August 30, 2006

Destefano / Malloy Redux

I've blogged before about the Malloy campaign ads (with Destefano's head pasted onto women's bodies.

Lucius Ringwald from New Haven chimes in, courtesy of the New Haven Advocate editorial pages.

The War Tapes

A very thought provoking movie. At Real Art Ways through Sept 7th.

What's to say? The horrors of war - the dead combatants, the civilians caught in the cross-dire, the burned out and beat up vehicles. The surreallism of children playing and going to school mere feet from a machine gun position. The cynicism of the soldiers, angry about Haliburton, confident that we are fighting this thing over oil. Even the guy who's SUV at home sported the W sticker was pretty jaded when he got back. The evident PTSD, the wives and girlfriends comments that "He's changed", the reluctance to go talk to someone about it afterwards. You wonder if the relationships will endure.

What broke my heart most was Sergeant Bazzi - born in Lebanon, whose family fled to the USA to escape civil war, who became a citizen only after his tour in Iraq. Imagine our mission in Iraq had all of our troops been of his calibre and commitment, with Arabic language skills. As the other troops dehumanize the "Hajis" - he alone seeks connection, and for that his fellow soldiers joke about him being a traitor. I've read enough Tom Clancy to honor and be sympathetic to the professional soldier, to get where he is coming from. He says something like "the thing about the army is you can not always choose your war" and I can only imagine his heartbreak at being called to duty to fight in the middle east.

And Sergeant Pink - who writes at one point about being eager to kill an insurgent, but then refuses to kill a dog, come to pick at the bodies. One of the soldiers points out the different status of TNC's (Third Nation Civilians) in terms of armor, protection, treatment. So dehumanizing.

We drove home and thought of urban warfare - of Hartford as a war zone, with gunfire from apartment building, of bombs planted in garbage bins, of narrow streets being ideal for ambush.

Without doubt, this movie convinces me that whatever our motivations for being in Iraq, its time to get out. We own a small pack of dogs, and oftentimes, if there is trouble brewing, its only when we are there. The dogs sort it out for themselves when they are alone - but the addition of a dominant power (i.e. - Zippy or I) to the pack makes them struggle for position, and squabbling and injury might ensue. In Iraq, I suspect the bloodshed will end when we leave. And sadly, what was once a stabilizing counterbalance to the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, will probably become a more or less Iranian ally and potentially Islamic superstate once we leave.

Nice job, neo-cons. Again, its not the evilness of your tribe I object to. It's the stupidity.

August 29, 2006

The End of the Summer

And the colors are much brighter now, It's like they really want to tell the truth, We give our testimony to the end of summer, It's the end of summer, you can spin the light to gold.

Can it be almost a decade since Dar put these words to song? I remember the cover art - Dar standing in a sleeveless dress, mud up to her elbows. A woman who had been doing some serious work. More reason to love her.

Smart cookie, that Dar Williams. There is something about the light this time of year - the air is cleaner, and the angle of the light brings out these gorgeous golden colors. And it's getting to be that time of year again, with all that implies. There are days ahead that will seem absolutely perfect.

I am not really a summer person. The women at Jazzercise who tan have done so, and my pasty freckled white skin attests to my irish blood and my relative lack of sun this summer. Swimming? Once at my brothers. The lake? No. The beach? No. On the water? No. When I do get air, its 6:00 am on a balloon field, or a walk in the woods, or a bike ride. Autumn kind of things, even in July.

I've posted recently about catching up, and its that change in urgency that the end of the summer is all about. The lazy days, the malaise, the lack of energy are coming to an end. Its time to work again, the harvest is coming in, the winter is ahead, the heat and humidity are abating.

At 45, I am a person at the End of the Summer, in life too. More and more, I ponder death. Not really fearfully, but more expectantly - curious and respectful. I suspect that loved ones, elders of the next generation, will be dying at some point. I even anticipate death beginning to strike closer to home - friends and family of my era. We're getting to that age. And then too, it will visit me.

Can I tell you how much I love yoga, again? Each time I hit the mat, I practice for my own death. Savasana is such a welcome dying, a letting go, a taking it all in. If my afterlife contains a period of unconsciousness, and then I hear a voice saying gently "slowly come back into the room, back into your body, wiggle your fingers and your toes.....then roll onto your right side and gently push yourself up into a seated position" well. I'm gonna be grinning from ear to ear.

And I suspect I will be ready for the next practice......

August 28, 2006

Catching Up

This is supposed to be catch-up week. The Connecticut Sun seasion ended last night (else I would have had games to work on Wed and Fri). One of my time intensive clients is on vacation (so no work coming in this week, though I suspect I'll see a lot next week as he pushed the backlog out),

* I have a trip report to do following my Amarillo trip, probably in two stages (prelim first, final later)
* I have a paper to finish this week for the PQ conference
* I have two newish clients to get caught up on (important!)
* I have a few projects for another client that have been back burnber for a while
* I have a bunch of small website updates and changes for another client
* I have to clean my office
* I have to get my to do list and project board updated
* Get my end of the month invoicing done

So far today, I slept in (much needed following Wed-Fri travel and Sat / Sun WNBA games), got my WNBA invoices out, went through my email (over 500 new messgaes, most of which were JUNK filtered), and arranged to get my power analyzer back (its still in Amarillo)

Book Marketing

So I am driving East through Hartford on I-84 yesterday, en route to watching my beloved Connecticut Sun go down hard against the Detroit Shock..... and I drive past a mini-van that is all painted up like one of those promotional vehicles (you know, marketing beer or tequila or some consumer product)

However, this particular mini-van was plastered with promo material for an author Suzanne Brockmann and her book Into the Storm. She writes about Navy Seals, by the way, although thats not the point. It's just the first time I ever saw a book promotion vehicle.....and it apparently something she does regularly (from a previous book tour)

Secretly, I lust for a promo'd and painted up vehicle for my small business.

August 27, 2006

End of the Season

The Sun got walloped tonight. Just ran out of steam to a pumped up Detroit club. Katie Smith played like a woman possessed, the Sun had no real answers. It was a tough loss and a tough way to end the season.

