Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Random 10: Just One More Minute Edition

Sorry for last week's hiatus from the Random 10. I blame the swimmeet.

So here is this week's, in which I'm indulging before I get back to work after a late lunch break.

1. "Sabrosa," Beastie Boys, Ill Communication
2. "We Are Detective," Thompson Twins, Greatest Hits
3. "Tabla Vin (Destination Mix)," Dayz Trippers, Punjabi Lounge
4. "Tears of My Tracks," Billy Bragg & the Blokes, England, Half English
5. "Drinkin' Wine (Spoodee Oodee)," Hank Williams III
6. "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby," The Smiths, Louder Than Bombs
7. "Miss Chatelaine," k. d. lang, Ingenue
8. "Slow Hot Wind," Block 16, The Outernational Sound
9. Stravinsky: The Firebird: 1. Introduction, Charles Dutoit and L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal
10. Vivaldi: Concerto in C, RV 425: 2. Largo, Christopher Parkening (guitar) and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, The Christopher Parkening Collection: Vivaldi, Warlock & Praetorius

So on that peaceful finish I leave you--back to work.

UPDATE: The eleventh song, you wonder? "Rattled" by the Traveling Wilburys. And after that Vivaldi Largo, I am rattled indeed.

No really, I'm getting back to work now. Seriously!

Through a glass, darkly

I imagine that even if you weren't already a fan of Peter Gabriel's music, and (at least for some years in the past) a devoted and regular listener of his music for Martin Scorsese's film version of The Last Temptation of Christ, you would have seen amazing things at last nights performance of PASSION by Moses Pendleton's dance group MOMIX.

But if you had lived through that music, putting it in its context of a story about Christ's Passion, then taking it out again, wrenching it into other tales and letting it breathe as music that is about nothing but rich and melodic just as itself, then the whole experience had another level, like those amazing and sometimes disembodied motions onstage were wending their way into some part of yourself that you thought was already etched in pretty solid.

The dance part of the performance was a combination of dance, acrobatics, and play. There were segments featuring interlocked bodies that magically before your eyes turned into single beings with entirely too many arms and legs. There were parts where a skirt or an umbrella or a flexible pole or a gauzy veil was as much a part of the body as the legs and arms. Sometimes the performers wore next to nothing, other times they were shrouded in brilliant red robes. At one point a dancer performed with a long ribbon (like in rhythmic gymnastics), and the ribbon was like an extension of her body or a force enclosing it or motivating it. In some parts their heads and faces were bare, and in others they were covered, making each human form blend imaginatively into all the others on stage. The bodies moved and leapt like frogs sometimes, their legs even splashing onto the stage like frog bodies seem to. In one a male dancer suspended on a looped trapeze started as Leonardo's ideal man, slowly changed into a crucified Christ, and then embodied a series of absolutely excruciating agonies of martyrdom, accompanied by two women in glowing red robes, who initially seemed to be hanged by their trapezes, then evolved into whirling adorations. And everywhere the performance used precise lighting to mask and unmask figures.

And all this took place behind a scrim onto which changing images were projected--close-ups of sunflowers, a detail of a Greek or Roman painted vase featuring an athelete in flight, a row of enormous Buddhas, a Bronzino portrait of a face, Michelangelo's David's belly button, a modern painting of 2 faces broken into spiralling ribbons, violent clouds, a death mask, a glass pyramid, a group photograph of soldiers, an almost demonic looking Minoan snake goddess. Those images, combined with the precise lighting of the figures, let the dancing interweave with the pictures, the motion become part of the stasis, the human part of the artificial. Light and shade in the projected images allowed through differing amounts of light from the stage, so sometimes the dancers faded into the pictures, or sometimes the pictures seemed to watch over the performance on the stage below.

