October 31, 2001

advent of the sweater season

So the current prognosis is that I will not be in a boat in the San Diego race. A
brief recap: I discussed it with DI, and he wanted me to cox it. Then he sent out
a lineup in which he had Hardcore and someone I'd never heard of listed as
coxswains. Then Hardcore said she would not be going (because if she can't row,
she'd prefer to put her new bathroom floor in) but pointed out that I would be
there. Today, DI told me that he'd put in a junior cox because they have "more
experience", which is crap since a) I was coxing races when some of those kids
were in diapers, literally, and b) I've actually coxed this exact race, which has
a tricky course, last year. So I have sent a note to the other local rowing
program, in which I've had a membership since before there was a lake out here, to
say I am available if they need an extra coxswain or rower. And I've reminded
myself that I am out of this program and away from DI's dickheadedness at the end
of this session, a month or less away.

Meanwhile, in better news, I'm
having lunch today with my old work buddy Home, who has been lucky enough to
survive the recent layoffs at his company. This is a very good thing, because he
loves working there. It's one with a very strong company culture, and people tend
to either love it or hate it. He told me once that he plans to stay there until he
retires, a "love it" if I've ever heard one.

And Queue just told me
she has contacts at one of the companies I talked to yesterday, one where I'd
really like to work. They do small and unmanned satellites. They've got my resume
from yesterday, but I'll send it to her too -- never hurts to explore all the
avenues.

I need someone to hire me, or better yet, just give me large
sums of money without requiring work in return. Fall always makes me want to buy
new clothes., not that I actually need any.

Oh, and I finished a necklace that will be my sister-un-law's Christmas gift (not
the Evil one, the cool one who lives with my brother). I don't think she reads
this, so I might post a picture, as it's very very pretty. (K, if you read this,
let me know and I'll make you wait [evil grin])

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

October 30, 2001

space is stable?

Today's job fair was far better than the previous two. There were a good five
companies that were worth my time to stand in line for. The grand total of 16
companies present, however, was a far cry from the large and crowded room of other
years. Amusingly enough, most of the companies there hiring were military and/or
space contractors. When those are the most profitable and stable companies, you
know the economy's in a very, very deep hole.

On the other hand,
this might be where my years working for NASA and DoD contractors finally do me
some good. It would be kind of fun to work on the design of unmanned spacecraft --
I might even actually get to use that master's degree in space
science.

If any of them ever call me, that is.

After
spending about an hour and a half standing in various lines, I walked over in my
tight shoes to have lunch with Egret, who works out that way. She has now seen a
sight previously granted to very few people in Arizona: me in a suit. And
pantyhose, even. She stood the shock well though; I suppose after someone has
listened to your dry
heaves
, anything else is an anticlimax.

After that, I drove way
out to the east side of town to drop off an application form to my once and maybe
future employer, which gave me a chance to appreciate anew, and still in tight
shoes, just how big that parking lot really is. Even the visitor's spaces are a
trudge away from the main building. The scariest part of all, on this campus of
several buildings and thousands of employees, was that the receptionist recognized
me.

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

things might could be a'changin'

I think I actually covered most of the major parts of the Austin trip in my last
entry. We did get to see a couple of guys we knew from our old rowing club in
Houston, but not for all that long, since they decided to head home right after
the race.

Apparently, Egret had a small encounter with jealousy on
the flight there. I think it was just because T2 Hatfield is so good for her she
can't believe other women wouldn't all want him. Still, it surprised me a little,
because T2 is one of the most trustworthy guys I know -- possibly not up to
Rudder's level, but who is? Not that I'm biased or anything. I figure, if some
other woman is talking to Rudder, either she's just being nice and I don't have to
worry, or she's hitting on him and I should pity her because I know he's coming
home to me. I don't think Egret has to worry. There used to be far more women than
men in our rowing program, and T2 ended up with her, not any of the rest of
them.

As usual, I'm mad at DI. Not only did he not put me in a boat
for the race in San Diego, but after a whole conversation in which he actually
made me say I wanted to cox that race (generally, people ask it as a favor), he
sent out a lineup that didn't include me. He had Hardcore coxing the women's
eight, though, and I don't think she wants to go if she can't row, so I may end up
in a boat anyway. Or I may be able to row or cox in a pickup boat out there.
However, I have decided not to re-enroll in this rowing program, so now when DI
annoys me, I remind myself it's not for much longer. I'm just tired of dealing
with his shit.

Later this morning, I have to go to another job fair.
Though the prior two were exceedingly lame, I have higher expectations this time
because this one is specifically oriented toward high-tech jobs. There will
actually be companies there that I want to talk to, several of
them.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be getting called to set up a phone
interview for the large aerospace company I worked for a couple of years ago. Two
of the worst things, the boredom and the long commute, will be different due to a
different job assignment and a new highway. The cafeteria will still be mediocre,
I'll still have to pay $2.50 a month to drink from the water cooler(!), and
I'll still have a 5-10 minute walk in from the parking lot. On the other hand,
there are people there I want to work with again. The guy I loved sharing an
office with at the last job had previously worked at this other company too, and
is there again now. A friend from my very first job in this state started there
shortly before I left, and is probably still there. And though I'd prefer to be a
contractor rather than an employee, if that's not an option, this company has the
best education benefits I've ever seen, and I've been wanting to start on another
degree.

Of course, they haven't even set up the interview yet, so
there's not really much point even considering pros and cons at this point. And
with a lot of luck, I'll end up with other options from today's job fair and will
be able to pick the best one.

All good vibes sent this way will be
much appreciated!

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

October 29, 2001

hey, it's good to be back home again....

We're back from Austin, and after 17 hours driving each way, I'm nowhere near
caught up on reading lists or diaries, and way too tired to do a
comprehensive entry here. Here's the (relatively) short version,
instead.

We got to Austin earlier than planned, and got to unload the
boats and take a nap before having dinner with the Rudder's brother and the Evil
Sister-in-Law. ESIL was on her good behavior, though, and was quite pleasant aside
from some fairly nauseating interaction with the dogs (yes, lots of people baby-
talk to and for their dogs, but not constantly). And there was the time she
complimented herself for being so laid back as not to be upset when one of the
dogs ate a pound of barbequed turkey they'd gotten for dinner. Fortunately, they'd
also gotten enough brisket to go around, so that wasn't a major
hassle.

On Friday, we met up with T2 and Egret and did practice rows.
Saturday was the race -- T2 and Rudder beat everyone else in their race by a good
two minutes. Egret and I came in third of three. Apparently I'm still not quite
well -- it's really better if you can wait until after the race to get dry heaves,
rather than having them during your final sprint. I did manage to keep rowing, but
certainly not at full pressure. Poor Egret had to listen to me, which couldn't
have been pleasant. We got to see the BIL again when he came out to watch, but the
ESIL stayed home because of her "separation anxiety" vis a vis the dogs -- they
were about to leave on a three day cruise.

