Badger's Den

New Pix
9:38 a.m. - 2007-03-19

Here's some new pix of me and my guy.

Celebrating a Badger victory - not me, the Wisconsin Badgers.

Inspector Gadget
6:24 a.m. - 2007-03-17

Well, I have to thank Matt for putting a bee in my bonnet a.k.a. motivating me :-) My Olympus 540 is almost 5 years old and I have my Southwest vacation coming up next month. I love the camera, but it has a few drawbacks. So I've done some research and have ordered an Olympus 760. Playing with it in the store, I like the size, the dual image stabilization mode and the low light capabilities, the few things that dis-satisfied me with the 540. I'm a bit concerned over battery life. It may be difficult finding a charge on the road. But the review said it'll take about 120 pix on a charge which should do me.

Ordering it online saved me about $50, but now I have to wait for it to come in.

Plus I have a good home for my old camera where I think it'll be greatly appreciated.

And then while I was at the store, I bought a 500GB external hard drive for $189 (I've already filled up an 80GB and 2 160GB drives). I thought this was agreat deal and should provide for my audio/video/photo collection requirements for awhile.

I also bought the DVD of Casino Royale (Bond, James Bond) and a couple old Bond movies to round out my DVD collection.

Speaking of electronic gadgets and stuff, I don't think I ever mentioned that I bought a new laptop computer in January. It's an HP dv9005 multi-media PC with a 17inch wide screen monitor. I love the monitor size and it's great for watching movies. It also has a pretty decent set of Altec speakers and a webcam built in. It's downside is that it's pretty big and heavy to be carrying around alot. But for watching DVD's in my bedroom as I drift off, traveling, showing slideshows and surfing the web anywhere in the house, it's great. It came with 1GB memory, 100GB hard drive, some cool blue LEDs, a remote control for the multimedia controls that fits in the PCM slot and a slot for memory cards. Plus I bought before Vista which I think was a prudent move.

Also I just received a notice that my 3 year old notebook at work with its pathetic 20GB hard drive was at the end of it's life (duh!). So I'll be getting a new Dell pretty soon.

I'm also shopping for HDTV's. I'd like to get a 42 inch but I haven't decided on LCD or plasma. Need more info there.

Cell phone meets my needs. I just can't get excited over a gadget with a subscription fee.

I don't have an iPod (yet) but I have two tiny mp3 players and my Palm TX which does mp3's, videos, jpegs and WiFi, so I think I'm covered there.

So I think I'm pretty well equipped electronically for the year.

Music, Books, Quantum Physics and No Eugene
2:08 p.m. - 2007-03-16

I talked to Eugene this morning and we decided it wasn't going to work out for him to come down after all. When originally planned, Mike from Madison was driving down Friday evening. Turns out he can't leave until noon on Saturday.

He also was planning on staying pretty late Sunday and the weather report looks like snow in Wis. So Eugene was nervous about driving the last hour late at night through snow.

Plus he'll be coming down Easter weekend as well. So of course I'm disappointed a bit. On the other had, it'll be more relaxing. Makes me more glad that we got together last weekend.

But this weekend should be fun. I'm hoping that a bunch of us will go down to the riverfront and partake of the Irish feast which was fantastic last year.

Last night I went to Nancy's wings party and spent a lot of time talking to Steve. We shared work stories then I asked him how the universe was going. He's always up on what's going in the sub-atomic world.

We spend a good hour discussing the commonality between quantum physics, sending messages back in time compared to philosophy and spirituality. There's really a lot more commonality than you'd imagine.

I won't bore you with the details, but it's interesting how the newest scientific discoveries really support what philosophers have been saying since the dawn of time.

I then went home an caught a program on precognition. Hmmm how appropriate.

The book club book was "To Kill a Mockingbird." Wow, what a great and still timely book. I've never read it before. It brought some nostalgia from my childhood in a small town. But more it blew me away with the power of mob-think. Can we ever live in a world where everyone can respect each other? Where the majority can care for the minority? Where everyone's voice is heard and justice prevails?

The Mannheim Steamroller concert was great, tho their slideshow and stage lighting was pretty passe. After Cirque du Soleil and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the show was pretty plain visually.

But the music was great. I've always been a fan and it was cool to see what instrument was making which sounds.

Their extended encore of the great Christmas songs really got the crowd on their feet.

Brief Dip in the Political Pool
1:32 p.m. - 2007-03-13

I haven't forayed into politics for awhile. I just have two things to comment on.

First, thanks General Pace for letting us all know how you really feel. You believe homosexual acts are immoral. I believe deciding morality based on one interpretation of a religious book is immoral. I believe discrimination is immoral. I believe firing people who want to serve their country because of their sexual orientation is immoral. I believe taking a country to war under false pretenses is immoral.

