Copyright

All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Poem

A long while back I mentioned that I was working on a poem (July 2005). Well, the original thought came out quickly, but I was dissatisfied with the form and some of the lines. It has taken until now to be mostly happy with the result. I won't say this poem is finished, as I don't think any poem I've ever written is "finished," but it is done-- for now.

No permission is given to copy or link to the following poem without written approval from the author-- me.

The Wood Nymph

I stand mesmerized by your form and grace
Struck spellbound by your splendid woodland race.
I lurk outside your dell, hoping for a glance
Of your body as you start your woodland dance.

I enter your glade and passion fills your dance;
And smiling lips sing songs of birth, growth, romance.
With your naked beauty and laughing eyes
You elicit heartfelt and lovelorn sighs.

I sit on your grass and against your birch tree;
Slowly you spin your untamed dance around me.
Your sprightly songs ease from fulfillment and light
To a dissonance of dark, decay, and night.

The eldritch spells you weave root me to your ground
Deep inside wild woods where I cannot be found.
Your claws scratch me naked as a newborn
And your grass and tree-roots hold me forlorn.

I scream, thrash, then grind and gnash my teeth in fear.
I strayed from the path long ago, none are near.
The charming nymph beguiled me with beauty-
This untamed being holds me at her mercy.

Only now, when I lay naked and helpless,
Do I take time to gaze deeper and notice;
Lost, alone, unguarded, I am yours to keep-
Feral woodland creature of the forest deep.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bowling Finale (4/26/2006)

As expected, I did not bowl up to my last three week's promise tonight. I barely managed a 168, 170, and 184 for a 522 series. I can count on 1 hand the "good" balls I threw tonight. I hurt all over-- my knee, my foot, my right wrist, and my back all ache. The season is just a little bit too long for me. I will be glad for a break from bowling.

As to Sweeps, our team came in 5th place overall for the season, so we earned almost $100 each for that. I earned another $20 for league high handicap game (809), we stumbled to a 16th place finish tonight (out of 16 teams) and won another $20 each for that (yes, every position makes some cash), and we got $1 each for having the third highest handicap series for a team. Basically, $140 cash walking out the door-- not too shabby.

In addition, I earned:
  • A League High Series pin
  • A '75 pins over average game' patch
  • A '140 pins over series' patch
  • A 700 series patch (or, in looking at it more closely, I think it is a leather coaster)
And I managed to almost make my goal that I set before the season started: I finished with a 188 overall book average, a 9.6 pin improvement over the previous season. My goal was to finish at 190.

I had a load of fun again this season with Jean, Tai, Arvin, and Lilia (our main substitute). They are good people and kept me laughing all season. If my personal plans come to fruition, I will not be here to enjoy another season of bowling with them-- so I wish them all luck.

Now, even though it is 11 o'clock, I will be heading in for a hot bath with Epson salts in it and hoping I can get this body moving tomorrow morning.

To quote a favorite movie: "I'm getting too old for this $#!+."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bowling Update (4/19/06)

First let me say-- sometimes you know you have made the right decisions by how you react afterward. The fact that I came home tonight after bowling and was disappointed to find an empty apartment (well, the cat was there, but she's not quite who I was looking for) indicates to me that I made the right choice recently.

I miss you already. July (or moving) can't come soon enough.

---------

Now, to bowling. The team sputtered to the finish line. Jean, Lilia (still bowling in place of Tai), and Arvin each had one good game. We were going against the team with two of the top three average bowlers for the men and one of the top three average bowlers for women, and it showed. They matched us and, while we managed to take one game and hang close over all, we went 1-3. So, we likely dropped from 4th to 5th with that showing tonight. Oh well.

On a personal note, I had a really nice game going in the first game before I tweeked the hell out of my right knee. Frankly, if I didn't have the foresight to put on the neoprene knee brace before practice, I would have likely landed on the lane and likely tore something in my knee. I limped to a 189. I managed to shake it off and start the second game neck and neck with their first bowler. We were tied through 8 with one spare and 7 strikes in a row each, before I re-tweeked the knee in the 9th and nearly fell again. I still managed a 246. In a great deal of pain, but trying to shake it off, I managed a 237 to finish the night with a 672 series.

