Well, I’ve graduated to the 6th Kyu and have a shiny new yelow belt.


The grading session was pretty interesting. All I really knew going in was which Katas i’d need to be able to performs and a handful of questions that I might get asked. The session started as usual at the GWL dojo at 4:30pm with the typical line drills and a few calestenics. However, I was very aware I was the center of attention. Sensai was watching quite closely and correcting my technique.

Then things started to get interesting! Kakomi kumite sparing where 5 karateka participate. One in the center and the other four around in a circle. A sequence techniques are called out and the peson in the middle executes the techniques in an “H” pattern, facing each of the four outside “attackers” in turn. Did I mention that all my fellow karateka are black belts of various levels? I’m in the center, repeatedly, for i think 4 or perhaps 5 rounds. Then it’s 3 or 4 rounds of Renzoku kumite, a face to face straight line kata. I’m always involved and other balck belt students get substituted in. It’s a very fast pace with no breakes in between, apparently quite intentional to see how you preform under a bit of pressure and exhaustion.

Next are my required 4 katas. Each is performed 3 times. The first two times it’s the whole class together with me in the centre of the line, first facing one way then facing the other way for the second. The third, I’m alone and everyone is watching. Things go well for the first 2 katas which I feel are pretty solid. Did I mention I’m getting tired at this point? 

On the 3rd, the one I lovingly refered to as “rookie yuckie” when I was fisrt learning it falls apart a bit on one of the turns. I’d practiceds the heck out of those turns, but hey, stuff happens. I carry on and the second half of the kata goes fairly well. 

Somewhere in the whole process we also did Sanchin a couple of times, complete with getting smacked at various times (Shime testing). 

Suddenly it’s over. After 90 minutes of non-stop work, we’re done. I get my review and feedback which was quite positive along with some areas for improvements. Hey, at this level, there is a lot of room for improvement. But, given a November start apparently, I’ve progressed very well. 

After the review it’s the presentation of my certificate and yellow belt and time for a few photos.

Right after this there are about 20 minutes left in the class and it’s right into “Here is the next kata you need to learn for orange belt”. 

Let the journey continue. 

Swim platform

One of the challenges of the fluctuating  water levels on Lake of the Woods is how far below the top of a fixed dock the water level can be. This makes diving off the dock or getting into the boat a little difficult. 

Many years ago Gord resolved this issue by building what has become known as the “swim platform”. A few feet below the top of the dock this little platform makes a nice spot to dangle your feet in the water, access the boat or dive in. 

Of course when water levels are high the platform is under water. Over the years this in and out of the water has taken its toll. Last weekend, two people on the platform got a surprise as it collapsed and dumped them into the quite chilly early summer temperature (12°C) lake. 

This weekend’s maintenance activity is the replacement of the much loved swim platform. This time with pressure treated wood and some beefed up construction. 

Saturday was opening up the deck, removing the remains of the old platform and designing the new replacement. After sizing things up its time for a run to the lumber yard. Late afternoon rain brings a halt to the project. Most likely to get it completed tomorrow. 

Family Birthdays

It seems to be hard to get everyone together on someone’s birthday so it’s quite the occasion when the family gathers these days with all the Grandkids. With Des’s birthday passed and Scott’s coming up we managed a combined dinner celebration.

Of course for us, the best part is spending time with everyone, especially the newest additions Dane & Clark .

Nana with an arm full of Dane & Clark
Granddad with Dane
The Cake
Prepping the candles on the cake

An of course no birthday celebration would be complete with out a fancy Birthday Cake or two!



Getting some assistance with the candles.
Getting some assistance with the candles.

With all those candles (somebody was having a “big” birthday”) you need a little help in blowing them all out.

Good food, good times, and having everyone together made for a memorable evening. Super busy with two 2 3/4 year olds and two babies, such a blessing to have such a happy and health family.


It started off so innocently

I invited the guys to the boat show. We saw some impressive water craft. Drooled over some ridiculously expensive fiberglass. Went out for wings and a beverage and talked about stuff.


And then, the next day, it started.

There were a few more discussions and then today we’re in a store looking around. Parker saw lots of cool stuff and had to get into, or on to most of them.

But we really knew what we were looking for and after some discussions about the colour we close a deal on one of these bad boys.

With a trailer and a few accessories. Now somebody is shopping for some more add on gear.

Going to be some fun times at the lake this summer.

Family Time

Between services at church today I got the privilege of spending a few special moments with Scott, Mandy, Easton  and Clark.


So nice to touch base and connect even for a few moments. Shared a cookie with Easton and had a nice cuddle with Clark who was so relaxed and looking around checking out all the action.

So great to have family at church together

Going Old School

My first stereo system component was a Harman Kardon Rabco ST-7. This is a very sweet linear tracking turntable and for several months it just sat on a shelf as I admired my 1st purchase. At that point I had nothing to hook it up to!

Well after a couple of decades in retirement, it’s back in service. The main driver for this revival was a gift of Hillsongs Zion on vinyl from Scott and Mandy on my birthday. It hooked effortlessly into my current audio system, and even had a space waiting for it on the shelf.


However, halfway through the first song, things came to a screeching halt, quite literally. The tone arm mechanism was not tracking properly and trailed the arm is such a way that it pinned it down to the record. Not good.

Well, after 20+ years of just sitting around, I guess a little maintenance work is to be expected. The ST-7 is notoriously finicky to get set up correctly, but once you’ve got it, its a thing of beauty. After removing the back cover plate it became clear that there was a lot of buildup and “gunk” on the tracking shaft which is instrumental in keeping the arm moving properly across the record. After cleaning that I my attention turned to the small tracking roller that rides on the tracking shaft roller tube. It had similar looking gunk on it. Armed with a Q-tip and alcohol (for cleaning purposes on the Q-tip) I started to clean the roller. A short time into that process and I started to wonder if this was normal, and what is this gunky stuff.

Google to the rescue. It turns out this “gunk” is what’s left of the silicone ring that is fitted onto the roller. For the ST-7 this is a well known maintenance issue, and from all the descriptions I could locate on the web, very challenging to get the roller out. Once out you can replace the silicone ring with a fairly standard plumbing o-ring from Home Depot. The challenge is getting the roller out and back in without breaking anything or doing a full and complex disassembly. The roller is in a plastic U shaped holder, with very limited access. Apparently surgical tools and surgical skills are a asset in doing this repair.

Perhaps some more disassembly will assist in getting this thing out. Next thing you know my ST-7 looks like this, stripped of all it’s aluminium finery.


The roller that I need to replace is in here, behind that metal plate with the screw sticking out (Tracking adjuster), cradled in that light grey plastic piece that you can hardly see.

After quite some time and some careful exploration, the roller is out!


Apparently, the roller is not symmetrical, some 0.20 mm wider on one end than the other so I get a measure to ensure it goes back in the right way. That brown stuff is like a gummy bear that has melted down and wrapped itself around the roller. Cleaning it up and putting the new o-ring on is easy. Another hour to get the roller back into it’s holder.

After a few re-assembly goofs, it’s all back together and running. I probably spent another 1-2 hours adjusting the tracking while enjoying some resurrected albums from the storage areas that we’re saved from my collecting days.

I’m sure there will be a little more vinyl in my listening future.