But these are just my beliefs. I don't expect the military to be run by them.

Second is regarding the Attourney General's office firing 8 US attourneys. Now either the White house condoned this or was ignorant of it. What respect would a leader have if a story like this became public and he/she said, "yep, that's why I fired Gonzales and reinstated the jobs."

But when leaders have the core belief that the ends justify whatever means they decide to use, we can never expect openness and honesty.

Actually I have one more. If Bush is so much in favor of cutting taxes, why is the Alternative Minimum Tax still a problem? Why is he an advocate of cutting the richest people's taxes while raising the upper middle class's tax burden?

OK, I've ranted enough for now.

Busy Boy
10:55 a.m. - 2007-03-12

My social calendar is pretty busy lately. I will have something every night until the 19th. Here's the litany...

12 - (tonight) Book Club
13 - Mannheim Steamroller & dinner with JB
14 - Chorus rehearsal
15 - Nancy's wings party
16-18 - Eugene and Mike coming to my place.

Add to that my past week of...

7 - Chorus
8 - Pizza with Andy & "Adding Machine" weird and dismal multimedia play with Nancy
9&10 - Madison with Eugene
11 - Birthday dinner for my sister (though technically I did have the evening free)

Upcoming events...

20 - "Camelot" with Tim & Carolyn
24 - Tim's birthday party (55, oh my!!)
25 - Dinning Tour does breakfast

Then in April we have Eugene's birthday, his visit for Easter and my vacation out west.

Spur of the Moment with Eugene
9:26 a.m. - 2007-03-12

I decided I couldn't wait for St Patricks weekend, checked the Wisconsin weather and called Eugene to schedule a weekend together. I drove to Madison Friday through the rain (it seems to always rain on my drive north) and we happy to finally be together again.

The weather cleared and we walked State St. checking out some of the art on display at the Overture Center. It was a great day and people were everywhere.

We also went to the history museum where they had a working display of old video games. Eugene was in heaven playing them. I, of course did dismal. But it was fun to see these games like Pac Man, Burger Time with the wiggly hot dogs and Gauntlet. Makes me want to dig out my old TRS Color Computer.

We finished off our walk along State St. with a stop in an Irish Pub then headed over to Wade & Brian's to watch the Badger game. We left there and grabbed dinner at a German restaurant then settled in for the night talking and watching TV.

Sunday we just had time for breakfast before I had to drive home to attend my sister's birthday dinner at Mom's. I finished the evening with a walk around the neighborhood, cleaning house and vegging in front of the TV & computer.

More Pix
10:40 a.m. - 2007-03-07

Here's a couple more pix of Eugene and I when we met in Madison over Christmas break.

And then here's just a cool pix I took while driving around last month.

9:59 a.m. - 2007-03-07

Now this entry may knock some of you completely off your seats so buckle up for safety. You've been warned.

Sunday I went to Mass.

Yep. Never been to one, so JB said he'd take me and we'd do it right at the cathedral. And he was right. They sure know how to do the pomp and circumstance with cool organ music, a grand processional, enough incense to drive out every insect and rituals I could only marvel at.

Here's a pic of the interior. I've been here before but either as a singer or an audience member.

The bishop spoke and seemed a smiling kindly grandfatherly type (ironic huh?). Even with the subdued Lenten music, the organ was awesome in that space.

I will go back because like JB said, "you definitely feel like you've been to church."

Now for those of you concerned about my spiritual welfare, I am still a staunch progressive and will continue to disagree with the Pope and some of the Catholic Church's teachings.

But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a good show every now and then.

9:42 a.m. - 2007-03-07

Here's a picture of Eugene and I the last time he was at my house (which was a damn long time ago - Feb 4).

Our plans are to get together St Patrick's Day weekend (Mar 16-18) weather permitting of course. Wisconsin has been getting a steady fall of snow. Eugene slid into the ditch on Friday night. Nothing was hurt but it took til 1am to get a towtruck to pull his car out.

We knew the weather would be an impediment, but the reality is something else. I told him we'd have to make up for it when Spring gets here.

9:30 a.m. - 2007-03-07

I had a nice evening Friday evening with Nancy. We went to a new Italian restaurant in a neat old building that has a ton of charm. Our friends Steve & Jayne joined us. Afterward we crossed the street and entered the newly remodelled civic center - pretty upscale for Badgerville - and attended the Cirque du Soleil performance Delirium.

The show was pretty awesome, though a lot different from Corteo that we saw last summer. There was more emphasis on dancers, singers and the stage performance than on circus-type acts.

