Steven Gould's Blog

February 9, 2017

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Published on February 09, 2017 12:54 • 46 views

February 2, 2017

The two kanji that make up zanshin are ? , which can mean to remain, remainder, leftover, or balance, and ?, which can mean heart, mind, or spirit. Some of the original meanings of the word included regret and lingering affection. There is a great overview of its various meanings on this page at the Encyclopedia Japan. (It’s about two thirds of the way down the page.)

I first learned the martial art definition of zanshin which refers to keeping one’s awareness active even after a technique is completed–remaining mind/spirit. But it has other context, too. From the link above:

Zan-shin in sado (tea ceremony) is expressed in SEN no Rikyu’s doka.

“Naninitemo okitsukekaheru tebanarewa koishikihitoni wakarurutoshire”

(When withdrawing hands from tea utensils, give its movement the yoin [lingering memory/aftertaste] as when parting from someone you love.)

Also, Naosuke II teaches that one should not talk loudly, slam doors, or hurry into the house and quickly clear up, as soon as the visitor leaves. The host should see off the guest until the leaving guest is no longer visible, even if the host cannot actually see the guest. Later, the host should silently return to the tea room alone and make tea, and ponder the thought that the same meeting as today will never occur again (called “Ichigo Ichie” (treasuring every meeting, which will never recur)). This manner is the expression of the host’s lingering farewell, or “yojo-zan-shin”, as taught by II.

Rather inept kanji calligraphy by yours truly. 

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Published on February 02, 2017 11:01 • 58 views

December 20, 2016

Universal Cable Productions and YouTube have cast Maddie HassonSarah Desjardins, Missi Pyle, Enuka Okuma, and Craig Arnold as series regulars on the sci-fi thriller “Impulse.” The series, based on the third novel in the “Jumper” series by Steven Gould, features a rebellious 16-year-old girl, “Henry,” (Maddie Hasson) who has always felt like an outsider among her peers and longs to escape her seemingly small town. Eventually, she discovers she has the power of teleportation, confirming her belief of being an outsider — but also making her the target of those who want to control her. Hypnotic’s David Bartis and Gene Klein, who also produce UCP’s “Suits,” will executive produce along with Doug Liman (“Edge of Tomorrow,” “Go”).

From Variety
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Published on December 20, 2016 10:27 • 97 views

December 2, 2016

“Steven Gould’s sequel novel to Jumper, Impulse, fully realizes the dynamic potential of this amazing franchise and I’m excited to have the large canvas of YouTube to bring it to life,” said Liman.

Impulse: YouTube Red Orders Teleportation Drama Pilot

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Published on December 02, 2016 09:10 • 13 views

“Steven Gould’s sequel novel to Jumper, Impulse, fully realizes the dynamic potential of this amazing franchise and I’m excited to have the large canvas of YouTube to bring it to life,” said Liman.

Impulse: YouTube Red Orders Teleportation Drama Pilot

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Published on December 02, 2016 09:10 • 99 views

November 30, 2016

The theme song of the martial art Aikido might as well be the chorus from Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping.”

I get knocked down, but I get up again

You are never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down, but I get up again

You are never gonna keep me down

In Japanese martial, arts, uke is the person who receives a technique and ukemi is what uke does to safely receive this technique. Unless you are a master instructor with your own dojo and plenty of students, for every four times you are nage (the person doing the throw or pin,) you will be uke (the person thrown or pinned.) When you start learning to fall, there is a similarity to a cardboard box being blown down the road. It doesn’t roll, it bangs along, the corners and edges striking the asphalt hard. Compare this to a ball rolling down the same street. You want to be the ball,  able to do move along without injuring yourself, but also without exhausting yourself. You can’t practice when you’re too tired to stand or you have injure joints or broken bones, especially as one ages.

I’ve been practicing Aikido since April 4th, 1995–21 years, 7 months, 25 days–and I’ve gotten fair at it–falling down, that is.  Here’s some video that was taken mumbledy months ago on the occasion of my sixtieth birthday.

While some translate ukemi as falling or rolling, in aikido it is much more than that. First of all there are some three basic purposes: absorbing the technique without injury, creating distance from nage, and recovering your balance and posture.

