I really can't stay... oh, but it's cold outside!

Sometimes I do stuff that isn't too awesome.

About two hours ago I was getting back from work, having gone to the post office to pick up a package on my way back to the apartment. The plan was to drop off the package at the apartment, grab my mail, and head out to do some Christmas shopping. When I got back I would read for a while, dance around naked, and then go to bed.

It was a truly wonderful plan.

However, what actually happened was not that.

I got back to the apartment and dropped off the package (so far, so good). I then unlocked my car with the remote opener (this will be important in a minute), got back into my car and drove it approximately fifteen yards to the mailbox room (usually I walk, as it is fifteen yards, but I was on my way out anyway). I got out of my car, making sure my remote opener was in my pocket just in case I'd accidentally locked the car door, and got my mail (a Christmas card from my aunt - still good). I got back to my car and discovered that the door was locked. No problem, I've got my remote opener! Superhero!

The remote opener does not remotely unlock the door. I press the button again. Still nothing. (This is where the plan goes awry.) "Oh dear," I say as I push the button really hard - alas, the door remains locked.

Did I mention the car is still running?

I am now locked out of my car, in -3 degree weather. My car is partially blocking someone's garage. It is running and the lights are on. I go back in my apartment and call AAA, who are very busy, because it is -3 degrees right now. During the half hour I am on hold, I pry apart the remote opener with a butter knife and fiddle the weird-looking batteries around a bit. I warm it up and say nice things to it. I offer it tea. I then take it back outside and attempt to use it to unlock the door again.

No dice.

I go back inside. I change my pants. I change my socks. I change my shirt. I put on my swanky new coat (thanks, mom! :D) and go back outside to the car. I try talking to it. It talks back in the slightly muffled voice of WPR, saying something that sounds like, "I'm not sure what you expect me to do about it, sweet cheeks."

I go back inside again. I take apart every small electronic device in the apartment looking for batteries that resemble those in the remote opener. None of them do.

Crystal at AAA picks up! She is very sympathetic with my plight and apologizes for the wait. I'm all, "Heeeey, that's cool. You didn't lock me out of my car, ha ha." Crystal does not catch my not-funny joke, but I forgive her because she is very busy tonight.

So now I'm waiting for someone to come unlock the car. Hopefully they'll get here by 8:30 so I can go buy my Christmas presents (The Boyfriend doesn't read this, but the way tonight is going he probably will so - your extra-classy girlfriend was going to get you some scotch for Christmas, poopsiekins), but they're very busy given the cold. I may just say "screw it" and have a beer instead.

There are some good things we can take from this, however. My phone was not locked in the car (I do not have a land line). I have half a tank of gas, which will hopefully be enough to last until the person comes to unlock the car. I'm out of the wind in my cozy apartment with food and warm socks and I can blog and watch a Gossip Girl rerun.

I say to you: Do not trust your remote opener. I never, ever leave my car running while I "run in to [do something]" for two seconds, and the one time I do, it stops working. Thirty seconds after it unlocked my car with no problems. Further - do not go see Twilight unless you want to be a little embarrassed.

Here endeth my advice.


I think I need to educate some of the media on the geography of the United States.

This morning, I turned on the television before work, where I found The Today Show. The Today Show was talking about the snow that was going to hit New York. One of them (I don't watch the show, I don't know his name) was outside in not-snowy New York, talking about the not-delays at La Guardia (because it wasn't snowing), and this exchange took place:

Meredith: Are they expecting flight delays today and this evening?
Guy: Possibly. Right now, we're watching for choke-point airports. We're seeing delays and canceled flights out of Milwaukee and other east-coast airports like O'Hare. O'Hare is a real choke-point.
Me: What?

Oh silly Today Show, Milwaukee and Chicago are not on the east coast. Thank goodness. Also, I wish someone would tell that guy to stop saying "choke-point." Sounds like something illegal.

This afternoon I was looking at CNN.com (Blagojevich is a real *#$&ing winner, isn't he? And people in Illinois want to build a fence to keep us out...) where there was an image of a person in a raincoat in the snow outside the MGM Grand, with the title, "Winter storm rips into Midwest, Northeast."

Last I checked, the MGM Grand was in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is nowhere near the Midwest or the Northeast.

