Thursday, December 29, 2005

I had a dream last night...

I was in an unspecific Russian city for work and had to meet this grey haired man at the end of the day because I had no idea how to get back to my hotel. He drove up on a golf cart type thing and asked why I was waiting in this lobby, and I told him it was because I was all turned around. Then, a Chinese woman leads me across the lobby towards a big wall, but before she gets to the wall, she goes down a steep set of stairs that I had no clue were there. It was an optical illusion so you couldn't see them until you were at the very edge of the floor. We went down the stairs and then had to like slip under the floor onto another set of steep stairs, and I remember thinking, "My grandparents could never have done that," because it was a tight fit. But then my grandmother was at the bottom and hurrying me along. I was surprised that she had made it down the stairs, but she just rushed me through a door and up a ramp. We were in a zoo watching a tiger exhibit, which had a big pool and a few rocks. The landing we were standing on seemed too close to the tigers, but then I figured they wouldn't build an exhibit the animals could easily escape. But all of a sudden one of the tigers did get out and came toward us! My grandmother and I, along with a few other zoo visitors, backed up along the ramp and I tried to close a door to keep the tiger in, but it was too late. Now the tiger had turned into an alligator and was coming towards my grandmother and I, so I grabbed her and hung off the side of the ramp, kicking at it when it got too close. Finally, zoo security released a long, brown dog onto the ramp and it like herded the alligator back into it's enclosure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Did You Know

that Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious? Actually, I wouldn't know since I can't seem to get enough Dr. Pepper lately. But watch the video on the link above for great humor involving cupcakes and Alexander Hamilton.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Information wants to be free, aka My Utopia

This needs to happen more often: "More artists take a stand against DRM".
Doesn't it seem wrong that an artist can't even legally burn a CD of their own work? The RIAA, MPAA and their evil ilk are justifying all of this bullying by pretending that they are protecting the interests of the artists who created the work. In reality, they are protecting the profits of the corporations who now own that artistic work. So, what needs to happen is that more artists (movie makers, actors, musicians and authors) need to harness the simple distribution that the Internet now allows instead of relying on the studio's current ways of force-feeding work to the public (radio stations, entertainment "news shows", and advertising). They retain the rights to their work and choose who and when to sue in order to protect it instead of turning the job over to the studio who then hides behind the RIAA. The more quality artistic work that stayed owned by the artist and freely available, the more people would reject the inferior force-fed Hollywood product. Discerning consumers would learn to seek out the quality art they want, and the lazy ones would be left with the peanut shells.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Transit Woes

Is there something in the water? Twice this week I have boarded a crowded number 11 bus to head home from work and seen almost every seat full except a window seat near the back door. Both times there was a woman sitting in the aisle seat blocking the empty seat and I stood in the aisle and said, "Excuse me." To most people this means, "Could you move for just a second so I can sit down," but not to these ladies. They each just turned their legs into the aisle, leaving about 7 inches for me to squeeze my not-skinny, winter-coat-covered body through! I am tired of seeing people take up more than one seat on the bus, not because they need to, but just so they can be comfortable while other people have to stand. Your bag is not more important than another person, and that other person paid the same fare you did and their butt deserves just as much room as yours does. If you insist on the aisle seat, at least stand up to let a person sit in the window seat when they politely ask you.

In 1998, I was riding the bus home from library and it started to get very crowded. One kid was taking up a whole two seater by stretching his legs out so no one could sit down. A guy asked him to move, and when the kid wouldn't, the guy sat down anyway, pushing the kid's legs further over. They exchanged some choice words and it escalated into a fight when the guy was about to get off the bus. Imagine, two idiots fighting in a 2 1/2 foot wide bus aisle, that is full of other people! I was sitting next to another girl and we both just put our hands over our heads and ducked down. It wasn't long before other passengers got the two to stop fighting and the police arrived. They wanted people to be witnesses, but I had not seen enough to know who had started the fight. I just hope the guy didn't get into any more trouble if the kid was under 18, since the kid was being an ass.

One morning this week I was sitting next to a woman on her cell phone. She told the person on the phone about how drunk she was last weekend and then they get into an argument about how she doesn't want to have a long term relationship. Hey, maybe you should have private conversations in private! There is also a guy who rides my bus home who will talk loudly with anyone around him who will respond. He doesn't seem to understand that whole bus doesn't want to hear his opinion on politics, war, local issues and "that internet".

Passengers are not the only offenders on buses, however. The drivers can also make for a lovely ride. Just before Thanksgiving, I had a driver who made a racist comment about some men he thought were going to board the bus. I was shocked at a the time and couldn't think of anything to say to him. I reported the incident on the website, but haven't heard anything back yet. My sister told me that she recently witnessed and elderly lady fall of a wheelchair lift while it was in motion. The woman had pushed her husband onto the lift and stood behind him while the driver started the lift. After she fell, the driver was mad because he had to fill out a report, and yelled at the woman that she wasn't supposed to be on the lift with the chair. Hmm, I think it's the driver's responsibility to make sure there is only one person on the lift before he starts moving it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Now this is a Funny Picture.

I got cable installed yesterday, along with a DVR and 6 months of HBO and Showtime. I hope to catch Love Actually this month, since it's a holiday movie.

My last Drawing class was on Monday, and I think I did pretty well. Next up is Environmental History and Modernism (a literature class). Maybe I should decide on a major soon. I will only have 2 generals left after those two classes.

I am trying to get 'organized' while I have some time off of school and a small amount of time off of work. What that means, I am not really sure... some weird combination of FlyLady, GTD and my own systems, I guess.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Wisdom of Christmas Carols

All I Want For Christmas Is You - I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know.
Away In a Manger - The cattle are lowing,the poor Baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - They're singing "Deck The Halls" But it's not like Christmas at all, Cause I remember when you were here and all the fun we had last year.
Christmas Time Is Here - Olden times and ancient rhymes of love and dreams to share
Christmas To Remember - We'll come blowin' back to somewhere like some wild restless winter's wind.
Christmas Without You - White Christmas and I'm blue.
Do They Know It's Christmas? - The greatest gift they'll get this year is life.
Do You Hear What I Hear? - Listen to what I say: Pray for peace, people everywhere.
Grown Up Christmas List - No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start and time would heal all hearts
Happy Christmas (War is Over) - And so this is Christmas and what have we done? Another year over and a new one just begun.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more. Through the years we all will be together if the Fates allow.
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - Beneath the heavenly strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong.
Jingle Bell Rock - What a bright time, it's the right time to rock the night away.
Last Christmas - I gave you my heart. But the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone special.
Let it Snow - When we finally say good night, How I'll hate going out in the storm. But if you really hold me tight, All the way home I'll be warm.
Let There be Peace on Earth - To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally
Mary's Boy Child - Let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace.
Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) - Every other season comes along and I'm all right, but then I miss you most at Christmas time
Mr Grinch - You have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch. I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!
O Come, All Ye Faithful - Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation
O Little Town of Bethlehem - The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Please Come Home For Christmas - Oh, what a Christmas, to have the blues. Please come home for Christmas, if not for Christmas, by New Year's Night.
What Child is This? - Haste, Haste, to bring him laud, the babe, the son of Mary.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Peru wants it's stuff back

CNN reports that Peru has warned Yale University that relics taken from Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1911, 1912 and 1914 must be returned. Hey, could I accompany them on the flight home?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Office, Earl move to Thursdays and Scrubs returns!

TV Squad alerted me to this release from NBC that tells us that, starting in January, My Name is Earl and The Office are moving to Thursday and that Scrubs will now be on from 8-9 Central on Thursdays. Hmm, where have I heard that idea before? I am surprised that Joey won't be back until after the Olympics and that NBC still only has 3 hours of prime time comedy programming per week.
Um, weren't the Olympics just on like 15 months ago? Oh that's right, now we get this "joy" every two years instead of four. I thought we had special sports channels on cable so that people who wanted to watch sports could tune to those and that network tv could continue it's normal schedule.

NBC's new mid-season schedule, which begins January 2, follows (all times
ET); new series are in upper case (except "ER"):

  • Mondays 8-9 p.m. "Surface" 9-10 p.m. "Las Vegas" 10-11 p.m. "Medium"
  • Tuesdays 8-9 p.m. "Fear Factor" 9-9:30 p.m. "Scrubs" 9:30-10 p.m. "Scrubs"
    10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
  • Wednesdays 8-9 p.m. "E-Ring" 9-10 p.m. "The Biggest Loser: Special Edition"
    (new title) 10-11 p.m. "Law & Order"
  • Thursdays 8-8:30 p.m. "Will & Grace" 8:30-9 p.m. "FOUR KINGS" 9-9:30
    p.m. "My Name Is Earl" 9:30-10 p.m. "The Office" 10-11 p.m. "ER"
  • Fridays 8-9 p.m. "MOST OUTRAGEOUS TV MOMENTS" 9-10 p.m. "Dateline NBC" 10-11 p.m. "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"
  • Saturdays Movies and variable programming
  • Sundays 7-8 p.m. "Dateline NBC" 8-9 p.m. "The West Wing" 9-10 p.m. "Law
    & Order: Criminal Intent" 10-11 p.m. "Crossing Jordan"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Soelo Desk Reference

I have been fiddling around with this Thing in my head for months now. I've called it everything from an Interests Inventory to a Mind Map and I have struggled with the how and why of it all. Basically, I want some sort of complete listing of topics/subjects/ideas that interest me and way to organize information about each of them.

