Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going, Going, Gone

As of 10am tomorrow morning, we are officially homeless.

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The full set of pictures from the past week of packing and moving.


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Delays

Ever since I got back from India, I've been meaning to send in my passport for renewal. Since I don't have any international trips planned, though, this has been a relatively low priority.

The first delay came because of my Indian visa, which I wasn't sure how to get moved to the new passport (turns out you have to get the renewal first, and then send in the old and new passport to have the page transferred). Because of the hours of the place that we use to handle passport things, this took quite a while before I finally found time to call them during the day.

Then there was a delay before I got around to filling out the forms. And once I did, of course, I didn't have my passport at work so I couldn't mail anything in. I brought that in the next day, intending to go get passport pictures taken the next day over lunch.

Of course that didn't happen, and so more days went by until the next weekend when I got around to getting the pictures taken. So then on Monday I brought everything into work ready to send the packet off for renewal.

But then I didn't get to it until Tuesday. Only to realize as I was reading the instructions one last time that I had to write out an actual check to the government for the renewal, in addition to giving my credit card to the processing company (seriously?). Of course I didn't have a check with me, so everything went back into the drawer for another day.

So today I finally had everything together to FedEx off, and right before I sealed the package I realized that I had forgotten to include one critical item: my current passport. Good thing I noticed before I mailed it out.

On the other hand, that would have just been one more delay in a process that has taken an astounding two months for me to get going on.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No Warning

Apparently a small tornado touched down in South Minneapolis this afternoon. The crazy thing is that as far as I heard, there were no sirens, warnings, or anything. Now I'm sure down in Dakota county the sirens were going off like crazy because it was, after all, raining and that is all it takes down here. But Minneapolis must wait for an actual warning to come out, which didn't happen today.

It was sort of weird to be sitting in a meeting and hear that a tornado touched down in town 5 minutes ago, but not have any idea it happened or even have it seem like it was a very bad storm.


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lawn Bowling

I had a work event tonight at Brit's Pub and tried my hand at lawn bowling for the first time. I'm not a bad bowler, I was reasonably good at curling, but I am bad at lawn bowling. Very bad.

I did improve once I figured out that the ball was weighted to one side, and could start to predict the curve. But my touch was still horrible. My team was nearly shutout the first game, and while I improved the second game we still lost (though just barely).

Not my best performance. It was fun though, and definitely something I would give another try.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome Home

I generally have one pair of tennis shoes at a time. Mostly because I have a terrible time finding shoes that fit, but also because I just don't wear them all that often. I usually have a few pairs for various special reasons like mowing the lawn, or painting, but as far as ones I wear around normally there is only one pair.

Today while I was at work Linzy got home from a few days in Chicago, and so Pippen was really excited to see her. Through some sort of fluke, Pippen ended up getting so excited that she had an accident. Right in one of my shoes.

Linzy insists this was an accident, but I haven't checked out the treat bag to corroborate her story.


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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Boxes

Last weekend Linzy and I finally started packing some of the house up. It went far faster then we were expecting, at least partially because we had already packed about half our possessions back in June. We spent a few hours and ended up getting a significant amount of the stuff that we don't use regularly packed up.

The biggest challenge turned out to be not the labor, but finding boxes that will work. When I originally saw the collection of boxes we purchased, I was afraid there were going to be too many small boxes and not enough larger boxes for odd-sized things. After an hour or two, it became obvious that the problem would actually be the reverse. Not enough small boxes.

The problem with the larger boxes is that when I pack them full, you can't pick them up anymore. But on the other hand if you leave them only half-full, then they get crushed in a stack. The end result is that we have about 40 useful-sized boxes and 40 boxes that are way, way too big for me to use.

I guess if I was willing to spend twice as much time trying to deduce the correct combination of feather-light and lead-weight items to fill a large box but not make it overly heavy, they could be used. But I have a feeling as the move date roars up on us, that kind of time investment will become less attractive then buying a bunch of more appropriately sized boxes.


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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lesson Learned

Let's just say hypothetically that you left the office at the normal time (5:45pm) to catch your 5:50 bus, only to watch is zoom by 4 minutes early, while you are still over a block away. So you start walking up the street sad that you'll have to take the 6:00pm tour-of-Apple Valley bus that takes forever to get home.

But then you see the light rail and you think to yourself: "Self, maybe I can talk the light rail right there down to the Mall of America and then catch a feeder bus back to Apple Valley.". You might even pull out your phone and check the schedules, determine it should work and hop on the train.

Except that it takes 3 minutes longer then you expect to get to the Mall of America and so you miss the feeder bus by a couple minutes. No problem, right? They run all the time. Except not that late apparently, because the next one isn't until 7:30. An hour away.

So you'll get to spend an hour of your life waiting with some very colorful characters for the next bus. There's the guy chewing tobacco and spitting it on the ground rather then in a bottle. And the wanna-be talking about how he can sell a kilo no problem, and asking whether you know his boy Chris Smith. Just to add to your experience, the 7:30 bus will be slightly late.

Then, of course, it takes the tour of Apple Valley route you were trying to avoid in the first place. So you actually end up getting to the station at around 8:15. Or an hour and fifteen minutes after you would have if you had just waited for the 6:00pm bus.

