Safety First!

The story of another sword practitioner online upset and angered me. Their “most qualified” dojo person in swords came back to their dojo with a shinken (a sharp katana) and pressed the tip of the blade near the person’s genitals.

Let me explain a couple of things. We practice with wooden swords until our teacher approves us for our first grading, which is a brown belt rank. To take that test, we must use an iaito (a dull katana – or more specifically one that cannot be sharpened as it is made with an alluminum alloy). We train with iaito from brown belt until we are challenging for our 5th level black. Many years of practice happen in between each level of black.

One of the big deal things is never place your sharp sword in a way that is likely to hurt yourself or another. Safety is important. Hell, we practice pretending our non-sharp sword IS sharp to be sure that when we are ready for a sharp one, we won’t be assholes!

This is akin to pointing a loaded gun at someone. One flinch in the wrong way and that man could’ve have been neutered or worse! There is a large artery not far from the genital area. It could have went seriously bad and what if emergency services couldn’t make it in time?

So if you are ever training in sword and your “teacher” pulls that kind of crap, get a new one pronto. Safety is paramount in sword training.

Goals Update

Writing

  • Horror Script: First draft submitted.
  • Digi60 Script: First draft submitted.
  • Horror Short Story: 360/7,000 words*
  • The Page & The Magician: 71,165/80,000 words
  • Puppy Chow Script: Revision not started.
  • The Blood Waitress Club: 24,092/80,000
  • The Mockumentary Script: 10/120 minutes

*I wasn’t sure I’d have room for this, but I do, so why not? If it’s accepted, I’ll make a bit of cash. It’s due in June.

Home

  • Bathroom Door: 90%*
  • Dishes: 30%
  • Laundry: 20%
  • Entrance: 65%
  • Recycling: 70%

*Handsaw acquired, but I may push this to after Easter at this point as it’s heavy, I’m slightly injured, and I want to be able to watch it in case it has issues.

French

  • Online: 5/30 hours*
  • Class: 9/30 hours

*Need to put in 4 hours to catch up.

Finances

  • EI: Complete.
  • Job: 1 application(s)*
  • Taxes: Complete.
  • Car Loan: 95.2% paid off.
  • CC1 Debt: 23.6% paid off.
  • CC2 Debt: 88.7% paid off.
  • OSAP Debt: 1.47% paid off.
  • Mortgage: 14.81% paid off.

*I have a bunch on my radar and am planning to revise my resumes this week.

Fitness

  • Iaido: 0/2
  • Walking: 3/7
  • HIIT: 2/3

All in all, I’m generally pleased with my progress this week. I haven’t gotten everything done, but I’m improving each week.

R~

Make-It Monday – Holding Back

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This week’s theme is holding back.

I suppose there are some things I need to hold back on in order to make it to the finish line. My last class is on April 26th.

I need to bite my tongue. There are so many things I would like to say to someone, because they have some things extremely wrong, but sometimes we must never speak to someone again. And sometimes there are people one spends months trying to work with only to be repeatedly disrespected at every juncture.

I hate drama and b.s.

Otherwise, I’m trying to get as much done as possible while dealing with fire testing in my building. I’ve been cleaning. A lot.

Oh, I had a wonderful coffee date recently! It was so comfortable and the conversation was great. I’m looking forward to seeing him again ūüôā

Here is what I have left to do to graduate and their [due dates]:

  1. Complete my portfolio. [Thursday]
  2. Fix up this website. Yes, some tweaks will be made. You’ll see my poetry tabs and some others moved to a new Portfolio tab. [Thursday]
  3. A quiz. [Thursday]
  4. A presentation about a web series. [Thursday]
  5. The second draft of my feature film. [Saturday]
  6. Revise my one act play. [23rd]
  7. A pitch document for a TV show. This is mostly done. [24th]
  8. Update my career plan. [26th]
  9. Supposedly an exam, though that one hasn’t talked about it. [26th]

And ever since we had the workshop on writing for games, all I want to do is play videogames.

I think I know what I’ll be doing on the 27th…

If you don’t hear from me much this week, it’s because I’m drowning in the above homework or perhaps I’ve had so much caffeine to survive that I can’t sit still long enough to drop a line.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Beginner’s Mind

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Image created using Bitmoji

One of the concepts we bandy about at martial arts is The Beginner’s Mind. Basically, the idea is to approach something as if you are a white belt and know nothing.

