Created 10-22-05 / Archived 11-04-05
This is for you, Peter.
Most people canít wait until they are out of school. I was one of those people. What possessed me to go back, Iím not sure. Iím definitely starting to rethink things now.
Exiting my first class on my first day was an interesting experience. I wanted to say it was like nothing Iíd even seen before, but that wouldnít be true.
I took me a couple of days to get used to the betwixt-class parade. The bells ring and the streets are flooded with thousands of students (40,309 to be exact). (In case youíre curious, thatís approximately the population of the entire city of Fond du Lac.) It was all I could do not to get run over by pedestrians. Like ants out of an anthill they pour onto the streets, overtaking and devouring everything in sight. Theyíve definitely taken that ďpedestrians have the right-of-wayĒ thing to heart. Cars beware. They think nothing of halting all car traffic on 3-lane thoroughfares. I just stood outside my first class the first day in awe, waiting for a break in traffic so I could get onto the sidewalk and continue to my next class. And you had better be paying attention when the exit for your building comes up, our you might be stuck on that sidewalk until the next crosswalk. They donít look at you. They donít look at each other. They donít even look at the cars careening at them as they commandeer the roadway. They just walk, expressionless, unfeeling. Itís kinda creepy.
My accommodations are quite niceónicer than any other dorm Iíve been in. I get my own room and bathroom; the place comes with TV (a novelty when youíre from Crazy Edís), dishwasher, and underground parking. The roommate is great. Sheís pleasant, rather tidy, and a GREAT cook. Sheís considerate, keeps the loud parties to a minimum, and isnít always hogging the phone to talk to her boyfriend, even if she does occasionally come into my room and steal my shirts (and wash them before I get home).
And when Iím not at grandmaís, Iím in my 3rd homeÖ
The Henry Vilas Zoo.
Just north of the Wingra river, the closest free parking Iíve been able to find is about a mile or so from most of my classes--right behind the ďbig catsĒ exhibit. Iíve got the usual setup in the meanie-van, including a cot in the back for sleeping and a heater for the [soon to be] cooler afternoons. How many people get awakened from a nap by the roar of lions? Plus my classmates get a good chuckle when I head back to my ďvan down by the river.Ē
Quote of THE YEAR:
(Carissa purchased this in a quarter machine at a restaurant!)
Created 10-07-05 / Archived 10-14-05
Adam's Uncle John creates
CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE
which makes front page of USA Today, New York Times.
John Schiller is the brother of Adam's Mom, and works for the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington, DC. He and two other researchers have invented a vaccine designed to prevent the virus which causes Cervical Cancer. So far more than 12,000 women have been tested, and the vaccine has been 100% effective!
If FDA approval goes well, the drug could be available to the public as early as next year.
Cervical Cancer is caused by a sexually-transmitted virus which the immune system of about 1 in 9 women is unable to fight off. The virus itself comes in a few different strains, and the vaccine currently developed by the drug company Merck is showing effective against the two strains which account for 70-90% of all cervical cancer cases.
If approved by the FDA (and I'm sure it will be--there are no side effects besides a band-aid where the shot was administered) this would be the first vaccine for cancer of any kind.
Check out the details here:
New York Times
On August 4, 2005, a few new FOEs (Friends of Ed) were added to the list as a group of techies and actors from "The Three Musketeers, All Swash and No Buckle" visited Ed's for the first time. At the request of a few of them, here's a combined video clip from the night...
(Right-click and select "Save Target As...")
Created 02-21-05 / Archived 06-17-05
I figured it was about time I posted the New Year's Pics... So here we go...
The party was held from Wed, Jan 5 through Sun, Jan 9.
(Note: You can click any picture with a blue border to see a larger version.)
The night before the party started, some friends of mine came to help prepare. They were Ken and Curt...
... and Peter.
First order of business...
PREPARE THE AUDIO!!!
Not long in I had already spilled a candle (which actually added nicely to Crazy Ed's 'ambience') and burnt my hand.
On Wed, Jan 5 Ben offered to help me get my little camper ready...
... right after he made some snow angels.
Now that's COLD!
Thursday night more people started arriving. The attendees included Jess, Carissa, Dan (who flew all the way from Florida for the party), Peter, Ben, Ryan, and John.
Many video games were played on two separate screens.
On Friday Nicky showed up and ran into some car trouble.
Click here to see us pull the car out
(Right-click and select "Save Target As" to save to your computer)
Ryan helped me melt free some garbage by torching my deck.
Click here to see a video of Ryan and the torch!
(Right-click and select "Save Target As" to save to your computer)
Ben and B2 played guitars
While Steph was chillin'
The Ninjas prepared to record the album
Matt and Britney also came down
And Carrie, Curt, Michelle, Sean, Kelly, and Jonathan all made it as well
Everybody wasn't always just sitting on the couch...
Click here to see John, Ryan, and Peter wrestling
(Right-click and select "Save Target As" to save to your computer)
Kassia also came, but wasn't able to stay overnight
2:45am Saturday morning
10:45 am Saturday morning
Saturday night Sean and Kelly (?) put together my new air hockey table
Carissa's brother and sister Phil and Gina joined the party
I really like this one--Everyone caught with a goofy look on their face. (Remember, click any blue-bordered picture to enlarge.)
Napoleon Dynamite was a party favorite
We were able to burn the brush pile this year (a New Year's tradition)
Phil showing off his new Jeep
Lighting the brush pile
For those of you who were concerned... Don't worry, Gracie was at the party
Rob sure is good at funny facial expressions
(click to enlarge)
Peter and Matt doing a little snow-wrestling
John and Carissa thought they'd join in
Curt and I decided that it was time for one of the old chairs at Ed's to journey to that happy living room in the sky (much to Carissa's dismay)
Sean and Dan to do a little wrestling
Sean and the Masked Bandit
Peter just hasn't learned his lesson, so he goes after Reed
Ken and Dan making the fire bigger
Anne (Ben's sister) and her friend Alex (sp?)
Em and Jess
Carissa and me
Britney and Matt. Nice face Matt.
Left to right: Ryan, John, Reed, Peter
(You should enlarge this one)
Kaylan and me
Carrie and me
Curt and Michelle
Sean and Kelly
Phil and Gina
Rob and Susan
The night wouldn't be complete without Carissa wrestling me to the ground
Now that's COLD TOO
Carissa in the midst of an amazing take-down
After beating me firmly, she though she might challenge my Dad
Some of my favorite fire pictures from the night
I never realized how violent this party was until I started posting these pics. This is Phil and Carissa.
Ben putting snow in Carissa's pants
And of course, no New Year's is complete without the snowball fights!
You really should check out the video on this one
Click here to see a video of the snowball fights!
(Right-click and select "Save Target As" to save to your computer)
I believe this was the result of a sibling skirmish
It's hard to say who won
Later on that night there were some golf cart races
Unfortunately, the snow was such that racing was more difficult than other years
After all the fun and festivities it's time to warm up and watch a movie (probably Napoleon or Cannibal the Musical)
Phil, Kenny, and I went out side to do some camera tests at the end of the night.