Not that I would know anything personally about this sort of debacle, of course. If it did happen to you, though, I would think you might have learned an important lesson about patience.


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Monday, August 10, 2009

Movies: Gran Torino and Push

This weekend I ended up watching two movies. Gran Torino when I exercised on Saturday and Sunday, and Push on Sunday evening with Linzy.

Push was a movie on Linzy's list for Netflix, and turned out to be not quite as bad as I was expecting. It had an interesting style, and a complicated plot line (as you would expect from a movie where multiple characters see the future). So that was good, but it also had a pretty cliche-filled backstory and some pretty bad dialogue. Overall it was OK, I guess. Linzy liked it, right up until the ending.

On the opposite side of things, I thought Gran Torino was really good. I watched half each day, but it was definitely tempting to just watch the second half right away. Even though Clint Eastwood played a particularly unlikable character, I enjoyed the story and the acting. The movie took a while to get going, but it definitely rewarded the patience. Well worth seeing.


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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Vacant Stare

On Saturday Linzy and I went out to dinner with Paul and Laura, and then went over to Bogarts to see Brat Pack Radio. Brat Pack Radio was what you might expect, an 80s cover band. They were pretty entertaining, and their guitarist was exceptional.

What was noteworthy, however, was their female singer. She had the most disinterested, vacant stare I've ever seen throughout the entire set. There was much debate in our group about whether she was just completely bored, or blasted out of her mind.

It is hard to describe how disinterested she looked doing little hand dances and singing or shouting her parts into the mic. I looked a bit for pictures of them to see if that is what she is always like, but I couldn't find any definitive proof either way.

Anyways, we had a good time going to see them and spending time with Paul and Laura. I'm not a huge 80s music fan, but they still put on a good show.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Paranoid

Lately, I've been sending detailed personal information all over the place. With the house sale and purchase, every time I turn around someone is requesting some sort of personal information. Tax records, social security numbers, account numbers, etc. It was similar when I got my Indian visa, you had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and then mail it and your passport and all the supporting information. And cross your fingers it didn't disappear somewhere along the way. Of course it didn't get lost, but it still freaked me out a little.

It was a toss up whether mailing the passport and supporting information off to a black hole, or faxing 53 pages of tax and bank information to a random fax number was more disconcerting. Logically it should have been tax and bank information since that contained everything you needed to just withdraw our life savings, where as the passport+social security number would have required a bit of work first. But for some reason mailing an important physical thing felt worse.

The thing that is crazy is that there really isn't any reason to have been worried about it. I mean, the chances of my information falling into unintended hands, let alone nefarious hands, seems ridiculously low. But it still gave me a second or two of pause, even if I knew it was stupid to be worried.


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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Procrastination

In a about three weeks we'll be closing on our house, and moving out. Despite the fact that date will be here before we know it, we've done virtually nothing to prepare. No services have been canceled, our address hasn't been changed, nothing is packed that wasn't packed prior to even putting the house on the market, nor have we really gotten rid of anything.

The thing is that we still haven't gotten official word the buyer has financing lined up. The deadline for that is the 10th, and so we've been dragging our feet this whole time just in case something falls through and we don't have to move. The last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time packing everything up, only to have something go wrong and end up having to unpack everything again. Or worse, cancel all of our services and then try to get them all hooked back up later on short notice. Plus most of the stuff in the house at this point are things we use at least semi-regularly.

I don't have any reason to think things will fall through, so to some extent this level of procrastination is silly. All it does is mean more stress in a couple weekends when we are trying to clean up everything at once. Perhaps it is laziness in not wanting to start a major project, or maybe just subconsciously being sad to leave the house.

Regardless, at the moment we're not making much progress on preparing to move.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Movies: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

On Sunday Linzy and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I've written about three Harry Potter movies: boring, "Okay but not great" and boring. The new one fit right in as pretty dull, to the point that I checked my watch at least once. Even Linzy, who likes nearly all the movies we go to see in the theater, was disappointed.

In general I just found the movie feeling far too much like a poorly-written middle book in a trilogy. A book that does everything it has to, to set up the final book, but not anything particularly noteworthy to stand on its own.

If I had to pick things that were good, I'd say that I liked the overall dark atmosphere of the movie. I thought the movie did a good job setting a tone of fear and uncertainty for the students and teachers at Hogwarts. The special effects of Dumbledore's raging fire in the cave was pretty awesome as well. That, of course, was in the last twenty minutes, when almost all Harry Potter movies finally get moving.

Bottom line, I thought the movie was, just like virtually every other Harry Potter movie, about 30-45 minutes too long. They had plot lines to set up for the final book, and a few interesting things happened, but overall everything felt rather unsatisfying.


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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Power of 10

On Saturday, Linzy and I along with Brenden, Allison, Fred and Robin went to go see Mark and his band Power of 10 perform at Famous Dave's in uptown. I had never seen the band before, and it was a fun show. Knowing Mark I was expecting something very jazz-oriented, but they played mostly funk and soul cover songs though with extended solo sections on virtually every song. The crowd was pretty large, and into the music, so that was good.

It was a fun show, and a good time spent with friends.


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Where the Time Goes

I thought this interactive chart over at the NY Times site was pretty interesting. It shows how people spent their time during the day, how much time they spent doing various things, when they did it, etc.


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