April 29, 2003

Blogtastic

Well. My Brother is also on LiveJournal. I thought he was posting entries to other places..

Heh. One of his images is of his TRS-80 Model 100.

Posted by mike at 06:48 AM Central | Family , Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Funny Money

Just wrote a rent check for $577.05. That's $600 minus the $22.95 I paid for cable last month. I didn't bother trying to figure out how to deduct next months cable bill, since there isn't a nice way to add up the line-items that specifically relate to my cable TV versus my cable modem. The building management is only "paying" for cable TV.

I'll probably just take off $20 next month, and forget about the taxes..

Dad reminded me that Mother's Day is coming up May 11th.

Posted by mike at 03:14 PM Central | Abode , Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 30, 2003

Drive Time

I went to the CPC Job Fair today. Not much to speak of. There were more people there from schools and other self-improvement places than from businesses looking to hire.

I got a Mother's Day card for my mom. I was glad to find one quickly, as I was really tired by then. The lady who checked me out at Hallmark asked if it was raining out or sunny, but I honestly usually don't pay much attention to the weather. I knew it wasn't raining when I came down, but it started just as I left the mall.

I took the Crosstown (Highway 62) there and back, which is a pretty scary road at points. Fortunately, it seems to be a smoother surface than it looks, but it's probably a lot more twisty than a road carrying that much traffic should be.

On my way back, I actually heard a Phish song come on the radio. I was listening to Drive 105, the station that I think plays the best music in the Cities. Unfortunately, they still play a lot of stuff I don't like and their transmitters in the area aren't very powerful, so I have to switch between them, Cities 97, KS95, and some other stations. I usually don't like 93X, though I always tried to listen to it back when it was The Edge, but that was over five years ago.

Oo! Looks like edge937.com is an available domain name now. Last I checked, KQRS still owned it.

My car seemed to be producing funny smells, though maybe that's just because it's a fossil fuel-burning vehicle. It's overdue for an oil change, though, and I'm pretty sure it needs a new air filter and possibly other stuff. But that takes money, so I'd better get a job soon.

Posted by mike at 04:33 PM Central | Car , Family , Music , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2003

Did Stuff And Got Things

I managed to exercise a little bit today, and went for a walk to Dinkytown and back. The main reason for going was to drop off the Mother's Day card I got for my mom at the post office. I'm not sure if I put it in the best place, though. I put it in the mail slot inside the post office.

At the post office back home, there are two mail slots inside, and two mail drop boxes in front. In both places, one is designated for in-city mail, and the other is for out-of-city. The mail will get there either way, but it's just faster if you put it in the right place.

Anyway, so my mom might not get her card until Monday. Oh well.

While I was in Dinkytown, I dodged some Greenpeace people and then went to Cheapo to get some music. I picked up the soundtrack to A Life Less Ordinary (another movie Ewan McGregor sings in -- or at least pretends to) and also The Matrix Reloaded. Yes, I got the soundtrack a week before I have any chance of seeing the movie.

Strangely, the soundtrack even has it's very own website. Hopefully, it's the only place you'll ever find a link image like this. Don't worry -- the Dave Matthews Band song is remixed by Paul Oakenfold ;-)

Posted by mike at 03:39 PM Central | Exercise , Family , Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2003

*Breee*

I think the next place I live must have a vent hood over the stove. Maybe I just need to change what sort of foods I cook, but I'm having a heck of a time being able to cook stuff without having the smoke detector go off. I suppose opening the windows before I start cooking might help.

Anyway, before today's cooking escapades, I had a dream about a female friend of mine from back home that I've known since preschool. Oddly, I've probably had more dreams about her than any other friend I have, though there's never been any reason for that to be the case. I guess I did consider asking her to the prom, though a friend of mine beat me to it.

Anyway, I decided to send her an e-mail and see what's up. She's a teacher these days, so usually pretty busy. Fortunately, summer's coming up, so we might be able to get together and hang out.

Update: I forgot to mention that my mom called just a few minutes after I woke up, thanking me for the Mother's Day card (wow! it made it!) She made passing reference to the girl I mentioned, so I feel like I'm being a good little boy and following all of the cosmic signs.

Next big question to deal with: Since my mom already thanked me for the card, do I have to call her tomorrow? Well, yes. I just have to do something tonight or tomorrow that merits discussion, since I don't want to call and do a “Hi! Happy Mother's Day! Bye!” type of conversation.

Posted by mike at 01:47 PM Central | Abode , Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2003

About That

So, I've been kind of sliding downhill this week, especially the last few days. Every so often, I get reminded of the things I want but can't have. I must be that some curse was laid on me while before I even got into high school.

This is why I don't watch MTV.

Well, that, and the music usually sucks when they actually play it.

Good music can help me feel better, but sometimes it's impossible to find something new, or it tricks you and reminds you of a feeling you'd rather forget. Plus, a song just loses it's flavor after your mind has chewed on it so many times..

My mom and dad are coming up today so that we can have a birthday dinner with my brother. They'll be back up tomorrow, taking him home. It'll be good to see them. It usually makes me feel a little better when they come up. But, there's still that nagging feeling they can't do anything about.

Ah well, maybe I'll go out dancing this weekend. I remember I really needed somewhere to go to let stuff out the first time I went. There's good music, but that place can also (obviously) remind me of things I don't like. At least it lets me burn off some energy.

Posted by mike at 03:03 PM Central | Family , Music , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 19, 2003

Sit-Down Stand-Up

So, I went home. I took a detour to Roseville so I could pick up North by Northwest on DVD for my Dad. I got Robin Williams: Live on Broadway for myself, though maybe I just should have rented it. It's good, and any of my friends can borrow it, but I probably couldn't watch the whole thing with other people around.. When I watch it again myself, I'll probably have to fast-forward through some bits.

I've always liked what I've been able to see of Robin Williams, so I guess I expected a bit more of the uncensored version of him. There's a lot of good stuff, but running around saying “Fuck off!” every 30 seconds doesn't really rise above the rest. I'm kind of disappointed..

I was remembering that I had high praise for him back in high school. When my graduating class wrote up profiles of ourselves, we were asked to name people we most admire, and I picked him because he could “bring a smile to anyone's face.” I still think that's true, but it might not be all smiles that he brings.

There were moments when I was watching the video and thinking of the kick in the pants I got when, weeks before graduation, my profile somehow randomly got printed right next to the profile of the girl I'd had a crush on all those years. Seeing her face next to mine—sporting huge ugly eyeglasses and dorky grin—did not sit well with me. But hell, she probably threw up when she saw it.

Oh well, I suppse I still managed better in high school than this poor kid.

Posted by mike at 07:30 PM Central | Comedy , Family , Movies , School , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 21, 2003

The Not-So-Great Adventure

Went home. Stuff happened.

I actually got a vacuum cleaner. A Eureka WhirlWind LiteSpeed 5740A, which appears to be highly rated on Epinions. Got it at Sears for $100.

I've used it a little. One of the quietest vacuums I've ever heard (though you can still definitely tell it's a vacuum). My mom was acting jealous when she saw how much stuff it picked up from the floor she'd vacuumed a few days before.. I figure that it was probably just picking up bits of disintegrating carpet, though..

We all watched North by Northwest after our excursion to Sears, and it was a good movie. You get to see a young Martin Landau! I never knew he was young! The cinematography seems so weird, though, since everything pretty much has the feel of being on a soundstage, even though some of it must have been shot outside. I'm not sure if that was the original intention, or if that's just what happened when the film got cleaned up to be put on DVD.

At any rate, it was nice watching it on my parents' TV, which produces a very clear picture. If I remember right, it's the 27" Samsung TXM2796HF. It's a flat-screen CRT that can do progressive scan and possibly better, but the documentation is a bit thin on the precise capabilities. My parents were out looking at TVs and decided on it because it looked much better than the standard interlaced Sony TVs of the same price range. I forget exactly what they paid, probably around $600.

There are a few things I don't like about it, the most prominent of which is the fact that the scan lines start to get bent about halfway down the screen. They start slightly angling like a roof or a caret (^), but the effect seems to get reduced when the CRT warms up.. Still, I was pretty amazed by the image we got while watching the movie.

The TV didn't come with an HDTV tuner, so I'm considering giving one to my parents as a thank-you for giving me way too much money during college.

Posted by mike at 04:14 PM Central | Abode , Family , Hardware , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2003

I'm Special

I was getting annoyed this afternoon. I was trying to take a nap, since my upstairs neighbors were being quiet for once. I got called by both of my parents independently, plus my laptop was annoying the crap out of me by trying to compile stuff all day long. The hard drive makes very loud clicking noises when the head moves back and forth, so it can be really distracting.

I'd IMed Dan, but he was being unresponsive (I have a knack for messaging people just before they step away from the keyboard), so I went to take a shower. I'd been working up the guts to yell at people for not talking to me when I noticed Adam had left me a voicemail about going to Ground Zero tonight. I called him up and he even said my name's on the list to get in for free.

Cool.

I guess I've been on the list before, but I didn't know it. That's kind of neat. I never figured myself for someone to be on a list. I suppose this one's nothing special, but still...

Anyway, now I'm doing some laundry so I'll have some clean clothes when I go. Not that it will matter after I dance for 30 seconds, but I like to at least make an effort..

While I wait for that, I think I'm going to go buy some carbonated beverages. I think I'll try and find some of that Mountain Dew Live Wire stuff. Is that the name? I forget. Whatever it is, it's orange.

Posted by mike at 06:48 PM Central | Adam , Dan , Family , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 01, 2003

Consume This!

Bah, looks like the kind of pizza I like to get has disappeared at Rainbow. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that a lot of Rainbow stores were closed down recently. I forget exactly what the problem was, but the parent company was having financial difficulties. Rainbow is now owned by some other company (from Wisconsin, IIRC).

I was semi-fortunate to have a bagger for once. Well, he helped the cute girl in line ahead of me, but then was reluctant to do my stuff. I suppose I shouldn't complain too much, as I'm fully capable of doing it myself. Still, it's always a pain to find bags with handles there.

I can usually do a much better job of bagging, though. This guy seemed to be stoned, and didn't even fill my bags halfway. By the time I'd paid, he'd sort of done two of these bags, leaving bread and some other light groceries on the belt. I got a bit pissed off at this, and practically ripped the stuff out from under his hands and topped off the bags myself.

And don't even get me started on parking lots.. Aagh!

Anyway, my mom's going to be stopping by on her way home from Fargo to have some supper. I'll need to clean up a bit.

I just hope people don't call me right when she gets here to say they're going out.. We'll see what happens.

Woo! Finding Nemo has a 99% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Posted by mike at 02:56 PM Central | Family , Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 07, 2003

The Many Sides of Life

Dodecahedron: a 12-sided solid. Presumably, “do” = 2, and “deca” = 10. Add the two together, and you get 12.

Google is not helping me to find what a 101-sided object is called. Yeah, I just said “object” because I don't exactly know what to call the things—apparently a polyhedron is something fairly specific..

Anyway, I spent the (late) evening over at JED's place, mostly watching Beth debate some azn (Darin?) on the many facets of the music group U2. We tried to convince her to start an online journal, but it would probably be pointless as she's selling her computer soon anyway. We all got her AIM account, which again, might be pointless.

I spent most of my time outside, after I beat down Josh at a few rounds of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Before that, I tried to get people to watch the John Corbett show Lucky, but there were people in the room who had been drinking and the shaky-camera effect was making them nauseous..

Anyway, I found the conversation outside to be pretty entertaining, though once I got a chair and sat down, the mosquitos started attacking voraciously. I think I'm well on my way to fulfilling my yearly quota of mosquito bites...

Well, fun was had. Now we get to see if I feel like being awake when my dad and my brother come up tomorrow morning to go to a “Ham Fest”-like event. Why anyone would want to do stuff from 7 AM to 1 PM on a Saturday is beyond me (fortunately, my dad and brother will spare me until at least 9:30..)

Posted by mike at 01:00 AM Central | Dan , Erin , Family , Josh | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Events of the Day

Hmm. I have a running dialogue in my head. That's probably not unusual, though I don't know how many people would admit it. Anyway, I suppose it explains my frequent long journal entries, and makes John Cusack movies more enjoyable for me ;-)

I forgot to mention a few things the last time around.

My brother called at around 9:00 AM this morning. Earlier than I was expecting.. I said I'd rather not go to the swap meet, but they said they'd stop by later. About half an hour passes, and some knocking wakes me up. My door rattles a lot, so I wasn't entirely sure if it was someone at the door and I just went back to sleep.

By around 11:00, my dad and brother come by. I guess Brian got a few things, but it didn't sound all that exciting. Anyway, they found that my package was outside, and they brought it in.

Well, I guess it explains the knocking at 9:30.. I just didn't expect my package to get here so quickly.

We all went out to lunch at Chipotle, then went to peruse an art fair going on at St. Anthony Park (which is on Como Ave. in St. Paul, nowhere near St. Anthony Main...). It was about as interesting as art fairs get for me, though it was less crowded and the prices seemed somewhat cheaper than the yearly Uptown art fair.

Next, we went over to CompUSA, since I figured they hadn't been to a real computer store for a while. Best Buy just doesn't cut it when it comes to computer hardware. I found a nifty USB2.0+Firewire+Ethernet combo card, which I might get, since all of my computer's slots are filled and I had to pull out my SCSI card to get the FibreChannel card in..

After that, I got back to my place and started opening up my package. Turns out it was actually four cubes taped together to form a big thing. In addition, each drive was independently wrapped in a package within each of these cubes. Inside that, there was only minimal packing material—which I guess might explain why the small box was put in a bigger box..

Anyway, all of the drives could have fit in a single one of the cubes, but I guess I now have a number of conveniently-sized boxes for future gift wrapping.

My new drives are quieter than the old ones, but they are smaller (form factor, not capacity), faster, and have bigger caches (4MB instead of 1MB).

I rule ;-)

Lastly, just because Beth mentioned that she and some of her friends could probably manage to make a company by themselves (since everyone has the different talents it takes to form a business), I've been mulling over the few business ideas I've had. They involve hardware, which I'm not really any good at designing or making. I'm not sure any feasible business model could come out of it, though, and there are probably other companies out there already that do things like what I'm thinking...

Posted by mike at 07:04 PM Central | Family , Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 13, 2003

What Tangled Webs

Just turned on my apartment's air conditioner. I feel accomplishment at waiting this long, though I guess it's nothing really great. I think we once had the A/C running in March when Josh, Dan, and I lived with Seth. Of course, the old U Village apartment was pretty much a big greenhouse.

It's hit 80 degrees inside my apartment daily for the past few weeks—must be too much insulation. It's hit that temperature now, but it's warmer outside and my mom is staying here tonight. She came up yesterday to do some stuff at a quilt show, and slept here last night. I felt bad because my room was a bit cooler than the living room. I suppose that's because of my computers..

Anyway, I dropped her off at RiverCentre in St. Paul this morning, and I'll pick her up before supper.

My car was running on fumes by the time I got back to Minneapolis, so I stopped at the place on 10th and University to get some money (closest TCF ATM to my place these days) and gas.

I went home and finished up watching season 3 of Deep Space Nine. The Star Trek folks really did an excellent job on the extra features..

Then I got some lunch and went over to the IT Career Center to look at some jobs. A few interesting things, but not much.

I stopped by Erin's work to say hello, and went out and sat listening to her and Beth when they went on a smoke break. John came out too, and I tried to pull a name out of him for a job lead, but he couldn't remember who he was thinking of the last time we talked..

Anyway, I'm just glad I decided to stop by there, as I figured that Erin had left already. Hope her (and Beth's) trip goes well.

