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February 6, 2004

Hug o' War

A friend of mine reminded me of this poem today...hadn't thought of it for a while, so I thought I'd scribble it down. I will not play at tug o' war. I'd rather play at hug o' war, Where everyone hugs Instead of tugs, Where everyone giggles And rolls on the rug, Where everyone kisses, And everyone grins, And everyone cuddles, And everyone wins. - Shel Silverstein from "Where the Sidewalk Ends"

February 12, 2004

Sushi...

So, Jodi and Ann came up with the idea that instead of going out for lunch, that it would be a blast to go out for dinner to catch up. (For those of you playing the home game, Ann no longer works at Wizmo) It was decided that we'd go to "Origami":http://www.origamirestaurant.com, Ann's favorite sushi restaurant in the Twin Cities. We ended up going to their new "Origami West" in the Ridgedale Mall. We arrived and immediately you could tell this was a sushi place, you could see the sushi bar, the ultra-modern interior. Upon being seated, Ann polled the table to see who was "in" for sushi. Jodi was unable to have sushi, Jason didn't want to try it, so Jim, Ann and myself went in on it together. Ann recognized one of the chefs, explained she had, "One rookie, one not-so-rookie and herself," knowing that the sushi chef already knew her likes and dislikes. Denver, our waiter, took our drink order...Jim started off with some warm _Saki_, Ann and I split a bottle of the _Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc_ which was a very good choice. Jason ordered his Teriyaki Chicken, Jodi her Mushroom platter, which included portabella, enoki, oyster, straw and black mushrooms, saut�ed with garlic butter, soy sauce and a splash of sake. I was a bit unsure if I wanted to go in on the sushi with Ann and Jim. I had sushi before on a business trip. Granted, it was in Provo, Utah, but I was told it was the best place in town. I tried it out there, found it very unappetizing. But, I considered, Ann likes sushi and since this is her favorite place I should give it another try. While we're waiting for our food, they bring out some _Eda Mame_, otherwise known as boiled young soy beans in the shell, lightly salted. A very good snack while we waited. Everyone's food arrives. The sushi plate is placed between the three of us, Ann begins to explain the preparation. Poor some soy sauce into the bowl, mix in a bit of wasabi to taste, use it to dip things if you like. The first plate was _sashimi_, in other words, everything was raw, no rice, just the meat nicely arranged with some fresh herbs, lemons, etc as garnish.
I first tried the _Ama Ebi_, or Sweet Shrimp. They were still completely raw, just like everything else on the plate. You pick one up, put it on your _hashi oki_, your "plate" so to speak, and rip the meat from it. Coil it up, pick it up with the chopsticks and eat! It really did live up to its name, a bit sweet on the tongue, nice feel. After you finish, you place the head/body skeleton on the side with the others, and then send it back to get deep fried. (More on that later)
Then Ann suggested I go for the _Maguro_, or Tuna, next. I tried two different types, a _Toro_ which is fatty, comes from the belly of the fish, and _Yellowfin_, which was less fatty, much redder, comes from I seem to remember the back. Both of them were good, I preferred the redder, less fatty variety, but I'd have both again. (Shown here with rice, although ours was just the meat)
After this, Ann suggested moving onto the _Hotate_, or raw scallops. Her serving suggestion was to take one of the lemon garnish and work some of the lemon juice out of it with my chopstick to flavor the scallop. I did, and it was OK. Not my favorite of the plate, in fact, I let the remaider of the scallops be split between Ann and Jim.
Then I tried the _Tai_, or Red Snapper, the _Hirame_, or Halibut, and the _Saba_, or Mackerel. All of them were OK, I was impressed with the variety of mouth feels, tastes, etc. Some of them were fishier than others, but I managed to like each one of them once I got a bit braver about using some of the garnish on my plate to moderate some of the fish taste.


By now, the bottle of wine was gone, so I ordered a glass of the _MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris_. This was a *VERY* good wine. Also about this time the deep fried _Ama Ebi_ skeletons came back. Ann convinced me to try mine, even though it still had all of its tentacles, eyes, etc. But, true to what she said, it was just like a potato chip. I even had half of Jim's when he didn't want his.

Once we finished off the first plate, Jim ordered some Spicy Tuna Rolls and Ann ordered a Crunchy Roll. This was a pretty good dish. It consisted of a roll of rice containing shrimp tempura, cucumber, and spicy mayonnaise wrapped in _Masago_, or Smelt Roe. It was pretty good. First time I had Smelt Roe (eggs), they were really sweet in the mouth. Yum.
The night was filled with fun conversation and laughs. I had a great time. Even though I don't think it will start me on the road to sushi lovin', least next time I go I will know what I prefer, so I can enjoy the experience.

February 16, 2004

Valentine's Day

Well, I'm on my own this Valentine's Day, but I got two *GREAT* gifts anyway, also got out some besides! First, Mel got me my very own pouch of "Jack Links Fully Cooked Ground Beef":http://www.jack-links.com/home.php. I couldn't believe my luck! She had first told me about Wal-Mart stocking this a few months ago, but whenever I'd go search for one for myself I always came up empty handed. I couldn't believe it when she handed it to me. It has now taken the honored position next to my can of "Armour Potted Meat":http://www.dialcorp.com/index.cfm?page_id=125 at work for all of my coworkers to marvel at in amazement! Fully cooked ground beef that has a shelf life of almost two years! That flying car must only be a few more years away at this point! Second, my parents picked me up a six pack of my favorite Creme Soda and Root Beer in the world, from "Northwoods":http://www.northwoodsbrewpub.com/ in Eau Claire, WI. I got hooked on this stuff way back when I was dating Nikki while she was going to school there, and I hadn't been back in years. My "dad":http://curtis.durandfamily.org travels quite a bit for his "business":http://www.eyespyfloors.com, and they knew how much I loved Northwood's stuff. *MMMMMmmmm!* I've been careful not to suck them down too quickly...but I already know I'll be wanting more before long. I saw two movies this weekend, too. _Big Fish_ This was a movie I was very eagerly anticipating...I was pleased with it overall. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting from the previews, which was a dark comedy of sorts. This was a story about life, coming to terms with a father you've written off on his death bed, trying to understand who he was and what he had done, learning to love him again. It caused me to experience almost every emotion, it was quite the rollercoaster, but it was all done to good effect. _Lost In Translation_ This was also a movie I was very eagerly anticipating, but I wasn't nearly as pleased as I was with _Big Fish_. This was more about a fading movie star's mid-life crisis and a woman's search for herself in a dead-end marriage. The two of them come together in a hotel in Japan, flirt, bond, and then go back to their separate lives. I thought the pacing was slow, but some of the content was good. The acting was superb, but I came away with the feeling that this was a film that went out of its way to be "artsy".

February 26, 2004

Movie: The Passion of Christ

So, Alanna dragged me to the new Mel Gibson movie, “The Passion of Christ”.

The place was packed, but not full to the brim. As always, Megastar 16 at Southdale Mall came through, great picture, great sound.

I hadn’t really heard too much about it prior to the film, other than a few bits on the radio about the worries some people had about it inciting anti-Semitism. I guess it had quite a bit of coverage in the popular press, and I heard from a church-going friend that they had really been talking about it at church, too.

(attempt to be spoiler-free ahead)

Continue reading "Movie: The Passion of Christ" »

September 23, 2004

Twinkie: Captain's Log

Well, I just passed the 50 mile mark on the rebuilt Twinkie engine today. On the whole, it is great being able to drive Twinkie around. Knowing that my Dad and I put together the engine propelling me down the road makes the joy of driving Twinkie that much sweeter. The big huge steering wheel makes driving the non-power steering vehicle a lot of fun, as does the tempermental transmission which loves to play tricks on you when you’re in stop-and-go traffic. Hearing the roar from the engine in the back (which modern drivers pay thousands of dollars in custom exhaust parts to duplicate) also brings a smile to my face.

The biggest headache (sometimes quite literally!) right now is the exhaust fumes in the cabin. Either due to the amount of fumes coming out of the tailpipes OR the method my Dad and I used to vent the heater boxes the cabin gets quite a smell at times. I guess it is even worse in the back, according to the passengers who have braved the seatbelt-less lands of the rear cabin. I’m sure a bit of noodling and some experimentation will solve this problem, tho.

