it20010731 - Tuesday
I've been in a bad mood all day today. I suppose I could blame it on this crappy hot weather (it's been flirting with 100 all day), the music I've been listening too (R.E.M. and Hooverphonic), or any number of other things. But they all come back to me eventually, so I might as well just go make faces at myself in a mirror. The problem is, when stumbling, sooner or later gravity takes over.
I'm rarely interested in hitting the ground, but that doesn't stop me from doing stupid things.
it20010730 - Monday
Quiz time, kids! Guess which of the following minor tragedies Mark had to deal with over the past two hours:
- A blown fuse
- A fault in Eudora.exe
- A restoration of email from Zip
- The Click Of Death
- The Blue Screen Of Death
- Loss of both an email box and its backup
- All of the above
If you guessed #7, you're a winner. Unlike me.
For the second time in as many weeks I've managed to mangle part of my beard during the morning trim. One more incident like this and it'll be time to consider shaving the entire thing off and starting over.
I came in fifth. Sort of a shame for the guy who got one vote less than me. I liked his more.
it20010729 - Sunday
It turned out to be a fairly boring day, not because there was nothing to do, but because I had trouble getting myself interested in much of anything. Some weekends I'm intentionally lazy. Today was different: Tried to clean my room, lost interest. Did some push-ups. Tried to clean my desk, lost interest. Thought about cooking, didn't get past the thinking stage. Installed SimCity 3000, didn't play it. Did some more push-ups. Flipped channels. Went for a walk, it was too warm, lost interest. Looked out the window a lot. Watched the American Experience on PBS talk about New York, barely kept interest, but cheered audibly when they mentioned Raymond Hood.
There were a number of people I should have called about different things today, but in the end I only called Mel to wish her a happy birthday. Our brief, fifteen minute conversation was easily the most enjoyable part of the daylight hours.
This month's electric bill was more than triple what last month's was. Damn newfangled air-cooling devices.
Causes of canker sores:
- Some foods are suspect, including dairy, citrus, cereal grains, whole grains, apples, tomatoes, soy and chocolate. To see how this relates to me, let's look at what I remember eating last Wednesday: I had a pepper turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with swiss cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Later in the afternoon I had some M&Ms for a snack, followed a little while later by an apple. Back at home I had some chai tea, which I occasionally make with soy milk, and before going to bed had a bowl of Cheerios. So, um, yeah.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient common in toothpastes, may cause them as well. I just checked the ingredient list on the toothpaste my dentist recommended (long story), and sure enough, there it is.
- Stress is believed to be a factor. Well, in my present situation, that's not a factor I'm going to be able to resolve any time soon.
- Inconsistent sleep patterns are suspected as well. Unfortunately, my sleep patterns never really recovered from the beginning of my college career, so I'm screwed there as well.
Notable facts about canker sores:
- They usually stay smaller than a centimeter. On rare occasions, they can get as large as inch, and those ones have a tendency to scar.
- Certain vitamins may reduce the chance of getting canker sores. They include B12, iron, and folic acid.
- Unlike cold sores, they are not contagious. Well, fuck.
it20010727 - Friday
They just gave me a printer at work. It's an HP LaserJet 1100, pretty spiffy. The only problem is it elevates my cube from a simple disaster area to something approaching a farce. I have my main computer, two test stations, three monitors, the printer, an AT&T CallMaster telephone (which is way too big and has too many buttons) and my radio. This leaves about two and a half square feet of usable desk space, all of which happens to be covered with paper.
it20010726 - Thursday
I've never liked dogs all that much. They're not the brightest animals in the world, are high-maintenance and, well, they're sort of gross. Being bit by over ten of them over my torturous career as a paperboy didn't help my perception of them much, either. Unfortunately, many of my friends are dog people (no, I don't hold it against them, they are friends, after all), so I find myself surrounded by the creatures on a semi-regular basis.
I was visiting a friend in River Falls last night and her dog was acting like it had a hot pepper shoved up its butt. Few things are inherently annoying as a hyperactive canine, except, well, a hyperactive canine that jumps on you and starts licking you. I pushed it off of me and looked down at it's crooked little face. "Do that again and I'll kick you." Now, to be clear, I'd never actually do such a thing, of course, unless the dog was actively trying to have me for dinner. Still, I should have known better: My friend really likes her dog. She continued cleaning her apartment, making her response quietly as if in passing. "I'd just like to remind you that he can bite down with a pressure of 40 pounds per square inch." A number of inappropriate responses instantly flooded into my head, including why any rational person would put such an obviously dangerous animal in his or her house, but I kept my mouth shut.
