Thursday, September 30, 2004

Go Outside Already!

It's about 50 degrees outside right now and I'm loving it. Cool, fall days like today are probably my favorite types of days. It's just cool enough out to make it so you need to wear pants and a long sleeve shirt, yet you can still feel the briskness of the air as you walk outside. It kind of makes you feel like nature is giving you a big, cool hug.

Accompanying the cooler temperatures is usually an overcast sky. I've never been a big fan of direct sunlight and I'm happy any time that it's partially blotted out. That's one of the main reasons I love afternoon thunderstorms. Well, that and the thunder/lightning combo that comes with them. With the overcast skies, you don't have to worry about squinting to see, yet everything is illuminated enough to make it so that you can see the littlest details of everything around you if you'll take the time to look.

While you're enjoying the mild temperatures, don't forget to feel the wind as it brushes across your body. I don't know how to describe it, but every time a light breeze picks up and blows my way, I can't help but feel a little refreshed. Mother Nature must have added a caffeine like pick-me-up into the air during this season of harvest.

My dad is working hard out in the fields right now, along with most of my neighbors (I live in the middle of the country so most of us farm). As I was out for a run yesterday, I passed by one of my neighbor's fields as he was harvesting it. I threw him a wave which he returned and I found myself thinking about how much I truly enjoy the colors of fall.

I know many people hate the drab, "deathly" colors of fall--browns, oranges, faded greens--but I love them! I will take these muted colors over the bright greens of summer or the bleak whiteness of winter any day.

Summer always seems too busy while winter always feels boring. Spring manages to just mix in with summer, but fall is a season of transition that everyone notices. The leaves are falling, the temps are dropping, the harvest is being brought in, and everything seems to be dying.

You'd think I'd hate this season since I have such an abnormal fear of death, but I often feel at peace being surrounded by it. In fact, I think it helps to ease my fears by seeing everything in nature so peacefully transition from life to death. There are no rebellions by the plants against what must come with the changing of the season. No, they simply take it in stride, change colors (sometimes very, very beautiful colors), shed their seed and pass on, letting nature take its course.

I often wonder if some day I will have that type of an attitude about the natural progression of time and how it will eventually take my life from me. When I'm 80 will I finally feel deep down that I know my death is serving a purpose or will I still look upon it with fear and uncertainty? I pray that it won't be the second.

With all this talk of the outdoors, I think it's about time that I took a quick little stroll outside to enjoy it. You should too if you have the chance. Before you know it, winter will be rolling in with its sub-zero temperatures and mounds of snow and you'll be reminiscing about wonderful days like today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Broken Power Lines and Werewolves

I had thought that we might finally be done with all of the ramifications of the imbriferous* storms that we had a couple of weeks ago, but I was wrong. Ever since those rains, the power in our house has been fluctuating. We thought that it might just be our running too many things at one time, but when we started thinking about it we knew that couldn't be the case.

Since the basement is a total mess, we haven't had anything running down there. We have two less computers running than we usually do. The only things that are running now that didn't before are our subpump and a the lights in the addition (since I now reside there, they're on a little more).

We tested to see if it might be from the subpump running or a loose connection in the wiring of the pump, but it turns out that that wasn't it. My dad's guess is that the ground line for our power line to the house might be shorting. He has an electrician out looking at it today. Hopefully he finds something and takes care of it because I would hate for everything in our house to get fried. We already had that happen once when lightning struck our place.

Back when that happened we lost a stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, couple of computers, couple of vcr's, tv, and some other stuff. The lightning strike was so intense that it fried our computers even though they were on surge protectors. If you think that a little protector will save your computer, I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't count on it. We now have nice, big APC battery backup power surge protectors on our computers (and I have one on my big screen tv to keep it from getting hurt).

Once the whole power thing is fixed, that should be the end of having to deal with the results of the flooding rains. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is the case.

Last night was one of the first nights, well, one of many nights I suppose, in which I noticed how truly nice it is to sleep in the moonlight. Our addition has five gigantic windows on the south side that make it so that the south wall is almost like one big window. As I laid down to go to sleep, I was bathed in moonlight and it felt nice. Living in the basement or a dorm room/college apartment so many years, I've forgotten what it's like to have such a view of the outside at night.

It makes me almost want to go grab a sleeping bag and roll it out on the lawn and sleep there. Unfortunately, I'm sure the dogs would make it not so much of a fun time as they love to lick you when you're at their level and I don't enjoy sleeping in dog slobber.

I keep hoping that one of these nights when there is a full moon that I'll develop some type of werewolf alter ego, but one which I had control over. Really, what's the point of being able to turn into a werewolf if you can't control it? I'd be pissed if the only thing I got out of being a werewolf was that I woke up naked out in a field once a month. If I'm going to be rending someone's flesh apart, I want to control who I'm doing it to so that I can totally rip apart assholes (Harlan & JoAnn Buck and Jim Nelson) instead of nice people.

