Monthly Archives: March 2009

Two Irritations

IRRITATION NUMBER ONE: Website “entrepreneurs” who INSIST that you haven’t heard them the first time.  One Kim McDougall, klchatel@verizon.net, owner of BlazingTrailers.com is one such individual.  Every time I turn around, there’s yet another email in my box delivering a post she’s made to a group board I’m subscribed to.  She keeps urging us, exorting us, even, to visit her site, to submit a trailer (the form’s still in beta-testing according to Kim, mind you) *roll eyes*.

Ah…I heard you the first time, Kim.  And I accept trailers, too, but it isn’t the “competition” that’s bothering me.  It’s your persistence of cheap solicitations. 

I post one, maybe two, solicitations, well-spaced apart, then leave it alone.  Seems to me that, if an author or a publisher isn’t interested, they simply aren’t interested.  They aren’t interested in getting the word out, at least not using the offered venue.  That should be fine, shouldn’t it?  I mean it isn’t as though there aren’t plenty of book trailers and new novels coming out to fill our websites.

Bottom line: Offer it, then leave it at that.  Now that might not be the “American entrepreneur’s way,” — you know, SAVE BIG CARPET SALE, COME NOW, BIG CARPET SALE, DON’T MISS OUT, FACTORY REMAINDERS CHEAP, GET YOURS HERE…. …Sorry, boyz and gurlz, that kind of advertising method just doesn’t play well with me.  Class acts don’t hawk their wares like cheap sleezeballs selling second class goods, especially since books are supposed to be first class all the way.

IRRITATION NUMBER TWO: People who want to discuss politics, but get mad and indignant when someone posts something contrary to their perspective.  Then, instead of debating it, they go complain to management.  If that fails to reap their desired result, the squelching of the opposing viewpoint, they pick of their whining selves and, with backward glances of woe-is-me, depart the venue, only to sniffle and whine and lurk in “seeing distance.” 

Gawd.  Fine.  If you don’t want to debate it, why play in the politics pit?

What’s Happening On Capitol Hill

I follow several sentators…from states other than Idaho, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  (Why I choose to follow and support U. S. Senators other than those of Idaho is because all Idaho US Senators in firmly entrenched on the opposite sides of issues I find salient. In fact, there isn’t a whole lot of people in office in Idaho whom I do support, especially not Butch “the Butcher” Otter, but let’s not go there.  None of us need a rant from me this morning.)

Here’s the latest from Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and, if you want more interesting listening and reading, then go to his website at:  http://www.sanders.senate.gov/

VIDEO: The Buzz on Capitol Hill with Senator Bernie Sanders

Here’s the direct link to the video: http://sanders.senate.gov/video/20090312003/index.html

Teaching Martial Arts

I must receive thirty-plus phone calls a week from people wanting to enroll their 3, 6, 9, 12, 14-year-old into martial arts.  I dismiss them with a pleasant, gentle explanation that, 1, we’re not taking new students, and, 2, we only teach adults.  And not all adults, either.  It isn’t the age, per se.  It’s the maturity and mind-state.  I’m sorry, but children — American children (though there are, of course, exceptions) are generally unprepared and unwilling to submit to the rigorous discipline — mental, emotional, physical, and philosophical — required to study martial arts with us.  We’re very strict; we’re very demanding, and we’re very much a traditional school where “fun” isn’t part of the curriculum.

Oh, it’s fun, yes, if you have a high pain threshold and love ever increasing challenges, but it’s not entertaining (except for those occasional guffaws when you lose your footing because someone dripped sweat on the mat).  For Americans, both adults and youth, who have been raised to expect their hedonistic desires fulfilled, who are perpetually conditioned to expect reward for mediocrity, and who have been pandered to their whole lives, our martial arts classes are not quite what they expected.  We tend to direct callers and walkins alike to the McDojos, because, honestly, that’s what they want — instant black belt in exchange for no real effort and no true commitment and self-motivated development.

But what about the prospective student who does hold the duty, discipline, self-actualization, and focus that’s mandatory?  Well, taking on a student means this for the teacher: Be ready to become their life counselor, even after they’ve left town.  You’ll be the one they call, regardless of what time it is, what day it is, or if you’re down with pneumonia when they have any kind of life crisis, from marital difficulties to existential crises.  It’s the way of things, and, believe me, after years and years, taking on new students and adding to the calls for help and advice you get takes its toll.  As a teacher, you become very hesitant to add to your load, especially since, having invested the time and effort to get them to and then through the “gateway” that is earning the black belt, then going further, you are obligated to be there, always.  It’s a life commitment on both the student’s and the teacher’s part.  And it’s tough on both of them.  It’s also extremely rewarding.  My students…my husband’s students, it’s why both of us go to bed with gentle smiles on our faces.  They are our delight, even if they do occasionally cause all manner of bleary-eyed mornings.