Behold, yet another of those disjointed posts with no logical connections:
- Over the, oh, eight years or so that I've maintained a website or some sort, I tend to go back and forth about checking my visitor statistics. Sometimes I check them twice a week or more; other times, I'll completely ignore them for months. Especially as the years have passed, it's been a lot more the latter, but in the last couple weeks I've found renewed interest. This coincides with being linked over at Dave's and a curiousity about who would find me from there. Making the leap of logic that anyone who's going from his site to mine knows us both, i.e. went to high school with us, I'm finding it particularly interesting to look at people's locations.
There are a few locations in New Jersey, but I don't know how many of those are Dave himself. Then there's someone in Vanderbilt Beach, Florida, for example; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Newton, Massachusetts (ha! Newton!); and even Caledonia, Michigan, over in my neck of the woods (if by "my neck of the woods" you mean within 200 miles of me). Through my brilliant deductive skills, I think the Michigan one is Byronn Memmelaar (or is he going by Bryan now?), which is kind of interesting. Now, it's not like I had particularly good relationships with most people in high school, but I think Byronn may be the only one I actually had a bad relationship with. We just did not like each other, but for the life of me I can't remember why. (Although interestingly enough, I do remember bumping into him trick-or-treating when we were maybe 7 years old and "reminding" him to say his Ls-- we had speech therapy together that year, I think-- and him glaring at me like he would kill me if he could. I was an irritating little kid. Maybe that was it?) Anyway, he was a perfectly nice person, and I think that mostly I didn't like him because I knew he didn't like me. But now he's married, and apparently in Michigan, so that's cool for him. So if I'm right on that one, I just have to figure out Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, but I have no clues for those whatsoever. So if you're here (any of you), comment or e-mail to say hi! I won't bite.
- I've finally taken the plunge. After a few years of considering it, I've decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It's when tens of thousands of folks around the world make a committment to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. It's basically designed for people like me who keep telling themselves that they're going to write a novel someday but never seem to get around to it, and for people (also like me) who are so perfectionistic about their writing that they write and rewrite the first couple of pages instead of making real progress. Anyway, I'm both excited and nervous about it-- excited because I can tell that I'll get much further on this than I would without the NaNoWriMo framework and support system, but nervous because it's a tremendous challenge which I don't know if I can succeed at. But I guess that's the whole point; I can't know that I'll succeed, I've just got to give it my best effort, think positively, and see what happens. And I think that I'm going to learn a lot from the experience, no matter how it ends up. But anyway, don't expect to hear a lot from me here in November. Except maybe I'll be posting my word counts, so you can see how I'm doing and yell at me and keep me on track.
- The White Sox are in the World Series! The nice thing about being a transplanted rather than native-born Chicagoan, with my strongest baseball loyalties firmly attached to the Yankees, is that I can get just as excited about either the White Sox or the Cubs being in the playoffs, without any of that deep-seated animosity stuff. It's not as wild this year as it was with the Cubs in 2003-- there are just a lot more Cubs fans in Chicago-- but it's still fun. Alex and I watched the end of Game 5 of the ALCS at the ESPNZone, and we've seen Games 1 and 2 of the World Series at local bars; we're not big sports-in-bars types, but it's the fun of the atmosphere and being around devoted fans, more than anything. (Plus, there are lots of good food and drink specials.) It is pretty neat to experience-- it wasn't quite the same when the Yankees won, because experiencing it in rural New Jersey is not like being in the heart of NYC. (Except going to the victory parades. Those were cool.)
Also: baseball should institute instant replay, to be used at the umpires' discretion only. Discuss.
- Also, go #21 Northwestern! We're back in the Top 25 for the first time in four years. We've won 3 games in a row (including the one against Wisconsin, which I was at), and are 5-2; the defense is atrocious, but our offense is one of the best in the country. We should have bowl eligibility easily (we just need to win one of the next four, and one of them is against Illinois), and now it's a question of contending for first in the Big Ten. Of course, we've learned that whether you tie for first place (2000), or squeak into bowl contention with a .500 record (2003), the results are basically the same: a crappy bowl which no one cares about. But still, it'll be fun to see how far we go.
- In keeping with the disconnected nature of this post, the picture is from a miniature golf course in West Virginia. All of the holes were designed using real, used equipment from coal mines, including that big tube. All except the giant 30-foot-tall miner statue you see in the background. That's just Miner John.
- Last, and randomest: So the other day, I was walking near someone with a very strong accent which took me a minute to place, but I soon realized she was Scottish. Anyway, I was close enough to hear her for less than five minutes, yet in that time, she mentioned: a) bagpipes; b) kilts; and c) haggis. It was bizarre. I think this was the first time I'd ever been near a Scot in person, and I just happened to bump into a walking, talking Scottish stereotype. Unless they're all like that...
Okay, considering that we're a week into October, this is probably a little bit delayed, but better late than never, right? Anyway, for your perusing pleasure, here's my summer in numbers and pictures.
This summer I:
create your own personalized map of the USA
- spent time in 11 states (IL, WI, MI, IA, MO, NY, NJ, PA, MD, VA, WV) -- 13 if I cheat and count drive-throughs IN and DE-- and the District of Columbia
- saw a baseball game in seven stadiums-- 8 1/2 if I count the long periods of time I spent inspecting the outside of Comerica in Detroit and the under-construction new Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
- visited 4 of the top 10 and 7 of the top 20 metropolitan areas in the country (Chicago, NYC, DC, Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis)
- traveled by plane, train, bus, car, and four cities' public transportation systems
- slept in 12 different beds and one tent
- took more than 700 digital pictures
... and did it all in a little 800 by 300 square mile rectangle, from St. Louis to southwestern Wisconsin to Washington DC to New York City.