This was ultimately not a show rooted exclusively in the story of Christ's passion: it draws together different stories, different traditions, different attitudes and concerns. Bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. All this in a way that lets you forget where the boundaries of music, bodies, images, time are, even while reminding you of the enormous translucent boundary between you and the performers. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When during the curtain call the scrim is knocked to the floor like yet another veil or screen in the show, and you can remember that what you have seen has been on the other side of that boundary, in that realm where art is and sometimes you are, it brings a tremendous sadness, that awareness that where you have spent the last 72 minutes is a place of your past, and that your returns there can only be but partial in your ever-fading memory.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Hard Truth

I was reading tonight in Smoke on the Water: A Swimmer's and Coach's Guide to Developing Mental Toughness (by Dr. Alan Goldberg) about what it takes to develop yourself to your peak. He has some very useful and important points about mental training--and why that is as important as physical training when it comes to competition. I have at recent meets been practicing what one of my coaches said to me recently, "No negative talk on the deck." I was tending to crack self-deprecating jokes before races, and he made it clear that in so doing I was only helping my competition. And Dr. Goldberg seems to agree with that, going on to point out how important it is to control the way you respond to potentially stressful things. The stress is only in your mind, not in the situation, he rightly says.

But after those chapters, you get to Chapter X (kind of like Chemical X, I reckon). Chapter X comes down to this: "SPEED = PAIN AND FATIGUE."

Oh great.

He says, and I fear he may be right, "Pain and fatigue are NOT the enemies! They are the allies on your quest to become a winner. Start today to use them that way."

Oh great.

I guess I know what I need to do at practice tomorrow.


On Monday I was on a roll: I worked like mad all day, the first day like that in quite a while. And this while facing the supreme challenge of 2 cats trading shifts of walking across my desk and standing on my work. I am mighty! I felt terrific, and I told the PP when he came home from work that I have so much energy when I have not swum 5000 yards/day for two days running!

Then a very good swim practice on Tuesday morning, including some quality repeats on 50s of breaststroke. We did a set alternating a 200 Y free at a moderate pace with a 50 choice FAP (that's "Fast as Possible"). We did it 4 times, and I managed to hold 40 seconds for each of the 50s. Looking back at my entirely too anal training log, I see that we once did a similar set, although 6 times through, and that I did not manage anything like that consistency. So i was pleased with that, and got what is likely some important feedback from my coach toward the end about the pacing of my stroke for a 50. I tend to wait too long after my kick to start my pull, I guess from trying to pace 200s, but (not surprisingly) that is not how to swim a 50. So that was helpful.

But then a busy day at work, and the net result was REALLY TIRED this morning, even though I slept like a rock last night (not usually the case).

So how relieved was I when we had a great recovery practice today? It was like my unconscious mind had sent a highly urgent telepathic message to the coach.

But the rough part, of course, is that after even a shortish yardage and pretty low intensity practice, I am wiped out. I guess I haven't fully recuped from the meet.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Swimming to the pain.

This weekend was the 2006 Palmetto State Spring Short Course Yards Championships, the final meet I compete in before Nationals. As has been the case so many times before, this was a kids' meet, but with a new twist: it was a "prelims and finals" meet instead of a "timed finals" meet. Just a few words' difference, but so very much difference.

In a timed finals meet, you swim each event once, and all the times of all the swimmers in the various heats are compared to determine the winner and runners (ahem, swimmers) up.

In a prelims and finals meet, you swim the event once in the morning to qualify for finals, and then if you do qualify, you come back in the evening and swim it again to see who won.

I did not win, but I did make it back for finals in two events.

On Friday morning I swam the 100 BR and 200 FR. I was decently happy with the 100 BR time, which was only a few tenths off my best. My coach declared it a good morning swim, made some suggestions for improvement (quicker in and out of the walls, quicker turn-over in the first 50), and I figured I might get a best time in the evening. The 200 FR was about a second off my entry time, but it was a good swim for me, with a good pattern of splits, although I should have been more aggressive coming into my turns.

Then I went back to our friends' house (where we were spending the weekend), ate some lunch, watched a bunch of tv, and took a nap.

