Monday, May 31, 2010

Leticia Ribeiro seminar, women only, June 19

Leticia Ribeiro, 3rd degree black belt, will be teaching a women-only seminar at Marcelo Garcia of Dallas on Saturday, June 19, and you should come if you can.

Watch Leticia v. Michelle Nicolini, at last year's Mundials, super feather finals... especially Letty's pass at 6:50 (SICK!)

While we're on the subject of the guard... check out Bia Mesquita's guard passing here.. Bia is a Letty protege, 4 stripe brown belt, phenom, and young superstar grappler.. I especially like her left foot placement around 4:13... She is apparently joining Letty in this seminar so double trouble, ladies!

Here's what the Fightworks Podcast had to say about these powerhouses..

"Beatriz Mesquita and Leticia Ribeiro, two cornerstones of Gracie Humaita’s womens competition team. Do not let the smiles fool you! Four stripe brown belt Beatriz Mesquita and her black belt instructor Leticia Ribeiro are some of the toughest female grapplers on the planet. Mesquita, aka “Bia” has hit the competition scene like a tsunami, winning world championship after world championship as she has progressed through the belt rankings. She also recently came in second place in the World Pro championship in Abu Dhabi. Did we mention that she is not yet twenty years old? Many consider her the top talent among new women’s jiu-jitsu athletes.

Leticia Ribeiro is a black belt under Royler Gracie and is the heart of the Gracie Humaita female team. World champion Penny Thomas has nothing but high praise for Letty, who organizes the competition preparation for Gracie Humaita’s womens team, which earned first place among female competitors for the last three years. And did you ever watch the episode of MTV’s Wildboyz where Steve-O was choked out by a woman? Yes, that was Leticia."

So, many thanks to Triin and the Fenom Project for putting on this wonderful opportunity. Hope to see you all there!

Progression. ** Spoiler at the end **

Roy Harris' brilliant exposition on 'Progression in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu' is found here. Great refresher and highlight of things to come for me, and a reassuring read when I start feeling like I'm flailing or floundering.

I am, slow inch by slow inch, starting to feel like I have stuck my finger in a hole in the dike. (Granted, there's so many other holes in my technique, it doesn't really matter, except that I feel like ONE durn hole is at least slowed to a trickle instead of a gush.) It comes back to Scott, and Josh, and the halfguard sweep I'd seen from Scott but wasn't ready to learn until Josh showed me when I visited his academy a little while back. I have probably pulled it off at least 10 times in live sparring against fully resisting male opponents, making it the ONLY sweep I can land against said beasts. Now, it's ugly, it's slow, and it needs lots of work, but I think it fits with what I admire... that jits which you can see or feel coming a mile away, but you can't do anything to stop it. Unfortunately most of the time, I nail the beginning part of the description and fall short on the second part. This sweep is nothing special or fancy so don't bother asking me for the how-to; it's just one puzzle piece that happened to click with my neurons better than some other piece did.

Harris' article makes it a little clearer to me that I *am* a blue belt and I am on the right path. I am working on escapes, working on maintaining dominant position, and identifying attacks to chain together. Now I know you'll laugh, because what I'm about to describe will be the simplest most obvious "duh!!" But it was a BIG deal for me today. You know that, like most girls, I usually roll mostly with guys. Most of them do their best to ratchet their use of muscle down a bit to give me a chance, but mostly it still ends up being a very different kind of game than rolling with a girl. Okay. And you know I really don't care for playing guard-- right? we've all heard enough of my complaints about wanting to get off my back and be on top, right? and my bold plan to play and work on only guard for the next year? So imagine my surprise, and then pleasure, when rolling with a fairly new whitebelt guy today... I not only played closed guard (i.e. didn't get passed like buttah) for an extended time, I also flowed through the whitebelt killer-kimura-guillotine chain several times, and though he was successful in muscling out of everything I threw at him, I could tell that was what he did. So it was really delightful. I normally don't even bother playing that game because I talk myself out of it ahead of time, but I thought eh, he's a newb, I have nothing to lose. (Well, nothing except spraining my shoulder, because I still had a wrist grip for the kimura, but went up and almost over for the hip bump sweep, and then he just barreled forward, knocking me down quite hard on shoulder with my arm behind me and him on top of it all. But no loss, and he was terribly nice and apologetic about it after.) So I can't pat myself on the back right now, but I am imagining it :)

Couple heads-up on what I have planned for you in the next couple days:

** an interview with a blue belt who got to train at the seminar Rickson Gracie taught in Houston this weekend...
** a review of the new Ouano lightweight competition gi...
** IF I'm lucky, I'll finish the review of Lloyd Irvin's newest nogi instructional series...
** an interview with Jaxon Smith, the Machado blue belt who won the BIGGEST division at the 2010 Pan (men's lightweight blue belt) which had 100+ competitors, and had to fight 8 matches to get his gold...

Then, of course-- MUNDIALS! We leave on Wednesday June 2nd.. will be working from the 3rd-6th.. and then I train at New Breed with Val Worthington and Johnny Ramirez for two days before coming home again :) So I'll be bringing home as much footage as I can wrangle of matches at the Pyramid. If there's particular belt levels, matches, weight classes, whatever you want to see, let me know in the comments section! (I know you want blackbelt matches and I will try to get as many womens' as I can.) THANKS again to Budovideos, which allegedly will be covering all the womens matches this time for the live stream on the internet!

p.s. Very sad Sakuraba lost even though I train in a Gracie school. And not at all thrilled with the decision against Hathaway. And I thought Muffintop made Duffee look quite Buffy.. till the end, when he was Sleepy.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thanks BP. Corexit for the win!

Even if only half of this article below, from the EU Times, is true... we're in trouble. Granted, it's pretty big fear-mongering rhetoric from our friends in Russia.. so perhaps I discount more than half. Anyways-- what do you think?

"A dire report prepared for President Medvedev by Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources is warning today that the British Petroleum (BP) oil and gas leak in the Gulf of Mexico is about to become the worst environmental catastrophe in all of human history threatening the entire eastern half of the North American continent with “total destruction”.

