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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dog's Breakfast.

This morning I woke up abrubtly in the midst of a REM cycle... either one of the cats woke me up by "stretching" (which entails knocking something big to the hardwood floors) or Dawn was reminding me I needed to get going to get to work.

In any case, I woke up stupefied... felt like I was returning from another dimension, my IQ reduced to a mere 4 or so points. I stared at the cat, trying to find something in my head to connect with. Then I stared at Dawn and did the same thing. Something on NPR was talking about terrorism or Bush or big oil companies or the Amazon or something. All things are related.

Shortly, my mind followed suit with my body, yet I remain sluggish today. An appopriate mood to write in.

Reflecting over yesterday's post on originality, I have to commend my new friend Marius on reminding me originality is difficult at best and that one should just do what they do very well. That's good advice, actually. The conflict of being an idealist is that I seem to always need to see the bad side to see the good. This means putting down originality to make my own thoughts seem more than they are, perhaps. I also appreciated his comments about my positive influence on him regarding NASA -- I think we can find a good balance in our discussions and end up with a realistic perspective of NASA. If we do it just right, we may open a wormhole to the future and then go live in a more enlightened age where going to space is easy, fun, and etc. It takes a good person to admit a perspective shift. Marius, you rock.

So I guess I need to figure out what I do well. Hehehe those who know me will be amazed, but I absolutely suck at math. I am good at abstract problem solving (abstract analysis, as found in Calculus) but I never got past Algebra 1 and really was only passed in high school geometry from sheer pity. I decided if I am going to be engineer-like (do I want to be?) I need some better math skills. Since I work for an educational test publisher, we have a pretty badass library and I checked out a textbook to study from. Sheesh. Maybe carpentry. I can't escape the math, either way!!

Someone else at work who I respect said that I have the very rare talent of being a creative technical thinker. I like hearing other people's perspectives on this because to me it seems like an endless stream of complex issues that needs solving by people who aren't familiar with thinking galactic-scale in an infrastructure not suited to innovation. To those at work who are following my blog to find a way to fire me for talking bad about work -- well, I am not necessarily talking about work: I am talking about the world, sometimes. And if I was talking about work (I don't claim I am) wouldn't we want to change that anyway?

Another thing we idealists do: bring in the World when we should bring in only a blade of grass. Everything is interrelated, so a blade of grass leads to... the cosmos (insert space music here). Bringing me back from Earth (I vacation in a little gas giant system in the crab nebula) is a very good idea to help balance the frustration of thinking too large.

So I don't know. Yesterday was frustration with originality. Today is accepting originality as something that's been SO done before. :) Time to go on and do my own damn thing really well.

For goodness sake, someone please tell me what 'WOOT' stands for. Everyone uses it. Not to change the subject.

P.S. I am reading a good book by Greg Bear called "Moving Mars". It's a sweet book published in the early 90s about a future Mars and a science experiment that changes humankind forever. A good, technical read. Pick it up! Do it!!

Monday, August 22, 2005


I've been "away" for a while, working on my companion blog, about NASA and the Space Shuttle, and so on.

During this experience and in other areas of my life, I've been grappling with the idea of originality. I realize in an atomic way, my actions and thoughts and so on are unique and original: no one else has the same thoughts and actions in this moment in time as I do, and is therefore original.

This does not really satisfy, however, because thought concepts about what I think about already exist, or other people are better at it than I am. Example:

Throughout my space blog, I starting thinking of space advocacy groups and discovered there already is one. I also thought I was creating a cool blog, but there's other sites that are devoted to space with much more detail and resource than me.

So, what am I contributing? Yes, it's my unique perspective on it all, but how does that further the cause or how does that benefit anyone? For me, it's expression of writing what I experience and hopefully inspiring others (and myself).

Oh well. Here I am again, a new post, a new day, a return to blogger. Let's see what happens.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Dawn and I interacted with an alligator this weekend. No, not at the zoo, but on a nature hike at the Mitchell Lake wetlands area south of town. Dawn's looking at the place as a potential employment opportunity and so we decided to go wander some. They warned us there was a gator out there, and I, jumpy as always, was on the lookout. Around the back end of a trail next to a pond (which I would call lake) I spotted "Alfred" along a far bank about 30 meters away. Alfred was 8-10 feet long and beautiful. No cages, no nothing. We stepped forward a couple of feet and he slunk ever so slowly into the water, dissappearing completely into the murky pond. I suddenly felt like a wildebeast and visions of Discovery channel swam into view and I saw Alfred lunging from the water only to grab the hapless beast into the pond for death and digestion.

I told Dawn that she, being smaller, would be the first to be eaten. We walked briskly the other direction.

