10 Years!

So here's another anniversary. No, I didn't forget. OK well maybe a little. But the point here is that although I might not have remembered this one yesterday, I remembered it today. So yeah.

Anyway, today is the 10 year anniversary of Kerry and my first date. Yeah, I know...it's a dating anniversary, not a wedding anniversary. But seriously, I've been completely devoted to this girl for 10 years, and that says a lot. It's because she absolutely rocks my world. Honey, I love you tons. Thanks for the decade, and for many more to come.

So the Muzak system at work is continuing it's mission of aural assault and battery. Today's selections range from the simply bizarre to the absolutely intolerable. Let's see if I can properly form a rant about it.

"When I Come Around" by Green Day was the first song that I heard this morning. That was just strange. I like Green Day, so it was actually pleasant compared to a lot of the crap that I usually hear, but it was still really strange to hear it in my office.

"Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M. came on shortly after that, and although R.E.M. is an ok band (albeit never one that I got into) this particular song is terrible. It is also a very poor descriptor of the people in my office this morning.

Last came the worst: "I Saw The Sign" by Ace of Base. (Or is it Ace of Bass? I don't know and don't care enough to google it. LOL. I think Base.) Swedish Schlock Pop is the musical Thing That Should Not Be, ranking just below Steve Miller (the Dark Lord of Crappy Music) yet light years above Neil Young (a mild annoyance in my musical world). Ace of Base is just crap, pure and simple. You should feel very bad for me (and perhaps send me five dollars) because of the suffering that I went through having been forced to hear it.

Well...time for work I guess. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve, gentle reader. I'll see you all again in 2009.


So, I'm kind of terrible at remembering Anniversaries. For instance, Yesterday was my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. I wished them a happy anniversary over the phone, after being told that yesterday was the day. Oops. Happy Anniversary, 'Rents.

Another one that I forgot was the one year anniversary of this blog. Hooray! It's funny, because I was looking back through the archives and I saw that last Christmas was filled with a lot of the same stuff as this one: Sketchy driving, longer than normal trips to Bemidji, etc. etc. Anyway, happy anniversary, OstrichBlog!

Here's a random rant, injected into the rest of this blog. This involves malls, because 'tis the season for commerce, and the mall is where it's at in that regard. Anyway, here's my gripe: Why in the ever-loving heck do stores like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch (and no, I won't give their dumb sites traffic by making links) have to stink so much? Walking by them is like nose torture. It's seriously revolting. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind goes by there and says, "YUM! What a wonderful smell! I'm going in there to buy some clothes!" Yet that has to be the purpose, right? Is there some sort of pheromone in the foul stench that emanates from these establishments? Some sort of, "My dear lord! I smell a smell that indicates to me that if I buy clothes here, I will have wild and recklessly passionate lust-fests with each of the 18-yr-old clerks in the store!" I can't help but think that the answer to that query is a resounding "no". See, I just about want to puke every time I go by. I know my wife feels the same.

Well, that's all I've got for today, I think. It's a slow day in the office, and I'm thinking it will be a pretty darn slow week all around. This is a good thing. It's been nuts around here lately, and I'm ready for some good ol' fashioned slackin'.


Holy hangover, Batman.  This sucks.  Seriously.

So I was surprised to discover that my friends Travis and Katy, from Yuma, were in town for Christmas.  They came over to my house last night.  The rest is history.  A blurred, drunken history of which I am not incredibly proud.  I'm sure we had fun.  This morning (and afternoon) no such luck.

I just managed to consume a slice of pizza, and I'm not entirely sure that it's going to stay where I want it to.  After reaching my 30s, it seems that hangovers have changed from the morning inconvenience of my college days, and are now a beastly all-day affair.  At this rate, I'll probably still feel like crud tomorrow.  Ugh.

I guess I deserve it.  It's a nice reminder to myself to take it easy on New Year's Eve

I got a bunch of fun stuff for Christmas this year.  My darling wifey got me a Bose SoundDock, which is awesome.  The slight problem with it is that the remote control doesn't work, and I have to contact Bose directly because it's a factory refurb.  I'm lazy, though, and have just been controlling it un-remotely.

I also got a kit of some Irish Stout from my in-laws.  I was going to brew it tonight, but I'm rethinking that idea.  The smell of brewing beer will not be a fond one this evening, I'm afraid.

Well, looks like I'll go back to my day's activities of sitting and/or lying on this couch.  I leave you with my work-in-progress ode to a hangover, Hands of Fate.


So, I've had a headache for the last four days. It's completely due to stress. The problem is that it's still not gone. That's pretty typical for me, also.

See, last night I had my last final of this semester! WOOOHOO I'm on break! So that's pretty awesome. The problem is that even though my main stressor is out of the way, my reaction to stress (the aforementioned headache) has not yet caught up. So, unfortunately, I have a headache that hurts so badly it has brought me close to vomiting. Yikes.

So hopefully tonight's wonderful session of Dungeons and Dragons will help to alleviate this monster migraine. If not, then the flow of beer should help in that regard. Heh heh. Nothing in the world like medicating with alcohol.

Last night, I tried to record another flock of kobolds song. The problem was that it was too late for me to figure out that I needed to adjust my microphone levels. Everything was clipped, and I didn't feel like doing it over again, so it's back to the drawing board on that one.

The recording experience made me realize something, though. I'm absolutely obsessive about recording in one take on garageband. It doesn't matter to me if it's the first take or the two-hundredth, I just have a thing about having one giant line from the beginning of a track to the end. Seriously, if you're one of the lucky A.F.O.K. recipients of .zip files (which, based on my known readership you almost certainly are), you should look at the vocal lines. It's funny.

The problem with that is obvious and twofold: 1) If I make a mistake, I have to do the whole darn thing over again to fit my mad obsessive compulsion. 2) I inevitably make a mistake that I can live with but don't correct for the sake of one giant string of uninterrupted sound.

Oh well. That's the way I roll. As a result, I played the song "Factory Girls" by Flogging Molly all the way through a few times last night. All for nothing, because as mentioned before, I just deleted the whole thing and went to bed. HAH.

Oogh, I'm tired. I had a 7:00 A.M. meeting this morning. These things are the bane of my existence. If I were only allowed to change one thing about work, it would be this 7:00 a.m. crap. If I were allowed to change more than one thing, it would be that and all the other crap. Heh.

What up, player?

I have ONE final left tomorrow, and studying for it is getting old. I've got such a complete and total lack of motivation for school right now that powering through my studying is becoming a real chore. I can only imagine how hard it's going to be in May, when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and it's my last set of finals ever. (Besides the dreaded Bar Exam, of course.)

One good thing about next semester is that I've successfully registered for classes that are basically fluff. So that rules. I'm excited for some good old fashioned slackin'. Coming from a guy whose current semester allowed him sufficient time to write a novel in a month, saying that I have fluff classes next semester is saying a lot. Hopefully it's actually true. Heh.

On a totally different note, my friend Lukas was interviewed on NPR yesterday, regarding the mortgage industry. If you didn't get a chance to check out the interview, here it is. It's very interesting and informative, and it (*gasp!* I know that this next sentence will be shocking) actually makes me happy about my current job. I don't have to do any cross-selling, nor do I get any incentives for getting someone into a product that they don't need. Woot for credit unions. (I still don't bank here, though, because I don't poop where I eat. LOL.)

During my finals week, my limited spare time has been spent sneaking snippets of the Twilight series. I'm forced to admit that I really liked the first book. It's the teen girl in me, as previously discussed. The second is equally gripping, although for much different reasons. Most of it is kind of irritating me, honestly. Vampires rule, werewolves drool.

On the subject of the undead and lycanthropy, it's freakin' D&D time on Friday! WOOOOHOOOO! I'm super excited for that shizzle. I've got quite the crew coming over to throw down. I've since moved my keg of porter into the basement, so it's a nice temperature and easily accessable by players that want to get rowdy. (Taking that sentence out of context would be funny for the use of the word "player". Like "playah!" Yeeuh. Unfortunately IN context it denotes a player of the lovely game of Dungeons and Dragons. Aww yeeuh, thugg life.)

Weathery goodness

As per usual, the weather wasn't nearly as bad here as people were hyping it up to be. There was supposed to be this terrible blizzard that hit yesterday. Still, that doesn't mean that the weather is nice at all. I had a very slow drive in to work this morning.

Yesterday we had another open house, to which no one showed up because of the weather. There was freezing rain going on, and the no-show was kind of expected by yours truly. Oh well. We'll see how things go on that tip after the holidays.

Last night the snow was falling pretty fiercely, and I entertained a hope that work would be cancelled this morning. No such luck. Oh well, I didn't really expect it to happen. This morning's drive (as mentioned earlier) sucked, though. Snow plows hadn't hit Highway 100 when I left, and therefore traffic crawled. Luckily, I had left very early and thus ended up at work early.

I've probably mentioned it already somewhere in the world of the Ostrich, but when it snows around here, people that have been living here their whole lives suddenly become complete toolsheds. This affects people in various ways. First, there's the overcautious type. ONE snowflake on the road and Mr. Overcautious decides that going above 10 miles per hour is a very bad idea. Ugh. Then, when the weather actually gets to the point where driving is dangerous (case in point, this morning) you have Mr. Moron, who weaves in and out of stop-and-go traffic going 70 mph over the ice, thinking that his F-150 makes him invincible. Ugh. Sometimes people deserve to get in a car accident, and sadly it never happens to the people that deserve it.