It is awesome, however, that it is around 20 degrees here now. I want to go outside in my swimming suit, it's so warm.



Oh. I get it.

What's! The weather for the weekend gonna be? Will it be hot? Cold? Rain? Snow?

I no longer believe in weather.

That's it! I don't believe in weather. Similar to the fact that I no longer believe in money - weather is dead to me.

Our high temperature since Sunday has been 6 degrees. Six! It is currently a full twenty degrees warmer in Milwaukee than it is here. I fail to understand how this is possible, and refuse to believe it. When I left for work this morning, it was -15. Without the windchill. This weather, in which I do not believe, is not working very well with my wardrobe of skirts and boots.

Now the weather is telling me it will snow several inches between midnight tonight and 6 PM tomorrow. First off, this is not convenient timing for me, so I refuse to believe it. Secondly, this is the weather now:

How does this equal a foot or so of snow in Wisconsin in twelve hours? I do not believe it. Yes, there's that sliver of snow over South Dakota that looks like it might get here about then, but it's clearly going to dissipate somewhere over Iowa and besides - that can't be a foot of snow. It's so little and the snow we're supposed to get is supposed to spread over the whole state. And it's not even the dark blue, it's the pleasant teal-type blue. Not believing it.

Therefore, I will proceed with my plan to drive home at noon, and trust that I will have no problems whatsoever.

Because I don't believe in weather. No, I do not. Ergo, it can not muck up my plans.


Girls don't like boys, girls like master's degrees and jobs with benefits.

Riddle me this: Currently, there is quite a bit of talk about stimulus packages. Who do I call at The Government to tell them that if they want us to spend money, they should just take a magic eraser and erase all student loan debt? Not in ten years after working at a library and making outlandish monthly payments on my loan, but now. If you need me to spend money now-now-now (like you said you do) - retroactively make my education free. I'll even let you keep the payments I've already made on my loan. The ten-year loan forgiveness for public servants thing is great... but there aren't any jobs right now. How can I work in public service for the next ten years if I can't get a permanent position?

I will tell you, The Government - forgive student loans. We'll spend more money. Heck, I'll buy a car if you forgive my student loan! I might even consider buying a house one day!

Until that happens... I'm not going to be spending much money on anything but loan repayment. Maybe you can buy stock in that!

Who is the person in The Government who needs to hear this? Someone in Education? The Treasury? The President-Elect? I have these great plans, I just don't know who needs to be convinced of their greatness.

(Let's just forget for a minute that banks need student loan money right now. Money is all imaginary, anyway.)

This is a great plan! Don't you think I have great plans? (Shut up about the banks!)

That is all.


Cool Thing #7 - Small-market Professional Sports Teams

The Green Bay Packers are my favorite football team. Not only is this because they belong in my home state (or because they have won twelve league championships and the Superbowl trophy is named after Vince Lombardi, though those are nice things), but also because no city in Wisconsin has any business with an NFL team. The whole population of Wisconsin is less than that of Chicago and its metro area. The Target I go to in Green Bay is right next to a dairy farm. Lambeau Field is on the edge of a residential neighborhood. The Packers are unique within the NFL as a small-town team with (if you ask me) unparalleled fan loyalty - every home game has been sold out for more than forty years. Even when they suck. Like they do now.

The Packers are the only non-profit NFL team owned by a bazillion stockholders, and for that reason, they will never leave Green Bay. And that is awesome.

When you're bored in Green Bay on a Sunday afternoon (not an unusual occurrence when it's winter and you've just moved here, and you only know your coworkers), you can pop on by the stadium to watch the (away) game and eat a brat. And in case anyone is curious, the Packer Pro Shop still has all the Favre merchandise you'd expect to find before he un-retired and went to a much lamer team.

It's a nice stadium. I hadn't been there since they added the atrium, but it's very swanky. On a day it isn't snowing, I'll take the tour.

There is no way Vince Lombardi was this tall in real life. Epic, yes. One of the most quotable people ever? Probably. A giant? No. But it's much more impressive this way. And it's really too bad that winning is the only thing, since they aren't doing it much these days.

The Packers are a cool thing.


What it do?

This is just an excuse to post pictures of my new apartment, and to say that I believe the best movie Madonna is in to be A League of Their Own.