I use it often. At school or while in some other learning environment like a seminar, even if I have learned much of the content before, I clear my mind and pretend I know very little. By doing this, I can listen and absorb things because I don’t dismiss anything. Now, I don’t completely ignore what I’ve learned before. I use that previous knowledge to help me fill in a gap. For example, we were discussing how to get a play script sold and the way the teacher was explaining things seemed a bit convoluted to me. That’s when I used what I knew from film and TV classes to figure out that while in TV and film you need to find a willing producer, with plays, you need to be the producer. To be a producer in TV and film, you need to go to film school. Not so for plays.

I also use this technique when going out on a date because I’d rather assume I know nothing about someone than that I know everything. I may not remember everything discussed, but I’ll know far more than I would otherwise.

It’s helpful with a new martial art because while you’ll know some aspects due to the body only having a limited amount of ways that it can move, the devil can be in the details. Coming to jodo after karate was difficult before I knew about beginner’s mind because I spent so much time in karate trying to square up my stances only to find I need to have an angled stance in jodo. Iaido is more square, but not low, wide, and deep like karate. I actually had to stop doing jodo altogether for awhile because I couldn’t leave my learning from karate behind to allow myself to take on something new.

Beginner’s mind is something I also use to connect with people who are in a different lifestyle or stage of life than I am. It lets me avoid assuming things about people in my classes like their ability to be successful is really only limited by their will to persevere and has nothing at all to do with their age or current level of writing ability.

Now, I only recently came to this last bit about those younger than me. I have been rather stupid lately in regards to things like the Tide Pod epidemic. I’m sorry for that and I’m going to continue to try and be a better person.

One of the things that has made me realize that was the recent trip to Toronto to pitch our projects. At the home of Orphan Black, the woman we met with had us each say a bit about ourselves. I really enjoyed learning more about my younger classmates as many of them have had such a variety of life experiences. Many have traveled more than I have. Many have lived through things like the loss of a parent. I thankfully have not had that experience though I’ve lost many people in my life. The point is that age is mostly just a number. I do think there is a balance between assuming someone younger is inferior in any way and in giving them free reign to change national policies, but that’s not to say they have nothing valuable to contribute to a discussion. It’s more that they don’t know what they don’t know yet.

I haven’t been able to do this yet with music, but maybe someday. Language learning is another area this may help with, but I’m not there with that either.

I feel that The Beginner’s Mind fits quite well with entropy as one must basically blow up all they know and rearrange the pieces to either expand what was already known or to capture what one knew little about previously.

R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Respect

Respect is something that’s in short supply today.  There are a lot of students on the bus who get pissed off that they may have to let someone sit beside them. They’ll refuse to move their bags, sit in the aisle seat and refuse to move over, and other such childish behaviour. 
Some of the bathrooms at school are even more visual representations of this.  Used toilet paper and feminine hygiene products can be found on the ground rather than in garbage bins or toilets. It’s disgusting. 

Two people may be enjoying a conversation and a third will come along and interrupt their discussion rather than let them finish. It’s as if they’ve never been taught any manners.

These behaviours are like monkey shit. Cow manure may represent other bad things like the death of an old friend or a relationship being put on hold because while also shitty, good things can grow from them. Nothing good grows in monkey shit. Disease and infection is all that comes from it. 

Don’t be like monkey shit. 

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~

Thoughtful Thursday – 8 Pieces of Wisdom from My Teenage Self

thoughtfulWhile cleaning up my home including my drives, I stumbled onto some words I wrote in 1999. I called them “Self Guidelines”. Maybe they’ll be helpful to someone today.

  1. Help others if it’s in my power AND they want me to.
  2. Don’t let a guy come between my best friend and I.
  3. Don’t do something that will put someone else in a bad position even if they deserve it.
  4. Approach situations and people with an open mind.
  5. Find the good in others.
  6. Keep emotions in check.
  7. Don’t force others to feel the way you do. Respect that they may feel differently.
  8. Be open and honest with the people you love.

I lost my way for a little while, but I found my way back.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – An Opinion on Opinions

thoughtfulSometimes there really is absolutely no need to state your opinion on something. If someone posts an ad about a country home for sale that states they are willing to sever more acres, it is not time for you to chime in and say that the term sounds weird. No, it’s time for you to educate yourself on common real estate terminology rather than suggest subdivide would sound less ‘harsh’. Sever is a LEGAL TERM. This is not something subject to your “feelings” about wording.

It’s a term used in a lot of things. Severance pay. Severing assets. Severing land.

If the only thing that comes to your mind is severing limbs, then you are the one with the problem rather than the rest of the world.

The knowledge of much of the world is at your fingertips. I don’t give a crap what you *think* something is when it takes two seconds to confirm you’re talking out of your rear end.