On the other hand, I am kind of happy to have it over. I have a lot of catching up at my real job to do as the summer winds to a close.

A Thriller in Uncasville

OK, I wandered into the MoSun arena last night thinking it was gonna be the last time. The Detroit Shock have had the Sun's number all year, Katie was out with a broken bone in her foot, Nykesha had never really come back, and it was a good season, thanks for coming, see you next year.

And then - the Sun showed up. Katie somehow managed to play. Nykesha was taking the ball and putting it into the hoop. Everybody was firing on all cylinders. The Sun were back. The beat the Shock, 77 to 69.

Notable moments - watching Katie and Taj slapping hands and grinning from ear to ear after a great offensive connection. Erin Phillips drilling a couple of big shots, and taking a couple of hard hits to the floor. Margo pulling down the rebounds we all know she is supposed to get. Watching Nykesha play with her old confidence. Watching Taj and Asjha taking it down into the paint, and doubling up on shots, passes, rebounds - not always scoring (both of 'em still seem snakebit from close in) but still playing tough and confident hoops. Katie drilling an early three.

The game was a nail biter - they played close throughout the first half, and the Shock seemed to pull closer as the buzzer went off. Then into the third, the Sun opened up a 13 point lead - and then went flat. The Shock brought it within 3 and there were moments of doubt. But the Sun put the petal to the floor and pulled it out. It was notably that Detroit played hard to the very end - even when there were just seconds on the clock and 7 points behind, they were fouling and checking and working it. That may backfire - I am sure the Sun are gonna come onto the floor tonight (8 pm tip) thinking "We better use nails and glue and duct tape and very heavy rocks to put these women in the coffin"

One final word. Deana Nolan. Listen, I want you all to just drive to the hoop whenever she is guarding you, and put up any damn shot you want. Draw fouls. Cause she was deadly from the floor last night (12-17 / 27 pts) and we have to get her off balance and out of the play. Get her in foul trouble early. She is such a great player, and such a threat.

Damn - what a game. Go Sun Go. Go Sun Go. Go Sun Go. Go Sun Go.

August 25, 2006

Back to Connecticut

Made it home with a minimum of hassle. The new airline carry-on rules make for a lot less annoying rollaboards - which is a good thing. Less chance of getting bonked on the head as a 90 pound person hefts a 40 pound bag with wheels into the overhead. Decent flights (though not decent enough to let me get work done) - Amarillo is a smallish little airport (smaller than Bradley) and that means getting to the airport an hour before the flight was plenty of time, at least at 6:00 a.m.

I am on a forgetful streak - I had my power analyzer shipped to the hotel (and then forgot about it, need to call and have Fed Ex fetch it to return). I also left my prescription sunglasses in the rental car (en route back via UPS ground) and gave the rental car company my cell phone (not my fax number) for the receipt. I left my boarding pass in the seatback on the flight down. And I returned to find the Saturn's dome light had been on for two days (the battery was fresh enough for it not to matter......) Better start being more attentive.....

It was a two movie kind of day. En route home was Akeelah and the Bee, which was a cute little "made for tv" kind of thing about a young girl from So Central LA who goes on to win the national spelling bee. Lots of teary moments - not too controversial or challenging. Was happy to see the really obvious plot device (have the divorced spelling coach and Akeelah's single mom get together) was left unexplored. Good movie to suggest for mom.

Tonight, Zippy and I went to see Mongolian Ping Pong at Real Art Ways (our pal AC met us there). Totally charming and thought-provoking, similar in a lot of ways to Tale of the Weeping Camel. Big theme of indigenous culture vs. western / technology, which we beat to death over dinner (Indian, Taste of India) where we ran into a friend.

Tomorrow is Jazzercise, I suspect (I slacked off during my trip, no yoga or jazzercise) and game #2 of the Suns-Shock series. Not too optimistic for the Sun, playing without Katie Douglas and with Nykesha not back on her game - but it they win tomorrow, Game #3 is on Sunday.

Opportunistic Vegetarian

Oh, I love this moniker. Bestowed upon my from across the hall by my friend Dr. B (who was ostensibly on the phone but apparently had her mom ear listening to my conversation with Stacy in the next room.) Stacy *is* a vegetarian. I was describing my self as a Resonant Vegetarian (spirit willing, flesh weak, but I vibe that way when I am with other vegetarians) which prompted Dr. B's outburst.

I am sure she meant it in a slightly snarky way. S'ok, I like that sort of edge. It means she is paying attention.....

Up early, heading back from Amarillo today. Yeah, since I had the afternoon off, I burned a tank of fossil fuel to drive up to Trinidad CO. Met some folks I had not met before (but work with) and revisited old friends. The town looks good - kind of perky. I only wish I had a less busy life and could hang out for the Trinidaddio Blues Fest this weekend....

August 23, 2006

Traveling Again

Off to Amarillo. The trip through the BDL security was pretty much of a non-issue - minimal lines at both the ticket counter as well as security. I cleared out my purse of cosmetics (in a small baggie in my checked luggage) and since I almost always have a must-be-checked tool case, I usually check my suitcase too. So the whole elevated security is pretty much a non-issue, for me. Bottom line: I am sitting here at the gate a full 90 minutes early. Happy (again) for the free wireless here at BDL. It's the little things.....

I did run into a Jazzercise friend at the AA ticket counter en route to Kansas via Chicago. The flight to ORD that I see is a 9:53 one which means she is here 3.4 hours early. I do not feel quite so bad about my 90 minutes. I can maybe get some work done. Or some surfing / goofing off.

August 22, 2006

WNBA Farewell

Damn. Dawn Staley, I hardly knew ya. I've probably caught 3 or 4 Suns / Comets games over the past few years, and watched you play. You might have had a good game, or not. I might have appreciated your play, or cursed you for beating up on my team, or maybe not even noticed you too much if you were just having an OK day.

