Traditional Chinese Sword League: The Entire Body is a Target

I practice taijiquan (tai chi chuan) and have for some years now.  I had always been interested in Taoism and (incorrectly) believed that there was a connection between Taoism and taiji.  Coming out of university, with a Taoism class fueling my interests, I found myself at the Great River Taoist Center here in DC.  And at GRTC I learn that taiji was a true martial art and not some New Age crystal infused pajama festival.  The first few classes kicked my ass, and I was hooked.

My teacher, Scott Rodell, is an internationally renowned swordsman and focused on revitalizing the sword practice.  This includes not only the Yang family sword forms but also actual cutting and fighting.  I’ve been practicing these sword forms for a few years now.

And with that practice has brought pay off, or at least the opportunity to test my stuff out against other practitioners in a judged competition.  In two weeks, I’ll be headed out to Bozeman to compete at the Traditional Chinese Sword League’s first full-contact competition.  Needless to say juggling my day job, which rarely stays contained to just daylight hours, and the regular tasks and diversions that fill up time, I have found it harder than I expected to properly train for this competition.  I can swing a stick with the best of them, but knowing some of the competitors, especially the bruisers coming from the Great River branch in Estonia, I am concerned.  The fact that the rules allows for full contact at full speed isn’t so worrisome.  It’s more the case that I really really don’t want to get eliminated in the first round.  Guess we’ll see how it goes.

If you happen to be in the greater Bozeman, MT area on May 10th, come to the Emerson Cultural Center  and watch the fun.

Poorly spent funds: Surveillance cameras in DC

I am especially sensitive to this as one of these camera units is a block and half from my house.  Questions that come to mind are:

  • How long will the District retain footage from these cameras?
  • Who will maintain this footage: law enforcement or emergency management?
  • Can I as a citizen request to see footage as part of a FOIA request?
  • Will INS/FBI/ATF/other Federal law enforcement agencies have access to these cameras on an ongoing basis?
As I mentioned there’s one of these cameras a block and half from my house.  It sits on a very heavily trafficked corner.  People stand there waiting for the bus.  There is a huge amount of vehicular traffic that goes right by it.  There is a 7-11 right there and there is always some flavor of law enforcement officer there. There is rare street crime in the area and when it does happen it happens blocks away on darker corners.  There is no way this camera prevents crime in any way shape or form.
If the real goal is to prevent crime, instead of spending the $10 million to set this system up, put that cash to funding more neighborhood cops who walk a beat.    

“Tequila shot. Lemondrop. How YOU doin’?”

IMG_0310.JPGJust back from Playa Del Carmen.  Went on a quick vacation for my wife’s birthday.  We’ve been going to Playa on and off for five or so years.  It has changed big time over the years.  Playa’s gotten built up, lost a lot of its clunky charms, and become more, well, Cancun-like.  That being said there are still some great things about it – notably Hotel Basico.  Basico is both a hip design hotel and an unpretentious place to unwind.  It has about a dozen rooms which are deliberately spartan.  The real draw is the roof “pool” – consisting of a few hammocks, a few pool-side beds and two water tanks cum swimming pools.  Add a bar and a great kitchen cooking up fish tacos.  Top that off with a distinct lack of loud guests and you have the makings for a private penthouse experience that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Tourism is PDC’s major business and from all accounts business is good.  It’s just a little unnerving to hear “Tequila shot. Lemondrop. How YOU doin’?” yelled at you while you walk down the street.  Strangely, it felt like a Hong Kong evening on Nathan Road…

Pam is on a roll

Between her open letter to application vendors and roles versus rules, Pamela Dingle is kicking up a lot of dirt. I tend to agree with most of her points as I have written about here. However her following point bothers me; I’m not saying I disagree with it completely but it sits oddly with me:

In the case where two roles are assigned to the same person, but should never be simultaneously applicable, Enterprises have limited choices. If, however, there is a layer in between the consumer and the provider that lets you mask roles based on user-chosen context, in my mind this problem goes away. I don’t see how you can do it without the user part — but perhaps I’m just not thinking hard enough


Granting the user a choice, in fact, requiring the user to choose their context is not something that an enterprise in this day and age can do lightly.  It requires a constant monitoring capability.  It requires a method to unwind the user’s privilege set at any point in time into business digestible policy statements. It requires a way to map user action, their total privilege set and enterprise/business policy to each other – not easily done.   Trust, verify and then cross-validate.  In this litigious hyper-audited world, I am not sure that enterprises can realistically enable user-chosen contexts without a raft of infrastructure that, today, is not well integrated enough.