Monthly Archives: November 2010
Took the family to go see the new Disney movie, Tangled.
That was a fun movie. It felt like a return to classic Disney magic (to borrow a 3 word review from a friend of mine). The songs, the pacing, the storyline, the way everything unfolds, characters… just well done. I felt like they remembered what made great Disney movies like Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and so on. I’ve been so turned off to Disney (non-Pixar) movies for a while because they were caring more about money and less about making a good movie and telling a good story. Well, perhaps the Pixar influence is rubbing off on the Disney studios (now that they’re under the same roof) because it seems they cared first about a story and second about everything else.
Good show. Recommended, if you like Disney movies.
Poking around the Internet searching for stuff about Aikido, I came across the website for the Big Sky Aikido dojo. The head instructor is Gregory Olson, who has studied Aikido for over 30 years. He’s also a University professor, so he’s written numerous articles on Aikido-related topics. One article is Aikido, Judo, and Hot Peppers: A True Story of Violence Averted. The gist of the story is Olson Sensei goes out to dinner with his family when his wife noticed someone breaking into their car. Olson Sensei confronts the individuals, uses some judo and Aikido to control the situation, eventually the police arrive and cart the thief away. But, the details of the confrontation are important, so please read the article (or at least sections “The Incident”, “The Confrontation”, and “Epilogue”, all of about 2 pages).
Did Aikido Work?
The big question everyone wants to know is, did Aikido work? These days if it’s not muay thai, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, judo, wrestling, western boxing or whatever ilk can feed into MMA-style work, then it’s considered crap. I admit, there’s something to that line of thinking, but we have to remember what a person’s individual goal is in evaluating “did it work”.
In the simplest sense yes the Aikido worked. The thief was stopped and turned over to police. The physical action taken by Olson Sensei was able to stop the crime.
But let’s look at a larger context. Aikido is not just a series of movements, but there’s an underlying philosophy of nonviolence and redirecting the opponent’s energy. If we take it in this context, Aikido truly worked because the thief came out not just unharmed, but as an improved citizen. Olson Sensei recounts what happened a few weeks later:
Several weeks after the incident, the young man, a local high school football player, came over to my home with his father to apologize to me for his behavior that night. He said he and his friend had been in my van looking for a new tape to play in his car’s tape player. He told me he had spent a long night in our local jail pondering his predicament and the costs of not acting with integrity. He told me he was sorry that he had “goofed up.”
The boy was able to learn from the incident. Hopefully he truly did learn something and will grow and become a better person for having gone through what he did. As Olson Sensei put it:
I experienced the warrior spirit and philosophical training coming together to protect the young man who was making a small but not insignificant mistake in his life.
So I would say that Aikido truly worked. It worked on its physical level. It worked on its philosophical level.
Now let’s think what could have happened if the only training Gregory Olson had was in MMA-style arts. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail. Chances are the kid would have gotten a good beating. Maybe not, but when the flag flies we revert to whatever our body is trained to do in monkey-brain mode, which generally means “bash head with rock”.
Now take it a step further. Suppose the only training Gregory Olson had was with a gun and he was able legally carry that gun. I don’t know what Montana law says about defense of property, but here in Texas yes one could legally use a firearm to defend their property. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And just supposing Mr. Olson had a gun doesn’t mean that boy would have ended up dead. But these are things worth thinking about.
Let’s delve further into the story. After taking control of the thief, Olson Sensei recounts how 5-8 other young men came around — friends of the thief! They immediately surrounded Olson Sensei and started yelling at him to let their friend go. I don’t care how badass you are, a 8 on 1 fight is generally going to leave the 1 at the mercy of the 8. Is any sort of empty-hand martial art going to help you here? Maybe… the interesting thing with Aikido is it practices against multiple opponents, so perhaps it could help him. Still, the odds are generally not in your favor, especially in a snow-covered parking lot. This is a point where I personally would appreciate having something to even the odds, like a baseball bat or a gun. Again, nothing saying you will end up using them, but while you wait those 12 long minutes for the police to arrive, the best you can hope for is to keep them at bay.