But in your farewell blog, well, damn woman. You put the heart in the game, reading your farewell nearly breaks my heart. I wish you the same level of success and passion in the rest of your life that you found in basketball. You are just 36 years young, and have a whole life ahead, and I suspect you will be pretty darn good at whatever you choose to do.
Finally, I have to thank God. My mother always says I’m in God’s favor and I believe her. There is absolutely no reason I should still be able to play with these knees. Yeah… the infamous knees everyone always talks about. The same knees that never allowed me to miss a game…not one. The knees God gave me as my one obstacle in this game…my test of will and my barometer for humility. The same knees I have never questioned and will never question because I know they were given to me for a reason. Just like basketball was given to me for life. Thank you God.

Yep, this one will do just fine. See ya on the court.....

Little Miss Sunshine Deux

Been thinking more about this movie; mostly tickled by another blog. And I begin to see an undercurrent of class woven through the movie.

Many of the small mini-plots have a class angle. When Uncle Frank encounters his former lover and academic rival, they are driving a Jaguar. Dad takes a scooter over to Scottsdale (ever been to the resort hotels there?) where he's clearly out of his league . Olive is competing against folks with money and class. Even Dwayne's attempts to escape into respectability (via the air force) has a class issue. And in each case, the family member's attempts to transcend class, to step up a bit, are foiled. And perhaps, they become more human and more content as well.

No serious theme here, just some things that drifted up out of the ether over the past few days......

August 21, 2006

Dashiki Envy

Our friend P came by over the weekend and dropped off some hand-me-downs for Zippy - she cleared a bunch of shorts and a beautiful dashiki. Which she is wearing today. I am totally jealous.

Change of Pace

Normally, when there is some sort of heinous serial killer captured, you get all these quotes from neighbors, friends, coworkers such as "He was a quiet guy, never bothered anybody, we're all shocked"

However, this guy apparently did not read the script.
Neighbors described the suspect as a heavy drinking, loud, unfriendly man who they believed was involved in criminal activity.

"It's just all the traffic," neighbor Russ Feeback said. "Everyone likes it quiet and he's out here hollering and screaming. And every once in a while there would be a gunshot."

August 20, 2006

Republicans Win in 2008

One the way home from the game tonight, listening to This American Life (I blame Ira Glass and his bit on John Kerry) I had an insight: The Republican key to a presidential win in 2008 is Condoleeza Rice. You read it here first.

No serious analysis here, more of a moment of insight. I mean, the Republican base has proven itself willing to vote for a trained chimp (twice). So the base is secure, and Condi would pull enough of the moderates to gain a victory. And the way things are going, the Reps need a bold move, and nominating a woman of color is nothing if not that. If I were strategizing for the Dems....I'd start thinking who might stack up well against the Secretary of State.

I hope to hell I am wrong, I am not sure the republic would survive four more years of neo-cons, but......

An Ugly Sweep

I was in a mood. Maybe catching whatever my brother had up in MA yesterday - just not on my game. I wandered into MoSun early, and still ended up pushing to get everything done - there were 5 video captures and lots of new content because of the playoffs.

The Sun were similarly off. They won, but the first half seemed to be a coin toss, they finally looked to take control in the 4th only to nearly lose it at the end. Incredible numbers of turnovers. The Mystics shot better from the floor, shot better from the arc, sho better from the line. Lindsay looked OK, for the most part, although she missed 4 FT's. Taj was having problems scoring in the paint. There were times the Sun got 2 or 3 attempts, and missed em all. It was basketball, ugly. About the only thing you can say is the Mystics were a bit worse. They came out hard and fouling - Chasity Melvin fouled out, Miller, Robinson, and Milton each tallied 5 personals, and the teams 32 swamped the Sun's 17 (5 of which were by Taj)

Basketball ugly. I hope they get it together for Detroit, cause this sort of game will not end up with a W against the Shock.

The bad part - Katie Douglas pulled up and was badly limping toward the end of the 4th. Might just be a cramp, but it looked bad. Looking around to see how she is doing now....

Edit: And the results are in. Connecticut Sun All-Star guard Katie Douglas has a hairline fracture in her right foot and is doubtful for the remainder of the WNBA playoffs, the team announced Monday.

Ick.

August 19, 2006

Family Affairs

In which our intrepid heroines journey to Framingham MA for a family cookout / swim party / multi-birthday celebration.

Not much to report. The food was OK, my gifts were appropriate. Actually, the Nerf revolvers were more than appropriate, all three kids were entranced, and when my niece in a bathing suit started posing with a Nerf gun, looking like a Bond girl, I felt awfully old. I also ended up playing a game of Cricket with my youngest nephew - who is pretty good.

My older nephew had a pink toenail, a gift from a girl at camp. He's a hunkster in training, no doubt. I swam a little, hot-tubbed a little, we played a fun game called Whoonu with the kids. My sister was pretty dominant, since the game depends on knowing the other players, and she had grown up with two of the players and given birth to the other three. Zippy picked up some books from my brother (a refreshing liberal in my more or less conservative family). All in all, a nice day.

Tomorrow, WNBA playoff at MoSun. I suspect the Sun will be closing out the Washington Mystics pretty handily, making a game on Tuesday unlikely. Now, will it be Detroir or Indiana for the conference finals?

One more option

One of the prevailing tensions in my life of late has been along the jazzercise / yoga front. I've been a jazzercise addict for a long time - 5 or 6 years perhaps. That continues - I'm sitting at class #99 in the past 11 months; one more for my 100 club tee-shirt - my 4th. (and in previous years, I got it a lot earlier in the cycle) That's a lot of perky exercise.....

In the past year, I have gotten yoga addicted. Which means I am hitting the mat at the local studio at least as often as I am at jazzercise (truthfully, its been more). So take that 100 classes and add another 100 - 150 yoga sessions. And you get the idea of how often I am doing something with my body.

And now, to make things slightly more complicated, I have a mat and music and space carved out for yoga on the back porch. Because I need a 3rd option - my life is not complicated enough.