I watched the movie Wanted last night, and it was exactly the type of movie that I wanted to see. Lots of action, very little of which was actually plausible, veiled beneath a rather weak plot about an age-old guild of assassins. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I also watched the first half of Pineapple Express with my wife. It was ok, but we turned it off because she got tired. There were some hilarious parts, but the "oh, he's high on weed" joke lost its luster rather quickly. Stoner movies just get kind of boring. So do stoners.

I have one final left to take this semester. It's coming my way on Thursday, in Workers' Compensation. I don't expect it to be so bad -- many of the themes of the class tie in with a bunch of other stuff I've taken, and a lot of it just makes sense. The rest is fairly simple math of the third-grade variety. That's about my speed. Shouldn't be bad.


I have a terrible time with haircuts. It's just a fact. I've gone to a number of places in the area, ranging from the uber-cheap to the fairly expensive, and although I've sometimes ended up with satisfactory haircuts, I've never had an experience that has made me say, "why heck, that was awesome". Nope. That doesn't happen.

First, my curse: I never, ever have someone cutting my hair that can speak English very well. (Except the one time that I got my hair cut in Bemidji.) Now, I have absolutely no problem with non-english speakers coming to America and making their way. However, there are some career paths that require a degree of communication, and in my opinion the cutting of hair is one of them. It's not a very good situation for a language barrier. I have no idea why, but I have terrible luck with this conversation. Sometimes the results are kind of fun, like the Japanese lady at J.C. Penny that cut my hair with a straight razor. That was awesome. (Pretty good haircut, too, actually.) Usually, it turns out fine. Other times, that's just not so.

My hair is not difficult. There isn't any rocket science involved in the cutting of my coif. Use a #2 on the sides and back, finger length on top. No problem, right! These are instructions that usually can break through even the thickest, toughest language barrier. However, now that you know the back story of my communication curse, it should impress you even more to know that the haircut that I got on Saturday was the single worst time that I've ever had trying to talk with a stylist. [This was at a place in Robbinsdale. I was going to name names and have Google fight my battle for me, but it's unnecessary. Really, the only satisfaction I'm going to get from the situation is to not go there anymore]

Oh. My. Sweet. Thunderin'. Dang. This lady was impossible to understand, and she did things to my hair that are probably considered torture in a number of nations. I ended up with this ridiculous 'do that, if not combed precisely from my left to right, kind of slopes downward from the right to the left. If I were the type to throw some gel in it and spike it up, I could roll marbles off of it. It's freakishly ridiculous. I mean, I've had worse -- the famed Jabberwocky "bad haircut" picture comes to mind -- but this is bad. To my great misfortune, my hair is also short, which means that in order to have someone fix it, it has to grow out.

Oh, for the love! Unfortunately for me, with today's belt-tightening mentality I simply can't justify driving all the way out to who-knows-where to get a haircut, nor can I justify spending the kind of ching on a place where you sit down and a man with a large mustache lovingly sculpts each individual hair on your face and head. Even if I were to go to some highly recommended place, I have to stress that my language curse transcends venue and value. Seriously. It does not matter how much I spend on the haircut or where it is, I will not speak the same language as the stylist.

Ahh Music

My friend and yours, the Jabberboard, has been ridiculously inspiring lately. It's been filled with videos of myself and others, engaged in the art of playing music. It's been really fun to watch all of the videos and see the performances throughout the years. It's really made me want to play some freaking music! I'm going to categorize this post by my dreams, hopes and aspirations, as broken down by individual bands of which I am currently a part. Bear in mind that there's this whole law school / children thing that makes playing in bands supremely difficult to do on a regular basis, not only for myself but for my friends as well. Anyway, here are my desires:

Jabberwocky -- Let's play another show. I say it all the time, but we could really do this if we discovered the motivation to make time to get together. We always say "summertime", but you know, it turns out that this coming summer is really bad for me. I've got a bar exam to do, and after the recovery from that, it seems I have to move. Stop that, Jabberwocky. Stop being sad. You sad little monkey. NO. Listen. I have a car, a driver's license, and motivation to come and jam. This is proven by my successfully playing in the band Alterego through my entire college career whilst practices were held in the cities and I was in Morris, MN. I'm digressing. The Jabberwocky thing starts with getting together, sitting down in a basement, and playing music. That's really the beginning. Show or not.

Ghola -- You're not dead. You're only sleeping softly in your Axlotl tank, awaiting your rebirth. The Craw Wurm will rise again, as soon as anger sufficiently fills the heart. Until Then...

A Flock of Kobolds -- I'll be honest, my dear Irish Pirate Music, you are my muse of late. It's the wonder of a new medium (for me, not the world) that's got me craving more and more of this music. Guys, let's get together. In the meantime, I'm still going to crank out songs and record my part on my end. Who knows, we could get a really fun Flock album out of the deal, even if the quality of the thing isn't perfect. I love the Kobold music.

Piehole -- Yes, there is a time for punk. That time involves wearing silly headgear and recording a cover that I've already mentioned. We should really do that. Really. For the kids. For posterity.

Gods' Dice -- Dudes, I have a lot of fun on the extremely rare occasions that we get together and bash out 90s covers. Grunge lives on in my heart, and there oughtta be a time that we can find ourselves in the LundoCave with a couple o' cases of beer. We all know that it's not outside the realm of possibility, and it's a super fun outlet.

OK bands, I've talked to all of you separately. Now I'll talk to you together. I love music. Music music music. It's a fun time for one and all. I want to get together for each and every one of the above mentioned things, but probably not all on the same day -- my voice would get really tired. I'd need a break in between, so the festival would have to add a couple other bands to the festival bill. ;)

I welcome your comments. :^D

One down...

Well, I finished my long paper. This is the thing that I was ranting about back in October. The final draft was a lot less work. I could have put more effort into revisions, I suppose, but I figure that I had a solid paper in the first draft and that with some minor changes all is well. One class down, three to go.

Finals are suddenly upon me. I have my first on Tuesday night. It's a take-home, which I've opted to go to school to do. I'm weird like that. I'll find a nice, quiet nook and type away, rather than try to accomplish the daunting task of doing a final with a bawling child in the background. (Or a cute wife -- honey, you're distracting. ;^D)

Before that, though, it looks as if I actually get a weekend. Woot! I don't have my Saturday morning class tomorrow (or EVER AGAIN, except for the final on the 13th) so I get to have a Friday night that's blessedly free of homework. With my exciting social life, that begs the question, "which movie will I watch?" Again, woot.

The last final is on the 18th. That sucks, because it's the last possible day for a final to fall on. It almost feels like I'm being cheated out of winter break because of my lame finals schedule, but everything will be fine. It will go quickly.

After that, I slide into the very last semester of my law school career. That's a whole lot of crazy right there.

The world is a vampire

OK, I'll admit it. I started reading Twilight. There are a number of reasons behind this move. First, I like to keep abreast of the pulse of the nation's young readers. Harry Potter is still a hero of mine. Next, I've been told by several people, all of whom I greatly respect, that it's a very good book. Also, there's a movie now, and I really would rather read the book before seeing it. (Not to mention the fact that the time spent reading the book will allow the gushing teenage girls to clear the heck out of the freaking movie theather and allow me to enjoy the film sans cell phones and giggling.) Last and certainly not least, I love vampires. I think they make for dang cool characters.

The story behind my reading it is actually kind of funny as well. I went to Target and saw it on the shelf, and meekly asked my wife if I could purchase the book. She agreed, reluctantly. I was in the middle of a different book (World Without End by Ken Follett) and writing my own novel, so Kerry figured that I wouldn't get to Twilight for a while. (A week, as it turns out. Anywho...) So, Kerry picked it up. She was on to the second book in the series by the next day, and is now reading the third. I respect her opinion more than anyone else's, so yeah. I started reading it. (Funny, I had made up my mind to read it before she picked it up, and I purchased it for myself. Whatever. Hee hee.)

I'm only a couple hundred pages in at the moment, and I must say that it's a very good story so far. This goes back to me liking vampires. I'm forced to admit that I'm also a sucker for high school melodrama, so here I am, enjoying a book that's really intended for girls that are half my age. I shouldn't even put that sentence on the Internet, sheesh, people might get the wrong idea.

Back to World Without End, the other book that I just finished. This is the sequel to Pillars of the Earth, and it's more of the same. Pillars of the Earth is a thousand page bomber about building a cathedral in medieval England. They way that Follett writes these is kind of roller-coaster style, with each chapter ending with a new catastrophe. After 50 catastrophes it honestly starts getting more than a little old. I don't know why I read the sequel, but I did.

Still, there's something about the way that he writes that makes even a 1000-page brick read rather quickly. It's good writing. It just makes you feel so bad for these people and all of their stupidity and catastrophes.

The second book can stand alone, as it takes place a few hundred years later. It's the same town, and this time we have the added bonus catastrophe of the freakin' plague. Good times.

I did it!

Ladies and gentlemen, against all odds I am indeed a winner. I have tackled the beast of writing a novel during law school while employed full-time and raising a toddler. I wrote this novel completely within the month of November, 2008.

