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Sunday, February 10, 2002

Whenever I work on Sunday, I start out with the best intentions. Ten years ago, I would actually spend the whole day working on whatever project was most critical at the time. That was then. Now as soon as I start on something, I begin to ask myself what would be the minimum I could get away with doing. By the time I've worked for ten minutes, I'm planning Monday morning, creating a to-do list that includes all my Monday tasks plus whatever I don't get around to today.

And that's how I dived into paying the company bills this afternoon and ended up writing exactly two checks (both of them past due, by the way, but that's only because we're broke again).

At least I didn't waste my whole Sunday working. No, I wasted it watching things like ski jumping and speed skating, and otherwise lying sluggishly around the house. I did some reading, and I even fell asleep for an hour or so upstairs in the loft. I mean. That was probably the most productive thing I did all day. Daytime power napping is the sweetest waste of time for someone whose nights are spent stalking sleep and haunting the hallways.

The downhill is the premier Olympic event on snow, and it's the essence of pure sport. No heats, no qualifying round, no second run, no judges. One time straight down the mountain as fast as you can go, with a few twists, turns and jumps thrown in to keep you interested. The risk is great, but the reward is the most coveted gold medal a skier can win. It must take a special kind of dementia to embrace this task.

When I'm watching speed skating, it's sometimes hard to remember to watch the skaters and not the clock, as the split times come up. There's no danger of such distraction when watching the downhill. The athletes are performing so close to the edge of disaster that you don't dare take your eyes off them.

On the other hand, if you have TiVo, and if you remember that everything you're seeing took place at least three hours in the past anyway, you can always rewind and watch the thrilling parts as many times as you want. Even if you're watching it "live," you can pause in mid-run and rush off to the kitchen to drain your pasta.

The U.S. favorite, Daron Rahlves, had the advantage or disadvantage of starting after the top skiers. I wonder if it helped to see how his predecessors responded to the conditions. He knew he had to beat a fast time, and he was perilously out of control on the big jump. Maybe if he'd skied earlier he wouldn't have felt it necessary to take such risks.

And possibly if his expectations of success weren't so high, he wouldn't have tried to do more than he was capable of. He's been talking about not wanting to hear about his Austrian rivals, but he finished behind all of the Austrians as well as his American teammate Marco Sullivan.


Tonight's sunset. This was the only time I stepped outside all day.

Phat air. Any event with a mosh pit is probably something I'm going to have to work hard to relate to and understand. What really makes me feel old, though, is that listening to the snowboarding announcers is a little like overhearing a conversation on the high school quad. Or so I imagine it. The snowboarders do look as if they're having more fun than (for example) the cross-country skiers. Maybe not, though; who knows?

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Latest recommendation:

Terri, *FootNotes*, February 9, Grinkles

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Ease On Down
"It fits in with my dream job in quality control at the bakery. You know. The donut taster."

Two years ago: Small World? After All!
"You can't make lemonade without breaking a few eggs, as they say."

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Next time you're found with your chin on the ground,
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