The wetlands and lake area are really untouched and raw. We saw a lot of birds (water birds, mostly) including a noisy fellow who was apparently disturbed by our investigation of his little inlet. The Audubon society took over this area and it's really quite amazing so much nature exists untouched so near a city. We didn't see snakes, but we were warned against them. Talk about your non-conventional workplace hazards. I can see the insurance claim now: "Eaten by alligator". Dawn had a dream about being chased by an alligator two days ago. Hmmmm.

I feel slightly Ghengis Khanish today. There's a lot going on and I feel resistant to the change, bloodthirsty in my individual take on everything. Perhaps its the sunburn from the hike. Perhaps it's the giant list of issues that arrived on my e-mail doorstep as I walked in today. When is there a break? When do we Americans realize its not all about work work work work work until you have a heart attack and then get to rest, if you survive?

What a load of belief systems. Need to work on accepting those so I can choose other ones. Oh well, off to work issues in a bloodthirstily lazy way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What the?

Disorientation has set in. I remember this Michael from 3 years ago. The Michael who makes his lunch in the evening instead of in the 3 minutes before he goes to work (if at all). The Michael who went to bed at 10pm to read before zonking into a distant book-induced hypnogogic dream drama.

So, it's been a week and I should be starting a new class tomorrow--except I am not, so the week of vacation is passing and I am confused. But elated.

So, four days off of work and I've been doing lots of thinking. This is dangerous, as you know. I am trying to stave off my reflexive need to fill time with pointless stuff and am adamantly keeping away from making decisions about hobbies until I get some space to think with. And some repair time with loved ones.

I'm back at work today and am musing over the exhausted feeling that has been asbsent the last 6 days and suddenly returned with ferocious familiarity this morning on the the way to work. A return to dazedness. Hmmm food for thought.

I've hooked up with an Elias posting group and they're pretty cool people. Crazy every one of them, but it's fun. Who am I to judge--I am just judging myself anyway. They're cool. YCYOR, right?

OK. Enough disorientation for one day. Watch for lucidity -- or at least my version of it -- soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

No More Classes, No More Books.

No more teacher's virtual dirty looks!!

I am writing as I am about to press the final "send" which deploys our paper and presentation as the last post to my UOP classroom experience.

What can I say, but, WHEW!

Here's where I say thanks to all for the awesome support over the last few years, especially Dawn -- I promise we'll get to know each other again :)

Off to have a cup of tea, press the send button, then go read before bedtime, homework permanently gone. Weeeelahhhhh!!!

Monday, April 11, 2005

T-Minus 3 Days and Counting.

There's this cool computer game I played a year or so ago called Medal of Honor Allied Assault. It's a war-type game where you are an infantryman in one of the dread historical battles on our world. There's this feature of the game where if a bomb or mortar went off near your character the game would slip into "disoriented" mode, where the viewscreen (as perceived by your eyes) would tilt randomly and dazedly. Vision was blurry and sound was distant and hazy.

I feel like that right now. I am looking at 3 days left of school and it feels like I've been dazed by a mortar shell.

Fortunately, in the game, the haziness clears up and I can get back to killing Nazis. The sniper rifle is particularly satisfying. Now for those of you who are RSS-feeding this blog or are just concerned about its content and the stability of my mind--it's a game. I'm not going to kill anyone. Sheesh. Lighten up already.

The graduation party on Friday was great -- it was enough and not too much. Cynthia did a great job of balancing my weird disorientation about being the center of attention with being recgonized for a damn fine job.

I started looking at some statistics on my 3 years of schooling just for the "fun" of it:
  • I've written 97 primary responses to "discussion questions"
  • I've written 427 papers on 25 different main topics
  • I've posted 12,127 individual posts expressing my opinion (damn, I am opinionated)
  • I took 25 5-week courses
  • I have a 3.95 GPA (graduating with honors!)
  • I met 165 new students but never heard their voice or saw their face (except 1, PAUL!)
  • I met 25 teachers but never heard their voice or saw their face
  • I spent about 70 hours per class online (based on average of 2 hours/day for 35 days per course)
  • I spent about 1,750 hours online for the entire program (70*25). This seems low to me.

It's time for vacation. Soon, soooooo soon.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

T-Minus 7 Days and Counting.

Let's see. One week from today I will be at least one of the following:
  • Out of school
  • On vacation
  • Sleeping
  • Playing Galaxies
  • Inebriated
  • Sitting on the porch
  • Staring uselessly into space

It's been an intense week, but I feel really great. I've dropped 13 pounds so far (that's like a whole bowling ball) and I have tons of energy thanks to proper modulation of my diet via LA Weight Loss. The cough is abating slowly, so life improves.

