Me, the Sensible One? Who Would'a Guessed

For about the last six weeks or so, I have had to endure Krista's almost uncontainable excitement in anticipation of her revealing my Christmas gift. She told me it was going to cost a lot, and wanted to make sure that we could manage the cost, so I had a couple of ideas as to what it might be based on the price. Boy, was I wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong. She bought me a kayak. Now, this is something I have wanted for quite a while. Combine this with Krista's joy of coming up with something I really wanted, and something I never would have guessed, and it was really, really hard to tell her that I thought we should take it back (well, not really take it back, it was still at REI waiting to be picked up).

We talked about it for a while, and considered how little time we have both had lately to get the things done that we need to do, let alone the things we would like to do, she agreed that maybe it was best not to get it. Instead we got a bike trailer. This is something we were going to purchase anyway, but that is ok, it really is the thought. And someday, hopefully in the next couple of years, I will collect what is possibly the best Christmas gift I have ever received.


But it doesn't rhyme...

Li'l sis has posted one of her poems, along with the result of a collaborative project with another department. In five months of blogging, you might have expected this sooner from someone working on her MFA in poetry. I ain't sayin', I'm just sayin'...


Eight of Four

From Jaq.

Four jobs you've had in your life: Movie Theatre (box office, concession, door man etc.); Disc Jockey; Camera Operator; Video Editor

Four movies you could watch over and over: There a quite a few, but here are four: Star Wars (Like Jaq, all six ); 2001: A Space Odyssey; The Blues Brothers; A Hard Days Night.

Four places you've lived: Des Moines, IA; Waverly, IA; Winsted, MN; Minneapolis, MN (three places in Minneapolis).

Four TV shows you love to watch: There are only three I watch that are currently airing: Arrested Development; The Simpsons (I'm not even all that religious about this anymore); King of the Hill (when it is on); and then to make four, I guess whatever happens to be on The National Geographic Channel while I am on the stationary bike, or World Poker Tour, but we don't have full cable, so I never see it. Of shows no longer airing, Millennium; Northern Exposure; Mr. Show; and we are currently working our way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Four places you've been on vacation: I'll hit the most recent: Duluth, and the North Shore; Las Vegas; Motorcycle road trip along the Mississippi; and Europe (Iceland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden).

Four websites you visit daily: Overheard In New York (and Overheard in the Office); Byzantium's Shores; Dirigiblog; Oliopolis. Also, Pokerroom, but not to read.

Four of your favorite foods: A perfectly grilled Steak (by me); Lasagna (by my mother); Pizza; Dark Chocolate.

Four places you'd rather be: Well, I'm at work right now, so you pick four, and they should qualify.


Go Google Yourself

Here's the deal, Google your name and the word "needs" and post the first ten results. My sister did this, and then did it again changing "needs" to "wants," and got some erie results. Then later Google did it to her again. It is a small world wide web folks. Anyway, here I go... (By the way, many of the top hits were other people doing this same meme, so I left those out, as well as stuff like "wants to know which geology books to start with for a research project.")


1. Aaron Needs a Tracheostomy.
2. Aaron needs to learn how to count.
3. Aaron needs a miracle! (Amen!)
4. Aaron needs to trust his stuff and pound the strike zone. (Ewww!)
5. Aaron - needs to make a career change (Again I say "Amen!")
6. Aaron needs two running tens for a tie or two running fives to win the pot. (I try to avoid needing running cads to win, but hey, it happens)
7. Aaron needs help.
8. Aaron needs to work on his keyboard comfort level. (I am a shitty pianist)
9. Aaron needs to get his motor pulled. (again, Ewww!)
10. Aaron needs to know how to capitalise on his strengths and to circumvent his weaknesses. (Don't we all? Oh, and using spell check is a good place to start circumventing those weaknesses)


1. Aaron wants to visit 29 places.
2. Aaron wants to be a millionaire. (Well, yeah)
3. Aaron wants a big favour!
4. Aaron wants to do 40 things.
5. Aaron wants to confess his love to Rachel. (Don't know her, I swear!)
6. Aaron wants to play the trombone for a living. (Gave up on that a while back)
7. Aaron wants the Hoboken audience to get as down and dirty as the groundlings at the Globe in the 1600s.
8. Aaron wants to retrieve from his mom some valuable mementos that Bruce Willis gave him.
9. Aaron wants a girl. (Already got the best one ever)
10. Aaron wants to make some money from his blogging popularity. (HA! Ha ha ha! Ah ha ha ha ha...)