This morning, I was leaning towards Jazzercise (and that coveted 100 Club shirt) but maybe I'm gonna waive that until Monday and just work postures on my own. We're heading up to MA later this morning for family birthdays (Sean and Sara and Tom) and cookout and swimming, and there are some things to be wrapped, some gift cards to pick up, some food to be bought on the way. Although I thrive on staccato beats in my life, Zippy tends to get overwhelmed. So perhaps a more leisurely morning would be best for all.

Little Miss Sunshine

What a lovely, funny little film. I'll save the plot, but just say that it resonated on an imperfect world, we are all flawed and that what makes up beautiful, no happy endings, but salvation anyways. We are fellow travelers in a bright yellow microbus with no clutch.

Toni Collette is a charm. Oh, if only she had gotten the role of Bree in Transamerica - the movie would have been far different, and far better IMHO. She could play a woman of transsexual experience without makeup, without affect, without gimmick - and let the beauty and awkwardness shine through just through her acting chops. If anything, Olive (the daughter) is the child of Muriel Heslop, Ms. Collette's breakout role. An "ugly duckling" who is radiant.

As we left the cinema, a guy in the row behind us was lamenting - of the film being dark and depressing. And I guess, if things like image and beauty and grace and success are important (it seemed a West Hartford / Avon / Simsbury kind of crowd on this particular Friday evening, with all that this implies), well, yeah. These characters, this film, is dark and forboding. There is no quick fix, no simple salvation, no happily ever after. As the family heads back home, they are all diminished, ground down, humbled in some way. And yet - hopeful. Honest.

I compare it to some other dysfunctional family films - the Royal Tennenbaums, the Squid and the Whale. This one, like the yellow VW, is brighter. And kitschier.

August 18, 2006

Enroute to Amarillo

It is the nature of my work and my life. A long time client called yesterday afternoon. We talked a bit about some equipment problems - and the upshot is I will be heading out to Amarillo TX next Wed - Fri. Of course, this does not absolve me from dealing with my normal clients, finishing up the conference paper and presentation, and getting things kick started with two new OEM clients. Still, its nice to have the work, and to be headed out on the road, even if its to an unknown part of Texas. Travel gods, be gentle.

Whilst searching for alternate airports (initial checking, the fares were pretty high and the flights pretty icky, but I found a hotel and airfare combo that was pretty reasonable, on American, with flight times and itineraries I could live with) - I looked for alternate airports. Amarillo is 3-4 hours away from everything. Albuquerque. Santa Fe. Oklahoma City. Lubbock is closer but not any better, airport wise. So Amarillo it is.

An interesting new client, perhaps. This company has sprung phoenixlike from the ashes of the old company. The Borg Collective purchased the old company. First, qualified but undereducated (no MBA's) people were demoted or let go. Then, the properly educated persons they did bring in had no idea how to run the business. This impacted me personally; I had been hired to go in and find magnetic field problems that prevented sales, and did so successfully 3-4 times a year, over a 5-6 year period. When the Borg came along, the edict of "no outside consultants" was enforced. Unfortunately, the inside consultants who do what I do were not able to do what I do. So they walked away from these sales. I imagine this sort of mindset crossed over into a number of facets of the business.

Eventually, the Borg tired of the business, cut loose the product. So all of the undereducated folks they drove away rebanded, connected with a spin-off from the cut-loose supplier, and reconstituted the company - servicing the old products, and selling the new ones. Business as usual, with a new cast of owners. Presumably the old owners took their gold-pressed latinum and are living a life of ease.

Good ol' American business know-how. Buy a company. Shred it and dismantle it. Leave enough pieces lying around so that it can rebuild itself. And (presumably, once it has rebuilt itself to the point of being worth something) buy it again.

August 17, 2006

Because my life is.....

....weirder than yours.

I went out this morning to chase a balloon - BB is teaching K2 to fly, so they took the small home-built out for a longish flight from Plainville to Cheshire, mostly along Rte. 10. A light breakfast at the Liberty Diner followed. For the record, chasing the two person home-built, after the Firefly 105 or the Baby Beluga 140, is like flying a kite. Then, off to power yoga. Yummy practice today - nice and flowy.

And now, to work for a few hours until I don my soccer mom costume and hit the highways of Connecticut.

August 16, 2006

Hartford Saengerbund - Bierfest 2006

The semi-annual orgy of malt beverage, potatoe pancakes, and OMPAH Music is upon us - the Hartford Saengerbund has its Bierfest coming up August 25-27 in Newington. $8 per person.

It happens right behind my office so if you feel like taking a meeting on Friday afternoon.....you could carb out afterwards.....

August 15, 2006

Maybe this explains the extra arm......

Hot Dogs May Cause Genetic Mutations

My brother Kevin is screwed.....

Cheshire Crossing

I kind of avoid web comics, in the way that I have avoided D&D in college, science fiction past college, and purchasing any sort of Star Trek or Star Wars gack (including the myriad of books based on these properties). Geekish crack - I probably carry the genetic material that would result in a wall filled with books and models and a van filled with socially awkward folks dressed in expensive and authentic uniforms heading up to Boston for a convention. Er.....no. One life-engrossing hobby / lifestyle per person, please.

But this comic by Andy Weir seems worth reading. It's just getting started, so you have not missed much. The concept: Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz, for you straight folks), Alice (in Wonderland) Liddel, and Wendy (Peter Pan) Darling are all angsty young women who have been institutionalized over the years because of their "delusions". Except they really *have* experienced the things that were reported in their respective stories. And they come to an institute where people believe them and want to help them.

It's pretty funny, interestingly drawn, and a neat concept. Even if Elpheba is the baddie again. And your little dog too.....

August 14, 2006

Bush says Israel defeated Hezbollah

Stuff like this frosts me.

THough I do not blog much about world or national politics, I do not think it would surprise anyone to know I am not a fan of the current administration. But, I dunno. I expect maybe some spin, some selling of a point of view, some malevolent policies to further a cause I do not support. But this is just ludicrous. The "defeated" Hezbollah fighter tossed 250 rockets into Israel yesterday, to get a few licks in before the cease fire.

I do not have strong opinions about the middle east - not sure Israel should be where it is, not sure that its defensive posture is entirely without justification. It's just a horrible and ugly situation.

