I have returned to Aikido.

The pandemic nearly destroyed our dojo. When we were able to return to practice our rent went up. Due to reduced membership we could no longer afford it, and our landlord would not negotiate. I negotiated a deal with the city’s Parks & Rec department for us to teach our classes there and we share the revenue. This is how a lot of classes are done there. It has worked out well, but I was just not ready to return to class. Things at home were not settled down enough from the pandemic and other issues. I practiced a few times, but it wasn’t really time yet.

I’ve never considered myself to have “quit”. I knew I would go back to practice. When I started back in December 2006 I made the commitment that I would never voluntarily quit. It just wasn’t time  to come back yet. I needed more time to deal with things at home and my own battered mental health. This year it was time.

I’ve been back at practice for about 3 weeks now. I assumed I was in horrible condition. I was wrong. It’s not like I’ve been totally inactive the last 4 years. I’ve been skating a lot. Anyway, as it turns out my fitness level needs improvement but I’m pleasantly surprised. My body isn’t very sore. My ukemi (falling and protecting myself when being the “aggressor”) are still pretty good. I am rusty and need refreshers on some details and of course need a lot of practice, but that’s always the case in Aikido.

After one practice my mind felt clear again. I feel like I have energy again. Everything is just better.

What really makes me happy, however, is that my friend David has started. Like all of us, the last few years have been rough on him. He says he feels good. He’s engaged with practice. I can already see the change in him. It is really great to have one of my oldest friends at practice with me. I hope he really gets a lot out of it.

Thankfulness Report 2023

Time for another report, this being Thanksgiving and all.

I am thankful for…

  1. The fact that there is something rather than nothing
  2. My wife
  3. Our cat, Lefty
  4. Our dog, Riley
  5. My family
  6. My friends
  7. Skateboarding
  8. Gaming
  9. Reading
  10. Libraries
  11. People of good heart
  12. Our house
  13. That I grew up in a house and family where I felt safe and we didn’t a bunch of fucked up problems
  14. Our stereo and music collection
  15. Our health

Yet more reading

Finished reading my 19th novel for the year tonight, Drowning World by Alan Dean Foster.

Pretty classic ADF. Solid story. Interesting. Great pacing.

Deciding what to read next. This will be the first year ever that I actually meet my Reading Challenge number, which is 20 books for 2023.

Drowning World

As it turns out, in this Alan Dean Foster novel I’m reading now, Drowning World, two aliens races are living side by side on a planet. One race is native to it. They are trying to drive the other race off the planet, and are getting weapons and tech support from a more advanced alien race wishing to keep the Commonwealth from gaining benefits from that planet. The native species attacks their neighbors by surprise.

That’s as far as I got last night, as I read this while watching news of the Israel-Hamas war.


More SF Nerd Stuff

I made an attempt to read And Chaos Died the other night, by the late Joanna Russ.

I say “attempt” because about 5 pages in I realized it is not a casual read. This isn’t one to read while you watch America’s Funniest Home Videos. It will require some dedicated attention, solitude, and a non-weary mind. None of which I had the other night.

So I began Alan Dean Foster’s “Drowning World”, the fourth (chronological in-universe) of his standalone Humanx Commonwealth novels.

Here’s the thing about ADF. He’s not going to blow your mind with state of the art science fiction ideas, speculative science, hallucinogenic mind-fucks, or experimental narrative styles and structures. ADF tells a good, solid, entertaining science fiction story within his fictional universe. Within those stories you will find some humor, some surprises, and in this era of depressing “the universe hates us” science fiction ADF offers adventure and optimism (not unlike Star Trek).

ADF will drop you on to an alien planet, introduce you to weird aliens with weird names, and a hour later the names don’t seem weird and the aliens are beings you might even relate to. He’ll tell you one small story — one of thousands of possible stories — based in his setting.

There is something to be said for a novel you can just read and don’t  have to decipher.