Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Played tennis tonight with John Panek and, after losing first set, felt strong and on the comeback trail when kind little Rockford Park Service lady came over and interrupted us and said the court we were playing on was reserved. It was our first time at the Guilford Tennis Center, the only place in Rockford to play (and pay) under the lights. She said it was $4 an hour, which is no big deal, but I brought no money with me. But I was heartened. All the courts were being used. There are tennis freaks in Rockford. Of course I knew that. I have the list of men to call and play with, but have stuck with Panek because he's a friend too. Still thinking about calling some of those middle aged dudes I played with back in June. Also plan to join the indoor league. It's $70, plus $10 an hour per court for court time. That's not too bad. Still hate the elitist tendencies of the sport.

Day two of the Tywon Barber murder trial focused on DNA evidence, the gathering and explanation thereof. Most of the testimony by DNA expert John Urtl of Wisconsin Crime Lab went way over my head. Bottom line, that which I reported, is that Barber is linked to crime by DNA found on a bloody glove which also had murder victim Michael Sims blood on it. Well, heck, here is a link to my story, which tells all. Why repeat ground I've already covered. Untold in the story is all the gangsta types coming in and out of the gallery, including a sad small high yellow woman with straight hair wearing a T-shirt with photo of deceased drug dealer Sims striking a gangster pose. Others in the gallery have tattoos on neck, corn rows and gold jewelry. I'm not making a generalization here. All such fashion statements are fine with me, but seem to also denote an identity with the Hood. And the Hood is an alien world to middle class white boy university bred boy me. My only exposure to this mizundastood culture is through rap music and pop culture and the courtroom.

I read an editorial in Sports Illustrated about the Driving While Black syndrome where black athletes are pulled over by police simply for owning and driving nice vehicles. The system that I see, the little small microcosm world of Rock County, is down on blacks. It is a white-dominated world trying to keep the brothas and sistas down. The jury in this trial I'm covering is all white, five men and seven women, but all white... Again, I speak from a white middle class position. And as many blacks contend, you cannot comment on the repression of the system unless you are being repressed by the system. And, clearly, I am not. But forgive me for treading the fine line of racism (which I am not, a racist. Racist a much misused and polarizing word, like fascism, which has lost meaning through chronic overuse. But for the sake of reference, I believe racism to be the inherent belief that one race of people are GENETICALLY superior to another), a lot of the problems in black culture are self-caused. The high-rate of illegitimate parents and drug use can only loosely be linked to the racist society. For the most part, those problems are self-caused. The persecution by law enforcement and, to a lesser degree, shunning in the job market, cannot be blamed for these twin ills of black culture. I have personally experienced more hatred and mistrust from black people than I have ever given. But I also find if I smile and make eye contact and treat people like people, no matter what color or race, goes a long way towards breaking down those prejudicial walls. And that's all I can do, this one small voice. Treat all people as kindred spirits worthy of dignity and love.

I picked up my Golite pack and other new lightweight backpacking goodies yesterday at my in-laws. Esther and I get our mail sent to her parent's place in Belvidere because we only have one mailbox in our fourplex. And even though we only have one other neighbor, a young woman kitty corner upstairs who is very religious and can often be heard yelling in tongues (she told us her church believes in ALL the gifts of the spirit. Duh, like you had to tell us), we still get most of our mail sent to Belvidere. Its been our address since we moved away from Antigo. In fact, having that address allowed me to write off most of my living expenses when we lived in Arizona last year. Can't believe it has been almost a year since that incredible experience. A year ago now we were living in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. I boiled water and added it to one of those port-a-showers, which I hung from a tree, already spray painted and ready for logging. I remember the ranger came by and said they cut the forest to prevent rampant fires. See how well this worked as the forest we lived in was part of the largest forest fire in Arizona history. Where is the logic of your words now, bureaucrat in puke green truck?

I received fabric materials to make a tarp and sleeping quilt. Very lightweight material: 1.1 ounce silicone impregnated nylon, permethrin filling, another nylon fabric, all of it ripstop, durable little squares. Going lightweight. After last year's AT debacle when we hiked some 70-something miles and, upon return to Arizona I had to see a chiropractor to fix my ailing back. And now my lower back hurting for a different reason. Shelf butt and courthouse wooden bench seating. God, I'm only 29. What will my back be like at 50? But at least I know the solution. I must work the back, put it through its paces. Tighten the muscles. Keep the vertebrae in line. They are too loose from so many daily crackings.

I used to suffer from insomnia until I took to heart something I read. I must go to bed at around the same time each night, which I will be doing soon. But what also works for me is the RITUAL of bedtime. I always do the same things, brush my teeth and then crack my back, set the alarm clock, take off the glasses (one modification: I will often read) and lay on my back. Cuddle with Esther and then eventually turn away to my side. I still have sleepless nights, but they are few and far between, and are often caused by caffeine or too much worry. Sometimes I need time to think rather than sleep, although my late night thoughts are worthless repetitions of pop song lyrics or images or work-related worries circling ever circling down the toilet drain. That's another thing I love about hiking, besides the freedom of nature and joy of exercise. No insomnia. Speaking of, it's almost 11 p.m. Time for beddy-bye.

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