South Dakota State Legislature Swearing-In

On January 11th, Holli, Ian, and I tripped to Pierre, SD, for the Swearing-In of the Speaker of the House. Why would we make this 4 hour drive through the frozen, South Dakota nothingness? For the Missouri River? Nope! For Val Rausch, newly-sworn Speaker of the House, of course (It is EMBARRASSING how long it took you to answer. I practically had to spell it out for you. Actually, I literally had to spell it out for you; that’s what writing is.)! It was a pretty momentous occasion for the Rausch family, and I’m really glad it worked out for us to be there. The travel could have been nicer. It was a four-hour drive up and a five-hour drive back, thanks to fussy babies, blowing snow, and meals. Still, not many people can say, “My dad is the South Dakota Speaker of the House this year!” In fact, exactly three other people can say that, which makes us an exclusive, related group.

I’ve always loved the tradition and trappings of the State Capitol. The architecture is ornate, the ceremony is thoughtful, and the people are still South Dakota friendly. We sat in the galley, at least until Ian became a little too boisterous for the company we were keeping. Then he and Holli took respite near the rotunda, so he could blow off some baby-steam. After the swearing-in, we got an exclusive pass into the Speaker of the House’s executive office, complete with granite desktop. (Gee, I wonder where he got that idea.) We also met the Speaker of the House’s secretary, took some of the Speaker of the House’s business cards, and wrote on the Speaker of the House’s whiteboard. To top it off, we got some Speaker of the House cake, which isn’t actually made from Speakers of the House (unforch).

I put the photos up on Facebook and in a Flickr album called Val Rausch – Speaker of the House – ’11 – ’12. I also put the videos up on YouTube, in a playlist called South Dakota Legislature Swearing-In.

Sorkin In St. Paul

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I would like to preface this by saying that this post is so late in coming NOT because I didn’t have a good time in St. Paul but because I decided to graciously let the rest of the Internet talk amongst themselves for a while.

If you can remember back that far, Holli and I drove up to St. Paul, MN, on March 28, 2008. We had never been up to the RRRH, and it was also shaping up to be a unique Newsbleep experience. Our trip began with a tour around the spacious mansion. The house that our St. Paul relatives enjoy has three floors and a basement. The basement was terrifying in its depth and darkness, but the rest of the house was pleasant and enjoyable. The main floor has a TV and couch and chairs and the second floor has several couches and some bedrooms. This second floor is also the PS3 floor. The final floor is more of an attic which is where Dan and David slept.

Saturday morning, the guys headed to a cafe for “Men’s Breakfast” with Chris. We talked mostly about politics and how the post 9/11 political climate has resulted in a general public frustration which may, unfortunately, produce lowered standards for the next President. Never once did we mention farting.

Besides enjoying the company of our cousins, the other goal of this visit was to film an “Aaron Sorkin-esque” episode called What Kind of Day Has It Been. My goal was to parody / mimic the writing style of some of Aaron Sorkin’s works: Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Whether I achieved that goal is debatable, but it was a fun shoot. There were three basic sets: downstairs Writers’ Room, middle floor Rehearsal Area, and upstairs Producer’s Office. Playing an actor and a director made things a little difficult as I couldn’t really rehearse. Thankfully, I’m great at dubbing my dialogue, so it wasn’t an issue. It was neat to walk around the house and to hear different groups of people running lines. It almost seemed professional.

With most of it done, we headed to dinner. We went to the Muddy Pig, a local pub. The Muddy Pig had a large collection of beers, which didn’t do me much good. They did have a fair selection of wines, however. The meals were, by-and-large, warmly received by their recipients. As far as I remember, that is.

Either that night or the night before we watched Frisky Dingo which turned out to be a better version of Sealab 2021. I’m not opposed to watching more. Also, that night I had Irish whisky and Dr. Pepper. So began an addiction.

Sunday was mostly putting the place back together. I had script pages and props and all kinds of notebook paper scattered everywhere. Sunday was also lazy, as everyone was lounging around and having a relaxing day. It was great to get to see/meet/hang out with: Katie, Brenna, Dan, David, Sarah, Chris, Tyler and their friends.

Sorkin in St. Paul.

The Ben Folds Concert

Also known as, The Last Ben Folds post for a while.

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In fuzzy contrast to The Bright Eyes Concert, The Ben Folds Concert was a brilliantly social experience. It began with Godfather’s Pizza, where Holli and I met Britty, Dan, David, Chris, Tyler, Tony, Nathan and Brian Granquist. We were fortunate enough to have had David buy us pizza as we drove from Mankato, where we had gone to mass. First pleasant surprise of the night was that Godfather’s Pizza has fantastic breadsticks.

