Category Archives: Kelly

Vacation Journal

Here is a copy of the journal I kept while I was on vacation last week.  It covers parts of 10 days and over 1300 miles.  While I doubt anybody reads this whole thing, it was an important exercise for me.

There are no pictures, but I will post some pictures from my vacation at some point in the futre.

Friday
17:33 – Put up my hard hat.  Clocked out. Left the Computer Mine.  Vacation officially started.
17:53 – Check mail.  Brandi Carlile tickets have not arrived.
18:45 – “Cleaned” living room for the arrival of the Gorshes.  Sat on Clockwork Couch. Fell asleep.
19:15 – Gorshes arrive.  Order Casey’s Taco and Hot Sausage pizza.
19:16 – Realize my house is not really clean enough for Evie.  I hate it when my Mom is right.
20:00 – While enjoying Casey’s pizza, determine that Evie enjoys Miles Davis. Not such a fan of live Led Zeppelin.
21:00 – Finish the 6/6 Gorshes Photo Project.
21:45 – Evie makes an incredibly loud sound.
23:57 – Bid the Gorshes a fond adieu and sleep the good sleep.

Saturday
8:45 – Wake up in time to watch Game Day. Might be the last time I get to watch Game Day for a few weeks.  This saddens me.
10:58 – Lee Corso picks Wisconsin to beat Ohio State.
11:47 – Mail arrives.  Assorted bills and political advertisements. No Brandi Carlile tickets.
11:48 – Call UNI ticket office to ask: “What the Hades?”  I am told that for some reason they just decided to never mail me the tickets.  But they will be waiting for me at the Will Call Window.  “Thanks UNI Ticket Office”. This statement is a mixture of sarcasm and gratitude.  About 60% sarcasm.  40% gratitude.
12:47 – Clean out Foster Bunny’s cage and let him roam the back porch while I clean the back porch.
14:48 – Clean the fridge.  After the “Great Cleansing” the follow items remain in my fridge.  8 different types of jelly, 5 different types of salsa, 3 different types of barbecue sauce, 3 different types of pickles, 3 different types of mustard, 3 different types of root beers, about 24 cans of pop (7 different varieties),  6 bottles of bottled water ( 2 different varieties), 10 slices of processed American cheese, 1 jar of Miracle Whip, 1 jar of pickled beets that I bought due to a miscommunication with Derrick, 1 tub of butter, 3 sticks of margarine and a bag of baby carrots.
16:35 – Meet Sara in the Computer Mine Parking lot for trip to Cedar Falls for Brandi Carlile concert.
17:45 – Stop in Wellsburg, Iowa to try the award winning tenderloin of the Town House Supper Club. When we can’t find the restaurant we stop at the local Casey’s.  They have scorpions in shadow boxes for sale as “art”.  Kid behind cash register tells me that that the Town House Supper Club is closed for remodeling.  I thought I was only cursed by old timey ice cream parlors. I am not pleased. Sara buys me a Fig Newton to assuage my pain.
18:30 – We arrive on “The Hill”. I had contacted my Cedar Falls “expert” earlier in the week to find out a restaurant to eat at besides Sub City.  The response came back: “There are other restaurants in Cedar Falls?”  But what I heard was “I’ve criticized my parents for not wanting to try new restaurants, but perhaps that was hypocrisy.”  We try Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. This experience is similar to when Jill and I ate at Jade 88 back in February.  We are the only people in the restaurant.  The food is tasty though.  Not to the level of Chinese Homestyle Cooking, but not bad. They have cool fish lamps on their walls. I don’t feel that Sara appreciates them at an appropriate level.
19:20 – We arrive at Gallagher-Bluedorn.  It is not what I’m expecting.  Although the auditorium itself is beautiful, it is “designed” to make it as extremely difficult as possible to find your seats. After picking up tickets at Will Call, we approach Volunteer #1 looking for assistance.  She tells us that we have to go up the elevator.  Volunteer #2 walks us to the elevator.  After getting off the elevator we hand our tickets to Volunteers #3 and #4 that are standing right outside the elevator. They tell us to go to Door 5.  Door 5 is 10 feet away.  We walk the 10 feet and give our tickets to Volunteers #5 and #6 that are standing outside of Door 5. They tell us to go into Door 5. Inside Door 5 Volunteer #7 points out our seats.  There are two of us. There is 1 open seat. We point this out to him. He tells us that they will “make room”.  We get near “our” seats. People have made room.  We sit down.  Sara notes that the height of the wall that prevents you from falling 150 feet to your death is about 2 feet tall.
19:30 – Opening act Pieta Brown takes the stage.  She plays about 5 songs.  She isn’t bad.
20:15 – Brandi Carlile and her band take the stage.  They play a set without the Cedar Falls-Waterloo Symphony.  It is amazing.
20:45 – Volunteer #8 approaches me and asks to see our tickets.  I give them to him.  He tells me that these aren’t our seats and points in kind of a general direction of where we are supposed to be sitting. He is not friendly or jovial.
20:47 – We give our tickets to Volunteer #9 who points out our seats to us.  They aren’t really seats.  They are more like chairs that overlook the two foot wall.  I actually love this because it means legroom!
20:52 – There are only two other people sitting in this “section”, so rather than sitting in our assigned chairs, we sit next to them and strike up a conversation.  Volunteer #9 doesn’t seem pleased about this, but she doesn’t do anything about it. I ask them: besides Sub City, where is a good place to eat in Cedar Falls? She recommends Beck’s or Pablo’s. An exact quote from the lady: “There is more to Cedar Falls than Sub City.” I feel I should text this to my Cedar Falls expert, but I fear she might drive up to Cedar Falls and slap this poor lady.  Decide I will tell her about this swipe at Sub City in an indirect passive aggressive manner.  Hi Shannon! While Sara goes out to the hallway to drink a Diet Pepsi I learn that the male in this couple moved from California for the female in the couple. He is “looking forward” to his first Iowa Winter.  My Aunt Sherrie would think he moved here because he had “no options”.  The less cynical side of me would ask “are there options to love”?
21:00 – Brandi Carlile comes back on stage and kills it in the 2nd set.  I had thought maybe it was foolish for me to go see Brandi Carlile for a 3rd time this year.  But all told, I spent about $100 dollars on 3 shows. I will find out later in the week that there are people willing to spend quite a bit more than 100 smackers to see just 1 show.  So maybe I am cheap.  Brandi plays many of her best songs: “Dreams”, “The Story”, “Oh Dear”, “Closer to You” and “Turpentine” to name just a few. But perhaps the highlights of this show for me were two covers I’ve never heard her play before. I’ve always felt that her voice is reminiscent of Patsy Cline, but I’ve never heard her play a Patsy Cline song.  She played “Crazy” and nailed it!  Near the end of her set she played a cover of Lenard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  With the beauty of her voice and the majesty of the backing symphony orchestra, I’m not ashamed to say that I got goosebumps.
22:00 – After the show, (Brandi included her traditional Johnny Cash cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” in her encore) Sara tells me “I want to be Brandi Carlile.”  She did this with an inflection that only Sara can do that makes you think that it actually might be a possibility.

