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Wed, Mar. 13th, 2013, 01:44 pm
Rowing Related Euphoria

Greetings, fellow humans. I'm feeling chatty today, so I'll get it out
of my system with a blog post. Yay, I guess.

After another long winter of indoor workouts, we are finally back to
practicing on the water thanks to daylight savings time. Our evening
practices during the winter are always indoors because it is too dark
to row, not necessarily because the weather is bad. I keep telling the
coach and my teammates that I don't need daylight to row and I think
they're all being a bunch of wimps, but no one will listen to me for
some reason. Poor light dependent peeps. I don't know how you people
survive like that with the whole needing light to get things done
thing going on. It must be so limiting for you. Anyway, I went to my
first practice on the water in forever last night and had a blast. I
was in a quad with 3 other chicks. We were practicing alongside an 8
that had 7 guys and a strong woman in it. In theory, we should have
had a hard time keeping up with that 8. But, we were killing it in the
quad. We were rowing nicely together with good timing and balance. We
smoked the 8 all night long. It was so fun. It was only a practice and
we weren't racing, but those guys were still doing the same drills we
were so it's fair to compare a bit. Good technique can out row muscle
plus bad technique. It takes awhile for guys to get that. They always
want to muscle the boat. I have been in all female boats that out row
male boats on many occasions because of this phenomenon. It's terribly
amusing and I can't help the evil grin that is plastered on my face
every time this happens. Guys are silly.

Practice was also interesting because I had to row somewhere other
than stroke seat for the first time in a year or so. I usually row
stroke seat, not because I am unable to follow, but because that's
just where the coach likes to put me. The nice thing about stroke is
that everyone has to follow my pace and what I'm doing so it's one
less thing for me to think about. In any other position, I have to
stay in sync with my teammates by feel. It's not hard to do once you
get the feel for a boat, but it's a skill I need to use on a regular
basis to keep sharp. Last night, I screwed up the timing pretty bad
during our first 50 strokes or so, but then it came back to me and I
didn't miss a stroke the rest of practice. That was kind of cool. I
don't think I would have even had that much trouble, but the girl in
stroke is a lightweight and I find it harder to feel lighter weight
people. I sorted it out pretty fast though, so I was pleased with my
performance overall.

We went to a regatta in Austin a couple of weeks ago. We just went for
giggles and had no real expectations because we hadn't even practiced
on the water yet. I was in 2 races. My women's double was a little
rough, but not bad considering it was our first time on the water in
months. We didn't exactly tear it up, but we didn't come in last, so
that's something. My mixed quad was a little better. We cruised along
pretty comfortably. We were in a race with some pretty fast boats but
still managed to hang with the lead pack for most of the race. We
ended up in a dog fight for next to last place. We were down a seat or
so with 250 meters to go. Our bow seat yelled "We are not finishing
last!" and called a power 10. It was what we needed to make our run
and we beat out that other boat. It was one of the more entertaining
race calls I've heard from bow seat. It was a good trip and it was
nice to have the early race experience this year leading into on the
water practice and the rest of racing season.

I have suspected for some time and finally confirmed with a test on
Monday, that I have asthma. It's not really that big of a deal for
now. I have an inhaler to use before workouts and although I've only
tried it twice so far, I can tell a difference. I'm not getting as
winded when I row and most importantly, I'm not having coughing fits
when I finish rowing. I get the sense from my doctor that I did pretty
bad on my test and I may have to start using a daily maintenance type
inhaler a couple of times a day but for now, I'm sticking with the
rescue inhaler. I'm not too worked up about it as long as I get to
keep rowing. It will probably get worse as I get older, but oh well.
I'll deal with it. There are always worse things in the world that
could happen, so in the grand scheme of things, what's a little
asthma? No biggie.

I guess I don't really have anything else to talk about. I mostly
needed to release some rowing related euphoria. Everyone I know gets
sick of hearing me prattle on about rowing and I had so much fun last
night that I really needed to let it all out somewhere. Blogs are
handy for that sort of thing.

Toodles.

Wed, Feb. 27th, 2013, 11:28 am
How Braille Turned Me Into a Purse Junkie

I wrote the following article for the NFB of Oklahoma newsletter. I
like how it turned out and it's better than the nonsense I usually
write here, so I decided to share. Enjoy.

How Braille Turned Me Into a Purse Junkie
By Audrey T. Farnum

January 4, 2013, was what would have been Louis Braille's 204th
birthday. As I read many comments on Twitter and FaceBook about the
occasion, I started thinking about how much Braille has impacted my
life over the past few years. Although I have been legally blind since
birth, I was a very high partial who mainstreamed in public schools
and got by with reading print. I occasionally relied on large print,
and as I got older and my reading load increased, I turned to audio
books to help me keep up with my sighted peers. No one ever suggested
that it might be beneficial for me to learn Braille, and to be honest,
had it ever been suggested to me, I probably would have fought against
it with every fiber of my being. I was young, insecure and trying to
hide my blindness so I could fit in. I have no doubt that I would
have been horrified by the idea of using Braille at school. Looking
back on it, I probably would have received more acceptance in school
had I embraced my blindness. At least then, my peers would have
understood the reasons for the behaviors for which I was frequently
ridiculed. Instead, I largely kept to myself and clung to a small
group of friends who accepted me without question or need for an
explanation. I always felt awkward and out of place and ashamed
because I was different but, I survived and made it through school. I
went on to college then law school. While the pressure to fit in
decreased with age, I still did everything I could to cover up my
blindness.

Then, in 1999, my retina in my left eye detached and I lost all my
vision in that eye. I was 25 at the time and fresh out of law school
looking for my first job as an attorney. When I lost the eye, I
remember thinking that I was probably on borrowed time with my
remaining eye and learning Braille would be wise. But after the
initial shock wore off and I got used to working with my one eye, I
reverted to my old ways and stuck to print and some audio. Finally,
February 2006 rolled around and I had just had a second vitrectomy on
my right eye to try to repair a detached retina. I went to the doctor
the day after surgery to have my bandage removed and get some post
surgery follow up. This second vitrectomy involved putting some
silicon oil in my eye to hold the retina in place, so there was no
waiting for a gas bubble to disappear with the hope of my vision
returning to pre-detachment quality. When the patch came off, I knew
that was the best things were going to get. I thought I was ready for
it, but when I opened my eye for the first time and all I could see
was distorted wavy shapes, light and colors that were all wrong, I
came to the terrifying realization that I was no longer going to be
able to glide through life acting like I was sighted. I was blind,
anda lot of things were about to change.

Of all the things that I could no longer do, the thing that was most
upsetting to me was the inability to read. I could no longer read
print and I had never learned Braille. With all my education and the
fancy degrees hanging on my wall at work, I was functionally
illiterate. It was a soul crushing development for me. While I knew
that the other blindness skills I was learning in rehabilitation were
important and essential to independence, I needed Braille most of all
to restore my self worth.