How: I have a mind that understands things best when they are sorted, organized and aligned, so I started by looking at some ways information is handled by others, like search engines and libraries. I ended up with ten broad categories that I want to focus on and then broke those down into smaller and smaller parts.

Why: Renaissance Man is the term that keeps popping into my head, despite my not being male and living in modern day. Perhaps generalist is a better term. Having some general knowledge about a wide variety of topics is appealing to me. I keep feeling like there is another reason I want to do this that I have yet to find.

When: I hope to focus on this during the month of December. I assume it's an ongoing process, but I want some framework down before January and some routines built.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Berenstain Bears

Stan Berenstain, one of the creators of The Berenstain Bears died on Saturday.

I have fond memories of reading these books as a child and just ran across a ton of them at Booksmart uptown. I couldn't find my favorite one though, which was The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, where Mama gets fed up with the sloppy cubs. They end up with closet full of shelves full of shoe boxes with all of their stuff neatly arranged and labeled. Hmm, I wonder if they will come and tackle my closet.

A Dream of violence

I was in line at a grocery store with my friend Debbie when the woman in front of us took her hand out of her pocket and a candy bar wrapper fell out. It was on the belt, and Debbie picked it up and was going to throw it away when the woman got very upset. Debbie didn't understand why, but I explained to her that maybe it was a game piece and suggest she just give it back to the woman. Before she can, the woman lunges at Debbie and they fight for a little before she manages to escape. Later we are sitting on the 'husband benches' and see a woman we know. We start to explain what happened, but my alarm goes off.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fears and favorites

My number one fear is sharks (my name is Sarah and I am selachophobic) but some of my favorite marine animals are skates and rays, specifically the order Rajiformes. Imagine my surprise in finding out that Rajiformes are closely related to sharks, yeesch. Well, it's not that surprising, but the main thing that differentiates them in my mind is that most rays have weird little square mouths, not huge gaping jaws with scary knives jutting out of them. I remember being in a zoo in Ohio with my mother and seeing a tank of rays that were trained to slap one of their fins on the water. I don't know what species they were, but I think they were young and about the size of an adult's hand.

It turns out there is another genus called Mobula that have the same general shape, and there are some that leap out of the water. Read about them at The Flying Mobulas of the Sea of Cortez and don't forget to read the last page that talks about the evils of Bycatch (unwanted or unintentional catch) and how one in four marine animals caught in nets are thrown away for various reasons. Remember dolphin-safe tuna? Well there are still many other animals affected by the fishing industry, including whales, birds, turtles and even sharks. As much as I dislike and fear them, I don't think they should be killed.


The dream opens on Tracey Gold (from Growing Pains) who is telling us how happy she is that she was able to get the loan to fix up her coffee shop, the one I am standing in with my mother and sister. It becomes clear that she bought it from my mother and has an interior covered in wood, like a lodge. She tells us she was able to make use of all the "estuary" my mother left behind, which ends up to be tons of animal parts, especially feet and tails that are now decorating the rafters of the shop. There are also some very large bones worked into the architecture. Now we sit down to wait for our food. My sister and I both order po'boy sandwiches, hers with dog meat, and mine with cat! The sandwiches come and we are disgusted not because of the pets we are about to eat, but because the bread on the plate is just the heel of a small loaf and covered in a runny egg. The meat is just two medallions and there is no top to either sandwich.

**I just dreamt about Jessica Simpson, and now she is getting a divorce. Let's hope I'm not becoming psychic

Friday, November 18, 2005

Save Arrested Development

at because it's anything but your typical sitcom.

Seriously - how many sitcoms fit into one of these molds?

A two-parent household with 2 or 3 kids (Oh the trials of raising a family! Hey, my husband hates his job and we have ungrateful kids, too! I love this show!)

A gaggle of friends who work together, live together, then finally end up sleeping together. (You'll never make a copy that is better than the original, so stop trying)

An office where people spend 95% of their time socializing and throwing witty banter around in meetings and 5% of their time working.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sony = so NO

Boing Boing tells us to read a Wired article discussing Sony's rootkit and how it made it past various anti-virus programs. One of my favorite quotes is "The only thing that makes this rootkit legitimate is that a multinational corporation put it on your computer, not a criminal organization." Boing Boing itself is constantly providing updates and roundups on the whole Sony Rootkit debacle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dreamt last night

I am in the audience of some kind of live variety show and a stunt with bats goes wrong. A guy has to climb up a wooden ladder to rescue his daughter who was so covered in bats that I couldn't tell she was there. The guy is mad and says he and his family are leaving, so the cast decides that the whole weekend is cancelled.

I am with my niece, uncle and Jessica Simpson. We are disappointed about the cancellation because we're staying at a hotel and are trying to figure out if they will let us check out now instead of staying all weekend. We are playing in the game room and realize it is 3:30pm, too late to check out. Jessica says we should see if we can trick them into letting us check out even though my niece is still in the room and we haven't packed. I tell her we would have to give them the keys and would not be able to get our luggage if we did that. Then we try to figure out how to drive my uncle back home, since we are in Duluth and his house is on my way home.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't treat your customers like criminals

Boing Boing has a great post that talks about why box-office revenue might be declining. It's not so much that movie quality has gone downhill, but that the MPAA (movies) is acting like the RIAA (music) and assuming that their customers will try to pirate the product.

I would argue that the average movie quality has certainly declined because of two things: formula-based movies and audience splintering. Formulaic movies, like Little Black Book and A Lot Like Love in the rom-com genre, may make back the money it cost the studios to produce them, but they don't inspire much loyalty among viewers. Aside from a few blockbusters like Lord of the Rings, few movies have wide ranging appeal. As the target audience becomes more specific, the studio assumes less revenue and is less than forthcoming with cash and time for production. Thus the final product suffers from a rush job and fails to deliver on the promises made in the slick, funny trailer.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Riddler - Geosense

Back in 1996 when I thought the net was just for chatting and playing games, one of the first sites I visited on a regular basis was They still run some of their Classic games, like Drag Race and Scrambler and have added several new ones like Geosense where you race to find the given city on a World map. You can also play Europe and US map versions. For geography nerds like me, it's a dream come true.

Monday, October 31, 2005

AT&T Logo

Michael Bierut talks about the iconic logo (we call it the DeathStar) which will soon be replaced.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Confusing Country Names

While reading the Tales of the City books, I became confused about the country of Guyana in South America. I had always thought it was in Africa, but it turns out I was confusing it with either Ghana or Guinea. That's not the only set of countries with easily confused names:

Angola in Africa and Anguilla in the Caribbean
Angola is a country on Africa's west coast that ended a 27 year civil war in 2002. The war had started in 1975 when they became independent from Portugal and continued until the death of Jonas Savimbi, who had led one of the warring factions.
Anguilla is an island territory of the UK that has been under British rule since 1650 when English settlers from Saint Kitts colonized it.

Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo, both in Africa They border each other in Central Africa and the Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) is almost 7 times the size of the Republic. More differences between these two are best explained on Wikipedia.

Mauritania and Mauritius, both in Africa
Mauritania is a medium sized country on the west coast of mainland Africa, while Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. Mauritania had a bloodless coup in August 2005 and the party in power claims to be preparing for genuine democracy. Mauritius has been a democracy since it's independence from the UK in 1968. It also has one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.

Slovakia and Slovenia, both in Europe
Both are former parts of Communist countries that joined NATO and the EU in the Spring of 2004. Slovakia was paired with the Czech Republic to make Czechoslovakia and Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia.

But the most confusing set of Countries have to be these:

Gabon and The Gambia, both in Africa
Both countries are on the Africa's west coast. The Gambia is further north and surrounded by Senegal on all sides but its Atlantic Coast, while Gabon is on the Equator and borders Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Republic of Congo.

They are slightly less confusing than: Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau in Africa; French Guiana and Guyana in South America; and Grenada in the Caribbean because all seven have the G-N-A pattern in their names.

Equatorial Guinea, which is near but not actually on the Equator, is the only country in Africa with Spanish as the official language. Its current leader Obiang took power from his uncle after executing him in 1979.
Ghana is the home country of Kofi Annan, the current Secretary-General of the UN. It's one of the three "tall" countries (along with Togo and Benin) on the southern coast of Africa's northwestern region.
Guinea is also on Africa's northwestern coast and became independent from France in 1958. Since then, there have only been two real leaders of the country that is still struggling economically.
Guinea-Bissau is very small and one of the poorest countries in the world. The citizens have suffered coups, questionable elections and civil war since the early 80's.
French Guiana is on South America's north coast and still belongs to France. As part of France, it's part of the EU and still has a disputed border with it's neighbor, Suriname.
Guyana is also in South America, on the other side of Suriname. It became independent from the UK in 1966, but many of it's citizens still emigrate there, and to the US and Canada, which has caused a population decrease. There are an estimated 500,000 Guyanese living abroad, while the country's current population is only about 750,000.
Grenada is an island nation in the Caribbean, and has been battered by two recent hurricanes, Ivan in September of 2004 and Emily in July of 2005. It is considered a Commonwealth Realm and recognizes Queen Elizabeth as its monarch.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Encyclopedia Brown

Harry Potter refueled my love of adolescent fiction, which explains my recent readings of A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth, two books I neglected to read when I was younger. One series I did manage to read often was Encyclopedia Brown and it seems there are some issues over getting it to the big or even small screen.

