June 30, 2001

the stud neo-formalista speaks


I have a new title: I am the "stud neo-formalista". Mechaieh says so, and since I value her opinion, so mote it be. And now Iím wondering if the shout-out she posted (see link above) was intended in eulogy to the late Clifton Fadiman. It fits him, anyway.

In a literally related note, I must admit, some days I have odd fantasies. I was thinking the other day how cool it would be if Rudder and I were off on an expedition someday, and had a guide intoduce himself as Kim Fadiman. (Assuming heís even still working as a guide.) As far as I know, KF isnít famous; however, I have his sister Anneís wonderful collection Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader shelved next to his father Cliftonís astoundingly literate New Lifetime Reading Plan (written with coauthor John S. Major). All I lack is his mother Annalee Jacobyís Thunder Out of China, but I do have her coauthor Theodore H. Whiteís autobiography, In Search of History, which talks about her days as a journalist in pre-WWII China extensively. So what would be the thing to say, meeting someone in that situation: "Love your familyís books"? By Anneís account, heís an interesting man in his own right, and that makes him sound like an underachiever. "Iíve read a lot about you"? What an incredible family.

I donít think Rudder has yet figured out that I am less likely to give a coherent answer to unrelated questions while Iím writing than while Iím reading. Two weeks from now, when I donít remember this conversation, heíll figure it out. For someone who is not terribly verbal, he does well dealing with me, though. I once had a boss whose wife used to ask him "Why do you need so many old books around? Canít you get rid of some of those?" We, on the other hand, are off this morning in search of new bookshelves.

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

June 29, 2001

ad libris per aspera


Bill Gates has a lot to answer for. Iíve spent the entire afternoon wrestling with MS Wordís headers and styles and autonumbering. Feh. The guy across the aisle has spent an equal lot of time swearing at Microsoft in connection with some code heís writing. His stuff could at least be in Java instead of VB, but the only real competition to Word is WordPerfect, which is even more annoying. Double feh. Or, for those of us still having nightmares about working in aerospace, Interleaf. ooouuughahhghahh (That was a more or less phonetic representation of me shuddering.)

I am, however, greatly looking forward to tomorrow. First, I get to sleep late in company with my favorite fellow sheet-flattener. With luck, heíll bring me up some coffee, which he used to do frequently on weekends. He got out of the habit several months ago when we were getting up at 4:30 on weekends to coach. How am I supposed to induce mad jealousy in my female friends now? (Actually, itís not terribly difficult, considering the vast ratio of single women to single men at rowing. This seems to be common in the western US, so consider it a hint to single male (or gay female) readers in this half of the country.)

After some extra and thoroughly-enjoyed hibernation, weíre heading out to the local showroom of a place that builds custom storage. Weíre going to come out of there with the promise of as many new bookshelves as I can talk Rudder and our budget into buying. The trick of course, is figuring where to put them. Figuring what to put on them is no trouble at all, though....Iíve got another oder from Amazon pending even as we speak. Yes, friends, I admit my problem.

My name is Dichroic and Iím a book junkie.

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

exploding antiperspirant


This morning, I got to the locker room at to work only to find that my antiperspirant had once again exploded. Fortunately this time there was hardly any left, so it didnít get all over everything else in the locker bag. I managed to scrounge enough of it to use today (a necessity in the Arizona heat) and I have a spare at home but this is getting ridiculous.

I think this tends to happen when I leave my gym bag in the car on days I donít get covered parking. We have some at work, and I always get in early enough to get a spot, but if I have an off-site meeting I generally have to park in the sun when I get back. Leaving my gym bag in the truck when itís parked in Arizona sun, even with a sunshade on the windshield and the windows cracked open, seems to be the culprit in the Case of the Exploding Antiperspirant. It bothers me a bit that my antiperspirant explodes when subjected to real heat; it doesnít instill confidence that it would function properly if I really, really needed it.

So itís time to explore alternatives. One, obviously, is to bring the gym bag into my office. The problems with this are a) itís heavy (yes, I know thatís a lot like driving to the gym because youíre too lazy to walk) and b) gym odor adds nothing to an office environment. Also, Iím in a cubicle these days, so thereís nowhere inconspicuous to put things.

I did ascertain that itís ok for me to leave stuff in the shower locker at work, with a lock on it ... not that I cared if anyone approved, just that I didnít want to come in one morning and find the lock cut off and me without the means to take a shower. That would work, since on gym days, I shower at home. However, on days when for some reason we donít row (e.g. lightning) I go to the other gym, the one nearer rowing and farther from my house. If I left my shower stuff at work, Iíd have to go use the work shower instead of the gym one. The one at work is in another building ten minutes drive from the one I actually work in. Also, it has water pressure so painfully strong that I appreciate the chance to shower somewhere else whenever possible. (Really: I have to rinse off with fingers covering any sensitive spots, and deflect the water up onto my face instead of just going under the shower head.) Maybe I should just use the gym near home on days we unexpectedly donít row, so I can shower at home, and resign myself to the extra driving and extra lateness getting into work.

See what I put up with for my sport? I bet you never thought showering after a workout could be so complicated. And I havenít even discussed the challenges of post-workout desk-bound breakfasts yet.

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

June 28, 2001

books and ethics


We went out with T2 and Egret for a beer last night, which didnít really do wonders for my weight-lifting this morning. I did it all, though, just felt a little off. Note to self: donít order the really big beers just because everyone else is, especially when theyíre drinking Bud Light and youíre drinking Bass. (Well, Rudder wasnít drinking light beer, of course, but I think he was drinking Bud.)

After we went home, we had the annual Dichroicís-reading-Gaudy-Night ethical discussion. (Yes, I know he puts up with a lot.) Rudderís view was that, if I were to commit an act of academic dishonesty, ignoring evidence that disproved a theory I was publishing, he would be disappointed, would try to talk me out of it, but then would stand back figuring that truth would out and I would be hurting myself more than anyone else. (He did say he would take a more severe stance if I were actively suppressing the evidence against my theory.)

I think I wanted him to disapprove more strongly of the original lie by omission("Dichroic, youíre not the woman I thought you were. No, I donít hate you, but I must go. I canít live a lie." *averts eyes and strides off into the sunset*) Honestly, though, Iím not sure how much of that is because my opinions and moral code really are influenced by whatever Iím reading. To a degree only, of course; Iím not about to read Mein Kampf and start plotting genocide, but this may have something to do with why I keep coming back to authors who have their own strong morality, from L.M. Montgomery to Robert A. Heinlein. Itís safer, for me.

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

June 27, 2001

there's a formalist movement?

Hey, I'm a New Formalist!

I didn't even know there was such a thing. I know most of my poems aren't great, but I honestly thought the fact that they make sense (well, to me, at least) was a major flaw. And I have this anachronistic tendency to want rhyme or meter or both, and I know that would damn them irrevocably, for a lot of modernists.

On the other hand, the fact
that I rarely have the patience to polish for more than a couple hours or stanzas really is still a problem. To read someone who's far better at it, check out Dana Gioia.

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

thereís a formalist movement?


Hey, Iím a New Formalist!

I didnít even know there was such a thing. I know most of my poems arenít great, but I honestly thought the fact that they make sense (well, to me, at least) was a major flaw. And I have this anachronistic tendency to want rhyme or meter or both, and I know that would damn them irrevocably, for a lot of modernists.

On the other hand, the fact that I rarely have the patience to polish for more than a couple hours or stanzas really is still a problem. To read someone whoís far better at it, check out Dana Gioia.

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

more on writing and, as usual, rowing


Hmm...two guestbook entries when I discuss writing essays, none for the sonnet. Yíall are trying to tell me something, right?

Actually, itís kind of handy, having a built-in feedback system. Hmm. But if I was born to be an essay writer, who do I never submit any? I suppose it has to do with why so many people have unpublished novels around the house.

Speaking of the latter, Iím a little worried about My Brother the Writer. I read the first half of the book heís now sending out to publishers at least two years ago. Want a general idea of the plot? Go find a review of Neil Gaimanís American Gods. I saw his too long ago to thing he was stealing from Gaiman; Iím quite sure Gaiman doesnít need to steal from him (or anybody). Maybe my little brother is Neil Gaimanís secret alter ego?

Practice was good today, and Iím satisfied and tired, but I get the distinct feeling Egret is getting burned out. Iíd like to compete together with her again, but donít want to push her, because that just accelerates burn-out. Maybe if she takes some time off, she can come back to it with new interest. I think she has a tendency to plunge whole-hearted into a sport, so the fatigue may hit even harder. (This is a woman who rows, lifts, ergs *and* runs, sometimes all in one day -- and the running is at noon in desert heat. Iíd be dead after the first half-mile.) Also, understandably, I think sheíd like to have a bit more time to spend with T2 when theyíre both awake, not to mention her kids.

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

June 26, 2001

in search of a Proper Job


Last night we had company staying over, lots of it: two cousins of Rudderís, about our age, and three kids who are something like 6, 4 and almost 1. Weíve been getting to see the kids roughly twice a year, which is often enough for the older girls to remember us, but infrequent enough for them to have visibly changed each time.

They are so entirely delightful that itís almost sad to see them grow up. The oldest now looks, moves, and sounds like a girl, rather than a "little girl". Sheíll be reading soon (I gave them my spare copies of two Mary Poppins and two Pooh books, made redundant when I bought the hardbacks) and she can jump off the diving board into the deep end of our pool (with someone to catch her, more for reassurance than anything else). The baby does a lot of grinning and drooling (heís teething) and managed to dump crumbs off every plate he could reach onto the floor, as we were eating pizza picnic-style. He wasnít as willing to go to other people as he had been at four months, but made up for it by flashing all six teeth at anyone who would smile back. They are moving to Korea for two years, so we may need to get out there to visit, before they grow out of all knowing.