I hope that Jim's email gets fully loaded with spam, the bastard. He's continuing to sell my great-grandmother's comics on ebay and claiming they aren't ours. Here's his ebay account. We've emailed the buyers and some of the comics he's selling/sold have had the name of my great-grandfather RIGHT ON THEM. How does he explain that? He doesn't. He just gets pissed at us for looking into it and won't give us an explanation after the many times we've questioned him about it. JoAnn and Harlan are simply the douchebombs that mishandled my great-grandmother's estate. I don't have their email address or else I'd post it on here to so they got spamified too.

If you want, feel free to email Jim telling him what a bastard he is. I'm sure he'd enjoy it. I know I would if you did. Or if you're one of the lucky ones that can control yourself when in werewolf form, please go rip them limb from limb and do the world a favor. That's not too much to ask, now is it?

*[im-BRIF-er-us] bringing rain; rainy. From a Latin word meaning 'a shower'.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Bar Life

This last weekend I went up to St. Cloud to visit Kristin and celebrate her birthday with her. Well, it wasn't her birthday per se, since it was actually on Wednesday, but I wanted to celebrate over the weekend since I couldn't be there on her birthday. I figured I should take her out to the bar at least once now that she's 21, so we did on Friday night.

Kristin, myself, and a few other friends went to Sal's, one of the three bars in St. Joseph. We didn't really stay there very long as it was filled with people that were, well, not quite as young as us. Since it was St. John's homecoming weekend, there were tons of alums up hanging out. I guess all of the older ones decided to go to Sal's.

Before I go any further, I should note that the biggest draw for going to the bar, in my opinion, is the people watching. There's ALWAYS at least a couple of complete jack-asses or idiots that will manage to give you a good laugh. Sal's was no exception. I saw one guy that must have been about 30 or so who was completely bald on top but had long, shoulder length scraggly hair. It wasn't just this atrocious haircut that made him stand out. No, he also made it his duty to say hi to everyone around him and give the "arm around the shoulder" man hug to all the guys he talked with. It was extremely amusing to me.

Since there were so many old people there, we migrated to the La, a more college oriented bar. Oddly enough, it was "pimps and hoes" night so there were plenty of odd looking people to watch. It was here that I saw the most amazing thing at the bars in a really, really long time--a 50 or so year old couple dressed as a pimp and ho. It was hilarious to see a couple that old getting into it. What made it even more hilarious is that it was the parents of one of the girls at the bar. She appeared absolutely mortified while at the same time proud to have such odd parents. I'm sure I would feel exactly the same way if my parents did something like that.

So those were the two interesting sites for the night. It was fun being out at the bars with Kristin, but they're not a place that I would make a habit of frequenting. I'm just not that big of a bar fan. I don't really drink much at all. It's always so freaking loud at the bars that you have to pretty much scream to converse with the person next to you, and there isn't too much entertainment besides watching drunk people an occasionally dancing. I dunno, I guess it just isn't my thing really.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with Kristin, watching the season opener of Smallville, watching Kill Bill 2 (which I thought was disappointing), going mall crawling, and taking care of "Chewie" the kitten. All in all, a pretty fun time. It was certainly refreshing to be able to relax for a weekend as I'd been keeping pretty busy working with the basement the last week and a half or so.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Let's Talk About Underwear!

I really didn't have anything to talk about today and was prepared to start rambling on about our flooded basement, comic books, or some other stupid crap, but then I started to think about boxers, courtesy of Johnny Huh. Anyhow, I know that not every male wears boxers, but I'm hoping that a majority do. I can't understand how any man could go every day wearing tighty-whitey's or boxer-briefs simply because I find them so uncomfortable, unless of course, I'm going out on a long run in which case I need that extra snugness.

When I go digging into my boxer rubbermaid tub in the morning, I don't ever really care which pair of boxers I do grab, but I always notice that I have lots of neat looking ones. There's a few pair of Scooby-Doo ones, a couple Spongebob Squarepants pair, a bunch of Christmas ones (that I do wear all year round), some with Hawaiian girls on 'em, and plenty of other colorful or themed pairs. You now know what some of my underwear looks like. Cool, huh?

Now if I wouldn't have told you what kind of boxers I have, you would never have known, now would have you? That's just what I'm getting at here. What is the point of having way cool boxers when no one but yourself is going to see them (or possibly your significant other, but I'm not going to go down that route)?

When I look at the price tags of boxers in the stores, I'm always in awe of how expensive they are. Even when you go to the ghettoest department store of them all, K-Mart, a decent pair of boxers with some type of design or defining feature on them will cost you probably $5-$10 a pair. Wow!