I was scheduled to go to a rehabilitation center for 12 weeks of
training to learn Braille, among other skills. When I went to this
center for a 2 week evaluation in June of 2006, I was told all the
usual nonsense about how hard it is to learn Braille as an adult and
not to expect too much from myself. Basically, the vibe I got from
this place was that I should focus on learning to use audio for all my
reading needs. Fortunately, the best way to get me to do something is
to tell me it can't be done. So, I went home and resolved to get a
head start on Braille. I was told It would take the whole 12 week
training program to learn uncontracted, grade 1 Braille. That wasn't
goodenough for me. If that's all they wanted to teach me, then I
decided I'd learn uncontracted Braille before I went back to the
center in September so I could force them to teach me more. I found a
Braille teacher in Oklahoma City who got me started and in 4 weeks, I
was reading uncontracted Braille. I couldn't read fast, but it was an
encouraging start and it was proof to me that the rubbish that had
been fed to me during my evaluation was wrong.

I went back to the center in September, 2006, for my 12 weeks of
training. One of the biggest highlights of the experience for me was
sitting down for my first Braille lesson. I was paired up with one
other student who had no Braille experience and a bad attitude to
boot. As the teacher was handing us uncontracted Braille lesson books,
I spoke up and told her that I had learned that over the Summer and
wanted to move on to contracted Braille. My declaration was met with
stunned silence. After a few moments passed, she flipped open the book
to a lesson at the back and told me to read it. I oozed arrogance and
confidence as I accepted her challenge and read the passage she
indicated. It was all I could do to keep myself from doing a victory
dance on the table. My fellow classmate with the bad attitude dropped
out of the program the next day and I conveniently found myself in a
one on one Contracted Braille class. I was the only client at the
center who learned contracted Braille during my time there.

About 10 weeks into the program, my Braille teacher gave me my first
Braille book to read, "Horton Hears a Who". she was very excited about
my progress and told me that in her years at the center, she had never
had the opportunity to teach contracted Braille to someone. She had
done some touch up with people who had learned Braille in school but
were rusty from non-use, but she had never taught a newly blind adult.
I was stunned by this and questioned her more about it. She said that
most of her students never even finished uncontracted Braille because
they thought it was too difficult and preferred relying on speech. I
found this revelation to be disheartening and depressing and I
couldn't imagine why, barring some other condition or medical
complication, someone would choose to not read Braille. It seemed to
me that the expectations for newly blind adults were very low and it
made me sad. It would be a couple of years later before I would find
the
NFB and discover that there were people with higher expectations and
people who truly believed in the capacity of the blind. I left that
rehab center with the false belief that what I had accomplished in my
Braille training was unusual. I later learned from my NFB family that
it was not and that I could do more.

So, I learned Braille and read a children's book. Big deal. I couldn't
read very fast and it was useless to me except for labeling and
writing short notes to myself. It was a start, but not enough. I
wasn't using it at work. I was devouring audio books but I wasn't
really reading Braille. At my first NFB National Convention in 2009,
there was a panel discussion about Braille literacy. Anil Lewis talked
about his experience with learning Braille and how he came to the
realization
that he needed to learn it. He read his remarks in Braille and
commented that he had been inspired to learn Braille after stumbling
through a speech a year earlier. Much of what he described sounded
eerily familiar to me. Suddenly it dawned on me that memorizing a code
does not make me literate. I couldn't read Braille enough for it to be
useful and I couldn't write more than a label or or quick note. I was
still functionally illiterate and that center I went to did me no
favors by giving me the false belief that I was somehow special. I
resolved then and there that I would make more of an effort to read
Braille.

I went home and ordered myself a Braille book. I tried to read for at
least an hour a day. Because of working full time and other stuff
going on in my life, I didn't always make that goal, but I kept
reading and getting faster. I finished that book, and another one
after that, while my speed gradually improved. Eventually, I decided
to get a refreshable Braille display to use with my iPod Touch. I
found the experience of reading refreshable Braille to be more
satisfying since it removed the extra distraction of trying to keep my
place on a page. I turned off the speech on my Read2Go Bookshare
appand read. Later, I discovered that reading newspaper articles with
the NFB Newsline app was a great way to practice since I could read a
short article and feel like I was accomplishing something every time I
finished an article. I would also read Twitter updates as a way to
make myself read but keep things short so I could manage my
frustration level. My efforts paid off and I started to feel
comfortable reading. I was reading well enough that I could now go
into a restaurant and read a Braille menu in a reasonable amount of
time. This was encouraging and I was starting to feel better about my
skills.

I was in store for yet another humbling experience when I attended a
Leadership Seminar at the NFB Jernigan Institute in the Fall of 2012.
I was asked to write a brief assignment and my work could be hand
written or written in Braille. I have no confidence in my hand writing
anymore, so it was Braille or nothing for me. I had the option to have
someone braille the assignment for me, but I'm stubborn and decided it
would be a good experience to do it myself. I started out with a slate
and stylus, but it was taking forever and I knew I'd never get any
sleep if I kept that up. I had used a Perkins Brailler a couple of
times during my rehab training, but I didn't even remember how to load
the paper correctly. Fortunately, my NFB family is a helpful and
encouraging bunch and one of my fellow seminarians gave me a refresher
course on the Brailler basics. Then I began the process of laboriously
typing my essay. I discovered that while I could read contracted
Braille, I apparently had been picking up a lot of what I was reading
from context. When I actually had to type in contracted Braille, I
couldn't remember about half the contractions I needed. I felt like an
idiot. With help from my new friend who patiently sat with me during
the whole process to tell me contractions I couldn't remember, I
finally finished my six sentence essay. It's an exaggeration to even
call it six sentences. A third of the way through, I gave up and broke
my thoughts down into a list so I wouldn't have to write so much. The
whole thing barely filled half a page and it took about an hour to
write that little masterpiece with the Brailler. And that's not
counting the hour and a half I spent composing my rough draft on my
computer and the numerous attempts I made to write the assignment with
a slate. It was embarrassing to observe how deficient my writing
skills were and I can't imagine the patience it took for my friend to
sit with me while I struggled through my incompetence.

