Sunday, April 30, 2006

I got no game & I'm proud

Saturday night I was out at a friend and classmate's 40th birthday informal celebration at a bar in SF. Another classmate and friend was there with his wife, and his wife's friend, M, who's finishing her psychiatric residency. (Yes, another M).

I had met this M before, at another classmate's party. We were introduced, and it was clear folks were trying to set us up. I talked with her then, but didn't really feel a spark. She was bright enough, and was tall and fit (and blonde, but I won't hold it against her). She just seemed to be putting forward a persona, but not really showing who she was. I just didn't feel I had any access to the inner her. Can't have chemistry if the reactive surfaces never come in contact.

My friend the birthday boy, who knows I'm on the market pulled me aside. He's very direct, and not very PC.

"You should hit on the psychiatrist. She's hot, nice body. Go for it."

"But I really don't feel much of a spark there"

"Have another drink"

One plays scrimmages, friendlies, pre-season games to get tuned up for when the score really does matter. I've decided I need to meet people in the real world. May as well practice when I don't care if I get shot down.

She was about to leave, with my friends. I asked her if she lived in SF. Told her I was going to head out, and offered to drop her at her place. I figured a few extra moments outside of the loud bar would be good, and really, I just wanted to practice asking for more time.

She agreed, we left, though she asked that we slow down so that we wouldn't be seen by friends and rumors wouldn't fly. My thought: High school is over. "OmiGod! Did you see her talking to Kenneth! She's such a slut! I hear she went back to his car with him and they did it!"

We're grown ups. You can write prescriptions for powerful, mind altering substances. I think you can leave a bar with a guy without giving a fuck what anyone thinks?

She asked me if I wanted to grab a drink some place. I figure, can't hurt. We find another local bar and hang there till last call. Conversation was interesting, but intellectual. I tried to ask a few questions to get us onto something where I could understand what she was about as a soul, not just a mind. Didn't get much.

Walked back to the car, dropped her off. She took off her seatbelt. I didn't. I thought about it, but, not feeling any connection, didn't expect anything. I think I hugged her good night. On her way out of the car, she told me that our mutual friends had her info, if I wanted to be in touch. I told her the same was true for me. She kind of slammed the door. But it's the 21st century. Psychiatrists can ask business consultants out on dates. Clearly, I was expected to ask for digits. Clearly, I do not understand, care about nor play by the rules of the game. In the past, I was worried that I didn't know the rules. Now, I don't give a crap, and intend to come at the world my own way. Fuck the rules.

But ya know what? I think I'm going to try to ask her out. My goal will be to see if she's emotionally accessible at all. In fact, I think I want to be really straight forward with her: Hey, you're hot and single and obviously bright. I just want to see if we have anything in common emotionally.

Worst case, she's a dud, and I acquire more dating experience. Best case, she needs some signal from me that it's OK to lower the shields, and, after doing so, I find out she's a caring, gentle soul.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Quad = good

Rowed the quad this morning with the guys I'll be racing with in Sacramento on May 6th. We're all decent oarsmen and decent scullers. But to get synergy in a quad requires a lot of time together, and we don't have that. And I'm really not great at sculling at stroke rates above 35 strokes per minute. In the 8+, 42? No problem. But at around 35 in the quad, I must focus on squaring and feathering my blade, preventing me from focusing on other elements like power application, swing, length, etc. Once you're just tryin' to get your blade in and out of the water with everyone, you're at your max. We have no expectations for the race.

The funny thing about this lineup is that I'm the "big strong guy". By objective standards, I am, but I'm small for a rower. I just happen to be rowing with three ex-lightweights. Tom is an ex Yale lightweight and was in bow of my 8+ that won at San Diego. He weighs maybe 150. Greg is maybe 155. Ari, who's a good bit shorter than I am is a little heavy these days, at 180. It's not all muscle, but he's working on trimming down again. I, on the other hand, at 6'1" and 180 am, in fact, all muscle. I'm the tallest and strongest. So it's kind of nice to be the big guy. My presence in the boat is felt and appreciated. It's gratifying to see Ari grinning after practice at the feeling of power. All in all we're a very lean and strong crew, so our power to weight ratio is great. Think sports car: big engine, light body.