Sunday
8:50 – I’m surprisingly up for Church, despite the lateness of the previous evening, when Mom arrives to pick me up.
9:40 – Andrea gives an awesome (truly awe inspiring) sermon about superheroes and how the greatest superhero the world has and ever will see is a Christian.  At the end of the sermon Andrea and Phil take off their robes to reveal that they are wearing Batman shirts underneath. I have a sinking suspicion that they didn’t have to go out and buy those shirts special for this sermon.
10:05 – The combined choirs of 4 churches perform a song to conclude our worship service. I’m disappointed to see that my Grandma isn’t in the choir, but excited to see a choir with lots of men in it.  Our church choir is a little light on the men.  Of course that is partially my fault for keeping my angelic voice under wraps.

10:15 – Josh tells me that Wesley’s hair color must have come from the Schwan’s man.  I assure him that I was born with red hair.  Then the red went away.  Then the hair went away. Mom tells him the story about how my Grandma (Paternal) knew I would be born with red hair because I “visited her in a dream” before I was born.  I’ve always doubted the veracity of this tale because I don’t remember visiting anybody before I was born.  However, Josh thinks it is a great story.  I am reminded that I should really make an extra effort to make it to Taize Worship next November.

13:00 – Angie, Jon and Alice arrive for Alice’s 3 month photo shoot.  I don’t really know how to take baby pictures, but Angie has ideas.  I give them a tour of the house that consists mostly of the phrase: “This room is too dirty to go into…” and “someday this will be different”.  Alice photography goes seemingly well.
17:30 – Meet the Howards near a private pond for the Howard family photo shoot.  The light wanes quickly and Jesse limping around on his crutches doesn’t help the speed of the event, but I think good work is accomplished.
19:30 – I show up at the Howards for supper.  Kelly makes a very good Shepherd’s Pie.  We watch the Phillies-Giants game.
21:00 – Willy shows up because he is a social butterfly and needs to be around other people.
21:30 – I realize that I was supposed to go to the Mehtodist Men Steak Fry tonight. Whoops!

Monday
9:00 – I wake up with one goal: to stay in my pajamas as long as is humanly possible.
10:00 – I thaw out hamburger to make Hamburger Helper.  I have friends who look down their long noses of judgment at me because I occasionally eat Hamburger Helper.  I don’t have the ambition to cook anything better on this day.
11:00 – I think about cleaning my living room.
11:03 – I email my weekly picks to Andree, Russell and Baier.  Upset: Baylor over Kansas State Lock: Oklahoma over Missouri.
12:00 – I realize I don’t have any milk to make my Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper.  If I go to the store I would have to put on nonsleeping attire. I go down to my Mom’s to borrow milk. Instead, she makes me homemade chicken noodles.
13:23 – I think about cleaning my living room.
16:30 – I dust some stuff.
16:42 – I put the hamburger away. I’ll make Hamburger Helper later this week.
18:00 – Show up at my Mom’s for supper.
20:15 – I put on real clothes and leave for the bowling alley.
22:47 – The Patio Pros enter the night in first place, but get handled by C&B Drywall 18-6. I personally have a decent night.  Winning 3 out of 4 personal points, but it isn’t enough.

Tuesday
8:30 – Depart for Kalona with Mom.
10:45 – Buy Buttermilk Cookies at the Bakery.  I love these cookies. I refrain from buying any more jelly.  I have 8 jars at home in the fridge.
11:02 – Community Store is closed on Tuesdays.
11:11 – Stringtown Grocery Store is closed on Tuesdays.
11:17 – Jackpot! Cheese factory is open.  I buy two pounds of cheese curds, in case any friends drop by the rest of the week.  I also buy, Smoked Swiss, 2 Year Old Cheddar and Chocolate Cheese. I need to buy some crackers when I get a chance.
12:17 – Mom wants to go by Riverside Casino to see what it looks like. I take her to the Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.  I text a picture to a few people to let them know that this guy doesn’t waste his vacation time.
13:15 – Don’t find the casino, but decide to go to Iowa City to eat at Steak’n’Shake for lunch. This is despite the fact that both Sara and Jesse have tried to shoot down my dreams of eating at a Steak’n’Shake in the past.

