take it back

have you heard about randy bryce? (aka @ironstache) he’s a wisconsin ironworker taking on paul ryan in the 2018 midterms, and i think he’s onto something. 

his background and platforms hearken back to old-school democrat – think actual democratic-farmer-labor party. he’s a veteran, iron worker, and a unionmember, not a millionaire or someone with grand business interests. his kid goes to public school. his brother is a police officer and his sister a teacher. if there were any way to unify the democratic party and get back to its roots and really capture the base they’ve lost – the salt of the earth – i feel this is the perfect opportunity. 

another thing i think the party could do to ruffle feathers: take back the flag. the US flag has been co-opted by the republican party. if you wear a flag, wave a flag in your yard, or have a flag sticker on your vehicle, i automatically think “republican.” now, i am the first person to say that a flag does not define a country. (it’s the people who define a country.) one of the more profound things i’ve read was on fark (remember fark?): “if america’s so great, we shouldn’t even need a flag.” but if the democratic party started waving the flag at all the protests and other events, in their yards, on their bumpers, maybe, just maybe, those wavering people on the fence might say, hm, i guess democrats are patriotic after all. 

so, there’s my plan for an america that doesn’t include a nuclear-weapons-wielding egomaniac at its helm: go back to our roots and take back the flag.

get your iron!

let me tell you about iron supplements. 

now, i don’t know if it’s the iron itself or a placebo effect, but i started taking iron pills a couple weeks ago and my running time has gotten better and the time running has gotten better, too. i have a lot less fatigue while running; for the past few months my muscles have just been blah while running. 

so i did some research on fatigue while running, and the first thing that came up was iron deficiency. women runners are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including heel strikes while running! who knew. i tried out the iron supplements, and off i went. 

anyway, that’s a running update for you!

dc – day 4 and 5

welp i’m back on my couch. it’s 65ΒΊ outside, breezy, the sun’s heading down the horizon. birds are chirping, wind in the leaves, and i just heard a couple loons overhead. 

i <3 traveling, but it’s really something to come home. 

day four of the work trip to dc was a half day of conference, and then we took in some sights before heading home. we went back to a small cafe for lunch where i almost had a bloody mary and am now regretting not getting it. then headed to the library of congress on the metro. the library closes at 4:30, so we went there first.

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the architecture was great, and i wanted to buy every book in the gift shop. but i resisted and instead bought myself a hermione granger shirt that i’ve been wanting for some time now. 

after that, we headed out into the sweltering heat (i would bet the heat index was 100+) and took the metro to the monuments instead of walking the mile.

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walked past the US forest service! so far they haven’t been completely defunded and decommissioned. 

headed to the washington monument first, which was actually taller than i thought it was going to be.

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we sat in the shade for a while so i could let the sweat evaporate. i was actually starting to get worried about heat exhaustion. 

the reflecting pool was drained due to some parasites that were killing the duckling, but we headed down past the WWI or WWII fountain memorial, then to the lincoln memorial. i didn’t think it would be so powerful, but it was. reading the gettysburg address kind of choked me up.

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after that, we luckily just hopped into a cab back to our hotel. half the crew had lousiana seafood again, and another and i went to a pizza place. familiarity was kind of nice. we headed back to our hotel rooms and packed/chilled. around 9 a.m. i went down to the outdoor pool and stuck my feet in the water. should’ve put on the suit and jumped in. 

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you can see how swanky our hotel was by this long corridor of chandeliers. 

this morning was early – our flight left at 8:50, so we were at the airport by 8, and i somehow got TSA pre-check, so i sailed through security. that was ok – i stood in line at starbucks for the entire time the others were in the TSA line. 

plane ride was uneventful and we got in a little before 11 a.m. i was home by 1:30!

then i took a 2-hour nap, and it was a HARD nap. like i didn’t want to get up. i forced myself to, and tonight i will sleep well. 

i’m glad to be home though πŸ™‚

dc day 3 – a day late

today was a full day of conference, with at least one helpful session (it’s so difficult choosing a session). i did take the afternoon off sessions so i could get a run in. the fitness center here is HOOOOT and there were NO FANS on the treadmills. i slogged through 4 miles and was soaked by the time i got through, but i did it!