Later on, as we were walking back from her garden (which her dog took a shit on, by the way), the dog saw something in the woods and went absolutely nuts chasing it. A squirrel, maybe? Well, it would have to be an invisible one, as the dog crossed the road twice and I sure didn't see anything running from it.
I put a Post-It Note on my iPaq today. I feel dirty now.
it20010722 - Sunday
Well, it's been a good couple of days. I should really start watching myself; I feel I'm due to get whacked by a truck or something.
Spent an hour or so yesterday on a brief photo excursion with a friend. Aside from almost laying down in dog shit while trying to get into position for a photo, it was a lot of fun. Since buying a digital camera I haven't spent much time with my SLR, so it felt good to have it back in my hands. Half the photos were taken in black and white, something else I haven't done in quite a while. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to see how they turn out.
Also Friday and Saturday, in no particular order: Submerged feet in the Mississippi, fed cats, played with cats, pretended to be a dump truck, wandered around Apache Plaza, visited Cecil's, rented Panic (highly recommended), started watching Red Rock West (will finish later), ooohhed and ahhed at the Aquatennial fireworks, looped a large part of the metro, hit the brakes too hard, and talked a lot.
It was a good weekend.
it20010721 - Saturday
it20010718 - Wednesday
At 4:30 in Minneapolis, it's 97 degrees with a heat index of 120. This sucks.
As far as the rankings go, right now I'm like... last.
Last night's 90 degree weather admittedly wasn't the greatest condition to attempt going for a walk under, but it was still fun. We hit Sebastian Joe's, walked around the park north of the Isles and, after being sucked dry by a number of rabid mosquitoes, retreated to air conditioning.
it20010716 - Monday
I slept like a rock last night.
Second thoughts: Instead of spewing endless drivel about the trip to Miller Park, I decided it would be better to just let the photos speak for themselves. However, as there are over 180 of them to sort and prune, for the time being I'll just recount the trip through numbers:
- Hours of sleep before leaving: 3.5
- Hours spent in hot, sticky car: 15.5
- Hours of attempted sleep in car: 2
- Hours of successful sleep in car: 0
- Drivers: 2
- Passengers: 2
- Brewers fans: 2
- Twins fans: 1
- Fans of questionable loyalty: 1
- Miles driven: 892.6
- Interstates used: 94, 39, 90, 794, 43
- Residents of Loyal, Wisconsin: 1,244 (in 1990)
- Structurally-questionable bridges crossed: 1
- Parking: $6
- Miller Park stated capacity: 43,000
- Miller Park reported attendance: 43,624
- County Stadium capacity: 0
- Seats: Sec 308 Club Box, Row 6, Seats 1-4
- Coworkers spotted at game: 1
- Brats (dipped and smothered in secret sauce) consumed: 2 (me)
- Smirnoff Ices consumed: 5 (not me) (cost $5 each)
- Brewers: 3
- Twins: 5
I'll get the photos up. Eventually.
it20010715 - Sunday
It was a long weekend. Too much driving, too much walking, too much food, too much sun, and, inversely, too little sleep. But was it a good weekend? Yes. There's a lot to write about, but it'll have to happen later, as tonight I need some rest.
For now, I give you this:
it20010712 - Thursday
12:29 in the morning, buzzed on Mountain Dew. Not only do I not feel like going to bed, I don't want to go to bed. Bowery Electric is quietly repeating in the background, not making me tired but keeping me from bouncing off the walls. I've been busy planning for the weekend, not to mention coding for my photo album. Bandwidth gods willing, that thing will probably start going up sometime next week.
You know, sometimes being a nightbird just sucks. I sometimes wonder if I'd be better off working third shift and pulling the daysleeper routine. Probably not. Maybe I could do design for companies in Australia or something...
An online community that's become important to me will be closing sometime this weekend while I'm catching the Brewers/Twins game in Milwaukee. It'll probably be back in the fall, although I don't know if I'll be lucky enough to take part in it again. I hope so.
