Schlemiel! Schlemazl! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

I’ve been keeping it on the DL, just so as to avoid a lot of questions, or to jinx it, but now things are set in stone.

I took a job in the financial aid office at UW-Milwaukee. This will be more or less a lateral move for me professionally, but with a slight increase in pay and it puts me down in the city where I spend a vast majority of my free time (for obvious reasons).

It’s nice to stay in the UW System, because my benefits and retirement will basically follow me. Also good timing because the lease at my apartment is up as of June 30, and that’s pretty much exactly 60 days from now anyway.

So, I’ve gotta get back to work and start thinking about all the crap I need to finish up around here in the next 10 working days. Gimme a call or an email if you want. I’m excited.

I leave you with an “oldie but goodie” photoshop:

3 Stars

I was looking through my Netflix queue yesterday, filling in “rating” holes for movies that I watched but never made a call on (I know– really stressful, exciting stuff). But I noticed that a large number of these movies got 3 out of 5 stars from me. In the Netflix vernacular, this means “I liked it,” as opposed to 2 stars (“I didn’t like it”) or 4 stars (“I really liked it”).

I dunno, this is surely a case where my anal retentiveness and desire to over-quantify something as unimportant as a list of movies, is tripping me up, but I really wish there were half-star marks you could make on this thing. There are movies that I gave a 3 just because I couldn’t say “I didn’t like it,” and others that got a 3 just because I didn’t “really” like it. I mean those are 5’s and 7’s out of 10, respectively. There’s a net difference of a full star there, but the system doesn’t let me account for it.

Well, really, though, who gives a shit? On the Netflix scale, I would give this post 1 star (“I hated it”).

In the Nick of Time?

I thought it was an interesting coincidence that I was sent the following two articles, in this order, earlier this morning:
From Josh Schneider: Minneapolis Star-Tribune– disappearing bees means disappearing food supply, and human extinction
From Michelle: Astronomers discover the most Earth-like planet yet, a mere 120 trillion miles away

My brief commentary on each, respectively:
The bees— this shit should scare the crap out of you. Bees = pollination = plant growth = people & animals eating = successful ecosystem. You take out the first step in that process, and you’re basically boned. Big, big, big trouble.

The planet— very interesting discovery. Although it is, of course, impossible to ever visit this place (or the myriad other extra-solar planets being discovered), the fact that so many have been found in so brief a period of time is really exciting to me. It was only 10 or 15 years ago that I was reading articles in which prominent astronomers held a very “solar-centric” opinion: that our planetary system itself was unique and science would be hard-pressed to even FIND A PLANET ELSEWHERE, let alone one that might support life. It really lends a ton of value to projects like the California and Carnegie Extrasolar Planet Search, as well as SETI.


I’ve got a bunch of things on my mind this week, and it’s complicating my work and my blog. There’s also the fact that I’m out of coffee at work, and keep forgetting to bring in more. I get caffeine headaches now, which I never used to, and it’s quite a bummer when I’m off the stuff. But I digress.

So late last week, I ran the following numbers:

TOTAL ELAPSED TIME SINCE GRAD STUDIES STARTED (degree incomplete): 4 YRS, (and very nearly) 8 MONTHS

One of my master’s program colleagues was in the office the other day to talk to my boss. He started after me, and he’s defending his thesis this month. That really sort of put some stuff in perspective for me and made me realize I need to quit dragging my feet.

So my plan for this week is to get done with the paperwork that needs to go through in order to start on my thesis. Rindo seems to think I could still get out even as early as the fall. Personally, I don’t know how that would happen, but spring suits me fine, too.

I’ve gotta get back in a writing mode and scrape some rust off my brain so that what I do in the fall is actually worth something. I’ve been so goddamn tired or making excuses for why I can’t work. I really need to kick myself in the ass.

There are some professional distractions hovering around my mind this week, too, and hopefully I’ll have more to say about that by next Monday. Things are coming to a head, I think you could say.

I also totally flaked on the Netflix subscription coming out of my bank account this week, so I’m goddamn overdrawn, and what that basically means is that the sandwich I had for lunch last week is gonna cost me 40 dollars. Stupid, stupid bullshit.

I gotta try to concentrate. If I manage to formulate a coherent thought, you mind get wind of it.

Constant Updates

I’m really tired and I should have been in bed an hour or so ago. I had to finish a movie first.

I haven’t had much that was very blogg-o-riffic the last couple weeks. Work has been really busy. I haven’t done much in the evenings, and I probably oughta change that.

Here is a quick list from the weekend:
– I saw the Brewers loss on Friday with Dave, but they did have a winning weekend
– I had to go to work for a while on Saturday. It was OK.
– I went to Kilian’s 3rd birthday party, but since my ‘work’ had run late, I rushed over there without my card or my camera. A couple pics from my phone are on the Flickrs.
– I slept way too late this morning after not being able to sleep last night
– I have converted the last Windows holdover that I had in my house (the laptop)– I am now a linux-only sorta guy (which was a long time coming), and only interesting to the geekiest among you, I’m sure
– I started reading John Hodgman’s book, The Areas of My Expertise. It is funny.

