Friday, July 29

Preparation O

All of the girls in the family have gotten their hair cut – including the dog. Unfortunately, now she looks a little bit like a chihuahua, except her head is smaller. She's highly amusing, but just as ferocious.

Now that the apartment is official, I've been devoting time to packing. I'm finding it difficult to get motivated to do a lot of things, although I've managed to throw out a lot of stuff that's just been sitting in the basement getting dirty and damp. And covered with spider webs. I really should get my butt moving a little more, but I think I've made a good amount of progress. I won't really have time for anything next week, thanks to work on Monday and Tuesday, and fleeing to Chicago on Wednesday (via CR to pick up Ashlee and company, of course). I figure I'll get back home sometime Thursday morning, hopefully before 11, so that I can put more crap in my car and drive another two hours to O-town. I think I'm going to find someone to be my surrogate sleeper, as I doubt I'll have time.

In knitting news, I've finished Mr BoJangles' birthday present, although presently it fits more like a lampshade than a fun stripey hat. I have an idea or two up my sleeve, though. Also, I've just frogged a blanket for my mom that I started to make sometime around last Christmas, due to the fact that it's far too long and much more boring than I anticipated. I've come up with a new pattern, thanks to Hip Knits, one of my more recent knitting book purchases. I'm planning on altering the pattern for a pillow / handbag. Oh, and my 'to knit' list hasn't really gotten any shorter. (I suppose I will have to finish that scarf and hat set for Aunt Diane, as we'll be living in the same city now. I've been putting that off for far too long, but as I don't have a new job lined up just yet, I might have some extra knitting time. We shall see.)

I'm going to relinquish control of the computer to my brother now, so he can spend more time playing his damn game.

Monday, July 25

Mulling over mules

Okay, so I do have one good thing to say about the woman who won the western pleasure portion of the mule show: she was absolutely thrilled that I remembered that her mule's name was Ginger.

And Dustro and I have signed our lives away for the next year. Not at the place we'd planned, but for an energetic woman named Judy, we will do many things. Hello, Cryer Place. Goodbye, parents' house.

Baaa, humbug

I'm sorry in advance if you have any previous or current attachment to the following animals: chickens, turkeys, pigeons, ducks, mules, draft horses, sheep, and dogs. Right now I'm in a state of unadulterated loathing for them all. Okay, maybe not so much the dogs, since I have a very cute one (who just got her rabies shots updated, hooray) and I'm a little biased toward her. But really, is it necessary to have animal shows? And is it neccessary to take pictures of all of the damn chickens in the county? I think not. Everyone else seems to think so, though.

Last Sunday I spent six (6) hours at a dog show. I took about fifty pictures. Thursday afternoon was spent in the poultry barn – four (4) hours of wing-flapping, hand-pecking fun. (At least I got to hang out with the fair queen while I was there.) Saturday afternoon was by far the worst. I had to be at the fair at 8.30 a.m. on the farthest end of the fairgrounds from where I parked my car so that I could take pictures of mules. For four (4) hours. Followed directly by another two (2) hours of draft horses. During this time I got very sunburnt, even though I was in the shade a good deal of the time. And yesterday, I spent another four (4) hours at the fair (starting at 8 a.m.) taking pictures of uncooperative sheep. I was about to go postal, wondering when my dad would show up to finish the show (he'd told me that he'd come and take over for met at some point), and he finally made it there just before noon. At least I was in the shade the whole time.

Now, if your addition skills are up to par, you'll know that 6+4+6+4=20. Which means I spent 20 hours taking probably more than 200 pictures.

But I'm going to Omaha today with Dustro and his aunt, so that's all in the past.

Tuesday, July 19

O Holy Mackerel

What a good idea. Read fifty books in a year. Doesn't sound too tough, does it? In fact, I could probably go pretty high on the list. I'll have to look through my back entries so that I can count 'em up.

This week's paper wasn't too difficult to put together, I think. Except for all of the late stats and softball photos, of course. That was a really big pain in the butt, but it happens. The paper's nearly done, I'm thinking, except for placing a few last things in Sports and finding out if I-35 wins tonight so that I know whether to put "Good luck" or "Congrats on the season" ... but that's the least of my worries.

