November 16, 2001

it has potential, i promise

Second leg of Jazz Tour. Mark, Eric and I still proved ourselves to be liabilities on the conscience of Ryan Frane. Burger King crowns, Roman helmets and McDonald’s Play Place all had the potential to severely compromise UMD’s integrity.

Ryan’s friend Dennis made an interesting point today. People that study ancient civilizations look at alcohol production to gauge the amount of grain surplus in a society. It’s been shown that beer is not produced unless there is a surplus of grain available for fermentation, and the amount produced can reflect the productivity of the society. “That’s why America produces so much beer; has so many microbrews and such,” he said. Ryan noted that Germany apparently didn’t get the memo.

I got thinking. Afghans are starving, so they probably don’t have much surplus grain. You can’t walk down to the liquor store and buy imported Afghani beer. But now with the Taliban in shambles that all can change! They should brew and export Northern Alliance Ale. I… umm… I thought I had more ideas on this matter, but apparently not. It seemed really funny in the car, though, I promise.

November 15, 2001

optimized for your lifestyle

When I’m curious about the temperature outside, I don’t go outside. I don’t check a thermometer. I don’t ask anyone, because usually no one else has been outside or they give me some bunk answer like it’s raining wet naps or something. Nay, none of these actions take I, for I look online. The alienation starts here.

Hmm. According to this website the weather is not optimized for my lifestyle. Well shucks then, what is?

The bulk of Jazz Tour happened today with shows at Hermantown, Esko and Central. Exhaustion and missed classes notwithstanding, it was a fun time. Unfortunately my manner of dress was a bit casual compared to the other band members… short sleeved polyester and Converse All-Stars versus dress shirts and dress shoes. Apparently my manners themselves were also too casual, as Ryan Frane half-jokingly said that I almost got booted from the band for some of my actions. My “boxers vs. briefs” answer, for example. A girl has asked why the alto saxophonists kept their instruments between their legs rather than on their right side, as she was used to seeing.

“What was wrong with that?” I asked. “It was clearly a comfort thing.” To which Ryan said it was only one of many examples. Perhaps he was upset by urban spelunking at Subway, or our desire to play on the tire swings in Hermantown, or playing hacky-sack with some high school kids at Central, or heckling the kid that had many bleached, two foot spikes for hair. All I did was compliment him, but I think I ruined his life in the process.

“Dammit, people aren’t supposed to think my hair is cool. They’re supposed to hate it and get angry and scared, and then I can start yelling about how I’m my own person and screw what they think and fuck the man who keeps me down and you’re just a tool with a tool haircut for your tool job and Mom can I borrow the car.”

He’s gonna go right home and chisel that hair off. The band Rancid will never sound the same to him again.

I’m registering for classes, and all the ones I need to take fall between 11:00 and 1:00 with great amounts of overlapping. If I had clones I could easily shove 20 credits worth of class into two hours’ time and graduate. But all my clones ended up super intelligent and built a hyperspace craft to go conquer distant galaxies, swoon their women and watch their cartoons. So I’m stuck here, trying to lay out a piecemeal schedule that will not guarantee my timely graduation in five years. I don’t understand. Why are all upper-division philosophy classes offered at the exact same time? All composition classes? The journalism department seems to be the only one that has figured out a schedule-friendly juggling system, and they have classes spread from here to next Tuesday over in Andromeda. But even they are a bit extreme, for I have an 8:00 Journalism, no class until the 11:00 mess, and a journalistic sore thumb sticking out at 3:00. There will be very little snuggling going on next spring, it appears. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I think.

Our garbage is overflowing, but we don’t have any extra garbage bags so no one has taken it out yet. It smells pretty bad, as the spoils of our Sunday grilling are still buried somewhere in the depths. I threw in some overripe bananas to try and freshen things up.

November 13, 2001

a martyr or whiner?

I have found the Crouton Horizon. I never knew it was possible to put too many croutons on a salad. Oh, it’s definitely possible, and it isn’t a tasty treat when you do. Too many croutons make me dizzy.

Today was a good day. I almost missed Philosophy again, as I forgot to reset my alarm and overslept. I checked my Geology exam grade, and I’m tied with another kid for the highest grade in the 200 person lecture. Not bad. American Lit was exciting while waiting for the professor… I realized that the plugs in the tables could be used for more exciting things than laptop computers… things like toasters! Next Thursday we are so gonna make toast in class.