If you know what I'm talking about, pay it a visit. There's some interesting stuff going on these final days.
it20010710 - Tuesday
For a day I usually don't like all that much, Monday turned out pretty well. I still haven't seen The Manchurian Candidate (I have to return it to the video store tomorrow), but that's OK.
The main problem with being me is I act like me.
Got to hang out with Ben and another friend this evening at the Green Mill (gag me) down in Eagan. Ben's up here on business so he's expensing just about everything. As a result we needed separate checks, but unfortunately forgot to ask for such until dinner was almost over. Apparently the wait staff gets to name each individual group, a name that appears near the middle of each bill. Well, this evening our waiter titled us "Idiots."
Also noted: The Green Mill BLT is actually a BL.
it20010709 - Monday - Mark's 26th Birthday
Bah. If I want to be bitter and cynical about things, I can be bitter and cynical about things. Especially on days like today.
Many of my close friends--in what is usually portrayed as innocent jest--have a habit of labeling me as evil. The joke should've run its course a long time ago, but instead it continues, dauntless and full of momentum. I still grin back at their laughs, but in reality it's starting to hurt. When you get the same jabs from different people over and over, it's not hard to start to wonder if any of them actually believe it.
I got to that point some time ago.
it20010708 - Sunday
For some a warm, mildly humid day is cause to get out and enjoy the weather. For me, it's reason to stay inside until the sun and heat start their slow retreat into the evening.
<understatement>The last few days have been somewhat lazy and unproductive.</understatement>. Well, I suppose it all depends on one's definition of "unproductive." For the most part I didn't do a damn thing the past few days, but in a few ways--especially the mental health category--it was actually fairy productive. Whatever the case, I'm ready to get back to work. This five day weekend was nice, but it may turn out to be one day too many. (We'll see what I think next Friday.)
It's Sunday morning as I write this--er, early Sunday afternoon--and the dishes from the Fourth Of July BASH-A-ROO are still sitting patiently in the kitchen waiting to be cleaned. This is notable as I rarely let piles of dishes sit around for more than a day, not to mention a couple of hours. It's one of a number of tasks to take care of today. Some of the others: Wash the car, put away the grill, do the laundry, get the windshield fixed, etc.
Have you ever had one of those cases where you sort of know someone for a while, and then for one reason or another you actually get to meet him or her? It's rare, but it happened last night. We walked around Lake Calhoun, retreated to air conditioning, lost track of time and babbled past 1:00 in the morning.
- All of you complaining about the narration need to figure out who's telling the story.
- Same deal with the last third of the movie.
- Was it just me or was the MetLife building missing from the New York skyline?
- Ahem: Those weren't aliens. (You weren't paying attention, were you?)
- All of you complaining that Kubrick would have done it differently need to get over yourselves.
Am I defending AI? I think I am. I'm not sure how I rate the movie--I'm not even sure if I liked it--but I will say that I think many of the extremely critical attacks leveled against it have been misguided, uninformed and very unfair. Many have accused Spielberg of tacking on a happy ending. I'm sorry if I need this explained to me, but how is it happy? The human race is extinct and, for all intents and purposes, David is being lied to. I also find myself increasingly frosted by those saying they were unsympathetic to David's character as "he's just a robot." It wouldn't be surprising if many of those naysayers spend their spare time amusing themselves through the torture of small animals. (Recommended reading: The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil.)
I could go on endlessly about all this, but I won't. Suffice it to say the movie isn't nearly as bad as everyone is saying it is. Heck, I'm not even sure it is bad, but I will say this: I've been thinking about AI a lot, and that's not something I usually find myself doing after seeing a lousy film.
Disturbing revelation of the day, brought to light after studying the base of the apartment's largest radiator: At one time the living room's beautiful wood floor was covered in orange shag carpeting.
it20010704 - Wednesday - Independence Day
Happy 225th, America.
It's 11:55 in the evening as I write this. What a day. The last attendee of the the Fourth Of July Back Porch BASH-A-ROO™ left five minutes ago, his hands full of leftovers I wouldn't be able to finish off. The party turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. There were friends, neighbors and coworkers, folks who during the day go to school, manage co-ops or ride the dot-com bubble. I think there may have been occasional moments of boredom for some, but for the most part everyone seemed to get along just fine.
