Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gone Fishing

What did I do last weekend? To save roughly 989 words...

That's me on the right, and my friend Jon on the left, whose parents' cabin we graced with our fish-smelling presence for the duration of Memorial weekend. Of course we did more than just fish, like play hours upon hours of Nintendo Wii with my wife, Jon's girlfriend, and Jon's parents (his dad, incidentally, scored about 60 points during his first game of bowling. By the end of the weekend he outscored all of us with over 220 points!), along with their dogs and cat.

As for the actual fishing, it was pretty decent on Saturday morning even though the weather was a bit chilly. All in all a fantastic way to spend the weekend.

And thank you to all our men and women who fight to give us the privilege of having such weekends in this glorious country. God bless you.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Memorial Cabin

Ok folks, tomorrow we're off to 'Sconsin with some friends to partake of their cabin for the weekend. Score! This will be our fifth or sixth time up there, and it's always a blast. We will probably spend the weekend relaxing, playing Wii, watching movies, visiting the local candy and cheese stores, and making the most delicious enchiladas your (well, not your, since you most likely will not be there) mouth has ever tasted. I will be catching up on some work, too, but it shouldn't hinder the relaxation much, since it will almost certainly be long before anyone else gets up. A year of early rising will do that to ya. :)

Peace out, and have a great memorial weekend, everyone. I'm not sure if anyone in the military reads this blog, but if you do, I really appreciate all you do for this country. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


First, a huge congratulations for my brother Tom who was just given a promotion at work. Nice going, man! Basically, he now gets to do the same job he's been doing (and enjoying) for almost a year, but now he gets benefits and (gasp!) raises. Schwa-wing!

Second, I need to clarify one thing: the reason my wife was able to ride 25 miles without breaking a sweat yesterday is because she dilligently rides 10 miles on her exercise bike at least 4 days a week. Awesome.

Third...I once spent days, no...weeks fiddling with web site code trying to figure out why one of my fonts wasn't rendering properly. Turns out I typed "Veranda" instead of "Verdana". Go figure. Anyway, Verdana 10-point is infinitely better than Times 12-point, in just about any situation. Just thought I'd make that clear once and for all.

Back to work, folks. I'm out.

Trail Mixing

Ok, so let me explain (as if you had a choice). When I was in high school, I rode my bike everywhere. I took it to school, to work, to friends' houses, to run errands...if it was in town, chances are I rode there. I didn't have my driver's permit until I was 17, because I just didn't need it. It was only a few weeks from graduation when I finally got my license, partially because my bike worked just fine, but also because I didn't want to pay insurance when all it did was provide me with a way to get around, which I already had.

I wouldn't have called myself a professional biker by any means. Just one who happened to bike a lot. As it was, I grew quite adept at cycling, and didn't think twice when it came to biking a couple dozen miles just for the heck of it, or to a nearby town to visit friends. My bike wasn't even that good (I believe it was a semi-rusty hand-me-down 10-speed I got from my brother), but I made good use of it.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when my wife and I decided to risk the rain and traverse the trails of southeastern Minnesota. On a recommendation from a friend, we chose the Douglas Trail, a section of railway that had been converted for recreational use. We began in Rochester and went northwest to Pine Island, took a short break, and then back to Rochester once more. And let me tell you, my legs were hurting. I'm not kidding, I could barely stand when it was all over. The bike ride was good, don't get me wrong: great scenery, beautiful weather, friendly people on the trail...you know how it goes. But good gravy, was I ever out of shape for it. Fanciful visions of my youthful bicycling ways vanished after about two miles, when it became apparent that my body was just not cut out for this sort of thing in its current state. My wife finished the 25-mile ride just fine, but I tell you, by the end there I was about ready to pass out.

Afterwards we rewarded ourselves in the most delicious way possible with a trip to the only Valentino's in Minnesota. In fact, I think I'd do it all over again just to have a couple more slices of their hamburger pizza. Bring it, Douglas Trail!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


When I was a kid my brothers and I used to love going outside right before a heavy rain and making rain gauges in the sandbox. Mostly they consisted of sand piles lined with leaves, which were designed to hold the water thus letting us know how much precipitation had fallen throughout the course of a rainfall. They never worked, even though we tried many variations, but it was fun anyway. Actually, we loved almost every aspect of a thunderstorm, and would often run around (sometimes in raincoats, sometimes not) while the rain pounded down, just for the heck of it or sometimes to make a dam out of sticks and leaves in the street. My parents would often drive us around during thunderstorms so we could see the drainage ditches turn to small rapids, and streets disappear beneath a deluge of brown water.

