July 31, 2006

Mass Mailing

The problems with sending out a 12,000 recipient email to announce the start of ticket sales to a popular and quickly sold out event are:

a) You get about 500 "out of the office" autoreplies back
b) You get a lot of people replying to the post (a dedicated email account) and asking questions that need to be forwarded on to the client
c) You get to watch the REPLY TO ALL dingbats conversing with friends about it.

That is all.

Pondering Relationships

I'm thinking about relationships. Being queerish, and not particularly invested in either mainstream (hetero) nor conventional lesbian community, I'm looking at relationships with a slightly different eye.

At the family reunion on Saturday, social and cultural expectations regarding relationships infused the entire event. Old photos were dragged out - formal posed family shots, weddings, anniversaries, featuring ancestors as well as those in attendance. A cousin's separation was mentioned (hushed tones). An uncle's 2nd wife was introduced (following a long, difficult marriage to an ill partner who recently passed away) - and I wonder at his commitment to the ideal of marriage for so many years, even if the reality was far different and his personal cost was significant. Beautiful children were welcomed into the family, some with less than ideal pedigree's or family trees - spare parts and broken hearts keep the world turnin'. My family, rooted in Lancaster, PA, resonates strongly with Springsteen's album The River, with it's themes of faith, family, marriage, hopes, dreams, despair.

I am struck by how many of the cultural expectations - the rituals, the ceremonies, the myth of true love, sacred pairings, happily ever after, til death do us part - are promulgated to prop up the social order, protect kids and the elderly, maintain the structures of power and patriarchy. It is both freeing and oddly alienating to be operating outside of those ground rules.

I see others in my tribe struggle with relationships. There is a devastation and sense of failure related to relationships ending that transcends mere sadness or regret or loss. It is as if the social order has been rent, as if there is a cultural mandate to meet and mate and pair up. We believe in the myth of two hearts being better than one, we believe that we are incomplete alone, we believe that in spite of our own unconventional lives, we must hew to the social conventions.

For homework: read Shel Silverstein's "The Missing Piece" (extra credit - "The Missing Piece and the Big O") and listen to one of the albums in Springsteen's relationship canon: The River, Tunnel of Love, Lucky Town, Human Touch.

July 30, 2006

Survival Part A

Well, the most immediate crunch is over. I survived the WNBA / Family Reunion / WNBA stint - a bit tired, but doing OK. Methinks I'll manage the next few days OK as well - games on Tuesday and Thursday, catch up on work, end of the month stuff) since all of the peripheral activities (yoga / jazzercise / socialization / chores) are optional or flexible.

Nothing super long. The Sun beat the Sacramento Monarchs on Friday pretty handily - two quarters of tight play, a 3rd quarter blowout, and survive through the 4th. Same deal today really, vs. San Antonio (although I think the run came in the 4th this time). It's kind of a nice trend - they have lungs and legs, and simply outlast the competition in many cases. The highlight today was watching Ms. Lobo interviewing Keesh - or rather, not interviewing her while the sound people ran around trying to get something working. Rebecca and Nykesha vamped for a bit before the tape started rolling - with Rebecca (no stranger to sitting out injured) joking about having to shop for clothes to be seen in while sitting out. They are both funny, smart, and charming.

In other WNBA action today, while standing at the head of Southwest group C for our flight from BWI to BDL and watching the arriving folks deplane, who should get off the plane but some significant portion of the Washington Mystics (I spotted the tall women, and assumed hoops but was not sure who it was until I recognized Coco Miller and coach Richie Adubato since they were at MoSun just last Tuesday, saw some Mystics apparel, and went DUH - Washington) - they were coming back from a win at Indiana. No first class for these women.....

The family reunion went well. I took 50 pictures or so, for mom who was not able to attend. Met a few new second / third cousins, reacquainted with lots of cousins and most of my aunts / uncles (8 of 10 were there), although really, less than 1/2 the first cousins were there and there were still 50 or so at the picnic. Catholics - heh. Zippy had a good time - the travel and hectic trip took something out of her but she had long chats with my godfather, several cousins, and a couple of uncles and aunts. She was impressed (your cousins and their kids are so polite and nice). And yeah, they are. There is a civility and gentleness that I think we northeastern types lose in the hub-bub and fast pace of our lives.

Tomorrow - catching up on reports for a client, invoicing for the most recent WNBA games, catching up on life. Maybe yoga, maybe jazzercise. Tuesday is August 1st - more end of the month billing. Tuesday (NY) and Thursday (LA) are the penultimate regular home games of the season (one last one, Aug 11 vs. Indiana. Then PLAYOFF time!

July 28, 2006

Breathing for the Last Time in a Bunch of Days

Near as I can tell, I am talking my last deep breaths for about a week.

MYA is snoozing on the futon upstairs. We went to NOHO to see one of my angels last night for a reading and talk; she got a book signed. I did not (I have a few signed things, and I outgrew this particular angel a while back. (At one point in Philly back in 2004 we had an interaction that I felt was sort of a kick in the rear end. Fly, kid, you got your wings. Whaddya hanging around here for?) Kind of bittersweet; like when you go back to high school and you find your teachers - the kind ones, the funny ones, the smart ones, the nemesis - are all pretty much normal people, the same size as you. Kate seems shrunken to me. Odd, cause she has always stuck me as taller, maybe it was the 4" high platform boots she once favored. Maybe its yoga, its stretching me out. Anyway, it was nice to see Kate and she looks well and she was in good voice, a little more subdued than in the past.

Anyway, back to breathing. I have WNBA games tonight, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Four games in seven days. Hell, thats a lot of playing, a long home stretch. If Coach T decides to call me in from the production room to play a few minutes by the end of it, I would not be totally surprised.....everybody is gonna be dragging. To raise the difficulty points, we have a family reunion on Saturday in Lancaster, PA - so the Zipster and I are flying down on Saturday morning (Southwest into Baltimore), staying overnight in Lancaster, and then flying back on Sunday morning.

I am trying to sneak some yoga in this morning after a few hours of work, my last opportunity until Monday or Tuesday, probably. And then need to take MYA back to Bristol, and head off to Uncasville around 2:30.