Anyway, the eight hours before the BASH-A-ROO™ were hectic and organized through triage and panic. I'm still fairly new at planning these things and it showed. (Turkey Party 2000 was great, but Heather helped out a lot with that.) There was a chance I'd be able to hang out with Robin during the afternoon, but those plans fell through and in a way I'm glad they did: I underestimated the time necessary for preparations and I pretty much needed the entire day. I'd struck out on the grain side the day before, failing to acquire hamburger and brat buns that met my specifications. But with only a few hours to go before people were going to start showing up, I was in complete and total Screw It mode. They don't have brat buns? Screw it, buy hot dog buns. They don't know what semmels are? (No one does here. It's Minnesota. Ok, so half the Wisconsinites didn't know what they were, either.) Screw it, buy Kaiser Rolls. My lead on a cooler fell through? Screw it, make a trip to Target.
And so it went. Despite my somewhat misguided pride in my ghetto/white-trash back porch, I still wanted it to be halfway presentable. I pulled the cable and phone lines off the ground, draped them over the clothes poles and started sweeping off the concrete slab. At the fifth or sixth stroke in the end broom snapped off and cartwheeled into the parking area one floor below. Screw it, buy a new broom. I trashed the kitchen and for some reason decided to make a rushed attempt at cleaning the entire apartment. This indirectly led to me blowing the fuses in the place for the first time since I moved here. (Long story, don't ask.)
People started arriving promptly at 5:00. I was almost ready. There were numerous items to cart down from the apartment and it was 5:30 before I got the fire going, but after that things went pretty well. Everyone seemed to get along and aside from some minor burns I sustained after absent-mindedly grabbing a very hot grill, no one was injured.
The trip down to watch the fireworks turned out to be another unfortunate victim of poor planning. Because of parking it was preferable we didn't walk down to the river, something I often did in about a half hour. I figured the group would go slower than that and budgeted 45 minutes to get down there. Well, I should've done an hour. Robin and I motored when the fireworks started going off and inadvertently ditched the rest of the group in the process. They wandered down to 3rd Avenue (?), while Robin and I climbed over some construction barriers to watch the show from the Hennepin Avenue bridge. The show was over in 20 minutes, a disappointing length considering the size of Minneapolis. (Maybe I'm just spoiled by the Aquatennial fireworks.) The unsuspecting gathered back at the apartment a while later where their host shoved brats and hamburgers at them like a dealer encouraging a first puff of crack. Everyone except me had to work the next day, so people didn't stick around long. And that was pretty much it for the evening.
Well, it's 1:30 the morning of the 5th, and Mark needs some sleep. I'll upload this sometime tomorrow, er, later today. Good night, and happy Independence Day.
it20010702 - Monday
You were expecting a dark red color scheme here, weren't you?
It's good to have goals. I've been thinking about mine lately, and I'm not talking about getting a degree in architecture before I'm 35 or any long-term goals like that, either. I'm thinking short term, like over the next few months. What do I want to do?
- Max out deposits to my Roth IRA. The reasons for doing this should be obvious.
- Start going to the YMCA on a regular basis again. Target date: July.
- Pay off my debts. I'm still hurting from extraneous automotive expenses from the beginning of they year. Target completion date: December.
- Buy a new bike. I trashed mine in a rather spectacular accident a few years ago and find myself missing that mode of transportation, especially considering the bike-friendly neighborhood I'm in. I've been saying this for three years now and it's about time I do something about it. Target completion date: August.
- Get a new bedroom set. Ok, this isn't a necessity, and I really, really don't have the money. But I've had the same bed since I was seven and I'm starting to develop a complex about it. Target completion date: September.
- Get my photos organized. Granted, from a practical standpoint this isn't something that can actually be achieved, as I keep taking photos. It's all about degrees of disorganization, though, and I'd like to minimize that as much as possible. Target completion date: Rolling.
I'm sure there are many other things I should include here but just haven't remembered today. For this month I'm going to put my goals over on the sidebar as I come up with them. It should be an interesting list.
Well, it's July. And it's a beautiful 64 degrees outside. Forecast for Wednesday: Partly cloudy, highs in the mid-70s.
it20010701 - Sunday
I bought a grill today. This is actually sort of important as I'm having a cook-out on the Fourth. Meanwhile, I've been running around like crazy trying to get my life organized. You can guess how well that's going.
I've had a lot on my mind lately.