Friday, January 30, 2004

Arctic Tundra Cold

Yeah, so it’s still freakin’ cold outside. It was -18 without windchill factored in when I left for work this morning. Yes, Mother Nature, I get the point—I live in Minnesota. Now get the temp back in the positive direction please. What made things even better today is that when I got to work I found out the heater was broken and it was a wonderful, balmy 60 degrees in the office. Yes, that is a heck of a lot warmer than outside, but it’s still cold. My hands get cold typing when it’s a decent temperature so this morning my fingers were half-numb up until the heater got fixed. Typing with frozen fingers is no fun. I think I use the backspace key at least twice as much when my hands are cold.

Again, it was still cold when I went to get gas at lunch. It up to -15, though, so it was starting to get warmer. I grabbed the usual 3 hot dogs for $1.19 while I got gas and I think they froze solid on my walk out to my car. Let’s hope my car can survive in the cold as I head up to St. Cloud again this weekend. For the trip I decided I needed some new music so I picked up a couple that were on sale at Best Buy. I got Closure’s self-titled disc and No Motiv’s “Daylight Breaking”. I also made myself a pop-punk mp3 disc to listen to, mainly to help keep me warm. See, for me pop-punk is a summer type of music so whenever I listen to it, I’m reminded of summer. With the cold, I’ve wanted to remind myself of warmer times quite often.

Jumping topics, a former co-worker of mine asked me to design a website for a golf tournament that he does every year. It sounds like fun so I said I’d do it. Since I’ve had the Kingland site done, I haven’t been able to do any graphic design stuff lately, just writing. While I’m going that site I think I might throw around some stuff in photoshop for a possible redesign for this site. I know I constantly say I’m going to do something new, but I think this time I might just do it. I’m just trying to think of what I want to do. It’ll obviously have to be black oriented since all of my pages right now are formatted to have a black background and white text. We’ll see if I come up with anything.

While at work today I noted something interesting and seemingly beyond stupidity today. At the office next door to ours, one of their employees pulled their Toyota truck up to the front door. He popped open the hood, removed the radiator cap, walked into the office, and later returned with two coffee pots filled with hot water. He then proceeded to dump them into his radiator, return the coffee pots, close the hood and then take off driving. This would not be that interesting except for a fact I noted before—it’s frickin’ cold outside. I wonder if he realizes as soon as he parks his truck anywhere the water in the radiator is going to freeze solid.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Minnesota Cold

I have never before really thought about ever moving away from Minnesota simply because I like the atmosphere of the state and the people here are nice and my family is also here. The one thing that has made me wonder if I really want to stay in this state the rest of my life is the ungodly cold of the last few days. It hasn’t just been the temperature not getting above 0 degrees, but the unbelievable amount of wind we’ve had to go with the cold. Yesterday, after you factored in the wind chill, it was a nice, nippy 30-40 degrees below zero. Yes, for all of you southern folk, temperature can go below zero degrees.

Besides making the temperature so cold out, the wind also made my drive down to Clear Lake an interesting one. On the way down I had a hard time keeping my speed under 80 mph because I had the wind pushing me, but on the way back I had to keep the pedal crammed down just to stay above 70. I can’t imagine what it would be like driving a giant SUV or semi in that kind of wind. Actually, I have a hard time imagining why people would want SUV’s in the first place, but I’ll let that go for now.

Since it’s been so wonderfully cold, I have had no desire to go outside for any reason. Since I don’t go outside I’ve been forced to find activities to do in our house to keep me from just completely vegetating on my bed staring off into nowhere. To fill some of that time I started to watch the dvd set of the tv show Firefly. Not too many people remember it, but it was a sci-fi show on Fox last year or the year before that was broadcast on Friday nights (usually viewed as the timeslot of doom). Frankly, I am in love with this series and it saddens me to know that it only lasts 16 episodes. Fox really had a winner on its hands and I can’t imagine why they would cancel this show.