What do I get for this achievement? Bragging rights. That's about it. Let's get one thing clear: No one ever said that the novel had to be good. Therefore, it's not. It's a window into the life of a depressed and lonely attorney as he goes on vacation in the Dominican Republic. There are thrills. There are chills. There are spills. There is gratuitous sex. There are zombies.

A ha! Now you're intrigued. Fear not, gentle blog follower. I shall post my manuscript on the world wide web very soon. I harbor no illusions of publication -- I wrote this one just to be able to say that I finished one. It's not even as long as The Bard was, but it differs wildly from The Bard, mostly in that it actually has an ENDING. Also in that it's a totally and completely different kind of story in a different genre yadda yadda yadda.

Well anyway, that's done. The book is over. I walked into work this morning to convert the whole thing into a .pdf and put it up for the world to read, but apparently my I.S. department is having server issues that cause all recent docs to be "access denied". Wonderful. I totally freaked out when I came in, because I (of course, paranoid me) assumed that it was just me, and that the technical gestapo was after me. That turned out, to my vast relief, not to be the case.

Gentle reader, now that I'm done with the novel, I assure you that the blogging will once again resume in earnest. So will the WoW. Hee hee.
In other news, Turkey day was very good. My family and I went up to my grandparents' house on Thanksgiving for a nice dinner with my family. Gwen was a little spaz, and she was very very cute. She played a lot with her cousin Charlotte. Those two are so freaking adorable when they're together that it's very hard to put into words.

On Saturday morning, I had class. After that we piled into the car and headed up north to Bemidji to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving Two: Electric Boogaloo. When we got to Motley, MN, both of my girls were sleeping and it was snowing in earnest. The road (Hwy. 10, I believe) was clear-ish in one lane, and the other lane was covered in snow. I was going 55 even though the speed limit was 65, just for safety's sake (precious cargo, you see). People were whizzing by me in the snow-packed lane at 80 mph.

Outside of Motley, I hit a patch of black ice and started to fishtail. Kerry woke up (crappy way to wake up, I tell ya) and yelled, "What's going on??" as we proceeded to spin a 360 in the middle of the highway. There were no other cars on the road at that point (thank God). We came precariously close to going in the ditch, but thankfully we stayed on the road, ended up facing the same position as before, and didn't flip over. It was a shockingly scary experience.

Gwen slept through it. I would like to thank the Britax corporation for making one fan-freaking-tastic car seat.

The car was fine. We were shaken up, but it wasn't anything that a little Frappuccino couldn't take care of. (Well, Frappuccino and about 70 beers later that evening). The rest of the journey was totally uneventful.

Once we got to Bemidji, we just kicked back, relaxed, chatted and played games with the family, and had another awesome turkey dinner. All was well. We came home last night.



Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! I wish you all copious amounts of delicious turkey, potatoes, stuffing, yams, aardvaark, crowned rack of lamb, possum pie, pork roll egg and cheese kaiser buns, cranberry sauce, and roasted alligator. That is, if your Thanksgiving is like mine.

I'm still a bad blogger, and it's still for the same reason: My writing time this month is being sucked up by a silly idea of a spare time novel. So anyway, yeah. Here we are. What's going on this week, you ask? Well, I'll tell ya.

Actually, Ryan J. Nelson, my hero and compatriot, summed it up nicely with a rather famous post of his from the days of old. That's pretty much what I've been up to. I've been sick since Friday night. I pretended that I was better on Saturday night when we had some people over for a movie night, but in reality...yikes. It hasn't been pretty.

I'm done with that now, though, and the future is looknig bright! The family and I are heading up to my grandparents' house for turkey day, and it's going to be fantastic.

School is winding down once again, with my last day of classes next tuesday, followed by fun-filled finals week. SUCK. Oh well. This is the second-to-the-last finals week ever.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Gobble Gobble!

30 K???

So I started NaNoWriMo as kind of a larf, not thinking that I would actually be able to do it.  To my complete and utter shock, I'm basically on pace.  I just cracked 30,000 words today (with a goal of 50,000 during the month of November).  I don't mean to toot my own horn here, because seriously (as I'm sure I've mentioned) the book is kind of crappy.  But there it is.  I'm 3/5 done.  OK maybe I do mean to toot my own horn a bit.  It's not the best story, but it cracks me up as I write it.  Also, I'm writing a novel, going to law school, working a full-time job, raising a child, and...um...playing World of Warcraft.  (OK you shouldn't count that last one as a feat).  Ladies and gentlemen, I do this all without cocaine!  Now, admit it:  I'm awesome.

The whole book thing is probably the reason for the complete and total lack of blogs this month.  You know, I can only write so much.  I look at a blog and say to myself, "Jeez, that's 200 words that could have been in the book!"  I'm a huge dork like that.  Heh.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on.  The first open house went well -- we had 5 parties come through while we were out.  I spent the time over at Rhyno's place with my lil' girl (who flat out refused to even think about napping, but sat quietly with me for maybe 30 seconds and talked about the Vikings) and two cats (who cowered in fear and anger under the guest room bed.)  Hopefully one of those 5 parties went away with a really good impression of the house and will buy it.  We'll see.  In these days of housing market doom and gloom, I'm still optimistic.

I'm starting to get into my usual panic about school.  Finals are approaching rapidly, and as usual (and even more so during fall semester, it seems) I feel like I haven't learned a stinkin' thing over the course of the last few months.  I know it will all come together like it always does, but I'm looking at a light at the end of this long, dark and dismal tunnel, and all I can think about is fearful panicked thoughts about failing all of my classes.  Realistic or not, fear is still fear.

Hmm...seeing as how I'm currently sitting in class, perhaps I should pay attention.  That brings up a different point, though.  I'm in a class that meets once a week.  For the last four or maybe five weeks, there has been a guest professor.  How is that even remotely cool?  Our professor is doing nothing.  It's a bunch of dag-gummed malarchy if you ask me!  With several other made up old-timey sounding curses!  A pox on the man, by jove!

/Ben out.

In a nutshell

I've been a bad blogger lately, obviously. My posts have dwindled severely of late. I think that 10 days might very well be the longest that I've ever gone between posts. Hopefully this will be a nice, long blog full of stuff to make up for the lack. ;D

Let's see here, what's been going on. The last time I posted was on election day, and I'm happy to say that things went the way I wanted them to. Enough about that, we don't need to get all political. Hopefully things will turn out good.

Kerry and I put our house on the market last week. There's a big 'ol for sale sign out front and everything. If you know my address, you can find the listing online. Due to the state of the market, we obviously have to ask for less than we would like for the place, but that's the way things go. At least we're not asking for less than we owe, which would really suck and is still within the realm of possibility.

Things aren't all bad, no matter what housing doom and gloom you hear these days. Home sales went up 24% in September. That's a LOT. Some people think that our country's downturned economy will last forever, or for years, but that's simply not the case. Things will get better! Now...everybody do your part and go out there and buy a house. Start with mine. Thanks.

School has been plodding along. I'm into the last three weeks of the second-to-the-last semester of my law school career. I registered for classes for the last time EVER yesterday, and I'm happy that all of the stress of that crappiness are behind me. I'm pretty much taking all fluff classes tought by professors that give really high average grades. It shouldn't be too much of a hassle, I'm hoping.

I kegged up my porter, and now I have a keg full of beer in my house! It's warm, but it's very good. Not my best batch, but it's a very good and delightfully strong porter. I shudder to think of how beer on tap will change my life. I'm becoming something like a chocoholic, except with alcohol. Just kidding. I've had the keg filled for almost a week and have had two glasses of the stuff thus far. No need to plan an intervention.

The latest WoW expansion came out yesterday, and it's awesome. I've only played for about 45 minutes, though, because (of course) everybody with a WoW account is playing WoW now, due to the expansion's release, and there are queues of over 1000 people waiting to get on some servers (including mine). That means it takes about an hour to log on. I'm not too worried about it, though, because that's just time to work on my novel.

That brings me to the next point. I'm still hard at work doing National Novel Writing Month. (Sometimes it amazes even me how much crap I take on to do at a time). I'm basically halfway to the 50,000 word mark, which means I'm right on track. My novel gets increasingly sillier with each word I type, but as I mentioned before, it doesn't have to be good. I can write really quickly when I don't have to cite anything. No need for stimulants, just good time management.

Yep. That's the last week in a nutshell.

Go vote!

Vote vote vote!  Go vote!  Vote right now!  Leave work if you have to (that's allowed!) and go vote!

It's important!

Now, on to other things.

My lil' girl does not abide by the rules of Daylight Saving Time.  Therefore, I've been up at 6:00 am at the very latest.  It's been...tiring, because I have trouble convincing myself to go to bed early.  I've managed to go to bed around 11:00 the past couple of nights, though, so it's been OK.  I just always kind of feel like I'm not making good use of my time when I'm asleep.

I've been participating in National Novel Writing Month, which is admittedly ridiculous, but I'm actually on track so far.  It's only been 3 days, though.  Still, I'm writing the silliest novel that I've ever attempted.  It's about a guy that goes to the tropics (the Dominican Republic, specifically) and...well, he gets captured by Voodoo guys.  I don't know what's going to happen from there, though.  I think he'll get some sort of secret powers.  Either way, it's going to read part like a trashy romance novel and part like that episode of the Brady Bunch where the kid gets the hawaiian necklace that makes him fall off of his surf board.  So it'll be pretty bad, if I finish it, but that's just fine.  Nothing says it has to be good.