There's only one more group paper due and we've done a great job so far; it should go well. People at work are plotting a get-together to celebrate my graduation. Tomorrow I am being asked out to lunch by my friend Cynthia and she mentioned something about reservations based on the number of people. I only freaked out a little. I don't like being the center of attention, yet I crave recognition. Nice duplicity.

So. I go now. To weigh in then to hang out with some friends at Sherlocks, the place where nobody knows my name.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Bronchial Stylings.

Yes, I am holding on to the pleasure of the last month and a half with a wheezy hacky cough. Everything else has cleared up--the Ear Infection of Doom and the Bronchitis of Discontent. Yet the cough lingers on, a friendly reminder of wrecked vocal chords and narrowed bronchial tubes. Ah, the pleasure, the tiredness.

However, I did discover the source of much of my problem -- I wasn't just being normally susceptible to the typical springtime allergens of my beloved San Antonio. I was actually allergic to one of the supplements I was taking for the LA Weight Loss program. Within a week of starting the program, I fell ill and have yet to completely recover. During one week I stopped these two supplements and felt better. When I resumed, I experienced a setback of ill health. So, last Thursday I stopped the supplements again and I feel much better. Now, if I can shake the cough, I will be one happy near-graduate supreme being.

Speaking of supreme beings, I signed up this morning to go watch the next Space Shuttle launch: STS-114, the "return to flight" mission. I am beside myself with excitement!! You can get tickets here. This is something I've wanted to do for ages, and this particular flight is meaningful because we are coming back from the tragedy of Columbia.

Well, there's 1 week, 3 days to go. I am finishing my LAST individual assignment for this class and this degree this evening. Only two more team projects to go and wow, I am free. Speechlessness is starting to set in--to be replaced by a numbing excitement and relief. My only regret is that I don't have doors to push through out into the courtyard, to throw all my books in the air and to go crazy with all my school buddies. I'll cite some interesting factoids as we near the release date.

Onward to workdom.
Shout out to all my friends in work land, happy birthday to David, and howdy to Teej in New Zealand, who seems to be having an astounding time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Following in the footsteps of my wise younger brother, Jonathon:

"If you read this, even if I don't speak to you often, please post a memory of you & me. It can be anything you want; be it good or bad, just so long as it happened. Then, post this to your journal. See what people remember about you..."


It's 11:33am. Do you know where you mind is?

Mine is outside. I'm sitting in my cube, thinking Spring-like thoughts. I have a ton of stuff to do at work, 2 papers due tonight for this last class (2 weeks, 12 hours, 36 minutes to go), and I'm sitting here with blog-like thoughts dancing in my head. They are dancing because I'm listening to Ministry of Sound as well.

Hmmmm... this weekend Dawn and I had Easter lunch with her folks and we met them at a place called "The Ranch House". This is a place in a small city near where they live. It happens to be in the back of a truck stop. We pulled into the location and realized we were about to dine in a convenience store.

Fortunately, the truck stop was rather large and contained a full restaurant in the back of it that turned out to be quite hospitable in a "I've been working in the fields all day and now I'm hungry like a horse." kind of way. However, the food was very good (especially the biscuits). Easter Lunch special? Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes, and a veggie. I had grilled chicken and shrimp.

From there we went to have lemon meringue pie at Dawn's Aunt & Uncle's house. Had some Darjeeling tea from England which was awesome. There, they discussed small town things like "the accident at the traffic light last Wednesday" and so on. These aren't small-minded people; don't get me wrong. I just found it amusing to consider a single traffic light and knowing a specific accident. In San Antonio, each night I can turn on the news and find out about at least 5 or 10 people who have wrapped themselves and their vehicles around objects people normally wouldn't like to be wrapped around (trees, telephone poles, people's living rooms, pedestrians crossing the street, overpasses, underpasses, 18-wheelers, other cars, and so on).

Actually, living in a town where accidents are rare sounds nice. Perhaps one day.

So. I'm in this mental place where everything is in limbo waiting to finish. Yesterday was a fantastic day at work--I had another innovative moment that really turned out very well. Today, humility came in and reminded me not to be too arrogant by providing me a ton of crushing work. Everything is in proper balance lol.

OK. I think I'm about done. Simmering at 375 degrees and I smell very good.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Hello; I've been busy working and going to my LAST class (3 weeks, 1 day left) so the post quantity has been low. I realized the other day that I'll be graduating a day after my wedding anniversary and that reminded me that the Texas spring flowers will be in hearty full bloom. I find this appropriate.

