March 31, 2005

Debrief. Unpack. Repack.

It's been a while since I did a real update here. Let's see:

Last Friday I went to the gym, went flying, and then got to hang out with Egret and chicks. They were a little shy of me, since we haven't seen each other in a couple of months, but eventually made friends, and we had a good time until I was about to walk out the door. I was saying goodbye to Egret and T2, took a step back to open the door, and tripped over the boy, who had quietly come up and laid down right behind my feet. I didn't fall entirely on him, but stmbled a couple of steps before I could get away and off him. I'm not at all sure I didn't step on a hand or foot. He was screaming, of course, and I still feel bad, though Egret and T2 have assured me they've done the same thing several times when he's snuck up behind - of course he's still got that baby assurance that everyone knows where he is and what he's doing and will always catch him if he dives or avoid stepping on him. On a good note, I told Egret about baby sign a while ago and she's been using it and says it's really helped. She uses Ameslan with a few signs they've adapted themselves because it worked better for them than Baby Sign.

That evening we went out to a local seafood place that's entirely underground. Dinner was nothing spectacular, but afterwards, I decided to try some single-malt Scotch. I've always figured it would be something I'd like, but had never gotten into it. With vague memories of Iain Banks' Raw Spirit (Thanks, Mechaieh!) I decided, instead of trying something more approachable like Glenlivent, to dive straight into the peats of Islay, with a glass of Laphroig. *cough* I'm not good at identifying subtle flavors in wines and liquors (hmmm.... an oaky nose with hints of cedar, vanilla topnotes, with a finish redolent of varnish and elderberries). After my eyes stoped watering, though, I noticed three flavors in each sip: an initial hint of chocolate (and here I'd thought Banks was halucinating when he mentioned chocolate flavors in Scotch), followed by fire down the throat, and finishing with smoky peat. I'll do it again, but I'm fairly sure Rudder won't be ordering Scotch any time soon. Or at least not Laphroig.

Saturday was rowing and food shopping. On Sunday I finally got to fly a short cross-country. However, because the GPS database in the place wasn't up-to-date, we couldn't fly the IFR I'd originally planned and ended up flying a shorter VFR X-C, to an airfield just north of Tucson where a lot of retired commercial planes line both side of the field. It was fun, but I was so disgusted with the plane situation, and even more with the fact that they currently have NO aircraft with updated databases, that we went to breakfast at the next-closest local airport and I signed up with the FBO Rudder flies with. (It's the same one I got my private ticket at, though under new management.) My CFI, whom I like very much, was also infuriated and promised to go head-to-head with the management about the unacceptable situation. I really don't want to fly there at all anymore, but if he does that I may split my time, flying at the closer place on weekdays after work and doing my cross-countries on weekenda at the other FBO.
[Glossary: VFR: visual flying rules, i.e. I get to look out the window. IFR: Instrument flying rules, flying totally by instrument. CFI: certified flight instructor. Private ticket: private pilot VFR rating. FBO: Fixed-base operator, i.e. flying school and airplane rental business.]

After that we went to She-Hulk's for Easter dinner, which was delicious, and had a good time swapping stories with some of her geriatric neighbors. Funny old guys. So I got to row, fly and socialize with friends including babies and old people. A good weekend.

On Monday afternoon, the boss, two other coworkers and I flew out to Seattle. Monday night, I was lucky enough to meet up with two other members of my L.M. Montgomery list - we weren't sure if one could make it because she has a baby and a toddler, but luckily her husband was able to watch the kids and she drove all the way across town to my hotel. The other one was able to make it despite having had her car broken into the day before (and her dog in the back seat objecting to the plastic now coverig a window), and we had an excellent seafood dinner served by a very funny (and good) waitress. After that we went to JoAnn's across the street, because two of us sewed and two knit, though we didn't end up buying much. (The yarn was pretty much the same as at my local Michael's.)

On Tuesday after a day of useful benchmarking meetings, the company we were visiting took us to tour their factory - very cool_ and then for an even better seafood dinner (the SeaStar in Bellevue, WA - yum). One of the memorable parts was a woman at a table near us with a fox stole around her neck, complete with head and paws. Not the thing to wear in front of a tableful of engineers; we're not known for fashion, which makes it easier to notice when it's getting silly. (Also, the guys thought it was funny that she was wearing the stole with jeans, and I thought it was funny that the elegant upsweeping she was attempting to set off the fox was actually just help with a cheap plastic clip instead of being anything requiring actual effort or skill or or even anything prettier.)

After another day of meetings, we got to tour the distribution center, which was far more interesting than you'd expect a warehouse to be. (I kept picturing he whole thing as Santa's warehouse and envisioning all the people riding around on three-wheelers or forklifts in little elf suits.) The flight back was all right, though I was a little tense after hearing the conversation of the couple next to me: "I took Dramamine so I don't think I'll throw up." Thankfully, she didn't. The only bad part was the freeway going home. Three lanes were closed and the fourth was crawling so I had to take surface streets and got home a little later than I'd hoped, so I slept in a little and skipped the gym this morning. Oh well.

Plan for tonight: Unpack. Repack for this weekend's regatta trip.

Posted by dichroic at 02:02 PM | Comments (4)

March 29, 2005

caught between the horns

I was going to start an entry about how spoiled I really am ... we were just treated to dinner by the company we came to visit at Seastar, in Bellevue WA. The food was incredible, the place was beautiful, the company was amusing and we even got to laugh at a woman in a fox stole (head and all). And it wasn't even the best restaurant I've been to this year. (That would be Kai, at Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler, AZ. It's too close to bedtime to look up links, sorry.) Today was interesting; tomorrow may be less so but shouldn't be awful, and I get to sleep with Rudder at the end of it. Last night, I had a great time meeting two list-friends and enjoying some excellent salmon.

On the other hand, the world seems to be falling apart for a few too many people I care about. A member on a list I have moderated for years has died. Another has lost her daughter to cancer, far too young. Outfoxed's business is in trouble, and it's more a part of him than a job. Jenn is still hurting, when circumstances bring pain to the surface. There's earthquakes in Indonesia an as always there's starvation and violence and sorrow around the world. It's hard to be happy for me and sad for others without feeling heartless and spoiled and without having the grief seem too pale and thin to be real.

To bed. I'm babbling. And on the other hand, Jen is home and is a mom. There's bliss in the world too. It's a funny world, isn't it?

Posted by dichroic at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

Northwest Passage

I'm heading off to Seattle this afternoon. I think I'm set: I've printed out my boarding pass, charged my phone (and packed the charger), and checked that my boss will be leaving on time, unlike a previous boss who once missed a plane through sheer cockiness. (I wouldn't have minded, but he ended up in Cinncinati instead of Cleveland where I was and where we were supposed to be - and he had the rental car info and we still had to drive to Pittsburgh that night.) I've forgotten my umbrella but have packed a Goretex jacket, so I should be all right. And you can tell where I prioritize work via relaxation during travel: I have packed one knitting project (after much deliberation I packed a larger project on plastic needles instead of a portable sock on sharp metal needles) and about three books and a magazine. I do hope I don't end up sitting next to the boss because I intend to knit and read In Style on the plane and not pull out my laptop.

Actually, I packed four books, but I've brought Anne's House of Dreams not to read but to carry so friends from my L.M. Montgomery list can recognize me in my hotel lobby tonight. I've got said friend's number programmed into my cell phone. I've left an itinerary for Rudder. It's not that I don't travel much, just that it's been a while since I've traveled on business, and I never have for this company, and it's also that I packed last thing last night and didn't make a list so I'm worried I forgot something. I probably did, but it probably won't matter.

Posted by dichroic at 12:10 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2005

plans and randomizing (or not)

Thanks be to Jesus. No, literally - I get tomorrow off from work. So far plans include relaxing with reading and knitting, a flying lesson, paying bills, doing laundry, going to the mall and/or yarn store, visiting Egret and chicks... it hasn't escaped me that all of this is not entirely compatible with that "relax" idea.

