Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Get Off My Lawn
Damn Kids

Update on my A/V situation (I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for an update on this):

I purchased the 4-way AV selector switch from Radio Shack. It's working swell. So now I can have all my peripherals plugged in to my TV. Awesome. Just as I finally get a dtv converter box (omg! time's running out!), the government decides to roll back the switchover time from February to June. Jeesh. I guess this is good for me though, as I can use the converter box when I'm at home watching TV and get better reception, but as long as the "normal" antenna stuff is still working, I can record stuff on a timer by shutting off the converter box. Yeah. Anyway...

Joleen and Sunny have officially moved out of Australia and are now backpacking around New Zealand. For 6 weeks. Then on to southeast Asia.

My neighbors are being INCREDIBLY loud. As in, the movie they're watching is turned up to the max. Which is why I'm blogging, since I was having an impossible time concentrating on thinking about readings and other stuff I should be doing. Yes Sarah, I KNOW I need to talk to my landlord about it. Tonight was the clincher. Ugh.

I'm drinking hot chocolate.

I think the apartment building a block from me had a big fire tonight. Not sure, though.

Has anyone other than Sarah seen Milk? If so, what did you think of it? Should I make a point to go see it, even though I'd have to be pathetic and see it alone? How about The Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button? Why am I kind of annoyed with Brad Pitt these days? Mystery.

Okay, back to my readings...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And So It Begins

This was my first week of classes for the Spring semester. I was originally signed up for four classes, but I just got another part-time job at the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), so I had to drop one of them. Of the three classes that I'm taking, two are online courses. So I have to physically attend only one class. And it's only once a week (but 2.5 hours long). That class also has a practicum requirement of 10 hours a week working on an archival collection at the WHS. Which means I'll be living at the WHS this year, what with my two separate jobs there and the practicum class.

It was interesting; there are 13 people in my archives class. All but two of us wear glasses. And the professor wears glasses. And the three people who work at the WHS who came and spoke with our class also wore glasses. And my two bosses there wear glasses. I feel like I need to go out and buy some fake glasses so I can fit in. Hey, Joleen--where are those fake glasses you had made? Then again, you have a tiny head so they probably wouldn't fit me.

The archival collection I have to organize and process for my class are the papers of Clarence Irving Zimmerman. Well, they told me that that's his name, but when I looked at the stuff in the boxes everything said James G. I don't know what's up with that. He graduated from the UW in 1903 with a degree in (electro)chemical engineering, and later became an inventor. Upon my cursory inspection of the materials, he seems to have focused on batteries, car stuff (possible car batteries, I haven't quite figured this out yet), and color photographs. And I saw a sketching for a mechanical pencil complete with mechanical eraser. And lots of notebooks full of equations that make no sense to me. Me stoopid.

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon Alert: For my job at the WHS, recently I've been organizing/inventory-ing architectural drawings. Many of them are by Frank Riley. So the other day I was googling James G. Zimmerman (not much out there on him that I'm finding), and came upon an article that said that he lived in a house built/designed for his wife by Frank Riley. Weird!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Battle of the Rodents
Gophers v. Badgers

I went to Babe's tonight to watch the Badger-Gopher basketball game with Sarah. It was an exciting game, but ultimately very disappointing as the Badgers threw the game away and ended up losing in OT. Oh well.

I survived the extreme cold today. I bundled up. By the time I got to the bus stop, I was doing pretty good, except for my legs from mid-thigh to mid-calf, as the only protection they had from the cold was a layer of denim. It got to the point where my thighs were stinging and painful. I was happy when I saw my bus round the curve. I was wearing a scarf that I pulled up past my nose. Which reminded me of another thing I hate about wearing scarves--all the moisture build-up from breathing into it. Ew. They must be laden with germs.

The moisture from my breath caused my hair that fell around my face to frost up, along with my eyelashes. When I got on the bus, the driver laughed at me, in a good-natured way. After sitting on the bus for a few minutes, it felt like I was crying as the frost melted off my eyelashes and ran down my face. It was kind of funny.

Madison schools were canceled. Lots of schools are already canceled for tomorrow as well. I'm betting Madison will cancel. That's makes quite the long weekend for school kids, as they have Monday off as well for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A 5 day weekend! Awesome!

Nothing else to say. Over and out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Friggin' Freezing
That's winter in the upper midwest for ya...

Schools in the area have already closed for Thursday due to extreme windchill temps. Not Madison, because they're leaving the decision up until tomorrow morning. But the windchill in the next day or so is supposed to be around -40. Which, prior to around the year 2000, would have been about -80, as they changed the way they measure windchill.