A friend gave me one of her old iPods. She pre-loaded it with kick ass music. I've gone from Beastie Boys to Chemical brothers while sitting here at my desk. It totally rocks.

I'm going to have a good weekend. Wild party tonight, crazy birthday party for a friend and classmate Saturday night. And the weather here now rocks. I sleep with the windows open at night.

Life is good.

Of course, I've decided to take 20 mg of prednisone per day for a while, because that doesn't hurt my brain. I may be feeling good because of drugs. But who cares?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Abundant hypocrisy

It seems my subscription auto renewed. So I've chosen to go with it.

It's futile. I've twice, in the last week (once on Match, and once not on Match), gotten the

"How long have you been separated?"

"Sorry, my ex was recently divorced, and he was a mess"

"It's irresponsible to date if you're emotionally unavailable"

Gee thanks, ladies. I'll just stay home and jerk off with porn for a year instead of trying to establish connections with living breathing humans. I'm sure that'll make me super optimized for a relationship. Studies prove that porn increases men's emotional availability, and that prolonged exposure to real women leads to hostility and indifference. I should totally not date. That way, I'll be ready to date. Thanks for the tip.

Don't get me wrong. I don't fault them for their choices, and if what they want and what I've got aren't aligned, so be it. I just happen to know I'm a spectacular guy, and I resent being rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with who I am, but with where I'm at. They're valid reasons: If women want a guy who's ready for his next girl to be the mythical "one", that's fine, and I'm not that guy. I reserve the right to pity them for impossibly fantastic concepts of romantic love.

I'm not emotionally unavailable. I think I'm rather emotionally aware and accessible. I'm just not available for a "let's move in together" relationship. That has nothing to do with emotions, and everything to do with reason. Getting serious would be stupid.

"Men on the rebound are just after sex and someone to take away the sting"

And there's something wrong with that? Wanting some company and some carnal connection? I should definitely practice celibacy for a year, to atone for having a relationship not work out. I am, after all, a recovering Catholic. And as we learned in Catholic school, it's perfectly natural for men to forego sex with women. As long as there's an adequate supply of altar boys for sublimation.

Yes, I do want sex. And I won't apologize for that. Ideally I'll find someone who wants to mountain bike with me for three hours, screw, then nap. That's a fun weekend. And what I'm looking for.

I know I'm just as contradictory here as the ladies. Wanting only as much relationship as suits me, and no more.

I'm getting fed up, though. And it's making me want to stop telling the truth and start getting some dates.

But I won't do that.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'd see this

Stolen from Miranda

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

On immigration

Unless you look like these folks:'re a raving hypocrite if you want to "get tough" on "illegal immigration".

Did Columbus have a green card? Did the folks on the Mayflower have work visas?

If a Mexican with little formal education and no English language skills can replace you at your job, you deserve to be replaced. It's called the free market. Deal with it, you racist, ignorant fucks. Maybe you should have paid attention in school? But now your lazy ass will be replaced by an industrious Mexican. Economic karma, bitch.

Bush is a motherfucking moron. And evil. I want to kick him in the nuts. That stupid self-satisfied grin of his. Idiot.

Yes, thanks to the drugs, I'm neither centered nor compassionate today.

Bad day to fuck with me.

My brain is still a mess

I'm still working on getting off the prednisone. Last night was hard, again. Not as bad as last time, since I knew to take a pill. But the emotional side effects suck ass. The soul crushing emptiness of withdrawal is painful. I know what it is. I know it's my brain nothaving enough happy chemicals. I know it will want me to do things to get it some happy chemicals. I know it's just the pills.

There's a fearful, twitchy sadness that weighs me down right now.

I'm going to wait as long as possible to take another pill today. 20 mg/day makes me giddy. I'm trying to gt through on 10, but that's not working well. I took 10 yesterday morning, but needed another 10 at 9 ish last night.

Empty, hollow, desperate for joy. At least I now have the mental discipline to see this and know what it is and to know that the storm will pass.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Odd, and spooky

Holy crap, this is oddly accurate. Those who know me well will pick up on some things in here that others may not.

