The Non-Martial Art

09.09.17

Part of my issue with using other training methods is that I cannot relate to their end goals or purposes, despite being drawn to the techniques, skills, exercises and methods that comprise them.  For example I like the fitness aspects and drills from boxing, but am in no way interested in actually hitting, or getting hit by another person.  The attraction to the combat aspect seems at least partially rooted in myth.  Become a martial artist, a fighter, a warrior in order to defeat another through superior physical ability and also cunning.  It’s definitely a male-orientated myth.

So I feel that I must “believe” in something in order to genuinely invest myself in it, which also explains the issue with martial arts as they are often grounded in metaphysical ideas that I disagree with, but the main issue is with combat itself.  If we ignore any attraction to the warrior myths we are essentially discarding the purpose of the system.  You could argue that there is more to learn than simply physical self-defence skills, and you would be right, but the ultimate reason these things exist is for the purpose of war.  The oldest physical training systems in the world are based on the idea of kill or be killed, which for my own purposes is completely redundant.  If however, you are someone who views life through such a lens, you will not have a problem with learning a martial art for its primary intended utility, regardless of whether you ever have the opportunity to put into practice your training, the ideas and myths alone can be a great enough motivator.

A decade ago I wrote about how the idea of parkour as an escape/rescue method was out of touch with the world we (I) lived in, and now with hindsight it’s clear that I didn’t believe certain fundamental parkour myths.

What parkour and martial arts have in common beyond the obvious philosophy and training overlaps is that their myths are strongly intertwined with conflict and heroism.  In a sense, in order for these myths and systems to survive intact, unchanged, undiluted, there must always exist and external enemy or threat.  In parkour the threat is either to the self (escape), or to an innocent bystander (rescue), and the threat can be human, animal or other, such as fire etc. but in all cases the motivating factors boil down to primal instincts, and the training consists of improving fight or flight capacities.  This is an important point to illuminate because I feel that unless you consciously acknowledge the role of the system, or identify your own specific goals, there can be unresolved psychological dissonance between the two.

Secondly, I think that despite the good points of parkour and martial arts, they are in some ways like religion, in that their core ideas (purposes) are outdated and irrelevant to many people in this day and age.  Now, while many people either accept their religion or martial art unquestioningly, for some years now I have essentially been working on various ideas that amount to creating your own.  What you must bear in mind though is that I am an atheist and experientialist, and the terms “religion” and “martial art” are unlikely to stimulate an accurate picture in the minds of the reader, or adequately encapsulate the breadth and depth of what I am implying here. Both are terms already heavily loaded with connotation that is sure to mislead.

People such as Alain de Botton and Sam Harris have already  spoken about the benefits of certain religious practices that secular society may be missing out on, and there is a lot of evidence to suggest that there are mental health benefits from physical practices and rituals.  Further hints at what a man-made, modern, non-martial art may look like can be found throughout my writing, particularly in relation to experiential art.  Fundamentally I propose that it is the individual’s right and purpose to create personal meaning and practice as they see fit.  How this idea manifests itself for me is in the “ground up” concept as I have chosen to call it.  The term comes from the idea of taking a solid object and grinding it down into small particles, like grains of wheat in a flour mill, or charcoal in a pestle and mortar.  The pieces are then used to create something new, from the ground up.

From a wider perspective, one of my goals at least, is to create a lifestyle and guidelines for living that incorporate physical and mental practices into a unified and fluid whole, with emphases on physical and mental health.  The fluidity of such a concept is imperative, and what separates it from both religion and martial arts, and aligns it with a rationalist and experientialist way of thinking.  Furthermore, core concepts and techniques are grounded in empirical research as opposed to metaphysical beliefs and traditions.  It is this built-in mechanism for updating and essentially adapting, that gives my method a robustness that religions and martial arts cannot have.  Additionally, there is no hierarchical structure in my system that places a god, guru or teacher at the top, as the individual is at the centre of a conceptually infinite practice-space.

This non-pyramidal structure is also mirrored in how I look at learning itself.  Instead of skills being better or more difficult than others, variations are seen as just that – different, requiring different movements, skills or characteristics.  What’s easy for you is not necessarily easy for someone else, and this experiential viewpoint uses different metaphors to describe training/practice in order to direct attention away from external factors, other people and end results, so that the practitioner can become more process-orientated and focused on the present.  The power of language, metaphor in particular, is harnessed to alter the perceptions of the world and the self in order to change the quality of subsequent outcomes.  There is no opponent as there is in sports, no outside threat or extrinsic motivation – there is no competition, only a desire to better one’s self through the creation and acceptance of various challenges.

