Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farmhouse delivery

Just signed up for twice-a-month delivery of fresh organic produce from local farms through Farmhouse Delivery.  I'm looking forward to being forced out of my culinary ruts.  I decided twice a month instead of once a week, because the bushels sometimes look kind of big and I wasn't sure my husband and I would always eat a full bushel in a week, so we'll give it a try and see how it goes.

Check out their immense and beautifully-photographed blog of recipes for all these fruits and veggies!

Check out the bushel for August 20th!

And this was May 28th!

If you live in Austin or Houston, this could be on your front porch!  Twice a month is $39 each bushel; once a week is $37 per bushel.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IVF #2

I haven't been training for the last week mainly due to work busy-ness and self lazy-ness, but also because this whole IVF thing is supposedly our last shot, and with my auto-immune inflammation issues, I'm happy to do whatever I can to minimize inflammation, including work out less (read: not at all.)

I've been swallowing handfuls of horse-sized pills every morning... fish oil, vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories like turmeric and supplements for egg quality like CoQ10.  I'm gluten free and dairy free, as we've discussed.  Though I confess to trying two experiments... I reintroduced a small amount (like, a tablespoon of grated cheese) of dairy to see what it would do, just for one day-- no side effects.  (Then I deleted it again.)  Then I tried a tablespoon of raw cookie dough (for the flour, and for the science of it all, truly).  Uhhhhhh, that might have been where my migraines came from-- about 30 min after eating it, I had a bad headache.  *wry face*  Anyway aside from that I'm eating pretty healthily-- lots of vegetables, lots of lean protein-- so I'm trying to be good even without the workouts.

Unlike the last IVF cycle, I will not be training jiu jitsu and judo right up until the day of egg retrieval.  Mainly because of the inflammation thing, but also because I'm doubling the amount of hormone stimulation on doctor's orders, so theoretically my ovaries will be producing many more eggs (and will be swollen up to the size of baseballs or so.)  I'm told a rare complication is ovarian torsion (basically, they get jostled and twisted and cut off their own blood supply.  This is a bad thing.)  Ergo, no tai otoshi for me this month or next.

I began injections this morning.  Lupron basically shuts off your pituitary and empties it out of stored hormones, in order to put my doctor in the driver's seat.  I really worried about lupron the first cycle I did it, because basically you go into menopause overnight or so I was told.  Lucky me, I didn't have any side effects from it then, so I'm not expecting any now. 

I went to Mass on Sunday and the Gospel reading had a sentence that really hit me.  It was from the Book of John and the sentence was "It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail."  I hope it wasn't just a horoscope type thing where you interpret things according to your own troubles.  But it really seemed to be speaking to me, to us-- our flesh appears to be of no avail in this whole trying-to-conceive thing.  So, while I'll give the flesh all the help I can, I'm also leaning on the spirit.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rickson Gracie

This message is for my old buddy recently returned from a long time away-- sometimes they don't let you pick names like Rickson Gracie!  Maybe just try a regular name?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Diet, fatigue, IVF and Ronda.

Well, we're on schedule to go to NY for our second IVF towards the end of September.  This is a relief and a terror to be honest-- relief for obvious reasons, but terror because it's the last shot and if it doesn't work, then... I hate to think about it.  As long as it's still in the future, it's hopeful, and once it's in the past, it's... over.  Blech.  I've been taking handfuls of antioxidants and vitamin supplements every morning, still going strong on the gluten-free and dairy-free diet (though, I confess, I had a run-in with raw cookie dough on Saturday night.  And if the IVF doesn't work, I will know without a doubt that it was the fault of my orange sugar cookies.  They're that damn good.)

I kind of slacked off of training and working out towards the end of last week, and oddly enough I think that made me more tired than if I had gone on training.  Last Tuesday my good friend the entymologist kneebarred me and the knee stayed sore for 2-3 days afterwards, which sucked.  I call him the entymologist, btw, because he sweeps me like I'm a damn pill bug... and then snaps on my neck like he's a praying mantis.  There's other bug analogies in there too, but I'm satisfied with those.  Anyway-- he caught me in a "I'm stupid" kneebar and I was pretty convinced he didn't have the leverage to finish it without letting go of the rest of me, so I let him try.  Well, he didn't finish it, and he let it go, but somehow it still stretched enough of my knee to cause issues.  I guess that makes it an "I'm doubly stupid" kneebar-- I'm stupid to get caught in it and I'm stupid to sit there watching it like a trainwreck instead of tapping.

