FTS

bjj0701

“It’s not ‘I get a turn and then you get a turn’… it’s all my space and it’s always my turn” – Greg Hamilton

Wednesday:

I bailed on Saturday’s ceremony.

I feel terrible about it. It is not in my nature to flake out on commitments. In fact I reserve some of my most venomous contempt for people who do that. If I tell you that I am going to do X, then you can rest assured that by God I am going to do X, even if I have to move Heaven and Earth to get it done. I have gone to ridiculous lengths to fulfill minor obligations. It is a pillar of my personal identity- my moral integrity. And this is Jen’s biggest event of the year. Only three days away. And I’m well aware that she was already electrified with stress even BEFORE I bailed.

I assured Jen yesterday (for about the fourth time) that I would indeed be there and that I would be ready to do my part. This was not good enough for her. Over the course of the day she sent me four more messages bugging me for further intercourse. She wanted assurance that there is not friction between us, and she still wanted me to explain exactly what I planned to do (right down to what I was fucking THINKING) so that (presumably) she could inform me that I was “doing it wrong”. When I saw all those missives piled in my box, I was like, that’s it- Fuck This Shit. Aside from my own discomfort- which is a negligible consideration weighed against the integrity of my commitment- it is plain at this point that she is stressing over this to a level that I truly think that dealing with me was causing her more angst than having to replace me will.

I hate drama. I have a traumatic past in drama. I do not appreciate people trying to drag me into their drama when I have made it clear that I do not wish to go there. The last thing I wanted was a BEDS (Big Emotional Drama Scene) three days before the event. Unfortunately, there was *NO* way to get around it. I’m sure I’m going to get some guilt-inducing and stressful nastygrams. But seriously, I think any reasonable person would have said FTS a long time ago. I’m done.
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Thursday:

I blocked Jen for the time being; I will probably have to read her mail at some point, and it’s going to upset me, but I didn’t want to even be tempted to engage in any further drama before the rit- nor do I want to get talked into changing my mind about quitting.

Another community member messaged me when he saw that I was leaving. He’s watched Jen do this same thing to a number of people, so we indulged in a little pop-psychology analysis. It’s an interesting study in self-sabotage. It’s always easier to dissect these things when it’s not you. I don’t think I was self-sabotaging, in this case, although certain other of my problem issues definitely played a role. Yet since self sabotage is a persistant crime of mine, particularly visible in my MA training, it warrents pondering as pertains to my own situation.

Lamont messaged me to mention the Proving Grounds Championship. I figured I wouldn’t qualify anyway, but apparently I do. I had skipped the Revolution this past weekend, and had not planned to do the PGC or anything else. I still haven’t come up with any new insights or ideas on the defeatism barrier.

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Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Glenn! He’s been out for about a year. So delightful to see him back. I got to drill with him, too.

Drills- from standup, pulling spider guard. Then same, with partner proceeding to pass. Then some positional sparring, starting from establishment of the spider guard. Then postional training starting from sitting on the floor in what Carlos called “double guard pull”. After a while, Carlos switched out partners and gave me a young, long-legged blue belt who huffed and puffed like an overweight basset hound. Since it was also hotter than hell in there tonight, this was not helping him. We talked a lot about breathing. I also gave him several other suggestions as we went. I know that it was because he was breathing wrong, but I still found it rather gratifying- given our respective ages- that I had to repeatedly chivvy him along when he was literally on the brink of collapsing.

A few rolls with Allison. I haven’t seen him in a while either. He’s always great to roll with. He handled me, of course, but I think I made him work a little harder than he has had to work to handle me in the past. I finally had to cry his mercy, though, because I just became too exhausted to continue. He complimented my on my back mount escape. I had escaped his back mount four or five times, usually by grabbing his gi top and squirming around till we were chest to chest (him usually on the bottom at that point). I said, “I thought you were being nice and giving me room to get out,” and he said, “No, I was trying.” Which, given his skill level, I’m going to take as a compliment even if he’s fudging a bit.

At that point I was way too tired to jump on Glenn, so I promised to get him next time.

