You are finite, Zathras is finite. This..... is wrong tool.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Slow day today; got up early with Nathaniel and got to play with him crawling around the living room for a little while. He has been crawling for a little while now and it's still a little bit uncertain with it. He stops and starts a lot and sometimes he just pretty much flops down onto his belly. He also tends to throw out one leg with his knee straight. Since he's just figuring it out, we're trying to entice him to crawl as much as possible. We got him to crawl from the living room into the bathroom for his (first) bath. He was reluctant to crawl once he got off the carpet; he would stop and sit up right at the edge. He was a little more willing to keep going, so we took off his pajamas and it was easier for him. He crawled from there to his bedroom and then later in the afternoon he crawled to the bathroom too for his second bath.
In between, we took a nice long walk to the library, Half Price Books, Dairy Queen and the T-Mobile store. That last because my phone was for some reason telling me I was in Mississippi, Kansas, Colorado, or something like that. They weren't able to tell me anything at the store, but it seems to be working now.
We watched Get Smart tonight too. I was actually impressed by how funny it was, and the few little nods to the old show. Get Smart was on Nick at Night when I was a kid and I remember watching it with my family, along with the Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore and others. I have good memories of the show, and Steven Carrell is a pretty decent stand in for Don Adams, and Anne Hathaway (who I think is generally very attractive) was quite reminiscent of the original Agent 99 (Especially in the scene with the wig.) It was fun to remember some of the things from the old show and spotting them felt like getting an inside joke. Stupid humor, but smart stupid humor. (see what I did there?)

Time for bed, though. Tomorrow grandma and grandpa come home from Boston and are looking forward to seeing their grandson crawl. I also need to get cracking on any last-minute baby-proofing since he's going to be cruising any day now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today I had an event at school for the firm, so around noon I headed in to the school. Stephanie and Nathaniel went to see her godmother so they dropped me off on their way.
I sat in the front seat for the first time since we switched in the newer car seat and felt like a little kid the way I was forced to sit way forward in the car with my knees in my chest. If we'd had a collision I'd have broken both my knees and probably shattered my femurs to boot. I'll be riding in the back seat or driving from now on.

The reception was nothing special; a presentation on privacy law which xwas interesting enough, although only three other people showed up, followed by the usual reception for 1Ls. I don't know what's wrong with this 1L class but they don't seem interested in anything other than their classes, even if it's something that might help get them hired somewhere. I had a good enough time chatting with my fellow CAREERS associates as well as a couple of partners and associates.

I need to start losing weight again, though. I haven't weighed myself recently, but the gauge of my belt has spoken. While a few short weeks ago I felt like the tightest notch on my belt was a little too loose, today I was only comfortable with the second tightest. It might have had to do with the fact that I'd tucked in my shirt, but I have been noticing little things like that the last few days, and I know I haven't been eating well lately. I need to get back to good habits instead of just snacking all day since I'm home. Either that or get better snack foods. I have been really craving chocolate recently for some reason, but I think if I can get more diet sodas to get the sweet flavor on occasion (and to give me a flavorful beverage instead of a snack food) I'll be ok. Just have to wait for something good to be on sale and get it. Hopefully there will be something either this week or next; it's just frustrating that both Rainbow and Cub seem to put the same brand on sale each week. Also if I can get back to exercising I know that will help both with weight loss and my general energy level.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today was relatively low key. I got up around seven with Nathaniel; I slept relatively well, but Stephanie was up with him a lot, so I figured when I woke up I should take him out so that she could get some sleep. She didn't end up sleeping very long, but a little while longer at least.

Nathaniel was playing very well on the floor and crawling a little bit too. He enjoyed watching the recycling truck and then playing with his tunnel for a while, and when it was time for him to take a nap, Stephanie took him downstairs to rock. She started watching The Lovely Bones, the description of which really turned me off, so I went out to finish the yard work. I had done most of the raking and just had to gather up the stuff from under the pine tree and cart it off to the compost site, which opened for the season today.

I planned to use my parents' garbage cans for the job, so I went over there and found that they had five bags of compost of their own, so I put it all into my mom's CRV and took them to the compost site before heading back to get my own. I realized then that I'd forgotten to rake up by the back of the garage in the alley, so I filled another bag of leaves with that wet crap (there was still snow and ice in there in fact) and then filled both garbage cans and a recycling bin with most of the pine tree stuff. I carted that off to the compost site and then came home. It took me longer than I'd planned since I had to make an extra trip to the place, so when I got back Nathaniel had finished his nap and eaten.

We decided to go to the grocery store and get the remaining few items for making cheesecake for Easter. Nathaniel fell asleep rather quickly upon leaving the house in the stroller, but he woke up when we came out of Lund's because of the wind. We found Veal Baby Food though--nothing but the best for my son. Lund's had a better selection of meats in their baby food, though and in our search for caloric foods for him, some of these were better than what we've got so we decided to give a few of them a try. Chicken, Turkey, Beef and of course Veal with gravy.

Tomorrow I have a firm event at the law school and Stephanie is meeting with her godmother, so it is shaping up to be a bit of a busier day, but hopefully it will start out calmly enough to take it easy again. I dislike having the day really start close to 11:00 since I feel like half the day is gone (especially when I want to go to bed by nine) but an easy going morning can also be relaxing so long as I don't get worked up about whatever else I want to do or get done. I have problems just living in the moment, regardless of the moment. Even if it's a moment that I've been anticipating for a long time, when it comes I just find myself planning for the next or worrying that I'm not appreciating it enough and ruining it by overthinking the situation. Hopefully I will be able to just enjoy my time with Nathaniel over the next 280 days.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

KC Wrapup

Kansas City was a blast. Cost a bundle though. $25 for ticket, $25 for hotel, $60 in my share of gas, and $70 in food and beer (including the beer bought ahead of time). Nearly $200 for a road trip. Usually not too bad for a weekend trip to a soccer game, but I had really hoped for the trip to be cheaper. I was gone from yesterday morning until this evening, but I feel like I've been gone much longer. A lot happened and the drive today took a lot out of me.

When Andy and I finally got to KC, the rest of the group had just finished eating at Oklahoma Joe's and bought liquor at the liquor store next door. We finally caught up with them at the hotel, but we were hungry. We figured out where they would be at the tailgate, and headed out to get some food. We went to Arthur Bryant's for BBQ, which was a little disappointing after all the hype. It was a little on the dry side, although the BBQ sauce on the table was good. My favorite was the Sweet and Spicy. The fact that they served it on Wonderbread was a little underwhelming; the piece of bread under my meat was a mushy blob when I got down to it and it was sort of gross. The pieces on the side that I used to make sandwiches weren't bad, though. Just needed more.

After eating we headed to the tailgate, riding a shuttle bus with some surprisingly gangsta looking guys and found the van with our group. It was cold and rainy, and although I was wearing four layers (long sleeve T-shirt, jacket, raincoat, and Rainbow KC Wiz jersey on top,) I was still quite cold while standing around waiting for the game. I drank beer to warm up, although holding the ice-cold beer in my hands didn't initially make things better. I was cursing not bringing gloves, and irritated that I had left my earmuffs at the hotel. We did a lot of "Nessy" jokes, including throwing our hands up in the air and screeching. The screeching started to deteriorate (as it hurt our throats) over time and eventually I think we just looked like we were making fun of retarded people. But we enjoyed ourselves.

The game itself was okay; the rain finally stopped just before kickoff, which helped, and we stood and shouted the whole game. We sang Billy Idol songs at the KC keeper who looked to have the 80s songster's hair, and continued with the Nessy stuff too. At one point, Paul started a "Gimme an E! Gimme a B! Gimme an O!" chant, which he laughed too hard at to finish, so Tim finished with L and A (Ebola.) This was hilarious at the time, although I don't recall how we got onto the theme of diseases.