Shortly after my writing fiasco, the cell phone I had been using for
years finally kicked the bucket and I ended up with an iPhone. While I
was already a seasoned VoiceOver user with my iPod Touch, I had
resisted getting an iPhone because I preferred the text entry method
on my Nokia N86 and wanted to stick with it as long as possible for
texting and Twitter. I love VoiceOver on the iPhone, but I do find the
process of typing with a touch screen to be tedious at best. After
several unsatisfying experiments with different QWERTY Bluetooth
keyboards, and with my writing failure fresh in my mind, I decided it
was time to learn how to type with the Braille keyboard on my Braille
display. It was slow going at first. I recall spending about 30
minutes typing a short status update on FaceBook. But after a week or
two, I was typing at an acceptable speed with the Braille keyboard and
wondering why I hadn't tried that sooner. I can now type faster with
my Braille display than I could if my iPhone had a physical keyboard
instead of a touch screen. A fun side effect of learning to type with
my Braille display was that it helped me to read
better and made me faster with a slate and stylus.

I am now addicted to that Braille display as much as I am to my
iPhone. The two items are inseparable in my opinion and I don't go
anywhere without them. I felt so strongly about wanting my Braille
display with me at all times, that I actually went out and bought a
purse specifically to carry it. Not just any purse, mind you. I ended
up with a $300 Coach purse. I rationalized this expenditure by telling
myself that my newly treasured Braille display deserved to be carried
around in style. This may not sound like a big deal until you realize
that in my 39 years of life, I have rarely carried a purse. I'm a low
maintenance kind of girl who values comfort and convenience over
fashion and social conventions. I have never felt the need to lug
around a bunch of extra stuff. I was of the opinion that if I couldn't
fit what I needed in my pockets, I didn't need to take it with me. I
thought women who spent hundreds of dollars on purses were idiots.
Now, because of the Braille display, I not only carry a purse, but I
spent a ridiculous amount of money on a Coach and had a blast doing
it. I now have multiple purses to suit different occasions and
carrying needs and can't resist cruising by the purse department every
time I go to the mall. . Everyone who knows me well is shocked by my
sudden purse addiction. This really is a major development in my life
and it is all because Braille has become an essential part of my daily
existence.

Not only is typing on my iPhone now a pleasant experience, I also
appreciate the Braille display for giving me a way to use my phone in
noisy environments. Sometimes, at concerts or noisy sporting events, I
might as well not even have a phone because it is too loud to hear
VoiceOver over background noise. With Braille, background noise is no
longer a problem. The first time I made a FaceBook post completely
with Braille and with no help from VoiceOver, I honestly got a little
teary. I suppose it's a little silly, but using Braille at a noisy
football game so I could use Twitter and FaceBook during the game made
me feel normal. It was ironic to me, that after spending the majority
of my life trying to hide my blindness and feel normal that I suddenly
achieved the feeling of normalcy by using Braille.

After observing how Braille has improved my quality of life and
changed the way that I think about myself and my blindness, I often
wonder how my life might have been better had I learned Braille as a
child. It was assumed by teachers, my parents and even by me that
since I could read print, that was the best option for me. But looking
back on it, I think about all the eye strain, the neck and back pain
from hunching over my books and the extra hours it took me to read
because my low vision made reading slower for me. I also think about
the shame and embarrassment I felt when I had to give presentations
and would have to hold my notes a few inches in front of my face. I
was always self conscious of the fact that my audience was seeing the
back of my notes and not my face. I'm not pointing fingers or placing
blame. I do believe that I had enough vision to warrant learning print
and it was a tool that I needed. But Braille would have been a nice
extra weapon to have in my arsenal of skills. I have no doubt that had
I started as a child, I would have ended up reading Braille as fast as
my sighted peers read print.

When I think of all the times Braille could have helped me, the first
situation that comes to mind is an experience I had during law
school. I had to do an oral argument in front of a mock appellate
court. I spent the whole semester preparing my case and the trial
would determine my grade for the class. I showed up to the oral
argument in a spiffy new suit thinking I was prepared and ready to wow
the judges with my brilliance. I thought I had planned ahead to deal
with my note reading issues. I knew I would be too nervous to rely
solely on memory, so I put all my notes in large print on index cards
and was certain I would be able to look down at the podium to read
them. I don't know if it was nerves, different lighting from my
practice runs or both, but when I looked down, my notes were a blur. I
didn't want to hold the cards in front of my face so I tried to go
from memory. Ultimately, my oral argument was a complete disaster. I
got trounced by my opponent and looked like a stammering idiot. I got
a C minus in the class, the lowest grade I would receive in law
school. It was one of the 3 low points of my law school career, all of
which had direct ties to my blindness. It was also the exact moment I
decided I did not want to be a trial attorney. In hindsight, I
understand how valuable Braille would have been to me in my oral
argument. My Braille notes could have rested comfortably on the podium
while I read them, likely unnoticed by the judges or anyone else in
the courtroom who witnessed my debacle. I would have appeared more
normal by embracing a blindness skill instead of trying to rely on
vision as the only answer and I know I would have received a higher
grade.

On more than one occasion, I have heard statements like, "Don't make
that child look blind and force him to read Braille. Print is more
normal". My experience is a classic demonstration that this belief is
wrong and harmful. It teaches a blind child to be ashamed of blindness
and is a sure fire way to cripple confidence. Braille should not be
thought of as something that only totally blind people use. It is not
an inferior alternative to print that should only be taught if there
is no other option. Braille is a tool to attain literacy and
independence. We should teach our blind children to be proud of
Braille and see the value of literacy. Studies have shown that there
is a strong correlation between Braille literacy and employment. Blind
children have enough obstacles to deal with as it is. We shouldn't rob
them of an additional tool to overcome educational and employment
barriers just because they can read large print by straining and
taking extra rest periods. While a low vision child is resting his
eyes so he can start reading again, his peers are leaving him behind.

My journey with Braille is still in it's infancy. I have made
tremendous progress over the past couple of years, but I know that I
can still do better. I still find myself regularly falling back to
audio alternatives because I am in a hurry and want to get things done
faster. There are going to be plenty of times when audio is simply
more efficient for me and it will always be a part of my life. But, I
have found ways to make Braille useful to me by using it in practical
situations that are interesting and meaningful to me. I will likely
never be a fast Braille reader, but I cherish Braille. I am so
thankful that it is a daily part of my life. I still need to practice
but I am glad that I made the choice to learn and put forth the
effort. I am thankful to my NFB family who humbled me and encouraged
me to embrace Braille. And mostly, I am thankful to Louis Braille,
who as a teenager, created this life changing code because he rightly
believed that literacy and knowledge were essential to independence
for the blind.

Fri, Feb. 1st, 2013, 03:16 pm
Rambling Rant of Rantiness

Warning: The following is a rambling rant of rantiness from a pissed off blind woman who is using her blog as an outlet for her rage because homicide is illegal and she doesn't think prison sounds very cool...

