Friday, July 31, 2009

One Video

(This is the last time I'll ever try and incorporate a countdown into my blog titles/posts.)

Today is my last day of work. In honor of this, I present to you William Shatner performing Sarah Palin's farewell speech when she resigned officially from being governor of Alaska:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two Games

I think most people that know me know how much I love to play Risk. It started in junior high when Will, Lee, Peter, Sam, Craig, and I would have weekend-long sleepovers from Friday night through Sunday morning sitting in Lee's basement watching Star Wars movies and playing Risk. I'm pretty sure Lee's basement was designed for Risk: a big open floor, recliners, and a big screen TV for movies to play for those who had been knocked out early in the game. (The big screen TV isn't such a big deal today with everyone owning 52" plasma screens, but in 1998 a 52" projection screen was epic.)

This tradition continued throughout high school. Krister and John also played fairly often, giving us eight players who circulated in and out depending on availability. We rarely had trouble getting a group of at least four together for all night Risk games. I don't think we actually completed games very often. The most common ending would be someone having all of North America and South America and maybe Africa, while someone else owned Europe, Asia, and Australia. This would lead to a massive standoff usually with one side saying "screw it" and surrendering after 5-6 turns of give-take territories.

(Other game endings we experienced were: dog/cat/sleepy person walks on the board and ruins unit placement leading to everyone saying "screw it" and going to play Goldeneye; everyone saying "screw it" around 4AM with half going to sleep and half going to play Goldeneye; someone saying "screw it" after a broken non-aggression contract and quitting; someone saying "screw it" and resorting to good old fashioned violence; and I think once someone actually won legitimately.)

Towards my senior year Risk was replaced by Scrabble one night, quite randomly. It was pretty awesome. About 2 in the morning at a Trollwood (local theater arts group) cast/crew party one of us just got the urge to play Scrabble, so we went back to my house and started playing. At 6:13 we adopted the rule of not using the dictionary to find words after John spent 3 hours and 17 minutes looking through it, eventually finding the word "qiviut" giving him 54 points after a triple word score and winning the game.

In college my Risk playing days declined with our core group that played spreading itself across the US going to different colleges. Facebook has a Risk application called "Attack!" that we tried to play a few times, but without fail it would glitch out around round 3-4 and would randomly give the game to a player. Then Brad found something else, a website called Warfish.net. He said it was Risk online and invited us to join; I was excited but kind of tentative, afraid of the same glitches and errors in present in Attack!.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Save for a week when the Warfish servers were down, the games have played flawlessly. Even better, they log all moves and allow for replay videos of the games, log stats of victories/losses, and provide variations on maps and rules. Currently we're playing an almost perfectly replicated world map with 131 territories (slight change from Risk's usual 42) and includes rules like "fog of war" which means you can only see the nations next to your own. The fog really changes how you play since you don't know what bonuses opponents are getting or who's conquering Asia while you're trying to secure a few nations in Central America to just live a few more rounds.

We're having an absolute blast.

No mercy.

While we're all spread out--me in Utah, Brad in Massachusetts, Krister in wherever (something like Morocco or Uzbekistan probably), Lindsey, Will, Sam, and Craig in Minneapolis, Lee and Peter in Moorhead--we're still able to all log into Warfish and play Risk together just like in high school.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Three Questions

questions to ask--if you want to answer them in comments, awesome. If you just want to think about them to yourself, awesome.
  1. Do you believe in fate?
  2. What are your thoughts on koalas?
  3. What extinct animal do you wish was still around today?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Four Lights

lights on my car don't work simultaneously. They'll work in pairs, but not as a group. I think the Left said something derogatory to the Right; something about being the "master side" because that's where the driver sits.

The point is, my hazard lights don't work in my car.

I just discovered this this morning. My Mother sent out my old factory car system to replace the one that was stolen and this morning before going into work I wired it in. I had noticed that when my car was broken into the clock stopped working in my car and just assumed it used the same power source as the stereo. When I got a stereo installed it'd start working again. It didn't.

A brief look again found that the clock and hazard button have their own power connectors that the thief had disconnected (instead of cutting them, thankfully). Connecting them back up the clock came to life but the hazard lights remain elusive. I'm not sure what's wrong--could be a fuse, could be the switch, could be the power cable. At this point I don't have much to go on and will commence trouble shooting when I get a free minute at work. If I'm unsuccessful in my investigation, I may have to call a Turn-Signal Relationship Therapist to come and try and reconcile the dispute. Just because I sit on the left sides doesn't mean I hold any animosity towards the right, that just happens to be where the steering wheel and pedals are. It's nothing personal, I swear!

