Informational Archives

July 8, 2004

A First Post

Hi Steve, and thanks for your help in setting this up.

More soon...

July 21, 2004

A First Real Post

Well, if you're here, you're perhaps wondering what I'm up to. So here we go.

I graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in chemistry in May 2002. The following fall, pursuant with Career Choice #1 (teaching chemistry at the high school level) I student taught at Eden Prairie High School for 12 weeks, teaching chemistry to your average, suburban, mostly white 11th graders. This experience neither encouraged nor dissuaded me from going into teaching. I spent the rest of that school year substitute teaching, correcting tests at Data Recognition Corp., and at my part-time library job, all the while pondering what kind of full-time employment I should aim towards.

You see, Career Choice #1 was just that -- the first idea about what kind of occupation might suit me, a bright kid with diverse interests and a chemistry degree from a liberal arts college. I had never felt it was my true calling and passion, like some of my friends I student taught with. But neither did I think that it would be a terribly bad choice of a career -- it was in academics, working with kids, and using my degree. Honestly, it was my choice mostly because I lacked even a Career Choice #2, much less a #3 or #4.

Fortunately, this pondering came to an end in March 2003. The good news was that I found Career Choice #2. Actually, it was less that I found it and more that I finally noticed what had been staring me in the face for much of my academic life. Libraries. Duh -- the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to fit. And after a chat with Charlie Priore, my former boss at St. Olaf, I decided that getting my master's in library science (MLS) would be a good thing for me to do.

The bad news was that it was far too late to start a graduate school search for Fall 2003. So I was still left with a rather large period of time to fill with some sort of financially lucrative activity. And there I was, with a license to teach.

Well, one thing led to another and, a little over a year ago, I accepted a position at Robbinsdale Cooper High School (which I later learned is the second most diverse high school in MN after Patrick Henry High in Minneapolis), teaching 9th graders physical science. Somehow I knew this wasn't the right choice even on that day. The first week of school was the longest and most stressful week of my life. Needless to say, this was my cue to start the gears turning for Career Choice #2. I immediately began applying to graduate school in library science for Fall 2004.

So from then until January, I did as good a job as a first year teacher could, and also succeeded in driving myself crazy and depressed worrying about my job. Thankfully I had a caring mother, a fun group of friends, some awesome colleagues, two outlets to sing and -- most importantly -- my grad school apps and the knowledge that this job was temporary to keep me from going over the edge. Even so, sometime in mid-January, something cracked. Ask my students about the week their teacher was gone 3 days out of a 4 day week. As if I needed another sign that this wasn't the gig for me.

From February until school ended on June 4th, I did a better job of keeping myself sane, at the expense of doing a far worse job at teaching. <shrug> So it goes. I was bolstered during this time as well by exciting news from the graduate school front -- Indiana University offered me a scholarship package that will basically make tuition for my first year of study free, as well as a part time job in the chemistry library there. The decision was not hard -- IU, here I come!

The end of school could not have come soon enough. I soon found myself with more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. I've spent some of it rollerblading, reading, and fooling around on the Internet. And, of course, travelling. I took a four day trip to Indiana to search for housing, and I just recently returned from a ten day jaunt to Albuquerque to visit friends. But soon I will be leaving... my lease here in Edina runs out on July 31st, at which point I'll be crashing at my parents' house for two weeks until I can move in to my place in Indiana. In between now and then, I would love to see friends as much as I can... although the vagaries of moving and planning for moving restrict my time, I'm sure I will have evenings free.

After then... well, I guess you'll just have to keep checking back. :) It's been a long time since I've chronicled my activities in any way, but I will certainly do my best. I know that I am often curious what my far-away friends are up to -- what they are learning and thinking and doing. If you are too... then we're a good match.

Talk with you soon.

August 2, 2004

Adios, Edina... hello, Stillwater

Stage 1 of the move to Indiana is complete. After a whirlwind 48 hours of moving (thanks to Tom and Sam) and cleaning (many, many thanks to Gillian) I have vacated my much-beloved apartment in NW Edina as of July 31st and now reside at my parents' house in Stillwater. Almost everything I own is sitting in the polebarn under a tarp. How lovely.

Speaking of my parents' polebarn, this Friday and Saturday, it will be host to a garage sale, in which we will attempt to sell some or all of the larger furniture items I own, in order to expedite Stage 2 of the move. So if you're interested, stop on out to 13519 May Avenue and check out our wares. 9-4 on Friday and 9-12 on Saturday. You will note, however, that I will not be present on Saturday, as I will be making my way to Madison to visit Jen Sarafin and partake in my first Dave Matthews Band concert experience on Sunday.

May I also mention that this would be a great week to head to the Metrodome and see our Minnesota Twins in action. They are atop the AL Central by 5 games and swinging some hot bats. Tues-Thurs they are playing the Anaheim Angels and Fri-Sun they are playing the Oakland Athletics. All guaranteed to be great games. I'd love to go any night except for Saturday and Sunday.

Thanks for checking in. Peace.

August 9, 2004

Preemptive Trips West

The weekend jaunt to Madison was mostly a success. My friend Jen is fabulous, as per usual. Dave was right when he said "Not where you are but who you're with that really matters." The show was... an experience. I learned that mostly drunken frat boys and drunken blonde girls listen to DMB, apparently. Also, Dave Matthews himself has some sort of psionic connection with his guitar - he only becomes awesome when he's playing it. Otherwise, he's a complete moron. I had difficulty actually laying eyes on the musicians (not a huge deal for DMB, but pretty disappointing for Guster, who was opening) because the place was so huge, but the sound was good and the weather was beautiful.

Stage 2 of the move to Indiana is rapidly approaching. Friday we get the trailer and I leave Saturday morning. Sunday I will arrive at my new abode -- a limestone house I am renting with three other graduate students whom I've never met. (!!!) Yes, this shall be interesting... The e-mails between myself and my future roommates (Dustin, Ramsey and Chris) are flying, trying to figure out utilities and furniture and move-in times. Crazy. I will be there in a week. This hasn't sunk in yet. So much to do before then...

I will be chilling with Joseph on Thursday, around 7:45-8:00. Give him or me a call if you're interested in joining us. This is my last hurrah...

Enjoy the cool weather. Peace.

August 13, 2004

Departing Momentarily

A Minnesotan says goodbye to his native state for at least 1 1/2 years, and travels to a strange land where people vote Republican, they rally behind a mascot that isn't actually an animal (Hoosier) and daylight savings time doesn't exist...

Tomorrow morning, the caravan departs for Peru, IL, our halfway stop in between Stillwater and Bloomington, IN. Amazingly, everything fit in the 5x8 U-Haul trailer that we procured (through much trial and tribulation). Barry (my '92 Honda Accord) will be mostly empty on our trek, save for myself, a few precious items and Storyhill, of course. My mom is piloting the family SUV and trailer -- brave soul that she be.

Barring major catastrophes, Sunday I arrive at the Limestone Manor. (This is my preliminary nickname for the house I'll be living in. Yes, it is made partially out of limestone, as is much of Bloomington.) Tune in soon for first impressions of my new roomies and the process of arranging a house. Who will claim which rooms? Will Ramsey show up with a pool table as he threatened to? Will we find a dining room table? Will we get cable?! All this, and more...

I'll be back for New Year's and the first week of January. Until then -- peace.

August 17, 2004

Awesome Rankings

I have been in Bloomington for approximately two full days now and things are awesome. Let me rank the following items regarding being in Bloomington as to their awesomeness:

My House: Severely Awesome. Set back from the road and behind some trees, it is in a prime location, if a little ways from campus (no matter, the bus stop is a short walk away and campus itself is a good 1/2 hour walk on a nice day). It is an older house, but our landlord is busy busy busy cleaning and adding things. I live on the porch, which is a window-heavy, very spacious and open-feeling room. The fact that it is not naturally a bedroom has been remedied by the addition of a wardrobe and many blinds on the windows. My roommates are three: Dustin, Ramsey and Chris.

Dustin: Moderately Awesome. He is another first year grad student, but in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). His girlfriend Jenn has also moved to Bloomington, but can't move into her place until Friday, so he's been spending most of his time with her. He is friendly and straight-forward, but a little grumpy right now. Perhaps this will ease in time.

Ramsey: Quite Awesome. A second-year SPEA student, he has a social life here already, of which I've been a small part of. He is intelligent and well-spoken and interesting to make conversation with -- but still very much a black man from Virginia -- listens to hip-hop, dresses the part, etc. I'm excited to spend more time with him.

Chris: Curiously Awesome. A Ph.D. candidate in Cognitive Science, he hails from South Africa. (!!!) Besides the obvious accent, he is a walking psychology experiment. The last time he has spent any significant time in the USA was when he was 11. Watching his reactions to things here is endlessly fascinating. He as well is quite smart (near as I can tell, at any rate) and will be awesome to spend time with.

That's all I got for now. I'm off to contend with the Financial Aid office and look into health insurance and other basic stuff. Peace.

August 20, 2004

Gettin' Around

The largest challenge I've had so far since I've moved to Bloomington is getting to campus. I live far enough away from IU proper that walking is a less-than-attractive option, but it is not so far that I am willing to drive and contend with the hideous parking situation here. This leaves me with a few possibilities.

  1. Bike. Oh, wait, I don't own one. Nor do I really have a desire to purchase one. Shoot.
  2. Rollerblade. I tried this on Tuesday and was moderately successful. The problem here is that Bloomington is a fairly hilly city. Going uphill isn't much of a problem, just a little more exercise. Downhill is the dangerous part. The route I took to and from campus has more than a couple serious downhill slopes -- and I managed to avoid killing myself only by wearing down my brake more than I should over one day and finding strategic uphill slopes and letting gravity do the work for me. This may be an ongoing project as long as the weather remains amenable.
  3. The buses. This has been interesting. My first attempt ended up in me walking all the way to campus. Since then, I've had varying levels of success. It turns out that three bus lines go by 17th and College/Walnut, which is not far from my house. Right now, though, the timing isn't very good -- they all go by in between :45-:00 of the hour. So if it's, say, 12:02 and I want to catch the bus, I'm out of luck until 12:45. Hopefully this will change once the semester starts and they go back to their "school is in session" schedules.
Chris remains the most entertaining roommate so far. Just today he spent four hours (6 am-10 am) writing a fiction story ("I've never written fiction before"), told me that Eric Clapton and Keith Richards were both involved with George Harrison's wife at some point (the song "Leyla" was the result for Clapton), complimented me on my accent (?) and attempted to hitch a ride to campus.

In other news, we have a land-line in the house now (drop me a note if you want the number), our internet connection is on the way, Jenn is moving to her apartment today, and Ramsey and Chris have now both seen Transformers: The Movie. :) Things are proceeding well. And it's the weekend! I may venture into town and see some local music... or at least catch a movie.

Right now, it's time to find lunch. Peace.

August 31, 2004

School Daze

School has officially begun at IU. And the undergrads are out in droves. The people here are beautiful. I'll make the comparison again -- it's like St. Olaf, only multiplied by 10. It's kind of creepy, really... where are all the not-so-gorgeous people? The weather's been nice, so everyone's enjoying the campus to its fullest extent so far.

I had my first class yesterday -- L524, Information Sources and Services. Which I'll just call Reference from now on. Prof. Pnina Shachaf is Israeli and appears to really know her stuff, if I can get used to the somewhat broken English she speaks.

Have I mentioned the gender ratio in SLIS? Yeah, it's definitely in my favor. I would estimate that in Reference alone, there's about three or four girls for every guy in the class. The people in SLIS are rather varied though -- for the most part, they do not look like the rest of the student population (i.e., tall, blonde and gorgeous). Which is... I don't know. More real? Anyway -- my roommates are very amused by this line of talk. Ramsey busted a gut laughing when I said (with tongue firmly in cheek) that "basically, all the ladies are mine." Yeah, right -- maybe I'll actually work up the courage to talk to some of them.

Callbacks for choir auditions are posted today. Maybe I can finally get my schedule nailed down now. Any guesses on whether they'll let me sing in one of the good choirs even with a huge Monday afternoon conflict? If I make callbacks, that means I have to skip the first session of a History and Philosophy of Science class I'm thinking about adding. :( It's a strange place to be... I think I'll actually be fine with whatever outcome presents itself. I just want to be settled...

Well, I'd better start reading. I figured I should turn over a new leaf now that I'm in grad school and do my reading. We'll see how long this lasts. Peace.

September 4, 2004


That's what my quaint little college town is colloquially known as (on zillions of t-shirts). Two topics on which this town is unlike any other I've lived in:

  1. Alcohol. IU was named the No. 1 party school in the nation two years ago. I wondered what this meant for a long time. I think I'm getting some grasp of exactly why now. Let me tell you about some of the drink specials I've seen advertised recently:
    • Thurs at Bear's Place: 32 oz pitchers of Long Island Iced Tea for $5
    • Fri at Bear's Place: 22 oz Bud, Bud Light, MGD bottles for $2.50
    • Thurs at Yogi's: $2.50 specialty Smirnoff martinis
    • Wed at Jungle Room: 12 oz cups of MGD lite for 25¢
    • Thurs at Jungle Room: $1.50 Domestic Pints
    • Fri at Jungle Room: 24 oz Coors Light $1.50, 20 oz Killians Red $2
    • And my current favorite...
    • Thurs at Axis: All lite drafts: 5¢
    Yeah. In Ramsey's words, "There's no reason not to get trashed every single day of the week here. Unless you want to pass."
  2. Sports. Football season begins today. I went up to the stadium (within walking distance of my house) to watch the marching band's preshow concert and check out the scene. I've never seen so many red shirts in one place. There were dozens of mobile homes and people of all ages. I just heard fireworks go off (I'm back at my house now). I heard a dad telling his 3-4 year old son: "Can you say 'Go IU?' " "Go IU!" he parroted back.

Wow. And the football team is terrible. I can't wait for basketball season.

In other news:

  • I'm through my first week of class successfully...
  • Wednesday was L401, Computer-Based Information Tools. I waived the first two modules of this course, but I didn't learn until an hour and a half into class that I didn't have to be there, and won't until Week 6 of class. Ah ha.
  • Wednesday was also C471, Chemical Information Sources and Services (aka Chem Info). The professor, Gary Wiggins, is apparently world-renowned for his knowledge in this. Neat guy.
  • Thursday was L527, Management in Libraries and Information Centers (aka Management). I've never really given thought to a job in management before, but after this first class, the idea sounds vaguely interesting. This should be fun.
  • Friday was L624, Information Sources in Science and Technology (aka Sci Info). This will definitely be my semester for broadening my repertoire of information sources across my field.
  • ... and I have hundreds of pages of reading to do for next week. Whew. Here we go.
  • Choir auditions are finally done. I am now a member of the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. This was not my first choice or even my second choice. But Dr. Tellez was willing to take me even though I'll be missing most of Monday's rehearsals. I suppose I should be grateful for this.
  • I have DSL at home now. It runs like greased lightning.
  • I've eaten an entire package of Pepperidge Farm Soft Baked Chocolate Chunk Cookies over the past 24 hours. I'm not proud of this.

I'm off to find dinner and something to do besides sit in front of the computer. Wish me luck... peace.

September 7, 2004

This Is a Hard Job

Being a librarian is easy, right? You just sit at the desk and shush people who are noisy. That's all it takes, right? So why is Andrew wasting his time at graduate school?

In order to answer questions like this: "If a patron comes up to you and asks you for information on how to freebase cocaine, do you provide it?"

What would you do?

The unfortunate thing about this question is that however you answer, there are problems with your morals and ethics. If the answer is yes, you are clearly endangering the person you are providing this information to. Before, they did not know anything about freebasing cocaine -- now they do, and are possibly going to put their own life in danger. If the answer is no, you are in essence being a censor. You are not providing information when that is precisely what someone in your occupation is supposed to do -- provide information. You start sliding down the slippery slope. Now where do you draw the line? Books about marajiuana? Books about cigarettes and alcohol? Books about prescription drugs? What if this information is needed for important research? Are we, as providers of information, also called to be providers of guidelines for moral conduct?

Geez. This was the topic of my class session in Reference yesterday. This is not an easy job.

In other news:

  • I have no class today. Four hours at the Chem Libe and choir rehearsal is it. Sweet.
  • I'm teaching tomorrow. My boss at the Chem Libe has recruited me to do some bibliographic instruction sessions to some Intro to Biology labs. Whoo! So's I get to stand up in front of freshmen and talk about the library's website and Biological Abstracts, an indexing service. Send good thoughts my way (especially about the hardware I'll be using -- it's notoriously sketchy).
  • A stupid sophomore sat down in front of me at lunch today. He had the audacity to be wearing a New York Yankees t-shirt. Business major. Yeesh.

Choir rehearsal is next. :) Peace.

September 14, 2004

Nickel Creek and Other Joys


<pant pant> Okay, I'm done. That was just really exciting. Probably the most exciting news I've gotten in months. I missed my last chance to see them in August when I saw Dave Matthews instead (a bad choice, according to Kari Pearson), and I thought it'd be much much longer until I got another chance. Imagine my excitement when I opened up the Indiana Daily Student today and saw the news brief.

That's pretty much it for my main entry. Sorry, my life isn't too exciting right now...

In other news:

  • I've started my third week of school. I have assignments now. :( Unfortunately, I still hasn't kicked into a "school" frame of mind. I've already let some reading slide, and almost let an assignment slide yesterday. Yikes... I'd better kick it here...
  • My choir started looking at a Daniel-Lesur piece yesterday. For you choral geeks out there, he's a contemporary French composer in the same school as Messiaen and Durufle. It sounds pretty awesome. It's also pretty hard.
  • I lost the first Limestone Manor game of Risk. My opening position was fairly spread out, and I think I abandoned too many of my territories. That combined with an extremely unlucky and failed attempt to secure Australia was my undoing.
  • Mad Mushroom is definitely the best pizza I've had in Bloomington so far. I've yet to try Mother Bear, so we shall see how long it reigns.

That's it. I'm at work at the Chem Libe right now, so I suppose I should actually do some work... peace.

September 19, 2004

21 Days

Three weeks until Nickel Creek! :)

For those of you who didn't know, I'm a big fan of the Minnesota Twins, my hometown baseball team. And for those of you who don't know, they have a pitcher named Johan Santana. And this pitcher is unbelievable. Just head on over to the Twin's page at ESPN and you will find a number of links to this man's amazing season. Tonight, for instance, he pitched eight innings of shutout ball, striking out 14 batters. Fourteen. Wow.

I saw a few cool musical acts at the Lotus Festival here in Bloomington yesterday. Rachael Davis is a Michigan native making a name for herself in the Boston area as a singer/songwriter. She was fabulous. A band called Fruit from Australia sang some amazing and very passionate music, with great harmonies. And the Dorkestra was cool, too -- although honestly, I just wanted to be able to say I've seen a band called the Dorkestra.

In other news:

  • My old enemy, procrastination, has returned. Hopefully grad school will be more forgiving than teaching was in this regard. Somethings tells me this is unlikely, however.
  • Gillian sent homemade cookies last week. She's my hero. Unsurprisingly, they're almost gone.
  • Summer is still here. Sigh. Has fall arrived yet in Minnesota?
  • I've had a couple interesting e-mails exchanged with Megan... for those of you who know, they've been honest and very productive -- I'm feeling much more resolved about old, old issues. This is good news.
  • Thanks to Rob for the personal note! I'll write back soon, Rob.

Time for bed. Ah, sleep deprivation, how I've missed thee... peace, y'all.

September 22, 2004

Cool Stuff

Have I mentioned yet that I'm really enjoying graduate school?

I'm really enjoying graduate school. :) First of all, IU is awesome. There's nothing quite like a huge, public university campus. I mean, look at the Chemistry building. Yes, not just the Science building, but the Chemistry building. It's so cool. It doesn't have a foofy name, like the life sciences building (Jordan Hall) or the physics and math building (Swain Hall). It is named solely after its purpose. And it's got element symbols and even the old alchemist's symbols engraved into the stonework.

The opportunities here are seemingly endless. I mean, I want to go into the field of chemical information and librarianship. And when I apply, voilà!, I am given a graduate assistantship in chemical information and librarianship. Indeed, I will likely graduate with a certificate in chemical information. What could be better?

When I registered, I ordered opera season tickets. So I just got my ticket in the mail for this Friday's production of La Bohème. I get tickets to opera in the mail. Sweet. The music school here is crazy -- there are concerts every week, with symphonies, choirs, solo artists, visiting musicians... most of them for free.

And the work isn't even that hard. (Not yet at least. We'll see what I have to say about that in a couple months.) So I've got time to explore all these things. I'd go to a Chamber Orchestra tonight if I didn't have life maintenance things to do.

Yeah. Things are good. :)

In other news:

  • The Twins clinched first place in their division. Yes! Playoffs, here we come!
  • My friend Samantha beat me handily at NTN Trivia last night. Sigh. This is vaguely related to the previous item, as I unfortunately missed the question asking what famous Chicago landmark is at Addison and Clark. Jeremy would be ashamed of me.
  • I've eaten waaay too much pizza in the last week.
Back to work. Chemistry librarians design display cases? I didn't sign up for this... peace.

September 28, 2004

12 Days / Reality

Less than two weeks until Nickel Creek! :)

Reality is starting to set in here. This is a good thing, actually. I was kind of irresponsible all weekend, and it bit me in the butt Monday morning. And it probably will again before the week is out... I've got my first big paper due on Thursday, and naturally, I haven't started. Sweet. I'm realizing that perhaps I still haven't kicked in to a "school year" frame of mind. I guess it's about time.

I did go to my first (and possibly last) Hoosier football game on Saturday. The weather was beautiful, the company was great, and the football was painful. But then I had Japanese for dinner and Cold Stone for dessert. So that redeemed the day.

I think Tuesday might be my second favorite weekday (after Friday, of course). It's very pleasant to have no class after Monday. It reminds me of my friend Galen Heimerl from high school, who would frequently skip school on Tuesdays his junior year. He figured that was his reward for getting through Monday. This is the man who was choir president the next year. You're awesome, Galen.

In other news:

  • My Sci Info class is visiting the Chemistry Library on Friday. Whee! Roger said I get to help teach a little about structure searching. I'm teaching my own class! I love graduate school. (For those of you who are chemistry nerds: yes, you can actually use ISISDraw or some other structure drawing tool, 'port the picture into a database interface and it will search for substances and/or reactions involving that molecule. This blew me away the first time I looked at it.)
  • My Reference course has an ongoing assignment to collect relevant sources on a particular topic as we learn about them. My topic is alchemy. Apparently there's a lot more to it than just trying to transmute lead into gold.
  • Quote of the Week 2: "My Molecular Biology prof has a Boston accent. I could never live in Boston. I can't understand why everyone in Boston doesn't walk around punching each other." - David, Chem Lib front desk worker

I'm working on a chemical crash course for my Sci Info class. Better finish up. Peace.

October 3, 2004

7 Days / Choir Nerd-dom

One week 'til Nickel Creek! Hey, that rhymes. I'm a poet, and I don't know it.

I had a very choral weekend. It started on Wednesday or so (well, the weekend didn't, but this story does), when I saw an ad for a "Choral Evensong" being performed at St. Thomas Lutheran, the church I attend. So I e-mailed my friend David who plays the organ at St. Thomas and asked him if he was involved, what was up, etc. To make a long story short, I ended up singing in this event. I made it to the last of three rehearsals -- which was at 8:15 on Friday night. Yes, I am a huge choir nerd. But you knew that. The performances were Saturday evening at St. Thomas and this afternoon at an Episcopal church on the east side of Indianapolis.

It was good times. And I realized something rather depressing -- this little choir, made up of organ majors and other church musicians at IU, on three rehearsals, sounded better than CVE has in a month and a half. Sigh. Chats with J. Marty (who is in a master's program here too, for those of you who know J. Marty) further substantiated something that has been growing in my mind -- that the choirs here really aren't that great.

I also realized that, while I had a great weekend doing what I love doing the most (singing), I have failed to accomplish one lick of homework. So now that I'm home and settled, what have I done? Updated my weblog! Sweet. I'll be surprised if I get out of here with a degree at all...

In other news:

  • The Twins open the postseason against the stupid Yankees on Tuesday. Santana vs. Mussina. I predict a close game and can't rightly say who'll win. If Morneau, Ford and the other heavy hitters can be as productive has they have been, and if the bullpen can hold themselves together, I think the Twins have a very good chance of winning this series.
  • I have shared Storyhill with two people here so far, and they both like them. One has even suggested going to their upcoming show in Chicago! Oh yes. Soon I'll be hightailin' I-65. Anyone else want to go?
  • Ramsey and Chris spent about 15 minutes this evening discussing their various prospects for dates and female companionship. This is not ordinarly newsworthy, except that they did so under the auspices of discussing their strategy in the NFL draft. Example: "It's not my style to aggressively pursue my draft picks. As a perennial playoff team, generally I haven't needed to." "My likely pick is pretty new to the game and I don't want to go after them too hard or they get scared off." <shakes head> There's such a thing as stretching an analogy, right?

Perhaps I should sleep if I'm going to get to work on time tomorrow and not flake out like last week. Good call, Andrew. Peace, y'all.

October 8, 2004

2 Days! / Excuses For You To Get Out of the House

That's right -- Nickel Creek will be here, in Bloomington, playing their magical music just for me -- in two days! Hoo-rah!

Too bad I have to sit through this dork too. Ah well. Small price to pay.

In other musical updates: if I were still in the Cities, this is what my extended musical schedule would look like. Why am I bothering to tell you this? Because these are all awesome gigs -- performers I have seen and are either 1) independent and struggling to hold their own or 2) less popular artists who deserve to be much more well known. Check them out.

  • Mon, Oct 11: Brenda Weiler @ Bryant-Lake Bowl
  • Sun, Oct 17: Justin Roth @ Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul
  • Sat, Oct 23: Mindy Smith @ the Fine Line. If you go to one of these shows, make it this one. Smith is truly a rising star. Maybe you've heard her song "Come to Jesus" on Cities 97. If you have, and it sent shivers down your spine (like it did me the first time I heard it), do yourself a favor and buy your ticket now. I'm considering driving to Chicago to hear her the following day.
  • Thurs, Oct 28: JoAnna James (and others) @ the Fine Line (I haven't ever actually seen her, but she's a Stillwater grad, very musically talented, and her sound bytes sound pretty awesome)
  • Fri, Nov 5: The Olympic Hopefuls @ the Triple Rock Social Club
  • Fri, Nov 12: Caitlyn Smith @ Borders Books in Woodbury
  • Mon, Dec 13: Tres Femmes @ the Fine Line

I gotta run. Game 3 of the Twins/Yankees series is on tonight. Oh please oh please oh please, Carlos Silva, don't suck...


October 13, 2004


The Nickel Creek / Howie Day concert on Sunday was very cool. It was great to hear Nickel Creek live. I hadn't before and I believe in seeing any musical act I enjoy live at least once. They were a little rougher around the edges than I thought they'd be, and my rock star girlfriend Sara Watkins was decidedly less hot in person than I expected. Sorry, Sara... maybe you're not the girl for me. Please don't stop playing awesome fiddle, though.

Howie Day was cool too -- very genre-bending. I'd never heard the singer/songwriter genre blended with the electronica genre quite the way he did with his looping guitar tricks. And that's mostly what they were -- tricks. But still interesting to listen to.

I also have a concert coming up. Come at your own risk.

In other news:

  • The Twins got eliminated from the playoffs by the stupid Yankees. Sigh. Just because they can hit the ball a lot doesn't mean they're a good baseball team. I just wish the Twins would have hit the ball as much as they did. Next year's the big year, though: Twins '05, World Series Champions! Oh, and go Red Sox!
  • It's getting steadily more fall-like around here. Still not as consistently cool as I'd like it. But the trees are getting pretty.
  • Turns out grad school is still not very hard. Just time consuming.
  • I'm actually learning things in my L401 class now. We're doing UNIX. It is good times.
  • Umm... well, I'm dating someone. Yeah, I was surprised, too. I guess being a mac pays off. Her name is Samantha (the same as I've mentioned twice previous) and I've been thinking she's really awesome basically since the first day I met her, but she claimed to not really be interested in a relationship, per se. She changed her mind. :) I'm glad she did. At any rate, I'll try not to let this decrease the amount of posts I make. Indeed, it might actually improve -- I think she reads this too...
  • Quote of the Week 3:
    "You guys are Risk players?" - Susan, referring to my roommates and me
    "Yeah." - Me
    "You guys are so hot right now." - Susan

"That is one nerdy woman." - Dustin, in response to being told about the previous exchange

Enjoy watching the debates tonight. Be sure to tune in (and watch my man John crush Georgie boy) in case you're still undecided as to who is more fit to run our country. Peace.

October 17, 2004


It's been a great weekend. Somehow great weekends always leave me tuckered out, though. Here's the rundown:

Friday: Katie Dunn, walking into SciTech, looks at me and says: "Ah. Hawaiian shirt. Must be Friday." Pumpkin-shaped iced sugar cookie from Sugar and Spice. University Chorale had their first concert -- Byrd, Batten, etc. Went out with Samantha to support my local organist. Go David! Hung out at Borders afterwards.

Saturday: Up too early for a couple reasons, one of which being the dress rehearsal for my choir concert. Dress rehearsal didn't suck too bad -- no guarantees for the real thing... Went to the mall -- found and immediately bought the coolest t-shirt I've ever owned. Wiffleball in the backyard. Chris looked like Santana (with moderately less control) out there. Very impressive. Inspired by the t-shirt purchase, subjected Samantha to Transformers: The Movie. Says she, while Kup was telling war stories: "He's just makin' that s**t up." Cheeky!

Sunday: Watched part of the Astros/Cardinals game with David while eating his Astros Victory Cookies. With milk. Almost fell asleep in his super-comfy chair. This was definitely the icing on the cake (or cookie?) for the weekend.

In other news:

  • The stupid Yankees are busy crushing the poor Red Sox. Boy, I'm glad I'm not a hard-core Sox fan -- I mean, the Twins losing was a bummer, but this is downright painful.
  • A quick shoutout to my teacher friends back in Minnesota. Happy short MEA week this week, guys! Manternach and Miller better be staying up until 4 am for me this Wednesday night.
  • Ashley Simpson's single won't get out of my head. Freakin' A.

<shakes head> I'd better wake up here. Time to grab some dinner before the show... wish me luck. Peace.

October 20, 2004

Not Much

I really don't have much of interest to say. I just wanted to express the fact that my life is just fabulous right now. I'm happier than I can remember being in quite a while.

It's actually kind of strange. I haven't had things go this right for so long, I can't take it without feeling a little bit guilty. Yeah -- screwed up. Blame my midwestern Lutheran upbringing. I'm sure this will pass -- either I'll get better with the guilt or things will come crashing down. Hopefully the former. :)

Factors in this (in case you're curious):

  • Classwork continues to go very well. It is not overly taxing, but still interesting and truly applicable to my future career. What more can I ask for from my classes? I'm looking at registration for next semester and am excited for what my classload will look like then, too.
  • My stress level is nearly nil. I can't remember the last time I haven't felt stressed about something -- work, future plans, family situations, etc. Wow.
  • Things with Samantha are excellent. Excellent. I won't gush about this but feel free to ask. :)
  • Oh, and most importantly: holy &%#$, Curt Schilling and the Red Sox. We'll kill those Yankees yet! I'll be watching the game tonight.

Work work work! Peace y'all!

October 25, 2004

Manic Monday

I generally don't like Mondays. But the way my Mondays have been going the past couple weeks, that may be turning around. What an exciting development.

Things continue to cruise along here in library science land...

  • Done with the UNIX module of 401. Easy as pie. Next is HTML. Why couldn't I completely waive this class? Sigh.
  • I actually did my reading for Reference today. Of course, it was on dictionaries, and really, there's only so much to read about dictionaries... at least, once you get past the whole prescriptive vs. descriptive debate... and (much to Samantha's dismay, apparently) I think I fall on the descriptive side of this one. ... did I just write all that? Wow, I'm a nerd.
  • Rocked and rolled my assignments for Management. I almost forgot that we get grades here. I care so little about grades, honestly. If I'm learning what I need to learn in order to be a good librarian, isn't that all that matters?
  • I've registered for classes for next semester. Collection development and online information retrieval, here I come. I will also be taking a class in the History and Philosophy of Science department, as a trial run of what it might be like to get a master's over there as well. Cool!

In other news:

  • These Red Sox are on a roll. Never mind that the things they have to do to Curt Schilling in order for him to pitch make me want to hurl. <shudder>
  • Kantorei had their fall concerts last weekend. I was feeling sad the last few nights, knowing Axel & crew were out doing their thing without me. Someone drop me a line and tell me how it went.
  • I'm digging this weather. High of 71 yesterday, and 69 today. Winter? What winter?
  • Samantha and I will likely be heading to Chicago the weekend of November 6-7. Saturday will be busy finally buying my desk from IKEA and seeing Storyhill (yes!!!), but we'll have all day Sunday to bum around. I've never planned a trip to Chicago all by myself. Any suggestions on things to do?

I must be off - happy Mondays are still busy Mondays. :) Peace.


I've changed my mind about my comments policy on this weblog. Steve has struck a preemptive strike against spammers (thanks Steve!), which was my primary reason for not allowing them. That and it'd be fun to hear from y'all every once in a while. So comments are now allowed on this post and all the others you see right now (including the one below, where I ask for your suggestions about Chicago -- hint hint). I'll get around to enabling the rest of the site later.


EDIT: This has changed. See the November 15th post.

October 28, 2004


Congratulations to the 2004 Boston Red Sox, World Champions for the first time in 86 years. They did things no one thought possible. They came back from being three outs away from elimination in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series with the Yankees. But not only that -- they won eight straight postseason games against the two toughest teams in major league baseball.

Unbelievable. What a wild ride. Thanks, guys. And congrats to all the Red Sox fans. This one's truly for you.

In other news:

  • I dreamt that Kerry won the election. I'm taking this as a good omen. By the way, did anyone else notice that headline about 58,000 absentee ballots gone missing in Florida?
  • Wait... it's Halloween on Sunday? Wow, where did October go? Shoot, I don't have a costume. Looks like last year's might get a replay.
  • Choir was cancelled today. My immense joy at this is definitely not a good sign about my attitude towards this group...
  • I was veering between boredom, despair and insanity for most of 401 yesterday. "This is a link tag. Make sure to close the tag at the end. The close tag has a slash..." Aaarrrgh. <beats head against monitor repeatedly>

Perhaps I will go now and make good use of my time. Unlikely, but possible. Peace.

October 31, 2004

All Saint's Day

Tomorrow is All Saint's Day. Many of you know this because of the far-more-frequently-celebrated All Saint's Eve, aka All Hallow's Eve, aka Halloween. But I think you should know that tomorrow is a holiday too. It needs love just like you and me.

Yesterday Samantha and I attended the SLIS Halloween party. (I reprised my mad scientist costume that some of you may have seen last year -- Sam went as Britney Spears a la the "... Baby One More Time" video, primarily because her first idea -- Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter books -- didn't quite work out, but provided her with an ultra-cute school girl outfit. Raaahr.) There weren't as many literary character costumes as I had thought, but still a good number of entertaining ones. Especially couples costumes. I had never realized or even thought of the phenomenon of couples costumes before this year. What a brilliant idea. Dustin and his girlfriend Jen went as the White Stripes, for instance. Awesome!

In other news:

  • The baseball season is over now. :( Umm... go Twins 2005!
  • I get a desk next weekend! You can't understand how excited I am about this, unless you've seen the pathetic setup I have in my room for my computer. Picture a bunch of cardboard boxes with a mousepad and my DSL modem sitting on them, and my monitor sitting on top of an inverted milk crate. Yeah.
  • Election day is the day after tomorrow. This really snuck up on me somehow. I'm going to try to take the day off of work, however, with the intention of somehow doing my civic duty of encouraging people to get to the polls. I mean, even though Indiana is doomed to send it's 9 electoral votes towards the enemy's camp, that doesn't mean we shouldn't exercise our citizen's right, does it? Does it?!? Sigh.

That's all I got. Supper calls. Happy -- err, I mean, spooky Sunday. Peace.

November 12, 2004

Way Too Long

Is how long it's been since I updated. Many apologies for this. Grad school suddenly got hard this past weekend and week. So I was pretty crunched for time. Things are slowing down a little... probably just in time to get geared up for the crunch at the end of the semester. But I'll make use of this breather to catch up.

Last weekend Samantha and I drove up to Chicago to a) buy my desk from IKEA 2) see Storyhill in concert 3) visit my uncle John and aunt Marti and 4) have fun poking around Chicago a little. It was 95% successful on all of the above. The missing 5% comes from the fact that I did not come away from IKEA with my desired desk, but the one I bought will do just as well. The Storyhill show was wonderful -- they played a lot of favorites, and some surprises -- Cecilia by Simon & Garfunkel, as well as some older tunes I've never heard live before. (For those of you who know, this is really pretty incredible for me.) John and Marti were gracious hosts as always. And fun was had, both in Chicago (puttering around Navy Pier and Millenium Park) and on the road. I was worried that my inexplicable love for driving long distances would not be shared by Samantha, but she certainly didn't mind, and perhaps might have enjoyed it as well. She was, as she has been in all things, a great companion. You cannot imagine how happy it makes me to have someone like this. Well, maybe you can.

The week so far has been as busy as the weekend was pleasurable -- which is "very." I had a collection development assignment due in Reference on Monday that took much, much longer than I anticipated it would. It got turned in on Wednesday. Whoops. A "quiz" (the teacher in me wonders how you can call 8 essay questions a quiz) in Management on Thursday, as well as all the weekly stuff, and top it off with a sore-throat-turned-runny-nose-turned-chest-cold, and I'm about done. Whew. I'm glad it's finally Friday.

And Friday is cool -- I am going to the opera again tonight. Three operas in under three months... damn, I'm cultured. And it is finally cold enough to wear either a suit coat or my dad's fantastic woolen dress coat. Very excited! This weekend should be good -- I am hoping for a little R&R time with Sam since we've spent a lot of time this week on schoolwork. I'll be sure to check back in again soon.

In other news:

  • I am becoming some sort of absent-minded freak. I have lost no less than four items of fairly substantial value (>$10) in the past two weeks. Luckily (and I do mean due to purely dumb luck) I have retrieved three of them, but the umbrella is still MIA. The common joke about losing your head if it wasn't screwed on is hitting a little too close to home right now.
  • We saw the Incredibles last Friday. It was (to steal a pun of startling originality from Joseph) incredible. Did anyone else out there notice the rampant Fantastic Four allusions? Also, fans of the They Might Be Giants documentary Gigantic may have recognized the voice behind the character of Violet as being Sarah Vowell. Cool!
  • Johan Santana was unanimously awarded the Cy Young award for the American League this year. This was very exciting for me -- seeing a pitcher I have been watching and rooting for since 2002 exceed all expectations. The Twins have him and Brad Radke to thank in large part for their third-straight run to the playoffs this year.
  • I've been using my web skillz quite a bit recently. We're in the HTML section of 401, so I've built an online resume, and am in the process of completing the second assignment, a small website "for a company or organization." I have perverted the intention of this assignment to suit my own twisted agenda -- witness the further elevation of my Storyhill nerd-dom on the web. More on the way, as Roger starts letting me get into updating the Chemistry Library webpage. Good times.
  • Last week I unwittingly purchased the weirdest floss I've ever seen. I just grabbed my favorite brand off the shelf, and somehow I ended up with Reach Tartar Control. It's bizarre. It's like, woven, sort of, like a piece of yarn, but not as thick, but still kind of... hmm... I guess I can't really explain it very well. And I can't seem to find a picture of it online. It's just weird -- take my word for it.

Thanks for checking in. Peace.

November 15, 2004

Commenterrible / Weekend R & R

The spammers invaded my weblog over the past 24 hours, posting no less than 70 prescription drug themed comments. Shoot. I don't think your anti-spam tactics were entirely successful, Steve. To try and combat this, I've closed most of my posts to comments -- I'll try leaving them open to comments for two weeks following when they are posted.

