Monday, March 31, 2003

I just finished watching Golden Years, the Steven King miniseries, in one sitting. I got it on DVD real cheap, and figured I'd give it a try since I like Felicity Huffman a lot, and I enjoyed watching it back in middle school, when it originally aired. Also, I remembered being incensed by the " be continued" ending, and wondered how they dealt with that on the DVD. Anyway, turns out its pretty bad, some low-rent version of Firestarter. Though I watched the whole thing (almost four hours) in one night, so I guess it holds your interest. Probably helped that both Huffman and Stephen Root are in it. As for the ending, apparently they shot a new one after realizing the network had no interest in continuing it. It's a lame ending, but at least it has one. Once I dump this on, I imagine it will have only cost me two or three bucks to watch it, so I guess that's not so bad. I think I'm going to cancel my netflix membership, just buy DVDs, watch at my leisure, and then sell them on the internet, I think in the long run it'll actually be cheaper.
First day of school was fairly uneventful. I had trouble finding one of my classes, which is rather sad since its in the same classroom as one of my classes last quarter. I also had the revelation half-way through my Political Science class that my AP credits from eons ago already gave me credit for that course. So now, unless I can find something else to take (which is unlikely; I had real trouble coming up with Poli Sci to fill the slot for my third class, as there seemed to be very little offered on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday basis that I could take in any discipline) or be down to eight units (my fourth class was cancelled due to lack of interest). I suppose eight units this quarter is okay, as long as I ace those eight units.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Relatively uneventful day at work. I was sort of blue for much of the day, for various reasons, many of which have been documented in this blog over the preceeding days and weeks and months. But a nice run on such a beautiful day couldn't help but pick me up a bit. Lots of birds and wildflowers, and I even got to watch two hummingbirds tango up close. Apparently they were so busy stabing each other with their beaks, they couldn't be bothered to take notice of me. I'm not sure if they were fighting or courting, but it was interesting to watch.

Then I went out to eat with my mom, all-you-can-eat chinese buffet. A pretty good value as far as buffets go, wish I could remember its name so I could recommend it. And now I'm settling in to an evening of television before my first day of school tomorrow. Mark my words: This is the quarter I won't fail miserably at everything I attempt.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

This is Monika's last weekend in San Diego. She hits the road for Columbus, Ohio on Monday (I enjoyed watching View from the Top with her, with its Cleveland-bashing and image of Ohio as the world's waiting room). So today we were supposed to go bowling as a going-away party, with a dinner to follow. The bowling was particularly exciting, since Monika and I had never bowled together, and our previous attempt, at my going-away party from the Cove, was foiled when we couldn't get a lane at the Sunset Bowl. But Monika called, and was assured that we could probably get a lane at 3 on a Saturday, no problem. Instead, we end up on a list, and wait about two hours. When we finally complain, they tell us they called us a long time ago, even though there were about eight of us and no one heard anything, and I had just recently checked to see where we were on the list and we were still there. Sunset Bowl is nice, but I don't think I'll be back, I've never been able to get a lane easily. Even when I do get a lane, it usually is still an issue, as we'll need two or three lanes but only get one. So that was unfortunate, but we went to Mission Bay Park instead, and played on the swing and monkey bars, and that was fun. I hadn't been on a swing in a long, long time. My legs are a bit too long, I can't really pump because the ground gets in the way. But it was fun, and I also enjoyed watching Monika's boyfriend Nick get ganged up on by a bunch of girls daring him to jump off the monkey bars. Then a nice dinner at Mandarin Dynasty followed, and a good time was had by all. But the occasion was not exactly a happy one; I'll miss Monika a lot. We had a class together in elementary school, spent upteen lunches together in high school, worked together at the Cove, where she replaced me (eventually), and I enjoyed hearing about the Cove and Spense, and whatever drama was going down at Landmark. It's like how there are several newspapers all claiming to be the oldest in the country; some are the oldest continuously-publishing, some are just old. I guess Monika's just my oldest friend. There are very few people from elementary school I could consider friends years later, and with the exception of Carinna, I lost contact with them shortly after high school (and eventually even Carinna; I don't think I've been in touch with her in almost two years). Monika is good people, no doubt about it. I doubt life will bring me to Ohio anytime soon, but hopefully she'll come back to San Diego on occasion, because I know a lot of people who will miss her very much.

