May 31, 2001

anticipation is not what Iím feeling


I am so not looking forward to tonightís Big Rowersí Meeting. First of all, itís a meeting, and Iím not getting paid for it. I donít especially mind meetings (well, if theyíre reasonably productive or amusing) during the workday, but after that I am in a meeting-free mental zone. Second, it will be a big meeting, or at least should be if weíre going to get consensus, and any meeting of more than 5-6 people is useless, almost by definition. Rather, you can poll for ideas, and you can disseminate news, but you canít get anything done. Third, the people who are pushing this one are, in my opinion, a significant part of the problem (in fairness, they think the same about me) and there will be no productive way to say so. I may attempt to sneak in the idea that we should avoid forming cliques in order to build team spirit in the larger group, if I can.

A lot of this time will be spent analyzing intangibles ("How can we improve morale and make this more fun?") and the whole thing will go on twice as long as it should. Three times as long if Dr. Coach shows up. Heís a rowing coach whoís also a researcher, and tends to go into lecture mode at the catch of an oar (which, in our sport, is far more frequent than the drop of a pin).

Still, I will go, because to stay away would be to look like a non-team player and to miss any chance of doing some good, and I will attempt to keep my mouth shut as long as possible, and I will attempt to demonstrate Cheerfulness. I would insert a quote from Puddleglum, or possibly Eeyore, here, if I had the appropriate books at hand.

And there wonít even be beer.

Posted by dichroic at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

Rowing can be fun


Dammit, I just lost my whole entry. It was brilliant, really, I swear. The gist was that we had a very fun practice this morning, and I was trying to figure why it was fun, in order to offer suggestions at tonightís big rowersí meeting.

We rowed an 8+; only 7 people showed up, but luckily two juniors were there to use the ergs so we co-opted them. Yosemite Sam was a little upset at the low turnout, but I think itís because weíre about to switch back from having practice 5 days a week to MWF. I donít think it was the juniorsí presence that made the difference, though certainly if they had not been good rowers they could have kept it from being fun. One rower screwing up is enough to ruin everyone elseís practice.

We did short power pieces -- 6 x 500 meters at 80% pressure, 500 meters at a paddle. Doing power can be fun, and doing it for these short pieces is more so. Rowing to the point of exhaustion, while occasionally necessary, is Not Fun. We also did a drill, rowing with feet out of our shoes, which severs your connection to the boat during the recovery, forcing you to come up the slide slowly.

I think the amount of coaching Yosemite Sam did was also a factor. Not too much, which makes us feel weíre being nagged and not getting anywhere, nor too little, which makes us feel ignored. I think he could actually have given us a little more, but not a lot more.

Tonightís meeting is at DrunkTinaís house. Sheís a little cliquish and doenít particularly like me. (I think itís partly because sheís only 5í3", though emphatically not a lightweight, and is afraid someone will class her with me and not let her row with the "big girls". Sheís got plenty of strength, though sheís not quite as good a rower as she thinks she is, but somehow seems to think being smaller is somehow inferior.) Iím going to ask someone else to present the list of ideas we came up with the other day, on the theory that itís more important to have them listened to than for me to speak. Ben Franklin said it:

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting oneís self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be supposíd to raise oneís reputation in the smallest degree above that of oneís neighbors, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project. I therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested me to go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers of reading. In this way my affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after practisíd it on such occasions; and, from my frequent successes, can heartily recommend it. The present little sacrifice of your vanity will afterwards be amply repaid. If it remains a while uncertain to whom the merit belongs, some one more vain than yourself will be encouraged to claim it, and then even envy will be disposed to do you justice by plucking those assumed feathers, and restoring them to their right owner.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2001

More bedamned rowing angst


I donít expect to enjoy the rowersí meeting tomorrow, but I hope it will be productive. Iím so fed up with all the recent conflicts that I donít even want to row these days. I need to keep my mind on the sport itself, and not on any associated pettiness. Luckily, quite a few people seem to feel the same way, and I think changes will be made. DI has Ďretiredí from coaching the Mastersí program, and Yosemite Sam wants us to define our objectives in the class, rather than having him dictate to us. He has a busy life (career, fiancee, children), unlike DI who does nothing but coach rowing, and so doesnít want to take on responsibility that he thinks we ought to handle. I sympathize.

I found out last night that, although DI is giving the impression that he is quitting in a huff because we donít appreciate him (translation: Dichroic is a spiteful bitch), he would have had to quit coaching us now anyway. The Juniorsí class has been scheduled since march to begin rowing in the morning, at the same time as our practice, during their summer vacation. DI has always put Juniors ahead of us, so he would have been coaching them anyway. So much for his vaunted integrity.

And Iím tired of talking about DI. I have to do it at least once more, at tomorrowís meeting, but other than that, Iím going to try just to think about rowing. Itís a very pure sport: there is only one motion, and you spend all your time trying to perfect it. Physically, itís demanding and sweaty and abrasive, but if you can just let the frustration go, it can be mentally very soothing. I confess, though, that I have a hard time doing that. I tend to spend practices mouthing obscenities -- directed at my own shortcomings, not other peoplesí. Something else to work on: Zen and the art of rowing.

This all is one more reason I enjoyed the weekend; I didnít even get near water, except in the shower or in a car on a bridge. (I think we crossed th river a few more times than strictly necessary, because Mechaieh is right about her sense of directions, but we just considered it extra sightseeing. Being on vacation means never having to worry if you could have gotten there faster. Who cares? You may be in the car longer, but youíre still in good company.)

Posted by dichroic at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

attempted sleeping


This morning I slept late, if you can conceive of 6AM being defined as "late". At least I tried to sleep late. I had planned this deliberately, to allow me to have not one but two, count Ďem, two Kilt Lifter Scottish Ales at our favorite local brewpub last night at the Disgruntled Rowers Meeting (of which more anon) but I forgot to reckon with marauding alarm clocks. I should mention here that we keep two in the bedroom, each of which has a dual alarm, to allow either of us to set an alarm and be able to turn it off without having to fight through bedclothes to the other side of a king-sized mattress, and also because I tend to wake up in the middle of the night and like to see how much time I have left to sleep. Without my glasses, I canít see a clock on his side of the bed. In fact, my clock has lit-up numerals so large I can almost read by their light. Also, both of our watches have alarms, and we often use those as backup in case we forget to set the clocks.

First there was the 4:10 alarm plus matching watch alarm that T had set, since he is less self-indulgent than I and had planned to go to the gym as usual. (He goes earlier than I do because in addition to all the same lifts, he does 10000 meters on the erg. I think thatís just sick.) Then there was the 4:30 alarm T had me set after he decided to sleep in a little (I didnít count how many ales he had). Then there was the 5:30 alarm on Tís side -- I have no idea why he had that one set. Then there was, finally, the alarm at 6, when I had intended to wake up. However, it was preceded by other alarms, of the feline variety. ("Wake up! Time to feed us!") So much for sleeping in.

The Disgruntled Rowers Meeting isnít really a fair name; these were the people who are dedicated to rowing, and who are looking for real solutions to problems with coaches, vague objectives, and declining morale. Two of them were also among those DI had forwarded the nasty email to, yesterday, so a high point for me was finding out that they donít hate me. I think they thought he was being very juvenile, and itís true that his messages, included in that 5-page email, were much worse than mine. Anyway, we listed several ideas that we can bring to a bigger rowersí meeting on Thursday, so it was not only a chance to drink more beer with more kindred souls, but a productive meeting as well.

I have to run, but will write more later.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2001

nashville


OK, the day has improved. No one has said (or emailed) anything particularly nasty to me for at least the past several hours, Iíve been getting to do some work that I think is useful, and Yngvie Malmsteenís music (specifically Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra turns out to be as cool as I had thought it would be.

So now Iím in the proper frame of mind to talk about the very pleasant weekend we just spent in Nashville. I liked Nashville itself (and it didnít hurt that the weather was perfect, pleasantly cool and sunny, for most of the trip) but it was getting to hang out with Mechaieh & co. that really topped off the weekend.

We got to sample the Essence of Nashville: we encountered whiskey (the Jack Daniels distillery tour), live music (the Bluebird Cafť), pop culture (the Country Music Hall of Fame) and history (Andrew Jacksonís home, the Hermitage). Granted, we didnít ride any walking horses, so I canít say we tried the full spectrum of Tennessee, but we did get to eat homemade wontons, which is more than adequate compensation, as both of us are much better at eating wontons than riding horses, anyhow.

(Question: ďwalking horsesĒ as opposed to what? Or is this like the distinction between trotting and pacing horses?)

A potpourri of impressions: the fumes at the JD Distillery are intense; you could get drunk from breathing. Iíd been hearing about the Bluebird Cafť from my years on Alan Rowothís folk_music newsgroup, and, though Iíd never heard of any of the three songwriters playing in the round that night (Walt Wilkins, Nick Pellegrino, & Jon Randall), there was some very fine guitar work and some great songs there. (Actually, Pellegrino does sound familiar.) On the other hand, while the Flying Saucer bar looked like a good place to hang out, the seventies-song-cover guy playing there was fairly mediocre. Now, all of those guys were more in the singer-songwriter folky-guy-with-a-guitar genre; Iím not particularly fond of modern country music with the self-conscious twang and the overproduced backup, but I did like the Country Music Hall of Fame. For one thing, they dwelt more on the history than the business of Nashville music, and for another the acoustic engineering was superb. You walk in and out of speech and songs, but none of them overlap unpleasantly, and the conversation of other patrons never gets in the way. Wow. They use a very wide definition of ďcountry musicĒ which is reflected in the gift shop, so if youíre in Nashville and want to buy any CD from Hank toÖwell, not Hendrix, but at least Dylan or Queen Ida, theyíve got it. I picked up Nanci Griffithís Other Voices, Other Rooms and Other Voices, Too, which Iíd been wanting to hear. The Hermitage was interesting, but we cut it a bit short when it started raining on us.

Mechaieh and the BYM graciously fed us and drove us all over town, but we also enjoyed spending one evening at their bungalow, which has all the original wood floors, odd corners, and unexpected doors our house is so notably lacking. Itís odd (but good) meeting someone Iíve known for a couple years but never seen before. Thereís always a bit of awkwardness Ė you have plenty of common acquaintances to talk about but you never know whether to hug goodbye or how to sense what people want to talk about when. And of course there was the embarrassing bit when I missed a quote from Gaudy Night, since the Lord Peter Wimsey discussion group was where weíd met! Still, Internet communities are real communities; what a feeling of new-found friendship to have someone youíve never even talked with on the phone go so much out of their way to make your visit fun.

And this is one of the things for which I appreciate T; he was the odd one out, since Mechaieh and I were discussing everything Wimsey to Alfred Noyes to mutual acquaintances, while the BYM and his friend who was visiting from Detroit talked about cars and motorcycles and their old neighborhood. It is one of the joys of being married to him that he can deal with a situation like that, without needing me to babysit him, and can even have a good time at it. I used to babysit him anyway in situations like that, but heís convinced me itís much better to just talk about what I want to talk about, and let him find his own way into a conversation. Anyone whoís ever dated someone who couldnít be comfortable with strangers will understand.

By the way, Iím still looking for a better nom for T: ideas so far are Petrus or The Mensch. Or maybe Flyboy. Suggestions?

Oops, almost forgot to say that Mechaiehís puppy Abby is much cuter than her picture even, and that sheís so sweet that T (and I) completely fell for her. He doesnít normally even like dogs, but I believe I saw a gleam of puppy envy there.

Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

sheer ugliness


Urgghh. So far I am having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad day. With any luck, the rest of it will be better.

One reason I try not to have to work on only 6 hoursí sleep these days is that I tend to do stupid things when Iím sleep-deprived. This morning I missed the exit for rowing practice. I probably should have taken the next exit but one, but instead I took the very next one, which has no u-turn lane, and had to backtrack through half of town. Then DI announced this is his last week coaching Masters. Obviously, Iím not convinced this is a great loss, but I get the distince feeling Iím the main reason for it, which is not fair to other people. We have a meeting with several rowers tonight, when we were planning to discuss DI-related issues; I may offer to drop out of the program if people want. Itís a matter of principle, not personalities, for me. No single rower matters to a program as a coach does, even a flawed coach.

Then I got to work and found that DI had forwarded his reply to my last email to quite a few people who are no doubt wondering what all of this is about. He included several past emails in this, but his latest reply is really to an attached file from mine, so they must be confused. He also mentioned my IBS (and attributed it to "uptightness"), which is the sort of thing a coach needs to know but that I donít particularly enjoy discussing with the rest of the world. Thereís no other word for all of this but "ugly".

And all of this is a great shame because we had a very good weekend in Naashville with Mechaieh and the BYM, and I expect to have a productive week at work. Iíll talk about all of that later when Iím in a proper mood for it.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2001

structure


Iíve been thinking a lot lately about structure and creativity, because of my job. Iím fairly sure Iíve written about it here, but couldnít find the entry.

Basically, one problem with putting processes in software development is that most software developers like to think of themselves as creative people, and are afraid that formal processes will stifle that creativity. Itís true that formal processes do make each project less of a unique experience; on the other hand, if you were designing a car, youíd probably be glad to to have to recreate the tires from scratch every time. Youíd want to save your creativity for the interesting parts of the job. And itís true that even while working on a NASA project, coding for the Space Station Simulator, when I had to follow what I considered way too convoluted a process (I had to write 3 documents before I typed my first line of code) I had enormous freedom to figure out how to model a heat exchanger, say, or cavitation in a pump.

In fact, I probably should have published that pump model, because Iím not sure anyone else had ever studied the problem from that angle. Cavitation in a pump is basically banging and fluctuations caused by air bubbles. All the studies I could find were on how to avoid it, or at most, how to recognize its incipient stages. I donít know if anyone had ever had reason to design a math model of its ongoing behavior before -- one difference between building a simulator vs the real thing. (End digression. So much for structure.)

