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Showing posts from November, 2015

Fighting Food Allergies

Well I have a new Naturopath. The previous one I had in 2013 discovered my food allergies through blood tests. As an aside, I often refer to them as allergies, but they're technically sensitivities. The difference between the two is that true allergies bring about a reaction that is anaphylactic. A sensitivity is one step down from that and still gives major reactions like hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, headaches, etc. An intolerance is even lesser on the scale, though commonly results in mad cramps and diarrhea. Technically there's more to those delineations, but for my purpose I don't need to go into the deep scientific and medical details.

Now I'm trying NAET. Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques is admittedly on the hokey side of treatments. It uses a lot of asian healing techniques like acupuncture. It also uses a test for muscle weakness in the presence of the allergy that can easily be faked by the practitioner. There's another test that use…

Grading is on my mind

Next Saturday I will be challenging the Shodan grading. This is also referred to as First Dan. It is the first black belt level in our martial art, Iaido. We don't have coloured belts and we don't actually wear our ranks around our waists. Our obis, or belts, are to help keep our hakama, or pleated pants, up and our sword where it should be when it is sheathed. Shodan is thought of more as the level where learning really begins. Previous to it one is learning, but it has mostly been fundamental things like where to stand and how to hold a sword. I don't know what learning comes next, but I'm hoping I'm ready for it.

What I'm thinking about the most is Mae. Ippon-me Mae is the foundation of our art. It contains so much more than it appears to within it. Aside from the horizontal and vertical cuts, there are options to stab in case it isn't just a one-on-one situation after all. The cuts are used in many situations and crop up throughout kata in all of the set…

NaNoWriMo 2015

Well I've been doing terrible at National Novel Writing Month this year. Why? Life has been busy.

At the end of October, from the 30th to November 1, there was Can-Con. I successfully pitched my novel to one of the publishers, then spent two days touching up my manuscript before submitting it. I had gotten some outside feedback at Can-Con and wanted to apply it. So that took me to November 4th as a start date. Then I had to spend some time ensuring I had food to eat at the Iaido seminar on the 7th. The 6th and 8th were partially lost to travel. I didn't get much writing done in the first week.

In week two when I could get some time to write, I was facing the challenges of full-time work, writing course, plus social life. I was also facing a challenge of, "Man, it's been so long since I looked at this manuscript. What's it about again?" Also, I had updated my Scrivener to the newest version and it moved some of the text files around, so I had to reorganize and r…

It's not about one book, it's about language

The vast amount of bombings and shootings that have happened recently,(Baghdad, Paris, Beirut), have been affecting me. I have trouble dealing with problems that are unsolvable. Probably part of the reason I enjoyed House M.D. so much.

I woke up on November 18, 2015 and realized that the problem isn't about any specific book. I believe it is, in part, about language. Not a specific one, but human language altogether.

From what I understand, most holy books are guides to being good people. There is a fundamental problem in how they depart that knowledge. Those guiding principles are open to interpretation. People will interpret them how it makes sense to their lives rather than know explicitly what it means.

Thou shall not kill.

Orthodox Buddhists view this as anything. Don't kill humans, ants, ladybugs, mice, etc. They don't eat meat either.

For the rest of us who do eat meat, we might wonder if we are already doomed to hell, yet our Creator made us omnivores. This may be news …

My Writing Method

Many people struggle with getting words onto the page, so I thought I'd share what I do. I've spoken about it before, but not given examples. I often write in layers, but sometimes I skip over several layers as I'll get inspired to write a scene. Getting started is often the hard part.

Layer One

Write the general idea of what you want to happen.

Example: Dog bites girl.

Layer Two

Expand on that. What kind of dog?

Example: The European boxer bit into the girl.

Layer Three

Spark the senses more.

Example: The brindle-haired European boxer snarled as he tore into her flesh.

Layer Four

Why do we care about a dog bite? Is the girl important?

Example: She never got over the attack. It followed her. There was always a dog at a house party, or even out on the sidewalk.

Layer Five

Have we been writing an inciting incident or has it actually been backstory? Probably backstory, but that doesn't mean we have to scrap it. Who is my character?

Example: Suzy had been on the West Hampton police force…

Mindfulness, respect, and vulnerability

A theme from this weekend's seminar was to think. Don't just flail the sword around in the approximate direction. Think about every cut, every motion. Think about where the tip is rather than where your hands are.

Mindfulness is the buzzword for this. All too common in life we run on autopilot. We drive to work in a zombie-like state. No thought that we should tell others around us that we are going to do something that requires action on their part (braking, for example). I don't know what the statistics might be for how many people get through their work day without ever thinking about what they're doing, but I do know it happens.

At my rank in iaido, a key focus is on respect. There are different thoughts on respect. One thought is that it must be earned. That's valid. Tell me who you are and what you've done that I should care about.

Another thought is to give it freely until someone does something where they no longer deserve it.

Both have advantages and disad…

An Eventful Weekend

I'm still alive! Things have been eventful though.

Can-Con 2015

When I last posted, Can-Con had just begun. The rest of it went by in a blur.

On Day 2 I attended a panel called, "Ask a Doctor Anything." I asked questions about amputation for my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel Scion, which I'm trying to finish this year.

I can't recall what I did next, but I think it was change into my hakama and keiko gi to get ready for the panel I was part of. Or maybe that's when I went to the one on villains.

I'm not going to lie, it felt damned cool to be a panelist. I enjoyed demonstrating some moves and the attendees got a chuckle when I did. They learned size doesn't matter as technique will prevail. I feel like we could have used 2 hours rather than one. One hour to talk and take questions and the other to demonstrate techniques and scenarios. I didn't get to talk much, but as it was my first panel, I'm all right with that.

Almost immediately after that, I pitched my …