Brian Regan and Sushi

Sushi Masa

Two things that everyone should try once. And, yes, I know I flipped them from the title. Why do you think I did that, smarty pants?

BBQ at Kyra and Holli’s Apartment

Extreme Bite
Extreme Bite, originally uploaded by m!les.

There were two parts to my weekend. First off, Friday I treated Holli to a nice date. We ate at The Ram in downtown Brookings, suggested by Kyra, Holli’s roommate, and Kyra’s mom, who both remembered enjoying the meal. Friday was a random day for me. I would randomly spout gems like, “I bet birds have a love/hate relationship with wind.” and “I have a Curves bag, but I didn’t buy it; I won it, so that’s not the same as being gay.” Anyway, I kept this up at The Ram. Then we saw Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest, and I really liked it. Holli lamented that I was showing very little indication of whether I liked the movie or not, and I know that happens often to me. I get so caught up in figuring out and analyzing the movie that my face is registers nothing. I just stare.

The next day was the the BBQ. I got into Brookings around 2ish, and Holli was sleeping on a couch upstairs. Eventually we went and got ice, and then we waited for guests to arrive. When everyone finally showed up, we had Holli, Kyra, Me, Tyler, Fr. Paul (priest at the Newmen Center), Ariela (a friend of Holli’s from Dak), Bryan, Ben, and Emily (Holli’s friends from camp). The events of the weekend were: throwing football, throwing frisbee, cooking, eating, playing games, mass, and sleeping. How interesting would it be if I just wrote about that? So, I’ll write about the people.

  • Holli
    • Girlfriend
    • Host
  • Kyra
    • Girlfriend’s roommate
    • Had too much mountain dew
    • Thinks I’m better than a “brainiac”
  • Tyler
    • Lives with Fr. Paul at the Newman Center
    • Kinda quiet
  • Fr. Paul
    • Priest
    • Somewhat intense individual
  • Ariela
    • Works at Daktronics with Holli
    • Made fantastic dessert
  • Bryan
    • Works at the Okoboji Camp
    • Majored in Business and Marketing
    • Has a blog, but doesn’t update as much as he’d like
  • Ben
    • Has a mohawk
    • Is actually kind of preppy
    • Looks like Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) when he makes his angry, punk face
    • Extreme
  • Emily
    • Didn’t like Superman
    • Isn’t actually dating Bryan or Ben
    • Has big hands

There was event that is probably worth noting. Ben and Bryan were tossing around a frisbee outside. Well I had, as is my tradition, my digital camera in my left hand and a glass of soda in the right hand. Well, I was following Holli outside, where the frisbee was going on, and I suddenly heard “Watch out!”. I looked up, in Ben’s direction, and spied the green plastic disc coming at my face. My reflexes, being much like a cat’s on Prozac, caused me to do two things at nearly the same time: throw up my hands to protect my face and turn my body to protect my face. First my right arm went up, and the liquid in the glass with it. The fluid rose up and formed a serpentine shape, flowing and delicious, yet holding together in mid air. My force was such that this soft drink snake reached such a height as to raise above my head. In that moment my second reflex instigated, and I turned quickly, rotating right, to face the door. Just then the frisbee glanced the back of my neck and deflected to my right. This just as the liquid descended it’s journey to bring the near-fullness of mass upon my back. Like an eternity it lasted until at last I felt the wetness upon my shirt. The questions thereafter consisted largely of “How did you do that?” Well, that above is how I did that.

BBQ at Kyra and Holli’s Apartment photoset

Fancy Footing It to Fargo

Dance Off!
Dance Off!, originally uploaded by m!les.

Don’t forget about the play coming up! I finally got my computer put back together with a new Firewire/USB2.0 card and a front panel to access them all nicely. Now, on with the post.

It was a glorious day. We left DSU and drove to Big Stone. This was after, of course, David running back up to his room eight times to grab things he forgot, or thought he forgot, or forgot he didn’t own. We started with me driving, but I had taken benedryl for a sinus headache, so I asked Holli to drive. I was hungry. In Big Stone we ate fish sticks and mac’n’cheese. We stood around, talked a bit, and then we all clamored into the van, and Bryce drove us to Fargo, North Dakota. Yes. There’s a state above South Dakota. We had to pause music periodically for “story time”. If you don’t know what that is, take a road trip with Bryce and you’ll find out.

Once in Fargo, we made it to Tony‘s house. This could have been eventful, as Bryce wanted to go off of his memory. I decided to call Tony, instead. Our first greeting into his house? A fourth roommate. He gave us a tour, with pictures, and we sat around watching TV. It was pretty close to midnight, so Tony took Bryce and Lindsey to the liq, and they brought back pizza(!) and liquor. We ate the delicious pizza and then started watching videos on David’s tablet and Holli’s tablet. The videos on David’s tablet all seemed to be horrifying examples of how unintelligent and fearless human beings can be. We watched cool guitar tricks instead. Eventually (like at 4am) we went to bed.

We got up at 11am or so. I managed to get up, get showered, get dressed, and lay back down without ever waking Holli. It was good for her. Tony took Bryce and Lindsey to Ty’s place. Ty is a friend of Linds’s who transferred from Marshall. I had met her previously when she came to Big Stone to visit Linds during New Year’s Eve 2005. The remainder of us went to Grand Junction to eat. Grand Junction is (as described accurately by Tony) a HuHot for subs. And they cook it just like they cook in HuHot. I liked my sub. Good job, Grand Junction.

