Thursday, August 28, 2003

Savages! Bashi-Bazouks! Blistering Barnacles! How dare they purchase a domain name one letter off from and then turn it into a porn advertisement... A guy mistypes and it's pop-up city :(

In other news, the first maniple of Romans is complete... and as I've been saying for the past few days... they look good.

Other than that, life for the past day or two has just been work, eat, sleep, listen to music, watch a little TV. I'm not complaining...

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I've really got to finish this bodywash stuff so that I can go back to normal bar soap... that's two days in a row that I put the stuff in my hair instead of on my body...

I never thought I would experience this, but I'm too hot when I wake up now. At school I would always be a decent temperature, at home I would always be to cold, but here... my apartment evidently heats up over night, and there's no way I'm going to pay to have the air conditioner on for eight hours while I'm unconscious. In fact, I'm trying to use the a/c as little as possible to cut down my electricity bill. In the evenings, thanks to the wonder of window coverings, I can generally go about in my underwear *gags from audience* but in the mornings, I have to put on clothes instead of taking them off... thankfully when I step outside it's usually cooler than inside (as long as I leave home early enough in the morning).

I was reminded of Tim this morning while I drank three glasses of milk in lieu of an actual breakfast... I thought of his theories on cow's milk and the downfall of western culture.

I must say, the Romans I'm painting look really really good... I was rather annoyed at them for a while, because I had decided to try a more labor intensive painting technique, but now that they are drawing near to completion... beautiful. Up close they look good, but where the new technique really shines is when you're viewing them from a distance... the added contrast and definition to their armor is really great.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Working with radioactivity should be more exciting than normal molecular biology... but it's not...

I guess pointing the geiger counter at everything you've used is kind of fun... but where are the pools of green glowing ooze? Where are the hazmat suits with respirators and thick soled rubber boots? Where are the mutant aliens rising out to spit foul venom at you as you attempt to navigate a decrepit old abandoned sewer complex...

Oh well... good thing I like normal molecular biology :)

In other news, it was particularly shocking when in one day I saw two seperate persons who looked like (respectively) both of my female roomates from junior year. Evidently both of these women work at the Broadie lab, and admittedly upon further examination they are quite different looking than either Becca or Susan... but... initally... it was quite unnerving.

Speaking of old roomates... last night while I ate dinner I watched the simpsons... it reminded me of dinner at Kemper. Not to get all maudlin, but I would gladly trade my spacious apartment for my small room at kemper if in exchange I got the daily comraderie of five great roomates...

If I've learned one thing about myself thusfar in Nashville it's that I like new things more than I thought I did...
It was an interesting weekend.

I'm much closer to being convinced that I want to build my own furniture. I took a visit to the depot late sunday afternoon, and discovered that some pretty nice wood was actually not that expensive. You also get two free cuts and after that additional cuts are only 25 cents... so I don't even necessarily need a table saw. The only thing I'm uncertain on is that a sign said "no precision cuts"... I'm not quite certain what that means? Does that mean they don't cut at a certain requested distance? or does it mean that they won't cut a beveled curly-Q pattern for you... if they'll cut based on measurement than I'm seriously going to construct my own book shelf. I had my eye caught by a nice piece of composite wood, 2'x4'. Two of those babies would make two 1'x4' pieces for the sides and four 1'x2' for the shelves... All I'd need then would be a piece of 2'x4' backing material (also available from the depot) and then some method of joining it all together... curses... I should have paid more attention to Norm Abrams when he talked about cookies or donuts or whatever those pieces of wood are used to join things together....

In other news an ultimatum has been issued.

Di and I went back to Belmont Church, which was where we went the first sunday I was down here... I definitely got a different vibe off of the place this time than last time. Perhaps it was because the pastor's message was about "passionate" worship, and... well, there was no mention of "offer[ing] your bodies as living sacrifices". I must say, I'm always somewhat suspicious of any group that seems to attempt to encourage a certain viceral response simply because you're singing about a deer being thirsty...