Well quite a few of those came close. Google must be psychic.


Returning to Normal

A tiny bit at a time.


All I wanted to do was put my head down, and close my eyes for the 15 minutes (not the 30 minute lunch I should get) I had between the time when we finished editing the show, and when I had to retrieve tapes from playback and get back to work. I had bunched up my jacket for a pillow, dimmed the lights, turned off the machines (they are noisy), taken off my glasses, and my head was resting peacefully on my makeshift pillow. I could sense someone standing in my doorway. Then he (one of the other editors) started talking to me. About nothing. And kept talking. Until I had to squeeze past him to go get tapes and get back to work. At which point he disappeared for fifteen minutes to go to his car to smoke.

All I wanted was to close my eyes for 15 minutes.


A Father's Goodbye

Quinn's funeral was Friday. Go read the words Kelly wrote for the funeral bulletin.


What Can You Say...

...to a friend who's son has just died. I've started this post many times now, but nothing seems remotely adequate. I can only imagine what Quinn's family is going through.

To anyone reading this I will tell you that Quinn's time was all too short, and all too difficult. I will tell you that I know he had two wonderful people for parents, and I'm sure one of the best big sisters one could ask for. I will tell you that although distance kept me from ever meeting Quinn, in his 15 months he impacted me.

To Kelly, Deb and Haley, all I can say is I'm sorry, and I am thinking of you. I wish there were more I could say, or something I could do.


Yes, I'm Still Here...

I just haven't had much that I really NEEDED to say, coupled with a lack of free time equals light blogging. It seems like we've had quite a bit going on, the 'rents were in town, work on our bedroom (more on that to come), a job offer, interviews, much phone tag, negotiations, and many other tasks have eaten up what little free time we have had. There is more to do as well, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks things should be getting better.

The guys over at our CD club/experiment have been giving me shit, and wondering if Elsa was still kicking my ass. She is not, but she is still keeping me busy. The colic is gone, gone, gone, but she still doesn't sleep much in the afternoons. My typical day starts at 2am, and I am off to work. I get home around noon, and grab a bit to eat. Nap time, I usually get between one and two hours, depending on when Krista leaves, and when/if Elsa sleeps. Then it is Elsa, Elsa, Elsa. I try to get some things done, and if I am lucky I can get 30 minutes on the stationary bike, or we take a walk around the lake. Krista gets home between 8:300 and 9:00, bite to eat (and yes Mixdorf, a little Buffy, or other TV during dinner), another four hours of sleep before starting it all over again.

Not hellish, or terribly hard, but busy. So, blogging has been light, and will likely be for a while yet. I need to get the bikes winterized, and stain the mantle and banister for our bedroom before it gets too cold. And, I just haven't felt terribly inspired to say much. So there.


Do I Have A Sign On My Back That Says "Tag Me?"

OK, Dan tagged me with this a while back. Better late than never right?

1. It is Dan's theory that one only has time to devote to 10 outside-of-work pursuits. What makes your list? This can be an idealized version of your life (e.g. pursuits in which you are interested but just haven't found the time or ambition to start).

My first few are the same as Dan's, here they are:

1. Above all else, Elsa and Krista.
2. Friends.
3. Movies and good TV.
4. Music both creation and consumption. Though I have had a hard time getting going on the creation side.
5. Bicycling. Hopefully next summer, when Elsa can come along, I will get back to 20 miles every day again.
6. Video Editing. I know this is ALSO my job, but it is something I truly enjoy. Now if only my job...
7. Reading, even though I am a terribly sow reader.
8. Poker. Both a low stakes game as an opportunity for number 2, and a more serious game.
9. Travel/Motorcycling. The bike serves as my primary mode of commuting during the summer, and is a great stress reliever on the way home. I don't often just "Go for a ride." around town (if I have time for that it is usually pedal powered), but a trip on the bike is about as good as it gets. Even if it is just a day trip down the Mississippi.
10. Home improvement/building stuff. Like a poker table.

