67/365 the ex ex-pat

I just know you have an interesting story. Your life in Japan. Your travels. Your ability to remain positive in the face of severe adversity is truly inspiring. You've made me feel brave about traveling alone.

I'm a participant of x365.


You know how sometimes the universe conspires to bring you similar messages from disparate sources? Hopefully, when this happens you're able to glean whatever lesson it is trying to teach you and learn whatever it is you're supposed to learn, but sometimes the message is too obscure and I can't decipher it. This is one of those times.

On Saturday, still feeling really strung out from my two nights in a row of four hours of sleep and nine-hour drive, I decided to stay home and watch Reign Over Me instead of catching the Slim Cessna show at The Aggie.

Overall, I thought it was pretty well done, although I got kind of tired of Adam Sandler's interpretation of how PTSD would alter his character's personality enough to make him act and [mostly] talk like a mentally retarded adult. Of course, this is Sandler's M.O. when trying to act in a 'dramatic' role. He did the same thing in Punch Drunk Love, although for some reason, it wasn't as annoying there. BUT other than that, I really enjoyed everything else about it. Don Cheadle and Liv Tyler were both excellent, the plot was engaging and the direction was outstanding. I really liked the way the story was told in 'chunks' at the beginning—to me this is how new friendships unfold, in little bursts—until the two men's lives became so intertwined that the story became more fluid.

Over the holiday break I started the second novel from author Julia Glass, The Whole World Over. I thoroughly enjoyed her first effort, Three Junes, and so I grew terribly excited when I discovered that Barnes & Noble finally had Whole World in paperback. I pretty much devoured the entire novel in about three days. I haven't enjoyed it as much as I did her debut, but her writing is still very superb and I've found myself becoming almost as engaged in her characters' lives as I did in Three Junes. However, I definitely did not see the 9/11 ending coming.

I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I am wondering why 9/11 came back into my life through these two different stories. Is is just that we're becoming less afraid to talk about it now? Or is it now long enough in the past that storytellers think it's ok to use it as a plot device? Because frankly, Reign Over Me could have used another tragic accident that took his family. It didn't have to be one of the plane crashes on 9/11. Or would another accident had caused his PTSD to the extent that 9/11 did? Was part of his PTSD wrapped up in the level of horror caused by the terrorists on that day? And the same can be said for Ms Glass' novel. A different tragic event could've brought all of the characters together at the end of the story, but would it have had the same impact as 9/11 did?

I don't know the answers to any of those questions, but I'm not too sure I'm excited to see 9/11 used as a plot device when something else would suffice. I think that's largely because I can't decide whether it trivializes it or whether it's good that people think it finally needs to be brought into our country's fictional history.


daily commute

I took a bunch of photos when I was back home for the holidays. This is a little creek that runs through town, just down the block from my folks' house.

66/365 the dropout

In high school. Your boyfriend always seemed jealous of me. Probably because we were close, but anyone could see he was the one you loved. I hope the pregnancy at such a young age wasn't a mistake.

I'm a participant of x365.


holiday recap

I didn't really have time to blog about my holiday week, so now that I'm finally home safe and sound, I'd thought I'd take the opportunity to talk about what a really great week I had.

On Monday, Mom, Dad and I went down to one of their favorite haunts, Roaring River to spend the morning tooling around in the great outdoors. While Dad fished, Mom and I took a little walk in the woods.

We saw some bald eagles, which was pretty cool and then we went and saw the wellspring of the river which eventually ends its journey at Table Rock Lake.

We celebrated the births of the baby Jesus and my mom by breaking out the Scrabble board again so Mom could finally prove that she does in fact have a superior vocabulary and can whup me pretty good once she starts using the colored squares to her advantage. This year, I tried to institute the thing where we didn't exchange presents so I didn't show up with anything, but everyone else ignored me. So, who do you think felt like a schmo? Yeah. I guess I'll make up for it next year. Or get everyone else to pay attention somehow.

Wednesday rolled around and I set off for home with a slight, two-day layover in Newton, Kansas to celebrate the seventh annual Feastival. Tradition states that a crapload of food will be prepared and eaten and a crapload of booze will be bought and drunk, and this year proved to be no exception.