The G.O.D. (Gregarious Opponents to Dogma) club was opposite the Gideons today in the UMD Commons. You could taste the righteousness in the air. I graciously accepted a free religious-book-of-whatever from the Gideons, and went over to the G.O.D. table.

“I wanna be told what to think!” I told the GODer, who was playing the original Final Fantasy on his iPaq.

“Then go over there,” he said, pointing over at the Gideons. Religion is fun. So are video games. I gotta get myself an iPaq.

Wooch! shirts are in, w00t!, Wooch! shirts are in! They are a complete thing of beauty, and if assholes get their money in and my credit card gets paid off, I’ll be a happy man.

My Target bedside lamp has self-destructed. Everything on it that can break or crack has done so. The bottom fell off and I can see its grisly electonic bits. Shards of plastic are mixed in with my sheets and cut me up. The stupid lamp didn’t even last me a semester. Target better pray to G.O.D. that my satisfaction is guaranteed, or they’re gonna face the Wrath of Dane.

I’m so excited for my Johnny Cash cds to arrive. Love, God, Murder. You know the guy has done all three.

I did more than four hours and two mugs-of-tea worth of homework tonight. I don’t know if that’s more or less than the average. I don’t know whether I’m a martyr or a whiner. All I know is that this night was a lot like every other night has been for the past few weeks, this one was just well-documented.

I’d run away and go live atop a mountain with sherpas and goats, if I wasn’t sure that I would find just as much work for myself there. A full day of goat milking. Four hours of sherpa grooming. Freezing into a very dead board on first night.


You notice the lack of focus in this Blither. I hope you love it.

November 12, 2001

relax, oh slave

An eventful day, but I’m not in the mood to write about it at length.

She meowed at me. Again. All I did was give a cold glare back. She did a double take. I hope she got the message. I wish freaky girls would leave me alone.

I attended a yoga class today for my journalism story. It was very interesting. If I had time to be relaxed I probably would be, now.

This was on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune. The headline and pictures seem to suggest something altogether different from real life.

I hope that a picture is an acceptable substitution for written substance. I’m gonna go read about slaves.


November 11, 2001

charcoal is your jiffy pop lighthouse

Yesterday was neat. We went to the annual lighting of the Split Rock Lighthouse. We hiked around until it got dark, lost our group, found the other group, found our group and lost our group again. We even got to be the last group to tour the lighthouse. Apparently it has a working distance of 22 miles (before the curve of the earth takes over) and glides on 7 1/2 quarts of mercury. That’s over 200 pounds of child-poisoning goodness!

Speaking of children, this one kid was playing on a small rock outcropping and he fell on the grass, to which he exclaimed, “I fell on my butt!” We couldn’t stop laughing, so he did it again. And again. Kids rock. We should have stolen this one, given him mercury and made him an honorary Wooch! member. We didn’t steal the kid, but I did steal a stupid looking hat… maybe it was his.

We wanted to have a party at our place, but Doug and I refused to let Ryan drink while we had ten people over. Ryan, being the selfish bastard he is, would not submit to our outlandish demands, so we gathered at Mark’s house instead. I tried to make Jiffy Pop, but I tore the bag while opening it and the popcorn burned. It was really disappointing, because I was really excited to make Jiffy Pop. We ran down to Jubilee Foods where we got Stove Top stuffing, mashed potatoes, Kool-Aid and cake mix. I recited How to be Popular from YM magazine and Laura broke the automatic door. We watched Grumpy Old Men, cooked, swore a lot, and Mark made everyone mugs of fancy tea.

Ryan is going on five straight hours of TV, today. At least I was able to get my Johnny Bravo fix. Oh, and Space Ghost is on at 10:30. I’ll beat Ryan yet! er… yes. I’ll beat him, if I stay up until four in the morning watching television.

Update-09:30pm: 7 1/2 hours. His laughing cackle is horrifying.

The Simpsons season premier wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared it would be. Quite funny at times, actually. However, football season really angers me. The games always run a few minutes late, so Fox programming gets pushed back a little bit. Simpsons started ten minutes late tonight, which wouldn’t get my blood aboilin’ except that the banal and lumpy King of the Hill immediately precedes. This means I get suckered into watching ten minutes of that horrible show, which never ceases to make me feel filthy. Today’s show: Hank Hill gets kicked in the testicles by his son and they talk about it openly. Ick, ick, ick.

