29 March 2011

I Never Met a Board I Didn't Like

Until now.

I noticed that Ninja wannabe hasn't got much press time over the past few weeks, so I thought I would share a story.

Long ago, back when I was a blue belt, my Sensei had these cool, plastic re-breakable boards. They supposedly simulated different thickness of the real boards that some martial artists break. If I remember right, he had a set of six or seven. The white board was the easiest and the black one was the hardest.

The very first time I went through them I didn't have any problems. I remember that I was one of the only people who got through the black one, and probably only one of two to do it on the first try. The second time we played with them, months later, I had a tiny problem with the brown one—glared and hit it again, going through with awesomeness. (Wow, sorry about the insane punctuation in that last sentence. I think I made most of that up.)

So when my now Sensei bought a set of five re-breakable boards I was excited! Yay, something I can do and not look like an idiot! (P.S. One should never think these things.) I went through the first four with no problem. Just smash the dang things with my fist. Ta-da!

Last one—green one—epic fail. I hit the stupid thing three times with my right hand and then twice with my left. Nothing. I even tried it again after class . . . still nothing. I could get the two halves to separate, but never to break. I don't feel terrible, because only like three people got through at all, and one of them is this huge guy who could probably walk through a house with just a few steps of momentum at his back.

You should have seen the bruises on my wrists. (We did hammer strikes where you, well, whack at them like your fist is a hammer.) Both sides. Green, black and yellow bruises. I should have taken a picture.

Anyway, now I've met a board I don't like. It's green, and someday, when no one else is looking, I will avenge my wrong, and break it in half!!! (with awesomeness)

27 March 2011

Starship Troopers

Ever since I was about twelve years old, and I saw Aliens on TV for the first time, I've been a huge fan of military Sci-Fi. One of the first Sci-Fi, military books I read is called White Wing. I was probably only twelve or thirteen when I read it. Ender's Game is a favorite of mine as well. Unfortunately, at the time I had a hard time finding any military Sci-Fi (the bookmobile wasn't very big in Westminster Colorado), so I kind of jumped off that wagon and on to the fantasy wagon. One of my teachers recommended the Foundation series, and I remember hating it. I think I was way to young to get it.

Apparently I didn't look in the right place. Starship Troopers was written in 1959 (it must have been in the library somewhere when I was growing up) by Robert A. Heinlein. I just finished it on CD, and loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Of course, if the above cover was on the book, I probably got scared and put it back.

I was expecting more action. The opening consists of Johnny (the main character) going on a drop with is unit to “shock and awe” the skinnys into submission. But after that, the story flashes to how he enlisted and then goes through boot camp, his first few assignments and officer's school before we finally get back to the action. Surprisingly, I was okay with that. Besides a few chapters that went a little too heavy handed on moral philosophy, I was totally entertained.

Of course, I'm a sucker for a good military story. All the while listening to Starship Troopers I kept finding things people had stolen. Aliens (still love that show) borrowed heavily from Starship Troopers, as did all those fun Mobile Suit Gundam Animes that I've watched. It was really cool to read the original. Or maybe there is something before this? I dunno. I'll find it someday.

25 March 2011

Shopping and Sisters

This evening I went shopping with my sisters. Oh, and the niece, can't forget her. Every year for at least the past four years we've taken the middle sister shopping for her birthday. Mostly it's a day (or in this case and evening) to just hang out, look at ridiculous things that we would never purchase, and get said sister a birthday present. It's way easier to make her pick out her own present. Saves a whole lot of guessing along with a bunch of “Gee, thanks for the, uh, what is that?” moments.

I'm not sure I've ever mentioned it, but I'm not a girlie girl. I don't usually get off on frilly clothes, shoes, jewelry or bags. Name brands mean little to nothing to me (see my last post—it's a carryover from my sabotaged childhood) and if it's not comfortable you can bet the farm that I won't buy it.

My oldest sister, on the other hand, is girlie enough for the two of us. She's corrupting the niece too. Of course my niece and I were once playing a game (she was little, probably just five or six) and she said if I lost I had to wear pink for a whole day. Smart kid. Evil girl. I have high hopes for her. If the oldest sister doesn't completely girlify her first.

Anyway, my oldest sister found this, er, lovely sweater that she was just sure I would adore. Sweaters are okay. I like v-necks, but not if the neck is covered in ruffles. Big, intrusive, pink ruffles. The entire sweater was pink. I am absolutely certain that I do not own anything that is entirely pink. I'm just not into it. Please don't look down on me for this. I'm okay with other people liking pink. It's like broccoli—someone has to like it, it's eatable after all. Pink is a color, so someone should wear / own it.

My sister attempted to talk me into trying the sweater on.
But it's tender!
No. Absolutely not.
Fine, I'm buying it.

So she did. She'll probably stuff it in my sock for Christmas and then say I have an obligation to wear it. Bright pink ruffles. Really?