Posted by mike at 03:08 PM Central | Abode , Dan , Erin , Family , Josh , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You're History

Just got a little family history lesson from my mom. My great-grandfather is on the Internet, or at least his name is. Ingebrigt A. M. Teigland is listed on a page of Word War II prisoners of war. I guess the “A. M.” stands for Andreas Mikkal (or maybe Mikkel... I'll have to look that up at some point).

He was a merchant marine working in French Indochina (Vietnam) when stuff happened. The page says he became a prisoner on December 7th, 1941, though I'm not sure if that's directly related to the attack on Pearl Harbor. They don't list when he was released, but apparently my grandmother has said he wasn't imprisoned for very long. However, the story goes that he was forced to captain some Japanese ships until the conclusion of the war.

Another story I've heard before indicates that one year, my great-grandfather was on the first ship to get to Duluth after the lakes thawed. My mom has never been able to figure out when that happened, though.

My grandfather, Eivind Horvik, shows up a few times on the Internet. That's mostly because of a scholarship in his name (he died a few years before I was born).

Back to WWII for a moment, my extended family in Norway owns property that still has old Nazi bunkers in it. The one I saw when I went there on a trip about 10 years ago was carved into the side of a fjord. It overlooks a large waterway, so I'm sure they kept a close eye on the water traffic..

Anyway, just some random tidbits.

Posted by mike at 11:38 PM Central | Family | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 14, 2003

Fam-tastic

Heading home this evening. I got a Father's Day gift for my dad, though it isn't much. I'm going to a play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, with my family tomorrow afternoon. Other than that, I'll probably try to take in a movie or two. Perhaps The Italian Job, and for some reason, I haven't seen Finding Nemo yet...

I suppose I'll head back up on Monday.

I'm debating if I want to go see Bill Maher when he comes in two weeks. I'd enjoy it, I'm sure, so I should probably do it.. I guess I'll have to see how my pocketbook feels when I come back up to the Cities.

Well, time to pack.

Posted by mike at 04:42 PM Central | Comedy , Family , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Super Prize Fighter

My mom won a nice prize at the quilt show—$500! You all can see her prizewinning quilt decorating the entryway to my apartment when I get back (er, when I remember to hang it again, at least). For that kind of money, I should have made her stay at a hotel ;-)

Anyway, she didn't expect the prize to be quite that much. She was thinking $250... But even that is a long way from the prizes she has won at the State Fair and the Olmsted County Fair.

Heh, a funny thing happened at today's TCLUG meeting—a guy there said his wife was at the quilt show too ;-)

Posted by mike at 10:33 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2003

Oh God

Even for a Sunday, I think I had to deal with too much religion today.

Went along with my family to church, which of course meant that this week's preacher was a woman who, with her voice, should have followed the call to become a kindergarten teacher rather than a person who interacts with adults on a regular basis. In addition, baptisms and communion followed, prolonging the whole mess. At least we were outside in some lawn chairs, so I could stretch my legs rather than being confined in a pew.

Got lunch after that, and did Father's Day gifting back at the house. I got my dad The Shawshank Redemption while my brother got him the book God's Debris by Scott Adams.

The play followed, and was actually very entertaining. However, it had religious overtones too—Jews calling each other ‘kikes,’ plus some more subtle stuff... I guess the play was written by the same guy who did Driving Miss Daisy, though Jews in Atlanta is about as far as the similarities go (or was the movie in Alabama? I forget...)

It was funny, though, and I went backstage afterward to visit with Suzi, my friend who was in it. She was excited to see me again, and I have no complaints about a cute blonde jumping at the chance to give me a hug ;-)

We sort of planned to see a movie together tonight, but then she went and tired herself out with the others there while striking the stage. Instead, continuing the religious theme, I went to see Bruce Almighty with my brother. It was okay, though I certainly had higher expectations for this evening...

Still, my friend said she's planning to come up to the Cities in two weeks, so hopefully we can finally see a movie together (well, actually, we once went to see Muppets in Space together years ago, though that was just because the movie we wanted to see was sold out).

Posted by mike at 11:29 PM Central | Family , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 18, 2003

Tock

My brother just left. He stayed over last night because he went to a Ham club meeting yesterday evening, and he's off at capoeira practice now.

He had tried to go to lunch with some Ham people earlier today, but apparently nobody showed up. We went to the MoA in the afternoon, and I was reminded how boring the place can be for guys. We left and then headed to Target, where I got one of those “atomic” watches I'd talked about previously.

Unfortunately, Casio doesn't seem to like incorporating countdown timers into their watches. I don't understand why.. I never use the chronometer function on my watches, but I set timers fairly regularly.

Oh well, maybe Timex will come out with a good self-setting watch. The last few watches of theirs I've owned have had fairly easy to use interfaces, while this watch I just got seems to operate in weird ways.. Maybe it's just the different brand styles...

Anyway, my brother and I got some Chinese food from the place at the tiny shopping center near my house. Well, it's not even a shopping center since most of the places are restaurants—which reminds me... There's a steak place there called “Best Steak House.” I'll have to drag some of my meat-eating friends over there someday to try it out and see if it's remotely worthy of the name.

Posted by mike at 07:08 PM Central | Family , Food , Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 05, 2003

Burninated

I did get a DVD burner, the Sony DRU-510A, which can read and write everything except DVD-RAM (since that comes in a cartridge, or at least old versions of the format did). There were some cheaper drives there, but they didn't go as fast. The burn speed for CDs is up to 24x, not the fastest out there (dedicated CD-ROM/CD-RW drives can go faster), but not bad—it's much nicer waiting just a little over 4 minutes for a disc to burn than to sit around for 20 minutes like with my old burner.

I wasn't quite sure what “up to 24x” meant until I burned a CD. A CD in your normal audio player will rotate at a variable speed—this is so the bits on the disc will come off at a constant rate. However, when CD-ROM drives get up into the higher speeds, they switch over to a constant angular velocity and read the bits off at a variable rate. At the inner edge of a CD-R, my drive goes around 16x, but gradually gets faster until it reaches the outer edge, where speeds are 24x (or maybe a tiny bit faster).

Now I have to find out if any software for Linux will work with DVD stuff.. I want to send home some discs with episodes of Monk for my brother and parents to watch, since it looks like ABC won't be running it this year.. I need to find something that will do MPEG4 to MPEG2 video transcoding, though.

Oh, before I forget, I had a really nice girl do checkout for me today. Actually, she did checkout twice for me today, since I forgot that I needed some CD-Rs, so I went back. I almost considered asking for her number or something, but I also got a copy of a Prodigy CD. When she saw that, she asked me if I'd ever seen the video for “Smack My Bitch Up,” so I figured it would be in bad taste to ask right then...

Posted by mike at 03:51 PM Central | Family , Hardware , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 25, 2003

I Try to Help People And All They Want to Do Is Save My Life

Went home after work today, and even got to leave half an hour early. I wasn't really able to do much anyway, since outside forces were at work to prevent me from getting my work done.

I was planning to meet up with a friend and go see a movie, but I guess she made other plans since she didn't hear from me soon enough. Oh well, something Sunday afternoon instead, I guess.

Saw T3 with my brother this evening. Probably about as good as a sequel sequel can get. Not the best movie ever made, but it actually unfolded to be a reasonably interesting storyline.

Oh, my brother repeated the saying that the Terminator is the character that Arnold was born to play, since it doesn't require any real emotion. Seeing the unfolding political situation in California, I figure he might not be available should another movie in the series come out. So, I'm thinking Al Gore…

Anyway, I'm probably going to go see Johnny English tomorrow with the family, and will see something with my friend on Sunday. Movie weekend…I guess I can stand some entertainment…

Posted by mike at 11:39 PM Central | Family , Movies , Politics , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 26, 2003

You Are Now Entering the Most Secure Zone in the Whole of England

Saw Johnny English with the family. Overall, probably just fairly entertaining, though a few moments I was dying of laughter. One of the most innovative chase scenes I've seen in a while ;-)

And hey, Natalie Imbruglia is pretty hot ;-)

I've been thinking about T3 a little bit, mostly because Claire Danes stands out in my memory for some reason. I'm trying to remember if she's been in any movies I've seen in the last few years, but the only thing I can think of is Romeo and Juliet

I got Jane's Addiction's new CD today. I think I most like the track that's been playing on the radio, but other tracks are fairly good…

Went to get the oil changed in my car, and they said I need a new gasket in the transmission, since it's supposedly leaking fluid. I guess I'll have to monitor that, though the fluid level seemed fine last I checked.

Speaking of cars, my mom mentioned that car dealers sometimes have good deals for recent (i.e. within 1-2 years) graduates. I guess I'll have to keep my eye out for anything about that..

Now we have to see if I'll finally get to hang out with my friend tomorrow. Hmm… I haven't gotten a haircut for a while… That sucks.

Posted by mike at 10:07 PM Central | Car , Family , Movies , Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 03, 2003

Trickle-Down Economics

The amount of cash in my checking account is deceptively high. I've handed in my rent check, and I have a few bills to pay soon.

I had been planning on going home to get cash out of my bank yesterday morning, but my parents came up to see a concert and brought a check for me with them. I didn't really want to take it, but I really wanted to go to the TCLUG meeting, and heading home to the bank would make it very hard for me to be back in Minneapolis in time. I haven't been able to go to any meetings for months, and was feeling the need to geek out with some Linux people.

I am going to head home this coming weekend, though. It's my mom's birthday on that Monday, so I guess I'll have to pick up something soon.

Negative cashflow sucks.

Went out to Ground Zero last night for the first time in nearly two months, I think… The crowd seemed different from what I was expecting.

I think today will be a chore-heavy day. Groceries, washing dishes, general apartment cleanup, etc.

A few months ago, I felt that my life was finally getting interesting, but things seem to have changed so much. Well, they're probably the same as they ever were.

Working in a male-dominated industry sucks. The fact that the only woman at my workplace is 60 definitely puts a damper on certain things.

Posted by mike at 11:59 AM Central | Abode , Family , Money , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 07, 2003

Show Me the Money

I guess I would have barely skimmed by with my bank account if my parents hadn't brought up some money last week. I would have had $13.79 leftover after my rent check went through. Well, I guess it could have been a little higher, as I went out and bought some CDs, which I wouldn't have done if I couldn't get any money.

Anyway, my bank account is happy now. I should set up a savings account somewhere, though I'm thinking I'd like to do it someplace other than TCF, since TCF tends to have limited accessibility outside of the Twin Cities.

Posted by mike at 08:10 PM Central | Family , Money | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 09, 2003

The Glut of Irony

Remember the futures market for predicting terrorist actions that the Pentagon wanted to start up a few weeks ago? Some people from MIT, Yale, NYU, and others are now setting up a similar system to predict what strange things our government is going to do next. They have some pretty damning issues as suggestions.

I'm in Byron now. I need to go out sometime to buy a gift for my mom's birthday.

Posted by mike at 09:05 AM Central | Family , Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 10, 2003

Wave of the Future

Went to the Olive Garden in Rochester for my Mom's not-quite-birthday meal. Serivce was kind of poor (our waitress didn't come around often enough for us to bug her for another basket of breadsticks), and the acoustics there didn't really assist us in our conversation. I guess my Mom has never been to an Olive Garden before, though I'm not so sure about my dad and brother.

My brother and I bought her Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights, since she had made noises about those movies back around Mother's Day, but Knights wasn't out then.

I got to feel really embarrassed by showing everyone the TV I want. “So here's the TV that's three times what you guys paid for your big TV a few months ago…”

Yeah, but I figure I should get some decent furniture first. Still, I'd really like to have a nice TV. I've been watching recorded stuff on my laptop for way too long, and the speakers suck so much on that thing that I wear headphones. So, I'd like to connect my laptop to the TV, but I can't get the S-Video port to work, and I don't know if the DVI connection on the TV I want would accept an analog VGA signal from my laptop. So, I might have to get a whole new computer to play video on the thing ;-)

Yeah, I'll be saving my money for a few months yet.

Ugh, there was other stuff, but I forget. It'll come to me.

Posted by mike at 06:08 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 19, 2003

Elvis Has Peed on Your Rug

The naming of Erin's cat reminded me of this image I saw

I imagine some G.I. must have done that, as the military is starting to call reports on the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein “Elvis sightings.”

Anyway, my mom called me at work today, asking about the buckled higway in Hudson. I guess someone on the radio said that the road had buckled yesterday, and they said that it was backing up traffic really badly. In reality, it appears to me that the road had buckled over the weekend, and had been quickly patched with some asphalt late Sunday or early Monday, since it was still rough when I was jolted awake by it that morning.

Today, a crew was out with the flashing lights and everything, but nothing had really started by the time I drove over the (now flattened) patch on my way to work. Over lunchtime, it looked like the work crew was putting down new concrete, which was probably slowing traffic a bit, but I doubt it was really significant.

It was a lot scarier coming home today, as I hit some pretty heavy rain not long after crossing back into Minnesota. I almost put on the hazard lights and stopped on the side of the road, but I figured that might be more dangerous than staying on the highway. I wouldn't want someone to follow me onto the shoulder if they wanted to stay on the road.

Anyway, the temperature swung quite a bit through my trip home, though. Pretty hot at work to fairly cool near the rain back to sweltering in Minneapolis. Don't you wish you drove 30 miles everyday?

Posted by mike at 07:49 PM Central | Car , Erin , Family , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2003

Where's My Parrot?

Yar. The good ship Akamai, she be adrift on the high seas. The wily RoadRunner nary can connect. Some o' me favorite sites be lost to the bit-bucket in Davy Jones's locker.

A treasure trove o' new software (a filly's undergarments it be not, alas) that I partook in testing was set upon the world yesterday. Two of 'em I dinna know about, and there be one I tested but they dinna release. I smell treachery of the highest order. There be marketers in them thar seas.

The winds will take me south tomorrow, as I go to lend a hand in the repainitng o' me parents' hideout. 'twould be the best color to hide a shanty on a beach, but I fear not so for the grassy lands o' Minnesota.

Posted by mike at 06:39 PM Central | Family , Internet , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 20, 2003

Bisquette

I painted today. Put up scaffolding and the whole shmear. Unfortunately, we didn't finish. Hopefully we'll be able to do stuff tomorrow, but it might rain. We'll see.

Posted by mike at 09:34 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 21, 2003

Join the Collective

Horror of horrors. I'm going to try and watch the Emmys this year. I know there's some reason why I decided to watch (probably presence of Jon Stewart as one of the many hosts and the nomination of The Daily Show for a few things).

Earlier today, my brother and I helped my Dad paint another side of the house today. It started raining lightly, so we went inside for a break. At least it didn't rain hard, so the paint didn't get messed up at all.

Posted by mike at 06:45 PM Central | Daily Show , Family , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 14, 2003

One Headlight (sort of)

I had a minor incident with my car yesterday. I was just a few blocks from home, driving down 4th St when I got stuck behind a moving van-style truck trying to turn onto the I-35W exit ramp. I guess the ramp lights must have been turned on, because he didn't go forward like I expected, and one of the posts hanging down in back of the truck clipped my headlamp and hood.

The damage is minor, but a quick glance at part prices on the Internet did not make me happy. Presumably, junkyard parts would be a lot cheaper (plus, I don't necessarily need to replace the hood, though it would be nice to have it look normal). Anyway, I'll get the car looked at on Thursday or Friday, and get the headlamp replaced as quickly as I can (though, amazingly, neither bulb broke—just the glass enclosure). I'm still thinking about what I want to do about the hood.

