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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's Off to Work I Go

Tomorrow is the day I go back to full time (at least for a while) work. I look forward to this as a symbol of the fact that I don’t need to act like a sickie anymore. I will miss some of the time I had to myself during the daytime, although afternoons have been getting a little dull. I will also miss my part time math tutoring. I will not miss being occupied on most weeknights with tutoring. In addition to work, my band starts fall rehearsal tomorrow evening. I will have recorder consort practice on most Fridays, so I will be a busy beaver this fall.

I will get to work 8:00 tomorrow for their orientation, which means I need to leave here around 7:20. I would like to go and work out before then, but that will require getting out of bed a little before 5:30. That will only work on nights when neither Kathleen nor I have anything happening. So, we’ll try to work out tomorrow. I am hoping this won’t be too tough, since my stomach usually wakes me up at about that time anyway. The difference is that now I usually get myself to fall back asleep at that time. I don’t really sleep very well after that anyway.

I found an Oregon quarter today! I think that makes our collection up to date until the next release. Imagine the sound of nerdish laughing.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stop the Insanity

Bob Dylan said it best. Looks like not much has changed in the last 42 years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Original Benedict

I’ve been reading more religious books. Read a book about The Rule of Benedict, "Benedict’s Way" by Laurie Pratt and FR Daniel Hoffman, OSB. I have never looked at the Rule before. I was surprised that The Rule specifies that two meat dishes should be served for dinner, since someone may not like one of the dishes. Further, The Rule requires each Monk gets his own bed. In sixth century Europe, this would be a very high standard of living. The rule demands monks do Lecto Divinia, which is the reading and rereading of holy texts. This tells me all the monks had to be literate, which also seems remarkable in Benedict’s time and place. Most of the rule focuses on what a bunch of guys need to do if they want to live together without being at each others’ throats. One of may favorite things is the repeated references to “murmering”, which is viewed as the root of many evils.

“Benedictine Sprirituality” has become soupe de jour for lots of new-agers. The idea is that The Rule can inform and improve our lives, even if we are not monks. This seems simplistic to me, since the rule, other than specific monastic practices, instructs us to get our avarice under control and work to be nice to each other. As Bill and Ted said, “Always be excellent to each other, party on dude.” However, Bill and Ted probably wouldn’t have liked the chastity business.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Work, Wal-Mart & Old Music

I am going back to my old employer on a contract basis. I should start Monday if they can get the paperwork done on time. It’ll start out full time, so that will be a shock to my ways. I have already bought the clothes I need, so I’m ready to go. Not a lot more to report, since hangininsac will not become a source of corporate gossip. That would be pretty tacky. Besides, every already knows what corporations are like, so there would be nothing new to say.

I bought some stuff at an office max adjacent to a Wal-Mart . Wal-Mart built a store in a smaller mall that previously had an empty Montgomery Wards for over a decade. I am glad they have filled the space, but don’t expect me to shop there. Watching the traffic in and out of Wal-Mart raises the following question: Do people shop at Wal-Mart because they are fat and unattractive, or does shopping at Wal-Mart make people fat and unattractive? Inquiring minds want to know.

Last Friday night, I shared my first practice session with Sine Nomine. It was pretty well attended, with two each of base, alto, tenor and soprano recorders. We played through a bunch of early music, and also some more contemporary music, including an arrangement of an American Indian flute and drum song. Otherwise, most of the music comes from around the time of Europe’s discovery of America. We had tea, cookies and conversation after playing. It was fun.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

On the Way Home

We took the older highway home though Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I recommend this detour for anyone making the trip who has some extra time. Highway 264 itself cuts through miles of beautiful forests, and there are several short trails through groves of giant trees. All the groves are named after people I’ve never heard of, so I cannot remember the name of the grove where we took the following two pictures.

Several giant trees in this grove blew down during a windstorm after a very wet December in 1991. The remains of the trees look like really cool abstract sculptures. The first picture is piece of a tree left standing.

The second photo shows the roots of a giant tree that fell in 1991. The entire several hundred foot long tree still lies intact.

As we drove south through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, we kept on seeing signs for “drive-through tree and souvenir shop ahead”. We finally gave in, paid our five bucks and went to one of these places. The reason we ran into almost no one in the woods is that everyone was busy browsing the souvenir shops. Note the redneck watching us drive through the tree, into the parking lot. The great thing about this tourist trap is that SUV’s can’t fit through the trees.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Vacation Photos

Just what you’ve been waiting for – vacation pictures. We spent the best part of our trip in the woods, so you’ll notice a lot of trees in our pictures. The pictures are from Patricks Point and Prarie Creek State Park.

The first two pictures are a fern canyon, carved by a stream to the ocean. The canyons are very narrow, damp and shady, so the walls are covered with lush ferns and mosses. The floor of the canyon was sandy. We walked through the canyon to get from the beachside parking lot to the more mature forest.

As we came deeper into the canyon, we found the sun shining on this very cool looking fallen tree. A monument not made by the hands of men.

After we climbed through the canyon, we came to beautiful redwood groves. The tall trees, wide trunks and filtered light give the feel of a cathedral. This forest was truly breathtaking. Best of all, in this 6 or so mile walk, we got lost only once!

A moment to thank the trees for their hospitality. Once a tree-hugger, always a tree-hugger.

We visited Prarie Creek State Park on a misty day. In the words of Legolas from Lord of the Rings, “This forest is old, very old.” It felt like the trees were talking amongst themselves. Fortunately, they decided we were fit to be allowed to leave the forest.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

On Top of the World

Look mom, we're at the summit. Althoug I am embarrassed to admit it, we made some cell-phone calls to brothers, parents, etc. to say, "guess where I am"

Jim and Michael on the way to the top.

You can read more about this trip at

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nearly Bored of the Rings

Among all this other crazy stuff, I have been once again viewing the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The heat has driven me to this. I really enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring; I felt like I still got something out of another viewing. The Two Towers really didn’t hold my attention after multiple viewings, except the Theodin, the palantir and the ents are still pretty entertaining. I’m about half way through The Return of the King. The dead caves are still really cool. Almost makes me want to take another shot at the Return of the King video game, so I can let orks make a pincushion out of another fellowship character.

This, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present as prima fascia evidence that someone could probably use a job.

Get a Job, Slacker Boy

You may have noticed several entries over the last few months about my shameless yet lame attempts at self-promotion with the aim of finding more significant employment than my current tutoring gig.

Much to my surprise, it appears that someone other than me has taken note of these efforts. The phone finally started ringing.

I had two short interviews this morning with my former employer (really, former employer under new management) and a scheduled interview Monday with a local service firm interested in talking about possibilities. So now I am the proud owner of a plan A and plan B as far as professional work goes, plus the plan zero alternative, which is to continue my slackdom as a math tutor, which is a pretty good life in its own right.

Now is the first phase of interviewing, when everything that exits my mouth is positive, no fretting about time off for vacations and weddings, employed vs independent contractor status, full vs part time, or money. I take the Isaac Walton approach. Get them stuck on the hook, then fight like hell.

The coolest moment so far:

A manager in one of the interviews missed his appointment for our telephone interview. While speaking with the coordinator of the interviews, I said “ I’d be glad to arrange another time, but Monday is out since I’ll be talking to other people.” I’ve always wanted to say something like that.

All this arranging of appointments is complicated by our plans to vacation in the redwoods Tomorrow through Sunday. I cannot wait to breath the cool moist air under the trees and on the misty beaches. Photos of this trip, as well as my previous Mount Judah excursion will soon appear in this very blog.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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