12.30.2006

just in case you were wondering


The 'Hawks won their sixth straight game in a row tonight. Now it's time for conference play. I'm nervous.

the day after the day after the snow

So, for two nights in a row now I've enjoyed the benefit of a full night's sleep. Without the aid of Sleepy Time. All I have to say is, 'it's about damn time.'

I woke up at 7a and decided to go down into the scary basement to run on the treadmill. I haven't done running of any sort for about a gazillion years. Needless to say, I'll be a little sore tomorrow.

I also took the R-dog for a walk today. Can I just say that nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing will bring a smile to your face like watching a dog try to run through two feet of snow. She seemed pretty happy about it as well. Getting outside helped me feel a little less cooped up and staved off the stir crazies. A little. It's amazing how I can spend all weekend inside and not care in the least. When I choose to do so. But when I'm forced to. Nuts.

12.29.2006

i heart everyone

I just went outside to shovel the driveway to discover that one of my anonymous neighbors decided to clear my driveway with a snow blower. Awesome. You rock dude. Or dudette. It kind of brought a little tear to my eye.

I, in turn, decided to pay it forward as it were and shovel mine and my other neighbor's sidewalks. Then I cleared off the deck so Rogan can actually go to the bathroom somewhere else.

home again

Well, I'm back home. It took two hours to get from Denver to Fort Collins. Two hours. Usually it only takes about one of those, but the bus driver was being extremely cautious and driving very slowly. Which wasn't such a bad idea I guess. It would've really sucked to die on the Shamrock Shuttle.

He dropped us off at the Harmony exit just as the snow started to fall in earnest. My friend Nikki was there to pick me up and she was nice enough to taxi me to the kennel to pick up the R-dog. Who was pretty excited to come back home. Nothing makes you feel more worthwhile than a dog who's really, really excited to see you. Nikki got me home and then I rushed to get to the grocery store before the snow made it impossible to return. Where the shelves were already pretty empty. Seriously. I got the last loaf of bread. And they didn't have any bananas. Not one. I just grabbed stuff and threw it into the cart, so who knows what I ended up with.

So, I woke up this morning and it looks like we only got about eight inches. Nowhere near the 36" they were saying. Thank god. I still probably can't get back up the hill to my house though, so it looks like I won't be driving anywhere any time soon. Would it be stupid to ride my bike?

Anybody wanna come over and shovel some snow? Just askin'.

in the air again

I just spent about $2,000 for a sandwich in the airport and I'm surreptitiously looking at these two old people who are standing outside the gate watching their granddaughter's (?) plane pull away from the gate. I guess to make sure that it gets off the ground safely. It's pretty cute.

I got about four hours of sleep last night because Tina and I stayed up too late talking and giggling. It was so girly. I felt like I was about fifteen and had suddenly sprouted boobs and was at my first slumber party. So, I'm tired. Plus, on the way to the airport I got pulled over by a Kansas State trooper somewhere in Coffey County for going 88 in a 70 mph zone. And he gave me a ticket. Dammit. But I deserved it. For not getting pulled over the other two times I probably should've. Regardless, I still made it to the airport about two and half hours before my flight is supposed to leave. God, I love Kansas.

So I heard that northeastern 'rado is going to get a bunch more snow. Supposedly, it's not going to start until late afternoon, but dammit, they are always way off base with the predicting of the weather. They're saying that we're probably going to get about 30", so I figure that we either will get about 2" or 48". I'm praying for 2".

Think good thoughts that I don't get stuck in the Denver airport until Sunday. But if I do, I have some awesome Elissa-made pumpkin bread to stave off the starvation.

P.S. Weirdly my friend Cristi just walked off the plane I'm getting ready to board. It's not very often that something like that happens. It was a great surprise. Plus, I got a couple of hugs out of it.

12.28.2006

feastival 06


Every year, for the past five (I think) my friends from Lawrence and I have gotten together to enjoy the fine tradition of Feastival. The idea originally came about because we wanted to have a friend's Thanksgiving to celebrate, well, our friendship. It used to take place some time loosely between Thanksgiving and Christmas, then we all moved away and it became easier to get us all together in the days between Christmas and New Year's, as that way we could, you know, also see our families.

The first year we celebrated it, we went all out and cooked an elaborate, obnoxious meal that could've fed about five families. We had six people. The aftermath was not pretty. So, being somewhat intelligent people, we learned from our mistake and started to tone it down in subsequent years, leading to this year where we didn't even have Thanksgiving-type food. Instead, Elissa made an Italian dish called Tympano (sp?) that ended up literally being a drum of food. It was delicious.

Mostly, it's become an excuse to get together and drink copious amounts of alcohol. Which we barely need an excuse for anyway. Witness the Booze Tray, or Tray o' Booze, whichever you prefer (what you can't see is all of the beer in the fridge, trust me, there was a lot):



We stayed up really late both nights talking and laughing and drinking and playing Dutch Blitz. Yes. Dutch Blitz. Who'd've thunk that I know so many people who know this random game invented by Mennonites?

It was a ton of fun. I'm a little sad to leave because I miss these people greatly and wish that we could all be closer to one another, but I guess I should be thankful that we got at least a couple of days together, huh?

the fam


We had a plethora of people for Christmas this year. For the past few years (not counting last year) it's just been me and my folks. Then a couple of years ago, shortly after I moved to 'rado, my parents moved back to Anderson where my mom grew up to be closer to my grandparents and to escape the armpit of the universe. In June, my sister and her husband moved back to Topeka (it's a long story), so they came down and my grandparents of course were there. It was nice. To have us all together. The only person missing was my little brother. Well, missing may be the wrong word, as none of us were all that sorry that he didn't show up. Without him there we could avoid any fighting or tension.

Anderson is located in the Ozark mountains of southern Missouri, so there's some decent hiking to be found there. Usually, as is the case with a lot of people in this country, there's a lot of sitting around at Christmas time staring at each other, but this year we decided to go on a little hike at this place that's about fifteen minutes from my folks' house. It was nice to get out and do a little something active.

It was great to see my family again and especially my sister whom I haven't seen in about three years. But what was really nice was spending a few days in a place that doesn't have any snow on the ground.

12.24.2006

i made it

With a little bit of divine luck and some cheating on my part, I finally got home last night at about 8p.

I woke up at 4a after an unrestful, fitful night of sleep. The shuttle service kept their side of the bargain and arrived at my house at 6.5a to pick me up. In my hurry to get out of the house, I can't remember whether or not I locked the front door, so when I arrive back in 'rado on Thursday, all of my stuff may be gone.

I didn't arrive at the airport until 8.75a which ended up being something of a concern. I got in line at the skycap to check my bag and discovered that I had mistakenly cut in front of a bunch of people. No one behind me said anything though and I pretended to be clueless. At 9a I walked into the security area and discovered that the line was a couple of miles long. People had been waiting for over two hours to get through to the train. I came upon a bubble in the line where people were milling about confusedly, so I decided to just sneak my way in there. Again, no one said anything and I pretended ignorance.

I got up to the metal detector at 9.50a and had ten minutes to get through, get on the train and get to my gate. And, wouldn't you know, something on me set off the alarm. So, I had to get wanded. And I started freaking out and the lady was rude about it and just kept telling me to wait. When they were finally done fondling me (seriously, I don't let people I know really well touch me in some of the places that he did), I grabbed my stuff off the conveyer belt and made a mad dash for the train. In my socks.

Luckily, my gate was the first one off of the train, so I got to the plane two minutes before it was supposed to take off. Then we ended up sitting on the runway for an hour and a half waiting in another long line of planes that were trying to depart. So we were late getting to Kansas City where I discovered that my bag didn't make it on the plane with me. I had to wait another hour and a half for it to arrive. While I was waiting, I listened to this insane story that this woman was telling her son (?) about her brother (?) who got arrested for attempting to distribute child pornography and then killed himself and his wife while he was out on bail. Not something I would talk about at the top of my lungs in the middle of a crowded airport, but she apparently had no problems sharing the information with complete strangers.

So, a short three-hour drive to my parents' house and I made it home, safe and snug. The travel gods smiled down upon me yesterday, and I feel very lucky and grateful to have survived the trip. I know that karma is going to come back and bite me in the ass for cutting in line (not once, but twice), but I'll be happy to pay the dues when that happens. I think. Ok. I won't, but at least I'll know what it's for, and that I deserve it.

Merry Christmas everyone.

12.22.2006

winter fucking wonderland


I spent almost the whole day yesterday shoveling out the driveway. They never bother to plow the street I live on, so one of my neighbors who drives a bigass Bronco decided to drive laps around the square to try and pack some of it down, then my other neighbor and I took our shovels and leveled out some of the high spots. My back hurts. A lot. And, apparently, it wasn't enough. I was able to get out of the neighborhood this morning to take the R-dog to the kennel, but when I tried to get back to my house, I got stuck. Yet another neighbor had to use his Forerunner to pull me out and then I had to leave my car at Nikki's house. Which is twenty minutes outside of town. What was interestin to me about it was how helpful these people were. I've never met any of them before, yet they didn't hesitate to help me out of a jam. Usually, I'm pretty cynical about the human race in general, but it's times like these that give me a little hope.