Other than that, just school and work and kid occupy the time.  It gets dark early and I get sleepy and we keep on keepin' on.

So go vote!  And while you're voting, enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that George W. Bush will soon be gone forever, and we can get this country back in shape again!

Wowzers, I'm tired.

I am bone tired, but I finally got the paper done yesterday. I had stayed up until 1:00 on monday night writing the dang thing, and then I woke up at 5:45 the next morning to continue working. I was done as done is gonna get at about noon yesterday, and turned it in last night. I wish I would have gotten more sleep last night -- I went to bed decently early, but my daughter decided that she wanted to wake up at 5:30 this morning. Sweet. So yeah...I'm a tad weary this morning.

On the upside, if any of you want to know anything about the legality of gestational surrogacy contracts, just talk to me. I'll pretend to know what I'm talking about. Stupid paper.

Last night I watched the sneak peeks of "Legend of the Seeker" that were available on iTunes. I was disappointed, but I'll still watch it. When I've invested so much time into reading a book series, I don't like to see a screen representation completely change the story. I understand taking some liberties and whatnot, but from the relatively small amount that I've seen, it looks like they're really gonna change this one. (Umm, no magic of Orden mentioned at all? Kahlan has the Book of Counted Shadows? Richard doesn't know Zedd all that well? What?)

Sorry, I burst into a bit of nerdery there. Like I said, I'll still watch it. Part of my problem with the sneak peek things was that one of them was hosted by Lucy Lawless, and I couldn't help but laugh my arse off every time she came on the screen. Poor thing, she's got nothing better to do. Oh well. Visually, the show was pretty cool. ***slight spoiler*** However, they changed Darken Rahl's hair color to brown, (which makes him look just like Richard...ooh teh foreshadoweeng!) ***/slight spoiler***

The thing that really bugged me was when Terry Goodkind himself came on the screen and said that this story "has become a tale for every generation". What? Don't fluff yourself so much, dude -- the last three books rrrrrrrrrrrrrrreally sucked. And you're ugly. OK that was low.

After billions of recommendations from friends, I finally picked up American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It's excellent so far. Very cool concept.

@#$% Paper

Holy gads, what a weekend. Gwennerpants (as mentioned previously) turned a mighty two years old on Friday. To celebrate, we threw her a huge party on Saturday at Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park. It was a madhouse, but a really really good time.

A ton of family and friends showed up for pizza and pop and cake (and ice cream, which we forgot to serve. D'oh! Anyone want ice cream? Come on over. I'll give ya ice cream.). Gwen had a really good time.

My in-laws stayed with us on Friday and helped with some final projects to get the house in order. Props to my father-in-law, who did an awesome job patching our front steps. My parents came over yesterday afternoon and added the finishing transition pieces between the kitchen (recently tiled) and the living room. I gotta say, everything's coming together and it's all looking great. Our new stove is supposed to be installed today -- I've got my fingers crossed, that's been a bit of a debacle. We should be golden after today, unless they somehow connect the gas to the water and the water to the gas...

My Long Paper is due tomorrow. I've been working on it since Wednesday, and I've put hours and hours into the dang thing. I'm now about 1/3 done writing. Honestly, the research part of it is the part that has taken the largest amount of time, and I inevitably find myself doing more research while I write any of these lame things. The problem that I always have with legal writing is citation. I have thoughts that pop into my head while I write, you see, but all of these thoughts have likely come up before. Therefore, I have to find a "source" to cite, in order to write them. Hard to explain, but it makes the process frustratingly slow. I could write 25 pages of BS in a half hour, but for some reason they want me to be able to back this stuff up with fact. Pshaw. Who knew?

So yeah...carry the one...I've put in about 20 hours on this thing (that's a rough estimate) and am going to head home at noon today to finish the thing. Hopefully I'll get it done at a reasonable hour. Barf.

Wacky Wednesday

I have a bad case of senioritis. Well, I'm not a senior, per se -- I'm a fourth year law student. It pretty much amounts to the same thing, though. I've been doing this for far too long, and I have very little motivation left.

It's not like I'm going to completely neglect class or anything, it's that I have a very large aversion to studying. Getting myself motivated is becoming increasingly difficult. I can only imagine that next semester is going to be even worse, but next semester I plan on taking ridiculously easy classes. Heh.

Last night, Kerry and I booked a vacation to Grand Cayman Island for the first week of March (my spring break). I'm freaking stoked. A nice week in the sun will be just what my aching mind needs. (Oh, and all of the pirate stuff around there, too. Woot. I love pirates.) We planned this vacation with Megan and Kristian, a couple of friends of ours, because Kristian is also a 4L and will be celebrating his final spring break as well. There will be reckless drunken abandon. This is sure.

Gwennerpants will be staying with her Grandparents that week. They'll have a good time.

Speaking of my lil' girl, she turns TWO YEARS OLD on Friday! I can't believe that she's such a big girl. She acts like it, too. She's been talking up a storm lately, and it's fun to sit down and have actual, real conversations with her. She's excited for her birthday party, which will take place on Saturday.

I used a gift card that I got for my birthday at Target the other day, and purchased some Wii points. With the Wii points, I downloaded the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, which is absolutely hilarious and much more fun than I honestly expected. It plays like Space Quest, Maniac Mansion, and other games of that type, and it's a lot of fun. So far there's been quite a bit of play time, considering that it's only part one of an episodic game series. Good times.

I also downloaded the Secret of Mana, a classic SNES RPG that I hadn't played back in the heyday. It's a lot of fun -- thus far it's fairly typical of Squaresoft games, but is a Zelda-style hack and slash game as opposed to a true RPG. Either way, it's loads of fun thus far. I love video games.

The war on bugs

My work is hilarious. Every single year we get infested with one bug or another. Once upon a time it was Asian beetles. (Y'all remember those suckas?) They were seriously everywhere in here. It would crunch when I walked down the hall.

Over the past few years, box elder bugs have been the typical pests. They're disgusting, because they don't really do anything, they're just everywhere. I'll sit down and start my computer, and one of the lil' red bastards will climb over the ridge of my keyboard and look at me.

I have declared war on the bugs. I will kill every one I see, by shoe. I will mash the bugger into the floor. This is particularly funny, because just last week the carpets were cleaned, and now there are a bunch of bug splatter marks over everything. (Personally, I've caused the most bug destruction on walls, chairs, and my desk. Looking around it's obvious that I'm not the only one at war, though.)

Today, I met a new bug. He was faster, stronger, and harder to kill. I had to give him the ol' boot three times before he stopped coming at me. I named him Rasputin. He was a fighter. Unfortunately for Rasputin, his reign of terror is over.

In pursuit of my latest musical obsession, I've recorded a bunch of Irish music. I'm silly, you see. Here are some .mp3s. (Keep in mind that these versions are just myself, and all of them are intended to have the full backing of the rest of the members of my crazed entourage, "A Flock Of Kobolds". However, until the day that the music is joined by all of my compatriots, you can find enjoyment in the 'demo of a demo' versions by yours truly.) Two of these songs are original Ben masterpieces, and the others...aren't:

The Hands of Fate (with Ryan on elec. guitar and backing vox)

The Wanderer (with Ryan on keys)

Haul Away Joe

Fathom the Bowl

Hanging Johnny

What's Left of the Flag (Arrgh. For whatever stupid reason, Blogger isn't letting me link the whole link to this one. It should be http://b33n3r.lundo.com/What's%20Left%20of%20the%20Flag.mp3 which still might not work past that apostrophe, so copy and paste the link. Grr.)

Yeah, I'm weird. Whatever. I'm over it. Tonight, I brew beer! I've picked up a nice porter for the coming fall weather. Hopefully all goes well with the keg.

Another Weenend Down

Admittedly, I'm becoming a tad lackadaisical with my blog posting. I've gone a week since the last one, and that's just not acceptable. My readership is suffering! I feel a bit like Robert Jordan...except not dead. Maybe more akin to George R. R. Martin. That's it.

The tile floor is now finished. On friday night, Kerry and I did all of the grouting. I managed to literally wear a hole in the tip of my right hand index finger. I had to plug this oft-bleeding hole with superglue. As such, I've now got a blob of superglue sticking out of my finger. This makes typing interesting.

Last night, Greg and I had plans to go to a metal show at Station 4, featuring the viking stylings of Amon Amarth. Well, we got there and they had already started, and it turned out to be $25. Since we're a couple of cheaparses, we went with plan B: Not seeing Amon Amarth. We went back to my house, drank some beer, and spent some time playing Golden Axe on the wii. That was quite fun.

I was dismayed to find that my Wii Sports disc has a hole in it. Yep, a hole going straight through the disc. I blame Nintendo for not giving me a case for it, but I really know that the blame somehow falls squarely on me for not taking care of it, or on Gwen for somehow managing to put a hole through the disc. Anyway, if anyone has a copy of Wii Sports that they don't want anymore, I would be interested in making a purchase from you.

Big weekend

It is finished. Well, mostly. This weekend, my parents came to town and went to work. On Friday night we finished ripping up all of the old vinyl tiles from the kitchen floor. It was backbreaking, sticky business. Sticky because of all of the adhesive that was still on the floor. This made for some hilarity whenever a cat or Gwen tried to cross the floor, because their little paws or feet would just...stick. It was funny. Poor kitties and Gwen.

