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Mar. 1st, 2009 | 01:14 pm

 haha, this is kinda fun...thanks skippy!

So, the premise is simple: put your name + “needs” into The Google (as I like to call it) and see what comes up! Here’s what happened:

Katie needs...HULA LESSONS! i love that this is first! maybe i DO need hula lessons...

Katie needs...your help! hmmm...help is good. anyone looking to hire a katie vernon?

Katie needs...to work on her posture! Uhg! this is so true, i sit on a yoga ball when i work on the computer, but i still hunch..maybe hula would help with this. 

Katie needs...to be on her own. interesting. there is talk of me going to btown this summer. 

Katie needs...a rest. not having a job is actually very stressful...i could use a rest, preferably somewhere warm, where i could work on my hula skills. 


Frank needs...a woman. good thing i got one!

Frank needs...sensitivity training. seriously, it said that.  what a load of crap.  i'm happy as a bag of wigs.

Frank needs...wheels. now this would be awesome.  besides me being scared of skateboarding and those shoes with the wheels in them, i'm sure if i had some i'd figure it out.  wheels on the balls of my feet that i can push along with my big toes.

Frank needs...nets to improve intensity on defense. with nets i could ensnare my opponent, thus rendering helpless while i move to offense.  brilliant!

Frank needs...shelter. shelter from Nootka, who currently has the most consistently awful gas she has ever had.  thank you, katie for giving her cheese at lunch.  fresh mozzarella, no less!

Frank needs...to put the reins on Vince. friggin' Vince.  if he shows his lousy face around here again, i'll show'em a world of hurt.  no disrespect.

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wow, little to no time to post!

Feb. 14th, 2009 | 01:33 pm

it's been a busy start to the semester.  lots of reading, lots of writing, lots of trying to figure out the meaning of life.  and i'm tired.  katie's tired, too- sick with a nasty cold, she's up in bed getting a much-needed nap in.  i've been looking up research in the educational and business fields on team leadership or co-leadership... there is surprising little in business literature.  maybe it's too commie-red for that field of study still.  the educational field has quite a bit, but it's inter-disciplinary pairings between special and general education teachers- still a little outside of my intra-disciplinary world of outdoor education team teaching pairings.

oh well.

yeah, kinda nerdy.  i know.  but then again, i've always been kinda nerdy.

so, what's new here?  not much, really- we're trying to figure out what to do with the place in bloomington (we're going to keep it for now, since who knows whether or not we'll need it again)... try and get it up for rent, i think.  at least through next year.  as for here, katie's looking for work and i'm looking for ways out of work.  well, not really looking for ways out of work- just trying to get my workload under control for the semester.  it's all still a little overwhelming and i fear that i'll be 1/2 way through the semester before i know it, and feeling rather behind schedule.  i've taken to setting up my work station on campus in front of the climbing wall: read a little, do a route, write a little, do a route- the activity keeps me off steep and cheap, which i think ends up being a time-saver in the long run.  and it keeps me from having a total mental collapse. 

strangely, i only have 2 classes next year- one each semester- so i figure i should just power through this semester knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but then again, i have no idea how i'll fill up my time next year.  i just sent plymouth state university's professor an email to see if they expect any teaching opportunities to be open next year, so we'll see how that goes. 

anyways, i really need to get back to reading.  lots of articles to read, and i still have to tackle dewey's experience and education- i think i'm supposed to read it 3 times by tuesday.  i hear that's how many times it takes before one has enough of a grasp to actually discuss it. 

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it's about time

Jan. 25th, 2009 | 08:19 pm
location: back in a dry house
mood: coldcold
music: strange math-rock

you've been waiting a while, i know.  wondering what the deal is.

actually, at this point you are probably already aware of katie and my tribulations over winter break... but if for some reason you aren't, here goes:

katie and i have a place in bloomington indiana that we were trying to sell upon moving to new hampshire.  but then the housing market collapsed.  so, just as we were switching to rental-mode (and just as a family was writing an offer on our house from seattle), we got a call from our friend Jill that something had gone wrong with the place.  as near as our calculations can be (a likewise pretty accurate depiction can be found with more brevity here), here's what happened:

1. sometime between nov 20 and dec 10 our house was being shown and the realtor or client messed with our thermostat, switching it from heat/auto to a/c.

