Quick Glimpse

I caught a glimpse of the future this afternoon on my walk home.

I was listening to a little-known record that I really enjoy, and I realized that in 20 years or so, when my kids are starting high school, they’ll go through a phase where they get really curious about Mom & Dad’s CD collection(s). They’ll run across a little album called Shame-Based Man, and they’ll laugh. Hard. A lot.

Kind of like I did with Let’s Get Small.

A Man Walked into a Bar Quick-Moving 4×4 Peppered With Giant Spikes

This is probably my busiest “processing” week of the year at work. We got started on the upcoming aid year, and trying to juggle two at once always presents a lot of time-consuming issues. On top of that, I have to get a whole mess of nursing students set to go in the next couple weeks…

I understand that for most of you, what I do at work is not really interesting or relevant, but I thought I would just mention “what I’ve been up to.” Yesterday, as I communicated to a few different people, my brain was mushy enough at the end of the day that I just wanted to be beaten over the head repeatedly with a heavy, blunt object. Like a 2×4. Or something. Next week will probably be better. Opening day on Monday, anyway…

In other news:
Joe & April had a good time in Germany, judging from the reports I’ve received. April’s folks are coming into town this weekend, now that the Knitts actually have enough room to house guests at their domicile. I was surprised that I didn’t get any feedback about the wallpaper that was on the computer when they got home, but I decided that there is probably some revenge scheme afoot that I’ll be surprised by later.

Jim Droste asked me to read at his wedding in June. I graciously accepted ((I also just realized that saying I’ve known someone for 10 years really isn’t that mind-blowing anymore. This fall, I will have known people I’ve known only since college for 10 years. That really doesn’t mean much, I guess, other than 10 years used to seem like a significant segment of time.)). Unfortunately, Michelle won’t be able to join me, since that’s also WILS seminar weekend. I’ll be looking forward to it either way…

I caught myself up on some things about the house last night that have been nagging at me, so I’ll feel OK doing some “recreational tinkering” this evening. I think I might get a HDTV tuner card for the PC. I’m curious about the sort of reception I’d be able to pull through the air. I guess I should go the Internet to find the facts about how well that would work.

I’ve had to type the word “verification” in a number of emails this week. Makes it seem strange that I have consistently been misspelling it– most often, it’s “verfication” instead. Spell check is good. I think you should consider spell-checking all your email before you send it. Even the casual/personal messages. Just push F7. That’s it. Every time. Make it a habit. F7 to check, then F9 to send. Unless you do the mail through the interwebs, then I don’t know what the hell you got going on.

I’m really just rambling here, time to tune in for Brewers baseball ((Yesterday, I sent the guys an email with the subject line “Could someone please pot Kent up?” but if my experience in broadcasting is any indication, the message was met with a middle finger, and the delete button. Doesn’t hurt to ask, I guess)).

Yet Another Peeve

So I was thinking about how much I hate it when people here in WI bitch about winter, cold, short springs, etc., when they’ve lived here for many, many, many years. You’ve been here, you know about what to expect, if you don’t like it, then do one of two things:
– Move to someplace where you fucking like the weather
– Bitch to somebody who gives a shit
– Just shut the hell up all together
(My preference is for 1 or 3).

But then I was thinking about it some more, I think this peeve is actually a derivative of my abhorrence of small talk in general. Because if you think about it, why do people complain about weather? Because our experience of the weather is something that everyone shares, and so you can have a conversation about it with absolutely anyone who speaks the same language.

But at the same time, I don’t see why we have to complain to one another about the weather when there’s not a lot you can do about it, and since we all have experienced it already, you’re not gonna blow me away with some facinating new insight about weather.
“Did you notice how warm it is out there today?”
“Why no– my dermal layer has recently and mysteriously lost the ability to process external sensory input through nerve endings and relay that information to my brain. I’m sure you can imagine this really complicates processes like driving, holding a fork, and protecting myself from injury. But in addition to all that, it makes me thoroughly and genuinely interested in your experience of atmospheric temperature.
“What? No, I didn’t notice that my elbow is bleeding profusely. Thanks for pointing that out…”

If you know me, you know that I often have times where I don’t have lots to say, particularly to strangers, in large part just because I don’t enjoy/see the point of talking for the singular purpose of filling up silence.

