17 September 2009

Milwaukee Film Festival Staff Picks

As some of you may know, my most recent gig is that of Volunteer Coordinator for the Milwaukee Film Festival. As such, I was quite excited when I was assigned awarded the opportunity to make my staff picks for the films I hope to see. Here they are again, for your reading pleasure:

Art & Copy
Saturday, Sept 26, 5:15pm | North Shore Cinema
Tuesday, Sept 29, 5:30pm | Oriental Theatre
USA | 2008 | 89 min | English

I am always intrigued by the stories of people behind the 'big' things we see in our society - the architect of a building, the leader of a company or the creator of a campaign. As a media studies junkie, I'm looking forward to seeing Art & Copy to hear the stories of the advertisers who have shaped our society and to learn about the hurdles that were overcome in the process.

The House of the Devil
Friday, Sept 25, Midnight | Oriental Theatre
Tuesday, Sept 29, 9:30pm | North Shore Cinema
USA | 2009 | 93 min | English

I'm not normally one for horror flicks, but I think it's healthy for everyone to get scared senseless every now and again. I'll be at the Midnight showing, and probably won't get a wink of sleep that night.

Friday, Sept 25, 10:00pm | Oriental Theatre
Tuesday, Sept 29, 7:15pm | North Shore Cinema
UK | 2009 | 92 min | English

Having known nothing about this film, I was initially drawn to it by this image - Bronson, looking through a window with a joyful smile on his face. I thought it seemed like a really sweet, uplifting movie - until I read the synopsis - which then made me even more excited to see it, in one of those I-watch-way-too-much-CSI sort of ways.

So, folks, there you have it. In a shameless-self-promotion sort of way, I still need Volunteers! You can get a free t-shirt AND spend quality time with yours truly! Click here to sign up.

Tickets and Festival Passes are available now - visit our online Box Office or drop in to our Box Office at the Landmark Oriental Theatre to buy your tickets now!

04 August 2009

The Power of Positive Thinking

Ok, so as you may or may not know, my life has been changing majorly this summer (which is a story when I'm running off of a decent night's sleep instead of excessive coffee).

Anyway, I've been working on a movie set for the last few weeks, and a lot of the people I meet have high hopes of making it big in Hollywood. One common conversation piece is, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

Most folks answer this question with something along the lines of "I want to be a director" or "I want to be a producer" or similar rhetoric.

One young man named Randall answers the question, "I'm going to be a director." The very concept of 'want to be' and 'going to be' that this 22-year-old has established in his life simply blows me away. The more I think about it, the more inspired I am to move on to the next phase of my own life.

21 June 2009

Friday Night

So on Friday night, at about 11:00 PM, I'm walking through the Red Light District in Amsterdam, which is quite an interesting mix of tourists wandering around trying to see working girls and interesting-looking guys trying to cut a deal with the working girls (supposedly the going rate is 50-80 Euro for 15 mins).

Anyway, we turn down another pedestrian street with a kebap shop, a frites shop, a sex toy shop and a few bars. One bar is packed, and the entire crowd is singing one song...

Ok there weren't quite that many people there, and Noel and Liam weren't playing live, but it still sounded kind of awesome. I suppose I should also say that 80% of the time I hear that song, something ridiculous happens (nothing of note on this trip though...).

At any rate, I am now back, but make no promises of uploading my pics anytime soon, seeings how I still have not uploaded my pics from last summer's Germany and Spain trips. It feels a bit strange to be in my own apartment, and I have to go grocery shopping so I can cook my own food again (I am thrilled at the thought that I will not get a dirty look for using my credit card to pay for something less than 50 Euro... apparently they hate the fees over there). I was channel surfing (glad to see America didn't explode after the DTV conversion) and almost left it on Telemundo because I still find it somewhat odd to hear people on the street speaking English.

Anyway, it's good to be back. Not really looking forward to work tomorrow, but c'est la vie.

30 May 2009

Sage Advice

Ok so I realize it's been like a month and a half since my last post; needless to say, a lot has happened, but I won't get into that now.

I happened across this link from someone who I've never met but is a colleague of a friend. He has a very unique take on life and I appreciate his eye.

The article speaks a lot for the point in my life that I'm at right now. I'm almost 26, and it's time for me to grow up. I think it's great advice for basically anyone, and I wish It would be required reading on your 25th birthday.

Without further ado, 25 And Over.

