the GFJAA Knights wrap up their season

yesterday, in what was easily the most exciting game they played all year, the Knights pushed their opponents to the wire on both ends of the floor- a display of basketball so gutsy that words strain to to describe it. though they played outstandingly, they managed to lose a squeaker in regulation by a final score of 15-12. obviously the shooting on both sides of the ball was lackluster at best. our own #37, Loren, went 1-1 on the afternoon, sinking his only attempt, and contributing 1 of only 6 baskets scored by the Knights in the entire 40 minutes. the Knights' outstanding hustle on defense kept them in the game right up to the last minute of play. it was a fantastic game, easily the most fun of the year for the crowd in the stands, and an unprecedented effort on the part of everyone on the team. special thanks to Mom & Dad for comin' out to cheer on m'boy. thanks also to Coach Sally and Coach Bill for their efforts this year.

this reporter warmed up Loren, then Loren and Taylor, then Loren and Taylor and Bubba, then Loren and Taylor and Bubba and Tyler, before finally conceding that they'd had enough and leaving them to finish their pre-game routine as they might. i taped a large portion of the game, but the videotape and camera battery were vying for which one would quit first; in the end the battery was victorious by a nose. i did however manage to record the majority of Loren's playing time. basketball pictures came back this afternoon also, and Loren's was good, but they put my name on his picture instead of his. i'll be looking to see if it was their mistake or mine, and scanning and reprinting the pictures for Loren's mom.

Loren and I went to dinner with my folks after the game- thanks guys, that was wonderful. afterwards i ran Loren back to his mom's. this afternoon Loren's going to take part in the GFJAA shoot-out, here's crossing my fingers he acquits himself well :)

enough for me for now, time to roll. onward to soccer season Loren!

SinisteRClan lives

my friends among the SinisteRClan gaming community recently launched their new site, and i joined to mingle vicariously amongst their Presences Most Noble.

it befell me then to wax eloquent upon their auspicious occasion, and so resoundingly indeed didst mine wax profound expound, it doth urgeth me repeat those phrases herenow: (to wit)


THUS troddeth the infidel upon the new ground
Oh, Sinister!, spake he
Let all thine righteous incalcitrance waiver not
for thou hath most certainly risen
fully into thine exaltation.
Thy falling foot smote mightily this ground!
Thy pummeling heart mightily thundering
before subjugated masses
bereft of hope
evermore shall they wail
depairingly their lament.

SPEAK THOU NAUGHT before these noble few
lest words betray thy shallow naked souls
Shrink thee back unto thine fetid pools of woe
and venture forth naught
but to meet thine doom.


REM report

Scene 1:
i was crawling around the corner of a building behind Pat Fagg. there was a girl behind me, with shoulder length strawberry blonde hair. we were all three sneaking out of an underground type structure, moving from shadow into daylight, and none of us wanted to be seen. there was a bank of gravel and rubble at the corner and we made our way up it out into the city- Seattle.

Scene 2:
we were all three outside in the afternoon. i could see up over the city as if we were standing above I-5 on Roanoke or some street in that vicinity. this is the closest match to what i saw.

Scene 3:
the strawberry blonde girl and i were together and it was dark out. we seemed to be moving through an unfamiliar place that resembled downtown Snohomish. we made our way along the streets and it was clear to me it was getting very difficult for her. she tried to keep up but i could tell she was weakening and in a lot of pain. she had some kind of sickness spreading, from some sort of trauma to her forearm. i told her we needed to get her to a doctor. i helped her along as best i could. i was pretty scared she wasn't going to make it.

Scene 4:
we were inside a large building at night. it was fairly deserted but i seemed to know where i was going. on a lower level was a doctor's office. as i helped the girl into the office we were immediately noticed by two older women behind the counter. i explained to them how bad the girl's condition was. and they helped her into the back. i was very emotionally involved in the girl's problem, frustrated, worried- i felt like i wanted to cry. one of the two receptionists tried to ease my fears. eventually a doctor, an older, greying man, came out. he told me they could help her but it was going to be expensive. i had no money. he laid a book with the paperwork on the counter and started to review the bill with me. at first it didn't seem that bad, but he was just getting started. he turned a page and my eyes caught a figure of something like $7100 and change. it was like a heavy weight descended on me. i told the doctor i had no money right then but that i would take care of it.

