Sunday, August 28, 2005

I am a yellow belt!

Made my yellow belt promotion today. It was at least 95 degrees in the dojo where I took the exam. Had to perform the first two "foundations" then do a series of fundamental self defense postures, followed by a personal interview with a Taekwondo master. Passed with flying colors. Celebrated by purchasing some Taekwondo shoes and a t-shirt promoting the "lifestyle"..... We mysteriously have the day off of school tomorrow, so I will be kicking back (no pun intended) reading and probably take in a movie.
Karen and I are planning on hosting a party on our roof top next weekend. She is "allowing" me to take the reigns, though I think she seceretly wants me to be publicly humiliated! Kidding. I was planning on a basic affair with swimming and some games (maybe a clown, ugh) or the kiddies, then some karaoke and food/drinks for the adults later. Mostly, it will be Karen's family, our school mates and Taekwondo friends. Should be fun, I am getting a list together of what we will need. Party catering is a big business here, and it is fairly affordable for us.
I weighed myself today at the gym and noted that I have lost 21 lbs since I arrived in the Philippines 4 months ago. Most of this is a result of dietary change and non stop sweating. The Teakwondo doesn't hurt either. I am going to look into some dumbbells and a small bench just to keep muscle tone. The diet here is kind of lacking in protein, so I eat a lot of eggs and tuna (the easiest and most readily accessible forms of protein here)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Should I or Should I Not?

I was given the opportunity to anonymously comment on the current facilities at my school. After some moments, I found that I had nothing complementary to say, so I withdrew my opinions and crumpled up the survey. Then, I began to look at what was really bothering me and realized that most of it centered around misunderstandings and the like, not institutions. I also considered the fact that someone could be hurt by remarks I might make, especially out of context or misread. This is a dangerous thing to comment by the written word. It has a degree of officialdom to it. Like you researched and came up with a theory, not just some casual hypothesis. The written word is a powerful weapon. I hope to one day to wield it with skill and precision. If I should be clumsy with it, may my blows be glancing and superficial. (that was a very elaborate safety net, wasn't it?)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I have friends that have spent years in the Pizza business. I have always loved pizza and have eaten amazing quanity of it. On one occasion, I actually ordered the pizza "unsliced", then folded in half and ate it "Calzone style" (long before Calzones had been introduced widely as they are today), to the amazement of an onlooking friend. I guess gluttony is at the core of all of my best pizza stories. Here in the Philippines, real pizza is rare to find. There is a decent establishment making pizzas from a combination of native and imported ingrediants. The result is surprisingly good and somewhat affordable in comparison to other imported cuisine. My eating habits have changed slightly when it comes to pizza, I must admit I now prefer either margharita (sp?) with fresh basil, tomatoes and garlic, or a vegetarian, but always a thin crust. My strangest pizza was a taco pizza topped with ground spiced beef, sour cream, lettuce, red hot sauce and grated cheddar cheese. I was always threatening to get it, like "oh, let's see, that TACO pizza looks interesting...... (a lie)". In the end, the taco pizza was consumed though not feverishly as is the general rule. I can eat pizza for every meal of the day, though I prefer it cold only for breakfast.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Way of the Foot and Fist

Today I had my Taekwondo class. Taekwondo is a Korean Sport and Martial Art. Similar to Karate, but instead of an emphasis on strikes and form, Taekwondo is more fluid and favors kicks to punches and wearing body armor and sparring to performing elaborate pre-determined forms.. You can translate that to " ......'Pop!' Hey, was that my hamstring?!"
Karen is taking it now, too. . She is keeping quiet about her experience to the instructor for fear that he will ask her to lead a class or something, I have found this will be an excellent leverage point to lord over her as in, "If you don't do the dishes even though it is my turn today, I will tell the instructor you are a blue belt!" On Sunday, I am to take my yellow belt promotion. I have taken many forms of Martial Arts in my life, this one is the most challenging. Though I wish it were for the reason of style difficulty, it's more of an "age" thing. I can kick well over my head now though. The methods of stretching would make a medieval dungeon keeper wince.
Ok, going to bed now. Sound sleep is assured!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Well, my first real post. We have "Week of Prayer" this week at school. 2 x 1.5 hrs a day for the whole week. This will be the most religious service I have attended in my entire life put together. On the home front, Karen and I are figuring out our living arrangements yet again, and it looks like we may be moving in with her Aunt's immediate family, not far from where we are right now. This would help us out financially to be sure, though the loss of privacy might be the issue du jour for a while. It rained like crazy today, stranding me under an awning while making me late (though still 30 minutes early by Filipino time standard) for our 2nd chapel period.

Filipino time will be familiar to some as the "Manyana" (sp?) type of attitude towards various meetings or deadlines. Similarly there is a cultural indifference to punctuality, and to a lesser degree, a sort of fatalistic view of events, e.g. A professor cannot show up for a scheduled class because there is a required workshop elsewhere across town that he must attend. After the professor is approximately one hour late, someone will pop their head into the classroom to inform the well mannered and not in the least bit agitated class of students that their class was "cancelled". Not a raised eyebrow or question will ensue.