Monday, February 28, 2011


Whatever the reason, I just didn't have "it" today. I felt all right physically, yet I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't operating at 100%. I'd say that this realization kicked in shortly after arriving at work and learning of a mistake I made, but I may have woken up with it. (Or without it, as it were.) I'm not sure.

Chalk it up to not enough sleep, not enough to eat, or something else. It doesn't matter. I was lacking.

I tried working out, but my legs weren't there. Neither was the mental stamina. Halfway through I threw in the towel. This is the first time I've done that nearly two months into this regimen.

I really hope it returns tomorrow.


Sunday, February 27, 2011


'Twas a full day in front of the television: University of Dayton basketball against its biggest rival, a key Columbus Blue Jackets game, and the Academy Awards. My teams lost in the first two events. I won the Oscars pool. So I guess that salvages something out of the day.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

On the line

This idea is so stupid that it's kind of brilliant: running a website for hire in which you offer to call someone and pretend to be a turtle.

I've listened to a few of the calls, and they're at least slightly amusing. Really, though, it's the idea of it that tickles me. I'm half tempted to drop two bucks to buy one of these for my youngest brother for his birthday.

How would you react to getting a turtlecall?


Friday, February 25, 2011


Random thoughts from attending a hockey game tonight...

When a big crowd is expected, why do people sit in seats that aren't theirs before the game has started or early in it? Seriously, cut it out. This isn't something I've encountered with my seat, but it affects me when it occurs in my row or those around me. The proper ticket holder arrives and blocks the view because they have to sort out why their spot is occupied.

How hard is it to find where your seat is? I see people look mystified as they stagger up the steps trying to match what is on their ticket with the rows before them. IT ISN'T THAT HARD.

Nice to see the local professional team playing well.

Seeing a hat trick--one player scoring three goals--and the crowd throwing their hats onto the ice is pretty delightful, even if I would never follow along. (What, I'm going to get rid of a perfectly good hat?) I was especially amused by people in the upper deck throwing hats into the lower deck. I imagine some of them eventually made their way to the ice.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Keeping the streak alive

Since I've been strapped for time, I'm really tempted to break my string of consecutive blogging days, but the streak is getting close to four years. I can't quite give that up.

I did find a CBC Radio piece about a knitting club at a school that has been uploaded in its entirety to YouTube. (For some reason the version on the CBC site is abbreviated.)

Hopefully that tides you over for today.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Empire state of mind

I've never been to New York City. It's a place I've been interested in visiting, but the time or two that I've been in the general region, I've elected not to go there. I haven't had the desire to drive into what I envision is a traffic nightmare, and let's face it, the city is surely expensive for someone traveling solo.

One of my brothers has been working temporarily in New Jersey, just across from Manhattan, since the fall. I mentioned that if the timing worked out, I might fly out to visit and see the city. (I knew it was unlikely that he'd go exploring on his own.) He's being housed in an apartment while out east, so I'd have a place to stay. I've been checking in on a regular basis to see if his company was going to have him out there when spring break rolls around. It's been probable but not confirmed, or at least not confirmed enough for me to purchase plane tickets.

I've been getting antsy about it as I figure the cost of flights is due to go up any day. The plan's been to go out there in about three weeks, assuming the price of hopping on a plane doesn't double or triple. After e-mail exchanges today I finally booked the trip.

I'm really excited. I have no idea what we might do (or what I might do when on my own), but there won't be a lack of options. Here's a city that I've seen countless times on my TV and on the movie screen, but now I'll be able to get a taste of it myself. How cool will this be?

I'm also kind of terrified. I'm going to arrive at JFK in mid-morning and will then need to get on a train to get on the train that will take me to Penn Station. Then I'll probably have six hours or so to wile away in Manhattan until I need to get on a train to New Jersey and have my brother pick me up. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS FREE TIME?

