Friday, August 31, 2007


made it through a second week. this is good. all of my classes except latin are awesome. were going through ptolomy in lab and actually trying to explain everything in the heavens from the idea that the earth is stationary, its really interesting since we've always been taught to assume (correctly) that the earth spins. lol

Im trying to get rid of my saturday shift so that i can work at the ranch in the morning, not having very good luck so far.

well, another short post, but at least it is one.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Im 20!

Todays my birthday!
The day started horridly, but got much better at about noon. some friends and i are going to go watch Geito Senkie (its an anime about the wizard of earthsea.) sometime this evening.
I have alot of food. this is a very good thing. I also heard from my whole family.
Speaking of which, i think ill cut this short because many people are talking to me on aol. ciao.



I'm trying out google adsense, you might see things like this
on my blog from time to time, let me know if they bother anybody.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Well, this is back to back with another post but I didn't want them to get confused.

School has been really great so far. Most of my classes are both interesting and about the right level of challenging. The exception is Latin. So far in 4 classes we have had 3 quizzes. Of the one of these I got back I barely managed to scrape a C (actually, I got a D, I had to talk to the teacher afterwards and point out that she marked things off that weren't really wrong to get it to a C.) Were still in the review, which means were moving extremely fast but in theory over all things I should already know. this would be the case (I perfected the section on the quiz devoted to translating from Latin into English.) except that the majority of questions (completely unlike last year, which is the extent of Latin I have ever taken) are translating from English to Latin. I'm not really sure how that will resolve.

Work is a blast, my favorite chef is gone but the kitchen is still a good place to work. I have a very different work schedule from last year (In which I had very short shifts, 2-3.5 hours, 6 days a week) to longer shifts (4-5 hours) about every other day. I don't think our new chef will last out his first week, somebody already ran into his $30,000 Mercedes in the parking lot and he got sick and he is only on day 3.

My rebuilt laptop is very pretty but completely useless as I wait for the power cord to ship. I contacted the seller and he says his paper says its scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Once i have that it will be ever so much easier to update my blog since i will be able to do it from the coffee shop (which is open almost all day, and most of the night. and were i can use my own computer on one of 10 jacks) instead of having to go to the library (which is not open almost all day, and closes at 11 or 5 depending on the night. were i have to use one of 5 school computers)

Im planning on starting my martial arts club here again soon, there are at least 3 new students interested. All of which have there blackbelts in various arts. I might have to do a jump start class for new beginners to catch up somewhat with my students from last year.

I turn 20 on Wednsay. Not really sure what my thoughts on no longer being a "teen" are. I keep thinking that somehow I had imagined myself as having a car at this point, I think I'm glad I don't have to bother with one though.

well, the line is forming for the computers, gotta go. Ciao


Thougths on martial arts.

One of my Aunts asked me some questions about martial arts. I perceive they may be relevant to others so I'm posting them here. (I attempted to modify my words so they applied in general instead of to a specific person, if I missed something feel free to post in the comments.)

As far as beliefs go a martial arts style could be anywhere on the map. You can ask at the studio if they have any informational papers concerning their beliefs (I know that my studio has several.) However, in my fifteen years of martial arts experience - as both a student, competitor, and instructor of martial arts - I have never run across a style that inherently opposes Christian doctrine. That being said, I have had students over the years who definitely had an Un-christian experience while training. Here are my thoughts:

1.) I would not recommend a style that emphasizes the fighting aspect of martial arts. First, it is the least useful of the skills you will learn*(see footnote) and second of all I feel that many physically dangerous and psychologically negative experiences come from fighting (also known as sparring). Instead I would look for a style that focuses on kata, self defense sets, and what my instructor calls "The Pillars of Martial Arts" (those being Knowledge, Skill, and Attitude.)

2.) A studio should not stress private lessons. They are usually a method of getting more money and remove the safety found in being in a group. Ideally class sizes should range from 5-15 students and should be divided by age (for both easier learning and increased safety). My studio tries to keep a ratio of 1 instructor and an additional assistant for every 5 students.

3.) Chances are, if a doctrine comes up in karate that seems contrary to Christian beliefs it is an opportunity for discussion and probably not a reason to quite training. Keep in mind that Japan has a different set of social customs than we do and something that might seem inappropriate to us could have a very good moral basis. For example, a good friend of mine who trained in guardian Kenpo (which is a Christian style of Kendo that purposefully excludes bowing) once asked how I could justify bowing to my instructors and fellow students when the bible clearly says that only God is to be worshiped. I replied that if I thought that I was honoring the individual as an end every time I bowed to then it would certainly be a wrong thing to do. However, we explain to each student that what we mean by our bow is that we are agreeing to train together, and do not will each other harm.
In short: I doubt that anything fundamentally contrary will come up in a persons training. Still, discussing the basis for any questionable activities or beliefs will be both beneficial to him and a good way to keep you informed on whats happening. (this applies to those with children, adults can decide on there own if a practice seems reasonable.)