It was also good to see the adults. One of them, the one without the kids, has had her share of problems and been on some medications that make her very subdued. She was always a favorite of Rudderís and his brotherís and itís been good, in the past year, to see her getting back to something like her normal self.

The mother of the three children, who gave up her outside job a year and a half or so ago to devote full time to chlid rearing, is clearly in her Proper Job. She cares for her younger boy and the two girls with love and humor, and seems to have no itch to do anything other than exactly what she is doing, at least for the moment. She does it well, too, as proved by the charm and manners of the children. And note the neat segue to my next topic.

Iíve been rereading Dorothy L. Sayersí Gaudy Night, and as always, have been struck by the discussion of Proper Jobs and the architecture of marriage. It seems to hit me harder each time, which may be a signal of something not quite right in my own life. I have managed so far not to read passages aloud to Rudder, but only because heís heard the best ones at least two or three times now.

I agree with DLS in not wanting a marriage in which one person is the job of the other one. Yuck. Rudder and I have constructed our own more on the Phoebe Tucker model, with occasional reachings into Harriet and Peterís domain, in its high spots, and Iím very, very happy with that. (If the preceding paragraph made no sense, read Gaudy Night. Then follow with Busmanís Honeymoon. Good for you and tasty, too.)

My problem is more in the P. Job domain. Itís hard to pursue your lifeís work, when you still havenít figured out what that would be. I know some of the parameters: itís not one of the helping-people professions. I donít like people quite that much, especially in their weakest moments. Itís not programming or any similar hole-up-in-a-cubicle and keep-to-yourself jobs. I donít like people that little, though I do enjoy solving technical problems. Words are involved, and writing; itís not through any great effort of will or self-discipline that I update here every single day except when Iím out of town. But I donít think Iím a frustrated novelist; I donít have much itch to write fiction, and Iíd rather comment on this world than create new ones.

I got an immense amount of satisfaction in my brief career as a linguistics grad student, and was sorely disappointed when job pressures forced me to drop out. The only Job I can see as an outgrowth of that is professor, though, and I donít know if Iíd like that or not. Teaching grad students, yes; doing research, maybe. Politics of academia and writing grant applications, no.

Maybe my Proper Job is exactly what Iím doing now, writing essays. (That would be more convincing if I actually wrote these entries as structured essays instead of rambling diary entries.) But is anyone paying for those?

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

Gaudy Night symptoms: ababcdcdefefgg


Oh, yeah, by the way, rereading Gaudy Night typically has one other effect on me:

Our hands are clasped together, fingers interlaced,

A unit, melded, both held, neither seized,

We let go briefly, step apart, rejoin in lonely haste,

Each finger finds its place again with ease.

My hand knows the feel of yours by heart,

(If hands can have a heart, though yours hold mine)

My hand fits into yours as though the two would never part,

Yet after time apart, the fitís aligned.

Itís odd that they should fit so well, so different in size,

Though weathered much alike by wind and years.

This fit, honed over time, is now become a thing to prize,

A thing to cherish, as the end of our first decade nears.

Our livesí fit has been mirrored by our hands;

Shaped so by love, seared with each othersí brands.

Harrietís is much better, though.

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

June 25, 2001

Regatta del Sol race report


Given the way I usually ramble, maybe I should change the quote at the top of this page to "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things."

We didnít row today, because of some lightning in the area, so I went to the gym instead. We are now officially in the monsoon season, so this will be happening more often. I probably need to start keeping sneakers in my car, as weight-lifting in the sort of floppy get-wet-able sandals I wear to rowing is a bad idea in several different ways. That is, not only could the gym people yell at me for not having proper footwear, but I could actually hurt myself.

The race this weekend was a blast. It was one of the best-run regattas, run by some of the nicest people, that I have yet encountered. They even invited us to their post-race barbeque, despite the fact the we beat them mercilessly all day. We (my rowing program, that is) brought home gold medals from all 5 of the races we entered.

Several of the races were exciting, too; in their double, Rudder and T2 were behind at 750 meters (out of 1000) and powered through to win their race. After we won the Menís four (yes, Ďweí; I was coxing), we heard the other crew cursing each other out. (Emphatically not in the spirit of the sport!) Egret and I rowed against two much older women (57 and 64 ... I will not refer to them as geezers because they were extremely cool and I wouldnít mind growing up to be them). We beat them by 16 seconds ... Not quite enough to overcome their 22-second handicap, but they gave us medals anyway, for winning our class. They didnít do that in all categories, just where the handicap was huge and changed the outcome of the race. I think they figured no one could hope to overcome a 22-second handicap in 1000 meters. It was especially gracious, since our competitors were two of the organizers. The Womenís four did overcome the 11-second handicap their competition had, though, and the Mixed 8 beat yet another crew who hadnít expected to lose, so it was a clean sweep all around.

We also got in a quick outing to Venice Beach, and a rower-ly short evening in the Kingís Head pub, which combines the excellence of British ales with the quite otherwise nature of British food. The Welsh Rarebit was good, though, and not too heavy. I lost to Egret at darts; I think she plays a lot more than I do. Not difficult, as I play about once every year or two.

Fortunately we got home relatively early yesterday, because we had to unpack completely (as opposed to leaving various bags around to be unpacked at a later date, as usual). Some of Rudderís cousins will be staying with us tonight, on the first leg of a complicated trip that involves one of them moving with her three kids to join her (Army) husband in Korea, and first making the obligatory grandparent visits in this country. Sheís got another cousin to help her drive to California, but still, any woman who can cross the country and then an ocean with three kids, as the solo adult for most of the way, impresses the hell out of me. (She and her husband had already impressed me by bringing up three non-whiny kids. Iím still not sure how they do it.)

Iíve been rereading Gaudy Night, and was yet again greatly struck by all that part about "proper jobs", but that will have to be another post.

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

June 24, 2001

quickie


I donít feel like doing a detailed regatta report tonight, so will do one tomorrow instead. But it was GREAT!

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

June 22, 2001

Off to the Races


Off to the races. More accurately, off to work so I can be trained to be a Leader (is there an oxymoron in there somewhere?) then sneaking off early so I can go off to the races.

I think Iím the only one (of 10 or so going to Marina del Rey who isnít just taking the day off, but weíve been told we canít miss these, because there are no more make-up sessions left. I would be done with this already, but I missed a few sessions during the Period of Exile. Incidentally, I am now the only person who went on Exile who hasnít since received a layoff notice. So much for corporate loyalty. I knew it was all a myth, but you rarely see that demonstrated quite so graphically.

Anyway, the races this weekend should be fun, especially me and Egret vs. the Geezers. The nicest part is that the race is on Saturday, so we can go out and have Beer afterwards, and get to sleep late before driving home Sunday. Sunday races suck, because of having to drive home in an advanced state of fatigue. Most of our races have been in the San Diego or LA vicinity lately, so itís about a 6-hour drive.

Report on Monday.

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

June 21, 2001

work blues


I donít write about work much, partly because I kind of pretty much like the place (well, you know, thereía a reason itís still called work and partly because, even if I didnít, I work at an Internet company and this site is not all that hard to find, associated with my name. However, I would just like to say that things are getting very scary there at the moment, with people leaving right and left, voluntarily or not. Morale is sinking. I donít know what to do; decisions would be simple if I didnít like the place and werenít getting good experience, but I do and I am. *sigh*

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

artificially enhanced


Yesterday I was all excited to get an email from Sephora, an online cosmetics company, about a sale of theirs. I have no idea why. (Why I was excited, I mean. I know why companies send email about their sales.) Sephora gets a lot of mention in the womenís magazines, as they carry some of the high-end make-up lines that donít seem to show up in department stores, at least not those outside New York. So I am curious about some of their products, but I donít think I want to pay those prices for something I canít even try on before buying.

Iíve been wearing more makeup lately, and Iím not sure of the reason for that either. Lots of women in my office donít wear any, so itís not peer pressure; I have pale skin and dark eyes, lashes, and hair, so I donít look ill or washed-out without any. And Iím sure as hell neither a girly kind of girl nor the sort of coiffed woman who never goes out without her "face" on. When I do wear makeup, itís usually subtle enough that the fact Iím wearing it may not be obvious to a casual observer. (Or thatís what I think it looks like, anyway. I donít hear strangers hissing, "Hey! Tammy Faye! Mimi!" as I walk by.)

Part of it is that I live in Arizona. I donít wish either to develop skin cancer or elephant hide, so most days I wear at least a tinted moisturizer with a sunscreen in it. I could of course wear a moisturizer/sunscreen without the tint, but it seems logical to even out skin tone with no extra effort, as long as Iím already protecting myself from the ravages of sun and hydrating my skin. (At least three phrases in the preceding sentence are straight out of cosmetics ads.) Even with something that sheer on, though, the skin tone ends up a little too even, and I look a little too monochrome, so I end up putting on mascara, to accent the eyes, and a "natural colored" lipstick. And of course at that point, itís no trouble to throw on an eyeshadow or three. All of them still in natural, unobtrusive colors, of course. Of course.

I donít have time for all of that. I donít care that much (at least because "before" and "after" really donít look all that different) and Iím sure no one else does. Next week, Iíll skip the makeup.

But I think Iíll get some colorless (and not sticky) sunscreen, first.