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Friday evening

bjj980

“I’ve had 56 students win gunfights in the past 5 years. I also had two students that died because they were unarmed when they were attacked. Carry your f***in gun.” – Tom Givens (Rangemaster)

OMG, Jen Jen Jen. This needs to stop. This ritual leadership team needs to break up due to irreconcilable differences. I had intended to perform my small part for next weekend’s event and then just stop answering her e-mails and fade away… which would leave the door open to at least show up and participate in a non-facilitating way once in a while. But it has become clear that she ONCE AGAIN did not like what I did at the last event, even though it worked just fine, and now she wants to vet my piece beforehand. She disguised this as a general message to everyone that “We don’t want to do (fill in the blank with what I did last time). Let’s all post our ideas so that we can be all goal-aligned.” So almost everyone posts except me…. since I’m still trying to figure out how the hell to deal with her shit without getting pulled into a dysfunctional drama scene, and I also still have about .02% doubt that this may be *my* problem because I apparently have no ability to function in ritual nor gauge accurately whether things worked or not nor take constructive criticism… and she posts another general message going, “Okay, the only one who hasn’t chimed in yet is Kitsune…..” then again this morning with, “I’m freaking out here, those who haven’t posted their ideas yet PLEASE DO SO”. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, this is the biggest event of the year and you’d think she’d have enough to do without having this much time and energy to ride my ass. Over a very tiny role, which is not going to make a difference in anything even if she hates it. I don’t want to be one of those people who causes a drama scene (or worse- bails) a week before a huge event, but I’ve about had it. This is nuts.

I mounted a pole in my basement gym to dry my gi’s on. When I first moved in here, I looked at the shower in the laundry room and thought, “Sweet, I can hang my gi’s right there on the shower rod to dry.” Well, turns out the air flow sucketh in there and they take about a week to dry…. which is not a huge deal, except the condensation is such that I’m worried it’s going to get all disgusting in that room if I keep doing that. I’m not sure the air flow and drying time are going to be much better in the basement proper, but I hope so. I’m going to mount a second pole on the porch so that I can dry them out there when the weather permits.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. I got there early and had a long, thorough stretching session, followed by a few reps of the Tai Chi short form. Then Five Animals. Then Leopard Fist. I have not done any forms of any kind for, like, a year. I don’t know how I feel about it. It stirred some things. Some good, some bad.

KOtH, sweep vs pass. There was an awkward moment right that the beginning when Prof Herbert tried to pair me up with Sauleh. There were only about 8 of us total in there, so having Sauleh in there with KoTH meant a lot of extra wall time for me. Irritating.

Brandon has his purple belt. He continues to get bigger- and better.

A few spars. Lance first, ha ha. He was nice, and let me simply run a sub clinic on him. I also got a turn with Herbert, which was awesome if exhausting. It was very flowy. I tried really hard to flow. I think I made a decent showing of myself.

Some seemingly competent sparring

bjj0501

Beating someone to the draw is a myth. Even if it was possible, other than a shot to the brainstem, there is nothing a bullet can do that can stop another person from pulling the trigger for several seconds. –Rory Miller

FRI
Went to the open mat in Bellevue after work on Fri morning. I was only able to be there for the last hour, but I had coordinated with Lindsay, so it was worth it. We rolled for almost an hour- gi and then no-gi. I got a few taps, she got a few taps. Then we gushed about how much we enjoy working together. We seem very evenly matched, and we feel safe working together.

SAT
Turtle Spirit Jam. I wrote a chant and used it to call the quarters. Decent turnout. I used the frame drum, doumbek, and egg shaker. Also broke out the streamer poi, which was nice- not enough room to use those in the indoor venue. Used the frame drumstick to drum on objects around the park shelter (STOMP’s got nuthin on me). The metal signs had very poor tones, but the trash can and recycle can were great. Got a nice three-tone rhythm going with trash (head)-recycle (head)-trash (stick).

There were two other guys there with great drum skills, and we had a really nice middle eastern-sounding beat going at one point wherein we were trading the solos around.

Still feeling a bit too much “holding the rhythm” burden at these events. Every single time I tried to drop out- even though I was being really careful to fade- the whole group either immediately faded with me or fell apart. I wish there were a few more people who weren’t afraid to start rhythms or to take the lead.

I got a nice amount of walking done. I parked over a mile away because I assumed there wouldn’t be any parking to be had (turned out the rear half of the park was deserted). I also circled for pretty much the entire jam.

WEDS
Jen and I are fighting on FB again, with me saying that when I’m helping to lead these shindigs, I want to have a loose format and not be ordering drummers where to stand and what to do. She seems to feel that I am frustratingly naiive and can’t understand how much ritual leaders need to plan every step ahead and tightly CONTROL everything. I suspect the golden spot lies in the middle somewhere, but it is difficult to restrain myself from bristling when she shoots down my concepts and ideas. I’m still not entirely sure what is going on here with the dynamics between us, but I am not comfortable trying to force myself into her little box of what she wants me to be doing, so I am definitely going to hang back and keep my role strictly compartmentalized. I already agreed to call East at the next big Ocean Healing thing (deliberately picking an element I’m weak in, just for a challenge), and I will still do that, but we have talked about doing something with the River over here at my place in the fall… which I may now try to wiggle out of. I’m not going to respond to her posts right away, though- choosing to not let myself get pulled into the Dance Of Ego, cuz I can feel myself wanting to. Going to wait till I’m cool.