2. What are the last five albums you bought? Are you just kind of buying albums on a whim these days or following any kind of overarching plan-such as exploring a genre or working your way through a backlog of albums you've wanted to buy for some time?

Kenny Burrell, Midnight Blue
Dr. Lonnie Smith, Boogaloo To Beck
Elvis Costello, The Delivery Man
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Olympic Hopefuls, The Fuses Refuse to Burn (Great Twin Cities band on the verge of hitting it big, and yes they were still Olympic Hopefuls when I bought the disc. Check 'em out, and also check out Darren Jackson's other band Kid Dakota).

My plan? Yourmusic.com. Best music deal out there. May not have everything, but if they have something you want, you can't beat $5.99 with free shipping. (Just after posting this I see that Dan is onto the yourmusic.com goodness).

3. Everyone has an issue (at least one)-political or philosophical-that is kind of their personal baby. One on which they feel they have an enlightened view in a greater world that just either doesn't get it or doesn't care. Tell us about it-and attempt to be brief.

Boy, I am not sure that I have one that sticks out. There are a number that I get really frustrated about. Gay marriage is one, but I have posted about that before. Another frustration is with extremists with whom I agree on the issues, but their tactics a poorly thought out. Or not thought out at all. This may be off topic, but I feel like a rant. I once overheard a person who was in the Twin Cities to protest the Highway 55 bypass telling someone that a she and some friends were headed to New Orleans for a protest, and man was it going to be awesome. When asked what they were protesting she replied "I don't know yet." Then there was the group that was protesting the scourge of SUVs by setting whole lots full on fire. Besides the pollution from 20 burning SUVs, there is the fact that they are insured, and they will just build more. No one who was going to buy an SUV was moved, and in all likelihood those wavering were put off to your cause. Oh, and their spokesman showed up to give their news conference in a Grand Cherokee. You are not helping.

4. Prairie, mountains, woods, desert, lake, the sea. Which calls to you the most? Where would you most choose to reside? RANK THEM!

There are so many places that if feasible I would like to live for a year and most of these are included in my list, so it is hard to rank, but I will give it a shot:

1. Lake
2. Sea (Iceland, North Shore of Superior, not the warmer climes)
3. Mountains
4. Woods
5. Prairie
6. Desert

5. Guilty pleasure TV. Is there a show that would be condemned by your peers, but yet you find yourself watching it on a regular basis? Let's hear it.

Like Mixdorf I will have to say Blind Date and the like.

No limit or minimum of people to tag. Send this to whomever you choose.

OK, so I will tag none, but invite all.


Five Months

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That is how old she is today. She weighs in at 15 pounds 13 ounces and is 26.5 inches. She is smiling all the time (ok, most of the time), has two teeth, has rolled over onto her back, and is able to stand for minutes at a time (with a little help on the ballance end).

We went to the State Fair today (I forget the camera), and Elsa took in her first Rock and Roll show. The Hopefuls (formerly Olympic Hopefuls, until they got a threatening letter from the USOC. Seriously.) were playing, and were the main reason we ventured to the fair.

I leave you with some of my favorite photos from the past few months.
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With Great-Grandma.

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Gotta love that hair.

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Day at the beach


Chapter Sixteen (and Fifteen, and Fourteen, and Thirteen...)

Even while I was slacking off in my blogging, it seems Jaquandor just kept posting new chapters to his novel that he is publishing online. As the title of this post hints he is up to Chapter Sixteen. Get yourself over there and read The Promised King.

Happy Birthday

Here's wishing a happy birthday to The Mighty Quinn, and hoping that this next year takes it a bit easier on him. The kid deserves a break.


Pop Quiz

It appears that Amanda is prepping for the start of classes by taking every quiz she finds. She is a total nerd. No, really, she is. I on the other hand...

