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2001.september in transit
a lame attempt at a homepage by mark danielson

This is an archived journal page. For the latest entries, please check the homepage or the main journal page.

I should know better than to associate with sick people.

 ) ) ) 

It was somewhat of a long weekend, although that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Friday evening began with another after-work get-together. Lately I've found myself avoiding such occasions for a number of reasons, but more recently started figuring it would be good to get out. Usually such weekend-opening events take place at venues where it's easy to get blitzed, but this was an exception. We gathered at Jillian's in the Mall Of America, where the plan was to eat, drink and bowl a couple rounds. The eating and drinking went OK. Unfortunately, we soon discovered those running and maintaining the lanes there may be deserving of banishment from planet Earth. In retrospect, the fact that most of the balls seemed to have thumb-drillings on-center to the finger-drillings probably should've been taken as a sign. I admit to laughing a bit as Kent slipped and lurched through his first frame, but any humor I had disappeared soon after it became my turn. My positioning and first two steps went normally, but a slick floor caused me to slip as I went off my third step. I threw my right foot forward faster than normal to gain my balance, but it hit a sticky spot about a foot ahead of me. For a moment it seemed I was going down, but I compensated by crunching my legs and yanking in my right arm, AKA the one with the ball on it.

Not only did I throw a gutter ball, I managed to pull muscles in my left leg and right wrist in the process. Cautiously limping back to the ball return, I heard Kent complain the lane had almost taken out one of his knees, and I believed him. Anyway, it was quickly decided we'd only be playing one round. We weren't the only ones having problems there, either: The neighboring group of bowlers launched balls down our lanes not once but twice, one time taking out a few pins in the process. (Not that it mattered too much. The pin-setters frequently neglected to drop ten pins at the beginning of a frame. And that was before they started jamming.)

I stuck around until around 8:30 before heading home. Later in the evening Heather, Rich and I went and caught Don't Say A Word up in Brooklyn Park. It wasn't a spectacular movie by any means, but it had a decent storyline and kept my interest. (It wasn't the movie's fault, but I kept finding myself drawn to searches of the New York skyline to see if I could catch a glimpse of the twin towers. I don't know if they held the release of the movie to quickly re-edit it, but it seemed like it. The World Trade Center only appeared in a couple of scenes, and then only in sweeping, long distance shots. The Empire State Building, on the other hand, showed up repeatedly.) Considering the crap we've been fed at the theaters lately, I'll take it. Also, it should be noted both Heather and Rich rated the movie higher than I did.

Saturday came dangerously close to being productive. With Heather away for the day, I decided to trash most of my areas of the apartment. This has become a common occurrence over the past few months as part of my never-ending quest to achieve organization. The desk is still winning, but the early afternoon brought crucial and significant blows against the catastrophes in my closest and under the bed. The evening was less lame than the daylight hours as I got to go over to Meg's for a board game party. Having never taken interest in the cult, I avoided the Wizard of Oz trivia game and instead went and got smacked silly at Pictionary. (I can do well at that game, but not in variations where every turn is an all-play.) Sneezes were beginning to punctuate my speech by that time, though, so I decided to turn in early instead of joining another game.

And that was pretty much it for the weekend. Today itself was sort of slow. Other than buying a turkey fryer I didn't do much other than lay around in hopes of getting better. Oh, and that turkey fryer? It can cook a 15 pound turkey in 45 minutes. Heh.

Driving home this evening, I failed to avoid a large pothole on the exit ramp from I-94. The car rattled violently enough for me verbalize sympathy for it, but my words were covered up by the loud, echoing sound of exhaust eminating from the Saab's front end. Yes, I snapped the connection between the engine and the catalytic converter. Again. Wait, "again" is the wrong word: This is the fourth time it's happened since I bought the car a year and a couple months ago. Granted, it's not an incredibly expensive fix, but it is annoying. Add to that new tires, a new windshield and some transmission work and I'll probably find myself dumping $1000 into it over the next month.

Heather, mockingly pretending to be me a week or so ago: "I never pay more than $3000 for an automobile." Yeah, well, bite me.

Did I mention the bucket leather seats? Yeah, well, they're heated. Did I mention the moonroof? Or the great gas mileage? Or the massive amount of trunk space? Hey, I like my car. What? No, I'm not acting defensive. What are you looking at?

 ) ) ) 

This could be the end for Tiger Stadium.

4:45 in the afternoon and my brain isn't just toast, it's smoking. Funny how certain projects have the ability to do that.

 ) ) ) 

I'm usually not one to buy airline tickets six months before I go on a vacation, but $94 round-trip to Texas was just too good to pass up. I'll be flying Delta with a transfer in Cincinnati on the way down and a stop in Atlanta on the way back. Hartsfield is a bit out of the way, but hey, at that price they could put me through LA and I wouldn't care. That said, I'm trying not think about the fact these fares probably wouldn't be available if 6500 people hadn't been murdered two weeks ago. To be clear, I'm not frightened or anything. Instead, my feelings are more along the lines of guilt.

