You are viewing byrontengu

24 March 2014 @ 11:03 pm
I was just re-reading my sparse posts from the last half a year, and I wanted to say a public thank you to everyone who helped me, or just offered love when I needed it. You were great. Sometimes just a short note that said you were there was more powerful than anything else. I'll try to remember that and pay back the debt when I can. I'm not worthy of those who love me, but I'll reach for it. I'm very grateful.
OK, just one my life....this year...without something bad, or stupid, happening would be brilliant. Seriously, just one; not asking for much here. Just one, and maybe a preview of Peter Capaldi's work on Dr Who, that would be very cool. But, That's it. That's all I'm asking of you, so... just think about it... OK?
17 February 2014 @ 12:47 pm
I'm starting to really think that I've been way too patient with people. I think there comes a point where being nice stops being a good idea.
09 February 2014 @ 12:18 am
I would have said something closer to "slightly more trouble that you're worth", obviously I don't know everything, and some people know better than I do. I trust a great deal of the people I know who may have had influence, so I'm trusting that they are right.
Monet’s Impression, Sunrise which apparently started the Impressionist movement is a masterpiece. It’s somehow perfect in it’s recreation of what Monet saw that specific morning. Nothing looks like a thing as we see it, if we see it clearly and in its own direct context. Everything looks exactly like it should in context itself. I have no question that this is precisely what he saw, and exactly the way he saw it. The colors are both subtle and mesmerizing at the same time. They work, and remove any ambiguity without exact definition. The work is in whole perfect, but in parts each imprecise. I think that’s what he was trying to do. This is what the world actually is. It’s complete failure without context; dark with light, fade with growth. It is motion, yet it is one moment in time taken out of the day in question, but with all that is necessary for it to make sense. It simply is. It’s enough, and it’s what actually is present in perception in that moment.
Yesterday was a very good day in Endless Hills. I was asked to come down and help marshal the barony's rapier championship. This allowed everyone to fight for the honor and for the combatants to not have to take a turn marshaling as well as competing. I like to do this when I can, and "the Hills" is something like a home away from home for me. The group as a whole has treated me very well, even back when I could do nothing for them aside from provide a few suggestions about fencing.
The tournament went well, with only minor issues. My former student won handily, and honorably, though he still plays with his food from time to time. After that tournament was finished, we milled about and I talked to some folks. I was feeling spent before I got there, so it took me a good deal of time to get into a decent tournament head space for the open tournament. Lord Mark ran a fantastic progressive form triple elimination tournament. A competitor was required to start with single sword and could only move to a "more advanced" defensive form after loosing a pass. After two losses, one could move to an offensive form. This worked my singe game a good deal which I most certainly needed. It wasn't until my first loss that I really felt anything remotely warm.
My only loss was to Jehan, who has definitely improved, due primarily to underestimating him. My mistake, and I did not repeat it. Jehan and Po provided a good deal of challenge, which is how I would have liked it. In truth, I think Po had a more precise form, but he had spent more than I had, after the championship earlier. Had we been equally fresh, these fights would probably have gone down in his favor. I think he was better than me overall, and it was only my inside game that won me the day. I don't like relying on that, as it's not really good enough to win in a more competitive field. Regardless, it was a good win, and a fun tournament. It felt good to win again, though I know I wasn't close to my better game. After that I was able to teach some footwork and help some new folks get going with more mechanically advanced, and historically accurate techniques.
Talking with friends was a welcome relaxation before court. Court itself was... interesting. I'm extremely grateful for the work our own herald does to keep Helene and I on track and organized. There were several interruptions and confusions that seemed to fit the spirit of the group, but would have driven Delftwood to revolt. It was a classic case of understanding the local culture, rather than following some formal or established protocol.
The drive there and back was enjoyable, and I think I got as much joy from a Sheets cheeseburger as I have from just about any meal in the past year. I had managed to dodge my retainers, and Martin's Storm of Swords on audiobook is a great companion for long solo road trips. I got some good time to think, and I'm thinking that is a good thing for the now.
October was a year of fire on its own, and this was a good break.
30 October 2013 @ 05:37 pm
Oh my dearest student.
