Warrior Wednesday – Seminar Planning

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Sometimes battle looks more like fighting with a computer in this modern age.

Especially when making preparations for the yearly seminar.

Last year’s form was found, but it was not in the format I needed in order to edit it. I tried to copy and paste, but it wouldn’t copy the information.

Luckily for me, I’m going back to school this year and one of the software packages we use is the Adobe suite, so I was able to convert last year’s file to a word document and update it with this year’s particulars.

I have the main restaurant booked. I just need to book the Friday night whoever’s in town place. My first choice looks like it probably won’t work, which is annoying. There are some new places even closer to home for several of us, so perhaps they will be the place to go. I have menu questions to ask for myself and to see if they can accommodate the smaller group that usually comes out on the Friday night. At least I had no issues booking the large group for Saturday’s dinner.

There’s still insurance outstanding, but we’re proceeding anyway and hoping it doesn’t blow up in our faces. It’s coming. We just have a time of year that happens to be when renewal happens, so we have this same problem every year.

A lot of little things go into a seminar. This one doesn’t have a grading or depend on foreign sensei, so it’s a lot easier, but there are still things that make it challenging to plan and execute.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been working on today. Maybe I’ll check out this other place tonight as I need to go do some errands anyway.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Guelph Spring Seminar 2017

The 2017 Sei Do Kai Spring Iaido and Jodo Seminar had a slightly different feel for me this year. I think this was because some of my friends weren’t there and also because I was challenging for ikkyu rank in jodo. Normally, I just do iaido and don’t have a grading to think about, so the whole weekend is just learning and fun. It was hectic trying to fit in both arts, but it I felt it important to do so.

After checking in, I spent some time fighting with the Wi-Fi, which was something new this year. The page was automatically scrolling me down to the portion for people who already had logins rather than letting me register. Then it was telling me I needed an app and it was a mess. I got it working, but missed a chance to play with a Nintendo Switch. The Wi-Fi was a pain in the butt as it kept cutting out and we had to login again when it did that. Not sure why they couldn’t just let it work the whole time.

I had everything I needed with me this year, so I had no need to go to the store for provisions. My suite was 3.2 and I wasn’t far from any of the party areas. There’s a strangely textured wall in the suites. I haven’t figured out its purpose. Maybe it’s just supposed to look artful. The beds, as usual, felt about as soft as these walls.

IMG_20170522_094216There was also a light-switch in the one bathroom that was the colour of poop. Sometimes I wonder who makes these design choices.

Friday was spent doing a mixture of socializing and helping out before heading off to the Shakespeare Arms. Their new gluten free menu is delicious. I found the curry to be the best I’ve had in a long time. Also, never has a Somersby hit the spot so well after running around and working up a thirst.

Day 1 officially began at 8:30 A.M., but we had to wake up and eat before then. We didn’t really start until about 10:00 A.M. as there were announcements and other formalities to attend to first like T-shirts. Lunch time had me running back to the dorms to make myself a grilled cheese, which was delicious. A dojo mate accompanied me. I ate much better this year. I grabbed my auction items, two anthologies, and placed them on the table. I mainly did jodo except for the free practice period where myself and a dojo mate snuck over to the iaido gym to get some sword swinging in. It was a short time, but my quads felt it the next day. We actually got to film each other to help us see where our problems are and I found that really useful. Our jodo sensei were Mansfield and Buxton from the UK and I thoroughly enjoyed their teachings. We also got to watch Mansfield Sensei take on an 8th Dan from Japan and he was dripping sweat by the end. We learned kata 11, which is one of the longest budo kata I’ve seen. There are many pieces to it and it was fun. The day went until around 6:00 PM, but some of us left early rather than doing another free practice session.

After showering, I cooked myself a hamburger and brought it and salad down to the auction where I ended up winning large sake cups and a hat. A friend also gifted me a beautiful coffee mug. I didn’t drink much because I had to grade the next day. There were some shenanigans at the auction that had everyone at my table laughing. Someone was encouraging one person to bid on everything. From across the room. We though the heckler may have been drunk after having basically moonshine in sake form, so someone nearby told him to sit on his hands to prevent himself from bidding on things he didn’t actually want. I had a taste of that booze and it was potent stuff.

