Friday, March 27, 2009

Big Ideas

I like supporting big ideas. Ones that will revolutionize quality of life for everyone. And this is one of those big ideas.
Manufactured and patented by Milwaukee's own Brew City (Casual Gear from the Midwestern Lifesyle), this hoodie is such a good idea it's ridiculous. A hoodie with a built in can coozie! The little pocket is lined with a different type of fabric that helps insulate the beer, and it still allows for full use of the normal hoodie pocket. I purchased one the other day, and I gotta say that I love it.

And they come in tons of different styles and colors. Very highly recommended, and I can't wait to bust mine out at a Brewer game coming up soon.

(As a sidenote, when I first took the hoodie out of the package I thought it was defective, in that all the extra material around the seams was on the outside of the shirt rather than the inside. I called up to let them know and I was informed that it was intentional, as they were going for a "relaxing beach look." It was also described as "fashion forward," which made me chuckle a bit. So now I'm on the forefront of style. Excellent.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I'm Watching

So it's dawned on me that I watch a lot more TV than I used to, thanks mainly to having a DVR and abundant free time after work. Here's the list of shows I watch regularly.
  • The Office - A staple for our house, every time there's a new episode we gather 'round to watch it together. This season seemed to be spinning it's wheels for a while (now that Pam and Jim are together), but Michael seems to finally be cracking.
  • Lost - As I talked about here I've been watching this season of Lost very regularly, and I'm loving it so far. Time travel is often botched by most forms of media, but Lost seems to be doing a good job of keeping it straight. Hopefully I'll be going back and watching the older seasons to get caught up.
  • How I Met Your Mother - I started this show on a whim a few weeks back, and so far I've been pretty impressed with it. It's a standard sitcom for the most part, but the cast is fantastic (Neil Patrick Harris! Jason Segel!), and the jokes are better than most other shows on.
  • South Park - Season 13 just started, and other than a couple good things (Mickey Mouse still cracks me up) it hasn't been too spectacular.
  • Ax Men - Season 2 just started, and it's about as insane as ever. Having two goofballs trying to fish logs out of a river is endless amounts of entertainment.
And that's about it. I stopped watching Heroes because I'm not a masochist, and that show was going absolutely nowhere. I pray it gets canceled after this season.

Anyways, what are YOU folks watching? Any recommendations?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baby You Can Drive My Car


Trent over at TheSimpleDollar.com has been talking about buying a new car for a while, and he finally posted his thought process and procedure behind getting his new Prius. Not too long ago I was thinking about getting a new car myself. Now don't get me wrong, I do like my 1999 Oldsmobile Alero aka Silver Bullet aka Betsy. But over the years she's becoming more and more....how do I put this....difficult. It started off a few years back when the blinker stopped working randomly. Some fiddling with the hazard button on the console revealed that holding it to the left would somehow activate the blinker. Then it started overheating randomly if the coolant level wasn't absolutely to the top. And the traction control started cutting out at odd times. And the automatic locks and lights stopped working. And just the other day I discovered another fantastic "feature" of my luxury sedan. While sitting at the stoplight I pushed the switches on the two back windows to make sure they were all the way up, and noticed the engine rev down a bit, and the RPMs dropped below 1,000. I tried it again, and sure enough it happened again. Oh Betsy, you odd, quirky automobile.


So back to getting a new car. My dad called me out of nowhere about a month back and said that I should probably look into getting a new car if the whole "Stimulus-package-gives-you-money-to-buy-cars-and-help-bail-out-the-automakers" thing actually got passed. And he's got a good point: If the government is going to give you moneys to buy a new car, and it's time to replace your current vehicle than now is the time. But my car, even with all it's quirks, still runs fine. It only has 130,000 miles on it, gets good gas mileage for a V6, only has a few specks of rust, and most of all - it's completely paid off. So by driving my current car longer, and I save up more money for a new car when the time comes, and thus put more money down on it, thus making it much cheaper. It just makes cents. Now here's hoping for another 20,000 miles from Ol' Betsy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too Much Fiber


I meant to add a footnote to my post yesterday about this, but that Fiber One bar I had before the run? Terrible idea. Ric had warned me previously about them, in that they might be very delicious (and they are), but they also give you atrocious amounts of gas. And she was right. It didn't hit me until we went out later that night to celebrate St. Patrick's day, and within 10 minutes of being out I needed to take a righteous poop. But 12 hours of drinkers had downright demolished any reasonable bathroom into TP-less wastelands of vomit and urine, so I decided that waiting until I got home was the best idea.