Saturday morning I went to class as usual, and my Dad started tiling the floor. That project lasted until 8:00 pm, so he worked for 12 hours and I worked for 8 (with a break to mow the lawn). It's done now, and it looks awesome. It's not such a gigantic change aesthetically, because the tiles are still white. They just look a whole lot cleaner and better and are ceramic. I now have to go through the process of grouting, which is a chore but shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Kerry was camping with her friend Megan all weekend. She had a blast, but I missed her (of course). Gwenner is quite the handful these days, because she's just about two. I had a lot of fun hanging out with my girl.

Saturday night I had some dudes over to play poker, and we had a lot of fun. A good bachelor night was had by all.

Yesterday was rainy, so Gwenner and I went shopping, because I was getting cabin fever and there was nothing else to do. Our first stop was Best Buy, because I wanted to pick up the newest Flogging Molly CD. I have most of my music in digital form these days, but I really wanted a CD that I could hold, look at the artwork, flip through the booklet (in my hands, not on a screen)...that sort of tactile thing. I think that it's unfortunate that those feelings of removing the shrinkwrap from a CD and opening it up and holding it in your hand are all kind of going away. I'm going to hold on to them as long as I can.

Well, we got to Best Buy, and it was closed. I had 20 minutes to kill, so I went to the Target that was nearby. Gwen and I meandered around the store, looking at pumpkins, and I made some random purchases. (A ream of paper, a 12-pack of diet coke, and most importantly, a new ivy cap). When we got to the car, I immediately placed the hat on my head and went to Best Buy. Gwen just held my hand in the store, and we walked up and down nearly every aisle. She got sucked in watching a 60" TV that was displaying elephants and zebras and giraffes and monkeys and all manner of creature that she knows and loves. I was able to pry her away eventually, and we succeeded in my mission of finding music.

It wasn't until I got to the cashier that I realized what a tool I was to be purchasing Flogging Molly while wearing an ivy cap. Ahh well, I'm positive that I wasn't the first.


A great and total transformation is currently underway in my kitchen. My wifey has taken it upon herself to completely redo the floor. OK, not completely all by herself, but so far yeah. We're going to replace our ugly vinyl with some nice ceramic tile.

Kerry started ripping up the vinyl on Monday night. We had a bit of hope that under the vinyl we would discover wonderful hardwood. When the first tiles were pulled up, we realized that lurking under the vinyl tiles were....

...more vinyl tiles. Which is kind of lame, because they're probably the original 1954 floor, which could mean that they contain asbestos, which means that we don't want to rip them up. No siree. So, we'll continue pulling up the more recent vinyl, and put some ceramic tile on top of what remains and it will be beautiful and wonderful and so on and so forth.

I'm trying to organize a poker game for this weekend, because my wife will be out of town. So far, responses have been slow, but hopefully something comes together...it would be a shame to waste a perfectly good bachelor night. Gwen will be sleeping at that point, which is good, because she's a heck of a poker player and I would hate for her to embarrass my friends. ;)

Well, that's about all I've got for right now. The sun is shining, the air is crisp, and all is well.

I'm old!

They're married! Rhyno and Meghan tied the knot this weekend in a beautiful ceremony and a superfun reception. I was successful in most of my best-manly duties, and gave what I thought was a pretty darn good speech. The day was a lot of fun, and I offer sincere congratulations to both of them. Have fun in Cabo.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my birth. I am now officially 32. Funny, I don't feel a day older than 31. Har har har. It was a pretty low-key day, as the mornings after big weddings usually are. I took my tux back, did some hanging out with my parents, racked my mead, played some video games, read some more geek book, and watched most of a movie with Kerry. It was nice.

Kerry got me a kegging system! This means, ladies and gentlemen, that I will have my own homebrew on tap at my house. That is sofa king cool. No more running upstairs for beer during D&D sessions. Oh no! Just reach over to yon tap and fill thy frothing mug with ale! My lovely wifey also got me a Flogging Molly T-Shirt, because she rules.

Yesterday afternoon, our 2nd realtor came over after having done a market analysis. It was like night and day compared to the first lady that came (see previous post). The news was much more to our favor, and this lady really has her stuff together. The last chick seems to have been doing exactly what I thought: Trying to get a quick, small payment now rather than wait out the winter. Well, good luck to her in her endeavors, she won't be selling our house.

It sucks to be back at work, because the weekend went by like lightning. That's always the problem with a power-packed weekend. So, here goes. Time to work.

Hung over, boring, unlucky and clumsy

Well, I made it through the crazy bachelor party weekend, but barely. The problem wasn't the party itself, but the day after. I had to wake up fairly early and drive back to Minneapolis, which wasn't fun at all. I think that my hangover lasted until around...Tuesday.

The rest of the week has been fairly boring. Life is fairly boring right now. Oh well. Like some jabberboarders have mentioned, there is no boredom, only boring people. I guess that makes me a boring person this week.

This weekend my friends Ryan and Meghan are getting married. They've honored me by asking me to be the best man (thus the whole bachelor party planning and whatnot) and I'm very excited to celebrate with them.

So far, this week has been a bit of a series of unfortunate events. Last night, during my break from class, I went to get a coffee from the gawd-awful-coffee-machine at school. I put in my dollar, made my selection, and watched in horror as all of my coffee went not into a cup but instead directly down a drain. Apparently the machine was out of cups. Last night I filled out a document for a class, only to find that when I tried to save it it cleared the form completely, causing me to have to do it all over again. This afternoon, hankerin' for a snack, I went to my work vending machine and purchased some cookies. I jammed my finger, rather painfully, whilst trying to retrieve the delectable snack, which I then took downstairs and proceeded to spill all over the floor and myself when I tried to open them. It's these little things. They're adding up. In fact, I just found out that I have a 7:00 a.m. meeting tomorrow. Barf.

Maybe it's anxiety about the wedding. I'm not stressed about the wedding, but there might be a tinge of nervousness about giving a speech or something. Maybe it's my upcoming birthday. I turn 32 on Sunday. Maybe it's just the initial symptoms of lycanthropy or something. Either way, I tend to go through these extreme periods of klutziness and bad luck every once in a while. Such is life.


Arr arr HEEyar arrrrrrr arr. Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye scurvy sons of sea hags! Tis September the Nineteenth today, and I can hear the wail o' the wind an' smell the salt o' the sea, callin' ta me, down ta me boney bones.

OK enough of that.

It's been a pretty uneventful week for me, unfortunately. I can't really recall anything particularly spectacular that's happened, it's just been kind of the same old situation. Work's been workish, school has been schoolish, and everything has been trudging along. The week has plodded it's merry way toward today, blessed Friday, and the utter awesomeness that is a weekend. This weekend in particular.

Of course, I have to get through class tomorrow morning, but that oughtn't be too tough. It's a pretty entertaining and engaging class.

Tomorrow at approximately noon, I set sail (parrrrrdon me seafarin' references!) for lovely Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, in wanton celebration of the death of Rhyno's bachelorhood. Don't worry, Ryan...it's not such a bad thing to lose. If I know anything about you, it's that you're ready to get married to that blushing bride. First thing's first, though, and that first thing is a party.

So that's what we're a'gonna do.

Other than that, we've got the second opinion realtor coming over tonight. That should be fine. We'll see what she has to say (doubtfully anything of substance tonight, we'll find out more later)

I'm playing pirate ballads at work today. People are confused, but when they ask, I just tell them that I'm celebrating the holiday.


In other, less depressing news, today marks the birth of my lovely and intelligent wife, who is (hands down) the most wonderful person in the entire universe. I am completely blessed to have her for a companion, because she is (in my opinion) perfect in every way.

And hot.

Love you honey!!!

Well that really sucks.

Ugh. All I want to do is sell my house. Well, not all – I’m still holding out for the offer to open for Clutch on tour. Selling this house is a big priority right now, though. It doesn’t really matter when – I graduate next May, and don’t take the bar exam until July, so I’m fine with sticking around. It would be better for us, though, to sell the house early and have to live in an apartment than to not sell the house and have to stay in my crappy job ad infinitum. This brings us to our sordid tale of woe known as the current mortgage market.

Let’s start from the beginning and bore you with details. As much as I would love to blame George Bush for the current state of things (I’m sure he’s got something to do with it, right?) the fault can be placed on the shoulders of idiot lenders that gave mortgages to people that really shouldn’t have had them. Said idiot lenders were handing mortgages to other idiots who would then idiotically buy houses that they couldn’t afford. Due to an extremely sharp rise in the prices of houses, a lot of these houses were actually selling for considerably more than they were worth.

Suddenly, the terms on many adjustable-rate mortgages came due. Like a shotgun, people that were barely making interest-only payments at 5% or less now had to pay three times what they were paying before, due to a higher rate and having to pay principal. (Lost? Sorry if I’m skipping definitions, I’m trying to be brief. Heh.) Long story short, these people (and there are LOTS of them) couldn’t make their payments. Their houses went into foreclosure, and are now being sold dirt cheap by the banks that took them back.

What does this mean? It means that in my neighborhood (and likely yours too) there are 47 houses for sale in a 6-block radius and 30 of the 47 are foreclosed properties. This produces an effect that makes me want to go on a violent rampage: Person A has a house for sale at $200,000. Person B got their house (similar in every way to person A’s) foreclosed upon because they couldn’t afford it. Bank C sells person B’s house for $30,000. Person D, a generic consumer, sees two identical houses, one for $200,000 and another for $30,000. Yeah. Tough choice.