I brought my new computer to work today, just to see how well it works with a moderately good rooftop antenna. I could pick up a signal on every channel, though a few of them didn't always work very well. I'm not sure if that's due to a poor cable or what. I know that the analog channels had some pretty nasty junk pop up from time to time. Anyway, in a few days, I hope to bring the system down to my parents' place and see what sort of a signal I get there. On good days, they probably get as good or better reception than we have in Hudson (my parents have a bigger antenna and an amplifier), but it's hard to say how powerful the digital stations are in comparison…

Lots more stuff going into the dumpster today at work, although things seemed to have a lot more value today. A bunch of FibreChannel cards and other adapters that should probably be recycled rather than trashed (actually, the whole dumpster is largely paper and computer equipment). However, it looks like anyone looking to go dumpster diving will have to sift through a huge amount of stuff to get anything useful.

Oh, almost forgot. I plucked a copy of NeXTStep out of the stuff sliding down our makeshift chute today. I'll have to see if it is a full copy of a version appropriate for Dan's NeXT box.

Edit: Well, it turned out that the NeXT software was for i486/Pentium, so it went into the dumpster.

Posted by mike at 03:23 PM Central | Car , Dan , Family , Hardware , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 20, 2003

Looking for My Free Lunch

I called home today, since I had missed a call from my parents yesterday and didn't notice until late last night. Turns out that my aunt out in Arizona had gone through some surgery to remove a (benign) tumor and repair damage done due to its presence (bad things happen when your intestines try to expel something that is attached to them). Anyway, she's recovering now, and my grandmother jetted off to help her through the next few weeks. My mom is planning to head down on Election Day to see her (heh, at least this is an off-year).

I also chatted with a friend of mine down in Rochester who knows a thing or two about cars. He's going to look into getting a replacement headlight for cheap, which is awesome. Of course, I just get the feeling that he'll see the damage and say, “Oh, that's nothing.”

Which is exactly why I'd like him to do it for/with me rather than paying an arm and a leg for some collision place to do it.

I decided to go RF hunting and found a good spot in my apartment to receive ABC, so I ended up recording Alias tonight. I was amazed at how grainy it looked in hi-def, but I guess that's not unexpected for such a low-light series… Even with a gamma-corrected display, it was hard to see anything through some parts of the episode.

Hm. It's late.

Posted by mike at 01:23 AM Central | Car , Family , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 25, 2003

Welcome to the Padded Room

I kinda hate my upstairs neighbor. The fact that his subwoofer seems to be putting out more noise than my entire stereo on most occasions is a factor. I suppose my resonance chamber of a bedroom doesn't help things. I really need to put more things on the walls, but I don't know if that would dampen the noise much.

The noise level is not excessive, just at that point where it is extremely irritating. I'm so glad I didn't put my main computer in my bedroom, or I'd get really pissed off. The bass I hear just interferes with my brain, making it impossible for me to put any coherent thought together.

And the boots! Don't get me started on the boots (or whatever footwear is used up there).

Well, anyway, I went to the HAM fest at RiverCentre with my brother today. I picked up a new 60mm fan to potentially replace the old one on my desktop's CPU heatsink for just $1. Plus $5 for parking and $10 for a ticket to get in. Yay.

Lots of old computer crap there, and a surprising number of Macs and Mac clones (there was a whole pallet load in one corner).

Tracked down a bug in my software that had been troubling me for the last two days or so. Turned out to be a simle thing where I thought a field was one byte shorter than it really was. Oops.

I'd kind of like to see a movie this weekend, but I think I had worked far enough down my list that movies were either gone or just didn't seem appealing enough. I could watch my DVD of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom since I already watched the first one, but Temple is my least favorite.

My parents will be up tomorrow for the Simon and Garfunkel concert and we'll probably be doing some bumming around town. My Mom has a stated interest in seeing the light rail terminals, which is oh so exciting.

Posted by mike at 09:18 PM Central | Abode , Family , Hardware , Movies , Music , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 26, 2003

Consequences Shmonsequences

Home for Thanksgiving. I-94 sucked, but I suppose half an hour from Centennial Hall (where I picked up my brother) to Highway 52 isn't too bad. We have some snow falling now, have to see how that piles up. Anyway, I'm mostly putting something down because of an anecdote my mom had.

Back when IBM introduced a no-smoking policy at the Rochester plant, people were forced outdoors, like anywhere else. The funny thing is that with so many people milling around outside, there were more eyes on the big parking lots there, and car thefts went down. I suppose this is a well-known thing in smoker-dom, but it was news to me…

Posted by mike at 06:13 PM Central | Car , Family , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 27, 2003

The World Is In Serious Need of a Dandelion Break

My family usually does Thanksgiving as a late lunch served around 1:00. I think this has traditionally been the time since it just would take that long to cook the friggin' turkey. However, the advancement of technology—in the form of convection cooking—has made this long established practice an unnecessary exercise in fasting.

The food was good, although the gravy was a bit thin. Oh well, can't always get everything to turn out right.

I was shown the comics from this past weekend. Opus is back. Too bad the strip isn't online anywhere. I'll have to start buying the paper or something.

We all went to see Master and Commander this evening. Perhaps not the best choice for Thanksgiving Day, but not a bad escape from all the sappy “news” reports and specials on TV.

Posted by mike at 10:01 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2003

The Four Horsemen

I went to see Elf. I felt I could use a laugh. It was good and funny, but I really get sick of seeing the main characters falling in love in every single fucking movie I see. I'm 25 years old now, and I still haven't managed to have a plot like that run through my own life.

And, Oh! I just can't wait until Christmas. I'll get to drag my grandpa (well, step-grandpa because he married my widowed grandma 10 or 15 years ago) out of the nursing home again. Seeing his droopy face and helping him slouch along the walk in front of my grandma's house won't dampen my spirit at all! I do this out of pride, not because I have to. I'm not wishing, every moment I'm out there, that I have a beautiful, smiling girlfriend back home, waiting for me with a twinkle in her eye and ready to wash away my worries. Psh! Who needs that when you've got a cancerous old man wheezing as he falls over in his seat!

Yes! This will surely be the best Christmas ever!

Posted by mike at 10:31 PM Central | Family , Movies , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 27, 2003

The Odyssey

I have returned from my extra-short Christmas excursion. I did some preparation on the 22nd, and then moved my car over to Dan and Erin's on the 23rd and finished up packing in time for my family to pick me up. We had White Castle for lunch, since my Dad has fond memories of it from Louisville, and then headed out. About 100 miles from Fargo, I took over driving, which was your average boredom until about 10 minutes in when we drove into a fogbank.

It was very strange—we could see weird clouds up ahead, and then we were in it after going over a few hills. We all expected the fog to disappear pretty quickly, but the rest of our journey was embedded in a haze. It was nearly sunset when we hit the fog, which may have explained the variations in color I saw. Off in the distance, the fog would cycle through faint red, orange, and blue.

I was anticipating that the fog would suddenly coalesce into something heavier where I wouldn't be able to see anything, but it never happened. I could see far enough almost all of the time, so I didn't need to slow from the speed limit of 70. We ended up making good time and arriving a little early.

Christmas Eve wasn't too busy. We visited my step-grandfather in the nursing home before going to church. I wouldn't have minded the service, except for the fact that PowerPoint has invaded Pontoppidan Lutheran Church in Fargo. The sermon was accompanied by fill-in-the-blank comments projected onto a screen down in front. Whenever the pastor got to the right moment, the appropriate words would fly across the screen and land in the blank spaces.

Weird. Just weird.

We had our traditional baked ham, baked potato, mashed rutabaga, corn, and “green stuff.” Green stuff is a concoction of green Jell-O, cottage cheese, and a white whipped substance of some kind (either whipped cream or whipped egg whites). It's a tradition that my Mom and her siblings enjoy, but I guess I've never really tried it…

Finally, we ended up at the time to unwrap presents. I got A Man, A Can, A Plan, a spatula (not to be confused with a turner), socks, a dress shirt, an air filter, Sliverado (VHS), a ZipZap racer, a Far Side calendar, a recipe box with some family recipes in it, the Indiana Jones collection with a bonus bonus DVD (I have since given the giver my previously-bought copy of the collection), and a one million candlepower spotlight.

The rest of our stay was mostly spent avoiding boredom. We had set up an RF modulator for a DVD player that my grandmother won from a magazine. We were amazed that the magazine jumped for a Sony rather than a random Wal-Mart brand. We watched one of my Indy movies, a few of the live-action episodes of The Tick (which my brother got—amazingly, it's widescreen), and some of Rocky and Bullwinkle which I got for my dad.

Before we left today, we got a few DVDs for my grandmother to try out. Hopefully the DVD player won't be too complicated for her. At least she doesn't have a hi-fi receiver and the whole shebang to worry about…

Yesterday evening, I talked to Erik on the phone. He said he was returning today, so we didn't get together to do anything. Turns out, he moved in with some of his old roommates and kept his phone number. He also apparently lost his little black book of contact info for other people, which explains why he's been so quiet (sort of). Anyway, I invited him to the big New Year's shindig, and I plan to communicate with him again in the coming days, but I guess he'll be busy during the University's experimental J-term.

7 AM to 7 PM. Blech.

Anyway, I'm back now. My car survived, and all of the stuff that's supposed to be in my apartment is here. Except, perhaps, for my cable bill…

Posted by mike at 08:28 PM Central | Erik , Family , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 02, 2004

Epic Novel Daily

Well, shortly after I made yesterday's post, I got a call from my mom telling me that my step-grandfather in Fargo had died. My grandmother had married him about a dozen years ago. She had originally been widowed when my grandfather died about two years before I was born. She was alone in her house for a few years after my youngest uncle left. I knew this day was coming, since my step-grandfather had been sick from prostate cancer and treatments for it. The thing I feel worst about is the fact that my grandmother is alone again, though I suppose the shock has been somewhat lessened for her since he had been in a nursing home for a couple of years.

Anyway, funeral arrangements had not yet been made, but were potentially scheduled for Saturday, meaning that I would have been headed up to Fargo today to spend the night. Since Erik was only free on Thursday and Friday this week, I was encouraged to see if he was available. I went over to his place to hang out, but also intending to have us join up with Dan at some point.

I got there as Erik and his roommate were about a third of the way through The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen. A pretty wacky movie, but what do you expect from Terry Gilliam? Oh, and a young Uma Thurman. Mmm.

When that ended, we selected Finding Nemo for the second flick of the evening. That was a good pick, since Dan hadn't seen it yet. Of course, getting Dan over to Erik's place was a small task, since the address Erik lives at in St. Paul can also be found in Minneapolis. At any rate, he brought along Laura (who Erik hadn't met) and Russell (who Erik knew from Tai Chi).

We chatted a bit, and I learned of things like Sarah's string of Ford Foci. Also, I found out that we have to wait yet another month to get a court date, but that's okay since I will now be attending a funeral on the 7th.

After that, we headed over to Annie's Parlour to meet up with Sarah and Josh. The mystery staircase was discovered hiding in plain sight due to our placement in the “smoking” section. We also had to listen to the disgusting KFC urban legend moments before Sarah and I were served our chicken sandwiches. Other than that, we had a pretty good time. Dan even had a fit of spontanaeity by putting on Laura's coat and scarf. I figured he ended up looking like a very distinguished gay bohemian, but I didn't really vocalize on that.

After that, time was spent at Dan's place, mostly watching TV (Family Guy was a really good episode last night, then we saw Jack Black and Cristopher Walken on a repeat of Conan). We also watched the video of some freaky Japanese guy beating Super Mario Bros. 3 in less than 11 minutes. I can barely pass the first level in that game ;-)

Anyway, it turns out that Erik does some of his teaching at the school right across the street from my building, so we might start seeing him more often.

Posted by mike at 01:04 PM Central | Dan , Erik , Family , Food , Josh , Sarah , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 08, 2004

Dead Presidents

Well, my family went to the funeral service for my step-grandfather yesterday. They had a lot of people show up both from my grandmother's family and from his first wife's family. I suppose that goes to show that if you want a lot of people at your funeral, you should get divorced ;-)

So, there were lots of people I didn't know. I vaguely knew my grandfather's kids and grandkids, and there were some old friends of my grandmother who showed up that I had met at one point or another. Mostly I just stood around, then smiled and nodded when people told me I looked like my uncle (except for the lack of curly hair).

I was happy to see my aunt, who usually visits for Christmas but had decided to stay in New Mexico this year. My mom had been up in Fargo since Friday, but my dad, brother, and I just stayed Tuesday night.

Anyway, we headed home around 5 in separate cars. My brother and I were split, so we could trade off in the driver's seat with our parents. We met for supper about an hour later, and then stayed in close formation on the highway until my brother and my mom pulled off to a rest stop.

My dad and I mostly listened to NPR last night as we drove. For one of the shows, a guy who researches the loopholes in the tax system came on. There was discussion of how the people who get taxed the most are in the middle class to middle-upper class range of people earning $50-500,000 a year. Below that, people have lower taxes (which seems pretty fair to me), and above that, a lot of tricks emerge for hiding money away from tax laws. I guess my memory is getting a little fuzzy, but I think he said that there were 2400 people last year who earned an average of $170 million, and paid no taxes. Lots of other people can defer taxes for decades. They may pay the actual dollar amount that they owe, but it ends up being much less significant because of inflation.

A lot of discussion also centered around companies that use offshore tax shelters. I think people and businesses that do that are a big reason why it's hard to balance the Federal budget. The guy on the radio mentioned that Ingersoll-Rand, a company that makes jackhammers and other construction/destruction equipment has a mailbox in Bermuda that serves as their headquarters. They pay $26,000 a year in fees for that, but they don't pay any taxes on their income here. Just because it's a name I've seen a lot around campus, I was thinking of mentioning this in a letter to the editor in the Daily—I figure that contractors to the University shouldn't be supporting companies that are based offshore. I think the U already restricts contractors from using materials from certain companies that use child labor, etc., but my memory might be failing me. Companies shouldn't be punished for using equipment they already own, but I wouldn't want the money that the U spends on construction to end up on some unnamed Pacific island…

Now, today, there are a bunch of stories popping up on Google News discussing a new International Monetary Fund report telling us what we already know but often ignore—the U.S. is deeply in debt and running a large deficit. My growing opinion of many Republicans (and some Democrats, I'm sure) is that they are really anarchists in disguise. They pass laws designed to reduce the income to the Federal government and then spend more money on extravagant defense initiatives. As the guy on NPR was saying—and as the IMF is implying—eventually, the U.S. won't be able to borrow money anymore. Nobody knows when that will be or what the consequences will be, but it won't be fun. I think that a lot of things we take for granted will break down.

If you think Y2K was a scary proposition, just wait.

Posted by mike at 12:28 PM Central | Corporations , Family , Law , Money , Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 21, 2004

Ignoreland

I tried to get myself back into a good sleep cycle last night, and failed miserably. I'll have to try again tonight and then maybe try to exercise in the morning to wake myself up. But then I'll probably get tired and go back to sleep…

I was sent a questionnaire for a potential job, which I have to work on today. I'll have to think about the questions a bit—it's been a while since I've actually done system admin stuff, so it's hard to remember good examples.

Well, in between my two night's sleeps last night (went to bed early, then couldn't sleep from about 1-4, then slept late), I wrote a note to an old friend of mine from pre- through high school. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have anything to talk about, which might explain why she hardly ever responds. However, I'd gotten a few newspaper clippings from my mom, and wrote about those.

