Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kenpo details...

So someone requested some more details about the Kenpo test. This is a long post. You've been warned.


I had just narrowly avoided being set on fire when my phone rang. I had smelled the gas and heard the frantic scrabble of a striker as the lady next to me struggled with the recalcitrant torch. The sudden ball of flame was no surprise. I ignored the smell of burned hair. Likewise I ignored the grumpy stares, it was after class and they could bite me if they didn't like me using my phone.

It was my Kenpo instructor, he had a cancellation and wondered if I might make an earlier class. A quick glance at the clock showed that if I ran home, leapt in the car and drove like a madman I would make it just in time.

So I did, with 2 minutes to spare.

Small talk preceded the formal bowing-in, once done we were all business.

The techniques started simply enough Heelhook, being a simple defense against a rear bear-hug. The technique flowed smoothly enough, a settling into a deep stance then the dominant foot flashing up to strike one direction the the other, ending in a stomp on the arch of the foot.

This transitioned into the Japanese stranglehold defenses, blocking the kick, and headlock escapes.

Then Sensai called Crash of the eagle. My brain froze.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the instructor grin. I hrmphed quietly under my breath. I always confuse this with Crashing Wings, a different technique from a different Kenpo school, a different life.

"Rear Push" he murmured, taking pity on me. Realization flooded me.

Dipping at the waist and lunging forward as if pushed from behind I swayed forward under the force of the imaginary attacker. Pivoting swiftly about my center I spun, left hand extended in a vertical in knife edge I cleared his pushing hands, my right hand in a palm strike hitting his chest. Pivoting back about my center I pulled him forward driving my left elbow into his temple.

I froze.

"Something wrong?" the voice broke my visualization of the technique. "I know I am supposed to back out at this point... but it feels wrong. Like I should be doing more."

He grinned. "Stop anticipating advanced techniques, you'll learn the extension soon enough. Remember yellow belt is hit and run belt."

I nodded and cleared out of the position.

Swiftly I ran through Tackle Techniques, Pushing the circle, and Opponent at the sides.

Without thinking I moved directly into Rising elbow not needing to be told. Grabbed from behind I slipped sideways, left hand driving forward and back into the now exposed solar-plexus. I used the inertia to rotate downward driving a hammer-fist into his groin, which left me perfectly positioned to lead my elbow upward inexorably upward driving sharply into the soft tissue of his throat. The parallel uppercut to the solar plexus, merely icing on the cake.

Backing out, even as I checked the position of my (hopefully) fallen opponent a voice called out "The Dancer." It meant a rear shoulder grab as if I was wearing hoodie and the like. I did a small cover step to clear the target area, and drove a hammer-fist back into my opponent's groin. Not satisfied, I extended that step out and pivoted under his arms and stepped into a horse stance facing him. Using the momentum of the spin, my change in height from low to high and distance traveled I drove a punishing ridge hand into a deep arc. I felt my fingertips brush the carpet as I brought it forward and up, a fast moving centrifugal whip that ended, again, in his groin. I continued to spin, hopefully tangling his arms if he managed to retain his grip after to punishing strikes to a vulnerable region. A region that almost half of the yellow belt techniques grace with at least one strike.

From there I found myself in a basic arm bar which allowed me to use the the paired techniques "Passing from the horizon" and "Retreating from the horizon" the only difference in them being intermediary strikes of different distances, both of which end with satisfying arm breaks. Satisfying not in the pain inflicted, but the sheer logic of their placement in technique; an natural punctuation to sentence of movement.

The techniques are getting more complex, and sweat has begun to stand out on my brow. I focus on advice that has been given, my techniques has been too rigid, too jerky between steps. Ed Parker insisted that every straight line become curved and every curved line become straight. A simple reminder of a fundamental principal of Kenpo, every movement has multiple purposes and you should flow between the steps not lurch.

Suddenly, an previously unseen opponent uses both hands and grabs me from the front, dimly I hear the technique name "Kimono grab", but I am to focused on the clear threat in front of me.