After the game, much of the group was interested in watching the Gay Porn of a UFC fight at Hooters, but Andy and I were not. Although they ended up at Applebees since Hooters was packed, we walked across the street to Granite City which was less crowded and much calmer after shouting for two hours plus. We had a beer or two and Andy got a sandwich before Rich and Charlie showed up, making fun of us for wearing "the same shirt." Andy was wearing a 1913 USA jacket, and I was wearing a travel jacket. His is red. Mine is blue. The most similar thing about them is that they both have USA crests on them, although they are clearly part of the same "collection." I think they were just a little bit drunk already. After the fight was over and the rest of the group came to get Rich and Charlie (and after Charlie squirted lemon in Andy's eye) we headed back to the hotel where we spent another while in Matt and Brian's room talking and generally making fools of ourselves. You can see on my twitter feed a number of the things said (hashtag #overheardinkc).

This morning I woke up at seven (as usual) and no one else was up yet. Most of them didn't even begin to rise until closer to 10:00, which was when we were supposed to leave. We ended up getting to a breakfast spot around 11:00, and waiting to be seated for a good while. The food was pretty good, although I regretted getting eggs and bacon instead of an omelet, but it was my first time eating grits. They were a bit bland, but certainly edible enough.

Andy and I got on the road around 12:30 and basically drove straight through, stopping two or three times for bathroom, gas and snacks. Got home around 6:30 and managed to see Nathaniel before he went to bed. He wasn't too impressed, though. I guess I wasn't gone long enough, or I'm just not important enough to be missed. He was cute playing and crawling, though. I missed him a lot, especially when at a restaurant there was a little boy about two years old talking with his dad.

I'm exhausted, though, and I think I'm going to head to bed now (8:45) because although I got four and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first time in a while, it was also *all* of the sleep I managed to get this weekend, and I am going to need to be well rested if I'm going to try to let Stephanie sleep upstairs a couple of nights so that she can get caught up on sleep herself.

I might later on give better details on some of the food, and I do intend to upload a few pictures, but for now, good night.


Kansas city has been great. Hopefully more later tomorrow (today, really) but it is two am and time for bed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Today Stephanie was able to go back to sleep after morning feedings for Nathaniel, and slept until nearly 12:00! This is good news, but it also meant that we got a late start. We went to the Mall of America to get her ring checked for the warranty.

I remember (blurrily) the mall being a nice place when it opened--high class. There was the plaque on the ground for where home plate used to be at Met stadium. There was the Wolfgang Puck's inside Macys. Now the whole place has just gone to shit. It's run down and cheap crap. The place where Wolfgang Puck's used to be is just basically walled off. There's a wall most of the way to the ceiling--it stops a foot and a half short because of the ceiling fans--blocking it off and making a hallway to the bathrooms. The bathrooms are clearly of a formerly classy era as well. They are tiled with marble tiles and feature an opening for a kleenex box. Which is empty, and the paper towel dispenser is missing its handle. Most of the general bathrooms in the mall itself are disgusting, missing doors to stalls and filled with trash. It's just depressing.

After the mall, we went to my parents' house, left Nathaniel with his grandma and got dinner and pie at Baker's Square. I fear that we've been eating out too much recently; it's unnecessarily expensive, and it's also doubtlessly bad for my weight. I haven't weighed myself in a while, but I'd be shocked if I haven't already gained back 10-15 pounds of what I'd lost.

Okay; Kansas City tomorrow, so I need to go and pack. I will try to update from my phone while I'm on the road, but as was pointed out to me today, many of those updates have bizarre typos due to Swype, so we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today was a busy day even though out shouldn't have been. Stephanie had aCPR class around noon, so I took Nathaniel to see some people at the law school. Mostly we hung out with Amber, and I feel a little bad because when I got a little distracted I feel like she felt she needed to take care of him.

Both before and after that, Nathaniel didn't really do much sleeping, so it was a little reading taxing on Stephanie and a lieder extent me. We tried to get him to sleep early, so we are hoping that he will sleep tonight. I doubt it though.

Stephanie and I tried to watch Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but could only manage about a third of it before Nathaniel interrupted it. Hopefully we'll have a chance to finish it tomorrow. We tried giving him avocados today. He started out okay with it, chomping the spoon, but eventually acted similarly to when he is given peas--displeased, and not likely to eat more. Avocados are pretty rich, though, so perhaps he had just had enough of them. We'll see.

Stephanie and I had a good talk tonight too; trying to figure things out in terms of her getting more rest. I ended up late to the Sweetwater for the MLS season opener, but that's fine. They were still willing to serve me food, and if I didn't get a 2 for 1 beer, I didn't need it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring cleaning

Lots of cleaning today. Furnace room, upstairs, desk all pretty much done. Furnace room could use more organization, but that is really a full day of work requiring a number more containers for screws, nails and such that I just dont have at the moment, so I am calling it good enough and heading to bed.

Had dinner with in laws tonight. Good burgers and beans. Stephanie doesnt like beans, so its pretty much only there that I have them. 

Tired of typing on my phone and too lazy to get out my laptop, so that's it for tonight.

Location : 1928 Rome Ave, St Paul, MN 55116,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When I woke up this morning, Nathaniel was poking me in the side of the head. He was beginning to whine a bit, so I tried to hold him for a bit to see if he'd go back to sleep. I was still tired and of course Stephanie was as well since she was up with him five or six times in the night. He did relax for a little while, but not too long; so I got him up, changed his diaper and took him into the living room to play for a while so that Stephanie could get some sleep. She managed to sleep until nearly 10:00, probably for the first time since 2008. She felt guilty about sleeping so long, but I was glad that she could get at least a little bit of rest.

After she got up, we took a walk down to the bank to deposit some checks and to get me some money for my trip to KC this weekend. After the bank, we went to Baker's Square for lunch. I worked at this restaurant for a while in high school. In looking for a place to work a bit during the next 280 odd days, this place is simply not on the list. Not only is it a kind of work that doesn't pay particularly well or provide much in the way of fringe benefits that might make it worth my while, there are people working there who were working there when I did in the late 90s. While this in and of itself isn't too horrible -- apart from the indignity of returning to work there after finishing two degrees at great expense -- these are not people with whom I would like to work again. In fact, if I were to get one of these people as a waitress, I would probably not leave a tip due to lingering (and over 10 years old) irritation with them.

Moving on.... when we got home, I decided to do the spring raking, since the weather was nice. I pulled out my iPod classic, and synced in a couple of new audiobooks. I began Moneyball which I hadn't ever intended to read, but on discovering what it wasn't (really a book about statistics,) I am quite enjoying it. After finishing Michael Lewis' Home Game with great enjoyment, this is similarly a fun read. It took me almost three hours to get it all done, and I felt like I was covered in dust by the time I was done, since I raked up all the pine needles and small little twigs from the pine tree as well. I came in and Stephanie had watched about half of Citizen Kane before Nathaniel woke up from his nap, and so we finished that and put him to bed.

A busy day, but really not much happened.

Tomorrow, we're taking him to see Stephanie's mom for most of the day so that we can get some interior spring cleaning done. With a bit of luck, we'll be able to get at least half of the big jobs we have planned finished with this day of work. We want to organize the upstairs, clean out and organize the furnace room, finish the office (which is at a stage which requires the furnace room be done before it can be finished) and organize the rolltop desk in the living room. Ambitious, but definitely doable, especially with Nathaniel being babysat by grandma, oma and opa.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today I went to court. It was supposed to be a confidence building default hearing before a court referee. Fifty-five leading questions to my client, a gavel and done. Instead, he respondent, who hadn't made a peep since we served him 10 months ago decided to show up at the Family Justice Center. We spent the next couple of hours attempting to negotiate a deal with him, but couldn't come to an agreement, so instead of closing the file, I went back to school to write a transfer memo and a letter to our client explaining what would happen next. I'm done either way, but it would have been nice to finish the case for the client. I hate having to transfer it to yet another student attorney. Hopefully the next hearing will go smoothly and be the end of the matter, but since I get my bar results on April 15, I can't act as a student attorney any more unless the court sets a surprisingly soon date for the hearing.