We were really too tired
for Sixth Street, but had an excellent dinner-and-beer outing to the Bitter End
brewpub and then to the Ginger Man -- Rudder, T2, and I all have fond memories of
its Houston branch. Egret's a baseball fan of almost D's caliber, and talked both
places into putting the World Series on their TVs, so we also got to watch our
Diamondbacks kick some serious Yankee ass.

Rudder and I have spent
the last two days driving home. I'm starving, and this has been a lot more
comprehensive than I expected, so that's all for now.

Except to say
that Mechaieh sent me the
coolest postcard from Boston. I don't have a scanner, but it shows Donald
coxing a exhausted Mickey and Goofy on the Charles.

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

October 23, 2001

what goes down must come up

For some reason, shopping today was totally depressing. Part of it was suddenly
thinking of myself as a housewife in the middle of it (note to people who stay
home on purpose: it may not be depressing in and of itself, but it is when it just
mean that no employer wants you). Part of it was realizing afterward that I now
have about $20 in my checking account (the unemployment check should have been
in today's mail but wasn't). This is not nearly as bad as having only $20
total in the bank, but it is still a minor shock. And the worst part was how
excited I got that my store's frequent shopper card, or whatever they call that
program, had saved me $12. That made me feel like I was turning into my mom, a
chronic and enthusiastic coupon clipper, as if next thing I knew I'd be dying my
hair auburn, driving badly, and living in Northeast Philadelphia.
Eek.

Fortunately, my bad mood didn't last too long, because right
after I got home, the phone rang, and it was a real life employer! This is only a
first tentative step; next there will be a phone interview and only then a real
one, but still, I feel so much better.

And tomorrow we're off to
Austin, to hang out with new and old friends, row fast, and spend Hallowe'en on
Sixth St. And between here and there I get to spend quality time with Rudder, both
of us conscious and in the same place at the same time. Life is good again.

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

rejected, dejected

DI announced that tomorrow and Friday, we will be doing time trials to see who
will be racing in the San Diego Fall Classic. Except, that is, for those of us
with erg times slower than 24 minutes for 5000 meters. That would be me,
Pigtails, and the girl who crabbed so many times yesterday. It's not a coincidence
that Pigtails and I are two of the smallest people in the program; Hardcore is
tiny, but she's, well, hardcore, and Egret is a bit taller. Still, that's not
really an excuse; while my erg times will never be anything to brag about, it's
true that more dedicated work would bring them down at least a little. On the
other hand, Hardcore and Egret's times are more where mine should be, but they're
still among the slower ones; there's simply a limit to what the body can do.

But if DI is going to run the program so that I'll never get to
compete, then that's another reason for me to pull out of it. The thing I've
always liked most about club rowing is that anyone who wants to, can, but it's
true that the high-level competitive programs, such as he would like this one to
be, are run more like a college program. The coach picks who gets to race, and the
faster ones are chosen, period.

He's completely within his rights on
this one, but I will admit here that my little feelings are hurt. If my attitude
were better, I would merely take this as a sign that I haven't been working hard
enough and should be doing more erg pieces until I can bring my times down. And
it's true, I should. It is discouraging, though, when I've been lifting weights
and doing at least little warm-up erg pieces all year. I've done something like
160000 meters total, since I started keeping track last March, but for comparison
purposes, Rudder has probably done over 300000m for the year to date. He's a lot
more dedicated than I am.

Meanwhile, I've revamped my resume based on
some advice from D. The new version goes against a lot of what I was told by the
career counseling guy that my old job paid for (who went over my resume, provided
a list of job sites on the web, and did little else for me). Since that version of
my resume seemed to attract very little notice, however, I think it make be time I
took someone else's advice.

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

fudge, sinuses, and beads (but not all at once)

Reporting in, as usual.

The fudge didn't work out too well. I haven't
tasted it yet, because I was waiting for it to set, but I'm not sure that will
ever happen. At the moment, it dents when you touch it, like slightly underdone
brownies. If I ever try it again, I'll use heavy cream; this time I used half-and-
half partly because that seemed a reasonable compromise between the heavy cream
that Mark Bittman's How to Cook Anything called for and the "rich milk"
(what the fuck is that?) listed in the Joy of Cooking. Also, the cream I
had, though only a couple days out of date, was chunky (ewwww) so I had to run to
the corner drugstore and they only carried half-and-half. Then, after fudge cools,
you are supposed to beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until it loses its
sheen; I gave up on this part about 2 minutes before my arm would have fallen off.
I suspect this soi-disant fudge will taste OK, but it might have to be eaten with
a spoon. The brisket was good, though.

The Joy of Cooking has
always been my staple cook book. These days I'm leaning more to the use of How
to Cook Anything
because its recipes tend to be simpler, yet it's just as
exhaustive. I still don't quite trust it entirely, though, so I tend to check back
against the JoC. In this case, Bittman's book won out, because its instructions
(not to mention the ingredient list -- "rich milk indeed!) were clearer. I've also
had good results with Sundays at Moosewood but that's more of a specialty
book. It has vegetarian versions of a wide range of ethnic
foods.

I've got crap in my sinuses. It's either a cold, a
sinus infection, or a reaction to the changing weather. Hard to tell, at this
point. It's only bothering me above the neck, and I can still breathe, at least.
WARNING: disgusting subject below!

But sinus
clogs, at least for me, lead to much puffing out the nose, eventually rewarded by
a clot of gunk flying into a tissue. Sometimes the gunk flies on its own, and then
I'd better have a tissue nearby or risk grossing out anyone in sight. It's one of
those bodily functions, like taking a good shit, that's oddly rewarding but best
carried out in private.

---Disgusting section over

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

October 22, 2001

Seventeen times!!!

One of the juniors, W, has been rowing with us, because she can't make the junior
practice time. Today she coxed the first half of practice. The rowing was ok,
though not great; it felt otherwise all right, but I couldn't get my oar off the
water because the boat was down to my side. She seemed to have very little idea of
what a coxswain says; I've seen other people that bad and I still can't figure out
how someone can respond to a cox, day after day after day, and still not be able
to tell people how to put a boat in the water.

But it was after she
swapped into the boat that we really had trouble. She caught a crab (got her blade
stuck under water) seventeen times. SEVENTEEN TIMES!!!! And when I say seventeen,
I don't mean "some vague number and it seemed like a lot", I mean I counted
seventeen and I may even have missed a couple. We had to stop for four of them,
during the piece. Jesus Christ.

The other 783 strokes (30 minutes at
a rate of 21 strokes per minute, plus paddling it in to the beach afterwards), she
didn't crab because her oar was hardly in the water at all. I will say that, after
about the first ten, she got very good at recovering from a
crab.

grrr.

I have a gazillion things to do to get ready
for our trip: shopping, trying to find a cheap cell phone service, getting
audiobooks out of the library, cleaning before our catsitter The Immaculate
Housekeeper comes in, packing. As well as some things I don't need to do but want
to: checking out the newly-opened mall down the block, getting supplies to make
Mom's birthday gift. Actually, I do need to go to the mall, really, to get the
fishnet stockings Egret and I want to wear for Hallowe'en. Besides, there might be
a selection of cell phone places there.