Day 2 had us start at 9:00 A.M., which was marginally better. We trained hard all day and were paired up for grading, which began at 5:00 P.M. I took my lunch down to the Peterborough group’s room and ate with friends. They accused me of being a traitor for taking up jo, but it was all in good fun. Hopefully, I can visit them in the summer sometime.

Grading began around 5:00 P.M. The rules were told to us while we were lined up and waited to begin. I and my partner were in the first group and ended up right in front of the judges’ table. Talk about extra pressure! I was quickly able to forget about them and only focus on my partner, which was important as he was trying to hit me with wooden weapons. After switching sides, while my partner defending against my attacks, I realized I couldn’t remember if I had done the right thing at all, but I held it together because I was able to tell myself what was done was done. Of course, adjustments were made on the fly and some of the formalities were skipped, which left us fearful that we had failed to do things like not turn our backs to the judges. Then we were ushered to the back of the room, which was the furthest point from the door.

Originally, my dojo mate and I were planning on leaving shortly after our own gradings, but we didn’t have that option. As I sat there though, I realized that this was an extra special occasion and we were fortunate to be seeing the high level gradings. Our jodo sensei, iaido sensei, and several others we knew were challenging as well. Grading took us to around 8:00 P.M. and we went back to the dorms to change without bothering to shower. I baked my pizza and got my booze and games and headed down to the potluck where I learned that I had passed. I’m short, so that’s why it’s at a funny angle. I’m not 2 apples high, nor do I have hairy feet as some may have suggested, but it was good I didn’t have more to drink anyway.

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Celebrations were in order and I had much rum. As drinking didn’t begin until 9:00 P.M., it’s probably no wonder that I was up until around 3:00 A.M. I slept in some the following day, which meant I didn’t get a lot of iaido practice in, but I was okay with that. We left shortly after lunch.

On the way home from Guelph, we were graced with beautiful blue skies.

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The thing I loved most about the UK sensei was their focus on cooperating with our partners and having fun. The message was why do anything that isn’t fun. I felt like this is what the grading focus should often be on rather than a slew of corrections right before challenging a grading. This attitude helped me stay calm despite being in the pair right next to the judges table.

I picked up a few aha moments while practicing iaido and I’m looking forward to working on both arts at home and in the dojo.

I didn’t make it to the arboretum. Some year I hope to have the time and energy to check it out.

My thread came while I was gone, so I can get working on my other goals now. Since today was spent mainly on cleaning while the painters were painting my door, I haven’t gotten much done yet this week, but there are still two days left. I’m looking forward to getting back to my writing.

Salut,
R~

 

Merry Monday – Success!

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This May long weekend was spent in Guelph​, Ontario. Besides catching up with friends, a focal point was Jodo grading. It was the first time in 7 years that upper levels could grade within Canada and I feel fortunate that I was there for it.

I also passed my grading challenge and now hold an ikkyu rank. The martial arts I practice are weapons based and don’t follow a coloured belt system. Ikkyu is like brown belt, which seems high when looking at karate, but it is shodan (1st black) and above where the most learning happens.

Jodo is an art form that involves partnering up. One uses the sword and the other a jo.

Mistakes were made, but I didn’t get flustered by them. I just continued. Part way through, when seeing my partner do jo side, I realized I didn’t remember doing pieces. But it didn’t matter. It was what it was and I was in the moment completely focused on my partner, which is good because the judge’s table was awfully close by.

I’m thankful to Jarvie Sensei and my senpais Salhani, Green, and Wilson for helping me prepare. There were four of us challenging ranks and we were all successful!

I couldn’t have done it without a partner who was as equally vested in passing, so I’m thankful to him.

