22 November 2005


I started a notebook when I went up to Puckaway this weekend. Figured I'd share some of it with you. This is the most clear passage so far.

Sometimes I’ll just stand out there, observing. Usually very late, very bright for evening, and quiet. A light breeze can tell you the time of year. In spring, it’s a crisp, warm noise. You hear the grasses of the marsh rustling in the distance. In summer, the grass competes with the choruses of peepers. It’s a wet noise then, recent raindrops tumbling from their temporary homes among the trees. In fall, of course, you hear the lazy wanderings of the leaves as they tour the grounds.

It’s winter now, and I hear almost nothing. That’s not to say it’s silent; the little I do hear is of such clarity that I feel aware of my surroundings for miles. My mind floods with images of still serenity. Glistening, frosted marsh grass. The last standing corn fields of the season. A small, frozen stream as it enters a culvert and disappears from the moonlight. I see these things because I can hear them. The grass whispers lightly, but constantly. It’s refusal to be covered by the fresh-fallen snow is accompanied by a refusal to stay silent. The stalks of corn stand straight and still, sentries guarding the fields by night, but their dry leaves rustle in even the slightest breeze, announcing their presence to all within earshot. And the wind howls softly as it follows the flow of the stream into the culvert and disappears from the soft, blue tones of twilight.

Winter has a way of concentrating the senses. The smell and taste of the air is gone, masked by a cold, sharp flavor that heightens alertness. Coldness compromises touch and sensation. Either exposure leads to numbness or layers separate you from your surroundings. Left with only sight and sound, your senses are further filtered and focused by a thick blanket of white that covers the land.

I stand there, observing. Looking and listening. I’m searching, but I don’t know what for.

01 November 2005

Technical Difficulties (Update)

My blog is being weird about uploading lately. I'll be restoring old posts as fast as I can. Sorry if your comments get deleted.

Novemeber 22, 2005
All of the old posts have been restored. Unfortunately, the comments could not be. Either way, everything is working again. Thanks for reading.

31 October 2005

Tivo is a Gateway Drug

You'd think it'd be enough for me to have what is essentially a high-powered digital VCR, replete with cool features like season scheduling, a decent content management system, episode info--the list goes on. I'm afraid though that it isn't. I've discovered the glory of On Demand programming.

Side note: I don't really have a Tivo. No cute little bubble noises as I push remote buttons, no funny little anthropomorphic TV set, no cutesy names for the recording functions... Nope, I've got the Time Warner/Scientific Atlanta equivalent. But "Tivo" is like "Band-Aid" or "Kleenex". And since I don't feel like referring to my cable box as a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000 Personal Video Recorder, TiVo Inc. can suck it up just like Johnson & Johnson and Kimberly-Clark and accept that its brand name has gone generic. Although I should note that I refuse to capitalize the v. Anyway, that was just a whole waste of a paragraph.

Sure, Tivo is nice, but you've got to plan for it. You've got to know what you want to record, when it's on, etc. And sometimes, I either don't know what I'm in the mood for or too lazy to queue something up. Also, sometimes I end up ending sentences in prepositions and don't care. Given all of that, it's obvious my fat American ass needs something more simple and convenient. Enter On Demand.

I was watching TV at Lyssa's sister's place in Madison this weekend (more on the weekend below) and she told me to check out her On Demand stuff. Until now, I've pictured VOD technology as being severely limited. I thought you could only get certain movies at certain time windows, with the little gimmick of being able to pause it. Maybe that's how it was, but anyway, the reality of it is much cooler. Depending on the channel, you can get all sorts of cool stuff. Adult Swim On Demand has the latest episodes of their original programming, and a bunch of anime, if you're into that sort of thing (I'm not). Comedy Central On Demand has a bunch of stand-up that you don't get to see anymore. And Oxygen On Demand (catching the creative renaming of the networks yet?) has karaoke, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't ask me why I know that. Coolest part? It's all free.

Kinda. I don't know how the Charter packages work, but for Time Warner, it'll work for any channel that you can get in your programming package, as long as it actually has an On Demand cousin (some don't--noticably SciFi, USA, and FX).

