Friday, August 20, 2004

Okay, so my life is a little dull

I've really had little to talk about for the last 5 days. Amazing, but true. The first part of the week was spent prepping for a presentation at school Wednesday, and then yesterday I just laid around resting, relaxing, and watching pre-season football. I can't wait for the season to start. I'm so desperate for football that I was watching the Giants/Panthers game for the love of pete, and neither team has much in the way of fantasy players, but that may change after the draft in a couple weeks.

Speaking of school, my group paper went much better than I thought it would. 94%! Whoda thunk that a group where we almost never met and worked in near-isolation would result in perhaps the best score I've ever had on a big project? There are clearly things about the b-school experience that I just won't ever understand.

Tonight my friend Joe is in town for the weekend. We're going to his favorite local bar - Joe's. I'm giddy with ambivalence, as I'm not a big fan of the bar scene, but it will be nice to get out again for once.

Sheesh, this blog is boring. No wonder nobody reads it. Maybe someday I'll decide on a format or topic to stick to and it'll get more interesting. Then again, maybe one day my life will get interesting. But I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Weekend, wow

Typically, my weekend activities are pretty non-existant. So imagine my surprise to find myself with stuff going on every weekend between now and...well, at least the end of September. Last weekend was full of meeting non-profit folks while trying to evaluate potential organizations to do board work for and going to see Garrison Keillor at Ravinia. This weekend my friend Joe is in town for the airshow (and maybe my friend Catherine on Sunday night for auditions). Next weekend is Tony Bennett for Tom's birthday (I'm bringing glow-sticks galore!). Labor Day weekend I'm hosting folks on Sunday and cooking dinner for something like 7-8 people. The 10-11th I'm free but the 17th-19th I'm in Kansas City visiting friends from high school. And the 24-26th I'm in Santa Barbara for a wedding. My question is: How does this happen? I am a little uncomfortable having this much stuff to plan for and around. Thankfully I don't have class for most of September, so I don't have that added stress to worry about. And most of the things I'm doing will involve friends whom I love dearly and am really looking forward to seeing. It won't be as bad as I'm making it out to be I'm sure. But still, that's a lot of stuff...

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Catching up on sleep

I enjoyed 8 hours of sleep last night fro the first time since last weekend. Soo nice. Naturally, though, this means two weird dreams to log.

#1) I ended up going to Cleveland on business for some reason, and my flight got cancelled so I decided to go visit my friend Joe, who has just bought a new condo out there that is supposed to be really cool. When I showed up, I found that it was less like a townhouse and more like a college dorm. And the huge condo that Joe had turned out to be about 800 square feet and painted pink - like a girls dorm. I was a little shocked, but he was so excited about it that I didn't say anything.

#2) This was harder to remember, but I recall being in a big, very nice hotel where there were many elevators, some of which were private, but the keys were left in the hole, so anyone could use them (yes, you used keys to operate the elevators. The public elevators were regular size, but the private ones were only big enough for one person. I was there to meet my friend Joanne to talk about a wedding we're supposed to go to later this year. Then Joanne left to go smoke cigars with this other woman who had a really sophisticated lighter that would reach a million degrees. I then started to leave but ran into my friend Jen and somehow we ended up running from the law through some sort of blade runner-esque future city. Jen got away and I had to crash my futurecar over the edge of some bridge or causeway in order to escape.

Needless to say, I'm all excited to see what happens tonight!

Friday, August 13, 2004

An audience of one

I've come *this* close to actually telling some of my friends about this blog but at the last minute changed my mind. And I always feel okay about that afterwards. I figure that if and when I ever decide to emerge from my isolablog lifestyle I'll do it only when I really feel it's appropriate. Besides, I don't know that I've ever written anything that's interesting enough for anyone other than myself to read. What's the point of publishing yourself to the world when you're not saying anything of interest?

