At 4:45 this morning, a bird alighted in a tree in the front yard and began to sing: chirpy-chirpy-tweet.
Birds wake me a couple of times each year. When this happens, I can't get back to sleep. My half-awake mind focuses on the chirpy-chirpy-tweet until it's the only thing of which I'm aware.
This would have been bad enough in itself but, while my groggy brain was hypnotized by the chirpy-chirpy-tweet, Satchel decided to attack my feet. His sharp teeth and sharp claws sinking into my soft feet woke me instantly.
Between the cat and the bird (who are enemies under normal circumstances, but who joined together in an evil conspiracy to deprive me of sleep), I was out of bed an hour early. I stumbled to the front room and slumped in front of the computer and researched baseball stats. Is this sane?
Today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball. I should be excited, but I'm too tired and lethargic to muster enthusiasm. The Mariners game is not on television due to its early start. As I type this, the White Sox lead the Mariners 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth. McLemore just singled to right with no outs and Ichiro is at the plate. Go Ichiro!
The writing section of my brain is missing today. I have things to say, but everything I write reads poorly.
We had a good weekend. Kris worked in the yard on Friday; I came out to mow the lawn and to dig up two of the four arborvitae stumps.
(Some of you are asking yourselves: "Are these the very same arborvitae stumps that were created at the Work Day last May?" Yes, these are the very same stumps. I tried to remove them in June, but the root systems of the live plants thwarted me. They were much easier to attack after having dried for a year.)
In the evening, while Kris watched old movies, I spent time tinkering with my various fantasy baseball leagues. (Well, I also did some a little work for a client, but only a very little.)
Dave came over on Saturday morning. We spent several hours playing Diablo II, building new characters from scratch. We played only four hours but made significant progress. This marks two consecutive weekends of network gaming with a friend. I enjoy it. Perhaps I can do more of it when Warcraft III is released.
On Saturday evening, Kris and I went over to Mac and Pam's. We played three of the new games that we recently purchased for game nights:
- Carcassonne: a fine (and relatively short) territory game. Though difficult to describe, Carcassone is easy to learn, and fosters some co-operation among players. This pleases Kris.
- Bohnanza: a card game which, similar to Pit, involves trading. It's like Pit with strategy. This was my favorite of the three games because the gameplay was fun and different, and at the end, the four of us were seperated by a small margin.
- Set: an interesting game which utilizes areas of the brain often left untapped by traditional games. Kind of like Memory on steroids, Set challenges the players to recognize patterns, matching sets of cards. This game is very suitable for solitaire play, but may be played with any number of people.
Between games we ventured to Caprial's Bistro for a birthday dinner. As expected, the meal was fantastic. Three entrees appealed to me, but ultimately I selected the pork tenderloin. (Quoting the menu: "Lightly cured, smoked and grilled and sauced in a maple and balsamic jus, served with a smoked onion and roasted potato tart.") Savory and delicious. The dessert (a hazelnut brownie topped with caramel and fudge) was good, too.
Kris and I spent the night and Mac and Pam's house. Mac had scored four tickets to the final Spring Training game, so on Sunday morning we piled into the car and headed to Seattle.
The sky was clear, the day sunny and mild. Safeco Field was maybe one-quarter full, and everyone in the stadium had a great seat. It was a perfect afternoon.
Our experience was in stark contrast to that of Michael and Debbi, who were thwarted in their attempt to see the Oakland Athletics' final Spring Training game. I sympathize with Michael, but I know that the Mariners broadcast affiliates did a good job of making fans aware of the new security measures.
The new security measures at the ballpark are one more in a series of precautionary measures implemented since the September 11th attacks. I understand that the balance between freedom and security is sometimes tricky to maintain, and that most of the U.S. population feels strongly that the government is behaving in a correct and proper manner in response to the attacks.
I cannot help but feel, however, that the past six months have been the first steps into an Orwellian nightmare from which it will be difficult to recover. I am not alone. In fact, most of my peers agree, so much so that it is puzzling where the government's massive support figures are derived. Maybe Portland is a pocket of reason in a sea of hysteria. (Or, maybe Portland is a pocket of lunacy in a sea of reason. Nah. I don't think so.)
The book group is reading Orwell's 1984 this month. The parallels between his imagined future (and the world of Animal Farm, too) and the United States today are alarming.
From September 11th forward, the media and the government have worked together in a not-always-subtle campaign of disinformation. I say disinformation rather than misinformation because I'm not so much convinced that the media lies as it leaves significant and relevant facts unreported.
This topic is too complex for this forum. I hesitate to even write what I have. The Orewellian nature of George W. Bush's government is something that ought to be explored in greater depth in other forums. Perhaps I'll begin to harvest links in order to erect a page related to the subject (though that is what Orwell Today does already).
Kris and I, through our combined ineptitude, have now spilled pickle juice all over the Easter candy. Yum.
You know you're in Geekland when: You and your wife are fixing dinner and you excuse yourself by saying, "I need to go finish my weblog now."
The Mariners lost their Opening Day matchup with the White Sox. Ichiro managed a single, and new third-baseman Jeff Cirillo sacrificed the runners along, but neither Boone nor Cameron could bring them home.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — Grasshopper Come with me, back twenty years, to those days of high school romance...
2003 — No Fool Most of my free time recently has been spent preparing bibliophilic.org for launch