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.

lighten up

with a backpacking trip impending (as in, probably next year), i have been thinking about what to pack and what not to pack. obviously, a lighter pack is a better pack when you’re carrying it on your back while hiking up and down hills for 10 miles a day.

one thing i keep coming back to: my camera. i would LOVE to bring my camera and a couple lenses. unfortunately, my camera and two lenses i would bring weigh a TON in the packing world. like, we’re talking ounces when you’re speaking with an appalachian trail through-hiker. every ounce counts.

but part of me is thinking, i can’t NOT bring my camera. it just doesn’t make sense to not bring it. my phone camera wouldn’t do anything real justice, and i just can’t justify buying a specific, lighter, not-quite-as-functional camera for a trip. 

so what do i not bring? do i get a kindle so i can leave a couple paperbacks at home? make sure all my clothes are ultra light? buy a new, lighter nalgene? or do i say, this time, no camera? me without a camera on a trip like this is probably like me without a limb. do i just suck it up and carry the extra two pounds? i think i do.

who’s got two thumbs and is still rockin’ an iphone 4s?

yep. this girl.

Attach0apple had its big event this afternoon, announcing what amounts to a laptop you have to assemble yourself and a $99 stylus. of course they also announced the new iphone – the 6s. four years later, and i’ve still got a 4s in my hand. 

i’ve replaced the screen twice and the gps is spotty at best, but it still works, holds a charge, works as a phone, and plays music. i haven’t updated the ios in about two years, and i still use the facebook app version that allows you to use facebook messages in-app. 

sometimes i think it might be good to replace my 4s – it is four years old at this point and my contract with AT&T has been long up. i could even upgrade to a 5s and get the phone free. but…
this thing is basically indestructible. it fits in my pocket. as in, none of it pops out. (this is important when you’re a woman buying pants, whom designers have decided need no pocket space.) everything i use it for works more than sufficiently. and most importantly? diagonal single thumb usage is optimal on this size screen. i can hold my phone in one hand, pinkie holding the bottom, right corner nestled at the base of the thumb, and the top of my thumb will reach to the opposite top left of the screen. no, i don’t have small hands. i’m tall and relatively large boned. my fingers are about as long as nate’s. 

Attach2

optimal diagonal thumb reach!

also this key point: i keep thinking that by upgrading i’m going to have something completely new and shiny. i have to remind myself that no i won’t; i will have another iphone using the same apps for the same purposes. the only reason i should upgrade now versus after my 4s dies is to get a reliable gps. i really only use one app regularly with the gps – runkeeper. unfortunately, i have to pull out the 3Gs for my runs or map them on the website after my run. who knew how we lived before smartphones? pre-2007 was so antiquated. 

on the other hand, i often consider going back to a dumb phone and living the real prehistoric life of printed out maps and waiting until i got to my laptop to check email *gasp*. at least i’m not going back to a landline. (although…) (no.)

but that day has not come. and until the day apple releases a new phone at the 3.5″ screen size (that day? squee!); my 4s finally craps out or doesn’t hold a charge; or apple sends a stealth explosion update, forcing all its luddite users to upgrade, i’ll keep my 4s in my insufficient women’s pants pocket and easily browse one-handed. 

at the fair

the people were overwhelming the second day i was at the fair. a person comes to expect a lot of people at a state fair, but this far exceeded what i had thought. it was warm enough that my cherry on a spoon ice cream treat was dripping too fast for my mouth to keep up with it, and trying to get around the throngs and SUV strollers (why? WHY??) while maneuvering my ice cream at the same time was harrowing.

in the past, i had gone to the fair the second time with jane on a thursday evening. while the people were still there, it was manageable. this time was not. the food building alone was enough to drive a person batty. i could see the cheese curd place in the distance; it was mere steps away. but the people between us and the cheese curds were too much to handle. then the lines were winding, long, and sweaty. once you paid, though, the cheese curds were done pronto, and soon the fried, cheesey goodness made its way into my belly. 

once we made our way out toward the outskirts of the fair, down by the eco and pet buildings, the crowd was more manageable. we stopped to watch a lumberjack show at the northwoods tent, and cheered and booed with the rest of the crowd. 

on our way out, charlie picked up some martha’s cookies. there is always a line for the cookies, and while he was in line, i went to get my ice cream. jane stayed under a tree. we stood on the boulevard under the shade while charlie slowly made his way to the counter. cookies in hand, we hightailed it out of there.

i’m not saying don’t go to the fair. i’m saying don’t go on the weekend. next year, we’ll go on our regular thursday evening. 

 

fickle

26275_665000317431_2432753_napril, you fickle beast, you.

i guess i shouldn’t be one to talk; i have christmas decorations yet on my chandelier and a greenhouse with baby tomatoes reaching for the light 6 feet away. 

while you tease me with 76ΒΊ on the way home from work one afternoon, you drop to 64ΒΊ within the hour after i happily donned my shorts and tank top. 

then after a drenching rain, you drop completely to under freezing so i’m forced to bundle up the next morning for work. 

you’re certainly living up to your reputation of april showers, as the next week holds the promise of drops from the sky, which ARE needed here, as 80% of the state is in a drought.

but after months of running on a treadmill, i finally got out of the house for runs, and that’s all i want to do – no going back to the treadmill this season.