That being said, counting today, I only have four more days of work.

UPDATE: About 5 minutes after I posted this I went to check a few things out in my care and discovered that there are in fact two identical power cables that can connect into the hazard signal; I had simply chosen the wrong one. Hazard lights work out. Calling to cancel the Turn-Signal Relationship Therapist appointment now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Five Days

days left of my job. Then I get a month off before starting school again.

I'm excited about this. A month off will do me good, give me time to prepare for classes and hopefully get into the habit of going to the gym again.

That's my goal for August: review my math and get back to the gym regularly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Songwriting

Simple music; great music

I was talking with a coworker a few weeks ago about music--we're both NIN fans--and he asked if I played anything. I mentioned I bought a guitar last year and was learning some basic chords and a few songs I liked. He said to make sure I don't just play songs I like from other artists but to actually write my own stuff, too. As we got talking I found out he played bass and had toured with some bands, one was Blind Melon (or what's left of the band).

This last week I've had free time and I've been playing around with my guitar a lot. I love just sitting down and playing, be it just a sequence of power chords or the intro to Hey There, Delilah. I'm sure no one within listening range feels the same; I'm not very good. I do enjoy it though.

I've been playing around and found some basic power chord riffs I really like. Listening to The White Stripes I've noticed that a lot of the stuff played by Jack White isn't incredibly complicated--the song Fell In Love With A Girl is played on only two strings using the perfect fifth of the power chords. What I'm saying is he uses two fingers and they're always in the same position, they just shift up and down the guitar. It's nothing like Eric Clapton's guitar work.

So, I'm playing around with power chords and seeing what I could come up with. I've found that I can't write lyrics at all, largely because I don't know the first thing about the process. I have this vision in my head that songwriters--just like authors and musicians and poets and anyone in a creative, artistic profession--get moments of inspiration, when a muse speaks to them and they hear the entire song or see the entire book laid out in front of them, and all they do is make it tangible. While there may be times when it does work like this, I believe almost every great work of music, of literature, of art in general comes from days and weeks and months and years of labor working to perfect it; to find that one word to finish the sentence or the sentence to finish the paragraph or the note to finish the measure.

The more you learn about something and the more skilled you become, the more patient I think you're able to be with it, because you know the outcome takes time. This is true with music, with science, and even with parenthood. In college I tutored math classes, and working with people who aren't familiar with math I find it interesting to see them expect the answer immediately or within a few steps, not knowing or wanting to go through the amount of work it can take to get to the answer sometimes. I'm sure artists think the same when they look at me and my expectations to be able to write a song in 20 minutes or a graphic in Adobe Photoshop in an hour. Painters can spend weeks on a painting, authors can spend years on a book, I can spend hours on a single math problem. I think it just comes down to knowing the process.

I think I'll take some time today and try and learn the songwriting process. At least get an idea of it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What The Doctor taught me

Classic British Television

Just about everyone I know loves Doctor Who. I first heard of the show (him?) in 5th grade when my friend, John Berdahl, talked about the show. John was the kind of kid who, by age 11, had seen every movie made and knew every show that had ever aired up till about 1990.

Of course, the Doctor Who he was referring to was different than the Doctor most people today know. The original series ran from 1963 to 1989 (thank you, Wikipedia). Then in 2005 they revived the series with new writers, using current special effects and CG, and written in such a way that you don't need to have seen 26 years worth of classic television to know what's going on.

And it's brilliant.

The writing is wonderful, the storylines keep me guessing, the events range from downright creepy to hilarious, and the total theme is uplifting--stand up and make a difference.

Instead of going on about the series, I'd like to just say what The 9th Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, taught me.

When we first meet The Doctor he's being chased by plastic mannequins who are trying to kill him, chasing him to the top of a building, while he's holding a bomb to destroy them. How does he greet Rose, a girl trapped in a room with him? With a great big smile and a very enthusiastic "Hullo!" Time and time again in the series, The Doctor meets new people, travels to new places, gets in life threatening situations with no discernible solutions, and he does it all with a smile. He's cheerful through life and limb. He's happy, because even though it's dangerous and scary, it's an adventure, and it's having fun.

What a Doctor!

