August 2004 Archives


This is my thirteenth post to this blog. I’m not normally triskaidekaphobic, but after the way this month’s Friday the 13th transpired, I am not so sure anymore. It’s probably best to keep this entry short.

I am just relieved to close the book on an August that may have had a few uplifting moments, but such were inundated by crashing, suffocating lows.

So begins September and in a few days, my thirty-second year on this planet. Despite all of the negatives of the past few summer months, I suppose I still have much to be optimistic about. I am considerably closer to my weight goal of 190 pounds (and the potential realization of a lifelong dream of becoming an underwear model*). I have far fewer complaints about what my current career path is not, and have renewed focus on what is and what could be. I have a mostly remodeled bedroom (and the credit card debt to prove it). Finally, although there currently is no one special in my life, I at least have a circle of a few good friends and a loving family that I can rely on.

*There really does need to be a <sarcasm> HTML tag.

I am inspired

LiL recently created a Google poem on her blog, and I was inspired to do the same. Prior to reading her post, I was oblivious to the concept but now am taken aback by what tremendous fun they are to construct. My Google poem is free-form, culled from five pages of results, and a little less random than most. (It’s just too bad none of my search results had anything to do with “poop.”)

I bumped my poem to the wider individual entry page because it is easier to read there.

Love of the Claddagh

As an extremely subtle sign that I have “put myself back on the market” after years of being closed off to such things, I started wearing a Claddagh ring (pronounced “clah-da”) a few weeks ago. Aside from being a wee bit of a conversation piece, it taps into those three pints or so of Irish blood pumping through my arteries.

Close up photo of my right hand with Claddagh ring, heart facing out

I have never worn a ring before (plastic spider rings from trick-or-treat bags don’t count), and it feels a bit strange on my hand at times. The ring is sterling silver because I was never really partial to the look of gold jewelry, and gold is bloody expensive.

The hands are there for friendship,
The heart is there for love.
For loyalty throughout the year,
The crown is raised above.

The exact meaning of the symbolism varies by account, but the most common appears to be the following. When worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward, point towards the fingertip; it means that the wearer’s heart has yet to be won. While the wearer is under love’s spell, the ring is flipped around, with the crown on the outside and the heart pointing inward. Wearing the ring on the left hand, with the point of the heart toward the wrist, the wearer’s love is requited (the lucky sap is married).

The power of the Google

| 1 Comment

I was perusing the stats for my nascent weblog, most notably the search keywords by which a few wayward web wanderers have happened by, and I was amazed by the sheer power and utter randomness of the Google search. A number of hits by those looking for info on the Bowflex was not too unexpected, although the high ranking of certain search terms for a two-week-old personal blog was a bit astonishing.

One search keyphrase that made me chuckle was “flash bulbs sheer.” I had used a rather silly simile in a previous post to describe my personal exposure on this blog. Unfortunately for the searcher, no risqué pics were to be found here (yet).

Anyway, over the next week, I plan on writing a couple of posts that chronicle my mostly successful experience with laser eye surgery. Perhaps they can provide a kernel or two of useful information for those Googlers considering this expensive, potentially scary procedure.

Vancouver sunset triptic

For my bedroom remodeling project, I had some prints made of three photographs that I shot while at a conference in Vancouver this past June. The photoshop used a Chromira continuous tone printer and Fuji Crystal Archive Paper, and the results were stunning. I bought three identical frames and mounted them as a triptic. Screen res versions are linked below; click on the thumbnails to view the larger images.

Vancouver sunset with seagull in foregroundVancouver sunsetVancouver sunset with kayak in foreground

Near the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus is a clothing optional beach. During some conference mixer, I snuck away and made my way over to said beach, camera in hand (get your mind out of the gutter). Beach access is very limited at that particular part of the UBC campus thanks to precarious cliffs and a safety fence. I walked along the fence until I came to a steep, rough-hewn wooden staircase that wound down the cliff. Not noticing the signs which declared my destination to be the “Clothing Optional Beach,” I made my descent.


I am taking the day off from work to wait for a freight delivery — 330 pounds, consisting of a California king mattress, foundation, and pillows. The original plan had been to accept the delivery early in the day, and I could still go in to work and put in a half day. Not going to happen. If I were a wise man, I would use this time productively. However, I find that often when I am preoccupied with waiting for something (or someone), I can’t seem to focus my energies to effectively execute any other task of substance.

In a way it reminds me of Estragon and Vladimir’s fruitless wait for Godot. Time moved on, but they did not. Their absurd antics accomplished absolutely nothing. Life passed them by as they waited, and waited, and waited.