Speaking of passengers, here’s the list of brave souls who have dared to ride so far:

  • Kelly
  • (New) Theresa
  • JManDoo
  • B-Squared
  • Lana Banana

In other non-engine related news, I popped up the camper top for demonstration purposes at work on Tuesday. Even tho the top hadn’t been opened in 3 years, the canvas walls were still in great shape. Didn’t see any damage in the slightest to the canvas by pests or other creatures who love to eat fabric. Yay!

The only other thing I’ve really noticed - I’ve been having an issue using pronouns with Twinkie. Is Twinkie a he or a she? Right now I find myself mostly thinking she automatically, so she Twinkie may become.

September 29, 2004

Happy Birthday

A rare diversion today…for someone very special.

Today, 32 years ago, an old friend (and lover) of mine was brought into this world.

She and I no longer talk, but I wanted to acknowledge her with some kind of public tribute today - her birthday.

I was truly blessed to have shared the portions of my life with her I did. She was always there for me, loved me with everything she had. She was patient. She was kind. She was loyal. She was honest.

After years knowing each other, I forced her away from me last year. And although I’m incredibly sorry for the circumstances which led to that horrible decision, I realize that even in her absence she has continued to teach me things about myself I would have never encountered on my own. I am a better person today for knowing her. I am more self-aware, I am more careful with other people’s feelings and I am taking better care of myself. I’ve finally broke the self-destructive cycle I had been following through life. All of which I was brave enough to come to terms with because of her.

Having her in my life was a wonderful gift - the old adage is true, “You don’t realize what you have until it is gone.” On this, her birthday, I can only hope that she receives as much back from life as she lovingly gave me. My only gift is this acknowledgement, which I record here both as a reminder and message in the hope that sometime in the future she may read it - I find that my respect for her has only grown over time, even as we’ve gone on to lead our separate lives.

I consider myself lucky that we found each other - sad that we lost each other.

The L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

On Sunday Kelly and I went over to the new Eden Prairie / Hennepin County Public Library. The library had been built in the old Lunds supermarket. I had watched them building it out over the past two years or so with great anticipation. I had been in the old library located just down the road a few times many years ago - in fact, I’d guess that it would have been the last library I had set foot in, 8 years ago.

We walked inside and I was immediately struck by the architecture. This didn’t look anything like the supermarket which had been here before. The inside was completely renovated; skylights had been added all over the place, making everything nice and bright.

Then I started looking around for a librarian in order to get my library card. Walked right up to the front desk, got my card in less time than it took Kelly to use the restroom. Upon her return we set ourselves adrift in the sea of books.

The second big thing I noticed was all the computers. Realize, the last time I had been in a library was 8 years ago, even longer if you only consider regular visits. (Before you assume I’m some kind of bibliophobe, I have kept up the regular visits to my favorite bookseller, Borders, so I still consider myself well-read!) The amount of change which has gone on was astounding! Everywhere I looked I saw computers. Certainly I remember the move from the actual card catalog to the terminals we had right around the time I entered high school. But here were over 100 computers, all setup with not only “card catalog” access but full Internet access as well. I use “card catalog” loosely because I’m not sure you could call it that anymore - the computers basically just access the same website you can from home.

The benefits are extraordinary. Not only can I see instantly on a computer screen which books match my criteria, but I can scan the entire Hennepin County Library system at the same time. From there I can see which physical libraries have the book on the shelf or put a hold on the book (either the specific copy or any copy of it in the system) which will be delivered to my local library in a few days for pickup. The Internet access helps immensely, too. Instead of having to rack my brain trying to remember that book I put on my Amazon wishlist, or read about on some blog, I can instead bring up another window, visit the Internet site, get the author’s name and search the library system immediately.

The next thing which struck me was the number of librarians. Four by my count. A few helpers moving amongst the shelves putting books back, but four actual sitting-at-a-desk-waiting-to-help-you librarians. One might think this number is low, but in actuality I don’t think it is at all. Normal library patron tasks (looking up books, locating, reserving, and checking out) are all automated - now they are simply there to be asked the questions they would probably prefer to receive. I walked up to one, looking for the Dewey Decimal number for “problem solving” books. He began to explain to me how to search on the web interface, but when I explained I had searched and got a bunch of different numbers he was able to clarify which one was the best one to browse in. He walked me right over to the section and even offered up a suggestion from the available books before he walked back to his desk.

When the announcement of the closing of the library in 15 minutes over the PA, Kelly and I found each other and walked up to the checkout. No lines, no busy library patrons running around at the last minute trying to get that one last book. Instead we found ourselves at a wonderful little machine. Slide in your library card, scan each book, remove the library card and it prints out a receipt with the due dates for each item listed.

All in all, it was a great experience. Indeed, I just got an email today letting me know that three books which I had put holds on were waiting to be picked up at the local library. (They were located at a different library in the system when I looked them up on Sunday) Even picking up a reserved book is automated - simply walk in the library, goto the designated “reserve” section, pick up the books from the shelf, and check them out at the automated booth!

I’m excited about going to the library again! *snickers*

Which books did I pick up, you might ask?

Besides the three books which are waiting for pickup:

  • Automated Alice by Jeff Noon
  • Pollen by Jeff Noon
  • Passage by Connie Willis

I picked up:

  • A New Kind Of Science by Stephen Wolfram
  • The Riemann Hypothesis: The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics by Karl Sabbagh
  • Math Mind Games by Heinrich Hemme

October 5, 2004

Burn responsibly

I’m up looking at the weekly iTunes free download and I see an ad for Green Day Collectible CD-R’s.

I’m not a huge Green Day fan, but I admire the band for putting together something like this. I mean, how cool? Professionally silkscreened artwork, perfect for your “Best of Green Day” collection.

My old boss, Jim, used to buy those Verbatim “Vinyl” CD-R’s at a premium for creating his compilation CDs for all the bands he used to listen to back in college. Neat, I thought, but at the premium they were priced over standard CD-R’s I didn’t necessarily think they were worth it.

But, combining the two options, wouldn’t it be kinda neat to go hit a website, browse a catalog of CD-R silkscreens and then order a bunch in quantity? I use my iPod most of the time, but it would be neat to burn some of my favorite mixes off to a neat themed CD-R. Not necessarily artist-themed, but more generic. I could imagine, for example, burning one of my workout soundtracks to a CD with a bike on it…or burning my “August Joy” CD to a CD-R with a big crayon drawing of the sun.

October 6, 2004

Twinkie Update

Last night I drove Twinkie out to Woodbury to have dinner with Jean. This was the longest trip so far, just over 40 miles. Twinkie handled it just fine, the new engine is holding up well. We had a lot of fun going over the huge hump in the road at Lake and Wooddale Drives at high speed…it even felt like Twinkie caught some air on it, believe it or not!

A few things I’ve learned:

  • You can’t check the oil when the engine is hot, such as when you fill up with gas. Best done in the morning before you leave for the day. That way, after you add the oil you can check it right before going to lunch or leaving for the day, at which time the engine should be cool once more.
  • If you just open up the driver’s window the movement of the air past the window sucks exhaust in through the heating ducts. If you, instead, open up the sliding door fan windows at the same time, you get a nice cross breeze and everything is much less stinky.
  • Trying to talk on the cell phone necessitates putting in the clutch and coasting…which is OK when you’re on the freeway, but in stop and go traffic it makes things very complicated!
  • Driving such an old beauty gets you lots of looks…of both contempt and of admiration. How you choose to interpret those looks is up to you.

All in all, it is great to drive Twinkie again. Just filled up the third tankful of gas since Twinkie began moving again, hoping that the weather remains good for a bit so I can enjoy Twinkie a bit more before I have to park it for the winter.

October 10, 2004

A Life Less Ordinary

Last night I had the pleasure of going to the 400 Bar to see a performance by Carbon Leaf.

Who’s Carbon Leaf may you ask?

Continue reading "A Life Less Ordinary" »

October 13, 2004

Meme-orable

everybody join in!

15 years ago today, I would have been…
1. 13, 8th Grade, living with my parents in Spring Lake Park, MN
2. Finishing my sixth and final year in the Metropolitan Boys Choir with a tour of Germany and Austria the following June
3. Had my first serious girlfriend, Jennifer Burnett. We would always sit together at lunch and play footsie.