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

October 21, 2001

Had fun

Good party last night. Did a race piece with Egret this morning. Very tired and
stiff, fingers shredded, can't type.

Back to bed, maybe.

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

October 20, 2001

what am I, chopped liver?

I'm convinced some of the drugs the nurse practitioner gave me yesterday don't
interact well. There were no warnings in the sample he gave me, so it's hard to
tell. He said the nasal spray was find to take with Nyquil, but there is a
website, and it implies there may be a problem. I'm going to find a pharmacist
later on and ask. The main problem was that I was awake for what felt like half of
last night. Maybe it was just the Sudafed not having worn off yet.

Despite the insomnia, I woke up feeling a bit better. Egret and I
had a good row in the double this morning. I wasn't quite up to doing race pieces,
but we did alternating power tens and twenties for one length of the lake (that
was 10 strokes at full pressure, hard as we could row, 10 at half pressure, 20 at
full, 20 at half, repeat), and then did a short piece at a head race pace just to
see what that would feel like, since we had never done that before. She
overpowered me during the head piece, but I'm blaming that on the virus.

Yosemite Sam told us afterwards that it's just because she's
stronger than I am, but I don't think that's quite it, or at least not usually.
She probably is stronger, but just by a little bit. Where Egret normally outdoes
me is in endurance. Our times for short erg pieces are closer than those for long
erg pieces; she can get in a zone and just go for hours without slackening her
pace, whereas I have almost no natural endurance. I've built some up, of course,
but I think it's far easier for me to build strength and flexibility than
endurance. I've often read that women typically have more endurance than men, and
once again, they forgot to count me.

This is probably on a par with
Land's End lengthening the rise on their pants so that they will fit "real women".
They come up to my neck. If those are for real women, what do they think I am,
plastic?

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

October 19, 2001

sick report

According to the nurse practitioner, I have both a virus that's going around and
allergies. I don't usually get more than vague snifflies in allergy season (and
even that's only a recent occurrence) but apparently this is the worst allergy
year anyone out here can remember. He did give me some drugs, Sudafed and a nose
spray, and said I should be feeling better in three days or so.

He
also said strenuous exercise wouldn't hurt anything, so I expect to be out in the
double with Egret tomorrow morning. At least, now that it's fixed I do. Wednesday
at practice, the double and the men's eight collided, putting a hole in the side
of the latter. Yosemite Sam said the eight had the right of way, but that seemed
unlikely, and anyway Rudder and T2 were curious, having encountered a similar
situation in last year's San Diego Fall Classic regatta, so they queried a USRA
official, who confirmed that YSam was wrong. It was a tight turn though, and a
tricky situation, and they could also have stopped -- after all, it was only a
practice race. Rudder and T2 aren't angry at Execurower, who was coxing the eight,
and who and doesn't have much coxing experience.

Meanwhile, Coach DI
said he'd fix the double, at least well enough to race next weekend. He told me in
am email in the middle of yesterday that it would be ready this morning. So of
course the boys get there only to find the job is only half done, and spend the
rest of the practice period finishing fixing their boat. Ugh. DI talks a lot about
honor and integrity, but seems to entirely miss the concept that both pretty much
mean doing the things you say you'll do.

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

Being Ill

Today, I have finally given in to Being Ill, as opposed to doing all my normal
stuff but feeling like crap and whining a lot. I am still in my bathrobe. I
skipped rowing practice and stayed in bed until 8:30 (considering the alarm
normally goes off at 4:10 on Fridays, that's later than it sounds). I have made a
doctor's appointment for later this morning. If they're lucky, I'll shower before
then.

It's not that I'm really all that terribly sick. I have no
fever and my throat is just sore enough to make me a trifle disinclined to swallow
or talking more than necessary. It's not one of those killer sore throats where
everything is so swollen that you keep worrying about how to breathe past all the
obstructions. I've been able to sleep relatively well, thanks to Nyquil. It's just
that I've been like this for about four days, growing a tiny bit worse each day,
and I'm more than ready to start feeling better soon. I figure it's probably not
strep or a sinus infection, and thus not likely to be curable, but maybe the
doctor will be able to prescribe some good drugs that will at least mask the
symptoms.

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

October 18, 2001

and so to.....

The Sudafed kicked in, and I did enjoy a nice, though short, hike as well as a lot
of conversation about being unemployed and job prospects (very few in my case, a
few more in hers, which is good, as I think she's much worse off financially).

I've about decided not to go see a doctor about whatever's wrong
with me, since basically all I have are stuffed-up sinuses, a minor sore throat,
and sore and swollen tonsils. I don't have any fever at all, which makes it more
likely this is a cold and less likely it's a sinus infection that a doctor could
do something about.

For the rest of today, I can either do some
cleaning, and work on my book proposal and book review project, or I can go back
to bed. Any guesses as to most probably outcome?

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

the beer didn't help

Huh. Turns out two beers in a deceptively loud brewpub were not the proper
medication for my sinus thing. Who knew?

They were good beers,
though, and the manager and the brewer kept stopping by and letting us give them
shit, and the waitress was funny and amused by us, and the food was tasty, and a
good time was had by all. Also, the waitress, a math major, mentioned that she'd
been interviewing for an intern position in a local company I'd never heard of,
that might also be hiring some of us older non-intern types. So I even got a job
tip out of it.

In the middle of the night, though, I woke up with a
throat sorer than it had been, and a desperate need to blow my nose many, many
times. I didn't want to wake Rudder, so I moved to the spare bedroom and read and
blew my nose alternately for a couple of hours.

In the next hour and
a half, I need to decide whether I'm going to go hiking with a fellow laid-off
former IIS employee or call to cancel. Somehow, hiking seems like less effort than
trying to find the perfect moment to call, after she's woken up and before she's
left, before she's spent too much time scrambling around looking for her water
bottle and hiking boots. Besides, we probably won't exert ourselves too much and
some fresh air might help. Anyway, this is one of the people who was exiled to
Worcester, MA, with me last winter (see the first month of entries in this diary)
and I haven't seen her since she was laid off, several weeks before I was.

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

October 17, 2001

pizza, guilt, and erg times

Well, I felt enough better to go to rowing this morning, though I did ask to cox.
That turned out to be a good thing, because even though Wednesday is supposed to
be drill day, DI and YSam had us doing a 5000m race piece. Those two would be a
lot easier to deal with if they ever said one thing and then stuck to it; instead,
we never know what to expect. I think it's at least partially a memory issue, but
that's not all of it.

I was fairly impressed with how the women's
eight I was coxing did -- there was some real power in that boat. The set and
timing could have been better, but they could also have been much worse.
Unfortunately, the men's eight managed to collide with Rudder and T2's double.
Actually, the eight apparently had the right of way. It should b fixable in time
for our race in Austin, but Egret and I won't get our planned and desperately-
needed practice in tomorrow. With luck, we might get to row it
Sunday.

