…All’s Right With The World

Amy’s asleep in the living room, Aaron’s asleep in the bedroom, and I’m wide awake and hanging out in front of my computer in the basement.

Yesterday was fun: Amy arrived around 3:00pm, we hung out for a while and talked and gave her the Grand Tour of our new house, and then we opened presents. Aaron’s birthday present (from November), Christmas presents for all, and Amy’s birthday presents (from January, which ended up in amongst the Christmas presents). Then Amy and I went to BG to walk around and shop—we hit Finders, and R&B, spent lots of quality time in Grounds for Thought, ducked into Ben Franklin, browsed around 2 Play, wandered around Hatter, then realized that we needed to get home for dinner. We got some chicken and beverages at Kroger and headed back to Toledo. By the time we got home, it was 8:30pm and Aaron was starving. We barbecued the chicken on the grill and had dinner, then I opened my birthday presents (April 22nd, in case you were wondering). We all talked for a while, and finally went to bed around 2:00am, I think.

Overall, it’s been a fun visit so far. Today we’re going to go out to lunch, make Amy eat some Cinnamon & Butter Flavored Pork Rinds, and go see a matinee of Kill Bill Volume 2 at 3:15pm. Then she’s going to take off shortly after the movie, and Aaron and I will continue with our normal Sunday of food shopping and doing laundry. 🙂

Good times… I miss having Amy around. A lot.

Bye Bye, Blue…

Step one of the website overhaul is accomplished: I have changed the color palette for the entire damn site. It doesn’t have as much contrast as the last version, and I may have to do something about that. The dynamic contrast was what kept the site visually interesting for me, despite some sub-par header graphics from time to time, and I’ll miss that if I don’t re-implement it somehow.

My Mom always used to say to me, before I would go out with my friends, “Just remember who you are and where you come from.” At the time, it was a pleasantly sappy way for Mom to remind me to be good, and I took it as such. Remember, people know you’re a Mormon, and are watching you, so don’t mess up. That sort of thing. But recently, I find I’ve forgotten Mom’s advice (which, incidentally, was given to her as a youth by Memaw). I frequently forget who I am: web designer, amateur photographer, et cetera, and how I got to be where (and who) I am today. It’s not until I get into conversations with people who don’t know who I really am that I remind myself.

There’s a guy at work, name’s Mike, newest member of our department (about a month newer than me, though he’s worked for Sky longer). I think some people think him simplistic or goofy or whatnot, but I find him pleasant and honest and funny and forthright, which is refreshing in the corporate environment. He’s maybe a couple few years younger than me, I’d guess. Anyway, we always end up taking our morning break at the same time: around 9:45am, I’ll go into the break room to read whatever book I’ve brought with me that day—and shortly thereafter, Mike will come in to buy his can of Mountain Dew. We don’t plan it that way, and it doesn’t always coincide like that… but when it does, Mike’s quite the talker. 🙂

Today, through a series of random topic changes, we managed to start talking about my time at BGSU. I’d mentioned that I had supervisory experience, but that I was no good at disciplining employees (Sheryl… ahem). He asked about my job there, and I explained how I moved up through the ranks of RCC, from peon to supervisor, but had to leave when I graduated. Mike was surprized and amused that I knew more about computers than I’d let on. (When at Sky did I have the opportunity to flaunt my computer skills, I wonder?) He wanted to know why I never tried to get into the techie programming section of Sky, and I had to explain that I’m more of a designer than a programmer. I ticked off the media qualifications I got with my VCT degree: web design, photography, multimedia, video, print…

And I remembered who I was and where I came from. And I was ashamed that I had forgotten.

OMG Gibby…

Ahh… sitting at my computer—no, make that my computers—listening to mp3’s, with Outlook Express open, posting to my LJ. Cheerfully ignoring my external Mac CD burner giving me a tracking error; remaining happy nevertheless. Trying to decide what to work on next. Thrilling in the quick response of mouse and keyboard and a two-point-something GHz processor.

So, work has been so slow that I’ve been frequenting all the news sites: CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Channel 13 out of Toledo. See, news sites are allowed, while blogging is not. A almost got canned when she tried it, but only because our supervisor saw and tattled on her. Not from any sort of monitoring, which makes me feel a little better.

Anyway, I found an article that you might find… intriguing. About binge drinking and its effect on brain functions. An excerpt reads:

Brain scans show clear damage, and tests of reading, balance and other function show people who drink more than 100 drinks a month have some problems, the researchers said.

