hey batter batter... and a fashion advice bonus

We did defense against stick attacks yesterday. And by stick, I mean things like baseball bats, crowbars, etc. The counter-attacks are quite technically difficult. Amnon made it look so easy. I think it will get easy once I'm more experienced and at a higher level than I am now...

btw - something quite interesting (and somewhat "no shit Sherlock") is that how an attacker with a stick attacks you is more often than not determined by culture. In Europe you're more likely to face an "overhead" attack while in the US you'll be swung at like a baseball player swinging his bat. And of course England... cricket... (probably the same with South Africa, Pakistan, India, Australia, New Zealand)...

Despite the difficult techniques, we still had a lot of fun, especially at the end with all the crazy drills we had to do. Lots of 3-against-1 training. Plus one exercise where attackers hid/hung out in various areas of the building and attacked the rest of us as we walked around. Good stuff...

Speaking of good stuff, this is supposedly what hip and trendy men are supposed to be seen in. It'll make it much easier for me to tell if a guy is hot for me, and even better, much easier for me to hit my target. Because if I ever see any guy in something like that, I'm going to have to take a pre-emptive strike, just to save humanity... ;-)


"Let's keep the blood inside the body..."

What a nice way to start a weekend training seminar ;-)

Amnon Darsa also told us "you are not here to have fun, you are here to suffer."

We had so much fun today!

After doing a bunch of sadistic warmup exercises, we spent the whole day doing all kinds of defense-against-knife-attack exercises and drills. It's so cool that he was able to set up 6 hours of training with only knife stuff, and have it so varied and fun that nobody got bored with it...

Now I'm ready for a trip to... um... Finland ;-)

Hmm... I wonder what we're going to do tomorrow. I can't wait :-)


crowd control... and reaction times...

Aaaaah, the first Krav Maga training session of the year! This time we started with this interesting little game for our warmup. A few of us were given knives. Everyone else had to move around the room. When those with the knives suddenly started slashing and stabbing, you had to get out of their way. The point of it all was to be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to what's going on around you, and to be prepared to react to the unexpected.

The story behind doing this exercise is based on a story that Eyal Yanilov told when he led a seminar here last spring. There was a situation where some guy started stabbing a bunch of people at some shopping center. People just stood there and watched other people get stabbed, until it was their turn to get stabbed. They just stood there and didn't at the very least get the fucking hell away...

The rest of our time was spent going through basic stuff choke defenses and punching and kicking drills. No sadistic drills towards the end of class though (i.e. the Nazi, schizo, etc.) - are the instructors getting soft on us? Hmmm...

Oh, and speaking of reaction, here's a fun little game for you all. Baaaaaaaaa...


when the RoF gets in the way of boinky-boinky...

male panda too fat to have sex (with scary panda-jaws-of-death picture :)

"Chuang Chuang is gaining weight too fast and we found Lin Hui is no longer comfortable with having sex with him," said the zoo's chief veterinarian, Kanika Limtrakul, adding that Chuang Chuang weighed 331 pounds while Lin Hui is only 253 pounds.

As a result, zoo authorities are cutting out bamboo shoots in the daily meal for Chuang Chuang and giving the obese bear only bamboo leaves, Kanika said.



It's about time!

*waddles outside and slides on belly*



2007 - the Year of the Penguin

From the New York Times:

A Procession of Penguins Arrives on Madison Ave.
NEVER mind what the Chinese calendar says. This is going to be the year of the penguin, at least on Madison Avenue.

Penguins have long been popular in advertising, but they have become even more so after three successful movies with penguin characters: "Madagascar" and "March of the Penguins" in 2005 and "Happy Feet" last year. They have helped turn the penguin into the new pitchbeast of choice.

There is, for example, Club Penguin, which offers a Web site for children at clubpenguin.com, and the revival by Perry Ellis International, under the Original Penguin label, of the apparel bearing penguin logos that was once sold by Munsingwear. Penguins appear in print ads for Dawn dishwashing detergent, sold by Procter & Gamble, and star in commercials for Coca-Cola Classic. Hallmark Cards centered a promotion on a "dancing penguins" Christmas tree ornament, and the National Geographic Society has spotlighted penguins in campaigns.

