February 3, 2011

Snowstorm 2011

Somewhat unexpectedly, this week that has been thrown all off balance thanks to the giant storm that visited 2/3 of the continental US has been unequivocally my most productive week of 2011.

Things that I have done:

cleaned my countertops - they were full of piles of papers and assorted objects
cleaned my bookshelves - same thing, really
played darts; set up excel file to track my darts playing
refined my 2011 budget tracking files
made a winter squash sou
cleaned the bathroom
cleaned my car
cleaned my car. This was such an impressive task that it deserves to be mentioned twice.
went 1-0 in Yahoo Dominoes. To be fair, that is happening tonight. Definitely post-productivity phase.
painted some pieces to hang in the apartment.
composed/sent some emails that really had to be done
went 1-0 in Dominion vs. Calli. That game is awesome; one of my favorite Christmas gifts. This game was our first using different arrangements of cards than the "first game" set suggested by the game. I enjoyed the new experience. Also, I enjoyed winning.
Paid several bills. Way ahead of time.
Began to look at ideas for groomsmen gifts. I am still surprised (I don't know why) at how many lame ideas the internet provides.

That is a LOT of stuff done, especially when you consider the person doing said stuff is traditionally not one to get a bunch of stuff done when confronted with free time. Until proven otherwise, let us consider this a leaf turned.

October 29, 2010

Triviasaurus Rex, Part 2

Part 2!

After finishing the first half tied for second place (one point behind the leader!), we buckled down for the second half of trivia night. These rounds were worth 12 points each if you got all the questions right, and...we did. We did not get a question wrong the rest of the night.

Round 4:
TV: Before Boston Legal, James Spader was on what other television legal drama?
I didn't know this, but our team's brains overlapped each other all night. Apparently, the Practice.
American History: Who was 30,000 in the air over Kansas when Gerald Ford was sworn in as President?
I think Kelly gets the credit for first saying Richard Nixon, but as soon as she did the entire booth agreed.
Islands: What nation owns 'October Revolution Island'?
Russia. I thought I remembered the Bolshevik revolution happened in October. Russia was as good a guess as any.

Round 5:
Literature: What literary character lived in the 100 acre wood?
- We all said "Winnie the Pooh!", and then wondered where the children's literature/literature line is drawn.
Food: I don't remember the exact wording of this question, but it was something about a French phrase that has come to mean 'best quality' in addition to describing a dish.
- Initially, the booth was going with Monte Cristo. However, I don't think we were satisfied with the answer, and then Kelly suggested that 'cordon bleu' co!uld be similar to blue ribbon or something. We decided that was a much more palatable answer, and we were rewarded with 1 point.
Baseball: Hack Wilson set what single-season statistical record?
Please. A question about a Chicago Cub and his major league 191 RBIs in 1930? Really, trivia night?

Round 6:
In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, what household cleaning does the main character's father use for all-purpose healing?
- Windex. I said Lysol right off the bat, but the booth corrected me. Thanks, ladies.
Common Bonds: What do these words have in common: Easter, Christmas, Virgin, Phoenix, Solomon?

They are all islands! This was a really rough question, but we got it at the last minute. You don't want to mess with Triviasaurus Rex.
Books: What naturalist and bird-watcher wrote a book that recently sold for $8.8 million?
- John Audubon.

He was, quite frankly, the only ornithologist that I could come up with. Yay Audobon!


We came into the last question in first place by three points, so we wagered all 15. Basically, we had to get the question right no matter what, so why not get 15 points? Go big or go home.

Who won the 1988 Grammy for Best Album?
Michael Jackson
Whitney Houston
Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstadt, and Emmylou Harris.

...wow. We reasoned this one out, but I think it was still a bit of a guessing game. However, we guessed correctly with U2 and the Joshua Tree! Booyah 15 points and a $40 gift certificate!

October 28, 2010

Triviasaurus Rex, Part 1

This past week, my friends Amy Bestul and Kelly Thorngate asked me to be a part of their trivia team at the Brass Ring. The night finally rolled around, and we settled on the team name "Triviasaurus Rex" at the boot.

To cut right to the chase, we won. It was great.

I took some pictures of our answer sheet on my phone so I could remember the questions later - here is how the game was formatted:
The first half of the game was three rounds of three questions each - we had to assign point values of 1, 3, or 5 to our answers for a maximum value/round of 9.
The halftime round was a series of 4 questions worth 2 points each.
The second half of the night was three rounds of three questions, but this time with point values of 2, 4, or 6.
The final question was one where we could wager up to 15, but would lose the wager if our answer was incorrect.

Round 1:
Movie Plots: How much money did the Blues Brothers have to raise to save their orphanage?
- $5000. Credit to Amy for watching the movie earlier this week.
World Geography: (I got excited when I heard this category, but it wasn't that difficult). Amman is the capital of what Middle Eastern nation?
- Jordan
Sports: Gary Bettman is the commissioner of which major sports league?