In other news:

  • It's Monday again. They just ain't as bad anymore. :) The weekend was great -- I did have plenty of down time, as I had hoped. This week won't be nearly as bad as last week, but I do have the threat of final projects looming on the horizon... sigh.
  • La Cenerentola was fabulous -- Samantha and I agreed it was the best of the three we've seen so far. Well-balanced voice talent, a great sense of staging and costumes, and the opera itself is just a joy to watch -- full of energy and colorful characters. What fun.
  • For those of you who know me at all, this is how pervasively my relationship is having an effect on my life: I purchased running shoes yesterday. (!!!) Whether I actually use them or not remains to be seen, of course...
  • Turns out that it's the middle of November. Christ the King Sunday is next Sunday, meaning Advent is just around the corner... unbelievable. It just doesn't feel like Christmas should be close yet. Although the weather is getting pleasantly cool now.
  • Quote of the Week 6:
    "Have you ever had gelato? It's really rich." - Samantha
    "Rich, eh? So, does it, like, own multinational corporations?" - Me
    "<without pause> It could." - Samantha

Oof. <stretch> I need a backrub. Time to sit up straight and jump into the week... peace, friends.

November 17, 2004

My First Meme

I don't even know what meme means. Did I use it right?

15 years ago today, I was...
1. Still confused about what was so great about girls.
2. Laying waste to some spelling tests.
3. Role-playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the playground.

10 years ago today, I was...
1. Reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time in 9th grade English.
2. Dreaming about Brandy Escabedo. Siiiiiigh...
3. Rehearsing for a terrible middle school play called Lagooned. I was the Witch Doctor.

5 years ago today, I was...
1. Doing my organic pre-labs and registering for second semester classes.
2. Rehearsing Vaughn-Williams' Ring Out Ye Crystal Spheres and marvelling at the new Buntrock Commons.
3. Dreaming of a farm girl 330 miles away.

3 years ago today, I was...
1. Cruising through Biochemistry and Genetics, and rehearsing with Garrison Keillor with the St. Olaf Choir.
2. Heartbroken and confused.
3. Deciding my student teaching placement and setting myself on the path for an apartment in Bloomington with Gillian and Amy. :)

1 year ago today, I was...
1. Still glowing after seeing Storyhill in Duluth.
2. Giving 120 9th graders a test on the periodic table.
3. Taking solace from my loneliness in a few friends, my choir and the far-off possibility of graduate school.

So far this year, I have...
1. Stopped being a teacher. Whew.
2. Moved to Indiana and started studying library science.
3. Found a rather wonderful young woman to share my time with.

Yesterday, I...
1. Completed two assignments in the space of 90 minutes.
2. Ate lunch outside without a jacket. I love Indiana.
3. Saw Jesus Christ Superstar!

Today, I...
1. Was bored stiff "learning" about Excel in 401.
2. Explored an area of campus I'd never been to before.
3. Had some marvelous chili made by my roommate Chris.

Tomorrow, I will...
1. Do laundry, hopefully.
2. Rehearse Bach's Mass in B minor.
3. Actually do my reading for 624. Wouldn't that be cool.

Enjoy. Pass it on.

November 22, 2004

Cruising Towards the Holidays

It's the Monday before Thanksgiving. And apparently the break has already begun. No one told me this. At St. Olaf, the campus is bustling up until Tuesday. Here at IU, a lot of people seem to be gone already. The bus was deserted this morning.

Ah well. I will be taking my leave relatively late, I guess. I'll be hitting the road as early as possible on Wednesday morning and arriving in Stillwater Wednesday night, if all goes well. My first time back in MN since August! It won't be for long, though; I plan on doing the same thing only reverse on Saturday, arriving in Bloomington Saturday evening. I think I'll need Sunday to get a start on final projects... guh.

I will have much of Friday free, though. Anyone want to call first dibs on me? :)

Highlights of the past week:

  • Tuesday, seeing Jesus Christ Superstar. This production was pretty comparable to the version I saw in Minneapolis in January 2003, with the notable exception of Jesus. Instead of being played by some washed up metal band vocalist, he was played by someone actually talented. Much improved. Samantha did not really like the show itself (citing the too frantic pace and lack of characterization) but noted that Jesus was hot and the girls in tight red leather were an interesting addition to the Passion story.
  • Friday, seeing Thoroughly Modern Millie (the movie, not the musical). Any fan of Julie Andrews who has not seen this is definitely missing out. Why did it take them so long to put this on Broadway?
  • Saturday, having a chocolate chip pancake at the Village Deli. :) Also realizing that it's probably the first one I've ever had, after watching my older sister have about 10,000 during Perkins trips of my youth.
  • Saturday, helping Samantha clean her apartment. This was more fun than I thought it would be -- especially seeing the final result. (Wouldn't Gillian be proud! :) )
  • Sunday, Thanksgiving-style dinner (referring to dinner as the noon meal -- ack, some folks in NW Minnesota would smirk at this) at Pastor Kyle's house. Drove out to his house in very scenic Brown County with Carrie and David from church and met his ultra-cute Norwegian elkhound Yente. Warmed up for the main event on his wife's delicious sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
  • Sunday, supper at the Irish Lion with Samantha and her uncles. Good food and fun conversation about her extended family. Apparently she's the sane one?

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I have much to give thanks for this year. I hope you do too. Peace.

November 29, 2004

Thanksgave / An R-rated Quote of the Week

"Back to life, back to reality..." This song usually echoes in my head after periods away from so-called real life. I always enjoy the reprieves from the grind that holiday breaks offer. Here's how mine went down:

  • 11 hours to MN on Wednesday. Snow in northern Illinois, but not bad the rest of the way.
  • Unsettlingly patriotic and right-wing Thanksgiving church service Wednesday night. God Bless America is not a Lutheran hymn.
  • A very enjoyable Thanksgiving (barring one major mishap) with family. I guess it just wouldn't be a family holiday without the paramedics showing up.
  • A trip to Maplewood Mall on Friday. Not as painful as you might think, and actually rather fruitful. Found what I was looking to get Samantha for Christmas. :) And no, I'm not telling what it is...
  • Hung out with Joseph on Friday night. Watched Young Frankenstein ("Call it a hunch!" Bwa-ha!), went to Chevy's with Fomps and Yuri, and played an utterly insane and wonderful video game called Katamari Damacy. Good times.
  • 11 hours back to Indiana on Saturday. It rained the whole. Freaking. Way.
  • Did nothing productive on Sunday. But it was a fabulous day nonetheless. :) Contrary to what Matt Kuhn lead me to believe, Shrek 2 is not as funny or good as the first. Sorry, Matt.
  • Quote of the Week 9: "So, it's kind of like 'fuck?'" - Samantha, in response to me trying to explain the usage of the word "Uff-da."

So now it's Monday. And I have, like, two weeks of school left. Wow. It will be busy with final projects, which I don't like of course, but actually is pretty okay in the broad scheme of things, seeing how unstressed I've been for most of the semester. First on the list: look for a popular article on nanotechnology that I was supposed to have identified two months ago. Hmm...

Happy almost December! Peace!

December 6, 2004

Another Brief-Style Entry

It's supposedly Dead Week here at IU, but you couldn't tell by looking at me. This will be the busiest week of my semester, judging by the two final project-type assignments due on Thurs and Fri that I effectively haven't started yet. Yikes! Well, I guess it's time to see if I really do do my best work at the last minute... so I'll see you on the other side!

Oh, before I go, here's the rundown of last week:

  • I did a lot of puttering on my final projects. So you can't say I didn't try to get started! I did! It just didn't work. :(
  • Garlic steak at the Malibu Grill Friday night. Very tasty.
  • A glorious vegetarian potluck at Mari's apartment Saturday night (as if to make up for the steak the night before... the juxtaposition of this just struck me... weird). The company was great, and the food was even better. Samantha and I brought a chili cheese soup w/tortilla chips, which was a big hit. Who knew eating without meat could be so good?
  • Lots of choir rehearsal -- 2 hours on Tues, Thurs and Fri in preparation for...
  • Choral concert last night. Got out the tux for the first time this year. Reports indicate that the Orrego-Salas went off well, despite being a difficult and non-stop bizarre piece. The Bach of course was lovely. :)

Umm... not a whole lot else to report. I guess it sounds like a boring week. But it really wasn't. Part of this may have to do with the fact that it was spent, like much of my life these days, with Samantha, who continues to be absolutely wonderful. Some of you who are in committed relationships may be able to sympathize with me when I say: it seems you can be doing the most mundane things in the world, but when they're with someone you love, they become, at worse, not so mundane, and at best, a lot of fun. That's where I'm at these days. It's awesome.

So. Speaking of mundane, time to do some HTML markup. Peace.

December 10, 2004

Almost There

Well, folks, I've lived through the week so far. The pathfinder is in and Reference is over. Not a bad class overall. Lots of work, but worth the effort, I think. The term paper is in and Management is over. That class turned out to be monumentally boring and I won't miss it. I've got one major project left (with deadline extended thanks to a scheduling error), then it's mostly piddly stuff into next Wednesday or so. We're in the home stretch...

It hasn't really been as bad as I thought. The term paper wasn't great, but came together with even less effort than I expected. I haven't really tackled my Sci Info project (bibliography) in earnest yet... that may surprise me. Not in a good way. :( But I'm looking forward to being done for a while and having some free time to spend with Samantha before break. Especially since I'm not going to see her for two and a half weeks... :(

Recent highlights...

  • Seeing the first theater performance I've seen here (outside of opera) -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s only play. It was very good, if not a little bizarre and very satirical. In other words, very Vonnegut.
  • Actually learning something in 401. The last module is on databases and I know have an elementary grasp of Microsoft Access. Seriously, this may have been a first.
  • An excellent free food experience: a couple Cingular employees stopped me in the hall early evening in the Union, ascertained my cell phone allegiances (AT&T -- close enough, apparently), gave me a bag of goodies, and directed me down the hall, where a free buffet of bread, deli meats and potato salad was awaiting my Freegan¹ consumption. I must say, it's definitely worth it for other people to have high cell-phone bills so I can get a free ham sandwich, stress ball and highlighter.
  • The recent appearance of gingerbread man cookies at Sugar and Spice and other bakery locations across campus. They're really good, and cheaper than my favorite iced sugar cookies.
  • Watching the St. Olaf Christmas Festival on DVD with Samantha. I missed it this year for the first time since before being a student there! So I had to watch. This precipitated Quote of the Week 10 from her: "All those happy boys and girls, being so earnest... I'm not sure I'd make it in Minnesota. I might puke."

It's Friday... I'm off to enjoy some of my weekend, before I have knock out the bibliographies I gotta do. Peace!

¹ Freegan is a word stolen from Brad Vifquain, the art teacher at Cooper High School. It is a mutation of the term "Vegan" and refers to people (like Brad and myself) who tend to have an above-average interest in free food.

Christmas Break Plans

For those of you who care, this is when I'll be where over the holidays:

Dec 21-27: in Marco Island, FL, for my uncle's 70th birthday and Christmas with the extended family for the first time in years.
Dec 27-Jan 5: in Minnesota, probably staying with my family. Likely the only time I'll be back in Minnesota for a while (summer's looking really iffy). I recommend taking advantage of this.

That is all.

December 14, 2004

Answering That Age Old Question

"What do you want for Christmas?"

Well, try this. No need to stick to it exactly... if it gives you some other ideas, go for it. I like music/movies/books in general and I'll probably be pleased if you're giving me something and not charging me for it. Note the comments... there are a few items (one in particular, the Olympic Hopefuls CD) that Amazon doesn't sell (yeah, I know, shocker, there are things Amazon doesn't sell) that I'd like too.

Note also that I don't actually condone buying items from Amazon (they're just the only place I know that does online wish lists). Please support your local retailers!

December 15, 2004

A Riddle

Q: What has two thumbs and is done with his first semester of graduate school?

A: This guy.

Whew. That's a good feeling. That means that in between 5 pm today (when I get off of work) and 5:15 am on Tuesday, December 21st (when I get on the shuttle to the Indy airport), I have 129 hours to do whatever my little heart desires. I even have all my Christmas shopping done! You can bet that I'll be sleeping quite a bit, eating out in celebration, doing some packing and wrapping of presents, and hanging out with my current favorite person in the world, Samantha, 24/7. 'Twill be grand. Here's how it all finished up:

  • The bibliographies for Sci Info came together pretty well. They were not very well balanced, but oh well. They're done.
  • Final commentary for Sci Info - done. Access and 4D comparison for 401 - done. "Final paper" (basically an evaluation) for Chem Info - done. Whee!
  • Went to Mari's last night for homemade sushi. Many of the diners there are vegetarian, so there wasn't actually much raw fish involved, but lots of nori, rice and fresh veggies. So, so good. Man, I eat well at this girl's place. I need to go there more often.
  • Saw the Reverend Horton Heat at the Bluebird after sushi last night. One word for this guy: psychobilly.
  • I'm hoping Samantha would like to go out tonight to celebrate (she's done today at 5 pm too). Maybe to see a movie? Has anyone seen Closer or Ocean's Twelve yet? Are either of them any good?

That's it. Thanks for coming along for this first semester. Peace.

December 23, 2004

We Are Family

I am nearing the end of my second full day on vacation at Marco Island, Florida. It's been a lot of fun so far. For those of you who didn't know: my uncle John is celebrating his 70th birthday and his 30th anniversary with his wife Marti this year, and invited family to Florida for the holidays.

The last folks arrived today, and there are 15 all total. We are quite a handful. The waitress last night was almost scared to be in between John and my mother, and we had to be spread across three tables tonight. This brings to mind the idea of critical mass for nuclear reactions -- mustn't have too much of a volatile substance in one place. :) We have eaten out a lot and it's been very good. I've had shrimp, grouper and scallops. You don't get seafood like that in Indiana. Go fig.

I wish Samantha were here, though. Everything I've been doing she would enjoy as well -- the seafood, going to used bookstores, and sitting around laughing and telling stories with family. She has been inquired about. I think she would fit in wonderfully. Which bodes well, at least.

In my spare time, I've been reading a little-known children's book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. And even if you have heard of it, you probably didn't know that there are sequels as well. Anyway, I've finished it, and it was an enjoyable read. I was impressed by the mention of Nicolas Flamel, one of the most famous alchemists, in very appropriate context. I was confused by the term Sorcerer's Stone itself, however. The object they are referring to in the book is actually called the Philosopher's Stone. I have been informed, though, that the British version uses the correct name. Leave it to the Brits to be historically accurate. I am on to the second one now -- more news on that as events warrant.

Speaking of which, I think I'll get back to that before bedtime. Tomorrow is shopping for the gift exchange we'll be doing and more tomfoolery with the Wick clan. Enjoy your Christmases, friends -- assuredly they're more white than mine. Peace (and joy)!

December 29, 2004

Excitement in Minnesota

I am in Minnesota now. It is Wednesday. I have until next Wednesday to get my fill of all things Minnesotan for another indeterminate length of time. If you wish to do any of the following things:

  1. See me
  2. Meet my girlfriend Samantha, who is (to my immense delight, and against all better judgment, fiscally or chronologically) making the trek up here on Friday and will be here until Wednesday as well
  3. Have a well-trained soprano and baritone-bass at your service
  4. Get help moving into your apartment (Kari?)
  5. Go out to dinner or see movies or concerts with company instead just by your lonesome, you antisocial loser
  6. See the Olympic Hopefuls at Station 4 in St. Paul on New Year's Eve

... please e-mail, or call this number: 651-430-2464. This is not my cell phone number. Do not call my cell phone, because it is in Indiana somewhere doing me no good. It is the number for my parent's house in Stillwater, where I am staying for the week.

Did I mention that Samantha is coming up to Minnesota?

Samantha is coming up to Minnesota. :) I have this inexplicable urge to squeal like a schoolgirl. It's embarrassing. But very nice.

Anyway! Call me! E-mail me! Let's do this thang!

January 10, 2005

Minnesota Redux

As promised, here's highlights from my time in Minnesota.

  • My first time making candy-cane cookies all by my lonesome. I daresay they turned out pretty well.
  • The family gift exchange on the 28th. My family (read: my sister) received a fancy-pants digital camera from my father. I received a number of sundry items that I will detail when the final count has been made.
  • Samantha arrived on the 31st. :) We spent some time with Joseph and Steve before going to a crowded and extremely loud show at Station 4 in St. Paul. Champagne was had.
  • Saw Phantom of the Opera on the 1st. This should have been on my list. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Emmy Rossum was not too hard on the eyes or the ears.
  • Khan's Mongolian BBQ with Matt Peters and his girlfriend Sacha. No, Erik was not there, the punk.
  • A moving party for Kari Pearson (and Peter, in absentia), followed by sandwiches at Cecil's Deli. Samantha got a crash course in my largest group of St. Olaf friends. Which she passed with flying colors.
  • Breakfast at the Original Pancake House in Edina at 7. Freaking. AM. This was awesome, needless to say. Or, in other words, it was definitely not hand-made. Spent the rest of the morning at the Mall of America as well as a stop at the public library in Hopkins (a former workplace of mine).
  • Got our book nerd on by browsing one of the antiquarian bookstores in Stillwater. Yes, there are more than one. I love my hometown.
  • Attended a shindig celebrating the centennial of the Minnesota Capitol Building. In case you're curious, the only reason I went was because Kantorei was singing. Managed to catch up with Jeremy and Gillian (and later, Brad Miller) afterward.

All in all, an excellent visit. I saw almost everyone I wanted to see (sorry, Matt!) and introduced Samantha to many of the important parts of my life in Minnesota. I'm very glad she could make the trip and I hope we can find time to visit again. I still need to walk the hallowed groves on Manitou Heights with her... :)

I am now plunged back into the routine here in Bloomington. Nothing like 7 hours at the Chemistry Library to start off your week. First reports on classes coming soon. Peace!

January 12, 2005


Life is all about change, to make use of a banal cliché. I've been making all sorts of adjustments of late and I'm sure I'll have to make more.

One of the more pleasant ones has been downloading Firefox and Thunderbird on my computer at work. I must recommend these products as being very pleasant to use and much more security oriented than their Microsoft counterparts. Clearly any software that is named "<insert natural phenomenon here><insert one syllable animal here>" is superior. Feel free to comment with some more awesome software names... the only natural phenomenon I can think of right now is hurricane, due to Brian walking to the library earlier today and quoting the infamous Scorpions song.

Another adjustment is to get back into the routine for doing classwork. I've had three of my classes so far, and none of them are really going to be slack classes:

  • I590 - Information Retrieval from Chemistry and Life Science Databases (hereafter referred to as "Cheminfo Retrieval"). This is a seminar in the Informatics department taught by Gary Wiggins, one of the premier figures in chemical information in the country. Sweet. After I'm done with this course, if I can't find info about some chemistry topic, it can't be found.
  • L528 - Collection Development (hrta "Coll Dev"). Taught by Yvonne Oliger, a real librarian with lots of real experience, and a real problem with meandering and rambling in her presentation. More news on this as events warrant.
  • X507 - Survey of History of Science since 1750 (hrta "History"). My token HPSC course this semester to see if a dual-degree program might be for me. And it's a whopper. 11 books required for the course and we'll be reading one every week. That's a book a week. These ain't no 50 page paperbacks either. If I can keep up with this, I can do anything...

Last but not least is L570 - Online Information Retrieval (hrta "Info Retrieval"), tomorrow morning. And then my week's done. Yes, that's right, I don't have anything to do on Friday -- no work, no choir, no nothing. Let's hear it for three day weekends every week.

In other news (adjustment related or not):

  • Sunday was an almost completely Freegan day (see this entry for definition of that term). The nice people at my church fed me for lunch, and I ate dinner courtesy of the Village Deli while attending their holiday party with Samantha. Sweet.
  • I'm having to adjust from being a Harry Potter disparager to a Harry Potter enthusiast. Some of you will know how difficult this is for me. I'm on the fourth book now and trying to carve out some time to finish before my classes swamp me.
  • I jogged a mile yesterday. (!!!) Can I adjust my schedule to keep this up? We shall see...
  • Today marks three months that Samantha and I have been dating. :) This makes me very happy to realize. It also strikes me that it feels like it's been a lot longer than that.
  • Quote of the Week 11: "It was this that made me realize that cicadas are basically land shrimp." - Brian Winterman, chatting about the infestation of cicadas in Bloomington last summer. "Land shrimp" has to be the funniest phrase I've heard all week.
  • My History prof used the word "scads" in class today. Sweet.

Better run. Scads of reading to do. Peace, all.

January 18, 2005

Chickening Out

I am in the process of dropping my History of Science course. I had a heart-to-heart with myself, and I said to myself, "Self, do you really think you're going to read a book a week with three other classes to attend to?" And the answer was a resounding no. I'm not sure what made me think that it was actually plausible that this would occur. I was seriously kidding myself. Sadly this is the first time an academic course simply scared me out of taking it. I am not impressed with my behavior. I've been trying to rationalize it to myself all day and it's only sort of working.

So I hope to be adding L546 (User-Centered Database Design) in it's place. "Hope" being the operative word. Unfortunately for cowards and Johnny-Come-Lately's like me, the drop/add process after the first week of classes is hellish -- involving multiple redundant signatures and a 25% tuition fee. I'm not sure how this is going to work with my fee remission -- Rhonda the Amazing SLIS Office Worker filled me in a little and assuaged my fears. But we shall see.

Otherwise things are situation normal. So, 'til next time...

January 24, 2005

The Professional

Okay, so I'm no Jean Reno. But I feel kind of professional today. This is my 7 hour day at the Chemistry Library, so I was able to tell someone (looking for help following up my bibliographic instruction last week) "Yeah, I'll be here all day..." and I looked all know-it-all for a dude looking for a journal article. "Looks like our subscription for that only goes through 1994... would you like to order it through ILL?" "Why... yes. Yes I would." Boo-yah.

For those of you who care, I have dropped the History of Science course and added the Database Design course. I think this is for the better -- having some experience with databases fills in another hole in my repertoire of computer skills. Even though it condemns me to staring at a computer screen for three out of my four classes this semester. Alas.

So I have that class (hereafter referred to as Databases) on Wednesday mornings. My prof is a big friendly-looking dude named Andy, who is apparently a Ph.D. student in SLIS. I've started a little of the reading, and it's pretty dense... but I'm actually kind of looking forward to sinking my teeth into a more serious computer class. I know I'm good at this stuff, so it'll be an opportunity to see how far I can take it.

My last class, finally, is Info Retrieval. Both this class and Databases didn't meet the first week, due to their professors being out of town. The prof for this one is another Ph.D. student, this time an older woman named Yung Rang Cheng (someone out there help me with the pronunciation -- she said that those who can't pronounce her Chinese name can call her Laura, and I don't want to be that guy!) who seems to be a little cranky. Yikes. I think I'm glad I didn't take Cataloguing from her as well. This class sounds like a lot of work.

So yeah. If last semester was Reference and Management semester, this is Information Retrieval and Organization semester. Good luck to me. In other news:

  • Samantha and I hosted some friends for dinner last week. I think it was the first time both of us had ever done so. We were impressed, at least. Since Samantha doesn't have a dining room table, we bought a blanket and some throw pillows and prepared an excellent space for a carpet picnic.
  • For the past two weeks, I have exercised at least two days out of the week. This also may not sound impressive, but for a guy who has always been purportedly "too busy to exercise," I'm pretty damn pleased. I've been trying to hit the indoor track twice a week, and also try and frequent a 30-minute group exercise session called Core that works your abs, back and torso kind of similar to Pilates.
  • The weather here has been pretty seriously wintery recently. I've been regretting my complaints about the tepid temperatures earlier on. But I'll still take this over rainy any day. Leave the rain until March, please!
  • I have some hilarious friends. I thought I was funny in doing one of my assignments for 401 last semester (the result is the StEaDI An link under Storyhill below), but I've got nothing on Davin.
  • Quote of the Week 12: No funny this time. Just a particularly poignant verse to a song off of my new Alison Krauss album that's been floating around my head for the past three weeks. It's hard to leave, but it's harder to come back.

"And the people who love me still ask me
When are you coming back to town?
And I answer, quite frankly,
'When they stop building roads
And all God needs is gravity to hold me down.' "

Another Monday morning down. Guess I'd better actually do some work here. Peace, friends.

January 31, 2005

Infrequent Updates

Yikes. It's been a week since I posted. Sorry about that. I usually don't have much to say anyway... but I'll try and dredge something up, here... ooh, this is interesting:

Samantha and I have begun a project. Many of you are probably aware of the list that the American Film Institute put out in 1998, about the supposed 100 greatest American films of the century (1896-1996). We're going to buff up on our movie history and try to watch all 100, starting from the bottom and working our way up. Will we actually accomplish this? I think there's a good possibility, judging by the amount of time we stand around in the movie store or the Kent-Cooper Room trying to decide what movie to watch. Now we'll always know. And (hopefully) it'll always be good.

So I'll try and keep a chronicle of these when we watch them. See the next post for details on #100.


Ooh, ooh, ooh! Guess where Samantha and I went on Friday? Guess, guess, guess!! We went to WonderLab! :) :) :) It was sooo awesome. There was a bubble exhibit, and a huge pinboard, and a oversize grapevine to climb around inside, and awesome brain teasers, and this CRAZY ball machine where the balls went on like 25 different rollercoaster tracks and played bells and spun wheels and twirled stuff and it was SOOO COOL!!!! I totally have to go back.


Whew. Seriously, Wonderlab is a great spot. Maybe I can get a job there...

In other news:

  • I went to a tea time sponsored by Lutheran Campus Ministry and the equivalent group with the Episcopal church on Friday. David was there, of course -- how could we miss a Episcopal-Lutheran gathering? :) Samantha came along as well, mostly for the tea, but was pleasantly surprised to find an organized religious group talking about GLBT issues. We may win her back yet...
  • We visited the Bazaar Cafe yesterday so I could do a little Info Retrieval homework with the peerless Mari. It's a very cozy little spot -- one of your standard "older homes with lots of retro furniture turned into a coffeehouse," except that they've got wifi, too. Check it out -- on 6th street, right next to the Runcible Spoon.
  • Speaking of which, did you know that the Runcible Spoon has a downstairs? We just discovered this recently. Wild. That place is way awesome. Their pancakes rival the Deli's in sheer mass, although (of course) not in quality.
  • We're planning a visit to the Chicago-land area again, in two weeks, to see the St. Olaf Choir on tour, and maybe visit the downtown Chicago Public Library, too. Oh, what nerds we are...
  • Quote of the Week 13: "How's it hangin', God?" - Chris. I've been growing the beard out and I was wearing what Matt Merkt used to call "the Wick outfit" -- white dress shirt over a white t-shirt and khakis, and I'm starting to get the "You look like Jesus!" comments again.

I can't believe January's almost over already. Crazy. Enjoy 2005 while it lasts, people... it's cruising by... peace!

February 5, 2005

Stop and Go

My life feels kind of like a stick-shift car with only second and fifth gear working.

I kick it into fifth gear from Monday to Thursday, when my commitments generally start at 8 am and usually aren't through until (at best) 4 pm, or (at worst) almost 9 pm. Whew. I mean, one gets a lot done in a day this way, but where does one find time to do one's homework, not to mention the mundane-but-necessary things like grocery shopping or dishwashing? Samantha and I threw in the towel last Wednesday pleading exhaustion and went home instead of going to the gym, promising ourselves we'd make it up the next day (which we did).

And then I slip down to second gear for Friday-Sunday. I like second gear. It's a smooth ride, just kind of tootling along, fast enough to go somewhere, but not so fast that I need to maintain a high level of concentration. I think it's that concentration that makes the first part of the week so exhausting. Like today. I've done nothing of any worth except dork around on the web, listen to my new Olympic Hopefuls CD twice (preliminary favorite tracks: Holiday, Whisper), and update my blog. I'm thinking a shower might be nice sometime soon, but you know, I'm in no rush.

So I'm currently trying to decide if the three days of little scheduling and rest are worth the four hectic ones. The thought is dawning on me that four days might be too small to fit a whole work week into and maybe I should try to move some scheduled commitments to Friday. Note I said "dawning" and the thought hasn't exactly fully formed yet, as it is likely being beaten back down the horizon by my enjoyment of Fridays off. I guess I'll just wait and see who wins.

In other news:

  • Speaking of Friday, had a really nice one yesterday. Samantha and I walked into town and had pancakes at the Deli, went by the library to pick up AFI #99, then went up to campus to run errands, went out and did laundry and found her a new backpack, and got back in time to get dressed up and go to Mikado for sushi (sooo good) before going to the opera, which was A View From the Bridge. Which sadly did not exactly change my opinion about contemporary opera much (which is that they are bad). I think Arthur Miller's plays are best when they remain plays.
  • My classes are going pretty well. Both the Info Retrieval and the Database course have ongoing, semester long projects that have their first 'milestone' assignment due this week. Which I should be thankful for, because the milestones for this assignment will perhaps keep me from procrastinating on them. Perhaps.
  • We have started looking at DIALOG in my Info Retrieval course, which is the second text-based, command line system I've be introduced to this semester (after the STN system that Chemical Abstracts uses). Which is my cue to start mixing the two up terribly. Sigh.
  • Speaking of CA, Gary Wiggins, the prof for my Chem Info Retrieval course, is starting to plan a field trip to the Chemical Abstracts offices in Columbus, OH. I'm excited about the prospect of doing this, which just goes to show how much of a library nerd I am.
  • Let me emphasize again. The sushi at the Mikado was really, really good. Highly recommended.
  • Hey, is that Bowl thing coming up soon? I've seen something about that whilst trawling the baseball sites I frequent. That means funny commercials, right? I'm all about that. Who wants to watch?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, all. Peace.

February 14, 2005

V Day

No, it's not World War II Victory Day, merely a "holiday" to honor our loved ones. Although I'm sure opinions differ on this day, I hope your day is filled with love. Samantha and I celebrated our Valentine's Day Observed on Saturday with a fancy dinner, as part of our...

Trip to Chicago last weekend. The St. Olaf Choir gave a tour concert at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, on Friday, so Samantha and I used it as an excuse to make another weekend trip to the windy city. My uncle John and aunt Marti were wonderfully hospitable as usual.

The choir was excellent, although perhaps not as tear-jerking as they have been for me in the past. They did some familiar numbers (O Day Full of Grace, A Boy and a Girl, My Soul's Been Anchored) as well as some new ones (a Keith Hampton arranged tune called True Light, a new Charles Forsberg composition). I saw a few old choir buddies who are in the area. Fun reunions.

Saturday Samantha and I poked around downtown. We stopped at the Art Institute (echoes of Ferris Bueller!) and the Field Museum briefly. Our visit to the downtown library was thwarted by early closing hours. Seriously, who closes a library at 5 pm? Sigh. We made our way out to Evanston and had the aforementioned fancy dinner at Pete Miller's, a cool steakhouse. I had ribs. 'Nuff said.

Now I am back in Bloomington, where the weather is lukewarm and wet. Sigh. I am tired of Indiana winter. In other news:

  • It is Lent now. has changed colors appropriately. I have decided to give up spontaneous desserts for Lent. Those iced sugar cookies at Sugar & Spice are killing me. Also, no more Cresent Donut, no more vending machine snacks, and no more running out to the Encore Cafe or Puccini's for cheesecake.
  • I saw Million Dollar Baby last Sunday. Definitely a punch in the gut. I'm down for the count. Unforgiven is next on our AFI list, so I'll be getting the double dose of Clint Eastwood...
  • Spring Break is only a month away. Ooh, ooh, time to start planning... Beantown, here we come!
  • This isn't really news, but it deserves its own bullet point, I think. If you live in Bloomington and haven't been to Tortilla Flat for dinner on a Tuesday, you owe it to yourself to go. The tacos are really cheap and so, so good. Never has there been such a taco deal since Twilight Tacos at the Tacoasis in Northfield. That's tough to beat, but I can safely say Torilla Flat has done it.
  • Things have been very quiet on the Storyhill front lately. This could be a good sign, though, because a long silence is sometimes broken by something awesome. Like a new album. In related news, my silly Storyhill site shows up 18th on Google if you search "storyhill". And 7th if you search "storyhill lyrics". Yes I am a nerd.
  • This site is totally valid. See the graphic on the left-hand side. Don't you wish you were valid?

Talking about tacos is making me hungry. Time for lunch, I think. Peace!

February 22, 2005


Edit for Google searchers looking for information about Drambuie: you spelled it wrong. Try this.

Why have I had this word stuck in my head all morning? I didn't even know what it means until a few minutes ago. (Those of you who know will notice that I misspelled it, since that's how it sounds and how I originally started looking for the meaning. I'm not trying to draw any unrelated Google searchers here.) It turns out be a cool Gaelic word meaning "the drink that satisfies." A Scotch liqueur has appropriated as a brand name, unfortunately. But I think I'll keep using it in its misspelled version to describe my favorite drinks. Like orange juice. Mmmmm... drambooie.

In alcohol-related news, Samantha mixed me a drink the other day that I actually kind of liked (Bailey's, Kahlua, and vanilla soy milk on ice). Will Andrew actually cease being a tee-totaller one of these days? Stay tuned...

Most exciting event of recent times: Seeing Peter Schickele at the IU Auditorium Sunday night. For those of you who are not familiar with him, Schickele is a Juilliard-trained musician and composer who refuses to do anything serious with this talent. He is solely responsible for distributing the works of P.D.Q. Bach, the supposed last and least of J.S. Bach's children. I didn't know what to expect from a live show, but it turned out to be half-concert, half-comedy hour with Schickele and his two (also rather talented) vocalists, poking fun at every convention in classical music (and I do mean every, like the house lights going up and down and everything). Good music and bad puns abounded. A tromboon (trombone with bassoon mouthpiece) and piano variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (Scintilla Scintilla) for two hands and nose were featured. Hilarious. I was very impressed and very entertained. There were many Quotes of the Week, but I can't remember any of them now.

In other news:

  • School work is kind of ramping up here. The semester project for Databases actually needs to start getting built this week. I've got a library "visit" to do and write up for Coll Dev, and Info Retrieval is starting to get down to the wire as well. I may be a little lacking in posts in the near future...
  • Made some of my world famous brownies for a dinner engagement Saturday night. They turned out even more fabulous than usual, thanks to the substitution of some Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate and Cocoa for some of the baking chocolate. Once again Mari outdid herself with Thai pizza. Yum.
  • Saw Constantine last night. Can't say I was terribly impressed. Keanu was lackluster as usual. Rachel Weisz is hot. The casting of Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel qualifies as brilliant. Special effects were very nice. I think my view of graphic novels and related media has been affected by reading too much Alan Moore and Warren Ellis, whose writing is just too smart, snappy and engaging for anything else to live up to.
  • Fun web toy: the Name Explorer from Baby Name Wizard. Type in a letter or two to show the changing popularity of names that start with those letters.
  • I somehow missed out on ordering Girl Scout Cookies this year. Is the season over already? Someone give me a hand here. Don't tell me I won't get any Piñatas this year.

I leave you with Kenya, an old favorite of mine I re-stumbled across today. Free snorkel with every visit. Peace, all.

February 28, 2005

Quick Shots

  • Busy week this week. Have assignments due Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, not to mention planning for my road trip to Boston. This post will be short.
  • Saw Dialogues des Carmélites on Friday. Excellent music -- can't go wrong with Poulenc. Story was difficult to follow. Also depressing. After this and View from the Bridge, am ready for fluffy Mozart (good thing Magic Flute is next).
  • Samantha was given a fascinating DVD recently -- a recording of a made-for-TV musical version of Cinderella, by Rogers and Hammerstein no less, starring Julie Andrews. Apparently this was performed and broadcast live for a massive TV audience (107 million people) in 1957. It's truly a unique recording, as I don't think anything like this was ever done to the quality that this one was produced. I'm curious if my mom remembers seeing this in her youth, considering it probably would have been right up her alley.
  • Attempted to do karaoke with Samantha's friend Mandy and the Deli crowd on Thursday. Failed miserably due to prevalence of undergrad drunken idiots and rather disappointing selection of songs. Ended up at the Vid (via Yogi's) for some quality hangin' out.
  • Went to the IU/Michigan State basketball game yesterday with David and Jon from church. We were all Mission Impossible with our plans (getaway car, changing clothes, etc). As it turns out, we picked a great game -- it was close for the whole 40 minutes, and IU pulled out a thrilling victory in overtime. We left too early to see the crowd rush the court.
  • Oscars were last night. Thrilled to see Million Dollar Baby take some top awards, and to see Cate Blanchett and Morgan Freeman get theirs. Very pleased to see Charlie Kaufman win Best Original Screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind! Samantha says she must see it now. Eeeehhcks-cellent. *temples fingers* We also made some very good bruschetta with bean puree for our gathering (once again at Mari's, and once again, she was quite impressive with tomato soup and homemade ravioli).
  • Spring training has started. Minnesota Twins are looking good! Am hoping to see them a few times this summer, maybe in Chicago for a White Sox game, maybe at home when I go back for Alison's graduation. We'll see.
  • Getting sick of cold and damp weather. Glad it's the last day of February.
  • Can't believe it's the last day of February. Where did this semester go?
  • Off to work. Peace!

March 7, 2005

In Like a Lion

March is a crazy month. In Minnesota, it's usually still snowing for much of it. Here, it snows for the first day or two, and then gives us beautiful weekend weather. Samantha and I got out to toss a frisbee around on Friday (she's really good -- best girl I've ever played frisbee with), and it was in the 60's yesterday. And apparently now it's going to be cold again. Darn it all. And I left the house without a jacket today, because it felt warm. I'm losing my Minnesotan-bred instincts...

Well, it was a busy week, as I had guessed. But I actually got everything done and in on time -- which is not normally how busy weeks ended up in my undergrad life. Maybe I'm growing up? Or maybe I can just whip off assignments that look good much faster... And I even got a good start on this week's stuff. Dang. For those of you who wonder what it is that I do as a library science major, here's a sample. This is what I accomplished last week and got a start on for this week:

  • Collection development paper about the St. Olaf Science Library.
  • Built multiple forms and tables for an Access database.
  • Profiled my client for Info Retrieval.
  • Did multiple substructure searches and citation retrievals in the Chemical Abstracts databases.
  • Typed up a database narrative and sketched an entity relationship diagram.
  • Practiced my DIALOG searching skills by doing word and phrase searches, sorting and ranking results and comparing with web-based databases.

A lot of stuff, but it's worth it to get it done early, because I take off on Friday for Boston and all points east. Yes, it's Spring Break, and time for Andrew's 3rd Annual Traipse About the Country. (The first two were to Seattle/Portland in Feb 2003 and Toronto in March 2004.) This time, I will be accompanied by the peerless traveller and fellow road warrior Samantha Humphrey. *applause* More details on this soon...

In other news:

  • Finally made Samantha watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I love that movie... I should really own it. She enjoyed it, and we've had some interesting conversation about erasing memories.
  • Played wiffleball yesterday! Yeah! My team won, 11-8, with yours truly striking out Clark Wheeler looking with a wicked slider for the third out. A big shout-out to Andrew Estel for organizing. Also a big shout-out to Zack, the random kid at the park who played with us.
  • Also had a choir concert yesterday. Yes, you're right, I didn't warn anyone about this, but honestly, I never think they're going to be any good until we get to the dress rehearsal and I suddenly think, "Hey, maybe this won't suck." Well, I guess it didn't. Paul Betty and his girlfriend even came out.
  • Got my hair trimmed on Saturday. It doesn't look a whole lot different, but it needed to have the ends cleaned up (I guess? This is what Samantha tells me). It's getting really long. I'm hoping to get it long enough to pull it back without looking like a dork.
  • Saw a exhibition of print-making art on Friday. Am really only mentioning this because 1) it was an excellent Freegan event (free pizza!) and 2) Jen's roommate is a printmaker, yes?
  • I made some CDs purchases recently... most notable is Guster On Ice -- a live CD and DVD. It is tons of fun. Recommended for all, and heavily recommended for the Guster fan.

It's noon already, choir is cancelled and so is Samantha's class. Shaping up to be a wonderful Monday. Hope yours is the same -- peace!

March 14, 2005

Posting From Afar

I am in the basement of Harvard's Divinity School, where Ramy has graciously taken us for some free and fast Internet access. So I must post.

We have made a whirlwind ten state journey in the last three days. Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland were behind us on Friday, on our way to Baltimore to meet and stay with Samantha's mother. Baltimore was nice -- a variably classy and dumpy metropolis on Chesapeake Bay. We ate crab and tootled around the harbor. Sunday saw Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts roll past our windows on our way to Boston. A brief stop in Hartford to connect with Carlynn Savot and Jeremy Glen, and we found ourselves not far from Cambridge, home of Hahvahd (as the Bostonians say).

