October 28, 2006

Stuff and Things

Since croquet-day I have been pretty busy, first with doctors' appointments, then with school and a nice visit from my Uncle Tom from California. He's here quite rarely, and we had a couple nice sit-around opportunities, which do not always happen.

I finished my first week of coursework for this 1 credit research class I'm taking online via UMUC. Given that I have been feeling absolutely horribly, it works out well that this week's work was quite easy. It took me a little time to figure out a few options here and there, but I'm finished with week 1 with 3 or 4 days yet to go before I have to worry about week 2 stuff.

... and yes, I have been feeling really horribly. I've had mind fog like you wouldn't believe with joint and back pain to match. On top of that I am experiencing a scary symptom that hopefully will turn out to be a side effect from the Lyrica I've been taking. The drug seemingly stopped working just as fall hit despite increasing the dosage from the initial 50mg all the way to 200mg, which is why my reporting on it has been missing on this blog. I have been reducing my dosage this week, and hopefully my problems will disappear soon after I stop taking it altogether. It is hard to even wait it out to be honest, but I'm managing.

Posted by Andy at 12:52 AM to the General category & Health category | Comments (5)

October 23, 2006

Croquet Pictures are Up

Head on over to the "Pictures" section and scroll to the bottom for full video coverage. Well, not video coverage, but you know what I mean. Maybe we can get full video coverage next time. What we need are sponsors.

Posted by Andy at 07:10 PM to the Sports category


Kirsten Powers wrote an interesting piece about waterboarding today, and linked to a video showing it done. Obviously this is not kid-friendly, but I highly recommend taking a look for anyone who wants to understand a little more about the controversy. A link to her article is posted after the jump.

This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like

Posted by Andy at 04:29 PM to the Politics category

October 22, 2006

Team Croquet

Quite unexpectedly, we had a great turnout for croquet today. 8 of us took to the field in teams of two in the middle of the afternoon to pit our skills against each other. The match was quite competitive for about a quarter of the course, and things opened up thereafter.

Teams Chiappa and Knapp jumped into the lead while teams Lawrence and Mosmiller languished for an extended period around one brutally-placed wicket. My partner and fellow CFS sufferer Ann-Marie, though new to the game, stepped forward with some brilliant shotmaking, keeping us at least within earshot of those in the lead. Apparently I have quite a fearsome reputation on the croquet field after all these years, and this drove the leading pairs to commit the most grievous infraction of the rules of power croquet possible.

They... ::gasp::... Cooperated.

The foul stench of cooperation is still clinging to my clothing like cigarette smoke. Joe Chiappa and Amanda Bange came away with the victory. G.B. and his wife Heidi battled with Ann-Marie and me for the coveted 3rd place position and wound up beating us out by one or two shots, leaving us in last place. Humiliating!

To be honest, Joe and Amanda would have likely come away with the victory regardless of the "cooperation" incident. Their lead was substantial, and though Ann-Marie pulled through with numerous miraculous shots, I was for the most part unable to hit the broad side of a barn this afternoon. G.B. seemed to be in the same predicament. I kept telling him to let his baby Maggie take shots for him, but he stubbornly refused.

Obviously all of these people who decided to beat me at my own game will be banned from ever returning. Hopefully they enjoyed their last burger feast at Rancho Mosmillero, because it's never happening again... at least until the next pleasant weekend when everyone is free.

Heidi, those banana-chocolate chip concoctions were fantastic. Amanda, thanks for the rolls even though you had to scoot. Kevin, your drink procuring ability is second to none, and that goes for Joe's ice-making ability as well. Mom and dad, you once again managed to provide a fantastic spread for us lazy croquet-playing bums. Thanks!

... but don't think for a minute that I will forget this last place humiliation. I will be back to take my revenge. You had better start practicing your water-shots now, because you're all going into the creek at our next encounter!

Posted by Andy at 11:43 PM to the Sports category | Comments (4)

October 21, 2006

Event Organizing

I'm hosting croquet tomorrow, and that's great. What isn't great is how people treat my invitations. I sent out an initial email on September 25th asking for people's input regarding what weekend dates they could or could not attend. I followed up on October 3rd with more information, then again on the 11th with a final date, and again on the 19th to remind everyone. Quite frankly, I knew this wouldn't be good enough, so I made some extra phone calls and sent some additional emails, and still two of the people on my list scheduled events directly in conflict with mine. One of them invited lots of other people who were on my list, and the other was supposedly attending my event right up until I called today.

I know people are busy, but that doesn't preclude people from being respectful and notifying me at the same time. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and I manage to show up places when everyone else would cancel for health reasons. I have even directly asked people to let me know if they wanted to be taken off of my event list and have gotten no takers.

Do I not deserve the same respect seemingly afforded to everyone else?

Posted by Andy at 08:34 PM to the General category | Comments (7)

October 19, 2006

La Bohème is iTunesified

I just finished ripping and editing this brilliant opera into my iTunes library. The default setting in iTunes is to start playing CDs as they start copying. I usually let them roll, and I did again tonight. La Bohème is possibly the only piece of music that has the power to make me cry just for the sake of its beauty, passion, and sadness. I have been known to cry on account of music plenty of times, but usually it is because I make some kind of personal connection with my own past. Bohème can do that, but it moves me to tears just for its own sake.

Everyone should have a copy of this opera. I suggest this recording featuring Pavarotti at the top of his game. For my money, there is no better opera than La Bohème, and no better operatic tenor, living or dead, than Luciano Pavarotti. I miss his masterful, seemingly effortless performances, but I can always listen to his old recordings to hear him in his prime.