Then we went on to the concert. Gustavus Adolphus is situated high upon a hill in tiny St. Peter, MN. It sits like a manor lording over the residential serfs that toil for its pleasure. The parking was a fair jog from where the venue entrance was. Britty, Holli and I walked together. We walked past a full bottle of ketchup sitting by the sidewalk. That’s important for the end of the story.

We connected with the rest of the group in the line. The queue was daunting, but fast-moving. Once inside we got patted down. Either these security guards were bad at their jobs, hated Ben Folds, or were going pretty lax. I had, in my pockets, a digital camera, cellphone, iPod touch, keys, change, and a checkbook-sized wallet. I made no effort to hide any of these odd shapes, and he patted me lightly and allowed me entrance. This was the first example of how easy and awesome the security was at the concert.

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Before the show, Britty and I made purchases. She bought the “faces” shirt, and I bought the “I <3'd Ben Folds before he sucked" t-shirt and a magnet that read, "I went to a Ben Folds concert and all I could afford was this cheap refrigerator magnet." or something like that. Then I changed into my shirt, and I made Holli keep some stuff of mine in her purse, which she resented, but deep down she loves when I make her feel useful. IMG_7681

The opener, Ari Herstand (thank you, Google), was a good musician, but he had a gimmick. This guy has a fascination with looping looping looping looping (I already used that joke in a comment, sorry). Basically, he played guitar and trumpet, sang, and beat boxed. But, being just one guy, he needed a way to use all his talents simultaneously. Thankfully for him, there’s the foot pedal. When he did it the first time, we were all impressed. Then we were less impressed. Then I started to get annoyed. Then I had this strange daydream where I met Ari after the concert, and he asked me how I liked his show. I responded that the looping thing was neat at first, but then it got old. He got angry and retorted, “THAT’S what I do! I loop! I’m the looping guy!” After that, seeing how I hurt his feelings, I cut him more slack.

During this time, Holli and I decided to move up to the bleachers. It was hot on the floor, and I couldn’t really see. The move was a good one, at least for me. It was a little more difficult to make out what was said on stage, but the photos were much better. Also, it wasn’t as warm, and I didn’t keep getting bumped into by drunk hollege girls.

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After an excruciating wait, Ben Folds and his duo came out. Ben is such a geek. Even the way he walked out was kinda nerdy. There was a sea of people on the floor and in the stands. Cameras were everywhere. All these glowing rectangles floated in awe in front of the stage. Camera flashes burst like lightning, briefly illuminating a smiling face or two and the odd “thumbs up”. Ben wasted no time. As soon as he was behind the piano, he began.

Set List
– – – – – –
In Between Days (I think… I didn’t recognize it.)
Gone
Bastard
First song on new album – Hiroshima
Free Coffee – with distortion peddle and odd objects on piano strings
Zak and Sara
Landed
Lullabye
Annie Waits
All U Can Eat
B****es Ain’t S**t
Narcolepsy to Piano Solo and back
Brick
Lets Get Physical (goofing around)
Losing Lisa
Battle of Who Could Care Less
Rockin’ the Suburbs
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
Kate
Not The Same
– – – – – –
If there’s a God he’s laughing at us and our football team?
Philosophy (and Misirlou?)

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The concert was brilliant. I’m a little bummed that there weren’t two encores, but it was a good encore for being single. Ben’s a good performer, and he pretty much gets down to business. He has a couple “crown involvement” songs, which help keep things interesting. Also, the story behind Hiroshima is a good one.

Check out my Ben Folds Concert photoset.

Here’s some videos I took while I was at it.

B****es Can’t Hang With The Streets

Not The Same

Oh, the ketchup? When we walked back to the car, it was destroyed. Ketchup was everywhere. Too bad I didn’t get a picture of it.

They’re He-urrrrrr

Tony (a.k.a. BigT, a.k.a. Mr. Britain)

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Tony came up to visit us. He would become our first overnight guest. We didn’t have a big itinerary, but there was one thing on his mind: Haywood Banks. As it turned out, the musician/comedian was performing at Nitwit’s Comedy Club (where my bachelor party began) which is blocks from our apartment. We sat through an opener who wasn’t too bad, ordered a couple drinks that I’m sure labeled me as fruity as they tasted, and we talked about live and things.

Then, on to the stage walked one of the goofiest looking people I have ever seen. If you’ve never taken in HB’s physical appearance, it is quite the site. His body seems stretched in comic proportions: too tall, gangly, thin, puffy beard and hair. But he writes clever music, and his jokes (and appearance) reminded me of an amalgamation of Weird Al and Steve Martin. It was a good show, and I bought a grocery bag afterwards.

