Saturday, March 31, 2007

"limon y sal," julieta venegas

dear web journal,

my closest and dearest friend, mike, shared julieta venegas with me a few months ago, and i've been replaying what i do have of hers over and over. with four latin grammy nominations under her belt, she's already impressed most of mexico. "limon y sal" is very cute and the lyrics of "me voy" strike a personal cord. please enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

steel creek camp-out 2007

dear web journal,

along with this great weather comes a good camping trip. karl and i picked up a trail/camping map of the buffalo river national park west-end (steel creek site), loaded up our camping gear, and stayed two days and a night. i am more and more impressed with how beautiful and clean arkansas is. i won’t bore anyone who reads this with too many details, because there wasn’t anything too significant with our weekend adventure. but it involved a lot of hiking (so much so, i was somewhat incapacitated the next day with sore muscles), reading, and swearing we’d bring more games next time.

i noticed the next day when i returned that target carries a travel-friendly version of monopoly, scrabble, and three-in-one (chess, checkers, and backgammon), which are all classics and favorites of mine. they’re all re-designed by michael graves. i think we’ll be picking up one of these for the next trip.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


dear web journal,

i’m a competitive person and i love playing games. my friends back home can attest to this, as any get together we have usually includes some sort of board gaming. i’m also a huge fan of video games, though that usually limits my company to stinky, fast-food-eating dudes.

this past weekend, dmytro (karl’s buddy, a ukrainian post-doctoral engineer) took us out to a local pub where we played several rounds of the dart game, cricket. it was spectacular fun! and karl and i have started up nightly games of chess too. we both enjoy playing each other; mostly because i think we’re both at the same skill level and games remain closely matched.

there are a lot of pretty dart boards out there, but that’s just one of those things that i enjoy the pub setting over playing from my home. but i do like the look of this chess board—-modern and simple. i can’t spend any money these days, unless it is life-sustainingly necessary or essential to the wedding. but i can lust, can’t i?

have a favorite indoor or outdoor game? any especially good board games i should know about?

Friday, March 9, 2007

a few of my favorite things, part two

dear web journal,

this is the second installment of a few of my favorite things. spring and summer time clothing is so fun and i am a fan of a good deal. so, these items are just that, an affordable celebration that winter is finally on its way out.

starting from top, left to right:

seven cropped jeans, karl calls these “thousand dollar pants,” because he likes to poke fun at ridiculously priced designer jeans. but at outlets-online, even a thrifty deal monger like me can toy with the idea of having just one nice pair of jeans for as low as $68.

lucas zip up hoodie, by mike and chris, i love mike and chris’ design style, mostly because i am a fan of interesting-looking comfort-clothing. and though you’ll end up paying a little over a hundred bucks for an item like this, it is an item you’ll wear all the time. because let’s face it, jersey material is really comfy, ok.

moss drawing 2, zachary rossman, i love this guy’s work. haunting and detailed, i’m looking for a good print to put up at work to give my desk some character.

heidi sling backs, forever 21 is all over the young ladies' fashion/design blogs lately. it’s great and i share the sentiment that the place is becoming an even more fun place to shop. i remember shopping there when they first opened, delighted by the prices but somewhat turned off by how much digging i had to do to find items that fit my taste. it’s nearly effortless now. these shoes are only $17.80.

scarlet tank, i fear the day that i will become inappropriately aged for shopping at a teen girl’s store like delia’s. but i’m holding out, because too many of their items are so cute. and because i loathe shopping at malls and stores, i appreciate finding a good deal like this tank for $26.50 from the comfort of my desk.

gnome mug, paper-source has been a blessing for DIY wedding planning and attendant gifts. the family i am marrying into are all very proud 100% norwegian fifth-generation immigrants. luckily, my future-sister-in-law, inga, has no idea this blog exists so i can talk about this super cute gift i picked up for her. she’s already got a few campy mugs in her possession and this one, celebrating a little scandinavian gnome, will hopefully be a happy addition to her collection.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

i’ve got spring fever

dear web journal,

i haven’t had a cold or the flu since i first moved here, which is pretty great. but i think you could safely say i’m sick of being indoors. the weather, as of late, is coyly calling to me from outside the office window and i can barely concentrate on grant budgets.

this weekend, karl and i enjoyed a good hike through mt. sequoia and around lake fayetteville. but like yesterday, when i am not content enough to just walk and i feel the need to nerd it up a bit, i pull out karl’s fancy GPS device. he’s got a gpsmap 60csx, which primarily is a hiking/exploration gps device, but is also driver friendly (which helped us navigate our alternate snow route this winter when driving back to CA). what i love most about it, however, are its games.

now, if you’re the type that might scoff at a wii player wriggling around, you probably wouldn’t be interested in the public display of total geekdom that gps game play requires. it’s nice that i have such a big yard to play in, which functions as the game board. there’s a maze game, a chase game, and my favorite, a memory game. i like it because i get to be outdoors and i’m slowly learning how to navigate myself more acutely with the device. karl has a few more advanced adventures (geocaching, treasure hunts, confluence hunting, etc.) planned for us that’ll be sure to update with as the weather continues to pull us outdoors. if you know someone with a garmin, i suggest trying some of the games out and then stealing it for your own adventures.

