"…A Brand New Car!"

[insert “Price is Right” theme here]

[spoken in Rod Roddy announcer voice:]
That’s right, folks! Diana Cook and Aaron Schnuth are now the proud owners of a brand new 2003 Kia Spectra! Diana can now drive to work in style in this pepper-red four-door sedan! Complete with AM/FM/CD Stereo, Air Conditioning, and an Automatic Transmission, this gem is sure to make the happy couple into the talk of the town… [end Rod Roddy voice]

No shit. We are joint-owners of a car loan for the next five years. Along with it comes a damn spiffy new vehicle, though. 🙂 If our new car were to be fabricated inside The Matrix construct, it would look like this:

Anyway, this saves us enormous car-related stress when going on road trips (i.e. ‘will the car make it back alive’), it saves me cab fare (sort of… I think the car payment might be higher…), and it makes both of us mobile. We’re both insured on both cars, so whichever car is at the end of the driveway is the lucky winner of the moment.

Come visit on New Year’s, and you can see the new car… nudge, nudge…

Local flavor experience

Got off work early for once. It was still light out. I was geeked. After chillin’ for a while behind the computer, I walked to Ben Franklin to find a Christmas present for Kris (actually, I just had to purchase the finishing touches). So, while I was downtown, I decided to stop into Grounds for Thought for some coffee goodness on the way home. Got my Milky Way (a mocha with a healthy dose of caramel and a couple dollops of whipped cream), silently approved of the R.E.M. playing in the background (must have been some album before Green, because I didn’t recognize it — sorry, Aaron), and planned to slip out the back.

The first thing I noticed was that the Children’s section had been moved. It’s usually there on the back wall of the cafe proper as you walk back into the happily cramped shelves of used books. Hmm… more books on the side wall. Neat. I turned to exit out the side door — to find it was no longer there.

WTF?

Yes, apparently Grounds purchased the store next door and tore out the wall, because the happily cramped stacks are now spacious and comfy. I made a dork of myself by wandering around, gaping at all the room. I believe I even marveled aloud. I must bring Amy to see this.

For once, a good thing is made even better.

Unrelated discoveries: one fun, one not-so-fun

We begin with the fun: wilwheaton.net.

actual photo from wilwheaton.netHe’s 30, he’s married, and he has blue hair. It’s freaky on some level, yet comforting on another. As much as it might disturb Wil to hear it, he’s kind of like a long-distance high-school or college buddy. That’s how he comes across on his page. Totally honest, frank, and certainly more than a touch dorky. (Hell, who isn’t?) His web-design skills are pretty middle-of-the-road, his writing style is familiar and fresh, and he has interests that “normal” people have. And he likes The Pixies. Plus, after watching his character Wesley grow up on Star Trek: The Next Generation (now who’s the dork?), it’s neat to see what he’s like in real life, and to know that he’s just as cool as you’d hope an actor (and aspiring writer) your age would be.

I know, I know… I’m not 30 yet. In the grand scheme of things, though, those four years don’t really matter much.

Now, to the not-so-fun discovery. Actually, it’s downright depressing.

On Thanksgiving, I went to visit my grandmother at her new nursing home. Beforehand, my step-Gary felt the need to call me and warn me of her mental condition. Seems she would be OK for a while, then start talking about feeding pet mice and stepping on cockroaches and all sorts of random things that may or may not have root in reality. So, I felt I was armed with the knowledge that my Memaw was going off her rocker, and things would be cool.

As one might expect, the visit was unusual at best. At least when I used to visit her before, she was recognizable. This wispy-haired, bent wraith of a woman bore very little resemblance to the Memaw that I knew and loved. True to form, she wasn’t wearing her hearing aid or her teeth, and she did indeed go off on random tangents. I smiled and nodded along, answering loudly when appropriate. Just to prove how erratic her behavior had been, when she stood up to show me how much weight she had lost, I discovered that the staff had her bed monitored; when she stood, a beeping alarm sounded. At first I thought her oxygen had been disconnected, but no. It was so she wouldn’t try to wander off and break a window to escape again.

