Monday, June 30, 2003

Warped Tour 2003

Saturday was Warped Tour in Somerset, Wisconsin. Kristin and I went and had a blast! Now, just like last year, here is the review of the day. For those of you who don’t enjoy punk music, this may not be a very interesting read, but for anyone who does, here’s the rundown of the bands that we saw. Oh, and just for fun, I thought I would review the bands a little different this year. Each band that we saw I think deserves an award (and this is also a nice way to summarize their sets). Anyhow, lets get on with it. Here are the bands that we saw in the order we saw them along with what I thought:

Most Thankful Band: Flashlight Brown. This was the first band of the day for us. We went to one of the smaller stages because Avenged Sevenfold were supposed to play, but they switched to a different stage and the schedule wasn’t updated. Instead, I got to see these guys. Never having heard them before, I thought that they were a decent band. They had a pop-punk meets Rancid style of sound which I thought was cool. They thanked the crowd about 10 times for being so great and so big. I enjoyed their set and they were a great way to start the day. Now we were off to the main stage to see what was up there.

Most Gender Confused Band: Damone. Ok, I would have thought that this band was made up entirely of men if I hadn’t heard two of them singing. They were some pretty manly looking women (well, two of them were, I’m assuming the other two actually were men). Their music was ok, but I really didn’t like them. Their songs were too simple and dumb and I just didn’t enjoy them. Well, at least we got a good laugh out of how manly the women in the band were.

Best Performance of the Day: Mad Caddies. Oh my gosh, I loved their set. The were easily the most fun to watch out of all the bands. Their combination of punk, ska, and comedy worked perfectly. I really enjoyed their pirate song. The lead singer’s voice was also amazing in that he could do so much with it and that it was also pitch perfect for almost the entire set. If you want to see a really fun ska band, these are the guys to go see.

Worst Performance of the Day: Andrew W.K. Holy crap did they suck. What made them look even worse was the fact that they came on right after the Mad Caddies, who were so good, and proceeded to suck and blow at the same time. The music was muddled and just sounded bad. AWK simply yelled into the mic occasionally and ran around hitting himself and pointing out that we were all alive and not dead. Duh, like I didn’t know that. The only reason that AWK received as big of a round of applause as he did from Kristin and I is because he was finally done and we wouldn’t have to listen to him anymore. This was easily one of the worst performances I have ever witnessed on a stage. Horrible.

Best Female Fronted Band of the Day: Tsunami Bomb. Their set was a tight performance of straight up punk with vocals done beautifully by their female lead. I really enjoyed their set, but I was a little put off by their stage presence. They seemed to be in a daze while they were playing and really didn’t seem into it at all. Listening to them, I really enjoyed their music, but watching them I was bored.

Largest and Rowdiest Crowd: Dropkick Murphys. Holy sh*t was this one hell of a rowdy performance. Kristin and I were up in front from watching Tsunami Bomb and as soon as Dropkick came on, the entire crowd surged and then started moshing like hell. Kristin and I slowly floated towards the back through the sea of moshing fans. Jared, this would have been a pit from your dreams! They were pretty good, but it was weird that in their 30 minutes set 2 of their songs were covers. They did a CCR song and “Dirty Deeds” by AC/DC. I really liked both covers and the rest of the set wasn’t too bad either. They have a somewhat “busy” sound in that they seemed to not all be in synch all of the time, but I guess that little bit was to be expected considering how energetic they all were on stage.

Most Technically Sound Musicians: Thrice. I really like Thrice and seeing them perform was fun. They had a somewhat smaller crowd, but they performed wonderfully. They played all of their songs very tightly and I was impressed by their musical talents. I don’t know what else to say about these guys except that they played some great emo-hardcore. I can’t wait for a new disc from these guys.

Most Erratic Band of the Day: Glassjaw. These guys were high on my list of must-see bands for the day. After seeing them, however, I was a little bit disappointed. Their set was good, but very erratic. They started out with a couple of heavy tunes off of Worship & Tribute, but then they played some mellower songs, did some rappy breakdown, and finished off their set with songs from Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Silence. They still put on a good show, but they didn’t live up to all of the hype they have garnered.

Smallest and Most Disinterested Crowd of the Day: Poison the Well. I had really thought that they would have had a larger crowd since they were one of the few true hardcore bands on the tour. Surely all the hardcore kiddies would show up to listen, right? Wrong. They played to a small crowd (smaller than many side-stage acts) who really didn’t get into their music. I really couldn’t get into that much either. I enjoy their cds, but they just didn’t translate very well to the stage. There wasn’t really very much interesting during their set besides lots of screaming and some occasional heavy riffs.