When I got home, we decided to take a walk over to my mom's place because she'd been saying that she wanted to take Nathaniel for a night. Since she has conferences tomorrow and Friday, tonight seemed like a good night. She was happy to take him, and off we went. The original plan was to head to a few used bookstores, partially to look for a specific title (George and Sam), but mostly because I love to hang out in used book stores. I'm so romantic when we have a chance for a date.

As we drove down the alley, it occurred to me that I hadn't thought to look into what used book stores we might check out--apart from Mager's and Quinn and three Half Price Books locations, I had little idea where to go. On top of this, it was the middle of rush hour, so a trip to Uptown was hardly ideal. We decided we'd run a quick errand first, and perhaps eat and then decide what to do; Stephanie has been a bit under the weather the last few days (weeks.) We went to GameStop to get a gift card for Stephanie to send to a member of the dance group who's having a bit of a rough time of late (one broken leg, and then the other!) and looked for shoes that Nathaniel could wear with the cute suit his (other) grandmother had bought for him to wear at Easter and his father and aunt's graduations.

Leaving the Midway Shopping Center, Stephanie suggested we try the Blue Door Pub for dinner, hoping that on a Monday it wouldn't be too busy. We were told it would be a 15 minute wait, but were ushered in less than five minutes later when two seats opened up at the bar. I was happy to see that there was Surly on tap, and so without really considering the other options, I ordered a Furious. Soon, however I saw that there were three or four other beers that I hadn't heard of or wanted to try on the list. I managed to try one other but could really feel it when we left, and made Stephanie drive. I had a wonderful burger at the place, though. A Cajun Blucy-cowboy style. A burger stuffed with pepperjack cheese and jalapeno slices, topped with more pepperjack, jalapenos and onion rings. Fantastic. I will definitely be going back. The other beer I had was a Pitch Black IPA, which was billed as a "hopped up porter." It was okay; not something that I'm going to go seek out regularly in the future, but preferable to a lot of lighter beers. It certainly didn't taste as dark as it looked, and even Stephanie thought it was pretty good when I made her taste it.

Tomorrow we'll be taking a walk down to the bank to put in some checks and take out some cash for my weekend in Kansas City. I am looking forward to the trip, but also am worried about it. I'll probably talk more about it later, though. At the moment, I want to read Home Game by Michael Lewis (he of Moneyball fame.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today was not the relaxing day I envisioned in yesterday's post. We overslept a bit for church, but still managed to get there easily on time. Afterwards, I had to pick up a file for court tomorrow. Oh yes. I AM GOING TO BE IN COURT TOMORROW. More on this later. Anyhow, after church we went to my in-laws before heading to the GAI for sauerkraut lunch. I don't love sauerkraut, but it's not bad. When mixed with some pork and mashed potatoes, it's actually quite tasty; you just need to get the ratio right.

After we got home, our boy was a little on the sleepy side, but wasn't really able to take a nap, so we decided to take a walk up to the library. We had to return The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Watchmen, and we also took back the books we'd checked out for Nathaniel. We looked around for a while, and picked up Citizen Kane, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I also got a book, Game Time by Matthew Lewis, the author of Moneyball. It's about his experiences as a father, I gather unexpectedly. I am hoping that it gives me some idea of what I might be supposed to do in the upcoming months and years, because I'm sort of winging it at the moment, and I'm not quite sure that "fake it until you make it" applies to parenting. I need to really plan to read this book, though, because I am notorious for overdue fines, especially since I've spent the better part of a decade never worrying about them (as a library and/or University Employee, or retaining that status due to a clerical error that I never felt the need to correct.)

I sort of have mixed feelings about libraries. I love them, and I love that I can get books there for research in particular, but generally as well. I like that when I can't really afford to buy a bunch of books, I can still read them from the library, but I also really want to own my books. I'm not like Teddy Roosevelt, who ripped up pages as he read magazines (just to prove he's consumed them,) but I do like to put a book on my shelf as a sort of trophy perhaps after I've read it. Even if I doubt I'd ever read it again, there's something comforting in knowing that it's there. It's probably why I started my other blog, which I don't think I'll be updating tonight.

After the library, we stopped in at Dairy Queen for a blizzard, and chatted with my mom for a bit. We took our time so that Nathaniel could sleep in the stroller for a while longer. When we got home, I started a David Sedaris audiobook while cooking squash soup. The soup was thinner than usual, but the ginger content I think was a bit more measured, which I hope was more to Stephanie's liking. I (and my dad) love ginger, and would add a lot more of it to most dishes for myself, and in larger pieces, but while Stephanie likes ginger, she doesn't like it to overpower the flavor of her food, and prefers it minced more finely.

Tomorrow morning, I have my court date for my clinic case. It's a divorce, and it's expected to go via default, so we're on the mass default hearing, meaning we'll show up at 9 AM, and probably spend the whole morning waiting for our case to be called. We'll be before a referee rather than a judge, but I am nevertheless rather nervous about it. I'll need to ask my client a number of questions, and while I have given her the list ahead of time, and she seems ready for them, I am afraid that something will go wrong at the trial, or that I'll stumble over my words. Always in trial practice class, or clinic simulations, I tend to break the fourth wall in order to make myself feel a little more comfortable, but there isn't a fourth wall in this situation; it's the real thing. I'll need to go get my suit and shirt and tie ready this evening before bed, perhaps including some ironing, so I'd best bring this to a close.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nathaniel started on meats today. He wasn't too bad with it. We mixed chicken and rice with carrots, and despite the fact that he doesn't usually care for carrots too much, he ate a good deal of it. After that, we tried some banana puffs, which he wasn't too sure about, but eventually did eat. They melted in his mouth, so they were pretty easy going down in the end. They're something like 25 to a calorie, so they're not really going to get him much in the way of nutrition, but they're a good start on the way to both real, solid foods and feeding himself. He was really cute with them also. Pictures are on the big camera, though so I don't think I'll upload one tonight.

Stephanie had to work, so it was him and me at home, but I gave my mom a call and she came over to hang out with him for much of the day. After he took a very short nap in the morning, she came over and played with him for a while, so I was able to get some sweeping and vacuuming done. He doesn't like the vacuum's noise, so it's hard to do much of it when he's at home. When there's someone else to hold him he's usually okay, and again today that was the case. We tried again to show him the source of the noise, bringing him over to see the vacuum. He was okay with that, but he was last time as well, so we'll see when he gets over the racket. I actually was able to sweep his room as well, including under the crib, which was desperately needed, since the majority of the time that i have to clean is when he's asleep, and I have trouble therefore cleaning his room. Between not having swept generally, and his room in particular, I probably had a warren of dust bunnies by the end of it. It was nice to get it all taken care of finally; I've been lazy this week.

When we put him down for his afternoon nap, she went home to get some work done, but he woke up pretty quickly, and so I wasn't able to get too much more done. He seems to be having a lot of pain and redness in his diaper, so he was really screaming at me when I changed him. We put on a lot of desitin, but I just hope that it heals up quickly; I don't like him crying. He is such a happy baby, it happens rarely. I remember when he was really little and quiet, and I even liked his crying, because it was one of the rare times that he would make any kind of noise. Things have changed now. I love to hear him laugh, and scream, and squeel, which he does plenty. I don't need to hear him cry. I think now it's partly because he only really cries when he's in pain too. He'll whine and whimper a bit, but not really cry.

When I picked Stephanie up, my mom came back over since I'd gotten him down for another nap, and Stephanie and I hit the grocery store. Despite it being a Saturday afternoon, it wasn't too crowded. We got home and found out that Nathaniel had taken a good nap and he was in a good mood.

I made cubed steak sandwiches for dinner. This was the second time that I made them, and it turned out better than the first. I used cream of onion instead of cream of mushroom soup, and caramelized the onions more slowly. I also fried the steaks over a lower heat, and got much less splatter, and a better cook too. I added some Tabasco A-1 to my steak, and some Worcester sauce to the soup, along with some mustard and ketchup. They tasted pretty good, and we put them on ciabatta bread that we had to bake a little extra, so it was fresh. Now that I can do them without making too much of a mess, I think I'll do steak sandwiches a little more frequently in the future. They're tasty, not too pricey and filling.

