Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mowers, Trimmers, Water Meters...Don't Worry, It All Works Out

So, I did something pretty dumb yesterday. I was mowing the lawn, and, in a fit of total zoned-outedness, I ran over a water meter in front of the house. It is made of metal. Hard metal. The mower blade hit the water meter. The mower blade goes really fast. Have you ever seen one spinning? Well, me neither, but I judge by the speed at which pieces of twig and such come shooting out of the discharge that that blade is spinning pretty quickly. Like, I bet you can't even see it if you tried to look. (NOTE: DO NOT TRY TO LOOK--only bad things can result.)
Anyway, fast moving blade made of metal vs. hard metal water meter, buried in the ground and linked into a city's worth of pipes large and small =water meter wins. My lawn mower's blade made a heinous noise and immediately stopped spinning at all. I had bent the blade on one side into almost a ninety degree angle.

Not a problem, since I went to the hardware store this morning and bought a replacement blade (and an air filter and some oil and a spark plug--I figured, you know, while I was taking the thing apart, I might as well tune it up). But I learned some things--as always, the hard way. First, always put WD-40 on rusted bolts first. It saves a lot of trouble pushing and pulling on a wrench, determining that the bolt is rusted in, and you need to apply WD-40 (which helps to remove the bolt like magic if you let it sit long enough). Second (and most important), do not tilt the lawn mower to either side. Tilt it back, leaving the spark plug (which you did disconnect or remove right?) facing up. Otherwise, oil and/or gas leaks out and runs all over everything. Luckily, I put a drop cloth on the garage floor, saving me a great deal of cleaning up and being mad at myself for getting oil all over the garage floor. However, the oil that gets everywhere, gets everywhere, and when you are finished putting on a new blade and putting in a new spark plug and installing a new air filter and putting in fresh oil, the mower shudders to a start, runs rough for a while, belches blue smoke all over the place, and vomits a streak of old oil out of the muffler. It's painful to watch, but, the mower gets over it.

I may already need a new air filter.

I also figured out what is wrong with the trimmer, which I haven't used all year. The fuel lines are all rotten and busted. I ordered some parts (nobody has them in stock), so, I hope to get that up and running before the end of the season.

I have just been on a small gas engine streak today. I smell like one, too. Don't light a match near me today!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Odds and Ends

Just some wire reports on various aspects of life.

Well, I finally got my Nebraska Provisional Teaching Certificate last week. That's one less thing to worry about for the time being. Of course, now I have to find out how to fulfill the Human Relations Training requirement, so I can get a Permanent Certificate. This one will last me two years.

I also found out today that I no longer have access to my CPS email account. I have officially been expunged from the roll of teachers with electronic privileges. But I better get a check on Wednesday!

My parents finally rolled into their casa at about 10:15 Eastern time last night. That makes for a long day of traveling. The Monkey and I empathize.

Round two of the Parental Visit Extravanganza 2007 begins on Friday, August 10. That will make it hard to get out to see Centro-matic that Saturday, but I am going to try.

It was an accident. Two semis sent each other squealing sideways across both sides of the interstate, shutting down east- and west-bound lanes until nearly 3 pm Sunday.

Shark Week began last night. I'm sure you recall my criticism of it last year. My comments still stand, but, I will watch. I love it. I won't begin to discuss my horror and disappointment at the state of the fiasco in cycling that this year's Tour de France has revealed. It's a debacle.

Cal and Tony inducted into the Hall of Fame together. I should've been there!

End transmission.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

You Can't Outrun Homer, Man

The parents'visit was short, folks. They got here on Friday morning, and they left on Sunday morning. Really, not very long to do too much, but it was nice to see them and spend some time with them.

Their flight arrived on time in Omaha on Friday. We made our way back to Lincoln, doing a few drive-bys on our way ("On your left, Memorial Stadium, the location of the third largest semi-connected collection of humanity in Nebraska on football Saturdays. On your right, the State Capitol, its majestic tower topped with the metaphorical statue 'The Sower.' Please keep your hands inside the vehicle, Dad.").