Really weird, from two color rank order exercises they can get this?

I found this on Haleigh Anne's page.
ColorQuiz.comKenneth took the free personality test!

"Strives for a life rich in activity and experience..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I hurt my brain chemistry

Yesterday morning in the boat, I turned around and asked my teammate the physician if the prednisone I was taking for my poison oak could affect my mood.

"Because I've felt great this week!"

Yes, it could.

Crap. A mood altering substance that I like. Fear.

So I continue to work on tapering my dose down. My rash is mostly gone. I tried to get through yesterday on just 10mg.

By the middle of the day, I didn't feel so hot. All through the night, I felt terrible. Like the worst hangover ever. I felt dehydrated. My eyes were bloodshot.

I thought maybe I was deydrated. Sometimes I don't drink enough water.

That wasn't it.

I got up and dragged myself to the boathouse, and, thinking that maybe it was because I came off the prednisone too fast, opted to take one.

I began to feel better.

My teammate the MD arrived and I told him that I felt like death, and he was 100% sure it was because I was tapering my dose too quickly.

My brain hurts. I took another 10mg, went home to bed. I no longer feel like ass.

Chemical dependency is very frightening.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New roommate for me?

Last night I saw a movie with a friend who runs much of the Oakland Animal Shelter. She's the one who takes me to the Vegan restaurants.

Upon arriving at her place, I was greeted, as usual, by her two chiahuahua mix dogs which are total attention sluts. Because of my poor socialization, when I visit people with pets, I tend to spend more time greeting the animals than I do the people. Possibly because the animals display more enthusiasm to see me than the people.

After trying to divide my love and attention equally over the two dogs, who have and will fight over me if I don't pet both of them, my friend changed my focus by telling me that "there's another animal here, too".

I then noticed a large Kennel cage.

It's not out of the ordinary for her to house and foster creatures from the shelter that need a special home for a few days for medical or social attention.

Guess who was in the cage?

Yes. That cute.

I asked how she could stand to host such an adorable fuzz ball and not get attached. She explained she thinks of it almost as a spiritual practice of valuing things in the moment and being able to let them go when the moment is gone. She explained that baby kitties go into foster homes, but that the fosters tend to want to adopt them. Gee, I wonder why? Maybe because they are tiny and cute?

After the movie, we hung out with the critters. I took some pictures of the fuzzball. Who decided to stop and take a baby kitty poo, which was promptly devoured by one of the dogs. Who then wanted to give me kisses. They were declined.

So I'll count the following shot as my first HNT photo ever. My giant hand, my giant shoe, and a tiny grey fuzzball who thought it was fun to climb on my pants:

My friend told me she thinks a kitty would be good for me. That the fuzzball is totally adoptable and that if I fostered him, it's only a short term commitment, reversible at any time. But since I'm not home for so much of the day, he'd need a friend to play with.

So I'm thinking of fostering two kitties.

I'm sure it'd be a great way to meet girls... Kitten in my pocket.

It'd be nice to have some fuzzballs to play with in the evenings...

I'm afraid I'd just not be around enough to give them the love they need...

Shall I get some new roommates?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Ya know the AC/DC song "Thunderstruck"? It's what a good row in the 8+ feels like. Energy and tension building, anticipating explosive release, then two bone pulverizing beats.

We were in mixed (ability level) boats this morning, which meant I got to row 4 seat. I'm rarely worthy of rowing in the middle of the boat, where one places the biggest and strongest guys. By conventional standards, I am big and strong. But I'm small for a rower. The middle of the boat is the most stable part of the boat. I call it "rowing on the couch". You can flop around quite a bit, and the whole thing stays stable. Which means you can really unload on the oar.

We started out a little shaky, and my teammate with the Olympic bronze from 1960 was crammed into the coxswain seat. He got us to bring our timing together, and we clicked.

Our final piece of the morning was to start off at 20 strokes per minute, then 24, then 28 over perhaps 3000m. We opted to row full pressure at the 20, and moved away from our other two 8+'s. At 24, we moved out even more. So our coach ordered a change of plans:

"Two boats behind, up to 28. Lead boat, hold the 24."