But this whole deal has got me thinking about what my requirements are for finding a church, and... well, I'm not certain where I stand. The more I think about it, the more it seems that inevitably I'm going to have some sort of theological "issue" with almost every church... I mean afterall, what's the likelyhood of me running into a congregation where everyone thinks exactly like I do... what fun would that be even if I found such a place?

We are indeed instructed to refrain from passing judgement about disputable matters. And practically speaking I'm going to have to end up as part of a group where no one thinks exactly like me on every issue. I ought to bear with others in love. I mean, afterall, just because what happens to get preached or believed at a particular location doesn't match up with what I believe, it doesn't mean I can't be a part of that fellowship.

I could go join the local mosque...

Yes, I'm being ridiculous, but... ok, fine, let's establish the ground rule that the group has to believe in Jesus as God's only provided means of salvation for humanity, and that the Bible is God's revealed truth for humanity...

Still, what if the pastor's message seems to me to undermine one or the other of those points, even if not directly? Can I really just sit around quietly while listening to something that I am convinced is wrong? I know that I am rather arrogant when it comes to intellectual matters, but still, it's not as if I pick issues out of the air to disagree with people about... I disagree with people because I have a conviction that certain things are true...

Perhaps this is why we are told that "they will know we are Christians by our love". It's impossible to know exactly what a person or people are thinking, and even if it were, it's not likely that you'll run into anyone whose understanding is exactly the same as yours. So... we have to operate based on that evidence we're able to assess... love for one another.

I think I'm most likely to find a church I'm happy with if I make some friends first and then end up going with them...

/confusing rant

Anyhow, after church Di and I had chinese food for lunch. The food was ok. The company was excellent. After she went home for dinner, I painted some more. I've started on some Republican Roman Hastati and they look go-od. I'm simultaneously working on more Union ACW troops, since I've just finished 26 stands of CSA infantry.

I need to get a phone.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Yesterday I moved into my new apartment.

It has space... lots of space, none of which is occupied with power tools or the detritus of remodeling.

It is clean... fairly clean, with the carpets newly cleaned, the walls newly painted, and the sink in hygenic condition.

It is comfortable... quite comfortable, with two A/C units, blinds that (mostly) work, and a place I can permanently set up my air matresses without blocking my passage to the rest room.

It's better in basically every way than the dump I've been living in for the past two weeks.

I miss the old place.

Well, actually, I missed the old place. When I was moving all of my stuff out yesterday morning before work I was a little bit melancholy at the thought of no longer returning home after a day at work to a door that barely locked itself. I thought longingly of the night sounds that visited my ears through the missing pane of glass in the kitchen window. When I took a shower after moving most of my stuff to the new place, I realized that henceforth I would no longer be able to use this nice new upright shower which I liked, and whose temperment I had learned to know.

Besides, when I moved my things to the luxurious space of the new apartment, I realized how little furniture I have. Living in an apartment where 80% of your living space consists of kitchen, bathroom , closet, or unlivable room filled with piles of junk really allows you to feel content with a simple desk and chair combination. When placed in the context of the huge amount of space I have now, however, my lowly desk and chair combination feels insignifigant... I certainly hope my furniture is not agoraphobic...

Yesterday morning I contented myself with the thought that since I still had the key, I could at least go back and take a shower in the old place this morning.

I didn't go back this morning.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Yesterday night we went out to a ball game... the Nashville Sounds. It was an outing to commemorate Daniel's work over the summer, and his departure back to school for the fall. Unfortunately nobody bothered to tell the team that... it was not an impressive showing. Nashville 2, Omaha 16. No spectactular prizes like the first minor league game of the season either, but it was still fun.

Also signed my lease yesterday.