July 27, 2006

Kym Tuvim - I Will

I've been delving into the Falcon Ridge CDs; gave Cheryl Wheeler a quick listen in the car, now Kym Tuvim is embedded. I have been particularly struck by this song, which Ms. Tuvim is generously giving away in MP3 format.
You don’t ask for enough, you know how to get along
When the going gets tough, you get strong

Kind of my mantra really. I undervalue myself, make do with less, survive on the fringes. And, like Tom West in Tracy Kidder's "Soul of a New Machine", I am a "...good man in a storm..." - when the shit hits the fan I downshift into a sort of hyper-competant mode that does not provide much room for emotional collapse or feeling. Although I've taken to stepping back and acknowledging stuff - telling myself "this is hard, you will need to process this later". A kind of conscious caching into the unconscious, leaving bookmarks or threads to pull to get back to it.

Not sure this is a bad thing, mind you. Like a soldier in combat, I do what needs to be done to survive. And I do carve out spaces to let the other stuff out there, when I have the time and energy. It's nice when a song touches on something real to me, something I can resonate with.

Kym Tuvim is a winner: voice, songs, production. I am gonna keep an eye out for a solo visit to CT. She's good and I need to hear her without the distractions of FRFF, camping, floods, tee-shirts, etc.

July 26, 2006

Building Brand Loyalty

This vignette takes place in a Subway sandwich shop, on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford, in fact. But its not about Subway, really.

I stopped in yesterday for a sandwich at lunchtime. There were a number of us in line - and at the head, three younger women who work at CVS (most likely, the one across the street, where I shop) - they were all wearing CVS work shirts. Well, one of the women was being a real pain in the neck about using a high value competitors coupon (D'Angelo's, as I recall) insisting that Subway had to honor it, insisting that another manager said she could, insisting that the Subway employees hand over their bag of coupons so she could go through it to find one like hers, insisting that they would go to D'Angelo's from now on (which was BS, cause they work across the street, the nearest D'Angelo's is down at Corbins Corner). It was not a simple exchange - she was arguing about it, questioning the integrity of the employee and the manager she had spoken to, being aggressive, condescending, nasty. Meanwhile, a line of patrons started to form, perhaps 15 deep at the end, all of us waiting and inconvenienced by this woman's bullheadedness.

At one point, I turned to the woman behind me and said "Makes you want to switch to Walgreen's, eh?" which got a laugh all down the line (Walgreen's recently opened a store across from CVS at the old Elm Theater location)

Not sure what the lesson is. Take your competitors coupons to CVS, just to be difficult, maybe. If you are gonna hire aggressive, angry people, do not let them out of the store at lunchtime in your company uniform. Go to Walgreens.

I dunno, I know people who just have this superior attitude that rubs retail workers the wrong way. But usually they come with bona fides - politicos, professionals, celebrities. One would think that being on the received end of retail drudgework would make one a bit more sympathetic. Or perhaps its a bullying thing - she gets shit all day at work and by god she is gonna hand some out at lunchtime, to detox.

In any case, it was both annoying, as well as darkly amusing and thought-provoking.

Back to the Grind

The FRFF glow (which is equal parts fatigue and catharsis) is wearing off. I kept my wristband on until Tuesday afternoon, after yoga. It felt like I took yoga to Falcon Ridge and then I brought Falcon Ridge to yoga, so it was kind of a closed circle. We've been slowly chipping away at the piles: laundry, camping gear, CD's to be listened to.

Monday was work and Jazzercise, Tuesday was work and yoga and WNBA. The rest of the week - work, mentoring, life.

We have a busy stretch with the Connecticut Sun - with games Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Last night, the Mystics played pretty tight until the first few minutes of the 3rd quarter, when the Sun pulled ahead for good and it was a route towards the end. Although there seemed to be a very agressive game going on - not sure if the Mystics were just in a real feisty mood, and even when the game seemed put away, they were fouling, hustling, being pernicious.

Erin Philips seems to finally be coming into her own, with 19 pts / 6 RBs / 4 three-pointers. What a dynamo! My production buddy Chris and I were discussing the Sun - Nykesha seems to be slowing down, and Ashja seems to realize its time to step up if she wants a starting role. Taj also seems to have lost a step, I think the WNBA season tends to grind away at the women. In any case, I'll be down at the MoSun a lot the next 7 days.

Other than that, same old same old. A lot of work to catch up on. A family reunion down in PA on Saturday - we are taking Southwest down to Baltimore and driving up to Lancaster Saturday morning, repeating the process on Sunday. Ick. But so often the family reunion overlaps with Falcon Ridge; the one year it does not I want to try to get there, and my uncles and aunts are getting older - so would be nice to see them all.

July 24, 2006

2006 Falcon Ridge Wrap Up

Well, we're back and its time for a little wrap up. I could not sleep - the pile of stuff to do brought me to early consciousness, as did the body aches, need for a shower, and my body's 4 nights training that 6 hours of fitful sleep is sufficient. So, I blog! (and drink some delicious coffee, after 5 days of campside percolation and staff kitchen mud!)

The Framework
First, the skeleton on which to hang my vignettes. As blogged, Zippy was day-to-day with regard to FRFF. I took off early on Wednesday, arriving in Hillsdale before noon. Zippy decided to come and showed up around 4 pm on Friday. Wednesday - Friday were pretty great, with sun and warmth. We awoke Saturday to gray, which became rain in the morning. It misted / rained / was cloudy for over 24 hours, Saturday through Sunday @ 1:00 pm. Saturday about 3 pm, the heavens let loose with a downpour of biblical proportions. More on that later. We packed up Sunday morning, and after working our 1 - 3 pm shift, took off. It was a hard weekend for me, but it was really hard on Zippy, and she needed to get home.

