Friday, August 19, 2011

A Post Where I Become Many Peoples' Enemy

Yes, yes, I know I am really going to do it this time.

I'm going to pick on your "friends", and my "friends" also, for I am not exempt in this.

How many friends do you have?  Real friends.  By "real" friends, I mean friends who you spend time with in person.

Now, go to your social networking site, forum, e-mail, blog, whatever you use to connect to people on the internet.  How many friends do you have?

In this day and age of internet, chat rooms, and e-mail, it is so easy to form friendships with anyone.  Those who are introverted often find themselves freed by not having to speak to someone face to face.  Extroverts... Well, they have even more people to talk to now.

With this freedom to talk to billions of people literally around the world, comes big complications.  Think back to the olden days, before internet, before e-mail, before Facebook and Myspace, before chat rooms.  Back to the days when people actually had good friends in person.
Try not to have a heart attack.

How many friends did people have back then?  Probably not as many as you have.  How many could they unerringly trust?  Probably?  Most of them.
So, how many people do you have through the internet?  Fifty?  A hundred and fifty?  More?

Now, how many of those people would you actually trust with sensitive information about yourself?  I would be surprised if you were able to honestly answer half.

So, how do you define friends?  People that you chat with, have a good time with, people that you never have a meaningful conversation with ever?  Or people who you can trust, who you absolutely know you can go to in a hard time, someone who accepts you for who you are, respects you, but still gently urges you to develop in areas that need development?

After all that, please do not think I hate the internet.  I have a blog, for cricket's sake.  If I thought the internet was the worst thing on the planet, I wouldn't have a blog.

The internet is misused, however.  It is used as a crutch for those who feel unable to interact with people in person, and as a way to have a thousand friends for those who love talking to people.

It also gives people a false sense of security.  Chatting with someone is the equivalent of being in a soundproof, windowless room with them.  You can say whatever you want and no one will ever know.  Or so it feels.  But all it takes is for you to say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and all of a sudden, you have a problem.

It has happened before.  Someone thinks they can trust a person.  This person is trusted so much, that you tell them your secrets, struggles... everything.  Then, somehow you irritate or anger that highly trusted friend, and he goes out and starts revealing all the things you told him.  Maybe you don't even need to anger him, maybe he simply does it for the fun of it.

Am I saying to be paranoid about all your internet friends?  No.

Am I saying we should be careful about what we say to our internet friends?  Limit what we tell them to things that we don't mind everyone and anyone knowing?  Yes.

Of course, there are exceptions.  If you have a great friend who moves away and suddenly the only way to communicate with them is through chat, e-mail, messaging, etc., then there would be a degree of change in how you treated them.

To sum it up: Have common sense.  Treat friends in the way you should treat them.  Don't treat an internet friend who you've known for a year the same way you would treat a flesh friend you have known for ten years.  Don't trust the "security" of the internet more than face-to-face relationships, or use it as a guard to avoid cultivating the friendships you need to make with those you can actually meet in person.

Until next time.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, August 15, 2011

Like Leaves in the Wind, So Is a Schedule

Some days just don't go as you planned.
Some days, you wake up with a fixed schedule in your mind, and the wind blows it all to pieces.

Am I speaking from experience?  Yes, in fact, I am.  As would most if they wrote an entry about schedules and their changeability.  I doubt anyone has gone through life with everything perfectly planned, and had it work.

Life is not like that, you cannot fix it in place, or know beyond a shadow of a doubt what will happen tomorrow.
It shouldn't be like that, either.

How boring would it be if every day went as planned?  Sure, it would be a lot less vexatious, but where would we be?  A lot of times you end up somewhere that you love, or somewhere that you really needed to be, all because your schedule was pulled out of place.

Young and old alike have a distaste for mix-ups and mess-ups in their lives.
For young people, they want to finish high-school at such and such a time, start college at this point, finish college on this date, get a job, find a girlfriend or boyfriend, fall in love, get married...
Then, when things go wrong, because rarely in this life does anything go as planned, they start thinking something is wrong with themselves.  Or the people around them.  Or the world.  Or whoever is in charge.  Blame begins getting thrown, depression begins, and everything seems to be falling apart, just because things are not going as they should.