after the sessions and my hot run, we headed to king street/old town for some sightseeing and thai food. we got off the metro and headed down toward the potomac. king street has a lot of little shops that vary all over the spectrum with goods. there were bookstores, paper stores, furniture stores, kitchen stores, adult stores, cigar stores, etc. etc., and it was cobblestone and very east coast feeling. we stopped at a bar for a pitcher of beer, then headed to the thai place. mmm the curry was good! i’ll have to see if i can find a place in st. cloud (or make my own i guess). 

one thing i don’t necessarily like about the east coast is the humidity. oy! i was sweating just standing around, and it was mid 80s. i choose the wrong clothes to bring – should’ve brought nothing but polyester. the thai place had no AC, but i did sit right in front of the fan. 

after thai, we headed back up king street and stopped at a cupcake store, where i got a red velvet and a chocolate chocolate. if they’d’ve had the pb chocolate, i would’ve gotten that one. 

headed back to our hotel by way of sherry’s liquor and stayed up for a bit. fun day!

dc day 2!

today was PRESENTATION DAY. the reason we are in DC. but you don’t want to hear too much about that. we presented on our eorientation and flipped advising we’re doing at the college, and my part was the creation of it – content and web dev side. i had to talk for a solid 10 minutes or so, which was ok. and i knew what i was talking about, so that was good. my first practice run-through was awful, but i practiced four times today and felt good about it.

here’s what i know about me and public speaking. it’s like math. i am good at it, but i don’t enjoy it and would rather not do it. but i always end up doing well. and based on the questions afterward, this was a pretty good session. there was some humor, it was interesting, and at one point i turned to the deal of lib. arts and said “WOW bob (our web dev) is a GENIUS”. i hadn’t really paid attention to the back end stuff he’d done for advising, and some of the stuff he did was just amazeballs to me. 

ANYWAY…here’s what you really want to know about: we went to a nearby diner for breakfast, where i had eggs, hashbrowns, and toast, as well as a giant latte. the hashbrowns were a square! just a friend square of hashbrowns. kind of like a mcdonald’s hashbrown, but bigger and beefier. (and better.) the jam was home made and delish. 

ended up not eating lunch, but we did have “light fare” at a conference reception, which was pretty decent for conference food. 

then we took the metro to an uzbek/russian restaurant for supper, and i think i ordered the wrong thing πŸ™ it was pretty much giant beef tortellinis in broth with some sour cream on top. other people’s food looked much more appetizing. oh well. i will not be going back. 

on the way back, i went up perhaps the most giant escalator i’ve been on, and the escalators at universal were pretty dang giant. 

now i’m on the way to sleepytime, which i need after today. i’m not sure what’s happening tomorrow after the conference, but i found out that the library of congress is 25 mins away via metro and foot, so i might zip over to check that out either on saturday. we’ll see how things pan out.

OH and i found out my room looks over the washington monument, and it lights up at night! (this is a horrible pic, but oh well.)

IMG_2177

dc day one

hello from washington dc! i’m here for a work conference, and we’re going to be sightseeing as well, because why not? we’re here! 

today was travel day, so my workmates and i left cloud town around 9 to catch our 1 p.m. flight. after 3 hours of boring flight, we got into dc and got a cab to our hotel. not as crazy as LA’s shuttle was, but still pretty crazy! the hotel is nice, and we spent the first few hours going over our presentation, which is tomorrow. i have to make this post short so i can practice here in my room not in front of people. or else i’ll just wing it…

after that, we headed out for supper to hot n juicy crawfish. i split a crawfish boil for two with another person, and we had fried brownies for dessert. oh, and two raspberry beers. supper was good! it was a little unnerving at first to be tearing the heads off these little crawfish, but it was pretty good so i got over it. 

after a quick stop at CVS, back to the hotel. i took a shower right away to get all the crawfish grease off me. anyway, time to do a quick practice, then time to sleep because i’m exhausted and people are raring to go early squirrelly. no sleeping in for me, i guess. 

what’s goin on!

thunderstorms woke me up this morning, so i was awake about an hour earlier than i wanted to be. so now i’m sitting on my couch in my log cabin living room watching a weather front come in and listening to the wind in the trees.

have i mentioned how much i like my new house?

anyway, some life updates for everyone.

