Wednesday, February 26, 2003
I wrote another restaurant review for the local business weekly; you can check it out here. I will get back at my editor for that ridiculous headline.

Monday, February 24, 2003
Recipe for: Chicken Chili (trailer park style)

You will need:
2 cans of white beans
1 jar of salsa (around 12 oz.)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 or 3 handfulls of shredded jack and colby cheese

Cook the chicken however you want. Maybe it's already cooked and left over from breakfast. Or maybe you have to cook it now. Either way, make sure it's cooked and then cut it up into little pieces. Not too small, but small enough so the baby won't choke. Then put it in your spaghetti pot with the beans and salsa. Heat it up until it starts to simmer. Then put the cheese on top and let it melt down into the chili. Don't mix it up or it will stick to your pot and you'll have to run out to the WalMart and get a new one. Have a Parliament and a little patience. When the cheese is melted, it's ready to eat. (Also decent without the cheese if you don't feel like sending the kids out for some, or if you're lactose intolerant, or are on a diet, or something like that.)

Sunday, February 23, 2003
I never really got into the whole PlayStation thing, but after playing PaRappa the Rapper at a friend's house over the weekend, I now totally want a PS2 so I can play the game all frickin' day and get the funky flow.

Friday, February 21, 2003
Last night I went to see Toad the Wet Sprocket at a club about an hour north of where I live. I guess I forgot how sensitive and wussy their music is. I also forgot how sensitive and wussy their general fan base is: lots of guys in American Eagle basics singing their hearts out along with the band to their girlfriends (or boyfriends). But the show was good and everyone was very well behaved, except for these two girls who jumped on stage as the band was ending to hug them. (They got carried off by security.)

I got back late last night and was really tired for my class this morning. Overtired, in fact, and I tend to talk a lot when I'm overtired, so my students got to see me teach PowerPoint all hopped up.

Thursday, February 20, 2003
So tired.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Two weeks ago, I sent my iBook back to Apple for repair because there were severe distortion lines on my display. I got it back last week, worked on it for about 30 minutes, and the distortion popped up again. So I called them and calmly told them tha they didn't fix the problem. They wanted me to send it in again. So I did. I got it back today, turned it on, and the distortion started up immediately. I called them again and really leaned into the tech guy (he probably gets that a lot) about how it's been two weeks, I spent a lot of money on my computer and I want it to work, I have video projects on it that I need to get done, why didn't you fix it right the first fucking time (or even the second fucking time), don't you people test things before you send them back, and so on.

He suggested that I take it to a local tech place for a better diagnosis, but then they would have to send it back to Apple anyway and it would still be a week. That sounded ridiculous -- you'd think Apple would be better suited to diagnosing Apple problems than a third party -- but I brought it in, and the guy took one look at it and was pretty sure he knew what the problem was. So then we spent 20 minutes talking about why the fuck can't Apple diagnose problems on their own fucking computers! I will eventually not be pissed about this, but for now, it is really annoying.

Monday, February 17, 2003
Lately I've been on this kick where I'm putting parmesan cheese on everything. At first it was just pasta, but now it's chicken and soup and beans and rice and fish and pretty much anything except maybe oatmeal and oranges. I go through like a container a week. And I don't buy the fake Kraft stuff -- I buy the fresh grated. So it's kind of an expensive habit. Not as expensive as caviar or heroin, but definitely not cheap.

Sunday, February 16, 2003
On the way home from my gig last night, I stopped in a gas station foodmart for a coffee-derived beverage just before getting on the highway. I got my drink and went to the counter to pay for it, but had to wait a few minutes because the guy ahead of me was in the process of buying $60 in scratch off tickets. And he knew exactly what he wanted, too: five Big Money, ten Green Gold, ten Instant Millions, and so on. He even bought a few tickets that cost ten dollars each. I didn't even know they made scratch offs that cost ten dollars.

I had never before seen anyone spend even close to that much money on instant lottery tickets (in one shot, anyway). As much as I am not a gambler, I occasionally buy a scratch off or two when I gas up my car, just for a goof. Once I even got twenty bucks out of it. But I buy the one dollar tickets, and only one or two at a time, and maybe a total of eight or ten a year -- a waste, to be sure, but it provides some brief entertainment and reaffirms my belief that you rarely win. But this guy was spending two weeks' worth of grocery money on them. I spent the better part of my ride home wondering if he won his money back and thinking that if he had kept his sixty bucks, he probably would have come out ahead.