In the last three weeks of bowling (including tonight) I have 7 200 games out of the 9 games bowled. And all of them have been 220s or higher. Now, if I can just hold this body together for one more week and keep doing what I'm doing....

Oh, and it is official: depending on what anyone did tonight, I have the high series handicap title going into Sweeps with an 809. The next closest on the list was pretty low, so I have a decent shot at keeping it. And I just missed the watch they give for 100 pins above average.

If it turns out that this is my last league for awhile, I am doing everything I can to go out with a bang.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

And She's Off...

Super Shuttle was just here to pick up M. She's on her way to LAX, Air Canada, Montreal, and, finally, home.

Take care of her, all involved-- she's precious cargo. And safe travels.



And next time, I find the time off to take her to the airport myself. This sucks.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Will You Marry Me?


You were bored and searching for something to read when serendipity brought you to my blog.

Many blog responses and emails later, things seemed to be going well. We took the next fateful step—meeting in person.

That scary step out of the way, we planned for me to visit your fair town.

First with some pumpkin carving at Halloween and then for presents at Christmas and togetherness at New Year's.

Soon after you visited my part of the world to meet my friends and family and to discover what warm weather in February is like.

I think we’ve reached the point where it is time for us to make more permanent arrangements.
I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.

Will you marry me?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bowling Update (4/12/06)

First, let me say this—Arvin had a great night. Without him, we would not have done as well as we did. He had a 177 average with a high 180s and a low 190s game. Way to go. You were a great wing-man tonight.

Second, Jean had two very good games, with one in the 150s. Very nice!

Lilia, once more filling in for Tai, had two games above her average, with a 90 and a best-game tying113. Awesome night!

Lastly, the team went 4-0 and moved into 4th place in the league over-all (if we did our math correctly).

Now to your (not so) humble narrator.

I managed to live up to my new moniker of “Mr. X” by proceeding to beat my all-time high game by bowling a 256. I followed that game by breaking my new all-time high game when I bowled a 264. I followed that with a 223 for a 743 total! This was my best night bowling ever, the first time I broke a 700 scratch, and the first time I broke an 800 handicap! It also appears that I took over high game series in the league.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Spam-- Not Just for Dinner Any More

I have only ever given my newest, personal email account out to close people. I have generally been pretty strident about not giving it out to just anyone in order to see how long I could avoid receiving spam in it. Every single email account I have ever accessed has been clear for the first year and then, slowly at first, and then more rapidly as time goes on, they fill with spam.

Like clockwork, I have had this particular email account for a little over a year now and the spam is starting to roll in. Currently I am only getting a couple a day— usually only 1-2 a day and so far my spam filter on the email is catching them.

My Cox.net account, received through my ISP, gave me a free email which I virtually never used. The last time I logged into it, it was full of over 12,000 spam emails received in a 4 month period.

The Yahoo account, once my main email and now primarily used as the email I provide to companies that insist on having it (and by a few friends who stubbornly refuse to use my new one), gets between 200-400 spam emails a day.

Unless some of my friends have been less than conscientious about how they use my current email account (which I seriously doubt—they all cherish their privacy and hate spam too), this email account should not be out “in the wild.” I have never, not once, used it on any public site in any way. Unless someone used it on a public site for me, there should be no way for spammer to have or get my current email address. Or, do spammers have bots that just randomly pass letters and numbers/symbols into their email program and send emails out to all address combinations? Does it take about a year before they hit on the combo I have chosen? Or is it done with intent—someone decides they don’t like me, so they use my email on wild porn, Viagra, and mortgage and penis enlargement sites in order to fill my email with spam?

