Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ridiculous weather advisory

Ok, so my town flooded last night. I'm on a 2nd floor apartment, so no worries for me. But the little creek that runs through San Anselmo exceeded its banks and downtown streets were coated in a fine layer of mud.

Now I understand why the Katrina stuff was so terrible. One little creek and one night can make a big mess. A hurricane, the Mississippi...

Traffic through downtown has been re-routed. Those of us who live there had a hard time figuring out how to get to and from our homes.

At the boat house this morning, no one was going out. Conditions were ridiculous. So I did 3 x 20' at 1:54.0 splits, and it went very well. Good sign. Teammate asked me to crack a window for him as I left. So I did. The windows are the kind you crank open and they open like a greeting card away from the building. I cracked it open about 5". 20 degree angle maybe.

Downstairs on my way out, I hear a terrible wrenching noise, a crash, the sound of shattered glass. Dash upstairs. A gust of wind pried the window beyond open, warped the pane and shattered the glass. Yikes.

I hope there's minimal flooding on the way up to Napa today.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Yosemite valley, Christmas day
Posted by Ken

Don't ever let me forget

that I'm addicted to my own brain chemicals.

If I ever get mopey, despondent, or quiet, the best thing anyone can do for me is ask "When was the last time you got it a good workout?" If the answer is more than 24 hours ago, I should be forcibly strapped to the nearest exercise apparatus. If we're in a car, just kick me out and make me run the next 5 miles. Something. Anything.

I thought I was doing myself a favor keeping the exercise down while I had the cold. But it just threw me off. My sleep schedule, my mood, everything. Better to have a miserable workout with a cold and keep my sanity that be energetic yet melancholy.

I did sprint pieces on the erg last night (9 x (500m @ 1:42, 2' off)), and did 2 x 20' this afternoon. Ah. When I'm dancing in the bathroom as I head for the shower, we know my mood has been restored.

Tomorrow morning I'll row on the water.

This shouldn't be nearly as funny as it is

But I think it's in the delivery. Good times.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

This makes me happy

I think I promised this link to a friend

I'm evil?

Maybe it was the part where I clicked Michael Palin?

Ah well

So I think the primary culprit for my funk of late is the lack of exercise. I need to get back on the rowing machine.

The good news is that I've cleaned up my apartment, and I'm pleased with it.

The bad news is that the lack of structure in my life is messing up my brain. My sleeping schedule's not on track, nor is my exercise routine, and it's leaving me feeling crappy.

The two year old who lives downstairs from me has been on non-stop tantrum since about 6 am. I believe the correct parental response would be to suspend the child by one leg upside down in a closet. At least, that's what I'd suggest. Ah, the dulcet tones of a shrieking two year old.

I'm currently struggling to deal with my wife who is clamoring for financial support. She got her MBA a full year before I got mine. We've made about the same money over the years of our marriage. I don't want her to get screwed, but she's asking for me to give her more per month than I live on, myself. It's hard. I don't think she understands my point of view. I think I understand hers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Saw it last night with a friend.

I had read the Chronicles as a kid many times over. They had a strong impact on my development.

The movie was masterfully done. The little girl who plays Lucy is astounding. Amazing acting from one so young. All of the kids do a great job, really.

It does bring me back, and makes me ask questions. The path to evil is, in this story as with many others influenced by the Western Christian tradition, paved with pleasure. Turkish delight. A hot drink. And the White Witch's coaxing advances towards Edmund are a bit... improper.

So I wonder: Is pleasure inherently bad? Clearly things that give us pleasure out of proportion to their cost to attain can be dangerous. Here I think of chemical joy that can become addictive. And I'd add to the list, perhaps, crappy synthetic foods that taste great and are just terrible for our bodies. But there are other pleasures which we, as a culture, seem concerned to keep tightly controlled, and here I'm thinking of sex, which I'm not sure are intrinsically bad.

Yeah, it's nothing to be trifled with. Sex can lead to pregnancy, disease, death. It's a powerful impulse. It can confuse relationships just as easily as it can build and enhance them. But it feels great and can be a beautiful way of connecting, sharing and knowing. Yet as a culture we really try to pretend it doesn't happen. It's a secret, taboo thing.

