Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Day of Gratitude

I was thinking today about all of the things I have to be grateful for. Even though it is a cold, rainy day in Santa Monica, it is not snowing (sorry, friends and family to the north!).

My daughter defended her world title yesterday in record time and came out unscathed.

We had many family members come to watch the fight and visit with us afterward. My extended family gets along well enough to come visit, a luxury many people do not have.

Old friends came out to see Ronda win this weekend, guys like Lanny Clark, Jerry Hays, Steve Seck , Blinky Elizalde, Jake Flores and Gary Butts who I have known through so many years and times good and bad, you cannot even imagine.


My lovely daughters all support one another. We have no "family drama" and I am well aware that is a statement many people cannot make.

I have work that I'm excited to do and judo students I'm excited to teach. This week, I will be getting back to both of them.

=======My Day Job ======

7 Generation Games - like push-ups for your brain

=====My Book ======

Winning on the Ground - it's about judo and armbars and stuff

Friday, February 20, 2015

Donor's Lawyers File Complaint Against USA Judo

Thought this was interesting ... 

The lawyers for Lynn Thursby-Wooldridge filed a complaint against USA Judo. Most interesting to me was that the complaint came from someone who had donated $90,000 to USA Judo, loaned them $100,000 and was in the process of considering another loan for $500,000 and came to have serious concerns once she received the financial statements requested as a basis for deciding on the loan.

Also particularly interesting to me was that the USA Judo Executive Director, Jose Rodriguez is accused of several conflicts of interest. Among other things, it sounds like he bought judo gis from USA Judo and then sold them at a profit to the Panamerican Judo Confederation, keeping the profits for himself. Interestingly, he has positions with both USA Judo and the PJC.

" This Complaint centers on serious issues of financial mismanagement, self-dealing, and conflicts of interest, raised by a large supporter of the sport of judo who has also been a donor to the organization. Claimant does not bring this Complaint lightly, however, USA Judo (hereinafter “USAJ”) has had over nine months to address the problems that Claimant raised as early as April 2014. Unfortunately, rather than correcting the problems, USAJ hired an independent consultant with minimal financial expertise, who after ostensibly investigating for several months, offered weak and essentially useless recommendations."


 You can download the whole 45-page complaint here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mama AnnMaria's Guide to Valentine's Day

ADVICE TO WOMEN

1. If you are over 18 years old, here is what your man wants for Valentine's Day:

Sex.

That's it. Show up naked.

Done.

You're welcome.

A nice dinner, a romantic movie, a back massage, all of that is nice but only if it ends up with sex.

If you don't like him enough to have sex with him, then don't. However, if you are asking yourself what he wants for Valentine's Day, that's it.

2. If you are under 18 to say, 15 or 16 years old, that is ALSO what your boyfriend wants for Valentine's Day but listen closely to mama and .... DON'T DO IT because otherwise you will join those millions of women looking back and asking themselves,

"What the hell was I thinking?"

Trust me. I am old and you are young and I am 100% right on both of these points.

3. For the love of God, if you want something for Valentine's Day, use your big girl voice and tell him! Don't be one of those annoying, insipid women who say stupid shit like,

"I really wanted him to KNOW that the thing I most wanted was chocolate covered strawberries."

Listen to me, chicas. I have been married to a really good man for almost 18 years. Before that, I was married to a really good man for 11 years, until he passed away. So, I have successfully done that "till death do us part" thing twice. If I want my husband to buy me flowers, I TELL him because he is a husband, not a fucking psychic. Are we clear on this?

ADVICE TO MEN

Women are not as easy as men. What most women want is to feel appreciated. Some women want sex, and also to feel appreciated. If said woman has borne you one or more children get off your ass, go to the store, or at least the computer, and order her flowers. It's hard to go wrong with flowers. I have never once heard a woman say,

"You know what I hate? When a man sends me flowers."

Do NOT send her pictures of your dick. For the love of God, who raised you people who do that? I guarantee you that when you send a woman a picture of your dick, she does not think to herself,

"Ooh, baby, that's so sweet."

No! What she is thinking to herself is this ..

"What the fuck is WRONG with you?"

If you can't afford to buy flowers, go find them somewhere, pick them and give them to her. Try not to get arrested while doing it.

If you can afford it, try to find out something like her favorite perfume and get that for her also. How do you find her favorite perfume? Ask her sister or her best friend. They usually know these things. Same with taking her to her favorite restaurant. If you are really well off,  buy her diamonds or sapphires or whatever it is that she likes. If you're that well off, I'm not sure that she trusts her best friend around you. Ask her sister or her mom, unless her mom is me. Don't ask me. I'm busy and I have shit to do.