I had a dream last night that I lived in this bizarre treehouse/apartment building. I started off living there all by myself and enjoying finding all these secret doors. Then I got a downstairs neighbor who raised potbellied bigs that by the end of the dream had evolved into French Standard Poodles. Meanwhile I found that a bunch of friends of mine fom high school and college were living together in an alley behind the house. There was much drinking involved and my friend Justin passed out while we were throwing some sort of gummy foodstuff at each other. Then I was working on a movie shoot that was filming in some sort of military base. I had to film the arrival of the main actor (in this case, I think it was Will Smith) who was playing the president or something. It was really crowded, and after the scene was finished we had to run to shoot the next scene and it was really pretty chaotic. That's when I woke up. The moral of this story is that I have really bizarre, stream-of-conciousness dreams. Joyce has nothing on me.

Also last night I went out to a farewell fiesta for my dear friend Jenn who is leaving me to go study french literature at Berkeley. She's an absolute sweetie and I will miss her very much. But now I'll have one more reason to go visit the Bay area - I have quite the collection of buddies out there. I'm only sad becuase I wasn't able to stay out very late. I've been so sapped by finishing my paper for my turnarounds class that I hadn't gone to sleep before midnight in about a week. So let me tell you, I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night and I feel like a new man. That's a particularly good thing because I think I was starting to get a cold (had a sorta-sore throat) but this morning I feel okay. This weekend will involve much sleeping I think, as I try to catch up.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Whether 'tis nobler...

There is apparently a competition in my homestate to see who can get pulled over for speeding the most over the speed limit. The current leader was doing 120. This guy is from my hometown, and I'm not sure whether to be proud or ashamed.

The weird thing is that this is *news* where I come from. I mean, if it's in the Strib anywhere that guarantees that it's front page news in the good ol' Alexandria Echo Press. I mean let's examine two example headlines from this week: "Big Fun in Forada" and "City Adopts new Sidewalk Rules". Yup, I come from a crazy place. Somebody doing 120 would be a scandal, there would be town hall meetings where this guy will be alternately hailed as a hero or a menace. Thank goodness school's starting soon so that football can get everybody to focus elsewhere.

For the record, the fastest I've ever driven is 130. I'm not saying where, or whether or not doing so was legal at the time. Regardless, in the end *I'm* the winner. Yay me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Technology dependance

I was going through my work mail the other day, chucking mass mailings and various industry magazines discussing the miraculous new product developments in door hardware when I got to the envelopes. Now, I have one of those neat little razor-blade letter openers which makes opening the mail fun. I looked in my drawer to find it but it wasn't there! I started to panic, where was the letter opener! What if I had lost it! How would I ever open my mail again!?!?

Then it struck me that I don't, in fact need a letter opener to open letters. A sense of chagrin came over me. Why had I become so dependant on a letter opener? What did this say about me as a man? Or as a human being? I resolved to open my mail sans letter opener...

...but then I found it. I fell off the wagon pretty quick. It's just more fun to open mail with the opener.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The joy of math.

Today is a red-letter day. A day to celebrate, a day that I never thought would actually come.

Yes, all my non-readers, today is the first day that I ever used the Pythagorean Theorem to solve a real-world problem. I mean I've used it before, but it was always for purely theoretical pursuits or abstract mathemetical doodling. But today we needed to figure out the placement of mounting holes on a latch we sell, and the only way I could think of to do it was using the theorem. And it worked! I'd like to take the opportunity to thank my 7th grade algebra teacher Mr. Krentz who probably thought I was a talented but tragically directionless youth. You were right, it may have only taken 15 years, but it *did* actually have a use in real life.

Come to think of it, he's probably dead by now. Weird.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Expletives as URLS



I was finishing up my paper section when I was hit with the question "I wonder if there are any websites with expletives as the URL". Naturally, f*ck.com is a porn site (in retrospect, I should have guessed that), but sh*t.com is nothing at the moment.


The most interesting one I found in my albeit short search was the site for damnit.com. It turns out that that's actually a real company. And get what they do...web hosting. Let's think about this for a moment. When you think of someone to do your web hosting, how likely are you to use a company that is named for what you say when something goes *wrong*? I mean honestly...come on.