Part #2 of 3
Created 10-07-04 / Archived 10-30-04
Without further adieu...
(Because we all now there's been plenty of "adieu" already, whatever that is.)
Part 2 is an audio tour, if you will. It is my belief that this story is best understood by experiencing it with me as I experience it...
Remember that following story took place during my trip to South Bend, Indiana--home of the Fighting Irish. I was in town for a week or so attending an RV trouble-shooting clinic. Click here to view Part #1 of this story.
To listen to audio from Part #1 at Jackson Park, click here.
(In case you have trouble understanding what is said in the audio clips, I have transcribed most of the dialog and inserted beneath each clip.)
March 17, 2004
Saint Patrick's Day
Downtown South Bend, IN
In less than 30 minutes actual time (10 minutes of your listening) walking downtown in South Bend, IN, the home of Notre Dame, you will hear me...
1) Try to break into the city sewers outside a bank
2) Meet some people who think I'm a reporter (taking pictures)
3) Notice that I'm being followed by some locals (I'm walking, they're tailing me in a car)
4) Take pictures of a Hummer stretch-limo
5) Get caught by the Cops
Let the games begin!
(To download the entire unprocessed audio file, which includes all the clips below, click here. File size is 30MB)
This first clip serves as an introduction to what you are about to hear.
Size: 1500 kB
All ready to go, it's time to head to the street...
Size: 1500 kB
Two minutes later, just a block or so down from the Hotel...
Size: 611 kB
About 45 seconds later, as I continue down the sidewalk.
Size: 280 kB
Stranger says to me: "That was a good one!"
Me: "I don't know if that caught on tape but that was directed at me. They weren't happy with me taking a picture."
Approximately one minute later, I arrive at my destination. I attempt to open the grates...
"Oh here's the thing--I'm getting close to the grates. It's gonna be the moment of truth."
"There's this strange noise coming out of them."
"I can't move the grates!"
"[a thud as I try to yanking them open with my pliers] Oh jeeze!"
Seconds later, I lose my nerve...
Size: 375 kB
[I notice there are a few people watching me, including some guys in a white car 1/2 a block behind me]
"Ah, too many people around. Couldn't get 'em to move anyway."
"Plus I just saw some electrical stuff down there. I'm afraid if I go down there I'll get in trouble."
"Hey, police on horses. Cool."
Two minutes later it starts getting interesting...
Size: 2800 kB
"I believe I am being followed."
"Some locals are watching me. Looks like the called it in--yup they are tailing me in there car! This could get interesting."
Some group from across the street: "Happy St.Patty's Day!"
Me: "Same to you! Nice hats! Hey, can I get your picture?"
Them: "That's what I'm talkin about!"
They even spotted my recorder!
"Alright. That was fun."
"Let's see what happened to my tail...Yup, they're still on me. That's interesting. It's gotta be about the funniest thing I've ever seen. They're actually like, slowly traveling behind me, and they like, pull over and park at once place, and then drive a little further and then pull over and park."
"I saw the guy on the cell phone in the first part so I'm sure by now he's called the Sheriff's Department--they're following me so they can tell them where I am. So I'm sure I'll get questioned in a few minutes..."
[A little nervous now, I'm trying plan my escape ]
"Ummm. Yeah. I guess I can honestly tell them I wasn't going to go down [into the sewers], since I didn't have the nerve anyway..."
One minute later I'm still nervously planning my escape...
Size: 1300 kB
"You know I can also honestly say I was trying to get some pictures, because that was what I was doing--climbing down there and getting some pictures, and you know, looking around, all that kind of stuff."
"Here I am upon a Hummer Limo... I'm going to get a shot of."
[I'm taking pictures]
"Here's the cop."
Cop: "What's up, man?"
Me: "Hey, how's it goin'?"
Cop: "What's up with the picture taking?"
Me: "I was just--"
[radio making noise]
Cop: [talking on his radio] "Yeah this is going to be the suspect--this guy taking pictures down here."
Me: "Just a tourist actually."
Cop: "From where?"
Me: "From Montello, Wisconsin. I'm in town for an RV Troubleshooting clinic down at the Century Center."
Cop: "You didn't break a window on a car a minute ago that you were taking pictures of, did ya?"
Me: [very confused] "Oh hell no."
Cop: "Were you just back in an alley a second ago taking pictures of car that had its window broken."
Me: [the light comes on] "Yes, but I didn't know he had the window broken. I thought that somebody had puked in the car because he had the shop-vac in there, and I thought that we pretty funny [cop laughs] so I took a shot of it."
Cop: "Okay. Works for me."
Me: "Thanks, bud."
Cop: "Have a good one."
Me: "You too."
10 seconds later as I'm continuing to walk down the street...
Size: 407 kB
"Wasn't even what I thought it was."
"That's pretty funny."
[Trying to sort out in my head what happened]
"So maybe they didn't see me with the grates or maybe they did but it didn't click -- who knows."
"Funny though. That's awesome."
Size: 71 kB
"I'm kind of lost now too...I don't know where I am exactly."
The wheels are turning slowly...
Size: 895 kB
"Well it makes sense now why that call called the cops and why he was following me--'cause he thought I busted out his window. He thought I was just taking a picture of it afterward. Which makes sense--that's what I would have thought too in his situation. I feel kind bad--I didn't bust out his window obviously."
"Man there's grates like [the grates I was trying open] everywhere."
"But I think tonight if the cops catch me again for something I don't think they're gonna let me off so easy. I think I burned my 'Get Out of Jail Free' card already."
I ran into some more people doing the "Pub Crawl..."
Them: "Are we in the direction of The State?" [a bar]
[discussion about where "The State" is]
[I'm asked about where "The Library" is, and naturally I have no idea]
Them: "Where are you from?"
Me: "I'm from Wisconsin, actually."
Them: "Why are you here?"
Me: "I'm here for a conference this week."
Them: "You decided just to come to South Bend?"
Me: "Yeah, well, it's where the conference was, so I didn't really have a choice." [thinking 'Hello, anybody home? Porch light's on but it looks dark inside.']
Them: "Told you! I'm always DD [designated driver] and you don't listen to me!"
Me: "You don't smell like you DD!"
Them: "Not tonight!"
[fighting amongst themselves]
Smiling to myself...
Size: 136 kB
Back at the hotel...
Size: 2800 kB
Part #1 of 3
I love to travel. I may not exactly be a jet-setter, but I hop in my meanie-van and make tracks as often as I can arrange. This week South Bend, IN was my destination; I was taking an RV Troubleshooting course.
Sunday afternoon was my departure time for this 5 hour journey, with one stop in mind. Jackson Park, Chicago, IL. Right on Lake Michigan, this park is said to have nice beaches which are relatively un-crowded. Sand was not what I sought (as a matter of fact, I would rather have done without it all together). I was trying to find some waves.
The Ben Hacker Project Studio Album, when completed, will hopefully have some ocean sound effects mixed in to a certain track. I thought that Lake Michigan might serve as a realistic-sounding surrogate. Not wanting to just copy ocean sounds off this or that "Natural Moods" CD, I thought I'd stop by on my way to the Fighting Irish.