This morning I was pleased to discover that NES did not actually require a deposit from me to turn the lights on... one of the many benefits of not having credit card debt history. They're going to turn on the juice sometime Thursday, so I should be able to move in Thursday night after work. Woohoo!! Music shall return to my happy lifestyle!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Sunday morning Di and I went to a Presbyterian church... it was... rather suprising. Considering that we had gone to another church last week that was Presbyterian and found it to be very similar in style to EBF for instance, it was quite suprising to walk into "Mainline American Church - circa 1955". Certainly the complex choreographed liturgy was very different than what either of us was used to (thankfully we didn't go to the 8:00 service, as we would have been totally clueless as to what to do for communion). The pastor's message this week was "correct", but just like last week, it was lacking in true inductive approach. What really threw me though was how WASP-y the congregation was... it looked like the cast for "Dallas"... we're going to try someplace different next week...

We had a nice sushi lunch that Di had made.

Sunday evening my parents came into town along with my sister and her b/f. They were of course on their way to Macon to take my sister to school, which evidently starts this wednesday. We ate dinner together at Chile's... meh... it was nice to see them all... hopefully it will help assuage my parents' fears about my well-being down here, having seen where and how I live.

I was most excited though by some items my parents brought down for me. I had Ebay'd some figures before I left, and they brought them down for me. Through some error, one of my boxes of Roman cavalry had one of its sprues swapped for a Gallic cavalry sprue... so now I've discovered (much to my delight) that I actually have the necessary components to build not only a Republican Roman Armati Intro scale army, but actually TWO such armies, as well as a Gallic army! The Republican Roman armies will have all their bonus options except for the EL, while the Gallic army will have its obligatory HC element, but none of its bonus cav. I'm rather excited... perhaps if I paint really hard, I'll not only have all my ACW done by the time I visit NU, but also some (out of period) opposition for Carl's Spartans...

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Last night Di and I had a very pleasant dinner together. I would dare say it was romantic; not in the dime-store novel style, but simply because we had such a good time cooperating to make dinner together. Straightaway after work we went to the snooty overpriced bakery near my apartment and got some desserts. Then we went to the park by the parthenon to feed the ducks. That was a lot of fun... shades of my younger days... I got a couple of the geese there to eat right out of my hand, and it was fun to watch them eye me suspiciously before finally giving in to greed and sticking their necks out to grab bread out of my hand.

Dinner was a nice Italian-Polish fusion... and thankfully Di remembered the garlic bread in the oven when I had forgotten it, so we avoided all smoke alarms (although my apartment doesn't have a smoke detector... hmmm). All in all a very pleasant evening.

Today I met the fellow that's moving out of the apartment I'm moving into tomorrow... he seemed like a really friendly fellow, and additionally was quite anxious that I forward any mail that I received for him.

Friday, August 15, 2003

You know what's really fun? Physics.

Particularly when demonstrated inside an elevator by jumping up and down at various times during the ascent or descent.

Just got back from radiation safety class/exam... pretty worthless... however, the detour I made afterwards made it all worthwhile :)

Radiation safety training yesterday was pretty boring... but holding a geiger counter for the first time was kind of exciting. I guess it won't be the last time.

Mr. Yang came by yesterday after I got home from work. He was quite excited about the prospect of going to the grocery store and invited me to come with. Not having much else today, I went along even though I was not posessed of a dire need for any particular foodstuffs. We went to the Krogers off of 21st Ave. I got green onions, cheese, pasta and butter... strangely the butter here is more in line with Wisconsin prices, despite the milk being insanely expensive... not certain I understand that, but at least I only have to pay two fifths the cost I did in Chicago.

I have an inkling now of what it must have felt like to be around to witness the disappearence of full service gas stations. I first noiticed these self-check out lanes at Home Depot I believe... down in Chicago? I didn't think much of it at the time... truly seemed like a novelty... but since I've been down here... the Home Depot, the Harris Teeter, the Kroger's... all have had this bizzarre layout wherein the customer must actually charge himself for all the food he takes... Oh sure, there are still some of the regular "full service" lanes... but it won't be long until those go the way of the full service gas station. Only places that will have them are the small family joints... you know, with the big wrapping paper signs in the front windows advertising the two for one special on canteloupes... and pretty soon no one will know what I'm talking about since they'll all disappear, to be replaced by Kroger's or Dominick's or (god forbid) Walmart Superstore...