Anyway, back to structure: my two favorite analogies for its advantages are piloting and poetry. Pilots rehearse landings over and over, so normal landings are as automated as possible. They also simulate emergencies, to ingrain proper reactions in those situations. This is meant, not to make flying boring but to free a pilot to think about how to handle unpredictable facets of the situation (combat, engine fire, whatever) instead of the mundane tasks.

In poetry, the classic example of structure is the sonnet. If I had my LíEngle books on hand, Iíd quote what she wrote. I think itís in A Wrinkle in Time; the gist is that the structure is extremely rigid, but within it, the poet is free to say anything. A poet may even choose to break the rules, but does so most effectively when he or she knows what they are and breaks them knowingly.

Yesterday, rereading Anne Fadimanís Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, I found that Wordsworth had said the same thing. This would have been in one of his less verbose periods; he took 113 words to say what I did in 454 here:

NUNS fret not at their conventís narrow room;

And hermits are contented with their cells;

And students with their pensive citadels;

Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,

Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,

High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,

Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:

In truth the prison, unto which we doom

Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,

In sundry moods, Ďtwas pastime to be bound

Within the Sonnetís scanty plot of ground;

Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)

Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,

Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

confessions and headstands


True confession time:

I did not go to practice today. One problem with having IBS is that stress (read:Coach DI) is a major contributor, and thus I woke up at 3:50 AM, a mere twenty minutes before the alarm was set to drag me back in the land of the semi-coherent, with dinner clamoring in my gut. Iím not afraid of facing DI; I am afraid of being attacked by my own intestines somewhere in the middle of a race piece in the middle of a lake in the middle of practice.

T went, anyway, so at least DI had to encounter one of us. I think that heís already dealt with the concept that not everyone worships him, anyway; T says that yesterday at practice, it was decided to appoint boat captains to deal with DI. This is suppose to enhance communication. Iím not too sure how adding an extra layer (like talking to God through a priest) would aid communication, but I wasnít there so canít really complain.

I enjoyed my semi-leisurely morning so much that it was obvious I needed it. Unfortunately, I realized, a bit too late, that I was supposed to pick up forms to enter me in the Grand Canyon State Games (sort of Arizonaís own little Olympics) today. The deadline is looming, but I think I can fill them out Tuesday.

The other advantage is that without practice, I get to both sleep an extra hour and get to work early. More time in the morning let me finally find my spare tea infuser, so I could take it to work with the Republic of Tea Lemon WinterGreen* I bought the other day. Getting to work early is also a Good Thing, since I need to leave early to catch a plane to Nashville.

Everyone on our mutual list who has met her tells me I will greatly enjoy meeting Mechaieh, including Phelps, who is, I think, the only person to have encountered both of us in the flesh. Iím inclined to believe them. We had other reasons for going, of course; Nashville sounds like an interesting place and neither of us had been there. But it was Mechaiehís presence that tipped the balance to Nashville for me, instead of say, St. Louis (where we want to tour the Cessna plant) or Seattle (which T says would be better in midsummer). Too bad I have no burning desire to visit Nebraska; I would like to meet Evilena, whom I sort of think of as the third volume of the D-land trilogy. (Or the third leg of a tripod, which is more egalitarian, but I rather like the book analogy.)

In case Mechaieh reads this, I should point out that neither of us is a good enough housekeeper to notice other peopleís dustbunnies. And Phelps can vouch that while I am known to do headstands in living rooms, theyíre controlled enough that I donít cause damage on the way down. (Anyhow, thatís less likely without a ten-year-old around. I was just showing her how, I swear.)

Posted by dichroic at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2001

friction off the water

morning 2001-05-24 friction.html
friction off the water

The Continuing Saga:

Two days ago, DI sent out an email to all the coaches saying that we have a new policy: any damage to the boats caused by a coachís negligence would be the fiscal responsibility of that coach. Now, thatís a broad field; if an experienced cox runs a boat into a wall while Iím on a launch working with another boat nearby, am I negligentfor not watching more closely? Itís all in the interpretation. Several other coaches sent DI some very well-thought-out posts on why policies should be set at a coachesí meeting instead of just by him and how no other programs in our collective experience have such a policy.

T and I took a different tack. We sent a note saying, basically, "If this is the policy, we quit". We ccíd it not only to all of the coaches, but also to DIís boss at the city; after all, she signs our timesheets. (Iíll call her Unknown Legend, after the great Neil Young song about a blond woman who rides a Harley.) Technically, we work for her, not DI, so she needed to know this. As we had suspected, she knew nothing of the matter, and was a bit upset when she found out. This is, after all, a city program. Policies are set at the city level, not by individuals. She sent a message saying that there was no such policy; cases of gross negligence, such as someone wrecking a launch while drunk, would be dealt with individually, by the appropriate departments, police or whatever.

Then DIckhead sent out a message saying that he "never intended to insenuate (sic) that there was a NEW policy regarding damaged equipment" and that he was only trying to clarify existing policy. Exercise for the class: read previous paragraph to determine why this is bullshit. Also, I reread his original email, and it does, indeed, imply that he was setting a new policy.

Worse, he sent a message to me and T, saying that he was disturbed that we had gone directly to Unknown Legend, that he had done nothing to merit such disrespect, and that he had always treated us with honor and integrity, and expected the same back, but wonít again. Whew. That outraged-virgin act tipped me over the edge. I replied in the iciest, most utterly correct tone I could muster. I cited sentence and paragraph where his emails contradicted city policy, informed him that we had ccíd Unknown Legend not to get him in trouble but because she had a need-to-know, and that anyway, why would any of this be secret from the city? I told him weíd gotten this crap from him so often that we no longer believed any information he gave us, and that I had many specific examples of that (I do, too). And finally, I came out with what Iíd suppressed (to his face) and complained about (here): that his moodiness and execrable planning skills have made both rowing and coach less enjoyable for us and others, and that they contributed to the lack of turnout weíve been seeing lately. More and more people have dropped out or only showed up occasionally, and he is a prime reason, though I am quite sure he still hasnít realized that. The normally-unflappable T also sent a message, milder in tone, but stating that his recent tendency to believe the worst of everyone "is causing serious problems".

I would have preferred to do this face to face, in some ways, but this is more effective for me. In person, DIckhead just works himself into a lather, starts shouting, and wonít hear anything I say; also, itís much harder for me to cite specific instances without past emails and other writings in front of me. DI probably wonít read any of this until today. It may not help; people who are incapable of using logic are less likely to be flattened by it than to simply deny it proves anything. But at least Iíve given him the feedback he always says he wants. I may get my head ripped off and handed to me at tomorrowís practice.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2001

getting googly-eyed


I donít believe it -- I got Googled on lesbian pancakes. I believe it was the entry where I said that I donít tend to write about them, so somebodyís disappointed. Thatís ok; Iím sure they found Badsnake first and got their pancake jones satisfied.

But the even weirder hit was for "self + bondage". Whatís that about? (Aside from another disappointed reader, because I suspect Iíd written something like "Iím not into bondage, myself.") What would that look like? Do you tie yourself up and try to masturbate? Do you then taunt yourself because you canít reach the good spots? Do you flagellate yourself like a medieval monk? Do you talk dirty to yourself in the process? Imagine the dialogue: "Youíre my bitch, arenít you?" "Yes, Mistress." Very surreal, when thereís only one person in the room.)

And what do you do if youíve tied yourself up so thoroughly you canít get untied? Scream for help and deal with the embarassment? Hop down to the kitchen for a knife, dragging the headboard along? Nope, call me unimaginative, but I still canít figure this one out.

Posted by dichroic at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

rowing program people issues


Welcome to All-Rowing, all the time. At least it feels that way sometimes. This morningís practice was very good: I was in a Womenís 8, doing lots of drills, with Yosemite Sam coaching. He was clearly working hard at giving very specific feedback to each person in the boat, including positive feedback; I wasnít the only one to thank him after practice.

YSam has an intensity that scares a lot of Beginners off, but itís not out of place for the Competitive class. He sent out an e-mail yesterday, to all of us, that I thought really put himself on the line. Heís gotten a lot of complaints from Beginners and Intermediates, and, I think, misinterpreted an incident in the Fitness class yesterday; he thought people opted out of rowing under his supervision, when it was really that another person had showed up, allowing them to take a bigger boat. His email stated that heíd taken himself out of coaching the Beginners and Intermediates, and he wanted feedback on whether we thought his attitude was appropriately professional. I replied that while his intensity did scare some learners, we in the Competitive class really appreciated his knowledge and dedication. T is sending him an even more complimentary note. Maybe he doesnít belong with people just learning to row; he expects more than theyíre ready to give. But at our level, heís very good.

Which is more than I can say for DI. Too many of us are fed up with his moodiness, unreliability, and poor planning. He says he welcomes feedback, but heís more apt to take someoneís head off for it. Itís getting to the point that Iím pissed off at almost everything he says, which of course isnít right either. Several of what I think of as the core people are planning to meet on Tuesday to discuss what we can do about him. We donít want to get his kicked out; heís got a passion for the sport that has gotten quite a few people hooked on rowing and heís really put his heart in the Junior program (to the degree that I think itís hurting the Masters rowers, in fact). We need to figure out our own way to lead from within, to keep his vision but have the planning work done by those of us who can actually do it well, and to make sure weíre getting accurate information from the city about our program.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2001

weights in marn-view


So I went to the House of Torture this morning, otherwise known as my gym and now my shoulder hurts. Which is odd, because I was doing squat and stuff today to work on my legs, eh. Still, I was feeling pretty good, realizing that Iím now squatting three-quarters my weight, up from the half I started with.

There I was, feeling like a stud muffaletta, when I made my Fatal Mistake. I looked in the mirror. I was only intending to check my form, but of course the first thing I saw was the unspeakable gut bulge, not large but unmistakably there. And I think it was taunting me, letting me know a year of rowing and a few months in the gym werenít going to pry loose a lifelong companion. I think if my belly button could stick out a tongue, it would have.

Part of the Marn Birthday collaboration

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2001

Psychic twins


Either I have a psychic twin somewhere, or I donít understand how Google works. Three of my recent Google hits are:

  • maccoll joy of living
  • like meat loves salt
  • dichroic earrings

I know Iíve done those searches, but I canít imagine anyone else would. I mean, presumably there are other people interested in Ewan MacCollís song, The Joy of Living, or Si Kahnís song Like Butter Loves Bread (and youíve never heard of either, I know, which helps prove my point), and even in dichroic glass earrings, or none of those would be for sale. But how many people search Google for them?

Caveat: I think "like meat loves salt" is also from a fairy tale, similar to King Lear, when a father asks his daughters how much they love him. But still.

Dichroic glass earrings, in fact, are not only on my ears even as I type, but were on my mind when I started this diary. Hence the title.

I have no reason to think all three searches, or even any two, were from the same person. But still.

Maybe I should mention here how much I like Stan Rogers, or Edith Nesbit, or the Polly of Pebbly Pit series (girlsí books ca. 1920), or Snyders of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzels, or Dorothy Sayers (well, sheís not that obscure!) and see if any other psychic twins turn up.

Sign the guestbook, if you do.

Posted by dichroic at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

New blisters, no arugula


Rowing this morning was fun! There were 11 people present so Yosemite Sam decided to have us row an eight. (Actually, I think he was ticked that more people didnít show, but it is a Monday, after all. 4AM on a Monday morning is an ugly, ugly thing.) I offered to row a single so that one more person could row in the eight, and he happily took me up on it. For complicated reasons, Iím not technically rowing with the program when Iím in my (privately-owned) single, so I didnít get any coaching, but YSam did suggest I do the same workout as the rest of the class, 4x12 minutes at 60%, changing the rate every 4 minutes. YSam was also very careful to ask whether I needed help carrying my boat. Iím proud to say I carried it to and from the water myself (itís only 31 lbs, but a bit unwieldy at 29 feet long) but I did ask for help getting it on and off the rack -- too much risk of damaging my boat or someone elseís in the tight rack space.

Anyway, I had a very nice row all by myself in the sunrise on calm reflective water (except when the coahcing launch waked me). Of course, I was still working hard enough for this to not be the serene experience a lot of people expect rowing to be, and I have blisters on almost every finger to prove it.

We coached Beginner and Intermediate classes on both weekend days. Other than that, Saturday was mostly spent napping. On Sunday, I did some errands, including food-shopping. I ended up doing my shopping at the local high-end market, instead of my normal one, just because I was close to it. Even this one doesnít sell arugula, by the way, which is why I hate recipes containing it. They do have an impressive selection of sauces, salsa, and spice mixtures, and a decent wine aisle (at least, as far as my limited knowledge of wine can tell). I donít think itís much more expesive than a normal market if you buy normal stuff, and they did have all our regular brands, even though the selection of non-edibles was much smaller. The cost skyrockets, though, when Iím tempted to buy all the cool stuff my regualr market doesnít carry. They had the best selection from the Republic of Tea Iíve ever seen, so I indulged in a bit of that (their loose tea lasts forever, so the cost amortizes out) and some lemon-basil grilling sauce I was thinking of having over shrimp and pasta.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2001

Killer classes


Both classes this morning went....I would say Ďswimminglyí but I donít want to imply anybody fell in the lake. Our Intermediate class is pretty cool but the Beginners really ROCK! For one thing this was the 6th class (of 8) and 15 of our original 16 people showed up. Itís pretty much unheard of not to have about half the class dropped out by this point. Possibly T and I can take some credit (for not scaring them off, at least) but we had awfully good raw materials to work with. I hope a bunch of these people stay with rowing over the longer term, and end up in races and all that.