So as I try to lighten up and cast off the repression I learned growing up, I do pause for a moment when I come face to face with a childhood myth that I embraced which is unabashedly Christian. I reject conservative Christian sexual ethics. I still like Aslan. Can I still fight along side the good guys?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back from Christmas

The Yosemite trip went well. The drive out was uneventful, the accomodations were adequate. I got a somewhat later than intended jump on the trail on Christmas day for the skiing, but this was providential.

The challenge of switching form one sport to another is that the cardio fitness translates, but there are always little muscles one uses in the new sport that one doesn't use in the core sport.

In the case of cross country skiing, that muscle would be the hip flexors that allow you to raise your thigh and stride forwards. We use them a little in rowing, but not to the extent they are used in cross country to kick the gliding leg forwards.

By the end of my trek, I was feeling the hip flexors burn, and while I think I could have covered even more distance than I did, it was probably good that I didn't over do it. I wore the heart rate monitor, and over ~3.5 hours and (I'm estimating) 15 miles I burned 2900 Calories. So it was some good work.

My camera crapped out on me, so I only got one really good photo. I had the trail largely to myself. Most of the time I didn't see anyone else. The snow was thin and kind of crappy. It was old snow and roughed up a bit. Early on in the trek there were many footprints of hikers and snowshoers.

On my return trek, it may have been that the temperature dropped and the snow got better, or it may have been that I finally got the mechanics right, but I was moving very well. Heading in, I noticed other skiers ahead of me, and the racer in me took over. I cruised up to them, caught them, and passed them. I did this successively and had a string of "targets" all the way in.

I'd like to try "skate" skiing next time. It's harder work, but it's very fast. I think I can handle it.

I need to get back on the rowing training this week. It's hard to motivate, but I need to get back on it. The cold is gone now, so there's no reason not to.

It's a bit lonely here. Many of my friends are away for the holidays.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Challenging times

Yeah. Holidays.

The caveat to all of this is that I haven't worked out all week because of my cold. So I could be a bit blue because of that.

Last night was rough. I was lonely. And I think upset by many things. And the start of vacation awakens my need to cut loose. So my compulsive issues came up in a big way and I almost drove 2 hours to Sacramento to satisfy them. I would have been up all night, screwed up my sleeping pattern, and probably destroyed my weekend. It would have been insane. But I just watched myself get ready to do it. I was saved by a call from a friend as I was gassing up the car. It kind of half snapped me out of it. I got myself home, managed to do some things to sabotage myself from going to Sacramento at 9:30 at night, and eventually got myself tucked into bed to read Harry Potter.

I've been questioning whether I have issues. Most days I'm fine. But after last night, clearly I do. I guess I have to sort this out. I just don't see any clear lines between what's ok for me and what leads to doing crazy shit.

I'll be going to Yosemite to ski for a few days, and I will have some company. I had planned on going alone, but my friend Meg is coming with me. She's not going to try to keep up with me on skis, but is looking forward to away time. I like her, and she's cute, but acting on our mutual interest has always felt really weird and taboo to me. Haven't even kissed the girl because this big knot of "no no no no no" comes up inside me.

By the end of the weekend, I'm sure this will all be figured out one way or the other. That ball of "no" is the same feeling I had when I took steps in my relationship with my wife that were emotionally inappropriate. So I listen to that feeling. I don't have to understand where it comes from, just that it's to be trusted. It'll keep me form doing anything bad.

I'm bringing books and DVD's and the laptop.

I'm packed, and just need to do a few errands before I go.

Had to write my wife a note today. She and my father in law dropped a bunch of stuff of mine that had been at her parents' house back at my mom's place in MA. What a terrible task for them. I feel bad. She wants to try to talk out some of our settlement issues. I'd be open to it, but every time I do/ say something she doesn't like, I get massive amounts of hostility from her, such as the threat to divulge embarrassing details about me to my family. Doesn't exactly foster an atmosphere of open and honest communication.

I feel bad for her this Christmas. It should have been wonderful. My brother in law is probably a father now. My in laws are grandparents. We'd all have been together on the cape. I'd have finished school. Hell, my wife might have been expecting. But now my life is on another path. As is hers.

