27 October 2009

Stupid Bears and Other News

Just another week in Autumn. I don't understand everyone's crush on Autumn. It's a nice season, but probably #3 on my list. Summer, Spring, Fall, and Winter in that order. On to my week.

Monday was a normal work day nothing special. After work I came home and spent the evening in domesticated bliss, cooking and cleaning while watching Monday night football. After the game I finished up the pictures from the previous weekend.

Tuesday was one of those days when waking up is hard to do. I got up early to run an errand to the bank. I was out of the house and at the bank when I remembered that I forgot to close the garage door, so I went back home and closed it, left and then remembered I forgot my migraine medicine. So after leaving my house twenty minutes early, I ended up ten minutes late for work. That's not the model of efficiency.

After work I had planning making chili for VK. I had a couple more items to get before I met her, so I went to Aldi (across the street from my apartment) to pick up some meat and some cookies for dessert. I put my items on the check out conveyor belt, and the lady in front of me starts yapping about how good the stuff looked ... and then she picked up my food and starts examining it! What is the opposite of couth? Dinner turned out to be nice.

Later on Danny grabbed some lipstick and made himself up really pretty. I was teasing Tim about his son, and grabbed my camera hoping to get a good shot. I didn't when I stuck my head through the door to get the picture, Danny slammed the door right on my head ... good thing he's small.

I did get a couple good shots of Zeke instead.

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Wednesday was movie night at Kaleb's, and I am increasingly tempted to go to one of these events. The movie was Cloverfield, and I ended up deciding not to go, mostly because I had heard so many people got motion sickness from seeing it. I thought maybe Kaleb's screen might be too big for me to watch it safely ... Maeg said it was making her sick ... good idea about not going.

I was rewarded for staying home though. Mythbusters! I watched a rerun episode about duct tape. Yes, duct tape and Mythbusters!

Thursday was one of those work days where I had the Midas touch, everything I worked on turned out to be golden. I was so helpful and useful it was impossible to be in a bad mood. Later on Maeg, Ben, and I played a game of Arkham Horror with the Kingport expansion. Before we started playing, Ben remarked that the expansions were created (in part) because some people thought the regular game was too easy. Naturally, we then went through one of the easiest games we've ever played.

I learned two things while playing:
1. Don't try to convince a person who has been drinking that they are switching back and forth from harmony to melody while singing.
2. In Ben's freezer, he keeps archived, freezer burned ice cubes.

Friday was pretty chilled out, both at work and afterwards. I went out to dinner at Red Robin with VK, Ben A. and Mark, who I had only seen before, not met. After dinner, VK and I bought Halloween costumes, and then hung out.

Saturday was the everything happening day. First off, Robin grabbed my camera and went off on a photo shoot for a family. Later on, I had that same job, only taking pictures of Tim, Robin, and Danny. I was 2/3 successful at any one time. Danny and Tim would be fine, but Robin would be looking in the other direction, or Robin and Tim would look nice, but Danny was squirming. I'm sure you get the idea.

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This was how the day went. I don't remember getting that pipe being there at all.

It was very aggravating, and I think we discovered my camera doesn't handle 4Gb cards very well. However Robin was happy with a couple shots, so that's all that matters, happy customers!

After that, I walked around and took some more pictures of colorful trees.

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So that's how trees get across rivers!

There are more of these types of pictures here.

Saturday afternoon I went to Hy-Vee and picked up my pumpkin. Then knowing that I would be driving people around in the evening, I did something kind of rare for me ... I cleaned my car, vacuumed, wiped down, and straightened up. The inside looks very nice, yay!

Saturday night was the traditional Halloween costume birthday party for Jenny. VK and I went as ketchup and mustard (aw) ... yes, I was ketchup :-) I thought Matt's costume was perfect. One good thing about our group of friends, no one tries to see how inappropriate they can be.

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Jenny as Rainbow Bright did not win first place, because she was the judge and didn't give it to herself. Not unsurprisingly, this photo went right into my top ten all time views on Flickr.

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Hot dogs and hamburgers came running to us from miles around. Photo credit: Matt

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Here are the costume winners, first, second, and third left to right in order. Photo credit: Matt

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VK (left), Merinda (middle two), and I (right) carved pumpkins. It was the first time I've ever used a 'pattern'.

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Here is (nearly) everyone at the party.

Of course I took more pictures. Of course Matt took more pictures.

Sunday I got up and went down to Farrell's to meet up with Kaleb, C.J., Joe, and Frank to watch football. The early games were fun because it was all about my fantasy football teams. I won in both leagues. In my work league (12 teams) I am now 3 wins and 4 losses, and will probably have to go 4-1 the next five weeks just to make the playoffs. I have some hope, because my division is weak, and I have three of my remaining games against teams with losing records ... I only need one upset.

Now in Kaleb's league (10 teams), things are a little different. I am 7-0, then there is a six way tie for 2nd place at 4-3. Obviously, I have been a little bit lucky, or perhaps maybe my opponents have been a little unlucky, I don't have the highest or even second highest cumulative point total. Being lucky does not prevent me from talking smack about it, of course.