Take a step back.  Sure, some of those things could be at fault.  It could be your fault, maybe you have a bad work ethic, and sit around instead of doing your job, so instead of being hired, you're... not.
Maybe your school doesn't have the best system or teachers, maybe the government isn't in the best shape, and that effects how things work for you.

And so, because things certainly aren't your fault, you blame others.
I saw a movie not long ago which had a character who was always blaming things and people for what happened.
The things that were happening were not his fault, they really weren't, and neither were they anyone else's fault.  The things just happened, because that is how things go.
But he had to blame people.  No matter what happened, no matter how ridiculous it seemed, someone would be blamed.
Finally, at one point in the movie, one of the characters said something to the effect of, "Why are you blaming me?"
To which the blame thrower paused, then said, "Well, I have to blame someone, don't I?"

Many people function like the blame thrower in that movie.  Something goes wrong, and someone has to be blamed.  It can't be that no one is at fault for the problem.  No, they have to blame the government.  Or their teachers, or parents, or friends, or siblings, or children, or even themselves.

But it doesn't occur to them that schedule changes are life, it happens, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

This goes for both young and old, I have seen it in both.  Human nature is to blame things and people when things go awry.
But just because it is human nature, ingrained in our personalities, doesn't make it right.

Until next time.
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Kills. But...

I know, I know, my last post had "Summer" in its title also.

But, since I am blaming Summer for my inactivity on here, I decided I may as well give it a spot in the title as sort of a comfort for me disliking it so much.

That aside, I really do have no one and nothing but myself to blame for the neglect of this blog.  I have been busy, but not so much so to prevent me from posting here.

But, now that I am here, has anyone else noticed that Summer seems to slow things down?  Perhaps I am the only one, but it seems to be unmotivating.  To exercise, because you get hot more easily, and therefore more sweaty, which is sort of nice because it proves I've had a good workout, but also annoys me.
The heat of Summer causes me to dislike going outside and getting fresh air, too.  Since nature is an important thing to a shinobi, I try to spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, but in the Summer?  I lack in that area.

As I've thought all this, all the reasons I dislike Summer and wish it could be Autumn or Spring, or even Winter instead, I am reminded how necessary all four of the Seasons really are.
Sure, I complain about Summer, and go on being ungrateful for it, but in all honesty, what would happen if there were no Summer?
No crops, which would equal no food.  Which of course equals no life.

This is a pretty obvious observation, I seem to be a pro at obvious, but it goes on to other things.

How many things do we take complain about?  That we are ungrateful for?
Rules?  Laws?  Bugs?  "Pests"?  Sickness?

I once wondered what on Earth a wasp could possibly be good for, aside from causing pain and fear.  Then, I observed one attack and eat a damaging caterpillar in our garden.  Wasps, though pesky, help with "pest" control.  Now, me saying that caterpillars are pests doesn't mean they have no use either.  They turn into butterflies or moths, which pollinate things and therefore help plants to grow.

I challenge you; next time you complain about something, instead of thinking of all the bad things about it, turn your attention to the good things.  It may not make the unpleasantness go away, actually, in most circumstances, it won't, but it may help you to be more grateful for it.  And this world could use some more gratefulness, and less complaints.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Ramblings and Nothings... Unless I think of something useful by the end of this post

It has been ages since I last checked in with you all, and I have not been doing anything exceptionally wonderful in that time either.  Nor have I come up with any amazing blog topics, despite the fact the question has occurred to me several times.

Instead, I suppose I shall ramble and bore you to death.  Which is all right, in my opinion, since most of my posts lately have been fairly serious.

So, ramblings.
Summer is now in full swing.  With sweltering temperatures and humidity, crickets and cicadas singing at the top of their lungs, and, one of the extremely few good things about this season, lightning bugs.  It is wonderful to think that they were created only for enjoyment.  They have no use, they can't even be eaten!  They are made simply to be beautiful and mysterious.

Another good thing about Summer (I've no idea why I am being so optimistic about my least favorite season all of a sudden... ah well) is swimming.  I have not been yet this year, which isn't necessarily a bad thing seeing as I am not the most stellar swimmer, and tend to burn to a crisp.  The main reason I even go is because I enjoy being with friends.

The last good thing I can think about Summer is the birds.  A new bird recently moved in which had me stumped as to what it was.  Yesterday I found that it was a Phoebe.  It is always exciting to find and learn a new bird.

There, I succeeded in writing a rambly, not too pointless post.