The next night’s event was a play in Madison. Bob Davidson had a role in “Dearly Departed”, a play about a funeral. The President of DSU played the man who dies in the first scene and is never heard from again. It was pretty good. It was also the first DSU play where I’ve seen a “dialogue coach” listed on the program. Everyone had a southern accent. Also, a large portion of the cast were new faces. We went, we talked to people afterward, we had a good time. The play was a comedy, and it was pretty good. I thought the cast did a very good job.

It was a good weekend. It was nice to have Tony up. We played Rock Band, we ate at Ruby Tuesday’s, we had roast beef sandwiches, and we all made out for like two hours. We did not, however, get any pictures.

Check out the Haywood Banks photoset.

Lost Weekend 1

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It had all the makings of disaster. What we had proposed was for a group of friends to sit with us and watch TV on DVD for an entire weekend. Stopping only for food, sleep, and bathroom breaks. How well would it actually go?

As it turned out, it went very well. There’s not much to say about the weekend in general, because all we did was watch TV on DVD. We managed to get through all of season one and into disc 1 of season two. It was interesting to watch people’s reactions to the cliffhangers, twists, and reveals. The show has come a long way since season one, and it was interesting to see some clues that came up later (even in this season) and to see what their relationships were like back then.

The weekend was so successful in getting people hooked, that we cancelled our second weekend. Everyone had gone out on their own and started watching season two because they couldn’t wait. That and a lot of schedules conflicted with our choice of weekend 2.

In a funny side note, I mentioned the lost weekend at a work gathering and came to find out that Scott Lawrence, one of the head honchos at Lawrence & Schiller, is a big Lost fan, and he and his wife have been marathoning their way through the DVDs as well. He even managed to work Lost into a speech he gave at our agency-wide staff lunch.

Check out the Lost Weekend 1 photoset.

Dan

A long time ago, Dan mentioned stopping by around Easter time. Then both Holli and I forgot entirely about it until a couple days before he came down. It was okay. He’d be yet another in the growing line of people who have driven to Sioux Falls for the pleasure of sleeping in our apartment.

The biggest conundrum we faced with Dan’s visit was his Lenten obligations to not eating meat. This meant we had to be creative with our meal choices. We did Valentino’s, Panera Bread, and Skipper’s, all good choices. I can’t remember all that we did. We rented a movie, Gone, Baby, Gone. I didn’t realize what it was about despite having listened to a podcast of two guys reviewing it. But, I liked it. I’m developing more and more respect for Casey Affleck. Check out the movie, unless you don’t like violence, cursing, blood, pedophilia, the Afflecks, children getting hurt, and drug use.

One of the best things about living in Sioux Falls is our ability to host people. Sioux Falls offers a lot more than Madison does, and it is up to Holli and I to figure out what the best things to do in town are for when more people come and visit.

Update, I’m Back, Douglas, Swag, Running, and Happy Birthday

As William Gibson

First off, I didn’t hate Philly. I think there was some confusion, which is understandable given the content of the post, but I really did have a great time and would love to go back (assuming that Bryce and Lindsey still live there, otherwise it wouldn’t be nearly as fun). Also, I’d love to pretend I was doing a parody of Holli’s Marshall experience, but I’m not that clever.

Second off, I just got back from Princeton. No, I’m not enrolling. I was there for work. It was a sort of panic-inducing experience, as most work trips are, and I won’t say much about it here, just to say that I think we left the client satisfied. Also, I didn’t take many pictures so as to appear somewhat professional. Check out Panicking in Princeton photoset.

Third off, Nate Hoffman, who played “Narcs” in the Season One finale of Newsbleep, is debuting his movie, “Douglas”, at the Science Center at DSU at 8:00pm on August 25th (Saturday). To add to that, the “Grief” trailer for Newsbleep is going to preceed the airing. So, if you can, you should make the trip for that.

Fourth off, a playwriting project I was involved with became the Project of the Week for the Celtx website, and so I got a USB drive, t-shirt, and stickers with Celtx on them.

Fifth off, congrats to Molly and Brenna for running well. Holli said you both did well.

Last (but not least) off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LINDSEY!!

Flying to Philly

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As Holli said, and Bryce and Lindsey are sure to say later (*hint*hint*), we went to Philly! Holli did a good job of relating what happened so, I won’t repeat that here. I’ll talk about my feelings. Like a girl does.

