Certification Pas de Deux

As an accomplished rapier fencer, with a solid history of teaching, it’s fun to branch out and try new things. Electric fencing looks like it might be fun…those tiny little epees move so fast! They look like magic wands. It looks like a fun way to lark about with my friends. I’ve absorbed the Barth/Beck book on fencing, and Nadi’s “On Fencing” so we can actually get serious about it if we want. Teach some other people, make a club. Maybe make it popular, spread to a few clubs…write up some guidelines for a certification to make sure there is a standard to follow… Okay, that’s too stupid, I can’t keep up the joke. But there is an important point buried in that feeble attempt, and I’ll get to it. It’s a joke for a WMA body to create certification for modern fencers, but a threat for the USFCA to…

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Certification

My first turn at being the guy hiring people was a gleeful experience. Working as a Unix sysadmin, I knew precisely what I wanted from my first round of hires for an assistant position. The ads went out, and the resumes came in. Lots of them…hundreds. They turned out to be easy to sort through, though. I tossed out all the people with comp-sci degrees. Anyone who spent that long in school was completely out of touch with the pace of technology, no good to us. Next up, I tossed anyone with certification. Certification was usually something people took a course to pass, which meant they had learned enough to pass a test. Useless people. Especially in the hacker-centric Unix world…I needed people that had a natural understanding of the OS…a love for the job, not the income. That process worked for me. I hired ambitious hackers, motivated to excel…

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Blade choice

I’m in the mood for some feedback this morning. I’m still a little sick, but feeling a lot better. An online conversation this morning got me thinking about my rapier. I love this blade. Chris Moone did the furniture on it, around a Del Tin bated rapier blade. He’s been fighting me for years, and paying close attention to how I fight. He noted the ways in which other handle types were not working for me, and incorporated some features that worked with the strengths of my fighting style. You know a blade is perfect for you when it seems to disappear in your hand, and anyone else who picks it up instantly hates it. I absolutely love this blade. It’s changing my fight game in ways I don’t even know yet. Over the years I’ve owned a lot of blades. I’ve used a dog-food bowl fiberglass simulator. I’ve used…

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Plague Monkey Overlord: The Conquest of Man

Sickest day yet. I’ve progressed from tired and a little sniffy, to sneezing and running nose, to last night’s full on armageddon: assault by wave after wave of mucosal commandos. I apparently slept. I would toss and turn and resign myself to getting up and getting another drink of water, and then be surprised when the clock on the oven told me two hours had passed. Only felt like fifteen minutes. So I was either having  gallifreyan moments, or sleeping. Regardless, today feels miserable. I’m tired, achy, and having a hard time breathing. Because of that, my mood is mercurial. I’ve cancelled sessions with clients, I’m cancelling a family dinner and a number of other things I feel obligated to do. I’m writing this blog post because sitting upright feels good right now, but it’s taking me three times longer than normal. Whenever I feel flagged or distracted, I’m wandering…

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Plague Monkey Revelations: Neptune sex!

For my money, nothing makes you tougher than outdoor work. Being outdoors no matter the weather, doing physical labour? It can break you faster than anything. It’s easy on sunny days and overcast days. But burning heat and pouring rain? Every part of you wants to fold up and call it quits, but you can’t. You tell yourself one more step, one more hammer nailed, one more rock lifted, and you will give up. One more. You just keep saying that over and over, until you are told it’s over and done and you can go home. Sometimes the relief is so strong you feel like you are going to break into tears. But then you gotta get up and do it again tomorrow. You learn to accept the hardship. You learn to accept that rain is just going to always be there, and you need to stop thinking about…

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Tales of the Plague Monkey: The Ravening

iTunes confounds me. The radio thing does, anyway. I click on it because I want to hear some music a little different from what’s on my computer. When I click on “Radio” I get a list of stations sorted by category. There is “Adult Contemporary”, “Alternative Rock”, “Ambient” and so on. A big list of styles. And therein lies my problem. I don’t want to listen to just one style. I want something from every category. I like a little folk, and then some funk. Maybe a little house after that to change things up. I love blues, but when I write, I can’t stop to change the music around. An hour of blues gives me the blues, dammit. I hate categories. I hate the restriction of choice, I hate the packaging for other people’s convenience. I’m supposed to tie the titles of my blog posts into the content of…

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