I don't know if this is why, but I still enjoy a good thunderstorm, and even more if I can drive around during it. Today looks like one of those days when the sky will most likely darken (or fail to lighten at all, as is sometimes the case) during mid-afternoon and punish the earth below with a series of booming explosions while doing its best to drown the inhabitants with a fantastic shower. And there's something about the thunder and rain which still gets me excited (though if Han Solo were here he would no doubt advise me to do otherwise).

Only problem is, we were going to go biking today, which is a little less fun during a good rain. But if not today, then maybe in a day or two we will be able to hit the trails.

On another note entirely, our journey through Star Trek is nearing its end once again. We finished Voyager about, oh...maybe a year or year and a half ago, and have since been going through every episode of Next Generation thanks to the magic of Netflix. Last night we saw the departure of Wesley Crusher in the episode titled "Journey's End," which also brought the Traveler from Season 1. It's nice to see some plotlines being wrapped up as the series reaches its finale (the last episode being one of the best in the show, actually), but I think Wesley's departure could have been handled with a bit more finesse. After all, two episodes this season (three if you count "Sub Rosa") were entirely wasted on ridiculous storylines ("Masks," an exercise in testing audience patience, and "Genesis," little more than a cheap B-grade horror reel), so it was a little disappointing to see young Mr. Crusher exit in a vacuum of elegance. But anyway, it's still awesome to go back through and watch all of the episodes like this. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


My wife's old car was given new life today, thanks to my cousin Matt who is so good with auto repairs that he once built his own Camaro from nothing more than a frame and a stack of mail-order parts. We spent the afternoon bathing our hands in antifreeze and ten-millimeter socket wrenches, and emerged slightly singed but ultimately triumphant. The new radiator (which is, in case I was unclear, what we had to replace) appears to work just fine, and certainly much better than the old one which, though it did leak a bit of fluid now and then, had finally come to the end of its long and healthy life. I mostly just handed tools to Matt as he needed them, but I did manage to get one slightly stubborn section of hose removed from the transmission line, so that was pretty cool. Between the car repair and a 32-ounzer of Sprite, it was a mighty fine afternoon indeed.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The tree outside our window

Every morning I look at it because, well, I can't really help it if I want to see outside. It's right in front of our window, and for the past several months I have seen its barren limbs sway back in forth in the morning breeze before I left for work. But now it's covered in green and I can't see much else when I look out the window. Trite? Possibly. But I really like this time of year. :)

After a fantastic trip to Lincoln last weekend it's been cool to get back to normal with work and whatnot. While we were down there we went to a graduation party for my friend Paul, I got a new personal high bowling score (169 at Hollywood Lanes), and we played a couple games of croquet with my parents in their back yard. My family has never been much for real sports, so we find odd distractions like croquet and do them instead. We used to play constantly when we were kids, and I have recently found that it's, surprisingly, just as much fun as it was when I was younger. Or maybe it's the social aspect of the whole thing, since it is, in many ways, an excuse to stand around and chat with friends and family. My niece also turned 1 year old on Sunday, which was the reason we went for a visit in the first place. She is basically the cutest baby in the world (even though she's not a baby anymore) and it's always fun to see her. Of course there was much Amigo's nachos had as well, and I had a great time visiting with a bunch of friends over the weekend too. :)

Final Cut Express continues to be foreboding, but conquerable, and I am learning more about it every time I use it. Computer things like this can be frustrating, sure, but when something finally works after much trying and fiddling and reading the manual, it's a good feeling. I'm pretty excited about the video I'm doing now, and I have a couple of prospects for summer work too. Ringsmuth Video is still in its infancy, of course, but it's nice to look out and see the possibilies of what lies aheah.

And maybe that's why this is such a good time of year.