Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Odds and Ends

Maintaining the course has kept me busy for the past week. Actually, the structure of events is something that I keep fairly constant, but inside the structure there is a lot of diversity. For example, I find that I still study French first thing in the morning. Rather than doing just grammar, I'll read part of Le Figaro online. Or, rather than just doing the dynamic flow class, I've done the intro to Ashtanga class a few times. I'll read at night, and am slowing working through three different books -- one on business, one on Yoga, and one on plain old soulfulness (Anne Lamott, Plan B).

I've had no coffee nor caffeine for what seems to be over a month. No major reason for doing this other than curiousity. One of my fellow Yogis suggested that not having caffeine led to a more regular and consistent energy level during the day. I'm not sure that I can claim that. I can claim that I don't get crazy about things as much. It's easier to stay on an even keel, even if the night was short.

One observation that I've made is that there is a draining factor associated with hyper-stimulation. At work, may days have been back to back activity, fairly intense subjects, and no real breaks to speak of. As work crept from day into night, I discovered myself still fairly cranked up around the time I'd normally go to sleep. At this point, I realized that I'd missed any opportunity to assimilate the events and counteract the driving by pulling off to the rest area.

I'm pleased that the flow of ideas has a steady current. Inspiration remains within reach, and the ability to muster natural enthusiasm is intact.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The trip to India has been postponed until August. Instead of New Dehli and Bangalore, looks like we're just going to Bangalore for a few days. I hope the trip makes just so I can get some payback for the two shots in each arm I received to protect my body from third-world maladies.

I'm inching my way through several books now. One of them brought me to the blog just so I could share a quote. Anne Lamott, in Plan B, writes about organizing a Sunday school class. She described a need for help with the children. The quote has to deal with the volunteers who came to help:

"One of the immutable laws of being human is that the people who show up are the right people."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Some Fun

We joined our friends last night to see the movie Wordplay and hit the tapas bar for a post-movie snack. Wordplay was an interesting study in the people and processes that go into making and solving crossword puzzles. I'd never really thought before about the time component in working crossword puzzles. It seemed more of a leisurely endeavor. For the competitors in crossword puzzle contests, speed and accuracy are both key components.

The tapas bar was sort of funky, decorated in a 70's version of 60's style -- dark, primary colors, paintings that could be LSD-inspired (like the cartoonish pig that seemed to have an electric receptacle at the end of his nose). The upside was the food and friendly service. The downside was the smoking. Fortunately, the folks lighting up didn't do so until we were about ready to leave but it did prompt us for a hasty departure.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

This Week

I see that I've been away for a while. What's been happening?

We had a fun ad hoc 4th party on Tuesday, where the main objective was to reduce the inventory of beer. Over the past several events, we've managed to accumulate quite a bit of beer. (People must be drinking wine -- not [yellow tail], but I'm curious after reading about it in Blue Ocean Strategy.

Wednesday through Friday was fairly uneventful at work as many folks took advantage of the holidays on Monday and Tuesday to create a long week off, surrounded by two weekends! It's really a good deal when you think about nine days off and only claiming three days vacation!

In preparation for the still tentative trip to India, I received all of the necessary shots -- two per arm. The nurse was quite knowledgeable about travel and provided a robust package of material for the various actions one should take before traveling to a third-world country (in spite of what Thomas Friedman implies).

Today, as RD is off for the month, I went to the Ashtanga class that I once frequented. There is a new teacher for this class, but even she was more drill sergeant than Yogic. I was glad to learn that I could still endure the practice, and that I still don't know how to perform some of the moves. There is an intro to Ashtanga on Sunday with a "yogic" instructor, so this might be the opportunity to learn and practice some of the moves.

We're going to meet friends tonight to see Wordplay. It will be interesting to see John Stewart as the intellectual rather than the informed, yet cynical comic.

The Tour de France has given me a lot of new content in French to read and is helpful in expanding my sports vocabulary. The World Cup is also providing a spike in French sports reading.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Holiday Weekend

We spent a nice couple of days over in Davidson. While it was quite hot, the pool offered relief as did the quality air conditioning of a very nice movie theatre. We saw Superman and also saw The Devil Wears Prada. The superhero movie was a bit far-fetched -- even beyond flying. Glenn Close came from the Antarctic to play an icy executive in the competitive world of fashion and the political corporate role. The Wicked Witch of the West looked like Mother Theresa by comparison.

I learned that there is a huge difference between Mooresville and Huntersville, NC. Yes, they're both "villes." But where the "big box stores" conquered Mooresville, Huntersville was graced by Birkdale Village. I'm motivated to head back to Davidson just to sample the cuisine in a number of most interesting restaurants. At the top of the list is the Zyng Asian Grill where out front they unabashedly scribed in chalk a customer quote, "I used to dine at PF Chang." Those dining outdoors unknowingly put on display some very appealing plates.

There's been discussion about getting a boat. While I'm not real bullish on this idea, I do think the boat should be yellow and white.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tour de Farce 2006

Today is the first day of the Tour de France. Even though this event may be partially overshadowed by the World Cup, it's still a fairly signficant athletic event of world interest. Or so I've been led to believe.

As I've spent part of my time this year learning French and continue to do so, it's exciting to read about this race in French. There are number of web sites that provide varying degrees of information.

Much of the information today is about the "dopage" of some high profile contestants. Without trial, conviction, and anything much more than circumstantial evidence, nine racers where evicted from the race. Some type of investigation in Spain led to this conclusion -- one operation "puerco."

I'm left wondering if the investigation is somehow politically motivated. Is it at all possible that doping is so abhorrent in the context of bicycle racing that it leads to such intense efforts to week out people who take more than aspirin? To me, the integrity of the sport is not impugned by the racers' personal chemistry.

What bothers me is that I can't get any type of live coverage of the race. All the web sites are very happy to flash the six-digit access codes for long-distance dialing in France. The TV shows, which are predominantly loops of talking heads spewing endless dribble with commercials showing how jets turn into cars. Any links to live cameras don't connect. No live radio to hear the race. Everything I seem to have touched led to companies trying to sell me something.

If I were a newbie to the Internet, and I had just bought my first computer yesterday it would be fair to laugh at me (with me). But I have actually found the computer to be a useful tool and generally get useful information by finding and connecting to sites with quality content. Not so for the le Tour this year.

I'm led to believe that somewhere in the world today, in Strassbourg, there are men riding bicycles. I have nothing but circumstantial evidence (posted times) to convince me that this is really happening. I'd really like to see these guys riding on bikes, or at least hear someone describing this as it happens. No such luck today.