Sunday, April 30, 2006


I'm doing some proofreading this afternoon, and after reviewing the key story in this newsletter, I have to get something off my chest:

I really, really dislike the use of the word "diverse" to mean "non-Caucasian" — or, more specifically, "not a white male."

I applaud efforts to create an ethnically, religiously, geographically, sexually diverse workforce, such as the company I'm reading for is making. But I want more than effort. I want honesty.

If you mean non-white, say non-white. If you mean female, say female. If you mean gay, say gay. Don't hide behind "diverse." Name the people you're talking about. Acknowledge them. See them. Include them.

Don't lump them all together under a single heading that means "not like me."

Friday, April 28, 2006


This morning I walked to work, which I haven’t done since I was in college, 15 years ago. It was a nice, 2-mile stroll under dishwater-grey skies with my favorite podcast chattering through my iPod. I brought along an umbrella for the walk home, just in case. I’d like to make the walk to work an every-Friday thing during the warmer months. It’s a very mellow way to begin the day. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, I worked up an appetite and am now craving cheesy hash browns.

Last night after T’ai Chi, I went out for a beer with Julie. It’s been ages since the last time we did that — far too long. She told me all about her recent trip to the Big Apple. It sounded fantastic and made me really, really want to go there myself. Is next weekend good for you?

For those keeping track at home, it’s currently about 45 degrees F in my office. I’m wearing a long-sleeved velour t-shirt and a leather jacket while drinking hot tea, and I’m still chilly.

Is anyone else watching The Daily Show on an iPod right now? The one where Stephen Colbert asks, among other questions, “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” The 4/18/06 episode, right toward the end. Next thing you know, he’ll be wanting to know where the beef is as well.

That’s it. I’ve got nothin’.

Future forest

Some new park land is being established near my office building. These trees await planting.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

all clear

We quickly got the "all clear" on that severe weather alert. One theory is that severe weather threatened somewhere in this large county, so the warning affected the entire county, including us.

So we got a nice tour of the bowels of our office building — including this sign, and the hallway in which it was posted.


Severe weather

Severe weather conditions have been announced for our area. We've just been evacuated to the parking garage. Don't know if it's drill or not. Stay tuned.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rockapella Roadtrip

Oregon, WI, 04/22/06

This narrative was prepared using the official fill-in-the-blank Rockapella Roadtrip Report Template.

AnnaK and Kim (Jugglernaut) met up at Anna's school the morning of the concert, and we were off to Oregon, WI to see our beloved boyz. Highlight: a fantastic pink, bespectacled elephant at a truck stop.

The weather was bland with intermittent rain, so it took us 4.5 hours to get there. We only got lost once. Yay mad geography skillz!

We headed to the hotel to check in and change, then hurried out again to find the venue and get some chow. Kim wore a brown suede pinstriped blazer and rhinestone-embellished tank top plus silver sneakers, while Anna wore her classic Rockapella t-shirt, and we both made sure to wear our new pink elephant caps. We were looking mighty thuggish if I do say so myself.

We went to the venue first to make sure we could find it, and to check on what time the doors would open before the concert. The house manager said doors were at 7:00, which gave us 2 hours to eat and get back to stake out a place in line, since it was general-admission seating.

We ended up eating at slanty-floored Maria's pizza, where we ordered uh, pizza and Sierra Mist. The food was good; the prices were excellent; the service person was very tan. Then we hustled back to the venue to grab our places in line.

While we stood there in the lobby, we could hear sound check going on in the concert hall. We recognized Jeff’s voice knocking out some beats. Ooh, coolness! Unfortunately, we couldn’t sneak in to witness sound check in person. But we did catch a glimpse of George talking on his cell phone and trying to find the backstage door. He looked stunningly hot, as usual.

We considered finding the Pellamobile in the parking lot and leaving something from Victoria's Secret under the windshield wiper, but decided against it. That would be crossing the line.