Why yes, my Christmas tree does match my kitchen, thank you for noticing. And no, that is not really an accident. I find red is very easy to match when you have lots of slightly different-colored red things in your apartment.

It should surprise no one that this is my favorite part of the apartment. My books, my turntable, and my positively giant universal remote from Walgreen's I bought for $9 because MoPo and KP couldn't find the remote control to the TV they very generously let me take from their apartment. It never gets lost, and I bet you can't say that about your remote. Unless it too is the size of the seventh Harry Potter book.

My bedroom with Pedro Panda, a gift from my sister. He is from China!

I may have mentioned that I really like my kitchen and its little window into the living room. The majority of my apartment-time is spent in these two rooms, so it's good that I like them.

Woo apartment woo!


Yeah, you look about like the kind of angel I'd get.

Cool Thing #6 - Christmas

In general I don't have much time these days, but Christmas is really super.

Who doesn't like Christmas?

Okay, to be fair, I know at least two people who claim not to like Christmas. Some people are not Christians, and this is a valid reason to not like Christmas (though I have have several atheist, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, Hindu, and [other belief system to which a friend subscribes I've undoubtedly forgotten] friends who are perfectly fine with Christmas. In fact, one of my favorite non-Christian couples is having a Christmas party next weekend, hooray). Some people do not like Christmas because it is overcommercialized and the true meaning has been pushed aside. Some people do not like Christmas because really, December 25th was Mithras's birthday and they assigned it to Jesus after Emperor Constantine became Christian, and they don't think that's fair.

However, I like Christmas. I'm not a big fan of Santa Claus and I don't care much for Miracle on 34th Street (if we're going with black-and-white Christmas movies, It's a Wonderful Life is far superior in my book), but I am a Christian and I love that Christmas is a day for family, friends, and celebration. It's also a plus that everything in December smells like cinnamon and pine trees. Last year my family did not exchange presents, and it was great. The day was not about getting things, it was about being together.

Plus, I really like getting out my Christmas decorations, particularly when we've got two feet of snow on the ground. Mmm, Christmas.

It may be worth noting that a Christmas tree is not a Wisconsin tree unless it has a sports-related ornament hanging on it. It seems I am set in this regard, though if you see a baseball ornament with the Brewers logo... I'd pay you back (evidently people in Green Bay do not watch the Brewers and consequently do not have Brewers ornaments for sale at Target. They do love the Badgers though, to which I loudly say boo). Some people will tell you that a true upper-midwestern Christmas tree requires a pickle ornament, but I dispute this as I am not German and thus have no reason to put a pickle on my tree. Though it is kind of silly and I approve of that. I gave my grandfather a banana ornament one year, and he never stopped finding it funny.

I have a Packers ornament, a Quiddich-playing Harry Potter ornament (with accompanying Snitch somewhere on the tree. Sidenote - how great is The Tales of Beedle the Bard? Ol' Dumbleface's accompanying notes are a hoot and a half), a grande skim peppermint mocha from Starbucks ornament, and some bells featuring characters from the claymation version of Rudolph.

This is my tree. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Christmas is cool, and I hope you get to spend it with people you love.


An October Picture

I was going to post about a thing that is not cool (namely Moving Away From Your Family And Friends and the Most Awesome Neighborhood in Wisconsin) but instead I will post about a thing that is cool:

Cool Thing #5: Free Internet From Your New Landlord.

I think this is fairly self-explanatory.


Let me hear that, get me near that crunchy granola suite!

Cool Thing #4: Neil Diamond

Really. We've now moved to Neil Diamond. Sorry, blog. If you ever had any shred of class or awesome, it has run away to the land of Cooler Blogs.

Please enjoy "I Am, I Said," a Neil Diamond song I genuinely like (how can you not like a song with a line like, "No one heard at all, not even the chair," come on!). I wanted "Crunchy Granola Suite" from Hot August Night because not only does it rock super hard (well, it Neil Diamond rocks - DIG!), but also because my mom didn't know that one, but sadly no audio from Hot August Night is on YouTube anywhere (I don't think a video exists, but I promise it would be hilarious).