How’s your day?


One of my favorite things to do is argue with Dave Slotten about whether or not climate change is a myth. D-Slo is full of shit, of course.

Anyway, thinking of that made me want to whip this tidbit from the AP out there, because it features some of the Senate Republicans turning global warming into a partisan issue when Al Gore sat down to chat with them last week. Follow the link, or check out my summary:
AL GORE: Polar ice is melting at such an alarming rate, there probably won’t be any during the summer by the middle of this century. That is tragically fucked up.
JAMES INHOFE, R-OK: Piss off, Al– I distinctly remember shoveling last month…
JOE BARTON, R-TX: Yeah– and didn’t you leave the lights on at your house when you flew to L.A. for the Oscars? Prick?

And speaking of dumbasses working for the federal government, file this one under “surprise, surprise.”

Elsewhere, the Brewers finally traded a damn outfielder today, and by my count, that means they only need to move one more to get down to a reasonable number for the season. The prediction that I offered Schrubbe was “Jenks or Mench will be gone as soon as Nix is healthy.” Even though Laynce Nix is the least of the three, the fact is I think Ned will wind up with a king-sized bitchfest all year if those two really, really, really actually platoon for the balance of the season. That being said, one has to go and let the other take the bulk of the work.

Even if the Crew winds up with Geoff being their everyday guy back in left and he tanks, you’ve got 3 more guys in the system just clamoring for PT.

It’s warm today in a not-so-comfortable way. It’s too random and early for this sort of shit. On the positive side, I think it’s kept a lot of students off campus…

Finally, I think I should try to take some more pictures than I have been over the last few months, but I tend to fall into subject-ruts pretty quickly. Any suggestions?

The Return of the Monday

I said to Michelle last night that it would be nice to get Mondays back after the conclusion of my basketball season. Like I mentioned to her, when you typically only spend 4 nights a week at home, getting a 33% boost in time to do stuff is pretty huge. I think I’ll work on… well I don’t quite know what I’ll work on tonight yet, but I know that it’ll be at my house.

Had a somewhat non-descript yet enjoyable weekend. Got a gradual start to my Saturday, wherein I made it to Milwaukee eventually, and spent a little time reading a Ron Rindo story while I drank some coffee in Red Arrow Park. Michelle was looking at an apartment someplace up Prospect with her mom, then met me there afterward. It was a really nice afternoon.

We took a walk around downtown for a bit, but when the wind picked up it got sort of chilly. It was right about then that the fog rolled in off the lake, and it was IMPOSSIBLE to drive near the water. We swung over to Grandma’s house to drop off her other 2 dollar coins, but nobody was home. Christy’s phone was there, though, so we changed her wallpaper.

Had dinner rather early (about 5:30) at Louise’s. We ate a pizza. It was good. The booth was a little cramped, though. We were thinking of going out and maybe bowling or throwing darts after that, but we didn’t want to get started right away. We didn’t want to drive all the way back to waukesha, either, so we stopped over at the Mundschau’s and watched a DVD for a while. Michelle had been up really early on Saturday in order to get to a meeting for work at about 7:30, so she zonked out pretty quick. We watched 1 disc worth of The Office, then called it a night. Pretty low-key.

Made it to St. William’s for 10:45 mass on Sunday morning, and it was a pretty full house. I noted that the deacon was a very, very young guy. He had a well-constructed homily that started to drift at one point, but I was impressed when he tied it all back together and made some sense.

