Friday, February 29, 2008

Coming Out, Everybody's Doing It Now

Our old multi-function printer had gradually become enfeebled, losing each of its functions one by one. The last one, printing, finally went by the wayside last week, so I had to go out and find a new one. Having canvased every single variation of consumer electronics stores in our area, I finally managed to make a decision and today plunked down a hundred bucks for a new AIO scanner, printer, copier and popcorn maker. In an initial testing of the fruits of my shopping labors, a scanning in of some of our family photos, some more embarassing than others.

For Eor: The "Unbreakable" paste lid

For AnnaBelle: Our Akitas

For Boodiba: My Brother and I

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pox of the Out-of-Towners

It's been raining in San Diego ever since all those visitors trundled off. They seem to have blessed us with their normal winter weather, just like a visiting pet leaves your home infested with its fleas and vermin. I never even saw some of them and i still get to slosh my way to my car each morning. Not sure who is to blame. Doubt it was Eor, since if it was from him, it would just be cold and foggy. Likewise, JLafitte is probably in the clear. New Orleans can be insufferable, but i don't think that it's due to cold winter rains. So, that leaves those New Yorkers and Carl. Carl from Seattle. Where it rains every day. It's the precipitatory antithesis of San Diego. But, it could be the women. I hear it's snowing in NYC, so maybe they did drop this winter crap on us. Share the pain kind of thing. Give us back our sun you interlopers!!

My plans for the future were rudely disrupted by a couple of Georgia rednecks. I was all set to turn in those early retirement papers and, bam, they end up being the sole winners of that big 270 million dollar lotta paycheck. I could have lived with a split payout. Greedy crackers. So now, I have to keep delivering babies and taking out uteruses. I don't mind work, I like what I do. But our work setting has become a pretty unpleasant place the last few weeks. We're doing a major change in how we document what we do, going from the time honored paper charting approach to a completely electronic record. The change over is on a national scale, not just getting a few workstations into a mom and pop sized practice. Given the scale of the project, even the simplest of tasks are ridiculously complex and arcane. The possibility of effecting any changes to make the system more user friendly are essentially non-existant. So, until the next lotto run up, I have to deal with it.

I'm going to do one of those shameless idea stealing things once i get a new all-in-one printer for our house. I want to put up some blast from the past photos like i had seen on someone's blog. That would allow me to post something potentially interesting or entertaining without having to think and type in coherent sentences, something that has always been a challenge for me. Our current scanner has been on the fritz for about a year and a half, so i can't do it now. Next week's project perhaps.

Back to L&D. None of the other docs on call is a "normal" doc, just me. I'm on with a resident and a per diem md, so theoretically, I'm the one who best knows how to solve charting issues. That sux butt.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Empty Nest

The last of the visiting bloggers leaves in a couple of hours. Eor came mid-week last week, but was only here long enough for some bending and brunching, then had to go back to the City. JLafitte headed up north on Friday for another week of west coast action with the LA crowd. I think he'll be going to classes with OvO. The ashtanginis, Anna and Linda, left yesterday evening, redeye-ing it back home to NYC after a week in the sun spread between Del Mar and LA. Carl, the sole remaining scribe, flies back to the mist this evening. He's getting in one more class this afternoon, the Intro to 2nd class with my wife at 4:30, then it's off to the airport. Thrifty man he, he used all ten of the classes on the card. I tried to get him one more go out into the surf today. I dug my old wetsuit out of the garage and gave it to him to try on after he got all the old spider nests and mouse poop off of it. He tried it but then handed it back, indicating that it was too tight in some places, like the crotch. Thanks Carl, you testiculus maximus you.

Carl and I went to led first series this morning. I think we both got a little more worked than we expected. I hadn't done first in something like three weeks, so i had regressed a fair amount in a couple of things, like Supta K. I must have also put on some poundage, because i had to work to get my arms thru in Garbha Pindasana, even after slathering all available sweat onto my legs and arms. After the class, Carl said that he had definitely felt the previous day's surfing session. Jois' Dictum: Ashtanga makes everything else better, everything else makes ashtanga harder.