A most happy Summer to you all!

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

That Unstoppable Force: Time

Time never stops.

I was struck with this reality a few days ago. It may seem painfully obvious, but hear me out.

I've always known that time is continuous. Sometimes it seems as if it has stopped, or is moving terribly slow, other times it seems as if it zips by, leaving us in the dust, wondering what happened.
It also seems to be contrary. When we wish it to hurry up, it crawls by. When we want it to slow down, it feels as if it moves twice as fast.

Despite this, it always moves forever at the same speed. Sixty seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, twenty-four hours to a day, thirty days to a month, twelve months to a year.
And all of it goes along at the same pace, no matter how we bed it otherwise.


Well, of course there is the obvious reason: It is impossible for it to move at a different pace than it is set at.

But also, if we were able to stop or speed up time to suit ourselves, where would we be?

What if we came to a boring time in our life, a lull, and decided to fast-forward? Those lulls are there for us to prepare ourselves. If we find that we seem to be stuck in the lull, there is most likely something that needs to be changed. Perhaps a brave step that needs taken, perhaps a relationship to be made or changed, perhaps a lifestyle altered. Those times that seem to be useless space are never useless. They, just as everything else in this life, have a meaning. The meaning may not be clear, but it is always there.

Similarly, what if there was an imminent unpleasant ordeal, and we simply said, “No! I don't want to go through that! Clock, time, stop moving!” Where would we be?
Stuck forever in one place because of our fear. Never able to move on and let the unpleasant things happen along with the pleasant, never able to let those things mold us. We would never be able to experience the things that come after. We would never be able to live and carry on our adventures, because adventures are notoriously uncomfortable at times.
Instead, we would be stuck in one place, like a fledgling terrified to take that first flight, for fear of falling. Like a toddler refusing to take those first steps, because he or she will fall eventually.

Thankfully, time is not our own to command. It marches on, never stopping for breath, never missing a beat.

But many of us waste time, disregarding the slow times, trying to make things go faster while missing the whole point of the lull.

Many let fear stop the clock of their own lives. Time is still going, but they've taken the batteries out of their clock and refuse to take the pain that may come with growth. We refuse to become who we should be.

Don't let your clocks top ticking. Time will continue on whether you're ready or not.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Well, I will be honest with you.  I have sat here for a good ten minutes attempting to decide what to write about, and nothing is springing to mind.

That said, I still feel the need to update this blog.

And, it occurs to me that since this is Memorial Day, it would be a good idea to write something along those lines.

It is sad, really.  This day is here for us to remember those who have fallen in battle, and yet we go through it happily as a pleasant day off work.  Meanwhile, there are those who have lost family and friends due to war.
And we don't even acknowledge them on their day of remembrance.

Now, I'm not saying we should mope through Memorial Day, refusing to do anything fun and instead dwelling on the fallen through the day and likely depressing ourselves, but we do owe them some respect.  They gave their lives so we could live life how we know it, after all.  Where would we be without brave men willing to die for their country, and the people in that country?  We would no longer be America, that much is certain.

So, we should recognize and honor our fallen soldiers today, yes.  But I would submit to you that we not only remember them today, but every day.  We have soldiers fighting for freedom at this very time!  Should we ignore them, forget about them, or, even worse, dishonor them openly?

I saw a banner not long ago that read, "If you won't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them."

I agree with this statement.  We have no business speaking badly of those who do things we ourselves are not brave enough, or capable enough, to do.

No, instead we should do what we can to support them.  Not only on Memorial Day, but at any time possible.  Even if it is a simple "Thank you", you are showing your appreciation, and that can go a long way.

This said, I now extend my thanks to the American soldiers.

Thank you for what you have done.  For what you are doing.  I am grateful for your willingness to protect those who cannot fight, and you are in my prayers.  May you be blessed.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi,

Saturday, May 21, 2011


At the moment, I am waiting.  Specifically, I am waiting for someone to arrive so we may go somewhere.
It occurs to me that people do not like to wait.  For anything.  I know I am not enjoying this stretch of waiting, and was getting somewhat irritated in fact.  And I know others do not like to wait for things either.