And for heaven’s sake, it’s a real estate ad. If you’re not interested in buying the house, then keep scrolling. If you honestly can’t find something better to do with your time, GET A LIFE. Seriously. There are a billion more fun and productive things to do with your time. Life is short and one day you’ll wake up wondering why you wasted so much of it on crap that was meaningless.

These are the same people that are amazed at how much I accomplish on a regular basis. It’s not rocket science. I don’t waste time as much as you do. I set goals, make plans, and limit my time on things that are a waste.¬†You won’t catch me regretting lost time.

Have the courage to fully live your life rather than piss on others who are living theirs.

I’m off for a weekend of relaxation and partying at a cottage with a friend to celebrate our birthdays, which are a few days apart! Well, and a few years, but not everything needs to be technical either.

When I get back I’ll work on my goals and relationships with humans that I care about instead of trolling people like a beta male.

Sorry for the rant.

Posts have been prescheduled for the next few days. I hope you enjoy them.

Salut,
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Canada Day

Today is Canada’s 150th birthday, but that means a lot of different things to different people, so I can’t think of one music genre or song that fits. As a friend said, Canada is a cultural mosaic.

To me, being Canadian means recognizing the awful things we’ve done and are doing like how the railroad was built, the continued mistreatment of our First Nations people, our involvement in The Somalia Affair, turning away Jewish people in WWII, the internment of our Japanese citizens during WWII, and our involvement in supplying materials for the bombs detonated in Nagasaki and Hiroshimi. There’s probably more listed in a book called Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific¬†by John Price.

All of that means everyone who lives here can have immensely complex feelings about this holiday.

For the First Nations people, many may protest or want little to do with this day. It means 150 years since strangers came and took nearly everything from them.

For the Chinese, it may bring up memories of lives lost building a cross-country railroad system that so many still use today.

For many from all over the world, it means a safe place from the atrocities in their home countries.

Some of us don’t even know why we ended up here instead of the country of our ancestry. The Scot in me wants to listen to Oh Canada on bagpipes.

But we’re all on this piece of the globe trying to live together despite differences and some truly awful things in our recent past.

And for the most part, things are pretty good here. A few weeks back, I spent time in the park near my house at an event where people from all different racial backgrounds and lifestyles came together to sing and dance to hip-hop. It was the first time I had ever felt like the oddball being one of the few white people who live in my neighbourhood, but I enjoyed the day. Missing Linx was there. One of their members happens to be one of Ottawa’s newest Poet Laureates, which isn’t a distinction that is easily achieved. You can learn more about JustJamal ThePoet here.

And Canada has a lot of wonderful things too!

We’ve had amazing people like Terry Fox.

The world owes our First Nations people for maple syrup.

A Canadian invented basketball.

Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a Canadian soldier’s pet bear.

John McCrae was another Canadian who created a famous poem.

Superman was created by Canadian-American man names Joe Shuster.

Canada helped free slaves.

And how about the green spaces, fresh lakes, Tim Hortons, hockey, ringuette, bacon, Alberta beef, and real beer?

Being a Canadian is mostly awesome, but don’t forget how we got here and respect how others choose to spend this day. That’s about the most Canadian thing you can do.

I’ll likely spend part of it in deep mourning for my Nexus 5, which has decided to stop functioning. According to the Internet, repair is estimated at $200. I have some money on my tab, so a new phone would be about the same including a case for it. There are a couple of problems. I really can’t afford a phone right now. I have a trip next weekend to a place I’ve never been with no GPS. Guess I’ll be busting out an old school map. Truthfully, my phone has been acting odd. Difficulties charging properly and calls only ringing once before hanging up making them impossible to answer most of the time. Maybe I can collect on a debt owed to me and have it work out.

Salut,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Cultural Appropriation

thoughtfulPlease bear with me and read to the end as it’s a difficult topic prone to enraging people.

The iconic image of the Japanese rice ball found its way to¬†Hawaii. While you might hate pineapple on pizza, it’s a delicious fruit we wouldn’t have if not for trade.

Japan has done a lot of appropriating over the years. Their written language came from China, as did Bonsai. They got Buddhism from Korea who got it from China. Wet-rice farming also came from China.

A former friend’s Chinese boss loved Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pepsi. I’m not sure if he also like collared greens or not.

Yoga is REALLY popular among many cultures today. It’s from India. And I’m sure you’ve heard about the Kama Sutra ūüėČ

Pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, and more pasta comes from Italy, but tomatoes are newer to Italy than you might imagine. Oh, Italy also has rice balls. They’re deep-fried, but Italian rice can be used to make Japanese-style rice balls too.

The earliest record of beer is from Sumeria.

While the Irish are known for potatoes and whiskey, french fries come from Belgium.

Romans invented french toast.

The croissant comes from Austria.