09 April 2009

OPENING DAY IS TOMORROW! -or- Remember Where You Came From

Earlier this evening, as I was elbow-deep in meat and a variety of secret ingredients (making hamburgers for Opening Day, of course), I was staring into the stainless steel bowl I was using to mix the ingredients, it occurred to me that I have attended more Brewers games with Mr. Benjamin Butz than I have with any other soul on this earth. My train of thought went like this:

-I'm mixing ingredients for my homemade hamburgers. Did I miss any ingredients from last year?
-Remember last year? I remember meeting up in the Target parking lot and doing a jumping hug with Brian (but I didn't know him at the time).
-Wow. Opening Day last year was lots of fun. What else did we do?
-I think we did keg stands.
-That sounds about right.
-I think we shotgunned bees.
-I didn't shotgun any beers, but Ben definitely did.
-Oh yeah, Ben was there last year too!
-I think I remember making homemade hamburgers at Ben's house a few years ago for a different tailgate.
-I think we used stainless steel bowls.
-I think that Ben mentioned that he inherited the stainless steel bowls. I remember him saying that he didn't recall buying them.
-Wait, I remember going with Kory to buy them. We needed something for mashed potatoes for Family Thanksgiving back in college. I think that was Junior year.
-Yeah, Junior year sounds about right. I remember the Wal-Mart trip. I think we wore the bowls on our heads.
-How did Ben end up with the bowls? I KNOW that Family Thanksgiving wasn't at his house.
-How did *I* end up with this bowl? It clearly came from Family Thanksgiving, and I have no recollection of how I inherited it.

Yes, I know, it all makes perfect sense now. I estimate that Ben was in my 9-pack last year. I know that he missed a game or two, and I know I missed one, so I went to at least 6 games with him. Plus I can think of at least 3 other tailgates/games that I went to with him with college friends. I know that I haven't been to that many games with any of the other participants in last year's 9-pack, so Mr. Butz unknowingly wins the award for being my Best Brewers Buddy. I think I'll give him a high five when he picks me up for tomorrow.

So at any rate, tomorrow is Opening Day. Or, it's at least the home opener. St. Paddy's Day got us ready for the outdoor drinking season, and Opening Day introduces us to the first tailgate of the year. Summer is upon us, whether or not the weather agrees with us (current predicted high tomorrow is a balmy 45 plus wind...).

Needless to say, I'm THRILLED. I picked up some hamburger and a block of Colby cheese from my parents' farm when I was home over a month ago, and have been waiting with baited breath to mix up the hamburgers with all of my secret ingredients and slice the cheese and listen to it sizzle on the grill in the parking lot.... it's gonna be GREAT.

Anyway, getting back to the *other* point of this post - remembering where one has come from. Mixing the hamburgers (and all of the consequential memories) made me smile from ear to ear. I really appreciate all of my friends and all of the wonderful memories they have given me over the years. Though I may not express it, I am thankful every day that I am able to have the memories that I described above, as well as all the other ones that came after it (ohhhhhh Family Thanksgiving..... thank goodness we were friends with Jill, who was in charge of the cafeteria at good 'ol Sandburg Halls...). Friends like mine are the stuff legends are made of. One day, one of these kids is going to write a memoir and we will all laugh until we cry... again.

And now, I'm off to bed. I must now lie awake for 3-4 hours, whet with anticipation for the amazingness that tomorrow beholds, not to mention the mountain of memories to be added into the fold. In the morning I will wake up, make myself a whiskey coffee, try to decide what to wear (Fielder or Hardy?), jump in Ben's car and head over to Miller Park with my hamburgers and sliced Colby and the taco dip I purchased today. And I will smile from ear to ear.

29 March 2009

Zombie Target

To put an end to an already excessive weekend, JB and I stopped by the Target on Miller Park Way in hopes of acquiring a pair of galoshes (for me, not for him). Mainly because they're so fun to say, and also they will be great for walking to work in the spring/summer rain.

We parked and were confronted by a security guard on a three-wheeled Segway-esque thinger with flashy lights. He told us that the store had lost power so they were closed.

So, to continue with the weekend-long theme of bad decision making, we stopped by the Chili's that was nearby and were seated with a waitress named Rozy who had a squirrel nest atop her head, and so much makeup on her face it could probably be scraped off with a spatula.

After going over 3 different menus (one 'regular' menu and two 'special' menus), and noting that everything was 'fried to perfection,' JB ordered a crispy-chicken-glazed-crisper thing and I got these buffalo chicken burger bite things. (I just pointed at the picture when I ordered.) After 4 or 5 soda refills and a serious discussion about dessert, we left. When we were in the parking lot, we noticed that folks were once again entering and leaving Target, so we ventured back....