Listen carefully to this one ....  If your wife/ girlfriend/ fiancee says that she would like a dozen long-stemmed roses, Warlords of Draenor expansion pack, weekend in San Diego, copy of The Definitive Guide to Javascript or whatever it is, and it is within your budget, buy it for her. Seriously, are you fucking stupid or what? You are lucky enough to be with one of those women who doesn't believe that if you love her you will be able to read her mind. Don't let this one get away.

Also, if she likes you enough to honestly tell you what she wants, and you like her enough to listen and  do it, she will probably also like you well enough to have sex with you on Valentine's Day. There is no guarantee, but as a statistician, I can tell you that the odds are in your favor.

You're welcome.

================

Shameless plug for my company. This IS my day job.

Want to be even smarter? Check out 7 Generation Games. It's like push-ups, but for your brain.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Judo and Start-ups: I could write a book

I just came up with the name of my non-existent reality show: Start-up Judo

(An acquaintance of ours noted that reality shows about little people are popular, e.g., The Little Couple and suggested that since both Julia and I are pretty short we could have a show called "Little Start-up". Said acquaintance made sure to convey the suggestion through text message and safely out of punching range. Hmph.)

The longer I work on 7 Generation Games, the more it becomes clear to me how much judo and start-ups have in common. There is a reason this blog is titled The Business/Judo of Life.

(This blog has a title? Really? Yes. It does.)

Here, in random order, are some lessons I have learned from judo that have helped me greatly.

  • Progress happens in tiny steps. Whether it is doing the same technique 100 times or making another two-minute video that plays in the game, it's unlikely that you will see a massive improvement in a single day, or even a week.
  • Small steps add up. Eventually, you WILL beat that person you had never been able to defeat, your game will run without crashing.
  • Perseverance matters more than anything. You can have all of the talent in the world, the best team in the world and train like a beast, but if you don't keep it up for the long haul, you'll never make it.
  • A good team around you matters, but they don't have to look like every other team. I trained with a lot of guys in their forties at the Naval Training Center. They'd each take 15 falls for me and then I'd go on to the next one. I'd get in hundreds of throws a night. Our team at 7 Generation Games doesn't look like Electronic Arts, but we get the job done.
  • Failure often sets you up for later success. I can think of matches that I lost that made me determined never to lose that way again. We've tried certain game designs, development environments, that didn't work. Was it a waste of time? No, because we learned from it and the subsequent work was faster and better.

You exercise your muscles, why not exercise your brain?

Speaking of better, our new game, Fish Lake, is out. Don't remember how to find 1/8 x 1/4  ? Is that 1/2 or 1/32 or 972?

I know a lot of people donate our games to schools and that is super-appreciated, but I'd also suggest that you download it and play it yourself. It's only $9.99 (yes, less than $10).  It's fun. And you'll get smarter.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Life of a Lie

Sometimes, I'm a slow learner, but I do learn.

I know people who have fake black belts. Yes, they do have a certificate, but it was given because they donated a large amount of money to some organization or signed up all of their students as members. They aren't any better at arm bars than my granddaughter's fish, Nemo, and he doesn't even have arms. Deep down, they must know they are fakes, and *I* certainly do.


I know people who have fake degrees. Some of them call themselves Dr. although they never finished their dissertations. Others have a certificate from the Fly-By-Night School of Witchcraft that says they are a Doctor of Heebie-Jeebie Medicine or some bullshit.

They know they didn't take any real courses.

In both cases, though, I have had people say  to me,

Yes, I know the organization is a complete fake but I think that I am good enough/ smart enough that I deserve to be a doctor/ black belt/ minister.

Slowly, I have realized that associating with those people is NEVER a good thing. They are telling lies. There is a reason that degrees, black belts and other credentials matter - because they provide some objective, external standard of our awesomeness.

Lots of people believe themselves to be the greatest in the world. Then, we have a competition and one of them wins. Some of those people who thought they were best in the world lost in the first round. Some never even qualified for the tournament. What difference does it make if they go around telling people that they won?

The difference is that it lets you know telling lies doesn't bother them.

Everyone tells lies sometimes, right? They blame traffic for being late when the truth is that they had completely forgotten they were supposed to meet with you until they got your text.

The difference is that if they are claiming a degree they don't possess to get people to take their classes, become their clients or believe their arguments then their LIFE is based on a lie.