Had some trouble watching Gladiator last night, with the new laptopís DVD hooked up to the TV -- the whole setup would go black and weíd have to reboot. I think it might have been that the monitor was set to black out after 15 minutes, and went a bit paranoid trying to do that and play the movie, both at the same time. Iíve set it to "never shut off" when plugged in, and hope that will fix it.

T is off flying at the moment; time for me to do all the errands I generally donít have time for.

Bye!

Posted by dichroic at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2001

Joey and Mariaís wedding rowing classes


Joey and Mariaís Wedding was hilarious. Yosemite Sam was good in it as the priest and the Godfather but another of the rowers was even better in it, as the drunken bridesmaid Tina. She is on the extremely chesty side, and I was amazed she didnít pop out of her dress while reeling around. (Side digression: I was going to refer to her as RowerJew, as sheís been known to affect a More Jewish Than Thou attitude. However, I donít like to use a nom that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic, and I donít want to have to explain that Iím Jewish every time I refer to her. Maybe Iíll just call her Drunk Tina. Or maybe Iíll stop worrying about what people might think. Yeah, right, that will happen soon.)

All of the guys playing ushers were pretty funny and very alive, though I donít know any of them. That could change, as one of them asked one of the women (ExecuRower) with us for her phone number. We never did figure out if he was asking for real or as part of the show.

This morning was windy and rough out on the lake; we took the Intermendiates out in an eight and let them deal with it, which they did with gusto, if not with style. Itís good practice for them, both in just rowing in rougher water (which we always seem to get for regattas) and in trying not to let the extra challenge make them lose good form. It did, of course, but theyíre still new enough at this not to have consistently good form. Itís all good practice. We didnít let the beginners go out at all -- too rough for people who havennnít even done a full stroke yet. Instead, we worked with them on the ergs, and made them do calisthenics. We teach them the basic stroke on the erg before they ever go out on the water; I think itís valuable for them to try it again once they have some experience of being in a real boat. If I could have chosen, Iíd have given them one or two more days in the boat before doing this, though.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2001

Ainít Got No


Rowing this morning left me with no lungs (we raced), meetings are leaving me with no time, and a jerk on the list I manage is leaving me with no patience.

Back later.

Itís later: I had sent a note to the list-jerk yesterday, asking him to moderate his tone. This is a guy who has a ton of obscure factual information, on a list that values that, but he frequently comes across as saying, essentially, "I know all and you know dick". This has recently been annoying even some of our calmest members. Yesterdayís note to him was as tactful as I could make it -- apparently too tactful, as he was worse than ever this morning and I had two new complaints about him. I sent messages to the complainers, telling them I had tried once to rein him in and would be doing so again.

The problem: I accidentally sent one of those to the whole list. Oooops. fortunately, it wasnít pejorative in tone, except that I did refer to him using the nickname by which heís known among his unfans. ("Laptop Lad", a reference to his .sig. Not too horrid, thank whatever gods patrol the Internet.)



However, my embarrassing blunder may have been fortuitous: he certainly has shaped up this afternoon!

I must say, this list was run quite a bit more professionally before Mechaieh retired, although at least the other 300+ members are too polite to tell me so.

Tonight weíre going to see Joey and Mariaís Comedy Italian Wedding, which is basically a big Italian wedding where the audience plays the guests. Iím told itís a lot more fun when the audience gets into the spirit of things. I may pass on the Electric Slide, however.

Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2001

new laptop


Calloo! Callay!!

Iím writing this on a new laptop, instead of my 7-year-old Mac. This is the first time Iíve bought a computer all by myself -- T and I split the Mac. Itís also the first time in quite a while that my cable codem has been faster than, say, a 14.4 dialup -- the Mac has some kind of conflict we havenít been able to figure out, though it was plenty fast when we first had the cable installed.

Life is good. Not cheap, but good.

Posted by dichroic at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

every bodyís special


Gym this morning, arms. Typing isnít as difficult as I thought it would be, so I guess I could have lifted heavier weights. T and I were talking last night, and apparently I lift about half what he does, on almost every exercise. I can live with that. I was also realizing that on some exercises, Iíve doubled the weight I started out with. Not bad.

T and a lot of others keep telling me that when they work out they find they have more energy the rest of the day. Iím still waiting for that to happen. Possibly my body doesnít work that way.

Actually, one very interesting part of all this rowing and other exercising, and hanging out with others who do the same, has been finding out how differently everyoneís body seems to function. Some people prefer long steady-state pieces, in rowing; I find harder short ones much easier (and less boring). T seems to crave large amounts of protein in his diet; Iím sure that I could use more than I get, but my body seems very happy with a much higher level of carbohydrates (donít worry, a lot of those are complex carbs, in fruits or vegetables). Only very rarely do I get cravings for red meat. The other problem is that my innards are so finicky that I have to be very careful about what I eat the night before rowing. My guts donít like early mornings, anyhow, so nothing greasy or too heavy for me. T seemed to have no problem with the Cajun food we had last night but Iím glad I wasnít rowing this morning.

Mostly I go MWF and he goes TTF; weíd rather row on the same day, but more lightweight women tend to show on Mondays and Wednesdays, while his quad meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyway, we each go to the gym on non-rowing days, and our gym is still in its pre-opening phase. Theyíre only got one erg (rowing machine), which we both use for warmup. When we joined in January, the gym was supposed to be fully open by April; now theyíre telling us the grand opening is July 14. Blah. Meanwhile, we have only some of the equipment crammed into about half of what will be the full area. The major advantage to this is that it was cheap to join, and we only have a month-to-month committment. I absolutely refuse to participate in the scams some gyms run, requiring you to pay for three years up front, and sign over your firstborn child and video rights to your soul.

I thought I didnít have much to say today. Iím afraid Iíve now gone and proved that, in a distressingly large number of words.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2001

Fed up with the Coach


Busy in meetings all morning. Whew. Busy at work is definitely better than not-busy, though, by a large amount.

Practice this morning was mostly drills: pause drills, where you stop for about 3 seconds at a predefined point in the stroke and hold it, and a tricky advanced drill known for some odd reason as "cutting the cake". Pause drills depending on where you pause, can help with any number of things: quick hands away, swinging all eight bodies together, balance, clean catches, timing. We do them a lot, at every level from Intermediate on up. "Cutting the cake" consists of alternating a normal stroke, then a quick arms-only stroke with the blade in the air instead of in the water. Itís tricky to keep together, and works on timing, balance, and quick arms.

Once again, DI didnít show and we had only Yosemite Sam to work with. Not altogether a bad thing, as YSam is perfectly capable of coaching a class by himself, and has been much more pleasant to work with lately. Also, DI has probably been staying late, working with his precious Juniors. Still, though, itís not fair for DI not to show up without notice, to us or to YSam. Heís been doing that a lot lately, and between that, his uncertain temper, general irresponsibility (like not looking for chaperones for a Juniorsí regatta trip until less than a week before) and the fact that heís feeding us a lot of wrong information, I think itís getting toward time to Do Something. ĎSomethingí would probably be a meeting with his boss at the city, either with or without prior notification to DI. Unpleasant (though his boss is very nice and very interested) but it looks like it may be necessary.

Actually, his boss is very, very nice; I just got off the phone with her (on unrelated matters). She was telling me how she and her husband head up North on their motorcycles every weekend. Sheís in her mid- to late-forties, small, ashy blonde, cheerful. Picturing her on a Harley (her own, too, not riding shotgun) definitely adds a new dimension to my mental image. I love talking to cool older women, because it shows me the breadth of my possible futures.

Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2001

The best but shadows, the worst no worse


On collabs: Iíve decided not to "join" one after perusing diarist.net and realizing how many projects and idea-sparks there are out there that require no membership. Itís not that I actually mind the committment; itís that I donít like the idea of being shackled to a collab some of whose topics may not spark me. That said, hereís an entry for Ampersandís current topic:

"The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst/ are no worse, if imagination amend them." - A Midsummer Nightís Dream, William Shakespeare

Jung may have been right.

The things of old lore call out

to the deepest-buried shadows boiling

well behind our thoughts.

It is not clear; do they call out

a reaction or a selfís reflexion?

I have known Faerie feared and loved and both.

Spoken of in whispers as the Good Folk

and doors thereto sought in the hillsides

under moonlight.

And Voodoun as well:

another set of clothes for Christian saints?

or devils working evil on their dupes?

or Riders, neither good nor bad,

but caring nothing for humanity

save as a source of horses?

Puck and the phooka, manitou, mermaid,

And all the many guises of the Raven:

good or evil, mere blind power,

or just a desperate cry

that This Is Not All There Is?

Posted by dichroic at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

The Best Are But Shadows

On collabs: I've decided not to "join" one after perusing diarist.net and realizing how many projects and idea-sparks there are out there that require no membership. It's not that I actually mind the committment; it's that I don't like the idea of being shackled to a collab some of whose topics may not spark me. That said, here's an entry for Ampersand's current topic:


"The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst/ are no worse, if imagination amend them." - A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare


Jung may have been right.
The things of old lore call out
to the deepest-buried shadows boiling
well behind our thoughts.
It is not clear; do they call out
a reaction or a self's reflexion?


I have known Faerie feared and loved and both.
Spoken of in whispers as the Good Folk
and doors thereto sought in the hillsides
under moonlight.
And Voodoun as well:
another set of clothes for Christian saints?
or devils working evil on their dupes?
or Riders, neither good nor bad,
but caring nothing for humanity
save as a source of horses?


Puck and the phooka, manitou, mermaid,
And all the many guises of the Raven:
good or evil, mere blind power,
or just a desperate cry
that This Is Not All There Is?


Posted by dichroic at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

the parameters of my life: diary, gym, rowing, work

morning 2001-05-15 dgrw.html
the parameters of my life: diary, gym, rowing, work

Mechaieh is definitely right about the Sarah-and-Regina dialog. Go read it. (If youíre a guy, it counts as a Continuing Male Education credit.) I wish there were a way to list non-Diaryland diaries in the favorites here; Tomato Nation looks pretty cool. If Evilena does move her stuff to her new server, Iíll definitely set up a pitas page so I can point to it.

No rowing today: weightlifting, legs. I didnít do any lifting at all last week, but was squatting with 80 pounds today, so apparently that wasnít a problem. I will report, though, that leftover strawberries, even if you have melted chocolate and leftover whipped cream to dip them into, should probably not be considered Ďdinnerí. Especially if youíre working out the next morning.

In rowing news, I think that we, the more junior coaches are going to revolt against DIís leadership. We knew he kept contradicting himself, but T spoke with his boss at the city yesterday, and it turns out pretty much everything else heís been telling us is wrong, too. Weíll work directly with the city people wherever possible, and will probably come up with our own handout for beginners. T and I had worked a bit on this already, but DIís been promising to do one for months. Of course, heís been promising me a T-shirt to replace one I lent to someone who coxed for us in a race since November, so there you go.

I have a presentation to give at work today; itís on QA stuff, so I do hope people actually show up. Munchies will be provided, a powerful inducement.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2001

should I or shouldnít I?


Iíve been toying with the idea of joining a collaborations, and have been amazed at how many are out there:

Several require participation every month, some only most months. Storyteller asks for fiction, while some of the others will accept essays or poetry or even pictorial art. At least one, misanthropic, has no capital letters on its site, and comes complete with so many misspellings Iím not inclined to check out its archives.

I havenít joined one only because I canít quite figure out why I want to. Then again, I still canít figure out why I want to keep a journal but obviously, 95 entries and over 1000 visits on, (thanks for reading this!) I do. As Iíve said before, Iím not on an active quest to improve my writing, though Iím happy if thatís a side effect. Iím not trying to be a writer; I am one, sort of, in that a writer is a person who writes, as a rower is a person who rows, but Iím only slightly more likely to write a book than I am to compete in the Olympics.

On the other hand, obviously I enjoy writing here, or I wouldnít do so much of it; possibly I would enjoy working on a collab. And thatís certainly enough reason.

Posted by dichroic at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

oar-breaking wenches and underwear


Itís Monday, so it was distance day -- adding insult to injury. I was only in for one 20-minute piece though, and was swapped out to cox. Did 2000m on the erg at work to make up for the short workout. The most amusing part of practice was when Egret, T2 Hatfieldís sig O, broke an oar. The oars are carbon fiber, so breaking one is a synonym for sheer brutish strength (I should mention here that sheís about 5í4" and may weigh less than I do -- sheís built like the runner she is). She didnít really break the material of course -- what happened was that a screw may have been loose, so the handle snapped out of the shaft. But thatís no reason not to give her -- and T2 -- serious shit about it.

Iím still trying to come up with a more descriptive nom for T; so far "Petrus" is the best idea Iíve had, for his utter trustworthiness. Heís been considering buying a uni (unisuit -- sort of a tank top and shorts one-pieve combo, but less goofy looking than what wrestlers wear). For a guy who generally will not wear lycra, rarely wears tank tops, and almost never takes his shirt off in public except when required (say, for windsurfing) this is a big step, and he was somewhat taken aback when I pointed out that jockey shorts would show a very visible line in a uni. He is now reconsidering the options. I have a feeling that, in his usual suspenders-and-belt fashion, heíll decide to wear underwear and wear loose shorts over the uni when heís not actually rowing. At least that will hide the lines.

Iíve finally gotten some seriously study done, for a test to get a professional certification which Iím scheduled to take June 9. I would very much like to pass it first try, as I would probably have to travel to retake it.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2001

the queen of tarts


The strawberry-kiwi tarts went over well, expunging, I hope, the memory or the horrid brownies I had fed some of these people a month ago. (How, I beg to know, can brownie mix go bad?)

Anyway, the tarts were both easy and impressive and required only assembling, rather than cooking. From bottom to top: start with ice-cream cone bowls, from the supermarket. Melt some of that chocolate stuff that makes a hard shell on fruit (Dolci Frutti was the brand name) and smear some around each bowl. Whip cream -- I made a pint, but a cup would have been enough. This is not a problem, since I never mind having extra whipped cream -- I can eat it out of the bowl (or off of T, for that matter). About 4 tablespoons in each bowl seemed about right. Top with sliced strawberries and kiwi. Iíd have used raspberries and avoided all that slicing but the market didnít have any and strawberries were cheap.