Each book had several cases in it and the last sentence was something along the lines of him saying, "Mr Thompson is lying! He was on the porch last night." You then had to figure out the clue that proved his accusation, some of which were pretty obscure. I think they could do great things by making him a combination of MacGyver and Cliff Clavin with tons of useless information in his head and lots of wacky contraptions that actually work to get Sally and him out of the bind they're in and catch the crooks.

Monday, October 17, 2005

IMDb turns 15 today

Internet Movie Database turns 15 years old today. In 1990, it had a vastly different user interface because it started on a UseNet group, but today it is the first place I go for information on movies, television shows and actors.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

World Heritage sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has designated a list of 812 properties as World Heritage Sites. They state, "What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located." and "To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria."

Although there are 20 sites in the US, I have only been to 4 of them: Yosemite, Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Honda Galang

MIA's 'Galang' is the song playing in the background of that cool Honda commercial with the red car flying around the city.

Two Years

My calendar at work yesterday mysteriously says "tomorrow will be two years" and I sit and ponder what in the world I was talking about. I assume it is something intensely personal and that's why I didn't put what it was (in case of snoopy coworkers) and I decide to check my blog to see if I can remember what was happening October 6th, 2003. Well, duh! That was the day I started my blog.

731 days during which I probably

worked close to 4,000 hours (167 days)
slept for 5,600 hours (233 days)
watched 2,800 hours of television (117 days)

Last year on this day, I posted about My Movie DataBase and my personal top ten movies of 2004 as of that date. So, in keeping with tradition here are my top ten of the year so far:

Batman Begins
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Interpreter, The
Kingdom of Heaven
Must Love Dogs
Sin City
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

We are Legion

This is probably one of the best blog posts I've ever read. It's on Waiter Rant, which is an always interesting look into the lives of servers.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Which Serenity character are you?

You scored as Zoe Alleyne Washburne. The Soldier. You are the second in command, and that is fine. You like a chain of command, but only when the one in charge has earned your respect. Those who earn your love or loyalty will find no one better to guard their back.

Which Serenity character are you?
created with

*I was busy this weeked so I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've heard great things*

Did you know

that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that we use only 10% of our brains?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

MIA is at the Fine Line tonight.

Tickets are $18 and you might run into me there.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Soda Fountain

Cool: get a 2-liter bottle of diet soda and some Mentos and make a mess in your local park.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Conquer the world all over again

There is a demo available on the official website of Age of Empires III, which will be released on October 18th. I loooved the first two as well as Age of Mythology. The first PC games I played were SimCity and Civilization and I think they had a profound effect on the types of games I like to play. No first-person shooters for me, I prefer turn-based empire building followed by a swift defeat of my enemies with my technologically superior army.

Civilization's sequels Civ II and Call to Power were great, especially with the expansions like Fantastic Worlds. Unfortunately, Civ3 was a massive disappointment and I haven't risked getting any expansions for it. The good news is there's a Civ4 on it's way, releasing October 25th.

Superman, Superbucks

The budget for Superman Returns is nearing $326 million, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire's budget is $305 million. Add the cost of Titanic and Spiderman 2 (only $200 million each) and you have four movies that cost over $1 billion to make.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Drive to China: a proposal for a bridge over the Bering Strait

IGN interviews Billy West, the voice of Fry, Zoidberg, the Professor and Zapp Brannigan on Futurama.

Placeopedia connects Wikipedia articles with their locations.

See the world from the top of Mt Everest.

Want to watch live tv from around the world?

MIT offers OpenCourseWare which is "a free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners around the world."

Read who made the list of the 50 biggest nerds of all time, including what their Defining Nerd Moment was. Example: 14. Millhouse Van Houten Bart Simpson's bull-nosed sidekick. Defining nerd moment: Millhouse manages to out-nerd other Simpsons' characters, even Martin Prince, Professor Frink and Lisa, when he buys Bart's soul for $5 and sells it to Comic Book Guy for Alf pogs.

Keep track of the numbers that shape our world, and then visit the hunger site and the five other tabs it links to so you can help save the planet a little each day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What makes Uranus unique?

The planet of Uranus has an axis that is almost parallel to it's orbital plane (most planets' are close to perpendicular), so it looks like it's rolling as it orbits the sun. This means the polar regions would experience 42 years of light and 42 years of darkness, since one Uranian year is equal to 84 earth years.

As for the mythological figure Uranus, he seemed to have a problem with not having kids the usual way. He is credited as the father of the Erinyes, Hecatonchires, Cyclopses and Titans (and therefore the grandfather of Zeus). Then, there was the whole thing where Gaia (his mother and wife) got tired of him constantly reproducing with her and hiding the kids that she convinced their son Cronus to cut his manhood off with a sickle. Cronus then threw the body parts into the sea and stories differ as to whether Aphrodite was born of this, or if it produced the island of Corfu. The blood from this fun family activity fell to Earth and produced giants and nymphs.

Wizard DNA

I finished the Half-Blood Prince last night and ran across a post that discusses the ancestry of Harry and some of his classmates.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dark, acrid smoke now rises above Victoria Falls gorge in place of the mist reports on the current state of the area surrounding Victoria Falls. This is the result of Operation Murambatsvina (Shona for Operation Drive Out Trash), where the government destroyed the homes of urban poor people claiming it was just a crackdown on criminal activity.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Geeking out over Harry Potter

The last four weeks of my life have been dominated by Harry Potter books. I started reading the first one on August 13th, and am nearing the end of book five today (600 out of 870 pages). On Wednesday, I saw the trailer for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the theater and have now watched it several times on Netflix. It opens by showing Harry in each of the three previous movies and then showing the longer-haired version of him that will be in the new movie. They show Ron and Hermionie the same way, and then quick shots of various parts of the Triwizard tournament, along with Dumbledore's ominous quote. In order to fit all 734 pages of the book into one movie, neither the Dursleys nor Molly Weasley will be in this one. I wish they'd keep it all in, but I realize how confusing the story would be if it was split into two movies. I really can't wait until November 18th!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Wisdom of the White Stripes

Black Math - Is it the fingers or the brain that you're teaching the lesson?
Fell in Love With a Girl - My left brain knows that all love is fleeting.
I Wanna be the Boy… - I never said I was the heir to a fortune, I never claimed to have any looks.
Seven Nation Army - And I'm talking to myself at night, because I can't forget.
Sugar Never Tasted so Good - Until her soul fell next to me
We Are Gonna be Friends - Tonight I'll dream while in my bed, when silly thoughts go through my head.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Puttin' on the Hits

Do you still have nightmares about a man with an orangutan puppet around his neck when you hear the song 'Guitarzan'? If you have any clue what I am talking about, you remember the lip synch game show from the early 80's, Puttin' on the Hits, with your fabulous host Allen Fawcett:

He now has that typical former star look (slightly bigger head, still too-large hair and pain-hiding smile) and held a show at the Palace Station in Vegas.

But seriously, I loved this show and can still hear him saying, "... a perfect score of 30!"

It's been one week since you looked at me...

Last Wednesday I saw Must Love Dogs with my sister, the MiddleChild. It was your typical rom-com but had some extra comedy in it, especially the opening sequence.

Thursday, Mom, MiddleChild and I went to the Minnesota State Fair. I had one of those Nut Rolls and a basket of scallops and chips. We visited the dogs, horses and cows and pet all of the ones we could reach.

Friday, I went to the bachelorette party for Wedding #2. We were instructed to dress up, and it's a good thing because I probably wouldn't have been admitted to 'drink' (the name of the bar is 'drink') wearing my typical casual Friday outfits. It was packed as usual in there, which is so rare with the places I frequent in my old age. Loud music, sweaty strangers and overpriced rail liquor is no longer my idea of fun. But, on the rare occasions I still participate in that debauchery, I have a good time despite it all.

Saturday was shopping (fabric and a Kodak photo printer that I returned) and another movie, The Brothers Grimm. I'd say it's 2 out of four stars, because there were so many ways it could have been so much better. There were too many characters that were unnecessary and we never had time to get to know or like the leads. Something tells me this movie was very different before it went into the editing room.

Monday I had my first meeting of Intro to Drawing. I hope to minor in Studio Arts, which means 5 art classes. We have to do 5 blind contours, 3 modified contours, and ten regular contours over the next 2 weeks. In class, I did a contour of a plastic army man that I really like, even though his head is completely wrong.

Tuesday I went back to Best Buy to return the printer that was not compatible with my camera. Kodak Digital Cameras older than two years appear unsupported as far as accessories go. I also went to Michael's to get all of my drawing supplies, which was almost as much fun as getting them in Diagon Alley. I got a salad and went to Fish Lake Park for a picnic and to repack my supplies into an arty box that I painted black, green and copper. I went home and did one regular contour of a shirt on a hanger.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wallpaper on vacation

Whoa, this is very pretty. I have long had an idea of painting my pictures (that give a 360 view) from the top of the Empire State building on the four walls of a room someday.