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


-- Got accosted by my first Nashville panhandler today... much better mannered than the average Chicago panhandler... I still didn't give him money...

-- The commercials on FM radio here would be on AM radio back in Madison... speaking of which, any of you need any "Bliss-ium"??

-- Heard an announcer on NPR that had the hint of a southern accent... they must be really hard pressed for employees here... at least he was only for the local affiliate...

-- I must get the new Five Iron Frenzy album.... "Cheeses... of Nazareth".

-- The more I learn about Air Puffing Tech-no-logy, the more I'm convinced that it is indeed the flavor taste of the future.

-- God has really blessed me with peace... seriously... even though I only get about and hour or two of "free" time when I'm home (after cooking, eating, cleaning etc etc), I don't feel at all deprived or overworked... I feel really blessed and fortunate. I hope you can experience the same thing... it's pretty amazing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Having fire alarms in your building that consist of a siren sounding followed by a female voice declaring "Red Alert, activate emergency response plan" is so cool.

Monday, August 11, 2003

This morning I had to sit through perhaps the most pointless three hours of my life...certainly this is in the top 10 most pointless three hours of my life...
I don't like to disparage someone else's career (since many people might think that what I do is pointless) but seriously... if you're going to be giving a presentation instead of just handing people literature, you should do more than simply read off the power point slides you're presenting.

The only bright spot were the hilarious video clips we got to watch... first there were the "Days of our Lives" or "As the World Turns" style clips on what not to do while at work ("No Mary, don't pour that caustic chemical down the drain!" "I'm sorry Lance, I can't help myself." or "Let's circumvent all the accepted hiring practices and just get your bastard child through your illicit union with Bruce who's really your cousin to do the job." "I'll drink to that!")... then there were the clips that were evidently supposed to inspire us to work hard for the university... the weird thing about those was the religious terminology that was used ("Vanderbilt is in people helping each other. Vanderbilt is in hard work. Vanderbilt is in your heart and mine.") Actually, come to think of it, those clips were almost creepy.

It would have been better had I not felt obliged to stifle my laughter.
There's a natural gas leak on campus.

I guess it's not that much of a problem since it's in the outdoors, but it's still somewhat disconcerting. Perhaps I will change my walking route to work.

So, I know you're all eager to hear about my weeke-ende. And so you shall.

Saturday I had the chance to go to the local game store. It was much as I expected it to be: the last square with southern accents. Ok, perhaps that's a bit to general... the store itself was certainly nowhere near as large or nice as the last square. The people though... they were the same. Beer bellies, facial hair, threadbare t-shirts emblazoned with military unit logos.... it was all there. And excepting one fellow with a Brooklyn accent, all spoke with one level or another of southern intonation. We played a 1941 Russian front small unit action. I'll probably go again sometime... it's not quite the same as the group I've been spoiled with the past two years at NU...

Sunday Di and I went to a new church... it met in a middle school... it was Presbyterian... the fellow that spoke was not the normal pastor, and he had a tendency to not get to his point. Neither of us liked the speaking much... it was very top down... the guy just had a point and grabbed the necessary scriptures to make it... we both would have preferred a more inductive approach. The somewhat surreal thing was Michael Card played the offeratory... yeah, that was kind of weird... evidently his home church is down in Murfreesboro...

Sunday night I vaccumed the floor and set up the air matress. I almost had a nervous breakdown when the thing wouldn't seem to hold the air in... I thought I had popped it or something from the get-go... I had given up hope and was folding the thing up again when I noticed the huge plastic cover that was not covering a large opening in the matress used to deflate it quickly when not in use.... heh... shoulda figured...