Seriously.

I dealt well with the visit at the time. I even saw the humor in it. Memaw was going off the deep end. Funny stuff. I joked with Aaron about it on the way to Parma to visit my folks.

Later, though, the truth of the matter set in. I really don’t have a Memaw anymore.

Yes, I know she’s still alive, and I should be thankful for that. But my Memaw, the one that fabricated my imaginary friend when I was two, the one who made up lullabies that stood the test of time, the one who could cook almost anything I asked for, the one with the slightly warped sense of humor (one aspect of her I didn’t fully realize until I was a little older), that Memaw… she’s gone.

Maybe it’s easier to lose her this way, slowly, so I can come to terms with it. Maybe it’s better than just getting a phone call out of the blue, telling me I’ll have to cash in my Bereavement Days at work.

But she’s still my Memaw. And God, I miss her already.

Bizarre Dreams and High-School Crushes

I once had a crush on this guy. (Don’t ask why. Certainly not for his stunning good looks.) Actually, I was hopelessly hung up on him for about four years, and probably not as secretly as I thought at the time. He was a bass in choir, lead trumpet in band, and enrolled in all the same advanced classes I was in. His name is Matt, and this is his Senior picture, scanned right from the 1994 Buckeye High School yearbook.

I dreamed about him last night.

Allow me to digress for a moment. I believe (and some people think I’m way off-base) that in dreams, some people or places can and do represent aspects of the dreamer’s life. Some mistakes and triumphs, relived in different ways, can draw parallels between today and yesteryear. For instance, when I was about to graduate college (and had been for some time), and my grades were beyond slipping and my attitude was beyond sucking, I kept dreaming about aging out of drumcorps. I relived the final performance in a dozen different ways: forgetting the drill and having to step off the field, missing uniform parts, losing my mellophone, not knowing the music, all the typical terrors. Except in these dreams, I came away with the distinct knowledge that I had lost something I had worked hard toward for so long. I drew a waking parallel between the dream-disasters and my current sitation of almost not graduating. I’m not sure it actually helped my real-life situation any, but at least I knew what my brain was throwing out at me.

Last night, I dreamed about Matt. I forget the details, since it was a day ago and all, but I remember the gist. There was a choir/band get-together, or reunion, or something in the Music Room at my high school. Of course, everyone looked just as I remember them from eight years ago. The main thing I recall is that Matt and I shared the easy spontaneity of old friends (something we never experienced in real life — I was always too flustered by him). In the dream, we even traded innuendos: something about me liking sausage…? At any rate, it was clear that he knew that I had "liked" him. Maybe we’d even fooled around. In the dreamworld, it’s hard to be sure.

Without recapping all of my remembered dreams for the past several months, suffice it to say that I’ve dreamed about Matt before. No, it’s not some bizarro redhead fetish come to the surface. But putting these dreams together, and adding in my real-life thoughts, I think that Matt has come to represent a part of my psyche. I think Matt represents my former love of music. Not that I don’t love music anymore, but I’m no longer directly involved in it, and I think it filled a void that I didn’t realize at the time. But Matt helped me get into high school band when I didn’t play an instrument by vouching for my musicianship in choir, and he was one of my personal peer-heroes in high school. I think he represents my longing to return to performing, combined with my nostalgia for an era past. Not necessarily high school itself, but those years when I was immersed in music — choir, band, and drumcorps.

Some people will think this dream quasi-analysis is bullshit. You’re welcome to your opinion. This analysis is like Tarot for me, like meditation. Even if it’s bullshit in itself, it brings forth the things I need to think about. The things that matter to me, the things that need addressing. Music was once how I defined myself. Having that large of a chunk of my being unaccounted for is… disconcerting at best.

So… I wonder what Matt is doing these days?