I enjoyed watching Ronda's fight on Saturday night.  Thought she made Kaufman look even more like a soccermom than she usually does.  I was also supremely annoyed by Miesha "Cupcake" Tate's fight... Miesha looks annoying, to begin with, and was getting her face beaten in throughout the fight, until she went for the armbar... I guess the ultimate revenge for her opponent was how Cupcake had to leave that nasty hank of hair hanging down over the enormous tumor-swelling-bruise-damage thing sticking out of her cheekbone to cover up the damage.

Who the heck picks CUPCAKE as a fight name!?!?!?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Training report.

You may recall we've been learning from our new blackbelt this week and the last two, while our usual instructor Donald travels for work.  Paulo is a great guy-- and he's far from a new blackbelt.  He's been a blackbelt for 18 years, training for something ridiculous like 29 years, and it shows. 

But he's new to us and of course there are always some adjustments.  I feel badly for him-- though his English is much better than most Brazilian imports I've trained with, it's still incredibly tiring to spend your days learning a new language the immersion way.  His conversational fluency is impressive and improving by the minute.  But he also left his (pregnant) wife and two kids back home in Manaus, and he's lonely.  And of course there are small issues with learning from someone other than Donald.  Part is the language barrier and part is just that Donald is one-in-a-million.  Paulo is doing really well, though, and I think he's going to work out in a permanent way too.

Last night was our training night (after whitebelt class) and I was paired up with, among others, 3 people competing this weekend.  I should say, a blue belt and 2 browns competing this weekend.  So I feel quite beaten up today.  The blue and I have good matches... the female brown and I not so much-- I definitely see leaps and bounds of improvements I will need.  But at least I feel like I gave her some cardio workout.  However, the male brown came at a bad time (end of 90 min of non stop sparring) and I was a useless noodle for him.  I wasn't trying to be a lazy slacker or worse, "that girl" who plays the girl card, the opponent who just lays there and won't try, etc.  I wanted to try, I wanted to move, I just couldn't.  He was of course much more skilled than I, but it made me mad and sad that I couldn't avoid being passed, smashed, mounted, and armbarred.  *rolls eyes*

After we'd finished the fabled "last roll," Paulo announced "10-5-10-5-10" which I thought meant 10 minute rolls with 5 seconds between to get to the next partner.  Like a brutal and diabolical musical chairs.  I saluted and stepped off the mat-- but it turned out to be pushup rounds with everyone in a circle-- we all do pushups together, but the first person counts out ten, then the second person counts out five, and so on.  I got back in for that, and it was followed by a 10-crunch core circle (everyone counts out ten crunches.)  I think we only had 24 people in class so it was a nice mellow finish for the class.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guilt-free, fat-free homemade potato chips

One of the best birthday gifts ever?  The TopChips my husband got me last week.  You can make potato, sweet potato, even apple, pear, carrot or mango chips in your microwave without any added oil or fat, and they come out SOOOOO crispy and perfect, it's amazing.

I've made sweet potato oven fries before, but you have to bake them so hot, and in this summer weather, who wants to turn on the oven to 450 degrees?  and if you make wedges, they never get crispy, whereas the thin sliced ones go from barely stiff to black-burned in about 2.1 seconds.  Solution?  the microwave!

The TopChips is a silicon tray like you see in this top photo-- you can stack them, but then you have to rotate the top and bottom tray halfway through so they all get maximum crispiness.  Since it takes just 4 min (in my microwave) to do a single tray, that's what I do.

The only other thing that makes this process fast and easy is a mandoline, which lets you slice the potato very thinly and quickly.  You could do it with a knife but the results won't be as uniform (or as crispy, I think.)

Here's my hubby, laying out the potato slices on the TopChips.. the mandoline propped up on the cutting board right behind.

The two trays, stacked, in the microwave.  We experimented with salt, garlic salt, and ended up liking things plain or with a little bit of salt.  Surprisingly, the flavor of the potato was enough.  But I bet a little curry, cayenne, taco seasoning or the like would be good.  Chili powder on a mango slice sounds awesome, as does cinnamon on apple slices..