The iPod shuffle feature is the best music-playing-related idea ever. Yes's Stormship Trooper followed by Bruce Cockburn followed by Robert Earl Keen twanging Happy Holidays Y'all followed by Steeleye Span followed by later Neil Young followed by Metallica followed by Bruce Cockburn. At least it would be random, except that my iPod seems to have a Bruce Cockburn fixation. This would be good if I have a Bruce Cockburn fixation but I don't, which is exactly why there's only one CD of his loaded on the iPod in the first place. Despite that, anytime I listen to more than a few songs in a row, there's Bruce. I am liking him more one song at a time than in whole-album doses, but still. Maybe the thing to try is uploading my one Springsteen CD to see if it's just something about the name Bruce the silly iPod likes. Besides, I need Thunder Road in my rebellious-mood playlist.

Right after we get back from this long weekend I'm off to Seattle on business for a couple of days, where if I'm lucky I may get to meet a couple of online friends. One of those goes back a good 6 years or so, through several jobs on my part and marriage, infertility, and then miraculous motherhood (twice!) on hers; the other is a more recent acquaintance I'm looking forward to getting to know better.

After that we may be off to San Diego, a bit unexpectedly, for the Crew Classic regatta. A local men's boat is short one rower and has more or less begged Rudder to fill in for the race. I'm not sure they entirely realize how long it's been since he last rowed sweep (one oar instead of two) but it's not so differnt that he won't do well.

One final thing: I'm somewhat glad I did see the Lord of the Rings movies first. I don't think I've come across more utter emotional desolation than the scene where Sam thinks that Frodo is dead, when he resolves to take on Frodo's mission, then come back to stay with his master forever. Snif. After all, even that tear-jerker scene that hit me so hard so young that it's part of my emotional landscape, the death of Beth in Little Women, isn't seen as parting forever by the characters. And Beth has more or less finished her life, as she says herself - her death doesn't presage desolation of the whole world. I understand why people skip some of the Frodo chapters, or alternate with the happier ones of the rest of the Companions.

Posted by dichroic at 01:07 PM | Comments (3)

March 23, 2005

getting past the news

Just three quick comments, and then I will declare this a Schiavo-free zone (the main page, at least: people can comment anything they want as long as it's not sp@m).

1. At least this sad story will have done some good if more people are moved to make Living Wills. I confess I've been delinquent on this myself; Rudder knows my preferences and so do my parents, but I should write it down.

2. I find the idea that my parents would know what I want better than Rudder does (because "they nurtured me as a dependent child") to be mind boggling: I've been out of their house for except for short periods for over two decades, and living with him daily for nearly three-quarters of that period.

3. As I understand the case, the heart attack that caused her coma was brought on by an eating disorder. How ironic that the root cause of her current death by starvation is that she was trying to starve herself.

OK, there. It's out of my system.

In much happier news, I've started knitting a to-be-felted bag based on the French Market Bag at Knitty, in the Manos del Uruguay I've had laying around since I didn't use it for Clapotis. I may use fewer stitches because the gauge is larger than that in the pattern, and I haven't decided whether to do the handles as in the pattern, or like a Booga Bag, or some other way entirely. What I really like about this pattern is that the bottom is knitted as a circle, and then you just go straight up the sides. I really don't like picking up stitches much, though obviously I can do it. ("Obviously" because it's just not that difficult.) I still can't imagine what this variegated yarn will look like when felted, but I do like the colors so am just working on faith. It's a nice change to work on something that grows so quickly: right now the bottom is 72 stitches around, or not much more than I expect my next socks (of actual sockweight yarn) to be, yet it's maybe 8" across.

Posted by dichroic at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)

March 22, 2005

past Isengard, entering Mordor

I'm now entering Book IV of Lord of the Rings. (I didn't take it along last weekend, not wanting the book to get banged up.) This is the absolute best way to luxuriate in it, in a beautiful edition that's a pleasure to hold and read, and with my old friend Gymrat periodically emailing with background invitation. The only way to make it better would be if I could take a couple opf days off to just read. On the other hand, then it would be finished faster.

I'm continuing to be astonished at how thorough and detailed the background is - Gymrat (possibly not the best pseudonom now but I don't have a better) tells me that assembling it was a lifelong hobby for Tolkien from long before he ever thought of publishing a book for sale. It gets tangly sometimes, with everyone having several names, and I confess to having to go look up some names and to not always remembering who is the forebear of whom, but I imagine later rereadings will take care of that.

Also, "Entings" is just adorable, though I'm less enamored of "Entwives".

I don't know the story behind the movies, whether they weren't made earlier by decision of Hollywood or of Tolkien's heirs. It is a good thing that they weren't made until they could be done right, but I'm astonished directors weren't champing at the bit to do it earlier. The writing is so visual - for example, the scene in front of Helm's Gate where orcs are boiling over the land, lit in flashes by lighting and striped by rain, must have had movie designers aching to make it happen.

I get the feeling that Tolkien enjoyed the ability to spread out, to spend an entire book in Aragorn and company's point of view and another in Sam's and Frodo's, and to take the time to make the Elves' long memories and the Ents' vegetative speed more credible, but it's not feeling bloated or in need of editing. There are certainly bits I'm not absorbing in detail, but again, that's for rereading.

I'm a fast reader. I'm not a fan of books that are long for length's sake or through lack of editing (because there's always another book to move on to, and I'd rather read two tight stories than one bloated one) but this one needs to be this big to fill its proper scope, and I'm actually enjoying the length because it gives me time to think about it in between, and because it means I get to stay in it longer. I'm already regretting being more than half through.

Posted by dichroic at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)

workout entry

First: if you missed it yesterday, go read about the contest we're having. (Also, go see the pics of knitting I finished on our trip.)

I've been awful about logging workouts here - I haven't done it all this year, though I have logged them on paper. So below is the pitiful record of my workouts for all of 2005.

At the regatta Sunday, we got to talk a bit to the coach we'd worked with at her Masters rowing camp in January. She recommended that Rudder and She-Hulk deprioritize aerobic work for the next couple of months and work on heavy lifting, with sets of 3-5 reps and trying to work to failure. When I asked her about a maintenance workout schedule for me while I'm on semi-retirement, she said the same thing would work. I partly took her advice this morning and did sets of 5,5, and 3 reps on the rowing-specific exercses (lat pulldown, low row, leg press, dead lift) while still doing 2 sets of 10 on my other exercise. Since her camp, instead just waiting a minute between my sets, I've been cycling around the gym doing one set at a time then moving on, to let each muscle rest at least 3-4 minutes while I work on something else. That still worked fairly well with the mixed shorter and longer sets today.

My mind has been feeling better and less stressed with the semi-retirement thing, but my body is getting noticeably flabbier and I don't think it's a coincidence that my hip joint issue started in January, and then after getting better for working with the chiropractor, has been a little worse this last week when I was sick and not working out or stretching. Maybe I can keep a balance if I try to keep to 4 workouts a week, using the erg instead of rowing on weekdays because I get to sleep an hour later.

Another issue is that if I do 3 weight sessions and 1 rowing or erging as the coach recommended, and I'm lifting for hypertrophy, I'm likely to gain a couple of pounds, which if I don't drop the couple extra of flab I'm carrying would push my weight to never-before-seen levels. (Like, 130.) That would take a bit of mental adjustment, but as long as my clothing still fits I guess I can live with it and if I see the flab diminishing I'll even be happy.

One more note: I only write down what weights I've lifted occasionally, if I haven't been fr a bit or I've just increased a weight. If I don't list something, that didn't mean I didn't do it. The usual core lifting workout is lat pulldown, low row, shoulder or bench press, leg press, calf raise, hip abductor and adductor, plus erging for warmup and stretches and crunches afterward. (I should do the crunches first, but I tend to forget.) Sometimes I'll add something or change it around to work the same muscles in a different way.

Tu 1/4: Erged 5006 meters in 28:04.
We 1/5: Erged 1541 in 8:49 to warm up, lifted weights.
Su 1/9: Did a max watts piece. Wmax= 332, did a total of 1189m in 6:19.

We 1/12: Erged 6102 in 35:49, average excluding cooldown 2:54
Sat 1/15- Mon 1/17: Rowing camp, total approx 7000erg, 18000m on the water.
We 1/19: Erged 1400 including 2x10 to warm up, lifted weights.

Sa 1/22: Lake reopened. A week or so later it closed again. 5K on the water.
Tu 1/25: Erged 7009 in 40:39.
We: Weights. Warmup erged 1458 in 8:11.

