Monday, December 29, 2008

Hope you all had a nice holiday – I am surprisingly ok with being at work today. During the break I was sleeping later and later each day, so it felt good to get up early again. It’s too easy for me to turn into a lump with all that time off. I uploaded some Christmas photos last night - you can see them here. Ok, off to what I’m sure will be the packed gym to work off some Christmas grub...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ok, so I saw Twilight last night. There's that in itself. But besides covering my desk in drool, I've actually been thinking about the movie and its appeal. On the basic level, of course, it's Robert Pattinson, which was my main reason for going, because I've never read the books. It had plenty of unintentionally funny moments - bad CGI, a vampire baseball showdown, and bad makeup. Plenty of plot holes - why does a 100-year-old vampire have to enroll in high school? Can't they just homeschool him?! Do these vampire couples bone each other? What happens when Bella is like 85 and Edward has a 17-year-old dick? But I still paid $9 to gawk at Robert Pattinson. And I have to say it was worth every penny. I'm 27 and was reduced to a swooning lump.

Still, there's no reason why Edward and Bella are together, really. They have nothing in common. They barely speak to each other. It's no Before Sunrise, obviously. Some have called it sexist, since Bella basically casts off all other aspects of her life for Edward. He is putting her life in danger, and he is the only one that can save her. But that's love, right? Still, I can think of a million other books I'd rather have 13-year-old girls reading.

But their sheer boners are enough. That's what makes it appealing - that simple, unbelievably strong initial attraction to someone you don't even know. Especially if they're brooding. Some Jordan Catalano shit. In high school I'd see a guy every day before algebra class, and we'd lock eyes for 5 seconds as we passed each other in the hall. I looked forward to it every day. And it was awesome. We eventually dated, and yeah, it didn't quite live up to expectations, but that first feeling is what being 16 is all about. However shitty the story, most of us can't resist getting sucked into a romance like this, especially with people who look like this. So I have to say - I enjoyed it. Almost as much as the Buffy and Angel fuck scene. It wasn't a good movie, but like 300 and Troy, I will buy it for the jerk off factor. While reading reviews, I found this:

"After seeing Pattinson in "Twilight" I can't wait to see what he does in "Little Ashes" as the young Salvador Dali. I've read a great deal about Dali's very strange sexual proclivities. Is Pattinson's rabid fan base ready for Dali's disturbing and well-documented sex life?"

Gay or not, I am. I don't even care about the pedo-stache. I promise, I will see Let the Right One In to even this out...

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Packers are losing, I'm a little tipsy, and my brother and Russ just went to get nachos, so I'm downloading massive 90's jams for mixes. Since 1994 I've thought that Queen Latifah's "UNITY" included the lyrics "you aint a bitch, you're a ho", which I never understood. Thanks to the wireless connection of the school I live next to, I have discovered that it's "you aint a bitch or a ho". A weight has been lifted off my shoulders...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Working in groups blows. We have a presentation tonight, so we met before class last night. One of the girls didn’t show up, and when she finally came for class, she said “I just want to do as little work for this as possible”. Yay. Good thing you’re becoming a special education teacher.

I turned 27 on Sunday, so Russ took me out to The Pasta Tree on Saturday and then we met friends out for drinks. Thanks to Jen for getting me this amazing gift, which sums up my feelings on the last few weeks of this semester:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I got pretty emotional last night. Obama's speech was beautiful - self-sacrifice, unity, future. And when he talked about his It was overwhelming. McCain's speech was classy, but it was bizarre to hear him speak so highly of Obama after his campaign. McCain supporters still boo'd Obama and Obama supporters applauded McCain. Figures. Start truly supporting your country.

And I got the best drunken message from Monica (referring to my vampire Palin costume):

" lost. Suck it bitch!!! Call me..."

Let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief! Just the effect this is going to have on how the world views us (and how we view ourselves) is huge.

Oh, and this.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The building I work in is also a polling place, so it’s been a lively day. Tons of people have been filing through and I got a little emotional this morning just seeing how many people had come out. Still, something seems off, and for me I think it has to do with the expectations people have for an Obama presidency. I stopped at Walgreens on my lunch hour and two older ladies at the makeup counter were talking. One mentioned that her prescription for Lipitor was unaffordable this month, and the other mentioned that it could change soon. She said, "well that’s what I’m hoping for with Obama…" and it was one of the most earnest things I’ve heard. I just don’t want her to be let down. Obama has his corporate interests, too, and even if he was perfect, one man can only do so much in a government like ours. Some perspective.

Sure, I'm as touched by these election stories as anyone else...I’m more excited about the social change in our country that is represented in possibly electing a black man than I am the change that might come from him. But I’m still hoping, because what else can you do...