The three-wheeled cop was now standing at the door with his Segway thinger parked nearby (flashing lights still on) and told patrons that all of the power was on except for the lights. Associates were posted every 20 feet or so with flashlights, and if you wanted to venture down and aisle, they escorted you and were actually quite helpful and pleasant. I located some galoshes (that are pink and plaid) and then wandered down to camping supplies (because, after all, spring is in the air). After attempting to look at the little mini tents, we decided it wasn't working well and started to head out.



So we ran back to camping supplies! And saw a lovely pink camouflage sleeping bag. (Can it really be called camouflage if it's bright pink???) Anyway, we went through camping supplies and a few other sections and then the lights clicked off again. It was at that point that we were in the very far back corner of the store, where it was the darkest. JB ever-so-kindly pointed out that this would be the perfect setting for a zombie movie, and proceeded to attempt to freak me out every possible chance he got. (I hate zombies.) So I decided it was time to leave.

This was probably the strangest and most surreal Target experience I have ever had (and, honestly, that I ever hope to have). I give them props for triaging the situation and helping customers, but SO much could have gone wrong at that point (looting, pillaging, people finding ways to hurt themselves, people hurting other people, etc...). If you don't have lights in a giant warehouse with no natural light, just take the loss for the day and close your doors. And stock up on anti-zombie apparati (whatever that may be).

21 March 2009

Seasons Change

I'm sure most of you have heard it at some point or another: "There are only two seasons in Wisconsin - winter and road construction." Well, it's half right. For me, the only two seasons I need are winter and Brewers baseball season. 

Today marked the end of my '08-'09 snowboarding season. A randomly assembled crew headed up to Devil's Head for some high quality (?) slushboarding. Tickets were 2 for 1 and the weather was gorgeous - midday was up into the 60's. The snow was decent on the first few runs (we got on the hill at about 9:30 AM) but as the sun climbed higher, conditions deteriorated. Good thing we brought beer. (Oh, and I got to break in my gorgeous new bindings. LOVE THEM.)

I would also like to point out that I have never actually heard the sound of snow melting until today. It sounds kind of like Rice Krispies. 

Without boring you, I will say that I had a great time today and some good conversations. I also will have a lovely bruise on my right elbow and have a farmer tan/sunburn on my forearms. 

At any rate, dear winter, I wish to bid you adeiu. The time has once again come for us to part ways. I will greet you and welcome your sweet shredding snow once again in December. 

And now, my second love: Brewers baseball. Well, to be fair, I loved the Brewers first, and snowboarding second. Snowboarding just happened to be my thing when I started the blog. Anyway. 

The countdown has begun! Just 20 short days until Opening Day! I already have my famous hamburger recipie ready to go, and our tickets and parking pass has been purchased. I purchased a 20-pack with some friends this year, an investment that is sure to not disappoint (more on that later). 

My first Brewers game was on UWM night in 2004. We sat way up in somewhere near section 426 and I didn't pay attention for most of the game. 2005 brought me back to Miller Park 3 times, in 2006 I was there 7 times and in 2007 I took part in my first 9-pack with my friend Grant. (Of course I was there 14 times total that season.) 2008 renewed the 9-pack with a different group and had me there 17 times total. I think it's safe to say that I enjoy the sport. 

I know, I know, most people think that baseball is the most boring sport ever. Not so, I say. At my second or third Brewers game, I learned how to keep score by hand in baseball, and my love affair with the team was begun. (Also, a lot more of the radio commentary makes sense now.) I usually keep score at games when I make it in from the parking lot before the 2nd inning. Also, my love grows stronger each time I watch Baseball Tonight and the FSN postgame and learn what they mean when they say things like "manufacturing a run." And what's not to love about all of the great history behind the sport, with everything from the Curse of the Bambino to the Curse of the Billy Goat (wow, hexes abound!) to the Miracle in Milwaukee when the Boston Braves came to our great city. 

As you can imagine, I could go on, but I plan to blog on this topic again. The main point I am getting at is that for me, snowboarding fills the time between baseball seasons, and baseball fills the time between snowboarding seasons. This does leave a small lag, right about in November, but November is filled with my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I look forward to the next 8 months of warm nights, tailgating and root-root-rooting for the BREW-ERS, because if they dont' do something amazing this season, it really will be a shame. 

09 March 2009

To Read or Not To Read

I have long felt it important to finish what I start. (Unfortunately, this does not hold true for the scarf I began knitting something like 4 winters ago.) Wow, that sounds really depressing and makes me look quite bad. Do over!

