My problem with technology

So my problem with technology is that not only is it pervasive, it is also disconnected.


Okay, so, this site is a nice little collection of things in some way important to me. It complements my "professional" site quite well, hiding my charming personality quirks from the rest of the world in this small space I've carved out.

I can add content to this site by sitting down at a web-enabled computer, calling up the site, navigating to the add-content page and strart typing.

And that happens once in a long while, let me tell you.

In reality, I'm probably anywhere else than in front of a web-enabled computer when I think of something I want to write about.

So, take for example when I'm at the gym, walking on the treadmill, and come up with a brilliant (or not so brilliant) idea for a post. Well, crap, now what do I do?

Yep. What any other geek would do: pull out the Treo and start typing.

You think I'm kidding.

Okay, so, now I have a great post all ready to enter.

Except that it's on my Palm and not where it ultimately needs to be.

And what are the chances I forget to copy this entire rant over to my site?

Pretty high.

I have the same problem with my laptop when I'm working offline, which happens more frequently than I would have predicted.

So, the problem I have is not to get my thoughts out of my head, but rather to get them some place central where I can find them, remember them, laugh at them, enjoy them again.

And even more importantly, many years from now, realize how far we've come in merging technologies.

 Sometimes, just sometimes, things work out okay.


I almost started this out as a one way chat with the rest of the world:

"Remember that high-school boyfriend who contacted me..."
I'm probably influenced by the sites I read regularly (Dooce, Jonas Luster, Jason Kottke and a few others), which are sites clearly directed to the masses. This site, my friend, is for me, though, so I need to stop that crap.

So, about that high school sweetie...

I've been instant messaging with Paul (said, high school boyfriend) a lot lately. Well, I'm not sure if it's "a lot" over the longish term: we message a lot in fits and spurts.

I love that phrase "fits and spurts." What a great word. Spurts.

Turns out, a lot can happen in a decade and a half since high school.

Admittedly, I've lurked in sites like, where I look up what some people are doing. But I've nevered entered my information into the sites. On one hand, the information they ask for always seems too personal; on the other hand, writing a summary of one's life after high school is kinda hard.

And, if you have a third hand, where I am in life isn't where I expected to be. Telling the world that is terribly diificult. Admitting that to myself was hard enough.

The whole thing made worse when I read the head cheerleader from my senior year is a floor manager at some Las Vegas casino. Is that really where she thought she'd be? Is she happy there?

So, easy decision: no life summary for me. Especially when compared to my friends from high school. (Why must the comparison always happen?)

Scott is a Naval pilot instructor. He's doing exactly what he wanted to do. He even said as much in high school. Married, two kids. Although Paul gave me the details, I managed the generalities from

Jenn is another friend I was able to find on She's currently a professor at the collegiate level, having been so for some time.

And, turns out, I'm not the last to get married, nor the only one childless. Though, it seems to be only the women in our group who don't have kids. The men are all married with at least two each!

Brad works with Jeff at Jeff's company in Boston. I forget what Tammy is doing, or Cindy.

And Paul. My link back to the group. He reached out. Found the hints of me that have leaked out into the Intarweb. Or, as he says, it's a lot easier to find a person with an interesting name like Hodsden than most (much more) common names like the rest of the group.

Paul is at seminary. He's studying in the Lutheran faith. His timing in contacting me was quite fortuitous, as is his course of studies: the older I get, the more puzzled I get with people who completely believe in this organized religion thing. I kept some of our early conversations.

Back in high school, we talked a lot about various philosophical things, much in the way only teenagers can ponder the universe, the celestial music and what it all means (42, of course).

Our conversations today are much the same. If I'm not in the "What the heck is up with this Christianity thing? You can't really believe in a bodily ascension can you? Don't you realize religion developed as a way for the powerful to control the masses?" sort of mood, our conversations are of a "Hey. Hey. What's up? Not much. Me, too." sort of drivel.

So, he's married with two kids. Two cute kids, that is.

I have not seen any recent picture of him or his wife, so he's bald until he tells me otherwise.

[Hi, Paul!]

 Finishing up the little things

Having little things on my to-do list for long periods of time causes a build up of stress that can be relieved only by completing said tasks.

I'm finally getting some of these things done.

Today, I finally (finally!) finished the MPUL rosters for the UPA. I had dragged my feet because I wanted to use the online rostering system for the league, using it as my test case. That didn't happen. By a lot.

Then I didn't want to submit the rosters because there were too many people who hadn't paid up, or were not roster current.