Russian scientists are basing their apocalyptic destruction assessment due to BP’s use of millions of gallons of the chemical dispersal agent known as Corexit 9500 which is being pumped directly into the leak of this wellhead over a mile under the Gulf of Mexico waters and designed, this report says, to keep hidden from the American public the full, and tragic, extent of this leak that is now estimated to be over 2.9 million gallons a day.

The dispersal agent Corexit 9500 is a solvent originally developed by Exxon and now manufactured by the Nalco Holding Company of Naperville, Illinois that is four times more toxic than oil (oil is toxic at 11 ppm (parts per million), Corexit 9500 at only 2.61ppm). In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview” Corexit 9500 was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed. Even worse, according to this report, with higher water temperatures, like those now occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, its toxicity grows.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in discovering BP’s use of this dangerous dispersal agent, ordered BP to stop using it, but BP refused stating that their only alternative to Corexit 9500 was an even more dangerous dispersal agent known as Sea Brat 4.

The main differences between Corexit 9500 and Sea Brat 4 lie in how long these dangerous chemicals take to degrade into their constituent organic compounds, which for Corexit 9500 is 28 days. Sea Brat 4, on the other hand, degrades into an organic chemical called Nonylphenol that is toxic to aquatic life and can persist in the environment for years.

A greater danger involving Corexit 9500, and as outlined by Russian scientists in this report, is that with its 2.61ppm toxicity level, and when combined with the heating Gulf of Mexico waters, its molecules will be able to “phase transition” from their present liquid to a gaseous state allowing them to be absorbed into clouds and allowing their release as “toxic rain” upon all of Eastern North America.

Even worse, should a Katrina-like tropical hurricane form in the Gulf of Mexico while tens of millions of gallons of Corexit 9500 are sitting on, or near, its surface the resulting “toxic rain” falling upon the North American continent could “theoretically” destroy all microbial life to any depth it reaches resulting in an “unimaginable environmental catastrophe” destroying all life forms from the “bottom of the evolutionary chart to the top”.

Note: For molecules of a liquid to evaporate, they must be located near the surface, be moving in the proper direction, and have sufficient kinetic energy to overcome liquid-phase intermolecular forces. Only a small proportion of the molecules meet these criteria, so the rate of evaporation is limited. Since the kinetic energy of a molecule is proportional to its temperature, evaporation proceeds more quickly at higher temperatures.

As over 50 miles of the US State of Louisiana’s coastline has already been destroyed by this spill, American scientists are warning that the damage may be impossible to repair, and as we can read as reported by the Associated Press News Service:
“The gooey oil washing into the maze of marshes along the Gulf Coast could prove impossible to remove, leaving a toxic stew lethal to fish and wildlife, government officials and independent scientists said. Officials are considering some drastic and risky solutions: They could set the wetlands on fire or flood areas in hopes of floating out the oil. They warn an aggressive cleanup could ruin the marshes and do more harm than good.”

And to understand the full import of this catastrophe it must be remembered that this disaster is occurring in what is described as the “biologically richest waters in America” with the greatest amount of oil and toxic Corexit 9500 set to come ashore in the coming days and weeks to destroy it completely for decades to come.

Reports are also coming from the United States that their government is secretly preparing to evacuate tens-of-millions of their citizens from their Gulf of Mexico States should the most dire of these scientific warnings start to come true. To the greatest lesson to be learned by these Americans is that their government-oil industry cabal has been just as destructive to them as their government-banking one, both of which have done more to destroy the United States these past couple of years than any foreign enemy could dare dream was possible.

But to their greatest enemy the Americans need look no further than their nearest mirror as they are the ones who allowed these monsters to rule over them in the first place."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Break my freaking heart...

The Deepwater Horizon disaster makes me cry. When I think of the exertions it takes to keep corals and fish alive and happy in a saltwater reef tank.. when I think of the bleaching corals due to warmer ocean waters and increased CO2 saturation (thanks global warming!)... when I think of just how dependent the global ecosystem is on having functional oceans...

And then I think about these plumes miles wide, miles deep, miles across of sludgy oil and toxic dispersants (think poisonous dish detergent) flowing towards ocean currents that will swirl this pollution throughout the waters of the eastern seaboard and beyond...

The dolphin, the fish, the sea turtles that will be poisoned..

Watch this footage of a diver, accompanied by Jacques Cousteau's grandson, just 20 feet under water in the midst of the oil.

BP is continuing to spray a toxic chemical dispersant to break up the Gulf oil spill, even though a deadline to stop use of the chemical has passed.

The Environmental Protection Agency directed BP last week to find an alternative to a dispersant, called Corexit 9500, that has been identified as a "moderate" human health hazard. The product can cause eye, skin or respiratory irritation with prolonged exposure.

Corexit was on a list of preapproved dispersants available to BP after the oil spill, but federal officials said much about the dispersant remains unknown.

The EPA directed BP to use a less toxic dispersant as of Sunday night. The company told the government over the weekend that no better alternative was available.

Check out the counter in the upper right hand corner of this website... and watch the live underwater footage...

My heart is breaking.

WP columnist Steven Pearlstein delivers a righteous indictment:

"The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The deadliest mine disaster in 25 years. One recall after another of toys from China, of vehicles from Toyota, of hamburgers from roach-infested processing plants. The whole Vioxx fiasco. And let's not forget the biggest climate threat since the Ice Age.

Even if you're not into conspiracy theories, it's hard to ignore the common thread running through these recent crises: the glaring failure of government regulators to protect the public. Regulators who were cowed by industry or intimidated by politicians. Regulators who were compromised by favors or prospects of industry employment. Regulators who were better at calculating the costs of oversight than the benefits. And regulators who were blinded by their ideological bias against government interference and their faith that industries could police themselves. . .

It hardly captures the breadth and depth of these regulatory failures to say that during the Bush administration the pendulum swung a bit too far in the direction of deregulation and lax enforcement. What it misses is just how dramatically the regulatory agencies have been shrunken in size, stripped of talent and resources, demoralized by lousy leadership, captured by the industries they were meant to oversee and undermined by political interference and relentless attacks on their competence and purpose. And it makes it perfectly laughable to suggest, as many in the business community now do, that during the first 16 months of the Obama administration the pendulum has already swung back too far in the other direction."