It was really nice to see Bryce and Lindsey. Even though we “just saw them” for the wedding, this is our first time visiting them as a married couple, and it couldn’t have been more awkward. Talk about tension. From minute one, when Bryce wasn’t back from work at 3 in the afternoon, to our trip back to the airport with them arguing over what road goes where and does what, I felt alienated, ignored, and stupid.

Boy, that got negative. I tried, and started out, positive, but it just degraded so fast. It was a joy to get to spend time with Lindsey without Bryce. That rarely has happened before. In Marshall, we stayed at Bryce’s apartment, and at home we stay at Bryce’s house, so this gave us a chance to get to learn more about Lindsey. I learned that she likes to watch the news. A lot. And she likes to fall asleep with guests around. Like, immediately. Then, of course, my girl follows suit, so guess who’s stuck singing to himself, playing with one anti-social cat and one attention-starved cat; me.

Gosh, I did it again. Alright, I’d better wrap this up. Bryce, Lindsey; two great people. Bear, Bitty; nice cats, both seemed to warm up to me eventually and one posed for a picture. I was definitely go out there again, except this time for longer. Maybe then we’ll actually get to tour the city by bus so we don’t get half-baked “explanations” of what went down where. And, of course, I’d love to spend the entire time in rainy, drizzly weather again. Oh, and can we get our flights back delayed several hours as well? And how about Bryce and Lindsey get so ashamed of us that we never get to meet any of their friends?

Boo-diddley-hoo, that was a frowneroni. This east coast air is making me surly.

Honestly, though; had a blast. Flying to Philly – August 2007.

Stressed Out in Seattle

Me

Let me paint a picture. You’re knee-deep in Paid Time Off (PTO), ready for your brother’s wedding. You check your work e-mail, advised by your boss, and discover that, instead of going to work on Monday, you’ll be driving to Minneapolis so that you can fly to Seattle. For a week.

I can’t say much (I’m sure) about the job itself, but I’m glad to be back. Matt Wilson, a recent hire who I am mentor to, was flown out to Seattle weeks ago. So long ago, in fact, that we all thought he’d died. He greeted us at the airport. Us was myself, Sang Kwon, and Carl Ware. Both Sang (pronounced “sung”) and Carl (pronounced “car-uhl”) are new hires. They were brought on to help Matt with development and I was brought on to do Readiness Materials.

Readiness Materials, near as I can tell, are tutorials, manuals. They are the flashy, fancy bits of paper that talk about the product by telling you how to do things. This is the sort of task with which I have been increasingly assigned, and which I am increasingly getting tired of. On one hand, it’s a nice creative outlet. Designing one of our User Guides within The CERTUS Company requires photography, print design, technical writing, and functionality knowledge. It also requires a lot of patience. It is slow, painful work. Yet I do it, and I apparently do it well enough.

This is what I did out in Seattle. We worked long days, often twelve hours. Friday we “skipped out early” at six o’clock, and Saturday we only did half a day. I can’t help but say how long it was. It was very long. We worked with a ten foot tall Dutchman from Microsoft named Julius. He often promised that we’d get to meet Bill Gates. While we did visit the store, and I got a copy of Vista, there was no Bill anywhere. I emailed him every day, to no avail.

Carl wanted to be mentioned in this post, so I’ll say his name again.

People in Seattle don’t like pictures. I got yelled at by a gas station attendant (and you can see him looking at me if you zoom in on the photo) and, after snapping this shot, I learned that photos within the Microsoft buildings is also illegal.

On Saturday we went out into the city, which is beautiful. I was taken by the plant growth in the city. There were trees and gardens everywhere, which I really liked. Also, there is water. John Webster is accredited with saying that South Dakotans like the water, and, for myself, it’s true. I loved eating on the lake. We didn’t do much for sight-seeing, just some “clubbing” and hanging-out downtown. Then I headed home at 7am, to eventually get to Watertown, where my glorious fiance would pick me up and drive me home.

Check out pictures in my Stressed Out in Seattle – July 2007 set.

I Just Want Vengence!

Happy Birthday, Grandma Miles!

Drinking A Drink

Script Frenzy! You remember my latest attempt at NaNoWriMo? Well, now I’m even less into Script Frenzy. If you want, this is the project I’m working on: http://pc.celtx.com/project/u7O7lM5FF03m. If I ever get around to actually writing something, maybe I’ll put more about it up here.

Last weekend I went to Okoboji to visit Holli and to hang with some of her camp friends. I took these pictures, here. We watched Arrested Development. We played a game called Mafia, where Holli was killed one night. My catch phrase for the rest of that game was this post’s title.