Tonight, May twenty-first, at six o'clock, is supposedly the end of the world.
Do I believe this?
It is clearly stated that no man knows when the end will be, therefore I have no doubt that the world will see another day.
But others are convinced this is our last day.  People like being in charge, knowing when things are going to happen and how.  Myself included.  I do not like wondering when this person I am waiting for is going to get here.  I want to know exactly when they will arrive, and I want them to arrive on time.
I don't believe I am the only one who feels this way about things like this.  In fact, I know I'm not.

Are we supposed to be this way?  Always in a state of impatience, in a state of determination to know exactly when things will happen?
It may be how we naturally are in our fallen human nature, but it is not how we are to be.  Expectant, yes, but not impatient or trying to control events that are not ours to control.
Expectant of when the Greatest Shinobi will return, or calls us home, but not impatient.  For while we live on earth, we bear fruit, we have missions to complete.

How do you believe you would feel if you created something, and it refused to, or hated, living out its full potential?  If you made a car, but instead of working, and driving people to their destinations, it broke down and wouldn't move.  True, we are not inanimate objects, but there is a similarity there.  We are each made to do specific things.  Just as the army has different units, communication, medics, marines, air force, etc, we each have different tasks.  If a medic decides he is tired of helping people, and decides to pine for home instead of do his job, how lame would that be?  Not only is he effecting himself, blocking himself from the experiences he could have that would help him learn and grow, he is effecting those around him.

People need us.  They need us to rejoice at having more time to fulfill our missions.
We need to go about our lives with this mindset.  Determined to live our life to the fullest, growing, thriving, and helping others to do the same.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Well, you may have noticed the change in template design.  It was intentional, do not fear.  No one hacked into my account and changed it.  Though I liked the other design better, this is easier on the eyes, and that, of course, takes priority.
I hope you like it, if not, I'm not sure what to say.  My apologies, and do you have any suggestions?

At any rate, I thought it would be interesting to speak on the subject of change.
Many of us dislike it, go out of our way to avoid it.  I must admit, change is not something I always enjoy either.  But one must ask themselves, why do we fear change so much?
Is it because we can do nothing to stop it?  Because we're afraid it will get out of control?  Because it is inconvenient?  I know one of the reasons I dislike it is simply because I do not like to go through that period of adjustment.  Mostly because is it inconvenient, but also because sometimes it causes me to feel vulnerable.
When I look at this reason, and other peoples' reasons, the common ground I can see between them is selfishness:
"I don't want this to happen because I will be uncomfortable."

Is that how we are supposed to be?  Thinking only of how we may best serve ourselves?  True, we should not let people take advantage and walk all over us, but persevering a little discomfort for the long-term benefit of more people than yourself is not something to shy from.  Often, it will also benefit us too, if we would let it.  Or maybe it will not, but it is something that can be adjusted to easily if we didn't decide to be stubborn about it.
This has been more addressing changes that we have a say in.  What about those those which we do not?  Why groan and complain over things?  It will not help matters, and will only succeed in making ourselves, and those around us, miserable.

I say we need to rethink our stubbornness to change.  Change will come, whether we wish it or not, no matter how hard we work to keep things the same, whether we complain about it or not.  Why not embrace it?
I am talking of things which have no effect on our morals.  Homosexuality, abortion, and several other things are changes that should never be embraced.  I will not begin a rant on those things now, seeing as it would not fit with the subject of this post, and would also extend this post far beyond what I wish.

I challenge you to think:
Do you resist change?  Why?  Is it a good reason?  Or does it come from selfishness?

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good Days and Followers

I get on to check the status of my blog, look over at the sidebar, and lo and behold, I have a Follower. That is heartening, seeing as I had little idea as to if anyone was getting enjoyment or benefit from this blog aside from me. So, I bid my Follower welcome.

And now onto the main topic of this blog post.  I decided it would be interesting to delve into the topic of wishing people a good day, bidding them to be blessed when they sneeze, etc.

I have the privilege of working in a place where I come into contact with many people.  I have made it a point to wish as many as possible a good day.  But not long ago, I asked myself, "Why?" 

Typically, I am not a terribly cynical thinker.  I don't tend to question a lot of things, especially fairly unimportant things.  So it surprised me a bit that I would wonder this.
Really, why do people bid others to have a good day?  It isn't because saying, "Have a nice day", will magically cause someone to have a pleasant day.  Nor were they previously planning on having a bad day, then at someone's telling them to have a good one, change their minds and decide to have a good day.
It doesn't seem to make a difference, so why would one do so?

