I Enjoy the Quiet.

The muss, fuss, and bother of Monday morning madness — vanquished by the retreat to office where, sipping coffee, I ponder the load of work I have today.  A trip through email nets potential irritants, and I close the client, moving on to checks the sites, the blogs, the forums.  …Well, I start.  Then, input from the tedious goads me to address some nonsense, but not quite yet.  First I’m going to enjoy the quiet of my morning without fervor.

Laughter in the Morning.

It’s always nice to start the day with laughter.  A good article poking fun at the state of the Bushite, some welcome news on the eco-front, a brilliant cartoon lampooning some human idiocy.  Of course, then there’s that bit of joy with coffee, watching the early morning sky.  This sets up breakfast, when, if the eggs turn and hub’s yolks don’t break, the happiness there is its own reward as he daintily dips the end of his sausage into the yellow. 

Sluggish Starts and Determined Finishes.

The students were sluggish this morning, and finding a pace and an exercise that would get mind, body, and spirit engaged proved keeping them off-guard and moving to a lesson of principle and concept.  After the initial two hours of changing direction on them mid-stride, I finally started to see a real focus begin to happen. 

Sometimes, to gain a foothold on surety, one has to keep the student off balance long enough and shift the balance quick enough that they finally find their “feet.”

By the end of session, I was seeing some real use of root, weighting, and attending, all critical to effective martial arts and self-defense. 

They bowed in with a lack of definition in their minds and bodies, their spirits sluggish, but they ended the class and bowed out with energy, determination, and a sense of being.

I’m pleased…though it was work to get them there — three solid hours of work.  Now for a nap…after I do a few chores.

Real, Plastic, or CGI?

Whether it is photograph of a model, an actor or actress, or a lawyer defending a high profile client, increasingly it is very difficult to tell if the person portrayed in the picture is real, a plastic model, or a cgi (a computer generated image).

This is NOT just due to cgi getting more life-like, but, rather of life becoming a mimic of cgi — the make-up, hair, and physique mimicking computer generated imaging.  They’ve met in the middle, and that, for me, is very disturbing, not because of the inherent implications for fraud as much as because it sets up a very false standard for people as a role model for success.

A lot of it is due to lighting, but it also has to do with skin and bodies enhanced all over, not just the face, by make-up and surgery, well-coiffed and well-dyed hair, impeccable manicures and the like.

Check out these images and tell me which ones are real people, which are plastic, and which are CGI (computer generated):


Without cheating, even if you recognize them, which look REAL, PLASTIC, OR CGI?

1 Real Plastic CGI
2 Real Plastic CGI
3 Real Plastic CGI
4 Real Plastic CGI
5 Real Plastic CGI
6 Real Plastic CGI
7 Real Plastic CGI
8 Real Plastic CGI
9 Real Plastic CGI
10 Real Plastic CGI

Now, check your answers.

3, 5, and 10 are CGI.

All the rest are real EXCEPT #2 which is a plastic, life-sized clothes mannequin.

How did you do?

What do you think about this trend and its significance?

A Meal with Prejudice

Dining with colleagues at a local establishment exposed us to the depth and breadth of local prejudice that is running rampant outside what I’ll term the PC zone.  (Definition of a PC zone: All places where one must exhibit the trappings of tolerance and social propriety in order to maintain butter on one’s bread, else lose substantial income.)

We became victim to the proximity of lawyers and business owners who, thinking themselves somehow “off the record,” began to berate and spew hate-speak against anyone and everyone, from Native Americans to Germans, from Chinese to Irish, from English to Polish to Arab to African, and especially against blacks, homosexuals, and women.  Obviously together even though they were spread over several tables, these bigots even grinned over at us who are a group of individuals who vary in skin color and sex.  It seemed they knew they were being offensive and were totally enjoying themselves.

Then they began talking down anyone who wasn’t Christian.  And, after that, came the vilifying of Catholics, Mormons, Christian Scientists, and other recognized Christian denominations who aren’t particularly well-thought-of by the more fundamental.  This wasn’t particularly problematic for anyone at our table since most of us are either not affiliated with any religion whatsoever, or, if we are, we keep it to ourselves, well-used to this sort of biased speech.

However, we had, as a group, became very silent.  What had been lively, vivacious conversation about progress in our various interests, organizations, and occupations became an embarrassed silence — embarrassment for them and their stupidity. 

At the onset of all of this, one of the most locally prominent members of our group who had his back to the rest of the restaurant, glanced around, then pulled out a small box and placed it beside his plate.  Lights danced.  He then pulled out his cell phone and held it up before him as if it were a mirror.  A flash went off. 

He had a small, coy smile on his face as he tucked his cell phone away.  We ate on in silence. 

After awhile, the conversation around us lulled and dulled.   Mr. Prominent switched off the box beside his plate, stuffed it into his suit coat pocket, and smiled around the table.  “How about dessert?” he asked.  Then, “By the way, did you know that, when it comes to recording conversations, we’re a one-party consent state?”