Tragedy from Afar

The wife and mother-in-law mentioned in the article are the mother and grandmother of two students and a graduate from TAC, and prayers for them would be appreciated as they fly back to Kenya for the funeral.
[click on title for link]

Working at the Wintz's

Since Dominic was sick this weekend, I organized a crew of 5 guys to go to work at Mr. Wintz's property this weekend. The "Geek Squad" included Jack Potts, Scherbert, Me, Matt Nolan, and the odd one out, who doesn't spend his time gaming the in the lounge, but who does have a useful thing called an "automobile," Scott Martin.
It was raining, but was light enough for us still to work, and so we cleared all the grass out of an area surrounded by 6 foot berms. Mr. Wintz's wife, who is a landscape designer, told us about her plans to plant a moonlight garden there, full of flowers with pale nighttime blossoms.
During lunch and after work we hung out on their patio by the fire, from which we could see through the large windows in their house over the entire Santa Paula valley. Even though it was a drizzly cloudy day, it's still one of the most beautiful places I could imagine working at. I'll try to get better pictures of the view next time, weather permitting.
(these photos take with my 1.3 mp cell phone camera on my new KRZR, which is turning out to be quite nice and extremely useful)

Seminar at Sunset

Last Thursday Mary Rose, Mary, Sara, and I took some wine, cheese, and books up to the painters shack, and spent a fun relaxing afternoon up there.
Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.
(btw, Mary and Mary Rose put henna in their hair last week, which is the reason for the reddish hue)


Pics from the Walk for Life West Coast

The Gaming Lounge in Use

Alden playing Rayman's Raving Rabids on the Wii, with Duffy, Six, Aaron Lee, et al watching and coaching. And Duffy eating Pringles with a fork.


Dancing; with beauties and blades

In the past week I've been able to take up again two of my favorite extra-curricular activities at TAC, ballroom dancing, and fencing.
We've had two dance classes with Dan (our resident dance instructor), and although the class composition has changed a bit, with some people dropping out from last semester, and some people from his Sunday class joining us, it's still been
Last week we spent the entire class learning a rather intricate waltz move, four measures long, in which the guy swirls and swoops across a large part of the dance floor with the girl. We all laughed at each other's first attempts, but by the end we were doing much better, and one might even say some of us looked graceful and elegant while dancing it.
This week we spent the class reviewing the Rumba, one of a few dances that Dan is trying to get more of here at TAC dances, because he likes more variety than just swing and the occasional waltz. We reviewed everything from last semester, learned how we could incorporate the cool new waltz move from the previous week into Rumba, and got tips and pointers on how to improve our form, since Dan cares much more about rhythm and form that performing a multitude of fancy moves.
The Wednesday night dances have also been going well, and I think moving them from outside of St. Augustine's to inside of St. Pat's was a good idea. For one thing, it's been unseasonably cold (for California), and people don't like dancing outside, because while it gets into the 60s or 70s during the day, it drops into the 40s at night. Also, in St. Pat's the have 5 very nice sofas where people can sit when they're not dancing. While this is nice for the girls, it's also had the effect of causing some of the guys to just laze around, which is a problem since there are generally only three or four of them for ten or so girls. If they're foolish enough, as they once were, to all sit on one sofa, I can enlist the aid of a few willing girls and tip it over, which was quite fun, but otherwise the only thing I can really do it play good music, so I've been trying to learn which songs the freshmen like best (since they're generally the only ones who show up anymore, and they like different songs than my class and the sophomores).