With non-hierarchy the only constant is the individual, therefore practice doesn’t rely on there being a supreme being or significant elder: these are simply nodes of inspiration, so that if one is destroyed another will be found, yet the individual is never subordinate to any of them.  The structure is web-like: connections are made that span outwards.  With a pyramid the temptation is to climb to the top and to topple the leader, but in an infinite web the desire is to explore and connect, to experience new things and to meet and share with others.

So if the foundation of martial arts is war, my foundation is the innate physical and mental capacities that we have for learning, creation and expression.

When there is no suitable off-the-shelf solution, and customisation proves inadequate, DIY is the logical answer.

It may seem crazy, immoral, or just plain overambitious to attempt to create in one single lifetime something that naturally occurred over many hundreds if not thousands, but any such opinions are irrelevant, as in order to be effective creators we cannot stop to first ask permission, as this is the direct route to external de-motivation.

Ultimately, there are vast differences and consequences between trying to find that which suits you perfectly, and deciding to build it yourself.

In thinking about metaphors and how analogy learning might work it occurred to me how natural, and therefore implicit the use of metaphors is for understanding new information.  We can look at metaphors as shortcuts to comprehending the unfamiliar by relating to known concepts.  For example, my previous sentence contains the metaphor:

“metaphors are shortcuts”

If you don’t know what a shortcut is you will fail to make the connection, and therefore understand the meaning of my phrase.  Metaphors therefore rely on creating links to the familiar knowledge that can vary from person to person and culture to culture.  Assuming shared knowledge or connotations can give rise to misunderstandings – the phrase “he’s god’s gift to women” could have meant something entirely different to the ancient Aztecs.

What this implies, in my eyes (another metaphor), is that for the purposes of motor learning the most powerful, and therefore effective analogies are self-generated.  What this also means is that we may never actually make explicit which metaphors we subconsciously use, which allows the learning process to remain implicit, as opposed to using whatever analogies someone else may explicitly communicate to us.

Metaphors and analogies implicitly constrain expectations, take for example the idea “she had a heart of stone”.  Without ever having to consciously go through a process of recalling what hearts are usually like, remembering typical characteristics of stone, then hypothesising what a stone heart may be like and what effect this may have on its owner, we know instantly what is meant by the expression, barring differences in culture and autism.

Metaphors transfer potentially dense information in split seconds by leaving most to the imagination.  As far as coaching or learning a new movement is concerned an effective analogy tells us what to expect (constrains expectations) without telling us all the specifics of how to achieve it.  Instead, the analogy gets us to imagine movements or even just feelings based on our own personal experiences.

I do not have a strong visual imagination, and experience my imagination not as a place of images as in the case of “the mind’s eye”, but a place of languageless understanding.  If you speak multiple languages it’s possible that you have had a similar experience in which you understand a concept (languageless) but are unable to find the correct, or any word to that concept.  This idea of “wordless understanding” is how I think many of my movement metaphors operate, and also how my imagination works in general.  So when I talk of “visualising” or “imagining” something, I am not strictly speaking of clear (or any) images as the case may be for some people.

The emerging literature on motor learning and skill acquisition appears at odds with the trends in the fitness industry of using overly-technical language, and over-cueing movement.  It is as if we are now working backwards, attempting to re-construct human movement through knowledge of anatomy, consciously telling ourselves and each other “externally rotate this” or “activate your left whatchamacallit”.  Essentially, the two domains of movement and scientific theory of movement have been muddled, as if we needed to understand the latter in order to perform the former.  While certain knowledge can be beneficial, we can’t escape the fact that we are operating with evolved brains that mostly work instinctively and subconsciously, and that attempting to re-route or re-configure certain processes may have the opposite of the desired effect.

The new school of physical education is a re-emphasis on the capacities of the individual, where there is no teacher to play the role of gatekeeper of knowledge, who maintains the student in a state of dependence for the sake of financial gain and ego.  The responsibility of the knowledgeable is to transfer that knowledge to others, and to ultimately aid other people in becoming autonomous, robust and self-actualised.  The realisation of one’s own power is perhaps the ultimate reward of any learning experience, and is something to be valued and celebrated; something which is neglected in a hierarchical system.