Whether or not I have said it out loud, I have been a firm believer in following through with what I set out to accomplish. It's how I learned to snowboard, lost 10 lbs (still 15 more to go) and why I canceled my cable.

That being said, I am at a terrible crossroads. I am reading a book that I have absolutely no desire to finish. I've been working on it for about a year (though the canceled cable resolution has definitely helped spur it along in the past few weeks). The "bookmarks" are a bike rental brochure from last summer's camping trip to the Apostle Islands and an Amtrak ticket stub from our Nov. 4 adventure to Grant Park. I believe I purchased it about last May, as I remember discussing with a friend at our Memorial Day camping trip that I was going to start it.

That Memorial Day conversation may have been the beginning of the end, because my friend told me that he didn't like the book at all. But I started it anyway, because he thought that I may like it, after all, it is quite a popular book. I got a few chapters in, it didn't seem so bad. Then I set it down for a bit and came back to it while on the Apostle Islands trip, where a second friend mentioned that he didn't like it either. Darn. (I will admit, I got a bit mad, at 2 of my friends telling me they didn't like it, that they were just setting me up to fail and they should have just let me read it and make my own decisions.)

At any rate, the book was set down and picked up several more times over the next few months until I've reached the point where I'm at now, about 3/4 of the way done and absolutely no desire to finish. I don't care about what happens to the characters because they are not people I would care about in the first place. Three quarters of the way into the book and there is no interesting hook or plot synopsis for me to care about. I feel that the author has failed to engage me, and it took me 3/4 of his book to figure it out!

So what to do next? Do I stick it out to the painful end, with the hopes that something amazing will happen and make me glad I read the book? Or do I accept defeat and put it back on my shelf and maybe gather it with a bunch of other books in 6 months or a year to sell to Downtown Books for in-store credit?

Given the recommendations of my friends, I think the answer will be to accept defeat. It's going to go back on the shelf and I'll pick up the other book that I've only partially started (though the story behind this one is far more exciting... this book is called Istanbul, and I purchased it while in Istanbul in 2007. And the story is interesting too!).

Wish me luck, dear friends, as the list is only more exciting after this!

In no particular order:
The World is Flat (Friedman)
And The Band Played On (Shilts)
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Adams)
American Gods (Gaiman)
The Audacity of Hope (Obama)
I Was Told There'd Be Cake (Crosley)
Bowling Alone (Putnam)

Also, I kindly ask that you don't share your opinions on these books until I've had a chance to read these books, as to not set me up for the dismal failure mentioned above. Many thanks, Lars.

08 March 2009

Cat and Mouse - Update

Hopefully this is the last time I will have to write about this situation. After my initial mouse encounter, I called the landlord who called the exterminator people who were able to come out that very day. A very nice man named Bobby walked all around and assessed the situation and said that he thought they were coming in from the floorboard crack (that the cat was still intently watching).

Bobby set some poison in these special locked-box things so the mice could sneak in and get it but the cat could not. After explaining in graphic detail how the poison works to dehydrate the mice, and how I may have deranged, dehydrated, confused mice wandering around my apartment in search of water while in the process of dying, he suggested that I called my apartment manager and ask to have the baseboard sealed.

So I called my apartment manager and thanked him for getting Bobby the pest control guy to my apartment so quickly, and informed him of the suggestion to fix the baseboard. I was told that they'd get the maintenance folks out there as soon as possible.

So, in the meantime, I went to trivia night at Hooligan's and came back a few hours later. When I returned, I discovered that my cat is very good at math. She somehow measured and found what was pretty much the exact geometric center of my apartment. And what did she use to mark this geometric center? You guessed it! A dead mouse! I am certain that this mouse was not the same mouse from the night before, as the first mouse was a wee little baby mouse, and the now-dead-center-marking mouse was a full grown (probably) momma mouse.

It was also quite apparent that in the 24 or so hours since the first mouse incident that my cat had evolved as a huntress and had beat the crap out of this second, larger mouse. She may or may not have been aided as the mouse may or may not have already been deranged/disoriented from possibly already consuming the mouse poison. But I'll still give the cat credit for the kill as the mouse had some puncture wounds and looked as if a few bones were slightly out of place. And the cat still continued to paw at the now-lifeless mouse body as I walked on my tippy-toes and tried to figure out what to do with the mouse.