The Tray o' Booze

We went with a tapas theme this year thinking that maybe we wouldn't make so much food that we'd feel bloated and unhappy after we were done gorging. Uh. Yeah. It didn't quite work. Thanks to Tina, Elissa and Laura we had empanadas, spicy meatballs, goat cheese smothered in marinara on baguette bread, artichoke dip, pita chips and hummus, zwiebach bread, stuffed mushrooms and spinach squares. We didn't even come close to eating all of it. Instead of passing out on the floor of Elissa's living room, we rallied and ended the festivities with another tradition started last year, a rousing game of Dutch Blitz.

Do you know what sucks worse than driving through western Kansas? Driving through western Kansas on only five hours of sleep and snow packed roads. I attempted a little experiment today by seeing just how much caffeine one person can consume before all of his molecules are vibrating so violently that he eventually explodes. Fortunately, I never reached the tipping point, so the question remains unanswered.

Another snowstorm blew through good ol' K.S. Thursday night and I was pretty nervous that I wouldn't be able to make it home today. Despite my overwired, strung out brain and over worked nerves and almost getting crushed by a semi driven by an idiot who obviously didn't know how to operate a behemoth on icy roads, I was thankful to arrive home in only nine hours.


65/365 the jackass

I was simply trying to pass you, dude. I am completely baffled about why you chose to speed up and then slam on your brakes fishtailing across two lanes. And then, you flipped me off? Crazy dipshit.

I'm a participant of x365.

64/365 the maternal grandpa

Outwardly, you're such a jovial guy. With a very ready smile. Physically large, but surprisingly not overbearing, somehow, in spite of your height, you manage to remain unobtrusive and decidedly friendly. You raised a good kid there.

I'm a participant of x365.


yes, this is what it's all about

In case you've forgotten, the guy who owns the barber shop in small town Missouri is here to remind you. I like how, in his mind at least, religion is all mixed up with patriotism.


63/365 the mama

Artist, hiker, writer, educator, gardener, chef. Most importantly: friend. You always said I was a scholar and a gentleman, but it was you who taught me to be both. Thanks for always being there.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

I'm a participant of x365.


things accomplished during holiday family time

There's something really soporific about my parents' house. I'm not sure exactly why, but I sleep better down here than I ever do at home. I've been going to bed at 9p and waking up at 7a. But for some reason this does not make me feel more wakeful during the day. The exact opposite, in fact. So, not really that much has been accomplished, but here's another list (of the minor things that have been) since I seem to be into that these days.

• We went to see an exhibit of a local wildlife artist, Susan something or other. Technically very good (think Audobon), but not something I'd want hanging in my house. We also saw the plans and model of the new Crystal Bridges Museum they're building in Bentonville (home of Wal-Mart). Which I guess is fairly controversial because of its location.

• Guess what else I got to see? The original storefront for Wal-Mart back when lawless hoodlums roamed the plains and killed people just for the fun of it. It looks like in its current life, it's some sort of museum/homage to Sam.

• Then we went for a long-ish walk on a paved trail in Bentonville, Ark. Even though the area probably holds the greatest concentration of rednecks per capita, it really is a beautiful spot.

• After we returned home, I whupped (and when I say whupped, what I really mean is barely eked out a win) my mom's butt in Scrabble®. Dad won't play with her anymore, so she cajoled me into it. We ended up with a board full of words that most five-year-olds can spell, but it was still pretty fun.

• I've eaten more in the past two days than I have for the entire preceding year. I think. Today, we managed to polish off an entire can of mixed nuts. Did you guys know that you can make lasagna in a crock pot? I'm frankly astounded. I own a crock pot. And kind of know how to make lasagna the normal way. But never do because it's too much of a pain in the ass. I'm sitting here imagining all of the other things you may be able to do with a crock pot besides chili and stew, for which is all I ever thought it was good. I bet you can even bake a cake in the damn thing. Maybe this will put an end to my all-cereal-all-the-time diet plan.

• I've also gotten a ton of reading time in and am feeling thankful that we visited the local Barnes and Noble yesterday. Otherwise, I'd be reduced to surfing the entire time I was here. God forbid.

If I don't get to tomorrow, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in blogland a very Merry Christmas. Even though I was the scroogiest of the Scrooges this year, I'm glad I got to come home and spend some time with the fam. I'm feeling a lot more warm and fuzzy about the holiday than I was last week at this time. So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Merry Kwaanza and all that. Hope you all enjoy.

62/365 the stalker (?)