This is how thin the mandoline makes the slices, and the chips come out of the microwave SOOOO lusciously crunchy and crisp!  They're heaven!

We made a whole BOWL full of sweet potato chips from one smallish sweet potato.  Really yummy even without any added flavoring or seasoning.  The healthiest snack food I can imagine!  (Sweet potatoes are Paleo friendly especially for athletes.  Potatoes are not.)

You can buy a set of two trays on Amazon for about $25.

Greatest spoof video of BJJ instructional of all time.

If you only have a few moments to devote to yourself today-- please, put those few moments in right now in watching this video.  And feel free to leave Sensei Roy a comment on that youtube page congratulating him on this wonderful spoof.  (If anyone knows of a better spoof video, please link in the comments!)

Disdain for the working class....

Reposted from the Washington Post-- by Eugene Robinson

"Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate underscores the central question posed by this campaign: Should cold selfishness become the template for our society, or do we still believe in community?

Romney wanted the election to be seen as a referendum on the success or failure of President Obama’s economic policies. Instead, he has revealed that the campaign is really a choice between two starkly different philosophies. One could be summed up as: “We’re all in this together.” The other: “I’ve got mine.”

This is not about free enterprise, and it’s not about personal liberty; those fundamental principles are unquestioned. But for at least the past 100 years, we have understood capitalism and freedom to exist within a larger context — a complicated, real-world, human context. Some people begin life at a disadvantage, and it’s in the national interest to open doors of opportunity for them. Some people make mistakes, and it’s in the national interest to create second chances. Some people are too young, too old or too infirm to care for themselves, and it’s in the national interest to secure their welfare.
This sense of the balance between individualism and community fueled the American Century. Romney and Ryan apparently don’t believe in it.

It is well known that Ryan, at least for most of his career, has been enamored of the ideas of Ayn Rand, the novelist (“Atlas Shrugged,” “The Fountainhead”) whose interminable books tout self-interest as the highest, noblest human calling and equate capitalist success with moral virtue. Ryan now disavows Rand’s worldview, primarily because she was an atheist, but he lavishly praised her ideas as recently as 2009.

What about Romney? While he has never pledged allegiance to the Cult of Rand, his view of society seems basically the same.

At least three times in recent days, as part of his response to President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” peroration, Romney has told campaign audiences variations of the following: “When a young person makes the honor roll, I know he took a school bus to get to the school, but I don’t give the bus driver credit for the honor roll.”

When he delivered that line in Manassas on Saturday with Ryan in tow, Romney drew wild applause. He went on to say that a person who gets a promotion and raise at work, and who commutes to the office by car, doesn’t owe anything to the clerk at the motor vehicles department who processes driver’s licenses.

What I hear Romney saying, and I suspect many others will also hear, is that the little people don’t contribute and don’t count.

I don’t know whether Romney’s sons ever rode the bus to school. I do know that for most parents, it matters greatly who picks up their children in the morning and drops them off in the afternoon.

It may not be the driver’s job to help with algebra homework, but he or she bears enormous responsibility for safely handling the most precious cargo imaginable. A good bus driver gets to know the children, maintains order and discipline, deals with harassment and bullying. Romney may not realize it, but a good driver plays an important role in ensuring a child’s physical and emotional well-being — and may, in fact, be the first adult to whom the child proudly displays a report card with all A’s.
School bus drivers don’t make a lot of money. Nor, for that matter, do the clerks who help keep unqualified drivers and unsafe vehicles off the streets. But these workers are not mere cogs in a machine designed to service those who make more money. They are part of a community.

The same is true of teachers, police officers, firefighters and others whom Romney and Ryan dismiss as minions of “big government” rather than public servants.

And what do the Republicans offer their supposed heroes, the entrepreneurs who start small businesses? The few who succeed wildly would be rewarded with tax cuts so huge that they, like Romney, might one day have a dressage horse competing in the Olympics. Most of those who just manage to scrape by, or whose businesses fail, could look forward to only as much health care in their senior years as they are able to afford, and not one bit more.

This is a campaign Democrats should relish. The United States became the world’s dominant economic, political and military power by recognizing that we are all in this together. School bus drivers, too."

Monday, August 13, 2012

WTF-- Paul Ryan?!