How, then, does it happen on each and every email address I get (including the made-up, funny, phony monikers I’ve chosen on occasion) that, after a year’s time, I start getting spam? Do ISPs or email providers have some sort of mechanism in place that lasts for one year and then the veil is lifted and spam magically appears? Is there some agreement that states that ISPs and email providers will wait one year before selling your email address to unscrupulous sites?

I have had email accounts on AOL, Netscape, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Bigfoot, MSN, Cox, and probably a half-dozen others over the years. Every single one of them, no matter how carefully I maintain the secrecy and how judiciously I give it out, is good for not more than 1 year before spam starts arriving. Some, like Hotmail and Bigfoot, seem to relish providing spammers with new sources to annoy, and you get spam from day one.

Can anyone explain this to me?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bowling Updates (3/29 and 4/5)

Jean and I were both sick last week, and Tai couldn’t make it, so we needed to schedule make up bowling for last Wednesday. We did the make up on Saturday. It was of special note because it was the first time Arvin missed a game in the two seasons we’ve bowled together. However, as it was a make up day and he was ready to bowl on Wednesday, I won’t hold that against him.

The conditions on Saturday were not ideal. Jean wound up having to miss that day, too, so we had Lilia bowl in her place. Arvin was off to Vegas, so we used his blind score. Tai had a fabulous session, bowling 160s, 170s, and a 199. I, however, bowled very poorly, getting a 145, 125, and a 187. Yes, you saw that correctly, the streak is dead. I missed a 200 for the first time in 10 weeks. Until the other team’s scores and ours are put in the computer, we won’t know how we did. However, I doubt Tai’s heroics are enough for us to win more than 1 or 2.

Tonight, everyone but Tai was available. Jean had two good games, in the 130s, but also had an 80. Arvin was a little off, bowling 10 pins below average in two games, but also bowled a 172—which could easily have been higher. I started with a 168 and followed it with a 204 and 215; back on track.

(Aside: I know this is nitpicking, but I am very disappointed in my 204. I had no opens through 8 and a strike in the 8th and finished that game with two 9-opens. So, what could have been a 240s turned into a 204. I usually finish stronger than that.)

If you’ll recall, a couple of weeks ago we had a gentleman bowl a 299 against us. Tonight we had a man bowl a 297 against us. He was too cocky on the last throw and relied on too much hook on the wetter lane and flubbed the last throw, otherwise he would have had a 300. However, unlike that session a couple of weeks ago, our team responded. While we lost the game when the guy bowled the near-300, we won the other two games and total pins for a 3-1 week. It is remarkable how often individuals and teams have career games against our team. I guess we bring out the best in people. ;-)

The remaining weeks in the season are:
April 12, Position Round
April 19, Finals
April 26, Sweeps (and the chance at some cash)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Sometimes I am very glad I am a human being. Because they shoot horses who come up lame.

Don't get me wrong-- this post isn't about seeking pity or feeling sorry for myself. First, I don't want your pity-- have no use for it. Second, my Ego is big enough it doesn't allow me to feel sorry for myself (at least for long); I'm too wonderful! I am just working through some of the built-up consternation I have with this situation.

My liver disease is a chronic autoimmune condition. Unfortunately, autoimmune conditions have a bad tendency to snowball into other autoimmune conditions. Thus, I also have rheumatoid arthritis. Actually, in discussion with my GE doctor, there is a little debate on which I got first, but the end result is the same-- I have both now. After 11 years of this, I guess I don't really care which came first.

This morning I woke up and the pain in my hands was high. Each knuckle in my left hand was hurting and didn't want to move. My back was stiff and my knees were throbbing. I take daily medication to help alleviate the pain and discomfort, as well as to minimize the damage and even, hopefully, regrow the bone mass I've lost, however, sometimes the old body just doesn't have any get-up-and-go.

A long, hot shower later, and some of the tension and pain had eased and I was feeling human again. My left hand was still very sore, but the type of pain I'm used to dealing with. I couldn't quite close my left hand on the steering wheel driving to work, though.