It is similar with saying "Bless you", after someone sneezes.  Some have said it to protect the persons' soul, at another time, people thought the heart stopped during a sneeze, and so blessing them was both to bless them to continue to live, and congratulate them on having their heart return to beating.
Now, people say "Bless you" without thinking twice about it.  It's like saying "Hello".  It is done automatically.
And does it have power to protect a persons' soul? No.  Does a persons' heart stop during a sneeze?  No.  So why do we say it?

Well, I came to this conclusion.
While these things in themselves may not have an effect you can see, it does not mean they have no effect at all.  Your words may not make a difference, but the thought that someone would take the time to bid you a good day, or bless you, and extend a caring spirit, could brighten someone's day.  It makes me feel more cheerful when someone tells me to have a good day, instead of not saying anything at all, or even just saying, "Bye".

Perhaps it is just me, but perhaps it isn't.  What do you think?  Do you appreciate it when someone tells you to have a good day?
Either way, I believe extending a caring is important for everyone.

Have a pleasant day!

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Power of Music


We all enjoy it to some extent, do we not? There are so many different kinds, and so many different tastes.  Some like only one or two genres, others enjoy a wide variety.  Some believe certain styles to be sinful, others believe anything is fine.

One thing is certain: Music is powerful.

It can make us cry, or at least make us sad.  It can make us happy, but more than than, different sorts of happy or sad.  You have noticed there is more than one kind of happy or sad, I presume.
There is hyper, calm, content, bittersweet, determined, restless, depressed, despairing... The list goes on, and music assists in all of these.  Listen to a bouncy, uplifting songs, and chances are, your state of mind will change to match it.  I can think of no better example of this sort of song than Caramelldansen--Which doesn't have particularly intelligent lyrics, but reminds one of an insane hound dog hyped up on coffee.

At the moment I am listening to "Phos Hilaron"  by the David Crowder Band.  One of my favorite bands, and this song has a mysterious, empowering feel about it that I love.  We could all use some more empowerment I believe.

Another song I admire is "You Won't Relent"  by Misty Edwards.  I can't say I love much of her stuff, but this song gave me shivers the first time I heard it.  It also has a mysterious sound to it, and a feeling of almost melancholy.  And, determination.
These two songs I will listen to over and over, because I love the feeling I get from them, and I love the sound.  And, though I love the lyrics also, they are not what caught my attention at first for these songs.

I hope you relate to this sensitivity to music, or else you won't get the point of this post...

If music is this powerful, should we not be careful what we listen to?
If you like a song, what do you do?  Listen to it over and over.  If you listen to a song over and over, what does it do?  It effects you, whether you know or admit it, or not.  You're hearing the same words every time you listen to the song, your mind is becoming used to them.  If you listen to songs with cussing, or negative elements such as suicide or murder or drunkenness, yet claim it makes no difference, explain to me how you can be uneffected by it.  If anything, it is desensitizing you to, in many cases, serious issues.
Not only are lyrics to worry about, but the mood of a song.  If you listen to depressing songs all the time, what do you expect to be but depressed?  If you listen to angry songs all the time, what do you expect to be but angry?

Now, don't go thinking I'm telling everyone that you should never listen to songs that have a minor key to them, or are loud and full of attitude.  That is not what I'm saying.  What I am saying is this, that songs of those sort should be listened to in moderation.  As for songs with language or negative elements, they could all disappear off the face of the planet without me caring a blade of grass.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's This About?

Now, if you've been following this blog, you may be wondering why I'm posting a new "About" post.  The simple reason is this:
Over this period I have already been active, I have done more research and study on this matter, and feel the need to update some things.  So instead of just making the changes in the former posts, which I don't think I would have been able to do anyways, I am making this new post.  Hopefully it will not be too repetitive or boring to those who read my previous "Principles" and "About" posts.
But, it is very likely you have not seen those posts already.  I don't know if I even have anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis.  So I am not worrying over this new post.