Thence went we to campus for a tour. We saw a “quad”‘s room. A “quad” is a quadriplegic, but Tony knows the guy so it’s okay that we call him that. We picked up Bryce and we made 10-point turn. Then we went back to campus to look for an Ag building Bryce wants to write a term paper on. Holli started feeling rotten. Then we went to the mall. I got an Orange Julius. Holli looked for a peacoat. Bryce made plans with Tim. Then, for supper, we tried this Alien food place, but it was mucho full. So then we tried iHOP (which wasn’t necessarily a popular choice), and finally to Bennigan’s. ‘Twas good. Holli and I both got steaks, at the opposite side of the “how done?” scale. From there we journeyed to Tim’s. I enjoyed that. I was able to interact with Ava and Gabe (or Doofie) and Charlie, which I’ve never much had a chance for before. Once back at Tony’s we did tennis like a menace.

The next morning we had church. Good God. We got seperated from Tony, but we met up afterwards. We decided on the mall for lunch, and it wasn’t bad. I had chinese, and I liked it, but Bryce and Linds also had chinese, and they didn’t like it. Then we saw Lonie and Mickey! How weird is that, though we knew they were headed up this way to shop. Finally, we parted ways with Tony. Bryce drove us Back to Big Stone. That was supposed to be a quick stop, but my dad wanted me to look at a computer problem for him. It took forever, but I finally figured (most of) it out. We nabbed some supper (since it was now that time) and took off for Madison.

Good weekend. Pictures are on flickr.

Huffing It to Hawarden

Holli's Last Locker
Holli’s Last Locker, originally uploaded by m!les.

I don’t know if you know this, but right below us is Iowa. It’s just sitting there, waiting for someone to visit. So, on Friday, as soon as I was off work and packed, Holli Gregg and I made the 1hr45m journey south to Hawarden, IA.

Of course, it was a Friday in Lent, so when we stopped to eat, we got cheese pizza and a cheesy garlic breaded thing. I think Villa Pizza’s goal with those things is to kill you with garlic. It could be a weak anti-vampire tactic, but it’s really quite harmful to mortals as well. I will admit that I was nervous on the trip down. I felt this strange anticipation rising up as we neared Iowa. The sky grew dark, and my breath smelled like a Mafia reunion (because it was garlic:ee and Italians eat a lot of garlic and most Mafia people are Italian).

First stop: the Hawarden War Memorial. It’s not a memorial TO WAR; it’s a memorial ABOUT WAR that is TO THE SOLDIERS IN THE WAR. This is an important distinction. It’ll come up later in the post. My dad has been down there a couple times to add names to this impressive memorial. It looks neat at night because of the lights they have on it, but those same lights make the trees behind it look scary. Almost vampire scary.

Finally we headed to her house. She gave me an extensive tour which included an arguably inaccurate height chart, an arguably homosexual basketball sculpture, and some arguably indecent pictures. It was quite exciting. Her parents and sister weren’t home yet, so I wasn’t quick in a panic yet. Then they did return, and I did panic.

It wasn’t nearly as bad as all that. When I’m afraid, though, I don’t talk much. This made conversation a little quiet and awkward when Holli would leave the room. I tried to not do any of my man-this-is-awkward noises like “Sooooooo…”, “Yup, yup…”, or any attempts at whistling. The key to the whole thing was that Holli’s dad, Larry Gregg, loves Arrested Development. Her dad is a quiet, thoughtful man. Speak softly, and all that, and bringing Arrested was the way to his heart. We popped that baby in and began to watch.

The next morning Holli had a chiropractor appointment, so I woke early enough to eat breakfast with her, then I showered and dressed and found her dad watching some more Arresteds, so I brought up a little project I’ve been working on, and I watched with him. That was a long sentence. Holli returned (and bit flushed, and dribbles of blood on each side of her lips) and we waited for her mom, Carol Gregg, to call us when she was done working at the bank. Then we were going to eat.

We ate at a cafe place downtown. I’d never been, but the Greggs were regulars. There was a minor incident where I ordered a root beer float, and I pushed the ice cream down into my glass using my spoon, and suddenly the root beer foamed up and spilled all over the table. Marissa Gregg, Holli’s sister, joined us near the end.

From there, we got Holli’s car so she could wash it, I met Sam, and then she gave me a tour of the town. First we saw her dad’s parents. They have a nice house. Then the tour. We saw all kinds of interesting sites and renamed buildings. Apparently, when people think of Hawarden, IA, they think of McKenny Furniture. So, okay. I learned of friends’ houses and the like. The old college, her mom’s bank, and the cemetery (of course).

Then it was time for mass. Holli and I went to St. Mary’s and enjoyed the service. The priest had a strange sermon. He sounded like he didn’t really know what he meant to say. It was a sort of rambling, on-and-on kind of homily. There were Asian Lady Beetles everywhere.

That night was Dance Night. Marissa was dancing in it as a member of the West Sioux HS B-Squad. It was a nice time. I got to see a lot of dancing. I also spied Jeff Gabhart‘s brother, Tim. Tim goes to Sioux Center’s high school, and their drum line and dance team were both part of the Dance Night, as was Akron and some other surrounding communities as well as West Sioux High School (which is in Hawarden) and some children. They did a light show at the end that was pretty neat.

Then Holli gave me a tour of the school. We looked through the window of nearly every classroom door, and we looked in the theatre. Afterward we headed back and watched video of the dance routine we’d just seen, the Senior Video that Larry made for Holli when she graduated, and some Arrested Development.