I went to see Neil Diamond tonight and it was a freaking hoot and a half. It was fantastic! It really was. It was fantastic for a number of reasons. Not only was it hilarious because I was watching Neil Diamond, but it was actually really super! Super and hilarious? Oh yes, my friends! He's old, but he still sounds pretty great, he's got completely insane hilarious smarmy moves, and he still really knows how to put on a show. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show, even.

And sparkles. Did I mention the sparkles? There were sparkles like this was Twilight (which is not a cool thing, despite what my inner thirteen-year-old says about it).

Granted, if you ever go to see Neil Diamond in concert, you have to take it for what it is. It's a Neil Diamond show. I was expecting old people watching an old guy sit on a stool, singing songs that used to be fast... really slowly. Maybe with an occasional unintentionally humorous sentence thrown in here and there. I was pleasantly surprised. It's not a U2 show (but then, what is, hmm?), but it's really entertaining and unless you've been living under a rock since the '70s, you'll know a lot of the songs. And Neil will do some rocking, which is not only commendable and, shockingly, successful, it is kind of funny. I mean... you're watching Neil Diamond. It's over-the-top and I can't imagine he takes himself very seriously.

You say to me that you do not like Neil Diamond because his music is cheesy and silly and not really that good. And I say to you that yes, I understand all of that, but I bet you can sing the chorus to at least ten Neil Diamond songs because not only are many of them actually good songs, but they are catchy and fun and everywhere. Neil Diamond permeates the very fabric of American society.

"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon?" "Red, Red Wine?" "I'm a Believer?" All Neil Diamond. And you know you know "Sweet Caroline" and "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime" and "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Coming to America" and "Song Sung Blue" and "Kentucky Woman" and "Cherry Cherry" and "Shilo." Yes, my friends. Some part of you likes Neil Diamond, maybe you just don't realize it yet. It's the same part of you that likes cheap wine and scotch 'n tapwater and the idea of satin sheets. If you do not believe me, you should borrow Hot August Night from the library. Enjoy the Neil-definitely-on-something extravaganza. The part when he starts talking to the tree people is particularly great.

Neil Diamond. Yup.


Keep walking.

No time for a real update, but rather than posting about Comic books or International travel (neither of which I have the time to do justice right now), I will instead share this Johnnie Walker commercial, just because I like it.

I tend to really appreciate certain commercials. Generally I'm not sure why (this one I like because it's pretty, and we played this song in my college band, and it's neat to hear a semi-obscure contemporary composer I actually know about featured in an ad like this). The "Boom-De-Yada" Discovery Channel commercial is particularly great, as was the Derek Redmond Visa ad during the Olympics. These commercials do not make me more likely to watch the Discovery Channel, use my Visa card, or drink Johnnie Walker (though we know it's quite good - thanks, KP!) but I do like it when they come on.

Back to packing!


I should've known I wouldn't make it through the week!

Rather than posting Cool Thing #4 (which will be either comic books or international travel), I will say this - I need to go to ComicCon next year. It looks like I'll be unemployed by the beginning of July, so provided I can save the money to get there, I'll certainly have the time. I'm thinking of jetting up to northern California post-con for a camping extravaganza in Redwoods National Park, so if anyone else I know is a fellow combination outdoorsy nature geek and geek in the traditional pop-culture sense...

July 23-27th! San Diego! Be there or be square (and not just because I don't want to go alone, though that's part of it - I'll wear my Kaylee costume if you bring your lightsaber)!

More cool things to come later. I know you're on the edge of your seat!


I think I died of cute.

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Cool Thing #3 - Puppies

I've wanted a dog for my entire life. I've been asking for one since I could speak, literally (the second word I ever said was "dog" - not sure if it was mama or dada who missed out on that one). Now that I'm getting to be an old-type person, I should probably start thinking about getting one.

In the meantime, someone very nice has put their puppies on the Internet. Now, this afternoon, the puppies were replaced for about half an hour by Liverpool versus Tottenham (yeah, Peter Crouch!), but they're usually there. And seriously, puppies and Champions League soccer? Two cool things.

Tiny, fat, roly-poly puppies are cool.


Veterans Day

Cool Thing #2 - America

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that sometimes things happen in this country that make me really angry. Sometimes decisions are made by the people in charge of this country that I do not agree with. That said, this is a pretty awesome place.