13:37 – Turns out I don’t know where the Steak’n’Shake in Iowa City is located even though I KNOW I’ve driven by it many a time. Aimlessly driving around Iowa City.
13:47 – Call Sara for directions. She doesn’t answer.  Call Toby for directions.  He doesn’t answer. Call Jesse for directions.  He answers.  Apparently we drove by it about 5 miles back. Nice!
14:02 – The joyride works to our favor.  2-4 is Shake Happy Hour at Steak’n’Shake.  Steak’n’Shake isn’t anywhere near as bad as Sara and Jesse hyped it to be.  In fact, it was actually on the enjoyable side.  I wouldn’t go out of my way for one again, but it certainly beats the offerings of the Evil Clown Empire, Burger King and Wendy’s. Plus, to my knowledge, none of those places have a Shake Happy Hour. Game, Set, Match. Steak’n’Shake.
15:37 – Arrive at what is left of the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids.  They have a “Speed Hump” sign that is moderately amusing.  We stop in a bakery and buy some stuff.
17:17 – Stop at an abandoned gas station on Highway 30 to photograph it.
18:22 – Stop in Tama to photograph historic Lincoln Highway Bridge.
19:02 – Stop at Country House Family Restaurant in Colo for supper.  I love this restaurant. I have the fried chicken dinner and it is great. Order raisin cream pie to go.
21:30 – Sitting at home. Eat raisin cream pie.  Some cheese curds as well.

Wednesday
8:30 – Watch Prospect Place episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand.
9:15 – Watch Waverly Hills episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand.
10:00 – Watch Stanley Hotel episode of Ghost Adventures on  On Demand. Text Jill.  Find out she has been by the Stanley Hotel on an Orchestra trip. Color me with the colors of jealousy. I think they are green.  I decide to watch The Shining later that night in honor of my Ghost Adventures marathon.
10:45 – Watch Return to Bobby Mackey’s episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand. This is an episode I’ve never seen before, but Jill spoke very highly of it.  By watching this episode I learn that Bobby Mackey’s is in Wilder, Kentucky.  I decide that if I go with Teresa to visit Ernie in Kentucky next year, Bobby Mackey’s is definitely one place we are visiting.  That list now consists of Lambert’s, Beale Street and Bobby Mackey’s.  I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m willing to believe in the possibility of ghosts. That must make me a ghost agnostic.  Episode is as good as Jill advertised. I leave the epidosde confused as to why anybody would turn a slaughterhouse into a music club.

12:00 – Mom and I pick up Vi for lunch.  Since I get to pick the restaurant, I pick Pickles Pub in Kamrar.  I’m not sure that they are open for lunch, but there pizza is so good it is worth the risk. If not, Webster City probably has a restaurant or two that serve edible food.
12:47 – We are in Kamrar. At this point I tell Mom and Vi that I’m not sure that they are open during the day. I had eaten here once with Shannon during the day, but that was a Sunday.
12:53 – They are open, but they don’t serve pizza during the day.
12:57 – Mom asks the waitress if they will serve us pizza.  The waitress says it will be a little wait, but they will turn on the pizza oven.  Big points for Pickles! We order Fried Pickles because Vi has never had Fried Pickles.
14:00 – Pizza was excellent, as always.  We leave a large tip because they turned on the pizza oven and it looks like our waitress has been crying.
14:30 – Stop at Stanhope Meat Locker.  I don’t buy anything, but Mom does.
15:15 – Home cleaning living room.  It is spotless and I can finally get under my entertainment center to hook up the switch that makes it possible for me to sign up for Netflix.
15:20 – I sign up for Netflix.
15:25 – Watch Food, Inc. on Netflix.
18:00 – Eat pastries from Czech Village bakery. They are terrible. I spit some out. I think about giving some to Foster Bunny, but decide not to be cruel.
20:00 – Pop some popcorn and open up some ice cold Pepsi Cola.  It is time for The Shining on Blu-Ray!
22:30 – I love Stanley Kubrick!