but the WIND the WIND the WIND. not only is it maddening overall and a beast to run in, but it stirs up stuff on the ground and gets in my eyes and nose and lungs, and i’m sniffly and snotty and gross.

so i wait: hopes a little quelled; watching for the perennials to pop up; running shoes tapping impatiently; tethered to the 10-day weather outlook.

soon the weather will stabilize into above-freezing nights; the grass will green; my plants will get in the ground; my running shoes will hit pavement.

but until then.

april, you fickle beast, you.

internet hipster!

i wrote this for my column in the newsleader way back in 2002! some of my predictions did not hold true…

I have a confession to make: I am an internet geek. While some people may shy away from the internet and all it holds, I grasp it and embrace it, holding it and all it offers dear to me. You want to hear the geekiness?  I used to find coupons that would get me $50 of merchandise free, I know what mp2s are and I remember when Hotmail was owned by Hotmail, not Microsoft.

Lately, however, the quality of the internet has rapidly declined.  How so?  Well, the afore mentioned $50 coupon?  I’m lucky if I find a coupon for free shipping these days!  So many web site upstarts were blossoming in 1998-99, free stuff on the internet was easy to find.  One web site would offer up to $25 of free merchandise, and all I had to do was pay shipping.  Another web site had an offer where if I created a “wedding web site” (I wasn’t getting married, nor am I married now, but what do they know?), I would get $50 free merchandise from a high-quality internet site, and all I had to pay was shipping.  Once, I actually found a $20 coupon that INCLUDED shipping; I was ecstatic. 

I can’t find anything these days.  Amazon.com boasts free shipping on purchases over $100, but when am I going to spend that much?  The mp3 craze is so high that finding any mp3s on the internet is nearly impossible, even those you pay for!  (Copyright issues: another subject.)  Yessiree, the internet is darn near impossible to fanagle any free stuff out of these days.  Those were the good old days, when I could get $50 of items for $3.50.

Not only is finding free stuff a futile battle, but pop-up ads are insane.  It used to be that only “risque” web sites had pop-up ads with advertisers taking you to their other web sites.  Now, everyone and their neighbor is trying to find a good way of advertising on the internet.  Advertisements don’t work online.  No one pays attention to them, and this is the problem web-companies have; how are they going to sell advertising if research shows web site ads are useless?  They have to find some way to fund their web sites, so they inundate us with pop-up ads and monkey target practice and musical dancing bears and $20 free if you click the arrow which is moving so slow a two-year-old could click it.  The latest ads are pop-up ads which are almost transparent and have no X to get you out of them!  No X means I have to search for five minutes before I can close the ad.  Sure, no X means that I have to look at the ad while I’m trying to close it, but it also means that I’m so frustrated I wouldn’t buy from the advertiser anyway!

This is not a good thing, though, because it means to fund these web sites, soon the owners are going to start charging us to view their web sites.  I see in the future no more free internet.  OK, the internet isn’t totally free now because of the $20/month we pay our internet service providers, but pretty soon we’re going to have to automatically pay X amount of dollars to have internet-based e-mail (Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) and pay a monthly fee to see certain web sites.  The Wall Street Journal already charges to look at the entire paper online. 

The new trend is going to be upon us soon. You know the old-age adage:  “I remember when Twinkies were a nickel, movies were a dime, a bottle of pop was eight cents and gas was 15 cents a gallon.”  When I feel I’m ready to spit out an adage of my own to my kid(s), it’ll be “When I was a kid, my e-mail was free, I didn’t have to pay to find out weather information from weather.com and they actually gave me stuff for free, even if I wasn’t married!”

mmm cake

after using my new computer setup for a couple days, i realized i was getting nauseous while sitting here. i looked online as to what it could be, and found that a lot of people who switch to LED monitors have issues with how they’re lit. so nate and i switched out our monitors, and i’m using his ginormous 27″ LCD as my main monitor and his LED as my secondary. how annoying. further annoyingness is that it’s taking me forever to find the right color settings. #firstworldproblems

and here’s a cake i made for work tomorrow! i bought a cake decorating set with a crapton of tips for $2, and i decided to try it out since i had some extra frosting. i should have done the entire cake with that frosting tip. that would’ve been cool looking.

BiVRJueCAAEk1t_

aaauuuggghh

my taxes are not filed yet, but after this week i should be able to send them off to uncle sam.

and i am still waffling over which mac to get to replace my 8 year old imac. now i’m wondering if i should get a macbook and just hook it up to a couple monitors if needed. i do hate my current laptop. and then the cheap thing to do would be to just get a mac mini and use my current monitor, keyboard, and mouse. decisions decisions and #firstworldproblems

(and still, at the same time, my current mac works just fine and i don’t REALLY need to replace it… )

a rant

my brand new house has a ton of phone jacks all over. i have no use for them. you know what i do have a use for? ethernet cat5 jacks all over. you would think that builders would get a clue and start wiring houses for internet as well as cable and phone.

really; how hard is this???

really; how hard is this???

that said, my netflix/amazon prime streaming quality has been so bad lately, that last night i got finally got fed up with it. because of the no ethernet jacks, i’d been running the ps3 wirelessly, which apparently decreases signal strength when it has to run through two walls. i ran a 50-foot cat5 out and hooked it up.

aahhhhh *clouds part, sun shines*

now i have an unsightly cord running from the office to the far side of the living room, right where i can trip over it. when nate and i finish off the basement, cat5 jacks are definitely going in.