A cold day has turned into a colder evening. They'll probably turn on the heat in four weeks or so, little solace considering this evening we're dealing with frost advisories across the metro. Earlier on I lit some candles and made some hot cocoa in an effort knock the chill down a bit. It almost worked, but not quite. I suppose if I were dating it would be an appropriate time to be curled up on the couch with whoever she may be, but I'm not, so instead I'm curled up in front of the computer. Hey, at least the lamp is warm.

 ) ) ) 

Rented two movies this weekend. So far, I've only watched one. The Dish was OK, although I'd been hoping for better. It seemed to suggest Australians are just like Americans, only in a different place and with a different accent. (Then again, from conversations with those more traveled than I, it seems that may be true.) Whatever the case, if you have a boring afternoon, it may be worth your time.

The other movie, still unwatched: The Manchurian Candidate, that 1962 Frank Sinatra flick. I have it on five-day rental, so there's plenty of time.

My afternoon, in handy overview format:

  • Decide to go for a walk.
  • Decide walking in the rain is not in plans for the day.
  • Drive to large enclosed mall.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Walk into the Apple Store.
  • Start playing with bright, shiny computers.
  • Get approached by salesperson.
  • Ask if I can use OSX without having to deal with a mouse.
  • Watch salesperson's processor crash.
  • Walk to food court; eat pizza.
  • Drive home.

Well, earlier today I signed up to attend SXSW 2002 and now, for the third year in a row, I find myself considering whether driving would be a good idea or not. Yahoo!Maps says the trip would take 19 and a half hours, but I have a pretty solid record of dropping about an hour off every five or six they project a trip will take. Granted, my mental state often isn't the healthiest doing such; I once drove from the Twin Cities to Indiana non-stop and my bladder almost exploded in the process. But hey, 17 hours, 1200 miles, a straight shot down I-35. I could do that. It's easier to take photos from a car than a plane, too.

I wonder if Kansas is pretty in March.

Truth be told, I'll probably end up flying just like I did for the last two excursions down to Austin. Prices for March are looking a bit high right now, though. I'd ususally expect the fares to drop some, but considering all the crap that's gone down over the past couple of weeks, that's no longer a given. Heck, certain routes are no longer a given. I wouldn't put Northwest's Austin route in an endangered category, but what do I know.

For the record, I also checked Amtrak, but their suggested route put me through Los Angeles. Fuckers.

Slept through alarm. Got up late. Closet all T-shirts. (Need to do laundry.) Car parked in (again). 35W in tired snail mode. Nosebleed-section parking space at work. Forgot wallet at home. Broke. Borrowed money. Exploding bag of Chex Mix. Fuck (response, not action). Meetings. Late lunch. Still lots of work to do.

Yes, things are dangerously close to being back to normal.

 ) ) ) 

So, anyway, this is a bit belated, but it was a good weekend.

On Saturday Heather, Rich and I headed over to Jason and Sarah's for their board-games-acquired-during-their-wedding party. It was a good time, with gaming, conversation and laughter lasting well into the darkened depths of Sunday morning. (I got to bed around 4:00.) In some ways, it was also needed; few things make life seem as normal as being surrounded by good friends. Sunday was good, too. The day was somewhat lazy, but in the evening it was back to River Falls to have dinner with (the other) Sarah. Afterwards we wandered around campus, looking at what had changed and bitching about what hadn't. While Sarah wandered off in the student center, I picked up a copy of the Voice, paged through and found myself making snarky comments about their coverage of last week's events. Not too long afterwards I was back on I-94 heading west into Minneapolis. Downtown, the lights on the top of the new Target tower slowly changed from red to white to blue, and then back to red again.

 ) ) ) 

There are lots of other things I could write about tonight--the unusual amount of time spent babbling on the phone, turkeys, bald tires and cracked windshields--but I'm tired so I won't. (Or can't, really.)

George W. Bush quoted in an Assocated Press article earlier today: "I want justice. There's an old poster out West that said: 'Wanted, dead or alive.'"

Search on Google: Bomb Shelters.

Rebuild the World Trade Center.

pam and mike

I got an e-mail from my brother this afternoon. That's him at right, in New York on Sunday with his girlfriend.

 ) ) ) 

I briefly talked with M this afternoon. We agreed that MetaFilter has become an invaluable resource for keeping up with what's going on following Tuesday's catastrophes. Often those reading it find out the latest news before it hits CNN or any of the other networks. I especially appreciate threads like the one focusing on why the United States got attacked, a subject I feel has been insufficiently covered elsewhere. If there's a downside, it's that with the amount of information flying around, a lot of stories are being double or triple posted. (I did what amounted to a double post earlier this evening; It was my first and I feel a bit dumb about it.) Still, that's a minor hassle considering all to be gained by visiting there.

 ) ) ) 

In other news, the much-feared over-reaction has begun, and I'm not just talking about ignorant fools attacking people because of their nationality. I'm talking about excessive changes to airport "security" that wouldn't have stopped Tuesdays attack from happening even if they were in place. The FAA has put new rules in place that ban all parking within 300 feet of a terminal entrance. If you're familiar with MSP, that pretty much screws half of the parking at the Lindbergh Terminal.