Last night, I saw Hot Club of Cowtown at the Casbah. Appropriately enough, I also finally got the Ghost Train CD I'd ordered off that day, so I could hear some more of them before I came. The album is alright, though had I heard it before that day, I'd probably have not bothered to attend the show, but seeing as I had nothing better to do, I went, and they were fantastic live. I didn't quite care for Elana Fremerman voice on the album, but it seemed to have a lot more feeling when I heard it undigitized (though it was her fiddling that really impressed me). The show started about fourty minutes late, but the band was apologetic about it, which was nice, and the crowd was rather noisy, which was annoying, but I had a good time. I meant to write last night, so I could have had some more specific things to say. As it is, I forget the names of just about all the songs they played. Some standards, like "Cotton-Eyed Joe" (their rendition was a lot slower and more thoughtful than I've heard before, I really liked it), but seemed like they were focusing more on their own material. They did play "Forget-Me-Nots," the first song of theirs I had heard, which was great, though it seemed Elana was having trouble with the vocals, hitting some of the notes. Ghost Train is a good album, as well, lest my comments about it dissuade you; I just wouldn't have been as excited to pay ten bucks to stand around and wait for them to play based solely on that album.

But anyway, I'm sad Monika's leaving. I had fun today, and didn't really think much about it, until it was time to say goodbye. I had been listening to Lyle Lovett's Road to Ensenada in the car, but "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" seemed too frivilous for the mood, so I put on Pink Martini and played "Que Sera, Sera" a few times over. Which I've been doing a lot anyway, that's a beautiful song (I really love that CD). But it fit the moment better. Though I'd probably be depressed anyway, even without this. My mom woke me up this morning crying, asking me some question about how to get money out of one of grandma's bank accounts. So I assumed grandma was dead, but it turns out she's just really having trouble doing anything without getting winded, and has some sort of bedsore type thing on her butt. So Mom wanted money in an account where she can write checks, in case she has to pay for Grandma to go into a nursing home (she's in assisted living now). Now I don't think its a big deal, but being woken up and encountering the situation as I did, it had an impact on me. More for its effect on my mother than anything; I love my Grandma, but she's very, very old and, having just lost a father, I think her death would be regarded by me as more an unfortunate inevitability than a great tragedy. But I can't imagine losing your mother and your husband in the span of a few months. But I don't think its a big deal, she just needs to see a doctor on Monday and get a treatment worked out. She choked on something at lunch not long ago, which might have something to do with her getting winded all the time; otherwise, its probably just her lifelong smoking habit catching up with her (she quit about five years ago). But I don't think its imminently life-threatening or anything.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Photos of yours truly from my first 10K are now on-line. I don't look all that great in a few of them, especially. The clenched fists in particular make it seem like I was about to hit the wall, which is about accurate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I saw View from the Top today. Not high culture, but it was amusing enough. The ending was unnecessary (hate those winks at the camera), and I can always do without Christina Applegate, but Mike Myers was funny. I saw it in about the biggest theater I'd ever been in, at the Pacific Gaslamp. Probably seated about 1500, I'd guess (though I'm really bad at that sort of thing). It had some semblance of character, too, which is always a plus. I'd only been there once before and wasn't impressed, but I enjoyed it this time, might try it again sometime. Had fun peeking into the projection booth while we waited for the film to start. Sadly, none of the theatre's character carried over to the booth.
From The Simpsons episode "Like Father, Like Clown:" Bart: "Krusty, do you think about your father a lot?" Krusty: "All the time. Except when I'm at the track, then its all business."
I've been meaning to write lately, but I never got around to it, and now I don't really remember what I was going to write about. A great loss for humanity, I'm sure.

Just got home from lunch, my mom and I went to eat, and noticed a "store closing" sign on the Wherehouse Music. I wasn't that excited, because they're so expensive to begin with, I wasn't sure if even a closeout sale could make it a good deal. It was really picked over (I imagine they sent the popular stuff to the other stores which are remaining open), but they actually did have some good deals. Emmylou Harris Anthology and Talking Heads Sand in the Vaseline for just over twenty bucks each were both great deals, and I was surprised to see they had Pink Martini Sympathique for $12.50, which is hard to find. I just recently bid on one for e-bay, and think I was willing to go higher than that. So I ended up getting those, as well as Echo and the Bunnymen (figured for under ten bucks, might as well), some other Talking Heads albums also under ten bucks, and Badly Drawn Boy Have You Fed the Fish for a grand total of $108.54. A bit more than I planned to spend when I came in, but I'm convinced I got good deals, on products I actually wanted, so it was worth it.

I haven't run lately, I banged my knee on a desk, so I've been taking it easy. Tomorrow I'll resume my running. But it means I am again without the endorphins from running, and am depressed (though I was depressed even before I skipped a run, so I don't think the running is the cause, though without it I'm sure its more profound). The nights especially get to me, which is a shame, since I used to be a night person. But with work and school, I suppose its for the best that I'm getting away from that. But tossing and turning in bed feeling sorry for myself isn't how I want to spend my evenings.

I just realized that while I've been typing all this, my fly was open. I have rectified the situation, I appologize for the lack of respect I showed to you, gentle reader, you deserved better than that.

