Friday, September 28, 2012

Another benefit of martial arts

In addition to providing the social interaction that leads to the plot of this year’s NaNoWriMo project (which I’m referring to as the steampunk panama canal community band evolutionary psychology novel) and the frame for the zombie novel, karate has other uses. Oh, besides teaching me to defend myself, improving my character, and being not a bad workout.

Three weeks ago I started taking Chinese Poles at circus school. Strangely, I keep pulling my left hip adductor. Well, maybe I only pulled it once and then aggravated it the second week. The third week, I stretched a lot before class and it was fine.

We’ve learned a few moves: how to climb the pole (hand-over-hand, using our insteps to start though the non-beginners use their toes); koala, where you hang on for dear life once you get to the top of the pole; Buddha, where you stick one leg out from koala straight to the side, and put the same side’s arm in front of the pole, and stick both arms out; and gargoyle, where you do pretty much the same thing except hang onto the pole with your thighs. I should scan the drawings from my notebook so this makes sense.

Anyway, the second week we practiced those skills and learned two new ones: knee hook, where you put one leg straight and swing the other through and hook the back side of your knee, push your hip forward and let go with your arms (I can’t really do this), and upright hold, where you just hold on with your hands and your body upright (I can’t really do this either).

So, the reason I can’t do the knee hook is because I’m afraid, and also I don’t push my hip forward until it’s too late and my support leg has collapsed at the knee. I realized this last night at karate while we were doing basic stance, and I could feel my hip adductors, not because they’re pulled but because now I know where they are. And now I know what joint I need to flex to get my junzuki no sokomi and gyakuzuki no sokomi working right.

So the point is: it’s good to do things I’m good at and know how to do, but it’s also good to try new things.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Someone on twitter tweeted this link, so I decided to try it on the zombie novel.

OH MY GOD my novel is the girl who cried wolf. I didn't know.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What I read -- August 2012

“YMCA Basic Theory For Fitness Leaders”. By the Y. I took this course there, and so I had to read the book so I could do the take-home tests. First, I took the course because it fit in a slot in my summer, and every once in a while someone will say to me “you should be a yoga instructor” which I don’t know about, but whatever. My sister is doing a program in that stuff, and sounds like she’s mostly having fun with it. And I do a fair bit of helping out with karate, so knowing more about the Y and their ideas, rules, etc., can’t hurt. The book was kind of self-help. I left it kind of late, but did all the stuff I had to do in the proper time frame. There were ten chapters, and I would set a goal to do a chapter and then put the book aside because I’d met my quota. I went on at great length about this to the boy, whose study skills are useless, but it probably had no impact. I think I spent more time with this book than I saw him studying all last year.

One thing I learned doing the exercises is that I’m more a proactive/ person than a process person. I need to find a way to implement that as a writer probably.

The anatomy and physiology section was rudimentary, but after reading it I went to karate and thought more, while I was moving, about the muscles involved in each thing we were doing, and where they inserted and originated. The back especially was pretty interesting.

“Kim” by Rudyard Kipling. 7th Sigma had so many references to Kim that it seemed remiss not to read this, since I had it lying around. Sometimes I have anxiety surrounding reading “classics” because they seem like they might take too long, which is stupid because it makes the reading metric “books finished” take precedence over everything else. Though, metrics are like that, they ruin everything.

So I finished this, and it was  charming and everything, but I went on Wikipedia when I was finished to see if I’d missed something important. I hadn’t, apparently. Not sure what I was expecting.

“A Confusion of Princes” by Garth Nix. Based on a game, which I could kind of see because I knew, but probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. My initial reaction was that I liked the Abhorsen trilogy better. That’s probably due to the fact that Khemri is pretty unlikeable at the beginning. Also, there was a lot of background information needing to be conveyed. I was happy with the fact that a prince could be a girl, and that there were as a matter of course a lot of women in the military and in command roles. I think I started liking things when I realized how Prince Khemri was being played by the Emperial Mind, and especially when he said “before you get all jealous that I’m being promoted ahead of you, know that I’m being sent as a clerk to a minor manager of a garbage dump in a backwater corner of the universe.” Or some such thing. He just embodied everything it is to be an arrogant teenager taken down some notches, and the voice and unreliability of it was all beautiful. I guess there’s a challenge at the beginning to having an unlikeable character who grows into a likeable one.

“The PMS Outlaws” by Sharyn McCrumb. I bought this at a flea market because of the title. It looks like the last book in a series, and not the one the author is best-known for. It seems a little under-edited (there’s one spot where I’m sure a scene is in the wrong place – Elizabeth is painting a picture of the house in one scene, and then something else, and then back to the house again, and the switch makes little sense). 

The ending wrapped up the mysteries, but the main character spends almost the entire book in a mental hospital not doing much. I've never been in a mental hospital, even to visit, but it didn't seem like how one ought to be to me. The other patients didn't seem like the sort of people I'd expect to see there. But then, I've never been in a mental hospital, and I haven't been in Virginia in a very long time either. A painless read, not as funny as I'd hoped.