The Eternal Upkeep Challenge

“You can only live three lives.”

Maybe that’s not the precise quote. But it’s something I think about. Between work and a rather demanding hobby, I had just about forgotten about this site. There was just too much going on for me to keep track.

Here I am again, changed and unrecognizable from even the last time I posted. Instead of resolving to do something big, I’m going to focus on little things, like organizing my time, bit by bit. There’s no reason you have to be so busy that you can’t say, “I’m going to start the morning by looking at what I have to do for the day.” And at the end of the night, there’s no reason I can’t spend a few moments to just let my thoughts flow.

So there it is, a resolution to do a few small things every day to get myself back on track

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Time to get back to posting. First up: “Windows 8.1 vs Linux Mint”

A few days ago, I was playing a game on the Windows partition of my laptop. I finished up the game, and there was a message telling me that the Windows 8.1 update was ready to be installed. Several reboots later, Windows was updated, and my boot partition lay a mangled heap on my hard drive. Linux Mint was nowhere to be seen.

Windows 8.1: Fine

Linux Mint: Innaccessible. Feared dead.

I was despondent, for I was too busy to attempt to fix the situation. Work was pressing, and life was insistent. Finally, a few days later, I found the time to attempt a fix. The first tool I found was known by the unassuming name of “Boot-Repair”. I reached. I grasped. I burned it to a CD-ROM. I ran the program, still fearing for my linux partition. Boot-Repair lead me along a merry path, performing great deeds, and giving me minor tasks of my own to perform along the way. And then it stopped, and Boot-Repair turned around and triumphantly proclaimed, “IT IS FIXED! Now restart your computer!” So I restarted my computer.

WTF!#(*)!@#

I rebooted. Then I tried the special reboot button that I used to reboot into Windows. (It’s a Lenovo Y500. They have a special reboot button) No luck. Nothing worked. I cast about several different ways until I finally discovered what had happened. Boot-Repair had overwritten the boot record ON THE WINDOWS PARTITION. Windows 8.1, with all of its UEFI must-protect-myself-from-the-user attitude, was now refusing to boot. Meanwhile my Linux Mint partition was now fully accessible.
Windows 8.1: Inaccessible. Presumed encrypted to hell.
Linux Mint: Fine.

And thus I am forced to conclude that my Windows partition has been ruined beyond my will to attempt yet another boot manager fix. Time to reformat my hard drive as a full Linux machine. If I try to play another game, it will have to be under Linux. Windows 8 has proven that it simply doesn’t play well with others.

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The Canes

Hello there. I know it’s been a while. But I’ve been busy. Life does get in the way sometimes.

Here they are, a quick array of canes. The top two are examples of my everyday fire canes. Starting with the top, you see a fire that has been undressed. Where the wick was, the wood is entirely intact. However, the foot end of the cane has burned down a bit. Also notice the black section just above where the wick was. While the fiberglass cloth did not prevent charring, it did keep the head from burning through the wood.

Just below the bare cane is my present working cane. You can tell it gets some use because of the hints of white on the kevlar.

The bottom cane is a novelty cane I picked up because it was half off and sometimes you just want a big flame. You cane tell I don’t pull it out very often. The wick’s still yellow.

Here’s a close-up. I’d comment further, but there’s a burlesque to attend.

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Insomnia

I just spent I don’t know how many hours going through my collection looking for a song to choreograph some cane spinning to. What do I got? 23 tracks, and I still don’t know which one I want to use. Those songs are just going to have to go into a player and get spun to until one of them stands out. Then comes the movement. Whatever song I choose, I’m going to spin to until it feels like I’m getting somewhere. I need to burn on video to get a feel for the burn time. Then comes the choreographic breakdown and composition.

You’d think this would be easy. I’m even sure it is easy. However, I just can’t seem to settle on a song. This song’s too long. That song’s lyrics are totally off. And those other songs just don’t seem quite right. Whatever. It’s time. I’d say it’s even past time. If I don’t force myself to sit down and just do it, it isn’t going to get done…

Perhaps…

No. I need to move through this.

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The why of it all.

As I sit here about to get ready to leave the office for the week, it hits me that I really don’t get why I do all the things I do. Let’s see. There’s dance classes, playing my fiddle at the odd open mic, fire spinning, the day job, as much travel as I can stand, and whatever practice time I can cobble together between all these other activities. It’s a bit crazy. With all of that, I barely have time to sleep. It’s been on my mind for months. Why am I doing this?

I don’t really have a good answer. Individually, I love doing each of those activities. But altogether, it’s exhausting. Perhaps I need to revisit the why of all of this so I can decide what to let go of. So I can spend more time with friends both old and new, to bolster the strong relationships and to build the delicate ones.

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Juggling: Ant-like Progress

It felt good to pull out the juggling balls today. Walking out to lunch, I was getting six catches with a surprising level of consistency. After lunch, it was more like 5. Well… There was a warm-up period for each session where it was more like 3-4 catches. But still, I’m getting there.

As I’ve watched my progress, I’ve realized that, if I’d put in a solid hour every week, I’d probably already be juggling three-ball without much problem. Ah well. So many props, and so little time.

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Fresh Hoops

Not too long ago, a friend of mine from my college days pops up on Facebook with her latest venture, hooping! Turns out that she not only hoops, but she makes & sells hoops and teaches hooping. Well she finally came down to the spin jam last night. Having been without a hoop for far too long, I jumped at the chance and bought a pair of fresh hoops from her.

Yeay! A prop that doesn’t need my arms!

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Reverse flick.

Today’s practice was all about throwing my cane up in the air and catching it. The throwing is so easy. Making sure it lands where you want it to, not so much. I’ve been practicing it on-and-off since last week. So it wasn’t all that difficult. There’s this little bit where, at the end of the toss, you give a reverse flick. The resulting spin is much more exciting, and the flick makes it easier to keep the cane up close instead of flying off into the distance.

Thinking on that reverse flick makes me wonder: in daily life, are there other actions where such a subtle reversal helps keep everything in place?

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Heard over the weekend

There was a point when I spun fire sword last weekend. I heard someone in the audience commenting to his friend that it was clear that I had martial arts experience. I had to smile. I don’t think I know a lot of sword style, but apparently I know just enough to impress the audience.

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Back in action

Phew. The broken toe put me out of commission for a few weeks, but I’m finally starting to feel like my old self again. Well… With a private festival last weekend and a baby renaissanceĀ fair a couple of weekends before that, you could say I’ve been feeling pretty chipper. Especially if you exclude the limping. šŸ˜‰

So there I was, absent-mindedly practicing on my way to and from the usual lunch time place. My two canes were alternating between hook-stick and split-stick. My attention was somewhat split. There wasn’t any particular effort to my movements. I was going through the motions strictly for the sake of going through the motions. It felt good.

Now, sitting at my desk writing this post, I realize that I’m plateauing. The ideas have flowed, and now they’re refining towards the next creative explosion.Ā Ā This is the perfect stage to be in for a benchmark video.

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