We spent some time catching up at the house (after a quick tour and general initial house inspection--I think we passed), before heading out for lunch and some pie. This meal set the tone for the weekend, as I consumed a pretty big breakfast platter (chicken fried steak with eggs and hash browns) followed by a large piece of French silk pie. It was pretty freaking good, but I was Thanksgiving Day-full after that. We did some more drive-bys and talked about what we could do during the visit. We wound up coming back to the house and talking some more.

My mom and dad were pretty spent, so they relaxed a bit--maybe even napped. We were going to see a movie, but we couldn't decide what to see. I thought the choice was totally obvious, since The Simpsons opened on Friday, but my mom was not really into that. We had a nice dinner (didn't we just eat?) and went down to the Haymarket for some ice cream and to capture some of that downtown Friday night feel.

We had to make a quick exit from the Haymarket, after my dad saw a young child standing in a window in the fourth floor of one of the buildings. He said it "made him nervous." I figured the glass would keep the kid from taking a dive, but you have to be willing to adjust your attitude to accommodate your guests. Plus, it was getting a bit late.

Saturday dawned overcast and muggy. We breakfasted again and then (after my mom printed off boarding passes for the next day's flight) we headed down to Pioneers Park to see some bison and golfers. We also took a short nature walk (which actually took quite some time, since my dad is about to have a hip replaced, and he ain't walking so fast, even with the cane--but he didn't say no to the walk). Everyone seemed to enjoy that. I know I did. We then went back home, having walked our way right out of a visit to the Mueller Planetarium (last Saturday show 3pm (it is now 3:30), and, after a bit of a respite, proceeded to dinner.

Again, dinner was great and big--no ice cream today, thank you. We were going to stop by the Hyde Observatory, here (a community-built, -staffed, and -supported observatory, mind you), but the clouds were not parting. So, we went home and watched Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher in The Guardian--just so you know, I am predicting that The Simpsons will be much better.

This morning, however (bear with me, I know this is getting long), the adventure began in earnest. After stopping at Lamar's for coffee and donuts (the Simpsons theme continues?), we headed east to Omaha, so the 'rents could catch a 12:15 flight. We were eastbound proper by 9:40. My parents had only carry on luggage. What could go wrong?

Well, about thirty miles outside of Omaha, we ran into a massive back up--really, an honest-to-goodness, miles and miles, East-Coast-style back up. Don't know if it was an accident or construction (I think it was construction), but after forty-five minutes on I-80, going five miles per at best, we were all diverted off the interstate, onto a state highway. Onward we sped, time beginning to get precious. Eleven AM came and went, as we snaked south and east behind a parade of semis and cars. About seven miles into our back road odyssey, traffic again came to a halt (just outside of South Bend, NE). More time was wasted as traffic (and a bunch of it) slowly moved through a stop sign, where the road we were on ended at a T with another state highway.

We made the left,but now it was 11:30. I was beginning to despair. My mother was beginning to have a panic attack, Monkey and my dad tried to keep her calm. We sped north, back toward the interstate, eventually passing through the town of, you guessed it, Springfield, NE (which vied for the premier of The Simpsons, but they were hindered by their lack of an actually movie theater).

Time ticked away, as we jumped back on the interstate at about 11:40. I didn't think we could make it, but we got to the airport, after some pretty fast driving by me, I must say (which I really don't like to do much, my past run ins with Columbia's and Lake Ozark's finest notwithstanding), at 12:05 PM. My parents sprung from the car, rushed/hobbled into the terminal, and, according to a phone call we received as we waited at a nearby gas station, made it through security and onto their 12:15 flight!

At 4:00 they called us to tell us the weather in Baltimore was delaying their connection. They were stranded in Chicago. Duh'Oh!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Time, Math, Hybrids, and Other Related Material

The approach to American Literature here is going to be different than my old approach. One reason for that is that, with the four-class block schedule, each class is eighteen weeks. Where, in the past, English 11 (American Lit) was a year-long class, meeting five days a week for fifty minutes a day, at my new school, American Lit is an elective that meets five days a week for ninety minutes a day. If we may venture into the realms of math, that means that whereas my class used to meet for 250 minutes/week, my new class meets for 450 min/week. Sounds great, right? However, over the course of eighteen weeks, my new class will meet for (pausing to enter some #s into the calculator) 8100 minutes. My old class would meet for 9000 over the thirty-six week school year. That's the equivalent of 18 fewer class meetings. So, that's like three weeks worth of classes that I won't be teaching.

