June 28, 2005

Fictional Characters

The question of the day is this: What fictional character(s) do you most want to emulate? (In other words, which fictional character(s) do you most want to be like?)

There are two fictional characters that I find myself wanting to imitate these days. Most of you will not be surprised to learn that they are Pratchett characters. The first is Granny Weatherwax and the other is Sam Vimes. Sorry, but the official Pratchett site doesn't list the characters seperately, so you'll have to scroll down to read their descriptions. Basically, they are both good guys who would rather be bad, but they can't be bad because they know they have to be good. Otherwise, they'll be completely lost, and they know it. So partially, I already am like these two characters. I can be quite a force, and whether for good or for evil has yet to be determined, but so far, it's for good.

They're so complex, and I find myself wanting to be like them because both of them know when to bend the rules, when to follow the rules, and when to beat other people over the head with the rules.

Also, they always win. This is very important because I like to win. And I don't mean at board games; I mean at the stuff that matters. They fight evil, and it looks like they'll never be able to pull it off, and they are nearly beaten, and then they win by sheer force of will.

They're not superheros (because, let's face it, I'm never going to be able to leap tall buildings or shoot laser beams out of my eyes), but they save the world on a regular basis by doing the best they can because they feel that it's their duty to do so.

I guess I feel these are heros I can emulate because I already have some of their qualities. I've always considered some of these qualities weaknesses, but these two characters have turned them into strengths.

So, there are my favorite characters. Who do you want to imitate? (And Jesus is not an acceptable answer. It probably goes without saying that if you're a Christian you feel compelled to answer "Jesus" whenever anyone asks you a question about character imitation. So, let's just lay it on the table that many of us would most want to be like Jesus, but he's not an option because if you are a Christian, you don't believe he's fictional, so we have to choose someone else today.) What fictional character do you want to be like and why?

Posted by LoWriter at 07:50 AM | Comments (6)

June 27, 2005

Public Speaking

I feel that if there were ever an arguement against freedom of speech, Tom Cruise is it. The man should have to apply for a permit everytime he wants to open his mouth in public. I don't care if he talks in the privacy of his own home (he can wear a little house arrest bracelet so that we're sure he's there), but I wish that the rest of us would never have to be subjected to the idiocy streaming from his lips again.

I used to like Tom Cruise. Never in the "he's so hot" way that most of my peers did, but in the benign "eh, he was pretty good in Top Gun. I don't mind looking at him in Minority Report" way. Now he's this nut case wandering around the streets spewing his opinions about the field of psychology and Ritalin to the world, not to mention whining and pressing charges over being squirted with water (and then dropping them). And I love it when he talks about Ritalin being a street drug like that's some excuse not to take it. Oxycottin and Vicodin are street drugs, too, but I wouldn't be without them after major surgery, and neither would he if he were being honest with himself.

Here's what I hate: People who go off their meds, start acting crazy, and then act like everybody else is going to hell because they want to stay on their meds and be normal. Some people need medicine and psychology to function, and I hardly think Tom Cruise (who has degree in what, exactly?) should be sitting around judging what other people need.

I have been looking forward to War of the Worlds since I first saw that they were going to make it into a movie, and now I don't think I can go at all. I hate listening to Tom Cruise talk, so paying money to go listen to Tom Cruise talk seems a bit silly.

If Tom Cruise is an example of just what the Church of Scientology can do for me, then I plan to run screaming in the opposite direction.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:38 AM | Comments (5)

June 23, 2005

Eminent Domain?

If you're still deluding yourself into believing that money is not a dictator in this country, you should take a look at this. Now your local government can seize your land because it wants too and give it to someone who wants to build a Wal Mart. That's right: Any city that wants to "create more jobs" can annex your land--your home--for any private developer that wants it.

Here's where this makes absolutely no sense: What's to stop private developers from taking over every viable/valuable piece of land? What's to prevent them from taking lakeshore property? What's to keep them from getting the family farm? Oh, that's right: NOTHING. All they have to do is say that whatever it is will provide e"conomic growth." That's all that stands between you and homelessness. And it doesn't matter that they'll "compensate" you for it. How much is it worth to you to farm the land your grandfather farmed? How much is it worth to you to have your kids grow up in the neighborhood you chose for your family? How much are your neighbors worth? How about your backyard tree swing? The tree where your parents carved their initials while they were still dating? No value can be placed on them because they're too precious.

I agree with Sandra Day O'Conner's comments in the artcile, which point out that this is giving the already powerful too much power.

