QotD: I've Always Wanted to Know...


If you were guaranteed an answer to any question you have, what would you ask and of whom?

"Why?" to the Eternal Force.

QotD: Today's To-Do List


What's on your "To-Do" list today? What are you most looking forward to and what are you most dreading?

Oh, good lord. Do you know just how big my to-do list is?

My Lists!

No, it's not the one on the left, but it is the one on the right. Yellow index cards RAWK.

Currently on the list: water plants, straighten house, fry's for adaptor, load car, gas car, home depot pickup (call), and go.

The last one is my favorite:


QotD: Don't Worry, It'll Heal


How many bones have you broken? Yours or someone else's?

Six ribs, one collar bone and one toe, not necessarily in that order, and only 2 of those breaks weren't from ultimate frisbee.

The last breaking was two years ago. I was smooshed by Ben at a practice, a few weeks before Sectionals. My account of the day:

[In my vox post, I copied the content from my smooshing back in 2004.]

Turns out, I was mistaken about the ribs. I had four broken ribs that took around four weeks to heal.

QotD: Reflecting on September 11th


What are your personal memories of September 11th?

It's four in the morning, and I'm woken by the sound of someone outside, going through the trash bins in the neighborhood. Tuesday morning, a good four hours until I need to wake up and all I can think about is how annoyed I am at the sure to be homeless person who is rummaging through my recyclables, pulling out the ones with the California deposit.

This annoys me, and I call the police. The non-emergency line has a pleasant voice. I give my details, my address, what I'm hearing, yes, they will send a car out to talk to the person, do I know which direction he's heading?

I stumble back to bed.

Four hours later, the alarm goes off. Jumbled words blare from the speaker. Unintelligible words. Without thinking, without worry, Kris reaches over and smacks the snooze button. Nothing registers for him. I hear a few words.

Four minutes later, the second alarm goes off. It is silenced just as quickly as the first.

Five minutes later, the snooze ends and the first alarm and Kris reflexively reaches to end the noise again.

"Wait," I ask. "See what's going on. That's not normal talk."

He rolls over and looks at me. What wasn't normal about the alarm, his eyes question, but he rolls out of bed anyway, and stumbles to the livingroom to turn on CNN. We have cable because he needs his ESPN. We have a television because he needs his baseball. I wanted neither, but he prevailed on that topic.

Kris returns five minutes later.

"You need to get up. New York is on fire."

I ask him what he means, as I struggle to wake fully. What is on fire? What happened? What's going on?

He doesn't know. It's bad. It's in New York. I need to wake up now.

I wake up.

At the end of the day, I wonder what the homeless person with my cans and bottles is doing. Did he know the enormity of the day? How could I have been so small, calling the police on a person doing what he needed to survive? What a petty act of mine, having the police talk to someone for taking cans, when five thousand people died so horrifically.

The images of the jumpers.

The homeless person stealing cans and bottles.

QotD: Game On


What was the last game you played?

Ultimate, as in ultimate frisbee, being a mainstay in my life for the last 12+ years, should be not-a-surprise as the last game I've played, and also the most played game in my life. The sport has seen me through good times (met Kris through ultimate), and rough times (moving away from my friends, work and comfort zone of Southern to Northern California). It has provided me opportunities to travel places I would have never gone normally (can you say, "Perth?").

But most importantly, it has provided me with friends that I would have never found otherwise.

Ultimate as a community is small enough that there are few degrees of separation from the beginning pickup player to the elite super athlete. Yet, it is large enough that anywhere you go, you're nearly guaranteed a game and a ready-made circle of friends. The community is so close, and the sport inspires such passion, that dating non-ultimate players is often considered the death-knell of one's ultimate career.

Fortunately, I don't have that worry.

My worry is the accumulated injuries that are slowly catching up to me. Another 2nd degree ankle sprain this last Saturday has close to ended this season for me. I may have a chance to recover in time for Regionals early October, but I'm not betting on it.

Neither am I worried about it: there's a saying very common in the ultimate community. It goes something like, "Oh well. There's always next season."

QotD: Is This Thing On?


When was the last time you had to speak in front of a group? How did you feel?

