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Journal for 31 Dec 2007: New Year’s Eve Anniversary


Due to the baby and other responsibilities, Lisa and I basically missed our first wedding anniversary earlier this year.  We decided that letting the occasion go unnotted in 2007 was improper, though, so we’ve decided to let tonight be our anniversary.

I made a dinner of spicy mac and cheese, a nod to Lisa’s lunch at Reds the day after we got married.  It actually proved to be pretty tasty, which was a bit of a surprise as I’m usually not all that good at the whole measuring ingredients thing.  We also opened the bottle of wine they gave us the night we arrived at the Sedona Rouge.  It was good as well, but probably a bit strong for a night we don’t have a sitter lined up.

The closest thing we have to a slice of wedding cake is currently thawing out in the kitchen.  It will be consumed later.

Lisa’s off handling baby stuff for the moment–this is New Year’s Eve, parenthood style–but in a few minutes we’ll settle back, listen to the parties rattling about in our building and next door, and wait for 2008.

And with that, here’s wishing you and your’s a Happy New Year.

Posted in Journal at 10:58 pm

MovieLog: Sicko


I always want to hedge a bit when writing such things, but Sicko may very well be my favorite movie by Michael Moore. It’s well written and, with the exception of a trip taking Ground Zero workers to Gitmo, not prone the sensationalism that can sometimes accompany Moore’s work.

While the fact-checking behind this movie is pretty solid—Moore has seemingly made a point of that since Bowling for Columbine was shot full of holes—you can find a lot of sources making some very legitimate complaints about the movie, particularly its tendency to gloss over some of the less spiffy sides of socialized systems. But focusing on such criticisms misses the larger point, as similar criticisms could easily be leveled against many healthcare institutions in the United States. The question should be would we as a country, as a whole, be better off with a nationalized system? Sicko makes a fairly convincing argument that the answer would be “yes.”

By a weird coincidence, Robin and Andy happened to watch Sicko the same evening Lisa and I watched it for the first time. While Andy seemed to think Moore made a good case for socialized medicine, he said felt the chance of such a system being instituted in the United States was unlikely. I’m not so sure. While immediate or even short-term change on the federal level does seem unlikely, there does seem to be the opportunity for change on state and local levels, as initiatives in San Francisco (more background) and Massachusetts have shown. Granted, those initiatives are very minor efforts compared to a national system (and, especially in the case of Massachusetts, can still be prone to the problems highlighted in Sicko), but they’re steps in the right direction, and if 25 years from now we had a de facto national health care system, that would probably put us in a better place than where we are now.

Anyway, to get back to the movie itself, not only do I recommend it, but I’ve bought a copy to foist upon unsuspecting friends and coworkers. 9/10.

Posted in MovieLog at 12:52 pm

WordPress Upgrade


Well, I just upgraded WordPress.  Now let’s see if I can get my old design back…

Posted in Journal at 11:58 pm

Journal for 28 Dec 2007


I feel the need to accomplish something, but I don’t know what.

Posted in Journal at 10:32 pm

Journal for 27 Dec 2007: Laptop Problems


I’ve left my work computer at home a couple of times before, but yesterday I reached a whole new level of stupid by leaving it at my in-laws’ place in Madison. Thankfully, between a spare computer at work and a rather thorough online backup I was able to be productive for most of the day, but I still felt pretty dumb about it.

Lisa will be bringing it back to Minneapolis this weekend. At least I don’t have to make a return trip to pick it up.

~ ~ ~

It’s been an interesting evening to live on Fremont Avenue. With all the slush and ice on the road, a lot of people are having trouble getting their cars up the hill. I’ve seen a number of drivers give up and turn around, or, when they fail to do even that, back down the hill in reverse. I’m surprised no one has whacked a parked car yet.

Posted in Journal at 11:20 pm

Journal for 25 Dec 2007: Xmas in Madtown


Yesterday didn’t feel like Christmas Eve, but today, with the visiting of relatives and the opening of presents, has definitely felt like Christmas.

Tonight, turkey. Tomorrow, back to Minneapolis.

~ ~ ~

I’m envious of all the snow here in Madison. It sounds like Minneapolis got a good coat while we were in Wausau. Here’s to hoping it’ll stick through the winter.

Posted in Journal,Travelog at 4:15 pm

Journal for 22 Dec 2007: Christmas Pea Soup


Saturday evening in Manitowoc. Today included a visit to Lisa’s grandmother in Wausau, followed by a visit with Ben and Beth in Two Rivers later in the day. As far as driving today, I have two words: Pea soup. With the exception of around 20 minutes near Green Bay, the day was fog, fog and more fog.

