Friday, December 20, 2002


forgot to post this...a few weeks back i ordered something from amazon on a sunday (maybe it was saturday), received the package on monday and the e-mail notification of shipping on tuesday. wow. when a shipping process is more efficient than an email process they got it on the ball...

my daughter shed some new light on the pause vs. paws controversy by pointing out that reindeers have hooves, not paws...hmmmm. how would i know? not many reindeer in ohio!

after thinking more about up on the housetop, it has to be "paws", after all, what do you think is making the "click, click, click"?

friday five

1. What holiday or holidays do you celebrate this time of year?
thanksgiving, christmas, new years, elvis' birthday

2. What was the best gift you have ever received?
a dictionary

3. What was the worst gift you've ever given?
n/a. i ROCK!

4. Where will you be celebrating the holidays? Are you hosting? Going away?
we are hosting

5. If you could spend the holidays with someone who isn't around, who would it be with? Why?
my dad - he died and i miss him

2 christmas revelations from my daughter's christmas sing-a-long
  1. the first line of the song up on the housetop is up on the housetop, the reindeer pause and not up on the housetop the reindeer paws, that is, if one can trust the lyricsheet distributed. i still think that the pause/paws thing was deliberate as ambiguity and richness of levels of interpretation adds to any art

  2. santa, when not flying his sleigh, drives a crown victoria. never knew philanthropy paid so well

i received today in the mail a genuine autographed photo of my speedskating hero (heroine) chris witty...what a great early christmas present!!!!

trent lott's resignation as senate majority leader is reminscent of the joke about a bus full of lawyers going over a cliff: a good start. his disingenuous explanation and equivocating apologies don't hide what he said. lott knew darned well what was an integral part of thurmond's campaign in 1948 and it is unmistakeable how to take his comments (if he really didn't (yeah, right) then he ought not make statements like that and should resign for being ignorant). there certainly are many other ways one could commemorate thurmond's birthday without such divisive language. i feel the successes of the nov. election made lott and many other gop a bit cocky - and their true colors are showing. perhaps this will be a wake up call to the rest of the US. i strongly suspect that lott is not the only one in the gop that has this sentiment. good riddance. voters, please remember this next election.

first day of vacation with no real plans. will attend a christmas thing at my daughter's school and heave a couple errands, but that still leaves about 22 unaccounted hours. i need days like this once in a while, though i tire of them quickly. today is a good day for it because after today the kids are off, then my bros. is coming in town so will start getting hectice. will probably surf the web, play videogames, watch movies and fall asleep on the couch...

Thursday, December 19, 2002

p.p.s. and i'll be sure to wear the lift ticket on my jacket for weeks, if not months...

p.s. note to self...make sure we are well stocked with ibupropen...

went skiing today. as i am blogging instead of sitting in an er waiting for the x-rays to be read, i consider it a success. it is in the 50's and the forecast was for rain, but the rain held off til late afternoon. everyone at the resort told me it was a great day for a beginner - not too cold - few folks on the slope. they were able to accomodate me with a beginners lesson at an unscheduled time cause no one else was there. spent a lot of time on the baby hill (pre-beginner's hill) - repeated a few basics over and over - had trouble stopping (might be a deja vu for long time readers - right, kelly) but the instructor was patient and i got to be able to do a decent stop. oddly enough, when i kept my gaze right ahead instead of looking at the skiis it came better - trust your body as opposed to trying to use your brain for everything...anyhow, was starting to get a little boring perhaps .fortunately, i just read an article in outside magazine stressing how there are no shortcuts, one must be patient and really get the fundamentals in any activity. i kept that in mind...then we hit the beginner slope. first of all, they ought to have a lesson just for getting on and off the ski lift. secondly even though we were just going down a short ways and stopping - knowing i was on a big hill made it more nerve wracking. took a few falls. i think my instructor liked one of my falls. as an inline skater, it really was a nice fall. tried onve going down the hill after the lesson was over sans instructor. didn't go so good - and was starting to rain - snow getting icy, so i walked part of the way down - screw it, was getting tired, legs sore - etc. all in all fun and in retrospect was much better to try skiing than snowboarding, i think. hope to do it again soon and/or cross country...

afterwards, wet butt and all (one pieve of advice from my instructor i am sure to remember next time: "don't wear cotton pants") i took some dvd's back to the library and got an impressive triple bill for the next few days: ghost world, being john malkovich and monty python and the holy grail - all movied i saw before, but all favorites. nice thing about the library (besides being free, duh!) is that they have a kind of limited selection, so you have to take what you can get, which forces you sometimes to take ones you get otherwise (esp. if you had to pay for them) but are cool. the serendipity there is kind of like stumbling across a great tune on the radio, which is always cooler than hearing the same tune off a cd you deliberatley paly...