But come on, even if Hezbollah was weakened and suffered more losses than Israel in the fighting, the political cost to Israel was incredibly high. It's this sort of stupid and shortsighted talk (Israel defeated Hezbollah) that makes me despise the current administration. At least previous administrations had brains - even if I did not agree with what they were doing or like the policies, I had to at least admire the guile, the craft, the machinations. If the USA could just be magnanimous and say we were glad the cease fire seems to be holding and appalled at the loss of life - we might be able to help broker a peace. But no. Our fearless leader says this and fans the flames of discontent in the arab world.

Pick the stupidest thing out of all the options that one could do - the thing most likely to get people pissed off at the USA, cost american lives and dollars, have no significant strategic or military benefit, and be really difficult to boot. And these folks will find something even less intelligent, and then do it half assed.

It's not the evilness. It's the stupidity.

When Worlds Collide

Essex Steam Train Hits Truck
2:29 PM EDT, August 14, 2006 / The Associated Press

"It appears the garbage truck may have tried to beat the train across the track," said Philip J. Miller, first selectman of Essex. No one aboard the Essex Steam Train was reported injured in the today afternoon accident.

No, I have no inside information. However, WTNH-8 has a good article with photos and Chopper 8 clip here

Basketball on my brain

For whatever reason, last night's dream had to do with getting ready to practice or scrimmage with the CT Sun basketball team. I knew I was not on the team, but there was some practice or exercise they needed to do and wanted me for. Maybe a specific player who I was supposed to work with. I never made it to the court (in my dream) - just in the locker room, taking a shower, getting sneaks on, etc.

Also, for some reason guitar or bouzouki was involved. And pen and paper, I was gonna write stuff down.

I figure it was either the dried mango with pepper coating, or the tofu / green bean / mango melange that Zippy cooked up for dinner....sheesh.

August 13, 2006

'Lectrician, Me

It's been a while since I dabbled in 'lectrics. Back in Waterbury, I swapped out fuses for a 100A breaker panel. I sent (2) x 220 VAC / 20 amp lines upstairs for baseboard heat, and I added a fan, GFCI outlet, and lights to the bathroom. Lot of miscellaneous electrical work. I'm not exactly efficient, and it ain't always pretty, but I do it to code.

Today, I finished up a modest wiring project. Pulled out the 220 VAC circuits to the old jenn-aire cooktop and oven. Added a 120 VAC outlet behind the stove (for the stove light and ignitor) and a pull box behind the new range hood. It's all wired, stapled, good to go. Little bit of neatening up, and pulling the cable clamps for the old runs, and its done. A job (well?) done. The only thing I am not 100% happy with is the way the range is mounted (anchors) - I need to get some better anchors and will do that when MP comes to do the tileboard (the hood has to come down anyway)

Now that I am done with my chores, I took a shower, changed into my jammies, and opened a beer. I am woman, hear me roar. Actually, it was hear me swear after I whacked my head on the hood.

Nevertheless, the basement is (and has been) a disaster area and my next project is I think cleaning up down there - first the tool bench area and then the rest.

Sunday Morning

Yawn time. My digital crack (a message board I visit) is down. I'm not really a regular poster there, more of a spectre who haunts the attic and comes down once in a while to unloose a lightning bolt or say something pithy, but I like reading - from both a drama point of view as well as a "smart people thinking and talking about things" perspective. I used to post more but there are too many folks of my experience already contributing and from a taking up space / dominating the discourse perspective, I self silence a bit. I also tend to stir things up too much, between my own iconoclastic ideas and opinions, and my own pain. So I tend to lash out and cause pain - not good. Better to be silent and thought a fool that to speak up and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln, I think.

I should sit down and write some letters - I have two friends I have been meaning to write, and though I see both of them in person now and then, a letter seems appropriate to get some things out there. Maybe once I am done my blog entry.

BB and K2 called last night - I think they are ballooning this morning as I type this. I was ambivalent - I was a bit off all day yesterday from the Saturday morning shenanigans and after missing my Sunday morning yoga session a few weeks running, I wanted to hit the mat today. For probably obvious reasons, Sunday morning sessions have a more spiritual flavor to them, with regular participants.

Yesterday, we visited Home Depot - picked up an inexpensive range hood, and electrical junk to install it. Not sure I will get started today, but soon. I need to pull out the 240 VAC line from the old electric stove, and run a new 15A circuit to supply the stove outlet (ignitor and light) and hood. The biggest challenges will be popping more or less clean holes in the plaster and lathe, pulling the wire, and working around the mess in the basement. Knowing me, cleaning the basement will become part of the project. I am sure I will get all pissed off at working around the mess and spend 8 furious hours of organizing, tossing, cleaning. My nails (recently manicured, with a vow to keep them looking nicer) will probably be the worse for all this.

Our piecemeal kitchen renovation project continues. Done: gas stove (purchase and install), electric stove (removal and disposal), replace laminate countertops - thanks to our friend MP who is a master craftsperson. To be done: install stove electrics, paint some trim and shelving as well as all the old walls, purchase and install tileboard around the stove and above the counters, and replace the cabinet hardware.

The Connecticut Sun home season closed with a horrible loss to Indiana - not surprising. The game was meaningless for the Sun, meaningful for the Fever, and the Sun were coming off a record 13 game win streak and were due for a loss. And from a grand scheme of things perspective, losing to the Fever is actually not a bad thing - since the Fever are fighting Detroit for the #2 seed in the playoffs. I'd much rather see Indiana in the 2nd round than Detroit (who have had the Sun's number all season) so if we can help Indiana achieve home court advantage int he first round vs. Detroit - its a good thing. Game today vs. Detroit on ABC @ 1:30 p.m. Might be a rare daytime television / sports event round here.

August 12, 2006

3:00 a.m.