The next morning we (all of us) went to the United Methodist church. Remember that thing I said about Hawarden’s monument not being devoted TO WAR? Well, that’s important because it shows just what a peaceful community this is. So peaceful, in fact, that the cops don’t even care what side of the street you park on. Anyway. The service was nice. I’ve only attended one previous Methodist service, and I was just as confused as I was this time. I guess, being Catholic, it’s unusual celebrating Christ in such a relaxed, town-council-meeting fashion. Also, no kneeling. How do you tell who is strong enough to be welcomed into heaven if no one has to kneel? Sounds vampire-fishy to me.

After lounging a bit, packing up, arguing over who was really taller of the three Gregg girls, Holli and I packed up for the return journey. We decided to leave Arrested Development with Larry so he could finish Season One. His face lit up. I think that alone was enough to make him like me. Let’s hope my “personality” helps keep things going. There’s only so much Arrested Development. Before we left, however, we had to complete the tour. This didn’t include much, but Hawarden does have a new hotel, if you need a place to stay while there. I tried to take some decent pictures of the Farmers State Bank.

Once back in Sioux Falls we hit the mall where I bought the biggest book on mythology I’ve ever seen, and we also hit Ernie November where I bought an ELO record and a Phantom Planet CD. Then we ate at Applebee’s with Grandpa Miles, Grandma Miles, Aunt Karin, and Erin. It was a good time. Karin was telling Holli and I a story that the priest at church had told in his homily, then Grandpa leans foward and says, “No, you’re telling it wrong.” Then he retells what she just said, and says, “There, now you can go ahead.” It was funny.

I drove us back, and Holli took a nap. Once back we watched some Office at her place before going to sleep and starting or Spring Break of working at a job. It’s this thing that you apply for and they pay you to, uh… nevermind, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Tonight: the Lady T’s play in Sioux City. Guess who’s Huffing It back to Hawarden? Holli, Jennifer Sixta, Jen’s sister, Kendra Weisser, and me. Pictures to follow.

Bath and Body Quirks

The Greggs
The Greggs, originally uploaded by m!les.

I suppose one of the stressful rights-of-passage for a new couple is the meeting of the families. I can’t recall a single girlfriend I’ve had where the thought of meeting her family didn’t make break out in a cold sweat. You know the kind. That type of cold sweat I’ve come to associate with influenza and hearing Chuck Norris‘s footsteps.

For the record, when I write about myself possessing something, I write “Miles’s thing”, not “Miles’ thing”. Just like I would say, “Holli’s Comedy Bytes shirt“.

So, it was this very cold sweat that I encountered when Holli called me on Saturday afternoon. We were going to eat with her parents in Sioux Falls at 5:00. That gave me plenty of time. But first, we had to visit Minerva Driscoll. Minerva is an interesting woman. She is the secretary for East Hall, and to look at her, she appears sweet-tempered, kindly, even quiet, perhaps. As it turns out, she’s a smoking, swearing, gruff, tell-it-like-it-is kind of woman. I like Minerva; she’s a character.

Holli and I were meeting with her to hash out the second attempt at a fundraiser with her. We managed to raise over $60 this fall, and we were deciding what worked and what we should scrap. She has a sort of Bath and Body Works business going. We approached her on behalf of her candles, but it soon became apparent that lotions, sprays, and washes were the way to go. That is why the new MD Designs Fundraiser has no real candles in it. Bold, I know. We managed to come to a reasonable set of conclusions. Once done we walked back to my apartment, got a quick psuedo-lunch, and watched some Beatles.

I was nervous, as I said above. I’ve met her parents and sister, but I haven’t interacted with them, per se. I mean, sure I have friends, and my family seems to like me, but I think that’s mostly because I have such a cool website. And, yeah, her parents have seen the website, and they probably love it, but who doesn’t? Her mom even once said that the only way she gets to Holli’s page is through mine. That’s understandable, but it’s unfair to hold me up to the Awayken/ standard. That, and I didn’t have my tablet around with a browser open to the page.

I was down to my wits. No, not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter, guys.

Anyway, we drove down to Sioux Falls. The plan was to meet them at Perkins. You know, the green place. We got there, and her family wasn’t. So that meant waiting. Waiting as if a blade to fall upon my neck. Okay, now I’m being dramatic. Then they showed up. They parked right next to Holli, actually. First was her little sister, Marissa. Then were the parents, Larry and Carol. The greeting is always a toss-up. I mean, my parents have taken to hugging Holli right away, but Holli is a girl, and my parents love to touch people. Should I expect the same from Holli’s parents? How should I react? What if the hug is too long? But I had no time to think on these. Her dad came at me, hand extended, smiling, saying, “Miles, nice to see you again.” We shook hands. The hate was palpable. Her mom, likewise, extended her hand in greeting. Okay. The decided the hug thing. First social obstacle successfully tackled.

Then we were seated non-smoking. Actually, non-smoking pretty near the door, so it shanted a long walk. (I’m making up words now). The awful thing about eating with people, at least people who are paying for you, is determining what is an acceptible cost for your food. I was sitting by Holli, so I tried to use her meal as a guide, but she got the french toast which was way below any of the supper items I was looking at. Then Vance, our waitor, returned. He reminded me a bit of Toby, from The Office, plus some working out. I panicked and ordered a cheese burger, afterwhich it occured to me that I had had a cheese burger the night before. Two of them, actually.