Not to mention the fact that, with ninety-minute classes over a shorter period of time, I can't expect students to do an equitable amount of reading outside of class, which means: more reading time in class. So, that cuts into the time I have to cover material.

As well, my new school is trying to change its approach to American Literature, focusing on its "hybridity." What is "hybridity," you ask? Well, it appears that in this approach American literature (which is referred to, rightly, as US literature, since "America" includes Canada, all the Central and South American countries, the Caribbean, and other territories) is looked upon as a collection of texts that synthesize (or hybridize) multiple cultures. In the creation of US literature, these texts are in dialogue about several things (in this approach, the focus seems mostly historical/socio-cultural--the texts converse upon power issues and other related social issues: justice, fairness, dominance, etc.). Of course, they also converse about textual and literary issues, but that idea seems less important in the scope of this approach.

So, the development of the course will not be chronological, which is what I am used to. It will include writers of many backgrounds, which is the same as I have always done, but the presentation of the texts will hinge on a thematic frame work (i.e., community, identity, etc.), rather than a timeline that might demonstrate the development of US literature over time.

This is a shift in thought and focus (sort of), for me. I am not discounting this hybridity approach at this point. I do feel some resistance to it, but that is most likely a natural response to being asked to change my approach. The issue I am struggling with is the incorporation of the text study aspects of the course as an integral part of the thematic focus. I will figure it out, I'm sure, but that is the cross-beam that I can't quite hew out for this plan, yet. I am coming from a past experience in which my course and my approach was socio-historical--that shouldn't be too much of a shift, but this approach seems to change the focus of that approach. I just haven't put my finger on how, just yet.

On one level, the differences are not very great. My old approach had a great deal to do with the texts as artifacts of the time and place they were from, and multiple perspectives (from writers of various backgrounds) helped illuminate the perspectives and power structures of the US culture of the time. This new approach, however, has much to do with the dialogue between texts and eliminating any sense of a "dominant culture." That may not be wholly true, since it acknowledges that there are power structures (and attempts to investigate and reconfigure them), but it gives more voice, perhaps to what have been historically (though less and less as time moves forward) considered "fringe" texts. A decidedly anti-canon approach that tries to eliminate the sense that multicultural literature is a genre unto itself, or is just a discrete section of the greater (Eurocentric) topic of US literature. This is all good. But there is still a sense of somehow throwing out the baby with the bath water in my mind. Ultimately, in my classroom, I guess I do have some control of how the approach is, well, approached.

It's funny. I feel resistant to it, but I also feel excited to be doing something different, and eager to make it work. I'm not so cynical yet that I will dismiss all change as pointless. I will try it first...then I will dismiss it as pointless.

It is T-minus 22 hours until the arrival of our boys parental units. I may be keeping you abreast. I may just wait until the smoke clears and give you a recap. Keep checking the Bat Channel....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

North to Ceresco!

After two straight days of working on school-related things, I decided to take a morning off and do one of the things I love to do. I tossed the binocs and a map and guide book in the Penguin, along with a power bar and some Gatorade, and off I went to Jack Sinn Wildlife Management Area, twelve miles north of Lincoln and just south of the town of Ceresco. I missed the turn off for the WMA, since the sign is buried in saltgrass, so I got the opportunity to whip through Ceresco. It consists of a Mobil station, Jack's Automotive Shop, and a grain silo (how cliche).

I spun the Penguin around and made the turn on Little Salt Road (The guide book told me to turn east on "the gravel road one mile south of Ceresco." First, how hard would it be to change "the gravel road" to something more definitive, like Little Salt Road? There was a big ass road sign, so it's not like no one would know Little Salt Road when they got there. Second, how would one know they were one mile south of Ceresco if they were headed NORTH?! Let's just say that the guide book MUST be accompanied by a Delorme Atlas at all times.).