All this just so I can hopefully, maybe fly out of Denver tomorrow to go home. I've been trying to call the shuttle service all day to see if they're still coming to get me in the morning, but it's been busy.

So, I may get to go home, I may not. Keep your fingers crossed.

12.21.2006

snow day



It's 7.45a and I've just woken up to discover that it has finally stopped snowing. The official count is 20", but it looks like a lot more than that to me. I see absolutely no reason to go outside. Even the R-dog has decided that it isn't worth it and has taken to relieving herself on the deck. Two inches from the doggy door.

Thank god the power is still on, or I would probably start chewing on my own arm.

12.20.2006

holy mother nature



So you may have seen on the news that the weather forecast for Colorado calls for a little bit of snow over the next couple of days. Well, for once, the weatherpeople were spot on. I woke up this morning and it was just sort of spitting a little and I thought, 'Yep. As usual the forecast was wrong.' And I decided to go into work. By 10a it was snowing buckets. And the wind. You wouldn't believe it. You know how they always say that there's a blizzard outside? But really that means just some snow and a light breeze? Well, I think this qualifies as a blizzard. In the past four hours at least a foot of snow has appeared on the ground out there.

But, don't worry about me. I'm at home. Probably trapped here for the next week or so, but safe. And, I've got snowshoes if I really need to get outside.

At least I won't have to go to work for the next couple of days.

12.17.2006

let the gorging commence

Yesterday, I joined Ann, Dylan, Doug, Liz, Sarrada, Jason and Alan at Alan's house for the first annual Friendsgiving. We were supposed to do it a few weeks ago, but everyone was too stressed out and busy to put much effort into it, so we postponed until yesterday. We had the typical Thanksgiving dinner with an organic, healthy twist. The food was delicious. Alan made the turkey, Ann and Dylan brought stuffing, Sarrada and Jason made green bean salad and mashed potatoes and Liz and Doug brought their infamous Fucking Pear Salad.

Luckily, for everyone involved I wasn't required to cook anything. A few days ago, Ann told me to bring cranberry sauce and a dessert, and at first that kind of freaked me out a little because, I don't cook and I most definitely do not bake, but then I discovered that at Whole Foods some genius at some point in time decided to sell premade pies. Thank you Whole Foods genius. Whoever you are.

Even though we all knew better, we stuffed ourselves. How could we not? I think it's mandatory this time of year any way. We worked it off a little by playing in the park after dinner and then engaging in a rousing game of Dutch Blitz. An extremely active card game invented by the Mennonites. Think War on speed.

We decided that the first annual Friendsgiving was a resounding success. Or as Dylan said, 'a resounding excess.'

12.13.2006

it's wednesday again

Last night after I finally arrived at my domicile, I sat there eating some scrambled eggs, looking at the box of Christmas cards I still need to send out and decided that I just don't have the energy.

I know that I will feel guilty if I don't, but man. I just don't wanna. So, don't be surprised if I don't spread the joy of the season this year.

Now, it's Wednesday again and I'm cranky about it. Probably because I didn't get to go climbing last night.

And, Monday night I only got about three hours of sleep. It sucks to wake up at 1.5a and realize that you're not ever going back to sleep and you still have about five hours to lie there and stare at the clock, hoping that you might. It's the uncertainty that kills me. 'Cause you think that if you do nothing and lie very, very still, you will be able to sleep again. And, you think that if you get up and start doing stuff that you will not. Then you don't anyway, and you end up wasting five hours that you could've used to at least read a book or something. Or send out Christmas cards.

So, I took sleepy time last night and today I feel sluggish. And sleepy.

Oh, and weirdly, the thumb I sprained back in August has been hurting for the past couple of days. I think it's feeling sympathy pains for my ankle. They share the same side of my body and all. It's freaking me out a little.

12.12.2006

boo

So, it's 6.5p and I'm still stuck at work. I am so ready for the crazy times to be over with. It seems like since Thanksgiving rolled around I haven't had time to do anything at work. Except work. What's up with that? Don't they know I have more important things to do? Like surfing. OR working on personal projects. OR reading blogs. I don't know what they want from me, but I didn't sign up for this.

12.10.2006

a weekend

Friday night I had to go to the dreaded work Christmas Party. Forced frivolity is one of the things I don't really like about this time of year. Don't get me wrong, Christmas is my favorite holiday, and for the most part, I really enjoy the season, I just dread the madatory fun aspect of work situations. I'm not sure why everyone thinks that their employees need these sorts of things in order to feel appreciated. Personally, I'd rather just have some cash. But, it actually wasn't too bad. I like the people I work with and this one was not so much a party as it was dinner at a fancy restaurant. We went to the Canyon Chop House, a place that apparently has been around for a couple of years, but I had never heard of before. The menu was supplied by mostly local companies and quite a bit of it was organic. Therefore, I pigged out without feeling too guilty. The food was great and I got to try a new beer that I'd never had before. Young's Chocolate Stout. Excellent. It was like drinking a milk shake. Made for adults. It was nice to try some place new that I probably would never go on my own. Much too pricey.

Saturday I spent a large part of the day working on a series of illustrations I'm doing as part of my year-end mix:

I only have three done and need to finish 18 more. By Christmas.

Then, tonight I joined Ann and Dylan and Liz and Doug at Coopersmith's to celebrate Doug's last day in the Air Force. Which was Friday.

So, a full and fun weekend is complete and I am so not ready to go back to work tomorrow.

Oh. And the 'Hawks won on Saturday. I knew you were dying to find out the results of the game:

12.06.2006

a little a.d.d. never hurt anyone

So, this is what I've been doing instead of working. For the past, oh, thirty minutes. I must stop now. Don't look at me like that, it's for a good cause. Plus, I didn't take a lunch today, so this is it.

Try it out for yourself. If you dare.

i hate wednesdays

I decided to go climbing last night in spite of the bad ankle. I know that you're thinking I'm an idiot, but the doctor said I could, so there. This morning I'm thinking that maybe doctors don't know what the hell they're talking about.

So, my ankle hurts and I had one of those mornings where I tried to shave with the shampoo and eat lemon dill spices instead of my multivitamin.

Have I said how much I hate Wednesdays?

12.05.2006

this is just sad


We should've won by a lot more than 10 points. But as my friend Derek says, 'A W is still a W.' So, I guess I'll take it. Damn Sports Illustrated.

In other news, my ankle is doing a lot better. I went bouldering on Sunday and while that was a little painful, I managed to eke out an hour without hurting myself too badly. Then I rode yesterday, had to get back on that horse you know, and managed to make it to work and back again without eating it.

12.02.2006

the season's over

When I was at the doctor's office last night, I saw that Sports Illustrated made the horrible, unforgivable, they-shall-burn-in-hell sin of putting KU on their cover a couple of weeks ago. Not only did they make that egregious error, but they predicted that we will win the championship in March.

We're doomed.

If you are unaware of the Sports Illustrated jinx, I'll just say that every time SI does this, the nice, unsuspecting team they commit this heinous act of aggression towards ends up having their worst season ever.

Why SI? Why? Why do you hate us so? What did we ever do to you? Why couldn't you have picked on North Carolina? Or Florida?

Thanks for nothing.

And, here's proof that it's already begun:

on the dl (again)

So, let me put it out there right up front that we all know I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, right? I realize this, yet it doesn't stop me from putting into action some of my less than stupid ideas. Ideas like biking to work. Now, I'm sure you're thinking that biking to work isn't stupid, quite the opposite in fact, right? It gives you exercise, saves gas, easier on the enviroment, etc. etc. However, let me give you a little background so you can decide for yourself whether or not I was stupid yesterday.

On Tuesday we, like much of the rest of the country, got a ton of snow. It started at about 2p and kept falling until about 10a on Wed. I rode to work Tuesday morning because the weather people said the snow wouldn't start until after midnight. Well, as per usual, they were wrong. But, even though Ann offered me a ride in her four-door, four-wheel chariot, I decided to suck it up and bike back home. Mostly because I didn't want to have to deal with getting my bike home at some later point. Nothing momentous occured beyond my deraileur freezing up by the time I got to the mailbox, so I had to walk my bike up to the house from there. But, no big, the house is 25 yards from the mailbox. A five-year-old child could do it.

So I didn't ride on Wed. because the roads were too messy. And same with Thursday. When Friday rolled around, I couldn't take it anymore and decided to ride, come hell or high water. And in spite of Nikki telling me that it probably wasn't such a good idea. Everything went swimmingly. I took it kinda slow, trying to stay mainly in the snowy parts so I would have some traction. I was on campus, taking a left hand turn on a road that seemed perfectly clear, and wham! before I knew it, I was on my back in the middle of the intersection with my bike still hooked to my left foot. Usually, I can get my foot unclipped from the pedal before I actually hit the ground. Or they just come out on their own. For some reason, not this time.