Pretty much Firefly is an outer space western. Imagine Cowboy Bebop done live action with a little less of a comic slant. The stories are very well written and are not as clichéd as some of the other big name sci-fi shows that are on the air right now (cough, Enterprise, cough, sucks, cough). The creator of the show, Joss Whedon, is thankfully moving from the tv industry to writing comics, so I’m anxious to see what he can do in print media. I picked up his comic series Fray, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

I’ve also been trying to make sure I get some kid of a workout in at night, but I often feel as if I haven’t exercised enough when I’m done. I either use our treadmill or our weight set. Running on a treadmill isn’t the same as doing actual running on a track or outdoors so even if I run as much on the treadmill as I would outside, I still don’t feel like I got as much accomplished. Our weight set also can’t compare to the weight room I’ve become so accustomed to up at SJU. I can’t do all of the exercises the I’m used to and it sometimes feels like I’m just repeating the same muscle groups over and over because of the lack of variety. I suppose I can’t complain too much, though, because if I didn’t have either of those in the house I’d go stir crazy and probably start making laps around the dining room table.

Well, I’ve kind of been avoiding the topic so far in this post because I haven’t wanted to talk about it, but I might as well put it out on the table. Two days ago my grandfather had a mild stroke. He’s pretty much fine now, but this came somewhat as a wake-up call. Any person that regularly reads this site knows that I am somewhat obsessed with, and unbelievably afraid of, death. In this case my own mortality wasn’t so much brought to the forefront in my mind as much as the mortality of all of those around me. Assuming that I don’t kick the bucket first, the people I love will eventually leave this world and me.

I remember back when my grandpa Eddie died. I don’t think I was truly old enough to realize the implication that he was never going to be around again. I somehow deluded myself into thinking it was just a long vacation he was on. Eventually it dawned on me, quite a ways down the line actually, that someone else’s death was just as permanent as my oft thought about impending end. I have a hard time imagining living without certain people around me, and grandpa’s stroke made me think about these thoughts once more.

I really don’t want to delve into my morbid ponderings on the grim reaper’s day job any more right now, but again it comes. I wonder if deep down I have some odd fetish with death……let’s hope not, though, because that would be just plain weird.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Where's My Name?

It’s now official—I have graduated from St. John’s University with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Yep, that’s it. I got my diploma in the mail over the weekend and upon opening it I was amazed to see that it didn’t have my majors on it. Almost every other diploma I’ve seen from other college puts the major/minor on the diploma, but mine just say “Bachelor of Arts”. I guess I can just tell people whatever I want to when they ask.

“So what did you graduate with?”

“A BA.”

“Sweet. In what?”


“Really? Wow, that’s truly amazing.”

“Actually, dude, I was just messing with you. I really have a double major. Molecular biology AND neurochemistry.”

The only way anyone would know the difference would be to call SJU and find out or get a hold of my transcript. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, but I was hoping that my majors would have been printed because I wanted to frame it and put it up in my office, but since SJU is so retarded and couldn’t spend an extra fifty cents to get my majors printed I’m just going to leave it in its envelope and stick it in our safe.

This weekend I was up in St. Cloud visiting Kristin. It was a fun time, all except driving through rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon, that is. I would easily become homicidal within a month if I had to deal with rush hour in the cities day in and day out. Sure, I have a 40 minute drive to and from work, but difference is I’m driving 35 miles each way and commuters in the cities are maybe covering 10 miles in the same amount of time. Eesh, I’d go nuts.

At least the drive was made bearable by listening to the audiobook of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I’ve recently picked up a bunch of audiobooks to listen while traveling to and from work and also when I make weekend trips to St. Cloud. If you haven’t read (or listened to) Animal Farm, it’s a wonderful book on the critique of the human race. Some of the metaphors may be a little far from subtle, but I was interested nonetheless.

Anyhow, while I was up in Cloud, Kristin, John, and I went to a LAN party that was being hosted on campus. I was surprised to see a good 50 or so people there. You could smell the sheer amount of dork as soon as you entered the room. As we surveyed the attendees, we noted there was exactly one woman there. By Kristin entering the room the female populace was doubled. It is simply mind-blowing how dorky some of the people that go to these things are. I guess maybe I shouldn’t poke fun since I’m pretty dorky myself, but some of the people there you know spend 95% of their waking lives in front of one type of computer screen or another.

Deciding to brave the dorkiness, John, K, and I played some Mario Kart. I don’t know if I really enjoy the Gamecube Mario Kart as much as the N64 version. It just doesn’t seem quite the same and I think by trying to add too many new ideas, they lost some of the fun there was in the N64 game. No matter how you look at it, though, it’s still a fun multiplayer game, even if I do kind of suck at it.

The rest of the weekend was spent with Kristin. It’s a lot different only getting to see each other on the weekends now as opposed to last semester where we could see each other every day, and usually did. It’ll take a little while to get adjusted to, but I’m sure it’ll be fine once we get used to it.