As a result prices of houses everywhere go sharply downward. (Yes, I know there’s more to it. I’m simplifying here. There’s a story, after all.) The infuriating result of this is that when Kerry and I contacted a realtor, she said that our house could sell for a maximum of about $60,000 less than what we want for it.

That’s a lot. That’s out of the question.

There’s more to it than that, even. I may very well be projecting here, but I’ve got some severe misgivings about the realtor we spoke to. See, I know that she’s in a difficult financial situation (because I’m a snoop, a spy, and a person who knows people), and I know that she’s done some kind of shady things in the past. I’m thinking that she wants to sell a house immediately, because she wants a smaller commission now rather than a big one later. It might be wishful thinking on our part, but either way, yeah…not gonna be going with her, I’m thinkin’.

Wait, why did we call her in the first place? Because she's a very nice person who was our agent when purchasing the house, and we wanted to see what she could do. Yeah, not so much.

Weird week thus far

My earlier stated goal of writing and recording three songs in some limited amount of time took a little longer than I had expected. The good news is that I’ve written 5 songs now, rather than three. The bad news is that I haven’t recorded them yet, for lack of time. The good or bad news, depending on your musical tastes, are that the songs are all the type intended to be played by A Flock of Kobolds. So, if you dig songs about Vikings, drinking, seafaring, soldiering, and/or wandering vagabonds, you’re in for a treat. And really, how could you not?

I’ve had a weird week so far. My work week has been filled with random meetings, every day, always at 2:00 PM. My home life has been (unsurprisingly) filled with homework. My school week (consisting of only one night thus far) has been filled with awkward Bioethics conversations about abortion, which (again unsurprisingly) ended up being monopolized by a complete douchebag who decided to evangelize for a while. He got completely pwned by my friend Kristian (inventor of the reset stick, incidentally) but the results and politics of that conversation are going to be dropped from the rest of this blog. My mission here is certainly not to attempt to sway people from their current way of thinking.

This past Sunday, I took Gwennerpants to the zoo. It was super fun. She adored the Giraffes. However, there was a moment of interesting shock: We were observing a rather angry-looking 400 lb. gorilla, who was just kind of sitting sullenly in a corner. Suddenly he LEAPED from his sitting position and crashed his fist against the Plexiglas. Gwen’s reaction was delayed compared to the rest of the crowd’s shock, but she was soon wailing. I was already on my way out of the gorilla viewing area. Heh.

I'm happy with my geek status.

I’m excited to go to the Ren Fest this weekend. I’ve been there a billion times, and there really isn’t anything that changes, but I love the Renaissance Festival like other people love the State Fair: It’s this happy place that satisfies a craving for scotch eggs, mead, and bread bowl soup while at the same time providing nostalgia on about a billion levels: First, nostalgia from my youth. See, from high school until now, I’ve gone to the Renaissance Festival at least once a year. Sometimes (hush now) I even wore a costume. The second type of nostalgia is from my past lives: See, I’ve been a Viking, a Pirate, and a British serf in my past lives, so…wait, no. I’m totally kidding about that stuff.

Speaking of Vikings, I’m brewing some mead, so far it smells really good. Unlike beer, I can actually smell the mead through the airlock. I tried to convince Kerry to let me get a good drinking horn from which to gulp my honey libation. I’ll grow a crazed beard like my friend Johnny and shout “SKOAL!” with mead dripping from my drinking horn as I guzzle. Perfect. That’s the life for me.

On a tangent – last night I was playing WoW while drinking my homebrewed IPA and eating my father-in-law’s homemade venison and elk beer sticks. See, my father-in-law got a spiffy sausage maker for a retirement present, and the results have been delicious. Talking over my snack with friends produced the suggestion that we get my father-in-law and move to the woods somewhere and survive off of beer and sausage for the rest of our lives. Sounds like heaven. Might need to recruit some gatherers, though, or the ol’ bowels might suffer from lack of roughage. Of course, Lundo suggested that maybe we would just evolve to be some sort of beer-and-sausage culture. Like Germans.

In furtherance of my quest to become the ubergeek, I’m playing some Dungeons and Dragons after the Ren Fest on Saturday. I don’t know what’s going to happen – all of that geeking might cause me to turn into a druid or something. I predict best day evar!!!!11

Fond Memories of the Stick

Mario Kart makes me want to break things. I have had more juvenile outbursts playing this game than I have in a very, very long time. The funny thing is that when I go online, I can actually hold my own against the real people around the country (despite the game’s lack of any good online interaction…Nintendo, please add a “PWN3D!” message button that you can just hit during the race. Mua ha ha). My problems with the game arise when playing against the computer. It’s freakishly frustrating.

Last night I was about to finish a grand prix and got so angry at the system that I just shut the power off. A similar occurrence happened very often back in the days…of the Casbah.

Let’s drift off into memory. It’s story time, kiddies! My Sophomore year in college, I lived at a house in Morris, MN that my geek roommates and I had lovingly named “The Casbah”. It was not a party house, as we lived right next to the Sherriff. We participated in our share of shenanigans, though, and had a lot of hazy, delightful, drunken old times. There were a total of five of us that lived in the house. Of the five, I still talk to two on a regular basis. Of the five, three went on to law school. These are just factoids, not really terribly important details.

This was the fall of 1996. It was a happy time. I was a strapping young lad of twenty summers. Almost every night, we would shirk our homework duties and gather around the magic box: The Super Nintendo. See, the N64 came out that fall, but none of us could afford one. So we played oldschool games on one roomie’s SNES, and it was a ton of fun. One of these games was the original Mario Kart, and as it supported not one but two people playing at the same time, that was often our game of choice.

The SNES didn’t have a remote control like modern consoles. Oh, no. It had two big purple sliders on top of the box, one marked “power” and one marked “reset”. Frustration with @#$%@ Mario Kart became the mother of invention, and the owner of the SNES (in his mighty wisdom) came up with a brilliant device that stayed by our couch for the duration of the year: The Reset Stick.

The Reset Stick was…a stick. It was a broom handle, actually. However, it was a wonderful way for us to remain comfortably seated on the couch whilst resetting the SNES in our frustration. It was amazing. In fact, I like to think that it was the Reset Stick (and other similar methods likely concocted all over the gaming dens of the world) that led to this bold new renaissance of remote console. I thoroughly enjoy being able to turn off the power to the Wii whilst comfortably seated on my couch, turning purple with rage. Stupid Mario Kart. Why must I love you so?

The Inner Sanctum

Those of you that know me (which I have to assume is all of you…heh) know that I tend to have really crazy dreams. This morning, during a thunderstorm, I was drifting in and out of sleep, and ended up having a really interesting one. OK, not that interesting, just vivid.

I was in class, just waiting for the professor to point his finger at me and make me answer a question from an assignment that I had not read. So, in my dream, I just got up and walked out. I went to my car and drove around the street. (This isn’t so important, but in my dream William Mitchell was situated perpendicular to the way it is in real life…not important to the story but weird in my dream and hard to explain). I got in my car and drove around the corner, and saw police, out of their cars, in a heated gun battle with some criminal types. I promptly turned my car around to avoid them, and decided to go back to class.

I was on a side of the building that I was unfamiliar with, and in my dream the building was much much bigger. I couldn’t get back to the parking lot – something to do with the gun battle. So I parked my car and went into a door at random. I found myself in a hotel that was attached to my school. It was kind of like a hotel/daycare, but there was a concierge/reception desk with a receptionist. Just outside, there was a playground and a swimming pool. The swimming pool was filled with kids around 2 to 3 years old. It was thundering in my dream (and in waking life as well, I later discovered). I told the receptionist to get those kids out of the pool, because it was raining.

Relying on my deft sense of direction, I chose a door that I thought would lead me back to my class. It opened into a darkened section of the building. Have you ever been wandering around a part of a building that you know you’re not supposed to be in, but just couldn’t help exploring a bit? That was the situation in my dream. I started looking around this back area. There was a sink, and a bathroom. I could hear someone in the bathroom, and I glanced to the right and saw that it was the Dean’s office, and presumably the Dean was taking a pee break. I turned around. Down a hallway I heard voices, so I investigated.

At the end of the hallway was a board room, with a board meeting going on. I didn’t want to get caught, so I turned around and went back toward the first door to the reception area. On a table, I spied some dirty dishes. I picked them up and put them in the sink. Then I woke up.

Yep, no clue what that one means.

Back to real life: I got myself a cork, so I made my mead last night. I’m fairly positive that I wrecked it. OK, I’m always positive (read: paranoid) that I’ve ruined beer. Every time I brew it, I think I’ve done something that will wreck it, only to find that it’s still good. This time, though, I think I’ve got a problem. I really thought that the carboy I was using was clean. It looked clean, and smelled of cleanly goodness. I had washed it with a powder cleanser thoroughly after using it last time. I rinsed it out and sanitized it last night. As I filled it with my freshly made honey-water, though, I noticed a spot, maybe a ½ inch square, of crusty old krausen that was still clinging to the side of the carboy, just under the surface of the might-someday-be-mead substance. DOH. That sucks. I’ll let you know in a month, I guess, when I rack it.