Now, know that for the past three winters, I've ridden almost every day, regardless of the road conditions and haven't had any problems. For some reason that I can't figure out, yesterday was different.

So I unclipped, stood up and realized that something was wrong with my ankle. I stood there trying to decide whether to go on or turn around and head back home. Either way I would have to ride, so I finally figured it would be best to just go to work. It didn't hurt that bad. I was fine. Really. Uh, yeah. As the day wore on, it started to hurt more and more and so when Nikki called and offered to come get me and give me a ride home, I accepted. After a minor bit of hemming and hawing and her telling me I was an idiot.

Luckily, the doc thought that it's just sprained, not broken, so I limped back home and popped a bunch of Advil® and went to bed.

It still kinda hurts this morning, although not nearly as badly as it did last night. Unfortunately, I think the snowshoe trip I had planned for today is out. The doc said that it probably will hurt for the next six weeks. Fun! The good news? She did say that I can still boulder, I just have to downclimb instead of jumping.

I don't know what's up with me lately. I know I'm accident prone, and probably one of the clutziest people on the planet, but c'mon. Three injuries in the past six months? Two of them to the same appendage? It's not right.

12.01.2006

bored? try this

So, if you're bored today and need something to do, watch this video. Richard Simmons is almost always funny (and by that I mean sort of like when you see someone trip is funny - because other people's pain is the cause of much knee slapping enjoyment) just by himself. When David Letterman gets a hold of him? Hilarious.

And, I have one question: that dude is like 85 years old, right? Why the hell is he still appearing in public in a tank top and short shorts? It's baffling.

11.29.2006

it's barely worth talking about


At least if you're an Ivy League school, no one expects you to be good at sports, 'cause you're supposed to be all brainy and stuff, but 32 points? Are we sure they even played the second half? That's gotta be a typo, right?

Can you say, 'let's put Dartmouth on the schedule because it will up our win record?'

11.28.2006

i did it

It's done. Finito. Finished.

Last night I pounded out 3,000+ words and got past 50,000. In spite of Heroes being on.

I posted it. They counted it, and now I'm officially a Nanowrimo winner.

I kind of don't know what to do with myself. It consumed almost a month of my nights and quite a few of my days, and there's sort of a big, gaping hole where it was.

Guess I can always fill it with television.

11.26.2006

the home stretch

Remember that Nanowrimo thing I started at the beginning of the month? Well, I'm happy to say that after writing all weekend, I'm now at 47,070. I am truly amazed that I've managed to string that many words together. And they're all about the same thing. It's shocking, kinda.

If everything goes well, I might actually complete this damn thing before Thursday.

Keep your fingers crossed.

did that just happen?


Did you just see that? Did you see the two back-to-back blocks? One block hardly ever happens in college b-ball, but two? And then, we had it won, we were up by four. Four. And a stupid foul caused it to go into overtime and I knew then, that we had lost it all. But those kids from KU would not give up and ended up winning by two points. Amazing.

This was truly one of the best games I've ever seen. The 'Hawks came out from the get go wanting with all of everything they had in them to win it. And, they certainly didn't disappoint. Dick Vitale said one thing right during the game last night, that it was like watching a championship game, but it's the beginning of the season.

This people, is why college basketball is the best game on Earth.

11.25.2006

awwww. yeah

I don't care what happens the second half (ok, I care. I really, really do), but the 'Hawks just had a fuckin' kick ass first half. 36-30? I know it's only six points, but I fully expected us to be about three times that behind by now. And Julian Wright? With 17 points and six rebounds. I don't care that you look old enough to be my father, you rock, dude.

Ok. I gotta go chew on my fingers now and wait anxiously for the second half to be over.

it's a palindrome


So, no surprise here really, we beat Ball State. Where's Ball State again? Although, really, against Ball State, the score should've been a lot higher. It makes me really, really nervous about the Florida game tonight.

11.23.2006

happy thankspigging

For the past few years, mainly because I'm too far away to travel home for Thanksgiving, I've started a tradition of doing something outdoors instead of involving myself in the feeding frenzy that most other people in America are engaged in today. Two years ago, I went for a hike up Grey Rock and last year Ann and Dylan and I spent the weekend climbing down at Shelf Rock. This year, I didn't make any specific plans because I've been fighting a mild case of the crud all week, so I wanted to play it by ear and decide what I was up for after I woke up this morning. I was still feeling a little puny, so I decided to just take a quick run up Arthur's Rock. It felt good to get outside after three days of inactivity and the weather was perfect, cool and cloudy. All in all, a great way to spend a day in which we are supposed to remember those things for which we're thankful.

Now, I need to work on my novel. I'm at 30,843 and I should be at 38,341.

11.22.2006

slaughter house 4

'nough said.

the main event

Insomnia, dressed in a red and yellow, full-body spandex suit, the decorative sequins sparkling intermittently in the light from the flashbulbs going off, looked Nyquil in the eye, took him by the throat and threw him to the sweat-soaked mat. She placed her stiletto clad foot across his neck, exerting downward pressure and slowly, ever so slowly, set about crushing his windpipe. He looked up at her in abject terror, his eyes bulging out of his head, his last, dying breath ripped raggedly from his lungs.

An audible sigh rose up from the audience then, a palpable mixture of sadness and disappointment. They had come in droves, you see, from all over the land, filling the gymnasium and spilling out onto the dead brown grass of the lawn, hoping with every last ounce of belief they could muster that Nyquil, their final and most decorated champion, would defeat el Diablo. Alas, evil had once again proven victorious. Insomnia, with fire blazing in her eyes, laughed maniacally at the crowd, her fists raised triumphantly in the air and set forth on her reign of sleeplessness.

11.20.2006

now, that's what i'm talkin' about

Man, I wish I could actually see the games instead of just reading about them online. The big Florida game is coming up on Saturday, and I would give my left eyeteeth to actually be able to watch it.

11.19.2006

bouldering. problems.

So the bouldering ranking scale goes like this: outside, they start with V0 and go upward, with a V2 being, actually pretty difficult. I'm usually only able to do the V0s. Inside at the gym, they start with 'Rec' which I believe stands for Recreational, go to Intermediate, then Advanced and finally, Open. I can almost always finish the Recreational problems, and occasionally I can complete the Intermediate ones, but not very often.

Today at the gym, there was this kinda fat guy who was pretty much at my level, and it made me feel somewhat lame. And determined to improve as rapidly as I possibly can. I mean, if a fat guy can do it... Nothing against the fat guy or anything, but I'm in fairly decent shape, and I should honestly be better at this than him.

11.16.2006

it's not true

Some parallel universe leaked into ours last night. A world where some freaky religious university in Oklahoma can beat the 'Hawks at bball. In the real universe, the one we all inhabit, God would not let this happen. Even if the ORU crowd is more His speed. Because a world where the acolytes can win against KU is an upside down place filled with hatred and evil. So, the only logical explanation is that we all got zapped momentarily into an alternate universe.

Or maybe it was just a really bad dream I had.

11.15.2006

a tad disappointed, i am

Last night, we went to see The Decemberists play at The Paramount in Denver. I have been looking forward to this show for a very long time, and while it was good, we all ended up being a little disappointed. For, you see, Mr. Meloy has a really, really bad cold. He joked about the Craken being released, and that's a good analogy for how bad he sounded. So, while he struggled to hit the high notes despite a cracking voice and what was obviously a very sore throat, he just couldn't do it for very long. They only played for an hour. Well, not even really, about 55 minutes.

And, I have to say that their performance, was way less, well, exuberant than I had imagined it would be. The songs they did perform for us were good, mostly from their latest effort obviously, but they did do July, July and We Both Go Down Together. Two of my favorites. Although I would've rather they had played Red Right Ankle and Shiny. The crowd was mostly sympathetic and didn't complain too loudly about the quality of his voice nor the shortness of the show. They were even excited enough to spontaneously burst into group, rhythmic clapping. Not just once, but several times. Nothing disturbs me more than the group that is clapping to a beat. It makes me anxious, nervous and sweaty. I think largely because I am super uncoordinated and if I try to clap along, I always screw it up and look foolish, but there's also a sort of underlying mob current that runs through a crowd that is joined in a singular activity, and it gives me the creeps. Plus, I think it sort of ruins the songs and turns the concert more into a sporting event with cheerleaders than a musical endeavor.

Anyway, it was still a good show, and I enjoyed it, but I wish he hadn't been so sick because it probably would've been an entirely different experience. I guess he played in Minneapolis right before Denver and was throwing up the entire time he was on stage. So, at least we didn't have to witness that.

11.14.2006

blow, brother, blow

Back home, we never talked about the wind really, because, well, every day was windy. Some days windier than others, of course, and if winds became stronger than 35 mph, someone would mention it eventually, but offhandedly like it wasn't really that important, just something to talk about.