The lesson to be learned? Next time you're constipated just mow down on a Fiber One bar. You won't have that problem for long.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Run Like Hell

Unlike those other people I loathe running. Unless I'm running for a purpose, like being chased by secret agents or wild animals, I find myself getting terribly bored. However, the weather on Tuesday was so nice down here I figured that going for a run would be a good idea. Even though I work out a bit in the winter months my aerobic exercise is pretty limited. So I got home from work, had myself a Fiber One Granola bar for energy, and then headed outside. I had plotted out a course that would take me around the neighborhood, about a 3 mile trek. After stretching a bit, I started off and within 40 feet realized I'd have to amend my trip to something much shorter. I decided to just run to Lake Michigan and back, not wanting to give myself shin splints or anything of that nature. 2 blocks into it and I was sweating already. The combo of a short sleeve and a long sleeve t-shirt was too much, but it would have to do. After cross the last rode before Atwater Park, I decided to take a little break and check out the view. Even in March it's quite a view from the bluff, and there were groups of people walking on the sand below and playing in the jungle gym.
After sitting for about 5 minutes I decided to head back, and made it about 3 blocks before my body pulled a mutiny and decided that walking sounds much better. And so I walked the rest of the way home. A grand total of .89 miles was covered, .4 of that was running.
But I shall not give up. I plan on running again today. Maybe the cooler temperatures will keep me moving at a steady pace. I'm going to try to take the same route as last time, and run it the whole way (with a nice break in the park, of course). Right now I'm in "video game shape," and I'd like to take the next step into "softball shape" before that season begins.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Move Over

So after 1 year, 2 months, and 2 days I've been required to relocate myself to a different cube. For the past year my team has been talking about waiting for the lady that was camped out like Vatican City in the middle of Italy. She was finally convinced to move, and so out with the old, in with the Gregor.

Now this is a rather bittersweet event for me. I like my old cube. It's off by itself, and I can laugh as loud as I please without disturbing others around me. And now I'm SURROUNDED by other people. Constantly typing, and talking on the phone, and being loud. Hurm....

But then again, I need change in my surrounds. When I was a kid I would re-situate my room every few months, just for a change. And in between those month's sleep on top of the covers, and fold it over like a soft taco on top of me. That way my head would be in the opposite direction, effectively fooling myself into thinking I was somewhere new.

But I fear this move is just the first of many. I've seen it happen before...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Lament of a Grapefruit

Woe is me, for I am but a Grapefruit. While my cousins Orange and Tangerine are peeled and eaten on a daily basis, and Lemon and Lime are used for drinks of all sorts, I sit neglected on the shelves. Who will eat me? Who would go through all the work of cutting me in half, and then cutting all of my little sections apart, and finally spooning me out?

And why would they want to? For sometimes I am tart, and sometimes I am sweet, and it really is a gamble to see what I will end up being. And if I don't meet your standards you douse me with sugar to cover the tartness. It's ok, I understand.....I'm not as sweet as you would like. I'll try harder, I really will. Oh woe, woe is me.


(As an aside, who knew that people actually peeled and ate grapefruit like this. Do any of you do it like that? Seems easier to just eat it with a spoon)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Junkyard

With every trip back home I must always be prepared to load up the car with any and everything my mom can think of to get rid of. Her never-ending battle against the clutter that seems to permeate all of our long-abandoned bedrooms is really quite honorable, but it seems like she hasn't made much headway in the past years. However, she got serious on both me and my brother this past weekend. I left the house with a never opened pizza oven (like so), 2 house plants, 1 large painting, 3 other paintings of various sizes, and a cooler full of frozen food. Oh, and a loaf of bread, and a bag of buns. I'm thinking the food parts were just bribery for me to come back later on in the spring to grab more of my crap.



Not actually my closet. It's bad, but not that bad.
Being back home made me realize just how badly I need to clean out my old room. Drawers full of clothes, closet full of games and toys. All of this junk that doesn't need to be kept anymore. My mom is determined to have a garage sale in May (there's a village-wide garage sale during a Friday/Saturday), so she's determined to use our new garage to get rid of the mounds of crap that's accumulated. And I'm determined to help her out, by just going hogwild on my room back home (heck, my room in Shorewood too. Far too many t-shirts and ill-fitting jeans for a 23 year old to have.) Plus a little extra scratch in my pocket is never a bad thing. And anything that doesn't sell will be going right to Goodwill, so that someone else can (hopefully) use it. Let the purging begin.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jellowned

I was at my desk on Wednesday when the hairs on the back of my neck started to stand up. I got this inkling to open the bottom drawer of my desk, and what do I find?


Yep, some jokers had encased my stapler in Jell-O. They even got the same color as Jim did in The Office.

And the reaction.


Sorry for the crummy quality of the pics, FortNight's iPhone has a wussy camera.



Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Green Thumb

Having a house, a bit of ambition, and some resolve to not be bored has made me decide to try growing a garden this summer. Originally I thought about digging out some dirt in our backyard to plant some things, but I think for my first growing experience I'm going to try something different and grow things in the pots that were left behind by our landlord. Rather than buying (pleasing to the eye, but otherwise of no value) flowers to fill them I think I'll use the 4 or 5 pots for vegetables. And when the tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen it'll give some nice color to the front of the house.