I've never been one to spend that kind of money on underwear that no one will ever see. No, the reason I have so many Christmas pairs of boxers is that you can get them for like a dollar a pair or less at the after Christmas sales. I've gotten many of my other pairs at times when stores were having clearance sales. I remember one time that the Target in St. Cloud was having a closeout on one brand of boxers so my roommate and myself went and bought like 20 pair--enough to last any man a good amount of time.

Now I could understand shelling out a good amount of cash for boxers if they were considerably more comfortable than another style, but to me they all wear pretty much the same, unless you have a pair of silk boxers which do feel really nice, but don't actually last very long because after washing them about five times they fall apart (at least in my experience).

Actually, what I just said doesn't even matter for the point I'm trying to make. Why buy some magnolious* boxers when no one can even see them unless you decide not to wear pants for the day? I'm still baffled. If anyone has an explanation, I would love for you to enlighten me. If not, I will continue to buy boxers when they are on clearance and assume that anyone who does differently is either certifiably insane and on leave from a mental institution buying clothes or else they are just plain stupid...... or that they're a high school aged kid who wants to be really trendy not realizing that people don't care what type of boxers you wear.

*[mag-NOH-lee-us] a slang word meaning 'great, splendid, magnificent, large'.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Happy Birthday Kristin!

Since today is Kristin's birthday, I thought I'd do a special post made especially for her. There are a lot of reasons that our relationship has lasted for almost two years and I want you, Kristin, to know how special you are and why it is that I love being with you. Let's get started, shall we?

* You always put up with my crap. Be it when I'm acting like a little kid that wants some candy, when I geek out over some new video game or comic, when I'm grouchy simply because I'm a grouch, or when I pester you because I'm bored. I don't know how you do it sometimes.
* You're gorgeous. 'Nuff said there.
* You're always open to listening to people's problems. On top of this, you actually care about the people you talk to, unlike many people who just feign interest in order to seem nice.
* You do Stitch's voice perfectly and it makes me happy whenever you impersonate him. You also have that cute little baby voice you do. Then again, you also do that "A La La, A La La" thing that annoys me, but you only whip it out when I'm misbehaving.
* You're almost as much of a geek as I am. How often is it you find a girl with the above qualities that also likes playing video games, watching anime, and reading comic books? Next to never is my guess.
* You're easily fascinated by almost anything... a toad, a slinky, eyebrows, a stick, or any other such wonderful thing.
* Even though you don't think so sometimes, you're a lot smarter and talented than you know. Heck, you've even proved me wrong like once, or maybe even twice ;-)
* You're not afraid to go out of your way to do something nice for another person. I can't even begin to count the number of times that you've done something nice for someone "just because".
* You love animals. All kinds of animals (except spiders and millipedes). It's always so cute to see you playing with our baby (a cat, not an actual baby!). I'm sure Stitch misses you and wishes you a happy birthday as well.
* You don't mind just sitting around and being lazy with me. It's really comforting to just sit on the couch and watch the old boob tube with nothing on our minds but enjoying each other's company.
* Sometimes I think my family likes you better than they like me! It would definitely be a lot harder if you didn't mesh so well with my family, but luckily for me you do.
* You've got a good head on your shoulders that houses a lot of common sense, yet you don't let it get in the way of you having fun--you just let it guide you to having fun in a non-stupid way, which is good. Trust me.
* You can play a piano like nobody's business! My ears are in awe every time you sit down to play. I always think the piano serenades that I get when I'm at your house are great.
* You're honest and not afraid to speak what you feel. I know because you've told me on a few occasions things that I probably didn't want to hear, but needed to.

You know, I find that I could keep going and going, but I hope you get the picture. You mean a ton to me and I want your birthday to be a very special day for you. Happy birthday Kristin! Much love from me to you on your special day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Starting Up Something New and Different

The progress on cleaning up the water damage has come along nicely. Sunday was an all-day burn. My dad and myself started a bon fire in our fire ring and just continually tossed ruined stuff on it all day. We had that much stuff to burn! It was amazing how much junk we cleaned out.

Now that we have most of the wet, ruined crap cleaned out, we're left with stacks of furniture and boxes and tubs. With harvest season coming up and our insurance not paying for jack, we'll probably redo the basement on our own later on in the winter. What that means is that my room is now the couch in the living room upstairs. I just leave my pillows and blanket in there with a candle on the end table and some books underneath it. Those were probably the three essentials of my room downstairs so I've moved them to the living room to make it feel more homely to me. I should get used to it since I will probably be there a while.

Since I felt like the comic book blogosphere needed it, I started a new comics review blog. The catch with this blog, however, is that I'm reviewing comics that aren't exactly new. Instead, I'm going to take a look at older (80's and 90's) comic series, some that are relatively unknown, and give them a review. It might sound dumb or it might sound awesome depending upon how much you like buying and reading back issues. Check it out if you have a chance. I put a link in the sidebar on the right in case you want to get to it in the future.