The New Site
After 14 or so years on Bob Brennan's Long Hill Farm (sold, and now rumored to be owned by some principals in Clear Channel), the festival moved to Dodd's Farm, still in Hillsdale, 5 miles north on Rte. 22. Incredible to me how well the festival nestled into the new site - all of the main stages and tents were laid out nearly identical to the old site. Big differences: The workshop stage was a bit more remote, there was no camping near the dance stage (dance friends were inconvenienced), the midways and vendor areas were larger and more spread out. There was more camping available, and more trees, so that more sheltered and remote campsites could be found. Day parkers did not have to cross busy Rte. 23. But, assuming the owners can live with the festival's disruption and impact on the land, and the festival can iron out some of the issues that arose this year - yeah. Incredible find. There were many times I forgot it was not the old site.

Tee Shirts
I volunteer on the Tee Shirt crew. Not a lot new there. The tent was about the same. We had a lighter crew this year, but no serious staff issues, all good workers. Jodi and Ellen were a little sticter in terms of volunteers (keeping attendance at set-up and tear down) and that helped. We also had less stock to sell - between an extra day of music, perhaps light pre-ticket sales that drove a lighter than usual tee-shirt order, and the rain which drove some sales on replacement shirts, we were wiped out by Saturday, and Sunday, sold the dregs. If I ran the world (or the crew), there were some things I might do different (a bit more anal retentive prep work and organization, a bit more attention to what sold out when to aide in next year), but I do not. Things ran fine, Ellen and Jodi do a good job. It's a great crew to work on.

Yoga
Despite leaving my yoga music loaded MP3 player at home, I hit the mat, on the dance tent floor, 3 out of 4 mornings. (and I was ready to go on Sunday morning, but I found that there might be Saturday night festical refugees (more later) camped out there, so I decided to stay in bed). I ended up doing postures for close to an hour each day, nothing formal or rigorous, kind of a combination of a gentle practice (to work out the kinks) with some sun salutations (to work up some heat) and some John inspired standing sequences (flowy). A combination of intellectual memory, muscle memory, and intuition based on listening to my body, I guess.

There were a few others out there with me, usually I was up and at 'em about 30 minutes before others, so I practiced alone. But on Friday morning, I became aware of the security person coming off an overnight shift at the dance tent mirroring my practice at the other end of the tent (just vaguely aware; its a big tent and I practiced without my glasses). But as I walked off the floor, he put his hands together and bowed. On Saturday, I was more conscious of him, and afterwards he came over to talk. He was new to yoga, and liked following me; I was not doing anything particularly strenuous or requiring super flexibility, yet I was moving through postures at a steady pace that worked for him. He thanked me for the experience.

I walked back to the campsite glowing. I have been practicing for about a year, and have felt like a student - pulling energy and wisdom from those above me. Now, I feel like I am part of a chain, with those I can learn from, and those I can give back to.

Yoga was a real plus this year. Always an early riser at the fest, it gave me something to do in the morning while my site mates slept. And it really seemed to lubricate the joints and relax the muscles - tired from sun, from walking and standing, from sleeping in a tent, from festival food and libations, and from long days.

Flood
The aforementioned 3 pm Saturday downpour was a mess. The site drainage was not great (despite a year of work by the site crew folks and organizers) and a small river ran through the festival grounds. In tee-shirts, we had 3-6" of water on the floor, which quickly turned to mud. Similar stream to mud transitioned occured in the midway, across two major access routes to the main stage, and through lower camping. It was a huge mess. At the old site, plenty of hay was available and spread to soak up the water. At the new site, there was less of it around, so a lot more mud.
Photo courtesy of Mary, one of the denizens of Camp Fudgie
In tee shirts, we battened down the hatches. Shoes were removed, and we walked in mud to our ankles for a few hours (not great for the feet, rocks and sharp corn / hay stalks being under the water and mud). It was a real mess. Our campsite was not flooded, but my pricey new dining fly / shelter collapsed due to water buildup (a couple of judicious slices with a knife to provide some drainage would have saved it - my bad) we were on shift so could not save things during the storm. The frame was a total loss. Next year, 2x4's, a big tarp, and big ass ropes and stakes, and nothing less! And hopefully, some lessons learned in terms of site drainage and having hay on hand.

And watching those with disabilities (lot of manual and power wheelchairs, but also crutches and canes) slogging through the mud, its hard to feel all that sorry for yourself.

Fire
Early Sunday morning, a vehicle in upper camping caught fire. No idea as to the cause (initial rumors of fireworks seem unfounded, rumor is an electrical fire, but really, a candle, lantern, cigarette, joint, camp stove, or heater could have been involved). A van and a pop up trailer were destroyed, another car rumored to be damaged, and the firetruck backed up into a third vehicle. It was all the talk on site on Sunday.

The good news - nobody seriously hurt. All the rain left things soggy, so the fire was confined to a small area - it could have been much much worse. Lot of smoke and chaos at 3 am, and most of the campers in the area were evacuated to the dance stage (hence no sunday morning yoga). I ran into people in various bandages, crutches and slings - related to the evacuation and fire panic. I was aware of a fire glow outside my tent (quite distant from the conglagration) but our adjacent neighbors in that direction had a campfire going in a metal grill - I assumed they had simply added a log and the fire had flared up.

Cowboys
Apparently, the crisis was handled well by security and senior volunteer crew who were up. My crew chief Ellen was in the middle of it (she briefed me early Sunday, handed over the keys, and slept in). But throughout the day I kept overhearing snippets of conversations that ended up "You should have woken me up, I wanted a piece of the action" - festival cowboys. I guess it was pretty damn exciting. Thank the festival gods it was not worse, nobody died, and nobody was more seriously injured.

Music
Truth be told, I rarely sit in front of the stages at Falcon Ridge. If I really want to see someone, I do, but between work and socializing and stuff - well, its enough to be immersed in the place. We hear stuff from the tee-shirt tent, or from the campsite, or from the staff kitchen.

I ended up picking up 4 CD's - Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams (Flapjacks from the Sky), Cheryl Wheeler (Defying Gravity), Kym Tuvim (On the Mend), and Girlyman (Little Star). I did not buy music last year (broke) but this year I had some money. And I generally like to freshen and flesh out my folkie collection - which has stagnated a bit from days of Gorka, Morrissey, Larkin, Brown.

