

What was left of me is best summed up by the last photo...


Holy Crap It's Cold!

I think that pretty well sums up my feelings on the subject. It's -13o (that's NEGATIVE THIRTEEN DEGREES for those of you in South Carolina). So anyone in southern states complaining about 45o degree "cold" can kiss my dry, chapped posterior!

It's really bad when you drink iced tea to warm up.


One Class Left

Until test, that is.

Nervous? Yeah, you can bet on it. Still, I'm oddly comfortable with testing this time. My techniques are solid, I'm confident I have them down (all 160 or so) & my classmates have been a great deal of help in preparing me for this.

Tonight, we got through Purple belt - leaving me with one question: Why is it, no matter how we try & put this together, we can't get past Purple belt (starting at White) in a whole hour? Oh well, I'd rather have the techniques right than rush through them. As Mr. Reif puts it, "You don't want to pass a test with a 'C'".

With only Monday's class to go (Bill, you'd better be there! ha ha) I have to still make a complete run-through of all my techniques to see if I have any spots that need shoring up.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty good about my progress. Test won't be easy - I don't expect it to be - because there will also be a constant attack part (Affectionately called the "Circle of Death") & probably some groundfighting. Heck, it's all fun so I'll make the best of however I do & hopefully the next post on HKD will involve my promotion!

Chris' Motto

My friend at work, Chris, has a new motto.

OK, to be fair, I came up with it - which is why it's on this blog. She does like it, so I'm using it.

"I don't exercise patience so much as test it".

I'd say it's very Churchhill-esque, not to mention completely appropriate (tongue-in-cheek) for her.

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