Thank you, Supreme Court, for making our lives a little more servile every day.

Posted by LoWriter at 12:51 PM | Comments (7)

Air Quality...

So, I walked outside this morning, and as soon as the air hit my lungs, I immediately began coughing and gasping. I said to myself, "Wow. The air out here is bad. I'll bet there'll be an air quality alert issued today." And there is. That's right, kids. The air out there is bad for the elderly, small children, and other sensitive groups. If you fall into these groups, you should avoid going outside and exerting yourself. This means that if you have asthma, like me, you should have probably stayed home today because you are going to be hacking and generally miserable all over until the heat index goes down and stops baking the smog (aka ozone) into a nice toxic cloud.

I would like to point out that I appreciate the fact that that the people who put out the alerts tell us not to drive, but they don't call off work for the day. Everybody wants to save the planet, but nobody wants to make it economically possible. I vote we get a smog day and go home (and still get paid). Who's with me?

Posted by LoWriter at 07:53 AM | Comments (5)

June 21, 2005

Celebrate (Again)

I just realized that I had two very good reasons to celebrate yesterday and today.

Fist, Yesterday marks the two year anniversary of my decision to give up diet soda. Those of you who know me well know what an addiction I had. To give you some idea, I was, at the end, going through a 24-pack every two days. I'm not addicted to the caffiene but to the chemical in asparthame. It's that Phen-whatever-you-call-it chemical that's listed on the back of the can, and it's very very bad for you. Yay two years asparthame free!

Also, the reason to celebrate today is that today is (I believe) the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. I always think that I'm going to throw a party on the longest day of the year, and it is always some lame day of the week like Tuesday. At any rate, celebrating the Soltis would probably make me a combination pagan hippie. But I celebrate it anyway. Yay Summer Soltis!

Posted by LoWriter at 02:58 PM | Comments (4)

My Death Defying Drive

For those of you who don't know, I went up to see my parents this weekend... and drove back yesterday in the terrible storm. Yes, that's right. I was in the middle of it just as it was getting warmed up. And I was pretty convinced that I was going to die.

I got to Detroit Lakes just as the sky was starting to get really dark and ominous looking, but I had come down 59 and thought I could see the edge of the storm, so instead of waiting in line for the cheapest gas on my route, I kept going, thinking I could outrun it. This is because I am an idiot. It was actually coming from the south west, not straight from the west, so the edge that I saw was not as close as it looked, and it was not the end of the storm bank I'd seen all along HWY 59, but the beginning of another storm bank moving up.

First, it got pitch black. Then it started pouring. Next, the wind came up. Eventually, the rain was streaming across the highway in a straight line, branches were coming off the trees and swirling in the wind above the highway, and the radio started announcing tornado warnings for Ottertail county. I was pretty sure I was in Ottertail county (and I was right). I pulled over, and I didn't see another car anywhere near me. I thought about the line of dark clouds behind me that I would have to deal with all over again and kept driving as soon as I saw another car go past.

Finally, I could no longer see to drive at all. Also, I couldn't keep the car on the road. I pulled over about 200 yards in front of a van that had pulled over. The wind got higher. The radio said the wind was reaching speeds of 80 miles an hour. It roared and began shaking my car. I'm not talking football player shaking, I'm talking angry "I'm going to throw your car in the ditch or possibly send it to Oz" shaking. The rain looked and sounded just like the inside of a car wash, and I prayed like crazy because I couldn't see if a tornado was coming or what. Lightening was shooting down all over the place. I sat there shaking and jumping at every noise as the whole car began to feel like it would be tossed off the highway. After a long time, the rain and wind lightened a little (just enough to see), and I saw a semi and another car drive past and I got behind them. I refused to lose them. However fast they went, no matter how dangerous I thought it was, I stayed on their tail. And I finally got to Wadena just ahead of the worst of it.

The streets had water in them, so I drove in the turning lanes. All the signs were swinging from their posts. Branches were blowing in the streets. When we got out of town, I was still behind the semi and suddenly, I saw something blue breaking into pieces and blowing through the ditch and onto the road. It was a door!! An entire door flying over the highway. Later on the radio, they said that the streets were entirely flooded, that all the stop lights were out and that there were power lines down in the streets all over town so that you couldn't get through, so that's how I know I beat the worst of it to Wadena.

I kept driving and listening to the radio and I followed that semi to Staples (where yard signs were blowing through the streets) and then I followed another. At some point, the radio said that the tornado warning for Ottertail county had expired because that funnel cloud had moved into Todd county. They said this just as I crossed the Todd county line, and the wind was still roaring.

