August 30, 2006

Moment of Truth

Well, kids, today is the day. I start grad school tonight, so we shall see if a three (almost four) year hiatus was a very bad plan or not. We shall also see if I have way overcommitted myself yet again. This is probably the case.

I'm having all those first-day concerns. Here are the top five worries I have right now:

1) Will there be parking?
2) Will I look dumb?
3) Do grad students use backpacks? Because I bought one and took the tags off already.
4) Will I get a good grade?
5) Will I (please, God) be able to find the room/building?

So, on the whole, I feel like a freshman all over again, with all the worries that come with that.

Posted by LoWriter at 10:07 AM | Comments (7)

August 23, 2006

Shopping without a List

Here is the number one reason why I am still not a grown-up.

Yesterday, I went into the grocery store without a list, and I came out with a pack of dinosaurs and a suction-cup dart gun.

I also got groceries, but seriously. I may end up giving the dart gun to my sister for her birthday because, for real, what am I going to do with a dart gun, but it looked like fun at the time. They had a big bin of clearance stuff, and I also almost purchased a light up plastic "sword," which was really just a mini tube of plastic. It was quite exciting.

On the whole, my trip to the grocery store was more expensive than usual because I was jones-ing for many things, including salad and, apparently, a giant jar of Salsa Lisa salsa. And cheese. And plastic dinosaurs even though I already have a plethora of lizards on my computer at work. It's all very interesting to me.

Well, take care. I hope you also get to spend four dollars on frivolous things.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:59 AM | Comments (4)

August 22, 2006

Reluctantly Back to the Grindstone

Well, I have returned from Seattle.

10lees was successfully wed. It was a beautiful wedding, especially the outdoor reception. I enjoyed it a lot and was honored to be a part of it.

I saw many fantastic things, including pretty much everything from Dr. G's blog of the first two days of the trip, so feel free to check that out for more details. I wrote a whole long entry about it and the wedding yesterday, but then the computer dumped it (mostly because I am a dumbass and didn't save), so I may or may not recap.

I got many smooshed pennies on this trip and took my collection to a whole new level. For those of you who don't know, smooshed pennies are not those that have been smooshed by a train. I am not a hillbilly or a delinquent with a death wish. You put them in a machine, pay two quarters, and the machine stamps an image of where you've been on it. I usually get one or two each trip. This time I got eight. It was a lot of fun, everyone got into it, and I even bought a book to keep them in. Apparently you are supposed to use pennies minted prior to 1982 because the others are more zinc than copper. Whatever.

I also bought an eye patch and took my picture with a dashing plastic pirate statue at a place called Pirate's Plunder. It was fantastic.

School started yesterday, and all the young, semi-eager minds are arriving to seek knowledge or, more accurately, letter grades of B or better. I sort of feel like when you get on the escalator and you're not quite ready for it. You kind of get pulled through space and for a moment you think you're going to fall and you just feel... you've stepped out of your body and are coasting through the air while the rest of you shuts down. That's kind of how I feel right now. I couldn't find the dentist specialists this morning for my stupid TMJ thing (it's a piece of plastic to keep me from grinding my teeth, and the longer this goes on, the more I am wondering why the hell I ever went to the TMJ specialist in the first place), and 411 didn't have their number, so I finally went to work. At about 7:25, they called me to ask if I was still coming. I was like, well, I couldn't find your office, and now I have to go to work. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that every once in awhile, MapQuest really sucks ass long time.

Other than that, I had another dream that came true. Still no connection to anything that we can bet on, but it was pretty crazy.

I got like three or four hours of sleep on Monday. I am exhausted.