Here in Colorado they forecast wind like it is an actual weather phenomenon. I was watching the news last night before I fell into an exhausted coma, and the weatherman actually said, '…it's going to be windy from 10a to 6p tomorrow.' I laughed and thought, a) it's funny that they're actually talking about wind, and b) how can they possibly say with such certainty what times it's going to be windy?

The weird thing? He was right? It was perfectly calm on my bike ride into work today, but now, it's windy. I'm kinda freaking out about it.

9


Damien Rice's new album, 9, finally became available for us Americans to purchase today. I've been waiting since 2005 for him to come out with some new material, so you can imagine how excited I am about it. It's much like his other stuff: angry, beautiful, haunting, and bitter lyrics backed by acoustic guitar and violins. You can't beat that with a stick.

Plus, for all of you out there who still disdain purchasing music electronically because you want the liner notes, well, worry no longer. The day has arrived. This album came with a 'digital booklet.'

It's about damn time. I mean, PDF's have been around for a long, long while people.

11.12.2006

off to a great start


I know it was only Northern Arizona, but still. 91-57? Holy crap. That Brandon Rush kid is going to be truly unstoppable in a couple of years.

It's that time of year again, and I couldn't be more happy about it. I only wish that I could see every, single game instead of the three or four I actually get out here in 'rado.

BTW if you're new to me, be prepared to get really, unbelievably sick and tired of me talking about, not only the 'Hawks, but college basketball in general. I may be a tad bit obsessive.

insomnia sucks

I woke up Saturday morning at 5.5a in spite of not getting to bed until almost 1a. So, after lying there for a while angry and pissed off, trying vainly to get back to sleep, I finally decided to just suck it up and get out of bed. I put my game face on, attempting to be optimistic about these trying times by looking at it as more hours to work on the ol' novel, but I was secretly really mad about not getting enough sleep. Insomnia is insidious and sneaky and evil and creates a vicious cycle of too little sleep, then too much caffeine so you can get through the day, then too little sleep—most likely because you had too much caffeine, etc.

After spending much of the morning writing I decided that I should go be a little active, hoping that physical exhaustion would lead to the ability to sleep last night. So, you'll be extremely proud of me, I actually went to the gym and bouldered. By myself. And the 18-year-olds weren't too scary and judgmental. Or maybe they were, but I chose to remain oblivious.

Last night, my friend Paul and I went to see Little Miss Sunshine at the cheap theater, and I have to say that you have to go see this movie. I know it's probably not playing at too many places any longer, but if it is, get there as quickly as you possibly can. You know the joke, 'I laughed, I cried' when people are making fun of their movie-going experience? Well, in this case it was true. I was doubled over laughing loudly more times than I can count. And there were some seriously sad moments too. Nothing that made me cry, really, because I'm way too manly for that, but they did tug at the ol' heart strings. I won't say too much more about it, because I think it's one of those movies that is better when you don't know too much about it beforehand. I will say this though, it was extremely well-written and offered quite a few surprises that I didn't predict. Not something I can usually say about cinema.

A definite must see.

Oh. And I went to bed last night at 11p and woke up at 3.5a this morning. So, my plan failed. Probably time for some Simply Sleep®.

11.10.2006

the writing of the words

Dylan is out of town on a skydiving trip with his friend Pete, so I was sans climbing partner last night. I contemplated going to the gym and bouldering—it's what we did on Tuesday and I actually had a lot of fun—but then I got a small freelance job and decided to use that as an excuse to go directly home after work.

I also needed some time to try and up my word count on my novel. I'm not going to be able to write much this weekend, and I'm still behind so I needed to get some words down.

I'm happy to say that I got to 12,195. Which, to me, sounds like a crapload of words. But when you look at the number of pages they fill up, it's not so many. Only 32. It's daunting really. I don't know how anyone does this year-round. I'm exhausted and it's only Week Two. Plus, I'm really, really sick of both of my characters and want to kick them both in the nuts.

I have some idea of what's in store for the protaganist, and I'm anxious to get there, but I'm trying not to rush it too much. Otherwise, I won't have all 50,000 words. Which is the whole point. Right?

11.09.2006

let me hear a 'hell yeah'


I've been thinking a lot since I woke up on Wednesday morning about why I'm not more disappointed about the results of the recent elections. Many of the local issues did not go the way I wanted them to, and everyone keeps asking me why I'm not more pissed about it all. (Ok. Well two people asked me why I wasn't more upset, but it sounded way better to pretend it was everyone.)

I have decided that it is thus:
• SO MANY people showed up to the polls. Not nearly as many as could've, but still. It was a record turnout for a midterm election. People cared enough to voice their opinion. It shows they are sick of the current administration and want something done. Not that Bush is likely to listen, but maybe it's a sign for the big election in '08.
• Coupled with the fact that more young people than ever before voted this time around gives me hope for the future of our country.
• The Democrats won back Congress. Both Houses. I'm simply shocked and amazed by this. Maybe they can loosen the idiot king's deathgrip on this country. The system of checks and balances is back in place. One party rule of our country is no longer an issue. Hopefully, there won't be a lot of bipartisan bickering as a result and they can get some things done. Like ending this tragic, stupid, senseless war we're embroiled in.
• More than anything, it has renewed my faith in the American public. I had very low thoughts about the majority of people that occupy this country after '04, and now, I'm more hopeful that they won't let the idiots destroy us entirely.

So. I have a renewed feeling of love for the place I call home. See world, we're at least trying to fix our mistakes.

And, it doesn't hurt that ol' Rummy was forced to resign and is no longer in a position of power. May boils erupt on his ass and make it very, very painful for him to sit down ever again.

11.08.2006

it's the end of days


Rumsfeld resigned? WTF? I can't believe it. Look at how sad he looks. Right now he's afraid of what Satan's gonna do to him, once he finally makes it down to Hell. He's probably in Karl Rove's office, licking his boots (and various other things that shall not be named) hoping for absolution.

I'm maybe a little too giddy about it. Should I feel bad for him? No. No I shouldn't.

The Democrats won the House, and it looks like most likely the Senate? I can't stand it. It's like the feeling you got as a kid when you had discovered one of your Christmas presents a couple of days before, and then the day of you couldn't wait to get downstairs to open it for real so you could start playing with it immediately.

Last night I had mixed emotions about the results of the elections here in Colorado. We elected a Democratic Governor, which is great; most of our U.S. House seats that were up for grabs went to Democrats; unfortunately, Satan's stranglehold on northeastern Colorado is still too strong, and Marilyn Musgrave got voted back into office. The nice thing is that since the Democrats are now in control of Congress, her unholy power will be weakened somewhat. Seriously. Somewhere along the way, that woman signed her soul over to the devil, I mean Karl Rove, I mean the devil.

Also unfortunately, here in Colorado we're still afraid of the gays and marijuana, but I didn't expect the outcome to be any different than it was, so I wasn't too disappointed there. I think it was too much to ask for that the Republicans in this state would be able to handle two extremely liberal issues in one election. Next time, Democrats, you should space them out some.

All in all I'm fairly ecstatic about the final results. Take that Bush.

I heart election time.

p.s. If Condie becomes Secretary of Defense I'm gonna vomit.

11.07.2006

what if?

I woke up this morning extremely nervous. I don't want to jinx anything, but what if, what if we actually have a Democratic Congress sometime tonight? Or more likely two weeks from now once the Republicans have stopped barraging the court system with cries of voter fraud?

What if?

The idiot king would no longer have as much power, 'twould be a glorious, glorious thing. Maybe we could actually get this country back on track.

Is that putting too much faith in the American public? That they would actually, finally, realize what an incompetent moron they put into power? And start to do something about it? It is probably too much to hope for, so I'll shut up and go back to being cynical and pessimistic about the whole thing.

11.04.2006

the plight




I spent much of the weekend working on my novel. Yesterday morning I decided to erase everything I had been working on for the past three days and start over from scratch. Now I'm at 5,642 words and should be at 8,335, so I'm a little bit behind. Hopefully, I can catch up as the week progresses.

Even with all of the writing, I did manage to go out drinking on Saturday night and go hiking up at Arthur's Rock with Ann and Dylan today. I felt I deserved a little fun, especially since I'll probably have another really stellar week at work this week.

11.02.2006

tower of babble

So, if you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo , which means that you've been living under a rock for the past two years without the internet (or you just don't surf as much as I do), it's this writing 'contest' where participants try to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month. It doesn't matter if it's well or poorly written. It doesn't matter if it's in Klingon, it just has to be 50,000 words. The whole point, really, is to get you off your ass and actually writing instead of just talking about it. Plus, there's this really big sense of community and shared suffering through their website forums.

I signed up at the beginning of October and then almost crapped my pants last night when I realized that it was November 1 already. And me without a viable, well-thought-out idea for a story. I almost decided to blow the whole thing off, but then I kicked myself and gave myself a little pep talk and got to writing dammit. I wrote 1,527 words last night. Only 48,473 more to go. Which means I'm already behind as I should've written 1,667 if I want to get done by the 30th.