Class ends on a Wednesday, as they always do, and I'm taking off the next four work days to be consumed by relaxation, sleep, mental adjustment, and serious game playing. In the evenings, I'll be spending time with my ever-patient wife. Some friends are coming in to town and we're going to go to the leaning Liberty Bar and to Enchanted Rock (not at the same time, or even after each other) to get in some good clean air and distance from "it all". This is also a highly appropriate event.

I've been sensing that shift from one perception to another: work and school intense mode from the last 3 years to the upcoming evening freedom and mental relaxation. It'll be nice to think differently. I've noticed the tensions beginning to melt away slightly (being sick for 4 weeks assisted this, but the antibiotics-round 2-made all the difference).

The Mountain Laurel is in huge purple bloom right now and I only wish they hung around longer. They only bloom a few weeks out of the year and they smell like ambrosia. I imagine the isle of the syrens are covered with them. A nice place to live.

So, nothing of real substance for today I suppose. I picked up a book (two actually) on Immanuel Kant to understand his critique of reason. I kind of like his ideas, so far. Let's see what he has to say. I am also reading a book by Kim Stanley Robinson on Antarctica. He's the author of the Mars series I liked so much. I am also reading a 995 page book on XSLT 2.0, the latest specification of the programming language I use every day. It's rather intense but interesting.

Oh well. Off to keep working and such. Later!

Friday, March 04, 2005

La La La La...

Yo, d00d the surf is up and the sand is hot. I'm out there, riding the waves, not a care in the world. The gulls are yapping overhead. My girl is sleeping and tanning beside me. This deep breath is so meaningful.

Yawn... carelessness should be a profession.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Galactic-Scale Disorientation.

Do you ever have one of those days where you come home from work and you're exhausted and you take an unexpected nap. Then, you sleep just a little too long and when you wake up you feel like you are in another dimension or galaxy or universe? That sense of disorientation is what I'm experiencing right now as I look up from the last week.

I'm going for "most sick person" record this past 6 months. On Saturday I woke up with a little scratch in my throat that turned into some kind of horrible sinus/chest infection. I've been trying to exchange air for green mucus apparently. This is one of the weirdest chest colds I've had that I can remember. Almost as bad as the near-pneumonia of '99.

I stayed home Monday through Wednesday and am only today returning to work and I feel like a different person--like I had 5 solid days of semi-consciousness to contemplate existence. Today I am at work and everyone's got an issue, but it's not penetrating the outer crust yet. Which is fine; I am relaxed. And sweating profusely. This is me completely unconcerned.

On to more esoteric discussions. Health is so boring, and when sick, disgusting at best. My Internet Concepts class is finally over (last night)--and I am so relieved. This was my final core class for my BSIT curriculum at the University of Phoenix. All I have left is my capstone course which is a reflection on learning, ethics, and stuff like that. Fortunately I am very good at reflection, so I anticipate a smooth ride out. It starts on the 10th.

So now I enter the Week of Summer Vacation (as I called each week between my 5-week courses for the past 3 years). This is a time of intense partying, carrying on, going to the beach, finding some girls, getting into zany adventures, and waking up with obscene permanent marker messages all over my body and crop-circle-like arrangements of beer bottles around my inert, drunken form. It's possible this is a movie and not me.

Nevertheless, this last week will be spent shoring up the immune system and readying myself for the final class. I still hold true to this sickness stuff (here I go again) being a gateway through which I find health again because I'm on the upswing of a long battle with uncentered-ness and self-imposed stress. Like hate is so close to love, health can be so close to sickness. I choose health, and move through a few sicknesses to get there.

As a fun exercise in my last class, we talked about blogs and I provided mine as a link. Immediately I was bombarded by classmates who proffered articles about people being fired from their jobs because they slandered their profession and company in some way. Well, to that I say I was misinterpretted. Let me in turn slander my class a little: grow up. It's just opinion. Not fact. I've never said which company and I've never said stuff bad about it--just about work concerns in general. And those are my perceptions of work concerns. So, well, bite me. (Except Julien, who was just looking out for my well being; thanks man).

Well, I didn't know I had so much to say. At the end of class I started making these cool connections about publishing and how we as a people are just barely getting our foot in the door of publishing in multi-media. We really are still print-oriented, trying to deploy print into new ways of publishing content. But, I felt we need to push further and really look into content publishing in new media. I was kind of proud of my last discussion summary question. Perhaps it was the beginning of a new paradigm of publishing. The seed of my future great works that people will respectfully ignore.

There's something going on in the world about social security and whatever, but I am distinctly not paying attention. Something about raising the working age? Whatever.

Paladin Daniel has been sending me stuff the last couple of days. He always helps me out when I fight for health. He's right there, sword in hand, righteous, indignant... I think I'll go write out his message for you, my hapless readers.