After dinner, we watched The Sting. It's a 1973 movie (actually, it won best picture that year) starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Terrific acting by those two, and a great supporting cast as well, including Robert Shaw and Eileen Brennan. We had tried to watch it once before while we were dating, but Stephanie fell asleep. Even her mother said it was a good movie, so she stayed awake through it this time. I really like this film. It's got a great cast, a good, fun plot, great costuming, and a killer soundtrack (all Scott Joplin rags--it takes place in 1936.)
One thing that I noticed while watching this movie: Brad Pitt looks a lot like a young Robert Redford. Redford was born in 1936, meaning he was 43 when this movie was made (he looks like he's in his mid 30s maybe, at the latest.) Brad Pitt was born in 1963, so his current age is pretty close to how old Redford was in this movie. The facial structure and the eyes in certain scenes have remarkable similarity. Perhaps movie stars all have to fall into a certain mold in terms of their "look" but these both have the looks and the skill. A great movie, and a lot of fun. If you haven't seen it, I recommend that you do so.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Today was a relatively productive day. I spent a lot of time working on transferring this blog over to Wordpress, because I had read that there were things that it did much better. I tried it out, spent a painful amount of time figuring out how to export/import the blog posts, got them all over there, fixed the pictures, and decided that I like blogger better (for now.) So, a waste of time in the end, but probably a good bit of experiential knowledge.

I also came pretty close to finishing in the office. The Mac desk is now practically empty, although I put the blank media and some software on the top shelf, and the other desk is clean of extraneous crap. I need to finish organizing the shelves under the stairs, but I think that can't be completed until the furnace room is also cleaned out and I know what will need to remain under the stairs and what can be moved.

I also vacuumed in the basement and then upstairs in the living room, where I noticed that the vacuum loses a lot of suction pretty quickly. It still seemed to clean pretty well, but it was noticeably more difficult to move when I cleaned out the filter with compressed air. I will have to try to remember to do that more frequently in the future. During the summer it's not such a big deal, but it's kind of a pain to clean it out with compressed air in the winter. We'll see how it goes.

One more thing: I put a diaper box and the steam mop box up in the small window in the basement main room to try to keep it darker down there for when I rock Nathaniel to sleep during the day. Usually the basement rocker is better, since it is more comfortable for me, and the darker basement helps him to sleep. But since it's been -- shock -- sunny some of the last few days, it's not been as helpful. I am hoping that keeping it darker down there will keep the magic in the "magic chair."

During most of this work, I watched Watchmen again. I had seen it in the theater with Jake, Baron and Pat when it came out and thought it was enjoyable enough, despite not having read the original graphic novel. I still sort of want to do that, but I also feel like time spent reading should go to something that I know I will enjoy more and will probably benefit me more. A comic, seminal as it may be, simply isn't going to do that for me at this point. I have even given up on the comics that I had been reading, as mentioned earlier. We'll see what I end up reading next; I'm still reading The Polysyllabic Spree at the moment, but I feel like that, as a collection of monthly columns, is not going to last long, and can be a sort of supplemental book. It certainly is dangerous, though as it just keeps on adding books to me "to read" list, which will probably be bought and then sit on a shelf for long years before I finally get to them, if I ever do. I'm going to try to make a more concerted effort to read, though, and if I can couple it with time on the exercise bike, I can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. We'll see how it goes.

Bright College Days

There's a Tom Lehrer song titled "Bright College Days." It sums up the general nostalgic feeling that most people seem to have towards their time in college. Yet for someone who feels as much nostalgia as I do, I feel nothing of the sort towards my college years. I dislike rather intensely the person that I was during my time in college. I look back and from freshman year through graduation, I see mostly mistakes and poor choices. There is little to nothing that I'd like to relive. Doing it over is another matter--I'd do it all over and completely differently in a heartbeat, although the question would stand in that case would I be here, as I am now, if I had not done what I did in college? That philosophical discussion aside, there are so many things that I now spend time trying simply to ignore, forget and not think about. I was a dick, a slob and a poor student. I was wrapped up in myself (probably expected, but it still disgusts me the extent to which this was true) and in a lot of ways unhealthy. I don't want to get too much into specifics here since I don't want to have long chats with my parents or my spouse; suffice to say, I dislike periods which bring on this sort of introspection.
When I think about it though, it's impressive the amount of break that there is in my life. I can't really think of a single person to whom I still speak who was a "college friend." When I decided to turn my back on the way that I was at that time, I completely broke off almost everything that I could that was related to that time. Some of it was intentional, some of it was not, but looking at it now, it is quite astounding the degree to which there is pretty much a hole in my life between 2000 and 2004. I'm not saying it is a bad thing, but it's certainly something that contributed to the small number of friends that I have these days.
I made more friends in law school, and in many ways I wish that college had been more like law school. Part of me wants to say that it couldn't have been because the classmates I had weren't as serious then as they were in law school, but I know for the most part that is a lie. They were there, but I wasn't serious or mature enough a student myself to see them, or to be accepted as one of them wholly when I did meet them. Furthermore, there are/were plenty of people who were very close to what I think of as "college kids" in law school as well; I simply better managed to find the people who I could connect with in law school. No, I don't really wish that college had been more like law school; I wish I had been more like I was in law school while I was in college. Again, with the self dislike.

Introspection, and solitude are good at times. But too often they lead to too much dwelling on things past and regretted. This used to happen to me a lot while I was driving my old Volvo, which had no radio (or rather, had a radio that slowly died.) Even in college, I can remember longing for solitude at times, demanding it, getting it, and then hating it once I was finally alone. Probably because I knew even then, that I was not acting the way I knew that I should have been.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This post contains the best picture of this blog so far.

Today was a nice, relaxing day. Apart from Stephanie having a hair cut around noon, we didn't have anything really to do. Nathaniel even cooperated by sleeping in a little bit this morning. When Stephanie went to her haircut, Nathaniel napped for about an hour, then woke up with wet onesie, pants and shirt. I changed him and fed him a bottle, and since he was still tired, rocked him back to sleep for a bit. He slept another 45 minutes and woke up with another wet onesie, pants and shirt. When Stephanie came home, we took a walk in the beautiful weather to my parents house to feed the dog her medicine. It was a glorious walk. Nathaniel wore Stephanie's old Sesame Street Hat, and it kept getting swung to the side, giving him a half-goofy, half-hip-teenager look. He also kept putting one foot up on the stroller. He never slept on the walk, or the other one we took later, but he did chill out pretty well, and in the end he didn't nap from about 1:00 until it was time for bed, when he dropped off completely exhausted around 7:30.

In the meantime, we were visited by Erin, Nicole, Diana and David, and he hammed it up for all of his fans. Diana and Nicole went to a meeting down in the village, so we went on a walk with Erin to Half Price Books. At the risk of increasing the work required for my new second blog, we went looking for a copy of Sam and George, which is a book about a pair of autistic brothers that was mentioned by Nick Hornby in The Polysyllabic Spree. We thought it might be a good one for Stephanie's families or coworkers, but there wasn't a copy at the store. Nor was there a copy of the other few books from Polysyllabic that I looked for. Thankfully.

We ended the day by watching The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. As with most Wes Anderson movies, it is more bizarre than anything else. Enjoyable enough, but not necessarily the movie I thought it was when I wanted to see it when it came out (frighteningly six years ago now....)

With little planned out for tomorrow, I am hoping that it will be a similarly relaxing day, and that Nathaniel sleeps well for the night, after his lack of naps today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Paddies Day

So today was a big day for Nathaniel, what with a doctors appointment in the early afternoon and then the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Minneapolis. The doctor visit went pretty well, he got two shots, but was quickly calm again afterwards. We then walked down the street to Creative Kids Stuff, to which we had been given a gift certificate. We found a set of blocks that have faces on them which we thought he would like, and bought them. He was much more interested in the box they came in, however, and played with that quite a bit when we got home. He hid it under one of the chairs in the living room, and I think it's still there at the moment.