And, I agree fully with this article by Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post:

"In the wake of Deepwater, let's put the environment first.
By Eugene Robinson
Friday, May 28, 2010

In June 1969, the stretch of the Cuyahoga River that runs through Cleveland was so polluted that it caught fire. Time magazine described the Cuyahoga this way: "Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows."

The spectacle of a river in flames helped galvanize the environmental movement, and the following year, with Richard Nixon as president, the Environmental Protection Agency was established. In 1972, Congress passed the landmark Clean Water Act. Today, the Cuyahoga is clean enough to support more than 40 species of fish.

We still don't know the full extent of the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico -- the impact on avian and aquatic life, on fisheries, on tourism, on the delicate ecology of coastal marshes and barrier islands. We do know, though, that it is the worst oil spill in our nation's history, far surpassing the Exxon Valdez incident. And maybe the shocking images from the gulf of dead fish, oiled pelicans and shores lapped by viscous "brown mousse" will refocus attention on the need to preserve the environment, not just exploit it.

"Drill, baby, drill" isn't just the bizarrely inappropriate chant that we remember from the Republican National Convention two years ago. It's a pretty good indication of where the national ethos has drifted. Environmental regulation is seen as a bureaucratic imposition -- not as an insurance policy against potential catastrophe, and certainly not as a moral imperative.

Yes, many Americans feel good about going through the motions of environmentalism. We've made a religion of recycling, which is an important change. We turn off the lights when we leave the room -- and we're even beginning to use fluorescent bulbs. Some of us, though not enough, understand the long-term threat posed by climate change; a subset of those who see the danger are even willing to make lifestyle changes to try to avert a worst-case outcome.

But where the rubber hits the road -- in public policy -- we've reverted to our pre-enlightenment ways. When there's a perceived conflict between environmental stewardship and economic growth, the bottom line wins.

Barack Obama is, in many admirable ways, our most progressive president in decades. But as an environmentalist, let's face it, he's no Richard Nixon. Before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded -- allowing, by some estimates, as many as a million gallons of crude oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico each day for more than a month -- Obama had announced plans to permit new offshore drilling. "I don't agree with the notion that we shouldn't do anything," Obama said at the time. "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced."

Obama has wisely backed away from that decision. The technology involved in deep-sea oil drilling turned out to be far more advanced than the technology needed to halt a spill if something goes wrong -- essentially, like engineering a car to double its top speed without thinking to upgrade the brakes. This oversight apparently wasn't noticed by anyone who had the power to correct it.

Calls for Obama to somehow "take over" the emergency response ring hollow. Take it over with what? Hands-on intervention has never been government's role in this kind of situation. BP and the other oil companies had the undersea robots and the deep-water experience. Other private companies owned and operated the skimmers that remove the oil from the surface. There is no huge government reserve of the booms that are needed to protect Louisiana's beaches and marshlands; those are made by private firms and are being deployed by unemployed fishermen.

Obama has rethought his enthusiasm for offshore drilling. Now he, and the rest of us, should rethink the larger issue -- the trade-off between economic development and environmental protection. In the long run, our natural resources are all we've got. Defending them must be a higher priority than our recent presidents, including Obama, have made it.

Energy policy is one of Obama's priorities. He talks about "clean coal," which I believe to be an oxymoron, and favors technologies -- such as carbon capture and sequestration -- that are new and untested. The environmental risks must be a central and paramount concern, not a mere afterthought. Let's preclude the next Deepwater Horizon right now."

People keep getting better...

This was my whine last night to a favorite coach and training partner, my "wing" Scott. I have been feeling lately like I must be making some progress, since over the last couple months, stuff that used to work isn't working any more (and my interpretation was that people weren't letting me get away with stuff so much. Ergo, I am growing past baby into toddler stage, or something.)

He agreed I'm making progress but does not think people were letting me do anything.. it's just that they're getting better. WTF! "How can I ever catch up to them if they keep on getting better too?" He laughed and said you just have to get better, faster. Thinking later, I've added to that: at something different than what they're working on. You're not like one key, one lock... you're different keys and different locks, and sometimes you fit so your high spot is their low spot.

I went to class 3 times yesterday, because I am too fat and out of shape to feel like pushing myself with crossfit, but I couldn't stand the thought of skipping lunch AGAIN to work at my desk like I did all week. Morning was good- a pass I'm familiar with, then Vidush showed me a variation I think will be useful if I can just slow down and not jump into it. Lunch was defending the ezequiel from halfguard (which degenerated into a battle to pass Tucker's half guard without racking him) and defending footlocks and a teensy bit on defending heelhooks. I had a fun 20 minute roll with Coley (on his 21st birthday!) there. Dinner was sweeps from bottom side control (but yes, getting back to a guard position in there so you get the points), and then escaping omoplatas.

So Mundials is right around the corner... we leave next Wednesday. Alas, our school's only putting out 3 competitors this time. Shama's out (back injury from a car wreck), Christy's out (didn't feel she'd trained enough), I'm out (fat and lazy) and that leaves Ian (blue feather) Travis (purple light?) and Bruce (brown superheavy I think). I'm psyched to work another monster tournament, psyched that Budovideos listened to the masses and will be showing womens' blackbelt matches too, and psyched to be training afterwards at New Breed with Johnny Ramirez, Val Worthington, and John Ouano. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mundials coverage by Budovideos-- men AND women!

Wooooo!! Just read this on the Fightworks Podcast:

"The 2010 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship was not only the platform for some of the world’s best jiu-jitsu athletes to compete, but it was the first time that the event was made available online using streaming video. The 2010 BJJ World Championship will be streamed live online for free as well by Budo Videos. All you have to do to watch is sign up at (Full disclosure: The FightWorks Podcast will be compensated for its participation in the live broadcast on Sunday.)

But here’s an improvement over the Pan Jiu-Jitsu broadcast from April: after every final match that takes place on Sunday, there will be an interview right there in the center of the mats with the gold medal winner before the next match starts. These interviews will:

* be broadcast live online via the live stream
* appear on the big screen at the Long Beach Pyramid
* and the audio will be heard through the public address system in the building

And yes, this goes for the mens and womens’ divisions!