One was about our old H.S. band director, who is one of the nicest people you'd ever meet, but has gotten a nickname of “The Grinch” because of certain warnings he gives while working (“Unless you want me to get grinchy…”) Another clipping was an ad for a Rochester bank that featured another old classmate. I did some hunting and found a few others. I think a few have gotten into teaching in my hometown and elsewhere, but there was at least one other bank employee and a friend who had gone into real-estate. Kind of weird, but he seems to be a fairly natural salesman…

Anyway, it'd be nice to get a note back, but we'll see what happens.

Posted by mike at 01:57 PM Central | Family , School , Self , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 10, 2004

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

I got a call yesterday for a job where I'd be working third shift, by myself, supporting offshored IT workers. I could probably handle having a job that had just one or two of those aspects, but not all three.

My dad and I will probably be driving down to Kentucky this weekend to visit my grandparents down there. My grandmother broke her hip recently, so we'll visit her and keep my grandfather company at home.

Posted by mike at 11:54 AM Central | Family , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 13, 2004

What Do You Think This Is? Fort Knox?

Oh, one more update… I'm heading to Kentucky this weekend, but I'm going home today, so if anyone wants anothe season of DS9 or something, said persons had better contact me quickly.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your drawls.

Posted by mike at 10:19 AM Central | Family , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Theatrics

Still curious why I've disappeared from some friends lists, but I hope it has just been a fluke. I'm not aware of having any enemies or anything, so I'd hate to have started a bad trend.

On a much better note, my aunt Lori and uncle Scott were interviewed on MPR the other day. They're part of a small troupe that's started a new theater in Fargo. You can check it out here (with text and pictures plus the story audio for folks who aren't afraid of RealPlayer…).

Dunno if I'll have a chance to post tomorrow before I depart home for Kentucky.

Posted by mike at 09:42 PM Central | Family , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 14, 2004

Voyageurs

Watching Star Trek: Voyager at the moment. It's on a local WB station in Danville, Illinois. It's been a long time since I've seen Voyager. Kind of a sappy episode.

Dad and I left home at around 9:30, finally getting on the highway just before 10:00 (had to get gas, you know). I noticed that some parts of I-90 in southeast Minnesota seem to have been re-done. It's been a long time, but I once went along that road on a class trip. I sat in the back of the bus and pretty much got sick to my stomach. I'm pretty sure I was in the fourth grade, heading to Winona or La Crosse so I could go on a short train trip on Amtrak. I'm thinking that we only went between those two cities, but now I remember that we also visited James J. Hill's home at some point, so maybe we actually got to St. Paul. At any rate, we ran into a lot of trouble because the train was late...

I mentioned some stuff about trains to my dad and he talked about an idea he had for getting new rail lines between the Cities and Rochester. His idea was to run the track (mostly just one set of rails, except in stations, etc.) on pylons along I-35 and then U.S. Highway 52 from Owatonna to Rochester. It seemed like an odd route to me until he explained that most of the way, it could use existing highway rights-of-way. Also, heading to the Cities from that direction would bring the rail line straight to the Mall of America and the Airport (and soon, both places will be major stops on the light rail line). Plus, Owatonna is a fairly major shipping town, so light freight could potentially be moved along the way sometimes. Having two towns pushing for a new line instead of just one would also be pretty good.

Something I'd forgotten to take into account when I prepared for the weekend was the fact that Minnesota Public Radio pretty much doesn't exist outside of the state. Pretty much every other NPR station has a different schedule, so I missed out on most of Car Talk and all of some of the other shows I wanted to listen to today.

I was surprised by a slightly scary-looking thin median around the area where I-90 meets up with 94 and 39. If a car lost control, it would barely dip before landing on the other side. Dad mentioned that one of the best barriers is actually chain-link fence, since it usually manages to stop cars, but generally doesn't damage them too much.

Anyway, stopped at a Culver's since I'd never been there before. My first impression was, Long John Silvers plus burgers. I had a bacon cheeseburger, and was amazed at how wide the thing was, though it wasn't amazingly thick. I suppose they cook quicker that way.

We went south on 90/39 and had to pay a toll in Illinois. My dad had gone on a trip to Tennessee with Habitat for Humanity just last month, so he sort of knew what to expect, though I still had to remind him to not get in the I-Pass lane...

So, we took a route avoiding Chicago. It's so strange for me to think of it, but Interstates aren't fixtures of the landscape that have been there forever. It just seems like that for me. I-39 is a flat, boring road that goes right down the middle of Illinois. After a while, I took over driving.

We made pretty good time. My dad was thinking that we'd stop in Peru/La Salle, but we were there by mid-afternoon. Got down to Bloomington/Normal by 5:00, stopped at a Steak 'n' Shake in Champaign for dinner, then finally stopped in Danville, Illinois around 6:30 for the night. I would have been happy to keep going a while longer, but I guess there aren't any major stops between Danville and Indianapolis.

We ran into some construction zones I hadn't expected in Wisconsin and around Bloomington in Illinois, but there wasn't any active construction going on. The lanes were squeezed a bit, but we pretty much got through without trouble, except that I got a bit confused by the lane switching required around Bloomington. I-39 ends just north of the area, then we had to jog west a little way on I-55 to meet up with I-74 and go south around the city, then we started east once the two roads split. Kind of a mess, though I guess it's easier than what we would have dealt with around Chicago.

Hmm. One thing that popped into my head while we were driving was the idea of a diesel-electric semi tractor, but I suppose there are reasons why nobody's done that before. I imagine the maintenance for the electrical system would make them unappealing to truckers. Hard to say.

That's an odd thing to end on, but whatever. Hey, look at that, it's Law & Order. Heh.

Posted by mike at 08:33 PM Central | Car , Family , Kentucky 2004 , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 15, 2004

Paint Stripper

The single most annoying thing about my dad is the fact that he snores loudly and continuously at night. This is obviously not an issue for most people, and is usually not something I have to worry about, except for when I am traveling and need to share a room with him. I have phased in and out of something resembling sleep tonight, but I've mostly been frustrated by being kept awake. I'm escaping for a while to the bathroom to try and alleviate the stress.

There are a few things I had forgotten to write down. In Wisconsin, after a Wisconsin Public Radio station had been tuned in and subsequently faded out within about 5 minutes, we tried switching to music. After scanning up and down the dial, I found something that seemed okay, playing some fairly new rather alternative-ish song that I'll naver be able to remember. Of course, that train wrecked into '80s evil popstar music when it was followed by something by another artist I can't remember, but who is in the class of Rod Stewart whoever that was that wrote “Born in the USA” (My memory of music artists is exceedingly awful). (hmm, that would be Bruce Springsteen, right?) Anyway, Dad started up a tape after a while. What song was playing? “Mr. Roboto”

Okay…

Something else I'd forgotten was the fact that my dad actually handed a guy the toll when we got to Illinois. I had been used to seeing the buckets used in the past—putting money directly in someone else's hand for a toll is not something I remember seeing when my family used to go on long road trips.

Oh. Valentine's Day. I was getting a bit concerned in the morning that we'd be overwhelmed by V-Day programming on the radio. I suppose we would have been if we'd bothered to try to find more NPR stations, but the radio DJs were restricted to only bringing it up once every hour or so. I had been starting to see the really sad side of the holiday that so many people complain about. I usually don't care one way or another about the day, but I don't like to be beaten over the head with it.

Before we left, I'd looked over the highway construction information on the various state DOTs' pages. I hadn't seen anything for any highway except I-65 in Indiana just north of the Kentucky border, which explains why I was surprised to see other construction areas (even if work has been suspended for the winter).

Well, my stress level has returned to normal, so I'll try to get to sleep. We'll see how that goes, since I can still hear my dad making noise through the door. I hope that I have my own room or something in Kentucky.

Posted by mike at 03:09 AM Central | Car , Family , Kentucky 2004 , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Music Man

Well, we got to Louisville (actually, Taylorsville) around 1:30 or so, Eastern Time. We were amazed at the traffic on I-65 from Indianapolis to Louisville at 11 AM on a Sunday. I'd hate to see actual traffic on that road. Down at the south end of that stretch, 10 miles from the border (the Ohio River), we ran into some construction that has been going in fits and starts for most of my life. I don't know if we've ever been able to get over the bridge there at full speed. The roadway heading there is a mess, the roadway out is a mess (nicknamed “Spaghetti Junction,” though I think it may have been cleaned up somewhat over the years), and all of the other highways in the area are a mess. There are some stretches that are flat and smooth with gentle curves, but not anywhere near where those features would do the most good.

Anyway, Taylorsville is on the east side of Louisville, out kind of along the beltway I-265 (though we'd taken a side trip to drive by the older house that I had associated with my dad's parents when I was a kid). We managed to get where we wanted to go without making any significant U-turns (there was one intersection, but Dad just noticed he had to turn left, though he wasn't in the “middle” lane to be able to do that).

I had a hell of a time getting some sleep last night because of my dad's snoring. I guess he has a wedge-shaped pillow that he sometimes brings on trips that alleviates the problem, but we didn't bring it this trip. Sucks to be me. Anyway, I tossed and turned for about half an hour after I wrote the last entry, then finally decided that I wasn't going to be able to sleep at all unless I had something to cover up the noise. I pulled out my CD player, which fortunately has an FM tuner on it. Amazingly, the first station the channel-scanner found was a pretty good mixed classic-/modern-rock station. Kind of a weird combination, but it seemed to work well. In fact, I think that little station on the border of nowhere probably beats out 93X/KQRS for good programming by a large margin. There were some things I didn't like—some of the songs were a little too bluesy or conutry-y for my tastes, but those maladies were overcome by other excellent selections. I hope that the station broadcasts on the Internet.

Just to try and compete with the big boys in a small way, the station calls itself “K-Rock”, though the call letters are “WRHK” (wrahk?) I suppose stations east of the Mississippi have to pull the K- part out of their ass, while western stations have legitimate claim to the letter…

Still, I think the station should probably bribe the FCC to steal KROC's call letters from Rochester, MN. The Rochester station has been a top-40s station for ages, definitely not deserving of its call sign.

I listened to the station for about three and a half hours until the great programming was interrupted by The House of Blues Blues Hour or whatever it's called. I'm just not much of a blues person, at least not what Dan Aykroyd likes to call blues...

Fortunately, this was about time for me to get up anyway. I was rested enough, though lacking any actual sleep last night, I'm glad I didn't have to drive today.

Hmm. I should probably look up an Internet cafe or something so I can post these messages, though I'm a bit concerned about security in those places…

Posted by mike at 01:57 PM Central | Car , Family , Kentucky 2004 , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 16, 2004

So Sue Me

One more thing about that radio station in Danville:

… Coming up next: Music from The Cars, ZZ Top, and Audioslave

Heh. Odd.

Anyway, my dad and I installed some hand-holds in the shower/tub for my grandparents to use. It was a somewhat troublesome process to figure out how to properly mount the rods, since we lack X-ray vision and can't see through the walls. One of the pilot holes bumped into a stud where Dad hadn't expected them, so things had to be fiddled a bit. In the end, though, all of the extra holes that were made ended up being hidden by the circular mounting area anyway.

Well, friends of mine that think I'm freakishly quiet will be happy to know that I understand how that can be disturbing. I've seen my uncle Joe pull this off especially well, though my Dad can do a pretty good job in this ouse for some reason. I haven't noticed when people move through the house sometimes. I've even seen Joe coming a few times, only to have him somehow go into stealth mode, and a moment later I lose track of which direction he went next. So, my quietness runs in this side of the family. My grandfather is really quiet and doesn't speak much either, though I suppose my uncle John kind of breaks the mold a little bit and seems to be a bit more chatty (though he's not here at the moment).

My grandfather is a lawyer, though I guess not a very litigous one. He's mostly been the type to work on the financial side of things, handling estates and sometimes certain organizations. He worked for one company (apparently one specializing in construction) around 1970 that led him to be at the Supreme Court once, which is a pretty neat thing to have done, even if it wasn't an amazingly interesting case or anything.

He's 89 years old now. Still handles a few estates here and there, I guess, but I guess the work is mostly just to keep him engaged rather than just sitting around all day. It looks like he may give that up fairly soon, though. He's received a few degrees. A B.A. in 1936, a Bachelor of Law in 1938, and a Juris Doctor(ate) in 1969. I guess he served a bit in World War II, but I'm not really sure how much. One of the previous times I visited, there was a story told about how he almost visited London one time during the war because some bad weather almost diverted the plane he was on, but then the weather cleared. I'm not sure where the plane would have been coming from or going to at that point, though.

Heh. I see from some of the pictures on the wall that he had wavy hair a lot like I do, though it was black. He seemed to be able to tame it somewhat, but one of the hairstyles is vaguely reminiscent of Don King, but it's not really bad or anything. It just sort of reaches a point at the top.

There are some photos that seem to be even older, though I don't know the stories behind those yet.

Hmm. Time for lunch.

Posted by mike at 11:51 AM Central | Family , Kentucky 2004 , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chaos née Comfort

Had some lunch and then went to Lowe's and Wal-Mart. Lunch was simple but good. My grandpa had made vegetable beef soup yesterday. I'd never even realized that you could make the stuff on your own. Soup from cans has devastated that line of culinary expertise, I think. Of course, it probably wasn't totally from scratch, but I didn't see much of what was going on. In some ways, the culture here is to take things slowly. A roast for supper was already cooking when we ate…

As nonsensical as the Twin Cities area is in terms of roads, I think Louisville is worse. It's barely-controlled chaos in some places. Oh well, that may have something to do with the fact that Louisville has probably been settled for considerably longer. Roadways around here are often named after people, which I find to be even more confusing than numbers. Every once in a while, the names are more purposeful—the road to Taylorsville is coincidentally named Taylorsville Road, for instance, but that seems to be the exception to the rule. I suppose things are the same in the Cities, though I-494 isn't named after anyone as far as I know.

Work to do…

Posted by mike at 03:26 PM Central | Car , Family , Kentucky 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

First Come, First Serve

My grandmother brought up the story that my grandpa invented a machine to grade test papers, basically what is used today to grade SATs and whatever. It isn't actually the precursor to anything that exists today—he invented it with a college friend, but I guess they never patented it. IBM came out with something more modern years later. It wasn't brought up today, but I think my grandfather's machine used electrical contacts that rubbed the sheet of paper, and would carry a current when it passed over a pencil mark (since graphite is somewhat conductive). I think current machines tend to be optical, but I don't know.

Heh. After coming back from Wal-Mart earlier, I was thinking, “You haven't been to Wal-Mart until you've been to Wal-Mart in the South.” Of course, Kentucky is really more of a border state than anything else. Natives usually have a bit of a twang, but it's nothing too intense. Still, the screaming mothers at the store today really gave it that certain feeling. My dad and I usually don't patronize Wal-Mart, but there didn't seem to be many other options in the area.

I watched a little TV yesterday and today. Yesterday, we mostly just saw the Daytona 500. We missed Bush starting the race. That's so strange. I guess he took a lap around the track in the presidential motorcade. Sheesh. Well, I suppose it's really not hugely worse than previous presidents throwing out the first pitch at baseball games, though I guess it was considered by some to be a kickoff of campaign activities—and it took place in Florida.

So, for that reason I thought it was funny that today is Presidents Day—Bush had his day yesterday at the racetrack :-p

I've been a little concerned that I'm down here among Southern Baptists while the gay marriage debate is playing out in California. Well. I guess that's a good reason for me to not worry about it. California's still a long way away. It hasn't been brought up yet, so we'll see if that holds.