Other than having a lot to do in the cleanup category of things at home and doing lots of typing at work, things are finally getting back to normal, I hope. I watched the Vikings get walloped by the Eagles last night. What a disappointment. For having two extremely high caliber offenses, it was a pretty tame game. Minnesota couldn't even put together a touchdown. It was a sad looking team to watch last night.

What really bothered me about the game, though, was the Terrell Owens touchdown catch. It was plain to see that he was bobbling it throughout the catch. He never had possession. The refs called it a TD and then the Eagles kicked the point after as fast as they could. I was surprised that Mike Tice didn't challenge it. As often as he likes to thrown his little red challenge flag around, I thought this was a perfect time for him to do it. If the call would have been overturned I think we would have seen a better game (at least it would be 7 points closer). The most surprising thing, though, after week two is that in our division the Lions are the first place team. I feel like I'm in Bizarro World or something. I'm sure their stay at the top won't last for too much longer, though.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Dealing with the Water Damage

It's been a long process, but we're making progress in the basement. We have all of the carpet out and laying in the lawn drying out. What was keeping the carpet perpetually wet was the foam padding we had underneath it. Not only did it have the feature of making the carpet feel more cushy when you walked on it, but it also worked as a floor size sponge. We would shop vac on the floor for hours and a short time it would be wet again.

With taking out the carpet, came moving everything around in the basement. Right now, my bed has been taken apart and put in a corner of the new basement while all of my dressers are in various places. When I get dressed in the morning I have to make three different stops. First, I have to go to the toy room/library to get my boxers and socks. Once I have those, I mosey on over to the living room to get my shorts or pants for the day. After that, I head into the new basement to grab a shirt to wear. It's a little bit of a pain, but I don't mind all that much.

Since so many things got wet, and since we had to move around basically EVERYTHING, we used this as an excuse to do some heavy duty cleaning. We have thrown out so much crap over the last couple of days that I'm amazed we had that much junk packed away. To burn up some of the moist and damp materials, my dad and I made a gigantic wood fire and then slowly tossed all of our crap on it. Burning stuff has been one of the more enjoyable aspects of cleaning out the water damaged crap.

We're not even close to done, though, as everything right now is just sitting in stacks and piles on the cement downstairs where it is now dry. We are probably going to take this opportunity to repaint Randy's and my room. We're also going to shop around for some cheap carpet as our insurance only covers a pittance of the damage.

We're also out two computers for the time being, but we've already filed the claim on them so hopefully they'll process it somewhat quickly as I would like to get a computer back to use other than my slow ass work laptop, or having to use my parents' computers for everything I want to do. I'll keep you updated on the progress we made and maybe add some more pictures of the setup we have now. This is going to be a long project, and I've already migrated to the living room for the foreseeable future.

I'm starting to think that our basement might be a small blessing. Over the last couple of weeks, during the workdays I've been finding myself horribly bored and when I get horribly bored, I'm usually unhappy. Since I really don't have anyone outside of my family to spend time with after work, my social life is pretty negligible.

To compound things, my mom takes senior portraits at night, my dad works on the farm until late, and Ryan is usually either hanging out with his girlfriend or talking to her on the phone. This leaves me, Karma (our dog), and Stitch (my kitten) to hang out. As much fun as my pets are, it's hard to have a good conversation or do anything that requires even a small modicum of intelligence with them.

If I don't have lawn to mow, laundry to do, or other assorted chores here at home, I end up either just sitting around playing video games, watching tv, or reading. As enjoyable as those three activities are, they get boring over time. With the flood in the basement, I now have had tasks to do and it's kept me busy for a solid 4 or 5 hours a night and all day yesterday. I'm almost thankful for it because Lord knows what I would have done yesterday had we not had the basement to clean. I wasn't going up to visit Kristin as she had tons of homework to do and was working on Friday and Saturday. I probably would have spent the entire day looking for something to do.

Maybe I was just in a boring rut for a while, but for the next week at least I'm assuming I'll have plenty to keep me busy. It might not be the most interesting stuff to do, but it keeps me busy, and that's better than being bored.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Our Basement Got Flooded!

I now know what it must be like to live along the coast when there are the torrential rains that accompany hurricane season. If anyone has been watching the weather channel (and if you do, don't admit it) you'll have seen that south central Minnesota got hammered by rains over the last 36 hours. It seems that our area was right in the middle of the worst of it. We received over 9.5 inches of rain from mother nature over the last day. A town only 10 miles (Blooming Prairie) away ended up getting almost 12 inches of rain.

With this rain also came a small tragedy for our family, well mainly for our family's house. Since there was so much rain in such a short period of time, our basement flooded. What sucks is that our basement is completely furnished and finished so all of the carpet, everything that was on the floor, and the bottom of the walls got soaked as we had probably 6 inch deep water in some spots. Other spots, like the corners of my room, didn't get above the carpet. I'll have some pictures that I took of the basement up tomorrow.