So the event will be a little more like the combat sports coverage we’re used to with a post fight interview after the matches. Should be fun!"

Thanks to Budovideos and Caleb!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Healthy recipe for dinner tonight...

I love grain salads especially ones with quinoa. Quinoa is highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

For those of us with migraines, try adding quinoa to your diet. Its magnesium helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers. Quinoa is also a good source of riboflavin, which is necessary for proper energy production within cells. Riboflavin (also called vitamin B2) has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers, most likely by improving the energy metabolism within their brain and muscle cells.

Anyway, it's easy to cook, just like rice, on stovetop or in a rice cooker (two parts liquid to one part grain; cook around 14-18 minutes, covered, at a steady but low simmer). You can cook it in water or in chicken stock, and it makes a great breakfast porridge with some honey or slivered almonds.

Here's my Greek quinoa salad, good warm or cold. Proportions are up to you!

Dressing: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh basil and oregano, chopped very finely.

Halved grape or cherry tomatoes
Halved, pitted black or kalamata olives
Chopped red onion
Chopped parsley
Peeled, sliced, quartered cucumber
Feta cheese; low-fat is better
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

Mix in with cooked quinoa and sprinkle with dressing, stir, taste, add more dressing as needed.

Hips and grips.

That's the boiled-down lesson for me in what will most improve my game. More hip movement, more heavy hips, more controlling their hips, and of course grips. Grips you're not allowed to have, grips I want, grip strength.

Found this website, looks kinda big on the promotional "I want your money" side, but might have some useful stuff. Functional Hand Strength, it's called, so check it out. Same guy runs a bodyweight exercise site too. But anyway...

Yesterday I tweaked my shoulder good-- had my arm crossed in front of my body and landed on the shoulder with a friend's weight on top of me. Also have a something going on with my knuckles that connect my pinky & fourth finger to my hand. Eh, so what else is new. I have aleve in my veins ;)

I realized yesterday, during Phil's lesson on the transition from guard pass to side control, that one of my big pass fails lately is due to inadequate control of their far hip. See, once again, hips and grips. I am so happy to be where I am in training again-- not just the school, but I mean the "phase" of training. I have my blinders on, in a sense, so I'm not looking ahead at any particular tournament, I'm just like a kid trying to drink out of a garden hose turned on full blast. I'm getting soaked in technique, it's all coming at me in a solid steady flow, and I'm just trusting that if I keep my mind open I will absorb.

Last night while rolling and drilling with Anthony, I remembered seeing a guard pass on the internet that looked interesting. I tried to recreate it, but it wasn't coming to me. The Dutch Assassin blog posted a few videos of this, the Sao Paolo/Tozi/Godoi pass, aka the Chim pass or the Wilson Reis pass.

Every once in a while, I do what Leslie "BjjGrrl" does-- I channel someone else's jiu jitsu. This morning, I did something from top half guard, something genius and magicky and whatnot, that got me the pass, and it was so cool even my training partner Kirk (the purple belt who beats blackbelts in competition) commented on it. (Now, if I could just remember and reliably recreate it!) Seems it was something like going, going, going in one direction for a while, and then I popped back the other way. Whatever it was, it worked.

So whoever you are, wandering around wondering who stole your jits, it was me and you can't have it back.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mundials, lightweight gi shipping coupons, and NAGA report....

Great post on Graciemag here, collecting fifteen years' worth of timeless phrases, exclamations, and comments about matches or competitors at the Worlds. I think this would be a great beginning for an afternoon of youtube. Take the day off work, plop on the couch with your laptop, and start following the rabbit trails. Could be very educational!

Of course that's not what I'm doing. Sigh.

Lana Stefanac and Gabrielle Garcia, of course.

Another interesting post from Graciemag with a detailed analysis of the womens' brown/black divisions at Mundials with their picks for champion in each.

Also-- congrats to my husband Mitch for making blue! Yay! He's been training with Sean Cooper for a while now and I know he is developing a solid game there. Wooo!

Regarding lightweight gis for Mundials... my sponsor has a great sale going on right now. First, they've cut shipping costs. For free UPS Ground, use coupon MUNDGR. 40% off UPS 3-DAY Select or 2 day Air - Coupon MUNDAIR. These prices are good till June 6th. And they're selling some gis I've never seen! Of course we all know the Vulkan Ultralight (I have it, I love it, I patched it all up and it's my competition gi for IBJJF stuff.) But now Atama also makes an Ultra Lite that's even lighter weave than the single, with a competition cut and rip-stop pants for lightness and durability. And Gameness now makes a "Feather" gi..with a thinner lighter collar and a new lighweight fabric.

And Ouano has lightweight competition gi, which I have (Thanks to MMAOutlet!) and will be reviewing any day now... so really, if you are thinking about getting a new lightweight competition gi, there are tons of options and MMAOutlet has some great deals. For example, $60 for a Vulkan Pro Light!!!

I had a busy weekend, working for NAGA at their Texas Grappling Championship, and I have some deadlines to follow up on at the office. But I can take a few minutes this morning before leaving for work to fill you all in.

Working at NAGA (as scorer) is unlike working at an IBJJF tourney. At IBJJF, it's very regimented in terms of your job duties-- you keep score and time, period. You get paid $80/day, period. At NAGA, you have to do more, but you make more ($150/day), and you have a lot more interaction with the coaches, parents, etc. So it's a nice change of pace.

As scorer this weekend, I was responsible for bracketing all the divisions on my mat as well as scoring, timekeeping, and getting the medals, belts, and swords together for awards and pictures. NAGA does a great job of organizing so that you know from the beginning which divisions will be on your mat. You begin with getting the man with the microphone (sometimes Kip Kollar, president of NAGA, and sometimes Kerik (sp?) or one of the other administrators) to call your division. People come to the mat and hand you their business-card-sized division cards. Yellow for nogi, blue for gi, and they have the competitor's name, age, weight, gender, school, and division written down. You need to watch that the weight is written in the color ink they used at weigh-ins (to prevent fudging though I know no one would ever do that.) The nogi divisions are divided into novice (under 6 months' experience), beginner (<1 yr), intermediate (<2 yrs) and expert (>4 yrs). Gi is divided by belt color except there are whitebelt novices and whitebelt beginners.