Sunday, February 27, 2005


I've been wandering around the galaxy lately...getting ready for my freedom once again. I've been setting up the homestead and honing skills. You know; newbie stuff. There's rumors one can get comepletely lost out here...for good. A few snapshots of recent events:

My home away from home: grinding for Artisan.

Hostile encounters with the locals.

Guarding the fort.

Watch for more. Thanks for hanging in.

Monday, February 21, 2005


There's a buzzing inside my head, and that buzzing indicates I have 1 week and two days left in this class. Then I have one week "off", then I have my final capstone course (5 weeks long) and then I am done with school.

I think it's uncool that as I get very close to finishing school the hardest classes are last when my patience, tolerance, and energy is least. Maybe this is what separates the Earthlings from the Martians.

I'm feeling the wave of change: Dawn and I are recognizing just how much of a shipwreck the last 3 years have been and all the little things that suffer: dishes, cleaning, cooking, basic human kindness, and other such things. Instead we've resorted to tactical dining, working, relaxing, and so on--kind of a militaristic life-style. I think hygiene goes out next, and it may happen JUST before I graduate.

Also, I've noticed that I am seeing the end of the tunnel in the form of leisure. Now, I want to start relaxing, watching tv, playing computer games, and so on. I've started doing this in relatively small increments but in intense waves--like I spent all weekend attached to Star Wars Galaxies after homework was done. Not inherently a bad thing, but I owe Dawn a little quality time, not in ferral game-playing grunting mode.

To help confuse things further I've joined the LA Weight Loss program (last Thursday). We'll see how that all turns out. If all goes as planned, then one week after graduation I will have lost the 30 pounds that so vex me. So, the picture of Michael, 8 weeks from now:
-- Leaner
-- Free-er
-- Edumuhcated
-- Energetic with tons of free time

I might explode on impact with April 13.
Note: results not typical.

Please be over soon, school. I love you but man it's enough.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Soap Opera Coffee Commercial.

The little styrofoam cup sitting on my desk is issuing the lovely smell of a caffeinated beverage. It tasts good too. The coffee, not the cup.

Is it just me or is the sound of coffee pouring into a cup like one of the most sacred sounds in the world? I get embarrassed listening to coffee being poured when in the presence of others--like I just got caught doing something I shouldn't be. The coffee dispensers at work are industrial types, so they shoot coffee out rather than pour it delicately; they don't count. Those coffee commercials with the handsome actors and actresses opening a fresh coffee can every morning and pouring a cup of java while looking outside their window from the the vantage of their country cabin into the mountains makes me have to mute the TV.

Am I weird? So-- tell me, what sounds do you find sacred? Post a reply and let me know.

Here's one I'm not embarrassed about: tree leaves in the wind, especially on colder days. I love the sound of trees moving in the wind, especially a lot of trees. That's like one of the only sounds that provides instant relaxation for me. A couple years ago Dave and I went camping at Inks Lake near Austin. That night a storm blew through and through the tent walls could be heard a high wind, lots of tree movement and distant thunder. While Dave fretted about the weather, I was so relaxed and at peace--I don't think I've slept as well since then.

So, again--tell me about the sounds in your life.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Bang on the drums all day.

Mood: dispirited. Music: none.
It's hard to qualify a day as bad or good--so why call it a bad day, or a good day for that matter? The day is somewhat external to me (although I create it, secretly)--the wind will continue to blow, the rain may fall, the sun may shine, all independent of how I feel.

I feel dispirited (yet nature cares not) about work. There are times when I feel overwhelmed by the possibility of success and of failure. All these things are based on my beliefs of course--who defines success?? I do. Who defines failure?? I do.

So why do I go to such great lengths to believe I need to "succeed" and why do I go to such great lengths to believe that success is just too hard to accomplish? Why do I put these perceptive blocks in my way. Joining another group means having to do this and having to do that and all the other things that just seem so complex to accomplish such a simple thing, really. "Why bother?" I keep asking myself, while answering myself in the same irritated droning voice, "pay the bills, feed the belly, etc, etc. blah blah blah pffffttttt."

What if I just up and quite the job? What if I decided to pursue an active career in cardboard home living? Who is to say something 100% better won't come along? Who? Trust in self, that's who. That same trust in self that says I can make my job whatever I want it to be--it's up to me. Self responsibility sometimes blows.

Right now, more than anything? I wish I was playing Galaxies and eating a big triglyceride in solid form: Krispy Kreme doughnuts. What am I doing? Preparing for a meeting I abhor the idea of going to and having to write and think in ways I don't want to for someone else's pleasure.

So, who will win? See you after the meeting.
Mood: More dispirited. Music: griping internal dialogue

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Clothes We Wear.