Hot Club of Cowtown will be at the Casbah on Friday. I'm looking forward to that. I ordered one of their CDs about two weeks ago from, and despite the claim that it would probably ship in 24-48 hours, it didn't ship until Monday. So when I noticed they were coming this weekend (and the CD had not yet shipped), I was amused that I would be able to see them in person before I had even received my CD. I've been buying a lot of stuff from Amazon lately, partly because its convenient and, with free shipping, fairly reasonably priced, but I think I might get back to buying more stuff from independent outlets like AllDirect, with which I have had good experiences with in the past. As it is, when I search for DVDs on DVD Price Search, I almost invariably end up buying them from Deep Discount DVD. That weakened Canadian dollar is really helping me out. But Amazon is a slick site with lots of product information and reviews, and I'm always getting some sort of coupon or gift certificate for a few bucks off, so I doubt I'll abandon Amazon completely. I've just been disappointed with how quickly I've gotten things from them lately.

Which reminds me: I was hoping the Futurama Season One DVD would come in the mail today, but no suck luck.

I was about to bring this entry to a close, but now I recall at least one thing I did this week: I went to Barona and played Poker on Monday. I had planned to spend the evening listing some of Dad's personal effects on (CDs, mostly), but for some reason I really, really didn't feel like doing that, so I went up to play poker instead. Won a nice amount of change. It was the first time I'd ever won a pot in a rack attack (they draw a table at random, and add a rack of chips--$100--to the next pot). Usually, I stay in with garbage because I'm getting good odds, but don't wind up with a hand, and so the "promotion" costs me a pretty penny. But this time I lucked out, caught an ace on the river, and my aces-up held up in a six-way pot (usually you'd need at least a straight in that situation), so I got half the pot (its high-low split). Made about $70 on that hand, though I was down about $30 before that, and then the very next hand I scooped a very nice pot. I ended up over $150 ahead, which is very nice at 1-3 limits. Especially since I only played a few hours. It was a bit annoying at times, some of the players and one dealer particularly were annoying discussing the war. First off, any "Freedom Fries" discussion annoys the hell out of me. If you hate the French so much, blow up the Statue of Liberty. And shred the Declaration of Indepence while you're at it, since we'd all be having high tea and saluting the Union Jack without France. And then they discuss Iraqi war atrocities, which are indeed bad, but it just aggravated me because none of them have the stories right: "And then they shot five of our soldiers execution-style on live TV," that sort of thing.

I don't feel like writing much about the war. I'm still agin' it, but too late to stop it now. Seems to me protests would be more successful if they took a breather, let the war play itself out a bit more, I don't think they're winning themselves any converts right now, macing the police and all (though the police could mellow out, as well). Protesting Halliburton, however, is a very good idea right now. Dick Cheney is a traitor, in my opinion; to hear him now, he was always convinced Sadaam was a mass murderer who couldn't be trusted, so why did he do business with him? And why is Halliburton in Iran, stop three (two?) on the U.S.'s "Axis of Evil" tour. But I digress...the war itself seems to be going just as a reasonable person would have expected, no cake walk, some losses, but we're doing well. The stock market proves itself as irrational as ever, viewing a few POWs as shocking setbacks. It was going to happen. We've still lost more soldiers from our Black Hawk helicoptors falling from the sky than from anything the Iraqis have done. I still think this will be done soon. Baghdad's the uncertain element, but I still think the U.S. will control Iraq very shortly. Again, I don't think its until a few months after we regain control that we'll begin to appreciate the truly difficult problems we face. Anyway, I've already written more about the war than I wanted to, I believe this will be my last word on the subject for awhile.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

This item from the April 2003 issue of Harper's amused me:

The following letter, written in summer 2002 by Wasatch County Jail inmate Kent Coulson, was intended for Coulson's girlfriend but was accidentally sent to David Sam, his sentencing judge.  Coulson was sentenced to seventy months in federal prison for manufacturing methamphetamines.

Hey Baby,

How is my little thing?  I have been sweating my ass off.  It is a hot one in here.  As you know, I have not been sentenced yet, but that is coming up soon.  But I do have some good news concerning that subject.  Can you believe my father plays golf with Sam, the crusty old judge who happens to be mine, not by choice?  Ha!

Not only that, but the old dumbfucker lives up here in Heber somewhere and the church people who come every Sunday morning just happen to know him.  So it all looks good for me.  Ha!  Ha!

I just thought I would send a quick note to you and let you know what's up.  I have to write a suck-up letter to the Honorable Asshole and it should all be great for me.

Your big guy, Kent

The Game Show Network is presenting Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal. It's a very interesting story, so if you have digital cable, it might be worth checking out (I do not, but I know people who do, so I have sent out some e-mails and hopefully someone will tape it for me).

