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2001.november 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.

All the past few weeks have been is rush, rush, rush. I leave for New York tomorrow. It will be a much welcomed break.

So Friday was interesting.

I spent most of the day hanging out with Biker Ben and his girlfriend, Beth. We gossiped about the new high school, bummed around town a bit and then headed to Milwaukee to join the day-after-Thanksgiving throngs. We hit Half Price Books--somewhat of a mandatory pilgrimage for Ben--before driving over to Mayfair Mall to find ourselves pressed up against our fellow consumers. I noticed something about the clothes I looked at down in Milwaukee: Compared to the Twin Cities, it was very easy to find clothing that fits me. It's impossible to find jeans up here, but there were size 32/32 pants all over the place down there. I must have Minnesota proportions, I guess. Damn tall people.

Anyway, after leaving Mayfair Ben and I had a brief discussion as to whether it was really necessary for him to visit the other Half Price Books over by I-894. My arguments eventually won out (besides I was driving, and, hey, there was the exit to I-94), so we headed back to Two Rivers. We stopped at Kopps Frozen Custard on the way back for some frozen, fattening goodness before continuing up the rain-slicked I-43. We were well out of the metro by the time we started talking again; not surprising, considering food from Kopps often results in silence.

I spent the evening hanging out with Lisa and a couple of her friends. Things seem to be going pretty well with her. Her new house is nice and so are her cats. (Granted, they still have claws and are quite capable of giving one welts, but only do so you provoke them, which I may or many not have done one or two times.) Anyway, the general plan was for us to catch a movie before heading to one of the local bars. (Lisa made a half-hearted attempt at getting me drunk, but it didn't go very far.) Unfortunately, by the time ________ got to Lisa's there was no time to see anything at the Strand, so we loaded up in Lisa's Exploder to rent a movie at a nearby grocery store that hasn't been remodeled since I was in middle school. I don't care to go into details as to how this happened, but we ended up renting Cruel Intentions 2, a movie that quickly made its way into my list of top five worst films of all time. There are two kinds of really bad movies: Movies so bad they're good (see Repo Man), and movies so bad they make you want to throw yourself into traffic. (In fairness, Repo Man sometimes looks like it was intentionally bad... Which would make it brilliant.) Cruel Intentions 2 was the second kind, although for some reason we all kept watching it. (Ok, so I was on the floor playing with the cats most of the time, although I was watching the movie. Especially that one scene where... Er, never mind.)

The movie mercifully over, we picked up Lisa's friend Sarah and headed over to Studio 8, Manitowoc's lame attempt at a nightclub. The music seemed to be the same crap playing at the River Falls college bars three years ago. As if that wasn't disturbing enough, about a third of my graduating class seemed to be there, too. Some people looked just like they did the day they graduated. Others looked like they'd been through the wringer a couple of times. (And, hey, didn't ______ have that same outfit her sophomore year?) My beard probably kept some people from recognizing me, although that's not to say I'm complaining. I did have a few good conversations with former classmates though. And Lisa? Well, the evening confirmed my suspicions about her being evil.

We left a few minutes before closing time. ________ headed back to Green Bay and we dropped Sarah off at her house. Lisa and I hung out at her house for a while afterwards, talking about nothing in particular. It was late and I was getting tired, though, so I retired to my parent's house a little before 4:00.

That was pretty much it for Thanksgiving. I'd planned on finding a different way to drive home--US 8, perhaps--but left late enough that I opted to cross Wisconsin on 29. It was a quick drive, one I probably could have made with no stops had I bothered to fill up the gas tank before leaving.

Well, i'ts early Friday morning and I'm down in my old bedroom, sitting on a bed and typing on my iPaq. It doesn't have much battery power left (I forgot the cord back up in Minneapolis), so this is going to have to be short.

Thanksgiving dinner was very good. Uncle Pat didn't join us this time, so it was just Mom, Dad and me. Everything was good, but the mashed potatoes were the most notable. The only place I have mashed potatoes anymore is the cafeteria at work, and I sort of forgot how crappy those are. Well, I've been reminded. Funny how inconsistencies like lumps can be a good thing.

Other than dinner, I spent most of the day driving around Two Rivers and reminding myself how much I hate this godforsaken place. The city still doesn't have all that much going for it, and the little it does have it seems determined to destroy. Case in point: The new high school. They're abandoning a wonderful old building near the center of town for a farily typical structure located what seems to be a couple miles out of the city. No one can walk or bike there. People will have to take a bus or be driven. I found myself standing in the middle of Wisconsin 42 looking in every which direction, wondering what the fuck the people of Two Rivers were thinking. In other areas the downtown is still OK--although it needs work--and the new fire station is remarkably good considering the other stunts the city has pulled lately. Still, there's not too much to be optimistic about. As long as they don't fuck up the beach or convert Neshotah Park to retirement housing, the city won't be completely worthless.