THURS

Two-fer at Bellevue. Good Lord was it hot. After evening class ended, I was actually kind of nauseated from the level of heat (and possibly from being shaken and stirred all day on the mat).

Lunchtime: Drills.

1) Standing guard pass. Hands on opponent’s knees. Step to each side a few times, then pull opponent’s knees to the mat on the same side you are on. Dart to other side, plant shoulder on opponent, slither upward into side control.

2) Step one foot between opponent’s feet. S/he sits up and hugs your knee. Grab the back of hir collar, plant your forearm on hir breastbone, “slide into home” on the free-foot side. Turn your hips toward opponent, placing your left knee where your right knee just was. Your right knee must be pointed at the ceiling in order to pop out of the half guard. Front mount.

3) Opponent’s feet are on your hips. Grab hir left foot with your right hand (same-side), pass it to your other hand, clamp it under your left arm, step in and drop to butt as if you are going for ankle lock. This is a ruse (or perhaps your ankle lock didn’t work). Post with right hand, change your grip on the leg (you want to grab the pants on the outside of the knee) and use your left leg to lift opponent’s non-trapped right ankle while you shift your body behind hir butt. I was worried about accomplishing that left-leg thing, but it turned out that you only had to stick your foot under there and lift it a smidgen in order to render the person unable to do diddly crap (since now both hir feet are off the mat). It did not need to be a big production, but you did need to remember to do it. The trickier part for me was actually avoiding getting my own foot trapped under my own ass thus preventing me from doing the shift. I wanted to step in really really close to the opponent’s butt when I first went for the ankle lock, but I had to think ahead regarding where I placed that foot- otherwise I had to do extra scrambling in order to unfold myself later.

Note that if you could use the pants knee grip to yank opponent’s leg straight(er) at the end, bonus.

A few spars. Suranjen let me ride him for almost the entire 8 mins, and tap him about once a minute… don’t know what was going on there, as he normally tools me. On top of John a lot today, too. Maybe I was just excellent this afternoon, I dunno.

Evening:

I need to stop doing two-fers assuming the Chrisanne is going to show up for round 2, because she keeps standing me up. Turns out her knee is still giving her problems, so she decided to bail. Guess that’s a decent excuse! I held up okay, despite the heat.

Standup with judo grips, put foot on opponent’s hip on sleeve-grip side, drop to butt, DO NOT swing out. Instead, slide elbow grip to cuff grip, place foot on bicep, triangle.

God, I can’t remember what else we did. I’m so tired. My brain is melting.

More spars. I seemed competant tonight. Usually I flail on round 2 in one day, especially if I seemed competant in the afternoon.

Still having a lot of pain in both knees from that fall I took on the stairs. I also pulled a muscle in the afternoon- it hurts almost screaming-level to turn my head to the left, also rradiating a bit down that arm and to mid-back. Joyful. Stretching before evening class did naught to relieve it, but fortunately it did not seem to cripple me in class. I hope it’s not bad in the morning. I want to do 1, maybe 2 classes tomorrow.

Bigger than a raccoon.

flatwalker

Even some of the best people I know live by the “I just wanna do my own little thing.” Satisfied with the happy little island they created for themselves in the middle of the ocean of the surrounding disharmony, they look at life from their seat in the audience. I consider this attitude one of the main causes in the mediocrity in the state of things. Often for creative people the beauty of their inner world can become a handicap. Too caught up by their subjective experience to learn how to dance through the physical world. The result is that, limiting themselves to the cultivation of their own spiritual world, the most sensitive people leave to the most careless the management of collective reality. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

PSG.

The weather was not our friend this week. It was either raining or brutally hot and humid. I did go over some defensive stuff with Dru, but not nearly as much as I’d wanted to. I didn’t get to play MA with my Evil Twin at all, which was a huge disappointment. She had kubatons, and I’d really wanted to play with them.

Although my tent and tarp situation is reasonably adequate for a few normal showers, what happened this week was not normal. I had Lake Michigan inside my tent. We got six inches just on Thursday alone. I  returned from the Hunt at around 1am to find every inch of floor space underwater. I had known that was going to happen, but there was really nothing I could do as long as it just kept coming and coming. So I spent the next few hours just walking from one end of the tent to the other and poking at the ceiling to tip the water off as it collected and dripped through. Near dawn, it finally slowed, and I used my wet clothes to mop the standing water to the front end of the tent. Threw the sleeping bag down and hoped that the wet floor wouldn’t soak through too much.