Fancy dinners and Star Wars elitism

Kerry and I had a nice dinner last night, in celebration of our seven-year anniversary. We went to Bacio, an Italian restaurant near Ridgedale, and stuffed ourselves silly. It’s amazing how much I now appreciate going out for a nice dinner with just my wife, after having a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gwennerz to pieces and love spending time with her, but it’s very nice to take a break every once in a while. Anyway, if you want a nice dinner I recommend the place, the food was excellent.

In my hasty weekend update I forgot to mention that Kerry and I took Friday off to go see the Star Wars exhibit at the Science Museum. It was really neat, but we weren’t able to spend as much time there as I had thought we would. That’s fine -- I got to see everything I wanted to see. Perhaps I’m a bad person, but I started feeling a little bit elitist about the whole thing. I liken it to the feeling that a person who went and saw Jerry Garcia play with the Grateful Dead 120 times must feel when he sees a 13-year-old kid wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt. Kind of a “Move over kid, and let me see Chewbacca…I was there, man, I saw it live” thing. I mean, there was a kid – about six years old, I’d say -- listening to his grandmother tell him about the Millennium Falcon. She was saying, “Ooh, this is the space station from the movie,”. GRRRRRR DOUBLE-FAULT! Now this kid (who wasn’t even there, mannn!) is being poisoned by the drivel coming out of the mouth of his ignorant grandmother (who also wasn’t there). Sorry for the rant, these things are dear to me.

Also -- and this is a note to parents everywhere – I am taking a picture of Darth Vader. I am not taking a picture of your kid. Your kid doesn’t know better, but you do. Kindly remove your kid from my Darth Vader shot, otherwise it will completely ruin my ability to capture the look of scorn and hope of redemption from his glossy visage.

One last gripe -- the Omni Theater showed a movie with the Star Wars exhibit. This movie was called "Special Effects". It was from freaking 1996 or so. It showed the filming of "new scenes for the Star Wars movies" and "a new blockbuster called Independence Day" and movie magic from freaking "Kazaam" starring Shaq. Seriously people, that stuff is over a decade old. Science changes in that time...especially the science of special effects. Come on, Science Museum. You can do better.

Keeping on the subject of being a dork, I was in Borders the other day and simply could not resist picking up a copy of “Shadowdale” by…some author. It’s a Forgotten Realms book. Yeah…I’m a dork who occasionally dips really deep into the murky pool of genre novels, but D&D books are good clean fun that can’t be replicated by…well, by better writers, really. Back off, man. I love it. Yes, I’ll lend it to you when I’m finished. ;^)

Last but not least, I got me a cork for my bunghole. That is seriously funny to me. So…maybe some mead will be made tonight. We’ll see.

The Weekendy Weekend

Well hey, whaddya know, today is my anniversary. Kerry and I have, as of this day, been married for 7 years. I’m trying to say this as romantically as possible…ok here I go.

I just wanna give a shout-out to my sweet sugar mamma, who’s been wit’ me all of these years. Baby, you so sexy. Awwwwww yeeeuh. Thanks 4 makin’ this pimp’s heart all a-fluttery.

Sorry sweetie, that’s the best I could do with this early A.M. timeframe. I love you, wifey.

Moving on! The weekend was pretty rad. Well, it started out un-rad, because I was back in class on Saturday morning. That wasn’t such a big deal. It’s an interesting class with an interesting professor, so it should be ok. After class got out, my girls and I went to my Grandma’s birthday party. Gwen had an absolute blast. She got to hang out with her cousin and my youngest cousin…the three of them are all within a few months of each other in age. They had a very good time running around like maniacs, playing ball, and riding on Grandpa Don’s shoulders.

Sunday morning I decreed that we were going to the MN State Fair. So, we hopped in the car and did just that. After causing my lovely wife of seven years to nearly have a heart attack from my driving “skills”, we parked and went in. Gwen had a ton of fun looking at sheep, horses, and cows. I managed to hungrily consume my greasy fair food trifecta: Cheese Curds, Pronto Pup, and Mini Donuts. The deliciousness is still oozing from my pores in the form of batter-fried sweat.

Our fair day was awesome – perfect weather and good times – until we got back to the parking lot. It turns out we had a completely flat tire. I have some sort of back-right tire curse, because this is the third one I’ve had to change in as many years. The other two were on my other car, though, so once again I had to figure out the silly little tire-iron and jack that came with the vehicle. Luckily, even though these items are small and hard to get out of their hidey-holes, their basic function is pretty straightforward. I’m also happy that my Jeep has a full-sized spare tire, because donuts suck (except state fair mini donuts, as previously mentioned).

My WoW experience has become much, much faster, as I am now the proud owner of an epic flying mount. Awwwww yeah.

So last night I was going to brew up my first batch of mead, and I couldn't find my spare BUNGSTOPPER! (seriously, a word like that has to be in all-caps. Sorry.) So, I've gotta hit up the beer store again for an extra one. (oh darn.)


Ugh. I’m really down and disconnected this morning. I grant that it could have been the beer consumed last night at the Flock of Kobolds rehearsal, but I have no physical symptoms of that action. I’m going to chalk it up to being the first night of school. I’m happy to be going back and getting it all done once and for all, but there is still a ton of stress involved with the whole situation – leaving the girls at night, studying, and general preparation for the huge life changes that will be associated with graduation. I know that I should really focus on one thing at a time, but there’s a lot to think about: packing up stuff and getting the house ready to sell, finding a house to move into, moving, starting a new job in a new town…all of these things are a long time away, but I’ve seen firsthand how fast years have started going by, and I know that this one will be like a rocket.

I’m not all that worried about school. I pretty much know the drill there, after three grueling years. There are little things about it that are bugging me, though. First off, it’s hard to go back to having no free time. Second, it’s always rough (as mentioned before) to be leaving my family every night. (Thankfully I actually managed to get two nights off per week this semester. That will be nice.) There’s also the stress involved with graduating this year – you know, making sure that I’ve actually managed to satisfy every requirement. Finally, there’s the bar exam looming over me next summer. Tackling that will be no small feat.

Last night’s practice was super fun, but there was kind of an air of…I don’t know, some sort of disconnectedness, maybe? Discontent, perhaps? I’m sure a ton of it was in my own head because of stress in other areas of life, and if that came through into band practice I apologize, guys. Anyway, hopefully we’ll be able to get together again soon, because it’s hella fun to play ancient ballads and whatnot.

Kobolds and Kart

Well, tonight’s the night that I get to start studying again. Blech. It’s always an awful feeling. I would have put it off until tomorrow night, but I’m going to be far too busy playing Irish music, work songs, pirate ballads and songs from the wood to busy myself with a schoolbook. So there you have it, a Flock of Kobolds shall invade tomorrow evening. May the world tremble.

I picked up MarioKart for the Wii the other day. The game does the franchise proud – it’s incredibly fun. One especially cool feature is the ability to play online with friends. However, there are some gripes I have.
1. Far too many of the tracks involve places that you can fall off. It gets annoying.
2. All of the weapons cause you to lose your weapon when you’re hit. That’s LAME. The fun of the old versions was having that red shell in your arsenal for that moment that the jerkwad that hit you with the shell passes you. Lightning bolts aren’t supposed to rob you of your defenses.
3. The addition of motorcycles and different karts for each character was unnecessary. Come on, each of the characters is different from the others…there’s no need in my opinion to clutter the game with more choices to make.
4. Online play is fine and dandy, but Nintendo should REALLY think about some sort of voice chat or typing thingamajig or something. There is simply no way to communicate with your friends while playing this game, and that’s who I want to play with: My friends. I don’t care to test my mettle against the kid in Beijing. Nope, he can have the trophy, he’s way better than I am. But I want to be able to actually converse with my friends during online play, rather than resort to canned messages that I point at with my wiimote in between games. The only alternative is to have Skype running on a nearby computer, which neither of the dudes I was playing with last night have.

That’s all I’ve got, really. Despite my grumblings, the game rocks.

Small World

The following story might seem a bit convoluted, but if you follow me to the very end, it will all come together. Kind of like the movie Memento, which is awesome and I highly recommend seeing. On with the show.I went golfing last night with Kristian and Ryan. More on that later.

Just after getting out of the car, I got a phone call from Kerry. She told me that she had just gotten a call from her boss, who relayed to her that he was vacationing with some friends on Madeline Island. Said friends have known Kerry for years, as they are residents of the town she works in and frequent the nature center that she works at.

Making a long story very short, it turns out that they own the building that was the one-time residence of none other than Creepyguy himself. Yep. They’re his landlords. Crazy small world. They also confirmed that he no longer lives there, which is reason in itself to cheer and whoop and celebrate.

So last night’s golfing was fun. The night started well for me, but soon some darkish clouds started inching their way across the sky. By the fourth hole we started to hear some thunder rumbling, but the three of us pressed on, trying to convince ourselves that the thunder was far away and that there was no lightning.

By the end of the fifth hole, the lightning was becoming a bit obvious, and the sky was looking a little grim. The horn blew as we were on the tee box from the sixth hole, which signified that the course was closing. The problem was that that tee box is literally the farthest point on the entire course from the clubhouse and parking lot. So, we three brave golf warriors set out across the wide open course, dodging lightning bolts all the way to the parking lot. OK, all except the part about the lightning bolts.

We hopped into the car and drove off, and not two minutes after we started driving it started POURING. It was an absolute deluge, to the point where other cars had pulled off the road because they couldn’t see the road. It was an adventure, to say the least. That would not have been fun to have been stuck in.