We nailed that round, but they weren't that bad. I'd have been upset if we got any wrong.

Round 2:
Science!: What element is a main component in bone, limestone, and ___. (They gave a third thing, but...I forget what it was. Also, the sound system wasn't great).
- Calcium. We got this one right.
The Simpsons: Something about what real life boxer was the inspiration for blah blah blah
- Mike Tyson. Also got it.
Lyrics: The emcee rattled off a bunch of Mariah Carey lyrics from 2009 - something about windex? I don't remember. Also, we did not get this one correct.

Round 3:
Round three would turn out to be our worst round of the night. Coming right after the Mariah Carey question, I will admit that my confidence began to waver a little bit.
Space: What was the third nation to send a man into outer space (hint: they used a Soviet rocket)?
We guessed China, but I had a feeling it might be a random Eastern Bloc satellite (haha) nation. Yup, the correct answer was Czechoslovakia. Whoops. If not China, I would have guessed East Germany.
Classic Rock: What Scottish band sang the song "Love Hurts"?

We wrote down Asia, but that was just silly. The booth had no idea who this was...turns out it was Nazareth.
Alcohol: So far, we were 0-2 in R. 3, but this was a pretty easy question. In the drink Windex (I think), vodka, rum, and lime juice are combined with what blue liqueur?
- We said blue curacao, except we used the รง. I enjoyed the proper character usage.


Yes or no - were these people alive at the same time?
Mark Twain, Hermann Melville
Benjamin Franklin, Robert E. Lee
Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant
Vladimir Lenin, Winston Churchill


We went 4/4, closing out the first half on a good run.

Part 2 to be continued tomorrow!

October 22, 2010

Summer is over.

I was walking to work on Tuesday this week, when I got the news that summer is officially over:

That's the fountain on Library Mall, closed up for the winter. It's always a sad day for me to see it shut down; the sight is a brutal reminder of how depressing Wisconsin winter can be.

Ah, well. Bring on the broomball games!

October 2, 2010

Home Decor

Since I moved into my apartment about a month and a half ago, I've been slowly finding the right decorations for its walls. So far, I have put up:

the mirrors that Mike and Chelsea gave me when they moved to San Diego in 2007
my puzzle of places to see in Africa

...and that's it. However, I recently found and purchased some sweet posters of planets from the Star Wars Universe. I ordered three from Etsy after somehow happening across Justin Van Genderen's photostream on Flickr. Actually getting the package delivered to me was a hassle that I don't want to get into again (mainly because right now it is the middle of the night and I'm tired. Sneak Preview: I've spent the night getting a big project done [maybe], and will post pictures of it tomorrow), but here are the three new premiere pieces of art in my apartment.

Tatooine, the desert planet from A New Hope.


The Forest Moon of Endor

My not-so-barren wall.

Besides satisfying the Star Wars nerd in me, I like these posters mainly due to their simplistic design. I think I picked three that go together reasonably well as far as their colors (not that I had any choice...you have to have Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor, right? My only debate was perhaps trading Endor for Yavin IV. Oh well).

I wonder how much air fare to Mos Eisley would be?

September 23, 2010

Exciting Purchases

This past week, I made two exciting purchases for my new apartment.

Actually, that sentence is only half true. One purchase I made this week doesn't have much to do with the apartment, and one purchase was made about 3 weeks ago but did not get into my possession until this Tuesday, thanks to the USPS ignoring the forwarding address they so desperately need. Anyway.

I'd put up pictures of purchase no. 1, since they're Star Wars posters and look phenomenal, but my computer is busy installing purchase no. 2 - Adobe CS (Creative Suite) 5 - Design Premium. It's a package of software containing such heavyweights as Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and more. I'm super excited, to say the least...and I got it at a severe student discount through DOIT. This semester is basically composed of me slogging through an introductory statistics course, which is a breeze. I'm getting my money's worth, though. I'm going to every student training seminar I can. These things would cost my company probably $250 per session, but I'm taking at least 15 this semester - for free. Also, I just got a $1500 discount on this amazing software that will now consume my life, so it's all smiles here.

August 11, 2010

Beards Galore

According to this graphic detailing the trustworthiness of bears, I range from Threatening at best to Dangerous at worst. It's unsettling news, to be sure.

I have three defenses:

1. 'Neck Beard' is what results when I trim my normal beard, but am too lazy to get the real razor and actually shave.

2. 'Patchy Beard' is what happens when I am too lazy to even trim my facial hair; my face has basically decided to grow hair in only non-traditional areas plus a mustache.

3. My beards, however non-trustworthy, are preferable to my clean-shaven face?