it20050630 - Thursday
11:50 p.m. We're off to South Dakota in less than 18 hours. Here's wishing everyone a safe and splendid Fourth of July weekend.
11:50 p.m. We're off to South Dakota in less than 18 hours. Here's wishing everyone a safe and splendid Fourth of July weekend.
I woke up Monday morning still exhausted from the weekend, and the workday declined to offer any sympathy. I was at my desk until well after 10:00 in the evening, and, in the end, it could be said that the day completely and totally kicked my ass.
Tuesday was better, but not by much.
It wasn't a bad weekend, but our aggressive schedule made it a fairly grueling one. Lisa and I spent it in Madison camping in her barren old apartment (she's stuck with the lease through August), resting in sleeping bags and trying to cope with a curtainless shower and an incredibly noisy air conditioner. This wasn't done on some whim, of course: One of Lisa's childhood friends got married on Saturday, and so we spent most of our afternoon and evening outdoors at Tyrol Basin, where both the service and reception were held. The service itself was quick, pleasant and informal, and the reception was nice as well, but the calescent three hours between, which eventually landed us in 95+ degree weather, were kind of brutal. One of the ski lifts was turned on for entertainment, and while the ride up and down the mountain was fun, I'd rather have spent the time in some decidedly less summery environment.
Earlier in the day, just as the heat really began to make itself evident in various uncomfortable ways, Lisa and I headed over to Lake Wingra to see if we could catch Robin racing in a rowing competition for this summer's Badger State Games. While we initially arrived on the wrong side of the lake for the event, we did find our way around in time to catch the end of her first race.
It was a close finish, and not clear where her team placed. Still, considering the conditions, not to mention the length of the race, managing to finish at all seemed to be somewhat of an accomplishment in of itself.
Sunday was relatively laid back by comparison, but considering we were wiped from the day before, it wasn't as if either of us would've been able to be sprightly. We spent the morning visiting with my uncle Eric, aunt Margi and grandmother, all of whom live in the Madison area. After an aborted attempt for breakfast at the Hubbard Avenue Diner (the place was packed with a long wait), we ended up at Pancake Cafe, the apparent home of apple pancakes that are absolutely obscene in their scale. Conversation ranged from my family's capital-P Progressive background to Celtic sea salt.
After visiting with my relatives, Lisa and I headed over to her folks' place for the afternoon. Her dad was out at a bicycle rally in Indiana, but Lisa and I were able to hang out and visit her mom for a while (as well as have a tasty salmon dinner that her mom prepared). We also made a brief trip to a dog park south of Madison, which may have been a bit ill-advised considering the heat. On a number of occassions, Lisa had to pick up the smaller of her parents' two dogs, Cilla, and carry her so she wouldn't overheat.
We headed home to Minneapolis early in the evening, and detoured off I-94 so we could drive up along the Mississippi. Neither of us were fully-wired for a scenic drive, but, regardless, it was a nice change from the incredibly familiar drive 94 has become.
For what it's worth, today was a long day, too.
Three days to the Badlands. More later.
9:30 p.m. What a fucking day. 11+ hours at work when I was under no physical condition to do so, swealtering 95-degree weather, power outages leading to dead air conditioners, and a girlfriend constantly getting harrassed by a bunch of fucking retards who can't understand that her phone number no longer belongs to the skanky fucking whore/prostitute who used to use it.
Jesus Fucking Christ. I need ice cream.
10:30 p.m., post-Sebastian Joe's. That's better.
Konfabulator gives the grim forcast:
A summer person I am not. A few thunderstorms may be fun, though.
Despite both my current and previous dentists telling me that my wisdom teeth would have to come out before they could straighten my teeth (straightening that's important for more than aesthetic reasons, as uneven wear has been identified as a potential source of the chronic headaches I've been suffering), I'm starting to wish I'd gotten a third opinion. There's now almost an inch of space between my last teeth and the back of my mouth, and, well, I used to chew back there, dammit.
