Welcome to in transit, a lame attempt at a homepage by Mark Danielson. This site contains a regular journal, photography, rants and other miscellaneous stuff. However, it does not contain information about quantum nonlocality.

Now, if you're still here after that, if you can read this, you're either accessing the site through a device like a screen-reader, have a very old graphical browser or are using a text browser like Lynx (university physics geeks, you're the cause of that first paragraph). You may want to consider downloading a graphical browser that complies with Web standards, such as Mozilla, Netscape 7 or Internet Explorer 6. (Then you'll get to see what this page is supposed to look like.)

By the way, if you have any suggestions on how to make this site more accessible, please e-mail me at mrbula@nonlocality.com.


I am king of the awkward people.

 ) ) ) 

In other news, I restarted my offline journal this evening.

new carpet

Car fires always happen at the most inconvenient times.

I stopped by HOM Furniture after work this evening to pick up the new carpet for my living room. The purchase was planned and uneventful, but the drive home didn't go nearly as well. Smoke started billowing out of the air vents as soon as I pulled out of the parking lot. That's actually not that unusual with the Saab, so I ignored it at first, but this time the smoke kept coming. I pulled over, popped the hood and had what could charitably be referred to as an "oh shit" moment. Thankfully I had a bottle of water with me and was able to extinguish the flames. Overall the car was OK, but a couple of belts broke and/or melted in the fiasco and the compressor for the air conditioner presently sits disconnected. If everything goes as planned, that'll all get fixed tomorrow morning. In the meantime Mark is again without a car, although it's not like I was planning on going anywhere this evening.

As far as my new carpet goes, that's it on the right.

 ) ) ) 

I keep saying I love my car, but I'm becoming less and less sure of that. Tomorrow I expect at least two people to tell me to buy a Toyota and at least one person to tell me to buy American.


The Montreal photos are finally done. There are almost 100 of them and some of the file sizes are a bit big, so a faster connection is recommended.

 ) ) ) 

For reasons I'm not going to explain here, I consider today crunch day for furnishing my apartment. I'm having trouble staying within my budget, though. For the bedroom, I'm looking at a bed from Room & Board. Problem is, it's a good $700 more than what I considered my limit on a bed frame. But I really like it. The living room is problematic as well, but for different reasons. I found a cool rug, but I'm stuck on the couch and chairs. I like this couch more, but this one would probably look better in my present apartment. The first one is more comfortable for sitting and reading, the second more comfortable for flopping and watching TV. I do both on a regular basis, so that's a wash.

As is probably obvious, I really love Room & Board. Unfortunately, the place is pretty expensive, so other than a couple of items, most of my new furnishings will probably be coming from Elements, Target Boutique and the like.

Wait a second... Am I actually writing about this again? I guess I am.


This evening I came home to find two of my neighbors making out on the front steps to the building. And I don't just mean kissing, I mean sprawled out, one on top of the other, two left hands holding beers and two right hands unseen making out. Although amusing, it was nowhere near the strangest thing I've seen on those front steps. That probably would've been the glittered college chick going through some kind of a relapse.

I love my apartment.


So this evening I finally took the plunge and started using the teeth whitening "system" I invested $300 in a few weeks ago. Instead of following the directions that came with the package, I followed those given to me by my dentist. Initial results were, uh, interesting. I wasn't supposed to see any changes until a week or so into the process, but tonight I'm already seeing results from only one hour's use. Yup, white spots all over my teeth.

Tomorrow I'll follow the directions that came with the package.

 ) ) ) 

I'm desperately trying to restrain myself from writing things that shouldn't be posted in a public medium like this one. I used to keep a regular journal, but that's fallen by the wayside over the past year, mostly because of this site. I really need to start writing in it again, for now it looks like there could be things to write about.

But anyway...

 ) ) ) 

2:30 in the morning and I'm still awake. Dammit.

window minus air conditioner

Today was not a good day. It's unfortunate that I feel that way, as it's a beautiful evening. There's a warm rain falling outside, sunlight's breaking through the clouds, thunder's rumbling in the distance. I should be sitting out in the sunroom, windows open, enjoying it all of it. But I'm not, and, for whatever reason, I'm not really in the mood to be, either.

