Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Few More Pictures

A few kenshi, including me (behind the camera) demonstrating the wonders of Kendo to the passing masses on Prexy's Pasture in front of the University of Wyoming's Union. Most of them just gave us wierd looks, and a newspaper quoted someone saying the craziest thing they've ever seen is ninjas on campus. Hmmm... I like the idea of ninjas but the traditional ideas, not the modern trying to take the name of ninja or ninjitsu. Oi, go bujutsu, go ninjitsu.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Exciting! ...Really.

Easter weekend was interesting, went to a sharp-tailed grouse lek early Saturday. By early I mean that I got up at 4 a.m. What a great thing to do. We got to the pasture before the sun had come up all the way. Rolling down the windows I could hear them drumming and calling, really weird sounding. As it got brighter we could begin to make out the white feathers on the males as they danced around. People who had been before said that this was the longest they continued, about half an hour. It got quiet really quickly once the grouse saw the Northern Harrier. We realized it was a Harrier too but had seen it sitting on the fence post before the grouse did. That was fun and as we drove off we realized that we had a flat tire. Fun, we had to turn bak to Cheyenne and call it a day for birdwatching. After getting home I slept another four hours.

Sally, my parents' new golden retriever puppy, is a little bit out of control. Just a little bit, but she is small enough that she can easily be fended off. My parents need to establish dominance with the puppy even though she should be much more docile. But she is hardly my problem, me not being there most of the time and not really planning on living at home for much of an extended time.

I got the books for my Japanese class. They are mostly interesting and I need to read the first few chapters for next week. I already found some material for my presentation about the connection between Zen Buddhism and the Bushi or warriors of Japan. Hopefully not too many people choose this subject but it seems likely. Some of my other sources will probably be Musashi since the Book of Five Rings does cover quite a few concepts of Buddhism and it will be unlikely people will have a copy of that book or have read it. Also the experience I have so far in Kendo I will try to apply so that people can see the connections.

"See that which cannot be seen." Number seven of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. A very Zen statement, to see the thoughts of your opponent and act accordingly before they can react is the true way of defeating your opponent. If you can do this you will be the best. If you are not, or cannot, then practice. On that note, on to homework.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What to do when angry...

First: try not to be in a situation where anger commonly arises. If I could figure this out for those wonderful situations where I am angry then, well, I wouldn't be angry. Hmm... sounds like target recognition in Kendo, need more training to see it, but that involves putting myself in the situation more often which is less desirable.

Second: deal with it on your terms. Do not take the anger out on the person who made you angry unless to prove a well considered point. My gut reaction is to deny an accuser, block a shinai (kendo), but the more correct thing to do is to tell the truth, or in kendo be faster than the other person. When someone moves to hit you then is the best time to finish them first, the longer you wait, or if you block the more time they have to recover from a failed attempt. The stereotypical way of taking out your anger is on a pillow. Pillows, I fear, are no substitute for a person, something more solid like a punching bag is much more useful. Also the heavier and more packed the bag, the better, make sure you punch correctly, concentrate on accurate punches and soon you will forget your anger and it will be replaced by a good batch of skinned knuckles.

Third: Commit the atrocity of politics, or dealing with the problem or anger on someone else's terms. "You need to change!" Yeah so I have changed a great deal and usually feel better for it. Give me some pointers to what I need to change, and please don't change on me for the worse. I have grown out of being too possessive for most things, I do things without being asked, sometimes I do more than necessary, and even ask politley if people would like to share something with me even if I would like the entire thing for myself. Lastly I am much less subtle in what I ask or say at the request of my roommate. I really do like a subtle turn of words sometimes but I do see the point of not trying continuously. A good pun is always appreciated, even if it takes me a second to register the pun, the best are made by people unwittingly and they usually groan or threaten when I point it out to them.

In other words this post is more of complaining then anything else. I think I would deal better if this came from a girlfriend but I have not had that experience and really cannot say.

"Strive for inner judgement and understanding of everything." Number six of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. I am sincerely trying to understand everything but when I try a little further it seems that the basic or closer things that I already understand take a turn for the worse or I realize that I really don't understand what it really was in the first place. This doesn't help me progress. But I will strive for good judgement in all cases and try to understand what I come across so that I may help this world. Now where did I put the humor?....

Oh, Thomas, if you are reading this, write your essay! Or continue reading.


Why are people insistent that on a twenty-first birthday you must get smashed? I don't know, I didn't and I'm better off because of it. Last night I had one beer, just one and no more. I could have ordered my food a little more carefully to go with it so I don't think cheese goes well with beer. That's a funny thing to think about, it's the alcoholic drinks that you have to order more carefully for, like wine and in my opinion after last night, beer. I mean you can get a pop or lemonade and it really doesn't matter what you have with it. Maybe it's just me. If you didn't catch on I turned 21 yesterday and was very happy that I did not hold back the other people from kendo in sitting in the bar area of the restaurant. Fortunately the restaurant was very busy and the request for them to sing Happy Birthday fell through, not that I would've minded if they had, just that it was nice not being sung to.