While I may not be terribly naÔve, walking around inner-city Chicago at night on a deserted beach ľ mile from my car or the nearest person of any kind (that I'm aware of) is not exactly a normal evening for me. As I noticed everyone leaving the beach right at dark, I wondered if they knew something I didnít. I spent the next hour and a half a little more alert than usual.
At the waterís edge I found the waves to be of near perfect size and sound, and as for annoying seagulls (a no-no when mixed with piano music)--they were nearly non-existent. But there was another problem. Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that waves might be accompanied by wind.
I had figured there might be a little breeze on the beach, so I planned accordingly (toting my $6.00 Walmart homemade windscreens); I figured they would quiet the mics appropriately. It seems I was mistaken.
I experienced wind of such ferocity, at one point the beach looked like a sand storm. I finally got the mics set up on the stands just in time to hear them hit the ground behind me.. I had to set the stands as low as they could go, just to keep them upright. Shortly thereafter the tripod for my camera also blew over (thankfully without the camera on it). I removed my camera from it's case after righting the stand, only to watch that same case roll down the beach like a college kid off the hood of a car (Gerlach, this is for you!), dumping more of it's contents every 32 inches (the approximate circumference of the bag). Needless to say, my windscreens were not cutting it. My recording sounded more like a hurricane than a pleasant evening on the beach.
After a few unsuccessful attempts at impersonating a windbreak (these days itís not often I find that I have insufficient girth for anything), I decided it was a lost cause.
At least I got some good pictures.
Created 02-29-04 / Archived 03-19-04
This time of year, nearly everyone I know is looking forward to nicer weather. Inevitably we get a few warm days--really just teasers, to start us salivating for the springtime. One of the side effects of these pleasant days (aside from the issues at Crazy Ed's discussed in my previous story) is that most of the snow which is not melted by the 50 weather is turned to ice the first cold evening.
There's no such thing as a free lunch. Unless it's supper at my parents house. There are few people I know who can resist my mother's chicken and dumpling soup or my dad's chicken on the grill. Just ask Curt or Michelle or Carissa. A couple of nights ago fajitas were on the menu.
Upon my arrival I decided to park in front of the garage in my mother's spot. I shut my car off and began to walk toward the house, when I heard a strange sound. I turned to see the van descending gently down the hill. A moment of panic gripped me. Did I forget to put it in park? (It wouldn't be the first time.) No, that's not it. I even set the emergency break. Then I looked at the two left wheels. Neither was spinning. I casually walked around the other side of the van only to see the same thing. It was sliding.
My next thought was to jump back in and stop it. Except... It occurred to me a little slower than it should have that the brakes would not help much. So as I was strolling along side my Grand Voyager while it meandered toward the trees in the front yard, I thought about getting behind it and trying to catch it. But when it came down to it, all I could do was scratch my head in bewilderment and continue to watch the show. In a few moments it would run out slope or run into something--either way it would stop on it's own.
When it came softly to rest toward the bottom of the driveway, my hunger overtook me and I went for the fajitas.
We need some barn lime.
Created 02-19-04 / Archived 02-29-04
This time of year, I don't worry about the cold. I worry about the heat.
10 inches of snow on the roof. 42 degrees outside. Today's Water Threat Level at Crazy Ed's: Extreme.
Have you ever seen the animated movie "The Sword in the Stone?" It contains a scene where Merlin the Wizard is staying in an old abandoned tower of a castle-->and it begins to rain.
I must admit, I do love living in a place where if I were to run into financial troubles, the bank would repossess my bicycle before they'd take away my mobile home. That said, it does have it's drawbacks.
Today Adam the Wizard is staying in his old [previously] abandoned mobile home-->and the snow has begun to melt. The pots from my kitchen are probably getting the most use they've had all year. I've been emptying them at a rate of about once every 2 hours, which comes out to a few gallons a day. I'm still trying to figure out how I can install some hydroelectric turbines...
And that's just from where the addition meets the trailer. I have a few new leaks in the roof of the trailer itself as well (no doubt from us walking around up there while attaching the addition), but they're no problem. The water just flows into the walls and rots my floor, and that's been happening for a decade. At least it's not coming down on my audio equipment or my bed. I think the Chinese water torture would eventually get to me, even if I could sleep while spooning my cookware.
So I count my blessings. Some people have to worry about having their house clean when company comes. I just have to move my furniture out of the splash-zone.
Created 01-07-04 / Archived 02-07-04
I can't believe it's already over.
It seems like I spent forever preparing for it, and it came and went in no time. It's without a doubt the highlight of my year. It's a time when 30-some people get together in a tiny, leaky mobile home which has been sitting in the middle of nowhere for a quarter of a century.
I must have some real friends.
It's the time when I get to see nearly all my friends at the same time (and often neglect nearly all of them at the same time ). Then I get to apologize to them at the same time on a website for not spending the time with them that I should have.
That said, this year's New Year's party was amazing for me. Not only were there a lot of people, but we had done the most work preparing ever, and Crazy Ed's looked like it had never looked before (one of the walls was missing)! I must admit, I was entirely surprised that we got all the things done that we did, especially the addition. One thing's for sure--if I didn't have so much help, it would have never happened like it did.
With that in mind, some "thank you's" are in order. There are so many people who contributed to either the preparations for the party or the addition (or both), that I don't even know where to begin. I didn't realize how many there were until I started making this list. If I missed you, I'm very sorry--PLEASE remind me so I can add you to this list!
Thanks to Sean for more or less directing the addition project, and keeping Ed's from looking completely ghetto. And also for deciding (circa the 13th of December!) that we were going to finish the addition in time for New Years. Thanks for keeping us from having a waterfall in the addition, for making sure Jess didn't cover my entire trailer in Black Jack (inside and out), and for all sorts of help in building, cleaning, and otherwise running New Year's. You mean people don't normally use Great Stuff to seal everything?
Thanks to Ken for for nearly falling off the side of a building for the addition (not to mention all the other work he did on both this project and my recording studio), and for staying up half the night with Sean to finish the vapor barrier and put in a floor (while I slept ).
Thanks to Dan for his insight and help with framing walls and putting up metal, for pelting me with high-temperature molten-metal bits (see photos), for introducing me to the use of the word "ghetto" to describe the addition, and most of all, for his TABLE SAW.
Thanks to Jim (Curt's dad) for the windows and the doors--without which the addition would be rather dark (and the adjacent porch would not be nearly as useful).
Thanks to Mary (Jim's better half) for giving up those windows. I sincerely hope your potting shed isn't too dark. But if it is, I have a patio door left that would make a great picture window...
Thanks to Phil (Sean's dad) for the donation of all sorts of stuff (including your son), such as a Culver's roof, the shears, and the insulation. I'm still waiting for a bill on that insulation .
Thanks to Marlin for his council on locating and attaching the porch (before it was an addition), and most of all for his lending us his car trailer for as long as we needed to move the porch.
Thanks to Bill S. for his guidance in all sorts of matters, for teaching me just about everything I know about building with wood (which we all know still isn't much), for [his help with] building 'the step,' and for saying "I wouldn't have done it like that" a whole lot .