Things started to go poorly right around midnight when I attempted to go to bed. After tossing and turning for an hour, I decided to get up and read for a while, and ended up heading back to bed around 2:30. Sleep still wouldn't come, though, so I got up again, played solitaire for a few minutes and headed back to bed sometime around 3:30. I tried to ignore the time, but 4:00 came and went, and I was still awake. I'm not sure when I finally drifted off, but I do know the night sky was no longer completely dark.

Two things happened during those few brief hours I managed to get some sleep. One, it rained. Two, one of the old, corroded aluminum windows in my bedroom decided it was no longer up to the fight. When I awoke to the K at 8:15, my feet landed with a splash on the carpet next to my bed. Groggy and disorientated, it took me the better part of a minute to figure out what the heck happened. Once my brain got everything wired I decided I wasn't up for dealing with the situation, and so went and took a shower instead. Once done I surveyed the mess in my bedroom, called work, told them I'd be late, and spent the next hour moving furniture, mopping up puddles and plugging paper toweling around the offending window.

Work did not go well. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice to say my communication skills suck3. Something that should have been a relatively straight-forward project was turned into a rather disturbing mess because I failed to ask the right questions of the right people. (You know, I have a B.S. in journalism and a minor in philosophy. Asking questions is one thing I should be good at.) Even worse, a few innocent bystanders ended up getting burned by my ineptitude. Positive learning aspects notwithstanding, I'm not a big fan of making mistakes, but I especially dislike making them when they negatively affect other people.

Walking through the mostly-vacant parking lot after work, I stewed over poor decisions made over the past days and weeks. Gee Mark, I thought, you certainly did a wonderful job of elevating your profile today. After a brief pause I broke out laughing, and then somehow managed to maintain a smile the rest of the way to the car. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of my day.

Reading my mail as I entered my apartment building a short while later, I forgot that the new chandelier they installed in the front hall hangs about four inches lower than I am high. Whack. When I got to my apartment, it smelled like gas, as the pilot light on the stove had gone out again. After resolving that situation, I spent some time glaring at the note left under my door explaining that building residents should remove air conditioners and anything else blocking their windows so new windows can be installed over the next few days. Talk about great timing. Not only did that old window give out this morning, but I spent an hour and a half last weekend installing a new air conditioner in one of the other windows4. So, anyway, I ended up spending 20 minutes undoing my work.

And that was pretty much it for the day. You know, I think I'll go to bed early tonight.

 ) ) ) 

I've been relying on Central Reservation to keep me calm this evening. If I ever bothered to come up with a top-10-albums list, it would probably be on it. On an unrelated Beth Orton note, her new album comes out on the 27th 30th [entry edited 28 July], and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Sorta interesting that she's on Astralwerks now instead of Arista.


Despite my best efforts, another snarky, sarcastic comment drifted past my lips.

"Mark, if you weren't so cynical, you'd be good at marketing."

"I sort of was in marketing once."

There was a brief pause before a third person chimed in. "But we are in marketing."

"Shhh. The meeting's starting."

 ) ) ) 

"Now, wait a minute. What was that? Was that sarcasm?"

"I don't know."

"That's a problem."


 ) ) ) 

So I sat down, ready to start working on the Montreal photo captions, when I realized I didn't know where my traveling journal was. I proceeded to spend the next hour and a half unpacking boxes, repacking them2, moving things around and swearing a lot. Cleaning up the mess I made, I returned one of the boxes to the closet, bumping a shelf along the way. The journal fell to the ground, one of its sharp covers stabbing my right foot. I stared at it a moment, muttered my swear word of choice, sat down at the computer and started typing.

As is probably obvious, I didn't get the captions done.


You know what? I really need to stop predicting when I'm going to post stuff here, especially photos. It was a beautiful evening, so I decided to go out and enjoy it instead of sitting in this stuffy apartment banging away at the computer. Hence Montreal photos will have to wait until later this week.

 ) ) ) 

8:30 meeting tomorrow morning. Considering traffic and prep time, that means I'll have to get up around 6:45, which is pretty early if you know me. Ah, rush hour, you savage beast, what purpose do you serve?


Well, it took two air conditioners, three box fans and two extension cords, but Mark finally has a reasonably cool apartment. It's a bit strange having to disconnect one of the air conditioners every time I take a shower, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

 ) ) ) 

I'm done with the Montreal photos and am presently working on captions. I suspect I'll be able to post them tomorrow.

 ) ) ) 

In other news, check what I found in my kitchen the other day. (I'm not sure I'm allowed to explain why I put that graphic together, so...)


You think you've had a bad day? I've had this stuck in my head since late yesterday afternoon:

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!