In other news, I finally bought a new computer: a laptop, ordered direct from Compaq so I can get the version of Office I want without paying $600 for it. Estimated delivery is May 23, so donít expect rhapsodizing about it any time soon.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2001

Off to coach


Off to coaching, which should be fun, and a coachesí meeting, which wonít. (Meetings != fun, almost by definition.) Then chores, then margaritas and fruit tarts. Even with the coaching job, I love weekends.

Later: no, the coaching meeting wasnít fun. And I had a moment of sheer gutlessness when DI asked if we were still finding coaching fun. I replied. "Yes, the coaching is still fun." Naturally everyoneís next question was "So what isnít fun then?" but I wriggled off with a lame comment about how waking up at 4 always sucks. After all, a large part of my discontent is that DI keeps making comments that make it sound like my rowing sucks. Though I donít believe in that summation, the individual things heís talking about are true (based on what I can tell and some feedback from T, who was coxing yesterday). And though DI could be a lot more helpful, the problems with my rowing are my own and not a fault of any other coaches. (Of course, then there are the other annoyances from DI, but I just didnít feel like getting into them.)

Meanwhile, I am assembling strawberry-kiwi tarts to take over T2 Hatfieldís later on. Yum.

Posted by dichroic at 07:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2001

wild weekend and a better way to travel


The weekend is approaching....yeee-haaa! Time for some serious dissipation. We may go to the gym or food-shopping tonight -- out of the house after work, that counts as dissipation, right?

Time also for all that stuff I canít eat before rowing. I might be really crazy tonight and have some (gasp) popcorn. I had greasy junk food for lunch today. And tomorrow, weíre going over T2 Hatfieldís to hang out and drink margaritas. Iím gonna have me a ("a" as in "one") drink! Only one, because I still have to coach at 7AM Sunday. Tequila and waking up early donít mix well for me. Hits me in the gut -- Iíll be glad in some future science-fictiony time when someone has figured out how to put bathrooms in our rowing shells. This will probably be after they put them in cars, which would also be nice.

Just imagine the 5-hour Phoenix to LA trip, say, when we get the cars SF writers have been telling us about for years. Hereís how I picture it:

==wavy fadeout here==

Dichroic and T load up the car and get in. While he programs the destination, she stacks up the CDs. They make a quick stop to pick up some friends, then settle in to the comfortable armchairs around a table, while the autopilot sets a course. The car battery has been charging overnight, and no fueling stop is needed. They draw the curtains -- the sunís a little too bright and theyíve seen this scenery too many times. One person reclines his seat and puts on a noise canceling headset and is soon asleep. Everyone else grabs a beer or a coke, and talks or reads. For while, two people play a video game. The trip is smooth enough (the car is hovering) that reading causes no queasiness.

After a while, Dichroic asks, "Anyone want some popcorn?" The answer is affirmative, and she tosses a bag in the microwave (yes, itís microwave popcorn and I prefer the real stuff, but you canít expect all the comforts of home on the road. An hour later, the beer has an effect on Dichroic - she says, "Scuse me" and worms into the tiny closet in back. She comes out in a minute, looks out the window, and says, "Weíre passing through Quartzite now -- about halfway there." She leans on T and falls asleep.

==fade back in== Of course, youíd have the option of manual control of the vehicle, off the major highways, and of looking outside when youíve got less boring scenery.

Doesnít that sound like a better way to travel?

Posted by dichroic at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

Sport bra rants


Rowing this morning was supposed to be 6x 10 minutes at 80%, but we ended up cutting it slightly short because someone was taken ill. Not sure of the details because I was in the other end of the boat, but she was bad enough to need someone to drive her home. T and I talked about it, and decided Yosemite Sam probably did the right thing getting us off the water early, because someone needed to stay with the sick rower and it was safer not to have to divide his attention. Because coaches need feedback too, I told him (YSam) today that if heíd been making an effort to be more positive while coaching, it was definitely noticeable. He seemed to take that as the compliment I intended.

In the boat this morning, I started thinking about how many women wear two sports bras, or a bra under a tight supportive shirt. Why is that? I mean, itís not like those puppies are squirming around and trying to escape. Obviously, some just need the extra support -- there are bras that are supposed to provide enough support for aanyone but Iím sure theyíre not cheap, so it might be more cost effective to wear two old ones. But what about the rest of the women, those without, um, unusually large support requirements? Rowing is not exactly a high-impact sport -- boats donít bounce. And with summer temperatures approaching, some of those double-layered outfits look pretty damned hot.

Next question: why canít someone build a sports bra that doesnít chafe under the arms? Youíd think it would be obvious that they would be worn during exercise (that is, while the wearer is moving a lot) and that women who exercise are quite likely to build up shoulder and pectoral muscles. The worst was the one I wore Tuesday, from Moving Comfort. They were so careful to build the thing so that there would be no seams against the skin, but they left a bump at the top of one external seam that left a welt so painful I had to tape it for Wednesdayís row. Maybe itís because they design for runners, who donít have to move their arms as much or as close to the body. Or maybe it was a brilliant idea that wasnít thoroughly tested in the real world.

My rock-climbing bra works better, because itís cut much lower on the sides, away from the underarms. It also almost makes me look like I have cleavage, but really, I swear, thatís not why I like it. The sad thing is that a lined top I have from Regatta Sport, designed for rowing, mind you, also cuts into my underarms whenever I wear it for actual rowing. Whatever were they thinking? Rowing women have shoulders, and a company designing clothes for us should know that. Maybe Iíll just give up on the actual bras and just try some tight tank tops. After all, itís not like support is an issue here -- though I may regret that when we jog up after taking oars down to the water. Or I could use it as a reason not to jog. Much better idea.

By the way, am I imagining this, or are half the women who journal on D-land all menstruating at the same time? Yes, moi aussi. I seem to have been reading an awful lot about bleeding in the past few days.

Posted by dichroic at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2001

Self-destructing antiperspirant, pretzels, and the usual rowing

morning 2001-05-10 antipersp.html
Self-destructing antiperspirant, pretzels, and the usual rowing

Rowing today was mostly drills again (Mon/Tues=distance, Wed/Thur=drills, Fri=speed work) but today was sort of amusing. Picture me, all 5í1" and 118 pounds of me, in bow seat, with seven other people in the boat ranging from about 160 to about 220 pounds. No wonder my catches werenít great -- I wouldnít be surprised if I was actually sitting up in the air part of the time.

On the "making rowing more fun" request yesterday, I suspect a lot of people asked for more positive feedback, and to mix the stronger rowers in with everyone else, instead of always letting the 4 best of the guys go off in a quad. DI was clearly trying to be a bi more upbeat today, and T and his usual quad were in the eight with us (as opposed, say, to having a Menís Quad and a Mixed Four).

I should tell Phelps that there is one thing more frustrating than a Food Trudge: that would be not having time to do a Food Trudge, and having to put it, along with everythign else, off to the weekend. Because of having to go to bed so soon after getting home from work, it takes me two freakiní nights to do a couple loads of laundry. I was able to make a quick stop at the local drugstore to stock up on a couple of things I couldnít wait until the weekend to buy. One of these was antipersperant (yes, itís a necessity -- theyíre predicting a high of 105 again here today), which I had to replace after the old one self-destructed in my gym bag. The odd thing is that the lid was on, yet the tiny remaining bit of waxy white stuff was strewn across the front panel and in the pockets of the gym bag. Iím still not sure how it escaped. Antiperspirant and hair gel are the two hardest things to clean out of the crevices of your stuff.

The major disadvantage of going to the drugstore instead of the supermarket is that they donít carry much in the way of pretzels. I donít function well for long without pretzels. (They are one of the major food groups, right?) There are some other brands I like that seem to be sold only on the East Coast, but the best-tasting kind you can get out here are Snyders of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzels. If I quit keeping a box in my desk drawer, Iíd probably lose 5 pounds in a month. Luckily for me, Iím not trying to lose 5 pounds. Mmmmmmmmm.

Posted by dichroic at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2001

Notoriety


Notoriety has hit. Iíve been mentioned in Badsnakeís journal.

Iíve also gotten another Google hit; this one was for "Episcopalian wedding readings". Which leaves me wondering which of my readers would be more confused: the engaged Episcopalian or the person looking for the local sex-toy shop? Hell, maybe itís the same person, planning for the honeymoon after the Episcopalian wedding.

So hereís my take on both: yes, the Castle is fairly clean and not too sleazy, and you do see both men and women there, not to mention some extremely amusing windup toys. And for the wedding, I implore you, skip the overdone Corinthians bit. If you want Shakespeare, admit some impediments to the marriage of true minds and find a less-known sonnet -- preferably, one that admits that love can change and grow. (I like "My mistressí eyes are nothing like the sun", but that may be too realistic for the idealism of a wedding.) Or use something of Donneís. (I like "Busy old fool, unruly sun", but saying that you didnít want to get out of bed to be there, on your wedding day, is probably not the best way to make pleasant memories for the distant relatives.)

To come back full circle: I thought of mentioning the correspondence between Badsnakeís descriptions and coxing a race to some of the other rowers, but somehow, itís not the easiest conversation to start at 5 AM ("Hey, everybody, I was reading this polyamorous lesbianís journal and she was writing about why she likes whips and handcuffs, and you know, itís just like what we do!" Pause to define "polyamorous".)

Actually, almost no conversation is easy to start at 5AM, except those revolving around sleep or the lack thereof.

Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

rowing, bondage, and other sex


Practice today was mostly drills, as expected on a Wednesday. I got swapped out into the launch for half of it. While riding there with DI and Yosemite Sam, I got the only feedback they gave me today, and it was conflicting, not to mention the complete opposite of what YSam told me yesterday. Possibilities: a) DI doesnít like me and it shows in his opinions; b) DI didnít look at me today and is just repeating the last thing he noticed, which would have to be a few weeks ago; c) YSam was on Ecstacy yesterday and thatís why he was so nice; d) I really didnít have good body control today even though I did yesterday, possibly because of fighting to keep the boat set during the drills we were doing. Probably d). Sigh.

After practice, DI asked us to email him one suggestion to make practice more fun Ė he even said we could do it anonymously. Ha. If I emailed him anonymously there would be a hell of a lot more than one suggestion. Man, am I tempted.

Reading Badsnakeís entry yesterday struck a nerve. That sort of shocked me, because she was talking about the reason she and Sara are so into BDSM, something in which Iíve never really had much interest. What she said, though, was an exact, precise analogy to coxing a four or n eight in a race; the rowers are in quite a bit of pain, but you know they deeply want to get the fastest time of which theyíre capable. Itís the coxswainís job to help them dig down, fight through the pain, and pull out whatever theyíve got in them.

That last phrase is unfortunately evocative of the time I got puked on during a race.

In slightly related news, yesterday the governor of my state signed a bill that repeals the ďarchaic sex lawsĒ. It is now legal in this state to engage in oral sex, sodomy, and other non-procreational sex, and to cohabitate outside marriage. Opponents claimed that repealing the law would hurt the family, which I donít quite understand. Did they think that if anal sex was illegal, all the gay men who were doing it would go off and find women and happily make babies instead? (In the missionary position only, presumably.) Or that heterosexual couples who had oral sex were less likely to conceive? Very strange. Anyway, yíall can come have sex in our state now. In any position you want.

Posted by dichroic at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2001

rowing, bondage, and other sex

Practice today was mostly drills, as expected on a Wednesday. I got swapped out
into the launch for half of it. While riding there with DI and Yosemite Sam, I got
the only feedback they gave me today, and it was conflicting, not to
mention the complete opposite of what YSam told me yesterday. Possibilities: a)
DI doesn’t like me and it shows in his opinions; b) DI didn’t look at me today and
is just repeating the last thing he noticed, which would have to be a few weeks
ago; c) YSam was on Ecstacy yesterday and that’s why he was so nice; d) I really
didn’t have good body control today even though I did yesterday, possibly because
of fighting to keep the boat set during the drills we were doing. Probably d).
Sigh.

After practice, DI asked us to email him one suggestion to make
practice more fun Ė he even said we could do it anonymously. Ha. If I emailed him
anonymously there would be a hell of a lot more than one suggestion. Man, am I
tempted.

Reading href="http://badsnake.diaryland.com/010508_83.html">Badsnake’s entry yesterday
struck a nerve. That sort of shocked me, because she was talking about the reason
she and Sara are so into BDSM, something in which I’ve never really had much
interest. What she said, though, was an exact, precise analogy to coxing a four or
n eight in a race; the rowers are in quite a bit of pain, but you know they deeply
want to get the fastest time of which they’re capable. It’s the coxswain’s job to
help them dig down, fight through the pain, and pull out whatever they’ve got in
them.

That last phrase is unfortunately evocative of the time I got
puked on during a race.

In slightly related news, yesterday the
governor of my state signed a bill that repeals the "archaic sex laws". It is now
legal in this state to engage in oral sex, sodomy, and other non-procreational
sex, and to cohabitate outside marriage. Opponents claimed that repealing the law
would hurt the family, which I don’t quite understand. Did they think that if anal
sex was illegal, all the gay men who were doing it would go off and find women and
happily make babies instead? (In the missionary position only, presumably.) Or
that heterosexual couples who had oral sex were less likely to conceive? Very
strange. Anyway, y’all can come have sex in our state now. In any position you
want.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Rowing in the twilight zone

Help! My coach has been abducted by aliens!

Do you remember the
storyline in the old Bloom County comic strip where Steve Dallas got abducted by a
spaceship and returned a different person, as if he'd had Alan Alda's personality
grafted into his body? It was sort of like that.