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

Hands, Hands, Hands

Oh, yeah, by the way, rereading Gaudy Night typically has one other effect on me:


Our hands are clasped together, fingers interlaced,
A unit, melded, both held, neither seized,
We let go briefly, step apart, rejoin in lonely haste,
Each finger finds its place again with ease.
My hand knows the feel of yours by heart,
(If hands can have a heart, though yours hold mine)
My hand fits into yours as though the two would never part,
Yet after time apart, the fitís aligned.
Itís odd that they should fit so well, so different in size,
Though weathered much alike by wind and years.
This fit, honed over time, is now become a thing to prize,
A thing to cherish, as the end of our first decade nears.
Our livesí fit has been mirrored by our hands;
Shaped so by love, seared with each othersí brands.


Harriet's is much better, though.

Posted by dichroic at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

tapering and a bit of rowing history and literature

morning 2001-06-21 taphistlit.html
tapering and a bit of rowing history and literature

Iím tapering down training before the race Saturday, so I skipped the gym and just did a fairly light 5000 meters on the erg. The idea of tapering is to leave you with a lot of pent-up energy before a big enough, by going from a very heavy workout schedule to a lighter one a few days before. You keep doing a little bit of exercise so you donít lose muscle tone, but not much. Iím not sure if it works quite that way for me, but at least Iím not wearing my body down more right before a race. I plan to sleep in a wee bit tomorrow, too.

Egret and I found out yesterday that weíll be racing a double with an average age somewhere in their early 60s. They get a 21.8 second handicap! Bear in mind that the whole 1000 meter race will take us 4 minutes or less, so thatís substantial. With luck, at least we can beat them in real time, before the handicap is added. In rowing, thatís not a given, because a 60-year-old woman may be one who began rowing in college, graduated, found a partner, and has been doing so ever since. Some of the people who fit that description have incredible form and physiques.

Yes, women have been rowing for a lot longer than that; I refer you to Dorothy Sayersí Gaudy Night, which I should be rereading anyhow. Set in the 1930s at Oxford, it makes it clear that the characters not only know how to row properly, but learned how as undergraduates, 15 years or so earlier. Incidentally, the boats in that book seem a bit different than the ones Iím familiar with, being capable of taking extra passengers and cargo. In fact, they sound more like those in Jerome K. Jeromeís Three Men in a Boat, though Jerome certainly didnít have a sliding seat, while Harriet Vane may have. There are some modern touring boats, used more in Europe and Australia, that may be more similar to those older ones. They sound like a wonderful way to tour the Netherlands, with its canal system!

I was going to writer today about cosmetics, use of and splurging on, but I seem to have filled a page, so will save that musing until later.

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

June 20, 2001

various sorts of storms


I think all that criticism from the rowing coaches awhile back has turned me into a bit of a control freak on the water. Egret and I were practicing racing starts and Yosemite Sam gave her some form pointers, while he said I was rowing well but needed to pull harder. I think I have the power, but was just sort of concentrating on form and not using it. Forgetting to row hard in a race is a bad thing, but I expect the adrenaline will kick in and help with that. There was probably a contributing fatigue factor, too, since he said this mostly in the later of our 15+ starts. Egret has far more endurance than I do, I admit.

Itís actually cloudy out today, which means it didnít cool off as much overnight, but also wonít heat up as much today. (We hope.) This may also harbinger the beginning of the "monsoon season" we get every July and August, where temperatures a few (too few!) degrees cooler than Juneís are more than balanced by higher humidity. This being a desert, "higher" is a relative term and may mean something like 40%.

We also get some wonderful spectacular thunderstorms, though more often it rains in the mountain and evaporates on the way here, so that we just get a dust storm. Those can be interesting to watch also, though not fun to be out in because dust gets in your eyes and mouth. Our dust storms can be almost opaque; I have a picture of the leading edge of one and the left half is crystal clear, while the right half looks like I had my thumb over the lens. (Yes, Iím sure I didnít really have my thumb over the lens. Anyway, the dust is close to my skin color, whereas an actual thumb would have blocked the light and photographed darker.) We get at least a minor storm of some sort almost every day.

Morale at work is down a bit because of the Ďrestructuringsí, though everyone understands the need for them. Still it gets scary, wondering whoís next. I have little motivation to leave, since I like the company and the experience Iím getting, but I also worry about getting caught out unprepared. Also, I miss when we had a closeknit QA group. I enjoyed my office-mate a lot and loved having a group of people close enough to trade favors with (airport and car-repair drop-offs, for example) and to go drinking with. (This was back pre-rowing when I could stay up late enough to make drinking more worth while.) Now people didnít even comment when I got 4" cut off my hair and the people I work with most are scattered over two buildings 10 minutesí drive apart. At least, itís still more social than when I worked at Big Airplane Company, a place that really did drive me nuts. And people here get my jokes. (I think sensitivity training had scared the humor out of people at Big Airplane Company.)

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

June 19, 2001

on googling


What is it with these Googlers? As I understand it, a Google hit doesnít register unless someone actually clicks through it to the page. So either hope springs eternal for someone devoted to self-bondage (I almost hate to type the words, for fear of another dozen hits on them), or else there is a whole community out there devoted to the pursuit. Or is "community" the wrong word for such a solitary pursuit? Or is there, perhaps, a different and more innocent meaning to the term, of which I dwell in entire ignorance?

I am very happy, on the other hand, to provide anyone who comes looking, with the words to Frostís The Master Speed (lots of hits on that -- is it replacing Gibran for weddings?), or for other poems I may have quoted, or mention of singers like Stan Rogers or Mary Zikos or Ewan MacColl. I wish I could trace some of those people back along their path, since we clearly share some interests. If anyone wanted to connect, though, the guestbook is always there, so maybe this way is better. This way I just know Iíve fleetingly brushed paths with a kindred spirit. Itís good to know theyíre out there, anyhow.

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

past and future travels

morning 2001-06-19 travels.html
past and future travels

Weights this morning, legs.

This far removed from my Worcester winter, it was pleasant to read Mechaiehís description of her Boston trip. Our musical experiences were very different as I tend to prefer folk to classical, and, since I was staying so far outside the city, had fewer opportunities to hear some. (Boston is good for classical, but it may well be the best place in the world for the singer-songwriter sort of new music that is generally lumped into the folk category.)

But we did stop at some of the same places; Iíve eaten at the Marche (though with better results) and drunk wine at the the bar on top of the Pru, been gratified at the sight of the Charles (surprisingly beautiful for a city river), and walked around Faneuil Hall. (Good food there, too.) I wish I had actually gotten to stay in Boston, instead of too far out to make taking the T practical, since that would have enabled me to spend a lot more time appreciating the city. Driving in Boston is scary.

Weíre trying now to decide what to do for July 4th weekend. There is a regatta in Sacramento we may visit, which would be pleasant because Rudderís grandparents, aunt and cousin would likely come out to watch. However, the competition would likely be fierce, and some of the people we row with seem to be getting burned out and less interested in traveling to races. This one is a 12 or 13-hour drive, too, and Iíd probably have to take at least a day off work.

If we donít do that, though, weíll have to figure out how to celebrate the 4th, which is also our 8th anniversary. (Please spare me the jokes about serving fried chicken at the wedding reception, getting divorced instead of married no Independence Day, or seeing fireworks on my wedding night.) Itís a bit more difficult this year, since 4 July is on a Wednesday, so that we donít have a long weekend.

Also, weíre sort of hoping to visit Antarctica around the holiday season of 2002, so weíre trying to conserve vacation time. Since a) by then, Iíll have 3 weeks/year if Iím still here and b) the way "restructurings" are going, it doesnít seem likely I will still be here by then, that may just be silly self-deprivation.

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

June 18, 2001

paean, encomium, eulogy, or praise


Krapsnart wrote today that "se faire une raison", which is roughly the French equivalent of "to learn to live with something", literally means "to make oneself a reason for it". This may be clearer in French and I suspect it is; in the English, Iím not sure whether she means "to make (for) oneself a reason (that something has happened)" or "to make oneself (into) a reason that (something has happened)". The ambiguity occurs because the verb phrase "make oneself" has at least two meanings, depending on the omitted preposition. but they are so subtly different we never notice, until confuxion hits.

I donít speak more than a few words in any other language, despite a good ear and 6 years of Hebrew and 7 of Spanish (only in America). I might be able to ask directions to the loo or order dinner, but not much beyond that. (I do better with the written languages than the spoken ones.) But I know my own language better than most other native speakers, because I love it. I enjoy the sort of ambiguities I demonstrated in the previous paragraph.

I love that our irregular verbs and synonyms and related words tell the tale of the history of English. Most irregular verbs derive from Old English, a Germanic language which followed different rules for inflection and conjugation. Most of those rules died out, in favor of simpler forms, during the centuries after the Norman conquest when few educated people spoke English as a daily language. Supposedly, thatís also why we have "beef" from French "boeuf", from the Norman French lords who ate the meat from the "cow" (Old English "cu") raised by the Saxon peasants.

And then there are all those parallel words: "shirt" from Old English is related to "skirt" showing the characteristic Ďskí diphthong from Old Norse, both originally having the meaning that survives in "shirt". Celtic and Norse words survive in English place names more than in words, and some contributions from the former actually came in much later -- for example "galore" dates only from the 1600s.

I love that English is flexible enough to borrow or create words wherever needed. (Q: Did you send a facsimile or did you connect over a modulator/demodulator? A: I sent a fax and used a modem. Near the bayou (from Choctaw, I saw a raccoon (from Algonquin) with a banana (Wolof, an African language) and a pawpaw (Spanish).)