10 years ago today, I would have been…
1. Just arrived at GMI in pursuit of a computer engineering degree
2. Logging into ISCA BBS for the first time
3. Figuring out how to forge email From: addresses

5 years ago today, I would have been…
1. Contemplating leaving Investment Advisers Inc. after 7.5 years to go work for Agiliti
2. Finishing up Y2K Compliance documentation and testing
3. Driving Twinkie through downtown Minneapolis in a shirt and tie, commuting to work

3 years ago today, I would have been…
1. Going to couple’s therapy
2. Refinancing the house
3. Preparing for the worst

1 year ago today, I was…
1. Trying to keep all the plates spinning
2. Moving Wizmo HQ across the street
3. Finishing up the first summer of bicycle commuting

So far this year, I have…
1. changed my hairstyle
2. fixed up Twinkie
3. dropped 4 inches around my waist

Yesterday, I…
1. worked a full day
2. cleaned the apartment
3. reconnected with 2 long-lost friends

Today, I…
1. sat in meetings all day
2. had dinner with the ‘rents
3. fixed my Dad’s computer

Tomorrow, I…
1. meet with customers
2. take Mel for a ride in Twinkie and have dinner
3. call for new tires on the Beetle

October 21, 2004

"BABY" is the Word of the Day

Today over lunch we finally hooked up with Jodi, an old coworker of ours.

She left us when she had Nahlah, her daughter. It was great to catch up with her and to finally see Nahlah in all of her baby-like splendor.

Nahlah Looking

Nahlah and I had a few moments to talk with each other, too…we watched the other people in the dining room, looked out at the trees swaying in the wind, drooled excessively. (Well, only Nahlah did the last one!)

Nahlah and Damon

I’ve been eager to have a kid for a long time now, but after seeing Nahlah I’m even more baby happy than usual.

Scanning the Past

After work today I snuck over to my Grandpa’s house and scanned a bunch of old (and new) pictures.

84 in all.

There were many more I wanted to scan, but I wanted to get enough material together to put together the About Me and My Family pages for the website.

Look to see many of the pictures either incorporated in those pages as I put them together or I’ll feature individual posts about them.

October 23, 2004

Phrase of the Day

Today’s phrase is:

“You don’t have to like yourself completely - but you do need to love yourself completely, including the things you don’t like”

It seems like there is an overwhelming urge inside of us to think we must like everything we love. This just isn’t the case. We can love without obsession - we can love without being blind to the negatives. I may LOVE Buca’s but not the burping all the garlic causes me to do afterward. I LOVE myself, but I really don’t like the fact that I still weigh more than 300 pounds after two full seasons of biking.

It’s come up multiple times today…and I thought I should immortalize the phrase in an entry. Heed its advice, readers!

October 27, 2004

Gumby Day

Sounds like Mike is going to have some free time today, so I’m taking a half-day and we’re gonna work at getting the new Gumby server up and running.

I’ve had the new server for the last 5 months or so, but I’ve been putting off building it up until the FreeBSD 5.x series was marked stable. It looks like this is a reality, or at least will be shortly, so we should be able to build up the box and start tracking 5-STABLE with it.

All kinds of goodness will come forth from this…more disk space, new versions of all the hosted software, including MovableType 3.1x for the blogs. Yay!

Updates throughout the day. Not sure if we’ll cut over to the new box or we’ll just set it up and schedule switchover a few weeks out. Depends on how seamless we can do it.

Finale of Gumby Day

Well, Gumby didn’t get completely finished tonight. There were a few problems getting Gumby up and running to begin with…then Mike and I got distracted numerous times chitchatting about all things geek.

Good progress was made. And it was great to spend a geek afternoon/evening with Mike.

October 28, 2004

Pity the Morons

…or Today’s Honorary AssBeaver1:

About a week ago I followed a very, very poor driver about 2 miles back to my house. The driver pulled through an intersection from a “Left Turn Only” lane. He was completely oblivious to his error and the fact that he was cutting off everyone who was in the proper lane. Then the driver proceeded to drive up the big hill at a turtle’s speed (the car could easily have taken it much quicker), make a right turn without signaling at the top, signal AFTER the left turn in front of the apartment complex and then spend 2 minutes while I remained stopped behind him - the whole time spent digging for his garage access card or something. Finally, he pulls in (I follow after being a good boy and sliding my access card in to restart the garage door timer) and I have to wait a bit more while he pulls into his parking spot, then pulls back out, then back in to realign.

I dismissed him as being distracted, a moron, or both. I didn’t think it would really matter.

So, tonight I pull into my parking garage after returning from the Durand Family Board Meeting. As I turn the final corner, here the guy’s car is parked in the middle of the driveway. I pause for a moment, looking for the driver to once again be realigning his car and noticed no one was sitting in the car.

I pull my Beetle off to the side, ponder what to do next. I go back out and look, there is no way I’m gonna get my car around his and down to my assigned spot. I look inside, see the flashing red light indicating the alarm is set (It is a Jetta, VW uses the same components in many of their vehicles) and I notice the parking brake isn’t set and the car is in neutral.

Yes. This man parked his car, hopped out, set the alarm and walked away as it rolled back into the driveway. From the looks of the positioning of the concrete pylons, I’m guessing it bumped against one of the pylons as it rolled out in the middle of the thoroughfare, then came to rest right in the middle.

I thought about pulling my car back out into the parking lot and parking it there for the night. ‘course, that would mean I’d have to carry in all my stuff in the drizzle. Never mind the fact that there were 4-5 other spots empty past the car where I’m used to seeing parked vehicles, meaning others would be inconvenienced as well.

I decide we shall not all suffer because of the acts of a single moron.

I gave the car a test push and it rolled easily enough. The wheels were aligned perfectly to roll right back into the assigned spot just fine. I knew it would just roll back out if I left it unblocked, so I knew I had to find a block for the wheels.

I went walking down to my parking spot, looking for something I could use to block one of the rear tires (better make it big so the guy will notice he’s blocked in) and found one of those tubes of sand. (They were in my parking spot when I moved in…no one’s ever claimed them, so I just leave them forever in the community property area) I pull the tube of sand down the 120 feet or so to his assigned spot and line it up so I can slide it quickly underneath the rear passenger tire.

I give the car a push up and back into the parking spot, move to the side and push the bag of sand behind the wheel. After making sure the car came to a complete stop, I hop back in my Beetle and drive down to my spot.

I consider the ineptitude this guy has displayed on not only this but the previous occasion and decide I better leave a note - else he think someone put the bag of sand there as a decoration. I find a scratch piece of paper; leave him a note written in absolutely most simplistic language I could manage. I wish it were possible to express myself monosyllabically, since I have a feeling this would be the moron’s preferred vocabulary, but I figure if he can’t read it he can ask someone to help him:

“You forgot to set your brakes on your car. Found it rolled out in the middle of the garage, blocking traffic. Rolled it back into the parking spot, put a bag of sand behind the rear passenger wheel.”

I thought about adding in a comment about his intelligence, but decided against it. Prbly should have added that this was his second strike in my eyes, but I have a feeling he’s got a lot of strikes built against him already.

1 JManDoo and I decided that all poor drivers would henceforth be referred to as assbeavers. We even registered the domain AssBeavers.com, thinking we’d establish a clearing house for reporting assbeavers you may encounter on the road. You can identify an assbeaver by the following behaviors (this IS not meant to be a complete list!):

  • Driving really slow in the left-hand lane
  • Pacing cars in other lanes - hindering any attempts to pass
  • Incorrect use of turn signals/indicators
  • Over-compensating for weather-related road conditions
  • Generally being a poor driver

October 29, 2004

Time to Unwind...

It’s been quite a day today at work…time to coast into the weekend and unwind a little. To get the ball rolling, I decided to follow Neil’s quiz.