Song of the day:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It was officially cold as fuck this morning, but I'm alright with it because I had a very "Fall" weekend. It was also the fastest weekend ever. Went to Bay View Bowl on Friday night and we barely broke 100. By the end of the night we got into an intense and drunken conversation about the merits of 90's alternative dudes - Chris Cornell and Layne Staley came out on top and Kurt Cobain lost. Waking up and staying up through a 8:30-3:45 class on Saturday was brutal...class has been generally insane...the minute I finish one project, the next is due. Sunday I woke up and went over to my mom's for one of my favorite things of the year - trick or treat. For the last 10 years or so, I've been going to my mom's house and we put together little treat bags for all the kids. How awesome is it to go to one house and get an entire bag full of candy?! I grew up right next to a school in a very residential area, so we had 125+ kids. My favorite was a tiny boy in a chicken costume who clucked at us. :) Then Russ and I went Halloween shopping and I decided on a costume for this weekend. We came back to my mom's and had dinner with my brother and Carolyn, who is looking mega pregnant. It's exciting. They said their name choice, if they have a girl, is "Ava Amanda", which made me verklempt. Their ultrasoud tech slipped and said "she" a couple times last week so here's hoping we have a little Ava running around soon.

I'm in the market for a laptop. I'm on the fence between a PC and a Mac. Basically I want it for school stuff, iTunes, uploading my photos, and internetting. I haven't bought a computer in more than 5 years, so I just want something that's going to perform well and last a long time. Is the software and stability of a Mac worth the $$$?

Happy Halloween Week! Buy this and carve some pumpkins using these...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This day has been a little blah...I have class for the next two nights so Tuesdays are always kind of a drag. But I just turned on the radio and one of the most beautiful songs in the history of humanity just started. Russ and I sang it at karaoke a couple weeks ago, which was almost blasphemy, but it’s so good you can’t help yourself. It’s one of those songs that I can never listen to just one time - instant multiple replays are always necessary. Any crappy afternoon at work, any average night at the bar, this song always reminds me that anything can be instantly elevated through music…

Thursday, October 16, 2008

blink blink blink

For the past two months, it seems like life has been a string of obligations, some good and some not so good. I’m in class for six hours a week on top of working, but beyond the couple classmates who have no business even thinking about teaching, I’m enjoying it. Ed psych is especially interesting, but I keep thinking about how to best put theory into practice. It’ll take time. I have a funeral tonight and then a wedding on Saturday so it’s going to be a weird weekend.

I managed to catch most of the debate last night and it was actually entertaining! McCain looked pissed. The most ridiculous statements of the night dealt with issues I very much care about – special needs, education, and abortion (I think I’m just used to getting raped money-wise so I care more about rights issues). God, when abortion came up and McCain referred to women’s “health” and did the little quotey fingers, I wanted to punch. See the video here. How dismissive and insulting. He also claimed Sarah Palin is now a special needs expert because she has a five month baby with Down Syndrome. At this point, a parent can’t even begin to imagine what a life with an adolescent will be like. This is parallel to the Alaska-Russia argument. He also proposed that people who served in the military shouldn’t have to become certified to teach. This goes against IDEA, and NCLB, and I’m currently spending $15,000 to become a “highly qualified” teacher, which should be a necessity for all of us. Mostly, McCain came off angry and unfocused. I had some sympathy for him before this…I thought he was a decent man who is being handled carefully by his party…but that sympathy is disappearing. He dismissed women. He defended the people at his rallies. He lacked spirit and kindness. But he did say “Senator Government” which was fucking awesome.

Now let's all have some patriotism.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The black!!!
And in other news of soulless people, someone slashed the massive, pumpkin-shaped Halloween store a half mile from my house. They were probably afraid of the black, too:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something positive.

I was flipping through channels last night before bed, and through the hateful haze of 24-hour-news stations, I came across Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. I usually hate pundit television, but she’s a breath of fresh air – smiling, funny, and very, very thoughtful. Even when being attacked (by David Frum last night), she still has respect for what others are saying, and gives them smart and real answers, as opposed to just yelling at them. She makes the women on Fox look like dumbed-down Stepford wives. I didn’t even think there was a place for this on cable news anymore. And she’s a Rhodes Scholar. I think I have a crush…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Even McCain is disgusted by his crowds....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

You know, I almost understand that campaigning involves bending the facts to benefit your cause, but when you start terrorist fear mongering, it brings out scary things in people. I would hope that it wouldn’t be worth the office to manipulate people into hate. I want to punch this blonde girl and her grating voice right in the mouth:

How do you not say something...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The last few weekends have been fun…we have Russ's little one every other weekend, but the grandparents took him last Friday so we could go out. Went on the Edelweiss booze cruise with Jesse and everyone, which could have been completely obnoxious based on who else was one it, but it was relatively laid back. I felt strangely in my element eating nachos and watching a dude who looked like Bizzy Bone hump a chick to Timbaland. I'm sure the all you can drink beer helped.