I wanted to pick up the mouse somehow and put it in a plastic bag for disposal. I didn't want to sacrifice any of my cooking utensils so I thought for a minute... what could I use? Chop sticks came to mind, I had a few extra pairs from my last visit to Noodles, but then I'd be down a pair of chop sticks. What else? Digging through a kitchen drawer turned up a plastic fork from a past carry-out. The mouse was shoveled into the plastic shopping bag, the fork was tossed in after it, the bag was tied in about 30 knots and taken swiftly down the stairs, out the door and into the dumpster.

I came back inside and washed my hands for about 15 minutes. ICK.

The next day maintenance visited my apartment and sealed what we think were the problematic cracks in the floor/wall. At least, I think they got them all because there haven't been any crumbs of the mouse poison near the poison box things. Also my cat hasn't killed any more mice (a pretty good sign).

So now I'm breathing (and sleeping!) easier. Special thanks to Shoreline for their prompt response to the situation. In 1.5 days I had mouse bait put down and all of the holes sealed. Not a bad response time!

04 March 2009

Cat and Mouse - Literally

I woke up at 2:30 AM to the sound of my cat knocking something over. No big deal, right? Then I heard a little squeak. And then another little squeak. I thought, "No way."

Yes way. My cat had discovered a tiny gray mouse. In my apartment. Eep!! I couldn't believe it. I stood on a footstool as I peered around the corner to verify that yes, indeed, this was a mouse, and no, I was not having one of my dreams again. After about 10 minutes of watching the cat bat at the mouse (not attack or kill, as one might expect a cat to do), the mouse scurried back into the kitchen and apparently disappeared into a crack between the floor and baseboard near the radiator. And the cat has been on steakout ever since:

The landlord has been called, and I requested box traps instead of snap traps, because I'm pretty sure that the cat would get caught in the snap traps herself. Hopefully this is the last time I have to write about this!

I would also like to point out that I live in a relatively nice and well-kept apartment in downtown Milwaukee. It is not unkempt or filthy by any means!

28 February 2009

Debt Free: The First Step

Today I canceled my cable. I met up with Nikos at Mayfair Mall and waited in line for about 20 minutes and turned in my cable box. When asked by the Time Warner employee why I was doing it, I recited that all of the shows I watch I can find online for free. He gave a somewhat-knowing half-nod and began asking me for my account information. 5 minutes later, I was cable-box free.

But not so fast. Right before I left, the TW guy pointed out that I was still subscribed to Road Runner "Lite" which is not suggested for viewing streaming video online. (I would like to note that I have had very little trouble using it so far, and attribute most of the problems to my 8-year-old computer and not to the speed of my connection.) So I asked the price difference - it is $19.95/month to stay with my Lite connection, or $46.95 to upgrade to the "standard" Road Runner service. Of course, as an existing customer, I do not qualify for any 'introductory' rates, so I told him I'd stick with what I had. Heh.

At any rate, This will net me $80/month extra (or $50/month extra if I upgrade to 'standard'), which can be used in one of three ways:
  1. throw at my debt snowball, of which I expect to have the first credit card paid off in about 4 months;
  2. save up for my upcoming Euro Trip this June (details to follow)
  3. save up for a new (and sorely needed) computer
Of course, the most logical would be... the first one. Although it is the least amount of fun. I guess I'll see what I do with myself.

Additionaly, the cable-cancelling was supposed to help me clear my mind, read more, write more and spend more time keeping my apartment/life/closet in order. However, I got home and plugged the cable linr in to the back of the TV and discovered... that I still have about 100 channels of basic cable. I do miss the DVR and the "guide" option, but maybe I'll have to stick with the "step down" program. And maybe I'll have to wait and see what happens if they DO actually decide to cut the cable that I will no longer be paying for.

All in all, I'm optomistic about what lies ahead. Wish me luck!

24 February 2009


At work, two of my cube mates are Jewish. As you may imagine, this sometimes leads to very interesting conversations. I asked one colleague how she teaches her young daughters about Hanukkah even though media outlets scream "Christmas" for 3 months a year, and they explain to me all about the Jewish naming traditions and how their perceptions on a variety of topics differ from the mainstream.

In return, I get to answer all sorts of questions about Catholic traditions that they don't understand. This encompasses everything from Advent (not just a way for kids to get candy) to fish fries (they actually have nothing to do with Wisconsin and/or beer batter) and most recently, Ash Wednesday (and consequently Lent, Easter, etc.) (I referred them to Jesus Christ Superstar for a decent synopsis of the whole Passion story.)