Sweet. A chance for utter domination: To hold the other crews while under stroking them by four beats. It's like walking next to someone who's running and going the same speed.

We stayed patient, and continued to remain sharply together in our timing. On every stroke, all blades entered the water quickly and in synch with a "whap" and everyone unloaded at that precise moment with their legs. Controlled rage. It was excellent. The water was calm and flat. The only instability in the boat was that which we caused, and we weren't causing much.

We finished about a length up on the other crews, after having been permitted to go to a 28 for the last 10 strokes.

Good morning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Serenity destruction

I had a great day yesterday, largely because it started off on the water in a 4- with 3 other guys who really know what they're doing. These guys are all technically so good that they can hammer away at full pressure and keep the boat moving smooth as silk. It's fun to pull hard and go fast.

I got major errand stuff done, and even baked peanut butter cookies last night, which came out perfectly.

And then I went to bed. And around 11:30, the brat had a meltdown.

I'm trying very hard to cultivate a more tolerant, empathic understanding of the people around me. Gentleness and compassion. It's working for me.

But when awakened by a shrieking toddler from sound slumber, my Zen goes out the window.

My first words: "Kill him"

I get so angry. It's not just a "phase". The kid is totally acting out in flamboyant fashion because he's got emotional issues with his parents' divorce. The kid is choosing to do this. And mom coddles the shit out of him. In this case "coddles the shit out of" means "refrains from gagging him with duct tape and depositing him in the clothes dryer".

I am, by some respects, a light sleeper. I wake up fast and quickly. I can also go back to sleep quickly.

So by the time the drama queen finished oscillating into and out of full on tantrum once more, from 2:45 am until 3:15, I was far from peaceful. Cycling between "just got to sleep" and "jarred into consciousness by blood curdling wailing" for a half hour doesn't make you feel very centered.

I tried empathy, but what the fuck is there to have a fit about at 3 o'clock in the fucking morning? You want a fucking toy? No. You want to see mommy? Ok, you see mommy, now lights out, brat.

I'm tempted to leave a brat-sized bark collar on the doorstep.

"WaaaaAA - Zzzt!"

Like the melodious sound of mosquitoes being incinerated in the summer.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"I introduce myself like polar bear, da"

I let my subscription lapse. Where a guy can, through the convenience of the Internet, meet a woman who really wants to get married, have babies, and live off his income.

The odd thing is there doesn't seem to be a good way to delete my profile.

It's not that big a deal, since, after having updated my profile to be clear that I wasn't in the "marriage trajectory relationship market", I get absolutely no action. Ladies, Message received loud and clear: No wedding possibilities, no interest. Got it. I'll leave y'all alone now. Good luck.

So I was intrigued when I got a wink from what, at first glance, looked to be an attractive redhead. Too good to be true?

And then I read her description: "I am very romantic person, cheerful, frankly and sincere, slenderness, attractive, womanly, tender and attentive."

What a coincidence! I, too, am slenderness! And frankly!

She went on to add "I can introduce myself like owl, this means I like to sleep in the mornings, but at the evening I can work and stay awake to much. "

I can introduce myself like billy goat. This means I like to eat anything that's not moving.

Her killer close: "Whether he has children - it is not important, the main thing is that he must want to have a child. He should be financially secure to ensure a worthy life for our future family. "

Yes, most men like it when women refer to their "future family" before they've even had the first date. Gets our lust for commitment, obligation and entanglement in a total uproar. I'm so hot right now thinking about clothing, feeding and housing this woman and her spawn. Oh baby. Tell me how much you like to shop! Yes! Spend my money! Spend it! Spend it harder! Faster!

So, what, pray tell, is Svetlana Petrikova really after?

My e-mail address, I'm sure. Some clever Russian programmer has probably harvested my profile data, including age, sex and approximate geographic region, sent a wink automatically, and is hoping I'll fire off an e-mail from my real address, which will then be put into his/ her database, making the resulting e-mail list quite useful. Want to spam 30-something men in California? How about 40-somethings in New York?