The Friday after that we met up with my brother and some friends to see Opeth. I was lucky enough to see them the first time they played in the US, at Metalfest 2000, with Katatonia. It was the worst show I've seen either band play, and I loved every minute of it. Opeth has really improved live and especially with the release of Watershed, seem to be rocking out a lot more. Mikael is always funny and sweet and seems to be having a great time playing. The set was varied and beautiful – Serenity Painted Death, The Night and the Silent Water, and lots of Watershed stuff. Towards the end of the show Mikael picked up a note someone had thrown on stage and read the entire thing – starting with "Dear Opeth, I love the contour of the cock in your pants". In reality was from a girl explaining that her dad's birthday is coming up and asking if Mikael would call him and wish him a happy day. He said "of course I'll call your dad". It was a great show. We went out to the bar afterwards and I saw some high school friends there, so we stayed until bar close. I woke up two hours later and went to my parent's house so we could get on the road by 6:00am to head to the illustrious Retreat Fair. It was all about a "parade" of tractors and classic cars, including a black '70 Mustang restored and driven by my grandpa, an awesome (and massive) $6 chicken dinner, and a tractor pull. Wow. Pictures are here. My cousin Jonpaul came in from Portland that night, so he and I headed out to The Thirsty Turtle, a surprisingly normal bar about 20 feel from my grandparent's house. We had drinks, listened to Marvin Gaye and Al Green and old Michael Jackson, and played a video hunting game. It seemed appropriate. It was a great time to spend with him, and my grandparents, who aren't getting any younger.

I suck at Netflix. I've had La Vie En Rose, The Dividing Bell and the Butterfly, and Lust, Caution at home for a month. I finally watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last week, which was simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring. I guess I'm an ideal Netflix customer. But I can't bring myself to send these back because I really want to see them. I guess I've had a little movie ADD lately – I can only watch hour long episodes of Deadwood and Dexter. I WILL watch one more of these movies next week...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My mind is boggled.

Sadly, this is making me hopeful about the upcoming election, but the fact that people are willing to give their votes to her for the most superficial reasons is insane. I’ve never understood the American desire to have someone “average” in the office, because the President should be anything but. Read this:

Also, a detailed yet readable explanation of our current economic situation:

I need to drink more. The Office premier party tonight and Opeth tomorrow…thank fucking god…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Calfa got married over the weekend, and it was a great reason for all of us to basically go on vacation together before summer ends. The resort was absolutely beautiful – right on North Bay and Lake Michican. We drove up on Friday night and spent the night drinking and talking around the fire, woke up, ate breakfast, and discovered some ridiculous bike trails belonging to the resort. It was perfect outside – slightly overcast and misty. All the life that had sprouted over the summer was stunning. We came back and got ready for the wedding – thankfully the rain let up and they got married right on the shore. It was a late afternoon ceremony so we headed to the lodge for cocktails, dinner, and the most dancing I’ve done in a long time. Everyone was pretty drunk, so I wasn’t too surprised to come back to our room to hear a couple of our friends loudly boning, but thankfully I passed out shortly thereafter. Sunday Russ and I went to Peninsula State Park and hiked around. Afterwards we went to a bar/grill in Fish Creek for some food and the newly married couple and other friends were there, so we watch the Packers beat the hell out of Detroit. It was the perfect way to end summer and spend a romantic weekend away. I love Milwaukee, but it’s awesome to find new places in your own state that rival the beauty of anything you’ve seen (and listen to a shitload of Swedish metal while doing it). I recently got a new camera so I went a little crazy with the photos, but everything was so overwhelming and I just wanted to document it all. A few photos...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

One good beat...

We were lazing around last night and out of pure “oh I have cable again” curiosity, I watched the beginning of the VMAs. I liked Russell Brand in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and thought he might be funny, but the first 20 minutes of this thing (all I could make it through) were painfully unfunny and unparty…bad jokes, bad music, bad people. This is pop music nowadays? I mean it’s always kinda sucked but it they’d throw in a few legitimate musicians and nugs of entertainment here and there. And this isn’t because I’m nearing my late 20’s and feeling out of touch, because I can jam “Girls All Around The World” loud as fuck in my car and enjoy it (thankfully it samples “Ashley’s Roachclip”, which is used on Eric B & Rakim's "Paid In Full" among others, so maybe I’m just enjoying its origins...see 3:31 here), but man this show was baaaaad. I never thought I'd miss the days of RATM bassists climbing the set and Courtey Love yelling about drugs. As usual, fourfour sums it up perfectly...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I just had a long conversation with a co-worker, a woman about twenty years older than me who is like this calm, benevolent mom of the office. She always sees both sides of issues so I can talk to her rationally about pretty much anything. I brought up catching some of the Republican National Convention last night for the pure entertainment value, and I mentioned how hard it is for me to get involved in anything political, since I get a robotic, disingenuous vibe from about 90% of statements politicians make. It creeps me out that there are people’s entire lives that are dedicated to pleasing (i.e. lying to) large numbers of people, namely people who’s jobs consist of twisting the same situations to represent different things (from both parties). Bizarre. I really pride myself on being able to see both sides of a situation, but last night it was very, very hard. I mentioned that Giuliani and Palin’s speeches were particularly weird since statements like “clinging to religion” were met with screams of pleasure from a bunch of old white ladies in straw hats, among other things. But our IT guy made it clear that he thought the exact opposite – that the Democrats had a negative vibe and the Republicans were merely celebratory. I made some neutral comment to try to diffuse the situation while my other coworker and I made “what the fuck” eyes at each other. Yikes. He’s also suuuper into Jesus. I just hope he doesn’t block my internet access.

Anyway, here are some things I learned from 20 minutes of the Republican National Convention:

John McCain can “protect us from anything nature throws our way”. Next tornado warning, he better be here doing some ridiculous shit.