But I finally finished it. I wrote the code to email all the people and tell them to pay up, or submit a waiver as needed. Then wrote the code to generate the league members listing as one big roster. And now it's done. And now it's a load off my mind.

Now, to finish Bharat's task...

 Intimidating oneself

This past weekend, Kris, Ben and Kyle ran in the Wildflower Triathalon. I went to support them, carry their crap, run errands, and cheer them on. When we were leaving, as I walked up a flight of stairs a triathalon participant caught my eye at the top of the stairs.

She was a fit black woman with her triathalon number pinned to her jersey. About my height with a bright smile on her face, she carried herself like a tired athlete who conquered the course and walked away victorious.

Crossing the net and projecting incredible athletic feats and daring accomplishments, I made a note of her number intending to look it up today.

And so I did.

I went to the Wildflower 2005 website, and tried to look up the triathlete's information by her bib number, 8579. Turns out, the search form worked only by event, first name, last name, gender and age group. Well, I knew her gender and guessed her event was the Olympic distance triathalon. There were over 3100 women participants, and the results displayed 50 athletes to a page.


So, I guessed her age between 18 and 30, because of her bib number (which were allocated based on age), giving me 647 participants to look through. She wasn't on those pages, so I looked in 31 to 40. She wasn't there. Good lord woman, how old are you?


Turns out, the woman is Retha Howard. She completed the triathalon in just under 4 hours: 3:52:07. She lives in San Francisco and trains with the Embarcadero YMCA. She ran a 9:52/mile pace in the 10k, and rode a 38:26/mile pace in the 40k ride. She spent 9:41 in transistions (contrasting to the Kris-Ben-Kyle transistion times of about 2:10).

Putting this all into perspective now, Lora Bowman did the triathalon in 3:44:04. Cat Rondeau, uber athlete, did it in 3:13:39. I'm closer to Lora, and apparently Retha.

Lessons learned?

I'm still projecting every other person out there to be better, stronger, faster than I am. I'm still intimidating myself when I don't need to be. I'm still not objective when it comes guessing anything about someone else: abilities, age, etc.

As much confidence as I project, apparently I haven't internalized nearly enough.

 Wildflower Triathalon 2005

Kris, Ben and I drove south Saturday night, for Ben, Kris and Kyle Smith to run the Wildflower 2005 triathalon as a relay.

Tragically, Ben's flight was cancelled, so we were unable to drive down to the hotel early in the afternoon on Saturday as planned. We drove down late in the evening, leaving around 6:45, arriving in King City for the night late, and meeting up with Kyle, who was at the hotel already.

Fortunately, everyone wanted to sleep, so we were able to go to bed early. We all woke up at 6:30, to drive to the race, which turned out to be a good thing: we missed at least 4 turns on the way to the race.

On the way south, we were looking for gas for Kyle's car. We turned off 101 and took a tour of San Ardo. Population 501. One gas station. Barely. It was one of the itty bitty towns that is sort of lost in time. We asked the gas station/convenience store attendant for directions to Jolon Road. The guy tells us, "Hold on. Hold on." When we didn't stop and immediately look at him, he started raising his voice, "Hold on! HOLD ON!" Whoa, hold on buddy. We're not going anywhere.

His eventual answer? "Jolon Road is just south. I think. I haven't been there in 10 years or so. I don't get out much."

The road was five miles south.

Not getting out much, indeed.

Turns out, Jolon Road loops along 101 South. We could have driven the 20 miles along a narrow, winding road, or fly along the freeway, and take the short part of the loop.

We took the short loop.

We had a few other mishaps along the way: Kyle forgot to put on the chip that tracks his movement when he's racing. 2 minutes before the race started, he realized this. Kris ran the chip down to Kyle, so they were able to track him, just fine.

When the top level swimmers came in around 18 minutes, Kyle predicted he's swim the mile loop in about 21 minutes. After 22 minutes, we started to get worried when he didn't come out of the water. At 25 minutes, we figured we missed him.

Kris and I ran over to the transistion point, to see Ben standing there, What? What? Where's Kyle?

Turns out, Kyle swam a 28 minute swim. Kyle always breathes to the right, which means he drifts right when he swims. He had lined up on the right side of the swim area, because all the turns were to the right. Well... since there are no swim lines, Kyle swam out of the course, then had to correct back into the course, then back out of the course, then correct back into the course. He thinks he might have swum 1.1 miles.

Ben cycled really well: he pedalled a 1:43 race.

Kris didn't run as well as he wanted, running a 45 minute race. Not too bad for someone who was horrible sick two weeks before.

The race was really well organized. Seeing Kyle again was great. The three of them are already planning on swimming/biking/running the race again next year.

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