After the 5000m piece, we knocked off for the day. This meant
I didn't get to row at all, so I had to erg when I got home. Yuck. Interestingly,
I wasn't trying to pull all that hard because of being sick, but my time was only
about a minute over my best. A little more speed makes a big difference in
fatigue.

It turned out sending the extra beadwork in with Rudder was
a mistake. They chose to buy the necklace and earrings I'd made for myself, and
sent back the one I rushed to finish on Monday. Oops, bad decision on my part. I'm
not crazy about the one they didn't take, so I'll either take it apart and reuse
the beads or else try again to sell it closer to Christmas. I feel bad though;
Rudder gave them the necklace, and collected the money for it before the
company announced their planned layoffs. I'd offer to give the money back, but
they already presented the necklace to their boss. I imagine anyone laid off today
will be regretting his or her share in that present.

Tonight, instead
of the usual Wednesday night Mexican food outing, we're dragging T2 and Egret to
the opening party for a new brewpub, in the about-to-open mall down the road. It's
part of a chain, and we think we ate at one last time we were in Long Beach. Good
beer and good pizza, less than two miles away -- woohoo!

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

October 16, 2001

on Bloom (Harold, not Molly)

Reading Harold Bloom's The Western Canon leaves me with one conviction:
Bloom must spend a lot of time awake at 3 in the morning. His conception of
Shakespeare as the ideal writer, unapproached by any before or after, the center
of all Western thought and literature, strikes me as the kind of epiphany one does
have at that hour, and usually repents at a more sober time of day. I'm not trying
to diminish Shakespeare's genius or influence, but Bloom's adoration of Master
Will is so near idolatry as to be embarrassing.

I am a little
hesitant in disagreeing with Bloom's premise, since he is so much better read than
I am, but I so often find myself wanting to just tell him to get a grip, and maybe
check out some of the world outside the ivory tower. His writing so often seems
obfuscatory, also, though it may just be that all those "authentic tropes" and
suchlike phraseology are merely instances of lit-crit jargon with I admit an
engineer's lack of familiarity.

I keep wondering, also, when someone
will finally admit that revisionist scholarship does not necessarily have to mean
trashing all the works of Dead White European Males (DWEMs). I happen to think
that the conditions that kept so many women from expressing themselves were
deplorable and in desperate need of correction. I applaud attempts to show what
women's lives were like, to find female writers behind male pseudonyms, and to
take seriously writers whose works were considered second-class because the
author's gender or intended audience. Still, even if Shakespeare's sister could
have been as brilliant, were she only given the opportunity to write, that doesn't
diminish his works in any way, or make them less worthy of study.

I
would condemn Bloom for stereotyping, in assuming that anyone who disagrees with
him must be a member of what he styles the School of Resentment -- Marxists,
Feminists, New Historicists -- and must mindlessly espouse the groupthink of that
school, except that I have read in so many other places that the current state of
academic literary criticism really is that moribund. Sad, if true, though I still
find it hard to believe. I've met so many people in other areas who take the most
vocal extreme wing of a movement for its mainstream (for instance, assuming that a
woman calling herself a feminist must necessarily hate men) that I wonder whether
a similar knee-jerk reaction might be happening here.

To give Bloom
credit, he appears to want to judge authors only on their merits. He may not
seeking out underappreciated writers, but then that wouldn't be appropriate in a
book entitled The Western Canon anyhow. On the other hand, he does include
Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf in his view of the
Canon. And his more modern writers include Borges and Neruda, so that ivory tower
may not be entirely impenetrable after all.

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

just say blah

Blah. I think I'm sick. Just a cold, but Pilates class kept making me dizzy and
left me sweating that unpleasant sweat you get when you're sick. I was hoping it
was allergies or some reaction to changing pressure that would magically be gone
tomorrow, but now I doubt it. Chicken soup for lunch and lots of OJ and Gatorade
for me, and I think I'll go lie down for a bit. Blah, again.

Posted by dichroic at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2001

fudge

Practice this morning was wonderful -- I have no idea why, but the women's eight
was horrible on Wednesday and, with an only slightly altered lineup, wonderful
today. Even more amazingly, DI gave me a club T-shirt to replace the one he'd
asked me to give to someone who coxed one of our boats in the last San Diego Fall
Classic regatta. (We're now into training for this year's Fall Classic, which is
on November 11, so it's only been 11+ months.)

I feel like nesting
today, so scattered among today's errands I plan to make a brisket and attempt
some fudge. The brisket is easy -- throw it in a bag with lots of spices and beer,
some tomato sauce, and whatever else you think will work. put bag in a pan and
place in the over at 250 degrees. Come back in 6 hours.

Fudge,
however, is uncharted territory. I do have a thermometer left over from our beer-
making days that I think will work for candy. We gave up brewing when we moved
here, because in summer the house is too hot and the yeast dies, and in winter
we're usually busy every weekend, taking advantage of weather that lets us get
outside without melting. I need to make the fudge today to use up the cream I
bought before Mechaieh's visit, when I
thought of making scones for breakfast (this was before I realized I'd forgotten
to buy eggs). The Sell-by date was two days ago, so I figure I'd better use it
today.

I also need to stop by the AAA to get a Trip-Tik for our
drive to Austin, and was plotting a stop at the bead store up that way. Is it too
silly if I make my brother and his girlfriend semi-matching necklaces for
Chanukah? What kind of beaded necklace would be appropriate for a guy, anyway?

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

October 14, 2001

flights of the Young Eagles

We're back home again, slightly sore around the shoulders, but otherwise rested
and refreshed. This is a good thing, as we have one more weekend, studded with
parties, then a three week period where we're traveling every weekend, probably
driving about 3500 miles total. Wow. Good thing we like each
other.

This weekend up at the airpark, they were giving plane rides
to kids, as part of the Young Eagles program. Te idea is to lure more people into
flying, recreationally or professionally, while they're at an impressionable age.
This was scheduled to be held on September 14, but they couldn't do it then,
partly as a matter of sensitivity, but also because of the onerous restrictions
placed on General Aviation after Sept. 11. At that point, all aircraft were
grounded. We still can't fly from our usual airport, except with an instrument
clearance or with an instructor along, because it's too close to the major Phoenix
airport. They are finally going to lift that restriction near most (not all) major
airports in the next couple of days. Note that it's never legal to fly over a
major airport, or very close to one, without a special clearance, so it's not like
pilots would just run amok without these extra rules.

The thing that
bothers me most about the Young Eagles program is, where were all these people
when I was young? I had my sweet sixteen at an airport restaurant themed after a
WWI air squadron. I majored in mechanical engineering because I wanted to work in
aerospace. But I didn't get to fly even commercially until the week I turned 21,
and I didn't get to fly in a lightplane until I was about 27.

I could
have been a Young Eagle this weekend, though -- when we walked over to the lodge
(to use the bathroom there, actually), one of the old guys asked if we were there
for the plane rides. I know we look young to them, but still, at 34 I figure I
probably do look a little old for a kids' program. It was probably a combination
of androgynous clothes, the young-boy haircut, and the sunglasses covering lines
around the eyes. Or Rudder's boyish slimness (the muscles don't show under a loose
T-shirt). Or possibly that particular old man's eyesight has degraded to the point
where he really shouldn't be flying anymore.