There's an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation that opens with Enterprise heading into some sort of bizarre electrical storm that sends a bold of energy into the bridge, striking Jean Luc Picard in the chest. The energy disrupts Picard's artificial heart ("What? He has an artificial heart? How the heck did that happen? Oh? Wait for it? All will be revealed in the next 54 minutes? Okay, fine, I'll keep watching."), and he starts to die.

As he lay there dying, Q (the annoying all-powerful, but not quite, omniscient) shows up and hovers over Picard. He knows about the heart; he knows why Picard has it. He offers Picard the opportunity to redo the moment in his life that lead to his having the heart in the first place. He knows of the decisioin Picard made years ago, the moment that regretted to this dying moment, the choice he would have made differently if he'd had the chance.

And who wouldn't jump at that chance to undo that one such moment that has caused a lifetime of regret, to fix the source of all that is wrong, to live a moment longer knowing you finally made the right choice?

Picard accepted the offer, and found himself moments before a barroom fight which will end with a Klingon's weapon in his chest, moments before he stood up to the bully in the room and nearly died for the effort, an artificial heart a constant reminder of the choice he had made.

No gift from Q is ever truly a gift, as Picard remembers as he flashes through moments of his life up to the according-to-the-viewer present moment. Each moment that we see begins as an event where Picard is the Picard we know: he's strong, self-assured, confident and leading the charge. As we watch, in the pivotal moment, he crumbles. He doubts. He second guesses himself as he had done in the bar, as he had done when he chose the second time not to fight.

He is unable to follow through, and becomes less of a man. He never reaches his potential. He thinks, all I need is a chance, my chance, to prove to everyone he is the leader he knows he can be, the leader the viewer knows he was. Chance after chance he tries and fails. He doesn't follow through and no one believes him, believes in him.

The one moment he felt was his biggest regret, the moment he believed was his worst choice was as he believed: the moment that defined him. But it defined him in the way of his fullest potential, and not the smaller person he could be.

I recall very few episodes of STNG. I recall that one because it reminds me of how I feel every time I stand up in front of a crowd. The feeling of this-is-not-quite-as-it-should-be hits me as I get ready to stand. The worst moment is when the speaking is impromptu and I've had no time to prepare. Can I think of something witty? Can I be clever and dynamic and smart and funny? Crap! Where are my jokes?!

My briefest of moments of such was in June, as BarCampSF started. Messina asked every attendant to stand up, give their name and a 10 second explaination of what they hope to get out of the weekend. Rather than something witty like, "I'm just hear to make sure you have snack food," something tragically nondescript and stupid came out. Something like, "I'm here to learn new AJAX tricks and techniques."

Interestingly enough, my heart didn't pound, I didn't sweat profusely, my blood pressure didn't rise. Standing in front of 200 techies doesn't bother me. Not having something to say does. Not having time to prepare (who prepares for a 10 second introduction to people who, chances are, you won't interact with much after this weekend?) bothers me.

It bothers me because I know I can do better speaking in front of people, having done so with my presentations and lessons I've done over the last years. I know I can be that happy, confident, self-assured person at the front of the room, talking to everyone. I know I can be the Picard who made the right decision the first time, instead of the second time when he second-guessed himself.

I know, because I have been, am, and will continue to be that person.

QotD: You've got to blog!


If you could get someone in your life to start a blog, who would it be and why?

I've seen pictures of my mom as a child, playing under the big tree in the backyard of the house my grandfather built. Decades later, I would run through that backyard as a child myself on my way from our house to my best friends house, cutting through back yards to cut the walking time from 10 minutes to two. My mother's childhood home was long since sold, but she loved the house we moved into, the house on the hill from her childhood dreams.

What other dreams did my mother have? What hopes, and problems, and joys, and failures and victories did my mom experience? How close does my life parallel her life, and how far away from hers is mine?

I don't know.

I know her better than she knew her mother, but ultimately I don't know much of my mother's life before me. I know the highlights. I can imagine the minutae. But, I really don't know.

The saving grace to this vacuum of knowledge is that she writes. She has journals; she writes short stories, many of them based on her life experiences fictionalized. If she started a blog, a personal one of highlights of each day, her life would open up, and I'd know how much we are alike. And how much we are different, though, I know I am my mother's daughter in so many ways.

Come to think of it, I know even less about my dad. Oh, the stories he tells when he's in the mood. If he started a blog, it would have to be an audio blog to get the full side splitting life of his words. Now that would be a blog worth listening to.