This brings up my own personal feelings on the 40 days of Lent. I was explaining to someone yesterday that the main reason that I participate in Lent is not (really) to fast or and reflect on my relationship with God or any of that other stuff, but more for me to get a "redo" on my New Year's Resolutions.

Yeah, I know it's not the true meaning of the season, but it works for me. Besides, my fellow Catholics make it easy to stay on track, because conversations frequently arise about the status of our Lenten resolutions, and updates are easily made. I can't think of a time (other than perhaps within the first 10 days of each year) where folks discuss, even in depth, their progress on their new year's resolutions.

When I refuse a soda or some candy or whatever it is I have chosen to give up, while stating that "I gave that up for Lent," no one questions me or tries to push the evil candy bar on me; whereas if I was offered the same candy bar on January 14 and politely declined, I would be harassed into eating it.

Oh, and that good old Catholic guilt is a pretty good motivation too.

But, in staying with the tradition of Lent, I am able to remind myself that the for this fast is to attain the goal of renewal and self-betterment. Catholics don't just give up candy bars or TV so we can be miserable for 40 days (although some will have you believe that is why); we give it up because we will be rewarded in the end when we realize that we are better for it. We are stronger for withstanding temptation, and our lives (and waistlines?) have improved because of what we learned by going without some unnecessary treat.

So, before I get too preachy (though I fear I already have), below is what I'm giving up for Lent:

1. Eating crap that is bad for me. This may or may not be limited to:
  • ranch dressing
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • deep fried anything
  • things made with lots of sugar
  • things made with lots of cheese
This is going to be rough.

2. Doing crap that is bad for me, such as:
  • Spending too much time in smokey bars (Meghan, I might be with you on the giving up smokey bars thing)
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Procrastinating (work, home, wherever)
  • Spending $ on lots of stuff (at last, an opportunity for me to save up fro Paris!)
3. Not making enough time for myself. From here on out, I can only "do stuff" 4 days a week. Since Wednesdays are Trivia night, that means I am only socially available 3 nights a week. Book your dates with me now, kids, before my calendar fills up! (I'm hoping this tactic will help improve several things, including the cleanliness of my apartment, the amount of clean clothes I have, the amount of dishes sitting in my sink, and the amount of blogs I am able to post. Oh, and hopefully I will regain my sanity too!)

So, dear friends, wish me luck. And be nice. It's going to be a long 40 days, but I am looking forward not only to the challenge, but to the kind of person I will be at the end of it.

17 February 2009

Not Even Safe In My Own Building

So today I had to do a load of wash. I went down to the basement and threw my stuff in the washer and started it up. I turned around to go back upstairs when I noticed a neighbor's clothes hanging on the line drying. In particular, I noticed a conspicuous green sweater that was hanging inside out.

Now, this was not any green sweater. This sweater looked strikingly similar to a green sweater that I own. I went up to it to investigate further. Sure enough, Old Navy, size medium.

Now, I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the clothes from Old Navy, The Gap and the like, but many of the shirts/sweaters/tops from these stores have a RFID tag sewn into the seams.

While I understand the purpose of these tags, I am often annoyed by them, because there is no "good" way to cut them out so that they don't itch one's skin incessantly. Which brings me to my next point: I recalled that when I purchased this green sweater, I tried desperately to manicure the tag in such a way that it would not provide a constant annoyance when wearing the shirt. (I failed.) At any rate, this attempted tag-carving left a very distinctive tag remnant still sewn into the seam.

Well, I think you can see where I'm going with this. Of course, it was the tag-chop-job that I had recalled. I also at that moment went through my entire wardrobe. I usually have a pretty good idea of what is in the wash and what is in its proper place in the drawer/on the shelf/on the hanger. At this moment, I recalled that the green sweater in question should be in the 4th drawer in my dresser. I left the sweater on the line and went upstairs and searched through the 4th drawer of my dresser. No green sweater. I also looked in the 3rd drawer, 5th drawer, 2nd drawer and 1st drawer. No green sweater. I checked the shelves. No green sweater. I checked the hangers in my closet (even though I NEVER hang sweaters). No green sweater. I checked in all of my suitcases, all of my backpacks and any other place in my apartment that a green sweater may dwell. And of course, no green sweater.

So now, dear friends, I am at a crossroad. Do I steal the green sweater back? I was 98% certain that it was mine. At the same time, I'm quite creeped out. My neighbors are now apparently going through my wash? EWWWW!!! In about 4 seconds, I have accepted the fact that I will never be able to do wash in the basement again, and will instead have to drag everything to a laundromat where I can keep an eye on my stuff (because you and I both know that I'm not going to sit in my basement for hours while my clothes are being cleaned). I then begin to think about collecting quarters to use the laundromat, and which one would be the best based on time of day and season, and then think of all the pre-treating and sorting that would have to be done at my apartment, and so on...

