February 28, 2007

Oh, and Last Night

Zippy and I swung down to New Haven to pick up friends (OK, it wsa H&B) at the train station, do dinner (Thai Pan Asian on Chapel Street, good and reasonably priced but not stunning), and attend a talk by Helen Boyd at Yale. We had a good night. Yeah!

BlogNation - Hartford Courant Key Issues Forum

I whine about having too much on my plate, but I (at the last moment) turned the car eastward towards downtown Hartford this morning for the Hartford Courant's Key Issues Forum on blogging, entitled BlogNation.

Panelists Genghis Conn, Colin McEnroe, Caffeinated Geek Girl, Matt Stoller, and Tim Tagaris.

Great dialogue. Great cross section. Genghis Conn is the thoughtful center. Colin is the bridge to the main stream media and philosopher. Stoller is the firebrand. Caffeinated Geek Girl is the vox populi. And Tagaris - quiet but powerful, I sense.

Stoller took it to the MSM a few times. Amusing that Genghis Conn's stat on blogger readership (80% male) was mirrored by the panel. The audience seemed heavy on politicos and MSM types, judging by the suits. Fox 61 was there with video, and probably a few others.

A personal highlight for me was seeing my friend and occasional coworker Rich from Event Management (?) who was doing lighting and sound for the event. I run into him at various arts and media events in Hartford. If I had my gloves with me and a few extra minutes I would have helped on the strike.....

A Dog in the Hunt

Yesterday's precipitous drop on Wall Street was unpleasant. In the past, I never really cared much - my work seems to come and go to its own rhythms, without a lot of correlation to the economy. And I have historically not had a lot of extra money for savings, investment, retirement. But the last few years I have been able (and disciplined enough) to fund an IRA and its spread out over a lot of investments. So when I popped into my IRA account this morning, it was down a bit.

Not that I am all that upset - I'm in for the long term and if anything, its a good time to drop the remainder of my 2006 contribution in there; I had been hedging because I had some big checks coming in and the high stock market prices had me thinking a correction was coming. So, all in all, not a bad thing.

But its odd to hear the financial news and actually give a damn.....

February 27, 2007

Paging my Doppelganger

I'll take care of the yoga, the watching Friday Night Lights. Heck I'll even go get zapped tomorrow and hit the doctor's appointment on Friday. I'll also spend time with the Zipster, feed the dogs, and the like.

You can do the trip report from last week's Indiana trip, the seven site reports that miraculously appeared today, the client meeting on Thursday, the website updates due on the 1st, the significant PowerPoint development, the installation and exploration of a new software package, and the end of the month billing.

We'll do lunch on Friday to discuss who gets to go to North Carolina next week, and Scottsdale a week from Friday.

It's good to be busy. It's good to be busy. It's good to be busy. I keep telling myself that......

Dropkick Murphys

...have been filling my head with angry Irish stomping goodness. I downloaded a couple of disks worth of tunes (2003's Blackout and 2005's The Warrior's Code) from eMusic.com where I

Not my usual fodder, but I am liking the energy. I blame this guy.

Just visiting emusic.com for a link, and I see they have Rickie Lee Jones new one, Sermon on Exposition Boulevard, so I downloaded that one too. New noise for my ears - yeah!

February 26, 2007

The End of the Month? Already?

Dang. February flew by.

Slow start today - last night's Oscars party at the Emporer was fun - we left around 11 p.m. Nothing super, some friends were there, got some schmoozing in with random media celebs, and drank three Cosmos which is two over my usual / limit. I was not all that invested in the awards, but my favorite animated short won, and one of my two favorite live action shorts won. I kind of wish I had recorded the shwo to watch it tonight, if only to see Ellen's schtick and the Pilobolus performance pieces.

My back has been getting better - I took it easy with yoga, an all levels class with Kate yesterday, a gentle class with Carissa today. My first two teachers, and practicing with them is like going home. Nice and gentle for my back, as I heal and strengthen. And important to continue to proactice even if its not kick my ass hot / power classes.

I intended to crank out some reports today, but I got stuck collecting info, and ended up working on a website. I pretty much got the website done today - adapting a ticket ordering javascript that I have been working with for a few years, but merging two ordering pages together. Plus some graphics. Just a general refresh. Needs a little more testing, and awaiting feedback from my client, but its all pretty much put to bed. The reports will wait til tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Zippy is off for some medical testing that I am driving hir to. And taking my laptop along for company.

February 25, 2007

Sunday Waiting

Been a fairly quiet weekend. Last night we ended up at Real Art Ways for the OScar Nominated Live Shorts. Afterwards, we visited Cheng Du at the new location (which tells you how often I go there, since its been over on Park for a while now). Food was good - creative and flavorful - although we tend to like a bit more zip.

