Month: February 2002

act now and earn the right

Tonight I pledged to invest $100 in the Montreal Expos if my future co-owners can scrape $100 million together to buy the team. Hell, why not? It’s a small price to pay to be in the exclusive fraternity of major league baseball owners. Sign yourself up for any amount—be a part of history! Via Alan Schwartz on ESPN:

At its current rate of growth the kitty will crack $500,000 by the end of the month and hit the magic $100 million mark in late March.

See? It’s a foregone conclusion. Act now and earn the right to say you were one of the first 100,000.

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DNR redesign ad

We opened the floodgates today at work—we added a link to the “public preview” (i.e. unfinished version) of the new [former] DNR web site on the current home page. I’ll keep you posted as to my favorite comments, such as:

It’s obvious you folks have put a lot of time and effort into this. … [However,] [i]t seems like we lost a lot of information that was on the previous home page without a benefit gained in terms of a less cluttered look.

State e-mail is public information, by law; posting it here might be seen as inappropriate, though. Oh, well.

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Chris Ware and Ira Glass were splendid Monday night, by the way. They conversed about their work in a very entertaining fashion for almost 3 hours; afterwards, they graciously signed autographs for an hour. The Breeders were pretty good on Wednesday night, too.

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Tomorrow I’ve got a union thing—a strike debriefing from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. Hope it’s better than it sounds. Actually, it’s important to record some lessons for any future rerun of last October’s unpleasantness.

something new for me to deal with

Metacritic looks like a great movie review site; it compiles movie reviews from around the web and “averages” them. It’s even named accurately, since its average score for a movie is weighted based on how much they like the critic (implicitly criticizing the critics)….

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By the way, there’s something new for me to deal with: “Rejecting contracts puts employees, collective bargaining at risk”.

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Via Textism, I’ve discovered Ftrain. Paul Ford is a talented writer and a good read, if a bit too surreal for my tastes at times.

extra pizzas

The previous entry is a weird place to keep you hanging. I ordered pizza for the meeting. It was fine, except 7 of the 20 pizzas I ordered didn’t get touched (I counted on the estimates of my more-experienced colleagues), so we donated them to the homeless shelter across the street.

Still haven’t been getting sleep, though. Soon (I hope) I’ll be rolling out, which will draw a clear distinction between my personal thoughts and my professional life, as I’ve planned.

get some sleep

Crap, just remembered I volunteered to get food for today’s MAPE local meeting. And I’m the new president, for some God-forsaken reason, so I have to run the damn thing. I’d better get some sleep.

Cops and Breeders

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this yet.

My absolute favorite show on the radio is This American Life, hosted and produced by Ira Glass since 1995. It is what it says it is—people talking about life in this country—and defies further description, as their website acknowledges:

One of the problems with our show from the start has been that whenever we try to describe it in a sentence or two, it sounds awful. It’s a bunch of stories—some are documentaries, some are fiction, some are something else. Each week we choose a theme and invite different writers and performers to contribute items on the theme. This doesn’t sound like something we’d want to listen to on the radio—and it’s our show. . . . It’s a weekly show. It’s an hour. Its mission is to document everyday life in this country. We sometimes think of it as a documentary show for people who normally hate documentaries.

Anyway, it’s really good—in my opinion, the most enjoyable hour of radio produced anywhere today. I thought to mention it tonight because I was looking for this past weekend’s show online (it’s not there yet, but each show is archived in streaming RealAudio. Give it a listen).

Incredibly, I found out in my search for archived installments that Ira Glass is going to be here in Minneapolis, two weeks from tonight. Not only that, but he will be having a conversation with Chris Ware of Acme Novelty Library fame (also brilliant) about alternative forms of media! So if you’re anywhere near Minneapolis on February 18, 2002, at 7:30 pm, don’t miss this. It’s sure to be extremely entertaining and edifying.

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Unfortunately, not having done any writing of note in the last week-plus, I now have two weekends to summarize instead of one.

As promised, Cops and Breeders: On January 26th I went home to Hartford to hang out with my mom and see the new addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. On the way out of town Saturday morning I realized, “Hmm, it might be a good idea to get tickets to the Breeders concert at the 400 Bar on February 20th that Amber and I plan to go to (the first really good 21+ concert after her 21st birthday), since I noticed they weren’t on sale online anymore.” Though I haven’t checked with the 400 Bar box office, I may have gotten the last two tickets available to that show. How do I figure that? Well, the Electric Fetus (record shop) was sold out. Ticketweb was sold out. Global Village, a store next door to the club, was my second-to-last hope. The woman at the counter, after I asked about the show, checked the outside of the ticket envelope to no avail. “We must not have gotten them in yet,” she speculated, not seeing the name of the concert written on the envelope. My heart sank, assuming that since Electric Fetus had gotten them and sold out of them, Global Village had as well. Then she searched through the envelope. “Wait,” she said, as she pulled out exactly two tickets to the Breeders show, with a rubberband doubled around them. She remarked that it was strange that the name of the show wasn’t on the envelope. My first thought was that someone who worked at the store was saving the last two for themselves, but I kept quiet about that. After I ran to my car to get my checkbook, the tickets were mine.

With that triumph, I left town on Interstate 94, heading east. Much like many other drivers on that route, I tend to drive at a high rate of speed. Some, such as those who nobly assume the awesome responsibility of enforcing the laws of the land, might consider that rate of speed excessive. However, I’ve been extremely lucky that, most times that I drive in excess of the posted limit, I don’t get caught.

A little over a third of the way through my trip, about a half-mile from a rest stop, I was preceded and followed by drivers of similar hasty inclination. I noticed, as I often do, a police cruiser on the side of the road after pulling over some unlucky offender. Seconds later, I saw another one. After that, I saw a third cop. This was all within a quarter of a mile. I decided to stop at the rest stop. I hung out for about 10 minutes or so, doing the usual rest stop things. When I left, after I pulled back onto the freeway, I saw another cop with another (probable) speeder. Unbelievable! Four speeders caught by four different cops within a half-mile, and I was none of them. I lead a charmed life.

Anyway, the museum was great, and I had a good time hanging out with my mom and stepdad, as I always do.

This past weekend, February 1-3, I went to Madison to spend time with some friends from college (Pete, Todd, Gief, and Jess). We went to see Lord of the Rings (me for the 3rd time, Pete for the 6th!), had reasonably good Chinese food, and played lots of Simpsons Road Rage (almost reason enough to buy a Playstation 2. It was for Pete, anyway). Also saw the incredible new office that HBG moved into after I left and played a little Quake (a very infrequent indulgence, which explains why I sucked so much). Good times.

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