So in a non-fun football story. The Bears. I understand that even good football teams lose badly sometimes, but I doesn't understand is looking unprepared and outsmarted. At least we're playing hard. You can also apply all that to the local college team. I was so disgusted by the Bears play I left at halftime and went home and watched no other games all day. Instead, I just worked on pictures.

21 October 2009

Oh The Horrors We Thrust (pun intended) Upon Ourselves

I was reading the September 2009 issue of Scientific American Magazine. It was a special issue on origins. One of the smaller articles was on the origins of the vibrator ... it was invented around 140 years ago, and when electricity came to common use, the vibrator because a household appliance before the iron did. Obviously it must have been invented for some non-sexual use and then someone found out the happy misuse accidentally, right? Wrong! It was invented to make doctors more money.

It turns out there was a common ailment at the time called hysteria that affected women only. The treatment for this disease was for a medical doctor to, by hand, rub the (ahem) "pelvic" area of the affected female until the patient underwent (ahem) "hysterical paroxysm". That's right, your great grandmother went to the doctor to get a little something something. No wonder she wanted your mother to marry a physician. This procedure was time consuming, however, and it was found that what sometimes took the physicians hours to do by hand, could be done in a few minutes by use of the aforementioned mechanical device. Doctors could see more patients and deliver more effective treatments.

The Scientific American article is not online, however Wikipedia has an entry on the disease. Ah the good old days, when the air was clean, you could get a soft drink made with cocaine, and your doctor gave you personal service.

Makes you wonder what people will think of our society in another 125 years.

20 October 2009

And Now For Something Completely The Same

First Off, congratulation to Matt and Vivian, homeowners and now neighbors. Good job.

Last weekend was typically busy, but not necessarily from work. It started with a bang ... in a bad way ... a friend was visiting on Thursday and had their car broken into at my apartment complex. Window smashed, gym bag full of dirty clothes stolen. What scared me was there could not have been ten seconds between the time the alarm went off and the time that I arrived on the scene. Scary, yes because if I had seen the individual involved, I probably would have done something stupidly manly, and someone (probably me) could have gotten hurt. It turned out that there were a series of car break-ins around my house.

I took Friday off to attend the funeral of Troy's father, Jim. I had met Jim on several occasions and I liked him a lot, he was a very friendly, talkative man. I shall miss him. Maeg and I drove down to Lincoln, and it was as pleasant of an service and celebration as you could expect under the circumstances, very crowded, and I was glad to have the opportunity to attend.

Later on Friday I went dancing. Couldn't miss all the birthday jams, Merinda, Micah, and Jenny.

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Micah didn't just have a birthday, she was a winner too!

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Jenny makes a bold fashion statement, and those are her dancing shoes, not the boots she came in wearing.

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Merinda dances into a new year.

The gentleman dancing with Jenny above is Geoff. He is from Ireland, is in town for work, and a terrific dancer. I now have my first Facebook friend in Europe. Naturally I took a few more pictures here.

Saturday I hung out with VK during the day and amongst other things, we watched some football, including a bit of the disappointing Husker loss. Later on we picked up Kevin from work and went over to Merinda and Becky's (now Mezcal Brothers-less) birthday party. No band, no matter, we had a great time, which had nothing to do with me dominating another game of Qwirkle.

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Quoting Maeg "These four concentrating on the bar either means really good things or really bad things." --photo credit: Maeg

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This is everyone doing their best zombie imitation a la Michael Jackson Thriller video.

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The birthday girls danced it up all night...
--photo credit: Matt

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...and so did everyone else.
--photo credit: Matt

Goodness, you can hardly go online without running into pictures from this event. Here are some from me, Maeg, Matt, and Lisa(from Facebook).

On Sunday I slept in and missed church, a disturbing trend. I had a couple errands to run, so I did so around noon and headed over to VK's. It turned out she was not ready for my visit (it was planned, more in a second), so I went to the Ice House on 108th and Maple to watch some football. It turned out to be way too ADD for me, I like the set up at Farrell's much better.

Around 1500 I headed over to meet up with VK and we went on a walk specifically looking for trees to take photos of for an art project. We walked around Standing Bear Lake and the neighborhood taking colorful photos. The trees aren't quite done yet.

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It was all quite serious.

The project is not finished yet, I may post a few of the project pictures somewhere, here are the not quite ready to be called art quality photos ... yet.

After all of that was finished, VK made some chili, and we watched some football. The Bears game started around 1900 and I was enjoying it when all of a sudden these Desperate Housewives appeared out of no where and I was forced to leave ...

... and my Bears later lost.

15 October 2009

Weekly Journal?

Oddly enough, it sure seems like this blog has become more of a weekly journal of my activities. It's certainly not a cutting edge repository of fresh political thought ... oops, there is no fresh political thought. At some point my life might slow down enough to post something thought worthy ... meh, probably not.

Last Friday I went dancing. No real surprise there, but it was "hat" Ben's birthday jam, and that hasn't happened in, well, a year.

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That's really nice form Ben!

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I don't what is scarier, me or my camera.

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Margaret claims she was winking at me, but think she just ate a sour gummy worm.

