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Saturday, February 9, 2002

What do I know about winter sports? Snow? We had the biggest "snowstorm" in sixty years here last month, and it was gone by noon. Ice? We have a great ice arena here in town, thanks to Charles Schulz, who was from Minnesota. I go there for ice shows — never been on skates.

So I watched the women's moguls tonight with no expectations, but I learned to love the helicopters. By the time the world's best (Kari Traa of Norway) came down the mountain, I'd seen enough of the other competitors to be ready to judge her superiority. That's how you catch up with what's happening in an event you know nothing about.

If NBC thinks we can see those tiny flags they use to identify the nationalities of the athletes, they must be thinking of a younger demographic. Some of us have to rely on the fact that it's easy to pick out the Dutch speed skaters because they're all decked out in orange.

It was kind of presumptuous of the announcers to dismiss the American skater, who had just set a world record, because there were two Dutch guys left. Here's an athlete (Derek Parra) who had just skated 5000 meters faster than anyone in history, and they're telling me he has a good shot at the bronze medal. Ha! He won the silver, the first medal for a U.S. skater in this event since 1980.

CNN and the online news sites are off limits to me these days. I don't want to spoil the illusion that I'm watching the Olympics live. I hope nothing serious happens in the world for the next two weeks, because I won't know about it until at least three hours later, when I tune in to the coverage of the games. Maybe that's for the best, of course. I've talked about taking a step back away from the news for awhile, and now the decision is being made for me. If something really big comes up, I'll have to trust that someone will call me on the phone.

Although tempted, I didn't spend the whole day watching cross-country skiing and long distance speed skating. I don't think I could have done that even if I wanted to, because there is a lot of down time in events like that.

I walked to the post office this afternoon, and I spent some time in the yard for the first time this year. It's only been two days since the last rain, so the ground is still soggy, but I finally got around to cutting the branches off the Christmas tree. Now I have two trunks and a container full of cuttings for the yard waste recyclers to pick up next week.

It was just warm enough to do this late in the afternoon, but as soon as the sun started to go down it was cold again. I can take the cold nights as long as we have these bright sunny days.

I don't trust figure skating judges to be fair. I think they have prejudices that they don't even try to hide. They'll mark a skater (or in tonight's case, a pair) based on past performances and expectations, rather than what they actually do on the ice.

They got the top three pairs in the right places tonight, though, so either I'm wrong or it just happened that way. This was only the short program, so we can still hope that the irresistible Canadians, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, take advantage of their shot at the gold Monday night.

two trunks

Every year I throw away the branches and save the Christmas tree trunk for the birds to perch on. Now I have two.

What the hell was all that gymnastics/modern dance/floor show crap that preceded the medal ceremony? It looked like something out of a Miss America pageant from the 1970s, or maybe one of those Brady Bunch variety shows. All we needed was Bert Parks or Ed Sullivan. Was anyone besides Bob Costas embarrassed by that spectacle?

No matter how hard the Bay Area's new NBC affiliate (NBC3, they call it, but I get it on channel 11) tries, they can't keep me around for their late news. For one thing, I don't trust a San Jose station, at the far south end of the bay, to cover what's happening (not that much is happening) here in the North Bay.

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The Mighty Kymm also watched the opening ceremony (most of it, anyway).

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One year ago: Sky Falling Down
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Two years ago: Struggling With the Demons
"Some days the best thing I can do is give up, and deal with the nits and gnats instead of trying to tackle the boggarts and dementors."

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