Archive for September, 2009



September 30, 2009

Admittedly, I know nothing about cars. And when I say nothing, I really mean it. I don’t know what to do when I have car troubles. I don’t understand anything when people try to explain things to me. I don’t’ even know enough to ask questions to attempt to hold up a conversation. This is quite distressing to me since cars seem to be one of the topics most males (and I’m sure females too) can discuss. And since I can’t talk sports either, I am really lacking in the masculine small talk arena. But that’s really a completely separate tangent.

I went to get my car fixed this past weekend. There was a recall on something with the brake system, I needed routine maintenance, and the flat tire had to get replaced. It seems like pretty standard stuff. But I was still nervous that they would try to explain things to me and I wouldn’t understand at all. As much as I think it’s easier to just pretend to know what’s going on, if I’m clueless, I’m going to come right out and say it. This is apparently not what most people would suggest when having work done on your car.

However, my experience at Smart Motors was very reassuring. The guy helping me told me that if I’d gotten my oil changed at the normal interval, then I am probably good to go until the next mileage interval and I don’t need the routine maintenance. For replacing the tire, they didn’t have the exact kind of tire I had on my car. So rather than order it and wait, I just told them to use a different tire (having non-matching treads is something I’m totally willing to live with as long as it gets me from point A to point B). And, he explained to me how I could touch up my paint myself (I’ve had a nice little dent for a while that I’ve been too lazy to fix), so I don’t’ have any problems once winter comes.



September 28, 2009

I have a lot of trouble passing up concerts for less than $20, so Saturday night I went to see three bands I had never really listened to ever – Trail of the Dead, The Secret Machines, and Invade Rome. I was purely going on the advice of my friend who likes both Trail of the Dead and The Secret Machines. And I trust his taste in music. When we got to the venue, the stage was packed with equipment from all three of the bands. Given that Trail of the Dead has 6 people and The Secret Machines set up a small wall of amps, it was cramped. However, having all the equipment set up already made transitions very quick. Plus, the show started right on time; gotta love punctuality.

Invade Rome started things off. They’re from Milwaukee (yay, hometown!). Craziest thing – I didn’t recognize the name of the band, but as soon as they got on stage, my friend recognized them as Freshwater Collins. They did a nice job. I wish they had more space on stage, but they worked with what they had. I think my favorite part is just how happy the drummer looked, just grinning away the whole set. I love that.

The Secret Machines came on second. First, I think they blew everyone away with just how loud they were (that wall of amps they had really did it). Second, they were easily my favorites out of the three that night. Loved the music, loved the stage presence, loved the lighting, loved the continuous-ness of the music with very little talking. I personally always like watching the drummer the most, but the guitarist really knew how to work the stage. I definitely want to see them live again.

And then, Trail of the Dead. It is clear these guys have experience playing live. I don’t know any of their music, but it was just fun to watch. And you know they did a good job when the band looks like they stepped out of a shower when they’re done. But, beyond just the number of people in the band, there were a few interesting things to me. First, they have two drum sets, which both got played a significant amount. Second, they have a guy tune guitars while they play, and then they just switch theirs out quickly between songs. Also, if the Secret Machines hadn’t played first, these guys definitely would have made my ears ring.

Strangely, I was in the front row for the whole show and the crowd was unbelievably tame. No pushing, not really even any jumping. While this obviously worked out better for me, it seemed a little lacking. Maybe it lacked the fact I wasn’t getting crushed. But I guess I associate the jumping and pushing with the excitement of the crowd. Not that the audience wasn’t enthusiastic, they just weren’t trying to crawl on top of each other. Can’t decide which I prefer now.



September 26, 2009

There’s a first for everything. And while there are many things I might never experience, car trouble is apparently not one of them. Unfortunately, car problems stress me out more than most things. The stress really just makes the whole situation worse, so car trouble for me turns into car disaster. This may be because I never owned a car before last summer and that I know nothing about cars in general. But in the last year, I’ve had to get my car fixed from being in an accident, learned how to check my tire pressure and put air in them, and taken care of getting my oil changed as necessary. I still fully intend on learning how to change my oil myself at some point, but it can wait.

The other night, I had my first flat tire. It was completely my fault, which annoys me like crazy. But more than that, I had no idea what I was going to do. I have never changed a tire in my life. And if anything can trigger me to want to cry, it’s not knowing what to do. Sometimes I think the only reason I don’t cry all the time is because it would ruin my image (ps. this is totally the topic of a future blog post). So, back to my flat tire – I called just about everyone I know to see who could come help me.

I would have been happy with really anyone helping me. Given that I had difficulty just getting the jack out of the trunk, anybody would probably be better at this kind of thing than I am. But I was lucky enough to find a friend who’s actually changed a tire and has some experience with cars. Good thing. It took us forever to actually get the tire off. I have now come to the conclusion that I understand the steps to changing a tire, but I would never be able to complete the task by myself. Perhaps I’ve just had bad luck when watching people change tires, but I consider this a failure of my life.



September 23, 2009

Every once in a while I have a moment when I’m overcome with a fear that somehow I’m not going to be happy. This is one of my greatest fears – after being fat, poor or ugly. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of making the wrong choices, but that I’m terrified I won’t know until much later. I’m afraid of having regret, of not living up to my potential, of not really wanting what I think I want. God, it sounds like I’m already having a mid-life crisis. I normally don’t worry about making the wrong decisions. At least so far, I’m very happy and regret very few things in my past. But I read this blog the other day – summed up in the following quote.

