Sunday, August 31, 2008

One more Neko Case post

I took the color out of this picture (even though I thought that might be kind of a cliche thing to do), and I think it looks awesome, so I'm posting it. And just to be clear, I did take this one. It makes me wish I had my better camera...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Neko Case

Neko Case was in town this past Thursday and I took video of her singing a couple of songs. She is unbelievable. So is Kelly Hogan, her back-up singer.

Here she is singing "I Wish I Was the Moon"

Here she is singing "Star Witness"

Here she is singing a new song that's going to be on her new album due out March 2009

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I've rid my life of iPhoto

Thanks to a terrific tip from my friend Matt, I've successfully replaced iPhoto as my photo manager with Adobe's Bridge. For those who don't know, iPhoto is easily Apple's weakest program; I've experienced nothing but frustration with it. Bridge, on the other hand, is absolutely terrific, although a little bit advanced for me right now. Ideally Google would release a version of Picasa for Mac. Picasa is the greatest base-level picture manager I've ever used.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A really great deal

I've decided to take up tennis again and to show my dedication, I've purchase a new racket:

This is a racket that retails for $300, but I got a really great deal on it--$225 off the original price! I'm really excited to see how it will improve my game.

I've also started taking tennis lessons. I got these for free too, so I feel really great about that.

Let me know if any of you want to play.

Friday, April 25, 2008

South Carolina

I recently enjoyed a trip with my two oldest sisters to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I took a bunch of pictures there (mostly of my nieces and nephews) that I'd like to share with you.

This picture (obviously) is not of my nieces and nephews. It's of a building on River Street in Savannah, GA. It dates back to the 1700s which is really cool. If you get the chance to visit Savannah, do it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back pain is the worst

Several weeks ago I was at the gym. Some of you might not know that I go to the gym, but I do, and I'm usually very careful while I'm there. Two and a half years ago, I was at the gym doing an exercise with my legs and I reinjured the herniated disc in my lower back. I did the same thing a few weeks ago.

Only this time, I knew immediately that I was hurt, and hurt really bad. I immediately stopped what I was doing and began to head home. I was immeasurably inconvenienced when I realized that I had ridden my bicycle to the gym that day. Because the pain this time was setting in so quickly, I knew there was no way I could get on the bike to ride it home. I thought at least I could walk--slow as it may be.

I began, but only lasted about one quarter mile before I collapsed on the side of the road. I laid (I don't care if this isn't the accepted past tense form here. The word is impossible to get "right", so I'm telling all of you to just go with your ear--whatever sounds right, in this case, is) there for about an hour until a woman in her sixties stopped and asked me a question.

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I think I'll be fine--I just injured my back pretty bad."

"Do you need anything?"

"Well, um, do you think I could get a ride to my apartment? I live just down the road."

"Oh, I'm actually late to babysit my grandkids. I could call my husband though."

"Oh that's fine--I think I'll be ok."

I don't blame this lady for not wanting to let a 25-year-old stranger into her car. It's just too dangerous these days. I don't know why I didn't have her call her husband, though. I was in a lot of pain.

So there I laid for honestly 30 more minutes. I very slowly regained some strength during that time until I could sit up straight. This was a huge improvement for me. Eventually I was able to get my whole body on my feet and even take a few steps.

Now at least the bike I brought with me was coming in handy: I could use it as a walker so I could walk totally hunched over without having to use my back to keep my body upright. I walked this way nearly half the way home to my apartment before an incredibly nice lady and her son stopped and told me "You look like you're walking really gingerly. Can we give you a ride?"

Sweeter words I have seldom heard. They loaded my bike into their car and within a minute, I was at home in a warm apartment lying on a carpeted floor--much better than the side of the road.

It took only one week to completely heal this time, which is pretty fast. I'm glad to report that I'm back to full health. And I'm no longer embarrassed to admit that there are just some things my body can't do. It's not worth going through that process again.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Amazon has awesome customer service.

My best guess is that everyone who will read this post has made a purchase or two from But I don't guess that everyone who will read this post has had to interact with an employee at's call center before.

This is a good thing. I take it to mean that Amazon's website works seamlessly enough so people don't have to call them up with complaints or complications. I did have to call them, but it turned out the problem I faced was entirely my fault.

For my birthday, my sister had given me an electronic gift card to Amazon (such a wonderful wonderful gift), which was easier to apply to my account than I could have imagined. I planned to use it in the near future, but I wasn't sure just then what purchase I would apply it to.

Last night--late--I decided to buy a Logitech mouse with Bluetooth technology for my computer. I'll be doing some large projects on my computer soon and thought having a mouse would be a little more convenient than only using the laptop's track pad. When I went to make my purchase, however, I noticed that the money from the gift card was no longer applied to my account. I could only think to call someone at Amazon to see what they could do, but it was so late, I thought there was no way I could talk to someone and get the problem fixed that night.

Despite my doubts, I did a search for the Amazon's customer service phone number and was impressed to see a button labeled "We'll Call You!" right next to the toll-free number.

So I don't have to make the call and be put on hold? I thought. Someone will actually call me and save me all that time? I was so curious to see if this was too good to be true, I thought it was worth a shot.