It would be one thing not to have any possessions weighing me down, but I'll have a carry-on suitcase and a messenger bag with my laptop. Those things will slow me down and may limit where I can go. (A quick check of the MOMA website looks like I can rule it out.) Did I mention that I'll also be arriving on St. Patrick's Day, which didn't occur to me until I made the flight reservations? What sort of madness am I going to be walking into? I'll face some of the same issues when I'm departing--my flight isn't until mid-afternoon--but by then I figure I'll be more comfortable with getting around.

So, it's sure to be an adventure. That's thrilling and frightening at the same time.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Open to interpretation

I ask you, is the story of a pizza delivery person possibly saving an elderly woman's life happy, sad, or both?

Initially I decided to post this because it was an extra-long work day and I didn't want to write anything, but now that I consider it, I'm genuinely curious what you make of the story. It seems like a good candidate for testing one's worldview.

So, what say you?

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Monday, February 21, 2011

The day in pieces

Remember how on Friday I talked about not needing a coat or a jacket? It snowed today.

I posed a question on Twitter about whether it was okay to jump into a TV show at the start of its second season or if I needed to catch up on the first season before diving into the latest episodes. (I'd go into why such a question even matters, but that's something more suited for my other site.) Little did I know that this query would light up my feed with passionate responses. This development was amusing and informative. Ultimately I chose to start from the beginning, with the idea of gorging on episodes this week and being caught up in a week's time.

One of my new favorite things: creamy petroleum jelly. It's delicious on toast. (That's a joke.) Seriously, though, this stuff is saving me during my hours on the treadmill.

If there's something I know I need to take with me to work the following day, why don't I just put it in my bag the night before? Otherwise I forget it entirely or remember after I'm already in the car and prepared to leave.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

A life in stitches

101 years of age, 92-plus years of knitting.

I have to think that kind of longevity with the needles is hard to top.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

One year later

I'm not superstitious, yet I didn't have any desire to be out and about tonight, an evening that corresponds with the one capped by the car accident. Part of my choice to stay in is due to the amount of time I've spent away from home this year. Oh, I've slept at my place every night this year, but I haven't been home much. If keeping busy has been my business, business has been good. A quiet day at home from mid-afternoon on would be welcome after that.

Nevertheless, I did give some thought to whether or not I wanted to be on the road on this particular evening. If there was something I wanted to do, I would have done it. I don't believe that there's anything special (or cursed) about this particular night or the date, which will arrive on Sunday. I've driven through the accident scene several times, so it's not like there's anything I'm avoiding. Still, in its own way, observing the anniversary of the wreck by sitting at home feels fitting.

I wouldn't say that I've ever been a real aggressive driver or one prone to anger, yet within the last few years I've become more conscious about being less stressed behind the wheel. It's remarkable how much easier it is to go places if you're not in a hurry. The accident didn't dramatically change my driving habits--I probably avoided hitting the stopped car on the highway because I wasn't flying around the curve--yet I do find myself being even more defensive.

More often than not I'm content to stay in the right or middle lane, depending on which keeps me in the flow without having to change lanes regularly. I probably give a little more space to the cars in front of me than I used to. I'm certainly aware of cars behind me--maybe too much when sitting at a stop.

None of that is a guarantee of avoiding another accident. The fact is that the one I was in a year ago wasn't something I could avoid. The only thing in my control was keeping it from being worse. Remembering that may be reason enough for recognizing this day a year later.

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Friday, February 18, 2011


You will notice that today's entry is dated February 18. I am in central Ohio. So how is it that I did not need to don a coat or jacket today? Or that I wore shorts to walk from my car to the fitness center and back? Or that I drove with the window down?

OK, I could have used a jacket this evening after the sun went down, but otherwise this was t-shirt weather, something we'd have in the spring, not now. Just slightly more than two weeks ago schools were cancelling classes because of ice and snow.