The really funny thing was that the two people on either side of me last night don't drink. Very odd that I really realized it now that while I was drinking my first (I have had a few sips of wine before) they were drinking lemonade. Having a German heritage I think that not drinking alcohol , being a tea-totaler, is unreasonable, but that getting drunk is absolutely stupid. I don't plan on getting drunk ever and last night was the night that started that, a single drink is fine. It's the same reason I don't cuss or curse. There's no need to, I tell my friends if they ever hear me cuss, running very far away very quickly might be in order. I will use it only to emphasize a life and death situation.

"Know the difference between right and wrong in the matters of men." Number five of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. It is sort of self-explanatory, when you know what is right and wrong then you may act in good faith that what you are doing is right, I hope it's right, in today's post I know it's right.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Well I asked for it, not directly, I think, but I got a digital camera from my parents. And this is Sally, a golden retreiver puppy, who takes a little bit of patience to take a picture of but now I have a good picture and an easy way to get more. Now this wasn't just randomly, I know that my parents want to see my trip to Japan so I will take pictures and post some of them.

That Japan trip requires daily entries into a trip diary and I'm thinking of either using this medium exclusively or just posting what I write by hand. I'll have to ask.

I'm going to skip Musashi for this post but I will take more photos for posts after this one.

Ah Ha!

Now I can see how many people are visiting my blog, even if it's skimming. I chose the option that only counts the number of individuals not the number of times my blog is visited. So now to watch all the people fascinated with my wonderful life... At least 2, come on! Am I the only one that reads this blog? Well what if I put pictures up, that would require a digital camera or a scanner, I really don't want to bum pictures off of other sites. I'll just have to think what might make this interesting.

The housing situation is never easy unless the spending of gross amounts money isn't bad by staying in the dorms. That will burn a hole in anyone's pocket. My potential roommates were not impressed with what I found other than the cleanliness factor because the person who I had talked to previously about those accommodations was only the broker in case we wanted to buy, but as the manager of the complex put so bluntly, "He knows nothing, all his numbers are wrong." Or something to that effect. So even though I was attacked afterwards for speaking fallacies I made sure that the three guys would also be looking and not just leave it to me. I've known them for a while, when the leader fails in any of our escapades, that leader tends to keep failing. I'm guilty of seeing it that way also but in my defense it has been true most of the time. So I really don't want to be seen as the leader for good reason. It might still work out, we'll see.

Good news about the Japan trip: I over paid and got a check back which should be enough for tuition and books. Another good thing is the upcoming Kendo tournament which is going to be my first. The day after is a rank test, also my first, which I hope to make at least 6th kyu, if not better, but that's only because I've been training for nearly eight months and the test is going to be easy, just keep talling myself that. My Aunt nd Uncle sent me a birthday card witha check saying "Origami Paper in Japan" I will definitely put it to good use on some high quality paper. Just what to make eludes me. I am somewhat good at the traditional crane and a few derivatives that use half-and-halfs of other bases. A particular favorite of mine is the congratulations crane. It has a fanned tail sort of like peacock but still uses the crane base. If you use half a frog base on the oppisite side from the head then a swan is possible, just watch very carefully, I haven't seen it any where before but someone has probably done it somewhere.

And for the longest post yet, the winner for my blog, this post.

"Understand the Way of other disciplines." Number four of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. Disciplines may refer to other martial arts but it also refers to arts in general. The pen may be mighter than the sword but if you understand both equally well then you are starting to round out, or you know nothing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Brighter and Darker

It's great when things go my way. I found new roommates for next fall which means that half the battle is done. Now the other half is also close to being won also, I just have to jump. Some people know what I mean by jumping and probably have done it themselves. I don't like jumping because someone said to but all those oppurtunities mentioned in the previous post are because I jumped. I hope that these will all work out though.

I am getting so tired of school that it seems all I can do just to focus in class much less on the homework. If this sounds like I'm complaining, I would say that I'm not, but I am and repeating myself. I learned to curb my complaining when I was fourteen on a backpacking trip, I had much too much gear with me and the entire trip was a hundred miles long although it was spread over ten days. Since then I have learned how to pack and seven years later I still don't complain half as much as I did before. Although this homework and school situation is more like a hundred pound pack on a four year journey where there really is no rest, espescially with the homework. I think I have good cause to complain but it still isn't good.

"Become familiar with every art you come across." Number three of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. Art refers to the martial arts because if you don't know what you are up against then there is only a slight chance of beating it. So learn about all of them!

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