I know this is going to sound stupid, but I miss my teeth.
This morning, applesauce. This evening, Chipotle. Next stop, something that crunches.
So, I have a huge headache, a sore mouth, and four less teeth than I had yesterday morning.
"I'm Dr. Glineburg. How are you today?"
"Pretty good. And you?"
"Better than you'll be."
Due to my drugged state, I don't actually remember the following conversation in the recovery room, but according to Lisa, it went something like this:
"I'm little worried," she said, "that the nurse said one of the side-effects of anesthesia may be amnesia."
"Oh. How's Ben?" I asked, referring to her ex.
"That's not funny. Don't even joke about that." Long pause. "He's pretty good. And Mamatha?" she asked, referring to the girl I was dating when Ben and her got married.
"She's doing well."
It was a good weekend. Friday brought a late showing of Batman Begins, while Saturday brought Dinner at W.A. Frost and ice cream at Sebastian Joe's. Today brought a trip to Hastings for a cookout with a couple of Lisa's friends, plus a trip to the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts in Minneapolis.
While the weekend was busy, it will be nothing like the coming month: Thursday will bring a trip to Rochester to visit my parents while my dad visits the Mayo Clinic. On Friday we'll be off to Madison for a wedding, plus, hopefully, a number of visits with friends and family. (Note to self: If you want to visit people, you need to let them know you're coming.) The weekend following that will bring a camping trip to the Badlands and Black Hills—Lisa's first real camping trip, as it happens—and the weekend after that brings my brother's wedding in San Diego.
From a practical standpoint, that means of the next 21 days, 13 will include significant amounts of time outside the Twin Cities area. There's a lot I need to do before we start traveling on Thursday, not the least of which is to make sure my cat sitter is capable of handling guinea pigs.
On an unrelated note, tomorrow I get all four wisdom teeth pulled.
I really wanted to like Human Nature, and did my best to approach it with an open mind despite the bad press and horrible reviews surrounding it. I liked Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich and Adaptation a lot, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, written by Kaufman and directed by Human Nature director Michel Gondry, is one of my favorite movies. On top of that, Human Nature was recommended to me by a friend who's taste in movies is pretty similar to mine and has given me good recommendations in the past.
Still, despite all that, and it really pains me to say it, Human Nature kind of sucked. Sure, the ending was fun, and the mice trained in table manners were cool, too, but, really, the rest of the movie was borderline unbearable. Maybe it got weird too quickly. Maybe it didn't stitch the lunacy together as well as Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine. Maybe it had flat acting. Maybe the characters were unlikable. Maybe it was all those things. In the end, I practically had to force myself to watch it, holding out hope to the very end that there would be some kind of payoff. And there was, but not one big enough to justify the bulk of the movie. 4/10.
There were about 30 people crowded around the television.
"I knew it. Jackson's getting off on everything."
"Funny, that's kind of how he got in trouble in the first place."
Interesting tidbits for the evening: By car, Toronto is less than 15 hours from Minneapolis. The Badlands, less than nine.
On a related note, there's a fully-assembled three-person tent sitting in the living room, but more on that as the week progresses.
The ongoing FTP problems that darkened this site last week have been resolved. It turns out that my ISP changed one of my logins without telling me. This is the second time they've done that in a matter of months, so my time with them may be limited.
Friday evening is usually a pleasant time—the work week is over and, hey, it's usually burrito/taco night—but upon arrival at home this evening I found a very sad Lisa who'd just gotten off the phone with the vet. Murray, one of the three guinea pigs who'd moved up with her, had been battling an illness for two weeks and apparently had to be put down. After a brief pause for dinner—I figured neither of us would be in the mood for food later in the evening—we made our way to the emergency veterinary clinic, a drab, squat building along a devastated stretch of University Avenue in St. Paul. There we waited as they plugged the little guy with an overdose of the same anesthetic used for animal surgery, after which Lisa sat with him on her lap as he drifted off.