From then on I just tried to not sound retar- stupid. I tried to toss in a joke or two where appropriate. For instance, Holli mentioned that she has lifts in every shoe but her shower shoes. And Marissa said, “You wear shoes to the shower?” And Carol said, “Oh, yeah. You want to in college.” And I said, “Otherwise you get STDs.” Thankfully everyone got it and laughed. I was worried that it wouldn’t go over so well, but it took off like a free chicken. Carol mentioned that they weren’t ignoring me by not talking to me, but they had a lot to catch Holli up on. It was fine by me, as the less I said, the fewer occassions for misspeaking.

I don’t know if you know this, but Holli has a hiccup-thing that happens. It kinda sounds like she’s saying, “HI!”, but she’s not. It turns out that Marissa has this, too. It’s, like, a family thing, I guess. My family thing is no ice. So, I was scooping what ended up being an entire 12 oz glass’s worth of ice when Carol asked Holli, “What is your boyfriend doing?” Well, I almost made it the entire time without being odd. I explained my sensitive teeth, and Carol explained that she used Sensodyne, and it really helped. Then, for no reason, her sensitive teeth left, and she didn’t need Sensodyne anymore. I am still unclear, however, as to whether Sensodyne was a treatment or cure.

Then, both Marissa and Holli needed new shoes. Shoes, right? Whatever. Girls love shoes. Then we headed back. I called David to see where he actually was this weekend, and it turned out that he was in Marshall (that’s right! I forgot) with Bryce and others. It also turned out that we would not be having an Arrested Sunday. It was okay. I already spend my nights crying; what’s one more tear?

Speaking of tears, have you ever noticed that Joan Cusack usually looks like she’s about to cry? Holli thought that was due to her having puffy eyes, but I think it’s because she’s ugly and sees herself in a mirror regularly (and thus wants to cry). So, we came up with a code phrase to say when we think someone is Joan Cusack ugly. I know, it’s not nice, but it’s hilarious. I won’t tell you guys the phrase because there might be some uggos (as we call them) reading the site right this minute.

Yes. I mean you.

Tippin’ and TAPpin’

Front Door Photo Collage
Front Door Photo Collage, originally uploaded by m!les.

What’s the picture about, Miles? Well, that’s my new photo project. I wanted to cover the glass in my doors, and what better way than with pictures of friends, family, and inaminate objects? My front door is not done, but nearly so, and then I start on the bathroom window. After that, I’m going to reorganize all my “flesh photos” (not digital) and try to keep track of the ones I like the best.

I’m sitting in my Technology Assessment and Planning class right now. We’re discussing web presence, and how important it is that you have a good web presence. Tell your employer “google me“. Get a web page. Register a domain name. And all that jazz.

I think, if you want to get into the web, be prepared to be constantly learning things. The internet is an always changing, dynamic medium. If the internet is an ocean, then it is an ocean of waterfalls. Or something. Anyway, don’t bother me right now.

First half-week of classes! It’s been a crazy week so far. On Saturday Holli and I had our one month. We hit up Sioux Falls and ate at Culver’s (and I saw a Senate Intern there!) which was weird because neither of us really eat at Culver’s much, nor was it a food place that we particularly love, but it was good food. After the food, we went to The Chronicles of Narnia. This is a movie I’ve been waiting for ages to see, but I’ve just never found the proper time to go until now. We bought our tickets and the lady announced that “The theatre is half full.” We didn’t know how to feel about this. Was it “It’s half full, so hurry up.” or “It’s half full, so you’ll have a relaxing movie experience.” It really didn’t matter because the theatre was 90% full, and we had to sit kinda close up.

The movie was good. It didn’t blow me away, but I was in awe of the job they did on Aslan. I wasn’t, however, very awed about some of the other CGI creatures. I particularly didn’t like the hooved animals pullling sleighs. They were kinda fakey. I can only imagine what the movie would have been if Peter Jackson had taken it over. I know that WETA was involved, but I’m not sure in what capacity. It was nice to see on the big screen with Holli. That girl is really something else, and she’s always doing sweet things for me and surprising me with how thoughtful she is. She’s just great.

Then Monday was my first day of classes. Actually, it was my first class: Advanced Discrete. Thanks to a book that Jeff gave me, I was all set to learn about graphs. Berman gave me a weird look. Apparently, he thought I graduated, but I assured him that I had not and dearly wished to learn from him. And so I did.

Then it was work work work. We had our yearly awards banquet at work, and I wrote all about it. Ok. Nothing happened.

That night was the first Drama Club meeting. Our big item of discussion was the election of a new secretary, to be filled by Sara Harp, as Megan Flynn moves on to greener pastures. She was here, then she left, then she realized how friggin’ kick-ass awesome we are, and now she’s back. Never to leave again. Ever. In the world…

Monday night Holli Gregg and I tried watching Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark but she fell asleep a couple times, and I’m pretty sure I did once, too. We called it quits, having no idea what was going on in the movie. I think right before we turned it off, Holli said, “There’s Nazi’s in this?” Time for bed.

Tuesday was classtime crazy. AJAX in the morning. This class will (hopefully) be neat. I think it will be. It’s a Tom class, but it’s a Tom class about stuff I understand, for once. I already know what book I want. It’s called Pragmatic AJAX, and it’s not even out yet. I’m THAT ahead of the game.

Then was my TAPpin’ class, which I started this post in. We talked about websites a lot, and so this post was live for a very short period of time, during which Bryce managed to post a comment.

Then I almost went to Choir, but I lost my confidence, panicked, and spent the time doing other errands instead. Got my check from the Man. Headed to WAPII, which should be far less frustratingly easy thatn WAPI. We’re learning ASP.Net, which is okay (at least it’s something I don’t know) and Shan is teaching it, and I like him.