Today has been spent sleeping in (aahh, sweet sleep...), eating at an awesome breakfast joint called The Breakfast Club (cue sweet 80's mix and posters of John Hughes movies -- I had The Criminal), poking around Boston's North End, where the thick Italian accents and stereotypes live on.

Must go -- ribs and wings to eat.

March 17, 2005

Posting From Afar, Part II

Writing from Antonia's computer in South Yarmouth (Cape Cod), Massachusetts now. Have had an exhausting but exciting three days...

We ended up getting awesome burgers instead of ribs and wings on Monday night. If you're ever in Cambridge/Somerville and hankerin' for a burger, head up to O'Sullivan's. They have, like, 25 different kinds.

Tuesday saw us visiting another crazy good eating joint (burritos at Anna's Taquierito or something like that), racing around Harvard seeing libraries and other cool buildings, and then heading out to Boston's Back Bay area and seeing the Boston Public Library. I've never seen a public library quite like this. It is an honest-to-goodness research institution. The rare books room was magnificent to behold. There were murals on the third floor that have the somewhat dubious honor of being the first pieces of visual art that have evoked in me a emotional reaction that previously have been limited to music and dance. Cool.

Tuesday night we met up with Sarah Nagell and went to the Union Oyster House, another historic landmark and a fantastic seafood restaurant. Samantha and I had lobster for the first time. A challenge to eat, to say the least, but well worth it.

Yesterday we bugged out of Boston (after checking out the Emerson College campus on behalf of my sister) and headed out to the Cape, where Samantha's friend Antonia lives. Here, we've been taking it easier -- we mostly just chilled out last night and had an unremarkable dinner at a local place. We're going to go out sightseeing after I finish up here.

Such is life on the road. I am struck by a number of things as we travel...

  • There are lots of little things that distinguish areas of the country from one another (names of grocery stores and gas stations, types of terrain, styles of road signs). You get used to them very quickly and begin to wonder why this is so different from where you live.
  • Friends are friends, no matter where they are, how you met them, or how long it's been since you've seen them. I am loathe to lose touch with people, and I'm being reminded why.
  • Samantha remains a great travelling companion. She fears that I'll tire of her -- she worries in vain. :)

Off to see the coast. Peace for now.

March 21, 2005

Post-Traipse Post

Well, we're back. Let's see what else I can tell you about the trip...

We puttered around Cape Cod on Thursday, seeing (surprise, surprise) two more libraries. Antonia works at a little public library in a town called Marstons Mills, where I bought a READ t-shirt (something every librarian should own, I think) and started reading Harry Potter 5. Bad idea -- now I want to read it instead of doing homework. We had some delicious salmon (made by 'Tone and JC, her beau) and had a very pleasant, relaxing evening.

Friday and Saturday were our travel days back home, which were mostly uneventful. We holed up in Williamsport, PA for our halfway stop. Samantha attempted to drive my car (a manual transmission, which she hasn't tried for years) with varying levels of success. I forget how difficult it is to drive a stick shift... We finally pulled back into Bloomington at 6 pm on Saturday. This was excellent planning on our part, as it was a godsend to have Sunday to get our lives back in order around here. We even had the opportunity to go see The Corporation, which is a fantastic and scathing documentary about corporations that was showing at The Cinemat. Please, please see this movie, y'all.

So, in the spirit of Harper's Index, I present:

Andrew's Spring Break Index
11: States visited (Rhode Island made eleven, on the way back)
9: Rides on the Boston subway
7: Libraries visited
5: Seafood themed meals
5: Desserts had
4: St. Olaf friends seen
4: College campuses visited
3: Sites visited that are the oldest _______ in continuous service in the US (Episcopal church, restaurant, library)
2: T-shirts purchased (one mentioned above and a "Yankee Hater" shirt with logo from Boston)
1: Rank of the World Trade Center in Baltimore in the list of tallest pentagonally shaped buildings, and also in pentagonally shaped buildings I've been to the top of
1: Fantastic friend who shared it all

So Spring Break is over -- boo hoo. I don't think I'd be so displeased about this if I hadn't picked up a cold somewhere along the way. And here I thought I'd be able to escape the winter without getting sick.

Thanks to all who hosted us and entertained us on the way. I can only offer the same in return if you ever find yourself in southern Indiana.

March 28, 2005


This effectively sums up a number of things: 1) The weather this morning. Rainy and cold. This doesn't look like Easter. 2) Samantha's attitude towards the world this morning. 3) My attitude towards the world this morning. 4) My attitude towards all things school related last week. And I don't really have the energy to address any of these in any semblence of a sensible order. You have been warned.

Clearly I'm ready for spring/summer. This cold and rainy was getting old in December -- it's far past getting old now. Summer also means I won't be taking four classes at once. I really appreciate SLIS footing the bill for 30 credits of my tuition, but they could have spread it over two years instead of one. So I can spend my time rollerblading and playing frisbee and reading for pleasure instead of destroying my eyesight staring at a computer for 10 hours a day. Thankfully, this blissful time will be upon me in a month or so -- the spring semester is over the first week of May. It couldn't come soon enough.

In between now and then, I need to do four final projects. Guh. Whatever happened to final tests? They were much easier to deal with. If anyone out there wants to 1) build an Access database 2) research speech recognition using advanced information retrieval skills and reflect on it 3) write a paper about proteomics databases or 4) whatever the hell my Coll Dev professor is going to throw at us, please let me know.

I mostly ignored my schoolwork this past week. I fear I will do the same this week. I'm going to try and counteract that this morning -- be sure to check in and see how I do. In other news:

  • School stuff. Blah. Frustrated by Access and intrigued by Entrez.
  • Easter was yesterday, for those of you who aren't familiar with a little-known religious sect called Christianity. This means Lent is over, and I am free to have spontaneous desserts again. I'm sure my waistline will thank me.
  • Had a wonderful bout with dizziness on Saturday while doing my taxes. Unrelated? I doubt it. Actually, it probably had more to do with what I had eaten that day (a bowl of cereal early, two pepperoni breadsticks at the mall food court at 1 pm. This happened about 3:30 pm).
  • But I did get my taxes done. I had to file in Minnesota and Indiana. That was no fun, let me tell you. But I think they're even accepted already. Come to me, sweet tax refund...
  • I watched a very long but rather interesting TV miniseries called The 10th Kingdom over the weekend. A kind of modern fairy tale starring Kimberly Williams (from Father of the Bride) and John Laroquette. I couldn't get Laroquette's character from Night Court out of my head for a while. But it was really entertaining and lots of fun. And made me want to read Fables again. Ooh, Monroe Public has volumes 1-3... hee...
  • Baseball is just around the corner! Whee! The Twins are whittling down their team for the Opening Day roster... exciting stuff. On a sad note -- Bob Casey died over the weekend. He was the announcer for Twins baseball for 40 years -- at old Met Stadium and then at the Metrodome. Truly a sad day for Minnesota baseball fans.

Bah! Enough tomfoolery. Off to keep my nose to the grindstone, as my dad would say. Peace!

Correction Regarding the Weather

Some higher power obviously took heed of my pleas. It is sunny and in the 60's now. And will be sunny and in the high 60's/low 70's tomorrow -- wiffleball at 4 pm at Bryan Park is looking like an excellent possibility. Back me up here, Estel.

April 4, 2005

Sin City: Columbus, IN

Yes, enter this strange, perverse metropolis in southern Indiana, where hookers dish out vigilante justice, where Nancy swings that lasso at Kadie's night after night, and where fine works of architectural beauty mix with classic, small-town Midwestern atmosphere -- no, wait. I'm getting my weekend all confused.

Friday I saw Sin City with Samantha. It was just about exactly what I expected. In hindsight, I'm not even sure why I was so excited about this movie. I've perused a few of Miller's graphic novels (the original, Hell and Back, The Big, Fat Kill) in preparation for the movie, and haven't really found them to my liking. Don't get me wrong, they're amazing -- Miller's art and storytelling is so unique and very striking. But the rampant violence and moral ambiguity mostly just had me unsettled. Naturally, since the movie is such a faithful adaptation of Miller's work, all that transfers right to the screen. Samantha pointed out how the dialogue sounds very different when it's actually being spoken instead of just written on a page -- and not in a good way. I'm not sure I'd recommend the film.

Saturday I went to Columbus, IN, to sing a hymn festival in honor of Paul Manz. This in itself is not unusual, as I am prone to involvement in such things, due to my friendship with a certain member of the Bloomington branch of the American Guild of Organists. What was unusual was the fact that the highway to Columbus was blocked by a major car accident for over an hour. We eventually decided to take a long and windy detour (along with most of the other people going) which ended up getting us to Columbus almost and hour and a half late. To make an already long story less long, it was a very lengthy day punctuated by very little non-sugar-based food, except for a Denny's Grand Slam at about 10:45 pm. Also, the Denny's in Columbus is scary.

Sunday the only thing of great consequence I did was watch the Red Sox get pwned by Randy Johnson. Sigh. In other news:

  • Yes, baseball has started. Whee! Go Twins! I'm wearing my Twins cap today. :) I could bitch about their roster decisions like everyone else in blogland, but I won't. I'll just hope Joe Mauer proves himself durable.
  • Once again, the end of the semester draws close, like a light at the end of the tunnel... one that proves to be the headlight of a fast approaching train. And once again, I continue to stare and wonder when it'll hit me...
  • The weather is definitely looking up. Hooray for spring.
  • Registration for summer and fall classes is beginning. So far I have opted to take a couple of seminars for the first summer session -- they look to be of a lower rigor level than the things I've been taking. Which will be nice -- summer is a time for academic rest, right? The fall schedule is still up in the air, pending whether or not I can get an internship worked out.
  • I have lots of dreams and wishes about how my life will look next year. They involve more jobs, less class and a bigger apartment. We'll see how this goes...
  • I know from experience that deaths frequently come in threes, but it still surprises me when it occurs. Terri Schiavo: her mind has been dead for a decade, thank goodness her body is now too. Mitch Hedberg: a wonderful comedian gone far before he should've. Pope John Paul II: since I'm not Catholic, I really don't mourn this much, but I recognize the indelible mark he left on his church and the way the world saw it. I pray the powers that be can choose a leader that will lead the Catholic Church into the new millenium.

Off to work. Maybe. Peace, all.

April 11, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I watched my first Twins game of the year yesterday -- they were on ESPN, so even the little sports bars in southern Indiana could get it. And I was more than pleased. Even lacking our starting first baseman and shortstop, and with John Corbett playing catcher, the Twins held off the surprisingly decent-looking White Sox squad and won 5-2. And my man, Johan Santana, was in fine form, striking out 11, including three in one inning. It is such a rush to watch this guy when his pitches are working and making everyone look idiotic. Add a Torii Hunter three-run homer and you've got an awesome game.

Thanks to this and Sinden's recent take on baseball, I've got the seventh inning stretch theme song stuck in my head. Sigh. In other news:

  • Samantha and I saw The Magic Flute on Friday, the last opera of the season (tear!). It was fabulous, as predicted. Except for it being sung in English. But the undergrad playing Tamino was fantastic, and everyone was certainly up to snuff. My only issue? Trying not to snicker during the Queen of the Night's aria, because Florence Foster Jenkins' version was playing over and over in my head... *cringe*
  • Oh, yeah. We got sushi again before the opera. Tradition? I think so. This time, it was at Sushi Bar, which is also an improvement over Asuka. Mmmmmmmmm.
  • Beautiful, beautiful weather over the weekend. We just had to get out and play. Wiffleball was a success on Saturday afternoon, and I rollerbladed up to campus yesterday. I can't wait until summer.
  • I had a wonderful meal after church on Sunday. This isn't surprising, considering the student lunches at church are always of high quality (especially because they're free), but this one was actually at the cooks' house, south of town. It was perfect -- sitting on their screened-in porch, with a soft breeze, eating baked beans and mashed potatoes, discussing things of a silly and/or serious nature. So, so good.
  • I talk about food a lot. Is this normal? Like, I could make three more comments about the food I've eaten in the past four days. But I won't.
  • Except, don't get chicken fingers at Yogi's. They were rubbery and tasted burnt.

That is all. Back to checking baseball sites -- err, work. Yeah, that's it. Peace!

April 14, 2005

Field Trip

Chemical Abstracts Service (known as CAS to those who care) is arguably the most important database provider and vendor in the chemical information field. Conveniently, it's located 4 hours away from Bloomington in Columbus, OH. For my Chem Info Retrieval course, we took a field trip on Tuesday. :) Although it was 8-9 hours round trip, we got a good 3 hours in at their home offices.

We saw one of their editors at work, doing what CAS does -- indexing and abstracting chemical information. We saw the tools they use to go through a document, create the links and the indexing and the associations. This was super cool to see (because I'm a huge nerd). We had a couple of guys who seemed to exude "sales staff" give us presentations on STN Express and SciFinder Scholar, two of their most popular access products. Too bad we already knew everything they were telling us. Then we saw the Data Center. Picture a command room in some sort of James Bond movie, complete with big screen computer displays showing intricate network diagrams and clocks showing time in cities around the world. Yeah. Also, we saw the server room. You know how CAS has a file (called REGISTRY) that contains data on over 25 million chemical compounds and 50 million biological sequences (DNA and protein)? Yeah, I saw the servers that that file is stored on. Crazy.

So that was cool. Also fun to talk to Alison Rollins for most of the trip and foist my music tastes on various people in the car. Hee. In other news:

  • Some bike race is this weekend. I don't know.
  • The Twins r0x0red the Tigers last night -- 5 runs in the first inning. Nice.
  • I have a lot of stuff to do. I may not be posting again for a while.

Yay weekend! Too bad it will be busy with homework... sigh. That's the end of the semester for you. Peace, friends.

May 1, 2005

May Day

Why is it that the phrase "mayday" came to represent something bad happening? The first of May seems like it should be a nice day. You know, with little blonde girls running around may poles with ribbons and such? It is a nice day here, incidentally.

I haven't updated in a while, and that's because I've been busy. This is my toughest semester, and the last couple weeks have definitely lived up to that. I've been 1) writing a plan for a collection development policy and 2) designing forms and queries and reports for my database and 3) doing online information retrieval about voice qualities in advertising in a lot of my spare time. All three of those are done now, making me about half done with final-type stuff. I've still got two huge papers to write for Wednesday and Thursday. Hmm. Those two days are really close together, aren't they? Curious...

But summer is coming soon. That is good. I've even got a decent idea of what I'll be doing. For the first half of the summer, I'll be taking two SLIS workshops -- one on Extended Archival Description (some sort of HTML-related technology thing) and one on Intermediate UNIX. A couple of interesting computer skills courses, basically -- a total of 3 credits, which is 1/4 of the credit load I take during the semester. And they're both on Wednesday. That and my 15 hours/week work at the Chemistry Library makes up all of my official responsibilities for Summer Session I. Sweet. Session II is still up in the air -- I've applied to be an AI for summer chemistry courses, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. I'll probably just have my Library work and not much else.

Otherwise, my plans are to 1) rollerblade and play frisbee a lot 2) watch a lot of baseball 3) read a lot. I can't wait. Oh, and maybe do some travelling...

  • May 14th -- Samantha's uncle Rich is celebrating 20 years with his partner and they're having a party this weekend. Meet Samantha's dad -- yikes!
  • June 4th -- Alison graduates from high school. Wait a second -- wasn't she just starting junior high? Man. I'll be back in MN (with Samantha hopefully in tow) to witness the event.
  • Sometime in July or August -- head to Georgia to meet Samantha's friends and see her hometown.

I'll try and be more prolific on here when the semester is over. Then again, I probably have less to talk about... ah well. So it goes. I'm off to join Samantha for a late lunch and go to a staging for a film project I'm doing with my choir... ? More news on this as it happens, I guess. Peace.

May 5, 2005

Stick a Fork In Me and Turn Me Over

Because I'm done. Yeah baby. And what a better way to finish it than with possibly my most impressive procrastination product to date: a 17-page paper (to be fair, only 12 pages is text -- the rest is title, pictures and citations) about technologies and databases in protein bioinformatics, written entirely between 6:45 am and 2:45 pm (the time it was due) today. And my prof already graded it -- 100. That's 40% of my grade for that class. Oh yes.

So that wraps up Semester #2 here at the School of Library and Information Science. Assuming I've passed all my classes this semester, at this point I am about 60% done with my degree. I am looking forward to taking fewer classes and being able to concentrate more on other things next year. Like my internship? Right now I am in communication with powers-that-be at two nearby liberal arts schools (DePauw and Butler) about possible opportunities. They are waiting on me to finish finals craziness to move forward... and look at that, I'm done. So more news on this as it comes.

Speaking of the "more news as it happens" promise -- my filming project went well on Monday. My now former choir (the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble) was doing this kind of a "music video" for a contemporary choral piece as part of a grant proposal. As I had a central role in it (it was emulating a clock tower and I was speaking numbers in Italian -- no kidding), I was kind of the star of the film, representing the mind of the poet who wrote the text. The day was interesting -- I spent about half of it in a cold, concrete stairwell, sitting around looking dazed or walking slowly up the stairs, in pursuit of a dream... and about half of it in the Green Room, grazing on cookies and chatting with choir people. Ah, the life of a movie star. Honestly, though, I'm not sure I'd like a career in front of a camera -- there's a lot of loitering around and it got real boring.

In other news...

  • I saw Nickel Creek on Tuesday. Yeah, kind of sudden. I knew they were coming for a while, but I also knew I'd be bogged down in finals stuff. But eventually my love for their brand of progressive bluegrass won out and Samantha and I sprung $20 each to see them for two hours. I still think they sound better on their CDs.
  • We've sampled the fourth (and last?) sushi restaurant in Bloomington -- Domo. Nice atmosphere, but nothing that was more impressive than Sushi Bar or Mikado.
  • Nice weather this weekend, maybe. Wiffleball? I hope so.

Oof -- what a day. I'm off to bed to sleep the sleep of the guilty. Goodnight, and peace.

May 12, 2005

The Boys (and Books) of Summer

Hooray for summertime. Baseball is well into its second month, and the Twins are cruising along at 20-13. Which would ordinarily be plenty of wins to be leading the AL Central, if it weren't for the Chicago White Sox, who have gone and started not sucking. Anyway, it's been fun following them so far. A cool bar and restaurant called Yogi's generally gets all the baseball games, and Samantha and I have so far been there about once a week or so to watch. She's becoming a bona-fide Twins fan... sweet! :) Also, you might notice I've added some of my favorite Twins links and blogs to the left-hand column.

Also, summer means summer reading. I'm now completely caught up on the Harry Potter series and am anxiously awaiting the sixth book (along with the rest of the country). I've also started reading a series I'm long overdue for -- the Chronicles of Narnia. Enjoyed the first one and am on the way with the second.

I had my first taste of summer classes yesterday. My Encoded Archival Description class (henceforth referred to as EAD) looks interesting and will give me some experience in markup before I take the plunge into some more serious web stuff in the future. My Unix class looks to be super-intense despite only meeting once a week. Steve Cox is a machine at teaching this stuff.

In other news:

  • A tip o' the librarian cap to, whose new toon this week has the brothers Strong mentioning Boolean operators.
  • Recently I've seen a good movie (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), a freaky movie (Romper Stomper), a silly movie (Tomb Raider) and a pretty bad movie (Tomb Raider 2). And no, none of them are on the AFI list. We'll get back to it soon.
  • Samantha's dad and her brother Ben are coming to visit this weekend, for the occasion of her uncles' 20th anniversary. Much Humphrey family excitement will be had. :) I'm looking forward to being a part of it.

That's all the news that's fit to type. Peace, y'all.

May 17, 2005

Four Day Weekends

Remember how much joy the four day weekend was when we were in high school and college? Having Thurs-Fri or Fri-Mon off? I remember looking forward to the four day weekend provided by the state-wide teacher convention in Minnesota every October. Knowing that you've got two more days buffering your usual two day weekend just made the week previous that much easier. Time to take a trip, time to relax in earnest... just lots of time.

Now picture if you had that weekend every weekend. Welcome to my life this summer. :) I'm back at work after not being there for four days. It's a nice feeling.

This particular four day weekend was quite exciting. Samantha's father and brother were in town and we spent just about all our time with them. I had met Ben already and was prepared for his awesome presence. Her dad was just as easy going. We spent most of the weekend being supremely lazy, which was just what they needed, they said. I'm always happy to oblige someone's lazy tendencies. :) We also showed them around Bloomington a little (including the obligatory visit to the Lilly Library) and going up to Indianapolis to be at her uncle Rich's 20th anniversary party Saturday night, where we attended their beautiful service and liturgy and ate fantastic BBQ ribs and chicken.

It was fun to host someone else, and it's quiet now that they're gone. And I'm anxious to do it again. (Hint hint! This means you! Yes, you! Come and visit me!)

In other news:

  • I had a good time doing some singing at church the past couple weekends -- doing the kyrie as part of being a deacon, and also helping out David with a couple verses of chant interspersed with his organ prelude. I always get such nice compliments from people at church whenever I sing. Is it any wonder I like going?
  • Plans are slowly coming together for my visit to Minnesota in 2 1/2 weeks. Excellent. *temples fingers*
  • Some big movie opens soon. Does anybody know anything more about this? I haven't heard a thing. The whole media machine's been silent on it. Really.
  • A quick shout out to Sarah and Pete, two of my Bloomington peeps with kick-ass blogs that I've linked to now. You guys rule -- we should hang out sometime soon!
  • Quote of the Week 18: "Nothing says humble like cleaning someone else's can." - Matt Kuhn, waxing religious on humility, as only a seminary student with a janitorial summer job can.

So much for my bathetically ludicrous online gibberish today. See you on the flipside, and peace.

May 27, 2005

Past, Present and Future

Past: We saw Star Wars: Episode III a week ago, when it opened. I saw about what I expected -- a lot of flashy CGI special effects, and Anakin Skywalker sliding down the slippery slope of morality and fear... into a pool of molten lava. I did not expect it to be like the old trilogy... no junky Millenium Falcon limping its way across the screen in glorious lo-fi, no one painting a Han Solo gray in this black-and-white world, no strong female character. So I was not disappointed. Incidentally, I was inspired to go purchase the original trilogy on DVD after our viewing and spent the rest of last weekend watching it, so I can say these things after a recent review.

Present: It's a gorgeous Friday here in central Indiana. We ate breakfast outside at the Deli (chocolate chip pancake!) and went rollerblading on the Clear Creek Trail. Samantha looked like an expert after not being on blades for a year (at least once she got the brakes figured out). Right now Samantha is watching Robin Hood -- the Disney version of course -- after being away from her video collection since moving up here. Tonight we've got a Memorial Day vegetarian cookout at Pete and Sarah's, complete with faux meat. Hmm... maybe I should pick up a burger patty on the way...


  • This time next week, we'll be in Minnesota, under the hospitality of Andrew Ellingsen and Eric Hopkins, for my sister's high school graduation. Not to mention the Twins-Yankees series. :)
  • I've got two leads on jobs for next year: Working for Gary Wiggins, the guru of chemical information at IU, and being an Instruction Assistant for the Main Library. Neither are for-sure yet, but I'm hopeful.
  • Samantha and I have finalized our living arrangements next year. Starting August 17th, we'll be in a very nice 2-bedroom apartment on the SE side of campus (at 2nd and High, for you townies). We are very excited about this: Samantha can't wait to be out of her increasingly small 1BR, and I can't wait to not have my life split between two places. We feel like this is a natural step to our relationship and couldn't be happier with our decision.

And the summer cruises on by... already at the half-way point for my Summer I classes. Life is good. Peace!

June 7, 2005

We Were In the Car A Lot

Samantha and I went to Minnesota last weekend. It can best be summed up by that sentence. Other highlights:

  • A delicious BLT for lunch on Friday at the Fourth Street Bakery in La Salle/Peru, IL. It had cream cheese in it.
  • Two wonderful hosts in Andrew Ellingsen and Eric Hopkins. You guys are awesome.
  • Hanging out with Peter and Kari Pearson on Friday afternoon, talking about children's books and things of that sort.
  • A great dinner at Fhima's in St. Paul. Mmmm ribs.
  • Breakfast at the Original Pancake House with four of the funniest people I know.
  • Visiting a fantastic bookstore in Minneapolis called The Wild Rumpus. I've been there before, but not with Samantha, and I didn't remember a chicken wandering around the first time, either.
  • Seeing my younger sister Alison graduate from high school. I saw her walking to her seat in her cap, gown and sunglasses and flashed back to her going to kindergarten. How time seems to fly...
  • The Twins stomping the Yankees 9-3 with us and five other friends in attendance. I knew I'd have fun going to a game with friends, but a victory was above and beyond the call of duty. Sweet.
  • Samantha's first visit (and my third or fourth) to Chino Latino, an "equatorial" restaurant in Uptown. I love the food there, and she really enjoyed it, which made me really happy, too.
  • The A party at the Pearson's house. An art party being thrown in honor of a 10-foot tall red letter A being parked outside. I got to see even more of my friends than I was anticipating, along with strange and wonderful Play-doh creations by the party-goers.
  • Seeing my good friend Jen on the way back through Madison.

It was a fun trip, needless to say. Now I need to do the homework I've been ignoring. Whee!

June 17, 2005

Summer Holiday

Well, my summer vacation really starts now. My summer classes are over (not that they were really that tough) and all I've got to do is spend 15 hours a week at the Chemistry Library. And goof off in the sun. And read. And watch Twins games.

I've been doing plenty of that recently anyway. I watched the Twins lose painfully to the Giants Wednesday night. They don't always lose, though, don't get the wrong idea. And reading -- I just finished Eric Klosterman's Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, which was hilarious and heavily recommended to anyone who has a passing interest in pop culture (which is just about everyone). I've finished up through book 4 (The Silver Chair) in the Narnia series as well, and I've just started Spilling Clarence by Anne Ursu (who some of you may know as Batgirl).

What else is noteworthy of late...

  • Saw Samantha's uncle Rich with the Indianapolis Men's Chorus for the final show of their 15th anniversary season. If anyone back in MN is familiar with the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus, these group is probably similar. It was a fun show. They sang Chesnakov's Salvation is Created -- I can't complain.
  • Been rollerblading a lot. Samantha is getting really good. Although we both fell for the first time this summer -- she'll have a nice bruise on her bum, and I skinned my knee pretty good. Ouch. Bring back that Camp Wapo first aid mantra -- wash it out, hydrogen peroxide, Band-Aid...
  • Tomorrow we're headed out to Lake Lemon to do some canoeing and have a picnic with Paul Betty and his girlfriend Maria. I haven't been canoeing since... well, since Wapo, I think. Wow, two Bible camp references in one post.
  • My hair is almost long enough to pull back. I'm giving it another month or so before I try it on any regular basis.
  • Samantha and I are trying to plan a trip to Georgia in the beginning of August. Do I know anyone in Georgia I should visit? Steve, how far are you from Atlanta and/or Savannah? Where will you be around August 13-15?
  • Movies we are planning on seeing soon (besides the next one on the AFI list): Cinderella Man, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Batman Begins.
  • Oh, for those of you in Bloomington -- never go to Noodle Town, the Chinese place next to Asuka out by Borders. It is horrific.

Speaking of food, it's time to go some grocery planning/shopping. Yay for free time and the opportunity to cook more. Peace, all.

June 21, 2005

Other Miscellanea

  • Things are moving along in the internship planning. I've got one of the bigwig librarians at DePauw sweet talking me, and I'm also in touch with the science librarian at Butler. They are both at liberal arts schools with science libraries and only about 60 miles away from Bloomington. Hopefully one of these will pan out.
  • We saw Batman Begins on Saturday. It was sweet. Acting was completely over the top awesome -- Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader himself all turning in stellar performances. Go see this movie.
  • I got a letter from the IRS a couple weeks ago claiming that I owed them $28,543. Everybody now, 1, 2, 3... WTF?! It appears to have stemmed from someone out there dropping a decimal point. I'm trying to get this cleared up... more news as events warrant.
  • We went out to a lakehouse outside Columbus, IN, last night (thanks to Samantha's friendship with a bunch of people at The Village Deli restaurant, her place of employment). It was a gorgeous afternoon and evening, filled with boating, swimming, tasty ribs, alcohol and lovely ladies in bikinis (Samantha included :] ). As I was cruising across the lake at 50+ mph and Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone was blasting on the boat's stereo, I thought, "Life is good."

And so it is. Too bad grad school doesn't last forever...

July 4, 2005

The Fourth

It's interesting how an arbitrarily assigned number used to mark the passage of time can evolve to represent an occasion that just happened to fall within that particular 24 hour segment of time. Everyone knows what you're talking about if you say "What're you doing for the Fourth?" This kind of nomenclature seems to be reserved for a very select group of dates, however:

  1. Independence days (Fourth of July, Syttende Mai, Juneteenth, etc.)
  2. Massive terrorist attacks (9/11)

I can't really think of what those two have in common, other than they are both an excuse for patriotism.

If you're curious, ours will be spent marching in a kazoo band in the Bloomington parade and trying to find a good vantage point for fireworks. We have already celebrated our feelings of pride about our country by being snarky towards Americans in general at Paul Betty's cookout last night. Regarding cookouts: there's something that's just way more delicious about meat being cooked over an open flame than on the grill or in the frying pan. Reasons number 6 why I would find it difficult to go vegetarian.

In other news:

  • I will be spending most of my birthday either in transit to or at this event. If you are interested, come along! We've got room in the car. You might need to find somewhere to stay, though.
  • We've been cooking quite a bit more recently, as we have more free time. Almost all of it has been awesome. The information science nerd part of me came up with this idea the other day: creating an Access database to keep track of all the ingredients needed for our favorite recipes, so at any point we can go through the fridge and cupboards, note what we've got on hand, and query the database for a list of recipes that contain those ingredients. Am working on the ER diagram in my head currently.
  • I spent two hours yesterday tossing a wiffleball. I'm not really sure why. *shakes head*
  • I taught another session on a chemistry database (SciFinder Scholar) for my Chemistry Library job last week. Thanks to both the people that showed up. :P
  • Could things in the American League Central be turning around for our hometown boys of summer, the Minnesota Twins? They swept the Devil Rays this weekend and the White Sox lost 2 of 3 to the A's... I'm not getting my hopes up, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...
  • Sorry for the lack of updates recently. There just isn't much happening. It's been hot, which has kept us from doing much outside the apartment. We work, we cook, we read, we watch movies, we go watch baseball at Yogi's, Samantha fences (I watch), we rollerblade... this is pretty much my summer. *shrug*

Okay, better go dust off the kazoo. Peace, all.

July 12, 2005

Adventures in Moving

With all due respect to my father, who has been using that term for longer than I've been alive, this upcoming 5 weeks will indeed be good times. Here's how my life is going to look (as much for me to keep track of as to fill you in):

Fri, July 15: Head to Chicago for the Harry Potter nerdfest and my birthday.
Sat, July 16: Back to Indianapolis to chill with Samantha's uncles.
Fri, July 22: Lots of things. Start our storage space rental for a month. Take the cats to the vet, so we have a record there and will be allowed to board them for two weeks. Submit the appropriate forms to the post office.
Thu, July 28: Leave for Minnesota.
Sat, July 30: My sister's graduation party.
Sun, July 31: Return to Bloomington.
Wed, Aug 3: Samantha checks out of her apartment.
Thu, Aug 4: We leave for Georgia.
Mon, Aug 15: Back to Bloomington.
Aug 16 or 17: Move into the new apartment.

What a mess. This is not gonna be cheap...

July 20, 2005

The End Is Near

Of the summer, that is. Heheh. It's near enough to see, anyway. This means a variety of things.

We get some self-storage space on Friday, which we'll be moving stuff into for the next week and a half. Anyone with a truck or other couch-moving implement, please call.

My tenure at the Chemistry Library will be up soon. This is too bad -- an easy and somewhat lucrative job that was basically handed me. I'm searching for other employment for the next school year...

  • Gary Wiggins, the guru of chemical information, is giving me some part time work. I'm not exactly sure what it will entail, but it'll undoubtedly be good experience.
  • Same with an Instructional Assistant job I've landed, but again, it will be extremely part-time (like, 1 hour a week).
  • So far, WonderLab has resolutely refused to post any openings... darn them.
  • I've applied to be a substitute teacher with Monroe County Schools. I don't know anything more about this. They might be overloaded with Education graduates from IU looking for work, or they might not. I guess we'll see.
  • Got some other leads that I haven't applied for yet. Guess I should do that.

Other items of note:

  • Our trip to Spellbound was a success. It was about what I expected -- a number of Harry Potter-themed events happening around a suburban mall, lots of nerds dressed up in school-boy and -girl outfits, and a scene at the local Border's at midnight. Among the unexpected were a few more impressive costumes, the worst game of chess I've ever seen (played out with live people, a la Wizard Chess), watching a variation on Quidditch being played outside our hotel window, and a fantastic dinner we had at a local Greek restaurant (that wasn't HP related at all). I had a glass of Retsina and it was great.
  • I am now in possession of the IKEA desk I originally intended to buy (having sold the previous one in a fit of optimism about our upcoming visit to the store). Samantha also purchased a dresser. More IKEA furniture to come.
  • I have finished the Narnia Chronicles. I finished up The Last Battle just in time for our trip, and I only had to wait until Monday for Samantha to finish the new Harry Potter book. Which I'm also done with. :) Next up is either a book my mom suggested or Tam Lin... will decide soon.

Bah. I need to post more often and with less verbosity. I'll work on this. Meanwhile, I'm off to more culinary catastrophe and preliminary packing. (Not to mention alliterative adventures.) Peace!

August 1, 2005

The Party That Is My Life

I'm back from Minnesota. My sister's grad party was a moderate success -- people came, food was eaten, money was given, etc. Thanks to the three of my friends who showed up. Nice to know you care. Other cool things about the short trip: My sister's car (can I have it when you go to college?), Hypnotoad, and the Asia Buffet in Beloit, WI.

And although I am glad to be back in the company of Samantha and my adopted hometown, foremost in my mind now is that I have two days to shove the rest of my and Samantha's worldly belongings into a 5x10x8 storage space in order to hit the road Thursday morning for Georgia and other places southerly. Thank goodness that my dad's ability to utilize every cubic inch of a small storage space seems to have been passed genetically on to me.

In other news, the antenna on my cell phone broke off last night. So you may have trouble reaching me by that route. I think I'm going to be making a trip to a Cingular store today.

Have I mentioned I hate moving? I hate moving. I am placed in the sad situation of having no milk for my cereal, and neither is it worth it to go buy some more. When else would this situation occur? Sad, I tell you -- sad. It goes without saying that my life will improve immeasurably upon August 18th or so.

So I suppose I should quit complaining and get to work. I'll try and post again before we leave town. Peace!

August 2, 2005


The server that hosts this weblog will be undergoing an ISP change effective August 9th. The DNS server needs to be notified, too, so you may have some trouble accessing for a few days after then. No need to worry -- this is all for the better.

Also, this is my last post while residing at the Limestone Manor in Bloomington. A sad day, indeed -- it was good to me. My new address is included in an e-mail to many of you who regularly read this. If you haven't gotten it and want it, drop me a line.

Wish me luck getting everything else packed and moved. Talk to you from the road soon.

August 11, 2005

Testing, Georgia-Style

So here's my post in order to test my weblog to see if it works on the new ISP Steve got. Can y'all hear me?

Notice the use of the southern dialect contraction. Chalk it up to hanging out with people from Georgia. 'Cause I'm in Georgia. I'm currently writing from Heather Anderson's apartment in Savannah, in between batches of muffins. Our journey has been successful so far:

Thursday: Drove 9 hours from Bloomington into the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in northern Georgia. Holed up at the abode of Pete Appel and DJ Martin, Samantha's fencing parents, for three days. Watched a lot of baseball and worked on a database for DJ's fencer armouring responsibilities. Was generally lazy and caught up on sleep.

Sunday: Brunched at the American Roadhouse in Atlanta with Roy Youngs, sabrist. Poked around Five Points neighborhood, imbibed rum and coke. Dinner at Albo's of Italy with Roy and more of Samantha's friends: April, Bob and Eric. Crash at Bob's for the night.

Monday: Samantha's birthday! :) Breakfast at Waffle House with Pete. My first Waffle House experience -- and it was a good one. Drove 3 hours to Statesboro, Samantha's hometown and location of Georgia Southern University. Visiting fencing practice and Ben at work briefly. Dinner at Hachi with Heather, Tim (Samantha's other brother) and Austin. Mmmm, sushi. Commenced Samantha's birthday party proper in the basement of Casa Humphrey. Good times were had until the early morning hours.

Tuesday and Wednesday: Poked around Statesboro and Savannah. Saw the GSU campus and some sights from Samantha's youth. Visited Kevin Barry's and saw Harry O'Donoghue, Irish folksinger. Played volleyball with friends. Had fabulous pizza at Vinnie VanGoGo's and visited some drinking establishments around Savannah.

Today: Tour Savannah during daylight and make it back to Statesboro in time for karaoke (aka scary-oke).

More later, prolly from South Carolina. Prolly isn't a word. Peace!

August 20, 2005

Awesome Rankings, Year Two

I have been in Bloomington for approximately one full year now and things are awesome. Let me rank the following... aah, never mind. I think I'm starting to outgrow attempting to nostaglize the things I or those close to me have said in the past.

But things are awesome nonetheless. Samantha and I now have successfully coalesced our respective belongings into one location and they are currently intermingling to form a sort of Samanthandrew Thing Stew. Or something. The apartment itself is nice -- lots of big windows for kitties to perch in, a second bedroom that we're using as an office (we have an office! damn!) and a kitchen that is not huge, but easily double the floor space of Samantha's old kitchen. Most of the boxes have been emptied and we are in the process of acquiring some last pieces of furniture that we need (anyone have a dining room table they'd like to donate?).

I can't believe that there's only one week before school starts again. I'm putting in my last week at the Chemistry Library and then I'm sort of unemployed... sigh. I've got, like, 12 hours a week between my two jobs right now. I need to get cracking on this...

The rest of our Georgia trip finished well. Karaoke was indeed scary-oke, although Samantha is, as advertised, a wunderkind at it. Friday, we drove through the wond'rous land of South Carolina. We stopped in Columbia for a few hours to visit Bill and then landed in sunny Spartanburg, SC, and visited Steve "The Damn Man" VanDahm, webmaster extraordinare and all-around cool guy for a couple days. We took it easy -- Samantha read Nancy Drew books and I listened to my new Nickel Creek album. :)

We then limped our way back to Indiana (via a stopover in Frankfort, KY) and wreaked havoc on our new apartment. The wreaking continues... in fact, I should get back to that. Peace, dudes. And dudettes. Is dudette even okay to say anymore?

September 6, 2005

When It Rains, It Pours

It would be misleading to say that the school year so far has not been good. Because it has. I've moved into a great apartment with the love of my life, I've spent time with friends, I've started another semester of class, I've joined choirs, we've had guests and made sushi... all sorts of things are going well -- indeed, better than I expected.

But for several reasons, it doesn't quite feel that way. One of which being the mess in New Orleans. The attitude I'm taking right now is that there isn't a whole lot I can do (I would give money, but I'll address that in a moment), so I've mostly been scanning the headlines when I have a chance and trying not to depress myself too much.

The schedule thing is still bothering me. I'm a guy who generally likes to have a lot to do -- I enjoy my free time, but only when I've earned it. Right now, I still have too much. I'm only taking two classes this semester, and they're both on Friday. I have three jobs, but they all have pretty pathetic hours. I work MW mornings for Gary Wiggins. I work Wednesday afternoon and evening in the SLIS lab (that's the new one), and I am an Instruction Assistant for the main library, which means I sign up for work at my discretion -- but there are a dozen people doing this too, and they seem to be a lot quicker to the sign-up sheet than I am.

Compound this mental feeling of low-income with the rapid exodus of funds that has been taking place. We've spent money on furniture -- desk, dinette set, bookshelf and living room tables -- and I know that it will serve us well for years, it is still rather expensive right now. Outfitting a new apartment isn't cheap. Oil needs changing, books need to be bought, rent needs to be paid. A year's worth of health insurance, even at student rates, is a big chunk of change.