Gandalf: Just fun, and we really liked the slower stuff they played on mainstage
Cheryl: I always love her stuff, she makes me cry at least 2 times per set or disk
Kym: Just a hunch, I like her voice, I like the things I've heard. She deserves to sell a few CD's
Girlyman: I meant to get something last year. They have a new disk out. Fun and queerish.

July 23, 2006

Back from the Folk Fest

Much to write but too tired and in need of a shower, and returned home to a huge backlog (1050 emails, 8 reports to write, 3 reports to review, a bunch of projects picking up speed, and a chairperson's brief to compose) so do not expect a lot soon.....suffice it to say it was Falcon Ridge in all its fun and frustration, with the added benefit of a downpour and impromptu river and a 1/2 day of 3" deep mud.....

More later....

July 19, 2006

What's in Your Ears?

I've been dancing around the house all morning, my MP3 player hanging around my neck. Getting into bouncy folk fest mode. Here's whats on my player:

Yoga Music: Enya (The Celts), Acoustic Alchemy (The New Age), and Krisna Das. I do not really have official yoga music, so I figure one or all of these will suffice if I hot the mat during the fest. I've gotten enchanted (heh heh, pun) with Kirtan, and the Krisna Das is very cool for getting me into a sort of trancey space.

Hugh Blumenfeld (Mozart's Money): I'm listening right this second, and I come to appreciate how wonderful an artist he is; this particular album is stellar. Maybe I'll cross paths this weekend if he / wife / kids are at the fest.

Kate Callahan (The Greatest of Ease): I'm not an addict of her music (yet) but I am definitely an addict of her energy and vibe. So Kate in the ears is always a treat, if only for the warm fuzzies. The stuff she played live on the radio recently seems to be a bit edgier, and I like that. Looking forward to new work from her.

Richard Shindell (Live): What can I say. Richard can make a lesbian fall hard. His music is wonderful. Kenworth of My Dreams got me dancing this morning.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Heh. From raucous to queer to delicate, Hedwig continues to entertain.

Jennifer Warnes (Bird on a Wire): I dunno, it was on there, and I left it on there. One can never have too much Leonard Cohen, and Ms. Warnes does such a nice job of interpreting his music.

Jane Bolduc (Misc): I threw some Jane on there cause yanno, you never know when there might be a moment to network and sell. You never know, I'd love to plant a few seeds that might grow for her. And its nice to have her along at the folk fest.

Gendertalk: I burned a couple of recent episodes I have not listened to yet, just in case I get bored! Kate Bornstein is in one of 'em, and I am bringing along her new book (I bought three copies, one for me and two for friends)

In my ears....

Camellias

We have a camellia plant (bush?) poking up from a crack between our back porch and the side of the house. It's been there for years, is fairly prolific, and is presently in flower. Quite nice, visually, and scentish. It's also, apparently, crack for dogs. Elo and Callie rush outside like kids running for the ice cream truck, and snarf up any blossoms that have fallen, and jump for any within reach. It's kind of funny, they are usually not all that interested in stuff (except squirrels and other small creatures known collectively as "kitty") But damn, those camellia blossoms must be good!

In other news, the heat wave broke with a night of thunderstorms - loud and a bit rainy but not so close (judging by the time between flashes and booms). We were holed up in the bedroom with the AC and the dogs, Elo and Melina fretting during the storm, the normally skittish Callie fairly oblivious. After a few waves (one at around 10:00 pm, the other around 1:30 am) it has calmed and cooled, and I turned off the A/C, opened some windows, and turned on some fans.

Mostly packed for the folk fest. I am missing one of my favorite festival dresses (will make one final look this morning), and need to pack the lesbian land ark, which I may be taking. (need to check with Zippy, I think she is planning some remodeling while I am away and may want the truck) I loaded some contemplative new-age-y things (Enya, Acoustic Alchemy, and Durgas Das) into the MP3 player (along with existing works by Richard Shindell, Hugh Blumenfeld, Kate Callahan, Jennifer Warnes, Jane Bolduc, and two hours of internet radio from a show I am behind on). My rough goal is yoga each morning at the folk fest; perhaps the MP3 player will work out suitably configured like a wireless mic or broadcast earpiece.

I am up this early because the Falcon Ridge Folk Festical is like christmas to my inner 12 year old kid. I AM EXCITED AND CANNOT SLEEP!

I might try a new yoga place this morning - Shiva Shakti Yoga over at the Alchemy Juice Bar. No particular reason (I remain smitten with West Hartford Yoga) - they just have a convenient to today 7:30 am class that fits in with my folk fest plans - WHY's 9:30 class would not get me on the road until close to noon.

July 18, 2006

Summer Clothes

I have too many clothes. Here it is mid-July and I just dug out a bin of summer things: white / beige denims, capri pants, athletic shorts. I was running around in last nights insufferable heat in a tank top and panties (Zippy calls 'em Gatkes, which is more properly yiddish for long or winter underwear)- I knew the shorts were around somewhere, so I finally dug 'em out. I also found a bin of T-shirts - damned if I know how I have acquired so many tee's. Too many decades, too many genders, I guess.

The folk fest packing is coming along. I think I've done all the shopping. Soda, water, hard lemonade and beer (mostly left over from the Gemini Party). Snack matter: coffee, granola / breakfast bars, goldfish, chips, tootsie pops, twizzlers. Health care: sunscreen, bandaids, antibiotic ointment (for my gashed finger, healing up nicely). Camping gunk: some odd carabieners, extra tent stakes, a tent repair kid, propane, lantern mantles. WAY too much stuff for one person.

Too Hot

It's 2:23 am and I am awake. Drinking a glass of ice water and noshing on an english muffin and camped out in front of a fan struggling yo blow outside air in. It's pretty freaking miserable out. Will try for more sleep in a bit.

Not a bad day yesterday. Hot yoga in the am, some work. A newish client came to visit and we met for a few hours then had dinner (Corner Pug, yum, I had a salmon in parchment thing that was delicious!) I am working to clean up some things and get a few projects kicked into gear before heading out to the folk fest Wed - Sun.