The fact that I am up at this ungodly hour has something to do with 17 year-olds, boyfriends, tequila, the Glastonbury police, a worried mom (aka Chloe), and a tired mentor with a car, a cell phone, and a more-or-less clear head (aka Jack Bauer). "Chloe, get me the location of a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts, I'm going in and will call back when I have the package". Everyone is back where they are supposed to be. Repercussions will follow I am sure, probably not meted out by me. And some long talks about a bunch of issues.

The amusing part is that Zippy answered the 1:00 am phone call. Not happy, she. Off to bed, me.

August 11, 2006

Friday Quickie


I am wandering own to MoSun this afternoon for the last home game (Fan Appreciation Night) and dammit, I better be getting a tee-shirt. No swag all season, and this one goes to all the fans.

After that, the playoffs. Looks like Round #1 vs. the washington Mystics - so I work 8/20 and maybe 8/22 (if needed). After that Detroit or Indiana (another Best of 3 series, with two more possible home games). Then the finals. I am betting its Washington (not so close a series, maybe two games), Detroit (will go three games, coin toss, they play the Sun so well) and then, if all goes well, the finals (I am not even gonna venture a guess).

This morning was my first serious self directed yoga practice - it went really well - I worked up some good heat, practiced for about an hour, the music worked out fine, and the dogs were not a bother. It was kind of cute actually, Elo came in to see what I was up to, did a few play bows (downward dog!) and ended up doing his own doggie yoga on the floor.

I need to rename the music on the MP3 player to get them to play in sequence (they go alphabetic, the disks were sort of sequenced to a practice) - but, so far success!

True Colors Mentoring Program

Obviously, I could not recommend this more highly.


PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!!!

True Colors runs CT's only LGBT mentoring program. We've got plenty of youth -- 40 who have a mentor and TWENTY-FOUR on the waiting list. Waiting for someone just like YOU! Call Kamora at 888-565-5551, ext 203 for more information.

What does it take to be a mentor? A couple of hours a week. The willingness to listen (and not be too quick to judge). A sense of humor. An interest in making a difference for a kid. A degree in the university of LIFE. Did I mention a sense of humor? The ability to pass a child welfare, DMV and criminal history check. The willingness to participate in a one day training as well as monthly check-in training (done both in person and/or on -line!)

What you don't need to be a mentor? Special skills, a degree in higher education, a huge investment of time or a lot of financial resources (though we certainly won't turn you away if you have these...

True Colors is hosting its next mentor training on Saturday, August 12th from 10:00 AM to about 3:00. We will even feed you! Can't make that one? No problem. The next one is Saturday, September 17th. Same time, same place. But, imagine, waiting in a shelter or a group home for a whole other month, just because nobody showed up for them...

For more information: call 860-649-7386 and ask for Kamora or email her at tcmckamora@yahoo.com

thanks, Robin

PS: although we need mentors all over the state, we particularly need folks in the Waterbury, Danbury, Litchfield area and in Stamford. If you know anybody in those areas who might be interested, please forward the email along to them! Thanks!

True Colors, Inc. Sexual Minority Youth and Family Services is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that combats homophobia, gender bias and racism. We provide support, education and advocacy to those responsible for the health, education and well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Youth and Families. We can be reached at 888-565-5551 or on the web at www.OurTrueColors.org

August 10, 2006

Planning Ahead

After years of getting stuff in the mail, I finally decided to treat myself to a seminar by Edward Tufte. It's actually pretty affordable - for $360 you get the seminar plus all four of his books. Being ostensibly a PowerPoint geekette, with resonances in my web design work and my work developing standardized reports, GUI's, and interfaces - well, seems like money well spent. And interesting, too.

I also burned some frequent flyer miles to get out to Los Angeles for the annual Power Quality Conference - I'm presenting and moderating a workshop on Thurs, Oct 26, so I am flying out on Tuesday, and flying back on Friday. Gives me Wednesday to schmooze.I gotta get my paper done this week. Eek! Now to just figure out where to stay (cheap! cheap!)

Do You Feel Lucky Punk?

"I know what you're thinking -- did he fire five shots or six? In all this commotion, I really can't remember. So you have to ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

The question: Is Harry blowing smoke about having forgotten how many shots he has fired? Does he know the chamber is not empty when he pulls the trigger, or is he really unsure himself?

When the status quo is an acceptable place, it's not a bad thing to kick up some sediment, muddy the waters. People are unlikely to make a move until they can see the bottom.

August 09, 2006

About the Nedster

OK, so he won the primary. I'm not celebrating; I would have had Lieberman lost by a large enough margin to slap him off the Independent bid. But no, as of right now it looks like a three-way race and it will be a tougher battle than the primary, IMHO.

The Republican candidate is not serious; Lieberman will grab a lot of the Republican and Centrist votes. I'll cross my fingers and toes, I'll continue to shill for Mr. Lamont. But it ain't over - not even close.

August 08, 2006

Cosmos International

We visited a small shop on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. Incredible Indian foodstuffs. We ended up buying packages of "ready to eat" stuff - indian restaurant standards like mutta paneer - we can combine this with a starch or leftovers and have a quick yummy meal.

We also picked up some dried mango (which seems coated in zesty chili or something) and some dried chickpeas (also fiery hot)

Yum! Definitely gonna be a regular stop!

Found Poetry

Zippy has been reading The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal - an ancient Doubleday Anchor paperback (95 cents!) - the copyright is 1925, and the sales blurb for other Anchor paperbacks at the back suggests sending an additional 5 cents per book to cover postage and handling.

Anyway, in the back, hand-written, is a poem - for Anne, from Ralph.
The sharp moon-thrusts are pointed at the sea,
But, jealous of its secret heart below,
Unhurt, the sea's dark shield deflects the blow.

The glancing force, too blunt for injury,
Wave-broken, useless, stirs with wind and light,
The restless edge where land and water touch,
But finds it cannot hurt the dead sea much,
And dies a colder failure every night.

But somehow in an off-guard moment, when
The sea forgets to rough its wave defense,
The moon's bright malice makes a difference.

Beneath the cut, the pulse the sea conceals
Is for a moment still, the scar soon heals,
And undisturbed, the sea-things move again.

We both agree its a beautiful piece. If it is original, we thank Ralph, the poet (and Anne, the muse), and gift the poem to the world. Enjoy.