Your inability to spell and the extremely terrible syntax in your messages should have been my first clue to just how psychotic you truly were. Your good looks clouded my judgment. Oh well, lesson learned I guess.

I'm a participant of x365.

61/365 the maternal grandmother

Impatient and a little crazy. Ok. A lot crazy. You can be quite mean without even realizing how it affects those around you, I think. You're a great cook. And we have a lead foot in common.

I'm a participant of x365.


twelve point five

That's how many hours I spent in the car yesterday to get from Fort Collins to the tiny little town in southwest Missouri where my folks live. My sister was positive it would take a lot longer than that, but it really cuts out quite a bit of time when you go twenty miles per hour over the speed limit.

When you spend that much time alone in a tiny moving space, some really stupid shit goes through your head. Let me see if I can remember all of it.

1. I really like the looks of the new 'Official State Vehicle of Kansas' license plates.
2. I also really like the looks of the new 'personalized' Kansas license plates. The buffalo was a good idea.
3. When did Tennessee's license plates become so classy? Is that misleading?

4. Same with Kentucky. WTF?
5. 'Communion Cups' by Iron & Wine now might be the best song ever written of all time anywhere. Seriously. It ripped my soul right in half. Could that guy be any more amazing? I couldn't find any videos of Sam singing it, so it's not quite the same level of amazingness 'cause it's just some guy named Adam, but you might get the idea.
6. After listening to 'Stronger' by Kanye West and 'Communion Cups' by Iron & Wine about 50 times each, I've decided that Sam and Kanye need to get together and mix it up. Or some DJ somewhere with actual talent should do a remix of those two songs. Wouldn't that be awesome?
7. Western Kansas really is as boring to drive through as everyone says. I always feel the need to stand up for my home state when people dog on it, but after driving through there for the 50 gazillionth time yesterday, I've decided that it just needs to go. Maybe if everyone folds their maps right there, it will disappear off the face of the Earth?
8. But eastern Kansas is just breathtakingly beautiful. I don't care what anyone says and I will defend that statement with my last, dying breath.
9. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever beat a Midwest sunset. The clouds. The pretty colors. The fact that it's everywhere and lasts for such a long time. Ah.
10. I made the mistake/awesome decision to get off of I-70 and take K-10 through the old homestead on my way to the new homestead. I was happy to see that not that much had changed, but I think it effectively killed any remnants of homesickness I might've had still lingering. I've always kind of wanted to move back there someday, but after driving through there yesterday, I don't know...I kinda don't.
11. The folks from Johnson County, Kan still drive like they're the only ones on the road. It's nice to know some things never change.
12. People everywhere have no earthly idea what purpose the passing lane serves. Here's a clue kids, it's in the name of the damn thing.
13. If you are driving in the passing lane, it's best to not be going 20 miles per hour under the speed limit. That's how morons die.
14. I can't decide which is worse: driving home or flying. They both seem to take just about as long, by the time you get through the airport, fly, get through the other airport, have to wait an hour and a half for your bag to come on the next flight (which happens every single time I fly from Denver to KC), rent a car, and drive the three hours home. But, man. The driving was BORING.

Alright, that's all I got. Sorry it wasn't all that exciting. Now, I must go spend real time with my family, since that was, ostensibly, the whole reason for the drive.


60/365 the design professor

I'll never forget the ruler. To verify that every single border was exactly two inches. You were definitely tough and we all hated you, but I ended up learning some things regardless. Sometimes, the stereotypes are true.

I'm a participant of x365.


59/365 the elephant

We haven't spoken in 9 years, yet you still remember to drop me a line on my birthday. And every year I always forget yours. Take Christmas. Rinse. Repeat yearly. What can I say? I'm an asshat.

I'm a participant of x365.


58/365 the environmentalist

You're what we used to call crazy sexy cool. Loud. Brash. Most definitely opinionated and not afraid to share. If only you weren't a client, you would hopefully be a friend. Maybe someday you will be both.