Now, this might seem like a lot, but think about it in terms of college party-goers. One hundred drinks a month equals out to 25 drinks in a weekend. For the average college student (of the heavy partying variety), the “weekend” consists of Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Heavy binge drinking would then be about 8 or 9 drinks in a night. That’s completely within the realm of possibility. That’s about how much I drank at my bachelorette party, although I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been that drunk. Some people really do get that trashed every weekend, though (and Amy and I used to live nextdoor to some of them in the dorms).

Doesn’t this explain some things?

“Oh my God, Gibby, we’re not brain damaged! Why won’t you wake up? You’re passed out in your own vomit!”

Ah, the memories…

Thank you, Sheryl!

Ye Olde Frankenstein PC is back up and running, thanks to a working power supply donated by Sheryl. I installed the new power supply with little to no difficulty, and was delighted to hear that lovely little “beep” when I hit the power button. Then I spent even longer hooking up the PC to my little network of crap (gotta make sure the Mac is all finished being connected before cramming the PC under the desk, which means hooking up the external CD burner and the monitor switchbox, gotta feed both PC and Mac keyboard cables through and figure out where they live when not in use, etc, etc). Then I got to pick up where I left off back in freakin’ January when my computer had its little blowout, which was figuring out why Norton LiveUpdate wouldn’t update my virus defs. Amongst all those things, I spent all evening with my computer and didn’t even get the stuff done that I wanted to do with it (time-sensitive alumni web page updates).

So, now that I’ve downloaded a nice LJ client for my PC, and updating my personal page is no longer a chore, the question arises: do I keep blogging on LJ, or do I return to manually updating the.details? I intend to do some updates to it, anyway: changing the header graphic and menu system, adding a few sections (like gardening… I’m a dork), maybe even changing the color palette (oh the horror!). Can I get some feedback from my loyal readership? Blog here, or blog there?

It’s way past my bedtime. Lemme know what y’all think.

P.S. – Amy’s coming to visit this weekend! Schnarf!
P.P.S. – How I’ve missed having a speedy computer. I like my Mac, but I also like not having to wait for shit to load.

Did You Know…?

From the Sky internet policy: “Sky Financial Group Inc. retains the copyright of any material posted on the internet.”

Any material? Anywhere? Better tell Viacom and all the other media giants that they’re infringing on Sky Financial Group’s copyrights.

In other news, last week’s trip to Holly MI was almost a waste of my time. I finally managed to contact Paul, my supposed ride, once I was 20 minutes from his home in Hazel Park. Got to his house, and he springs on me, “Why don’t we caravan? I have to leave early. Oh, do you have directions?” On top of that, his POS car can’t go over 70 MPH—so after stopping for a good 20 minutes at Paul’s house, crawling along I-75 (I would have preferred to go 80 with the rest of the traffic), and getting mildly lost in Holly, we ended up being a half hour late. Rehearsal only lasted two, maybe two and a half hours, then Paul left, and we discussed uniforms and rehearsals and other crap for a half hour. So, all told, I ended up spending twice as much time in the car as at rehearsal. Which, IMO, was pretty much a waste of my time. Everybody else lives in Michigan, and had to drive as far to this rehearsal as I usually do to the Detroit area. Boo-hoo. Ah, well. Next time, I’m carpooling with the Brass Caption Head / Board Member / Whatever-He-Is and his wife, instead of with Paul, who may or may not be back from his barbershop quartet convention by then.

*deep calming breath*

And now for something completely different… I’ve also discovered that the crazy insano out-of-control shrub in our backyard is a forsythia bush. I plan to take some cuttings of it before we chop it down and dig it up. It’s crazy. I should take a picture of it before we take it out. It looks like the previous owners tried to chop it down, not realizing that it would only come back stronger. And wilder. Hmph. I am bound and determined to have a nice, pretty-looking yard, dammit. You’ll see.

Home Depot

Yesterday, Aaron and I used our 10% off coupon for Home Depot to purchase:

  • a 6-foot ladder
  • hedge clippers
  • grass clippers
  • two rakes
  • a shovel
  • lawn soil
  • ryegrass seed
  • a Clorox wet-jet mop

Then we bought two 10-packs of leaf bags at Kroger, and spent an hour and a half raking and bagging leaves. And those were only the ones next to our driveway, on the fence. We now have 12, count ’em, 12 bags of leaves sitting by the curb, waiting for trash day on Tuesday. And we still have quite a bit of other work to accomplish this week… but at least the front yard looks a little more presentable. Aaron has this week off, so he’s planning to do some of it while I’m at work.