Okay, ladies. It's time to get real about taking a dump in public. Here's a newsflash for you. Everybody craps and it all stinks. Get! Over ! It!!! So, to the women in my office building who stock the restroom with toxic, lung searing, air freshener and use half the can every time they drop a turd, just stop it! My lungs can't take it anymore. I would much rather smell the completely natural stench of human feces than go into convulsive coughing fits caused by some obnoxious air freshener spraying drama queen who can't deal with dropping a bomb in public. If you are so prim and delicate that you can't bear having complete strangers know that your princess ass produces smelly poop, then give a curtesy flush and get on with your life. Stop trying to poison me with some chemical death spray in a can. My lungs and I thank you.

That is all. You may now get back to whatever it is you do when not reading angry blog posts. Although my lungs are still burning from my unpleasant bathroom encounter, the urge to beat someone to death with a can of air freshener has passed. Good for me. I'm feeling very pleased with myself for resisting temptation.

Toodles!

Fri, Sep. 7th, 2012, 08:27 pm
Catching Up

If you've had trouble finding my blog with my domain name, it's because some settings got messed up by my domain host and I was too lazy to fix it. Blogger apathy is a serious problem. Anyway, I finally got around to fixing it. So yay! I'm also noticing that writing my silly little blog is much more fun when working from my shiny new MacBook Air that I bought for myself a few weeks ago. I have high hopes that my ambivalence toward blogging will be cured by not having to fight with my painfully slow netbook that I've been using for the past 3 years. This MacBook goes at warp speed in comparison. This makes me happy.

Besides getting myself a shiny new toy, I've been up to my usual old stuff. I've been rowing a lot of course. I finally got myself a gold medal at the Stars and Stripes regatta back in July. My women's quad put together a nice row and finished 1st with about a 4 boat length lead. It was pretty cool.

Dad and I finally got around to doing our first century on the tandem. We finished the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, TX 2 weeks ago. It wasn't pretty, but we finished. It was hella windy and we screwed up by not sticking to our race plan. Those two things resulted in Dad starting to cramp at 70 miles. We should have got on the sag wagon and tried again next year, but Dad refused to quit. We limped through the last 30 miles and finished 2 hours slower than we expected, but we finished. It was Hell. Right now, I'm saying I'll never do that again. But as it becomes a more distant memory, perhaps I'll change my mind.

Have I mentioned how completely awesome my MacBook Is? Because, it is seriously bit chin". I just wanted to make sure you all knew that. In case you were wondering, I call the MacBook "Sheldon". Yes, it is so awesome, it warranted a name. And yes, I am a dork.

I am giddy about the start of football season. TU's first home game is tomorrow and I'm going, of course. I don't know what to expect from this year's team. I'm a little nervous about it, but I think TU will be OK. It will be interesting to see how our new quarterback develops as the season progresses.

Then there is the NFL kicking off this week. My fantasy team is decent. I don't like my quarterback situation, but I'm pretty solid at running back and wide receiver. I wanted to get Rodgers, Brees or Brady in the first round. I had the sixth pick. Rodgers went first, Brees fourth and Brady fifth. I could have gone with Cam Newton, but I felt like that was too high for him. So I changed my draft plan on the fly and decided to load up on running backs. I took Leshawn McCoy 6th. I had him 2 years ago and just fell in love with him. Shady won lots of games for me that year so I'm glad to have him back on my team. I ended up with Roethlessberger as my quarterback. I'm not excited about it, but I'm hopeful that something better will fall into my lap via free agency or a trade. I took rookie quarterback Russell Wilson from Seattle as my backup. It might be my Seahawk love coloring my judgement a bit, but I like this guy. I've got a good feeling that he'll develop into a fantasy stud. I'm probably totally wrong, but for now I'm feeling good about my gamble.

Enough about fantasy football. No one wants to read about that crap. I know no one cares about my fantasy team except me. But, since it's my blog, you have to suffer a little.

I guess I don't have much else to talk about. I am eagerly anticipating Apple's iPhone 5 announcement next week. Then I've got a trip to Vegas, a new Mumford and Sons album and a regatta to look forward to this month. Life is good.

Toodles .

By the way, this MacBook still rocks!

Fri, Sep. 7th, 2012, 10:57 am
I'm Too Lazy to Write So Read This Instead

Yeah, I know. It's been forever. I am currently mulling over whether I
should continue this blog. I'm too interested in other things to be bothered with it anymore. But, I do hate to ditch it completely. We'll see.

So, since I'm too lazy to write, read this excellent article from the University of Washington Rowing program about a blind rower. She was introduced to rowing at a NFB Sports and Rec Division Rowing event. Go
NFB!

Link
to U of Washington Rowing Article


I am intrigued about the part discussing the app which gives stroke rate and distance info through a bluetooth headset. I have been looking for an app to do this in a boat. I can get this info on an erg with Erg Chatter and Erg Buddy but haven't found an accessible solution for use in a boat. I sent an email to the author in hopes of getting more information. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get a response.

Toodles for now.

Tue, Jun. 12th, 2012, 02:12 pm
Thunder Up!!!

I have so much stuff I need to talk about, but my brain is in complete
meltdown mode with Thunder fever. I can't function today. I am so
freaking excited about the Thunder playing in the NBA Finals!!! And
I'm even more excited that I'm going to game 1 tonight!!! Woo!!! I
have never been more excited about an event in my life. The
anticipation surpasses waiting for Christmas when I was a kid and it's
greater than dog day at GDB when I was waiting to meet Cinnabar for
the first time. I am out of my mind with joy and I am utterly useless
when it comes to doing anything productive. I can focus on a task for
about 2 minutes until my mind wanders back to the Thunder and I start
getting a little misty-eyed over how amazing this NBA playoffs
experience has been. This is so huge for me that thoughts of the
Thunder are occupying my mind even more than rowing. I've almost
forgotten my love affair with rowing at this point. (Don't worry, it's
temporary. I still love you too, rowing. I'll stop cheating on you
soon.)I seriously can't believe this is happening in Oklahoma City.
The entire city is bonkers. I've never seen anything like it and I've
never been more proud to live in OKC. I feel like my heart is going to
explode with all the Thunder love and OKC pride I am feeling right
now. I really don't know what to do with myself. All I can say is
Thunder up!!!

Tue, Apr. 24th, 2012, 02:04 pm
Oh, You Meant Straight... My Bad.

Hola! I hope you are all as happy as I am, because my life just seriously rocks right now. Don't get excited. Nothing particularly Earth shattering is going on. I'm just in a good place and am enjoying being alive at the moment. I love my house. My job is more satisfying than ever. (A raise does wonders for changing one's outlook on work.) And of course, I have my rowing obsession to keep me busy. Seriously,my life is all puppies, unicorns and rainbows right now.

