Saturday, August 06, 2005

Homeward Bound

Now the fun begins!

I think I’ve got a shot at two different apartments. Here’s the breakdown:

#1 –

· Old place

· Unseen dog (owner says he was being a bit of a spaz today, so he was in the master bedroom)

· Crazy Expensive

· One couple in the master bedroom, a guy (with my first name) in the other single room

· 1.5 baths shared by all

· 1 year lease

· Folks who live there seem a bit geeky, which is good


· Slightly older place

· Seen dog who seemed a bit spooked to have me coming in there smelling like cat, but otherwise nice and cute

· More crazy expensive

· One couple in the master bedroom and a gal who just graduated in the other single room

· 2 baths – one of which I would share with said gal

· 3 month minimum 24 month max month to month lease

· Gorgeous location

· Folks who live there seem a bit ‘cooler’ than I care to be, but nice

I really hate this whole hunting process, when I eventually try to buy a house I’m no doubt going to be apoplectic. I always feel like I’m begging for them to accept me – that somehow this is all a validation or condemnation of me as a person. That guy had a little bit of a southern accent, should I play up the time I’ve spent in the south? That guy mentioned that he likes baseball, should I play up that I’m one of the university team photographers? I understand that it’s nerve-wracking for them too, trying to weed out the felons and psychotics and such with only a brief meeting, but in the end, they still have the house. I’ve got jack. Except for promises that I’ll pay them every month and that I won’t put bottles in the garbage disposal (apparently a problem with a previous tenant).

In any case, I’ve seen both places. I would be willing to take either one, but I’d prefer #2 mainly because of the lease length. Now I just sit back and pray that someone calls back and gives me an offer. I probably won’t find out until next weekend, and isn’t that grand, because I’m going to be on the other side of the world by then. So if neither of these goes through I’m going to string up a hammock in the office.

Friday, August 05, 2005

In Praise of Taxpayers

On a tangentially related note, I received the last of my GI Bill money and I just wanted to thank all you generous taxpayers for underwriting a portion of my education. I think this is another opportunity to say Yea Government!

We so very seldom talk about things that the government does well. I certainly think the GI Bill is an outstanding program. I only wish there were other outlets of service besides the armed forces that a young person could take advantage of to receive a similar stipend.

And so, again, I thank you all,

You MUST Pay the Rent! I CAN'T Pay the Rent!

The rental hunt goes on. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I was insanely lucky in finding the place where I am right now. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that in any new place I’m going to be paying significantly more than what I’m paying now. That doesn’t mean I am going to be happy about it. I should be numb to this by now though. I mean, once you’ve taken out student loans equaling the GDP of most African nations, what’s a little more debt among friends?

I’ve got one meeting tomorrow to go and see a place that looks good on paper, but it’s a full year lease, and I don’t like that much. On the plus side, it’s very near where I’m living now, and I really like the area. It’s a three bedroom job with 2 roommates already installed.

Roommates. Can I please get to a point in my life where I can afford to live alone, or at least with people whom I choose to live with rather than a selection of the ‘it could be worse’ crowd?

This is definitely a time where it would be nice to have a car. ‘Course a car payment plus insurance plus gas would probably cancel out any savings I would have on rent by living further away.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Link Dump - Jittery Novak Edition

We all know that we’re headed to hell in a handbasket, but it’s important to know the people stepping on the gas pedal. In our handbasket. That is going to hell. With us inside it.

Ok, so the imagery’s shot. Work with me, people.

Passed along by the fish, but seemingly old news to folks more on top of dystopian futures than I am is the new Conservative Comic (shouldn’t it be Konservative Komic?) Liberality. I’ll let them dig their own hole here:

It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. America is under oppression by ultra-liberal extremists which have yielded governing authority to the United Nations. It is up to an underground conservative group (known as F.O.I.L.) led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden’s plans to nuke New York City.

Although I will note that apparently Sean,G.G., and Oli are cyberneticaly enhanced.


Next on the hit parade is a bit more up to date. During a show on CNN with Carville, Mr. Novak seemed to go a bit batty. Well, more batty than usual. He just said that it was all bullshit and left. (It should be noted that he left to stage right, but we probably could have guessed that). CNN has asked that he "take some time off." Current speculation is that:

A: He knew he was going to get drilled on Plame and Rove so he found a way to duck out

B: He is suffering a nervous breakdown and/or

C: He was drunk off of kiester (I can’t believe that Word doesn’t have this work in spellcheck (ask and the internets provide, glory be to the Randomhouse)).

D: CNN's been trying to nudge him out of their network for awhile, and this is a convenient excuse for them both.

Interesting thoughts all around.

Speaking of batty politicos, Kim Jong-il hit eleven holes-in-one when he played golf for the first time. I’m thinking he should go on the tour and use the winnings to feed his country, or buy a nuke or two – ya know, whichever’s easier.

Ok, politics are over, you can open your eyes now.

Have you ever thought that the alphabet is a bit, well… unstylish? I think that there is good cause to take another look at the lowly letters with which we’ve all be saddled. Changes are needed!

In Which Our Hero Discovers A New Trail

14.14km – 1:23’40”

Well, it turns out that I’ve been running a bit of a shortcut in my campus loops run. I came around the corner following another couple of runners and they seemed to dart off into the bushes. I glanced in after them and ‘lo I did behold an entirely new (to me) loop of trail that I could tack on each and every one of my beloved loops. So now each loop that was a little over 2km is now 3km-ish. Yea! So I decided that I could run the same-ish distance in 3 loops that I used to do in 4. Also yea! But, when I got done with three loops, I thought – Hey, what the hell, I’ve got new shoes! So I ran another loop and ended up with a little over 14 kilometers (8.79 miles). Wow. I haven’t run that far in a long long time. My breath is staying good, and my heartrate is getting a bit lower. I'm still getting used to the shoes, so I've got a blister or two and had a brief hint of shin splints, but that went away pretty quickly. All I'm getting that lasts is the muscle burn, so that's good indeed!