I like languages in general; it is fascinating to see how you can learn about what kind of environment the original Indo-European tribes lived in by looking to see which words are similar in all the languages derived from theirs (it had oaks and elms, but not palm trees or papayas). Thereís a lot to be seen how human minds work from the fact that the commonest verbs (be, have, do) are most likely to be irregularly conjugated.

But I think English is something special, though I freely admit to a strong bias; I may just not know anything else enough to appreciate it.

Posted by dichroic at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

librarianship and the usual training report


Well, yesterdayís relaxation was nice. We also ended up eating fairly well this weekend, which, come to think of it, we often do. Maybe this is why weíre usually okay on Mondays and get dragged out over the course of a week? I actually had red meat both Saturday and Sunday plus a little bit of (supermarket) sushi on Sunday, so my protein levels should be high enough for a change. With having races on two consecutive weekends, I really do want to eat well this week.

Egret and I had our first and possibly only pre-race outing in the double today; T and T2 need to train in it too, and after all, itís their boat. I admit to having had thoughts of scratching the race at first, but after a while we smoothed out, and it wasnít bad at all. We even practiced some racing starts. If we do get to row that boat again, Iíd like to do a couple of short race pieces (say, 250 meters) because I think one thing that hurt us in the quad during Saturdayís race was that we had practiced our starts, but not the actual rowing together at a race pace. It was very splashy.

By the way, Iíd laugh at all the people complaining about the heat (expected high here today: 111 F ... and let me tell you, at that temperature, "dry heat" doesnít make nearly enough difference) but I have to admit, thereís no way I could live out here without air-conditioning.

Just so no one will think rowing is the only excitement in my life, yesterday I started putting together an Access database so we can catalog our books (Yes, that was sarcasm.) Rudder[1] wants to do it for insurance reasons, so if the house ever burned down, weíd have a record. Thatís not my reason at all; weíve estimated the numbers of hardbacks and paperbacks and figured an average price for them, and thatís good enough for me.

I just want a catalog to satisfy my inner librarian. I like the idea of being able to look back and see when I bought this one, or if that oneís a first edition (even though I buy them to read, not to invest). I hope someday our collection will be big enough that it will be useful to have something listed which book is in which bookcase. (Iím not currently planning to go down to the shelf level; my anal-retentiveness has its limits.) Also, I want to use the Library of Congress system to catalog them. Itís not always clear now where a book should be; for example, is Le Ton Beau de Marot about poetry, translations, or cognitive linguistics? Is Ogden Nash poetry or humor? Thatís not a problem now, while my books on poetry and on linguistics are only a couple shelves apart, wih humor across the room, but it could get more awkward when we buy the additional 2-3 bookcases we need.

I want to research the LOC system further, anyhow, to see more of how its details work (or I could be lazy and just ask Caerula). I understand the general grouping, though I need to get a detailed listing, but I donít understand how the part after the dot is arrived at. That is, if Glenford Myersí The Art of Software Testing is QA76.6.M888, well, the QA is the broad subject grouping (QA, or Quality Assurance in this case, conveniently), the 76.6 narrows that down further (to software testing, I presume), and the M is for the authorís last name, Myers. But what is the 888 for? And why does this one not end in 1979, the year it was printed? Also, why do both the Calvin and Hobbes book I checked yesterday and Jakob Nielsenís Designing Web Usability have their LOC numbers in completely different formats? Nielsenís book is 99-63014.

Inquiring aspiring librarians want to know.

[1]T and I had a long discussion the other night about what he should be called here. He suggested Rudder; he likes the idea of steering from the shadows, being the small factor that changes the direction of a large vehicle. Also, both rowing shells and aircraft have rudders , so itís appropriate for both facets. It doesnít quite feel right to me, but that may be lack of familiarity, so Iíll try it for a bit and see.

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

June 17, 2001

time and books: the ingredients of happiness


For about the third weekend in a row, I am having a lazy day, with nothing to do but a few chores. This is still a new enough phenomenon that Iím glorying in it, even appreciating a few moments of boredom here and there. Yesterday, I even wasted a bit of time waiting for and then having a pedicure. Unheard of luxury -- Iím speaking here of the wasted time, not the toenail maintenance. This is the last of my streak of lazy weekends, anyhow, since weíll be traveling for next weekendís regatta.

The rest of the day will consist of finishing my laundry, grocery shopping, and maybe a bit more exciting shopping for some more much-needed bookshelves. My paperbacks are double-shelved these days, and there are hardbacks resting on the tops of other hardbacks. I would say that they seem to multiply when Iím not watching, except I know just how much money, how many hoursí earnings, Iíve spent on each conglomeration of paper, glue, pasteboard, and words.

Itís worth it though; I would probably have spent the money anyway, on something less worthy. Even if Iíd saved it, more money in the bank or in the stock market would never have satisfied me as well as a houseful of books.

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

June 16, 2001

Race Report


Todayís race went fairly well. It was hot but not searing, and there was a nice breeze for the first 2 hours, but not enough to rough up the water that much. I coxed a menís four, rowed in a womenís lightweight quad, and coxed a womenís lightweight four. Because this was the first year rowing was one of the sports in the Grand Canyon State Games, they had subdivided categories almost to the point of ridiculousness, so there are really two ways to look at the results.

I.

My boats came in:

  • First (of one) in Mastersí Mensí Lightweight Fours
  • First (of one) in Womensí Quad
  • First (of one) in Womensí Lightweight Mastersí Four

This being the way the GCSG actually did look at it, I now have 3 gold medals.

II.

More realistically:

They combined events, so in all those "first of one" categories, we actually were racing at the same time as other related boats. We came in:

  • Master Menís Lightweight Four: Behind a Junior Mensí Four and a heavyweight Mastersí Four, but ahead of a Juniorsí Eight -- so third of 3, but still not DFL.
  • Lightweight Womensí Quad: Behind the Mensí Quad (as expected) and behind an unexpectedly fast Mensí Four, but ahead of a Junior Womensí Four -- quads are generally faster than fours if all factors are the same, but these girls were twice our size.
  • Lightweight Womensí Four: Just barely behind a heavyweight Womensí Four

That last is especially impressive; none of the lightweight women had been rowing much more than a year, while several of the heavyweights had rowed Varsity in college. Also, the heavyweights had a world-class coxswain, while the lightweights just had me. They basically kicked ass. I did think for a minute that Hardcore, in stroke seat (i.e. nearest to me) was going to puke after the race, but fortunately she recovered quickly.

Tís race categories had a bit more competition than mine, so he has the full assortment of medals: a gold, a silver, and a bronze, for Menís Quad (1 of 1, but also first overall), Mixed Eight (2 of 2 in category, 3 of 4 in race) and Menís Eight (3 of 3). On the other hand, I expect he and T2 will do considerably better than Egret and I in our respective doubles races next weekends.

The rest of the weekend will likely consist of laundry, grocery-shopping, and recuperation.

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

June 15, 2001

lost text, weather, and newsgroups; yet another conglomerate entry


Arggh. I just created an entire conference presentation proposal, decided I should get someone to review it before submitting, went to copy it to Word, and clicked Ctrl-V instead of Ctrl-C, obliterating my text. It was under 100 words, so it wasnít that much trouble to recreate, but of course I remember the original version as being far superior to the recreation.

Other than that, Iím spending today hoping tomorrow morning will be relatively cool. When we had the Worldís Hottest Regatta here, last September, it pretty much lived up to its name. I was about ready to curl up and die afterwards. This one should be better, just because nights cool off more and days warm up slower in June than in September, because of lower humidity. Also, theyíre predicting a high of 104, which is far better than the 115 we sometimes get about now. With any luck, the T-shirts will be better this time, too.

My list is being goopy again, so Iíve been hanging out on My Brother the Writerís newsgroup, which is, not surprisingly, a writerís group. Between this page and the fact that I spend fully half my time doing technical writing, I figure I qualify. Discussions can get a lot nastier than Iím used to, and there are definitely a few idiots out there (I particularly liked the ones who kept referring to "courtesans" when they meant Palace Staff. My Websterís defines courtesans only as high-priced prostitutes.) Still, there are a few people there who make it worthwhile and Iím glad to see my brother and his closest friends are some of them. His annoying stage lasted from about age two to age 27; Iím glad to see him finally growing up and out of it.

Though there are a few drawbacks to appearing as a well-known newsgroup memberís sister; someone has already posted, just for my benefit, a picture of MBtW in the buff, with only one leg for figleaf. I could have done without seeing that.

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

work and food


I didnít row today due to a mildly upset stomach. Iím sure itís due either to fatigue and stress or to some junk food I ate yesterday; I should be fine for tomorrowís race.

I have got to improve my diet, but even aside from my voracious addiction to pretzels, itís difficult to figure out what I should be eating. Lots of fruits and veggies, yes. Do I eat enough of a variety? A definite maybe. Some protein -- but if I eat too much, it tends to lie heavy, so then I worry if Iím eating enough for energy. (Iím not terribly energetic, so probably not.) I figure that I burn off enough calories that I donít worry too much about fats. I eat junk food only rarely, and go easy on sweets just out of personal preference, but I do put dressing on salads and butter on popcorn or baked potatoes. Mostly, I worry that I eat too many empty carbohydrates, as in the aforementioned pretzels. I donít believe in the Zone diet, especially since Iím not trying to lose weight, but I donít want to go overboard either. So much of the information I read conflicts that itís hard to know what to do.