I think there's something to take away from that. Yeah, life is dangerous. Yeah, we can be in situations where we don't know what to do. Yeah, we can be lost in places we've never been. And we can still have a smile on our face, think positively, and greet people enthusiastically with a kindly "Hullo!"

At first I didn't know what to think of Mr. Eccleston as The Doctor. Now, I'm going to miss him.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Practice

Me at age 45?

I've read that it takes an average of 10,000 hours of practice to become a master of something. Anything, according to the report I read. 10,000 hours is about the amount of time you need to do something. While people can become proficient in far less time, the 10,000 hours theory is one that seems prevalent in regards to what is often deemed expertise. Of course, "a friggin' lot" would be another fair unit of measurement.

I start playing the guitar about 8 months ago. In that time gone from not knowing my guitar was out of tune to playing power chords, finger picking, and I can play some basic songs (Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Behind Blue Eyes by Limp Bizkit). It's fun and something I really enjoy doing. At my current practice schedule, if it keeps up, I should be a master of guitar playing around the time I turn 45.

I never expect to make a living playing the guitar or make any money at all; it's just something I want to do for relaxation and my own enjoyment. So far that's worked out well. I think it'd be fun to get with some friends who play the guitar and actually do something--granted, I'd be little more than rhythm guitar as I can only do basic chords, but I think it'd be fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Astute observation

Free webpage stats

On any given day I get around 20 people reading this blog. At least that's what Google Analytics tells me. I like to think the number is a little higher since that doesn't register RSS feeds and I know a number of people read it from there, too. (Speaking of RSS feeds, quick question to anyone who reads this blog via one: does the formatting work ok or is it really mucked up?)

Looking through the hits history I've noticed I generally get spikes whenever I either a) write a product review (
Skinomi guards for my cell phone, Lovesacs), b) rant about something in the news (Letter to Clair Suddath) or c) write something with excessively religious (Salt). 'A' is most probably from people doing Google searches and my blog coming up, 'B' is mostly from me posting the article on Digg.com and it actually being something people can relate to, and 'C' is from my brother pimping the article to everyone he knows.

The only other spikes in visits I've had have come in response to the two
cartoon posts I've made. I quite enjoyed making both of those, though it's painfully obvious my artistic skills are lacking. (In my defense, I drew both at work with limited tools at my disposal.)

I will fully admit I'd like to have more regular readers of my blog. I do understand why random people don't find it interesting; it's just my life and the events thereof. As people have pointed out--those who know me read it because they're interested in what's going on in my life and what I think; those who don't know me don't care. Sometimes I think I write interesting thing--I'm particularly fond of my
proposal post since it was a completely true story. Occasionally I write essays that people who don't know me personally might enjoy, but day-to-day I don't think it's overly interesting.

Start spreading the word, people!

I once read that if you have about 5,000 daily visitors then you can look into merchandising and be successful with it. That means I just need each person who reads this blog to tell 250 friends and then I can start selling "RampagingChocobo.com" shirts. I'd sell two versions, one with an angry chocobo dressed like the Juggernaut from X-Men charging somewhere, another with a chocobo with reading glasses sitting in a recliner in a smoking jacket reading Heidegger. Start those mass e-mailings now!

(I know; those shirts will never be made.)


I have been getting a number of positive reactions from some of my Twitter posts though. Looking at the list, I have 187 followers currently on Twitter; only about 65 are real people, the rest are companies and "click here for crazy monkey sex" spam-bots. It's kind of sad. From the living, breathing followers I do have I tend to get positive reactions from some of my more random thoughts though. I've considered trying to find an artist (or do a photo caption like A Softer World) to create some art to go with the more humorous thoughts; maybe create something fun that people enjoy.

In two weeks I'm quitting my job to focus on school--studying, talking with my Advisor and starting research, sleeping in. The usual school stuff. Maybe during that time I'll load up Adobe Photoshop and make some graphics for my ideas and see how they turn out. I'll probably post them here initially, and if the reactions are positive we'll see where it goes.

Guys, I have an idea!!

[I know this is a terribly poor idea; the internet is riddled with pathetic, wannabe comic writers and usually I only think my ideas are good when I'm either wired on caffeine (pictured left) or about to pass out from lack of sleep. Or both simultaneously.]

Maybe, just maybe, someday, in the distant future, I'll be able to justify making those shirts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Feng Shui

Clay, about to be flung

(For those who don't know, the correct pronunciation of "feng shui" rhymes with "flung clay.")