running

i’ve been getting really fatigued lately while i’m running, and i’ve gone from “this is tolerable” to “this is miserable.” i did some research online, and it seems like i might have low iron, which apparently is a common thing for women who run. so i have started taking some iron supplements, and i actually might go in to the doctor to get my iron levels tested. in the meantime, we’ll see if the three days of supplements i’ve been taking affect my run tonight.

oh, and i guess i’m running a ragnar race. :/

work

summertime is always a little less hectic at work, which is nice. it’s a time when i can focus on things that’ve been sitting on my desk for months and work on bigger projects. i’m also working 4 10-hour days, so i’ve got a 3-day weekend every weekend. unfortunately, i always feel rushed in the evenings – i get home at 6:30, try to eat supper right aways so i have some time to digest before i go on a 45-min run and get in before sunset (i run on a 55-mph highway, so that’s almost imperative). i don’t want to eat supper late in the day, so that’s what hanging me up there. not sure what the answer is. 

one thing that’s happening that’s kind of cool is i’m helping present on an eorientation project we did at a national conference in washington dc. so this wednesday, i’m flying out to DC for four days. we’ll go to some of the conference, but we’ll also make sure we see some of the big stuff – monuments, smithsonian stuff, museums, etc. i’ve never been out there, so this will be exciting!

(actually, i’ve never been east of indiana [thanks liz], so this will be a real departure from my regular vacay destinations [westward ho!])

garden!

garden is blowing up! i love that it’s RIGHT THERE and it’s LARGE and i have tons of stuff in it. probably too much. we’ll see how the squash does. i planted four potato plants just because i like the occasional potato from the garden, but i don’t really keep them over winter. 

let’s see, what else: broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, onions. butternut squash and pie pumpkins. that’s a lot. oh! and green beans. we’ll see how it all does. i’ve already got to get in there with my tiller to get rid of weeds.

i also got rid of my two “cemetery” trees that were next to the house. last fall, an ice storm pretty much ripped them in half and they were dead. i was like “ugh, where am i gonna find a chainsaw,” when i was out for a run and heard/saw (haha) my neighbors two doors down chainsawing in their backyard. i came back and they had moved to the front. i introduced myself and asked about some chainsaw services. they happily agreed! he even pulled out the stumps with his truck, which helped a TON. 

took them to the city compost and now i’ve planted two lilacs in their places. MUCH better.

(i also got two raspberry bushes while i was at the nursery and planted those on the end of the garden. excited for that!)

that’s all i’ve got. i might try to blog about DC, but we’ll see how tired i am at the end of the days. the weather front is closer, but it’s still rumbling thunder, so i’m not sure how long this will take. we need the rain, though! 

oui oui

i did some research on the paris agreement/accord/whatever since i wanted to know more and figured you might too! 

the most incredible thing about the PA is that every country is taking care of its own business of its own accord and is actually doing it, with 202o as the goal start date. each country sets goals to combat climate change, and all countries except three have signed on of their own volition because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

for the record, nicaragua at first decided not to sign the agreement because it wasn’t RADICAL ENOUGH. the president said 90% of its energy will be renewable by 2020, and they wanted countries to be punished for not meeting goals. (they’ve since are considering reconsidering because they don’t want to be lumped in the same category as the ridiculous US.) the US, of course, is out because trump. and syria isn’t a part of it because syria’s a war zone. 

so.

(i mean, even north korea’s on board. really, DT?)

the countries that are a part of the PA have agreed to some stipulations:

  1. they want to hold the increase in global average temp to below (like, way below) 2ΒΊC above pre-industrial levels. ideally, the limit would be 1.5ΒΊC pre-industrial levels. (pre-industrial means pre-1750.) for the record, pre-industrial average world temp was 13.8ΒΊC (56.84F) and in 2014, average world temp was about 0.8 C warmer than that. so, the world’s countries want to keep that at 1.5ΒΊ or less, with AT MOST, 2ΒΊ.  (remember average world temp does not mean average MN temp. when idiots huurrr durrr about global warming when it’s -15ΒΊF, please just roll your eyes so hard they end up in the snowbank across the street.)*
  2. they want to make sure that climate change does not affect food production. there are a lot of people on the planet, and we need to feed them (preferably NOT corn, but we’re using that as an example ugh). think about the impact of a global increase in temperature on the US bread basket – all those plains may just end up being desert that doesn’t support food production. insane weather patterns also affect food stores, as there may be droughts or floods.
  3. and finally, the first-world countries recognize the benefits they had with the industrial revolution and how coal and other polluting methods to create the standard of living they now have. through this agreement, the countries that had that benefit will help out the developing countries to make sure their paths to development is a greener one. 

witheartha couple important points:

this is completely voluntary.

and there is no repercussions if a country drops out or doesn’t meet its goals. 