I'm a participant of x365.

new music tuesday

Songs I'm liking this week:

1. Cowboy Hat | Boca Chica | Self titled - Nice, easy alt. country from a fellow Kansan.
2. The Shakes | Boy/Girl | Secret Secret Secret Singles - Rockin'.
3. I'll Follow You Tonight | Anna Ternheim | Paste Sampler 38 - Sweet, melodic and a little sad.
4. Jesus Walks | Kanye West | The College Dropout - A friend decided that I needed to get into rap. I kinda like it.
5. Little Red-Haired Girl | Ezra Fuhrman and the Harpoons | Banging Down the Doors - Look kids it's Bob Dylan you can actually understand. And like.
6. Listening to Otis Redding During Christmas | Okkervil River | Golden Opportunities Mixtape - These guys can do no wrong. I feel badly that I left Stage Names off of my end of the year list. So, I've been listening to this album non-stop as redemption.
7. Waiting for a Superman | Iron & Wine | Sounds Eclectic 3 - I firmly believe that this is the best song ever written. For some reason, this week, I decided I needed to listen to it again.
8. Walk in the Park | Oh No Oh My | Self titled - Twee, emo kids jammin'.
9. Stronger | Kanye West | Graduation - This is probably my favorite of the stuff he gave me. It's got mad beats and it's definitely the most user friendly.
10. Second Chance | Liam Finn | Paste Sampler 38 - yes. That Finn. I like this song better than anything New Order ever did.


57/365 the husband

Fly fisherman, basketball fanatic. Your sense of humor and your beard seem to suit your wife pretty well. I don't know many couples that seem so compatible. I'm immensely relieved that our relationship has gotten more comfortable.

I'm a participant of x365.

and now it's over

All of my worrying was for naught. We had to paper clip the turkey together. And the aluminum cans we tried to use to prop it up over the drip pan didn't really work, so Ann and Kate had to run back to Kate's to get a rack. And, then Ann had to run back to her house to get beef broth for the gravy even though the grocery store was a lot closer. And, then because of all the turkey juice spilled everywhere we ran out of paper towels/napkins. And went through every single kitchen towel and even some bath towels that I own.

BUT in spite of all of that, I think everyone had a good time. I did at least, and that's all that really matters. The food was really good and all of us fit into my house ok (even though the R-dog wasn't too happy about being banished to the back porch), and we even managed to get through almost all of the beer I bought even though Ann and Dylan didn't think we possibly could—I bought a crapload of beer.

I think this sums it all up pretty well:

So, I'm going to say that Friendsgiving 2007 was a success. Thank god. Or whoever is in charge of those sorts of things.


56/365 the most annoying neighbor ever

Every. Single. Time I leave the house you yell. You're just doing your job, but still. I've never wished violence on a dog, but for you I'm contemplating poison or just a swift kick in the butt.

I'm a participant of x365.


55/365 the ad guy

You were 'ad guy' at a time when it really wasn't all that cool. But, ignorantly, you didn't let that stop you from being a complete tool. Even the painkillers you took for your back didn't help.

I'm a participant of x365.

it's coming

Last year, Ann decided that our little group of friends here in FtC needed to start a tradition called Friendsgiving and Alan graciously offered up his nice, largish home that is big enough to contain a dining room. Well, guess who decided he could be the host this year? Yeah. You got it. Me. Eek.

At the inaugural Friendsgiving there were only eight of us. But, apparently, we've become slightly more popular because this year there are 3,581 of us. Ok. Ok. That's a slight exaggeration (but not really), but we have almost doubled in number. There for a while people kept jumping on the list of invitees like it was the last lifeboat on the Titanic. But a couple of weeks ago it finally stabilized at 14. I think. Unless the residents of the old folks' home down the street hear about it sometime in the next 24 hours and decide they need free food. And, keep this in mind, my house is tiny. Like. Tiny. And there are 14 of us. Did I mention that there are 14 of us? And, it's cold out, so it's not like people can even go stand out on the back porch. I guess people could go hang out in the bedroom, but that just seems really weird.

You also have to understand that I'm a pretty terrible and sporadic entertainer. I think the last time I had people over at my house was when a few friends stopped by to watch a basketball game while I was doped up on Percoset after my knee surgery. It was rockin'. So, I've been anxiously waiting for the 16th to arrive and I keep going over lists in my head of things I need to do. Last night, I scrubbed the house from floor to ceiling. I even dusted. Today, I'm going over to Sarada's to pick up chairs, because if I don't then everyone will be eating dinner off the floor. Then to the liquor store to get beer, lots of beer because maybe if everyone gets drunk enough they won't notice that they're eating mashed potatoes and gravy with their fingers. Then check to make sure the toilet is clean enough to eat off of (not really, although if any more people come someone's going to be eating dinner in there). Wait, with that many people should I set up a Port-a-John in the front yard? Then go get the ice I forgot. And, should I hang up Christmas lights so it looks kind of festive? Do I have enough toilet paper? Candles. I should get some candles. Are crackers and cheese enough for appetizers, or do I need to go get some of those cocktail weenies or crab cakes or fried okra or something? Should I rent some circus clowns?

Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggh. I'll be in bed with the blankets pulled up over my head. Someone come get me if the house is on fire. Other than that, leave me alone.

Does anyone have any Percoset I can have?


54/365 the piercing

For some reason you constantly wanted to show me your pierced nipple. I guess I was a little curious, but not that curious. Finally one day I relented. It was cool and all, but not that cool.

I'm a participant of x365.


53/365 the weirdo

I wasn't very nice to you. But you really weirded me out. The way you'd just hover around the front desk like that. What seemed like 24 hours a day. I didn't express my impatience very well.

I'm a participant of x365.

daily commute

Ok. This is the last one from that first, pristine, pretty snowday. Now, everything else, will be dirty winter snow filled with mud, dog urine (maybe people urine) and other things that shall not be named. Enjoy!


daily commute

Guess what? There's still snow on the ground. I know. I'm just as shocked as you.

52/365 the mother theresa wannabe

Even now, at 37, a childlike love of life infuses everything you do. Of everyone I know, you are most likely to succeed at making the world a better place. Just so you know, I'm rooting for you.

I'm a participant of x365.

ten tiny things

Big Daddy tagged me with this meme (I believe the kids are calling it). And even though I usually don't follow instructions well, I decided to go ahead and play along. Mostly because I didn't want to be a sourpuss.

1. When you were born, how much did you weigh?

5lbs, 6oz (something like that)

I was tiny. And three weeks early.

2. What's your sugar poison?

I love all things sugar-y. Lately I’ve been obsessed with Special Dark M&Ms. And the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Raspberry candy bar.

3. If you had to choose between meat and cheese for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Then be specific.

This one’s easy. Cheese. I can do without meat. And I love me some cheese. I don’t understand the ‘be specific’ part. Does that mean which cheese specifically do I want? All of them. Duh.

4. What, in your opinion, is the worst song ever?

‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles. Nothing makes me want to go on a killing spree more than that insipid piece of crap.

5. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?

Mrs. Bicknell – art teacher in high school
Mrs. Bruner – chemistry and anatomy teacher in high school

6. What personal activity, when performed in public, bothers you the most?

I agree with Big Daddy and Buffalo Void – clipping the finger or toenails. It’s mostly the sound of it that drives me crazy.

7. Ok, there's a $50 bill lying on the ground. You pick it up. Dumbfounded by your incredible luck, what do you selfishly purchase?

Windfall! Awesome. First I would dance like Michael Jackson in Thriller. Then I would go buy a coveted piece of outdoor gear. Or some music. Or some books.

8. Do you have a recurring nightmare? If so, explain.

I don’t have nightmares very often and very rarely remember them when I do, but there was one I kept having where all my teeth fell out…

9. Name one place on Earth you've never been, but vow to visit at least once.

I haven’t ever been anywhere, so there are a lot of places I want to see. New Zealand and Italy are top on my list.

10. You notice that question #9 wasn't really a question. You feel smart for catching such a small detail. What else can you do really well that reminds you how smart you are?

Um. Um. Um. Um.


daily commute - more snow equals more fun

the recurring theme

This weekend, Dylan invented a new 'game' for when we climb at the gym. We do one route at our warm-up grade. Then we intermix routes from our workout and project grades. Once we fail to get to the top of a route that's at our workout grade, we have to try to do a warm-up grade route. If we fail at that, we're done. We were there for three hours on Sunday. It wiped me out.

Then yesterday I had the bright idea to go running for the first time in a month and realized that people here in FtC really suck at shoveling their sidewalks. And maybe running was invented by the Marquis de Sade. That, and going for a 45-minute run when you haven't done it in awhile is maybe not such a good idea. It hurt my knees.

I was so tired last night that I couldn't muster up the energy to actually make a proper meal, so I had Cheez-its® and chocolate milk for dinner.