Last week a friend linked me to a sale at IKEA that was for this weekend only. For whatever reason they had one series of bookcases/desks half off. Good quality, too; actually solid wood, not the usual cheap particle board. Since I've been wanting to get a new desk for my apartment to replace the L shaped chunk of wood that comes off my bookcase and functions as a table, I grabbed my brother, went to IKEA, and picked up a desk and another bookcase.

I spent a good 7 hours on Saturday putting together the bookcase and desk and then rearranging my apartment. 400+ DVDs and books takes awhile to move around. But now that it's all done I really like the layout. It flows better.

When I first moved in I had this idea of putting my bookshelf in such a place it would create a little hallway going to the bathroom and bedroom. I couldn't do it though since the desk/table/board was attached to that bookshelf, so I was limited on where it could go. I ended up having it in the middle of my room, dividing the living room basically between a kitchen/dining area and a small area with my desk for watching TV. Not a bad design, but it was kind of cramped and the bookshelf prevented light from really getting anywhere.

I'm finally able to use the bookshelf to make the hallway, and I love it. My apartment feels a lot bigger now; more spacious, better flow. I'm almost certain it's not actually feng shui'd since that involves knowing the flow of energies and that fire should be on the South side and metal goes on the West. I haven't tried to match it with any of that chromatically or elementally. I just think it feels better.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just Dance

It's Friday. Go dance by a lake.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Distraction

My favorite Ravenclaw

I loaded up blogger to write a post today and read the comment my brother left on my previous blog entry. I was most interested in the part about which house in Hogwarts he'd be in; a recent Facebook quiz told me I'd be in Ravenclaw, which didn't surprise me. I can see Jeff in Hufflepuff as he predicted. I'm not sure where Becky would go, but probably Hufflepuff, too. Brady would be in Ravenclaw with me.

(If I don't stop that list soon I could easily be sidetracked into categorizing everyone I know.)

What I'm getting at is that this train of thought led me to doing a Wikipedia search on Hogwarts and the house histories, which led to me spending the next 3 hours browsing the Harry Potter Wiki. I hadn't realized how many details I had forgotten or in some cases missed completely.

If you've read the books and know the story, spend some time and reacquaint yourself with the lore. It's good stuff. I do wish some articles were longer and more detailed, but some information just isn't available or created yet. (One of my favorite little articles I hadn't known about was on the Ministry Classification of Magical Creatures, with a "XXXXX" category creature being known as "known wizard killer/ impossible to train or domesticate" while "X" simply says "boring.")

If you haven't read the books, I'd avoid the site since it has no issue giving away storyline spoilers. My advice to you then is to read the books and then spend hours going over the details.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Childhood excitement

Sad I missed that one

In high school I camped out for two movies: Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. At the time I remember thinking Star Wars was amazing--it was a serious case of "not enough sleep" mixed with "seeing Yoda with a lightsaber for the first time." For The Two Towers I literally waited in front of the theater for 28 hours; 3 PM the day before for the 7 PM showing the next day. I was 13th in line. Ahead of me were a handful of college students, a few home schooled kids, and a music professor from one of the local universities. Two Towers was infinitely better than Star Wars in viewing pleasure, longevity of enjoyment, artistic quality, and campout festivities. (It was a significantly smaller group, but we got to know each other, shared Krispy Kreme donuts, hot chocolate, and had readings from the book.)

Yes, I was one of those those nerds.

I've gone to midnight showings since then, but nothing has really peaked my interest in quite the same way as those films. Last night Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince premiered and my brother entered childhood excitement mode as he tends to do around things either "Harry Potter" or "black-and-white and in Swedish." He didn't dress up like any characters, though he did wear his Harry Potter glasses. If he had a Gryffindor scarf, robe, uniform, or anything else I have no doubt he would have worn it. That's beside the point.

There was a large group of people who were dressed up. Much like the release of the 7th Harry Potter book, the movie had fans out in full force. One guy was even trying to profit from the night by walking around the line selling replica wands for $8 (later he dropped the price to $5). Maybe I'm biased, but the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings nerds seemed less geeky. It's one thing to have choreographed lightsaber duels or fights with broadswords; it's another to be

Yep, it was that sad

pointing sticks at one another shouting "Expelliarmus!" and hoping the other person reacts appropriately. I don't know; one seems more theatrical and cool to watch, the other is just sad.