Su 1/30: Erged 6008 in 34:07.
Mo 1/31: Erged 1517 in 8:07 to warm up, lifted weights.
Tu 2/1: Erged 5015 in 28:11.

Sa 2/5: Approx 8800 on the water.
Tu 2/8: Erged 7013 in 39:40.
We 2/9: Warmup: 1012 in 5:37. Weights: low row 70, leg press 155, biceps/triceps 17.5.
Fr 2/11: Erged 5010 in 29:36.

Mo 2/14: Erged 6010 in 34:55.
Tu 2/15: Erged 1011 in 5:43 to warm up, lifted weights.
Fr 2/18: Erged 2012 in 10:46 to warm up, lifted weights.

Mo 2/21: Erged 7010 in 41:09.
We 2/22: Erged 7011 in 42:02.
Fr 2/25: Erged 1009 in 5:28 to warm up, lifted weights.

Mo 2/28: Warmup: 1048 in 5:49. Weights: squat 90, inclined leg press 140, hammer strength row 60, hammer strength inclined press 30.
Tu 3/1: Erged 5016 in 28:43.
We 3/2: 7500 on the water, drills and racing starts.
Sa 3/5: Erged 8019 in 44:15.

Mo 3/7: Warmup: 1105 in 6:02. Weights: pulldown 120, shoulder press 45, leg press 155/175, calf raise 275, hip adductor 130, hip abductor 90, biceps 17.5, triceps 17.5.
Tu 3/8: Erged 5022 in 29:57.
Fri 3/11: 10000 on the water, 9 racing starts.

Sick week of 3/14.
Fr 3/18: Erged 1011 in 5:40 to warm up, light weight workout. (Light workout, not light weights.)
Su 3/19: Peter Archer regatta. Didn't race, but lots of walking/jogging as usual at a regatta.

Tu 3/24: Warmup: 1009 in 5:34. Changed weight workout partly due to Patty's advice. Sets of 5-5-3 trying to get to failure on last set on lat pulldown (150), low row (100), dead list (100 - should be more), leg press (215). 2 sets of 10 on calf raise (275), hip adductor (130), hip abductor (90), shoulder press (40), biceps (17.5), triceps (17.5).

Total YTD: 151873 meters.

Posted by dichroic at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2005

trip knitting pics

Finished object pictures as promised - one sock and the beach it was finished on, and two views of the iPod cozy.

Posted by dichroic at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)


We’re looking for slogan ideas for Arizona Outlaw T-shirts - we want something that gets across the ideas of Outlaws in the Old West as well as rowing. Double entendres are fine - just not anything that will get us arrested, hurt, or picketed if we wear the shirt in public.

Contest will be decided by consensus among hte Outlaws. Winner gets an Outlaw logo hat or a handknitted iPod/MP player cozy, your choice. There will be an extra prize (to be decided) for accompanying graphics. Email slogan ideas to me here.

Posted by dichroic at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)

Long Beach regatta report

The Peter Archer regatta at Long Beach this weekend went well - She-Hulk is going to write it up for the Outlaws webpage. The regatta wasn't until Sunday, and she had some issues with her car that needed to be taken care of, so we didn't leave until 11 on Saturday morning. Rowers sleeping late - what a concept. While we were getting ready on Saturday, Rudder had the idea of bringing the iPod instead of hauling our usual 3 packs of CDs. (Not that we'd really need that many for a total of 12 hours driving, but you never know what you'll want to listen to on the road.) So we loaded up a bunch of his music onto the iPod (because most of mine is to mellow for him while driving) and made an emergency electronics run tot he Apple store to get a car charger and a gadget that plays the iPod sound through FM radio. I was surprised and pleased at the sound quality. I still love being able to shuffle all the songs on there (though when Rudder was driving back at night I had to skip through anything too quiet) and it was wonderful to have one small object instead of several bulky ones rolling around the passenger footwell.

I drove most of the the way up, except for the last leg into LA. I'm not crazy about driving the Orange Crush (Rudder's Hummer) or about driving long distances, but we talked the whole way up and it went surprisingly fast. Rudder had asked me to drive so he could sit in back and work on the entry packet for an upcoming junior regatta here. I don't think She-Hulk was entirely happy to be displaced from her usual comfy back-seat nest, but she manned the iPod and it was actually kind of fun, with us all putting the words of the packet together as he typed. We were all sharing a room this time, in our usual pink ghetto-fabulous hotel, which turned out to be a mistake. It's not so much that I mind the peeling wallpaper, or the cracking ceiling, or the heat lamp in the bathroom that has no switch to turn it on, or even the odd lumps on the woman at the front desk (we're guessing branding, becaues of the raised area's symmetry) and it seems to be clean enough. I don't even mind being in the handicapped room even if some things are too low. (But only some - I'd hate to stay there as an actual handicapped person. It's just that when you get a room with two beds there, the beds are miniscule. They didn't even seem like double beds, though they were bigger than twins. Also the pillows were both thin and hard. I'm spoiled, I know. I just need to start remembering to at least bring my own pillow.

We got there in time for our usual pre-race Crab Shack dinner, which is probably not the best place to go when people are wanting steaks for race fuel, but none of us had the energy to decide on another place. Anyway, I like the food and I like eating while looking at the boats outside. They've added some entertainment since we were last there: every hour they make an announcement and all the staff line up to dance around the room. They're obviously choreographed and rehearsed this, but it's still a little strange. The first time it was to a sampled version of Saturday Night Fever, and the dance involved some of Travolta's moves and the Hustle but all at an oddly slow pace. None of the staff were anywhere near old enough to remember disco dancing in its original incarnation, but they made it look much more draggy than I remember it. The second time around they did something called the Windy Windy (or possibly Whiney Whiney) that was mostly about winding around the room in a train. Other than that, though, She-Hulk and I were enjoying the music, which was all about flashbacks to our youth. Rudder's comment on the dancing was that the last time he'd seen anything similar it involved the removal of clothing and the giving of ten-dollar tips.

I woke up sore from the minibed. but we managed to all get showered, fed and out to the lake for the 7AM regatta meeting which turned out to be figmentary. However, they'd condensed schedule so the 5-hour wait we were expecting before our first race turned out to be just a couple of hours to rig and relax. Even better, our last race was just after one, so we got to leave much earlier than expected, which is a welcome change when you have a six-hour drive home. The weather was changeable, but the threatening rain never actually came and it never got too hot or too cold.

Rudder and She-Hulk each raced a single and then had two doubles races together. Despite having hardly any time to recuperate between races, from four races they brought back four medals. (Actually 8, since each got a medal for both doubles races.) The most gratifying was the Men's Open double, where they wasted their much larger, younger, male-er opponents, especially after they were told by a referree that said opponents had been joking about them at the start.

The regatta was not well attended; the lanes were full in She-Hulk's singles race but only because they'd combined events. She was racing against only one other person, with all the others being open or lightweight. All three of the other races had only two or three competitors. (Which isn't to say they wouldn't have done as well even with more competition.) (And if She-Hulk wants a new nom here, she's welcome to suggest one. Ahem.)

This was more of a practice race for them than a priority one, especially since we've had lake closures for so much of this year. We did get a chance to talk to the coach we worked with at January's camp, and she's given us some tips on what to work on in training for the next few months.

The races were done just after 1, and we've got packing down to a fine science. (My tactic is mostly to stay out of Rudder's way as he turns into a packing, strapping, fitting-in machine.) I finished the sock I was working on just before we left, and will post a picture when I can upload it from the camera.

I need to remember that the Subway we usually stop at as we leave the Marine Stadium does not have bathrooms! (Isn't that illegal or something?) I bought a Coke at another cafe so I could use theirs and we were on the way. The drive home was uneventful except for a traffic jam outside Phoenix, and for another FO. I had some yarn left from the sock, so after eating my sub I cast on for an iPod cozy, because in only a few days it's gotten several scratches from being carried in the tote I take to work. No pattern or anything, and I "measured" by putting the iPod in my newly-finished sock and pinching it together to see how many stitches were extra. I used a K2P1 rib so it would pull together but be subtle, 1x1 ribbed the top inch and added a flap to tuck in at She-Hulk's suggestion. (Easier than adding on a buttonhole, and it seems to be secure. ) It fits perfectly. I'll post a picture of it, too. We also came up with slogans for Outlaw T-shirts (I'm considering a contest - will post details here if we have one) and put together some words for the official regatta report. Best of all, thanks to the compressed schedule we got hom in time to get to bed by 11, instead of 1AM as it would otherwise have been, which probably explains why I'm coherent enough to write all of this.