A couple of people have commented that it's a bit weird for a grown woman to have a fondness for guinea pigs, and, well, Lisa has said so from time to time herself. To some extent she may even be a little embarrassed about her pigs, although I've never completely understood that. I have a cat I'm incredibly fond of, and in my mind all because he's bigger and likes to roughneck from time to time doesn't make him any more or less "grown up" of a pet than the pigs residing at the edge of the living room. Besides, there's something about Lisa's character that seems to make guinea pigs make sense: I suspect if she ever went back to teaching grade school, at the back of her classroom would be a little cage with a couple of frolicking pigs.
Actually, guinea pigs don't frolick. They popcorn.
These are the kinds of things you learn when living with a guinea pig person.
The FTP problems seem to be ongoing. I have no idea when anyone is going to be reading any of this.
Well, it was kind of a long weekend, but a good one nonetheless. Lisa and I headed to Two Rivers for Biker Ben's kid's first birthday party, a two-day celebration that involved a bonfire, two cakes, lots of barbecued food, lightsabers, and one energetic (and standing) one-year-old kid (1). The next day, back at my parents' house, Lisa and I accidentally found ourselves assisting in the removal of a chain-link fence from the front yard and its later reassembly in the back yard.
Mark sunburn status: Moderate. Lisa sunburn status: Worse.
Trips across Wisconsin have become familiar enough that they're generally uninteresting (2), but both the outgoing and incoming trips made exceptions of themselves on account of some exceptionally freak driving conditions. The trip to Two Rivers on WI-29 involved over 15 switches from windshield wipers to sunglasses, and the trip back on US-10 included walls of rain that were visible in their approach, gusting winds that threatened to push the car off the road, a tornado warning just east of Minnesota, and, between Stevens Point and Osseo, a five-mile swarm of bugs that turned the front of the Saturn burgundy.
The bug swarm was kind of gross, and, lest you think I exaggerate, it was actually a swarm: We could see the masses of bugs floating above us (and sometimes in front of us) up to a quarter mile ahead on some stretches. It was kind of awesome in its own weird way, but not something I'd like to encounter again anytime soon.
And now I seem to be having FTP problems, so this probably won't be getting uploaded tonight.
One air conditioner in, one air conditioner left to go. It's 80 degrees at 10:30 in the evening. Lisa seems happy with this weather, but, for me, it's about 20 degrees too many.
I'd write about the weekend, but my brain doesn't function well under such warm conditions. Maybe tomorrow.
$772 later, I have my car back. This time, it seems, it needed a new computer.
Tomorrow Lisa and I are off to Two Rivers for Biker Ben's kid's first birthday. Instead of just holding a regular party, Ben and Beth are holding two straight days of cookouts, bonfires, and other events. It should be fun.
The day was going reasonably well until I climbed into my car to head home. I pushed down on the clutch, turned the key and watched in horror as the odometer switched from one random number to the next, the daytime running light indicator blinked on and off like a turn signal, and the gas and temperature gauges flipped back and forth like windshield wipers in a slow rain.
Tomorrow morning, it's back to the Saturn dealership.
To be fair, Big Fish never had much of a chance with me. I have a deep-rooted dislike of heart-tugging father/son bonding flicks, which to a large extent is what Big Fish is. Lisa really liked the movie, though, so after a lot of prodding I relented and gave it a try. Regrettably, the deep-rooted dislike still stands. The father character is dreadfully annoying, and not in a way that makes the movie enjoyable. There were a few funny scenes, and the movie generally had a good look to it, but that wasn't enough to make up for the flat characters and preachy ending. The moral of the film—that you can bend the truth all you want as long as it makes people feel happy—was the final nail in the coffin. In all, Big Fish wasn't the catastrophic mess it could've been, but it wasn't good, either. 5/10.
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