Worst of all, one of our cats, Angus, has taken seriously ill since the move -- he won't eat, he is listless around the house, he has lost 5 pounds. The veterinarian is very capable, but he doesn't know what's wrong yet, and the blood tests and X-rays rack up really quickly. And, as if this wasn't enough, my student loan check is currently tied up in red tape for reasons beyond my understanding. I'm glad I got a credit card when I did, but I'm not looking forward to this month's bill.

Don't get me wrong, things are fine right now -- the creditors aren't beating down my door. It's just wearing on my mind. I'm thanking myself for saving money when I was teaching two years ago every time I dip into my savings account and I'm reminding myself that this is why I did. It still isn't my idea of a good time. And I feel bad sitting around when I could be using this time to pull in another paycheck.

I guess I've had financial security pretty much fall into my lap for a while. Now that it's not quite that easy, I'm freaking out. It's a good lesson to learn, I suppose. Just not easy.

Time to continue looking for Tues/Thurs employment. Peace.

September 12, 2005

When Life Gives You Lemons

Make lemon bars. That's what I did. Well, actually, I had to go buy the lemon. And the zester I used to remove the lemon peel. And the lemon juice -- but you get the idea. They're pretty good, for a first time recipe.

Life is giving me less lemons currently, so that's good. My loans still haven't come through (are you listening, Financial Aid?), but the hemmorhage of funds from my account has been staunched somewhat. Also, UITS (or, as I like to type it, UITZ) contacted me about a possible instructor assistant position with them. So the threatened fourth job may be on the way. How ridiculous.

Angus is improving. He seems to be remarkably cooperative with the force-feeding he is enduring. He looks better and his appetite is ever so slowly coming back. It is time-consuming work -- somebody has to be home at least every 4 hours and it takes at least 20 minutes from start to clean-up -- but it seems to be working. And we have a lot of love for him. So keep thinking happy thoughts. (For those of you who want the messy details of what we think is wrong, I'll direct you to Samantha's post.)

Classes have started. We're in the third week now. I haven't mentioned much about this because honestly there's not much to mention. I'm taking two classes and they both have yet to ramp up to anything resembling real work...

  • L520 - Bibliographic Control and Access. Popularly known as Cataloguing. Basically teaches the practical skill of building records for library materials -- the kind of records you see on the computer screen when you search a library's online catalog (or, if you prefer, what you see on the cards in a card catalog). Many library students speak of the course with dread in their voice. Not sure why as of yet. It seems to be very detail oriented work, but not hellish. Perhaps I will be eating my words soon.
  • L571 - Information Architecture for the Web. A web course, obviously. I'm hoping to expand my stagnant HTML skills. So far all we've talked about is project planning. Sigh.

We were social last Friday. The student chapter of the ALA here had a meet 'n' greet at the City Grille. I had enough barbequed meat to make up for the rest of the time I eat vegetarian with Samantha. We also watched the Twins lose. (By the way, they are terrible and getting worse. I doubt I shall mention them again until the season ends.) We then went to a party at 805 S. Henderson, the abode of Andrew Estel and a couple other music geeks we know. They've got a nice place and we had fun watching Wrestlemania, playing with their touch lamp and tickling Adam Ragusea.

Gotta run. More recipes to find and sick kitties to feed. Peace!

September 21, 2005

Distracted Posts

I've been trying to post all afternoon and evening, but keep finding myself distracted, primarily by renewed evidence that for some reason the Gulf of Mexico has become a destroyer of lives. I will try and string something together despite this.

Things are plugging along here. Samantha and I both find ourselves pretty busy. Which is a little surprising, considering that neither of us are really doing more than we did last semester. I think it's because even though the time spent is probably the same, it's at much more awkward places in the day. Samantha has found herself with no opportunity to sleep in except for every other Monday off. I fear this is taking more of a toll on her than she figured it would.

But we need some sort of income, and contrary to popular opinion, the people in charge of graduate school do not make it financially easy on you. Case in point: My loans still have not come through. I am waiting to be contacted by Financial Aid (as they said they would). I have a credit card bill to pay which has my health insurance premium on it (the full year's worth). The same health insurance, which by the way, does not cover dental. Which is very exciting given that my left back molar is making itself known to me somewhat painfully right now. Yes, I know you have not been looked at by a professional in 14 months, Left Back Molar, now shut the hell up. Daddy's poor.

So, yeah. At least Angus is better. He is eating on his own now, though less than we would like. Hopefully we won't need to pour any more money into him for the time being.

Lest the more snarky of you read the preceding complaints as evidence that I made a bad decision to "shack up" with Samantha (note the severly ironic use of quotation marks), hear this: it is going better than I had hoped. I would be in the same (or worse) financial position if I had not done this. And I have the added -- and enormous -- emotional relief of coming home to someone who loves me, listens to my concerns, cares for me, makes me laugh, and all-around compliments my life better than I ever thought she would. I will take this with a little dose of exhaustion and scarcity any day.

On to better and brighter things. We're looking forward to an exciting weekend:

  • Friday: OMG, it's Mari's SLIS Vegetarian Potluck! ("OMG" shamelessly stolen from Davin's invite.)
  • Saturday: Maybe a matinee of The Corpse Bridge and IU Opera's first show of the season, Cosi Fan Tutte.
  • Sunday: Some tour of Bloomington's historic houses and maybe the symphony.
  • And Lotus Festival? How did I miss this? Sigh.

Anyway. Back to obsessing about hurricanes. Peace, friends -- for me and for you.

October 1, 2005

Misused Time

Most people I know complain of never having enough time. I am sometimes tempted to do so myself, but I know it would be untrue. Because I misspend a lot of mine. So I apologize to those of you who have been neglected by me recently. I'll try and be better.

To my credit, I did add another 16 hours of responsibility to my week. The threatened fourth job has finally come to pass. This is mostly a good thing, because I am finally feeling secure about my finances. (This has also been assisted by the fact that my loans also came through last week -- yay money!) The job is nothing to really write home about -- I'm basically a glorified mail opener for the main library. The wage is commensurate for the job (read: pretty crappy). But it's good, mindless work, and I get to see almost every new book that comes in. I got the job because part of the job is opening the Slavic shipments -- the books are printed in the Cyrillic alphabet that most Slavic languages are in, but the invoices are transliterated into Latin alphabet. So my three semesters of Russian from St. Olaf come in handy.

So, for those of you who are counting:

  1. Research Assistant for Gary Wiggins. 4-8 hours a week.
  2. Instruction Assistant for the libraries. Sporadic and infrequent.
  3. Lab consultant for SLIS. 8 hours a week.
  4. Monograph Receiving. 16 hours a week.

It almost adds up to a full four days (the number of days I don't have class).

Classes continue to plunk along. Cataloguing is cool. I'm learning a valuable librarian skill -- I can't really complain. It hasn't gotten hard or too much work yet. The web course is still all project planning, which is getting very boring. Can't wait until the nerdy stuff comes. But I'll have to wait two weeks -- Elijah's off at a conference next week, so no class. Whee.

We've managed to be pretty social almost every weekend so far. Last weekend was the busiest. Friday was Mari's SLIS potluck, which went swimmingly, expect for when Samantha tried to cut her right index finger off with a broken wine glass. Ouch! One trip to the ER and eight stitches later, she is doing fine.

Saturday we saw The Corpse Bride. I liked it a lot, Samantha not so much. I think I'm easier to please at the movies. Also, we saw the first opera of the year -- Cosi Fan Tutte. Very impressive, as usual. I must say, Mozart is becoming a favorite opera composer for me -- though I am in the infancy of my opera fandom. Sunday we went to an orchestra concert, though mostly that's the program was very familiar to me. They played Brahm's Symphony No. 1 and Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture, which are both pieces I played in my high school orchestra. So it was orchestral nostalgia day for me.

And yesterday, we went to Whitney Buccicone's place for a small-but-raucous SLIS gathering. There were a couple new slizzards, three of whom either are from or went to college in Minnesota. Crazy. A Johnnie-Bennie couple (who are totally stereotypical for each school) and a Carleton grad. I wonder what it is about this program that attracts Minnesotans.

Other items of note:

  • Storyhill launched their new website sometime last week. Looks pretty snappy. They've got t-shirts now -- too bad, since I've already got an awesome one. They also have a new album coming out in February. All this accomplishes is making me want to work on my lyric database more. Like I have time to do that.
  • I got a bike. Well, I didn't get one as much as I fixed up the one that I found on the property of the house I used to live in. *shrug* That's about all I can say. It gets me from Point A to Point B faster than walking, so that's cool.
  • Fall has finally arrived. Aaahh. I don't immediately start sweating when I walk outside anymore. This is a good thing.
  • The most interesting meal we've made recently was a recipe for nutty rice burgers taken from our favorite vegetarian cookbook. They are mainly bulgur (our new favorite grain!) and brown rice, with some grated carrots, zucchini and onions, and some whole wheat flour and Egg Beaters to hold it all together. Fry them in a skillet for ten minutes. We were a little skeptical, but they were surprisingly good. Mmmmmmmm.

That is all. We are off to watch Clue (the movie), which was recently purchased at Best Buy for the paltry sum of six dollars. I've paid late fees worse than that. Peace, all.

October 11, 2005

Cupid's Dance

Love is in the air. Congrats go out to my friend Mike Mensink who got engaged to Rachel Conger last weekend. What a great pair of people. The word on the street is that Samantha's friend Andrew Bowers is talking wedding plans with his girlfriend. And this weekend, Samantha and I are making the marathon trip to MN to watch Andrew Ellingsen and Eric Hopkins make a public ceremony of the commitment to each other -- not that they need it, because it's already so clear in the way they live their lives. I'm looking forward to this -- they as well are wonderful people and I'm sure it will be beautiful. We'll be pulling into town just in time for the whole shindig and leaving almost as quickly, so don't plan to see us (unless we're, like, sleeping at your place, or you're my mom).

Yes, love is in the air. And that's not it -- don't forget Kelsay and Dave's wedding in December, and Rob and Krysti's next July. Wow. I turn 25 and suddenly my unhitched friends are in the minority.

It's strange to be in this place in my life. I've been doing very "grown-up" things for the past three years or so... living on my own, having a real job, managing tight budgets, hauling my life to Indiana for graduate school, living with Samantha... but it doesn't really feel terribly grown up. It just feels like my life. But watching my friends commit their lives to one another? That's something different. Don't get me wrong, now -- it's not "different bad", and not even necessarily "different scary". It's different, but also really cool.

Love is in the air...

And tomorrow is my one-year anniversary with Samantha...

Crazy things could happen...

October 19, 2005

The Grapevine

It's been interesting to see how the grapevine works these days, in this society of ever-increasing virtual social connections. The exciting things that happen in our lives get transmitted by, of all things, websites like Facebook. Seems kind of trite and impersonal sometimes, but then again, for those of us with different levels of involvement, that works just fine.

So (with weddings still on the brain), Andrew and Eric's ceremony went wonderfully. It was awesome to sing in a fantastic little pick-up choir that was essentially what Jeremy so aptly described as "the Twin Cities all-stars." Along with Samantha, of course, who is distantly related to our particular incestuous choral tradition by way of her college choir director, who was a Luther College grad. The driving for 11 hours both ways is never fun, but it was great to have Samantha along to pass the time. We were, however, getting fairly punchy by the last two hours. I think we've had our fill of long car trips for a while.

Things continue on their merry way here in Indiana. I seem like I work a lot, but given that I only have class one day a week, that's the least I can do. I actually have some assignments due in the coming weeks (really, assignments? I'd almost forgotten what they were), so maybe I'll get off my lazy butt and get some work done. Samantha got a neat little gig through her connections at the Lilly Library where she'll be analyzing the websites of other rare books and special collections libraries. We both are starting work on the applications for our internships, as registration for next semester is just around the corner.

In other news:

  • My car is sick. :( Apparently it has a hole in the gas tank. Which would explain why it smells like gas all the time. No, I didn't drive it to Minnesota -- we got a rental. We're working on a fix, but it's actually less a bother than you would think, considering most of the places I go on a daily or weekly basis are reachable by bike. Maybe I'll get in better shape now...
  • My friend Jen has started a blog! Welcome to the nerdy world of narcissistic websites, my friend! :)
  • We went bowling last Thursday. It's nice to see that my bowling skills have maintained the same level of mediocrity as they had when I left them a couple years ago. We need to do that more often. The badly-rendered versions of Gretchen Wilson and Sarah McLachlan I could do without, though.
  • Baseball playoffs are fun, but not as much fun without the Twins. :(

That's all I got for now. Be well, do good work, etc. etc. Peace!

October 31, 2005

Exciting News

I have waited what seems to be a decent amount of time for news to make its own winding way around the circuits, so hopefully it has reached the people who would feel offended at not being told in person. If you are one of those people and learning this for the first time right now, my apologies. Give me a call and we'll pretend I called you. :)

On October 12, 2005, Samantha and I exchanged vows and rings and became husband and wife, in the presence of the clerk of Brown Country, Indiana, some passersby, and God, in front of a courthouse on a beautiful autumn day. And we are so happy.

This was planned and done intentionally on our one-year anniversary of becoming a couple. Samantha wore a red dress and no shoes, like she always wanted to. It was simple, fast and absolutely perfect.

For those of you who are surprised by the unconventional nature -- well, I was, too. :) This isn't exactly how I picture my wedding would go, but you know what? It went better than I ever thought it would. We basically did it all that day -- got the paperwork done, did the deed, called our immediate family and friends, had a wonderful dinner at Restaurant Tallent and got back to our busy lives the next day. It was great.

For those of you who are surprised by the suddenness -- if you've been paying attention to the way I've been speaking about Samantha, about us as a couple and just the way I've generally been living my life for the past year or so, you shouldn't be.

For those of you expecting a "nice Lutheran wedding" -- were you really expecting that? Samantha is not Lutheran and it would not have been right. For all that we are alike, we come from very different backgrounds and family situations, and we are merging them as we see best. This was the best for all parties involved. We will be having a ceremony that will enable us to be more flexible than a traditional wedding would have allowed.

For those of you disappointed that you weren't invited -- no one was. And everyone will be. We will be having the ceremony (for immediate family and close friends only) as well as a reception (for the standard wedding party kind of people) and a party (for everyone!) on June 10, 2006, here in Bloomington, Indiana. Mark your calendars now.

I cannot tell you how excited I am, Samantha is, we both are, about this. For the first time in too long, the path my life will take beyond the next year or so has a sense of direction again. I feel like God has worked to bring this wonderful thing about in my life and I am so excited to see what the future holds for the two of us.

There are a few pictures here, if you're interested.

November 4, 2005

How To Confirm No One Reads Your Blog

Post that you got married and the only person who comments is Senor Cardgage.

I guess I shouldn't complain, seeing as the frequency of my updating has fallen off considerably. I guess I'm busier than I thought. My apologies for this. I should institute some sort of self-punishment for going too long without an update...

What have we done recently:

  • Seen a few more shows. We saw Arcadia, the opening show for the IU Theater Department's season. I admit to being mostly unfamiliar with Tom Stoppard's work, but it was about what I expected -- smart, literate, and hilarious. Highly recommended. We also saw Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, the second opera of the year. And we were both pretty disappointed. This is my favorite Shakespeare (kind of by default, as it's the play I'm the most familiar with) and it was pretty torn apart by the adaptation. The music was gorgeous - lush, Romantic stuff that I'm a sucker for -- but had few redeeming qualities beyond that. One of the worse productions I've seen here. Sad.
  • Things are gearing up for my first concert with the Bloomington Chamber Singers. Apparently have already become an important member of the bass section, as I am singing in a small group for one of the Tallis pieces, part of a solo group for the Walton, and the baritone solo for Wexford Carol. Yikes. Come see me do my first real choral solo next Saturday.
  • The SLIS Halloween party was last weekend. Paul Betty and his girlfriend Maria hosted. He and Pete ("The Apostles") did their DJ thang. Samantha and I went as a devil and angel respectively. Good times, definitely. There are pictures all over the SLIS pictoblogosphere (I just made that word up right now) for the curious.

Gah. Am hungry. May post more later. Will try to post more often... f'real. We'll see how that goes. Peace.

November 9, 2005


Drum roll please...

I've got my own subdomain! Thanks, Steve!

Please change your bookmarks, adjust your blogrolls, modify your links, etc...

November 20, 2005

Teh Intarwebs

When I sit down and try to check my e-mail, somehow it's two hours later and I find myself looking at a website about a man who calls a payphone in the middle of the Mojave Desert for kicks, and I'm wondering how I managed to get there from an e-mail from a librarian listserv. The wonder of the Internet, ladies and gentlemen.

My Internet life is spiraling out of control. I haven't gone through my e-mail inbox in three days. I haven't checked all my usual sites in forever, it seems. And I haven't updated this site, though I said I would. Sigh. A lot of things have been pressing for my attention, I guess.

It occurred to me early last week that next week (well, this week now) is Thanksgiving and I wondered where the semester went. It seems to have flown by even more than those in the past have. I think this is because I go to work more than I go to class and work never really changes, and my classes haven't felt like they've had much for direction or a destination until recently. Well, they do, now, and the destination isn't that far away. Yikes. So I may be updating even less frequently (if that's even possible).

My choir concert went well. The solo went fine, although I biffed a few words -- but I covered it up well, which I think is the sign of a decent performer. So there. Many thanks to Kate Molyneux and Samantha's uncle Jim who came out for it. For my next act... it's The Messiah! Woo. At least that will be easy. And you can sing along!

Speaking of singing, we've been privy to some more lovely singing. We saw Marc Broussard a couple weeks ago (you may have heard his single "Home" on the radio), which was great fun, as he seems to enjoy singing as much as everyone there enjoyed listening. We also saw the third opera of the season on Friday -- Benjamin Britten's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. We were expecting a more faithful adaptation than the last one we saw, and we did get that, although both Samantha and I are quite familiar with this play, so we has fully-formed ideas about how it should be presented, and those didn't always go well with what we saw. Oberon as a counter-tenor? Can't say I really agree with that one. And Britten's music seems to suffer from modern opera syndrome (a lack of definable melodies, "creative" orchestration, etc). All-in-all, though, the source material is too strong for all these things to bring it down, and we found ourselves enjoying it by the end, almost despite ourselves.

What else is new...

  • I have, against my better judgment, started reading Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series again. I'm on the third one right now. Fascinating thing about these books -- there's, like, eleven of them, and everyone seems to have read some of them, but very few have read them all. I think I only know one person who has. Ah well... the Wheel weaves as it will...
  • We saw the new Harry Potter movie. At midnight. Hee. It was fabulous. We were dead the next day.
  • Yesterday we took a whirlwind shopping trip to Indianapolis. We didn't find a whole lot, but we learned a little bit more about where to go, so we will be more successful next time. If you have good gift ideas for us, now's the time to make suggestions. :)

So it's a short week this week. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with two other couples from SLIS -- four of whom are vegetarians. Which weirded me out a little at first, until I realized that sweet potatoes are much more important to my Turkey Day than turkey. Mmmmmmm, sweet potatoes. May you have a yummy one too. Talk with y'all soon -- peace!

November 30, 2005

St. Andrew, Again

Hey, it's the Feast of St. Andrew again. Check last year's post for more information than you really wanted to know about this marvelous day.

I'm back in the thick of all things graduate school related now, after a brief respite for the annual Giving of Thanks. It occurred at the house of Wray -- Dale and Christina, to be specific, who were gracious enough to donate their house, kitchen and several delicious foodstuffs (green bean casserole, lemon meringue pie, pumpkin pie) to the day. Davin and Mari brought the infamous "tofurkey" (interesting), stuffing (pretty good) and vegetarian gravy (different, but good). Samantha and I brought mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes (my favorite), Scholar's Inn Bakehouse bread, and the meat -- a small turkey breast basted in honey apple glaze. All good and all heartily and thoroughly enjoyed.

Now is the last push to the end of the semester. Since I only have two classes, this won't be too bad. My project for the web course, Gary's website (or websites?), is underway, though far from complete -- I give a presentation on it in a week and a half. There is a final project for cataloguing, I think... *shrug* Whatever. I'll get to it eventually. The web site should -- err, I mean, will -- be taking up most of my work time until then.

Did I tell you that my internship is a go? Well, it is. :) I'll be at DePauw University, which is about an hour away in Greencastle, IN, spending some time in the science library doing... well, things that science librarians do. Cool. To this end, I've been trying to nail down a schedule for next semester. And as near as I can tell, I'm going to have to quit my Tech Services job (that's the "glorified mail opener" job) effective January. Which is okay, really -- the job was fine, but I was getting tired of selling 16+ hours of my week for $6/hour. Gary (that's the $10/hour one) will hopefully be upping my hours anyway.

Other Things of Note™:

  • We saw Pride and Prejudice (the movie) last Wednesday. Having never read the book, I can't rightly say if it did justice, blah blah blah, but I really liked it. And so did Samantha (who took an entire class on Jane Austen, for goodness sakes). So there.
  • My choir had some caroling gigs over the weekend. I don't like Jingle Bells. That is all. Oh, and Samantha came along for one of them, and was marvelous. Apparently she's been singing carols since before she can remember?
  • I picked up an interesting book that came through the library mail a month ago. It's called The Pirates! In An Adventure in Whaling. Clearly the title is what sold me. I have since been stumped trying to figure out exactly what is up with the book, as it does not seem to fall into any easy genre classification. About the best I can come up with is this: it's a pretty funny little read (and I do mean little -- the book is pint-size both in dimensions and in page length). Check it out. (It is known by a slighly adjusted title on this side of the pond, apparently.) I've picked up the first one too, which I'll get to when I get tired of Wheel of Time #4.

Back to work. I hate Wednesdays. Come soon, 9 pm. Peace!

December 17, 2005

Oh Em Gee

Can it really be two and a half weeks since I made a useful update? I honestly can't believe this. I feel like I haven't done anything since the last update, but I know that I've done quite a bit.

Like I've finished my fall semester. Whee. We turned in our "final project" (basically a double-size assignment) for Cataloguing last week and got a 28/30 on it. And I turned in my documentation for my Gary's website yesterday. Go me, I took a whole two classes.

I've also pretty successfully survived a semester working four jobs. My work for Gary was pretty one-sided (monitoring his class), but I did get paid for some of the web work I did. My long, long Wednesdays at the SLIS labs are over, thank goodness. My hours will be better there next semester. I only ended up teaching the minimum required four instruction sessions for job #3. Which is okay, it turned out to be not such a great job anyway. The Tech. Services mail opening job ended up being the most lucrative. Ironic, since the hourly pay there was the worst. But the required 16 hours a week certainly added up.

The madness will not continue next semester. With an internship an hour away to take up a day and a half of my work week, I will be quitting two of these jobs. Can you guess which two? The instruction assistant (bad hours, no set schedule) and the Tech. Services gig (too many hours, not flexible enough). Yeah, I'm pretty picky about my work -- but you can afford to be when you have four jobs, I guess. Gary is upping my hours with him -- definitely the best possible situation, since his hourly rate is the best.

I'll also be picking up one more temporary gig -- teaching one module of a section of 401. (For new viewers -- 401 is the required computer skills course in SLIS. It teaches basic computing, searching, Unix, HTML and databases.) I'll only be teaching the first module, but hey, that's a little extra cash and some more instruction experience.

If you couldn't tell, work and work-like experience seems to be dominating my school life this year. We're all slaves to the almightly dollar though, so might as well start now. ;)

Christmas is coming. Like, a week away. Yikes! We've done a good bit of shopping, but there are still people unaccounted for. My sisters are always the toughest to shop for... suggestions, anyone?

Our travel plans look like this:

  • Mon 19th: Head up to Samantha's uncles' place in Indy to chill and park the car.
  • Wed 21st: Taxi to the airport and wing our way to Atlanta, where Ben will cart us around to meet up with Pete and DJ, Samantha's adopted "parents" and then back to Statesboro. Spend the official holidays with her family this year (next year with my family -- the grand holiday trade-off begins...)
  • Wed 28th: Back to ATL and back to Indianapolis. When we get back in the car depends on how we feel. But when we do, we'll head to Minnesota to celebrate a little belated Christmas there, too.
  • Fri 30th: Attend the wedding of David Parker and Kelsay Ludwig. Hooray for winter weddings.
  • Thurs 5th: Leave (in my new car!) to return to Bloomington for the last semester. Ever. Duh-duh-DAH!

If our geographical location intersects with yours at any point during these periods of time, and you wish to make use of such a fortunate happenstance, you should let me know. Most likely I will reciprocate such an inclination.

Anything else you want to know? Tough luck. JK LOL BFF. And peace. Thank goodness there's no slick online acronym for saying that yet.

January 7, 2006

Coming Home

We're back in Bloomington now. Coming home seems to have been a lot easier than it was last year, for some reason. Perhaps because my definition of "where home is" is less complex now. My home is with my wife. That's easy. Just one of the many reasons we did things the way we did.

The rundown of where I've been for the last three weeks:

We spent two days in Indianapolis at Uncle Rich and Jim's place. We chilled, had good Italian food at a local spot, almost completed our Christmas shopping at the Castleton Mall and watched Pirates of the Caribbean. Did you know they're making a sequel? I'm excited for it, though I can't really say why.

We took a taxi (expensive) to the Indy airport and jetted quickly to Atlanta, to find our chauffeur (brother-in-law Ben) waiting. We poked around the Five Points neighborhood and another mall (sensing a theme yet?) before meeting Samantha's pseudo-parents Pete and DJ for dinner. Then off to Statesboro, where we arrived at about 2 am and crashed hardcore.

We spent a week in Statesboro (which is Samantha's hometown, natch), mostly lazing around. We stayed with Samantha's father, Michael, who still occupies the family stronghold, though three of the original five from the family unit are now gone (mom, Cyndi, via divorce, and brother Tim, via his own apartment). Unfortunately Mike and Ben have pretty much turned the place into a bachelor pad (read: dirty). So we spent a little time cleaning up to make ourselves more comfortable. Which it was, thereafter. We were fed well, thanks to a combination of Mike's excellent cooking (mmmm, star biscuits) and the local restaurateurs of Statesboro (check out Holiday Pizza should you, God forbid, find yourself there). All in all, a good visit.

Highlights from Georgia:

  • Birthday party for Ben. Fun people, good occasion... and alcohol flowed freely (though not through me). Good times.
  • Gifts with Samantha's family. The meaning of my marriage hit home in an entirely new way with giving and receiving presents to/from these people, my new family. Really cool.
  • Throwing a frisbee around outside on Christmas Day. Can't do that in Minnesota.
  • Seeing the Narnia flick again with Cyndi.
  • Awesome game of Cranium with fun people.
  • Hanging out with Ben Ellis, UGA grad, grad student at Georgetown and all-around awesome dude.

We drove back to Atlanta and caught our flight back to Indy the next morning. And then jumped in the car (my car's last big trip!) to head to Minnesota for the second half of our trip. Yes, this was kind of a hellish travel day, but so it goes. We crashed in Wisconsin Dells for the night and then made it to Stillwater by noon the next day. For those of you playing along at home, that's 1055 miles in approx. 42 hours. Or a mean speed of 25 mph. But we were sleeping for about 16 of those.

So very quickly we went from light-coat weather to hats-and-gloves, snow-on-the-ground-and-more-coming-tomorrow weather. We spent about a week in Minnesota, too. There, we hung out by the fireplace, read a lot, and assembled a 750 piece puzzle given to us by Cyndi. And ate well, again. Yeah, we're fat now, so what? You are too. Just kidding. We also drove around and saw people quite a bit.

Highlights from Minnesota:

  • The wedding of Kelsay Ludwig and David Parker. A lovely affair hosted by Luther Seminary, where I saw all sorts of old friends and acquaintances. Plenty of Lutheran pomp and cheesy wedding cliches combined. Yet another one of my friends to add to the growing list of "attached" persons...
  • More malls. Rosedale to find a gift for said wedding and the Mall of America with Matt Merkt, just 'cause it's fun to go to the mall with him. Hee.
  • Gifts with my family. Same sentiment as above, but slightly inverted.
  • Went to Cheapo and bought the CDs I didn't get for Christmas. I'm currently addicted to Eddie from Ohio's Quick and Butterfly Boucher's Flutterby.
  • Recording two old-timey radio scripts with the Enclave crew at Peter Pearson's parents' house. Oh my goodness, I can't wait for the mp3's of this.
  • The Science Museum with Josh Dierks. My gosh, I missed that boy.
  • Going to sleep at midnight on New Year's. Okay, so this wasn't a highlight and I'm sorry I missed out on the three (3) party invitations I had. But we were tired, and that's the night we did presents since we were in Georgia on the 24th-25th.
  • Getting my new car! Woot! Well, it's not new, really, but it's newer. It's my family's wedding present -- a 1994 Honda Accord. Champagne-colored, very clean, with all the trimmings and 80,000 fewer miles. I'm totally pumped. It drives like a dream compared to Barry. Alas, poor Barry (I knew him, Horatio) -- who will likely find an ignominious end with whoever shells out $1k for it in MN. He's worth a lot more -- in memories, at least.
  • I also successfully transplanted my new radio from my old car into my new car, and vice versa. Aren't I cool?

So now we are back, and there is one more semester staring us in the face. It will be busy -- what with the job search, planning for the wedding-esque event (on June 10, lest you need reminding) and my internship at DePauw -- but it will be a good one. We are looking forward to it.

That's all. Will try to post more. I always say that. Time for bed, I think. Peace, and Happy New Year. May it be a good one.

January 16, 2006

Resolutions and Related Nonsense

It's not really a New Year's resolution, because if I call it that, it will suffer the curse of most resolutions and not get fulfilled. I want to post more often, so I pseudo-resolve to post some funny/thoughtful/interesting link at least once every other day. (Ideally every day, but let's not get too ambitious here.) Hopefully just logging in and posting the link will get me to also add content about my life (supposedly the purpose of this site -- shocking, I know).

So here's the link, courtesy of David and the funny folks at McSweeney's. Relevant, eh?

My semester is off to a roaring start. I have spent 16 (of an eventual 150 total) hours at my internship at DePauw so far and I'm already swamped. I have three science professors I have projects going with, one pretty sizeable, along with ongoing bibliographic instruction and possibly collection development responsibility. And there's a Women in Science project to work on in Archives if I have any time left over. Whew. It's totally what I was looking for, though. So it'll be good.

Oh, and I'm taking a class, too. It's L651, Evaluation of Library Resources and Services. My last required class and the only one I'll take from Tom Nisonger, owner of the best beard and ugliest suitcoat and one of the best reputations in SLIS.

Other news of note:

  • We went to a game party hosted by Tracy and Susan on Saturday night. We played Apples to Apples (which Samantha won!), a short game of Trivial Pursuit and a fun game of Cranium. Good times -- clearly this kind of thing needs to occur more often.
  • We saw Mari do her fiddlin' thang at Encore Cafe (twice now!) on Friday and went to The Vid (the coolest dive bar in Bloomington) where we saw more slizzards. I think it's becoming a SLIS hangout.
  • We are working on the invite list for our wedding party in June. Keep an eye out for an e-mail in the near future.
  • We made homecooked meals almost all week. Go us.

So now we're going to have pizza with Samantha's work friend Andrew and his fiancee Katy and watch The Muppets Take Manhattan. Woot. Peace all, and talk atcha again soon.

January 18, 2006

Unlikely Crossovers

I bet you never though you'd see these two franchises crossover. Well, you were wrong. I really don't know what I think about this. It seems like one of those things that sounded really great in theory.

I forgot to report on my first session of L401 instruction last week. After some fairly last-minute and hasty preparation, it actually went really well. I filled the time perfectly and there were no major technical problems (just a few minor ones, probably because I didn't prepare quite as thoroughly as that would have required). Their homework is starting to trickle in... I teach my next session tomorrow. And I really will start working on my PowerPoint a little sooner. Really! Like, tonight, during work. Yeah.

We saw Munich on Sunday with David and Jon. Wow, that was depressing. It was effective in that heavy handed Spielbergian fashion, but I'm not sure it was worth the immense downer. I'd see Mystic River again before this.

Samantha is going to sing with the Chamber Singers this semester, we think. If Gerry ever finds time to listen to her. I suckered her in with the literature we're doing (Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky). Hee. We had rehearsal last night -- things are sounding surprisingly good already. I'm sure it's because she was singing.

It snowed yesterday. Looks like winter again around here.

Do my posts need an ending? Maybe not. Let's find out.

January 23, 2006

Info Vis Art

Here's an interesting and rather beautiful way of looking at texts. I haven't explored this in great detail yet, but it's fun watching it "read" the text and watching the interrelations that appear and disappear.

The fencing tournament went well, I think. Samantha did about as well as could be hoped for after a year and a half. I did a lot of reading. On book six of the Wheel o' Time series and my interest is starting to flag. It really is kind of the same thing over and over... yes, I know the Aiel are fierce and hardy... oh, look, Nynaeve is angry and do you think she'll tug at her braid? Hey, look, she did... sigh. But I'm sticking in there.

I've already got my grading done for 401. If you know me at all, this should be impressive almost to the point of being shocking. *shrug* What can I say? I guess I felt like I have a lot to get done in the next couple days and I needed to knock some of it out.

I had a garlic cheeseburger at Marvin's today in Greencastle (where DePauw is and where I'm doing my internship, if you're a slacker like David and haven't read my blog in weeks). Yes you read that right. No, I don't know why you didn't think of that before. Probably for the same reason I didn't. It was about as awesome as I figured it would be.

If my default Terminal window on a Mac OS X is black background, neon green font, am I allowed to call it "pimped out"?

January 25, 2006

Blonde Joke

I'm not a big one for blonde jokes, but this one was too good not to pass along.

So you know how Google takes into account the words that one uses to link to things when it ranks its pages? (If you didn't know that, well, now you do, and it helps explain how people exploit Google for things like the miserable failure trick.) And you know how people use the words "here" or "click here" to link to things a lot? That just made me think... what's the top Google results for "here"?

What I found was unsurprising. In other news...

Eek, last 401 session tomorrow. I have barely received any of the homework from my students yet. Slackers!

Does anybody have any experience applying for federal jobs? There's a couple at the Patent and Trademark Office that are looking interesting to me, but the process also looks unusual and kind of scary...

I have a performance of French choir and organ music with the Bloomington chapter of the AGO this weekend. Come on out to St. Thomas Lutheran at 5 pm on Sunday if you're into such things. It's interesting rep to say the least.

January 27, 2006

Wishful Thinking

Why does blood turn brown when it dries?
Why do the tears well up in your eyes?
Why didn't I learn to ride my bike
When it was warm and sunny outside?

The Ditty Bops ask questions I am hard pressed to answer. They're awful cute, though. Just what I need -- another folksy sweet-harmony-singin' duo... ahh, who am I kidding? It's on the wishlist now.

Man, and they'll be at Merlefest... I need to find a way to go to this.

My 401 teaching is over. The last class didn't quite run as I had intended, but I think I facilitated enough learning for them to do okay in the rest of the course. Well, I suppose I should grade the homework and see... whee.

Okay. Better do some reading for class.

February 1, 2006

How To Fold a Shirt, Part II

This wacky Internet video is a heck of a lot better way to fold a t-shirt than this other wacky Internet video. More worrisome is the fact that there is more than one wacky Internet video about folding a t-shirt. Stranger still is the fact that I've seen them both... sigh. Maybe I'm too obsessed with folding laundry.

I always enjoy folding laundry. It's relaxing. Is that strange?

Last Saturday I went on a 2 hour trek to St. Meinrad, IN, to sing with the IU AGO in the church at St. Meinrad Archabbey. I can't believe this beautiful little campus and marvelous church are out in the middle of podunk Indiana. It was a fun concert (mmmmmmm, Messiaen's O Sacrum Convivium), we were well-fed, I hung out with awesome people... we even stopped at Waffle House on the way back. A good Saturday spent. Though I am currently kicking myself for not at least walking in the library there...

I'm teaching some bibliographic instruction sessions at DePauw tomorrow. Woot, SciFinder Scholar and Web of Science.

Grading 401 assignments is boring. I think I'm gonna get a snack.

February 3, 2006


I'm not quite sure how I got to this point in my life without being made aware of a thing called Strat-O-Matic. For those of you who are also among the uninitiated, it is a card/dice game designed to closely approximate a baseball game. The cards feature real baseball players and the gameplay is indescribably complex, mimicking features of baseball down to the level of ballpark factors. In short, sounds like the kind of thing that would be right up my alley.

I realize that this makes me perhaps even a bigger nerd than you originally thought, which you probably didn't think was possible. Well, to that I can only say: never underestimate my nerd-itude. That, and what else am I supposed to do while Samantha is out of town for a day and a half for a fencing tournament? So Davin and I are going to hopefully get together this evening and give it a shot.

The always pleasant smell of paint thinner is wafting in from the hallway. Friday headache, here I come.

Can anyone recommend a good RSS reader? I'm looking for something that arranges everything in chronological order regardless of where it's from.

February 6, 2006

"I'm Living a Dream"

Watching the Super Bowl ads yesterday reminded me of one of my favorites of all time. Samantha and I learned that ads is not enough to keep one's attention during the game. We went to Yogi's because we were feeling antisocial, and ended up leaving at halftime because we were bored. Did I miss any good ones after we left?

Strat-O-Matic is just as much fun as I thought it would be. There's actually quite a learning curve, depending on what level you play it at -- Basic, Advanced or the excellently-named Super Advanced. This also leads to such great lines as, "Okay, Torii Hunter just hit a liner to second. Consult the Super Advanced Fielding Chart to see if Todd Walker can get it."

If you're curious, the Cubs beat the Twins 2-1. Johan Santana and Mark Prior pitched great games, except for the solo homer that Santana gave up to Corey Patterson in the 7th. The Twins tied it up in the eighth thanks to a successful hit-and-run by Lew Ford and a sac fly by Michael Cuddyer that scored Corey Koskie from third (beating a throw to the plate). But J.C. Romero couldn't keep the Cubbies down, and LaTroy Hawkins shut us down for the save. Oh, the irony.

Anyway. I'm totally pumped to play more of this. Davin has the 2004 cards -- which is fine by me, since the Twins were better that year than last year... anyone else interested?

Samantha had a pretty successful tournament on Saturday, both personally and as captain of the four member women's epee team. We are looking forward to both being home this Saturday, though.

February 8, 2006

Naira, a Ribald Librarian

There's some weird stuff out there on the ol' Intarweb. Like a site dedicated to almost palindromes, aka falindromes. Take the title of this post, for instance. At first glance, you may think it's a palindrome, especially if it was spoken to you. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that it is not. Why is there a site dedicated to this kind of stupidity? Pondering the answers to these kinds of questions may bring you to the brink of sanity...

So, the more I think about it, the more I'm quite sure that Strat-O-Matic's Super Advanced Fielding Chart needs to be a part of every day life. I mean, look at that name. Listen to how it rolls off your tongue with that perfect level of simplicity and kitsch. Super Advanced Fielding Chart. Try it out:

"Hey, can I have some of your fries?"
"I don't know, can you? Check the Super Advanced Fielding Chart!"

"Man, the movie I saw last night was terrible."
"How bad was it?"
"Hmmm... well, let's look at the Super Advanced Fielding Chart and figure it out."

Yeah. Definitely.

Life continues on its merry way. Nothing more of interest lately. I live a generally content existence. Can't ask for much more, really.

If anyone has any bright ideas for good venues for our shindig in June, drop me a line. Indoor, outdoor, whatever.

February 10, 2006

Kitten Vs. New Video Card

I can't tell you how many times I've had trouble making this decision. Thank goodness this Dan fellow can help me out.

Speaking of cats, I'm planning a feature-length post about my cats for sometime in the near future for those of you who have never had the joy of meeting them.

In other news:

  • Has baseball started yet? No? Shoot.
  • My sister is taking Human Biology ("intended for non-majors") and just asked me if I knew which cell organelle does protein synthesis. *brain cramps* It's been too long...
  • Woot, opera tonight. We're also trying another fancy-dancy restaurant called Truffles.
  • We'll be looking at a few possible sites for our party in June on Saturday. Sigh. Wasn't the idea behind eloping that we didn't have to plan anything?
  • I learned last night that Samantha likes chili dogs. As if I needed more proof that I married the right woman.
  • Quote of the Week (Month, maybe?) 21, an exchange overhead at Jiffy Treat last night:
    Woman, looking at Adoptable Cats poster from the local Humane Society, to husband: "We should have gotten a cat instead of a bird."
    Man standing in front of her in line: "Getting the cat might solve both problems."