There was a href="http://madaket.netwizards.net/vtail/">Beech Bonanza flying around, doing
landings too -- if they had been giving rides in that, I'd have been happy to
pretend I was a 17-year-old boy! I'm not proud.

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

October 12, 2001

falling asleep and falling food

Wow. I rarely nap, but I feel like I've just woken from hibernation. This morning
I bought a hot/cold pad, and I heated that up, then held against various sore back
and shoulder muscles. It must be full of buckwheat or something similar, from the
smell. I don't know if it was the smell or the soothing heat, the book I was
reading about life in the Arctic, or just fatigue from href="http://dichroic.diaryland.com/cocoa.html">this morning, but I zonked
out. Even though I was on the loveseat, I slept so deeply that when I woke up it
took me a minute to realize who, where, and when I was.

Perhaps it's
because I sleep so rarely in the daytime, that when I do I tend to wake up
disoriented. Lately, though, even when I wake in the middle of the night, as I
almost always do, I keep to have lost the sense of how long I've slept. I have to
look at a clock or my watch to see whether I can go back to sleep for more
blissfully long hours in Morpheus’ embrace, or whether I should be dreading the
alarm in too short a time. I love waking at midnight or so to find I can go back
to sleep for luxurious hours; I hate it when I wake up half an hour before the
alarm goes off and it's not worth going back to sleep. I sympathize entirely with
Valancy, in L.M. Montgomery's best book, The Blue Castle, who almost
counted that night wasted when she did not wake at least once, to gloat over the
night and the moonlight, her cabin and her freedom and (especially) Barney
sleeping beside her. (That was the passage that told me Montgomery intended this
one for adults: I doubt the mores of her time would let her discuss a woman
sharing a bed with a man, even though she was married to him.)

I've
been unemployed too long. I'm losing my focus and my motivation. I trail through
the house, meaning to do one chore then getting sidetracked by another. I spend
half the day on the computer and the other half reading a book. I've gotten
nothing done all week on my book project, even though I need to hurry before
someone else gets the same idea, and even though all I have left to do is some
internet research and working up some sample pages.

Today has been
punctuated by episodes of falling food. As I was unpacking groceries this morning,
I knocked over a small bottle of Gatorade and the lid cracked. Less than half of
it poured out, but now I can't seem to get the floor to stop being sticky. Just
now, as I was rummaging about in the fridge, I knocked over a container of yogurt,
which fell onto the floor and cracked. Again. Luckily, because of the consistency
and the small cracks, not much oozed out this time. Maybe it's a good thing I'll
be spending the weekend out where there's not much to spill.

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

stocking up on cocoa

I was cold this morning -- it was wonnnnnnderful.

DI had us
do erg tests this morning -- 5000m on the rowing machine, as hard as you can,
which is otherwise known as sheer pain and torture. Because of that, practice was
lots of time sitting in the 5AM chill punctuated by about 20 minutes of
ridiculously hard work. Only one guy actually puked, and I thought another was
going to pass out. (I told him that, afterwards, and he said, "I thought so too".)
My time was one of the slower ones there, because I'm small and still have little
endurance, but it was 10 seconds faster than my previous best, so I'm slightly
disappointed but not at all crushed. Yoga yesterday morning and 2 laps around the
lake with Egret yesterday afternoon probably didn't help; now I'll be wondering
whether, if I had rested yesterday, I could have pulled another 10 seconds off my
time. Since Egret's time was at least a minute and a half faster than mine (she's
taller, but the same weight), I really can't think that would have made much
difference.

When I said "DI made us" do the erg pieces, I am speaking
loosely. Actually, he didn't show up until we were almost done. Fortunately,
Yosemite Sam was back from his honeymoon, and was there early as always. It's not
that YSam can run the erg tests perfectly well; it's just that having the head
coach not show up for something that difficult, painful, and stressful is sort of
like having your mother not show up for your school play. It implies a lack of
caring. He also gave us a speech afterward about how there will be no further
whining in this program, anyone who brings in "negative energy" will be asked to
leave, he sets the lineups and we row as we're told, yada yada yada. I'm familiar
with clubs in which anyone who wants to race, can. I asked YSam this morning and
he told me that more competitive clubs do have race lineup set by coaches' fiat.
Part of the problem with this program probably is conflicting expectations of what
it should be.

Anyway, we're getting away from it all for a little
bit. I need to go buy groceries now, then pack for a weekend camping. Cool clean
air, pine trees, the wonderful bike path we found last time, and laid-back old
pilots with stories to tell. It's a funny thing about camping; it's sort of
stressful to get there, but always relaxing once you're there. Even sleeping on
the ground doesn't bother me. According to CNN's weather, we can expect sunny
days, with highs in the mid 60s and lows around 30, so I'd best make sure we have
plenty of hot chocolate.

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

October 11, 2001

H's legacy

I decided to skip weight-lifting today, since I plan to go do yoga later in the
morning and then row the double with Egret this afternoon. We were planning to row
this morning, but realized it might not be a wise move to go out in the dark on a
day when there might be no one else out on the lake.

One day in an
online Chat, several people from my List recommended 84 Charing Cross Road,
by Helene Hanff. I finally found it in the main branch of my local library. The
oddest thing is that Miss Hanff writes exactly like one of the people who
recommended her, or rather, considering chronology, the other way around. The two
women are of similar backgrounds and are even both writers and script-readers. I'm
convinced that either they're related or else my friend read Hanff very early in
the process of forming her own style.

Now I want my own copy of 84
Charing Cross Road
, as well as Hanff's later book Q's Legacy. I can get
both from Amazon for under $20 for the pair, but those are paperback editions
(the larger, nicer, publisher's editions, judging from their price, but still). It
just doesn't seem right. I'm going to go to a local used book store and see if I
can get some nice used hardbacks. Maybe they'll even have someone's name on the
flyleaf and faint penciled notes in the margins. That would be much nicer. Best of
all would be to have them bound in antique style, with "thick vellum and creamy
pages", but that's unlikely, and I'll settle for "cardboardy American
covers".

I wouldn't mind a copy of Quiller-Couch's anthology of
English verse, either, though it is available href="http://www.bartleby.com/people/QuillerC.html">online. My old Norton
anthology, my favorite of all the textbooks I had to spend so much money on in
college, is decrepit.

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

October 10, 2001

fifteen minutes of fame

Yesterday I got interviewed by the local newspaper. Apparently someone there is
doing a report on online diaries, and I do have my state listed somewhere so she
was able to track me down. I decided to allow her to use my name in her article,
which will probably be published sometime next month. So now I just hope my rowing
coach doesn't read the newspaper too carefully! However, though I have bitched
about him a lot in here, I don't think any of the criticisms were unwarranted, and
when I knew that there were two sides to an issue, I've tried to show them. He
hasn't done anything especially annoying in the last few days, at
least.