A huge thanks to Kevin (Peter's dad) for providing us with really nice carpet (I think it's called berber). Not only did he pull it out of his basement and save it for us, he took the carpet and the pad, cut it to roughly the right size, loaded it on his truck, drove it up here and dropped it off for us. (To the tune of 100 miles round trip!)
A special thanks to Jonathan for lending "The Simpsons Road Rage" (even though he couldn't come himself). It was huge! We all played that game constantly.
Thanks to Kelly for her help with cutting and laying roof panels (I think those little spirals are cool too ), for helping to keep people at Crazy Ed's New Year's Bash entertained (I actually did have fun playing thepollgame, but don't let that get out. By the way, I think it's still here.), and thanks most of all for lending me your fiancť on all those weekends. (I know that's the only time you get to see him.)
Thanks to Carissa for countless things, including the original creation of the Crazy Ed caricature which now serves as our logo on both the T-shirts and the website, for recreating Ed in a life-size form for this year's party, for your help with cleaning and preparing for the party (even if you did complain the whole time ), for diligently de-gunking the roof, for just generally being available for catharsis and advice (especially concerning fireplaces), and for providing the party's entertainment (in the form of screams coming from the freezer).
Thanks to Michelle for donating dinner (in the form of ground beef) one night, as well as donating Curt (in the form of a smiley, rather hairy guy) lots of nights.
Thanks to the Town of Mecan for not noticing that I do not have a building permit (though I still have every intention of getting one).
Thanks to Peter for his 'out of the box' thinking during the 'architectural design phase' (even if we didn't fully implement his ideas). We are still awaiting funding for the hot tub, but I think the papier-mache is out. (Believe it or not, that's how Merriam-Webster says papier-mache is spelled.)
Thanks to Erin for actually trying to figure out how we could use papier-mache to cover the inside walls of the addition.
Thanks to Ben for providing musical entertainment for the party, as well as bringing half the party on Saturday night .
Thanks to Jess for helping with both the preparation of the party and the running of it (and for taking the rap for the food in the 18' trailer). I did get the apple cider out of the back of the truck, but the cups mostly blew out.
Thanks to Em for her incredibly perceptive help with "that annoying clicking noise" -- no wait, that's not right . Thanks for coming over and helping in a pinch when no one else could.
Thanks to Amy and Darryl for doing what no human being should ever have to do--CLEANING ED'S REFRIGERATOR. (That's for me.)
Thanks to My Dad for all his help throughout (even if he didn't offer much faith ). Thanks for the lumber, the trucks to hall the lumber, most of the gas in the trucks, most of the tools we used, food for the party, Ed's, electricity, water, heat, phone service, my job, ... Oh yeah--And thanks for [unknowingly] letting us set the porch on your pontoon trailer to pull it up to Ed's. (Don't worry--we bent it back.)
Thanks to My Mom for pretty much everything. Even though she didn't have much specifically to do with the party or the addition (though she very kindly offered to help clean and made some chili for us for dinner one night), when I really think about it, my mom is behind most everything I do--even if she's behind the scenes. I get the feeling that thanks to her influence on Dad, I still have Ed's, electricity, heat, my job, ...
Last and most importantly, thanks to Curt for so many things I can't even begin to list. There is hardly anything I've ever built (or blown up) that Curt wasn't involved in. He's the guy who comes when no one else can. He's the guy who ran a mobile DJ service with me for years (and sometimes without me) without ever getting paid. He's the guy who's been an unofficial employee of Lake Arrowhead Campground for 10 years and just now got his first key (he's still waiting for his first paycheck ). Crazy Ed's New Year's Bash is as much his party as mine. He started preparations with me for New Year's a month ahead of time, and you would still see him working during the party (in-between driving Krusty the clown over pedestrians and drag racing Downtown). When it came down to it, he was the guy who called the shots while we were physically building the addition. He's the guy who did most of the work. I was really only good for pounding nails (and even that I wasn't very good at, so we used screws). Without him New Year's wouldn't have been anything like it was, and the addition probably wouldn't even exist. So thanks for everything, Curt. And most of all, thanks for that radio-controlled car. Me and Ed are having a great time with it.
Yeah, I know. I'm a .
Created 12-16-03 / Archived 12-27-03
A Van can be Wilder
Many, if not all of you know that I drive a minivan. No doubt I've argued the practical advantages of such a vehicle many times with each of you (attempting to compensate for the extreme lack of coolness inherent in my grocery-getter), so I'll spare you such commentary here.
Recently I noticed that my soccer-mom-mobile was getting a little insecure of its position on the that car rocks scale. It was time for a makeover.
Enter Off-Road Lightbar.
On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is a Corvette or a H2, my minivan has moved up from a 1 to at least a 1.5--maybe a 2.***(See footnote below)
Given this new elevated status, it needed an appropriate new name. Thus the meanie-van was born.
Yeah, I know. You're jealous.
*** Some of you may be questioning why I gave the minivan an initial score of "1" instead of "0" on a 0 to 10 scale. A "0" score is generally reserved for station wagons, however, with the introduction of the sport utility wagon, it has become a matter of debate whether the minivan has now in fact clamed the infamous "0" position.
Attention Friends of Ed!!!: Those of you listed on the Friends of Ed page in the left column, but without a description in the right column, I need a short bio from you for that page. It can be as short as a couple sentences or as long as a few paragraphs. If you'd like to have someone else write it, that would be great. Just have them make it fun .
Created 11-09-03 / Archived 11-29-03
Leaving for Las Vegas
There is a voice coming through a speaker saying I should be seated--no walking around until later. I hear the engine roar in front of me as we slowly begin to move. I peer out a window and watch the ground gradually increase its speed--faster and faster and faster until the thin strip of pavement underneath us is no more than a blur to me. It's times like this when I think it would be neat to be able to see ahead of us, to get a better view of the world. It is rough for a few seconds more; and then without warning, it becomes smooth.
Then we hit a bridge.
I thought it was rough before, but suddenly everything in the fifth-wheel is bouncing around. I can hardly hear myself think over the sound of the metal stove cover taking flight (at a frequency of approximately 3 times a second). My Dad's calling me on the walkie-talkie to see how I'm doing back here. The bumps are so jarring I'm getting a headache. I thought it would be really cool to ride in the trailer while we drove. Kinda like sitting in your house as it flies down the highway. I think my house needs better suspension (or Nebraska needs better roads). Even after the bridge I felt like I was riding the "Back to the Future" ride at Universal Studios. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
But I'm going to stick it out. I want to write a story for my website, but haven't yet figured out what yet. In order to do so I need to turn on the electricity to the camper (an inverter powered by the truck alternator) so that I can use my computer. There is just one problem--I can't get at the inverter. It seems that I put it in a cabinet which is not accessible when the slide-outs are in. After some investigation I find that I am able to open the cabinet door about an inch or so before it hits the slide-out--not enough to get my hand inside. I have no choice but to get creative.
After about 20 minutes and 15 kitchen utensils, the lights were on. The spatula and the knife sharpening steel saved the day.