And it just keeps repeating over and over and over and...

 ) ) ) 

Not helping my mood any is a lack of air conditioning in the front half of my apartment. I have my old air conditioner chugging away back in the bedroom, but the kitchen and living room remain hot and sticky. There's little difficulty finding air conditioners in the stores this year, but finding one that'll work in the front of my apartment is a different matter. The narrowest window available there is a whopping 39" wide, while some of its siblings span almost four feet. The windows are all too thin and flimsy to support a heavy air conditioner on their own and the external sills are too small to attach a support brace to. So, unless I get industrious and try to build some platform, it's just going to be fans for now. Dammit.

 ) ) ) 

None of this is even touching the fact I accidentally sent one of the window screens flying off the side of the building a few hours ago. Twice.


For sale: 1988 Saab 9000 5-door. Auto, power windows, power locks, moonroof, heated leather seats. Newer tires and exhaust, all regular maintenance (with records), runs great. Minor rust. AC non-functional (apx. $1800 to fix). Great winter car! $2000 O.B.O.


Not much, but they're a start:

More later.


I sometimes wonder whether the fact I'm a design-orientated person makes me more superficial than most folks are. I like to hold a decent view of myself, but days like today make me skeptical.

I spent much of the weekend hunting for a kitchen table, a coffee table, some chairs, a bed and some other items to finish off my apartment. I went out with general ideas of what I was looking for, all of them based on the assumption I wouldn't be getting rid of my existing furniture. I found a passable chair at 5 Day Furniture, a decent kitchen table at Elements, some shelving at Organized Living and a reasonably-priced rug at Pier 1. All in all, there was nothing to get too excited about, but everything seemed good enough. In typical fashion, I held off on purchasing anything until I'd finished canvassing all the stores I planned on visiting. That may have been a mistake, though, as when I finally relented and drove to Room & Board down in Edina, everything I was moderately satisfied with went out the window.

You know, when you find yourself working to suppress a smile when looking at something as simple as a couch or a bed frame, you know you have a problem. Unfortunately, that's the state I found myself in while wandering though the place. It didn't last too long, though: When I realized I was just a bit too happy about all the brushed metal and bleached maple, when I noticed there were paintings by Georgia O'Keefe and Edward Hopper on the walls, when it dawned on me they had Beth Orton playing over the speakers, well, I had to get out of there. Not only am I Room & Board's target market, I'm a little too targeted to feel comfortable in the place.

But I may still go back. After all, that couch and chair set was really nice. It would go good with that coffee table, and that one rug would set everything off nicely...

 ) ) ) 

Beyond that, I spent the weekend working on photos, reversing the doors on the refridgerator, gabbing with people on the phone and wandering around the neighborhood. There'd been talk last week about a bunch of people getting together for River Falls Days, but that fell through.

 ) ) ) 

Speaking of photos, I'm making progress. Over the next week or so photos should start popping up in the album, mostly in the form of days with only a few pictures, but in a few cases from more involved days as well. I'm about halfway done with Montreal and SXSW and nearly finished with San Francisco. (New York remains a beast to be tamed. Not only do I have an excessive number of photos from that trip, I'm not really happy with any of them.)

Following Robert's suggestion, I've started using Picture Information Extractor instead of the horrid photo-management tool Canon included with my camera. It cost 20 bucks, but I love it. Not only is it lightweight, fast and easy to use, it saves me enough time that I no longer dread trying to take care of my photos. (Relatively simple tasks that would take hours with Canon's program—the batch renaming of files, for example1—are accomplished with almost no hassle in PIE.) To a large extent, that simplicity is one of the main reason I've been cranking on the photos this weekend instead of coming up with another excuse to avoid them.


Okay, I guess I was lying about getting the Montreal photos up by today. Hopefully that'll happen this weekend, maybe along with some Weezer photos and a few pictures from other recent events. Of course, furniture and River Falls Days will be main priorities on Saturday, so...

 ) ) ) 

Strange evening. Walking back from Lunds, I got to listen to some spastic guy in a Ford Probe play bumper-car with no less than four parked automobiles. You know, there probably aren't all that many sounds that'll cause all the apartments on a city block to empty onto a street, but the screeching of metal on metal is definitely one of them.


Well, I'm 27. The teenage version of me is probably pretty disappointed.

 ) ) ) 

Speaking of the teenage version of me, I (he?) just got back from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Overheard in the restroom:

"You know what's better than Weezer?"