I guess part of what I want to say about cultural appropriation is, be sure it’s actually happening before attacking people on the Internet or in the street. Wait for all the information to come out. Someone being influenced or inspired by something is often a good thing. It can generate interest in the original thing.

When it’s not someone being a despicable plagiarizing jerk anyway.

Braided hair, for example, is part of many cultures, especially Celtic ones full of white people. There’s historical evidence dreads may be from Egypt.

Dance teachers, martial artists, and more study styles from many different cultures to encourage more people to enjoy them.

As we approach Comiccon, I expect to see posts about culture not being a costume, but there will always be a little kid who loves Disney and wants to dress up like Pocahontas, Mulan, or some other character. Yes, some of these were real people. People dress up like historical figures all the time whether it be for a reenactment or a role in a film. Now, I see a problem if Pocahontas was suddenly cast as a white woman; that’s totally reasonable. But making children feel bad for liking her so much they want to be her for Halloween, I don’t agree with.

Think about where everything you eat comes from. All the technology you use on a daily basis. The things you love like movies, hockey, etc. Much of it comes from sharing. Some surely also from conquering other peoples. People are generally more open to sharing when they haven’t been treated shitty in the past.

Do you celebrate Octoberfest (Germany), Cinco de Mayo (Mexico), St. Paddy’s Day (Ireland), Robbie Burns Day (Scotland), and/or Christmas (Christian)? A lot of people do. And it’s fun to explore other cultures!

But some things are sacred.

There’s a Toronto artist going around plagiarizing the work of Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau. The problem isn’t exactly the Woodland Style itself. The problem is that Woodland Style is like stained glass and the stories told by the Indigenous artists through the style are like their biblical stories. If you were any sort of Christian and an atheist ran about making Jesus wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops in stained glass… Well, maybe you can see how upsetting that might be.

If that doesn’t work for you as an analogy, think about communion wafers being used¬†for a wine and cheese party at your¬†home, then a drunk guest pukes them up all over a couch your dead mother gave you as a wedding gift. That’s basically the level of wrong we’re talking here.

This woman is taking their religious art for her own and trying to insert herself into their history. Now, is there a way to have the feeling of Woodland Style without outright copying Morrisseau’s work and being respectful to the culture though you’re not part of it? Perhaps. The first step would definitely not be to say you don’t pay attention to critics and that you’ll do whatever you want anyway.

So while sometimes it’s beneficial to share cultural elements, some things just aren’t shareable. Some religions you just can’t convert to.

It’s taken me all week to figure out my own feelings about this. My mother grew up on a reserve, but we’re not Indigenous. Well there’s like 0.001% Mongolian Indigenous in me, but it really doesn’t count. Anyway, that’s not important. I’m saying that as cool as it is, instead of being a thief and a crappy human, buy authentic Indigenous art from real Indigenous people. There’s nothing wrong with playing around with painting it at home, but don’t go selling it if you aren’t part of the culture.

If you were invited to a pow-wow, it’s not an indoctrination into the culture. All cultures have the right to decide which parts they share with outsiders. Outsiders are not entitled to a damn thing.

What is super cool? Enjoying your own culture and appreciating that different ones exist.

I hope I didn’t piss anyone off, but things just had to be said. I also hope the issue is clearer now for those that haven’t been understanding why it’s a problem.

Salut,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Freedom to Grow

thoughtfulWhen did it become OK to verbally attack strangers? To suggest they are inferior to you in some way because they think differently than you? There was a time people knew how to respectfully discuss ideas and how to respectfully disagree with others.

There’s a video online of a woman who is whining that her son hasn’t phoned her from college. She rambles on about wiping his butt, toilet training him, making him go to karate, etc. Some people find the video funny and others find her overbearing.

I take issue with forcing a kid to do an extracurricular he doesn’t like. It’s one thing if he usually loved it and thought about quitting during a trying time. As you level up, it gets harder after all. It’s quite another thing entirely if they dislike the activity and would rather be doing something else. People like Elon Musk become who they are by having parents that let them follow their passions.

Furthermore, posting a video online shaming your son for not calling isn’t a mature way to handle the situation. This is like shoving a puppy’s nose in their poop rather than teaching them to poop outside. Set up something that works for both of you according to both of your schedules rather than complaining he has time for his girlfriend. She may well become the mother of your future grandchildren, but only if they have the time to grow as a couple without your interference. College is a time for your children to grow into adults. They are supposed to be handling almost everything on their own. Maybe you help them with care packages and such. Maybe you pay their tuition. That doesn’t mean they should be in constant contact with you. Don’t be Norma Bates or you’ll bring a Norman Bates into the world. It’s also disgusting to complain how long the black belt testing for karate is after making him go.