Once I get my laptop unpacked and ready to go, it becomes apparent to me that setting my computer on the hard table (which is screwed to the floor) may not be in the best interest of its internal components. So even as I now type this story, my screen bounces in a slow, nauseating manner atop my nice foam pillow.
I'm going back to the truck.
Do or do not--there is no hope.
People want to blame God for all the bad things, and credit mankind for all the good things--when really, it's the other way around.
-Don "Hacker" Hacker
Created 09-13-03/ Archived 10-13-03
It's been said that getting old is slowing down.
Not for Grandma Bea.
At age 82, Bea Malsack decided it was time for college. Cedar Lake was the campus she chose, and she enrolled in the fall of 1999. She was fortunate enough to land a room without a roommate, though the size was nothing to write home about. Like anyone living in the dorms, she had to deal with the occasional crazy neighbor (stealing her flower arrangements on her door), but at least the cafeteria food was fair to decent.
Though she was largely well behaved, she would occasionally participate in afternoons of gambling, quickly tiring of the games because of a lack of challenge. According to Bea, everyone else was "too old." She was involved in various extracurricular activities, such as the Beautify our Campus Committee in which she was head of lounge flower arrangement. She also served as Student Council President for 2 years.
She could often be seen speeding through the halls, politely calling "Excuse me" to the "slow-pokes" ahead of her, or in her room making various quilts and crafts for her children and grandchildren.
All in all, though the adjustment to her new campus was difficult, she did quite well. She even found time to get away from campus and visit her other friends and her family.
Beatrice T. Malsack graduated from the Cedar Lake Campus on August 23, 2003, at age 86. Bea had acquired a double master's degree--a Master of Arts in Sewing and a Master of Science in her self-designed major, "Taking money from your friends through Sheepshead." She had previously achieved a Doctorate in "Loving her family with all she had." She was immediately offered a position in Heaven (a non-profit relief organization) including a fully-furnished mansion prepared specifically for her. She is already personal friends with the founder/CEO of the organization, and encourages us all to come and visit her when it is our time.
She loved many and was loved by even more. She will be greatly missed by all of us.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
-- 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Created 04-07-03/ Archived 07-14-03
Did you know that propane burns twice as hot as gasoline?
The Mr. Heater corporation came up with a pretty neat product. It's called the Portable Buddy (see right). This is a propane heater specifically designed for use indoors. It incorporates such safety features as a tip-over switch and a low-oxygen sensor, and can be used either with a standard 16.4 oz propane canister or with an optional hose and 20 lb. (or less) propane cylinder. Many of you may recognize this as the heater I recently purchased for use in my car on my Texas trip. See the photo album page Texas Trip (p. 1). It worked wonderfully. It could be 10o F outside and it would be 70 inside my minivan.
A day after witnessing the most impressive electrical fire I've ever started, I thought I'd get some work done in Ed's shed--there's a lot of my junk in there, and much of it needs to be thrown away. It was a little chilly, so I thought I'd start up my Portable Buddy to take the edge off. I set it up on a stack of planks lying on the floor, hooked up my 11 lb. LP tank, and started it up. Immediately I noticed it was behaving unusually. Long, blue flames were rising out of the burner, and I almost burned my hand turning it a little. I thought this a little odd, but knew that sometimes it would produce flames when some dust or cobwebs were stuck in the burner--even so, they usually weren't this large.
Have you ever seen that episode of the Simpsons where Homer is watering the plants or whatever, and Bart or Lisa or someone kinks off his hose? Homer says, "Maybe if I look into the hose with my right eye I can see what's the matter..." If you use your imagination I think you can figure out what happens next. Moments later, after the water is now back on and Homer has a wet right eye, the water stops again. "Maybe if I look into the hose with my left eye I can see what's the matter..." Another "Doh!" is heard as Bart or Lisa releases the water once again.
(A special to Carissa for providing the metaphor.)
I sat down to check things out. Straddling the planks and facing the heater, it came to my attention that the pilot flame seemed about 4 times longer than it should be. I leaned in to examine the heater more carefully, my face now no more than 12" away.
After the explosion, I was lucky enough to have retained most of both of my eyebrows. The right side of my face got it a little worse, but in a few hours the redness had mostly faded and the stinging only lasted until sometime the next day. At least I kept my left eye out of it.
As far as we could determine, the internal regulator was somehow stuck open, and was leaking gas into the body of the heater. Eventually it filled up high enough to reach the flames on the burner.
Perhaps my face is considered a combustible.
Created 03-18-03 / Archived 04-07-03
Don't Mess With Texas
Texas. It's mostly beautiful this time of year.
Except on days when it's 25 degrees. I could have stayed at home for
weather like that. About a week after arriving in sunny San Antonio, a
couple 25 degree nights and some freezing rain brought the entire city to its
knees (or sometimes on it's back, or on it's face--depending on how they
landed). Around here, the only "ice" they have can be
purchased for $.99 or $1.19, depending on whether you want crushed or cubed.
All major freeways were shut down for days. I had heard that many
Texans think driving on ice is like driving on water. I wonder how many
think that now.
Except on days when it's 25 degrees. I could have stayed at home for weather like that. About a week after arriving in sunny San Antonio, a couple 25 degree nights and some freezing rain brought the entire city to its knees (or sometimes on it's back, or on it's face--depending on how they landed). Around here, the only "ice" they have can be purchased for $.99 or $1.19, depending on whether you want crushed or cubed. All major freeways were shut down for days. I had heard that many Texans think driving on ice is like driving on water. I wonder how many think that now.
Lindy, Jess and Carol's suitemate, took a trip to Minnesota over spring break. After some time of contemplating, she decided to ask her northern friends why the snow seems to accumulate so much deeper right at the sides of the roads. "Is it some kind of magnetic thing or something?" They all stared blankly at her for a moment, and one of them said it was from the plows. After a little more explanation of what a snow plow was (since Lindy couldn't figure out what they could possible grow along the roadsides in the winter), she decided that made sense. "They just spread some salt on the roads where I come from."
Everything is bigger in Texas. Where else can you drive for over 700 miles and never leave the state. Going from San Antonio to anywhere, I'm pretty sure, you spend half your time in Texas. I crossed the sign for the Austin city limit, a city of about 700,000 people, and 117 miles and 27 Walmarts later I think I hit the downtown. One of Jess and Carol's suitemates was going to take a plane to go somewhere else in Texas for spring break, and this is not unusual. It's sort of hard to imagine this coming from Wisconsin. I think we have like 2 airports (not counting the little hidden airstrips for drug trafficking). Flying from East Texas to West Texas is approximately equivalent in distance to flying from Milwaukee to Washington, DC.
Texans are very proud of their state. As a result of that, they're pretty sure they invented everything. I understand that a few (probably rural) Texans think that Dr. Pepper and Walmarts are unique to Texas. I have a hunch they've never been out of state . But then again, if my state was the size of Europe, I suppose I might not get out much either.