It's a good thing that my dad got up around 3 am this morning to just check things over or we might have really had a big problem. When he got up and went down to the basement, as soon as he turned the light on, he saw the glare of water on the linoleum at the bottom of the stairs. Something with our drainage system went bad. As the rain continued to pour, the water in the basement continued to grow.

My mom woke me up at around 3:30 am, which is really early considering I just went to bed at 11:30 pm. When I got up, the water was flowing out of our furnace room (where one of the sewer drains is) into the living room and addition. I didn't even notice that our toy room/library room (the other room with a sewer drain) was full of water, not until I started walking down the hall at least.

As I stepped into the hall I heard a squishing noise and felt cold water on my feet. The carpet was sopping wet, but it hadn't reached my room yet. The first things we had to do were get all electronics and things we wanted to stay dry off of the floors. We ended up with two fried computers from the water before we could get them up. Fortunately, no other electronics were lost.

I had a bunch of philosophy books on the floor in the toy room that are now ruined along with a bunch of cds. My mom lost a lot of clothes and collectibles she had stored in our storage room. Beyond that, we got most everything else up to dry land.

After we got everything up, my mom started sweeping water into the addition where the sub pump is so that it could get sucked out of the basement. I was on bucket duty bailing out the deepest spots. While we were working the water spread into my room and my brother's room. I thought I might be safe, but I couldn't keep the water from flowing in.

Once the rain finally stopped and my dad hooked up a separate pump outside to pump water away from the house and septic tank, the water finally started going down. After a little while it was drained, but the damage to the carpet and basement was already done.

The rest of the morning/afternoon we've been taking turns on the shop vac getting as much water out of the carpet as we could and draining it out. I was amazed at how much water was actually in the carpet. We later noticed that some of the puddles in the carpet kept reforming after we vacuumed them. Apparently there was so much water pressure in the ground that it was swelling up through some of the cracks in the cement foundation.

As it is right now, the basement is still extremely damp and smells slightly like sewage, but there's no new water coming in. I'll be migrating to the new living room to sleep for the foreseeable future as everything that was on the floor in my room is now on my bed and it'll take a while for the carpet to fully dry out.

Now we'll have the huge task of either having all of the carpet replaced or professionally cleansed & disinfected. Either way, everything is going to have to get cleaned out downstairs, so it looks like spring cleaning for us is taking place in the fall. I'm just thankful that my comic books were all on shelves a solid foot off of the ground so they all made it without getting wet.

If there's even less posts over the next few days, now you know why. Ugghhh.... I think I've seen enough water to last me at least a few months (and my feet will probably be all wrinkled for just as long).

Monday, September 13, 2004

New Computer Goodness

As of last Friday, I finally got a new computer to use at work. Instead of making due with my 500 mhz Celeron for running Photoshop, Outlook, Eclipse, and other such resource hogs, I now have a spiffy and pretty beefy machine. The three things that I'm enjoying most about it are the 2.6 ghz Pentium 4, the 1 gigabyte of DDR RAM, and the GeForce 4 graphics card.

It's unbelievable going from such an old pile to a semi-new (it was our head GUI designer's old computer - he just got an upgrade) fast machine. I can now run Outlook, Eclipse, Winamp, AIM, Firefox, Frontpage, and Word all at once... on one computer, unlike having to use two in the past (I used my travel laptop to run AIM, Winamp, and Outlook and my desktop for my development and writing chores).

The only bad part about getting a new computer is getting it customized to how you like it, or more accurately, getting it to look and feel EXACTLY like your old computer. I've been getting most of what I needed installed and moved over. One of the first things I put on was Objectdock since I hate using the standard MS start bar. I also put on StyleXP so that I can make my computer look even less like Windows.

Since I'm transitioning between computers and I also have a good amount of crap to actually get done for work, the updates to this site may be somewhat sparse over the next couple of days, but I know all four of you that probably read this won't mind. While I'm putzing with my new computer, check out some of the blogs over to the right, I'm sure you'll enjoy some of them. I do.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Love and Proximity

After reading Heather's blog this morning, I got to thinking about relationships. I have often taken interest in watching different types of relationships flourish or flounder. It's not just relationships between boyfriends and girlfriends that I like to observe, but also between friends and family members. If I could, I would simply observe how people interact with each other over time.

In thinking about relationships this morning, I thought about one specific case that I observed in my college days. It involved three people, we'll call them Bob, Jim, and Sherri, and it goes a little something like this...

Bob and Sherri were both in their sophomore year of college and had been dating for well over a year. They were often pointed out as being a wonderfully cute couple and that they were meant to be together. Whenever they were together, they seemed so happy with each other--the perfect couple. There was a snag to their relationship, however--they were attending different colleges. Bob was going to school in Wisconsin and Sherri was going to school at St. Ben's.