I think the low point of the night in this category was watching two people dressed up as Hogwarts students trying to get a guy out of a tree by pointing their wands at him and shouting spells. It was as ineffective as a rational person would expect.

When the movie started there were previews for various films--a few looked interesting, but I was too tired to really care too much and my ears were bleeding from all the girls screaming at the New Moon trailer. It served to remind me that there's three more films in the series coming out that I'll have to tolerate girls going primal over. I suppose girls deserve it--a lot of films have had fan service for men for decades, women are due their share.

An hour into the film the power went out in the building. I was torn between thanking God that he had bestowed upon me a chance to actually get some sleep that night and sad that we were getting robbed of a movie premiere. Power came back on about 7 minutes later--if it had been 10 they would have had to evacuate the building and we would have been sent home--we finished the film without much issue save some light screaming. The movie is good; I enjoyed it, but either they changed a number of details from the book or I don't remember it as well as I thought I did. Not a big deal, just my thoughts.

Next year we get the first part of the 7th movie and the year after we get the finale. I'm glad they're actually doing the next film in two parts--they really should have done the last two films in two parts since the story demands more explanation and background. Without the character development and details the movies start to become little more than eye candy for those who know the books. It'd be nice if they were solid works in their own right. Lord of the Rings did that--
they did change some details from the books but they still stand as very high quality works of art separate from being

What I didn't get last night...

visuals for the literary fanbase.

It'll largely depend on if/where I'm working and what my circumstances are, but it seems likely I'll go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I at a midnight showing, too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Appropriate Attire

Formal style

I'll be so bold as to say that anyone who knows me knows that I have a sense of style. I know what's appropriate to wear for various occasions and thanks to Details and Men's Health I have some insight about what looks good, too. I'm not perfect and still occasionally commit a faux pas--usually this is on purpose because I'm relaxing and just don't care.

At work it depends on my job, but I usually opt for the more relaxed look. I'm not a company representative and I'm not a businessman who needs to impress investors or a board of directors. When I worked at Barnes & Noble I was a bookseller and with constantly moving around and working in the receiving room I was usually dressed more casually for functionality and comfort. Working IT at my current job, I see other employees regularly, but they're fellow employees, not customers. My boss asks us to dress in a "business casual" appearance which according to sources can range from "suit with a slightly relaxed tie" to "jeans and a polo shirt" depending on the office.

I usually opt for the "polo shirt with chinos" look. While I think it's somewhat unnecessary, it's easier to go with what my boss says than to argue.

They can be creative; you can't

(Unless you work as a creative director at Pixar or Apple, companies don't like people who disagree with management, no matter how logical your argument. I've been threatened with termination for doing so on more than one instance.) Yesterday I received an e-mail that today is "professional dress day" for the office--this means only one thing: someone is visiting and the Director wants to make a good impression.

The last time this happened we had two employees from another office (our same company) visit. They wore the standard, daily attire of a polo shirt with slacks; the Director of the office had everyone here in suits and dresses. When I had a minute with them I mentioned that the Director put out a notification telling everyone to dress "professionally" today; they replied that they were happy to know that since they were feeling a little under dressed. I honestly don't understand why we had to look professional for people who worked for the same company at the same roles with the same dress codes. It only served to make them uncomfortable and inconvenience the employees here.

When I was a kid I remember my Mom asking me to help clean the house before company would visit. I never understood why--that wasn't how we lived, why should we give a false impression of who we are?

Not A doctor, THE Doctor

These days that feels akin to telling a girl I'm a doctor when I first meet her to make a good first impression. Yes, there is a hint of truth there--I'm in graduate school and will hopefully, someday, maybe, get a PhD and then be technically a doctor, but I'm not a doctor in the generally accepted and understood medical sense.

Asking who is visiting the office today I was told it's a friend of the CEO. A friend. I don't know if that means he/she is an executive, a consultant, a potential investor, or just someone who knows them and wants to see what their company is like. Doesn't really matter though, we're still lying to them. We don't dress professionally everyday; it'd be stupid for us to do so. We're a call center for heaven's sake! We never see customers so why in the world are we dressed professionally, other than to potentially increase the revenue of a local dry cleaner?