It's really hard to let go of those happy dreams of that fairy tale life. Right now I question my own sanity such that I can't tell whether any of it was ever real. Maybe it was there, and my distorted mind wouldn't let me see it. Or maybe it wasn't there, and the disappointment fueled my desperate need to make myself feel better any way I could.

Thanks to all of you who read and care: My silent lurkers and my regular commenters and my random strangers. It's helped me to see that other humans find me worthwhile, warts and all, and that's been a great thing for me this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Um, Thanks?

I opened my front door (which I never use) last night to go get my mail, and discovered a tall box at my door. Maybe 1' x 1' x 3'.

Someone sent me something? Side of the box references "balsam pine" and "Maine".

I open it. It's a tiny, pre-decorated Christmas tree. From my mom.

It took me a little while to sort out my feelings.

I felt guilty about the wasted resources. Tree killed.

Mom often sends useless tacky crap. She'll see little teddy bears dressed as pilgrims and send them for Thanksgiving. I have tiny ceramic snow men, chirping fuzzy pastel electronic Easter chicks. Holiday kitsch made in China. That I should unceremoniously throw out. But I don't because I feel terrible depositing a gift from my mother directly into the trash can. So I accumulate clutter, which depresses me to keep and depresses me to part with.

I felt angry, too. This wasn't a gift for me. This was a gift for her. Yeah, I'm basically not doing Christmas this year. That's my choice. So sending me something that is the most Christmasy thing possible, something that, worst of all, smells like Christmas, is really underhanded. Maybe I'm avoiding Christmas because I just can't deal with the highest "hearth, home, love & family" of holidays in a year in which my hearth, home, love, and family have all run aground on the iceburg of divorce? Maybe rubbing my nose in Christmas is going to be upsetting for me? But she doesn't see that. She just sees me not doing what she wants. I'm running away from Christmas when she thinks I should run towards it. So she puts Christmas, literally, right in front of me.

And I felt sad. Sad that my mom really doesn't know me well enough to have a clue what I might like. Sad that she hasn't enough of a clue to know what I wouldn't appreciate.

I'm sure she meant well.

Do I wait to toss it until it dries into a pile of pine needles, or do I preemptively ditch it, save myself the mess and suffer the shame of wasting my mother's hard-earned money?

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

What I Did at Hippie Camp

So, I finally get some time to tell the tale.

Checking in, I looked over the books for sale:Buddhism, veganism, astrology. A book of Zen Koans.

Stayed in a room that was simple and tasteful. It's a place to sleep, not really optimized for hanging out.

Arrived about 6:30 PM, dinner ran till 8, so K suggested we take a dip/ soak before dinner.

I'm game.

I don't know how this works, so I follow her cue and undress and dress such that I'm in just a robe and flip flops and carrying a towel.

It's raining. Pacific northwest winter rain that oscillates between fine mist and gumdrop sized water bombs. It's dark. There are lights from buildings and lighted pathways, but there's ample shadow.

We walked up a small hill through a gate with a sign that points out that cameras are forbidden beyond this point. To my far right was a swimming pool, to my immediate right was a smaller pool with steam rising from it, and straight ahead was what looks to be another pool with a railing around it.

To the left of the pool with the railing was a building. The corner of the building was perhaps 6 feet from the railing of the pool and the 7 steps leading up to it. On the side of the building were pegs for hanging towels, robes, etc.

It was dark by the hooks on the side of the building, and the hooks were sheltered from the rain by the eaves of the building. In the pool I could make out a few heads, just bobbing in quiet corners. I don't see anyone walking around.

My companion disrobes, uses the pegs, and just saunters up the steps and into the pool.

"It's a 10 step walk" I think. So I do the same. I admit, I hustled. I sought to minimize "time walking around naked outdoors in public". I stood at the pool's edge and struggled to kick off my flip flops in the rain. milliseconds of delay felt much longer.

The water was body temperature. The air and rain were chilly. Once in the water, I realized that there were more people in the pool than I had thought, maybe 7 others. No one said anything, everyone whispered, it was quiet. All I could hear was the trickle of the rain hitting the pool, running down rooftops, and gurgling over the rocks in the adjacent stream. Mellow.

