Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yes, I'm a dork. But I'm a leader dork.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My practice

Practice on Saturday. This is the second 2K piece (full start, full sprint). We started 20 seconds behind the C boat immediately to port, who started 5 seconds down on the E boat furthest to port, who started 15 seconds behind the varsity girls who are between the C and E. It's a little fuzzy, but my boat (B) is the first one we see. It's pretty sharp rowing, if I say so myself. We'll be fast in San Diego.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How to talk in China

I was at first appalled, then less worried when I saw this article a few weeks ago, which said that:

British athletes will have to sign a contract promising not to comment on any politically sensitive issues.

...they won't go further than what is required by the International Olympic Committee charter which restricts demonstrations of political propaganda at an Olympic Games.

Athletes who refuse to sign the agreement will not be allowed to travel to compete in the Games from August 8-24, according to a sunday newspaper report.

So it's now political propaganda to voice an opinion? Way too much "Don't piss off the Chinese" going on in the world.

But I realized that the British athletes will have the best weapon ever invented for criticizing an establishment beyond criticism: Sarcasm. A saccharine overdose of untrue dogma is a great way to make the point. Some ideas for the British athletes:

"China is such an open, modern society. The Chinese people have access to a totally unfiltered Internet where they can learn that absolutely nothing of interest happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989".


"Tibetians are certainly Chinese. It's not as if they have their own language, customs or historical borders. They all seem very happy to be part of China. That's why things are so calm and peaceful there. They were pretty done with being Buddhist, and wanted to move on."


"The Chinese media is very free. Reporters are never imprisoned for being critical of the Chinese government, which is so awesome that no one would ever criticize it for any reason at all, anyway. Who could possibly find fault with the CCP's leadership, socialism, dictatorship of the proletariat or Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought?"


"The Chinese culture is so great. They love their little girl babies so much and find them so wonderful that they're willing to export them to the rest of the world. That's awful nice of you all to share like that."

I'm sure some of the clever athletes will find a way to shine a bright light on China.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Proof that I'm crazy

I got two e-mail messages yesterday, right on top of each other that, when taken together, clearly highlight my own insanity.

The first was from a teammate of mine, former US national team lightweight sculler. K thinks he looks like my older brother. He's me, just scaled down to about 5' 10, but with no reduction in mass. And he has legs like tree trunks. He's a great athlete, and an excellent oarsman. He's in my boat for the San Diego race, he's in 4, I'll be in 2. For practice yesterday, 2 of our 8 guys weren't there, so coach moved me to stroke seat, and my teammate was in 6, with two other guys filling in in 4 and 2.

We did essentially 500m pieces against the varsity highschool boys, who have the week off from school. They won the first piece, but we took the next three. My coach has (somewhat correctly) gotten the idea that I'm a good head race stroke, but not as good for sprint pieces. I think I'm good at head races, but I also think I can sprint, as long as I have a crew behind me that knows how to bring the stroke rate up by actually bringing the boat's speed up. My crew did a great job of that yesterday.

Long story short, I got an e-mail yesterday afternoon from this teammate simply saying "Nice job stroking today". Which felt great, since he didn't need to reach out to say anything, and his compliments mean a lot, given who he is and the level at which he's rowed and competed. But then I immediately second guessed it. I wondered why he was doing this. Was there some ulterior motive? Did he want me to stroke instead of our current stroke for San Diego? Did he want something from me? Was he trying to organize a mutiny?

And that's the craziness: I can't believe that someone genuinely thinks I'm good at something, or that anyone would do anything kind for me without some desire for something in return.

The other craziness: Every week, I have a conference call with my client in London. And every week, I fear that I'm behind on where they want me to be, that my work isn't as good as they want it to be, and that, now that they're up and running, it's only a matter of time before they get rid of me.

The CEO e-mailed to confirm that my mailing address hadn't changed.

Because they wanted to send me paperwork for an additional stock option grant.

Which was totally unexpected and unsolicited. Which also shows me that I'm crazy. I think it's perfectly reasonable to think that I suck, and they want to reward me.

I admit that my irrationally high standards for myself have been a boon in many ways. They've led to much over achieving. But they keep me from feeling happy about myself and my achievements, too. I've got to start believing that I'm awesome, and other people, who are also awesome, will think so, too. At least I can see the objective proof of my craziness. It's the first step towards fixing it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Couldn't make this up

On page 2, the Baptist preacher fighting to keep home brewing illegal in Alabama is named...

wait for it...

Joe Bob.

Needless to say, I'm all for high original gravity beers. I didn't know there were folks in Alabama I'd get along with. Guess there are some of my guys everywhere. The number one reason I want a house some day is to have a basement, and the number one reason I want a basement is for making beer.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Oklahoma. Sophisticated.

She keeps using "lifestyle". I think that's the word folks use when they're of the opinion that sexual orientation is chosen (and, therefor that "the gays" can stop at any time). It's of these folks I want to ask, "So you could just as easily switch teams, right now, and you would, were it not for your deeply held religious convictions? You'd be happy to dine on beaver, but the Lord said thou shalt smoke pole if thou hast a coochie, so smoke you do?".

Just stunned to hear her "vast pink conspiracy" theory. She really does think that it's the end of the world. Scary/ sad.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why we don't want them running the country

From this NYT article:

“ ‘We’ve been with you all these years,’ ” former President Bill Clinton said, according to Mr. Herrera. “ ‘Now the time has come for you to be with us.’ ”

Mr. Herrera, who had up to that point been undecided in the Democratic race, promptly pledged his support to the Clintons. “The don never asks for a second favor when the first one has been rejected,” he said.

When one of your "supporters" characterizes his interaction with you in the metaphor of interaction with a mafia crime boss, you have a problem. And you're not my kind of politician.