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

the irrepressible jen and i will be periodically exchanging questions with each other - an alternative to the cliched friday five, etc...good idea, jen

here's jen's first five questions for me...

1) Why are you a vegetarian?
cause i don't eat meat ;-)
actually, i kind of flirted with it for a while, thought about it. i think i finally realized deeply what one is doing when one is eating meat - i.e. eating animal corpses...sounds silly that after 40+ years of eating meat, but that's what happened - when i felt that deeply, eating meat became disgusting and profane for me. now, health and compassion issues are there as well, but initially it was definitely a visceral reaction that kind of came all at once - an epiphany. from time to time i get cravings - and sometimes it can be inconvenient - but you can't unring a bell.

2) Why is your blog named spacemonk?
spacemonk was a screen name i used ages ago on aol - some of my first online experiences. at the time they had to be 10 characters or less - i tried a bunch of names - incl. i think, space boy, astro boy, but they were all taken. i tried spacemonkey - kind of as a tribute to the early monkeys that went up in space - but it was too long - then, spacemonk kind of struck me. i liked it for a few reasons: it's a bit whimsical. kind of contradictory. it sounds like it is meaningful, but really isn't. it includes references to a few things i'm interested in: science, thelonious monk, and spirituality. and it's kind of a tip of the the hat to the old steve miller lyric - "some people call me the space cowboy..." - so i kinda got hooked on it and it stuck. i used it periodically when i want a degree of anonymity, so when i started a blog, it seemed a logical choice.

3) Which is sexier? A woman with an Irish accent or a woman well endowed in
the chestal area?

i'll go with the irish accent

4) If they were to make a movie of your life, other than yourself, who would
you want to play you?

i have a brother that graduated from the actor's studio in new york (if you get bravo, the place james lipton does the interviews from), but i'll disqualify him. i'd go with jeff bridges - esp, after seeing him in the big lebowski - aspects of which i've been told i possess (not the pharmaceutical aspects, however). not that i really look like him, but hey, it is a movie right - why not portray myself in a favorable light. he was also good in the fabulous baker boys.

5) Are there any occupations you would not like your children to do? Why?
nothing unethical, immoral or illegal certainly - including, of course, all the obvious, but extended to anything that benefits by harming others. beyond that, i'll go with the cliched answer - whatever makes them happy. i do hope they have a sense of perspective about their occupation - i.e. they don't see it as their whole life/identity...

wow, you asked better questions than i did. as you can tell, i'm not a short answer guy. let me know what grade i get, jen...

blog cocktail hour®
it's cocktail hour here in ohio and i'm enjoying a brandy
tom robinson on bbc6 described kd lang's constant craving as pure bliss - couldn't agree more - that cut features vibist gary burton who is on my short list of greatest living musicians - he gets widespread acclaim in the jazz world, but iSTILL feel he is underrated because of his instrument...
disney is having an inline marathon - boy, i gotta find a way to swing this
is anyone else suprised that the usa has issues with iraq's declarations, this is playing out like a bad novel

radiohead has urged it's fans to load realplayer by 10pm today england time (near as i can tell, about a half hr from now) perhaps that means new material on their site

bbc6 doing a special on ian dury

dude, where's my car - the sequel

after coming out of a drug store today, i went where my car was parked and guess what? no car! i KNEW what row i parked in and there were no cars in it. just to be sure, i looked at adjacent rows, looked to see if it was "hiding" behind any big vans or tucks - still, no car. i was sure it had been stolen. a flood of emotions went thru my head - with everything else going on something else goes wrong! did someone see me come from the liquor store with a bag of "holiday cheer" and decided to steal some booze AND a chevy tracker? the shopping center isn't in the best part of town and so it was all believable. i got very angry cause that meant my skates were stolen as well!!! i wondered if there was anything else in the car of a personal nature - i had my wallet and cell phone. seconds before calling the police, my wife and insurance agent, i retraced my steps and realize i was looking at the FIRST place i parked my car. i parked, did a couple things, was in my car driving, ready to leave, THEN decided to go to the drug store and parked in a second place - nearer the drug store!