Kitsune (after someone mentioned jiu-jitsu): “Yeah, I know sixty different ways to choke someone unconscious with their own clothes.”
Nataraj: “All the more reason not to wear any.”

Speaking of Nata, he had a little pink tube dress and was photographing as many different people as possible wearing it. I rarely allow photos to be taken (especially wearing something that revealing), but one could hardly refuse after he donned the thing himself.

What’s worse than having a screaming baby camped right next to you? Having TWO screaming babies camped right next to you! They woke up wailing every morning at the crack of dawn, at which point their entire camp was up and talking, so I couldn’t get back to sleep. There were also a few small-hours operettas. On Thursday their tents were gone. I know it’s selfish of me, but I was SO HAPPY. I thought I’d finally get some sleep…. but then the tent flooding.
 
Flat Harry was back (see photo). Fortunately, 3D Harry (who drums much more skillfully and is also better at helping put up tents) was back as well. He asked me to bring Flat Harry out as a prop one morning while he addressed the morning meeting. While he stood there talking, I propped Flat Harry up beside him and then pretended to grope him from behind all during Harry’s speech. The crowd was in stitches. I’m hoping that someone will post a photo (I saw several being taken).

Extreme Contact Improv for Martial Artists, x3…. although the third session got rained out halfway through. Although we were deliberately BEHIND the audience, we had many people come up to us both at the concerts and at other times on the road to tell us how much they enjoyed watching the ECIfMA. Including one woman who was delighted with me and my “husband”.

Tuatha Dea performed a song about “Celtic women” with the two adult sisters and their mom. With the first verse, I had goosebumps all up and down my arms. By the end, I was crying, and so was Harry. I found all three women over the course of the next two days and thanked them for sharing that song.

Drummed in 2 ritual processions, although I bailed when we reached the site for the 2nd one (Bonfire opening). Apparently that rit was “the best one EVER”, so maybe I should have stayed….

Number of times this year that I left my walkie-talkie in the portajohn: zero. I think I have conquered that particular bad habit.
Number of times I left my umbrella at Herald Camp and found myself caught in the rain elsewhere without it: 3. Needs work.

I was asked by the gal in charge of the Croning rite of passage to scramble a drum section for the rit. Unfortunately, it was on Friday, and it’s really hard to recruit anyone to do anything in the last few days. Since she’d asked me personally, I felt obligated to show up and do it myself. Selena tends to pull some distressingly arrhythmic chants out of her butt, but I have figured out that I just need to ID those right out of the gate and simply “let the voices rule.” I haven’t been drumming for these small rits for a long time, but it is a service to the community, so I decided that next year I am going to go out of my way to do more of them- even if I am doing them solo. Dru said that she might be up for doing some.

Dru to Kitsune, upon hearing that I had heard something fall in the creek in the middle of the night and suspected that it was a bear: “Maybe it was a raccoon.”
Kitsune: “It was bigger than a raccoon.”
Rhonda’s frantic disembodied voice from her tent, where we thought she had gone to sleep: “WHAT was???!!? Where???!!?”

The Hunt- Ummm. Someone asked me how it went, and I said, “I don’t really know what to say.”

 The first monkey wrench occurred about a week before the event when Dru informed me that she still had a touch of pneumonia and had to bail out of coordinating the drumming. I said fine, I’ll do it myself.

There was a young teen- he looked about 13- drumming beside me at the processions and at the morning meetings. Although I generally loathe kids, I was impressed with his drumming skill and focus. I thought, “That kid might actually be able to do the Hunt,” Lo and behold, Thursday morning he asked me if he could drum for the Hunt. Normally we don’t let under-18’s in (we have let in a few 16 and 17 YO’s in special circumstances), but I decided (after getting a green light from his dad) to let him do it. Found out at the pre-meeting that he is a wrestler- which explained both the unusual focus and the way I’d glommed onto him right off. I asked Finn and Marshall to help look out for him.

Second monkey wrench: less than an hour before the rit was supposed to begin, it was decided (by people who were not me) that the lightning made it too dangerous to put the hunters in the woods, and we were going to put them in the sweat lodge. I was horrified. Without being able to see the hunters- and with the villagers clustered under a tarp on the opposite end of the clearing- my drum group was going to feel like it was all alone in the world, drumming to itself.