I went to see Cake last weekend. This was my 5th Cake concert, and with the exception of the very first time I saw them, this was my favorite Cake show. Cake has basically done away with having warm up bands. Instead, they play 2 50 minute sets with a short break in between and that's it. I kind of wish more bands would do that. There's nothing more annoying than suffering through a sucky opening act or 2 while waiting for the headliner. But, on the other hand, I have discovered a band or two that I really like who were opening acts for someone else. Most of the time though,I have to suffer through stuff that makes my ears bleed. The show was at the Diamond Ballroom and This was the first time I've been there where the sound wasn't total ass. I had heard that they had made improvements to the sound system but this is the first evidence I've heard that it might be true. It still doesn't sound as good as a show at Cain's in Tulsa, but it was acceptable enough that I didn't leave feeling pissed off about
it. Cake played a good selection of songs, mostly older stuff. There were only 5 songs off the newest album and 4 of the 5 happened to be the 4 songs that I like from that album. "Sick of You" was particularly entertaining with the extensive audience participation that was involved. Oddly, they didn't play anything from "Pressure Chief". Not a huge loss as that album never did much for me, but I was at least expecting 1 or 2 songs. They of course played the old obvious hits like Short Skirt/Long Jacket", "The Distance", "Rock 'n Roll Lifestyle" and "Frank Sinatra". Lead singer, John McCrea was his delightful, sarcastic self. I love how he can say stuff that I'm pretty sure is intended to be an insult to the audience but everyone
just cheers and screams and seems to totally miss the sarcasm. All in all, it was a very entertaining show and it was nice to spend an evening with one of my favorite bands. I hope they swing through town again in the near future. It was nice to not have to take a road trip for a change.

Rowing is going well. I feel like I'm starting to suck less. I'm not getting yelled at as much by the coach and every now and then, I even manage to get a compliment. Progress is a good thing. We were supposed to race in Dallas 2 weeks ago, but got screwed over by all the severe weather that weekend. It was a real letdown. I was completely fired up for that race. But, I suppose there will be other events and I should chill out. Still, we only race 5 or 6 times a year, so 1 getting
cancelled is a big chunk out of my season. We're going to Tulsa this weekend for the Route 66 Regatta hosted by the Tulsa Rowing Club. I am in 2 events for this one - mixed masters quad, and women's masters quad. I'm really excited about the mixed quad. We're rowing the same lineup we had for the Head of the Oklahoma last year. I like this combination a lot. We are all very compatible and row nicely together. It will be fun to race now that we've had more time in the boat together. I think we will show improvement from last year.

I'm still doing weights once a week. I can squat 92 pounds now. I think I can actually do more. When I did the 92 pounds, it was pretty easy and I'm certain I could have done 100. . When I started, I could only do about 45 pounds. Of course, part of that was due more to the fact that I didn't know how to do a squat so it took me some time to get the technique down and get used to having the bar on my shoulders. Turns out, it's kind of tricky to learn how to squat non-visually. Fortunately, I have a patient coach who talked me through it and I've made excellent progress with my form. I jumped from 45 to about 65 pretty fast as my technique got better. I am anxious to get to 100 pounds. In the grand scheme of weightlifting, I realize this isn't a lot of weight. But I'm looking at it from where I started. I'm not trying to do weightlifting competitions or anything. I just want to get where I can squat my body weight and I think that will be good enough for what I'm trying to do. All the work in the gym has helped
me in the boat, particularly with my shoulders and core strength. Anything that helps me to row better is fine with me.

TU hired Danny Manning as its new head basketball coach. I was glad to see the school make a change and Manning is an interesting hire with nice potential. He's already breathed life into a program that has been stagnant for the past 10 years. I think his name and reputation as a players' coach will help TU get higher quality recruits. I also expect a style of play that will be more entertaining than the defense first/low scoring style saw from Coach Wojcik. I am anxious to see if Manning's potential will translate into success on the court. I hope so. But for now, I'm happy with change and I'm glad to be looking forward to basketball season for the first time in several years.

OK, I'll close this one with an amusing story. I debated for awhile about putting this on the blog because I was pretty embarrassed about this little blunder. But, enough time has passed that I think it's pretty funny now, so what the Hell? Y'all can have a chuckle at my expense...

About 6 weeks ago, I had just finished up a pretty good rowing practice. I was in a double with a friend who I enjoy rowing with and everything was peachy. We pulled the boat out of the water and were walking it down the dock to make the turn up the ramp. I was in front so that my partner could watch me from behind and be able to give me
steering directions without having to turn around. I've done it this way before and it generally works fine. Do you see the foreshadowing? I think you all know where this is going... Anyway, I'm cruising down the dock and my friend says "Go straight, go straight." Well, I thought I was going straight, so I just kept on walking... right off the side of the dock.

Go me!

It really didn't occur to me, until it was too late, that my partner wouldn't tell me to go straight if I was going straight. I have always struggled with walking straight. I don't know why. I just can't feel it. I veer every time and it's part of the reason I decided to get a guide dog. Walking straight is kind of a big deal for crossing streets
and Cinnabar keeps me in line. It's perplexing that I have never been able to master the art of walking straight. Trust me. I practice all the time and I'm not getting any better. Anyway, when I hit that point where I knew I was going in the river, everything just seemed to go into slow motion. All I could hear in my head was my coach who tells
us at least twice every practice to be careful with the boats. I find it interesting that I had no thought for myself. I was only worried about the very fragile and expensive boat I was carrying on my shoulder. I might be taking this rowing thing a little too seriously.

I went in on the shore side of the dock and had know idea how deep the water was there as I was falling. Fortunately, it was deep enough to be over my head, so I didn't have an awkward landing on an uneven surface that could have resulted in an injury. I would much rather go all the way under than hit bottom and twist an ankle or worse. I lifted the boat over my head as I fell hoping to reduce any impact it might have with the dock and to keep it from hitting me in the head. That plan worked out well. The boat is fine and and I survived my fall without a scratch or bruise on me. The water was about 60 degrees, which as it turns out, is cold enough to trigger my gasp reflex so I
sucked down a small amount of toxic water from the Oklahoma River. Fun! I caught my breath and assessed my surroundings. The rule is that you're always supposed to stay with the boat. But, I was freezing and all I could think of was getting out of the river. My friend kept yelling at me to stay put, but screw that. I wanted out. I did keep a hand on the boat, but I knew where the edge of the dock was so I grabbed it and pulled myself out of the water. By that time a couple of the guys were there and got the boat out of the water for me. I was fine and the boat was fine. The only damage was to my ego, so all in all, it wasn't that big of a deal.