We can say whatever we want when the people in charge do things we don't like. We get to vote on those people and if we don't like them this time, maybe next time we will. We can get a fair trial when something goes wrong. We can worship Aphrodite or vampires or bananas or whatever we want and sing to the sky about it. We're going through a bit of a rough patch, but generally I think Americans are a good bunch. We help each other out.

Plus, most of my friends and all of this stuff is in it.

So thanks.


Cool Things

In an attempt to post more often, I have decided to post one cool thing every day until the end of the month (if I even make it to the end of the week, it will be a miracle).

(From Flickr user Fred of Brazil: photo page)

Cool Thing #1 - Little Big Planet

Little Big Planet is a game for Playstation 3. It is cool enough that I want to buy it, and then buy a Playstation 3 so I can play it. I'm not a game-reviewer, but it's the most Mario-like game I've ever seen for PS3 (because I'm such an expert on video games and have played every single one), but more awesome. Plus, there is a song in it by The Go! Team that gets stuck in my head whenever I even think about sack people.

(From Flickr user mediamolecule: photo page)

Yes. Sack people.

Basically, you make your own little sack person and then they complete all sorts of little missions in levels all over Little Big Planet, all while being adorable. You can also build your own levels and then put them on the PS3 network for other people to play. The music is cool, the graphics are amazing, sack people are hilarious and if you're connected to the network, you'll never run out of things to do in the game because people add crap all the time.

It's a cool thing.

Better living with plants

You might think it a waste of time to go to a botanic garden this time of year - not so! I appreciate places with successful plants because I myself am incredibly unsuccessful when it comes to gardening. This summer I managed to make a cucumber but managed to kill anything more difficult to grow than that.

But gardens in autumn!

Not only is it probably cheaper to go this time of year (the above, the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee - was free! This may have been because we couldn't actually find the place we were supposed to pay, but still FREE), but it's still pretty! I visited both the Boerner Botanical Gardens and the Chicago Botanic Garden in the last month (the two closest botanical-type gardens to me, neither of which I had ever visited despite living here for... my entire life), and both were well worth the trip. Granted, it was probably nicer a few days ago when it was 70 degrees, but it's still nice if you want to go outside.

Someday I'll go to these places in the summer, when normal people go look at gardens.

Somehow I doubt normal people appreciate the sign for the Millennium Falcon Iris and the Starship Enterprise Iris. Maybe, but normal people probably like the flowers themselves better than the names.


Totem Spirit Housecat!

While typing the previous entry I had PBS on mute, thinking some charming British mystery show might come on.

From what I can tell, PBS is currently showing a documentary on housecats with a sub-topic of "finding pictures of celebrities and putting pictures of cats next to them." They keep showing a picture of Russell Crowe (a picture from Gladiator, which makes it even funnier) with a picture of a cat next to him (this has been shown twice). They are now showing a picture of Candace Bergen with a picture of a cat next to her.

The pictures of celebrities are interspersed with clips of people playing with cats, and a cat in this one guy's kitchen. If I had the sound on I might know more about what the heck is going on and what, if anything, we are supposed to learn from this program, but I'm honestly really enjoying having no idea.

One of three things needs to happen here: 1) I need to go to bed earlier, 2) Turn off PBS before 11:00 PM, or 3) start watching late-night talkshows.

Oh look, a picture of Catherine Zeta Jones next to a picture of a cat. And now a cat on a kitchen table. Aw, this guy makes his own cat toys. And now we have a picture of Jake Gyllenhaal next to a picture of a cat. Now we are watching cats watching television.

PBS... I get the sense you do not want sponsorship dollars this year.


Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

The next time I see this house, someone else will be living there. It's a nice house, but the job that goes with it just seems really, really stressful.

Half-related note - about a half-hour after I took this picture, George W. Bush landed somewhere in the vicinity in his fancy helicopter. Apparently the only helicopter allowed to fly that close to the White House post-September 11th is one with the president in it, so we can use our reasoning skills to deduce that it was him. It was pretty neat.

Did anyone else vote on a paper ballot? Is my city completely behind the times? I like voting, I like coloring - finish-the-arrow paper ballots are where it's at - and there's no danger of them becoming sentient and taking over the planet (a major concern with electronic voting machines)!

