|Updates and investigation
||[Apr. 13th, 2016|12:34 pm]
The tabletop role-playing game that I'm developing is alpha testable. I scrambled all week to have a detailed module ready in time for the playtest. We got halfway through it that night. I was underslept and low on blood sugar. (I hadn't eaten enough, and I couldn't spare the time to snack while I concentrated on GMing a new system and remembering all the story elements (or finding them in the large document).) While I had a hard time with some of the storytelling, the system itself worked just fine. I got some feedback for a slight tweak (which was already included as an optional house rule, but should have been available in the main rule set). I'll run the second half of that adventure this week, then perform some rewrites before running it again with a different group.
Life has handed me several opportunities to help people lately.
I never thought I'd wear myself out dog walking, but when you spend several miles forcibly restraining a husky who nearly outweighs you, you get a hell of a workout.
Karen and I are joining a CSA for the first time. The farm is very nearby, so pickups will be easy.
A classmate of mine (in JKD) introduced me to the "J-shaped spine" concept championed by Esther Gokhale. The short version is that she spent a lot of time investigating cultures of people who have little or no back problems, and then fixed the common advice about posture. I would like to know whether this is legit, and have not yet found an independent source to say one way or the other. There's nothing in what I've read and watched so far that rings false, but I am a bit wary because Mercola.com, a notoriously disreputable site, supports it. (They also support anti-vaccination bull crap.) Of course, I can't just dismiss it on that basis. (Ad hominem fallacy: Would you disbelieve Hitler if he told you that the sky was blue?) In fact, a site for alternative medicine, much of which is bunk, is exactly where you'd expect to see support for an alternative medical theory that was correct but not yet established within the medical community. So, despite my suspicions, I am still intrigued. Any thoughts on verifying or debunking? My web searches are finding mostly praise for the "Gokhale Method" and exactly one critical piece (which criticizes but does not investigate the claims).
I'm at a disadvantage, I suppose, from unfamiliarity with the established literature on posture and back pain. It could be that Gokhale is charging people exorbitant amounts to hear what any physical therapist could tell them, with much better results due to the price. (Consistency pressure: Once you've made an effortful, public commitment to the training (spending your time and money), you're damn well going to value it and follow through on it.) If it isn't alternative medicine at all, that would explain why there have (apparently) been no attempts to either verify or debunk it.
In other news, I'm officially giving up on fixing my dash cam. It was, tantalizingly, almost kinda sorta working, so it took months before I was willing to let it go. Despite the cost, I'm going to replace it with a better one: In its short life, it did far more for me than my (now former) insurance company ever did. A new one seems like a great investment for my car.
My Jeet Kune Do class used to include grappling and Kali (Filipino stick and knife fighting) in the last week of each month. Last year, when the class moved and restructured, Kali was spun off to become its own class. Our teacher (Steve), who is not yet certified to teach Kali, got permission from his teacher (guro ("teacher") Raffi, trained under Kevin Seaman and Dan Inosanto) to teach it as an assistant instructor, with guro Raffi coming by occasionally to give seminars and to test students. We had our first such test last month, so I'm now a level 1 student of Kali. There were some hiccups due to recent changes in the curriculum, so that the requests made of us weren't always clear*, but we showed that we knew what we were doing. Word from on high (guro Dan Inosanto) is that students must have at least a year between tests. Having studied unofficially for several years, I already knew quite a bit more than was being required of our instructors, in their testing for level 3. (And they know loads more than I do!) I don't mind that the ranks don't currently reflect our knowledge of the curriculum; I'm still learning new material at a good pace, which is what matters. I have no current ambition to be certified, so testing at all is mostly a matter of showing respect to the tradition of my lineage in the art, and demonstrating Steve's competence at teaching me.
* Each time guro Raffi asked us to demonstrate something, using different jargon than we had traditionally used in class, I noticed a panicked look on one of the other students. So I made sure to demonstrate first, in order for him to see my best guess about what was being asked of us. I was right most of the time, and he was very grateful. (I wasn't worried about my training partner: She knew exactly as much as I, and could come to her own conclusions.) After the test, guro Raffi clarified some of his requests that we had gotten wrong, and we then demonstrated that we could in fact perform those techniques. It transpired that one technique was known by the level 1 students but not by the (level 3) instructors, which caused some understandable (and amusing) confusion. (We had been shown the technique by a substitute teacher while our instructors were away for a seminar.)
Karen and I joined some friends to see "The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged)". It's a hilarious show, and I was interested by the updates it had received in the two decades since I had first seen it. (And yes, I had loved it so much, the first time, that I jumped at the chance to see it again.)
Magical land artworks (Thanks, Brookes!)
What Trump appeals to in his supporters, explained by the two moral modes. Another illuminating and thought provoking siderea essay.
Overview of The Panama Papers. A more thorough explanation and discussion than other articles I've seen on it. (Thanks, eirias!)
Causes of Students' Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives. A synthesis of comments exploring issues in society and educational institutions that affect modern students, as explored by educators, employers, parents, and students. (Thanks, Cristyn!)
This entry was originally posted at http://blimix.dreamwidth.org/38174.html. ( comments there.)