But I had to stop because, you know, Lost was on.

10.31.2006

just call me Scrooge


Ok. I'm admitting right here and now that I have an irrational hatred for Halloween. I really have no idea when it started either. I remember in college I used to really enjoy it. Getting dressed up. Getting trashed. 'Twas fun. But now, I can't stand it. There's so much pressure to come up with a cool, creative, unique costume. And, everyone seems to see being dressed up as an excuse to become either 1) a blithering idiot, or 2) a complete and utter jackass, or 3) both.

It's obnoxious really. For a while there I was still pretty excited to hand out candy to the kids, but for the past couple of years I've seen even that as a horrible bother.

Can you only imagine what I'll be like when I'm 80?

10.29.2006

yep

No rock climbing again this weekend. I hope this isn't the start of a rut.

Yesterday I spent most of the day at Pat and Derek's attending their annual (?) Pumpkin Carving Contest. I found out Friday night that we had to supply our own pumpkins so on my way over to their house I stopped at Safeway and purchased a not-quite-rotten-yet seasonal gourd. Since I was on my bike, I had to find one that would fit into my messenger bag which was more difficult than you'd think. And I didn't even end up carving the damn thing because by the time we broke out the sharp cutting instruments I was too drunk to handle one responsibly.

I never mind riding my bike to the place where I'm planning on imbibing, but I always find it dissatisfying on the ride back. Last night was no exception. 1) It was colder than I had planned on and 2) A car full of stupid, drunk frat guys started yelling idiotic things at me while I was stopped at an intersection. Things like, 'Nice helmet.' You'll be proud of me though, I refrained from flipping them off. Mostly because that probably would've resulted in me getting my ass kicked. I'll never, ever understand the appeal of yelling out a car window at strangers. And, weirdly, this happens to me more than I'd like. Mostly when I'm walking the R-dog.

Today I spent the day surfing the web mostly. I did manage to go to the grocery store and clean the house though, so at least I accomplished something. Ann called me at 6p and during the course of our conversation I realized that my appliances let me down. Both my phone and my computer forgot to set their clocks back and I was off an entire hour all day long. I feel like I could've done something hugely productive with that hour. Like Google something really, really interesting or something.

10.27.2006

down home

Last night I headed down to Denver to visit friends who are visiting all the way from Tonganoxie, Kansas. They have a son, who is five now, but was barely able to string three words together when I saw him last. Now he won't shut up. His favorite subjects in school are lunch and recess (he takes after his dad) and library's ok because they read stories to you there. He's read every single one of the Star Wars books and he has eleven cousins but needs to get rid of one so he'll be able to count all of them on his fingers.

I also got to meet their daughter for the first time. She's almost one year old and has to be the cutest baby alive on the planet. And when it comes to babies I call it like I see it. If you have an ugly baby, I may not say it to your face, but I'll definitely say it to other people. So you can believe me when I say she's the cutest baby on the planet.

Anyway, it was good to see some kids from the homestead and get caught up on all of the gossip about the peeps there.

10.25.2006

holy s@!t

Did you see this?

I don't know if you can believe anything you read on Yahoo! news (it's equivalent to USA Today in my mind), but still.

It's a good thing I'll most likely be dead before things become really, really dire.

Find out how much of the planet you're using up here.

10.24.2006

may the force be with me

I killed myself on the wall tonight. Seriously. But I am extremely proud to have finally made it up Jedi Supperclub without hanging. Remember the route I've been struggling with for, oh the past three weeks or so? Yeah. That's the one.

Then I exhausted myself on three more pretty difficult routes, but didn't make it up any of them without needing to hang. My last climb of the night was a 5.9 that was impossible a month ago, but tonight wasn't too hard (I only had to hang once).

I celebrated with a piece of Ann-made pumpkin pie when I got home. It was most delicious.

doing my part to save america

In Colorado they open up the polls a whole two weeks before actual Election Day for 'early voting.' I'm not really sure why, but I think it's because they're trying to entice people to get out and vote. They use 'shorter lines' and 'avoiding Election Day congestion' as selling points. Frankly, I'm always surprised that there are people out there who don't vote and that organizations have to expend any effort at all to get people to the polls.

I had lunch today with my friends Travis and Kyle and neither one of them had even considered voting. I was justifiably shocked and dismayed. Don't worry. I denigrated and harangued them and made them feel guilty for it. Until Travis had had enough and finally said, 'Ok already. I'll go vote.' Job well done on my part. Especially since both of them lean more towards the Democratic side of things and we need, like nothing else in the world, to get Marilyn Musgrave (who is the closest thing to Satan this side of the Mississippi) out of office. We also get the opportunity to legalize marijuana use for anyone over 21. This is important stuff here, kids.

How can anyone not be excited to vote? It's the one little smidgen of power most of us will ever have in terms of deciding how our country is run. And, there are so many people in the world who will never, not even once, get the opportunity to tell their governments what they think. It's flabbergasting really.

10.22.2006

lazy or productive? you decide

I was sitting here thinking that I just had a spectacularly lazy-ass weekend ( I think, mainly, because I didn't really spend a second outside), but I think, actually, that I got quite a bit accomplished:

After an amazingly shitty day at work, Friday night found me back at The Aggie for another not-so-good show. The opening act, Rocky Somebody or Other (I keep calling him Rocky Balboa, mostly because I think it would be hilarious to see Sylvester Stallone up on stage grinding his axe and grunting out poorly written lyrics) was pretty good, but I couldn't really discern the lyrics from the guitar so it's hard to say for sure. The headliner, Lucero, however was pretty bad. I was told they are alt.country, but in my mind there's nothing alt or country about them, as their influences seemed to come more from Meatloaf rather than Hank Williams. I left halfway through their fourth song and fell into bed around 12.5a.

Saturday:
I finally finished a pretty mundane book I've been struggling with for the past couple of weeks. I think I'm over my love of science fiction as a genre. I never thought I'd say it, but it's true.
• I read an entire issue of Outside magazine.
• I downloaded four new albums from eMusic. Which I know doesn't sound like it should take too long, but I spent about two hours trying to choose which ones I wanted to spend my October downloads on. I ended up with Dance the Devil by The Frames, Fort Recovery by Centro-Matic, Alejandro Escoveda's new one and Mr. Lemons by Glen Phillips.
• I watched two episodes from Battlestar Galactica, season 2.5.
• The R-dog convinced me to take her on a pretty long walk.
• I cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen and vacuumed the entire house.
• I made cornbread. This time I bought an organic version that doesn't taste nearly as good as the chemical-filled kind, but if you drown it in enough red beans and rice, it doesn't matter.

Sunday:
• I read an entire issue of Paste.
• I added some new movies to my Netflix queue.
• The R-dog convinced me she needed another long walk.
• I raked up all of the leaves in the front yard. The back yard will have to wait until sometime later. Probably next year.
• Came up with some new ideas for a website I'm struggling with at work.
• Cleaned my bike.
• And, last but not least, I finally figured out the beginnings of the plot of the story I'm thinking about trying to write as my contribution for NaNoWriMo.

All in all, not too bad I guess. At any rate it could've been much worse.

10.17.2006

numbers

America's population reached 300 million this morning. How'd you like to be that kid? Wouldn't it be kinda cool to be able to say, 'I'm the 300 millionth person in America.'? Although, I guess the thrill would die kinda quickly when you met the 400 millionth person in line at Starbucks. Maybe the 300 millionth person could hook up with the 400 millionth person and give birth to the 500 millionth person.

That would be cool.

Ok. Back to Action Script and XML documents that are giving me a splitting headache.

10.15.2006

the palace still rocks

Ann, Dylan and I headed back up to The Palace today to get in another day of outside climbing before the weather makes that nearly impossible for the next few months. We planned on meeting Kate and Mark, two new friends Dylan met online, and Doug and Liz decided to join us after lunch.

Ann and Dylan have been pushing the benefit of using poles when crossing the river, so today I decided to bring the one I have. Big mistake. I took a pretty good dunking and ended getting soaked up to my elbows. We decided that it's best to use either two poles or none. Luckily, the sun was cooperating, so once we got up to the base of the climbs I took off my pants and my long-sleeved shirt and let everything dry. Never again will I wear cotton pants when attempting to ford moving bodies of water. Kate and Mark arrived a few minutes after we did, so they got the pleasure of meeting me standing there in my underwear. Fortunately, I didn't have on a leopard print thong or anything, but everyone did get to enjoy seeing way more of my skin than they had planned on.

Wet pants aside, I had a pretty good day. We tried this 5.9+ that had a weird, wide chimney that you had to wedge your butt into and then grovel your way up until you reached the next hold. Ann and I decided we couldn't do it and backed off, but I tried it again later and got through it. Then we got on a 5.10b that I had to fight and claw my way up, but everyone else seemed to find fairly easy.