Later in the evening, we took the light rail to the parade downtown, meeting up with Calder and Ivy. It was warm today, but in downtown with little sunlight to begin with, and the sun on its way down, it started to get a little chilly, especially when the wind started picking up.
The parade was fairly humdrum overall, and although Nathaniel did seem to be interested in the goings on from time to time, I think the most "interesting" part of the night was when he was beaned by some crazy old bat throwing bags of coffee into the crowd. That she didn't even seem to notice just added to my annoyance. The Vulcans came by and got both Stephanie and Ivy.

Afterwards, we had reservations at McCormick and Schmicks, but Piper was not feeling too happy, so we decided to try to find somewhere a little less formal. While we waited, Calder resorted to running in circles to try to calm her down. It seemed to work well. He had to improvise without the elliptical machine around. Unfortunately, the only place we found that was open was Panera Bread, and it was full with nowhere to sit. We walked around looking for another place to eat, but to no avail, and ended up calling it a night and hitting the train back home. We ordered in Davanni's and
fed our quickly tiring and hungry boy, who ended up being quite happy to see his Grandma when she picked us up. I hope he sleeps well tonight.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Date Day

Well, the date day didn't go off exactly as planned. My intended program included either a movie or a [redacted]. Neither of these ended up working, because a. there was no movie worth seeing out at the moment, and b. I never got a call back returning my inquiry.

So we dropped of Nathaniel with his Oma and Opa and we went off to eat. We had the endless soup, salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden, since we had a gift card that allowed us to basically eat free. It was nice to eat at a leisurely pace and still have breadsticks left after two minutes. After that we stopped at Half Price Books, Joanne Fabrics, Rosedale Mall itself (hitting Penny's, Macy's and Herbergers mainly) and then over to Office Max, the Men's Wearhouse, and the JC Penny furniture store.

The main goal initially was to look for a topcoat for me. Stephanie wanted to get me one as a graduation present. We looked at the department stores, and found the price right at Penny's, but not ideal coats, and the prices too high, although with nicer coats at the other stores. Damn things are really expensive.

We ended up getting a nice one at the Men's Wearhouse for a price between the higher department stores' prices and Penny's. I'm pretty happy with it; it's charcoal gray/black, so it is relatively versatile, it is long, and it has the right cut for the collar (like a suit is cut.) I'm quite happy with it, although still a bit unsure regarding the price. I think it will take a long time even after I start making real money again before I'm comfortable spending as much as nice things (that really are necessary in many ways) cost.

After that, we went into the furniture store and found a great recliner. It was comfortable, cushy, supported your whole leg, and was the right depth for Stephanie. It was on sale 50% off! It was also $300. As nice as it was, it's just not a priority at the moment, and I couldn't justify to myself going out for a date and coming home having spent $600. Because after that, we went to Target, and spent $100 on mostly baby stuff (diapers, socks, shirts, food, formula etc.)

Hopefully I'll get a call back from [redacted] and we can have another date night during Stephanie's break soon. Tomorrow night we're meeting up with Calder and Ivy to go to the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Nicolet Mall. Should be fun, and hopefully the weather holds.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The first day of Stephanie's break didn't start off too wonderfully [this is not the word I wanted to use, but it is too late for me to come up with the word I want. It's something like "ostentatiously" but I can't quite get it off the tip of my tongue. [Update: 3/22/2010 the word, I think was "inauspiciously."]], with Nathaniel waking us up early. Stephanie took a little while longer in bed to try to get some more rest, but Nathaniel wasn't exactly quiet in his morning play, of course. He had a rough day with not wanting to eat or nap much, and getting cranky at times. We think that maybe daylight savings time has thrown off his schedule, but he's also been off his routine for a few days on other things, so who knows what's causing it. This evening in particular he was tired, cranky, and hungry, but refused to eat for several minutes. We go to the doctor on Wednesday where the current theory is acid reflux, which might be what's causing him to refuse to eat after a certain amount, or to eat when he is clearly hungry like tonight. I'm not sure he wasn't just over tired and being cranky with me this evening though.

It was another beautiful spring day, as the rain has departed for a couple of days and we've had wonderful sunny weather. Today got above 60 degrees, so we took a walk and took Nathaniel for his first visit to the library. He seemed to enjoy it, and got to read a number of new books that had fun pictures and colors. I found a copy of Watchmen on DVD which I checked out to see if there are any special features (and perhaps to watch it with Stephanie.) While I was looking at the audiobooks, Stephanie came over because Nathaniel had filled his diaper, so I watched the stroller and bag while she went to change him. She was gone a long time because he decided that this new, cool place deserved a very very large, smelly poop. We took home a half-dozen books for him, and we are hoping to make it a regular weekly visit to the library.

Nathaniel went to bed early tonight, so I hope that he doesn't decide that means he needs to get up extra early as well. He needs to sleep, having taken fewer naps than usual, and his mother and father could also benefit from some good sleep. Uninterrupted sleep is too much to hope for, but more of it would be welcomed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day two of Stephanie's class, but today us guys didn't do much of anything. With daylight savings time throwing off Nathaniel's schedule, he didn't nap too well, and made it hard for me to get much done either.

I did do some more work on the office today, cleaning out the shelves that are under the stairs. I got them mostly cleared off, and reinforced one that flipped over because only 2/3 of the shelf is supported (brilliant construction by previous owners, again.) That gives us a ton of space for reorganizing things, and hopefully will let us get a different (safer) entertainment center. Although I don't expect to spend a lot of time with Nathaniel downstairs, it would be nice to be able to do so without worrying too much about it.

When we picked Stephanie up from her class, I took the long way down River Road because I was hoping the long drive would let Nathaniel nap. It worked, but I also saw hundreds of people out on the paths by the river taking advantage of the first 60 degree day of the year. It was bright, sunny and warm, a beautiful day! When we got home, we decided to take a walk for dinner and to return some library books. We put Nathaniel in the carrier facing out so that he could watch everything as we went by. He held his arms straight out in excitement and was constantly kicking Stephanie as we went.

We originally planned on going to Noodles, but when we were near it, Stephanie suggested the Highland Cafe, to which I had not been since it was called Farracies (or something like that) at least one, perhaps two iterations ago. The food was not bad; I had a reuben, Stephanie had a burger, and Nathaniel sat in a high chair and ate his puffy Pooh book laughing at us. We then decided to go to Half Price Books to work up an appetite for Dairy Queen, to which we have coupons that expire tomorrow. We spent a bunch of money at the bookstore on Nathaniel and me (mostly me, I think) but I got a couple of Nick Hornby short works, and a Timothy Zahn book that I haven't read. I've got a whole lot of books to read, so I didn't really need to add more, but one of the Hornby books is about precisely that--having a bunch of books you've been meaning to read.

We decided to pass on DQ for tonight and get it tomorrow, so after that, we walked to my parents house for a little bit, meeting some friends of the family there, and then walking home, with the dog leading the way. On the way home, we put Nathaniel facing inwards, to keep him warmer (since the sun had gone down) and to help him relax. He was asleep by the second house of the alley, and only woke up when we got home to give him his bottle.

Tomorrow is the first day of Stephanie's break, so we're hoping to have a relatively relaxing day. Hopefully Nathaniel will let us have a lazy morning, and we can get some stuff done a little later in the day. I'm looking forward to all three of us being home for a few weeks. Even if we're busy, it's nice to be busy together, rather than busy each of us in different places.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Since Stephanie had a class today, it's sort of been a guys day all day. Jake came over and we watched the first televised Twins game of the spring, and now I'm hanging out at his house with him, Pat, Matt and Nik playing Rock Band. Well, they're playing. I'm watching since I gave up video games for lent.