Work is a little unsettling again, as weíve just had some more layoffs. As far as I can tell, Iím safe in this round, but it doesnít do to be too sure. Ironically, I have no other motivation to send out my resume, because I like this company in a lot of ways, and the experience Iím getting now is exactly what I need if I want to stay in software QA. Which I do, at least in the short term.

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

June 14, 2001

Frost Parodies

It's probably a good thing Robert Frost lived in New England. I've always loved this poem of his:

The way a crow / Shook down on me
The dust of snow / From a hemlock tree,
Has given my heart / a change of mood,
And saved some part / Of a day I had rued.


The problem with that, of course, is it's harder to apply to life out here in the blazing deserts. I was trying to figure out how to rewrite Frost to make his verse a bit more applicable, and herewith present the following for your reading pleasure.


The way a waitress/ Gave to me
A cup of joe / From Mel's eatery,
Has saved my day / And made me smile,
I won't go postal / Yet awhile.


Or how about:

The hummingbird / attacking me,
A falcon in / Small mimicry,
His tiny valor / spurs me on,
Uh-oh. Where has that / darned thing goóAUUGGGGHHH!

Or:

Coyotes scrounge / For carrion,
Not fit for dogs / To tarry on.
Like them I vow / I'll brave my fate,
Whoever shows / For this blind date.


You think if I keep following in Frost's footsteps, I too could be Poet Laureate some day? Oh well. I had a feeling you'd say that.

Posted by dichroic at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

in a Frost-y mood


Itís probably a good thing Robert Frost lived in New England. Iíve always loved this poem of his:

The way a crow / Shook down on me

The dust of snow / From a hemlock tree,

Has given my heart / a change of mood,

And saved some part / Of a day I had rued.

The problem with that, of course, is itís harder to apply to life out here in the blazing deserts. I was trying to figure out how to rewrite Frost to make his verse a bit more applicable, and herewith present the following for your reading pleasure.

The way a waitress/ Gave to me
A cup of joe / From Melís eatery,
Has saved my day / And made me smile,
I wonít go postal / Yet awhile.

Or how about:



The hummingbird / attacking me,

A falcon in / Small mimicry,

His tiny valor / spurs me on,

Uh-oh. Where has that / darned thing goóAUUGGGGHHH!

Or:

Coyotes scrounge / For carrion,
Not fit for dogs / To tarry on.
Like them I vow / Iíll brave my fate,
Whoever shows / For this blind date.

You think if I keep following in Frostís footsteps, I too could be Poet Laureate some day? Oh well. I had a feeling youíd say that.

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

rowing, transformations, and reconfiguration of dead papilial cells


I took it easy in the gym this morning, but I have a valid excuse. I wasnít just being lazy; Iím tapering down for this Saturdayís race. Races, actually: I will be racing in a lightweight womenís quad (with the same people I rowed with yesterday), which should be great fun, coxing something-or-other, which will be OK, and racing again in a mixed eight (mixed = 4 men and 4 women) which may not be fun. The first race will be fun because weíre well matched, weíve gotten to practice together (well, once but weíre the only womenís quad, so itís not like anyone will beat us), and weíre rowing at 7:45 AM. The mixed eight, in contrast, hasnít rowed together at all, which is not a major problem since everyoneís just doing this one for kicks, not taking it seriously. The problem will be that weíre scheduled to race at about 10:00 AM, by which time it may be 95 degrees. I may melt.

I tried suggesting to T2 Hatfield, who put the crews together for this race, that if anyone else wanted it, they were welcome to my spot in the eight, but I guess he doesnít have people begging for seats in a boat. Oh well. This is all part of the Grand Canyon State Games, by the way, the first year theyíve included rowing.

We went to dinner with him and Egret yesterday, at which point he informed me that Iíll be coxing a boat or two next weekend, when we go to the Regatta del Sol at Marina del Rey. Iím slated to cox his and Tís boat, whch should be fun.

Dinner with them also gave me the chance to show off my new haircut, in all its blow-dried glory. (My hair gets blow-dried when I have it cut and at no other time.) Cool Salon Guy and I discussed the issue of my hair boredom at length; as a conscientious hairdresser (stylist?) he was trying hard to be helpful without being coercive, but stated that the two best styles heís seen on me over the years are long and all one length, or very short. So the options for yesterday were to cut it back to the length of the shortest layers, or to go short.

We did the former, on the theory that if I didnít like it, we could always cut more, whereas growing it out is a pain in the ass. So now itís one length, between my chin and shoulders, with a few short pieces because hairdressers think those add excitement or fun or something, and anyway I kind of like having hair in my eyes. Iím not sure why; maybe because I got yelled at so much for that as a kid that it makes me feel rebellious somehow. If I had straight hair, Iíd get it cut like Edward Furlong in Terminator 2. Anyway, now that itís been washed and not blowdried, itís essentially a bob cut and I havenít decided yet whether to grow it out more or get it chopped off after all. At least itís long enough to pull back for sports.

The reason for all this angst is that Iíve always had a sneaking belief that if I got the One Perfect Haircut, I would suddenly magically be stunningly beautiful. This belief has never been shaken by the observable reality that people who are stunningly beautiful always look that way with any hairstyle (contrast Demi Moore as a stripper and as a Marine). Itís my only remaining Cinderella fantasy, and I refuse to give it up.

I should probably write something about the latest changes at work, but I may need to wait a day or two for that.

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

June 13, 2001

Dichroicís being linguistic again


I told Coach DI about my thousand-meter time yesterday. His exact response was "Your like one of those little guys in the Mighty Dog Ads! Pound for pound you kick @#%$!!" I thought that was funny....itís not often that someone gives you a compliment that translates so literally as "Mean little bitch!"

Today, we finally got to row the lightweight womenís quad that weíll be racing Saturday, and it was great. Speaking of small women who kick ass....We hadnít done it before because one of the women rows with a different group, but she came out this morning just for us. Now Iím looking forward to Saturday. Toward the end of practice, I ended up having to row with three other (heavier) women, which was amusing in a different way. One of them caught a crab with her starboard oar every single time we tried a racing start. We did ok with steady-state rowing, though.

I should explain that term "catch a crab", because it confused me for years in Through the Looking Glass. Remember when Alice is with the sheep, whoís knitting, and suddenly the shop theyíre in dissolves, and Alice is trying to row a boat? The sheep keeps saying "Feather! Feather! Youíll catch a crab." Alice takes that as literally as I always did, and says sheíd rather like to catch a "dear little crab". For years, I had no idea what Lewis Carroll was gassing on about -- I think I thought "Feather!" was some odd British expletive. (Well, itís no stranger than "Blimey!") Turns out theyíre rowing terms -- "feathering" is rotating your oar so itís parallel to the water and glides on top of it. "Catching a crab" is when your oar basically gets stuck under the water (like if you feathered it entirely underwater) so that you canít pull it out at the end of a stroke.

Iím sure you all feel better now for knowing that. Or at least better than the guy in my meeting earlier whose name we deduced the meaning of. It was a Danish name and someone who speaks Danish told him the literal meaning. That part was fine, but I probably didnít have to add the relationship of the parts of his name to old English words, and how the word "gaard" (farm) relates to our word "yard" (through palatalziation of the initial consonant, or course). I wish Iíd been able to finish that Linguistics degree. I will someday, but meanwhile I have a horrible feeling of cogitus interruptus that tends to manifest in little lectures like these.

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

June 12, 2001

hair boredom


Here is the issue that has been most on my mind lately; itís not upcoming regattas, work issues, interpersonal conflicts, lack of free time, or even whether itís fair that the man who was executed yesterday is more famous than any of his victims. No, the question of the day is:

(dropping to a confidential murmur)



What should I do with my hair?

I have an appointment with the Cool Stylist Guy tomorrow, and aside from the fact that I like going to him because heís fun to talk to, Iím looking forward to it because Iím bored. My hair looks all right; at the moment itís shoulder length, parted in the middle, and has a few layers. As always, itís dark brown and wavy. Itís just that itís been this way for a while, and Iím booored. Also, some days it looks shaggy and itís getting some split ends.

Options are:

  • get it cut all the way back to its former Winona-Ryderís-old-haircut length cut. That one looked all right, and I get to go visit Cool Stylist Guy monthly because it needs frequent trimming. On the other hand, growing it out when I get bored with that is a royal pain.
  • bangs, a few inches off, or a different part. Nothing drastic, but possibly also boring.
  • Dye. And if so, what color? I should explain at this point that my hair has never been dyed except for some nearly-invisible highlights when it was very short, or the stuff that washes right out. I always wanted to do with a dark navy blue, but I donít think it would go over well at the office. Or pink, either. Though you never know; this place is pretty laid back. At least one woman has a fuschia stripe in her hair, but sheís in the more creative end. Since I have dark eyebrows, I donít think blonde would work, either.

One other requirement: I simply will not do anything that requires use of advanced styling tools (blowdryers, curling irons, rollers). Just not gonna happen. A towel-dry, comb-through, and maybe rubbing in some stuff so it doesnít frizz is about my limit.

Ideas?

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

changing family dynamics


Today I pulled a personal best time on the erg (rowing machine): 4:25 for 1000 meters. To give you some perspective, this means that, out of the not-too-many people worldwide who have entered times on Concept IIís online rankings, I am 9th out of 15 lightweight women, and, oddly, 28 out of 56 women overall. ("Oddly", because heavyweights are usually considerably taller and stronger and thus, faster.) I feel good about those numbers; height is an important factor in stroke length, translating to more speed, and not too many rowers are 155 cm tall.