Today, I slept in (which means after feeding the dogs I crawled back into bed) - skipped my 8:30 a.m. hot class in favor of a 10:15 all levels class with Kate. Exactly what I needed - Kate is gentle and wise and my body needed to float more and strain less. I've been nursing some tweaks - Friday was a sharp stabbing in my left quad (since departed), yesterday and today a sensitive lower back (still an issue). I think my body is telling me I need to lose some weight....

Tonight, CARC's Oscar party. Audrey will be there, as will friend Kim and her friend Kapel (sp?). Also maybe some others. Should be fun - treat myself to a bit of schmoozing, wining, and dining with the Hartford media elite. Or something.

February 24, 2007

Karen Williams

We went to see Karen Williams at Hartford's Bulkley High School last night. A community response to the Shirley Q Liquor debacle. Ms. Williams was a treat, we both laughed mightily.

No serious weekend plans. I have the CARC Oscar Party tomorrow night, so I probabl;y need to do some primping. I have options - jazzercise this morning, a support space this afternoon, go see the live action Oscar shorts at Real Art Ways this evening, yoga tomorrow morning. I am nursing a twitchy left quadricep, so I might go easy. I would love to walk into work on Monday having completed a few trip reports. We'll see.

February 23, 2007

Dress Shopping

Went over to Ann Taylor Loft to sniff around for clothes - nothing either in the ballpark look wise or size wise. I think the gift card is gonna need to be spent online where I can get the bigger sizes.

But Lord & Taylor had a ton of stuff in my size and glimmery. And after looking (mostly) for sparkley tops to go with my silk wrap pants, I actually found a dress that fits, looks and feels good, and is downright appropriate.

Which means the weekend will be spent defoliating, accessorizing, and probably get my nails done. Down the slippery slope to femminess......whee!

Zippy sat in the husband chair very patiently.

February 22, 2007

Favorite Asanas

I've started to look forward to yoga asanas (postures). I thought I might write a little bit about that, since this kind of crept up on me. Somewhere in the last few practices it hit me that I was anticipating postures (oh good! we seem to be heading towards Ardha Chandrasana!) or feeling let down when a particular posture was not in the offing.

I am sure its something I need / want to be aware of - another level of letting go in my practice - but I also want to give it voice and honor it.

So let's start out with Ardha Chandrasana - Half Moon Pose. I love the feeling of flying. I love the balance. I love the way my elevated arm is reaching for the sky. I love the challenge of balance, and the challenge of getting in and out of the posture with grace. I love the visual of trying to make the pose align as if I were pressed up against a wall - one of my teachers did that with us once with a partner to push us open and it was wonderfully instructive.

Bakasana - Crow Pose. I'm not a petite thing. So to support the weight of my body on my hands is a BIG DEAL for me. Many of the arm balances are out of reach right now. And Crow is one of the first postures that I ran into that was completely inaccessible, but which has become accessible - I can almost always get up into it, its mostly a matter of how precise my posture is, and how long I can hold it. And I am consciously working to get my knees up under my arms (I started with them pressed into the side of my arms). Crow is posture where today I can measure my progress, see my growth.

Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana - is always fun. Being long of bone, I love to feel my body pulled in different directions. I love the open your heart feeling. I love "spreading my wings", an image some instructors have implanted. Similarly, Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) makes me feel strong and long and yearning. I love the moments, waiting in high plank, for the words "move your right hand to the center of the mat and roll open". The anticipation of the opening, the unfolding, is delicious.

Pigeon Pose and Downward Facing Frog are both challenging poses for me - because my hips are not easily or comfortably open. But when we move into them in a hot practice, when I am all opened and limber, these poses take me deeply into myself. I always look forward to them, but especially when they come late in a practice, a surrender of sorts.

Finally, Urdhva Dhanurasana - Wheel Pose. It's my edge right now, related to body weight and arm strength. I've gotten up into it, unassisted, perhaps twice so far - when a combination of energy, strength, and practice have come together. I had popped up into it a few times with some assistance from a teacher who lent her ankles. And I get partially up into it most of the time - yearning, pushing, practicing.

And as I write this, I see 4 or 5 other postures I really like, really want to write about. I guess the fact that so many of these postures work for me, are filled with joy, is why I am a yogi. As they say, there are worse things to be addicted to!

DMV, Dr. Keith Ablow, and Ricki Lee Jones

MYA and I spent most of the day doing DMVish things. Picked her up in Bristol at 1 p.m. Off to Wethersfield. Discover that she forgot all her ID. Back to Bristol. Off to Plainville DMV. Wait in line. Get to the counter, to find she needs a postmarked letter with her name and address. Back to Bristol for all the mail she can find. Back to Plainville. More waiting in line. Get to the counter, hand over the ID and the money.

Then a long long wait. We worry about the reason for the wait, perceiving some panic among the civil servants. Eventually, she gets called up to sign things, smile for the camera. A few minutes later, she gets her ID.