Coach DI didn't
show up this morning, and we had a fairly small turnout -- just Yosemite Sam, a
Mixed Eight and a Men's Quad. This morning's workout wasn't too heinous; 2x20
minutes at 60% plus 1 10-minute piece, also at 60%. It would have been 3
twenties, but we ran out of time. (I almost said the workout was fairly easy, but
then got up and walked to the restroom; from the lead weight of my legs, and the 5
blisters on my hands, it wasn't all that light.) We got on the water on time; one
of Y. Sam's virtues is punctuality.

Sam split his time evenly
between the two boats, which in itself is unusual (the Men's Quad generally gets
very little coaching, presumably on the theory that they're good enough to correct
themselves), but the really spooky thing was that he said very little. He made a
few comments about hand heights and timing, and one joke with our coxswain, but
that was it. T said, "He followed us for a while and I've never seen Sam go so
long without saying anything." Even odder than that, he complimented us -- he
told us we were doing very well, and when I asked if my body control is getting
better, he told me it was and that the only flaw is that I was looking around too
much. (Well, I was, and only part of it was because I nee to start wearing
sunglasses now that the sun rises early in our practice.) But it was ....
spooky.

Now, don't get me wrong; I am not complaining. Most of
the things Y. Sam did this morning are things we've all wanted our coaches to do
for some time: getting us on and off the water on time, so we can have a full
practice and still not get to work late; paying attention to all boats out there;
telling us what we're doing right. Also, he spoke privately to one rower about
something she'd been doing wrong, off the water so he could explain something
complex, and not at top volume in front of everybody. She’s still fairly new at
this and that was the perfect way to handle it. But it was downright strange to
have Sam so quiet. It was a very good practice, but not uniformly outstanding, and
there were certainly some things he could have corrected.

One
possibility is that it was deliberate; sometimes rowers start to tune out if a
coach makes too many comments, so it can be good, during steady-state distance
pieces, to be quiet and let people try to fix their own failings. T and I, when
our classes get a bit farther along, like to do lots of drills Saturday then just
let people row on Sunday. So maybe he was quiet on purpose.

But it
was still spooky.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Rowing in the twilight zone


Help! My coach has been abducted by aliens!

Do you remember the storyline in the old Bloom County comic strip where Steve Dallas got abducted by a spaceship and returned a different person, as if heíd had Alan Aldaís personality grafted into his body? It was sort of like that.

Coach DI didnít show up this morning, and we had a fairly small turnout -- just Yosemite Sam, a Mixed Eight and a Menís Quad. This morningís workout wasnít too heinous; 2x20 minutes at 60% plus 1 10-minute piece, also at 60%. It would have been 3 twenties, but we ran out of time. (I almost said the workout was fairly easy, but then got up and walked to the restroom; from the lead weight of my legs, and the 5 blisters on my hands, it wasnít all that light.) We got on the water on time; one of Y. Samís virtues is punctuality.

Sam split his time evenly between the two boats, which in itself is unusual (the Menís Quad generally gets very little coaching, presumably on the theory that theyíre good enough to correct themselves), but the really spooky thing was that he said very little. He made a few comments about hand heights and timing, and one joke with our coxswain, but that was it. T said, "He followed us for a while and Iíve never seen Sam go so long without saying anything." Even odder than that, he complimented us -- he told us we were doing very well, and when I asked if my body control is getting better, he told me it was and that the only flaw is that I was looking around too much. (Well, I was, and only part of it was because I nee to start wearing sunglasses now that the sun rises early in our practice.) But it was .... spooky.

Now, donít get me wrong; I am not complaining. Most of the things Y. Sam did this morning are things weíve all wanted our coaches to do for some time: getting us on and off the water on time, so we can have a full practice and still not get to work late; paying attention to all boats out there; telling us what weíre doing right. Also, he spoke privately to one rower about something sheíd been doing wrong, off the water so he could explain something complex, and not at top volume in front of everybody.Sheís still fairly new at this and that was the perfect way to handle it. But it was downright strange to have Sam so quiet. It was a very good practice, but not uniformly outstanding, and there were certainly some things he could have corrected.

One possibility is that it was deliberate; sometimes rowers start to tune out if a coach makes too many comments, so it can be good, during steady-state distance pieces, to be quiet and let people try to fix their own failings. T and I, when our classes get a bit farther along, like to do lots of drills Saturday then just let people row on Sunday. So maybe he was quiet on purpose.

But it was still spooky.

Posted by dichroic at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2001

Spring in the desert

This is a time of year when I get restless being cooped up indoors. It's a
pleasure whenever I have to go to one of our other buildings, just to be outside
and stretch my legs, and feel the breeze and smell the fresh-cut grass and the
carefully tended flowers and even the new asphalt. Though very pretty, it's not as
satisfying, in this highly landscaped office park, as being out in the desert and
smelling sage and dust and creosote bushes. Still, it's outside, though in
a more artificial rendition.

It's already too hot for perfection, not
the perfect temperatures we get earlier in the year. That just adds to the rush to
be outside right now, to enjoy the time we have left to be out among the
unstippled blue skies and all the shades of earth before the desert turns into the
kiln that it is in June, our hottest month, and then glowers with the sullen
sweaty heat and spectacular lightning-and-dust storms of July and August that
bring such a brief bit of cooler air.

I read something recently that
described the 'uniform browns' of the Arizona desert. Either the writer had never
been here, or she didn't stay long enough to learn to see the desert. It does take
some acculturation to learn to see the desert properly. The Sonoran is very lush
as deserts go, not with the bright green of Southern swamps or the calmer green of
Northern forests, but with a more subtle mix of shades from true green to olive to
yellow-green.

Our landscaping plants, at least in places that don't
have their own full-time gardeners, are different, too. Right now, among the
houses, the jacaranda trees are in full lavender bloom. They're coming to the end
of their short blooming cycle, so now there are contrasting green leaves among the
flowers and the trees look like Mardi Gras beside the yellow blooms of the
paloverdes. (At least I think they're paloverdes.) The saguaro, always last of
the cactus to bloom, all have their buds on top that always make me think of hair
sticking up on a head. I can see three different kinds of flowers from my desk at
work, and there's a bird that occasionally stops on the outside of my windowsill.
I can just barely hear him singing through the window. At home we have mourning
doves, strange gray and pink birds whose babies have miraculously survived their
parents' pitiful attempts at nest-building on our narrow porch beam this year.
They're flying a bit now, so I think they'll make it.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Long Beach, Legba, and Thrush Green

Back from Long Beach. It was a fairly quiet weekend, as there were only 6 of us
there -- the four guys in the quad, me, and the wife of one of the other guys.
The Masters' race was only a half-day, following a Juniors' race in the morning.
It didn't seem to be all that well-publicized, but was fairly well-run, with every
race, unusually, going off exactly on time.

Glossary:

Juniors: high school-aged, as opposed to collegiate.

Masters:
was 27 and older, but has now added a 21-26 age
range.

I don't quite understand why T2 Hatfield was
obsessing the whole time about whether he wasn't good enough and was holding the
rest of the crew back. He's been rowing only about a year, but has decent form, a
lot of strength, and quite a bit of determination. It's true that one of the other
guys in the boat -- who rowed in college -- is stronger, but T and T2 are a very
well-matched pair in both ability and attitude. Especially in the pair, an
extremely finicky boat, that can be more important than raw strength or even
skill.

T2 seems to be getting very serious about his
girlfriend, another rower. I'm glad to see that, because he reminds me very
strongly of my best friend from college, Gymrat. Gymrat, like T2, concealed a very
kind heart under sharp spiny sarcasm. Unfortunately, he's become bitter over the
years, largely due to an involuntary celibacy. Now he's given up on women, turned
to the pursuit of money, and become an "I got mine" sort of Republican (he used to
be more of a Libertarian Republican). I have a hard time talking to him these
days, which makes me very sad. I still keep trying, at least partly out of
gratitude because he listened to me during my first heartbreak, when almost no one
else would. Anyway, however this relationship works out, I'm hoping that just the
routine presence of a woman in his life will protect T2 from that sort of
bitterness.

Amazon came through for me, delivering my
books a bare half-hour before we left. I spent a lot of time reading this weekend
(the races were approximately 3 minutes long, with at least 10 minutes between!)
alternating between a strange mix of Many Wade Wellman's Third Cry to Legba
and Miss Read's Thrush Green.

Legba is a
collection of some of Wellman's John Thunstone and Corbett stories, which I had
never read. Like his Silver John stories, which I love, the Thunstone stories
(originally published in pulps like Weird Tales), display Wellman's knowledge of
folklore. In both series, also, some of the characters, like folklorist and banjo
player Bascomb Lamar Lunsford, were real people. The Silver John stories are all
set in the Appalachians; the John Thunstone stories, mostly set in the diversity
of New York city, more clearly display the breadth of Wellman's knowledge of myth
and legend. His portrayal of voodoo as unavoidably evil bothers me --I'm more
comfortable with Barbara Hambly's depiction of it as power than can be used
according to the will of the worshipper -- but there are sympathetic portrayals of
the American Indian and Inuit religions. All of Wellman's stories are occult,
though I wouldn't class them as horror stories. For one thing, good always
wins.

Thrush Green is a complete contrast: one
idyllic May Day in the life of a Cotswalds village. Oddly, it's set in the 1950s,
though written in the 1980s; the time shift shows in the wearing of hats and
dresses, in the horse-drawn caravans of a traveling fair, and in a somehow more
innocent feel than I think would be credible, even in a village, today. href="http://phelps.diaryland.com">Phelps is a big fan of Miss Read and had
recommended her. I had once read a pleasant, odd little book, about some time in a
small English village during which nothing much happened, from the small library
of a hotel where we stayed for a few days in London. I thought it might be from
the same series, but wasn't sure until I encountered Dotty Harmer, source of
"Dotty's Collywobbles", an herbalist who is always making potions for her friends,
with the best intentions, that invariably lead to food poisoning. She rather
reminds me of one of the members of Charlotte MacLeod's Grub and Stakers, though
the latter has somewhat better results.

I ended up
switching back and forth between the two books; despite the contrast, my weekend
was the better for it.

Posted by dichroic at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Spring in the desert


This is a time of year when I get restless being cooped up indoors. Itís a pleasure whenever I have to go to one of our other buildings, just to be outside and stretch my legs, and feel the breeze and smell the fresh-cut grass and the carefully tended flowers and even the new asphalt. Though very pretty, itís not as satisfying, in this highly landscaped office park, as being out in the desert and smalling sage and dust and creosote bushes. Still, itís outside, though in a more artificial rendition.

Itís already too hot for perfection, not the perfect temperatures we get earlier in the year. That just adds to the rush to be outside right now, to enjoy the time we have left to be out among the unstippled blue skies and all the shades of earth before the desert turns into the kiln that it is in June, our hottest month, and then glowers with the sullen sweaty heat and spectacular lightning-and-dust storms of July and August that bring such a brief bit of cooler air.

I read something recently that described the Ďuniform brownsí of the Arizona desert. Either the writer had never been here, or she didnít stay long enough to learn to see the desert. It does take some acculturation to learn to see the desert properly. The Sonoran is very lush as deserts go, not with the bright green of Southern swamps or the calmer green of Northern forests, but with a more subtle mix of shades from true green to olive to yellow-green.

Our landscaping plants, at least in places that donít have their own full-time gardeners, are different, too. Right now, among the houses, the jacaranda trees are in full lavender bloom. Theyíre coming to the end of their short blooming cycle, so now there are contrasting green leaves among the flowers and the trees look like Mardi Gras beside the yellow blooms of the paloverdes. (At least I think theyíre paloverdes.) The saguaro, always last of the cactus to bloom, all have their buds on top that always make me think of hair sticking up on a head. I can see three different kinds of flowers from my desk at work, and thereís a bird that occasionally stops on the outside of my windowsill. I can just barely hear him singing through the window. At home we have mourning doves, strange gray and pink birds whose babies have miraculously survived their parentsí pitiful attempts at nest-building on our narrow porch beam this year. Theyíre flying a bit now, so I think theyíll make it.

Posted by dichroic at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

Long Beach, Legba, and Thrush Green


Back from Long Beach. It was a fairly quiet weekend, as there were only 6 of us there -- the four guys in the quad, me, and the wife of one of the other guys. The Mastersí race was only a half-day, following a Juniorsí race in the morning. It didnít seem to be all that well-publicized, but was fairly well-run, with every race, unusually, going off exactly on time.

Glossary:

Juniors: high school-aged,as opposed to collegiate.

Masters: was 27 and older, but has now added a 21-26 age range.

I donít quite understand why T2 Hatfield was obssessing the whole time about whether he wasnít good enough and was holding the rest of the crew back. Heís been rowing only about a year, but has decent form, a lot of strength, and quite a bit of determination. Itís true that one of the other guys in the boat -- who rowed in college -- is stronger, but T and T2 are a very well-matched pair in both ability and attitude. Especially in the pair, an extremely finicky boat, that can be more important than raw strength or even skill.

T2 seems to be getting very serious about his girlfriend, another rower. Iím glad to see that, because he reminds me very strongly of my best friend from college, Gymrat. Gymrat, like T2, concealed a very kind heart under sharp spiny sarcasm. Unfortunately, heís become bitter over the years, largely due to an involuntary celibacy. Now heís given up on women, turned to the pursuit of money, and become an "I got mine" sort of Republican (he used to be more of a Libertarian Republican). I have a hard time talking to him these days, which makes me very sad. I still keep trying, at least partly out of gratitude because he listened to me during my first heartbreak, when almost no one else would. Anyway, however this relationship works out, Iím hoping that just the routine presence of a woman in his life will protect T2 from that sort of bitterness.

