Once again, learning how to use a browser…

So, it’s been a while. Most of my online presence is on Facebook, and I go there by default to talk with my friends.  Despite its obvious shortcomings.

I ran into one of them just now: I can’t friend or comment on a guy whose friendlist is maxed out (5,000 people).

So I skated over to his WordPress page, and commented there… and WP required me to sign in… and told me that I was using the wrong password.  So… get the password reset link emailed, good. Change the password, good. Go back to page… and my comment has disappeared.

I get that crap like this can be the price we pay for security (such as it is) on line.  But … You know, it wasn’t that important a comment, and I’m not interested in retyping it, now that I’ve spent fifteen minutes making my way through the WordPress thicket.  I’m done here.

Protip: if you type up a good comment on a Web page, copy it to Notepad or a word processor or something before you hit “enter,” unless you don’t mind the possibility of losing it.  Okay, now I’m all done.

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How do you keep history?

Okay, I have a problem. I put up a blog back in about 2003-2004 on Blogdrive.com, forgot about it for a bunch of years, just discovered it again thanks to an email from the site owner about making my blog have “more punch,” and I have no idea how to take those posts and put them somewhere that I won’t lose them again, at least no idea which will allow me to put them in entry files with dates on them somewhere. Any ideas?

Exercise and Diet

Recently seen: an article reporting recent research. Exercise is apparently not particularly effective in causing weight loss; apparently the body’s metabolism treats violent exercise as a starvation threat, and lowers the resting metabolism in an attempt to compensate.  To some extent, this is reported to also happen with reduced-eating diets.

However, other health benefits are confirmed to result from exercise, including reduced risk of stroke and heart attack, with the net result that exercise lengthens life expectancy.

A Death in the Family

Irene Paranay Lambert, Deb’s mom, was born in 1936. She turned 80 this month, while in hospital being treated for a broken hip, with complications.

She died of the complications yesterday, in hospice (two days after transfer to the hospice unit), while Al held her hand.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. (Mozart, Requiem)

I met her first at their home in Brookfield Center, Connecticut, in October or November 1984, introduced as a suitor for Deb’s hand. We were friends for 31 years.

I will miss her greatly.

Tang Soo Do

Exciting tournament. I did breaking. Want to do it again… with more boards!

On Sunday,  Mar 13, 2016 (Two days ago), I participated in a martial arts tournament for the first time in fifteen years.  Two contests were offered: forms and “breaking.”  I participated in breaking, as while I’m nominally 1 Dan, a “black belt” holder, the reality is that between May, 2004 and November, 2015, I did not practice my art, and have not regained the skills which are expected of the Black Belt.

The tournament was sponsored by and open to the Cheezic Tang Soo Do Federation.  I helped judge (timekeeping) several of the younger underbelts and black belts, and saw performances ranging from indifferent to excellent.  I participated in the Men’s Over-40 Black Belt (Board-) Breaking division, and power-broke at the required three stations, breaking all my boards (four per station, no spacers between the boards), and receiving a respectable (average) score.

Then I went to watch the other contestants in my division.  I’m hoping to find that the videos that were taken of most of them are available, and I’ll post them here. It turns out that a “station” can involve multiple breaks (I hadn’t known), as many as you can do without moving your feet.  So… the guy who took first place, Brian Murray, a 3 Dan in my club, did a series of breaks which is absolutely in another league from what I did. Incredible, amazing stuff, which he ended with a stomping break of (about) 15 boards (with spacers).  Like I say, I hope to be able to post the video here.

Couple of notes — one other contestant, also in my club, essayed a series of breaks which was almost 2/3 as difficult as Brian’s, judging by the total number of boards… but didn’t set himself quite correctly, and failed to break one of the boards.  (One, out of about 20-25.) There’s a mandatory half-point deduction on a failure to break… and the standard scoring for this event, for the Black Belt divisions, is about 9.2-10.0 (Brian got one of those 10.0’s).  So my friend was taken out of competition for the awards by the miss.

Final scores were tallied (5 judges; drop the high and low scores, unless that creates a tie). Brian was first. I got third; it would have been fourth, had my other friend not missed his break.

I’m definitely going to have to _seriously_ up my game to play in this league. I want to do this again.  With more boards 🙂

Things which I need to be studying:

  • WordPress
  • Sewing
  • Basic Auto Mechanics/Maintenance
  • HTML/CSS
  • Python
  • Perl
  • Ruby
  • Information Security
  • Database Security and known vulnerabilities
  • Encryption Methods, Number Theory, Primality and tests thereof (NOT “factoring numbers”)
  • Linux Command Line (low priority)
  • IMS (The IBM Mainframe database, not the messaging service)
  • Tang Soo Do Hyungs
    • Pyung Ahn E Dan (mostly good) (Form 5)
    • Pyung Ahn Sam Dan (needs work) (Form 6)
    • Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (needs a few more run-throughs) (Form 7)
    • Pyung Ahn Oi Dan (don’t have all the moves down) (Form 8)
    • Bassai Hyung (don’t have all the moves down)
    • Naihanji Shodan (Needs a few more run-throughs, but mostly good)
    • Naihanji E Dan (don’t have all the moves down)
    • Naihanji Sam Dan (don’t have all the moves down)
    • Chil Sung Il Ru (barely started)
    • Chil Sung E Ru (barely started)
    • Chil Sung Sam Ro (barely started)
    • Jin Do (barely started)
    • Federation Self Defense Moves
      • 1 (good, except for fourth step)
      • 2 (need third and fourth step)
      • 3 (need all)
      • 4 (need all)
      • 5 (need third and fourth step, more practice)

Okay, is that enough? I’m drowning now.

On Discussing Religion

Reposting of my comment on a friend’s blog:


I think my main problem with this, and I admit it’s halfway to being nitpicking, is that the term “Religion” is used as though the millions-or-tens-of-millions of religious doctrines and beliefs were all the same. Absolutely wrong — the only thing which they have in common is that, as far as I know, none of them can prove the existence of their god(s)/spirits/what-have-you. The behaviors (and?) morality which individual religions prescribe vary almost as greatly as the number of villages and neighborhoods in the world.

I think it’s possible to evaluate small-body religions on the behaviors which their practitioners exhibit. Do they treat their neighbors well? Strangers? The poor, the sick, the young, the old? Do they encourage their believers to engage with the world, to learn, to think clearly? What do they consider to be sinful/destructive/unacceptable/wrong behavior and what consequences do they prescribe for religious misbehavior? Civil/secular misbehavior? Do they believe in conversion by the sword, by the word, by good example, not at all (e.g. Shaking Quakers aka “Shakers”)?

However, when you’re trying to evaluate larger groups in terms of their religious practice, it gets a lot harder — for one thing, you automatically fold a lot more diversity into a single group, sometimes including intolerant and/or murderous extremists who claim that religion justifies their will to murder/harm/dominate others.

The whole issue of diverse groups (e.g. Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Druze, and whatever groups Indonesia has, and call them all “Muslim”) becomes whether there is, in fact, a single normative behavior set, or whether it’s all multi-modal and controlled by factors other than whatever the common written doctrine is (assuming there is one).