Nami of the Budding Philosopher’s Quick Takes have given me the inspiration for this kind of post. As I understand it, the object is to quickly apprise one’s readers of the things uppermost on the blogger’s mind, which works for me. You see, I won’t be writing another post until February because of a certain project I have underway. But, I hope that these tidbits will tide you over until I am able to write a more polished article. I’m even departing from my usual modus operandi by typing this out without relying on a prior handwritten draft. At any rate, here are my seven quick takes for the week.
Only five days separate me from the deadline for revisions in Athanatos Christian Ministries’ Novel Contest! The other finalists promise to give me some stiff competition in my quest to take first prize, but I shall give it my all. Since the Christmas season began, I’ve procrastinated because work has gotten busier, but I finally feel that I have the urgency necessary to dedicate enough time to the novel. Pray for me and wish me luck!
The fact that a blizzard has snowed me in my house for at least the next two days* will aid enormously in me focusing more on my novel. That I love snow must be common knowledge to the more assiduous of my dear readers, and I do intend to enjoy the winter weather as much as my circumstances permit. Though the high winds (60-80 mph or 90-129 kph) will probably dissuade me from doing much more than shoveling tomorrow. What shall I do after the winds die down? Probably enjoy hiking in the nearest park or practice cuts on snowmen. One gets tired of only slicing through water bottles. 🙂
Speaking of practice cutting, I’ve found two excellent HEMA channels on YouTube: Sword Carolina and Roland Warzecha. You’ll now find them both under the Guide to Becoming a Scholar of Swords and Swordplay. Roland Warzecha is an acknowledged expert and has some great videos on the use of sword and buckler. He also as a sense of humor, as may be seen on his video about attacking in true time. (I love the use of action figures and Latin in the video.) Sword Carolina’s channel is actually run by the HEMA instructor of that school, Aaron Shober. He has some great technique demonstrations for the long sword, e.g. Scheitelhau and Krumphau. I also find myself amused by the fact that he has a laid back personality similar to my own.
Speaking of similar personalities, I identify with the protagonist of the manga 81 Diver to a rather scary level. Sugata makes a living by gambling in shogi. He attempted to become a professional shogi player, but failed to make the cut. Even so, he lives for the game and becomes renown as the strongest player where he gambles. People stop playing him, and he is forced to seek a stronger opponent, who happens to be a woman named Ukeshi of Akiba. He loses this match to her and becomes obsessed with finding a way to beat her. To his good fortune, he discovers that she works part time as a maid, and is able to play more games with her that way. She takes an interest in him and takes him further into the world of shogi, leading to some very intense matches.
The study of chess and go absorbed me at one point. I know as much about chess as some club players. Also, a few go players have declared me strong enough to be a 1-dan; so, I understand the mentality of people who pursue these games to abstraction. Being unable to fall asleep at night as one ponders an opponent’s possible responses, seeing the game as an art form, reading books filled with hundreds of opening variations, playing games for three hours or more in a session, and refusing to lose on purpose for any reason seem natural to me. Other people might find 81 Diver too weird or even fanservicey (maid outfit) for their tastes.
Old School anime rock! I’ve taken a short break from the contemporary anime scene to watch Ashita no Joe, Urusei Yatsura, and Angel Cop. The last of these has a level of violence which I find somewhat unsettling; but, how our heroes will stop the government agencies plotting against them and foil Communist terrorists from wreaking havoc in Japan has me intrigued. Urusei Yatsura is an earlier work of Rumiko Takahashi’s, and the first two episodes have been absolutely hilarious. You already know what I think about Ashita no Joe!
Of late, I’ve neglected my practice of foreign languages. I need to fix that–especially since I have three volumes of Kara no Kyoukai sitting unread on my shelf! But, Kara no Kyoukai is more difficult than other stuff I’ve been reading. I’ll probably have to graduate from Slayers and at least read through volume one of Silencer–a gritty police manga, which I’d only recommend to people with a strong tolerance for violence. I skip the worst scenes. At any rate, I like the heroine, artwork, and dark ambiance. But, I feel rather guilty for not making enough time for the study of Japanese so that I can easily read Kara no Kyoukai. Hopefully, that will be remedied soon.
A certain change is coming up soon which makes me want to add more theology to my reading list. I recently discovered a Catholic apologist named Taylor Marshall. He’s pretty cool, and offers some very sound advice to those wishing to be Catholic apologists. May you benefit from his advice below!
*Correction: The blizzard proved to be more of a heavy snowfall than a proper blizzard. It might even be safe to drive in the late afternoon and evening. I should know better than to trust the weatherman by now!