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May 9th, 2006

Half-Hour Glass


I had a 30-minute "one-on-one" meeting with my manager today, during which we mostly talked about prioritizing and scheduling of edits that are coming into my queue.



Serendipitously, I attended a one-hour "IBM Editing Community" meeting, which consisted entirely of a demo of a Lotus Notes database that can be used as an Editing Scheduler or presented as an Editing Plan.

It has some cool features; I plan to get a copy if it, and start using it.



The Mostly Social Book Club met for lunch today, with everyone but Mary in attendance.

As it turned out, it was "Diversity Day" in the cafeteria today, highlighting Asia-Pacific Month, and there was a karate demo going on during most of the time we were there.

Folks from one of the local Tai-Kwon-Do centers (in Cary), put on a show, which consisted of some choreographed moves to music, and a good number of boards being broken all over the place, concluding with a good old apple smash.


We were sitting at a table just stage left of the performance, a little too close for comfort, actually. When the first person broke the first board, with their foot, we saw a spark, and then smelled smoke. We didn't see any smoke; it was the odor that you smell when someone blasts caps.

This happened again, and again, with each board broke. None of us had ever seen a spark when watching this done (on television) before, and of course, we wouldn't have smelled anything. We all wondered, "What up?"

I said I was going to go home and google it, which I did. I searched on a lot of phrases involving "breaking," "board," "hand," "spark," "martial," "arts," etc., and really only found this, which I find a little disturbing:

Following are some of the more well known cheating methods used by many today in an attempt to fool and entertain spectators during demonstrations of tameshiwari (breaking feats) and/or tameshigiri (cutting feats). This list is not intended to say that all demos of this sort are faked, but simply to point out that this kind of occurrence is becoming increasingly popular in some groups and that what you see may not necessarily be the same as what is performed in serious martial arts. Viewer beware:

Board Breaking - a) boards are baked in an oven first to make them extremely brittle. b) boards are stacked with spacers between them to create a percussive effect as power and body weight is dropped downwards. c) when being held with the both hands, the holder can use their hand strength to flex the board inwards.

That still doesn't explain the spark and the burning odor.

This article, Breaking Boards: the physics of a karate chop, says that it can be done without a "trick," but it doesn't mention anything about sparks and smoke. Or smoke and mirrors for that matter.



The last "trick" of the demo involved one of the people sitting up on the shoulders of another, and holding one of those long "golf" umbrellas, closed though, out perpendicular to the ground. They gouged a red apple onto the steel point at the end of the umbrella.


Another performer got under the umbrella and apple, looked up, screamed something, and then kicked his foot up over his head and broke that apple into about 20 pieces that went flying all over the place.

Before he did it, certain members of the book club, namely Suzanne and Sharon, said about some people sitting in the front row center, "Look at those people over there; they're going to get apple on them." Well let's just say that most of the apple ended up landing about two feet from us.

The best thing about all of this drama was that it relieved virtually all pressure to utter the word book.



I edited one of Tracey's Federated Identity Manager books all afternoon.



This evening, I did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, followed by a 30-minute walk. I listened to the Wicked soundtrack on my iPod for the entire hour.

The indoor track is rectangular, with rounded corners. You've seen one of the "long sides" here several times now:


All the way at the end, there's one of the corners that turns to the left. On the wall right there, and on the walls of each of the corners, there are signs, which say this:

Please do not
spit on walls or
floors of track.



Joe joined me at scareyoke, which was a nice change, as he hasn't been going out on Tuesdays for a while, due to his work schedule.


Bill (from Spring Hope) was there, and Joe and I played a couple of games of cut throat pool with him. I was the first one out in both games. Bastards.

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