Band Most Liked By Kristin: The Ataris. This is the band that Kristin came to see. They had some technical problems at the beginning of their set, but after that they played a great set. They also did their classic routine where they bring someone from the crowd up to play guitar with them. It was fun and I enjoyed their energy and enthusiasm while playing. The big moment for Kristin is when they played “Boys of Summer” since that’s her favorite song by them. Great band, I liked them a lot.

Most Gothic Punk Band Ever: AFI. When I saw AFI at Warped two years ago I thought they sucked. Seeing them this year they were a little better, mostly because they were playing songs from their newest cd, Sing the Sorrow. The über-high pitched vocals got a little bit unnerving during their set. As tolerable as it is on their cds, live it becomes a little grating. The Somerset show was their last of the Warped tour so they did a bunch of thank you’s while up on stage. They were originally found by Rancid, which I never knew before, so Davey Havok’s thank you stuff was at least informative!

Most Anonymous Band: Face to Face. I don’t know why, but every time I have seen Face to Face, they feel like they have nothing to set them apart from every other punk band out there (the same can be said of Alkaline Trio, in my opinion). They played a great set, I enjoyed all of their songs, and for some reason, I still have a hard time picking out a defining feature of their music. Eh, I dunno. What I do know, though, is that they are a fun band to watch.

Band that Most Resembled a Boy Band: Simple Plan. I haven’t been the biggest fans of Simple Plan because they’re a little bit too poppy for my tastes, but they did put on a great show to a very hostile crowd. There was a big pocket of people giving them the finger the entire time they were playing and also holding up signs professing how crappy of a band Simple Plan was. I don’t understand why people would do that. Does it make you seem more hardcore if you put down a band that isn’t to your liking. Just go watch someone else if you don’t like Simple Plan. They handled it extremely well, though, and even dedicated a song to the idiots in the crowd. At least they made it comical instead of being all pissed off because some people don’t know how to act like anything but an idiot. Also, they did a good cover of “American Jesus” by Bad Religion.

Band in the Biggest Drug-Filled Haze: The Used. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in as much of a drug induced stupor as the lead singer of The Used. He came out on stage, didn’t really know what was going on, thought they were the last band, and asked his band members & the crowd “What the f*ck is going on?” at least 5 times. It was almost comical. When they were playing songs they were putting on a good show, but half of their set time was spent with the lead singer talking nonsensically and wandering around. I think they would have been great had they not been on so many drugs.

Most Punk Punk Band: Rancid. Every time I have seen these guys they have not disappointed me. This time was no exception. Being this was AFI’s last show they had Davey Havok come out and sing “Radio” with them which was a great combo. Also, Skinhead Rob from the Transplants did a song with them. They played a lot of their classics which got the huge crowd they amassed moving. They tried out a few new songs, but I didn’t think they were that good. If the new stuff they played is a preview of their upcoming disc, I have a feeling it isn’t going to be all that great. All in all, though, this was another great Rancid performance.

Most Energetic Band of the Day: Less Than Jake. For being the last band, they sure had a lot of energy and really tried to get the crowd into it. A lot of people were leaving while they were playing to try and get a jump on traffic so I felt a little bad for them. That didn’t deter them at all. In fact, I think it might have motivated them to be as energetic as they were. They played fast, furious, and all over both stages. They were running all over, playing up a storm, shooting t-shirts into the crowd and heckling all the people who were leaving. These guys were even better than the last time I had seen them. I don’t think I would have wanted any other band to end the day.

Whew, another Warped Tour down. I had an absolutely wonderful time and I am already anticipating next year’s tour. Ok, I’d write more, but I’m all spent. I wish you all could have been there on Saturday. It was great!

Friday, June 27, 2003

Don't Borrow Stuff Without Asking

ell, there’s a Strike Team Improv show tonight so anyone who can possibly make it should. We’re going to be trying out a few new games tonight that STI has never performed so you could be seeing some groundbreaking improv! It’s going to be extra improv from me as two of the games that my team are playing I have never played, practiced, or announced for so they’re going to be firsts for me in every way conceivable. Let’s just hope that because they’re going to be the first time I’ve played them that I don’t suck too bad.

I’m starting to wonder about some of our choices for improv games lately. It seems that we’re trying a little too hard to come up with new games and try different games that we haven’t done before instead of sticking with some of the classics. I was talking with Stefan at work yesterday and he brought up a very good point in that a lot of the older games that we have dropped, a good portion of the crowd really enjoyed. They may not have been the group’s favorite games to do, but they excited the crowd. This may also be a reason that our crowds have been down this year as compared to last year—we’re not giving them what they’re used to. Anyhow, I just hope that the new games go well tonight.

Tomorrow is also going to be a big day for me as I’ll be going to Warped Tour with Kristin. I’ve been waiting for this for quite a while now. I remember last year’s show and how sweet it was (well, except for the thunderstorm causing Bad Religion and Good Charlotte to have to cancel their sets). It looks like it should be good weather tomorrow. Mid 70’s with a 50 percent chance of rain. If anything, the rain with make it fun! Tune in on Monday for my review of the show. No doubt it will awesome.