How does bracketing happen? You try to look at everyone's ages and weights and pair people appropriately. The ages matter much more in children's divisions (there's a lot of maturing that goes on between 8 and 10, for example) whereas in adults, it's weight that is more important. You'll try to match people with someone as close to their own weight as possible, giving the bye to the lightest person especially if there's a substantial spread in weights, but you also need to avoid people from the same school hitting each other till unavoidable (so putting them on the other side of the bracket entirely.) NAGA has 3 ring binders at each table with bracketing-for-idiots forms, so whether you have 3 or 15 competitors in a division, you can pretty much just follow the numbers to do it right.

Missed out on staying with my friend Triin on Saturday night because I neglected to tell her I was having dinner with teammates in Dallas FIRST, so her directions (assuming I was coming straight from the tournament in Ft. Worth) were great but my lack of communication fouled us up. I ended up staying at the same hotel my teammates were at. Boo! But sounds like we'll see each other again soon, at Girls in Gis this summer AND ... (drum roll) maybe we'll be putting together a women-only tournament this fall!! Woo! Will keep you up to date, I promise.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Unpassable Guard

One of my favorite training partners, feeling sympathy for my frustration over my guard-like-butter, reminded me of this great collection of tips on having an unpassable guard. It's on Stephan Kesting's great site, GrappleArts.

Why Aren't We Using the Safest and Most Effective Dispersants in the Gulf?

from AlterNet, by Richard Denison, found originally here. Denison is a senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Why Aren't We Using the Safest and Most Effective Dispersants in the Gulf?

We should seriously question why BP is being allowed to use dispersants that are neither the most effective nor the safest.

Workers skim oil residue from the water as oil and tar balls reach land from the spill created by the Deepwater Horizon as efforts continue to contain BP's massive oil spill in South Pass, Louisiana. President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Congress for at least 129 million dollars in new emergency funding to cope with wide-ranging fallout from the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Imagine learning you have a serious disease. You doctor decides to treat you with a drug, noting it could have some bad side effects. He also plans to inject you with the drug, even though it's only been used orally before now. That makes you nervous enough to ask for the name of the drug. "Sorry, I can't tell you," he says. "It's proprietary." Even if you trust your doctor, you're now left with no way to investigate the risks and tradeoffs you're facing.

Now imagine how mad you'd be if you learned your doctor hadn't told you there were other drugs that not only had fewer side effects, but were more effective in treating your condition. And then you learn he's on the Board of Directors of the company that makes the drug he prescribed.

Now consider that the patient is the Gulf of Mexico, the doctor is BP, and the drug is the oil dispersants, sold by Nalco under the trade name Corexit®, more than 500,000 gallons of which have been applied to date, with no end in sight. The known side effects include short-term aquatic toxicity, but the potential for long-term effects has never been studied. Nor have the effects of injecting it into deep water, an "unprecedented" method that’s just been approved by NOAA and EPA after hastily arranged tests conducted over the last few days. (Elizabeth Grossman has posted an excellent piece exploring the potential for adverse health effects among spill responders from both the oil and the dispersants.)

The information being withheld (in this case from the public) is the identity of the main active ingredient in the dispersants -- listed only as an "organic sulfonic acid salt" on Nalco's material safety data sheets -- which comprises 10-30 percent of the dispersant formula. (One observer maintains the unidentified ingredient is actually described in this 2001 patent, though its composition is quite variable.)

As part of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, EPA has tested 18 different dispersants for short-term toxicity to fish and shrimp. EPA has also tested the effectiveness of surface spraying in dispersing South Louisiana crude oil. How do the two Corexit® dispersants stack up against the competition? Not very well, it turns out. They rank 13th and 16th in effectiveness, 15th and 18th in fish toxicity, and 7th and 10th in shrimp toxicity. At least six dispersants are both more effective and less toxic than the Corexit® dispersants.

There's no question the ongoing spill at Deepwater Horizon is a life-threatening condition, and emergency measures are in order. And BP has said it chose Corexit® because of the large stockpile, though its cozy relationship with Nalco has been invoked as a factor as well. Considering the massive public costs of this unfolding environmental disaster in the Gulf, we should seriously question why, despite the clear opportunity for foresight via the contingency plan, BP is being allowed to use dispersants that are neither the most effective nor the safest.

And we should also question why EPA hasn't used its emergency powers to force disclosure of all of the components of the Corexit® dispersants. There couldn't be a clearer case of the need for EPA to exercise its mandate to disclose proprietary information when necessary to protect public health and the environment.

Given not only the scale but the experimental nature of the use of dispersants at Deepwater Horizon, responders and the public have a right to know to what chemicals they and the environment are being exposed. And those who will have to monitor and assess the health and ecological damages also need to know.

Both of these problems -- a failure to drive the use of safer chemicals, and excessive allowances for trade secret protections -- can be traced to underlying flaws in the main U.S. law governing chemical safety, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Among TSCA's many flaws, documented by the Government Accountability Office and many others, it denies EPA the authority to develop even basic safety information for chemicals entering or already on the market, or to require the replacement of those shown to be dangerous. And it bars EPA from sharing most data it does obtain, not only with the public but even with state and local governments.

Happily, change is on the horizon. Environmental Defense Fund and more than 200 other health and environmental organizations are part of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, which is supporting and seeking to further strengthen the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, S. 3209, introduced on April 15 by Senator Lautenberg. Join us.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mundials is coming up...

I'm thinking about not competing at the Mundials.

There, I said it.

I'm not suffering my usual tournament scaredy-cat jitters. This is different. I'm just not motivated to compete. For one thing, I was out sick an entire week, and ate enough for an army, and gained weight, and then I came back and training isn't dropping the weight. And I'm still coughing-- I don't think it's a big deal, but I notice it when I'm on the bottom under someone with a good knee on belly. For another, I realize I'm just not at the level I need to be to have a shot at the podium at that level of competition. I don't mind competing, I just like there to be a potential upside.. a chance of winning. I wouldn't say I have NO chance, but it's not a strong chance. And why rely on chance... it should be skill.