Today, I had to teach you how to count. I literally had to show you how to count the number of paragraphs on a page so that you could indicate the paragraph that had the information you wanted to use. The fact that when you asked what a paragraph number was, another student laughed out loud should have shown you that when we said "there are no stupid questions", we didn't account for you. You might have had that point reinforced when you asked if the paragraph number was this copyright date resembling this very year, but I told the other students to stop laughing at you. You never cease to amaze. When I told you it was the number of the paragraph which held the information you wished to use, you said to me: "but I'm only using one". This taught me a good deal. It is said that teachers learn from their students as much as those students learn from their teachers. I could not agree more. I have learned a lot from you, and I'm grateful.
When you ask me to repeat myself four times and then still fail to show that you learned anything, you taught me that you were not paying attention. When you failed to show up on time for your class fourteen classes in a row, you taught me that you didn't care. When you ran out of class so that you could "work in the library" then ran in the opposing direction to the library, you taught me that you were a liar, and that you were too cowardly to tell me you were going to go screw off rather than work. This was a double lesson! When you missed all of your appointments during office hours, you taught me that you didn't think my time was valuable. Finally, when you said that you hadn't even started your draft even after the due date was announced in each class, each day for the last three weeks, you taught me that my class wasn't worth your time. When you taught me this last lesson, you taught me something grater. I owe you a great deal.
You taught me that you won't have a future in this school. You taught me that you were a waste of my time, and that you were a time thief. You taught me that each moment spent with you was a moment I could not spend helping someone pass. You taught me that you won't be one of those who do pass, not because you can't pass, but because you don't care to pass. You taught me that indeed I have been wasting my time. You taught me clearly that you don't care. It's a good thing to know, because I'm leaving my job. Oh, I'm still working for the school to which you decided to donate a semester's worth of tuition. Oh, you didn't know it was a donation? Well, you will probably get that, and a bill shortly. As I was saying, I still teach the class you wander into from time to time, but I no longer work for you. I'm going to work with the students who can pass. The students whose time you've been wasting by distracting me actually are still part of my job. You see, I've already written in your grade. You failed. It's great really; your colleagues will have to work for the remainder of the term in order to learn their grades, but you are just special enough to have it all worked out at midterms!
This is the moment when the martial arts instructor starts sparing at close to full power, and full speed. This lesson is designed to show a student what an actual conflict is, and what must be done, or avoided in the case of missteps in order to survive. This is the moment when a good instructor proceeds to beat the living daylights out of anyone who can not hold his or her own through stamina, skill, trickery, or wisdom. This is the moment when a student like you finds himself covered in blood and tears on the floor reconsidering his choices and deeply fearing the future. This is the part of martial arts instruction which I find the most difficult. I know instructors who can do this easily. They maintain a serious demeanor, eliciting as much fear as respect. This is not easy for me. I've always been poor at driving home the "get serious, or get out" message. I have learned my weaknesses, and this is one. However, like I said, you are special.
You could change my mind, you know. I suggested that I have a soft heart, and you could make me reconsider your established grade. It will take work, and I honestly don't believe that you have that ability in your tool box. I'd like to help you, but you will have to make me believe that you are worth my time. You were a good teacher, but I'm perhaps a poor student, so you may not have proven quite yet that working with you is a total wast of my time. Right now, I think working with you is much like sewing with clam chowder. You could, however, change that. It's in your hands, my former and potential student. The question is: what will you do with it?
When you do sort this out, you know where to find me. Until you do, I will use your example to inspire other students who do have a chance of passing. You will serve as the great symbol of what not to do and why the world is the way it is. The school will most certainly keep taking your money, and I'm betting you will end up in debt, and without prospects. The only question on that point is whether you will get anything for that expense, or whether it will be a continuing donation to the school's finances, and to my real students' experience.

