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 (sword fighting 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.

JOs 2006

I spent the long weekend down in Hartford, CT for the 2006 Fencing Junior Olympics (JOs). The JOs are the largest 20 and under fencing event in the US and they're held in a different location every year; this year they were held in Hartford, which is so close to home that I couldn't really justify not going. It was a lot of fun watching the fencing, cheering for members of my club and hanging out with fencing people. The fencing started really early every day, ran late every day and tended to be followed by a long, late dinner, which made for very short nights of sleeping. I would normally be fine with sleeping little over a long weekend for an event but I was fighting a cold at the same time, so this weekend has really taken a lot out of me. I feel mighty drained right now, but it sure was a lot of fun and man, oh man, watching all that fencing really makes me want to do some myself; I can't wait for club tomorrow.

First out of the gate: It's the Gopher

I got my first response back from a law school today; I've been accepted at the University of Minnesota Law School. Now, I'm sure plenty of you folks will have comic things to say about Minnesota, so I've prepared a few retorts in advance: I have a ton of family in Minnesota; I was born in Minnesota; I am one of those people that likes the cold; the University of Minnesota Law School is ranked 19 in the country by USNews.

Valentine's Failure

As many (some) of you know, I like to single out one lucky lady on Valentine's Day and give her a cinder block. Sadly, this year, I completely forgot about Valentine's Day and as such have not presented a cinder block this year. This makes two years in a row that I've failed to give out a cinder block; poor form gwax, poor form. Anyway, that's me being a failure at Valentine's day (again); I'll try to be better about it next year.

The IT Crowd

There's a fantastic new show on television in the UK right now called the IT Crowd. The show centers around the IT department of a large company (two socially awkward guys and a woman who lied her way into the job) and is fantastically funny, even if you don't know the first thing about computers. The IT Crowd is, in my opinion, one of the funniest shows in rather a while and you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't give it a look.