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Saturday, October 14

   Winter has hit the north-lands, and though I may be loosing feeling in my finger-tips, I at least have the satisfaction of knowing that my computer is running at a more efficient rate. At least I got to say goodbye to the few weeks of good weather with an Oktoberfest celebration. I originally invited Hops, Amare, and Bika, but in the end only Amare was able to make it. Friday we explored the bluffs of Quarry Hill, a local wildlife refuge. The weather was perfect and we managed to find some trails which lead to an excellent view of the city.

A crunchy trail of leaves.

A small lake shimmering in the sun.

A good view of the prison hospital next door.

The Rochester skyline, this shot was Amare's idea.

   On Saturday we made the long drive to Lanesboro, MN. One of those historical towns, which still retains a lot of it's old German and Norwegian architecture and heritage. The small town was pretty packed for Oktoberfest, so Amare rented a bike and we hit the local bike trail.

The weather was cool and the wind continually blew leaves across the path.

A lone tree sheds its leaves in a small Minnesota town.

Amare poses next to his bike and in front of the Root river.

   We rode the trails of Lanesboro until I thought my legs were just about ready to fall off. Our original plan was to try to hit up one of the local German restaurant , but we quickly discovered that they were all pretty packed with people. At this point we were beginning to feel the stiffness in our legs, so we decided to bail and just go to my favorite pub back in Rochester. At least we tried...

Coda decided to opt out of the weekend activities and stay in the apartment with his computer.

   That night we retired to the apartment and watched two of Mel Brooks best movies: Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. We also picked up one of my favorite marital arts spoofs: Kung Fu Hustle. All in all it was a good way to tip my hat to my favorite season of the year. As short as it might be this far north of the equator.


Posted at 12:02 pm by Codepainter

Saturday, September 23
Life and Pictures

   This morning I got off my butt and helped Habitat for Humanity work on their 50th Rochester house. They were in the process of roofing, so the work involved a lot of high places, ladders and passing plywood up to people on the roof. Most of the time I kind of felt like a fifth-wheel, being too short to do most of the work which required a lot of reaching, but I did what I could. The best part was trying to come up with a way to take down the scaffolding hanging from the back of the house, suspended about 12 feet from the ground below. In the end it required the use of two ropes, a ladder and a lot of prayer. The day went by with no injuries and ended with pizza and the arrival of the afternoon shift. It was a good chance to help the community and meet some new people at the same time, both of which I've been trying to do more of after spending over a month recovering surgery while shut in my apartment.

Mmm, the smell of flying sawdust... ACHOO!

Working on a roof can be somewhat... precarious.

Kristen works on hammering a "stubborn" nail.

   For the past week I've been working hard to tear myself away from Oblivion, on which I've logged about 60 hours since assembling my new computer, shortly after my operation. I bought the game when it first came out many months ago, but I haven't been able to play it due to a dated video card. My new AMD X/2 SLI 32x computer handles it pretty magnificently though. Along with the new computer, I installed the first version of Windows XP I payed for myself. As a result of a new install, I no longer have Microsoft Office, so this entry comes to you courtesy of Open Office. I'm still adjusting to this new word processor, but so far I like what I've seen. As for my old computer, I'm currently looking for a cheap (preferably LCD) monitor in order to make it a dedicated Linux writing station. My hope is that by having Linux installed on it, I won't be distracted by all the games and various other things which I can have on my Windows machine. It will also help me get adjusted to the Linux operating system, since it will be a cold day in Hell before I use Windows Vista (although I may end up eating those words eventually).

   Over Labor Day I did get a break thanks mostly to the kindness of Amare and his awesome relatives. Early that Friday morning I hit the interstate in my big blue "man-van" (crossing my fingers that the worn tires wouldn't wear out and burst on the way). Fortunately I completed the voyage without incident, though I did learn that gas is about $.60 more expensive in Wisconsin for some reason (Rochester prices are currently $2.10, I blame corn terrorists). The weekend was all kinds of relaxing, and I was finally afforded a chance to meet the infamous Bika. To quote Amare, "Even though you've only known him for a few hours, it's like you've known him for years. Welcome to the wonderful world of Bika."

Amare and Bika lounging about on the shore.

   We got a chance to take the boat out and do some fishing, although Amare managed to flood the engine on our first night out, leaving us stranded on the other end of the lake. Searching the boat we found that we only had one oar. I manned the oar, Amare manned the trolling motor, and Bika gave up trying to use the seat cushion to row and sat back to watch. Over half an hour later (and after much heckling of Amare) we made it back to the dock. Needless to say, we didn't let Amare live that one down all weekend. The cabin was owned by Amare's great-grandpa, Mr. E, and he shared many stories with me that weekend. He was a D-Day veteran, and had been dispatched to Omaha beach. His stories of the war and other parts of his life changed my perspective on a few things. I'll try to remember some of the conversations I had with him and share them later (it might require a large dosage of caffeine).