Ok, I’ve got to get this off of my chest because it’s been bothering me for a while. One thing that really annoys me is not getting back something you’ve borrowed out to someone in a timely fashion, especially when you want it for some reason. During finals week this year, a friend of Karl and me came to help him move out. I was gone while they were packing him up so when I got back he was gone……along with some of my dvd’s. I thought some of the guys across the hall might have borrowed them. That would be cool. They do it all the time.

I was wrong. There was a note on my computer that said “Took some of your movies. I’ll get them back to you soon. –Matt”. Grrrrr……don’t take my crap without asking. That’s another pet peeve of mine. Ok, I probably wouldn’t have been mad at all if one of the movies he took hadn’t been the movie I planned on watching that night (Road to Perdition). So I was grumpy about it. Eh, I’d get over it and I’d have them back soon enough. That was around May 5th or so. What’s today’s date? June 27th, you say? Almost two months have gone by and I haven’t got my movies back. Even after repeated promises that he’d bring them back and numerous reminders from me, they’re still in his possession……and now he’s in Chicago for the weekend.

I think the moral of this story is: DON’T TAKE MY STUFF AND NOT RETURN IT! This is a very quick way to get me pissed off (besides taking my stuff without asking, sorry, I’m possessive). Whew, I feel a lot better now that I’ve got that out of my system. I’ll keep you updated and let you know when I get it back. If anyone cares, I’ve started a thread on the message board betting on when I’ll actually get my movies back. Hurry up and chime in before I actually get them back! The closest person will get a special prize from me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The Hulk

Last night my whole family went out to see the Hulk. It was kind of a “family bonding” thing, which I always enjoy. You never seem to get enough time to just spend with family, especially during the summer when everyone seems to be doubly busy. I thought the Hulk was a great movie. My brothers and dad also thought it was ok (but I don’t think they enjoyed it as much as I did), but my mom wasn’t all that keen on it. I guess you can’t please everyone.

As good as the movie was, seeing it where we did was a pain. We had to go see it at the Sterling 3 theater in Austin since the big Cinemagic theater wasn’t playing it. This is always a bummer. You see, Sterling hasn’t updated anything inside of their theater since, oh, probably 1985. Imagine what the inside of most dollar theaters are like and this is a perfect representation of it. The chairs are old, tattered, and discolored. The theater screen is about half the size of most modern screens. The sound system is a basic stereo setup with low volume. Ahhh!!!! It’s just a terrible theater.

Ok, so it’s a bad theater, that’s established. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Hulk in such lo-fi conditions if it wouldn’t have been so expensive to see it. For our family to see the movie it was $39.00. Wow, that’s expensive. To make matters worse, not only was the place ghetto as ever, but the screen was so dirty that the film constantly looked distorted and there was a big light spot on the lower left side of the screen the entire time. It was terrible! Either my mother or I are going to call them and ask for a refund because I could have downloaded a better copy of the movie off of the internet and watched it at home. I don’t think that the proliferation of high-speed internet leads to piracy. No, it’s the shoddy theaters charging steep prices for crappy showings.

Well, I really don’t have much more to say now that I’ve vented about the crappy theater. Hmm……I guess I’m just kind of boring. Eh……

Monday, June 23, 2003

Staind Lyrics or Children's Poetry?

I have a quiz for you all to start off today’s thought. I was listening to the new Staind cd again and couldn’t help but notice, yet again, that the lyrics are absolutely horrible. They seem like they’re written by elementary school kids. Well, I decided I’d compare some elementary poetry and some Staind lyrics to see if we can come up with any differences. So, for the following lyrics, I want you to tell me if they are A) Staind lyrics or B) elementary kids’ poetry. The answers can be found at the end of today’s thought.

One summer day in the
in the month of May,
I was making my way through
the rain that day.

you'll never fade
the words you gave
my life you saved
your name was layne

so please don't take offense
this is just a point of view
cuz i'm the only one who
will say these things to you

Higher and higher
and higher I soar
The earth can not chain
me down anymore

my place to hide
to hide from how you made me feel
and I wonder how's your brother

I feel the tide move me back and forth
I feel peaceful when I am floating
I feel warm with each push of the breeze

I walked around
I lied around
I walked up to my mother and father
and asked them why! why! why!

thank you to the people in my life
for putting up with me
and thank you for the time you sacrificed
all on account of me

I’m laughing just from having to read through a bunch of kid’s poetry and then reading Staind’s lyrics and forgetting which one I was looking at! Ahh, I thought this might be enjoyable, so feel free to send it on to your friends! Remember, the answers are at the bottom of this thought.

