Tuesday, July 31, 2007


lolcats funny cat pictures
(From Lolcats.com - Possibly the funniest collection of cat pictures ever.)

lolcats funny cat pictures

Monday, July 30, 2007

Obligatory Simpsons Scene

(Great Simpsons scene, or greatest Simpsons scene?)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mayan and Sicko....

Yesterday we saw Sicko at the Mayan Theater (an independent theater a couple of blocks from our apartment). The architecture of the theater is amazing, especially considering it's an independent theater and probably doesn't have terribly deep pockets. The Mayan is part of an independent theater chain called Landmark. They are big supporters of indie film and run an amazing print and online 'zine called FLM. Mandy and I first heard about them in Cincinnati where they ran a small art house called The Esquire and a first-run theater called Mariemont. It turns out there is an Esquire here in Denver too, also run by Landmark. The other cool feature of the Mayan is they run brew-and-a-view movies on Fridays where they show bad sci-fi movies and sell discounted six-packs of beer to help facilitate an atmosphere of reckless abandon.

On to our thoughts about Moore's Sicko. I will try steer away from spoilers insomuch as they exist (pssst! the American heath care system sucks). I am also not going to launch into one of my long, protracted rants about documentary filmmaking; so don't worry.

If you haven't seen the film, you can download it from any number of BitTorrent sites such as PirateBay, ISOHunt, or Mininova. Moore has endorsed the downloading of the film, so long as people aren't making a profit from it. While this may make morally justifyable to download it, the distributors of the film would still sue you. Though, the odds of anyone catching you are so remote, it's definitely worth the insignificant risk. It's really worth watching, whether you like Moore's style or not.

I've read several stories of people spontaneously holding meetings in the halls outside of theaters, writing their congressperson, and punching insurance CEOs in the face. Regardless of his tactics, Moore's made a film that seems to be resonating with almost everyone who sees, red or blue, democrat or republican. That's amazing.

It resonated with Mandy and I because, like 50 million other Americans, we have no insurance. If something catastrophy were to happen to either us, we'd be screwed. Plain and simple. There are two important things to consider when I write this. 1) For the past year we've had good jobs in fortune 500 companies with a combined income of over $100,000 and 2) We've researched and attempted to purchase insurance on our own.

The insurance that was provided by our well-paying jobs sucked. It barely covered prescriptions let alone doctors visits or any kind of out-patient surgery. For example, I've needed an MRI taken of my knee for almost a year now. Even when I did have good insurance provided by my employer, the out-of-pocket cost for the MRI was $2,700. For one knee!?!?

Last year, Mandy and did research on purchasing our in insurance since we were so fed up with our current coverage. We both applied, as a married couple, to an insurance broker who spoke for the six major insurance companies. I was accepted, Mandy was declined. The reason for the denial was her pre-existing condition of endometreosis. This is slightly ironic considering Mandy runs every day, has a body mass index below the standard, and is very good health. I, on the other hand, am overweight, do not regularly exercise, and take daily medication to deal with high blood pressure.

If having a good job and being prudent about trying to procure insurance isn't trying to look out for one's self, I don't know what is. We are the people being screwed over by insurance companies. So the movie resonated with us. I've also discovered that basically every person I've spoken to who's had any real interaction with the health care system has similar stories. It's intensely frustrating since, short of moving to France or Canada, there is little we can do to alleviate our situation let alone help others who are in much more dire positions than we are.

If you haven't seen the movie I strongly urge you to do so.

If you have seen the movie and would like more information about what to do now, check out this site: www.sickocure.org I have about as much faith in web-based petitions and online protests as I do in the Easter Bunny, but it's something, at least. Beyond that, what do we do if we want to foment change? Riot? Strike? Sign online petitions?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not humid.....but still hot!

Before moving to Denver, I did research on what elevation does to most people, so I would be prepared if I came across symptoms that I was having. Although both Matt and I went through an intestinal yucky and slight headache period, I was not ready for the biggest change in my environment. I was so focused on the elevation that I totally skipped over the semi-arid part of the description of Denver found here. If you are from the mid-West and are used to high humidity keep this in mind in visiting or moving to a semi-arid area....it's dry. Now that may seem pretty obvious, but not for me.

Many of you know that my nose has been broken many times during high school sports. I had nose surgery a few years ago to fix the septum (or nose separation) in order to help me breathe - which it did wonders. I hardly had any problems and I could tell a distinct difference in how much I had to breathe. After being here a couple of days I found that not only does it take more effort to breathe, but it is so dry which dries out your sinuses - I keep saline spray close at hand.

Just over a year ago I had lasik surgery for my eyes. During the prep period, they check how dry your eyes are: 20-15 normal, 15-10 dry....both my eyes were a 5. I carry around eye drops in my purse, have some in the bathroom, and when it's not too hot or cold have some in the car. I have never had my eyes feel so dry and painful as I have after being here for 2 days.

I am not telling you to deter you, but more to give advice to take the necessary precautions. This seems like a great city in which we have been finding new and exciting things to do all of the time. We look forward to exploring and enjoying many more things in the coming weeks, months, and years and updating everyone when we do!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Random Video Collection

Here is a collage of random videos I've shot over the past month or so. There's not much point to the video apart from feeling justified in spending the time shooing them. If you watch, I am vindicated.

(Teh 'mazing)

Online and Kickin' it

The Qwest guy showed up and did his thing with the thing and now we're online! Use your favorite chat client to... chat.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Petite Update #2: Getting Old

Still fighting with Qwest and Forethought.net to get the DSL modem working. We hung around the apartment until noon waiting for a technitian to show up and check the lines. When he didn't show, I called the ISP who called Qwest who said the ticket had been returned and they were still checking the lines at "The Central Office" and that I should wait another three hours, call or be called back to setup another appointment or to recheck the lines.

