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June 21, 2003

Thirty Years of Maximum R&B

Tonight the J J Pearce High School Class of 1973 meets for their 30 year reunion. And tonight I am on call, praying that the impending train wreck that my latest project has become does not occur...

Weird thing about Citibank, I think that they took a look at just about every significant event that was going to happen to me this year and planned a software release to install around that time. C'est la vie! Citi enabled me to avoid the question -- to go or ignore.

I thought about it, off and on, since I received the invitation in the mail, and I suppose that I was tempted - I even filled out the bio and returned it. Perhaps it was curiosity. Whatever happened to so-and-so? He married her? You're running what company?

Thirty years is quite an accomplishment for any group. There have been times over these past three decades when I didn't think that I'd make it to see forty years, much less forty-eight. Back then, this was so far in the future and everything was possible. OK, I'm still miffed that we all aren't piloting flying cars, and that I still have to work in an office most of the time -- weren't we all promised telecommuting in the 90s? But I balance those trivial disappointments against the life that I have, and know that I came out ahead -- an interesting career (occasional train wrecks notwithstanding), more than adequate shelter, my wife of 22 years, and a beautiful, loving daughter. Even when setbacks occur, I've got to remind myself that I have it better than most of the inhabitants on this rock.

So yes, I wonder what's going on tonight at the reunion; who showed up and what tales were told. I hope that Don makes it, and that he has time for a quick visit to Flower Mound before he returns to Houston. Brunnhilde? Nah, no way shed make it, though it would be worth the price of admission and the disco music just to be able to talk with her and her husband. Elyce? Too far away, and probably just as disinterested as she seemed to be back in 1973. Too bad though, I always thought she was interesting. Perhaps Ill talk her out of a tour of the CAC someday, I hear its stunning. Kathy & Dennis? The last time we discussed it, probably not. Does Robyn still have that wonderful smile? Would David still have me in stitches? Many others, and too many to list here. It's been fun remembering those years, though a bit uncomfortable to look at pictures from back then. At least my daughter had a good laugh!

Sorry that I wasn't able to make it there in person. I hope that each and every one of you realized all that you wanted out of life...

Posted by mjwoods at 11:59 PM

June 12, 2003

The Lumberjack

The battle for Lord Stanley's cup has been settled! Yep, I was rooting for New Jersey, and not just because I used to live there. I'm still mad as hell that the Ducks beat Dallas so easily. Sigh... But now it's time to get back to turn my attention to the more mundane affairs of living...

I had planned on a nice, quiet evening reading something enriching. Perhaps Wealth of Nations, or maybe The Gulag Archipelago. Something, anything to clear my mind from the numbing effect of work.

We don't do anything half-assed down here in Texas, and last night's storm was a good case in point. Driving rain to the left followed by driving rain to the right. Potted plants swimming in the pool. Trees leaning over, threatening to snap in two. Electricity out for hours. And what a light show! I'm surprised that the house didn't wind up in the Land of Oz.

Alas, not all of the trees survived intact - I found part of one casually leaning up against my house this morning. No real damage to the house, but the rest of the tree probably won't survive. So rather than that quiet evening, well, as quiet as is possible with two Shelties (who I swear spend their days drinking espresso, storing up nervous energy while awaiting my return) manically pacing the floor and one cockatiel reciting every word in his vocabulary, over and over and over again -- I got to put on my manly clothes and fire up the chain saw.

Ah, the wind in my hair! The smell of the fresh air, still damp with moisture! Laughing as I bounded up to the heights to cut wood! The only thing missing was a plaid shirt and a knit cap on my head -- but I did have the correct boots on...

Of course reality is never really that far out of reach. Why is it that a ladder placed on wet ground only sinks on one side? Ever had that "Oh Shit!" feeling when one starts leaning to one side while you're on it? Fresh air? Ha! More like blue smoke from the chain saw everywhere. And that moisture in the air? It's called humidity, and it felt like it was about 80%.

The good news is that I talked a neighbor into helping, which was a good thing. When a branch is leaning that hard against the house, it binds the chain pretty good if the cutting technique isn't correct. Mine wasn't. Actually reading Wealth of Nations was looking pretty appealing when I was up there wrestling with that branch, trying to get the chain unstuck. Then I successfully cut through the one of the larger branches...

It's been a long time since I've had a science lesson, so I can't recall the correct term. Is it potential energy? Kinetic? All that I know is that the branch unloaded pretty quick when it was cut, and I was left holding the saw in one hand while trying to keep the severed branch from sliding down and hitting Jim, all while trying to balance on a ladder that insisted on leaning to the left. The kind of stuff that you laugh about afterwards while drinking a cold beer, 'cept it wasn't very funny at the time...

The mission was accomplished, however, and I managed to not cut through the roof while cutting the branches. Everything has been cut down to size, and piled in neat, orderly piles. Personally, I'd rather let the smaller stuff dry a bit then shred it for the mulch -- it's the environmentally responsible thing to do. The mulch would cut down on my water bill, and when it decayed it would improve the soil. Also, I wouldn't have to mess with it for at least another four weeks! Alas, the missus would rather I take it out to the curb and let the trash man deal with it. Pretty narrow minded, if you ask me...

Posted by mjwoods at 09:13 PM

June 01, 2003

Mending Fences

Ah, peace and quiet for a change. Bailey is out of school, and off for a week of mission work in Dallas with her youth group at church. DW has gone to bed, and the rest of the critters around here have settled down for the night...

I'm listening to some Strauss right now -- Also Sprach Zarathustra. This is the full version, not that ubiquitous into from 2001 A Space Odyssey. BW's orchestra played Cannon in D Major today at church. Even without strings, it was an impressive arrangement. The piccolo trumpet featured almost brought tears to my eyes. It put me in the mood for classical music today.

We slipped out this evening to see Bruce Almighty at the local mega-plex. I really enjoyed it -- Morgan Freeman is a much better God than George Burns was, IMHO.

Tonight was reserved for bill paying and catching up on correspondence, er, and getting another entry in out here. Thankfully, the past week was rather uneventful. Oh, and music! Concerto for Oboe and Violin in B-flat Minor, Concerto for Violin and Oboe in D Minor (detect a pattern here?)

Next week is for fence mending -- litteraly. I wish that I could afford to put an iron fence all around the property, but it looks as if wood will be the material of choice again. Anybody want to help???

Posted by mjwoods at 11:15 PM

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