Manitowoc seems to be faring a bit better. Maybe it's because of the interstate, maybe it's because, unlike Two Rivers, it actually has a mayor who can champion causes for the community. (Two Rivers works under a city manager system. I get the feeling it may be good for number crunching, road improvements and electrical systems, but not much for quality of life.) Not that's I'd endorse the past couple of individuals who held that position, but what the heck. Lincoln high apparently just had a lot of money invested in it, which I consider a good thing as it's a wonderful piece of civic architecture. The downtown is a bit dead, but there are signs of improvement, including a restaurant that replaced an old mainstay. The addition to the UW College is impressive, too. I'm glad to see that institution get such an investment. As far as facilities go, for too long UW-Manitowoc seemed to lag behind the other UW Colleges.

I spent the evening hanging out with Kris, and old friend from my Lakeshore Chronicle days. She seems to be doing pretty well, especially in the travel category. We walked around the downtown a little, looked for a bar that was A) open, and B) not lame, and failing to find one, stopped and picked up some surprisingly good cappuccino from Kwik Trip before going back to her house to babble for a couple of hours. The tentative plan calls for her to visit the Twin Cities sometime next spring or summer. Her travels in Minnesota have been limited to the mega mall and the World's largest ball of twine, so it should be good for her to tromp around Minneapolis and Saint Paul some.

Well, it's getting late and I didn't sleep too well last night, so I'm going to hit it. I'm supposed to call Biker Ben tomorrow morning and hopefully will get to spend some time with Lisa as well. Should be fun.

More later.

It would be charitable to say The Gift was marked by a predictable plot and poor acting; it would be more fair to say it was just plain stupid. This was a film that actually tried to give a serious portrayal of police officers bickering over doughnuts. (I kept expecting the logo for Lifetime Television to come up in the lower right hand corner of the screen, but it never happened.) The spousal-abuse element was partially interesting, but that was only because the movie was written by Billy Bob Thorton, who reportedly knows a thing or two about that subject. Unfortunately, that diversion was nowhere near interesting enough to make up for Cate Blanchett, Keanu Reeves and Giovanni Ribisi all forgetting to act. Even if you're desperate to see a movie, avoid The Gift. You'd probably be better off staring at a blank wall than watching this piece of shit.

Then again, Rich and Heather liked it, so I could be wrong.

Rich has agreed to leave before 11:00 at least twice a week. That's all I needed.

 ) ) ) 

Amelie is one of the best movies I've seen in a long, long time. I'm usually not one for happy films, but in this case it probably took a half hour for the grin to recede from my face.

 ) ) ) 

It was a strangely philosophical day at work. A higher-up used a built a business metaphor around Schrodinger's Cat, a coworker used the three-dot therefore symbol (whatever the hell it's called) in a memo and a brief discussion centered on whether we should name a product after Nietzsche.

 ) ) ) 

Eh, another long day after another sleepless night. Rich was here until quarter to one this morning. I was involved in the conversation and found it good, but by the time he left I was too tired to hit my journal. I've done very little journaling over the past month and a half and have a lot to write about. I tried to fall asleep, but instead found myself in a torturous area between thinking about all the things I want to write about and the knowledge that I'm too tired to do so coherently.

I'm wearing all black today. That's not because I wanted to, but because my black shirt and slacks are the only articles of clothing that survived last night's pen incident.

 ) ) ) 

Yesterday was a long day. While almost all of my good clothing was getting destroyed in the dryer, I went for a walk in hopes of relieving some stress. It was a warm night, almost spring-like. Isles was shrouded in fog, its surrounding trees, barren for the season, reaching into the mist as if they aspired to be veins. Calhoun was like glass, it's circle of fog opening to unusually visible stars above. Both lakes were peculiarly silent for such a nice evening: There were two fishermen philosophizing quietly by Lake Street, a couple kissing on swings near the beach club, another couple talking in some foreign tongue and a woman straining to keep up with her speeding dalmatian, but, beyond them, no one. Or, maybe, there were hundreds out and they all just happened to be walking the same direction and speed I was.

Well, what a fucking day this has been. Work is nuts, my brother reportedly is having run-ins with the cops, I still don't have e-mail, friends are having issues and some fuck left a pen in the dryer. All but two of my dress shirts are fucked. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

It was a good, relatively lazy weekend. (Well, the lazy part was mainly due to the fact I couldn't fall asleep before 4:00am either Saturday or Sunday, but anyway...) I took care of some painting in the kitchen (the ugly green tiles placed their by our predecessors are history), patched the cracked plaster in my bedroom and resolved a few issues present in the dining room. The paint I wanted to use in my bedroom requires a primer coat, so I held off on that and may end up using a different shade of grey instead. Anyway, the rest of the weekend was pretty much spent running around taking care of errands. A brief rest came Saturday evening in the form of a board-game party at Meg's, which pretty much consisted of an extended game of Outburst, some good food and a detailed discussion of why the Twin Cities mass-transit system sucks.