Anyway, the trip was okay, even if the gate on the "parking lot" (a patch of grass with a fence around it) was locked. The not-often traveled gravel roads afforded plenty of time for me to sit and scope the land. Plus, I found a different parking lot along the same road--but WEST of the highway--stupid guide book. It was nice to get out and see some more of this flat, flat country. And, I got to see a few new birds for Nebraska, and one new bird for the year--a yellow-billed cuckoo.

In other news, our CD player just broke. I'm thinking a docking station to replace it. We'll see what Monkey has to say about that. At any rate, What I am listening to right now is KZUM.

Monday, July 23, 2007

How'd It Go Today?

Not bad. How about your day? How did it go? I feel like all I ever do is talk about myself and I never seem to inquire about how you are. What sort of a relationship is that? So, today, I am inquiring.

Okay, now that I have asked you about your day, and given you adequate time to respond, let me tell you that my day went well. It was a little overwhelming, what with all the keys and textbooks and curriculum-y kinds of things (but not too many), not to mention the people that I met and the confirmation that I will be teaching English 10. Aaaagh! (Ah, who knows, it might be fine. I'll just need to keep some deodorant and air freshener on hand (thanks for the tip Aunt James)).

I spent a little but of time today going over the syllabus for American Lit. There will be only two of us teaching it, so we will probably teach as much in common as our students allow. I also got a good deal of info on English 10. It's not a canned curriculum, but there are a few things that one MUST do. Honestly, since I am relatively new to English 10, the more they tell me I have to do, the better--the first year. After I get my sea legs--watch out!

After a little work at home on other school-related things (mostly reading and developing BIG QUESTIONS), I fiddled around with the the blog, here. Added a new music link to daytrotter.com (a totally cool indy site). I also changed the "New Favorite Band Link" to "What I am Listening to (Right Now!)," so that you can purchase and listen to everything I have purchased or bummed/burned off of friends. Not that you have to, of course. I mean, I get no revenue from it whatsoever, but, you know, my earlier interest in your well-being notwithstanding, it's still really all about me.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Let's Get This Show on the Road (and) How Do I Not Know This Stuff?

Tomorrow, I will put summer behind me and begin preparing for the school year in earnest, as I meet my department head at school and begin the acclimation process a few weeks early. In some ways, I feel like I am right on schedule (the normal part of my personality). In other ways, I feel like I am already weeks behind (the unreasonable workaholic part of my personality). At any rate, I am looking forward to it. Of course, I am also bummed that summer is drawing to a close. Ah, the multiple dichotomies of the modern Central Standard existence.

Did anyone catch White Rabbits on Letterman on Thursday?

On a completely different note, let me introduce you to this . It is the blog of Jonathan Hodgman, the Daily Show correspondent and the PC character on those iMac commercials. He wrote a book last year (or two years ago), called The Areas of My Expertise, a completely made up book of facts. I have only read some of the book, but that which I have read is wonderful. His blog is quite as interesting. I just got hip to the blog and who Hodgman actually was. I mean, I knew him from the Daily Show and the commercials, and I knew Jonathan Hodgman was the author of a book, but I had little idea (actually: no idea) that they were the same person. Go fig.

My ankles are really itchy today. Chiggers?

Friday, July 20, 2007

"That Rug Really Tied The Room Together"

It is interesting that on the very day that we found the final chair that "tied the room together," James would comment about the search for said chair. We found it at a tag sale that we happened upon this morning, where I also saw, but did not purchase, a metal "Pigs in Space" lunchbox. How cool is that?

Anyway, I did take some pictures of the place with some of the furniture (and some of the Aunt James flair), but, I found it hard to find good angles of many of the rooms. I guess you just have to come and see it in person.

