Another of my driving pet peeves (of which there are a lot) is people who hang out in the blind spot. Like, let’s say you’re in the center lane and there’s a car that’s starting to pass you on the left, but they’re either not sure about going that fast, or they’re *just barely* going faster than you, so it’s taking forever, whatever.

I’m driving home from work this evening, after having had a fairly crappy shift to begin with, and I’m tired as hell, and my car is really damn loud cuz they exhaust fell apart the other day or something, and so I really just want to get home, watch Friends, and then go to bed. Well, I get past Hwy 18, like, right near 164, and this car is frickin hangin out in the blind spot. Damn. It. All.

I slow down. He slows down.

I speed up. He speeds up.

Damn kids.

Well, finally, I’m thinking, ‘if this dude’s gonna be an asshole, I’ll just get off the highway at J and go home that way. Well, then this car drops back in behind me, and I look in the mirror at the headlights, and I say to myself, ‘Shit: Crown Vic?’ Great. So about two seconds later, he turns the lights on, I’m getting pulled over.

Well I was going no faster (even when I was ‘speeding up’) than 67 mph in a 65, so he can eat me on speeding. Was I swerving? I guess, what with the exhaust being AFU’ed and the car vibrating excessively, I might’ve been perceived to be swerving, but man, just give me the breathalyzer; I WANT IT.

Cop’s getting out of his car, and having been in the situation no fewer than five times before, I’m going over the script in my head: he’ll say, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” and then, this time, I get to say, “Not a goddamned clue.” But he gets up to the window, no questions even. He just says, “Havin’ a little problem with the exhaust there?”

You’re. Kidding. Me.

“Yeah, yeah I am, I, uh, I just noticed that, I had to take a ride out to LaCrosse?, and it, uh, somethin’ must’ve happened, I’ve gotta get that checked out.”
“Can I see your license there?”
“Yeah, for sure.”
“Just sit tight in the car here for me.”
Oh, you bet your ass.

I turn the car off, cuz I’m running a little low on petrol; I probably should’ve filled up on the way to work.

Then, less than two minutes after taking my license (I was assuming I would receive some written warning) Joe County Sheriff walks back up to the window, says “I’ve gotta take off here. Here’s your license back, get that checked out, OK?”

He seems in a bit of a rush all of a sudden, starts walking back, gets half a step in, leans back toward the window, “Let me pull around you first, alright?”

Yeah, definitely.

And he goes scooting down to the Hwy J exit real fast, no more lights on or anything, but is pretty snappy about making a turn and hurrying down J.

I guess while I was getting written up for my messed up exhaust system, someone, somewhere in Waukesha County, was committing an actual crime?

Thirty-Minute Units

Let me begin by saying that my Grandma Bock is having heart surgery today, and any prayers and/or good karma you can send her way would be super-appreciated. Let me reciprocate in advance by issuing my best wishes for you and your families… Now on to some foolishness…

Have you ever thought about how easy it would be to live your life if you only had to deal with it for 30 minutes a week? Simple! Maybe something embarrassing would happen, like you spill coffee all over this report you’ve been working on. Oops! Then you have to bribe one of your friends into staying up all night with you to put it back together at the last minute, but *phew!* you get it done in the nick of time and you’ve got nothing else to worry about for seven more days.

Decided that the website needed a new title; one that wasn’t geographically driven, so here it is. Thought it was fitting. That photo is courtesy of my Grandma Markowski, it’s me on my General Lee Big Wheel. I remember having that Big Wheel, which I’m sure I really, really wanted, and then right about the fall of 1982, I desperately wanted a different one. Fairly typical of how I’ve handled the “having” of “things” up to this point:
Want the thing
Want the thing
Want the thing
Get the thing
Not everything I romanticized the thing to be
Want a new thing that will meet expectations
Lament the thing I have, pining for the thing I can’t get

I’ve gotten back to looking for work hot n’ heavy, went out and filled out some applications at various locations up and down Bluemound yesterday. One of the places I stopped was my neighborhood Brookfield Best Buy, and after I filled me out the application in their online form, a 20-page personality survey followed.

If you know me, you know that I’m not particularly good at lying. Not to say that I haven’t lied, or won’t lie at some point in the future, but you can usually tell when I’m lying. Anyway, I did as suggested by the form, and I answered the questions as honestly as possible, making a few stretches here or there, but never into completely untrue territory. All questions had four possible responses: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, and Strongly Agree. Don’t even get me started on the strict diametric opposition of the potential responses.