Please keep in mind it was nearly 1:00am when I clicked the call button. Within a matter of twenty seconds, I was on the phone with one of the friendliest people I had ever spoken with over the telephone. The gentleman helping me told me that I had set up two Amazon accounts by mistake, and that the money from the gift card was applied to my other account. He logged me in to that account, I made my purchase, and now we're in the process of closing down my unnecessary account.

I just loved the whole experience. I love good customer service and now I've got three companies on my list of Greatest Customer Service Givers. I recommend any of these to you:


It's nice to know that these people genuinely care--or at lest they make me believe they do time and time again.

I'd love to hear your great customer service experiences. Make some recommendations to the rest of us. If we all band together, none of us will ever have to suffer through Best Buy-esque customer service again.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tuna Melt part 2

Some of you will remember reading a post a few weeks ago where I shared a secret recipe for a delicious tuna melt. I've now perfected it and I'd like to share the updated secrets with you.

The biggest difference between the old and new tuna melts is the cheese. Remember the old one used feta cheese? It tasted good, but feta cheese didn't melt in the broiler, which made the melt loose quite a few points when it came to texture. To fix this problem, I've replaced the feta with fresh grated asiago cheese, which melts to a beautiful golden brown. Plus it's delicious.

The only other difference between the two melts is that I now mix the dry tuna with a little bit of olive oil and rosemary in a bowl before putting it on the bread. Just these few changes have made this one of my favorite meals.

Here's what it looked like after it came out of the broiler today.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Perfect description

This is taken from the description of the Decemberists on I particularly like the last three words:

The Decemberists are one of the fastest-rising indie bands on the scene, and one of the most recognizable, as front man Colin Meloy stands out for his country twang and black-rimmed glasses.

The line is drawn here.

I have to draw the line somewhere and here it is: when I'm looking on the internet for a great restaurant to visit and one of the restaurants in the list is Burger King. There is no need and no excuse to include Burger King on a list of restaurants in a decently-sized city. My gosh. Now I don't know what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh no!

I came home from school just about 10 minutes ago and, upon looking in the mirror, found that I had unknowingly been walking around like this:

!!!. I may as well have been wearing a pair of flip flops with my jeans.

I was cheered up, though, when I remembered that this beautiful book came for me today in the mail:

Royal Skousen thinks the world of this book, which means there's a great chance that I will too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lucky to still be alive

I wasn't too thrilled last night when I found out I had a dentist appointment in Murray during my holiday. I woke up extra early today to call and find out what time I had to be there, and when I found out that time was 10:30, and that it was snowing so hard, I thought I should leave right away to give myself plenty of time.

I haven't been so upset in recent memory when I was stopped on the freeway around Thanksgiving Point due to traffic. It was a full half hour before I moved faster than 5 miles per hour again. I was so so so so irritated. By the time I was able to drive at a comfortable speed, I made a bad decision: I tried to release some of my frustration by driving faster than was safe. Around 45th south, I drove too aggressively right into about six inches of dirty slush, which sent me spinning 180 degrees. The next thing I knew, I was looking into the faces of the people behind me.

I think one of my strengths is staying way calm in a situation such as this. I simply waited for a large gap in traffic, all the while hoping that everyone who passed me would become aware of me in time to slow down. I eventually got turned around and made it to the dentist only about 10 minutes late.

I was reminded again today how important it is to drive carefully in this weather, no matter how much I loathe it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Still my favorite

I turned on the TV after getting home from the Sundance Film Festival last night to find that this movie was on TBS :

and I was again reminded that this movie lives up to my every expectation, despite years and years of talking it up to myself, and remains my vote for best movie in the world.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm still sore

Remember that dance party that happened nearly a month and a half ago? I had a great time, despite putting a gash in my forehead that made me think I needed stitches immediately. Now I'm wondering if I didn't do something to my ankle. It still hurts at times. Maybe it's a hairline fracture? I'm not sure.

I shouldn't trust myself when it comes to diagnosing my sicknesses. I remember a while ago I fell down hard, but caught myself with my hand and arm in locked position. Shortly after my fall, I began experiencing a clicking sound in my elbow joint every time I straightened my arm. I went to the doctor expecting the worst, but he told me it would just go away in a few days, which it did. Another time, I had re-injured by back by trying to lift too much weight with my legs. I was paralyzed for a day and had to miss work. I went to the back doctor and he told me the soreness would just go away in a few weeks, which it did. I don't think I should go to the doctor for my ankle because, if history has set any kind of pattern, he'll tell me the pain will go away in a few months. I think it's best to keep waiting this one out.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tuna Melt

Lately my favorite kitchen appliance is the broiler. Today I made a delicious lunch with it, and that's what I'd like to share with all of you today.

All I did was take two pieces of whole grain wheat bread and set them on a cookie sheet. I buttered them and then crumbled some feta and parmegiano cheese on the pieces. After that, I drained a can of tuna fish until the tuna was bone dry and flaky. Then I broiled it in the oven until the tuna was browned, the cheese was melted, and the bread was toasted. I ate it with a knife and fork and it was absolutely delicious! Way better than that gross tuna melt I got at Apollo Burger one time where it was just a cold scoop of tuna and cheese between two pieces of bread.

Give this a shot and see if you like it as much as I did.

It's nice to be blogging again.