Which explains some things for me, as I was remembering back in the day when I was in (k-12) school it seemed that windchills were not infrequently between -25 and -40. And when the state of Minnesota canceled all school in the state, it was due to -80 temps. I thought the world was turning pussyish (pardon the misogynistic term). But really, they just fixed windchill measuring methods. How?

Well, they used to measure wind speed at about the 30 ft level. Now they measure it at the 5 ft level, because that's the level that effects us humans, walking around the earth. Winds are less strong at the 5 ft level than at the 30 ft level; therefore, the temp is a bit higher. So. Now you know.

Anyway, I'm not looking forward to walking to and then waiting at the bus stop tomorrow morning. I think I'll succumb to wearing a scarf, even though I hate the feeling of stuff bunching around my neck. But I think I'd hate the feeling of frostbite even more.

I have nothing else to write about. I played SingStar with Sarah last night. I consistently beat her by 1000 points or so. I'm obviously destined to become an 80s Pop Superstar.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Or are they?

Is there a word for when you learn a vocab word and suddenly see it everywhere? Or read about something relatively uncommon, then within a few days see another reference to that something completely unrelated to the first instance in which you read about it? A word other than "coincidence," that is.

Here are two that I will share with you, which I recently experienced.

1. I recently finished a book called Fevre Dream. It's a vampire novel that takes place in the 1800s primarily aboard a steamboat called the Fevre Dream...which is named after the Fevre River in Galena, Ill (which is nowadays called the Galena River). FWIW, it was a very good book. Anyway, the other day I was working at the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), and I was typing up/editing/reformatting a list of photos/daguerreotypes that the WHS has in their cased image collection. One of the images was of Galena, Ill. and the Fevre River. How often do you come across references to the Fevre River? Honestly. They even have this image digitized, so you can all see it! ::ooh, awww::

2. I've never seen the Godfather movies. However, tomorrow I am going to watch the first two with a few of my SLIS friends (apparently it's best to pretend that the third movie never happened?). Tonight I was watching Family Guy and they had an interlude thing where Peter declares to the horror of his family that he "never cared for" The Godfather. I just thought that was weird since I had plans to see it tomorrow.

That's it.


I mean, really...what a cruel name for a child to have to learn to write. I think I had just turned 7 in this picture, in case you were wondering.

I'm guessing Reese Witherspoon is going to be making a new romantic comedy soon. I just took an online survey asking about my preferences for which male lead I'd like to see in a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon. The options:

1. James Marsden
2. Paul Rudd
3. Seth Rogen
4. Jason Bateman
5. Jason Segal

My order: Paul Rudd (love him), Jason Bateman (also love him), Jason Segal (ambivalent), James Marsden (something about him bothers me), then Seth Rogen (in a romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon? No thanks). What do you guys think? Liz, whenever I think of romantic comedies I think about how much you hate them. :D

Hey, you can get Tim Tams at Target now. And they're actually called Tim Tams, as opposed to the ones at World Market where it doesn't say Tim Tams anywhere on the package. Apparently, they're associated with Pepperidge Farms. And at Target I got them for 2/$5.00. They're $4/package at World Market. Is there a Super Target in Madison? Or just a normal Target?

You know what show pisses me off and I've never even seen it (I don't even think it's premiered yet, actually)? That show with Howie Mandel where he does pranks or something. What I hate the most about it is that it's called Howie Do It. Someone. Kill. Me. Now.

Friday, January 09, 2009

(Not made of pineapple)

I just saw a commercial that was promoting both Sweet & Low and The Pink Panther 2. And had Regis Philbin in it. It was weird.

I get annoyed every time I see the preview for that movie starring Renee "Slits for Eyes, Stupid F*cking Lips" Zellweger. And it takes place in Minnesota. And the "Minnesotans" have hilarious "Minnesotan" accents. The exaggerated accents don't bother me (I have spoken with people who actually DO speak that way--"I'm Sue Johanson of Johanson's Greenhouse"), but the fact that Renee is in it DOES bother me. Because she's annoying. I just checked, and it's called New in Town. And Harry Connick Jr is in it, also. And it was filmed in Winnipeg. Enough of that. It sounds like I'm promoting the damn thing.

It's snowing. Check out this picture I took in December outside my apartment building--sucks to be this guy! The funny thing is, this was the second time this has happened to the same car. You'd think he'd learn not to park there the day of/after a giant snowfall. It doesn't take a genius to know that you'd probably get plowed in.