It was in character for being etherial and otherworldly with fantastic lighting and vague plot line that provokes the immagination. Of course it borders on the bizarre - well actually it marches boldly and deeply into bizarre.

And there were plenty of cute shirtless guys on stage. I was especially drawn to two guys dancing together in one scene which ends with one carrying the other off the stage.

And how could that buff black guy just land on his butt like that without breaking his tailbone?

9:16 a.m. - 2007-03-07

I went to the doctor yesterday and started back up on Wellbutrin to combat the depression. I already am feeling better (drugs or placebo effect?). It's probably been coming on for a couple months, that listlessness, the lack of motivation to do even the simplest of things, lack of interest in hobies, low initiative at work, the inability to plan anything let alone execute a plan, out of control eating, lack of exercise...

I suspect it's hereditary. My mom and one of her sisters have it (and don't treat it) and I suspect my other aunt does as well. They all are pretty helpless people which is surprising since their mother relied on them to do a ton of work before she got home from work. I don't know if this is something that is biological, but it seems to be.

My usual treatment is being outside a lot, so winter is particularly challenging. And it creeps up on you so gradually that it takes awhile to recognize the symptoms.

Coherent thinking and speaking. That's another thing that seems to be affected by the depression. Maybe that's why I avoid phone conversations so much. I've been know to stammer and stumble around trying to get my message across. In fact Monday I must have been so incoherent with the nurse on the phone that she put down "stop smoking" instead of depression on my form.

Oh, yeah there's that focus thing, too. I have trouble focusing my thoughts on one thing for a period of time. I'm easily distracted and don't finish things. In fact sometimes it's hard just starting things.

Anyway, these are things to watch out for in the future.

And the nice thing is that with Wellbutrin there are no sexual side effects - THAT would be really depressing!

So now thanks to modern chemistry, I'll get my seratonin and dopamine under control, and I expect to start doing better at things. Maybe I'll even write more.

Playing Catch Up
2:42 p.m. - 2007-02-27

I've been ignoring my diary too long.
Life has been busy
But that's no real excuse.
I realized depression has been creaping back into my life.
Not serious.
Well that's not true.
Any time it affects your life there is a serious aspect to it.
It saps your energy - demotivates.
It gets reflected in so many things in your life.
cleaning house
paying bills
doing laundry

I know a lot of it is SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder
I'm tired of winter
crap weather
trapped inside
freezing your ass off
I'm just ready for a dose of Spring.
It's on it's way
but not soon enough.

I didn't mean for this to be down
but it's turning out that way isn't it?
I'm really content with life.
Eugene and I are doing well.
Though he's still 250 miles away
and in winter that can be a real obstacle.
He and our friend Mike from Madison were supposed to come for the weekend.
Crappy blizzard.

Eugene did come to Badgerville the first weekend in February.
We had a good time as usual
mainly hanging out
watching basketball
playing computer games
getting together with friends
watching movies
staying warm
seems like there was something else... :-D [blush]

I tried to go to Florida
Damn $350 per night hotels!
Decided on the Southwest in April.
Wish Eugene could go.
Vacation time for him is sparse.
Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah, Death Valley, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Phoenix
Lots of driving
Lots of scenery.

Also hope to go to Alaska in late summer
Then I'll have been to all 50 states.
And after those two trips, all as an adult.
I wish I had hit them all with a digital camera
3 provinces (some may be really difficult to get to)
9 countries (many I really have no desire to go to)
10 that are high on my list including
New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Australia. Singapore, Greece, Ireland, Czech Republic, Japan, Australia

What else has gone on...
Hector & Bob had an Oscar party
The Oscar show was fun especially with Ellen
Andy and I have been getting together fairly regularly
watching his DVDs on the Presidents
Discussing politics and his career/school plans.
Socialized with Nancy, Tim, Jim S, JB, Rick & Melodee and Ken
Put new brakes on the car
Book club last month - Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
I like what I know of him
Seems to be a pragmatist vs. a ideologue.
The "Geat Uniter" could take some lessons.
Politics - no wonder I get depressed.

And work was work.

Eugene Anecdotes
10:08 a.m. - 2007-01-31

Eugene is coming down this weekend.

I was telling a woman I knew at the party about him and she said - Your face really lights up when you talk about him.

Then Eugene was telling me about his weekend, when his friend Dennis said, "Can we stop talking about Scott now?"

Ain't it cute? :-D

10:05 a.m. - 2007-01-31

Tonight chorus practice begins. Not quite as grand a production this semester...