I was surprised in the evening by how quickly the events moved: it seemed I could not get my brain to keep up with the activity. I got up to the blocks feeling pretty good, ready to swim a best time. The race felt good, like everything was going as it should and like I was swimming fast. I was shocked and disappointed to see that I had added a second to my morning's time. "Welcome to prelims finals!" my coach said, and he was right. I had not bargained on how tiring that much competition in one day would be. My total yardage for the day was 4900 yards (that includes warm-ups and cool-downs), and while such a distance or longer is not unheard of in practice, I have never done that kind of yardage at a meet.

When I woke up the next day at 6:15 a.m., to get ready for the day's competition, I was SO TIRED. It was not encouraging to know that at 6:15 p.m. the night before I had not yet swum my race. Memo to myself: 12 hours recovery time between events is not enough.

But I was ready to get my head together to swim, although I was dismayed to find that my team (of about 6 swimmers) was sharing our warm-up lane with another team (of about 7 swimmers). Thirteen people in a lane would be tough enough, but they were doing A DIFFERENT WARM-UP. The chaos got to me, and I got out before I tore off some poor kid's head. I finished my warm-up on my own, but it was all a little disconcerting.

I raced the 50 FR, coming in a tenth off my best, even though I was really treating that swim as a warm-up for the 200 BR. The 200 went ok, but very slow--about 4 seconds off my best. I really pushed the last 50, though, to the point that my arms and legs were losing feeling. My coach pointed out that I took out the first 100 too slow, and that I needed to tighten up the last 2 fifties even more. When the results from the morning came back, I was listed as the first alternate for finals, and I was hoping and praying--and really ready to offer bribes--that none of the kids would scratch, thereby forcing me to swim. But one did, so off I went to rest and recuperate in time for the evening's finals. The difference this time was that some of our friends had come to see the meet, and we all went out to lunch and had an absolutely hilarious time. Then they went off to troll around Greenville for the afternoon, while I watched women's basketball on tv and napped.

My goal for the evening swim was to swim to the pain: the morning swim hurt a lot, and I figured that if I could do that again, then I would have the confidence to give the race everything at Nationals, knowing that I would survive it. To make an increasingly long story short, in my evening swim of the 200 BR, I cut 4 tenths off my morning time, swimming a far better race in terms of my splits, and not even taking too awfully long on my turns. I felt great swimming it: I took the first 100 out much faster (about 2 seconds), but did not add so much time in the last 100 to undermine that. And to see my friends' faces in the bleachers afterwards was great, even though I finished last, beaten by fifteen 15-19-year-olds.

As I was heading to the lockerroom for my fourth shower in two days, a woman stopped me and said, almost sternly, "How old are you?" I replied, sheepishly, "34." She raised her hand, gave me a serious high-five, and said, "Good for you. You've got balls."

Damn right I do.

100 BR: Prelims: 1:19.70 / Finals: 1:20.85
200 FR: Prelims: 2:31.46
50 FR: Prelims: :30.69
200 BR: Prelims: 2:56.88 / Finals: 2:56.45

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Phone is ringing, O My God

My latest mix is up at Art of the Mix. A little themed gig, chock full of hoo-ha.

Balkan Beat Box & Matisyahu

You may be disappointed to learn that I had never tried to scalp tickets to a show before. I guess I am one of those prim people who works their ass off to get tickets ahead, and if they haven't got 'em, doesn't go. But no more. I am a new person.

I had planned my whole trip to Asheville because I wanted to see Balkan Beat Box and Matisyahu. Especially Balkan Beat Box. But then I dragged my feet buying tickets, not realizing what a phenom Matisyahu had become, and the tickets sold out.

But given how much of my recent life has had a Balkan Beat Box soundtrack, I couldn't let the prospect go. So I convinced the friend I was staying with to come along and we stood in the sad little line hoping to get any extra tickets that came about. Meanwhile I tried to work the line, but mostly I got heckled by punk-ass kids who had their tickets and weren't parting with them. About this moment I noticed that all the guys trying to scalp tickets were, well, guys.