  1. What is your Full Name?
    Damon Curtis Durand
  2. What color pants are you wearing right now?
    Yankee blue jeans
  3. What are you listening to right now?
    Amsterdam by Guster
  4. What was the last thing you ate?
    A Whopper w/Cheese from Burger King for lunch
  5. If you were a crayon what color would you be?
    Orange
  6. How is the weather right now?
    Unusually humid and warm
  7. Last person you talked to on the phone?
    JManDoo
  8. First thing you notice about the opposite sex?
    Eyes
  9. Do you like the person who sent this to you (or posted it)?
    Sure
  10. How are you today?
    Been really on fire today. Everyone’s been pissing me off it seems. Just finally calming down now.
  11. Favorite Drink?
    Strawberry Pop
  12. Favorite Alcohol?
    Sex with an Alligator
  13. Favorite Sports?
    I’m not huge into sports. If I had to say something, I’d pick some esoteric sports like lawnmower racing or trick billiards.
  14. Hair Color:
    Blondish/brown (not much of it left!)
  15. Eye colo(u)r:
    Depends on what I’m wearing and lighting…moves between blue and green.
  16. Do you wear contacts?
    Nope.
  17. Siblings:
    My sister, Michelle, 2.5 years younger than me.
  18. Favorite Month:
    October
  19. Favorite Food:
    My family’s recipe for lasagna
  20. Last Movie you watched:
    Team America: World Police
  21. Favorite Day of the Year:
    Feburary 29th
  22. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
    Sometimes, depends on the woman.
  23. Summer or winter?
    Winter. You can always put on more layers, but you can only take so many off!
  24. Chocolate or Vanilla?
    Vanilla
  25. Do you want your friends to write back?
    Remember to trackback!
  26. Favorite card game:
    Slapjack and Go Fish
  27. What did you do last night?
    Durand Family Board Meeting
  28. Favorite Smells:
    Vanilla, fresh baked bread, right after a rain, fresh-cut grass
  29. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?
    Nope, just short.
  30. What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
    Wow, I must have had some exciting dreams!

November 5, 2004

JManDoo's Joke

While we were out at lunch today, JManDoo offered up this great joke. I believe that this joke may be the best humor litmus test of all time:

A woman’s pet duck falls ill, and she brings it in to her local veterinarian.

“Doctor,” the woman exclaims, “my pet duck has fallen ill. Can you take a look at him?”

The doctor immediately takes the duck back to the examination room. A few minutes later the doctor emerges and says,

“Ma’am, your duck is dead.”

The woman is crushed. She doesn’t believe this is possible.

“I brought my duck in and he was only ill. I cannot believe he’s dead! Surely, doctor, there is something you can do!”

The doctor reluctantly lifts a dog up onto the examination table. The dog sniffs around the duck, nuzzles against it a little, licks it a bit. After a minute or two of this, the doctor picks up the dog and puts him back down onto the ground.

“No, ma’am, your duck is dead.”

Still considering this impossible, the woman again pleads with the doctor to do anything he can to save her duck.

The doctor picks up a cat this time - places the cat onto the examination table. The cat nuzzles against the duck a little, licks his head, paws at it a little. The duck doesn’t move.

“Ma’am, I don’t know what else to say. Your duck is dead.”

Finally, the woman relents…”What do I owe you?” she asks the doctor.

The doctor takes out a slip of paper, scribbles on it furiously, hands it over to the woman.

“150 dollars for you to tell me my duck is dead? How can you get away charging so much?”

The doctor responds, “Well, if you hadn’t made me do the lab test and the cat scan…”

JManDoo and I both find this joke incredibly funny. Do you?

November 9, 2004

The Joys of iPodding

I had one another one of those joyful iPod moments last night.

I read this post, saw the lyrical reference to Maggie May and was reminded of Suzanne Vega. I hadn’t listened to her in months, prbly years.

I was the biggest fan years ago, saw her in concert numerous times, but when she took off from performing to raise her child she faded into a background interest. Reading the post I was immediately struck by a desire to hear her wonderful voice again.

iPod to the rescue! I scrolled through my library, selected “All Songs” under her Artist entry and set it on shuffle. Spent the rest of the night (and today outside of meetings) listening to many of my old favorites.

Immediate gratification is great!

December 10, 2004

AOL Finally Owns Up To AIM Issue

I’ve got upwards of 10 accounts across the major IM services. Since I’ve been using Trillian since its early days, this has never really been a problem. I simply defer to my friend or coworkers for which service they prefer to use and give them the appropriate screen name to add to their lists.

All of a sudden, last Friday morning the AIM account I’ve had for ages, DamonDCD, was suspended by AOL. Trillian reported an error code 17, which linked to a webpage on AIM’s site that listed the reasons for suspension - none of the reasons seemed to apply to me. I tried to connect with the real AOL client, still didn’t let me connect.

This was OK, tho, since I had a backup account that had every buddy my DamonDCD account listed. Other than some mild confusion over some of my AIM buddies receiving messages from this long-forgotten account, it was only a disappointment on my part because I lost my DamonDCD account.

Nonetheless, by Sunday, I realized how silly this was. Why had my account been suspended? I only talk to 2-3 people on AIM…none of them would have blocked me or given me some kind of warning. There was no reason my account should be suspended!

I scoured AOL and AIM’s website, looking for some way to contact support and see why they felt my account should be suspended. I read to the FAQ…the only help it offered me was the same message I got when I tried to connect. The only avenue for support, it seemed, was to fill out a bug report. Even tho I could choose “Problem connecting with account” from the list of errors I wished to report, I found I could only submit a report if I checked a box next to the following statement:

Check this checkbox to indicate that you understand this is not a place to get support, and that you will not receive a reply to the information you entered above. You may not submit a bug report unless you check this box. If you need help solving a problem, please visit our FAQ page instead.

So, while I filled out the form, I was pretty certain I could count on getting nothing in response. I managed to track down a live online customer support website - they just referred me back to the same FAQ. I tried calling AOL’s 1-800 support number, only to be read the same information on the website. When I explained I already knew all that information, that I was curious WHY it had been suspended, the account rep just referred me back to the AIM site again.

I removed DamonDCD from my auto-connect list in Trillian and decided that I’d have to wait for the account to expire in a few months, at which time I could recreate it, re-add all of my buddies and move forward.

Then, this morning, I popped up Slashdot and was greeted with this story on the main page, which read, in part:

“According to a story on eWeek, AOL has mistakenly suspended a very large number of AOL Instant Messenger (one of the most widely used IM programs) accounts, by mistake.

I tried reconnecting with DamonDCD and viola!, everything worked just dandy.

I don’t know what was worse…

  • being suspended in the first place
  • being given no notice why it was suspended
  • having no avenue to get the account reactivated when it was obviously a mistake
  • finding no one who would own up to the mistake they made when it was a huge system-wide issue

December 16, 2004

My Annual Weekday Holiday Shopping Day 2004

Today is the day I usually take off work each year to attack the shopping list.

I prefer to take a weekday off so I can enjoy all the shopping, rather than have to battle the even larger crowds on the weekend. (Not that I usually get it all done today…most of the time I end up battling the crowds on the weekend anyway. But getting a bunch of it done today certainly helps the sanity on the weekend.)

As an added bonus today, I’m going to meet Sneebish for coffee today. Haven’t seen her in real life for 8? years or so. Should be a good break in the middle of the shopping excursion.

Full steam ahead!

December 23, 2004

Unplanned Parties Are The Best!

Work devolved after lunch into a social event/impromptu party that was wonderful, actually. The less formal affairs always seem to be much more meaningful than some official gathering. We had a great time visiting, gabbing about the year past and talking about the big pile of work coming up in the first quarter.

I also got to give my presents…

Everyone loved what I got ‘em. JManDoo was especially pleased, since he had been lusting after the Sealab 2021 DVD for quite a while now…however, his wife would always talk him out of getting it when they went shopping!

B2 took JManDoo, myself and a few other coworkers out to eat at Redstone for lunch. We had a great meal…I got this gigantic open-faced turkey sandwich. Yum!

We all ended up leaving a bit early today, which was just fine by me. I made my way to the mall, picked up the few remaining items I needed and got home by 6pm! Tonight’s schedule: Present wrapping, holiday music and relaxation.

March 19, 2005

Wow, What a Logjam!