Space Ghost was pretty bad. My experience would have been better had it been accompanied by drug abuse. Space Ghost – Coast to Coast is no substitute for Cartoon Planet. Cartoon Planet has Brak, and Space Ghost just isn’t fun without The Brakker. Luckily Cowboy Bebop was on afterwards, and that salvaged the evening. Well, would have salvaged, except that it was a weak episode about Feng Shui and sunstones and crap. I wanted guns and spaceships and short skirts and long anime-girl legs. Next time, Dane. Next time.

Grillin’ was awesome and made me feel manly. We were out of lighter fluid so Ryan used white gas instead. My chicken turned out perfect tasty, but didn’t have quite enough char on it. I need a marinade brush for next time; paint on the sweet jerk and let it burn to the meat. Oh yeah.

My hair smells like charcoal. I am man.

November 10, 2001

headlines for jerks

The Sunny Wicked CD Release Party took place at the Roundabout last night, and it rocked the potassium feldspar right out of my existence. I haven’t seen the guys perform since Beaner’s last year, and they’ve really improved the jive and stack. Thick variety of songs… the ephermeral jams of Face Transplant (?), the playful energy of any Rick Robot composition, and an Aladdin cover that almost had me rolling on the floor. There was only one problem: Matthew R Peterson was having way too much fun.

I’m excited. I got some chicken wings and some Carribbean Jerk marinade, and I’m gonna be grillin’ up some fine food tomorrow.

This jewel of a headline was in the News Tribune today:

Beauty like food, drugs to men, study says

What the heck is it saying? It’s like some cryptic message a talking robot would produce.









This is why today’s robots still have no sense of aesthetics. In writing headlines, even humans seem confused about beauty. Imagine trying to write it into code.

November 9, 2001

late-nite nap time

Last night, after a few unproductive hours working on my janitor feature story, which had produced a meager two paragraphs, I decided to take a nap. The time was 10:00 pm, a dangerous time to begin a nap. I hoped I would wake up so I could continue on the story… Why, if I napped for an hour, that still gives me two hours to get some solid work done before meeting an arbitrary bed time!

Oh, I woke up alright. At 3:30 in the morning. Whoops. I went back to bed and woke at 8:00 to finish the story… er, really… to start the story.

That’s all for today.

November 8, 2001

the porcupine awakens

I was in the basement of A.B. Anderson, reading and listening to my cd player, when suddenly I was surrounded by an entire classroom. Apparently the students finished their paintings and had brought them out into the lounge to critique. Uncle Tom and I were sprawled all about a couch, and backpack, jacket and climbing gear were strewn over the floor. I gauged by the students’ incredulity of my presence that it was expected I leave during their ceremony, though no one said anything to that effect. Oh, there were whispers and awkward stares, but both were drowned out by Ben Folds Five. The professor didn’t seem to mind me, as she was too wrapped up in her energetic congratulation of the paintings. I just sat and ignored. Some jewels of praise leaked through the headphones:

“OOOH! It’s so amazing what you guys did! Look at all the wonderful new colors you came up with! It’s all so colorful!”

I refused to be distracted, to look at the paintings in question. By the professor’s ejaculations it sounded like they were a collection of cruel Nazi experiments that used disgust to cause colorblindedness. Take one look and your love of color is dashed so violently that your world turns black and white.

Johnny Bravo is my crack fix. I haven’t missed the show for three days straight, and for me that amount of consistency is very rare. I want to write cartoons when I grow up.

Ok, how funny would this be?

Between classes you’re walking through the Hall of Dead Things in Life Science. The sight of prone animals suddenly awakens an ancestral memory, long repressed. Overcome with the urges of Primitive Man, you plunge your fist through one of the glass display cases. As the shards tinkle to the floor you close your fist around the tail of the porcupine, yank him from his mothball coffin. Bellowing a primal cry you raise the prickly beast over your head and barrel through the crowd, whacking students at random. The soft flesh of college is no match for a quill-filled smack across the face. Nothing can take you down. As you make your way to the Chancellor’s office, all who stand in your way are rendered weeping pin cushions. Meeting no resistence from the supple secretary, you enter the inner sanctum. By luck the Chancellor is as her desk, not out fundraising or some damn thing.