THAT’S how serious the world is taking this. 

so, here’s DT’s quote on why he decided to leave the PA:

“The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries,” Trump said. “It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That’s not going to happen while I’m president. I’m sorry.”

let’s talk about that massive redistribution of US wealth. that’s how point 3 above is handled. the developed countries that had the advantage of early development are going to commit $100billion a year to help the developing countries and overall greenification of the earth. in march last year, the US gave $3billion to the green climate fund, and as of now, there is $10billion in it. i believe it works as a grant system. it will also directly help countries most affected by climate change, like small island countries.  

now, here’s a wrench i’m going to throw in the system. heard of the international monetary fund (IMF)? i feel like this is a perfect thing for the IMF to jump into. the IMF is “189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”

if there’s ever a time to use the money in the IMF to do all those things, i think this is it. as of 2016, the IMF had about $668billion in it. 

anyway, that’s an argument for another day. 

so, once DT announced the US withdrawal from the PA, it’s not like we suddenly aren’t in it. part of the provisions, even though it’s voluntary, is that it will take a good four years for the US to get out of it. a country can’t even begin withdrawal proceedings until it’s been in the agreement for three years, and after the withdrawal has been sent, it will be active one year after it’s been filed. the earliest the US can get out of the PA? Nov. 4, 2020…the day after the next presidential election

(seriously, all this brouhaha may be for naught.)

so, that’s a lot of political information on the PA and doesn’t really go into what countries are actually planning on doing as far as greenification. i was listening to “pod save america” this afternoon, and it already looks like china and india are well on their way to exceeding their goals, and china’s on its way to becoming a global leader (bye bye US as a global leader). but that’s another post. meanwhile, 400 new coal jobs were added in may in the US. we’re nowhere near 2011 levels of coal employment, and i doubt we ever will be. laid off from a coal job? time to go back to school and learn a new trade. like solar panel installation and upkeep. and that’s also another post.

REMEMBER: this is the only earth we’ve got. if the earth goes to pot and is inhabitable for humans, WHAT ELSE MATTERS**? who cares about the economy, refugees, travel bans, and especially transgender people in bathrooms. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE.

*do you NEED a post about the science behind climate change? i mean, there are a TON of peer-reviewed sciencey environmental studies out there you can look at. and 97% of scientists agree that it’s human-made. that’s the same effectiveness as a condom when used correctly. you take those chances, so why not these? (also, you’re making cleaner air and water and a better place to live – is that REALLY so bad, even if climate change isn’t human-made?)

**in all seriousness, the earth don’t care. we’ll get wiped out and the earth will live on for millions more years and not give two hoots about people. but i’m sure you care, at least for the next 50 years or so. #humansnowhereearthdontcare

Sources: wikipedia, wikipedia, and pod save america.

pale blue dot, earth dwellers

hello earth dwellers. happy meteorological spring. i know we can’t all live in the setting i do, surrounded by trees, happy frogs, and happy birds chirping into the night. but i want this to be here for us. for a while. i may only have another good 50-60 years, but people as a whole can sure be here for the long haul. and we can’t keep it up if the earth is shot.

i’ve said it once; i’ve said it 100 times: every day should be earth day. and with the president not signing the paris accord, now more than ever do we need to keep this mantra. (if you’re like me, you also want to know more about the paris accord, but that is a post for another day.)

keep your heads and hearts high, earth dwellers. we shall get past this. businesses are already embracing renewable energies and lower-emission natural gas because it’s cheaper. our recycling centers and composting areas will not disappear or be disbanded. it’s highly unlikely coal will make a comeback (another topic i’d like to discuss at a later date). our hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts are the country’s greatest supporters of environmental conservation efforts. know that if you support your state’s department of natural resources, you are likely rubbing elbows with your camouflaged neighbors. 

your efforts aren’t for naught, earth dwellers. your composting, gardening, recycling, minimalist lifestyling, and buying choices are making a difference (look at the surge in organic and less processed foods lately – all my anti-corn efforts!)