I kind of look at every trip I go on these days as an interview with the question "Should I live here?" as its central theme. I don't think I would live in Seattle. It's a beautiful city, and I loved my stay there, especially with the beautiful weather they were having, but I was thrilled to be back in Minnesota yesterday. Even in the humidity, MN is my home. I think the farthest away I could ever live is North Dakota and then only because I grew up so close to it that it is almost home for me. That may make me the biggest nerd in the world, but so far, I haven't found any place I'd rather live.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:33 AM | Comments (4)

August 05, 2006


Guess what I learned today? How to combine. That's right kids. Those great big beastie machines crawling up and down fields? Well, I was navigating one. So, I'm sorry if I have been tough to reach. I've been out in the field since I got to my parents' place last night.

Well, that's not strictly true. I have been out in the field often. You see, while my dad runs the grain to the elevator, I have been (wo)manning the combine. And it is scarey. Because it's big and a lot is riding on it. I mean, if you screw it up A) you will lose money because you can't get the crop in and B) it will cost a lot of money because combines are expensive.

I learned all about how the wheat has to be facing you and how to turn and how to put the sucker in gear and how to unjam it (I am covered in scratches right now) and how to shut it down. And my dad was very patient. It was quite fantastic.

I am also covered in dirt (and grease--the air conditioner broke while dad was driving and I handed him tools while he made fun of my mechanical aptitude [or what he considers my lack thereof even though he has never given me a chance]). I can't shower because I am still waiting for him to fill the truck one last time. Then we will drive the machinery back into the yard.

Well, kids, that's it for now. Hope you are learning new things this weekend, too.

Posted by LoWriter at 09:50 PM | Comments (5)

August 02, 2006

July Books

The reading list is getting shorter. Ah, well, here they are anyway.

Johnny and the Dead by Pratchett: Well, it's not a good month unless I've read something by Pratchett. This is the second in the Johnny Maxwell trilogy. It's part of his juevenile lit (or young adult) books. The first one really reminded me of Ender's Game, so I wish that I had read Speaker for the Dead before I read this one. It is my theory that Pratchett is spoofing Orson Scott Card, but I can't be sure. It's a little serious for a spoof. Then again, I thought that the first book in the trilogy (Only You Can Save Mankind) was serious but much lighter in tone than Ender's Game. On the whole, it was a pretty good read. I enjoy the main character quite a bit. His family is going through a rough patch because his parents are getting a divorce, so he spends a lot of time with his friends. It's very typical sort of stuff for a young adult fiction novel, so it automatically has that Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn feel to it, but with a definite Pratchett spin on things. I loved it.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin: I had never read this book before, so I was pretty stoked when it came my way via birthday gift. It has that definite Pride and Prejudice feel to it, but so does most of what Austin writes. I enjoyed studying her in Satire class, so I thought it would be a nice bit of candy reading, and it did not dissapoint. I enjoyed it. I always have to have at least one "chick" book a month, and this was it.

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: The jury is still outo n this one. This version had pictures, so that was a definite plus point. And it's a classic work of sci-fi/horror, so I felt that if I was going to call myself a lover of such things, I would have to read this book. I was beginning to feel stupid when talking to the people who teach the sci-fi class around here. I can definitely see its literary value, being one of the first of its kind and all that jazz, but on the whole... eh... I still don't know what I think. It read really fast, but it has the issue that most early novels, which is that the writers want to add validity to the stories, so they invent characters whose sole purpose it is to validate the story by saying how they found it in a set of papers or it washed up in a bottle or some other such nonsense. This way, the author's credibility is spared because he/she is merely repeating a tale that some other individual repeated to him/her first. So, basically, I hated the introduction and the first 25 pages or so because, rather than leaping into the story, we had to have a lengthy discussion about how the narrator might never see his beloved sister again, and bla bla bla. I recognize that this is a literary technique, and that these sorts of novels are the birthplace of fiction as we know it, but it did make me long for something a little more modern. Once I got into the story, it read really fast, and I enjoyed bits. It's nothing like current sci-fi/horror/fantasy, but it is the roots of those genres today. On the whole, worth the read, but I will probably never read it again.

That's it for the books, kids. Feel free to share your own reads in the comments.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:20 AM | Comments (1)