Todd (“Second Dude”?), Padge (or whatever the older son’s name is), and the rest of the Palins look like all the douchey jocks from high school. Yes, I’m judging them based on appearance. Todd.

The shots of Giuliani in front of the water looked almost exactly like the bad CGI shots of Wyckyd Scepter performing “Getting the Shaft Again” for all those gay guys.

Roberta McCain, mom of John McCain, is still alive. Wow!

Calls for offshore drilling from Giuliani will be met with chants of “DRILL BABY DRILL” followed by his maniacal laughter and Joker-like smile.

The kid who knocked up her daughter looked freaked the fuck out. It ruled.

One random old man likes to wear his baseball hat backwards. It was kinda cute.

After that it started to get unsettling, so we watched Bear Grylls eat a raw sheep’s heart after pulling its body from a peat bog. It wasn’t that much different…

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

Religion, however, was not strictly a thread in Palin's foreign policy. It was part of her energy proposals as well. Just prior to discussing Iraq, Alaska's governor asked the audience to pray for another matter -- a $30 billion national gas pipeline project that she wanted built in the state. "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she said.

Friday, August 29, 2008

End of Summer

I love the beginning of school year buzz…buying supplies, teachers coming back, work getting crazy, etc. And I’m very much looking forward to classes starting again for me next week. But with summer ending, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather as much as possible. A few weekends ago we went up to Fremont with Russ’s sister, her boyfriend, and some of her friends, and it was just beautiful. Not much is better than sitting around a campfire at night and waking up in your tent with a view of the lake. Saturday morning we woke up and were told everyone was going out on the boat, so we packed up coolers and sunscreen and headed out. We parked at a sandbar with a bunch of other boats and hung out and drank all day. It was Wisconsin boating for sure! Besides the sunburn and a sore ass from tubing, it was a great time. On the way home on Sunday, Russ and I decided to take a detour and try to find summer camp I went every summer for most of my childhood. I hadn’t been there in ten years, but with the help of a gas station dude in Waupaca, we found our way. I was a little worried about just walking around the campground, but this was a Christian camp, so what were they going to do, kick us out?! But the grounds were quiet so we explored, found the cabin I used to stay in, and sat with our feet in the amazingly clear lake. It was so overwhelming to go back to a place I had such strong memories of…I could remember exactly when and where things happened as we walked around. When we got home I called my mom and thanked her for sending me there for a couple weeks a year.

Last weekend was interesting…we threw a bachelorette party for Calfa, one of our first friends to get married, and it was out of hand. Lots of drinks, a man dancer, and a stretch Escalade filled with 15 girls and ODB (via CD). The next morning I went to Russ’s sister’s wedding shower which was considerably more laid back, but a lot of fun. That night my brother called and said he passed his black belt test in Jujutsu that day (so awesome), so we met him at a festival across the street from him. We grabbed drinks from the house and a cover band was playing Rush and Yes medleys (and well!), so it ended up being a surprise party night...I think I was the only one who made it to work on time the next morning.Also saw some shows...Melvins/Big Business and Testament were particularly good.

I’m off at 11:30 today and then we’re heading back up north with Monica and Franjo for one last camping/Dells excursion before school begins. I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brett Favre is an ass.

A quote from the humble Brett Favre:

Said Favre: “Them moving on does not bother me. It doesn’t. I totally understand that. By me retiring March 3rd I knew that could possibly happen. All I was saying is you know I’m thinking about playing again."

Could possibly happen???!! Ugh. I've stopped watching news in an effort to avoid hearing about it. You would think this was all that was happening in Wisconsin.

"It's tempting just to, as everyone said, you know, call their bluff or whatever," Favre said. "I think it's going to be a circus in itself already, whether I go there, whatever."

Please let him go have a few mediocre seasons somewhere else!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's July 10th and just now feeling like summer. I think I filled my quota of Summerfest trips this year, which revolved around seeing RUSH. I was so excited for this tour, and everything seemed to fall into place. I had a temporary freak out when Jesse called me and said the tickets he had been promised fell through, but at least I had an entire day to find other tickets, so I placed a desperate craigslist ad and got a promising reply from "Jeff", who was getting rid of 4 decent seats at face value. Yes! So Russ and I drove to Planet Marky and took the shuttle bus (a schoolbus you can drink on) from there to the fair grounds. The bus made one more stop at another bar on the way, and I looked up to see Jesse walking out of the door! Awesome. And some random hesher immediately lit a joint and shared it, which the bus driver didn't seem to care about at all! We arrived and met up with "Jeff", who was nice if a bit weird, got the tickets, grabbed a beer, and went into the Marcus...
( Photos, etc... )

So good. Our second trip to Summerfest was to see the Gin Blossoms. Seriously. They have (had?) some beautiful songs and I was hoping to relive some sort of mid-90's evening...turns out it was just old guys struggling to keep up with mid-paced alternative songs. But it was nostalgic enough to be fun, and this happened! Poor guy. But yeah, the older I get the less tolerance I have for Summerfest at midnight. It's the most annoying drunken people soup ever...even if I'm drunk.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A recommendation for your week - download and listen to a TED talk on your way to work each morning. They're about 15 minutes each and are a hell of a lot more fun and interesting than Milwaukee talk radio.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I saw The Happening over the weekend, and even though it sucked beyond belief, I’m happy I saw it. The premise was intriguing…angry plants releasing a toxin causing humans to kill themselves (apparently the toxin contains a “in the most violent way possible” element), but our better nature can stop it from happening. Kind of. For the main characters. It could have been creepy and emotional. It was pretty much the exact opposite of that.