Also, we ate at The Wharf The Wharf The Wharf The Wharf The (ask Holli about the name) and Luke was telling a story, which began with, “Ok. The earth is round.” I quickly responded with “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on a minute. You just blew my mind.” A phrase which I have found success with in other venues.

During the week, Holly and Bob came over. We discussed the filming of their wedding a bit. We were even able to get into the church to look around. Then we came back, had some ice cream, and played Burnout Revenge. We played the game where you have to cause a certain monetary amount of damage by crashing your car. We played one level where there is a large donut on a diner. It was a nightmare. We spent nearly forty minutes on it before all three of us had caused the necessary amount of damage.

The summer is boring. Now that I have all this time to write, I’m in the doldrums. The problem is that I usually can’t go to bed unless I feel I’ve earned it. Of course, just working in the office all day doesn’t count. I have to do something worthwhile in my off time. So, if I just come home, surf the ‘net, and watch TV, then I can’t sleep. I have to watch TV or read until late to qualify for rest, and then I’m tired.

How is everyone else’s summer going so far?

Requisite Weekend-based Post

Confirmation

I haven’t posted in a while. Molly and Micaela got confirmed.

Molly gets confirmed.

Micaela gets confirmed.

Check out the photos at my Confirmation – 21 Apr 07 photoset.

Holli's Awards

Then, Holli had her awards banquet, where she did very very well. :) She didn’t post about it, but she got “Campus Student Leader”, “Who’s Who Among Students In American Colleges”, and “College Student Leader” as well as the “Certificate of Merit” for her club, The Student Ambassadors, of which she is president. Her parents came up for it, and we had a good time.

Check out the photos at my Honor’s Banquet – 23 Apr 07

Then, also, Molly went to prom. I don’t have any pictures of that. I could go into a long story about how my mom tried to blame her weak batteries on me, but I don’t want to kill the vibe we got going here.

It’s Training Men 1

But, Miles! You already made a post with this name! Shouldn’t this be number 2? Well, obviously, the first post was It’s Training Men 0, but in addition, the 0 is the identity, and it’s understood, and therefore not written, just like the “you” that goes before every command: (You,) stop eating lead, (You,) stop eating crayons, and (You) are ugly.

Pictures from this work trip are in my It’s Training Men set.

Friday, 09 Feb 2006

Futurama

Take a guess – yes, today was yet another day. There’s really nothing much to report. I was quite a bit more sociable, having several (that is, more than one) willing (that is, not forced) conversations with people I didn’t really know. Was I expanding? Was I feeling brave with this being my last day in California? Or was I so bored I was driven to it?

For lunch I had cashew chicken stir fry. It was great, and I love eating with chopsticks. It was raining so I ate indoors next to a guy in my class. We talked about Hyperion and PeopleSoft and the Midwest because he was from Nebraska.

When classes were all over, I called a taxi. I’ve never been sure how to feel about taxi drivers. They look pitiful. Most of them speak with thick Middle-Eastern accents, they spend all their work day in a car driving around people who may or may not be nice or friendly or helpful. But, I think that they also might play people up for more money, using their ethnicity and lack of language skills as a device for getting more money from the cab user who simply wishes to get to his or her destination. I had this happen the other day. We finally (finally!) got to my destination, and I asked about a credit card payment, and he asked me how much I wanted to make it for. I said, “What?” And he said, “12? 13?” I had watched as, while I sat there waiting for him to fill out the credit card slip, the cost went up nearly seventy-five cents. I pretended to not understand what he was doing and just said, “13” because that was the number that was on the meter, knowing full well that, as an out-of-towner, I have no idea how these taxis work.

Today’s taxi ride wasn’t like that, but it was remarkable in another aspect. I noticed as I approached the taxi, that my driver had an unusual device on the side of his head. Once in the car, I realized what I saw: my taxi driver had his Motorola Razr connected to a Bluetooth headset. I didn’t feel bad asking him to do credit card (“Well, I’m here on business, and they said I should really use my credit card instead of cash”), and he dealt with it promptly and gladly.

Now I’m watching Futurama, trying to finish up Season 2 before I head home. I’m microwaving pizza on hand towels because I don’t have plates, and I’m going to try to finish up my ice cream, too. How about one last quote.

Cashier: That’ll be forty cents.
Fry: I believe you’re forgetting about our five percent military discount.
Cashier: Well, that’s only for people in the military.
Bender: What?!
Fry: Huh?!
Bender: This is the worse kind of discrimination: the kind against me.
Cashier: Alright, look. Our policy is, if for any reason you’re not completely satisfied, I hate you.
(Hits a button and Fry and Bender are ejected from store)
Bender: Okay. Now I’m mad.
Fry: Full price for gum? The dog won’t hunt, Monsignor.

