Friday, October 26, 2012

More Taekwondo

No pictures this time, but I wanted to let you know that we had a tournament recently, in Brenham again - the 2012 Fall Unified Taekwondo Invitational Championship.

This was the second tournament for myself and the Apple.  Additionally, last weekend was the Princess's first tournament.  All things considered, the Binjo Ditch clan fared pretty well.  The Apple finished first in patterns, which is outstanding, and just off the podium for sparring (Apple's dad is convinced the Judges missed a point that would have put him at third).  The Princess finished second in both patterns and sparring, which is outstanding for someone new to tournament life.  I had to watch the second match she fought as I was assigned to spar at the same table as soon as her group was finished.  Speaking of which, my sparring went pretty well.  I am now a Blue Belt, which in ITF equates to about half-way to a black belt.  In my group, I was paired up against a yellow stripe (first belt acquired after white belt) and a yellow belt (second belt acquired).  I ended up fighting both individuals in sequence, winning both matches and thus taking first in my group.  Us old guys really are an interesting group to watch sparring.  Fortunately, I've been doing some cardio at the gym for the past few weeks, so I wasn't as dead out of breath after fighting as I was last tournament. 

I don't particularly care for the tournaments.  I don't like to fight, and really only do the taekwondo for the physical exercise.  However, the tournaments are a requirement for black belt (another issue I have with organized martial arts is the mandated tournaments).  At any rate, I'll be sticking with Taekwondo until I either get my black belt or the kids decide they're done, or I just run out of spare time to do it.  At any rate, it's definitely fun.  I encourage it for all who are interested.

At another point I'll discuss my understanding of the differences between the different styles of Taekwondo... because I know y'all are itching to hear!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Hard to believe it's been so long since I posted.  I remember when I did this multiple times a day.  Amazing what having kids and work will do to your free time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Still alive and kicking

We picked up a new car yesterday.  It's a big improvement over the previous car, however, it's not quite the uber-vehicle I'd dreamed of (which I knew going in, so it's not a disappointment).

In other news, apparently Bristol Palin will be on a reality show that will show that she is a normal mom. Don't interpret what I'm going to say as a dig on Bristol Palin individually, however, it seems to me that anyone who is talking about what their reality show is going to demonstrate is not someone that qualifies among the ranks of "normal."  In my experience, normal people don't put their lives in front of a cam-... actually... Maury, People's Court, Divorce Court, etc... perhaps reality show folks are normal...

Other than that - how are y'all?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deep Thoughts

Okay, maybe not too deep, but something that popped into my head...

How many people, if they were truly honest with themselves, would say that an accurate answer to "what did you want to be when you grew up?" is "envied?"

Monday, April 16, 2012

What a Week

It was a rough week last week. I just got through what could be the most difficult Opinion I've ever worked on, and frankly, I'm exhausted.

Of course, I don't get to take a break because there are other Opinions that need working on.

Not that I'm complaining about having work. It beats the alternative.

Still, I could use a day off. Not that I'd know what to do with it.

Sorry, just a little rant. Trying to get it out of my system before getting back to the grind.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Time Time Time, See What's Become of Me

I miss blogging. I really do. Of course, most of the folks who I usually read/posted with no longer blog, which detracts some from the enjoyment of blogging, but I do like getting a few moments to put some random gibberish up on the screen.

I've unfortunately not been able to find a whole lot of spare time, recently, given the activity in which I find myself mired. Work has been very busy, and the children are involved in their extracurriculars, band, gymnastics, martial arts, etc.

I've also been active recently in Taekwondo. Learning the patterns, challenging myself to become at least a little healthier (or less unhealthy, perhaps?) has been really beneficial.

Unfortunately, all of these other things, plus housekeeping, cooking, caring for the dog, etc. means that I have less time to get in here and post random thoughts. I suppose the only real harm there is that they get bottled up in my head, but that really doesn't do much damage...

