Friday, August 31, 2012

Springtime of Youth

Now is the Springtime of Youth.

Understanding brings empathy,

Just as iron sharpens iron, 
in proximity
people assimilate people.

Imitate therefore, people better than yourself.
Learn their will, make it your way.

People like people like themselves.

To be young, hang out with youth,
do what they do.

Ask why? Experience new things, Be amazed to be alive.
And grow evermore, each and every day.

Have a go at anything, give it your all.
But be careful, look after yourself,
mistakes are to learn from and trials build character.

Once the past has past it's history.
The future is to far to fathom.
 The present is a gift, so share it.

Now is the Springtime of Youth.

A Rhyming Orange

Nothing doesn’t rhyme with orange,
something rhymes with nothing, 
or everything. 
Even nougat noodles rhyme 
with nothing 
better than orange.

An anime moment

Had an anime moment today. One of our lab analysts asked me to “explain it in a way that I can understand” I’ve heard that phrase in a few different anime, and a dozen times. I had explained for three or four consecutive weeks now that we need to do this task a certain way to make things run smoothly. But today I explained how to make a disaster, and that worked. It felt back to front for me But this time I was clearly understood.

Note that I avoided any actual details; That was a slight challenge. But it should also make it easier for people to empathize with my story.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Horizon Eye Technique: to see without looking

The human eye can see in a 200° horizontal and 100° vertical Radius, but that is with looking at things out of the corner of your eye. To see without looking you need to rely on your peripheral vision. Focus where you are looking on the horizon in front of you, at whatever is in the furthest distance. But don’t look at clouds, they are too high and nondescript. Your peripheral vision still needs to be able to perceive your feet, so you can watch where you are walking.
Don’t take my word for it, have a go. Stand with your back to a wall and stretch your arms out to your sides, point your fingers away from the wall and wiggle them. Even if you look directly in front, away from the wall you should be able to detect the movement of your fingers in your peripheral vision.
Have a go when next you are driving, don’t watch the car directly ahead of you, look at the furthest point on the road. Then you can easily react to a train-crossing three intersections away from you as well as detect the cars near you using their break lights. Although I do find it hard to see the speedo I can notice cars behind me in the rear view mirrors.

Look at nothing, see everything.

Compared to this computer games are rather limited, maybe giving you a 30°x20° view of what’s happening. Thus I am interested in this new VR headset, 110° FOV is about half of what you are capable of when using this technique. This part (@2:52) compares what the VR headset can see as opposed to the human eye.

P.S. Peripheral vision is in Black& White.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kiteboarding: Finally a decision?

So I've been thinking about taking up kiteboarding for the last three years or so. Pretty much as I was finishing sailing I still like the water and the wind in my hair. But what I didn't like was dragging a catamaran up the beach afterwards. I also figgured since it is a boat you should be able to take passengers on to share the fun. But it seems that catamarans with the room for an extra person really require them to have some knowledge of sailing. Plus you need two people to step the mast and stuff.
Certainly not a casual sport.

Kitesurfing sounded like something fast fun and wet that I could get into. The ~$2000 setup price was a bit of a hurdle though. I spend less than that on computer games.

With the recent Olympics I found out that at the Rio Olympics sailboarding will be replaced with kitesurfing. Plus Teagan pretty much broke my habit of going dancing. I was considering the Gym or martial arts as a new PE, but this will be something better to brag about.

Kiteboarding is not a one class sport but there is a list of boards and kites that are authorized for the Olympics (see here) and there is not a lot of option of where to buy the gear from. Also it seems that every board and Kite I looked at is more versatile than all the others, so I suppose there is not a lot of variation in them.

Also to point out is that there are 4 different disciplines:

Wave riding, requires waves that we don't get there. I think its a points based on tricks event.

Course Racing: as per a normal sailing regatta. Doesn't use twin tip boards

Slalom, a on the beach spectator race with obstacles.

Free riding, scored based on the difficulty of tricks.

Kiteboarding is not organized enough in bundy (as far as I can tell) to have anything other than freestyle. Unless I can join in with the cats in open races at the sailing club?

Nobody seems to much mention the harness so I think I'll get a green one.