So I went back to the line, but I realized what I had that none of those punk-ass guys had, that I could use to score a ticket. Yep, you guessed: a regularly paying job. I could offer more than they would, and fuck it, what is money for?

45 minutes of standing in line later, we had scored two tickets and were inside.

Balkan Beat Box did not disappoint. They did not bring as big an ensemble as Storsveit Nix Noltes did, but they had a couple of sax players along with a raucus guitarist, and the two main guys, one wearing and playing a drum and rapping, and the other doing percussion and whatever one does with a laptop to make the pre-recorded sounds come out.

The energy was enthralling, and even the (largely punk-ass) kids who had never heard of them got into the rhythms and the dancing. how can you resist, really?

And then like all opening acts--well, really only the good ones--it was over all too soon. For me, that 50 minutes or whatever was well worth the price of admission.

What I had not bargained on was what it would be like to witness (and I choose that word deliberately) a Matisyahu show. I knew that he performed highly spiritual reggae music, and that he brought to his music the energy of his faith along with his long interest in beat box and reggae music. OK. And his studio record is pretty interesting--absolutely compelling (although I am not the biggest fan of reggae or always of religiously infused music) but now that I have seen the show, I see the record gives absolutely no flavor of the intensity of his live show.

Because there is something surprising, maybe even if you're not in North Carolina, about seeing a traditionally dressed Hasid singing reggae. And then giving a brilliant spontaneous skill sample of his beat boxing, on his own and then in dialogue with his guitarist. I confess: I am a devoted fan of hybridized music, and this is no exception, but even that cannot account for the power of the show.

That power came from these amazing--seemingly fleeting, seemingly eternal--when he would launch into these glorious bursts of song, a desperately rising burst or lyricism amidst the otherwise fairly regular structure of the music. His voice had that perfect clarity that comes with the higher registers of male singing, carrying a real beauty and purity that you just don't find elsewhere in the vocal range of either gender. So I found myself standing there, dumbfounded, enthralled, not even wanting to dance or yell or do anything that might distract me from that perfect beauty.

Storsveit Nix Noltes

So what is a spring break for if not to deafen yourself on the beautiful sounds of cello, stand-up bass, trumpet, trombone, accordion, and even a little guitar?

Monday night I saw Storsveit Nix Noltes (the Nix Noltes Big Band) at the Orange Peel, and frankly it was everything a person could hope for. Especially a person who had hoped that Santa might order the SNN CD for her from Smekkleysa, but was disappointed. Of course, a person might understand such a decision on Santa's part, since combining the cost of the CD with shipping from Iceland (by sleigh or otherwise) makes it an expensive purchase. So the trip to the Orange Peel was a fact-finding mission, if nothing else--a chance to see whether the purchase would be a good one.

It would be. And it was.

Much of the music was the rollicking gypsy-infused hullaballoo that has been propelling me lately, wrapping brass sounds with a little accordion underlay, and all sustained by luscious strings. And good and rough around the edges. But just when you discovered some ancient, genetic material that let you move your hips in ways that rock music discourages, the band would settle into a gradual build into "Griska Lagid," starting with those rough, low strings. The song started out of what seemed like instrument tuning, with the lights dimmed and blued a little, and all of a sudden you could see that the trombone-player (in one of those wonderful northern European zip-up brown wool sweaters with a snowflake pattern on it) was wearing (because really it is not "holding") a tuba. Glorious night--a tuba!

And there at the souvenir counter were copies of Orkideur Hawai, sold for half the mail-order price--and no shipping!

I was not very excited by the main act, but it was fun to stand right behind the cello player from SNN and listen to it.

I understand from the owners of Harvest Records that Storsveit Nix Noltes has a new album coming out soon. Maybe it will be more widely available. Meanwhile, I am struck that with the purchase of Orkideur Hawai, I now have three very different recordings of the piece Gankino Horo. I will need to learn something about it, and then write a comparison.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Charms of music and female chit-chat.