51/365 the smoocher

At recess you would chase, trying to catch. And kiss. I don't think you ever caught, but still every day at nap time, you'd unroll your mat and place it beside mine. Hoping? Until Stevie came along.

I'm a participant of x365.

daily commute redux

Last night it was wickedly cold here. Like below zero cold. Like you walk outside and your face falls off cold. I wisely chose to remain indoors. Since there's hardly ever any wind here all of the snow stayed perched up in the tree branches. And on the tops of poles and other horizontal things. And then froze there.

This is my neighborhood. Early in the morning. With the sun just coming up and hitting the tops of the trees.

Look. The pond is frozen over. It wasn't yesterday. I'm always surprised by how quickly that happens.

daily commute - snowday edition number 2546

Ooooooooooooo. Look at the pretty colors!


daily commute - yes, it's still all about snow

It's gonna be around awhile, so we might as well be happy about it, right?

50/365 the evil bitch

I believed, wholeheartedly, you were the woman of my dreams. You thought I was just another (concurrent) notch on the bedpost. It's now seven years later and I believe that I'm finally escaping what your infidelity wrought.

I'm a participant of x365.

it's that time of year again

I've had my list ready for a couple of weeks now, and usually I wait until Jan 1 to look back and ruminate on which albums I enjoyed most over the past year, but everyone else is publishing their favorite albums of the year and since I'm a great follower and don't want to get left in the dust, I've decided to put mine out there in the Internets also. And, yes, I would jump off the bridge.

But first, albums that everyone else put on their lists that I don't think deserve to be there:

6. Blonde Redhead | 23 - I don't know if it's because this was my introduction to BR or if their music just doesn't really do anything for me, but this album left me feeling less than tepid.
5. Patty Griffin | Children Running Through - Fairly derivative, I thought.
4. Jens Lekman | Falls Over Kortadela - I love all things Swedish. Except this guy. Although everyone else seems to disagree with me, so you can feel free to do so also.
3. Over the Rhine | The Trumpet Child - I'm shaking my head over this one. It makes my ears bleed.
2. The White Stripes | Icky Thump - Aren't we all over this already?
1. Easy Tiger | Ryan Adams - Boo. All I have to say is boo. I might be out of love with you.

Ok. Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to the good stuff:

23. Band of Horses | Cease to Begin - I know everyone else hates this album, but I think it's a pretty good sophomore effort.
22. Rilo Kiley | Under the Blacklight - I like experimentation and they should get love, not hate, for trying new things. Plus, it's great to dance to.
21. Andrew Bird | Armchair Apocrypha - This guy is consistently awesome.
20. Modest Mouse | We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank - Not as good as earlier efforts but still pretty outstanding.
19. Radiohead | In Rainbows - If for no other reason, but they gave it away for free and still made a profit. But I like that they went old school and revisited The Bends.
18. The Cave Singers | Invitation Songs - Fleetwood Mac eat your heart out.
17. Of Montreal | Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer - Just a ton of fun.
16. Beirut | The Flying Club Cup - Another good sophomore effort with enough experimentation to keep it interesting.
15. The Everybodyfields | Nothing is Okay - Beautiful, sad-making debut. Because no year would be justifiable if all the music was exactly the same.
14. Panda Bear | Person Pitch - Ah. The 70s.
13. Spoon | Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Rockin'.
12. The Shins | Wincing the Night Away - Another band that is consistently awesome.
11. Bright Eyes | Cassadaga - Personally, I'm happier when Conor is in alt. country mode.
10. Wilco | Sky Blue Sky - Yay! They revisited the things that made Being There their best album of all time.
9. Phosphorescent | Pride - I know. You're all sick of me spreading the word, but seriously.
8. Arcade Fire | Neon Bible - I actually liked this one better than Funeral.
7. Yeasayer | All Hour Cymbals - This is a recent edition, but possibly one of the best albums I've ever listened to.
6. Sunset Rubdown | Random Spirit Lover - Ooooo. Mr. Krug, I love you.
5. The National | Boxer - Their best yet.
4. Josh Ritter | The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter - He's really hitting his stride, I expect him to take over the world in about 3 years. Give or take.
3. Iron & Wine | Shepherd's Dog - Um. If anyone wants to join with me and declare Sam Beam the new Messiah, let's get on it already.
2. Loney Dear | Loney, Noir - Swedish. Swedish. Swedish.
1. Pela | Anytown Graffiti - Definitely the best album of the year. Hands down. Solid. Steady. Never gets old.


way to go hippies!