Posted by mike at 04:32 PM Central | Family , Hardware , Kentucky 2004 , Politics , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 17, 2004

Just the Fax Ma'am

Today has been even more laid-back. I suppose this is just about as low as I want to go in the activity department. At about this point, I have a tendency to just get tired out by doing nothing for too long and begin a downward spiral. So, I've been reading Catch Me If You Can, the book upon which the movie is based, not the other way around. I started in on it the other day, reading in bursts of a chapter or two when I get a chance. Since my grandparents have lost a fair amount of mobility over the years, my bed area downstairs hasn't seen much foot traffic except for my dad going in and out of his room from time to time. I've mostly just been sitting in one of the easy chairs with my headphones
on as I listen to the radio or a CD and read the book.

I'm kind of surprised by the radio stations around here. There doesn't seem to be a huge number of country staitons around. I guess it seems to be about the same ratio as I find in Minnesota. Still, the air is choked with various rock variants. Some are more geared toward the top-40s end, though most try to be fairly heavy rock or are some variation on classic rock or oldies. I'm appreciating the fact that the playlists are different than those in the Cities. Not quite as much overplaying of John Mayer Jack Johnson (or is that John Jackson? Reminds me of a Futurama episode or two ;-) Anyway, I've just gotten extremely annoyed by the Minnesota stations over the past several months since they beat their overly-short playlists into the ground.

A better strategy than restricting the playlist to 50 songs is to expand it. A lot. I need variety, dammit! It might be good to have scheduled times where certain genres are emphasized, though I'd hate to see certain songs essentially banned from daylight hours or whatever. Still, most stations make massive train wrecks most of the time when transitioning between songs. If scheduling is only going to happen on computers, then it's best to describe the songs in some way to prevent the new song from totally messing up the flow. Some simple beat and note (frequency) matching would be helpful.

WLRS 105.1 (“The Walrus” :-p) is now playing a new song I just heard on that Danville station the other night. Maybe we were all just going through a periodic drought period for new music. I suppose the aural pushers might take a break around Christmas. It would be nice to have some more stuff show up now. Ah. Then the segue to an aincent Red Hot Chili Peppers tune… Bleh.

Anyway, I'd read Catch Me If You Can. I guess I was surprised by the libidinous root causes of that whole escapade. That seemed to get glossed over from what I remember of the movie, though maybe I just try to avoid thinking about things like that. Reading the book yesterday definitely influenced my dreams last night. My mind gave me images I haven't had in a long while. They involved a girl I knew back in High School, though one I generally hadn't thought of back then. Still, I don't think I'd take this as a sign…she attended seminary after graduating from Byron :-p

Still, the book definitely reminds me that I'm not taking the appropriate chances to enjoy my life properly these days. Of course, this is another thing that seems to run in the family. Out of my dad and his brothers, only my father ever married. Both of his brothers (one older and one younger) are long-time bachelors.

My grandmother can't stop commenting on how she never knew that the younger brother, Joe, could cook. He's done a good job of preparing meals for us—often including a token amount of bacon ;-) Green beans, baked sweet potatoes, fried potatoes with vegetables, roast beef, and so on. Of course, it's not all exactly from scratch, but he's done a lot.

I should probably go see if I can help out with any of the repair/upgrade projects that are going on in the house. Dad was still slowly proceeding with installing new phone/fax lines upstairs so my grandfather could move his office up there if he wanted. His office is currently downstairs, though his space down there is much bigger than the room that he might move into later.

Posted by mike at 06:49 PM Central | Books , Family , Food , Kentucky 2004 , Music , School | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Baptist Conventions

I should mention that my great aunt Nettie Lee visited today. She's 92 (or 93… hard to keep track of these things) and still drives everywhere. She seemed to be moving more slowly than the last time I saw her, but I think that must have been almost ten years ago now. She brought some chili that she'd made, as well as a Sara Lee pie she'd picked up somewhere.

My grandmother keeps getting visitors and phone calls, though I suppose they're mostly people from her church that are kind of fulfilling their duty to the congregation. They seem to enjoy visiting, though, and my grandmother definitely appreciates having different people come by to talk.

Posted by mike at 09:35 PM Central | Family , Food , Kentucky 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2004

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Another day, another (not) dollar. I guess I spent most of the day reading. I picked up Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond several months ago, but never managed to get into it. I guess the introductory bits by David Diamond had turned me off, plus there was still some latent over-enthusiasm for the stock market and the represented businesses which had hit their high shortly before the book was finalized and sent to the printers. Still, it's a good book, and I'd recommend it to lots of people. Linus is definitely an entertaining character.

Not a whole lot was going on today in Kentucky, though my dad and I installed another handhold—this time in the master bathroom. I hadn't snuck into my grandparents' bedroom yet, so I didn't even know it was there. Anyway, this installation pretty much went off without a hitch—mostly since we'd done it twice before.

Like I said, I spent most of the day reading, though I guess I did more of it without my CD player upstairs rather than listening to the radio or CD with my earmuff headphones downstairs. My grandfather had gone into town to visit his broker and get a haircut, my dad was out at the hardware store, and my uncle Joe was still trekking back from Illinois where he'd spent the night (presumably working on something). I was upstairs to keep an eye or an ear or something on grandma, just in case she needed something. Mostly, I just sat in the other room and quietly read, since I was more in the mood to read rather than listen to her repeat her stories over and over.

I went for a walk in the afternoon when a physical therapist showed up to help my grandmother exercise a bit. I took a walk around the “block” (hard to call it a block, since it's one of those annoying suburban squiggle roads that loops back on itself) and visited the local convenience store for the hell of it. Man, I really need to get out and walk more often. One of my feet started hurting a little after a few hours, though I'm sure it won't bother me too much.

My dad and I will probably go into town tomorrow. Maybe we'll try to find an Internet café or something, but I'd still rather not put my computer on an insecure network. Maybe I should try to set up an IPSec gateway on my home firewall eventually. That would give me a minimal security net, though it would probably be impossible to get the different computers working with the same version. Plus, I'd have to recompile the kernel on that old box somehow, and I'd hate to disturb its uptime ;-)

Well, my uncle has laid down on the couch in the adjoining room, so I'd better stop typing so I can avoid keeping him awake…

Posted by mike at 08:30 PM Central | Books , Family , Hardware , Internet , Kentucky 2004 , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 19, 2004

These Waves

Today turned out to be a rather boring day as well. I'll be ready to head home on Saturday. My grandparents have made it difficult for me to watch any TV shows that I like, not that I necessarily like what I usually watch (and what I usually watch is recorded automatically by my computer these days, so I don't even know when it's on anymore). My grandma and grandpa generally restrict themselves to Fox News Channel. Scary, I know. I tried to start watching some stuff on the History Channel. The show that was on was about prisons, not necessarily the most enjoyable thing to learn about, but interesting nonetheless. I think that my dad, grandfather, and I were enjoying it well enough, but then my grandmother came in and started complaining about it before too long. Oh well, I'll be back to my own cable system soon enough. I just wish I got TechTV and one or two other things in place of all those sports channels I never watch.

Anyway, I've kind of been thinking about how a person or group might go about running a new radio station that plays stuff people actually like. Of course, it's impossible in more ways than one. Even if I somehow made a radio station myself, I'd probably end up scheduling things I don't like because I know other people like them. Still, I keep thinking about it, and it'll probably be on my mind until I get back to Minneapolis. I certainly hope the Cities stations will have turned over a new leaf by the time I get to my apartment.

If I somehow got control of a radio station of my own, I wish I could just start spinning random CDs that I own, but my collection is still relatively small, and a lot of the tracks I own are pretty much crap. Heck, most of them probably are. The good news is that there is usually one or two good tracks to make up for the rest, though sometimes I end up with something that I just consider to be a dud later. One thing I hate about my music collection is that I somehow spring for the slower, more mellow music, when I really would rather get pepped up by some faster beats and generally happier music.

So, I'd rather have control of a station that mostly played up-tempo music, probably usually stuff that you can dance to—or at least something that will get your feet tapping. I think I'd basically say, “we'll play anything except country, rap, classical, some ethnic music, and maybe a few others.” Which leaves all sorts of good music. That's really all I want—good music. Heck, even for the bits we wouldn't play, it might be nice to have hours where the music was influenced by another genre of music that generally doesn't get on the air (blues-influenced, jazz-infused, etc.). *shrug* Maybe it'd be a sucky idea. I guess in some ways, it sounds like how you'd define “college radio station.” However, I think the station would still have pretty heavy influences from popular music, rather than the fairly random stuff you get on college radio. The only thing I really want is to get away from playing only the top-40 hits of the past. Getting into the lesser-played tracks by new and old artists would be much more enjoyable.

It would be nice to alternate a bit between new and old music, showing musical influences along the way. That would be an especially nice thing to do during certain hours. Heck, if the station got to be good enough to be noticed by musicians themselves, it would be awesome to do interview sessions with the artists where they sit down and talk about the music that influenced them, letting it play and talking about it in-between tracks.

I also thought it would be great to have some time on certain weeknights (or, more likely, the weekend) when local and visiting DJs come in to spin some dance music. I figure maybe a good DJ could come in at least once a week, though the station could still have an hour or two of dance/electronic/ambient music each night or every other night.

Another time slot could be dedicated to “Jam Sessions” where jazz-style music could be played by live bands or random recordings (this would also be a good time to schedule a lot of music by Phish and other similar groups). An evening hour might be dedicated to stress relief by playing some fairly angst-ridden music for much of the hour, with a transition out to something more upbeat toward the end of the session.

Part of the idea behind the station would be a good system for selecting what music to play. Being a computer geek, I figure this would probably revolve around some specialized software for selecting appropriate tracks from a music database. I figure part of the DJs' jobs would be to go through the music library, cataloguing the music, assigning the various genres, influences, artists, etc. that are represented by the songs. Information like that as well as descriptions of the intro/exit of each song, such as the beats per minute and what instruments are used (maybe even the pitch). Maybe it's an impossibly high standard to reach, but the Cities stations seem to be bordering impossibly low standards at the
moment.

Since I'm a Linux geek, and since I just read Linus Torvalds' book, I figure it would be good to have a fairly “open” radio station. At the very least, I would want to have an online database available for listeners to look up popular songs, and what was playing at a particular moment on the radio. It might be a good idea to open-source the software used for cataloguing music—maybe even the database itself. A lot of people would think it's crazy, I guess.

Also, it would be beneficial to have listener input on how to make the station more enjoyable for them. I already know that people hate ads. I personally dislike a lot of the DJs out there—they talk too much, or at least mention things I could care less about. I'd rather have the DJs merely mention who just played (and the song/album titles) and then mention who's coming up, instead of talking about boring crap. I want the station to be about the music.

Anyway, it's only an idea. I'm sure it'll never get past that stage. Something that would be nice to have, but will never happen.

Posted by mike at 08:01 PM Central | Family , Kentucky 2004 , Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 20, 2004

The Mormon in Me

Today, I guess we spent more time looking over the history of my father's side of the family. There are a lot more relatives than I really ever thought of. My grandmother grew up in Mississippi, I guess. A county neighboring Lincoln county, I believe (the county name must come from an American Indian word, so I can't remember it). Anyway, there was a school/university there that she attended. I guess I don't really know why my grandmother left Mississippi, though. Maybe my grandfather had gone down there for a time or something.

Anyway, her last name was originally Guynes (pronounced “gwines”), and the name can be traced back a while. The name was originally adapted from a French name, apparently. Her grandfather (Henry Hill Guynes, Jr., I think) served in the Civil War (for the South). He'd been in several battles, from what I understand, but ended up being captured in the Battle of Vicksburg, and was held prisoner until the war ended. It sounds like he walked all the way back, though his shoes were chewed up long before then and he showed up at home barefoot.

Of course, this leads my grandmother to say something along the lines of, “and that's how bad those Yankees were when they held prisoners,” though if memory serves, I seem to recall the South being much worse about prisoner welfare than the North. As with any war, I'm sure bad stuff happened on both sides…

I believe that she came from the Guynes and Biggs families (maybe the Love family), and my grandfather came from the Hicks and Yenowine families. My dad has done some of the genealogy of the whole thing, of course, so I can just ask him at some point, though certain parts are missing. We went through some of the family photos that are kept here, so I got to see some of the faces. Still, I never knew them really…

My grandmother is always proud to mention her father, who had lost his left arm when he was fairly young. Not the whole arm, but there was only a stub below his elbow. Apparently he could climb trees without a second thought, and he was a good carpenter (even metalworker, maybe) with just the one hand. He'd invented a utensil that acted as a combination knife and fork. One side had a heavier curved edge used for cutting, though it still had the tines of a fork. Need to get me one of those (I use my fork for cutting all the time! ;-)

While my grandmother's side of the family is mostly farther south, I guess my grandfather's side has been in this area for a long time. There's a map in the den that shows some of the area around Louisville (though not this far out in the country). The funny thing about the map is that it shows the region of Jeffersontown by mapping out some of the roads, but it mostly has little squares showing where each family lived! I don't think I've ever seen anyone make a map that way. Anyway, it explains some of the landmark names around here. There's a Kennedy school, but it's not named after the former president—it's named for the guy that lived across the street! I guess there's a Brown's Lane (or something similar) in town, named for the Brown family (families?) that lived in that area. I think that's really funny in a way…

Anyway, my family history in the U.S. is a little more interesting than I had thought. I just never heard a whole lot about it for one reason or another. I suppose I still don't even know a whole lot about my mother's side of the family either—it just garners a bit more interest since they came over to this country much more recently. Plus, that makes me 50% Norwegian with the other 50% divided up into all sorts of stuff… Much easier to deal with that side in some ways.

I think I'm going to try to sneak into the TV room around 7:00 so I can watch last night's episode of The Daily Show. Well, it'll probably be a repeat anyway. It would be nice to see something funny on the TV for once this week. I haven't had much fun in front of the tube down here.

Posted by mike at 04:29 PM Central | Family , Kentucky 2004 , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 22, 2004

Beyond Blunderdome

Blech, I'm sleepy. My sleep schedule is somewhat off since I ended up sleeping more with no Internet and restricted TV. Now I'm tired since I was in the next timezone, I guess. Oh well, I'll be back to what passes for normal in no time.

I think that at about 9:00 PM on the Friday before I left, I realized that I should probably try to call Erik and hang out with him more often. In theory, he's helping with teaching at the school right next to my apartment, so it wouldn't be hard to visit with him if he has an open schedule afterward… I suppose my desire to get to know some girls may have led me to distance myself from my male friends. I needed time to recover from being around guys all of the time in my CSci classes, I guess. Still, I'd want to spend time with some girls if the opportunity arose, but that's not going to happen if I never hang out with anybody…

I was guilted into going to church this morning in Rochester. It would have been nice to lounge around after driving all day yesterday, but no… I was worried that one of the pastors would mention Mel Gibson's movie, and one of them did. I was seconds away from getting up from my pew and leaving the sanctuary, but he managed to stop talking about it before that happened. It would have turned into a mess if I had left—my parents were on my left, and my brother and one of the church's pastors was on the right. Neither direction was a good option. Oh well, the guy didn't outright say, “you should go see this movie,” he just said something like “it sounds like this is an accurate portrayal of what [is believed to have] happened.” Still, I wish he'd actually see the movie before promoting it in any way.

But, I'm in Minneapolis now. Brought my brother up with me, since he'd visited home over the weekend. There was a little tension since we might have had to deal with bad weather, but things cleared up by the time we left (still wet on the road in some places, but not too bad).

Now I see that The Daily Show was all repeats this last week, so I didn't miss anything there. I'll have to go through the other shows my computer recorded and see if anything interesting showed up over the week (there appears to be a good Frontline episode).