After a few minutes, I relaxed. Right. No biggie. You soon forget that you're not wearing clothes. Being in a pool is being in a pool.

I was aware that there were naked people around me, though. From time to time a nude couple would slip into the pool, or someone would exit the stairs at the far end to the adjacent hot pool. You'd see, in the moonlight, a bare body rise out of the water, and a white bottom would slip into the shadow of the hot pool house doorway.

No one gawked, whistled, or stood up and shouted "Hey, you're naked!". Right. Why would they?

So I started to get it. It's a different way of being. We all get to be, as we are, and we're all okay with it. There's a trust and intimacy and freedom of being undressed with strangers. It's not about being naked. It's about not wearing clothes.

That said, I'm undressed in front of several of my teammates 4 times a week at the boat house, so it's not that big of an adjustment. It's just like the locker room, only with naked women. As an athlete, I do think I have a different relationship with my body and the bodies of others than the average American.

Is it a shock? Yeah. The brain, natural human curiosity compel us to check it all out. But we check it all out. Old bodies, young bodies, male and female, large and small, giant boobs, tiny boobs, hairy, hairless. You get a sense of the range of what is human and beautiful.

Eventually, you don't notice the bodies as much. There are some folks, who, from behind, are hard to categorize by sex. Is that a tall woman with no ass or a skinny dude with little hair? So you begin to notice faces more. From the neck down, by and large, we all look a lot alike. And with no clothes on, it's hard to snap-categorize a person. You don't know if someone is a banker, a gym teacher, or a farmer. It's a safe bet that none are Republicans. If you want to try to know who someone is by looking, you must focus on the face.

A few cool moments:

Sauna. 3:30 am. Ken & K are in the sauna. A smaller framed, skinny, scruffy young guy enters.

Scruffy dude: How are you enjoying your Harbination?

K: Great.

Scruffy dude: (with mellow, stoner-ish voice) Right on, Right on!

Scruffy dude: (Sneezes)

K: Bless you.

Scruffy dude: (ponders)

Scruffy dude: Yeah! And Bless you too!

Getting my first intro to the scene in the dark was good. One can pretend one is hiding in the dark. Sunday was 100% daylight, which was another adjustment. At one point, one of the residents walked around the pool distributing giant fig leaves to use as hats to keep the giant raindrops off our faces.

I also tried the hot pool (112F?) which is just at the threshold of painfully hot, and then moving to the cold pool, which is perhaps 45F, and then back. One's body doesn't notice the difference, really, since both give that "temperature pain" feeling. Actually spent quite a while in the cold pool, which is fed directly by the rainflow from the adjacent creek. By an altar with a stone Buddha. And flowers. In the rain.

By the end, it was all cool. I didn't think twice about walking from one pool to the next in the daylight. It sunk in that being comfortable and free and open was how one helped create the atmosphere. By not acting self-consciously or ashamedly, I helped keep the atmosphere positive and open.

Only in Northern California? Yeah. And I like it here.

Still sick

Bleh. Good news is I woke up today without the fatigue. Maybe it's the antihistamine in the nyquil which makes me sleep like a rock. But I felt good. I'm just sniffly and stuffy still.

But I'm at work, seeking not to spread my germs, but to meet my obligations to those around me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Yep, I'm sick

Full blown cold. Sneezing, sniffling, general fatigue.

I made my reservations for Christmas in Yosemite. I'll be cross country skiing on the 25th and 26th. Yay. Just hope I'm well by then.

Bad news is that the cold I have is supposed to get worse before it gets better.

I promise some posts about last weekend when I've got the energy. I've not had my ferry commute this week, so I'm losing an hour of good blogging time each day. Maybe tomorrow.

I think I have a cold


It's mild, but it feels like it. I've been around too many people lately who tell me "I don't want to give you my cold". I tell them I rarely get sick. And it's true. I'll be sniffley and a little low-energy for a few days, at worst.

I just hope I pull through so I can ski in Yosemite this weekend.


Monday, December 19, 2005


I'll post about the weekend soon. It was great. I came back in a really tranquil state of being, which I really needed.