So now comes the post-sybaritic pause, the return to reality check. Play is over, back to the babies, back to the socks, back to the computer monitors, back to the briefs, etc. It will probably be easier for me, as i don't have to leave our weather and I don't have to endure a long trip home right before going back to work. On the flip side, I don't get to go to happening places like NYC, Seattle, New Orleans or San Francisco. Like Steve Martin in "My Blue Heaven", I'm embedded in suburbia. It all balances out.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Carl, Don't Trust Me Ever Again

I'm a bad man. I had promised Carl that I would come pick him up at his hotel and bring him to the pranayama class. The class starts a little after 6 AM and he would have otherwise had to walk about a mile uphill at 5:15 to make it there. I hopped out of bed in plenty of time, but I guess I got into daydream-land while in the shower, envisioning the great practice I was bound to have. I knew I had screwed up when I walked out the door. "Oops! It's not supposed to be that light out." I turned on the car and saw the clock read 5:56. Since I'm one of those neurotic types who keeps their car clock set about seven or eight minutes ahead of the real time, I knew I really had about twenty minutes to get him there, if the class really didn't start until 6:15. I got to his hotel in about 15 minutes, reasonably good time with no tickets. I screwed up trying to beat a light though and lost some time just shy of the shala. I dropped him off to scurry up to the studio but he didn't make it in time. They had already started and were about half way thru the second pranayam. Young innocent that he was, he went ahead and sat down and joined in. No problems.

This had been an unusual week of practice for me. The typical pattern for me is to get gradually better with each successive class, if they are done within a day or so of each other. I expected my first class back from snowboarding to suck wind. I was somewhat sore from the snowboarding and I had driven for six hours the night before. The class actually was a great one, for me. I managed all the hard stuff pretty well and even almost grabbed ankles (assisted) in Chakra Bandhasana after backbending drop backs. But from there, the rest of the week's practices went parivrrta, all bassackwards. Each following practice was a little worse. Went from landing Bakasana B on the first try to taking six tries to giving up today after eight or nine flops. Thank god Tiffany and Julie weren't there or I would have had to go to the ATM.

Yesterday's practice wasn't notable for much for me. The other guys had some fun though. Carl went to the Valentine's Day improv and had his heart opened. Tim did lots of backbending stuff. I think Carl had a good time doing stuff that was new to him, Natarajasana, Anjanayasana, Vamadevasana (I think that's what he was describing). In the Mysore class, Stu got wishboned in Kapotasana, one of the best feeling adjustments known to man. He's also been stoked about being helped to his heels in that pose, which he claimed he wasn't able to do.

We all practiced together today. They did the party line first series and I thought I'd give second another try. Shouldn't have. I was very defocused. Just zoned out several times. I kept to my internal punitive rule system in which I have to quit if I don't make it into a given pose. Since I lost the battle with my heavy butt in Bakasana B, I went to backbending after Ardha Matsyendrasana. My original goal this week had been to get better enough each day that I would be able to get back over at least once in my tic tocs. As sad as this sounds, I was really counting on having Boodiba there to motivate me to get it. Sometimes those external motivation games do the trick for me. I didn't do that bad with it but still didn't get past halfway sticking point. I got my heels after drop backs, with Tim's hearty assistance, but didn't get the heels down. It was an unfulfilling practice in a lot of ways early on, but the finish brought my mood around 180 degrees.

I waited outside the studio, drinking coffee while looking at the snow on the nearby hills, while I waited for Carl to get done. Man, those two guys are polar opposites. Stuart flies through and he finished in a little over an hour. Tim came by to do drop backs with him. "Finished already?" he asked, "Some kind of new land speed record." Carl is much more measured. He's the one person I've seen who takes longer than I do to get through a class. I'm usually the last one out of the room when I have the chance to do a full Mysore and not have to rush off to work. He was still going today when I got up from a long Savasana. Carl and I had some coffee and talked a bit, then we went home. Stuart was just getting ready to head out to go north to LA for a week. After he left, I did some honeydo-es, then grabbed the kids and we all went go-karting. Carl almost passed on it, preferring to work on the computer, but we all called him a pussy from Seattle and he went for the hook. After the post-practice infusion of speed on the track, we then had a yogic lunch of bacon and cheese fries, buffalo wings and cheeseburgers. In the car, we listened to my son replaying all the songs from the Tenacious D DVD that had curse words in them (as in, all the songs).

I'm in a much better mood today than yesterday. Just felt a cloud of gloom. I guess the rainy weather can affect us more than we know sometimes. Since we never get it much here, we don't know to watch out for it. Carl is probably immune to it.

He is planning on a surf lesson tomorrow morning, so i need to work on him for a while with shark and sting ray stories. I'm once again abandoning him though, forcing him to walk the mile or so the beach for the class, as I will be with my kids at their sports things. He'll do well catching waves. He's an athletic guy. I had hoped to be able to film it for him but that didn't come thru.

I hope to be able to see everyone who came out again sometime and I hope everyone has a safe trip back home. Best of luck to Annabelle on your upcoming exam. Be the bar!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bloggerpalooza Went Bloggerkaplewie

Bloggerpalooza (sound of air rushing out of a balloon). The idea was to have as many ashtanga bloggers as possible meet up out here in San Diego. We had all kinds of acting up planned: video pose offs, tequila tastings, a party or two, sleep overs. it was gonna be fun.