Standing there waiting, we immediately spotted Lisa/lfo in the lobby. She’s a Midwest concert regular. She was there with her husband Greg and their kids, plus the Big Oaf (B.O.) we remembered as a Zombie-crazed lummox from the Madison, WI, concert last September. We hadn’t seen them since then (although Kim did run into Lisa in the ladies' room at the Jefferson, MO, show in December). We spent a few minutes catching up with Lisa during intermission.

Then the doors opened and we went in to claim our seats. They were row 6, Jeff side. Some annoying choir girl was pissed because hers were "waaayyyy back here, you guys!", but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, toots.

The opening act consisted of a high school group called The Blue Notes and the all-female college ensemble Tangled Up in Blue. They were annoying. Note to openers: If your group has more than three people in it, not everybody needs a frickin' solo, all right? However, I guess we should give Tangled some credit for having a vocal percussionist, which a lot of girl groups don't.

Since this was a show to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the emcee then introduced Cody, the MDA goodwill ambassador. He's a fourth-grader and looked extremely uncomfortable onstage in his wheelchair. But he received a check for $5,000 from the sold-out show, which is fantastic. Nice work, Rockapella!

After all this time, you’d think we wouldn’t be breathless with anticipation for that first note, but we were. Only when we heard Scott, Kevin and John’s perfect voices kicking things off with Tonight could we finally relax. Squeeee!!!

Scott looked fantastic in his shiny dark blue suit with a blue and white striped shirt. I nearly swooned when he gyrated. Does that guy have a rubber skeleton or what?

Kevin looked adorable wearing the same damn suit as always with a sky blue shirt. Could this man dork any more? (Can I use "dork" as a verb? For Kevin Wright, yes I can, and with great, great affection.)

John looked shimmery decked out in a loose suit and royal blue satin shirt. I think I could see his prodigious eyelashes from where I was sitting.

George looked unutterably hot sporting a sleek collarless black suit and snowy shirt, and a smile to match. There ought to be a law against that magnitude of sexiness. If he swivels his hips one more time, I will surely die.

Jeff looked like he’d just come in from raking the yard in his usual T-shirt/overshirt uniform, which is fine because he looks totally cute in it. His overshirt was blue-black, in keeping with the evening's blue theme.

The concert was awesome, as usual, despite Scott being at about half strength. Don't know if he was ill or tired or what, but surely he'll be back at the top of his game soon. Even what was, for him, a weak performance still blows the competition out of the water.

For the Beg Girl of the night, John pulled a collegiate-looking woman named Jill out of the audience. She was wearing "some sassy pants," according to Jeff (flowy black palazzos). The guys totally asked her to hook them up with some good drugs when she said she was a pharmacy student.

The guys were in decent bantering form as well, but very toned-down, possibly due to the presence of the MDA kid in the front row. I could not believe Scott said almost nothing, but he sounded hoarse, so he was probably saving his voice.

Kevin filled in with a story about winning $5,300 in the lottery. He'd had four out of five correct numbers, and had an 11 on his ticket when the final winning number was 12. He was happy enough with his loot but felt that because he was so close, he should have gotten 80% of the $82 million pot rather than just $5,300.

George was less naughty than usual, but no less smokin'. Damn, but that man can sing low! But as usual, Jeff got off the funniest one-liner of the night with that "sassy pants" remark.

Jeff’s VP solo was the usual: amazing, I kid you not. He stopped midway through it to respond to some whooping with a quick, "Thank you, sir!" and then kept right on going.

I got some major stage love from George, or so I'd like to think.

Finally it was time for the finale, and I can't believe I don't remember what it was, but I don't, which totally brought the house down. I was hoping they’d do "Jenny Come Away" for one of the encores. They didn't. And when they sang "Up on the Roof/What a Wonderful World" off-mic, it seriously brought tears to my eyes.