In a different type of dancing, the fencing club that I've been trying to start for awhile has really been taking off, with the leadership and support of Mr. Appleby. Sometime last semester he convinced the school that enough people were interested that they should purchase a couple helmets, blades, and gloves, and some people who previously did fencing brought their equipment back after Christmas, so that now we can have quite a few matches going on at once. We've also been having regular meetings at noon on Wednesday, with more people coming every week. Last week we had at least a dozen people there, and three or four fights going on at once. Most of the people are beginners, although there are people like Scofield and Yano who have fenced before, and Duffy and I who have been practicing since last year. Mr. Appleby himself goes fairly frequently to a local fencing club where he practices sabre, and he said if theres enough continued interest, he might be able to get his instructor to come up here to give real lessons.
I've learned about the foil from Yano for awhile, but it's only in the past few weeks that I've begun to learn the sabre from Mr. Appleby. The styles of fighting, though both fencing, are vastly different. To start with, in foil, to score a hit, you need to press the tip of your blade against the torso (not including arms or head) of your opponent with at least one pound of pressure (enough to break human skin). However, since the sabre is not only a thrusting but a slashing weapon as well, all that is needed for a hit is for the blade to touch your opponent anywhere above the waist, and now the arms and head are valid targets as well. Since you can both thrust and slash, and your target area is larger, sabre is a much faster sport. In fact, in order to slow it down they don't allow crossing your feet over. In foil or epee, when attacking you can actually run at your opponent, but now in sabre you must only advance by the short steps your can make without your back foot coming to the fore.
Even though it's more difficult at first though, I think it's more enjoyable than the foil, because there' an eve wider variety of attack, feints and parries, and it's especially fun for me, since me favorite moves are usually feints, while while those are quite possible with foil, it's even more fun in sabre to feint a slash from one direction, and then whip your blade around and smack them from the other side while their parry whistles ineffectively through the air in the other direction. The problem is that it leaves you rather open to attack, or even to their malparry hitting you, but since sabre, like foil, has a right-of-way rule, as long as it's one continuous attack, their lack of an effective parry will mean that they had no right to touch you, and if your attack is successful you will be awarded the point.
Once problem though, is that since sabre moves much faster, Duffy and I have a much harder time judging ourselves, and find it very helpful to have a third party to examine who had right of way or whose blade touched first.
So now I've talked to Mr. Appleby about having the school buy some sabres, since currently they only have foils, and we borrow Mr. Appleby's sabres to fight. Then maybe we'll being to schedule duels over classroom disagreements for the lunch entertainment of all. ;)
I look forward to stabbing Mr. Bolin with a finite blade. :P

Because this semester's classes have been mostly about infinity, about which Bolinides of Santa Paulus has some strange opinions. More on that later though.


Back at school

Well, it's good to be back at school, and I've been fairly busy already.
I worked out a new plan with the guys I had been sharing a wing with last semester, so that Now instead of rooming with David Six, we both have singles, which has been the defacto situation for the past couple months, but will now be formalized so that phone calls will go to the right rooms, and Yano won't have to worry about getting in trouble for people being too loud in the lounge while video gaming.
So, because of that, I moved a bunk bed into the lounge, not to sleep on (that's what the sofas are for, and they're much more comfy) but to serve as the base for my computer desk, and to store things on top of. The new arrangement is quite nice, and provides an added element of privacy. I'll try to take pictures and post them soon.
Classes have been going ok so far. Lab has been very interesting, we're still talking about the first few pages of Newton's Mechanics. I volunteered for a prop the first day back, and did it pretty well I think. Unfortunately, no one was able to say anything about the next paragraph, so there were several minutes of silence after I sat down.
We had our first music class of the day today, which was...well, it was about par for music class. I had forgotten to bring my copy of the Mozart sonata we're studying, as had the people next to me, so we missed a fair amount of what was going on, but it was filled with the usual jumping from topic to topic, forgetting of people's names. Except that was worse than usual, because our music teacher tried to call role, and it turned out that she had forgotten all but one person's name. This was rather depressing, as it made me think even more that I didn't deserve the C I got in music, also as every other subject I got A's and B's, and several people in my class come to me when they need help with music, and generally people think I know it pretty well. *shrugs* well, I still have to decide whether or not I'll talk to the dean about petitioning the grade.
Also the Wii has been a smash hit with everyone who's tried it out here, and we're trying to get Jack Pots to have his flat-screen TV shipped out here so we don't have to go over to classroom 201 every time we want to play.




Videos and pictures of mine will be coming soon.
Thanks Pop and Annagram and Little Gram!


TAC Films

This fall we had a film festival at TAC, and I was in charge of showing the movies made by other people. So since I ended up with copies of them, I uploaded them to YouTube, and thought people might be interested in watching.

The Shoes; a Tale of Youthful Romance and Perseverance

Bad Stuff. Don't let it happen to you!

The Bookstore; kudos to Monty Python

Elmo vs. Aristotle; Sesame Street on Philosophy

The Sequel; a video full of random weirdness

The Pig; an Epic, in two parts
aka, A Film Chronicling the Adventures of the Two Most Virile Hunters Who Ever Stalked the Face of the Earth