The people in Texas are extremely friendly. Everybody wants to talk to you and make some kind of connection with you when they meet you. We were talking to some nice men in Nordeheim, Tx about a week ago, and when we told them that we were from Wisconsin, they said they knew a guy in town who retired down here from that state. We thought that was very nice, but they proceeded to give us turn by turn directions to his house, assuming that we'd want to go see him. Obviously, if we were from the same state, we'd want to get to know one another. We ran out of time that day, so I guess I'll have to fly back down sometime to meet him. Maybe I'll send him a postcard.
The communication barrier can be a little difficult between a Northerner such as myself, and a Texan. (Note: They're not Southerners, or even Americans. First and foremost, they're Texans). If you go to a restaurant and order a "Coke," they'll ask you what kind. And they don't mean Diet or Regular. Every kind of soda is called "Coke." The Coca Cola company must have done some pretty good advertising down here. I don't know what you do if you actually want a "Coke," though. Maybe they don't sell it.
Then there's this y'all thing. A pretty convenient contraction, when you think about it. I find myself using it all the time down here. Only, they spell it ya'll. What's ya'll? A contraction between ya and will? What does that mean? Even educated Texans had no idea why I found it so funny when I'd read their signs saying Ya'll come back now! Maybe they like the symmetry. And how about y'all's? (Or ya'll's, if you prefer.) Can a contraction be possessive? Is there a limit to the number of apostrophes in one word? English majors?
Trinity University is unreal. Jess and Carol live in a suite with two other girls (Mary and Lindy). The four share a bathroom with shower within the suite. The rooms are easily as big as the biggest double room in Ripon, not counting the huge walk-in closet and the 4' x 12' balcony overlooking scenic San Antonio. Of course, the real disadvantage is that every week you need to pick up the floor--so that the maid can come and clean their rooms. It's pretty rough.
The 2500 student campus is well known for its low student-to-teacher ratio, which is somewhere around 11:1, but it is better known for it's student-to-gardener ratio, which is around 1:3. I'm sure Robin Leech has been here. I'm not sure Buckingham Palace has nicer greenery. I think Ripon has 6 guys who do all the mowing, salting sidewalks, plumbing, electrical work, mechanical stuff, and daytime security. I wish my school had an oil field. So do those 6 guys, I imagine.
Seriously, though, Texas is an amazing state. Something about being down here makes some part of you want to be from here. I'm sad to have to leave. It really is very unique. Pretty much every terrain you could wish for, from mountains to desert to swamps to plains to forests to beaches, you can find it all here. The Texan people are great. They'd give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. Just remember to open the doors for the ladies.
Created 02-24-03 / Archived 03-18-03
Don't Mess With Texas
Texas. It is beautiful this time of year.
When was the last time the thermometer on your car looked like this?
The sun was shining brightly on Sunday, February 16, as my adventure began. I left the hotel in Milwaukee and dropped Emily off at the Milwaukee RV and Camping Show. Mom met me in the parking lot outside the show to wish me goodbye. Don't worry Mom, I'm still alive.
After visiting Dan that afternoon and eating a rather tasty lunch, I was on my way out of the state. I got a pretty late start, leaving around 3 or 3:30 pm. I figured I wouldn't get far that day anyway, so it occurred to me that I should call Amy Sue and see if I could stop in for a minute or two. Visiting her would only add about 40 miles to my trip.
After calling her and finding out that she was going to a concert that night, I figured it was not going to work out. Then she suggested that I come with her--and before I knew it, I was watching Caedman's Call and Jars of Clay, in concert, in Naperville, Il. It was awesome! Thanks Amy!
After some all-too-brief time spent with Amy and her friends, I decided to sleep in the parking lot of a Dominick's Food and Drug in Bartlett, Il. It was located about half way between Naperville and Elgin, and Amy and I had stopped there on the way home to get some snacks. I talked to the manager, telling him that I was admiring his parking lot greatly--it was well lit and seemed very safe, just the place for me and my new "RV" to camp out. He wasn't quite sure what to say to that, I think, but he was as friendly and accommodating as he could be. When I asked him if I could stay overnight in it, he said that their store did not own the parking lot, so he had no power to grant me permission. He said I might get hassled by the cops, but he didn't mind personally. I asked some guy in the parking lot what he thought of the neighborhood, and he said it was a very safe town, perfect for starting a family. That was enough for me, and after dropping Amy off, I spent and uneventful and rather snug (check out the pictures of my car) night in the back of the lot . It was kind of fun, even without starting a family.
The next morning, Monday, I actually began my trip. South and west I traveled, and I made good time. I stopped very little, and even though I had not started driving that morning until around 11am, I was in Lebanon, MO by about 8:30 pm. I contemplated going further that night, but I was sore from driving so far, and they had this beautiful Walmart Supercenter so close to the highway... So I decided to stay there for the night, which was a good decision in the end. After all, they had this great Chinese joint I had eaten at last time I came through, and it lived up to the memory that night. And actually, my real reason for staying the night there either Carissa or Jess could tell you--they had this Knife Superstore thingy! It was very cool. I arrived that night in Lebanon too late, so by staying the night, I was able to visit it in the morning.
Carissa had known about the place, and had asked me to get her a knife if I were to be there and have time to shop. I got up much earlier that morning, and spent a number hours browsing and gawking, and chatting with Carissa on my cell about which one she might like. In the end, I think we did well.
Around 11am or so I departed once again. I had planned to take another day, since I had about 13Ĺ hours of driving remaining in the trip. I figured that with the amount of driving I wanted to do that day, I'd end up somewhere in the Waco, TX area. As I was approaching Waco that night, I felt like I could press on a little farther. It seemed so silly to stop for the night when I was so close to my final destination, so after talking to Jess and Carol, I decided that I would finish the trip that night. From Waco it's only about 180 miles or so to Trinity in San Antonio--a hop, skip, and a jump really.
After making this decision, I had a problem. I had been traveling since Sunday (it is now Tuesday night), and I had not showered since Sunday morning. I had planned on getting a shower the next morning (Wednesday), as I awoke to complete the final leg of my journey. It was clear that I couldn't arrive at Trinity in the condition I was in--even the hamsters would have run away screaming. So I needed to stop a truck stop tonight, and further delay my arrival.
Now as you might imagine, I've never showered before at a truck stop. I knew they had showers, and I knew I needed one, so that was the plan. Just outside Austin in the direction of San Antonio, I found what looked like a pretty nice "travel-plaza." I walked in and asked the lady at the counter if they had showers, and she said "yes." Unable to hide my total ignorance on the subject, I asked "How does that work?" She looked at me kinda sideways for a moment, and said slowly "You pay me 8 dollars, and you get a shower." "Okay..." I said. There was a pause, and I told her that I've never really done this before. "Sounds like a personal problem," she said with a smirk on her face. I opened my mouth to explain myself better, but she was off doing something else before I could speak. I just shook my head and told her that I was going to go out to my car and get my stuff, and I'd be right back. She looked at me blankly and nodded slowly as I turned and walked out the door.