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Took Tanner to Cowles Mountain today. Didn't go too far, though, it was too hot to take Tanner all the way up. I should've gone somewhere with more shade for him, since it was a beautiful day today. I enjoyed myself, though; I wasn't used to seeing so much plant life on the mountain, with all the flowers in bloom. It's usually a fairly barren place, but not right now. Tanner seemed to enjoy himself as well, even though he didn't get to go very far. And since I don't have school this week, I should have plenty of time to take him for walks this week.

Went to Barona this evening, lost a fair amount of cash. Then Cecily called me drunk, rambling on, so I ended up heading over there, but by the time I got there, she was of course sleeping. So I felt kind of stupid showing up, but not like I had anything better to do; my plans were just to list some of Dad's CDs and stuff for sale on E-Bay or (or I suppose I could save all of his Sheryl Crow CDs for myself, I'm sure I'll listen to them a lot).

Overall, another thrilling weekend. Work tomorrow. Hurray.

Friday, March 21, 2003

I went to the gym today, for the first time in a while. Got in a pretty good workout, and I actually ran to and from the gym. It was the first time I'd done that, which is pretty sad, since its not much more than a mile away. Figured it was a real waste of gas to drive to the gym and then get on an exercise bike to warm up before hitting the weights. It's not very far to run, but for some reason it makes me feel like I accomplished a lot more than I usually do when I go to the gym.

I went out to dinner with my mom tonight (I know how to live it up Friday nights, no?). We went to Albert's restaurant at the Zoo. It was a very nice meal. I had the sea bass, with lobster fritters beforehand and a peanut brittle chocolate mousse for dessert, while my mom had jerked chicken with tamales beforehand and some sort of mereinge for dessert. A little bit pricy, but really good food, and not too bad a value when you figure the stands around the park charge five bucks for nachos.

I uploaded a few pictures. I was going to upload more, but I realize they're still a bit big, and I don't feel like shrinking them down and setting up a photo album page for them, so I just uploaded a few and figured I'd post them here, if I can remember how. Here's me:

Here's my dog:

And here's more of Tanner: More pictures to come, probably.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I saw Willard today. I enjoyed it, to an extent. I've never seen the original, but enjoyed this new incarnation on its own, amusing and creepy. And yes, the theme from Ben appears, twice: The Jackson Five original, and Crispin Glover's rendition. Reminded me a bit of Office Killer, as well as Glover's recent piece of garbage, Bartleby. If you aren't sure if you want to see this or not, I'd go with your gut, but if, like me, you find yourself inexplicably reconsidering your initial reaction of "Why the hell are they remaking Willard?," I'd say go with your instincts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

It's finals week at school, and I'm already done. It's like getting an extra week of spring break. I think I did good on my final, it was harder than the midterm, which surprised me, but I had a solid A- going in, so I don't have much to worry about.

I got in a quick 15-minute run this morning. It was nice, running on such a beautiful day, and all the birds seemed to be out. I saw a pair of bluejays and I think a starling (I don't even know what a starling looks like, but when I see a little songbird I can't identify, I always seem to decide it must be a starling, guess I just like the word). I would've run more, but I was tired, my legs were still a bit sore and stiff from Sunday, and I had an appointment to give blood this afternoon and didn't want to get dehydrated.

So as I said, I gave blood today, which meant I took the day off work. Took about two hours, since I was giving plasma and platelets, not whole blood. I think the screening nurse was new, she didn't really seem to know what she was doing. When I told her I had a tetanus shot, that really threw her off. But I got in and got my blood ran through the machine and all, and got a donut and juice and a tee-shirt, and a coupon for a pint of ice cream from Baskin-Robbins, which was nice. And I got that nice warm feeling knowing I did my part to contribute to the blood supply that made my Dad's last years a little easier and more fulfilling.

On the stock market front, I bought Harris Interactive and some more Fannie Mae today. I haven't got the price I paid yet, but I know Fannie Mae was up, Harris down. I also got a bit more of The Limited via reinvested dividends. It troubles me that the market is up with war looking inevitable. Though really it just shows the stupidity of the market movers, fund managers and their ilk. Pricing the market down because there might be a war, then pricing it up because the uncertainty is gone. Uncertainty is a good thing, it's what makes profitable situations in the market possible. War, terrorism, our tarnished international reputation, these are bad things. Oil prices are stabilizing, yes, but when Iraq is liberated and we discover we don't know what to do next, and when our luck runs out in Afghanistan and the weak, sectarian government collapses, maybe taking Pakistan and their bomb with it, is that good for the market? I think the war will be over in less than two week (I was going to say less than 10 days, but I'll give myself some leeway). I also seem to think our fatalities from enemy attacks will be less than the number of soldiers we have already lost in this most recent military build-up in Black Hawk helicopter crashes alone (what the hell is going on there? They grounded them for awhile, did nothing, and are now letting them kill more and more of our soldiers), though I could easily see myself being wrong there. I think six months down the line is when this war is going to start looking more and more unwise. But hey, maybe I'll be wrong, wouldn't be the first time. I guess since this is going to happen whatever my opinion is, that's the best I can hope for now.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Today was quite a busy day at work. The aquarium always seems to be busy when it rains. And I think a lot of people were here on vacation this weekend, taking an early spring break. So we got quite a bit of business. It went pretty smoothly, though. I understand there were problems on Saturday (which was even busier), but nothing went too wrong today (the parking machine broke, but that's about a daily occurence, so as to barely be worth noting). It was also quite a day for celebrity citings. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas came to see the aquarium. A federal marshall came about an hour before he got their to arrange for him to have a private behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. Must be nice to have that sort of clout. It was neat to see him in person, he was older than I thought, and his son was pretty young. Its pretty exciting to think that I finally got to see one of the five people who actually voted for George W. to be president. Later in the day, I sold a ticket to the guy who played Darlene's boyfriend on Roseanne, which was also exciting in its way. He looks exactly the same as on the show. So that was today's excitement. Celebrities of sort would come into the Cove Theatre (Marion Ross, Andy Kindler, Jewel), but I hadn't seen any at the aquarium.