The reason this story struck me is because of the situation I presently find myself within. I’ve studied martial arts where you are given the range of options, from simple submission to more painful and damaging solutions. I spend a great deal of time studying defensive handgun use. I like having options and not being artificially limited because you don’t know what life may bring you. Sure, just one guy in a parking lot may be easy to handle, but when his 8 friends step out of the darkness, that changes the situation and calls for a different course of action.
At first I did not want to consider Aikido study because of its philosophical limitations: sometimes a violent response is the best and right response, and Aikido frowns upon such a course of action. But I’m now at a point where I think studying in that way would be good for me. It would help bring some balance to my mindset. I don’t know exactly how good or bad it will be for me, just have to start on the journey and see what happens. I don’t believe studying Aikido will be a waste of my time. Oh sure, the MMA-types will say I’m wasting my time, but well… my daily life doesn’t involve combat, it involves living. While the crux of martial arts is fighting, there is more to it. I’d like to see where Aikido can take me.
I appreciate having options. While on the one hand I want to expand my toolset to allow myself more options, on the other I want to throw away options to hone and refine my toolset. Aikido’s physical skillset is limited (compared to more comprehensive arts), so that’s focus and refinement. Aikido’s philosophy is limited, so that too is focus and refinement. What sort of insight will it bring to me? We’ll see.
I’ve written about the .300 AAC Blackout before. A very interesting round to say the least.
“Bobcat at 40yds, amazing based on the exit wound we had good bullet expansion, 172# sow taken at 85yds, both with 130gr TTSX at 2050fps MV, one shot DRT with massive spine/lung damage on hog. It’s like shooting a pop gun, minimal report and no recoil………………. We’re going to shoot several bullets into the hog in the am and recover some bullets to see what kind of expansion we’re getting.”
It’s not going to be any sort of long-range round, but it seems effective on smaller to medium sized game with mild impact on the shooter. Promising! Read the whole article for full analysis.
Nothing to actually do with police, but more a mindset about what differentiates a good person from a bad person.
The crazy thing? As I read the list of “bad cop” things I couldn’t help but think of politicians and our current state of governmental affairs.
… for being sick.
Kids had something, mild but no fun. Seems that Wife and I now have it.
My throat is so sore I don’t want to talk. I’ll let you smartasses decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
I’m starting to feel the Benedryl kick in… asdjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj;
Sorry, did my face just hit the keyboard?
It seems the Texas Shooting Sports Complex, which would have brought a nice big shooting sports complex to Hays County (south and west of Austin), isn’t going to happen.
The Hayes County Parks and Open Space Advisory board reviewed and commented on 12 projects. Of those 12 projects, the TxSSC came in 12th place. Here’s the board comments:
Project #12. Hays Co. SSTF, Tx Shooting Sports Center Score: 50.1
- Primary purpose of facility is not a priority in the Master Plan
- Funding request is for land purchase only, and exceeds current remaining amount of bond funds available
- There are no matching funds for the land purchase
- Land acreage identified in proposal would only accommodate shooting sports center, and not the parkland/other elements discussed in application
- Road and other infrastructure development needed – significant additional cost
- Question revenue stream
- There is definitely a need for a shooting sports complex/range in Hays County, but this is not an appropriate use of the Park and Open Space Bond funds
So there you go.
From the brief comments it appears the group isn’t giving up, it just needs to fall back, regroup, and then try again. If the above are the case I think it’s reasonable for the center being turned down. Compared to other projects, this project impacts less of the community. Furthermore, it looks like making this project a reality will cost a lot more than just what’s in the proposal.
Here’s hoping something like this can go through eventually. Hopefully the group will take the comments to heart and work to find a solution that’s workable for all. Blue-skying a facility is nice, but maybe breaking it down into stages might be a way to get it there. Walk before you can run.
Good luck, y’all.
I’ve been working on a new programming project that’s new in every way. It’s a new project, it involves new API’s, new platforms, new paradigms, new things to explore… just about everything with this project is new.
When I get stuck and wonder how to get something done, first I turn to documentation. The docs are useful but generally are straight API docs. I need more conceptual docs, I need more HOWTO docs. So I look for sample code, and while some code is linked to from the docs, it many times hasn’t been enough to satisfy my question. So I do what has become natural in this day and age: turn to Google. Within a few keystrokes and clicks, I tend to find what I’ve been looking for. I can implement a solution in my code, get back to work and get on with things. Progress is quite rapid, all things considered.