Paul Ryan sucks.  (pinched to a large extent from Erin Gloria Ryan's excellent piece on Jezebel, with some changes by moi.)

1. He doesn't believe in global warming. 

"Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow... [E]-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change." Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, argued in a 2009 op-ed.

2. Personhood.

Ryan loves personhood. He loves the idea that life begins before pregnancy begins, when the sperm touches the egg. Ryan loves personhood so much that he cosponsored legislation that would have defined "person" as any human tissue from the moment of conception, which would have completely outlawed abortion and probably outlawed most forms of birth control and IVF (in vitro fertilization).  Which, as you know, is my best and maybe only chance at getting pregnant.  So fuck you, Ryan.

3. Replace Medicare with coupons.

He plans to trim $4.3 trillion from the deficit in part by slashing Medicare as we know it, replacing the government program with vouchers that seniors can use to buy their own insurance from private insurers, a move the Congressional Budget Office predicted would raise the cost of health care for senior citizens by about $6,000 apiece.

4.Ryan Budget Plan’s $4.3 Trillion in Program Cuts, Offset by $4.2 Trillion in Tax Cuts, Yield Just $155 Billion in Deficit Reduction

Upon closer inspection, Chairman Ryan’s widely reported claim that his plan produces $1.6 trillion in deficit reduction proves illusory. In fact, the numbers in his plan show that his budget produces just $155 billion in real deficit reduction over ten years (see graph). That means that, despite proposing $4.3 trillion in what would be the most severe and wrenching budget cuts in U.S. history — two-thirds of which would come from programs for people of low or moderate incomes — the plan barely reduces deficits at all over the next decade. That’s because his budget cuts are offset by $4.2 trillion in tax cuts that would go disproportionately to those at the top. In essence, at least for the next decade, this plan is far less a blueprint for addressing deficits and far more a proposal to redistribute large amounts of resources from those at the bottom to those at the top.

What’s the difference between what Chairman Ryan claims and what his plan really does? The chairman claims that his plan generates $5.8 trillion in spending cuts over ten years, relative to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline. But that number falls by $1.5 trillion — to $4.3 trillion — once one corrects for two things:
  • $1.3 trillion in “savings” from the official CBO baseline that comes merely from the fact that the Ryan plan reflects the costs of current policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CBO baseline contains a large anomaly related to the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Following the rules governing budget baselines, CBO’s baseline mechanically assumes that current levels of U.S. operations — and costs — in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue forever rather than phasing down in accordance with current policy. The CBO baseline figures are thus much higher than the costs of current policy. Ryan himself said earlier this year on National Public Radio — in attacking President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal for not doing enough to reduce deficits — that simply showing the costs of current policy in Iraq and Afghanistan produces “phantom savings” from an anomalous baseline, not real deficit reduction. [Interview on February 14, 2011, with Melissa Block on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”]
  • $200 billion in lower interest savings due to an error by Chairman Ryan’s staff in calculating interest savings.

5. He believes that fertilized embryos are people, but he doesn't seem to believe that women are people.

Remember the "Let Women Die" act that passed the House last fall? The law that would have allowed hospitals to refuse, on moral grounds, to provide abortions to women even if they were at risk of imminent death? Ryan was a big fan of that. And, in a pro-life essay Ryan penned, he doesn't mention the word "mother" or "woman" once.

6. The whole Ayn Rand thing

Ryan has credited Rand, who believes that selfishness is a virtue and that altruism is a sin, with inspiring him to enter politics. But before Ryan builds the underwater Bioshock-esque world of his dreams, let's hope someone informs him that Rand was a virulent atheist and a big fan of abortion.
Here are Rand's own words on the subject:
An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).
Abortion is a moral right-which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?

7. The time he had people arrested and kicked out of his town hall meeting for asking questions he didn't like.

Ryan is a man after Romney's negative press-avoiding heart. In fact, Ryan's fear of confrontation is nearly pathological. Back in 2011, he had a woman kicked out of one of his "meet the plebes" meetings because she dared ask the following question:
Our debt is out of control because of the tax cuts you're giving…Our unemployment in 2003 was 6.2% before the tax cuts went through. Now our unemployment rate is 9.1%. What are you doing to create jobs, Congressman?
To her point, Ryan believes that the key to creating jobs is to reduce the size of the government and the national debt. But to the question answer's point, an awful lot of people work for the government, and a promise to reduce the size of government is akin to promising to cut a bunch of jobs. Awkward.

