February 29, 2008

Then Again.....

So after that little diatribe I unplugged my laptop and found a bathroom. On the way back to a seat, I decided, spur of the moment, to pop $20 into a 25 cent slot machine. And walked away with $50. I think I'm pretty much coming out even or maybe even $10 ahead, considering that I put $15 or $20 into nickel slots at the hotel over the course of the visit.

I feel so dirty.....

Musings on this Wicked Town

What to say about Las Vegas?

The conspicuous consumption, first. We're fighting a war, and soldiers are dying or being maimed, to control precious calories of energy. So to see so many kilowatts (not to mention gallons of water) bring poured out into the desert for the sole purpose of entertainment is pretty horrific. There is no shortage of new construction here - explansion, new casinos, old one's being imploded. I'm am reminded of Sheryl Crow (she of "Leaving Las Vegas"), another song that starts "I like a good beer buzz, early in the morning" - and Vegas is the sort of place where drinking before noon might seem like a good idea. Lots of people on the street look like they've started early.

Not only that, but everything is faux. The Eiffel Tower. The Statue of Liberty. A pyramid. Roman architecture. The bridge of the Starship enterprise. You name it, it's here - scaled down slightly but impressive nonetheless. I watched the crowd circle the fake lake at the Bellagio, practically weeping as the syncronized water fountains and light show danced to Toby Keith's "Proud to be an American".

I'm here for a conference on electical power quality. Lots of folks here make their living designing data centers - for internet server farms, for telecom sites, and yes, for casinos. All these slot machines are computerized these days. There's a ton of work here in Vegas as well as Atlantic City, but also at all the Native American casinos springing up in the 48 states that are not so permissive in terms of gambling. Vegas is the American dream taken to it's final iteration. Somehow, the fact that Native American are profiting from (and pushing us ever so slightly) down the slippery slope to social collapse and perdition, seems right and proper. Payback, as they say, is a bitch.

I went out to dinner last night with a client and his wife. They are Indian (the subcontinent variety, not the Native Ameerian version) and we ate at a delightful and delicious Indian restaurant called Tamba. Tamba is sanskrit for copper. Copper is the humblest of metals; it remains the metal most associated with the penny (now made mostly of zinc). Both zinc and copper prices have risen - the penny is worth more melted down to it's raw materials than its value as currency.

We're outsourcing our data centers to India. We're also outsourcing our engineering - I heard a story on NPR regarding national competence in math and science. Places like China and India are outstripping the United States in preparing kids for technical careers. Ask a kid from the USA what they want to be when they grow up. An athlete maybe, or some flavor of celebrity. Ask in India - they want to be a doctor or a scientist. My client and his wife have two daughters - both have masters degrees and professional careers, one in engineering, one in medicine. they are worried about the daughters getting married, but not about them being successful in life.

As we ate, I looked up at a mural depicting an Indian village - with a musical group looking much like my kirtan ensemble, lithe women passing out prasad. I thought of yoga, of quieting my mind, looking for inner silence. Here in Vegas, that sort of contemplative space is hard to find. I'm at the far end of the terminal, last stop before jumping onto a plane headed home, and the flashing lights and cheerily bouncy music of a banks of slot machines continues to assault my senses.

At the conference, war stories are traded - and everyone has a story about how metal thieves stole the copper wiring out of a construction site, or an old building, or a piece of equipment or facility left unattended too long. It's easier to earn a living these days by stealing and fencing hundreds of pounds of copper than it is to actually find and work a job.

So that's Las Vegas. A city of pretense, a city that organized crime built and the seven deadly sins keeps expanding. I can't get out of here fast enough. It will take a lot to wash the dust of this town off my soul.....

Leaving Las Vegas

Sitting in a Gate C mexican bar, sipping down a Dos Equis and waiting for an Enchilade Verde. I got to the airport tres early hoping to catch a 1:00 p.m. flight through BWI to BDL but the check-in and security lines were long, so I'm sticking with my scheduled departure. Free WiFi, huzzah.

I don't get in until 12:25 a.m. - and there is a snowstorm in CT. Should be an interesting evening.

Notable event of the day: I got carded. I'll be 47 in 10 days. I must be doing something right.....

February 28, 2008

Las Vegas

So I'm here in Vegas. I am reminded of Obi Wan Kenobi's description of the Mos Eisley Spaceport as a "wretched hive of scum and villainy". I can almost feel the sleeze sticking to my skin.....

I'm mostly avoiding the gambling, although I tossed $5 into a nickel slot while waiting for my room to be ready. The hotel I am in has a casino which permits smoking so there is a vague haze of smoke everywhere, even in the non-smoking floors. The rooms are nice enough, clean, albeit a bit dated. (Confession, I am here for a conference, on my nickel, so I went with something cheap) Cheap includes no WiFi or Broadband (note to self "Dataport" means a modem socket on the phone), but there are a few open wireless hubs that seem relatively benign - probably related to slot machine servicing or something. So I am on the internets, buy hook or by crook.

I got my presentation done yesterday, and found a Kinko's where I printed and copied handuts. The laptop appears to be working well. I brought my wireless presentation pointer. All good. I had a nice dinner last night - sushi and a bit of sake. Kind of sucks to be eating alone; tonight I'm doing dinner with a client and his wife.

I practiced out by the pool yesterday - wish I had gotten out there a bit earlier so as to catch the mid-day sun and heat. I'm walking the show today, and chairing an afternoon workshop. Tomorrow, I present my paper in the morning and then head right over to the airport. I have a direct flight back, but I still do not get in until past midnight......

February 27, 2008

Starbucks on Pradise

Can't get into my hotel room until 1:00 p.m. local. I'll be damned if I hang out in the casino feeding the slots. Off to a Starbucks for some less expensive WiFi and a chai latte......