Interesting rumination on the institution of marriage by Alta L. Price at 3quarksdaily. Apparently the piece was sparked by a Darwin exhibition at the AMNH, which included among other items this Pro/Con list he made at the age of 29:
The list, neatly folded down the middle and not-so-neatly scrawled in pencil on paper, read as follows, with the heading centered on the page, “Marry” on the left, and “Not Marry” on the right:

This is the Question


Children (if it Please God)
Constant companion (and friend in old age) who will feel interested in one
Object to be beloved and played with. Better than a dog anyhow
Home, & someone to take care of house
Charms of music and female chit-chat
These things good for one’s health—but terrible loss of time
My God, it is intolerable to think of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all—No, no, won’t do
Imagine living all one’s day solitary in smoky dirty London House
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire and books and music perhaps
Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Great Marlboro Street, London

Not Marry

Freedom to go where one liked
Choice of Society and little of it
Conversation of clever men at clubs
Not forced to visit relatives and bend in every trifle
Expense and anxiety of children
Perhaps quarrelling
Loss of Time
Cannot read in the evenings
Fatness and idleness
Anxiety and responsibility
Less money for books etc.
If many children forced to gain one’s bread (But then it is very bad for one’s health to work too much)
Perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation into indolent, idle fool

Marry, Marry, Marry Q.E.D.

Read her reflections.

What George Mason?

In an effort to STOP READING EVERYTHING on the internet about UNC's loss yesterday, and why it's all good, and why this time we really can look forward to next year, I'm going to respond to Brumaire's tagging me with the List 4 meme. This is a real moment for me--my first tagging. I'd like to thank my parents, and the Academy and well, OK I'll shut up now.

1. My present job which I probably should not name;
2. Writer of dunning letters for a slightly sketch collection agency;
3. Stocker of cat litter, hairspray, and plastic containers you probably don't need;
4. Heater-upper of microwavable hamburgers and popcorn, distributor of gummi worms and sweettarts, counter of cans of coke and mountain dew--all for the children and idle adults at our community pool.

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
3. Raising Arizona
4. and, of course, Star Wars

1. Here
2. Here
3. Here
4. Here (more or less)

1. Law & Order
2. Law & Order
3. Law & Order
4. Law & Order: CI

I don't even know what is out there that is good to watch because I only watch re-runs.

1. Here
2. Here
3. Here
4. Here

1. Carciofi alla giudia
2. Gnocchi alla romana
3. Fiori di zucca ripieni
4. and for dessert, a 3-way-tie between Île flottante, Nanaimo Bars, and the ubiquitous paczek

4 SITES I VISIT DAILY (or almost)
[oops forgot this one at first]
1. New York Times
2. ropeadope

1. Among those who already have tickets for Balkan Beat Box and Matisyahu
2. Rome
3. Rome
4. Rome

1. estaminet
2. Rebecca Sela
3. JHN
4. 150 mg of happiness

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I guess I planted.

Another beautiful day today: highs in the mid-60s and clear. PP and I made a trip to our local nursery in search of a plant that can live on fluorescent light alone (for his office) and more things for our garden.

On Friday I had finished up with clearing the raised bed, and planting the Red Drumhead cabbage and red kale, and adding some worm squirt I had purchased from the organic farming students: that all went pretty quickly as I listened to Part II of the Friday Random Infinity.

Today we picked up some lettuce (buttercrunch and romaine), broccoli, and herbs (lemon verbena, sage, oregano, and thyme), and I got those all in. We moved some beautiful sweet compost from the pile into the raised bed and also around the herbs in their bed. The PP raked leaves out of the bed where the herbs live (a larger flower and shrub bed), and together we intervened in the death match between the English Ivy and mint. (I mentioned that last year I did not take the greatest of care of the garden. But I did notice this death match in action. The action got less exciting when winter came and the mint died back anyway. Ultimately we sided with the mint, which is now starting to poke its fragrant little heads out, and ripped out quite a lot of ivy.