Interestingly, none of the hunters bailed. I had expected at least a few to do so. They had put a lot of work into their hunt spaces (which were now not going to be utilized) and into their weapons (which would have to be left outside the lodge), and they had prepared for a completely different format. A sweat lodge is not something to take lightly.

I placed our easy-up so that it faced the sweat lodge fire- with the lodge visible at stage left and the hunt fire at stage right. (The guy erecting the shelters looked deeply into my eyes as he placed the front pole and declared passionately, “This is the LAST time I am moving this goddam easy-up…. are you SURE this is where you want it?”)

When I explained to the drummers what was happening, one of them asked a question about what the hunters were doing in the sweat lodge. Good question. I haven’t a clue. That was obviously going to be a Hunters’ Mystery. I replied as much, adding that it was “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” (That became a major catchphrase for me this year…..)

I had to shoehorn twenty drummers- and their chairs- into an easy-up and hang tarps on three sides so that the sideways rain didn’t dull the drumheads. They were inaccessible to the villagers who were supposed to be bringing them water. They were practically sitting in one another’s laps. Of course this left no room for me. I stood toe to toe with the front row, holding my drumhead just under the edge of the shelter. I had the synthetic, but I had never played it in extensive rain, and wasn’t sure how it (and my hands) might perform (or not) in the middle of a thunderstorm. The freezing water running off the edge of the tarp and right down my back was the least of my problems.

I realized quickly that the right-hand tarp was going to prevent most of my drummers from seeing the kills. I was able to solve this by asking Finn and Marshall to roll that side up as soon as the hunters started coming out. It would be distracting- and we would be getting a little wet at that point- but the drummers needed to see the kills.   

All the coordinators met in the center and stood there in a huddle with our wet hair dripping in our eyes, discussing the changes. I realize that the sweatlodge leader cancelled her own event and offered up her lodge, time and effort to help us out- but man, she was ****NOT**** displaying good team player skills. As soon as the lodge became involved, it turned into her show instead of ours- and she didn’t know what we were doing. I started to ask about cues, and she informed me that her second, Colleen, would be giving me cues. I attempted to relate what cues I needed and when, and she cut me off rudely… at which point I tried to address Colleen directly, and got cut off a THIRD time with a snapped, “You’ll get your cues, don’t worry about it.” End of discussion. I realized then that I was not going to get my cues, and that I was not going to have any idea WTF was going on. Which is exactly what happened.

Usually before the ritual the drummers circle up and paint one another, and I make an inspiring speech. This time, I said, “Sorry, people. We’re packed into an easy-up like sardines and it’s pouring. We’re just going to stay where we’re at.” Dru asked if we could at least do an “ohm” to sync up, and I said yes. Bo headed up the hill to get the hunters. I got exactly half a sentence into my soul-stirring speech, and the horn sounded. Fuck. He must have had the hunters right outside the clearing already, and just hoofed them in with no speech and no rigmarole. I had to abandon my own rigmarole plans (and the ohm- sorry Dru) and get the heartbeat started immediately.

(At least the hunters were not processing solemnly down the hill to an accompaniment of “It’s Raining Men”. The concert stage and its amplified music is distressingly close to the area where the hunters are supposed to be sitting in meditation and then processing. There was a drag show scheduled this year (thus the “Raining Men”). I can’t remember what was playing last year while we were trying to meditate and process, but I remember being really annoyed with how upbeatedly distracting it was.)

So we worked the heartbeat, while the amplifiers from the concert blasted “Go Ask Alice” arrhythmically throughout. (Dru did an absolutely hilarious replay of this at the post mortem meeting…. almost wet my pants) the hunters all disappear into the lodge. We keep doing the heartbeat for a really long time, since I had no cues to tell me otherwise. I glared pointedly at Derek- I felt bad putting that on him, but at least he was getting to move around the site and hopefully had a marginally better idea of what was happening than I did. I couldn’t see, hear or sense a damn thing.  Finally Derek cues me to stop the heartbeat and start the thunder drumming.

Still no Colleen- I never laid eyes on that chick for the rest of the night. Derek finally gave me a rampup cue.

Suddenly- it seemed like we’d only been drumming for about 10 min, although I found out later that it was about an hour and a half- one of the drummers in the 2nd row caught my glance and cut her eyes several times exaggeratedly to stage right. I turned my head, and there was a hunter at the fire.   WTF????!!!!?????? It was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon, and we’d only done one ramp-up, and… cues? CUES, PLEASE, ANYBODY???!!!???