In addition, uke has the difficult task of performing a sincere attack while trying to completely forget that he knows the technique that is coming. With a few exceptions, before standing up to practice, both partners have just seen their sensei demonstrate the technique.

Then there is a whole level of deep study involving uke’s connection to nage, a connection that starts while they are still several feet apart and, if done right, continues throughout the technique, and after. When possible, uke does his best to keep his center turned toward nage. This not only makes his ability to absorb the technique easier, it allows him watch for any blows or changes in the technique. Aikido is called a “gentle” art, probably because there is the choice of neutralizing an attacker without inflicting injury, but this is misleading. At a several points through most aikido techniques there are moments where a lethal or crippling blow can be struck, or the nature of the technique can be modified to result in serious injury.  Uke need to be able to see these moments and to be able to respond.

At the other end of the spectrum, there can be moments in techniques, if nage is being sloppy in his execution, where the technique doesn’t work . Uke shouldn’t just fall down when the technique has not taken his balance, and he should also be aware of those moments where he could reverse roles, where the ineffective execution would let him become nage, mid technique.

Last, while one can watch a technique and one can try to replicate it, until one has actually “received” the technique, felt its affects upon their own body and balance, that is where you really begin to learn the technique.

For the last several years, my practice/study of aikido has been about ukemi. Even when learning new versions to techniques, I approach them through the lens of ukemi.

Ukemi is also where most of my physical exercise happens. Done right, aikido is efficient, minimizing the energy required to take a person’s balance, using your entire body against parts of theirs, moving on lines that maximize your effort while disrupting their ability to respond.  If your struggling, muscle to muscle, you’ re not doing it right. And their are efficiencies in ukemi as well. An energetic throw not only sends you away from nage, it may provide the momentum to roll easily back to a standing position. But, this lets me practice harder, coming back to attack nage immediately.

I will admit that one of my guilty pleasures is coming back at nage so quickly that I end up exhausting them from throwing me, a form of “is that all you got?” I’m in good shape, but more importantly, my ukemi is without corners, efficient, active, and aware.

And this is the benefit of aikido practice I see in my life outside of the dojo. The phrase “rolling with the punches” comes to mind. When life throws a left hook at you, it helps if your paying attention, it helps if you get out of the way, and, if you fall down, it really helps if you get up again as quickly as possible.

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Published on November 30, 2016 12:07 • 56 views

November 21, 2016

If you look at the dates on the last two posts you’ll see that they are over a year apart. Pretty sad.  And that’s over for now. I’ll be posting more regularly now, even it it’s just to pound my cane on the floor and tell people to get of my front lawn.

I will start with a commitment to post, at the least, weekly.  Hold me to it. If I fail, feel free to mock me on all forms of social media.

Let’s see if we can get this giant bag of flammable gas off the ground.

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Published on November 21, 2016 20:01 • 101 views


This was taken by Jim Hines at ICon at the end of October.

Is it not wonderful?



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Published on November 21, 2016 14:32 • 57 views

November 29, 2015

Randall Munroe, author of the wonderful xkcd Comic Strip as well as the brilliant book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, has a new book out called: Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words which uses the most common 1,000 English words to explain scientific concepts.

Some of the many  words that are not in the most common Ten Hundred English words: fiction, science fiction, writer, author, reader, fantasy, editor, publisher, royalties, agent, novel, fable, tale, television.  

I used the Up-Goer Five Text Editor which identifies words not in the common pool to produce the following.

I write imagined stories and books about people who are like us and people who are not like us, who live in our times and in times yet to come, who are in places we already live and visit, but also in places and worlds we have yet to visit.

One of my books was made into a movie which is sometimes shown on TV. People pay me money to write, for which I have big thanks, but the biggest reason I write these stories is because I want to read them myself. I like the books best that make me feel I am in the story, that take me to new places, real and imagined, and meet new and different people, and make me think about new ideas. Reading lots of books lets me know as many places, things, and people as if I had the time necessary to live many different lives.

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Published on November 29, 2015 16:50 • 122 views

October 23, 2015

#vp19 @ELBlackEdits & @falconesse tell us the skinny on after your book is acquired.

— Steven Gould (@StevenGould) October 23, 2015

The weather was cold at the beginning of the week but it almost immediately warmed and we have had a wonderful time.

So there.

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Published on October 23, 2015 10:16 • 82 views