During my drive to work I turned off the radio, thinking, "Why must I distract myself? Why can't I just be present in the driving?" Too much Northern California? Maybe. But that's where I'm at today.

Then I get a lovely communication from my wife threatening to reveal things about my past to my extended family in a "Christmas letter." Super.

There are things that I did that I'm not proud of. I wish I had handled a lot of things differently.

Courtesy of this weekend, I think I was able to formulate an enlightened response, in which I acknowledge that she can do what she likes, but that sending such a letter will not only hurt me, but my family as well. I also point out that there's nothing I can ever do that would keep her from revealing such things to them now or in the future. I hope that she'll understand that, because it's always possible, and because I have no power over it, I won't live in fear of it. Blackmail doesn't work if you choose not to fear the consequences of non-compliance.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why my weekend will kick ass

1) Because I won't have any homework hanging over my head. School's out forever. 'Nuff said.

2) Because I won't have any work hanging over my head. Big presentation went well today. My ego is satisfied because I can, in places, see my ideas in the final product. My principal teammate has worked damn hard to make this successful, too, and without his work it would have been a total disaster. I feel bad because he's working his ass off on this and another project, and he really took on a lot of the tedium for this project. As much as I hate tedium, I need to shoulder my fair share. I just suck at tedium. I'll try to cover him in that department a bit more, though. But long run, this weekend, no worries for work.

3) Friday night I see L. L's parents are throwing a holiday party, and L is gonna be my "date". No I'm not dating a 3 year old. Just means mom's thrilled that I'll be carting L around all night. And so am I. Love that little girl. I wanted to find this CD for her, but instead found this one, which I also know. She likes techno. She likes jazz. Will she like the quintessential baroque that is Bach on a synthesizer? Hope so.

4) Saturday morning I row. Last practice of the season. Yeah. We're gonna have fun. I think we'll be doing race pieces all day. Bring it.

5) Saturday later morning I brunch with a classmate. She's really cool. I also have a crush on her. Exotic brunette. Nuff said. And she's smart and brave and kind. But she's in major relationship turmoil (with another classmate), and I seek not to complicate anyone's life. None the less, it'll be cool to spend time with her. We've talked a lot but never gotten together one on one socially. Post brunch we plan to hike/ walk in Marin headlands. I have a route planned.

6) Saturday early afternoon therapy. Hey, I always feel better after talking with my counselor.

7) Rest of the weekend: Harbin hot springs. A dear friend is taking me away for a weekend of renewal of mind, body and spirit. They place heavy emphasis on the optional in "clothing optional". Hey, it's California. Can't deny I'm a bit...however it is you feel about something that will be scary but cool. Like going to a foreign country for the first time. Maybe I'll love it and want to move there. Maybe I'll be glad to be home. But it'll be an experience.

I feel tomorrow is Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Merrily slogging

Work is a slog, but I'm really cool with it.

I'm enthusiastically looking forward to a weeknd which promises much time with friends.

I'll post some details on Friday, most likely.

Big presentation tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adventures from graduation

Saturday around 5 PM I drove from the hotel in Emeryville to a shopping center in Oakland where the Internet told me I'd find a branch of my bank so I could get some cash. I wound my way through Oakland, and through some far from affluent neighborhoods.
I did my banking, and hit the Safeway to find a "thank you" card for my friends who were going to attend my graduation the next day. I tossed my change in the Salvation Army bucket with the bell ringer as I left the store.

As I back out of the parking space and begin to pull away, there's a knock on the window.

I look out to see a 50-something black dude. I roll down the window.

Black dude: You ain't prejudiced, are ya?

Me: Um, No (The surprise on my face wasn't about the color, just the knock)

Black dude: Oh, good, cuz I need some help. I'm a black guy in a white neighborhood and my car broke down and I'm trying to get someone to help but no one will help me.

Me: (This neighborhood sure seemed pretty black to me. I was one of three white people in the grocery store. But hey, I've got some time.) What do you need help with?