Reaching across with my left hand I trap the hands on my chest, I manage modified butterfly pin on the far right, but his left hand is only held with the pressure of my forearm. Moving swiftly before he can loosen himself, I sink back deepening my stance and locking his elbows just in time for my rising right forearm bar to strike them. Probably not break, but a distraction and disruption to the nerve centers for the arm. Not pausing, I rake right hand in a back knuckle across his floating ribs. It's a bonus shot really likely only doing distracting damage, mostly using the movement to set up my next strike. My right arm now cleared our bodies, I sweep back in an inward block to clear his arms and probably tweaking his already abused elbows a bit more. If I struck correctly it should also rotate his arms a bit out of line to foil any of his potential strikes. That sweep also sets up the right elbow and I lunge in striking for the throat, elbow shooting out while by left hand covers any wild swings from his hands. Strike completed, I pivot my body to the left using the rotation as fulcrum to swing my right fist downward to strike, of course, the groin.

Coughing from the throat shot, and bent over from the last strike his nethers, his head has been temptingly lowered. But he is tall and I am not, rather then risk an upset I shoot a back kick straight to land squarely on his leading knee his bodyweight rests heavy on it and it buckles. I use the rebounding force to spin out range.

But he has brought a friend. Again some distant voice calls "The Lever" but I don't need to be told, I can feel him grabbing me with his left hand has his right draws back to wreak vengeance for his friend.

He should have learned from his friends lesson and not grabbed me, nor telegraphed the move so openly. A common mistake for those without martial arts or boxing training. Still he not a small fellow and the punch will hurt a lot if it lands. It's not enough to merely clear that grab, I have to prevent that punch from landing. Again I reach across and trap the hand, this time when I step back I do so a bit further and hold the trap tightly as I sink into stance. This has two effects; the first it rotates him off balance and puts that chambered fist off target and on the far side of his body; secondly it locks that elbow tight, a nice tempting target.

I oblige.

No simple tweak, I go for the break slamming my right arm into his already hyper-extended elbow. Unlike what I did to his friend I maintain my grip with my left hand, but that break has chambered my right arm for an elbow strike, I shoot it out aiming for his exposed temple. To help bring the target in range I fiercely yank down and back on the retained broken arm. His head lowers obligingly and meets the lunge of my elbow. The backfist I send as I retreat almost seems like an afterthought, a not so gentle kiss of knuckle to remind him of what he intended when he first grabbed me.

I pause and look for another opponent. From behind me I hear an amused "Inteeeeeresting." I blink the sweat from my eyes and as I control my breathing. UnsuccessfulyI try and discern what my instructor means.

"You kept hold of the left hand and pulled him into the elbow, yes?"

Not trusting myself to speak I nearly nod, trying to quietly suck in huge gulps of air.

"And you haven't been studying ahead on orange belt techniques?"

I shake my head, I barely have time to do my assigned homework, read ahead for Kenpo? Hah!

"It is not part of the technique." He says grimly. I wilt just a bit under his fierce gaze.

Suddenly he grins.

"It is however part of the 'The bridge', an orange belt technique which you will learn next week. I don't think any more review is needed, in fact that review was so good we'll just count it as your test too. Congratulations."

He shook my hand, and exhausted it was all I could do to properly bow out; to show my respect for my instructor, for the school and for Kenpo, a style which I so dearly love.

Good news... and Good News.

Today when I showed up for Kenpo class, the instructor had me do all the techniques for "review" and when we were done he said... "Well I don't think any more review is needed, in fact that was so good we'll just count it as your test too."

I officially am a yellow belt in a second Kenpo style.

After the test we started on Orange belt and I learned the proper way to apply the Sleeper and Guillotine choke holds. Fun and Ow!

Also on a lark after class I swung by the Snap Fitness and discovered that:

1) They are now open
2) I have almost 2 months left on my account.

Way cool.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bout to lose geek points...

I find Lolcats incredibly funny...

Case to point

Hopefully this selection will get me some geek points back.

I just spent 2 hours wandering through... this site

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tired... on many levels.

I ended up working all the way through the night and even then not getting all of the Architecture assignment complete. From the sounds of panicking from the other students I'm not the only one.

After class I went to my old apartment, loaded the rest of it and re-cleaned everything I thought wasn't quite shiny enough.

During the check out I discovered I'm apparently supposed to get the carpet professionally cleaned and apparently I forgot to vacuum behind the fridge.

You are supposed to vacuum behind the fridge?

Anyway by the time I got back I was to exhausted to unload the car.

Feeding the dog early and going to bed.

*Edit* Oh, and some lovely person sent me 4 oz of pure uncut Vietnamese Cinnamon. Even through 2 ziplocks and bubble envelope you could smell it. The stuff is about twice as sweet and 4 times as strong as most normal commercial Cinnamon (which is actually usually a related plant called Cassia unless it's labeled Ceylon cinnamon.)