The previous post sat in draft state since Monday, jamming up the portion of my brain responsible for blog updates. I knew I had to get it out there, and nothing else pending wasprocessed until I got that status toggled to “Publish”. So, an update on the previous week:

  • I found my digital camera. There was much rejoicing amongst fans around the world when I found my digital camera in a pile of holiday decorations here at home. I had thought it lost for the past few months while I searched hi and low for the elusive camera. You know they say you miss things the most when you don’t have them…well, over the past few months I’ve time and time again been bitten by the desire to snap a photo of something. Now that I’ve found the camera, of course, I expect all photo desires shall immediately cease.
  • The 2.6 GB bittorrent download of the free MP3 collection from artists appearing at the South by Southwest Music Festival finally completed. Get it while its hot, there are some great gems in there.
  • I got my premier issue of Make. I meant to sign up well before the initial issue hit the streets, but it wasn’t until it did that I finally got up the courage to sign up for a year. So far, I’m nothing but pleased. It is a tinkerer’s dream - tons of projects and neat tricks to keep the curious entertained.
  • Booked tickets to fly down to Dallas to help my Sister and Bro-In-Law move into their new home. I expect a lot of work…but I also expect a lot of Chick-fil-a!
  • Speaking of Chick-fil-a, if you examine the container from an 8-piece order of nuggets you’ll notice there are punch-out holes for “N”, “S” and “K”. While all participants of our visit to the U of M - Twin Cities campus (the only Minnesota Chick-fil-a location!) on Monday for lunch agreed that the “S” stood for “Strips” and “N” for “Nuggets”, JManDoo hypothesized that the “K” stood for “Knuggets”. (Neither the “K” nor the following “n” are silent, according to JManDoo). Research later revealed the “K” must have stood for “Kids”, since the kids meal at Chick-fil-a has a 4 or 6-piece nugget option. JManDoo is still sticking to his theory, tho.
  • My review was due yesterday at work…so I sent it in at precisely 11:59pm last night. Double-B (the boss) did say I had until midnight to send it in. I hope I’m not the only one who sees humor in it, tho!

That’s not everything (my life isn’t THAT dull and boring!), but it is the stuff I found blogworthy over the past week.

April 9, 2005

Happy 26th Birthday Kelly!

Picture of Kelly

Not only is it the first day of Kelly’s 26th year here on planet Earth, but I’ve known her for a little over a year now, too.

We’ve had our ups and downs, for sure, but overall she’s brought so much joy, happiness and laughter into my life I had to celebrate her birfday with an entry. (She says she has always scans the posts looking for her name…wonder if she’ll see this one?) Threats of nipple-twisting aside, her playful attitude is a welcome addition to my life, and her stories of times at the KIDSTOP are always good for a laugh or two. She was there when Twinkie was launched (and had to drive behind Twinkie when it was all stinky driving down the road) and she was there when I got home from my 30-mile Saint Paul Bike Classic Tour. She’s always been supportive of me in my aspirations - and understanding when I need my space to reflect and continue to grow myself into a grown-up. :)

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you!
You look like a MONKEY,
you smell like one, too!

*laughs* MONKEY!

May 19, 2005

Star Wars Episode 3

Closeup Image of Movie Sign

I just got home from the midnight show of Star Wars Episode 3. Alanna, my long time movie buddy, and I went to see it on the UltraScreen at Marcus Cinema’s Oakdale 17.

I’ll do a full write-up tomorrow…but I agree with much of what I’ve heard from critics and the few fans that got a sneak peek alike…this is, certainly, the most exciting and fun Star Wars movie of the most recent 3 episodes.

It was a great show. I’m no huge Star Wars fan, (unlike my Bro-In-Law, who wrote up this thoughts here), but I do plan on seeing this one again. ‘specially on the ultra, Ultra, ULTRASCREEN! Heh heh heh…

Star Wars! (Yes, this one deserves an exclamation mark!)

No spoilers, in deference to all my friends who haven’t made it to the movie yet.

Judging from the quantity of toys I have from my childhood, I used to be really into Star Wars. As I grew up, the toys were put away and I moved onto other interests. When Episode 1 came out back in 1999, I realized that there were still many, many people around me who still were into it - much to my surprise.

I went to the midnight opening of Episode 1 with my then girlfriend, Briana, Alanna and her buddy. Alanna and I were originally gonna go together…but when I fell head over heels for Briana, and she told me how excited she was about Episode 1, I knew we’d have to be more inclusive. Alanna took this pretty well…spent most of the evening making fun of Briana and/or myself…least I know I deserved it after Briana dumped me a week or so later…but that’s a whole other story.

Alanna At The Movie So, it was quite cool when she sent me a message about a week ago explaining she had an extra ticket for Episode 3’s opening midnight show at the the Marcus Cinema’s Oakdale Theatre 17 on the UltraScreen. Alanna and I always get along really well when it comes to movies…best movie buddy I’ve ever had, I think. We have similar interests, but we’re always exposed to different films than the other, so we drag the other along to it.

We got there about an hour before the show…they had costume contests, trivia contests and lots of lines. ☺ Alanna managed to score us some pretty slick seats in the UltraScreen theater while I was out getting some snack bar items. Around midnight a manager came in, thanked us for our patience and explained to us that there were over 3000 people at just that theater alone watching Star Wars at midnight. Then the house lights dimmed and the previews began.

Star Wars Beginning Rolling Text The showing was flawless…I can’t say enough about the UltraScreen theater. You could actually feel the concrete under your feet vibrate just before a big star cruiser came onto the screen. All the normal surround sound, all the normal big-screen viewing, just more of both!

Like I said before, no spoilers here. Nevertheless, I will say that I really enjoyed the movie as well as the presentation. Answered just enough questions to tie everything up in a neat package…but still quickly paced and action-filled. I look forward to going to see it again… ULTRA or not! ☺

June 14, 2005

End Of An Era

Last night, with the mere flip of a power toggle, IAI’s IT systems ceased operations.

[Who's IAI, you might ask? More info on the history of IAI and my history with them below the fold]

Fifth Third had been slow to replace the IT operations of Paladin/IAI after the acquisition - the staff had continued to use many of the same systems they had beforehand. As systems were replaced, things were turned down, but the “core” of the Novell, Microsoft NT and Lotus Notes networks continued to operate. Last night, after one final replication off the Notes server to a spare workstation, all three networks ceased operations. Servers were turned down, UPS power turned off, cables unpatched and cleaned up.

Together we pulled out all the KVM units, at least 100 network cables, 8 phone lines, and 8 or 9 leftover server chassis. We had a chance to tell stories, stack up all the leftover equipment, even took a moment to admire the hack job we performed on move weekend years ago to finish the wiring job the electrician didn’t do in order to get the UPS up by SOB Monday morning. Mike Anderson had the honor of turning off THOR and ZEUS, the main Novell and Microsoft NT servers, respectively, and I turned off the UPS power. Thus was the end of the IAI IT Infrastructure.

It is fitting, tho, that there is going to be an IAI reunion party next month. Perfect timing? I certainly think so! In the lead up to the party I’ll be writing a bunch of nostalgic pieces about IAI…there are so many stories I was reminded of last night that I’ve never put down into words.

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June 23, 2005

29 Years (and Kickball: Week 6)

Although I think all two readers of this blog wished me a happy birthday already, I’ll make note of my 29th birthday here for posterity in case future cockroach archeologists dig up this blog after the nuclear holocaust.

My official birthday (it sounds like it may stretch out into a weekend-long celebration) was wonderful.

I worked today, but that didn’t mean that any fun was lost! JManDoo and his wife made me a cake, while I received many candy gifts from other co-workers as well. Lunch took the form of an outing to the Chic-fil-a Express down at the U of M, which was just as yummy as always. I shared my cake around the office, turned on the celebratory lights and put the finishing touches on a project that had been sitting on my plate for way too long.

My kickball games are always on Thursday night…tonight was no different. Even tho the temperatures at game time were over 95, both my parents and Kelly came to the game. My parents, besides bringing big “Happy Birthday” balloons to tie to their chairs, also brought little party-favor squirt guns for everyone on my team (I got a huge super soaker since, well, it was MY birthday!) Considering the temperature, the party favors were the perfect choice, since when not shooting each other they could be used to cool oneself down a bit!

The Lake Minnetonka Purifiers brought home an absolute victory over “Your Team Sucks”, which was absolutely the best gift the kickball team could have given me for my birthday! At the bar following the game, I also managed to avenge my team captain’s loss a few weeks ago to one of the black-shirted “Your Team Sucks” members in a 1-on-1 2-cup Flip Cup deathmatch. Even better!