It's a good photo, flattering and captures a little mischief in her eyes. It also has the wrong gender marker on it. We'll work on that next - was hoping we might get lucky with passing privilege, a tired clerk, all that.

But, for the first time in her life, she has a piece of legal identification. It was a long journey - trips to the DMV, social security, town hall. I was not gonna let today pass without her getting ID. She was happy. We celebrated at the Imperial Buffet.

In other news, friends were on the Dr. Keith Ablow show today. I taped it, and watched it at lunch, and Zippy and I watched it again tonight. Now we are watching a treat - Ricki Lee Jones on Soundstage on PBS. Heh. She has a song on her new Sermon on Exposition Boulevard. Tried to be a Man. With ya, Ricki....

Oh, and universe. It's me, Jude. You know, with the fish and all. My friend / lover / partner / boi / parent to my dogs Zipster is struggling - zie needs to find work that feeds her body and her soul. I don't ask often, but I am asking now. Thanks!

February 21, 2007

Civil Disobedience

Yoga guru Ramdev to disobey any law against yoga

How about "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's urdhva-dhanurasana?"

On a slightly related note, I am starting to understand and remember the sanskrit names for yoga poses, if not actually think of the poses primarily in Sanskrit. I was in the middle of an Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle) today and my monkey mind is thinking "Arm position preparing for Vasisthasana" (Side Plank) which is what some of my instructors say from time to time and I suspect if someone said Side Plank it would take me a few seconds extra to figure out they meant Vasisthasana.

There is a good translation page (with links to what the asanas look like) here.

Girls of Tender Age

My travel companion on the trip to Goshen, IN was a wonderful memoir, Girls of Tender Age, by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, whic was released this December in paperback.

What a sneaky and wonderful work. I say sneaky because it is really three works in one - reporting on a heinous crime that jarred her childhood, a nostalgic look back at the city I call home (but did not grow up in), and a family history involving a seriously autistic brother. As I read the first few chapters, I was struck by how fragmented the writing was - snippets of memories, observations, stories - not unlike a child's understanding of the world, as passed along by the adults in her life. But slowly, as the chapters unfurled, I was drawn in. At the end, as she writes of her brother's decline, her father's descent into Alzheimers, her mother's funeral, I quietly wiped away the tears.

The book rose to my notice when the author appeared on Colin's show - the author grew up in Hartford not too far from where we live today. As such, there were many familiar touchstones - her father worked at Abbott-Ball (our next door neighbor retired from there, and I imagine he knew her father), her stomping grounds were the streets between here and Trinity College, and I imagine the murderer who figures prominantly in the book walked down Newington Road that I travel every day between home and my office.

I loved reading of a different Hartford - when the Elm Theater was vibrant, when G. Fox was open, when the Hog (Park) River was not buried. I plan to drive through her neighborhood sometime soon to look it over. I am sure in her world, my neighborhood was where the up and comers ended up.

Even though the memoir was of many things - her brother, her murdered friend, the city of Hartford itself, I was left with strong connections to her parents. Her absent and distant mother, who worked the housewife shift at CG and immersed herself in the burgeoning Hartford society life (mostly golf). And her blue collar father, who seemed to be a friend to all, and so dedicated to his autistic son in the days before autism was commonly diagnosed or understood, to the end.

So glad to have come across this book. It helps me to understand the Hartford that was, and to appreciate the Hartford that is, a little more. It engaged on multiple levels. And it pulled away a few layers of hardness from my eyes and my heart - to come to love my world a little more.

I'm not sure if Zippy will read it, but I suspect if not, that MYA will eat it up.....

February 20, 2007

More Airport Bloggishness

From CVG. Because I can. I have a long layover. An hour of WiFi lets me grab my email, deal with anything urgent, and have time for some mexican lunch (Qdoba, conveniently located in Terminal C) and then off the a conencting flight to Hartford.

I was scheduled to fly home tomorrow but the good folks from Delta had room for me on some flights today. Yay!

(Wo)mans Best Friend

Rescuer: Dog may have saved climbers

Glad they are OK. Glad they brought the dog down too.

February 19, 2007

Musings from the Airport

En route to Goshen, Indiana, via Cincinnati and South Bend. Bradley is remarkably quiet today considering its vacation week (I think) - with only a slight uptick in families with rugrats. And the weather looks good for travel. Huzzah!

Blogging from the airport always makes me feel connected and trendy. Let me live with this small delusion, s'il vous plait!

I have not been an instant message person for a long, long time. But I do have an AOL account - I used to use it to connect while on the road, until broadband in hotels became ubiquitous, and then AOL discontinued subscriber fees for broadband customers so I stayed a member. I ought to just load up AIM and quit logging in to AOL at all. But anyway, I also have Yahoo Messenger loaded - for an occasional group chat. I also rarely if ever use that. But once in a while someone gets a bug to talk to me. I've been stalked by an individual for a good week or so.