I’m also thankful to Taylor Sensei and all the members of Sei Do Kai for making this grading happen. They all worked very hard to organize the seminar and grading.

I’m thankful to the visiting Sensei for traveling halfway across the world. I truly enjoyed getting instruction from Mansfield Sensei and Buxton Sensei. Their teachings have helped me improve tremendously in a short time. Two key things I learned were to be soft at times and to believe I can do it no matter how big my opponent might be.

More to come on the seminar in the days ahead. Right now, I need food and to relax.

Salut,
R~

Merry Monday – Sleepy

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Can-Con 2016 was this past weekend. Here are the recaps if you want to read them:

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Following Can-Con, I was off to awards night with my B-Movie club. I read my toddler buddy a story about pugs. None of my movies won, so I’ll have to try harder this next season.

After back-to-back busy weekends, I was pretty exhausted this morning. I luckily happened onto an email from my boss telling me to be at the other office this morning.

The backs of my knees have been itchy since Thursday. I’m trying to figure out what is causing it. Nothing seems to be making it go away. I’ve tried Gold Bond, After Bite, moisturizer, and allergy pills. I wonder if it’s something from a washer or dryer, or a food allergy. I had some PC Organics mozzarella on Thursday. I’ve tried to submit a question to them, but their web form doesn’t work for me. I’m feeling a little better after a baking soda and kosher salt bath. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Tonight, I began French class. Je veux parler tous les mots! Mon professeur est aimable. Ils sont quatorze étudiants dan la classe.

Well, it’s time for bed. I have a lot of copywriting to do tomorrow.

Ciao,
R~

Can-Con 2016 – Day 3

Author photo

Raeanne G Roy

The final day of Can-Con was a somewhat rushed affair for me. I just made it in time for a friend’s panel on taxes. Next, it was off to meet with my fellow panelists to practice or Swordfighting as two of them live elsewhere and the two of us who live in Ottawa practice divergent styles. Maybe some year we should see what East vs West might look like…

After our panel, I mostly networked and bought things until I learned yet more about The Ed Greenwood Group. 

Many times throughout the day, despite how busy I was, my thoughts turned to 9/11. Growing up in a town with a major NORAD base, that day’s impact was far reaching. I was in college studying social work when the large projection TV screen in the Nipissing University Student Union room was suddenly dominated by the live images of the buildings and people falling. 

We went to class and shortly after we were sent home. Smartphones were not a thing back then, so we weren’t abundantly aware of what was happening. We knew planes hit the World Trade Centre buildings. We knew a lot of Canadians worked there. We knew the college was really close to the base and the base could also be a target.

Then we spent many days watching CNN trying to understand who and why. I’m not sure that has truly been answered yet, but I hope those whose families and friends were lost have found some sort of closure and peace. 

I think that was the day that I became aware of anything beyond Ontario and Québec. Before that, everything was always so far away. The Middle East was just this place where war seemed to always be happening. Even the U.S. seemed really far away. Traveling was not as prevalent because it was more expensive.

Over the years, I’ve been through several periods where the foundation of everything I thought I knew was shaken to the core. This is why I never fully plan something out today. I’m excited to see what the future has in store.

Ciao,

R~

Can-Con 2016 – Day 2


Day 2 went pretty smoothly. I think the main highlights for me were the panels involving The Ed Greenwood Group. I’d like to write something for them.
The panel on mental health was interesting. They talked about a variety of issues including psychopathy, sociopathy, depression, autism, adhd, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder. They said something I wholeheartedly agree with, which was that people are not defined by their mental health or other conditions. Yes, they implant their experience of the world, but they are not their condition. I also identified with what they were saying because of my autoimmune disorder. Someone walked up to me the other day when I was surrounded by a group of strangers and loudly said that he was surprised I do martial arts given my “illness”. I do not think of myself as ill. Ill to me implies that I’m dying of cancer or have something like cystic fibrosis and need organ transplants. Largely I manage quite well with very little medicine, eating healthily, and exercising. I need more water and lubrication than other people. I get fatigued easy. I have some tendon pain. I have zero percent worries of having a healthy pregnancy when I find someone who I see a real future with. Yes, there are people who are more debilitated than I am. I think a major difference for me is that I’ve had symptoms since I was a young teen. I’ve grown up with this just being a thing I deal with. Other people deal with sick parents or depression from the loss of a loved one or something else. Others with Sjögren’s were extremely athletic prior and get hit hard by it. That would be Venus Williams experience, I believe. But she still plays tennis. Because she loves tennis. I’m actually very healthy. My heart is in great shape and so are my other organs. My eyes aren’t damaged either. It is a small piece of who I am.