I had planned this trip pretty well, and knew that I would eventually have to use one of these showers--though I really didn't know what to expect. So I thought, it might be useful to have some kind of shower basket to carry the "wet stuff" to and from the shower, much as I would in college. Carissa had generously donated the stainless-steel basket to me for the trip. When I returned into the store, it seemed as though those behind the counter had been talking about me. I walked up to pay the 8 dollars. "Nice shower basket," she said, trying to hold back the laughter. "Thanks. You like it?", I said, pretending not to notice that I was the entertainment of the evening. She asked me if she could have it, but I told her that I still needed it. "Just let me know if you ever want to get rid of it," she called after me as I walked toward the showers. Come on, stainless steel is manly, right?
The shower was very nice and surprisingly well kept. There was an entire bathroom complete with sink, toilet, and shower that I got all to myself. She smirked at me as I approached the counter to return the towel and purchase some refreshments. "Don't forget about the basket," she said as I walked out the door. "I won't," I thought to myself.
Created 02-07-03 / Archived 02-24-03
Shrugged me off
Texas. I hear it's beautiful this time of year. The weather is just perfect for outdoor activities such as camping...
I was all set to depart 3 days ago (Monday, Feb. 3). I was going to visit friends here in Wisconsin first--I had already made plans with Sean--and then I'd be on my way to the Lone Star State. I went to Ripon that night visit friends and say goodbye; I had only to load everything in my van in the morning and I'd be gone for a month.
In the midst of a late-night Kwik Trip run, my minivan first started experiencing problems.
I asked it to go into drive, and it seemed to be having trouble deciding whether or not to honor my request. After some persuasion (mostly involving sweet words and rubbing of the dashboard) I was able to get it headed toward home, nervous that if I'd stop that would be all.
The next morning and 4Ĺ quarts of transmission fluid later, I suspected there may be a leak somewhere. Foolishly thinking that we may have some powertrain warranty covering this issue, my Father (who's in Arizona) and I decided to take it to a dealership to have it checked out.
On the way to the dealership, I was feeling pretty good. With the trans full of fluid, it was running like brand-new. From talking to Jim (Curt's dad) and Mark at the dealership, it sounded like it might just be a leak; they'd patch it up and everything would be great. The worst-case scenario was that I'd need to replace the transmission, and that would run me about $1600.
After leaving it to be examined for an hour, I came back to talk to them. I could tell Mark didn't have any good news for me, and as he gave me the information I knew that he genuinely felt bad for me.
I found out some "pin" in the differential had broken off. That to me didn't sound too bad. But evidently, when one of these pins is set free, it's "bullet-proof, fire-proof, and can think faster than [a] supercomputer", with it's "only instinct--to destroy everything it touches"1. Apparently this pin went on a destruction rampage, as only these pins can do, flying through my differential, transmission, engine block, hood, fire-wall, battery, rear axle, left tail-light, muffler, gas tank, right side-view mirror, and my left cup-holder. The information that I have is still preliminary, but it sounds like they may be able to salvage the hub-caps and my left wiper blade.
I nearly stepped on my chin on the way out of the dealership. $2700. I'm now broke-and-a-half. Everybody wave goodbye to Texas.
More seriously, though, the Texas trip may not be all-together out. Depending on what kind of low-interest loan I might be eligible for from the Bank of Mom and Dad, I may still be able to swing southward for a few weeks. Certainly the trip will be a little different than planned since my time will be much more limited and I'll have no money. Either way, I'm sure that God has a reason for not sending me on this trip right now--though I think he could have come up with a cheaper way to let me know.
A special thanks to Carissa for her help in redesigning this web page, to Ken for getting me started with FrontPage, and to Curt for purchasing the entire Office 2000 Pro package for me as a birthday present.
1 Since no one seemed to get this reference (not even the people for whom it was intended), I thought I'd clarify. Disney's, Lilo & Stitch.
I found the perfect product. Wandering through
the world of Walmart some months ago, a small kiosk caught my eye.
The large black words "Atomic Clock" spread across a sign just above the
shelves. This peaked my interest.
Upon close inspection, I found that they weren't true atomic clocks (as that would probably put the price somewhere in the 6-7 digit range). Rather, they received a radio signal from a US Atomic Clock transmitter, and were priced in the 2 digit range. This was a deal I could not pass up, especially since I was in need of a small, battery-powered alarm clock for our daily power failures and for traveling. And how about one which always displayed the correct time to within microseconds?! You can't beat that! Microseconds make all the difference in my life.
So I bought the clock. The best part was, I never had to set the time. I just turned it on, told it which time zone I was in, and it did the rest. And sure enough, when it set itself, it was within a split second of exact time. (Check out how accurate your clocks are by going to www.time.gov.)
While waking up of my own accord one day a few days after daylight-savings time ended, I glanced at my alarm clock and saw that I had slept in quite late. While I was getting up and planning out my day, I happened to glance at my watch, and realized that it was reading quite a bit slow. Frustrated with the fact that I would have to add "getting a new watch battery" to my list of things to do today, I took a shower and got dressed. As I got into my car to go run some errands, I noticed that the clock in my car seemed to be reading slow as well. Strange. How could both my watch and my car clock be slow. In fact, their times were very close to one another.
After contemplating this for a while, and ruling out Electro-Magnetic Pulses and anomalies in the Space-Time Continuum, it occurred to me that something might be wrong with my atomic clock. But that's impossible. It's atomic.
I walked back into the trailer, and checked every clock I had. I even turned on my 2 computers. Every clock was just as slow as my watch (the one in the kitchen was entirely different, but I'm pretty sure that one hasn't been wound since last winter). I couldn't believe it.
Looking again at the alarm clock it seemed to differ by about two hours. After clicking to www.time.gov, it was reassuring to find that it was within microseconds of being exactly two hours off.
Perhaps the guy controlling the US Atomic Clock decided to spring ahead instead of fall back.
Next time I'm buying a Timex.
"Maybe Texas is more rural outside the big cities."
Created 11-20-02 / Archived 11-27-02
Elvis and Tangerines
This week I find myself on an adventure of [less than] epic proportions. Still, it does get me out of Crazy Ed's for a few days (not that I'd ever want to leave :o), and allows me to see some sights that I've never seen before. Did you know that in Memphis, they have a big bridge in the shape of an "M?" Still, I think it would have been more impressive if their city had started with the letter "g" (upper or lower case-you choose).
So far, I have experienced one day of the "National ARVC Convention" (ARVC stands for Association of RV (RV stands for Recreational Vehicles) Parks and Campgrounds). Don't ask me where the "P" goes. During the course of this week, we get to learn some very useful things (and likely all sorts of not so useful things) about how [someone else thinks] we might make our respective campgrounds successful. And not only that, but they have all sorts of fun activities planned for us. Today they even catered a lunch for us. It was...ummm...different. Someone must have forgotten to bring the stove, because everything was stone cold. Those at my table tell me that it was intended that way, but I'm still suspicious. Somehow, the chilled green beans and tangerines (my mother says they're actually "mandarin oranges") in a light cream sauce just wasn't quite what I had hoped for. I mean, it sounded so appealing initially...