The funny thing is, he never says anything other than BUZZ and Hello. And I've patiently ignored him for a good week. One would think he would (a) get tired and give up or (b) try something else. Like tell me who he is or something about him or why he is trying to talk to me. I dunno. Amusing. Sad.

Per usual, I brought along a yoga mat. I do not practice every trip, but I like having it along just in case, even if I just do some simple stretches and postures its positive. I've been folding them up into the suitcase up til now, but the last few times, I ended up rolling the mat up*, as several of my teachers demand for abdominal work. It makes me happy to roll it up that way - I feel as if I am getting ready to practice even at home or whatever. Just like it makes me happy to have a few yoga blankets, and a yoga strap at home. It feels as if I am bringing my practice into my life via these little touchstones and tendrils.

* Lay the mat out lengthwise, and fold it lengthwise into thirds so it's full length, and about 8" wide. Then roll up lengthwise like a jelly roll, adjusting it as you roll to keep it straight and tight. It ends up being a small tight cylinder, about 6" in diameter. It gets placed between one's knees for bridge, or between one's thighs for ab work or standing work. Squeeze the mat!

February 18, 2007

Goshen, Indiana

Is where I am heading tomorrow. Flying in to South Bend. Wikipedia article here.

It's a heck of a lot further North than I expected - right up against the Michigan line. Looks the like the weather is similar to here - not quite so cold right now and Monday, but a little colder Tuesday and Wednesday.

Best animated short film

“The Danish Poet” (National Film Board of Canada)
A Mikrofilm and National Film Board of Canada Production
Torill Kove
Jude sez: Completely charmed by this one. Not spectacular animation, but adorable, wonderful story. Lots of dry humor. Lots of amusing sight gags. I'd call it tied for first.

"Lifted” (Buena Vista)
A Pixar Animation Studios Production
Gary Rydstrom
Jude sez: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, told from the perspective of the aliens, one of which might be a child being shown the ropes by an elder. A good overall joke (making light of Speilbergian majestic film-making), some good site gags, but not my favorite.

“The Little Matchgirl” (Buena Vista)
A Walt Disney Pictures Production
Roger Allers and Don Hahn
Jude sez: Just completely predictable, from the Hans Christian Anderson tale (which I read as a child) to the Wizard of Oz-like bringing color into the animation during key parts. It was beautiful in its way, but and simple, but it seemed like a throw-away from Mulan or another Disney feature, and was about as subtle. (the source material has its limits, of course) The snow was pretty impressive.

“Maestro” (SzimplaFilm)
A Kedd Production
Géza M. Tóth
Jude sez: I was totally charmed by this one. A complete belly laugh punchline. Some creative (and foreshadowing) animation where in the camera perspective steps around the characters 360 degrees. Creative and just a littl alien props and characters. I'd call this one a tie for first.

“No Time for Nuts” (20th Century Fox)
A Blue Sky Studios Production
Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmeier
Jude sez: Very funny. Some belly laughs. A little too frenetic a la Ice Age - too fast, too furious, too in your face.

Red Beets

It's been ages since I've eaten beets. An occasional slice or two from a salad bar. A red beet egg at a picnic. A few pieces from a jar at a meal.

Zippy and I picked up abunch of fresh beets at Appletree a few weeks back. But I forgot (or never knew) the impact of red beets on ones.....er.....effluvia. So I spent a day or so pretty sure I was dying of colon cancer or some other digestive tract disease that creates bloody red stools.

Silly me. We made a batch of beets again last night, and this time I am ready.

February 17, 2007

Wicked

I finally finished Wicked, probably the last person on the planet to actually read this. I liked it, mostly. I guess I had some preconceptions, having gotten to know the soundtrack first, but it satisfied.

My only quibble - its seems like in the later chapters, there was a bit of a scramble to try to assemble the pieces to tie in with the Baum works - I confess to never having read the Oz books and only basing my connection on the movie, so I am limited. But it seemed to me as if the transformation from this sort of angry but romantic young woman to the proto witch was forced, and that I wanted Elphie to be a bit more aware of and challenged by her power - it seemed to me that she was more of a spectator in her own life.

I do think I need to read the Oz books.

Dreaming Again

A weird one, this time.

It starts with me driving west, with my former sister-in-law Kathy, ostensibly out Rte. 6 west from Terryville. We are watching the sky, the sunset / clouds are very colorful and striking. As we drive, we hear a buzzing, it turns out to be an ultralight plane, escorting some geese. (I know there have been a few movies of people who use ultralights to train migratory birds, although I have not seen any). The plane was tracking our car, and as we watched, the pilot (male) we notice a young girl (daughter) in a kind of side car, almost like a tricycle attached to the outside of the the plane, and she seems rather precarious - as if she were holding on to the plane with one hand. I worry about her falling.