I can't wait to see what our elected officials think of next. Oh, wait, here we go.

 ) ) ) 

It's been quite a day for patriotic spamming. I really want to believe this is a good thing, but further investigation suggests people aren't thinking very hard. A sampling:

Oh, sure, that'll look brilliant on the West Coast. Don't get me wrong, I think whoever wrote this meant well, but really, how hard would it have been to figure out the sky would still be really bright out in California at 7:00 p.m. EST? And why are we using Standard Time for this, anyway? Then there's this next e-mail, which may cause me to scream if I find it in my inbox one more time:

It continues for some length. Stirring? Yes. The problem is it was written in 1973. The word "recent" should be nowhere near that e-mail.

 ) ) ) 

Overheard at work: "I'm so glad we have George W. in office. He'll take action."


At first I thought the news was a hack, someone's sick idea of a joke. It was all too outrageous to believe. As reality settled in, though, I felt a new emotion. This morning, for the first time ever, I trembled with anger.

I am angry, and I've never been so angry in my entire life.

So, as said, Fray Day 5 was a lot of fun. The five to nine time slot was a bit unfortunate, especially considering fray.org loudly pronounced the time for all events worldwide was going to be from 7:00 to midnight. A number of people started showing up around 8:00 thinking they were just fashionably late, when in reality they'd just about missed the entire event.

Whatever the case, I hope there's another Fray Day Minneapolis next year. (Actually, I think it would be more appropriately titled "Fray Day Twin Cities," but, then again, I've always favored labeling the metro as a whole instead of fanning the flames of cross-town rivalry. It's us against the flatlands, friends. We need to stand together.)

Saturday was busy in a lazy sort of way. Rich came over and hung out for most of the afternoon and evening. The combination of a near-obscene amount of walking and some laughably cheap footwear has resulted in a number of unfun callouses over the past few weeks, so I briefly dragged Heather and him along while I went shopping for a new pair of walking shoes. That issue resolved, we pretty much played with the PlayStation for the rest of the day, conversed about football and ate pizza. I missed a coworker's band at the 400 Bar, but he assured me they'll have more shows in the area, so I'll be able to catch them then.

Sunday was spent watching the Viking's glorious defeat and reorganizing my bookshelf to facilitate more magazine (Car & Driver, National Geographic, Wired) storage. I probably reloaded the Journal Sentinel's site 30 times over the course of the Packer game, too. It was good to see the them get off to such a solid start.

Been really busy lately. Fray Day 5 was fun. Here are the photos, better cutlines to come later. (We hope to have them somewhere more accessible to Frayers today or tomorrow.)

I'm toast, so this will be quick. State Fair in review:

  • Who: Rich, Sarah, Heather and I.
  • Transportation: Heather's new Ford Focus to the U of M, then the busway to the fairgrounds.
  • Food (between the four of us): 1 Pronto Pup, 1 bucket Sweet Martha's cookies, numerous cups of milk, 1 serving cajun potato chips, 1 Minnekabob, 1 gyro, ice cream masquerading as a malt, plus a bunch of other crap I can't remember.
  • Weather: Warm but comfy.
  • Horse and sheep barns: Smelled like shit.
  • Rides: As if.
  • After fair entertainment: Watched Rich play on Heather's PlayStation for over four hours.

Ok, time to go to bed. As soon as we kick Rich out of here...

That's one thing about getting older. You can't crash as well as you used to.

My head finally hit the pillow a little after three this morning. It had been a long week, not to mention a long day, so I should've been able to sleep for 10, 12 hours, no problem. But no, my eyes opened at 8:36 this morning, one minute later than my alarm clock goes off on weekdays. I struggled to fall back asleep, failed, and finally got up an hour later. I've been dragging all day.

Friday was appropriately busy. I had training in downtown Minneapolis, which meant no commute but an earlier alarm clock. Training was good, although I had difficulty staying awake. I wandered around during the lunch hour, photographing the Warehouse District for lstc.org and quietly bitching to myself about how freakin' bright it was. After class I drove home and tried to get some sleep but kept getting jarred out of a near-sleep by some clapped-out truck that kept driving up and down the alley outside my window.

Friday evening was better. A good friend just got a job in Chicago, so we went out Friday to celebrate. We had reservations at Giorgio's, but ended up there late as we, ahem, walked to the wrong location. (In what may not be a coincidence, the wrong location is the only one listed by citysearch.) I almost ate there once before (wrong location, not the right one) but missed that opportunity as the result of a somewhat spectacular nosebleed. Whatever the case, the food ended up being incredibly good and I found myself audibly mmmmm-ing more than once. After dinner we headed downtown and hung out way later than we, or, at least, I, should have. Still, it was a lot of fun.

Not too many plans for today and tomorrow. On Monday a bunch of us are going to the State Fair, so that should be fun. For now, the couch looks quite inviting, so I'll see you later.

in transit—a lame attempt at a homepage since 1996—is a service of Mark Danielson and nonlocality.com.
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