Sean Astin on 24

Scooter's comment is right on:

This must have you in an absolute frenzy:

Astin making '24' debut in 4-hour opener Reuters -

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Sean Astin, who starred in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is joining the cast of Fox's real-time drama "24," which will again kick off its season with four episodes screening on two consecutive nights.

I really can't take a Monday class in January, since there is no way I can miss that.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Scientists have discovered a way to make sheets of carbon nanotubes very quickly. "The new technique should allow the nanotubes to be used in commercial devices from heated car windows to flexible television screens."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Cute Animals 2

I babysat for a couple who owned a hedgehog, and it was really cute when it yawned. But I had no idea how cute they are when they're babies.

Why on Earth are you watching that show?

Reunion premieres September 8 - Mathew St. Patrick may be the only reason I am tuning in to this murder mystery chronicling the last 20 years. I also wonder how they are going to handle aging these people from 18 to 38.

Simpsons premieres September 11 - I read an article between one and two years ago that said some of the old writers were coming back, and the series was expected to improve again, since most consider its quality to have waned. Using data from IMDB, it looks as though the only person to have returned to directing after a hiatus is David Silverman, who directed 19 episodes in seasons 1-7, and then one each in 14 and 16. As far as the writers, it looks like the only people with significant spaces between credited episodes are George Meyer and (1-5 and 10-13) and Jon Vitti (1-5, 7, 13, 15-16). So where is this resurgence of talent from the old days?

Survivor: Guatemala premieres September 15 - Rumors abound that Steph and Bobby John from the last season are going to reappear this season, since the original number was said to be 18, and there are only 16 contestants on the official site. Jamie looks like the cute one this season, but I'll reserve judgment until I hear him speak.

Arrested Development premieres September 19 - Fox's site acts like the network has always championed the show and never treated it like a red-headed step-child. This year it gets a time slot that is less prone to being delayed by NFL overtime.

Kitchen Confidential premieres September 19 - the poor actors in this picture have been airbrushed so badly they look like wax figures! Seriously, the guy on the left Nicholas Brendan, a.k.a. Xander, does not have eyelids covered in hair, but the picture makes it look that way. It's also nice to see John Francis Daley (from Freaks & Geeks) in another show.

King of Queens premieres September 19 - a.k.a. Fat Guy, Skinny Wife #1, but Patton Oswald and Jerry Stiller make this one worth watching.

How I Met your Mother premieres September 19 - again, it might just be Jason Segel that makes me want to give this one a chance.

The Office premieres September 20 - I tried watching the BBC version, but it couldn't hold my interest. This American version does an excellent job with Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson providing some of the best cringe-worthy moments.

My Name is Earl premieres September 20 - Jason Lee playing Banky/Brodie about ten years older and after a spate of bad luck. Well, Mallrats was ten years ago, so it fits.

Lost premieres September 21 - Undoubtedly last year's best new show, I didn't get to see it as often (or as clearly) as I would have hoped, even though I did see the finale. Thankfully, Season 1 comes out on DVD September 6th. My favorite characters are Hurley and Sayid.

Still Standing premieres September 21 - a.k.a. Fat Guy, Skinny Wife #2, but this time it's their kids that make it worth watching.

Joey premieres September 22 - Another one I didn't see as often as I wanted to last year, but I don't think I missed much. It helped with the Friends withdrawals I was suffering.

Numb3rs premieres September 23 - I saw only two episodes of this last season, but my sister and mother have both insisted I will like it. Sabrina Lloyd from SportsNight is a bonus.

Grey's Anatomy premieres September 25 - I have never seen a second of this show, but I have read so much about it that I must start watching. I've always liked Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey.

L&O CI premieres September 25 - Chris Noth comes back as Mike Logan and partners with Annabella Sciorra in the fifth season.

Amazing Race premieres September 27 - Teams are now made up of four family members and travel fewer distances this season. The challenges are supposed to be more family friendly, the Yields more effective, and I wonder if we will see less inter-team bickering?

Will & Grace premieres September 29 - I find myself hoping that the eighth season will be the last one. Still a good show, but the reruns are often better than the new episodes.

That 70's Show premieres November 2 - This is the first season without Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher, since they are 'big' movie stars now. The other four, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson and Wilmer Valderrama haven't really hit it big with any movies, which doesn't seem fair. I know they'd make much better stuff than "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" and "A Lot Like Love". It's not that Grace and Kutcher didn't make great movies ("Traffic" and "The Butterfly Effect"), but I think the other four would do well in starring roles. Kunis does great as Meg on Family Guy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

This Fall in Network Primetime

Starting at 7pm Central / 8pm Eastern

ABC - Wife Swap - Monday Night Football (new lineup in January)
CBS - King of Queens(Sept19) / How I Met your Mother(Sept19) - Two and a Half Men / Out of Practice - CSI: Miami
FOX - Arrested Development(Sept19) / Kitchen Confidential(Sept19) - Prison Break
NBC - Surface - Las Vegas - Medium

ABC - According to Jim / Rodney - Commander-in-Chief - Boston Legal
CBS - NCIS - Amazing Race(Sept27) - Close to Home
FOX - Bones - House M.D.
NBC - The Biggest Loser - My Name is Earl(Sept20) / The Office(Sept20) - L&O SVU

ABC - George Lopez / Freddie - Lost(Sept21) - Invasion
CBS - Still Standing(Sept21) / Yes, Dear - Criminal Minds - CSI: New York
FOX - That 70's Show(Nov2) / Stacked - Head Cases
NBC - Apprentice: Martha Stewart - E-Ring - L&O

ABC - Alias - The Night Stalker - Primetime Live
CBS - Survivor: Guatemala(Sept15) - CSI - Without a Trace
FOX - The O.C. - Reunion(Sept8)
NBC - Joey(Sept22) / Will & Grace(Sept29) - Apprentice - ER

ABC - Supernanny - Hope & Faith / Hot Properties - 20/20
CBS - Ghost Whisperer - Threshold - Numb3rs(Sept23)
FOX - Bernie Mac / Malcolm in the Middle - Killer Instinct
NBC - Three Wishes - Dateline NBC - Inconceivable

ABC - Movie
CBS - Crimetime Saturday - 48 Hour Mysteries
FOX - Cops - America's Most Wanted
NBC - Movie

ABC - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - Desperate Housewives - Grey's Anatomy(Sept25)
CBS - Cold Case - Movie
FOX - Simpsons(Sept11) / The War at Home - Family Guy / American Dad
NBC - The West Wing - L&O CI(Sept25) - Crossing Jordan

*The purple shows are what I watch, plan to watch, or will admit to watching.
*It seems the networks' official sites understand they need to tell us what time and day these shows are on, but neglect to give us the dates they premiere. Epguides did that for me.
*No WB or UPN listings, they have nothing I watch from 7-10.
*Returning in 2006: 24 and Less Than Perfect

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Office Marathon tomorrow

On Wednesday, NBC is having a marathon of The Office where they will show four episodes: Pilot, Diversity Day, Health Care and Hot Girl. There were two more, The Alliance and Basketball, which the really should show instead of a L&O rerun. Odd thing is, I have seen those two episodes, and not much of the other four, so I will have seen all six by the time the new season starts.

Also, Thursday brings two Scrubs reruns in the 8E/7C time slot. That would be a great Thursday line up (Joey, W&G, Scrubs and The Office), 4 shows that can hold their own instead of two heavy hitters with two losers at the :30 time slots.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Minneapolis woman was not even drunk

One semi-circular table, two empty wine glasses, two small saucers, two sets of silverware and one tea light candle in a glass holder were all unceremoniously tipped over a small ledge and shattered on the floor of Louis XIII at 1:03 pm on Saturday, August 13th. Witnesses report the diner and her companion escaped without injury and blamed her new shoes and abnormally large feet for the table mishap. A waiter and bartender rushed over to the site, now boasting lots of broken glass and two beat-red customers, in order to reseat the offender at another table with an identical potential for disaster. No further entertainment was provided after the woman's sister arrived and the trio was served lunch without incident. Further coverage of the incident here.

This is certainly the most embarassing that has happened to me this whole year. What about you? Post your story in the comments.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cute animal alert:

Two new species of lemurs have been found.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

You know those infomercials are lying to you, and here are some sites that prove it:

Kevin Trudeau is under an order by the FTC where he's only allowed to promote books, newletters, publications or non-branded products.

Don LaPre, has declared bankruptcy twice and has had many brushes with the law in regards to his "businesses".

Carleton Sheets seems to be selling bad advice, and has many people upset with billing problems.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Jaye is near the breaking point and furiously asks the brass monkey in her shrink's office, "Why do you talk to me?" and his reply is a simple, "Because you listen."

Yes, there are talking animals in this show. Don't let that scare you away. Don't let the stiff, pinched-faced women who play her mother and sister scare you away either, or the Horrid Haircut who plays her brother. (I can tell you're almost convinced!)

There are runaway macaws, nuns, class reunions, liars, cheaters, fat guys named Pat, a sad delivery guy, an inept security guard, lesbians, a hostage-taker, a mail-order bride, a whole tribe of Seneca Indians, a fake documentarian, an injured father, a Canadian housekeeper, and a mouth-breathing manager. And then there is Jaye and her friends Mahandra and Eric, the really good parts of the show.