Thursday, February 13, 2003
Just got a call from the most obnoxious telemarketer ever who wanted to speak to, of all people, my father. And not in the, "Hello little girl, is your daddy home" sense -- he actually asked for my father by his first name, which is not an entirely uncommon name, but uncommon enough that I was pretty sure that that's who he was looking for. This is strange because my father lives 700 miles and six states away. Since I didn't feel that this was any of the telemarketer's business, I plainly told him that he had the wrong number. At that point, he started to get pissy with me and wanted to verify my phone number, check my last name (which he mispronounced, so I told him that no, this isn't the Layvint residence), and then wanted to know if I was the homeowner. When I said no, he wanted to speak to the homeowner. I told him that I rent, and he barked that he just couldn't help me then. And then he hung up on me! Truly, this man is a total ass, and I feel good when I think about how completely miserable he must be in his crappy, low-wage, second shift telemarketing job. Jerk.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
It seems that I spoke too soon about Apple making good on their warranty. Less than 24 hours after getting my iBook back from their repair facility, I started having the same screen problems. They either fixed the wrong part or (more likely) replaced the cheapest part and hoped it would do the trick. So now I have to go without it for another week. Jerks.

The winner of the Westminster Dog Show is extremely ugly; it kind of looks like the doggie equivalent of a snooty old professor that no one likes anymore. Also, if you look at the other dogs on the website, you'll notive that instead of referring to the gender of the animals as "male" and "female," they refer to them as "dog" and "bitch," respectively. So, a male dog is a dog, but a female dog is a bitch. There's a women's studies doctoral dissertation in there somewhere, as well as a mockumentary, but that's been covered.

Monday, February 10, 2003
Lately I've been reading books on technology and their effects on society. I'm assigning books on this topic to my computer class, so I figure I should probably read them too. (Yes, sarcasm.) The last two I finished are Next: The Future Just Happened and Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web. For casual reading, I'd recommend the former; it's a good account of how the "next hot thing" usually doesn't play according to the rules, and how the "people in charge" want to squelch new methods for fear of losing their jobs to 17-year-olds. The latter is more of a linguistic analysis of our language for the web -- interesting, to be sure, but a bit heady and convoluted at times. Still, both are worth a look.

Got my iBook back! Only five days and it's good as new. I must say, Apple forced me to make absolutely sure that something was truly wrong with it, but once I did, they took care of it quickly. Apparently, Apple does not fuck around when it comes to fulfilling their warranties. Big ups.

Sunday, February 9, 2003
For the past several Saturday nights, I have had a gig playing drums in a band at a place about an hour north of where I live. It's at a ski lodge, so there are always people to listen, and we get treated pretty well: good pay, free dinner, free drinks if we want them. However, it has snowed heavily on every single Saturday night that I've had to play. (I didn't have to play last Saturday, and guess what? No snow.) As you might imagine, snow makes driving back at midnight a nightmare. Last night I hit a near white-out for a few miles, which was really scary. I understand that it's good to have snow at a ski lodge, but it doesn't ever not snow up there.

On a similar topic, we have not had one single snow day this year. Not one! I went into this working-for-the-public-schools thing expecting at least one snow day a winter. Kind of like a built in perk. If the snow could hold off for a day and a half, I could drive home peacefully and get Monday off.

It has been two years to the day since I started this experiment. So far, so good.

Friday, February 7, 2003
Chicago was really good. I just didn't like it. I don't get the whole genre of musical theatre (or film). Enough with the singing already. Just talk.

Thursday, February 6, 2003
Just when I think I live in a boring midwestern community, a coalition forms to protest the construction of a new Wal-Mart store and is well on its way to success. (Of course, this doesn't take into account the untold numbers of people in the suburbs around here who love WalMart and gladly drive 35 miles to the nearest one, but they're not as loud as the anti-WalMart coalition.)

I feel so naked without my iBook.

Tuesday, February 4, 2003
So this sucks: the screen on my iBook isn't working right. I think there's a short in the video card, because I get intermittent snow (like tv snow) on my screen. It's all under warranty and everything, but I have to send it back to Apple for like a week! I've become used to keeping everything on there, so now I'm going through this mass dumping of everything onto my iMac. Damn.

And this is funny: Men who look like Kenny Rogers.

Sunday, February 2, 2003
A week or two ago, I saw the footage from one of NASA's early Apollo missions where a fire on the launch pad killed the three astronauts on board. Since then, I had been thinking about how haunting those images are, especially the part where you can see the astronaut's hand on the window, desperately signaling for help as the capsule is engulfed in flames. (If you haven't seen this clip, it's in the first few minutes of Apollo 13.) In light of this, yesterday's unfortunate events were especially jarring.

In better news, I drove up to MSU with a friend on Friday night to eat some good sushi (read: sushi that isn't from the supermarket) and catch a screening of Russian Ark. It's that film about pre-revolution Russian history made from a single continuous take. (There are no cuts, in other words.) It was beautiful both visually and technically. The Hermitage Museum was a great setting for all of the elaborate costumes, and the film is even more impressive when you consider that they crew had only one day in the museum to get the film done. On the ride home, my friend and I talked about whether or not this was a gimmick or a legitimate method of filmmaking. My argument was that it was a gimmick, but that it worked well to give a seamless presentation of the subject. If they didn't have a gimmick like that, the audience appeal would have been much less. (How many people want to watch an experimental retelling of Russian history?) The gimmick hooked people in, and then they could see what a cool film it was. He disagreed, arguing that calling it a gimmick makes the whole thing cheap. In any case, I think it's worth checking out.

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