We also talked about how a psychopath will convince their victim that the victim is remembering things incorrectly and systematically tear apart their self esteem. Basically they’ll convince the person that they have a mental health issue when really it’s the psychopath’s version of reality that is messed up. There’s a good reason why I’m so picky when it comes to choosing someone to spend my life with.

Next up was epic fantasy and why it has no respect. One conclusion was that people have Tolkien fatigue. Another conclusion was that a lot of people who wrote it were terrible at writing. 

I changed panel plans several times. I’m not much for attending readings of any sort, so I went to one called, “Our Monsters are Us,” which explored ideas like how humans often try to label anything different as bad.

The one Stormtalons panel was only for current TEGG writers, so I went to one on adapting literary works for TV and Movies. I didn’t learn as much at this one as other panels but it was nice to just listen to the discussion.

The panel on writing groups was interesting and in line with what I thought. I’ll be unable to attend my group for the foreseeable future as French class is during that time slot. Becoming bilingual is important to me. 

I took a break for food, drinks, and socializing before going to a panel on selling at conventions. There are divergent theories on this and it’s best to find out what works for you was what I took out of it. 

Well, off to Day 3!

Ciao, 

R~

Can-Con 2016 – Day 1

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Generic convention pic because Can-Con doesn’t have a logo.

Let me preface this by saying I am a little inebriated. There. Now I’m safe to make any spelling and grammar mistakes.

Con is off to a great start. Obviously. Though I think it best not to bring GF beer with me for tomorrow as it got warm despite the ice pack. I hate warm beer. It’s the worst thing since ever.

Today, I attended a workshop on plot by Julie Czerneda (pronounced like Chernaeda). She was fun and mostly helpful. She threw random pieces of paper at us that had new things we had to suddenly fit into our plot. Well, she didn’t actually throw them, but you know what I’m saying.

I walked around the Rideau Centre to kill time before the official start. I generally avoid the place. I don’t want to pay for parking and it both tires me and hurts to walk around such an expansive place. Also, it’s too peopley. So much so that I want to curl up in a ball and hide. It might actually surprise people to know that I’m introverted. I’m about 30% extrovert, so I can party pretty hard when I want to. Also clown around with strangers.

I went to a panel on Ursula K. Le Guin’s legacy. It was pretty cool. I haven’t read any of her stuff, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I’m slowly building next year’s reading list. The panelists were hard pressed to agree on which story I should start with.

Next, was a panel  about the challenges of working with others in the comic industry. I want to make some graphic novels eventually, so I’m rather drawn to things related to that right now. I love Vertigo’s House of Mystery series and the graphic novel version of The Book of Five Rings.

Then, I went to a panel on Non-Verbal Communication and I think it was the best panel of the evening. I learned a lot in that one. But it made me question everything I have ever written.

The parties followed. Yes, writers party in plural. I saw lot of friends and talked about things and stuff. Good times.

I can’t wait for tomorrow! I haven’t decided on if I will try to bus there or not. Probably will because it’s a lot cheaper than Uber. I really enjoyed not having a car. I might put my things into a wheely thingy tomorrow rather than carrying it on my back.

Oh, this year’s theme is role-playing. My character is level 3 and has 21 dexterity but only 2 wisdom. Charisma and Constitution are decent too. I’m told I might piss people off. Looking forward to it 🙂

Ciao,
R~