We track the plane and the geese along a long lake or reservoir - at the end, there is a large dam, and I go inside the dam, with my old springer spaniel Nipsy. There is a small auditorium at the top of the damn, I am permitted to bring Nipsy in with me and we sit down - little kids come over to pet her and I reassure them and her parents that she is fine with kids. We are watching some kind of documentary about the dam, and while we are up there, I overheard the person running things say that there has been a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, and that a stronger one is coming. I decide to leave. I recognize the dam, which seems to be in the lower CT river valley, and has a six letter name with a Y in it - like Yamaha or Mygast or something.

As I descend from the auditorium, the next floor down is a large reception / gift shop area, so I decide to go to the bathroom. Emerging, I see a woman walking out the door with Nipsy, she has an orange leash loosely looped around her neck. I give chase - but she gets away in a car. In her rush to escape, she leaves two children behind. I find the kids, and frantically pump them for information (last name, where they live) so I can get Nipsy back.

Somehow, I realize that the women who took Nipsy is not unknown to me, she has been in a therapy group I was in - so I try to call the woman running the group (Char) to get her contact info - I am worried that she will not give me the information (confidentiality / privacy). Char is not picking up the phone, and I realize she is probably in session, and then I realize that she is seeing this woman. And there is Nipsy - she has brought my dog with her into the therapists office and left her in the waiting room. So I take Nipsy with me and start to leave the office.

End of dream. Weird, huh?

February 16, 2007

Grey's Anatomy

So Kyle Chandler, the Coach from Friday Night Lights, is a bomb squad guy on Grey's Anatomy. I'm already looking around for Riggins or Smash every time he delivers a forceful and charismatic line. He and Ellen Pompeo are way too much cute for one night of television.

Boots and Civil Service

Quick updates. Today was a mish-mosh. Worked in the morning. Had a noonish appointment. Went to fetch MYA afterwards. We were supposed to go to the DMV today to get her ID. Unfortunately, the DMV closed at 12:30 today for the Monday Holiday. Of course, I was at the DMV yesterday and there was no notice or sign up about an early closing today.

OK, so Monday is NOT a holiday for me, but I do not begrudge the day off for others. But come on, you need to take a 1/2 day Friday to prepare for President's Day? Stuff like this makes me resent the heck out of civil servants. Grumble.


MYA and I hung out mostly, went to the True Colors office, had dinner, and I went to get some yoga / jazzercise friendly boots at Famous Footwear.

Bout it. Last night, Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways. Tomorrow, Jazzercise. Lunch with friends from a mindfulness group. And then maybe Oscar nominated shorts at Real Art Ways.

February 14, 2007

Springer Spaniel


A quick round of applause for James, an English Springer Spaniel who won best of show at the 131st annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

I love Springer Spaniels. My companion for many years was Nipsy, a field springer, born in Provincetown. I loved that dog. And though I love all the dogs in my life, some dogs are special, yanno?

Snow and Hearts

Just a low key day. I took a friend to the airport this morning. I tried to go to yoga (canceled). I worked a little bit. I came home at lunch.

Zippy and I watched "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?". We hung around all afternoon, shoveling a little (we got perhaps 4-5"), reading (I finished "Wicked"), snuck out to dinner at Yanni's. Came home and hung out.

Watched Friday Night Lights. Did some work. Blogging. Then off to bed.....

February 12, 2007

Still Alive

Just Busy. Down in Philly - we worked today from 8 am to 7 pm. Now I am enxconced in my hotel watching 24, snarfing down a Thai Chicken Salad I got from a little deli down the street (saving $25 or thereabouts that room service would have cost for the same thing - more per diem for me!) and trying to crank out some URGENT / ASAP reports for a client.

Nice to be busy, I guess. But I could use an hour on the mat and some downtime tonight.

Philadelphia

No biggie. Down here for a two-day production gig, today is a set up day, tomorrow is the broadcast / meeting. I am not even mission critical - I'm setting up and running the screen switcher; someone else gets to play powerpoint princess.

Staying at the Loew's Hotel which is pretty swanky. And has (as do all swanky hotels) good but expensive hi speed internets.

February 10, 2007

Oh-oh the Wells Fargo wagon is a coming....

Excitement today via US Priorty Mail. What brought that Music Man song to mind, I dunno.

I ordered three pair of wrap pants from Mystic Clothing - and three days later, here they are. Under $10 a pair (plus shipping and handling, still a bargain) - I got a purplish tie-dye pair, a black and yellow batik, and a black silk pair.

Very excited to have new, colorful, flowy garb. These are not my clothes, remember? The price was right. And they showed up fast!

Now just wait for warm weather and some opportunities to wear 'em. Next kirtan, for sure!