Anyhow, again, it’s been a while since my last update. Alas, you’ll just get a lot crammed into one thought! This weekend I was up in St. Cloud again to visit Kristin. I headed up Friday afternoon at about 1 pm, hoping to avoid traffic, but instead I managed to hit it head-on. It took me over three hours to get to St. Cloud instead of the usual 2.25 or 2.5 hours it takes on a normal day. Oh, just in case you don’t know, I absolutely loathe driving for long periods of time. Anything over like a half an hour or so it usually too long for me. Driving 35-40 minutes every morning and afternoon to and from work is really pushing my limits, but I’ve been able to handle it ok so far.

Anyhow, I got up there, stopped in the comic shop to pick up some more boxes for storage and also to get the first couple of issues in the new Venom series. He’s always been a favorite Marvel villain in my eyes, just in case you’re wondering. After the quick comic stop, I got to Kristin’s place, hung out, ate, and then went out to catch a movie and some Cold Stone ice cream. Oh, how I had missed it so! It’s going to be a terrible combination when they finally get the Krispy Kreme constructed. I think I’ll probably die via donuts and ice cream next semester.

Saturday Kristin worked in the morning so I did some shopping and people watching around town. I also spent a good amount of time reading out in the sun since it was such a nice day—sunny and 80-odd degrees. The rest of the day was spent with Kristin. We went to the gardens in St. Cloud again (I still can’t remember the name of the place!) to see if there were any more flowers in bloom, but unfortunately there wasn’t really anything new from the last time we stopped in.

Sunday I headed back home early in the morning, got home at about noon, put a bunch of stuff away that I had out, did some random chores, tried to clean some in my room, fixed up my bike, road over to church for softball, played some ball, rode back home, did some reading, and then hit the sack. It really wasn’t that interesting of a day so I though I’d summarize it in one quick sentence for you :-) Ok, well, this is simply another recounting of my weekend activities, but hopefully soon I’ll have something interesting up for the few of you who are still reading. Later! Oh, and here’s the answers to the above quiz:

1)B 2)A 3)A 4)B 5)A 6)B 7) B 8)A

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Me, a Geek?

Yeah, I’ve been really bad this summer about keeping up my writing on a daily basis. For some reason, I just don’t seem to have the time to do it as often. Usually I do it right after lunch here at work, but the last couple days I’ve ended up having things to do in the afternoon so the website gets a little short-changed. Anyhow, let me explain why there was a lack of updating the last two days.

Tuesday was a fun in the sun day, through and through. I had work in the morning, but in the afternoon, the entire Kingland crew went to a Rochester Honkers baseball game for a company outing. We all had tickets to the party deck at the stadium as well as just going to the game. At the party deck we could eat and drink as much as we wanted too. I managed to have four bacon cheeseburgers and about 10 glasses of Diet Pepsi (I needed caffeine, but didn’t want empty calories). It was really a lot of fun as I just got to sit out on the deck, chill with Stefan, Pete, and Karen, and watch the baseball game. Afterwards, I got home, went for a run, played some basketball, played some bocce, and then eventually went to bed. Whew, that day done.

Yesterday we had a meeting most of the afternoon and I had to finish up the release notes that I was working on so I didn’t have time to throw anything up, even though I had intentions of doing so. As soon as work was I done I was at home taking a run, playing basketball and bocce, and then hitting the sack again.

I am really enjoying this nice weather that we have been having lately, mostly because I don’t have an excuse for not exercising anymore. Usually when my body would feel lazy I’d come up with some lame excuse to justify to myself why I wasn’t going for a run or something. “It’s too cold out”, “It’s raining”, “It’s getting dark out”, or “It looks like storms” are only a few of the lame ones I usually toss out to myself. With perfectly sunny and 80 degree days, I really have nothing to complain about……well, I suppose I could use the “It’s too hot out excuse”, but I usually don’t let myself get away with that one.

I hope you’re all enjoying this thought thoroughly because you might not be getting another one until Monday because I’m heading up to St. Cloud for the weekend. I thought it was about time that I went up to visit Kristin again (and I got directions from a friend online to a comic shop right on my way there that has a lot of cheap comics, so I planned on stopping quick to see if I could complete some runs I’ve been looking for).

Monday, June 16, 2003

A Day After Father's Day

So what did you get your dad for daddy’s day? I had a good dad’s day yesterday and I hope you all did as well. For my dad, we got him a new gas grill and took him out for supper. I think the grill that we bought for him is one of the biggest grills known to man. You could probably put an entire cow inside of this thing and cook to perfection. I told my dad that we’re going to have to have a gigantic party at our place to see how much we can grill and how fast. You just have test out this thing’s limits……

It really was a great day for father’s day. Mostly sunny, 80 some degrees out, and hardly any wind. Since it was so nice out I also took the opportunity to play some bocce with Ryan and wash my car. I think that this is probably the first time my car has gotten washed within the last month or more. Usually I get a fifty cent car wash when I fill up with gas during school up in St. Cloud, but being down here none of the gas stations around have that deal so I never really get around to washing my car. I couldn’t let it go any longer and it was pretty nice out so I just did it.