But, damnit, I wanted to watch Sex and the City and actually hear the swearing. And Curb Your Enthusiasm is cool. And I wanted to check out the big fuss over The Sopranos and Six Feet Under for myself. So I had no choice but to order HBO. Mind you, getting HBO ain't what it used to be. We had it way back when I was 6, and all I remember was being kicked out of the room whenever naughty parts came on the screen. That was when it was only one channel that was being pumped through a cable box that looked like little more than a cheap digital alarm clock. Now you get 12 channels worth of God-knows-what, and it's awesome. Still, never would have gotten this stuff were it not for the On Demand aspect. Even with 12 channels, the odds of me finding something I like at any given time are less than I'd like. And HBO On Demand (compared to the free network On Demands) is huge! Tons of movies, at least 10 episodes at a time of each of their original series, stand up specials (with no censoring!!!)--it's good stuff. Well worth the money.


Mike and I look guilty.
It was a good time. I'm not going to go into a play-by-play, because it won't be as cool to anyone who wasn't there, and if you were there with me, you should remember it. (Except for Travis, who's damn lucky he can even remember his name anymore after his drunken Saturday night meltdown.)
A couple of highlights, though:
- I really love it when Christine and Christopher fight. Anything that makes me look better by comparison is a good thing. And besides, it's usually very entertaining. She actually Springer-slapped him!
- Yes, I puked. In my defense, it was 8am, after a night of hard drinking and sleeping on a hard floor. And I took it like a man. Just ask Mike.

My geek bone tingled.
- Mike and I got a picture taken with Cloud and Squall! Excellent costumes; hooray for cosplay!
- Mike found Lyssa's tickle spot. Oddly, seeing another man make my girlfriend squirm and moan didn't piss me off; it made me chuckle.
- And finally, Lyssa looks great in a dress.

Well, that's all that's new and worth mentioning, I suppose. Maybe I'll actually rant about some area drama one of these days; it's building up and I'm getting tired of it. See ya on the flipside, people.

28 October 2005

Misty Mountain Hop

Yeah, that title doesn't make sense... I just like the song. Anyway, I haven't much to say, but I've been rather lax in my postings so I figured one was about due.

Last night I went to Wal Mart with Tuck and noticed that Oshkosh has been blessed with an Xbox 360 kiosk. Well, I picked up the familiar controller, played through the menus, and, while it's pretty and shiny, I was kind of disappointed. I'm sure the system's potential is still mostly untapped, but the demo of Call of Duty: Insert Sequel Title Here looked like it could have run on my PC. And that's not too impressive. I've got a GeForce 3 Ti500, and while it's quite the trooper for a 5 year old card (it handles Quake 4 at 1280x1024 decently), it certainly isn't the pinnacle of graphics achievement. Here's hoping that by the PS3 launch next summer, some developers actually figure out what to do with all that hardware. (and bunnie hacks the newer, tougher security)

Well, soon I'll be in Madison for some Halloween interestingness. Mike and I just got done compiling the Time Life Drunken Music Celebration Collection. That's right, folks. This 3 CD set contains such classics as Chumbawamab's "Tubthumping", the RBF classic, "Beer", and many more fun numbers to belt out off-key. Now available for the low, low price of Free! (Thanks, MP3 collection.)
So yeah, we've got almost 60 songs to keep us company. Should be a good time. I'll likely have a long post full of memory holes and digital photos come Monday.

Peace out, readers.

10 October 2005

Hooray for Surveys!

Now that I actually have an active blog, I get to use these fun little buggers. Enjoy my faux-clever answers and feel free to fill this out for yourself as a comment, or let me know if you've got one going.

