Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Calling all Family

Okay guys, here is the deal. I am trying to write a series of children's books about the nieces and nephews with all you lovely people featured. One thing the authors I meet keep telling me is write what you know and I know you guys. I do not know the nieces and nephews as well as I would like. I have my rough draft for Madelyn's story written but I am stuck so I thought I would write the rough draft of the rest of their stories first and maybe that will spark something. So, here is what I am begging for. Send me stories about the little ones and information like their favorite food, flower, genre (dinosaurs and such) so I can make a story for them, not just about them. Even if these never become popular I want to write these stories for the little ones we all love like mad. You guys will be featured eventually but I am inspired and I am running with it

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Root Bridges

Check out this blog. These things are amazing

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lucas Plagiarized

The more I study martial arts the more I realize something. George Lucas copied the way of the Jedi from those who practice martial arts. Jedi's do not give into anger and they do not allow their emotions to get the better of them. In addition the Shaolin Monks remained celibate so as to focus further on their purpose in life.

Something I learned in a very intensive session of Ki development that being physically proficient at Martial Arts is really only 1/3 of being a true martial artist. You have to be careful what you let into your body, allowing only good and nutritional things to enter so that energy may flow out uncorrupted. Then there is living a good life. A man who has never stepped within a Dojo but has lived a good and healthy life is more of a martial artist than an experienced fighter who purely concentrates on the physical.

To focus Ki one has to meditate in a certain way. The monks and Samurai did it often but for college students certain strictures are relaxed (such as only doing it for an hour...) Their are eight main exercises in breathing in which the Ki of heaven, water, fire, metal, and earth are focused. By learning where the Ki centers of the body are one is able to perform martial arts to the greatest of their ability.

Anger is not a part of martial arts. The whole purpose is to master the body and retain that which is most precious, life. I am not learning this to destroy people but to be able to defend myself should the need ever arise.

So you see, the way of the Jedi has been practiced in this Galaxy since before the time of Christ. As I further my training I must be able to recite on command the lineage of my Dojo, a line of authority so to speak, and recite the purpose of my particular martial art.

Back to Ki development. The kiai (or grunt so to speak) brings our movements together with more force than we would otherwise be able to generate because it tightens all our muscles at once.

About a week ago I was doing Ki development with the rest of my Dojo and a strange feeling came over me. After an hour of meditating and breathing I started to shake and cry. Basically I started to panic. So, in classic form, my sensei came up to me and said, "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that this releases all sorts of emotions."
Apparently it was common for inexperienced students to break down because the form of meditation unblocked emotional barriers within.

I cannot say that the experience was pleasurable but after I had calmed down I felt...light, as if some burden had been taken from me. Martial arts is teaching me how to let my emotions go rather than bury them. I never thought this experience would be so...spiritual in a manner of speaking.

We greet our sensei with a bow and before every session of Jujitsu we kneel and empty our minds of all outside influences. I get my yellow belt in a month but already I feel as if I have come leaps and bounds from what I knew when I started this training.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What would you do?

I am reading a book that touches the issue of moral dilemmas. I thought it was a very interesting read so I figured I'd recreate it here. Some of you may be familiar with these situations.

What follows is a little quiz of sorts where you answer each dilemma with a response of whether the given action is morally 1)Required 2)Permissible or 3)Forbidden.

The fun part is trying to figure out why you answer like you do. Try and answer each one without comparing to the others. I know this may be impossible, but the results will be more interesting. Go ahead and answer in comments then add whatever insight or ideas or questions you had.

OK here we go.

The runaway trolley/train
There is nobody on this trolley

Situation 1

You are at a switch and see a trolley is going to hit and kill 5 people down the track. However if you switch the track the trolley will be diverted down another fork and the 5 will be saved. Should you switch the track?

Situation 2

Same as the first but there is 1 person hiking on the other track that will die if you switch the track. Should you switch the track?

Situation 3

Same as the first but there is no switch now, however you are on a bridge over the track and if you can push a large weight onto the track you can stop the trolley and save the 5 people. The only problem is that the only weight is a sleeping fat man. Should you use him to stop the trolley?

Situation 4

Same as 3 but now that fat man is actually a villain that placed the 5 on the track and sent the trolley to run them over.

Situation 5

The track now has a loop on it that causes the train to loop around and then continue on to the 5 people. This way if you flipped the switch the people would still die but the train would travel the loop first. However there is a fat man on the loop that would stop the train but die. Should you send the train on the loop?

Situation 6

Same as 5 but now the fat man is replaced by a boulder on the track that would stop the train. However there is a random hiker that will be trapped between the boulder and the train and he will die. Should you send the train on the loop?

Situation 7

5 people are dying in a hospital. They each need a different organ to live. They will go on to live long happy lives if they get this organ. There are no organs available. However, there is a healthy man in the lobby that is a match for all 5. If his organs were harvested the 5 patients would be saved. Should his organs be harvested?

You can search these dilemmas on the internet to get more discussion on them.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mushroom logs

Mushrooms are pretty yummy and I think that finding them wild is very cool. The problem for me is that I'm not willing to stake my life or liver on a picture in a book that says these ones I'm looking at are safe to eat. But the next best thing I think would be growing them. Aaron told me about these mushroom logs. The logs (usually oak or another hard word species) are inoculated with spawn, then allowed to grow as they would in wild conditions. Fruiting, or pinning, is triggered by seasonal changes, or by briefly soaking the logs in cool water. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms have traditionally been produced using the outdoor log technique but companies that sell them are branching out. I think this would very fun and easy especially for those living in Oregon since the conditions are perfect year round. I think it would satisfy my bonsai gene, gardening gene and mushroom gene all at once. I'm going to try it when I get the right conditions. Just google mushroom logs, you tube even has some good videos on the process.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Photo Session at the River

I guess these first few shots are mostly performance art captured in photo.  This was a scary bridge to jump from.  We spent a long time looking over the edge before jumping each time.  I thought the composite of all the images taken during the jump captured the feeling the best.  The first is me and the second is Matthew.
~9.8m/s squared #1~
(photos by Matthew processed by Aaron)
~9.8m/s squared #2~
(photos by Aaron processed by Aaron)
~whorl shadows~
(photos by Aaron processed by Aaron)
~water bender~
(photos by Aaron processed by Aaron)
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