My favorite breakfast cereal of the year is Nature's Path Flax Plus® Raisin Bran. It's organic, low in sugar, filled with flax (which is good for the ol' cholesterol you know), pretty darn tasty and did I mention, organic? So, absent of artificial chemicals and other shit that's not good for you. I discovered it about eight months ago and have pretty much been eating it every day since.

Except for the past two weeks that is.

You might ask (if you haven't fallen asleep or moved on to other, more exciting blogs yet). I'll tell you. They started packaging it in smaller boxes.

Well, what's the big deal with that? You might ask.

The answer to that question will show you how cynical I am. Without even looking at the package more closely, I automatically assumed that it meant they were trying to charge me more and give me less. How much do I suck?

Because last week I actually decided to take a look at the number of ounces on the front of the package. I'm sure by now you've guessed what I discovered: not only was it not less than the original packaging, it was .5 ozs more!

So, they were really being more conscious of the effects packaging their product has on the Mama Nature and trying to be somewhat eco-friendly. I say again, way to go hippies! Now I can feel even less guilty about buying their products. That, and I get to start eating my favorite cereal again.

49/365 the quizzer

Even though your weekly quizzes often make me feel like a) I'm much dumber than I thought, or b) my formal education is woefully lacking, I keep returning. 'Cause you're funny. Internet friends still freak me out.

I'm a participant of x365.

daily commute - snowday edition numero dos

Ok. Steel yourself. I took a shitton of pictures yesterday and today. So, for the next little while all you're gonna see is snow, snow on things, snow on dogs, dogs on snow, things on snow, you know. Snow.


48/365 the faithful

Truth be told, I'm a tad jealous of your strong faith in God. I imagine it's comforting to have something to grasp when the chips are down. I'm glad you have (it) in your time of need.

I'm a participant of x365.

daily commute - snowday edition

Usually I'm a winter hater. My love of flip flops far outweighs my love of the stocking cap, so I hate any season in which I don't get to flip flop. It snowed here last night, and today, and it looks like tomorrow, and despite my (really strong) desire to stay inside in my jammies and drink coffee all day, I took the dogs for a walk this morning. Watching how much fun they had in it, sort of, kind of, almost made me happy that there's so much of the white stuff around.


folks. holy shit. we're live.

So, my b-partner and I finally have our website completed. Could everyone who reads this go and check it out and see if you have any usability issues? Or see anything else that needs to be changed and let me know?

Thanks much.

UPDATE: So. It should look like this:
But my b-partner just e-mailed me to say that it doesn't on her PC.

Can anyone else tell me if it's all jacked up in IE6?

This is why I hate Bill Gates.

47/365 the not so conservative conservative

I mean seriously, you wear thigh-high, high-heeled, black-vinyl boots. To work. What do you mean that you're surprised that I'm surprised that you're a Republican? I'm very happy you finally had such beautiful babies.

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it's wednesday, kids

And for some reason that means I feel like talking about music. Instead of doing my normal, talk-about-one-album-and-only-one-album-thing, I'm going to put forth a list of songs that I'm really enjoying this week.

1. Wolves | Phosphorescent | Pride - Quirky, awesome jangly folk music. If you've been paying attention, you know that I can't stop talking about this guy, and for good reason. He's spectacular. There's definitely some hand clapping going on, and what I think may be an organ.

2. Square 9 | Frightened Rabbits | Sing the Greys - If you can get past the cheesy British accent—which most times I abhor, so I completely understand if you can't—this is actually a fun song to plug into your ears. These guys love the riff, which is fairly unusual these days and therefore kind of refreshing, and they seem pretty adept at building an entire song around it.

3. Stranger | The Roadside Graves | No One Will Know Where You've Been - Jamerrific alt. country from, of all places, New Jersey. With excellent lyrics and pretty good backing melodies, what's not to love?

4. Lonely Anywhere | The Everybodyfields | Nothing is Okay - If this song doesn't rip your heart out and churn it up in the garbage disposal, then there's something seriously wrong with you.

5. Presents | Via Audio | Say Something Say Something Say Something - Fun pop-y jump around the house in your underwear or get caught dancing out at the ponds while walking your dogs by the old guy with the collies whom you didn't see until he was right there. Whatever.

