It's good to be back.
I've been ignoring my blog for months now, and that's nobody's fault but my own. Between server problems and a lack of motivation towards coding, my attempt to make my own blog system got axed. So here I am on Blogger, and hoping for the best.
If you know even a bit about HTML or CSS coding, I'd suggest moving your Xanga, LiveJournal, or what-have-you to Blogger. Complete coding freedom and an ad-less environment are some nice selling points.
Anyway, I've had all my old blog entries from the PTV/DataTiki forums on Blogger for some time now, but I haven't done anything to create a blog layout. This thing just kind of sat here all summer looking ugly and unfinished. After seeing that some people actually read this--thanks Andi and Amanda for the comments--I decided to whip up a layout. It's far from perfect or finished, like most of my design projects, but at least it's navigable now, and the cross-browser opacity effects make me a big, happy nerd.
Enough about the blog, let's get caught up on my life.
I left off in March. Good lord, that's a lot of ground to cover. But I'll try anyway.
School, school, blah, blah, blah. But when spring semester was finally over with, Petey and I made haste for Wausau where we met up with Tom, Matz, Mike, their respective lady-friends, Domo, Mike's little brother, and hundreds of hardcore Star Wars fans to see Episode III and celebrate Mike's 21. Well, the army of nerds was probably more concerned with the movie than the birthday, but they at least had the decency to do a Happy Birthday Sing-a-Long with us while we waited for the flick.
Mike gets railed.
Hanging out with Wausau people rocked. Tom and I dueled with our Wal-Mart lightsabers in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant. The battle ended with Tom facing the harsh reality that skinny smokers should not run. Ever. I got to meet Silent Dave, and that kid's damn cool. Too bad he's going to school in Godknowswhere, MN, but I wish him the best of luck.
The movie... Well, Episode III itself was decent. Not the movie of the year, but an ultimately satisfying ending to the saga. Wanna know what's not decent? Marcus "Give us your money and go to hell" Theatres suck. During the big Grievous fight in the middle of the movie, the soundtrack decides it's going to duck out early. The center channel came back shortly in a series of fits and spurts, but the surround sound was never the same for the rest of the movie. I hate Marcus Theatres with a passion, and every time I'm forced to go to one now, I die a little inside.
Well, this summer I was up to $9.75/hour at the good ol' tire warehouse. Wasn't a bad gig except that halfway though summer my boss snapped. Larry fired Tony, a cool guy who's been there for 7+ years. He also started yelling at all of us at random for small, stupid reasons. This prompted Shawn to leave for another company, and before I knew it, I was the Senior Service Technician at Wingfoot Commercial Tire.
That's a head trip, but it definitely has its down sides. The other two guys in the shop didn't really know anything about the job, and even though one of them was an Army Reservist, neither of them had the strength to lift or stack truck tires worth a damn. At least I got to feel strong and powerful as I did the job of three people. I'm not going back there next year.
Made another Wausau run, this time for Batman Begins and with the added company of Travis. Another fun time, another daydream for fall and apartment life. A few weeks afterwards, I found out Mike broke up with Michelle and I was damn proud of him. Based on my own experiences with co-dependency, as far as leaving is concerned, the sooner, the better. I'll bet the situation is still kind of messy, but I think he did the right thing.
Lyssa and I got in our one camping trip at the end of July. I wish we would have had more chances for that kind of thing this summer, but it was still a whole lot of fun. We went to Governor Dodge State Park and just had a nice, lazy weekend. We also grilled some mighty fine steaks over the fire.
Cool green shot.
Lyssa brought her dad's old Nikon and we played around with landscape and macro shots. They turned out pretty good for two people who didn't really know what they were doing. It kinda makes me want to dust off my old Yashica and learn how to use it. I just don't feel like buying and wasting film, and if I have to wait until the film is developed to see how shots turn out, then I won't remember what I did to take them in the first place. Maybe I should just beat up Ryan and steal his Digital Rebel.
The rest of summer is just kind of a work-shaped blob with Lyssa-colored sprinkles. I'd spend as many weekends with Lyssa as I could, and that was fun. We got to see Festa Italiana fireworks, played with her two little cousins, relaxed in the pool, worked and chilled at Puckaway; it was fun. Outside of my weekends with her, I didn't really do much. I don't know what I think of my Mayville friends anymore. Once again, I took the role of forgotten-until-needed. Kinda sucks, but I'm used to it from them. It just made me want the whole apartment thing sooner.
Speaking of the apartment, that's our next stop chronologically.
I love it! My room is basically my old bedroom with more windows. I moved in on the 27th of August and just kind of waited around for roommates. Mike was there that day, but just to drop stuff off. Petey was off on a west coast adventure, and Tuck was still toiling away in Tomahawk. Travis came over the first night and got me sickeningly drunk on poorly mixed combinations of Skyy Vodka and Diet Dew. It didn't really hit me until I was wiring my stereo. Ugh. I couldn't look at a Dew can for days without wanting to puke.
I did eventually wire everything up, including my new favorite toy, a TiVo! Well, it's not a TiVo, per se, but a generic equivalent. Either way, it's so nice to have something to watch all the time. I've got it snatching every episode it sees of That 70s Show, Quantum Leap, X-Files, Venture Brothers, and 7 Days. And you know what? I really don't miss watching commercials anymore.