Thursday
7:30 – I’m up. I rearrange my bedroom.  I theorize that this new arrangement will help me keep my bedroom cleaner.  I have lots of theories on cleaning. However, I don’t actually do much cleaning. Cleaning is more of a theoretical activity for me.
11:30 – I’m cleaning my office. The goal is to clean out the Hat Closet and make it a second Frame Closet.  I also want to be able to see the floor again.
11:47 – I get an email from Russell that he is “vetoing” my upset pick of Baylor over Kansas State because he doesn’t “feel” that it is an upset.
11:48 – I point out that Kansas State is a 6.5 point favorite and ranked.  Baylor is not ranked.
13:30 – Russell emails that it technically might be an upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Baylor won.
13:33 – Of course, I’m wouldn’t be surprised. That is why I made the pick.  I change my upset pick to Texas over Iowa State.
14:22 – Russell refers to the belief that Iowa State could beat Texas as a “fantasy”.  I don’t respond. I shut off my computer. I believe I won’t touch a computer again until Monday.
3:30 – I can see the floor again.  I am a cleaning god.
16:37 – Teresa calls me to tell me she is in my driveway. I tell her that she might as well come inside. We aren’t leaving until my show is over, even though the show is on Netflix and I can watch it at any time.
16:56 – We leave for Trostel’s Dish.
17:30 – I get a text from Vest at the Computer Mine. He has a question about the Microsoft eOpen website. It is good to be needed.
17:47 – We arrive at Trostel’s Dish.  I can smell Yuppie all over this place, but despite being under the weather, I give it a shot.
17:48 – This is a sharing restaurant. I wasn’t prepared for that.
17:57 – Teresa orders Arancini and a Taco Pizza. I order Beef & Shrooms and Pomme Frites.
18:30 – The Pomme Frites were kind of average, but the Arancini is incredible.  The Beef & Shrooms and Taco Pizza are also above average, but the Arancini really steals the show. If I were to come back I would just order 4 orders of it and call it a night.
18:31 – Teresa asks me if I would come back. I tell her I would, but since it is a sharing restaurant I would come with a larger group of people (like when I went to Chino Latino back in April). Teresa is somewhat offended by this statement, but I tell her that I would let her come along.
20:02 – I’m standing in Sara’s garage.  She has offered to give me a mirror that is roughly the size of a twin bed.  I’m hoping that Teresa’s Murano is the perfect vessel to convey my new prize home. I have been eying the Gorshe Forrester behind their back for about a month now, but I’m hoping I won’t need it any longer.  Teresa says she doesn’t know if she can help lift the mirror because of her bad neck. I give her a pep talk and she’s willing to give it the old college try.
20:06 – By the slimmest of margins the mirror fits in the Murano!  Oh bliss! Heaven and bliss!
20:22 – Standing in the Beaverdale Walgreen’s. I am out of acetaminophen. They are having a sale on it. Buy 1 get 1 Free.  They are completely sold out of all sizes except for the Super Jumbo bottle. I now have enough acetaminophen to ease the aches and pains of a small village.
21:03 – At the Casey’s in Madrid.  They are selling scorpions in shadow boxes as art. Did I miss something?
21:30 – Leave giant mirror in my garage because Teresa can’t carry it to basement due to bad neck. Start thinking about strong friends that will be able to help me move the mirror to the basement.

Friday
10:45 – Stop at the Computer Mine to answer a Microsoft Eopen website question.  This seems to be my expertise at work.  Some would call it job security.  I call it reason #345 why I hate Microsoft.
11:00 – On the Interstate.
12:22 – Drivers from Wisconsin are stupid.
1:17 – Drivers from Nebraska are stupid.
2:00 – Wheels down. Eagan, Minnesota. The Promised Land. Nate and I go to lunch.
2:08 – Lunching at Genghis Grill.  There are small differences between Genghis Grill and HuHot.  They are as follows: Steak is marinated, seasonings, eggs, sauce is thicker, sauce is put in a separate bowl and cooks mix rice in for you.
2:25 – Genghis Grill is a winner.
2:32 – Nate and Bethany have canceled cable. There goes Plan A for watching Iowa State-Texas game.
17:00 – Nate has left for work. I’m heading to Minneapolis to see Becca and Gelli’s new apartment.
17:07 – On 77. Becca’s directions say to take 62 East. GPS says 62 West.  Trusting Becca.
17:15 – GPS was right.
17:28 – Arrive at the new apartment.  It is nice.  Get to meet Ponyo who is cute. Becca and Gelli don’t have cable. There goes Plan B for watching Iowa State-Texas game.
18:02 – On the way to a tea house we drive by the Uptown Theater. I still long to see a movie at this theater.  Their midnight movie this weekend is The Lost Boys. I am reminded that The Lost Boys terrified Bethany when she was young. I don’t think I could talk her into going to see it.  Then my thoughts are stopped cold.  I see an advertisement that lists their next several midnight movies. In a couple of weeks they are showing The Shining. If that wasn’t such a terrible weekend for it, I would come up to Minnesota just for that. I’m still miffed about missing A Clockwork Orange at the Uptown a few months back.
18:15 – At a tea house called Tea Garden.  The baristas look like cliché hipsters, but the clientele looks decidedly normal. I wonder if the baristas secretly wish to work at a more hip tea house.
18:32 – Becca tells me that she was willing to pay 600 dollars for a ticket to see Shakira in concert in Chicago. I’m flabbergasted. I’ve seen my favorite band in concert and it cost me 38 bucks. I’d be willing to pay more, but not 562 bucks more.
18:48 – Back at the apartment awaiting Bethany’s arrival.  We are deciding between two locations. Hard Times Café and Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar.  We decide on Mac’s Industrial based on the fact that their menu includes a Fried Plate of Death.
20:37 – I am face to face with the Fried Plate of Death.  It is a good distraction because despite the fact this is a sports bar, all that is on their televisions is stupid hockey. I secretly hate this state.  Saint Cloud State is embarrassing Minnesota. 1 billion chinamen and this American could care less.  Fried Plate of Death is good, but not great.  It pales in comparison to the appetizer combo plate at The Open Flame.  Now I am longing for The Open Flame.
22:28 – Make plan with Becca to go to the Sculpture Garden at 1 PM on Saturday.
23:13 – Watching Weeds with Nate back in Eagan.