It is frustrating to be age (nearly) 35 and dealing with these issues. This is something you are "supposed" to deal with when you are older, after you've lived your life and are starting to wind down. I've got a lot of life left and am already having to acknowledge it.

Jean, the female bowler on our team, is 72. She also has RA. She and I often are complaining about the same symptoms. Do you realize how disheartening it is to be sharing arthritis stories with a woman twice my age?

I have a girlfriend now. Being a guy, I cannot help but want to be "The Man" for her, being strong and virile, and doing the manly things around her house that she feels she cannot do for herself. That is much harder when you wake up and the pain and swelling in your hands (or knees, or feet, or back) is so bad you can't use them. It can be embarrassing and a bit humbling.

This is my cross to bear and most of the time I bear it quietly and go about my day, working around any issues I have. But some days I want to get out of bed and not feel like I need to drag myself into a steaming hot shower in order to get the body moving. Some days I want to be able to type without wincing. Some days I want to be able to pull on a pair of running shoes (or cleats, or tennis shoes) and go out and do some of the activities I used to do. And some days it is a little overwhelming and I just want to shout.

Consider this my shout.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Pause that ... Infuriates!

I have a problem with my work laptop, one that my buddies in IT have been trying to help me with to no avail.

When I connect my laptop at work through its docking station, I have intermittent but painfully obvious pausing issues. It gets so bad that entire words get skipped while I’m typing. It’s so bad that, if I’m listening to music, the pauses during the songs are annoying and obvious. It’s so bad that the mouse jumps across the entire screen or, worse, just sits in the same location because the machine can’t figure out where it should be.

If I unhook everything from the docking station and plug it directly into the back of the laptop, the pausing issue is minimized, but doesn’t go away entirely. The issues while typing become only hiccups. The mouse will catch up to where it should be. But the music glitches are still fairly pronounced.

However, when I work from home and connect via the internet, I do not experience the pausing issue at all, even though the connection is quite a bit slower and there are more things prone to cause issues.

One thing I just recently noticed is that, when I am playing music and it pauses, the sound becomes scratchy and rough after it recovers from the hiccup. I didn’t notice this at first when the pausing issue began, so I’m wondering if this is new symptom or whatever is causing the pausing is somehow getting worse.

So, the obvious thing is the docking station, right? No dice. IT has switched out my docking station and it still occurs. So it must be my chassis or laptop, right? No dice. IT has changed my chassis and it continues to occur. A driver? We have updated everything to the most recent/best we can find, to no avail. I have two spyware systems protecting my machine and a good, corporate antivirus program running on it—it is not a virus or spyware causing the issue. We have also done a Repair of the Windows OS to see if other drivers might have been the problem—again, no dice. Still having the problem. Since it is most obvious while typing, we thought maybe it was the keyboard, so we replaced it. Still pausing.

I am extremely frustrated with this problem. I type all day long, so to have something that so greatly distracts and interferes with my ability to type makes me less productive. My buddy in IT is frustrated, as the problem is intermittent enough that he can’t track it down or find a FAQ or knowledgebase article about it.

One suggestion I got from a reliable source is that “it is a Dell.” I’m not sure I accept that as a reason that the machine pauses. Especially not when it was working fine for the first many moons that I had it and this issue only started at the end of February. Nice try, though. ;-)

It wouldn’t be so bad if the applications “caught up.” But, when the pause happens, it doesn’t capture the keystrokes I’m typing at all. For example, let’s say I’m typing the phrase “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy cow.” If the pausing issue occurs twice during that typing, the sentence may wind up looking like, “The qck brown fox jer the lazy cow.” It totally misses and skips the letters typed during the pause. Sometimes the pause is long enough or I’m typing fast enough that it includes entire words, but most of the time it is just a few letters worth. But, again, I type all day long—it is imperative that I only make my own mistakes and get them corrected—I don’t need the system helping me to make even more!

Hopefully we can narrow down and resolve this issue soon. I’m close to wanting to throw the damn laptop over my cubicle wall and see what happens!!!!

Quote of the Day

"There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will." - Epictetus