Hartford to Blackface Drag Queen: Go Home

Shirley Q. Liquor, a "...white man performing as an alcoholic, Ebonics-speaking, Southern black welfare mother with 19 kids...." has been canceled from a Feb 23rd performance at Chez Est. Story here.

Front page article in the Courant. Not too shabby. And I am honored to count Regina Dyton and Kamora Harrington (quoted in the article and leading the opposition to this act) as friends and mentors.

Saturday

Survived Kirtan - it was a smallish crowd (time of year, I suspect, the cold weather, and the fact that I think a lot of us were somewhat distracted and did not actively market the evening) but it went well. Sometimes the more intimate crowd is a good thing. Several moments of transcendence. Sote fingers though - I need to drag my guitar out more than once a month to practice and keep my callouses!

I dragged my sorry butt back home a little before midnight. Slept in today - Zippy took care of the dogs. And no Jazzercise today - just a wee bit achey and sore, and for whatever reason Jazzercise has been hard on my joints and connective tissues - elbows, shoulders, hamstrings, quads - in a way that yoga has not been. Not sure why. Age? Weight? Some weird juxtaposition of low impact yoga and higher impact jazzercise? In any case - I find myself about 1/2 the time doing something that I will be working around for a few days. Perhaps once the spring comes I might drop Jazzercise in favor of biking, hiking, blading, and walking.....

Today will be pretty low key. We're doing a dyke dinner and movies this evening with friends. The "circle" has been growing of late - with friends of friends being added - and perhaps a woman I met in another venue might be there tonight. We're making veggie chili, and to that end, we're going to Stop n' Shop today. Somehow, despite the fact that I am self employed and Zippy works part time, we inevitably end up at the grocery store on Saturday - the busy shopping day.

Not much else to report. Tomorrow, MYA and I are going to a potluck at a local UU church - they adopted the mentee's as a cause and want to give them a gift card to get clothes for the upcoming conference. Should be nice. Then off to Philadelphia with a client for a two day work gig - I get back Tuesday night late.

February 09, 2007

Gov. Rell's Budget and Tax Plan

Slipping under the radar is Gov. Rell's proposed budget, with a surprise plan to raise state income taxes from 5% to 5.5%. Amusingly, this is drawing fire from the Democratic side of the aisle.

My thoughts. Governor Rell is one sharp woman. Her proposal is like a cunning martial arts move - she knows if she proposed tax cuts or stay the course, the Dems would be running at her on a lot of fronts. So she watched them charging up the hill at her, deftly stepped aside as they plowed past her, and turned 180 degrees. Suddenly, the Dems find themselves having to charge up the other side - accusing the Gov of overtaxing, of not being fiscally responsible, of spending TOO MUCH on education and other social services. She could (theoretically) give in to the Dems, back down on the tax thing, get what she wants, and look like a hero instead of a meanie.

I love having women in politics. Men are just not this subtle.

February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith


Why is it that the photo that the media has been running with the news of her death is the only one I have ever seen of her that looks remotely like a regular person? I tried to google an image that looks like this - and nothing. In death, she becomes what she never seemed to achieve in life - humanity. Sad.

Positive Trends

Jacks on car stereos for MP3 players. I almost always bring my MP3 player along - and its nice to be able to play my tunes on rental car systems....

Kirtan - Friday 2/9 @ 8:00 p.m.

Once again, I join Shankara for Kirtan at West Hartford Yoga.

Come if the spirit moves you! We had 140 folks join us in December, and while I suspect February will be a smaller crowd, I am sure it will be a joyous and prayerful assembly.

Whoever sings, prays twice!

A Death in the ER

I was in an emergency room yesterday. Not important where. I was making some measurements related to an electrical / environmental problem, and I was walking around with meters, standing in hallways, sneaking into rooms in between patients.

Now this was a busy emergency room, and most of the patient rooms and trauma rooms were tied up - I had to work around patients, work around staff. As it was, I was unable to do my usual thorough documentation, and had to rely on spot measurements. Some of the subject rooms just never opened up.

At one point, I was told "Trauma 2 is free" so we went in there. Looking over, I noticed a body bag in the adjacent Trauma 1, separated by a divider. Somebody had passed away in the ER, while we were there.

Over the next few hours, I came across the family of this man; what I assumed to be a wife, and perhaps a daughter or neighbor. Often uncomfortably; standing in a hall, hugging or talking quietly. Occasionally, loud crying. Near the end of the stay, we ended up in the elevator with the family.

My heart filled with grief for this woman, this family. A death in the ER most likely is sudden, unexpected. This is not the oncology department, not hospice, not a convalescent home. Here, death comes like an assassin - swift, sharp and unexpected.