I hope my parents arenít reading Phelpsís journal, and picking up her familyís dynamics. Last night in a phone conversation, they asked me to pass on a message to my brother, about his spending time with them on Fatherís Day weekend, which is also the weekend of Dadís 65th birthday. I do hope this isnít the beginning of a trend, because I donít want to become their intermediary. I should also mention that my brother lives roughly 3 miles from them, whereas I am near the opposite coast, very nearly as far away as you can get and still live in the same country.

On the other hand, one part of Phelpsís family dynamics I wouldnít mind emulating is her closeness to her brothers. My Brother the Writer is finally growing up, is now in a serious relationship with a woman who both respects him and provides a good influence, and in a series of recent email exchanges, is being pretty damn funny these days. He has a lot of respect for me too, but I ascribe that mostly to my moving out of the house before he hit puberty and grew bigger than I am.

I may need to emulate the BroTW too; in chat the other evening, some listsibs got a fair way toward convincing me I should actually move ahead on a book idea I had. It would require more editing than writing, on my part, so Iím confident I could produce the material itself; getting the go-ahead from a publisher and maybe an advance for some required travel would be the hard part. Just what I need, another project....because you know I havenít had enough to fill my time lately.

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

June 11, 2001

Old books, old friend, and odd wontons

lunch 2001-06-11 bkfriwon.html
Old books, old friend, and odd wontons

I really hate when I have half an entry in and then I hit the Back button when I meant to open another window, erasing everything Iíve typed. Anyway, yesterday was a pleasant enough day that I wanted to write about it. A trip to the local Half-Price Books resulted in acquisition of a near-mint (but half-priced!) paperback of Lois McMaster Bujoldís A Civil Campaign, as well as three by Lloyd Alexander (though unfortunately not The Book of Three, the first of his Prydain Chronicles), and also Words and Rules by Steven Pinker, whom Iíve been wanting to read more of in the hope that his prose is not always as turgid as in How the Mind Works.

Other than that, my accomplishment for the day was a batch of ground-turkey wontons, which were quite edible, though not nearly as good as Mechaiehís. For some odd reason, mine had sort of a liverish taste. Inferior ground turkey? I donít know. I had lots of turkey/cabbage/scallion mixture left when I ran out of wonton wrappers, so I dumped in the rest of the beaten egg Iíd been using to seal the wontons and made meatballs. Unfortunately, there was too much egg for the amount of turkey, so they were a bit runny. Breadcrumbs or wheat germ would have saved the day, but I didnít have any. Anyway, they werenít pretty, but T seemed to think they tasted all right. I was at least careful to cook them through.

In the later afternoon, I was delighted to get an email from a friend who seemed to have disappeared without a trace over the last several months Ė left one job and lost contact with the other people I could have called to find her. Now, at least, I have current phone numbers. I gave her this URL, too, so Sandy, if youíre reading this, thanks for the email! I was worried about you.

By the way, I donít want to discuss the man they executed today. Whether or not you agree with his fate, he was clearly an amoral brute and a killer. What bothers me was his final message; instead of making a speech, he simply wrote out William Ernest Henleyís Invictus. Itís a good and inspiring poem, and I am not satisfied to let it now forever be associated with a mass murderer. So, without naming anyone but its author, here it is for the next Google searcher:


"Invictus"


"Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.



In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.



Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.



It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scrolls,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul."



By William Ernest Henley (1849-1903):


By the way, I found Invictus at Blue Peterís Favorite Poetry, which appears to be a collection of someoneís favorites. Itís a good collection of older stuff, some not common, mostly of it older, and also has handy short biographies of writers.
Posted by dichroic at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

the joys of grown-upness


This morningís practice was fun -- I was in a four with DrunkTina, Egret, and Hardcore (and you can tell how much I like rowing with these people because I have nicknoms for all of them). T coxed, at which heís quite talented. We would actually almost quality as a lightweight boat (each rower <135 lbs, average < 130 lbs), except that DrunkTina, though as short as the rest of us, is not a lightweight (and never will be and never should be because, given her basic body type, sheíd be seriously underweight). Even with her, though, I think the boat average is lightweight, because the other three of us are way under the limit.

T was coxing because he canít row, and can barely walk; he rowed on Friday when he wasnít expecting to and didnít have shoes or socks along. Our current boats have "clogs" consisting of one strap across the ball of the foot and a heel cup, so if you donít weat shoes, your feet get badly torn up, which is what happened to T. If he takes it easy, he may be all right to row in this Saturdayís race.

Watching the junior rowers maks me very glad Iím out of high school. Not only are they expected to do anything DI says, without question, they do a ton more calisthenics and running than I ever plan to do before practice. Also, DI had a Talk with us today, the gist of which was that anything to do with our rowing program has to go through him, not the people at the city. However, he managed to remain calm and civilized, and even apologized (!)for his part in our recent fracas. I told him of my vow that NO ONE, to whom I have not given the right, will ever be allowed to yell at me again, with me just taking it. Coaches have the right to yell at me in class (and sometimes you have to, either to be heard or to break someoneís daze), just not off the water. Once he understood that I wasnít saying I wouldnít accept criticism or disagreement, just not in a raised voice, I think he understood what I was getting at and agreed that was a valid point. I told him that if he yells at me, I will walk away and heís welcome to discuss the matter at a later time in a calmer way.

I love adulthood. I can do things like that. I have control over my environment. If I get teased, itís because Iím allowing someone ho likes me to do so, not because Iím stuck in a schoolyard with a bully and canít escape, or just because I have different interests than some others around me. I can choose my friends, I can choose my form of work and play, I can transport myself anywhere I want, and a large fraction of the constraints on my life are of my own choosing. Why would anyone want to be 16 again?

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

June 10, 2001

Time for Great Books


All I gotís a sunny afternoon........

and even morning. We made no plans for the weekend because of the test I had to take yesterday; I did come home and suggest driving to the property on the Rim (which I donít think Iíve ever written about here but itís on an airpark about 2.5 hours away up where itís cooler). But neither of us had the energy to pack up all our stuff for camping and T hates doing that much driving for a one-day trip. So instead weíll stay here and characteristically, heíll find things that Must Be Done Now (T doesnít laze well) and Iíll luxuriate in the still-new feeling of having spare time. Maybe Iíll visit the local used bookstore and use the certificate T gave me for Chanukah (just one dayís gift, so itís a small one).

Iím thinking of stocking up on Bujolds --Iíve read most of them except for the latest few, but never really gotten obsessed, and I own only one or two early ones. From what Iíve heard, though, sheís the rare author whose series has improved over time (for some reason, the others I can think of all seem to be mystery authors -- Dorothy Sayers and Elizabeth Peters come to mind). I should probably buy A Civil Campaign new though; Iíve paged through but not read it and I need to carefully look for the Austen and Sayers homages. Of course, given the reputed quality of later Bujolds, there may not be many used ones for sale.

I also like to look in that storeís very-old-books section for possible additions to my collection of Polly of Pebbly Pit books. Iíd especially like to get the one where she learns to fly, but ordering it online feels like cheating. There are a few other old girlsí series Iíll take when I can find them, too; Judy Bolton, maybe Connie Blair, and some girls club whose name I forget but its members were Harriet, Hazel, Marge (aka Buster), TOmmy, and their chaperone, MIss Elton. I had some of all of those growing up, handed down from my mother (who ended up with all the Judy and Connie books) and possibly my grandmother (Polly was copyrighted 1921, when Grandmom would have been 9). Also, though the morals get annoying, Iíd like to see what happened when the Five Little Peppers went to Europe.

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

June 09, 2001

I hope I pass


Off to take my exam soon!

IhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpassIhopeIpass.......

Later, post exam:
I hope I passed....

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

June 08, 2001

Participation and privacy


I slept in all the way to 6 today because, as I said yesterday, Iím taking the day off (not from work, just rowing). Iíll try to get some final cramming in today for my test tomorrow. I do tend to test well, but itís not safe to rely on that.

Poor T did go to rowing today, after getting home about 10 last night, from a meeting to set up the race schedule for the Grand Canyon state Games regatta next week. He said the meeting went very smoothly and everyone except Coach DI should be happy with it. DI, predictably, didnít get the entries for his Juniors in on time....so they didnít schedule races for them. Not much else they could do, without entry forms.

I think itís very cool that Arizona has its own mini-Olympics, especially since pretty much anyone who wants to participate can. Actually, rowing in general is like that; if I chose, I could participate in any regatta in the country except the Olympics. Iím not sure about National Championships, either. In anything else, though, I might lose by a few boatlengths, but I could participate.

I had an odd dilemma last night; Natalie and I got in a discussion with others about online journals in our list chat (mostly my fault, I confess). One person sounded interested, another incredulous. Both wondered about the idea of sharing something as personal as a diary with the world. The answer, of course, is that most (I think) online diaries are simply kept at a different level; if there are things I donít want to share, I simply donít write them here. There are a lot of things I find Iíd like to discuss, though, that I donít talk about with people I know in the flesh, either through lack of time or for fear of boring them. Here, you all can choose to read or not read, and I donít have to know, care, or be offended. You might learn more than you want to know about me, but I have the control to make sure itís not anything I donít want you to learn.

Anyway, the dilemma was whether I should mention this journal in the conversation. Itís not a secret, and I have mentioned it on the list before, but I didnít want to sound as though I were promoting myself. Also, I link to others who imght not want theirs publicized in that venue. It is not clear how much responsbility I have for, say, Phelpsís privacy -- and itís an issue weíve discussed -- but in privacy issues, itís better to err on the conservative side.

I notice this entry is more than half about rowing. Sad that I canít even avoid it on my day off!