So I finish their little test, and they were interviewing people right away, had this “job fair” or whatever going on. I sit down to wait for someone to talk to me about the job. There’s a kid getting interviewed, I swear to God, he was not even 16.

The young woman at the counter asks who I am, explain my situation, (“I desperately require employment, please oh please,”) and she goes to download my application goods from their computer. She explains to me after a moment that, based on the responses I gave in the personality survey, I “don’t fit the criteria for what they’re looking for right now.”


But “I can try it again in 30 days.”


So there’s that. I’m gonna go and see if I’m more of a “Circuit City”-type guy. Who can say?

But anyway, being told you’re not “Best Buy material” (I mean what are they looking for??) is a little bit… disheartening. The day’s events led me to think about what would be the Top Five Most Demoralizing Events In My Life To This Point, Omitting Any And All Rejections By Members of the Opposite Sex, Since I Haven’t Even Really Made Any Overtures In That Department for Nearly Four Years, And Honestly, They Only Intensely Bothered Me For A Short Period Immediately After Anyway:

5. The third rejection in a period of six weeks for a job within the M&I Corporation (November 2001)
4. Being considered “over-qualified” for an administrative assistant position (April 2002)
3. First ‘F’ on a test in grade school (6th grade, math)
2. Flunking the Best Buy pre-interview Personality Test (September 2003)
1. Getting passed over for a teaching assistantship after a successful first year of graduate school (March 2003)

You may notice that most of these relate to my professional ineptitude, which I really hope I can figure out how to turn around in the near future.

That’s all.


Now, I didn’t really do that much in cyberspace here all summer long, I’ll grant you that, but it’s not like I never gave the site a passing thought. In fact, there were several occasions when I was either at work, or eating cereal, or sitting at the bar, or making beer, or falling asleep, or waking up, or in the shower, or checking the mail, or buying some milk, or vacuuming, or loading the dishwasher, or balancing my checkbook, or folding laundry, or burning a CD, or changing the sheets, or cleaning my pipe, or driving in the car, or shooing the neighbor’s cat, or working on a computer, or watching Charmed, or worrying about death, or staring at the floor, or drinking coffee, or reading a book, or watching a movie, or walking down the street, or looking at photos, or brushing my teeth, or changing the batteries, or listening to music, or turning up the fan, or smelling my lip, or programming voice dials, or twirling a pen, or grilling some sausage, or reading the newspaper, or ordering pizza, or staring at the wall, or playing with my shoelaces, when I would think of something that was “site-worthy” and interesting enough to expand on in the ol’ blog.

Riddle me this, oh fellow bloggers: what is it in summertime that makes the blogging so much less than a desirable activity?

I wrote down most of the things I wanted to blog on, and so here is a short list, with minimal expandification.

I don’t know who this new agent is for Patricia Heaton, but all of a sudden, that chick is every-damn-where. I can’t seem to turn around without seeing her mug on the telly or hear her voice somewhere, and endorsing that sham of a grocery store from south of the border of all things. Personally, I’m picky about groceries, dammit.

While I have enjoyed the experience both times, I am through buying “grass seats” for concerts. That is, unless, I grow six or eight inches before the next one. It’s just not a good investment for me to pay to *see* a concert and only get a look at the actual stage for about 2% of the show.

Once the state legislature passes this concealed weapon law, maybe the mirrors behind the bar will actually be useful again?

So if you’ve ever been shopping for PDA accessories at an office supply store, you know you can get this “screen covers” that are supposed to prevent scratching from the stylus. A) Why don’t they just design a PDA with a non-scratch surface, B) a non-scratch stylus, or C) quit lying to us about how often you need to change the cover, cuz I’ve had this one on here for 4-and-a-half months now, no problems.

A nice thing about being in the AM recording studio at 4 pm is that Jeopardy is on the TV monitor, and a man can glance up while spots are recording and catch a bit of it. The bummer, though, is that there’s no damn sound, so unless you can read Alex’s lips, you can’t be sure you got the answer right. This has made me the best Jeopardy player ever.

Mapquest betrayed me for the first time this summer. A week later, it did it again.

Meanwhile, the Packers are 1-1, the Vikings are 2-0, and the Bears and Eagles are both 0-2. Bloody hell.


