Friday, February 05, 2016


Today my Otsuchi came in the mail.

An Otsuchi, in case you have not been keeping track of your traditional Japanese weapons, is a wooden maul or mallet used by Japanese warriors, primarily for bursting through doors or gates or even walls.

Mine is a 10 lb head mounted on a 3 foot shaft (apparently they could go up to 6' shaft, which would be handy for breaking into things.  Not so much as a weapon).  I have taken some practice swings with it and it is amazing how heavy 10 lbs can be when you are moving it through the air.

In a way, the Otsuchi describes my life:  an obscure weapon with no practical purpose to be trained with simply because it can be done and I want to do it.  Really true of so many of the interests and activities that I pursue.

Which is okay.  Because in the end, Thor does not really exist - but I and my Otsuchi do...

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Frustration in Weightlifting

Today was a back to back lifting day:  bench press and deadlifts.
My bench press has proven to be the most disappointing part of my weight routine.  I simply feel like I am making no progress in it - or if I am, it is very slow progress indeed.  It frustrates me because progress in my other lifts - deadlifts, squats, push press - has been steady and demonstrable.  But bench has been almost impreceptible - my best single was 1 x 160 lb in November; I just managed 2 x 160 lb last week.  That is close to my body weight but hardly the sort of the thing I was hoping.

My deadlift was frustrating today as well. Deadlifts have shown a much steadier improvement over time but today was not as good as I would have liked - max of 5 x 220 lb and a downgrade of 3 x 175 lb.  My form was terrible - my stance is (I think) too narrow and my knees are going askew in ways that are not all that grand for me.  I have gotten 5 x 240 lb in the past, but today was not the day - the  5 x 220 lb barely recognizable as a finished set.

This whole thing is something which I have not yet fully come to grips with yet in lifting:  the fact that it does not seem to be that linear of a process.

I want Personal Records.  Everyone, I think, does.  But as sometimes these get knocked down almost week by week, in other cases they linger for weeks at a time.  And other cases (like today) things take a backwards step in ways that I do not fully understand.  I would think that the ability to lift would increase in a linear fashion:  more weight over time would equal heavier lifts.

Apparently I think wrong.

I will be back in the gym on Friday for another back to back - Push Press and Squats - and will probably hit some of the same frustrations.  But it is at moments like these that I have to go back to my workout book (yes, I have become enough of a meathead to keep one of those now) that I can look and see that while I may not feel like I am making process, I have in fact made a great deal of progress since I started in July.

Eyes to the sunrise, keeping them on the prize.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Review

So like it or not, today was review day.  How did it go?

Surprisingly well.  In fact, the best review I have ever had here.

A promotion (for the first time to a new level in 14 years).  And a pretty decent raise.  And 101% of the possible bonus.

Only negative in the review?  Not really a negative, but it is desired that I take more of a leadership role (which has already been added to my list of goals for myself anyway). Other than that, well done, good job, keep it up.

As I said, best review I have had in seven years.  Strangely gratifying after all these years.  14 years is a long drought, a very long drought indeed.

Sure, the bar is set high.  Sure, I will have to really push if I want to get close to this next year.  But for one moment, there was a brief sense that after a really long while, someone finally noticed.

And that is the best feeling in the world.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Just Sad

Last night I was inexplicably sad when I got home.

I do not know that I have a formal reason why.  Yes, the day was not the best it could have been and yes, I little sarcasm (meant in fun, no doubt) was directed my way later, but it certainly did not explain the fact for the feelings I had.

I am not sure.  There was just no energy at all for doing anything when I got home at night except for the bare minimum of what was required.  And underlying it all,  a great sadness.  Not depression - depression, I know all too well.  Just sadness.

And I do not know what to do with sadness. Not really.  Depression I know what steps to take, as I have had to take them many times.  But sadness I have no idea what to do with.

I just want to hide - shut myself off from the greater Internet and interpersonal world and just hide among my rabbits and books, my iai and the very small kingdom of Ichiryo Gusoku.   Cut off communication.  Just go silent and emerge for interaction when I have to.

It is silly, of course, and I eventually will find my way through it.  But I am struck by the fact that something can still affect me deeply, an emotion which I have no meaningful way to combat.  It makes me fearful and hopeful at the same time - fearful that it will come again, hopeful that there remain emotions that I still have the privilege of working through.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Quote And Context

"What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?"
If you have read success literature at all, you have heard this quote.  If you know of Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral, you have heard this quote.  This quote (in at least one reference) is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

But this week I think I found where it came from.

"There was once a man who was very anxious, and wavered between fear and hope.  One day, overcome with sadness, he lay prostrate in prayer before the altar in church, and pondering these matters in his mind, said 'Oh, if only I knew that I should always persevere!'  then he heard within his heart an answer from God:  'If you knew this, what would you do?  Do now what you would
 do then, and all will be well.'"

Originator?  Thomas A Kempis (1380-1471), The Imitation of Christ

Changes the context of the who quote, does it not?  Imagine if this was actually quoted in the context that it was delivered.  Would we still engage in our smug satisfaction of being the complete and utter masters of our own fate?  Or would we perhaps consider it the context of an Authority to who we are accountable?

Be told we are to have confidence versus convincing ourselves that we should have confidence are two entirely different things.