I am hoping that I will be able to hang out with this group more now that I'm done with school, and I hope that I can balance this group of friends with building on the fun I had at happy hour last night with coworkers. That might mean that I will have to go with the Hennepin County position, so that I will be less cut-off, but we'll talk to Dan about it and figure it out. I don't know if I'd really be more likely to take part in things if I were in Minneapolis than in Saint Paul, but it's something that I do think is important for me to consider. I really do want to make sure that I make an effort to be engaged with the people I'm working with, both for my secondment, and then later at the firm. But we'll see how things work out. It's not a clear decision on my part that I'd like to be in Hennepin, since it's further away, but it's also not that much of a greater bus commute, since I know the routes that will take me to Minneapolis, and I know at least some of the better food options in that area of town, as opposed to Saint Paul where as far as I know there simply aren't any. Although perhaps that would be a good thing from a financial perspective. Oh well; something to think about longer term, but I do believe that I'm leaning towards working in Hennepin county if I can manage it.

Location : 512-600 S Finn St, St Paul, MN 55116,

Friday, March 12, 2010

I went to The Local tonight to meet with a few associates at the firm who were given secondments for a few months this past year. The idea was to get an idea of their experiences and try to decide where I want to go for my "alternative work experience." The other associate who is in the same situation as I am and I listened to brief discussion about each of their experiences, but mostly we just talked and drank a couple of beers. It was a good time, and we didn't talk about anything in particular or memorable, but that's kind of the point. While we got the bits of information we needed, the rest of the time was just spent talking and hanging out with (future) coworkers. I'm glad to know that I can actually manage to spend a couple of hours out with people that I don't really know, and have little in common with, besides an employer and a profession, and enjoy myself.
Something else was running through my mind while we were watching Sneakers last night. Some of it had more to do with another movie, Hackers, but really, it reminded me about older Phone Phreaks, and the early internet hackers.

I, of course, didn't really know anything about this stuff, but it seems to me that a lot of it is simply less possible now. At least for the general public. Phone Phreaks used to record sounds and play them back into payphones in order to get the exchanges to do stuff that would usually cost money. Or so the story goes.

When the internet was in its earlier public days, when AOL was a major player, I recall a talking with a high school classmate over AOL and looking at a website called Neato Elito, all about this sort of stuff. The site is gone, but you can still find some of its stuff at the internet archive. A lot of it was about how much AOL stank.

But now, it seems like so much of that stuff is cut off from the average person. While we can take advantage more easily, perhaps, of what certain hackers manage to break, (e.g. DVD ripping) the actual hacking, the actual doing of the stuff is just not the same. It's now clean, easy and not so exciting. I'm sure that the people actually doing the hacking still have that sort of thrill, but to me, (even granting that I've had little to no interest in this stuff for a long time) it's just not the same. Perhaps it's just another example of the way in which the tactile is going away and being taken over by the digital.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tonight, Stephanie and I watched Sneakers. I am really glad that I put this movie on our NetFlix queue. I remember it from when I was a kid, and I think I saw it a number of times--it's a semi-action movie, but it's got a wholesome quality to it that you just don't often see in movies anymore. (At the risk of sounding like the old fart I usually sound like.) It's rated PG-13, and has little, if any profanity. There is hardly any sexual innuendo (although it was rated PG-13 because of that, apparently.) And it has a magnificent cast: Redford, Poitier, Akroyd, Kinglsey, and a few lesser known ones.

I'm glad we decided to just sit and watch this movie tonight too. Even though we took a number of breaks for putting Nathaniel to bed, feeding him, and other such stuff, and even though I spent much of the movie with my laptop on my lap, it was nice to just sit together and watch a movie. For whatever reason, I tend to get really antsy when we watch movies together. Whenever I'm watching anything, in fact. Since I was young--I remember watching Babylon 5 while I was in high school, and organizing my cards while I watched it, etc.. But I took a ritalin this evening and it seemed to help, at least a bit.

We took a quick look at our netflix queue tonight also, so hopefully we can do this a couple more times in the next few weeks while we're all at home and relax a bit. Hopefully when we get the office, the upstairs and the furnace room organized a little better, and the real living areas of the house just a little straightened up, we'll be able to just sit and relax. I figure to do a great job of all that would take at least a week of straight working on it, so we'll see how much we manage to get done.

One final thought: Even as a kid, I remember thinking that Patrick Stewart was the person playing Cosmo. It is, of course Ben Kingsley, but watching it again, I really see similar acting styles between the two. I think it's interesting that two excellent actors have such similar styles, and have a certain amount of similarity in their appearances. Both have a presence and an ability to subsume themselves into a role that is great. There are some actors who you always think of as the actor, even when they're playing a role quite well. You can think of them as the character for most of the movie, while you're watching it. In other cases, you can't think of a character, except as played by a certain actor. Leo McKern as Rumpole is a good example. Others escape me at the moment. Anyways. The truly great actors are the ones who you can only think of them playing their character, even if others have tried, and who make you believe in a character separately from the actor him/herself. This is getting to be rambling, and it's time for bed, so I'll leave it at that for the moment. Maybe some time later, I'll be able to better explain these thoughts that I've had for quite some time.
Today, I decided to finish tackling the bookshelf. I had already filled one Banker's Box with law school stuff, (which is why there's a hole in the middle shelf) leaving the shelf looking like this:
So I took all that, filled up a number of more boxes:

I'd guess there's probably $2,500 worth of textbooks there. 98% of my notes in law school were taken on my laptop, printed for the exams, and then recycled. It's amazing that I still have enough crap to fill these boxes. A friend described it all as "only good for a bonfire" which is true, but it's still all going to sit in the boxes for the foreseeable future. Hey, I've got to have something to put up in my future office to impress people.

Anyways, I finished with a shelf looking more like this:

What's left is the stuff I need to save for my research project--Provost Sullivan asked that we save the stuff for a year after publication in case there were any issues about copyright or plagiarism--and a few empty binders and folders for later use of some, yet to be determined use.

I got all the boxes pushed under the stairs out of the way, but easily enough reached to get the few things that I might want to have at hand when I begin to practice. It is satisfying to get all the books and stuff off the shelf, leaving more, well, shelf space to clean up the office. It's going to take a bit of thought to figure out exactly what I will be putting on the shelf, but it will be nice to have the space to play with. It's barely a dent in the problem that is the office, but it's a start, and it will enable the real work to begin. Maybe.

I'm thinking that I might take apart the Mac, and leave that desk open for regular desk use. But the office being in the basement, I just don't see it being used as a desk all that much; it's too cold for much use there, and I figure it will just end up covered in crap. That being said, I really do like the idea of having a workspace/office. We'll see how it ends up working out, though. If we stay in this house, I can see the current office being that space, although it would be laid out differently, with a lot of bookshelves, and a cleaner, single desk. BUt if we don't stay in this house, an office space will be a must as well. A "study" is something I pompously want to have.

But here in the present, I have to clean out our current office.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nathaniel took a three and a half hour nap this morning. I was worried all through it--kept going in and checking on him. He woke up happy and although he was surely hungry, he didn't fuss, even when I had the bottle in front of him. I'm hoping this is a good sign for his sleeping. Perhaps the formula supplementation (and soon enough, it will be the majority of his feedings) will end up getting him to sleep more. I hope so; Stephanie needs the sleep.

He got to hang out with his aunt today too, on his 8-month birthday. He had a good day, although he worried me with the sleep, and was cranky after his (shorter) afternoon nap, he was happy most of the day, and as always, cute and therapeutic.

Tonight is the first time I've taken my muscle relaxant, and I don't feel much different. I took it an hour and a half ago, and don't really feel much. We'll see if it puts me out more than I usually am at night, but it will be hard to say, since I usually sleep hard. I guess I've been waking up a little more with the back pain, but I'm just going to hope that in the morning I'm not as stiff as I've been the last couple of days.