This essay (probably a draft yet to come) will be part of my application to UWO’s Master’s in English program.

Today is September ninth, Two-thousand-three, I’m nearly twenty-five years old, and I still don’t have a clue what it is I’m doing here.

Ten years ago – no, that’s too many – eight years ago, I was starting my junior year of high school, and I was riding a wave of confidence and self-assuredness that would carry me through the next two plus years. I was a kid who had a lot of friends, enjoyed school, got along with teachers, and had a good job for one who’s sixteen. I was even sure of what I was going to do with my life.

I envy the kids who were like that and, eight years later, find themselves in the place they envisioned back then. I remember thinking of the future (the one that I’m living now) and I imagined what it would be like.
I’d be out of college for two-and-a-half years.?•
I’d be writing for some newspaper in Wisconsin.?•
I’d have a girlfriend – check that, a fiancé – who I’d be planning to wed in the next six to eight months.?•
We’d live in an apartment, because we want to move around some before settling for good.?•
I’d have enough money, but not a lot; enough to be happy.?•

I don’t know how those people who start planning when they’re in high school (and my sincerest apologies if you are one of those; we should sit down and talk some time) can do it. How do they know? What’s different about them from the experience I’ve had?

You can extrapolate from this diatribe that I have not been able to check those items off my list all too cleanly in the past eight years.
I took four-and-a-half to finish college, and it’s been almost two more since then.?•
I got out of the journalism major in my first semester.?•
I haven’t had time or interest in a romantic relationship for over four years.?•
I live with my sister and her long-term boyfriend.?•
I make just enough money to pay a few bills.?•

I’d like to share with you here some of the knowledge that I’ve accumulated in the last eight years that’s propelled me in this direction, and ultimately, I’d like to talk to you about where I think I’m going from here.

You see, the thing that I can’t comprehend about those people that planned so brilliantly at sixteen is how they are able to predict the future. I arrived at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh almost exactly six years ago, and I changed more attitudes, opinions, interests, and values than I knew I had. All of these things added up to a future not only dissimilar, but nearly opposite the one my sixteen-year-old self had concocted. I suppose the others who were able to stick to a plan from sixteen didn’t so much need a crystal ball and a fantastic talent for premonition; only a soul less malleable than mine. They had a plan and stuck to it, either because their convictions were so strong, or they wore blinders all throughout, ignoring the world turning round them.

That was what sent me from journalism to speech communication to radio-television-film to religious studies and back through again: a predisposition to delve into different topics and test the waters. I consider myself one who deeply appreciates at least a little knowledge in a vast array of disciplines, which is simultaneously a blessing and curse. It means I can be interested (even fascinated) in a score of vocations, and yet a sliver of my mind remains ever vigilant for something new that might be MORE fascinating.

I suppose you might say I “rolled” through the university with this attitude, this panache for dabbling in all sorts of different things, because when I came out on the other side, and I needed to choose something to do with myself, my number one choice was to continue dabbling. There are precious few companies in America that are looking for Career Dabblers, and while you might think that having knowledge of a little of this and a bit of that would make a number of different avenues available to you, the opposite is actually true. When you’re twenty-two and you’re asking a human resource director for a job, they want some evidence that you possess a level of expertise in the field. Dabbling won’t lift you up to a pedestal from which you can hop to whatever you want; it will abandon you on the ground, looking up to everything. When I finished my degree at UWO, the profession I was best qualified for was to be a student.

Ironically, through all the change and redirecting that I’ve done these past eight years, a passion that I’ve held even longer than that has always remained (although at times subdued), and that passion for writing is the one I’ve ultimately decided will be best to cultivate.

A writer has the unique privilege of choosing anything on his mind to write about. A writer really could dabble in whatever things he likes on the side, and he can fuel his writing with those experiences. But, I never received any formal training in writing through all the time I spent in college, so how could I claim to be professionally proficient?

Here I’d like to briefly discuss the post-modern, Western understanding of the nature of a student, and how it might be thought of differently. A student in America is, in many ways, a child. It is an immature, underdeveloped being that will, given instruction, study, and commitment, grow into a professional, which is the median point between student and expert. A student, whether intentionally or not (whether consciously or not), will be thought of as “a little less” than a real person.