What did we used to do?
I recall having to walk down the hallway to talk to other engineers at the company and ask for their help. Working from home for the day job and then having my own side gig, I just don’t have that luxury any more. Oh sure there are people I can turn to when I need it via IM or email or phone, but the world is growing so diverse in languages, technologies, platforms, APIs, and then the depth of what’s within those areas that often I ask someone a question and their response is “never used that before… never did that before… I don’t know”. While that isn’t solely a problem of today, in the old days we’d then turn to things like Usenet newsgroups or ad-hoc mailing lists; today we’d use web forums and official mailing lists But no matter whether we walked down the hallway or posted online, those all took one thing: time. If you walked down the hall you had to keep asking until you found someone who had a clue about the problem set, then you’d talk at great length, you’d get sidetracked, and eventually get back to your desk and work. If you posted online, you had to wait for a response with netiquette saying you should give it at least a day or two for people to respond. That sort of lag time isn’t always acceptable.
Now with so much content being online and Google’s amazing search capabilities, it takes almost no time. Chances are your problem isn’t unique, thus someone has asked about it before. And if you’re lucky, someone has responded with a useful solution… and Google was there to index it. Just craft your search string well and hopefully you’ll dig up what you need and be back on track within a few minutes of typing, clicking, and reading. The only thing we need is for people to keep their data online: websites can’t go away, blogs can’t close up, else that knowledge and information goes with it.
I’m quite impressed with how much I’ve gotten done this past week. With everything so new and having to wrap my head around so many things it’d normally take me a few weeks to get done what I’ve accomplished this week. The immediacy of the giant collaborative network that is The Internet is becoming a more awesome thing and powerful tool each day.
A couple leaves their car idling in a gas station parking lot… with their 6 month old child inside. The couple step away from the car to go talk with someone.
A man jumps into the car and starts to drive off.
The parents jump to the car, they manage to break the car window, Dad gets inside and beats the carjacker who then runs the car up onto the curb and flees. Carjacking scumbag unfortunately still at large.
Lots of things about this bug me:
“It happened in broad daylight”. People still believe that evil only lurks in the dark. No. Crime can and does happen any time, any where. You cannot let your guard down just because the sun is shining.
The Dad spoke of how he let his guard down for a second. Folks, that’s all it takes for bad things to happen. Vigilance. I understand being human. I understand being tired after long travels. But we have to train ourselves to remain in code yellow, especially when we’re tired, when we’re at a “stop & rob” (very popular targets for crime), when we’re in unfamiliar territory. It’s not easy, but crime isn’t forgiving.
They are describing this as heroic. Well, I admit the parents put up a good fight — it’s hard to beat a motivated individual. But they are overlooking the fact that none of this would have happened if they didn’t make a terrible mistake in the first place! Leaving their car running (a tempting target), and leaving their baby in the running car!
Lessons to be learned here.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hinted this week that the body scanners and “enhanced” pat-downs that have caused a ruckus at airports across the country could be coming to a train station, port or subway near you.
Where do you draw the line?
“I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime,” she said. “So what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”
Where do you draw the line?
If they could attack here, they could attack here. You tighten up there, it now means here is looser. And it just keeps going and going and going….
Are we going to have to install scanners to enter and exit our homes? I know that sounds silly, but that’s the path we’re on. Consider that 20 years ago we never would have thought we’d be where we are now, so truly… how silly does it sound?
Napolitano has defended the screening procedures and criticized the protests.
“I really want to say, look, let’s be realistic and use our common sense,” she said last week, explaining that the screening technology has been in development since before the failed Christmas Day bombing attack last year.
“This is not about the government itself,” she said. “We all have a role to play in security.”
“And so I really regret some groups saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to be a part of that,’” she added. “I regret it because it’s not what we’re all about. What we’re all about is shared responsibility.”
OK then. Is that how it is?
Then let me carry my gun into the cabin of the plane.
Then work to repeal laws restricting where I can carry my gun, such as government offices, schools, sporting events, universities.
If you really want security, then work towards the ends that actually can achieve it… not this silly knees bent running about
advancing encroaching behavior.
So tell us, Napolitano… where do you draw the line? What is too far for you?