While finding things to do, we decided to go be mall rats for a while, like we often like to do. We made the usual stops and I even managed to snag a couple of new Xbox games—Soul Calibur II, Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes, and Brute Force. I’ve played SCII with Ryan last night and I can easily say that this is one of the coolest fighting games I have ever played. I absolutely love it and I know that it will be a $25 investment well spent.

While at the Electronics Boutique (I think that’s the name of the place) in the mall in St. Cloud, I again had to deal with the manager there who, unfortunately, shares my first name. I’ve often had to deal with him and often Kristin and I will refuse to go in the store if we see him working. He is easily one of the pushiest and most annoying salespersons we have ever met. I would never buy anything from that store again, except they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale going on.

As we were checking out, he tried to get us to buy some membership to their store. I’d get some gay-ass magazine that they publish, which is basically 50 pages of ads for games they sell, and a certain percentage off used games. I don’t want, I never had, and I never will. I told him I wasn’t interested, but he just kept pushing. It’ll only cost you $5 today because of a sale we have going on. You get this great magazine. You get money off of used games. You’ll easily make your money back.

It’s so simple and rewarding. NO NO NO!!! I don’t want your damn membership so stop asking. The only way I’d ever sign up and pay for their membership is if he promised to impale himself with the barcode scanner they had behind the desk and then let me take a dump on his dead body.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

You Suck, Frontpage

I realize now that my last post was a tad bit morbid and depressing, so I decided that today’s would be a little more cheerful, or at least not a downer. First, a little bit of celebration is in order as I finally stripped all of the frontpage code out of Kingland’s website and implemented a cascading style sheet for the entire site. Finally, after days of slogging through the page code it’s done. Now all I have to do is test it out a little bit here and then if all is well it’ll be up on the production server probably before the weekend.

The next logical step, since I’ve now learned how to work with CSS, would be to take that knowledge and streamline this site. Yeah, that would be logical if I really had the time to go through everything here, but there’s way too many pages and I just really don’t feel the urge to do it. I also don’t really feel the urge to do it because I’m not even sure that many people still come here. More might stop by if I’m lucky since I posted this site on Maybe I’ll get lucky and a few visitors to that site will actually enjoy this one and stick around. Lord knows the message board here is hardly ever touched except for people on the bad ebayers thread. I’ve actually stumbled upon a few decent journals that I enjoy reading. I still refuse to call online journals by the name “blog” because it just seems like such a derogatory term. It sounds like a cross between the words “blah” and “hog” which to me makes it sound like a blog is uninteresting and bloated.

Speaking of uninteresting and bloated, I’m now transitioning into the writing of a manual for one of Kingland’s Compliance products. It’s going to be a LONG process since there is a ton of functionality to cover. The release notes themselves are a solid 129 pages long and the manual is to cover all of that material, while at the same time explaining the functionality to users and giving examples. I really don’t think the manual will turn out to be bloated, it’s just that there is so much to go over in the program that it is going to take a multitude of pages to accomplish it all.

Since I’m now working on the manual instead of the website, well, mostly on the manual instead of the website because I know that there will inevitably be updates to the site to be made, I can no longer complain about frontpage. Don’t worry, though, because for all of you who come here for some solid complaining, I now have word to grumble about, and trust me, just from the experiences I’ve had writing and maintaining the release notes, there will be a butt-load of whining about how crappy word is. I’m thinking of taking the manual and putting it into a web in frontpage, defining all of the headings and styles in a CSS, and then running the final product through Adobe Acrobat to get a nice, huge pdf file. That’s what I’m thinking about doing, but what will probably happen in reality is that I’ll deal with word’s issues and work on the manual in it.

Monday, January 19, 2004


Where does all the time go? You wouldn’t believe how many times I ask myself that question. Really, though, it is amazing how time moves. It’s so fluid that most of the time you don’t even notice it slipping by until you reflect on it, or until you don’t have enough of it. I sometimes think that I might be obsessed with time, but I’m sure everyone has their bouts with the clock and how the hands move too quickly, or if you’re at work, too slowly.