I had this weird moment in a technical meeting the other day--I walked in carrying my laptop, the laptop's power supply, and my mini-mouse on one arm and some documents, my bottle of water, and a cup of coffee on the other arm.

At first glance, you will think that I carry too much and that may be true, but that's not the point. I had this bizarre sensation that I was wearing my "equipment of the age". In each age we wear and use instruments specific to our knowledge, experience, and profession. The publishing technologist, being a relatively new species, does not have a wide variety of formal tools or ceremonial garb, yet carting around all that very familiar stuff spoke of armor and weapons.

Perhaps I am merely Dungeons and Dragons minded (I admit it), but I felt as if I sat in that meeting wielding my intellectual weapons and using my "smart" armor. The meeting was very fun actually--my friend John and I had a great technical discussion on the same level and I (perhaps self-gratifyingly) enjoyed the glazed incomprehensive faces of the other folks in the room. I'd called the meeting because I did not understand a new process. John and I talked it over in high detail and then I was ok. I am not sure the others in the room totally understood what was going on. Sometimes that's nice.

Aside from the armor sensation, the weekend has been about protection. I've gotten so close to finishing school that I am feeling relaxation and other priorities creeping in. To placate the instantly worried matriarchs in the family, don't worry. I am going to finish school. However, after 3 years, I am ready for something fun, creative, technical, and different. To that end, Star Wars Galaxies--a massivley online game. I spent WAY too much time "having fun" for a change (apologies to Dawn) as a typical Michael extreme example of doing the opposite thing equally intently as I do the normal thing. But I sure like that game.

I just spilled coffee on my mousepad. Woohoo!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The new year has presented itself with making sure that I spend more time thinking (deciding, acting, etc) in a longer term capacity with the beautiful counterpoint of remaining in the present. This may be the key to remaining focused and calm on the task (feeling, belief, etc) at hand, but knowing its place as a building block for the future and as a roadmap for the past.

To that end, I will try and be less alarmed about nothing all the time.

Interestingly enough--and I should probably be struck by lightning or have a plane fall on me--I have been looking up graduate school information in the Publishing field. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to jump from school to school immediately. I forsee and deserve a fair amount of reconnect time with my wife & cats, opportunity to go in random directions with ideas and probable careers (like carpentry or blacksmithing) for a while and some hardcore XBox, Gamecube, or PC games. I've been far too dilligent for far too long. Try working 80 hours a week for a year while going to school and maintaining a 3.96 GPA and see how long you stay sane. I remember sanity. Once. Dawn should have left me by now. It's possible she has and left a fine-looking cyborg in her place.

Nevertheless, I love learning and going to school and I am doing some advanced planning in a Masters in Publishing. Sadly enough there are too few of these kinds of degrees in America. They tend to be graphic design related (which I am SO tired of) or art related or marketing related. I came across one in Great Britain that seems to be pretty cool. Like I said, just getting ideas. I WILL be taking a break.

So, that's about it for now. Kind of a slow day. OH! I've been doing a Sethian experiment recently. When going to bed, I give myself clear statements for dreams that I want to have. According to Seth, a richer understanding of the dream world and its symbols will enrich the waking world and its symbols. So far I have had every dream I asked for, and its interesting how when I say, "I want a relaxing dream" I get an old, old city with comfy lawns and thunder and light rain, then snow, then a beach with the pounding surf. Obviously my terminology and the way I feel about that terminology helps define what happens: I love older cities, snow, thunder and rain and the heat of the beach.

I will continue this research and exploration--it means I am getting rest, and that, at least, is a good thing. The dreams are vivid and clear, and directly follow my purpose when I ask for them. I think with practice, I could get really good at this and ask for experiences I can take into waking life--like how to learn programming better or to understand calculus. Or make out with a hot naked famous person. You know, the important things. World Peace.

Off to the first meeting of the day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

All the news that's fit to publish.

Note I say publish. Print is so antiquated these days. So very analog.

It's been a wacky wild week--so much has happened. Last Thursday and Friday I was out from work all day for a leadership training class. It was very cool: I finally got some management tools I can use. The class was held by an external vendor who came in and had us in a closed room for two solid days. We went over conflict management, giving feedback, and a number of other relationship management tools. It was great!

Next, we had a three-day weekend (we got MLK day off). The weekend itself was uneventful: I got caught up on school (it's the last week of this class). On Monday, however, I decided to do a "While you were out" episode at home. Dawn and I have been trying to clean out our pantry for about 6 months or so now and Monday I just decided to get it done. I went to the Container Store, found some elfa shelves (30% off until Feb 6) and brought them all home and installed them. When Dawn got home, she went in for cat snacks and was quite surprised to see new shelves where once were wood 2x4s. We still need to organize the food better, but the pantry is now much better looking and accessible.