Tonight they thought they would entertain us with a little "Happy Hour" on the second floor mezzanine of the hotel. One thing was clear--there were more than a few who had had more than a few and arrived already a little happy to "Happy Hour." Naturally, there was a live blues band playing at one end of the mezzanine. They seemed to be having a little trouble getting anyone's attention, so a short time into the show they called out Elvis. Somehow, I always thought he was a little taller. All of us were quite careful to stay just beyond what we thought the range of his mic cord, but alas it was all for naught. He must have stored some extra length behind the bass player. Before long he was dancing on the tables and wrapping us in silk scarves. When I saw that gleam in his eye looking at me, scarf in hand, I knew it was time to go.
is another day of seminars, to be capped off by a Marti Gras party in the
evening. Maybe I'll at least win some beads.
Created 04-31-02 / Archived 11-02-02
Of Bike Carriers and License
No damage done
If it's got a pin, you should probably pin it.
I like to think that I'm pretty good at handling a car. I've had quite a bit of experience, since I started driving tractors and other vehicles around age 12, and these days Big Blue gets about 30,000 miles older every year. I'm pretty good a parallel parking, as I do it quite often, and boast that I can park my mini van in just about any spot which is at least 2 feet longer than the vehicle. These days, with winter parking restrictions lifted on city streets in Ripon, 90% of my nights here I'll parallel park my van on the street outside my dorm.
So on Sunday Carissa and I were driving back from Ed's in our separate vehicles, me in the front and her right behind. Hwy 23 from Montello to Princeton is being worked on, and there are a few places where the pavement was removed and replaced by gravel. I probably should have slowed down.
In Ripon, as we were going up the hill toward my dorm, I see Carissa flash her brights at me from behind me. I emphatically wave back as I pull over to park my car, and she drives on by. As I am backing into my spot, my car gets stuck about half way in, and I assume I turned too sharp and am stuck on the curb. As I pull ahead, then back (until I get stuck), then ahead, then back, I slowly wiggle my van into the spot. When I was finally parallel to the curb, I noticed my car still wouldn't go back any further, and I was still some distance from the car behind me. What I hadn't realized was that the car behind me and mine had been gently rocking back and forth in unison.
Hopefully no one had been watching.
Tractors never had bike carriers.
Created 04-07-02 / Archived 04-31-02
Fire Safety Not a Joke
Just when you thought your dorm room would never catch fire...
I walked into my dorm room here at Ripon yesterday, and my heart sunk. I turned pale; my skin went cold. I smelled a smell I was all too familiar with. I knew it wasn't coming in from outside through my open window. I knew it wasn't creeping in from the hall. It had to be in my room. It was the smell of an electrical fire.
I entered the room quickly, frantically looking around for the source of the smell. My mind was racing--was it my computer? My stereo? Then I saw it. My $5.00 fan was lying face-down on my bed, smoke billowing out of the back of it. I felt a wave of relief as I walked up to investigate the situation.
The casing around the fan was broken and had jammed the blade. The motor was still trying to spin. The screen of the open window where the fan had sat, a cord-length away from where it now sat on the bed, was stretched and broken. I began using my poorer-than-average powers of deduction, and before long I had figured it out. This could only be the work of...
Stupid warm weather.
"People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy." --Bob Hope
Created 03-15-02 / Archived 04-07-02
Spring Broken and The Crazy Ed Chronicles
All good things must come to an end. Today
marked one of those transitions. Though I may not have been sipping
tequila on a topless beach in Mexico this last week (ummmm....not that
I would anyway, Mom ),
it was nice to get away from the craziness of school for a week or so.
I find myself anticipating the end of college, as if my not getting up
and going to school every day will somehow remove the Complexity
from my life and I will be less busy and get more done. I
wonder what I'll do with all that time!?!? I know that I should cherish
the time I have here at this fine institution, because it will be the
best time of my life. Or maybe
I should party hardy until the cows come home,
but remembering not to forget to succeed at everything. I should
do all the things I can't do once I'm in the Real
world, but [everyone else]
will always wish I had. Maybe these good
times that we all cherish from one part of
our life or another are really our imagination. Sure, the events
took place, but maybe they were not as exciting at the time they took place
as they are when reviewed in mind. Maybe the blissfully euphoric
tranquil rapture that we seem to feel when telling others about
good old days is made up by our brain
on the spot--after all, the grass is always greener on the beaches of Mexico.
So I guess I'll go about doing as much as I can in the days I have left before people are telling me to get real. What's so Imaginary about life before life after college anyway? I'm pretty sure I was at a 9 am class today. Or maybe I wasn't.... Hmmmm.... Maybe I should check on that.
For those of you familiar with the ongoing saga
of Crazy Ed and his infamous property, I ask you to submit to me
via email some of the stories you've heard me or someone else tell about
Ed's, as well as any (real) experiences you may have had yourself, including
your first impressions of the place, or the feeling it gives you.
I'm thinking of starting a sequence here on the website called the The
Crazy Ed Chronicles, which will contain detailed accounts of the stories
of Ed's, including history and information from people involved in Ed's,
and I want to make sure I don't leave out any info. I don't tell
the stories as often anymore, and I'm getting a little rusty .
And for those of you complaining I have too few (that is, none at all)
pictures on my site, I'll be adding in pictures to these stories to help
others visualize what we're talking about. I figure it's time Crazy
Ed's went international.
Created 03-06-02 / Archived 03-15-02
Vice of the week...
DVD-Video...Yet more evidence that Satan is hard at work in the digital world... :)
If you've ever tried to use a DVD video in a computer DVD player, you'll know what I'm talking about.
It seems like they plan for these things not to work I've rented a number of DVD's with the intention of playing them on my computer DVD player (the only DVD player I have), and have been frustrated nearly to tears every time.
The other day Carissa and I rented Hannibal, with the intention of having a romantic evening digging our fingernails into each other's arms. We received, however, a frustrating evening of screaming at liquid crystal and blowing on plastic. Both Carissa and I have a DVD player in our respective machines, so we thought we had the situation covered. But alas, the DVD "machine" had other plans. There seemed to be some trouble with the disc itself, since the location at which the DVD would crash our world was consistent throughout the hardware.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie, I don't want to give away
too much, but the point within the movie which brought things to a halt
was of course just as things were getting interesting. Hannibal had
just captured the cop and was holding him near the window, about to take
his knife and....
Well anyway, my computer would just freeze there for about 2-3 minutes, OS and all, and then Win-DVD would abruptly shut itself off completely, and there I sat back at my desktop. Upon further exasperation, I found that I couldn't even "fast-forward" past the bad spot and just miss a little of the movie--as soon as it got there, the same sequence would occur. We found on Carissa's machine, she would get the infamous Blue-Screen Error, and it would crash her entire system.
After a few hours of angry attempts at everything I knew, I finally gave up for the night, and took it to Movie Gallery in the morning to get a replacement. Upon returning home with the new disc, I found the EXACT SAME PROBLEM EXISTED AT THE EXACT SAME POINT.
I exchanged it for the VHS.
Moral of the story: Test-watch all your DVD movies while Movie Gallery is still open--before you really watch them with your sweety. And buy a VCR, just in case. :o)