February 15, 2006

Sweet Mother of Mercy

I thought this day would never come. The Twins don't report for three days yet, but whatever. Finally the off-season is over.

'Twas a very enjoyable weekend. Our pre-opera dinner at Truffles was fantastic. I had one of the best salads of my life (spinach with goat cheese and vinaigrette dressing) and then a pork chop with rice pilaf and veggies, and strawberry white chocolate cheesecake for dessert. So so so good. Also rather pricey, but hey, if it's worth it. The opera was The Barber of Seville and it was also fantastic. Other than some mild personal distaste about certain voices, I have nothing to complain about -- it was beautifully sung and acted, the music was incredible and it was silly and fun.

Saturday we looked at some venues for ye olde party in June. Also pricey. Not as much fun, but something we've gotta do. I don't think 80+ people will fit in our apartment. We also had chili dogs for dinner. Sweet.

I sent off the applications for a couple of jobs with the USPTO on Monday. Gary is optimistic -- me, not so much, but you never know.

Ooh, it's time to get pizza. Talkatcha later...

EDIT - One of those jobs link was broken -- fixed now.

February 22, 2006

Two Possible Truisms (Take Your Pick)

1) The Internet is smaller than you think, or
2) it is possible for Internet celebrities to extend their 15 minutes of fame.

I was originally just going to post The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, which is strong enough to stand on its own, in my opinion, but in the process of taking a closer look at it, I learned something far more interesting.

Some of you may recall a rather bizarre Flash video entitled Hyakugojyuuichi! (and other videos like it) that made the rounds about five years ago. I remember it as one item of the initial wave of True Internet Weirdness™ that broke about the turn of the century. Anyway, the video in and of itself was pretty strange, but the startling thing was that its creator, Neil Cicierega, was only thirteen.

So fast forward to last week, when I found the above song. And after a little bit of digging, I found that the artist behind the song, Lemon Demon, is a pseudonym for the same Neil Cicierega, who is now 19 and still up to plenty of Internet hijinx.

Weird! You'd think there were enough people out there posting True Internet Weirdness™ without coming across the same guy more than once. Incidentally, his music sports a pretty heavy TMBG influence. ZOMG.

In other news:

  • Our weekend was good, if busy. We did squeeze in a stop at Tracks (the record store downtown) and picked up KT Tunstall's disc Eye to the Telescope. It pretty much rules.
  • Samantha's going to be a cross-country traveller for the next two weeks. This weekend is a fencing tourney in South Bend, while the weekend after that is the opening of a performance of Grease back in Statesboro, in which her brother Tim (he's the non artistic one) has a starring role.
  • All this also means that Samantha can't go to any of the opera performances over the next two weekends. :( Anyone else want to go with me?
  • Umm... apparently her life is far more interesting than mine.
  • Oh, yeah, I bought four boxes of Girl Scout cookies. But no Piñatas. Where have you gone, Piñatas? *weeps for lost Piñatas*
  • Ten pound weights become infinitely heavier the more you lift them.
  • Quote of the Week 23: "That person helps you find stuff when you can't find stuff." - A little boy in reference to my friend Davin working the desk at a public library

Now I'm off to find out if all the special characters in this post show up on a PC.

February 24, 2006

And Not a Drop to Drink

Everytime I turn around there is more good music awaiting my thirsty ears. I was a little stagnant in my listening (and purchasing) habits for the past year or so, but I think I'm making up for it recently...

  • Butterfly Boucher: That's "bow-cher." One of my somewhat random used CD purchases at Cheapo over winter break. I can't believe her Another White Dash isn't plastered all over AAA radio.
  • Eddie from Ohio. Pretty sure I already covered this. Where can I get more?
  • KT Tunstall: You may have heard her Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. That was enough for us, but it's not all, by a long shot.

And things that I'm thinking about and just finding now...

  • The Ditty Bops. Also discussed previously.
  • The Duhks. They seem too much like other bands I enjoy to ignore.
  • The Mammals. I just found them, like, three minutes ago, but I'm already really intrigued. Covers of Nirvana and Morphine? Cheeky.

And yes, I noticed that all three of the above acts will be at Merlefest. Like I need more incentive.

Anyway, the wishlist is updated. In other news:

  • I am on Day 2 of the four-day Jon Yaeger-fest I've embarked on. It just worked out that way, really.
  • Wish Samantha and her epee girls luck as they head out to South Bend this weekend. Rar!
  • More Strat-O-Matic on Saturday! We've got four nerds this time -- look out, it's a tournament! Where's my d20... and the Cheetos... *snort snort*
  • I just preordered the Baseball Prospectus 2006. Can you tell I'm antsy?

Off to class -- more Nisonger jokes await! Happy weekend!

March 1, 2006

Oh, That Silly Internet

In the next entry in True Internet Weirdness™, click here to assist a man attempting to log 1 billion unique page views on his website. Like you have anything better to do.

In other news:

  • Samantha's first weekend away was complete. Her epee team did about as well as can be expected. She was not pleased with her individual performance, but she has a tendency to be overcompetitive and too hard on herself, so I believe she did fine as well.
  • While she was gone, I bought some dice, some comics, and some crappy Chinese buffet before joining Davin, Jon and Phil for Strat-O-Matic, drinks and Headbanger's Ball. The Twins lost again, this time to the Red Sox (managed by Jon). It was a heartbreaker -- Santana pitched a shutout into the 9th inning -- the 9th inning! -- before Damon and Ramirez got on base and Ortiz hit it out of the park in the bottom of the ninth, thus winning the game 3-2. I'm now 0-2 in my managerial duties for the 2004 Twins.
  • Samantha's second weekend away is coming up -- she leaves on Thursday to catch the Friday matinee of her brother's show in Statesboro. No doubt she's going to enjoy not driving for a while after she returns.
  • We saw She Stoops to Conquer Monday night. It was most excellent. The acting was good, if not overwhelming. The actress playing Kate was very good, but I could see a truly talented actress doing wonders with the role. I enjoyed the play a lot and am always fascinated by how excellent literature stands the test of time. The play was written over 200 years ago and can say things about human nature that are still very applicable today.

'Tis all for now. Off to the Ash Wednesday service. I think I'm going to give up cookies for Lent. I also think I'm crazy.

March 3, 2006

Seeing Double

Do not adjust your set -- you may be reading this entry twice. I'm going to start posting my entries here on LiveJournal as well, because it seems like something fun to do and may some of my peeps keep track of me easier. Plus I get to include my mood and music with my posts there. Even though the music will probably just be whatever's stuck in my head.

Which, today, is Great Big Sea. Yes, they were not on a list of any form, but instead jumped straight to the top of the queue thanks to a very strong first four tracks on their 2004 effort Something Beautiful, which I listened to on those nifty little headphone machines at Barnes and Noble. I don't know, something about them spoke to me, plus I figured Samantha would like them. The rest of the album isn't as good as the first four songs, but I've been pretty pleased nonetheless. Track 2 is the best and probably my new favorite song (as well as inspiration for the new name of my LJ page).

In other news:

  • Apparently there's a 3-hour long Daily Show special on movies this Sunday night. Anyone interested in watching?
  • The Twins won their first spring training game with Boston 6-3. Spring Training is a poor indicator of future performance, but I was excited anyway.
  • Congratulations and props to my friend Becky, who is enrolling in a library science program this fall! Librarians unite! Here's some questionable advice for you, Becks. Remember, in every joke, there's 10% truth.
  • And another dispatch from the same fellow. Inspired by that Chuck Norris site that's been making the rounds? Possibly.

Okay, I should probably revise my resume for the round robin resume review (RRRR) that's going on here today. Peace!

March 6, 2006

Sadness in Twins Territory

Samantha came home yesterday afternoon and told me that she heard some sad news on the radio: Kirby Puckett had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. I took some time this morning to check out the news. Actually, it was unavoidable, since it was all over the half-dozen or so baseball news and blogs I generally check. You can think what you will about the things that Kirby was accused of in the past few years, but he was all that was good about Twins baseball for me at a very impressionable age. I'll be praying for him.

I'm home today after waking up feeling pretty terrible this morning. Thankfully my internship is flexible enough that I can make the time up sometime later (probably next week, since it'll be spring break and I'll have some free time). It's been fairly productive, as I've gotten some miscellaneous things done for my internship that I never have time for when I'm actually doing said internship. That and I'm enjoying sitting at home in pajama pants and hanging out with my kitties on a weekday -- something I'm sure I will seldom have opportunity to do once I get a real job.

Unfortunately, my productivity has been hampered slightly. I clicked on this link to a puppy curling game having been warned by the linker that I would not be able to play it only once. This has proven accurate. You, likewise, have been warned.

Speaking of curling, I'm somewhat sorry to say that I didn't catch any of the Olympic curling... or any of the Olympics, really. Not surprising, considering that we don't have cable or any TV reception to speak of, but I feel that I have betrayed my roots somewhat by missing the international coverage of a sporting team that, in the men's case, hails entirely from Northern Minnesota. Sigh.

In other news:

  • Samantha's second weekend away was successful, if somewhat exhausting. She reports that Statesboro's first attempt at community theater was not bad, considering. She did really enjoy seeing her "non-artistic" brother Tim singing and acting.
  • Meanwhile, I was not successful at much other than eating out too much (again) and watching movies: The Wedding Crashers with Jon on Friday night (hilarious!) and Match Point on Saturday by my lonesome (mostly unimpressive for the first half, and redeemed itself plot-wise in the second half, although acting throughout was lackluster).
  • We watched the Oscars last night and were generally entertained. Jon Stewart was lots of fun and we were pleasantly surprised by Crash winning Best Picture. Best line of the evening: "Martin Scorcese, zero. Three 6 Mafia: one."
  • Does anyone have any experience with organic peanut butter? I bought some two weeks ago and it has so far proven to be extraordinarily runny. I have scoured the packaging for a "Refrigerate After Opening" label, to no avail. I think I'm gonna put it in there anyway.

Off to pick up Samantha and meet with a possible caterer as the party planning putters along...

EDIT: Kirby Puckett is dead, at 45. I'm going to cry again if I think about this too long. So long, Puck.

March 9, 2006

Off Week

This week's been a little weird so far. My schedule has been all wacky, for one. I didn't go to Greencastle because I was ill on Monday and Caroline's son was ill on Tuesday. So I am instead here today, but Caroline is home sick. And my baseball world is turned upside down with the untimely death of my childhood baseball hero, the breaking Barry Bonds stuff (no link -- go find it if you care, I really don't) and most interestingly, the WBC upset of Canada over the USA 8-6. Which was awesome, don't get me wrong -- I always root for the underdog, so seeing the US superstars get shut down by no-name Canadians (Adam Loewen? Eric Cyr? Stubby Clapp??) was pretty wild -- but still a little odd.

So I'm feeling kinda surreal. And then I go on Spring Break. Great, that'll help. Plans for Spring Break:

  • Catch up on my work for my internship (journals, readings)
  • Apply for jobs
  • Do my project for Nisonger's class
  • Finalize plans for the "wedding"
  • Do our taxes
  • Help Mari clean her apartment
  • Go bowling
  • Get my car fixed
  • Watch WBC games with Jon and others
  • Not travel. :( Except maybe to Indy.

In other news:

  • Here's the preliminary news brief about my choir concert: it's Saturday the 25th, at 8 pm. Program is Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky and Barber. $12 advance tickets, plus free admission to the after-concert gathering that Samantha and I are probably hosting. Let us know if you want to come -- we have tickets we need to sell.
  • Oh, regarding the WBC, if you've got some money to blow, check out this item on my wishlist. Soooo awesome. Wedding present, anyone?
  • Umm... that's it.

March 19, 2006

Spring Broken

Okay, I've been away for a little while, sorry. I was on Spring Break, so give me a, well, you know. I don't even have a weird link for you today! Man. I guess I'll just have to go with an oldie-but-goodie, the classic Insanity Test.

I have done very little of what I planned to do over the break, but I was very successful at one thing -- taking a break. Ah well. I guess I'll just have a good reason to work even harder next week.

In other news:

  • I worked for Gary for 8 hours on Tuesday, helping him put together a grant application. I can see now why people agonize over this process.
  • Samantha and I ventured into Indy on Thursday to see this Broad Ripple place we hear so much about on WTTS. It was pleasant, if underwhelming. We didn't purchase anything, though.
  • St. Urho's Day was on Thursday as well. If you know what this is, that should be all the information you need to grasp its importance. If you don't know what this is, I'm not going to tell you. So there.
  • We watched Mari and her amazing fiddling talents on St. Paddy's Day, and then stuck around for a poetry slam. Yikes. Now I can say that I've been to a poetry slam. Whee!
  • We witnessed the end of the Indiana basketball season last night, at Yogi's. I feel somewhat ashamed that I even am aware of this, but there it is. Chalk it up to the atmosphere of hoops that seems to permeate the very air around me in this state. I can't escape.
  • I have now finished the ninth book of the Wheel of Time series. Victory is within my grasp. An acquaintance asked me how long I've been reading this series, and I had to go into the Archives to figure it out... I think it was October. Yikes again.
  • I have signed on with another choir for a temporary period. Yes, I am a singing fool. More news about this soon.

And I'd better finish off my Spring Break right... with greasy Chinese. Probably.

March 28, 2006

Puppies and Choirs

You may have seen this already, but I would be remiss in warning you that not shooting puppies was never so difficult.

You'll have to excuse my absence from the blogospherez0rz again. We had a pretty busy week and weekend, mostly due to the choir concert on Saturday. Rehearsals on four weeknights will do that. But it went off very well. The audience was large and appreciative, and even contained a number of people who we knew! Thanks for coming out, friends. It really does mean a lot to us.

And now, for my next trick, I am singing two concerts this week with a group called the Meridian Vocal Consort. They are a 16 voice group lead by Michael Messina, the director at Trinity Episcopal in Indianapolis. They are out of town unfortunately -- Thursday night in Louisville and Sunday night in Indianapolis. But if you are willing to travel, I think they're free, and the group is very good -- and if you know me, you know I don't give compliments to choral groups lightly. More details soon (I forgot my schedule at home).

Woot, choir. I love choir. If I could make a living singing in choirs, I would.

In other news:

  • My paper for Nisonger's class turned out pretty well. I discovered that ye olde St. Olaf science library has about half the items recommended by some know-it-all chemistry librarian. Not bad for a dinky little liberal arts college in Minnesota. And I got to use my Access skillz. Yeeuh.
  • Samantha's fencing kids came over after the concert and played a couple awesome games of Apples to Apples. Fun game, thanks Mom!
  • We made risotto on Sunday night. Let me tell you, that's a lot of stirring. It turned out pretty good, if extremely sticky. Maybe I should have kept adding broth? Anyone have any risotto experience?
  • My internship supervisor Caroline brought her 8 month old son Broz over to the library for lunch yesterday. He was very cute, and very distracting.
  • I ate waaay too much beef yesterday: another GCB from Marvin's and a reuben at Shapiro's Deli. Yes, the sandwich did really look like that. I counted 26 slices of corned beef, not to mention the sauerkraut. Very tasty, but that's just too much meat. My stomach was not happy. Remind me not to have two beef-centric meals in one day.
  • Baseball starts this Sunday! Imagine the use of excessive exclamation points (and perhaps a trailing one) to emphasize this fact... I won't actually subject you to such crudeness.

I suppose I should do some work while I'm at work. Just as soon as I get back from lunch. Hee.

March 31, 2006

Transform, and Roll Out

Here's some pics and a movie of some dude's Optimus Prime CGI models. Ohh yeah. If amateurs can look this good, hopefully it bodes well for the real thing.

Our concert in Louisville went pretty well. One more in Indy this weekend. It's at Trinity Episcopal (3243 N. Meridian) on Sunday at 7 pm. It's free and the musicianship is really top-notch.

Samantha is on her way to Clemson, SC, right now for her last fencing team tournament of the season. And I will get some work done this weekend. Really I will.

In other news:

  • I rode back from Louisville with one Patricia Thompson, who is an Ole grad! We had fun talking about differences in the St. Olaf Choir between when she was there (for KJ's last two years and Dr. A's first) and when I was, as well as general Ole stuff. Hooray for new friends!
  • Making global changes to websites is kinda hard. I know how to use sed well enough to get by, but it's still rather difficult. Like, how do I insert new lines of code 5 lines from the end of 16 different .html files?
  • Ummm... apparently librarian jobs aren't gonna fall in my lap by themselves. I should get to work on this too.

So much to do, and I have so little motivation to do it all... sigh. Story of my life, I guess.

April 3, 2006

Opening Day!

Schilling, 7 innings, five strikeouts... Pujols, two home runs... Kansas City lost... yes, baseball has begun.

And it's about freakin' time. Your Minnesota Twins, 2006 World Champions. Yeah, you heard it here first. Okay, maybe not world champions. But I'd settle for the wild card. Hell, I'd settle for 90 wins. Is that too much to ask?

Meanwhile, Samantha's still not back. :( They stayed over in Clemson Sunday night what with an individual tournament being played out late in the day and didn't get on the road until 11 this morning. So I expect her pretty soon. But seriously... like, what did I do with myself before she came along? Everything just feels off kilter.

So you won't be surprised that I haven't gotten too much done in her absence. I did whip a basic cover letter into shape and applied for a few jobs... not that I'm optimistic about any of them.

In other news:

  • My second concert with the Meridian Vocal Consort in Indy was good. I had people I knew in the audience... Gerry and Julie, the conductors of the BCS came out, as did my uncle-in-law Rich. I hung out with he and Jim for much of the afternoon, which was fun but, well, off kilter. See?
  • Guh. I'm boring. Insert your own second bullet point of news here.
  • Baseball starts today. Oh, did I say that already? Well, tough. And you know what? You're gonna hear it again. Baseball freakin' starts today. Got that? Jason Kubel, 2006 Rookie of the Year. You heard it here first, people.

Meh. Off to do more job apps.

April 5, 2006

Fickle Like the Breeze

Is my love for the Minnesota Twins. They were down 4-0 earlier today and I was thinking how horrible the year is going to be if they keep hitting like this. Now they're winning 5-4 on some consecutive singles and fielding errors by the Blue Jays, and who racks up the first stolen base of the year? Our 6-foot-4 catcher. Awesome. They can do no wrong.

If you're sick of the baseball talk, I'm sorry, but I think you're gonna have to deal. I'll really try to keep it to a minimum, but sometimes that's about the most exciting part of my day. Sad, huh?

Today I accomplished the following things on the wedding party front:

  • Confirmed our venue.
  • Confirmed our caterer.
  • Called a bunch of hotels about group rates. Mostly left messages.

In other news:

  • Ever since doing this meme for Aaron's LJ, I sometimes notice the idiosyncracies of my daily existence. Here's another one: I attempt to retrieve everything the ATM spits out at me (money, card, receipt) as quickly as possible. This involves being able to place said cash into my wallet in the correct order in the short amount of time it takes before the card gets ejected. I've gotten really good at it, and I am disappointed with myself when the machine sits there with any of the three items and beeps at me more than twice.
  • This is fantastic. I bet our cats could do that if they weren't so lazy.
  • We've purchased tickets to two upcoming musicals. I've got the soundtrack for one, but not the other... anybody care to remedy that? (It's on the wishlist now...)

Okay, back to work...

April 7, 2006


This post has been edited in an attempt to make this blog a little more anonymous.

In other news:

  • Behold, today's headline in the Indianapolis Star. And people seriously ask me if I'm leaving the state when I'm done with my degree...
  • Points to our much maligned dean for the topic of his recent presentation.
  • The last opera of the season (and our last opera in Indiana, probably) is tonight. *sniff* What a way to go, though.

Hooray, I get a free Saturday to hang out with my wife. Happy weekend, all!

April 11, 2006

Charging the Mound

People who watch sports hoping to see fights are better off watching hockey than baseball, but there are a few good ones every once in a while, usually precipitated by the batter being hit by a pitch. In honor of the recent Jose Guillen/Pedro Martinez spat, here's the top nine mound chargings, as decided by Sportscenter in 2002.

Oh, and the Twins are 1-5. Surprise, surprise, they're not hitting. Boo.

Life is pretty quiet around here. I've been trying to find a hotel to nab a block of rooms for the party, but our late planning is working against us. Sigh.

In other news:

  • Carmen was good. The music was fantastic, although I must say the leads weren't quite up to snuff. We were a little disappointed. But we've probably been spoiled watching opera here. Who knows where we'll be watching it next...
  • We went rollerblading for the first time this year yesterday. It was most excellent.
  • I'm wearing a short-sleeved shirt that isn't a Friday Hawaiian shirt for the first time this year today. I think spring has finally arrived.
  • Amy will appreciate this. I made Chicken Tikka for the first time in years over the weekend. Only I used Veat instead of Chicken. It turned out pretty well.

Lunchtime! Probably won't involve Veat this time. What a great name for a product. Why didn't I think of that?

April 13, 2006

Another Entry In Which Is Contained a Strange Web Video

What kind of video, you ask? Why, talking cats, of course.

It is gorgeous here. The sun has been shining nonstop for two days, and it's 85 degrees. We rollerbladed again yesterday and worked up quite a sweat in the sunshine. I'm not usually a big fan of warm weather, but it's the first warm spell and I'm loving it just like everyone else. Well, almost everyone else... sorry, Mari.

And the Twins are winning! They just swept the Athletics by winning today's game 8-2. The offense took off, finally. But the most exciting thing is what this Fransisco Liriano kid has done so far in three appearances: 6 2/3 innings pitched, no runs, 12 strikeouts. Electric. Now let's see if we can bring it to the Yankees this weekend... yikes!

So it's a good week so far. Too bad it has to go and be Good Friday tomorrow. Way to bring the downer, Jesus.

In other news:

  • My new favorite phrase: SLEEP MADNESS.
  • My new favorite webcomic: Achewood. Thanks, Nelson!
  • My new favorite online distraction: fantasy baseball. Oh, no, what have I done...

Happy Easter, all. Talk with you again after the weekend.

April 20, 2006

Little Five/Busyness

The former is what most of Bloomington is doing by this point. The phrase "Little Five" describes what is basically the biggest party weekend of the year around here, in celebration of the Little 500, the annual bike race (ever seen Breaking Away?). It's kind of an odd cause-and-effect thing: whereby a bike race causes the amount of people sitting out on house porches playing beer pong, that retarded bean bag toss, and drinking alcoholic beverages triples.

The latter is what I am doing. I have a goodly number of journal entries and article synopses to finish up for my internship meeting next week, not to mention the final project for Nisonger's class. So you probably won't be hearing from me for a while. Sorry. And I was doing so well there for a while...

So I'll leave you with one of the best ads to come out of the Firefox Flicks contest so far. Well, maybe not the best, but definitely the funniest.

May 2, 2006

Future Posts

I have a lot of catching up to do. Here are the titles of my next few posts:

The Price of Doing What You Love
LA is Calling
I am a Master
Stephen Colbert - Patriot and Hero
In Other News
An Alphabet Meme
#84 - Fargo

May 4, 2006

LA Is Calling

I've applied for six jobs now. Two have called me back, and for some reason, they are both in the Los Angeles area. I'm a little weirded out by this, because I really didn't see my life leading towards southern California. I mean, I won't complain, the second largest metro area in the country would certainly afford a lot of opportunities for Samantha and I. And the weather would be nice, and hey, it's California. But there's also the traffic, the high cost of living, the smog, the thousands of miles away from the Midwest...

Regardless, it's exciting. Wish me luck.

May 11, 2006

I am a Master

Of library science, that is.

I decided to wait until my grades came through. I appear to have avoided failing both of my classes this semester. So I guess that means I have my MLS now.

It feels kind of anticlimatic. This may be because I spent most of Saturday working on my presentation for my interview instead of standing around in a robe and mortarboard being part of a long and mostly meaningless ceremony. Honestly, having a room full of librarians congratulate me on it (which is what happened a couple of times during my interview) was the most exciting part so far.

The next exciting thing would be getting a job. Thankfully, I feel that I am quite qualified to be a librarian/information professional with one of a number of possible focuses (foci?):

  1. general science librarianship
  2. chemistry librarianship
  3. chemical information retrieval/support
  4. instruction/information literacy librarianship
  5. general academic librarianship

Cool, huh? And the job thing may be moving right along. More news on this as events warrant.

For those readers interested in the process of achieving the degree, I now present a brief description of the last two academic years. If you don't care, you can stop here and offer your congratulations below. (What, fishing for compliments, me? Never...)

Continue reading "I am a Master" »

May 15, 2006

In Other News

So now that I have the important stuff out of the way (for now), I can bore you all with the unimportant stuff. So, without further ado, a large bullet list:

  • Our party is coming up in less than a month. Woo-hoo! And there are people who are actually coming. We've finally sent invites, so the RSVPs are trickling in. We're meeting with our caterer this afternoon to get some details ironed out and get the pertinent info to our venue.
  • My interview in LA went well. They asked for more references. And I've noticed quite a few hits to this site from surrounding areas (hi guys!). Not much more to say yet -- I'll keep you updated.
  • Mari hosted an awesome Cinco de Mayo party. There are pictures for the non faint-of-heart. You may see people smooching. You have been warned.
  • School is over, but I'm still on campus, working. Things are very quiet, which is always nice.
  • The weather here as been ugly. Rainy and cold for about the past week. What happened to spring?
  • I've started reading another webcomic called Wondermark. I recommend it. You don't need to read the archives to jump on board and immediately start enjoying it.
  • Samantha and I saw Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit the other night. Also highly recommended.
  • The Minnesota Twins are going to kill me yet. They featured timely hitting and decent pitching for the first two games of their series with the dreaded White Sox, and yesterday looked to be more of the same after the first inning yielded a score of 7-3. But then Carlos Silva gave up five more runs and I died a little inside. Argh. Inconsistent poor performance is worse than consistent poor performance.
  • I'm toying around with the idea of making my Windows machine at home a dual-boot with Linux. A friend got me thinking about this when she handed me an Ubuntu CD. Any thoughts from the resident computer nerds on this?
  • I'm halfway through Wheel of Time 11. Oh dear Lord, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If I can do this, I think I can read just about anything. Because reading this series has honestly been like reading an 8,000 page book. Even 19th century Russian novelists will crumble beneath my might. So what am I going to read next? I'm open to suggestions.
  • Oh, and I'm first in my fantasy baseball league. Woot!

What's up with you, people?

May 24, 2006

The New Job Post Has Been Edited

I have a job. But I'm not telling you what it is. :)

Okay, fine, I'll tell you. I'm an academic librarian in southern California. Does that help?

June 2, 2006

Things That Are Not Quite as Exciting

Thanks for all the congrats and well wishing regarding my new job. Sadly, there hasn't been anything notable to report on that front in the past week. Yes, I need to get going on finding an apartment. I'm working on that. If you have suggestions, feel free.

We are moving into the final stages of party planning. Which is good, considering it's in eight days! Hopefully everything will go off well. There's so little that actually will require us doing anything beyond this point that I'm sure it will. I hope everyone has made their hotel reservations at this point... I think I need to release the rest of the rooms soon.

Other things that have happened in the past two weeks or so:

  • We saw X-Men 3. I was whelmed. (Neither over nor under.) Effects were cool, action was fun, plot was decent, dialogue was terrible. The most interesting thing about it was the reference to the somewhat infamous X-Men cartoon dub (NSFW). I honestly can't believe they did this. I think it's the first time I've ever seen a bit of True Internet Weirdness™ referenced in an "inside joke" fashion in the mass media.
  • Also saw The DaVinci Code. *shrug* I'd venture to say it was better than X-Men, but thats not saying much. I'm guessing that Cars will be the first movie I see this summer that I will really like.
  • Mari's new beau Tony hosted a Memorial Day thingie at his place. We grilled chili dogs (the aforementioned kind), sat around a bonfire and talked about Doctor Who. Or at least, other people besides me talked about Doctor Who.
  • The Minnesota Twins... sigh. What more is there to say? If they can get their pitching rotation in some semblence of order, things might look up. Joe Mauer has been quite the stud recently, though.
  • I have finished reading all the currently published Wheel of Time books. Dear Lord, that took a long time. Yes, I think I can read anything now. To prove this, I have started reading Atlas Shrugged again. Hopefully I will finish it this time.
  • My home computer now sports a new hard drive partition and a nifty Linux distribution called Ubuntu. And all this was done without completely destroying Windows XP. I'm fairly impressed with myself. I haven't had a lot of time to play around with the new operating system as of yet. But I like what I see so far.
  • We have been rollerblading a fair amount. Unfortunately, we were thrown off course this week by a Village Deli ultimate frisbee game on Monday which left both of us exhausted and me with a gimpy heel. Hopefully that will improve soon.

That is all for now. I'm going to try to post more often -- I seem to have gotten out of the habit again. So, off to find more TIW™!

June 14, 2006

Walk Smash Walk

Is the name of this particular bit of True Internet Weirdness™. Thanks to Bill for the tip.

Our party was an unqualified success. Many, many thanks to all who came and made it a joyful and wonderful event. It's really a blessing to have friends and family who were willing to make a long trip to celebrate with us. You guys made all our hard work spent planning entirely worth it.

Also, the food was fantastic. If you are looking for a caterer in the Bloomington area, call Nick at The Cake and the Caterer. He is very friendly, flexible and easy to work with -- and the food was awesome. Unfortunately, we ordered a little too much (either that or not enough people showed up), so I've been having sesame peanut noodles for the past three days. But that's okay.

Also, if you took pictures, send copies along. Somehow we avoided bringing our cameras anywhere, so we're counting on you. Don't let us down.

Now that that's over, I have the following things to concentrate on:

  • Finding a place to live in Los Angeles.
  • Figuring out how to move us from here to Los Angeles
  • Attending three weddings in July.

So! On with wasting more time.

In other news:

  • I received my official job offer letter in the mail on Friday. Hooray! I considered adding something to "I accept the above offer of employment" in the same fashion that several people did to our RSVPs (e.g. "I accept with pleasure, bitches" "I accept with raucous enthusiasm" "I accept with total acceptance"), but thought better of it.
  • Inspired by the recently released third volume of Old Timey Radio Spectacular, we watched Flash Gordon, in all it's cheesy 80's glory. David was along for the ride, whether he was really interested or not. It was pretty fantastic.
  • I just learned earlier this week that Guster has a new album coming out next week! It's called Ganging Up on the Sun. Come on, guys, if there's one thing that ganging up on probably won't help you defeat it, it's the sun. Check out the video for their single One Man Wrecking Machine.
  • I am about 450 pages in to Atlas Shrugged (out of 1070). I'm thinking Brothers Karamazov next. Eh?

Looks like it's time for more sesame peanut noodles! Whee!

June 16, 2006

Hey, Look, A Weekend

But first, we interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for this NEWS UPDATE:

Thanks to David for the tip and to Lore Sjöberg, who (like Neil Cicierega) just won't go away. And thank goodness for that.

Anyway. I am excited by the prospect of what will be the last normal weekend I will have in quite a while. We are planning on going to Indianapolis to dork around at the Children's Museum with some of Samantha's fencing friends. Next weekend, I am flying to LA to search for apartments. And the weekend after that begins our Whirlwind Wedding Tour '06. And then I'm moving, maybe? I don't know! Crazy.

In other news:

  • The Twins swept the Red Sox! Yeah! We were just nerdy enough to be at Yogi's for two of the three games. Very exciting to see our young hitters really start hitting.
  • File this in the Reversal of Fortune category: eight years ago, as a high school senior, I wanted to attend Yale University. Unfortunately, I was a huge slacker at the time and completely missed the admissions deadline, so they didn't even have a chance to reject me (which they surely would have). Fast forward to the present, where having applied for a science librarian position there in March, Yale called me back two days ago and invited me to New Haven for an interview. Now who's too late?
  • We have finalized plans for our belated honeymoon. More news on this soon. Rest assured -- it is awesome. You may, in fact, be jealous.

I may take a nap now. I may not. You'll never know. How does that make you feel?

June 21, 2006

Mentos + Diet Coke

Apparently the Internet has discovered the result of mixing Mentos candies and diet soda (hint -- it's rather explosive). A cursory search of YouTube or Google Video will give you dozens of videos of amateurs in their backyard or on their driveway creating soda geysers. But the fellow at Eepybird truly have this down to an art form.

The technical explanation is that the rough surface of Mentos offers numerous "sites of nucleation" for dissolved carbon dioxide to come out of solution very quickly, creating high pressure. But that's boring. Who wants to try this at home?

Our trip to Indianapolis last weekend was lots of fun. The Children's Museum was, as advertised, totally awesome. We also received Cranium as a belated wedding gift from Leili and Helle, which meant we had to play it, of course, at our gathering at Brian's house afterwards. But not before our 15 minute Nerf war. Aaahh, to be young and goofy...

I have a couple of appointments to see apartments in LA, and I'm planning on making a bunch more before I fly out there on Saturday. Apparently most apartments don't come with refrigerators in the Valley? What's up with this?

Movies we've seen recently:

  • Nanny McPhee. We watched this with Samantha's mom before she left town. Pretty fun, very cute, and excellent Emma Thompson in horrible makeup.
  • Brick. At Bear's with Jon last night. Meh. I think I would have enjoyed it more if 1) the sound was better -- I missed about half of the dialogue and 2) I was more familiar with the film noir genre that the film clearly owed a lot to.
  • The next AFI movie. Ha, just kidding. No, seriously, we'll get to it soon... it's just not that appetizing a selection.

Blah. Back to my 9-hour shift in the labs. Woot indeed.

June 29, 2006

CGI-Laden Blockbuster

Two particular ones I have in mind:

We saw Superman Returns last night. I enjoyed it. The special effects were well utilized and the plotline was fun. I thought that it moved slowly, though, and wasn't quite as deep as it wanted to be. But it was good. I'd recommend it.

But, MORE IMPORTANTLY, I have some Transformers related links:

  • Hasbro announced a new line of toys for November 2006: Transformers Classics. Fun to see some of the oldies-but-goodies getting an update. (Thanks to Jason for the tip.)
  • For those of you who enjoyed the Citroen ad with the transforming car (both the original and the version with pre-dance warm up), there's a new one. They have all been rated Totally Sweet.
  • The official website for the upcoming movie has a teaser of sorts. I have no idea what it's counting down to -- which is the intended effect, I'm sure. What's happening at 1:00 pm EDT on July 5th?
  • And finally, did you know that Optimus Prime is huge in China? Literally. (Thanks to Loren.)

In other news:

  • My trip to LA was successful, so far. We've chosen a nice spot with a 2 bedroom available. Now if we can pass the rigorous application process. Credit checks, pay stubs and previous addresses, oh my!
  • We are starting our Whirlwind Wedding Tour '06 today, as we leave for Stillwater this evening. Our thoughts go out to Tom and Alicia in the last two days of their planning! Although really, our thoughts can only go so far, because they could have eloped. So they were asking for it, really.
  • My good high school friend Andy recently informed me that he and his wife Lauren are also moving to the LA metro area (albeit Riverside, which is about as far away from Northridge as you can be and still be in the "LA metro area")! Very exciting. We don't know very many people there yet, so it's nice to have at least a couple of friends to call.
  • My friend Megan got engaged last week. It was a little sudden, but far be it from me to criticize about that. :) When you know, you know, and apparently she did. I'll admit that, in the past, when I thought about this inevitably occurring, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. But now that it has, I find that all I feel is happiness -- for her and that she's found someone who makes her happy. And that is how it should be for us all.

Here's hoping you're having a happy day too. Peace!

July 12, 2006

Adventures in Moving, Again

It's been forever since I posted, and it's probably going to be a while again. Chalk this up to the business of attempting to move my life to Los Angeles. It's a pretty time-consuming business, let me tell you.

First of all, we've got a couple of cats to take care of. They're not good car travelers, and even if they were, I'm not sure I want to subject them to a 3-4 day sojourn across the country. So we'll be flying them. Which is an adventure unto itself, what with following all the FAA regulations, and trying to avoid the 85°F cutoff when they won't accept pets on planes. But I think we've got that under control.

Much more problematic is actually doing the moving. I've got a fair bit of my moving expenses that will be paid for. So my options are not limited, but they are still three fold as I see it:

  1. Rent a Budget truck and car trailer, load 'er up (with a little help) and hit I-70. Doesn't sound like my idea of fun, especially puttering up long mountain passes. But it would be the cheapest.
  2. Get ABF to cart my stuff across the country. But they're supposed to park a trailer for us to pack up -- there's no room for that in our parking lot. How does that work?
  3. Get a full-service moving company. They'll pretty much take care of it from door-to-door, including getting around the parking issue with a shuttle. But they'll drain my entire moving allotment and then some.

Choices, choices. Anyone have any recommendations? Aaron, can you help here?

And that's not even getting into all the other stuff, like changing addresses, getting utilities worked out, banks, car licenses, etc etc etc. Ugh. I hate moving. Have I mentioned this before? No? I hate moving.

In other news:

  • Gillian was marvelous as Tuptim in the Woodbury Community Theater's production of the King and I. Although I've been told I need to watch the movie now. Oh no, not another musical, twist my arm...
  • Tom and Alicia's wedding was lots of fun. I haven't been to a serious Ole wedding in a while now, so it was good to see some folks I haven't really seen in years.
  • We saw the Pirates movie, much like the rest of America. It wasn't fantastic, but it was a jolly good time. I'd recommend it, especially if you enjoyed the first one.
  • I also saw Mystery Men for the first time, and was astounded how I had come this far without seeing a movie that was clearly right up my alley. Goofy "superheroes," random humor, great performances by Janeane Garofalo, Hank Azaria and Geoffrey Rush and cameos by Tom Waits? What more can one ask for?
  • I finished Atlas Shrugged. Wow. I hope to post about this in more detail sometime soon.
  • I would be remiss if I failed to mention The Dugout, a baseball humor website that has been making me laugh like no other recently. I'm not quite sure what level your baseball obsession needs to be at to appreciate the humor there (since mine is extremely high), but give it a shot if you like funny.
  • We are off to Washington, DC, on Friday to sing in and witness Rob Grace's wedding. Yay, two Ole weddings in three weeks! Plus a mini-vacation to our nation's capital. Again, I really shouldn't have any complaints about my life.

Off to stress some more. Three weeks until I start my new job! *hyperventilates*

July 25, 2006

Before I Go

I'm going to disconnect this computer soon, but before I go:

I'm leaving for California on Thursday. I am driving Llewellyn, our Honda Accord, the 2100 miles. I'll probably be stopping in Salina, KS, Grand Junction, CO, and Barstow, CA, on the way. I hope to arrive on Sunday in the morning. Once I'm there, I'll be pretty busy buying a bed and food and all that good stuff, so it might be a while before I am reachable by the intarwubs again.

Dina, the delightful manager of my apartment building knows I'm coming. Allied is going to move our stuff. The cats have tickets booked. I think everything is taken care of right now. I hope. Dear Lord.

Thanks for being an awesome place to live, Bloomington. Hopefully we'll be back to visit. Northridge, you better be an awesome place to live. OR ELSE.

And last, but not least, how great are the Minnesota Twins right now? They have won 32 of their past 40 games, good for an 80% winning percentage. They have two Cy Young Award candidate lefties in the rotation, a bullpen that is nearly flawless, MLB's leading hitter in Joe Mauer, a bona-fide slugger in Justin Morneau, and a lineup that hits consistently from top to bottom. After a miserable first two months, they are amazingly back in the postseason race, only two games behind in the wild card standings. They haven't been this fun to watch in a long time.

That is all. Talk to you from LA soon.

August 5, 2006

California Dreamin'

And so begins the first of many, many titles of blog posts with popular culture references to California in them.

My road trip to our new home in Northridge was successful. I saw a lot of America along the way -- much of it boring, but much of it very beautiful as well. But needless to say, it was a very long trip and I'm glad to be here. What I have accomplished thus far:

  • Checking into our new apartment. It is of a decent size and for the most part well appointed.
  • Purchasing a new mattress. Expensive but comfortable.
  • Getting a new bank account at local ubiquitous financial institution.
  • Hooking up rudimentary Internet access. I'm using AOL. Don't laugh at me. Okay, fine, laugh at me -- I'm laughing at myself. It's only until Samantha arrives with the DSL modem.
  • Picking up our cats from the airport. They made their travel unscathed, and have adjusted surprisingly quickly.
  • Exploring the surrounding area a little. It's basically suburbia, endless suburbia, in all directions. How exciting.
  • Buying a refrigerator. This actually only happened today.
  • Almost going broke. Moving to California is a lot more expensive than I thought it would be.
  • Housing the peerless Peter Pearson whilst he attends the SCBWI conference. And it's really only been housing -- I haven't been in his presence and conscious for much longer than 4-5 hours in the past two days due to the extreme intensity of the conference. But it's been fun nonetheless.
  • Not eating well.
  • Missing Samantha a lot.
  • Going to work.