Posted by dichroic at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

similarities and overlappings

One thing that I've noticed about LoTR is how many names match ones from Narnia. I have no desire to do a whole concordance but two I remember noticing are the Ettin Moors (I think there was something similar in The Silver Chair, in Puddleglum's neighborhood) and the Fords of Baranduin as compared to the Ford of Beruna (it's in Prince Caspian). I wonder how many of the similarities derive from Lewis's and Tolkien's direct influence on each other, and how many from their similar philological background. I think the Inklings did discuss their writings, so it could be direct influence. Then there are similarities in sounds of names: Puddleglum. Treebeard. Aragorn. Caspian. But I suspect those are drawn from the Old English, Celtic,and Welsh names with which JRR and CSL would have been familiar. Ceridwen. Idris. Prydwen. Longshanks. (I think he was Middle English, actually.) And so on.

Another thing I've noticed: if you look at these lists of story-things that tend to annoy people, it's amusing to think how many of them Tolkien did: Pointy ears. Hobbits. Song lyrics. Hard-to-remember names. I think it's closely related to why Shapespeare wrote in cliches all the time. I also think it might not be so annoying to see all of these things done badly, if Tolkien hadn't done them well (mostly) first.

Today's challenge: which knitting to take with me on the car trip to our regatta this weekend. There's the sleeveless sweater on which I don't have to worry about running out of knitting, but I expect it to be too chilly to be in a sleeveless sweater mood. There is the current sock, but it's far enough along that I might be able to finish it, which would be good in that then I could wear it (it's toasty wool) but bad in that I'd have to remember to bring a darning needle to finish it, and also would have to remember how to do Kitchener grafting (or bring the book). Also, I'd have to decide what *else* to bring, in case I do finish it early on. The sweater? Materials for a new pair of socks? Oh, the decisions.

Posted by dichroic at 12:47 PM | Comments (1)

March 17, 2005

I don't do windows.

I actually had a salesman refuse to sell to me today. I'm so proud.

Background: I've still got this cold/allergies/whatever. so I stayed home sick today to see if rest would help. This meant I got to be the one to see with the window salesman Rudder had scheduled for today. We'd already gotten bids from two other companies; Rudder had worked with those. I think this guy had insisted on being last.

He showed up and spent a lot of time trying to convince me that his were fine products of their kind and were far better than our existing windows. He's entirely right, of course, this being why we asked him to come give us a bid in the first place. (I may have rolled my eyes at this point, because I didn't need to know why we needed new windows but why we needed his windows in particular.) He told me his windows were far better than any of the competitors, and that their price was better, but he had no numbers to compare to the others. He did say the numbers were on the window manufacturers' webpages. He measured all of our windows and started talking about prices. Then he started doing the used-car salesman "What would it take to get you to make this decision immediately" bit. When I told him I wasn't going to decide right away because I don't do that on multi-thousand-dollar deals, as a matter of policy, he started getting a little upset. I think he assumed I wasn't deciding because Rudder wasn't here. I told him Rudder would have said the same thing. (True.) I also told him I wouldn't decide without looking up his windows' data on the Web, since he didn't have it, and that we weren't sure whether we wanted to do this instantly or wait a few months, which is also true.

At that point he decided he didn't want to deal with me because it was "evident I didn't trust him", and refused to write out the prices he had previously mentioned in an actual bid. (Also, when he was going to write them out, it was apparently going to be handwriting on lined paper, instead of a form listing exactly what he was offering, as we've seen with bids on other house improvements.) Well, duh I don't trust him. I've never met him before and know nothing about his company. I don't distrust him either (or rather, I didn't before) but I am certainly not going to fork over a few thousand dollars without checking actual data.

I am still going to look up his windows' data, however. I can only assume his reluctance to share it means he's got an inferior product. And if that's not the case, I may well write a letter to the company's owner. I haven't counted how many ways he insulted me/us, but there are definitely a few. Let's see: getting upset at dealing with me instead of Rudder (not sure if this is sexism or assuming we don't trust each other, but either way I don't like it). Pressuring me to make an instant decision. Wanting me to trust him with no accompanying data. Comparing his window to the existing ones instead of a competitors'. Getting upset when I asked him a couple of times about things other installers had said would be problematic (like the windows with no border from our stucco or the one touching a kitchen counter) despite not being an installer himself. Asking me to feel how strong his windows are. (Sorry, my built-in sensors aren't that accurate - can I use a baseball bat?) I think I'm better off without him.

Posted by dichroic at 04:39 PM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2005

finally, Tolkien

So. I'm part way through Book 1 of The Lord of the Rings (Chorus: And about time, too!) That's Book 1 of the six parts Tolkien originally wrote it in. I did know he'd intended it to be published as one, but not that he'd divided it into six segments rather than three.

There are really two types of Big Important Everyone else has Read'Em speculative fiction classics I haven't read.

1. The ones I haven't read because I think I'll hate them. Just because everyone else (or a large percentage of everyone else) thinks well of them doesn't mean I will. Asimov's Foudnation series is a good example There are enough books in this category that I have read, mostly because someone I care about loved them, that I can be fairly sure that if I browse through it and it looks unpleasant, I will probably find it so on a full reading.

2. The ones I haven't read even though I'd probably like or love them. I think it's just stubborn recalcitrance in this case, not wanting to read something just because I "should". This is probably a side effect of growing up when F and SF were at least respectable, if often not considered on a level with Litrachure, yoked to a wide streak of mulishness.

Actually, that probably applies to classics I haven't read of all genres, except that I'd have to add category #3, the ones I just haven't gotten to yet. (That's where most of Trollope resides in my mental catalog, for example.)

It's probably obvious that LoTR falls in category #2, though I have read The Hobbit. I'm finally tackling it now, spurred on by the movies and a birthday present from my in-laws of the gorgeous 50th anniversary edition, with what feels like calf binding, creamy paper, rubrics, and tipped in maps. I'd put a set of the books on my list (my in-laws' tradition is that you make up a list with several things on it so gift-givers can choose and there's at least some surprise) but this particular edition is a pleasure even to hold, let alone to read.

One thing that surprised me is that it's a fast read, even with the three forewords and a prologue. I guess I expect classics, even recent ones, to be ponderous, especially when they're this huge. Another surprise was when after reading the scene where Strider speaks with the hobbits in Butterbur's back parlor, I put the book down to let the cat out (and find the other had returned - yay!) and realized I had a vivid image of the scene I'd just read in my mind. It wasn't because of the movie, or not entirely, because the descriptions I'd visualized from don't entirely match the way the movies did it (though they did do well). Also, I think I only saw the first movie on an airplane, on those tiny seat-back screens, so I don't have vivid images of it. Yet there's the parlour, and there's disreputable Strider, with the gray in his hair, and there are the hobbits, all big-footed and fuzzy and they're all right there hovering by my chair. I have similar images of hobbit houses and the road to Rivendell, though the latter is less distinct because more variable.

I don't think I do this often. I do have misty images of characters I read - skipping the ones overlain by movie images I could still describe Will Stanton to you, or Jo March (several movies, but I saw them so long after internalizing the book that they don't matter). Sometimes I also have an image of the setting, especially where it's important - I could describe New Moon as well as I could Emily Byrd Starr. But they're not usually this distinct, and certainly not on first reading. At least not any more; when I was young if my book were very good I would reread it immediately after finishing the first reading so as not to have to leave that world right away, like having an alrm clock rip you out of a dream. This is more like that.

I was afraid the writing would be a little precious, or self-consciously mystical like so many of Tolkien's imitators. I can't really tell, because I've been reading my immersion rather than by careful consideration of sentences, but I don't think the book would be so vivid if that were so.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to read it this weekend - we're going to Long Beach for a regatta and this physical book is just too beautiful to risk spoiling it with travel and sand and water. I could buy a cheap paperback, but the experience of reading a story this good in an edition like this is just fine enough to be worth postponing.