It occurred to me when I got to the pub on Tuesday night to watch election coverage (on cable!) and play the pub quiz with friends, that I'd forgotten to hit "record" on my VCR to tape the election returns (yes, I still have a VCR, and no I do not have cable). Because either way it ended up, this election was a huge deal and I like to have things like that to view later.

A few seconds later it occurred to me, still in the pub, that every minute of the presidential election returns of 2008 is probably available somewhere on the Internet. For free. Kids will probably watch the concession and acceptance speeches in school generations from now (maybe they'll beam holograms of Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper into their classrooms to tell them all about this exciting moment in our country's history!). Can we say that about any other election in American history? How cool!

Seriously though, the holograms? Really very silly. This was the election... OF THE FUTURE!

I should to try to find CNN's return coverage, because from where I was sitting, this is what happened (the following took place over approximately seventeen seconds):

Anderson Cooper: Do be do be do, hey! Looks like the polls in California are closing soon. We'll have the results from those western states as soon as we receive them.
Me: Oh, wow - California's such a big state, I suppose it will take them a little while to count thos-
Me and everyone else in pub: *several seconds of stunned silence*
Me: Wait, what? How... what just happened? Is that true?
Entire country: *freaks out*

Now, I'm sure that isn't quite what happened... but that's how I'm to remember it unless I re-watch it. I wonder what people did back in the days before insta-coverage. This is an incredibly interesting time to be alive.


Don't forget to be awesome!

Captain America for President - He's the people's choice!

Supposedly this sticker will get me all sorts of free things today. Not sure if that's legal, but I'm off to test it.


Libraries I Wish Were in My Home

I saw this some time ago, but it occurs to me that some people who read this are nerds and might appreciate it: Internet Mad Scientist Has Best Personal Library in the World.

Try not to weep over the fact that not only will you never be allowed to set foot in that room, but you will also never be able to assemble a collection of things half that awesome.

Ah, libraries.

(Courtesy of Flickr user Chotda - http://flickr.com/photos/santos/27538777/)

Just in case you haven't seen this either: Red Hot Library Smut (this page is required reading for most Library Science students - seriously, it was mentioned in at least three of my classes). Um, hot?

Happy Halloween! Hooray!

(No idea what happened to that picture. Not supposed to be so big.)

I adore Halloween. Not only do I like candy (CANDY!), but I also like this time of year, and I like wearing stupid clothes. For whatever reason, I always seem to be the person at my place of work who either dresses up when nobody else does, or is the only person who doesn't dress up on Halloween.

Here is a list of things I have gone to work (or school) dressed as when nobody else got the memo that it was Halloween:

- Batgirl
- Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz
- Mrs. Mia Wallace
- Flashdance (just... the entire movie, I dressed as the entire movie)
- Death from The Sandman ("What are you, goth?" "NO, I'm DEATH! I'm anthropomorphic and genius! GAH!")

Here is a list of things I didn't go to work (or school) dressed as when other people did wear costumes:

- Kaylee from Firefly (this was probably good, as nobody would have gotten that anyway)
- Hermoine Granger
- Belle ala Beauty and the Beast
- 80's prom queen
- Glenda the Good Witch of the North

I believe I may have finally learned how to do this properly. Today I wore the "normal clothes" part of my costume to work and packed the "costume" part of my costume in my bag. That way, when I got to work and saw that everyone else was wearing costumes, I could put the rest of mine on. Or when I got to work and saw that nobody was wearing a costume, I didn't look like a ten-year-old.

Nobody here is dressed up. I'm glad I have a party to go to later or this Halloween would get an F.


अरबिक टुडे, ब्लॉगर?

Blogger is transposing everything I write in the Title box into something that looks a bit like Arabic. Maybe Hindi (is Hindi the name of the script, or the language? Man, I'm dumb today). Neat, but I'm not sure why.


John McCain licks you!

This picture is too funny not to share with the world. Or with the three people who read this.

An update on my student loan repayment living progress is forthcoming. I'm trying to find some pictures to put with it, but taking pictures of "cheap" doesn't turn out quite as awesome as it should.

(From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/16/strange-mccain-post-debat_n_135325.html)


Student loan repayment living: Fun for all ages!

I have decided the evil Student Loan Empire of Money is not going to defeat me. I will pay them, oh yes, but not only will I write snarky notes on all my checks to them, I will tell you all about how I am affording it.