Oh yeah—I'm glad Ralph Nader decided to run again. I wasn't sure if I wanted him there or not, but the Democratic nomination race is kicking out the candidates I like (er, the main candidate I liked, at least). By the way, the “Nader is a spoiler” argument doesn't carry any weight with me. In Florida in 2000, Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes. The 10th-place finisher, James Harris of the Socialist Workers Party, had 558 votes, so that theoretically makes about eight people possibly responsible if you want to play the candidate blame game. In truth, the voting in Florida was just fubar in general (with tens of thousands of ballots considered “spoiled”), so you can't blame any of them.

Posted by mike at 10:23 PM Central | Daily Show , Decision 2000 , Decision 2004 , Erik , Family , Movies , Music , Ralph Nader , School , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 21, 2004

The Future Is Big, and Sometimes Small

My brother came back up to school today along with my dad. After they had dropped my brother's stuff off in his dorm room, we all got lunch at White Castle (and old favorite of Dad's), and then went to the auto show. Quite a lot of stuff there, mostly big stuff (at least when you look at the Big 3).

My main intention of going to the auto show (and I've been thinking about it for several months) was to check out the VW Golf, since I'd been thinking about purchasing the TDI version. The reason for TDI is that it's a fuel-efficient car, one of the best fuel economies for a non-hybrid vehicle. Still, it's a diesel, so that could make finding qualified maintenance people difficult. On the upside, it's a turbocharged direct-injection diesel (what the TDI stands for), which is a better type of engine than the old clickety-clackety diesels of the past.

Anyway, I had been impressed with the interior styling of the VW Beetle, so I figured I'd like the inside of the other VWs. However, my basic opinion is that the interiors are somewhat poor. So, I might go for a different type of car once I actually get money. Still, I'd like to try one on the road, just to see what it feels like. Er, if I have enough money when it comes time to buy a car. I might just have to swallow my pride and get a used car.

I was scarily impressed by a Kia I sat in. I think I'd have to avoid that brand, though. Losing your own job to someplace in southeast Asia has that sort of an effect on people.

There was a big crowd around the one Toyota Prius that was open for people to sit in. There were four sitting out in one of the entranceways, but they were all locked (they were there to say that the Prius was the “official car of the 2004 auto show” or whatever). The Mini Cooper was also a popular destination, though I'm sure most people were still spending the vast majority of their time looking at other cars.

We also looked at the Honda Civic Hybrid a little. But heck, what can you say about that? It's almost the same as a regular Civic except for the powerplant under the hood and the battery packs under the rear seat.

Hmm. Well, nothing else really jumps into my mind at the moment. It was interesting to see some of the new cars and the few concept vehicles that were there, and it was fun to sit in those cars that you could never afford, but there's only so much you can experience while in the middle of a convention center floor.

Anyway, I'm tired now. I wonder if The Simpsons is on tonight.

Posted by mike at 06:28 PM Central | Car , Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2004

Branch Prediction

Well, I can't say that my car is the neatest thing since sliced bread, but at least I still barely break the $20 mark when filling up the tank. I guess if I was driving on fumes, it might hit $25, but I usually don't let it get that low. The tank is only 11 or 12 gallons, but it gets 30 mpg or so to compensate. Not bad for an '88. Of course, I pay for that in the fact that I can't pass worth shit, but hey ;-)

Anyway, I just found out today on Car Talk that GM's Chevy Silverado (aka GMC Sierra) hybrid gets really poor mileage, even considering the fact that its conventional counterpart doesn't do very well either. It only gets 16 mpg city/19 mpg highway in the 4WD version. That's pretty sad, only improving things by one or two miles per gallon. Even on a percentage basis, it's a poor improvement for a hybrid—you get a bigger difference in switching fuel or getting the 2WD version instead. I guess GM is too enamored with hydrogen power to play with hybrid technology very much. Oh well, I guess you can use the standard phrases: “It's better than nothing” and “They need to start somewhere.”

Ford's Escape hybrid has been on the drawing boards for a while, and it looks like that's going to be significantly better. The standard vehicle gets 20 mpg or so, and the hybrid versions will bring it up to 35 to 40 mpg. Definitely not bad, though Ford hasn't said what the cost is yet, I guess.

Today was Mother's Day, of course. I got Bowfinger for my mom, since she liked that movie (she's a fan of Steve Martin who hasn't given up on him yet, I guess ;-)

Anyway, we all went out to get a snack at Ben & Jerry's when my parents came up this afternoon. Took some time to find a parking spot, and we ended up just stopping in the Radisson ramp. My brother said that the Oak Street ramp was closed for construction—right on finals week, no less. Maybe he was misinformed, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised if the U decided that finals was the best time to start construction work.

My mom dragged us to Walter Library, where she'd heard that the ceiling was nice, and she figured it might provide good inspiration for quilts. In fact, I bet she's seen the ceiling before, back when I was touring campus and before the guts of the building got ripped out. Anyway, we got a few pictures of the ceiling. We'll see if anything comes of that.

We went out to Como Park, which was just about as busy as I expected it to be. It wasn't totally impossible to find a spot, but it was still pretty busy and took us several minutes. We saw the carousel, toured the conservatory, and then left before the weather started to roll in. The sirens were just starting to go off in Hennepin County as we got to my place, so we tried to check out what the weather people on TV were saying. It still seemed like a lot of chatter with little real useful information.

Anyway, we stayed at my place until the tornado warning expired. A little bit of stuff got blown around, plus a medium-sized chunk of tree across the street came down. We left to get over to Panera, and as we drove past the tree branches, my brother and I dragged them to the side of the road. We had some food, and then my parents headed out to drop my brother back at his dorm room.

So, a fairly typical family interaction. They had to deal with some moderately heavy weather as the went back home, but I guess it only delayed them a few minutes.

Posted by mike at 09:59 PM Central | Car , Family , Food , TV , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 14, 2004

Not Sure He Would Have Cared for Trainspotting

I've previously written a little bit about my great-grandfather Ingebrigt Teigland. There's a little more information showing up on the 'Net now, though I guess more about his ship than him. He captained the D/S Cresco, which escaped Norway in April 1940 just before the Germans invaded. It arrived in Methil, Scotland on April 7th. This page says:

Had a few trips across the Atlantic, but was mostly in service on the coast of England and Scotland. Took part in Operation Overlord (Normandie) as ammunition and supply ship, arriving June 9-1944, departing June 17 to pick up another cargo.
However, something doesn't quite mesh, since my great-grandfather was taken prisoner in southeast Asia in late 1941. Either the ship went there and the person putting together those pages hasn't found that yet, or he was on another ship after escaping to Scotland.

At any rate, it's doubtful that he had anything to do with the Normandy invasion. Actually, the ship was just on the supply lines anyway, since D-Day was June 6th. Still interesting, I guess.

I need to learn more about this Nortraship story.

Posted by mike at 01:23 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 17, 2004

Pannekoeken!

Well, what a shiny, happy, sunny day (not). Yesterday was better, at least in the morning. I decided to try driving along the Grand Rounds, though the actual roadway isn't all that well-marked. I also didn't realize that the parkway (for cars) doesn't form a complete loop. Apparently there's a fairly well-defined path for bikes, but not cars. Oh well.

After a few false starts, I headed south from the dowtown area along the path, but I got sidetracked after just a few miles because of the AIDS walk that was going on. I had to detour, sometimes going around in circles and generally having to deal with traffic that I didn't want to. I finally got back on the right path around Minnehaha Park and kept going. I drove by the lakes, though almost got stuck going in circles around Lake of the Isles. Once I got going again, I found that hardly anybody cares about Cedar Lake, and I got a bit of a reprieve from the heavy traffic around all the other lakes.

I finally got lost again when I came across I-94 and a train going by. I'm not exactly sure where I was supposed to turn, but I suppose I would have gotten really confused if I got to the end of the parkway.

Anyway, I ended up driving south on Lyndale, then had to detour again because police had blocked off the roads near the flower shop where a guy got shot. I couldn't tell what was going on at all as I drove past, but I saw a news report later that explained what happened.

Hmm. Time to take a shower, and then I need to run some errands. I need to drop off some more applicant action forms at the U, get change for and then do my laundry, buy some food/beverages for when my brother visits tomorrow, and then probably some cleaning and a few other things.

Posted by mike at 09:48 AM Central | Car , Family , Weather , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 19, 2004

!pu dekcuf sreenigne tfosorciM

My brother came up to Minneapolis yesterday so that he could interview for a job and check out a place to rent. The interview seems to have pretty much been a bust—he just filled out forms, whatever that means. I'm not sure what he thought of the place to live. It has pluses and minuses…

My brother went back home today and brought the gift I got for my dad's birthday, which was today. I bought him the third volume of Futurama, so I guess I'll have to go down and visit soon, eh? ;-)

I've been watching entirely too much PBS lately, staying glued to whatever television-receiving device I have available in the evenings. I thought Colonial House has been good—the show will finish up next week on Monday and Tuesday. Tonight, I watched Scientific American Frontiers where they talked about the vaunted hydrogen car. Not quite the type of show I would have done, but it showed some interesting things nonetheless. I also watched Secrets of the Dead tonight, which mostly just rehashed D-Day in 1944 for the billionth time, but explained some of the technology that was used.

I'm slowly becoming aware that a lot of the Americans who were involved in the invasion did some stupid things during that period. Omaha beach, which ended up seeing the highest casualties in the initial invasion, should have had much more tank support than it did, but the tanks (which were supposed to float on their own) were let out too early, especially considering the heavy seas. 26 were lost in a row. I think only about a half-dozen made it, but I don't think they gave good numbers in the show tonight. Also, there were some ships off the coast that were supposed to fire rockets onto the beach to create instant foxholes for the invading troops to hide out in as they crept up on the Germans, but they also jumped the gun, and most of the rockets ended up uselessly falling into the water a quarter mile off the shore.

The History Channel also did some stuff months ago on the weird technology used on D-Day and afterward, talking about the instant harbors that were created. The Americans just quickly lashed them together without properly linking everything together, while the Brits took the time to do it right. As a result, the American harbor broke into pieces after a week or so, while the British port stayed in full working order.

Yeah, we've been messing shit up for a long time. I guess it just has evened out in the past because a lot of Americans have done enough smart things, but I think that's been falling off lately.

Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that SciAm used the phrase “And with gasoline still under $2 a gallon…” at one point. Heh. Guess they finished that a little while ago, but I can't blame them, really…

Posted by mike at 10:33 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 05, 2004

Another One Bites the Dust.

I signed up for Netflix on Wednesday. They shipped some DVDs on Thursday, which I got yesterday. I watched The Office yesterday, but wasn't very impressed by it. It was more ouch funny than ha-ha funny. I prefer ha-ha funny, thank you. Today I watched Spirited Away, but I think my lack of interest in the fantasy side of sci-fi/fantasy caused contributed to my lack of any real opinion on it. Kind of unfortunate.

I should probably recommend Netflix to my parents since they now have a fairly nice TV but no cable (not that they'd necessarily like cable anyway, I think). When nothing is on, they could just pop in a DVD instead. Oh well, maybe the lack of anything interesting on the tube contributes to them actually getting things done.

I'm in danger of overflowing the queue fairly soon, though topping it off would probably involve TV shows more than anything else. They're still a relatively sparse thing on my list, but I suppose more might get added in later.

We'll see how the three-at-a-time thing goes for me. I have a suspicion that this arrangement could leave me in a lurch on weekend. Netflix doesn't send out new discs on Saturday, Sunday, or postal holidays, so there will probably be a few Sundays and Mondays when I get stuck with nothing, but it's hard to say how quickly I'll go through new discs. This is particularly true since turnaround time also has to be factored in, and I don't know how that works yet.

If they send out a new disc on the same day they receive a returned one, if I send a disc in on Friday, I probably wouldn't get anything until Tuesday at least (fortunately Minneapolis has overnight shipping). If it takes a day for turnaround, it could be Wednesday. Of course, things get worse if the local shipping center doesn't have a movie. My parents are probably in an overnight shipping region, but it could be two nights for them.

Anyway, I might personally have to go up to the five-at-a-time system, but I doubt I'd ever need the eight-at-a-time subscription. I was thinking that my parents might prefer the four-movie-a-month subscription, but that might not quite be enough.

Well, in other news, my building is now owned by a new company. I have to remember to write my checks to them instead this coming month. I also don't know if the arrangement where I deduct my month's cable bill from rent (well, the portion paying for TV, not Internet) is still in force or not. It would suck if that went away.

Hmm. Time to skim the U's job website yet again. This job search is getting totally ridiculous.

Posted by mike at 07:32 PM Central | Abode , Family , Internet , Movies , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 09, 2004

Washin, Washout

Well, on Sunday I headed home for a few days since a friend was in town. We managed to get together on Monday and Tuesday, which is better than the luck we'd been having lately. Anyway, I'm back in the Cities now, and my computer managed to shutdown gracefully in the power outage (grr!)

Anyway, I watched Bowfinger while waiting for my parents to show up during the day on Monday. I hung out with my friend in the evening after he'd come down from Duluth. On Tuesday, I guess I woke him up. Oh well, I kind of figured he'd sleep in longer than he expected to. Anyway, we went to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, then I gave him a short tour of the new “golf community” in town.

Yesterday evening, I hung out with another friend in the area, though this mostly consisted of me standing around nodding as other people talked. This particular friend is mechanically inclined, so he was replacing part of the front wheel on his car. I held the flashlight for a while, which sucked because it made me a good target for mosquitos. Sucky. I have something like 13 bites on my right arm, which I used to hold the flashlight.

Anyway, I was mostly lazy today, watched some Futurama, had supper with my parents in town, then headed back up to Minneapolis. Some Netflix DVDs were waiting for me, so I popped in Buffalo '66. Woo! Christina Ricci! I'm kind of mixed on the movie itself. Definitely different from your usual movie fare, though I guess it still wasn't really all that far off from some regular plot lines. Probably a worthwhile bit of time spent if you like Christina Ricci at all.

Bowfinger (which I watched on a DVD I'd bought my mom for Mother's Day) was much better than I had expected and Harry Potter was pretty good too, though it could have used a fair amount of tweaking.

There was a lot of rain today at my parents' place. Not as bad as some parts of Minnesota, though. Fortunately, things cleared up while I drove back to my apartment.

Posted by mike at 11:42 PM Central | Brian D , Family , Movies , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2004

What Would Dan Quayle Say About That?

Not a whole lot has been happening, mostly just watching TV and movies, and applying for jobs. Today I had to go pick up Erik at the airport, after he came back from an interview in Washington state. Sarah IMed me around 10:30 or 11:00, but the only info she had was the time he expected to be ready to be picked up (she couldn't do it because she was doing CPR training). He didn't respond to any phone calls, so he must have been in the air already by that time.

Well, I got down there alright, but it turned out that I was at the wrong terminal. He must have flown Sun Country or something, since he had to be picked up at the Humphrey Terminal rather than the Lindbergh Terminal. Oops. So, I swung through Lindbergh one more time, since I wasn't sure if there was a quick exit from there down to Humphrey (there may have been, but I don't know where it would have been). So, I got back on the highway and got off at the right exit, but I've never driven to Humphrey before, and I've only ever been there about three times in my whole life—sometimes late at night, so I had few spatial references. Anyway, I ended up messing up my maneuvers a few times just because I was anticipating having to do things before I really had to. Then, I accidentally took a turn toward Lindbergh again. No! I hate it when I'm forced to drive like I don't know where I'm going.