Friday, March 2, 2007

rupee, karl's (much funnier) version

dear web journal,

in case i haven't beat this story to death and anyone might be interested in a humor-filled version of the kitten in a tree story, here's karl, my fiance's, take on the ordeal:

let me tell you a story about rupee. wednesday afternoon i let her out, only intending for it to be for a little while, as always, cause she's still a kitten and i don't want her gone for that long. she's out for about an hour and i have to go to class but can't find her, so i just go and figure she'll be around later. i come home, she's not around. titty (aka fox), the other cat, is and she doesn’t give us any clues or leads on rupee's whereabouts. the sun goes down and she doesn’t come back. we start to get real sad and depressed cause this cat is the nicest fucking cat on earth and is also totally cute and beautiful and healthy and well basically your best cat ever (unlike titty, who can be very rude and self-centered).
so we set out a bowl of food just in case (and fortunately it finally warmed up this week for the first time since thanksgiving to where it wasn't going to get below freezing at night), melissa was all sad thinking someone stole her or she got lost or ran over or whatever. i was too. get up in the morning and she's still nowhere. melissa goes to work all sad, is crying at work because this is our little kitten that we rescued from death before and now god has cruelly plucked her from our family for no reason. i'm out in the backyard looking for her some more, there's a break in traffic on the road nearby so it's finally quiet, i'm calling her name and i hear a meow! holden is with me, he goes nuts. i keep calling and hearing these meow responses, and they sound close, but they're coming from the neighbor's yard, this huge yard with two dogs that roam freely.

the dogs aren't around, so i keep calling and hearing a meow response. i can't see her anywhere so i go around the block to the front of the neighbor's house to go talk to them and see if i can go into their backyard to find her. they're not home. as i'm standing on their front porch and looking out into their backyard, i call for her again and hear her response FROM THE SKY. i look up and she's about 40 feet up in a tree, sitting on this branch, meowing at me from 40 feet in the air.
so obviously the dogs came over while she had ventured into their yard, and scared her up a tree. it was a total relief to know where she was finally and that she was OK, but i had no idea how to get her down. i leave a note for these neighbors asking them to keep their dogs in for a few hours or something so she has a chance to climb down. i go and take some pictures of her up there because it's all funny to me now and stuff.

but she doesn't come down ALL DAY. i go to class again and come back and she's still up there all meowing and scared and now moving around back and forth on this branch. we go talk to another neighbor and get closer to the tree from their back yard, and they're super helpful and nice, this middle-aged lesbian couple in fact, and one of them says we're welcome to hop up on the fence and climb the tree to get her and we're both like "nah" and she goes "well hell i'll do it!" and fucking climbs up into this tree about 20 feet and is calling for her "ruby! ruby!" (what, were we gonna correct her at this point?) and ruby is agitated but not budging. anyway, to make an already long story a little shorter, the sun eventually sets that evening and rupee stays in the tree a second night (last night). we go check on her with the flashlight before going to bed and she's somehow climbed up ANOTHER 15 feet onto a branch even higher and narrower, now pretty much at the top of the tree. still crying at us.

melissa gets up this morning and of course first thing goes out into the backyard to go see if she's waiting by the door. she isn't, and when she looks into the tree she's not even there at all anymore. she frantically wakes me up and makes me come out to try and find her again, and we're looking around in the bushes and we hear her meow again, this time from the bushes around the fence. she's on the other side of the fence though and still really scared, so she runs up to this other tree and starts climbing up it. at this point i hop the fence too and reach up and grab her right as she starts moving out of arm-range.

so now she's home. first thing she did was eat like a maniac and then take a gigantic cat-dump. she's the best. she'll probably be restricted to the indoors from now on though.

the ol' salt mine

dear web journal,

my job is boring. there’s not a glamorous thing about it. and though the faculty-on-faculty interactions sometimes bring on drama, its never the kind of gossip interesting enough to share with a friend outside of my work sphere. that’s just the reality of doing academic engineering accounting work.

but i love my job and as long as i’m working while karl gets his master’s degree, i am quite content to stay here. the staff ladies i work with are best described as friends though some of them are of significant age differences. the IT guy is everything opposite of most IT guys, often bringing us bakery goods or placing chocolate on our desks before we get to work. even though some of the engineers are typical weirdos, most of their quirks are still endearing at times. for the most part, they’re interesting individuals who treat us with respect. i love working in academia and feeling like i am still a small part of higher learning.

it’s been a full year since i received my bachelor’s degree and i’ve grown to miss the stimulation of regular coursework, but this manages to be a good substitute. since law school is the next step, i’ve got to keep that yearning to go back fresh and this manages to fulfill that. and this also allows me the room to fantasize and consider climbing the ivory tower, despite the rational side of me that knows that the academic world is cutthroat and requires a love for the game i fear i lack.

indian sweets

dear web journal,

sabine brandt, a blogger i read on a regular basis, returned from a trip to india recently and has been sharing some beautiful photos of her colorful adventures. because i work at a university in an engineering department, i happen to work with a lot of indian graduate students and faculty. some of them i know well and they are kind enough to bring back photos and treats from their travels. i’ve never been to india (and i hope to someday). but i feel like i have been there, living vicariously through silvery mango candies and shots of red and orange flower adorned weddings.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

r crumb: i'm not done with him

dear web journal,

it’s a strange confession admitting to my early interest in r. crumb. i remember being about 11 years-old and my dad handed me a large box full of comic books he had during the 60s and 70s.

i doubt he knew that inside the box, amongst the issues of justice league america and spiderman comics, there were a few issues of original r crumb comics like big ass and other classics. a hungry reader, i read all the comics and of course this included the arguably age-inappropriate ones.

because i was still young, perhaps, it didn’t occur to me that his notoriously misogynistic content should offend me. instead i was fascinated by the taboo content and specifically its existence in comic form. and the artwork seemed so unusual and original to me. ever since then, i’ve been drawn towards the unpolished and intimate nature of amateur art.

and though most of us seem to already know so much about him from the movie “crumb” and have moved past him onto other artists; i come to r crumb’s defense, because he did produce works like this, which remains a favorite of mine:

a short history of america