Scene 5:
it seemed like the next morning, and like i'd been waiting in this office all night. the girl emerged from the back of the office and stood by the counter, smiling at me, backlit by the yellowish lighting in the hallway. i crossed the room to go to her, immensely relieved. she held out her left forearm, which was mostly wrapped in some green leaves, but bare on the underside, which she wanted to show me. she kind of cradled her bad arm with her other hand. there was a bluish discoloration to the skin on the underside of her forearm. i knew she was going to be allright.


REM report

since i immediately started looking for a job when i woke up instead of writing this down, all i can remember now is having talking to Loren's mother. we might have been having an argument, the mood was somewhat tense. she was in a sunny room i've never seen before, sitting on a couch or chair below a large window. i was standing facing her. i remember pointing at her and saying something like "you won't fool me again," or maybe "i won't fall for that again". very strange.

i also had at least one other dream which i remembered vividly but damned if i can remember it now.

this weekend will be Loren's last basketball game of the season, unless he makes the "all-stars", which i have to assume is unlikely, since this is his first year, and he wasn't exactly a powerhouse. he did play great defense all year, so i suppose it's possible he could get in due to that. we will see. the maturity and work ethic he applies to practices and games continue to improve with every sport, every season, and i'm awful proud of him. most importantly, he seems to be having fun which, of course, is important too. tonight's his last practice. wonder what the coach has in store for them.

tomorrow we go to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the new Everett Events Center. neither of us has been there before, or seen the Globetrotters before, so it should be fun. wish i wasn't so broke.

enough time on this! back to looking for work.


a bit of new content

following a week of evenings writing book reviews and summaries i'm pleased to launch my recommended reading page. its link has taken its permanent place with the rest of the local content, in the top right section of this page. at launch i've listed 113 books. all the titles link to their amazon.com listings, so visitors might get another opinion or more easily follow an impulse to purchase and read these fine works. as i haven't stopped reading books, i'm sure the list will expand. by all means give the new page a glance.

otherwise nothing particularly noteworthy has taken place this week. i've spent some time reading Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell. it's a very interesting and amusing book, occasionally very funny, sometimes approaching creepy, that most people are summarizing as a sort of Harry-Potter-for-grown-ups. i'll wait until i've completed it to make my own review. Loren's spent some time here over this President's Day weekend, and of course i'm enjoying his company. today Scott came up to acquire Phoenix for an overnighter at his house, and he stopped by here to pick him up. we took the boys for a very short trip to the skate park to ride their bikes on the ramps. it was entirely too short an outing as it was late in the day and the light had failed considerably upon our arrival. nevertheless it was good to get them there after nearly an entire day of waiting around for something to happen. i'll have to make it up to Loren by taking him to the park for a longer stay another time. this evening we watched a video of Star Trek: Generations which i've had lying around for about six years. it's a good movie, and Loren liked it; he likes all things Star Trek at the moment, which is very much to my liking. anything we can mutually enjoy is ok by me.

yesterday Loren's mother managed to land a respectable blow with the blunt side of an axe head on her ankle, effectively immobilizing her. the jury is still out on how bad the damage is as no one at the doctor's office she visited was capable of reading the x-ray they took. it certainly looks very painful; at least they got her some crutches so she might be able to get around, but at the moment driving is out of the question.

tomorrow Loren has a basketball game in the afternoon; time to break out the video camera again. i'm sure i'll write up a post-game summary, as usual.

i suppose when the most exciting thing you've mentioned happened to someone else, it's time to stop writing. i'll take my cue to get offstage before someone sends for the hook.


the Knights are still slugging it out on the hardwood ; and other stuff

Loren had another game yesterday, attended once again by Melissa & Jason (thanks again for coming, guys- i know Loren appreciates it). at the unholy hour of 9am they rematched against a team that beat them handily last time. this was a much more competitive game for the first half, although it managed to get away from the Knights in the second half.