22 March 2011


When I was a kid, I was convinced that my parent's didn't care if I looked like the biggest dork on the planet. Well, I think that's actually true, they didn't care. I rarely got anything that even loosely resembled to the latest fad—whether it be those cool jelly bracelets, a VCR, a kitten, one of those little troll pencil toppers, moon boots, name brand crayons . . . you get my drift. My parents did not make me cool. They didn't usually even give me a fighting chance. So I remember those few times when I either begged my guts out (finally getting what I wanted so badly) or when they had a moment of insanity, and I got something “cool” out of it.

One in particular still makes me happy. When I was in junior high I finally got not only a jean skirt (about an inch above the knees, so I was convinced it was a mini skirt) but a jean jacket.

Yes, folks, a jean jacket. These things come in and out of style all the time. But I had just got big hair (hey, it was the 80's), just got settled into junior high AND I got a jean jacket. I was the epitome of cool. At least in my mind I was. Don't burst my bubble.

I decorated the jean jacket with cool pins with equally cool sayings on them like “Is that a mask or your real face?”. Yes, I was snarky even then. Well, I was really quiet back then, so I let the pins do the talking for me. I wish I could remember what the others ones said. They were funny.

The jacket never came off of me. I think I wore it all year round for at least two years. Winter, summer, fall, spring, night, day . . . it might have come off for church. Loved it. Lived in it. The best part is, I still have it.

However, even being a chubby 7th grader didn't guarantee that it still fits. It does, sort of, but it's a bit tight.

So when I saw an adorable jean jacket on sale the other day at the store I couldn't help myself. I had to have it. Now I own it. And I have to admit, I feel pretty cool in it. Do I look cool? Who knows. Now I don't care what other people think (not about this anyway). Leave me in my delusion. I'm happy here. And cool.

20 March 2011

Potent Peppermint Permeates Pastry

Okay, technically homemade oreo cookies are not a pastry. At least I don't think they're a pastry. I'm not entirely clear on the matter, but when I hear pastry I think of light and fluffy treats with fruit in them and crumbly crust stuff.

No, I am not a baker or a chef. Forgive me if you know more than I do about it. Which wouldn't be hard, mind you. Like five minutes of Googling would probably do it.

I did learn something today. Something about baking. Peppermint extract goes a long, long way.

I made the homemade oreos for a dinner that I was going to with some friends. Since it was St. Patrick's Day this past week I figured I may as well dye the cream cheese frosting green. Green frosting sitting between two chocolate cookies practically screamed to be turned into minty goodness.

Really, there was screaming . . . coming from the mixing bowl. Even the cookies were saying things like, “You'll look like you're lying to everyone if you don't make them mint. Then you'd be a liar on Sunday, and what would that do for you in the grander scheme of things?”

How am I supposed to put up with that kind of pressure?

Well, I probably would have ignored it if my roommate hadn't said we had some peppermint extract in the cupboard. So I dove in, found it, extracted it (haha) and jiggled the bottle. There were maybe three drops left. So I dumped all three drops into the two cups of green frosting that I had.

Three drops is a lot. Well, a lot of peppermint resides in those three drops. Could have been four. Maybe. It doesn't matter now. Totally awesome homemade oreo cookies are now only sub par because the minty goodness got out of control. Mind you that hasn't stopped me from eating like four. Freshens breath, don't you know!

18 March 2011

Get Your Geek On!

Here's a game. Spot me!

I'm a new member to the Alpine Garrison of the 501st Legion. How else am I supposed to run around carrying a light saber and get away with it?

For the past week (almost) our wireless internet has been down. I didn't realize how much I used Google when I'm typing my novel to verify information, look up meanings to words that I may or may not be using correctly and generally distract myself with. Welcome back Google, I've missed you!

15 March 2011

I've Had Worse

You know, I used to have a band teacher in High School that said his idea of hell was being stuck in a room full of banjos that couldn't be played in tune. Yeah, that would be pretty horrrible. (Yes, I just added an extra “r” for dramatic emphasis) And for eternity? Uh, no thanks. Toss me into the brimstone please.

The last time I went to an orchestra concert was probably four or five years ago. Maybe longer now that I think about it. A friend of mine was performing and didn't think her family was going to come, so she invited a bunch of us. I figured, what the heck, it'll be fun.

Yeah, uh, a Junior High orchestra concert, as I found out, can be just as bad as room full of those aforementioned banjos. Especially when they're trying to squeak out Phantom of the Opera.

Let that sink in. Imagine it. Now make it at least five times as bad as you can imagine. Then take it a half step sharp. Now you've got it. My ears were bleeding, and I couldn't listen to Phantom of the Opera for months without flinching.

Tonight I took the life of my eardrums in my own hands (how that works—ears, drums, hands—I'm not sure) and returned to the arena of junior high orchestra concerts.

My niece is in the intermediate orchestra (aka the 7th grade orchestra). I actually know her teacher. So I figured I should go. Since I finally got invited to one of her concerts.