It feels good to be back in Oshkosh, though classes this semester suck. I sure hope I don't fail accounting. Who would have thought adding and subtracting could be such a complicated mess?
Well, there's more to life than class. I think we've got a pretty kick-ass arrangement here. Aside from the off-and-on filth, living with Petey, Mike and Tuck rocks. I mean, we could be a sitcom. And if we were, and no one fucked with our timeslot, we'd get great ratings. The apartment's starting to look good, too. Petey keeps finding abandoned furniture, and I found a big construction cone. Add to that Tuck's art and Mike's.... well Mike and I clean a lot, and that counts for something. Anyway, it rules.
We throw some decent parties, too. It feels damn good to be around people I like and with whom I'm comfortable enough to actually just sit back and enjoy myself. So hooray for Tom Collins on the rocks, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and cool roomies.
Up on the
To backtrack a bit, on September 8th I took Lyssa on a surprise trip. She knew I was planning something all summer, but didn't know any details. Anyway, we spent the weekend in upper-Upper Michigan, in a lakeside cabin on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It was beautiful, and had a special significance to me since our cabin was only a mile down the shore of Lake Superior from my grandparents' cottage. It's owned by my aunt now, so I never expect to be able to stay there any more, but it was nice to see the area again. Lyssa and I walked the beach late Saturday after a really fun day in Copper Harbor when I sat her down and told her I had something important to say. Then I got down on one knee and asked the woman of my dreams to marry me.
Outside the cabin.
Thankfully, her yes was immediate and sincere. But she was kind of in shock about the whole thing. Once she got to talk to her sister--Christine's response was an enthusiastic "I knew it! I fucking knew it!"--and her parents, she calmed down again. We walked back to the cabin and had a great meal (courtesy of my mom, who couldn't be happier for us) of shrimp, chocolates, strawberries, and champagne. That night, for whatever reason, I got up and felt compelled to go outside. I checked my clock, it was about 4 am, but I decided to go out anyway. I looked up at the sky and saw the most intense northern lights I've ever seen in my life. I've seen more colorful ones, these were mostly white, but never this huge and active. It was absolutely beautiful. I woke Alyssa and brought her out to see them.
Now I'm not usually much for seeing "signs", but I couldn't help but feel something from my grandparents as I stared at the spectacle above us. Standing out there, with Lyssa wrapped in my arms, I confessed this to my new fiancee. She just reassured me and told me she thought it meant they approved. We both cried a little, but I think it's the happiest we've ever been.
Now to jump forward to the next big thing, my birthday.
I turned 21 last Thursday. Here I am, a true adult in the eyes of all parts of society (except my damn car insurance company) and I just feel like a bigger kid. Oh well. I got some good presents out of the deal. Mike gave me a Zippo so I'd stop playing with his, I got a whole bunch of money that's going toward an HDTV, and Lyssa really outdid herself. She got me a tiki fountain! It's so damn cool... It's like a totem pole, with the tiki faces having their eyes and mouths cut out like jack-o-lanterns. The center of the pole is just a clear pvc tube with a bubble column in it, lit from the base. When it's put all together, it looks mondo exotica. That girl can read me like a book.
Friday night, Tuck, Mike and I wandered around Oshkosh. We went over to Lyssa's and played The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with her roommates. Mike rode my birthday bus.
We're so cute.
After spending some time there, we went and filled up on good food at Glass Nickel, and then Tuck and Mike took me to The Reptile Palace, a cool little bar on south High Street. Mike got me a beer and a birthday shot and got some good tunes goin', the cute bartender bought me another beer (and I don't think she knew it was my birthday), there was a cool Jazz trio playing, and the one of bar TVs was showing an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Just before we left, I had the bartender mix me a bloody mary with gin. It took her a while to get over her confusion, but she ended up mixing me a very good glass of grandpa's Puckaway specialty.
Yesterday, after waking up at 8am feeling just fine, Lyssa and I spent the day in Green Lake County. We had a good lunch at a cafe on Water Street and dediced to check out the shops. It seems 50's kitsch is starting to come back into vogue, and I have absolutely no problem with that. I found all sorts of cool home decor that's way out of my budget right now. But it's awesome knowing that Lyssa loves the same stuff that I was drooling over. When we get married, our place is gonna look amazing. All I ended up buying was Nihilist gum because I thought it was clever, and a cool set of waterproof playing cards with drink recipes.
After shopping, we went to Puckaway. Lyssa studied while I scavenged for countertops and 2x4s to build a bar. I took her out on the 4 wheeler, always fun, and we just chilled out for a while. Towards dark, I packed up her car, tied down her trunk, and we were off. Lyssa went back home to study, and I hung out with Tuck, Mike, Megan and Tom. I was going to get right on top of building the bar, but ended up twisting my ankle outside. I drank a fair amount of Megan-supplied German birthday wine to dull the pain, and watched her color Mike's hair. It turned out pretty decent, so next time you see Mike, congratulate him on his blue head.
I started this entry last night and fell asleep. So here it is, 6pm on a Sunday, my life for the past 6 months.
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