Backing up a day, Saturday was also a beautiful day. In the morning I ran a 5K in Austin that the local YMCA was sponsoring (and by sponsoring, I mean that they are holding it and making us pay $18 to run in it). I ran it with my friend Caleb who, by the way, ended up finishing second overall in the race. I was very impressed, especially since I had a very lackluster time myself (I’m not even going to post it because it is one of the crappiest times I’ve had for a 5K ever). Even though I did have a bad time, I still managed to eek out second place in my age group and 19th place overall. One thing this race has showed is that I need to be putting in a lot more miles than I have been if I want to be competitive the rest of the summer, especially in the longer races like the 5 mile in Austin coming up and 10K’s.

Afterwards, I went home and took a little nap. You know, I really wonder why the US doesn’t switch to a schedule like Japan and Mexico have where everything closes down for a couple of hours over the noon hour for a nap break. I would really love a nap at work every day. Instead, I always make a couple of trips over to the coffee pot to re-caffeinate myself so that I’m awake for the afternoon. Anyhow, the rest of the day was nice and I spent it mowing the lawn and relaxing outside reading.

Now let’s jump back one more day to Friday (isn’t it odd going counter-chronological? I think it is). Friday night we had a Strike Team Improv show to put on. Anyhow, our show didn’t go very well. We had a small crowd for the second week in a row. I really don’t know why our crowd size is waning this year. Maybe it is because we haven’t advertised. Maybe it’s because we aren’t the new thing to do anymore. Maybe we’re not fresh enough. I really don’t know, but I hope that our crowd size picks up soon because it is hard playing to a smaller crowd. You don’t get the response you’re looking for and that often breaks down your stage presence making it harder to really focus yourself on the games. You start thinking more about why people aren’t there or why the laughs aren’t as many instead of keeping your head into the improv games.

Our show was also a stressful one because one of our team members didn’t show up until about a half hour before the show (we’re supposed to be there about an hour and a half early to prepare for the show and warm up). We scrambled to find a replacement and were busy monkeying around with that instead of focusing on the show. She eventually made it, but to complicate our show, the intro by our host for the night utterly bombed. I don’t know if he just didn’t realize that his monologue was bombing or what, but it drug on for way too long and it was horribly unfunny. Our game order also got messed up, the beat for poetry slam (one of our games) was way too fast, and the inspiration for the games was pretty lackluster at best (not the audience’s fault. Our host was just taking stupid inspirations). Blech, I just didn’t like this show. Hopefully we’ll have a better show next time.

Friday, June 13, 2003

I'm Pretty Tired

I’m starting to think that as the summer has arrived (today it is quite evident that it is indeed summer – 80 odd degrees out) that the readership on this website has started to wane. I’ve not only noticed that with my site but with a lot of weblogs that I read. A few others with message boards like mine have been experiencing a heavy decline in posting just as I have. It might also be that I haven’t updated my site as much in the last few days, but I think it’s more the season than anything.

Everyone, no matter what you do or who you are, always seems to get busier when summer arrives. This is definitely the case with me. I’ve got work which dominates my day, stealing around 9.5 hours a day from my play time. I also have improv three days a week and the time between work and improv is often spent lounging around in Roch since I can’t really go home. The other nights it seems like I always have all kinds of things I want to do and I just can’t get around to them. Honestly, summer is so much more busy and stressful than college is. I dread January arriving and being done with school permanently (well, let’s hope I get back to grad school eventually).

I’m also so much more tired during the summer. It seems like I’m always struggling to stay awake to do things. I really don’t know what it is, but I would assume that I would be a lot more energetic with the nice weather and the open expanses of the country. I’m not, though. Even right now I’m really pushing to keep my eyes open writing this thought. I am wanting a nap so badly but I still have at least an hour of work left and then I have to head over to improv to get ready for the show and then I have our show. The shows are another thing that really add to my being tired. Every show drains me and tonight will only be worse since it’s hot as hell out and there’ll be 100 people or so packed into a non-air conditioned theater. Ughh.

Am I getting old? Maybe I’ve passed my prime and I’m starting my downhill roll already. I hope not, but some days it really feels like it. So does any of this have anything to do with my site being read less? No, not really, I just thought that it was interesting that the people reading this site has declined. Eh, I pretty much just do this site for myself anyways as a way of talking to myself and keeping a psuedo-journal, so it shouldn’t matter that not many people come here. Ok, whatever, I’m going to go throw some cold water on my face and try to wake up.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Sulphuric Acid Today

This morning was a very important morning, one that will not soon be forgotten. The importance of this morning only comes once every year. Many people dread this day, some enjoy it, others would rather avoid it and put it off as long as they can. I, on the other hand, simply experience it. Yes, you may have guessed, today is the one day of the year that I have to visit the dentist.