Those crafty Russians. I should write back and offer to write a real profile American men can't refuse. For a small fee.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Seasonal haiku

Easter basket grass
melted to my jelly bean:
Got carcinogens?

Balanced life

I played some hookie from work yesterday and had a relatively remorseless afternoon of sun and fun. It was the first 72 and sunny day we'd seen in days, and there was no way I was going to go into the office to kill time and put in an appearance.

This morning I got out in the quad, and I ws down to my uni and t-shirt after the first 50 strokes. Water was calm, air was the perfect temperature.

Despite all the chaos, I feel a lot of peace in my life right now.

This weekend I'll have a hard practice Saturday morning, and probably brew beer for the first time in a year Saturday afternoon. I'll be making my summer red.

I forgot to take my anti-poison oak meds this morning, and left them in my car back in the ferry parking lot. I'm praying I can make it through the day without my immune system turning back on again. The drugs are definitely working.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oh, so THAT'S why we're divorcing

I got home tonight to read an e-mail from my wife informing me that she's decided not to file a joint tax return afterall this year.

The mediator had pointed out that by doing a joint return, she puts money on the table which makes me willing to do things like agree to pick up her legal fees, etc.

She doesn't want to file jointly, because it "doesn't feel right in her gut". I think she feels "unsupported". While I didn't agree to give half my income for 30 months to a woman with the same education and earning power as I have, I did pay off her charges to the joint credit card for many months last year, which included her 2 month trip to Greece, and I did send her a few grand.

What I also did do was put her on my health insurance. It costs me little, but benefits her greatly. I do it out of kindness and because I do, even now, while totally pissed off at her pigheaded irrationally spiteful choices, love her. All I have to do is check a box, and pay an extra $20 per month, and she gets health insurance. So I do. And I even agreed to keep her on through 2006, and to allow the divorce not to be finalized until the end of the year, so that I could keep her covered.

Hell, tonight, while talking with a friend about changing jobs, the thought crossed my mind that I'd need to keep her insured the entire time thought my transition. I'm such a sucker.

And now all she has to do is say "YES", and I'd check a box, file our taxes, and use the resulting refund to cover her legal fees, and feel so grateful I'd agree to the really crappy agreement on the table.

So now she's going to be irrationally vengeful, and essentially deprive us both of thousands just to satisfy her desire to fuck me over financially. And it's going to make it very hard for me to want to do anything kind for her.

She cannot be kind to me while she's angry. And this is why I couldn't be married to her.

I, on the other hand, can know that I love her even when I'm angry. And this is why I'll agree to her terms. And maybe, some day, she'll see that, at least once in her life, someone loved her.

It's poison oak

Or so thinks the doctor. It's not on my body, as a pharmaceutically and medically informed reader pointed out. And I was in the woods near some of it last weekend. It's a native plant of California. So the only thing they do to keep it in check at state and national parks is cut it back when it get on the trails.

It seems that I just need to look at poison oak to get some.

Doctor told me that there are two schools of thought on how it spreads on the body. One is the old "you scratch it, then you touch yourself elsewhere". The other is some notion of systemic reaction. I think I vote for the latter, because I don't seem to get it in just one spot.

Got my prednisone scrip, with enough left over to make sure I've got ammo for the next time I get poison oak. Because there will be a next time.

He also, being a good doc, suggested I come in for a physical some time, since, being the demographic I am, I never really have. I can't rememeber when I had my last physical. Why? One word: "Cough". But I do have a few things I'd like a doc's opinion on.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pityriasis rosea

or maybe poison oak. But I think it's pityriasis. I had it this time last year, and wanted to tear my skin off it itched so bad.

I noticed a few tiny spots around my ankles a few dyas ago. I hiked this weekend, near some poison oak, but was careful to avoid it. So I think it's pityriasis. But relapses are rare, so I read.

I've got a few splotches on my thighs right now and they itch. Bad. I woke up at 3 am and took one of my super powerful perscription benadryl tablets from the last time I had this.

And those make me just go comatose. Which I did.