"Uncle Don" takes to the water and shows us how it's done.

Even gnomes fish every now and then.

Amare and Bika enjoy some fishing from the dock.

   I'm starting to realize that my attitude in life needs a major adjustment. My attitude up until now has been one of complacent acceptance. I viewed myself sort of like a leaf caught in a breeze, being pulled wherever the wind blows. Though this led to a rather care-free and easy life, it was also a villainous squandering of opportunity. In reaction, I'm going to try to take some more initiative and hopeful improve things a bit. As far as my physical recovery, I'm feeling much better. The first week of recovery was very difficult (both physically and mentally). But one thing about going through dark times, is that one can look back on trouble past and feel joy. This is something that Mr. E has taught me, this is something I won't ever forget.

At the end of the storm comes a rainbow.

Posted at 05:02 pm by Codepainter

Monday, August 28
Choose Life

   Thanks for the link JP. This pretty much sums up my reaction to most MMOs after my recovery from FFXI and WoW. It would take something incredible, like my brothers choosing to play one, to get me back on the old wagon.

Posted at 06:56 am by Codepainter

Sunday, August 27
(Further) Evidence for Insanity

Me: ugh, I think I'm getting a cold. So my weekend plans might be destroyed anyways :(

TC: bummer. you probably caught it from me


TC: are you sure it's not allergies? that's what I'm fighting this week

Me: I don't think so, I feel slightly loopy, shivery and I've had a runny nose as of late

TC: hmm, sounds like what I had. I hope it's not

Me: what's that supposed to mean? Was it bad?

TC: well, it seemed to drag on and on, but that was probably cause it ran into my allergies

Me: All I know is that as of late all I want to do is sleep

TC: what were your plans for the weekend?

Me: Not a whole lot, but I was going to try to get out of the apartment

Me: Any suggestions as to how to fight it off?

TC: vitamin C and rest

Me: ARGH! My two immortal enemies!

TC: if they're truly immortal, perhaps you'd best make their acquaintances

Me: no, they are evil in there prime definition. Sleep makes me forget all the things that were important and implants hidden suggestions into my mind... And VITAMIN C! Don't even get me started on what that does to a man

TC: somewhere, your kindergarten teacher is sobbing

Me: I hope so, that's what she gets for lying to me

Me: You always give me such nice gifts, someday I hope to return the favor **sneeze** Hopefully with something heavy and sharp

TC: a new lawn mower would be great. mine has inexplicably started leaking gas

Me: sure, I'll just make sure to loosen up the blade a bit before I give it to you

TC: good thing I've pressed the neighbor kid into mowing my alwn

TC: and my lawn, too

Me: doesn't matter... As long as blood is shed I will be happy.

Posted at 06:50 pm by Codepainter

Thursday, August 17

   Being stuck inside my apartment for a week unable to move and jacked up on a plethora of pain-killers, my mind had plenty of time to wander. The problem with letting a mind wander, especially one already not quite right, is trying to find it again. I carpooled to work today with my flat-mate. This is something I shouldn't have done, but I couldn't stand to spend another day in the apartment by myself left with two computers, a laptop, and myself for company. I'm regretting that decision now and I'll most likely regret it even more so tonight.

   Something that struck me this week is just how strange my life has become. For the past four years I was constantly surrounded by people. So much so that Hookah and I became masters of slipping away from it for a bit. Now that I'm many miles north of Texas I find that the way I interact with people has changed. Most of my interaction takes the form of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. I've had my cell phone for just over three months and I've already logged over 42 hours of call time. That may not seem surprising to many people, but that is probably more time than I spent on the phone in my four years at college combined. I'm thankful that technology lets me keep in touch with a bunch of cool people, but sometimes I wonder if something is lost in the mix.

   Most of the statistics I've read tend to show that people like myself are leaning more and more toward a ďvirtual life.Ē Exchanging the regular face-to-face interaction for a network of friends online and through the phone. There are some things I miss, like playing poker with Hookah and JP and Munchkin with Randy and Red Mage. I'm sure I could play poker with them through some form of game application, but I just don't think that would be the same. It makes me wonder what the future holds for the next generation and the generation after. Will human interaction eventually be phased down to a minimum... I hope not. I need to go out and do something real. It's a good thing Labor Day is coming up, I could use the cabin retreat Amare and I are planning. For now I guess I'll continue to recover and to miss the mobility I once had.

Donít know where Iím going yet
But I sure am getting there
Shotgun fire ­ anybody home?
I got two dimes in the telephone
Itís not easy tonight

"Easy Tonight" by Five for Fighting

Posted at 07:55 pm by Codepainter

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Rochester, MN



Today's Brew:
French Press Coffee

Lost Dogs
by: Pearl Jam

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Self Esteem
     by: Matthew McKay PH.D.


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