I toyed with going over to the convention center, getting my credentials, and walking the floor in my travel cloths, but.....nah.....

I've got to finish up my presentation this afternoon, do a bit of work for other clients, catch up on email, and throw down some asanas in the beautiful 70's and sunny weather.

Blogging from BDL

I'm up and running early. YAWN! I actually used my alarm click this morning; when you have dogs that demand food around 5:00 am, its hard not to be up in time for most things. But a 7:00 am flight this morning demanded a 4:00 am wake-up call. Thankfully, its a direct flight from BDL to Las Vegas (Southwest) - I had a frequent flyer award which I know is a waste on a deductible business trip, but I'm equal parts pragmatic and cheap.

Big ol' security line at Bradley this morning! And I kind of like the new Southwest boarding policy; they are just pre-boarding and I do not need to get in line.

I'm completely unprepared for my presentation on Friday; but I have everything on my laptop and have a few days to crank it out and find a Kinko's to make copies. Scary how blase I am about this sort of thing. I'm heading out early to be sure I get there (I'm chairing a workshop tomorrow, my paper is presented on Friday) and also to get a direct flight out. So I have some planned downtime in Vegas to relax, hit the mat, work on presentation, and catch up on other work.....

February 26, 2008

Dear Microsoft

Please allow Jude to install Office 2003 on her new laptop.

She first installed this package on her Dell Inspiron, running XP. It worked for several years. Then one day, she accidentally caught the power cord in her shoe and pulled the laptop onto the floor, resulting in a broken screen. She still might get it fixed, but probably not.

Then she installed the software on a replacement Toshiba laptop, running Microsoft Vista. This laptop never actually worked properly - throwing errors and lock-ups from the start and slowly devolving into a state of operating only in Safe Mode. Where it exists now. It remains unformatted, but only until she gets all the applications and documents transferred over. Not sure what she plans to do with it. Reformat and reinstall, maybe.

She now has a Sony Vaio that seems to be much less flaky. She's installing Office on that. She promises not to use the software on her other laptops (even if she could get them to work)

Sincerely, Jude's Mom

Actually, I did need to call Microsoft but they gave me a verification code without any problem. I did not even need to tell my sob story about the crappy Toshiba laptop and the flaky Microsoft Vista

An Interesting Life

Got an email from one of my clients this afternoon. Jude, do you know this man?

Indeed I do. Bill Costen is a hot air balloonist and launches from the same fields we do. I knew he played professional football (drafted by the Bills in 1970) and worked in insurance. I know Bill to say hello to him, but obviously not that well!
When the Bills let him go, Costen played briefly for the minor league Hartford Knights, which is how he ended up in Connecticut. He worked 14 years in the insurance industry, then got involved in ballooning, at first for the advertising revenue balloons could generate and then as a commercial venture. He's been running Sky Endeavors since 1984, giving rides and making promotional appearances across the country. He also travels with the Costen Cultural Exhibit, a collection of historical memorabilia.

A most interesting story, a most interesting life!

February 25, 2008

Busy Not Blogging

Sorry to be off the grid for the moment.

I'm in the process of moving my life from el crappo Toshiba laptop to hopefully less troublesome Sony laptop. Spending lots of time moving files, applications, etc. - getting things set up properly - I'm headed out of town on Wednesday to Las Vegas and need to have the new puter functional by then (to do email, support clients, and er....run the powerpoint that I have yet to start). good thing I am a PowerPoint Princess. Good thing my presentation is not until Friday morning, giving me a few days in the hotel to work on it.....

Will be back anon, I promise - once I hit the road I'll have some leisure time to blog......

February 23, 2008

Weekend Update

Lots of little things happening.

We're all dug out, and my car is ready to go to yoga this morning. Zippy did a lot of the shoveling yesterday; I cleaned up this morning. Not such a bad storm, all in all. I worked at the studio for a bit yesterday (until the storm got too bad) then hung around the house. Not much work got done.....

I've decided (after a dozen or so instances of chronic lock-ups, running in safe mode, and system restores) to punt on this stupid laptop. I'm gonna reformat and reinstall the O/S from start. Just too much time and energy spent trying to keep it breathing. To that end, I just ordered a Sony Vaio which I will pick up this afternoon. A bit of work to get it up and running with all my apps and networking, but I've just had it, and have two travel gigs in the next few weeks that demand a computer. A double whammy curse to Windows Vista and Toshiba.

We are having friends over for dinner tonight, a long delayed a dormant women's movie night. We have two Netflix films in house: Deepa Mehta's Fire and something called By Hook or By Crook. Neither is light; I may go pick up something less cerebral at Blockbuster. I'm making a couple of new dishes - Kinpira (julienne' carrots and burdock root), and curried quinoa. I did a dry run on the kinpira yesterday (came out great), the quinoa is a it of an exploration. Zippy as some ground turkey thing he makes (olives and capers), and we have some chicken breasts as well (figure those are safe alternatives, this is not a super adventurous crowd)

Hopefully, I am gonna get some work done (tomorrow, probably) and then I am heading to the CARC Oscar party on Sunday night.

Off to yoga!

February 22, 2008

February Snowstorm

There is something reassuringly New England about a late winter / early spring snowstorm. Back in Nov / Dec, such a storm would have gripped the region with fear. Run to the stores. Buy milk and bread and eggs. Buy shovels and scrapers and ice melt. Hunker down for the big blow. The news channels would be all over it.

It's February. Snow? Really? 4" to 8" you say? Yawn. The new channels are doing their job, NBC 30 has a "Weather Plus Alert", but its all matter-of-fact.

