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Monday, February 21, 2011

Kaizen, Museums, Cats, and Belly Dancing

Welcome to my blog, it’s brand new and very shiny. I intend to update daily and to have lots of new information for you to absorb. There will be a structured format for you to follow and I hope you will enjoy it. The first section will of course be the intro where I might bring some aspect of the blog to your attention, like I just did in bringing up the format.

The next segment will mention a fact of the day, it will be mostly random. I might tell you the exact scientific reason for the sky being blue, what happened this day in history, a little known fact about a famous person, details of a religious practice or belief, or possibly the airspeed of an unladen swallow.

The third segment will be a brief or possibly quite long discussion of something I have read. It could be a magazine article, a novel, a bit of fanfiction, or someone else’s blog. I will summarize what it was about, if possible and then give you my impression of it. I may love it, or hate it. It’s possible I will feel completely ambivalent about it.

The next bit will be about either the adventures of my cat, or a tidbit about traveling. I may discuss cat health problems, the annoyance of cat fur, the worst flight I ever took, the coolest tour guide, recommended sites to see, or the amusing antics of a stupid orange cat.

Last, but not least of the actual writing. I will tell you the one thing I did or found today that I have not done or found any other day. It could be an antique I found downtown, the latest subject covered in a class, a nifty trick someone taught me, a bit of family history, or a dance move.

Fact of the Day

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning improvement; it’s usually referring to a business practice started at the end of world war two. It’s aimed at streamlining how the business in question runs. There are five main aspects of kaizen; Teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, quality circles, and suggestions for improvement. Today, kaizen is being implemented in more than just Japanese businesses. Kaizen is making its way into more and more Western businesses and many people find that it can be applied to social endeavors as well.

Article of the Day

I read an article today about the thefts at the Cairo Museum. The article is quite short, no more than a couple of paragraphs, because the museum is trying to not make a fuss. It seems looters stole eight items, some of which relate to the reign of Tutankhamen. So far, two have been recovered and several suspects have been detained. The current hope is that the remaining artifacts were stashed somewhere nearby. It’s difficult for me to fully comment when so little information has been released, but I do hope they recover the stolen artifacts.

This theft, at first glance, does not strike me as very well thought out. I’ve always had the impression that museum items (especially in Egypt where they tend to hoard what few things they’ve kept from going overseas) and more specifically items from the reign of King Tut are so well documented and known that it would be difficult if not impossible to sell them. However, I freely admit that I am not an expert on such things and my assumptions could be way off. Whatever the case, my best wishes to the Cairo Museum.

Adventures of Brave Sir Robin

My darling cat with excessive orange and white fluff is a consummate coward. He is afraid of earwigs, spiders, ants, birds, boy cats, feet, napkins, water, and anything that moves towards him. He’s been chased by all kinds of improbable things, I suspect he’d run away and cry under my bed if he ever encountered a real live mouse.

Despite this, he’s a mostly well mannered cat. He’s very good about not scratching or clawing people, never bites, and restricts his meowing to acceptable volume levels. When he’s truly at peace with the world he sleeps belly up and begs for a belly-rub. Unlike other cats I’ve known, he won’t try to catch the hand that rubs his belly and he’ll just lay there and purr his little heart out as long as he’s getting attention. On the rare occasion he has a hairball, he is at least considerate enough to do it someplace easy to clean up.

I’m not saying that he’s an absolute angel, that wouldn’t be accurate. He has his lapses on a regular basis. When it’s time to be fed (or when he thinks it’s time to be fed), when things have been moved around, or his precious routine has been disrupted he will go into a complete zoom mode. He runs about the house in circles, jumping from forbidden furniture to forbidden countertop. I’ve learned also to keep bathroom doors closed because there’s nothing more fascinating than a game of “Slowly push each item on the bathroom counters onto the floor.”.

Local Belly Dance Classes

In my never-ending search for the perfect fitness regime, I decided to explore the possibility of learning belly dance. With my interest in yoga and pilates, it seemed like a good addition. I did a ton of research on the subject, but everything I found was mildly confusing. Who knew there were so many different forms? Eventually I stumbled on a website that claimed classes were being held at the local community center, so I decided to check it out.

I wasn’t able to participate since tonight was their last of the winter season and was a recap of all the stuff they had been learning. They did make me feel welcome and let me sit in and observe. The stretching and warm up at the beginning was less than I would have cared for, but what can you expect from an hour-long class? The rest of the class seemed to be fairly well structured and everyone was very friendly. Overall, it seems like a pleasant way to get a Monday evening work out.

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