"There’s obviously something about these little guys" that is leading advertisers to think "it says something about us as consumers to associate ourselves with penguins," said Michael Megalli, a partner at Group 1066, a corporate identity consulting company in New York.

One theory Mr. Megalli offered is what he called "the Al Gore thing" — this is, "we want to reassure ourselves penguins will have a place in a world with global warming."

That theory is reinforced by a campaign last fall from St. Martin’s Press for "Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions," a business management book by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber. Penguins decorate the book jacket as well as the ads.

Another reason, Mr. Megalli says, may relate to the dynamic between the individual penguin and the flock.

"None of us wants to feel we’re just another penguin in a sea of penguins," he said, so a penguin who strikes out on his own can be used to tell an appealing story.

That was the case in a Coca-Cola Classic commercial, by Wieden & Kennedy, that teams the brand’s familiar polar bear characters with a colony of penguins. The spot was introduced for the 2005 holiday season and was brought back for 2006.

The commercial shows a polar bear cub intruding into a flock of penguins. The penguins do not know how to react until one steps forward and serves the bear a bottle of Coke Classic. The spot ends as all the penguins join the cub and its parents in grooving to a Beach Boys tune.

"The bears have stood for being approachable and friendly, and the penguins are chatty and social," said Katie J. Bayne, senior vice president for Coca-Cola brands in North America at Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

The commercial "was the top-scoring spot we’ve ever done with the polar bears," Ms. Bayne said, referring to research conducted for Coca-Cola by Millward Brown, part of the WPP Group, "and in the top 4 percent of all spots Millward Brown has tested in the carbonated soft drink category."

Penguins have played a part in marketing and popular culture for almost a century. The imprint Penguin Books was introduced in 1926; seven years later came Willie, the brand mascot for Kool cigarettes, then owned by the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation.

Willie had his own Hollywood moment in the 1949 Marx Brothers movie "Love Happy," when Harpo was chased through Times Square and climbed a neon sign advertising Kool. In the '50s and '60s, cartoons featured penguin characters like Chilly Willy and Tennessee Tuxedo.

Brown & Williamson sought to revive Willie in the early '90s, in a hipper incarnation, but in 1998 tobacco marketers agreed to end the use of cartoon characters in cigarette ads.

Penguins entered the high-tech realm in the late '90s, when Linux, the open-source computer operating system, adopted a penguin as its mascot.

The bird also appealed to the founders of Club Penguin, a Web site for children founded in October 2005 by Dave Krisko, Lane Merrifield and Lance Priebe.

Its genesis dates to 2000, when Mr. Priebe, working on computer games for children, "happened to glance at a 'Far Side' cartoon featuring penguins that was sitting on his desk," said Karen Mason, a spokeswoman for Club Penguin in Kelowna, British Columbia. Work on Club Penguin began in 2004 and the name was selected in summer 2005, she added.

Summer 2005 was also the season of the documentary "March of the Penguins," which initially had almost no advertising tie-ins because no one expected it to become the hit it did. Eventually, the National Geographic Society — whose National Geographic Feature Film unit released the documentary with the Warner Independent Pictures division of Time Warner — brought out "March" merchandise, like plush toys and books, and there were tie-ins with marketers like the Minute Maid unit of Coca-Cola.

By contrast, "Happy Feet," released in November by the Warner Brothers division of Time Warner, had numerous marketing partners lined up in advance. They included Build-A-Bear Workshop, Burger King, General Mills — and Roche Laboratories, the pharmaceutical company, for a campaign to promote a Web site, flufacts.com.

Roche, which makes a flu drug, Tamiflu, came in for criticism about the campaign.

On the blog of Shaping Youth, which studies the influences of marketing and the media on children (shapingyouth.org/blog), Amy Jussel, executive director, wrote: "It’s chilling to think that an animated cartoon is being used as a product-placement hook to sell paranoia, prevention and pop-a-pill solutions to families everywhere in a big-bucks deal that would make your head spin. (And not from the flu.)"

