RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

Karate, Audiobook Fun, Health Update

A couple of disconnected subjects. Each behind its own cut:

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been trying to find a Karate school that I was comfortable with. On Tuesday I extended my one month trial membership at a local school, Champion Eyes Karate, into a one year membership (although part of me thinks of it as still a bit of a trial).

Now this school isn't perfect for me. That is it isn't National Karate. However, the main problems I've been having are with one kick which is similar to the NK "Front Kick," but is an outward kick instead of an upward kick. I suspect that it isn't really that different from a "Thrust Kick" except for the starting position, and that it isn't done into a pad.

The two other, probably somewhat related, aspects that I miss, are partner training -- punching or kicking into pads held by someone of (usually) similar size and skill -- and self defense. The other school I tried for two weeks did some self defense (since it was part of their title), but it was still very formalized and didn't seem as practical as what NK taught.

At the end of the month, there will be special seminars taught by the Sensi (sp?) who taught the school's Sensi and is more or less over this particular branch of Karate. I'll probably go. The only problem is that it is the same day as a medieval flea market in East County. But I suspect that robot_grrl can go there herself, or with Derrick, if it conflicts with my seminar.

To save some money, and to listen to some of my favorites, I've quit buying from for a while. But since the old favorites are mostly on CD, and my commute by train at least 3 days a week, and my lack of a working portable CD player, makes me want to put the books onto my iPod. While I could (and have) just put them on as regular mp3 files, I prefer to have them behave as audio books for two reasons: special location in the menus, and it doesn't loose place if I play some music in between. However, to accomplish this, I have to go through several steps:

  1. "rip" the CDs into mp3 files
  2. "stitch" the mp3 files into one or more large mp3 files
  3. Convert the mp3 files into AAC (m4a) files
  4. Delete the m4a (and usually mp3) files from iTunes without deleting the files
  5. Rename the m4a file to have an m4b extension
  6. Import the now m4b file into iTunes

Now there are a few gotchas in this process. First, iTunes uses the same setting to determine how it is going to rip a disk as the setting for how it will convert unprotected files to different formats. So, if the last operation was to convert a file to AAC, I have to remember to switch it back before ripping more MP3s. Of course, I regularly forget and have to convert the files instead. Second, the CCDB is remarkably inconsistent across disks in an audio book. So, for my current example, I sometimes find that the "artist" is "Rob Inglis" instead of "J. R. R. Tolkien." So I have to make sure that I check this information for every disk before I start ripping. Finally, this is a fairly time consuming process.

I don't know if I'm being too cleaver in my current plans or not. So far I've fully processed about half of one purchased audio book. However, when I fixed the title for the final audio file, instead of titling it The Fellowship of the Ring, Part , I titled it The Lord of the Rings: Book 1 (The Fellowship of the Ring). My plans are to follow through using the titles for each book as though I had a single volume. Of course part of this is so that if I ever manage to get ahead, the book will just flow.

No real major update on my health. I've got an appointment for next Wednesday with an ENT about my thyroid. However, I've also got an appointment on Tuesday to have a mole removed. When I went in for my overdue skin check a week or so ago, they biopsied one large mole and determined that it was "Begin" but also "Moderately Abnormal" and so they still want it removed. Since it is fairly large and flat, and located on my stomach, this won't be an entirely trivial procedure, but it shouldn't be too bad, I hope.


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