Please don't think this is some fishing for compliments kind of post. It's not that at all.

I also like training more when I am in the "shoot for the moon, have nothing to lose" phase, like I am now. When I was getting ready for the Pan, I was physically training hard, but mentally I was not trying to learn new things and absorb stuff. I was just polishing and trying to perfect what was already in my toolbox. I felt somewhat stuck or frozen, to be honest, but it was acceptable because I wanted to have a pure focus on the game I would play at the Pan.

Right now, I feel like I'm just a sponge, soaking up everything around me, and it's rather pleasant. I also can train as hard as I want, start every match from the feet, do takedowns, whatever, and I'm not constantly thinking "but what if I get hurt?" It's funny, because Mundials is only 2 1/2 weeks away, but I just don't feel any urgency. This plus not liking to stress over weight is why I'm pretty lackadaisical about competing this time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

While we're talking about sweeps...

Watching this before class, heck even before breakfast, is like getting dessert before your vegetables.

And this, it's a classic, but good to review.

More dyeing success... and children's gis....

Wanted you to see my friend Dory's successful gi dyeing... there's some strutting around in Florida now! (and note... wow, my 600th post.)

He chose jet black and Chinese red. First try, didn't double the dye amount as the Dharma chart suggests. Then he redyed with the full amount. Looks great, doesn't it?

I think they look great either way frankly.

Then he mentioned his little girl wanting a purple gi, but having a hard time finding 00 or 000 size gis.

Well, here's my solution. For little people, or big people, gis in pink and purple, I can't say enough good things about Mark at Badgerland Jiu Jitsu. Yeah, he's a sponsor, so take it with a grain of salt if you want to be cynical :)

Look at his adorable little girls... Budgie (in pink) is kicking butt and taking names in wrestling these days! He has pink and purple gis in sizes small enough for your tyke, all the way up to NFL linebacker size. That's where I got my pink, my purple, and my green gis.

I am still hoping to dip-dye a gi so I get some color gradation. Just need to make time. Probably after Mundials.

Strikeforce tonight (free! on CBS!) has a great jiu jitsu card, you know... Roger! Jacare! and Shaolin! Woooo!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Making weight, cutting weight for a tournament.

This will never be me in the absolute division (or anywhere else.)

But still, I manage to stress over my weight more than I should. Making weight for a tournament is a different thing for women than it is for men, I believe. It seems to me that men are usually fine with whatever they weigh ordinarily.. but logically want to be in a lower weight class at a tournament for strategic purposes. Women, on the other hand, are pretty much always conscious of their "walking around" weight and pretty much always wish it were less. Add to that the spectacle of a public weigh-in (and not even the Gina-towel-accidentally-dropping type) and the labels these tournament people attach to our weight classes... it gets ugly.

I mean, seriously, NAGA, wtf? how can you divide women into "light weight" (134.9 and under) and "heavy weight" (over 135)..

And women still want to be in the lightest weight class they can, for the same strategic reasons.

Plus, it's harder for us to drop weight, thanks to the hormones swirling around in our bodies that think we best be prepared to bear fruit at all times, despite images in the media that tell us we should always look like this:

So... keeping in mind this is NOT medical advice, I'll tell you what I do when I want to lose weight for a tournament. And I'll say up front, I know what I do is contrary to the advice of most nutritionists, sports med people, doctors, blah blah blah. It's just what works for me so nyah. I'd love to hear what YOU do to make weight, if you care to comment...

My problem is that usually after a tournament I get a little loosey-goosey with the diet, treating myself to pizza, tacos, Belgian waffles, and other yummies. Thus, I gain back what I lost. When I'm not "between tournaments" my weight settles at a happy, healthy place, so I know my usual amount of eating, exercising, and sleeping is good for me. Tested with a bod pod at my gym, I'm 21% body fat, which is the bottom of the range of "healthily slim" and just above the start of "elite athlete" (which makes me LAUGH) according to the World Health Organization and National Institute of Health recommendations. So please don't think I'm anorexic or whatever.

It's a simple, three step process. I start about 4 weeks out from a tournament.

1. I work out at least 3 hours a day, 7 days a week. On weekends, this consists of jits class-- maybe a 20-30 min warmup of conditioning, cardio, pliometrics, stretching, bodyweight strength exercises, etc. Then an hour or so of drilling technique, which is maybe 1/3 sitting and listening. Then an hour or so of open mat. On weekdays, I'll do a two hour jits class in the morning, at least twice a week, sometimes if I'm lucky 5 days a week. Lunch is an hour of crossfit-like class at the gym, and sometimes an hour of open mat afterwards. At least 3 nights a week I do a 3 hour jits class as well. This is actually my normal workout schedule, whether cutting weight or not. If I am really stressing about losing weight, I will add a night class on Monday, or cardio (LSD) workouts on the weekends.

I will say, jits motivates me to exercise. I want strength and endurance! (Arms like these would be great too.)

2. I get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. This makes all the difference in the world, in terms of fast weight loss AND not physically breaking down. Better if I can get 8.5. When I can, I add 15-20 min in the sauna at my gym, maybe 1-2 times a week. I count this as rest, as it certainly helps with any tweaked muscles. I do NOT cut weight in the sauna, though I know others do with great success. I have tried it on the day of weighins, for example NAGA tournaments where you weigh in the day before, and it doesn't cut a lot of weight for me. Couple of ounces at best. I'm just not hard core enough to dehydrate that much.

3. I seriously restrict what I eat. If I am really panicky about making weight, I'll eat 700 calories a day; if I'm just shooting for losing 3-4 lbs/week, I'll ease up to 900-1000 a day. Usually for me this works out to eating 100-200 calories throughout the day in the form of healthy, very low calorie snacks (carrots, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, lemonade with splenda, rarely some low fat light yogurt). I'm just not hungry before and after class. At night after my last class, I'll eat the rest of my calories for dinner, ideally a huge spinach/kale salad with lots of fresh vegetables chopped up, some protein, and a little bit of whole grain carbs. If I'm being bad, I will keep the same calorie count but adjust for indulgence with a cookie or two, or pasta, or whatever my husband is eating for dinner.