Modern, Cool Nerd
60 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 17% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 55% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 10% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Hmmm, the writer of this quiz must be a dork, as they misspelled knowledgeable.


She Caved!

Just as I succumbed to the pressure from Jaquandor, my sister Amanda (actually my only sister, but now you know her name. AKA Djork in some of my comment threads) has bowed to pressure from me and created her own blog. Like any good blogger, she has responded to the posts in which she has been tagged. You can see that she is a much more prolific reader than I, but I suppose that is required when working on your MFA in poetry.

Now I just have to start working on my brother...


I Shoulda Called No Tag Backs...

After I got him on the DVD survey Sean tags me for this one on books. Although, it was almost two months ago...

Number of books I own
I have no Idea, and I am not going to count them.

Last book I bought:
Cat Chaser By Elmore Leonard
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

Latest books I am reading:
Re-reading The Dharma Bums by Kerouac, and about to start on the latest Potter.

Last book I read (and have finished):
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

Five Books that mean a lot to me:
The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
The Dharma Bums by Kerouac
Fahrenheit 451 By Bradbury
Welcome to the Monkey House by Vonnegut (I love short stories and I love Vonnegut).
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Adams

Tag Five More:
Well, I can't tag Sean, and he tagged Jaq, so I am going to only tag four.
Amanda (oops, I guess this means you are going to have to start your own blog... Seriously.)

But I Know I'm Funnier than Him...

Jaq took the 3 Variable Funny Test, and so did I. We scored about the same which doesn't surprise me (although I would have expected him to score higher on the "Dark").

Here are my results:

the Wit
(78% dark, 30% spontaneous, 22% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

AND FINALLY -- after you rate my test with a sweet, sweet '5' -- you must take this test next: The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Test. It's not mine, but it rocks.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 8% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Where the Hell Have You Been?

Dan posted the other day about lack of sleep and other demands that have left him feeling zapped. I feel ya brother.

Elsa is kicking my ass. I've been going on between three and five hours sleep a night. Divided into two shifts. I am a zombie most of the time. But things are getting better. No more colic, and that is a big deal. This explains my lack of blogging lately. Any free time I have is devoted to getting other things done. Like eating dinner. In addition, during this free time my brain has been far from any condition to create a coherent post.

But, like I said, things are getting a bit better. I have been able to start getting some exercise in again, and that helps.

I have also been spending some time building a poker table, which is ready to make it's debut on Friday August 12. Elsa is at her most content when we are outside, so that has worked out fairly well.

I am also trying to devote more time to brushing up and delving deeper into Final Cut Pro, because, well, the hunt is on.


Test One-Two, Test One-Two...

Well, it seems Jaq has tricked me into posting. He has tagged me to answer a quiz that has been floating around. Granted he did this several days ago (over a week in fact), but hey, at least I am getting to it. And I may be the only one on his list to get to it.

1. Total number of films I own on DVD/video:
67. Although quite a few of them were free from one source or another, and are not ones that I would buy. Dan, would you like Stepmom back?

2. The last film I bought:
The Last DVD I bought was the first season of Millennium. I think the last movie I bought on DVD was Return of the King.

3. The last film I watched:
Last DVD watched: The Office Special. If you haven't watched The Office I command you to do so by the end of this coming weekend. Both series, and the special.
Last film watched Revenge of the Sith.
Last film watched on DVD Attack of the Clones (The Seven Samurai is sitting on the DVD player waiting for a free three-and-a-half hours).

4. Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
I don't watch many films over and over, but here are a few that I have seen many times.
Star Wars
The Blues Brothers
2001 A Space Odyssey
A Hard Day's Night
Raising Arizona

5. Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal/blog:
Amanda (oops, I guess this means you are going to have to start your own blog...)


Sorry Girls, You Can't Take Piss Out of the Pool

I was going to follow up the last post with a post about the absurdity with which our mental giants, Debbie (can I call you Debbie? Too bad) and Julie, reacted after Adam found their post (Amanda points this out in comments), but Jaq did it for me.

Debbie says:
If anyone else has anything to say about what a horrible person I am, please keep it to yourself. I don't need a complete stranger's help to feel bad about myself. If you want to comment, you'll have to register. I don't get anonymity here so neither do you.