Then I did tutoring with Tom Bouwman, my dream man, and Holli came by to visit. It was awkward, because Tom and I usually spend most of our tutoring time making out, and we had to cool it in front of the lady. Then CRESH, then Band, then food, then this.

And all the while, a tippin’.

Fondue for You, Too?

Supper: 08 Jan 2006
Supper: 08 Jan 2006, originally uploaded by m!les.

It’s been very quiet in Madison. It’s been work and editing, pretty much everyday. Well, this all changed yesterday.

The first excitement came at work. The good news is, I finally had something to do that wasn’t Hyperion (which is getting old). The bad news is, it was PeopleSoft. Oh, well. It was a nice 20 minute change of pace. Then it was back to Hyperion.

The second excitement came at lunch. My kitchen light bulb had burned out the previous day, but I didn’t want to try to replace it at night, so I left it. The problem is, I am not a tall person. I attempted to use my black stool, but it isn’t a very sturdy design. So, I decided to use my kitchen table instead. Well, the kitchen table is also not very stable. I managed to stand on it, but then it started to seperate. So, the final solution was to stand on the counters.

I got up on the counter, but soon realized that if I wanted to unscrew the dome, I would need both hands, and I couldn’t possibly reach out that far with both arms free from support. What was I to do? Roll in the kitchen table, and laden it with pillows in case I lose my hold on that thing. Luckily, it worked out that I didn’t drop it, but the replacement bulb is about as strong as a keychain flashlight, so I’ll have to do the whole thing over again tonight.

The other excitement was that Holli came up to visit. She has an interview at Daktronics today, so she asked if she could spend the night on my new air mattress. I said, “Heck, yes”. So we made supper. Or, rather, she brough supper, and we reheated it, which didn’t quite go as planned, but still turned out really well. A requisite picture was taken for my Meals set.

Then we exchanged presents. I lucked out when I bought my new cologne in that they gave me a flippin’ nice free gift which she seemed to really like. Then I got a mug, some bowls, and a new shirt from her Florida trip. Then she showed me her and Heather’s pictures from the trip, of which there are about 270+. Then I set to trying to render the whole interview, which was then too big for one DVD, so I called Bob, and tried another rendering method while we watched a couple Seinfeld episodes.

Well, my computer does this thing where, if it has been in screensaver or power-save mode, and I move the mouse to bring it back, it thinks I hit Alt+F4, and closes whatever is open. This will sometimes even result in a Windows Shutdown dialog box. Well, this case it resulted in a “stop rendering and close the program altogether”. So, frustrated, and finding it difficult to burn that file in the first place, I instead just burned the original 9 minutes that I rendered for my own viewing purposes. This didn’t have the goodies of my bleeping, but that’s what made it a teaser.

We went over to Holly and Bob’s for more fondue with Matt Walker (who I’ve worked with before) and Chris Deaver (who’s work I’ve seen, but who I had never met until that moment). We stood around and talked for a while, then we watched the CANNED teaser, then we did photos. Matt was coming out with a compilation DVD similar to The Works, and he wanted some photos for the DVD cover. Because the title of the DVD has the word “Christmas” in it, there was a distinct and disturbing Christmas theme to the pictures, too. At first, when Matt said, “I’m going to take some pictures of you in costume later,” I immediately said, “Sure. Sounds good.” because I’ve learned that caving to peer pressure makes you cooler, but I was unsure what the results would be. It turns out I liked my costume: a smoking jacket, santa hat, knife, and glass of chocolate milk. The chocolate milk was my addition, because I was drinking chocolate milk, and I wasn’t finished. How did the pictures go? Don’t Ask.

Don't Ask
Don’t Ask, originally uploaded by m!les.

After pictures it was fondue time. It went pretty well. You can’t really taste burned carmel like you can burned chocolate, so I didn’t even notice that it had burned. It did take a very long time to get it lit, again, but that’s all in a day’s work of fondue. Fondue is a confusing word because it really refers to the process or behavior, not a type of food. The problem comes in how close “fondue” is to “tofu”, which IS a food (sorta). It turns out, for those who are confused, that “fondue” means heat up some chocolate or carmel or something and dip fruit or whatever into it. And that is from the Wikipedia article.

I just now noticed that I have never spelled “fondue” correctly, so I edited both posts and all my Flickr pictures in Fondue, the First and Fondue, the Second.

At about midnight, we decided that we’d had enough fun. They decided to play Cranium, and I decided that I needed sleep. As it was, it was about 1:00 before I got to sleep, and I think that’s partly why my head hurts so bloody much today. Seriously, this headache could kill a small child. And I am very mad (!) at Premiere, After Effects, Nero, and my screensaver, but I can’t complain too much today. I had a great night.

And Holly Smith and Bob Davidson better keep that $5.00 or I will sink our friendships.

New Additions

Supper: 02 Dec 2005
Supper: 02 Dec 2005, originally uploaded by m!les.

Well, the school year is winding to an end, and boy is my plate full. I have a large project due in Language Processing, and endless number of worksheets for Math Modeling, extra credit and solo project and group project for Art History, and that’s just classes.

Personally, I’m working on two plays right now. One is just getting going, and the other has grown to quite some depth. I’ve also been doing the web thing. Awayken has seen a bit of an improvement. I’m working on making that more of a portal. I’ll keep you posted.

