competing theories

"The ends justify the means."
"Two wrongs don't make a right."
Sometimes, getting results is the only thing that matters. Sometimes. it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
Sometimes, I wonder if I am truly fit to participate in society. People claim to appreciate honesty, but not when it's about something negative, and damn if I am totally incapable of delivering bad news in a good way. I can't sugar-coat, and I'm terrible at playing the politics game.
Some people are simply rock stars, and can therefore get away with trashing the hotel room and throwing a fit when the brown m&m's haven't been removed from the bowl, because they're musical geniuses who entertain millions.
Some people are such raving assholes that no matter how brilliant their ideas idea none of them will ever come to fruition because everyone is alienated and secretly if not openly hoping for failure.
People are petty, and in groups people are downright scary. No one wants to hear bad things, but any addict will tell you that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. So many people choose the path of least resistance; don't point out problems, compliment. And you'll be well on your way, seen as a positive-thinking team player.
In the mean time, the same problems come up (and get ignored) over and over again. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, and society plugs along on its merry little way, over the edge into oblivion...or not. Somehow we've managed for a couple thousand years, so how bad can it be, really?
All I know is, I'll never be president, or a rock star, and I'm really good at being an asshole.
It's not complicated; I just treat others the way I treat myself. I don't dwell on my accomplishments, that's boring and there's no challenge in it. I push myself, I obsess over my mistakes and failures, I hate it when I do something wrong, and I dread doing it again when I should know better. I simply cannot understand how most people seem to live their lives just going through the motions. Do the job, take home the paycheck. No challenge, no drive to make things better, just plodding and ass-kissing. Every now and then a truly amazing person can get away with whatever, simply because he's undeniably The Man, but that's the exception not the rule.
So what to do: toe the party line, pucker up, stop caring so much, feel lucky to be even getting a regular paycheck. And worry about the stuff that really does matter: getting a new handle for my sword, learning the advanced forms, teaching my newest student, eating fabulous meals with Hiroko, ripping all my CDs into my iPod...

teach and learn

Haven't practiced in over a week, so I was eager to get to class today. Showed up before six and swept the floor like I usually do; gives me a chance to stop worrying about the printers at work and the traffic on the way over and just get relaxed and ready.
Kawamoto-chan showed up since there's no class tomorrow, and I took her and the other two newbies and ran them through the fundamentals for an hour before doing the kata munazukushi.
Gosoke showed up and we talked a little about BigTony and Neeley's trip next next week, and about the wonderful sword I bought from him (and still need to pay him for.) He also explained that the keito (lineage of Mugairyu head instructors) was a bit different than what he originally told me, as he'd double-checked with Nakagawa-gosoke's old books and did some more research. So I've got to translate the new lineage into English and send it out to everyone.
After the regular class I joined in the last hour as Tanaka-sensei took us through hashirigakari and then we had free practice for about ten minutes.
When we left at 9:45 it was raining and cold, so made my way carefully back home to catch the tail end of some dude on Channel Three demonstrating the short staff style he invented. Kono-sensei was his name and though he mentioned the original Shindomusoryu staff, his was way more flippy and show and, in my uneducated opinion, totally pointless against anyone with a sword and the intention to use it against him. But at least he looked cool.

quality from kevin

"I think we can all appreciate these nice t-shirts."


So I'm in the van. It's a rental, yellow, but kind of like a UPS or Kuroneko delivery truck. I'm with some friends (from high school, I think) and we're driving around a posh neighborhood, possibly Southern California. I'm on point, driving around the dirt roads that lead up into the hills where the really big estates are. We're looking for the hidden dinosaur park. Down one particularly promising road, we stop to recheck our strategy. I've parked on one side of the intersection, the other folks park on the other side. I get out to go meet them, realize I forgot the parking break, and jump back into the van as it starts rolling away. I step on the parking break, curb the wheels, and take the keys out, but by then everyone's come over to meet me and discuss our strategy. We press on up the road, passing some large estates with huge expanses of rolling green hills and dense trees, hidden dinosaur park possibilities abound.
The alarm clock rings, and I wake up.
I tell Hiroko about this dream and she comments "I guess you're looking for something?"
The question is, what?

daimyo gyoretsu

We got up early, checked out, and watched the Daimyo Gyoretsu parade pass by right in front of our ryokan.
Now thoroughly sick of the crowds, we headed back on the train and got back home in time to have some Doraichi Ramen before cruising up to Roppongi Hills to check out the cool architecture.
We grabbed some taiyaki on the way back and kicked it at home, goofing off as the rain stuttered along. Finally jorge headed back to the hotel to get some work done and Hiroko and I ate leftovers and went to bed early.

hakone pola museum

Met jorge at Shinagawa's lovely new Shinkansen Station and grabbed some 'bucks while laughing about the wireless access; apparently in order to get wireless access you have to go to the given URL...chicken and egg, anyone?
Anyway we got on our train and sped to Odawara in 30 minutes. The station was packed with everyone else going to Hakone, so we had to leave the station, line up, and loop back in to get on the local going up to Hakone. The train was packed but we got up to Hakoneyumoto Station in another 30 minutes. From there we did the out-and-in again to get onto the local local hill climber to work our way up to Gora Station. The station had photos of Swiss Alps trains (Switzerland uses Japanese trains or something) and it was quite a ride. The train would go up to a station, then backtrack, stop, the driver would get out, run to the other end of the train, and drive up to the next station. We switch-backed up the side of the mountain a couple times, each time stopping and waiting for the down train to pass as there's only one main track. Pretty cool, actually. At Gora Station most people were getting on the cable car to go up to the very top and ride the ropeway gondola, but we got on a bus and headed up to the Pola Museum. The bus driver was taking those mountain road hairpins at speed, so we got another adrenalin rush before being deposited in front of the glass and steel magic of Pola.

First we got lunch, of course at one of the outside tables, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and tolerating the fairly clueless staff. Then we checked out the art; not bad, but it's the building itself that is so cool. Finished off with some cake and coffee and postcards, and then got a cab to go back to Gora Station. With everyone else, we jammed onto a train and switch-backed down to Hakoneyumoto Station, got on a small bus and headed to Shohachi.
We checked in and got a stupendous meal, lay around for an hour enjoying our food coma, and then it the hot springs bath before heading back up to the room for some well-earned sleep.