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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.