When I unboxed it Cinnamon (the dog) had her nose practically buried in the cinnamon (the spice.) When I turned to look at her she apparently thought I was offering it because she tried to take it from my hands, very gentle as she is wont to do. No spice was spilled, the dog was startled and confused by the withdrawal of the expected treat and my subsequent amused laughter.

I shudder to think of the sneezing fit that would have ensued had she bit down...

*Edit 2* Even with Mozilla's on screen speel check my dune speel so good. Brain tired.

Late night break... erm.. #1

So my first Axonometric took me nearly 4.5 hours to draw. Lots of tedious measuring and remeasuring.

My second one, which was even more complicated took me 1.5 hours.

I had an aha moment. I thought it was enough to draw an Axonometric grid... but if you actually extend it into a cube... well drawing it becomes stupidly easier. Instead of measuring, you count grid blocks on plan and elevation drawing, sticking a point at the appropriate spot in the cube. Then you connect the dots.

This is apparently what is covered in my still missing text book.

So one more Axonometric to go, re-copying (and fixing) 3 plan and elevation drawings, and then only 21 sections to draw.


*Edit* oh and Pre-calc studying and homework... and tomorrow after I get done with all these fun classes I get to go move the last of my stuff out of my old apartment and do the final check out.

Add to that a pinched nerve in my neck/left shoulder, a misbehaving car, and sub-zero temperatures...

I think we can officially call this week "sucky."

At least the dog isn't as gassy this week... (not that you care I'm sure.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dinner Break Post...

Am I a foodie? Yes, I am.

So after feeding the dog and taking her outside, I observed pizza being delivered next door for the third time this week (that I know of.) My neighbor Mike* waved at at me and asked if I wanted to come over and split it.

I thanked him, but declined because I had dinner in the oven and ton of school-work.

Dinner for me being:

Saffron-butter poached chicken breast, Havarti cauliflower grautin, and spinach salad with and orange mustard dressing.

I'm actually in the mood for pizza and if I weren't 1) already cooking dinner 2) serious about the homework 3) doing Men's health TNT diet so little to no carbs... I'd have taken him up on the offer.

It just amused me that my standard fare is effectively snob food. Which is odd because it's not significantly more difficult or time consuming to make then mac and cheese, hamburger helper, or any other of the quick foods that people seem live off of. Certainly tastes better...

*I only know Mike because during that damn cold spell he managed to lock himself out of the house just as I got home from class. I invited him upstairs for coffee and we made small talk while he waited for his roommate to get home.

He seemed nice enough, but it became REALLY obvious in a short amount of time that computer geek and snow board instructor's lives have very little overlap.


Still alive.

30 drawings to redo tonight, plus study for a Pre-calc quiz tomorrow.

I think it would be fair to say that I am both "stressed" and "anxious."

So I'm turning of the computer (metaphorically ... since it's playing my music) and getting ready for a long night.

*Edit* I forgot to add there was lovely Dianetics flyer under my windshield wiper asking me is I was both "stressed" and "anxious" and offered to help me out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Guess what I'll be doing tonight?


The same damn thing I do every night.

What were you thinking?

Oh.. the mead... no I'm saving those for some unspecified date and conditions that are not likely to occur in this lifetime. But I had to buy it... it's mead...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good News...bad news...good news...

So it's -15 f and dropping here with expected lows of -23 f tonight.

After discovering my remote start wasn't working I decided it would be prudent to plug my car in tonight.

Good News. The Remote start not working was just dead batteries in the remote.

Bad News. After Driving all the way to Walmart for an extension cord and batteries I get home to discover my car does not in fact have block heater.

Good News. I stopped for coffee. There was good news but that's all I'm going to say here.


"Sweeny Todd" (the movie) and "Light" (the Book) coming after I finish my homework.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mini Movie Review.

I can actually do this in a single sentence.

The Wolves of Kromer, gay British werewolves framed for murder in sleepy town soon roused to zealotry fury; low budget.

Okay is that not enough?

How about.... Arsenic and Old Lace meets The Birdcage meets ummm... right now I'm stuck.

Ya see, these are not foam at the mouth slavering homicidal werewolves. Really just a couple of lads with long nails, tails coming out of their trouser and seperated from their family for being "wolves."

