Past Web Log for July 2001

Frozen in Time

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Currently reading ...
... E-book on Palm

The Mystery of the Yellow Room
Gaston Leroux

... In Real Life
The Deep Green Sea
Robert Olen Butler

Currently in bloom
• geraniums
• roses
• alysum
• dianthus
• lobelia
• African daisies
• pansies
• petunias
• "Utah mystery weed"
• Lavendery thing I can't remember name of

Currently knitting
• lavender-grey cardigan
• blue and lilac baby boots

Notable sites belonging to former co-workers:
Digital Identity

site directory
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June web log >>
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Tracy's Irregular Web Log
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Further Meanderings

Leslie turned me on to this great web site for people like us who love words:
Ask Oxford

Mulling over a site redesign, perhaps even buying a unique domain name of my own. It's my Everything2 username. A little long, but it has possiblity. I think it's available.

July 30 2001
Nerve endings.
Yesterday was the first day I began to get really nervous about the kung fu test next Saturday. So we drank more beer at the Brewer's Festival. That helped.

I felt better after class tonight. Just getting on the floor and getting physical does wonders for setting me at ease. My mind can be my worst enemy - anticipation is often the worst part of any test. My goals this week are to stay hydrated and stay relaxed. I will do as well as I will do. In a way I have the advantage of the other people testing for brown belt in that I've done it before and recently. So I already know I can physically do the test and it's not that bad.

Sunday morning just before I was going to get up, the idiot child tried to jump into bed, but she missed and sank a claw into my upper lip.

July 28 2001
The most wonderful time of the year.
This is my favorite weekend, the event I look forward to all year long - the annual Brewer's Festival. Craft brewers from all over the Pacific Northwest come to Portland to share their lagers, ales, stouts, porters, pilsners and craft beers that defy categorization. Admission to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park event is free. Just show your ID and get stamped. A few bucks buys you a plastic taster mug. A few dollars more for a handful of wooden tokens. One token gets an ounce taste of the beer of your choice. Three tokens fills your mug. The crowd is mellow, everybody is happy.

July 24 2001
Cheap sunglasses.
My old pair of cheap sunglasses finally gave up the ghost, losing a screw. So off to Nordstrom Rack for another pair of cheapies. The new ones have amber-ish lenses, giving the world a golden glow. Mmmm, nice.

I keep having to remind myself that I've got a kung fu test coming up in less time than a couple weeks. I almost feel like I should be more nervous than I am, but I'm calmer than I've been before any test. I was an emotional mess two years ago before my green belt test. It helps to have done the test once already (see March log). Since we postponed it from June, I've gotten almost blase about it.

July 21 2001
Much ado about nothing.
More significant than what I did today is what I didn't do. What I didn't do was participate in sparring class. My normal routine for Saturdays has been to go out to Sifu's studio to workout, then over to one of our sister schools to join their Saturday morning forms and sparring classes.

How was this Saturday morning different from other Saturday mornings? Well, the head of our sister school has established a policy to the effect that people with infectious blood-borne diseases can't train in situations where blood might be spilt.

Sounds pretty scary, but what does this all have to do with me? They are under the mistaken impression that I have Hepatitis C. I don't. I have been exposed to Hep C and have antibodies in my blood. I can't give blood because of this, but otherwise it has not affected my daily life. Hep C is a very difficult disease to get - it requires blood to blood transmission, such as sharing dirty needles. Or in my case, getting fluids replenished by IV in Taiwan in 1984. You don't get it just being around people.

Someone getting that badly hurt in our training is pretty rare. We're careful; we practice control. In five years of training, I've only once got a very tiny bloody nose sparring. Oh and there was the time that my nose was broken in a tournament. That was pretty bloody. It was also an exceptional and rare occasion. At any rate, any blood should be treated as potentially infectious.

It's all rather silly and an over reaction, but whatever. It gets me out of Saturday morning sparring class.