I have a hornline rehearsal up in Holly, Michigan today, and I’m supposed to be carpooling up with a friend from Hazel Park (Detroit), but he hasn’t gotten back to me about when to be at his house, or if we’re still even doing it at all. I gotta go call him now, because I’ll need to leave in about a half hour to be there in time, either way we do it.

I don’t wanna drive two hours up and two hours back myself. Ugh.

Where were you when…

filched from Sheryl:

When Mt. St. Helens blew (18/5/1980)
Not quite in kindergarten yet. 🙂

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (28/1/1986)
In Mrs. Canady’s fourth-grade class in Riverview, Florida (near Tampa). We were watching it live on TV, and there was a collective gasp as the shuttle exploded. Our classroom was connected by one of those accordion-walls to Mrs. Bateman’s social studies class next door, and Mrs. Canady quietly went to the back of the room where the wall was always partway open. She called Mrs. Bateman from her class to the back corner of the rooms and told her, “The space shuttle just exploded.” And I distinctly remember Mrs. Bateman saying, “Oh, my God.”

When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (7/10/1989)
Eighth grade—I recall the news coverage, but not precisely where I was when I first heard.

When the Berlin Wall fell (7/11/1989)
Again, eighth grade, although I didn’t really grasp the significance until the following year.

When the Gulf War began (16/1/1991)
Ninth grade when the actual declaration came out, but my more vivid memory is of being in eighth grade and hearing about Operation Desert Shield, which had an ominous foreshadowing about it. I recall being freaked out by the prospect of war, and rising gas prices, and death, and everything else that would come with war. As war was declared, when I was in high school, I was still apprehensive, and began wondering about what would happen if the school buses couldn’t run because gas was too expensive.

When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (17/6/1994)
Summer before college. I only vaguely recall seeing the news coverage. What I recall more vividly was the OJ verdict, which was announced during my semester at home from college. I spent a lot of time at home, laying on the cream-colored carpet of the living room, writing and reading and listening to the radio and watching the OJ trial.

When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997)
Just home from my final season of drumcorps and back at college with my roomie Amy. I don’t recall any specifics about the news coverage, although it didn’t take long to get sick of hearing Elton John singing “Goodbye English Rose.”

When the shooting at Columbine occured (25/04/1999)
It was early afternoon in Kohl Hall, and for some reason, Amy and I weren’t playing video games. I think we heard someone in the hallway talking about turning on the news, so we did, and we watched the scene unfold. Shocking, frightening.

When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000)
Living on-campus, by myself, the semester after Amy had graduated. Beyond that, don’t know, don’t care.

When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001)
Living off-campus on Ridge Street. It was a Tuesday, and I had no classes that day, but I hadn’t turned off my alarm. I automatically wandered across the bedroom to shut it off, but hearing Tom Brokaw’s voice instead of bad music stilled my hand, and I listened for a moment. As soon as I woke up enough to almost realize what was going on, I turned off the clock radio and turned on the TV in the living room. I forget who called first, Aaron or Beth, but I was on the phone with Aaron as the second plane hit. I believe the quotable of the moment was “Holy shit…”

When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003)
Living in the duplex on South Grove with Aaron. I don’t remember the day or the time, but I remember being shocked and saddened to have seen two shuttle accidents in my lifetime.

The Big Move

All hail the triumphant return of the on-site blog… kind of. I still like my LJ, and am going to continue posting there, but I think I’m going to reserve my website for major, more important and archivable posts. Like the tale of The Move.

My apologies to everyone for not posting this sooner, but now that a week has passed, I think I can safely focus on the important parts and not bore everyone with stupid details. That, and the house is pretty much unpacked and I have now downloaded Dreamweaver 4 for Mac (until I get the PC back online using the power supply Sheryl generously donated to The Cause).

So. Sunday, March 21st.

Aaron and I get up before 9am, strip the bed and gather the remainder of the we-can’t-do-without-it stuff like toilet paper and shampoo. A little before 9:00, Aaron walks the five blocks or so to the welding place which is currently the U-Haul mecca of Bowling Green. While he’s gone, Eric shows up, and we shoot the shit about RCC and other randomness. As we’re waiting for Aaron to return with the big-ass U-Haul, Kris Heath shows up. (For those of you not overly familiar with the Schnuth Friend Clan, he’s the skinny vegetarian.)