Most of my gardening happens in the raised bed, a lasagna garden measuring 4 feet by 8 feet. My father, the PP and I built it a few years ago. If you’re not familiar with the lasagna principle, essentially you are building a compost bin into which you will plant your garden, after it stews for a few months. You start with newspaper at the bottom and layer leaves, grass clippings, manure, compost and other good organic material. Cover with dark plastic to attract heat and let sit for several months. When you uncover it, presto! The little worms had done their work, and instead of layers of stuff you have dark, sweet, rich soil.

If you do not live in the upstate of SC, or in some other similar region, then you don’t know how amazing it is to encounter such a thing. The indigenous dirt is less dirt and more material for throwing very red pots. During droughts, the ground pretty much feels like pottery, too: rough on the little plants trying so hard to force their roots down for some moisture.

So my lasagna bed is a joy. I hardly need to dig in it: I can just move the soil around with my hands, releasing little bursts of organic sweetness as I work. The faded strings from 2 years ago still mostly are nailed to the bed’s frame, marking off the 1-foot-by-1-foot squares I use for Mel Bartholomew (and his beard)'s ass-kicking Square Foot Gardening approach to getting a lot of produce out of not much space but also with not much work. Apparently the broccoli matures in 75 days!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Random 10: Touch the Puppet Head Edition

Hallelujah, here comes spring break, since I don't teach on Fridays like some people. My only goal today was to clear some decks, so there would be no red pens for me for at least a week. Goal accomplished. Now it's just article-writing, concert-going-to, tickets-trying-to-scrounge, swimming-in-a-prelims-finals-meet, and planting to look forward to.

I don't know how it is where you are, but where I am it's time for early spring vegetables to go in. Part of the process is clearing out the raised bed, which I let lie fallow last year, since we were traveling so much during the growing season. I have cleared about half the bed, and I hope to finish up today. So far I've got nasturtiums and calendula transplants in, and I've sown a good bit of arugula. Today I'll put in red kale and "Red Drumhead" cabbage. It's 70 F and sunny here, with low humidity--a great day for this kind of work.

And there is nothing like playing in the dirt to clear the rest of the decks and convince myself that for the next 10 days or so, my time is really my own. How great is that?

1. "Walk, Billy Abbott," Willie Proctor & the Sea Island Singers, Southern Journey, Vol. 8: Velvet Voices
2. "Like a Prayer," Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
3. "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head," They Might Be Giants, They Might Be Giants
4. "Lost Ones," Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
5. Issa Bagayogo, "Tounga," Timbuktu
6. "Cindy Tells Me," Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
7. Prelude No. 2 in C-sharp minor, Op. 3 (Rachmaninov), Alexis Weissenberg, Rachmaninov Preludes
8. Prelude No. 3 in D minor, Op. 23 (Rachmaninov), Alexis Weissenberg, Rachmaninov Preludes
9. "Pay Me," Joe Armstrong & his group, Southern Journey, Vol. 13: Earliest Times
10. "The Titanic," Bessie Jones & her group, Southern Journey, Vol. 8: Velvet Voices

Can Cindy or anyone else tell me what the odds were of 2 consecutive tracks from the Alexis Weissenberg Rachmaninov recording coming up in succession? Together with 3 tracks from the Southern Journey albums? I'm starting to think my player is making its tastes known.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I feel good. I feel better than James Brown.

Today I went to the gym for weights, and apart from having to back off a little on the amount of weight, after not lifting for about 4 weeks, it felt great. Part of this is just feeling WELL--like I can push myself without paying for it for four days afterwards. Part of it is springtime, and how it is getting lighter in the morning, and I don't have to wear heavy fleece to practice. And of course working on getting stronger.

But another part of it is feeling like I had a good meet at the Dynamo St. Patrick's Day Invitational (detailed results here). It is amazing how much more pleasant Masters meets are than kids' meets. Not that I don't enjoy getting my ass smacked up and down the pool by teenagers, or being constantly reminded that my hips aren't 16 anymore. Those are great feeling all around.