This won't be lasting, as far as I know. The weather app on my phone claims the high on Tuesday will be 26. (It lists a high of 60 for today.) So this was a nice surprise, like the new Radiohead album being made available a day early today, but there's no need to look at it as anything but a pleasant aberration.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Uh oh

Has it come to this? I was completely cleaned out of the frozen meals that comprise most of my diet, so I stopped at the grocery late tonight on the way home. I opened the freezer door and started selecting the usual. Wait, what's this? NEW OPTIONS!!!

Getting excited over new frozen meals offered by my manufacturer of choice shows how far I've come in a month and a half, doesn't it?

Granted, since I've mostly been rotating the same meals all year, meaning it's not out of the ordinary for me to have the same one twice a week, I'm probably due to be tiring of what I'm eating. A couple of different ones to throw into the mix really is a big deal. Still, it's kind of pathetic, right?

Sorry for another entry about eating. This year has been work, exercise, and little else. It's been productive, but I could stand to have a break. Knitting needs to get into the mix.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A different perspective

Routines are comfortable and can provide some structure to the calendar, but what happens if you break them?

Since 2005 there's an event that has been part of my life in late winter/early spring. The first time I attended I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but I enjoyed it and expanded my time at it in the intervening years. It's something I've come to look forward to.

A month or so ago I booked the hotel room for my two separate trips to it. I found a very appealing rate on the room and prefer to have that locked in. I can always tweak the dates if necessary.

On Monday I finally got around to submitting my request for accreditation. In the past it's been a perfunctory step. I found out that's not entirely true this year. Sure, I'd likely be approved under this new system, but the benefit carries a couple extra (and significant) burdens that haven't been attached. Whether in a moment of pique or clarity, I decided that the new method was not worth the hassle it would create. Suddenly, I was strongly considering not attending at all something I'd been looking forward to.

I examined other options and estimated my typical expenses. OK, maybe I don't skip out on the whole thing but curtail my attendance by at least half, if not more. Mmm, you know what, do I even want to bother with it at all? Maybe I'd be better off putting that time and money toward going to the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time. Plus, if I don't go to this thing in March during the break, it gives me some other potential days that I can visit my brother in the New York City area, assuming he's still working there then.

And just like that part of my annual routine may be off the calendar. Granted, I've been kicking around the idea for the NYC trip for awhile. (I've never been there, and the time is right since I'll have a place to stay for free if I go. My brother's assignment is only for six months maximum and is nearing its end.) One of the sticking points had been fitting it in with the following two long weekends being at the aforementioned event. Since I may have to wait until three weeks before booking a flight, some flexibility is welcome.

Plus, I've been dying to get to Toronto for years. If I can put what I would have spent in the first quarter of the year toward the September film festival, it makes the latter much more feasible. The more I've thought about this, the more I would rather allocate the money to it.

Finally, if I don't bother with what has been a regular thing on my schedule, maybe I can get down to see the Reds play on the opening weekend of the season.

It's funny how one domino unexpectedly falling has given me a different perspective on something I was doing out of force of habit. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I did, although it gave me some aggravations too. With the detriments increased slightly more, suddenly there are some other exciting things I may do instead. Before Monday at least two of them would have fallen under the unlikely column.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

News alert!

Knitting is making a comeback!

I haven't listened to the episode of On Point on NPR--click on the Listen To This Show button at the top of the page--but it's something on my list of things to catch up on. Should be interesting.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Not much to say on this Valentine's Day, so here are some songs that may make the day more enjoyable for you.

Teenage Fanclub's "What You Do To Me" is about as lyrically simple and direct as they come.

Matthew Sweet's "I've Been Waiting" seems a lot, err, sweeter without a video that suggests his adoration is aimed at an anime character.

The Pixies' cover of "Head On" is pretty terrific in its own right, but the original by The Jesus and Mary Chain would have been here if embedding were permitted.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Resolutions revisited

Conventional wisdom says that most new year's resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. Since we're about halfway into February, what better time to check up on mine?

-Lose weight/get in shape again.

