"You think baseball will strike tomorrow?"
"Yeah, I'm sure of it."
"Because I'm flying to Cincinnati on the 13th to catch a Reds game."
) ) )
"You worried about traveling so close to September 11th?"
"Maybe a little, but it's not like I'm worried about terrorist attacks or anything. I'm more concerned about the security... It'll be like 'I had to go through three rectal exams just to check my luggage!'"
"You'll have 300 people on a plane and not a single one will want to sit down."
"Could help first-class sales, though. Those seats recline farther."
"What's the deal with the music?"
"It's customer appreciation day."
"You decide to thank us by playing ABBA?"
"There are free mints by the checkout."
"Hey, it wasn't my idea."
I talked to (Madison) Ben on the phone this evening. "So I'm getting a cat."
"Mark, no, see it's the gay thing again. The carpet, the thousand-dollar couch, the copies of Architectural Digest, the photo magazines, it just says the wrong things."
"Well, some the photo magazines have naked chicks in them."
"But that's art-porn, not porn-porn. You just need a giant Budweiser poster or something to mitigate everything."
Pondering his statement, I almost asked the liberal, government-employed, Madison-based, cat-owning musician what differentiated him from a stereotypical gay man, but then remembered that, among other things, he's married.
) ) )
For the record, I do not subscribe to Architectural Digest. I also hate the word "chicks."
) ) )
I pulled out my stock comment for those dressed in black: "Someone die?"
"No," she said, "it was a suicide."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"No big deal... I mean your comment, not her suicide."
) ) )
I posted some photos from yesterday's visit to the Minnesota State Fair. (How's that for turn-around time?)
9:30 p.m. I'm toast. Rich, Heather, her brother and I spent the day at the Minnesota State Fair. Our day was marked by warm weather, water rides, Pronto Pups, fragrant livestock barns, Sweet Martha's cookies, all the milk you can drink for 50 cents, bus lines, body odor, stupid people riding insane rides, political candidates and an unexpectedly high number of tasteless jokes. When done, we came back to my apartment, found corners in the living room and collapsed for a good half hour.
All in all, it was a good day.
) ) )
Interesting story in the StarTribune today about the city I went to college in. With the rapid pace of Twin Cities sprawl, there's a chance River Falls could be the next Lakeville or Woodbury. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen.
) ) )
Well, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought the orange joke was funny.
So I was going to do a long-winded entry on the items mentioned yesterday, but as I've been spending too much time in front of a computer at work, I'm going to be brief and probably a bit vague.
Cat Adoption: There will probably be a small ball of fur taking up residence in my apartment in the near future. A friend has to part ways with her beloved felines because of her significant other's allergies, and I've always wanted a cat, so...
Cincinnati: Stadium Tour 2002 continues. I expect to catch a Reds game there on September 13th with some friends.
Roller Coasters: With at least some of the folks I'm going to the Reds game with, I'll be visiting Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio on September 14th. Yay. In a spiffy turn of events, as of this evening it sounds like the trip will involve some camping as well.
Oranges: I rarely do such things, but a few days ago I mass-emailed a number of friends and coworkers the following joke, which I personally found hilarious:
This guy walks into a pub and half his head is a big orange. He says: 'I'll have a pint of lager, please.' And the barman says: 'Excuse me, I couldn't help noticing, but half your head appears to be a big orange.' And the boy goes: 'Yeah, had that for a while now.' So the barman says: 'How did that come about, if you don't mind me asking?' And the boy says: 'I was in this old junk shop when I found a lamp and when I gave it a rub this genie appeared. He offered me the standard three wishes, and I said: 'For my first wish, I'd like every woman I ever meet to fall madly in love with me.' So the genie waves his genie hands and suddenly there's women looking at me. Then the genie says: 'What will your second wish be?' I said: 'I'd like a wallet with £1 million in it, and I can never lose it, it can't be destroyed, and every time I spend any of the money, it'll be replenished.' And the genie says: 'Your wish is granted. Now, what will your third wish be?' So I said: 'For my third wish, I'd like half my head to be a big orange.'
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for this little bit of non sequitur was shared by almost no one. My dad's response was typical. No questions, no comments, just an email asking "???????????"
Speeding Police Cars in Maplewood: I've been reminded that discussing this would probably be ill-advised. But that's okay, as it really wasn't that big of a deal anyway. Really.
Parking Ramps: Yesterday I had a rare offsite meeting in Minneapolis for work. I love my city, so, despite my best efforts, I found myself babbling about it as our group walked from the parking ramp to the appointment. "You know, it's expected that Minneapolis will have over 50 percent of the Twin Cities' office space by the end of the year." One coworker wasn't impressed. "Why would they want to do that? It's hard enough to find a spot to park here already." I paused for a moment. We'd dropped our cars in a ramp only one block from the building our meeting was in. To put that in perspective, that's a significantly shorter walk than many have to make when coming in from one of our company's sprawling parking lots. People obviously don't think about it that way, though. Maybe the downtowns just need better marketing.