Of more import, apparently, there are huge green stripes across the northeast US. Maybe Art Bell and his Chemtrail theorists are on to something....

February 21, 2008

CCH Debrief

Saw many people. Drank mango martinis. Not so much art (they were between installations except in the loading dock)

Hi to Bill (the the Tom of Finland-ish shirt), Leo (it's been too long), Eiko, Abby, Charmane, Kim, Audrey, Colin, Kerri (I'll remember you next time, I swear), Julie (no fair showing up in big people clothes), Shane, and everyone else I missed.

Julie, call me. Or email. We'll do coffee. Swear.
Bill, you owe me a drink.

End of Transmission.

February 20, 2008

Living Large

In Louisville this week, I rented a large SUV. A Toyota Highlander, actually. I did not really intend to rent a behemoth, but when I went to rent a car (last minute), the Compact SUV was the least expensive option from one of my usual vendors. I was expecting a RAV4, Kia Sportage, or something - but I got a juggernaut.

I did not feel all that bad about it - I only had to go a few miles - airport to hotel, hotel to hospital, hospital to hotel, and then back to the airport. 32 miles all told, per my rental receipt. Nevertheless, I put in almost 4 gallons of gas to fill it up - cost me $12. 8 Miles per gallon (assuming the tank was full when I got it).

I guess when I see these things on the road, when I consider that so many Americans are driving these beasts by choice and by preference, I have to consider that gas prices are not quite high enough. The only way we are going to reduce our consumption - through smaller cars, more efficient cars, greater utilization and availability of mass transit - is for the free market to work. Which means, higher gasoline prices, because clearly, with prices where they are, people are still living large.....

I'm feeling pretty punk about my little Saturn Ion - a bit cranky that the 2007 model I now own gets slightly worse mileage than the 1996 Saturn SL1 I used to drive. Part of that is transmission (manual vs. auto) and part may be the traction control, etc. Still, it gets 30 MPG on the highway, and would do better if I drove the limit.

February 19, 2008

Work Work Work Work Work

I knew going into February that it would be busy; I'm kind of happy to be past the mid-way point with my sanity and breath intact. Back from a quick trip to Louisville; tomorrow holds a noon conference call, a late afternoon / evening visit to a local site (a pleasant change of pace to not be jumping in a plane), and a largish report to crank out. The laptop has been acting much better, so I was able to crank out 4 reports while I traveled - that puts me 4 hours ahead going into tomorrow. I also ought to spend some time putting together my expense reports for the last few site visits.

Two more trips planned (at the moment) - a visit to Las Vegas for a conference (and a powerpoint presentation to get ready for that). And in March, back out to San Diego for a few days.

Of course, I'll still make time to hit the mat...priorities, don't cha know!

February 18, 2008

Handstand in 319

So who knew that getting over my fear of handstands would happen in Room 319 of a Marriot Courtyard in Kentucky?

I was so freaking close to getting this at Teacher Training on Sunday. Got up but there was some fear, some unwillingness to leap....I got up with some assistance, but still.....a little trepidation.

Tonight, while waiting for this dumb laptop to reboot and update and scandisk (it seems to be working again.....for how long we shall see), I realized that the longish hallway from the hotel room door to the main room would make for some pretty cool assisted yoga postures (I brought both my mat and yoga duds, to practice in the hotel in the morning). So I got up into down dog on the wall and the next thing I knew, I was in handstand.

I'm up against the wall here (trying to pull my abs in, tuck my tail and activate my feet) but I took maybe 20 timer shots, and I was up in handstand every time, for quite some time per shot. And more interestingly, I was balancing away from the wall a bunch of times too.

Something about being up on my hands, realizing I *can* support my weight, and messing around with it all.....I have a hunch I'm gonna start doing handstands in the studio (on the wall, jumping up from the floor) pretty quickly.

February 17, 2008

Teacher Training Weekend Two

Mid-way through the teacher training weekend. It's been an interesting one, on a lot of levels.

First, I've come into the weekend rested and healthy. Last time through, I must have proacticed almost every day prior to the weekend; this time, my work travels have kept me off the mat a bit. So my tweaky back is pretty quiet, my energy levels are good, and my time in the studio for training, as focused and draining as it is, is a welcome respite from my regular life.

Second, I am just feeling a lot more confidant and connected. We did a little practice teaching yesterday, with a small group (6 students) and although I stumbled over wording and left/right, I really liked being up there. It's a little less scary perhaps than it was.

Funny, the long days are really not so horribly long; they are broken up into sections that keep me focused. Yesterday was practice (2 hours), then some practice teaching, then a section talking about food (leafy greens!), and finally a deliciious whole foods meal (with mindful eating). Yum!

Computer Problems Again

A few hours of sane operation, and then I removed some unused software, and when the computer rebooted (probably did a windows update as well) the lock up problems are back. Grr!

I am one large client check away from just kicking this piece of junk Toshiba to the curb and buying something different.

February 16, 2008

All Your Virus Scan Are Belong to Us

I've been struggling with laptop issues for a week or so now - increasingly frequent lock-ups, to the point where the computer would barely boot and it would lock-up (meaning no keyboard control, no mouse clicks). I've bene running in safe mode.

This morning, I disabled the Computer Associates virus protection (a hunch), and the puter has booted and has not locked up since.

Methinks I'll be shopping for different virus protection software, or visiting the CA site to see if they have a newer, more Vista compatible application.

February 15, 2008

Eternally Busy

Ana Forrest recently suggested that inversions are a good substitue for Prozac. I tend to agree, which is why I try to get my feet in the air at least once a day. But I have also found that keeping busy is another way of keeping depression and malaise at bay. Who has time for a mental health crisis?