They sang:

Main set
___ Ain’t Got Nothin’
___ Baby Girl
_x_ California Sad-Eyed Girl
___ Dancin’ in the Streets
_x_ For You, For Now, For Life
_x_ Greatest hits/jingles medley — may have been cut short; do they usually do anything else after Folgers?
___ It’s a Small World
___ Jenny Come Away
_x_ Lazy River
_x_ Love Potion #9
___ Make Love Last
_x_ My Girl/Ain’t Too Proud to Beg
_x_ Nothing But Perfect? Somebody help me out with the title here.
_x_ Papa Was a Rolling Stone
_x_ Rock the Boat/Rollercoaster
_x_ Stand By Me
___ Surrounded
_x_ Tell Me What You Want
_1_ Tonight
_x_ Under the Boardwalk
_x_ Use Me
_x_ Up On the Roof/Wonderful World

_1_ Shambala
_x_ Happy Birthday — The guys were hoping to serenade Amy, a shapely blonde birthday girl with a tramp stamp tattoo who had sent gifts backstage with road manager Bryan before the show. They'd met her before, I think. But when they announced this event, other people began calling out their friends' birthdays, so all the birthday people were invited onstage. Somehow, though, the tattoo topping the crack of Amy's butt still managed to monopolize the guys' attention.
_x_ Zombie Jamboree — Train wreck! Kevin forgot the lyrics to the first verse and tried to cover with a improvised rap. Let's just say that this did not work at all. When he halted with his usual legbone pain, Scott said, "Oh, the pain must have made you forget the words." "No," said Kevin, "the tattoo did that." Poor, distracted Kevin. He also tried to get back-to-back with Scott at the wrong time and bounced off Scott's outstretched hand. By the time the song ended, Jeff was laughing so hard he couldn't stand up straight.
_x_ Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Then it was time for the m&g. The boyz had changed into extremely casual clothes and looked very comfy, if tired. We waited around for a while for the crowd to thin out. Then we finally went up to Jeff and asked him to sign our junk. Of course he did because he’s so amazingly crinkly-eyed and gold-hearted.

Kevin admired our stylin' pink elephant caps. We felt like completes dork when we said we bought them at a gas station, but he was cool and acted as if we were not the most idiotic fangirls ever. He also recognized Kim, which was truly amazing because they hadn't been face to face since their last 15-second hello way back in September.

Then the boyz came out from behind the autograph table to pose for pictures. Kim got a couple that were less than great, but Anna's were better.

Eventually Rockapella split, breaking up the m&g. On the way out we swiped a quartet of "Rockapella concert SOLD OUT!" signs from the lobby windows and hung them in the back windows of the Subarushi instead.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to get to sleep right away after all the excitement, so we spun a few donuts in the parking lot and sang along loudly to "Jews Jews Jews" from the Unorthodox album several times. And we only got lost once on the unlit country roads on our way back to Motel 6. It was at least 12:30 when we finally went to bed after watching part of Twister.

We got up the next morning at 9:45-ish, even though we were still groggy from the incessant slamming of doors interrupting our sleep and staggered back to the car to head home.

This trip was totally SPRING BREAK ROCK AND ROLL!! WOOOO!. We’d do it again the next time Rockapella comes to the Midwest.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Rug Rage, Part 764

Hotel ballroom carpert from my company's annual meeting. I'm seeing spots.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Uh . . . Easter Bunny?

I found this skull while clearing dead leaves from the flower patch at the back of the house. I fear the cats got the better of one of the local cottontails last fall. What bothers me is that I found only the skull. Where's the rest of the skeleton?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter parade

I had no plans for this Easter Sunday except to spend some time outdoors enjoying the fine spring weather. So off I went with iPod in ears and camera in hand. This is what I saw.

As I left the house, I stopped at my own curb. These shoes were made for tossing. I've had both pairs since ca. 1997, so I thought it was about time they went bye-bye.

Big pile of bricks. I don't know what they're going to build.

Weeping willows budding in a park.

Half a dozen male mallards head for the watering hole.

Mr. Mallard takes a dip.

Um, lawn bowling?

Money I found on the ground: $.14.

When did fire hydrants stop being red?

What's up, docks?

Almost home: I-494 heading west, viewed through the fence on the pedestrian overpass.