I’m 22 at the moment and in less than two months I’ll hit 23. It seems almost surreal that I could possibly be close to hitting that age already. I swear it was only a scant few weeks ago that I was wondering what it would be like to be a grown-up. I was sitting in a desk at Hayfield High School, spacing off into nowhere because I was bored, but all the while I was thinking—maybe not about the subject matter, but always about something. Even back then one of the most prominent things on my mind was time…well, outside of girls that is (I was going through puberty—‘nuff said). Now that I don’t have to worry about trying to get a date anymore I find that time has reclaimed its place on the top of the list.

Why do I really worry about time, though? It’s not as if there is anything I can do about it. I can’t slow down time any more than I can speed it up. If I could, I’d be at home reading comic books and watching movies all the time and when I had to go to work I’d speed time up so I could come back home and resume those activities. Maybe my worries are more akin to fears than they are worries. I am afraid of so many things that are time-related like aging, having to leave parts of my life behind, forgetting things, and then there’s the big one—death—the inevitable fate of all of us.

I’d often think about death as a kid when I was spacing off in school. It was the one thing that I had a hard time with. I realized that I wouldn’t always be here. Eventually I would stop breathing, my heart would stop, and I would no longer be alive. That was a scary thought for a kid who should have been thinking about the bowling party he was going to that weekend or the cartoons he watched on Saturday. Heck, I’m often still freaked out by the concept.

There’s more times than I like to admit that I catch myself pondering death. Sometimes it grips me so completely that I’ll panic. It’s usually when I think about the combination of death and time. I’ve only got so much time here on earth and then I’m done. Every day I get closer to that day, which is scary in itself, but for me what is even scarier is that time after I’m dead. Everything will keep moving on just like normal. Years will accrue. It’ll be 2100, then it’ll be 2200, then it’ll be the year 13,983 before anyone knows it. I’ll have lived approximately 11,000 years in the past and I probably only lived for maybe 100 years (if I’m lucky). That’s such a small sliver of time in the grand scheme of things.

Now, I am a strong Christian, which should alleviate most of these fears, but often it doesn’t. As strong as my faith is, no one still knows for sure that we exist after we die. The Christian faith, along with many other religious teachings of all kinds, tell us we’ll live beyond our death. There are even many philosophers who were atheists that found in their philosophy that our beings would exist indefinitely after death. Even so, how can we truly know?

This all matters to me so much because I want to make the absolute most of the small time that has been allotted me. I may only have one day left before I’m called to the great beyond, or I might have 80 years. I simply don’t know. I’m not promised tomorrow, and I realize this, but I don’t want tomorrow to be my last day. I never want to have to face that moment when I know I am gasping my last breath because I’ll be going somewhere that is completely unknown. I could cease to exist or I could end up in an everlasting paradise. Every day that moment draws closer, however, so I know that I must make the most of every second I have. Every experience I have I must enjoy as lucidly as I possibly can.

I try to live that way, and I try to make the most of every second, but even so I still have moments when I fear that my time might come before I’ve had a chance to do all that my heart desires. I pray that I would be allowed a long life here on earth, but you just never know. Let’s hope God grants me at least enough time to overcome my fears.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Microsoft So Blows

Ugghh…I need a break. I honestly hate Microsoft’s Frontpage more than anything right now. I really, really wish it didn’t suck as much as it does. You would not believe how much worthless code and tags it puts in every frickin’ page. It’s taking me forever to go through and edit each page so that they use the styles I defined in the style sheet instead of the crap that it has defined within the page. The entire day today has been spent editing tags, removing unneeded ones, and adding new ones. I should have just started the site from scratch outside of frontpage. Eh, a little late now, though.

The thing that really gets my goat about frontpage is the sheer amount of useless tags in the code. There will be tons of tags that define bold text or italics or something like that and then there is nothing in the tags—they’re completely unneeded and just wasting space! I can usually trim down a page by 150 characters or more by just deleting all the unneeded crap. I repeat, Ugghh. Any time a new page needs to be created I know that there is no way in hell I’m going to go through frontpage to do it ever again. I can’t imagine what the code for this site looks like since I just dump everything into frontpage and then upload it. I’m sure it’s full of crap, but I don’t have the time right now to make my site all optimized as I have other things to do with my free time.

Some of my free time lately has been spent cataloging the ginormous order of 750+ comics that I received about a week and a half ago from a shop that was going out of business. I snagged that many comics for a mere $85 (and that’s including shipping). It was really funny because the comics themselves cost me $48 and the shipping was $37. I was amazed when the two huge (and heavy) boxes arrived at my doorstep. It’s been taking a good amount of time to go through the 750, get them organized, and then entered into the online database I use. I know, it’s a butt load, but hopefully they’ll be worth a good chunk of change some day and I can pay for one of my kid’s college or something with them (although I somehow doubt that they might actually get to be worth that much).