Now for all of you nattering nabobs that are thinking Wow, Mr. Overread, don’t you think that this running thing might be eating a bit too much into your schedule? I answer, Yes. Indeed it is. It’s a method not only for losing weight (which isn’t working as long as I keep eating the way I do), but also avoidance of work! What a stroke of genius!


Running should only be attempted under the direction of a physician or other capable physical trainer. In a small sampling or runners, there have been a few instances of pain, broken bones, lacerations, sleeplessness, loss of bowel control, spelling problems, purchasing of overpriced accessories, unnatural desire for cheesecake of the photographic and gastronomic varieties, and death, and saying silly things like 'Hazaah!'

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Forward... Penguin!

Yum! There’s a big block party out here. I’m such a lightweight. One margarita and I’m warm.

I did see March of the Penguins today, and it was pretty good. I’m going to probably suffer both slings and arrows when I say I wasn’t really blown away though. I think it’s another case of expectations vs. reality. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it, but with all the talk, I thought it might be better.

I do understand now what people are saying about there being a bit too much personification, and I tend to agree. Now I’m a guy who is genetically unable to refer to a pet as an ‘it,’ but I think they take it a bit too far when they talk about the penguins as devastated or ecstatic or such. Even if I left devastated by watching the penguins loose a chick, it would have been much more powerful to let the film speak for itself, rather than force very charged words into the mind of the penguin.

That being said, even though it was shot in some horrible conditions (and portions of the film show it), it’s a beautiful film. It’s a great story more than a great documentary, but if that’s what you are looking for, you can’t do much better. The penguins are also wonderfully cute and resilliant. It's easy to see why they hold the filmakers personification as well as they do.

March of the Penguins 7/10


There was a trailer for the new version of Pride and Prejudice. It looks pretty good. Kiera Knightley is gorgeous and all, but is it wrong that I’m in love with Judi Dench?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Don't Know Why - I'm Just a Hairy Guy

Let’s hear it for maintenance day!

Laundry’s done, and there’s a haircut on the horizon.

I was also told to “pleae bring over a suite and a swimming pant” for the trip to Lala-land. I’m flattered that they think I can bring a whole suite over there. I’ll probably go for a pair of swimming trunks instead of just one swimming pant, too. I hope that will be ok.

Actually, the funny thing is that I don’t even have a suit. The last time I wore a suit was back when I was working in an office in NYC. That was about a decade ago. So, I guess I need to pick up a suite… er, a suit before I head out. I’ll actually probably just get a jacket and the other standard gear.

I’m in a very casual world out here. I feel pretty happy to realize that I don’t even have a tie in my apartment, but I do need to start building a more professional wardrobe. Later on, I’m going to be in trouble if someone asks me to be presentable, especially if I end up in a more conservative university when I leave.

Along similar lines, Stewgad had some points about dressing in the classroom that are really interesting. I agree that things seem to be more difficult in the wardrobe department for women. Even the most oblivious guy (for whom I might be mistaken) can just go down to the store and pick up a sports coat and some slacks, and be fine.

At least I’m banking on that.

Monday, August 01, 2005

It's Got To Be The Shoes

11.17km – 1:05’07”

New shoes today. I went ahead with Nike, because I couldn’t find anything better that actually fit. I’ve got teeny tiny little girly feet, and apparently none of the shoe makers see fit to put out many shoes in my size. So, Nike it is, and sweatshops be damned (the label tells me that the slave labor for these shoes came from Vietnam, so a hearty cam on to whoever built them).

I have to say though I really like them though. They’re a long sight better than the beat up things I was wearing last week.

Only problem is that I forgot the cardinal rule of new shoes: Take it easy while you break them in. I guess 11km isn’t taking it easy (I still blame Profgrrrrl).

Anyway, I’m working on a blister or three and I rolled my ankle a bit on the last loop, so I’m waiting to see how nasty that gets.

Easy Come, Easy Go(ing)...

Oh my, things can get ugly, can’t they?

Much drama has erupted about the TA slot in the fall.

For those of you playing at home, here’s the box score:

Fall – no chance for a TA slot. Don’t even try.
Summer (mid) – Congratulations! You’re a TA
Summer (mid +1 week) – umm… about that TA slot… how about maybe?

· Seriously, all the grief was only because of a couple of miscommunications (email, natch). It’s clear that everyone is acting in their own best interests and not out of spite or venom, which does make things a bit easier. As of today though, word is that I don’t have the position, but I’m still in the running against folks from the other department. The feeling I get is that I won’t get this job, but I’ll gain a lot of brownie points to be turned in later for… umm… brownies?

· My biggest worry is if I get the job but tick off a good number of folks I’ll have to work with in the process. That never ends well. Everyone I know that's in this process is good folk, and I really don't want to make waves with this. People tell me that I can be too accomadating at times, and I'm sure that I could press this much harder than I am, but I don't think it would help my chances, and I'm sure it would make enemies that I don't need.

· I didn’t plan on having the income, so I can survive without it, but it would make things a lot easier (especially with the fact that wherever I end up renting in the fall, it’ll be more expensive than where I am now).

· My argument about being more versed in Gruub still stands. I have no doubt that anyone they could get from the other department would be capable, but wouldn’t you want a TA who studies Gruub for a class in Gruub?