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

June 07, 2001

Looming test


I took the morning off, and by God, Iím going to do it again. No gym today, no rowing tomorrow. I have informed our "Mafia bosses"[1] that I will not be at tomorrowís practice, have told YSam, have of course told T, and have informed the people Iím scheduled to race with in two weeks in case everyone else forgets to tell them.

I have a professional exam ("Certified Quality Analyst", whatever that means) on Saturday. Iím not terribly confident about it. Itís supposed to demonstrate a "minimal competency in the field" and Iíve been told that if I have enough practical experience, Iíll have no problem passing it. The reasons Iím still worried are 1) how do I know what "enough" is? and 2) thatís not what the study guide indicates. According to the study giude and its practice question, I should have memorized everything from the 7 categories for the Malcolm Baldrige quality award to the 6 tasks for performing criticism, the 5 types of listening, the 4-step complaint resolution process, the 3 elements of conformity behavior, the 2 major parts of awareness training, and the definition of Quality Assurance vs Quality Control. Lucky for me they donít ask for Demingís Fourteen Points. Actually, it all reminds me of Celtic mythology: the Three Oldest Things, the Four Generous Men of Britain, and so on.

Iím not thrilled about memorizing the Baldrige categories, because theyíre the sort of thing any professional would look up if she needs them, but at least theyíre objective and relevant to QA. I really hate the idea of memorizing something that someone just made up to support a theory that someone else thought might possibly be relevant to a QA Manager.(Five parts of speech: information, verbal, vocal, body, graphic); Three interpersonal characteristics: inclusion, control, affection.) Most of the ones pertaining to any sort of action seem to be based on the Deming PDCA cycle, which is plan->do->check->act, so Iíll fall back on that for anything I donít know. The major points of it are to plan before doing, and check how things are going and make changes afterward, instead of blindly jumping into action, and never stopping to see if your actions are working. Yes, a lot of QA boils down to common sense.

I know that the real test wonít be just like the sample questions, since the three samples are 50 questions or less and the real test has two of those questions plus two essay sections. I hope I can apply a judicious combination of experience and bullshit to get through the essay questions experience, memory, and inspired guesswork to get through the "objective" (ha!) questions. It would look good both for my company and for me professionally (i.e.resume-wise and salary-wise) to have if I pass the CQA cert, so wish me luck.

[1]At the Big Rowersí Meeting last week, people decided that we could improve communications by adding another level (I missed some logic there) and instead of talking directly to our coach, having a couple of point people to whom we would all report if we were going to miss a practice.

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

June 06, 2001

whatis my subconscious trying to say?


I had the weirdest dream last night, and, unusually for me, I still remember it. T was running a regatta at our house, where heíd somehow managed to set up a 3000 meter course in our pool (The pool, I should mention, is less than 10 m long). There was a very good turnout, including members of the national team. T had set up the boats (meaning who rowed in which one). In one early race, a rowing friend of ours from Texas was in with 2 or 3 or the national team members, He wasnít doing too well, but it didnít matter, because they all stopped rowing about halfway through the course and still managed to coast in and kick all their competitorsí collective butts (boats?).

I ended up rowing in a womenís eight that was otherwise filled with people from another club, because our clubís boat was full. I was rowing bow seat (note that bow in is in the front of the boat, though youíre looking at the rest of the crew since rowers face backwards) but somehow I was in the back of the boat, facing the wall. I was supposed to call out the strokes for a racing start, as bow normally does for a boat without a coxswain, but I was also supposed to kick off the wall, as you would in a back-stroking swimming race. This being a dream, the stern end of the boat somehow didnít get in the way. Anyway, the race started, and I was trying to kick off but we werenít going anywhere because everyone else was sitting still with blades dug in, because I forgot to call out the strokes. So we started way late, and came in DFL (dead f*cking last) by a considerable margin. I apologized to the rest of the boat for screwing up the start, and they considerately explained to me that yes, I did screw it up, but the start was over so fast anyway that that wasnít the major problem; I had simply screwed up the rest of the race too.

All of this didnít really put me in the mood for practice this morning, so itís lucky that went well (see previous entry). Hmm....either my subconscious agrees with DI that I suck (an opinion not shared by people I row with, as far as I can tell) or I need time off. On the other hand, at least the cast of characters was different. The last two nightsí dreams have included a guy I went to grade school with. He was a nice guy and all, but no more than that, so I canít figure out why heís occasionally been showing up in my dreams for years now.

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

So bad itís good


This morning, we ended up with three women rowing a quad. DI rigged a four into a quad (added riggers on both sides, basically, so it can handle 8 oars). This means that, unusually for a quad, it has a coxswainís seat. Normally, a quad is steered from bow seat, by having the rowers row harder on one side or the other, and by using a setup that lets you turn the boat by angling one foot. This is somewhat tricky, since a quad is very fast (8 oars, little dead weight) and the bow rower, like all rowers, is facing backwards so that she has to peer over her shoulder to see where sheís going.

Anyway, we were about to go out with four people and a cox, when we realized one oar was missing a handle. No idea how that happened, but apparently whoever carried it down didnít notice. We got yelled at by Yosemite Sam for that, then he had us remove the broken oar and go out with only three people, and no cox (to save weight). Not having the coxswain was actually a bit of a relief, as a) she was fairly heavy and b) sheís a new rower who had never done this before, and this unusual situation was probably not the best time to learn.

So there we are, three people in a four-person boat, and me in bow seat without the usual toe-steering setup, so that we had to steer entirely by rowing harder on one side than the other. And all of that explanation was just background to explain why it was surprising that we had a great time.

This has been my experience in the past, and not just in rowing. Thereís a point when so many things go wrong that it just gets silly, and then you can give up the Serious Determined Attitude and just have fun with it. When your umbrella blows inside out and your shoes arenít waterproof and itís so windy the rain is blowing up your raincoat, thereís a point when you just have to start jumping in puddles to see the splash and dancing around lamp posts while whistling Singing in the Rain. Or I do, anyway.

None of which is to say we werenít trying hard to row well; the other women in the boat are both very good and we were concentrating on our drills the whole time. I think I got the set off the boat off several times, turning my whole upper body to look behind me instead of just peeking over my shoulder, because I was so determined we were not going to hit any bridges, walls, buoys, or other boats, but it was still a lot better than the set of Mondayís boat, which had no such excuse.

Now I have to go to a meeting to explain why my Contribution Report, on which weíre judged at work, was miscalculated and should be a lot better than it was. Maybe I can apply the same attitude adjustment.

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

June 05, 2001

Ampersand: Only artificial borders are binary


Ampersand: Views of the border

I considered the border of my country, not three hours from here, but there are also the borders I cross every day: the border between waking and sleeping; the border between land and water; the border between work and Life Outside. Unlike the artificial physical border of a state or a nation, none of those are binary states. That is, I am either in the United States, or, by stepping over an imaginary line, en los Estados Unitos Mexicanos. I could cheat the question and stand with one foot in each country, but the line is still there, infinitely thin and ultimately divisive.

The borders between countries are created things, human artifacts. They vary over time, and are sometimes in dispute, but once a border has been decided it is absolute. Fictional borders are mostly the same: through the wardrobe into Narnia, through the Border into Faerie in Emma Bull and Will Shetterleyís Borderlands; via the tesseract in A Wrinkle in Time. Natural borders are not so clearly delineated. (And is that why it took some time for Alice to get into Wonderland, or Dorothy into Oz, just because rabbit holes and cyclones are natural phenomena?)

When I fall asleep, I donít (usually) just close my eyes and become unconscious; usually I drift off to sleep, and sometimes come awake in the middle of that process, to realize my mind has been free-associating wildly. When I wake up, on the rare occasions when I donít have to force myself to jump out of bed at the summons of an alarm clock, I come to consciousness, slide back into semi-sleeping mid-drift, come awake again, open one eye a crack, close it, open the other one, and gradually convince myself to get out of bed.

When I step into a lake, as I do several mornings a week before rowing, I start on dry sand, walk out to wet sand and still wetter sand, come to the point where I am actually in the water but so shallowly that the tops of my feet are still dry, and carefully step down a slope into knee-deep water. If, on the other hand, I were launching my boat form an artificial dock, the line between land and water would be more clear-cut.

The border between work (a job) and the rest of life has become increasingly artificial, over the course of the Industrial and Information Revolutions. For a primitive hunter-gatherer, there might not be a distinction at all, just different tasks: hunting, gathering, cooking, caring for babies, teaching children, making houses or clothing, singing, storytelling. On a farm a century ago, there would be work to be done in the house and work to be done in the barns and fields. The work might be divided up and done by different people (or different genders) but Iím not sure there was much concept of free time, just things to do, some of which you liked more than others. Even today, the boundaries of my office job are fuzzy. First thereís the commute to work, during which Iím not at work and not getting paid, but not free to do something else, either. I can do some work at home, or take a private phone call or have a silly conversation at work, and there are occasional social activities sponsored by or springing from my job. How to class those?

Even those natural borders that seem definite, such as that between a leaf and the air around it, are fuzzy, at the microscopic level. The leaf-molecules exchange atoms with the air-molecules, water vapor passes through both, and electrons dance from atoms to atom. Only artificial borders are binary.

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

Needs


Gym this morning, legs, so Iím a bit shaky on stairs now. I accidentally set my alarm clock a half hour late, but got in a decent workout anyway.