As one commentator said... it is cute, with lovely views of the countryside... and definitely low budget.

Day Two... Magic 8 ball says....

Situation Snowy... ask again later.

Today's classes were Pre-calculus and Advanced Metal-smithing.

The pre-calc class was fine, although crowded. Professor's explanations were clear and concise. However, she verified rumors that I had heard previously that the class is essentially self-taught out of the book and the instructor pretty much only answers questions about the previous night's homework and general introduction to topics covered in detail in the text.

Advanced metal-smithing was a class I was simultaneously dreading and excited about. Dreading because I would classify certain specific skills as mine as advanced and the rest as intermediate of basic.

However turns out there is no intermediate class, so if you took basic metal-smithing your choices are advanced or.... advanced. He stated that he is going to be treating people with less experience too not quite as high standard. I will have to see if I can finagle into that group... which I have already probably shot myself in the foot because after class we spent some time talking about small-shop mokume techniques and Japanese alloys and their patination opportunity.

Also, the first assignment is cool, and a new technique I hadn't encountered before. As a mater of fact it looks like this whole semester will be 3/4 be things I haven't done. (Like enameling and cloisonné)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's for my education... really...

I need to attend this.

"The Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA and the Caribbean School of Architecture, University of Technology, Jamaica will collaborate for the first time to present an international symposium on the subject of "Caribbean Modernist Architecture" from 29th February to 1st March 2008 in Jamaica."

Not just because it is 14 f and windy here in cowboy land.

Black is the new black....

I want t-shirt out of this stuff...

People were Kenpo fighting... school was fast as lightning... the books were little bit frightening..

After nearly four weeks off from Kenpo class (last week the instructor had to cancel at the last minute) yesterday I again went to class. It was good class, we reviewed everything over and over again as I hadn't practiced nearly as much as I should have over the break. We ran through all the techniques slowly as a reminder, and then ran through them over and over again 'at speed.'

I was sweating by the end of class but I had a happy endorphin glow. Sensai pretty much said that when I feel ready to test let him know.


Today I had my first class of the new semester and my only Wednesday class. It's the next in the design series but with a different instructor. Much as I really liked my last instructor he urged all the students to take a different instructor both for the change in teaching style but also to learn different things different ways.
My new professor is a great font of knowledge... but being older he doesn't exactly fill the room with his voice, and it's a big room. He also has a ... reputation... for VERY tangential explanations to questions. For example... last semester I got a short critique from him on the 4 line assignment that involved: fork design, the differences between Japanese kimonos and their Korean counterparts, and folk dancing.

Should be an interesting semester.

I ended up sitting with several of the same folks from last semester, in fact we also sorta drifted over till we were together. I'm hoping that we don't get split up as we work together well as team and they are pretty nice people. This includes a young lady I've mentioned before in my Livejournal post of embarrassment. However I must not have made too bad an impression as all three of the girls from last years group joined ours (sat next to me no less.)

If I keep sitting in the same spot I will also have the benefit of morning sun. Hmmm could be good... could be bad.


Mini Book Review:

I mentioned in my LJ quote of the week an author I greatly liked named Max Barry. I had only ever seen one book by him in the Sci-fi scetion. Upon discovering his blog, I discovered he has three books and the other two are considered mainstream fiction.

So dug out my 30% off coupon and bought the one my local bookstore had in stock... Company.

This book is actually difficult to review without revealing to much of the plot. The protagonist is fresh young graduate hired by well known firm... suddenly discovers he has in fact been employed by dysfunctional company hell. Irrational management, a mid-day promotion, and co-worker on quest for vengeance over missing donut... and the first day isn't even over yet...

The book is satire. This book however is so painfully funny and true at moments I started have flashback to working at the Railroad.

It was funny, it was brilliant, it was very very scary.

I heartily recommend it.

*If you can't get the links to LJ posts it means you are not in my LJ friends. If you think this is in error let me know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What makes me laugh out loud...

Not a lot.

I smile, I occasionally snicker or chuckle.

I found by accident a webcomic that makes me laugh. These strips in particular. Make sure you read the title of the individual comic above the panel, it's put things in context)

Example A
Example #2
Example #3
Example = Yes.
Example #2

I'm stopping there... in fact I have to stop for the night or I'll be here forever. (laughing.)

*edit* Okay One more...

If you get this one I'm sooo sorry.