This was a fun interview, because I was able to talk about
what I thought were the important parts of diary-keeping. She asked some good
questions, but also allowed me to run with the bit in my mouth. After all, she can
pick and choose what she wants to include in the final article. But I hope she
keeps one thing I said; I told her that I really think online diaries will become
an important historical record. There are letters and diaries left over, from
people writing about their experiences of older historical events, but they are
neither as copious nor, generally, as detailed as these diaries. Samuel Pepys may
have discussed his wardrobe in as much detail as href="http://kinetix.diaryland.com">Kinetix does, but imagine how much more we
could learn of his milieu if he'd also had a Guestbook. Or a list of favorite
fellow diarists, each writing from a slightly different view of their time and
place.

I was the first diarist this reporter had actually spoken to,
so a lot of her questions were about how easy it is to set up a diary, who reads
them, how I know other diarists, how much I filter what I write about, and so on.
I don't suppose Andrew reads this, so I should probably send him a note about the
interview.

I need to stop postponing getting my hair cut. Yes, I save
money by stretching out the time between cuts, by I miss getting to talk to Cool
Salon Guy. Not only do I enjoy that, but he has sources. After all, he
chats to a lot more local people than I do. Yesterday he told me that another
company had moved into an old Motorola plant not far from here and was hiring
"very quietly". I checked their website and sure enough, not only are they hiring,
they're hiring in my field. Fingers are tightly crossed. They're also crossed for
Natalie. I am
not eager to welcome any friends into this club, the Unemployed. I hope she does
figure out what she should be doing and pursue (and nab) a more fulfilling job.
And if she does figure that all out, I hope she tells me how she did it!

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

October 09, 2001

the empty pocket blues

Yesterday was so depressing. I called the maid service to cancel and picked up our
house keys from them. After riding my bike when rowing practice was canceled due
to lightning, I noticed that my gloves and my little under-the-seat bag were
coming apart, so I went to the nearest bike store to replace them. Once I realized
that the cheapest decent gloves were $25 and the bags started at about
$20, I left without buying anything. Also, my severance and vacation pay is
finally gone, so this week was the first time I'd had to tap into my savings
account.

Now obviously, none of this constitutes deprivation. Not
only am I not worried about where the next meal is coming from, I still get to eat
out at least twice a week -- which is more than my parents could afford when I was
a child. I live in a nice house. I have clothes bursting out of my drawers and
closet. I don't lack for anything I need. The fact that I've gone two months
without touching my savings account is a good augur for how long the money will
last. But this was the first time I've really been hurt at all by being out of
work, and it was painful. Until now, the only major change had been just the plain
fact of not going to work everyday, and that hasn't been unpleasant at
all.

It's frustrating, too, to have spent two months looking for work
and not finding anything. Like everyone else, I've become spoiled in the past few
years, when I could update a resume on Monsterboard on Friday and get four calls
about it by Monday. I like to think my problems finding work are due to the
economy and the number of people applying for each job now, rather than any lack
in me. Nonetheless, it's frustrating.

Meanwhile, today I have a
Pilates class and then an appointment with Cool Salon Guy to look forward to -- I
really shouldn't have cut my hair short at a time when my job was precarious, as
now I need to get it cut fairly often. Still, it gives me an excuse for something
I enjoy anyway.

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

October 08, 2001

let the mystery be

Here are some other things I didn't say href="http://dichroic.diaryland.com/punkinbad.html">earlier.

One of the best parts of href="http://mechaieh.diaryland.com/diving.html">Mechaieh's visit for me was
getting to show off the acoustics of my living room. Most of the people I know
have that unfortunate modern belief that no one should sing who's not a Singer,
capital S. Well, I'm not, but I do it anyway. Mechaieh is, and we traded song
lines for a while, standing in my raised entryway that's almost like a stage,
facing in to the empty living room (because we live in the family room) and singer
to the dust motes and the cats. Later when I was changing my clothes I heard her
back downstairs, serenading the house again.

Today I called my cleaning service to have them stop coming. This is the first
major thing I've had to cut back since losing my job. We've been going out to eat
a little more rarely, but we still go a couple of times a week, and until this,
the only change was just the actual not going to work. I hate cleaning, but
couldn't justify having someone else cleaning my house when I'm here all day with
plenty of time to do it.

This, from Emily Dickinson, is quoted in the book I'm reading, Madeleine L'Engle's
A Live Coal in the Sea which is about love, betrayal, truth, and
mercy:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind

This is one time my engineering background was a handicap in interpreting poetry -
- at first I thought "Circuit" meant an electrical one, especially given the
mention of Lightning later. I thought she was saying something about containment
versus unleashed wildness. Instead, though, she seems to be referring to
circuitousness -- yes, tell the truth, but break it easily and indirectly, so that
we can absorb it without being stunned. I think I disagree, if she's talking about
daily truth. And if she's talking about a Divine Truth -- it's hard to tell, with
Emily -- then I know L'Engle agrees entirely, but I'm more inclined to go with
Iris Dement:

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from

everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go

when the whole thing's done

but no one knows for certain

and so it's all the same to me

I think I'll just let the mystery be


Some say once you're gone you're gone forever

and some say you're gonna come back

Some say you rest in the arms of the Saviour

if in sinful ways you lack

Some say that they're comin' back in a garden

bunch of carrots and little sweet peas

I think I'll just let the mystery be

Some say they're goin' to a place called Glory

and I ain't saying it ain't a fact

but I've heard that I'm on the road to purgatory

and I don't like the sound of that

I believe in love and I live my life accordingly

but I choose to let the mystery be

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

pumpkins bad, pilots good

Hmm, let's see. We're bombing Afghanistan, there are cases of anthrax in Florida,
the economy is in a recession, and I've been out of work for two months with no
immediate job prospects. You'll excuse me for strapping my rose-tinted goggles on
and writing only about good things or annoyances that are minor and
surmountable.

DI cut practice short because of lightning. It was
scarce and quite far away, and conditions would have been safe to keep rowing, but
I prefer this overcautious policy to his earlier tendency to send us out in
conditions that scared me. (There was one day when I was very near to walking out
on a practice because I was convinced the lightning, though far away, was coming
closer. As it turned out, I was right and we had to come in almost right away that
day.) Judging from his explanation about how this was all due to liability issues,
he may think by now that the current policy was his own idea, which is all to the
good.

Instead, I rode my bike to get in some exercise without
resorting to the torture of the erg. On Saturday, I offered to show href="http://mechaieh.diaryland.com">Mechaieh how to use the erg, but she
wisely declined. Incidentally, I love having friends who can go out with a whole
crowd of people who are strangers to them and still manage to have a good time,
without needing to be babysat.

Recommendation: do not buy the special
Hallowe'en edition of Apple Jacks cereal. It's a cute idea, but the little jack
o'lantern cookies in there are nasty. In other food news, the box of pretzels I
just opened had the box flap tucked in instead of pasted down. The plastic bag
inside was still airtight, so I decided they were safe to eat. However, if this
space is not updated for the next several days, you may conclude that some fiend
injected noxious substances into my pretzels and then cleverly resealed the bag.
On second thought, at a time when we are on the alert for chemical and biological
forms of warfare, that's not funny.

