July 22, 2004

my rules

Whew! It looks like we finally have everything figured out for the Masters Nationals regatta. We have someone to take our boats, airfare, hotel and rental car reservations, and plans to see both Mechaieh and my uncle. Now all I have to do is decide for certain which races to get my butt kicked in.

Which reminds me of an entry I've been wanting to write for a while, so here goes. As you will notice, I am not sticking only to important things. I don't expect all of these will work for everyone, but they do for me.

Dichroic's Rules for Living


  • It's fine to be scared of something. But that's no reason not to do it.

  • There are many reasons to do things: because it would be fun, because you want to see if you can, because you'd learn something you want to know, because it would help someone else, because it's the moral thing to do. But if you can't think of a good reason to do it, then don't waste your time.

  • Always tell the truth. But you don't always have to tell all of it.

  • People are more important than things, always, and the people who matter to you are more important than places. Pat of Silver Bush was a bit of a sociopath.
  • Looks:

  • Life is also way too short to spend hours getting ready every morning. It's much easier to just come to peace with the way you look and to get a haircut that doesn't require much fussing. This doesn't mean no makeup if you like wearing it - see reason 2 above. And you should be wearing sunscreen. It also doesn't preclude primping for fun or dressing up for a special event. But one of the frightening things in a locker room is to see how many women spend an hour on face and makeup every single day. Who's got that much spare time? And why?

  • Similarly, clothing should be comfortable and functional. If not, it had better make you look good to justify itself. It is possibly to be both comfortable and good-looking, but probably not always.

  • Dietary:

  • Don't diet.

  • Do try to eat a wide variety, so Something in there will give you whatever vitamins or trace elements you need. Try to include plenty of fruits and veggies.

  • Prohibited: Anything you hate so much you can't eat it without gagging. Nothing else.

  • Minimize: Anything you think is bad for you and anything that makes you feel sick afterward. For me that means large breakfasts, too much of anything at one sitting, anything too greasy (though cooked in olive oil is OK), large hunks of red meat, more than a tiny bit of dairy. Once in a while I do eat steaks or fast food or ice cream because I like them, but only if I'm not going anywhere afterward.
  • Work:

  • Don't let work take over your life unless you're one of those lucky people who's found your Proper Job, whose life really is your work, like Aung San Suu Kyi or Burt Rutan or Isaac Asimov. Or Marissa. If you Work to Live, as opposed to Living to Work, act like it. And even if you live to work, if your job really is who you are, you should still take breaks to attend to the other parts of your life.

  • However, even if you're not in the Porper Job, there should be at least parts of it you enjoy. If not, find something else. You don't have to be miserable eight or ten hours a day.

  • Engineers think a bit differently than other people. But not as much so as many others seem to think.

  • Just because it's always been done a certain way, doesn't mean it can't be done better.

  • You don't have to like your coworkers, though it's more pleasant if you do (and I do). And it doesn't even matter if they don't like you much -- this is where the office has a huge advantage over the schoolyard. You just need to be able to work together.

  • Sometimes big changes need to come in small steps.

  • It's more important to be nice to people below you than to people above you. People aove you can generally defend themselves.
  • Men:

  • They are not, after all, a different species. And the ones most worth your while don't think women are, either.

  • Just because you might sleep with one of them, is no reason not to be friends with another one of them. Or two, or three or five. It's also no reason to desert female friends. It's unreasonable and unfair to expect one person to fill all your companionship needs.

  • The most important attribute of a lover is the desire to make his partner feel good - much more important than any particular skill or physical characteristic.

  • It's a good sign if, after you've been with someone for six months or so, if you simultaneously feel life you've been together forever and like you just started.

  • Even the best relationship is a sine wave (jobs, too) and sometimes all you can do with the low part of the curse is recognize it and ride it out. What you need in the sine curve is a high everage value and not too great an amplitude (otherwise it's one of those abusive relationships that's either ecstatic or horrid). But if those two factors both apply, then sometimes you just have to trust and wait.
  • Sports:

  • Women look good with muscles, even if many clothing designers apparently don't think so.

  • In both sports and singing it's more important to be doing it than to be good at doing it. It's silly you think you can't do either unless you're of professional caliber.

  • Don't wait until you get in shape to start doing what you want. Start now and do it at whatever level you can manage without hurting yourself. That will get you in shape much faster than doing something you hate and won't stick with in service of soem far-off future goal.

  • Celebrate even small successes. Also other people's successes, even if they're competing against you. It's not as much fun to be cut-throat or to only care about big wins.
  • More generalities:

  • Clean up after yourself in public bathrooms.

  • Admit it when you're wrong.

  • Keep learning.

  • Feel free to experiment with recipes (though if you're baking, not with things like the amount of flour and baking powder). Substituting one vegetable for another or one herb for another usually works fairly well.

  • Keep your promises. The more powerless the person you make the promise to, the more important it is to keep it.

  • When you're offered an exciting opportunity, take it. When you're not, make your own opportunities.
  • Posted by dichroic at 01:57 PM | Comments (5)

April 29, 2004


Snagged from Batten:

Extroverted (E) 65.52% Introverted (I) 34.48%
Imaginative (N) 52.78% Realistic (S) 47.22%
Intellectual (T) 57.58% Emotional (F) 42.42%
Easygoing (P) 63.33% Organized (J) 36.67%
Your type is: ENTP
You are an Inventor, possible professions include - systems designer, venture capitalist, actor, journalist, investment broker, real estate agent, real estate developer, strategic planner, political manager, politician, special projects developer, literary agent, restaurant/bar owner, technical trainer, diversity manager, art director, personnel systems developer, computer analyst, logistics consultant, outplacement consultant, advertising creative director, radio/TV talk show host.
Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

I always seem to come out as ENTP, no matter what variety f the test I take, so I guess I'm a clear type.

