Oct 312004
 

First off, here’s the results of the “what should Jesse brew first?” poll:

  • Pale ale: 1
  • (Raspberry) Wheat beer: 6 (4)
  • Strawberry blonde ale: 1
  • Light cherry ale: 1
  • Beer tastes nasty; why are you making your own?: 3

I was all set to buy my equipment today; unfortunately, Lincoln’s only homebrew shop, Kirk’s Brew & Gifts, is closed on Sundays. I’ll try to swing by there tomorrow or on Tuesday.

This is the season when Design Studio usually starts to exert an excessive amount of one’s time, and this year’s project is no exception. Tomorrow, we have a meeting with three state senators about our property tax project; we’ll be meeting with the full Revenue Committee in a week or two. On November 12, we’ll be in Omaha for the afternoon, and a trip is scheduled on Nov. 22-23 to meet with Kansas state officials in Topeka. At least this is all paid for by our client. :-)

 Posted by at 5:42 pm
Oct 252004
 

As most of you who know me have long since realized, I have a serious affinity for craft beer. Since I enjoy it so much, the next step I plan on taking shouldn’t be all that surprising: I will soon start brewing my own beer. I decided I would do this back in early September, but a tight financial situation has delayed the start of this adventure until now. This weekend, I will buy (or order) the equipment and ingredients, and the brewing will commence. The end product should be finished around Thanksgiving.

At this point, I want your input. What kind of beer should the first batch be? Let me know in the comments, by email, or over IM.

 Posted by at 12:46 am
Oct 192004
 

First off, thanks to everyone (and most of you did it in person) who responded to my post last Wednesday…thanks for your collective insight and support. I feel more at ease with myself than I have in a long time, which is a good thing.

I did a lot of driving over fall break…nearly 2000 miles in a span from Friday evening to this afternoon. I made my first forays into Wyoming and Montana, and added 14 counties along the way…only 2,774 to go! If you want a full retelling of my trip, you’ll have to ask me; also, pictures should be available sometime in the next week. For your convenience, here’s the good, bad and ugly of my trip, in bulleted form:

Good:

  • The forested areas in the Black Hills, parts of Montana, and the northern edge of Wyoming
  • The sampler tray at the Montana Brewing Co. in Billings (7 beers – 28 ounces total – $4.50)
  • Devils Tower at dusk
  • There’s a place in Billings near the airport where you can sit in your car and look out over the entire city…just as TV and movies demand that every city must have
  • The colors of the tree leaves in river valleys

Bad:

  • I-90 between Buffalo and Gillette, WY…60 miles without towns, houses, people, or anything, for that matter
  • Swerving around incredibly large and numerous roadkill in the Black Hills
  • $4/hr Internet access at a Holiday Inn Express (it’s free at some, but not all locations)
  • Clouds and fog obscuring your view of mountain ranges

Ugly:

  • The living conditions on Indian reservations
  • Driving past approximately 73,497,168 signs for Wall Drug and other tourist traps in South Dakota
 Posted by at 11:14 pm
Oct 132004
 

I’ve been thinking about posting this for quite some time, and this is both the longest and the most soul-baring post on this blog thus far. (You have been warned.) Therefore, I shall commence:

* * *

It’s October 2004, and I am 23 years old. On the surface, it would seem that all is well…I live fairly comfortably, I’m getting a free education, I have knowledge and skills that should make me highly employable, I have many friends both near and far away, and (to the best of my knowledge) I’m well-liked by most people I know. Yet, every day, there are moments when I am reminded that my life is very hollow, painfully lonely, not fulfilling, and is ruled by fear and my own unwillingness to change. How did I get to this point? In many ways, I feel that I have failed myself on multiple counts.

Although this may be hard to believe for some of you (I don’t think a single regular reader of my blog has known me for more than four years), I used to be a very ambitious person, and I enjoyed doing all sorts of athletic, academic, artistic, and cultural things. I put hard work and effort into things I wished to excel at, and I succeeded at almost everything I tried. Over the years, however, my interests drifted away from me, one by one, until I have reached the point where I don’t really engage myself in any useful way. Along with my failed interests, I’ve become very afraid to do anything where I’m not almost completely certain of a favorable outcome. I never actually applied to any non-UNL graduate school program; the last time I applied for any sort of competitive job listing was at Pizza Hut back in high school; I hadn’t even been to a career fair before last week, and it still scared me to death. I know these things could have been/can be done; I know many people who haven’t had the opportunities and advantages that I’ve been fortunate to have do so, in fact. Why do I get so anxious about messing up or failing that I just don’t even try at all anymore?

Beyond my fear of failure, I have systematically become numb to my own sense of imagination, my artistic and creative interests, and my own emotions. Ask yourself: have you ever seen me act in a creative or fantastic manner? display utter joy or intense sadness? develop friendships beyond a superficial level? In all likelihood, not ever. My creative and imaginative thoughts have been banished to my dreams and my waking emotions are suppressed beneath a facade of pleasant and unyielding aloofness. I fear that I’ve gone so long without doing so that I’ll be unable to properly form deep and meaningful friendships with other people or be able to find rewarding meaning in art, music, or religion. I feel utterly incomplete as a person.