Well, I would like to register. Debbie, how do I do that?


Maturity on Display

It appears that there is a student at UW Madison, named Deborah, who finds pleasure in making fun of two-year-olds. Specifically my niece Hazel. Deborah seems to have removed the web page in question (after finding out that my brother stumbled across it), but you can see the page here thanks to Google's cache (scroll down until you see the Sims picture of a woman and a baby, and "Jennifer Green-Johnson" highlighted).

Deborah, I don't know what problems you have, but if this (assumed) sub-rosa derision of a sweet little girl has brought you pleasure, I pity you. You are pathetic. My beautiful two-year-old niece shows more maturity and compassion than you.


Lay Them Straight...

Also in the past four weeks Jaq has posted chapters Seven and Eight from The Promised King.


More Pictures

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Elsa with cousin Hazel.

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Staring at Mom.

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There has been a high percentage of pregnancies at the Children's Yamaha Music School recently. Three out of thirteen teachers have brand new kids, with a fourth one on the way.

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Chillin' with the other chilens.

Four Weeks Later

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It has been four weeks since Elsa was born, so I suppose it is time for some new pictures and an update. In that time we have seen: cluster feedings (which is nothing compared with what has become part of daily life for some); screams that break your heart; the appearance of a normal belly-button; severe diaper rash caused by diarrhea; many visitors; gifts of food, clothing and other cuteness; many, many diapers.

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But mostly we have had four weeks of joy at the hands of really well tempered little girl who really digs on Art Blakey.

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We know she gets her good looks from me, so liking drummers must come from Mom.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

Elsa Ann Wentzel Johnson.
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Born 2:46 AM, March 28.

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7 pounds 14 ounces, 20 3/4 inches.

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Krista and Elsa are well (but tired). Just the vital info for now, I'll post more later about the LONG weekend.


Stay Tuned!

Expect a major announcement sometime this weekend.


Pick Up Sticks...

It seems like I just posted a reminder to check out Chapter Five of Jaquandor's The Promised King, and already Chapter Six is ready to go. It also seems that every other post of mine is becoming a link to The Promised King. But I have to. If I didn't, a couple of hamsters and a kitten would face mortal peril.


It's Been So Long, I Was Beginning to Think it Would Never Happen...

No, not that.

The other day, as I was picking up my boots, I caught a glimpse of sunlight from the inside of my right Dr. Marten. After nine years of nearly daily wear, four sets of inserts (Docs only come in whole sizes), and too many shoelaces to count (well, not really, I just didn't count), the outside heel has worn through.

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A sad day to be sure. I am now faced with the daunting task of finding just the right pair to serve me for the next nine years.

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Although... the hole isn't that big, and I think we are in the clear as far as snowfall goes...


Have You Seen?

Jaq has posted Chapter Five of his novel The Promised King. Even if the link at the top of his sidebar indicates that the most recent posting was Chapter Four...

Oh, and remember to check out Diary of an Attic.


About Time!

No, not that. You can finally purchase 44's Free Land Wall at the iTunes Music Store.

For the uninitiated, 44 was a music project that Krista and I were involved with for about five years. You can read more about it here. But what you need to know now is that you have a very easy way of purchasing our one and only album. Not only is Free Land Wall available from iTunes, but also from Napster, Rhapsody, and a whole host of other online services. Check your favorite source to see if we are available. Or, for those of you who prefer to hold the jewel case in your sweaty little hands, smearing you fingerprints all over the liner notes and photos of the band (which is my choice), you can buy a copy of the actual Compact Disk at CD Baby. Another advantage to purchasing the CD is that you get the hidden tracks that are not available online. Oh, did I mention the price is a paltry $5? So get out your Credit Cards point your browser to your preferred purchase point, and buy! Hell, buy the CD AND the digital downloads. We'll thank you twice.


After Months of Anticipation, The Day Has Come

It has arrived!

Today I awoke from my nap on the couch to Krista handing me a small bundle of joy. No, not that.