The closest thing I can come up with as a comparison would have to be Northern Exposure, with it's cast of eclectic townspeople and offbeat sense of humor. While not all episodes are exactly even, there are so many shows on right now that are so much worse than Wonderfalls. It succumbed to that all too familiar fate of many FOX shows and was cancelled after only 4 aired episodes. All 13 are on the DVD release, and complete the story arc quite nicely.

Friday, August 05, 2005


I am the geek you see sitting in the corner, doing puzzles and eating lunch alone.

Webkitchen London has had some puzzles related posts lately, and I was lucky enough to solve one of the puzzles posted in the comments. Those posts all started from the fish puzzle, which is just like the Logic Problem magazines sitting in a pile behind my couch.

I always get Games magazine, and one of my favorite puzzles is the Paint-by-Numbers which have been recreated on TylerK's PiCross page. One of my other favorites is Soduko, which was featured on the Kare11 Extra.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I can't go to bed without telling you to read this. I've always found having the whole bed to yourself to be one the joys of single life.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


More than 2.6 billion people, or more than 40 percent of the world's population, lack basic sanitation, and more than one billion people lack reliable access to safe drinking water.

But, they can always get one of the five different kinds of Diet Coke, not including Caffeine free, Lime, Cherry or Vanilla.

Monday, August 01, 2005

July at 85

That's 85 MPH, not 85 degrees, since I have been enjoying the heat. It seems like July just started and it's already gone. For me, July consisted of the following (in no particular order):

-being unimpressed with the newly remodeled Walker Art Center
-going to Duluth on a slightly random Saturday
-falling behind on my Calc 2 homework, but holding my own on the tests
-eating at Erte, McCormick and Schmick's, It's Greek to Me and Tiburon
-trying to keep my apartment clean
-spending an afternoon on Medicine Lake, only sunburning my arms
-helping redo my mother's kitchen and bathroom (sanding, painting, tiling)
-not getting a good view of the fireworks downtown because MPD closed the Third St Bridge "for security purposes"
-intending to see Fantastic Four but ending up getting passes to The Island while standing in line (too much action ruins a good story)
-playing inselkampf, ItsYourTurn and KOL
-installing and playing Sims 2, passed on by my sister
-watching Disc 2 of Wonderfalls, the last three discs of Freaks & Geeks, and all of Entourage: Season 1
-work, school, sleep

Over the next three months, I have a record setting four weddings to attend. Two are cousins and the other two are friends, and all are at least an hour away. I'm not complaining, though, just marveling at how weddings always come in clumps.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Origami Tessellations

Flickr has a pool for them, and here's a seven level Fujimoto.

There's also an awesome hex tessellation here. That page is part of, which is complete with both English and Portuguese instructions.

Monday, July 25, 2005


When did this become a widely used acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States? It's all I hear these days. It must be a rip-off of POTUS.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No circles

is a Flash game where you have to figure out the rules before you can play. I found it on Good Experience Games.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Wisdom of Garbage

#1 Crush - I will wash away your pain with all my tears, And drown your fear.
A Stroke of Luck - A stroke of luck or a gift from God? The hand of fate or devil's claws?
Breaking Up The Girl - My friend you must be careful, They've a million ways to kill you.
Queer - You're hungry 'cause you starve
Stupid Girl - You pretend you're high, Pretend you're bored, You pretend you're anything, Just to be adored

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hello, this is MIT, can I please get some info?

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Order the DVD, meet the star is enlisting celebrities to help deliver some of it's products to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

More advice from Carolyn Hax

How do you know when it's time to leave a relationship?
When you're lonelier with the person than you would be alone.
Which is why it's so screamingly important to learn to be happy alone before you tie yourself to someone. You need to have that reference point to be able to judge a relationship soundly.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Tuesday I flew into O'Hare, landing at around noon. I rode the Blue Line downtown to my hotel, but it was too early to check in, so I left my suitcase there and headed over to Grant Park. I perused my Not For Travelers book and decided to take a free trolley to Navy Pier and get some late lunch. That turned out to be the one and only time I rode the free trolleys, since they had no air conditioning and were always way too full. I had a 3 day transit card, making the busses as free as the trolleys, so I got off at the next stop and walked north over the river. I caught a bus that brought me right to Navy Pier. I checked to see what was playing at the IMAX theater, which turned out to be Batman Begins. I had thought about seeing it while I was in Chicago, since I always see a movie when I am on vacation. It was very crowded, they had assigned seating and it cost about $22 after ticket soda and popcorn. Despite all of that, I loved the movie, especially Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman. I headed back to the hotel after stopping in the Crystal Gardens. It was very hot and humid while I was in Chicago, but as long as you could get into the shade, it wasn't that bad. The wind from the lake keeps you cool. I waited a bit too long to head out for dinner, since it was about 8:30 by the time I headed back into the Loop to find a restaurant. I ate at a bar and grill called the Exchequer, which looked like it could have held a few Mafia meetings in it's heyday.

Wednesday was my 28th birthday and I went to the Field Museum since I was disappointed I'd missed it last time. Although the Maccu Picchu exhibit was gone, it was still an eye opening place. They have a hall of gems with all kinds of precious stones, metals and even replicas of famous diamonds. There is an entire section of jade artifacts, a mock up of a whole African village, and more stuffed and mounted animals than you can imagine. They even have the skeleton of a black right whale on the ceiling. I was resting on bench when I overheard a security radio someone to call 911 and then a man yelling, "I just had to use the washroom." and "I just got out of jail." He was the same guy who had tried to sell me copy of the Onion by the jade stuff earlier. The special exhibit that I picked was the dinosaurs from China. They had about 15 skeletons of dinosaurs that ranged in size from eagle to horse that were all found in China. Behind most of them is a mural depicting what they think the animal looked like when it was alive. The best preserved and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found, "Sue", is also at the Field. It is freaky to look at something that is not only so ancient, but was also alive at one time.

In the gift shop, I came across a book called 'What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World'. I expected some partisan slant, but it has turned out to be pretty neutral while pointing out that most of the world's woes are related to oil, religion or the arbitrary borders and leaders that were inflicted on each country in the last century.

For dinner that night, I went to a place downtown that is 3 Italian restaurants in one building, and I went to the one in the basement, La C.... I had some of my favorite foods: scallops (with tomato, garlic, pasta and olive oil), Chianti and cannolli.

Thursday I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free and located in, you guessed it, Lincoln Park. They had an entire building filled with smaller primates, including sugar gliders and colubus monkeys. The polar bears and seals both have an underwater viewing area where you can watch them swim, and they seem to put on a show for the visitors. The big cats were all inside due to the heat, and most of them were sleeping, except the tiger. The weirdest animal was probably the Sand Cat, which looks like a regular housecat with a slightly larger head and more muscles. As I was heading back downtown, I saw the same huge group of tourists you see everywhere waiting for the free trolley and looking jealously at those of us who got on the bus instead.

Friday I went to the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. At the planetarium, I saw a show called The Stars of the Pharoahs, which was the best part. They discussed what the Egyptians thought of the sky, some of their legends about the gods as well as the many ancient buildings that are aligned with various constellations. The other exhibits seemed geared mostly towards kids, but also seemed to bore most of the kids I saw there.

Sitting in front of the Shedd Aquarium is one of the most vivid memories I have of my trip to Chicago in 1991. It was just as I remembered, and all week I had been enjoying the view of the Lake from the Museum Campus, which juts out on a peninsula. When looking back to the Loop from the campus, you see some of the tallest buildings in the world right next to a calm, picturesque lake. I got some good pictures of some jetskis playing around near the harbor.

Inside the Aquarium, I ran out of room on my digital camera that holds about 250 pictures. I had to delete some duplicates every once in a while. The coolest animals are always the rays, Skate and Sting, in the Caribbean reef. There is a hallway that is set up like the Amazon, complete with different tanks showing the varying water levels and reptiles in the Amazon. I saw poison frogs, a caiman and an Amazonian Python that was so big you couldn't find it's head. I saw a show with Pacific White-Sided dolphins, which look like the Atlantic Bottle-Nosed but have a big white stripe on their side. They also had Beluga whales, sea otters and a huge sea lion in the Oceanarium section. The penguins were being fed and monitored when I saw them, and a tour guide walked by and explained how penguins cool themselves by raising their wings. He also said that a penguin is full grown by the time it is 3 months old, so it's hard to pick out the younger ones. As I headed out to my hotel near the airport on Friday evening, downtown was getting more crowded by the second, since Taste of Chicago had started that day. That was obviously the reason I couldn't find a hotel in the city on Friday night.

My camera is being fussy about sending the pictures to my computer, so I can't upload any of them right now. I'll post them as soon as it behaves.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

KOL is complete

Back when I started playing Kingdom of Loathing (over a year ago), there was a plan in place to reset the entire game as soon as all of the bugs were worked out. This meant that any items, meat and accomplishments you had gained would all be lost. Over time this plan changed into Ascension, which means that you keep your stuff with limited access to it for 1000 turns and all your stats are reset to your starting numbers. So we waited, and waited, and waited until finally there was rumor that testing of the ascension code would begin in March. I assumed April 1st would be the glorious day, but it came and went with fun in-game events, but no word on ascension. Alas, we had to wait until June 8th for the chance to battle the Naughty Sorceress and see all of the cool new post-ascension content and get the chance to change our race.