Just more proof that most people are idiots and supporting evidence as to why something like 75% of all new businesses fail.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Out and about Chi-town

This weekend I had some friends in town from my days in exile in Cleveland. So, while Friday was spent re-working my section of the final project for school, Saturday was my first chance to go out and fiesta since the painted-toenails debacle with Niki and Alison two weeks ago Monday. And since these friends are nowhere near as crazy as those girls, I figured my toenails would be safe this time.

The evening was grand. Good food and good company. And I didn't even feel weird about being the only non-couple out, mostly because I was enjoying myself. I've been really fortunate in my life to always end up meeting and making friends with good people. Quirky? Usually, but they are almost always good people. Makes one feel fortunate. Anyway, at this one bar I pulled a classic me and fell in love with the hostess. I have a nasty habit of falling in love with women I've never spoken to. Whether she is a hostess at a trendy bar, a character in a play, or someone on a TV show - those are the worst. I'm sure if I spent many hours and dollars in therapy I'd figure out why I was always drawn to the Joey Potters and Carol Vesseys of the television world instead of just going up to someone in a bar and striking up a conversation. I mean it's not like I'm a shy person, for pete's sake. For now I'm not worrying about it until school's done. I've got other things to worry about at the moment, like this paper I'm supposed to be working on right now but am procrastinating on.

Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard 400 today...and I still don't care. The magic of NASCAR continues to escape me. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

America - the land of the Double Standard

So Mary Kay Letourneau was released From prison today after serving 7 years for child rape. It's a depressing enough story just on the face of it, woman living an (allegedly) idyllic life with her husband and four kids seduces one of her 6th grade students and ends up having two kids with him. I won't go into detail because if you're that interested you can find out about it yourself.

What I find irritating is how certain media outlets are spinning this story *so* differently from cases where the man is 35 and the girl is 12. There are people siding *with* Letourneau, who actually have the audacity to call their affair "love", and write as though the "happy ending" for their story is the two of them getting back together. Never mind that the ex-student is unemployed, "working on his GED" (quite the catch obviously) and has had little to do with the actual raising of his kids, a job taken on by his mother. These are the of people (man or woman) who should never be allowed to have kids to begin with. Am I the only person who thinks this? Probably not, but there are two reasons why she's getting all this love from the world, IMHO:

1) She's a woman, and a pretty hot woman at that. Not that it excuses what she did in any way, but look at it from the perspective of the reporters who cover the story. I mean when I was twelve, there's no way I would turn down an opportunity to live the stereotypical male, Van Halen "Hot For Teacher" fantasy. Nor would, I suspect, any male reporter covering the story. So logically , one could guess that by going easy on Letourneau, they are (consciously or not) allowing themselves to live that fantasy *with her*, figuring "nobody gets hurt". If they don't treat it as something horrible, then they are not horrible people by indulging themselves in a little imaginary "thought recreation". If you think this is crazy, ask yourself whether the coverage would be different if Letourneau looked more like Aileen Wuornos and less like Charlize Theron.

2) The "nobody gets hurt" philosophy of the Mrs Robinson relationship. I can't believe that people don't think that the student Letourneau had the relationship with wasn't hurt by this. I mean with all the attention the trial received there's no way he's going to lead a normal life. At 21, unemployed, and "working" on his GED it sounds like his life is already two or three tracks off the right one. And what about her kids? Both the two she had with the student and the four she had with her (now ex-) husband? I mean sure, her daughter's smiling in the release picture, but eventually she's going to have to come to terms with how she came into being. And somehow I suspect that neither her mother nor her father is going to have the emotional maturity to explain what happened with any sort of credibility so as to prevent these girls from a tidal wave of emotional problems of their own once they hit puberty. God help them. At least her ex-husband had the good sense to take his four kids with him to Alaska. Maybe they will have a chance at leading a normal life. Divorce is hard enough as it is without all the drama this particular one has brought.