I cleaned the stove, which was a pain (and my mother says I'll be a cleaner cook if I do that regularly, but I doubt it.) Tomorrow, I hope to get a little bit more done in the office, boxing up my law school stuff, and then try tackling something else. There's plenty to do, and I will try to avoid seeing the score of the CONCACAF Champions' League match that I TiVoed so that I can have that on in the background while I work.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, got home from the doctor, did a few of the stretches, but not many, and began trying to clean out the office downstairs. I put a number of my law binders into a box, and started combining another couple of boxes of CDs to free up another box. Then I got distracted from that task by trying to clean out some of the materials from the book that I worked on. I need to keep those materials for another several months, though, just to be safe, but I'm going to keep them somewhere else, so I can recycle them when the time comes. Once I get the shelf that is currently filled with law texts clear, I'll have somewhere else to put a lot of the junk that is down in the office, and hopefully get it cleaned up a bit.
At one point, I intended to clean off either the desk upstairs, or move the Mac down there to have some work space. Since I don't really have too much time to sit at a work space at the moment, it no longer seems to be a priority; most of the time that I use my laptop, it's actually on my lap in the living room while I watch Nathaniel with one and a half eyes. That being said, however, I expect as he gets a little older, a work space will be nice to have. But that is much farther down the line than is necessary to think about right now. It will just be nice to clear up some space in the office and make it feel less cluttered. Although the idea of a desktop computer is supposedly becoming obsolete, I still think I want to keep it set up down there for central/tethering purposes. I'm not going to end up like the Panera Bread iMac dude, but I just think desktop when I think of a more stable, reliable machine, and the place for long downloads and uploads, such as the torrents of US Soccer games. Not that I've been doing those for a while.

We had Trader Joe's (Trader Ming's) Orange Chicken tonight for dinner. After a couple of times making it, I decided that it needed some more bulk and veggies to go with it, since it was basically just chicken and sauce, so I've been frying onions and peppers with it. When put with a LOT of onions, and a couple of peppers (one red, one green on this occasion) it's a great, filling, and easy meal. It only takes about 30 minutes to make, and it feeds Stephanie and I easily, and tastily, with at least one lunch leftover for the next day. It's probably the best packaged meal that Trader Joe's has to offer, and it's only less appealing than a frozen pizza (or better yet Papa Murphy's) because there is actually some preparation (and dishes) required for it. I am thinking we should try a few other Trader Joe's meals, but the last one we tried (some sort of teriaki chicken thing) was not very good--being a microwave option. While I'm generally okay with a microwave meal (See, e.g., Lean Cuisine meals.) it's just not what I am looking for when I am going to put the effort forth of making a few dishes and spending more time with it like a Trader Joe's meal. We have some Indian meals and some Quesedillas which we'll probably try at some point soon, but for now, the Orange Chicken is still my favorite.


Just got to the doctors office. It's rather dreary outside but the walk wasn't too bad since I noticed it before I left and brought an umbrella

Will update after I see the doc.

Location : 1312-1316 S Mississippi River Blvd, St Paul, MN 55116,

Update: I like my doctor. She has a sense of humor and will listen patientlyto my inane prattle about nothing as the visit progresses. She gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant and some stretches to do.
I'm a little leary about muscle relaxants in general, but we'll see how they go. Just won't be taking them during the day while I am responsible for Nathaniel.


I've been having some strange dreams the last few nights. First, Friday night, when I got up around midnight to come sleep in the recliner, I dreamed that I couldn't sleep, and was tossing and turning and decided to try to sleep on the floor instead. Then I woke up still in the chair.
I'm sure I had an odd dream on Saturday night as well, but I don't remember it at the moment.
Last night, I dreamed that I was taking the bar exam again, and having a tough time of it. I recall having a lot of trouble with the first question, and being concerned immediately about running into time trouble. Sure enough, I remember having trouble finding the exam questions as I paged back and forth between the questions and the answer sheet (which is not, in fact, how the bar exam is arranged) and ended up completing only 48 of the 100 questions. I recall being in quite a rage afterwards at the book, and I think the people around me. Thankfully I woke up.
I wonder if the bad dreams have something to do with the pain in my back? Have I been tense while I sleep? Is the pain causing the dreams? Who knows.


For whatever reason, while I was studying for the bar, I was hit with a desire to get out my old comic book cards and look at them. Probably because they were hidden away in a box in the storage space nearby where I spent much of my time studying. I got them out, as well as a bunch of actual comics, and then started wanting to read a few epic old storylines (e.g. Days of Future Past, the Infinity Saga, etc..) I didn't have time to do that during the bar, but I did download a few of them so that I could read them without having to disturb the boxes in the storage space too much. I've now set up my laptop on its side in order to get optimal viewing capability, and am reading away while I bike. It's not pretty, but it works, and it allows me to keep my mind off of the actual exercising while I keep myself from playing video games.

One thing I noticed, though: the older comics have a LOT more text in them. It took me much less time to read the more recent comics than the older storylines that I have. There is a lot more character development, exposition, etc. involved in the older stories than the new ones. I at first thought that this might be because the backstory of a lot of the characters was now established, but I don't think that the writers are really assuming that today's readers are familiar with what happened in 1985. I think it's more likely that they no longer care, and assume that if you want to know, you'll figure it out somewhere else. The newer comics are all about pretty art, scantily-clad (or skin-tight-clothing-wearing) women, and action sequences. Dialogue and exposition are mere afterthoughts. Maybe in some of the larger, more epic series.

There are other differences. The art is "better" quality, in that the printing is better, and on better paper, but the style of the new stuff just doesn't feel the same to me. The newer stuff tends to be a lot darker. The distopian stuff like Days of Future Past was edgy before because it was unusual. Newer storylines seem to be darker as a rule, and while that might reflect current culture and current events, I am going to these comics for a refuge from all that. I don't want to go and see a depressing world where even super heroes cannot help us; I go to comics to see a world where superheroes can solve our problems and do!
So I guess I'll be more interested in the longer, sometimes tedious and always harder to find older comics. I'm okay with that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spent much of the day figuring out my new phone. I got a number of apps installed (and haven't yet figured out how to uninstall the bad ones.) I got a good twitter app, a satisfactory Facebook app, and a number of others. The keyboard took some getting used to, but once I figured out that the phone came with the Swype keyboard installed, it got a lot faster and easier.

I tried out google goggles this evening at dance practice, taking a shot of Matthew's Houses of Holy T-shirt and was suitable impressed by the fact that the phone was able to find me the Led Zeppelin album, and compare prices at Amazon, iTunes and other places. Pretty neat. The barcode scanner and other google services also seem quite useful. I'm going to have to see what FourSquare is all about, as it didn't seem to have much to offer from my location at the Klub Haus.
My back has been hurting in the mornings--to the point that I wake up at 1:00 AM and have difficulty moving, so tomorrow I have a doctors appointment to have it checked out. The appointment is at 3:45 and so I am hoping that it will be useful--usually by that late in the day the pain has mostly subsided. I will have to mark out where the pain is coming from in the morning in order to have some useful information to give the doctor.

Nathaniel took two really good naps today. His morning nap was even better than usual, nearly two hours long, and then a good hour plus nap in the afternoon as well. I hope that this means that he will sleep a little better at night, since he was also eating relatively well. He had a really good day, sleeping well and spending his time awake happy and talking a lot. It's days like today which make me glad to have 300 more days that I will be able to spend with him before starting to work full time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New phone

After much research, I've finally gotten a new phone. I looked into switching to AT&T, possibly getting an iPhone, although my theological differences with Apple made that uncertain, compared phones, looked at subsidized and unsubsidized options with T-Mobile and finally ended up with a MyTouch 3G. So far, I think it's going to be good; I'm still finding apps to put on it, and figuring out how to navigate, but it is at least as intuitive as I found the iPod touch, and although the keyboard isn't quite as responsive yet, I'm betting part of that is being used to the iPod keyboard. At any rate, I'll be checking out alternatives as well.
I tried out google goggles and the barcode scanner both of which were quite impressive, downloaded a facebook client and looked into a twitter client (but want to figure out which to use) and am going to see about a blogger app as well. The 3.2 Megapixel camera will also let me upload pictures to Blogger more easily than carrying around my regular camera, and having to sync it to my laptop every night, although I'm sure I'll still do a fair amount of that as well.