Another thing that’s been taking up some of my time lately is my listing of my cd collection on I decided that I listen to internet radio more than I do my cds, and since I have so many cds that I don’t listen to I might as well sell them and get some money. Since I have a collection of well over 500 cds, it’s taking me some time to get them into the inventory. I’ve managed to sell 25 cds so far after only listing 140 in the last 5 days. If you’re on and want to see what I have to offer, my user name is x311. Please buy some cds from me so I can start paying my college loans off……ok, so the few dollars it costs per cd won’t make me enough money to pay for college, but it will allow me to use it on other things I need right now, I just need to figure out what they are!

Well, I suppose that I should finish off some more pages. I’m close to getting the site done, but there’s still a chunk of pages to go through and then I have to monkey with the CSS to make sure that it displays optimally across all browsers. I’ll definitely let you all know when it’s up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Learning New Stuff

I don’t know how many of you have keeping up with reading my updates, but in case you don’t know the Kingland site that I designed is now up. As I’ve been going through and making updates to the site optimizing everything I can I’ve had to learn some new stuff. I put in some work with asp code for all of the active server pages. Most of that work is done and I probably only have a few small asp updates to do, but it was fun to learn and I hope to do a little asp work on this site sometime, maybe as a way of accessing all of the archives instead of me doing html work by hand for each update.

Now that most of the asp work is done, I’m looking into creating a cascading style sheet for the entire site. A style sheet for the site will be nice since I can just define the style for each section of the site in one spot instead of formatting the text in each section of the site to match the rest. The only thing is, I’ve never worked with style sheets before so I’m learning how they work which means a bunch of reading of tutorials and definitions. I don’t mind reading so much, but when it’s going over syntax and code examples it gets a bit tedious. To complement the CSS reading that I’m doing, I’ve also been reading up on some javascript tutorials on how to make tooltip popups on web pages. I’d like to have it so that when someone hovers over a selection or title on the Kingland site there would be a small box that would come up explaining what that portion of the page is for.

It’s actually fun trying to gussy up the site and make it pretty and efficient. So far as I’ve gone through optimizing everything I’ve eliminated probably 20 html pages or more and easily 50 images that were just multiples of the same image but output into different directories when I exported the original site templates from photoshop. Once I get all of this web work done, and after Stefan, the other intern in the office, leaves at the end of this week, I’ll also be taking over all of the technical writing duties. This is basically going to be me focusing on finishing the user’s manual for Kingland’s Independence program. Considering the release notes are extremely long, I think the final manual will probably be at least 100+ pages in length, but unfortunately it probably won’t be all that interesting to actually read.

I was thinking, wouldn’t it be way cool if a manual was written in a narrative style? Instead of sticking to the tried and true method of just explicitly stating the programs options and how you do certain things, why not go through the operation of the program as if it were a story. I would love to open up a manual that started, “On a hard drive in a computer far, far away…” Think of all of the different styles of manuals you could have according to different authors. Stephen King could write about a rampant operating system that slowly took over your computer and haunts it to this day. Tom Clancy might craft a tale of two conflicting word processors, each trying to subtlety outspy each other and anticipate their next keystroke. Alan Moore could craft a graphic novel about a super program that is coming to grips with the sheer amount of responsibility it possesses. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, January 12, 2004

Driving Etiquette Schools are a Must

Today everyone headed back to college, that is except for me. I stayed back here in Rochester, or more precisely, I drove back to Rochester to make it to work this morning. I was up in St. Cloud for the weekend to take Kristin’s computer up to her and to help her move back in. Her computer, much like every computer I touch, wasn’t without its share of snags as I set it up.

Last week I had finally gotten her computer running. It turns out that the reason the motherboard wouldn’t boot was that there was a jumper mislabeled in the manual so my CMOS was stuck in the “reset” or off position. As soon as I switched it, it booted up fine. I installed everything Kristin would need and tried to work out all of the kinks and I thought it would be fine once I got it up there. The computer was fine when I got it up there, but the monitor wasn’t.