Posted by dichroic at 01:58 PM | Comments (4)

March 15, 2005

he's back

My cat came back!!!!! In fact, I saw him at the back door not five minutes after finishing the last entry. I didn't even know he reads this :-)

Posted by dichroic at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

Donne but missing

Funny how often these entries seem to be a balance between the good and the bad.

The Good:
An online discussion on John Donne I've signed up for started today. My university's writers' group this for alumni (of the school, not just the group) as a free seminar / salon sort of thing - they've done a couple before but this is my first time, since the earlier ones weren't on topics in which I was interested.

The Bad:
Outweighs the good, I'm afraid. We seem to be down one cat. He's been missing since sometime this weekend (though we really figured it out yesterday - this is the scaredy-cat who spends most of his time hiding, so his presence at any given time isn't expected. Rudder says he had the door open a lot over the weekend, so that cat may have run outside. However, outside is one of the things he's scared of, so he's never gone more than a few steps outside before, meaning if he did get brave and wander away he might not know where home is. We've looked around the front and back and called for him (he usually meows back) but have gotten no sight or answer.

Rudder's not home yet either, and he'd normally be in bed almost an hour ago. He did mentino something about an all-day meeting, so presumably it ran late. At least I know he knows how to get home.

Posted by dichroic at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

good influences

Or maybe I just didn't listen to enough music this weekend. It's hard to listen to I Know my Love (The Chieftains with the Corrs) without chair-dancing. (Ball-dancing in my case, but not the graceful kind.) It's hard to keep a down frame of mind while dancing around the office.

Posted by dichroic at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)


Not one of the great weekends, I don't think. Let alone one of the great birthday weekends.

Thursday: Rudder had a regatta meeting; we debated whether he should stay home, but I ended up telling him to go (because it was the first meeting on planning this particular regatta) while I went for a massage, which was half price courtesy of his birthday gift. (I get one free one a month for 3 months plus member rates the rest of the time.) He got home around 8:30, which wasn't particularly helpful since we were both planning on rowing Friday morning, with all its incumbent 4AM alarm times.

Friday: Rowing was OK. Work was as usual. The chiropractor was a little disappointing since he didn't seem to recall that he'd said the previous time we'd be teaching me more exercises. (I kep quiet to see if he would remember.) I think I may go today, then quit. They did manage to mostly fix the hip joint problem I was having, and I don't see that we're doing anything to work on the crooked spine issue.

After that, Rudder and I went to dinner. This was supposed to be my birthday dinner, until he headed the wrong way, toward the new fondue restaurant instead of the fondue restaurant I'd been wanting to try and whose menu I had looked up online and shown him. He made it clear that he was too tired to go to the restaurant I wanted (maybe 3 miles further away). So we spent the rest of dinner (which was OK but not great) discussing whether that would be my official birthday dinner or not. I think we decided on not, but made no plans on what would be. I can't think of a more depressingly pointless dinner conversation, on further reflection. (Actually, I suppose I can. But this one was depressing and pointless, anyway.) Also, my allerigies or whatever weren't doing wonder for my ability to taste anything.

Saturday: slept in a little, went to the lake, did a little work on my boat, and had a nice breakfast/lunch with some of the characters we did last fall's marathon race with, so that was fun. However, since Friday afternoon, I'd been feeling ill, and the chicken soup I had Saturday at the restaurant didn't cure it. (Even though it had both matzo balls *and* kreplach. My illusions are destroyed.) I spent the afternoon resting and trying to figure out whether I had allergies or a cold. At 5 or so we went out to find sunset light and wil;dflowers, but what was supposed to be a half-hour drive to a state park ended up taking more like an hour and a half, due to unposted highway closures and roadwork. We did get about fifteen minutes of decent light at the park, though some of the flowers were closing for the night. Goign home took almost as long as getting there, due to trying to avoid the closed highway, and by the time we got home three and a half hours later, Rudder (who was driving) was not a happy man.

Sunday: The plane I was supposed to fly in Sunday morning had a small tangle with a lightpole, so they called Saturday to say they could put me in another plane on Sunday afternoon. An hour before the flight my instructor called to say we couldn't do an instrument cross country in it, because the GPS database was out of date. We could still fly it, but couldn't file as instrument so couldn't get the practice I needed at talking to control. Because the instructor and I both had colds or allergies we decided to just fly locally instead of doing the cross-country I had planned, which turned out to be a wise choice. By the time we finally landed for the last time, I could hardly hear. (I hadn't thought my ears were clogged or I wouldn't have flown at all, but apparently I was wrong.) Apparently I have a geas on me relating to cross-country flights. Every planned one so far has had to be cancelled due to weather or other factors.

Monday: Rudder emailed to say he'd booked flights to Edmonton in July. I had talked about possibly not going or going for only part of the time, since I'm not racing, but hadn't decided. He went ahead and booked flight for only himself and She-Hulk without asking me. Since it's still FOUR months off, I had expected to have some time decide - he said he hadn't planned to book this early either "but flights were cheap". Then he tried to tell me I had plenty of time to decide and the flights wouldn't fill up and wouldn't necessarily get more expensive, which of course would be a lot more convincing if he hadn't booked his own right away. Without asking if I wanted one. (I think She-Hulk did the booking, actually, but I'm sure she asked him whether I would need a ticket.) That's rectified now, and I think he understands why I might have been a little upset. I think.

On the plus side, I finished a sock and started another. Yee-f*ing-ha.

Maybe all my good luck's going to Jen. I'd like to think it's off doing something useful like that - she seems to have more freak bad luck than almost anyone else I know and it would be awfully nice if none of that happens to her while she's off meeting Li. A minorly bad few days here seem like a small price.

Posted by dichroic at 12:28 PM | Comments (2)

March 11, 2005

getting in the book

Slight goof: In item 80 on my "nearly 100 things" list two entries back, I mentioned a note I'd written about the way children read. Since the original list was an email to a discussion list, that reference is to something I posted there, not in this journal. But because Naomi commented on it and because it's something I feel strongly about, I'll repost it here.

Someone on the list had quoted the following from an article she'd read:

. . . "Reading, I have an eerie sensation, a bit like deja vu, or like getting in touch with a former, lost self. At the time (and maybe this has something to do with the way children read) I somehow never fully comprehended the fact that it was fiction--almost as if I imagined these girls were real people."

I responded:
!!! Almost as if she imagined! That's not the child speaking. She's writing that as an adult and I can't tell whether she really doesn't remember how it was or whether she's soft-pedaling her words to suit her readers for fear she'll be laughed at. Either way, she's not capturing the experience of a child reading. There was no "almost as if" about it. Of course I knew Jo March wasn't real in one sense any more than Santa Claus was real (remember, I'm Jewish, so I never did believe in him)or the characters on TV. But in another sense she was more real than most of the people I knew.

After all, when I talk to you, even in person, I have to guess what you're thinking; I have to read your face and listen to your voice and compare them against my experience. You may shield your thoughts from me, not necessarily from an intent to deceive but perhaps from politeness or privacy. In fact, you
certainly will shield some thoughts; none of us ever wants even the most beloved to know all we're thinking, so there is always a barrier.

With Jo March and her literary sisters and brothers, there was no barrier. I was inside their minds and I knew exactly what mattter most to them and how they
felt about it. Moreover, no matter how much the people around me seemed not to understand what mattered to me, I knew that if Jo felt as I did, then the person who created her must have understood as well or she wouldn't have been able to write Jo. That was my first proof that there were Kindred Spirits in the world, and that I wasn't alone in the important things.

I think one writer who did understand was E. Nesbit: she often has her characters scorn anyone who starts by saying, "Let's pretend we're being..." because they know that in real play you have to *be* that thing, not think of yourself as "pretending to be".

Posted by dichroic at 03:31 PM | Comments (1)

the proper frame of mind

I have figured out the proper mindset for one of my birthday gifts, though it took a little thought. My mother gave me something that is basically a long strand of tiger-eye colored beads (I think they're those fiber-optical things rather than actual tiger-eye, though) interspersed with magnetite at intervals, which looks like hematite but is magnetic, hence the name. Light brown with gunmetal gray. Hm. Interesting choice of colors. The magnetite beads attract each other, so the strand can be wrapped as a bracelet, long lariat, double wrapped with lariat end, or choker - at least, it could be a choker, had the maker not put little pewter charms on the end that look silly when coming off two different spots. I may remove one. Or it can be a headband, except that it tends to seize on to hairs and take them along when removed. Or a belt, I suppose.