when i go on vacation, my brain GOES ON VACATION!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

taught my yoga class today. a hard thing about teaching yoga is that the students mirror you. this is doubly hard for me as i have difficulty telling right from left as it is (place your palms down on a table. spread your thumb. the hand that makes an L is your left hand. that's what i sometimes have to do) so anyhow i am sure i gave some confusing instructions because of this. once i really confused a student - someone in class noted jokingly "that's cause he's listening to you and we're not" anyhow, i know everyone in the class, so it was fun. as i think i said before, i do not feel qualified to do this full time, but do feel prepared enough to be a substitute every once in a while - particularly with this class.

i received my student evaluations today and was very pleased with them. they were generally very positive and the ones that were somewhat negative were not totally so, but more suggestions of how i could have made the class better or specifics aspects that were problematic - which i appreciate because hey, i'm still new at this and don't claim to be perfect. many of the suggestions i think were well taken, some might be well-taken, but not much i can do about and some were a bit puzzling, but still on the whole, very good feedback - both the positives and negatives.

i realize evaluations are only one way of indicating how well i am doing, but i am still pleased.

i saw a trailer for a movie today bruce almighty in which jim carrey becomes god. i am not making this up. the 3 minute trailer was excruciating. it made me appreciate the relatively citizen kane-like intelligence and sophistication of dude, where is your car (nostalgia moves damned fast these days). i hope to god (pardon the pun) that the religious right goes off on this movie as the work of satan or something like that, cause in this case, they may have a point.

saw the new star trek movie. thought it was good. the star trek movies are a franchise and like any franchise, the aim is to let the customer know exactly what they are going to get and deliver it. a big mac today is like a big mac tomorrow. but if that's what you want, you know where to get it. villain was good - and, even going back to the wrath of khan - a good villain pushes up star trek movies a notch...

for any computer science students out there, notice on the villain's ship how he was able to try password after password until he got the correct password combination. this is poor design. at most a user should be give 3 chances before being locked out - of course, one would think that a civilization that can make transporters, warp drives and cloaking devices could use retinal scans, voice recognition or fingerprints for id (something we can, or are very close to being able to do now). just another case of bad systems design causing all kinds of problems.

re-reading my post about the difficulty i had with "the server responding to my request" i am amazed i did not "get" loki's comments immediately. have i crossed so far into geekdom that computer/webspeak is simply my language which i use to discuss everyday occurences? should i register at csu as an esl student?

Monday, December 16, 2002

i watched dude, where's my car?. it very well might be the stoopidest movie. ever. i guess i didn't have too high of hopes for it, but jennifer garner is in it, and i miss her between episodes of alias it made one appreciate the relatively citizen kane-like intelligence and sophistication of bill and ted's excellent adventure. that being said, i laughed a lot during the movie - and even though i believed i crossed the line and was laffing at the movie, rather than laffing with the movie, what the heck, a laff is a laff.

i can't wait to watch the deleted scenes. the mind reels at what wasn't good enough to make it into this movie, what got cut cause it was too dumb...

Sunday, December 15, 2002

in honor of my anticipated skiing debut, i have changed my wallpaper to a great photo of the croatian sensation janica kostelic. i may also re-read picabo street's autobiography (skipping, of course, the chapters about her knee injuries). i do recall, perhaps from that book, the first rule of skiing: when you cross the finish line, IMMEDIATELY take off your skis and hold them up, so your sponsor's name/logo is shown on tv...

i should also read ulysses (or perhaps, get the cliff notes, which if they aren't, should be available pay per view online - there's a "can't lose .com business model") so i get "o brother, where art thou?" better...

went skating. knee has been ouchy so took it easy, got there a bit late, quit a bit early took more/longer breaks. course had to put the throttle down a few times.