I am going to keep this short, since Monkey and I are slated to have dinner with the neighbors here in about fifteen minutes (they invited us--isn't that nice?), but the photos are of the view into the sun room from the living room , the living room from the sun room, and the breakfast nook from the kitchen (and I think they will be in that order when I upload them). See ya!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Pop in the Sack

The clever among may have already noticed that things are not as they used to be here at Central Standard. It's time for a change. Plus, Blogger is popping out all these neat little gadgets that one can only use if one has a new-fangled template, so, again, it's time for a change.

Please note the sad demise of the "Dramatis Personae." That may return, but it was in need of an overhaul. The list of characters was growing and I was not adding them on. Shame on me. For now, those of you who need a score card will just have to make your own. Check this out for tips on creating one's own home-made scorecard.

Also note that we've added some decorative elements, as well as a few new and improved links and such.

Now, on to the matter at hand. I was lying in bed last night, tossing and turning, when an idea for a great post struck me; however, just as with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, I was interrupted during the composition of my work. (In the spirit of full disclosure, the following differences between my story and Coleridge's can be noted; to wit: a) I was not actually writing anything...I was more in the pre-pre-writing stage...it was dark, and I was in bed...I had no paper or pen, no laptop, no quill and scroll, no etch-a-sketch, nor even that grayish plastic with the dark wax under it that makes the writing magically disappear when you pull the plastic off of the wax; b) I was not in the throes of an opium hallucination...I was not in the throes of any hallucination, at all...I don't think...I did have a beer with dinner; c) I was not interrupted by a knock at the door, I was interrupted by (cue Metallica riff) the entrance of the sandman. Now that we have that straight....) I can't really recall the gist of the idea I had, except that it had something to do with the fact that Monkey and I are firmly entrenched in a "pop" and "sack" area. Yeah, you all know what I'm talking about.

Well, for those of you who don't: Up here they are surely in the habit of calling any carbonated beverage "pop." And, they offer to put your purchases in a "sack." And, they sure don't say, "Sure don't," as far as I can tell at this early point in my research.

Also, when I am putting my street on, saying things like, "E'rbody better watch out in her, 'cause I sure don't want y'all to get upset when I start Vince Carterin' all up in her," they look at me like they can't understand a word I am saying. They also look at me like they think that there is no possible way I could even begin to "start Vince Carterin' all up in her." And, of course, they would be right. (Again, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have never said anything remotely like what I just typed, for several reasons: a) I am not that talented a ball player that I can talk smack to anyone but eight year olds (short eight year olds); b) that sort of talk is disrespectful to people who talk like that. It's akin to making fun of Asians by pulling your eyes half closed and yelling, "I rike-a flied lice, puh-rease!" Or maybe it's not, I don't know. But I like to make a habit of saying things before I have actually thought them through. That way, I always have something to say...and someone to talk to (or argue with, depending on how you see that particular reality).)

I feel like I am rambling big time, so I am going to cut it short. Jesus, maybe I was in an opium dream last night...maybe it still is last night. What's goin' on up in her?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sure, It's Still the Dissected Till Plains, But, Well, It's Just Different

Feeling a bit Nader, today. Don't really know why. Perhaps it has something to do with my realization that this is a really different place than central MO. I am not talking politically (I knew it was different in that way--not that different, however). I am talking about geography, here, people. You know maps and weather and altitude and Mercator projections and topography and biospheres (okay maybe that's not geography, but, it's connected).

Monkey and I were on a little rise northeast of town, looking down on the plains below, and it was flat, man. I mean, there are some vistas in central MO, don't get me wrong. I mean, there's a stretch along I-70E, after you pass Kingdom City, where it seems like there isn't a hill forever, but this was flatness of biblical proportions. I was imagining it before European settlers came, bringing plows and trees, and I thought, "Shoot, no wonder they farmed the hell out of this place. You could just hook the plow up to the mule and run a furrow clear to tomorrow without an incline to interrupt your rhythm." Of course, I don't know jack about farming, so maybe that is not what they thought, but I do know that most of your early settlers who came this far west didn't speak such great English, so, whatever they said it was probably in German or Norwegian or Russian. But, I digress.