The monitor that she was going to use was one that my dad had grabbed last year moving out because it was operational except the pins on the cord were messed up. Randy fixed the pins, but one of them got busted off about halfway down. It still worked when we plugged it in to a computer so we figured all was fine, and it was while I was working with her computer last week. When I hooked it up in her room—nothing. The monitor would turn on but it wouldn’t get signal from the computer. I monkeyed with it for a while, but to no avail. With no other options, Kristin and I made an emergency run to Best Buy and picked her up a nice, black 17” monitor. It was open box so it only ended costing $90 which is pretty decent for a new monitor. After I switched that monitor in for the one that had been hooked up, everything ran like a charm.

Because of the monitor snafu I didn’t get out of St. Cloud until a little after 8:00 pm. I know that doesn’t seem very late, but I really dislike driving at night because I get tired while I drive normally and when it’s nighttime then the stress on me staying awake is even greater. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) I had some wonderful driving experiences to keep me awake while I drove.

The events that I speak of are simply my run-ins with utterly retarded people not knowing how to drive. I think that besides drivers training and behind the wheel courses we should have a driver’s etiquette class that everyone is required to complete so that everyone knows not to drive like a frickin’ idiot on a highway occupied by other people besides themselves. First example: as I was coming home on 94 going east towards the cities the traffic suddenly slowed down to about 68 mph in both lanes. Why did it slow down? Because one car was in the right lane going 68 and in the left lane was a car that was passing the other at about 68.003 mph. The two cars stayed right next to each other for well over 10 miles. Eventually the car behind the left lane car started flashing their brights to maybe get the car to either slow down or speed up, but it was of no use. Thankfully once we got to Maple Grove the highway opened up into 3 lanes so everyone could pass the two idiots who were matching speed in adjacent lanes.

My second example isn’t so much a singular event, but my noticing that so many people fail to ever use their blinkers, or if they do it’s right when they get to a stop sign or after they’ve already starting turning. So many times cars would jump lanes and only put on their blinkers as they were in the process or if they’d already moved lanes. What the heck is the point of even using your blinker if you don’t turn it on until after you make the turn? Also, if you don’t use your blinker to signal where you’re going when coming to a stoplight, don’t get pissed if you get cut off because people assume you’re going to continue going straight if you don’t have your blinker on.

The last thing that really got to me were the people who wouldn’t put on their lights when dusk rolled around. Once it starts getting dark it would be nice if everyone put on their lights. What made me think about this was that it was close to dusk a few days ago as I was driving home. I met a car in the opposite lane who didn’t have their lights on. I flashed my brights at them to let them know their lights weren’t on. What do they do? Flash their brights at me and then turn their lights back off! Utter stupidity! I swear, some people should simply never be allowed on the road.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Cement Dust

Since I was sick and was so busy at work the last week of December and the first week of this year I completely forgot to mention that the new Kingland website is up. Check it out. It was made almost from scratch (there were some preexisting templates and images, but not a ton) by none other than yours truly. I’m now in the process of going through and making everything uniform and also optimizing it. There was a lot of quick and dirty html work I did to get it up the way everyone wanted it before the new year, but now I have a chance to go back in and change some pages over to asp’s so they load quicker and so there is less overall clutter in the file structure. I’ll keep you updated as to when new versions of the site go up.
As many of you may have know, but most of you probably didn’t, my family has added on to our house this last summer/fall. I should really take some pictures and then post them so you’d all know what I’m talking about. I’ll see what I can do.

Anyhow, we added onto the south side of our house extending from our kitchen a big, open living room area. It’s quite big and quite pretty. Instead of just adding on the room upstairs, we also put in a basement section right underneath. We’re not sure what this room will turn in to yet. Dad wants to use it for a shop, Randy wants it for his bedroom, mom wants to store stuff in it, Ryan wants to make it a party room, and I used to want it for my room. I really don’t think I want it as my room any more, and I’m actually quite unsure as to what I think it would work good as.

Back to the story. When the addition was built on, we didn’t add in doors between the house and the addition because we wanted to wait until it was insulated and close to finished before we connected the two (it’s Minnesota and it would get way cold if we left an open doorway between the two without the additions being well insulated). Tuesday night we finally decided that it was time to connect the two basement rooms. To do this, however, my dad and myself had to knock through the wall…made of concrete. It wasn’t all that bad knocking through it except for one thing—all of the concrete dust that was in the air. It was like a thick fog of dust.