4.) Lastly, I URGE you to google the name of your intended instructor, the name of the studio, the address of the studio, ask people in the area and other students what there experiences are like and in general to look into it as much as is possible. There is nothing sneaky about trying to learn the background of your instructor. If you persist in training you will form a very strong bond with both fellow students and instructors. I would not hesitate to say that two of my karate instructors are on the top five list of the most formative people in my life.

* An emphasis on fighting is mostly harmful to younger students. Really any form of training will help them in a pinch and a focus on competitive an physically challenging fights is dangerous and not that helpful. Keep in mind that situational self defense is, at its core, an attempt not to fight, and therefore does not group with standard fighting practices. No style is a practical art in my mind until it does cover situational self defense. That is: how to avoid a fight, how to get out of a fight, and if need be, what your priorities, legal obligations and best chance for surviving if you get in a fight are.

Patrick Shechet

Friday, August 24, 2007


It is friday, the first INSANE week of classes is over (more on the insanity later). And I have just finished installing a new screen on my new laptop. Anybody who ever wants a laptop and has the mechanical ability to take something fairly complex apart and put it back together without losing, breaking, misconnecting ect a sieries of wires should do this. 1.) search ebay for the term "broken LCD laptop" (word order mattering not this instance in) you should pay less than half of what the laptop is worth (in this case a laptop that retailed for $1449 a year ago cost $300, though shipping and insurance can add up to $40.) 2.) Buy a screen (i got mine also on ebay for 150 after shipping) 3.) put them together, viola great computer, less than $500. my project for next month is to try rebuilding the battery pack with generic Li-Ion cells, preferably 9 of them instead of 6.)

Ok, enough bragging about my completly brillaint computer plan and onto the update on school. the week was, as mentioned above, insane. Latin was the biggest cause of insanity, our quiz for the first week was composed entirely of translating english sentances to latin (which, for anybody who hasnt taken a langauge in a while, is much harder than translating from latin [or any second language] to english). other than that the week just involved alot of adjusting to new work schedules (and covering for people who hadnt yet adjusted to them, im already 4 hours ahead) learning how my new tutors work (some of them actualy frown at you when they like what your saying, im told there concentrating but its still disconcerting.) catching up with everybodies summer (on a campus of only 400 people this would seem sorta easy, but we know eachother pretty well, i think i know what 200 of those people did this summer by now.) there was a lecture this evening (friday), math, lab, and philosphy all seem too overlap this year.

well, this is a little spastic and im running out of battery power (it did seem to last about 5 hours)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sophmore year

Well, last year was the answer to life the universe and everything, thats why there were 42 posts of course. Hopefully this year I will post more than 42 times.
The year started fast, I had multiple homework assignments waiting for me when I arrived. I also worked two shifts in the kitchen my first day. Despite the hurried start my first lab and philosophy classes have been great so far.
The campus changed quite a bit. All of the mobile buildings are gone now, the faculty building is complete, there has been an art room for painting and sculpting added, the mail room has been moved, and a complete room for computer use has been added with internet hookups.

My schedule for the year is great. Monday is the only day I have to get up before 9:00 and I have just 2 hours of kitchen work on the weekend. This is good because it looks like the homework load is going to be even bigger than last year. I haven't started Latin yet but i suspect it will be killer. On the other hand I haven't started math yet and I am thinking I will really like it this year. Lab is definitly going to be fun, my first question for the teacher was "do we get to blow things up?" she hesitated before replying "yes, in a controlled environment " thought another molment and added "or, a sort of controlled environment ." I guess control and explosion are contrary.

I have Mr. Appleby for two classes, theology and seminar, for those of you who haven't heard me speak of him: he has a doctorate in medieval history, specializing in the weapons of said period, teaches fencing classes on campus and watched anime in his spare time. He is also one of the most dry witted, but funniest, people I know. I have five people in my section who were in my sections last year, one of whom was also in my summer program section and two who were not in my section last year but were in my summer program section. Basically I know everybody but two people and I'm sure I will know them very well soon.

I suppose this post is going to be a bit boring because I have spent such a lot of it simply relaying facts. Hopefully my next post will be soon and filled with intrigue and deep philosophical thoughts. for now i must go prepare for seminar.