I was thinking this morning about what I really need, based on some recent discussion in one of my email groups. (One thing I need is a better word for those. "List", unqualified, has too many other meanings. "Newsgroup" has the right feel, but technically describes those posts one reads with a newsreader, not the ones disseminated in e-mail. Since I most read them online in a browser these days, though, the distinction seems increasingly finicky. But I digress.) Judging by their journal entries today, Natalie and Phelps have been thinking along similar lines, so I decided to record my thoughts here.

The answer to "What do I need?" depends, mostly on exactly what the question is. If itís "What do I need to survive?" the answer is, "Not much". Edible and reasonably nourishing food, shelter, protective clothing, some time to rest, and access to at least a few books to save my sanity. In "shelter", I have to include some climate control -- it gets up to 115 degrees out here routinely, and I could no more survive that without cooling than I could a Minnesota winter without fire. Not necessarily mechanical air-conditioning; misting systems work well, as do the thick sod roofs on Navajo hogans.

If the question is, "What do I need to be content?" the answer is longer, but still somewhat less than I have now. T, friends, a comfortable home (which could be half the size of ours), books or a nearby library, a reasonably interesting job with decent vacation time, access to mountain or water sports (I have both), a working car or decent public transportation, good food, some discretionary.

If the question is, "What do I need to be blissfully happy all the time?", I donít know. Iím not sure itís even in my nature; I like to have something to loook forward to, something still to achieve. I could suggest improvements, certainly; more local friends, a more flexible, more creative job thatís also a personal quest and of benefit to the world, much more free time, a home in a more reasonable climate, a friendlier community. More books, more bookshelves. A nicer-looking, and even more comfortable home. More time and money to travel. But if I had all those, would my life be complete? I hope not. How boring.

BREAKING NEWS

I just read the following quote from Garrison Keillor, which pertains to some of the above paragraphs, and which may be the answer to things Iíve worried about for a long time:

Not everyone has a Lifeís Work. Some people simply have a Life.

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

June 04, 2001

If you can keep your wits when all about you are losing theirs...


Someday, Iím going to hang out with people among whom I can use my full vocabulary. Someday I will find the people who talk like Dorothy Sayersí characters (or, possibly, a few steps down from that, so that all the quotations are not so obscure as to fly over my head). Someday, at least, Iím going to hang out with people in conversation with whom I can use a quotation thatís not from a movie or a TV show, and have it recognized.

I should say, someday Iíll do that for longer than a weekend, since I did get to spend time with both Mechaieh and Phelps this year.

The catalyst for all this was a short conversation I just had with the very capable woman in the next cube (a nice blond, blue-eyed Jewish girl with a Native American surname, but thatís another story). I had complained about noticing it was 10:30, looking down, then looking up a perceived few minutes later to see that it was nearly noon. I told her I hadnít "filled the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run". Kipingís If, mind you, about as un-obscure as possible. She said, "What was that about distance running?" I repeated myself. She said, "Uh, maybe later in the week. Not on a Monday." Or, for a more pop-culture spin on it, some days I feel like Lisa Simpson.

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

port side and Pearl Harbor


Rowing this morning was fairly sucky, because boats are not supposed to rock from side to side while youíre rowing them. I was rowing port; I havenít done that for months and Iím afraid it showed. I was able to have some effect on the set, more than I usually can from bow seat for some reason, but not enough to fix the rocking. Also, the guy coxing our first to 20-minute pieces had almost no clue what he was doing -- we nearly hit a bridge. For the last piece, Yosemite Sam swapped me into the coxswainís seat, and I think I was able to get them to set a little better.

I was glad to get the chance to row port though; I like to swap sides, so that I donít get in too much of a rut (many, maybe most, rowers will only row port or only row starboard). Iím a little worried because we have a race in two weeks where Iím scheduled to scull in a quad (two oars instead of one) and I havenít done that for even longer.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to see Pearl Harbor. In some ways, Iíd compare it to Titanic, for its length and its lushness, but I liked this much better. I left Titanic very irked at Rose, for being such an idiot. Her insistence on staying with Jack, forcing him to take care of her instead of using his wits to survive, basically got him killed. Not love, quoth I, but vanity sets love a task like that.

Pearl Harbor, on the other hand, was the story of people trying to do their duties and snatch a bit of happiness, in difficult and unsettled circumstances. Even the Japanese were not portrayed too unsympathetically, I thought; thereís a great line where someone tells an admiral heís brilliant, and he responds, "A brilliant man would figure out how to avoid going to war." Granted, they are shown going to war basically over oil, but itís difficult, these days, for an American to point the finger at others for that. I appreciated the choppy cinematography in the stressful and gory parts. I thought it conveyed the intensity and terror without driving home the gore, though some people will hate it for that reason. Also, of course, I loved all the flying footage, which was extremely well done.

And no one told me the movie also covered Doolittleís Raid on Tokyo. For those of you who donít know, it was an absolutely brilliant and very risky feat, whose psychological impact on both Japanese and Americans was huge. It was also a hell of a tricky bit of flying. The whole thing is described in much more detail in Doolittleís autobiography, I Could Never Be So Lucky Again. Incidentally, despite all his aviation and military successes (not just winning races and raiding Tokyo but the first aerospace engineering PhD ever awarded and the development of instrument flying), the title refers to his persuading his the love of his life, Joe, to marry him.

I do have one complaint about the movie, though: not only does Alec Baldwin not look much like him, but Doolittle was only 5í3"! Fighter pilots were and are often smaller guys. Thatís him, third from the right, in China right after the Raid.

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

June 03, 2001

Cause thatís my fun day....


We slept in a little less today, in order to make tomorrowís early wakeup a bit more tolerable. My big event of today was to go get a massage. I donít go often, but when I do, I go to Rainstar University, a local school of massage. Their facilties are as nice as any Iíve seen (separate rooms, not little curtained cubicles like one of the "nicer" spas in town) and they charge $29/hour. The students are getting graded on this -- they need to have so many hours of hands-on practice in order to graduate -- and so they are assiduous about asking if you have any problems, want them to work on anything specific, and so on.

Given that they presumably all get the same training, itís surprising how much individual techniques vary, though theyíve all fallen within the range of good to excellent. The therapist today did more stretching work than anyone has done to me before, pushing my hips one way and my shoulders another until my spine started popping, audibly.

I donít think she quite believed that I stretch regularly, but I do it because I need to; my workouts and all those hours at a computer seem to make the muscles very tense. Thatís why I stretch, after all.

Weíre off now to get some pictures framed and see a movie. Iíve also gotten a good bit of studying done for my exam next Saturday. I love having weekends free!

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

June 02, 2001

sleeping late for real this time


We have been enjoying this, the first weekend after the end of coaching our last classes. T and I began the weekend in style by sleeping late (really late, this time, until after 10). Iím still a little groggy; unfortunately sleeping late, as wonderful as it sounds, usually leaves me feeling worse, not better. The process of opening my eyes this morning streched over a full hour. Still, itís nice to have the option!

Our only outside committment this weekend was a coachesí meeting at 11:30 this morning. Except that it lasted about twice as long as the promised 40 minutes, it was fairly painless. DI avoided talking to us whenever possible, which helped a bit.

Tomorrow, I have gone to the decadent level of scheduling a massage, something I simply havenít had time for since at least last year. I usually do that when T is out of town, but heís been traveling less lately. We plan to experiment with the aftereffects of massage on me, so to speak. Should be fun.

We may even go to see Pearl Harbor tomorrow; seeing movies is a sure sign that ou have actual spare time on your hands. Mostly, weíve been spending this weekend in having actual quality time together, not just the time when weíre in the same boat on the same lake. This is almost the only weekend when we wonít have plans. Next week, I have a professional exam to take. Then we have the Grand Canyon State Games the week after that and a regatta in California the next week.

So if youíll excuse me, I have to go pay attention to my husband now....

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

June 01, 2001

more strife


Well, the Big Rowersí Meeting was reasonably civil and, if not actually productive, at least leaning that way. However (and you knew there was a however, didnít you?) it appears that DI told several people heís not coaching our Competitive group any more because "someone" complained about him to the city and claimed to be representing the whole group. Strong implication, to my ears, that "someone" is me and Ted, though itís possible Iím being oversensitive here. People were pissed off that someone had claimed to represent them, and rightly so. There were also comments about not questioning our coaches in their wisdom.

Most likely it would be best to stay quiet and let the whole thing die down. Is that what Iím going to do? Of course not. When I was a kid, I frequently annoyed my father by arguing when I should have let it drop. I fought with my mother because "You should respect me because Iím your mother," makes absolutely no sense to me. ("You should respect me because Iíve done my best to bring you up right," which she had, does make sense.) Later on, working at an Air Force lab, I got in trouble once for interrupting a Colonel. (I didnít mean to, as he was a very smart guy with a strong vision for whom I did have a lot of respect. But he was boring a group of students I was taking on a lab tour, and I interjected a few words to explain something he was saying.) If I didnít respect my mother or my work superior just for their position, Iím certainly not going to do it for a rowing coach.

Also, this isnít really a minor matter to me; I feel that someone may have lied about me and smirched my good name (and Tís). Iím going to send an email to the people involved, stating that our contact with the city was only on appropriate matters (coaching, boat storage) and that we never claimed to represent others. I have the old emails to prove it, if they doubt me. In fact, the closest Iíve come to doing so was when I wrote that DIís behavior had "...combined to make both rowing and coaching less enjoyable for us and, we believe, for others in the program, hence the declining enrollment and turnout." I wouldnít call that claiming to represent others, and at any rate, that email was sent only to DI himself. It didnít reach the city until he sent it to Unknown Legend, contained in a later email.

*sigh* I did say I wouldnít talk about him any more, didnít I?

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