2. on roughly december 10th about 6 pipes in our house, from the garage to the north wall, burst

3. on december 18th the utility company was checking meters, saw that ours was spinning at 10 gal/min, and shut off the water

4. the meter reader left a note on the door and drove away

5. on december 28th (10 days later!) one of our smoke detectors' batteries went dead, causing an incessant every-one-minute beeping; which prompted a neighbor to call our real estate agent (who was on vacation)

6. one of her other agents goes to our house, sees the damage, and calls her up

7. she isn't sure if she has our phone number- but has one of our friends, so calls her

8. jill calls us, we drive back to bloomington thinking that a bit of carhartt, drywall, and friends can fix the problem we'll encounter

9. we see the damage

that's really just the start of it all.  over the course of about 8.25 days roughly 120,000 gallons of water flowed into our house, with at least 2 of the burst pipes being in the wall between the upstairs and downstairs sinks- collapsing this section of ceiling in the downstairs apartment.  all of the walls, the ceilings, and the floor needed to be ripped out.  the carpet when we walked in (despite being water-free for 10 days) was absolutely soaked and practically still underwater.  everything was taken out.  even the floor to the upstairs kitchen had to be taken out:

who knew we had such ugly tiling underneath the faux-wood!  it looks like katie's backsplash that she made will make it through renovations, but some new cabinetry is going in as well.  lots of cleaning, painting, re-drywalling, etc.

insurance is covering the cost of repairs, but we're certainly at a crossroads of what to do with the place now... it's basically being remodeled, with a whole new apartment downstairs and partially redone upstairs... so to try and sell again, or hang on to and rent out?  we also aren't quite sure if we'll end up back in indiana within a year or two (need to see how different universities offer ph.d funding), so we might hang on to the place for now as a rental.  at least until we know what our 5-year looks like.

we did have some positives come out of it all, though:
1. we got to hang out with some of our favorite people, even if in odd circumstances
2. we found a secret storage closet downstairs!  no way!  we had NO idea that there was a closet downstairs in the apartment hidden behind the entertainment center.  no idea.  it was stocked to the gills with boxes (man, i really hoped for boxes of money.  really.) of books- books on germany, the pacific islands, the navy, and sci-fi.  i think someone that lived there in the early 90's (there were also a couple of early 90's textbooks) had a relative in the navy during WWII or specialized in it as a professor at the university.  besides the boxes of books, though; we found a couple of real treasures: 2 HUGE white fake-fur rugs, and we're talking like 4-inch long fur here, as well as 3... ummmm... "paintings".

how best to describe these works of... ummmm... art?  they're certainly unique. 

these two are totally black velvet:

and this one.  well, i don't quite know how best to describe this... it's not a painting, first off.  it's definitely furry, with beady eyes... sort of like someone did a dog-hair loop-stitch or something.  we love it.


we're putting them all up in our place here in new hampshire.  we have the perfect place for them, in our exotic-honey orange stairwell going from the kitchen up to our bedroom with the strange un-usable nook in the back.  it can be our terribly-bad art nook.

all in all, the whole experience feels a little bit like a song by Battles.  try this one on for size:

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starting out right

Jan. 7th, 2009 | 10:53 pm
location: back at home
mood: artistic
music: snoring and gassy nootka

i drove back into new hampshire last night after a week back in bloomington- katie's still there and should be joining me at home hopefully next week- and as i promised before, the full story of why we ended up back in bloomington will be posted soon.

but i need pictures first, and the camera's still back in bloomington.