Taking It Slow

08.09.17

I decided to use Pete Egoscue’s supine groin stretch as an alternative starting point for experimenting with relaxing the leg and hip joints, but instead of focusing on the extended leg I concentrated on the raised leg, particularly the hip flexors and hamstrings.  Initially just relaxing a while, then lifting slightly and lowering the leg, and eventually using the slightest of contraction in order to engage the hip before relaxing again.

This base position allowed me to relax fully while experimenting with contracting different parts of the hip/lower back/thigh musculature and to begin to build an awareness of the difference between “on” and “off”.  Sometimes I used my hands to provide additional tactile feedback, but in any case I progressed by feeling rather than labelling and attempting to consciously instruct parts of my body.

I also incorporated yesterday’s technique of lifting the leg using a band wrapped around a stick, both from a 90 degree supported position as well as without the chair so that the leg can relax completely to the floor.

[This technique led to the inadvertent discovery of a more efficient way of stretching internal rotation that avoids the problems associated with creating excess torque at the knee joint.

The leg is placed in the loop of the band just above the knee, and the band is then twisted in order to gain traction on the clothed leg, and then wound in a clockwise direction (for the left leg).  The loose end of the band is then threaded with a stick which allows for a solid grip with both hands.  As the stick is pulled away it causes the leg to internally rotate, which overcomes the limitations of trying to hold and twist the leg directly – you can act upon it from a more relaxed position, you are not limited by how much your hands can grip your leg, and the twisting force is generated indirectly from a more efficient straight line pull.]

Until now I have been trying to relax as quickly as possible, that is, to feel the change from tense to relaxed as quickly as possible.  I think this is simply because it appears easier to observe the relaxed state when it is in the form of a falling or drooping limb, due to the contrast between the two opposites.  This is compared to say, a relaxed muscle whose limb doesn’t change position because it is passively held in place by an outside force, as per yesterday’s exercise with the bicep.

Although the goal is to be able to transition from a naturally (subconsciously) maximally relaxed state to the opposite end of the spectrum in as short a time as possible, it doesn’t mean that this is exactly how we should train to achieve it.

I think though that slowly relaxing is harder for a beginner as it actually requires more control to be able to regulate various amounts of tension.  It seems paradoxical that I must learn to relax progressively, when I can already seemingly flip the switch to do so instantly, but what we are really talking about developing is a state of controlled relaxation.  Being able to move consciously and deliberately-unconsciously is only half of the equation.  The other half is about preventing unwanted unconscious movement, which is perhaps an even greater task.  When attempting to slowly turn off – by moving one limb with another through its range, there is a “stuttering” or “speedbump” type effect that can be felt when performing CARs.  The muscles seem to anticipate certain positions or movements and attempt to contract accordingly, causing a conflict between these unconscious patterns and our new demands.  It is almost as if the body recognises itself in a position and assumes that it must actively play a role in maintaining it.  This is why when passively holding a bent arm, upon letting go it remains still instead of falling.  Pulsing or rapid release does not have this effect, which is why I began to passively hold in end range before attempting to let go some seconds later.

I suspect that some ranges are more difficult to relax in than other, which means that the exercises must continue to operate in multiple dimensions.

Having decided to try and use a pulley-type system in order to make passive holding of the limbs easier, I began experimenting with a small resistance band.  With one end wrapped around my wrist and the other draped over the back of a chair and lightly held with the opposite hand (this could just as easily be attached).  The use of an elastic instead of a rope or cord provides unique opportunities, as the limb can be flexed against the resistance of the band and then released, as well as be actively lifted against gravity and then relaxed.  This way, both the agonists and antagonists can be incorporated in a particular position.  The activation of opposite muscle groups should also help trigger relaxation through reciprocal inhibition.

The main purpose of the pulley system though, is to allow a relaxed limb to be slowly moved through its passive ranges of motion in order to teach the muscles that it is safe for them to turn off, and only come on when instructed.  I imagine that such exercises will come to form the bread and butter of this training method.

Notes:

– With the elastic in place I tried to transition from triceps tensed to biceps tensed, while only recruiting the muscles in question.  I realised that the anterior deltoid quite quickly becomes involves when attempting to bend my arm.