It's just different out here. The wildlife is different: black squirrels, western kingbirds, western meadowlarks, few woodpeckers (compared to MO). I have been on a few scouting missions to various spots that one might bird, but, owing to the hour, the season, the weather, and the geography, I haven't had much luck. I know that this is a hot spot during the spring migration, but I am still trying to feel out the rhythms of the rest of the year.

No, I don't expect to figure that all out in less than a month, but I just sense that it's not going to be the same here in many ways. I'll keep you posted (of course).

As a side note, and on a positive one, as well, Monkey made some kick-ass zucchini bread yesterday from fresh farmer's market zukes. And, my orphan tomato plants have several buds apiece on them--I can almost taste them 'maters, now!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Tag Sales

Monkey and I rose early this morning to hit a tag sale up in Havelock. Not much in the way of furniture (still looking for that one chair and a nightstand-type thang), but I picked up some implements of destruction (hoe, rake, pitchfork) for the low, low price of 4/$1. Shovels were not in abundance. They did have an awful lot of kitchenware and collectibles. I almost bought a really small kitchen grinder for $10., but it was so small, and I was trying not to buy anything we did not really need.

After that we cruised around the neighborhood looking at other cast-off sales, but to no avail. We breakfasted at the Enginehouse Cafe and ducked across the street to the Warehouse Liquidators store (Monkey said it scared her--I don't know why), then hit a few more yard sales. We came up empty.

This week has been pretty low key. I am trying to get the last details handled on my NE certification (the certification office is not being especially helpful, but there's plenty of time). In addition, I think we pretty much got rid of the last large quantities of moving detritus (i.e., boxes, packing paper, etc.). That makes me very happy.

No new concerts have been announced that I know of (unless you want to see the Ditty Bops, but I'm not going with you). My 'rents will be here the last weekend of July. Monkey's will be here two weeks after that. Stay tuned for those exciting updates!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hurricane James

Aunt James whipped into Cornopolis on Friday afternoon. A little chit-chat, and we were off to various crafty-type places to buy the fixings for a good old-fashioned reupholstering. You see, unbeknownst to me, Aunt James wasn't here for just a-visitin'. It was a project she was after.

And a project she got. We roamed the Cornopolis hills and dales looking for proper furnishings and decorative items, as she and Monkey got their noggins together and worked up a proper design aspect for Monkey House Nebraska. Now, we're not talking ropes and tire swings with some plastic jugs to play with and a pail full of dirty water in the corner. Oh, no. We've left decor like that far behind us.

What we did wind up with was some fine thrift store breakfast nook furnishings (c. 1960s), a cool blue chair (it softens the room, I'm told), a reupholstered 1950s-style Montgomery Ward chair, an neat little table and lamp for the sun room, and a mess o' wall hangings (all original Monkey House paraphenalia).

By Sunday, everybody was pretty wiped, but the house looked great. We still need one more chair and some house plants, but the place really looks like a place people live in, rather than a place people are transitioning in (I am so over transitioning--I know, it's not over, yet).

So, a big thank you to Aunt James. She has some skills.

I'll be posting pics right soon.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Independence Day--Cornopolis Style

Our first July 4th here was a low key affair. The morning took us to the end of our block, where we gathered with about fifty or so other neighborhood residents, their children, and their pets for the annual children's parade. The kids and the pets, with selves and wagons and bikes all festooned with red, white, and blue bunting and shiny fringes and other patriotically decorative touches, along with their parents and owners, followed behind a city fire truck, as it rolled slowly around the main boulevard of the neighborhood with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

The parade was followed by general fellowship and the spraying of the fire truck's hose on children and adults, alike (the author excluded, thank you). We met several new neighbors. A fine start to our day was followed by breakfast, which ended in some playfull food arrangements. Yes, we had bacon, blueberries, and raspberries (among other things).

The rest of the day, we did some shopping, said hello to Penny Lou, the neighbors cat who likes to kick it in the soon-to-be-destroyed treehouse, and spent time keeping the dog on an even keel, since he is not fond of loud noises, and everyone in town over the age of two (the author excluded, thank you) being legally required to light firecrackers and bottle rockets and Roman candles (and, according to the paper this morning, some scamps even tried to blow up an outhouse with "artillery shells"--Where in the hell did they get artillery shells, I ask?), there was a constant barrage of loud noises going on.