Since no one was there for me to glare at but Marshall, I glared at him. Eyes popping, he and Finn scurried to roll up the side of the tarp. The water that had collected on it went cascading right into the ass pocket of the unfortunate drummer on the right front corner.

(Later at the post mortem, Marshall said that he had never been stalked or felt threatened in the hunt before this one- and it wasn’t even a hunter, it had been me. I hadn’t meant it is a recriminating glare, just a “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze tell me what the hell is going on” glare.)

I quickly realized that the poor lighting made it very difficult to see what was going on at the fire- which was problematic since I was supposed to give the drum section a “Fuckabazoo” cue when the hunter made hir first strike and a “go back to thunder drumming” cue when the kill was done. That first one, it appeared that he just went over to the prey, stood there and stared at it for a time, and then when down on his knees and collapsed on top of it. I later found out that that guy had fasted and deprived himself of water. Sweat-lodging dehydrated? Not recommended.

Another thing I realized, but this was a good one: I had positioned us so that as the hunters came out of the sweat lodge, the muffled drumming that they had been hearing abruptly turned into a wall of sound that smacked them in the face as they emerged. Furthermore, rolling up that right-hand tarp was allowing the drumming to extend out toward the fire and kill area. I think that having them crammed together like they were- uncomfortable as it was- helped the syncronicity. I had Dru in the rear center, and placed Michael on the right rear corner and my Evil Twin on the front left corner so that I had a strong grid of powerful, experienced drummers supporting the newbies in the middle.

One of the hunters tried to charge straight into the lake, and Derek had to chase him down….

Had a drummer wet hir pants…. kept right on drumming….. I’ve had several drummers puke after the hunt, but this is the first loss of bladder control I’m aware of.

Finally Bo comes over and says, “All the hunters are out… do you want to keep the drummers going for a while, just for their own sake?” It was nice of him to ask, but no. The climax of the entire thing is the kills. I felt unfulfilled (and other drummers did as well, and I think some villagers too), but continuing to drum after that would have felt like masturbating for two hours and then not being able to finish. (Sorry for the crude, but I don’t know how else to explain this….)

Here was my Big Fail of the night: I allowed myself to get so distracted and stressed out by the weirdness of this “Gopher Hunt” that I completely forgot to check up on my teenager afterward. Thank goodness Dru talked to him a little- she said that he seemed kind of zoned, and when she questioned him, he told her that he had seen visions. She asked him what he’d seen, and he replied, “I saw all my fears.” I had mentioned in the pre-meeting that the drummers sometimes hallucinate (Caitlin reported two years ago that she had seen it “raining snakes” in the hunt space). So at least he had some warning. Thank Goodness also for Marshall- who, unlike me, DID remember this particular responsibility and walked the kid back to his campsite. Dru and I, though, were both kicking ourselves for not making him goto the counseling center. It had been my decision to let him in, and I should have personally made sure he was okay and not messed up in the head. (That *was* my circus and my monkey, and I failed in that respect.)

I was relieved that my bad shoulder- which was STILL giving me problems- did not rebel during the hunt. I had been really worried that it would be in agony- either during, or after, or both. I had resolved to treat myself to a massage if I messed up my shoulder in the hunt. But it performed fine, and I was not in excessive pain the next day.

Bo suggests that instead of adding “in bed” to our fortune cookie fortunes, we should now add “in a sweat lodge”.

There was a lot of poor nutrition this week. I hate flying, and always console myself on my single yearly flight with a candy binge (Mostly Runts, double dipped (peanut butter and chocolate) peanuts, and Mint Whoppers, this time). Dru had peanut butter stuffed pretzels- which sounds disgusting, and I should have just left it at that- but like an idiot, I tried them, and they were delicious. I hadn’t wanted to deal with cooking this year, so I had decided to get one or two meals per day at the vendors’ booths- which I usually eschew as much too expensive and also excessive in portion size.

Most of what I ate at Phil’s Grill wasn’t terrible nutrition-wise… chicken and pork wraps with onions, mushrooms, and a little cheese and rice… would have probably made my nutritionist/Evil Twin roll her eyes, but not cringe. The problem was, each wrap was twice the amount of food I normally consume in a sitting. With no refrigeration and no microwave, I just had to snort it or waste it (and I hate waste). I now have some extra weight to work on taking off.

Saturday through Thursday

bjj1009

Kaia appeared on tributary bank and swooped into the grouping of lanterns without a sound, like a grim spectre. –The Hole In the Clouds

Saturday comp class in Seattle. All spars. Meg, Coach Dynamo, Ian, John… I think there were one or two more in there but I can’t recall. I felt competant. Meg is very technical and eager. I hope she sticks around. It was great to roll with John. It’s been a really long time. He’s gotten so much better. It seemed like a really good competitive roll.