Getting Distracted

07.09.17

Distraction has been shown to enhance creativity I.e. by forcing conscious awareness away from the task at hand and allowing the subconscious to express itself.  This is analogous to the techniques used for implicit learning that draw attention away from the body, and de-emphasise explicit cues in favour of focusing on the external effects of a movement, and using imagery for cueing.

Analogy/metaphor as in the case of “melting” muscles seems like it will be most useful for dance/movement practice where there are not obvious external effects to focus on like there are in sports where objects (balls etc) are used.

Orientation within space relative to head position may be useful for certain movements that can be learned slowly and segmentally, like various spins for example.  Analogy/metaphor therefore seems like an ideal method for implicitly improving posture which often involves little or no movement, or limited external interaction.

Different postures or stances involved in training (front squat, deadlift, support position on rings) do use equipment, which means that other methods for creating implicit learning opportunities are available to use when it comes to strength and conditioning.

More experiments:

– Lift the arm with bent elbow, attempt to let go of shoulder muscles only.

– Tensing the bicep for 10 seconds, then passively holding with opposite arm before releasing.

– With the bicep bent and the shoulder at 90 degrees, relax the forearm only.

– Trying to swing the hand from the end of the arm like the ball and cup game.

– Tense/relax while passively holding the bicep bent. (This seems harder than allowing the arm to fall when relaxed)

– Elevate the shoulder, bend the arm, then make a fist, then relax one by one.

– As above but in reverse order.

– Using a resistance band wrapped around a stick in order to lift and manipulate the leg in a standing position. (After just a short time, the leg feels much lighter, and walking feels smoother.  A similar lightness and freedom is experienced with the arms too.  Most tension seems to be held in the hips and neck)

 

Letting Go

06.09.17

Some time ago I realised that there was one important factor that my favourite dancers had that I lacked: a sense of effortless control or natural relaxedness to all their movements. Over the years I became experienced in creating high tension through heavy squats, deadlifts and gymnastics strength training among other things, but what I had neglected all this time was to learn to let go.

I used to believe that I simply wasn’t flexible or mobile enough, and while having greater mobility would allow me to make what are in my mind more pleasing shapes and transitions, mobility represents only part of the equation for movement potential, not quality. By “quality” I am not referring to good or bad in the sense of range or restriction, but to the way in which the movement occurs and appears. Is it smooth or deliberately jerky? Is it controlled or sloppy? Precise or random?

So if inflexibility or restricted mobility was only part of my particular puzzle, where were the other parts to be found? A clue perhaps lay hidden in my medical history, and more pertinently, in my current state of health.

In early 2011 while still living in Finland I woke up one morning with my head violently spinning, so much so that it caused me to try and vomit up the contents of my empty stomach. I tried to sleep it off, but upon re-awakening I wasn’t any better. I spent the journey to the hospital retching into an empty bucket. The doctors suspected an inner-ear problem, but ultimately didn’t find the cause.

After returning to England I took a number of tests in order to determine the origins of my nausea and declining health, from scans to blood tests and was eventually fitted with a blood pressure monitor for 48 hours or so. It was eventually concluded that my dizzy spells and lethargy was due to high blood pressure, which in itself was rooted in stress and anxiety.

People around me seemed as surprised as I was. “You? Stressed?! No way!” But the symptoms spoke otherwise, and what was interesting to point out was the fact that stress is cumulative, not just suddenly arising from one day or even one month to the next. Unknowingly, I had been living with stress for some time, until one day my body decided that I needed a wake-up call in both the literal and metaphorical senses.

Since that day I have moved house no fewer than 7 times, worked a number of different jobs, including as a cook in a restaurant (probably the most stressful of them all!), followed by taking my ex-employer to court (and winning!), stopped dancing regularly, completely stopped and briefly re-started all types of training a number of times, and somewhere along the way I lost the momentum that I had gained from over 10 years of practising movement.

I had apparently 2 choices; either I took the blue pills designed to keep the blood pressure of elderly patients down, or I took the non-medicated option to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I decided not to get on that slippery, pill-popping slope and my condition improved. Later though, while now living in France, I acquired some new symptoms: random heart palpitations ,shortness of breath and chest tightness! My doctor suggested that I exercise, and so I began to wander barefoot, re-discovering the sense of freedom that can only come from leaving the house with empty pockets, and nothing but the few items of clothing I was dressed in. I explored, I climbed, I moved, and even built up my confidence to walk the bridges that crossed the river where I lived, on the outside walls, feeling the cold, rough stone beneath my bare feet. Looking back now I wonder how I managed to get to the point where I would only ever cross in this way.