In other news, I’m very excited to announce a new blogger: David. He came over last night and, while preparing the meal, I asked him if he wanted a blog. He said yes. So, I made David for him. He’s still developing it, but he’s got a start on it.

If anyone else wants a WordPress blog, courtesy of, let me know. I’d be more than happy to set one up.

In any case, I should make me some lunch.

The Long Overdue Thanksgiving Post

The Family
The Family, originally uploaded by m!les.

I suppose that is the best picture to start this off with. By the by, there are more pictures on my Flickr account, but there are many many more pictures in my photo gallery. So, check them out. I was going to do a picto-story like the Bison game, but then it takes so long to load the page. So, I’ll keep it down. Plus, I wrote most of this once before, then my browser crashed, so I’m going to shorten things up a bit.

The nearly first thing I did when I got home on Wednesday was to wake every relative I had looking for the Narnia books. Finally, after some phone tag, I got ahold of Sue, who used to own them but then donated (donated!) them to the Big Stone library. As luck would have it, being a teacher there, she had a key. We went in and stole/checked out the book I wanted, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”. Note on that: I loved the book, but the ending battle was really anti-climatic. The narration follows Aslan to the battle who shows up when it’s nearly over. Right. Sure, the powerful, mysterious, talking lion is going to miss the biggest battle of his world’s history. Come on!

With that done, I had every intention of doing a ton of homework that week(end), but it never happened. In fact, that night was spent reading and probably doing other things, but I can’t remember because that was more than a week ago. In any case, bring on the food, right? We hosted Thanksgiving for a bunch of relatives this year. It was a good time. I got to play tech guy again. Five years learning everything from basic programming to web development to even developing my own computer language and when I come home I become Nick Burns, but without the attitude. This time was easy. I just reinstalled windows for my cousin.

Sue, Molly (drunk), Brenna
Sue, Molly (drunk), Brenna, originally uploaded by m!les.

I like that picture. Candid. Molly just grabbed the beer, and I snapped the picture anyway. And Sue? Well, she couldn’t really say anything, could she. That’s right. That night, when most everyone was gone the revelry became a quiet din elsewhere in the world, we … uh, this is rusty, too. Somewhere in there we made of list. And we wanted to play basketball, but the other Rausch’s tricked us, and we couldn’t play basketball after all. Anyway, we made of list of what we could do. If your name is on the list, we’re sorry. We had had a lot to drink, and we were feeling bitter.

In any case, we ended up driving around Ortonville looking for deer. We found a bunch, but we only got a picture of one. And it was fake. Headed home, did some boozing.

Victory, originally uploaded by m!les.

Did some deer victorying. Did some more drinking. Cut some people up.

The next day, Bryce and I drove to Aberdeen with Dan and David. Bryce and Dan started a political debate, which I become moderator / antagonizer for. I was looking for some dialogue ideas, so I wrote down everything that they said, but I don’t know where I can use it. Hopefully soon. We got there, did our quick business. We ate in the mall. We saw Nick Kreasol (sp?) in the mall. Boy was THAT awkward. Nice one, Bryce.

Drove home. Played basketball. Left 30 messages on Tony’s cellphone. All four of us did. It rocked. Basketball was killer. I got some pics. I brought my book, of course. It was a good time. Narnia is fascinating. Went back home. Did something there. Everything’s just kinda foggy. I’m also distracted on account of math. My dad has been brewing his own beer, and that was the beverage (unmarked) of choice for the week(end).

Saturday. I tried even harder to get homework and some writing done, but it was not so. Ended up watching National Treasure, which wasn’t terrible. And, Diane Kruger is cute, even if I had issue with the slapdash form of “historical” reference and legend. I will say, Riley got to me. I think it was how he’s pasted all over the DVD’s special features. And I didn’t find him particularly funny.

That night we played us some games and watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And, I must say, I loved it. I had put off seeing it because I knew that every geek would be running to see it. I was also worried that it would let me down. Cool thing: the lead actor in Guide plays Tim in the British version of The Office. Small world.

Lindsey didn’t like it.

We played games after that. Again, the games went until forever. It was awful. The next morning, got up, did the church thing, played guitar, I had a killer solo during City of God where I played the guitar with my teeth, then I make the sign of the cross, light it on fire, and I toss it off the balcony into the aisle while saying the “Hail Mary” in latin. If done right, the whole crowd should be clapping in rhythm to the prayer.

Afterwards we did brunch. Then we hit up grandma’s and Karen endowed us with enough sugar to power China(‘s sugar cane crop), most of which I probably won’t get eaten before Christmas. I have been trying, though, to consume a cookie or muffin whenever I can. I think that’s it.

I don’t remember. I have no idea what was going on most of the weekend. I just know that most of us had a good time.

Bryce, Andy
Bryce, Andy, originally uploaded by m!les.

Gophers, Bison, and Wizards

David, originally uploaded by m!les.

Our journey began Friday at noon. I pulled into Richardson’s parking lot and David hopped in. Me with my iPod and him with his tablet, the topic was music. We discussed David’s favorite bands and his theme song, Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen – Fair. That’s right. David has a theme song. I’m so bloody jealous.

Soon we came to Marshall. My memory faltered a little bit upon entering Marshall. It turns out that I took a slightly different path then I did last time, so I called Bryce and got things taken care of. Soon we were driving up to Bryce’s apartment, and so was Bryce, and so was Tony. It worked out perfectly.