If you stumble in here and recognize the work, drop me a note. Would be interesting to know the poet and the title.....my attempts to find it via google were for naught.

August 07, 2006

More Politics

I noted sometime over the weekend Dan Malloy's ads showing John Destefano's head on a woman's body. Others have noticed as well. The point, that Destefano has some problematic areas around women's issues, is made. But the "putting a man's head on a woman's body", regardless of the point, has misogynist echoes - because calling a man a "woman" is always an insult. Consider the semi-infamous Blackface Joe ad (Jane Hamsher) or how it would have played to put a candidates face on an obviously ethnic body.

Malloy team, the ad backfired. This woman is not amused and less likely to vote for your candidate as a result of seeing that ad.

Edit: Hey, the Courant also has an article about the issue here.

August 06, 2006

Splashes of Color

For whatever reason, I noticed three incredibly colored birds flying across my path this morning en route to / from Jazzercise. A male cardinal, a yellow finch and the third a vibrantly blue jay. It is that sort of weekend - when everything is alive and the word is so green that the other colors stand out in stark relief.

Another sign of the times - our next door neighbor to the east now has a Ned Lamont yard sign, making it 2 - 0 on the street.

I opted for Jazzercise this morning vs. yoga - no real reason, was on the fence until close to 8:00 a.m. With the cleaned up back porch and the mat down which I hope will be more or less permanent (until it gets cold), I hope to do a bit more self directed practice. Probably hit the studio about the same amount (or maybe slightly less) but hopefully practice a bit more frequently on my own - perhaps in the early morning (I am usually up at 5 am, and do not head to work until 7:00 or 7:30). In line with my Falcon Ridge yoga experience, I feel like there is some change in the wind, and my practice is evolving a little bit - perhaps making some space for individual practice is the next step.

So what is next on this gorgeous day? Not 100% sure. AC and MP are coming by us, I think - AC enroute home a trip to the midwest, MP her ride from the airport. I will probably connect with MYA - not sure if Rainbow Room is in the picture or what. Zippy and I would like to do something exercisey, but not sure how we can fit it in.

August 05, 2006

Election Season

Zippy and I, along with three newish dyke friends, hit the West Indian Festival at the Riverfront. Nice to see: Robin/Holly/Riley. Hi! We never actually get to socialize with you but its always great to see you.

Not so nice to see: a horde of Lieberman paid political announcers, with signs and shirts and stickers. John Destafano was there. Chris Dodd was there. No Lieberman (that I could see). I only got snotty with two of the Lieberman Staff: one persistant one was told I would vote for Joe for $65 a day, for the entire year. Another was told I would vote for Joe if he changed his name to Ned Lamont. The Lieberman Staff had a sort of mass mind, borgishness about them. Milling about, handing out flyers and shirts and stickers, running from one end of the plaza to the other. Mostly, I JUST SAID NO. Ick.

It had the feel of a hit and run stop - none of the perky suburbanish Lieberman employees seemed the type to actually stay and listen to steel drums. The whole thing had a feel like a US military action - overwhelming force, technological superiority. At times it seemed the the Lieberman staff were fighting among themselves over the few people who would actually stop to talk, with 2 or 3 of them rushing at an individual until one made contact.

I also saw a few folks that looked like bloggers, trying to keep a low profile. Your geekery was evident to me, if that was you. Smart move, the Lieberman team had muscle with 'em and its a long drop off the plaza.....

We came home to 2 election phone messages, John Destefano (sounding like a cranky old guy complaining about the dogs barking) and former president Bubba, pushing for Lieberman. More ick. I am still equivocating on the gubernatorial choice. I think I'll visit both websites and see which one pisses me off least.

In other news, I chased the balloon this morning, BB and K2 and two children flew on the family plan. A modest flight - Farmington to Southington, landing in a postage stamp sized condo parking lot. Nice to chase for an experienced pilot. Finished cleaning up the back porch, and we now have room for a mat (I got some yoga in, guided by the Shiva Rae disk I picked up).

And Colin has seen fit to pick up the torch on my Ken Burns / Battle of Ted's concept - wholly unexpected to hear from the master (I anticipated another listener / reader with some flash or video editting chops doing something). Funny as hell, I am tickled pink. (this is just an expression, pink does not suit me) I look forward to the live reading on Monday.

Getting Here Part 2

OK, blog visitors. I'm watching you. ::cue ominous organ music::

Actually, I have a little button at the bottom of the page that says SITE METER and that lets me track stuff - how many visitors, where did they link from, where are they roughly located, stuff like that. So I can see some of my friends visiting (like, from Minnesota or New Hyde Park, NY) and I can also how people got here - either via links or via search engines. You can see it too, I think. Tis neither top secret nor rocket science.

This morning, I noted two things of interest - a visitor from SURPRISE, AZ (who knew there was such a place, and is it across the border from TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, NM?) and a Yahoo search for COLIN MCENROE GIRLFRIEND BARBARA. Said search came from Meriden (recent site of the Battle of Ted's, and also the home base of the Lamont Campaign) so this could be friend or foe. Said person spent 6:37 poking through my blog. Which I am sure left him/her greatly confused. S/he exited via my link to Colin's blog, where I am sure they continued their investigations.

August 04, 2006

And about Bruce and Colin

Yeah, I am "...my friend Jude..." who filled Colin in on the details of a "sissy wardrobe rack" via blog (as he mentioned on his radio show this afternoon).

I am not particularly pround of that fact. But ::shrug::

Friday Night

Kind of odd to have two days of weekend ahead without a lot on the agenda. Or at least, no work, no reunions, no trips, no WNBA games, no obligations. Lots of possibilities.

BB called, ballooning for fun may be in the works in the morning. Always enjoyable. There is also talk of he and K2 taking the homebuilt out for a lesson on Sunday, but I try to chase/fly just once a weekend. In any case, it looks like one morning will have me driving a van, if not in the air.