Posted by Andy at 12:40 AM to the Music category | Comments (2)

October 18, 2006

iPod aCtion

I've spent the past three or so days copying all of my music from CDs to my computer for use with my shiny new (new = refurbished) iPod. Woo! Well, not quite "woo" yet, but we're getting there. This is a lot of work, and iTunes, the software designed for use with an iPod, is not super friendly with classical music.

I'm realizing how much I love listening to the music I own. Whenever I test out something on the iPod to see if the volume is set properly or if the quality is good, I have to force myself to stop listening. The same goes for anything that starts playing when I'm transferring from CD to hard disk. Great stuff.

Any iPod experts out there? I could use your help.

Posted by Andy at 09:39 PM to the Music category

October 15, 2006

Today's Thought

Morality is not relative, but sin is.


Posted by Andy at 04:01 PM to the Faith category | Comments (2)

October 14, 2006

Wisdom and Politics

... seem to be like oil and water.

I read this passage last night:

He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

Proverbs 9:7-8

Have you ever seen elected officials or the media do this, ever? Perhaps more to the point, do you believe it is possible or, dare I say, wise for a government or large institution to operate with these principles?

Posted by Andy at 12:15 AM to the Faith category & Politics category | Comments (5)

October 10, 2006

This is the Answer

SR_Decon-Product.pdf (application/pdf Object)

I can't believe I didn't find it sooner. If I had, maybe none of my health problems would have appeared! At least now all of you have recourse for when you stop in to see me. Just bring this sucker with you and you'll be safe for sure.

Posted by Andy at 12:46 AM to the Health category | Comments (2)

October 07, 2006

Poor Yankees

Boo Yankees!Awww, Yankees lose in 4. What a shame... Ha ha ha ha ha. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!

Yankees lose, ha ha ha, ho ho ho, hee hee hee.

I need little musical notes to add to that last part.

Posted by Andy at 10:16 PM to the Sports category | Comments (2)

October 06, 2006

Stumbled Upon This Just Now

Take a look for yourself.

Posted by Andy at 11:52 PM to the General category | Comments (2)

The Way to Croquet

Forget about that loser croquet set that I said I wanted for Christmas. This one is way better. I can't believe I ever wanted that other one.


Posted by Andy at 08:23 PM to the Sports category | Comments (1)

Croquet Equipment Goes Up a Notch

Behold, a power croquet player's dream. Now you know what to get me for Christmas. Hehe.

Posted by Andy at 12:02 AM to the Sports category | Comments (1)

October 05, 2006

I Expect My Pulitzer Any Day Now

The CFIDS Link published my Presence of Mind article today. Already the fame is piling on as I receive emails from other people with the condition, and I expect the fortune part to follow soon after.

... Ok, maybe there isn't fame or fortune, but it is really neat to get connected with other folks in similar circumstances. Hopefully this whole experience will open up a few new doors. My design website got a plug as well, which isn't hurting anything.

I will post more when the "Men with CFS" article is published. I am curious to see that one for sure.

Posted by Andy at 12:01 AM to the Health category | Comments (7)

October 03, 2006

Eventful Birthday Weekend

As you know if you've been here in the past week, my birthday was Friday. I think it is fair to say that I've been burning the candle at both ends a little bit since then, but all for good causes. I was on the tennis court with Amy on Friday, and again on Saturday with Joe Lex. On Sunday, Kevin and Amanda stopped in for the classic chicken and biscuits birthday dinner which was, quite possibly, the best ever. Amanda couldn't take our presence and headed out after, but Kevin stuck around for some serious fantasy football analysis and game watching.

All three of us met up again yesterday for a movie. (Fearless. If you haven't seen it you're not missing much. It's not the worst thing ever, but the marketing that calls this "Jet Li's last martial arts epic" is somewhat misleading.) After refueling on tacos back here at home, we headed out in the canoe for a loooong overdue late night run. The weather was beautiful, and so was Kevi... wait, wait, that's definitely not where I was planning on going with this. The weather was beautiful. Great night.

This is definitely canoe season. Feel free to join me out there. When's a good night for you?

Posted by Andy at 06:09 PM to the General category | Comments (2)

October 01, 2006

Polls - Now I Dislike Them Even More

I was just contacted by someone conducting a poll focused on the Anne Arundel County Executive race. I don't have any particular problem with participating in things like this, but I sure did today. The questions started out reasonably enough, but by the end the intent of the poll was clear. Smear George Johnson.

The final sequence of questions required answers like these:

  • Much more likely to vote for the candidate
  • Somewhat more likely to vote for the candidate
  • Somewhat less likely to vote for the candidate
  • Much less likely to vote for the candidate

I had probably 4 or 5 questions to answer about Leopold, then the same amount for Johnson. All of the Leopold questions were bright and sunny. Leopold cut taxes, Leopold wants to reduce government size, etc. Questions about Johnson were essentially rigged. "George Johnson was fined the maximum for failing to report his campaign finances. Are you more or less likely to vote for him?" That's one of the kinder ones.

I told the pollster that I was not interested in finishing a rigged poll and that I wanted to know who was getting the polling info, but somehow he convinced me to just finish without having to answer the final questions one way or the other. I was dumb enough to give him my first name at the end. I'm not on the phone that much these days and my level of awareness when so engaged is not what it should be. I'm none too happy about this decision, but hopefully it will not matter. I basically came out looking fairly positive for both candidates given the nature of the questions, so I doubt they can do an awful lot with the information I provided at least.

The moral of the story is not to trust any polling data coming from anyone promoting Leopold (probably a no-brainer anyway on either side of the isle.) Please let me know immediately if you see my name attached to anything at all and give me as much info as possible if it happens.

When contacted by pollsters in the future, what kind of information should I demand before proceeding? Are they required to indicate affiliations or anything like that, or am I basically on my own if I choose to cooperate? Any other tips?

Posted by Andy at 04:14 PM to the Politics category | Comments (2)