Thursday, 08 Feb 2006

The Hyperion logo juxtaposed over palm trees

It’s sad, but the reason I decided to post is because I heard a funny Futurama quote that I wanted to share. I’ll write about my day, first.

I woke up.

TV Commercial: Is today’s hectic lifestyle making you tense and impatient?
Bender (screaming): SHUTUP AND GET TO THE POINT!
TV Commercial: Then come live out the carefree days of yore in Past-o-rama!

My first duty after waking up was to get a cab. I managed to secure one for 8:40am. I went down, got something to eat and drink, and my cab was early. We made the trip (correctly this time) to Hyperion. He even knew that I was going to Hyperion, which was nice. Unfortunately, I forgot to get a receipt. Hopefully that won’t come back to haunt me (set up to some joke a couple days from now).

The day was predictably boring. It was a lot of watching Troy do his stuff, and very little of us doing any sort of stuff. I tried to entertain myself. Lunch was okay. I had a marinaded salmon sandwhich that I ate outside. Two people from my class saw me eating outside (while the temps have dropped and rain was starting to fall), and one of them said, “You must be from a colder climate,” and the most clever thing I could manage to say was “Yup!”

The rest of the day was as has been. I had to call a cab to leave, which required calling more than one company, and I briefly flirted with the idea of figuring out how the trains work. It seemed it would be a long walk to the train and from the train, and I wasn’t entirely sure it was possible.

Back here, I eventually ordered pizza, chatted with Tony, talked to Holli, and watched The Office and Scrubs and then Futurama. Usually I go out a little on my balcony, but tonight wasn’t the weather for it. At least I’m getting out of here just as it’s getting colder and rainier.

Bender: Wait. You mean people will pay good money for romance? Hmm… I think I have a plan so deviously clever that I-
Jump cut to judge slamming gavel.
Judge: Five-hundred dollars and time served!
Bender: Stupid anti-pimping laws. (to Leela) Well, pay the man!
Hookerbot: Bender, honey, we love you!
Bender: Shut up, baby, I know it!

The joke’s mostly in the way Bender says his last line, but you get the jist.

It’s Training Men

I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that song, Smoke on the Water, is about smog in Los Angeles. Who’s with me?

I’m just going to keep updating this post, so check back. I put the most current day at the top, so you don’t have to scroll if you’ve already read it all. And, by the by, my title is a bit of a misnomer as there are several women in the class with me. Oops.

Pictures from this work trip are in my It’s Training Men set.

Wednesday, 07 Feb 2006

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The first last day of class. Webster picked me up again, where we travelled to the Hyperion training facilities. I brought my camera along this time, for some good picture snappin’. I figured those washed-out, low-resolution pictures that were crappy could be replaced by white-balanced, high-resolution pictures that are crappy.

Futurma quote:
Leela: They’re going to destroy the entire Earth if they don’t see some stupid tv show about a stupid bimbo lawyer?
Fry: It’s crazy! How could they even know about a show from a thousand years ago?
Professor: Well, Omicron Persei 8 is about a thousand light-years away. So, the electromagnetic waves would just recently have gotten there. You see-
Fry: Magic. Got it.

Class was the same-old. We finally got into Dashboards (which is half of the course title), and they are, by far, much more complicated that I had imagined. Apparently, there is a great, great deal of Javascript behind the scenes. Of course, now knowing a larger extent to which Dashboards can be taken, I wonder who this will effect CRESH and our current support of Dashboards.

For lunch, I think Webster ate with his family because I had to run (very nearly, that is) to the bathroom when we were excused, and I never found him after that. I took the opportunity to take pictures outside, where I also ate. I can’t get over this weather. It reminds me of Costa Rica, but less humid. Kinda like Florida (in winter), but not exactly. Anyway, it’s glorious. (What also makes it like Costa Rica is that a large number of people on the cooking staff are Spanish speakers. One checkout lady speaks a lot of it, giving you every other word in English. She counts in Spanish, and then says, “Gracias, muchacho.”)

Class was almost excruciatingly boring. This was largely because a good hour and a half before lunch, leading up to lunch, was spent walking up through a wizard. I know how to use a wizard: it’s the easiest possible way to do something. “The wizard creates the master.” That’s a quote I took from our day today. What does it mean? Out of context, it sounds like a Tolkein plot point. In context, it’s just a rule of thumb.