And that was my day yesterday. As far as today goes, well, it was unique in some unfortunate ways. I'd go on, but you probably don't want to know why I felt the need to wash my eyeglasses in bleach this morning.
) ) )
Plans for the weekend: Bed purchase Saturday afternoon, Phil's birthday party Saturday evening, and the Great Minnesota Get-Together all day Sunday.
Trivia question: What do cat adoption, parking ramps in Minneapolis, light rail construction, Cincinnati, pressurized water systems, driving with coworkers, cheap wine, police cars doing 135 MPH through Maplewood, oranges, roller coasters and sleep deprivation have in common? Answer: They all played significant roles in my day. I'd explain, but they put a new water heater in my apartment building earlier today and now none of the hot water faucets in my apartment will turn off.
For what it's worth, I'll probably revisit this post sometime tomorrow.
) ) )
1:15 a.m. I really should be in bed, but there's such a wonderful lightning storm brewing outside...
"You know, I just realized this wine doesn't have a date on it."
"What? I thought he was more picky than that. '10-year-old-scotch' and all..."
"Nope, no date. Hmmm... 20 percent alcohol by volume..."
) ) )
And then, just like that, everything started breaking. Two days ago the (proprietary, rechargeable) battery on my camera died. Then my iPaq handheld, only a few months past the end of its warranty, decided to go into a deep and eternal sleep. Topping it off, last night the optical mouse on my computer burned out. What the hell? If it had just been the camera that would've been okay as I've been looking for an excuse to replace it, but I live and die by my planner, so this morning I took the money I'd been saving for the camera and ordered a new iPaq instead. (Yes, I searched around and found some good alternatives to the iPaq, but then decided I didn't want to have to replace all the peripherals I bought for it.) As far as the mouse goes, I'm relying on keystrokes and the crappy right-handed ball mouse that came with my computer. The camera is a little more difficult. The money isn't there for it right now, and I hate charging non-emergency items. It'll probably have to wait.
) ) )
Update, 11:45 p.m: I was able to get the iPaq working. Amazing what you can do with a screwdriver and a paper clip these days. It's almost enough to make me want to go back down to Best Buy and throttle the tech guy who told me it wasn't repairable. (Yeah, I probably should have gone to MicroCenter, but hey...) I cancelled the order I put in for its replacement, so it looks like I'll be able to get that new camera now.
Quite a storm last night. I sat in the living room with the windows open and lights off while talking on the phone to Rich in River Falls. We both love a good thunderstorm, but approach them in completely different ways. I'm content to watch the spectacle from the safety of my residence, while he likes running out and becoming one with the weather. A few years ago some friends and I apprehensively watched him frolic in a torrential downpour that ended up taking out every fifth tree in River Falls. The guy is lucky he hasn't been hit by lightning yet.
) ) )
In other news, Minneapolis will soon have a Hard Rock Cafe... Right across the street from First Avenue. Sit back and ponder that one for a while. Think about what each one represents, consider their proximity, contemplate the narrow strip of pavement between them. Hard Rock, First Avenue. Neighbors. Does your brain hurt? Mine too. It's almost as if one morning you wandered out on the front porch of your isolated cabin retreat only to find a brand new McDonald's, efficiently constructed overnight, not more than 50 feet from your doorstep. The new complex Hard Rock calls home takes up an entire block, so I'm sure the developers picked that corner specifically so First Ave would only be a few steps away. I suppose they were aiming to add a level of legitimacy from the obvious association, but the only thing they accomplished was to make Hard Rock look like the stupid corporate cliche of a chain that it is.
Now imagine that narrow strip of blacktop smeared with blood.
Nikon School will be stopping in Minneapolis October 5th and 6th. I traveled down to Chicago to catch one of their classes a few years ago and found it well worth my time, so I'm seriously considering attending it again when they pass through the Twin Cities. If you're into photography and are interested knocking off some rust, I'd highly recommend it.
) ) )
You know, now that I think about it, that trip to Chicago was a lot of fun. Good friends, hilarious acting, and the best damn Italian beef sandwich I've ever had. There was even a silver-lining to the old Caprice wagon's check engine light making an appearance on the Kennedy. While my car was in the shop I got to spend an extra day in my favorite city, making good use of the photographic ideas crammed into my head the day before.
Once again I found myself waking to the uncomfortable silence of an apartment without electricity. I swore, crawled out of bed, checked the clock in the bathroom3, threw on some shorts and stumbled down to the basement. There I pushed open the fire door, reached for the circuit box and...