The Basics . . .
  Gender: 100% Man
  Sexual Preference: As often as I can physically handle.
  Single: Try "engaged".
  Birthday: Once a year on October 6, every day since 1984.
  Age: 21
  Age I act: When I'm tired: 70. When in public: 4. Anything else ranges.
  Age I wish I was: My age, but in the 50s, in a Tiki bar.
  Height: 6'3"
  Eye Color: Dark brown
  Happy with it?: If you can be upset with your eye color, you need more to worry about.
  Lefty/Righty/Ambidextrous: I lean right in most situations.
  Family: Mommy and daddy. And cool people who have become my relatives by choice.
  Pets: Hannah, my big, fluffy German Shepherd/Collie
  Piercings?: I put a knife through my hand once, but that was just an embarrasing accident. From now on I'm just going to buy coconut shavings and save myself the time, effort, and potential danger.
  Tattoos?: I had some cool press on ones in middle school.
  Do you speak another language?: Qapla', bitches.
  Have a favorite quote?: "Welcome to heaven; here's your harp. Welcome to hell; here're your bagpipes."
  Deep thoughts about life and you in it?: I don't much matter.
  Do you live in the moment?: Only, it seems, when it can embarrass me the most.
  Do you have any secrets?: I don't think there's anything that I keep completely to myself, but there are certainly things that I'm selective in divulging.
  Do you hate yourself?: Fuck, no. I rock.
  Do you like your handwriting?: Yeah, because no one else can read it.
  If a movie was made about your life, what would it be called?: I don't know, but it'd probably be a straight-to-DVD release.
  Can you sing?: Yes, but just because I can doesn't mean I should.
  Do you ever pretend to be someone else just to look cool?: I can't look cool no matter what. I've pretened to be someone else to scare the crap out of someone, though.
  If you were another person, would you be friends with you?: Yeah, but I'd complain about me to my other friends.
  Are you passive or aggressive?: I prefer "direct". Agressive sounds like I could hurt someone; all I really am is upfront.
  Do you have a journal?: You're lookin' at it.
  Do you think you are emotionally strong?: Stronger now than before, because I know what makes me weak.
  Is there anything you regret doing/not doing in life?: There are things I wish I hadn't done, but I wouldn't go back and change them.
  Do you think life has been good so far?: All in all, yes.
  What is the most important lesson you've learned from life?: Don't dwell.
  What do you like the most about your body?: I can cover it with clothes so no one can see it.
  Do you smoke?: Only when I'm soldering.
  Drink?: Only when I'm not soldering.
  Read the newspaper?: I would, but who wants to go out and get a newspaper when my electronics catalogs are right here?
  Pray?: Yes, but not usually for myself.
  Go to church?: It's been quite a while. Please direct me to one that's not corrupt.
  Talk to strangers who IM you?: That doesn't happen much, but I would.
  Sleep with stuffed animals?: No, but I should.
  Take walks in the rain?: I don't take walks that much in general. But rain wouldn't stop me if I was motivated.
  Drive?: Would if I could.
  Like to drive fast?: Not since the whole ticket/insurance thing really hit home.

Have you ever . . .
  Been out of the country?: Not yet.
  Eaten something that made other people sick?: I seem to do this often. Ask Mike about the bar pickle.
  Been in love?: I am right now. :)
  Done drugs?: Outside of my Zyrtec, nope.
  Had a medical emergency?: Broke and dislocated my arm at school when I was 10. Crazy stuff.
  Had surgery?: Quite a few times, the biggest being open-heart surgery, the coolest being when they dug a piece of steel out of my hand.
  Ran away from home?: Nah. Where the hell would I have gone?
  Played strip poker?: I don't even know how to play regular poker.
  Got beaten up?: Not bad, but I've taken a few hits in my time.
  Beaten someone up?: That was just plain fun.
  Been picked on?: Who the hell would be able to answer no to this?
  Gone one day without food?: Get a stomach flu. Ugh.
  Talked on the phone all night?: A couple of times.
  Slept together with the opposite sex?: Indeed.
  Slept all day?: Hell, I do that now.
  Killed someone?: Only a methane probe at Puckaway will tell you for sure.
  Made out with a stranger?: I was told I shouldn't even talk to strangers.
  Had sex with a stranger?: See above response.
  Thought you were going crazy?: Not really. I have an unhealthy habit of accepting myself as normal.
  Done anything sexual with the same sex?: Nothing serious, but I had my testicle bitten once.
  Had a dream that came true?: (I expect "aww"s and/or groans) I'm marrying her.
  Broken the law?: Intellectual property law: daily. Traffic tickets: several. And there's other minor ugliness.
  Met a famous person?: Not really.
  Have you ever killed an animal by accident?: Damn rabbit came out of nowhere. And right after I swerved to avoid a family of ducks.
  Told a secret you swore you wouldn't tell?: When someone tells you they're huritng themself and thinking of suicide, you're a bastard if you keep it to yourself.
  Stolen anything?: Yeah, that's the "minor ugliness" mentioned above.
  Been on radio/TV?: Called in to Belling once and he didn't yell at me. That was cool. And Ryan's documentary was on PBS. That was awesome.
  Had a nervous breakdown?: A few times.
  Had a dream that kept coming back?: Ok, I'm going to go out and explain this one. I'm back in high school because they find out I'm missing a credit for something or other. Anyway, it's just impossible. It's not the kids, not like most high school dreams you'd think of, it's the faculty. They're all evil because they know they have inappropriate amounts of power over me again. Those dreams suck.

My beliefs . . .
  Miracles?: I've seen enough in my day.
  Magic?: It'd be damn cool, but no.
  God?: You bet. Throw in Christ and the Holy Spirit, too.
  Santa?: Invented by parents to shut their kids the hell up for the entire month of December.
  Ghosts?: I want to believe. But I'd need to see one.
  Luck?: Nah, and karma neither.
  Love at first sight?: That's a big yes.
  Do you wish on stars?: No, but they're cool things to see.