But over the past week, it’s provided more entertainment and conversation than most average movies. So many logic-defying scenarios and bad lines to talk about. I enjoyed that Marky Mark mentioned “good vibes” during the movie. M. Night claims it was supposed to be a B movie, but I doubt he meant it to be this bad. The mood in the theater was more of disbelief. A high school kid in front of me kept slapping his forehead when the characters did something dumb, which was often. I seriously advise that you rent this, just so you can understand how ridiculous it was. I’m thinking it must have been intentional, because I can’t fathom a group of people ok’ing this movie with the idea that it was tense or well-made in any way.

In an effort to save you from wasting $9 on The Happening, I’ve assembled the most entertaining pieces of dialogue:

"It makes you kill yourself. Just when you thought there couldn't be any more evil invented!"

"Why are you giving me one useless piece of information at a time?"

"We're so much the same, Jess. I don't like to show my emotions, either."

(Watching tigers maul a man) "What kind of terrorists are these?"

"C'mon, buddy. Get interested in science!"

"Can you believe how crappy people are?"

“You eyein’ my lemon drink?”

“Central Park? That’s kinda odd.”

"She's on a bus going to New Jersey. To the city of Princeton."

"Are you going to murder me in my sleep?”

"What? No! Maam I'm a teacher, I would never do such a thing.”

"Oh, it's the army. We're saved!"

"Elliott's resilient, isn't he?"

"We're not assholes!"

(Long after fatal wind has been established) "Close the windows and the doors." "Why?"

(Car drives up) “Look, there’s a car.”

“We’re normal, you can tell that by our voices."

"The house looks abandoned...the windows are boarded up. We should stop here to get some food."

"Nothing happened...Could this really be happening?"

“Something seems to be happening.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June is a always an emotional time in a school district, but this year has been especially hard for me since two (out of three) of the school psychologists I work with are retiring. Two of them just hugged me and left, and we made plans to get together, and I tried to just keep working, but it’s hard. These are people I spent at least an hour a day talking to…people I shared things with that I’ve only shared with my immediate family. I would ask them a question instead of giving me a short, easy answer we’d talk for 45 minutes. They were such a source of knowledge for special education and pretty much any family/relationship/life issue I needed some guidance on. Ultimately, I’m extremely grateful that I worked with both of them for as long as I did, learned a lot, and have a wonderful example to base my future on. It still sucks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Interesting things have been happening since I got back from a Colorado mini-vacation with my family: I sang "I Wanna Sex You Up" at karaoke, saw Megadeth and new In Flames (they played like one pre-Clayman song! what?), and we drunkenly danced at the goth bar (yikes). I blame alcohol. But somehow I got my paper/presentation done in time for my Monday night class, so my first semester of grad school is done. We celebrated last night by seeing Opeth and Dream Theater in a beautiful theater outside of Chicago...we walked in to see a huge chandelier, double staircase, valet parking, and tons of security. It was wonderful and weird. In Milwaukee there’s usually one dude standing outside in a Pantera shirt and you can openly smoke weed at pretty much any venue. This was not the case. The last time I saw Opeth was on a makeshift stage at Metalfest 2000, so it was great to hear them in a quality venue. They played ALL post-Still Life material, which was a little disappointing, but “The Drapery Falls”, “In My Time of Need”, and “Wreath” were absolutely beautiful, and the new song got me excited about the upcoming album. Oh, and their new keyboard player was the fucking best…he was going off the whole time!! I love musicians who headbang on unconventionally headbanging instruments…I always like seeing the Deftones because Abe Cunningham goes off the whole time Mick Harris style. :)

I think if I listened to Dream Theater more I would probably worship them, but their personality has always kind of turned me off. They opened the show with a video tribute to themselves. Yeah. And they played their new video, which I think is about flying vampire lovers in the future? But I thoroughly enjoyed their set and the crowd was a lot like Rush crowds (i.e. single men with a shirt on of the band they’re seeing). The kid next to me was talking about how he hoped there would be a lot of keyboard solos…awwww. There were!

I had to grab a photo of this on the way out. And they're Wisconsin plates!

Seeing Opeth and In Flames recently has made me realize how long its been since I’ve bought albums from certain bands…to me, their last albums were Blackwater Park and Clayman. It doesn’t seem that long ago...

Monday, May 05, 2008

I am so happy to have found this clip this morning. We were watching Top Chef this weekend and came across an awesome example of bad reality show editing/product placement after the fact. I see this all the time on ANTM - a drastic shift in audio quality mixed with reaction shots that don't match at all...get some better editors! Thankfully we were at my parents' house and they have TiVo, because this was worth rewinding many, many times...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

God, fuck the Spurs and fuck Pennsylvania. I shouldn't have had that last shot last night post-Hate I'm all surly and there's too much work here to feel like that. But not enough to stop me from some random Wednesday thoughts:

I want a gif of seconds 3:58 to 4:00 of this.

