Refreshed, after a long weekend: besides Monday being the Civic Holiday, I and most of my co-workers had Friday off (company perk) as well.
Aikido Thursday evening was a very enjoyable advanced class, during which we considered some of the ethical as well as the technical aspects of some variants of throws. Friday's weapons class was also fun, with jo practice (jo vs. jo and jo-nage, throws using a jo). The dojo's air conditioning was much appreciated by all, given the weather: hot and humid both days!
I ordered my new mixer
on Friday; it should get here next weekend! This is a Mackie, an upgrade from my Behringer Eurorack 1604
, which I'm quite willing to part with at a very reasonable price. (It has a couple of minor issues: phantom power to microphones can't be turned off, and the "main mix to monitor" button is flaky.)torrain
joined us for stir-fry and chatting Friday evening; theweaselking
was missed, so we'll have to flush him out of hiding next time. Saturday, I was visiting them for poker, which was also enjoyable, although I didn't win or place. (The 2-6 offsuit I was dealt in the first hand set the tone for the tournament.) torrain
was suffering from an allergic reaction, although the cause was unclear; the only thing we could think of was some mysterious component of the stir-fry sauce. After poker, we watched The Protector
, a very cheesy martial arts movie. Fortunately, the martial arts content was in fact quite good, because the
flimsy excuse for fight scenes was more than a bit weak. It really could use three silhouettes in the bottom right corner
S. and I went hiking, or at least walking and birdwatching, on Bate Island and along Voyageur Trail East on Sunday. Interesting sightings include Common Mergansers
, Northern Flickers
(pretty birds!), many Cedar Waxwings
, an unidentified diving duck we at first mistook for a Mallard
until it vanished below the water (Hey! that ain't no Mallard!), a Herring Gull
(most of the gulls in Ottawa are Ring-Billed Gulls
), and both a Red-Breasted
and a White-Breasted Nuthatch
(on the same tree, no less!). The ducks are tough to identify because the males are in eclipse: the colorful and distinctive breeding plumage is lost for a few weeks after breeding season, and so one is left trying to distinguish a lot of generally brown ducks. (This leaves some of them, such as Wood Ducks, flightless during the period!) Monday, we went walking along the Rideau river, and saw the usual suspects (including a few of Ottawa's Mute Swans
), and a dozen or so of Barn Swallows
catching bugs for dinner.
And finally, S. and I went to see Ratatouille
Sunday evening, on the basis that any movie in the mid-90's on Rotten Tomatoes can't be too bad. We weren't disappointed: Pixar hasn't lost it all, even under
Disney's influence. I'd rank it up there in quality with Finding Nemo
. Animation is pretty impressive stuff these days, blurring the lines between reality and illusion. In the credits, they claim specifically that the animation is "real," in that there was no motion capture used for any of the characters or anything else, which is quite impressive given how natural everything looked. (How natural was that? Natural enough that it was completely transparent, and I never had a "people (or rats) don't move
like that!" reaction.) Highly recommended!