It started when I harangued Boodiba into coming out here for a relatively cut rate ashtanga vacation when it looked like her usual winter Mysore trip wasn't going to pan out. Her shala mate Annabelle also bought into my pitch and they made plans for a week out here. Pretty quickly, the wisdom of spending a normally frigid week in February in balmy San Diego doing yoga and hanging out with previously only imagined web personas struck a few other bloggers and it grew into a near event.

But. What would the world be like without buts? But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Unfortunately, these plans for the gathering of ashtanga bloggers weren't that well laid. First crack in the dike was the fact that most of the San Diego bloggers already had out of town plans for that week. Mike (laproxdoc) was going to Costa Rica, Tiffany had to go to Vegas for a work thing, Julie, the head mofo, had a week of skiing planned with her family.

Just me and the out of towners? No probs. I can handle that. I'm tons o' fun. (stifled snort of derision from my wife). Anyways, turns out, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Literally. After years of promising but not delivering, I had promised my son we would finally go snowboarding together. They get out of school for a week each winter for this, so we were going to go then. Never occurred to me to check and see if the dates overlapped with everyone else's trip. Why would they? So, when I finally got around to sitting down and making the ski trip arrangements, imagine my surprise. Well, I could handle that. We were only going to go for four or five days. Maybe I could split the week I had off, half skiing with Jake and half hanging with the ashtangis.

Then things really turned south. The day the ladies were supposed to fly out from NYC, a fire occurred in Annabelle's apartment and she had to cancel her flight to sort things out at home and throw together a flight out the next day. Boodiba, who doesn't drive, had to come out alone and make her way from the airport to Del Mar on her own. I have no idea what that kind of taxi ride costs but I’m sure it was enough to put a damper on the mood of an already darkening trip.

I wasn't there for the first four days of the week that everyone was here. When I got back in town late Tuesday night, I quickly read over the blogs. Somehow, it had gone from south to shit. A couple of unsatisfying/unpleasant experiences at the shala seem to have turned the ashtanginis off to practicing there. Plus, this was a working holiday for Annabelle. She was commuting to LA to meet with her bar exam advisor. So she ended up opting to practice at home or at studios up in LA. I'm really bummed out about Linda's experience here. I've known people whom Tim didn't hit the right chord with, but reading things over in her blog, I can't help think that things would have gone better if I had been here like I had originally talked up. I enjoy my shala so much. And I enjoyed studying at her shala too. It just doesn't seem right that she and Annabelle wouldn't get the same kind of enjoyment at our place that I have.

Things sort of dominoed into everyone else's experience, because at least a part of the anticipation for this kind of get together was about the potential interaction with each other. When I went to practice Wednesday morning, only three bloggers were there: Eeyore, Carl and JLaffite. Eeyore finished up ahead of me, so I went over and said Hi as he was rolling up his mat to go. He gave me his number to try later that day but he was flying out at 4pm so we didn't manage to link up for a real talk. It's too bad. He's definitely one persona I really wanted to get to know as a person. He even had the cajones to sign in as Eeyore. Maybe the next time I get up to San Fran. Maybe we'll get around to doing that weird naked yoga he goes off about.

I have been able to spend some good time with Carl and JL. We had pizza and some wine at our place last night (more guilt on my part, I poured with a heavy hand). They wanted to try surfing but today was rainy and windy, so we just hung out at my place after practice. Carl got suckered into playing Halo after watching my son and his friends spend hours zomby-ing out with the Xbox. My daughter, who is pretty good at guitar hero, wanted me to get JL to play her. JL has a masters in music performance. He has played professionally and now teaches guitar in college. "Guitar Hero is nothing like playing a real guitar. I'll kick his ass!" she said. He did give it a go later today, and did reasonably well, but she would have kicked his ass.

Not sure if anything will develop tomorrow, the last day most of these folks are here. I'm a little reluctant to push on getting everyone together because I can't tell if that's what everyone wants to do. I feel a bit guilty and pretty bummed that the trip didn't work out as originally planned for all the people who came so far.

I'm going to practice in the morning and then I'm going go-karting with the kids. I had told JL and Carl I'd try to help get them a surf lesson if the wave conditions improved but Kiran, my wife, is now in bed sick, so I'll likely have all of the kid care responsibilities tomorrow.

Funny how far afield things can get. It's the nature of expectations I guess.

What am I supposed to do with all this tequila we were going to taste?

Late addendum: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, our house didn't burn down.