Aaron does show up shortly thereafter, driving the biggest fucking U-Haul I’ve ever seen: a 24-footer. And he manages to park it in our driveway without smoking the fire hydrant, which is jolly good form. Since we have a decent beginning to our moving crew, we opt to start hauling the big shit out: couch, chairs, mattress and boxspring. In the midst of all this, Mark arrives. (Note: he’s the tall, skinny, bearded one.) He assists with getting the big shit out, and we continue with dressers and large boxes of clothes and other light stuff to pitch into “Mom’s Attic” in the front of the truck.

Meanwhile, our designated foreman Kris Fries and his wife Kathy have not yet arrived, and neither has Aaron’s brother Matt. We’re still operating short-handed, but doing fairly well. It’s around 10:30am and we’ve gotten most of the big shit out and into the truck. Finally, Kris and Kathy arrive. Kris takes over his duty as truck-packer, and Kathy does a heroic battle with her asthma and the aftereffects of November’s epidural (right in the spine!) to help carry out some lighter boxes. I take over vacuum duty once the master bedroom is clear, and let the guys and Kathy handle the moving on their own.

The rest of the actual move-out is kind of a blur. The guys gaped over how much shit we had (“We didn’t see all these boxes in the kitchen! All this goes, too?”), and I swept and cleaned the rooms, fighting a losing battle to retain some of our security deposit. I declare it a losing battle because Aaron punched a small hole in the drywall several months ago, trying to shut up our old upstairs neighbors.

Anyway, before long it’s almost noon, and the truck is just about packed. We put the fragile stuff in the car—stuff like the remainder of my plants, and the TV, and the giant lamp, and the guitar. So, after a record 2 1/2 hour truck-loading, we prepare to head off to Easystreet for lunch… but, as Kris Fries points out, we can’t leave the U-Haul packed and unlocked. So, off to Wal-Mart Kathy and I go, for a padlock for me and some Tylenol for her. Brief trip, no mishaps, we return with lock and drugs and all is well. Lock up the truck, walk downtown to Easystreet.

Wait half an hour for a table.

Wait another half an hour for our food. Wait longer for the waitress to return after the meal with the check.

All in all, treating everyone to lunch took nearly as long as moving. Meanwhile, we were all chomping at the bit to get back to the truck, drive up to Toledo, and unload, so we can be done with it. Gah. All told, we spent an hour and a half at Easystreet.

Finally, we take care of the check and all mosey back to the apartment. Everything is in order, and everyone has been given directions on how to get to our new place, so everybody leaves separately. I get to go last, because I’m parked in front of the U-Haul in the driveway. 🙂 Kris Fries accompanies Aaron in the U-Haul, so he’s not alone driving this massive beast.

So, despite the fact that I know how to get to my own house (really I do), I opt to follow the U-Haul and watch Aaron’s fun with getting the truck to stop on funky brakes with tonnage of personal belongings bringing up the rear. Meanwhile, I have to grab the damn lamp every time I make a turn, so it doesn’t tip and break or fall in my lap from the passenger’s-side floorboard or something. No major issues getting to the house.

Once we get there, though, it’s a different story.

First off, Mark’s car stalled not less than six times en route, and he thought (at the time) it would never start again. Then, I parked with all the other cars in the grassy (muddy) field across the street, and I got out to watch Aaron attempt to back the U-Haul up the driveway… and adjust… and pull forward… and backward… and cut the wheel… and forward… and cut the wheel some more… and backward… and forward—

A little too far forward. He got the rear wheels up over the curb and into the muddy grass, and that’s all she wrote. The damn thing got stuck there. We were destined to haul everything into the house from across the damn street. We figured that maybe, once the thing was empty, it would be easier to move. So, off to unpacking the truck.

Unloading took even less time than loading: only two hours. Once the truck was empty, around 4:30-ish, we all made a valiant attempt to brainstorm a way to get the U-Haul unstuck. There were some leftover bags of play-sand the sellers left in the back yard, so we tried putting that under the wheels; to no avail. We tried pushing from the front as Aaron reversed, and Aaron tried rocking the truck from forward to reverse to forward to reverse. All this only succeeded in digging the U-Haul deeper into the mud. Finally, Aaron called a halt to the U-Haul rescue attempt and resigned himself to calling a tow truck.