Saturday
11:00 – Search in vain for a way to watch Iowa State-Texas game. Ends with me staring at Bethany’s computer watch Gamecast on ESPN.com.
11:04 – Bethany calls from work. Suggests I go over to John’s to watch football. That would be awesome, but I already have plans with Becca to go to the Sculpture Garden.
12:28 – Halftime: Iowa State 14 Texas 3. Really wish I could watch this game.
13:00 – Arrive at Becca and Gelli’s.  I watch Iowa State-Texas game on Gamecast on my phone.
13:14 – Becca and I head for lunch at Hard Times Café.
13:26 – Becca thinks Hard Times Café is in Dinkytown. We end up in a traffic jam. Minnesota must have a football game at 2:30.  Look at all these people headed to the stadium.
13:43 – We drive past Minnesota Stadium.  All these people aren’t driving to the stadium. They are leaving the stadium! There is 5 minutes left in the game and there is maybe 10,000 people left in the stadium. I text Jesse to find out the score of the Minnesota-Penn State game. Minnesota is down by 9.  They are down by 9 and their stadium is empty.
14:11 – We find Hard Times Café. It is in a Somalian neighborhood. That is code for ghetto in Minnesotan.
14:16 – This is a true hipster place.  Vegan and vegetarian food. The baristas AND the clientele scream cliché hipster. Who am I to judge though? They probably look at me and think I look like a cliché badass and it is true, but badass is who I am. I can’t run from it.
14:18 – Hard Times Café has an interesting way to order. You write down your food order on a piece of paper and hand it to the barista. But for the drink, you can actually talk to the barista. I order an Eden Omelet and Organic Grape Juice.
14:22 – Derrick calls me. Iowa State has officially beat Texas for the first time in school history. We discuss how proud we are to be Cyclones.
14:25 – I text Russell to ask him if he believes in fantasies. I still haven’t heard from him. Andree and Jesse both text me to celebrate the victory. I had received texts from Baier earlier in the day, but surprisingly he does not text me after the game.  Perhaps he was still in shock.
14:27 – Our food is up.  It is very good. I try some of Becca’s biscuits and gravy. It is surprisingly good for not having any meat in it.
15:03 – We arrive at The Sculpture Garden.  Although they have moved some sculptures around, I don’t think there are any new sculptures from the time I visited it with Bethany a couple of years back.
15:05 – Lots of wedding parties here getting their pictures taken with a giant cherry. Little weird Minnesotans.
15:27 – The flower garden hear is amazing!
16:47 – At Jamba Juice.  This is my first lifetime visit to a Whole Foods.  I order Banana Berry Smoothie without a boost. I don’t believe in performance enhancers.
17:00 – Hug Becca goodbye.  Going to Bloomington to meet Bethany and John at John’s place to take some pictures.
17:03 – The quickest route between Minneapolis and Bloomington involves 35W South.  The police have closed this road because Obama is in town.  I appreciate the meaningful health care reform. I appreciate Wall Street reform. I appreciate removing combat troops from Iraq. I don’t appreciate this Obama!  It will be a long 8 mile drive down Nicollet, with the sunlight wasting away.
17:22 – Arrive at John’s. Bethany still isn’t ready. Sorry for the angry words Obama.
17:47 – Arrive at Century Park. It is pretty dark, but we take some good pictures.  At least I hope they are good.
20:27 – At The Park Tavern Bowling & Entertainment Center in St. Louis Park.  For years I’ve listened to Bethany praise the green chicken wings served here.  Here with John, Bethany and John’s friend Ryan.  Hostess asks us if we want a table near the karaoke or far from the karaoke.  We ask if they can just “not do karaoke”.  She responds, “I wish.  Believe me. I wish.” Her eyes glaze over as she seems to be remembering a traumatic experience from the past.  Then in an instant she is back with us.  She seats us around a corner and far from the karaoke.
20:33 – Some guys is killing Journey on stage. Not in the Brandi Carlile way, this is literally musical homicide.  Hatred for karaoke is reinforced.
20:47 – The green chicken wings arrive.  They are excellent!  They are also very spicy and very large.  They are least 4 times the size of normal chicken wings.  Also interesting is rather than celery, the “side dish” is cucumber slices.  Tasty, but I think it actually makes the burning sensation on my lips worse.
20:52 – Woman who actually belongs a stage is doing a serviceable job on Janis Joplin. As it turns out, serviceable is as good as it gets on this night.
20:55 – Nate calls and says to order for him in 15 minutes.
21:10 – We order for him.
21:14 – The guy that murdered Journey is now murdering Survivor.  Fantastic!
21:20 – Nate’s wings arrive.
21:40 – Nate arrives.
23:23 – On the way back to John’s I hear my first legendary John-Hardcore-Right-Wing-Rant.  Ryan holds his own as his Yes Man!  Some of my favorite phrases include, “Back in the 70s” and “I heard a scientist say once.”  Okay, my real favorite phrase was when Bethany says, “I’ve asked you to show me documentation of that claim before and you can’t find any!”
23:42 – Back at John’s watching Jim Gaffigan clips on YouTube.