Spent this evening playing games with my mom and sister. I won handily at Simpsons Trivia (of course), then was beaten twice at Simpsons Clue. In the end, though, it was the sound thrashings I dealt my sister at Simpsons Road Rage (seeing a trend) that were the most satisfying. And now I am winding my day down, watching my cartoons on Cartoon Network. For awhile Sunday evening television was something I looked forward to all week. Now, not so much. The Adult Swim schedule on Cartoon Network is not what it used to be, and after Futurama, there's a bit of a hole in the schedule, and I no longer stay up as late as I used to on a regular basis, so I usually end up going to bed rather than watching Sealab 2021 and Aqua Teen Hunger Force and the rest of that ilk. And as for the Fox line-up, the new Simpsons are for the most part pretty unsatisfying. Basically, its only King of the Hill and the Futurama reruns on Cartoon Network that still make Sunday night TV something I enjoy. But I miss Adult Swim the way it used to be. But maybe its for the best that I not spend my days anticipating upcoming TV shows.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

I ran 45:47 in the St. Patrick's Day 10K this morning. A PR, if only because I'd never ran a 10K before (though a 7:22 pace is nothing to be ashamed of). And I feel better today, one can only assume the two things are related.

My sister's in town to visit and finish up Dad's taxes. We went out to dinner and then a movie, The Guru. It was a great, great movie. Who'd've thunk it. At times watching it, I was wishing there were more Bollywood dance numbers, but in the end, I think it was smart not to try to compete with real Indian films on this account. Instead, it captured the energy and spirit and humor of Bollywood, but is definately a Hollywood film, in the best sense. It parodies bollywood and hollywood, and deals with the issues an Indian--excuse me, a Native American--faces. But ultimately, its about the twin pillars of Hollywood, sex and money. It's always made for great drama and greater comedy, and this is no exception.

Incidentally, what is with Heather Graham playing porn stars? This is at least the third film, I think there may have been more. I know porn stars often (at least according to a hard-hitting VH-1 documentary) think they'll break into mainstream entertainment; is Heather Graham hoping to make the opposite move? Or is it just type-casting? Someone should talk to her agent.

Friday, March 14, 2003

I'm depressed today. I think its because I haven't run in a few days, being a bit sore from hiking Wednesday. Perhaps I'm lacking some endorphins. I didn't thik I had experienced a "runner's high" before, but perhaps I had, with "high" simply being "not low." But I was resting up between the hike and tomorrow's run, so I currently am functioning without the benefit of physical exercise. That's one theory, anyway...what it comes down to is, I feel blue. I'd like a drink, but I figure that would not help tomorrow's run (I don't imagine the cookies I've been eating by the dozen will be of any help tomorrow, either, but we're none of us perfect).

Perhaps its a lack of any activity, not just physical, that is to blame. I skipped school Wednesday and Friday, and called in sick on Thursday. I haven't been sleeping well, and I'm always tired. In short, I feel like I did before exercising. If I felt like this a year or two ago, I wouldn't have worried about it, but now I have to hope this isn't the start of something more long-term.

I've found myself rather irritable, as well. I was walking and some idiot was honking at the car in front of him even though that car couldn't legally go anywhere, and I nearly pulled the idiot out of her car. I thought better of it, though. I still feel an inordinate amount of rage thinking about it. Probably not healthy. I'm giving blood on Tuesday, I'll be curious to see my blood pressure.