I eventually began rings training again, but in the back of my mind there were more important things to be doing, and although I had acknowledged that not only was I stressed, but that my health, and therefore overcoming stress should be my priority, I never took the necessary steps to really do anything about it. Last year I tried meditating, but didn’t manage to integrate it as a regular part of my life in order to be able to benefit from it in the long term. Ironically, when trying to meditate I feel the strong urge to be doing something else, as if it is just a waste of time. Becoming more aware of this pressing need to do has lately become part of my plan to restructure my life in order to take into account my long term health, not just a few years from now, but into what would be considered old age, 40 years or so from now.

I am prioritising mental health, and physical function for the sake of my future selves, and it is clear to me now that relaxation is not only the key to my movement problem, but is the key to reversing the ill-effects and preventing other long term troubles caused by stress.

With these insights I recently did a little searching in order to find some guidance on how to become a relaxed person; someone who carries themselves with grace and ease. While there is a lot to be found in relation to mental health and wellbeing – meditate, exercise, socialise, there was little help in answering my movement-related questions.

While reading an entry in the skeptic’s dictionary I clicked a link and found myself investigating alternative physical therapies and wanted to know what exactly the Alexander Technique was. I had heard of it once or twice, and knew little except for its name, which is precisely how it still feels now, even after a little digging.

If we ignore the worryingly long list of ailments it is sometimes purported to help with, and concentrate on looking at it as a method of mind-body training for postural purposes, the Alexander Technique appears to be about re-training your muscles to work more efficiently, more importantly, to teach your muscles to relax when they are not needed.

Many people say that having a teacher of the technique is imperative, and based on the seemingly esoteric cues and descriptions often used, it’s not surprising that trying to learn alone may lead to frustration. But as some have rightly pointed out, the inventor of the technique created it himself without any guidance! So with this in mind I have set out, not to learn the Alexander Technique, but to create my own, in order to fulfil my personal needs and goals, exercising autonomy and living by my own strength.

I am not entirely in the dark though, and have some clues as to where to begin looking, firstly, thanks to the research on implicit motor learning it seems even more clearer now that efficient movement is not accomplished through conscious effort, and that explicit cueing can actually hamper learning and consequent skill retention.

Having already discovered over a decade ago the concept of imagery, and that it was something I had naturally been unconsciously using, this research illuminates in detail the mechanisms behind the effect while opening the way for new areas of interesting application.

The other inspiration on my journey is the concept of explosive power in Chinese martial arts, like Fa Jin in tai chi for example. Transitioning from a motionless state to one of full force in a split-second requires not only the ability to contract the muscles maximally and rapidly, but also to relax them just as easily. Alternating contraction and relaxation of the different muscles/groups therefore provides the basis for my relaxation method.

During my first session I experimented as follows:

– Allowing the arms to swing while walking, overly emphasising the swing followed by “blocking” a particular joint in order to alter the movement. (Shoulders loose/elbows bent, all loose, shoulder stiff/elbow loose)

– Lifting at the elbow then relaxing

– Lifting elbow then shoulder, relaxing all together

– Lifting both, relaxing one at a time (essentially focussing on one area while varying the sequence and other joints involved)

– Lifting arms to the side then relaxing (varying the movement along different axes)

– Using an outside force to move the joint through various angles and rangers

– Using the opposite hand to hold and manipulate the joint (when bending at the elbow it becomes hard to relax at end range, and harder to release the limb after a pause. This is contrary to a pulsing motion in which the limb is progressively brought closer to end range while in constant movement. Holding onto a piece of clothing makes it easier to suddenly release the limb. When flexed maximally the bicep does not release easily, and the muscle holds the arm in place.)

– Using the opposite hand to move the limb so that it comes into contact with objects in the environment. (Relaxing the fingers and wrist too)

– Being in contact with the floor/wall/object with a relaxed limb, then alternating between a contracted and relaxed state.

– Contracting/relaxing through partial ranges in a stuttering-like fashion.

