Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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September 2003
Sep 28 2003
Bruise count.
Kung Fu Kitten promised a bruise count at the end of kung fu camp week. I think I've got her beat. But orange belt Alisa puts us both to shame. With all the bruises on her arms and legs, she looks like she's contracted some strange exotic disease.

Here's my bruise count:
Right arm: 9
Left arm: 9
Right leg: 3
Left leg: 3

Maybe it's post-camp letdown. Maybe it's that my awareness exceeds my skill level. Whatever the reason, I am suffering from a lack of confidence in kung fu. All I can focus on is the mistakes I made. It shows in my training. I'm hesitant and unfocused. Other people tell me what I'm doing well, but I discount what they say.

Sep 25 2003
Bang bang.
Mo Duk Pai camp is on all this week. You can see pictures of kung fu in action. This is my favorite, of me, of course.

Last night a few of us went to the gun range, as part of camp. I didn't enjoy it. I didn't shoot very well. I think I hit the target a few times. Maybe. Part of the problem was I was using a 9mm pistol, which is not an easy gun to start with. Plus, there was an assumption of knowledge and experience of guns that I didn't have. I expected more instruction, as in a class. I needed to be taught how to hold, aim and fire the gun.

So why did I go? To get a little more comfortable with the gun. I think it's important to know how to safely and accurately handle a firearm.

One of the guys I was shooting with described my newbie gun experience as similar to full-contact fighting with a big black belt your first time out. Not exactly a confidence builder.

Sep 22 2003
Tracy versus the Tivo.
Here's more of what I've got against the Tivo.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the Tivo, and there's nothing that says a person has to use it any particular way. But I sense the potential for fundamentally altering a person's relationship to television. Many people will welcome this. I don't.

I enjoy a casual relationship with television. If there's something on I want to watch, I'll watch it. If there's nothing of interest on, I don't. I don't plan my life around the network schedule.

With the Tivo I can target the shows I want to watch. The Tivo puts the power of television programming into my hands. That's why I don't like it. It elevates television to a planned activity, rather than a serendipitious experience. I don't want television to be that important in my life.

Sep 19 2003
Eleven years on.
Today is my 11th anniversary. E's too. Apparently he's essential to the enterprise.

In eleven years I have gained, lost, gained, lost, gained and am losing weight again. E has gained a little. My hair is shorter and blonder thanks to my hairstylist. E's hair has grown longer and greyer. We are in the same house, with the same cats, though we've picked up a spare. I have been through three jobs; E is at the same job.

I think by this evening I'll be sufficiently recovered from a third day of feeling under the weather, to get gussied up and go out for a nice little dinner, just the two of us.

Sep 17 2003
Kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
For some time now, E has been agitating for DirecTV. He got mad at the cable company when they required a settop box to get the good channels. So he goes out and buys a satellite dish and a Tivo.

I don't like it. Too many channels. The satellite feed is on East Coast time so cable channels are all three hours earlier than I'm used to.

It doesn't help that I'm feeling sick. I've got a headache and really don't feel well. Not the best circumstances for tackling new technology. I don't want to do any work, though I've got plenty to do. Can't focus enough to knit, even.

Television just isn't important enough for me to go to any extra effort to get it. I've never personally owned a television.

Sep 16 2003
David ChristmanTraveling man.
Here's the mystery man, Dave, with his BMW motorcycle, as he prepares for another leg of his journey. I knew Dave 20 years ago at Stanford. We went to a few punk shows at the I-Beam in SF. He showed up Saturday afternoon and stayed with us until Monday morning. It was our own fault, dragging him to Uncle Otto's Oktoberfest on Sunday.

Can anyone tell me why Oktoberfest is in September? I know there's a reason, I just can't remember it.

Sep 11 2003
Two years after.
We were still in bed when the phone rang. E's friend was on the phone. Turn on the TV he said.

We watched the footage over and over. I had the day off already, but people at my place of employment were given leave.

In the days after I made my friend cry by telling her that this is what people in other parts of the world live through, on a smaller scale, all the time.

Two years after the event that rocked the nation and what have we learned? Given that a large proportion of the American public that now believes Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks, we've learned that it is true: if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. A link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda is as as tenuous as the existence of WMDs in Iraq. They may be there, but we have no evidence. Saying doesn't make it so.

We've learned that people who hate and fear their leader still love their country and don't care much for invaders. The quicker we can get out of Iraq, the better. We're not making any friends. There's a crap load of work to be done to get that country on its feet again. I can't help but feel we've made a right mess of Iraq.

Funny thing. I predicted that the war in Afghanistan (anyone remember that one?) would turn into our Vietnam of the new millennium. I was wrong. We went in, got out and forgot about it as the Taliban moved back in. Now Iraq is looking like our new Vietnam.

I'm just glad I'm not a policy-maker, having to come up with real solutions.

Sep 9 2003
Rain rain rain.
This feels like normal. We finally have rain. It feels like a proper Oregon summer.

In my obsession over calories and weight, I stepped on the scale this morning. The scale registered what I had hoped it would yesterday. E was probably right: water weight. I have also been informed that it is possible to get non-deep fried food at the Delta Cafe. It's the Southern Sampler platter of side dishes.

Sep 8 2003
One step forward, two steps back.
I am really bummed at the moment. Instead of losing a pound last week I actually gained. Crap. I exercised and did a lot of sparring over the weekend. I only had a couple drinks over the weekend. Of course, after Sunday's open sparring session, we went for lunch at the Delta Cafe where everything but the drinks are deep-fried. I went for the Caesar salad with blackened catfish. Mmmm calories.

Open sparring was so much fun. I'm just sorry we didn't get more women participating. This was my first time to join in this year. I got someone else to take pictures.

Out of the mists of time. I got an intriguing phone call last night. A guy I knew from Stanford about 20 years ago is touring the states on his BMW cycle and wants to come visit. I remembered the name but darned if I could come up with a face to match in my mind. He reminded me that we went to a few Dead Kennedy's concerts in SF. I'm sure it'll all come back to me when he gets here. I had to reassure E this was not an old boyfriend. He's so cute when he's jealous.

Sep 5 2003
Long hot summer.
The heat is just not letting up. It's great for the roses, of course, and this year's grape crop promises to produce excellent wine. But I am a delicate flower. I am keeping cool by staying inside the house. Occasionally I venture out to pull a few weeds and water the impatiens and the pathetic remains of my porch plants. The garden is on its own.

I'm thinking of moving one of my butterfly bush volunteers to the back of the iris bed. I think it will look nice there, providing a blue backdrop after the irises have passed their glory. The African daisy has really gone to town. It sent up an extra shoot that I'm going to transplant to an abandoned area at the bottom of the driveway. I figure nothing will kill that thing. It seems to thrive on neglect.

I've had mixed luck with purchasing watermelon this summer. A couple have been good and sweet, a few I picked out were overripe. I haven't had any good corn. I would have thought the corn would be good, but my bad luck.

Sep 1 2003
Happy Birthday, Dad.
Today is my dad's birthday. He's 75, hale and hearty. In fact, he has the body of a man thirty years younger. Who would like it back.

Ba-duh-BOOM! Thank you thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the chicken.

Progress report. I'm down another pound, yippee! With each pound I lose I gain confidence. I always have this fear that I'll try to lose weight and it won't work. But it's working. Simple, really: decrease input, increase output.

We're off to a Labor Day party at the home of a local restaurant owner. Each year he closes the restaurant and throws a party for the workers and good customers. Now that's the kind of worker-management relations we need. More beer!