When class was over, I came back here. John invited me to San Francisco, where he was taking his family for the day or night or something, but I opted to stay around here. It’s not that I’m afraid of going to San Francisco (or maybe I should be, a pretty boy like me!); it’s more that this doesn’t really feel like a vacation, and I would rather spend a day in SF rather than four hours, especially if I’ve never been. So, I stayed here, watched Futurama, chatted with Bryce, yelled Lost quotes at Tony, signed up with twitter, downloaded Twitterific, talked to Holli on the phone (who got a wedding dress today), and then I worked on this post.

Tuesday, 06 Feb 2006

Picture013.jpg

Today went smoothly. As such, there’s not much to report. John Webster picked me up at 8:40ish, and we headed out to class. Class was what you expect, and class was what I expected. At lunch (where I had broccoli beef), John and I talked to a Hyperion guy named Jumal (I believe I spelled that right). We (er, mostly “they”) had interesting conversations about education and Hyperion and CRESH and all that.

After classes were done, John and I had a meeting with a Hyperion HSF guy, who gave us a disc that will simultaneously make Mike and Seth happy and irritated. It won’t mean anything to explain it to you guys, so I’ll explain it to them when I get back.

Futurama quote:
Leela: Get ready to run. We’ve got 25 minutes.
(presses button)
Uh, 15 minutes.
5 minutes.
6-h minutes?
Bender: Hmmm… there’s your problem. The professor put the counter on upside-down.
Leela: That idiot! It wasn’t set for 25 minutes. It was set for 52 seconds!
Fry: Agggghhhh! We’re all gonna die. (beat) Right?
Bender: Right.
Fry: Agggghhhh!

After the meeting, John and I (and his wife and son) at out at Chef Chu’s, a very good chinese place in the area. I got to take the extra home with me, so I’m set for my next supper. Then I came back here, called Holli, and now I’m watching Futurama. Nothing much of interest, and I don’t have to entertain you guys. That’s what the news is for.

Monday, 05 Feb 2006

Speeding Traffic

Well, I’ve just completed my first day of classes here in Santa Clara, CA. Let me first talk a little bit about the day before: I was lonely. Thinking back, the major trips I’ve taken have always been with other people. That makes sense. As much as I like my time to myself, I’m still a very social person. I’m not the type of person that would just decide to go to Nebraska for the weekend to see what was there. As such, this first trip out, with so many new things to deal with, was very stressful, and I felt really homesick. Everything went okay (the taxi being a stressful thing I was dreading actually went well), and talking to Holli helped me calm down. I ordered pizza, watched Futurama on my MacBook, and things were good.

Then, Monday morning, things were off to a bad start. I’d found a taxi service very near my hotel, and I foolishly thought that this meant I wouldn’t have to wait thirty minutes for a cab. Long story short, I was a half hour late for my first day of class. I will not be using Yellow Cab anymore. John Webster later told me that he’d be glad to pick me up and drop me off from now on. Then, after that, I couldn’t get into the building where the classes were. I tried (very nearly) every door, and they were all locked, so I called Webster, and tiraded about my morning, and I called Holli and tiraded about my morning, and I tried that last half-door, and it worked, and I finally got to class.

Why don’t I have a rental car? You have to be 25. And, also, I would die. I mean, if I didn’t get totally lost, then I would get into an accident. And you KNOW I’m not joking.

Classes were boring, but mostly because I’ve had to figure this all out on my own when CRESH.NET was asked to provide Hyperion documentation. Let me explain. The company I work for, Certus, has a division called CRESH.NET. That’s the division I work for. Basically it’s: Me, Mike, Seth, and sometimes Justin. We offer a software product called Hyperion System 9 which was written by the Hyperion Corporation, which has their headquarters in Silicon Valley: Santa Clara, CA.

So, I was told that I have to go to training. I picked the airline tickets and hotel, and I took off. Now I’m here at a class called Designing Reports and Dashboards. Later in the week, I have a class that is an advanced version of this class. This class has been nice, with good breaks, a decent pace, and an instructor who seems to be quite knowledgeable and enthusiastic (which is hard to do with a product called “Interactive Reporting Studio”). There is also a really nice lunch facility in the building that rivals any $30 (for supper) plate place in Sioux Falls, but has a price tag of $6 (for lunch). Plus, they give us a $5 voucher! Also, Bryce called to tell me his review of the most recent mix CD I burned for him, so that was nice.

The problems would be that there’s no wireless connectivity, so we’re all dark during the day (which is really getting to some of the class-takers). Also, it’s boring. It doesn’t matter how you try to spice it up, from my perspective, this is boring. I’m learning small things here and there, but nothing eye-opening or documentation-worthy. In fact, the more I see, the more I think, “Let’s never tell our customers about these features.”