I'm struggling at the moment to keep my head above water. My recent trips to San Diego and Rochester have added two reports to my "to do" list - the San Diego report in particular is lengthy and complicated, and my client is eagerly waiting for it. My home laptop (which I am using at the moment) has started acting up - locking up regularly and fatally, so that I am resorting to Windows Safe Mode as I poke around the Toshiba site looking for updated drivers. I thought it was a Firefox browser issues but now its crashing just about any time. I'm usually able to do chip away at the pending work at home but right now thats not happening.

I'm also overdue updating a website for 2008 (although the client has been slow sending me information, unfortunate that now that they are getting me content and are eager to see changes, I'm swamped - would have been nice to get this out of the way in January). I've also got side projects going - some mentoring time, some posters to assemble for yoga teacher training, application forms to drop off for the True Colors Conference. Friday through Sunday I am spending 22 hours in the yoga studio (teacher training). And Monday and Tuesday I am heading out again for Louisville.

So, apologies for not blogging much.

February 13, 2008

Happy to Be Here

Driving up to Rochester last night, I made a few phone calls. Hours of driving, only so much radio and music one can take. One of the phone calls was to my mother. Mom's doing fine - the winter is hard on her since she's a bit leery of heading out into cold, ice, and snow, but otherwise she is doing well. But as we spoke (of my business trips and busy month) she commented "It's great that you get out in front of people instead of just hiding". A telling clues as to my origins.

I'm not the sort of person to be out and proud, bold, beautiful and larger than life. As a kid, I was bullied, and I learned to stick to the walls, make myself invisible if I wanted to avoid confrontation and bodily harm. Eventually, I learned to be a class clown, to be smart and funny, to dazzle them with wit, to amuse or confuse my tormentors even as I slipped in a few jabs. But my base instinct is to keep my head down.

Eventually, I warm up and feel safe - I worked at McDonald's as a teen, and eventually became a bit of a loud mouth there, but other crewmembers commented that when I first started, a was so quiet as to be almost creepy. Same thing at my yoga studio - I'm starting to bloom and connect there but its been over two years.

And as a transwoman, I've had a fair amount of success - moving through the world, staying employed, accepted by others - through a philosophy that is quiet and unassuming. When I hold my success up against others who struggle with life post-transition, I have to believe there is some wisdom in my path.

So, when I talk about being hot, sexy, and lovable, it must be put into the context of being quiet, well-behaved, and invisible. In a lot of ways, I feel like I've already gotten more than my share, more than others. It's really hard for me to think and say "I want more, I deserve more" and it's hard for me to want to draw attention to myself, put myself out there as desiring and desireable.

I've internalized my family messages, that maybe it would be better to stay in hiding. I've internalized my community messages, of unemployment, discrimination, and hate crimes. None of these messages is really valid, for me, but it's taking some work to accept that.

February 12, 2008

Rolling to Rochester

Despite the weather, I made it to Rochester in pretty good time. Agatha (my GPS) predicted an 8:30 arrival. I actually got in at 9:20. Not horrible, considering I took a few bio breaks and filled up the tank. The snow started just this side of Albany, but it really did not get squirrelly until I got onto 490 near Rochester. Staying at another Holiday Inn Express - not a bad property, albeit a bit pricey.

Wish I had some time in Rochester (although its not really the best time of year), everything I've heard about the city (art, music, museums, culture, etc.) sounds wonderful. Well, except maybe the snow.

I have a 9:00 a.m. meeting time tomorrow, which is practically mid-day for me. So I'll be up for a while; I've got some reports to write.

Hot, Sexy, and Lovable

Apparently, I am all of these. Or at least I am supposed to try to live my life as if I feel this way for the next two weeks. The mind boggles - it's as alien a feeling to me as if one were to say "imagine that you are green" or "imagine that you can fly".

Corporate America Hates Me

Been running around for a week trying to get some test equipment together.

I have a piece of measurement equipment. Bought it some years ago. It's a little bit clunky but useful enough. It still works fine; comes with a bit of software that interfaces with a database server. I'm heading out to a site this afternoon that requires the use of this meter (or something similar).

When I upgraded my laptop recently, I also ended up with Windows Vista. Unfortunately, the MSDE database service that is needed to make the meter software work does not run in Vista. And the replacement software (SQL Server 2005) does not seem to interface with the meter software. Argh!

I then attempted to purchase a replacement meter to do the same thing. It came in yesterday - without the 4 current probes needed to make it actually, you know, work. And I need to send the whole meter back - I tried yesterday to get the probes sent out separately - no dice.

So, I'm back with the old XP laptop to make it all work. Which has a broken screen. So yesterday I rolled through Manchester (Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, Kaplan Computers) looking for a small (so as to be able to travel) flat-screen monitor to take (talk about tacky) to the site to be able to use the laptop. No luck so far, although the saleswoman at Kaplan suggested Walmart, and I do see both a 14" and 15" LCD on their website. Hopefully the local store(s) will have one for sale.

Completely frustrating and non-productive spinning of wheels. It will all come together in the end (it always does) but not without some juggling.

Off to Rochester this afternoon, hopefully I'll get an early start since it looks like I'll hit snow along the way. Ick.

February 10, 2008

Travel Zen

Headed home today; I was slated for a long layover at JFK. Lousy flights; but the combination of price, total travel time, and arrival / departure times was OK. But once we got to New York, we found the connection to Hartford (commuter) was canceled due to the high winds in Hartford.

Could have been the start of a very bad travel day, eh?