So far, so good on both fronts. I have no idea how much I've lost, but I've noticed a difference. I've felt lousy the last couple winters, but getting regular exercise has me feeling much better during this one. Onward and upward.

-Read The Bible all the way through.

Excuses, excuses, but the start of the year has been a busy one. I kept up with the daily reading for about a week and then fell behind. I'm only up to readings in late January, but now that things have settled down somewhat, I intend to get caught up and back on track. At best I get an incomplete on this one.

-Read more.

This one has been a big fat failure to date.

-Give more to charity.

I haven't touched this one yet.

-When it comes to media consumption, aim for more depth among the breadth.

Gotta go with an incomplete on this one. Most of my music listening this year has been while exercising. I have tended to lean on the same artists that seem like good fits for keeping up my pace, so in that sense I'm fulfilling what I resolved to do. (One week's workouts was scored by The Strokes' three albums.) Still, there is the rip and forget problem that spurred this. I got the new Decemberists album and have probably only heard three-quarters of it.

Out of all these it's clear that I've prioritized eating better and exercising, perhaps to the detriment of the other resolutions. My schedule has been kind of insane, so hopefully I can bounce back with a less intense work load ahead.

How are you doing with your resolutions?

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Saturday, February 12, 2011


"Kaputt", the title track from the Destroyer album, is one of my favorite songs of the new year. It beguiles with a sound that reminds me of the optometrist office's waiting room, although I imagine this is a bit weirder, even if it is sonically similar, than smooth '80s music. (If the singer's voice sounds familiar, you may know him as a member in The New Pornographers.)

Anyway, that chill atmosphere is about all I'm capable of tonight. (Ignoring the extra t, the German translation of the title is entirely apt in this instance.) I suppose that's what happens when you do your workout for the day around 9:15 p.m. The rest of the evening you're on the verge of drifting off.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Turn the page

The writing has been on the wall for awhile, but now it appears that the warning is about to be fulfilled. Borders is expected to file for bankruptcy. A quick scan for news about Barnes and Noble shows that opinions seem to be more favorable for them, although I swear I've read that their long-term future has been held in question. Regardless, some are tolling the bell for the bookstore. It's likely to become louder if Borders shuts down a lot of stores or closes altogether.

One of my favorite stores to go to as a kid was a local bookstore in a strip mall. The selection was nothing compared to what you'll find at Borders and Barnes and Noble, but I don't recall those superstores being around then. (Mall tenants B. Dalton and Waldenbooks would have been the competition then, I suppose.) If we went to Kmart or the single screen second-run movie theater or visited the library across the street, chances were good that we'd stop in at Newton's Book Store, especially if I was with my mom.

Newton's Book Store could handle the mystical process of the special order and find books that I'd never seen and might not have known even existed. At some point I got such hard-to-find books as The Baseball Address List, an autograph collector's handy guide with the names and addresses of every living person who'd played in Major League Baseball, and Late Night with David Letterman: The Book, which I wish I had but which I think got ruined in storage at my parents'.

As far as I can tell, Newton's is no longer in business. (It's listed among the retailers in my school district, but that document says it was last updated in May 1998.) I'm kind of surprised it made it that long since the superstore boom of the '90s surely wiped out a lot of small, independent stores.

Of course the small shop never stood a chance. I don't recall the first time I went to one of the big stores--it was probably when I was in college--but the selection was staggering. (I might have first visited Little Professor Book Center, an independent chain that left Columbus some time ago but which may still be around in some places if this dated website and searches are to be believed.) Here were stores that were destinations and that provided immediate access to books that one might have to wait for a week or more if going elsewhere. I remember spending plenty of time browsing the aisles and exploring what might be there to find.

Now these superstores are endangered species. Coupons or sales that chop the prices down significantly have become more plentiful, which is pretty much the only reason I will buy from these places anymore. In the age of and quick shipping, there's virtually no reason to buy something at Borders or B&N with their full retail prices. (Come on, who's going to buy a new CD for $19, which is at least $5 more than most places.)

