Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Aikido, My Way: The Story of Kobayashi Dojos


Very interesting on-line Aikido book.


O Sensei would surprise us with how different he was from ordinary people. In his last year, he would have to be helped up the stairs and he said many times “I’m sick,” but as soon as he set foot in the practice hall, his back would straighten and he would look perfectly healthy as he gave an explanatory demonstration. But once again, as he stepped out into the hall, he would have to be helped by the deshi.

Then there were the times O Sensei would have to be helped to the toilet. We’d lift him up by his arms but it would take all our strength, it was like trying to move a giant stone.

“Sensei, we can’t move you…”

“Ah, I’m full of ki…” then he would stop extending ki and we could lift him off the bed. O Sensei was no ordinary person, that much I came to understand. He was 86.



Perpetual Punching Machine




This is from a 1932 episode of The Little Rascals. Man, I've had jobs like that.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Got A Wii




Finally went out and picked up a Nintendo Wii.

My god the thing is fun. Ridiculously, ludicrously fun.

Hiyat and I had to tear ourselves away from the Wii Sports Boxing, Bowling and Tennis to go to bed. What a great system -- the controls and simplicity are what make it a joy. Not one for hardcore games, it's built for those that just want some quick fun with friends.

She ended up beating me in every. Single. Game. Me, the vid kid -- I've been playing video games since the Pong home system came out. A testiment to how accessible the system is.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mandriva 2008




Upgraded to Mandriva 2008 this weekend.

Was a bit of a bumpy go. Tried to upgrade via the software update tool (urpmi) but it killed my box. I had heard it was a bit risky, so I had backed everything up anyway. Downloaded the Mandriva one cd and installed it.

Was completely painless (except for the fact the first cd I burned had a scratch on it). Got apache, mysql, php, and everything installed right away. Detected all my hardware out of the box no problem.

Had a bit of an issue with getting VMWare installed -- needed to download the latest gcc (4.3) c++ and cpp packages, but no problem after then.

It's pretty sweet. Very fast, has NTFS write drivers (ntfs3g) installed by default, and a bunch of new features. Very clean layout.

Give it a go if you're looking for a good distro.


Undiscovered Curve mp3


One of my favorite bands ever is the now-defunct UK band Curve. For some reason I found myself at their site today and found the song Weekend there as a free download. Enjoy.



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dalek Sec Mask

How cool is this?

If you've been watching the new Doctor Who series, and you should, it's great -- you would have seen the Dalek-Human hybrid called "Dalek Sec".

Well, now you can dress up as him for Halloween, maybe next year -- it will be out by Christmas.

It will drive the rest of the family to distraction within minutes of being unwrapped, but a new Dalek mask made of flesh-pink ribbed plastic will be one of the must-have toys this Christmas, retailers predicted yesterday.

The mask, modelled on a one-eyed Dalek-human hybrid which appeared in the episode Daleks in Manhattan, changes the voice of the wearer to the metallic scream of the doctor's mortal enemies. Games based on films and TV characters will fill Santa's sack this year, according to toy manufacturers who made their annual prediction of Christmas best-sellers yesterday.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

PKD, The Unicorn and Operation Mind Control

PKD, of course, was Philip K. Dick, the late great speculative fiction novelist, who believed many strange things had happened to his head during the seventies, one such event being an alien invasion with just this type of Tesla technology. Phil later came to believe this Soviet mind control experiment upon his temporal lobe had developed into something far more stranger (if that was at all possible) when an alien entity consisting of pure information skyjacked these psychotronically produced Soviet projections, using them to beam extraterrestrial messages of a benevolent nature into Phil's oft befuddled mind.

"The Unicorn"--as he was known to friends and fellow researchers--was none other than Ira Einhorn, a prominent figure in the New Age Counterculture of the late sixties and seventies. Phil and Ira became acquainted through the auspices of CoEvolution Quarterly, later renamed The Whole Earth Review, a by-product of former Merry Prankster Stewart Brand's revolutionary brainchild, The Whole Earth Catalog. Within the letter section of CoEvolution Quarterly, Dick and Einhorn initiated a dialogue on Soviet psychotronics & mind control, and it's far reaching implications. Shortly afterwards, Einhorn's girlfriend and fellow researcher, Holly Maddux's dismembered body parts were discovered in a steamer trunk in Einhorn's Philadelphia apartment, and Einhorn charged with her murder.


Fall 2007 Pics Are Up



I just put up some pictures from this fall. When you're a parent it's amazing how fast time flies. I know that sounds like a cliche but man is it real. Seems like I just became a dad yesterday, but...

Gabe has started preschool and is about to turn four. His preschool is pretty cool -- he's already had a fireman come by as well as a librarian (Gabe calls her a "librario"). He loves it. He's also currently nuts for anything Scooby-doo related, we've just had to order a new DVD from Amazon.com just to placate him.

Maya just turned two and is now talking in sentences. She loves to sing "three, four, shut the door" and whenever Zack is upset she says "Oh, no, Zach-a-ry!" and comes and gets one of us. What a sweet girl. Her big thing is Dora the Explorer -- she can sing the opening theme "d-d-d-dora" and can name most of the characters.

Zack is doing great. he's a big kid, especially next to Gabe and Maya. May is 5th percentile for bodyweight and Zack is 95th. They're wearing the same size diapers (size 3) and Zack's about to outgrow them.

We're having a great time in our new house this fall. We're surrounded by large trees and it's amazingly beautiful in the fall. We're going to start decorating the house for halloween. It should be good this year, Gabe has an astronaut costume and Maya has a princess one.

Anyway, here's the pics.


Friday, October 5, 2007





Brutal movie. Well shot, written, directed, the whole shebang but freakin' brutal.

Why do the movies that are shooting to get awards have to leave you feeling so disturbed and distraught -- particularly if you are a parent? 


Monday, October 1, 2007

William Gibson: Spook Country


William Gibson's latest novel, Spook Country is awesome. Not as frantic or kinetic as Pattern Recognition or All Tomorrow's Parties, but Gibson sticks with the gritty textures and environments-as-characters feel while the characters themselves seem ephemeral and purposefully incomplete.

You never fully understand what's going on in a Gibson story... and this is no exception. Three characters wind their way through the novel: Hollis, a former 90's alternative rock singer. Milgrim is a homeless drug addict pulled along for the ride because he can translate an obscure dialect of Russian. Tito is part of the family that uses this dialect along with "systema," a strange mix of religion and KGB spycraft.

Not Gibson's best novel -- that would go to the brilliant Pattern Recognition in my book -- but kick ass nonetheless. And it's extremely cool that the three subplots converge in Gibson's native Vancouver, a city he describes as "how American cities look on television."

Oddly, for a sci-fi author (the guy that coined "cyberspace"), it takes place in the very recent past of 2006. Gibson once said that "The future has arrived, it's just not evenly distributed." One wonders if the future has caught up with Gibson.

Very highly recommended.


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