Friday, 23 March 2007

What I'd give for a new pair of hips

Ok, so I made brown belt. But not without completely stuffing up my 'basics' (the grading is in three sections, and the first is where you do the 'basic' techniques of punching, blocking, kicking, etc. as a solo exercise). I was fairly relaxed (normally I get really stressed in preparation), but then I got up in front of the examiner and it was like I was transformed into an emotional jelly (I don't think I physically quivered...). How is it I can get up and lecture in front of hundreds of people, but I stand up in front of one very friendly (but exceedingly expert - 5th Dan) Karate examiner, and I go to pieces? In fairness, I did get through, and no doubt the examiner was being charitable, but I do know that away from the glare of the examiner's stare I can do the things I'm supposed to do. So probably I deserve the belt. But it would have been more satisfying to show my best on the night...

Anyhow, the main problem I have, apparently, is my hips... I need to be able to twist them like I was a hula dancer. I'll have to practice, although I'm not so sure about that whole grass skirt thing.

Monday, 19 March 2007

I'm leaking...

Well.. not really me. The pond. I don't have time to leak: Since my last post I've made 106 editorial decisions (accept, revise, reject, etc.) and sent 74 papers out to review. I know all this because the journal's database is online, and it never tires of spitting out performance statistics (how many days I spend between receiving a paper and sending it out to review; how many different people I've approached as reviewers; how long it takes me to make a decision on a paper once I've received all the reviews; how many hours I spend asleep; how often I shower). I have no personality any more; I've become little more than a page full of statistics on a server somewhere in the Netherlands. No wonder my pond's leaking. Except it's not leaking. It's crying.

It's Monday. On Thursday I'm being graded for my first brown belt. If I get it I'll be amazingly proud: One small step for a man, one big step for Karate (actually, it's more a step, block, and a punch....).