I did not say anything. I was nobody - a techie with a handful of meters, getting in the way, doing inscrutable and meaningless things while their world collapsed around them. I hope my presence in the ER did not cause additional grief, that my witnessing of this small quiet drama, one of many played out in this ER, and many like it each day, was not intrusive. Perhaps my work will make it safe for another patient, down the road, perhaps one or two might be saved for having this problem fixed.

But damn, to live that close to death each day. I am not sure I could do it. The folks in the ER - the paramedics and EMTs, the doctors and nurses and staff - get my highest level of admiration.

February 07, 2007

Up and At 'Em

Getting ready to vacate the hotel room here for the bitter cold. The hospital is right across the street but I probably ought to drive.....just to get the car out of the hotel lot and into someplace where I can roll my toolcase into the building.

The room was fine - cozy as I mentioned, and warm. The shower was a tight squeeze - but warm and good water pressure. Next time I come here it will be with a partner so I can enjoy the romance of it.....

February 06, 2007

Portland ME

I'm pretty ditzy, I guess. I made both my rental car reservation and my hotel reservation for Tuesday, Feb 13th. Of course, I was traveling today, Feb 6th. Duh!

Kudos to Thrifty Car Rental and Hotels.com for not dinging me with cancellation or change fees.

Kudos also to the Inn At St. John in Portland - the room is small, but cozy and lovely - the only serious issue is temperature (warm, old fashioned steam radiator) but I can cope. If I were coming back to town (I am working at Maine Medical Center, across the street) I would stay here, no problem. Wish I were here longer.....

Bout it from here. I am gonna try to get some sleep tonight; should be an early morning and a longish day - working, hopefully getting out of town mid-afternoon, then driving back to CT for kirtan practice, and maybe meditation beforehand....

Astronauts Behaving Badly

Astronaut charged with kidnap attempt. Story here.

When she found out that Shipman was flying to Orlando from Houston, Nowak decided to confront her, according to the arrest affidavit. Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers so she wouldn't have to stop to urinate, authorities said.

Busy Days Ahead

Saturday's three hour yoga practice drained me - I was in a sort of stunned trance on Saturday night, and Sunday was kind of dreamy and lethargic. I slept late, I had a cranky back, I did not do much. Finally, yesterday I dragged myself to a hot class which was a balm - the heat melted away my back crankiness and lethargy, and a more energetic practice revived my spirit. Back to normal (sort of).

Today is going to be a busyish one. Work this morning (although I am considering more yoga). I need to go pick up a rental car at noon, go fetch MYA, then we are slated for lunch, for some legal errands (going to get a certified copy of her birth certificate), and an interview for a support space for her. Then take her home, perhaps drop by the house here to pick up my bags, and off to Portland Maine. I have a work gig up there on Wednesday bright and early.

I've uncharacteristically made reservations at the old world Inn at St. John
in Portland - no special reason. I usually stay in lower end chains (that cost more!), but this place is near to the hospital, and has WiFi - so whatever. It feels a little adventurous! I'm keeping an eye peeled for magic....

February 04, 2007

Super Sunday

And no significant plans for the super bowl. Aside from having bought a bag of tortilla chips just in case. And hankering for fresh guacamole; I might end up running out for avocados.....

Yesterday was an atypical Saturday. Normal morning jazzercise was replaced with an afternoon yoga marathon that left me kind of shell-shocked going into the evening. My niece was in a play up in MA but we were both a bit tired for the 4 hours of driving that would involve. So we cooked up a veggie supper (rice and broccoli and cauliflour and tofu, with some Indian quick mixes to season and spice) and went out to see The Queen (Helen Mirren was wonderful). Zippy tends to be suspicious of any movie playing in a mainstream theater, so walking into the local cineplex is a the end product of a careful marketing campaign and gentle seduction. We both loved the movie.

Not sure whats on tap today. I have three morning options (Jazzercise, yoga, or neither) and then we are probably going to run down to Essex to drop off a car for a friend to look at. Lunch down there, hopefully. Then, I dunno. MYA needs some attention; maybe we can go see a movie or just hang out - Netflix has sent us Beautiful Boxer which I think she wants to see......

I've been up since 5 - emails, message boards, web surfing. I might climb back into the warm bed for a few - Zipster is still snoozing.....

February 02, 2007

Search Engine Self-Reference

Another round of search engine self reference, wherein I document the words or phrases that people have searched for and as a result stumbled onto the blog.

1) Bruce Stevens WTIC and/or WDRC - 6 searches (remarkable staying power for Mr. Stevens)
2) Susan Forbes Hanson / Valley Folk / WFCR - 4 searches (another displaced radio personality)
3) Hot Basil Thai West Hartford - 3 searches (an ongoing theme)
4) Scenic Root - 3 searches (am I becoming a destination?)
5) Cherry Jones - 2 searches

And, with one search each: PowerPoint Princess, WB Mason Office Depot, Krishna Das MP3, Mediza Rest CT, Susan Campbell Courant, Shankara Enlightenment Intensive, Cliff Furnald, Madison, UConn Law School, Mary Oliver October

Punxsutawney Phil predicts early spring

Story here.