Anyway, I finally made it there, and it probably would have been a lot easier if I just hadn't tried so hard to be ready for the unexpected. Then, there was the escapade of getting back to Erik's place. Well, Sarah called asking for an update just a few minutes after we left the airport, and then I missed the turn I wanted to take just as I picked up the call (See!? Driving and cell phones don't mix—except when you're trying to get pic up someone who is at the wrong terminal ;-)

Well, I'm not even sure if you can get from northbound I-35E to westbound I-94 anyway. We ended up taking U.S. 52, since I know that road, but we had to wait as traffic was backed up at the point where that road essentially ends to become surface streets. Things went okay on 94, but I got off on 280 and then improperly took the Energy Park Drive exit. D'oh. So, back to Minneapolis and up to Como (which we wouldn't have had to do, if the traffic hadn't been so heavy on that road too). Oh well, I guess I gave Erik the grand tour, which will be good for posterity, just in case he gets that job in Washington.

I went out for an evening walk today around the St. Anthony Falls trail loop and Nicollet Island. It was really nice until the mosquitos started biting a bit, but they didn't show up much until I was about ready to be done anyway.

The walk was made a lot more enjoyable by the fact that I've indulged in watching some DVDs starring my favorite female celebrity. I've written before about how just seeing or hearing someone I find attractive can really calm me down and make me happier. I think I really needed that, at least now that I think about how low I was feeling last weekend. Still, it is and will remain as one of those intangible things, since this is a person I'll never meet.

She was in the war movie We Were Soldiers a little bit. Probably not enough time to justify if it was a crappy movie, but I thought it was good, even though there was no single concise message it tried to portray. It's mostly just a movie about a battle plus a little bit about the families the soldiers left behind. It's a good movie if you just want to see how things happened, but not so good if you want a movie that answers the “why”s of war.

Today, Netflix delivered the first disc of the TV show my favorite celebrity was on. I'd actually added this to my queue and pushed it near the top of the list over the weekend when I was feeling down, since I knew it would help in a weird way. It's emotionally wrenching and draining sometimes, but it's also good since it shows that at least someone else in TV land understands that good, honest, yet quiet people like myself actually exist. Well, not that I'd ever be picked out of a lineup for my good looks or anything…

Unfortunately, there are some semi-technical issues with the DVDs, so I guess I'm glad I didn't follow the impulse I had over the weekend to just go out and buy the first season or two. Some of the music was changed (though I might not notice—it may have been changed already in reruns, which is where I first watched the show) and the video was not telecined properly for DVD distribution to make most video frame progressive-scan. That's kind of dumb, since a telecined TV show can take up significantly less space on the disc, either allowing a higher per-frame bitrate, or more video on each disc. Oh well, fortunately my DVD playing software has a video filter that will clean it up for me and give me nice non-interlaced output.

Hmm. I guess I may as well mention that, while I was walking around this evening, the voice of Ira Glass of This American Life popped into my head. A second later I thought, “You know, I bet my favorite celebrity would like that radio show.” So, I got home and was randomly reading articles about said person, and found out that she indeed listens to the show. I've decided that I won't make anything of it other than say, “Heh. That's funny,” since, well, millions of people like that show.

Oh, also, my brother is living in a place owned by someone Erik knows (and I suspect that other people I know may also know her). On our screwed up drive around town, I pointed out the road my brother lives on, and Erik said that his friend Vanessa owned a place there. I think I may have met her way in the past too, but I can't really remember. She seemed familiar when we met.

Posted by mike at 11:24 PM Central | Car , Erik , Family , Movies , Sarah , TV , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 01, 2004

Walking on Broken Glass

Blech. The humidity has hit today, though I suppose it could be worse. There's still reasonable visibility around here, but things get hazy. I know there have been times in the past when I've looked up at the sky and just seen gray. No real distinct clouds or anything, just gray. I suppose that was at a strange time of day, though.

It might be time to turn on the A/C.

My job is slowly getting better, I think. I just came on and got thrown into an issue I really didn't want to deal with. Part of the problem was that it involved Windows. That project has been deferred for now.

I've ridden on the train a few more times. It's still pretty fun—I hope my parents can come up and try it sometime soon, although it still seems pretty silly to just go a few miles on it. Hopefully the rest of the line will be open for Christmas shopping at the mall, but who knows.

My mom sometimes comes up to the mall to visit with one of her friends. They just make it a day of catching up while shopping. I figure I should suggest that the next time she does it (which I figure will probably be next year, but who knows), they should take the train up to Minnehaha Park to hang out for a while, and maybe visit a few more stops. But, it's hard to say. I can't remember if my mom's friend lives in the area or not, so it might not be so fun for her.

The dead trees around my apartment have been cut down now. I noticed it the other day because there was a lot more light than I expected when I walked in after a day of work. I hope they plant something new there. We'll see.

Posted by mike at 06:59 PM Central | Abode , Family , Weather , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2004

Stuffing

/me bows to the A/C

No really big plans this weekend, other than to find some way to get to Harriet Island tomorrow for Taste of Minnesota and the whole Grand Excursion thingamabob (I think that's where the steamboats are landing).

Next weekend, on the 11th, my parents are coming up to go to the 72nd annual Norway Day at Minnehaha Park. We'll probably take the light rail line down there. I'm not sure where we'll begin—it could potentially be a few minutes shorter to take the bus from my brother's place rather than coming from my neck of the woods.

Then again, things might be different if my parents want to start at the end of the line. I'll just have to remember to get them to sit or stand facing forward when we come back to downtown, since there's quite a nice view of the U of M campus, downtown, and other stuff from up on the bridge near the Lake Street station.

Supposedly David Sedaris will be on David Letterman tonight. I should try to catch that.

Hmm. Actually, I need to catch up on some NPR shows. Hmm. And I probably need to find out how to get the newer RealPlayer streams going if I want to listen to Car Talk. Stupid codecs.

Work is going, but it's not hugely wonderfully awesome or anything. I made a goof earlier in the day that may have messed some things up that I really didn't want to mess up. Also, I'm kind of wondering if I will be paid a bit more than when, which is not something I really appreciate.

For the moment, the plan is to move into the Inver Grove Heights office on Wednesday, since the long weekend has made it take a bit longer to get Internet access hooked up than it normally would. Supposedly, it'll be a full T1, a concept which is so much less exciting than it used to be way back when. How did I ever live at 1200 baud?

I'm getting really sick of bugs appearing in my apartment. Yet another downside to living on the -0.5th floor. I guess that's another reason why I'm going with the air conditioner.

Posted by mike at 07:10 PM Central | Abode , Family , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 11, 2004

Albino

Heh. I think I found the funniest blog title ever.

My parents came up for Norway Day today at Minnehaha Park. It turned out to go alright, although it still turned out to be less than I expected in some respects. I didn't have my hopes set all that high, so I wasn't too disappointed. I'm sure the morning weather threatened some people. Still, much of the problem was that we hadn't been able to figure out any schedule beforehand, so we missed out on a big luncheon they had. Well, we think. That may have just been a church thing.

Some people from one of the Lutheran churches in town were there. I guess they still do some services in Norwegian, if you can believe that.

My mom mentioned that she'll probably have my grandmother come down for the event next year, and then she can do the whole light-rail trek like my parents tried this time. I think she'd enjoy that.

Posted by mike at 07:13 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 13, 2004

NMRA

Found a big bug in software that I didn't write but am quickly becoming responsible for. It's really bad. I was packaging the bugfix earlier today and it will be out tomorrow, hopefully.

My programming skills are warming up, and I anticipate that I will raise hell on the stuff that has been shoved my way. I'll be stomping bugs, optimizing/cleaning code, but probably a lot of effort will go into mucking with add-on packages.

A code repository is Coming Soon™, but I think we need to get a CVS book first.

I went over to The Railroad Club at the U of MN to see their model layout. Actually, I thought I was going to a sit-down meeting or something, but they were working on their layout in a back room of the 1701 building. My brother was there, and showed me their DCC controller setup, which is kind of nifty, but there's only one mainline so far. They're currently working on a helix to allow trains to move up and down levels, though there's really only one level at the moment.

Someone mentioned something about Free-mo layouts, modular setups that apparently run on 16V AC current, rather than the more standard 12V DC that most layouts do. Apparently. I'm curious and would like to know more about that, but that will have to wait for now.

I'm tired.

Posted by mike at 11:59 PM Central | Family , Software , Work | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 31, 2004

It's How Baby Birds Would Get Their News

My mom came back from her trip to Norway today, and we all met her at the airport. My dad drove up from home, I drove over from Inver Grove Heights (IGH to locals, apparently), and my brother took the bus+train+bus option. My ride along I-494 was remarkably soothing. There was traffic, but I didn't have to think about it too much. I guess that's what you get with the wider spacing of entrances and exits there. I-94 between St. Paul and Minneapolis can be pretty stressful in comparison.

I guess we could have possibly met up with my grandmother and aunt (who also went on the trip) because they had to go through security again after they cleared customs anyway, but my mom didn't realize that too late (I can't blame her—I'm sure I wouldn't have thought about it either). That's definitely something that sucks about airport security these days.

Anyway, we just ended up going to a Burger King up on Hiawatha Avenue for supper. Now that I think of it, there must have been something closer on I-494, but I don't know the food options in that area of town very well. Unfortunately, getting back on Hiawatha Ave to go south and drop my brother and I off at the car again (we hadn't decided where to eat, so we just carpooled) was a bit of a challenge. But, we had a decent meal and were able to chat about my mom's travels.

She said that everyone over there hates Bush (heh, the president, not the band), but I'm not surprised.

I haven't grown tired of Frou Frou yet, which is awesome. I suppose someone will release one of the tracks on the radio in about a year, by which time I most certainly will be sick of it.

Most of the MP3s at work were encoded very poorly (well, for my tastes), so I kind of limit my playlist these days. Of course, poor qality isn't the only issue—my boss is definitely a practicing Baptist, and has a lot of sermons on there, plus some woship music. So, it seems kind of weird to see that sitting next to the Polyphonic Spree tracks I brought in (even though I have fairly mixed feelings about most of that group's music).

Posted by mike at 09:37 PM Central | Family , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 04, 2004

Congressional Medal of Idiot

On Wednesday, I went to the fair with my brother in the afternoon. I suppose neither of us are really party animals, so I guess it wasn't the most exciting thing ever. Had some decent food, though I was surprised that the chicken pita I ordered was cold, with a filling kind of along the lines of potato salad. Whatever.

We discovered that if you take the regular city bus to/from the fair, you get the shaft. It's much better to just drive to the U of M lot and take the shuttle from there. We had to wait ~15 minutes each way, and end up paying $3 in total for tickets ($1.25 there, $1.75 back because of rush hour—though we got $2 off on fair admission), but the shuttle was leaving at a rate of about once every 90 seconds. Other than that, the bus worked out pretty well, since he lives just off Como Ave.

So, I guess I'd propose that Metro Transit make the regular buses that go past the fair free too. Like that'll ever happen.

I don't remember Thursday at all, but, oh yeah, that's because I brought some work home. I shouldn't do that.

On Friday, I figured the most exciting thing I'd do would be to add some oil to my car. It's been low for a while, and the engine seems to have been running rough. It seemed a little happier with fresh oil added, but I should really get an oil change soon anyway. I should have just found a Jiffy Lube. I guess I want to wait until I get paid for the last two weeks.

My boss put in my time on Thursday. Fortunately, he changed the amount of time I had in the system up to 80 hours, but some of the other guys who don't have such consistent time sheets kind of got shafted for a day's work. I was thinking that I might get paid early, but with Labor Day on Monday, the money will probably still get transferred on Tuesday. I like that I get weekends off, but why can't other people work then? ;-)

Anyway, so after planning to do nothing other than possibly eat on Friday night, Adam called me and said he was moving out. So, I helped him move stuff over to Adam Nu's place, and then almost accidentally stole his laptop (or at least a black laptop-sized briefcase—I presume that was his laptop). It was in its black case, in the back of my car, in the dark, so it was kind of hard to see.

Kari is theoretically moving in with Erin once they find a place, so it's almost a wife-swapping type of deal. Er, or maybe nothing like that at all ;-)

Aha! I just found the little thing to tweak on my browser to get my fonts displaying correctly in Galeon again. For some reason, the mimimum font size was set to 4, but then there were two other settings that had been stuck at 14. That explains why I could never see any difference when people used <small></small> tags. Anyway, I just went to about:config (which works in any Mozilla/Gecko-based browser, I guess) and tweaked the setting. Conveniently, those two things were in bold, though I don't know why that would be…

Hmm. This might also let me finally fix the fact that pretty much all font sets except for Korean show up correctly (er, I think) in my browser. I just end up with these little rectangles with the Unicode character number in them instead of actual characters.

Posted by mike at 11:04 AM Central | Adam , Car , Erin , Family , Internet , Kari , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 09, 2004

Little Brown Jug

The power adapter for my laptop was one of the models listed by Dell for a recall, although the manufacturer was different, so I'm unaffected by it. I know my adapter gets kind of toasty from time to time (when charging rather than just supplying normal power), but it doesn't get to the point of melting.

My family is planning to head out to Stillwater to see some of the fall colors. Not quite peak yet, but it should still be fairly nice.

Posted by mike at 10:44 AM Central | Family , Hardware , Laptop | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 11, 2004

Rock with Me

I really, really, really wish that Best Buy would set up some sort of listening stations in their stores. I've passed over stuff by The Vines for months/years, but upon passing their new-ish disc under the scanner thingamabobby at Borders, I discovered that the first track there was one I'd been wanting to get my hands on ever since it was included in an iPod commercial. Too bad Borders wanted me to pay $18.99 for it…

My family and I went out to Stillwater on Saturday, just as planned. It was fairly nice except for the constant rumble of motorcycles and a few long waits for food. Once we took a few steps off the main road and sat down in a park area right next to the lift bridge, things quieted down a fair bit.

We got to see the bridge operator goof up and start lowering the bridge as a paddlewheeler was heading straight for it. Fortunately, the ship was still a decent distance and could reverse in time to stop, but I'm sure the radio conversation got a little hot-tempered.

After seeing the bridge come back down, we headed across to Wisconsin and went to my old workplace in Hudson. They seemed to be redoing the entrance. Probably adding an elevator or something, since there hadn't been one earlier. Hey! This Friday marks a year since I left that job.

Me standing by the sign for Adaptec's old Hudson Technology Center

Yeah, the sun was in my eyes…

Posted by mike at 08:16 PM Central | Family , Work | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

November 09, 2004

Don't You Know That the Boys From Brazil Are All Little Hitlers?

With my computer's hard drive failures, the foreshocks and aftershocks of the election, and my grandfather dying all in the last two weeks, I've been rather unsettled. Add to that the fact that I haven't been paid, and I'm a bit disgruntled.

At least I watched some comedy DVDs recently. Of course, one was a romantic comedy, so I have that resonating and making me feel lonely, which always happens when I watch those movies. Having someone around sure would have helped these last few weeks.

Posted by mike at 11:23 PM Central | Decision 2004 , Family , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 28, 2004

Monsieur Incroyable!

Well, I'm back from Byron. At least the weather didn't impede our travel at all. Since Brian was in class through Wednesday afternoon, we headed up on Thursday. U.S. 52 was pretty busy both going there and coming back, but the major construction seems to have finished, so we didn't get slowed down very much. The highway folks have an inconsistency in their speed limits between Rosemount and Coates. Northbound, they raise the speed limit to 65 for a few miles, but it stays 60 southbound from the merge with highway 55 on south through Coates. Hard to say if they'll make the whole stretch 65 again, since 52 isn't limited access the whole way there, but it had been worse in the past…

We went to see The Incredibles (again, for my brother and me) on Friday, watched some Rocky and Bullwinkle and worked on a puzzle on Saturday, and went to the first Sunady in our church's new sanctuary. I wonder if they timed it to be done at the beginning of the church year (today is the First Sunday in Advent). Being Lutheran, it's nice, but not too nice.