Perfect example: this week I bought a $10 Groupon for $20 off at B&N and intended to use it locally to support one of the stores in my area. I wanted to get the Blu-ray of The Double Life of Veronique. I could order it through the company's website for home delivery for $30 or place an online order for in-store pick-up for the full $40 price. Hmm, let me think about that one. Of course I bought it through the website and am having it shipped to me.

Yet even though the potential disappearance of these mega booksellers wouldn't really affect my purchasing habits, I'll miss them if or when they're gone. Maybe it's nostalgia for places that meant something to me when I was younger. Maybe it's a fear that tangible things are going to be harder to come by in the future. Maybe it's sentimentality. Sure, I have a Kindle and enjoy using it--I'm part of the problem!--but I still like to roam the stacks too.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

There's an app for that

One person interviewed regarding her decision to purchase an iPhone 4 mentions all of the knitting apps available for the handheld device.

I haven't looked up such things, so I'm going to toss the question out to you. What knitting apps are your favorites and/or essential?

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Come and get it

After a stretch of days where I worked way too much, what did I do when it was all done? I stayed up very late looking up power pop videos on YouTube. I'm not really sure how that happened.

Badfinger was the main band in the search. It's a group whose name I know, but until last night, I probably couldn't have named a song by them. After tumbling down the rabbit hole on YouTube, I can say that I know their biggest hits but just didn't know they were the ones behind them.

So there was a random late night down the drain.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The very same bikers

The big work project that has been looming over me has been completed. Phew!

While I don't have any gas left in the tank today, I did receive an e-mail pointing me toward a photo of bikers knitting. It's presented free of context, so who knows what it's documenting (if anything real).

Thanks for the tip, Daniel!

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Monday, February 07, 2011


Ignore what the time stamp says. It is nearly 1:30 a.m. on the 8th, and I am writing this from the office. For real.

Assuming I haven't forgotten something, everything that I need to have done for Tuesday has been completed. Hallelujah. I'm blaming these insane hours on getting a snow day last week.

Anyway, I don't recommend the sixteen hour day at the office, but it did go quickly. Now it's time to go home. I have to back soon enough. But first, a haircut!

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Working for the weekend

The relativity of time has been very clear to me this weekend. I was at the office for about seven hours on Saturday and nine hours today. THE TIME FLEW.

Unfortunately, this was a case of it going much faster than I really wanted it to. Did I get a respectable amount of work done? Yes. Did I get as much done as I had hoped? Absolutely not. If it weren't for the Super Bowl, I might still be at the office. (Oh yeah, I picked the winning team, and my 27-17 guess was in the vicinity of the 31-25 final score in favor of the Packers.)

I have Monday and Tuesday to finish up. That should still be sufficient time, but the nice thing about this weekend is that I was almost always the only person in my side of the building, if not the entirely building. Distractions were at a minimum. Perhaps that's why I didn't really notice how all those hours slipped by. (In a darkened building without any windows visible from my space, it really was like time didn't exist.) It will be harder to remain as focused the next two days.

I'm prepared to log twelve to fourteen hours at work on Monday, so what I'm saying is there's going to be at least one more day of this blog garbage until I have more mental energy to devote here.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Super guess

It's a long working weekend, so I'm going to use today's space for a meaningless Super Bowl prediction. There's no denying that it is colored by my rooting interest in the game--I can't cheer for the Steelers--so I wouldn't risk your life savings (or any substantial sum of money) on the following guess:

Green Bay Packers 27
Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Enjoy the game!

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Personal best

This week concludes my first month of renewing my commitment to exercising. I'm proud of how I've had no trouble sticking with it and sometimes have gone out of my way to ensure that I get the four hour-long workouts per week that I've settled on. I'm pleased with the results so far, not that I'm weighing myself. (I make it a point not to.) I feel much better overall, and the nagging tightness in my neck and upper back from last year's car accident seems to have worked itself out.