Turtle Drum went well. Not a huge crowd, but enthusiastic. Bryan did everything except call/dismiss quarters. I used the Spiral Rhythm chant again. They love that. I had been planning to cast the circle with my red light saber, but at the last minute I asked my housemate if I could borrow her smaller rainbow strobe shortsword. As it turned out, Thekla set up the altar with a branch growing out of a pot and strung with illuminated rainbow stars. It was perfectly coordinated. I walked up there and stuck the short sword in the pot as if I was lighting it from the branch.

Registered for Proving Grounds on (IIRC) March 1 or thereabouts. No-gi only. Weight will be okay as long as it doesn’t go up this month.
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Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Begin in closed guard. Grip lapels, step left foot up by opponent’s hip, straighten right leg out behind you as you stand up and turn to break guard. (Brace your knee against the hip.)

Press opponent’s left knee to ground, slide your rt knee through, backsit, take side control.

Next technique: you are standing, opponent lying on hir back with feet on your hips. You grip pantlegs at insides of knees. Underhook one leg and press the other knee to the floor. Slide rt knee through, then left knee. Take side control.

Multiple repeats of these, to exhaustion. Both John (this is a different John) and I kept mixing up whether we were supposed to do the backsit or the double-slide. I had to ask him to be careful on my ribs- his weight on top is amazing. Because I had already asked for that, I refrained from asking him to go easier on my knees- although it hurt like hell every time he slid over one.

“You’re breaking all the rules!”

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Ecstasy is not a faraway, unreachable dimension. It is right here, just a few feet away from the sleep of the senses. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

127.5

Saturday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

I had forgotten about the training camp… the visiting black belt who is doing the training camp was running basics class. I hid in the locker room because if I’d gone out to sit by the mat and watch, Rodrigo would have insisted I go on the mat even though I didn’t pay for the training camp, and I’m not fishing for charity.

I had a good stretching session, did some Tai Chi short form, then Chen Dao and Catherine Dao with a coat hanger substituting for the dao.

Competition class. Positional sparring. I wasn’t doing that great, but I also had a very challenging group of people to deal with. Rodrigo divided us up into pods by size and rank, and I was in the “Small But Mighty” group- Suranjan, Lindsey, Z, Coach Dynamo, a couple of others, but no easy marks.

I love watching Z and Suranjan fight- I told Lindsey that they look like a couple of overcaffeinated ferrets. With ten legs apiece. And rabies. In a clothes dryer set on Fast Spin. They just whirl in a blurred little furious ball and you can hardly even follow the action.

One long roll with a Small But Mighty blue belt that I’m not familiar with. I spent almost the entire time struggling to pass his guard, with a couple of brief intervals where I found myself on the bottom and he was passing *my* guard. My guard passes are decent- but damn, he played excellent guard.

Then I got Cindy, who had just come in and was nice and fresh. It quickly became apparent the The Move Of The Day was the crucifix. Before long, my objective of “survive” became “try to last thirty seconds without finding yourself crucifixed.” We did some standup, too (no-gi). I feel so intimidated trying to do standup with Cindy. I felt like I was doing really terrible overall, but she told me I was good. It really is impossible to tell how I’m doing when I’m rolling with Cindy…. I just know that lying on the bottom like a possum is bad.

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Turtle Drum. This was interesting. I walked in and set my stuff down, and immediately Jen pounces on me because my rug is too close to the altar and there is too much water in my mug (!). “You’re breaking all the rules!” I was aghast. I shoved my rug back against the wall and dumped half the water into a plant (this was a mug of water with a little floating turtle candle in it, for the altar). “But if we don’t get that many people, you’ll need to be closer in than that.” “In that case, I’ll move.” “Oh, do whatever you want.” She flaps her hands and walks away.

Five minutes later, here she is again: “Wow, why did I just jump down your throat like that? Guess it’s turned into a knee-jerk reaction whenever I see you in here, ha ha.”

What the hell????!?!? We had a whole freaking encounter session about her cutting me down with her criticism to the point that I didn’t even want to be a facilitator for this event any more. She wants me to come back and run this shindig- ideally next month- but within sixty seconds of my entering the building as a mere participant, she’s all up my butt. And the most bizarre part of that was not even questioning the amount of water in my mug, it was the fact that I could see that she was wrestling with herself to try to narrow my list of sins to just those two…. she, like, visibly bit her tongue and stopped herself after the “rug” and “water”. What is going on here? Is she subconsciously threatened by me? Is she a drama whore? Is this just how she reacts to stress? Are we really stuck in this dynamic? I don’t want to deal with that from her while I’m trying to run a big public event. That will freak me out.