So what's step one? Figure out what I should grow. I'm looking at cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, and green peppers to start off with. All of them should be easy enough, and I could see eating them in the fall when they're ready to be harvested. There's an "Urban Garden Store" right around the corner called Garden Room that I'll probably be buying the seeds from, and I'll hopefully be blogging about the status of the garden as the growing season gets closer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome to 2005

Ric talked about her experiences with Facebook here, and as luck would have it I've recently had an interesting experience with it myself. One of my roommates (let's go ahead and call him FortNight) it's probably the only person I know within my age range that doesn't have Facebook. He's never really explained why this is so, just that "it's not for him." Well, something changed, and he decided he wanted to get Facebook now. And that something was this:

Yes, FortNight loves his iPhone more than life itself, and thus decided to jump into Facebook so that he can use his iPhone even more than he already does. So last night we went about setting up his account, and then I went through some old pictures that I knew he was in and tagged him. But here's the thing: he doesn't want to be contacted by old high school and college friends, doesn't want people to know when he's online, and doesn't want to update anything. So what's he want to use it for?

Reece Witherspoon. Even wearing shades to cover her eyes. A true pro.

Snipin'(definition #7) and creepin', baby, snipin' and creepin'.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yeah, I'm a Biker

You might be thinking to yourself at this exact moment "Man, this Gregor character sure is cool. But he couldn't have possibly always been this cool, right?" And to that I say wrong. Exhibit A, my main mode of operation from the ages of 16-18:

A 1984 Suzuki FA50 moped. Cherry red. This 50cc 2 stroke hog would cruise the streets of Edgar at a breakneck pace of 26 miles per hour. Downhill.

Anything past 30 on the speedometer was purely for aesthetics.

I fearlessly cruised the streets in my chopper, a trail of dust in my wake. The ferocious *WEEEEEEEEEEEEE* of the engine would cause people to hide in their homes, for they knew that trouble would be coming.


I always wanted to bring her down to Whitewater with me, but it's pretty much an antique at this point, and I figured it would be damaged or stolen. Plus it's technically my dad's moped, though I don't think he drives it too much anymore, which is a shame. That thing gets like 60 mpg. Too bad the gas tank only holds about a gallon.

Oh, and my grandpa had a matching blue one.


How cool is that? I might keep my eyes open for one just like it, it would be perfect for bombing around the neighborhood to pick up groceries and the like.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Randomings Vol. II

Friday's post was rather sad, but it was something that was on my mind. As I've been blogging I've discovered that if something is tickling my fancy than I really need to just write about it right then and there, otherwise all ambition will be gone.

And then sometimes I just want to link you to funny things on zee internet. Here we go!

*shuffle*

I've been watching Kenan Thompson since he was on All That on Nickelodeon in the 90s, so I thought he was a natural to be on Saturday Night Light a few years back. Honestly, this is probably the first skit of his that I really enjoyed, though. And the fact that Charles Barkley just got a DUI just makes it funnier. Agreed!

*shuffle*

So we saw Watchmen yesterday, and as your resident nerd I would like to give the typical nerd answer: "The book was better." And it's true. The reason that Watchmen has been called unfilmable is because the novel is far too deep, without too many nuances and too many things that you can only do in comics to be accurately depicted in any other medium. Now, the movie did a pretty good job adapted the book (and I have to tip my hat to Zack Snyder for not allowing the studio to tear it apart like so, but I'm curious to hear the thoughts from someone who hasn't read the book. Did it makes sense? Was there too much exposition?
Lev Grossman from Time sums up my thoughts very, very well in this article.

*shuffle*

This sounds like a pretty sweet deal. I'm all for supported local Minor League sports teams (Hello Admirals), and the fact that the Timber Rattlers are part of the Brewers farm system gives one such as myself a good chance to scout out some of the Brewers of the future.

*shuffle*

My nieces turn 4 years old and 2 years old this month, and rather than buy them even more toys (they're the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, so they're terrifically spoiled) I'm thinking about something that gets them out of the house. I think a day at a local indoor waterpark would be pretty swell, right? Maybe their Uncle Gregor will even go himself.

*shuffle*

Personal Finance is something I've taken more interest in this last year, and one of my big resources is The Simple Dollar. Trent writes multiple posts a day about different things to help yourself get your finances back in order and save everyday money. His Monday mailbag is particularly good.

*shuffle*

And you think your life is bad? F*** My Life will help cheer you up.

Happy Monday folkz.

Friday, March 6, 2009

With Great Difficulty


On the ride back from work yesterday we drove by a funeral home that had a line of people so long that it wrapped around the block. (Later on Weeks found out it was the wake for this girl.) I've talked before about things I love, but this brings me to one of the things I hate.

Funerals.

I have a really hard time dealing with them. The most vivid of the funerals was my grandparents on my dad's side. They both died in a car accident when I was a sophomore in college, and even though my other grandparents had died when I was younger, this one hit me a lot harder. Maybe because I was closer with my Dad's parents, or maybe because I was older and had a better grasp of life and death. I remember getting the phone call from my mom while I was in class. It went to voicemail, and I checked it on the walk back to the dorms. She said I needed to call her right away, but something was off about her voice. I called her up, trying to sound cheerful, but all the while my mind was racing about what it could be. She broke the news to me, and I just stopped in the sidewalk. Before the tears could start rolling I made my way to a nearby park. There I sat by myself while she explained what had happened, when the wake would be, when the funeral would be. After I got back to the dorms I packed up some clothes and headed home.

As a boy, you like to think of your father as an infallible character, someone who is above normal emotion. But when I saw my dad crying at the wake you start to realize that he's just a son who's hurting, and there's nothing wrong with that. And my uncle Gary (who I had hardly seen smile much less cry in all my life) was in the same state. My dad's whole family, 7 brothers and sisters, countless cousins, all together talking and crying and consoling. It's kind of sad that we only get together anymore for weddings and funerals.

Even when I'm not very close with someone a funeral can still rock me to the bone. Seeing other people sad and in pain has a profound effect on me, that's for sure. A few years back the father of a guy I went to high school with had a heart attack and died while deer hunting. He was 52. I came home a day early for Thanksgiving break to come to the funeral, and I made sure to bring plenty of tissues with me, but that wasn't enough. I was a wreck by the end, hearing the eulogy of an associate of John put me over the edge.

So the question I ask myself is "why?" Why do I get so torn up at funerals? Probably the same reason I get teary-eyed while watching emotional performances in movies and TV shows: I'm an empathetic kind of person, and the emotions of those around me really effect my state of being. When other people are happy, I'm on top of the world. When other people are sad, I feel it right along side them. I guess it's better than keeping it all bottled up inside, though.

About the only good thing I can think of that comes out of funerals is just seeing how many people the life of one person could effect. Every funeral I've attended has been packed with people wishing to pay their last respects, and to celebrate the life of the recently departed. It's just that sometimes the sad emotions get in the way.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hot Hot Heat

As talked about here, we just got back from a vacation to the Bahamas. Ric did a good job summing it all up (it truly was a fantastic time), and I'd definitely do it again in a heartbeat. But now that I'm back, I still carry the look of a vacationer, namely a light sunburn on my face. Despite going tanning for a few weeks prior to the trip, I still missed some spots with the sunscreen, and my forehead is now peeling like a snake. And it's GROSS. I momentarily thought about adding some pics to this post, but a quick trip to Google Images almost started making me dry heave. Do NOT Google "skin peeling" unless you want to skip lunch. So here's some big eared puppies instead.

So anyways, after a shower in the morning I feel like I've been in the desert for 3 days, so I put some lotion on my forehead to cover up the dried skin, but of course I miss a few spots. Hiding in my cube is not an option.

My parents had just gotten back from their vacation to Mexico when we left for the Bahamas, and she said that half their crew of people looked like they had leprosy....aaack. The only time I can remember being that burnt was San Diego when I was a middle schooler. I didn't realize I would get sunburnt because it didn't seem that hot, but my ears were so sunburnt that they blistered. Delicious.

And the best part about this sunburn? It'll probably be completed faded by the end of March. Darn you Wisconsin spring.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

That First Impression

Depending if you're a male or a female you will have different thoughts when you see this face:

If you're a male, you probably see Lucius Vorenus, a centurion in Ceaser's army from the HBO series Rome. If you're a female you probably think of Dr. Owen Hunt from ABC TV show Grey's Anatomy. Kevin McKidd has popped up in many movie and TV shows, but chances are that you know him from one of those. So this weekend while killing time on the boat I was watching Made of Honor (don't judge me), and who should pop up but Mr. McKidd himself! And it's downright jarring to see him playing anyone but Lucius, the angriest man in all of Rome. For me it'll always go like this: "Oh hey, Lucious is playing a reporter who's traveling through time. That'd be funny if we went back to 49 BC and meet himself."

While I wouldn't say actors have a difficult job, I would say they have an interesting one, in that they have to fall into a role and a character, but not too much so that no one remembers who you really are. And on the flip side, you don't want to be known as that guy, or defined as your most famous character. Isn't that right, Pie-Fucker? Or how about you, Harry? I wish you, and those other actors like you, the best of luck in shrugging off your title. If Neil Patrick Harris can do it, I think pretty much anyone can.