These will eventually become self-aware and take over the world.

I wonder if I can get Agalloch for our kidergarteners?

I'm glad this got made just for these scenes.

Hi Liza, I work with retarded children also. And laugh at musical theater majors.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do not rent Shortbus. You may be lured by the promise of "real people" having "real sex" on camera, but trust me, what follows is not worth an hour and a half of your time. It's a half assed version of both a porn movie and independent film, and it does neither well. It's basically a bunch of self absorbed people who occasionally fuck each other, and you won't care about any of them. After watching the extras I found out the actors and partners were cast before anything was written, and it shows. The story is second to the director wanting to film people boning. What's more - for all the sex, this is one of the least erotic movies I've seen. It think it actually turned me off. That may be because I can't relate: gay dudes having blowjob circles, drag queens, "open" couples. Fine, great, but at least make me care about the people. I wanted some sort of realistic love story sprinkled with sex. No luck! But it had sweet enough intentions, even if they didn't go very deep. And I was impressed by the one guy's ability to fellate himself.

Thank you fourfour!! (this is a gay man I can relate to) I will to make some time this weekend to enjoy the My So-Called Life box set I got for Christmas, but I want to stretch it out as long as possible...

Friday, April 11, 2008

I got this email this morning:

Amanda-Got final word. She will be out June first and you are in. Hope this is OK. Let me know for sure.

I said yes, but asked him to meet me to discuss details and sign a lease. Hopefully this is the last bump in the apartment road and I'll be moving in on June 1st. :)

It's interesting how easy it is to talk yourself out of something that's unavailable to you. I was so pumped about this place, then I had to un-pump myself, so getting it now is a little anticlimactic. I spent the last week convincing myself it was for the best, it was on a busy street, I will find something better, etc. and now I have to put all that enegy back into getting excited about it!

This search has also showed me how hard it is to make a decision when faced with so many choices. I have this problem with most choices, no matter how small. Salad dressing, kleenex, pens...I spend waaaay too much time staring at shelves and weighing my options. I truly think these tiny choices are going to affect the quality of my daily life, so I want to make the right decision. This problem just gets worse when I have to make a more serious decision...thankfully I usually have strong feelings either way immediately.

The fact is most people make crap decisions because we don't have enough information or are overwhelmed by the amount of it. Maybe this can help?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Got this one from the landlord who bailed on me:

Amanda- Do you still want the apt. if I can swing it?

Swing it?! What does that even mean? Did the other girl change her mind? Are you going on forceably remove her from the place? Are just a insane flake? Hmmm. And I had just gotten over this place and mentally pumped myself up to find something else. But of course I still want the apartment.

Also got this nice one from my favorite UWW professor:

Hi Amanda, It sounds to me that you have made a wise decision--which, of course, I would expect from you. Teaching is a delight, even if one can work some Heidegger into the classroom ( I-am- currently-doing -Heidegger- in -Contemporary-Philosophy. I am even planning of bringing Being to the next class!)

I hope that your life keeps going well.


From: Amanda
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 3:40 PM
To: Cartwright
Subject: Changes...

Hello Professor Cartwright! I wanted to thank you once again for your letter of recommendation - I was indeed accepted into the program at Marquette, but have since decided to pursue my master's and certification in special education. I'm currently working for a school district and my experiences here have led me into the classroom. I'm taking classes part time and am very much looking forward to teaching. Maybe I can work some Heidegger into my lessons. :)I hope you had a good year and enjoy your summer.

Sincerely, Amanda


As someone who has always struggled with indecision, this article was especially interesting...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Finally got to see some shows over the seems like it's been a long time since national tours have come through. We caught Monstrosity and Today is the Day at seperate shows in one night, which made me very happy. Monstrosity sounded great, probably because I haven't seen a straightforward death metal show in a while and I'm nostalgic about them. I'm always worried about seeing bands I've loved for a long time on these semi-reunion/new lineup tours, but they were solid.

I also had my heart broken by an apartment. The situation pretty much consumed my brain for the rest of the weekend. I saw it on Friday night and it was perfect...hardwood floors, arches ceilings, new bathroom, above a storefront, etc. The landlord said it was available in June, so I went back home and got my lease extended a month, and called the new landlord to confirm. He said it was mine, and that we'd get the paperwork done when he got back from vacation. I was so excited about it...we had a little celebration dinner, and I started planning the move. I stopped by my mom's on Saturday morning all gun ho to get things done and I discovered an email from the new landlord saying the current tenant had decided to stay for another year. Fuck. My heart sank and I spent the next few hours laying around watching Top Chef in a zombie state. I was so disappointed. Russ had a party that night, so that temporarily took my mind off things, but I've been thinking about it since.

I think I've built this place up in my mind so much that it's going to be hard for me to find another apartment. So I woke up yesterday and decided that I was going to make a last ditch effort to get it. I called the guy and calmly explained my situation. He was very apologetic and said he might have another place available. We talked for a while and I'm feeling better about it. Maybe I just needed to hear him say he was an asshole. Meanwhile, my apartment is up for rent, so the search is still on. Craigslist has been funny...I placed an ad and got the most ridiculous responses - "Come live in my extra bedroom for $800 a month! I'm a 47-year-old male! You pay utilities!" - but I am not giving up. (...if anyone knows of a cute place in the Wauwautosa/West Allis area, let me know...)