No final decision on the Zipster, although she is leaning towards staying home. We are very different, I am pollyanna, with an optimism that is perhaps foolhardy. She is darker, often less likely to open herself so quickly. So I can understand she is seeing the darker side of the folk fest, and has a lot more issues with the discomfort and health aspects.

I guess my folk fest experience is a lot like yoga. There might be moments of discomfort and struggle, but there are enough moments of transcendence and light to make it worthwhile. Moments when I sit in a field, look up at the stars, feel the goodness and warmth of humanity around me, and feel at home in the world. That moment is worth a lot of discomfort for me.

July 16, 2006

Burlington to Collinsville

I skipped yoga this morning in favor of some bicycling with the Zipster (we're having quite the little couples weekend). We did the lesbian "let's talk about it for a while" thing before settling on a bike ride; I found a great little state of CT web resource here that has nice single page sheets on various greenways and multi-use trails. We ended up parked along Rte 4 in Burlington; with a wonderfully shaded and cathedral-like trail that goes up into Canton / Collinsville.

Really a wonderful little outing; we might have ventured south from the parking lot just to see where it goes but Zippy's knees were a little sore - although it seems like it might not get to far before the trail runs out. But it's a lot more scenic and destination-ish than the Farmington canal trails in Cheshire and north from Framington. I can see a day trip (when its cooler) that ends with ice cream or lunch up in Collinsville.

Last night, we went to visit newfriends D&J - a couple of lesbian movies (Laughing Matters and Saving Face) both of which were fun. A friend of theirs dropped by, making it a five-some. Somehow, we have begun to network with womyn, much to both of our surprise.

Friday night, we netflix'd Vera Drake, a wonderfully made, sobering movie, with a very sensitive treatment of an abortionist. I am glad they brought up the difference in class and privilege (with the young society woman who was raped by a suitor able to obtain an abortion through official channels). Rest assured, if the conservative goals to limit or outlaw abortion come to fruition, the privileged daughters of the political and business classes will still have access to abortions, either by crossing state or country lines, or through private, pricey, and discreet medical services.

July 15, 2006

FRFF 2006: Proof of Concept

Assembled the basics of Camp Jude for the upcoming folk fest. After 14 years of various versions of the inexpensive dining fly (two different versions, with various poles and add-on roped to keep things tied down, culminating in last year's cobbled together mess made up of 3/4" PVC which barely stayed standing), I purchased an official steel frame, easy to assemble 10' x 10' dining fly. Woo-hoo.

Today, I put the new dining tarp up (a one person job, although two would make it go easier) and ensured that I had stakes to fit. Next, I put up my old (14 years!) Hillary tent that I'll be using, assuming the Zipster is cancelling. (we bought a large deluxe tent a few years back, in great shape, but its a bit over the top for me if I am solo) A bit of duct tape on the one corner with the hole / rip, but it will be fine. And finally, a 10 x 20 tarp, secured to the dining fly on one end and two 2x3 wood poles with some ropes on the other, and I have a tent cover.

May need a bit of reinforcement to tie down the new fly, but I am looking solid, infrastructure-wise, for the first time in a few years. Tomorrow maybe, start to pack and do a provisioning run.

Lyme Disease

Living in Connecticut and being somewhat sporty and outdoorsy, one thinks of Lyme Disease. Both of my good balloon friends have had it. Another friend from down in Ivoryton has had it 4 times. So far, I seem to have escaped.

However, being 45 years old, and tossing my sorry rear end around on a yoga mat and at jazzercise 4-5 times a week, I am not sure if I would be able to discern the acute symptoms from my general aches and pains from exercising a lot without a lot of down time to recover.

Just saying.

All dressed up and no place to go

I just woke BB up. He bagged his flight this morning - fog in the valley and the passengers backed out last night. Ick. So I got up (usual time) and am dressed (unusual) as I waited for his call. In future - please call. I would have rather been woken up at 11 pm, but stayed in bed this morning. Just as well, this is the time of year when you end up dripping in sweat as you pack up the balloon at 7:30 am. I guess I get to go to Jazzercise instead.

In other news, I sliced the crap out of my finger yesterday - stupidly prying apart frozen hamburger patties with the grill spatula. Ow. I have a large gauze and tape bandage on said finger now (left index) - the bandage looks almost comical. I probably should have gone for stitches but I figured pressure and time would heal it just as well. (I am sort of a stubborn anti-medical establishment sort in some ways) Maybe a walk in clinic would have been OK but the ER - no thanks. I assume this is gonna negate guitar and bouzouki playing at the upcoming folk fest :(

Speaking of folk fest, Zippy is on the fence. Her belly has been acting up, mandating bathroom trips soon after eating. So the thought of Falcom Ridge porta-potties (both the availability there-of and the cleanliness of same), along with the heat, rain, sleeping, etc are making her reconsider. She has gone from "no" back to "maybe" - let's call it day-to-day right now.

Yesterday, I took a few hours after yoga to clean up the front porch gutters (not the high ones, we have no ladder) and also cut the lawn (back). Work has been kind of slow - I have some things cooking, but I spent a lot of this week compiling a list of projects from 1995 - 2005. (for marketing / website purposes, and for my own records). Impressing the heck out of myself, really, and a kind of fun trip down memory lane as I recall a specific site, technical issue, travel incident, or site engineer.

Later today, we are heading up to visit D&R, our dyke friends from the film fest. Cookout, I believe, we are bringing desert, and lesbian movies have been promised. I am kind of liking spending time with them. I have sort of experienced that age is often more of an issue than identity, in terms of GLBT acceptance and affiliation - and I imagine they have had a similar experience (having come out when they were older). And its fun to have it be not about me and my issues for a change.

July 13, 2006

Still Alive

Well, despite it not being all that busy, I'm still kind of swamped. Where did the week go?

The "document the past decade" project has been hard to finalize - between pulling old documents out of zip files and archives, and just getting reminiscent about the technical details and issues. Damn, I've done a lot over the past decade, and remarkably, the archives are pretty much intact. As I scroll through the archives, I find old documents I forgot about - memo's, faxes, reports. One of these days I'll organize it all.