But Masters meets are a blast. People are not in a big hurry all the time, because there is plenty of time to get out of the pool before the next heat. Some people dive from the blocks; some don't. Some people swim butterfly with a breaststroke kick. Some swim backstroke during the 500 free, and there is plenty of time for them to finish. Some people are so freaking fast it knocks you down, and some are just out for fun. Some people are ripped, some aren't. And on Saturday a woman beat the American record in the 50 free in the women's 80-84 age group, and on Sunday they made a big announcement, amidst much applause. How cool is that?

This was the PP's first meet in over a year, and he had 3 personal bests--in 50 FR, 100 FR, and 200 BR. I was really struck at this meet by how much stroke technique he has learned in the just 4 years that we have been swimming masters. Must be nice to be such a natural athlete. And despite much anxiety and gnashing of teeth on his part, he did not finish last in the 200 IM (and others of us did not even swim it...).

I had an OK meet. As I expected, my longer events were slow, and I think that was from being sick and so out of the pool so much in the last month and a half. But I had personal best times in the 100 IM and 50 BR, so that was exciting. Both were my last events on a day--had I saved up too much during the rest of the day? I had hoped for best times in the 50 FL and 100 BR, but in both I had some errors. For example, you are supposed to kick right after the start on butterfly, but Noooooooooo, I was coasting along as if it were a breaststroke start. I'm not sure how much time that cost me, but I do know that I missed a 2nd place in that event by .06 seconds!!!!! And I think I took out the first 50 of the 100 BR too slow: I noticed during the race that I was coasting a little too much, and sure enough my split for that 50 was about a second too long. As I keep re-learning, failure is feedback, and feedback is the breakfast of champions.

200 BR 2:57.93 (1st)
50 FL :33.36 (3rd)
50 BR :36.88 (2nd)

500 FR 7:02.31 (4th)
100 BR 1:20.55 (1st)
100 IM 1:16.80 (3rd)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Random 10: "Whistle While You Work" Edition

I was going to call this the "Early Morning Edition," but then I realized that some people could rightly point out that if that's what I think of 8:35 a.m., I don't know from early morning.

All I meant was that this is earlier in the day that I would normally endulge in the random music fest that I look forward to every week. You see, usually I'll wait until I hit a lull in my work, then come on air, announce the aforementioned lull, hit the RANDOM button my player, and list away. But not today. Today I am doing it as I sit down seriously to work. I justify this by pointing out that the PP and I are heading to Atlanta this weekend for a swimmeet, so this afternoon will be spent in more entertaining ways than punching buttons. And by adding that fixing errors in an editted text is even MORE captivating than textual editing itself.

Furious multi-tasking!

So there. It is not your job to ask any more questions, but just to accept it.

1. "Cry Me a River," Griff, Bang All Night (ooooh the back-up singers!)
2. "Hip Hop Lover," En Vogue, Funky Divas
3. "I'm Gonna Live Anyhow 'Til I Die," Miles & Bob Pratcher, Southern Journey, Vol. 3: 61 Highway Mississippi
4. "Piece for Solo Flute," Dead Can Dance, Toward the Within
5. "City of New Orleans," Willie Nelson, 16 Biggest Hits
6. "Primary," The Cure, Staring at the Sea
7. "Serenade No. 11 in E-Flat," K. 375: Adagio (Mozart), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Wind Serenades K. 375 & 388
8. "Postlude for Piano," Gideon Lewensohn, Odradek
9. "Truth Hits Everybody," The Police, Message in a Box
10. "Without Love (There Is Nothing), Ray Charles, His Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