*Edit reduex* I have to reload music on my iPod, which crashed again... so it'll be few minutes before I get to go to sleep.


Typfaces, nut-jobs, books, and other

I just discovered that my Netflix account (Unlimited Rentals 1 out at a time for $9/mo) now allows me unlimited viewing of Netflix's On-demand movie service. While not as complete as their general inventory there are still some interesting things to be seen.

For example, I am currently watching the documentary "Helvetica" which is about the creation of the type-face it's impact on the world and various designers take on it. For example I did not know that it was invented in the 1950's as a Modern design as rebellion against the more stodgy traditional typefaces. It also means, literally, "The type of Switzerland" in Latin.

Thus far it's fascinating, if you have any interest in how such things work.


However, it reminded me of something I wanted to address. I have friends (bless their little Democrat hearts) who have from time to time expressed great concern at the irrational behavior of Neo-cons, while seemingly oblivious or at least dismissive of equally irrational behavior in their own party.

In this documentary they are interviewing a rather famous designer who's name I recognized, but had never seen her before. During the course of filming she proudly announces that she has never used Helvetica in her career because large corporations use it, and they were sponsors of the Vietnam war, so if you use Helvetica you are in fact supporting the war.

This is such completely irrational viewpoint I can't even begin to address it. (Not just because I forgot which logical fallacy this was nope...)

I see and hear this this sort of thing all the time and I never heard a liberal call other liberals on it.

You should.

I think zealots on both sides should not be tolerated, as ultimately people stop listening to what you are saying because the nut-jobs (be they Pat Buchanen or Cindy Sheehan) are tarring by association.

Lastly (as a dear friend pointed out) not all Conservatives are Neo-cons and you aren't winning friends or arguments by assuming that because I don't agree with you on issue X, that I'm a foam-at-the mouth bible-thumping zealot. Or... conversely that I'm a dope-smoking pinko commie bastard.

We and the issue's are more complex then that and if you let the members of your party polarize the argument so strongly there can be no discussion.


I have been watching a lot of movies, but I have also been reading a lot of books over this break. Sadly not enough hard sci-fi.

But I have gotten a couple of e-mails asking me if I have given up reading for movies. I haven't... and I suppose I should start including of the books I read too.

Assuming I have time to read in the new semester. We'll see.


Something else was supposed to go here... I've delayed posting for 20 minutes and I still don't remember what was supposed to go here... ah well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On missied oppourtunities and movie reviews.

I don't intend to post to this blog salacious details of my love life (or lack thereof) but it occurs to me that occasionally being an egghead/geek/nerd is more of curse then people may realize.

Case to point. There is a fabulous little grocery store like a mini-Sagaya less then a block from my house. Last night I walked down to get dinner fixings and an attractive young lady held open the door for me. She smiled shyly at me and I smiled back walked in and began my shopping.

As I shopped my mind disassembled her outfit. Maroon pantaloons or perhaps belly dancer pants were tucked into knee high riding boots, a tight black velvet vest controlled a flowing black poets shirt, all of which was captured by... frankly a frock coat. It was a fascinating blend of English country, Edwardian, and maybe a touch of the steam-punk.

As luck would have it, I ended up in line behind her, and as she made small talk with the clerk ringing her up she kept glancing over her shoulder at me. Since I didn't want to alarm her or come across as a some cretin undressing her I studiously examined the large gourmet chocolate display.

Somehow she got delayed and ended up holding the door for me again, this time with my hands full.

I risked eye contact, smiled and thanked her.

She had dimples.

I watched out of the corner of my eye as she got in her truck as I began to trudge back to my apartment... wondering all the while whether if she was theater geek, gamer, a classical horse rider, or something else.

I was half way home when my brain translated those eye glances in the store not as alarm... but as interest.

She was flirting with me.

She was not in the parking lot when I got back.

I don't know what I would have said had she been there...

One movie I missed in the theater and didn't get a lot of press was Danny Boyle's Sunshine. Mr. Boyle is the director behind one of my favorite zombie/apocolypse/sci-fi films 28 Days Later. I had heard nothing but praise for Sunshine and eagerly awaited seeing it.

It was worth the wait. I was literally shaking with emotion after watching it, and would have no difficulty naming it the best movie I have seen in a year.

Things that I had problems with in the middle of the film became "Eureka!" moments later on.