This dust cloud managed to take me from almost recovered from being sick to coughing up a storm the entire night so I can’t sleep again. I probably should have worn a respirator mask or something, but I honestly didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. Anyways, it’s all done and over now. The next phase is putting all of the wiring in the addition so that we can put insulation in the walls and then actually put up the interior of the walls. I can’t wait until it’s all completed!

Since there was open space in the basement addition that we could all now get to, I decided it was time to do some house cleaning. Next to my room and Randy’s room is what we call our “toy room”. It was originally our playroom from when we were kids but has turned into a storage room of sorts. Tons and tons of crap has accumulated and I thought it was time it got went through. I moved a bunch of Rubbermaid tubs of stuff out to the addition and worked my way down to the floor until I could finally see it, at which point I noticed it needed a good scrubbing, which is exactly what I did. Now that it’s all cleaned up I’ve sort of made it into my library and comic book storage area. It’s working out nicely and I think that maybe instead of building shelves in the addition for my comics I’ll just use the toy room instead.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Wonder What's Next

Yes, yes, yes I already know that it’s been another long break between updates. I’m finally almost fully recovered from being sick. I just have a few coughing fits every now and then, but hopefully they’ll come to a close within the next day or two. I’ve also been trying to adjust to my complete change in lifestyle. Of course, I have been home every Christmas break, but this time it is different since it is permanent, or at least permanent enough to make an impact. Tomorrow I head back to work to start full time. No more spring breaks, no more days off because class is canceled, and no more summer vacations. I put my childhood, adolescence, and college years behind me. In front of me is my life transition phase—that time in my life where I find what I want to do with what remains of my life before I inevitably get married and start a family.

I can’t say that I’m even close to making a decision as to what direction I’d like to focus my life. I have a job for the moment, but is it something I’d like to do for the rest of my life, or at least for a good portion of my future? Uhhhh…..well, I really don’t know. I’d love to be a professor or teacher some day, but that requires graduate school. When can I do that? If I work for a few years to pay off my college bills and save some money up for grad school, by the time I’m ready to go back to hitting the books I’ll probably be getting married and wanting to start a family. Those two things—grad school and starting a family—sure don’t seem compatible to me and I know I’d be forced to choose one option over the other, and knowing how much family means to me I’m 93.59% sure right now that I’d choose family over school.

What else could I do? Become a writer? That sounds like fun to me since I love writing, but honestly, what would I do? Be a journalist? Journalism jobs are hard to come by and most don’t pay very well and I would like to be able to make enough money to live comfortably and not have to worry about each month’s bills. I’m going to be doing writing for Kingland since technical writing is part of my job, but is writing manuals or help files really the type of writing that I want to be doing for a living? No one actually wants to read a manual, but I want to create something people will want to read.

I’m not ready to plan my life. I’m sure most people coming out of college feel this same way, so how does everyone manage? Maybe I’ll magically figure it out as time goes on. Maybe not. I’ll have to see, but I know that I don’t want to waste my time and I want to do something valuable with it.

Since all of this thinking about my future is making me edgy, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. Instead I’ve put together my top 10 list of the best cds of 2003. They’re not listed in any particular order, but these are the best cds to have been released in the last year. Each one I’ve listened to many times over and I’m sure I will for many years to come. Anyhow, here they are:

My top 10 albums of 2003:
Ø Cold – “Year of the Spider”
Ø Lo-Pro – “Lo-Pro”
Ø Story of the Year – “Page Avenue”
Ø Stereomud – “Every Given Moment”
Ø Spineshank – “Self Destructive Pattern”
Ø Motograter – “Motograter”
Ø Cave In – “Antenna”
Ø Juliana Theory – “Love”
Ø Sevendust – “Seasons”
Ø Machine Head – “Through the Ashes of Empires”

Honorable mentions:
Ø Linkin Park – “Live in Texas”
Ø Further Seems Forever – “How to Start a Fire”
Ø Deftones – “Deftones”
Ø Evanescence – “Fallen”
Ø Thursday – “War All the Time”
Ø Boy Sets Fire – “Tomorrow Comes Today”

If you haven’t picked up or listened to any of those discs, I would highly recommend any of them to you. Each one is easily worth the $10-$15 you would spend on it, but if you can order them right from the band, that would be better since I despise the RIAA.

Ok, I’m going to try to keep the time between posts smaller now that I’m better, but as I adjust to my life back at home there might be some dry spells. I ask for your forgiveness ahead of time.