6. I Woke Up Today | Port O'Brien | The Wind and the Swell - Loose and spastic singing/yelling set against jangly guitar and hand claps, it's northwestern rock. If M Ward named them his favorite band of the year, what've you got to lose?

7. Horse in the Sky | chris and thomas | Land of Sea - Simon and Garfunkel for the 'Oughts.

8. Mansard Roof | Vampire Weekend | Mansard Roof - Needs no words. Just get it already.

9. 2080 | Yeasayers | All Hour Cymbals - Weird, provocative, worldly, rockin'. And gorgeous.

10. Nightswimming | The Wrens | Stereogum Presents Drive XV: A Tribute to Automatic for the People - Off of an album full of really stunning covers, this is one of my favorites, but that's probably just because I really love The Wrens.

11. Pretty Young Thing | Nickel Creek | Nickel Creek in Concert (NPR) - Awesome cover.

46/365 the friend

I often wonder what happened to you. You were my first friend outside of my siblings. Every day at recess during first grade we would play 'Army' or some other game. The next year, you were gone.

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daily commute


45/365 the thief

I saw you. Cruising down Whole Paycheck's bulk food aisle, grabbing handfuls and stuffing them into your maw. Your long, grey hair and granola apparel apparently aren't a lifestyle, but rather an affectation. Unless all hippies steal?

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things that need to fall off of the planet already

This guy. I don't know what his name is, but he's in that show, I think it's on ABC, where they find some really pathetic family, burn their house down to the ground and then build them a brand new one. Extreme We're Gonna Build You a Mansion You Can't Afford Makeover Or Something I think it's called. I've only seen it once , but that was enough to determine that this guy is wicked annoying. He's hyper like Richard Simmons on crack. And you can just tell that he thinks he's the best thing to walk the Earth since Jesus. Plus, I just saw him in a Bayer aspirin commercial, so now, apparently, he's going to be everywhere. It's enough to make me want to punch him in the teeth.

I just want to take away his hair gel and see if he melts like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz. 'Cause I doubt his spine even works without the requisite 10 applications every morning.

44/365 the jackhole

Not only were you the absolute worst boss I ever had, you were possibly the worst human being I've ever met. You were fat, psychotic, pathetic and utterly ridiculous. And your ego. Don't even get me started.

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of which nightmares are born

Do I really need to say anything here? I was scrolling through Find of the Day on Found the other day and ran across this. The most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life. And that's including all of those shots of Tammy Faye Baker back in the 80s that are etched indelibly in my brain.

an entirely unproductive weekend. on all fronts.

Well, KU won at least. Barely. Thanks go solely to Mario Chalmers who was pretty outstanding the second half. We so did not deserve to win that game, and we probably wouldn't have had he not made that beautiful, amazing, spectacular 3-pointer with only 20 seconds left in the second half. We played really horrible defense and our offense wasn't very good either. Until the last two minutes of the game. In the end we just wore USC down.

Other than that, the only other thing I managed to accomplish this weekend was eating an entire loaf of asiago encrusted bread. I have to say, it was pretty darn tasty.

43/365 the father

Woodworker, fly fisherman, financial guru, handyman, ice cream afficionado. Friend. You taught me that family is the most important thing of all. Thank you for loving me in spite of 'the terrible teen years.'

Happy birthday, Dad.

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42/365 the editor

'Your lead-in should always include the 5 w's,' you told us. 'Who. What. Where. When. Why.' You made me cover a campus fire and get the victims' 'story'. That's when I decided I couldn't be a reporter.

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in my dreams

Every now and then I have a dream about this restaurant. It's not the same dream—something different happens there every time—it's just the dreams happen in this same place. The thing is, it's not really that nice of a place. It's the cafeteria in a hospital or, I think, a retirement home. All I remember is the wait staff all wear those Mr-Rogers-sweaters (cardigans?) and have name tags like the ones nurses wear.

In my dreams, my friend Tina is the one who always wants to go there. Last night's enticement was live entertainment. She showed us all this flyer produced by a group of her 'geeky, nerdy friends (her words)' who had started a band and she wanted us to go check it out with her. So, we go and we order breakfast and the same thing happened to me that always happens there—everyone else got their food and mine never came. I was complaining about it, saying, 'This always happens to me here,' and then I woke up.

I'm not sure what this says about me.