This is not an inaccurate description, although it is an incomplete one. A student (one who studies, who learns) is open to new things, is accepting of someone else’s perspectives, and is well aware of the fact that their knowledge is and will always remain incomplete. In these ways, a student can be wiser than a professional; at least the professional who fancies himself an expert. What about the professional who understands that the wisest among them is always a student? That person is a teacher. That’s the sort of professional I’d like to be.

I like to think I continue to know my past selves fairly well, and my sixteen-year-old self would have trouble understanding what it was that caused me to stray from the envisioned path. The thing I feel I would do, the thing I’d try to teach him, is that the path I’m on now is not wrong. The one he is on is not wrong either. The greatest lesson that I’ve come away from the past eight years with is that knowledge and experience, at least those that we talk about in the humanities, are never fixed or certain. The rightness of an idea can always be challenged, and learning is the quest of perpetual challenge.

I can think of no better way to continue that quest than to share my experiences with others, and to grow through contact with theirs. By becoming more proficient in writing, and by teaching others in kind, we can explore the depths of any and all knowledge we choose, to the ultimate benefit of generations to come. I said earlier that even after all the years, I don’t know what I’m doing here. That’s only because I’m formulating the answer all the time.


I finished watching the Packers lose this afternoon and walked upstairs thinking I might reinstall the Sims. I decided not to, and that’s the only reason you’re reading this right now.

Actually, I take that back: in truth, I was tired of having a blog entry even outdated by the Schrubbinator. I opened this bad boy up, I go to archive the old stuff, and I say to myself, “hmm, no need to have an ‘August’ tab in the archive at all…” Yikes. Mini-archive in a serious way.

Speaking of which, Jen’s getting one of these.

So, recently (within the last 24 hours) I took a drive up to Sheboygan county for a party at an old friend’s place, and had a fine time. After that, I got a call from none other than R.C. Lorch, and so continued my journey north to Oshkosh, where we went out for a drink, and after that, I stayed over at Christy’s place. Thanks much to Kerry for inviting me out; I had a great time. Thanks to Lorch for buying me a beer and missing all those bullseye’s on purpose. Thanks Christy for going out to breakie with me.

For his 30th, I took Kerry a compilation CD that I called “three ZERO.” Here’s the playlist:

Stevie Ray Vaughan-Life? by the Drop
Storyhill-Empty? Room
Paul McCartney-Vanilla? Sky
The Smiths-How? Soon Is Now
Counting Crows-A Long December
U2-Stuck? In a Moment
Billy Joel-New? York State of Mind
Pink Floyd-A Great Day for Freedom
Crowded House-Don’t? Dream It’s Over
badly drawn boy-The Shining
Jack Pine Savage-Walts?
John Cougar Mellencamp-Small? Town
Modest Mouse-Cowboy? Dan
Radiohead-I Might Be Wrong
The Dandy Warhols-The? Gospel

I thought it was a pretty good one, the only reason I mention it is that, I *think* it was in an unrelated conversation later that evening with Lorch that Wordy puts lots and lots of thought and effort into making compilations. If you’ve ever gotten one from him, make no mistake that it was very carefully and thoughtfully constructed.

I didn’t used to do that really with mix tapes. I just dumped my 15 or 20 current favorite songs onto a single cassette for use in the car. It was a much grander production last spring when I set out to pare down 14 or so mix tapes to 5 CD’s (I had upgraded my car hardware). No joking, that project took me two weeks. Even a year later, I found myself critiquing the work. (Granted, that was with Wordy, at about 3:30 AM Pacific, after a night spent with 24 of our closest friends from across the pond.)

Anyway, this got me to thinking: I’m sure I know other people that either A) put a LOT of thought into making compilations, or B) certainly wouldn’t need to be prodded much in order to do so. That having been said, how ’bout if you take a look in your musical depository and fish out what you would judge to be the best 15-20 song compilation and send me the list. On or about the Ides of September, I’ll put ’em here on the site. I’m curious to see how similar (and how divergent) our musical tastes might be. Bear in mind, though: we’re not necessarily talking about your Top 20 Songs Ever, but the 20 that play nicest on the same plastic disc.

Also, feel free to send thoughts on Bryan Adams. What’s his deal? Also Scott Adams. And Willard Scott.

If you like hockey and Alias, this is for you.

And finally, no one won the last Movie Quote Derby. Nice and easy to get back in the swing.