First off, I am not posting a "Code" at this point.  I believe my own personal code will take time to properly develop.
But, I can give you, the reader of this blog, an idea of where I am going with this.
You may have already guessed, by the title of this blog, that I am striving to be a ninja, or shinobi as I prefer to call myself, of the modern day.  Not one of the rogues, who pillaged, plundered, and did things for selfish causes, but one of the true shinobi, who were prepared to protect themselves and others, and did not call attention to themselves publicly.
Now, the fact that shinobi did not call attention to themselves has given me some pause in how I would go about putting shinobi principles to work in a modern culture.  I looked at those attempting to be modern day knights and modern day samurai, and just couldn't figure out how I could pull it off.  But then, I realized I was going about it the wrong way.
For knight and samurai, they have some inward things, but a lot of the things that set them apart are outward.  Knights are chivalrous, which is partly an inside thing, but people will notice if you are chivalrous.  For samurai, they follow the Bushido, which again is partly inside, but people will notice.  For shinobi, what sets them apart is not being noticed.  They are proficient in the martial arts and in weaponry, but people won't notice that unless you get into a fight.  For many of them, being spiritual is important, which people won't notice unless you strut around being "spiritual", which shinobi didn't do.  There are other points to them also- Shrewdness, preparedness, watchfulness... All of which would only be noticed by the most observant, or if the shinobi was being overdramatic and noticeable.  Being a shinobi is about a lifestyle, and inward changes.

So this is what this blog is about.  Changes, spiritually,mentally, and physically, for a lifestyle that will be beneficial both for myself and for others.
Eventually I may post a list of principles that I follow, but for now, I will simply use this as a log of my findings, struggles, and otherwise.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Word on History

Well, thus far I have spoken of what the shinobi are and are not, but I have gone little into our history.

It is hard to pin down a particular place and time of where and when we emerged, but we know it was in Japan, during a time of oppression.
The way of the shinobi was created for the shinobi to protect themselves.  Using sickles, staffs, and other common items that would not be incriminating as weapons, and of course, lots of training in martial arts, strategy, concealment, and fortification.  The shinobi were flexible, using whatever they could.  They did not, as commonly believed, go around in black outfits with only their eyes showing.  During daylight hours, they dressed to blend in.  During night hours, their outfits were dark blue rather than black.

They fought for peace, when they were oppressed, rather than for money and fame.  At times they would go on missions, when it was necessary and beneficial to their community as a whole, but they didn't operate for self gain.
There were three main influences in the ninjutsu.
Shinto - Which focused around the way of the kami.  Kami means god or deity, but they believed more in a sort of force rather than a being.  Of course, I do not hold those beliefs, instead I substitute my own spiritual beliefs.  I did say these were "influences" only, remember?

Mikkyo - Which focused on enhancing personal power with secret words and symbols to focus energy and intents on the goal.  This I do not incorporate into my shinobi beliefs, but I wish to show the shinobi roots here, and so that is what I am doing.
Shugenja - Focused on self discovery by exposing themselves to harsh weather and circumstances to alleviate fear and become closer to nature.  Self discovery is a good thing, though I do not agree fully with this method.  Exposing ones self to some fears to become less fearful of them can be a good thing, however.  If one is afraid of the dark, they can expose themselves to it in small areas at first, gradually growing as they learn the dark is not something to fear.  Getting over fears is beneficial to both ones mental and physical health.

When you look at these three influences, you can see where ninjutsu got some of its traits:
- Close to nature, being able to adapt to it easily and respecting it.  By respecting it I am not saying it should be worshiped, but it should be treated well.  I am not a "tree hugger", but I do not believe in the necessity of destroying fields of perfectly good grass or beautifully made forests simply to add a new fast food restaurant, shop, gas station, or subdivision when there is one just down the road.  When it is necessary, it is necessary, when it isn't, it should not be done.

- Very spiritual.  In different ways than I am, but it is still there.  I am close to the true God, and I incorporate that into my lifestyle.  It is important to have something true to believe in.

The Japanese word for ninja, translated "nin" or "shinobi", has meanings that include "perseverance" and "endurance".  They don't give up when it gets hard, thus, ninjutsu does not happen within a short period of time.  It happens over years, through the course of a lifetime.

There you are.  A brief history lesson on the shinobi.
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Bearing of Heart

It's rather a repetitive world, isn't it?
Well, for me at least it is.
Five days a week, go to work. Stick to the same schedule every week, with little to no variance.
On and on. Until when?
Until there is some change... which is far off, and actually out of sight at the moment. So out of sight, I wonder if there will ever be a change, or if I will be trapped in this repetitive cycle forever.
Wake up, work, come home, do whatever activity is always scheduled for that afternoon or evening, go back to sleep.
The weekends zip by like an intake of breath, while the weekdays lag on seemingly forever.
And the days... All the days simply slip through my fingers and disappear, leaving me wondering where they went. How so much time has possibly passed already, and why I haven't seemed to gain any ground at all. Why am I still in the same place, after all this time has passed? I have so many dreams yet to live, but my life seems to be sprinting by me before I have time to take a step.