Then, the weird thing happened. Maybe it was something I ate in a hurry that day (I also didn't each much and worked really hard during the day) but Monday evening I started feeling very sick. My energy dropped and my body decided to rid itself of everything food-like in it. My temperature started to rise (the highest was 100.5). I woke up every hour on the hour that night to take my temp and spend some thoughtful time in the restroom. TMI, sorry.

Tuesday I stayed home sick. And I slept. Like a rock. Usually when I am sick, I still putter around and watch tv. But, I slept from 9am until 11:30am. Dawn came home and then I slept from 12:30pm until 4pm. Finally, after that, I woke up for part of the evening. I've been eating a little more. Today I'm at work but very tired and groggy.

I've realized that recently I've been sick twice and I find that odd. I also notice that everytime I start working out intently something comes along to derail it. This morning I ate a yogurt (to get protein) and under the lid there was a code for entering a contest, so I went to the site it indicated. Not a winner, but I checked out the body mass index calculator to see where I was. Sadly, and I've seen this a lot lately too, I am just inside the low end of "obese" for my height and weight. This is disconcerting. Now, I don't think I LOOK obese (unless I am really deluding myself), but according to several of these charts I am. Yet, each time I start working out I get derailed.

Nevertheless, there is a silver lining to being sick yesterday. In the past, and for many years, I've always immediately run to the doctor to get antibiotics or whatnot. This time, I let my body do its thing--like I did for the Cedar Wars a few weeks ago. And, I've healed myself this way: using the natural defenses my body has. This is a good thing.

Now, couple that with my recent revelations and the phrase my brother so eloquently summed them up with: "People don't see further than 50 feet in front of their face", and I think I have an answer. If I trust myself, which is what I believe this lesson is all about, and stop expecting immediate results, this intense pattern of work-out, illness, rest, and so on is a reversal of the old energies that got me here in the first place. When you concentrate on the "illness" it's easy to think I'm going nowhere. However, when I think of the body as activating its natural powers--powers I have repressed through the use of medicines and so on--this is a great thing. My body is using its true natural energy to heal and strengthen so it can accommodate the energy needed for working out and health.

So, ultimately, I am becoming more active, and my body is recognizing it and activating what it needs. I am trusting it more: using vitamin c and stuff instead of antibiotics and drugs to find my natural health. I think I'll continue trusting it and not stress about where I am right now, but what I want to feel right now. There is a difference.

In any case, I am going to get moving on the work. Thanks to everyone for the scholastic feedback. A point of confirmation: when I graduated from SAC in 1995 with my AA degree, when I was walking the stage I got called "Michelle" Friedman instead of Michael. Although corrected, I vowed never to walk the stage again. In my leadership class on Thursday, the instructor called me Michelle again. Subtle reminder. I like the decision to not walk the stage. Maybe I'll go visit nes and trev. And buy a much needed XBox or something. :D

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Paladin Daniel.

I created a new blog today. It's written from the viewpoint of one of my past lifes. Daniel is a Paladin from the middle ages. He's a bit right-wingish in his extremity, but it should be some interesting reading.

Have fun. Mind your head.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Ah the question -- and a poll for folks reading the blog. To go to commencement or not? Here's a list of pros & cons. But first, a prequel.

I have, since March 2002, been going to the University of Phoenix Online. My classes have been 5 weeks on, the 1 week off. Solid. I am ready for the break. I've never set foot in a classroom, seen what any of my teachers or classmates look like, or fallen asleep at my desk (well, ok, that one time).

Commencement is in Phoenix, AZ July 29 & 30. (my last class is actually over April 13).

So, pros for going to commencement:
-- It's freaking commencement!
-- Recognition for working my ass off, going to school, and maintaining a 3.98 for 3 years should be something to make a big deal about.
-- Arizona is pretty
-- The drive is nice
-- I won't be working

-- $$ for getting myself and interested family members/friends there
-- It's like 400 degrees in late July in AZ.
-- I've done this all online, how special is a building in a distant state and a zillion people I don't know?
-- Not graduating at the same time as any of the few classmates who have travelled with me
-- I'd rather visit my pals in NM if I am going that way
-- I really just want the piece of paper and potential green pieces of paper that hopefully accompany
-- Commencement is unimportant -- learning is the bomb!

So... feedback please. I am stuck in choice-mode.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Catherine Black.

So, I'm in a transitional mood today. Everything's a little dark, a little moody. I get this way before big energy shifts: school starts again tomorrow, I'm battling work again. Stuff like that. A scene from West Wing tonight reminded me of my grandfather's illness when he was alive.