But instead, I canceled the final leg, hitched a ride to Bradley on CT Limo, had a lovely road trip with 3 other travelers from the canceled flight (we chatted the entire trip back home), and got to my car 30 minutes ahead of time. Caught some lucky breaks - the flight from San Diego got in early, my bag was retrieved within a few minutes, the woman at the travel information booth was delightful and efficient, and the CT Limo driver showed up 5 minutes after we hit the counter.

A lesson to myself, not to make up stories about how miserable I am or will be. Had I gotten a bad attitude about the canceled flight and change, I might have cast a shadow on the entire trip home. Instead, I allowed the trip to unfold in its own way, and it turned out to be quite delightful.

Flying the Simulator

I've spent the weekend so far on the West Coast, for work. Yesterday we spent 8 hours making power measurements on a new, advanced flight simulator. A pretty cool piece piece of equipment to work around - and we got the opportunity to sit in the co-pilot's chair and even to fly the thing. Let me tell you, when you put the thing into the dirt (as I did, on approach to virtual Savannah) the simulator really makes you feel it. Pulse pounding, endorphin releasing panic as the nose pushes down and cockpit alarms sound!

Heading back east this morning - it's 3:40 a.m. here, and I am messing around online before hopping into the shower. Pack it all up here, head back to the airport, fuel the rental, and hit the airport for a 7 a.m. flight. YAWN.

I have a lousy long layover in JFK - the good part is the fl

ight into New York is direct (and will be relatively quick) on decent equipment. I am so looking forward to yoga practice on Monday morning....

February 09, 2008

Understanding the Gospel According to Huckabee

A story this afternoon, on All Things Considered, by Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Listen to it here.

The crux of the story is that Huckabee is speaking in (lightly) coded language (from the bible) to the religious right. But ironically, when ATC interviewed folks (some of who identified as right leaning or religious) - they had no idea what the allusions were referring to.

On the other hand, this yoga practicing, sanskrit chanting, enlightenment seeking, left leaning, apocrypha seeking former catholic knew exactly where these allusions were coming from, and the specific stories or biblical references.

February 08, 2008

A New Trick

Pincha Mayurasana, otherwise known as Feathered Peacock Pose. Picture glommed from Sachanda Yoga Shala, in Hong Kong.

Ana Forrest put us into this at the training on Tuesday night. At the time, I did the beginner posture (dolphin on the wall), and then when an assistant came by I got an assist for this posture. This morning, as I finished up practice with a headstand, I thought "What the heck?". Nobody to whack if I fell, and a nice carpeted floor under my mat. What's to lose? Got into dolphin with my fingers touching the wall, and kicked up. Took me 2-3 times to get up with balance, but I did. Apologies to the occupant of Room 420, who I might have disturbed as I kicked the wall.

I did it up against the wall (like the Yoga Journal link shows, not like this picture, balancing away from the wall) - but I did push up into a balanceing version for a few seconds. I'll get there - this is how I started Sirsasana, and now I am comfortable doing that posture in the middle of the room. That will give me three inversions - Sirsasana, Tripod Headstand, and Pincha Mayurasana. Greedy little yogi, ain't I? All your asana are belong to us!

Inversions are better than Prozac, Ana said on Tuesday. I have to agree, I feel light and happy when I've had some time upside down......

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

A weird dream, inspired, no doubt, by the Patriot's recent Super Bowl loss and the Red Sox recent World Series win.....(and perhaps, by the chicken tacos I ate before bedtime)

I dreamed I was part of the Red Sox - some bit player, a 3rd or 4th string catcher, who got on the roster a few times during the season, and got brought up during the world series because of an injury. The dream team had lost the world series, but was having a team celebration / meeting to pass out AL championship rings and close out the season. I recall carrying some evidence of the recent World Series loss (some signs or packing material) into closet in the team areas, and hanging out in the rear as the meeting started to get going. Then we all moved to railroad tracks, where an old fashioned engine (which looked more like an amusement park train rather than live steam) pulled up, sort of like those old political whistle stop speeches.

In the dream, I am wondering if I am gonna rate a championship ring (am I worthy of success and recognition?). And wondering how the hell I am gonna avoid getting dragged onto the trans community "role model" platform as an icon (uhm, not too many transsexual professional baseball players, nosiree) and thinking "damn, if we had actually won the series, it'd be so much worse".

Somewhere, a writer has written about baseball being the real world in microcosm. I could swear it was Terrance McCarthy or Colin McEnroe (both regular reads in the blogosphere, both Red Sox fans, and occasional travelers who muse about the sport from the road) - although I cannot seem to find the exact piece I am remembering. But Googling "baseball life microcosm" produces many good hits, so perhaps I've read it elsewhere (perhaps Colin's column, not archived online). In any case, perhaps this dream has some good subconscious messages for me.

The funny thing is, I am not actually much of a Red Sox fan. I mean, if I'm gonna root for any baseball team, the Sox would be it; I've lived with die hard Sox fans, my family members are mostly fans, and I have some fond memories of seeing some games at Fenway in the late 70's and early 80's*. But I can count on one hand the number of games I caught (even in part) on TV last season. Just not a big part of my life.

* My strongest memory is of a McDonald's manager, a little tipsy and a lot sun struck, riding on a crowded green line train en route back from a game. He's down in the wheel well of the packed transit car, and is hugging the legs of another manager whose given name was Rich but who we all called Harpo (by dint of his bushy blond hair. Yeah, I know the real Harpo was a redhead.....) Drunk manager is attempting to grab Harpo's legs and is singing "I love my Harpo, oh yes I do....." and trying to get all of us to sing along. Odd things ones brain latches on to......

Isn't Jet Lag Wonderful?

It's 3:30 a.m. California time. I am wide awake. Because it's 6:30 a.m. back in my little corner of the world and my body still thinks it's there.