Birthday with the family is on Saturday…stay tuned!

June 24, 2005

A Stunning Gift

When I picked up the wrapped birthday package from Kelly, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I thought for a moment that it was something made of cement. Or marble. All I could tell was that it was large and heavy - very very dense.

When I finally unwrapped it, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I am now, after admiring it whenever I spotted it at a bookstore since its release, the proud owner of The Complete Far Side 1980-1994 (2 Volume Set). Weighing in at 1272 pages (or 20 pounds, whichever you prefer), these two volumes catalog every Far Side panel ever published.

Those of you who have known me for many years remember the ever-present Far Side calendars on my desk at work throughout the 90s. I was always a big fan of the series, starting from the first panel I remember seeing when I was still in elementary school of the child trying to push open the front door belonging to a school for the gifted. (Someone had replaced Midvale with Westwood, which was fitting considering we were the gifted/talented program magnet for the district)

So, a big public Thank You to Kelly for the wonderful gift. Woohoo! I will treasure it always…

[ed: I was asked to remove the Midvale cartoon originally included in this post. See here for more details.]

July 10, 2005

Tour Of Saints (50 MILES!)

Earlier today, I rode the 50-mile Tour of Saints bike ride. The Tour of Saints describes itself as “not a race…a heavenly little ride.” It has both a 35-mile and a 50-mile course winding in and around the towns near Collegeville. My favorite part of the ride is that you didn’t need to decide which route you are going to take until mile 31. Considering that I had never ridden more than 34 miles or so in a single day, this option was a welcome part of the tour…I’ve always wanted to attempt a longer course, but my confidence wasn’t quite there to choose it right out of the gate.

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July 16, 2005

70 More Miles

Sure, I did 50 miles on Sunday. However, if I just took the next two weeks off it wouldn’t be that amazing now, would it?

Well, just to squelch any of the naysayers:

  • I did 26 miles on Wednesday (including the morning ride into work) with Kate. We explored a bunch of wonderful riding on both the east and west sides of the river near Lake Nokomis, Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling.
  • 26 miles on Thursday after work, too. Rode over to Erik’s, down the LRT trail to the White Castle in Saint Loius Park, and then back home.
  • This morning I woke up, hopped on the bike and did my usual tour around Lake Normandale and the Hyland Park Reserve for a total of 22 miles.

July 18, 2005

IAI Reunion

Tonight was the big IAI reunion I mentioned in this post about a month ago. I didn’t get down there until almost 6:15 or so because of traffic (it started at 4), but there were still plenty of people hanging around Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis when I arrived. The weather was wonderful…none of the stinging heat we’ve been treated to as of late, just a breezy, sunny evening around the lawn bowling greens on top of the pub.

I find it amazing that almost all of them still have jobs in the financial industry, many doing either the same job or a similar job with more responsibility/status. I guess this is how things go for the most part…but I certainly felt like an outsider when it came to many of the discussions, ‘cause I just wasn’t tuned into that sector anymore. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to reconnect with many of my old coworkers. Some brought their kids, some brought along pictures. Even those who couldn’t attend were the subject of discussions…”I knew someone who knew someone who just talked with them the other day!”

I have to admit…during my employment, and especially near the time I left IAI, many people pointed out just how much I grew up at IAI. When I compare my high school reunion to the IAI reunion, I think the IAI reunion left me with way more warm fuzzies in my heart afterwards. I really did grow up there; many of the people at the event were my mentors, team members or close confidants at some point in my tenor at the firm.

July 23, 2005

A Great Time Was Had By All

Last night was the end-of-season party for the inaugural season of WAKA TC. We had space set aside for us at Grandma’s Saloon and a $600 division-sponsored budget for the evening.

LMP met up at Jason’s Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner before heading down to the party a few blocks away. Jason’s restaurant in downtown Minneapolis is well managed (he is the manager of the restaurant, so we’d hope so!) and the pasta base was perfect for a long night of many alcoholic libations.

LMP got down to Grandma’s around 8:30 or so. There was already a volleyball game going on, people finishing off beers, etc. I took some pictures and then joined in the volleyball action. I hadn’t played since high school…but it reminded me how much I loved to play. Maybe after I lose a few pounds (so my shins don’t leave my body in protest) I should join a non-competitive adult league. I digress…

After volleyball, the division president, Amy, distributed the drink tickets, someone ran across the street to buy cups and we started flipcup. The setup was less than ideal…but we managed to cobble together 3 hightops along a wall and got quite the game going. Most participation all year, I’d guess. Anyway, we must have played for 3 or 4 hours with only periodic potty breaks…the competition was intense. At one point, we even had a non-English speaker battling it out from the non-kickball crowd nearby. No real champions of flipcup were crowned at the event…contrary to Nick’s post I remember no two-cup showdown flipcup. I congratulated him on finally drinking BEER in his flipcup, but otherwise it was team action all night long.

I realized about halfway through the night that I was the only photographer in attendance, which sucked since I knew my camera had been acting up recently on close-ups. Most of the pictures came out just fine, tho, you can check out the gallery here. I had come to the party with two charged batteries and four memory cards, which meant I was busy snapping pictures (and a few movies) most of the evening. Even managed to score a posed shot with the president of the division, Amy, handing over the TC division trophy to the winning team, the Sexy Ball Kickers.

Around 1am, Amy once again called everyone together and convinced many of us to head down to the basement’s dance floor for some hot booty-wigglin’ action. Jason even gave some of us white boys (and girls) some great dance lessons. At least now I can say I suck less than I did at the beginning of the event! There’s even a shot of Jason, myself and Josh dancing to the Run-DMC track ‘It’s Tricky’. Heh.

The house lights came up around 1:45; we slowly filtered out and walked back to the cars. We made plans to get together again this next Thursday as a team, just for a social event. Plans were also made for a possible fall WAKA TC kickball season…hmmmm…

I can certainly say that the kickball season sure went much better than I ever imagined. It certainly wasn’t what I imagined it would be when we started out…I thought it would be kickball with drinks. This certainly turned more into a social outing as the season went on…friendships were made, new skills (flipcup, the importance of keeping the ball on the ground) were forged and I was introduced to new media (Chappelle’s Show, Entourage) that I will continue to enjoy long after the season fades. Hope to see everyone next season…until then, in the words of LMP’s captain, Josh, “Stay Classy!”

July 24, 2005

Playing With Dirt

Last year, I took Kelly down to the Minneapolis Aquatennial’s Milk Carton Boat Races and Sand Castle Competition. It was a hot, sunny day…but she was won over by the wonderfully executed sand castles and made me promise we’d do it this year.

Well, low and behold she actually remembered this pledge…and when the time came around she began asking about it. Between the weather forecast (hot hot and muggy again!) and her being diagnosed with strep on Friday, it seemed that our participation was in doubt. Nevertheless, Kelly persevered and exclaimed that nothing would keep her from the 10 by 10 foot square of beachfront property. This left us on Saturday night with a will, but no plan or way.

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July 31, 2005

Quickie Ketchup

I know I haven’t written in almost a week. Gosh…it isn’t like I haven’t been doing anything noteworthy…nor is it that I’ve had no time to update. Guess I’ve just lazy…oh well, just to catch everyone up.

  • Spent Monday night and Tuesday night up at my parental units’ abode. They had to attend a funeral…my father’s mother’s sister’s husband passed away unexpectedly last week. They drove down, with the rest of the local Durand clan, to Kansas to attend the funeral, while I housesat and watched their dogs, bird and fish. (This usage of the word ‘fish’ is meant to be plural, for those playing the home game) The housesitting went well…Beaker, my parents’ bird, had confused me with my father…which meant that he was much more friendly than he normally is when I visit.
  • Wednesday night I went out with my old friend, Jean. Realized that we’ve known each other for at least 10 years now…seems like only yesterday we were making fun of “Bumble-Bee Girl.” Been quite the rollercoaster…but anyone who can stand 10 years of me certainly deserves some kind of medal and/or recognition.
  • Noticed that the chainsaw noises I heard out my window earlier this week were not just my imagination or lucid dreaming. There is now a wide path cut into the forest behind my apartment…I’m guessing it is part of the work to put in the new bike path along East Bush Lake Road. Looks like it will be set back just enough so I can continue to sit in my apartment (semi-)naked and stare out at the forest without getting some kind of indecent exposure complaint.
  • I’ll make an announcement regarding a new website, DodgeGolf, in the near future. For now, does anyone have suggestions as to what the best way is to fix divots in commercial-grade carpeting?