Comfortable and functional

By all sense of reason, we should be able to come to work in bath robes and towels. No customers see us, why does it matter if we're wearing suits and ties? I'm a firm believer in the theory that if people like their job and are comfortable they're more productive, and therefore we should be allowed to dress in a comfortable manner, and to me that means a bath robe.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home

I got home from vacation last night. On vacation I hung out with some close friends, saw my college roommate for almost 3 years get married, and spent a lot of time watching television.

I don't watch TV at home; I don't own a TV and so any shows I watch have to be on my computer. It was fun to sit and channel surf. I confirmed that early seasons of Scrubs are vastly superior to later seasons, that That 70's Show is best in the middle seasons, that Home Improvement is a generic "positive family image" show, and Full House is awful--though John Stamos is still entertaining.

I also found that the Discovery channel is the most entertaining channel after about 5 PM.

I could be here

It's a lesser known fact that a little over a year ago I applied for a job as the host of a new show for the Discovery channel. It was for a show called "Danger Man" that involved explaining and demonstrated the physics of extreme sports and stunts, which the host was then supposed to do as well. Things like bungee jumping, skydiving, and daredevil acts. Requirements for the application were that you had to have a degree in physics, be over 25, be willing/able to do the stunts, and create an under-three-minutes demo of you hosting the show and explaining the physics of an extreme stunt. I had the degree, was only 23 (I didn't tell them that; if Gillian Anderson can lie about her age to get the role of Dana Scully on the X-Files, my lying about this wasn't a big deal, either), had a background in sports and gymnastics, and borrowed a small digital camera from my school to make the video.

I tried making the demo myself and it was terrible, so I called and elicited the help of Lee, who as director of photography offered a lot of advice and helped make the video far better than I could have done on my own. We had less than 6 hours to record and cut the whole thing due to short notice from the company and minimal access to the camera. That may seem like a long time for a 3 minute shot, but in the professional world that's usually a full day's worth of work with a complete crew. We had some problems with the camera--it wouldn't record for more than 10 seconds before stopping recording. We used a lot of short shots because that fault. Lee suggested doing a Good Eats style show, which I liked, but I think if we had had a better camera (and perhaps another day) we could have made something a lot better.

I got an e-mail three months after we submitted the application that they were impressed by what I had done but that they had decided to go with a different candidate. By that time I had already given up on getting the job, but was amazed I had lasted in the running that long. Truthfully, part of me believes that if we had had a little more time and a camera that actually worked I could have made it to official callbacks and auditions. But that's a pretty big "if".

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baseball

Little has changed

Baseball is known as the American national pass time. I never really understood that growing up. I wasn't a big fan of it; I always found baseball to be a rather dull game. I'd go to games occasionally with Lee and buy the $7 nosebleed seats; they were fun, but for the social aspect. I never really cared for the sport itself.

Yesterday around noon I got an e-mail from my Dad asking if I'd care to join him for a Twins game. He said they were playing the Yankees. I'd never seen the Yankees play, or the Twins really play anyone worth watching. I thought it sounded fun so I said sure. Unlike when I went with Lee, my Dad went and purchased good seats on the lower deck along the first baseline. (He almost got us seats right behind home plate but lost the tickets while purchasing due to a distraction at work.)

I can say with certainty that baseball is far more entertaining when you're actually close to the game. The Twins lost 3:4, but the game was still enjoyable. And I got to spend time with my Dad. I felt kind of awkward when I had to ask occasionally about who certain players were--I felt like I should know that being where I was. But it was a lot of fun. I was really tempted to buy a Twins jersey for the sake of pride in my home state, but $115 seemed a little excessive. I bought a Twins hat, instead.

I think I'll be keeping my eye out for an authentic Twins jersey for a decent price, but for now, I'm happy with the Twin Cities Twins hat.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lund's

Great produce

There's a grocery store up the street from my friend's place called Lund's. It's a high quality grocery store, with an amazing deli, olive bar, sushi bar, and extremely good produce.

I went there for breakfast this morning. I picked up some sushi, a couple donuts, apples, and cereal--food for breakfast and then for the rest of the week.

I plan on heading back, if only to revel in the quality of the food throughout the store.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Traveling

The only way to fly

I'll be leaving shortly to head to Minneapolis.

I like traveling. I always try to look nice--a good pair of jeans, maybe a button up shirt, a sport coat--because airport security and personnel in general are a lot nicer if you look professional and stylish. Maybe that's just how I perceive it, but in my experience I get asked more questions and searched more often if I'm just wearing an old pair of jeans and a hoodie.