Amazon came through for me, delivering my books a bare half-hour before we left. I spent a lot of time reading this weekend (the races were approximately 3 minutes long, with at least 10 minutes between!) alternating between a strange mix of Many Wade Wellmanís Third Cry to Legba and Miss Readís Thrush Green.

Legba is a collection of some of Wellmanís John Thunstone and Corbett stories, which I had never read. Like his Silver John stories, which I love, the Thunstone stories (originally published in pulps like Weird Tales), display Wellmanís knowledge of folklore. In both series, also, some of the characters, like folklorist and banjo player Bascomb Lamar Lunsford, were real people. The Silver John stories are all set in the Appalachians; the John Thunstone stories, mostly set in the diversity of New York city, more clearly display the breadth of Wellmanís knowledge of myth and legend. His portrayal of voodoo as unavoidably evil bothers me --Iím more comfortable with Barbara Hamblyís depiction of it as power than can be used according to the will of the worshipper -- but there are sympathetic portrayals of the American Indian and Inuit religions. All of Wellmanís stories are occult, though I wouldnít class them as horror stories. For one thing, good always wins.

Thrush Green is a complete contrast: one idyllic May Day in the life of a Cotswalds village. Oddly, itís set in the 1950s, though written in the 1980s; the time shift shows in the wearing of hats and dresses, in the horse-drawn caravans of a traveling fair, and in a somehow more innocent feel than I think would be credible, even in a village, today. Phelps is a big fan of Miss Read and had recommended her. I had once read a pleasant, odd little book, about some time in a small English village during which nothing much happened, from the small library of a hotel where we stayed for a few days in London. I thought it might be from the same series, but wasnít sure until I encountered Dotty Harmer, source of "Dottyís Collywobbles", an herbalist who is always making potions for her friends, with the best intentions, that invariably lead to food poisoning. She rather reminds me of one of the members of Charlotte MacLeodís Grub and Stakers, though the latter has somewhat better results.

I ended up switching back and forth between the two books; despite the contrast, my weekend was the better for it.

Posted by dichroic at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2001

Cast List

Whoís Who

Rudder: my husband. Life-partner is a truer description. Known as T in early entries.

At rowing:

T2 Hatfield: Tís rowing partner. Egretís husband. Occasional triathlete. Now parents of AR and OG.

Egret: lightweight rower, distance runner, and T2ís wife. Now parents of AR and OG.

Oldtimer: rows with both city and club.

Hardcore: lightweight rower. My size but made of whipcord and barbed wire, has four kids (one of whom also rowed for a bit), tattoos, and piercings.

Queue: former local rower/coach, now off in Connecticut.

She-Hulk: not really hulking at all, but was the only non-lightweight in a competitive Womenís Four, with me, Egret, Hardcore, and another lightweight.

The Judge, OregonCoach, ErgChamp, BinerTat: Various other rowers. Unknown Legend: the woman at the city who runs the program. Named for the Neil Young song.

Dr. Bosun: rows for the club program, doees a little coaching, and fixes all the club boats. Liked by everyone, me included.

AussieCoach: coaches the clubís morning competitive masters program, or at least thatís the theory.

Yosemite Sam: coach who works with the city Mastersí Competitive rowing group.

Coach Di: former head coach for my rowing program. Knows rowing, but no organizational skills. Now running a juniors program.


Online:

Evilena: diarist, list moderator, budding nonprofit administrator (I bet) and stitcher extraordinaire

Mechaieh: diarist, fellow Wimseyphile, and poet

She who was once Phelps: diarist, writer, mother, educational crusader. Extremely sane despite her Melville addiction.


Caerula: diarist, list moderator, quilter, stepmom and Mom-to-be someday


Genibee:diarist, list member, and art historian


Mistress Sinister: supervillainness and playwright extraordinaire

Others:

Gymrat: my best friend from college. Not from Israel, but fits the description of \"sabra\".


My Brother the Writer: what I said.


Homer: another former coworker. Mmmm....beer.....


Lcubed:College friend and boyfriend, in that order. One of the first people to give me the ideas there were Other Ways to Live than the one Iíd grown up with.


Alice: as in Dilbert. Homerís wife, but definitely not a Marge.


Harpman and Lo J: friends from way back. I used to babysit their kids and they helped me survive the usual trauma of adolescence with my sanity (such as it is) intact.


College Roommate: one of the few people Iíd regard as intimidatingly smart, but fortunately she uses her powers to do Good. Now mother of Perfect Baby (just ask her).

Posted by dichroic at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2001

Long Beach, day before regatta


Iím currently in Long Beach CA, for a regatta -- T is racing, not me. His quad is the only boat entered from our club, so there arenít too many people for me to hang around with while theyíre on the water.

Unfortunately, the race is scheduled on Sunday instead of Saturday, presumably because some other event was using the marine stadium today. Long Beach has a great course, but seems to have some organization problems. Thereís a juniorsí race in the morning, which is supposed to be over at 11, but all of the locals sound convinced that itíll probably wind up around one. Which means that the menís quadís 3PM race will probably not be over until 5, at which point weíll have to drive the 6 hours back home. Sigh. Maybe Iíll row Tuesday instead of Monday.

Posted by dichroic at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Long Beach, day before regatta

I'm currently in Long Beach Ca, for a regatta -- T is racing, not me. His quad is
the only boat entered from our club, so there aren't too many people for me to
hang around with while they're on the water.

Unfortunately, the
race is scheduled on Sunday instead of Saturday, presumably because some other
event was using the marine stadium today. Long Beach has a great course, but
seems to have some organization problems. There's a juniors' race in the morning,
which is supposed to be over at 11, but all of the locals sound convinced that
it'll probably wind up around one. Which means that the men's quad's 3PM race will
probably not be over until 5, at which point we'll have to drive the 6 hours back
home. Sigh. Maybe I'll row Tuesday instead of Monday.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2001

bubbles, wind, and trees

I was thinking of writing more about soap bubbles, and realized there was nothing
I could think of to say about them that wasn’t trite. Yes, they’re pretty and
fragile; yes, they reflect rainbows; yes, they combine together, yes, they hover
in the air. On further thought, though, they don’t really hover. Try blowing them
indoors (like in your office!) and you’ll see that they sink fairly quickly. I
usually think of them as floating indefinitely because I’m used to blowing them
outside, and there’s almost always at least a bit of a breeze to hold them up
longer Ė they’re so light that even a whisper will do it. Soap bubbles depend on
the wind for support.

That made me think of trees. Down near Tucson
is Biosphere 2; it used to show up in the news a lot, a few years ago when there
were people sealed inside. There are no permanent residents now, but there are
still several complete ecosystems, including even a small "ocean" contain in what
is essentially a very large terrarium. It’s interesting to tour around the
outside; there are also exhibits and some greenhouses and other experiments. There
was one factor Biospere 2’s designers forgot to plan for Ė there is no wind inside
that glass bubble. The trees and other large plants in there grew without any
horizontal stresses to resist. With nothing to resist, there were fewer
constraints on their growth.

As a result, they are very odd-looking; tall
and spindly, thinner than usual, with limbs sticking out and curving in every
direction. Designers there have had to figure out a way to create an artificial
wind, to foster normal growing conditions for the enclosed
plants.

I’m fairly sure there’s a moral here, and an application to
humans, but I’m not entirely sure what it is. Maybe we just all need something to
resist, in order to grow and move as we’d like to?

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

bubbles, wind, and trees


I was thinking of writing more about soap bubbles, and realized there was nothing I could think of to say about them that wasnít trite. Yes, theyíre pretty and fragile; yes, they reflect rainbows; yes, they combine together, yes, they hover in the air. On further thought, though, they donít really hover. Try blowing them indoors (like in your office!) and youíll see that they sink fairly quickly. I usually think of them as floating indefinitely because Iím used to blowing them outside, and thereís almost always at least a bit of a breeze to hold them up longer Ė theyíre so light that even a whisper will do it. Soap bubbles depend on the wind for support.

That made me think of trees. Down near Tucson is Biosphere 2; it used to show up in the news a lot, a few years ago when there were people sealed inside. There are no permanent residents now, but there are still several complete ecosystems, including even a small ďoceanĒ contain in what is essentially a very large terrarium. Itís interesting to tour around the outside; there are also exhibits and some greenhouses and other experiments. There was one factor Biosphere 2ís designers forgot to plan for Ė there is no wind inside that glass bubble. The trees and other large plants in there grew without any horizontal stresses to resist. With nothing to resist, there were fewer constraints on their growth.

As a result, they are very odd-looking; tall and spindly, thinner than usual, with limbs sticking out and curving in every direction. Designers there have had to figure out a way to create an artificial wind, to foster normal growing conditions for the enclosed plants.

Iím fairly sure thereís a moral here, and an application to humans, but Iím not entirely sure what it is. Maybe we just all need something to resist, in order to grow and move as weíd like to?

Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

a whole entry on not rowing

I didn’t row again today. Actually, I got all the way there, then went back
home because I felt like crap. I feel better, after having caught an extra hour’s
sleep. There’s nothing terribly wrong with me, but in some ways, I think it’s
better for me to play hookey occasionally.

We had a fairly major
change of weather last night, dropping the temperature a good 10 degrees F. (That
is, the projected high and low temps for today are expected to be about 10 degrees
lower than they were yesterday. Out here in the desert, there’s usually about 20-
30 degrees variation over the course of a day.) This usually goes along with a
substantial change in the barometric pressure, and I think that’s what causes the
postnasal drip that has me waking up a bit queasy. After I’ve been vertical a
while, and everything has drained, I’m usually fine. And this is all probably more
than you wanted to know.

Now onto my justification for taking the day
off, when, after all, I wasn’t all THAT sick. I’ve been rowing, on and off, for
about 11 years now. I expect to keep at it for the rest of my life, though
probably still on and off. Even with my former program, which was considerably
less intense than this one, I found I tended to get burned out after a while Ė
tired of working so hard at a sport, tired of getting up early and having to go to
bed so early, annoyed at the people I rowed with for one thing or another. Even
though I’m serious about my sport, I’m in it for the long haul, and I find that
taking the day off, when I feel like I just can’t get into it, helps to put off
the time when I get seriously burned out and end up dropping out of the sport for
a longer period. There are a lot of people who will disagree with me on this,
possibly including my coaches, but this is what I’ve found works for me. It’s the
joy of rowing that carries me through the hard work, blisters, sore muscles, and
early mornings, and this is one way I’ve found to keep from losing
that.

I will probably write another entry later today or tomorrow,
with some things I’ve been thinking about bubbles, wind, and trees, but I wanted
to keep my topics ontogeneous. (Is that a word?)

But I will make this late addition: I got my first Google hit! (Yahoo Google,
actually.) On April 5, I wrote, "The day I get my first Google referral will no
doubt be another big banner day." Amusingly enough, the hit was on that same
entry; I had also mentioned the Castle Boutique, our local non-sleazy-as-they-can-
manage-to-be sex store. I imagine the person looking for them was a bit
disappointed to find me, since, to quote href="http://mercurial73.diaryland.com">Mistress Sinister, "this is not that
kind of diary".

Posted by dichroic at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

a whole entry on not rowing


I didnít row again today. Actually, I got all the way there, then went back home because I felt like crap. I feel better, after having caught an extra hourís sleep. Thereís nothing terribly wrong with me, but in some ways, I think itís better for me to play hookey occasionally.

We had a fairly major change of weather last night, dropping the temperature a good 10 degrees F. (That is, the projected high and low temps for today are expected to be about 10 degrees lower than they were yesterday. Out here in the desert, thereís usually about 20-30 degrees variation over the course of a day.) This usually goes along with a substantial change in the barometric pressure, and I think thatís what causes the postnasal drip that has me waking up a bit queasy. After Iíve been vertical a while, and everything has drained, Iím usually fine. And this is all probably more than you wanted to know.

Now onto my justification for taking the day off, when, after all, I wasnít all THAT sick. Iíve been rowing, on and off, for about 11 years now. I expect to keep at it for the rest of my life, though probably still on and off. Even with my former program, which was considerably less intense than this one, I found I tended to get burned out after a while Ė tired of working so hard at a sport, tired of getting up early and having to go to bed so early, annoyed at the people I rowed with for one thing or another. Even though Iím serious about my sport, Iím in it for the long haul, and I find that taking the day off, when I feel like I just canít get into it, helps to put off the time when I get seriously burned out and end up dropping out of the sport for a longer period. There are a lot of people who will disagree with me on this, possibly including my coaches, but this is what Iíve found works for me. Itís the joy of rowing that carries me through the hard work, blisters, sore muscles, and early mornings, and this is one way Iíve found to keep from losing that.

I will probably write another entry later today or tomorrow, with some things Iíve been thinking about bubbles, wind, and trees, but I wanted to keep my topics ontogeneous. (Is that a word?)

But I will make this late addition: I got my first Google hit! (Yahoo Google, actually.) On April 5, I wrote, "The day I get my first Google referral will no doubt be another big banner day." Amusingly enough, the hit was on that same entry; I had also mentioned the Castle Boutique, our local non-sleazy-as-they-can-manage-to-be sex store. I imagine the person looking for them was a bit disappointed to find me, since, to quote Mistress Sinister, "this is not that kind of diary".