I totally slept through practice (raining anyway). The itch diminsihed and I was fine, but now I'm at work and it's worn off and I need another hit. I think I need to see a doc to get a scrip for prednisone, which I also got last time. They give me that when I get poison oak and when I had this the last time. If it gets any worse, I'll not be able to think.

Monday, April 10, 2006

This week

I have to file an extension for my taxes. My wife consented to file jointly, but I need to get in touch with the tax guy to make sure extensions can work for both of us.

I have to consider the divorce settlement proposal on the table and get back to the mediator.

I have a boat load of work. I hit my in box this morning and I'm up to my eyeballs in impossibility. Lots of people asking me to do terribly time intensive things in no time.

I have to do some analysis for my indpendent consulting work.

So I'm stressed. I wish I could let it go and not care. It'll feel good to cross some stuff off this list.

And meanwhile I continue to try to sort out my feelings from last Friday. Whenever I get a moment of non-distraction, I feel how terrible it is to be where I'm at. I never stopped feeling "in love" with my wife.

Messy situation. I feel like confronting it all head-on, though. No hiding.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

This is weird

Friday, April 07, 2006

How it was

I'm sure both of us were the same clusters of apprehension.

From the conference room, she must have seen me as I walked in.

I went to the desk, told them who I was.

I had seen what used to be our car, now hers, parked on the street, so I knew she was there.

The receptionist directed me to the conference room.

I braced myself, walked in. Managed a timid "hi" as I tried not to look directly at her, for fear of what feelings it would trigger.

She had placed herself along the long side of the conference table, so I took a seat at the end. Allowing space, leaving room for the mediator. Busied myself with my things. Papers, etc. Arranged my space. Settled in. Didn't look too hard.

I sat down and was facing her from the side. She stared straight ahead. Neither of us spoke.

I thought about asking after her parents, or her brother. But I thought maybe she was trying to hold it together, too. Maybe I shouldn't say anything.

I closed my eyes, and tried to center myself. What's the most compassionate thing I can do right now? When the outside world gets overwhelming, it's ok to turn inward.

I opened my eyes after I heard her moving around. I think the initial shock of seeing me had passed, or maybe seeing me with my eyes closed revealed that I, too, was struggling.

She was her old self. I saw her little half smile that comes when she's not being her chest-thumping business woman self, but her sweet little girl self. I watched her comb through her hair -- now the longest I'd ever seen it-- with her fingers, as always. She found a stray, and then did the little finger dance she always did when trying to drop a single hair from her fingers.

It was the girl I knew and loved and had married.

The mediator was helpful, we made good progress, once she got set straight about a few points of law, and once it became clear that neither of us was trying to be cruel to the other.

We passed some papers back and forth. At one point, she handed me an envelope with a piece of corrugated cardboard in it. I knew it contained a photo. I knew that no matter what was on the photo, I'd cry. I chose not to look at it.

Signing the mediation agreement contract with the mediator, while he was out of the room, she noted that it was going to cost as much to get un-married as it was to get married.

So sad.

The mediator joked that we were close to done, and that my wife and I could take off and go have lunch. The way he phrased it implied lunching together.

She and I both noticed that a home across the street from the lawyer's office which we had looked at moving into several years back had recently had a bad fire.

I walked to my car, but looked back at her. She saw me looking and smiled.

I've never stopped loving her. Maybe it was the insane stress of our combined lives that killed us. That stress is over now. I couldn't help but wonder.

Half of me knew it's over and doomed and flawed and can never work. Half of me wanted to ask her out, to try to save this, to not let it die.

In that instant, I knew what it is I've wanted and needed. And we had almost all of it. If only I could have held on for a few years while she was in school. If only I hadn't needed so much from her.

I knew it would kill me not to know what was in the envelope. I stopped my car before getting on the highway to work. It was a black and white photo from our wedding: us in our receiving line in church, greeting my grandmothers.

The part of me that hasn't let go wants to turn that into some kind of sign. She wants me to remember that day. She wants me to tell her I still feel that. But part of me realizes that she's just giving me something she doesn't want. Or maybe it's because my grandpa just passed away.
She didn't tell the mediator her address out loud. She wrote it on a piece of paper for him. She doesn't want me to know where she lives. Could be many reasons for this. But none of them are a cause for hope.