She also did some of the same things tonight that she raked me over the coals for not doing: she did almost no closing at the end (called quarters at the beginning but did not close them at the end; if you’re going to do one, you really should do both), and didn’t shill for money, which was the biggest thing we clashed about that last time.

Otherwise: I had brought the “Tom Ox” drum for the first time, and I think it did well. Also, Tiala (doumbek)- had one very nice song with that- egg shaker, water drum, double woodblock, and the large-size ocarina. It turned out to be a flutey and whistley night. That was mostly really nice, although two or three of them did get a little out of hand a couple of times. I had never used the ocarina here before, but when everybody was making a big flute section, I gave it a try. At first it seemed like it was not in a compatible key, but I went up an octave and found a five-note sequence that seemed to harmonize well.

There was quite a bit of toning and chanting, which people seem to really enjoy, so I’m always happy to see that (and help it along). Some dancing, which to me is also a good indicator of a drum circle going well.

Jen was unhappy with the entire schmeer musically. Thekla also felt that there was some weirdness here and there. I thought it went fine. (And oftentimes, even when the more experienced people at a drum circle think it was a disaster, the newbies still had a blast.)

I was pretty much resolved to go back and try facilitating a Turtle Drum again, but now I’m vascillating (again). I’m not sure if I can deal in a constructive manner with having Jen riding my ass and undermining my confidence while I’m trying to focus on leading a group ritual (which is nervewracking enough when you *don’t* have an authority figure looming over you with a scorecard in her hand).

Having her experience a completely different eval of the energy than I did makes me question my own ability to read the circle. I might have been tempted to write it off as more clash-dynamic if Thekla had not mentioned something “off” as well. Think I will make an open-ended request for participant feedback on the Facebook group (If my internet connection ever comes up again… sigh).
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Sun: 128.5

I spent part of the day in the hospital lobby with my laptop and a bag of candy corn, because internet is still down at my place. The Facebook feedback about TD is very positive. Jen bought up the fact that she dropped the ball on the closing. She feels that there was an out-of-control level of “catharsis” going on. I remarked that I think a certain level of “catharsis” is inevitable for an event that close to Samhain, with the theme of “Release into the Beauty of Darkness”, and a few participants had also created a lovely and powerful altar to those who have gone ahead. What do you expect? Kittens and Tinkerbell? I didn’t percieve it as having gotten out of hand.

I ranted some more on Facebook/blogs/forums about Schultz/Maldonado and LI, and got some conversations and shares among my own contacts on it, so that’s a good thing.

Bree sent me photos of three big bruises that I gave her in class the other day.

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I should mention- just in case I turn up dead- that the assassin songbird is back. Phock, phock, phock, against the window. He wakes me up every morning at the crack of dawn and comes back periodically all day long to fling himself tirelessly against the glass. Either constant practice at flinging yourself against window glass is like most other things and you get better with more reps, or he’s flitting off to the gym and getting in a little Crossfit between kamikaze bouts- because he’s getting better. The inital soft thumps have turned into hard, sharp raps- to the point that I periodically go downstairs to see if he’s managed to crack the window yet. He’s also figured out that if he goes to the little north-side window, there is some ivy he can perch on and chain his phocks so as to get several blows in succession. So maybe he’s not *quite* as dumb as he seems, or maybe he got this suggestion from his asassin decoder ring. I wonder who put out the hit on me, and for how much.

Saturday

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Sign above toilet at Bothell school: “Hope your aim is better when you fight!”

Saturday BJJ at GB Sea. There were half a dozen women in there today! When we separated into groups for positional sparring, we were able to make an all-female group.

Lots of positional sparring. Then a roll with Kelly, who was on top the whole time. Then a roll with Ron. I actually got a few chokes on him- and any tap you get on Ron, you EARNED- so it’s exciting the rare time I get any. He commented that the gi-and-forearm chokes appear to be my “bread and butter”. He tapped me several times as well, of course.

Then I had a meeting with Tasara. As happened the last time we tried to discuss Turtle Drum leadership issues, we spent a great deal of time talking AROUND the problem spots. I wonder why she intimidates me so much. I agreed to commit to leading some more (if my work schedule ever allows).

I am tempted to take one of Tasara’s shamanic journeying classes, but I’m scared of getting confirmation that I’m just not capable. I’m such a control freak. I have only journeyed once, and it was an accident.