I have always known that I was probably going to fall off the dock someday. It's one of the risks I was prepared to take when I decided I wanted to row. It happened and I've moved on. Really the worst part was knowing how awful my friend felt for her part in the incident. She of course blamed herself, but we talked about it and I think she's over it too. The thing is, it really wasn't her fault. Yes, it would've been more helpful if she had told me to step left. But, I have to be responsible for myself and use common sense. I do rely on input from people on the dock and I appreciate that my team is willing to watch out for me. I made the choice that I wanted to participate in all aspects of being on a team, including carrying
boats and oars. It takes 2 hands to carry a boat so I can't use my cane. My compromise is to rely on my teammates for verbal guidance. If I asked them to carry my boat for me, they would. But I don't want to be like that. I can carry oars and boats and help wash the equipment at the end of practice just like everyone else. I want to be a full participant on this team and that includes doing the work. So, I have to swallow my anxiety about being in a vulnerable position and do the best I can on the dock. I pay attention to what's going on around me and always know which direction I'm facing. If I pay attention and use common sense, I'll be fine. This was just a momentary lapse in judgment and I took an unplanned swim because of it. I don't blame anyone else and I'm glad there was no real harm done. There's no point in getting upset about it. I can sulk about it, blame my teammate and feel sorry for myself, or I can dry myself off, learn from my mistake and try again. I will choose the latter every time.

So there you go. One amusing anecdote with a nice little moral to the story at the end. That's some quality entertainment and it's totally free! What a bargain! OK, I'm done. Toodles for now!

Wed, Feb. 29th, 2012, 07:51 pm
I'm Lazy. Make Up Your Own Title.

I simply cannot allow the month of February to pass without making an appearance here on the bloggy blog of blogginess. It is the month of Audrey after
all. Good thing there was an extra day in the month to accommodate my procrastination. Leap year rocks! Anyway, I’m sure you have all been too busy throwing
parades and planning massive celebrations in honor of the anniversary of my birth to notice that I haven’t written in awhile. So glad you didn’t miss me. 

I really have nothing major to share. I’ve been doing rowing stuff (big surprise). Most of the winter has been spent indoors on the erg and in the weight
room, but I have managed to take advantage of this unseasonable warm winter to sneak out on the water several times. Thanks global warming! One of my rowing
buddies, who is an all around fitness guru, has been helping me  lift weights   all winter. I am slowly but surely getting a little stronger.
It's been fun to track my progress. I still feel like a huge wimp, but I'm stronger than I was when I started so that's something. Go me! 

I did the indoor rowing challenge thingy at the Bart and Nadia Sports Festival again this year. The Vipers did the corporate competition where we once again came in third. Our time was much faster than last year, but we were in the open category instead of mixed so we had tougher competition. The race wasn’t
as exciting as last year, but we got it done. After that, I did the individual 2k. I was in the women's masters category and rumor has it that I came
in second. I never saw official results but whatever. I missed my personal best time by 2 tenths of a second. I would much rather have had the PR than
the medal. I just didn’t have the leg for it. Doing the corporate competition with the Vipers took too much out of me. That 2k was without a doubt the
most pain I have ever been in on an erg. I could tell I was in trouble 1000 meters in. I was out of gas and couldn't stick to my race plan. My splits fell off and I had to gut it out just to finish. It was torture. Considering how awful I
felt, it’s really impressive that I got as close as I did to my PR. At least I know I gave it everything I had. 2 of my friends had to carry me off the
stage because I couldn’t make my legs work. When they let go, I just collapsed on the floor. It took several minutes to get to where I could stand again. It makes me so mad when I see people do a 2k and then just walk away like nothing happened. Am I just a wuss or do I just not have the sense to back off? I feel like such a dork having to get carried off the erg. Anyway, my time was about 20 seconds faster than last year. I wish I hadn't done the corporate race first because I'm pretty sure I could've gotten under 8:30 like I really wanted to do. I'm going to do a 2k test on my own pretty soon and see if I can get it. I know I can PR, but under 8:30 is a big goal for me. Hopefully next year, I can get close to a sub 8. That would be so cool.

My birthday was pretty sweet. I went to the Thunder vs Lakers game with my Dad. It was an awesome game and we had a lot of fun. I went to the Celtics game the night before my birthday as well. That was pretty awesome getting to go to both of those games, even if I had to miss some rowing practice to do it.

I really have nothing else too earth shattering to talk about so I suppose I'll wrap this up. On a completely random note, I just read on Twitter that Leonard Nimoy is making an appearance on The Big Bang Theory. This random bit of news made me squee! I love Sheldon. I love Spock. And Sheldon loves Spock even more than I do. This meeting just needs to happen. I am giddy. I have never been happier for a TV Character. I haven't read any stories to find out when it's going to air, but I can't wait. I might actually skip rowing practice to watch it. Well, that's a little extreme. I mean I do have a DVR after all. But still, it's tempting because I am just that much of a nerd.

Ok, I'm shutting up now. Toodles!

Tue, Jan. 10th, 2012, 11:00 am
Sporks: The Perfect Utensil, Plus Other Randomness

Hey there, peeps! I hope the new year is treating you all well. I'm
super! Thanks for asking! OK, technically you didn't ask. But
whatever. Let's just pretend like you did. If you're bothering to read
my blog, I can only assume you are interested in my well being for
some reason, because there's certainly nothing informative or
worthwhile to read here. So, it makes sense that you would ask. See.
It's all very logical. I'm not crazy. Really.

I've pretty much been up to my usual shenanigans. First and foremost
on my mind is rowing, of course. I've been doing the whole winter
training thing at the boathouse. I'll be doing the 2k erg competition
in February again this year. My time last year was 8:56 (2:14 split).
My fastest test, which I just did on Saturday, was an 8:37 (2:09.3
split). So, as you can see, I'm making progress. I'm pretty confident
that I can get it down to a 2:07 split by February. That would put me
close to 30 seconds faster than my time last year. These aren't
competitive times or anything, but I don't care about that. I'm racing
myself. I have to be realistic about this. I'm almost 38, I've only
been rowing for just under 2 years, I have short legs and crappy
knees. And, yes, there's the whole blind thing... But that's no excuse
to be a sucky rower. It's a non-factor as far as I'm concerned. I know
I'm never going to be a world class rower. But, I do enjoy trying to
get better so I'll keep racing myself and not worry about whether I'm
competitive. Being a recreational rower is just fine with me and I am
still having a blast.

A friend has been helping me with weight training so I can build up
some strength. I usually only get to lift weights about once a week,
but it's better than nothing and it is helping some. My upper body
strength has always been basically non-existent. Now, I actually have
little muscles. It's exciting. I've gone from having the upper body
strength of a 5 year old girl to that of about a 13 year old girl. I'm
still a scrawny weakling above the waist, but I'm trying. Naturally,
my leg strength is less embarrassing and getting better as well. I'm
really fired up about the whole process. It's exciting to see the
progress and it's helping me row better too.