The paper is coming along - nothing earth shattering as yet. I've gotten a good framework in place and I know my major points. Just a matter of how deep I will be going and how much I will rely on existing graphics / case material, and how much I will recreate or redo.

Back and forth to Bristol tonight. MYA came over and we had dinner at the Corner Pug.
Hit the mat yesterday and with any luck, tomorrow. Hanging out with friends on Saturday after Jazzercise. Not sure whats up Sunday. Probably should think about cleaning the gutters and packing for Falcon Ridge.

July 11, 2006

Summer Haircut 2006

I think the most apt description is PERKY

Geeks in the Mist

I popped into my office on Sunday night to do a couple of quick invoices and pick something up. As I was leaving, I found a slew (bevy? flock? small army?) of young 'uns, loud, boisterous, full of life, had descended upon the facility and were in the process of unloading a box truck. We have had a few churches and things here; I assumed it was some sort of church youth group or civis organization dropping off the booty for a forth-coming tag sale, although I did notice a car with queerish bumper stickers in the lot.

Turns out ConnectiCon, a gamers / anime / webcomic / Cosplay* convention that has been in existance since 2003, was held this past weekend in Hartford at the convention center, and apparently has offices or stores stuff here in the building. What I witnessed was the end of conference pack up.

I only know this because I stumbled across a program book at the reception desk last week (thought someone had just left it by mistake) but today I noticed a stack of them, and asked Rose the receptionist about it.

Go them. Heh. Matt, if you pop into the offices during working hours, stop by and say hi.

* I had recently described this as a "furry" convention, but its more accurate to say cosplay. For furry fun in Connecticut, go here.

Anticipation

It's somewhat of a waiting week. The last two weeks in July will be cr-a-a-a-a-zy, with a 5-day folk festival (July 19-23), three WNBA games the week after, and a family reunion on Saturday July 29, sandwiched in between Friday / Sunday WNBA games and requiring air travel (direct Southwest flight into Baltimore).

Meanwhile, I'm catching up on stuff. I'm doing a paper for a conference in October; the paper and presentation material are due mid-August, so its time to crank that out. Nothing rocket scientist-ish, but its needs to be done. I'll glom a few case studies out of my archives, and gussy them up.

In between work tasks this week, I've been going through my archives, and creating a summary document of all my major trips and projects over the past 10 years, sorted by year. I've been self-employed since the start of 1995 (Dec 1994, to be exact), and I've been on a lot of trips and worked on a lot of major projects - they tend to run together. A few weeks ago I was talking to someone on the phone about some work I had done, which I had described as "a few years back" - they were talking as if this were something I had just finished up for them. Turns out it was way back in 1999. So I thought it would be a good idea to put together a sort of CV, both to put the past decade in perspective, and to document the types of work and projects I have been involved in, from a sales / marketing perspective. If nothing else, it will be a nice document to have on my website for people to see what I do.

I've always been a little reluctant to document my work - as a consultant, I work with pretty much every major player in my industry, and I've often thought that if people knew exactly how connected I was to competitors, there might be some concern. But, hell, its been 10 years, the breadth of my work is pretty amazing from a credibility and continuity point of view, and if people do not know that I have worked for pretty much everyone at some point, they are not paying attention.

On a personal note, I hurt a friend on Sunday with my big mouth. Zippy and I tend to be a little (OK, a lot) irreverent and nasty with each other. We treat each other pretty harshly, and we talk trash about the world at large pretty much non-stop. We've got pretty tough skins, and when we do cross the line with each other, we're pretty good at communicating that, and not taking it personally. Our personal history is filled with things we have said to each other that are incredibly cruel and hurtful, but have become inside jokes.

But sometimes our closer friends get caught up in our nastiness, inadvertantly. My kneejerk reaction - close-up, pull back, withdraw, shut-up, put forward the pretense of politeness and civility - is not all that healthy. I'm still pulling at the strings to figure out my own root dysfunction here, but I'm feeling like crap about the situation, and its colored my mood for the past 36 hours or so.

Yesterday - work, jazzercise. Today - haircut, work, telecon, dinner with Zippy. Tomorrow - zap and a support group meeting. No yoga til Thursday. Boo.

Speaking of Jazzercise, I'm under the gun to get in 9 more classes before Labor Day, to get my "100 Club" tee-shirt. I have 3 of them so far (which means I have been working with this particular class / instructor for 4 years! And I was doing Jazzercise for a year or so before that with another instructor. Damn it seems like only yesterday that I walked into the facility for the first time, Paula came up to me afterwards and commented "Well, I can tell you've done this before"). Anyway, back to the 100 Club. I am perversely proud of having gotten to 100 classes in 2003 / 2004 / 2005 despite some rather complicated medical stuff going on during those years that had me on the sidelines for a few months. Last year I think I had 10 classes by the end of May. This year, yoga has stolen my heart a bit.

9 more classes should be pretty doable, but yanno, between the folk fest and WNBA games and yoga and life, it might be tight. But I'll do it, even if yoga drops back into 2nd place for a month or so......

July 09, 2006

Splinter

My left foot has been bugging me. It felt like a splinter maybe, or a bit of cracked skin, or an irritation. I've been slowly gaining awareness of it over the past 48 hours or so.

With yoga looming this morning, the thought of going into my practice with this sort of a "pebble in my shoe" was a bit of a concern. So I sat down with a tweezer, curled my leg up, and looked at the bottom of my foot. My yoga helps there.... (not sure I could have examined the sole (soul?) of my foot a year ago)

I discovered a clear thread - maybe 1/2" long, embedded 1/4" into the sole of my foot below my 4th toe. The rest of the thread stuck out - easily grabbed and extracted. Not 100% sure what it is - a dog hair (seems about right) or maybe some monofilament from a carpet or fabric?

My foot feels better, and I am pretty sure I will not be aware of it when I practice later this morning. I am stuck by how something so seemingly small and insignificant as a thread can generate such disruption, how something so flimsy and pliable could have worked its way into the callous of my foot.