So, I took the sweater. It was actaully quite easy for me to rationalize. My $300 bike was stolen from the basement about 1.5 years ago. It was CHAINED TO A STEEL POLE. It had to take quite a bit of effort to remove the lock from my glorious (also green) Trek and remove it from the basement. So I figure that anything in the basement, locked or otherwise, is fair game. Apparently everyone else thinks so.

But of course, now I need to go rescue my grill-out gear from my storage locker before someone steals THAT too. I don't care if they take the fake xmas tree or the (also green) sofa that I found on the side of the road after move-out 4 years ago. But the grill... that's what's important.

15 February 2009

The Weekend In Review

The past 2 days have been relaxing, but I'm still not ready for work tomorrow.

On Friday I went snowboarding at Tyrol Basin. They have $12.50 lift tix on Friday nights, which is a welcome change compared to the rest of places around here. It was quite a hike, but worth it, especially after 9pm when the school groups cleared out (they're open till midnite). Greg let me borrow a pair of his strap bindings to try out instead of my Flows. They were a lot lighter and I liked the way they they held my ankles in place compared to the Flows. I think I'll probably get a pair of those soon. Also, it was snowing, which was super nice. The snow was kind of loose, but overall it was enjoyable. And I went off some jumps! I'll be cool yet! I got a sweet new pair of pants, they're brown with pin stripes. And it only cost me a 6er of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale!

On Saturday, I met up with 10 other folks for breakfast at The Red Dot. While I recognize that we were a large group, there is no reason that it should have taken 2.5 hours for us to get our food. The quality was also lacking severely. I think I'll go back to the Red Dot, but probably just for drinks and not for food.

After that, I met up with Nikos my Grecian Valentine for a romantic trip to Target. Then we went to Alterra and had Valentine's coffee, and then we went to Whole Foods to buy Valentine's spices so Nikos could make me Valentine's Curried Chicken. Then I took a Valentine's nap and went to see Cynthia, my other Valentine. We ate Valentine's puppy chow and drank Valentine's riesling. Then we watched some Valentine's bad movies, followed by some Valentine's YouTube clips, and then I went home. I had a good time with my wonderful Valentines.

I would also like to say that I'm glad that Valentine's Day is over, and I'm quite excited that we won't have to worry about any more of those lame commercials for jewelery for another year.

As for this week, work is going to be rough. I'm not really looking forward to it. I'm going to see my sister's basketball game tomorrow - the first one this whole season (I'm a bad sister this year), and on Tuesday I'm having dinner with JT. Wednesday is Team Trivia night and Thursday is the Ad2 Birthday party. It should be a good time! Hopefully I'll find time to update with something slightly more insightful than how I've spent the last 48 hours. Hopefully.

11 February 2009

A Brief Thought on the Recent Lack of Cold Weather

In my last post [look at me, only 3 posts in and I'm already referring to previous posts!] I described several of the reasons for my deep-seeded love for the glorious season of winter.

However, now I would briefly like to point out three reasons why I appreciate spring [or at least, the perception of the season of spring, as winter will probably fall back upon Wisconsin in ... a few hours]:
  1. Street parking is now more abundant. There are approximately 15% more parking spaces available because said spaces are not being taken up by heaps of snow pushed out of condo-dwellers' driveways.
  2. [Most] cars look happier, because they are clean. Yesterday's cleansing rain rinsed off layers of salt that have clung to Milwaukeeans' cars for the last 3 months. To me, the cars look less stressed and less worn down. (Yes, I notice the personalities of cars.) (I would also like to point out that this rain actually makes my car look more sad, as I realized that the paint on the roof of my car will be 50% gone by the end of summer; more so if we get a decent hail storm.)
  3. I noticed, as I was driving up Prospect today that while I was traveling in the left lane, I didn't find myself partially merging into the right lane every 1500 feet or so to avoid an inappropriately parked car. Why? because the rain melted all of the snow banks that previously prohibited folks from parking within 2 feet of the curb. That's right, Prospect Avenue was comprised of two completely unobstructed parking lanes as well as 2 completely unobstructed driving lanes. (And a bike lane.) It was a small miracle that I had come accustomed to being deprived of.
At any rate, I would also like to point out that the melting of the snow also displays the clumps of mud, road tar, litter and other debris that was once covered by the now-missing snow banks. So while I am thankful for the increased availability of street parking, I'm still bummed that it's ugly outside.