Ann had a great turn on a 5.10c that I didn't have time to try, but the last climb I did was a nice solid 5.9 called, appropriately, Big Ass Holds. The next time we make it back up there, I may try to lead it.

It was nice to get outside, make some new friends and get in some good climbing. And I managed to make the second crossing of the river without getting wet.

10.12.2006

slugfest 2006

Well, it seems that all of my climbing peeps have dissed me for the evening.

I considered going to the gym anyway and bouldering, but man, I'm kinda afraid of the gym bouldering crowd. They're all 18 and very insular and they stand there and watch you make an idiot out of yourself on the bouldering wall while judging you very harshly in their heads. At least that's how I feel when I boulder at the gym. It causes me much performance anxiety.

So, then I considered going to the real gym and just lifting weights, but I haven't done that in about two months and am not really sure I want to go back there.

Plus, I just spent the day learning Action Script for Flash, which is much like learning a foreign language, only infinitely weirder because everything's in English, only it's f-ed up English because it's all in the wrong order. Like an alien who's really, really good at math tried to write his thoughts in English for the very first time and it came up all jumbled and fragmented. I know what it is, some madman combined algebra and English with the sole intent of torturing me.

i.e. It gave my brain much acheyness.

So, instead I decided to just go home and watch tv. Laziness wins out again.

10.11.2006

it's about time

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting, since I was about 10 for this day to finally arrive.

Now all we need is hover cars and I'll be all set.

vote for my shirt

So. I designed a t-shirt and posted it on this website called threadless.com. If it gets enough votes I could win $2,000 and threadless will sell the shirt from their site. So, do me a favor and go vote for it and maybe look around and maybe buy a shirt.

You can use this link:
http://www.threadless.com/submission/94304/Happy_Birthday

Or you can click on the handy dandy banner you see to the right of this post.

10.09.2006

finally

Yesterday dawned gray and gloomy and by 11a I was struggling with the urge to just hole up and stay inside all day. Instead I called Dylan and we decided to go to the gym and climb. I made it up two 5.10s, not without hanging, but still. I completed them. I think maybe I'm finally, slowly breaking through the 5.10 barrier. Something I've been struggling with since last spring even.

When I first started climbing last year, I saw quite a few improvements pretty quickly, and then all of my success came to a grinding halt. Most of the spring and all summer long I've been trying to do the 5.10s, but just couldn't make it up them most of the time. It feels good to see some improvement again, even if very minor. My motivation is back to a level that it hasn't been since March. I know it's different in the gym and I may not have the same success rate when we finally return outside, but for now, I'll take it.

Next up, completing an entire 5.10 without resting. Keep your fingers crossed.

10.07.2006

the poor bubba


I needed a good excuse to try out my brand-spankin' new Keen® day hikers, so, after discussing it with the R-dog, we decided that a walk up Grey Rock was in order. About a mile into the trip, the R-dog decided that it wasn't such a good idea after all and wanted to turn around and go back home. I, being the one mostly in charge, decided to poke, prod and drag her butt up the mountainside. However, by the time we reached the turnoff point where you have to decide to either summit or take the other side of the loop back to the parking lot, I, feeling quite badly, decided that I couldn't be cruel any longer and let us take the turnoff.

A map of our trip, if someone were to make such a thing, would look like this:



So. We didn't summit today and I'm not sure that the R-dog has too many more hikes in her. I keep forgetting that she is almost 63 years old and that I probably shouldn't require her to strain her poor, tired body like that any more. I should probably just let her enjoy her senior years with much food and sleep.

The good news is that, for once, the masses are right about something. The Keen shoes have to be the best shoes I've ever hiked in. No blisters. No hotspots even. I even forgot to change back into my flip flops when we arrived back at the car. Something I am usually fantasizing about even before I hit the halfway point.

10.06.2006

seriously? yes.

This morning on my way into work I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop. For alledgedly running a stop sign. I say alledgedly because I don't think I ran it. I slowed down. I was turning right. There wasn't even anyone close to the intersection. I was on my bike. I just wanted to ask, 'Are you fucking kidding me? Don't you have more important things to worry about? Like terrorists or something? Or the looming meth epidemic?' Asshole.

And, of course, he gave me shit for wearing my iPod while riding. Dude. That's my choice. It's not illegal. So fuck off.

As you can tell by the rampant use of expletives, it's made me extremely cranky. It doesn't help that I needed a spatula and a winch and pulley system to get out of bed this morning.

Thanks for ruining my Friday, jerk.

10.05.2006

i thought i was gonna suck

Today, Ann im'd me at work to say that she had come down with the funk and wouldn't be climbing. I know it was probably just the power of suggestion, but I immediately felt like I was coming down with something too. And, right before I was getting ready to leave I was this close to just skipping climbing and going home. But, I had left my favorite Nalgene® bottle at the gym on Tuesday and Dylan was there waiting for me, so I sucked it up and rode on over.

Since I was feeling kinda puny, I figured I'd have a pretty crappy experience on the wall, but I ended up having a spectacular night. I made it up Jedi Supperclub, a 5.10, with only two hangs. Plus, I made it halfway up the new arete climb which is rated a 5.11-. It took awhile and I didn't complete it, but I made it much further than I thought I would.

I say it a lot, but it always amazes me that I can start off feeling like the very last thing I want to do in the world is climb, but if I just make myself go, I usually end up having a really good time.

the girl's alright

I have three things to post about, but I'm too lazy to make three separate posts, so I'm just going to lump them all in this one.

1. I had to take Bessie into the shop yesterday. There's been a strange rattling/grinding noise coming mysteriously from underneath her for the past six months or so. I was thinking that maybe she just needed a bath, but, alas, no. A bolt that holds the heat shield in place had rusted through and was causing the heat shield to move around. The mechanic assured me that this is completely normal and then assured me that the Scotch® tape he put on there to hold it in place was just a temporary measure and if it started again, they would have to redo the entire exhaust system. That sounds like fun, no?

(I'm exaggerating a little here. They didn't use Scotch tape. They used some clamps or something. And I think the only reason he kept repeating over and over that it was a temporary fix was so that when it decides to fall off and the heat shield starts rattling again, I won't storm in there all pissed off and demand they fix it for free.)

She is back to her normal quiet, stealth bomber mode though. Which is nice.

2. While I was doing errands over lunch today I saw a guy put his front tire on his bike without reclamping the brake. I thought about saying something, but just as I was about to open my mouth, he took off, riding on the sidewalk. Instead of the nice, wide bike lane that was two feet and a curb away. Now this is probably the biggest of all of my many pet peeves, so a tiny part of me was hoping that his failure to hook his brake back up properly would cause him to crash headlong into a lamp post or something, thereby reducing the number of idiots who choose to ride on the sidewalk by one. Then, a little later, I thought that instead, he would probably crash headlong into a baby carriage or small puppy or a person in a wheelchair or something.

And kind of regretted my decision to keep my mouth shut.

3. Finally, I just took my first pair of rock climbing shoes in to get re-soled. Forty-eight bones. Yep. You read it right. 48. That's half of a brand new pair. I can't decide if it was worth it or not.

10.04.2006

i'm so excited


Let me say it again, 'I'm so excited!'

The Decemberists' new album, The Crane Wife, finally, finally arrived yesterday. I don't purchase much off of iTunes because there are way too many things about it that I don't like, but this album will probably never see the light of day on eMusic so it was either that, or, God forbid, purchase an actual CD.

I'll just say that while my delirious ecstaticness is probably clouding my judgment, the album does not disappoint. It's a little more pop-y than their other stuff. And it's a little more slick and studio-y, probably because this is their first release on a major label, but it is definitely an A effort.

I'm mostly just extremely jonesed that I finally, finally have new Decemberists to listen too.

P.S. I've been listening non-stop since I got it yesterday, and this album is vintage Decemberists material. Most of the album tells a story of a woman who was murdered by her husband and how he covered up the deed. I won't say that it's the best Decemberists album, I think their first one, Castaways and Cutouts, fits that bill, but it's better than Picaresque (their last effort) and it's a close second to Castaways. It's nice to know they still have it.

through his stomach and all that

So for the past 8 months or so, I've been slowly switching over to a more organic diet. You know, organic fruits and vegetables, organic cereal, bread, etc. so at this point I'm at about 80% (I'm guessing) which is probably where it will stay because I can't give up my Cheez-its®; I've tried organic cheese crackers (I believe they're called Cheese Bits or Cheese Squares or something equally bland) and, quite frankly, they're awful little dried-up husks that will never attain the glory that is the Cheez-it. Probably due to all of the yummy partially hydrogenated vegetable oil the real thing contains. Nor can I give up my Coke Zero®. I can't drink coffee because I dislike hot beverages and there is nothing on this big green and blue globe we call home that will get me to quit caffeine. Nothing. If the doc told me caffeine was going to kill me tomorrow, I would pull up a chair with a case of Coke and gulp it down until my heart stopped or my bladder burst, whichever came first.