and keep it up, earth dwellers. just because some heads of state are denying the inevitable doesn’t mean YOU have to. you may not feel like you’re making a difference, but your contribution is what does make a difference. now more than ever, we need you, the earth needs you, every day. 

remeber, earth dwellers: every day is earth day.

this is a song about susan

e27444i’ve been an everclear fan since i heard them on the radio back in 1996-1997. i went to a concert at stcloud state back in probably 2000 during their “songs from an american movie” tour and then saw them when they played a free concert at the UofM maybe 10 years ago (i’m guessing art -the lead singer – was high. it was NOT a good concert). 

so, when i saw they were doing a 20th anniversary tour for the “so much for the afterglow” album, i called up my brother. two concerts, and i’d never been with the second-biggest everclear fan i know (i’m the first). he was hesitant at first; it’s not the original band – art is the only one who is original. but they were playing an old-school album all the way through for the tour, so he hesitantly said yes (besides – tickets were like $40 each for the third row. can’t really pass that up!). 

charlie and i met at our hotel in red wing then headed up to treasure island, where we had about an hour to kill and needed to eat, so we hit up the buffet. we had a great people-watching seat, ate our money’s worth, and i was eating two plates of pie when charlie decided to take a mini brain break in the bathroom. 

there i am, eating my two pies (blueberry and chocolate mint), when i look up and see art alexakis walking toward the VIP entrance from afar. i freeze, and my first thought is “omg it’s art and charlie’s in the stupid bathroom.” so i fumble for my phone, first to check if i could text him quick with no service, then wondering how on earth i’m going to take a picture surreptitiously without art seeing me. there was just no way because i’m sitting RIGHT THERE and he was getting closer and closer. AAAHHH. 

so i just look at him and and try to smile (it was probably more like a grimace), when he said “wow, that’s an old-school shirt*,” asked me how i was doing, and shook my hand. AHHHAHAAAA. i don’t know what etiquette is for asking celebrities for a picture while they’re heading to supper, so i didn’t even think about asking him for a pic. 

then charlie took another 10 minutes to get out of the bathroom while i was sitting there like OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG. 

he was mad for being in the bathroom. he wanted to go over and interrupt art during supper. i didn’t condone that and i was having no part of that but told cha could do what he wanted (he didn’t).

we headed in to find our seats – row 3 was a good choice! super close to the stage, and we were on the aisle, which was great. listened to a couple fastball songs, then headed out so charlie could have a break and i could get a couple beers. came back for a couple vertical horizon songs – got some video!

then everclear set up! IMG_2061

and then they came out on stage playing “so much for the afterglow” – omg it was great. they played side one of the album, then played some of their older songs – heartspark dollarsign, local god, heroin girl – and one of their newer songs, which i hadn’t heard. 

 (my favorite song!)

IMG_2060security was crazy mean. no excessive jumping around or trying to bumrush the stage. i seriously would’ve been ok with a dancing area. trying to jump around with your hands in the air is really annoying when you’re restricted to your chair area. charlie held up his lighter for about 5 seconds during a song, and THAT was a big no. good grief. what have concerts come to! (well, to be fair, we were at a casino, not a true concert venue.)

IMG_2063then they played side two of the album, and they said that once they finished, they’d do the whole leave stage, but really they’ll be back thing. the break they took was like, 15 seconds, so not even really a true encore. had a great old-school 80s guitar play-off, which led into a more rockish version of AM radio than the album had. after that, we heard wonderful, and they finished up the night with santa monica (yay!). 

they played for about two hours, which is pretty amazing. my ears were stuffed afterward and my voice hoarse from screaming lyrics at the guy’s head in front of me. i wish there had been more jumping and waving of arms in the air; toward the end i was like, who cares, and i threw my hands in the air all the time. that was the only thing missing – a mosh pit!

afterward, i asked charlie if he was ok with the other band members being new, and his tune had changed. as long as art was still the frontman and they were playing old songs, he was a-okay.

for the first concert i’ve been to in close to 10 years, this was a great experience!  

*this is all kind of funny because i was having a mini crisis beforehand about the shirt. should i wear it and be “that guy”? could i get away with it because it was from the original tour? i posited the question to facebook, and the consensus was that i should just get over it and wear the shirt. you do you, dude.