Anyway, I don't mean to whine. I just feel myself falling back into a slump of self-pity and lethargy, and I'd really rather not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I played hooky today, skipped school and went out to the desert instead. I decided to set out to Pepperwood Spring, as the seclusion sounded nice. I got a later start than I'd planned, and it took longer to get there than I anticipated, because the dirt road wasn't the best (though my Corolla handled it nicely, I thought). But I ended up doing the bulk of the hiking under the noon-day sun. And then I got lost. I couldn't find Pepperwood Spring, though I reassured myself at least I knew the way back to the car. But once I gave up and decided to head back, I found out I was wrong on that account, too. Ended up going around in a circle three times before I began to get concerned. Fortunately, I found some shade where I could rest, and I had enough water, so I wasn't too worried, but I'd still have felt like an idiot if they had to send search and rescue out for some idiot wandering the desert alone. Once I rested and thought it out, I realized that I had walked a fair amount of the way into the desert along the fence of the private parcel of land I was now adjacent to, and after following that a short ways south, I was back on track. I actually think now I realized where I made the wrong turn, and could get to the spring now. But the spring's probably pretty much dried up already, so no reason to drive all the way out there and try again. But I learned to better appreciate the perils of the desert, and to wear a hat next time. I enjoyed myself, though. There were some nice wildflowers in bloom, and some wildlife to observe, and whatnot.

I recently wrote that I put in an order for Fannie Mae. Well, right before that order came through, some yahoo on the federal reserve made some nasty comments about Fannie Mae's risks, and the stock tanked about 6%. So I was able to up my order and get a real bargain. Also, after seeing the rest of the market tank on Monday also, I reviewed the stocks I've been monitoring and bought some Hasbro. Its management has proven itself incompetent plenty of times, but it seems like a good price, and they have some Twister dance game that sounds like it wants to bring DDR into the homes of middle america.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

So I spent an exciting Saturday night cleaning my room. I can now use the surface of my desk again. And I retreived my filing cabinet from storage and organized all my papers, which was a time-consuming chore. I did find some interesting things in the process, though. Including the worst fortune cookie fortune I ever received: "Promote Literacy: Buy a case of fortune cookies today!" It reminded me of Fry's comments on Futurama, when the future-dwellers, surprised by Fry's reaction to finding ads in his dreams, asked if they had ads in the 20th Century: "Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written on the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!" For the most part, though I was just shuffling through old bank statements and credit card bills and magazine articles that seemed much more interesting when I cut them out. But my room is much more organized, though it begs the question, what personal-improvement task can I use to pass the time now?

After that exciting evening, it was an uneventful day at work, until just now when the police informed us someone left a dog parked in an SUV and that the dog is unresponsive. So Paula is off looking for the owners. Let's all hope they meet a similarly horrific end themselves. I mean, really, driving an SUV already suggests you're an asshole, then you kill your dog, what more does it take to prove you have no business on this Earth. I hate people so much sometimes.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

My foot feels better. It hurt a bit yesterday after I'd been walking on it for awhile, heading back to my car after class. But today it doesn't seem to hurt at all. Just the same, I'm taking it easy today. I'll try running on it tomorrow, and see what happens.

I made dinner last night for myself and my mom, which was fun. It didn't turn out all that great, seeing as I had to make several substitutions, but it was alright, and it felt good to cook again. Mom does most of the cooking, and while I did make a few things while she was up visiting my sister, I really hadn't cooked much since moving back home. It felt like I was reclaiming a part of my life I missed. I went to Ranch 99 today to get some of the ingredients I did without yesterday, and am cooking again today. Maybe I'll bake a cake sometime, dig up my recipe for Maple Walnut Pear Cake, it used to be a holiday tradition (if two, or possibly three, years can constitute a tradition) to make it.

I also went to the farmer's market in La Mesa Friday. Got some really good oranges, and some okay snap peas, and spinach that wasn't really that exciting. And a few avocadoes that won't be ripe for a week or so, so I will withhold judgement. Overall, it wasn't that exciting, not a whole lot of selection and fairly high prices, but the oranges are so good, I'll probably be back for them if nothing else.

I put in an order to buy more stock of Fannie Mae come Tuesday. I was going to buy Southwest Airlines as well, but its price shot up on Friday, so I think I'll wait and see if it comes down a bit. I've become rather obsessive about watching the market lately. Partly its the inheritance I'm getting from Dad; its not a fortune, mind you, but its enough to pay off my high-interest debt and still have enough for emergency savings, and still invest a bit. I really like Sharebuilder, even if you can only buy stocks once a week; $4 a trade is hard to beat. But I think its helping me deal with Dad's death, too. He obsessed over the market himself, and I think taking my time and picking quality stocks makes me feel like I'm communing with him, rather than just feeling his absence. I feel funny spending a lot of time reading and thinking about the market, since I like to think that money isn't that important to me (which is true, though I suppose the lack of money is important to me). But I think in the end, its just a coping mechanism for me, along with a feeling of responsibility, of being a good steward for the resources he has given me. I like to think he'd approve of my stocks, though he always seemed to go for more esoteric stocks, while I've stuck to things I know and understand. I'm not a complete expert on Fannie Mae, mind you, but I'm learning a lot about how their business works, and I have the nice feeling that by investing in them, I'm supporting Fannie Mae's mission of making home ownership an option for the underclass.