My initial impression of California is such: The weather is very nice. There are a lot of people here. Many of them are nice too. There is a lot more radio diversity than in Bloomington. Everything is really far apart. But much of it is the same as the rest of America.

I'm still feeling pretty discombobulated. This is assuredly due to the fact that I am still missing 1) most of our worldly possessions and 2) my wife. And most likely the latter much more than the former. I cannot wait until she arrives. Everything will be right with the world then.

By the Way

You may have noticed that I didn't talk much about work in my last post. That's because, as of today, I'm making it official This Side of Lost policy not to discuss work here.

One of the least exciting things about getting a "grown up job" is politics. If I am concerned about my career, I need to be concerned about the things I say about it, because people care. And people can easily find the things that I say here with a simple Google search. In fact, I already know that people at work read this blog.

So I'm just going to keep it simple by avoiding it altogether. Better safe than dooced. I have gone through the archives and removed any references to the job that are more specific than "academic librarian in southern California." I may end up starting a work-related blog that will be anonymous. If you are interested in that (should it ever be created -- no promises), drop me a note.

August 21, 2006

I Hate Moving (Beware, Rant Within)

I promise I'll blog more frequently and get you more True Internet Weirdness™ (like this!) soon. Right now we're still trying to settle in, but that's hard to do, for one major reason.

Allied said that our stuff would arrive sometime between the 9th and the 19th. A call to them last Wednesday revealed that all our belongings are still in a warehouse in Indiana. Yeah, awesome, huh? The story from Allied is something about a driver shortage. Their new estimate is leaving Indiana on the 23rd (that's four days after it should have been here) and arriving on the 31st (twelve days after it should have been here).

My friend David mentioned that this is an exercise in seeing what we really need -- in the most literal sense -- to live. Samantha has already said that while there's a lot of things that we aren't immediately missing, there is a lot that we really, really are missing right this moment. Things like pots to cook in. Clothes to wear. A table to eat at. You know. Things. Have you ever tried looking professional while living out of a suitcase for three weeks longer than you planned? Trying to prove you're married without your personal files? Eating leftovers without a microwave to heat them up? (Don't answer that one, David.)

The very nice lady at Allied has sent me a "delay claim" form to use to get reimbursed for expenses, including half of our meals. While this is very nice, it just doesn't solve many of the previously mentioned problems. Yeah, we bought a pot, okay, but what do we do with it when the six perfectly good pots we own finally arrive?

And yes, I know this is the busiest time of year for movers and our little 3000 lb. shipment isn't a priority. But they knew that just as well as I. If they had an inkling they couldn't do their job, they should have told me so, and I would have figured something else out. We're paying them to make this move less stressful and they've done just the opposite, to the tune of my entire relocation stipend and then some.

I hate moving.

End rant.

Good things that have happened since I wrote last:

  • Samantha arrived, safe and sound. I surely would be insane by now if not for this.
  • Our cats seem to be settled in, healthy and relaxed.
  • We're enjoying the apartment so far.
  • We have yet to find the "boho area of the Valley" as Samantha puts it (you know, the area with indie record stores, edgy clothing places and lots of hipsters wandering around), but we've had some good eats and such anyway
  • Samantha had an interview for a part time job at the same place I work. No word as of yet, but we have no reason to be pessimistic, either.
  • Work is great. Honestly the least of my worries.

Completely random: I just received a call on my cell phone from this number: 800-000-0000. Out of sheer curiosity, I answered, and was immediately told to "hold for the next available representative." Of course I hung up, but I can still only wonder: What can it mean??

That's all for now. How are you?

September 6, 2006

MTV of the Future

The future is now, folks. Take a look at this CGI music video to see what MTV will be playing 24 hours a day soon. Man, I can just see it now... what's that? MTV doesn't play music videos anymore? You're kidding, right? Man, the future sucks. I bet we don't even have flying cars yet.

First things first: our belongings finally arrived. They even showed up a day before we thought they would (last Friday). Everything seems to be accounted for, and only one thing was destroyed (an ugly lampshade). So we are declaring a tentative victory. We even have lots of things out of boxes. And have cooked! See post below for evidence.

The place is feeling much more homey now. And I think we are also feeling more homey. We're still mostly broke, but only time will change that.

(More random: I'm having a mental block right now. I'm trying to think of a turn of phrase that goes "Time and the _____ _____" where the two blanks are some phrase that I can't for the life of me remember. I don't know where this turn of phrase is from, although something tells me a piece of choral music. I want to say it's "celestial ______" or "heavenly ______" but I'm not sure. Any ideas, internet?)

Samantha got the job she was interviewing for. This will also help with the money issue.

In other news:

  • We signed up for Netflix. The way we rationalized it is this: we are indecisive people, and making a decision about a movie to watch while wandering around Blockbuster was impossible. Somehow making the same decision months and months ahead of time is easier. We'll see how this goes. We're hoping it will at least accelerate the pace of our AFI project.
  • Netflicked so far: Platoon (look for a post soon), Raising Arizona and That Thing You Do. Thoroughly enjoyed the last two.
  • On the demotion of Pluto: it's good science, people. It had so little in common with the other eight and so much in common with other objects we have found since that are definitely not planets. Get over it.
  • The Minnesota Twins are walking the razor's edge between being a playoff-caliber team and being just bad enough to miss. The on-base guys (Castillo, Punto, Tyner, Bartlett) are just now starting to tank, and the guys on back end of the rotation weren't ever that great to begin with. And if they don't turn it on again really soon, it won't be enough. It's been such an exciting season so far, but I'd hate to see it end grasping at the finish line from a foot away...
  • "How We Know We're in LA" moment of the week: Walking into the local Borders Books location and finding Anne McCaffrey doing a book signing.
  • I still need to tell all y'all about our honeymoon plans. Remind me.

There may be one more big change before I start posting regularly again. Keep your Internet eye peeled.

September 22, 2006


Sometimes I think that if the Internet were not good for anything else, its existence would still be completely justified by the fact that it makes cross-genre song covers available for my consumption. I seriously thought that Nickel Creek covering Toxic was the best thing I've ever found, but this one's giving it a run for its money.

My life is full of music again. Tuesday nights finds Samantha and me rehearsing with the Angeles Chorale. They are currently directed by John Sutton, a self-proclaimed fan of the St. Olaf Choir and friend of Dr. A's. My audition was embarrassingly easy because of this. Thursday night I am at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran in West Hills singing with the choir there. Mark, the music dude there, scores film and television for his day job.

The jury is still out on both of these places, and consequently on choral music in LA as a whole. But I should give it a year or so before passing judgement. I will be auditioning for a chamber group within the Chorale tomorrow. Maybe this will help. Oh, what a choral nerd I am...

In other news:

Netflicked recently: Arsenic and Old Lace -- hilarious, amazing, Cary Grant is a god; The Tick Vs. Season One! -- it's as funny as I remember it.
  • We went rollerblading on Venice Beach the other weekend. That was fun.
  • We've joined the gym on campus and I've been there five times already. The elliptical machine is my friend.
  • I've met some awesome people at work. Susanna, Eric, Jaclyn, and Lindsay all are redeeming my faith in librarians as young interesting people. Now, can we find interesting things to do outside of work?
  • Ye gods it's freezing in here. Time to get the blood moving.

    October 12, 2006

    A Watched Pot Never Boils

    Samantha often reminds me of this whenever I'm standing around in the kitchen waiting for -- you guessed it -- the pot to boil. And, in turn, I always think of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data is testing this hypothesis. For some reason, his facial expression when the pot does indeed boil is etched in my memory.

    Thinking about ST:TNG makes me think of the good old days of early high school, when I would finish my homework, turn down the bed, pull the old black and white TV up next to my bed on top of a beat-up old green ottoman and watch the syndicated episode of Star Trek that played on Channel 23 every weeknight. I mostly despise television now, but I definitely have a soft spot for that show.

    Ten years ago today I likely did that very act described above. I don't think my sixteen-year-old self ever would have guessed that I'd be in California working as a librarian at a university, having eloped with a Georgia native precisely one year previous.

    Yes, today is our anniversary. One year ago we shocked many, delighted some and disappointed a few (hopefully they've forgiven us now). And if I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a thing. I still look back on that beautiful Indiana autumn day and vividly remember walking to the courthouse, hands clenched tight, scared and excited beyond belief. It was awesome (in a very Aaron Steele sense of the word).

    Other news:
    * Netflixed recently: Giant (AFI, post forthcoming) and Election, which was incredibly hilarious and highly recommended to anyone with slightly twisted senses of humor.
    * Despite the fact that it is not for sale except at shows and there hasn't been a show within 500 miles recently, I have acquired Storyhill's new CD (thanks, Gibbons!). It is good -- not groundbreaking. But apparently it's being courted by a major label. This has spurred me to update and redesign my silly Storyhill site -- more news on this as events warrant.
    * I have found an independent root beer that gives Sprecher a run for their money: Virgil's. Mmmmmm -- it is an outstanding beverage. I snuck a four-pack into the grocery cart.

    Meh. I guess not much else is new. Apparently it's snowing in the Midwest? Wow -- living in California really isolates one from the changing seasons. I still haven't really pulled out a coat yet. Is it true Californians cease to exist below 50 degrees? I guess I'll find out. Peace, all.

    November 1, 2006

    Sorry/Badger Redux

    I have definitely fallen out of the habit of posting to this thing. I can blame it partially on the fact that I have a full-time job, which generally leaves me with less free time. But I can also blame it on good old fashioned laziness. Besides, one of my new librarian friends keeps a blog and I daresay keeps it better than I do mine. So in the spirit of friendly competition, I'm going to try to kick it up a notch. Starting... now:

    Some of you may recall a classic bit of True Internet Weirdness™ entitled Badger Badger Badger. (If you were not aware of this, feel free to click above. Make sure your speakers are on.) Well, in the great cyclical nature of the interwebs, everything comes back again. So check out this mashup of the badger and a recently popular movie, as well as a small collection of amateur video interpretations. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Oh, and did I use that term "mashup" correctly? It's so hard to stay on top of the vernacular these days...

    Other things we have done of late:
    * Visited the beautiful burg of Pasadena several weekends ago, in the marvelous company of Andy and Lauren, our fellow Minnesotan transplants. We toured the gardens and exhibitions at the Huntington (a locale so venerated that no further descriptors are required beyond its name), walked around Old Town, sampled the local cuisine and smoked cigars in a local dive. Good times were had by all.
    * Ventured to Universal City, which as far as I can gather is not really a city, but rather an entertainment destination. We went under the guise of attemping a viewing of a 3-D film and found the theater amongst overpriced restaurants, stores and the entrance to a theme park. I guess being a movie studio is a big thing in this town, huh?
    * Netflixed recently: The Island (terrible, proving that a movie can have Scarlett Johanssen in it and still be nearly unwatchable), The Tick Vs. Season 1, Disc 2 (yup, still hilarious) and Cool Hand Luke (very good, if a little depressing).
    * I made cookies to bring to choir last night. They were Splenda cookies -- a recipe on the back of the bag of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend. They turned out well -- light and fluffy. Making cookies without an electric blender means lots of stirring, though.
    * The best Halloween costumes I saw: a Tetris piece (from the waist up he/she was one of the L-shaped ones) and The King of All Cosmos from Katamari Damacy.

    Adios! See you again soon -- really!

    November 6, 2006


    In honor of my blog transforming into its new look, here's a couple Transformers related videos: what happens when you mistreat your copy machine, and someone giving a short clip of an old Transformers cartoon the ghetto overdub treatment (careful, this one contains swears).

    So yeah, Steve upgraded the blog to a new version of Movable Type, so things look a little different. What do you think? It's going to take a little while until I get all the bugs worked out, so drop me a line if something isn't working and we'll see what we can do.

    In other news, let's see what a bulleted list looks like now:

    • Party Girl was our Netflick this week -- a classic in the librarian genre, apparently. It was loads of fun, and I think I have a voice crush on Parker Posey now.
    • We also saw The Prestige this weekend, and let me tell you, it's still kind of freaking me out. It's very well done though, and I highly recommend it. (Also, the seventh Scarlett Johanssen film I've seen.)
    • The always entertaining Jon Yaeger was in town for the AMS national conference, and we got to have dinner and dessert with him on Saturday night. Hooray for conference visits. Is your conference in LA this year? Give us a call!
    • I staffed the reference desk at work on Saturday, which means I get a day off this week. Add that with Veteran's Day on Friday and I have a three day work week! Oh, the strenuous life of a librarian.

    Lunch time is over, back to work, you!

    November 16, 2006

    Letter Opener

    I always saw rabbits as inferior pets. They seem to have less personality and require more attention than cats. I have now seen the error of my ways, for I will never get my cat to do this for me.

    I'm not doing too hot on the "more updates" claim. *shrug* I will continue to try, but I guess I should quit making promises, huh? Life is pretty normal otherwise. We're getting excited about the first of several upcoming plane trips -- this one to Georgia for Thanksgiving. Strangely enough, we're looking forward to the weather there -- supposedly it will be cooler. It was 85°F here today. I knew it would be different living in California, but this is ridiculous. I haven't even gotten out my winter clothes yet.

    It was nice to have a quiet three day weekend with Veteran's Day last Friday. Very quiet. Like, I taught Samantha how to play gin rummy. Samantha doesn't really like card games. She was a good sport though. Cribbage is next. I seem to have misplaced my cribbage board, however... hmm, what? Wishlist? Why, yes, I have one. Why do you ask?

    Book review time: I finished PopCo by Scarlett Thomas last week. I saw a review in one of my librarian book review sources that mentioned it being about a young woman who works for a slightly sinister toy company and includes codes, ciphers and other mathematics. Sounded right up my alley. The book is about much more than that, however -- besides the above topics, it riffs on the life of a smart, unusual adolescent girl (a topic that I'm sure some of my readers can identify with), consumerist culture, vegetarianism, and some fairly serious "maths" (as the British call it). I enjoyed it, specifically because of some of these nerdier digressions, which Booklist actually notes as a drawback: "her digressions into esoteric topics (Godel, anyone?) are likely to leave readers more exhausted than amused" -- exactly the opposite with me. But ultimately I felt that the entire work suffered for cohesiveness due to its multifaceted approach. It was fun though -- original and doesn't do what you'd expect. I'd recommend it, especially if you're realizing that you're becoming obsessed with British culture, perhaps with the eventual goal of moving there someday. Like me.

    In other news:
    * I miss the Trojan Horse. Both of the Greek restaurants we've tried around here are all fancy and expensive. Can't a guy get some tabbouleh and spanikopita without spending twenty bucks?
    * Hey, do you live in southern California? No? Shoot. Well, wanna come to our Christmas concert anyway? It's Saturday the 16th in Pasadena. Drop me a line for tickets.
    * I finally got my car registered in California earlier this week. Now it blends in with the rest of the cars in the garage, without its Minnesota license plates to distinguish it. On a related note, why is going to the DMV so stressful? I realized as I was driving up to the place that my heart was racing. Zounds, it's just filling out some forms and writing a check.
    * We had a tremendous brunch with Jackie, fellow Bloomington transplant on Saturday, at the Griddle Cafe. Here I had thought that I would never again find pancakes to rival the Deli's. Turns out I just needed to wait an hour for a table.
    * Big congrats to Johan Santana for winning his second unanimous Cy Young award. Aaahh, I remember the days when he was a nameless firethrowing lefty out of the bullpen...

    Hope you're enjoying the fall weather, wherever you are.

    December 5, 2006

    The Internet and Cats

    Most combinations of these two things are generally comedy gold in my world, as evidenced by many past posts. The most recent evidence is my frequent and sustained laughter at many images of cats juxtaposed with hilarious captions. (Be warned, some of the captions are of an adult nature.)

    Internet phenomena like this fascinate me. Is there a PhD in Internet weirdness? If so, sign me up.

    Thanksgiving was good fun. We flew out of LA on Wednesday morning (avoiding the accident and ensuing horrific traffic on the 405) to Georgia. Thursday was spent chilling on Tybee Island with Samantha's uncle Will and his family, having a non-traditional and delicious seafood meal. Friday featured the standard turkey and fixin's courtesy of Samantha's dad. Mix in seeing some family friends and other good restaurant choices (Waffle House, what?) adds up to a delicious weekend and a very successful visit.

    We are now definitely into the holiday season. Samantha and I were worried that it would be difficult getting into the holiday mood, what with the being far away from home and the lack of snow and all. So we've pulled out the Mannheim Steamroller and Christmas Fest CDs early, decorated the apartment with what little Christmas stuff we have and went Christmas shopping. I think it worked. That, and the multiple singing gigs have about done it. And it is considerably cooler in the evenings. Enough to wear a scarf, sometimes.

    In other news:
    * I need to post my last two AFI reviews and a short bit about our upcoming belated honeymoon. Help me remember this.
    * Netflixed recently: Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars (pretty fun -- about what I expected after hearing about it from Samantha, who has been a fan since childhood), Auntie Mame (long and fantastic, interesting societal commentary that really holds up well) and Gilmore Girls, Season 1, Disc 1 (addicted already-- it's a good thing I don't actually have television).
    * I've found a strange and wonderful webcomic called Dresden Codak. I can't quite put a finger on why I enjoy it so much. I'm actually thinking of fiscally contributing, something that I have never done to any of the webcomics I read.
    * Justin Morneau, first baseman for the Minnesota Twins, won the American League Most Valuable Player award -- arguably the greatest single-season achievement a baseball player can attain. Just the capper on what turned out to be a very exciting and memorable season for my hometown team.
    * I was required to purchase a more advanced form of formal attire for the Angeles Chorale: tails. They are fun, I recommend them. I now truly feel like a penguin when I put on my concert duds.

    Tuesday is the funniest day of the week. Have I posted about that? Okay, another upcoming post! Anyway, time to go to more rehearsal.

    January 8, 2007

    Remember Me

    Sometime in the last six months or so, a change has occurred. Before this change, whenever I would see a check box underneath a webpage login that said "Remember me", I would scoff. Remember me? You mean tell my browser to save some little piece of personal information about me so that my login is easier next time? Balderdash! I am not so lazy as to sacrifice possible identity theft on this public computer for the convenience of instant logins!

    But now when I see it, I think to myself, "Oh, good, maybe I won't have to login next time." And I check the box.

    What happened here? I'd like to think that my life is more stable -- that I only use two computers most of the time (at home and in my office). And those computers are always behind lock and key and are exclusive to my and my wife's use. Or it could be I'm just at the point now where I can't remember all my login names and passwords. Or maybe I am just getting lazy. Who knows?

    Anyway, it's 2007, and my resolution is, as it was last year, to post more often. But I am bringing it back to once a week for life updates and sporadically for AFI reviews and other nonsense. What a slacker, right? Alas, that's the way it goes, I guess. But once a week is better than the rate I've had the last few months, which is about twice a month of substantive content and random little stuff. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Internet. Or should I say "tube" instead of "pipe?"

    Samantha and I spent eight rather lovely days in Minnesota. The first four were spent mostly with family and around the house, sitting in front of the fire and reading, just as we had hoped we would do. Christmas was laid back and very nice. I got a good mix of useful domestic stuff (luggage, apron) and fun stuff (Paint Your Wagon on DVD and a Transformers book).

    We also did quite a bit of hanging out with friends, which was great fun. I saw Matt Peters and his ladyfriend at Khan's Mongolian BBQ, half-heartedly continuing a tradition for which the importance of has escaped the third member, Erik Carlson. Are you reading this, Erik? Could you parse that sentence? If so, call me. If not, call me. We also saw my enclave of Ole friends in several venues, including (but not limited to) ice-skating, Thai food, watching A Scanner Darkly, and the Bulldog.

    We came back to California in time to do nothing for New Year's, except rent Master and Commander and buy a bottle of champagne from the grocery store. Woo!

    In other news:
    * Netflixed recently: Charade (outstanding!) and The Wild Bunch (AFI review forthcoming).
    * A large part of last weekend was spent with selected members of the Angeles Chorale (the choir I sing with, remember?) at a studio in Hollywood, singing and recording movie trailer music. You know, the kind with sweeping, driving orchestral themes and ominous, mostly indecipherable choral themes? Yeah, that was us. Kind of weird, but also pretty awesome.
    * I've switched my RSS reader from Kinja to Google Reader. Alas, I find myself ceding more and more of my life to the great G monster. But no Gmail account yet!
    * A recent add to said RSS reader: The Show, with Ze Frank. Having run across it one too many times, I'm now a regular. If you like awesome, you'll probably like it.
    * In one week, we will probably be on a boat somewhere off the coast of Florida. Awesome.

    For those of you keeping count:
    * Number of movies mentioned: five
    * Number of times the word awesome appears: four

    Until next time, this is me, thinking so Ze Frank doesn't have to.

    February 12, 2007

    Catching Up

    I've got some catching up to do. As before, here's the titles of some future posts:

    ... and Post-Cruisin'
    #81 - Modern Times
    California - Six-Month Review
    #80 - Wild Bunch
    Let's Chat

    February 17, 2007


    Well, it's been a month since we went on the cruise, so I suppose I should tell you about it. Also a good opportunity to try out the "upload picture" features of Movable Type. Click on the thumbnail for the full size shot!

    After a rather disappointing visit to the pre-party and a night in the scary ghetto hotel (not recommended!), we arrived at the Port Everglades on Monday morning. Our first surprise was being told that in about 30 seconds, we would have our picture taken with the Barenaked Ladies (hereafter referred to as BNL). I tried in vain to think of something witty to say -- Samantha asked them if they did this so they could avoid us for the rest of the cruise. Ed says, "Yeah -- we're not even getting on the boat."

    The Legend, as seen from port at Grand Turk.

    The ship itself looks huge and gaudily decorated to our untrained eyes. We find our small but very well appointed cabin and get our first of many mediocre buffet meals. While everyone else crams onto the deck to watch BNL do an acoustic set to send us off, we wander around. Almost immediately we run into a band called Oakhurst who are just hanging out by the sushi bar and busking. Brian (the drummer from Guster) walks by. My inner fanboy gets the best of me and I introduce myself. He takes a picture with his "unnaturally long arm."

    The Thundergod and me!

    Dinner is with a couple from Aberdeen, South Dakota who won their tickets on a radio show and aren't even fans of the band. They are flummoxed by the fancy names of food on the menu. Hilarious. Guster plays that night -- always a joy to watch the Thundergod do his magic. An awesome first day.

    Tuesday day at sea. Seasickness rears its ugly head after breakfast and some sunbathing. We are laid low for the afternoon. We get dressed up for formal night, which has become Prom Night at the hands of BNL. We should have taken a picture of the dude in his baby blue tux. We try our voices (and my extremely rusty guitar skills) at open mic night. We're not very good, but the fellas from Oakhurst are complimenting us for the rest of the cruise.

    Wednesday we wake up and the boat is still, thank Poseidon. We are on Grand Turk, a small mostly undeveloped island in the Caribbean. We laze on the beach, swim in the surf, grab a quick lunch back on board and are whisked away for our shore excursion: glass bottom kayaking and snorkeling. Lots of cool ocean life is seen and we get our fill of Caribbean sun.

    The area we kayaked near at Grand Turk.

    We decide to brave the day's BNL acoustic set on the deck -- it is swamped, of course, and the sky is threatening, but we stick it out through a little rain for a very enjoyable set of lesser-played numbers and banter about the band's day in port. We decide to skip Guster's second show and wander around, eventually hanging out at karaoke and hitting the sack early.

    Thursday morning we splurge on a couples' massage (we've only been promising ourselves one for a year or so) for an hour, which was glorious. A lazy day until we head to a songwriter's panel hosted by Steve and Ed from BNL. We get some cool insights on their songwriting process and some acoustic numbers from them. Seasickness strikes again, however, making the experience less than amazing. Samantha opts for a shot from the infirmary to help her feel better for the mainstage BNL show that evening, and it seems to work. We get in line early for the show and have some buffet dinner while waiting. After what seems like hours -- oh, wait, it was hours, nevermind -- we are treated to the BNL onstage, doing what they do best. It's a fabulous show, with lots of favorites, lots of banter, guest stars and even choreography:

    What won't this band do. (Yes, those are bubbles.)

    Early Friday we make our disembarkation and head to the airport to wait for our afternoon flight and process the past four days. It was a great trip -- more fun than I expected. We did not break the bank and still did just about everything we wanted to. I wish the food was better, but hey, it was free and we could have it pretty much whenever we wanted. We'll be prepared with better seasickness remedies if we go again.

    March 8, 2007

    Post Cruisin'

    Now that we've been back for over a month and a half, I suppose I should fill you in on what's been going on since then. Mostly it's been the same old same old. I'm still working, Samantha's still working, we sing, she fences, I do church stuff, etc. etc. But here's some highlights since we've been back:

    • We got a couch. Through the magic of craigslist, it was free. Well, except for the $50 emergency room fee for removing the gigantic splinter it gave me while we were moving it. A shout out to Serena for her invaluable vehicular assistance in this matter.
    • Serena also enlightened us to the wonders of a place called BevMo!. A location recently opened not far from where we live and it is indeed a wondrous place. Besides their impressive array of wines and liquors, they have quite a variety of root beers. It gave me the idea for a root beer tasting party. Anyone interested?
    • As members of the Angeles Chorale, Samantha and I were part of a choir that recorded some movie trailer music. You know, the Carmina Burana-esque stuff you hear in movie trailers? Yup, that'll be us. Take a listen... IF YOU DARE
    • In our quest for ever increasing choir elitism, we both auditioned for the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was hard and neither of us came away with high hopes, but I have been called back and we both have been recruited to join the Chorale as auxiliary singers for the LA Philharmonic's upcoming Tristan Project. So we must have impressed someone.
    • To make this a choir-related trio, our next concert with the Angeles Chorale is on March 24. We are performing Rachmaninoff's Vespers. Come.
    • We have turned on our TV three times now -- for the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Oscars. Honestly, I didn't even know if it would work. But we plugged in the rabbit ears and there it was. I haven't really looked at it since. I did flip around looking for Saturday morning cartoons, but they all sucked, so that didn't last long.
    • We visited our friends Andy and Lauren in Redlands a few weekends ago to see a play that they were both involved with. It was kind of a whirlwind visit, but we got to go to a cool British pub and meet their cats. What else could you ask for, really?
    • My sister visited last weekend! She is cool. Now she is enjoying her spring break in the Bay Area with her boyfriend.
    • It feels like I was just posting about baseball being over, but baseball is back. Spring training has started. Players are already getting injured. And my fantasy baseball league is already fired up. Woo-hoo! (Sorry, Ramy, it filled up faster than I thought it would. You didn't have time anyway, did you?)
    • We are planning a summer trip. It is entirely out of necessity. Two friends are getting married and the national ALA conference is happening in between. If you live in New England, New York, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana or Illinois and are interested in housing wanderers sometime in late June, drop me a line.

    Did I miss anything?

    March 21, 2007

    1000 Cars

    I'm not a big video gamer, but I scuttle on the periphery of their world by virtue of the fact that I read a video game web comic. So occasionally I run across something that is borne of video games but crosses lines into something broader and more widely applicable -- perhaps, into art. That's exactly what this video of 1000 cars racing at the same time is. There's a liquidity to the flow of vehicles that is something rather wonderful to behold.

    Speaking of flow, here's another post out of my predicted flow of updates. Alas. I'll get to my AFI reviews soon.

    Spring seems to spring early here in southern California. I had to put on my coat today and yesterday for the first time in weeks. But a couple weekends ago we took advantage of a beautiful Saturday by packing up a picnic and heading to a local park. We worked up an appetite with some rollerblading and enjoyed some sandwiches, tabbouleh and fruit from Whole Foods whilst making use of the very cool picnic backpack kit we received from Samantha's mom for Christmas. A very enjoyable afternoon, I must say -- and probably not something we would have been able to do in March in the Midwest.

    Last weekend was less exciting -- although we did make a trip to a thift store where I purchased an iron (!!! finally) and a Hawaiian shirt. Whoo! Also, I bought some new tux pants. Yeah, the pair I bought ten years ago just don't seem to fit as well as they used to...

    Otherwise things are as normal. Samantha and I are both skipping town soon, me for a librarian conference (will you be there?) and her to visit ye olde Bloomington and help her fencers out with the national collegiate tournament.

    Netflixed recently:

    • Krull, an 80s sci-fi "classic," featuring Ken Marshall, a dude who goes to my church. Yeeah.
    • The Thin Man, a hilarious murder mystery. Myrna Loy rules.
    • Desk Set, another librarian classic (the previously viewed Party Girl also falls into this category) with Katharine Hepburn. Entertaining, if not gut-busting.
    • Dr. No, the first James Bond film. We're going to be watching the rest of them in order, too -- kind of as an antithesis to our AFI project. We need some good popcorn flicks interspered with some of the heavier movies on the list -- and what could be better than Bond for this purpose?

    The end. OR IS IT???

    April 2, 2007

    Opening Day / ACRL

    Today is one of my favorite holidays - the first day of baseball! Woo-hoo! The Twins take the field momentarily... not that I'll be watching. Nope. Not at work. Never. To celebrate, here's a great clip from a minor league game last year with one of the most impressive manager tantrums I've ever seen.

    I'm back from my librarian conference. I had a great time. I didn't really expect that. I figured it would be busy and boring with occasional interesting moments. But it was pretty much enjoyable through and through. Sessions were varied and interesting. John Waters gave a hilarious and filthy keynote "address" over lunch on Friday. Paul was a great roommate. I won a $100 Barnes and Noble gift certificate as a contestant on The Scopus Show. And I met two lovely young ladies at the very first activity I was at (a lunch sponsored by a vendor on Thursday afternoon), immediately struck up a friendship, and proceeded to hang out with them and Paul for the entire conference. Hooray for new friends! A big shout out to Amy and Tricia for being awesome conference mates.

    In other news:

    • Samantha is on her way back from Bloomington, Indiana, where she was cheerleading and helping out with the national collegiate fencing tournament. You can go ask her about that.
    • We saw Guster at a free (!) show in LA a week and a half ago. This is one of the reasons LA is awesome -- your favorite bands come to town a lot.
    • Our concert was a success, I guess. They applauded. Is that a success? We had fun going to a wine bar afterwards and chatting with other young, hip Chorale members.
    • My callback for the Master Chorale went really well. But I won't hear about it until May 1st, because they won't know how many spots are available until then.
    • I am singing an aria from Bach's St. Matthew Passion at church on Good Friday. Which aria? I can't show you, because I can't find a webpage that links directly to it. It's the last bass aria, I guess. Whee.

    I really will post my AFI review next. Really.

    May 4, 2007

    Is It Friday?


    I normally like to make comments about the changing weather and seasons in my blog, but I can't really do that anymore. Each day here is almost exactly like the one before it. Ooh, I wore a light jacket to work today. That's shocking, actually. But it is May, and the spring seems to be rushing by.

    I don't have a whole lot to comment on. This happens when I take too long in between posts. All the things that have happened both in my life and in the broader world seem to mush together in importance, and I have trouble sifting through them and bringing the good ones to the top. So I guess I'll just segue into a bullet point list. So there.

    • My audition for the Master Chorale was successful, I guess. I will be joining them as a "supplemental" singer, which apparently means I'll sing in the concerts where they need a larger group. As far as I can tell, that's not a lot of shows. At the very least, I'll be singing some Beethoven and Brahms in October, some 20th century a cappella stuff in May, and "great opera choruses" also in May. I will possibly also be needed for certain larger symphonic works with the LA Phil. Maybe more, too, but who knows? This isn't really working out how I thought it would. But I'll be sure to keep you updated.
    • I already had a taste of what it's like to sing with the Master Chorale when I was asked (by virtue of my at-the-time in-progress audition) to join them for the Tristan Project. It was a fun experience -- getting my first look at Disney Hall from behind the scenes was a blast. But it kind of wreaked havoc with my schedule. If irregular rehearsal times and short snippets of singing are the norm, I might be thinking twice about joining these folks.
    • Samantha has a couple more fencing tournaments coming up -- one tomorrow at UCLA, and one next weekend in Las Vegas. That's right -- we're taking our first trip to Sin City next weekend. It'll be a whirlwind trip (driving out early Saturday morning and driving back Sunday mid-morning), but I'm sure I'll get plenty of gambling, booze and strippers packed into the time, don't worry.
    • Here's two places "over the hill" we've been told we need to go: Diddy Riese Cookies and Sprinkles. Yeah, okay, just as soon as we polish off the rest of the cookie dough in the fridge.
    • I've been re-reading the Harry Potter series in preparation for the double dose of new Potter media this summer. It's only my second time through them (I was a late joiner) and it's been fun reading them with the foreknowledge of what happens next. Needless to say, we're pretty excited for the movie, having watched the trailer about five times already.
    • Preparation for our summer journey draws on apace. We've booked rooms at hotels for both weddings and for a quick stop in New York City to see the Twins take on the Mets. Good thing we've got corporate sponsorship on this trip or we'd definitely go broke. Hee.
    • The Twins escaped April with a 14-11 record -- not bad. They've had some studs and some stinkers out of the gate, but they've averaged out to be... well, average. The offense looks similar to last years' -- prone to streaks and needing the entire lineup to be firing on all cylinders to work. But April doesn't tell us a whole lot by itself. They've been fun to watch so far, which is better than I could say for last year.

    We're planning on seeing Spidey, The Under Water Adventure Seeker: The Movie on Sunday, maybe. I'm not too jazzed about this one... I think the media blitz overdid it for me. We're looking forward to our outing with Lindsay tomorrow more. Happy weekend!

    May 8, 2007

    California: SixNine-Month Review

    I intended to write this post about three months ago. So much for good intentions. Now we've been here for 3/4 of a year, so the only months we haven't experienced in California are the rest of May, June and July. I expect them to be hot, mostly.

    When people learn that we've only just moved to southern California less than a year ago, they usually ask, "How do you like it?" or "What do you think so far?" My stock answer for this is "It's hit and miss. We like the weather." This usually gets a chuckle, and saves me from going into more detail.

    In all honesty, we are mostly unimpressed with California so far. There are a lot of things that go into this, but here's the most important ones:

    • Isolation, geographical. Things are so spread out here that it feels like just running errands is a major undertaking, not to be attempted without maps and three days rations. Forget trying to walk or bike to the library, the bookstore, downtown (what downtown?) -- no way. The only reason we are able to walk to work is because I carefully planned it that way, and we pay for it in that our housing location is less than desirable in many other ways.
    • Isolation, social. Along with the geographic distances comes the social ones. It's hard to meet people here. Our friends from work and from choir are great, but there's only so many of them, and we usually feel like we're intruding on already-existing social groups. Plus, it's hard to meet up with them when they're also a 30 minute drive away at best.
    • Weather. It's nice, yes. But too nice. Unnaturally nice. Always nice. I was raised in a temperate weather zone, and I am used to four distinct seasons. It is quietly unsettling to have it be "sunny and warm" every single day for months on end. In the summer, it changes from "sunny and warm" to "sunny and hellishly hot." Not my idea of fun. But at least it's not humid.
    • Employment. Mine is fine, but Samantha's was supposed to be temporary. There's been no change, and not for her lack of trying (as her dozens of job applications can attest). There's just been no opportunities for her desired kind of position. This has put a crimp in our financial well-being as well -- not anything serious, but those credit card bills are getting paid off slower than I had hoped.

    This is not to say that there aren't good things. My job was the primary reason we moved here and remains the primary reason we are sticking around for a while. I'm also a little more patient than all that, and quite willing to give our new home the benefit of the doubt for longer than a year. In addition, Samantha's fencing is on the up-and-up, with a good coach and plenty of opportunities for competitions. My singing opportunities continue to improve (including an exciting new development -- more news on this as events warrant). We are getting more of a chance to explore interesting areas and things to do outside the Valley. But these pros aren't outweighing the cons. Yet.

    Moving here last August, we didn't picture southern California as a permanent home and place to start a family. Nine months in, that hasn't changed.

    May 15, 2007


    There are a small but not insignificant number of words that I never learned how to pronounce properly. I attribute this to being a fairly literate kid from early on, and thus learning a lot of my vocabulary from reading rather than conversation. My mother can amuse you with stories of some of the early ones (womb, iron) while the later ones have faded from my memory for the most part. But I found another one yesterday. I always figured that continuity was pronounced "kun-TIHN-yoo-ih-tee." Now, I haven't gotten this far in life without hearing the word "kahn-tuh-NOO-ih-tee" spoken. They just... never were the same word in my head. This is hard to explain, but perhaps Samantha can describe to you the look on my face as I realized this last night.

    Oh, and here's some continuity-related True Internet Weirdness™ for you (I knew you were missing it): the longest and most impressive domino fall I've ever seen.

    In other news, Spidey-Dude the Movie was interesting. A fun flick, but not as good as the first two. *shrug* I guess I'm glad I went. Let's hope that Other Franchise Sequel: Part Three is more satisfying.

    We had a better time drinking with Lindsay at the Dresden Room. We met some of her cool friends and saw Marty and Elayne, who are apparently folk legends in these parts. Who knew? They just sounded like bad lounge singers to me. We tried to get them to sing some requests (including Neil Diamond and a song that Noah and I made up called Belugas in the Shade) to no avail.

    We had occasion to return to The Huntington on Friday, attending a librarian nerd event that yours truly helped plan. The place is more beautiful in the spring than in the fall, and the novelty definitely doesn't diminish with repeated visits. The proximity to Mother's Day made us think that it would be a good place to bring one's mother should they ever come to visit.

    Our quick trip to Las Vegas was a success, mostly. Samantha fenced well enough to satisfy her desire for tangible progress. We briefly patronized one particular den of iniquity on the Strip called the MGM Grand, where we had delicious sushi and fascinating people watching. I managed to leave my cell phone in the hotel room, but it is winging its way back to me soon. We will have to make a longer visit (with a larger budget) sometime in the distant future.

    Netflixed recently:

    • Girl with the Pearl Earring, an arty-artsy flick. Very well done and evocative. Also brings my Scarlett Johansson movie tally up to eight.
    • Walk the Line, a biopic about Johnny Cash. You may have heard of it. Also very good.
    • Rocky, from the AFI list. Sheesh, I need to catch up on my reviews.

    What, you want more? Come back later.

    July 13, 2007

    Zero (the Pre-Trip Post)

    RSS is a good thing, make no mistake. But when one is subscribed to over 60 feeds, they tend to add up quickly. And I pretty much spend all day at work on the computer anyway, so going home and wading through all that isn't my idea of fun, if I don't want a headache. Add to that a two week vacation, and you can understand how it's been a while since the old Google Reader was at zero new items. Now that it is, I suddenly have the motivation to post. Strange.

    Your True Internet Weirdness™ for the day: a beatboxing flute player. Who has zero talent. Really. No, not really.

    The rest of this post will be broken up into categories of things done/experienced before our trip. That will come later.

    We've had a short spurt of visitors to our fair region recently:

    • Bob and Mike. Samantha's friend Bob has a friend Mike who wanted to run the marathon in San Diego, so Bob came along, so we went to San Diego to see them. In addition to the tourist stuff below, we had a good time finding restaurants and navigating the questionable public transit.
    • Jon, a friend of ours from Bloomington was here for a conference and graced us with his presence for much of the day Sunday.
    • Ian, a friend of Samantha's from college was also in town for a relative's graduation and we spend some time with him before he continued his Californian tour. The line of the day: "Donovan's a mortician??"


    • The Valley Greek Festival was over Memorial Day weekend. While there were things besides food involved (tour of the church, dancing, merchandise), the food was the high point. We had moussaka, spanikopita, dolmathes, and a variety of pastries that were all just fantastic. It was pricey but well worth it. So, so good.
    • Sprinkles. We patronized this Beverly Hills institution with Jon. Despite the 20 minute wait, we had a good time. I had the red velvet and the black-and-white. The former was excellent, the latter not so much. I'll try something different next time.
    • Chao Krung, Thai restaurant. Another Jon excursion -- and Lindsay came along too. Excellent pad thai. Yes, I had pad thai at a Thai restaurant. I always have pad thai at Thai restaurants. Remind me to tell you my barometer theory of ethnic restaurants.