Today the FedEx Man, not the stork, made a delivery. My (almost) free 40GB iPod is here, charging it's controversial battery as I type this. In all I spent about $25 on the different offers (plus another $30 for one of those Entertainment coupon books, but I don't count that since we have saved nearly that much using it's coupons for things we buy anyway), and about three-and-a-half hours signing up, canceling memberships and calling the company pestering them for information. It was a bit of a pain, and if you decide to go the route I chose, I think you will get best results by calling the company every couple of weeks.

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But hey, a $400 iPod for a little over three hours work, not too shabby.



No, not that... I made some changes to Diary of an Attic. It will now only show posts made on the most recent day. I have also adjusted the archives menu to display single dates. Because of the photo-intensive nature of the blog this should make easier loading for those with slow connections.



Jaquandor (aka The Buffalo Blogger, aka Kelly Sedinger, aka the author of The Promised King who is publishing said novel online) reminds us that Chapter Four of The Promised King is up.

I am reminding you to check out Diary of an Attic. Lately we (I) have only been posting about once a week, but there is a new post, and we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Any Day...

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Despite Krista's claim that she could "go any day now," I have instructed my progeny to hold off until the prescribed due-date. If the child shows early signs of insolence by arriving early I shall have to reconsider including him/her in my plot for world domination.


Chapter Three, and Bombs Away

Jaquandor, that Buffalo Blogger, aka Kelly Sedinger has just published Chapter Three of his novel The Promised King. Kelly Sedinger also laments The Promised King's low ranking on Google. So I am going to do My part to help Kelly Sedinger's online novel, The Promised King, achieve a higher spot in Google searches for online novels, The Promised King, and Kelly Sedinger. If you have a blog please consider doing the same to promote The Promised King, Kelly Sedinger's novel, otherwise Kelly Sedinger might get pissy.

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No Respect

I saw this on the wires today, this was the only web link I could find.
After the death of Johnny Carson, the publicist for Rodney Dangerfield got a call from a CNN flunky asking whether Rodney would be available to speak on the death of Carson. The publicist said yes, but only if CNN has a satellite hookup to heaven.

Area Racist Victim of Racism

This is too funny.



Just a quick update on my efforts to obtain a (nearly) free iPod. My stays on the emarketresearchgroup web site has not changed to show that they have received my voucher, so I called and left another message on Wednesday night. Thursday morning they called back and told Krista that they have received the voucher, but they have been running low on supplies of iPods. They assured her that I should receive it in about two weeks. I have been ripping our CD library in anticipation. If When it arrives I will try for another free item. Maybe a laptop, or a Mac Mini if they are available.



Jaquandor has the second chapter up for The Promised King.

Jaq also had a column published in The Buffalo News. In it he details the emotions and the feelings of helplessness surrounding the birth of his son Quinn.

Also remember to check out Diary of an Attic. Not much has happened the past couple of days, but you knew that because you are checking it at least twice a day, right?


A Cold Day in Hell

It's starting to get chilly here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The official reading when I went to work was somewhere around -11°, but the reading at my house was -12°. To the north Embarrass saw an overnight low of -54°. Talk about tough, check out the accompanying photo to this article.

I usually don't even pass on those e-mails people forward to everyone in their address book, let alone post it here, but considering the recent temps, and what happened on Sunday, here you go:


60 Above
New Jerseyites try to turn on the heat
People in Minn. plant gardens

50 Above
Californians shiver uncontrollably
People in Minn. sunbathe

40 Above
Italian and English cars won't start
People in Minn. drive with the windows down

32 Above
Distilled water freezes
Lake Mille Lacs water gets thicker

20 Above
Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves and woolly hats
People in Minn. throw on a flannel shirt

15 Above
Philadelphia landlords finally turn up the heat
People in Minn. have the last cookout before it gets too cold

People in Miami all die
Minnesotans lick the flagpole

20 Below
Iowans fly away to Mexico
People in MN get out their winter coats

40 Below
Hollywood disintegrates
The Girl Scouts in MN are selling cookies door to door

60 Below
Polar bears begin to evacuate the Arctic
MN Boy Scouts postpone "Winter Survival" classes until it gets cold enough

80 Below
Mt. St. Helen's freezes
People in MN rent some videos

100 Below
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole
Minnesotans get frustrated because they can't thaw the keg

297 Below
Microbial life no longer survives on dairy products
Cows in MN complain about farmers with cold hands

460 Below
All atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin Scale)
People in MN start saying "cold nuff for ya?"