Dinner this evening was provided by Fatzo’s, a sub place I frequented when I lived here. We were served by a blond girl with a ponytail and a Two Rivers Wrestling shirt, which is kind of hilarious in a way that can probably only be understood by those who went to high school here years ago… And then got out of town.

Fatzo’s is still tasty, though.

Mathias has been kind of cranky this trip. He had his six-month shots on Friday, and that combined with traveling has produced a baby more agitated than normal. Or, at least, that’s our current theory.

After lunch and some more visiting tomorrow, the plan is to head to Madison. The forecasters have been fairly off this weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see what the day brings. Regardless, we’ll probably head there via Milwaukee in an effort to avoid two lane roads. All I can say now is I’d take snow over fog… Just as long as the freezing rain stays away.

More later.

Posted in Journal,Travelog at 10:23 pm

Journal for 21 Dec 2007: Not Yet Stranded in Wausau


Well, we’re in Wausau. I just had a weird 20 minutes running errands, starting with a Shopko near our hotel. Shopko itself isn’t weird, of course, but whenever shopping there I always find myself wondering if they’re trying to be Target or Wal-Mart (or maybe a discount Kohl’s on crack), and usually all I get is a headache as a result. Anyway, while carrying a poinsettia out into the parking lot, I got a call from Lisa.

“I figured out why the Super8 here got such good ratings,” she said.

“What’s that?”

“[ This sentence deleted at Lisa’s request. ]”

“Uh, we better make sure we’re not paying for that.”

“I think its from the 1930s.”

“Oh. Probably free then.”

Next stop was McDonald’s to pick up a cheeseburger and iced coffee for Lisa. (I decided to grab a fruit and walnut salad for myself.) They handed over the food and I drove off to the hotel. Stepping out of my car, I heard a guy yelling. “Sir! Sir!” I turned around, and there was a guy from McDonald’s. “We forgot to give you your hamburger.” He’d actually run there after me. Dumbfounded, I took the burger and thanked him, and he headed off.

I thought about it for a moment, and then the full gravity of the event finally struck me: A McDonald’s employee had just run out of the restaurant, chased me down the street and located me in a parking lot in order to deliver a hamburger. That had to be good for some kind of tip. I jumped out of the car only to find he was already 20 or 30 yards away. (While he works at McDonald’s, it would appear that he doesn’t actually eat there all that often.) I yelled at him to stop, which he did, or at least tried to do, as he was on a patch of ice. Bang, on the ground. Fuck. At least he got up quickly.

“I have to give you a tip for that,” I said. I rummaged through my pockets, and got an ill-timed demonstration of the fact I’m primarily a plastic user. Total availability of cash to give him? $1. At least I got to thank him again.

~ ~ ~

So, it’s been kind of a weird evening. I’m out in the Super8 lobby now, as Lisa and Mathias are back sleeping in the room. The hotel has a computer set up in the corner for guest use, and I just watched some guy wander out in his underwear to check his email. Alrighty.

We weren’t originally planning to be here tonight, but yesterday’s weather forecast made it clear that if we didn’t get out of Minneapolis today, there was a distinct possibility we wouldn’t be getting out until Sunday or even Monday. So, we made a run for it. It’ll be interesting to see where we get this weekend… Or where we don’t.

Well, it’s time for me turn in for the evening. I wonder how warm the hotel room is. When I left, it seemed appropriate for poaching eggs.

More later.

Posted in Journal,Travelog at 11:53 pm

Journal for 16 Dec 2007: Mathias And The Tree


While Lisa was taking a nap this afternoon, I went about finding ways to entertain Mathias. We ended up in front of the Christmas tree, with me holding him closely enough to it that he could grab branches with both of his hands. Continuously playing with the needles and staring at the ornaments, he appeared completely fascinated it, making me wonder how he’ll approach next year’s version when he has a better understanding of the fact that, uh, there’s a tree in the house for some reason.
Of course, the first time I shifted my attention even slightly he managed to pull a branch into his mouth, but that issue was rectified quickly.

~ ~ ~

We spent some extra money and got a Balsam Fir this year. It’s a gorgeous tree with soft needles and a very pleasant smell. At 7 1/2 feet, it has just two inches of clearance in our sunroom.

$75 didn’t just buy us a tree. It bought us the use of a 10×10 foot plot of land that’s been nurturing it since I was a junior in college almost a decade ago. It bought us the time spent in a nursery, and associated care, before being planted in that plot as a seedling. It may have bought us fertilizer, or maybe the use of irrigation equipment. It bought us the labor to cut it down, and the transportation down from Hinckley. And, finally, it bought us the labor to give it a fresh cut and wrap it up for car transport.

$75. I almost feel like we got away with something.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 2:37 pm

Journal for 12 Dec 2007


I sometimes find myself wondering why everything always has to be so goddamned complicated.

Posted in Journal at 11:56 pm
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