Sunday
00:47 – I hug Bethany goodbye.
1:13 – Nate is already asleep.  I read several website reports of Iowa State’s historic victory over Texas.
8:45 – This is the 4th Sunday of the year that I have missed Church.  I missed Super Bowl Sunday, the Sunday after my Birthday Barbecue and Swell Season Sunday.  Now this Sunday.  Based on the Shorty Peterson Church Credit Theory, I still have perfect attendance.  I have missed 4 services, but I also went on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  I also once stopped in on a Contemporary Service. However, that is partial credit at best.  I should really go to the Taize Worship in November. I know I’ll also go to the bonus Christmas Eve service. If they don’t cancel the midnight service this year, I might hit two services on Christmas Eve. I might end up with better than perfect attendance before the year is over.
10:02 – Nate wakes up.
10:15 – I say goodbye to Nate. No hug. Get in the car to head to Oakdale.
10:45 – I knock on the door to Jill’s apartment.  There is a small amount of time before we have to leave to make it to Hell’s Kitchen.  Our reservation is for 11:30.  Jill is watching the Travel Channel’s all day marathon of Ghost Adventures.
10:52 – I make an effort to be friends with Kitty Baby. The other encounters I’ve had with her have not gone particularly well.  This time she doesn’t hiss or run away from me. This is known as progress.
10:58 – Jill is going to see Maroon 5 in concert on Thursday. I already know this, but you probably don’t.
10:59 – Standing in the parking lot trying to decide who will drive. Jill says, “Don’t you want to ride in the Poor Man’s Porsche?” Truth is that I never miss a chance to ride in the Poor Man’s Porsche.
11:04 – Jill tells me that when she made our reservation, they told her that Hell’s Kitchen has a jazz band playing during brunch.  Considerable improvement over karaoke.  In fact, it is nearly impossible to quantify the breadth of that improvement.
11:06 – Jill asks if “How” is still my favorite song from Maroon 5’s new album.  I tell her it is, but the acoustic versions of “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” and “Misery” along with the cover of Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You” are closing the gap.  She plays for me the iTunes Bonus Track “The Air That I Breathe”. She tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:11 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:16 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:20 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:28 – We arrive at Hell’s Kitchen. The hostess asks us if we want a table near or far away from the jazz band.  We give the exact opposite answer that we gave the hostess from last night.
11:48 – This is a really cool restaurant.  Live jazz band. The servers are wearing pajamas. The art on the wall is cool without being contrived. There is an awesome angel statue on the stage behind the jazz trio.
11:52 – Our food arrives.  We ordered Sweet Potato Fries as an appetizer. Jill ordered Shrimp & Crab Cake with Poached Egg. I order Bison Benedict.
11:57 – I’m not a huge fan of breakfast at a restaurant, but this is phenomenal.  This definitely goes on the list of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at.
12:22 – The jazz trio announce when they will be playing Hell’s Kitchen again.  On the list of their future appearances is a night when they will be playing Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. I wish I could be here for that.
12:28 – While paying the bill we discuss whether or not we could steal the sweet pen our server brought her to sign the check.  We do this in front of the waiter. He tells us to go ahead and steal it. He says he sometimes brings stuff to people for them to steal. We decide not to steal the pen.
13:30 – We are at the Carmike Cinema in Oakdale. The original plan was to go see “Hereafter”. That isn’t actually true. The original plan was to see “Life As We Know It”, but after Jill’s most recent trip home, I showed her the trailer for “Hereafter” and “The Fighter”.  She decided that she would rather see “Hereafter” and we made very soft plans to see “The Fighter” when it comes out. However, we didn’t make it back from Hell’s Kitchen in time, so we are back to the original plan of seeing “Life As We Know It”.
15:30 – It is a fair but predictable movie. Most romantic comedies are predictable, so I don’t hold that against it.  I can deal with predictable as long as it is well done.
16:15 – Hug Jill goodbye. Wish her luck at darts.
18:30 – Stop in Albert Lea for gas and fast food at Burger King.
20:00 – Home. Foster Bunny survived my absence, but I swear he looks lonely. A trick of the eye.
21:00 – Start of first Computer Mine basketball game of the season. 9 players here. This is promising. Played a couple games last year with 5 or less players.  Still haven’t recovered from cold completely and am feeling the aches of being in car for 3.5 hours. I decide to play as little as I can in this game.
21:15 – First extended playing time in this game. I feel like I’m going to vomit. Burger King was a big mistake.
22:00 – We kept it close for most of the game, but lose by a final score of 66-45. Although that sounds bad, this is actually very promising.
22:22 – Ha! Ha! Brett Favre loses to the Packers!

Monday
8:58 – Back at Computer Mine. Vacation officially over.

Memorial Day Weekend

I had a pretty awesome Memorial Day Weekend and saw all of the right people. Plus, my grill got quite the workout.

The weekend started with FNSC at my humble abode. The group core was there, plus Jesse and Dawn. Jesse, Willy and I hung by the fire pit until about 2 in the morning.

On Saturday morning I got up early to go to the bank with Mom and Teresa to sign some legal documents involving a safety deposit box.

After that exercise I hit up Salon 908 where I put up a new 20×30 picture in the salon to replace the one that had been sold. While you are waiting for a haircut at Salon 908 now you can stare admiringly at this picture:



I also got a sheering. Now I look borderline presentable. Even though I declined the eyebrow waxing that was offered.

I went home to clean up the kitchen best that I could. I had a Chef coming over to use it that afternoon and while I know that he looks down on my pathetic assortment of kitchen utensils, I wanted the area to be clean while he made magic.

After the kitchen cleaning, I went to Reiman’s Music to take pictures of a white piano for that week’s RWPE.

Next was a trip down to Beaverdale to pick up Sara. Although the Sara pickup also involved taking out her old air conditioner and putting a new air conditioner in her house. This ended up being a more painful process than I wanted it to be, but despite having to remove a nest from her window sill, the air condition finally found its home in her window.

Then was Todd and Peggy’s wedding. They got married on a golf course in Pleasant Hill. It was an impressive affair that included a free round of miniature golf, a photo booth and fireworks.

After the wedding Sara and I went to a bridge overlooking 235 so that I could work on a Personal Photo Project that will be published on July 9. It was from this experience I learned that another criteria that I should look for in photo assistants is the ability to turn a blind eye if I want to do something that is slightly illegal or dangerous. Sara doesn’t like it when she perceives me to be in “danger”. Of course, I already knew this from Personal Photo Project No. 16.

