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.