What the list never quite conveys is what it is like to listen to this, to live it for an hour or so. I'm feeling all cool because I love Griff's rendition of "Cry Me a Lover," when my ego is slapped in the face by "Hip Hop Lover." Then an abrupt change back to roots music with track #3. I remember that for several years I could not make a tape without Dead Can Dance (can you hear me?) but that I never picked up this flute piece. Then I get a little woozy thinking about greatest hits records through tracks 5 & 6, then as I listen to track 7, I wonder how it is that the Random 10 usually picks the slow movements. Seriously. I remember that I should listen to Gideon Lewensohn more, because that postlude knocks my socks off, in its quiet insistence. Then blammo, the truth does hit me too. For a while I consider ending it there, because it is such a fine ending, but how can you resist a quiet reminder from Ray, even if we are back to the Greatest Hits dilemma?

Have a great weekend, everybody, without too much hitting by the truth.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

All my problems solved.

I want one.

This may be the only way Jarrett or I is ever going to have that Dog-Faced Hermans song.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Be safe, you know. Don't cuss.

Feeling nostalgic for the old home place? Want to travel to a bunch of neighborhoods without leaving your desk? Well now you can. As you might guess, there's a real tendency toward urban, but that's life, I guess. Me, I like hanging with my man Marco in Virginia Beach: check it out.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Yo man, how was your blackout?

Whew! That was weird. I had this dream that everything had gotten nicer, even me. I was walking through the streets of my little town and I had this overwhelming sense of peace, like everything was OK. And in a way it was: my cat had come home, there was no war going on, UNC had beaten Duke in Cameron, there were good restaurants and dance clubs all around me, and they were all playing my mixtapes!

But when I woke up, it was all a dream. Well, almost all of it. Duke delenda est. Heh.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Vittung huskamatonga.

My friend who warned me about the Pledge Woman says this is Finnish for "fucking unbelievable." Of course, he never taught me how to spell it and I don't understand the diacriticals in Finnish so I'm probably wrong there too. But either way, that phrase is the only way to describe this.

See? They can't believe it either. But they don't know how to say so in Finnish.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Change everything about yourself today!

Today I received a spam message advertising diet pills, and that is how it began.

I thought, By Gum, they're right. I should do that. Starting with my blog. Maybe that will make me thinner.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Random 10: Between "Marx" and "Marzipan" Edition

Lately all I do is grade grade grade, and that doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. So I might as well make this set of midterms more enjoyable with a


1. "Introitus" Mozart Requiem, Herbert van Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic
2. "Ninna Nanna 2002," Pietra Montecorvino, Napoli Mediterranea
3. "Everywhere," Billy Bragg, Don't Try This at Home
4. "The Short Answer," Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime
5. "Tanguedia III," Nickodemus and Osiris, Astor Piazzolla Remixed
6. "A Hard Day's Night," The Beatles, 1
7. "Introspection (Calm's Outerspect Mix)," Jazzanova, Jazzanova Remixed
8. Ponce: Concierto del sur: II. Andante, Sharon Isbin (guitar), José Serebrier, New York Philharmonic, Rodrigo/Villa-Lobos/Ponce: Guitar Concertos
9. "Get in Touch With Us," Lil' Kim f. Styles P, La Bella Mafia
10. "Here Today," Mice Parade, Obrigado Saudade

Did the player know what a perfect opening it was giving me for the task at hand?


I know some of you have jobs where Friday is still part of the grind. For me, Fridays tend to be days I reflect back on the week as I try to tie up some loose ends and recover from sleeping too late.

So if today is your day of reflection, have a look at the Velveteen Rabbi's response to hearing a reading from poet Rachel Tzvia Back. And if today is not that day for you, set her post aside for a day you can relish it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I even have the hair-do.

You scored as FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files). You are part of a super secret section of the FBI. You also have the very cool status of "Special Agent". You believe in many conspiracies and know the government is covering up way too much. Now if only you could the Cigarette Smoking Man to stop providing you with the second-hand smoke.
Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I feel like taking all my clothes off (and dancing to The Rite of Spring)

Don't ask me why: I can't tell you. But suffice it to say that someone I care about very much just called with some very good news.

Share the joy.