Also set up the desk and did some painting... perused the sunday paper for good deals... went to walgreens to get some storage containers... made dinner and lunch for today... went to the grocery store... all these things were actually in a different order than I'm listing here, but it's not that important... it was simply apartment life I guess.

The light really plays nicely off a cognac glass-full of Tropicana Kiwi Strawberry Twister.

Friday, August 08, 2003

No subject headings today!!

Many many thanks go out to Valve today... everytime I'm in a pseudo-industrial atmosphere I can't help but think of picking up an old crowbar and smashing head crabs. Last night I went exploring in the tunnels that run under the whole hospital complex here on campus. In theory I was looking for a nice underground passage to the south side of campus, which would get me within two blocks of my apartment. Instead, I simply found an amazingly exciting pathway of tunnels. There was one section of the tunnel that was evidently used exclusively for travel by little motorized carts and storage of old hospital beds and cargo palettes. It had these seemingly random corners to it, so that you could never see that far in front or behind yourself. Occaisionally a door would pop up with a window that allowed a quick peek at some office or laboratory scene, and all the while strange sounds emenated from the ceiling... the walls... behind and before me... And of course, it was about 9:30 at night when I did this, so I didn't spot another person... although it would have been really freaky if I had met Barney...

On to other news... I've got a mouse! And unfortunately I don't mean a replacement for the trackball I have to use here at work. I mean a small rodent... I heard him last night... thankfully he only made an occaisional peep from the wall behind me. I suppose I should thank him for letting me bunk out on his turf... either that or I should let some of the neighborhood cats into the apartment... oh well, at least the toilet is now functional and the shower should be by tonight.

There's something about the routines of domesticity that is extremely entertaining to me at the moment. I went to the grocery store again last night. I got more banannas along with lunch material for the next few days, and some ungodly number of rolls of toilet paper. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a sale price....

It's amazing to me how 10 minutes with one person can be so sweet...

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Well, thanks to all who are praying for me... obviously someone is considering how things are going down here.

I wish that I had the words to convey to you just how I am experiencing life at the moment. Well, not just the moment, but for the past few days. The best I can do is give you a few "kindas".

It's kinda like I'm in a movie.
It's kinda like I've done this before sometime.
It's kinda like I feel as if someone is arranging the settings, characters and events of my life... like I'm trapped in someone elses' movie.
It's kinda like I'm not really doing anything, but am merely an observer of things that are happening to me.

None of these "kindas" are accurate by themselves, or even in conjunction with each other, but they're all attempts I made myself at coming up with a way of describing how I feel to myself. So, hopefully now you have as much information as I do.

Anyhow, last night was actually kinda a blast. There was a dev. bio. program meeting at 6 that I went to since our lab was presenting. I got some free food there and a nice little summary of what's going on in the lab at the moment. Larry gave me an air matress to use for a bed, and then I drove to some random grocery store south on 21st. I picked up 4 banannas and 2 apples for $1.30. Mmmmm... I wanted to get more banannas since they were only 25 cents a pound, but I figured I wouldn't be able to eat them fast enough.

Went to the apartment and met up with Ralph just as he was about to leave. The place was much cleaned up since I had seen it on monday, but the bathroom fixtures were still uninstalled. Supposedly they'll be in by tonight. Ralph casually mentioned that the fellow who had lived in the apartment above the one I'll be moving into had killed himself, and also kindly pointed out the spot in the alleyway where he had done it. Wow... I'm living near the scene of an honest to goodness suicide. Unfortunately the fellow's stuff hadn't been moved out yet, or Ralph would have given me the key so I could use the bathroom.

I bunked out on the couch in the place, and thankfully didn't develop any sinus problems. Turned on the radio to the oldies station, peeled a bananna, and cracked open the Nosworthy book on Napoleonic tactics. It was about 9:00 when I got to reading, but at 10:00, seeing as there wasn't much else to do, I decided to go to bed. I read a couple of Psalms and prayed for a little bit. I went outside and urinated on the apartment next door. I made sure to duck to avoid the telephone lines brought down by the storm. I brushed my teeth in the kitchen sink. Then I went to bed.