At some point, it must have passed me up either to the north or the south because when I got to Twin Pines gas station (the second cheapest gas on my route), I asked what county I was in and if the storm had passed through there and they said it had. The wind was definitely lower and the rain had lightened. Also, the storm beat me to the Twin Cities. I came in on the tail end of it, so I got more of the pouring rain, but I didn't get the heavy winds again.

Needless to say, this was possibly one of the scariest drives of my life. I have never been in anything like it, especially the shaking car. I'm used to pretty high winds and snow, etc., having grown up in NW MN, and I've had to hold the steering wheel tightly to keep from blowing off the road in the past, but I've never been through anything like this in my whole life.

My advice? If you hear it's supposed to storm and you're a long way from home, call in sick to work and leave later. It was so not worth the risk for three hours of work at my night job. That was all I could think while the car was shaking and the wind was roaring: I'm going to die out here because I had to get back for my night job. If you are out on the road when a storm hits, I have no idea what you should do. They say to get in a building away from the windows and stay there, but if you're between towns when it hits, this doesn't do you a whole lot of good. I think outrunning it was a good idea in theory (although you're never supposed to do this in the case of a tornado) because otherwise, I would have just caught up to it again because it was only going 45 to 50 miles an hour while I could go 70. Additionally, if you can see, is it really worse to be driving than it is to be sitting on the side of the road? I probably should have stopped in Staples and let it go around me. Maybe letting it go past and going a little slower would have been the wisest course of action in this case. At any rate, I lived through it all in time to work some more because that is, apparently, what life is all about in my world anyway.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:45 AM | Comments (9)

June 16, 2005

Granite City

For those of you who have not tried the fabulousness that is Granite City Food and Brewery, you need to try it now. My friends and I were all originally introduced to it in other cities (Fargo and St. Cloud), but we have become fast fans. The closest one is in Maple Grove, and we tried it this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the atmosphere is very similar to the St. Cloud location, and the food is just as excellent.

Here's why you should try it. To begin with, the menu is huge. And by huge, I mean HUGE. I have tried several selections, all of which I recommend. First, the Vodka Mussels are delicious. I have never had any kind of shellfish before, but my good friend let me try one, and they were fabulous. They're considered an appetizer, but you could make a meal of them. Granite City also has excellent burgers. You have to ask them for lettuce, tomatoe, etc. (which are all free upon request) but the options for cheese and fixings are extensive. The waffle fries are also delicious, as are the Monterey Crab Wontons.

Which brings us to the real reason this restaurant rocks: They make their own beer. I order the "Bennie's," which is a Mai Bock. It has a nice flavour without too much bite. I also sampled the "Two Pull," which mixes the Northern Light Lager with the Bennie's, and this was a little smoother. I also enjoyed the Stout when I had it in St. Cloud. I am told the India Pale Ale is also good, but I am not a fan of IPAs because they are a little too sharp to me. My friend says the Bennie's is on her list of top 25 beers. I would say that Bennie's is one of my favorites, if not my favorite.

Additionally, the service has been excellent so far. The wait staff is friendly, smiley, and knowledgeable aobut the menu. Also, the wait time has never been long, but keep in mind that we time things specifically to avoid any and all meal "rush" times. Add to the service the atmosphere of the place (granite tops on the greeter's station, brick/granite block pillars, incredibly high ceilings, and rich dark wood for the booths, tables, and bar), and you've got a great experience waiting to happen.

They have some pretty good specials after 9 PM, including half price appetizers (great excuse to order the vodka mussels) and specials on the beverages. We're probably going there again. Possibly tonight.

Ok, that is my plug. Try something new and delicious; try Granite City.

Posted by LoWriter at 06:51 AM | Comments (14)

June 14, 2005


The new campaign to slow down the speeds on MN roads gets a booo added to its total score. Here's why: I hardly ever go more than ten over the speed limit, and if I do, it's by complete accident, but I am constantly being passed like I am standing still by nearly everybody else out there. Possibly, if you're looking for someone to blame as far as road deaths, you should start pulling over the people who are driving 90 mph and leave me alone. But they won't do that because they can't catch those people. They drive too fast. So slow down, friends, if you don't want your insurance to go up. At least until July 6. Then you can continue to do whatever you want.

Posted by LoWriter at 07:18 AM | Comments (7)

June 13, 2005

Weekends and Warning Labels

I'm not sure that you understand the uselessnes of the warning label as a concept. I don't know about you, but anytime when a warning label would have been really useful, the product hasn't contained one. For instance, weekends should come with warning labels.

Friday's should say something like, "Don't eat an entire order of queso" or "Do not put on your pajamas at six because someone will call you at nine and then changing back with be a determining factor as to whether you go out or not."

Saturday's should say something like, "Do not plan to do more than 24 hours of activities during a 24 hour time period."

Sunday's should be "Warning: This day may cause severe boredom, which may in turn cause you to do stupid things."

For instance, this Sunday, I decided to try popping expired popcorn to see what would happen. And when I say expired, I mean like 2002. And it burns, FYI. See, now there's a case where a warning label would have been appropriate. "When we say 'Best if used by August 2002' what we mean is that if you use it after August 2002 or attempt to use it several years later, you will wind up with a burned gob of semi-popped kernels and old maids and your whole house will reek of burnt popcorn for the rest of the day. This could potentially make your clothes reek as well and piss off your neighbors. So be warned: You may stink and get smacked if you use this popcorn after the expiration date." That would be a useful warning label.

I would say that this applies to all expiration dates. Like, there should be a grid indicating what will happen if you eat it after the expiration date and if freezing changes the expiration date by several years, etc.

All I'm saying is that I'm not an idiot. I don't try to microwave forks or iron my clothes while I'm wearing them or blow dry my hair while sleeping. I am, however, curious, in which case, many more products should contain warning labels. I mean, inquiring minds want to know just how long you can keep a can of peaches.

Posted by LoWriter at 12:43 PM | Comments (4)

Arena Football Is Dead... Long Live NASCAR

So, yesterday, NASCAR was finally on network again. For some reason, when I look at the schedule, I see FX but I think it says FOX. Then I get all excited on Sunday and cuddle up on the couch at noon for nothing. Usually when the race is on FX, they run arena football on Fox, which I would like to point out is a lame sport. LAME.

This week's race was finally on Fox again, but it was a little boring because everybody kept blowing out their tires, so the race was rather slow. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. started his tire on fire, so that was pretty interesting. He can't seem to catch a break this season. Now, I'm going to be honest and say that I have been a little upset with him lately, espcecially after the last race, because he seems to always be causing crashes and eliminating people I'm really rooting for. On the other hand, it's Dale Earnhardt, Jr., so you can't really be upset with him for long. I mean, he's kind of cute. And he's usually a pretty good racer. He just got a new crew cheif, so we'll see what happens there.

A guy named Lapage was driving an unsponsored Dodge, which I thought was pretty cool. I am a newcomer to NASCAR and have never seen anyone running an unsponsored car before. I think he blew a tire or lost his breaks or something. At any rate, he hit the wall and was out of the race, and I was pretty sad about that. I was kind of rooting for him.

Michael Waltrip started out way ahead of everybody, and I was rooting for him for awhile too. He fell all the way back to 28, but wound up finishing either 5 or 6; I can't remember. That was a pretty good finish considering.

Carl Edwards won. I am always torn on Carl Edwards. He's such a funny, energetic racer, but he drives a Ford. Ugh. On the other hand, he does a back flip off the window of the car when he wins, so that's always fun to watch.

On the whole, a few interesting moments on the track, but not my favorite race of the season by any means. I am, however, very glad that the race was on at all instead of lame-o arena football, which I hate. Also, there is supposed to be a race on next Sunday, and since I am going home to see my Dad for Father's Day, we'll be able to watch it together, which is lately one of my favorite parts of going home. Yay NASCAR!

Posted by LoWriter at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Eat Your Heart Out, Bremer Bank

I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the fact that Bremer Bank was wrong about me. I am an excellent risk for a loan. Here's why: I just paid off my car loan... about a year and a half early. Hell yeah!

Here's why this is so exciting: When I got my car, my dad bought it in his name, got the loan in his name, and paid the payments until I graduated 6 months later. This is more help than I ever ever expected to get from my parents, and it was my Christmas/birthday/graduation/Christmas present and I had to let my sister use it, too, which was still more than I ever expected. I recognize that this makes me a spoiled brat, but keep in mind that I am working 56+ hours a week in order to pay for the excessive amounts of money I had to borrow for school. Move on. I am not that well off.

At any rate, my dad kept the car in his name while I went on to my extra semester, but I paid the payments. Do you understand this so far? For 9 months I sent Bremer Bank money for a loan that was not in my name. I sent it faithfully. I was never late.