Did stuff the rest of the week, too. However, as the week went on my allergies got worse and worse again…meaning things slowed down quite a bit as I coasted into the weekend. Dunno if I’ve got two allergies, one that struck earlier in the season and then another right now, or if it is something constantly there and I’m doing something else to bring it on. Wash the sheets, hermitically seal the apartment and start dropping allergy meds like they are going out of style. No messing around this time, tho…if more than a few days go by with no relief, I’m off to the doc to get this officially diagnosed and treated.

August 4, 2005

Real Men Don't Wash Their Elbows

Work’s been, frankly, work the last few days. Haven’t had much time to work on the answer to world peace…with activities both Tuesday and Wednesday I was really looking forward to tonight, another exploratory trip around Minneapolis with Kate. Be good to get out, show my allergies who’s boss and get my second chance to try out the new pedal system.

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August 16, 2005

BW3 = Buffalo Wild Wings?

OK, so one question has puzzled everyone I’ve asked. I’ve even queried some of the servers at the establishment in question.

Why is Buffalo Wild Wings referred to as BW3?

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August 23, 2005

This Just Handed To Me...

Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do

August 27, 2005

2005 State Fair: Visit 1

After riding 60 miles, I knew I basically had a free pass to go to the Minnesota State Fair and consume large quantities of deep-fried-on-a-stick goodness!

Tonight was a food excursion, plain and simple.

I dove right in and started off with a new food, the “Carolina BBQ Pork Baked Potato”. There’s a food court restaurant at the Mall of America, Col. Muzzy’s Texas BBQ, which does a much better job at this, but it was completely acceptable fair food. Served hot and delicious, it was a great way to start off the consumption. A bit of lemonade, out of one of the refillable “souvenir” bottles washed it all down.

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August 30, 2005

Cooperative Trivia

With my ankle slowly on the mend, neither Kate nor I had any desire to go biking when we got together tonight, so instead we went to one of her old hangouts, The Leaning Tower of Pizza. Located in/near Uptown, it is your typical neighborhood pizza joint with one difference - Tuesday nights @ 8:30pm is a restaurant-wide trivia game.

Unlike NTN Trivia, this is all done with sheets of paper and pens. You go through a number of rounds, each consisting of 8 questions. Our rounds tonight were: State License Plate Mottos, Presidential Pets, I Love The 90’s, Automobiles and one round of pictures of semi-famous people where you had to put a name to the face.

Kate, a friend of Kate (I think her name was Rita…but after 3 Guinness and 1 Scooby Snack, I’m not 100% sure! Ruth) and I teamed up and adopted the name, “Katrina on a Stick”. We placed 5th with 28 points, there was a tie for first place at 31 points between two teams, each with at least 7 people on ‘em. This is certainly a game where larger teams sure come in handy, since you have plenty of time to debate answers, as the time limits are very relaxed.

I let down the team once…I totally got the model of Wayne and Garth’s car wrong…Pacer, NOT Pinto! Jebus!

Anyway, it was a blast…hopefully we can do it again sometime soon. Woo-hoo!

September 4, 2005

2005 State Fair: Visit 2

Delayed by the rain yesterday, I finally made it back to the Minnesota State Fair for my second visit today. Knowing I wouldn’t be returning on the last day, tomorrow, I knew I had to arrive with eyes wide open, and the belt loop one-notch looser, in order to squeeze in all that fair goodness.

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September 14, 2005

When 4 Inches Is A Big Deal

I’ve calmed down quite a bit since my last post. The irritation was easy to put out of mind once I got to sleep…how, you might ask? Well, yesterday I spent all day in a meeting with some board members, last night playing trivia at Leaning Tower of Pizza again, this morning on a sales call, this afternoon in meetings, and finally got to do some real work the last hour or so of the day, which hit a milestone in an ongoing project that had stalled with all the distractions of the few days.

After all that, I gave myself the treat of a bike ride and Totino’s Party Pizza for dinner.

There were other happy events over the past few days, too. I had to wear pants for the first time since April 15th or so for the sales call this morning. After going through all the pairs of pants I had, the pair that fit the best was still about 4 inches too big around the waist. Even tho I haven’t seen any drop on the scale most of the summer, at least it means I’ve dropped those inches. Yay!

October 13, 2005

I Felt Like Bustin' Up Somethin' Alright...

I spent the last week purposely avoiding all M. Doughty-related music. (Standard operating procedure for me before a live show - I like to go into the show ready to hear the performance, not involuntary spending my brain cycles comparing it to the recorded versions!) I looked forward to tonight’s concert at First Ave ever since I snagged a ticket. It was going to be great. I’ve been a fan of M. Doughty since Ruby Vroom. He could play anything from his catalog and I’d not only recognize it, but also know every last lyrical line of goodness.

I regret to say that, nevertheless, I was disappointed.

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November 15, 2005

A Trivia Win

We’ve been slowly working our way up the ladder at Pub Trivia night at the Leaning Tower of Pizza. We started in 5th place the first week, since then we’ve fluctuated between 5th and 12th. Over time, we’ve picked up a few members along the way…but considering we only took 3rd place in the “70’s Trivia” last week (realize, our team’s average age is about 37) I thought the #1 spot would elude our grasp until we grew in size to match the 10-or-more member teams.

Of course, just to prove me wrong, this week our team of four took 1st place! The categories (Blue Things, Child Stars, On The Runway, Band Frontmen, The Tonight Show) still had an “older” slant, but regardless we were the lucky recipients of the $30 gift certificate.

Yay!

December 14, 2005

Ketchup

Wow, I’ve only posted 4 times since November 1st. What’s wrong with me? Has my life become that boring?

Yes, in many ways I suppose. Been busy working on a huge project at work…been taking up the vast majority of my time. A few weeks over the past month-and-a-half I’ve been only at home to sleep, shower and dress.

There have been a few highlights of the past few weeks, tho. The project referred to above is quickly coming together, I’m nearly done handing over the project to our operations group, letting me move on to other things. Thanksgiving went wonderfully with everyone together, the turkey turned out perfect, the rest of the food was equally delicious. Continued good luck at Pub Trivia nights, even took a second place after a bitter triple-elimination following a three-way tie for first. Went to the Barenaked Ladies Holiday concert, along with everyone I know…least it seemed that way. Got Gumby/Pokey installed finally this past weekend…which is why you’re seeing a new style here. Still need to tweak it, add the menu back, get the rest of my pages fixed, but it will do for now.

There have been a few lows as well. My Beetle ended up needing to make a visit to the car doctors at Westside VW. The oil pressure light began flashing whenever it was running faster than idle…the cause was a clogged oil pickup tube. A couple hundred for the diagnosis and fix…but I can’t complain too much, only have 2 more payments left, then the car is completely mine. I figure for 2-3 months worth of payments I can restore my good ‘ol Beetle back into a decent shape, ready for another 50k miles or more.

December 15, 2005

Team Boobylicious Cookies!

Twodolla and the rest of her “3-Day Walk” group Team Boobylicious decided to have a cookie fundraiser.

How can you beat the price, about $4/dozen? I ended up ordering way more than I ever needed, 4 dozen sugar cookies, 4 dozen chocolate chip and 4 dozen peanut blossom cookies. Got them this morning…shared them around the office, most of them are going home with me, some destined to be frozen for an easy holiday party potluck offering, others to be gobbled up over the next few days. They are soooo yummy…

Go support boobies!.

December 27, 2005

Christmas 2005 Passes On

Today was the last day of my 5-day extended holiday weekend. Tomorrow I go back to work - by the calendar a “short” week, but, in actuality, it will be a very long, intense 3 days of work getting a new project out the door and into our customer’s hands. We’ve been working on this for more than 3 months now; it will be nice to see the fruits of everyone’s labors coming to fruition.

The weekend was go, go, go, with multiple Christmas parties and other family events taking up almost every last moment. I loved it. Sure, a few times it got tiring, or frustrating, or complicated, but all in all a wonderful weekend. In the gift department, I took in all kinds of wonderful prizes, some things I wished for, some things I didn’t even know I wanted. Got to play with many of the new toys today…what else is an extra vacation day like today good for? ☺ (OK, so I shopped the malls and then came home for a nice nap, too…but playing was foremost on the agenda!)