And here's how my Christmas lights looked covered in snow.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Emily's Year in Review - 2008 Edition

So, here's the recap of my 2008. I think it will be pretty boring; such is my life. Plus, you guys pretty much know everything already. Anyhoo, here I go...

I welcomed in 2008 at Laura and Michael's apartment with Liz (and L and M...Liz and I didn't crash their apt while they were off somewhere else). We played Guitar Hero and SingStar. I can trace back my current OCD obsession with Guitar Hero and SingStar to them.

At this point, I was still subbing in Madison. I think substitute teaching is the worst possible job for me. Seriously. 1) I'm too friggin' nice and naively believe that children will give you respect if you respect them. Instead, I get treated like shit and get trod all over. And then I become really bitter and start hating kids. 2) I have serious anxiety issues. Which have drastically improved as I've gotten older, but come back a thousand-fold when it comes to subbing. I mean, you get called the morning of and have to rush in to some random school you've probably never been to and teach a bunch of kids you've never met a subject you know nothing about with lesson plans which may or may not be present. Hell. Hellhellhellhellhell. Never again.

So, upon deciding that I really didn't want to teach, I had to seriously consider what to do with my life. Joleen (who at this point was already in Australia) brought Libraries/Archives to my attention. I was intrigued. Books? Yay! Old stuff? Yay! Organization? Yay! Plus, it seemed like my eduation degree could actually be benefical in this line of work. So I hastily threw together an application for SLIS grad school here at the UW, and was accepted! Hallelujah!

I think that happened in February. Nothing else happened in February. Liz had Sarah had birthdays. The groundhog didn't see his shadow (or maybe he did...I don't recall).

I must have continued subbing until June, but I don't remember. I think I'm blocking it from my memory. Oh yeah--I got a job at Sylvan at the end of February. That was fine, but not a lot of hours.

Another Easter came and went, in which I got an Easter basket from the Easter Bunny and got to see the nieces.

I did various things with Sarah throughout the Spring/Summer months, including kayaking and Concert on the Squares. The rest of the time I sat in my apt doing God-knows-what. Probably really important things that I just don't remember.

My mom visited a few times and brought with her a package Joleen sent from Oz full of lollies. And Tim Tams. I had my first Tim Tam Slam. I blame Joleen for my addiction.

I guilted Sarah into going to Rhythm and Booms with me, during which we were pelted with firework debris.

Sarah and I visited Liz and went to Laura's Wedding Shower where I had my first mani and pedi. Sarah used my camera to take pictures of people's feet, but not much else.

Then all the roomies (sans Candy :( ) got together for Laura and Michael's wedding! Man, two old roomies are married. And I'm still in school. The wedding was beautiful, and I had a GREAT time. So did Sarah (hehe).

Me, Liz, Sarah, and Brighton then drove to my cabin for a week. Which, of course, I loved.

The Beijing Olympics happened at some point around this time. I watched them. Two of my cousins gave birth...Becky to a boy (Braden), and Katie to a girl (Ava).

I was visted by my parents and brother (Brian), as Brian volunteered at the Iron Man in Madison. I started grad school, and got a part time job at the Wisconsin Historical Society. I didn't mind any of my classes, and I really enjoy my job at the WHS.

I got to see Candy when we went to Lelani's Baby Shower. Lots of babies this year...

My parents left for 6 weeks to visit Joleen and Sunny in Australia/New Zealand. During this time, I babysat Wicket. I had to keep her secret since I'm not allowed to have pets in my apartment. Which meant I had to put her in her kennel, sneak her to my car (parked in the underground garage), and drive a block away everytime I gave her a walk. A hassle, but if I didn't give her a walk she'd bark and act all pissy. I miss having a dog around to wag her tail when I get home. :( I went to my first corn maze with Sarah. That was fun, although the kids who entered at the same time as us annoyed me.

My parents returned home, bearing gifts. I got a real authentic pair of jandals! Woo-hoo!

The candidate I voted for in the Presidential election FINALLY won! I was going to be really bummed if I ended up 0-3 in Presidental votes. Yay for our first black President! Yay for a Democratic win!

Then it was Thanksgiving. We ate food. We cut down a real Christmas tree for the first time since I can remember. It smelled good.

My semester came to a close. It was very successful. I got an A in all 4 of my classes. Yay! Next semester is looking to be even busier, so I'm a bit worried about how I'll do. I'm sure everything will be fine.

Liz, Candy and Jake came to Madison just before Christmas. We (and Sarah) met up and had brunch. It was fun. Then it was Christmas. See previous post for Christmas details.