She looks at you over the top of her glasses. You stare back, level, jets of steam pumping from your nostrils. With surprising speed she leaps from her seat and pulls a broadsword from the wall. The Chancellor lunges at you, the thirst for your death in her eyes. A tiring fight ensues, and the Chancellor is finally subdued. With your blood in a fury you perch atop her desk, porcupine in hand, and let loose a chilling howl.

November 7, 2001

the schedule is full, madame

Halloween was a week ago, and I’m still washing Dax out of my hair. As I look at it I probably need a haircut, but I don’t want to go to the “stylist” in this condition. She threatened me when my hair was orange, and there’s no knowing what she’ll do if she finds a quart of Valvoline in there. Probably plunge her scissors in the back of my neck. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Mount Royale with Cheese.

A slight change in weather patterns for today. Windy, cold, bitter, cloudy and dark. A perfect day to read 91 pages of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, don’t you think?

I’ve developed a close relationship with Cartoon Network, most notable with the show Johnny Bravo. I really like that cartoon. It has snappy writing and animation that makes me laugh, and I can identify with the hilarious actions of Mr. Bravo.

Red Planet is on TV right now, and I wish I had more time to watch it because it looks really cool. All the technology has that beautiful futuristic gleam that dominated my mind in elementary school. Flexible transparent monitors, cool light up buttons, nifty spacecraft and perfectly shiny helmets. I was always excited for the days when I would draw with laser pens and live in space and such… normal fantasies for a young, strapping lad that read Popular Science and too many books on the solar system. Oh why did I reign myself in? When did I decide that the here-and-now was more worth my notice than fanciful speculation on the future?

With that being said, I need to read philosophy, finish my remaining fifteen pages of Uncle Tom’s, study for my second Geology midterm and write a feature story on a janitor. I will start by sleeping, as usual.

No room for the future in this schedule.

November 6, 2001

drowning out thought with the ghetto


An insincere apology for not writing anything yesterday, but I really had nothing to write about. Saw the northern lights, which was cool, but they revealed no startling revelations. Yesterday was average. Gorgeous weather, however.

I have begun noticing the first doldrums of changing majors. When I was studying music I was in class all day, cursing the heavens. When I wasn’t in class I was constantly wringing my hands over what I should do. Do I do homework for non-music classes? Do I compose? Do I practice? Do I take a nap? It was a specific blend of confused misery, and I sort of miss it. Not the misery part, no, I can do away with that… but I long for the days when I felt I was actually learning something, progressing towards a vague goal of musical expertise. Back then, with every day came new revelations and infinite sources of artistic inspiration. There were also jazz piano changes, figured bass, 0.5 credit classes and other fiendish sources of anger, but an idealized memory is better than none at all, right? Now I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels, regurgitating any old thought that comes along and not truly absorbing those that are new. I’m getting sick of listening to myself talk and hearing myself think… same old, same old…

Maybe I just need more ghetto rap music to drown it all out.

By request, we now have Gleem.

Another warm day. Though pleasant, these days of unseasonable warmth seem just wrong, and I have figured out why. The November sun does not feel intense enough to generate this amount of warmth. It’s rays feel weak and spindly, like I could reach out, snap one off and use it to pick junk out of my teeth. At 2:00 in the afternoon it already feels like the sun is setting, even though it’s got a good hour to go until it actually disappears. Also the angle is all wrong. And dammit, the sun should be higher! Hey you, get it right! What is wrong with this stupid planet? I’ll show you an axial tilt!

College has really led me to despise bass and explosions. I have no natural aversion to either (I acually love bass when it involves my car), but since college the only times I experience either is when I’m trying to sleep. I no longer have time to watch movies and play video games, which are prime sources for both bass and explosions and bass-filled explosions, but my case seems to be the exception rather than the rule. People that surround my habitat seem to have more than enough time for bass, explosions, movies, video games, ghetto rap, beer, thinking, immobilization, zits, snails, grilling, ass-picking, eating, cooking, eroticism and Wall Street. All I want is to lean my head against the frosted shower stall.

I voted today, which was painless except for one thing. I’m afraid that instead of voting for the smoking ban, I accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan.