Friday, August 31, 13:26 CDT

Ich heißen Brennen. There's pretty much all of the German I've learned so far. I can see how this could be a more difficult language to pick up than Spanish. And come to think of it, I never really learned that much Spanish...

You know what question I absolutely love? Are you, like, really smart?

There's no way you can lose with a question like that. All it takes is a little honesty. I'm mostly faking it., for example. And *poof*. You get points for intelligent and modest.

As long as people don't find out I can't do math and have no language skills, I'm good.

Anyway. I'm going to German 110 (if it's the lowest level class they offer, why isn't it a 101?) in a few minutes, and after that I'm taking off for the weekend. Going to the Black Hills with the family.

More pointless rambling Monday.

Wednesday, August 29, 20:43 CST

Awright, it's been a while, but yesterday I finally got around to finishing the travelog entry I started on the 19th. I'm thinking of this as kind of a clean slate, for some reason. Maybe I can actually start writing some decent stuff here.

Just watched Snatch for the second time. Great flick. (In that dark 'n gritty wacked camera angle post-Pulp Fiction guns 'n British accents kinda way.) Second funniest movie I've seen lately, the first being Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (View Askew), which gets my vote for best summer movie. Not to say it had much competition, but still...

I think I'm going to go ahead and get rid of my old Hardlink account, which means that a lot of spam and German search engine traffic is going to start bouncing, and few people will actually notice.

Anyway, if you want to contact me, my new e-mail address is in the little box over to the right. If you're a spam-bot trawling for addresses who's somehow attained sentience, I hope you realize what pathetic, worthless specimens of degraded humanity your creators are, and rise up in righteous anger to smite them.

And now on to the fragmented linkage:

I've recently discovered Audiogalaxy is an excellent filesharing resource, though closed source and limited in scope to music. It does what it does well. There's even a functional Linux version.

Konqueror and Mozilla are both so good these days that I can't decide which one to use at any given time. Konqueror might come in ahead, since it's also a sweet file manager and has more nifty little built in tools.

If you're still running Windows these days (or Linux on a low-end machine, to be fair), you have my sympathy.

But hey, let's not forget about Opera. Tiny, fast, and the gesture + keyboard interface is just too smooth. Too bad it's closed-source adware with a licensing scheme that dings already paying customers at major version upgrades.

(/. link): Go wireless geeks...

Tried images.google.com yet? A simple, straightforward image search that actually works pretty well. Like nearly everything else on Google, which remains probably the most useful single site on the web.

Monday, August 20, 18:59 CDT

I just bought a Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz poster. The Wing Zero with those big, totally illogical wings spread out behind it. And glittery stuff. Now I just need to find a way to affix it to the wall.

Sunday, August 19, 19:06 CDT

(Actually, it's now the 28th. But I did *start* writing this on the 19th.)

Here I am. 215 Morey Hall, Wayne State. Wayne, Nebraska. Just like I never left.

I'm going to. Leave, that is.

I've had my Palm 3x with me for most of the past month. If I ever see it again, it's got a bunch of stuff I was planning to post here. Meanwhile, on the assumption that things left on airplanes are probably in that class of vanished objects that includes the left sock and the one lego piece you really, really need, I'll try to summarize recent events.

A while back, Ben Kreis, a former next door neighbor and good friend (even given his basic assumption that I'm going straight to Hell, which at least made for a lot of, er, spirited discussion) announced he was getting married in early August. After I finished choking, I told him I'd make it to the wedding if I could.

Thus, Mark Boyson and I left for Fruita, Colorado at 8:15 or so on the first. Drove his '90-something Buick Century 14 hours, across all of Nebraska and most of Colorado. I-80 to I-76 to I-70, if I remember right. Lincoln. York. Kearney. The giant earthtone monument arch over the interstate. A lot of corn and grass. Denver. Mountains, canyons, rain, fog. There's a drive it'd take me a while to get used to. 85 mph down a mountain in an aging Buick with a sketchy idea of where the road is...

The area around Grand Junction is beautiful country. Cliffs and canyons and whacking great rocks everywhere. Spectacular cloudscapes that seldom actually deliver a storm. Great air. Air so dry that 100 degrees really ain't so bad, and they complain about humidity I can't even notice.

We got to spend some time with Ben for a day, went hiking and played mindless PSX games. I met some of Ben's friends; wound up hanging out with them quite a bit, which was cool. Watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for maybe the fifth time. Swam (read: I thrashed around in the water, other people swam). Got rained on.

Then there was the wedding. We eventually sent them off in an appropriately decorated vehicle (inevitably, I wind up wandering through a grocery store in a suit, looking for cheap shaving cream and bulk toilet paper). We went swimming (see earlier comment). I stumbled into the Kreis' at three in the morning, and at 8:30 or so Mark and I started home.

A few days later, I got on an Amtrak van in Omaha, headed for Kansas City (for some reason, I'd expected to get on a train). Hit the station in KC just in time to wait two hours for the train to Jefferson City, MO. Got there on, I think, the 8th. Spent 'til the 12th helping my Grandma and Aunt Connie unpack boxes in Connie's new house. Spent half a day driving around the Lake of the Ozarks, for no particular reason. Drank a few glasses of Nebraska-brewed Honey Mead. Finished reading Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, which struck me as unutterably depressing, and Doc Smith's Skylark One, which was a blast.

I got on the train late Sunday morning. Hit Chicago just after sunset, sat in the station for a while and watched an episode of the X-Files. Got on another train, and rode 'til morning with Arlo Guthrie's City of New Orleans running through my head. Did a lot of sitting and looking out the window, thinking deepish thoughts. Trains are good for that.

Eric and his mom met me at the station, and we spent the week making a movie. More exactly, Eric spent the week making a movie, and I was sort of there. Met a bunch of Eric's friends. Engaged in much geek conversation. Watched some anime (Ninja Scroll and Perfect Blue). Watched Galaxy Quest again. Drank some pretty decent beer. Tried a pierogi.

Thursday, I got on a jet headed for Sioux City, via Chicago and St. Louis. Wandered around in O'Hare 'til I stumbled across the same three TWA gates stranded deep in United territory that I left from the last time I was in Chicago. Decided to read some self-important journalism couched in stunningly bad graphic design, and bought copies of Wired and Rolling Stone. (I'll be fair. Rolling Stone's layout isn't that bad, but they compensate with extra overwritten self-importance.) Sat around some more. Flew to St. Louis. Sat around again. Got on a plane.

My turboprop puddle jumper hit Sioux City's 3-gate, 2 airline aeropuerto (SUX) 'bout eight on Thursday night. I've been drifting in post-travel, end of summer ennui ever since.

...which brings us back to here.