Posted by dichroic at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2001

office supplies

For the benefit of anyone starting, or starting back to an office job, or moving
to a new office, and mostly just because I was thinking about it, here is my
rendition of the cubicle dweller's survival kit. This is the stuff you should
bring to work to make your work life more pleasant:

  • A calendar whose pictures are interesting enough to look at for a month at a time. I favor Sara Steele watercolors or, for inspiration, images of the more photogenic outdoor sports.
  • A Dilbert desk calendar. Required.
  • A coffee/tea mug, minimum 12 ounces, preferably the kind with a lid. Must be
    ceramic or steel, as the plastic ones retain flavors.
  • Good tea -- even if your office stocks teabags, as mine does, they're probably
    your basic Tetley. Add hot cocoa if you're in a cold climate.
  • A sweater or jacket. Almost every office is cold at least some of the
    time.
  • Hand lotion, because the air is also usually dry.
  • Tissues, because the cold dry air makes your nose run.
  • A fidgety-toy. This can be one of those balls you squeeze, or the kind of
    thing you buy in science toy stores that can turn and twist into different shapes
    -- anything to keep your hands busy. Otherwise you'll just end up playing with
    paperclips.
  • At least one pen that's a pleasure to write with.
  • At least one picture of the most important person/people in your life, even if
    it's your dog. There's nothing wrong with having pictures of your sweeties,
    friends, kids, and your dog. Or cat.
  • One CD of music you can concentrate to, for tuning out distractions, and one
    CD of kick-ass music (whatever that phrase means to you) for when you need to blow
    off steam.
  • Headphones
  • Foam earplugs, if you have no way to play CDs or you prefer
    silence.
  • A dictionary, to clear up arguments, even if you don't do much
    writing.
  • A road atlas, to clear up arguments, even if you don't do much
    traveling.
  • A couple of band-aids, just in case.
  • Bubbles, preferably packaged so that you don't get soap scum all over your
    hands. Because nothing can improve your mood faster.
  • Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

office supplies


For the benefit of anyone starting, or starting back to an office job, or moving to a new office, and mostly just because I was thinking about it, here is my rendition of the cubicle dwellerís survival kit. This is the stuff you should bring to work to make your work life more pleasant:

  • A calendar whose pictures are interesting enough to look at for a month at a time. I favor Sara Steele watercolors or, for inspiration, images of the more photogenic outdoor sports.
  • A Dilbert desk calendar. Required.
  • A coffee/tea mug, minimum 12 ounces, preferably the kind with a lid. Must be ceramic or steel, as the plastic ones retain flavors.
  • Good tea -- even if your office stocks teabags, as mine does, theyíre probably your basic Tetley. Add hot cocoa if youíre in a cold climate.
  • A sweater or jacket. Almost every office is cold at least some of the time.
  • Hand lotion, because the air is also usually dry.
  • Tissues, because the cold dry air makes your nose run.
  • A fidgety-toy. This can be one of those balls you squeeze, or the kind of thing you buy in science toy stores that can turn and twist into different shapes -- anything to keep your hands busy. Otherwise youíll just end up playing with paperclips.
  • At least one pen thatís a pleasure to write with.
  • At least one picture of the most important person/people in your life, even if itís your dog. Thereís nothing wrong with having pictures of your sweeties, friends, kids, and your dog. Or cat.
  • One CD of music you can concentrate to, for tuning out distractions, and one CD of kick-ass music (whatever that phrase means to you) for when you need to blow off steam.
  • Headphones
  • Foam earplugs, if you have no way to play CDs or you prefer silence.
  • A dictionary, to clear up arguments, even if you donít do much writing.
  • A road atlas, to clear up arguments, even if you donít do much traveling.
  • A couple of band-aids, just in case.
  • Bubbles, preferably packaged so that you donít get soap scum all over your hands. Because nothing can improve your mood faster.
  • Posted by dichroic at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

waves, weights, books, and cruises

Today we found a new and unique reason not to row. The lake will be used for a big
waterskiing event this weekend, and they've set up a baffle partway down the
middle, along its long axis, to cut down on waves. It's a long, narrow lake with
concrete walls, so waves can bounce back and forth and take a long time to
subside. By the way, here's a href="http://www.tempe.gov/rio/tourrio.htm">tour of my lake. In the high wind
here yesterday, that barricade broke apart and there are now barrels floating all
over the lake. They ride low in the water and are very hard to see (especially
since we go out before sunrise).

Instead I did a 10-minute erg
piece then went and lifted at the gym (arms today). I have a feeling that the
funny popping feel in my shoulder during one bench pull means pain for tomorrow.
I noticed today that I have a habit of resting the dumbbells' edges on my chest
during upright rows, which could make for some rather embarrassing marks. (No, I
haven't been hanging out with href="http://badsnake.diaryland.com">Badsnake. Yes, I really did get those
bruises at the gym.) *Takes a quick peek down shirt* No bruising so far,
though.

Amazon is unfair. I still haven't gotten my order, which is
not surprising, since they only shipped it on April 30 (a day before Lord of
the Silent
was officially released, so no complaints there). But on April 30,
I ordered two books for my mother, as a Mother's day gift. Both books were marked
"usually ships in 2-3 days"; add in about 4 business days for shipping and a day
or so safety factor, and, I reasoned, she'd get them just before Mother's Day. She
called to thank me for them yesterday. I wish Amazon would apply some of that
speed to my order!

I was a little embarrassed, too, not having
realized that Mothers and Daughters, by Madeleine L'Engle and her daughter
Maria Rooney, includes some of L'Engle's religious poetry. I don't think her
poetry is nearly as good as her prose, and it's certainly not as universal. Mom
tells me, however, that only a few pieces are "too Jesus-y".

Mom also
tells me that she and Dad are thinking of taking a cruise to the Caribbean this
summer, which I think they will enjoy. Mom will wear frighteningly bright clothing
and play goofy shipboard games, and as for Dad, well....laying out on a deck chair
in the tropical sun with a cool drink at hand is very close to my father's idea of
heaven. Add in nubile women in bikinis refilling the drink and you're there.

Except for the drink (and the women), this is also close to T's idea
of hell, so I don't see a lot of cruising in our future. We will likely cruise to
Alaska some year, but will look for a trip that involved lots of hiking and
kayaking. We're also hoping to take a boat trip to Antarctica over Christmas of
2002 or 2003; that trip might be a little sedentary in spots, but the scenery
should more than make up for it.

Posted by dichroic at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

waves, weights, books, and cruises


Today we found a new and unique reason not to row. The lake will be used for a big waterskiing event this weekend, and theyíve set up a baffle partway down the middle, along its long axis, to cut down on waves. Itís a long, narrow lake with concrete walls, so waves can bounce back and forth and take a long time to subside. By the way, hereís a tour of my lake. In the high wind here yesterday, that barricade broke apart and there are now barrels floating all over the lake. They ride low in the water and are very hard to see (especially since we go out before sunrise).

Instead I did a 10-minute erg piece then went and lifted at the gym (arms today). I have a feeling that the funny popping feel in my shoulder during one bench pull means pain for tomorrow. I noticed today that I have a habit of resting the dumbbellsí edges on my chect during upright rows, which could make for some rather embarrassing marks. (No, I havenít been hanging out with Badsnake. Yes, I really did get those bruises at the gym.) *Takes a quick peek down shirt* No bruising so far, though.

Amazon is unfair. I still havenít gotten my order, which is not surprising, since they only shipped it on April 30 (a day before Lord of the Silent was officially released, so no complaints there). But on April 30, I ordered two books for my mother, as a Motherís day gift. Both books were marked "usually ships in 2-3 days"; add in about 4 business days for shipping and a day or so safety factor, and, I reasoned, sheíd get them just before Motherís Day. She called to thank me for them yesterday. I wish Amazon would apply some of that speed to my order!

I was a little embarassed, too, not having realized that Mothers and Daughters, by Madeleine LíEngle and her daughter Maria Rooney, includes some of LíEngleís religious poetry. I donít think her poetry is nearly as good as her prose, and itís certainly not as universal. Mom tells me, however, that only a few pieces are "too Jesus-y".

Mom also tells me that she and Dad are thinking of taking a cruise to the Caribbean this summer, which I think they will enjoy. Mom will wear frighteningly bright clothing and play goofy shipboard games, and as for Dad, well....laying out on a deck chair in the tropical sun with a cool drink at hand is very close to my fatherís idea of heaven. Add in nubile women in bikinis refilling the drink and youíre there.

Except for the drink (and the women), this is also close to Tís idea of hell, so I donít see a lot of cruising in our future. We will likely cruise to Alaska some year, but will look for a trip that involved lots of hiking and kayaking. Weíre also hoping to take a boat trip to Antarctica over Christmas of 2002 or 2003; that trip might be a little sedentary in spots, but the scenery should more than make up for it.

Posted by dichroic at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2001

the hands of the mummy


Since coming back home and back to rowing, I have been going through so much skin tape that my local drugstore employees may think Iím into bondage. Hell, maybe I am, but itís self bondage -- I only tape up my own hands and feet. For some reason, I seem to be attracted to pursuits that just wreck my hands, from gymnastics in high school (ripped flaps of skin with chalk ground in) to guitar in college (calluses on the fingertips) to rock climbing (rips flaps of skin with chalk ground in, plus scrapes, abrasions, and very tired hands) to rowing (ripped flaps of skin (but no chalk), peeling calluses, and blisters). I donít know how rowers who sleep with nonrowers keep from grossing them out. Tís hands are rougher than mine, so thatís not a problem, but we do have to be careful -- sharp edges of skin can hurt!

I have gotten good at taping my hands -- the tape has to be tight enough to stay put, loose enough to let joints bend. The hardest spot to tape is ripped-off calluses at the base of fingers -- I end up going around the whole palm, then a couple of strips between the fingers, then more around the palm to hold that on. The strips between the fingers keeps the around-the-hand part from sliding down my palm. This results in about 2í of tape used to cover an owie the size of a kernel of corn, but itís the only way I know to get the tape to stay put. Finger blisters are much easier; just wrap tape around the finger a few times.

I only wear tape while rowing, to avoid further damage or pain; if I need to cover spots during the rest of the time, either to prevent pain or to keep Neosporin on so it heals faster, band-aids work well enough, and are much less conspicuous. T, on the other hand, seems to enjoy wearing taped hands to work, presumably to show how hard-core he is. (Since he hasnít taken a break, his hands are tougher than mine, but do still blister when he switches between sweep and sculling.)

I havenít had to tape my feet for awhile, but my hands still often look like something out of a horror flick. The Mummy, to be precise.

Posted by dichroic at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

the hands of the mummy

Since coming back home and back to rowing, I have been going through so much skin
tape that my local drugstore employees may think I'm into bondage. Hell, maybe I
am, but it's self bondage -- I only tape up my own hands and feet. For some
reason, I seem to be attracted to pursuits that just wreck my hands, from
gymnastics in high school (ripped flaps of skin with chalk ground in) to guitar in
college (calluses on the fingertips) to rock climbing (rips flaps of skin with
chalk ground in, plus scrapes, abrasions, and very tired hands) to rowing (ripped
flaps of skin (but no chalk), peeling calluses, and blisters). I don't know how
rowers who sleep with nonrowers keep from grossing them out. T's hands are
rougher than mine, so that's not a problem, but we do have to be careful -- sharp
edges of skin can hurt!

I have gotten good at taping my hands -- the
tape has to be tight enough to stay put, loose enough to let joints bend. The
hardest spot to tape is ripped-off calluses at the base of fingers -- I end up
going around the whole palm, then a couple of strips between the fingers, then
more around the palm to hold that on. The strips between the fingers keep the
around-the-hand part from sliding down my palm. This results in about 2' of tape
used to cover an owie the size of a kernel of corn, but it's the only way I know
to get the tape to stay put. Finger blisters are much easier; just wrap tape
around the finger a few times.

I only wear tape while rowing, to
avoid further damage or pain; if I need to cover spots during the rest of the
time, either to prevent pain or to keep Neosporin on so it heals faster, band-aids
work well enough, and are much less conspicuous. T, on the other hand, seems to
enjoy wearing taped hands to work, presumably to show how hard-core he is. (Since
he hasn't taken a break, his hands are tougher than mine, but do still blister
when he switches between sweep and sculling.)

I haven't had to tape
my feet for awhile, but my hands still often look like something out of a horror
flick. The Mummy, to be precise.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

forebodings

lunchtime 2001-05-02 fbdgs.html
forebodings

I just had a disturbing conversation. I had heard that someone here whose work I respect -- call her Olivia -- was leaving the company as of Friday, so I stopped by her office for further details and to tell her I was sorry to see her go. This industry has high turnover across the board, so just the fact that someone is leaving, no matter how well-respected, is no cause for alarm.

In this case, though, sheís leaving because she canít agree with the direction the company has taken. She had gotten bad feelings about it, then confirmed her hunch by taking a seminar the CEO of our company has been giving, and hearing his views for herself. Olivia did not go into detail, for which I am glad; this is the sort of thing each person has to decide for herself. I have not attended the CEOís seminar; I have heard ideas I disagreed with from our general manager, but have been pleased lately with the directions taken by the VP to whom I report. Iím getting useful experience and learning a lot just now, too.

So Iím not in any hurry to start sending out feelers, but this is definitely a development to watch carefully.

One hour later: I just got an email from one of our best and most senior people announcing his two weeksí notice. Uh-oh.

Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

forebodings

I just had a disturbing conversation. I had heard that someone here whose work I
respect -- call her Olivia -- was leaving the company as of Friday, so I stopped
by her office for further details and to tell her I was sorry to see her go. This
industry has high turnover across the board, so just the fact that someone is
leaving, no matter how well-respected, is no cause for alarm.

In this
case, though, she's leaving because she can't agree with the direction the company
has taken. She had gotten bad feelings about it, then confirmed her hunch by
taking a seminar the CEO of our company has been giving, and hearing his views for
herself. Olivia did not go into detail, for which I am glad; this is the
sort of thing each person has to decide for herself. I have not attended the CEO's
seminar; I have heard ideas I disagreed with from our general manager, but have
been pleased lately with the directions taken by the VP to whom I report. I'm
getting useful experience and learning a lot just now, too.

So I'm
not in any hurry to start sending out feelers, but this is definitely a
development to watch carefully.

One hour later: I just got an email from one of our best and most senior people
announcing his two weeks' notice. Uh-oh.