Christmas was good. I did the usual family thing. Nothing too major
happened. I didn't get sick for a change. Unfortunately, Cinnabar was
the sick one this year. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day
cleaning up numerous piles of disgusting things coming out of my dog.
I can only assume she ate something that she wasn't supposed to. It
wasn't anything out of the ordinary at first. She gets into things
every now and then and we go through this stuff. It's just part of
having a lab. They'll eat anything. There was a new twist this time
though. Early in the evening on Christmas Day, I noticed that
Cinnabar's ear flaps were swollen. I had never seen anything like that
before. I started to just give her some Benadryl and see if it would
pass, but I checked with my vet just in case. She thought it would be
best to have Cinnabar checked out to rule out a serious allergic
reaction. We made a minor emergency trip to the vet. There was no
fever or anything and the vet didn't think the swelling was too bad so
Cinnabar got a cortisone shot and we went home so she could sleep it
off. Things were much better the next day and Cinnabar started holding
down food. The whole thing was weird, but we survived and Cinnabar is
back to her usual self.

I got an iPod Shuffle for Christmas. I have the iPod Touch of course,
and wasn't really sure why I wanted a shuffle. I'm using it a lot more
than I expected though. It's a neat little doohickey. It just blows my
mind that I can carry 500 songs on something that is barely bigger
than a postage stamp. I remember back in the day when I thought it was
cool how I could carry around a portable cassette player and a small
case of tapes. Then, CD's came around and that seemed really cool. Now
I've got a gizmo that's so small, it gets lost in my pocket. It's kind
of cool to see how technology has changed and improved, but at the
same time, it makes me feel a little old. Oh well. At least I'm here
to enjoy it. Old is better than dead. And in the grand scheme of
things, I'm not that old. I certainly don't feel like I'm almost 38.
I'm having too much fun to feel very old.

Dad and I went to Dallas to watch TU play in the Armed Forces Bowl. TU
gave up the game winning touchdown with 11 seconds to go. It was a
pretty frustrating game. There were lots of missed opportunities, a
really bonehead and costly fumble at the end of the first half and the
offense just never clicked. But, you can't win 'em all. Dad and I
still had a fun trip. We drove down the day before and stopped for
half the day at the big casino on the Oklahoma - Texas border. I can't
ever remember the name of it. It's some combination of the words
river, wind or star. For some reason, every casino in Oklahoma either
has river, wind or star in the name. What's up with that? It's
impossible to keep any of them straight. Or, maybe I'm just not
putting much effort into it. either way, I can't remember the name of
the place. It's in Thackerville. At least I know that. Anyway, I got
kicked in the ass as usual, because Indian casinos hate me. Dad did
pretty good. He only lost $20 and we were there for 5 or 6 hours.
That's pretty good as far as casino trips go. We also had a really
good lunch while we were there. There's a burger place in there that
cooks a mean burger and fries. It was really good. Or maybe I was
really hungry. All I know is that I really enjoyed that burger.
Mmmmm... Burger...

While we were in the DFW area, Dad and I also made our usual trip to
Richardson Bike Mart. This is the biggest bike store I have ever been
to. The place is ginormous and they have lots of tandems. It's fun to
go check out the bikes. We're not getting a new tandem or anything,
but new bikes are just fun to drool over. Mmmmm... Shiny new
tandems...

I am getting myself some neat stuff for late Christmas presents. I'm
still waiting on it all to get here and I am beyond excited. The big
thing is a new monitor for my erg. I stupidly broke my old monitor.
The monitor on the erg by itself is useless to me because I can't read
the screen. But, Concept 2, who makes the erg, has a free piece of
software you can download onto a computer that will speak some of the
information on the screen. To get it to talk, you have to connect the
monitor to a computer via USB. Once it's connected, the program,
called Erg Chatter, will read out time, distance rowed, split time,
stroke rate and a few other things that I don't bother with. Anyway, I
was settling in for a workout one day and forgot to make sure my USB
cable was clear of the handle. When I took my first stroke, I yanked
the cord and busted the USB port on the monitor. So, my monitor
instantly became a useless brick to me. My old monitor is a PM3. I
decided that since I needed a replacement anyway, I might as well
upgrade to a PM4. I'll still be able to use Erg Chatter, but I will
gain the ability to use Concept 2's iPhone app called ErgBuddy. You
have to buy this wireless adapter thingy called a Wahoo Key. By
plugging the Wahoo key into my iPod, I will be able to connect my PM4
wirelessly to my iPod and use VoiceOver to read the information from
my monitor. I'll get everything that I can get with Erg Chatter, plus,
I will add the ability to get heart rate information. I am completely
geeked out about this. My new monitor will arrive Friday and I can't
wait. It's going to be super cool to not have to lug my laptop to the
boathouse for my erg sessions with my masters team. And I am a big fan
of anything wireless. I have already proven that me and wires don't go
well together. Hopefully now that I will be able to go wireless, I
won't be breaking any more erg monitors.

I also ordered myself an Official Starfleet Academy titanium spork
from ThinkGeek.com. (Shut up. I'm a nerd and I don't care.) I have
always had a secret fascination with the spork. It's such an efficient
utensil. I really don't understand why spork usage isn't more common.
It's a spoon. It's a fork. What's not to love. It cuts utensil washing
in half and deals beautifully with all the foods that are too liquidy
for a fork but too chunky for a spoon, such as chunky soups or...
other stuff that I can't think of right now. All I know is that I eat
a lot of soup with big chunks of meat and veggies and I am going to
boldly eat like I've never eaten before. My spork is scheduled to
arrive today and I can't wait to give it a spin. All hail the genius
who invented the spork! Mmmmm... Spork...

OK. I'm done. Thanks for visiting and I hope you have enjoyed my
ramblings. Toodles for now!

Tue, Nov. 15th, 2011, 03:49 pm
Did Anyone Miss me?

Worst. Neglect of my blog. Ever!!! Yeah. I suck. I've learned to live
with it. You should too.

Honestly, y'all really haven't missed much. I've been rowing... a lot.
I finished my second year with the Vipers and we had a pretty good
year. I moved up to the intermediate masters team in August and am
having a blast. It's a really fun bunch of people and gives me more of
a challenge and provides more opportunities to race. The coach is
pretty awesome as well and is a much better fit for me than my novice
coach. I feel like I'm slowly getting better. I'm sure the coach is
tired of telling me to slow down, relax and make my stroke less
violent, but hopefully he knows I'm trying. I'll get it eventually. I
have days where I feel like I completely suck, but I just fight
through it and occasionally I feel like I'm getting it. We're starting
winter training which is kind of depressing just because there's less
time on the water. But I'm starting to get back into erging and I'm
looking forward to our weight training so I can get stronger. It's not
as fun as rowing, but it will all make me stronger when the Spring
rolls around. At least I'll get to row a little while longer on
Saturdays with the masters. It's better than nothing.

