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I answer some miscellaneous questions
(These are the last of them. That was fun!)

"Tell me about fencing. What was the most surprising thing? Why did you stop doing it? Are the skills useful IRL?"

I suppose the thing that surprised me most when I started fencing was that it's a terribly rigid and formalized sport these days; scoring a bout is not as intuitive as you'd think. Also surprising is that I prefer the most restricted form, foil, to saber or epee. Although the one time the coach showed us some broadsword stuff, that was pretty cool.

I stopped when I left UT, because I was no longer in an environment where there was a very inexpensive club which I was encouraged to join. I would like to take it up again, but I would strongly prefer a very particular sort of group environment for doing that in, and I'm very shy about looking for new groups of people. The martial arts studio down the street has a big sign up about fencing classes; I called to see if they could tell me whether any of their classes might be appropriate for me, but I got an answering machine and nobody ever called me back.

Because of the stylized nature of the sport, it's not much good for e.g. street fighting. The movements are specialized enough that they don't translate well into other physical activity like dancing, but the exercise was good for me. Fencing works the same muscles you use for skiing and climbing stairs or steep hills, so if those are part of your real life, then fencing would be useful.

"What is your LJ password? Alternatively, what are some old passwords that you no longer use and therefore feel comfortable telling us?"

My LJ password is an obfuscated version of the name and position of an object that I could see from my computer chair in Pittsburgh.

I never really stop using passwords, I just cycle them in and out (unless they are stupid passwords assigned by an automatic system or following desperately arcane rules that make them difficult to remember).

"What is the most hardcore thing you have ever done? (Sexually.)
What is the most hardcore thing you have ever done? (Non-sexually, eg, "I climbed a mountain with a broken leg while pursued by wolverines. Just because it was there.")"

hard-core also hard·core (härd'kôr', -kōr') adj.
1. Intensely loyal; die-hard: a hard-core secessionist; a hard-core golfer.
2. Stubbornly resistant to improvement or change: hard-core poverty.
3. Extremely graphic or explicit: hard-core pornography.

I'm having a hard time applying any of those definitions to anything I've ever done, really. It's not a word I'd use to describe myself.

"What is the most surprising part-time job you have had?"

Similarly, "surprising" is not a word I'd apply to any jobs I've ever had. I suppose being a summer camp substitute instructor was surprising in that ever so often I'd get a phone call to the effect that someone was ill and could I come teach such-and-such a lesson at such-and-such a camp.

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I don't think, even if I defined some of what I'd done sexually as hard-core, that I'd be prepared to answer that question. And the other definition seems to be somewhere between "stoic" and "pointlessly machismo." (Running into a burning building to save strangers might fit some people's idea of machismo, but it's not pointless--it's not suffering for the sake of suffering or display.)

I was going to answer the first part of that one with "None of your business," but I thought it was interesting that I couldn't answer it even if I'd wanted to.

Where I live (Santa Cruz) there's a fencing club that meets two nights and a morning a week at a church down the street from me -- a community-college choir I've been in a few times meets in one of the other church rooms, so it would be interesting to hear the clashing of swords while approaching choir practice. I took my children to one of the fencing-club meetings once, to see if it looked like something they might be interested in, and the people definitely seemed friendly. So maybe there is something like that in your area. On my end, though, getting easily overheated and having not-totally-colorfast hair, anything where you have to wear a big white outfit is a little problematic.

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