Long distance relationships can be tough, but they both seemed to handle it pretty well. Sherri and Bob would talk on the phone during the week and Bob would visit Sherri whenever he had an open weekend. It appeared as if they had found a way to work through the distance. That was merely an appearance, however.

Over time it seemed like Sherri didn't like the distance as much. She still loved Bob, but she hated the distance. Talking over the phone just wouldn't do it for her when she had problems. She wanted someone to BE THERE with her, not just talking to her on the phone. Sure, Bob still came up when he could, and Sherri still loved the guy, but felt like she needed something more.

This is the point where Jim enters our story. Jim has class with Sherri. They talk occasionally and end up being assigned together for a group project. While doing this project, Sherri goes through a rough patch with her family. Since Jim is around, she turns to him for comfort and venting. She still talks to Bob about it, and Bob comforts her when he comes to visit that weekend, but Sherri see that having someone actually close to her helped her cope so much better.

She hangs out with Jim more and more at college and they get to be really good friends. While this goes on, Sherri continues her relationship with Bob, but he notices something is up. Considering how much he cares for Sherri, he tries all that he can to be everything that Sherri needs, but while he's trying to be what she needs, Jim grows even closer to Sherri since they're spending so much time together.

Eventually this situation leads to a breaking point. Even though Bob and Sherri seemed perfect for each other, by their own accounts and in the thoughts of everyone around them, Sherri breaks up with Bob. She's grown too close to Jim and wants to be with someone who is around because the distance got to be too much for her.

Now, a few years later Jim and Sherri are still together in their senior year of college. Who knows where Bob is. He tried so hard to make it work with Sherri, and even after they broke up he made as much of an effort as he could, but since Jim was only minutes away from Sherri, she instead left Bob in favor of proximity.

In thinking about this, I really feel bad for Bob. He was giving his all in attempting to keep the relationship alive. While he was giving his all, the simple fact that Jim was closer to Sherri in proximity led to her feeling more at ease with him than a man she was probably more compatible with who was farther away.

It's odd how big of a role proximity can play when it comes to relationships. In this case, it was what determined who Sherri stayed with. She needed someone there with her and Bob just couldn't give that to her. I'm sure if he could have they would still be together today, but instead another guy was able to fill that need that Sherri had. What an odd twist of fate for this group, and what a tragic twist for Bob...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Unearth Rocks!

Over the last few years I've done street teaming for a bunch of different bands that I've liked, mostly through Streetwise. I've done it for three main reasons. The first reason is that I like to get people into the music that I like to listen to. It's always nice to have other people to talk about your interests with. The second reason is that I like to see certain bands that I like succeed. To do that, they need to get heard and to get heard people need to know about them, so I street teamed. The final reason I street teamed is to get free stuff from some of the bands that I like.

Now in case you don't know what street teaming is, it is promoting a band by distributing sampler cds, postcards, stickers, posters and the like to people and promoting the band at concerts of other bands in similar genres. Usually what I have done in the past is include stickers and sampler cds with my bootleg trading (which I no longer due since I don't have the time for bootleg trading, so don't ask). I've also taken stickers and such to Hot Topic to distribute with people's purchases. Lastly, on occasion I've also passed out street team stuff at concerts.

For doing this, some bands will give out little tokens of their appreciation. It's usually not much--a nice poster (sometimes signed), an EP, dog tags, or other little trinkets, but I've gotten a few neat things in the past. Finger Eleven sent me an EP of acoustic tracks. I got a nice, autographed poster from Boy Hits Car. There's some other stuff I got as well, but I've forgotten what it all was.

For a while I kind of gave up on doing promotion stuff like this, but a month or so I've gotten back into it. Right now I'm doing some promotion for the bands Strata and Unearth. Strata sent me some posters, stickers, and postcards to hand out. Nothing too neat, but I like them so I've been handing out their stuff. Unearth, on the other hand, sent me some cool stuff.

Their street team stuff to hand out is only so-so (postcards and newspaper posters), but what they sent to their street teamers for helping out is impressive--a copy of their latest cd and a copy of one of their label mate's (Black Dahlia Murder) cds. Since they did something cool like that for their teamers, I'm way more inclined to promote them as opposed to a band who lacklusterly sends out only some promo material with no incentive for the street teamers to want to help. So, if you get the chance, visit Unearth's website and if you like their style, buy their cd. It's some REAL metal (not the crap they call metal on today's radio).

Over the weekend I finished reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation. I'd been meaning to read his Foundation series for quite some time (I think I've had the books sitting on my bookshelf since the end of high school, and now that I'm taking the time to do it, I am really appreciating how good Asimov's writing is in this series. I'm now trying to whip through Foundation and Empire simply because the whole universe that Asimov creates is simply so compelling and interesting.