I've been in a couple of regattas recently. The Vipers did the Head of
the Oklahoma in 18 minutes flat and we got 2nd place. It was 30
seconds faster than our time last year and we had less experienced
rowers in the boat. There were 5 or 6 boats in our race, so it was a
pretty decent effort on our part. The 1st place boat was my masters
team. I passed on a seat in that boat to row with the Vipers because
they need me more. I was a little bummed about missing out on my first
gold medal. But whatever. I was proud of what the Vipers did and I
know I made the right call. Gold medals will come. I did the sprint
race with the Vipers that weekend as well, but we completely stunk it
up. I'm trying to forget about it. I have a theory that rowing at
night under artificial lights is screwing with my light dependent
teammates. We always practice in daylight so when we get our partials
in low light, they don't know what to do. I really want the team to
practice under blindfold next year to get ready for that night race
and see if it makes a difference. We've done that night sprint 2 times
now and both times it was a complete disaster. I don't think that's a
coincidence but maybe I'm over thinking it. I competed with my Masters
team at the Head of the Oklahoma as well. I was in a mixed quad and a
women's quad. We didn't get any medals, but we rowed well for us and
didn't come in last either. It was a really fun weekend.

I went to Wichita a couple of weeks ago with my Masters team for the
Frostbite Regatta. It was a slightly under 3k head race. I was in the
mixed quad again. It was the same lineup as Head of the Oklahoma. We
rowed pretty well. We had 2 minor mishaps going through bridges which
cost us a bronze medal. We finished 4th and were only 4 seconds back
of 3rd. If we had made it through those bridges cleanly, we probably
would have taken 3rd. It was still a fun race and we were more
competitive than we expected.

I was also in the 8+ in Wichita. We were in an open event instead of
strictly masters, so we were racing against a bunch of college crews.
We got crushed of course, but we did row a fairly decent race. I was
in 2 seat which I'm not all that comfortable with. I'm used to being
in 7 or 8 at the stern end of the boat. I haven't been in the bow end
much so I felt out of place. It shouldn't be that big of a deal, but
things do feel a little different to me up there in the 2 seat. I
pride myself on being flexible in an 8. I can row port or starboard
equally well and really don't favor one over the other. I need to be
able to be as comfortable in the bow or stern. It's probably all
mental but it does bug me to sit in the bow. Anyway, to get to the
point, I screwed up my timing at the start of the race. I don't know
if it was my discomfort with the bow end or I just lost focus or what,
but I botched it good. The cox handled it perfectly and helped call me
back in, but from the time I got off to the time I got back in sync, I
probably screwed up 3-5 strokes. It really pissed me off. It was just
one of those dreaded blind moments. I know I wouldn't have done that
if if I could see and it just kills me when I feel like my blindness
gets in the way. I work my ass off to compensate and stay in sync by
feel. I don't ever want my blindness to hold back that team and part
of me always wonders if my teammates get pissed about my blindness
related mistakes. Everyone always seems very supportive and I'm
probably being too hard on myself as usual, but I just really hate
having blindy moments. I keep reminding myself that everyone on that
team makes mistakes and for the most part, I think I compensate for my
blindness well. I just can't stand it that I screwed it up during a
race. Those 3 to 5 strokes really eat at me and I forget about the
other 300 or so strokes that were in perfect sync with my sighted
teammates. I need to get over myself, but sometimes I feel like a huge
pain in the ass. I suppose a more productive way to look at it would
be that hitting the bridges in my mixed quad was someone else's
mistake and even though it cost us a medal, I'm not upset in the
least. I recognize that bowing a quad in a race is stressful and not
easy to do so I have mad respect for the dude who bows that quad.
Hopefully everyone else is equally cool about my occasional timing
mistakes. All I can do is keep working harder to develop my feel for
the timing in a boat.

I think I actually feel better now that I have just processed all that
while writing. I really like how my stupid little blog helps me to
accept my mistakes and failures. Who needs a therapist? I just need a
keyboard. Woo!

TU is having an interesting football season. After a brutal
non-conference schedule where they were manhandled by OU, OSU and
Boise State, all top 10 teams, TU has settled into an impressive
stretch through the conference schedule. They're currently 7-3 overall
and 6-0 in conference. The CUSA West division will be settled on
November 25 when Houston comes to town. The winner will host the CUSA
championship game. Houston is currently undefeated and starting to get
all the media love among non-BCS teams. TU is still cruising
totally under the radar and no one really seems to be giving them a
chance in the Houston game. A few weeks ago, I would have agreed, but
this team is playing very focused and disciplined football. I think
that non-conference beating has made them tougher and Coach
Blankenship has steered the team through significant adversity and
gotten them playing very well. I see improvement every game and am
thrilled to finally be seeing some defense. It always seemed that
under coach Graham, the game plan was to just outscore everyone and
defense was an afterthought. Now TU is much more balanced. They can
still put up offensive stats but they've got a defense that leads the
conference in points allowed. I'm expecting that Houston game to be a
good close game. I don't think Houston walks away with an easy victory
at all. I'm totally jacked up for that game.

And while I'm on the topic of TU football, I am ready to admit that I
was too harsh about the Coach Blankenship hire. I'm getting used to
the more conservative offense, I love how the defense is playing and I
see more focus and consistency with this team than I ever saw with
Todd Graham. They're not losing focus and blowing leads. There's no
bonehead play calls. Penalties are down and the team just seems more
mature and business like. I can only assume that this is largely due
to coaching. I'll still be interested to see if Blankenship can keep
up the recruiting and continue the success with his own players, but
I'm feeling like he will. I had some harsh comments when the hire was
made which I now regret. I'm not saying this just because TU is still
winning. I'm saying it because I like how they're winning. It just
seems like there can be long term success with this staff and I feel
better about the whole thing now.

I'm totally pissed about the NBA labor dispute. At this point, I don't
care who's right or wrong. Both sides botched this negotiation big
time and the fans are paying the price. I'm so bitter about the whole
thing right now, I don't know that I'd even care if they started
playing tomorrow. I think I'm as bitter about this as I was after the
last NHL lockout and I still haven't gotten back into hockey all these
years later. I'll tune into a few playoff games if nothing else is
going on, but that's about it. I hope I don't end up the same way over
the NBA but right now they can all just bite me. All my Thunder gear
has been shifted to the back of the closet and I'm not touching it
while this is going on. I won't even sleep in a Thunder shirt. I'm
that pissed off at everyone. I'm tired of the league and the players
blaming each other. I'm so sick of all the players whining on Twitter
that I quit following almost all of the guys I had been following. I
think the only 2 I still follow are Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant and
I'm real close to unfollowing Durant. I am one cranky Thunder fan
right now.

I guess I'll call it a day. It feels good to be writing pointless
drivel again. I'll try to be more consistent, but you know... I suck,
so don't hold your breath.

Toodles!

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