There is wisdom here.

July 08, 2006

Wow, what a comeback!

The CT Sun were down at the half. WAY down. Phoenix was up 46 - 29, and things did not look good. Nykesha did not play (injury) and nobody was hitting hoops. The Mohegan Sun Arena sold out - thanks to Diana Taurasi. And it looked like things were not gonna get better.

And then they did. Douglas started hitting three's (3 for 8). Taj was getting rebounds (12) and scoring off them (21 pts). Lindsay was driving. Ashja was playing hard, scoring big (18 pts), getting rebounds (11). As the 3rd quarter closed - the Sun had come within 5, 65-60. By the end of the 4th, they had pulled ahead and stayed ahead for a 82-77 final.

It's always great to have a full house with a former U-Conn star visiting. I always get the feeling that some sizable percentage of the crowd are not really CT Sun fans, they come for the alumni, but I think some of them catch the fever during the game. Certainly, by the end, there were a lot of Sun fans screaming and chanting.

The Mercury rookie phenom Cappy Poindexter did not repeat her 35 points from the previous game (she was held to 10, and had a technical called on her for what appeared to be language as the 3rd quarter ended. Diana Taurasi got her points (25) and played well, but just could not hold off the momentum.

GREAT GAME. Nykesha has been hurting for a bunch of games, so its good to see the Sun pull up some mojo for thios sort of comeback without her.

July 07, 2006

Sun Win a Squeaker

The Charlotte Sting refused to lie down, and played the CT Sun tight all the way to the end. The score was ties with about a minute to play. It was a nail biter. The production crew (normally kind of chill about it all) was pounding the tables in back and screaming DE-FENSE.

Props to Charlotte for hanging tough, playing with pride. They hustled the whole time, dogged the Sun guards. Nykesha was not up to par, her hip must still be hurting, or she's just not quite back yet (although she did finally score!), but the rest of the Sun took up the slack. Lindsay looked great, Taj and KT were right there, Margo even put the ball onto the floor a few times (once in the back-court, and the gasp was audible). Ashja was quiet. The officiating seemed to be pretty bad.

Gonna need a lot more on Saturday against Phoenix and Diana Taurasi.... (although maybe we should just chain someone to Cappie Pondexter, who scored 35 against Detroit last night)

My Voice Heard

Bruce and Colin opened up with Rep. John Larson yesterday. Rep. Larson came on to prop up Joe Lieberman, and pitched a sort of "look at all the years of service" angle, with a bit of a concern about "outsiders (Daily KOS and MoveOn.org) influencing the election" compaint, and finally a "you need to ask, why has Sen. Lieberman become a target?"

Colin took care of #2 pretty well, talking about Lieberman's war chest which I am sure came for the most part from parties outside the state. But #3 pissed me off. So I called. First caller of the day. From Exit 80 off 395, for the record (I was en route to a WNBA gig at the casino), and WTIC had dropped out of range by then. But I called anyway.

Yanno, I've lived in Connecticut nearly 25 years. I've voted in every election. And almost invariably - my vote is meaningless at the national level. The state almost always goes for the Democrat at the presidential level, and the last election proved that the popular vote does not matter. I've probably voted Green / third party more than anything, just to make a statement, since the state has been a lock for the Dems. (This practice started in 1980, my first presidential vote was cast for John B. Anderson) Both senatorial positions have been writ in stone since Lieberman overthrew Weicker in 1988 (a year in which I voted for Lieberman, sorry Mr. Weicker, my bad - I remember (and was sucked in) by the bear ads, although I am glad you went on to become Governor - how long has it been since the state was shut down for budgetary reasons?) Rowland had the gubernatorial seat locked up for the better part of a decade, although I gamely voted for Bill Curry or another Dem. And while the Representatives have been a bit more fluid (especially since we lost a couple), they too are often well entrenched, and my voice has been muted, voting in Waterbury and Hartford.

So....when you are pissed off, I mean, really really angry about the things that are happening at the national level, what do you do?
* When your country instigates an immoral war?
* When your country goes into debt up to its eyeballs a mere decade after Democratic leadership seemed to have gotten the deficit under control?
* When the pro energy / industry / business republicans are ignoring global warming?
* When working class and middle class people are coming home in body bags and wheelchairs?

You write letters, you protest, you toss a few figurative molotov cocktails. And you vote. What has Sen. Lieberman done for me?

* Supported the administration's war
* Enabled the administration's neglect of the deficit and the planet
* Run for national office while hedging his career bets by staying on the senatorial ticket
* Been seriously discussed for a cabinet position in the Republican white house
* Popped up on Imus innumerable times to suck up to a national audience
* Got sanctimonious about moral issues
* Went to bat for defense industry jobs in CT, while other industries flee

Am I a typical angry voter? I dunno. I do know there is a Ned Lamont sign on my lawn, and a Ned Lamont sticker on my car. I do know I've sent some money. I do know I'll do what it takes. It took me 20 years to get passionate about something in government. And will Ned Lamont in office make a ton of difference, all things considered? Probably not. But dammit, short of moving to Canada, there's not much else I can do to get my voice heard about how angry and offended I am about the things that are happening in Washington DC, how my government is representing me. Except try to overthrow the one person on my slate of candidates who supports the war. Joe Lieberman. Buh-bye.

And Rep. Larson, Sen. Lieberman has had a distinguished career in government and has done a lot for the state. So did this guy. Should I vote for him too?

July 05, 2006

How Did You Find Me Here?