What really amazes me about Foundation is that probably 80-90% of the book is dialogue. I was thoroughly amazed that the book didn't come off as more boring because of this, but instead I was drawn to the characters more. It was also interesting to see the approach this novel took to telling its story. It's broken up into a few main sections, each dealing with different characters and a different period of time (Asimov does have 1000+ years to attempt to chronicle in his Foundation novels).

Beyond all of this, I loved the concept of psychohistory--the mathematical predicting of the future of a society. It is a deterministic view of existence, yet it retains notions of free will in that it is impossible to predict the actions of a single human being, or small group of people, but yet through the fictitious science of psychohistory, the entire future of a society could be mapped. I can't recall offhand what philosopher also attempted to lay out a metaphysics that operated in this way, but I do remember finding it an interesting concept that I enjoyed studying.

If you are a sci-fi fan and somehow haven't read this novel yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You'll probably end up hooked, much like myself, and want to read the entire series all at once.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Return of the Deer Ninjas

Back in April of this year, I recounted to you a story of my encounter with a pack of mutant killer deer. This weekend, I was again confronted by their menace, but I have once again prevailed with the help of Karate Kristin.

It was thought that the menace of the dreaded deer clan of ninja badness had collapsed in upon itself after the dispatching of it's figurehead around five months ago. Unfortunately, my speculations were wrong. In fact, the dreaded deer clan of ninja badness (DDCoNB) had strengthened in numbers after going underground.

I had let my skills lax in the thoughts that my fighting days were in my past. Not even thinking, I agreed to help Karate Kristin escort her parental units to the Fountain of Everlasting Middle Age, which was located in the middle of the old stomping grounds of the DDCoNB. I didn't even think twice about the potential danger, and because of it I almost cost all of us our lives.

I should have seen the warning signs of the DDCoNB's return to the area. As we traversed the path into the outer edge of the Ancient Woods of Yesteryear, Kristin's father stumbled upon the bodies of two dead shrews. Each was in a separate area so each died from a separate incident. I chalked it up to coincidence, but Kristin had a few sneaking suspicions about what could have happened to these poor animals.

Before we could even enter the inner grove of the Ancient Woods, the DDCoNB sprung their trap. They had waited all this time to snare us once again in one of their plots for supreme forest domination. Being as unprepared as I was, I was knocked to the ground by two of younger Danger Deer that were attacking us. There appeared to be four of them as the other two each took one of Kristin's parents hostage.

While I was on the ground, I saw that these young deer had different hoof shapes than the deer we encountered those many months ago. This led me to believe that there might have been a changing of the guard in the DDCoNB ranks. It turns out I was right.

While we waited for the deer to make their demands, their new leader, Deerasaurus, made a grand entrance, probably in the hopes of scaring us into agreeing to whatever terms he was going to give us.

Before he could even open his mouth, however, Kristin sprung into action. Since we were all paying attention to Deerasaurus' entrance, Kristin was able to snap off a branch from the tree next to her. She broke it in two and shot each piece with uncanny accuracy towards each of the deer that were holding her parents captive. Each branch shard connected with a deer throat, dropping both deer and freeing her parents.

As the two younger deer who were standing over me attempted to draw their swords, I knew I had to do something. Since I was well out of practice in the martial arts, however, I did not want to risk all of our lives by doing something foolish. Even though there was an aura of fear about me, my spinning kick of deer confusion connected with the first of the young deer, knocking him into the mud which I had just sprang from.

Deerasaurus knew that with three of his deer down, he could not hope to overwhelm us. Kristin knew as well as I did that he could not be allowed to escape and round up the rest of his clan. With unbelievable ease, Kristin threw a barrage of ninja stars into the chest of Deerasaurus while I downed the last of his lackeys.

Without any further interference from the DDCoNB, we were able to take Kristin's parents to the Fountain in order that they may drink from it and stay forever middle aged. Not only did we succeed in what we started out to do, we were able to come home with a few hundred pounds of deer venison to distribute to the starving children of our kingdom. It appeared that all was in order, except for the knowledge that the DDCoNB was still out there and thriving. One day we'll have to take them on, but for now the kingdom was safe. I will be ready for the next encounter.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Aliens on the Horizon

Last night I finished up playing James Bond 007: Nightfire for Xbox. It was a pretty fun game, but I don't think it was quite as good as Agent Under Fire. Agent Under Fire had a lot of neat missions that weren't first person shooter themed. There were rail shooting levels and some sweet driving levels. In Nightfire, there are still a couple of driving missions and one rail shooter mission, but I wanted more of them, not less.

The first person shooter levels were fun and a few had nice, big environments that made it much more immersive but, dammit, I wanted more driving levels! Oh, the other thing that annoyed me about Nightfire was the crappy plot. There really isn't much of one. There's this guy, he's doing something with nuclear missiles, you have to stop him, people that work for him want to kill you, there's some space station that has to do with this as well....... yeah, none of it really gelled together very well. It was also dumb that the virtual Bond made out with almost EVERY SINGLE female character in the game. He was just the epitome of a man-slut in this game. Other than those few things, though, this was an enjoyable game.