At any rate. I miss blogging, and I hope to be able to find a few moments every couple of days to throw something up here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I started drinking wine about 2.5 years ago, after my wife and I enjoyed our trip to Italy. Great time. I never spent too much time on wine prior to this... my previous experiences with wine were that they were too sweet (white wines that I'd had), or they made the area at the back of my jaw hurt (red wines).

I have since learned that there really is a difference between the grapes, and the region where the grape is grown. I won't go into details, because I'd fudge it all up, but in a nutshell, I find that I really like a good red wine with lots of fruits and low on the tannins. My current red of choice is Inferi. It's a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, from Italy. The flavors are full and have some oakiness to them, which helps make it a really smooth drink. In addition, there are a couple Spanish wines that I find I really enjoy, as well. Real de Aragon is a nice bargain with good flavors and low tannins (that's what made my jaw hurt, I've learned), that pairs well with lots of food. I love this as a table wine. I've also found that I enjoy Marquez de la Concordia Crianza, which is also a very nice to drink wine. Lately, I've picked up a couple bottles of Cubo, which is a tempranillo from Spain that also works really well...

I don't drink often, but I do drink about once a week. I find that enjoying a movie and a nice glass of wine is a good combination as I get older.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long Weekend

Technically, not for me, as I'll be working Friday and Monday, but for the family. The wife will be taking a girls' trip to Vegas with her best friend and a couple other ladies, leaving me alone with three kids.

Now the question for me is, how does one spend a long weekend alone with the kids? There aren't exactly any family-friendly movies out that we haven't already seen, and I don't know how excited I am to spend the weekend at home trying to keep them satiated.

I suppose I could take them to the Zoo, or the Aquarium, but I'm not a big fan of either of those. Maybe I should take the kids to Sea World. They'd probably enjoy that, but I don't know if I could handle 3 kids alone at the park.

Taxes are paid, so we are no longer swimming in wealth, but we've still got a bit packed away, which is nice. I guess we'll just make sure we get out to eat once or twice and try to make the most of it. Perhaps a trip to the national forest is called for.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Makes a Hero?

I was reading on another blog that I occasionally frequent, and there was a question that was posed in one of the posts, "does serving in the military make you a hero?"

Being a lawyer, my first answer was, of course, "it depends."

But then I thought about it. Timothy McVeigh was in the military. So was the defendant in the Fort Hood shootings. PFC England. Bradley Manning. Countless military members have been convicted and sentenced for crimes committed during service and after service. I had the duty of being a prisoner escort as one of my supplemental duties in the Air Force at my last duty station, and among the drug users and rapists that I escorted, I also had the chance to pick up an Airman who had been convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography while on a military base.

I have a hard time considering these individuals heroes.

But perhaps these are the exceptions that prove the rule? So I looked at the question a little more abstractly. By mere act of service, does that make one a hero? I mean, in reality, you become a military member by (1) Passing a physical, (2) signing a contract, and (3) making a promise (an oath of enlistment is little more than a formalized promise). Does satisfaction of those three elements in and of themselves qualify someone a a hero? Does it take something more, like successfully completing boot camp? Is there a lodestar service term that qualifies one as a hero, such as 6 months or 2 years, or 4 years?

I served 8 years in the Air Force, and by most accounts, without distinction. I struggled with my weight, however, I was promoted to Staff Sergeant in advance of the average. I complained, a lot, but I did my job, usually satisfactorily or better, depending on the day. I volunteered when I felt the urge, but I never consistently went above and beyond. Does the fact that I received an honorary discharge make me a hero? I sure don't feel like one, and I'd venture to say that the majority of men and women with whom I served felt or feel the same way, both about me and themselves.

I don't know what makes a hero. Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective. Interesting question to consider. Military members are people who volunteer to go into harm's way, sacrifice their Constitutional rights, and do so for pay that civilian counterparts would scoff at (I was offered a contract job when I separated that would have paid - to start - about 3-5k more per year than I made as an NCO, with full benefits). Is it possible that "the military" is heroic while the individual members need to be considered on a case-by-case basis?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Bragging on My Boy

So my oldest is 13. We refer to him as "the Boy." Good kid, sharp, mostly responsible, though can be a bit stubborn from time to time.