8. Ryan thinks that college is a thing only rich people should be doing. Like sex.

Under Ryan's plan, a million needy students would be knocked off of Pell Grants over the course of 10 years. It's probably best that we don't educate The Poors. That way, they never know exactly to what extent they're getting fucked.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Working on perspective

I've managed to (mostly) maintain the zen serenity of rolling without trying to "win," as well as the pursuit of "attribute-free" jiu jitsu, both inspired in me by Henry Akins.  Surprisingly, rolling with a sunburn helped in both areas... perhaps like rolling with an injury, I was forced to be aware of my every movement.  To avoid certain positions, I had to make better use of others.

Work has been really busy lately (when isn't it?  I keep looking at my calendar at the office, and every time it seems I'll have a lull between deadlines, something comes up and takes over, like a squatter.  It sucks.)  I'm training as often as I can, and happy to be slooowly losing weight.  I'm still gluten-free and dairy-free for fertility purposes, which still sucks a little bit, but not nearly as much as it did a month ago.  I've figured out go-to dishes I can order when we eat out, and I just don't even tempt myself with thoughts of donuts, pizza, pasta etc. any more.

My doctor recently put me on a medication usually taken by diabetics, called Metformin.  For a non-diabetic like me, it's good for egg quality.  However, you better eat it with a LOT of food.  The other night I tried just a bowl of steamed shrimp, with a couple tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag.  I was nauseous, crampy and headachey the next morning for a few hours.  Not worth it.

I've turned 40 years old.  You'd think it would be some kind of monumental "thing"-- but my body still feels good, my mind is good, and I'm not living like what I thought "a forty-year-old" would live like.  I still feel like I'm somewhere in my mid-20s, and only just now do I really truly give myself credit for being a real grownup.  It's kind of funny when colleagues at work and the academy ask my advice-- it's a mind-check for me, because I'm not thinking of myself as any kind of source of wisdom.  Guess I need to catch up!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Q&A with Henry Akins

Jiu Jitsu Forums has an active Q&A with demigod Henry Akins... here's a bit:

-What are some of your most memorable moments on the mat(good or bad)?

One of the most profound experiences I had was 2 months into training at the academy there was a guy that would come in the mornings and watch class, he would go off to the side and start doing kung-fu forms and movements and kind of laugh or giggle as the instructor was teaching techniques. One morning he came in and was throwing flying stars into the wall. This is in 1995 when we were in the academy on Pico which was an old run down karate school behind a carpet store and next to an auto body shop. If you watch the documentary "Choke", that is the school. 

Anyways at that time the challenge matches at the gym were still quite common. So after a few mornings of this going on the instructor at the time, Jason, asked the guy if he wanted to fight and see if what we were doing worked (the guy was blatantly rude and disrespectful and almost every morning he was told he was welcome to watch the classes but to be quite or not laugh and make noises during them). So the guy agreed. Jason right away asked one of the white belt students in the class, a guy that had been training for about 8 months and was about the same size as this guy to take his gi off. The student totally froze up and I could see he didn't want any part of it at all. So I volunteered. I was a little smaller than this guy, about 160 at the time and he was around 185.

So we square up on the mats and right away I rush in and clinch with the guy and take him down, right away the guy starts tapping so I let go and get off him. Jason was pissed, he told the guy he cant just give up once the fight goes to the ground just because he's not comfortable there, that would be like me giving up from standing because I wasn't experienced there. So we went again, this time the guy was more prepared and he caught me with a glancing blow as I rushed in to clinch. I took him to the ground right away, cracked him a couple times in the ribs (he was holding onto my head as I as mounted) and then when he let go of my head I arm locked him. Fight was over in maybe less than a minute. 

After the fight the guy goes and sits on the bench next to wall and I could see how depressed he was, he told me he had been doing kung-fu and nin-jitsu for over 15 years. He didn't understand how a guy that was smaller and only training for 2 months could beat him so easily. All the years and hours he had put into training he felt was completely wasted. All the faith he had in what he was doing for that past 15 years was shattered. That was a big lesson to me. That's why all the jiu-jitsu I practice I focus on the practicality of it. If a technique wont help me in a fight or exposes me to danger or taking damage I don't practice it, I don't waste my time practicing and drilling stuff that is not going to help me in a real situation. Jiu-jitsu was created for self defense and of any single martial art I believe it to be the most effective when trained properly.