Here be the plan:
1) Make my lunch every day before work.
2) Do not buy overpriced things from the coffee shop downstairs.
3) Take a certain amount of money from the ATM at the beginning of week and spend no more than that on parking at work (walk when possible) and recreational activities such as movies and eating out.
4) Don't buy anything unnecessary (ie: clothing, music or movies, bottled water, etc).
5) Find fun, free things to do in Milwaukee (this will probably be the most challenging).
6) If I have any money left, save it for extra payments on my loan (this is not going to be possible with my current budget, it is a consideration for later or during weeks when I have a wealthy benefactor ala Great Expectations).

This is going to suck.

A note about the picture above... I worked at a movie theater during college. This movie theater was about 85 years old and was a former vaudeville theater. It was very cool, but quite run-down. One evening after we closed, a coworker and I went down to the (super-extra-creepy-I-swear-it's-haunted) basement, where we found hundreds of tins of survival rations from the 1960s and a bomb shelter we imagine was from World War II. This is a tin of "survival biscuits," which were basically bits of cardboard cut to look like crackers. We ate some. Predictably, they were really gross.

I'm still not sure if anyone else knows that stuff is down there, or if someone is preparing for World War III.


Maybe I could become a hobbit... how well does that pay?

I feel like this ladybug... as soon as he reached the top of the hill, he rolled right down to the bottom and got all tangled up in his wings, with little pieces of sand up under his shell, which couldn't have been very comfortable.

It's a long story, but suffice to say my student loan repayment schedule was shortened considerably. Meaning my payments are about three times higher than I was anticipating.

2008 is a very bad time to graduate with student loan debt (let me say - this is my only debt. I can't even imagine what I would do if I had a car payment or credit card debt... I can't imagine what I'm going to do as it is), attempting to enter a thankless, notoriously low-paying field over-saturated with recent graduates, on the cusp of Depression 2.0 when most libraries seem to be replacing full-time staff who leave with three part-time employees. I'm having a hard time marching down to Washington D. C., demanding to know where my bailout is.

Stephen Colbert has a solution to the recession!

But enough doom and gloom. I went to the beach yesterday (nice, cheap entertainment... methinks the only entertainment any of us are going to be able to afford for a while).

We also made a giant sand map of Middle-Earth. Because we are not nerds, I will not show you a picture of this map, but suffice to say it was awesome. If you like that sort of thing.



I just left what was quite possibly the most awkward message in the history of the world on the answering machine of a potential employer.

Supreme Chancellor gets more awesome by the day. I don't know how I do it.


Ah, living alone.

A couple years ago I told a friend that one of my favorite things about living alone and having my own washer and dryer is putting my pyjamas or sweatshirts or whatevers into the dryer for about fifteen minutes and then putting them on while they're still warm. Her response was, "You're such a baby!"

That may be true, but I bet she went home and put her socks in the dryer. And I bet it made her a believer.

I like autumn.


Goodbye, wildcard Octoberfest.

So the playoffs didn't turn out quite as well as we all hoped (unless "we" in this case is you, and you are a Phillies fan, in which case - BOO). Alas. At least they weren't swept and the one game they won was incredibly satisfying. I'm already looking forward to next Spring. Seriously. Milwaukee doesn't have much to get excited about, sports-wise (Marquette doesn't count), so here's to next year.

Thanks for a great season, Brewers!

(By the way, the above photo illustrates how I was "watching" the playoffs. I do not have cable. For me, watching was listening to Bob Uecker on the AM radio and watching the ticker on my computer. It worked surprisingly well - and I did get to watch the game they won on an actual television. Newfangled!)


Who has time to apply for jobs when there's so much excitement? Luckily, I can multitask.

Last weekend I went camping at Rock Island State Park. Rock Island is a teeny little island which is entirely a state park, off Washington Island, which is a teeny little island off Door County. It's probably my favorite Wisconsin State Park. There are no cars or bikes allowed on the island, so it's very quiet, and our site was about a mile from the ferry landing so all we heard most of the time were the waves on the lake.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't nearly as nice as our site (which was awesome), but we did get this rainbow before we got on the ferry.