Anyway, the point of all this is this: one of my favorite breakfasteses is waffles with peanut butter and blueberries, and this week the grocery store was out of organic blueberries, so I bought the regular, pesticide and hormone filled kind.

It's almost pornographic how big, round, full and plump they are.

And, weirdly, they're nowhere near as juicy.

Just an observation.

10.02.2006

ewwwww

If you're like me, you get about 5,000,000 spam e-mails in your Inbox every minute of every hour of every day. Almost every single one is about obtaining cheaper Viagra or some other medicine full of empty promises of longer erections or larger penises. I know that I should just empty my Spambox without even looking at them, but I have this sick fascination with the creativity employed by the authors to write subject lines that will get the e-mails through the spam filters unscathed.

Unfortunately, I may have learned my lesson because I just saw one that contained the word ejaculatte (pay attention to the last five letters), which made me kind of throw up in my mouth a little.

That conjures up all sorts of badness.

And brings whole new meaning to the term, 'with foam.'

10.01.2006

you can't win 'em all


I spent most of my day yesterday drawing King Kong for one of my freelance clients.

Then, we went to see Matt Nathanson at The Aggie. Very rarely does someone decent come to Fort Collins, so when they do, you gotta go. Otherwise, seeing good, live music usually entails at least a 45 minute drive. Each way.

It's not often that I feel this way, but I was really disappointed that I paid to see him live. In fact, I regret it. Derek and I decided that it wasn't our fault, it was his. He just didn't bring it. I don't really know that much about him, but the one cd I have of his stuff is pretty good. And Derek says when he saw him live a couple of years ago, he was more than decent. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case last night.

We should've known that the night was going to be a bust by the horribleness of the opening band. A not-even-good-enough-to-be Matchbox 20 (and that means really, really bad) band called Carbon Leaf. I'm wincing even as I write this. After an hour of sheer torture, Mr. Nathanson decided to grace us with his presence. I'll just say that he's one of those guys who should stick to the solo work. Don't bring along a backup band, dude. They turned your act into CheeseFest 2006. Imagine your high school math teacher popping in a nose ring and getting up in front of the entire school body on Assembly Day to 'rock it.' It was that embarrassing.

What almost made it worse was that the twenty or so other people in the crowd were largely underage and obviously didn't know enough about music to have developed good taste yet, because they seemed to not only enjoy themselves, but to really enjoy themselves. There was a fairly pedestrian stand up bass solo that they were somewhat rabid for, and a not so good drum solo that inspired a 'I love your drummer!' from some girl standing behind us. There was also this fairly creepy kid who we dubbed, 'White T-shirt Kid' who I swear, if he had had a gun, he would've killed Mr. Nathanson and eaten his liver, just so he could have a piece of him FOREVER.

'I haven't felt this uncool at a show since I went to see Richard Marx,' Derek said.

I think that sums it up pretty well.

9.27.2006

a night out

Last night Pat, Derek and I, along with Pat's friends, Jay and Stacey made the trek down to Boulder to see Band of Horses at the Fox Theater. Well, we four made the trek, Jay drove in from Denver all by his lonesome. After stopping at some furniture store with a 'We Are the World' theme and eating dinner at this really loud restaurant full of drunk frat guys (I was in the restroom and one of them decided to announce to everyone that he had just peed all over himself. The other two guys he was with commiserated and started reminiscing about all of the many times they had done that. Ok. Whatever. TMI, people. TMI.), we made it to the show.

They were good. I wasn't sad that I saw them live and all that, but it definitely wasn't the best show I've ever seen. The venue, however, was great. Small and cozy, with amazing acoustics. The only downside was what always happens at shows where everyone has to stand to watch the performance, Captain Bighead stood right in front of me. And then wouldn't stand still.

What made it all worth it was one of the opening acts. We missed the first guy, but the second guy, Chad Vangaalen was awesome. I'm equating his sound to Neutral Milk Hotel because right now I can't think of anyone else comparable. He played the drums, guitar and harmonica all at the same time. And sang somewhere in there too.

Somewhere toward the end of the night, I decided to go buy one of his CDs. You know. Spread the love a little. So we'll see if he holds up as well in the studio.

And my eyes feel gritty and scratchy and there isn't enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake today and if I could, I would pull a George Costanza and build a bed under my desk and take a little nap. It's times like these that I'm oh so very thankful that I have an easy desk job.

It sucks being old.

9.25.2006

weird things are afoot

I've grown almost afraid to leave the relative safety of my office at lunchtime and walk around downtown. For weird things seem to happen almost every time lately. The other day, I was just walkin' along with my sunglasses on, you know, sorta minding my own business when this lady passes by me going the opposite direction. She's fairly well dressed, but she has a weird apparatus on her arm. It looked kind of like one of those bowling braces that only the really serious bowlers wear. You know the ones. And she said, somewhat quietly, 'Do you have a dollar?' I didn't really answer because I wasn't sure that's what she said. It took me a couple of seconds. So as soon as I figured it out, I turned around and watched her, and as far as I could tell from the expressions on people's faces, she didn't ask anyone else she passed by.

Then today, I went into the convenience store that's about a block away from work to get a soda and the guy behind the register is placing bets on football games. With a bookie. Who's standing right there. Isn't that illegal? Aren't you supposed to surreptitiously do that kind of business on dirty pay phones in dirty alleys in whispered tones? Or in sticky booths in dark, smokey bars?

And then there were two guys in the convenience store's parking lot chopping up what looked like a downed telephone pole. With an axe. Where did they get the axe? And, probably more importantly, where did they get the telephone pole? They were wearing matching blue polos, so I'm thinking that was some kind of uniform. Either that, or they did it just to give the impression that they were some sort of officials. Officials at what I can only guess.

Either I'm going crazy or people are getting weirder. Or both.

9.24.2006

the palace rocks

Ann, Dylan and I headed back up to The Palace for another day of climbing.

Ann started us off on a 5.9, but couldn't make it past the crux, so Dylan led it and then I tried it on top rope. Uh. No. I couldn't get past the crux either, so Ann got back on and gave up after a few tries. Of course, we didn't want to wear ourselves out too soon so we didn't really push too hard either. Really.

Then we went through the valley so that Ann and I could attempt a lead on a 5.8. Ann got up to the crux, decided she couldn't make it on lead and came back down. I tried, got to the crux, freaked out and came back down. So Dylan saved us again. He led it successfully, I followed on toprope with a little bit of struggle and quite a few curse words and then Ann came up behind us. Oh, well. At least I got to try out my new helmet. Yes, Mom. I finally bought a helmet.

Then we moved over to a 5.10a which Dylan led fairly easily. I got on next and although I had to struggle to get over the crux, I finally made it. Ann finished up quite gracefully and elegantly and without any cussing. Dylan got on one more time because I guess he wasn't tired enough already and then we headed home in a state of euphoria and bliss.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was out but wasn't scorching and there was a pleasant breeze to keep us cool, but not too cold. It was also a successful climbing outing with no falls, minimum bloodshed and only a little bit of pain caused by the frigid temperature of the river we had to cross.

Maybe my struggles the previous week were really due to the funk. Sure. That's it.

After the week I just had, I really needed this.

9.20.2006

i'm still alive. barely.

I can't say that I've really survived the funk, but I was able to actually get out of bed this morning with only a minimum of moaning.

My head is still full of mucus and I've got a wicked Nyquil® hangover, but mostly I'm just really, really tired.

I am at work. I will do work type things today. I swear.

Secretly, I'll be amazed if I can remain sitting up all day without falling asleep at my desk. Don't tell my boss, and if I nod off please throw a stapler at my head.

9.18.2006

when the funk comes a knockin'

I woke up this morning to discover that the funk had taken up uninvited residence in my head. I guess my libidinous trip to Chicago has finally demanded payback.

I just got back from the grocery store where I purchased some Advil® Cold and Sinus medicine after having to promise my firstborn. Seriously, I had to show my driver's license and sign a form just to obtain cold medicine. The pharmacist explained it as some Homeland Security measure in order to crack down on crystal meth makers.

Now my name's in some database somewhere under 'Possible Drug Dealers.' Hopefully, the funk won't last very long, otherwise, I may get hauled off to jail.

Until that happens, I'm staying home from work and watching a lot of bad daytime television.

9.17.2006

it's that time of year

8:08a

My phone rings. It's Dylan. 'We're thinking nine,' he says. 'Ok. I'll see you at nine,' I reply.

If you look to the east, the sky is blue with only a few spots of clouds. As we discover when we leave the Holy Roller, if you look to the west, where we, of course, want to go, the sky looks grey and menacing.

We give up and head to the gym. It rains. We climb. Me somewhat horribly. Dylan and Ann much better.

I get home with enough daylight left over to be productive and industrious. Hence, I wash my bike and clean my house.

One Saturday done.

9.15.2006

defeated

Last night Dylan and I finally made it to The Palace, an area of climbing about 15 miles up the Poudre Canyon. We had been to The Crystal Wall, which is across the highway and the river from The Palace, but hadn't yet forded the river to try out its neighbor. Unbelievably, the only other people there were a trio of kids from Santa Cruz who were on a climbing vacation.