My resting metabolic rate is 1300 calories a day, meaning if I sat at my desk and did no exercise, that's what I burn just existing. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. To lose a pound, you have to burn more or eat less; Newton's Law of Thermodynamics means it's simple math. My body can't always do math-- sometimes I am CERTAIN I ate way more than I exercised and still I drop weight; sometimes I am positive that I only ate 700 calories, yet I gain weight. This is why I think being female makes cutting weight different than it is for a guy. I retain water unpredictably, and my hormonal cycle throws a wrench in the mix too.

But, it works for me. I weigh myself on two digital scales, one at home and one at the academy. At home, I'm naked, at the academy I'm usually in a normal (non-competition weight) gi. I write down my weight twice a day like clockwork. It gets a little anal retentive, I know, but it's that or show up for a tournament and be over weight. At NAGA it's just embarassing, to be this short and have someone say I'm a heavyweight and make me fight the bigger ladies. But at IBJJF tournaments, it means I wasted plane fare etc. and can't get bumped to a higher class. Lame.

I will say that the whole body fat analysis thing made a world of difference. After doing jiu jitsu for 18 months, it seemed like I could never get back down to my prior, happy, skinny weight of low 120s. But the analysis showed that, to keep the same amount of muscle mass and still weigh that little, I'd be in the 10% body fat range (which is ridiculous, for me, and would kiss hopes of fertility good bye.) When I weigh about 132, I am about 18% body fat, which is well into elite athlete, and still at least 7 pounds too much for the pena/feather weight division. Oh hell, I don't care. I'm short for my weight :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Having to relearn stuff over, and over...

Somewhere I read that in jiu jitsu, you have to learn 80% of a move before you can learn the last 20%.

Familiar concept from me, no?

(Then of course the philosophy major in me piped up about infinite regress, and Occam, and so on. But I digress.)

This truism is continually reaffirming itself. For example, I have struggled with the pendulum sweep (aka flower sweep) since, oh, the dawn of time. This is mainly because I either struggle with getting both their arms on one side of their body or because once I do, I can't keep it there. Sure, sure, I'm fighting guys, and the initial part of this move seems rather upper-body-dependent, blah blah blah. But still, I feel like I should be able to pull this off.

After comments lead me to youtube, here's the footage I found of the sweep as Lovato teaches it. He credits Xande Ribeiro. I think this double-pendulum series looks great though I still see the same problem cropping up, because the second sweep is the arm-crossed-over version I have trouble with. I will report later.

And in keeping with my postPan resolution of working on my guard for the next year (thanks Steve!) I keep revisiting various aspects of the guard game that I had previously put aside because they weren't working for me.

In other words, I learn 20% of the move then rotate to my next target, and so on, till I come back around to whatever, but with a little more experience and body mechanics down. Then it seems like I learn the next 20%, or 15%, and keep on going.

Last night in class, I struggled to even articulate the issue I was having with the pendulum in a way that Christy could understand and help with. It ended up being as follows: in order to trap the arm that I've crossed over their body, I have to reach over and around their lat and crunch my sternum into their shoulder so tightly that I feel I've pulled them down onto me, trapping my hips and preventing me from shifting adequately for the sweep to happen.

Her solution, once we pegged the problem, was elegant. Not sure I'm ready to implement it, but I'm closer, anyways. Would've given it a try tonight, but got another (yes, another) bad headache, so I just came home. I'm going to see another doctor about these headaches, for sure. Tired of popping imitrex like candy.

On other fronts, finally found the car I've been hunting for. I'm still saddened to lose my little car (my 95 Integra GSR was totalled in a fairly minor, not-my-fault collision at the end of February) but I am very happy with her replacement: a 2007 TSX, manual, black on black. The manual part was the sticky wicket because it seems most people (fools!) prefer to drive an automatic. We were even looking at a car in Atlanta, if you can believe that. Fortunately my DH only had to drive to Houston to snag my new baby.

Why, I ask you, buy a sports car (despite her four-door status, she IS a sports car) and then give up shifting?

This isn't mine but it's the same as mine...

Of course the downside is, he was recently laid off, so this is a chunk of change to be chucking into the garage and out of the bank account. I think in the long run this car is well worth it, though. (My last Acura was still going plenty strong at 15 years/206k miles and I would have kept it another 15 years but for that idjit two cars behind me. Anyway.)

As usual, between jits and work and getting the garden going, I'm a busy girl. Mitch is busy too, so busy in fact that I can't imagine what we would do if he were employed. Knock on wood that's a problem we'll have again soon. But in the meantime, he's fiddling with the saltwater tank, digging in the flowerbeds to find our main line leak, cleaning out the garage so there's room for my car too, and sorting through all his paperwork that's neatly stacked all over the guest room/office.

Mundials is less than three weeks away.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Being afraid of jiu jitsu...

Sorry for the dearth in posting lately, folks. Being sick sucks, but I'm feeling better and back in the saddle again -- just in time to start training for Mundials. Bought plane tickets for me and my husband, so we're leaving on June 2 and return the 8th.

But fear of competition is not what I was talking about when I said "being afraid of jiu jitsu." The funny thing about a big important tournament like the Pan is I feel like it ended my fear of competition. That's probably a little optimistic; I am at least fearless about competing at Mundials this year, because I am back to whitebelt in my mind-- I have no fear because I'm putting no pressure on myself, have no expectations of doing well-- and that's okay.

No, I mean the fear I felt going back to class yesterday. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the condition of my classmates, but more so, I was afraid that I wouldn't want to keep training. I know. WTF!

Granted, I was sick, but I got so comfortable on my couch and in my routine that I actually found myself dragging my feet to get dressed and leave for class yesterday! That's no good. I've been turning this over in my mind ever since, trying to take it apart and understand it.