That was fun enough, of course, but after a tasty meal of salmon and quinoa, we retired to the basement to await the main artillery barrage, as the country club about a block away apparently has their own fireworks display every Independence Day. Monkey and I took turns watching it from the back yard. It was pretty awesome. And loud. But the dog handled himself well--the basement must seem a safe enough refuge for him. He would not go outside at all that night, however, and last night, he was still a bit skittish about it. He was okay during the day.

The big news for today is that we are getting a visitor. Our first long-term (i.e., more than a day) houseguest will be...Aunt James. She said she'd be here this afternoon. Monkeyhouse Nebraska is in full anticipation mode.

Concert Update: Gillian Welch at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, August 15! Please call ahead for reservations.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Results Are In

Thank you to all who voted. An estimated 0.0000000002% of all eligible Internet voters turned out, and, like most good midwestern elections, several of them voted more than once. The tally is as follows: everybody wins!

The suggestions ranged from penises to cornholes, as one would expect here on the internets--nothing but people surfing around looking for pictures of nekked goats. But, as usual, I digress.

I have decided to institute a system of code names, through which you, the reader, can judge my mental state. A sort of "terror alert" for the author's emotional connection to his new home.

When attitudes are generally positive (or, since we don't want to set expectations too high, when they are generally neutral or above), we shall refer to home as "Cornopolis."

When attitudes are less positive, say a medium dull ache just behind the eye, we shall refer to home as "Nader."

When things are just not going well at all, when experiencing nausea and hyperventilating, we shall refer to home as "Insert Incomprehensible Symbol Here" (a revised version of The Town Formerly Known as Lancaster).

When it looks like we won't be able to stand another second in this bastion of Conservativism, where it is now remarkable that less than 40% of the state rates the Chief Nincompoop as "positive," we shall refer to home as "PoP" (which stands for Phallus of the Plains).

To review:

Alert Level / Code Name

Low / Cornopolis

Medium / Nader

Elevated / Insert imcomprehensible symbol here

High / PoP

Of course, I reserve the right to change this whole scheme at any time. Today, by the way, I am feeling kind of Nader.

PS--Anybody looking to make a road trip: Centro-matic plays Nader on August 10. I know they play KC later this month, but, I'm not in KC.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Please, I'm Begging You, Vote

In my last post, a faithful reader criticized my use of the name LincTown to refer to the new city. With that in mind, I have decided to put the AKA of this fine midwest burg to a vote. Please announce your choice (in a semi-non-secret style) in the comments section. The choices are as follows (polls close when I decide to close them):

a) the 402
b) The Town Formerly Known as Lancaster
c) Flatland
d) Purgatorio
e) Cornopolis
f) Other (Please specify: _____________)

Lay it on me people. That means you, too, Boring Election!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Settling In

Well, the trips to Lowe's and Target seem to have slowed down. We have been acknowledging many first lately. Our first home cooked meal in the new house: burgers on the grill, corn, salad. It was very good. So good in fact that our second home-cooked meal, which occurred but three days later (sandwiches do not count), was burgers on teh grill, corn, and salad. We had our first visitors (Monkey's program chair and his wife), we hung our first wall hanging (the tile mirror), we noticed our first chip in the paint (thanks to the furniture deliverers). We met our first male next-door neighbor, back from an archeological dig in Alaska. We read our first home-delivered newspaper in the living room.

I mean to tell you, it has been an exciting time.

The big happening in LincTown this weekend has undoubtedly been the Americruise car show. 10,000 (I think) classic cars at the fairgrounds. Not a few of them cruising the main drags of town. It's pretty neat to see one as you make your way around town. Monkey and I didn't go to the fairgrounds, however. Admission was in the area of $15. That just seems like too much to see a bunch of cars parked on the midway. Even if it is 10,000.

Hey. I identified those three plants that I didn't pull up. Mrs. Program Chair took one look at them and said, "Peony." And so they are. I just won't know what kind until they flower next year.