500 Below
Hell freezes over
The Minnesota Vikings win the Super Bowl


The Most Ass-Kickinsist Ass Kickers Who Ever Kicked Ass in the Most Ass-Kickinist of Ways

Murphy and I took in a show last night at Triple Rock Social Club. The Ashtray Hearts were first up, and they were great as always in their melancholy, we'll-bring-you-down-gently way. Next up was Robert Skoro. He much too into himself for me. At one point he mentioned how great it was to "be here at the Triple Rock here in Minneapolis," and how great the crowd was, especially for Minneapolis, and how the crowds "never seem into the shows when we play in the Twin Cities." I assumed he was from out of town, but looking at his website I see he is from the Twin Cities. The music wasn't that good either. He saved the best song for last, and it was pretty mediocre. Last up was Kid Dakota. This was the second time I have seen the Kid, and I was wowed once again. For a two piece (hell, for a ten piece) they really, as you might infer from the title of this post, kick some serious ass. Their recordings are great, but both times I have seen them live they have brought their a-game, and then some. Check 'em out, along with The Ashtray Hearts.

Shawn called while Skoro was on, and he and Lee joined us as Kid Dakota was taking the stage. We then went for some post-show nourishment, at Denny's. And yes Amanda we ended up at Denny's intentionally.


Diary of an Attic

As Jaq points out I am generating way too much content for a single blog. To remedy the situation, I have created a new blog dedicated to the work that is going on in our attic. I will try to update it daily, except on days that nothing is going on. Krista has also joined Blogger so she can post when she feels the urge. One note, it is going to be image intensive.
I Shall Call Him Mini Mac

Remember the super-cool G4 Cube? Well, Jobs and co. are at it again, but this time they made it affordable.

Also unveiled at Macworld Expo was the iPod Shuffle. A flash-based iPod that starts at $99 for those who want to join the party but not shell out the big bucks (or jump through the hoops).


The Great iPod Plot

I'm sure you all have seen those banner ads, or deleted pesky spam promising a free iPod, flat-screen, laptop or some other product. Well, I was so tempted by the thought of carrying my entire CD collection with me ensconced in a tiny stylish bit of technology that I thought I would at least check it out.

One of the companies who plaster those banners all over the web is FreeiPods.com. With just a small bit of research I learned that this is indeed a legit company. FreeiPods.com gives out 20GB iPods and iPod Minis. They way they are set up is a bit like a pyramid scheme. You complete one of their sponsor offers (such as joining Columbia House or something of that nature) and convince some of your friends to do the same. Once a certain number of your friends complete their offers you get your iPod. They in turn convince a new batch of friends to go along. I considered this, but I didn't feel right asking friends to sign up so I could get a free iPod.

Another company, that has many different names (it was called emarketresearchgroup.com when I started), takes a different approach. You are responsible for completing all of the offers yourself, and they offer the 40GB iPod. I was much more comfortable with this scenario, so I thought I would look a little deeper.

To gauge how likely it was that this place was legit I checked on who some of the sponsors were. Sponsors included the likes of Blockbuster and AOL. Evil? Yes. Associate with scammers in order to generate customers? Maybe, but not likely. Most of the offers they listed as examples also seemed to be free trial offers, so while not completely convinced, I decided the risk was worth the potential payoff.