(Sidenote: I'm watching The Biggest Loser right now, and they're "camping" in the Grand Canyon. And complaining about the camping. Newsflash, television: sleeping at the Grand Canyon on cots with pillows in a tent big enough to hold my bedroom? That is not camping. That is a one-star hotel. Also, something most people never get to experience. Enjoy it!)

This is from the ferry landing at Washington Island looking toward Rock Island. Full rainbow!

From the tower at Peninsula State Park. I'd hoped the trees would've turned a little more, but it was still pretty.

Perhaps most importantly, while we were gone, the Brewers made the playoffs. We got back to the car just in time to hear the final three pitches of the Mets game and... it was super exciting. I hit the roof of the car, literally.

I said I'd be happy if they just made the playoffs, and I am. I'll be thrilled if they aren't knocked out by the Phillies, but this is the first time since I was a couple months old that this has happened, so this is pretty damn awesome. A very cool thing about Wisconsin is that we are far too small a state to have any business with a professional baseball or professional football team, but we have both because the people here want and support them. I wish the Brewers luck this week! They have already made Milwaukee proud!

Woo Brewers woo!!


It's root, root root for the [YOUR TEAM HERE], if they don't win it's a shame...

I saw a no-hitter yesterday! Unfortunately, it was by Carlos Zambrano and not a member of my Team of Choice, but there are plenty of people who won't attend a no-hitter in their lifetime, and it was tremendously exciting, and I applaud excellence. Now if they'd just give C. C. Sabathia the one he threw a couple weeks ago...

I'm not going to get into how annoying it is listening to Cubs fans bad-mouth the Brewers at Miller Park when the Cubs are not even playing the Brewers. I'm not going to get into how sad it is that the Brewers playoff hopes are rapidly going down the toilet. Nor will I discuss Ned Yost's current unemployment.

I will instead post this, my favorite baseball picture, which I took last summer at a game I attended with my good friend, Blake. I believe they were playing Saint Louis, and I think they won. My favorite part is the fact that the girl up there is extremely excited about... nothing.

Unfortunately, Blake is a Cubs fan. Then again, so is my boyfriend, and I like him well enough. I realized recently that a disturbing number of my friends are Cubs fans. Luckily, they aren't that obnoxious.

Not going to lie - I registered for the Cubs postseason lottery (I registered for the Brewers postseason lottery, but as previously discussed, this might've been a waste of time). Depending on what I overhear Cubs fans saying before October starts, I may actually buy those tickets, if I get the chance. That might make me very popular amongst some of my pals. I'd laugh, I'd laugh very hard, if I won that lottery.

Anyway, mostly I just wanted to post something because the Harleys left weeks ago. Happy September - I am celebrating by watching excellently-pitched baseball and making chili.


Hey. That's not a Harley, it's a Schwinn.

This is literally what is going on right outside my apartment right now.

It is the 105th anniversary of Harley-Davidson, meaning that somebody invited goodness-knows how many thousands of Harley riders to Milwaukee for a weekend of fun and revelry. The Harley people themselves seem very nice - they are polite on the road, and they are bringing a lot of money (and Bruce Springsteen!) to the city. I don't, however, like how much congestion is caused by adding about ten thousand motorcycles to a city with too many cars already (guilty).

But it's only one weekend, and I will tolerate it with a smile. Yes, a smile.

The purpose of the gathering outside my apartment seems to be this: Park your Harley on the side of the street, get some beer, drink a lot (apparently Milwaukee relaxes the "open container of alcohol" laws when mighty Harley-Davidson asks them to nicely), and hoot and holler scandalous things at women riding Harleys down the street in chaps (just chaps - without pants under them. Possibly also only a vest, without a shirt). I can't say I will be adopting motorcycle fashion anytime soon. I like my pink hoody and sparkly flip-flops, thank you.

Apparently this guy did not get the memo.

I really didn't capture the sheer number of people outside my apartment on the street right now very well, but there are literally thousands. People love motorcycles. All wandering, most drinking, just watching the street and the people riding by on their bikes. Luckily, Milwaukee police also ride Harleys and are well-prepared to handle such gatherings.

In any case, I feel like I'm learning a lot about people who are passionate about motorcycles. They also like leather, tattoos, large silver necklaces, and black clothing of any kind, particularly tank tops. And they will ride really far to go to a big party with other people who are passionate about the same kind of motorcycles, which is really pretty awesome.