Seriously, I don't think I've had such a good night's sleep in a long time. Something about not having much that really makes you appreciate what you have. As I was lying there before I went unconscious I was thinking how... appropriate it all seemed. It just seemed right.
Today was my first official lab meeting. It was interesting, but I must admit I didn't really feel to competent to actually join in the discussion. Hopefully as I hear more and more about other people's project I will be able to contribute more to discussion.

Today I also took an online test to show that I am competent to work with animals. I passed on my first try. The only animals I will work with are mice, and only when I am allowing the adult mosquitos to feed on them.

Tonight I'm going to try out the apartment. I hope it is survivable... I may have to hang out in lab for a while tonight... Also, I really want to unpack so that I can start personalizing my desk at work, but obviously I can't really unpack all that much since I'm just going to have to move everything again anyhow.

I really don't feel like I have that much to write at the moment... my life has not yet settled into a routine that will allow me to write more creatively, and today not enough happened to make an interesting log of events.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Well folks, I'm officially down in Nashville. It's been an adventure thusfar and it will likely continue to be so for at least the next few days.

Friday night I stayed down in e-town with the boys. Once again I seemed to get very little actual sleep... I don't think it is their apartment itself... probably more to do with nerves on both occaisions I stayed there. Anyhow, the drive down through Illinois was nice... there was one interstate interchange that I must go back and take pictures of at some point. I can't describe how... interesting... it was to look at. Not necessarily beautiful or spectacular, but interesting. Also had some deja vu driving through Kentucky, when I stopped at the same rest-stop that my family and I had stopped at on a family vacation some years back.

Saturday night I stayed in the Drake Hotel... sounds impressive... looked less so... the sign however was a tribute to the classic period. The man at the desk said it was built in 1948. It was an ok place though for the single salesman or grifter travelling through town. Sunday I went to church with Di at a church near to campus. It was a bit large for my tastes... not quite blackhawk size... the particular sermon that day didn't strike me as maybe quite as inductive as it could have been... Anyhow we got there late cause I misjudged how long it would take to go get Di, so I didn't even get to experience a whole service, much less the whole ministry of the church... man picking a church is going to be tough.

The Yao's were kind enough to have me over for dinner sunday night. Potatoe salad and fried rice... mmmm.... delicious.

I had originally planned on staying with Jason that night, but when I hadn't been able to get in touch with him by 11, I decided to grab a motel room. This time I stayed at a red roof inn with a nice little coupon for a sunday night discount. This place was off the interstate down by some sort of rail-road changing yard or something like that... real industrial style surroundings. I figured thewhole weekend had been pathos filled enough, so I bummed a square off of some guy who was walking around the balcony of the motel. (As a side note, it definitely seemed much less enjoyable than I remembered.)

Monday was a crazy day of paperwork, running to various offices, etc etc. Di and I managed to see each other for 10 minutes before she went home. Jason and his wife were kind enough to let me stay at there house for the night, and I was able to empty most of the stuff from my back seat into the closet of the interrim apartment where I'll be staying. I talked to the guy who was actually doing the work on the apartment. (Ralph.) The place was pretty cluttered with random pieces of wood, but he assured me he'd be done with the loud, messy, and big work within the next day or two. So hopefully I'll be able to move in if not tonight the night after.

The Pitts' house was beautiful, and despite seemingly being only two blocks from the interstate seemed like it was in the middle of the country. Beautiful yard, beautiful antique furniture... Got to watch the sox get whipped by KC, then had a good night's sleep.

I'm at work now, so.... I should go do some work... or something...

Friday, August 01, 2003

Where did this come from? Why does it seem like I'm so interested in not disappointing people by what I have to say that I avoid talking to them at all and end up disappointing them??

I seriously thought that I didn't care what other people thought about me... hmmm....