After dropping Sara back off in Beaverdale and doing some final tweaks on her air conditioner installation I voyaged back to Boone. A trip that takes quite a bit longer now that the Highway 17 bridge over the Des Moines River is closed until August.

I was hoping to make it back to Boone to hit the tail end of Nate’s birthday bash at The South Side, marking my triumphant return to the Boone Bar scene for the first time since 2008. However, I pulled back into Boone at roughly 1:40 and decided that it wasn’t worth it to go for 5 minutes. So instead I returned home to the Clockwork Couch and watched the tele.

Shortly after I got home Nate and Bethany returned home. They were both staying with me for the weekend and we talked briefly before they both crashed.

I got up early on Sunday morning and went to church. After church I grilled out with Nate after he returned from a poor round of golf with his friend Ryan. Earlier in the morning I had inadvertently interrupted Ryan’s vomiting efforts. It must have been quite the party that I missed.

Tim had bought a Nate a birthday cake with Nate’s 3rd or 4th grade picture on it. Most of Nate’s picture remained, except Nate’s face. Apparently Ryan had eaten Nate’s face the night before. After we were done grilling, I had some of Nate’s cake.

Later Nate proclaimed that the chicken wings he had made in my kitchen on the previous day were the best that he had ever made. This was a bold proclamation. Just ask Corey Faust if you doubt the veracity of that statement. Nate is going to make these legendary wings next time I go to Minnesota. Looks like I might have to cash in on that when I go see The Swell Season at the end of July!!

After resting from the grill, Jill came over and picked me up. We hit Jen and Derrick’s for a barbecue. Derrick grilled up bratwurst with pineapple in them. It was decided that these brats tasted slightly breakfasty. Even though Webster doesn’t consider breakfasty to be a word. They were still tasty. Plus any chance to eat burgers made with Derrick’s super secret burger recipe is always a great time.

I got to watch the Gorshe Baby Ultrasound for the third time. I still have no clue about the sex of Baby Gorshe, but I enjoy watching the video nonetheless.

After a lengthy discussion about the greatness of Daniel Tosh, we left while Derrick napped on the loveseat.

The next morning I slept in until 9:30. That is a late morning for me, except on the occasional work day. Nate, Bethany and I grilled out for lunch. By this time, my grill was definitely entering the danger area that cause the fire during the 2009 Road Trip Planning Barbecue, but it made it through another meal without incident.

After the meal Nate and Bethany packed up and I burned Bethany a copy of Strict Joy for their car trip home.

I then grabbed my camera and took a few pictures.





















After taking pictures I went to the cemetery. At the cemetery I ran into Carla. We walked around the cemetery for about an hour. Then I went home and prepared the house for an impromptu family barbecue.

I didn’t clean the grill, but it did manage to make it through yet one more meal without erupting into flames. I should clean that at some point.

After the family went home I rested on the Clockwork Couch and watched Wooden Shoes. A movie made my a fellow computer miner by the name of Scotland Thompson. If you want a review of the movie, too bad, but I will loan my copy out.

I would like to report to interested parties that do not know yet…

Willy did finish his 100 Mile Race this past weekend.

Willy knocked out 100 miles in La Grange, Wisconsin as part of the weekend of Kettle 100 Endurance Runs.

He ran 100 miles in an official time of 28 hours 24 minutes 29 seconds.

I know, pretty insane!

A Small, Intimate Gathering

I had my, what could theoretically become, annual Birthday Barbecue on Saturday.  I would like to thank all of the people that attended and made the evening special:

  • Bardole, Shannon
  • Bennett, Charlotte
  • Cousin, Amy
  • Daniel, Jeffrey
  • Degeneffe, Austin
  • Degeneffe, Melissa
  • Degeneffe, Scott
  • Dill, Colby
  • Dill, Dan
  • Dill, DJ
  • Gorshe, Derrick
  • Gorshe, Jen
  • Henning, Monica
  • Howard, Jesse
  • Howard, Kalista
  • Howard, Kelly
  • Howard, Saydie
  • Howard, Taylan
  • Hugen, Todd
  • Janson, Jay
  • Jauhari, Andree
  • Jenson, Terra
  • Johnstone, Jack
  • Johnstone, Jason
  • Junck, Sara
  • Kahler, Logan
  • Kahler, Russ
  • Kewer, Jeff
  • Krause, Dawn
  • McAlpine, Willy
  • Nitchals, Peggy
  • Parsaei, Nader
  • Perkovich, Becky
  • Roberts, Lori
  • Roberts, Steve
  • Runestad, Anders
  • Stensland, Carla
  • Stensland, Johnathan
  • Wever, Ada
  • Wever, Amanda
  • Wever, Greg
  • Yin, Amy

Next year, I will move the barbecue back to its traditional spot of the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  Feel free to circle the date May 28 on your 2011 calendar that you have yet to purchase. It will perhaps be an even smaller and more intimate gathering.  I might start instituting a survivor type invitation policy similar to the fashion of invites that Jay uses for Symposium.

Special thanks need to be extended to the following people:

Sara for taking the pictures for the invitations.

Sara for providing the s’mores goodies.

Jay for making three desserts: chocolate raspberry cookies, key lime bars and apple crisp.

Steve for providing homemade salsa and chips.

Becky for making a pasta salad.

Scott and Melissa for bringing a banana creme pie.

Shannon for baking a fresh rhubarb pie with rhubarb picked from my personal rhubarb patch.

Johnathan for bringing over cornhole.

Logan and Russ for running the grill.

Mom for baking a cake and creating a watermelon fruit thing.

Derrick for being the fire-starter.