This post was brought to you by the letter 'p' and the mathematical concept of percentages.

10 February 2009

Why I Love Winter

Yes, I know you all think I'm crazy, especially given today's record high. But those of you who have been around me since the end of baseball season know that I am quite fond of the December thru February months.

With that being said, I have been woefully mournful of this premature end to Winter '08-'09. Why, do you ask? Why am I walking around with puppy dog eyes and a pouty face in this gorgeous weather? It is because last winter, I did something that I had wanted to do since I was 18 - I learned to snowboard. And because I didn't completely hate it (in fact, one might say that I love it), I purchased a gorgeous snowboard. And boots. And bindings. And they all look so pretty together. A 13-year-old even told me that my board was "pretty sweet" whilst in line for a lift at Cascade last season.

And I have had the opportunity to use said gorgeous board three times this winter. Three. That's it! And one of the times hardly even counted, as I got 5 runs in (plus 3 hours in the lodge bar... [lift tix + beer / runs ratio = $8.89]). And that was the day that Christy got hurt while rescuing me from the saber-toothed zebra gator and we discovered that my bindings, although slick and shiny, can be less than reliable at times.

At any rate, part of my thought process in purchasing the gorgeous board set-up last winter was the rationalization that I would be able to "earn" the value back by using it 10 times in one winter and thereby saving $ on rental fees (that can run $30-$50 per day) . BUT when the board sits in my apartment, leaning against the wall and collecting dust and making my eyes water whenever I look at it, I cannot 'earn' back any of the money I have put towards this aesthetically pleasing investment. Darn it.

Why snowboarding, you ask? Well, I have never been one for sports. Ok, I have never been one to consistantly stick with sports for a prolonged period of time. I have a bike and rollerblades that I use somewhat frequently in warmer weather. I was part of a softball team this past summer. I'm always up for a pick-up game of football (mud or otherwise). But I've never had one sport that I enjoyed enough to commit myself to, until I tried snowboarding. I now want to do things on a snowboard that I never thought I'd be able to do, like go off jumps (without getting a concussion). It's quite strange for me, as I cannot recall many things I have felt such a passion to learn.

A few of the other reasons I love winter: Snow is gorgeous. It makes everything look clean and new. I don't mind driving in the snow. I LOVE to shovel the snow (really)!

One of my favorite times is right after a big snow, when the city is quiet and nobody is really going anywhere, and those who do choose to travel usually do so by walking down the middle of the road, because the sidewalks haven't been cleared yet. It is at this time that people are neighborly and greet each other with a smile. It is on days like these where we realize that there still are things left that are beyond our control, no matter how much we try to fight them.

So there you have it. [I apologize that the ending to this post is a bit abbreviated, perhaps I will fix it later.] A friend pointed out to me today that tomorrow's forecast is for rain/snow mix, and it will be in the 30's again by the weekend, with flurries predicted for Sunday. This helps a little, but my longing for the 99 inches of snow Milwaukee beheld last year can hardly be quelled. And so, I will wait. (At least I have 21 Brewers games to look forward to in not too long...)

09 February 2009

And the Winner Is...

Mr. Benjamin Butz. Please see me at your leisure to claim your prize.

And now that I'm finally here, well, what to say? I've been thinking about this for a very long time. This represents a step in my, well, what shall we call it? For lack of a better term, I'm going with the 'reawakening' that has been a part of my Quarter-Life Crisis. I first mentioned the Q-LC as a joke when I turned 25, and didn't really think anything of it. But since 2009 rolled around (and, according to my gchat logs, maybe a week or two before), I've had this insatiable desire to create a change in my life. I've sought to change my demeanor, my health, my financial situation, the organization of my apartment and my overall mindset. I have made all of these my New Year's resolutions in one way or another and, surprisingly to everyone (but mostly me), it's over a month later and I'm still with it!

This is quite possibly the strangest thing I have ever felt, this desire to improve myself and the ability of my mind to overcome my laziness (and affection for fermented beverages) to accomplish things on my to-do list. This is quite possibly the most unusual thing I have ever witnessed from behind my two eyes. It's almost like a bad (good?) reality show, where I tune in each day, wondering what will happen next? And I still manage to surprise myself.

So, we'll see how this goes. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, lest I get sick of doing this and fall off of the bandwagon yet again.

Wish me luck!