Too tired to be startled, I calmly turned to find an electrician taking apart one of the other boxes. Well, I thought, this is a new one. "Um... Hi."
"Sorry about that. I'm putting in new breakers today."
"Great." Pause. "Can you wait 30 minutes on this one?"
I flipped my apartment back on. "Thanks."
) ) )
"What was that?"
"What was what?"
I had a lot of plans for this weekend. I was going to buy a new bed, finish organizing the kitchen, do some work on lstc.org, clean the car, email a bunch of folks I owe letters, take care of some apartment issues with the landlord and maybe get in some reading. Instead, I woke up Saturday morning around 11:00, fired up a game of Sim City and didn't get around to taking a shower until sometime after 5:00. I did go for a walk around Lake Calhoun later in the evening, but it turned out to be late enough that I got to watch the floodlights go dark on the Wells Fargo and US Bank buildings.
Today was a bit better, but not by much. I haven't even checked my work email this weekend, and I usually watch it like a day-trader. There'll probably be 300 pieces of spam when I get to it tomorrow morning. Whatever the case, my kitchen is still unorganized, the car still needs to be cleaned and both the Saturday and Sunday papers sit unread.
And now, in about ten hours, it's back to work.
"Of course, she has a boyfriend."
"At least this one isn't a lesbian."
"You're not helping."
My day at work:
- 10:00: Mark realizes he isn't feeling very good.
- 12:00: Mark says, "I'm not feeling well. I think I may go home early today."
- 03:00: Mark says, "I'm not feeling well. I think I may go home early today."
- 04:00: Mark says, "I'm not feeling well. I think I may go home early today."
- 05:20: Mark goes home about an hour earlier than ususal.
- 05:30: Mark finds himself stuck in rush-hour traffic.
) ) )
Heather and Rich stopped over this evening for pizza and conversation. The latter went well until Heather realized that I have cable2. The TV was trained on MTV within seconds, and for the next hour the three of us sat watching some pseudo-news program on marijuana.
Later in the evening, Heather took advantage of the living room's view to study the new neighbors in our old apartment.
"What are you doing?" I knew, of course, but as it was something I'd intentionally avoided, I decided to question her on it.
"Just checkin' on the apartment."
"At least you're not being obvious about it."
In typical Heather fashion, she responded by ducking and cranking her neck in the most blatant manner possible.
As part of a management development series I'm going through I'll be taking a course on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and going through the assessment myself. Although I was somewhat familiar with the MBTI back in college, last week I vaguely recalled taking issue with it. It took about 30 seconds on Google to remember why. The assessment has its roots in the ideas of Carl Gustav Jung, the same fruitcake who came up with the concept of the collective unconscious. That particular subject was the basis for one of the few times I ever really lost it in one of my philosophy courses: Coming to the realization that many of my classmates were taking the notion seriously, I launched into a minute-long rant against it, pointing out, among other things, that Milwaukee didn't rise up to fight alongside the Nazis during World War II. It wasn't my most lucid or well-reasoned moment on the way through the minor, but it did give the class sufficient ammunition to completely throttle our professor when he tried to respond to my arguments.
Anyway, I know it's not fair to dismiss the process solely on the basis of the person who's philosophy it's partially based on, but I'm still going in as a skeptic.
) ) )
"I guess you're an INTJ."
"What does that mean?"
"That's not nice."
Sort of a quiet visit to River Falls this afternoon. The house I lived in for a few months back in early 1999 was gutted by a fire Friday. The apartment I shared with Sarah seemed more intact than the others, but as a whole the old green and yellow house on the corner of Second and Division appeared to be a loss. It's probably safe to assume it'll be gone the next time I drive by there.
) ) )
Before heading to River Falls, I spent some time in Hudson at a going-away party for Rich's parents. They head to Oregon in a couple of weeks. As for Heather and Rich, they recently completed a scouting trip to Kentucky and are looking at early October for their move.
A few hours ago I spent the better part of a month's salary on a new couch and chair, the previously noted Mercer set from Room & Board. It's a dang spiffy set and I'm pretty happy about it. That said, my color choice means I'll have to wait until early November for delivery, which sorta sucks. Ah well. I guess that can happen when the manufacturer turns out to be some small, independent company down in North Carolina.
In the meantime, I still have to get a new bedroom set. Or at least a new bed.
) ) )
The new album from Beth Orton is pretty good1. While a few songs are reminiscent of Central Reservation, for the most part Daybreaker more... Poppy? European? Dunno, but it doesn't really have any of the folksy feel much of the last album had. My favorite song is probably track four, "Anything." Orton with a horn section. Hmmm. Weird at first, but more interesting as it goes along.
) ) )
Friday evening brought a fair amount of alcohol, arguments about politics and some cheering for the Twins.