Rudder volunteered last
night to pay for me to get an IFR (instrument flying) rating, now, while I have
the time though not the money. He'd like that because he has one and it would make
me a much better safety pilot, so he wouldn't need to go up with an instructor to
maintain currency. It would also make me a much better pilot in general.
Considering the job market, though, or lack thereof, I'm not sure that's the best
use of several thousand dollars right now. I've told him to take a couple days to
think about it. Whatever he decides, though, it's still an extraordinarily sweet
and generous gesture. I'm going to keep him.

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

October 07, 2001

weekend report

Busy companionable relaxing weekend. Ah.

Friday evening while I was
waiting for Rudder to get home from work, href="http://mechaieh.diaryland.com">Mechaieh called to say her work dinner
had fallen through and did I mind if she came over then instead of late in the
evening as previously scheduled? Mind? Me? Of course not.

She
followed directions to my house successfully and we hung out on the back porch
hammock chairs until Rudder came home. After a reasonably short helping of the
usual "What kind of food do you want?" "I don't know...do you have a preference?"
conversation, we headed off for Chinese food, at a local restaurant which foursome
odd reason has a koi stream running through the middle of the seating area. We all
brought leftovers home, but only Mechaieh had duck for breakfast. (Largely my
fault; I had planned to make scones but somehow missed buy the eggs that were
clearly written at the top of my shopping list.)

Rudder opted out in
favor of getting chores done, but Mechaieh and I spent the morning at the Boyce-
Thompson arboretum, giving her a chance to get up close and personal (though not
cuddly) with our local saguaros and cholla, as well as Boojum trees and Australian
gum trees. It's finally gotten cool enough that we could do the two mile path
without getting majorly drippy with sweat -- very pleasant, in fact. After that,
we headed out to Globe to see an archaeological site, but as we got there the
lightning started (with simultaneous thunder -- no 5-seconds-because-it's-a-mile-
away delay at all), along with rain heavy enough that we bagged the expedition and
headed back home.

It wasn't raining much back in town, so we
detoured so that I could show her the boatyard and the lake I row on. She found
the odd cracked texture of the mud by the lake more interesting than the bits of
art along the lake, which is not a comment on her taste but on the quality of the
artwork. (Sample from the Words Over Water project, which has tiles with words
along the lakeside wall: "Water runs and runs. It must get very tired.") After
that, we hung out with Rudder for a while and polished our toenails in preparation
for Egret's bachelorette party. This was in keeping with the theme; some of the
rowers had decided on Friday morning that we should all dress
"hoochie".

I wore a tight brown slipdress with black lace at the neck
line (chest line, rather). Mechaieh, being a very good sport about going along
with these women she'd never met, pulled out a very short red knit dress she'd
originally planned to sleep in. I warned her about T2's sarcasm when we went to
pick up Egret. Though it didn't exactly show, I think he was impressed by us. He'd
made Egret wear a bra, though.

The best part was that all but about
two of the rowing women showed up, including one who's been out for months with a
hurt back. Egret was especially touched they’d all come out for her. The weather
had kept Four Peaks, my favorite brewpub, from getting too crowded, and we managed
to push three tables together so we could all sit comfortably. That worked
extremely well until the weather shifted from occasional drops to real rain. We
all stood around one table until we finally got everyone to agree on the
next bar to hit. Unfortunately, some of them were refusing to go to the dance
clubs that sounded more fun, or to anywhere with "too young" a crowd (I'm not sure
why that would matter, since we were in a group of 12). We finally agreed on the
bar in a local resort, which proved to be almost completely empty, so then we
headed over to a sports bar with a dance floor and spent the rest of the night
there.

There was the usual assortment of a few people who could
really dance, more who moved vaguely to the music, a guy who kept grabbing his own
crotch and dancing up against any woman who would dance with him, people of all
sizes and shapes who had found flattering clothes and others who had picked
entirely the wrong bit of skin to show off. Good thing Mechaieh was there,
because for a good part of the evening, she and I and Egret danced while everyone
else only sat. It's always worrying to subject people to large groups of
strangers, but she was adaptable enough to manage to have a good time, even when
they got to discussing the weirdest place anyone had had sex (the winner: in an
elevator at Sky Harbor airport, Terminal Four).

This morning, we went
up flying with Rudder. It was just a routine flight that he has to do to stay
current on instrument procedures, but of course that's a lot more interesting the
first time you go. Mechaieh seemed to enjoy the flight a lot -- I think, because I
always fall asleep in the back seat of a lightplane. As we were turning in the
keys and paying for the plane, someone came out of a back room and said, "We just
started bombing."

I don't even know what to say or think about that.
I hope Mechaieh's flight home is all right.

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

October 05, 2001

boats, bars, and books

My body's going to *hurt* tomorrow. We did an impromptu head race (5000 meters)
today. We came in last (as expected, racing against a men's eight and a
heavyweight women's four) but not by much. However, Egret was coxing the men's
boat and Hardcore coxed us, so we had someone else sit in our boat, and the set
sucked. My side and shoulder are sore from trying to get my blade off the water.
It's probably not really the other person's fault; she's lightweight but tall, and
she and She-Hulk rowed on the same side (opposite me and little Pigtails) which
would tend to unbalance the boat.

Tonight, href="http://mechaieh.diaryland.com">Mechaieh comes to visit for the weekend
(Yay!) so today will involve shopping and a little more cleaning. Tomorrow we'll
go do something scenic then go out with my girls. Something like that, anyway --
we're taking Egret out to get her plastered (to deal with her approaching
marriage). I've already warned several of them that with Mechaieh along, we have
to talk about something other than rowing at least part of the time. Should be
fun, anyhow -- we've been talking about doing a Girl's Night Out sort of thing for
a long, long time.

Not much else going on. I've been doing almost
nothing on my writing projects, and need to get back to them. I tried reading a
book Paul West wrote on his writers' Master Class, but found it impenetrable. I've
been reading mostly gentle English-village sort of stuff -- Barbara Pym, Miss
Read, the Miss Seeton mysteries, some old Alicia Craig mysteries (Canadian
village, same idea).

That is all.

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

October 04, 2001

the echo of joy (and other stuff, of course)

Mechaieh reminds me that it's
necessary to keep writing so you'll be able to manage the magic when it does come.
She put it much more clearly than that, of course, but the basic idea is that I'll
never be able to play symphonies if I don't practice scales. I guess I knew that,
really; I was just so blown away by Yeats href="http://dichroic.diaryland.com/yeatsgram.html">yesterday that I was
feeling a bit self-pitying.

Or maybe I'm just having a little private
pity party today. I wasn't feeling great last night, for no real reason, and
Rudder's fighting off a cold, so we skipped the usual Wednesday outing. Anyway, we
like having a few drinks with Egret and T2, but we do get a bit tired of the same
Mexican place every week. This morning I slept in and skipped the gym.