To bring everything full circle, I celebrated New Year's at Laura and Michael's again (with Liz!). We didn't play Guitar Hero, though. We played Scattergories and some Scene It! music quiz game. It was fun. I think I'll try to come up with a few resolutions for 2009 at some point. I resolve to come up with some resolutions! We'll see if anything ever comes of them.

That's it! Boring, eh? Did I forget anything? If I didn't have a photo of it, it's very possible I did!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Who's an A/V Expert?
Please help, and feel free to taunt

OK, so I've got some issues with my home entertainment system. (Now is where you laugh uncontrollably at me calling my crap an entertainment system)

I have what I believe they call a "tube" TV. An unfancy TV with no internal digital converter. I do not have cable; I use an antenna. I bought a digital converter so I can still watch TV in a month, or whenever that switch is occurring. I successfully hooked it up. So what's the problem, you ask?

1) My TV is a TV/VCR combo. As far as I can tell, I can't set a timer to record anything. The TV has to be on, and I have to manually push the record button. Which kind of blows, since the only time I generally record anything is when I won't be home. I tried looking up solutions online, but nothing seemed to help or relate directly to my situation (TV/VCR combo). Anyone know anything else about this?

And now for the bigger issue(s)...

2) Lack of sufficient AV inputs/plugs/things

My TV is apparently so crap that it only has three inputs: one for the coaxial cable, one audio (white) input, and one video (yellow) input. It doesn't even have a second audio (red) input. Previously, this wasn't a problem. I only needed to plug one thing into my TV--my DVD player. And not plugging the red audio cord in didn't seem to matter.

But now that I have the digital converter, I do have a problem, as I have two things I need to connect to my TV, but I only have one set of inputs. I thought to myself, "No problem, I'll just route the digital converter through the DVD player." No can do. My DVD player doesn't have any AV inputs, only the outputs to the TV. And the converter doesn't have any inputs, so I can't route the DVD player though the converter. Son of a beeotch. That's what I get for buying the cheapest crap out there. Stupid government making digital TV madatory.

Complicating matters more:

3) I got a PS2. Which connects to the TV via (you guess it) AV inputs. So now I have three things I need to plug into my TV that only has one set of inputs. And whereas not plugging in the red audio cord didn't seem to matter before, I have a feeling it does matter with the PS2. Because I was playing SingStar and could hardly hear my voice through the mic even with the mic volume turned way up. Is this due to me only having monosound, or whatever? Is there a setting I can choose on my PS2 to fix this (I haven't looked for this yet, because I'm lazy)?

Problems in a nutshell:
1) Can't record on a timer with my TV/VCR combo and a digital converter box.
2) Complete lack of AV inputs for all my peripherals (2 sets short).
3) PS2 sounding wonky...due to only plugging in one audio cord??

Does anyone have any ideas or solutions for me? Other than buying a new modern-era TV, that is. I'm cheap, and it would piss me off to buy a new TV with an internal digital converter when I just bought one (albeit with the $40 government coupon, but I still had to pay $20).

AV input-wise, I know I can just switch which plugs are plugged in depending upon which peripheral I'm using (watching TV vs. watching DVD vs. using PS2). But that's seriously annoying. I realize that my PS2 also functions as a DVD player, so I could just get rid of my DVD player...but I'd still not have enough AV inputs and I'd have to buy the stupid PS2 DVD remote which is way overpriced.

Is there some sort of cheap(ish) AV hub you can buy? Would buying Y adapters help, or would that just cause other problems (my TV only has one "line out" button, so I can't toggle between AV1 and AV2, etc).

Does anyone have a TV or DVD player with multiple AV input/outputs that they want to give me? ;)

Life is so hard.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Down she goes!

I went out to eat with my parents tonight. I was really excited to go to this Thai/Vietnamese restaurant that has awesome Tom Yum soup. But upon arrival at said establishment, we discovered it had closed down. Sadness abounded in my heart. So we went to this other Vietnamese restaurant that was so not as good. And didn't have Tom Yum soup. Oh well.

It was freezing rain at the time. When we got home, I played around on our driveway by running and sliding down it (standing up). As I was walking back up it, I fell down. My parents responded as if I was an eighty-year-old decrepit person prone to breaking hips. It didn't hurt at all. My neighbor was also privileged to witness it. It was kind of embarrassing, but also pretty funny. I wish I had it on video.

Franken now leads by 225 votes. Now the courts have to rule on whether some other ballots should be counted, and Coleman is supposedly going to file a suit about something.