Usually, when I get in this mood, I get imagery and energy from a dead "past" life. I use the term "past" in the non-conventional sense because, although this past life occured in a different time framework, that life is a part of my "now", so I can tune into it at any point in this past life's timeline. Typically, this life presents itself toward the moments of death. The person is Catherine Black.

She is/was a woman living alone in a cottage in the woods in England somewhere. It's near the middle ages or later centuries. Her house is painted grey with many vines on it. She has a big black kettle out front that she cooks in.

She was killed by wolves: actually torn apart. But, she was ok with it because she understood the great cycle of life and natural grace where her flesh was used by the wolves as a part of their living lives.

Catherine laughs at me, slightly mockingly when I feel "down" - she was a caring woman, but hard in the way lonliness and separation from others will cause. She sends me images of her final moments: the smell of the leaves burning under the great kettle, the creaking sounds of the forest as the trees swayed, the light snow all around. The cold was very deep and from a long path in the distance a pack of wolves runs into view, spies her, and races toward her. She never shows me her actual death, but I see her stand still, resigned and accepting until the wolves reach her and pull her down. The leaves burn on still in the very dry air.

She reminds me that death and change is a cycle--and that is her message, not of my death but of the way I deal with change. I resist, resist and she laughs because I do. "We are eternal" she reminds... yet I am too focused to notice, often.

There's another little twist in this reality. There is a song by an artist I admire: Kirsty Hawkshaw, called "Orange". This song perfectly captures the essence of the death of Catherine Black and her interchange with me. There's a phrase, "We are moments in the flow, here to witness the seeds we sow, then to fade into the beautiful unknown, never to forget, never completely alone." Then, the refrain: "Move on into everlasting joy, like the times we felt, dancing in the sun, it never makes sense to say goodbye, so I'll just close my eyes."

Orange is a moving song. Kirsty's beautiful yet haunting voice adds the right dimension. And Catherine is moving me into resisting change less. But for tonight, I'll feel the way I want and tomorrow will be a new day.

P.S. Worked out 4 alternating days in a row. :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Analysis and Poetry.

The two are more similar than you might think.

I was musing today about project management and how the events in a very large project get lost within the giant scope of events that happens to fulfill that project. My group was called today to fix an "issue" that has been a problem for a while. It actually wasn't an issue—it was a change in the scope of the documented process. The people requesting the fix for the issue had actually created their content incorrectly and then forgotten that it wouldn't fit. We get very much into the details of things and forget that each detail should have a place in a larger process.

This is also the way of the details in our lives. Should I eat this thing, should I not eat this thing? It's a detail in the scope of consuming food over time. However, this certainly brings home the concept of 'the present is the point of power'… choices you make now in the details affect the outcome of the process over time. However, in this case, life is not a project that is scoped out up front. It's made up as we go, from this moment we are in, with the power and belief and direction we put into it in each moment.

So, I am re-learning my beliefs about food. I've been exercising the last few days: 30 minutes on Thursday (after bowling 3 rediculously bad games with my minions at work), 30 minutes on Saturday, 25 minutes today. Those events, coupled with a lessening of caloric intake and a leaning toward less carbs is going to ripple out from the now into the future. The present is the point of power. I am starting to see the probable future effect of my current detailed actions.

I've realized that my body creates fat in response to sugar consumption. I consider fat potential (yet inert) energy. Coming from a standpoint of beliefs, I am conserving a lot of energy for some undisclosed point in time where I can expend it in the optimal fashion. However, this negates current activity, and is an extreme belief system: either on, or off.

I can change that by using the energy now, in smaller amounts. I think a Zen master wrote this all down somewhere and I'm sure there's an Asian term for this energy and it's release. Ignorance is not bliss. I want this change, in any case.

So, I think for now, I've reached the action point. You can think about beliefs and desires and your intent to change them, but action is the key. I think internally, I am beginning to realize a decrease in sugar is what my body likes and needs (as directed by my beliefs). Also, an increase in exercise. We'll see where this goes, but I think I'm ready to get off the weight loss subject for now. I'm going to keep doing it and will check in, but I've worn out my welcome on it and want to get on to other musings.

To help segue, a poem of mine I found in a dusty old writing notebook (all of them contain about 3 entries, sadly).

Natural Grace - 12/17/01, 12:04pm

There's a great thrust of energy
in the world now.
That we can resist it is a testament
to our strength.
Imagine, our power to stop the
movement of the world. Our struggles and
frustrations. Our full strength
against the tide.
Our pain and sorrow as we fight.

Or, we can be swept away,
and realize we still move with
the energy of our world,
without struggle.