Posted by dichroic at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

relative airlines

morning 2001-05-02 airlines.html
relative airlines

I was a bad, bad girl today -- didnít feel all that good, so I didnít go to rowing. (I didnít feel all that bad either; I just shouldnít have had that Frappucino late yesterday. The combination of lactose and caffeine is deadly for me -- Iíve got a minor bit of IBS, though I will probably never want to discuss that bit of personal information in detail here.) Of course, it turned out I picked the wrong day to skip; as soon as I checked my mail, I found a note from Coach DI saying that we would finally be videotaping today, as has been promised for about the last 3 weeks. In a sport as precise as rowing, seeing yourself on videotape can be an enormous aid to figuring out what youíve been doing wrong. Weíll be taping again tomorrow, so Iíll go then.

I canít really expect my package from Amazon before tomorrow at the very earliest, drat it. If I get it before Friday, the challenge will be in deciding which book to take with me this weekend.

Last night I reserved plane tickets and a hotel in Nashville for Memorial Day weekend! After reading of Mechaiehís problems with Travelocity, I booked the flight via Expedia, but just in case, Iíll doublecheck the flight booking today or tomorrow. Weíre expecting the worst anyway, as weíre reluctantly flying Northwest, an airline that has given us nothing but grief in the past. However, their flights were $65 cheaper than the other airlines (each) and were at more convenient times.

I have been flying Southwest quite a bit lately, and found them as different from Northwest in every way as their name suggests. True, they donít deliver any frills, but then they never promise to do so. They tell you straight out that they will not be serving food, and encourage you to bring your own; their web site lists exactly what size bags may be carried on, as well as what does and does not count as a carry-on; they tell you that you need to get there early because of the unassigned seating. You know what to expect, and they deliver it every time, cheerfully. In ten flights since January 2001, I have not once been more than a few minutes late. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Posted by dichroic at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

relative airlines

I was a bad, bad girl today -- didn't feel all that good, so I didn't go to
rowing. (I didn't feel all that bad either; I just shouldn't have had that
Frappucino late yesterday. The combination of lactose and caffeine is deadly for
me -- I've got a minor bit of IBS, though I will probably never want to discuss
that bit of personal information in detail here.) Of course, it turned out I
picked the wrong day to skip; as soon as I checked my mail, I found a note from
Coach DI saying that we would finally be videotaping today, as has been
promised for about the last 3 weeks. In a sport as precise as rowing, seeing
yourself on videotape can be an enormous aid to figuring out what you've been
doing wrong. We'll be taping again tomorrow, so I'll go then.

I
can't really expect my package from Amazon before tomorrow at the very earliest,
drat it. If I get it before Friday, the challenge will be in deciding which book
to take with me this weekend.

Last night I reserved plane tickets and
a hotel in Nashville for Memorial Day weekend! After reading of href=http://mechaieh.diaryland.com/grrrr.html">Mechaieh's problems with
Travelocity, I booked the flight via Expedia, but just in case, I'll doublecheck
the flight booking today or tomorrow. We're expecting the worst anyway, as we're
reluctantly flying Northwest, an airline that has given us nothing but grief in
the past. However, their flights were $65 cheaper than the other airlines
(each) and were at more convenient times.

I have been flying
Southwest quite a bit lately, and found them as different from Northwest in every
way as their name suggests. True, they don't deliver any frills, but then they
never promise to do so. They tell you straight out that they will not be serving
food, and encourage you to bring your own; their web site lists exactly what size
bags may be carried on, as well as what does and does not count as a carry-on;
they tell you that you need to get there early because of the unassigned seating.
You know what to expect, and they deliver it every time, cheerfully. In ten
flights since January 2001, I have not once been more than a few minutes late.
Your mileage may vary, of course.

Posted by dichroic at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2001

Rhyming orange

For some reason, my shoulders were sore this morning from rowing yesterday. So I
went to the gym and did legs this morning so they could be sore too. My body is
now symmetric in its pain.

"Doing legs" involves squats with a barbell behind my neck (up to 70 lbs today!),
front squats, leg presses, hang cleans, a few clean and jerks (which I don't think
I do quite right, so I only do a few), and calf raises, in case anyone is
wondering. "Doing arms" is lat pulldowns, seated rows, bench pulls, shoulder
presses, upright rows, and bicep curls. Either way, I warm up on the rowing
machine and do lots of stretching afterward.

Stretches are important to me; if I don't do them, after a while I start feeling
like I've built blocky, dense muscles (whether they're visible to the naked eye is
a completely different matter). They're actually a bit uncomfortable. In high
school I got to the point the I could do splits (only with the right leg forward),
but I lost them somewhere in my mid-20s.

End exercise journal

According to Amazon, in addition to one book for work, I have on the way to me:

  • The latest Elizabeth Peters, Lord of the Silent, just out today
  • Miss Read's Thrush Grange
  • the recently-issued collection of Manly Wade Wellman's John Thunstone stories,
    Third Invocation to Legba
  • Sean Stewart's Mockingbird

Are you jealous yet? Probably not, if you're href="http://evilena.diaryland.com">Evilena, href="http://mechaieh.diaryland.com">Mechaieh or href="http://phelps.diaryland.com">Phelps, as the first two probably already
have Lord of the Silent by now, and the third has a whole collection of Miss Read.
Possibly not even if you're My Brother the Writer, who may have the Wellman book
by now. The Stewart book is recommended by people who like Connie Willis, so I
think it's a safe bet.

On a completely different topic, it turns out the Tom Lehrer once managed to rhyme
'orange', supposedly the only English word that doesn't have a
rhyme:

Eating an orange

While making love

Makes for bizarre enj-

Oyment thereof.

This inspired Douglas Hofstadter to write a longer poem with similar rhymes in
tribute, but I think those are all downhill from Lehrer's Ogden Nash-worthy
quatrain, so won't quote them here.

Which makes me think of poetry, which, believe it or not, is actually analogous to
what I'm doing at work. One of the most common responses of software engineers to
the imposition of processes is that they stifle creativity. The best answer I've
seen to this is that instead, they give a framework, or foundation, within which
to apply creativity. When designing a car, you don't exercise creativity in
reinventing wheels; you build on what is known and try to go farther. Back to
poetry, Robert Frost said that "Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the
net down". I don't entirely agree -- there are constraints other than rhyme and
rhythm that can be imposed on a poem -- but it's true that some of the most rigid
forms, like sonnets and haiku, have been some of the most fertile.

On the other hand, poetic forms need to balance a certain amount of looseness with
that strict structure -- the rules of a sonnet don't specify either content or the
actual rhymes, just their pattern. I think this rule may have more general
application to the ways in which humans do our best work. In other
words:

Tell me, tell me what to do,

Just don't tell me how to do it.

Give me what I need from you,

Then let me find my own way through it.

I'd rather not be just your pawn,

But still, don't be too laissez-faire,

I will not plead, I will not fawn,

I'll work with you if you'll play fair.

I'd rather work within the rules

If I help choose what those rules are.

I'll find my way (I'm not a fool)

But sails must have support from spars.

I need a frame on which to lean my weight,

As trees need wind to grow up strong and straight.

It is left as an exercise for the class to determine why the above is not actually
a sonnet. It is left as an exercise for the writer (me) to determine why she
decided to post the above.

Posted by dichroic at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Orange

For some reason, my shoulders were sore this morning from rowing yesterday. So I went to the gym and did legs this morning so they could be sore too. My body is now symmetric in its pain.


"Doing legs" involves squats with a barbell behing my neck (up to 70 lbs today!), front squats, leg presses, hang cleans, a few clean and jerks (which I don't think I do quite right, so I only do a few), and calf raises, in case anyone is wondering. "Doing arms" is lat pulldowns, seated rows, bench pulls, shoulder presses, upright rows, and bicep curls. Either way, I warm up on the rowing machine and do lots of stretching afterward.


Stretches are important to me; if I don't do them, after a while I start feeling like I've built blocky, dense muscles (whether they're visible to the naked eye is a completely different matter). They're actually a bit uncomfortable. In high school I got to the point the I could do splits (only with the right leg forward), but I lost them somewhere in my mid-20s.

End exercise journal


According to Amazon, in addition to one book for work, I have on the way to me:

The latest Elizabeth Peters, Lord of the Silent, just out today
Miss Read's Thrush Grange
the recently-issued collection of Manly Wade Wellman's John Thunstone stories, Third Invocation to Legba
Sean Stewart's Mockingbird
Are you jealous yet? Probably not, if you're Evilena, Mechaieh or Phelps, as the first two probably already have Lord of the Silent by now, and the third has a whole collection of Miss Read. Possibly not even if you're My Brother the Writer, who may have the Wellman book by now. The Stewart book is recommended by people who like Connie Willis, so I think it's a safe bet.


On a completely different topic, it turns out the Tom Lehrer once managed to rhyme 'orange', supposedly the only English word that doesn't have a rhyme:


Eating an orange
While making love
Makes for bizarre enj-
Oyment thereof.


This inspired Douglas Hofstadter to write a longer poem with similar rhymes in tribute, but I think those are all downhill from Lehrer's Ogden Nash-worthy quatrain, so won't quote them here.


Which makes me think of poetry, which, believe it or not, is actually analogous to what I'm doing at work. One of the most common responses of software engineers to the imposition of processes is that they stifle creativity. The best answer I've seen to this is that instead, they give a framework, or foundation, within which to apply creativity. When designing a car, you don't exercise creativity in reinventing wheels; you build on what is known and try to go farther. Back to poetry, Robert Frost said that "Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down". I don't entirely agree -- there are constraints other than rhyme and rhythm that can be imposed on a poem -- but it's true that some of the most rigid forms, like sonnets and haiku, have been some of the most fertile.


On the other hand, poetic forms need to balance a certain amount of loseness with that strict structure -- the rules of a sonnet don't specify either content or the actual rhymes, just their pattern. I think this rule may have more general application to the ways in which humans do our best work. In other words:


Tell me, tell me what to do,
Just don't tell me how to do it.
Give me what I need from you,
Then let me find my own way through it.


I'd rather not be just your pawn,
But still, don't be too laissez-faire,
I will not plead, I will not fawn,
I'll work with you if you'll play fair.


I'd rather work within the rules
If I help choose what those rules are.
I'll find my way (I'm not a fool)
But sails must have support from spars.


I need a frame on which to lean my weight,
As trees need wind to grow up strong and straight.


It is left as an exercise for the class to determine why the above is not actually a sonnet. It is left as an exercise for the writer (me) to determine why she decided to post the above.

Posted by dichroic at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

Rhyming orange


For some reason, my shoulders were sore this morning from rowing yesterday. So I went to the gym and did legs this morning so they could be sore too. My body is now symmetric in its pain.

"Doing legs" involves squats with a barbell behing my neck (up to 70 lbs today!), front squats, leg presses, hang cleans, a few clean and jerks (which I donít think I do quite right, so I only do a few), and calf raises, in case anyone is wondering. "Doing arms" is lat pulldowns, seated rows, bench pulls, shoulder presses, upright rows, and bicep curls. Either way, I warm up on the rowing machine and do lots of stretching afterward.

Stretches are important to me; if I donít do them, after a while I start feeling like Iíve built blocky, dense muscles (whether theyíre visible to the naked eye is a completely different matter). Theyíre actually a bit uncomfortable. In high school I got to the point the I could do splits (only with the right leg forward), but I lost them somewhere in my mid-20s.

End exercise journal

According to Amazon, in addition to one book for work, I have on the way to me:

  • The latest Elizabeth Peters, Lord of the Silent, just out today

  • Miss Readís Thrush Grange

  • the recently-issued collection of Manly Wade Wellmanís John Thunstone stories, Third Invocation to Legba

  • Sean Stewartís Mockingbird


Are you jealous yet? Probably not, if youíre Evilena, Mechaieh or Phelps, as the first two probably already have Lord of the Silent by now, and the third has a whole collection of Miss Read. Possibly not even if youíre My Brother the Writer, who may have the Wellman book by now. The Stewart book is recommended by people who like Connie Willis, so I think itís a safe bet.

On a completely different topic, it turns out the Tom Lehrer once managed to rhyme Ďorangeí, supposedly the only English word that doesnít have a rhyme:

Eating an orange

While making love

Makes for bizarre enj-

Oyment thereof.

This inspired Douglas Hofstadter to write a longer poem with similar rhymes in tribute, but I think those are all downhill from Lehrerís Ogden Nash-worthy quatrain, so wonít quote them here.

Which makes me think of poetry, which, believe it or not, is actually analogous to what Iím doing at work. One of the most common responses of software engineers to the imposition of processes is that they stifle creativity. The best answer Iíve seen to this is that instead, they give a framework, or foundation, within which to apply creativity. When designing a car, you donít exercise creativity in reinventing wheels; you build on what is known and try to go farther. Back to poetry, Robert Frost said that "Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down". I donít entirely agree -- there are constraints other than rhyme and rhythm that can be imposed on a poem -- but itís true that some of the most rigid forms, like sonnets and haiku, have been some of the most fertile.

On the other hand, poetic forms need to balance a certain amount of loseness with that strict structure -- the rules of a sonnet donít specify either content or the actual rhymes, just their pattern. I think this rule may have more general application to the ways in which humans do our best work. In other words:

Tell me, tell me what to do,

Just donít tell me how to do it.

Give me what I need from you,

Then let me find my own way through it.

Iíd rather not be just your pawn,

But still, donít be too laissez-faire,

I will not plead, I will not fawn,

Iíll work with you if youíll play fair.

Iíd rather work within the rules

If I help choose what those rules are.

Iíll find my way (Iím not a fool)

But sails must have support from spars.

I need a frame on which to lean my weight,

As trees need wind to grow up strong and straight.

It is left as an exercise for the class to determine why the above is not actually a sonnet. It is left as an exercise for the writer (me) to determine why she decided to post the above.

Posted by dichroic at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)