Now if you are expecting me to draw a ridiculous, tenuous parallel from the aforementioned to another, more significant part of my life, you came to the right place. If you are expecting me to use my blog writing as a means of cheap, dubiously effective, self-administered psychotherapy, well…again…

Thinking in metaphor

Sick of being surrounded by characterless, insanely dull off-white apartment walls, I have started to remodel my master bedroom over the past two weeks. This past evening, while finishing up the trim and repainting blotches of cheap plaster pulled up by blue painter’s tape, a combination of repetitive brush strokes, noxious interior satin latex fumes, and poor ventilation started to get to me. However, instead of passing out, getting a headache, or hallucinating like most normal people, I began thinking in metaphor.

Thanks to college, the army, college again, and an uncertain job market; I have never stayed in one particular area for much more than two years. Over the past decade and a half, I have lived in over twenty different locations worldwide. I often never bothered to make these places “my own,” or put down any other kind of roots because I knew that I would be moving on soon — a new city, new off-white walls, new acquaintances.

Body by Bowflex - The plan


Ever since I reintegrated into civilian life, my weight has been a nagging problem. During my military service, I had cultivated a voracious appetite. Two large Papa John’s pizzas with garlic butter dipping sauce in one sitting? Nema problema. However, I had offset the calories consumed with daily rigorous physical activity.

More PT, Sergeant, more PT!
We like it; we love it; we want more of it
Make it hurt now, Sergeant; make it hurt

Throughout my last two years of college, my sedentary lifestyle caused my weight to hover in the 200-220 pound range. (I’m 6 foot 2 inches, BTW.) However, I hit the proverbial bottom of the rock in autumn of 2001, right around the time I lost my job in advertising. Reaching a zaftig 274 pounds, I swore that I would take the weight off and never let myself go like that again.


Last updated January 21, 2005 is powered by Movable Type 3.1x and hosted by TotalChoice Hosting. I first developed this site on a 500 MHz Power Macintosh G4, but now edit it on a 1.4 GHz Mac mini, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS2, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, and hand coding. The fonts used in the banner graphic are Adobe Brioso Pro and dincTYPE Fourway.

The stone statue image comes from a building in downtown Sarajevo, BiH, that I photographed while serving with the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) during Operation Joint Endeavor.

Why not Mike?


When choosing a name for this blog, I wanted a moniker that was meaningful on a personal level, but somewhat generic and meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Some time ago, I had registered the domain name as a joke and had set up a single page to explain succinctly why my first name is “Michael” and not “Mike,” as so many people insist on calling me.

It may seem petty to be so concerned with how others address me, as “Bill” said, “What’s in a name?” I’m still the same person no matter what I am called. In fact, my current last name is not even the one I was born with.

This nominal preoccupation is partly in deference to my mother, who named me as a memorial to her father, who had died when she was eleven. She would often correct those who incorrectly assumed that I could be properly addressed as “Mike” by indignantly proclaiming that she had named me “Michael,” not “Mike.”

Who is not Mike?


[Updated November 1, 2004]

While this site is titled “not Mike,” that is not what I use as my online handle. A Google search reveals that there are others who are thus identified, and I have no desire to step on their toes. I covered why I called this site “not Mike” in another post.

So I have established who I am not, and will now shed some light on who I am (below). I refer to myself as Michael in my posts, which is my real first name. I will continue to leave my last name off of this site to prevent those who Google my name from stumbling by. My personal web site is just a redirect away from

However, I plan to continue to hide my surname under a cloak of anonymity. Because my personal history is rather unique, my cloak will become increasingly translucent the more I discuss my background on this site; I imagine that it will be like a sheer black dress under the strobe of paparazzi flash bulbs to anyone who knows me. My semi-pseudonymous identity is not essential to this site; however, it is a convention that I will adopt for now to allow for more freedom in my writing.

About this blog


This weblog’s primary purpose is merely to serve as an outlet for me to write. As the old maxim states, the best way to learn the craft of writing is to write. I have been turned off from said craft since college and have let my skills atrophy somewhat. Whether this exercise springboards into my composition of the “great American novel” that brings me universal adulation, peer envy, and piles of cash is unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

A secondary purpose of this site is to raise my comfort level with the concept of blogging, the blogosphere, and blogging software. At my current place of employment, weblogs and related content management systems are poised to potentially have a significant impact on intellectual and informational exchange. It is to my detriment to remain ignorant to the “blogging phenomenon.”

The site will not have any thematic niche, per se, but instead will focus on random ruminations that might strike me as particularly significant on a particular day. If my self-indulgent journaling is able to provide useful information or entertainment to the errant Googler, so much the better.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.3-en