The same is true if they are addicted to alcohol or drugs, a compulsive gambler, having an affair.

In all of those cases, they will need to lie over and over and over.

"Where did you get your degree?"

Must be answered by a lie.

"What year did you win the national championships?"

A lie.

"How many drinks did you have?"

A lie.

"Why weren't you at the Hall of Fame dinner?"

More lies.

What difference does it make? It make several differences, actually.
  • If someone around you is lying about important parts of their life, as well as trivial details to support those lies, it makes lying seem normal. When people are around you, it's easy to let yourself start thinking, "Everyone does it."  Let me assure you, NOT everyone does,
  • When you hang with liars, it drives the good people away. There is guilt by association, when it's just assumed you are a liar, too. Then, there are the people who think you are probably a good person, but they don't want to spend time with a bunch of frauds that hang out with you.
  • Statisticians know that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. We already know they lie about both important and trivial things. It is only a matter of time before those people lie about things that are important to you.
If you find yourself asking,

What difference will it make to Ignatz Billy Joe who claims to be Ph.D. in Lunar Geology and a seventh-degree black belt in every martial art ever invented if I quit taking free tickets to sit next to him at the Annual Hall of Fame dinner?

The answer is that it may make no difference to him, but it  will likely make a difference to YOU.

A young person of my acquaintance asked,

Doesn't that bother you, though, that someone can go through life lying about their credentials, pretending to have a Ph.D. or a gold medal or a ninth degree black belt and get away with it?

The answer is, that they don't get away with it.

First of all, unlike people like me (and, I hope, you), they have to worry constantly about getting found out. Did anyone at dinner catch that they mentioned living in Iowa in 1986 when they had told people at dinner last week that they were in medical school in 1986? Do any of those people know each other? They've been telling people that they won the 1970 National Championships in Ukraine but now those records are on the Internet. Will anyone they know see them?

Most of all, as my friend, Serge says,

Those people have the worst punishment that you can imagine. They have to wake up in the morning and be them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quit Making Excuses Not to Succeed

Like Alice in Wonderland, I often give myself very good advice but I too seldom take it. This is one of those times.

I know I need to suck it up, quit whining and apply to a couple of accelerators. I know that I need to spend less time working on making adventure games, which I very much like to do, and more time meeting with potential investors whose funds would enable us to build out what we've envisioned much faster.

Last weekend, my granddaughters were over on Saturday while their mom was at a conference, and on Sunday my third daughter, Ronda, turned 28. This made me realize something ...

In 1987, I had three children under five years old, including one newborn.  I took one week off from graduate school after giving birth and went back to class. Less than two months later, having polished off my second masters degree, I started on my Ph.D.


So, what is your excuse for not finishing school?

Now, I have to admit that I had an advantage. I was married and my husband made a good enough salary that we could afford a full-time, live in housekeeper. My job as a research assistant covered her pay, and Ron was able to cover all of the bills. I had a fellowship so not only did I not have to pay tuition, but the university paid me.

On the other hand, I had no family within 2,000 miles, I had three children under age five, including a newborn, I was working part-time, going to school full-time and my husband was working 60 or 70 hours a week to support us all. It was exhausting and sometimes it sucked. But then it got better.

Maybe you can't afford a housekeeper but you have family who will watch your children while you go to school.

One young woman I know earned her masters degree in nursing when she, her husband and their children moved in with her parents to save on rent and child care. After she earned her degree, the family moved out into their own home, with relatively little in the way of student loans.

Let's recap - she could not afford child care and even with free child care, she couldn't pay rent if she didn't work - but she found a way.

My daughter, Jenn, moved back home into her old room at age 22 when I had been hired at USC, back when tuition was free for children of employees. She said,

As much as it will suck to move back home, how many chances am I going to get for an $80,000 education for free?

She could have looked at it this way, "I can't afford to pay rent if I don't work and the program I want, a masters degree and teaching credential in one year, going four semesters without a break, is impossible to do while working."

I know she was exhausted a lot and broke. Plus, her friends were out living in their own apartments, getting married, going on vacations. It sucked. And then it got better.

There may be situations where it is impossible to better your situation - held captive by ISIS, for example - but I think those situations are really, really rare.

Before you start telling me that I have no idea of how difficult life is, living in my townhouse by the beach, let me just point out to you this - I left home at 15 - an age at which I wouldn't even let my children stay out past 10 p.m. It totally sucked. And then it got better.

So, now I have convinced myself. Tomorrow morning I will get started on those accelerator applications.