My God of War is on break it seems

Whatever fantastic force I managed to drag out of myself on Monday was not to be found today. My best guess is that by being aware of such a feeling within me, I approached the evenings fencing looking for it and, in so doing, didn't call it forth. In spite of failing to be on in the way that I was on Monday, I wasn't particularly off and had a fine time. Unfortunately, today I seem to have picked up more injuries than any other day; meh, battle scars, oh well. I think that I'm going to have to take a step back and see if I can't reapproach this mental issue with a more naieve outlook on Friday.

Predictions for Iraq

I caught a bit of the coverage of Saddam Hussein's trial this morning on NPR on my way to work and it led me to formulate a prediction for Iraq's future. The most interesting part of what I caugt was that, today, Hussein asked that he alone be held accountable for the actions of his regime and that the other defendants be acquited. To some Hussein's request might seem like a noble effort but I'm inclined to suspect that Hussein is a fairly clever guy with ulterior motives. My prediction is this, Saddam Hussein will try to get his accomplices off and be imprisoned in Iraq--it is where he is a criminal, after all. Once the US has extricated itself from Iraq, allies of Hussein will retake control of the Iraqi government and free Hussein (not necessarily in that order). Saddam Hussein will then rule Iraq once more and the US will look like the bunch of idiots that we probably are.

In short, I predict that Saddam Hussein will rule Iraq again within 10 years, probably sooner.

Crank that Fencing to 11

I've decided that I'm going to redouble my fencing efforts and kick it up a notch. This decision has three parts to it: two mental and one physical. The physical element is that I'm going to go to club at least three times a week, fence clear through and really push my body to the limit; I did this today and by the end my whole body was exhausted, burning and felt great. The first mental element is that I plan to take a lesson thrice a week as well; until now, I've been taking one every week or so but that's just not enough to stick. Now, the second mental element is something that's got me really pumped: I'm mixing Bushido into my fencing.

A few days ago, I decided to finally get around to reading (and finishing) A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi (the greatest swordsman to have ever lived) to see if I couldn't glean anything that might be applicable to fencing. It turns out there are some fantastic things to be gleaned from Musashi's knowledge of strategy (swordfighting and military combat). I took to heart one bit about taking control of the situation and leading your opponent in combat and it proved fantastically useful in practicing today. Not only did it prove useful in practice but I felt something fundamentally different about the way my mind was working while I was fencing, like I had tapped some force of power deep inside my will that normally lies dormant. It felt like some sort of fierce, primal core of my being had been let loose and it was truly exhilarating. Interestingly, there was no sense of loss of control associated with this mental state. It's kind of hard to put into words but I'm going to work on developing it along with my fencing and I'm going to read and reread more of my books on the topics of war, fighting, Bushido and such. What's more, I think this mental state may very well be applicable to more than just fencing, so I'm going to see if I can start extrapolating after I've got more experience with it.

Samurai Champloo

I have just finished watching the delightful anime Samurai Champloo and I would like to recommend it to all you people out there. I would definitely rank Champloo up there with Cowboy Bebop and Trigun; in fact, I might go as far as to say that it's the best of the three. So all you folks out there, if you haven't seen Samurai Champloo, go get on it. Oh, and to all the many people that recommended that I watch it, thanks (you know who you are).

Ventolin Now: Redux

I've been working on a policy of aim for getting to work at 9a but based on my ability to wake up that's been translating to 9:15a on a good day and closer to 10a on an average day. Today, one of my bosses (or superiors or something) told me that I should be getting in closer to 9a. Honestly, I was kind of expecting this to happen at some point and thankfully the way in which it was presented indicates that it hasn't become an issue yet. All that said, the simple fact of the matter is that it's find a better alarm clock time (so that I don't just press snooze for two hours like usual). As far as alarm clocks go, there's one perfect choice and it means going back to classics: Ventolin in the AM. Now, by Ventolin, I don't mean the drug, I mean the Aphex Twin song. The song is fantastically caustic (though very good) and will wake you up like nothing else. The method I have chosen for Ventolin presentation is the same one that I devised in high school: Winamp called with Ventolin's mp3 as an option from a Windows Scheduled Task every weekday morning. So yeah, if you want a surefire way to wake up in the morning, I highly recommend Aphex Twin - Ventolin.