Posted by dichroic at 07:59 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2004

Texas Songs

Last night I was reminiscing with someone who used to live in the same area of Houston we lived in, in the southeast part of town near the Space Center. As much as I didn't like living there, I'd have to say that there are things about it I miss greatly, three of which are water, bars, and bars on the water. Also a social life; Phoenix is widely agreed to be a hard place to make friends, and the fact that we're getting older and meeting older people who go out less doesn't help. In Texas, there was an outing sponsored by work once a month at some local bar or other, plus volleyball leagues and famly picnics and whatnot. Here I go out to a work dinner maybe once or twice a year, which would be fine -- in fact preferable -- if I have lots of people to socialize with outside work, but I don't.

Texas Monthly has just listed their pick for the Top 100 Texas Songs of all time. (You can see the list there if you subscribe, or read about the top ten for free at NPR. I haven't seen their list yet, but I figure seven years in the state qualifies me to discern a true Texas song when I hear one. My criteria are a bit tighter than the Texas Monthly writers''; I don't care where a songwriter comes from, only whether their song feels like Texas to me.

I was going to put in links, but this entry starting getting really unwieldy. You can find most of them at Amazon. I won't pick 100 songs; for one thing I don't know enough about Bob Wills or Lefty Frizell or even Steve Earle to create a truly definitive list.

I don't think I could have compiled this list at all while I lived in Texas; sometimes you need to leave a place before you can recognize its essence. Herewith, the Dichroic list of however many quintessential Texas Songs I come up with, in no particular order:

Townes Van Zandt: If I Needed You and Pancho and Lefty
Nancy Griffith: Lone Star State of Mind
Mary Chapin Carpenter: Shut Up and Kiss Me, and also Family Hands (Yeah, I know it's set in Virginia, but it sure sounds a lot like Texas to me.)
Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett: This Old Porch (Pick the version you prefer; it's about the house where they roomed together as Aggies and they've both recorded it.)
Robert Earl Keen: Feelin' Good Again
Kimberly M'Carver: Texas Home, and also Jose's Lullabye
Jimmy Buffett: Somehow I've always pictured Margaritaville in Texas, except for the bit about tourists. Also, his cover of Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl.
Bonnie Raitt: Pretty much everything. If I have to pick, maybe Love Me Like a Man
Lucinda Williams: Passionate Kisses
Bill Staines: Down by Mexico Way and Rivers of Texas (I think the latter is traditional.)
George Strait: I Got Friends in Low Places
Hank Williams: Honky Tonkin'
Hank Williams Jr: Mind Your Own Business
Trad: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Leadbelly: Goodnight Irene
Marcia Ball: Her cover of Never Like This Before
Ray Wylie Hubbard: Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mothers
Gary P. Nunn: London Homesick Blues
Grateful Dead's version of Mama Tried
And just for balance, Dwight Yoakum's cover of Truckin'
Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Released
Janis Joplin: Piece of my Heart
The Band: The Weight
George Thorogood: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
Patsy Cline: Crazy
Ronnie Hawkins: Who Do You Love
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Pride and Joy
Fred Eaglesmith: Lucille and Mighty Big Car (despite his decided non-Texan accent!)
Rolling Stones: Wild Horses

Posted by dichroic at 08:10 PM | Comments (1)

April 21, 2004

About me, and about this site

This is as good a time as any to explain the names of this site.

Riseagain has nothing to do with either religious figures or the Confederacy. Its significance is threefold:

  • I live in Phoenix
  • I love Stan Roger's music. One of his best-known songs is Mary Ellen Carter, about a sunken ship and the men who are reclaiming her, whose chorus is:
    Rise again, rise again
    That her name not be lost to the knowledge of men.
    Those who loved her best and who were with her to the end
    Will make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.
    The final chorus is:
    Rise again, rise again
    Though your heart it be broken and life about to end,
    No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
    Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.
    I can think of a few people I'd've liked to sing that to over the past year.

  • That's what I do just about every damned day, at some ungodly hour of the morning. Rise again and off to rowing. Rise again and off to the gym. Rise again and off to work.
Dichroic Reflections was actually inspired by the earrings I was wearing when I created my first online journal, and I still like it enough to keep the name when I moved here. Dichroic glass was originally developed for NASA. Microscopic layers of metallic oxides deposited on the glass reflect different colors of light at different angles.

A lot of people seem to either stay home and not do much or to do one thing seriously and well. That is emphatically not me. I don't do anything particularly well, but I do do a lot of things; though I've been a bit of a two-note song in the last few years since we began rowing more seriously (reading is a constant note in my life) we still occasionally fly, or climb, or hike. We travel when we can save the time and money to do it and we do whatever activities are fun to do where we go; on various trips, we've kayaked, rafted, mountain bikes, hang-glided. We've toured libraries, all kinds of museums, cathedrals, houses.

I read science fiction, fantasy, mystery, juvenile lit, YA, general fiction, history, sociology, linguistics, poetry, books about traveling, aviation, books about space and space travel, books about books, photography, comics. I know quite a lot of useless tidbits on a wide variety of subject, but not much in depth on any one subject. Hence, dichroic glass, reflecting different colors depending on what light you see me reflected in.

You can see earrings similar to the ones which inspired the name, third ones down on this page.

Technical Site Info
This site is hosted by DreamHost and is powered by MovableType. The list of other journals is a Blogroll. The graphics on the front page were created with Adobe Photoshop from photographs taken with a Canon EOS Elan and a Canon Digital Elph.

Posted by dichroic at 02:43 PM | Comments (4)