Once we were all inside and perched on various pieces of misplaced furniture, and once Aaron had retrieved the cell phone (I’d had it on me, in case anyone got lost), Kris Fries suggested a tow company, which Aaron called. Yes, Ray’s Towing had the capacity to tow a U-Haul, the nice man on the phone was going to call the dispatch, and the truck would arrive in 45 minutes. Great. Kris and Kathy bailed to rescue Grandpa from the perils of watching little Samuel, and Kris Heath decided to take off, too, which prompted Mark to leave so Kris could follow him home in case he stalled again. Eric, however, was determined to stick around and see how the story played out, and we were grateful to have someone to share the insanity with.

Because Ray’s Towing never fucking showed up.

After an hour, Aaron called Ray back and got his answering machine. Nobody was even there. So, we decided to pick another towing company and call them. I believe Aaron chose the company with the largest, prettiest ad in the Towing section of the Yellow Pages. 🙂

Anyway, the nice man from Mayberry Towing arrived 45 minutes later, only fifteen minutes after their estimated time of arrival. David, from the towing company, pulled up into our driveway and surveyed the situation, telling Aaron, “All we can do is try.” Oh, boy. He secured his vehicle against the force of the U-Haul, and hooked up the chain to the underbelly of the stuck truck. On the first attempt, the hook came unattached from the chain. On the second attempt, his tow truck began moving backwards against the pull of the U-Haul, and he had to further brace his truck with wedges behind the back wheels. But on the third attempt, he actually got movement, and had Aaron get in and get ready to hit the brakes and cut the wheel once the thing was free—which he did.

So, it took $48 and three hours after the move was complete to get the U-Haul unstuck and ready to return to the truckyard. After David the tow truck technician left, Eric took his leave and headed home, but not before we decided that we really need to hang out more. We’d both forgotten how cool Eric is to hang out with. 🙂

At that point, it was somewhere around 8:00. We took the U-Haul back and drove to Ruby Tuesday’s for a late dinner. Low-carb cheesecake… yum.

Got home, put the bed together while half-asleep and grumpy and tired, and crashed early (for Aaron, anyway). So ended our epic move to The New House.

Post Script: Despite the fact that Aaron’s brother had called the day before to confirm that he would be there to help move, he ended up getting wasted that night and oversleeping until 1:00pm. Heh.

I also intend to photograph the ruts left by the U-Haul in the field across the street. They’re still there, and will be for some time.

Forthcoming update…

We just got our internet back today, so give me some play time… then I will either post here or create a dedicated page on the.details page. Highlights of the day include a superfast truck-loading in BG, an extended lunch at Easystreet, an even more superfast unload in Toledo, and getting the 24-foot U-Haul truck stuck in the field across the street. Details to follow…

Fire

Every time I see Dan, I am impressed by his motivation, his drive, to do more and be more and live life to the fullest. This time, though, it occurs to me that I have several friends and acquaintances with a similar drive. Every time I see you, you’re always excited about what you’re doing in life—otherwise, why would you be doing it, after all? You’re bubbling over, it seems, not just with untold stories, but with untold vibrance for your current passion.

Usually I can say, “You know who you are,” but in this case, I don’t think I can. I don’t think you can see yourselves this way, as a direct function of the selfless vibrancy you possess. But on the off-chance that you might know…

Where do you get your Fire?

When I was an adolescent and a teenager, and was a stolid churchgoer, I was told that the Light had to come from within—you couldn’t be like a wind-up toy, being motivated and then losing steam after a while. And that’s how I’ve always felt: some event motivates the shit out of me, be it a religious experience, a personal epiphany, a change of scenery, or energized companions—and after that, I feel the Fire. I devote all my free waking hours to The Cause… for a time. After a while, though, I lose my motivation.

Sometimes I think I’m too hard on myself, or that maybe I’m spreading myself too thin. There are so many things I’d love to devote so much time to: mellophone practice (OK, maybe not so much), candle-making, updating my various websites (including my horribly-neglected drumcorps alumni site), my houseplants, photography, not to mention exercising and taking some walks outside when the weather gets nice. But I can only be passionate about one or two of these things at a time, it seems, before all my oomph leaves me. The only thing I’ve managed to maintain for a long period of time is this diet I’ve been on for six months now, and that’s only because Aaron’s doing it, too, and it’s become almost second-nature to eat this way. (And because there’s nothing to cheat on in the house, which helps…)

So, what do I do? How do I get my Fire going without getting burnt out? I’ve wondered and tried for years, but it never quite happens. Any comments would be appreciated—except Aaron’s standard, “You’re overanalyzing things again…” 🙂