I started out with six characters, but I let my Turtle Tamer atrophy and it has probably been deleted by now. Today I ascended my fourth character which is my Pastamancer, and it only leaves my Disco Bandit unascended. The new content is everything that was promised, with new challenges, jokes and items. You now get to pick an astrological sign and it affects an entire region of the map, including some of the quests that are required of you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Time off for Good Behavior

My birthday is on Wednesday, so I'm flying to Chicago tomorrow for a few days. I hope to hit some of the places I didn't get to in October, like the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows on Navy Pier and Lincoln Park Zoo.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Some Scottish fisherman pulled a ten foot Yellow Submarine out of the ocean.

Making a living the old fashioned way

"Becoming a certified emergency medical technician in Hennepin County, for example, requires only 142 hours of classroom, skills sessions and clinical time. Similarly, after a six-hour class, one can apply for a license to carry a concealed weapon."

But if you want to perform traditional African hair-braiding in Minnesota (which involves minimal scissors use and no chemicals) you must be licensed. Getting licensed costs nearly $15,000 in tuition and requires at least 1,550 hours (10 months) of schooling and forgone earnings. None of this training includes braiding either.

Luckily the Institute for Justice has filed suit on behalf of three local braiders to get the licensing requirement changed.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ride the light - to a dark place

Back in 2002, I had a problem with Qwest jerking me around about my DSL bill. I love to read things like this: How Jennifer Palmquist brought down the Roaming Empire.

laugh to keep from crying

Guess what? You'll never guess, not in a million years! Go on, guess!

How the [bleep] did you know? No, Earthlink did not fix the problem, but the best part is that when I inquired about the escalation, it was mysteriously missing. One would never expect that, now would they? This time they put in a new wrinkle, "Due to a system issue, I will not be able to transfer the chat to a supervisor." Wow, that's a new one! Did you think one up just for me?

I was finally able to extract a "case number" and a promise that a Senior Technician will call me tomorrow evening. I got about 15 apologies, but I still doubt my phone's gonna ring anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Earthlink hates me

Irate consumer below - feel free to skip if you don't want to hear ranting:

In March, with my shiny new computer, I got to choose six months of free dial-up access from either AOL or Earthlink. I've had AOL and not been impressed, so I picked Earthlink and I continue to be unimpressed. My problem with Earthlink is that I get randomly disconnected in the middle of surfing, sometimes after 30 seconds, sometimes after 90 minutes. I've gone through about 15 different remedies that they have suggested and nothing has worked. I started off emailing them, called once and finally started chat sessions. They keep asking me to do the same things and I have to tell them that I have already tried that. Finally towards the end of May, a rep tells me he will escalate the issue to his engineers. On June 2nd, I chat to inquire about the escalation and the rep tells me she will reescalate since it is still happening. Yesterday, after the 72 hours she told me to wait, I chat again to find out the status, at which point I am told that I need a ticket number, which was never given to me. She gives me another thing to try and says that will fix the problem (it didn't - big surprise). This evening, I chat for the seventh time to check on my problem and am told there was never any escalation put in. I ask for a supervisor who tells me he will escalate the issue. I ask him for the ticket number and he tells me "no ticket number is generated for these escalations"!

This is driving me insane, one "brush off" at a time. I have a number for Complaints (404-815-0770), which I will be using on Thursday - the day the supervisor assured me the problem would be resolved. The reason they offer you 6 months free is to get you to keep their service after your trial period. If this ISP is not even good enough for me to use when it is free, why would I pay for it?

You have been chosen

Trailer for The Island

Firefly reruns on TV

FIREFLY (FOX) - The Sci Fi Channel has landed the repeat rights to all 15 hours of the short-lived FOX series (and basis of the upcoming "Serenity" feature film). The network's July schedule lists the series as joining its Friday lineup on July 22 at 7:00/6:00c where it will precede original episodes of "Stargate SG-1," "Stargate Atlantis" and "Battlestar Galactica."

901 Marquette Ave

20050322 089 Originally uploaded by metabietz.

My building, the top seems so hollow.

Monday, June 06, 2005


In order to get my degree, I will need to take 35 classes.
I have taken 15, I am taking 1, which leaves 19.
I need 120-124 credits.
I have 41.67, I am taking 4, which leaves 81.

I have taken 42.8 percent of the classes I need, but only have 32.8 percent of the required credits, which means I will need to work much harder on the remaining 11 semesters of my college career.

The Wisdom of the Wallflowers

God Don't Make Lonely Girls - I can't get the girl with the Spanish tears out of my mind
Letters from the Wasteland - May take two to tango, but boy it takes one to let go
Into The Mystic - I want to rock your gypsy soul
One Headlight - This place is always such a mess, Sometimes I think I´d like to watch it burn
Invisible City - Now all of these voices, And all of these noises, With all their illusions of choices
Closer To You - I’m sorry too, But don’t give up on me

Fool your eyes

Kottke tells us to check out this page of optical illusions. I love how these dots appear to rotate both left and right.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I'm published!

I couldn't pass up the chance to have literally tens of people read my words about geometry and quilting in the City Pages. No, it's not a terribly important issue and I even hesitate giving this guy any more publicity, but I had to say something about this obvious ploy for attention.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Your moment of zen:

I got up to a score of 734 on Reaction Effect, but it's not really a game as much as a relaxing way to get yourself thinking about catalysts and chain reactions. Or maybe I'm just a geek.

Oh please, oh please

Bring us new Futurama content on DVD!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Life begins as spat:

Feeling a bit odd today, so I regale you with the following:

Oyster Reproduction: Au Naturel

Members of the genus Ostrea are bisexual, that is, they alternate between being male and female during the course of a single breeding season. During a female phase, the oyster deposits eggs within the shell, and these eggs are fertilized by sperm released when the same oyster switches to a male phase. After a 12-day period of incubation, the larval oysters, or spat, swim away from the parent in search of their own place to settle.
Members of genus Crassostrea are intersexual. They begin life as males, and then change to females the following season. After this, they remain primarily female but revert from time to time into males. Reproduction is quite a bit more haphazard for this genus, because the eggs and sperm are released directly into the water, and fertilization takes place when a pair happens to cross paths. Successfully fertilized eggs, should they survive, rapidly grow into spat, and they, too, swim off in search of a home.

After fourteen days, the spat, whether Ostrea or Crassostrea, must attach themselves to a stationary object - a rock, a mangrove tree, the post of a pier, even another oyster. There they will remain for their entire lives -- unless they happen to be cultured oysters, in which case, the spat has settled on a collector planted there by an oyster farmer

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Conspiracy Theory

This morning's dream:
My sister had a moving violation of some kind and had me drive her to the DMV, which was on a busy corner with a small parking lot. I parked in a spot with a sign that said "Speeding 1", and when we came out, my car was gone. I went back, in furious that they had towed my car and talked to the woman behind the counter. The Impound lot was in the same building as the DMV and I demanded my car back, saying they'd stolen it. She kept mumbling something and I asked her to repeat it several times until finally she yelled, "I don't have a turban on! I didn't steal your car!". I was shocked, and I saw that the next person in line was a woman from work who is Middle Eastern. I said to the woman behind the counter, "I can't believe you just said that. That's so racist and this woman is Middle Eastern!" At that moment a couple came out from a room where the guy had obviously had to take some sort of test to get his license back. I recognized him as another person from my job, but he was black in my dream even though he's white in real life. The woman he was with also used to work with me. I start yelling about how the DMV and Impound lot was conspiring against people who work at AT&T.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I live about twelve blocks from the building I work in, which is another eight blocks away from the school I attend. I take the bus every morning, and at least 3 times a week on the way home, even though I own a car. Parking in downtown Minneapolis is between $9-11 per day and it wouldn't save me that much time anyway. Metro Transit changed the route I ride last year so that it goes down Nicollet Mall instead of using 8th and 9th streets downtown. They reason that it's a more direct route to Northeast Minneapolis. What I don't agree with is placing another route on an already over crowded street, a street that hosts a parade every night in December that requires the busses to be rerouted, as well as a Farmer's Market every Thursday in the summer that makes for a very crowded evening rush. For Metro Transit, rerouting busses means moving them to Hennepin, which is two blocks away from Nicollet and also hosts a few too many bus routes as it is. Doesn't it make sense to move the routes to Marquette, which is only a block away and has express routes on it? Southbound busses could use Marquette and Northbound busses could use Second Ave, as they are both set up to handle one way bus traffic. Another solution would be to move the express routes on Nicollet to Marquette/Second and the local routes to Hennepin. That's something that I've always wondered about, why they have express and local routes on the same street downtown. Express busses are pay-as-you-leave routes in the evening, so they don't waste time waiting for passengers to pay their fare in busy downtown traffic. But it defeats the purpose to put these same routes behind a local bus that has to wait for passengers to pay as they board. When I raised this question to Metro Transit in a recent complaint, they said it's valid but they'd never heard it before, so they weren't going to do anything about it.
Now they are running an experiment where the Nicollet routes will be on Hennepin from 6:30pm to 11:30pm over the summer. They plan to survey their customers, business owners, pedestrians and downtown residents to see what people think of the change. Oh please, let them ask me! I pay $1.75 right now each time I ride, and for that I get a slow ride on a bus with at least one person who smells, one kid who can't keep her hands to herself, and three people talking way too loudly on their phone or to another passenger. They want to raise fares for a local ride to $2.00 this summer.
So, if Personal Rapid Transit isn't coming soon to a metro area near me, then a revamp of Nicollet Mall is needed. Since we are too backward to have any kind of subway system, we need to have a bus tunnel that goes under the current Mall that only allows busses; no taxis, no pedestrians and no bikes. Bikes would be allowed in a special bike route in the middle of the Mall, which would be a version of the current street with a wider sidewalk and curbs that are much closer together. Stairs and ramps would connect the street level to the bus tunnel, and could even rise up to the skyway system. The tunnel could act as a subway station by providing information to those waiting on which busses are nearing the stop, and which ones have already left.
Instead of improving the current system, there are plans to cut back service and raise fares. It doesn't seem like such a pipe dream to me to make transit profitable, or at least reduce it's dependance on government subsidy. It would just take some passion and creativity, or maybe some privatization?