As the wind decreases you need larger kites to get momentum. I've been looking at 9m since we often get 10-20knotts here and the larger the kite is the more expensive.

Since I'm looking mostly at mucking about in calmish water at Elliot heads and there is nowhere much to race I figure a generic twintip board would be best. It seems for my weight range I need a really big board. Its easier to splash the cash for that than actually lose weight.

OK, so based on all that I've come up with two options

From Kitepower:
Slingshot Rally
Cabrinha Spectrum
~$2500 + $250 Harness

North Rebel
North Select

~$2600 + $230 Harness

note I couldn't find any of the IKA recommended freestyle boards and didn't have a good reason to get a racing board, so just went with a company that also made kites and said it was a generic board.

So what do you reckon? sounds like a plan?

If I go ahead with this then I'd need to practice controlling the kite first possibly in the park, probably with some comradery from VRBones. After that I need to learn to drive upwind in the water without a board. Possibly I wont use the board for a long time yet.

I'd treat this similar to the Gym and attempt to put in 3h effort each week. Good thing the weather is warming up.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Dance: the Basics

I think I’ll give up on dancing, well the lessons anyway. I’ve been having them for three Easters now I think and I need something a bit more social, or a consistent partner.

But I have thought about it a lot recently. I bought the pre-release of MechWarrior online. The way mechs more reminded me of dancing. Your top and bottom halves do completely different things and yet to act as a single unit. Just like when I do the Macarena on my bike. My legs control the speed, my hips control the direction and my arms and shoulders are engaged in the actual dancing process.

I’ve also been reading “Kenichi: the greatest disciple” recently they mentioned a Karate technique called gamaku where you tense up certain muscles in order to look like you are standing on your right leg whilst actually having all your weight on your left. Dancing is all about being unstable but never falling over. Making difficult things look easy and easy things look difficult.

Watching Avatar: The last Airbender reminded me that dancing is all about flow; Moving gracefully from one form to another. Similar to martial arts you need to have a stable center of gravity and when you punch the air flames should come out. But unlike martial arts dancing is all about surplus movements and wasted energy. The more kicks and wiggles you can fit within a dance step the better. So long as you get to the next form on time for the next beat without falling over.

Another inspiration for me is singing. Last week at church I was reminded of this. Siegfried from Kenichi also springs to mind. To sing or dance well you need a good posture. I suppose Dean Martin is a better person to look up to in this regard, he managed to make a living out of singing and dancing.

  • When you bring your feet together you always change the weight to the other foot. The next foot you move is the one with no weight on it. If you intend to move the same foot twice then you only tap the ground or keep your foot in the air entirely.
  • At every beat of the music you should be able to maintain that pose without falling over. You also make a movement between every beat.
  • Your only mistake will be thinking that you made a mistake. Always act like you did that on purpose. Politely apologize if you step on somebody or bump into them.
  • Dancing is about freely expressing yourself, everybody has their own style, so copy everybody else’s movements then add your own flair to it.
  • Only when you are dancing really fast is efficiency of movement important, at this time you need to minimize all movements and seep everything small. Otherwise you cannot reach the next form in time and once you lose your timing you will soon lose your balance.
  • Trust your body to know what it is doing. Once you have revised a step in slow motion let the music move your feet, do not watch them. If you stand on somebody then your feet were too far from the ground. Just like a brontosaurus has an extra brain at its hips to control the back half so to your fingers and toes can learn to react by themselves without conscious effort. This is how professional fencers fight, they mentally decide on the strategy to use then let the muscles in their hands and thighs react according to the opponents movements.
  • When dancing with another person you need to be firm but gentle. Always maintain pressure and slightly lean up against eachother. But don’t push or whip the other person around. A subtle increase/absence of pressure should be all you need to guide your partner. If you flop around like a flying spaghetti-fish your partner won’t have any idea what you are doing or where you are.

So, yeah. As time goes by I seem to like dancing more and it seems to be something I’ll always do now. When I’m washing the dishes or trying to get clean in the shower, there is always time to add a little bit of grove.

See also:
How to Dance: The Basics
How to Dance: The Mind
How to Dance: The Heart