Michelle has been stalking Girl Scouts for about 5 or 6 weeks now (ever since the cookies went on sale), and after church she made what I imagine will be her final purchase of the year– a dozen boxes of Thin Mints. Yes, that’s correct– TWELVE BOXES. I hope she can make them last. When I have treats around the house, I can’t help but eat them, so that’s why I usually don’t. Michelle has a lot more self-control…

We took a ride into Pewaukee and had lunch with Michelle’s mom @ The Chocolate Factory. They were woefully understaffed, but I think that had more to do with the uncharacteristically warm weather than anything else. I imagine that they can usually get by with 2 people working there on a Sunday. Anyway, the sandwiches and ice cream were good.

We did stop over to visit Grandma and ate another sandwich a little later in the afternoon. The drive up to Vegas was quick, and there was no need to eat anything else.

Now that the kids are back from spring break, I could go for a week or two of vacation.

Hope you had a nice weekend. I’m back on the job…


Just wanted to pass on some links to political stuff that I give a crap about:

Petition Congress to let people (not lobbyists) drive their agenda.

Watch the highlights of Al Gore’s Congressional testimony on the climate crisis (hearing from 3/22/07).

Petition Congress to increase the fuel-efficiency standards for auto makers for the first time in 20 years.

Thanks– pass any links on to others as you see fit…

Holy Monkey-Loving Crap

The reports of Petters’s demise have apparently been overstated. Welcome back, Nicholas. They’re calling it ‘web 2.0’ now, whatever the hell that means.

As Petters is quick to point out, there are plenty of other people just as far behind the times, but let’s be honest– we need those people so we can feel better about ourselves.

Sort of like daytime courtroom shows.


    • CAUTION: professional soapboxing ahead…

When people ask me how well I like my job, I often respond that I like it well enough, and that I vastly favor it over anything I could do in the private sector. I’ve chosen to work in higher education because I believe that it is noble to pursue knowledge, which is what the students around here are alleged to be doing.

Regardless of how much I can/could/do complain about stupid questions, helicopter parents, or disagreements with co-workers, the fact remains that I view the core responsibility of my job to be:
help students find the best means they can pay for college, if they can’t afford it on their own.

The fact that the costs for education (even at a public institution like mine) are spiraling out of control without federal aid programs keeping pace is a separate issue from what I do. I am not the person with whom a student or parent should file grievances about the paltry amounts of federal and state grants, or the fact that an extremely profitable private loan industry has sprung up to fill the gap between what students can get by working with my office, and what the people upstairs have billed them. These issues should be raised with state representatives, governors, and Congressmen. As a professional, I am doing what I can on those fronts through continued membership/involvement in national and regional organizations whose purposes are to offer feedback and guidance to the Administration in power.

That being said, back in my cubicle, I put forth my best efforts to address the questions of students who visit me, and offer the best advice that I am privy to. When my school made the choice to align itself with a particular private lender, I and all of my colleagues were wary of the notion that we should point a student in a particular direction, rather than laying all the options out for them (this even after we conducted market research on what product would be the best option for the majority of our students). Our director reminded us that choice is something our students would never lose, and that we should responsibly remind them of the plethora of loan options available (I always have, and will continue to do so). This is just one example of how I think the ethics and moral standards of people who choose this profession are of the highest order, and the perception of my “core responsibility” is shared among my colleagues.

The value that I place on my ethical standards is why I and the vast majority of student aid administrators around the country are appalled at the notion that we would ever put the students interest second in our daily work.

One johnny-come-lately lender, who, make no mistake, is focused squarely on the millions of dollars it thinks that it should be making (rather than the umpteen hundreds of others), has managed to create a national issue out of student borrowing by positing baseless accusations and employing devious tactics to muscle its way in. This is the company questioning MY motives, and doubting MY integrity.

A long-standing lender (with whom I have not always had the best experience) surprised me by offering a well-thought-out response to a recent story from CBS News on this topic.

There has already been enough written or said about the specifics of this situation that I don’t see reason to hash through it again. But if you are in college, or have friends, siblings, or children who will one day (sooner or later) be in college, I would encourage you to watch the CBS report and also read the response. Most importantly, please have faith in the student aid professionals at your school, who are the only ones within this debate who have nothing measurable to gain by the accumulation of student loan debt.