The way up was mostly just talking, joking, or listening to music. It turns out that Smith is a victim of the Sony Rootkit. Poor fella. I listened to the smattering of tunes on my iPod, which I should have loaded up with 5 and 4 star music instead of the random stuff I had. I felt cheated. By myself. I mean, I cheated myself, not that I was alone. There was like 5 other people in the van.

We hit Minneapolis as it darkened. That’s winter for you. The trick now was finding our way to the arena. It proved a little trickier then we thought, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m glad I wasn’t driving. Bryce did a good job. We finally got to the arena, with calls from Tyler, Corey, and Britty. We got there and managed to find all three of them immediately.

It turns out that our tickets were student passes bought by Tyler. So, we sat in the student section. Unfortunately, Britty and the rest of the family had Tim tickets, which put them a level up and a little over. From our point of view, we were on the outskirts of a whole mass of UofM students. But, lo and behold, a smattering of NDSU students were in the section with us. One guy even had a hat with bison horns on it.

Bryce and Lindsey hit the concession stand, seeing as we hadn’t had supper yet. When they got back, Chris and I took off. He knew what he wanted: a Famous Dave’s BBQ Sandwhich. I wasn’t quite as sure. I ended up getting a pretzel + chesse with a large soda (for the M cup). When Chris went to buy a sandwhich, they said they were sold out. So, he got ice cream instead. Poor guy.

We watched as the lead UofM had got larger and larger. NDSU did well, I thought. But then again, I’m not a basketball journalist. I’m not even a fan. I just am.

The game ended disappointingly for us. But the good thing about the end of the game is that it allowed us to say “Hi” to family, take some more pictures, and to get to our food and movie.

Bryce and I took pictures like this at KState, though that arena was almost completely clear at the time. In Minneapolis, we had to make do with what we had. This was probably the best of the lot. Then the police and stadium officials asked us to leave the arena.

Outside the arena, we stood near the concessions waiting. The family, of course, wanted to see Tim, as did we, and we all socialized. Grandma asked us what our plan was for tonight. Tony gave her an answer that I don’t think she was looking for. I like this picture in particular because it catches Grandma’s reaction to Tony saying, “We’re getting drunk, Nana.” It was so spur of the moment, that I had to snap it quick, and so they are out of focus.

In any case, Tim eventually came out, we greeted him, said goodbye to each other, and then we headed to the movie. First we had to stop at Tyler’s so he could get his student ID, then we picked up Amanda to add yet one more to our list of people.

We got to the mall, and as we were walking to the ticket counter, I heard a voice say my name. It was Brenna with her friend, Paul. I tried to catch the attention of the other guys, and there were hugs all around. So we got our tickets for the 10:45pm show, then we sought out food. Applebee’s was right there, so we at there. The disappointing thing was that they forgot my sandwhich or something because it took forever, and I had to wolf that thing down in 2 minutes. Thankfully, Brenna ate most of my fries, so I was ready in record time. booya!

The theatre we were in was packed. At 10:45pm?? Yes, at 10:45pm. We ended up sitting in the way front. It was a little uncomfortable, but I was willing to look past that. A dragon never looked so big. I won’t post any spoilers. I think I’ll save that for my new wordpress blog, but I was a little disappointed. Though, seeing it from a filmmaker’s perspective, I can see why they did what they did. A good movie. A better book.

We bid Brenna and Paul adieu, and then we piled back into our vehicle. Our final number of persons was: Corey, Lindsey, Tyler, Amanda, Tony, Chris, Me, David, and Bryce. So that’s, what, 20? It was terrible. We caused the backend of the van’s mudflaps to hit the ground. Often.

We dropped off Amanda. Then we dropped off Tony and Corey at Corey’s place. Then the rest of us crashed at Tyler’s dorm room with his roommate Craig (who had joined us at the game). It was a little interesting fitting everyone in there. When I crawled into one of Tyler’s roommate’s beds, I felt something under one of the pillows. It felt and looked a bit like a gun. Trying not to panic, I asked David to turn on the light, since he was on the floor, and I was 10 feet up. It turns out it was a nerf dart gun, but I was still freaked.

By the way, Tyler’s nickname in college is “Reefer”.

The next morning we picked up Tony, and we headed for someplace to eat. We chose Peking Garden Chinese restaurant nearby. It worked out because Chris, who hates Chinese food even though he’s never tried it, could go to the Arby’s across the street. Our food took forever. There was some confusion amongst the servers. Instead of saying, “We need some menus”, we said, “We’re waiting for menus”, which made all the servers think that someone else was getting our menus.

We finally did get some, we ordered, and Bryce ordered a Chinese beer. The lady asked for his ID, and she would not believe that he was old enough. She held it for a while. She disappeared (poof) and another waiter came by with the beer. He started to hand it towards me, when Bryce said, “That’s mine.” The waiter stopped. “Really? Can I see your ID?” So, he, too, checked Bryce’s ID, commented that he didn’t look that old, laughed, and left. It was great. I kept waiting for the manager to come out, too.

I ordered the sesame chicken which, besides being a little spicy, is bright freakin’ red. Like Rudolf red, I swear to God. It was really good, too. After the food, we dropped off Tyler, then we headed home. Some of the trip was spent by me reading my issue of The Onion that I picked up in the mall. The funniest article was one entitled Life In The Navy Rocks Even Harder Than The Commercial Implied. I loved it. The horoscopes were pretty good, too. After that we played “Would you rather…” and then it was several rounds of “If you could…”. By the way, I made up the names for all those games.