there was a girl there who must be the bode miller of skating. never seen a more reckless skater. not like as in being a hooligan - more like arms and legs everywhere. she was not a raw beginner - did some spins assuming they were intentional) but was all over the place - i was frequently holding my breathe to see if she'd pull thru or fall. and believe me, she took some bumps that woulda made mick foley wince.

oh - and seeing "o brother, where are though?" for probably the 6th time, or so, i must say i have elevated it to the short list of my absolute favorite movies - including: the wizard of oz; dr. strangelove; crouching tiger, hidden dragon and american beauty. "consider the lillies of the goddamned field" - great stuff

the coen bros. who also made another fave: the big lebowski are among my favorite movie makers - their somewhat self-conscious weirdness should be annoying to me, but much like mr. t's mohawk - it works for them...

my wife's holiday party was perhaps the least vegetarian friendly place i've ever been. servers were bringing around plates of appetizers including some quiches. i asked if there was meat in any of them. the server answered she didn't think so. i asked her to doublecheck which she did and assured me there wasn't. well one kind of quiche was meat free, but the other had ham in it. (if you don't eat meat at all, you can taste incredibly small amounts of it). i pointed it out to the server - and got kind of an apology. her next pass she told me she had it sorted out which was which. i politely declined. the woman was wrong twice - the first time i can see, but to assure me they were meat free AFTER double checking, i find inexcusable. so why would i believe anything she says. generally i roll with the punches when this happens. i ate meat for 40+ years, and i'm sure i slip up and miss some "hidden" animal ingredients by being ignorant or not reading the label, but this time upset me more than most, not because i inadvertanly had some ham, but because of the apparently flippant way the server handled my request. clearly she did not really take much care double checking. on to dinner: hmmm - the premade salad had bacon in it, the potatoes contained ham, leaving some gross mixed veggies (containing the ultimate evil: onions) and a roll. the cake was good.

this isn't just a cranky vegetarian issue. moslems and jews would also not been able to eat much of the food there and would also have been offended (likely to a greater degree than i was) about being mislead about the appetizers.

of course, i didn't make a big deal about this - that's what i have a blog for ;-) a holiday party is for fun and i am not a dour vegetarian, i'm a happy one - and besides, missing a meal is not likely to do me any permanent damage (look what not eating did for survivor's ted) - and i contemplated those not fortunate enough to be in a position to turn down food as a matter of principle.

as far as the rest of the party goes - it was pleasant. perhaps not great praise for a party, but i have come to the conclusion i am not a fun guy. at first when i realized i was not a fun guy, i thought "you're a fun guy, mike. you just like a different kind of fun", perhaps, but if i do, it would be a boring kind of fun. it's always difficult attending a function where you don't really know anyone well, but your spouse does. but moreso than me. i must say i am the worst smalltalker in history. i don't really have much in common with other men - especially those near my age, golf is a bore, i know nothing about investing or cars, my political views - well, i would describe as moderately liberal, but to the average 40 something man, i must seem like karl marx. i told my wife if she switches jobs, at the first social function, she should introduce me as a deaf-mute. that way, my party strategy would simply be to smile pleasantly at everyone and pray no one knows sign language.

there is more - i apologize, gentle reader, for a rant like this on a lovely winter day, but....i despise line dancing (zellers rule #1: unless you are in a broadway show, do NOT do any dance that requires choreography - it seems like something they make school children under totalitarian regimes do - as antithetical to the purpose of dance - the expression - as possible) - and, uh, any other kinds of dancing i'm not that strong with either - and they play the SAME TUNES at every one of these functions. plus i was designated driver - and as such drank only the smallest amount. not that one needs booze for fun...

i don't want you to think i was miserable. it is great, as always, to spend time with my wife - we don't get out enough. she had fun too, both with me and her friends - and if i can serve that role and provide my wife an opportunity for fun - well, i'm enough of a team player to take one for the team. it is also fun watching people get drunk and act foolish (why do so few people get drunk and become more charming and witty, as i do?) and people watching in general is always kind of fun...

in other news stories: some folks were riding three horses around our neighborhood - was kind of cool - the kids loved it - esp. when one of them left a present in our driveway...

prob going skating later - then to yoga - got to practice for my substitute teaching gig this tues....

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