I was comfortable with the little June Cleaver routine I had going on... with my husband being laid off, we were both home together for a solid week. Granted, he was busy with projects around the house (like trying to find the leak in the water line running about 4' underground in my flowerbed) and his own jiu jitsu classes, but we spent a fair amount of time together, and I made breakfast, lunch and dinner several days in a row. That had its own piquant charm.

I was comfortable not doing a load of laundry every night. Didn't have stinky workout clothing, gi, etc. to get clean.

I was comfortable being healthy... wait, no, that's not right.. I was comfortable being physically in one piece, no tweaks, no limited range of motion, etc. But still a snottyhead :(

I was comfortable being lazy! I read books, watched movies, watched TV on Hulu. I lolled. I made DVDs for my friend Peter. I mailed gis to the school in Utah (see my prior blog post on the topic.) I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to do, and as a result, I even did some work from home. Just because I could.

Anyway, I was mildly concerned because I could see what would happen if I took serious time off-- I could maybe develop a whole life outside of, and not including, the jits. It was depressing. How do my friends, who've had to take 6 months off for sundered ACLs, manage to get back? How will I, someday, have a child and come back?

Fortunately, all my worries were whittled away. Saturday class is traditionally pretty stout in terms of conditioning because the blackbelt who teaches that day is old-man strong. Giberson's also a judo black belt and former head wrestling coach for a Texas university, and he's not really old, maybe 50? but he has that resilience and stamina you just don't expect to see in someone twice the age of your average jits fighter. But I kept up and didn't feel like strength, flexibility, or cardio had left the building. I held my own in positional sparring too, had some good offensive guard work. Got a massive stinger running down both arms, took a header into the mat from someone's back (DAMMIT I hate that! I'm not sure whether it's my fault or his... but I think it's just RUDE to do a fast forward roll when your training partner has your back! your feet get stuck because you have hooks in, your arms are all tangled up around their neck with them grabbing on tight, and there's no where to go! I literally saw stars! Not rolling with him again.)

Sorry, sidetracked.

Anyway, the point is, I was off the horse, and I got back on. I'm a little nervous because I ate like a horse while I was sick-- not so much the quantity, but the calorie-denseness of what I did eat. I felt sorry for myself so it was like a free pass to eat whatever I wanted. Um, Belgian waffles. Honey bran muffin. Sausage. Pancakes. Flatbread. Chicken salad. Not all together, but now, they're all together, on my derriere. And they need to leave by June 2. That's about 12 lbs to lose. Sigh.

Class in an hour, so I better get going.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Optimist Creed

I read this on my good friend David's facebook profile and wanted to share...

The Optimist Creed (The following version, without the title "The Optimist Creed," is quoted from Science of Mind 71 (June 1998): 50.)

Promise Yourself:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

* * * * * * * * * *

And to end on a funny note:

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I'm still sick.

Blech. Green boogers, headache, coughing, stuffy head. Don't tell me Nyquil.

Not training, feel fat, felt horrible till this morning, now it's subsiding to a dull "meh."

Going to cheer on our fighters at the MMA fights tomorrow night.

Might be well enough to train this weekend.

HATE being sick, HATE not training, HATE thinking about Mundials in just 3 weeks.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hillary Williams and Braulio Estima, sitting in a tree....

Liam, the Part-Time Grappler, has done an outstanding interview with Hillary Williams and I have to admit, after reading her comments I feel rather small and... well, what's the adjective meaning you waste time? Time-wasterish?

I'm probably just reacting to the last two days of not training-- Saturday hardly counts since I only did 2 hrs of class, then nada, nothing on Sunday or Monday. I feel all right, just horribly stuffed up (Sunday and yesterday) and now it's in my chest making me rattle and wheeze like an old accordion. I feel well enough to train if I pushed myself, but with so many fights and tournaments coming up, I don't want to get someone else sick. So... I sit at home, actually getting work for work done, and eat. But at least I get to read cool blogs.

And as for Braulio, and Hillary, in a tree? Nah, that was just a joke :) Here's a Braulio highlight for you...

So watch this next one, Braulio v Tarsis, and inform my ignorance, please... only 6 min, so not points.. what's the sub? it was not a DQ for stalling, I don't see the ref do the DQ arms-crossed thing. Tell me what happened!

And here's a beautiful armbar, again from Braulio..

And last but not least, from BJJ Grrl-- a reminder on an escape from side that I rarely try for but should...

And then drilling was… a better escape from under side control. *And there was much rejoicing…* Exactly what I’ve been trying to remember, too: when you’re turned on your side facing away from them, take a large and far step with your top leg, roll so your top arm is down on the mat, post on that arm and the trailing leg, and then sit through, toward them, like a baseball slide, ending in half or full guard. Other details: tuck elbow and knee together when rolled over to protect your elbow and lapels; as you post, lay the other arm along the mat to block their knee coming in; be sure to step far enough to bring your hips over and out so you actually get space into which you can turn (it’s not just rolling over in place — it’s more like a hitchhiker or thread-the-needle side control escape).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The guard of great passingness...

That's me. That was me at lunch open mat yesterday, that was me in class today. Christy gave me some good advice on my own guard pass, but I really need to work on my offensive guard game.

Sorry for the lack of splendidness in my posts lately... I am still training 7 days a week, and really enjoying the non-right-before-a-tournament-ness of it all. But nothing much going on in my head, because I had a deadline for work on Friday that was preempting all my mental energies. Last night was a good break, had some jiu jitsu teammates over for dinner (salad, lasagna, garlic bread, and cake) and watched Royler's takedowns & sweeps DVD together after dinner. We called it jitsporn.

Another reason my head isn't thinking much worth posting-- my head is fully stuffed with snot. Thank you allergies. Worked outside in the garden this morning so maybe that was the cause. Planted a bunch of salvia and still have a standard-trained duranta and a Fire & Ice rose to put into the back yard. Just not feeling like doing much right now. Going to research used cars (I'm leaning towards a 2006 Beetle TDI right now) after making Mitch a sandwich.

Oh and look what he spotted...

On top of my potting bench, next to the canister of bone meal and the windchime whose string broke... yes, it's a watering can. BUT, you can't really see it, there's some twigs in dere... because dere's a nest in dere! :)

Cheep cheep cheep.

Spring's here!