Dustro found an apartment in Omaha and faxed me the app, which had been originall faxed to him. Too bad I can't really read it. I call their office today, though, so I should be getting a replacement. I suspect that it's important to be able to read a form before signing it.

Monday, July 18


I spent six hours in the sun yesterday watching a 4-H dog show. It was not enthralling. I am getting paid, however, and that's all that matters.

Rewind to Friday night. While taking pictures for the paper at Harry Potter Fest a la Corner Bookstore, I ran in to one of my best friends from high school. I hadn't seen her for a very long time, and was very happy to meet this girlfriend of hers that she's getting hitched to next month. Very exciting, the girlfriend is, and very flirty. Excellent. The three of us will hang out, I think. Sorry, Mr BoJangles, but I'm starved for lesbian attention. Fast-forward to Saturday night. I managed to get the Harry Potter book finished by about 11 p.m. I know who the half-blood prince is. I will not tell you who it is. But if you want to know some of Rowling's secrets, I suggest reading through the chapter titles before you begin the book. Ponder them. Subtle hints.

Johnny Depp, on the other hand, I can tell you about. He is one of my two male downfalls (the other being Alan Rickman). I can not say enough about the Wonka remake. In essence, Everything is eatable. I am eatable. But that, my children, is called cannibalism and is, in fact, frowned on in most societies. The only really odd thing (for a Tim Burton film, that is) is that Wonka looks rather like Michael Jackson. No joke.

I must return to the paper.

Friday, July 15

All points north

I neglected to tell many people that I was heading north for some quality time with my mom on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Firstly, we made a stop in DSM (not WMD) for a meeting that my mom had. While she was talking about red blood cell replacements and such, I got to wander downtown. I stopped at the Salvation Army and picked up four books, a tie, and a Liza Minelli tape (which we listened to ALL the way to Bloomington, MN, I might add). I had lunch at a funky joint called Baby Boomers, and gave blood (which resulted in a massive ugly bruise in the crease of my right elbow).

So then we drove. We ended up at a fun mall, Southdale, and did some wandering there. My mom and I bought a hat for my dad that has a picture of a cartoon fish pooping and says "Bass Turd". After all that excitement, we went to a wonderful Italian restaurant called Maggiano's. We had some very good "Linguine, Chicken, Pesto, Pine Nuts" and were hence stuffed and unable to have dessert. Oh, and if you ever go to Maggiano's, order in 1/2 portions. Even those are huge.

I managed to restrain from purchasing too much yesterday on my four-hour trek through IKEA. I only spent $55. Most of that was a smashing curtain system called Index, whose curtain panels only require a bit of material. It's just gawgeous. The panels just kind of float around on the rods ... I'll have to have a photo of it in action when I get it all going. It's fab. Laurila is a fabulous table that I discovered at IKEA yesterday. I want it, oh baby, do I want it. Oh, and by the way:
Dear Elaine,
I'm sorry I didn't call you to tell you I was in the area Wed/Thur. My phone started freaking out and losing power at the drop of a hat, and I don't have your cell number memorized. I'd have called you from the hotel if that had been the case.
Much love.

On the itinerary today, after getting a lecture about what goes in the Madisonian next week, is a trip back to WDM (again, not WMD) for a little Willy Wonka Johnny Depp-style, followed by a Harry Potter release party later tonight (at which I will have to take pictures for the paper).

Sunday, July 10

Ir cun velo

I found a postcard addressed to me in the mailbox this evening. It had been there for a couple of days, I think. (So has, for no discernable reason, a steak knife. I left that in the mailbox.) The photo on the postcard -- an actual photo instead of some generic postcard from someplace -- depicts a tropical area with some palm trees and fluffy white clouds in the blue sky. It looks very green and lush.

But then I flipped it over to figure out who sent it. Not only was there no name, but also no English, except for my address. It was sent from Portland, Or. At first, I thought it was Italian -- Latin-based, at any rate. I could pick out a few words here and there. So I start typing it into Babelfish, select Italian to English, and hit the button. As suspected, it only returns every five words or so, as many online translators tend to do (because they don't fully conjugate verbs or decline nouns).