I’ve always assumed that by some point in my adult life (which until now has been roughly defined as “soon after I graduate from college”), that I would eventually find someone to fall in love with, marry, and start a family of our own. In all honestly, I can’t find anything more noble and inherently good in life than that, and as my own family has shown me the fulfillment that being part of a loving family brings. So, I’ve graduated from college once already, and will be doing so again a year from now, but where am I along this path? NOT EVEN ON IT. Over the years, I’ve had but one actual dating relationship, in which I was used, toyed with, and crumpled and thrown away, emotionally speaking. It’s hard enough for me to admit that I’m even remotely attracted to a female, and I hate flirting (except when drunk); I find it demeaning and embarrassing, and I’m horrible at it. I consider myself to be a kind, intelligent, funny, and at least an average-looking person; yet I’ve been rejected for reasons ranging to my height to my non-Christian-fundamentalist beliefs to the good old-fashioned “sorry, I’m not interested”. I do know that I am considered physically attractive (enough) by at least a few people, but let’s face it, I’m about as emotionally attractive as a garden lizard. Hell, I wouldn’t date me. Can you imagine anyone you know wanting to date me? Why is this so hard for me and so easy for everyone else?

Obviously, I know how I could make myself a better person, but why I can not seem to do so? How can I motivate myself? Why am I so afraid and not willing to change and become the more complete person I know I could be?

* * *

I’m sorry that you had to read through all that whining and self-absorbed musing, but I’ve needed to get this off my chest for some time. I know I should probably have shared this in a less public forum than here, but sometimes you have to make do with what you have.

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
Oct 122004
 

Fall break is this weekend. Since the beginning of the school year, I’ve been looking forward to getting out of Lincoln and going somewhere, anywhere, over the long weekend. I was more or less set on a jaunt down to Kansas City for food, booze, and other assorted debauchery when my family decided to visit my sister in Spearfish, SD instead. And since we’ll be driving that far anyway, what’s another few hours to visit the Little Bighorn battlefield in Montana and Devils Tower in Wyoming? (To put it in perspective, we’ll be driving half the distance from Lincoln to Seattle.) Finally, this trip will last from (4 a.m.) Saturday morning through Monday night. Holy family bonding, Batman!

Hey, at least I get to add some more counties and states to my list of places I’ve visited in the United States.

 Posted by at 11:57 pm
Oct 122004
 

So…I’ve spent the past 4 hours reading finance articles in preparation for my test in FINA 855 (Capital Markets and Financial Institutions), and it appears I’ll have another 4-6 hours of reading and such to do yet tonight and in the morning. Curse my procrastination!

 Posted by at 12:37 am
Oct 072004
 

I’ve lived above Spaghetti Works for about a month and a half now. While I appreciate my apartment’s rock-bottom rent and convenient location to UNL, there are tradeoffs. Among them:

  • I’ve never been to a place where a seemingly endless stream of vaguely creepy-looking folk just stand around aimlessly at all hours of the day until I moved here. Spaghetti Works’ actual operating hours have no effect on the number/variety of people I see hanging about. As best I can tell, none of the people standing in front of the building actually live here, and I have no clue as to the particular attractiveness of the 12th & Q corner to, say, the rest of downtown Lincoln.
  • The fire escape has been broken since I moved here. The apartment manager told me when I moved in that it would be fixed “real soon”, which obviously hasn’t happened. To get around this blatant violation of building codes, the building’s management company has hired security guards to be here around the clock, checking for fires. For the first 2-3 weeks I lived here, the guards actually walked about the building every 15-20 minutes and were pleasant to talk to. Now, the only guards working here are obese middle-aged men and women who manage to blend into the somewhat creepy scenery and sit in their vehicles 99% of the time.
  • There’s a guy who rummages through the dumpsters in the alley 2-3 times a week. You could set a watch to his arrival at 12:30 a.m. He digs out all the bottles and cans he can find, and loads them up into his (late-model, in good shape) SUV.
  • Finally, the garbage trucks come to unload the dumpsters every other day at between 6 and 6:30 a.m., and construction work on the Lincoln Grand starts every day around 7.

Ugh. But it’s still cheap, now isn’t it?

 Posted by at 8:28 pm
Oct 052004
 

Today, as part of my occaisional efforts to join the working world, I hit up UNL’s Fall Career Fair. I talked to 8-10 different companies and government agencies; however, most of the companies I talked to were either directing everyone to apply for their jobs online or were put off by my August or December 2005 graduation date. The only people I even got a whiff of interest from was Union Pacific, the IRS and, oddly enough, the CIA. Oh well…picking up free handouts, and business cards, and pressing the flesh…not a total loss, I must say.

 Posted by at 11:35 am
Oct 032004
 

Even though creating three discrete posts would provide the same effect, I don’t like blogging a sentence or two at a time. Therefore, I submit for your consideration…

My shower (depending on the phase of the moon, how many chickens I sacrifice, etc.) either will blast scalding-hot water at basically every “ON” setting, or will offer cool water for 10-15 minutes before gradually working its way up to lukewarm.

It’s official, my sleep schedule and patterns/cycles have been destroyed for another year. This morning, I was asleep and on the fringe between dreaming and awakening when I dreamt that I heard an alarm in my dream and woke up (after “waking up”, I was still in my dream). However, I didn’t set my alarm clock last night.

A bit of advice for…well, everyone, although I’m directing it to the ladies in the room: Don’t flirt excessively with people that you don’t actually “like that way”. Leading others to believe something that isn’t the case in reality isn’t cool; especially when the person in question isn’t a normal recipient of flirting in general.

 Posted by at 1:09 pm