After the class, Webster gave me a ride back (which took about ten minutes less than my $19 cab ride that morning). We ventured past the hotel to see what was on this street, and there’s nothing (not shocking). He gave me the advice of calling a cab and just having him take me somewhere. He suggested a really good seafood place, and he said that I could join him and his wife for dinner tonight if I wanted. They were going to a Chinese place, but I’ve opted for my left-over pizza. It’s really good pizza, and I think I’ll take him up on that tomorrow. Either that, or I’ll get a cab to take me to the seafood place.

Back in my hotel, I found my Sprite (and pizza) was frozen because the fridge was set to MAXIMUM cold, but I took them out, and let them thaw. Then I took some neat, dusk-time pictures of the traffic that races past on the 101 that my hotel faces. Now I’m eating, reading blogs, about to watch Futurama, and enjoying the weather IMMENSELY.

Big Photo Update

I just uploaded a lot of pictures and videos.

Rendered Winter

Sunlight

I took some pictures one frosty, winter morning. They are in my Rendered Winter set.

Taking It Easy with Tony

David, Tony

Tony came up to visit us, and we had an awesome rockin’ time. I put the pictures in my Taking It Easy with Tony set.

David and I rock out in Guitar Hero.

Holli and I rock out in Guitar Hero.

Sioux Falls Bridal Show – Jan 06

Ring

Holli and I went down to a bridal show in Sioux Falls where we met her parents to watch the show and look at the booths. I have more pictures in my Sioux Falls Bridal Show – Jan 06 set.

Brings back memories of The Wedding Fiasco.

Dinner with the Brasses

Candles

Molly Brass was going back to Europe, so she invited Holli and David and I down for supper and some hanging out. I have picture of our delicious rib dinner in my Dinner with the Brasses – Jan 06 set.

Go Go Gadget!

Happiness Is A Warm PS2

If you were anywhere near a television or the internet yesterday, you may have heard about Apple, Inc.’s new announcement: the iPhone. I, like countless others, spent part of my morning watching the “live bloggers” feed the world minute-by-minute updates on the situation at Macworld. The irony: no Macs were announced. This, I’ve heard, is because it would most likely be diluted by the talk of the iPhone. It’s definately big news.

But, this post isn’t about my plans to purchase an iPhone. It doesn’t come out until June, and I don’t know if it would make any sense considering it’s on the Cingular network which doesn’t appear to support “South Dakota”. No, this post is about another kind of gadget that you saw above: the PlayStation 2 (or PS2).

I’ve been thinking about getting a gaming console for a while now, and then I talked to Bryce and found out that he and Lindsey had gotten a PS2. ‘But,’ I thought, ‘they don’t have any money!’ It was an insult that they should get a cool toy on their little, combined income, while I sit in the dark ages. I resolved to do something.

I floated the idea by Holli who, at first, seemed loath to act upon it. Then, from somewhere deep in the abyss, she heard the words “Guitar Hero II”, and it was a done deal. Saturday we sprang into action, driving to Sioux Falls to pick up our very own PS2 and related accessories. When all was said and done, we’d spent quite a lot more money than we’d planned.

One notable anecdote from the journey is that we checked many different locations looking for good prices on games, etc, but we were always on the lookout for Guitar Hero II (or GHII), a game that has had quite a lot of popularity lately. (In Guitar Hero, you have a guitar for your game controller, and you have to play notes as they scroll across the screen. You get to play along with actual songs, which makes it even more fun.) Our quest, throughout all of Sioux Falls, fell short. The last place I felt sure would have it, GameSpot on Louise, did not. It was here, disheartened, that we instead purchased Dance Dance Revolution (or DDR) Nova with gamepad. We figured, this could be a reasonable replacement. (In DDR, you have a dance pad and you have to perform steps as they scroll across the screen. It can be quite a workout.) We paid and left.

We had decided on Saturday to wait on buying a memory card. Holli thought that he brother might sell us one, so we could get it cheaper than the $25 price tag you see on new ones. After playing a little bit on Saturday, however, I decided I couldn’t wait. We went to Pamida and bought a memory card, and then we decided to see what games Lewis would have. Lo, and behold! Beneath the stack of PS2 games we found not one, but two, GHII game bundles (which include a guitar)! Lewis, in Madison, had two of what no electronics store in Sioux Falls had. It seemed a miracle, and again, we forked over the money for it.

Here are the games we have, and their capabilities:

Do you guys have a PS2? What games do you have? Do you think you can beat us? Well, you can’t.