Beethoven - Mass in C
Haydn - Te Deum for the Empress Marie Therese

Both are in Latin and we'll perform with the university orchestra. Of course tickets will be a lot cheaper than the $40 symphony tickets.

Happy New Year - Again
9:45 a.m. - 2007-01-31

Friends Jon & Neil had their annual end of January New Years Eve Party. I've gone several years now and each time it becomes more fun because I know more people. I counted at least 30 people that I knew and talked to out of the 70 or 80 or so that were there.

The theme was the seven deadly sins. I struggle trying to come up with ideas to dress up like but ended up going in basic black.

One couple came dressed up as the hosts which was clever - one had red dyed hair and a game controller draped over his neck and the other wore a plaid sweater vest.

Hector & Bob died all their clothes green and put on green makeup for Envy.
Several wore bathrobes for Sloth. I was going to bring my sloth but couldn't get him to come out of his tree. Jon dressed up as a street thug for Wrath with scruffy beard and spiked dog collar - very hot!

Jack, the gayest straight man in Badgerville wore a naerly naked woman suit - not pretty. Bob of M came as Vanity wearing his tux and carrying a mirror which doubled as a nice food and drink tray. English guy John came in a suit and a Donald Trump comb-over wig for Greed.

So we partied until midnight when we went up to the attic of their huge old house and counted down the new year. I got roped into kareoke in the basement but the machine they had was hard to use.

Hector, Bob, Bob of M, Rob & Eric and I all left about 2am and ran to the local 24 hour hamburger joint for a food nightcap. I kept looking for Mandy & Sarah but they didn't show.

I finished off the fun evening about 3:30 by curling up under the welcoming covers nestled with my cuddly Cal.

Evasive Driving
9:40 a.m. - 2007-01-31

Why were there huge chunks of matress on the expressway last night?

After dodging the first huge hunk I was surprised to have to dodge 2 more even bigger clumps. These things were about the size of washing machines.

Except for Eugene's Absence a Nice Weekend
12:22 p.m. - 2007-01-24

Nice weekend.
Dinner with Andy on Thursday.
Penguin Bar
Pork ribs.
Watched Cannonball Run.
Still funny.
Friday Hector rented a party box
At the hockey game.
Free beer & popcorn.
Vince was there with a VERY hot young guy.
21, recently divorced and straight
He'd have us believe.
Bob of M was there.
Said long distance relationships can become co-dependent.
I don't think Eugene and mine is.
Kinda wary of that.

Saturday was kinda quiet
Convert more CD's to MP3.
Enjoying my new notebook PC.
17 inch monitor & 100GB HD Media Edition.
Dinner with JB.
He showed me the townhouse he's moving to in a couple weeks.
Talked on the phone with Eugene.
We're hoping the weather is clear the first weekend of Feb
So he can come to my house.
I miss him.

Sunday was very productive.
Cleaned the spare bedroom.
Hauled stuff to attic.
Found stuff in the attic that was cool.
Mainly my car collection.
Need shelves.
Need to throw stuff out.
Cal thot it was cool to have new spaces to explore.
Also spent time organizing my clothes.

Watched the Bears win - yea!!
Texted Eugene.
Went over to Carolyns with Tim
Carry out chinese
Carolyn and I shared stories
about how we grew up trying to be
someone we weren't.

Wintery Mix
12:11 p.m. - 2007-01-18

Still here. Things are still good with Eugene, though 250 miles between us is frustrating. I sometimes wonder how living with him would be. Would we drive each other crazy? Could we give each other the space we both need?

Pure speculation at this point. Meanwhile we IM'd last nighted and talked on the phone this morning. Not being able to count on the weather interferes with making plans and means more time between visits.

I hate to admit that I'm kinda glad the weather has settled to just plain cold. My sinuses cleared up after a weekend of "wintery mix" (sleet, snow, rain, freezing rain). I've learned lately that if I have a toothache, take sinus meds.

And why does "wintery mix" make me think of a specialty salad?

Book club reading last month was "Left to Tell" about a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis by hiding in a tiny bathroom with 6 other women for 3 months.

I was horrified with how little we in the West know about what's really going on in Africa. How neighbors could become murderers. How propaganda can dehumanize a minority making them easier to kill like exterminating vermin.

I thought the book though was relatively shallow from a spiritual perspective. I couldn't tell if it was due to the author's insulating herself from the horrors she experienced, her weak grasp of English, or that it was published specifically to a Christian Conservative audience which can't handle too much real spirituality, too much doubt about whether God has the world under his control.

Of course it brings up the eternal question that if God is loving and omnipotent, why do things like holocausts and genocides and massacres happen.

While I don't have an answer, I do know that death is not the worst thing that can happen to us.

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