1) Today DOMA and Prop 8 got struck down. Lots of other bloggers cover this so I'll just say that it knocks down the final barrier for me to marry my boyfriend of three years.
2) I am in my fourth year of training in martial arts under a grandmaster. Every day is still exciting and now I can say that unless someone has practiced similarly for longer than I have and I mean similarly, I'm going to be hard to defeat. I've been pitted against other students of both my teacher and my teacher's teacher. The difference is that I pay to have my teacher come over to my house five times a week and the other students have been just going to class and missing the 'secret stuff'. While I still don't know how to deliver any blows, I can happily report that both senior students hurt themselves badly while trying to hit me. My stance and blocks are so strong they dislocate shoulders and break bones and that's just my defense! This year I'm starting to train my offense and I'm looking forward to learning the 'one shot kill' that made my teacher famous.
3) I visited Hawaii for the first time on my 40th birthday last year and have been back once already. The Big Island is easily the best of the islands in terms of what I like about Hawaii. The other islands are kinda gross with all the construction and resorts and toursits. Hilo, where I've stayed for the majority of my time in Hawaii, is where the natives go to hang out. It's cheaper, less touristy and there are lots of people who are organizing to challenge the Law Breaking US for occupying Hawaii unlawfully and deposing their rulers. It gives it a really interesting feel and definitely not the fakey-luau and hula type of stuff that the resorts do.
4) My love of authenticity has come to an end. It's pointless. And it's crazy. There is no such thing as authenticity and somehow, in our culture, we put huge stock into "authentic" and "original" when neither of those really have much meaning. For instance, when some restaurant claims to have 'Authentic Ethnic Food' you have to ask yourself what makes that ethnic food authentic? Say it's Indian food. What is Authentic Indian food? Something cooked by a mother for her family? Something that only contains ingredients from India? Sure you can make a 'classic' Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken but when you use meat and vegetables from 'local' sources, its no longer 'authentic'. Nothing drove this home more than visiting Hawaii and seeing how the natives talked derisively about the performances they put on for tourists. There is little authenticity in the hula and the fire dances. They're shows that encapsulate what most people associate with Hawaii but in most cases, don't actually portray 'authentic modern culture' or even ancient culture. Original hula was performed topless and contained deep spiritual messages.
5) I have achieved something of a 'critical mass' in terms of my writing. I've been writing for 13 years now into one particular storyline. While the earlier stuff really just became source material for later stuff, I can safely say that I'm approaching a level of complexity that could easily put me at the top of the pack for epic fantasy. However, I'm even more eager to plumb a new genre that I've been calling 'Conceptual Fantasy'. If you judge typical fantasy to be something where there is magic and fantastic creates(like Tolkien and similar) then conceptual fantasy would be about concepts and ideas that make the story different from the real world. An excellent example would be the Golden Compass and the Dark Materials series of books, where the story is basically a regular universe like ours only people's souls live outside their body as magical animals.
6) I am excited because this weekend I'm going to a 25th Anniversary party for my original D&D group that started back in High School. All my friends from High School are going to be there and it's sort of a 'nerd reunion' instead of a class reunion, since I barely remember the names of anyone else from school. Part of what's going to be strange for me is that it's been over 15 years since I played instead of ran and someone else is going to be running this story... so I get to do all the stuff I can't do when I'm running!
So that's my update. I'll try to post more often but I've been bad at keeping that sort of promise, historically!