Although Dylan had a pretty good night, the rock kicked my ass. I'm pretty sure it was because it was much more vertical than I expected, causing me to freak out, overgrip and make too many mistakes. I kicked, struggled and spat at the damn thing, but only made it about two-thirds of the way up before my arms just gave out on me.

After Dylan finished his second route, we did a little exploratory trip through the mini-canyon and decided that it was definitely worth another trip back when we can spend more time on some of the other routes.

We drove home through the approaching nightfall in a state of bliss. Sometimes it's nice to get a little reminder of how amazing it is that I live in a place where I have the option of doing something like this after work on a weekday night.

9.11.2006

the longest day ever

It's gonna be extremely rough to have to work five whole days in a row. I swear a couple of years have gone by since I arrived here this morning.

9.10.2006

i'm exhausted

Yesterday Tina bought us all tickets to go see M. Ward at The Metro, this really great venue in Wrigleyville. The show was fantastic. He brought two percussionists along with him on tour. Two. Besides just listening to him sing, they were probably my favorite part of the show. They were perfectly in sync and I was just in awe at their performance.

The main show was pretty short, not even an hour long, and was vastly more rockin’ than any of us expected it to be. Much more so than his studio stuff. Then he did two encores that were unbelievably beautiful. A great show and a great venue. Four thumbs up.

We went outside to decide what the next stage of the night was going to entail and then, once we had a plan, I decided to go back inside to see if the t-shirt line had calmed down any. Ok. Here’s my one issue with the venue. I walked past four security guards, made it all the way to the door of the store, and this punk-ass teenage kid with every available inch of skin on her face pierced comes running up behind me, yelling for me to stop. I told her I just wanted to go into the store to get a shirt and she decided to be extremely snotty about telling me there was an entrance on the street. There were quite a few things I wanted to explain to her, but I managed to keep my cool and my mouth shut.

Anyway. I got a pretty sweet shirt and we walked down to the Nisei, what I believe is the only quiet bar in Wrigleyville, mostly because it was sans meatfaces. Curtis and Cristi were smart and left around 2a. Tina, Sam and I moved on to The Green Mill and closed it down at 4a. The Green Mill is this great bar that is kind of hard to describe. It's sort of Victorian on the inside. After a couple of hours of just talking about nothing really, we left Sam to find his own way home and Tina and I walked home gushing our love for each other and saying over and over what a great week we had and how much it sucked that we lived so far apart and how much we didn’t want me to leave so soon. Uh. Yeah. We were both really drunk. That’s what happens when we drink too much. It’s not pretty for anyone.

This morning, or I guess it was afternoon, Curtis, Tina and I had lunch at this Swedish diner in Andersonville. Earlier I had mentioned to Tina that I wanted to go see the Lincoln Memorial, so after breakfast we headed over there to see what we could see. I got the idea from reading Assassination Vacation.

I have to say that it was a pretty huge letdown. It’s just a statue. Standing next to the entrance to a Walgreen’s. I was under the impression that it was a little more elaborate than it is in reality. Credit Ms Vowell’s writing skills that she made it seem pretty cool in her book. Cool enough that I wanted to go check it out anyway.

On the way back we walked through Lincoln Square which reminded me of many small town downtowns across America and stopped for a bit to watch the Germanfest parade that was rolling its way down Lincoln Ave.

Then it was time for me to come home. It really was a fantastic trip. And I was sad to leave, but I’m happy to be home again. One week of debauchery: complete.

9.07.2006

check it yo

Day five: Curtis loaned me his bike yesterday so that I could take a ride along the Big Water.

Although my knees kinda hurt right now, the ride was amazing. I stayed mainly on the bike path that runs along the lakeshore, but even riding through the city really wasn't that big of a deal. I had to ride over to where Tina works to give her the extra keys to her friends' apartment because she's catsitting. And, really, it wasn't all that scary. The main thing I had to watch out for were the people pulling out from the parking spaces along the side of the streets, and I have to do that back home, just not as carefully.

Curtis loaned me his single speed so I couldn't necessarily go as fast as I wanted to, but I did pass some people. You know, a couple kids on their bikes with the training wheels still attached, a middle-aged lady taking a leisurely ride along the lake and an old, old shirtless man who was trying to ride and scratch his leg at the same time. I felt unbelievably cool every single time.

If I lived here, I would ride everywhere.

the foodgasm


Day Four: Tina decided to actually go to work today, so Cristi and I decided to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo. Ok. Let me just say that it's a fairly nice zoo; I mean, it's not the San Diego Zoo or anything (which I hear is spectacularly awesome, but I've never witnessed its spectacular awesomeness in person), but it's nice. What rachets it right up to unbelievably incredible is the fact that it's free. Yes. You heard me correctly. Free. Nothing in the city is free except, apparently, the zoo.

Cristi and I had agreed to meet at the Berwyn El stop at 11.5a, so I headed out for the first time on my own to make my way (fending off dinosaurs and poisonous snakes and some of those ladies who spray perfume on you in department stores the entire way) through Tina's mazelike neighborhood to the train. I made it. And felt absurdly proud of myself for not getting lost.

We had a very pleasant afternoon walking around the zoo. It's one of those miraculous places you find in big cities where, when you find your way there, you feel like maybe you're not actually in a big city. I think that the word I would use to describe it is quaint. And nice. And awesome because did I mention that it's free? Entirely.

***

Cristi invited us all to go to dinner at the place where she works as a pastry chef, so I brought clothes with me to change into once we arrived downtown. Then I started feeling uncomfortable about what I had to wear. I mean, the place she works is shee-shee. It's one of the few four-star restaurants in the city. And even though everyone kept telling me that I could just wear jeans and a t-shirt, I decided that the evening deserved more attention than that. So. I took a trip down to Michigan Avenue, quite possibly one of the scariest places on God's green Earth, to hit the Gap for, at the very least, a new shirt. By the time I got to the store, I had sweated through the t-shirt I was wearing, so I ended up buying a new one of those also. Here's what I forgot about: when you buy a new shirt that comes folded instead of hanging and don't wash it before wearing it, you end up walking around with a square outlined in folds from where it was wrapped around the cardboard on the front of your shirt. Who looks like an idiot rube from Hicksville that doesn't know how to dress himself? Yeah. That'd be me.

Ok. Enough about that. On to the meal. We ate for three and a half hours. Not only did we eat for a really long time, the food was the most amazing food I have ever put in my mouth. Ever. I know I'm prone to exaggeration, but I'm not exaggerating. I swear. Here's what they did for us: they didn't let us order off the menu, and we decided to eat family style, so they just gave us an assortment of dishes and let us all share them. Dear sweet baby Jesus. It was seriously one of those things that you only get to experience once in a million years, should you choose to be on the planet for that long. I can't even really describe it. And the service was unfuckingbelievable. I realize that they were taking pretty special care of us, since Cristi works there and her friend Christine (who works there also) was celebrating her birthday, but still. It was simply amazing. I imagine that it's how movie stars must dine.

Now that I've had a taste of the good life, the 99¢ soft-shell chicken taco at Taco Bell® just doesn't seem as mouthwatering as it used to.




9.06.2006

it's a sickness really

Day Three:

Tina called in sick yesterday so we slept in as our only task for the day was to go to Curtis and Cristi's and take their sweet, sweet dog, Jez, for a walk. We walked over and on the way had lunch at this great little cafe called Taste of Heaven. Tina warned me on the way over that it was owned by two extremely pissy gay men who were angry at the world and therefore, the service was terrible, but the food made it worth it. It was worth it. And, in all actuality, the service was just fine.

On the way back home we went to Borders® (God. I heart Borders. I like Barnes and Noble®, but I think that Borders just has a way better selection) because I needed some new reading material as I devoured Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close way sooner than I had expected to. Now I know what you're thinking: You went to Borders? There are probably thousands, literally thousands, of bookstores in Chicago and you chose Borders? What can I say? I have a sick fascination with chain things. There's no question about what you are going to find there. You know. Before you even step foot in the establishment. It's comforting, really. Anyway, once we were done with Borders we did stop at this other little, used bookstore that ended up being great and I would've bought several things (Someone had actually sold back their entire collection of John Steinbeck short stories—can you believe it? I can't.), but as I have to lug everything back to Fort Collins and I had already purchased way too many things at Borders, I stopped myself from being a complete and total nutbag.

Living in the city has to be kinda difficult. We stopped at the grocery store since it was on the route back home and bought way too many heavy things. My arms were ready to fall off by the time we finally got back to Tina's.

We spent our evening iPod-ing it up. I have so much new music now it's sort of making my head spin. I could maybe throw up a little. I'm excited.

Tina was responsible today and went to work, so Cristi (who has the day off) and I are going to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Right now, I'm sitting here reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live. I think I might be in love with him. Seriously.