Then we all went home. All-in-all, I had a good weekend. When I got home, I made up a Christmas Wishlist on Amazon. Speaking of which, be very wary of certain emails. I got one that said it was from, but the graphic looked a little wonky. The site asked me to update my Amazon profile information. I clicked the link and noticed that it didn’t send me to, it sent me to an IP address. This site going to log my username and password when I attempted to login, but I didn’t. I just closed it, happy in my shrewdness, and I closed it.

Anyway, that was my weekend, and I have more pictures. How was your weekend? What did you do?

Runner’s Lung

Supper: 15 Oct 2005
Supper: 15 Oct 2005, originally uploaded by m!les.

Stir fry chicken (with baby corn, broccoli, mushrooms, and cellophane noodles), pork and shrimp egg rolls, sweet and sour sauce and milk.

Another weekend in the bag, as they say in the biz.

This, ladies and gents, was my oriental meal. NOTE: cellophane noodles may come in a large package, but (despite your thinking) DO NOT cook all of them for a meal. For one thing, the feel and volume and size of them remind me of tape worms.

I would like to say, though, that the meal was really good, and the stir-fry flavoring was just enough, even though the cellophane noodles soak up all the sauce. I really wish I would have had more chicken, though.

Went in to work on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday I had to fix the graphics that I made on Saturday. And, all the while, I was rocking The Office hard.

After mass, David and Mark went to 2nd Street Diner. We got our food, afterwhich Dave regretted getting an omelette. “You know, I’m not such a fan of eggs.” Then we quoted my play. Then at the end, I was going for a physical gag, drinking for a long time, and I ended up almost drowning.

Came home, went to work, came back home, at leftovers, and then I went off to Improv practice. It was a decent practice. I led the “Follow the Leader”, which was a bad idea. I did a lot of running, and now my lungs are complaining.

I was a bad blocker tonight. I got called on it like 10 times. We spent 30 minutes trying to get a title for an action movie and another 30 minutes trying to decide what our shirts should look like. Downtime is bad.

Then I came home. Ryan Glanzer’s on Facebook now, and added me as a friend, so I checked on that, and I discovered that Holli Gregg called me a nerd and an idiot. So, I harassed her online for a while until we decided to be iFriends.

Then I watched 20oz. Mouse on Cartoon Network, which may shape up to be my next favorite random cartoon show. The animation is terrible, but I like the voice acting. There’s a part where a pink rectangle is talking to the crudely drawn mouse, and the mouse says, “It’ll cost you.” And the rectangle goes, “How much in the world is it?” and I laughed my buckle off. He did this strange emphasis to “world” that gave me giggles.

I mean, man-laughs.

Also, I wrote a song today called “Halfway Between Visible and Invisible.” I really like it. It has a “breakdown”, which would probably sound better with drums and on an electric guitar. Needs about 3 more stanzas, at least.

Alright. I’m going to bed. Drama Club meeting tomorrow, or some such thing.

Happy Native Columbus Day!

Supper: 09 Oct 2005
Supper: 09 Oct 2005, originally uploaded by awayken.

Chicken alfredo with baked potatoe, spinach leaf salad, cheese garlic bread, and milk.

This, my children, was my meal last night. The only problem was that it takes so long for my oven to preheat that the rest of the food was cold by the time I got the cheese garlic bread done.

It was my first prepared meal since the tempura accident. If you don’t know, tempura is that breading that they cover sweet and sour chicken and sweet and sour shrimp with. It’s actually pretty easy to prepare. You cut up chicken, add water to the batter, batter the chicken, then toss it in the oil. Well, I don’t have a deep-fat frier; I have a skillet and oil. Not being one to research before attempting, I first put the oil in the oven to get it to the specified temp of 355. Then I put it on the stove-top instead.

The first batch, before it was hot oil, turned out ruined. The batter floated off the chicken, so I just scooped that stuff out. My second batch, though, was going awesome. So awesome that I thought I’d try chatting with Holly for a bit. BIG MISTAKE.

I suddenly notice all this billowing (yes, billowing) smoke coming out of my kitchen. The batter stuff in the oil was burning, and it was producing the most acrid, foul-smelling smoke ever. Needless to say, I was coughing and in tears for nearly an hour trying to get the smoke out of my apartment, keeping the smoke alarm quiet, and escaping to the bathroom to breathe.

The food, when all was said and done, was excellent. The stench didn’t leave my apartment for days, and it definately made me reconsider finding or buying a fire extinguisher. And, probably, more air freshener.

My alfredo was good, though. Delish, even. And Britt and I chat-casted on MSN for a while. She has a webcam, and a cat named Oscar. And internet problems. We watched The West Wing and griped about the demise of a once great show.

Laundry was a chore. Actually, getting quarters was the chore. Since it’s a bank holiday, I had to be creative. I took a trip to campus and fed my dollars to a pop machine and then immediately asked for change. But I only had 3 $1 bills and a $5 bill and a $20 bill. So, I only did two loads of laundry.

Then I had improv rehearsal, which I thought went really well. I laughed a lot. They have this game called “Story Time” or something where you have to tell a story by feeding off of the person before you. Holli Gregg, it would seem, is the championess of this game, but tonight I managed to beat her. I’m sure it was luck, but it was fun. She is a worthy opponent.

Well, the hour is late, and I must be getting to homework (or deciding to not do it – one or the other). Be sure that more pictures will be coming. Me and my camera took a jaunt today, and as soon as the photo gallery I’m using turns 1.0, I’ll show the pics to you guys.

As if.

alfredo, Zen Photo, improvisation, laundry, tempura, smoke inhalation