Loren scored another basket, going 1 for 2. he got a few more touches this game, and played some pretty good defense (at times outstanding). would have liked to see him get more minutes, but i think he's getting pretty decent treatment for his first year playing. i get the impression he'll stick with this, which i'm glad for.

changing gears, i was in a lot of pain last night, and woke up in even more pain this morning. intermittent back problems are sometimes a big problem for me, running up through my neck and into my head. it's got to be a pinched nerve or something....simply excruciating. did my usual routine of long shower, hot as i could stand it, turning up the heat in the house, dressing warmly. i need to get moving around or i'm in for a long day.

this evening my folks are having some of us over for spaghetti and mud pie to celebrate Dad's 59th birthday, belatedly. until then i hope to get some cleaning done around this place. i scrubbed the kitchen/dining room/hall floor on my hands and knees and started finishing it (applying a commercial grade acrylic polymer sealant/floor finish i've had hangin' around forever). my beat up old vinyl floor is downright glossy in the areas i've finished :) now if i could just get rid of the white carpet everywhere....

REM report

i was in an (imaginary) airport parking garage, a large concrete structure. it was a sunny day and i was near the exit. i was chasing someone. (chase scenes seem to be a common running thread in my dreams). at some point the person i was chasing garnered the use of a vehicle and before i knew it i had too. i can't remember what they were driving, but i was driving something along the lines of a formula-1 car. i knew instantly when i started driving that i would not be outrun.

i took off out of the garage after "them" (him?) and found myself heading for the freeway. on a right-curving on-ramp i remember flying by cars on the right shoulder, watching the white line snake into the distance. i got a strange mental picture (while in the vehicle) of looking at myself lying face down on the shoulder, reaching forward with my arms and gripping the pavement with my open palms, one after another. like having a bike upside down and grabbing the tire and spinning it, each time you pull it gets a little faster....i got the impression that the faster i pawed at the pavement, the faster my vehicle would go. (yes i realize sometimes dreams simply make no sense at all).

somehow mine ended up being the only vehicle on the road. the road turned smoothly (as freeways do) and i was moving dangerously fast, but under control. i remember noticing the road surface seemed to be all yellow. i realized the road was coming to a tighter turn soon, and slowed down. after what seemed an impossibly long turn the curves relaxed again, and i realized the road had to have turned back on itself. it was as if at the end of a long highway with no turnoffs, the road flared into a small roundabout so that you had to turn back the way you came from. this seemed strange, and my viewpoint immediately changed to an overhead view of the road, from some height. sure enough, it was a yellow road with white shoulder lines and it did indeed turn back on itself in the end.

then i was back on the road and flying back toward the airport garage, through the main level, and out the other side....onto another yellow road that i anticipated would follow the same pattern as the last.


letter to the President

i'm not one to write letters to public officials often- can't think of one i've written before- but spying a link on the White House web site i just couldn't resist. since i went to the trouble to write it, guess i'll post it here too:

Howdy Mr. President;

After watching your State of the Union address it struck me that I hadn't heard you mention anything further about a manned mission to Mars. Granted national security, foreign policy and the economy are foremost on the agenda, but is this still on the table?

Also, I wondered if your policy toward stem cell research might change in light of the fact that the majority of existing stem cell lines may be compromised. Although I disagree with disallowing federal funding for further stem cell research when these lines are exhausted, I believed it to be a practical compromise, rightfully stopping short of prohibiting the research itself. It's hard to argue with letting the market bear the burden (and receive the fruit) of those labors, and with not allocating tax dollars to this research from people who are morally opposed to the practice.

Should these existing stem cell lines prove unusable, might the funding currently allocated for that research be continued on new stem cell lines?

Bravo on your plans to expand the use of DNA evidence in capital criminal trials, simplify the tax code, and work toward balancing the budget by reducing redundancy and eliminating ineffective gov't programs. These things deserve bipartisan support! Bravo on rallying to the aid of the Pacific Rim in the wake of the tsunami. Kudos for your stance on partial privatization of social security contributions; it's a step in the right direction.