"Weezer and beer."

 ) ) ) 

I'm tired. My ears are ringing. But it's good.

More later.

minneapolis fireworks

What a weekend. It was good to have Ben and Beth visit and the cookout went well, but the apartment is still a mess and I'm exhausted. Tonight I should go to bed earlier than I usually do... Starting tomorrow, I'll be heading in to work a half hour earlier than I have been.

 ) ) ) 

Saw Minority Report late Wednesday evening. It's easily one of Spielberg's best films. It's visually stunning, has some great acting (especially by Tom Cruise... wait, did I just say that?), and the story, well, the story is a detailed and thought-provoking piece of work, much better than what we've come to expect from large-budget thrillers.

Of course, not everyone agrees. There seems to be a lot of people arguing that like A.I., Minority Report has "too many endings." While I can understand why people say that about A.I. (although I completely disagree with those who do), with Minority Report I honestly have no clue what they're talking about. The movie flows effortlessly from one scene to the next, with nothing extra or unnecessary tacked onto the end. So what if it has a denouement? Most great movies do. Since it's become trendy to compare everything Spielberg does with what Kubrick once did, let's look at Dr. Strangelove. It has a denouement, and you don't hear people bitching about that.

 ) ) ) 

One other note tangentially related to Ben and Beth visiting: Bar Abilene is pretty good. I must visit it again sometime.

 ) ) ) 

Talked to Lisa for a while this evening. Things seem to be going pretty well with her, so that's good. At one point she said I sounded a bit down and asked whether I was doing okay. I answered that I was fine and explained that I'd just had a busy weekend and wasn't handling the warm weather all that well. While that was completely true, from looking over some of my old journal entries (prompted by the A.I. link above), I do have to say my life was much more interesting a year ago.

Oh, boo hoo, Mark.

Anyway, towards the end of our conversation I mentioned that my Saab's power windows and air conditioning died just in time for the warm, sticky weather we've been having. After she stopped laughing, Lisa asked whether I was planning on getting rid of it, to which I replied of course not, I'm taking it in to have some work done. Predictably, she disagreed with such a course of action. "That's why you're not dating anyone, Mark. You're stuck in an unhealthy relationship with your car."

Maybe she's right. But I can't get rid of my car... I love my car. Besides, all my previous vehicles were rusted out beaters, so the problematic little machine I drive these days is still luxurious by comparison.


Something I did almost three years ago put a massive damper on my day this morning. On Monday I'm changing my work schedule from 10:00-6:30 to 9:30-6:00. No big deal, but the switch required a few changes on my electronic calendar at work in order to make myself available for meetings in the 9:30-10:00 time slot. So I'm in the calendar making the changes, and I notice there's a reminder set on Tuesday the 9th, which happens to be my 27th birthday. I open it and realize it's from myself:

Well, fuck.


The first day of the month is rent day. Heading off to work this morning, I paused by the building manager's apartment to drop off the check, but it caught on something as I slid it under the door. I pulled it back, selected another part of the door and tried again. Once again it stuck, but this time the event was accompanied by a gentle thunk. Hmmm. Try again. Thunk. Heh, must be their cat. Slide, thunk, slide, thunk, slide, thunk. This went on for about a minute until I decided I really had to get to work and finally relinquished my hard-earned money to the unseen feline.

 ) ) ) 

In other news, I have way too many irons in the fire this week. The problem with running a million ways at the same time, of course, is that it's impossible to have any direction. In the next few days I have to finish painting some trim (the rest of the painting is done!), unpack and place my belongings, clean the apartment for company, get ready for the cookout, and, time permitting, get some sleep.

Speaking of sleep, it didn't work out too well last night. The power failed to my apartment (but not the building) not once but twice. As if the lack of air conditioning on a sticky summer night wasn't enough, the failure blacked the alarm clock I rely on to get my lazy butt out of bed in the morning. When I'm done painting later this evening I'm planning on running an extension cord from my clock to one of the few reliable outlets in my apartment. That should take care of that problem.

The apartment people said they'd have an electrician in today to give an estimate on running an additional 120 volt line to each of the front units. Doing so would pretty much take care of the power outages caused by too many air conditioners or other large appliances running at the same time, at least in cases where the electrical system is shared. (I don't share my power with other apartments like some units do, although the circuit I'm on does light the third-floor hallway and the back stairwell.)


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