As one other blogger put it the fact that Even Almighty is nominated for a Special Effects Oscar and not Sunshine is criminal.

I don't want to say to much about it because if you choose to see it I want it to unfold for you with no preconceptions except that I thought it was terrific.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick Movie reviews...

I've watched a dinkum amount of movies recently and here are some quick throw off reviews.

Fido - Pleasentville meets dawn of the dead. Makes up for watching Werewolf:the Devil's suckiest movie ever. Billy Connely doesn't do anything but moan the entire film and was still great.

3:10 to Yuma - Not sure what I was expecting, but I will watch a Christian Bale move in spite of Russel Crowe. Suprisingly... I thought Crowe did the better job, an pulled off being the devilishly charming but ruthless bastard quite well. Worth watching once.

Resident Evil - Extinction- First off I had really low expectations. The storyline was utterly predictable... but you've got zombies, out of control psychic powers, mutants, and malevolent mega-corps... add to that Milla in leather thigh-high chap thingees... well I had a lot more fun watching it then I expected. Anyway it was way better the the second one... which was not hard to do.

Skin Walkers - Chosen one... blah blah... save the werewolves... blah blah... fight their inner beast... blah blah... Sorry what oh... um... review. It wasn't bad. I enjoyed it. The costumes weren't terrible, and in the case of the lead bad guy they did a good job keeping the resemblance between man-werewolf forms. Plot was completely linear and predictable after the initial shootout that had me hooting like a banshee in amusement (Go go grandma Gunslinger!)

A note... when there are werewolves fighting in the back of the RV and your mom tells you not to open the nice solid steel door... listen to her mmmkay?

Alien Vs Predator Vs the National Guard... I mean AVP:R where R = Requiem for very strange meanings that apparently don't involve any music. Confused yet?

Remember what I said about expletive titles in my review of movie no-one should see? (A movie I disliked so much I've mentioned twice so far...) They are stupid. They treat the audience like they are morons.

So I sit down in a completely empty theater in time for AVP:R to flash across the screen... mmkay good.
Then underneath it spells out Alien Vs Predator: Requiem.

Ignoring their misuse of the word requiem... which I won't get into (here's hint ... if there isn't music or priest saying Mass involved it's not a requiem) I'm sitting there wondering who wouldn't know what the movie was with just AVP:R. Were there people in other theaters suddenly surprised that they were watching this film, people who paid for a ticket not knowing they were going to see aliens, predators... and a priest? Wait, no priest, sorry.

Things I liked:

Continuity - The movie picked up Exactly where AVP ended. This was nice touch. They set it up in the previous film, but still continuity is good.
Creature Design -The Predators did not look like Mr. Staypuff the marshmallow man. I don't know what the Predators were eating in the last film but they didn't look sleek... these guys did.
New Weapon - Not gonna say what it is, but it was adequate, and not overused.
Bully + molecular acid... my new happy thought.
Predalien - If you've played the AVP game you've seen them but it was nice to get some screen time. I liked the fact that it was also clearly dominant in the pack hierarchy.

Things I didn't like:

No surprises - There is very little mystery left to explore with these bad boys so instead the directors seemed to think that gore is an adequate substitute for tension. It's not.
Recycled poses - Every "tense moment" in the film has been done exactly the same way in previous films.
Wanton violence - Past alien films have made it clear that they attack with two seeming end goals: impregnation and food. These ones would attack, eviscerate, maybe nibble a bit and move on. Apparently this subspecies got the spree killer gene. See above quote for gore not being a substitute for tension.
Recycled Audio - Why in the name of Clarke and Roddenberry is there the sound of the motion tracker in the Army's command center? It's hundreds of miles away and the audio wasn't even subtle. It was loudly pinging away telling you that other army folks may be moving near you... STUPID.

Things both Good and Bad;

Blue Goo - Nice touch. How MUCH does he have in the little jar?

Overall a watch once.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fridge infected with Evil...

So since I moved in I've noticed that the food I put in had immediately developed an off taste. Like it was completely fake or rotten.

In the midst of my cleaning I uncovered the reason why.

Thank God I caught it in time, before I had a chance to get infected.

I'll request a new fridge from the landlord tomorrow. :P

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Mr. Clean and Bonus dog weirdness.

One horrible side-effect of the move from Alaska to Montata was the packing tape I and my friends used to secure the kitchen stuff. It left this malevolent yellow residue that nothing budged. I have it on my kitchen knives, my crockpot, my microwave, and more.