Black dude: I'm trying to get to the hospital, cuz they're gonna do a graft (pulls back a bandage on his right hand to reveal a 2" diameter section on his wrist with no skin, just pink flesh) and I have a flat, but I already used they spare, and these guys won't give me a break and I need $30 for the rim and $20 for the tire and I called my brother in law and he's gonna meet me and if I can give you my jacket or my cell phone or something I just need some help.

Me: Where's the car at?

Black dude: It's just three blocks from here and he's gonna meet me at the Wendy's will you help me out?

Me: Ok.

Black dude (jumping into the car): Oh thank you! You restore my faith in my white brothers (giving me a left armed half hug, during which I detect the lovely fragrance that can only emanate from a serious alcoholic)

Me: (realizing that this is, in fact, a total BS scam) Ok, so u need to get to the hospital?

Black dude: No no, see my brother in law is gonna meet me at the Wendy's. So if I can give you my jacket or my cell phone or something and we can exchange information and I can get the money for the tire and then get it back to you.

Me (following his directions to the Wendy's, which is just across the street): So where's the car at? You said it was just three blocks from here.

Black dude (with forced chuckle): Yeah, but I'm gonna meet my brother in law at the Wendy's, see, so just pull in here.

Me: Ok, I'm gonna level with you. A lot of this just isn't adding up. So if you can show me where the car's at, this is all going to seem a lot more credible.

Black dude: (Opens the door and gets out of the car in disgust).

Things I ponder: Was he trying to play "the card" to work "white guilt"? Did he think I wouldn't get it? Would I have let it go as far as it did if he were a different color? Further? Did he see me drop the change in the bucket and figure I was a softie? Am I lucky to be alive? Should I become less open?

I do feel bad for the guy. Willing to "sell" his jacket for $20, missing hunks of skin from what I can only assume is rather harsh living. That kind of desperation is sad. But I'm not gonna give him $20 if he's just going to kill himself with it. Addiction is insidious and sad.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Giving back the new energy

Work looks to be a doozy this week. And I'm so ready to take it on. I have so much more energy for it, now with school out of the way. I'm really looking forward to pushing hard and making it work. I'm ready to make it happen.

I'll publish nothing on the graduation day experience right now. Profoundly emotional day, obviously.

It just feels good not to feel completely overwhelmed by competing obligations all the time.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

What have I done?

It is done.

And I must say that it's a pretty emotional moment. I get very choked up at these things.

It's odd. High school, I loved my friends, and my life, and my class, and graduation was very emotional.

College, I felt alone, isolated, oucast, rejected, and it was more of an angry moment than a happy one.

Here, now, it's like high school. I really love these people, and will miss them. And it's sad for me to think about everything this damn degree has cost me. My wife's desire to get this degree ahead of me really helped accelerate the death of our marriage. We spent about a year of weekends and evenings with me helping her get ready for the GMAT, then close to another year obsessing about applications and recommendations, then we spent 19 months with her in the program, often with me helping her with her work, the last 7 of which had me in the program with her simultaneously.

Is it any wonder I felt abandoned as a husband? I was a live-in tutor, not a lover. Is it any wonder distance grew between us? Is it any wonder we're divorcing?

Jointly, we will have given this school $240,000, 3.5 years of our lives, and our marriage. In return, we'll have 4 MBA degrees between us.

Fair trade? Nope. I only wanted to live happily ever after. I'd trade it all back if I could get the fairy tale. Keep the degrees.

That said, I have 62 new best friends. Maybe I've traded up.

I'm up again

And writing, but actually getting somewhere now.

Slept from 1:30 to 4 am. I fooled my brain into thinking I slept.

This hurts.

Friday, December 09, 2005


This is gonna be painful. 2500 words is a lot of words. I have a lot to do on this paper. I think I'm gonna just work on getting a lot on paper first, then fixing it up into something decent.

I so wish a paper on a Brand Marketing strategy for REI would materialize out of thin air for me.

Not likely.

Better write.

3 down, 1 to go

and it's a big one. Wanna help? Tell me anything you think about REI.

I can see the finish line. And when I can sense the finish line, I can finish.

Guess what?


There's a Dragon in your soul. You are very wise
and like to give people advice. You mostly feel
like you are misunderstood and don't like a lot
of people around you. 2 or 3 friends are
enough. You can be very emotional but because
of your intelligence you have the power to go
on and find a solution. You are wise, but
nobody can solve all problems alone, so don't
turn away from everybody and ask for help
sometimes too. That way, problems will be much
easier to solve.