    Touristy Stuff

    • San Diego Maritime Museum. We went with Bob and Mike in San Diego (obviously). This was how we spent much of our afternoon, and it was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. We crawled around in a Soviet submarine, for instance. Khorosho!
    • The Getty Center is an art museum set high in the Santa Monica mountains above west LA. It's a must-see in Los Angeles, and we hadn't been there yet, so we took advantage of a visiting tourist (Jon) to make the trek up the Santa Monica mountains (err, I mean, jump in the nifty monorail and glide up the hill). It's a beautiful place. We saw the Painted Menagerie exhibit, the Medieval Beasts illuminated manuscripts exhibit, among other things. Very cool.

    Choir Stuff

    • Samantha and I ended our brief, tumultuous relationship with the Angeles Chorale on June 9th, with our last concert. Weird stuff. The Brahms was okay. We're mostly just glad not to be there anymore. We'll be keeping in touch with certain cool folks though.
    • I've gotten my list of confirmed gigs with the Master Chorale next season. Drop me a line if you want more details.
    • I'm still looking for a regularly rehearsing choir for next season. Not much luck yet. I've heard good things about the Occidental Chorale, but it looks like another massive choir with lots of orchestra rep. I was hoping for a small group with more a cappella literature, but that may not be in the cards. Oh, the life of a choral snob...

    That's all the news before our trip. Back with more on that next week!

    July 23, 2007

    Weddings & Conferences Tour '07

    Most of the time, when we described this trip to people (many, many people we saw along the way), their responses ranged from impressed to incredulous to just plain confused. Like, "Why in the world did you decide to do it this way?" The simplest answer to that is we kind of had to. I had two good friends getting married two weeks apart. In the middle were two librarian conferences -- one Samantha was planning on attending (indeed, even got a scholarship to go to) and one of which we both were. What were we supposed to do? Fly back and forth three times?

    So this is what we ended up with, approximately. The route is outlined in blue and the placemarks are all the spots where we slept. (I'm trying out Google Maps new My Maps feature. Did it work?) And you know what? It was a good time.

    I'll spare you the blow-by-blow and give you the run down in two of my own trademark inimitable ways: by bullet point highlights and numerical overview!

    • Amy's wedding. A little church in her lovely hometown in New Hampshire was the location. The ceremony was very musical and very Amy. We saw some old friends and had a good time hanging out with the younger crowd.
    • Seeing Alison and Ramy in Boston while getting detoured on the T and crashing a potluck birthday party.
    • A quiet evening and delicious dinner hosted by Tone.
    • An awesomely efficient and thorough tour of Manhattan by my high school friend Erik.
    • Seeing the Twins lose to the Mets at Shea Stadium (yes, still a highlight in spite of the loss).
    • A mostly relaxing three days in Baltimore sightseeing while Samantha attended the RBMS pre-conference. I bummed around her mom's house reading and also spent a day wandering around Mount Vernon, seeing the Peabody Library, the Basilica of the Assumption, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, central branch, the Walters Art Museum, and (last but not least) a tour of Camden Yards.
    • An educational and socially entertaining three days in Washington, DC at the ALA conference. Samantha continued her heavy schmoozing at several RBMS meetings, I attended a few sessions, and we caught up with friends both old and new over good food and drinks -- many of which were on the dime of vendors or alma maters.
    • A day and a half in Bloomington, IN, visiting friends (and favorite eating establishments).
    • Seeing relatives in Indianapolis and Chicago.
    • Jen's wedding. This one was outside, at a resort near a lake in rural Wisconsin. Old friends and new were once again in attendance and the reception was a grand time.
    • Seeing my parents briefly before catching an early flight back.

    And! The second edition of The Trip Index (here's the first, in case you forgot):
    17: Non-library friends seen (Gillian, Amy, Becky, Ramy, Tone, Erik, Leili, Corrine, Sam, Robert, David, Jon, Mari, Tony, Aaron, Hilary, Jen)
    15: States visited
    12: trips taken on public transit in Boston, NYC, Washington and Baltimore
    9: nights staying with friends/family (thank you, all of you!)
    8: family members seen (Mom, Dad, Cyndi, Rich and Jim, John and Marti, Alison)
    7: library-related friends seen (Amy, Pete, Sarah, Hannah, Isabelle, Jaclyn, Susanna)
    7: nights in hotels
    5: nights in hotels paid for by work or gift certificates
    4: airports (LAX, BOS, MSP, DFW)
    2: conferences totally attended
    2: friends totally got married
    2: cars rented
    2: hot dogs at Shea Stadium
    1: road warrior wife who, amazingly, also thought this trip was a good time
    0: performances of Um Ya Ya
    0: visits to Waffle House??

    Whew. Life after trip coming up next!

    August 25, 2007


    There's been no comment on this blog for nearly four months. I'm not surprised, really, given how poor I have been about updating. And the things I write about aren't exactly riveting either. And this one isn't gonna change that. Maybe I'll post more frequently with more thoughtful and less newsy posts. Maybe I won't. Who knows?

    In the almost two months since we've been back from the trip, plenty of things have happened. Here's the highlights:

    • Spending time with friends. We've had some opportunities to get out of our little bubble in Northridge. Susanna, a colleague from work and her husband Andy are friendly people who see lots of movies and like to play party games. So we spent the Fourth of July at their place and they also came to our place for Samantha's birthday earlier this month. We've also been to a birthday party for Kat, a cool girl from Angeles Chorale. We also went on a double date (so high school!) with her and her boyfriend Brandon to dinner and a cozy concert. Some socialization makes this place feel a little less isolated.
    • Harry Potter craziness. We saw the Order of the Phoenix movie, which I thought was good, but not as good as the last two. Fun to watch, but the pacing wasn't great. And the final book. Squeee! I loved it and thought it was a very fitting finish to the series. Kudos to Rowling -- these are her first books, after all.
    • Visitor(s). Well, okay, only one this time. But Roy is cool enough to count for several. He took time out of his busy schedule as a networking guru at a conference to hang out with us, teaching us the Denny's song, visiting the Getty again and going for some excellent British food and trivia.
    • Baseball. The Twins aren't doing too hot, but that didn't stop us from heading to Anaheim to catch the last game of their series with the Angels a few Sundays ago. We were accompanied by our friends Andy and Eric. We had a good time (even though they lost).
    • Books. I did a bit of reading on the trip and afterwards that was heretofore undocumented: Fantasyland (about one man's maniacal decision to enter the country's top fantasy baseball league with no experience -- totally awesome), the Belgariad, a five book series by David Eddings (one of Samantha's favorites, standard fantasy/sci-fi fare, but very character driven -- good fun) and currently Sex, Drugs and DNA: Science's Taboos Confronted -- review forthcoming.
    More soon, about Samantha's exciting career decisions and my musical adventures. Ooohh, the suspense!

    September 11, 2007

    Today and Other Days

    Today is September 11th -- the first time it's fallen on a Tuesday since 2001. As a card-carrying young liberal, I sometimes get caught up in the fallout from the event -- the PATRIOT act, the airport "security", this war we've been dragged into, etc etc -- all of which are mostly bad things and don't seem to have done much to improve the situation. But that doesn't change the fact that a terrible thing happened six years ago and it's worth thinking about the people whose lives ended or were irrevocably changed that day. I still remember Evan Frodermann coming up to me in the lobby of the Science Building on the St. Olaf campus to tell me that the world was screwed up...

    Alas, I didn't really come here to post that thought. I came here to post the Iron Man trailer (OMG, so cool looking, I hope it's not another Fantastic Four though). So enjoy that.

    In other news, September brings with it a new music season. And new choirs. Yes, that's plural. I'm such a choir addict that just one won't sate my fix anymore:

    1. Since my supplemental role with the Master Chorale doesn't really provide me with regular rehearsals (something that's important for keeping my voice in shape and lending a comforting regularity to my life), I've joined the Occidental Chorale, a college-and-community choir with a year full of programming I've never performed and an excellent director. The group came recommended from a friend and so far it has not disappointed.
    2. I've been hired as a paid baritone section leader at St. Matthews Episcopal in Pacific Palisades. I liked the Lutheran church I was volunteering at last year, but I can't pass up an opportunity to get paid for something I would do anyway. Add better repertoire, a friendly bunch of people, and a very decent salary, and it seems like it'll be another good addition to my life.
    I also had the pleasure of entertaining another friend visiting our fine metropolis. Joe was here on Sunday as part of a whirlwind work trip, but that didn't stop us from spending some time driving around the OC and sampling the local cuisine.

    We went to see the latest Russell Crowe flick 3:10 to Yuma in a sneak preview and enjoyed it quite a bit (Samantha more than I, perhaps, for obvious reasons).

    Also, I noticed that the general reaction to Andrew Sampler Vol. 3 was pretty underwhelming. I figure that's because most of you are just sad that you can't actually OWN such an incredible compilation of tunes. Well, be gone, sadness, for I will send you your very own copy of the disc if you so desire! Just let me know. I like sharing my favorite music.

    Otherwise, life is as usual. Samantha's got some job stuff brewing, but I'll wait for it to settle into "definite" instead of "possibility" before I make any announcements.

    October 17, 2007

    Pizza in Poughkeepsie

    Samantha has accepted a position as Rare Book Cataloger at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

    First off, she's completely jazzed about the job. It will be for her what my current job has been for me -- a fantastic first position doing exactly what she wants to do, with a great salary + benefits, great colleagues and a supportive administration. Plus, it's in the Hudson River Valley just north of New York City -- a beautiful region with a lot to offer. So I'm very excited for her as well. She starts in mid-November.

    Secondly. For a variety of reasons mostly involving the timing of academic hiring and a bevy of musical commitments I've made, I can't leave California quite that soon. So I will be staying here for a while. Probably until next summer. Yes, that means we will be dealing with a long distance marriage for a time. This sucks, but we're prepared to deal with it because we know that this short-term problem will be for a better long-term future. In the meantime, I'll be looking for positions in NYC and surrounding area.

    This has been in the works for about a month and a half, but the official offer letter did not come until last week, so we had to kind of sit on it. But there has already been much progress to make this a reality: Samantha has located a subletter in Pok (the us-approved shorthand for Poughkeepsie), I have located a smaller apartment here in California, the rental truck has been reserved (we'll be taking our lessons learned and making the cross country trek ourselves with Samantha's half of our worldly possessions in November), the flight back home for me has been purchased, etc. etc. There's still a lot to figure out -- should we switch banks? get a new phone plan? what happens to Netflix?? -- all of which will come in time.

    But soon that sample Google Maps search is going to come a lot more in handy.

    October 23, 2007

    Fires and Other News

    The news would have you believe that the entirety of southern California is in flames. It's not quite true. Yes, a quarter of a million people have been urged to evacuate in the San Diego area and there was smoke on the horizon almost everywhere I looked this morning. But life here in the Valley pretty much is going on as usual. Don't worry about us -- we aren't rich enough to live in the hills or near any natural brush or forest. So we're safe.

    We were mostly unaware of the conflagration until yesterday afternoon. This is because we were in Bloomington, Indiana, over the weekend witnessing the wedding of our friends David and Anne. They tied the knot on Sunday at St. Thomas Lutheran (the church where David was the organist and where he and I became friends) amidst marvelous music: we were part of a small choir that performed four pieces and the wedding favors were kazoos -- the attendees were encouraged to play along with the recessional. We always enjoy any excuse to visit our old stomping grounds there. We stayed with Mari and Tony, enjoyed two visits to our favorite bar, saw some of Samantha's fencing buddies (and their adorable cats!) and generally enjoyed being in a place where you can walk around easily and where seasons occur.

    Music has been taking over my life of late. The Los Angeles Master Chorale had their opening concert of the season a little over a week ago -- one of the four LAMC events I'll be taking part in. It's pretty wild to be a member of a professional music ensemble -- it's very different from most of my choral experience up to this point (the topic of a planned future post). But it is neat to see the concert reviewed in the newspaper and even to see myself in a photo (middle row, on the right)! Anyway, the rehearsals for this came on hard and heavy for the two weeks leading up. Add those on to my usual twice-a-week rehearsals for the Oxy Chorale and my church gig and Andrew was a busy singer for a while there.

    This coming weekend, Samantha's brother Ben will be visiting along with his friend Austin. This visit has been preordained for about six months, ever since Samantha saw an announcement that Ian McKellan would be playing King Lear when the Royal Shakespeare Company came to town in October. Samantha told Ben (Shakespeare nerd-ery runs in the family apparently), who promptly made plans to fly out to visit and see it. Ben bought tickets hours after they went on sale about three months ago. Good thing, too, since the prices have jumped considerably since then. We've been reading these news stories with interest, and pondering what we would buy if we could sell our tickets at such prices. But I think this is the sort of thing we'd regret missing.

    Other news of late:

    • We went to see They Might Be Giants when they played in Anaheim a few weeks ago. Andy Kasper got us off our butts and across the southland and we're glad he did. It might have been the best of the six shows I've seen of theirs. The guys can still rock. The show has set off a mini TMBG obsession in Samantha, who subsequently added Linnell to her Top 5 guys list.
    • The planning continues for the big move. Mostly what that means is that there are lots of boxes in the apartment. but it's less than three weeks away, which makes it a little more real.
    • Did I ever update you on my fantasy baseball leagues? I came in first in Aaron Steele's league and in third in Soren's league. I'm pretty happy with both results, though I got lucky in the playoffs in the former after Aaron smoked everyone else during the regular season.
    • On a related note, the Twins finished their season under .500 for the first time in six years. They turned in a pretty disappointing season all told as their offensive woes came back big time. But the eternal refrain of the loyal baseball fan rings true -- there's always next year. In the meantime: go Rockies!
    Happy Mole Day, all!

    November 9, 2007

    The Biggest One Yet

    I've taken a lot of road trips in my time, but this one is the longest:

    View Larger Map

    That's approximately 2880 miles. It just barely beats out the next longest -- a Minneapolis-Albuquerque round trip to visit friends in the summer of 2004, which clocked in at around 2734 (and yes, I took the time to calculate all of the mileage for all my major road trips, and I'm including the list at the end of this post). But I think the fact that it's one-way gives it the crown easily. The pause marks are our approximate stopping points, so you can see that I'm guessing it'll take about four and a half days. We leave Sunday.

    The truck has been rented, and it should be a fairly easy vehicle to maneuver, if not exactly a smooth ride. It also lacks any sort of music device that takes an input other than radio waves. But we will persevere -- either with the use of the GhettoBlaster 3000™ (portable cd player hooked up to chintzy speakers) or we may invest in one of those personal radio broadcaster things that people use to play their iPod over the radio. Has anybody used one of those? What do you think?

    If you're somewhere along the way, don't be hurt that we haven't contacted you about passing through -- we're kind of on a mission and don't have much time to dawdle. So unless you're at a possible lunch spot (Las Vegas, NV, Vail, CO, Kansas City, MO, Columbus, OH), we'll just have to settle for waving in your general direction as we pass through.

    Samantha's last day of work was last Friday, and she's been very busy moving most of my possessions to my new one-bedroom apartment in Granada Hills. So the place here looks pretty empty. Seems like we just got here. Strange where life leads you.

    In other news:

    • King Lear was pretty amazing. McKellan was quite the force onstage, as expected. It's a strange and surreal play, but the company pulled it off well. Besides the celebrity on stage, there was also a celebrity in attendance -- Tom Hanks and his family. Our biggest celebrity sighting yet. Though the play was the centerpiece of Ben and Austin's visit, they seemed to have a good time with the rest of the things we did too (beach, Hollywood Blvd, Santa Monica).
    • I've done a bit of reading recently: The Game of Thrones, the first novel the George R. R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire series. It's heavy stuff, but I'm mostly enjoying it. Currently: Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Gut-bustingly hilarious -- highly recommended.
    • We finally gorged on some new music with the excuse that we'll need it for the trip. I picked up This Is Me (Eddie from Ohio), Little Voice (Sara Bareilles), Blinders On (Sean Watkins), and Combinations (Eisley). Samantha also picked up three discs, but I'm tired of linking now, so you'll just have to live in ignorance.
    That is all. We're off to host an empty apartment going away party. Talk to you from Poughkeepsie. Oh, and click below for the mileage of my road trips.

    Continue reading "The Biggest One Yet" »

    November 30, 2007

    It's Been One of Those Weeks

    You know, the kind of week where it starts by saying goodbye to your spouse, then getting on a plane and flying 2500 miles away. You're familiar with that, right?

    Our cross country drive went well. Samantha actually seemed to enjoy most of it. I as well had a good time, though the truck was less than optimally comfortable, but that seems hard to avoid. We hit almost all of our daily destinations on the nose and arrived in Poughkeepsie pretty much on schedule. Samantha's little apartment is nice if a little idiosyncratic. But we managed to fit everything in there, including all the boxes and bookcases we were planning on putting in storage.

    I enjoyed a relaxing week or so of real vacation lounging around Samantha's place while she spent her first few days at work. I watched some movies and applied for a couple jobs. I also caught up on my reading. I finished reading Lamb and read a book of essays called Getting On Message: Challenging the Christian Right from the Heart of the Gospel. It was an excellent read -- pretty much what I was hoping for. I would recommend it to any of my church-y friends who find themselves angered and disappointed at the bad reputation the religious right is giving us liberal Christians. I would even recommend it to my non church-y friends who may be surprised to learn that many of the things that turn them off about quote-unquote religion are also the things that turn church-y people off about it.

    Then my One of Those Weeks started. The flight and travel back to California last Friday was pretty uneventful, but there have been many complications to settling back into life here. Primary among them are the following:

    • Missing items. Somehow my beard trimmer, shaving cream and several cookbooks have gone MIA. The cookbooks are accounted for (went to Samantha's accidentally) but the others, not so much. I'm just shaggy for now.
    • Headlight failure. The left headlight on my car went out. Sounds like an easy fix, right? The owner's manual sure made it sound easy. But I failed in spectacular fashion after trying about about 90 minutes on Tuesday evening. I did succeed in completely destroying the back plug end of the bulb with my increasingly desperate and tool-aided attempts to remove it, but the rest of it remains quite implacably fixed in the socket. I guess I'm going to have to take it somewhere unless a miracle happens.
    • Bike stolen. Yeah, my bike's gone. This is mostly my fault. I didn't lock it up because I thought my parking lot was secure. Turns out it's not. It doesn't help that there's no bike rack at my building. Also cushioning the blow is the fact that the bike was free -- I found it. But more troublesome is the fact that I actually really need it. You may know that my commute has increased in length from less than a mile (an easy 20 minute walk) to about 3 miles (a less easy but still manageable 20 minute bike ride). As I do not have a parking permit, my bike is my only means of transit to work (outside of the buses, which is an entirely different rant, as they do not run in a straight line between my apartment and work, which means transferring lines, and they don't have transfer slips, which means paying a fare twice for a 3 mile bus ride? It costs as much as a parking pass. Ridiculous). So I'm out of luck and paying through the nose for parking until I can get a new one.
    • Bank stupidity. Samantha and I opened a new bank account and yesterday I got some materials in the mail from them. With my name misspelled on all of them. Including the new debit card. Rage.
    • Short on time. I walked back into a packed schedule of evening and weekend work hours, off campus meetings and choir rehearsals that has left me with very little free time to unpack, settle in and deal with all of the above. Our cats are probably thinking we've abandoned them for real.
    There have been good things happening in the past week (like a neat concert I went to last Sunday) but they haven't exactly outweighed all this. I'm normally a pretty upbeat person, but with my wife being on another coast and all, this has gotten be down a bit. I'm glad it's the weekend (even though I have to work tomorrow).

    So I hope your week is going better than mine.

    December 9, 2007

    Another Web 2.0 Video

    Today's True Internet Weirdness™ comes to you due to the fact that I added a bunch of library blogs to my RSS reader recently. But I think a wider audience would enjoy it: Here Comes Another Bubble. Warning: contains a cappella music and lots of web 2.0 buzzwords.

    Things are settling in here post-Samantha's departure. My apartment looks like a real apartment instead of with boxes everywhere. The cats aren't quite as psycho (although they still tend to be attention whores every time I sit down or even stand still). I have even cooked things. Not much, but some. I have experienced two full weeks of life without my wife living with me and I think I've got how it will work figured out. Despite that, things still seem off center. But I have a feeling that's just how it's gonna be for a while. Needless to say, we're looking forward to the holidays. We're headed to Georgia this year for 8 days. So sorry, Minnesota peeps. You'll just have to visit me out here.

    In the meantime, I am keeping busy -- which is easy to do for a choral singer this time of year. Rather surprisingly, though, I have not yet performed any Christmas music, and nor will I. I don't have another Master Chorale gig until next month, so I'm missing their Christmas shows. The Occidental Chorale had their concert yesterday: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Nope, not Christmas. And my church choir has a concert this Friday, but Bach is on the program there (Cantatas 140 and 10, featuring yours truly on movements 5 and 6 of 140! I'm a solo singer? When did this happen again?).

    I'm kind of in disbelief that it's turned out this way. So I've been compensating as best I can: with St. Olaf Christmas Fest. I saw their groundbreaking simulcast last weekend, which was a joy. As good as you could get without actually going to Northfield. And I've been listening to my four recordings as well. Now that it's been six years since I performed in one, they are easier to listen to -- my emotions are less nostalgic and bittersweet than they used to be when listening to them. Which is a good thing, since it's beautiful music.

    Speaking of music, my current musical obsession is Sara Bareilles. I totally dig her album -- it's big, poppy, catchy, easy to listen to and not totally brainless. Good stuff -- I recommend. None of the other three CDs I bought before our trip has hooked me like this one.

    Have I told you about Yelp yet? If you live in a major metropolitan area, you need to be aware of this website. We use it constantly for restaurant recommendations and it rarely, rarely steers us wrong. We even dialed up the mobile version while we were on the road last month and it totally hooked us up with some sweet pizza in Dayton, OH. It's like having a friend in every neighborhood everywhere. I think I may take some shopping tips from it soon.

    14 shopping days until Christmas. Peace, y'all.

    December 21, 2007

    The Toaster, My Archenemy

    Can we talk about my toaster for a minute? Okay.

    First of all, you should know that I think it's sentient. This will make more sense in a moment.

    So it's not really mine, it was Samantha's and I inherited it. But she left it for me here and went and bought a fancy new toaster/toaster oven combo. And I think it knows that, because it's been kind of skittish ever since. How skittish, you say? Well, first I need to tell you about the settings.

    So it has a lever that you can push back and forth to set the browning setting higher or lower. The only problem is that, even though technically it goes from 1-6, it really only goes between this infinitesimally small zone between 3-4. Above that zone, and the setting becomes "Blackened Beyond Recognition" and below it is "Completely Unchanged."

    Now this in and of itself is not really a big deal. I generally like my english muffins moderately toasted, so I very rarely change the setting. So it should always come out the same, right?

    Aaahh ha ha. How little you know. The toaster is sentient, after all, and moreover, it has a very delicate constitution. If I have been being nice to it, it will probably do what I want it to. But if I have been misusing it, unplugging it, bumping it with a frying pan, ignoring it or just generally thinking less than complimentary thoughts in its general direction, God knows what kind of state my english muffin is going to end up in. One day the result will be pleasantly toasty, and the next, I will be distracted with the cereal before the faint smell of burnt bread will whiff my way, at which point I know it's already too late, but I run to the accursed thing anyway and slap the plunger to reveal a charred mess. Did I move the setting? Of course not. What did I do today, toaster?

    Basically after I came home from New York, it was impossible to live with. Like I said, I blame this on the Toastation purchase. It knows its days are numbered. I think it was going through the 5 steps of grief there for a little while -- probably anger and bargaining. So I was thinking about writing this post a few days ago. And suddenly it was much better! It knew I was going to complain about it in a public forum, so it shaped up.

    But I can't be hostage to its mercurial demeanor anymore. I'm breaking the cycle. The truth must come out. You hear me, toaster? Now the world knows!

    In other news:

    • After griping about Christmas choral music last time, I ended up going to the Messiah Sing-along at Disney Hall and also doing some private caroling with my friend Christina and her multi-talented friends. So that mostly did the trick.
    • We had a couple of snow days at work this week. No, it didn't snow -- but the entire campus shut down due to a power outage. So we were told to stay home. They didn't have to tell me twice. I slept in and got some last minute Christmas shopping done.
    • Movies seen recently: the original Pink Panther (amusing in a sort of Marx Brothers fashion), Little Miss Sunshine (just wonderful, recommended to one and all), and Juno (also very good, bonus points for being set in Minnesota).
    On Sunday I fly to Atlanta to meet up with Samantha and spend the holidays with her family. It'll be my first Christmas away from Minnesota, which makes me sad. But married life is full of compromises and I like this one we've got worked out so far.

    A very happy holidays to the This Side of Lost readers community! May joy and peace bless your season. See you in '08.

    January 2, 2008

    New Years and New Eras

    New things come with the end of old ones, and an Internet era is coming to an end with the announcement that AOL will be ceasing support for the Netscape browser in February. This is particularly sad for someone who used Netscape pretty exclusively for about six years. I have never liked Internet Explorer, for many reasons that have changed in importance over the years (first it was just a crappy browser, then because of that common geeky dislike for Microsoft, then because of security concerns), and Netscape also had a web page builder and an e-mail client. What's not to like? It did get pretty clunky there at the end, but its importance for the development of the web as a medium is undeniable.

    As it stands, Firefox is the current bearer of the mantle Netscape first bore. So let me take a moment to say that if you aren't using Firefox right now, you really should be. For all the reasons mentioned above, as well as many more than will become apparent after you take five minutes to learn about it.

    I'm back from my trip to Georgia for the holidays. Here's the highlights, in my own indubitable bullet point fashion:

    • The flight there was fine for me, but hellish for Samantha -- flight cancelled, rebooked on another airline, mad dash to another terminal, lost luggage, etc. Nasty. But we made it to Statesboro in one piece and generally on schedule. So no worries.
    • The rental car. For some reason I got a free upgrade to a Chrysler Crossfire coupe. Whoa. The dude behind the counter just asked if I was okay with a manual and handed me the key. He didn't tell me it was a 6 speed manual. That was weird, but awesome. And there was very little room for luggage -- probably because it only seats two. Other than that, it was a lot of fun to drive. Wouldn't ever buy one, but I enjoyed having it for a week.
    • A low key Christmas with the Humphreys. Got the 20th Anniversary edition of Transformers: The Movie and an awesome library t-shirt among other sundry comestibles and trinkets.
    • Played volleyball on Christmas Day. Not something I could have done in Minnesota.
    • Day trip to Savannah to see The Golden Compass and Harry O'Donoghue. Enjoyed the latter more than the former.
    • Learned and played a Humphrey family card game called Zioncheck (though the rules we played by were a little different from those). Didn't do too horribly.
    • Delightful lunch at a Mexican place in Macon with Uncle Will and Aunt Becky.
    • An even lower key couple of days at Pete and DJ's home in the mountains. Watched a lot of college football and petted some very fat cats.
    • Saw Sweeney Todd with Roy and friends. Good, not amazing.
    • Hung out at Roy's house in Atlanta. An excellent dinner and wonderful company. Won a game of Apples to Apples.
    • Last and not least: eight days with my wife. My favorite Christmas present.
    I have been rather lazy upon my arrival back in California, but that won't last long: I have many rehearsals for the Occidental Chorale's next concert and my sister will be visiting that weekend too. No resolutions this year -- just need to get back in some habits I've dropped and my life will be back to "as good as it can be without Samantha here." Peace, y'all.

    January 22, 2008

    The Scariest Alarm Clock Ever

    I don't know about you, but I've been having trouble getting up on time lately. I'm not sure what it is -- probably some combination of dark winter mornings and not having my wife sleeping next to me -- but I bet the SnūzNLūz would fix it. This is an extremely powerful idea -- counteracting undesired behavior by appealing to our higher beliefs and convictions? Genius. Just set that sucker to Focus on the Family and I'd be out of bed in no time.

    Honestly, though, I'm not sure I want this. First of all, I use the snooze button even when I'm getting up on time. It's bigger than the "alarm off" button and thus easier to aim at with my sleepy clumsy flailing arm. I would hate to be penalized for hitting it and then getting up 2 minutes later. Also, I fear that I would immediately turn the alarm off for fear of the consequences and then fall asleep for another two hours -- nice, but not a good outcome in the long term.

    Poll time: what charity would you set this alarm clock to? Post your answer in the comments.

    In choral news: January is the new December. I'm having the busiest choir month in a long time, thanks to two concerts two weeks apart. The Oxy Chorale show went very well -- I love Mozart and I think we pulled it off pretty well. This coming weekend is my premiere with the LA Philharmonic! Sort of. It's Britten's War Requiem, which I've never done before, conducted by some hot shot I've never heard of, and there are four shows! I'm pretty sure I've never sung the same concert four times outside of college choir tour. Should be fun.

    I spent the holiday weekend watching the entirety of Heroes: Season 1. The show has been recommended to me on occasion, and it was a good pick. Being a comic book fan from way back, it was a lot of fun seeing superheroes be done in a fresh way (a nigh impossible task) with a compelling, multi-layered storyline. It's a cruel show, though -- the cliffhanger at the end of almost every episode had me going "What? No. You can't do that. Dammit, now I have to immediately watch the next one."

    I also bought a new phone. Review forthcoming.

    That is all for today. Oh, and Oscar nominations were announced. Go Juno!

    February 13, 2008

    Crazy Indian Music Video

    The title never lies: here is your bit of True Internet Weirdness™ for the day.

    Don't ask me anything else about it, because now you know just as much as I do. It is tremendously and inexplicably entertaining to me -- I've probably watched all or part of it ten times since Mari posted it. I'm either pretty easy to please or have a soft spot for dance scenes. Actually, both are probably true. In related news, this video and subsequent conversations have resulted in putting a few Bollywood films on my Netflix cue -- something I've been meaning to do for a while but never got around to doing. Until now.

    In non Indian cinema news, Samantha is coming to visit. Tomorrow! She'll be here through the weekend. We don't have many specific plans, other than having lunch with friends on Friday and visiting some old favorites. I'm very excited for this. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that being apart has been difficult. We've still got a ways to go, but visits like this make it easier.

    I'm also helping my mom plan a visit out here. That one is still months away, but it's nice to at least feel like I have regular visitors from out of town. Especially considering how nice the weather is here. And how much there is to do and see. Are you picking up on this, Everyone Else I Know? Hint hint!

    Now follows the somewhat standard bullet point list of other various and sundry:

    • I have been made bass section leader in the Occidental Chorale. Yet another thing I figured I needed a music degree for. Which is silly in hindsight, since it's apparently just taking attendance.
    • Baseball is almost here! Three days until Twins catchers and pitchers report. Thank goodness, because if I hear another thing about Roger F-ing Clemens I'm going to hurl.
    • The job search is going very well. No details -- the All Seeing Eye is always watching -- ALWAYS WATCHING.
    • Netflixed recently: Reality Bites (good acting, iffy story, I think I'm five years too young for this one, Winona Ryder is hot), UHF (fantastic, right up my alley, thanks for the recommendation, Gillian, sorry it took five years to get to it), Once (very, very good, a modern day musical in the least cheesy sense possible, a simple, touching film), and Guys and Dolls (also very good -- better than the version we saw in Door County, Mom).
    That's it. I've got some posts brewing about my singing gigs. But no promises. Peace!

    March 9, 2008

    Hi, My Name is Mr. Nice

    Two reasons for that subject. The first: we had a rash of classic True Internet Weirdness™ on the forum recently, and I had to post one of my very favorites from the turn-of-the-century era strange stuff. So you too should check out Mr. Nice.

    Secondly, I've felt a little like Mr. Nice for the past few weeks -- introducing myself and smiling a lot and performing on cue. That's because I've just finished with three job interviews at institutions in and around the NYC area. I won't bore you with the details, but naturally there's been quite a bit of planning, preparation and travel involved. So that's been keeping me busy. It's also provided more opportunities to see Samantha, which is an excellent side benefit. We first spent a relaxing weekend together in Poughkeepsie, sampling the local cuisine and enjoying the snow. Then we met up again in Manhattan just a couple days ago and did some more touristy stuff, like walking along Fifth Avenue and seeing Rockefeller Center and the NY Public Library. The Hudson River Valley and surrounding environs are all beautiful, and Manhattan is singularly awesome, of course. It has all strengthened my feeling that I will enjoy living in New York more than I have southern California. And not just because Samantha is there.

    But now I'm back in SoCal for a while. Another reason I know I need to leave this strange place soon: I'm getting used to the weather. While I was in New York, I discovered (to my dismay) that it was slightly troublesome to me to be leaving a building and actually have to think about what I was wearing and if it was appropriate. Of course, once I got outside I was enjoying the seasonal conditions immensely, but even this brief feeling of inconvenience is completely unacceptable. But in the meantime, I will keep doing... err, whatever it is that I do.

    Which, by the way, outside of work, amounts to singing and baseball. I discovered this in answering questions at my interviews about what I do outside of work. Those were the only two things of significance I could come up with. (I decided that watching strange Internet videos and obsessing over obscure singer/songwriter duos don't qualify as significant.) Sort of a short list, for a guy who purports to have wide ranging interests. I'm trying to decide if this is acceptable or if I should pursue other hobbies.

    In other news:

    • Speaking of said musical group, I'm once again making changes to my silly Storyhill site. I've actually purchased a domain name, but I'm having trouble configuring it correctly so that it shows up as the URL and not the one that shows currently. Can anyone offer advice on this matter?
    • Next concert: Verdi's Requiem. I'm knocking off a bunch of the classics in the repertoire that I haven't done before. But I think I'll have had my fill of large orchestral-accompanied works by the end of the year.
    • Reasons Why Long Distance Marriages Suck #14: My motivation to do life maintenance sorts of things is extremely low. For the past day and a half, I have succeeded in doing nearly nothing of significance except feeding myself and attending to my cats. To do before the day is out: meal planning, grocery shopping, cleaning, vacuuming, laundry. Any bets on whether any of it gets done? Not a line I'd take...
    • Spring training, woot! It's a very different Twins team this year, and expectations are a little lower than usual. That's okay, it's always better to exceed low ones than not meet high ones. Who I'm excited to watch this year: Francisco Liriano (may he just stay healthy all year, I don't care if he's even good), Delmon Young (learn to take a pitch, boy, and the sky's the limit), Adam Everett (just for the defensive value) and whoever makes rotation spot #5.
    • My fantasy baseball draft is this Saturday. 25 teams read in my BP 2008, five to go. I'm gonna pwn. Barry Bonds is my number one pick. Yep.
    • Watched recently: Dan in Real Life (Steve Carell does serious pretty well, not bad for a plane movie), Penelope (cute, enjoyable acting, a feel good movie), more Gilmore Girls (Jess is a punk, Luke is awesome, Lorelai is a wacko), Firefly (yes, I haven't seen it yet, and I'm not done, so just hold on), and the first disc of Baseball (awesome and I can't wait for the next eight).
    All right, time to do the dumb things I gotta do. Peace.

    March 29, 2008

    More Cats, More Weeks

    Yes, I hear you. You're asking, where are the weird cat videos? Well, here you are. I only live to serve.

    It's been another One Of Those Weeks, or rather several of them, recently. We've come to the conclusion that living 2500 miles apart get infinitely more difficult the more life throws at you. And it's been quite a bit lately. The bike getting stolen again was just the icing on the cake (I'm over it now). Before that, we also learned we owed quite a bit to the IRS for the first time, which was unexpected, although perhaps shouldn't have been in hindsight. The plus side is that this happened because we're making more money than we ever have, which is unequivocally a good thing, so the recovery period won't be long. Also we had a housing crisis for Samantha due to her sublease ending and a somewhat unprofessional landlord renting an apartment out from underneath her. The solution for this is not ideal, but is manageable for the short term. Finally, my New York job prospects have gone pretty cold lately. It's combined for a tough couple weeks, so we're hopeful there's some good news around the corner.

    On the plus side, I've had a lot more free time than I usually do lately, thanks to a break from church choir after Easter (well deserved, let me tell you -- those Episcopalians sure do know how to celebrate), and a three day weekend (thanks Cesar Chavez). So what have I been doing with it? Playing Starcraft. Why am I wasting my time with a 10-year-old computer game, you may ask? That's an excellent question -- one I don't really have a good answer to. A conversation on the forum sparked the resurrection of my interest in the game, which is the last computer game I was really any good at. *shrug* It's entertaining. I need a little distraction now and then. My life for Aiur!

    In any case, I'm enjoying it while I can, since April and May will be busy again. I've got a conference next weekend, a concert the following weekend, and preparations for both along with other deadlines at work to keep me out of trouble. Then I've got my two Master Chorale concerts in May, along with my mom's visit.

    In other news:

    • Baseball is almost here. It's so close I can taste it. Just two more days. Gah, it always feels like it's been forever since October.
    • I never told you about our Amoeba haul from Samantha's visit in February. I picked up Haughty Melodic by Mike Doughty, Hey Hey My My Yo Yo by Junior Senior and Soapbox Heroes by Enter the Haggis. I'm actually enjoying them all fairly equally, which is a rarity for new music. Okay, maybe Enter the Haggis is in the lead. Whatever. You can't prove it. Quick, what's that over there?
    • Currently reading: Citizen of the Galaxy, an old juvie by Heinlein. He wrote dozens of them, and I can never remember which ones I've read and which ones I haven't. Don't think I've read this one. Enjoyable, as always.
    • Watched recently: 300 (truly a man's movie -- pretty good, though), Scrubs, Season 1 (just the first disc, but I can already tell I'll like it a lot), and Y Tu Mama Tambien (didn't really enjoy it, found it to be mildly funny but mostly depressing).

    I'm off. Those Siege Tanks aren't gonna build themselves. Peace.

    April 23, 2008

    Regarding Things of Import in My Life

    Oh, my readers, my life doesn't change much. Still singing, the job search, baseball, Storyhill and weird Internet cat videos. But since you're already here, I'll offer some updates on all of the above, plus more! (Ooh, bonus updates! It's your lucky day!)

    • My time with the Occidental Chorale has come to an end with our performance of Verdi's Requiem two weekends ago. I actually had some folks I knew in attendance this time -- thanks friends! I hope to post in more detail about my singing gigs soon, so I'll save any evaluation until then. My Master Chorale commitment has ramped up again in preparation for the first of two May shows. As Samantha and I tend to say, "It's a good thing I like singing."
    • The job search: it continues. In unrelated news, I visited Samantha last weekend, which was excellent as always. We patronized The Busy Bee (great food, poor service) and the House of Laura and Sarah (not a restaurant, but great food nonetheless, and fun games, too). We also accomplished another large task, which I will fill you in on after it is completed, so as not to jinx it.
    • We have had baseball, glorious baseball, for three and a half weeks, and the conclusions to be drawn so far pretty much mirror our expectations going in: Carlos Gomez looks raw, Liriano isn't all back yet, the offense has improved marginally but not greatly, Young isn't the superstar we want (at least not yet). *shrug* But it's fun nonetheless. My fantasy team is actually doing worse than the Twins, if you can believe it. But it's early.
    • There are new Storyhill songs about! Check out a recent MPR broadcast and a Youtube video of a recent show in Duluth. *insert fangirl squee here*
    • My mom is coming to visit soon! Where does one take one's mother when they come to visit LA?
    • Netflixed recently: In Good Company (filling out my Scarlett repertoire, mostly forgettable except for the excellent soundtrack and non-cliche, actually sort of realistic ending), Stephen Lynch: Live at the El Rey (very funny, predictably), Mitch All Together (not as funny as I thought it'd be, sadly), and The Glass Bottom Boat (enjoyable in that '60s era goofy comedy sort of way, and my first experience with Doris Day, who was lovely -- I'll have to check out some of her earlier films).

    That is all.

    Oh, and the cat video, of course. Hee!

    May 8, 2008

    The Large Task

    Meet Rosalind.

    Continue reading "The Large Task" »

    June 6, 2008

    I Has a Job

    A job. I has it.

    I've been offered and have accepted a position at a small, liberal arts college/university within a manageable (not ideal, but manageable) commute distance from Poughkeepsie. It's a great job -- one I would have taken even if not pressed into this job search by other circumstances. I start in August. So we'll start planning my move... well, now, I guess.