My body clock is generally pretty smart - I go to the sorts of new age workshops and retreat weekends where they take away your temporal references (no clocks) and try to grind away your defenses through long workshops and late nights, and still I'm up and at 'em at 5:00 a.m.

I guess I should be thankful that my body clock designed to give me an extra 90 minutes sleep this morning. I'm gonna go back to bed in a few just to lay there. Maybe I can meditate.

Apparently, the primary circadian "clock" in mammals is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (or nuclei) (SCN), a pair of distinct groups of cells located in the hypothalamus. (thanks, Wikipedia). I know that diabetics experience a dawn phenomenon - so surely the endocrine system is involved.

The good thing - getting up early leaves me plenty of time to practice yoga, iron clothes, mess around online, and eat some breakfast. But I'll be dragging this afternoon, for sure......

February 07, 2008

Safe and Sound

Sitting in the luxurious (well, there's room enough to put my mat down!) Holiday Inn Express in Northern San Diego. There is continental breakfast and free wifi (hub is in my room!). There is a Chili's across the street (just ordered something to go). So all's good.

Flights out were fine. Delta had in-seat video in the 757, which includes some pretty eclectic music and decent movies - I listened to Patti Smith, Richard Thompson, and Krishna Das disks, plus paid $5 to watch Into the Wild. DEFINITELY a good thing, for a long flight.

A friend emailed to say she is featured at a songwriter's circee at Kulak's Woodshed in Noth Hollywood on Friday. I am sore tempted to go, but it's a helluva drive on Friday evening..... the show will be webcast however, so I can perhaps see her at a ane hour (vs. 11 pm east coast time)

Got Privilege?

Sitting up here at BDL, a woman walks up to the little food court with a tee-shirt that says "Got Privilege?"

Nice shirt! Says I. We chatted a wee bit; she told me about the annual White Privilege Conference which is scheduled for April 2-5, 2008 in nearby Springfield.

Keep your eyes (and heart) open.....you might learn something!

Best (not) Buy

Hit the land of retail yesterday, looking for a few travel aids. My new palm Z22 needed a cover or case. And I was keeping an eye out for a new laptop bag to fit my wider screen laptop and had sufficient room to travel.

First stop, Office Depot, where I was told "We no longer carry PDAs". Really? Wow..... I had picked out a laptop bag but I put it back, figuring if I was going elsewhere I'd do a bit more shopping.

The nearby Best Buy was the next stop. I asked about PDAs and cases near the MP3 players and smartphones - the young guy was fairly unhelpful. First he told me they did not carry them, which was funny because I had bought my new Palm there (via the internet). Then they were not in his department, maybe in computers, but he was not allowed to go over there. After wandering around computers a while, I found the PDAs, but no cases. Finally, I found something suitable over in cameras - a small flat (and surprisingly stylish) sleeve that maybe fits a thin camera but perfectly fit the PDA as well. I also found a small case for my new camera.

The I went to find a laptop bag. Both Office Depot and Best Buy had multiple display areas for laptop bags. Which was weird and confusing - in both stores I looked through the briefcase and bag area and came up empty - only to stumble upon a second display with different product, near the laptops, where I found something suitable. I was looking for something a bit more stylish and chickish, but I settled on a clunky but practical bag. I spend too much time in basements and electrical rooms, and carry too much gack around to opt for something too nice. Maybe if I find something on sale I can get a bag for dress-up......or get some yoga gack to decorate this one.

Once I made my selections, off to the register, where one poor soul was ringing folks up. As the line began to swell, other blue shirted Best Buy employees walked by the registers, deliberately avoiding eye contact with the customers. There were lots of folks on the floor, but nobody made a move towards the registers or showed any sign of calling a manager to ask for assistance. I said to the woman behind me "apparently, they do not REALLY want our money...."

After a bit of a wait, I finally was able to checkout. So I head to the airport this morning with a new bag. I'm sure it will take me no time at all to fill it up with essential junk, contributing to the scoliosis that no amount of yoga can correct.....

Traveling, Again

It's been a pretty quiet stretch - with a lot of time for sitting at my desk, blogging, hitting the mat. I've straightened up my office a bit (but not enough) and got started on my taxes (but not enough) and even have done some things to make my living space habitable. But today I jump on an airplane for San Diego, first leg of what will be a footloose month.

I like San Diego, all things considered. My friend Pat is out there; we're planning to get together at some point. I met Pat back in 1986; I started a new job on one of those Monday holidays that most people do not get off, but this company did, so there was nobody there except him. The next day, I ended up standing at the base of a Trident sub down at Electric Boat while Pat messed with power supply controls. Both things should have been a warning to me, the company I was working for was not a great career step. But I did meet Pat; and he's still a wonderful friend. He's semi retired these days - keeping a house filled with plants and animals (and a wonderful partner). He's restored an old Subaru wagon (because you really need 4 wheel drive snow car in San Diego) and Mazda Miata. It's always a delight to visit with him; it's been a while.

In days past, I would visit the Jazzercise main facility in Oceanside, where the founder and her daughter occasionally teach. I have not been to Jazzercise in ages; yoga has stolen my heart. I might look for a yoga studio out there, but I like to practice on my own as well.

San Diego strikes me a bit like Disneyland. So much of it is artificially maintained through electricity and irrigation - and if one were to shut off the water, it would revert to desert soon enough. And so much traffic.....

I'm a pretty good traveler - airplane trips with the chance to read are kind of sweet (I have a few unread New Yorkers saved up), I'm fairly patient with the whole process, and I enjoy seeing new places, eating out, visiting clients, etc. I better enjoy traveling - I am heading out 5 times in the coming month - San Diego, Louisville, Rochester, Las Vegas, and back out to San Diego (with maybe a side trip up to San Jose).