After that I went home and played a little Starcraft with Reuben, who fell asleep. I stayed awake way too long after that, playing poker online (for fake money). I discovered this fun little browser-based site, which unfortunately screws up every once in a while. I blame Safari, Apple’s browser, which has some nice features yet still gets all wonky from time to time.

Pirate ballads = the new bluegrass

Years back, the Cohen bros released the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and billions of people bought the soundtrack…myself included. It was filled with old timey bluegrass music, and was quite good. I enjoyed it.

A year or two ago, I saw an ad for an album in Relix called “Rogue’s Gallery”. It’s a 2-disc collection of pirate ballads and sea shanties. I just got it, and it’s freaking amazing. I have a number of friends who are also thoroughly enjoying the collection. It was actually put together by Johnny Depp, who got into pirate songs (you guessed it) after doing the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. So anyway, once again a movie (or three) becomes a medium for releasing old fashioned music on the populace. I care not a whit for the musings of the populace, but I’m quite happy that I got the music.

This, of course, is all because of the infamous aforementioned Flock of Kobolds, who will soon be adding pirate ballads and sea shanties to their ever-growing pub-friendly repertoire. Fal riddle da, wack fol the riddle timmy roo dun dah.

This weekend was pretty uneventful, but fun. Kerry worked on Saturday, so I chilled at home with my lil’ girl. She was quite adorable, as usual. On Sunday the three of us (well, Kerry and I…Gwen didn’t have much input) tried to think of something to do and couldn’t, so we went to the park. Gwenner LOVES slides. She had a great time on the playground equipment.

Last night I got together with Ryan and Corey and we brewed some friggin’ beer. I love brewing, especially outdoors in the summer time. The smell of the wort is just fantastic, and sitting in the driveway tending a boiling kettle gives a sense of peace that can’t really be described, it’s just a good feeling.

The idea behind last night’s brewing is that the beer will be done and ready for drinking just in time for Rhyno’s bachelor party. We’ll have some blond ale a la Ryan, some Scottish ale courtesy of Corey, and some Honey Amber ale by yours truly. Yum times three.

Ootlawed tunes on ootlawed pipes

I’ve been kicking around this idea for at least a year: The idea was to get together a bunch of rowdy guys and make a band that plays Irish music. Well, this idea came up again last week during a conversation with T-Rav, Rhyno, and Lundo. It expanded a bit to include some earthy-type rock music and some sea chanteys and the like. Anyhow, it finally happened last night. The name of this new acoustic superpower is “A Flock of Kobolds”.

We played through a bunch of tunes in Ryan’s basement, and actually ended up with semi-decent recordings of eight songs. The recordings were just into an open microphone, which resulted in some fairly loud cowbell and keyboards and some kinda quite guitars and vocals, but the whole endeavor was fantastically fun. The moments that really made us all go, “Yeah!” were on the choruses of songs where all of us in the room (including Brian, our audience of one) were singing at the same time. Another highlight was the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, where we went around the room with a new singer each verse. Good good good times. However, it turns out that all of us really suck at playing the bagpipes.

It’s a pretty effortless band, too. I don’t doubt for a second that we could play one of the Irish pubs around the city. It’s just a matter of getting all of the little details worked out, after the garishly big detail of preparing the music to the point that an audience, not just the players, would utter the collective, “Yeah!”.

I’m daring to get my hopes up here, but we haven’t seen Creepyguy since Sunday. I think that he actually did move away. I hope that he actually moved away. We’ll just have to see.

The summer is flying by at a horrific pace. I start school again in just two weeks. Yikes. That sucks. However, it’s my last year of school EVER, and that is quite a lot of awesome.

Thursday thoughts

Holy flying-by week, Batman. Hmm, Batman…that’s a good place to start.

Kerry, Gwen and I went to the lake last weekend. It was awesome. We spent a lot of time with my parents and did a lot of hanging out. I went waterskiing, which is always a blast. Unfortunately for me it involves the use of muscles that I don’t normally use, so I pooped out rather quickly. Still tons of fun.

On Saturday night Kerry and I left the punk with the grandparents and headed to Alexandria to see The Dark Knight. Holy crap what an awesome movie. It was a perfect comic book movie. Eight-and-a-half out of five stars. We’ll call it an even nine for the disappearing pencil trick.

Of course, that led me to want to see more comic book movies that I haven’t seen, so last night Kerry and I watched Spider Man 3. Wow…that movie really sucked. There were some slightly cool parts, but basically it was the same plot as the previous two with a lot more unnecessary crap added. As a whole, it was just a bad movie. Negative six out of five stars.

Rewind a bit. Chronology is not my strong suit this morning. Ryan, Kristian and I went golfing on Tuesday, and we all shot really well compared to a couple years ago. Ryan sunk an astounding birdie put from about 30 feet. Kristian chipped and hit the pin twice. I had three birdie chances (all of which resulted in an unfortunate, choke-under-the-pressure three-putt). We all had fun. Afterward we went out for drinks at Ol’ Mexico. It was a very good night just hanging out with the guys.

Kerry and I have seen Creepyguy in his window a few times this week, but there’s a wonderful turn of events there. See, if he sees us in our yard or whatever, he bolts away from his window faster than you can say “sketchy stalker”. This is a victory for us. See, he’s afraid that we’ll call the cops on him. He’s scared in his own home. Turnabout is fair play. He’s not gone yet, but I’m hoping that this is his last day (as it’s July 31st today) and that we can go back to Defcon 5 after tonight.

My I.P.A. is ready for bottling, so I’ll be trying to motivate myself to get that done tonight.

But wait, there's more.

I'm sure that most of you have already read a lot of this on the Jabberboard, but I'll save it here for posterity:

Wow. So the story totally did not end. [Tuesday] night was fine. There was not a word spoken, not a wave given...I didn't see the guy at all. Then [Wednesday] he showed up at my house. At my front door. He asked if I had found anything out [about a supposed legal problem that I had previously told him I would not research]. I told him to go see a lawyer. That part was just fine, of course. The weird part was that he said, "Yeah, I saw you guys through my binoculars." I laughed at his joke. Then he said, "No I just like to watch the birds and stuff outside my window."


He then said that he was now staying in the apartment until september.


He said that he wanted to be friends, and that if we're having any parties or anything that he wants to come down and hang out.


So yeah. The conversation ended aaaaaaaaaaand...

Kerry called the cops. Who showed up. And went and talked to him.

The cop called me after talking to him, and told me that his name is J@mes J0seph G@rcia, not the name that he had given us, he is indeed moving but is most assuredly not moving to Plymouth but rather moving to some other apartments about a block away...basically the whole thing is a pack of lies and my initial gut reaction of creep-outitude was spot-on.

The police officer said that she doesn't think he's violent and doesn't think that he'll retaliate -- she thinks that he'll try to apologize (which we also do not want).

So I chatted with my 'rents about it. Dad's opinion was that the action we took was the exact right thing to do. Mom's insight was that for the first two years that my family lived in Benson, there was (unbeknownst to them or the rest of the area) a murderer living across the street who was likable, talkative, and eventually carried away by a S.W.A.T. team. So, there are Creepyguys everywhere.

Last night Kerry was gone for a work-related overnight, so it was just me and the Gwennerpants. Ryan came over and we played magic and swilled homebrew for several hours, and it was awesome. I would have been decidedly less comfortable if I were home alone. I'm not physically afraid of Creepyguy himself. I really don't fear violence. I just don't want to talk to him at all. I know that he's probably hurt by the situation. Whatever. I have a lot of anxiety that I'll have to tell him to get off my property or to stop talking to me or something. He needs to learn that those actions make people uncomfortable. I have a wife and daughter to think about.

Thankfully he hasn't come by. Kerry and I are headed out to the lake this evening, so we won't have to deal with him. What a tool.

Stuff and random things

I got a new coworker this week, which is both good and bad. Good because I finally get another person to help me to do the work of two people. Bad, because I no longer get to blast obnoxious music at any time of the day. That could still turn out ok, though, because it turns out that she’s got good taste in music. In fact, she was at one of the Clutch shows that I attended (the one at the Quest). She was there to see Fu Manchu, though…oh well. Nobody’s perfect.

There has been no recent sign of Creepyguy. I’m starting to breathe a little bit easier. Soon he will be on his merry way. My wife had a very interesting take on the whole situation. “Honey,” she said, “There are unsavory people everywhere you go,” (ok I’m paraphrasing). “You’re going to be a lawyer, and you’re going to have to talk to lots of them, and you’re not going to want to.” That’s true, I suppose. I wanted to counter with the fact that I’ll be getting paid, but that’s not necessarily true at all. There are probably going to be plenty of people that just need to have a conversation with a lawyer but don’t have any means of payment. I expect that there will be a great many times in my life that I’ll talk with people that I don’t want to talk to, and I won’t be expecting any type of payment for it anyway. Then there is the simple fact that the practice of law is adversarial, so a lot of the people on the opposing side will be people that I just don’t want to talk to. I’m totally rambling now, but the point of this section is that this guy is not a big deal.

I’ve got beer a’brewing, and tomorrow night it shall be bottled. I’m excited about that. I still have a good bit of hefeweizen left, because I kind of held off on drinking it until it can mature a little bit more. Yum. I’m excited for my IPA. Mmm…hoppy.

Well, I’m off to work on my freeze ray.