Finally, I finished school, got a real job, and my dad and I wanted to transfer the car into my name. We tried to transfer the loan as well, but Bremer wouldn't give me the loan. I explained that my dad hadn't been paying on the loan for 9 months, and if they checked the payments, they'd see that they'd come from me. I explained that I was certainly making less money then than I was now and that I'd never missed a payment then, so why should I now. None of this mattered because I was a "seasonal" employee, and they apparently didn't believe that I could find myself a second or summer job. They claimed that I needed to be making $500 more a month than I was now to make all my payments.

I got a loan with the credit union back home instead, so let that be a lesson to all of you: Credit unions rock. And my goal was to pay off the loan by September 31st of this year, and I'm three months ahead of schedule even on my personal goals.

I am on my way to complete independence. I don't have to worry about the fact that my dad co-signed that loan any more. No one is going to come to repo his tractor if I develope a horrible disease and can't make payments because I sent off the last payment on Tuesday. The car is officially mine. I can take it anywhere I want. I can paint it blue and pink with yellow flowers. I can get less insurance coverage (although I probably won't). I am the queen of the world. I now own property. I am my own free woman. Eat your heart out, Bremer Bank!

Posted by LoWriter at 08:25 AM | Comments (7)

June 06, 2005


I had the rare opportunity to be home on a Friday evening this week (yay cleaning for the parents!), so I caught an interesting show on TV. Numb3rs promises to be another of those cop shows that I like to watch while everyone else is watching things like American Idol and Desperate Housewives and The OC. I've given all of these a shot; I even watched The OC for a whole season before they changed its time and turned it into a bizarre soap opera for teeny boppers. But I always come back to the obscure cop dramas. I like Law and Order SVU, which is not obscure, but I also like Crossing Jordan, which no one has ever heard of. Additionally, I'm probably one of the few who watched Monk right from the beginning. Also, I enjoy Veronica Mars, but it's probably not really a cop drama, technically.

Numb3rs is a cop show where one of the guys is a mathematician who helps his brother solve crime (from what I can tell, having watched only one episode). Now, let's all keep in mind that I don't do math, so my impressions may be flawed due to the simple fact that I wouldn't know if they arrive at their conclusions through any process known to man or not. I can't even spell mathematician without help from Word. But I thought it was a really fascinating show. The dialogue didn't bother me, and I didn't want to yell at the characters at any point in the show. In short, the solution to the puzzle kept me guessing until the end, but all the pieces had been there the whole time. Plus, the story was different. It involved a building and its ability to stand up to wind speeds. Typical cop drama set up, but with an interesting twist (which is what I like about Crossing Jordan).

So, that's my recommendation if you're ever home on a Friday night. Keep in mind (and I think we can all see this from my links section) that I am a "cult hit" fan. I like shows that have a cult following better than most main stream shows. This is because I end up yelling and screaming at main stream characters because most of them are idiots and I hate them. Yes, that's right. I hate people who aren't even real. I don't want to be able to solve the crime/know the whole plot outline five minutes into the show. I want to keep guessing. If you're like me, try Numb3rs.

If anyone else has any shows they want to plug, feel free to do so in the comments.

Posted by LoWriter at 03:33 PM | Comments (3)

June 02, 2005

What They Really Mean

So, as we're all well aware by now, Cingular bought AT&T and has since been "raising the bar" and offering "more bars in more places." Here's what I think that really means:

1) We're raising the bar because it's easier to rob somebody if you're threatening them with a blunt object.

2) We're raising the bar... along with our prices, our uselessness, and our call center wait time.

3) We're raising the bar because that way it's easier to screw you over with it.

4) We're raising the bar. Assume the position.

5) More bars in more places, but only if you're traveling on a major highway.

6) We're raising the bar so that we can drop it on you.

7) We're raising the bar so that we can use it as a road block in order to avoid dealing with you at all costs.

8) More bars in more places... none of them pleasant.

9) We're raising the bar so that you can't reach it anymore.

10) More bars in more places... kind of like prison, only we don't feed you.

11) More bars in more places, with the exception of your living room, half of your kitchen, the middle of your bedroom (you can always huddle in a corner), within 3 feet of any running electrical device (including the fridge and the stove), in any place where you actually feel the need to have a phone for safety reasons, and anytime the phone is in use. Feel free to hang out your window, although this may not help.

12) We're raising the bar and there's nothing you can do to stop us. Mwaaa haaa haa haaaaa.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:07 AM | Comments (3)