I'll be blogging from the road, I'm sure.

February 06, 2008

Wrung Out Part II

Another night on the mat with Ana Forrest. More connected this time; I was more careful about food intake this afternoon; settling for a cup of yogurt and a handful of dried peas. It was a back-bending, heart opening practice. Deep deep deep, hot and sweaty, and long. I caught a glimpse of the clock at 8:45 and figured....."Ah, Savasana!" but there was another 10 minutes of standing postures.

Quite delicious and sweaty. I was humming Patsy Cline's Crazy afterwards, I was just bubbly and open despite being exhausted. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to practice with such wonderful and reknowned teachers.

And to the woman on the mat behind me (named Elizabeth) who said hello to me by name - I apologize for not remembering where I know you from.....maybe the studio. I dunno. Happens a lot. If you are a blog reader, say hello!

February 05, 2008

Wring me out and hang me up to dry

Three hours on the mat with Ana Forrest today, a workshop called Revitalize your Health and Well-Being. I faded towards the end; ate dinner a bit too close to practice time and my stomach started complaining at the end. But it was still a pretty awesome practice. Those of you who practice with me know I'm not the type to back down; I take the chaturangas, I rest in down dog. But tonight - plenty of child's poses, sitting on my heels. Even a brief stroll out to the water cooler for a H20 refill.

One of my teachers who practiced with Ana last weekend recommended the workshops (I had already signed up) with the news that Ana is in a different place. Indeed she is - sweet and gentle than the last time, even as she took us deep and strong. Perhaps I am just in a place to receive. Regardless, it was delicious. I have another round tomorrow evening. Then off to San Diego.......

February 04, 2008

Barack Denied

I made it all the way to Trumbull Street in front of the XL Center this afternoon - found a line that wrapped back and forth on Trumbull 6 times and THEN wrapped around the former civic center. Since it was 4:45, the event was slated for 5:30 (although certain to start late), and I was not really dressed for the weather (precip, I forgot my scarf and umbrella) - I decided to punt.....

My friend A (who looked like a rock groupie today with a circa 2004 Obama for Senate tee shirt) is inside the building though, and promises a report. Colin was talking about 10,000 on the radio but I would not be surprised to hear they filled the building.....

Super Bowl Wrap-Up

I was up in MA watching it with my family (i.e. - diehard Pats fans). My youngest nephew Sean was crying at the end. I planned to head back at the half but I hung out to the bitter end, since it was clearly not a route. I did not really have much of a dog in the hunt in terms of who won; I thought the Giants played much better even had the Pats stopped 'em at the end or pulled off a Hail Mary.....

We did a family pool (buck a box) - my brothers ended up with $25 and $50 respectively and my nephew got the final. I would have won had the Pats held the score to 14-10 at the end. Stupid football.

Commercials: I thought the Careerbuilder ones were creepy (the woman's heart popping out of her chest looked more like a breast implant at first, the spider eating the firefly was also unsettling). The Salesgenie ads struck us as downright racist (two ads, one featuring an Indian accent, the other a Chinese one - we were betting whether another ad might be in store with a mexican accent or something)

The Fed Ex / pigeon ad was good. We all loved the eTrade baby ads. The Coca-cola Macy's parade balloon ad had a sort of feel good finish, typical for Coke (good ol' Charlie Brown finally wins one). Come to think of it the Bill Frist / James Carville coke spot had a similar feel good energy. The cross-dressing schtick in the Pepsi Stuff ad was capricious and uncomfortable.

The Bridgestone tire ads were cute (Richard Simmons remains a cultural touchstone, everyone in the family from youngest to oldest laughed to see him). The Planters Nuts ad (vibing both Ugly Betty and Frida Kahlo) was weird but different. The Amp Energy spot (with the tow guy hooking the jumper cables up to his nipples) made us all squirm.

We laughed like hell at Shaq as a jockey (on a horse named Chunk of Love!). The Tide talking spot at was pretty great.

And finally, we loved the Fox NFL robot guy vs. Terminator spots.....at the start of the game, my sister and nephew were chatting about the robot guy even before the spots ran (he's all shiny for the Superbowl....he's got the Vince Lombardi trophy.....he's got new moves) so when the Terminator started fighting with him, we all were interested.

I was mostly pissed to not have been able to see House at the end; and was amazed at how much traffic there was on the road afterwards.....it's been eons since I've been to any sort of super bowl event that involved driving.

February 03, 2008

Halftime Report

Up in MA with the family, watching the game. Pretty rabid Patriots crowd.....

Commercials: The T-Mobile / Charles Barkley got us laughing. The Pepsi / Justin Timberlake was OK (albeit a gratuitous guy in blod wig drag joke). Doritos giant mouse got a belly laugh. The Fed Ex pigeons was the best so far.....

In the family pool (buck a box) my brother Tom won the first quarter and brother Kevin won the half.....

Unusual Talents and Addictions

Appropo of nothing; I'm playing with my new camera so figured I would take some slice of life shots.

First, a talent. I learned this from Al Perrins (aka "Doc") back at the Superior Electric company in 1983 or thereabouts. Slicing around the equator of an orange (being careful not to cut too deeply into the fruit), and carefully peeling back the rind with a thumb until you have two intact hemispheres. Eat the orange (this method is quite good at not getting juice all over ones hands. The leftover rinds make for good pranks - carefully put them back together and leave them some place and invariably someone will pick them up thinking its an intact orange. Works best when the orange is at room temperature, and some varieties work better than others.