I cried on the highway. How could so much love for someone lead to such terrible things?

And now I'm at work.

Dread & Acceptance

I have my first divorce mediation appointment with my wife in 30 minutes.

I'm terrified she'll say something to hurt me. There are a million things she could say.

I know that, no matter what happens, it will not last forever. I will move through this point in time to those beyond it, and no matter what I feel over the next few hours, it will not be what I feel for the next few years.

But I'm pretty scared of getting my feelings run through the cuisinart.

Work has been kicking my ass this week. I'm very stressed. But all of this will soon pass.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cascade failure

Out of kindness for the people downstairs from me, I try to remember to turn off my alarm clock when I go away for a few days. I turned mine off while in SD.

I hadn't needed to set it to get up for practice till last night. I turned it back on.

Except I didn't. So I didn't wake up until 5:53, at which point I had missed getting boated for practice.

And this after carefully setting out my clothes, packing my lunch etc.

So I tried to figure out what to do. Should I go into the boat house and erg? I need to work out. I'm stressed. Work is killing me, I have my first divorce mediation Friday morning. I need a stress outlet.

I chose to open up my laptop and do some work. I did some. I left for the 8:20 ferry. Traffic sucked. I missed it by 2 minutes. So I sat in my car and worked some more, waiting for the 9:15.

I've promised myself I'll erg when I get home tonight.

I'm just sad that I missed the practice this morning, when I would have received the congratulations of my teammates. I needed a positive energy infusion. And I'd have liked to have been on my usual 7:50 ferry. Damn clock.

I need a new alarm clock. My current one is missing buttons and I think I got it at a garage sale when I graduated from college. Maybe I can afford a new alarm clock? One that I can tell is definitely turned on?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Outcome

Rowing is a sport of traditions. A "gentleman's sport", there's no trash talking, showboating, taunting or any of the less than sportsman-like behavior that contaminates so much of modern American sporting spectacle. We may want nothing more than to crush our opponent by a humiliating margin, but that sentiment is undisplayed by word, and only in the deed of pulling on an oar.

And I like this.

Among the traditions is this: As tempting as it may be to toss your coxswain in the drink, this is not done. Unless you've just won. In which case it's a form of high praise and celebration.

In college, we won on a cold day over a school we were well expected to beat. In our naivete and out of kindness, we thought it best not to toss our cox in the icy water. He was prepared for us to exercise our right to throw him in, and nearly insisted on it: "It's an honor to be thrown in by your crew". We didn't throw him in. We lost for the rest of the season. Our cox continued to believe it was because we hadn't kept with tradition. The rowing gods must be appeased with sacrifice.

In my decade in this sport, I've come to know that it truly is an honor. We only dunk the ones we love, who call great races, who help us win.

With that, a photo of the engine room from my boat, and our cox, from last Sunday:

You know where he's going...

I'll give a blow by blow of the race when work settles. In one sentence: Single greatest athletic achievement of my life.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Wanna see me race?

It seems, just like last week, my race will be webcast live tomorrow. The site to go to is here. It has live video and audio feeds. The video just comes through with a click. The audio requires a player that you have to download. I'd suggest getting the audio up and running, since form the video alone it's hard to tell what you're looking at or who's winning. I race at about 1:20 PM tomorrow. This is my race, the Men's Masters B age category. This page will have the positions, splits and times in real time. You just may have to refresh your browser toget an update on the progress.

My team is kicking ass. Our E age boat won. My team (Men's masters) has never won down here. Our F age boat did well, though only came in third. Our Open boat took second in their heat against some amazing collegiate competition. Our entry in the club 8 devastated the competition. It's an age handicapped countdown start in that event, but it's clear that no one got close to making up the margin from the start. My team has been training very hard. We're strong and fast.

I got in down here at 2:15 am last night, got up at 7:30 to get to practice. Took a nap this afternoon from 1 to 4. I'll have a mellow night and be ready to go tomorrow...