This was waiting for me at home.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thanks, Easter Bunny!

Further evidence of spring's arrival: The Easter Bunny has left flowers in my yard — flowers that weren't there when I left for work this morning — and popcorn on my doorstep. Thanks, EB!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

dis cord

My hair dryer has a retractable power cord. Why doesn't my iBook? my iPod?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hockey season is over

Spring in Minnesota is characterized by the temporary absence of hockey. Here's a forlorn empty rink in a local park.

Another sure sign spring is here: Now that I'm no longer wearing my parka, I've had to move the driver's seat in the Subarushi up a couple inches to compensate for the missing thick layer.


Friday, April 07, 2006

weather.com LIED!

Weather.com led me to believe that today would be cold and snowy. Instead, it's 61 degrees F outside, sunny and breezy. What's up with that? How am I supposed to get all my Netflix DVDs watched when it's that nice outside?

Yeah, the DVDs can wait (even though 2 of them are NewsRadio from the Phil Hartman days). I spent a couple hours outside raking dead leaves away from my fence and off of my flower beds. MUCH better!

I also went for a walk around the 'hood because it's Junk Days! Well, I don't think Junk Days is the proper name; it's more like Community Clean-up or Bloomington Spring Cleaning or something. Basically, you can put anything out by the curb this week — appliances, furniture, scrap lumber — and the sanitation service will take it.

But there's usually not much left by garbage day, because junk-picking senior citizens with flatbed trailers cruise the neighborhood all week and haul the choicest morsels home to store in their own garages until next Junk Day.

Monday, April 03, 2006

lead me not

Situation: Office is quiet, to-do list is short, Boss M is occupied, Boss B is away.
Temptation: Sneak a peak at iPod video goodies.
Willpower: Wavering. So far, so good, but ask me again in an hour.

Situation: Spent $OMG on clothes on Friday.
Temptation: Return the suit.
Willpower: OK. I’m chanting the “quality” mantra. Besides, the jacket is being altered, and I don’t think I can get a full refund after that.

Situation: No meetings scheduled for Friday, and spring might just be here to stay.
Temptation: Take Friday off.
Willpower: Strong. Did not ask for permission to take Friday off; announced I was taking Friday off.

Situation: I have Friday off!
Temptation: Waste the day staring at the computer.
Willpower: Will depend on sunshine. Weather.com predicts 70% chance of rain that day. But I can still have some fun.

Situation: Cold wind blowing down my neck.
Temptation: Cover chilly vent with duct tape.
Willpower: Wavering. Trying the Unabomber approach first — making use of the hood on my hoodie.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


It's raining and crappy outside today — yet Warren Peace still insists on going outside. So much for my plans to fire up the iPod and work in the yard. What am I supposed to do instead, dust? GRR! Nah, just kidding. Once I take care of the usual grocery shopping and cleaning chores, I'm going to get cozy with the new Jonathan Kellerman novel, Gone. That's exactly what rainy Sundays are for.

I headed for my classes yesterday full of ennui. The only reason I went at all was because I was giving Lisa a ride and didn't want to leave her stranded. But when we got there, we learned that Sifu Paul was out for the day, leaving Partner-san in charge. He directed us to do actual boxing in our boxing class for the first time in months, reminding me of why I've enjoyed it so much in the past. Partner-san rocks.

Then in T'ai Chi, I got to teach some guys who were working on the third section of the form, rather than the first. I always enjoy coaching the first-timers and am gratified to see how many of them come back for more, but it was a treat to work with more experienced students, too. We were able to get more in depth about some of the techniques, and it was a real milestone day for one of the guys as he worked through the end of the form for the first time. That was cool.

And then Woody had chocolate cake waiting for us afterward. Tasty!

After class I learned a very important lesson: what my fancy home security alarm sounds like when it's set off. If you saw a pack of zombies shambling about outside around mid-afternoon, sorry, that was my fault, because that thing really could wake the dead. I apologize to the entire Central Time Zone.

And speaking of time, did you remember to set your clocks ahead?