We did my birthday today. I got a DVD and some money. Well, I guess my mom bought me some clothes on Friday that works out to be my Birthday gift this year (really not too bad, since I haven't felt financially stable enough to do much more than buy new socks for quite a while).

Well, I probably should have checked to see if any of my high school friends were in town, but I guess Thanksgiving is to be spent more with family than others. That and the fact that I'm just too nervous to call people.

Posted by mike at 06:27 PM Central | Car , Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 16, 2004

Frostbite Falls

I came home for a few days, since a friend of mine was going to be here for two weeks. We went to see Blade: Trinity, which I guess was better than I expected, aside from being the world's longest iPod commercial. Ryan Reynolds was funny (watch out for the vampire pomerenian!) and Jessica Biel was her lovely self. I didn't know she was born in Ely, Minnesota. Oh, and she's much better as a non-blonde.

Some unexpected expected things happened for my friend, so we didn't hang out yesterday. Hopefully we'll do lunch or something today.

I sprayed fungicide on my mom's rose bushes on Tuesday. It was cold out, so the leaves got fungicidecicles. I also helped fix a festive deer that we have. One of those white wireframe jobbies that has Christmas lights strung through it. I had to go and replace about 20 light bulbs to get it to work, and then there were a few faulty ones that took a long time for my dad to track down with a tester.

Posted by mike at 10:40 AM Central | Brian D , Family , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 27, 2004

Middle Spunk Creek

I'm back from Fargo. I got a pretty good amount of stuff—better than last year, I think. We had a little difficulty traveling north. We detoured through St. Paul because I-494 is under construction, but U.S. 52 was totally backed up going over the Lafayette Bridge, so we got onto city streets and got a bit lost. We probably could have gotten onto I-35E pretty easily, but I was convinced that the turn we needed to make wasn't possible without jumping across three lanes of traffic in ¼ mile. Anyway, we ended up taking Jackson Street north for a while before getting back on the highway, and came across the Minnesota Transportation Museum's Jackson Street Roundhose by accident. Quite a few older rail cars over there, plus some old city buses.

Anyway, there's no snow through a big chunk of central Minnesota. Only a bit more than a dusting down in the south around Rochester, and perhaps a few inches near Fargo-Moorhead. That just doesn't seem right. At least the ice on the lakes has thickened up, so people feeling that the snow is lacking can still get their fishing huts out. Seemed to be a popular activity as we drove south today.

I saw The Life Aquatic. Not the best movie ever, but at least it was reasonably funny and felt like a story, rather than some junk I've seen in theaters. I'm still glad that I didn't end up getting roped into seeing The Polar Express.

The Loot:

  • Keen Eddie (TV series) on DVD (with music by Orbital—woo! ;-)
  • Palm Tungsten E (might return that to trade up or down, it needs research)
  • A book on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
  • Far Side month calendar and Dilbert day calendar
  • Fridge magnets
  • Family photos
  • A tiny solitaire electronic game
  • Money
And there's probably something I forgot…

I also read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, since I didn't run out and get the hardcover.

Posted by mike at 08:40 PM Central | Car , Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2005

Judge the Judge

Mark Wheat hosted his last installment of the Music Lover's Club on Radio K yesterday. He also mentioned that his official duty at the station was Program Coach, not Station Manager or anything. Anyway, it's easy for people to jump to the wrong conclusion since he's on the air so often. His last regular shift will be on Tuesday, though he might have to sub for someone after that point.

I guess this puts the switchover to KCMP near the end of this week or at the beginning of next week. The MPR folks are not being very clear about when things might happen. They're taking their time, which seems so weird in the modern radio world (it took an hour and fifteen minutes for Rev 105 to become X105 back in 1997). Well, then again, I was figuring it'd be about two weeks from the time it was announced by the MPR folks that he would be leaving Radio K.

I tried watching The Show to Be Named Later... again on Saturday night/Sunday morning, but the audio was crap (they acknowledged that fact with a little scrolling blob of text at the beginning of the show). I don't know who their musical guest was, since I ended up watching part of an episode of Monk I hadn't seen.

Unless some HR people just decide to cause trouble, it looks like my brother will be heading to California to work for Intel. My family will probably be driving out there the first week in February. Hopefully the weather patterns will have shifted by then and we won't get stuck in snow in the mountains :-p

We'd probably take I-35 to I-80 and go west to the Sacramento area. Some of the video of California snow I saw this weekend was a picture of an I-80 sign...

Posted by mike at 12:37 PM Central | Family , Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 07, 2005

From Fog to Smog

Well, time for the California trek rundown. I may twiddle this post in the future as I remember more things. My brother is now in Rancho Cordova, California, a suburb of Sacramento (and arguably Folsom, where he will be working).

My dad came up on Saturday the 29th with the minivan (Honda Odyssey) and a U-Haul trailer. Fortunately everyone had guesstimated properly and the trailer was just the right size. There was a little difficulty getting my brother's bike in there, and a few things got scratched by the front fork as it was fiddled with, but things eventually found good places to settle. In the end, there was only minor damage to stuff.

Brian and I grabbed a few things from my apartment and headed to our parents' place about half an hour after Dad headed out. I had expected that we would start out on Sunday, but we ended up holding off until Monday. The route was pretty simple, basically just U.S. 14 west to I-35 south, then west on I-80. The first day, we were able to listen to MPR's 89.3 FM until we passed I-90 while going along Interstate 35. After that, my brother and I took turns playing CDs from our own collections. No, we didn't bother to try seeking on the radio in the middle of Nevada just to watch it loop around.

The first day was Minnesota to Grand Island, Nebraska (Is there an island there? I doubt it). Tuesday took us most of the way through the Rocky Mountains to Rock Springs, Wyoming and into the Mountain Time Zone. On Wednesday, we finished off Wyoming, passed through Utah, and stopped in Winnemucca, Nevada in the Pacific Time Zone. We finally reached our destination on Thursday.

Iowa was pretty flat. Nebraska was flatter, aside from the fact that the whole state is slanted upward on the west end. Mountains suddenly appeared in Wyoming. We made our highest pass there, at 8640 feet, I believe (maybe a little higher). Due to a curiosity of the geography there, we passed the continental divide twice. Everything out that way was covered with frost.

It turns out that I-80 basically follows the famous Oregon Trail as it winds westward. We descended into Utah through Echo Canyon and dealt with crazy traffic on an eastern descent into Salt Lake City. Getting smashed by an out-of-control semi is not my idea of a good day. Fortunately, appropriate use of engine braking helped us get into the city safely. We had to deal with a maze of highway ramps to stay on I-80, and we finally stopped for lunch that day on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. It was a nice reprieve, with clear sky and warmer temperatures.

Er, well, "shore" is relative with that lake. The area of water at the time was ginormous (what you see on maps is just the part that is almost always covered in water. In fact, most of northwest Utah is swampy muck that was wet at the time we passed through. For about 60 miles from Salt Lake City to the western border, there is almost literally nothing. Just some roads and a rail line that are on dikes cutting through areas of water that turn into salt flats in warmer periods (we saw a lot of evidence of people driving vehicles down in the muck). For at least 30 miles, the highway is perfectly straight. This is a bad thing, so there are some oddities along the way. There's a big tree sculpture about ten miles from the border, probably with no other purpose than to get your brain going after being sedated by the monotony.

Well, at least we were able to maintain 65 to 70 mph most of the way westward, aside from the climbs. Many people decide not to go full speed, so we were passing others relatively often even though the speed limit was usually 75 mph. We saw our first triple-trailered semis on that flat stretch of Utah, and they continued all of the way to Reno, Nevada. Aside from the hills, Nevada was very boring. It was foggy at times every day on our voyage westward, but it seemed to be the worst there. That's where first heard about "freezing fog advisories". It was part of the reason why everything was covered in frost. Fortunately, we didn't have any significant trouble with the road surface being wet or icy. A few spots were iffy, but mostly in the passing lane. We only really had trouble with snow on one day in Wyoming.

Heading through the Sierras was interesting and probably the most annoying stretch of the trip. We were partly stressed by the fact that Intel suddenly required my brother to get a Social Security Number verification from a Social Security office. We were going to try in Reno, but there was a three hour wait. At least our diversion took us under the famous Reno sign. Leaving Reno, we had to deal with horribly rutted roads, most likely because of snow chains. Well, at least my brother and I were in his Honda Accord, and not dealing with the jerkiness of a heavy trailer like my parents.

It was oh so much fun when I saw a sign that said something like "Steep grades next 40 miles". Couple that with crazy Californians headed out of Tahoe and the fact that we had to stay in the rutted right lane because of speed restrictions on trucks and trailers, it was a very stressful period of the trip. Things finally started to flatten out a bit by the time we reached Auburn, which can be considered at outer suburb of Sacramento (well, heck, you can say that of Tahoe in the crazy commuterscape of California). We spent a few hours in Auburn as we did the Social Security bidness, then discovered that I-80 in California does not have mile markers or numbered exits. This contributed to a messy string of attempts to land on a road headed southward to Rancho Cordova. This wouldn't be a big issue around Minneapolis, or even Sacramento proper, but we were smack dab in suburbia, where almost no road goes straight and grids do not exist. But we finally made it.

My brother is hopefully going to do his part to fix the horrible traffic situation in the area since he got an apartment near a light rail line in the area. We checked two places on Friday, and just went for the one he wanted in the first place. Move-in was on Saturday, and Sunday we did a few things including an excursion into Sacramento via the light rail line (It's a much rougher ride than the Hiawatha. I suppose we just have to wait a few years). We saw the capitol and then headed back in order to get me to the airport, which seems to be in a really odd location. I flew to Las Vegas, then had a three-hour layover before catching a red-eye flight to Minneapolis. The plane landed around 6, and I got to my apartment a few minutes after 7 via light rail and bus. My parents are heading back to Minnesota (possibly via Denver to visit my aunt) in the van tomorrow (Tuesday).

A few random thoughts:

  • Who knew it snowed in Reno?
  • How come we could get Comedy Central in the hotel in small cities in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Nevada, but not in a suburb of Sacramento?
  • AAA maps for Nevada kinda suck, and don't mention the Nightingale Hot Springs
  • GSM coverage is amazingly good in the middle of nowhere
  • Highways are amazingly smooth in the middle of nowhere
  • Is it a good or bad thing when even the truckers are hardly appearing on the highway?
  • Food service sucks in California
  • My computer was broken when I got back. Good thing I had a spare

Posted by mike at 03:46 PM Central | Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2005

Ring of Fire

I should give an update. I have a job, for the moment. It might blow over tomorrow (more likely Monday) or in a month. Maybe longer. Who knows. It's contracting.

Over the weekend, I went up to Duluth and back. Actually, that was just Saturday. I attended my cousin's graduation party. The drive up was kind of foggy near the lake, but it was really bad on the way back. Fortunately I didn't have to travel too far to get away from it. On Sunday, I mostly stayed inside to avoid the sun (which saw too much of me last week anyway).

Earlier in the week I'd been taking photos. I visited the top of the Foshay Tower, then wandered eastward into St. Paul. The bus let me off at St. Thomas rather than going through town as I hoped (I randomly picked the one weird variation of route 21 route that cuts back on a half-length trip).

Jumping forward in time, I attended a "meet and greet" for Minnesota Public Radio on Monday. Specifically, it was for 89.3, and potentially being one of those folks that sets up swag tables at shows or hands out goodies to folks at other events. We'll see if I ever do any of that.

Monday evening I got a call asking for a tweaked Word resume, which I sent out the next morning. Within an hour or so of sending that out, I was contracted for a job after a quick lunch meeting. Today I began working. Nevermind that the details are all screwed up.

Well, I shouldn't tell tales out of school, at least not yet. Suffice to say that I was having greater moral difficulties about this than with the potential work at United Defense...

Posted by mike at 11:33 PM Central | Family , Music , Weather , Work | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

For Those About to Dial, We Salute You

I went home for the Father's Day weekend. I probably hadn't been home since coming down to help move my brother to California. I helped do some gardening, and got my dad a copy of the Spamalot soundtrack recording. We'll probably have to go see it if it comes through town, one of a very few musicals I'd ever be able to sit through.

There were some other discs I got: The eponymous Kasabian, Troubled Hubble's Making Beds in a Burning House, Let Go by Nada Surf, Demon Days from Gorillaz, and In Your Honor by Foo Fighters. They're all great discs, and actually my least favorite of the bunch is Demon Days, which is kind of surprising.

I volunteered Monday evening by helping in an after-school study session at a local charter school. It worked out alright, though I'm not sure exactly how helpful I'm supposed to be in that situation (plus some questions were phrased in a way that annoying way where you have to sit and ponder for a long time whether to put down the right answer or the answer you think they want to hear).

That storm was quite something. A bunch of traffic signals got knocked out or into a weird failure mode. A signal along Hiawatha Avenue was blinking red-green-red-green (rather than red-off-red-off), which was pretty wacky. Someone honked in my vicinity at one point, so they must have been thinking it was supposed to be like a ramp meter, but it was going way too fast for that... Idiot points to that guy for getting pissed off at people being cautious at a major intersection.

Posted by mike at 12:58 AM Central | Family , Music | Comments (0)

July 27, 2006

Rare Word Watch: Yare

Occasionally unusual words and phrases start popping up with unusual regularity in news articles, get used for a while, then fade. Vis--vis was popular back in my freshman year of college, for instance, but I haven't seen that for quite a while.

Here we have a Los Angeles Times article about the Tesla Roadster:

The event where Tesla was offering its first 100 "signature edition" cars for $100,000 apiece felt like automotive history, and I have the feeling that one day I'm going to be very glad I bothered to attend. The yare and sleek carbon-bodied sports car is, by my reckoning, the first plausible electric automobile of the 21st century. And, without electrics, the 22nd century is going to be very rocky indeed.
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

  yare \yare\ (y[^a]r), a. [OE. yare, [yogh]aru, AS. gearu; akin
     to OS. garu, OHG. garo, G. gar, Icel. gerr perfect, g["o]rva
     quite, G. gerben to tan, to curry, OHG. garawen, garwen, to
     make ready. Cf. {Carouse}, {Garb} clothing, {Gear}, n.]
     Ready; dexterous; eager; lively; quick to move. [Obs.] "Be
     yare in thy preparation." --Shak.
     [1913 Webster]

           The lesser [ship] will come and go, leave or take, and
           is yare; whereas the greater is slow.    --Sir W.
                                                    Raleigh.
     [1913 Webster]

Well, someone was making use of their thesaurus...

Anyway, plenty has happened since I last posted. I got a new car. I sold an old car. My brother visited. My family and I saw art cars and visited the Guthrie (we saw Loni Anderson acting touristy). I watched F1 Powerboat racing on the Mississippi River. See my Flickr page if you don't believe me.

Posted by mike at 10:13 AM Central | Car , Family , News , TV | Comments (0)

September 18, 2006

As the Cheryl Crow Flies

I went to Fargo for the weekend to visit Grandma and show off my wheels. My car did well on the trip—it can get there with only half a tank. I filled up there, so and looks like I got a shade under 40 mpg for a combined cycle of about 40% city/60% highway for my trip up and the weeks preceding. The driving wasn't bad for the most part until I came back and had to wait in traffic while folks passed a road sign that was broken. Eh? That's nothing. Ah well, that spot is always bad anyway—just before I-94 gets three lanes in each direction.

Posted by mike at 02:26 PM Central | Car , Family , Weather | Comments (0)