 ) ) ) 

As expected, the new album from The Dismemberment Plan is quite good.

 ) ) ) 

Spotted on a banner hung from an I-35W overpass this morning: Osama Pohlad.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. Maybe it's the end of Daylight Savings Time, maybe it's stress at work, maybe it's something else. I woke up late this morning, my eyes creaking open 30 minutes after the alarm went off and 10 minutes before I was supposed to be at work. With a commute time of a half hour, that's not good. Still, I somehow managed to get into my cube only 25 minutes late. The problem is this kind of stuff has been happening more frequently lately. I've tried to compensate by going to be earlier, but all that's resulted in is me lying awake until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.

Thoughts of returning to school have become more frequent lately. Whether I'll get off my lazy ass and do something about it isn't very clear, though. The usual reservations remain: I suck at math, the world doesn't need any more architects, etc. However, there's a new reservation now, and it's a biggie. From a financial standpoint this is the most comfortable I've ever been. Memories of those eight months following college are still very clear: There were days I didn't know where I was going to be living the next week, weeks where I didn't know how I'd be able to afford to eat the next month. It was a time I remember--literally--as being dark. The past three years have been an exercise in getting as far away from that as possible. Now that I have stability, I'm not sure I'm willing to give it up.

All things considered I like who I am now over who I was four years ago, but in many ways feel that I've grown weaker over the intervening years. I'm not as smart as I once was, I don't have the resolve I once had, I don't care as much as I used to. But now, more than anything, I'm just tired.

 ) ) ) 

Well, I signed up for cable Internet access last night. It'll be installed on the 17th. I can't wait to send and receive e-mail normally again.

I forgot to vote before I went to work this morning, so I came home early to make sure I'd get my vote in. It was obvious Heather and Rich weren't expecting me to open the front door around 6:00 ("You were so quiet coming up the stairs!"), but I was willing to look past that when they decided to try to distract me with the pepperoni pizza baking in the oven. I walked down to the Unitarian Meeting House, filled in the circle by the liberal black female DFLer who bulldozed my favorite downtown restaurant, slapped the "I VOTED" sticker over my heart and wandered over to Cheapo to see if the new Dismemberment Plan CD was in. I passed the Belmont along the way and glanced in one of its basement windows. I expected to see washing machines, but instead saw a couple making out on a couch to the light of a flickering television. Cheapo didn't have the CD ("I'm going to be the first one to buy one," the clerk said), so I walked home along Lake Of The Isles. The apartment was empty when I got back, and hence here I am merrily typing away. Oh, wait, here they are.

 ) ) ) 

So I can write but I can't upload. Heck, I can't even send e-mail. My Qwest DSL is now "MSN powered by Qwest," and to do anything users are required to use MSN and Microsoft products. As an Eudora user who has a number of e-mail accounts through a third-party hosting service (OLM, highly recommended), I'm pretty much screwed. I hope to have cable access with in a couple of weeks, but who knows.

 ) ) ) 

Walking in from the parking lot this morning I was greeted by a small plane buzzing my company's campus and irritated-looking security people staring at it as they conversed on walkie-talkies.

[ Entry Deleted. ]

 ) ) ) 

Since I'm griping about things that annoy me, I'm sick of coworkers stopping by my cubicle to comment on how incredibly fast I type. Hey, I don't type fast. You type slow.

It looks like it's going to be a nice weekend to be in Chicago. No rain is expected Friday, Saturday or Sunday and highs will be around 60 all three days.

It'll be good to see the lake again.

 ) ) ) 

So, anyway, as far as photography goes, I'm seriously considering going digital for the trip to New York later this month. This is something I would've considered sacrilegious no less than half a year ago, but a number of factors are playing into it. This weekend's trip to Chicago is going to be somewhat of a test run: I'll be taking my SLR along, but it's my plan to stay digital through the trip. Chicago is familiar to me and I expect to be visiting Sarah on at least a semi-regular basis, so if the photos tank, well, I'll live. Probably.

 ) ) ) 

Today's number, courtesy of the auto glass company, is $407.08.

 ) ) ) 

He handed me the keys to my car.

"You should go easy on your car for the next couple of days. That means don't drive it for the next couple of hours and don't wash it for at least two days."


"Remember it's just glue holding the windshield in. Try to keep pressure off it, keep it out of heavy rain if possible. Just use common sense and you should be fine."

I'll probably drive around 450 miles tomorrow.

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