More of this tomfoolery is here.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, the world was (ugh) covered in white. Photo opportunity!

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Some of these pictures are really nice.

Sunday Jenny had an impromptu dinner party, and I forgot my camera. It was full of lasagna and laughter. That's all.

08 October 2009

Caught Up At Last

Really not much to say about last week. I was on call at work, and there was a planned outage on Friday night, so no dancing. Jenny had a bike ride and bonfire at her parents house on Saturday night, so I went to that, only got two calls. It was out near Syracuse, NE and not a bad drive at all.

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It was so cold that they are actually freezing these hot dogs for later, not cooking them.

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Pam has a great idea!

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Fire and smoke make for some interesting pictures.

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After the bike ride, Jenny was too tired to haul herself around.

I took a few more pictures but really it was too cold to move.

One more interesting thing happened this week. I finally got myself to a Madness Sale (Ben Rasmussen's band) show, and as double bonus, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns (a.k.a. Becky Lowry) played too. The pictures are off of my iPhone, so a little grainy.

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Becky wowed the crowd, barefoot.

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This sale was such madness that someone stole Ben's hat!

07 October 2009

Catching Up: Staycation

As is my usual tradition, I took the week following Cowtown Jamborama off as a vacation. It's a usual thing, mostly because I'm too sore from all the dancing on Monday to do anything, and it's a nice time of year to take a vacation.

Monday I mostly just worked on the Cowtown photos and relaxed, but Tuesday I had plans to go meet up with Jillian and go to the zoo. As an added bonus, she had a guitar to lend me so I could start lessons.

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I guess I wasn't the only one worn out from all the weekends activities.

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We took a ride on the skyfari, where we spied all kinds of animals like rhinos, cheetahs, ostriches, and ...

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... Maeg? Who let her out of her display.

I took many more zoo pictures, who knew?

Wednesday started out to be kind of a disappointment. I wanted to go golfing, and I thought I had a certificate for a free round, then I read the fine print ... oops. After running around for ninety minutes, I finally gave up on the golf, and went for a hike on the Bellevue History and Nature Trail just north of Haworth Park.

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Even I know not to eat wild strawberries.

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Even when you know there is a bird in picture, it can't always be easy to spot.

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We kind of surprised each other.

If you take your camera on a nature trail hike, you might as well take dozens of pictures.

Thursday was the big road trip of the vacation. VK and I were going up to Ponca State Park near Sioux City. On the drive up we went by VK's house in South Sioux City, learning about the old haunts and histories of your friends is one of life's little pleasures.

School was in, kids not around and so we (almost) literally had the park to ourselves. I was interested in the park because it is one of two places in Nebraska where the Missouri River is not channeled. It turns out that the unchanneled Missouri River looks a lot like the Platte River. Now it much more understandable how the settlers crossed the river without a bridge or ferry, however, it turns out that the highlight of the park wasn't the river, but the gorgeous bluffs that the park sat on ... and the weather.

Not everything was perfect, squirrels kept running right in front of the car, VK had never been stung by a bee before and got it twice, and we took a late afternoon hike that was longer and felt more like being lost than we wanted. However I'll remember this trip for years.

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Three state lookout: Nebraska (in the foreground), South Dakota (across the river), and Iowa (away on the right). I think I'm getting a look too.

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Our picnic spot in one of the campgrounds, VK packed a tasty lunch.

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I went up and down this twice, three out of four trips went well. VK's car is in the picture.

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They say this tree is 365 years old. I thought it would be more lofty or something.

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Somewhere around 200 feet straight down.

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Well you have to include one artsy picture.

More of this road trip can be found here. Be sure and ask me (in person) about the bald eagle. After we left the state park, we drove up and down the streets in Ponca to see what kind of houses were available in small town Nebraska. We then went over to Sioux City to see the other house VK grew up in, and then dinner at Outback. After an uneventful drive home we got our cars and she went home, and I went to game night.

Friday I actually did get to golf, but not where I wanted to. I ended up down in Plattsmouth at Bay Hills, and shot an 82. It was a good round that got spastic at the end, finishing double bogey, birdie, double bogey, par. Later that evening, I went dancing at JNO for a very special occasion, Vivian's birthday jam! Amazingly there are no photos of the event, although Matt put up a YouTube Video about Vivian's birthday and it has the jam in it.

On Saturday there was a "goodbye" party for Pam. I use quotes because she isn't going anywhere soon, but eventually. After that I went over to Kaleb's for game night. Again, there is a disturbing lack of visual evidence that any of this actually took place. I remember it, but what if aliens or the government implanted the memory to cover up what really happened ... meh, I've heard goofier conspiracy theories.

On Sunday was Vivian's birthday party, and there are tons of pictures from that. It was at Platte River State Park at the Turkey Run Shelter. More beautiful weather and great friends.

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I think you can tell from our hair that it was just a little windy at the top of the tower.

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Our group always seems to have a large supply of frisbees.

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Donna made the pinata ... from cement and superglue evidently. It destroyed that stick and made at least two people bleed.

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Vivian liked her cake, and her gifts, and well, the whole day.

I took a bunch of pictures, they are found here. Matt also took a bunch, you can find them here.