Yours truly;
Professor Martin.
16 October 2013 @ 11:09 pm
OK, I don't want to talk about feline related grief any longer. I will write about finally saying goodby to Orpheus, but not tonight. I thank all of you who read, and cared and asked if we were OK from the bottom of my heart. It mattered a great deal. You kind of saw one of the most difficult principals that I face. I can't save those I love from pain. Writing that sounds grandiose, and maybe it's arrogance, but it's how I feel right now. Tonight, I think one of those random lists of nebulous, cryptic responses might be in order. Please feel free to skip it if you prefer. I'm willing to bet that you are not involved in anything negative. So, off we go:

OK, that actually felt good.

I hate the shape of my head.

Thank you very much. I needed some encouragement.

I hate being mortal.

Please, please don't let inertia win this time. I will get on my knees and beg if I need to do so.

So, was it worth it? It wasn't to me. It wasn't to most of us. You realize that it was entirely an exercise in selfishness, right? Nope? Actually, I didn't think so.

I'm starting to question the very concept of democracy.

If the irony of posting online, in public, on a traceable forum, in front of people who disagree with you that the President is taking away your freedom of speech is not clear to you, then I don't want you to vote any more.

I still hate the shape of my head.

It was fun, and I kind of needed it, but it was a mistake.

I need to watch how much I drink.

I know I can handle it if I'm asked to, and I think I can do a better job than others would, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't welcome those who I wish would do a better job than I think I would.

term limits in everything.

I miss my epee.

I think I miss my blue scarf.

I'm pretty sure it's a bad hobby.

I'm so very glad that I decided not to contribute to the next generation in anything other than an advisory role.

I know that you were at best sub-sentient, but you are gone, and I have to pick up the slack. I'm more daunted by that job than I am about the one I will probably get.

You will never know how much I love you.

You stopped talking to me, I hope that's a good sign. Don't worry about it if you are OK, that was the whole point, and I'm not offended, I just wish I could have offered more.

I hate hypocrisy especially in myself.

I can't spell hypocrisy without help, and there is a lesson in that.

Oh for the love of your god! Please shut the hell up.

I like my whiskey cozy a lot.
09 October 2013 @ 10:26 pm
So, I thought last night was going to be the last night for Orpheus. He's still with us, though he is in a lot of pain. Tomorrow he will get to rest, so I guess this makes two nights of waiting for the end. I don't want the torrent of well meaning love that Facebook would provide. I want Liz to be OK, and I want Orpheus to feel nothing, if he can't feel good, and I want something stronger than whiskey. I want to fix it, and I can't. Because I can't, I want to burn it out, and I can't. The weight and running helped, and I'm glad I got out to the gym, but I wasn't going to trust myself with a sword or stick tonight. I'm selfish like that, and so tonight will be given up to smoke and drink and distraction; more selfishness.
Tomorrow I go back on stage. Tomorrow I have to work, and edu-tain students, some of whom will never care, and will blame everyone other than themselves for failure. After that, we take our friend to his rest, and ourselves to the next stage of grieving. Liz will grieve, and it will hit her out of nowhere. I think she is ready, and when it happens, she may not be prepared. Tonight, she is more or less fine. She spent her pain over the last two nights. I shared my own pain when I felt like it would help her, and kept it behind steel when it would make things worse. Tonight has been armor plate for me.
Tomorrow I have to be a rock, but nothing stone. I may have to do this alone if she can't, and I will. Tonight I am a wreck, but there is the pretty poison of alcohol and tobacco, and my own personal dance with disease. He's a cat, but he's my adopted son, or as close to that love as I will ever let myself know. He's my brother, and he loves my lover. He's my friend, and he is hurting, and I can't fix it until tomorrow. So tonight, I go numb because I can, and nothing else will be of service.
08 October 2013 @ 07:21 pm
Orpheus is a cat, and often an irritating cat. He's loud and always needs something. I don't think he's ever found the right side of a door. He's woke me up between three and four in the morning for almost a year. He's distracted me from work, and gotten me blown up in video games. He is everything a cat should be.
I met him when I met Liz, she raised him from the time he was a kitten, and she was in college. He's been her companion for about fifteen years. He is "That Cat" to her, and though she loves other cats and will have other companions, there will never be another Mister Orpheus.
Tonight, I have to tell her that there is no longer any hope for him. His kidneys are cancerous, and there is just nothing more that we can do. We knew he was dying, but I think we both held out hope that he could be saved, just for a little while longer. We gave him fluids, and have kept him as comfortable as we could, but it is now over.
I love Orpheus, and I have wept over his condition a few times. I would do anything to save him if I could. All any of us can do is to give him a painless death.