I happen to know that she bought this months ago at a craft show and has been waiting for my birthday ever since. One would think that her thoughts on seeing this would be something like, "Dichroic does beadwork, and this is just a straight string, so I bet she could make it herself in ten minutes, for cheaper. Also, light brown and dark gray?" At least, if one were me, that's what one would have thought.

Upon reflection, however, I realized that's probably not what my mother would have thought. (I believe I know her pretty well, better than she knows me, though it's possible we're both wrong.) I bet she saw the bead table and thought, "Beads! Dichroic makes beads! And so she went over to the table and then the seller probably showed her how this thing can be a bracelet, a necklace or whatever, and she probably thought, "That's cooler than shit! " (Well, the Mom equivalent of cooler than shit. Not a phrase she uses.) "That reminds me of Dichroic. I bet she'd love it."

And it took me a little while to think it through, but really, to have someone think of you when they're faced with the Coolest Thing Ever, that's a pretty good compliment, isn't it?

Even in brown and gray.

Actually, it's sort of growing on me - from a distance, the brown beads look not like tigereye but like wood, so it's got kind of an ethnic-funky thing going. I still may do a little surgery so I can wear it as a choker, though.

Posted by dichroic at 02:48 PM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2005

not quite 100

One of my discussion lists has a tradition that on your birthday, you post 100 things about yourself. As I did last year, I'll just use that list for today's entry. (I get lazier as I get older.)

(Almost) 100 things

1. I've completed "100 things" birthday lists a couple of times before so this is really hard!
2. I have a pilot's license that I got the year I turned 30.
3. I'm working on an Instrument Rating.
4. I fly a Cessna 172.
5. I row a Hudson racing single.
6. I learned to knit last summer, mostly from a book. (Stitch 'n' Bitch.)
7. Finished Objects include several scarves, one Clapotis (sort of a cross between a scarf and a shawl), two small stuffed bunnies, 1 pair of socks, and one poncho (in a lace pattern with lots and lots of mistakes.
8. Objects currently on the needles include one sock for me, one cabled scarf for a gift, one sleeveless sweater for me.
9. On Myers-Brigg tests, I consistently come out an ENTP.
10. Despite that E, I do need to spend some time alone now and then.
11. And if I don't get enough reading time I get a bit squirrelly.
12. I learned to knit specifically because it was something I could do while reading. (Unlike beadwork, or cross-stitch.)
13. I have learned that magazines are easiest to read while knitting, large hardbooks next, then smaller hardbooks, then paperbacks. Paperbacks just don't want to stay open on their own.
14. I've kept an online diary for 4 years now, since March of 2001.
15. I've written 1500 entries so far. (And you thought I talked a lot here!)
16. I began on Diaryland.
17. I now have my own site here.
18. The riseagain part is mostly from a Stan Rogers song.
19. The dichoic part was inspired by the earrings I was wearing when I first began my diary.
20. I think it's appropriate because dichroic glass reflects multiple colors and I have a lot of variant interests.
21. I also have a Livejournal. I don't post there much; it's mostly so I can have a friends list to read other Livejournals.
22. I've been online since the late 1980s.
23. I was on my first mailing lists in the early 1990s - Alan Rowoth's folk-music list is one I was on for years.
24. Currently on quite a few mailing lists, but most are set to nomail.
25. I drive the tiniest car you've ever seen, a Toyota Mr-2 Spyder.
26. My husband's truck is huge, a Hummer.
27. They look very funny in the garage together.
28. I have brown eyes and hair.
29. I've only got a few gray hairs, so far.
30. I've had highlights a couple of times, but right now my hair is entirely its natural color.
31. I don't blow-dry - I just towel-dry, comb it, put in some stuff so it won't frizz, and go, even when it's long.
32. If I'm putting it up I usually wait until I get to work so it's dry so there will be some curl.
33. I go to the Renaissance Faire every year.
34. I really like buying unique jewelry there and especially hair ornaments.
35. I've been thinking of joining the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms).
36. I really want to find more of a community - this isn't a very easy area to make friends in.
37. Also I want people to sing with who don't believe you can't sing unless you're of professional quality.
38. I'm not!
39. I think I have reasonably good voice control; I just don't have a great voice.
40. I took guitar lessons for a couple of years, but I'm not very good at it.
41. I haven't played much for years.
42. I own a mandolin but can't play it at all.
43. My brother gave it to me for my last birthday.
44. He thinks I'm more musically talented than I am.
45. Most workdays, I eat fruit (a Clementine in winter, graes in summer) and some cereal in a bggie for breakfast
46. Which I eat in the car on the way to work.
47. This is a holdover from when I either rowed or lifted weights, showered in a gym, and then went straight to work.
48. Now I have a shorter commute, I shower at home after the gym.
49. I'm semiretired from rowing
50. By which I mean I'm trying to stay in reasonable shape, but not training to compete.
51. I find it wonderfully freeing to be able to decide not to work out if I don't feel like it.
52. Right after Xmas and in the first half of January when I wasn't working out at all I lost a couple of pounds.
53. Now I'm being pretty good about working out around four times a week and my weight has ballooned. (Well, up 5 lbs.)
54. I have no idea how this all works.
55. I have never been on a diet in my life.
56. But it's pretty clear I do eat too many simple carbs.
57. This would be because I count pretzels as a food group.
58.Snyder's sourdough hard pretzels are my favorite.
59. And soft pretzels are one of the major things I miss from living in Philadelphia.
60. Folk music is another thing I miss.
61. So is being able to walk or take public transportation everywhere.
62. I didn't get a driver's license until I was 22, a week before...
63. I moved to Texas for my first job. (Hey, it's hard to get 100 things! I wasn't going to waste items by combining them!)
64. I spent 22 years in Philadelphia, 7 in Houston, and I've been here for 9 in Phoenix.
65. I use the word "in" loosely, meaning the greater city area including suburbs.
66. The main thing I miss from Houston is all the water (we lived in the SE end of town, by Clear Lake).
67. I escpecially miss retaurants and bars on the water.
68. I also miss being able to send out an emai on Friday afternoon and gather a posse of people to go out with that night.
69. That really stopped even before we moved away, as our friends got older and settled down.
70. Not that we're big partiers...
71. But Rudder and I have never understood why so many people stop doing anything when they get married, even when they don't (yet) have kids.
72. We believe being married gives you a partner in adventure, not a reason to stop having them.
73. In my opinion we've lived here far too long and it's well past time to move to someplace cooler.
74. I'd like to live in a variety of places, for say, 2-5 years each.
75. Then when we got tired of moving we'd know where we'd like to go back to, to settle down.
76. Unfortunately, Rudder likes it here more than I do - he isn't adamant against moving, but wants more of a directed goal, somepleace to move *to*.
77. My idea is to move away *from*, just to keep trying new places.
78. I've been working intermittently on cataloging our books and am still not done.
79. I'm up to 1100 books catalogued.
80. Some of my best friends are fictional. (If you read the note I wrote the other day on how children read, I think it explains 80. Some others of my best friends are online, I think for similar reasons. Sometimes blogs and email lists give you a better view into someone. Sometimes it's just a view of a different side.) (Later note: Note referenced above was in an email, not an entry here. Oops. See last entry on March 11 for what it said.)
81. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. My job is OK but I think ideally I'd like more freedom to work anywhere, anytime. (Without, of course, sacrificing pay or working more hours. I did say "ideally".)
82. In retrospect I wish I'd had more trust in my future in college, to major in anything I wanted and trust I'd be able to earn a living with it. (Though that hasn't worked out for all of the people I know who've done it, it has for some.)
83. I find it slightly embarassing I don't speak more than a smidgen of any language but English - I can order from a menu or ask for the simplest of directions in Spanish but that's about it.
84. This is despite a year of French (4th grade), one of Latin (5th grade), 6 or Spnish (5th - 10th grade) and 6 of Hebrew school (of course, not all of that was language training).
85. And yet I think I have some talent for languages - I have a good eye for cognates and a good ear for accents.
86. Unfortunately I didn't figure that out until well after all those years of language classes. (For anyone outside the US reading this, this is unfortunately not uncommon. My husband had German for a few years in high school and knows considerably less of it than I do of Spanish.)
87. I am good at and comfortable with talking to strangers but not great at making friends.
88. This may be due to high expectations - read too many books in my youth about people who had bosom friends with whom they could share all their interests. This doesn't work well for me because there aren't too many people with such an oddly assorted set of interests.
89. Right now my biggest ones include rowing, knitting, flying, and as always, reading. I can't think of anyone interested in more than two of those - or at least, not in the same parts I am.
90. But I also think it doesn't necessarily matter that friends have the same interests, as long as they're interested in hearing about each other's interests.
91. Anyway, this is one reason I place a high value on the friends I do have, even those I don't see or hear from often.
92. I was born March 10, 1967, at 11:30 in the morning. It was snowing when they brought me home from the hospital.
93. And I've decided I am now officially too old to be bound by silly and arbitrary rules, so since I do want to post this today, I will end here!