Barring that, there is the possibility of Jazzercise tomorrow morning (or Sunday), the almost religious Sunday morning hot yoga class, and maybe another yoga class if the others do not pan out. Friends J&D wanted to do something this weekend - though we can not figure out what that might be. And MYA and I should go do something fun - we've had way too many doctors appointments and soccer mom (drive her places) connections of late. And a client pre-warned of an incoming hot site that may pop into my IN BOX over the weekend. So, it'll be a busy weekend regardless.

Tonight, we went to our favorite Thai place East-West Grille on New Park (West Hartford) - they seem to be sprucing the place up a bit (decor, waitstaff uniforms, menu) perhaps due to the competition across the street. I had the Green Papaya Salad (spicy!) and a bowl of Tom Yum soup, Zippy had the beef salad (almost too spicy hot to eat!). Light dinner, but nice. We've bene trying to have at least one "date night" a week - eat together, unencumbered by computers (me) or books (her) and spending some quality time. We missed it this week (2 WNBA games, and MYA) so tonight it was.

I probably should get a load or two of laundry done over the weekend (while the line-drying is good). I also cleaned out the back porch somewhat (camping gear) - not 100% but getting there. I dream of a space to do yoga.....

Quick Update

The Sun won last night, handily beating the LA Sparks. If that was a preview of the conference final, the Connecticut women should start getting their rings made. It was never all that close, even when LA made small runs, the Sun came right back. And all without Nykesha.

In pother news, my laptop keyboard is back to misbehaving. So this is all you get from home; will post more from work if I get some time.

August 03, 2006

Femme Leanings

Well, we're about 1/2 way through the third quarter of 2006 before I caved and got a manicure and pedicure. Falcon Ridge did a number on my extremities (I was picking mud out of my toes for a week or so, my fingernails got shredded) and I've been so busy since, I finally caved and went to the local salon. Subtract 2 'butch' points, if you are keeping score at home.

Tonight is the last of the every other day home game stretch down at the MoSun - and its gonna be a good one - Lisa Leslie and the LA Sparks come to town in what may be a preview of the finals. If the Sun lose, I would not be surprised - Nykesha has been out for a while, and the last few games have been the Asjha Jones / Erin Philips show, with Whelan, Douglas, and Taj being pretty quiet.

At least once per game lately, Margo has put the ball on the floor in a way that has EVERYONE on the headsets screaming "No!" Usually, its a top of the key move to the hoop, but last game she started dribbling up the court after a defensive rebound.

August 02, 2006

Buzz!

Somehow I have become Chat Impaired.

I've been an online chat person from nearly Day 1: I was accessing Compuserve in text mode from an old CP/M machine with an 8 line LCD display and a 300 baud modem. I've spent hours and hours on AOL, I've hung out on IRC. But I have not in any way shape or form figured out Yahoo Chat or MSN Messenger or Myspace or anything newish. I haver Yahoo Chat loaded up; a forum I visit has Thursday night chats and I pop in once in a while. But that's it.

Somehow, my Yahoo Profile is alluring, I get people inquiring, trying to initiate conversation. Almost always, the come on is weak and facile, without a lot of substance or allure. Easily ignored; I turn off my visibility if I bothered to spend the time figuring out how. And there seems to be a language, culture, and culture to the chat that has gotten past me. What is BUZZ! and why does it seem crass and rude to me?

Two is the Magic Number

The Connecticut Sun have two more home games left - they play the western division leading LA Sparks on Thursday (which could be a preview of the finals) and close out the home games vs. Indiana on the 11th. Then come the playoffs. Last night they stomped on the NY Liberty pretty handily; just crushing them in the first half, letting them get close in the 3rd, then pulling away at the end. The MoSun arena was pretty full (lot of NY fans) including one rather vocal woman sitting behind Bruce, who calls the game from the sidelines. Her cheering, taunts and catcalls were pretty clear coming through the headsets. At least until the Sun stretched the lead to the point where rabid fandemonium seemed kind of silly.

After the game, I connected with a friend who had free tickets (apparently, you gamble enough, you get to go to some games for free - who knew?). What was intended to be a quick drink and chat ended up a two hour meander - other friends were there, intent on dinner - and so we wandered by a few of the restaurants looking to make reservations (many were closed) then off to a sports bar in a quiet corner (the main casino bars were too loud or too crowded for 5 seats, the din in that place is incredible, between the water sculptures, the slot machines, people, and music thumping out of the Wolf Den). I'm a firm believer in having a plan, this whole "wandering around trying to find a place that suits 5 people in a fcility you really do now know" is a non-starter.

If I actually ate at any of the restaurants, gambled, or drank there - I might have a clue on where to go. But pretty much, I work, and if I need to, grab a quick dinner at the rib place cause its close to the arena box office.

Wednesday means yoga (sadly, both my good mats are still wet from laundering yesterday) so I am stuck with My First Yoga Mat - I might end up putting a large towel atop the mat since I figure I'm gonna sweat like hell today. Later, I'm taking MYA to a doctor appointment. In between, there is work. A couple of reports, a couple of proposals to finish, and keeping close tabs on a ticket launch for a client; tickets went on sale yesterday and I imagine the sought after premium tickets are gone, and some of the normal departure times are also getting close to being sold out.

August 01, 2006

August 1 - Too Much To Do

It's one of those "remind me again why I wanted to be self employed?" periods.

It's August 1, and I have my monthly invoicing to take care of (methinks its not gonna happen until tomorrow, and go me for having my finances in a place where a day or two late is not a big deal). I have a fairly urgent report to crank out this morning, and popular tickets go on sale for one of my clients. I have proposals to generate for two new clients, not your typical site visit proposals but long term. I have a conference paper due in a week or so. And I have two WNBA games slated for tonight and Thursday.

I normally do yoga on Tuesdays, but I think I'm gonna blow it off today in favor of catching up at work. I'll hit the mat tomorrow and Friday; my evenings are booked all week. I did Jazzercise last night and that will have to suffice for exercise right now. I picked up a Shiva Rae CD to do some home practice, but right now the extra room remains cluttered with the remnants of FRFF. More stuff I need to catch up on.