I really never mind going to the dentist very much, mostly because I’ve never had any problem with my teeth—no cavities, no gum disease, and no other oral maladies. One of my front teeth, however, is partially fake as I had it knocked out with a baseball bat, by my neighbor, at church softball, when I was about 10. This visit went quite smoothly once again, but I was a little disconcerted by having my teeth cleaned by an intern. I think the main reason I was leery of having an intern do it is because I am an intern so I know how horribly out of my league I am with some of the projects here in the office. It turned out ok, though, so I won’t complain.

My dentist looked over my teeth after they had been clean and let me know how wonderful of a job I do keeping them clean. He did have one concern, though, in that there was some decalcification on my bottom two wisdom teeth. They wouldn’t have to be removed, I was assured, but they would have to be sealed. Before they can be sealed, though, he would have to chisel down into them, clean them out, and then seal over it. This makes sure that there is no residue or anything that could cause decay underneath the sealant. I’m not exactly looking forward to it because he said he could do it “relatively painless”, which to me means, “it’s gonna hurt, but not enough to give you drugs for it.” I’m scheduled to have this done July 3rd. I’ll tell you how it goes then.

As I was working this morning, I received an email from Kristin and she ended the email with the chemical formula, H2SO4. Not remembering exactly what chemical this was, I looked out on the internet to find out what this formula stood for. I eventually found out that it is the chemical formula for sulfuric acid. In my quest, however, I stumbled upon a very interesting site – Sulfuric Acid Today. It appears that this chemical has warranted its own site and magazine. You can actually subscribe to Sulfuric Acid Today. This utterly blew my mind. Since it did, I thought I’d pass on the info to you. Don’t thank me, I’m just trying to bring a little slice of joy to every one of you.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Ryan's Confirmation Bash

Friday was the first Strike Team Improv show of the year and while we had a great show, performance-wise, we had a small crowd of only about 75. Our venue can hold 120 and we usually sold out our shows last year, so it was a little different coming out to see open seats in the audience. The difference this year, I think, is that we haven’t done any advertising and our show was also the same night as graduations for both Century and Mayo high schools (2 out of the big 3 high schools in Rochester). We were still glad to see as many familiar faces there as we did.

Jeff, Nikki, and Kristin Hunter were down to watch the show (thanks again for making the trip) so afterwards we went out to TGI Friday’s for a late supper. It was good to hang out again since we haven’t really seen much of each other at all over the course of the summer. It’s too bad they couldn’t have all spent the weekend down here in Roch, but even though I only saw them for a few hours, it was still good to see them.

Saturday I had planned on sleeping in as I had been not getting much sleep during the week, but I was awoken by Chris to go garage sale shopping in Hayfield. We try to do this every year and find random junk. This year I ended up coming home with 2 bikes and neither of them cost me a single penny. They were both free. Chris and I rode them around town for a while, even in spite of their tires being a tad bit flat. We also found some random old Hayfield jerseys and odd stuff. I wish I would have had my camera with because there were some really weird things for sale at a lot of these sales.

Most of the rest of Saturday was spent cleaning the house for Ryan’s confirmation on Sunday and playing Bocce ball with Randy and my dad. Turns out that my dad frickin’ rocks at playing Bocce as he thoroughly beat the crap out of us at it. I’d been wanting a Bocce set for a while now and my mom, being the wonderful person she is, picked up a nice set the last time she was in town. The only thing, though, with playing at our house is that we have to avoid all of the gravel areas of our yard. Later that night Chris came back over and watched a movie with Randy and I. Ah, that topped off that evening.

Sunday was Ryan’s big day—his confirmation. We had the confirmation church service in the morning, which clocked in at a little over an hour and 45 minutes (give or take 15 minutes as I wasn’t paying the closest attention to my watch). Afterwards we had a party for Ryan at our house which consisted of lots of relatives coming over to eat and talk while I played a lot of table soccer and bocce. My uncles Dave and Jim managed to trounce me and my cousin, Lance, at table soccer, but I was unbeaten at bocce. We had a little bit of a competition going on throughout the day.

As the day started waning away, I went for a bike ride on one of my new bikes to make sure it was usable for distances longer than a couple hundred meters. It held up nicely, but I need to oil the chain and raise the seat some. After that’s done I’ll have a great bike to ride, and best of all, it was free!

Friday, June 06, 2003

Opening Night for Strike Team Improv

So, tonight is our first Strike Team Improv show of the summer. I’m thinking we’re ready, and I hope to see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Our show is going to be a lot more professional this year as we have a lot of additions from last year.