I want to make extremely sure I am not sick for this weekend -- I'm
looking forward to Mechaieh's visit and only regretting that she won't be here
long enough to see all the stuff I'd like to show her. There are a lot of cool
things about Phoenix; my complaints about it are only because I feel ready to move
on now. (And of course, summer here pretty much sucks.)

I've just
realized that's why Rudder's attitude sounds wrong to me. He's willing to move
away, to one of a very few places, but wants me to go there a while first, to find
out if whatever job I find is the "right" one, before he uproots and joins me. No
doubt this would make more sense to me if I'd ever had a job I liked as much as he
seems to like this one. My view is that it doesn't have to be the right job or the
right place, because what I'd prefer is to go somewhere, almost anywhere, live
there or two-three years, then move on. I don't want to stop until we both fall in
love with a place so deeply that neither one has any desire to move. Damn. Itchy
feet and a spouse who doesn't share them. At least he does like to
travel.

I actually found myself stopping yesterday to think, href="http://dashenka.diaryland.com/100401.html">Dashenka and href="http://longdistance.diaryland.com">Louise must be together just about
now. Either I spend way too much time reading diaries, or joy has a long echo. I
prefer to think it's the latter.

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

October 03, 2001

on Yeats and gramarye

Natalie and a few others have gotten me
reading Yeats. I've always liked some of the best-known poems of his, such as href="http://www.geocities.com/Athens/5379/TheSecondComing.html">The Second
Coming
and href="http://www.geocities.com/Athens/5379/WhenYouAreOld.html">When You Are
Old
, but the depth of his bench, so to speak, is what's really astonishing.
And of course I've had a weakness for Celtic mythology for most of my life, so I'm
predisposed to like his work.

I may never write any verse again,
except possibly for those rare moments when Polyhymnia starts banging on the
inside of my skull, desperate to be let out. What's the point, if you don't have
that wild magic in it?

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

the usual assortment

A couple hours after my usual weight workout yesterday, I went back to the gym to
try their new Pilates class (low-rent Pilates, with only a mat, rather than a
funky stretching machine). The result is that my hip and shoulder joints hurt like
hell today. So it must have been good for me.

With logic like that,
you just know that one of these days I'll end up on href="http://badsnake.diaryland.com">Badsnake's doorstep begging for someone
to flog me one of these days. Though I seem to do a more than competent job of
abusing my own body.

This morning at rowing practice, we did some
balance drills. At one point, DI had us rowing for five strokes, then gunnelling
our blades (resting the oar handles on the gunnels (side walls) of the boat, so
that the oar blades are up in the air). For the last several of those, we had that
boat locked into balance, oars poised evenly on either side, no one daring
to move for fear of throwing off the set. I've never felt anything like it. I love
this boat.

Amusingly, I heard today that a couple of the taller
skinnier women are now wanting to get into our boat. It used to be that rowing
with the "big girls" was seen as the prestige thing....until everyone realized how
good our boat is. It's true that two of them might be a few pounds lighter than
She-Hulk, but they've rowed with us before and the boat as a whole never felt as
smooth. Anyway, some regattas seem to worry about only the average weight of the
boat. Since She-Hulk is only about 5 lbs over the lightweight limit, and the rest
of us are each 15+ pounds under it, we can still able to row as lightweights,
where that's the rule.

Yesterday, while engaged in my usual practice
of spending too much at the bead store, the woman asked me where I'd learned to
wire-wrap (here's what
that looks like). I told her I'd figured it out from books and looking at others'
work, and asked why. "Because I know I didn't teach you and you seem to know what
you're doing," she answered. Really. This is not rocket science (though basic
ballistics isn't that hard, either). It's similar to the technique I used to make
rings as a little girl, whenever I got hold of some electrical wire. The main
difference is that because this wire is stiffer, I use jeweler's pliers to bend
it. It's not difficult.

And the scary thing is, if I had learned how
in a class, this would have been the advanced class. It's a sad example of what
someone I know calls the Ownership of Knowledge -- if you're not a recognized
expert, you shouldn't be able to figure anything out on your own. It's hard to do
nice beadwork without proper tools and materials. With them, it's ridiculously
fast and easy. I may never buy beaded or wire jewelry again.

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

October 02, 2001

this and that

My mind is sufficiently disjointed today that I think this needs to be a href="http://turtleguy.diaryland.com">Turtleguy-style entry, only without the
cool childhood stories. And probably no humina, huminas.

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

October 01, 2001

an historic moment

I actually agreed with something Coach DI said at practice this morning. That's
rare enough that I thought I'd better make a note of it. He had us row in two
eights today, one men's and one women's. I was initially disappointed not to row
the four, but he told us he wants us to become more used to set boats, and that
not rowing together was the reason we didn't win more races on Saturday. He wants
the men and women each to have a steady eight that can be broken up into four
fours, so we will practice in both configurations. Makes sense to me.

Then he topped off this unusual run of logic by letting practice go too long and
getting everyone (else) to work late.

I keep thinking there are a couple of poems in me, about the events of September
11, and about rowing, and how smooth and easy it looks while all the time you're
working furiously, and how much of life is like that. Like a duck swimming. But
every time I try to put the ideas into words, nothing comes out, Or I get a few
lines but then no more:

This morning my desert's cerulean sky

Was shrouded grey and sullen, a rare thing.

How long will it take before gray billows in the sky

Cease reminding me of smoke over twinned towers?

See
what I mean? I think the problem is that both ideas are to big for me. If I have a
strength at all, it may be lapidary detail, like the reflections in my namesake
bits of glass.

Also, I've been reading bits of Wallace Stevens and
Yeats, who seem to be the two modern poets who have the most href="http://dichroic.diaryland.com/loveofbooks.html">influence on current
writers, with Frost a close third. A humbling, if educational experience.

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

Nothing Comes Out

I actually agreed with something Coach DI said at practice this morning. That's rare enough that I thought I'd better make a note of it. He had us row in two eights today, one men's and one women's. I was initially disappointed not to row the four, but he told us he wants us to become more used to set boats, and that not rowing together was the reason we didn't win more races on Saturday. He wants the men and women each to have a steady eight thatcan be broken up into four fours, so we will practice in both configurations. Makes sense to me.


Then he topped off this unusual run of logic by letting practice go too long and getting everyone (else) to work late.


I keep thinking there are a couple of poems in me, about the events of September 11, and about rowing, and how smooth and easy it looks while all the time you're working furiously, and how much of life is like that. Like a duck swimming. But every time I try to put the ideas into words, nothing comes out, Or I get a few lines but then no more:

This morning my desert's cerulean sky
Was shrouded grey and sullen, a rare thing.
How long will it take before gray billows in the sky
Cease reminding me of smoke over twinned towers?


See what I mean? I think the problem is that both ideas are to big for me. If I have a strength at all, it may be lapidary detail, like the reflections in my namesake bits of glass.


Also, I've been reading bits of Wallace Stevens and Yeats, who seem to be the two modern poets who have the most influence on current writers, with Frost a close third. A humbling, if educational experience.

Posted by dichroic at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)