Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On Ice after the Ice House...

Our trip to VA Beach was great! Clare posted some great pics over at her blog.

We went to a great local dive called the Ice House for dinner one night. If you make your way to this shack, check out their steamed shrimp, which are awesome!

I feel totally rejuvenated and relaxed today. I need that. People here are crazy and so go-go-go that they don't enjoy life too much with each passing day. At the beach, however, the wind and water just seem to lift and wash your cares away.

Each night we went to sleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. It's hard not to sleep great in that kind of environment. It was almost like going back to a "state of nature."

On Monday morning, I woke up at 6:30, and with the crud still in my eyes, stumbled my way out to the ocean with my bokken--wooden sword--in hand and began stretching and training on the beach with the sunrise. It was a fantastic experience. After I had sufficiently warmed up, I picked up my sword and began practicing my cutting with the waves crashing all around me. I began with the "eight-direction cut," which really makes one focus since the waves and ripetide are pulling/pushing at you in all different directions.

Awesome. It was a great challenge, and I found my energy levels and intensity increased to do everything correctly. I then began cutting toward the sea with the 3rd suburi (basic cutting practice) where you reach up in to sky, then lower your body and sword, and finally explode with a cut. It was exhilarating and refreshing. All I wanted was someone to throw me kote-gaeshi into a wave.

So, if you can't tell already, our trip was much needed and, at least for me, very therapeutic. Training on the beach is a vastly superior practice. If I lived on the beach, "beach training" would be my lifestyle, all the way.

Until then, over and out.


Friday, July 20, 2007

The Legend Lives On...

The Legend of Zelda, that is. Here is a link to a wicked-cool live performance for all those geeks, like me, who know the difference between and the red and blue medicine:


Tomorrow, Clare, Anastasia are heading out to Virginia Beach for some adventures of our own. We will be staying at First Landing State Park, pictured above.

It will be nice to visit the beach, I think. Virginia Beach has that carnival atmosphere characteristic of all laid-back, waterscape towns. It's a cool place, even if it is often crowded. But what good beach isn't?

Several years ago, I met my friend Jason in San Francisco for some crazy adventures. One of those took us south of the city, north of Half Moon Bay, to a beautiful secluded beach. The sun was wicked hot and the water was freezing cold. Then, as we were chilling out on a rock, watching the waves crash and coastal birds flap around, a naked ex-hippy jangles up to us and interrupts our reverie.

"Hey dude, you got any weeeed? I found this there hacki-sack here on the beach and I'm looking for someone to trade it to for some weeeed."

"No." I scowl and look away. So he turns to Jason, who actually looks like a hippie, and re-explains himself.

"Man, you got any weeeed?"

Ever the diplomat, Jason responds, compassion in his voice. "Man, I'm sorry. I don't have any weed."

Jason's answer seems to satisfy our new acquaintance, and he trots off in search of the next poor soul. After a short while, Jason and I look at each other and crack up.

I hope that guy didn't make it to the East Coast....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, I tried to put a title for this post, but alas the system would not let me. Such as it is, let it remain untitled.

I have been a lazy lout when it comes to updating my blog. Part of that is because I've been very, very busy at work lately, with our Church/School renovation. The good news is that our projects have turned out excellently thus far.

The whole school is newly tiled with premium quartz vct. Actually, it's not vct, it just looks like it. It also looks like we have a new school without our nasty old carpet. My great prayer and concern is that our tile stands the test of time and looks just as marvelous many years after I am gone.

We also have a new church floor! I cannot tell you how bad ass this really is. Someone actually let me drop a handsome some of money to renovate an ugly Church and make it beautiful. Take that you bastard iconoclasts! Fr. Carrier, our resident scholarly genius, came into the Church today while the liturgy director and I were marveling at the floor and he started singing a cool new song: "We are actua-lly, starting to look Ca-a-ath-o-lic!"

This was so awesome to hear. Everyone has marveled at our damn floor.

Actually, it's a concrete slab, just a different color, and it's breathtaking. It's decorative concrete, dyed a dark chocolate brown, and looks like marble or aged stone. We ripped up the nasty old carpet, stripped off the glue and dyed the slab, sealed it, and waxed it.

With decorative concrete, you magnify the character already in the floor. We are just lucky that our 30-year-old floors were done well. The trowel marks create a wonderful swirly, artistic feel in the midst of light and dark highlights throughout. In the words of my boss, who is very picky and particular: "It's awesome."

It's also a feather in my cap because this was entirely my idea.

Well, maybe it was the Holy Spirit's, but you know what I mean. It makes me feel great because this is one of my unique contributions to the Church, as an employee and a member of the faithful.

Anyway, we may have the most architecturally displeasing church in the diocese, but we definitely have the most beautiful floor, which distracts you from the rest of the asymetrical form. We might actually be the only church in diocese, heck, the archdiocese or state of Virginia, with decorative concrete. It is my hope that our beautiful new floor will be a model for other churches as they consider the possibilities of their renovation.

It is also my hope that this floor will inspire architects and designers to put decorative concrete on their short list for good design at an affordable price.

Well, I didn't realize I was going to go on about this when I started to write. If you are ever in Dale City, check out our kick ass floors. I will try to post some pics soon.