Friday, March 07, 2003

I got up early this morning so I could fax some paperwork to my sister before she had to leave the office for a meeting, and then I went for a run. Like yesterday, I felt a real dearth of of energy at first (though I didn't have the tightness or pain I felt yesterday), and was concerned I was getting sick or overtraining, either of which would not be a good think with a race a week away. But after about 8 minutes or so, as I was heading home, I started feeling better, and decided not to cut my run short after all, and instead did some of the speed work I had intended to do yesterday. I didn't push myself quite as hard as I might, since I'm still somewhat concerned about my energy reserves for the 10-K, but my spirits were lifted. Going from about to quit to a respectably difficult run made me feel pretty good about myself. Then I stepped on a piece of wood with a nail in it. Hurt real bad for about two seconds, then it felt like my shoe was filling with blood. I wasn't far from home, so I just ran home real fast (I guess that counts as more speed work), and got my shoe off. Turns out there was very little blood, and the wound was a pretty clean in-and-out puncture wound, no tearing or anything. Still, it meant a trip to the doctors so I could get a tetanus shot. I don't know if I really needed it or not, but I'd rather pay $20 for a shot than end up with lockjaw. And now I'm covered for ten years. Of course, the wound can still get infected, but I think it'll be okay. Pisses me off, though, what sort of idiot leaves a board with a nail on it on the sidewalk? Dumbass.

Oh, I almost forgot...I didn't get to see my regular doctor, I saw his partner. He had a mullet. Did not exactly inspire confidence. I'm sorry, doctors (and lawyers and judges and nuclear physicists) of the world, but we expect more from you: Business up front, business all over. Leave the party in the rear to the truck drivers and tank wipes of the world.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Finally got Tanner out for some exercise yesterday, with the improving weather. Monika and I took him to Lake Murray. Figured anyplace else would be too muddy. Tanner got to socialize with a few dogs, see a few ducks, and I got to hear Monika tell me about how great Ohio is (she's moving there in a month).

Today, I worked, then went for a run, but it didn't go too well. First five minutes or so I was in pain, my calves were tight and then my shoulder started aching. I ran through that, and felt okay for a few minutes, but I just didn't have the energy for the run I had planned. I wanted to work on speed, but I just didn't have enough fuel to push myself, even for a minute or two. So I ended up just doing a 25 minute run at a pretty easy pace. I was running late and just had a yogurt for breakfast, and had a Lean Cuisine dinner called "Chow Mein," but which contained no noodles, so I must be missing something. I had a power gel before I ran, but it wasn't enough to make up the calories I should have been eating all afternoon. I plan to add a run in the morning, to keep on track for the upcoming 10-K. It seems like a good excuse to skip swimming, in any event.

I also enjoyed spending time sorting through Dad's paperwork, trying to figure out how much he paid for the variable annuity my sister and I inherited, for our taxes. It's all rather confusing, and Mom insists on watching me and "helping," which just makes things far, far worse, and then she just gets upset, and makes it all much more stressful then it need be. But we got it worked out. Knowing how fast Vanguard is with things, I'm thinking the check for the annuity might be in the mail tomorrow, which will be nice, both because I'll have plenty of cash in my coffers and I'll be essentially done with the paperwork involving Dad's affairs (a bit more around tax time next year, but that's it).

I learned today at work that the "movie ride" they installed last Summer, which was supposed to be free to us, with the outside contractor paying all the operating expenses, actually cost the aquarium $60,000. And no one rides it. That gave me a good chuckle.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I rather enjoyed today's McSweeney's article, on the Pope and new-age teachings. (If it is not today, you'll have to click through the archives at the bottom of the page to find it)
At last I can post without opening with an apology for not posting in so long. I'm supposed to be at Mardis Gras, but its raining and my friend cancelled, which is fine with me. I don't like crowds. Still, I was kind of looking forward to getting out and doing something social, figure broadening my horizons even in incredibly stupid ways must have an upside to it.

Monday was uneventful, yet again talked myself out of going for my morning swim. The whole day I seemed distracted, couldn't focus on anything, not quite sure why. Got some little projects done, almost everything I'd planned on doing that day, so that's good. Including listing some items on, including my Educational Archives DVDs. I found the boxed set with commemorative lunchbox on clearance for $44, had to have it. Nice lunchbox, even has a real thermos, so it was quite a find. Today I got notice that I've sold volume 1, Sex and Drugs, for about $19, so already I got the boxed set for well under the cost of the two volumes I didn't have. So that was nice.