-How do you feel your game evolved as you progressed through the ranks?

When I started I was smaller then most the guys at the gym and of course not as skilled so I mostly ended up on the bottom playing guard. My top game was ok but definitely the strongest part of my game was my closed guard. The day I got my purple belt I competed in a tournament and won my division. I went on to fight in the open and the first guy I fought had about 50lbs on me. During the match I blew out both my acl's and tore my meniscus, I finished the match and won and went on to fight another guy who probably had around 80 lbs on me at the time. Lost the match by points and after that I wasn't able to walk or train for about a year. I didn't have insurance at the time and the doctors told me the surgery was going to cost around $50,000.00 and If I chose to go that route I'd be out for a year since they will only operate on one knee at a time because I needed the other ok to do rehab. So I just rehabbed myself. I went off my vegan diet, went back to eating meat and started lifting a lot to strengthen up my legs. After about a year I was back to training again but I had put on about 25 lbs, some of it muscle and some of it not. 

At that stage in my career with my weight and strength I was able to play top a lot more so that's when my cross side and mount really started to develop. Because I was heavier and stronger though as I got back into it I realized how much I was using my strength to compensate or get me out of situations where I didn't exactly have the ideal technique to deal with it. By the time I got my brown belt belt I really started to focus on not using strength anymore because I already knew how to play that game, a light weak guy's game even though I was in a bigger stronger body. Now when I train I always try to focus on different aspects of my game to make sure I'm well rounded, offense, defense, top game and bottom game. For example, I noticed about a year ago my open guard was getting a little weak because I wasn't using it much. I usually never uncross my legs from closed guard to open guard unless I'm forced to. Because I felt it need sharpening up for a few months when training I would always go to the bottom and open my legs just to get my movement back and timing and sensitivity back on my sweeps.

-Outside of Rickson have any other grapplers had much influence on your game?

Not really. I never spent any time training at other schools or gyms and I think Rickson's ideas and philosophies on jiu-jitsu represent the perfect expression of it, simple and effective. A lot of my life experiences always brings me back and reaffirms my belief in what I'm doing.

- Henry

Monday, August 06, 2012

Andrew Brown at the Daily Telegraph is a SEXIST WANKER

Andrew Brown, a sensible little chap over at the Daily Telegraph, was having a jolly good time watching the birds on the telly do their precious little Olympic lady-like things, when he came across a phenomenon so unnatural, so depraved, that he upset his tea across the bedsit carpet in horror.

It was women... fighting. Like the lads do!  (And not at all like how strumpets "wrestle," in matching bra-and-knicker sets, in that video he hides from Mum by writing, on the VHS box, "Cagney & Lacey, season 4.")

It may help you to understand his point of view, as you read further, if you can envision the author, so here:

Because I really don't want to get this guy any additional reads, I'll just repost entirely, since it's SHORT, SMALL, and STUPID.
Watching Gemma Gibbons gaining Britain’s first judo medal in 12 years, I found myself wondering: is women fighting each other violently a perfectly wholesome spectator sport? This wasn't a bit of pretend wrestling. Gemma and her American opponent, Kayla Harrison, were properly grappling with each other, throwing each other with full force onto the mat. They both showed pure, naked, fierce, animalistic aggression of a sort that one doesn't naturally associate with women – or girls for that matter. Quite honestly my initial reaction was one of shock. I felt rather as I would if I'd bumped into two drunken women bashing ten bells out of each other outside a Yates Wine Lodge on a Friday night – a bit unsettled. The photographs of the judo women will be all over the papers tomorrow, because they're dramatic and sensational.
With those judo contestants – and I realise this will probably sound appallingly sexist – I couldn't help wondering about their soft limbs battered black and blue with bruises. Would it bother me to see one of my own daughters savagely attacking another woman on a judo mat for people's entertainment? I'm really not sure. Possibly. On the other hand I might be proud of her skill. I know full well that, as a bloke, it's none of my business, but it's what I thought and felt. After a few minutes I'd got used to it. But, then, you can get used to anything, can't you?
1.  Merely acknowledging your sexism hardly makes it acceptable.