New Office on Thursday! And look at this little...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This has been a brutally dull work week, made worse by the fact that the woman whose desk is next to mine has been acting extra crazy. She's clipping her nails, coddling her college-age children (after high school, no one should be making your doctor appointments but you), and telling me what moles she's getting removed. I'm trying hard not to seem completely uninterested, but it's hard. At least I have these blogs to keep me entertained. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have found's like musically walking through my formative years. Prior to metal, all I listened to was early 90's hip hop and R&B. I also wore purple jeans and Starter Jackets, but I'm not going to get into that. My renewed interest also comes from something Russ and I did last week. We went out on Tuesday for some drinks, and since he played a few 90's hits on the jukebox, we made a list of all the 90's alternative bands we could think bar close, it was at 60+ bands, and I continued to pump many dollars into their ripoff of an itnernet jukebox to hear more three minute songs. But it was really fun to remember them with someone who had the same experience you did. He also pointed out how beautful and simple the subject matter was...all Reality Bites-type stuff about love and coffee and whatnot. I'll have to take a photo of our list and share it. But I've found a few of my favorite 90's songs from the Z. Cavarici days..

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, !!!

These make me so happy.Anyway...the weekend was nice. I was when I woke up on Friday looking forward to a productive day off and found my car (and everything else) completely snowed in. I tried to move it for about 10 minutes with no luck and went back inside defeated. I didn't leave the house again until Saturday morning when I was scheduled to take the Praxis I test. All certified teachers in the state of Wisconsin take need to take Praxis I and II, and if you don't pass, you don't continue in the program, so I was a little nervous. I think it was mostly due to the uber intense test environment...they make you show ID, sign all these forms swearing not to distribute test information, lock all your possessions in a tiny locker, make you show your ID again in the pre-test wrangle area, give you earplugs, and sit you down in a room full of others freaking out in tiny cubicles. Once I got rolling though, it was fun. For some reason, I've always liked taking tests...I think that's why I did so much better in college than I did in high school. And I scored high, so I was happy. Saturday night we had our annual family egg dying party, and dyed 8 dozen eggs! After that we did normal Saturday night stuff...played bar trivia and drank.

We watched Dan In Real Life a few nights ago, and while not much like real life, it was sweet enough to be enjoyable. Any movie that includes Steve Carell dancing is one worth seeing. :) Also watched No Country For Old Men again over the weekend, and the more I see that movie, the more I'm amazed at it. I was reminded of Kundera's writing style...a parable-ish story mixed with thoughts on the bigger picture and how people deal with it. And NCFOM's themes have been on my mind for a long while.

Recent Purchases:
I Like You by Amy Sedaris
Is There No Place On Earth For Me? by Susan Sheehan (on the recommendation of Ms. Sedaris) In The Woods - Omino
Ulver - Shadows of the Sun (so heartbreaking I can barely listen to it)
Soilwork - Stabbing The Drama (total guilty pleasure)
Primordial - The Gathering Wilderness
Edge of Sanity - Crimson (re-buy after I lost did I go so long without it?!!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Education is a tough field to work in. I spent the morning hand delivering a letter of termination to a teacher at the high school. It was semi-justified, but a parent pretty much forced the administration's hand. Occasionally something like this happens and I find myself second guessing my choices, but I just need to push through and realize that if I'm a good teacher, the insanity will be minimal. But levels of scrutiny and accountability are high, especially in special education, but I've seen good teachers get reamed by parents. I'm worried that it will affect me emotionally, since I don't deal with conflict well. But since I currently work in the administration office, I only see the problems, and I need to keep some perspective and realize that 95% of families are not completely unstable. Hopefully they'll fall somewhere between neglect and this. Sometimes I think I should just take off and spend my life frosting cakes somewhere, though.

Is it weird that I really don't care about Eliot Spitzer's infidelity? Sure, if I were his wife I'd be devastated, but I've never really been surprised or outraged when I find out that people of influence are boning on the side. It won't affect my life, and it probably wouldn't have affected his ability to do his job. I never understood why religion and sex are such huge issues when it comes to politics. Beyond the fact that he broke the law, I think it's something that's completely between him and his wife. Poor woman.

I just got an email from Frommer's saying "Explore Delaware, Inside and Out". All I can think is this. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In my quest to find a winter weekend getaway, I came across this awesome hotel about two hours west of here in Dodgeville, WI. I think my favorite is "Tranquility Base - Featuring a recreaion of a Gemini Space Capsule, "moon crate" whirlpool, VCR and CD player". Make sure you click on each room name and get the 360 degree tour - it seriously looks like they just paper mache'd half that stuff!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I just had an observation at the middle school to gather some info for my case study, and it was pretty intense bunch of 6th graders. There were three EBD kids in the class, and they're at this weird hormonal stage where, as Louis CK said on Friday night, "they're fucking everything in your house when you're not home". It seems like they just don't know what to do with themselves, and three boys were just antagonizing the poor teacher. When I tell people what I'm going to school for, they usually give me a look like "you really want to do that?", quickly realize they're making that face, and then act happy for me. It's strange when someone else's nightmare is exactly what you want to be doing. I really like my classes so far. The main difference I've noticed about grad school, and especially in this field, is that it involves so much more experience and research. It's fun, but frustrating because I'm not in the classroom full time, I still have to schedule observations and interviews along with work. Thankfully the district is really flexible about it.