We didn't move to Denver. We moved to Terry Gilliam's Brazil. More to come.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bread: How Not to Make

This is from associate contributer Theory_of_MAF. I assume no responsibility for what watching this clip may lead you to do. I laughed. A lot.

(It makes sense, if you think about it.)

Another Quick Update: Denver

We've arrived in Denver after two days of driving. The cats were good, perfect in fact. The second day (yesterday) we didn't drug them and they were quiet the entire 7 1/2 hour drive. Bonus!

Our connection should be coming alive today. If it does, I will put up another post to let everyone know we're back with constant access. If not, I'll post an entry detailing why we weren't online.

Keep it real!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Quick Travel Update: Omaha

Just a quick update. We made it to Omaha, NE. We're staying in a KOA "Kabin" tonight and finishing the rest of the trek tomorrow. We're about 7 hours away from Denver, by Google reckoning, plus we gain (or is it lose?) an hour when we cross into the mountain time zone at the Nebraska / Colorado border.

I'm sending this update from a small cabin, in a corn-field in Nebraska on a wireless network. In the words of Dean, "It is the 21st century!"

We'll update again when we get to a connection... it looks like it may be a while before we get the home line set up due to all kinds craziness between Qwest and a local ISP we're trying to use.

P.S. I will continue with the next installment of the trip out here when time and connections are available.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Convoy Part 1: The Beginning

Wednesday, June 20th
Hamilton, OH
5:00PM EST

In the midst of all of this packing, we found a few minutes to rest and surf the web. On a lark, I looked up some reviews of the moving company we're going to use. It turns out this company doesn't come highly recommended. The incredibly long list of complaints sent into the Better Businessman's Bureau has us both concerned. There are several written reports by users of the moving service about items missing, boxing being rummaged through, and expensive home-theater equipment simply disappearing. The paltry insurance the company provides pays claims based on weight: The more something weighs, the more you get for it. We figured if someone walked off with our 42' LCD TV, we could (after fighting) be compensated to the tune of $60.00

Ugh. Just canceled the service. Looking into alternatives.

Wednesday, June 20th
Hamilton, OH
8:00PM EST

Just canceled our reservation with the moving company. We decided to go at it ourselves. We've reserved a truck through U-Haul and asked Mandy's parents if they wouldn't mind helping us with the packing. I think this is a good solution because A) We will know where our stuff is at all times and B) When we're done with the move, we can actually relax when we get back to Grand Rapids.

Mandy's parents will be arriving tomorrow night around 8:00. We've got a ton of packing to get through between now and then.

Thursday, June 21st
Hamilton, OH
9:00PM EST

Though we're not done packing by a long shot, we have moved lots of our stuff around and that's kind of like packing. Mandy's parents arrived an hour ago and we're all discussing the details of the moving process over a burrito we picked up at the amazing Taquero Mercado Mexican restaurant not far from our home. It was a bitter-sweet dinner since we were saying goodbye to people we have become good friends with during our stay in the 'nasti. All will be missed, though our paths will cross again (and not to far in the future actually).

We're going to pick up the U-Haul truck tomorrow morning at 8:30AM, and hopefully be done packing by noon or 1. The weather's been great these past few days, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Friday, June 22nd
Hamilton, OH
10:00AM EST

We picked up the U-Haul truck this morning. It's a piece of shit. Since we reserved a 17" truck, you can imagine my surprise when they told me to pull a 24" truck out of the lot. I politely asked the service lady, who's hang-over was quite apparent, "What the hell is this?"

"It's your truck."
"We reserved a 17-foot truck. This is not a 17-foot truck. Ergo, not my truck."
"Oh. You were upgraded."
"At no extra cost." She attempted to smile, but quickly turned to hang-over nausea. She started to sway back and forth.
"Except the hundreds more we'll spend on gas, it's free, right?"
"Right." Again, the smile.
"Ok, then."

I drove the monster to the apartment. On the way back, it began to downpour. At least the temperature has dropped off a little and we can get some of the stuff down to the truck.

It begins.

Friday, June 22nd
Hamilton, OH
5:00PM EST

Nearly everything is packed. The freak thunderstorms have been good to us. The temp has dropped to a much more reasonable temperature and we've made steady progress. Casey and I headed out into the city to return the cable modem, stop by our bank, and pick up some pottery we painted with the aforementioned friends a couple weeks back. With the cable modem gone, there's no way I can post anymore of these updates, but since I'm writing this after-the-fact, that shouldn't be a problem.

Her parents have generously agreed to stay on another night and help with the final load and cleaning tomorrow. We hope to be on the road by 7:00AM and make it all the way to Salina, KS. That's a 12 hour trek by Google's reckoning, but I'm more than a little leery about the ability of the U-Haul truck (henceforth dubbed: "The Suck") to make very good time. Oh, I am hoping the gas mileage isn't as bad as I hope. Off to sleep. 'Till the marrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Convoy: Prologue

After a week-long hiatus, I feel the time to start winding the tale of our journey has come. It should be told in three parts, though I'm leaving room for a fourth or an epilogue of some sort. My goal is to fashion each story with pictures and video, making some use of the cool formating features of blogger and giving the reader something to look at and (slightly) interact with. I'm thinking the best narrative style to communicate the journey is through a faux-travelogue. It will be told in the first person, and in real-time as if I were writing it during the journey.

I hope to have Part 1 up by tomorrow night, but it will likely be Thursday before it appears. In the meantime, I'm going to start putting up random posts just to get back in the habit of doing it, so keep an eye to the RSS feed or on the link you used to arrive here.

Peace n' love!