There's only been one day that I've hopped on the treadmill and felt like I'm not up to the task. I've worked my way up from a 3.8 miles per hour pace to 4.2 mph this week. The first mile or so is usually the toughest, but after my calves loosen, I'm good to go.

The strange thing, though, is that yesterday and today I crushed the workout. When I picked up the pace on Monday, it took some serious effort to keep up. These last two times I've sailed through as though it's the easiest thing in the world. The lower legs don't resist early on, and I crank out the miles like nobody's business. It's like I'm sort of in shape.

Granted, although I've been putting in the time, I also know that walking at this pace--around 14:15 per mile--puts me nowhere near peak condition. As far as I can remember, the fastest time I've ever run was 30:06 for 5K, which would put me slightly under a ten-minute mile. I ran a 5-mile race in just slightly more than 50 minutes thirteen or fourteen years ago. (I was also seriously gassed after a last push in that one.)

The way I see it, I shaved 45 seconds off my mile average this week alone and didn't struggle. In fact, I excelled. I'm going to continue bumping up the pace incrementally every week or two. It seems to be working for me, and it'll build me up from walking to running. (Honestly, these last two days have felt like walking on clouds.)

Speed isn't the end in all this, but I am curious how low I can get my time. If I increase the treadmill speed by two-tenths of a mile every two weeks--and if I've done the math right with the weeks--that would put me on a pace of 6.2 mph by the 4th of July fun run. In other words, I'd be doing a mile in less than ten minutes and in the ballpark of finishing a 5K in under a half hour. (Since I usually sprint the last bit, I'd think I could crack that barrier with ease.) Again, this isn't the point, but now that I have a glimpse of what's possible, I'm tempted to lay this out as a secondary goal.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011


The pictures of a Chinese man painted to blend into the background are pretty astounding. Although the photos aren't huge, I didn't have much trouble seeing him until I ran into the seventh in the slide show.

So what does this have to do with anything? After a long day, I felt pretty much like I faded into the background. Like that guy. Follow?

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Procrastinator's lament

The call, text, and e-mail came around 6:00 a.m. The university is closed due to inclement weather. Great! I can work in peace on the massive amount of writing I need to finish.

Except I didn't. At all.

The first thing I did was turn off the clock radio alarm. Hello 9:30 rise. Apparently I wiled away some time online before lunch and a nap. Then I made some snickerdoodles from a mix, did laundry, and spent more time messing around on the computer. Some TV, another nap, dinner, and then TV and the computer simultaneously.

So what's my problem? I know that there's a lot to get done, and with no one to bother me, I could have made a critical dent in my work load. Obviously I didn't want to do that bad enough. I had my foot on the gas all day Tuesday, which may be a sufficient explanation. The comfort and distractions of home made it easy to avoid working. Good to note, I suppose, but not very helpful in getting me closer to being finished.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Plus: Due to the weather, my employer has closed the offices...
Minus: ...but it's only until noon.

Plus: I can still get some writing done at home before heading in...
Minus: ...but I'm going to lose at least twenty minutes scraping through the thick ice coating my car.

Plus: (4:24 p.m.) Due to the weather, evening classes are cancelled...
Minus: ...but I still have to be here because I've been doing all this writing for the show taping around 5:45.
Minus: ...but this means the fitness center will be closed too.
Minus: ...but I'm still going to be at work until almost 8:30 anyway.

Plus: I won't be needing this bag that I packed in the event that the roads were too slick and I felt better just getting a hotel...
Minus: ...but now it's one more thing I have to carry as I try to keep from breaking my neck getting across the parking lot to my apartment.

Plus: Getting my wireless router working properly after yesterday's power outages reset it was pretty simple...
Minus: ...but I wish I'd realized that last night.
Minus: ...but why couldn't either of the customer service reps explained it rather than trying to get $40 out of me?

Plus: Chances are decent that school will be cancelled on Wednesday...
Minus: ...but even if it is, I'll spend it working at home on stuff I need to get done anyway.

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