Anyways, traveling. Expect much twitterage.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Apologies

I ♥ this city

It occurred to me on the 4th that I forgot to update on Friday, the 3rd. I think that's the first time I've ever accidentally missed an update.

Sadly this week more will (most likely) be missed. I'm flying to Minneapolis tomorrow and will be there until Sunday. I'll try to keep updates coming regularly. If nothing else I'm sure I'll be pretty active on Twitter--I always am while traveling--so you can keep an eye on that for random thoughts and updates.

As for today, at work I'm expecting a call from my Boss to reprimand me after the Director of the office here accused me of being "rude" to the employees and for "reading books and doing homework" at work. Admittedly, the being rude part I can understand--I made a joke with an employee that he wasn't allowed to have juice at his desk and apparently he didn't think it was a joke. My bad. I'm not sure where the "reading books and doing homework" accusations come from since I have never had a book at work and I've been out of college for a year and a half so it'd be pretty weird if I had homework.

I'm tempted to make a remark that his accusations to my superior about me doing homework and reading books on the job constitute slander as they are completely false and were made with intent to hurt me professionally. I'm not sure if there's any grounds for it but I'm looking into it, if only to get this guy off my back. This is why it's fun having a close friend in law school.

The Director has had it in for me since I told him I wouldn't handle the building security my first week working here. I think he assumed that since the alarm is an electronic system then it must fall under IT. This is the same guy who requested I guard the building for 4 weeks while it was being finished before we moved in.

He has absolutely no idea what IT does.

Because of those initial requests and my denial of some of them, he's seen me as a source of contention and problems. He also threatened to fire me after I didn't walk around the office and ask every employee personally if they needed any assistance with their computer. (He's not my boss and he has no authority over me; I'm in a different department, which made the threat nothing more than him trying to exert power he doesn't have.) Of the employees who have left voluntarily that I've gotten along with, about half have mentioned to me that his over-controlling and pushy attitude are why they left.

Thankfully it'll be over in a few weeks and I'll be back in the World of Academia.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Duh, daduh daduh daduh!

For over 15 years I've held in my mind memories of a sketch comedy show that surpasses all others. Words like random, absurd, and hypotenuse don't begin to describe it. It's a comedic genius taco wrapped in a brainless burrito smothered in stupid sauce and topped with brilliant cheese, then sent through a mindless broiler. It aired in 1993, back in the glory days on MTV when they had one-of-a-kind shows and actually showed music videos.

I am referring to MTV's The State. Many people have never heard of this show and they're probably smarter because of it. That does not mean they're better, though. I know a few friends that don't particularly find the humor of MTV's The State funny, and I send them my condolences. Since I consider myself a relatively intelligent person, I'm led to believe there's a threshold of intelligence whereupon their jokes are absolutely hilarious. I imagine it's about 2-3 IQ points wide. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, please watch the following sketch entitled, "Gang Fight":



That's one of their more "normal" sketches, if the word normal could ever be applied to such a group. At the time they were young, most in their early 20's and fresh out of college. They were given a TV show and allowed to do whatever they wanted. And that's exactly what they did. Some people loved it, some people were bored by it, and some thought they should be studied to try and find out how someone of such deficient mental capacities could function.

After the show ended many of the former members have gone on to do other projects: Michael Ian Black was on Ed and a regular on VH1's I Love The 80's, Thomas Lennon and others wrote the Night at the Museum movies and created/star in Reno 911!, others have had shows on Comedy Central or other such networks. Often their shows were short lived as their style of comedy is still rather, uhm, unique. It makes glad to see that Reno 911! has lasted.

On July 14th, the complete series will finally be out on DVD after almost 16 years. It's an understatement to say I've been waiting for this. Since about 2000 I've been regularly keeping up with it online, signing any and every petition I could find, scouring every fan page, and trying to do whatever I could to get this show on DVD. In 2002 for Speech I even performed a combination of sketches from The State. My scores were either 5's (lowest) or 1's (highest), almost entirely dependent on whether or not the judge was a college student who watched The State when it aired. It happened more often than I expected.

[I feel like I've already written a post on this, but was unable to find one. If I have, I apologize for repeating myself.]

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I want a cat

I want a cat.

Sorry, no in depth post today. I spent about 3 hours this morning writing a response to why I think certain drugs should stay illegal. I didn't mean for it to take that long.