Andree for being the best dressed person at the party.

Shannon for opening the party.

Willy for closing the party.

There isn’t any photographic evidence to support that this party existed. I was too busy to touch a camera and Sara didn’t take any pictures this year. Maybe next year I will add “Party Photographer” to the list of Staff positions for this shindig.

If you wish to be hired for this position (no pay, no benefits, possibly a STAFF t-shirt*) simply send the answer to the following question to bennett@photography139.com:

Why would I make an awesome Party Photographer?

I suppose I should start planning Friendsmas now. It can wait a couple of months.

*That is not a joke. There will be staff t-shirts next year.

Happy Birthday Jesse!

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Jesse Lee (Lex) Howard. Here is but a poor sampling of pictures of the times we have shared in recent years.


After beating that net!


In Clinton, Iowa on The Road Trip – 2006


With the World’s Largest Cheeto


Jesse’s Picture on The Friend Wall. Eating a Bob’s Dog – LeMars, Iowa


Wearing an Old Lady’s Hat


Before Jen and Derrick’s Wedding


With Lowell in Arizona


Hanging Out at Snookies after lobbying Tom Harkin’s staff.


With his Family


Disappointing Steve.


In the Denver airport.


With his Duke Burger


Enjoying the View of the Falls with Jackson, Faust and Jay.


In Mallard, Iowa


Failing to tickle me.

Of course there are many more pictures of Jesse in the Friends Album of the Snapshots Gallery. (Recently downsized)

Or you can click on the link below:

One more time, Happy Birthday Jesse!

Window Project #2

Kelly’s salon recently had their Grand Re-opening after all of their remodeling.

I hadn’t put a picture up in Salon 908 since the remodeling, so I decided to do a window project for the salon.


Salon 908 Window

For a closer look at Window Project #2, you will need to go to Salon 908.

Below is a closer look at the pictures for this project. It should be noted that the pictures below aren’t in the same proportions as they are presented in the window.


Night Flowers 3


4 other pictures were under consideration for Window Project #2, but were rejected for various reasons. The rejected pictures:


Flower Window

Flower Window

I will be starting work on Window Project #3 possibly as early as in a couple of days. But most likely it will wait until the beginning of December. I do need to start giving some consideration to whether or not there will be a Photography 139 2010 calendar in the near future.

Samhain

I was dreadfully unprepared for this year’s Halloween. Including not buying pumpkins and candy until Saturday morning, not running firmware updates on my Blu-Ray player until Saturday night and not doing any decorating at all. Truth is that the lack of decorating was a conscious decision that I plan on repeating for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although I have a feeling that a Christmas tree is going to show up in my house when I am not home.

Although if I do ending up holding a Friendsmas-Thanksmas-Christgiving celebration between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is possible that a small amount of decorating might transpire. But that is a pretty big if at this point in time. Mostly because I still need to convince myself that I won’t blow up the house while frying a turkey.

Despite the lack of preparation, Halloween went just fine.

I ended up with 46 trick-or-treaters. I think I would have been able to breach 60, but Jay turned off the light for about 15 minutes, causing a loss of who knows how many trick-or-treaters.

Despite getting a couple of garbage pumpkins, Jay still made two spectacular jack-o-lanterns.

A few pictures from the night…


Halloween - 2009
Jay cleaning out a pumpkin.

Halloween - 2009
The Davis Family. Holden was awesome in the respect that after every picture, he would come over and want to see it. Good thing I wasn’t using film.

Halloween - 2009
Austin was not a fan of the hood part of his sweet giraffe costume.

Halloween - 2009
Holden was a big fan of my front stoop. If he makes it to my birthday barbecue next year, I anticipate I will find him sitting in that exact spot on multiple occasions.

Halloween - 2009
Austin was happier without the hood.

Halloween - 2009
A Howard paying homage to a CBS television show?!?!? Shocker! Saydie is not wearing a wig. Taylan as Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Halloween - 2009
Jay working on a pumpkin for my mom.

Halloween - 2009
Jay’s 2009 Masterpiece!

I think I will have to schedule my social calendar lightly next October, so I can get into the spirit of things and maybe even visit a pumpkin patch. I didn’t get a chance to do that this year.

Shafted

Friday night was the big Jay home cooked meal extravaganza. Willy choose not to join his brothers for this meal. Even though a week earlier he begged me not to go to the Ames on the Half Shell Appreciation Party because he needed a home cooked meal.

Although I was moved by his pleas, I had already made a commitment to attend the party and I was looking forward to getting the sweet AOTHS calendar that Shannon had designed.

Because I could only make an appearance at FNSC on that Friday Jay and Willy held a weenie roast in Willy’s garage. I stayed at the weenie roast log enough to eat a couple dogs and clean the gutters of Willy’s garage because… well if you know Willy, you know why.

Let us just say that because the gutters were clogged, rainwater was pouring out of the gutter and nearly falling onto the grill.

“What are we going to do about this?” was the question of the night. So I grabbed Willy’s ladder and unclogged his gutter and the weenie roast was saved.

I don’t like to brag, but the word hero was mentioned a couple times.

Jay rescheduled his home cooked meal for the next Friday. Willy decided he “needed” something else more than he needed the home cooked meal. He needed to race.

Well below is a very poor camera phone picture of what Wily missed.



You will have to trust me that it tasted much better than this picture makes it look.

Another highlight of the night was Auxiliary Member Jesse Howard’s presence. Plus Kelly, Kalista, Saydie and Taylan all became full Auxiliary Members. So despite the fact that Willy shafted his brethren, it was a successful evening.