Monday, May 23, 2005

24: Season Finale

Dear God,
Please don't let Tony really be dead.

Dear God,
Thanks for bringing him back, now please don't let Jack be dead!

Okay, cool.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Celebrate Good Times

A friend has a birthday on Monday, so we spent the last two days celebrating in various ways. Friday night we went to Gasthof Zur Gemuetlichkeit for dinner and then saw a burlesque show at Lili's Burlesque Revue. I had a fish and scallops dinner at the restaurant, and I loved the scallops. That could be because I don't get to have them very often, but they were delicious. They have a seafood platter for two that I would love to try sometime. The show was funny, with great music and a real retro feel.

On Saturday, we ate lunch at Salsa a la Salsa and were going to head over to the Walker. We had to meet someone on the way, and ended up playing for about an hour at the playground in the park where we met. These are the same friends that I've been flying kites with lately, so we obviously have some issues about being "responsible adults". We ambled over to the Walker, which closes at 5 on Saturdays. I'm not sure why it's not open until 9 like it is on Fridays, but since it was 4:45, we didn't go in. Since we'd recently been to the Cathedral in St. Paul, we decided to visit the Basilica which was holding Mass at the time. We didn't want to walk around during the service, so we headed over to Espresso Royale and had some gelato. We had been walking the whole day, so we headed back to my house and picked up my car so we could go have a bonfire in Como Park. The three fire rings were occupied, so we ended up using a grill to make our fire, but it was a good size for toasting marshmallows. Finally, we went home to watch Team America: World Police and drink some Bacardi Big Apple. I was so tired I feel asleep before the end, but I'd already seen the movie. I trudged back to my house and realized that was the most time I had spent outside in quite a while.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Only too true

The Onion sums up the state of schools in America pretty nicely. The "location" of this article is the town where I went to high school.

PS less than two hours until I see Revenge of the Sith!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I came across a website yesterday that I can only describe as ingenious. The site describes itself as a reusable non-linear personal web notebook - but it's best if you check it out and see for yourself. It's called GTDTiddlyWiki and the best part is that you are encouraged to save the entire html file (a mere 123 KB) and create your own version for personal use. Even though the project is intended as a system for GTD - or Getting Things Done (according to the site, a simple and effective personal productivity method by David Allen), it could easily be used as an actual blog or about a hundred other things.

I find the term GTD a little corny, and think it's easy to turn GTD into just another thing you have to do, instead of using it as a tool. But, I do recognize that as an adult I have Things, most of which need to be Done at some point and it's easy for me to forget about them when they number more than 3. At work, I use Outlook to manage my projects, which works well because most of my incoming requests are via email. It's not that way at home, so I am going to try this out and see how it goes. My current system at home consists of piles of mail and lists that often get misplaced. Something tells me this will work better.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I had the following dream on Saturday night:

There were two brown recluse spiders, a male and female, loose in the apartment where the dream took place. The male was the size of a human hand and looked like a white crab instead of a spider, and the female was tiny. She was made up of 3 or four tiny brown things shaped like toilet plungers, but they were only about a half an inch long. I knew they were dangerous, and my sister's grey kitty was trying to attack the female, so I shooed the cat away when the female bit me on my left hand. In the dream, I knew it was a fatal bite, but someone told me I would be okay, and it was no worse than a bee sting. I looked on my hand, which was hurting by this time, to see a big slash, two teardrop shaped wounds and two puncture wounds. We kept trying to trap the two spiders, but they kept escaping out of the cups and jars we'd catch them in.

High School: I hope these aren't really the best years of my life.

Seventh grade: on to the big, scary high school. Again we got an influx of new kids, this time from the neighboring town that my huge crush was from, so now I got to see him all the time. I assume from this point on that my grade hovered around 275 kids. My niece was born this year, and I found a group of three other girls and we formed a cliche, finally realizing that just because we weren't popular, we could still have friends if we banded together. One of the girls in this group, Windy, decided she liked my huge crush, too, which caused some issues between us since she knew I liked him as well. I met my first official boyfriend in the math class they put me in, although we didn't start going out until the summer. He was from Pennsylvania, and we only dated for about three weeks, but we stayed friends throughout high school. I was the only girl in my Industrial Arts class, which wasn't as bad as it sounds. I learned quite a bit, even when I was lighting the oven to melt something, and I felt an explosion of heat across my face, because I'd left the gas on to long before lighting it. Everyone seemed pretty scared, but I didn't even think anything much had happened. The ends of my hair and eyelashes were singed, but there was no long term damage. Social Studies class was moderately interesting, since we had many debates over "issues" the teacher would present. They consisted of 5 of us doing most of the talking, and the teacher trying to engage the rest of the students who were too shy or apathetic to have an opinion. I joined the Math League (shut up) but didn't do as well as the older kids, who'd had Trigonometry already. We got to read Romeo & Juliet in Lit class, and saw about 20 minutes of the tape, since they wouldn't let us see the nudity and used the Fast Forward button with reckless abandon.

Back to the elementary school building, now magically transformed into a Junior High for Eighth Grade. In making a new school, the administration tried to be forward thinking about policies, which amounted to us all buying an official school version of the Trapper Keeper, and cutting the year into trimesters instead of semesters. This time, my homeroom was the Industrial Arts room, and consisted of both seventh and eighth grade kids whose last names were adjacent to mine. Science had us studying chemistry, denaturing wood, fusing hydrogen and oxygen into water, and running experiments on a mystery mix of stuff to determine what it was (pond water and wood shavings). I went to a MathCounts competition, where I took home trophies in one team and two individual events. Once during a study hall, a substitute librarian decided there were too many kids in the library and started kicking us out. I refused to go and ended up getting disciplined for "Insubordination" (learned a new word that day, too). I told the assistant principal why I had such a bad attitude and she decided I was bored and should read more books. Thanks lady, did you think I hadn't thought of that? I was trying to tell you how the system was failing me and you brushed it off, refusing to think critically about the bureaucracy you were perpetuating. This was the same woman who tried to ban us from wearing t-shirts that said "Button Your Fly" and handkerchiefs on our heads. All of us Bad Attitudes were ready to stage a walk out when they repealed the ban. Geography proved to be an entertaining subject, not the curriculum as much as the teacher. To call this guy a Beach Boy was not only accurate, but also something he would have taken as a compliment. He was one of many teachers who seemed to think injecting their personal opinions into lectures was a good thing. In his case, he used his desk as a platform to tell us our schools were underfunded and it was our parents fault for not wanting high property taxes. He seemed shocked at our apathy.

My romantic life sort of took off this year as well, and I ended up "going out" with eleven guys from September to May. Some of them were Summer Boy again, my huge crush from sixth grade, and a cute but shy swimmer. My best kisser of the year award would have to go to this skinny little blonde guy who had the sides of his head shaved and four sets of braces, (top and bottom, inside and out) when I met him. He was short and skinny, but oozed sex appeal, sort of like Prince. We got caught kissing in the hallway after school, when my Speech teacher walked by and made some comment. I look back now to see she was probably just teasing us a little, but we thought it was serious enough to move our good-bye sessions to the bike rack outside. We went out for a week in January and then 4 weeks in April and May. He broke it off because I confessed to him that I'd thought about cheating on him once after school. Cheating, at this point, meant making out with another guy. At the end of the school year, I started going out with one of my friend's ex-boyfriends. He'd rollerblade over to my house and we'd walk around the lake in the middle of town. We even went swimming at the city pool a few times.

The summer after eighth grade was when I joined Marching Band with Windy. This one time, at Band Camp... okay, I won't go there. Really, Marching Band is a bunch of kids (some with talent, some with too much free time) once again deciding they can still have fun even though they're not popular. This is where I met RichBoy, right in the midst of his break-up with a girl who was essentially me with glasses. He was about to be a Senior, had a car and was exactly my type. The band took a trip to Chicago, where we cemented our relationship by hanging out in each other's hotel rooms until curfew and sleeping next to each other on the bus. I got back from this trip and still had to tell the Rollerblader that it was over. It was easier when I discovered he'd also met someone else. We didn't really think of it as cheating, since we'd never made any kind of commitment. RichBoy and I went out for the rest of the marching season, which was through July, and then I met his friends. This was where it all started getting complicated, since I was liking him less and his friend Jay more. Windy and I found ourselves pulled into this little cliche of RichBoy's that seemed to consist of ten guys and girls all going out with each other, flirting with ones they weren't going out with, and making seven other people jealous in the process.