How do you cope with days like this? Days where you feel as if you will always be in one place, doing the same things. Forever, and ever.
Do you simply survive them? Hoping, or in my case, knowing you will feel better the next day? And will be fine until the dreaded day comes again where you feel as if you cannot stand under the monotony of it all?
Do you lose yourself in writing, or friends, or music, or drawing, or something else? Trying to distract yourself, but knowing that the moment you're alone, the moment you don't have something else on your mind, it will come preying on you again? That strange feeling that is almost a dread. A fear that nothing will ever happen in your life. An impatience and longing so great you could cry.

This is what I do. I vent. I write my thoughts, in hopes that by releasing them, they will release me.
I call out to the Greatest Shinobi, asking Him for comfort, to hold me close and help me to forget, to help me through this time, and show me what He wants me to do, instead of moping around being depressed.

I know He has a plan for my life, and that whatever it is, it is good. I know that, but my flesh tries to keep that knowledge from me.  Especially at these weak times.

So there you have it... The bearing of my weak heart.
Obviously by this post, I do not think the telling of one's emotions makes one weak.  I think there is a certain strength in it, and respect those who can easily speak of their failings and emotions.  I confess, I have no little trouble in this area.  But since I needed to vent, my blog needed a new post, and I hoped it would encourage others that if they feel this way, they are not alone.  And that if they do feel like this, they can find comfort in Someone who is always ready to listen to His people.  

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi, Forever


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Which I Protest Video and Computer Games, and Texting

Before you begin reading this, I will give this warning:
If you absolutely love video/computer games, play them 24/7, and are easily offended by someone telling you to not spend so much time on them, you may not wish to continue reading.
So there you are.  Fair warning to my fair readers.
Video and computer games.
Really, what is the big deal? 
Studies and surveys show that teens spend twelve to twenty-three hours a week playing video or computer games, guys typically being on the higher end.  What is up with that, guys?  There are so many better things to be doing!  Now, I won't lie, I can't claim complete resistance to video and computer games.  A few days ago I sat down to a computer game, and spent a good two or three hours on it before I knew what had happened.  If they're good games, they'll get you so involved and wrapped up that you don't notice how much time has passed, which is a bit disturbing, to me at least.  Call me paranoid or a control freak, but I like to be in control of my senses and time.
So, qualm one with video and computer games:
- They are time eaters.  Time eaters that blind you to how much time they've eaten.

Next, for some reason, once you can do something on a video/computer game, you assume you can do it in real life.  Sword-fight?  Shoot firearms?  Play basketball?  Football?  Drums?  Guitar?  Drive a car?  "Oh, I do that on the computer all the time!  Of course I can just pick up a set of drumsticks and strike up a beat.  Right?"
Just because you can do something in a game, does not mean you can do it in real life.  I know someone who played a lot of car racing games when they were young, and when they learned to drive, assumed it would be easy because of that.  Was it easier for them?  No.
Qualm number two:
- They invoke false confidence and boasting.
Now, confidence is a good thing!  I think people could use more of it.  But not when it isn't grounded in something strong.

Next there is issue of desensitizing.  Do parents give their kids a firearm and let them go out and shoot people?  Do they give them a sword and let them go cut someone's head off?  No.  So why do they let them do it in video games?  Some of those fighting games get bloody.  I saw a kid who couldn't have been more than fourteen playing a shooting game.  They shot a guy, then ran up to the body and started repeatedly shooting it just to watch the extra blood spurt and gush out.
Is that disturbing to only me?
So there's the gore factor.  Next?  Language.  Some of that video/computer game language is not pretty.  And still parents let kids play it?
What are kids learning by that?  Blood is cool.  Shooting people is cool.  Running people over with a car is cool.  Cussing is cool.
Wonderful, people.  Wonderful.
Qualm number three:
- Desensitizing

So there are my three qualms with video and computer games.  I'm sure I could come up with some more, but this post is getting long enough.