What Mystical Creature is in your soul? ( With Pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla

yeah, I'm procrastinating. Actually, paper 3 is in good shape. Been up since 4 am. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

2 down

2 to go. I handed off my group paper to my teammates. It's not my best work. At all. And I feel bad about that, not for the grade, and not really as much for myself, but because i really like the guys I'm working with and I want to give them my best work.

That said, I think we're all in "hurry up and pass" mode.

How can anyone think

he's not a moron?

One down

Four to go. Finished (mostly) one paper. Have to crank out some help on this group assignment. Then I'll have 2 down.

All of my work is going to suck, but I'm going to pass, and that's all that matters.


Oh well.

Stalking my readers

I got this cool new map thingy for the blog (sidebar on the right) that tracks how many people visit my little blog and from where. It puts little pins in the world map. It updates the map every time the number of total hits it's working with increases by 10% over what it had previously. So it'll update every day for the next 10 days or so, then go to about every other day for a while.

Should be cool.

Hope y'all don't mind being stalked.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Home stretch

I'm in the hotel, working on my final set of papers for my final set of classes.

Holy shit.

I promise I'll post the results from my survey very soon. I'm writing that paper up right now.

This week has been odd. I keep going to bed earlier and earlier and getting up earlier and earlier. Like bed by 8:30, up at 4:30. Odd.

It's 7:30 and I want to sleep.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And this is awesome

I'd like it a little more creepy and a little more disturbing. But it's great.

Ah, winter

Out here in December, clear skies in the morning means it's gonna be cold.

The car said it was 36. Yes, I know. But this is California. It doesn't snow here. So that's cold.

The dock was thick with frost. The carbon fiber of the oar shafts attracted a thin layer of frost between the time we took them from the boat house to the dock and the time we picked them up from the dock to lay them in the oar locks.

The frozen oars suck the heat out of your hands. The key is not to move your hand. Just suck it up and warm up that one spot on the oar handle.

I sat 2 seat in the 4- again, and again we beat the crap out of our 8+'s. Different line up today, but we were still speedy. The water was flat. Seeing the sunrise was watching the sky warm. Black to deep red to orange and pink then white.

Back on the dock, after dawn, I could see the white dusting of frost on everything.

Hot water in the shower seared my left hand back to life.

I like rowing in winter.

Monday, December 05, 2005

And by the way

This weekend confirmed for me that I do, in fact, have issues. I graduate on Sunday, and I'll be back to my Sunday night meeting, which I've been avoiding while I gave myself some rope to sort out what was and wasn't acceptable conduct for me. I had found it too restrictive. It may still be too restrictive, but I'm also not well.

It's been a good little experiment, these last few months, but there are still troubling things with my behavior. I've been largely okay with everything, until this weekend.

I have no idea how "normal" people act under stress. But I know I do things that I feel pretty bad about later on. Especially around school stress. The weekends before and after are prime occasions for me.

I just kind of watch myself do stuff. Hard to snap out of it, try though I may. And I have to admit I've been this way my whole life. Hard to change it. Can't deny it, though. I haven't felt this bad for a while. Still, it's hard to tell if the negative feeling is due to stress or the way I handled it. Can't distinguish causation from correlation.

Dreamt of my wife last night. Perhaps it's all the emotional baggage of the divorce that I've put off dealing with coming up now. Could be more than the school stress pushing me. Once school ends, I'll be staring straight into the face of what's become of my life. I hope that I'll have the emotional energy then to deal with the feelings in a healthy way.

Wanna kill 5 minutes and help me?

For my final project in my leadership course, I'm doing a survey about me. I'm soliciting feedback from folks in various parts of my life, and I thought, "Why not give my readers a chance?"

I'd only ask this: On the multiple response question on "How do you know Ken?", check off any that apply, but also check off "Supervisor", which will tell me that you're a blog reader. I should have made "blog reader" a category, but didn't think of it till now.

Click here to take it.

It'll take maybe 5 minutes. If you've already taken it, thanks.