Ninth grade started with Jay asking me to go to Homecoming with him, but we broke up and RichBoy asked me to go with him instead. It was the last high school dance I'd attend, since I really didn't see the point other than an excuse to dress up. It was much more fun to go out with a bunch of people and bowl or hang out at a restaurant. My social life for the first few months of ninth grade was pretty much Jay, Windy, RichBoy and I breaking up, making up and then driving each other crazy again. Summer Boy and I got into an accelerated Math class that took place after school once a week. This helped us stay close for the next two years. I had been lusting after one guy in particular since the beginning of the school year, but I thought he was way too cool for me. Not in the "I play football and drink too much" way, but the "I have a skateboard and listen to Alternative Music" way (this was 1991, Nirvana was just hitting it big). I'll call him Sky, which works because that's his real name. The friend who had dated the Rollerblader before me was now dating Sky's best friend, who was a big geek, and might have just been a weed connection for all I know. Somehow, I ended up hanging out at her house with Sky and his best friend quite a bit, which led to us going out for two months. Once while at his house, he told me about this cool band he loved so much that he'd worn out the lettering on the tape. I thought he said they were called the Violet Fence - only later did I realize he was talking about the Violent Femmes. We were all hanging out a the local skating rink quite a bit these days, and that ended up being our downfall. One cold day in February, I got to the rink to see that none of my close friends were there, not even Sky. There were two guys that I knew, so I sat with them. I'd had a thing for one of them earlier in the school year, but I sat with the other one and ended up getting very cozy with him through the evening. I'm still very much dating Sky at this point, and I confess this to him, but he has no reaction and says we should just move on from it. I was relieved at the time, but maybe I should have seen that as a warning sign. We grew apart and I had my friend, who was still with his friend, break it off with him two months to the day after we started going out. I probably owed him more than that.

Academically, ninth grade meant that I got to take a Russian class as well as General Drafting and Graphic Design. The Drafting class showed me that I probably didn't want to be an architect, like I had been planning. Russian was enlightening, because I got to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and sit by a dreamy junior with long blonde hair and an extremely sarcastic sense of humor. Last time I saw him was at a record store in my hometown. I had Science and Civics with this hot, preppie guy that I always seemed compete with for the highest grade in the class. I wonder what happened to him. Anyway, this Science class was taught by a woman so humorless and morose that we called her Morticia. At one point I even told her straight out that the other kids weren't understanding what she was teaching, implying she was doing it wrong. She reacted like any adult would when told by a fourteen year old that they're wrong, by telling me to keep my opinions to myself and telling the class to come to her if they had trouble. They didn't listen to her and kept asking me for help instead.

The next summer's marching season introduced Windy and I to a new cliche of girls, one of whom was the older sister to an ex-boyfriend of mine. There were six girls and one guy in this cliche, and he was younger than all of us. I had a mad crush on this guy, as did one of the other cliche members (surprisingly not Windy this time), so we played it off by teasing him mercilessly about having a thing with one of the chaperones. These girls introduced me to the humor that is Dr Demento.

I don't remember all of the thinking and decisions that led to me attending private school for tenth grade, but I know being bored out of my mind in public school was part of it. This school was about 45 minutes away from my house and was a Catholic school that helped prepare students for college. There were kids from the surrounding towns who bussed in, and also a large number of residential students from other states and countries. We had maybe 150 students in 9th-12th grades. I was still taking accelerated Math after school, was in accelerated German, took a Law class with Seniors, had to take a Theology class and was pretty well challenged the first semester. To help pay my tuition, I worked the snack bar every other lunch hour, cleaned the school on Saturdays and even helped lug equipment for the soccer team. I had one best friend, and through her I had a close circle of about five more. Girls were in the minority by about 4 to 1 at this school, but I still wasn't able to make any guy friends, much less get a boyfriend. It seemed like I was surrounded by hot guys, but I was just not comfortable enough with myself to make a connection with any of them. I had put on some weight, due to stress I think, and was generally unhappy by the time Spring arrived, so I told my mother I'd like to go back to public school. RichBoy and I were still friends and he sensed how unhappy I was. He wanted us to start seeing each other again, but I turned him down. To his credit, it didn't make things weird between us. During this year, the Good Kisser, Windy and Sky all ended up dropping out of school. In retrospect, going to another school probably shielded me from being involved in some of the more criminal activities that related to their departures.

Marching band over the next summer was yet another cliche of seven girls and one guy - sensing a theme here? This time, Windy got this cute cymbal player, Mitchell, into our little group, which was up to ten when we included one of the girls' boyfriend and the guy who followed them both around. We usually took over the back of one of the busses and generally raised havoc. Mitchell and I got to be better friends, and in fact he was the only friend that lasted from tenth grade to post high school. I got my first job this summer as well, cashier at a discount store. It was nice to have cash, and the young guy from last summer worked there as well. He didn't go to my school and had quit marching band, so that was the only time I got to see him. I was still a chicken, however, and never told him I liked him. That's probably a good thing, since it's possible that he's gay. I had no gaydar back then, but I think if I met him now, I'd assume so. The same is true of Mitchell, except that he has actually told me that he's gay, but not until just a few years ago. Of course I wish these guys would have felt they could come out to me at the time, but I also realize they had their own stuff to deal with that had zilch to do with me.

Eleventh Grade brought me back to the public school I'd attended in seventh and ninth grades. I was on the Yearbook staff, since my sister was the editor, and I took classes at the local college for the first half of the day. I took an entire year of College Russian, a quarter of German and one of African Literature. I also did poorly in Chemistry class that year. My friends were a cliche of girls that I all knew from different places, a few from marching band, Summer Boy's little sister, and two girls from my church. We ate lunch together and did crosswords puzzles in the library after our homework was finished (wow, that's enough to put you sleep). I stupidly took an AP History class this year, instead of regular one, hoping to get some College credit. My teacher did a good job of mixing his political views with the dryness of American History, and I did a good job ignoring him while cross-stitching in the back of the class. I'd never needed to study before, but this was the rare class where the required reading really was required. I think I managed a C-. There was really only one guy that I hung out with that year. He was a bit of a geek that had a crush on me in seventh grade. We saw each other at school and talked on the phone, but never actually went out for some reason.

During the marching season after eleventh grade, Mitchell and I made a small cliche out of Windy's cousin and the Drum Major's little sister. Sometimes we included two other friends of his, a very skinny girl and a chubby guy. Mitchell had switched from the cymbals to the trombone, and I was now captain of the Honor Guard because I was the only veteran. I got to carry around a saber and whip it around when I saluted. Too bad it was only sharp at the tip! I quit my job at the store in August so I could go on a trip and take Driver's Ed. In October, I got a new job at a fabric and crafts store.

In Twelfth Grade, we took the ACT and my score was a 33 out of 36. I don't know how that translates to an SAT score, but I do know it's pretty good, even though my counselor just said I did "a good job" in a weird, non-encouraging way. I was taking a few college classes and some back at my high school, but it was just too easy to take a day off here and there. My sister had gone off to college, leaving her car behind, and I taught myself how to drive after I got my permit. I found that I had all the mechanics and rules down, I just needed practice driving so closely to other cars. I had a poetry class with one of Richboy's friends, who recognized me and brought me over to the dining hall with him one day and I got to see Richboy. I knew he had recently become a father and got an invitation to his wedding, which I had skipped for some reason.

I was bored - as I had been for most of the last thirteen years. I didn't see the point to all of this, so I started skipping two days here and taking an afternoon off there. I wrote myself excuse notes and made up any homework I'd missed in the two high school classes I was still enrolled in. The irony is that some of the days I skipped my school, I hung out with Mitchell and his friends at their high school. Finally I didn't go for 5 days in a row and the school called my mother at work. When she called to see what was going on, I told her how bored I was with all of it, and that I really didn't think I could take it anymore. She was great about it all and didn't make me feel as if I'd disappointed her in any way. She said I had to see a shrink and talk to my counselor at school about my options. He gave us some guff about them "giving me all kinds of opportunities" and basically defended the system again. I told him I just wanted to finish what I needed to and get my diploma, since I had enough credits but not all the required ones. For the last few months of my senior year, I went to the alternative high school where so many of my friends had ended up. I even saw the Good Kisser and Windy a few times. The set-up was that I had two credits of English and one of Social Studies to finish, so I got about 10 minutes with each teacher on the days I chose to come in, and after about 15 assignments, they'd grant me one credit. The 10 minutes consisted of me handing in my homework, a little discussion and them giving me the new assignment. My English teacher had me read A Thousand Acres, Jane Eyre and King Lear, which quickly became my favorite Shakespeare play. All in all, it seemed like this is where I should have been for the last two years. But I had not put my slacker ways completely behind me and I didn't exactly finish both of my English credits by the end of the year. They let me go through the regular ceremony anyway, but no diploma. I never went back to finish that credit, and ended up getting my GED in 1998.

Maybe I'll have some reflective analysis on this soon, as I've never written it all out at once like this.