Briefly though, I want to make a comment on texting.  Now first I wish to say that I think texting can be a very good thing.  There are times when it is simply more convenient to text than to call.  If you're in a loud room, or a place where you need to be quiet, and you need to talk to someone.  Texting is the perfect solution.
But it can be dangerous, and I do think it is overused.
My main problem here, is obliviousness.  On many levels.

I passed a friend in the store just yesterday.  He was texting, had complete focus on his phone, and was walking.  I crossed right in front of him, and he didn't have a clue.  For all he knew, I wasn't there.  Now what if he were in the parking lot?  Walking and texting, and I was a car?  Or a mugger?  Or a killer?  How good would that be?

Next?  People text others while they're with their friends.  There will be a group of teenagers, a few will be talking, a couple others will be hanging behind, attention glued to their phones.  No heed to their friends around them.  Why don't you pay attention with the people that are with you at that moment, cultivate that friendship, then talk to whoever it is you're talking to on your phone?

Third, and I'll leave it at this.  People texting people that are right next to themWhat is up with that?  Now, I know, some people say, "I don't want anyone around me knowing what we're saying."
Why don't you just wait until another time then?  Is it really that appropriate if you're afraid of someone overhearing?
You're blocking people out.  Isolating yourselves.  Telling others, unwittingly or not, not to bother you.

There you have it.
Now tell me, what are your views on this matter?

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Well well well...

I'm sure you've all been terribly worried I've been attacked and killed or somesuch, but I shall put those worries to rest.

I would like to say I have been busy and have had no time to write a post here, but, though I have been busy, I have not been so busy as to not post here.  So, I have no excuse for my neglect of updating my blog which is read by, quite possibly, no one.
At any rate, I have found the wonders of a membership to an exercising facility.  Strange how one is spurred on to work in new places.  I have exercising equipment here at home, of course, but there is something about going out to a place to exercise that is... helpful.  So I have been working out there quite often, but not all everyday.
No, I have also been reading quite a lot.  Randy Alcorn is a genius by way of writing murder mysteries.  I hear he writes other books, but thus far I have only read his murder mysteries.
Exercise, reading... Ah yes, musical instruments.  I believe everyone should play a musical instrument of some kind.  Not only are they a wonderful way of disciplining one's self into focusing and developing something, but they provide escape during trying times.  A sort of vent, as it were.  If I had my way, learning to play an instrument would be mandatory in schools.
But I don't, so it isn't, so not everyone does.
Aside from those things, and of course daily routines, I have been continuing my work in the Japanese language, which has been going well.

Well, there you have it.  An update at last, to put your worries to rest.  I shall attempt to get another up soon,  perhaps a rant on video and computer games...

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three, Two, One....

Typical strength day for me:

I'm sitting, minding my own business, when I remember.  Today is my day for strength training.  Not an off day, where I usually run to work cardio, but a strength training day.
Now, some days I'm thrilled to be able to start exercising.

Other days I am not, and I wish to simply sit and relax with an improving book and cup of tea.  Or coffee.  Whoever told you being a shinobi was easy was dreadfully wrong.
But, exercise I must, and so I order my body off the couch and begin.
A hundred crunches and fifty pushups later, I start my stretching, which is something to be done every day.  Ten minutes of various forms of stretching, and I do some work with weights.
After that, comes the typically more fun part of exercising.  Katas (or "forms"), punch, and kick review.  Now, I know six katas, perhaps not many in view of some of the martial artists, but after practicing each of them twice, I am usually sweating.  Then there are the kicks and punches, which I perform while dwelling on their Japanese names.
"Mikazuki, Mawashi, Yoko, Mae, Ura, Tobi Mai, Ushira Ura.....  Shuto, shotai, haiito, teitui, hiji, hiza, uraken, seiken....."
Probably my favorite kick is the Tobi Ushira Mikazuki--The jumping spinning crescent kick.  No, it isn't exactly the most practical, but it is a lot of fun to do.

By the end of my strength training, I am feeling ready to stop, but quite glad that I didn't allow myself to shirk.
And I won't have to have anything more to do with strength training until the day after tomorrow, and hopefully by then I will be feeling more motivated towards exercise, so I will not be tempted to skip training "Just for one day".
Because how many know that if "just one day" is skipped, there will be many more "just one day"'s to follow?
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi