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2004 

December 2003

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Watched the Rose Parade inside out. Got up at nine and discovered it started at eight (think after all these years we'd know that.) The Home Network showed it without commercials, like last year. They're offering a DVD/VHS of the parade, and if you're at all into this sort of thing, you might want to go to their site and purchase one to support this effort. It's so nice to actually see the parade instead of commercials and an endless array of talking heads. Liked the theme this year very much: Music, music, music, with 'our own' John Williams as Grand Marshall. Pretty cool. Saw at least two horses I'd like to spirit away.

Started Fellowship of the Ring today. Still have reservations about the books---actually, that's not right, it's the interface between myself and the writing about which I have reservations, though I think I'll finally make it through them. I've decided to start a sort of co-journal over in the Write Box (I'll link to it when I get the page started) chronicalling my thoughts as I read. I know there have been endless analyses of these books, and the last thing the world needs is one more, but I'm finding myself doing a lot of thinking about the writer/reader inface and writing process which some of you might find interesting.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Just got in from digging my car  (and its two neighbors) out from under six inches of gorgeous snow. I'm sore in every joint (badly out of shape, darn it) but enjoyed the cold air and sense of accomplishment, once I had them free. Of course, it's snowing again, and so I'll probably be out tomorrow repeating the process, and won't be nearly so cheerful.

Going to go soak the old bones in a hot bath for a while, then see if I can't get a bit of work done on RoC. After that, maybe I'll get started on that Lord of the Rings co-journal. And maybe not. Tonight, snow or no snow, we're going to see Stars on Ice with Kurt Browning and Alexei Yagudin! (I don't think we get Ilia Kulik this year...fudge.) Zippety doo dah!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Progress on Rings of Change: One new scene (small) but that's a start. Getting revved up for new writing after a long time editing usually takes a bit of time.

Progress on LotR: Fellowship of the Rings: Up to Elrond's council.

Stars on Ice was fantabulous. The network broadcast will likely focus on all the solos and shortchange the best numbers which are the group performances, but maybe we'll luck out. I'll see about getting a review up in the write box tomorrow. Want to avoid that kind of commentary here.

Had to excavate Wesley (my car) again. Ain't it wunnerful? Love that snow. However...I'm popping advil like candy for a day or two. Sigh...getting old.  Supposed to be COLD tonight, so might actually leave the heater on in the hall. First time since we moved here.

Monday, January 05, 2004

ARGH! I don't believe this! My replacement harddrive is defective! Got through all the tests, but failed on the burn in. Wouldn't you think they'd like, out of pride test the drives they send out to replace defective drives? So...another RMA. Grrrr....

Got another small scene done, and think I've figured out the grenade I need to get these jokers moving. They were basking in their success of the front end of the book. Don't they know they need some Conflict? Darn good-natured characters. I knew I should never have let the brothers get comfy.

All for now!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Decided today we were stretching our luck counting on our oldest drive for backup, so invested in one more harddrive (while we wait for the (second) replacement to arrive from Maxtor. Sigh. Went down to CompUSA, got us a "small" 40G HDD (the smallest they had!) and low and behold, it passed the Powermax test. Finally, after all the silly little annoying computer problems all fall, I brought up the Abit board with the new HDD, and everything was up and running in a couple of hours.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Had a weather front come through and my sinuses are making my life slightly miserable. Not sleeping well, and a bit braindead, creatively speaking. Very frustrating. Fortunately, have plenty of mindless work to fill the day.

A bit more work on the Abit computer.  Started one of the other on-going tasks, copying backup CD's to the HDD and getting rid of duplicate files. Anybody out there know a good duplicate file finder program? I've got one on Norton System works, but it does the whole disk at once. I'm doing a presort on the files and want to attack one folder at a time first. I get input overload otherwise.

Think I'll go to bed early and see if tomorrow brings some creative braincells.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Friday! What happened to Thursday?  Sheesh.

Finally tackling the endless job of converting VHS to DVD. Today I got a few episodes of The Sentinel (which, if you didn't catch it under original transmission, I highly recommend catching on SciFi channel now,) the most recent version of Twelfth Night (which I'd love to have purchased, if they'd only put it on DVD. It's really a wonderful adaptation.), Prince Valiant (also late 1990's version, also wonderful, also not available on DVD ARGH.) and am now converting Strictly Ballroom, (A REAL must see!) which I do have on DVD, but they changed some of the timing and inflection for the American DVD market, and it drives me subtly crazy, so I'm converting my original tape, just to remind myself. Tonight I'm going to try just putting on a Dr Who tape to run all night. Hopefully all will go without incident.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Actually, decided to go with Witchblade (one of those really good SF series that had the following but not the backing of the parent network.) I only managed to get some of the episodes and with they'd come out with a commercial DVD, or someone would pick it up so I could at least get the full two seasons they did air. Sigh.

All went well, have the second going now.

Regarding my LotR Journal, on the advice of my smarter roommate (CJ) I'm going to let it lapse for a while. I'm in a bit of a funk right now (and you thought writer's lives were all fun and games! ) and part of the funk is my disappointment in my unchanged reactions to those books. I really wanted some essential magic to have happened so I could enjoy them at last, but the truth is, I'm back to falling asleep after only a page or two. I really feel guilty, or somehow deficient in some essential trait, and that fear is beginning to reflect across into my attempts to get Rings of Change up and running. So...self protection time. I'm going to have to quit reading the series...at least until I get my own book back on track.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Oh, dear, another several days without an entry. I've got to quit writing this journal in my head and forgetting to get it  on the page! I've completely forgotten what I meant to say. Sigh...

I think I've gotten Alizant well and truly into trouble. Will let you all know how that goes.

I think the LotR journal will get another entry tomorrow. I've gotten such terrific feedback from y'all, I've been inspired to take another crack at at least responding to some of the points you've raised. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about putting anything up, but so far so good. You've all been so supportive, some coming back with similar experiences, some with suggestions as to how to overcome my reservations about the books.

I did want to clear one thing up...I have enormous respect for what Tolkien did. I am capable of appreciating without liking or even reading. And I've heard plenty over the years about the cerebral qualities of the series. What I thought to share was my reactions, the reactions of an adult reader who also happens to be a writer and who deals daily with the same problems of character development and complex world building and story as Tolkien did.

Lessee...on other notes...got bank accounts reconciled (which entailed, thanks to the craziness descibed on herself's site unreconciling one account for the entire year and rereconciling---ARGH), transferred a Dr Who tape, got some work done, then headed out to pick up a coffee grinder for Carolyn. While we were out, I found a coat!  I see you yawning! But this is a Big Thing! I've been looking for The Coat for about, oh, ten years. I've made do with what I could find, but I wanted something warm but still a bit classy (something I could wear with evening clothes or just around town) that was long enough to wear over winter clothing but still didn't make me look like Nanook of the North. A tough order, considering I'm not the world's most svelt female to begin with. Most coats just make me look dumpy.Well, Carolyn spotted one that I just love.  Grey wool, about knee length and great, almost  military, tailored lines. It's plenty roomy now, and if I lose weight, I can easily take in the seams. It should last for many years.

I also found a really cool site. Have been on the hunt for Manly Wade Wellman's civil war books. Found them and at the same time found a neat site of public domain ebooks. I'm working on a site of links for books and movies mentioned on the page and will include that. Hope to have that page up tomorrow.

Right now...I'm for bed. Hastee manyahnee, as the Wesser would say.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Just a quickie tonight. With great regret, we've decided not to do RustyCon this year (this coming weekend.) With all that's been going on, we're way behind. I've just gotten my story going again and Carolyn's trying hard to get a book going while facing the end of the year tax fun and games for Tau Ceti, Inc. All in all, it's just a really rotten time to get distracted. Now, to top it off, I'm afraid I'm coming down with something (the proverbial sore throat and headache...sigh). So, anyway, we wish them all  a great convention and hope to make it next year. 

Monday, January 19, 2004

Progress continues slowly on Rings of Change. It's one of those transitional segments . . . the roller coaster creeping up to the highest point. Once it gets over the hump, the words should come fast and furious. (She says, thinking positively.)

A new page joined the site tonight. BUY STUFF: I'm trying to consolidate the various links to purchase books and such. In addition, I've put book-specific email links where those of you so-inclined can send me comments to put up on the page to help me sell books.  (hint, hint) For those on the far side of the ocean, I've put links to Amazon.co.UK. There are, for the record, several reasonably priced used copies of the GroundTies books.

So much for today. I'm sleepy. Ciao.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Good grief, how time flies and all that.  Two weeks since my last journal entry! I had no idea. No wonder I'm getting complaints. I guess that answers the question as to whether or not anyone's reading this. (She says, taking notes for the AdAstra panel on blogs.)

The easy answer: What she said: CJ's journal.

But that's not fair, so...lessee...

I'm still in that post-allergy-battle haze. The pain I've been fighting in my head, neck and shoulder has had me sleeping so tense, I've not gotten a good night's sleep in months. I keep thinking it's just the family arthritis kicking in, or I'm sleeping wrong or leaning on my elbow as I play solitaire. Fortunately, so far, it (the pain in my shoulder) has had more to do with dislocation and now mold allergy than with any real structural problem. I'm sure it will catch up with me eventually, but for now, it still works pretty well.

Been getting a rhythm with transfering video tapes to DVD. Working my way through the Tom Baker Dr Who's now. I've forgotten over the years how utterly charming they are. It's been years since I've watched most of these tapes, knowing they were getting old, knowing eventually I'd have the means to preserve them digitally, and fearing disintegration if I casually watched them. So, now, we're having fun watching them during transfer. I only wished I could get some to track better, not having the machine I originally taped them on any longer.

( quote from currently taping Dr Tom: "Anyone for tennis? that's an English expression for 'anyone want to go outside and get soaked?'")

I got pretty good copies of the Robin of Sherwood series, but am hoping the digitally restored DVDs currently available in the UK will eventually come available here. I'm not holding my breath, though I'd bet Poldark will. Now, if someone would just get The Smuggler on DVD...or VHS...anything!

Do you get the feeling I'm avoiding talking about my real work? You're right. Between the mold hunt, construction and putting Christmas back into its boxes, not to mention catching up on sleep, I'm not progressing as I wish I would. I finally pulled out the original series and am immersing myself in them, hoping to shift my mind thoroughly into the RingTower world. Got an email the other day in answering which I came to a realization which might actually help me bridge this gap and get on with the rest of the story. I think maybe I give character-driven a whole new meaning in the way I work. I know what has to happen, but I have to find just the right character combination/dynamic/conflict to make it happen. Plot just isn't enough. Sigh...

All right...skating. Carolyn pretty much covered that, too. It's something I've wanted to try since I was, oh, ten, but circumstances just never made it possible. At one point, I even purchased (cheap) skates and wandered around my apartment in them, "getting ready" for when my chance at a rink came. Sometime in the eighties, however, I began to have real problems with my hip joints. The turnout and flexibility I'd maintained for nearly forty years began to suffer badly, being replaced by some pretty constant aches and pains. All my physical activity suffered, and any thought of ice skating with it.

Once we moved up here, within easy drive to the (winters only) rink in RiverFront park, Carolyn and I began talking seriously about trying it. We wanted to lose weight first (the lighter to fall) and then I really wanted to address this problem in my back and hips, which I felt had to be related to bone alighnment, never mind several chiropracters and medical doctors, from Seattle to New York to OKC had been unable to do anything to relieve it. So...that's when we started invading Pullman (75 miles to the south of us) to visit my very first chiropracter, Michael Stallcop...a man with seriously magical hands. He's been working for well over a year now on this stupid problem, but has made miraculous headway. I actually think I could stradle a horse again, which I'd pretty much given up hope for. This fall, we made some headway on the weight as well, so...all excuses gone.

Reality was neither as bad (I didn't crash and burn and  find myself paralyzed from the neck down) or as perfect (stepping out on the ice and sailing across as if born to it) as I feared/hoped. Reality was: it's slippery. Reality was, it's going to take a lot of persistent work just to skate away from the wall. Reality is, eventually I am going to fall, and I'll have to figure out how to get up. Reality is, when it goes right, as it did for a handful of strides,  it's really  fun.

But it made my toes hurt. (Believe it or not, you can't grip the ice with your toes.) Actually, those exhausted toes come from another annoying fact of my life: seriously flat feet. I use heavy-duty orthotics in my shoes (and use them in the skates) which are working with Dr Stallcop's efforts to align my legs and feet. They also improve my flat-foot balance, which involves making the toes work for a living. (In dance, you're rarely flat-footed, so it never made much difference.) Anyway, one thing's clear: if I can keep it up, this is going to give my feet the workout they've always avoided, which should improve all aspects of my physical well-being. In that sense, I'm really quite excited.

How did I do? Lindsey (our amazingly sure-footed, teenaged instructor) was too polite to put it this way, but basically, not bad for a fifty year old, over-weight couch potato, who'd never done anything that involved foreign objects strapped to her feet.  Curiously, I have a tendency to overbalance backward. (In riding, I have to fight a tendency to pitch forward. Go figure.) But I can tell right now that finding the "sweet spot" for front to back balance is going to be the biggest trick. Also, my feet want to walk (i.e. use my toe) rather than "march." The flatfooted action is a bit odd, to say the least.

We began by "marching" along the wall, then Lindsey (brave soul) led us individually out across the arena. Carolyn looked to be doing pretty durn well. I didn't fall, and Leslie kept thinking she could take her hands away...she seemed to think I was doing great...but frankly, I was real glad she didn't go far. Had only one close call where I both gained some forward momentum and overpitched forward where I was sure we'd go down, but amazingly she, little slip of a thing that she was, just stayed rock steady until I got my balance back. Other than that, I think for now the trick is a few sessions of "wall walking" until my body finds that "sweet spot" for balance. Frankly, you've got no choice. With riding or anything else I've done, you can "fudge" by compansating with strengths in other areas. There's no fudging here.  One problem with the whole wall-walking theory, however, is that rinks tend toward unidirectional...i.e., you're supposed to skate all in the same direction. Very one-handed when it comes to developing the initial balance.

An observations for those of you who share my fascination with the likes of Alexei Yagudin and Kurt Browning. Edges are not as "real" as I supposed. You don't (at least I didn't) feel them the way I'd supposed., rather the blade slips quite willingly crossways on the ice (which makes spins a lot more understandable). I don't know how much of that is experience, the sharpness (or lack thereof) of the blades and how much is "normal", but I found it curious. With the "penalty booth" ledge for balance, I was able to squiggle my feet quite freely along the surface, with no torque to the knee, as I feared.

After our half-hour experience, we went on a skate hunt. (Since skate rental was $3 a pop, it wouldn't take many sessions to cover the cost of skates.) It proved annoyingly difficult to find any, though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. The local indoor arena (where hopefully we'll be able to continue skating after the downtown rink closes for the season) had a very limited selection. For once, the only ones that began to work for me were the least expensive, on-sale pair, and I think they'll do just fine. Among other things, I want them so I can walk around the house and just get completely used to the feel.  As we were waiting for the rink-shop to open, we went mall-grazing and found, to my utter delight, a kneelength, down-filled coat that actually keeps me WARM. (I'd gone to the rink with five layers on: a silk turtleneck, a longsleeved, heavy cotton shirt, a long-sleeved fleece shirt, a woolen sweater and my hooded, synthetic coat, which, except for my dress wool coat is the only coat I owned that covered my rump.) Best of all, the coat was on sale for $30! Can't beat that. We also found really warm and kinda cute ski-hats that will keep our ears warm. (One of the joys of allergies: ears sensitive to cold and wind.) I wore the coat yesterday to my chiropractic appointment, wearing one of my lightest shirts under it (easier for him to adjust the back through) and was quite comfy, even walking down to the drop box in some serious cold wind to mail a letter.

On other fronts...Had a chiropractic appointment yesterday (with strong advisement not to go skating today to give the back time to settle) and on the way down (and back) finished reading the rewritten Harmonies of the 'Net to a rousing "thumbs up" from CJC. Guess it's time to call my agent. Wish me luck.

Enough...We're off to the rink again tomorrow. If I survive, there'll be another update. If not...shucks, folks, it's been swell.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Today I flew...wheeeeee....Well, for about twenty feet. The rink was much more open today and I finally got to try what I wanted to do the first day, which was to go up and down the low wall of the "penalty box." That way, my "training wheel" (the wall) wasn't always on the same side, and my balancing (wall-side) arm could get out away from my body at the same angle as my "off arm". I was actually stroking and gliding and getting my feet off the ice. Like...wow. I was also going over flatish ice (the arena isn't actually flat, the track around the wall having rises and falls which, with no more speed than baby steps achieve, are highly disconcerting.) And I fell. YAYAYAYAY No problemo, though I probably amused no few folks getting slowowowowly back up on my feet. No refalling, but a slow rise, keeping my feet under me. I'm sure with the practice certainly in my future, this imitation of an octopus will improve, in speed, if not grace. All in all, I'm exceedingly encouraged.

Oh, and those edges? they are quite real. Once I was working along the low wall, I tried gliding on both insode and outside edges, and realized how much easier it is if you glide on the inside rather than in the middle, as I had been doing. Outside edges are the proverbial expletive deleted.

OK, time to go back to work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Hah! Almost gotcha! I fear yesterday's (tuesday's) signoff might have jinxed SFF.net. They were down last night, so I couldn't post.

Yup...I survived to skate another day. Went pretty well: muscle memory is doing its thing and the forward/back balance was much better.  But I still hugged the wall...once we finally got on the ice. When we arrived it was crawling with whole bus-loads of rugrats having a wonderful time...and playing some serious bumper-people. We watched for an hour until the majority of the kids were hauled off in the busses. About half an hour on the ice, and my feet were getting sore again...not from the new boots, from working. The new skates worked just fine, though a bit stiff (new leather---not surprising) I need to have a serious discussion with the toe picks.

I keep thinking if I could just get the nerve to take a few deliberate falls I'd be better off---as Stephen says, it's the not-knowing that's scary---but so far haven't worked up the nerve.

The new coat was a great success---very warm and comfy.

More tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2004

Leaves. A plague upon them. Designed to trip neophyte skaters.  Drying winds=disappearing snow=blowing leaves and dust. Sore throats. Pleh. Ah, well, I'm getting a lot of reading done. Just about through the Ring books. Good thing I'm reading them. Those one-line "color" sentences ... a plague upon them as well. Get into a later book, forget one line and BAM continuity error. ARGH!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2004

A big zero. I slept. A touch of the flu, probably, but hoping to get to the rink tomorrow, at least to cheer Carolyn on. Wish we'd felt like getting out today...beautiful out.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Fresh snow. Beautiful morning. Feeling pretty good, but kinda dizzy. Didn't sleep much last night. Took some new cold medication which included pseudephedrine, which I haven't taken much of in the last few years. But it did help the symptoms. Carolyn tried to add some excitement to our skating lives: Took a bit of a slow-motion header early in her lesson. Bopped her head pretty good...gave me a scare when she lay there a while, but turned out she was just carefully assessing the world before moving. Smart lady. (Of course, it might also have been the cute guy that went over to help her get up and back to the penalty box...) Scared poor Lindsey, though, our instructor. First time she'd had a student go down like that. But she was OK...the healing powers of diet Pepsi...and was soon back out on the ice. Guess the adrenaline rush that gave me was what I needed. I hadn't intended to skate at all, but the ice looked great, and my energy was much better, and so I put the skates on and stretched a bit, then wandered out onto the ice and began wearing my path along the penalty box wall. Had my feet under me pretty well. Had a good group there that morning...A lot of what Carolyn has dubbed butterflies: the darling itty bitty girls who stare in envy at our "real" (read non-rental) skates, and then (rather like Ysabel in the hallway) stand right in your path and stare up at you. Also some cheerful fellows in hockey skates who had at least one itty bitty fellow determinedly waddling his way around the ice with them. I think my back and forth waddling amused them no end. ended the lesson with a quick turn around the ice with Lindsey.

Got Carolyn home, put ice on her head, and crashed with Destiny.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Helmet day. Probably we should have gotten them before we even tried this. I found one that actually fit my weird head, which is not only large, but long. Added to the fun of fitting hats is a lump on my forehead which I never notice until I try to wear some kind of head gear, then it's invariably right where the band needs to go, and pressure on it does hurt. Had a horse, many years ago, rear up, and throw her head back hard. Gave me quite a shiner, and left me with this dumb knot on my head. (Wasn't really her fault or mine. She was young, blind in one eye and without very good sight in the other. The first "head thrower" I ever dealt with.) Anyway...beautiful day, ridiculously fast ice which I quickly "chewed up" along my track (Carolyn helped this time: I think she's starting to appreciate my own training perversion) I also tried some new silly stuff while using the rail rather like a ballet barre, twisting body, arms, weight, feet, getting a "feel" for all the various factors affecting the movement of the skates along the ice. Mostly, just trying to get  my hind brain some communication with the skates. Still kinda short on energy. Got home after a trek back to the distant sporting goods store to find a helmet, read a bit, but dozed off. Should finish Destiny tomorrow and be back to work.

Got a couple of queries regarding my transfer of my VHS collection to DVD. I must admit, after investing in the video card, programs and computer to perform this little trick, it took getting a DVD player/recorder to actually begin making real  headway. Just attach the VCR to the recorder and copy. Working pretty well...certainly better than losing the recordings altogether.

Later!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I did it, I did it, I did it!!!!! I was actually skating today. The key? I threw out all the "lace 'em up tight around the ankle" advice into the middle of next week (actually last week) and left the two top hooks unlaced, so my ankles could BEND. It's been driving me crazy, all these people telling me (the obvious) to bend my knees, but when your boots don't bend at the ankes, bending at the knees is like sitting in a chair: it puts your center of gravity well behind the center of the skates and (funny thing) makes you fall on your tuckus. I didn't notice with the rental skates (or perhaps they were more flexible) and besides, that first day, just standing on the ice was an adventure. The next time out, I had my own (very new) skates and they were, without question, stiff. I knew, darn it, that in order to keep your balance, you had to get some flex at the ankle, so I left the skate a bit loose at the top and just made do, but that was still a wobble around the edge of the arena day. I tried asking a couple of the skaters who seemed to know what they were doing and they all insisted I must make that top just as tight as I could and what was I talking about "bending at the ankles" you bend your knees, not your ankles.

Obviously, they'd never really looked at themselves skate. Sigh. I finally got a chance to ask Lindsey about it Sunday, and she suggested I undo the top hook, which helped, but today, I left the top two open and Wheeeee...

I didn't leave my "training wheels" penalty box wall, but I made several good runs the whole length without touching it.

Finished Destiny, but I'm not going to be able to jump into Change as I'd hoped. There's this rather academic work being put together on Carolyn's work and the editor really wants me to write something for it, and the deadline was, well, was is the operative word. Of course, I want to. Badly. But the whole "academic" thing has had me utterly hamstrung. It's one of those karmic things which, because you want to do it perfectly and fear inadequate to the task, you just keep putting off.

Well, time to stop. I've got a handle on what I want to write and how I want to approach it. Time to put up and shut up. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

One more time around the track! Yes, indeed, I did it. I actually skated....you know, picking up your feet and gliding along without touching the wall...all the way around the rink. Twice! Spent most of the day at my penalty box track, but about halfway through the hour, I began to work away from it (toward the center rink, onto smoother ice, but still within easy crawl of the wall) and finally, when we  were about ready to call it quits, I decided chance skating to the exit. That went pretty well, so I just kept going. Caught up with Carolyn, making a final round, stopped for a couple of sashays along the penalty box, then made another round just for good measure. I gotta tell you, I was doing a snoopy dance when I got off the ice. Got a thumbs up from one of the fellows we see there all the time. I think we've become the local amusement factor for several of the regulars.

Carolyn, who's really been my idol the way she's been tootling around the rink, letting absolutely nothing stop her, tried my penalty box today. She's got one really cooperative foot, the other (the left...the one she creamed at a Mariners' game last year) has been giving her grief.  One of the hardest parts is remembering not to use your toe at any point in the stride. Toe-picks, you know. (I notice most casual skaters seem to use the hocky skates. Hmmm....perhaps there's a reason for this?) I imagine part of the problem she's having is getting that toe to flex up, but she's going to talk to Dr Stallcop (our chiropracter) about it next week, make sure it's not a structural problem that he can do something about.

Well...time to go to work.

Wheeeeee......

Friday, February 06, 2004

Our printer died. Sigh. Will try to resurrect tomorrow, but I think we're probably talking new printer. Not worth it any more to try and repair. Such a waste...

Marginal report on the skating front thanks to a handful of rather self-centered would be hockey/speed-skating individuals who chewed up the ice right where we were trying to skate (they're supposed to stick to center ice, and even then, they're not supposed to hold speed trials which they were doing.) Made it hard to get loosened up, and just as we were making headway, there was another invasion of rugrats, who just sort of spilled across the ice: far more little feet in the air, than on the ice, lots of very big grins. Sincerely cute, but an obstacle course we couldn't quite handle, so we called an early halt. Will try to get there right at opening tomorrow AM and see if we can find our feet again before Sunday's session with Lindsey.

Just watched a wonderful piece on Discovery HD on fireworks displays all around the world. I've always wanted to see the Thunder over Louisville associated with the Kentucky Derby, and they had some great footage of that one. Also, The Festival de Las Vallas in Valencia. Seriously cool. The citizens spend all year making these incredible paper mache' statues based on the seven sins, political and social satire---things which should be purged from the world---which, on March 19, they burn.  The story is, this festival started in the Middle Ages (See the first link above.) and is linked to the end of winter "cleaning shop" by the carpenters. Hmmm....the local expert on Roman history immediately begins to think of origins far older than the Middle Ages. Like the spring cleaning ritual of Vesta, where traditionally the hearths and homes were cleaned out and the hearths relit with fire from Vesta's temple, whose central hearth was itself restarted by the sun. One of the oldest "rebirth" rituals. Oh, it's fun living here.

The final, supposedly most spectacular, display, however, I found disturbing rather than spectacular. It was in Shanghai, the first offical celebration by the "new" regime, a huge display, indeed...and the only people allowed to watch it were the visiting dignitaries and world press...not to mention the armed soldiers keeping the streets empty. Nothing but a big display for the "chosen" and to impress the world. Have to admit, much as I love fireworks, that takes all the beauty out of it for me.

Hmmm...kind of a downer entry. Must be the headache I've had the past couple of days. Tomorrow will be better.