I'm sure you're aware that health care insurance in this country continues to be a problem for many people in lower income brackets. I've gained and lost my insurance coverage so many times over the last ten years I've lost track. Every time you switch jobs you can wait anywhere from 90 days to nearly a year before becoming eligible for coverage through your employer's plan. I suggest some kind of means testing to qualify people with incomes approximately $30K/yr or less for a low-cost basic health insurance plan that provides for routine medical and dental checkups and early detection of disease. Vast amounts of research support the proposition that it's cheaper to catch and treat disease early than to play catch-up after the fact, and the human toll in preventable suffering is immeasurable. Imposing the cost of an all-encompassing "universal health care" initiative on the public is bad policy, but the fact remains that literally millions of people cannot afford to spend in the neighborhood of 10%+ of their net income on premiums. So, they never see a doctor, their problems aren't caught early enough, and they don't receive treatment- even for conditions of which they're aware. I know this personally, as I'm one of them. When people have to choose between paying bills they already have and insurance premiums they don't, the insurance loses.

Speaking of health issues, I wholeheartedly support any efforts to address the domestic and global AIDS epidemic, and encourage you to use every means within your power to influence private organizations, faith-based and otherwise, to bring their considerable resources to bear on this crisis, as well as whatever resources can be made available through governmental channels.

While I'm setting forth my own agenda, let me take this opportunity to encourage you to introduce legislation that brings some consistency to the national electoral process. This is an issue on which everyone can agree we can improve, and I'm optimistic this can be accomplished in your tenure, and have a positive impact on the process of choosing your successor.

Completely changing gears, I'm personally of the opinion that Arafat was the major impediment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the encouraging signs we've seen since the Palestinian elections lead me to look optimistically at the chance of long overdue change there. May there be true and lasting peace in the middle east in our lifetimes! The ball's in their court.

By the way, thanks for the tax relief. People can say what they want about tax cuts for the rich (and believe me in Washington State the liberal base is a vocal juggernaut), but I can't remember receiving $400 from the IRS in the mail under any other administration, and I never cleared more than $30K in my life. None of my (generally quite liberal) co-workers ever have much of an answer for that one. That $400 was approximately equal to 2% of my gross income that year, and put food on my table for nearly a month.

War is a terrible thing, and the (obviously necessary) fight against terrorism is one that will continue for the foreseeable future. I hope America remains on the offensive in this fight when different hands are at the wheel. I agree that oppressed peoples empowered to choose their leaders will reject the tyranny of extremists, and embrace liberty and the pursuit of happiness in their way. I'm hopeful that future history books will look back on these troubled times as a turning point in the fundamental acceptance of the concept of human rights in the middle east.

I realize you're a religious man, I respect that. Myself, I'm an atheist. Just thought you might like to know that not all of us fret daily over the "religious right". Personally I'd be more worried about a man in your position who didn't act on his conscience. Can't ask any more of someone than to do what they feel is right.

On a personal note, I enjoyed your virtual tour of the Oval Office on the White House web site. Has anyone ever told you you're a much better speaker when you're relaxed? Glad to see you're putting the office to (ahem) better use than your predecessor did. Was that a Remington sculpture I spied under the painting that reminds you of your ranch? I almost forgot- I don't know where you were when you gave "the one finger salute" to the camera (in the likely-quite-old clip that's making the internet rounds) but that was damned funny. We're all, after all, still human.

Here's to the future. If you're ever out Washington-way, come on by, I'll grill up some steaks or something. But if the Mariners are playing the Rangers, I'm rootin' for the hometown boys.

Lowell Pelkey

P.S. I consider myself an independent and rarely vote a straight ticket, but I voted for you twice, and for your father twice too. He was a good president; he helped you earn my first vote. You earned the second one on your own.

P.P.S. By the way, I'm a bright single guy with an 11 year old son, between jobs. Know of any openings in the Pacific Northwest? I hear government jobs have great health insurance.


highly recommended

the purpose of this post is to simply recommend to (ahem) both people who haven't yet watched the appendices of the extended version releases of peter jackson's lord of the rings trilogy that they do so. by turns touching, hilarious, candid, insightful and informative, they are always fascinating, and quite frankly inspiring. as someone who holds tolkein's written work- the defining piece of literature in an often ill-treated genre- in extremely high regard, it is a great pleasure to see the length and breadth of effort and the depth of commitment this singly epic story was given by people who obviously revered it as much as i myself and countless others do.

and if you haven't read the books.....what are you waiting for?

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