First, we have a new member, Becka, who has taken the spot vacated by Erin who is sadly not with us this summer. Second, our stage is a lot different. It’s raised about three feet off of the ground this year instead of the measly foot it was last year, so we should be easily visible even from the back seats. Also new for the stage is the background that we made. We have a huge painting with our name and two characters on it—Strikey and Strikebot. Strikey was our mascot last year (he looks a little like a sailor) and this year we’d added Strikebot.

I really like the addition of Strikebot, and the way we have it painted, one team’s mascot will be Strikey while the other’s will be Strikebot. This gives each show a little more of a visible rivalry. That, and they also look bad-ass. I’m hoping to get some pictures of them up sometime soon. Oh, we also have a nice sound system for our shows too, so we’ll be doing more music intros and clips during the show. I don’t know how well that will work out, but we’ll know after tonight. More stuff—we’ve also got tech people this summer. Someone is doing all the music work and then we have people doing lighting too.

Thinking about it now, we’ve really made a big jump from last year to this year. I’m getting more anxious for the show now! The only drawback about our shows is that we can only seat about 100-120 people per show and more often that not last year we had to turn people away because we were at capacity. I remember our final show of the summer last year when we had people waiting outside almost an hour before the show started so that they could get in and get a good seat. If we have that strong of a showing this year, it’ll be wonderful.

Now on another note, today is also another special day. It just so happens to be Kristin’s and my sixth month anniversary. Hard to imagine it’s been half a year already. I guess time just flies along, but just to put it in perspective in my mind, I started thinking about my grandparents 50th anniversary which they are celebrating this year and I realized that our six months is only 1/100 of how long they’ve been together. Whoa…… That seems so weird a statistic. Any way you look at it, though, it’s been a great last six months, and who knows, maybe in a year you’ll be reading about our 18th month anniversary.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Mr. Clean

Yesterday was cleaning day. Ryan is getting confirmed this Sunday so we have to have the house spic and span for the confirmation party that we’re having for him afterwards. I had the daunting task of cleaning our basement and also trying to make some semblance of my room. I am still not completely moved back in from college.

The vacuuming of the basement wasn’t the hard part of the cleaning. That’s actually pretty easy—turn vacuum on, move it around the carpet for a while, repeat. The hard part was moving all the furniture around and organizing all our junk that’s accumulated in various corners and places in our living room downstairs. My mommy wanted to make sure that the basement was über-clean so I moved everything out and vacuumed instead of just vacuuming around stuff. It was kind of fun to reorganize my dvd’s and such because I noticed that I had a bunch of them that I forgot I owned.

The real task, which is yet to be finished, is the migrating of all the comic books I’ve been sorting in the weight room/office part of the basement into my room which, by the way, doesn’t have any more room for anything in it at the moment. I’m making some room by moving a bunch of books onto my book shelves in the toy room, but to do that I had to go through what was there and get rid of a bunch. I have a tub and a box full of books I’m going to either sell or trade in somewhere. At least all this cleaning and reorganizing is forcing me to go through my junk and get rid of what I don’t want or need any more.

Also, in going through my comics, I’ve found a bunch of duplicates so if you are in the market for a bunch of comics or books, just hit up the contact page and drop me a note. If not, I’m probably going to start listing some of them on ebay. Hopefully I’ll get a little bit of money for them.

Oh, just to let everyone know, tomorrow is Strike Team Improv’s opening show for the summer. I’m not sure if I’m in this rotation or not, but I’ll let you all know via the message board tomorrow if I am or not. If I am, wish me luck, if not, well, whatever.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The Animatrix

As many of you know, I really didn’t care for the Matrix: Reloaded. I still don’t think it is nearly as good as it could have been, but as I focus more and more on what I know about the movie, and realizing that it is the middle movie in a trilogy, I can see why some of the plot was written the way it was. There is one condition to my actually rescinding my scathing review of this movie, and that is the Matrix: Revisited has to be a perfect movie. It will need to fill in all the holes introduced in Reloaded and give us a competent end to the story. If it doesn’t somehow do that, Reloaded will truly have been a failure in my mind.

Why this talk of the Matrix again? Simple—the Animatrix. I had been waiting and waiting for this to finally come out and as of yesterday it hit the streets here in the US. I went out at my lunch break and picked it up and I couldn’t wait until work was over to break the shrink-wrap and reenter the world of the matrix. However, with Reloaded being the tremendous letdown that it was to me, my enthusiasm for the Animatrix had somewhat waned from a month or two ago.

After work I went right from the parking lot to the studio academy where I’d be having improv practice in a couple of hours. I popped the dvd into my nifty, little, portable dvd player and proceeded to watch with heightened anticipation. Now I only got a chance to watch 7 of the 9 episodes on the disc before improv, but from what I saw, this collection of small stories is leaps and bounds beyond how good Reloaded was.