Sitemeter provides the 4-1-1 on the terms people have been searching for that led them into this little lair of cosmic perturbation:

* "tapa's corner"
* waterbury
* hot basil-West Hartford (a perennial favorite, I ought to get a finder's fee)
* Jazzercise West El Paso (hey! I been there!)
* "By my life be I spirit" (a little Ferron)
* terry rand (I ought to get a CD, Peter Anthony madness)
* West Hartford "Hot Basil" (again)
* ferron trans (must be the camp trans kids, or the festies)
* "hot basil" thai hartford (I tell you, you pay good money for these kind of google rankings)
* tuvan (I blame Zippy)
* bare feet (I blame yoga)
* Hot Basil Thai west hartford (cough)
* lindsey whalen (yeah, baby! She has her own blog, yanno)
* "hot basil"+"west hartford" - send Pad Thai
* "emmet hale" (more Peter Anthony madness)

Now that I have relisted all of these terms, I should end up with a nice mobius strip of search engine madness. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Laptop Fixed

Darned if I know how. It was messed up this afternoon, both at work and when I brought it home. It's working now. In between, I did not use it much. I did peel off the "[" key and put it back. Maybe I bent the PCB a little or something.

Anyway, I'm back up to full strength, in terms of ability to annoy, kvetch, ponder, and stir the pot.

By Way of Sorrow

The past few days, I have been humming By Way of Sorrow, written by Julie Miller, and covered by Dar / Richard / Lucy, harmonizing as Cry, Cry, Cry.

Those of us who have come by way of sorrow know each other. There is a silent communication passed through the eyes, and confirmed with a quiet smile. We need not say more, we recognize the signs. Simply knowing there is communion there is sufficient.

I know you. You know me.

A Field of White

I look to my dry-erase calendar today and see....nothing. A blank slate. A welcome respite. I'm working, of course, with a few reports pending, a trip to the post office and I'll probably go to Jazzercise tonight. But no appointments, meetings, games, trips, or places to be, people to meet, etc. Nice.

Weekend/holiday was pretty nice. We got in some biking (around Newington) and some hiking (Glastonbury) and some scenery (Elizabeth Park, roses in full bloom) and some socializing (women we met at the G/L film fest). I got in some exercise (Jazzercise on Monday, Yoga on Tuesday) and some fun (Ballooning in Saturday). All in all, a relaxing time.

Yoga was a treat. The owner of the local studio led a packed holiday class. And she is really wonderful; her holiday / seasonal classes are always special. I kind of feel like I am climbing the mountain, yoga wise, and down at the lower elevations I am perfectly happy with the instructors I am working with, but every so often, I get the chance to work with her and its inspirational. I feel like "someday I am gonna be ready to work with her more regularly"; I can not imagine it would be anything but intense, and I do not feel ready. But its definitely something to look forward to. But not *too* forward too; trying to live in the present and all.

That being said, I roused from a deep Savasana yesterday with a complimentary insight to this one. That is, one day I will lie down for a final Savasana. But I will also wake, reborn in some way. It was a joyous realization - a knowing that there is more. I just now (searching my blog for the link) realized that my previous realization also came at the end of one of this woman's sessions. It's like hitting the mat with her is a taste of the divine - a diet perhaps too rich for me right now to live on, but an essential stuff of life nevertheless.

July 03, 2006

Hiatus

Been kind of slow on the uptake recently. Two reasons:
a) I am deep into "Until I Find You" by John Irving. Never one to short-change his readers, this one is no exception, at 800+ pages. It's pretty great, so far.

b) My laptop keyboard is messed up, with a bunch of keys multiple functioning.

b)( My ;laoptpoop keybpoard is messed upo, with a bunch pof keys mu;ltipo;le functiponing.\

See what I mean?

Unpatriotic

The self employed are working today. At least, I am.

It's the start of July / end of June, so I am doing my monthly invoices, cranking out a few reports, doing some backing up and archiving. My office is still a mess, but you do what you can. Far from caught up, but I got a lot done.

Of course, there is a cranking downpour / thunderstorm (BOOM!) out there, so I am not going home any time soon. When I do get home, I have Jazzercise, and a screen door to re-screen that the dogs have trashed.

On the icky side, my laptop keyboard is flaky, with a couple of columns of keys that are double clicking (type "o", and you get "op", type "l", and you get "l;")

July 02, 2006

Jazzercise or Yoga

Sunday morning exercise angst

Jazzercise-pro: It's all paid for, I buy a monthly pass. I did not go for my usual yesterday (ballooning). I've been getting there about once a week, last went on Monday.

Jazzercise-con: It's likely to be a ball class, my knees are a little shaky from bike-riding yesterday.

Yoga-pro: Sunday morning yoga is especially spiritual, being on Sunday and all. There is a cadre of regulars, feels very community-ish. I think its John's week and I miss his classes.

Yoga-con: Pay as you go (via the class card), I can probably go on Monday morning.

July 01, 2006

At the Half

Connecticut Sun 35, Indiana Fever 32. Zippy and I are watching at home - kind of fun to watch the game on a real TV (instead of working it, watching a small monitor, and listening to headset chatter) and to share it with Zippy. Also, its kind of fun to watch the game, knowing what goes into the TV show production. The Sun looked not so good coming out, but have pulled it together. But its anyone's game at this point.

P.S. - Halfway through the 4th quarter, I just noticed that the Daktronics score at the top of the screen said PHX - Phoenix, not Indiana. Apparently the production crew noticed it too, cause the score disappeared for a minute and when it came back, it was IND. Whoops. Times like this it would be fun to be listening to the headset chatter....

P.P.S. - Must be mascot night in Indiana, I count 4 or 5 mascots running around in the wide shot during time-out....

P.P.P.S. - Final! Sun Win 76 to 66. Wahoo!

Up Up and Away

Got a balloon ride this morning, BB had lots of extra room in the basket (actually, I think I was neccesary ballast) and we took a reasonably long ride from Panthorn Park in Southington to Tupelo Place in Middletown. Google Earth shows the flight thus:

Actually, if you tilt the perspective down in Google Earth, and move from launch site to landing site using the cursors and rotational arrows, it does a pretty good job of getting the feel of the trip.

Not much to see beside green - we saw 4 deer (one loner, one family of two adults and a fawn). It always amazes me how forested this state is.

I did make one observation - watching birds in flight from above, they seem less like creatures of the heavens, and more like land animals that happen to fly a bit. It came to me how slim a strata of this planet supports life - and as a result, the flora and fauna seem all the more fragile.

A nice morning, defintely worth missing Jazz-x for.....