So what's my point, you say. I guess I'm just frustrated at the state of the media these days. I'm tired of the "double standard society" that America has evolved into. "Your kids are fat but mine just have slow metabolisms", "juvenile crime is terrible but don't you *dare* raise my property taxes to property fund the public schools", "Violence on television and in video games is freedom of speech but Janet's naked breast is the end of civilization", "Interning Japanese Americans during WWII was injustice but interning Arabs at Guantanomo is fine because this time we're doing it *right*". The whole thing just makes me with I was British. If Bush wins in September I think I'll renounce my citizenship on grounds of the ignorization of America.

That's all.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Salvaging an entire day - and failing

I have come to the conclusion that it is really in my best interest that next quarter will be my last in grad school. Not that it hasn't been a great experience and not that I haven't made some absolutely fantastic friends, but I'm just tired. As Madeline Kahn sang in young Frankenstein - "So...Tired". After almost two years of constant reading and putting up with group projects where group members ranges from pretty good to mildly apathetic I'm just fed up with the process. It's not that I don't understand why group projects are all the rage in grad school, and I do appreciate not having to do all the work myself. But it's just mentally exhausting and I don't know how much longer I could hold out. I ended up taking today off work to try and redo my section and I found myself beating back apathy most of the day, which was nice and sunny outside - making it hard to stay focused. I ended up getting it finished around 3:00 and then taking the rest of the afternoon to relax. If only I could nap...

Still, I would kill for a couple hours back to do some readin-for-fun or something that would've gotten me out of the house. Benefit #2 to finishing school = no more having to use vacation days to do homework. Man, to actually *go* somewhere for vacation again...I'm nearly spasmatic with excitement and anticipation.

Wow, lightening's getting really crazy at the moment. I mean it's like the sky's on fire, except with electricity instead of flame. I'd better cut this a little short as I'm just a smidge worried about getting an electrical surge. It's not that I don't trust and love my surge protector, it's just with my luck recently I feel better not playing the odds. I promise I'll be more interesting tomorrow once I've slept off this feeling of non-accomplishment today.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Why does a person do this anyway?

No, seriously, I really want to know. I mean I understand the role of having a diary (or a journal, depending on how old you are/consider yourself). But I thought the whole point of having one of those was that it was a place to store one's deepest thoughts and secrets for later re-hashing and rumination. But by publishing one's deepest thoughts (and half-thoughts even) to the entire universe doesn't that pre-empt one's ability to look back on and reconsider what one may have said in the heat of passion? By that time it's too late, if anyone reads it you've already been judged on the face of your words. And if those words were particularly ugly there's no way to take them back - the ideas are already out and being ruminated about by the rest of the herd. Other groups of proverbial cows are out there discussing your thoughts and writing about them in their own blogs. It's scary.

But then, maybe that's the point. With the threat of an instant audience maybe we're supposed to think about what we're saying before you commit it to print. But then isn't that just self-censorship?

Ruminate...ruminate...ruminate...

Well, it's a stumper. Thankfully, since this is my first post of my first blog, nobody knows about it and nobody I know will be reading it, so I suppose there is time for me to just run blindly in without harming myself too irrevocably. And with luck I'll stay nice and unknown and able to pontificate on whatever topic I want. But in general I'd say my life is only marginally interesting. Some would call it a life of quiet desperation, but not me. I'm very noisy about my desperation.

The fun site for today is: http://www.foundmagazine.com. A friend of mine whom I used to work with emailed it to me last Friday, but because I'd already left work when she did I wasn't able to explore it with due diligence. It rules. Just little snippits of life's flotsam that is found and posted online for all to see. It's an interesting way to play the part of the "unintentional voyeur" - peeking into the bits of life that other folks are glad to be rid of. And since voyeurism seems to be all the rage today (e.g. reality television, celebrity "news" shows, US weekly, etc) this seemed like the least harmful way of doing it I've seen.

Well, lunch break is over, time to get back to work...