I promise a post about the results. Complete with charts. I'm learning a ton from it already...


Sunday, December 04, 2005

OMFG this is funny

And scary.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Good morning

This morning I got put in the 4-, which I hadn't rowed in months since I'd been racing in 8+'s all fall. Now that we're in training mode, the mix is on.

I was in 2, so my job included essentially thinking for the boat from a technical standpoint. Bow was in charge of steering. I was in charge of giving orders, setting focus. And pulling hard.

We had a great row. Had some very talented guys in the stern pair, for sure. We were faster than one of our 8+'s, and we were faster then the 4+ that was about 15 years younger than my crew, on average. They had 3 guys in their mid 20's and a 50 something (who's good). We were a couple 40-somethings, a late 50-something and me (31). Experienced oarsmen understand that, when the oar is not in the water, the best thing you can do to make the boat go is nothing. Just be still, be calm, be relaxed, gentle, sensitive, and trust the other guys to do the same. Then, when the blades are in together, explode with every ounce of strength you have. Great division of action from inaction, combination of power and grace.

It was a clear morning, cool, crisp, clear. The sun was low on the horizon, bright in our eyes as we rowed west. Rowing east, the mountain loomed behind us, the low sun casting shadows on the wrinkled ridges of the mountain, revealing the topography with light.

On the dock it was all smiles. We row seeking mystical moments like today. Calm, centered, driven, forceful and fast.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Goddamn Toyota

It rained sideways yesterday. Wind, rain. A lot of things got wet.

I felt bad for my little car, waiting faithfully for me all day in the windy Ferry terminal parking lot.

While waiting in traffic to exit the ferry lot, there was a glistening flash of movement to my right. It looked like a droplet of water. Falling. Inside the car.

Had I left the sunroof open? The door ajar? The window cracked? Nope.

Seems that there's some kind of leak that's letting water get in under the roof and flow to a point above the front and right most corner of the passenger set, where it soaks the felt on the roof interior, and drips down, into the car. Onto the cloth seats. And onto the atlas I have in the passenger door. Seems my car isn't weather proof.

I called the guy at the dealership who sold it to me, and left a message. I await the return of my call.

I really don't need a hassle right now. Even in the best imaginable world, I'll need to get over to the dealership twice during their normal business hours, which are well inside the hours that I'm outside of Marin. They're open 9-6. I'm on a ferry at 7:50 and not back until 6:50. At the minimum, it means two days of pain in the ass logistics.

I want them to take my car, fix the problem the first time, leave the car good as new, give me a cool loaner car while they fix it, and not charge me a dime. Or they can take the car back and give me another one. Anything less than this, and I'll be really pissed and raise a fuss. Can you see me standing in the middle of the dealership saying loudly "The car you sold me has a roof that lets water in when it rains?"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Principles of democracy?

Yes, freedom of the press. Cornerstone of democracy: Free flowing information to fuel discourse and sound judgment by the voting public.

Good thing our military is learnin' the Iraqis a thing or two about journalism in a democratic society. Yup. Makes ya proud to be an American.

To be fair

I'm not thrilled with work right now. It's also clear that folks have put 2 and 2 together and can see that I'm gonna have a brand spanking new MBA in just over a week. Am I thinking of moving on? Hell yes.

And I've known I'd move on since about week 6. So I've never really put down roots. I do this a lot in my life. I don't cultivate relatioships with people who I don't think will be in my life in the long run. I'm really bad at it. I could pull out the violin music and the victim card and claim that it's because I moved around so much as kid. I learned all relationships are temporary. But especially at work.

Work is such a screwed up environment for relationships. Do people want to get to know you, or are they trying to get some info? Are they telling the truth, or do they have their public face on?

I find I only develop working firendships with people who haven't drunk the coolaid. People who can look at the firm with a critical eye. Not that I seek out the butter and cynical, but if you only spout the corporate line, I'll find you disingenuine or naive, and not waste time with you.

Given these things, I've really not gone out of my way to build relationships. Many factors. Few people not giving the company line. And I've decided I'm outta here from about week 6. But maybe I haven't given the firm a fair chance.

That said, maybe the firm shoulda tried harder.