I think the reason that these episodes are so good is that they pack more story into each of their 10-15 minute time slots than Reloaded did in over two hours. Unlike the movie, these stories are not based around special effects (well, one is, but it was good nonetheless), but instead focus on story, which Reloaded needed a lot more of. Out of the 7 I watched only 1 was not that great, mainly because it really didn’t add anything to the Matrix universe.

I have to say that I have been thoroughly impressed with what I have seen in the Animatrix, and if the point of this dvd was to spark even more interest in Revisited (or relight that spark, in my case), they have succeeded. I can’t wait to watch the last two episodes when I get home tonight. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed in the hope that the last two are as good as all the others.

On another note, I was reading the BBC online and came across this article about soldiers that served in the war in Iraq being offered free sex at a Nevada brothel. Ummm……what? If this is not a blatant sign that the apocalypse is upon us, then I don’t know what is. You know, I can see giving soldier’s a tax break, or a monetary gift, or a nice banquet, but giving them free sex? That just turns my stomach.

Think about it, the only soldiers who will really be able to take advantage of this offer are single men with low morals, or married men looking to become single real fast. I honestly thought that this was an Onion article, but after rubbing my eyes and slapping myself, I looked at the article again and, sure enough, it still read that it was from the BBC. Well, I’ve got nothing else to say about it, except that I’m really sad that this wasn’t some kind of joke…………only in America………

Monday, June 02, 2003

The Weekend

It’s Monday, which means you all get the weekend update. This past weekend found me in St. Cloud for the majority of the time. I went up to visit Kristin as this was probably the only weekend we’d get to see each other until Warped Tour on the 28th of June. We are both busy with work, improv (me), karate (her), road races (me), and camps (her) so it’ll be tough finding time to visit, but I think we’ll survive.

I headed to St. Cloud right after I got done with work on Friday afternoon and high rush hour traffic like you wouldn’t believe. It started at the 494 West and 35W north intersection where traffic slowed to a crawl (and often was stop and go) and it stayed that way almost all the way to Albertville. Anyone who ever has to traverse the cities knows that that takes forever. I was in traffic in the cities for well over an hour, all the while contemplating how I could blow up the world without it somehow killing me in the process. I didn’t come up with many good ideas, which is probably a good thing because I was frustrated enough to probably try to blow this big ‘ol rock up.

Anyhow, the rest of Friday night was spent hanging out at Kristin’s house. Saturday we went shopping in the early afternoon only for me to be confronted with another frustrating situation. My mom had recently gotten a gift certificate to Electronics Boutique in the mail, so I had planned on using it while I was in St. Cloud as that is the closest one (barring the ones in the cities, but I won’t shop at any of them because they all employ dicks that don’t know crap, but that’s another story). I forgot the actual card at home, but my mom gave me the gift card number to use so all would be fine……or would it?

It turns out that to use the gift card in the store you need the actual card so they can swipe it. They can’t just type in the number like any other store in the mall. They called their customer support line, but they were basically no help at all. Pretty much, they just told me too bad even after I had told them that I lived 175 miles away and probably wouldn’t be back for who knows how long. What really gets my goat, though, is that if I want to order anything off of their website and pay for it using a gift card, you type in the gift card number with your order. Why the heck can’t they do the same thing in the store? Un-frickin-believable.

Anyhow, the rest of the day was a lot of fun. We went to the gardens in St. Cloud (I forget their name, but they’re famous and stuff) to go for a walk and play some disc. It was nice and relaxing. Later we went to see a local ska band, Fred Savage & The Unbeatables, at the Java Joint. They’re made up of a bunch of Kristin’s high school friends. I know a couple because they go to SJU and they’re cool enough guys.

They put on a pretty good show, although most of their sound is very derivative. The ska sound they have seems to be copied right out of Reel Big Fish and Buck-O-Nine’s playbooks. One of their lead singers also sounded like he was trying to sing exactly like Weezer (a band that I really don’t think is all that great). They also had a couple of Sum 41 moments where they rapped over punk music. Been there, done that, many times before. They were still a fun band to watch, don’t get me wrong, but they just weren’t too original.

Sunday I went to church with Kristin and her family and then drove home. I was going to go to my cousin’s graduation party but they had recently moved and no one had told me where they live. I tried calling some people to find out where they live but no one was around.

I got home and headed to our church league softball. Much unlike last week’s game, I didn’t suck. I knocked out my first left handed home run of the season and had a one-bouncer into the field right handed, so I was happy. I also didn’t field too bad, whereas last week there wasn’t a ball that I could catch.

Well, that’s my weekend in print. I’m kind of tired of typing as I’ve been adding some information to some of the release notes here at work, so I’m going to end here. I hope all of your weekends were as fun as mine!