One of the hardest things to look at in this life is the lives we didn’t lead, the path not taken, potential left unfulfilled. In stories, those who look back — Lot’s wife, Orpheus and Eurydice — are lost. Looking to the side instead, to gauge how our companions are faring, is a way of glancing at a safer reflection of what we cannot directly bear, like Perseus seeing the Gorgon safely mirrored in his shield.

It got me thinking. Clearly, less thinking is a better choice for me, but what can you do? The author compared his single life with that of his married (with children) friends. And all I could think was that I’m going to be on the “married (with children)” side of things when I’m that age. Am I going to look at my unmarried or childless friends with envy? Will that envy be something more than just a passing feeling?

Every time I see children and their parents, part of me wants my own. But then I wouldn’t be able to take weekend trips. I wouldn’t be able to randomly go out after a long day at work. I wouldn’t be responsible for just me. The more I think about it, the more I don’t really want it. But, perhaps it’s something that will come with time. I mean, I’ve fully accepted that I want to get married. No worries, nothing. And years ago, I would not have said I was in the same position. So maybe becoming a parent will be similar. When it’s time to happen, it’ll all seem ok.

Look at that – crisis averted.



September 22, 2009

After I bought my bike earlier this year, I learned that I was not a very confident bicyclist. After my first attempt, when I got less than 2 miles before turning back, it was very clear biking alone on streets was not the way to start. But after using Madison’s bike trails with a friend for a few months, I’ve gotten much more comfortable. At least, I was having no problems going out for a ride on my own.

And then, this past week, I had a little spill. I don’t even know how it happened. One minute I’m riding; the next minute I’m falling. In general, I’m pretty good at not getting hurt. Even as a kid, I didn’t run around with scraped knees and elbows. So I believe my lack of experience with taking a spill leads me to be a bit more shaken up when it happens. Anyways, I ended up with two nicely scraped up knees, a tiny scrape on the shoulder, a little bump on the chin, and about 3 miles to ride home.

Now really, I’m a bit of a wimp and have no problem admitting it. Sitting on the pavement bleeding, in my mind, is a good reason to cry. Except, there was no one on the trail that afternoon, so the tears would be purely for me only. And I probably looked on the terrible side of things already; tears weren’t going to help. The only thing to do was make my way over to the water fountain (that was luckily nearby!) and try to clean myself up. Without band-aids, and having to ride home, there really wasn’t a whole lot I could do. But biking with injured knees is not fun.



September 20, 2009

As it should be pretty obvious, I have changed the theme for my blog. And with the theme change, I had to make some slight modifications to the header. Honestly, I’m unhappy about the fact that I had to overhaul the design. I like things to stay consistent. Major changes are disconcerting and confusing (as we all learned from Tropicana’s little redesign). I also think it gives the impression of not being able to make up your mind.

Anyways, why did I change my theme if I don’t like change? And why make the change when my new theme looks very similar? See, I manage this blog through WordPress, so I’ve rarely gone to my own page. Bad idea. I overlooked the following little piece at the bottom of the theme.

previous blog theme

What in the world is this trying to tell me? I even had to click the links to figure out what was going on (“newer” and “Previous Page” go to the same place – the previous page – while “previous” and “Next Page” go to the next page). Totally unnecessary and confusing as hell. I was not about to let this stay on my blog. Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me make tiny edits to the CSS (at least, not without paying). So I was stuck, or I had to find a new theme. Guess which I chose?

Now, I was so confused by these links, the boyfriend actually had to explain it to me. He laid out how because blogs deal with time, page-wise, older entries are to the metaphorical right, while the present is to the left. So if you follow the chronological logic, “previous” would point right, while “next” would point left. However, if you follow normal web page logic, “previous” would be left to refer to what you’ve seen, and “next” would point right, signaling new pages. Tricky, but not good enough for me to keep the links.

What do y’all think of the new design?



September 19, 2009

When too many things happen, it’s hard for me to backtrack and write everything down. To catch up without losing anything, making a list is always the best option. So here we go – the week with the boyfriend (excluding the things I’ve written about earlier – Matt and Kim and the Ironman). And pictures will be coming eventually, whenever the boyfriend gets them up somewhere online.

Dumplings: Second attempt without the family. We couldn’t find a suitable rolling pin, so we improvised and used a soda can and a beer bottle. They were not good substitutes; I do not recommend it. However, we made over a hundred, which means I have lots of leftovers. And they turned out delicious.

Devil’s Lake: Haven’t been there in years, and it’s surprisingly close. I must make more trips out there. The day was amazing – sunny, high 70’s, holiday. We went on a hike, had a mini picnic, took lots of pictures.

Henry Vilas Zoo: First time at Madison’s zoo. We saw monkeys, lions, tiger, giraffe, flamingos, sea otters, seals, peacock, ostrich, and buffalo. Even better, the animals were all pretty active, which always makes things more exciting. Plus, it’s free! You can’t beat that with how expensive zoos, aquariums, and museums are these days.

Capitol building: First time inside. Gorgeous. No tour. No visit to the observation deck. Still fun.

Oddly, the boyfriend had two flights cancelled (one on the way here, one on the way back). But they rebooked him on flights that ended up being better than the original ones. He got in earlier and left later. However, I am now skeptical of American Airlines. If anything, they didn’t even give much notice that the flights were cancelled. Not a good impression.