Posted by dichroic at 02:19 PM | Comments (11)

March 09, 2005


This is scary: I noticed, after posting it, that this is entry #1500. It's completely unorganized - 1500 entries in and I still haven't gotten my thoughts together. Or maybe there is an organization, and it's a common one for me: in order, I've written about the Good, the Bad, and the thing I need to do better. I'm not sure what that means, except that though I'm not entirely an optimist or a pessimist, I'm closer to optimism (because of the eternal hope to do things better).

So far the thing I like most about the iPod is the shuffle feature. My biggest complaint about local radio has always been that they pick a set of 10 songs and play them until you want to hold the lead singer by the ears and yell at him to SING SOMETHING DIFFERENT THIS TIME, I'M TIRED OF THAT SONG! even though you know that not only would that be unproductive, but even the DJ really has little choice in the matter.

One recent local exception, now coming to a station near you: Alice Cooper's radio show. Alice (yes, the guy who used to wear all the face paint) is a local resident; he owns a restaurant and sponsors golf tournaments and stuff. He's been doing a stint on the local radio station and I think it's now syndicated. He plays everything from old Yardbirds to obscure songs of his own to new stuff. Dee Snyder (of Twisted Sister) has a similar show that gets played here on weekends. I'm beginning to like this faded-celebrity-DJ trend, because these guys do know music and seem to have enough clout to pick their own music.

Back to the iPod shuffle, it's like having a station that not only plays variety, but plays a variety of stuff I like, with no commericials. I really don't listen to my CDs all that often, except while driving, and I'm beginning to think it's just a dislike of listening to 13 of the same sort of songs in a row. (This would explain why I have so many tribute CDs, where a variety of bands sing songs by Bob Dylan or Richard Thompson or whoever, and also a lot of compilations, like Live at the Wherever.) So now the music flips from Garnet Rogers to Cosy Sheridan to Neil Young to Boiled in Lead to the Grateful Dead to Greg Brown and it's a Good Thing.

The Bad Thing, on the other hand, would be that I just remembered I don't have a birthday card for Yogi, my former coworker born the same day I was. I don't want to send an e-card because she usually sends me paper ones, but I might have to. I have a flying lesson tonight so won't have much time to shop for one. At least if I send it tomorrow it should get there the next day, via interoffice mail (same company, different site). Damn. There went that resolution, in near-record time. Does it count if I send an electronic one but I send it the day before so it's obvious I didn't just forget?

Also, note to self: I *will* get up and row on Friday! I took today off exercising because yesterday my body so clearly wanted the day off. I'm taking tomorrow off because I'm self-indulgent. Friday I will row. What I will not do is allow myself to need bigger clothes, and I won't diet, so there's not much choice left. I'm actually up 4-5 lbs, but so far the clothes all fit. My tight jeans were tighter than I'd like but they were also just out of the dryer. Still, I noticed my cheekbones in the mirror yesterday while erging. In other words, once again, I have no idea what my body's doing. I wish I came with an Owner's Manual.

Posted by dichroic at 11:52 AM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2005


Note to self: it is not really possible to reach under your desk while still sitting on your ball. Ouch.

Today's erg piece was fairy torturous, which is why I only did 5K. It's not that I was rowing hard at all, just that my body was putting in a strong vote for going back to bed. That was followed by a visit to the dentist. Week before last I had a dentist appointment at 7AM, got my teeth cleaned and went to work (actually, went home and telecommuted) and it all worked out well, so I figured a similar schedule would work well today. Unfortunately I forgot about one minor difference between getting teeth cleaned and getting a filling that makes before-work appointments not such a great idea. That was why I got to come in to work this morning with rubber tongue, numb lip, and teeth that didn't quite feel as if they fit together.

Just to make matters worse, I was scheduled to do a walk-through of one of the buildings on site with my boss all morning, which meant I got to try to talk to him and a bunch of people I don't know with a mouth that wasn't quite working right. "Hewwo, myf nam iv Paula, sorry I dust goh a fiwwing dis moring...."

At least the day has been uphill from there. My jaw still aches a little and my legs are tired, but I got the iPod reconfigured and reloaded last night, and I've got the Chieftains with Diana Krall trying to distract me from any minor physical issues.

Posted by dichroic at 02:17 PM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2005

product report: iPod

I was having a a most excellent day, but now my bubble is slightly busted. (I'm not sure that's possible, any more than being slightly pregnant.) With clear and sure decision, Rudder bought a new digital camera Saturday. We have a small digicam, but this one is on a par with our film camera. This will be nice, because we'll no longer have to tradeoff for who gets the good camera. (One afternoon in Antarctica, we got some spectacular penguin photos; unfortnuiately, he had the small digicam that day so they aren't quite as spectacular as they could have been.) After much vacillation, I ended up buying an iPod photo, which (with an accessory, due out later this month) can store photos to get them off the flash cards; can be taken to work to show digital photos around, and of course can play music and audiobooks.

In an attempt to justify blowing the money on it, I took it to the gym this morning. I don't normally listen to music in the gym (except what's played over the loudspeakers) but this turned out to be wonderful. Who knew? (Aside from everyone else in the world, I mean.) Moreover, I'd only loaded on a few CDs and a couple of bought songs: a tribute to Townes van Zandt and one to Bob Dylan, a Steeleye Span CD and one each by Stan and Garnet Rogers. Not, in other words, a likely pick for workout music. As it turned out, it worked perfectly, especially when a whaling chanty came on as I was doing lat pulldowns. The armband I had bought to holster it worked well enough, except that it was a little uncomfortable erging. However, the shirt I was wearing was actually designed for cycling, and so had water bottle pockets on the back. I popped the iPod in one of those and i worked perfectly - cords were kept out of my way and I was able to shift it enough to the side to be comfortable even during exercises involving a backrest. Also, the sound quality was fantastic and even without being loud thoroughly drowned out the gym music.

If I were doing a lot of this, didn't need the photo capability, and had the discipline to keep downloading different playlists, one of the miniscule iPod Shuffles might have been even better, but even though the iPod photo is the largest of the current flock of iPods, it's nowhere near big enough to be annoying.

However, there is one downside, which is what burst my bubble after I got to work. It turns out the iPod can sync to a Mac or a PC, but not both. I tried to upload iTUnes on my work PC, figuring I'd be able to listen to a couple of CDs I'd uploaded here (no dice; they're in RealAudio .rmj format) and in the process of loading software it reformatted the iPod and wiped off all the songs and photos I'd loaded last night. Grr. The manual warned of this, but of course I didn't read it until afterwards when it was too late.

Also, the controls take some getting used to. Still, I'm pretty impressed with the product - of course, being from Apple, it worked right out of the box. (Well, after charging.) Long may they run.

Posted by dichroic at 11:11 AM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2005

chiro ok, brain not too good.

The chiropractor visit was all right; I can't say I feel better but I don't feel worse either, and I do seem to have more flexibility in the hip joint that's been bothering me.

I'm feeling a little stupid just at the moment for not having figured out the second entry in Theresa Nielsen Hayden's Old English entry. I got the other two on my own at least (more or less; my New Testamant knowledge isn't quite good enough to identify the exact location of the first one).

Not much else to say. Rudder gets home today - yay! I found out one of my favorite people ever to share a mailing list with, who posted today after lurking for a very long time, was in my area last week. Boo. (I only recently rejoined that list after a few years away, and haven't posted much this time, so far. She wouldn't have known I'm here, if she even remembers me at all.)