Not wanting a deluge of spam in my nearly spam-free inbox, I set up a new e-mail account specifically for this experiment. For my free 40GB iPod ($399 retail) I would need to complete six sponsor offers. The offers were listed on three different pages, and I would have to complete two from each page. On the first page I chose two offers that would cost me a buck each. Each was a one-day trial that would renew at $40 a month if not cancelled. Since I was not interested in information on government auctions or how I could get a free car by having ads plastered all over it, I promptly cancelled when they showed up as completed about an hour after I signed up. On page two I signed up for a free two-week trial of Blockbuster Online, and a free month of Rhapsody music service. Now on to page three. Most of the offers cost quite a bit. "So that's how it works." I thought to myself. I scanned the offers looking for two that would keep my cost under the $60 limit I set for myself going in. I found one for a Discover Card, the only requirement was to activate the card and make one purchase. I could handle that. The only other offer that was remotely palatable was a free one-week trial to eharmony.com. So, with permission from Krista, I was back in the dating scene.

All of the offers soon showed up as completed on the emarketresearchgroup website except for Blockbuster and Rhapsody. I called Blockbuster, and soon had that taken care of, but with Rhapsody it appeared to be impossible to talk to an actual person. I cancelled Rhapsody and went back to the sponsor offers page two to find something else. I settled on the Entertainment Book of coupons to local merchants. The coupons to places we frequent will more than make up for the $30 I paid for the book.

My status was now updated to show that I had completed all of the required sponsor offers. I made screen shots of the web pages, just in case. My next step was to print my voucher, fill it out, and mail it in. Done, done and done. I even used certified mail just to be sure. According to the USPS website my voucher arrived on December 18. I gave it two weeks, but my status had not updated to show that they had received the voucher, so I gave them a call. There was no option to talk to someone, but I was able to leave a voicemail. My hopes were beginning to fade. Chin up! The next day I received a call back and was told that they are behind in processing the vouchers, so while mine may have arrived, it could take up to three weeks to process. One week later still no update on the website, so I placed another call. Again, my call was returned the next day and I was assured that they had indeed received my voucher and an order would soon be on its way to their fulfillment center.

I'm feeling good about my chances of getting the iPod, but time will tell. All said and done, I would estimate that I spent about three hours working for it, and about $25 (not including the Entertainment Book which will pay for itself).

A side note about the eharmony.com trial. While signing up I realized that I was actually giving thoughtful responses to the questions used to generate the matches. I decided that since I was signing up to get a free iPod, not dates, that I would speed up the process by clicking random radio buttons for my answers. Then I decided that I would have some fun and choose the least desirable answers. Such as answering "1" for "I think it is important to listen to my partner. 1 being not important, and 10 being very important." After answering many of these in this manner I was presented with five matches upon completing the process. Maybe there really is someone for everyone.
Writer's Cramp

Jaquandor explains his preferred method of composition, and it makes my hand hurt just thinking about it. 150,000 - 200,000 words, and no page numbers? That's asking for trouble if you ask me.

He is however bringing The Promised King, into the modern era by publishing it online in blog format. He has one chapter up so far, and will be adding chapters every couple of weeks. Spread the word.

Who needs Daunte Culpepper when you've got Brett Favre? I expected the game to be close, but I was confident that the Vikes would pull it off. I even made a little cash on the outcome. Now for Philadelphia. I bet they can do it. Any takers? Hmmm, on second thought... OK, maybe a buck.

Oh, and while we are on the subject, is there such a lack of things by which to be disgusted that we have to act as though we are repulsed by Randy Moss faux-mooning a bunch of cheese-heads? For the record, Moss walking off the field last week didn't bother me that much either.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year

Well, at least I hope they were. We've been a bit busy lately. We were out of town two weekends in a row for the holidays. We also spent this past weekend taking care of some last minute decisions regarding our attic, and those still aren't finalized.

The holidays were good, had fun with family and gave and received some great gifts. I got a number of great gifts, including the first two seasons of Northern Exposure, Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks, a nice set of poker chips, and a nice deck of cards. Krista and I both got a number of gift cards, every one very useful.

Several of those gift cards were to Home Depot, which is handy considering that work is set to begin this afternoon on our attic. The preparations for this project have taken most of our free time lately. We managed to get rid of quite a bit of what was in the attic, and everything else managed to fit in the basement without impeding movement down there too much. We have a couple more things to pick out, but I expect that we will have most everything finalized within a week. So the construction will likely be finished just as the Parasite outgrows it's host. I expect that I will never sleep again.