Yoga mats, drying on the line. Nice to have some sun and warmth for a change. This actually represents two sets of mats - I team them up. The left two are a fairly standard sticky mat, and a latex Jade Harmony mat - the latex mat is pretty good in terms of mot getting slippery when wet, but it also seems to slip on teh cork floor at the studio. Hench the sticky mat for underneath - which also is nice extra padding for these old knees.

The two on the right are a regular sticky mat (well, a bit thicker than most) and a yogitoes skidless mat cover (to deal with sweat) - the mat cover is nice because it can be laundered, although I find it dry to be a bit slippy, so I tend to pre-dampen spots for my hands and feet (for downward dog) and an extra spot in the back center in case of an early in the practice crescent lunge.

More and more, yoga mats seem to be akin to cross-country skis that need wax - having to gauge the type of practice, head, vinyasa, etc. - and when I see someone with a new style or type or brand of mat, I tend to chat 'em up afterwards.

Deciding to Decide II

Colin's column this morning, Here In Temporarily New Hampshire, pretty much sums up the presidential primary energy this year. It's been a long time since my vote for the president mattered much at all. By the time the primary rolled around in years past, a nominee had all but been crowned, and any competitors stayed in the race mostly to push a particular issue or agenda, not to actually win. Connecticut has been a solidly Democratic state (with the exception of the Governor) for years, so on the presidential level, my vote is also pretty meaningless, unless I decided to throw my vote at a third party (symbolic more than anything). I think I blogged about this back in 2006 during the Lamont run at Sen. Lieberman, but damned if I can find it now.

But Tuesday, I get to cast a vote between two candidates, one of whom may very well be president this time next year. And my vote matters. It's a big responsibility.

In the past, I've sort of felt distanced from the process. I mean, I could safely vote for the democrat, knowing he would win my state, and the national process would go where it would. My vote did not seem to send ripples into the actual selection process, so I had a bit of distance from the outcome - it was not really "my" president, so I could choose to like or dislike the term in office without a lot of angst.

But this time - I feel like my vote matters. I'm going to feel a sense of responsibility in our next president. I'm going to feel a sense of pride if she or he succeeds in moving this country in a better direction. And I'm going to have my heart broken if he or she lets us down or is not up to the task...

February 02, 2008

Deep and Long

Today's yoga workshop was quite wonderful. A long and deep practice - with a bit more meditation at the start and end. Nothing new there. But then a session on attachment, and being present. A couple of dyads with some very wonderful souls who I have known, but not so well. A very deep and special Saturday afternoon.

Relaxing tonight. Tomorrow, maybe some yoga, and heading north to watch some of the Super Bowl with my folks, all die-hard Patriots fans. Spoke to my mom today, who says my brother Tom is acting like it's christmas. Sheesh......

Consumer Electronics

I popped over to bestbuy.com last night and ordered a couple of gadgets.

I finally decided to spring for a new PDA - the low end Palm Z22. I decided that I did not need anything fancier - a place to put names and addresses and to do lists and short notes to myself will be fine. It will sync right up to my existing Palm desktop. What finally sold me was a delivery guy who came into the yoga studio on Wednesday - he dropped off his cartons of paper products, and pulled out a Z22 that his company uses as a signature collector. Just something reassuring about holding it, using it, and knowing that it was rugged enough for corporate service, strapped to the belt of a truck driver all day.

I'm not ready to commit to a smartphone, and the paper organizer is losing its charm - I've double booked a few things accidentally in the past few days and have had a few instances whee I really wanted a phone number that is in my PDA
database but not in my phone.....

I also ordered a new digital camera. My newer Kodak is MIA, my older Fuji is around but limited resolution (2.1 Megapixel), and is large and clunky. I'm headed out to a bunch of site visits in the coming month that will demand picture taking. Cameras are at that stage - I got a Nikon 6.1 Megapixel with a 2G SD card for $120. What's not to love?

February 01, 2008

Ana Forrest at West Hartford Yoga

For locals, Ana Forrest is coming to West Hartford Yoga next week, teaching two master classes.

Revitalize your Health and Well-Being
Tuesday, February 5, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
$65, registration required, all levels

In this workshop, experience how yoga can cleanse, purify and refresh. The sedentary and frenetic pace of modern living contributes to our stress levels and causes our bodies to be stiff, often overweight and generally unhealthy. The body also harbors the lasting effects of negative experiences like pain, fear and loss within its cell tissue. Wash away tension and clear internal blockages. Begin incorporating greater fitness, flexibility and joy into your life.

Opening Your Heart
Wednesday, February 6, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
$65, registration required, all levels

Learn to remove the emotional shielding from your heart so you can truly and honestly feel each new experience afresh. Help your heart and spirit become more resilient, flexible and adept at riding life’s emotional waves. Begin building skill in accessing, cleansing and resolving emotional issues and move them out of the cell tissue, thus freeing your heart. Make room for seeing and absorbing the beauty and sweetness in our world. Nourish your heart.

If you have not worked with Ana before, it's a real experience. I went into my first practice with her terrified by her reputation - but I have never felt so supported in a practice. Definitely a challenging practice - deep and longer than your usual class, but a safe one with provision for all levels.

I've heard she won't be back at WHY for some time, so this is good chance to get a class in with her if you've been thinking about it.

Getting Busy

Economy in shambles? Can't tell it by me.....I got the January invoices out today and was looking ahead to February.

I'm in San Diego from the 7th through the 10th. Louisville on the 18th and 19th. Rochester on the 20th and 21st. And Las Vegas on the 27th through the 29th. Then back out to San Diego March 9th through the 11th.

I've had a pretty mellow January, without a lot of travel. I suspect my days of leisure are over for a while. Not a bad problem to have, these days.....