February 12, 2006

Opening Question 1, for 14095 Points!

Every year the Saint Cloud State Student Radio Station, KVSC, organizes a 50-hour long trivia contest. I had wanted to play for the past 4-5 years…only I’d realize this when I heard the winners announced every year. This year, I got to join the team “Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women” since Kate, my biking buddy, has been a member of the team for years. They run an amazing organization, have a great playbook (which I’ve been sworn to secrecy not to reveal!) with all kinds of great strategies proved over their many, many years of playing the trivia game. I had been looking forward to the contest for over 8 months since I first met Kate and found out she played…

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February 19, 2006

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Miss Your Flight

(Continue reading about the trivia weekend)

6 hours after I arrive home with the first carload from the Trivia weekend teardown, I awaken; to find out I had overslept. (Gosh, what are the odds of that, operating on 7 hours of sleep over the weekend!?) I rush to unload the front seat up to my apartment, drop off all 10 monitors at work and then head back up to Saint Cloud to collect everything else. When I pull in, everyone knew I was in a hurry to make the flight, so they all chipped in, helped load me up and within 15 minutes, I was leaving the PigPen again with a full car. I drop off a bunch of stuff at Kelly’s house, pick up her and her bags, then sprint back down to the cities. A quick repacking once I arrived home (less than 10 minutes) and my coworker, Theresa, picks us up and delivers us to the airport with almost exactly an hour to check-in, check our bags, pass security and rush down to the gate. Of course, one of our bags is overweight, so we had to move stuff around, only delaying our progress.

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February 28, 2006

I Thought I Could Relax Once I Made It Back Safely To Work!

(Continue reading about the trip)

The true sign of managing your job at work, at least to me, is that when I’m gone on vacation I don’t come back to piles of work that built-up while I was on vacation. Otherwise, vacation time is really just “delay time”. I was generally pleased, other than a few projects/tasks I knew were going to be waiting for me once I got back, I wasn’t deluged. Of course, that didn’t mean that the first week back would be a cakewalk. Nope, of course, a huge proposal needs to be sent off by the end of the week, tying up a huge portion of my days (and some nights).

Things haven’t really slowed down since then, underscored by the fact that on the night of February 28th, as if it was February’s way of giving me a send-off, I end up going out after work for an absolutely wonderful dinner, only to be called back to work at 10pm. Working until 4:30am the next morning, and having to be back into the office by 9am, it certainly was a long final day of the month. Made me wish I could create a leap-year-on-demand!

March 6, 2006

We Bicyclists Do Our Spring Cleaning Early

A wonderfully productive weekend.

  • Did a bunch of reading
  • Brought order to vast portions of my apartment
    • (still have the kitchen and bathroom to clean/organize, but these are traditionally the two rooms that get cleaned the most frequently, so I doubt they will remain messy for long)
  • Went down to the Bike Expo
    • (Registered for the Ironman at a discount, met the representative from the Tour of Saints who commented on my blog here, got some information about “sprint triathalons” from a representative of the Twin Cities Triathalon Club and saw a crazy six-person bike!)
  • Still found time to put together a bunch of new playlists on the iPod and listen, listen, listen!

Just what I needed, for sure. Felt so good to wake up and not worry about parrying around items littering the floor in order to make it to the bathroom! Now I just have to get training…less than 8 weeks until the Ironman ride…and this year I’m going for 62 miles _(over last year’s 30 miles).

January 28, 2007

Minnesota RollerGirls 2007 Season: Bout 1

Last night at The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium we got our first taste of the new “local” Minnesota RollerGirls season. (The first half of the season were “traveling” games, where we pit our best players against teams from other cities.) The Garda Belts, my favorite “local” team, put up a good fight, but they lost to the Atomic Bombshells.

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February 12, 2007

KVSC Trivia 2007: Around the World in 50 Hours

Every year, KVSC, the student radio station of Saint Cloud State University in Saint Cloud, MN, puts on a 50-hour trivia contest. Last year I participated in the contest for the first time, had a blast, so this year I was even more excited.

The short story is that we took 3rd place (out of 80), down a bit from our first place showing last year. We fell behind early in the contest and never managed to catch back up to first.

You don’t just want the short story, tho, do you…

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February 22, 2007

You Got A Better Answer?

I got an email today from Accounting Nicole, forwarded from her husband, that made me laugh out loud with delight.

I actually have considered answering this before during a particular difficult geometry test, which makes this one especially funny.

More below the fold…

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Name The Man Who Said "Snagglepuss" On KARE-11 News

Damon On KARE-11 News As I mentioned in my post about The 2007 KVSC Trivia Contest, KARE-11 News sent Boyd Huppert to do a sweeps feature for his Land of 10000 Stories news segment. Tonight the story finally aired.

Looks like they did a great job of giving everyone on the team a bit of face time. I’m featured more than once, from various angles. (And from the editing, it looks like I’m in both rooms at once. How’s that for magic? When they show the first half of the basement, I’m in front, long white t-shirt, back to the camera…when they show the second half of the room, I’m sitting on the couch in a striped polo shirt) You can see my sister and Davin in numerous shots as well, and Kelly (who only joined us for 2 hours of play) is even in the clip calling in the “101 Dalmations” guess. My biking partner Kate, who is the one responsible for hooking me up with the team, is in there sticking out her tongue and calling in the answer “Paco de Lucía”. Tim, the captain of the team, who was there when I met Kate on the Tour of Saints is the guy in the black t-shirt shouting out, “OK, we got number 1”. Dean, who Kate and I often play trivia with down at Leaning Tower of Pizza, is featured leaning in to listen to the radio during the Big Question, which is fitting considering his specialty is music.

All in all, I’m amazed at how well the piece came together. You can view the piece here on KARE-11’s website, or contact me if you’d like to see it in higher-quality, as I’ve got a number of clips of it saved off of the Tivo.

March 14, 2007

When 7th Place Rocks

Considering all the other distractions as of late, I was originally going to take tonight off of pub trivia down at Leaning Tower of Pizza. My sis and bro-in-law are busy getting ready for his parents’ visit, I’ve got a bunch of work I could be doing and need to plan my trip down to pick up my new bike this weekend. However, when Kate told me that Dean already was down there, had saved us a table, I decided I should push myself to go out.

Yeah, we placed 7th this week, a very poooooor showing. (If you were a big American Gladiators fan, you would have received 8 big points in the picture round by identifying your favorite gladiators by their mug shots…I managed to score two of the names, but we assigned them to the wrong players) The fun? Our favorite trivia reader sat down and played the game with us this evening. What a blast having him on our side for once! Usually we just heckle him (our team name is always a play on his name) and give him grief…tonight we could just relax and socialize a little between questions.

Even more fun? After the game, we ended up closing the place, talking for hours and hours. Everything from how electricians can diagnose problems using such clues as the way electricity smells to stories upon stories about what acid trips are like and how ‘shrooms can be prepared and used most effectively. Also in the preparation category, feel free to use an empty toilet paper roll to cook your egg rolls in the microwave. And, most importantly, just how humorous people can be when engaged in any of the previously listed activities. I actually got a side ache from laughing so hard. (Evidently, I could likely look forward to the same side-ache effect if I were ever to partake in ‘shrooms, from what I’ve gathered tonight)

March 22, 2007

Trivia For Boobies

Our Team Photo Team Boobylicious is TwoDolla’s Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk team. This will be her third year, each year I’ve supported her with monetary donations and buying cookies from their Christmas cookie fundraiser (better than Girl Scout cookies!).

This year they picked up on a fashionable trend and decided to hold a Bar Trivia fundraiser. I sent out emails, pulled together a team and we made the trip down to Hubert’s Bar and Grill. My sister, brother-in-law, his parents (visiting from Austrailia) and Kelly combined to create the team, “No, You’re a Boob”. First place was 49 points, we managed to pull in 44, not quite sure where that put us. Still, it was a blast, and evidently only the first “Trivia for Boobies” night…it was such a success, on May 1st Team Boobylicious will have a Bar Trivia night at the most appropriate place in town… Hooters. Be there, or be square!

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