    I am excited for the new work, stressed about the move and (above all) relieved that the job search is over and I can go live with my wife again. But I think it was all worth it. That I can say that now, before it's over, speaks to the truth of that.

    Oh, and the obligatory lolcat.

    June 13, 2008

    Singing in LA #1: The Los Angeles Master Chorale

    The first in a three part series about my crazy year masquerading as a professional choral singer in Los Angeles.

    Continue reading "Singing in LA #1: The Los Angeles Master Chorale" »

    June 16, 2008

    Loose Summer Clothes

    I think lazy summers is one of the main reasons I have always wanted to stick around in academia for as long as I can. Being a high school teacher was too much to make the summers off worth it, but academic librarianship provides the perfect balance. I don't get the summer off, but things definitely slow down. Add to this the end of the choral music season, and I've got a lazy week coming up. Woo hoo!

    Of course, that laziness isn't going to last long. The big annual conference for my professional organization is coming up at the end of the month, and then I've got my cross-country move after that. Guess that means I should enjoy my downtime while it lasts.

    It's been a while since my last newsy post, so let's try and catch up...

    • My mom's visit to LA was successful. We visited some mom-worthy spots (the Getty, the Huntington, the coast), she saw my library, she enjoyed the concert -- all went well. Thanks for coming out, Mom!
    • I managed to get out to Poughkeepsie one more time, thanks to the job search. The highlight of the visit: a trip to the Hyde Park drive in theater for a double showing of Indiana Jones and Iron Man! Tons of fun as we rolled Roz into the parking spot backwards and opened up the hatchback into the cool Hudson Valley evening. Awesome.
    • Speaking of the job search, it's over now. In case you missed that.
    • My choral season is also nearly over -- just one last Sunday service at the end of the month for my church gig. It's been a long and very busy year for me, so I'm not sad to see it end. New friends and fun memories, as always, are what I'll miss.
    • One of said new friends gave me a going away present: the first season of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. I just finished watching it last night, and it's pretty frakkin' awesome. Just put the next few discs on hold at one of the local libraries (using their brand spanking new catalog).
    • I have been less distracted by baseball of late. I think my 5-year honeymoon with the Minnesota Twins is over. They're not a very good team again this year -- offense is bad as usual, and the pitching has been much better. They're hovering around .500 for most of the season, which might actually cut it, given that the rest of the division is also worse than we expected. Who knows?
    • But, I am going to see the Twinkies soon. Thanks to the wonders of interleague play, the San Diego Padres are hosting a three game series with my hometown team next week, and I'll be in attendance for the Wednesday game, along with a friend from work. An excellent use of my personal holiday, if I do say so myself. Baseball road trip!
    • Then, not two days later, my good friend Mari arrives for the aforementioned conference. We're also hoping to do a few extracurricular activities... possibly including an LA Derby Dolls bout and some, uh, research for her cookbook.

    What are you looking forward to doing this summer?

    July 3, 2008

    Of Jammers, Pivots and Packs

    I had my first roller derby experience last Saturday. Or, as perhaps I should phrase it: I'm no longer a roller derby virgin. And man did it feel good.

    My friend Mari skates derby back where she lives and was in town for our professional organization's big annual conference. We managed to slip away for a while to catch the first day of Battle of the Banks, a big two-day tournament hosted by the LA Derby Dolls. It was a great introduction to the sport for me, as I was able to watch almost four full bouts and six different teams. I was pretty lost for the first one, but finally picked up on all the rules for the second bout, and was cheering my voice out by the third.

    Mari and I were rooting hard for Team Awesome (some photos NSFW), a group of WFTDA all stars from various leagues around the country, including two skaters from Minnesota (Harmony Killerbruise and Biscuit). Despite being unfamiliar with banked track skating, they more than held their own and just barely lost two close bouts with the Derby Dolls top squad. Biscuit did a fantastic job jamming, but not as good as another jammer named Jackie Daniels, who I've decided is my new derby crush.

    It was a great, great time. I would definitely go back for more bouts. You know, if I wasn't leaving the state in two weeks. Good thing there are leagues popping up all over the country. CT RollerGirls, here we come!

    In other news:

    My days are numbered here in California... it seems like I still have a ton to do, but I know these two weeks will race by. Thanks for coming along on the ride.

    July 11, 2008

    Moving On

    I'm not sure we'll ever be able to move on from our loss. But from what I know about grief, it's something that never totally goes away -- you just don't think of it as often. And, for better or for worse, we've been forced to move on, to not think about it as often, because there's a lot to do. But we're still thinking about it nonetheless. All of our friends, old and new, have been wonderful and supportive. Many thanks to you.

    But we have to move on. I had my last day at work on Tuesday. The moving truck comes next Tuesday. I have a busy week ahead of me, and it's already three-sevenths over. I've taken care of many details, but there's many left to go and I've barely started packing. Fortunately, everything else appears to be going smoothly -- Robert's flight is booked and I have the name of the driver from the moving company and assurances he'll be in touch on Monday. Meanwhile, Samantha has been kept very well distracted by Rare Book School -- she's learning a lot, making some new friends and enjoying her time in Charlottesville. She heads home tomorrow.

    Part of me can't believe I'll be in Connecticut next week. But the other part of me thinks it can't come any sooner. I hate these in between times when I have no schedule -- it unsettles me. And I am forever reminded of our missing cat looking around this apartment, and Robert seems to be realizing that something is amiss -- he has been more than needy. We need a change and we need it now. Good thing it is indeed coming soon.

    Not much else going on around here. I have been distracting myself with Gilmore Girls and Battlestar Galactica in my spare time. I am attempting to eat my way through the rest of my pantry. I hate moving. That is all. How are you?

    July 23, 2008

    Departure / Arrival

    Well, much of Us has now made the trip. The really important parts of Us (yours truly and Robert) at least. All the less important stuff (bed, clothes, furniture, spatulas, etc.) will be along soon, we hope, though I'm not getting too excited about it. Everything went pretty much according to plan in California: Robert was handed off to the great people at Continental Cargo (having used them twice now with hardly a problem I feel comfortable recommending them now) on Monday and arrived safely, the movers showed up and took away my things on Tuesday, I cleaned the place within an inch of its life on Wednesday and caught my own flight (on the overrated Virgin America) on Thursday. Jessica was a most excellent host for my last two evenings in town -- hopefully those leftover cleaning supplies and bottles of liquor are payment enough.

    I've got a bit of time to relax before the new job starts, so I've been enjoying sleeping in and lounging around in the new, somewhat sparse place. It's a townhouse, complete with three levels -- small levels, but levels nonetheless. It has a two car garage and a washer/dryer! It's like a real home almost. Props to Samantha for finding a great one.

    Danbury seems to be a big town/small city in the midst of changing demographics. Much of the core of the town is a mish-mash of old banks and churches and Mexican/Brazilian restaurants and businesses. Further out along winding roads (so winding! I've grown used to ramrod straight city streets crisscrossing the Valley) are the big box stores and chain restaurants. Doesn't seem to be a hive of high culture, at least not at first glance. But it will be interesting to explore nonetheless. I've already ventured out a couple times to find a sports bar to watch my Twins flail pathetically at the Yankees.

    There is still much to learn: where to worship and sing, where to find good spanikopita, where to buy Soyrizo. I always enjoy that part of moving though. As for today, I made the trip to Samantha's workplace with her this morning, as we are headed out to see a silly movie this evening with some of her colleagues. And Friday is my first fencing trip in a while: off to see Samantha represent her fencing region in the Empire State Games. Traveling, lots of reading, staying with friends and in hotels -- it's almost like a vacation!

    August 15, 2008

    Settling In

    I promise I'll come up with more original titles soon.

    I guess it's been more than three weeks since I posted. Well, we're settled now. The moving truck showed up about a week early, amazingly. So Samantha and I were able to do a lot of unpacking together (to her chagrin, I'm sure -- she was expecting me to do the bulk of it while I was unemployed). The place has come together pretty well, though it still looks sparse. We don't have a lot of furniture. We're hoping to add a love seat/small couch and a couple of chairs in the living room and another dresser for Samantha. Send any leads our way.

    We've explored town a little. We found our grocery store, our Target, our ice cream joint... you know, the important stuff. We're settling on a sports bar though more data needs to be gathered. (Yes, I know there are no Yelp reviews at either of those links. Give me a couple weeks and there will be.) Amy, we still need that advice on pizza. I have done a little church shopping -- nothing impressive so far, though there is more news on that in a moment.

    I've started my new job. As long time readers know, it's This Side of Lost policy not to discuss work here. So that might be the last you hear about it.

    I'm still investigating my options for choral singing. We are just far enough away from New York City that going downtown for a weeknight rehearsal is out of the question. But options closer to my commute just don't seem as good. But I do have auditions for two possible church gigs nearby. (Which would alleviate the need for further church shopping. Sadly, there are no Lutheran churches interested in hiring a bass right now, so it may be back to the Episcopalians for me.) Perhaps the directors there can give me some tips.

    This process has also been assisted by the discovery of my new favorite website ever: Vocal Area Network. Unbelievably useful. It's got a directory sortable by alphabetical, geographical location and rehearsal night. Plus an events calendar, audition postings and church gig ads. I think I'm in love. They need to make this nationwide. Chorus America, where are you? Pay attention.

    Yes, I am a huge choir nerd. Moving on.

    The Twins are rocking out. Amazingly the hitting is holding up and our young quintet in the starting rotation is keeping us in the game. They took two out of three from the Yankees at home this week and are giving the White Sox a run for their money for the division championship. Crazy! It's been fun to watch the past couple weeks -- here's hoping they keep it up.

    That's it. I have plenty more to post about (more AFI reviews, the other two installments on my Singing in LA series) so hopefully I'll be back with more in sooner than three weeks. Peace!

    September 10, 2008

    Singing in LA #2: Parish of St. Matthew

    The second in a three part series about my crazy year masquerading as a professional choral singer in Los Angeles.

    Continue reading "Singing in LA #2: Parish of St. Matthew" »

    September 16, 2008

    More Cats, More Worries

    Good news and bad news, folks. Breaking with the traditional presentation of this sort of thing, we'll go with the good news first.

    The good news is that we have a new cat. We had gotten the sense that Robert was pretty lonely at home by himself. So we got in contact with our local shelter and found a friendly young male orange tabby. He came home with us nearly two weeks ago. His name is Oscar and he's a delight. I promise I'll post pictures soon.

    The bad news is that Oscar brought a nasty upper respiratory bug with him from the shelter. He came down with it after a day or two of being here. He's over it now, but Robert caught it, and caught it bad. At first it was just sniffling and drooling, but now he's feeling so bad that he won't eat. We were pretty concerned by Sunday and ended up taking him to an emergency clinic. He is home now, being subjected to a wide variety of therapies, including nasal drops and a humidifier, but he is still in a bad way.

    This is not the best thing to happen to our finances, especially after dropping a significant amount of money on Angus about two months ago, not to mention moving me across the country. So we're concerned not only for his health but for our ability to help him get better.

    This turn of events, along with the general malaise our country is going through right now (what with Hurricane Ike and the financial crisis and this ugly presidential campaign and all) has combined to put me in pretty poor spirits today. As Samantha put it, we're just sort of in a holding pattern, waiting for improvement from any and all sides. And waiting is really hard when your cat won't eat and your money seems to drain away like sand through a sieve.

    Sorry for the big bummer today, but these are my feelings, man. Please send your prayers, good thoughts and large suitcases of cash in small unmarked bills our way. In the meantime, here's a cute cat video. The added sound effects set this one apart.

    October 7, 2008

    Cat Update

    I think we're out of the woods regarding our current cat crisis (CCC). Robert's congestion subsided and his appetite finally returned about two weeks after the last time we saw him eat voluntarily. He is looking quite normal again (read: a lap whore and always desperate for attention). We are incredibly relieved and do feel as if all our lost sleep and time spent on some pretty extensive therapy was worth it, as I'm not sure he would have survived two weeks of no nutrition otherwise.

    So now we just have to figure out how best to socialize him with Oscar, the new guy. We've been keeping them quite separate during Robert's infirmity. Currently they are tending towards Oscar avoiding Robert with the occasional "approach and sniff," and the more-occasional "Robert attacks, Oscar flees under the couch." But they are both adorable and we're quite willing to give them time to get to know one another.

    Here's a shot of the new guy (click to enlarge).

    It's a good thing you're cute, bud, for all the work you (indirectly) put us through.

    (By the way, this entry is a new stab in my attempt to update more frequently. More frequent and shorter posts on single topics. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?)

    October 10, 2008

    My Name is Andrew and I am a Choral Singer

    ("Hello, Andrew.")

    The update on the addiction: I've joined the Connecticut Choral Society. They met most of my requirements: not a big group, not a ton of rehearsal time, not terribly out of the way from my usual travels. It also came recommended as the best option among the two or three I had been looking at.

    It's okay so far. They're not great, but they're not awful. It's very well run -- they've got a great fundraising and marketing machine going. The group is definitely older (as many community choirs tend to be), and I have yet to have an opportunity to meet the (very few) younger members. Doesn't exactly bode well for making new friends. The conductor is good -- I like his repertoire selection and his Midwest sensibilities. He has a tendency to fixate on and over-rehearse difficult passages (one of my pet peeves), but that's a common problem among choral conductors.

    So we'll see how the year goes. We're doing some interesting repertoire for the Christmas show -- it's pretty challenging for a choir of this size and skill. I'm not sure this is a group I'll stick with, but it'll do for now.

    I've also been hired as a section leader at St. Luke's Episcopal in Somers, NY, a very small, sort of patrician congregation in northern Westchester County. It's basically a walk in, sing and walk out sort of gig. This is nice in that there's no weekday rehearsal, but it feels a little impersonal so far. Not sold on this one long term either, but we'll see.

    October 13, 2008

    Three Years

    Yesterday Samantha and I celebrated our third anniversary. We patronized Crabtree's Kittle House for Sunday brunch and, in accordance with the traditional third year gift, bought each other baseball gloves. We had fun tossing around a softball with them and they'll be useful for bringing to any baseball games we attend in the future. I always feel naked going to a game without one, actually, thanks to my dad always having one along when I was a kid.

    And, though it doesn't seem this long, it's been three years since I last saw autumn arrive. I mean a real autumn, not that weak sauce that California says is autumn. And I am loving it. They do it right here. Leaves changing, sweatshirt weather, harvest festivals, pumpkins everywhere... it even smells like fall. So great. It definitely makes my lengthy commute more interesting.

    Life has handed us our fair share of ups and downs, but today, I'm pretty happy with where I am. This seems to want to lead to a "third time's a charm" joke but it's not working. Better comedy next time!

    October 21, 2008

    October Travels

    I've been out and about the past week or so. I had a library nerd event to attend late last week, so Thursday morning I embarked on a public transit adventure. Samantha dropped me off at the local Metro North station and I was whisked into New York City. Then I walked from Grand Central Terminal to Penn Station and boarded the Acela Express to Washington, DC. I must recommend the Acela if it's in your price range. It was very easy-on-easy-off and quite comfortable. I then took the Washington Metro to my destination. I always enjoy riding the rails in whatever form they take.

    Friday, after my conference was over, I spent the evening and the next morning in the company of my good friends and DC residents Rob and Krysti. We had excellent pizza that evening, excellent breakfast (courtesy of the local farmer's market, bakery, and Rob's cooking talent) the next morning and excellent conversation throughout.

    I reversed the trip on Saturday. On Sunday, we jumped in the car and headed to Gloucester, MA, to stay with my mom for a couple of days during her week-long vacation in the area. Vacations with family usually mean lots of laying around and reading. There was a fair bit of that, along with some delicious seafood and a couple of cribbage games (both of which I lost).

    It's always good to get away, if only that it makes coming back home that much more sweet.

    November 19, 2008

    Trips Into Town

    This post was originally titled "Stuff We've Done Recently" but I can't think of much more besides these two items. And they have more in common than just being stuff. Our distance from the closest major metro area is just far enough to make the innocuous sounding "trip into town" a major event. But when we do, it's usually a good time:

    • They Might Be Giants concert. Now that we live in proximity to New York City, I anticipate seeing Brooklyn's Ambassadors of Love more frequently. As if in acquiescence to this desire, They have a series of monthly concerts at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan this fall. We partook of the October show with Andy and Lauren. They played the album Flood in its entirety. It was rockin'. We hope to go to the November show, where They will play Apollo 18 in like fashion.
    • Mini high school nerd reunion. I made a second and somewhat impromptu journey to hang out with long lost high school friends Loren, Erik and Dave just yesterday. Loren was in the area doing some sightseeing after a conference and instigated the get together. We had fantastic barbecue, good beer and fun conversation (subjecting Erik's poor wife to stories about junior high). Though making the 80 minute train ride both ways in one evening made for a late bedtime. Maybe on the weekend next time, guys?

    November 21, 2008

    Singing in LA #3: The Occidental Chorale

    The third in a three part series about my crazy year masquerading as a professional choral singer in Los Angeles.

    Continue reading "Singing in LA #3: The Occidental Chorale" »

    December 17, 2008

    Holiday Travel

    I have had a string of extremely boring blog entries with even more boring titles. Maybe this will be the last one!

    We're headed to Minnesota for the holidays. We'll be there from December 22nd until January 1st. If you're there too, it'd be fun to see you. So give me a call.

    January 10, 2009


    The longer I live away from my home state, the more I notice the accents when I go back. Minnesotans, I love you, but you do talk kinda funny.

    We had a good time back in the Twin Cities for the holidays. Here's a run down of what kept us busy:

    • The Candy Party. My college friend Maren and her dad host a party every December where lots of Christmas cookies are frosted, delicious taffy, caramel and peanut brittle are made, and lots of catching up with old college friends is done. I haven't been to this in five years and Samantha never has. But this year's was no exception. We even sang some Christmas carols. Oh, and the man has a pipe organ in his house. That's worth mentioning even out of context.
    • The usual Christmas Eve and Day festivities. I even went and sang a solo at my old church.
    • The Second Inaugural Boxing Day Skate-watdee. 'Nuff said.
    • An excellent Saturday evening date planned by my mother (!), consisting of seeing the Brave New Workshop's Christmas comedy revue (freaking hilarious) and a night at the fancy new Marriott hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Thanks, Mom!
    • A trip to Mankato to engage in a Wick family tradition -- making Swedish sausage. Also helped my aunt out with her computer and stayed in the Best Western -- a hotel I've stayed in with my family more times than I can count. Nostalgia-riffic.
    • A very fun New Year's Eve at Mancini's Char House in St. Paul, dressed ridiculously with about 20 friends and friends of friends. It's been a while since I had a really fun New Year's Eve, and that qualified.
    • Lunch with Gillian. Yay! Always great to catch up with her.
    • A lot of sitting by the fire and reading. I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and American Nerd by Ben Nugent.
    • Our Cheapo Records pilgrimage. More on this later.
    • Going out to eat many times, to old favorites (Punch, French Meadow) and new favorites (Common Roots, Hell's Kitchen).

    As far as Christmas swag, it was a lighter year because my mom was gracious enough to buy our airfare for the trip. But I still got a nice mix of thoughtful gifts from the family, including music, clothes and cash. Samantha and I got each other a couple small things, but also spent some money on something we sorely needed: a new television. So we now own a 26" LCD flat-screen, high definition, widescreen TV. Whee! We didn't really need all the fancy stuff (we're just excited this one has a remote and doesn't crackle ominously) but we wanted one that will last us through the next decade of TV technology innovation. Oh, and I should mention we don't have any sort of television service other than antenna, so we still only get one decent channel. But the DVD player sure looks nice on it.

    So we're back in Connecticut and have been back to work for a week. Not a whole lot of big plans for the new year yet. But we'll keep you posted.

    January 20, 2009

    Local Culture

    One of the weird parts about our current living and working situation is attempting to simultaneously settle in to three different towns. As you can imagine, it's hard to get to know anyone in the town you work in when you only work there, and similarly it's hard to meet anyone in the town you live in when all you do is sleep there.

    Despite this, we've tried to venture out into the area in the months we've been in our adopted hometown. Admittedly we haven't done a lot, but here's the highlights of our local culture excursions:

    • Keeler Tavern Museum, Ridgefield. We were looking for some highbrow entertainment on a rainy Saturday afternoon, which brought us to this cute little spot. We were shown around the old inn by a docent in period garb, and learned quite a bit about local history. Nothing earth shaking, but a pleasant visit.
    • The Greenwich Choral Society's Christmas concert. I'm a sucker for choral concerts, especially during the holidays. I thought that this obviously well-organized group had promise. While the soloists and orchestra were all excellent, the program was pretty esoteric and the choir itself lacked definition, distinction or any other distinguishing characteristics. Forgettable, except for an unfortunate minor altercation with a fellow audience member (I'll direct you to Samantha for the details, if you're curious).
    • The New England Chamber Choir's Christmas concert. Another local ensemble. Similarly disappointing, but in a different manner. Or maybe we're just insufferable elitists. *shrug*
    • I would, of course, be remiss in not mentioning my own Christmas concerts. Not that there's much to say; we sang slightly under-rehearsed music with a modicum of technical proficiency and musicianship. I mean, the audience gave us a standing ovation! That's good, right?
    • Enter the Haggis at The Towne Crier Cafe. Last Sunday night we enjoyed the Celtic-inspired rock musical stylings of one of my recent music discoveries. This is the sort of concert I really like -- an intimate setting with a band that's fun to see live. The excellent food was just an added bonus (though a little pricey -- maybe we'll just come for the show next time).

    February 11, 2009

    Media Update

    Argh, blogging. How does this thing work again? I started this post two months ago with the intent of filling you in on some of the various cool media items I've consumed lately. I'm still going to do that, but first, an important "media" announcement.

    I've joined Twitter. For those of you that don't know what that is, it's a micro-blogging tool, where your posts have to be 140 characters or less. It's very similar to the Facebook status update. So similar, in fact, that there's a Facebook app that mirrors your tweets (as Twitter posts are called) in your status update, which is what I've done. You can also find my tweets in a box on the right side of the homepage here. See? Right over there? What, can't you see me pointing?

    Anyway, I've found that my desire to let the world know about something is better sated by Twitter than by blog posts. That's not to say that I won't continue blogging, but really, don't expect me to get any better at it anytime soon.

    So! Onto the media.


    • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I've started listening to books on CD during my commute sometimes, and this one was a good candidate. It's extremely long and long books are hard for me to get through these days, but with a book on CD, you just keep putting the next CD in, and before you know it, you're done. Anyway, I highly recommend this one, either audio or paper version. It's about the revival of English magic in the 19th century. Sort of fantasy/historical fiction. Neat.
    • Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Another book on CD. I basically picked it up because I liked Vowell in the TMBG documentary. She's just as funny and weird in this, except it's about people who shot presidents.
    • Stormwatch/Authority by Warren Ellis. I was feeling a need for some good comics recently and ILL'ed some trade paperbacks of one of Ellis' landmark series. Ellis has long been a favorite comic book writer of mine and these didn't disappoint. Truly epic stuff.
    • Supreme by Alan Moore. Same idea here. Also very good, in a more intellectually satisfying manner than Ellis. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, just a difference.
    • The Assault on Reason by Al Gore. Also book on CD. My summary: the book should have been titled George W. Bush is a Terrible President. It was interesting to be listening to this during the very end of the Bush administration. While listening to all the terrible things the Bush administration has done to our democracy, I was at alternating intervals ecstatic to think that it might be over, and depressed at the possibility that some of these things might not change with Obama in office. *shrug* I guess we'll see.

    Movies/TV (I'm not going to spew my Netflix queue at you anymore, but here's some highlights)

    • Battlestar Galactica. I'm addicted, what can I say. But don't talk to me about it! I'm still at the beginning of Season 4.
    • Buckaroo Banzai. Here's another one that I somehow escaped high school/college without seeing. I'm glad I finally did though -- it was awesome.
    • Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. I have been meaning to experiment with some Bollywood films for a while now, and one finally came up on the queue. It was great fun to watch -- very colorful and the song & dance scenes live up to their reputations. It was rather long though, and, as is probably the case with a lot of foreign film, I always felt like something was missing in translation. But I'm excited to see more.
    • We also managed to actually get out and see a couple of Oscar nominees: Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Both were very, very good and we are having a hard time deciding which we're rooting for for the Best Picture award.


    • Uncle Bonsai - The (In)Essential Uncle Bonsai. This is a clever but somewhat screechy folk/pop trio from the northwest. I enjoy them, of course, but I'm not sure many other people would.
    • Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us. Indie pop with guy/girl harmonies. I find a lot of indie pop to be opaque and not very accessible but these guys are nice.
    • Mother Mother - O My Heart. This is the clear winner of our latest Cheapo Records haul. A five piece from Canada that sings strange, sometimes creepy and sometimes totally head-bangingly-awesome-rocking pop with three part harmony. We're pretty obsessed currently. Take a listen to the title track and Hayloft.
    • We picked up some other miscellany at Cheapo: Kubla Khan's Lowertown, Barenaked for the Holidays (Barenaked Ladies' holiday album, duh), and some other stuff I can't remember right now. But I got the important ones.

    What media have you consumed lately, human??

    March 20, 2009

    Spring? Already?

    The older folks in my life have told me on occasion that life seems to move faster the longer you live it. That's kinda scary, because it already seems to go awfully fast. I last posted on February 11th? Sigh. Well, I did say you shouldn't expect me to ever get better at this blogging thing. So, in no particular order, here are some things.

    We went into the city again for Valentine's Day. We spent the afternoon putzing around the Chelsea neighborhood, where we got awesome cupcakes, walked around a seminary (I have this weird thing for seminaries), visited a couple bookstores, checked out the Chelsea Market, saw two awesome exhibits at the Museum at FIT and had an absolutely fantastic meal at Cookshop (OMG so good, I had elk, it was freaking amazing). Oh, and we went in zero art galleries. Whee!

    I like cookies. Did you know that?

    Our cats are doing wonderfully. When we got back from our trip to Minnesota for the holidays, Oscar had pretty much repudiated his spot under the couch. I don't blame him -- it's pretty cramped under there. But Robert is no longer attacking him on the spot. I think Robert finally got tired of the novelty and gave up and started cuddling with him instead. So we have finally accomplished what we wanted to do with Robert: clean his teeth and give him another friend so that he's more comfortable in his old age. They both seem happy and they make us happy. Which is what pets are about, I guess.

    I saw Watchmen and didn't really like it.

    I am singing in another choir. ("Another choir, Andrew?") Yeah. I'm an addict, remember? This one's at the school I work at. It's a student group, but the conductor is always looking for a few good men ("I want the low notes!" "You can't handle the low notes!"), so there I am. They rehearse during a class time, and while it feels a little strange to leave my office in the middle of the day twice a week and go sing, my supervisor thought it would be a good way to do some networking.

    The group exclusively does medieval and Renaissance repertoire, and this spring it's Victoria's Requiem. It's been a long time since I've sung with college-age voices. It's eye-opening and depressingly nostalgic to hear how effortlessly they blend and keep pitch. It's been fun so far, but I feel a little out of place and it kind of puts a hole in my day, so I doubt it will be a regular thing.

    Baseball starts in a couple weeks! Yay! I don't have high hopes for the Twins this year, though I said that last year and they came within a game of the division title. The pitching is for real, but the offense was fueled by flukishly high hitting rates with runners in scoring position, something I don't expect to work again this year. No major upgrades at any position (ooh, diss, Joe Crede) means nothing else will really be changing.

    I was in Seattle last weekend for the biennial ACRL conference. It's an awesome town and I had a good time seeing old friends from library school and California. And going to the conference, of course.

    That's all for now...

    August 2, 2009

    Walks in the Woods

    The hiking we did on our trip to Acadia was the beginning of what's becoming a new favorite hobby for us. You know someone is getting serious about something when they drop a bunch of dough on it, which we did last month when we bought new shoes and a trail guide. We've been on five hikes since Acadia:

    • Huntington State Park, Redding, CT. Our first hiking venture here in Connecticut and probably the closest hiking trails to our place of residence. 2.5 miles along the blue, green, red and white trails. The trails here were wide and multipurpose, as we saw evidence of horseback riding and mountain biking along the way. The terrain is nice and we should go back at some point to do more exploring.
    • Fahnestock State Park, Putnam County, NY. We walked the Catfish Loop (4.9 miles) at this sprawling New York state park with our friends Laura and Sara and their dog Ellie. All in all not a scintillating hike, but a pleasant enough trail on a nice day.
    • Appalachian Trail, Hoyt Rd to Bulls Bridge. Our first time on the venerable AT was 4 miles or so of trail from the New York-Connecticut border to Bulls Bridge, CT, which is actually a covered bridge and a bit of a local attraction. A nice up-and-down Ten Mile Hill and beautiful views of the Housatonic River, which was swollen and rushing from all the rain.
    • Lillinonah Trail, Newtown, CT. Our first Blue Blazed trail hike, we followed it from one parking area to the other, about 3.9 miles or so, along the shore of Lake Lillinonah. The trail, as noted on the website, is a bit steep, plus it was hot and buggy, which made this an exhausting hike, but a rewarding one.
    • Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY. We took an approximately 5 mile hike out of one of the several guide books I've been getting from Interlibrary Loan. An easy hike along wide trails, this reminded us of Huntington State Park, except not as strenuous. We took a side trail called Leatherman's Loop to see one of the caves that the infamous Leatherman slept in on his wanderings.

    So that's what we've been up to on many weekend mornings recently. Have any suggestions for good hiking nearby?

    November 28, 2009

    Still Not Blogging

    Yep. I don't blog much. Here are a smattering of important things you may not have picked up:

    It seems like just as we are starting to get settled somewhere, we need to move on. Samantha's job is over. I didn't mention it at the time, but it was a temporary two-year position. When she took it, we though there would be a good chance she would be extended beyond the two-year term. But things have changed a bit since then. So now she's unemployed. There are some decent prospects as far as a new gig, but none of them have come to anything yet.

    Because she no longer works 90 miles away from where I do, there's no point in living in Danbury anymore. So we'll need to move soon. It will probably be much nearer to where I work, since we don't know where Samantha will be for a while. While this is a good thing -- we've never felt like Danbury is a great place to live and it will be nice to actually live where I work again -- moving is about my least favorite thing ever. But at least we'll be waiting until the new year to do it.

    The more we move around, and the farther into the past my Minnesota residency fades, the more it becomes clear that I'd really like to move back there. So can you please keep an eye open for any rare book cataloging jobs in the Twin Cities?

    December 2, 2009

    Blogging: So 2004

    I started this blog nearly five years ago. It was long enough ago that I refused to call it a blog. It was a weblog. The word blog still had that new and slightly condescending neologistic feel to it that I hated. Now my browser's spell-check accepts blog but balks at weblog. Strange.

    I'm kind of over blogging, my friends. I wanted to use this to keep in touch with my far flung friends upon my exodus from Minnesota, and it was okay at that for a while. But that was before tools like my friends' private web forum and Facebook came along. And they seem to do the job much better.

    So what's left? Posting weird stuff I find on the Internet? I'm certainly not the best person doing that. And when I do have something to share, it's not like a whole post is really necessary. Facebook (and Twitter) is better for that. Okay, so reviews of AFI 100 movies? Folks, we've been at it for four years and we're only just reached the 1/3rd mark. My backlog of reviews is probably what's been holding us back.

    It's not just the dearth of content, though. My life wasn't terribly exciting in library school, so it's not like it's gotten even less so. But somehow, being married and having a job make it a lot tougher to find the time and brain-space to devote to this thing. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Just a change.

    I don't know. I guess I'm saying that you shouldn't really have any more expectations for this space. If you're curious what's going on in my life, friend me on Facebook. Or pick up the phone, for heaven's sake. Don't we all have free long distance now? If you want more day-to-day stuff, follow me on Twitter (Twitter posts since my last blog post: 86). Whatever else I feel like posting here will get posted.

    So I'll see you elsewhere? Good. Signing off.

    January 1, 2013

    Blogging: So 2013

    Welcome back to This Side of Lost.

    I’ve been thinking about firing up the old blog again for a while. There are a number of factors that have been encouraging me to do this.

    • It’s been a long time -- almost four years -- since I was blogging anything close to regularly. I’m a different person now.
    • My life is in a very different place than it was when I stopped blogging. There are other reasons to do it now that I’m interested in exploring.
    • A backlash against Facebook, Twitter and other social media that seems to perform a simulacrum of maintaining relationships and sharing news while actually doing very little of the sort.
    • Perhaps absence makes the heart grow fonder?

    Anyway. The start of a new year seems like a good time to do it. So, as a New Year’s resolution, I’m stepping out on the ledge again and declaring that I hope to post at least once a week. Think I can do it?

    If I focus on just catching you up on the major life events since I left off, there’s plenty to write about. As a reminder (for me as much as for you), when I left off, we lived in Danbury, Samantha had just ended her job at Vassar and I was a little ways into my second year at my previous job. Our daughter hadn’t arrived yet. Also several cars and a pet ago. So, yeah, things have changed a bit. Here’s a not-exhaustive list of possible future posts:

    We Moved to Middletown
    Samantha's Job at the AAS
    I Did Some More Singing
    Our Little Girl Arrived
    We Adjusted to Life with Three
    We Were All Not in the House A Lot
    The Little Girl Turned One
    After Samantha Called It Quits
    I Got a New Job in Minnesota
    We Moved to Saint Paul
    The Little Girl Turned Two

    So there’s a twelve step program for reviewing the recent past. I’m sure I’ll intersperse that with other things that come up as well. And maybe AFI movie reviews? Yes, we’re still plugging our way through the list! But I probably won’t try to catch up on those.

    So here’s to a new beginning. I’d love it if you read along. Talk again soon.

    PS - There are some cobwebs to blow out of the corners of this old joint. I'll do that soon. Pardon the somewhat out-of-datedness you may see around here.

    January 8, 2013

    Catching Up: We Moved to Middletown

    This is the first in a series of posts catching up from where I left off.

    It was January of 2010. Samantha's job was over, thus relieving us of our need to live in Danbury in order to split commutes. With no immediate job prospects for her, all signs pointed towards moving to Middletown to be closer to my job, which is what we did. After doing some hauling of boxes over several days of commuting, we rented a truck and loaded it (all by ourselves!) one Saturday morning. We did have help at the other end, thankfully, especially since we moved into the second floor of a house.

    We ended up spending three years in that house. It definitely was not perfect: our landlords were quite absent to the point of being neglectful sometimes (more about a critical failure on their part later) and all the stairs were a hassle, especially after our daughter arrived. But the location was perfect: a five minute walk to work. The space was a good size and very comfortable. We enjoyed living there. I'll talk more about life in Middletown as I go on, I'm sure.

    Also during that time, Samantha worked at Wesleyan on three month cataloging project. (This was the Brief Period of Co-Employment mentioned earlier.) That was very nice and we spent a lot of that time wishing things would have worked out differently so it could have always been that way.

    I remember the first three or four months of that year as being very pleasant. We settled in and explored Middletown. We had a housewarming party. We watched the Winter Olympics. We visited our friends on the Cape. My brother-in-law came for a visit. I started a fantasy baseball league at work. Good stuff.

    January 23, 2013

    Holding One Accountable

    When I restarted my blog this year, by happenstance, another friend of mine also recommitted herself to blogging, on the same level of one post a week. But she was more hard-core than me; she set conditions for when she failed to post. She has encouraged her readers to call her out and give her the topic of her next post when they do. As it happens, she did miss a post last week, and, as requested, I pointed it out, though I felt bad about doing it. But I don't feel so bad anymore now that she's posted some very nice thoughts as a result.

    Anyway, having taken advantage of such an accountability system to dictate someone else's blogging, I feel it would only be fair to do the same here. And maybe it will encourage you to check back. So as of now, if I don't have a post up by the end of the week (and I'll define the end of the week is Sunday night), you, gentle reader, are asked to make your disappointment and consternation known and as a reward, may dictate the topic of the make up post. (I suspect my wife may make the most use of this!)

    Anyway, this post heralds the return of another long-standing blog tradition, the In Other News section! In this edition, marvel at our social exploits!

    • We went out for dinner with Gillian and Chris (her then-boyfriend, now-fiancé! very exciting!). A local Mexican spot was visited and everyone approved.
    • We invited our friend Kate over for dinner and to watch the Golden Globes. We made chicken mole, which was challenging to find a certain ingredient for but was ultimately worth the trouble as it was quite tasty. Kate is a connoisseur of popular culture and a delightful companion for events such as this.
    • We went out for free appetizers hosted by a new employee group at my workplace. We met some fun people who all seem to be younger than me. Sigh.

    So, there. It's tough to be social sometimes with a two-year-old, but we're making it work. What have you been up to socially?

    February 1, 2013

    Catching Up: Samantha's Job at the AAS

    This is the second in a series of posts catching up from where I left off.

    In April of 2010 Samantha started her job cataloging at the American Antiquarian Society. When she was offered the position, there was no small amount of agonizing over whether to accept. Pros: An excellent line to have on your resume if you're a rare book cataloger, excellent experience, and it was a job, and those can be hard to come by. Cons: crappy pay and benefits and a 90 minute commute one way. With only two years of cataloging on her resume, eventually the pros won out.

    In the early days it was manageable. She worked a four-day-a-week schedule, which gave her Thursdays off in exchange for working until 8 pm on Wednesdays. Eventually I had choir rehearsal on Wednesday evenings so we didn't really miss each other. She befriended several of her colleagues. She learned a lot about rare book cataloging and became a valued member of her department. And she learned to really enjoy listening to NPR for hours everyday.

    When our daughter arrived in December, she got two weeks paid leave. (Remember: crappy benefits?) She took ten weeks more unpaid and went back to work on a regular five-day-a-week schedule so she didn't get home quite so late. But this still required her to leave the house at 6:30 am and didn't get her back until 5:30 pm. And once I went back to work, things got even crazier.

    This was manageable too, but only barely. Very quickly the meager amount of paid leave she received (both vacation and sick time) was exhausted and it was a headache trying to keep track of it and schedule our lives around it. We eventually realized that having Samantha on the road for 3 hours a day and the effects this had on everyone else was corroding our souls. We snapped at each other more. We didn't eat as well. We started dreading the beginning of every workday and living the the weekend, even if we'd just need to spend all weekend making preparations for the next week to start. She began seeing all the downsides to the position: a weird, insular workplace where she couldn't see herself making a lifelong career. Pretty soon the conclusion was clear.

    She left the AAS in May of 2012 and has been out of work ever since. The money we saved on daycare, gas and car maintenance didn't quite make up the difference, so it's been tight. But we've been a lot less stressed.

    February 15, 2013

    Mostly It Snows More Often

    Earlier in the month as we gazed out the window at another snowfall, I remarked to Samantha that I had forgotten how winter in Minnesota differed from winters in other places we have lived (Indiana, Connecticut) but that now I remember. It's not that I mind, really, but it has been an experience in relearning what life is like here. And in introducing the two year old to playing in the snow.

    Overall I can't complain. Things have been good so far. Our little house is cozy, and the cramped feeling we had when we first arrived isn't too much of an issue anymore. I do wish we could find a place for some bookshelves and my desk, but we're managing. Work has been very good. Samantha's job searching continues, but she has had interviews. The two-year-old has adapted to the new routines well and loves seeing her grandparents more often. We are starting to find the places we need to find as time goes on: doctors, hair salons, pizza joints.

    I've decided on which choir I want to sing with. I've rejoined Kantorei for the spring. Mostly it was the path of least resistance as it didn't involve a formal audition. I will be attending as many concerts as I can during the spring to listen to all the other groups I have my eye on.

    In other news:

    • I've been playing this little video game called FTL lately. I'm not much for video games these days, but my friends were talking it up and I've been enjoying it. I try not to stay up late playing it but I haven't always succeeded.
    • I put a little effort into, my poor neglected fan site, the other day. I hadn't updated it for Shade of the Trees yet even though it's been two years! Bad fanboy. I still don't have all the lyrics up, but I will one of these days.
    • I rooted my phone! You can see the series of tweets with details here. It's awesome now. And I am a nerd.
    • I went to the Beer Dabbler with my friends Mike and Rachel a couple weeks ago. It was cold and I had a lot of tasty beer! Um. This is the scintillating commentary that keeps bringing you back to this blog, right?

    Enjoy your weekend, folks. We're headed to Rochester tomorrow to visit some friends. What do you have planned?

    About Informational

    This page contains an archive of all entries posted to This Side of Lost in the Informational category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    AFI 100 is the previous category.

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