– A long tense period followed by a long relaxed period

– A short tense period followed by a long relaxed period (so far, only moderate tension has been used)

– A brief experiment with the right leg, but it’s clear that the setup will need to be modified as it is too hard to hold your own leg and relax. ( The leg muscles themselves seem much more tense compared to those of the arm, or perhaps they are just physically bigger?…)

When holding the opposite limb it can be seen that the muscles themselves attempt to control the limb as it “anticipates” the movement. Slower movements may help.

Repetition and patience are needed, and it’s probably best to work on one joint at a time, and to avoid trying too many areas or variation within a session. As it is difficult to get any muscle to relax, by focussing your efforts you will see (feel) more change/improvement which is an essential motivating factor in continuing to pursue the search.

Throughout the session I focussed on what I was doing and at times casually visualised or created imagery to help me relax. I imagined the ends of my limbs (forearms) to be really dense, and thus feel heavy in the supporting hand. I imagined my arms falling to my sides as if a switch just turned them off. Another image is the thought of a tense muscle turning to liquid or becoming soft and supple like an elastic bread dough. I try to be loose about the visualisations because they must feel natural and personal in order for them to work best: there is no universal cueing standard!

My hypothesis is that perhaps there is a sort of reverse irradiation (innervation) that occurs with relaxation, meaning that once one muscle or group of muscles stops contracting unnecessarily, it makes it easier for other muscles, either adjacent or of the same limb to relax also.

I also experimented with timing my breathing to coincide with tensing (held breath) and relaxing (breathing out).

Certain movements were performed with my eyes closed in order to concentrate on feeling rather than seeing.

The Beginning

Since March 2014 I have been note-taking, idea-recording and stream-of-consciousness-brainstorming in a number of notebooks that I dedicated to this practice.  The existence of these books didn’t however stop me from doing a significant amount of writing on scraps of paper that have now an accumulated thickness of a few inches.  Whether I set out for it to become this way is unclear, but what I have been doing during this time is cultivating a practice of expressing my ideas in all of their forms, which seems to have had the effect of not only giving me more ideas, but more significantly, I think that it has improved my ability to make novel links between disparate domains and subjects.  What I should make clear though, is that I do not try to have ideas, and often actually try to block any potential sources of new information if I think they will impact my current ideas before they are expressed.  This could mean that I want to give my present opinion or take on something before being influenced by someone else’s, or that I simply have too many ideas and do not want to become overloaded, potentially resulting in nothing at all.  Having a book or at least a pen to hand has been instrumental in capturing the interesting things that float around my mind, and in addition, I have been better at holding onto that spontaneous inspiration by writing immediately or as soon as possible so as not to let the ideas escape as they often have the habit of doing if I spend too much time thinking last thing at night in bed.  Some potentially great thoughts still continue to suffer the fate of dissipating into the walls of my head somewhere, as I have the habit of having one person rational arguments (OPRAs) in my mind instead of on the paper.  For this reason I’m currently contemplating a small sound recording device, which in itself will have an effect on what, and how these things are expressed.

I had mixed feelings about creating a blog when I first put up my website as I felt that a time-stamped, chronological series of texts would give the impression that only what is most recent is relevant or interesting etc. In effect I was being overly cautious of potential reader biases, while allowing this to overshadow the positive aspects of regularly publishing and expressing the various things I habitually kept to myself.  The blog format did actually suit the way I feel, which has for a long time been that what I think or say today might not accurately reflect how I thought in the future, and moreover, that expressing, letting go and moving on was a healthy way of living not just as an artist, but as a human being.  In this sense a blog could be read as evidence of personal evolution (change), but only if it is read from the beginning and in its entirety.  In the same way that a film cannot be fully understood if we flick back and forth between channels, so too must the blog be looked at as a whole, instead of as a series of disjointed episodes that it may first appear to be.

When I first began note-taking this is how many of my ideas appeared to me, but as time has gone on I am starting (or perhaps just learning) to see how the connections make up a distinct whole with recurring themes and interests, underlying ideas and values, and greater sense of direction that had not before been apparent.  At around only three and a half years into this process I can only imagine what insights, discoveries, revelations and perspectives my future self may have ten years down the line, let alone forty or so.

So despite having published very little in the way of text/image on my website since its launch, I have nevertheless been very active in creating something, which should hopefully become more apparent with the addition of this log, to anyone with the desire to know.