Classmates.com

Did you know that, on Classmates.com, you can register as an alum of your elementary school? Serious. There is this one friend, Mechelle Dunphy, that I totally lost touch with back in middle school, and it occured to me that I might find her that way. Of course, It didn’t work. (Why would it actually work out the way I’d planned?) I did find another friend from further back, though: from 2nd Grade as opposed to 5th. I hadn’t talked to this friend since we were in high school, so I looked at her info. And since I don’t pay Classmates.com $3 a month, I could only see the first line of her bio:

"After wandering aimlessly from state to state, living in five or six rather strange…"

And that’s all I got. Aargh! So, of course I had to go to Google. After about ten minutes of searching, I finally found her in the law department at the University of Akron. At least, I assume it’s her… although many people could have the name "Christina Smith," I’m guessing that there are much fewer that also go by "Krys." I sent off an e-mail to the address I found, so we’ll see what happens.

Despite All My Rage, I Am Still Just A Rat In A Maze

Frustration, thy name is Corn Maze.

If you ever have the opportunity to partake in a corn maze… and if you have the choice between "hard" (90 minutes to finish) and "easy" (30 minutes to finish), don’t be brave. Choose the easy maze. Don’t say, "I want to get my seven bucks’ worth out of this corn maze!" T’will only end in frustration and many wrong turns.

Aaron and I went to the Fallen Timbers Corn Maze with our friend Kris H., after getting some yummy kettle corn and teriyaki beef jerky at the Grand Rapids Apple Butter Festival. (What can I say – it was our day to do bizarre Autumn activities out in the boonies.) We probably shouldn’t have done the corn maze after walking around for a couple hours looking at crafts and colonial re-enactments, but hey. At any rate, we did well for the first 2/3 of the maze, switching off leaders every time one of us led the trio into a dead end. Then we got caught in the hard part in the lower right quadrant of the maze. We were prepared to a.) cheat and cut through the rows of corn to just get to the car and leave, b.) wait until the maze organizers sent out the guides for us, or c.) camp out and make our own Society in the corn. I believe Kris plucked a corn stalk and dubbed Aaron a Knight Of The Corn, and dubbed me Princess Of The Corn (although I don’t think that’s how one actually becomes a princess). We did manage to get out without breaking any rules of the maze, though – we ended up backtracking a bit and finding the spot where the hard maze intersected the eazy maze. This led to the exit bridge, where a nice guide called down directions to the stairs of the bridge.

All in all… I’m never doing another corn maze again anytime soon.

7 May 2001

Dan informs me that the reason I couldn’t access this account to update my little ol’ personal page for the last month is that my account was “hosed.” The nature of this hosing is unknown, but Dan also informs me that I am the only person who can hose my account. So, I done it, but I don’t know how…

The good news is: 1.) I’m moving out of the dorms forever on Friday; 2.) I now have a Power Macintosh 7100 with 15″ monitor to play with (instead of my IIsi with 13″ monitor); and 3.) I’m almost done with my incredible amounts of final projects.

Which means that I’ll soon be able to play with my personal page, and my new Super 8 toys. Until then, check out my photo portfolio. It’s pretty swank.

7 March 2001

This is the first edition of my new and improved personal website. I’m hoping to have some pics, some rants, and some miscellaneous
wackiness.

For now, check out what’s in my CD player (to the right), my daily rant (to the left), and my spiffalicious mint green color scheme and stylesheets.

* * *

Today’s Rant: Patenting Genes

There’s a company in California (I think) that owns the patent to the two known genes for breast cancer. Actually, according to an article in Wired, they don’t own only the gene itself… they must also own the method of isolating it and using it.

This little snag in my research complicates my rant. See, I had been going to bitch about owning a part of nature — it’s like trying to patent a left thumb. However… owning the method of determining the gene’s existence still throws a monkey wrench into the whole works of science. I know for a fact that breast cancer research in some parts of the country has had to be halted due to this patent. There’s just something not right about this…

As far as my little research snafu:

A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain
And drinking largely sobers us again.

-Author unknown

(PS – If you’re a “religious” person, check out this reference where I found the text of the poem I was looking for. Interesting stuff.)