Today I had work, and actually had a pretty good day. My boss gave me an extra parking pass he got from a member who had no need for it, due to having a handicapped placard, so I can park for free until they finish converting the parking lot into the new system, which should be a few months, I think. And it was a fairly slow day, I got to read and wasn't too crazed. La Jolla didn't get the rain too bad, and it was almost nice when I got off and went for my run. I registered for a 10K a week from Saturday, I'm not too sure I'm up to the challenge. That's okay, though, I know I can run that far, I just don't think my time will shatter any records. I just want to have a base time so I'll have a benchmark for my next 10-K. Right now, I really want to focus on more 5-Ks. I've improved in every one I ran except one, so I figure as long as I'm showing improvement at this level, why tackle tougher races? But this 10-K looks like fun, and there weren't any 5-Ks in March I felt like running in, so this should be a good source of motivation, and might keep me humble, too.

Since we didn't go to Mardis Gras, Chad and I went to Pat and Oscar's. Can't say I like it, even though it was my idea to go there(I had a coupon for free breadsticks). It ended up making me throw up, so I don't think I'll be back there. Though if a simple sandwich and some breadsticks could make me sick today, maybe its a good think I skipped the fried-food-and-liquor-palooza that is Mardis Gras. But still, it would've been nice to show off my now-pert man-boobs (I hoped losing weight would result in losing the tits; instead I've just gone from the rack of a 35-year-old woman to that of an 18-year-old girl, which I suppose is an improvement) for some beads.

I've updated the links on the side, I think...I kind of forget how blogger works. I changed 'em on my end, hopefully they made it to you.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Yet again a week goes by without an update. The least I can do is post a week-end wrap-up. Well, as Homer Simpson once observed, the least I could do is absolutely nothing, but I'll go you one better.

Rains this weekend interfered with many of my outdoor plans, but I still got some running done. Last Sunday, incidentally, I ran in the Torrey Pines 5K. Very hilly course, but I managed a PR of 21:42, first time I've come in under a 7-minute pace. I'm looking forward to my next flat 5K, seeing if I can do even better. But while I was able to get myself to run in the rain, swimming in the rain (or even when it wasn't), came more difficult. Difficult hear means it didn't happen. But between running and strength-training at the gym, I did okay. Just wish the weather had allowed me to include Tanner in a bit of my fitness profile.

I visited Dad's grave on Monday. I brought a sandwich from Subway, I wasn't sure if that was accepted protocol or not, but seemed appropriate enough to me. I don't think I'm the type that will be going to the cemetery very often; I don't really believe in burial and a lot of ceremony surrounding it. But it is a beautiful spot, and it is soothing to be there. I went to check out his tombstone. My mother was concerned it was too big. It's big, but I didn't think it was that bad. Actually going there seemed anti-climactic. I ate my sandwich and sat there a bit and thought about him, but overall it was an underwhelming experience. Having a visit scheduled help bring clarity to the days previous, however; so maybe I'll go again sometime.

I went to Barona Friday night, and again Saturday morning. A friend received a free hotel room offer in the mail (I, having been discovered a dirty cheating card-counter, no longer receive mail offers), and while not staying the night, got the room anyways, just to check out the new hotel. It's nice, an excellent value. I'm still going with Green Valley Ranch as the nicest hotel I've stayed at, but Barona compares favorably, especially at $59 vs. GVR's +$200 weekend price. The bed, which I lied on but did not sleep in, didn't feel particularly comfortable, and the toiletries I have since used were not that great; the soap dried my skin, and the various scents of the products seemed to have been assigned randomly, with no thought as to how they might gel together. The sliding door opening to a small balcony was a nice touch not often seen in a hotel-casino, and the seperate bath/shower (no seperate WC) is nice. Didn't bathe, so no opinion on water pressure. Understated color scheme, overall a classy joint. Unfortunatley the tables were too busy, and I ended up playing a slot machine to pass some time, and my compulsive tendencies emerged yet again, until I blew $600 fairly quickly. Wouldn't mind it at the tables, but on a slot machine, its embarassing. I was also annoyed that Chad played for so long, when he said he didn't want to stay very long, either. I ended up sitting in the room for almost two hours, watching a Discovery Channel program on hippo attacks while he gambled. Since we had the room until 11 AM, I invited my mother up for breakfast and to see the room. She was impressed. We had coffee in the room, then went to brunch, which was nice. I like their buffet, but no longer am raving about it as I was after my first time. I won $100 back that morning, at the tables, so that was nice. Saw some familiar faces from the old days when they knew me by name. Wondering how long before I get the good ol' 86. Of course, they'd be smarter to let me play to my heart's content, and be done in by a slot machine when my compulsions take over. The judo approach.

I need to write more often, I'm not good at rehashing things from a distance. But I think I covered most of the main points of the week. Hopefully I'll stay on top of things this time.