Deep theological questions . . .
  Do you believe in the traditional view of heaven and hell?: Clouds and fire? That's too tangible and Earth-like. And our general view of hell actually comes from Pagan imagery. I think hell is cold, dark, and lonely. It's the only place that doesn't know the presence of God.
  Do you think god has a gender?: Again, that's just projecting what we know on what we don't. What would God Almightly need with genitals? Or if you're just asking psychologically, whether God thinks like a guy or a girl, I say you're a fool if you pretend to know the mind of God.
  Where do you think we go when we die?: Depends on the person.

The friends . . .
  Do you have any gay/lesbian friends?: Not any really close ones, but yeah.
  Who is your best friend?: Lyssa. Don't know how it would rank among my man-friends.
  Who's the one person that knows most about you?: Lyssa, maybe Red.
  Who's your longest known friend?: That's a tie: Petey and Travis.
  Newest?: Tucker. I mean, I knew of this god-among-men for a while now, but didn't really get to know him 'til this year.
  Shyest?: Shelby wins this one, though she does have her moments of boldness.
  Funniest?: Any of my roommates, collectively or combined.
  Sweetest?: Tuck Man. That kid's an angel.
  Closest?: Lyssa, of course, but then Petey.
  Weirdest?: Petey, now and forever.
  Smartest?: That's a hard one to narrow down. Depends on what kind of smart. I'd definately have a good selection of phone-a-friends on Millionare.
  Friend you miss being close to the most?: Joe and Red. :P
  Last person you talked to online?: Lyssa, Shelby, Jeremy and Joe. SIMULTANEOUSLY. Because I rock like that.
  Who do you talk to most online?: Kaj, Shelby, and Red.
  Who are you on the phone with most?: My mom. :)
  Who do you trust most?: Lyssa, hands down.
  Who listens to your problems?: Lyssa, Petey, and/or Mike.
  Who do you fight most with?: I don't fight much. But most arguements are in-house.
  Who's the nicest?: See "Sweetest".
  Who's the best singer?: Tuck can belt 'em out something fierce, but Lyssa's my Angel of Music. :)
  Do you always feel understood?: I'm clear, but not easy to figure out.
  Who's the loudest friend?: Petey Boy, coming in clear.
  Do you trust others easily?: Once I get to know them well enough, generally.
  Who's house were you last at?: Lyssa's.
  Do your friends know you?: I'd like to think so. If they don't, it's their own damn fault.
  Friend that lives farthest away?: Bob's way up in the U.P., that's quite a drive.

Love and all that . . .
  Do you consider love a mistake?: That's stupid. No.
  What do you find romantic?: Knowing me well enough to be able to answer that yourself.
  First kiss?: Way back in junior high. Ugh.
  Do you prefer knowing someone before dating them or going out?: It only seems logical.
  Have you ever wished it was more socially acceptable for a girl to ask a guy out?: Every time I've had to ask someone out.

Who was the last person . . .
  You wanted to kill?: I don't really want to kill anyone... But there are a few I'd hurt.
  That you laughed at?: Mike.
  That laughed at you?: Mike. It's our thing.
  You went shopping with?: Mike, Lyssa, and Jenny.
  That broke your heart?: Sarah. That was a while ago.
  To make you cry?: All I've got to do is think about my grandpa for a while, and tears are guaranteed.
  That you thought about?: Lyssa's usually on the brain.
  You talked to on the phone?: Some lady from my bank.
  You saw?: Petey Boy.

Right this moment . . .
  Who are you going out with?: I'm engaged to Alyssa Gail Molter. :D
  What are you wearing right now?: I'm actually wearing my personal clothing stereotype. Solid-color hooded sweatshirt, nondescript blue jeans from Kohls, and my best pair of Vans. The only thing that stands out is my kick-ass new watch.
  What are you worried about right now?: School and my financial future. I'm accepting donations.
  What book are you reading?: Turn of the Screw for class, and some Star Trek paperback for myself.
  Use 5 words to describe how you're feeling: I want to get married.
  Are you bored?: Too anxious to be bored.
  Are you tired?: Perpetually.
  Are you talking to anyone online?: Lyssa.
  Are you talking to anyone on the phone?: Nuh-uh.
  Are you lonely or content?: I'm feelin' good.
  Are you listening to music?: Yeah, actually. I just busted out some old school Semisonic.

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