July 18 2001
Gray skies are gonna clear up ...
Or maybe not. It is Oregon. We've had considerable overcast weather for the past few days. Nothing out of the ordinary for Oregon.

July 16 2001
Another day.
As E promised me yesterday, things will work out at work. Lori isn't putting up with any nonsense and is handling management issues at the management level. E advises that I play it cool.

The cherry tomatoes are ripening a few at a time and I am eating them right off the vine as soon as they're ready. I'm not so sure about the Romas. They are ripening, all right, but they are also sort of rotting on the bottom.

I don't know what it is about hair today, but I complimented four different people on their hair cuts.

July 15 2001
Sturm und drang.
I am not having a good weekend, thank you very much, on account of the crap that went down at work last week. The designers who are supposed to be working with the web team went their own direction instead of delivering on graphics for the web site. Not at all surprising, considering how they were isolated from the rest of us and lumped with the newspaper art department - something Lori, Victor and I argued against. Of course they're frustrated. But instead of coming to us and asking how can we work better as a team, they went off on their own and tried to push through a design of their own vision of the web site. It's this short of a coup attempt. The tail is attempting to wag the dog.

If the designers are allowed to design a web site interface that violates the site architecture and specifications, which, by the way, have already been through several iterations and refinements, then my work is all for naught and I might as well find another job. I am more than happy to collaborate, in fact I prefer it, but it is a waste of time and effort to shift direction in mid-project for no better reason than, "this is our design and we stand by it."

July 9 2001
I have made real and visible progress on the lavender-grey cardigan. I have completed a sleeve.

E is laid up with a bad back. Just a muscle strain, but it hurts bad enough for him to take time from work for the rest of the week ... immediately before a two-week vacation.

July 8 2001
Post-party wrapup.
We never did make it down to the Waterfront Blues Festival last night. E's back was bothering him and everyone just too comfortable hanging around the house eating. The party came off very well. E's marinated chicken and turkey shishkebobs were a big hit and the cherry pie went over. We had about 12 people in all, my kung fu friends and E's friends and parents. Mose was quite the sociable little cat, much to my surprise. She usually hides herself when there's a crowd.

In our traditional day-after fashion, we are pretty much just laying around and eating ourselves silly on leftovers. We have a whole pie and the better part of a ham, plus big bowls of macaroni salad and layered salad.

July 6 2001
Blue, Barbecue and Cherry Pie.
The cherry pies are in the oven. I had a dickens of a time with the crust. Should have added just a tad more water. It was just enough too dry that it tore easily.

E and I are preparing for our more-or-less annual July 4 (or thereabout) Blues Barbecue. We have people over in the afternoon, enjoy barbecue for a few hours, then we all go down to the Waterfront Blues Festival. E does most of the cooking, I make a dessert and clean up the house. The real question is whether our marriage will survive the party preparations. There's a reason we only do this once a year. But we manage to pull it off without serious damage and everyone has a good time.

I would just like to say: my immune system rocks! I felt myself coming down with a cold. Wednesday night. I felt so-so Thursday, really crappy Thursday evening and night, kind of dingy Friday morning and back to normal by Friday afternoon. Thank you, immune system!

July 4 2001
Happy Independence Day.
What makes America such a great country? It's is not because you have a choice between Pepsi and Coca-Cola at the 7-Eleven or because you can get cardboard strawberries from Peru in January. It's because we can criticize our country, say anything we want short of threatening physical violence. Anyone who is sufficiently motivated can change the laws of this country. It's a slow, painful process full of compromise, and that's a good thing. It's a good thing that our government is an inefficient lumbering ox. It keeps any single exremist group from taking over and imposing its beliefs and philosophy on the rest of us. It was designed to work that way - to protect the status quo while allowing for gradual change.

I don't agree with the "love it or leave it" crowd. "Love it or change it," I say. If you can find or persuade enough people to agree with you, you can. Where else in the world can ordinary citizens change the laws of the country? It's not easy and requires a lot of help and influence from people already in positions of power, but it is possible. That is what makes America great.