Jul 282004

This summer, Brian and I have been cooking a “real” dinner about once every week or two to break the monotony of cheap, bland food. Tonight, we made a lemon chicken recipe that I found on the Internet. (The idea for this came from something I cooked in a World Foods class from my sophomore year in high school.) It was incredibly tasty, and along with it, we had an Italian salad and Free Run Edelweiss from James Arthur Vineyards. It was perhaps that best meal I’ve ever cooked myself; if I had a girlfriend, it’d be something I’d make to impress her.

 Posted by at 8:31 pm
Jul 262004

For your browsing pleasure…

Degree Confluence Project These folks are attempting to catalogue the intersection of every degree of latitude and longitude (at least all those on land, anyway). It’s an interesting means of collecting a representative visual sample of the Earth’s surface.

midwestbridges.com Currently, the only feature of this site is a searchable database of bridges in a seven-state area (AR, IL, IA, KS, MO, NE, OK). However, if you’re looking for historic/construction/traffic data on bridges in this area, this site is a valuable source of information.

 Posted by at 11:24 pm
Jul 262004

One of the things that I pride myself on (and those of you who know my reading habits are all too aware of this) is being an informed citizen. To further that cause, I’ve been taking in as much news as I possibly can during this election season; this week, the main attraction is the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Note: I’m registered as a Republican, and my voting record is decidedly independent. (Take that, Google ad scans!)

Tonight’s speeches by the Clintons provided a reminder why they were and remain a powerful political force: both are talented speakers/motivators (Bill in particular), and both have enough experience in the public eye to instictively strike the most effective manner and tone, not just for the crowd, but for the wider public audience. Both knew when to make fun of themselves and when to drive their message home. I would have preferred a more positive overall tone (in those sections of their speeches, they were very effective), and dropping some of the numerous negative references to the Bush administration. Oh well, that’s what you have to do to rally the faithful; all in all, it was an very good cheerleading effort. It’ll be interesting to see how well Kerry and Edwards fare with their own speeches, and of course, how the Republicans will react both now and in New York in September.

I’ll return to this topic off and on between now and November; hopefully, I’ll be able to offer some halfway useful obervations in that time.

 Posted by at 11:00 pm
Jul 222004

I was making myself a midnight salad (insert joke here), and by this time of the evening, my mind starts wandering and making random connections. Somehow I got to thinking about previous relationships (failed, attempted, and actual), and I realized something that hadn’t before. There were two separate points in my life when girls I was more or less involved with very blatantly, in an indirect way, told me exactly how they viewed the long-term success of the relationship. In both cases, I read the tell completely reverse of its intended meaning.

Of course, those expectations of long-term success are always subject to change, so the tell told me nothing beyond what they thought at that time. However, I really wish I had picked up on that tell; it would have saved a great deal of pain, anguish, and hurt feelings. Oh well, always better late than never…

In case you’re curious (and I know you are), the tell went one way the first time, and the other direction the second.

 Posted by at 1:22 am
Jul 222004

Useable Internet access returned to my apartment Tuesday afternoon; after a day or so of renewing my love affair with all of its sweet, sweet goodness, I’m back, and ready to post inanely once again.

I’ve been reading actual books recently, and I had forgotten how good the Ender’s Game series really is. Of course, I’m a sucker for anything that’s infused with gobs of history, and the ethical and moral points the books make are interesting and are almost (positively) subversive at times. I should read more literature of the printed variety and less of its online counterparts…

For those of you who’ve read the books and are familiar with the J. D. Edwards program:
JDE = Battle School?

Just a thought.

 Posted by at 1:06 am
Jul 152004

Within the past week, I’ve finally given in to the sweet, sweet goodness that is DVD television box sets. Futurama DVD box sets, to be precise. I bought the first volume on Saturday, viewed every episode (and the audio commentary version) by Monday, and bought the second volume today (Wednesday). In all likelihood, I’ll buy the third volume by this weekend. I’m a good little consumer whore, yes I am…

Omaha is throwing its 150th birthday bash this weekend, the highlight of which is a free 311 concert on Friday. I’ll be in attendance, and I plan on making a night of it with a visit to the casinos in Council Bluffs afterwards. Yay for adult fun!

 Posted by at 12:14 am
Jul 122004

When we had last left our hero…

He had enjoyed an evening at the bars in (Shawnee…Overland Park…?? Knowing which town one is in on the Kansas side of KC is nearly impossible for the average tourist to know), Kansas, and then managed to eat and drink through the rest of the weekend quite nicely. More details of my adventure back from KC can be found here, in Matt’s blog.

One of my wackier hobbies is to visit as many counties as reasonably possible in this great land of ours…you can keep tabs on my progress here, here, and here. My most recent additions are Leavenworth, Jefferson, and Atchinson counties in Kansas. I was about a mile or so away from Doniphan County, KS but didn’t realize it until after I looked at my map a few miles down the road and realized I had missed it…as well as realizing that I had needlessly driven about 10-15 miles east and back west by taking US 59 and US 73 from Nortonville to Horton instead of US 159 between the two towns. Oops…

Beer School was this evening and was tasty, as usual. A true cask ale tap in Lincoln will be so hot. :-)

 Posted by at 11:04 pm
Jul 102004

So, yeah, I’m in Kansas City (actually, Overland Park, KS) and I’ve been out with some friends tonight. I got hit on tonight, but I didn’t do anything about it (as usual). Oh well…chances are I’ll be a tad more sober tomorrow. Good night, everyone!

 Posted by at 1:46 am
Jul 082004

Sorry about the weeklong gap between entries, everyone (yes, both of you). I was out of town from Thursday evening through Sunday night, and was just plain lazy from then until now. In that timespan, I’ve received two new suits (a belated graduation present), assisted in hosting a large summer party back on the farm, attended a friend’s birthday party in Omaha on the 4th, and sold my soul (again) to the J. D. Edwards program, this time for graduate money. But none of that is terribly important, and if it truly interests you, I’m sure you can find a suitable means to seek me out.

A couple of observations on life as I see it:

I ran across a site about, well, the unusual lack of judgment future parents use in selecting their child’s names. A common theme among the parents in selecting bizarre names for their children is that they want a "unique" name, regardless of how strangely the name is spelled or the unwanted connotations the name may bring. It seems that many people have come to assume the uniqueness of an individual is given entirely by the label a person is given at birth, which is most unfortunate. Think for a moment of your family members, loved ones, and other friends and acquaintances; is your opinion of those persons shaped by the names given to them at birth? Of course not. Chances are, many of those people have nicknames that bear little relation to their given names, anyway. All told, my advice on naming children is thus: Don’t choose a name based on how cool or trendy it may be, choose a name that doesn’t sound (or is spelled) stupid. Common sense will prevail.

I’ve been on an on-again, off-again quest to learn more about the background and history of my surname. While all the "official" information about the Whidden name’s origins points to a mutation of the Middle English word for wheat, snippets of family oral history suggested a possible Welsh or Cornish origin (Cornish would be especially likely, since the Whidden family lived in the Dartmoor area of Devon, England since before the 12th century). After consulting the sites of the Cornish Language Fellowship and the excellent University of Michigan Middle English Dictionary (see the link in the lower left corner for free individual access), I was able to reassert that Whidden is, indeed, an English name. I bet you found that interesting. The fact that I live in a time and place where I can travel thousands of miles and find that everyone still speaks the exact same language is amazing considering that just a few hundred years ago, languages were often restricted to a single locality or ethnic group. Just another marvel of the world we now live in, I suppose…

 Posted by at 12:15 am