The next significant date for peddling penguins — and penguin peddling — is June 8, when the Sony Pictures Animation division of Sony is scheduled to release an animated film, "Surf’s Up," a mock documentary about a young surfing penguin (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) and his mentor (Jeff Bridges).

Trying to describe the idea, Premiere magazine wrote, "Think 'Point Break' meets 'This Is Spinal Tap,' with penguins."



Birthdays are great and RoF friendly (RoF has already forgotten about the workout I had this morning hehehe :) I'm sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, quaffing sparkling wine (Bellavista Cuvee Brut) and snacking on chicken-avocado sandwiches...

We went to Statholdergaarden Krostue (pathetic website that is Exploder-only unfortunately) last night for my birthday gourmet RoF-stuffing orgy. Statholdergaarden itself is a restaurant that has a Michelin star. The Krostue is a more informal restaurant that uses the sasme kitchen...

Our feast consisted of the following:

Aperitif: sparkling wine cocktail with bourbon and Tia Maria. It was a very interesting combination, and had a nice citrus/grapefruit/exotic fruit flavor.

Amuse bouche of salmon rillet, tarragon-marinated scallops and chili-marinated shrimp on crostinis (mini-toast). This was a nice complement to the aperitif ;-)

Trout carpaccio with sorrel and pesto. Served with a semi-dry Riesling (didn't get the name of the wine unfortunately - forgot to get the list of all the wines we drank... blah!) that was an excellent match...

Sauteed scampi in sour salad with peanut sauce and Skagen shellfish salad with løyrom (a kind of caviar) and sourdough toast, served with the same wine as the carpaccio (but wasn't as good of a match but still ok)...

Provencal ”Brandade” (potato and bacalhau mash), Congo potato chips and Viergesaus (a kind of grape sauce). The Congo potato chips were interesting - purple potatoes with a very different taste compared to white potatoes...

Pepper-fried filet of cod with sauteed spinach and bell pepper sauce, served with a Chardonnay... The cod was served with the skin, which was nice and crispy :)

Frothy shellfish soup garnished with beans and fennel. My only critique is that the cream in the soup dominated too much... (RoF wasn't complaining hahaha)

Gravenstein apple sorbet with pomegranate and Calvados - to clean the palate :)

Main dish: Choice of olive-baked isgalt (grenadier/rattail - Macrourus berglax) in Baccalao sauce with onions, olives, pimentos, and potato cubes


Duck confit served with red onion compote, broccoli purée, and roasted chestnuts with a sourish onion sauce.

I got one and boyfriend of feitpingvin got the other. We each ate half and then switched dishes. The fish was the best dish - perfectly prepared with a wonderfully tasty sauce. The duck was also good, but way on the salty side. Apparently, other people complained about the same thing...

The mains were served with each their own Italian red wine. Both were excellent; damn it that we didn't get the names! :-(

Dessert was fruits and berries marinated in Muskat Beumes de Venice, served with spice ice cream with a fruit sorbet. Served with a Sicilian dessert wine that tasted like cloudberries...

Coffee afterwards, no avec this time...


it's that time of year again...

There was at least 3 times as many people as usual at the gym this afternoon. Freaks galore...

Some freak who thought "paying attention to the others around you" was too good for her pushed some guy aside (screaming out "excuse me!" in a snooty voice) to get to the dumbells rack. While he was doing some kind of exercise. Which caused him to crash into me (he was otherwise at a safe distance). While I was doing some kind of exercise. Now my neck is killing me. It ruined the rest of my workout... not that I would have gotten so much more done with so many people there...

I hope that guy is OK, that is, that he didn't pull anything. He was using some rather heavy dumbbells and had to do some freaky manouvers to avoid the crash being worse than it already was...

Yeah yeah, come February and they'll be long gone...


Kwela Kwela

I have mentioned that I recently got a CD filled with South African songs as a Secret Santa gift. I am very hooked on Kwela Kwela, by a group called Mafikizolo. The genre is called Kwaito...

I was actually trying to find an MP3 to post, but the only thing I could find was what I found on YouTube. The video is kind of, um, well... I love the song though...