Everything I have tried: dishwasher, Brillo pads, Goo gone, steam, and in some cases steel wool has be at best limited and in some cases totally ineffective. The only thing that worked was multi-hour soak in goo-gone followed by steel wool. As this was not going to work on my delicate appliances I had resigned myself to their gruesome fate.

Until now.

As my new kitchen was in less then a pristine state I have been cleaning as I unpacked. I remembered Consumer Reports (tm) raving about the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (tm) and effectiveness at removing grime. I was rather please at the ease with which it removed was what obviously years of bachelor neglect of the kitchen... and then my eye fell on my microwave.

I looked at the erase.

I looked at the microwave.



What The Hell.



Needless to say, I'm very happy.

Bonus Picture...

So when I am in ye bathtub of delight, my head is actually below the level of the tub. Cin often sits nearby when I bathe and upon hearing the dog moving about, obviously trying to find a comfortable spot, I didn't think anything of it.

Until I got out and didn't see her.

At least not at first...

As if I needed further proff I have a weird dog.

P.S. The lamp is temporary as those shower curtains block most the light in the bathroom making it hard to read in the tub. Clear curtains coming soon.

*Edit* I should have specified as it was AK-MT move (Now fixed above.) I've been suffering this damn tape for 4 months. Plus I didn't have anybody help me move Belgrade-Bozeman. I wish I did, carrying desks upstairs by yourself is no fun.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ruminations on working out...

Here are my options Such as they are:

1) School Gym.
Pro: Free
Con: College Gym rats, in the middle of remodel that was supposed to be complete before I started fall semester but it still going on. Crowded at all times. (Unverified but so I've been told)

2) Gold's Gym
Pro: $99 for 99 days, and can transition to month-to-month with no sign-up fee after the 99 days are up.
Con: General Gym Rats. Not inconvenient but not near. 1 week to decide on the $99 offer, otherwise it's 12 month contract @$40/month or Month-to-month with $71 sign-up.

3) Snap Fitness
Pro: Open $24 hours, less expensive then Golds, and near both my house and office.
Con: Not open yet. I drove past and they are setting up the equipment still... no signage up.

4) Bowflex
Pro: Good equipment, open 24 hours, REALLY near to my house, even the basic model does everything I want.
Con: Either capital investment or on credit at the equivalent of 2 years of Gold's membership rates, and honestly I don't have the best history with using it once I have it, must fight the coat-rack principle.

5) Weight Bench + basic set.
Pro: Open 24 hours also REALLY near to my house.
Con: Capital cost is 1/2 of what the bowflex is, but takes up more room. Not all the exercises I want to do I will be able to do.

So anyone have any thoughts/suggestions/offers?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Killing me with kindness...

A friend who is in Brussels sent me a package of made-that-morning Belgian chocolate.

A 2 lb box of fresh hand made Belgian chocolate...

Other the European's inexplicable desire to ruin some chocolates with hazelnut filling the everything has been really good. (Even the Hazelnut ones are tasty... and Cin has volunteered to eat any I find. But for her safety I am suffering and eating everything.)

I do find it amusing that it takes exactly 2 days for fed-ex 2 day service to get from Belgium-Montana, but it takes 4 days to go from Montana-Alaska.

USPS shipped my an fruitcake from Alaska in 2 day though.

*Bonus Bathtub picture*
Dagnabbit, I just realized I forgot to get replacement shower curtains while at Target.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back online.

I'm about 75% moved in, I've got most of my day-today living stuff moved over... though I somehow managed to leave all my coffee cups behind.

Every square inch of my body hurt. I actually had trouble walking down the stairs this morning to get ibuprofen.

Door to the upstairs. The dog hasn't grown... the doorway is 5'6" tall. My landlord hit his head everytime he went through...

Upstairs Bedroom. Cinnamon can look out the windows. Well not now... now there are curtains up.

Second Bedroom/Computer room.

Kitchen. No dishwasher but there is a gas stove.

I apparently forgot to take pictures of the living room (now filled with boxes) and took an uninteresting picture of the bathtub. I'll post it if people really want to see. On the subject of the bathtub. Thank god for gas hot water heaters and deep tubs. I took my first comfortable bath in almost year last night.

I'll try and get picture of the front of the house... hopefully the old tenets defunct couch and mattress will get hauled off the front lawn soon.