So then I Googled the first few lines and ended up at the website If you go to the site, which is a Swiss governmental site, you can navigate in five languages: German, French, Italian, Romansch, and English. In short, the selection on my postcard is (get ready for this, linguistics nerds) in Romansch, and describes some cycling regulations. No name or return address or anything.

Ir cun velo: Cura ch'ils uffants accumpleschan la vegliadetgna da scola pon els ir cun velo en il traffic sin via. In'examen na sto normalmain betg vegnir fatg. Tuttina valan las reglas da traffic er per ciclistas e ciclists.
Vignetta da velo: Tgi che va cun velo sto avair in'assicuranza da responsabladad. Questa vegn fatga cun la cumpra dad ina vignetta da velo. Ins survegn ella sin la posta, en il commerzi da velos e tar divers auters posts da vendita. La vignetta vala mintgamai dals 1. da schaner fin als 31 da matg da l'onn suandant. Ella po vegnir messa sin in auter vehichel. In fegl d'infurmaziun en connex cun la vignetta da velo chatt'ins sin la pagina d'internet da l'uniun dals uffizis per il traffic.

Cycling: When children reach school age, they are allowed to cycle in road traffic. Generally speaking, they do not need to pass a test. However, traffic regulations also apply to cyclists.
Bicycle tax sticker: All cyclists need to take out third party liability (TPL) insurance cover which comes with the tax sticker (known as a "vignette" in Switzerland). This is obtainable from post offices, bicycle shops and many other points of sale. The sticker is valid from 1 January to 31 May of the following year and can be transferred to another bicycle. A factsheet on bicycle tax stickers can be found on the website of the Association of Road Traffic Licensing Departments.

It's the funniest and most exciting snail mail I've ever gotten.

Oh, man.

I finished an infuriating and agravating book last night. The Nanny Diaries drove me insane; by the end of the book I wanted so badly to scream at the narrator "What the hell were you THINKING working for a couple of WASPs?" ... but I didn't. It was after midnight, after all. And I remembered the movie back in Intro to Soc. that Marion made us watch ... and I shuddered. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did, Mr. BoJangles.

Anyway, few days ago I finished a different book: Memoirs of a Geisha. This is the second time I've read Arthur Golden's book, and a few things have stuck with me, even since I first read the book in high school. The fact that the book is entirely fictional, for example, was something that I was surprised to have discovered after first reading it. I remember, very clearly, reading the Acknowledgements section at the end of the book and being struck by its first line, Although the character of Sayuri and her story are completely invented ... I put the book down and forgot about it for a good long while.

But some months ago I went to Half Price Books, as I often do, to browse the clearance section. (This is, not coincidently, the same way I managed to find The Nanny Diaries last week.) I found Memoirs peering up at me from the shelf, the geisha on the cover looking away to the right. I picked it up and remembered having enjoyed the story and decided that I should have my own copy.

So I start pouring myself through the book again, this time finding a sentence so profound that I immediately mark the page with a bit of foil from a gum wrapper and I think, "Wow, this is it. This is the whole thing, this is life."

We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.

I suppose that's all the wisdom I've got for today. I've got to keep searching for a job out Omaha way. (Sorry about the rhyme.)

Monday, July 4


It's not a good family reunion unless you've played dominoes with three or more old people. I learned how to play Chickenfoot, which is much easier than the other game I know, Mexican Train. The game goes a lot faster.

I will have to post some photos of this chicken-centered game, if I ever get time on our computer at home. This photo shows Roy (at least, I think that's his name) placing a piece at the beginning of a round, Ing(eborg) watching in the background, and Andy (my maternal grandfather) watching Roy closely. The reunion was of the Blomberg sort, in a city of the Swedish sort.

My brothers finally convinced the 'rents to let them buy World of Warcraft and, after the more-than-24-hour download, the computer has been since monopolized. I, however, bought another Eddie Izzard DVD, Definite Article, and spent some quality time laughing my ass off.

I'm going home now -- I've done enough work for the 4th.