I finally saw There Will Be Blood on Tuesday night (a heavy snow made for a perfect night of lone movie watching) and I think I've become a little obsessed with it. I keep going over it in my mind, and want to see it again as soon as possible. It was really affecting, but completely unlike most movies that stay on my mind this long. This and No Country For Old Men seem to have started a little controversy, mainly about their unconventional endings, but those appealed to me, and the performances, aesthetics, and themes alone are enough to make them wonderful. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis is still unbelieveably sexy. I think I need to see The Last of the Mohicans again.

The weather seems to have everyone down, so I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend before another foot of snow hits us on Sunday. A few links for a slow Friday morning...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If I never have to see another local newscast with a guy standing outside demonstrating that it snowed (no shit), I'll be happy. I love the snow, but the coverage is ridiculous. I wasn't even aware that that tornadoes had killed 50+ in the south until I caught it on The Today Show this morning. Ugh. I should get cable. But it was nice to be snowed in, off work, and without obligations. We took a little walk to the store and it was fun to be frolicking in waist high snow.

Oh, and I caught a minute of Oprah and it just confirmed my Oprah hate. I mean, she does some good things, but she's clearly so removed from the real world that it makes it almost impossible to relate to anything she says. She had a show called "The Secret Behind The Secret" yesterday, and all these weirdo life coach ladies were giving their perspective on it. Now I completely believe in the power of positivity as a force in your life, but it works because it changes your actions, the way you treat others, your outlook, and how you live your life. This seems like common sense. I just believe that it comes from you, and you have to take action as opposed to sending out thoughts and hoping good things just happen to you.

But anyway, Oprah told a story about a recent experience with her magical thoughts. She was reflecting on a show she did about a professional bubble blower, and how much she wanted to blow bubbles herself. Yeah. At that moment, she walked into her foyer and found a bubble kit, complete with bubbles and a silver Tiffany bubble blower. Oprah asked her assistant where bubbles had come from, and her assistant said it was a birthday present she had given her a while ago. Oprah's reaction to this was "And I never knew it was there until I actively thought about bubbles!" or something to that effect.

So this story illustrated two things:

1) Oprah is an asshole who is unaware of a birthday gift from her assistant until it occurs to her that she wants it.

2) Oprah is an asshole who believes that her positive thoughts brought her a fucking Tiffany bubble blower.

I could name about 10 other instances off the top of my head that proves how out of touch she is, but it's too early in the morning to get annoyed.

One more day... :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm trying to buy Rush pre-sale tickets right now, but I'm really just torturing myself since after buying textbooks last night, I have zero dollars. I'm just going to be patient and hope good tickets become available closer to the show. Between brokers, pre-sales, radio stations, etc. it seems super hard to get good seats to shows. And online ticket buying is so frustrating...I remember standing in line with my mom to buy tickets to one of my first shows (Live and PJ Harvey in 95 I think? heh) and getting awesome seats by just being there. No more!

The weekend was nice...went to Lee's for drinks on Friday night, and saw Cloverfield at The Rosebud on Saturday. I left wondering why I didn't go to The Rosebud earlier. The kids working there were so nice, and where else can you cuddle on a velvet loveseat while drinking a beer and tea and watching a movie on the big screen? It was wonderful. The movie was good...visually entertaining, but I found out about all the viral marketing/backstory stuff after I saw it, and it seemed ridiculous. I think I would have been disappointed if I had spent time looking into a story that had nothing to do with the fairly simple movie. But the "massive creature attacks city" aspect was more than enough to keep me interested.

There Will Be Blood starts at The Rosebud on Friday - go see it!! Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis. I can't wait.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I mistakenly passed my normal turn while driving to dinner today, and ended up passing a park where I spent a lot of time as a kid. Since it's pretty much a big bowl, a beautiful fog had settled in it. Thankfully I had my camera and spent about an hour enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. ( photos are here... )

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Since the holidays whacked everything out, I’ve been more aware of the regularity of my schedule lately, and I’m actually enjoying it. Mondays I play in a pool league, Wednesdays we have ladies night, and Tuesdays and Thursdays I (try to) go to the gym and spend time with Russ. I’m also going to make a habit of visiting the library once a week. This will serve the dual purpose of preventing my usual ridiculous fines (about $40 last time) and keeping me reading. I’ve been coming across so much I want to read lately, but funds are minimal. Why do I not immediately think of the library?! There’s a huge one right near my house that I worked at all through high school, and I need to take advantage of it. There are so many excellent resources out there that we should be using! Here…let’s all get a free MIT education.

Oh, and I start graduate courses in 12 days. I’m super excited, but also anxious. I know enough about special education theory and I know I’ll enjoy the classes, but putting it into practice will be new for me.