I love martial arts, but if my kids would rather play hockey, do ballet, be a musician, or whatever else, I will support them in what they are passionate about rather than force them into an office job that sucks the life out of them. Activities are not like eating vegetables, chores, or bathing. They are something people do in the time they have that isn’t dictated to them by a teacher or boss. Unstructured play is critical for development. Let your kid figure out who they are and want to be.

And FFS, don’t tell strangers they have no character, patience, or willpower and the only way to develop it is to spend a decade doing something they hate. That decade is lost forever. They could’ve been doing something they’re passionate about instead and accomplish something amazing like developing a better testing method for pancreatic cancer like Jack Andraka did.

Sorry for the rant, but it needed to be said.

ROW80Logocopy

Onto what I’m passionate about. Here’s where I sit on my goals:

  • Screenplays: Completed the outline of Puppy Chow and have begun writing it. Got more pages done than I thought I had.
  • Short Story: On page 6/11 of my short story. Editing is a little less painful than last time.
  • Novels: Editing the first half of The Blood Waitress Club as writing a screenplay has taught me how to better show vs. tell.
  • Sewing Business: I have cleaned up the table surface for my sewing area. The floor is next.
  • Kitchen Reno: I’ve made some progress on my drawers. It’s harder than I thought it would be, but I’ll make it happen.
  • House Cleaning: Plant repotted. Begun moving things to storage.
  • Walking: Terrible. It’s been raining heavily most of the week.
  • Guitar: It’s ready to be picked up. Planning to do that tomorrow as I have plans with a friend in that area of town anyway.
  • Exercise: Been sucking at this. Been focused at crossing other things off the list I suppose.

And my Bullet Journal has been helping me achieve all this.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, “May the Fourth be with you!”

Anyway, there’s more to tackle yet, so I better get moving.

Salut,
R~

Fortifying Friday – Language

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Image created using Bit Strips.

Language is on my brain a lot lately with the immense amount of hours I’ve been clocking while learning French.

It shows ignorance when people assume refugees should speak English. Yes, they need to learn to communicate in Canada, but it appears that there are a large number of people who don’t realize that refugees get to choose to learn either English or French. It’s almost as if English Canada thinks they’re the only true Canadians.

Canada is considering adding ASL as a¬†third official language. I think this is pretty cool though I’m not sure how many people speak it. I’m surprised a First Nations language such as Algonquin hasn’t been considered given how many FN people live in Canada. But then, what often seems like a no-brainer to me isn’t obvious to other people. For more on the Algonquin language, you should follow my friend Jay Odjick on Twitter as his Algonquin Word of the Day initiative is really cool. But then so is he as you might be able to tell from this recent interview he did.

I’m a reformed grammar pest. Learning French has given me an appreciation for communication that extends far beyond having things academically correct. That said, some things I’ll always stress the importance of due to the meaning being completely changed. I don’t hassle people, but request clarification to ensure we’re on the same page. It generally works better than making them feel dumb for using the wrong word.

Smartphones have also helped me with this. My phone regularly pisses me off by putting the wrong ‘to’ in my sentences. In my head I’m screaming at it for thinking I’m wanting to go too a place. The two of us¬†go to, not too! Unless of course I’m saying I want to go too as in also. But I’ve learned that people may not actually be dumb and unable to comprehend simple grammar concepts and it’s just their phone fucking them over and perhaps they don’t have the time to fix the mistake. But authors should be better, especially in their published works that have been read by many sets of eyeballs.

While learning French, I’ve often been annoyed by how many tenses and ways there are to say the same thing. Of course, there are just as many in English. And it’s actually one of the things I love about language and writing; it’s just annoying to learn. “Can’t I do the thesaurus thing later?” I whine to myself rather than annoy the teacher and my classmates.

But another thing that makes learning a language challenging is that there are many forms of each language. We, in Canada, often argue that the French we should be taught is Quebec French while our schools teach us Parisian French. Given the rather large amount of French speaking countries, those aren’t the only two versions of the language out there in a world of approximately 7.5 billion people.

Did you know there are an astounding number of English dialects? Check out this list from Wikipedia to learn more about that.

Announcement Time!

I’m making a change to my blog again. I’m tired of Fortifying Friday and given that I enjoy writing playful and often erotic things¬†it will be replaced by¬†Frisky Friday instead. There may be more changes in the future as well. More on this in my upcoming newsletter.

Yes, I will have a newsletter very soon! You can sign up for it here.

This weekend is Geek Market and I’ll be checking it out sometime on Saturday. Have a stupendous weekend!

Salut,
R~