I entered the gym with a great deal of trepidation. I didn't bring ear plugs (not appropriate when sitting, surrounded by parents of the orchestra members) so I steeled myself for the worst.

I'm happy to report that it wasn't that bad. The 6th grade orchestra was better than the musical murderers from all those years ago. They did drift out of tune by the last song, but it wasn't terrible. My niece's orchestra did well. Their Irish jig was fun, and I didn't flinch but once. The advanced orchestra was good. Their last song was really good. I could tell because the teacher, an extremely non-excitable woman, was actually bouncing on the podium.

So my ears are okay. It wasn't that bad. Whew!

07 March 2011

Positon and Positioning

The other night we had a Kung Fu Seminar. Professor Mattera was teaching us all about how to get in on your opponent. He kept saying we were learning about positioning.

Every single time he said it, this song popped into my head. It's a wonder I wasn't walloped by my training partner because I kept wanting to dance around instead of paying attention. Of course the lack of anything to eat but protein bars and a sandwich all day might have had something to do with it.

So, if you've never seen Slipper and the Rose, it's a Cinderella story--musical style. This clip isn't very high quality, but be careful with the song. It gets stuck in your head!

06 March 2011

Will Wonders Never Cease?

I'm sure I've mentioned my (completely insane) goal for rewriting my novel by the beginning of May. I can't remember and I'm too lazy to check.

Well, the goal went well from Monday to Thursday this past week. Friday and Saturday were total busts. Not one word of novel was written on either day. Last night I was so tired after being at the the Kung Fu tournament all day that I struggled to eat dinner, watch a little TV and stay awake until 10:30pm. Then I crashed—no writing for me!

So this morning I woke up, resigned to the fact that I was now 6,000 words behind schedule, and that there wasn't much hope of me catching back up.

You know, I should really despair more often. Wait, no. Forget that. I get cranky when I despair. No, it doesn't make sense, but then again, most things that women say or do make little to no sense to anyone but themselves. And for me, about half of the time I don't get it either.

I got lucky today. Let's me honest here for a moment. I was at a point in my novel where I could use big chunks of what I've already written. So I only had to write about 1,500 words today, but I logged just over 6,000 because of the glorious and useful cut and paste. Yay for C & P!

So I'm back on track. Who knows what the next week will bring. The next big section of my novel is going to need to be rewritten. No cut and paste again for quite a while. Very sad. I'll have to be more diligent this week and try to get ahead a little before Friday. That way if the weekend interferes with my writing world (and I kind of hope it does) I won't have to stress out so much.

Come back next Sunday to see what I had to do to get my word count finished this week! (I'm thinking perhaps writing slaves, hiring a human thesaurus, shooting chocolate straight into my veins or joining the robot ninja wars as a reporter.)

05 March 2011

Kung Fu Goodness

I seriously feel like I spent the day in Disney Land. Only without the satisfaction of having gone on the Indiana Jones Ride.

This morning at 6:10am, I embarked on today's adventure. The first stop was picking up a Kung Fu buddy. Then we hit the McDonald's for some breakfast. No, not exactly healthy, but it was early and the service is quick. Not to mention a lack of required coherent thought on our part.

We got to the USSD Tournament right on time at 7am. We were there from 7am until after 7pm.

This is the first tournament that I've helped out in. I have to say, watching the little kids spar is really fun. When their gloves are bigger than their heads, and they look like rockem-sockem robots there isn't anything I can do but smile. We had a good turn out, and everyone did really well.

No, I didn't win anything. If you saw the group I get to contend with now that I have a black belt you'd understand that I'll never see another trophy in my Kung Fu life. At one point I dreamed of moving into the old lady division (35 and older), but they put all of the black belts in the same division. The one time I was going to use my advancing age to my, well, advantage, and I'm thwarted. Figures.

The tournament got over about 3pm, and the Master's Seminar started at 4pm. Professor Charles Mattera was our guest of honor, and I have to say we learned some really cool martial arts. I won't go into it, but it was awesome! We did breathing exercises and got thrown around. A good day for Ninja wanna be! Now I feel like an old lady—my knees are killing me.

01 March 2011

Who Knew Beavers Came in Silver?

Tonight I attended a Silver Beaver Awards Ceremony. No, I had no idea what that was before my sister gave me the invitation. My brother-in-law is huge into the Boy Scouts, and this is apparently one of the most prestigious awards that you can get as an adult. Okay, cool. I'm still not sure what it's all about, but these people are all apparently very devoted to the scout program.

Among the names of people who have received this award are my next door neighbor growing up and President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Obviously I was never a boy scout, and I didn't ever get involved in girl scouts, but there were a lot of people at this ceremony, and I could tell their devotion runs pretty deep. It's always nice to see people passionate about something.

I hope no on was mad that I bolted when they brought the camera out and started taking pictures. What can I say, I'm shy!

On a different note, above is the picture I put on my background at work for the month. It's cute and makes me smile. I think I'll need something to smile about for the next few weeks. Today I hate the novel.