OK. Bed time.

A Quick Thought While the Brewers Are Throwing One In the Shitter

Busy work week, so not much daytime blogging, I’m afraid. Too bad, cuz I’m sure I would’ve had something to say about the VA Tech hoopla had I kept up on it.

Just don’t freak out to me about gun control. Every time some looney picks up a weapon, there’s a liberal somewhere that wants to bury all the guns in some abandoned mine shaft. That’s bullshit. Guns don’t kill people, etc.

Anyway, I already digress. What I really wanted to comment on was the ubiquity of electronic communication and how it might water down our interactions. I just shot an email off to a buddy who I haven’t seen in a while, and it was one of the longer messages I’ve written in the last several months. It had distinct points and everything. There were even a couple paragraphs with more than two sentences. We’re talking about a virtual ‘tome’ here.

What I ended up thinking as I sent that message out was: what’s more meaningful? Relationships, even a great distance apart, kept alive by a few random words day to day, or less frequent, more in-depth contact?

I have all sorts of people that I keep in pretty good touch with, but we don’t have to say much to maintain those relationships. There are others that I see or talk with less, but our contact is always positive, ending with regrets about not talking more often. Is one system superior to the other, or is this just the natural course of things? I suppose another way to frame the question is– what makes you feel better? Do you like that occasional warm-n-fuzzy you get from catching up with a friend, or do you prefer to know you’ve got people just a couple button-presses away (several times daily, if necessary)? I guess we probably all need a little of both.

I’ll have to think about it some more, but if you get a really long, thought-out message from me in the near future, you’ll know why.

Goddamn Brewers.

Sporty Good Times

On Sunday, since the weather was a bit nicer than it had been the past couple weeks, Michelle and I decided that it would be a fine time to get outside for summertime sports.

Michelle has asked me to teach her how to play a number of sports since we’ve been going out. We’ve been to quite a few sporting events, but haven’t had as much time to play them ourselves. Sunday would be our day to tackle baseball.

We started out at Fleet Farm, where they have a very good inventory of lower-cost sporting equipment every season. Other than going to a higher-end sports outlet of some sort, it’s probably the best selection of baseball gloves you’re going to find in town. Michelle was lucky enough to find a pink and gray glove that was comfortable and affordable.

After the quick shopping trip, we loaded up the dog and the other equipment in the car and headed over to Menominee Park, where they have a lot of green space and a couple ball diamonds.

The first thing we did was to stand pretty close together and toss the ball just to get used to using a glove to catch. It wasn’t long before we were ready to practice throwing.

I imagine that one of the reasons we usually teach kids how to play sports at a relatively young age is that they able to learn and adapt physically pretty quickly. Michelle did a good job catching and throwing, but like anything you want to learn, it’s going to take practice. We went over the mechanics of throwing a baseball, and I recommended that, rather than worry about accuracy and distance when throwing, she should concentrate first of all on the motions. Like I said, overall it was a pretty good game of catch.

Did I mention we were throwing a softball? Yeah, it was a softball. I figured, bigger target to grab hold of…

We moved on to batting after that. She did a really good job swinging the bat. Once she started focusing on watching the ball and swinging all the way through, she made a lot of contact. And I’m not a very good pitcher. I had a bag of a dozen balls, and I think I pitched her maybe 5 or 6 bags.

We also did a little fielding, but the results there were mixed. I hit while Michelle tracked ’em down. My control of ball placement could use improvement. I hit quite a few on the ground, and she routinely got in front of them. The ones in the air I usually hit too hard or too far. I guess we could’ve done “infield” and then “outfield” drills, but maybe another time.

Anyway, when we were done, I thought a little about how it’s a drag you can’t really just play a “pick-up game” of baseball with people. It’s not like football, where even though a standard team is pretty big, you can modify the rules and get by with less. You need all those people on a baseball team covering all those positions for a reason.

My initial gut instinct is that it might be fun to play in a softball league, but then I think about how it would probably be just like basketball season, and then I change my mind.

All in all, we had a good time.

Home Base

I have a rare Saturday at home going on here… It’s going to let me catch up on “round the house”-type stuff. I did some modest cleaning downstairs this morning, and I’m going to move up after that.

Also, finally got a few decent pics from Opening Day and the Indians game up here. There’s only a couple handfuls, but they’re there.

I’ve been making a list of crap I need to shop for soon, too, and BASS ’06 is in there, but I don’t know when the hell I’ll have enough time to read it. I should really get rid of my TV. But at the same time, I was recently contemplating whether or not it would be worth the extra per-month charge to pick up some extra channels for watching baseball this summer.

Sigh. Who the hell knows? Either way, take care and have a productive weekend…