At any rate, we knew he was a sharp one from the beginning (all of my kids are pretty sharp; I think it comes from their mom's genes). We got some confirmation when he was added to the school's gifted and talented programs in elementary school (GT), and was placed in Pre-AP classes upon entering Jr. High.

This year, he was asked to take part in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). This meant that he got to take the ACT, and based on his scores, he qualified to take part in the summer program, which means The Boy is going to College for a month this summer.

We are quite excited for him. He'll be sending in his applications for classes this week, and when he's done, we'll get to figure out where we'll be sending our hard-earned money and our rather sharp young man for the summer.

I'm not sure how many kids get to take part in this every year, but I know I was never afforded the opportunity, so I'm very excited for him.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Good Ole PNW

So I'm writing to y'all from the beautiful city of Lakewood, Washington... the land of Koto Teriyaki. And where your inimitable author matriculated from high school (yes, I had a permit for that).

It's been nice so far, visiting the family. Today we drove down to Mt. St. Helens, drove up the highway a bit so we could find a wilderness park from which we could gaze upon the direction where we'd see the mountain had there not been Washington State Cloud Cover blocking all vision in all directions from January through the third week of August.

The kids enjoyed it nonetheless, as we drove into the blast zone (the part of the park where the eruption reached). Great times were had by all enjoying the snow, the scenery and their dad freaking out driving over bridges that weren't quite secure looking enough for dad while passing over chasms over 600 feet high.

I was disappointed that we didn't get to see the mountain, but I can't say that I'm entirely surprised. I did hope that by getting up closer that we'd at least be able to see something of the mountain, but we settled for Toutle River, seeing the blast area there.

Such a good time. We enjoy the quality time with the family, and the strawberry rhubarb pie was better than I thought it would be, so it's win-win.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Monday, Monday

We're heading off to Vacation in a couple days, so I figured I'd take a moment before getting down to work for the day and post an update on here.

After more or less ignoring the blog for the better part of a year, I figured it was about time I started putting something on here, though I'm fairly certain Bruce is the only one who still reads it, and he doesn't appear to have a blog of his own anymore.

I found that I got myself a little too involved in politically-oriented posts before I took my break, and I think I'm going to try to make a conscious effort to do less of that on this blog and be a little bit lighter in fare here.

I hope y'all (Bruce) don't mind.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

In about a week, we start our spring break vacation. For the second consecutive year, we will be flying back to where we went to high school and the better half went to college.

We like the PNW, though we will be saddened some that some of our blog friends have left the area. I am not opposed to living in the greater Texas Gulf Coast region, per se, but there are times where I do think it would be nice to have family somewhere relatively nearby.

It'll be nice, though. Our week is more or less packed, Aquarium, Ferry, Volcano, Crossing the border, Public Market, etc. It should be fun, but I somehow think we'll be more tired when we're done than we were before we left.

And it'll be nice to eat some good Asian restaurant food

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Due to the High Demand

I present you with two (2) pictures of your inimitable blogger in action at the 28th Annual Unified Tae Kwon Do Invitational Championships. I'm the guy who looks more like a marshmallow. The first image is from my first round match, which I lost, and the second image is from my second round match, which I won.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Every now and then I go out and do stuff. Most recently, my youngest son (the Apple) and I participated in our first Taekwondo tournament.

The Apple signed up back around October or so, and really took a shine to it. After he'd been in it a couple months, he told me he wanted me to take it, too... and who can say no to their youngest child when they ask you to sign up and do something with him? So about the middle of January, I took my first class.

We did all right in the tournament. The Apple finished fourth in his group for his patterns, but unfortunately lost in his first round match for sparring and did not place there. He's a bit skittish about sparring, and since he's a bit short, standing back does not help him out.

I placed second in my group for patterns and surprisingly finished third in sparring. I say surprisingly, because I've not sparred before, and due to the low number of participants in my age group, I was paired up against individuals with significantly higher level belts than myself.

All things considered, we rather enjoyed ourselves. It was a good experience that I am sort of looking forward to repeating.