The next game on my "to play" list is Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I've played the first few missions and it's a fun game, but one thing is really pissing me off--the cinematics are very jerky and laggy. I don't get it, this game was ported over from PS2 and the Xbox is way more powerful so there shouldn't be any jerky cinematics. It should have also been caught in the game's QA cycle and been fixed but apparently no one cared to do that. Maybe it'll go away the further I get into the game. If it doesn't, I might just skip all the plot crap and just stick to blowing crap up.

While reading my morning dosage of news, I stumbled across this. I always wondered if SETI@HOME was actually accomplishing anything while I ran it, and apparently it is for some people. Out of the thousands of SETI units my computer analyzed it only found a few signals that would even warrant a second look. Now, it appears that they've found some interesting and unique signals.

I love the thought that there might be intelligent life out there somewhere, and I hope that this pans out to actually be something interesting and scientifically explorable. Who knows, maybe this is another type of celestial body they've found, much like the pulsar so many years ago. I'd really be interested to know more about the different types of signals that scientists look for and what they usually find, so if you know of somewhere good to look, let me know.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I'm the #1 Site for...

I suppose the big news of yesterday is that I have taken the plunge back into cell phone society. I've been without one for a while now and actually be quite happy about it, but for simplicity's sake in being able to contact me, my parents both insisted I get a cell phone again. I actually decided to finally do it. I'm sharing their plan so it's not as expensive for me (like $20 a month is all). If you want my phone number, use the contact link above and I'll email it to you.

I'm a little leery of having a cell phone again simply because I hate people in general who use cell phones, but when I think about it, I only actually dislike people who have terrible cell phone etiquette. I'm always tempted to punch someone in the face if they decide to answer their phone while talking to me. Let the caller leave you a voicemail and call them later. There's no need to just cut off a conversation to answer your damn phone. It's rude. Also, people who sit there and talk on their cell while driving annoy the piss out of me. Focus on driving instead of talking and you won't get the finger from me as often.

One quick side note about this phone. There are about a hundred rings to choose from, but none of them are any good. Why isn't there any normal, plain-jane rings? There's Hungarian chants, Middle Eastern melodies, tons of crappy midi tunes, and even the Hokey Pokey, but there is only ONE standard ring tone and it's freakin' annoying. Right now I have the ring set as the alarm clock alert because I can't stand any of the rings.

I kind of hate to do this because it is probably only going to reinforce my Google rank for this particular search, but anyhow, go to Google and search for "overweight bikers". Now look at what the #1 site for that search is...... yeah, I was amazed too. I mention overweight bikers and Sturgis when talking about my South Dakota vacation and all of the sudden my site is the #1 search result for that search. Now that I've said it a couple of times in this post as well I'm probably doomed to that position for eternity.

In computer related news, Stacey's computer is locked, cocked, and ready to rock. It was a long time coming considering all the problems I had with getting the motherboard's onboard accessories to work with XP (especially after SP2). Now since that's done, I've started work on getting my computer back together. I'm not having any luck with mine and am about ready to give up completely.

First, I kept getting a blue screen with a bunch of memory addresses and messages telling me that Windows hates me so I figured I had some bad memory. After I got new memory, that problem was fixed, however, a new problem has cropped up and it's one that I can't seem to solve for the life of me.

I'm trying to install XP Pro onto my hard drive which still has an old copy of XP Pro on it. I tried just booting up using the copy that's on there, but I'm thinking it doesn't like all the new hardware because I get the error I mentioned above when trying that. As I try to install XP Pro from the cd, after it's loaded all the drivers it needs (it lists them along the bottom of the screen as it's doing it), it then says "Starting Windows XP" down where it listed all the drivers it was loading. At this point it hangs.

No matter what I do it hangs there. I'm not sure if it's freezing or if it is just sitting there twiddling it's thumbs. There's no CD activity, no hard drive activity, and (I'm guessing) no cpu activity. I am clueless as to what to do. If anyone has any ideas, please PLEASE pass them on so I can get my computer running. Here's what I have in my computer in case anyone knows if these parts don't like each other:

* Syntax SV400 motherboard
* Athlon XP 2800
* 512 MB PC2700 DDR RAM from K*Byte
* GeForce 5500 OC 256 MB
* A 30, 60, and 80 GB Western Digital hard drive (3 hard drives)
* A 4x DVD burner
* 550 watt power supply (says it's tested and made for Athlon XP systems)

So what is wrong? If I can't figure anything out I might just have to find a copy of Windows 2000 to put on and then see if I can put XP on over the top of it. Right now I hate computers and don't want to deal with them any more, but I have to try to get this figured out soon so if it is a problem with my RAM or graphics card I can take them back (I have about 20 days on the graphics card left in which I can return it). BAH! F you computer!