I'm waiting for "Punxsutawney Phil predicts rising sea levels, melting ice caps, and disruptions in weather patterns resulting in massive global disruption and displacement"

Ad Hominem

Zipster has been stomping around the house since yesterday, enraged about a pseudo-relation forwarding one of those offensive joke / humor emails. Apparently aimed at illegal immigrants, mostly spelled M-E-X-I-C-A-N - although this person has forwarded on other email humor aimed at terrorists (spelled A-R-A-B) which is being recalled in light of the present issue.

Now, I find such email attempts at humor unfunny and offensive. And a simple "I do not consider this to be funny or acceptable, please do not forward these on to me in the future" is sufficient. Perhaps a little "why do you send these around?" inquiry to give the person a jumping off point towards mindfulness. Confront with the open hand, not with the fist.....and all that.

But Zipster is flaming, the individual in question (an otherwise caring and apparently liberal thinker, who has devoted much of her life to pet rescue) is getting tarred and feathered - hypocrite, racist. I think a lot of Zippy's angst is related to being Jewish - having grown up in a culture and era when ethnic humor and anti-semitism was acceptable or winked at, Zipster is sensitive to this stuff, and the fact that this person is also Jewish and apparently a progressive thinker makes it a more personal affront. "She should know better than this"

I tried to analyze one of the jokes (in case it was supposed to be ironic or something) and I got called "shallow" for my trouble.

Zipster is calming down, but boy did this wind her up.

Spell-checking

OK, confession time. I never spell check my blog. Mostly, its the hassle factor - I blog, I post, I do not take the extra step that spell checking requires.

However, I just spell checked a few entries, was somewhat aghast at the number of dumb typos (mostly) and misspellings (occasionally), and I was also pleasantly surprised at the user friendliness of the blogger spell check function.

So....I am going to try to spell check entries in the future, for my readers' increased blogging satisfaction.

Compact Fluorescent (CF) Lamps or Light Bulbs or Whatever

Colin McEnroe was vamping about these on his show yesterday. (He was also talking with Cherry Jones and raving about "Doubt" at the Bushnell, I almost got tickets but I thought that the work was too intimate for the balcony seats I really could afford, and then the damn Bushnell online ordering wanted about $7 extra per seat for a handling charge. Grrrr.......) Think I will stick to more intimate theatre - Hartford Stage and Theatreworks.

Anyway, back to Compact Fluorescents (hereafter, CFs). I've picked up a few multi-paks of these. They are in most of the main overhead fixtures in the house - kitchen, bedrooms, halls, basement. The exceptions are mostly related to form, environment, or aesthetics - an artful dining room fixture with small bulbs . A 3-way incandescent in a floor fixture in the living room. A lower watt bedside lamp. Bathroom vanity fixtures (globes). Outdoor lamps. I am sure if I set my mind to it (and I will) I could come up with another 5 or 6 bulbs worthy of replacement.

I kind of like the way the CFs come on quickly with a sort of yellowish, dimmer glow, and then brighten as they heat up. Some see this as a negative, but I've come to like it - it feels analogish (vs. the ON / OFF binary, instant gratification of an incandescent bulb). It feels like I am lighting a campsite lantern or something whenever I turn on one of these bulbs.

I am also somewhat concerned about the externalized costs of CFs, specifically the environmental costs incurred during manufacture and the environmental costs of the mercury contained inside these puppies. Energy hogs though they may be, incandescent lamps are pretty darn simple from a manufacturing and disposal perspective.

I am also somewhat concerned about the failure mode of CF's - we all know how an incandescent bulb fails. But, being an electrical engineer, I could envision a less benign failure mode for CFs - a slow burndown resulting in fire, a smokey failure (mercury release?), an explosion with resulting glass shards.

Along the way, I stumbled across Don Klipstein's Web Site - including a most thorough consumer guide Some Better Compact Fluorescent Lamps - And some you might want to avoid. I kind of love the fact that there is a person like Don, apparently for no reason other than he is interested, buying, testing, measuring the energy consumption and light output of CFs. Reading his site, for example, I come across the availability of three-way bulbs, globes (for bathrooms), and miniature CF's (for decorative fixtures).

Oh, and about the post title "Compact Fluorescent (CF) Lamps or Light Bulbs or Whatever". CFs have dragged us into the same linguistic territory as record albums and CD's. We continue to refer to an artist as releasing an "album" even if the "album" is just released on CD. So to, we refer to a CF "bulb" even through perhaps the word bulb is anachronistic.

February 01, 2007

Jude, Meet Your Shoulders

Shoulders, this is Jude. A reintroduction of sorts, courtesy of this morning's practice.