Some people call me the space cowboy

Pictures from Nathaniel and Piper's play date while Calder and I were at T.O.R.T. Friday night. Sounds like they had a good time, and Nathaniel was very interested in both Piper and her toys.

Yesterday was my grandparents-in-law's (Oma and Opa's) 60th Anniversary party, held at the Germanic American Institute (Volksfest House). There were a lot of Q-tips there, a lot of friendly people, all interested in seeing Nathaniel as well as catch up with their friends. Probably a good 75 people showed up and they were treated to schnitzel, spaetzel and rotkraut. My favorite was actually the cabbage, but the schnitzel was also pretty good. Cake from Sam's Club and beer and wine abounded, with a ton of wine left over, and plenty of cake as well for when we all convened later at Oma and Opa's. We debuted Stephanie and Diana's 10 minute video of photos, and it went over well. Opa was clearly very emotional in giving his speech at the end of it, as was only right after 60 years. "Quite an accomplishment" he said, typical understatement.

After the party and packing up we went to Oma and Opa's and watched the video again. Isaac, Nik and I talked baseball for some time, and had more cake. Seriously, I think I had four cupcakes and two slices of cake.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

No post tonight

Or rather nothing substantive. Too tired and in a bad mood. Tomorrow: good, probably long post about my in-law's 60th anniversary party.

Why is no one wearing pants?

Or: My T.O.R.T. review 2010.

Bottom line: Cameron Wood is funny. Cameron was terrific as Puck. In fact, for the first half hour or so, before many of the other actors managed to calm down enough to cease being too self-conscious, he single-handedly saved the play.

The problem with TORT last year was that it was too long. The principal reason for this was the length and number of songs. While the thing is called the "Law School Musical," there were 25 songs this year. What this year's writing team managed to do well, though was to shorten many of the songs down to a single verse. This allowed the length to remain shorter while getting in all the songs. I'm pretty sure that most musicals have only about 10-15 songs in them, so when you have 25, you have to make them shorter to keep length down. If I had had the chance, I might have actually removed some of the songs and kept longer verses for the ones that stayed in, but it's hard to say without knowing all of the behind the scenes stuff.

I was expecting to see a tortured version of Shakespeare with bizarre word-plays and wooden acting to get A Midsummer Night's Dream to be a legal story. What I got was in some ways even more tortured than I expected, with the Oberon and Titania storyline seeming totally removed from the whole thing. I don't know if portions of the script were removed to shorten the play, but the whole of their story seemed tacked-on. (Granted, it has now been a good ten years since I saw/read the original, so I can't definitively say it wasn't down to the original story.) One thing that was well done with this crew, was that most of their songs were relatively short, which moved the story back to the more central action quickly.

The program did not specify who was the sound technician, but whoever they were seemed to have needed another rehearsal at the actual theatre, as they had difficulty switching to the right mics at times, resulting in lost verses to some of the songs early in the play. Overall, though the show was slow to start, but picked up very well and the second act was actually quite good.

Aside from Wood being terrific, Chris Luehr was excellent at overacting his role, perfectly portraying Peter Quince, leader of the Mechanicals to comedic affect, with numerous random Latin phrases thrown in. The rest of the TORT-within-a-TORT crew also was impressive. Evan Palenschat as Brock clearly needed a scene or two to settle into his role in front of the audience, but really did a terrific job in the end, and his number at the end of the first act was perfect.

My friend David Couillard, cast as the pompous Paul was clearly placed in the role because he needed to do no acting to pull it off. His bio proclaims that he prepared for the role by hushing people in the library, correcting people's misuse of "nauseous" and "literally," audibly sighing a lot" and other similarly pompous behavior. The only thing lacking from the bio was the last sentence "and otherwise being himself." David set a high bar for himself last year with the Thriller dance, but he didn't live up to it this year. His choreography was a little stiff; he knew exactly what to do, but wasn't fluid in his motions. Partly this was the character, but since I focused on him, it was noticeable. On the other hand, while the impressive Holly Overgaard, draped herself over him during her song, he was absolutely terrific, and he and Palenschat's number "500 Briefs" was probably the highlight of the second act.

I remember talking to Holly Overgaard about T.O.R.T. during an admitted student weekend, on the bus from the law school to downtown for a dinner, and she seemed enthused. I'm not taking credit for finding a lead for the last two years, but I'm sure glad that she has taken part.

A special mention must go to John Fink, who absolutely stole the final scene of Act I as "creepy 1L."

The choreography was well put together, and impressive with the "Elite Dancers" pulling off some amazing displays. I was particularly impressed by Joe Cappola, who managed to learn some difficult moves while also studying for the bar and working.

My final thought is that the show should have ended with Cameron's perfect delivery of Puck's final lines. The show is a musical, of course, but I think it would have been better to use the final musical reprise as a curtain call, instead of throwing it in after his lines. The finale of the play really was Puck's farewell, and having delivered it so well, it deserved to be the last thing before bows.

All in all, a memorable evening, more fun that It's a Wonderful Law School, and about the right length as well.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sadly, 10:30 is too late for any serious blogging tonight, but tomorrow, I promise to give you my T.O.R.T review.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Today was quite a day. We got up early for Nathaniel's doctors appointment, and expected it to be a quick lab visit and be done, but it turned into a much longer deal because they had a lot of trouble finding his veins. Luckily I got to sit out in the waiting room while he was poked five times to no avail, by three people, two of whom specialize in working with small babies. After spending an hour and a half at the clinic, we had to go to the hospital to get blood drawn for the the tests. We took a pit stop at my in-laws in order to let the little guy take a bit of a nap since he was overdue for one, and to feed him a bottle to keep him hydrated. At the hospital, things went pretty well and they managed to get the blood drawn relatively quickly.
Nathaniel was a trooper; he did very very well and in the end at the hospital he barely cried out when he was stuck. He did a lot better than I would have, to be sure. The problem, though was that it totally threw off his schedule. He was overdue for at least one, probably two naps when we got home, and he didn't really feel like sleeping. I managed to get him to take a couple of short naps, but when he made it clear he wasn't interested in sleeping much more, I decided it was time to go and visit his grandpa.
I'd been meaning to take a walk over to my folks' house for a couple of days since it has been so warm here, (40 degrees!) but things just hadn't worked out. Today, I got out the baby carrier and strapped him to my front, my backpack to my back and the diaper bag over a shoulder. I'm sure I looked quite the sight to the roofing contractors on the corner at the end of our alley. The picture above is obviously before the backpack or diaper bag were added.
We had a nice visit with my folks and then headed home where he finally took a little bit more of a nap before having a bath, green beans and playing until it was time for us to eat our own dinner. Put him to bed and he was showing how tired he was, finally snoozing for a long while until we woke him up for a dinner. He was still mostly asleep when Stephanie fed him a bottle, but hopefully it will let him sleep a little longer before waking up hungry.

I went to check out phones this evening too, and was frustrated with the prices of the options at the T-Mobile store (and even more so the fact that you can't actually look at a Nexus One anywhere--does Google really expect people to buy the thing sight unseen? I guess so since people are doing just that. . . .) I might try to track down someone with a Nexus One to compare with the MyTouch and the Samsung phone. I wasn't too impressed with the Cliq--too focused on social networking, which is nice but not the be all and end all of what I want from my phone. I'm going to have a call with some Oppenheimer folks tomorrow and I'll try to remember to ask them what the firm has to say about the subject, to the extent that they care at all. I'm guessing it won't make a lick of difference, but it will be nice to know if it would.

T.O.R.T. tomorrow night; Stephanie isn't going to come along, she and Ivy are going to hang out for a bit instead. She was looking forward to a date--even a bad law-school joke fest of one--and now she's not going with me. I'm going to plan something for another day to get out and away for a few hours, but the mess of a schedule at the moment means that the only real chance we have is Sunday, or to wait until around the 16th or so. Hopefully something will work out.