2.  Your appalled horror at the prospect of women as strong, aggressive, even violent competitors is pure sexism.  Your poor daughters!!  I imagine they're penned up with a governess, wearing Victorian gowns, tatting lace and fainting regularly.

3.  You're a total boob if you think Olympic-level judo (or hell, even whitebelt judo) has anything in common with a drunken brawl.  And you're living under a rock if you didn't know that "pure, naked, fierce, animalistic aggression" is very much associated with women.  And girls, for that matter.  (How exactly did you reproduce, Mr. Brown?  How can anyone with daughters doubt that women have the same or greater potential for aggressive fighting that men have?)

Fighting is womanly.
Attacking is womanly.
Bruises are womanly.
Savage glee after victory is womanly.

And I tell you-- Gemma's and Kayla's limbs are anything but soft.  Unlike your own lily-white delicate limbs, you lily-livered sexist piece of crap.

Andy might secretly visit professional dominatrixes to fulfill his itch for discipline-- or I'd fantasize about Ronda Rousey kicking his ass with her "soft limbs."   He'd like it so that spoils my fun.

Training jiu jitsu with a sunburn....

Saturday morning it was pleasantly warm out (around 78 degrees) and jiu jitsu was cancelled because of a special event held by the gym with whom we share space.  I picked up two flats of plants (zinnias and ponyfoot, if you must know) at the local nursery.  When I got home, I thought to myself, "Self, you should put on your bathing suit.  It will only take 20 minutes to plant these little guys, and afterwards you can hop in the pool to cool off.  And that way, you won't have stupid t-shirt tanlines on your arms."

Famous last words.

I put on a bathing suit and started planting.  Only I also needed to trim the Mexican oregano, pull out the butterfly bush that the aphids killed, mix neem oil to spray other aphid-infested plants.... in short, I ended up being out there a little over three hours.

Of course, being a redhead, this means I got sunburned.  My shoulders not so much-- but definitely my middle-to-lower back.  Let me tell you, training on Sunday was slightly uncomfortable.  Not so much the guard playing, but particularly being in someone's closed guard-- oowieeee!

Just in case anyone else got a little too much sun over the weekend-- I thought I'd compile my advice for sunburnt peeps.  As a redhead, I have lots of experience, but this was my first time training with sunburn.  Some of this advice comes from the Mayo Clinic and some comes from my own experience.
  • Take NSAIDs.  Start right when you know you're burned, and take them every 4-6 hours for the first couple days.  It helps reduce the secondary damage from swelling and heat, and keeps you more comfortable too.
  • Keep it cool. Apply cold compresses — such as a towel dampened with cool water — to the affected skin. Or take a cool bath.  Vinegar is not any more helpful than water, and can actually be a bad idea if you blister or peel.
  • Keep it moist. Apply aloe or moisturizing cream to the affected skin. Avoid products containing alcohol, which can further dry you out. Beware of sunburn treatment products containing anesthetics, such as benzocaine. There's little evidence that these products are effective. In some cases, they may even irritate the skin. Benzocaine has been linked to a rare but serious, sometimes deadly, condition that decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry.
  • Leave blisters intact. If blisters form, don't break them. You'll only slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection. If needed, lightly cover blisters with gauze.  [Of course, this is the Mayo Clinic's advice.  I haven't blistered yet, and I don't know if I'll continue training if that happens.]
  • Treat peeling skin gently. Within a few days, the affected area may begin to peel. This is simply your body's way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin. While your skin is peeling, continue to use moisturizing cream.
I will say, a rashguard-lined gi top AND a rashguard that's long enough to tuck inside the pants was heaven-sent.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Uchi gari.

Our new judo of the week-- the uchi gari.  (Paulo's English is quite good, but this is an example of a cute malaprop-- he calls it a "falldown" instead of a "takedown.")

I'm hungry and sleepy.  Missed an entire WEEK of lunchtime workouts because of the sudden explosion of deadlines in my project du jour at work, made all the more annoying by the postponement of the case entirely which will possibly occur next week.  And the 19 year old kid, with whom I split personal training sessions, was grounded by his parents for getting in a fight at a Whataburger a week ago.  So I'm pretty round this week.

My husband told me I better go to open mat tonight otherwise I'd be cranky.  I did not disagree.