Off to meetings.

Posted by dichroic at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2005

Old Home Night

It's practically Old Home Night around here. First I caught the end of Rocky III (Hell, I don't know, maybe it was Rocky Iv. Or V or XII. I don't keep up.) which left me with pretty much the same impression as all the other Rocky movies I've seen: boxing just looks like a really, really bad idea. At least with all the sports I've done, getting hurt is just a side effct, not the main idea.

I've also been reading the latest of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mysteries. Trenton's right over the bridge from Philly, so despite the lack of bounty hunters, low-level Mafia, really hot cops and even hotter mercenaries in my early youth it somehow reminds me of home. Must be all the rowhouses. Then I read Sixweasel's latest update and it was like a continuation, only with a slightly less obnoxious family, without the hot cops and mercs but with all the assholes. Or maybe she's got the hot cops, I don't know.

I need to go to bed. Going to bed not alone would be even better but Rudder doesn't get home until tomorrow morning. And I'm postponing going to sleep because I'm hoping he'll call home, if the vendors clamoring for his attention release him at a reasonable hour.

Posted by dichroic at 08:48 PM | Comments (1)

do what?

My brain is sort of in the mode of, "Whadda you wanna do?" "I dunno, whadda YOU wanna do?"

Unfortunately, there's only one of me here.

Posted by dichroic at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

innate abilities

I did go to the Stitch'n'Bitch last night; first I got to have dinner at Wildflower with Kim, Jen, Brooke (and Jack) and Pam, then I stashed my stuff on a chair and did something more crucial than a stitch'n'bitch, the obligatory Changing Hands book browse'n'buy, then I knitted several inches more on my current sock and hung out with Becky and Alison.

Oddly enough I spent some time teaching a woman on my other side who has been knitting for years, but who may be one of the least adventurous knitters I've met. She learned from her mother in Continental style, and has made mittens and sweaters for her kids and grandkids.... but only things involving knit and purl stitches. She wanted to learn lace, so I showed her a simple YO k2tog pattern. Apparently she learns best by having someone demonstrate what to do, and the only other knitters she'd known used the English style and couldn't teach her. It must just be a (lack of) spatial sense thing; since the major difference is just which hand you hold the working yarn in, it just doesn't seem like a big deal to me to learn it one way and then convert to a method I found more comfortable. It's becaue I can do that, I suppose; whenever something comes naturally or has been learned well enough to be internalized, it's always hard to understand why other people can't figure it out. Still, it seemed funny to be teaching someone who has knitted sweaters, while I'm only 4" into my first one, and who has knitted for several more decades than I have years.

Tonight's adventure is the visit to the chiropractor. I wasn't sure whether thye can work with me in office clothes, so I brought shorts just in case.

Apropros of nothing, there are a lot of phrases I do not like, that I hear a lot. What they have in common is that they're generally euphemisms and usually either coy, or sexist. A sampling: "passed away", or worse "passed"; "loved ones", "little ones" (oddly, I don't mind a singular "little one" so much , as in Malvina Reynolds "Turn Around"), or "little man", especially when used to imply that that tiny bit of extra flesh makes him somehow more important. I don't know why I dislike them (except in that last case, where I know exactly why) but I wish people would just say "died", "family" or "people you love", and "children". I could also do without "hubby", though for some reason, possibly the Trumpkin factor, I don't mind "DH". I'm trying to think of other ones, but all the phrases I'm coming up with now are political, which is not at all the same thing.

Posted by dichroic at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)

March 02, 2005

rowing report

I did end up rowing this morning - still sore but less so than when I started. Rudder's still away so She-Hulk and I did a couple of laps (well, a lap and a half) together. The water was perfect and flat (until Yosemite Sam stirred it up with his launch) and it wasn't too cold out at all. I ended up wishing I'd left my overjacket up at my car because it's so hard to cram into the little bit of space in my boat.

However, it was an extremely frustrating row, esepcially in the first lap when we were working on technique. It's really not a great idea to go to rowing camp, have the coach change your stoke considerably (more vertical body, hands come in higher, elbows in to body, different hand position, getting weight forward before moving uop the slide, slowing down at the end of the recovery, greater compression - LOTS of changes) and then perforce take a month off the water. Lots of work ahead for us.

The second lap, where we were working on racing starts, was a little better but with all these changes my catches and finished are sloppy and not what they should be.

I have been good this week; Monday in the gym, yesterday on the erg, today on the water. Tomorrow I plan to take off and Friday I'll go to the gym again. I may row Saturday with Rudder if the weather is nice.

Posted by dichroic at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

it's not a crime to be from elsewhere. not yet.

I heard about this storythis morning on NPR, and was reminded of it by Sosotris2012 and educated further by Matociquala and her commenters. As I commented there, I'm not sure whether I'm more appalled by the idea of ankle-braceleting law-abiding immigrants or by the fact that I've only heard it on NPR (and now in blogs). Where are the outrage and the protests?

In fourth grade they brainwashed me. It took, and I've been this way ever since, and glad of it. They made me learn the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty. I'm expecting to hear any day now that they've been chiseled off and replaced with the words, "Keep your own stinkin' masses. We don't want 'em."

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

remember the ladies

The person who responded to a comment on mine on LJ with " What is "feminist Jewish scholarship"? Or more pointedly, what's the point?" must clearly not hang out at the same (online) places I do. Otherwise, what does he think all those people telling stories of Miriam, or Esther, or Judith, or looking out the Biblical indications that God has traditionally feminine as well as traditionally masculine attributes*, or studying the writings of lesser-known female Talmudic scholars, are doing?

Maybe it was my terminology; "feminist Jewish scholarship" is just what I call it for lack of a better term; it may not be the term all scholars of the female in Judaism use, but it's there and it's burgeoning. I come across examples in fiction, in blogs, and in more serious writing all the time. (It was a quote from the Mary Russell mysteries that let me to write the post the comment quoted above was responding to.)

A few people also objected to the idea that God has feminine or masculine attributes, saying that God transcends all things and has no gender, that we use those words because as puny humans, we have no better ones. I don't see the conflict here. If the Bible can state that humans were created in God's image (from Genesis: God [thus] created man with His image. In the image of God, He created him, male and female He created them / Vayivra Elohim et-ha'adam betsalmo betselem Elohim bara oto zachar unekevah bara otam.) then why would S/He not have the same attributes? It seems more reasonable to think that we are pallid copies of God, Who bears the numinous attributes (including, for example, the ability to give birth, as stated in Deuteronomy 32:18) of which ours are but pale shadows.

I like the idea of a God who combines and perfects male and female in one; much as the idea of a Goddess appeals to my pagan side, she's not enough, especially if Her Consort is somehow lesser. I'm really not sure what I believe about God entirely; I do wish the people who were sure would argue a little more logically and consistently, and would actually pay attention their source materials. (At least Jewish arguers are likely to have some acquaintance with the words of the Torah. Especially when I lived in Texas, I used to encounter believers in the literal word of the Bible who had apparently not read (or not remembered) the thing. Seems to me if I were to let the words of a single book define my life I'd make damn sure I knew those words thoroughly. I was embarassed for them whenever it would turn out that they knew the New Testament less well than I do - and I've never actually read through it, just picked up bits and pieces here and there.)

I am sure I believe that it is wrong to bar women from full participation in religion or anywhere else. If I were more observant I would want to read Torah and learn trupp and wind tefillin. As it is I take delight whenever I learn more of the female sages, heroes and scholars who were too often overlooked and forgotten in the more male-dominated parts of history.

Posted by dichroic at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2005

early morning ambivalence

The massage last night did help with that problem in my hip joint - I had way more extension when I stretched this morning. Of course, that means I stretched it wa-a-yyy out, which I'll be regretting tomorrow morning, likely right around when I meet She-Hulk to go row. Oops.

I'm ambivalent on the 'go row' thing, anyway. Time on the water - yay! Waking up at 4AM and going out in the dark and cold, not so yay. I think going there will suck, being there will be good, having been there will be very good. (At least until tomorrow night when I go to the local Stitch'n'Bitch gathering and try to stay awake past 8.)

Oddly, that seems to be about all I have to say today. Off to go look up chiropractors and get this hip joint fixed.

Posted by dichroic at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)