SO, i'm sitting here in dover rather bored and without my sweetie; and that can only mean one of two things: i'm eating junk and i'm immersed in music.  hopefully ice climbing friday with some friends.  probably on campus working tomorrow.  maybe tele skiing sometime in the next few days.

but until then, i felt like sharing some music with you that holds a special place in my heart.  as you may (or may not) know, i've been kind of a music snob ever since i found metallica and joe satriani in gradeschool while everyone else was listening to vanilla ice and wierd al.  over time there have been a couple of bands that have risen to the top of my list and garnered my respect as being above-and-beyond talented, despite the fact that none of them ever "made it" as big-name tickets.  i'm just perusing youtube and i'll post a vid if it remotely works.

first up: The Appleseed Cast.  i truly believe they might be the most underrated band of late 90's and 00's.  unfortunate.  their 2-disc set  (Low Level Owl Vols I & II) pretty much got me through college.

second on the list: Sunny Day Real Estate.  you know.  best thing to come out of seattle in the 90's.  yes, better than pearl jam.  better than nirvana.  deal with it.  in the same way that we look back on the influence of the velvet underground, so it shall be with sdre.  and yes, that is them on a very young jon stewart show!  let's put it this way: when dave grohl wanted to start the foo fighters, he immediately asked the bassist and drummer from sdre to be his band.

third on my list tonight: damien jurado.  i couldn't find a good live version of this song, so you get to deal with an odd pic of damien staring at you through the whole song.  it's worth turning on in the background.  damien jurado has been doing the singer/songwriter thing since the early 90's in seattle, found when called in to open a show for jeremy enigk (of sunny day real estate) after a last-minute cancellation.  unfortunately last time katie and i saw him live he had just come down with a nasty cold so it wasn't the best show.  he really is one of my favorite songwriters.

finally, Over the Rhine.  they've just been getting better with age, turning more and more to their own flavor of folk/indie/jazz.  hard to mess with.  when i was a little punk kid in high school this band was my hidden joy.  ashamed, i was!

yes, it's one of those nights.  but time for bed.  in my most humble of opinions; though, i have left you with some of the most important below-the-radar musicians of the last 20 years.

good night!

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comical new year

Jan. 1st, 2009 | 12:52 am
location: casa de collins
mood: determined
music: cats purring and frank wheezing

my oh my... where to begin?  2008 went out with the most fantastic bang i've ever seen, and 2009 is going to start with an amazing story.

it's about 1am on Jan 1, 2009; and Katie and I are at our friends' place (Kim Collins and Mary Williams) back in Bloomington.  we just got home from a semi-formal new year's eve party at our other friends' place (Jada and Bethany)- I would have planned accordingly had I known we were going to a semi-formal, but as it was that we came to bloomington in a rush, i ended up borrowing a skull-and-crossbones tie from Kim and wore a red button-down shirt from goodwill with my grey patagonia double-knee pants.  i also found a synthetic mountain hardwear jacket at said goodwill, but i digress.

none of the above has anything to do with the story that needs to be told, but it does serve as an excuse for saying that i'm a bit too tired to write it all down at the moment.  let's just say that pictures have been (and are continuing to be) taken, and you should prepare yourselves for a multi-part story that will unfold on this site over the coming days and weeks.  possibly months.  if i get some time at a coffeeshop tomorrow or sometime in the next couple of days i'll get started, so just stay tuned and check in now and again.

talk to you all soon!

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a reprieve from winter

Dec. 28th, 2008 | 01:31 pm
location: a house without a busted pipe
mood: worriedworried
music: the steady whir of a space heater... unneeded today

well, christmastime has come and gone with snow between the ground and our skis; family is slowly drifting back home between today and tomorrow; a warm front is melting away our once-impressive white expanse before it gets cold again by tuesday; and katie and i are finding out if we'll be spending the start of the new year here in new hampshire exploring snowy trails and wine bars with good friends- or back in bloomington, shampooing a carpet and putting up new drywall with good friends.  or; if we can move quickly, both.

there has been some sort of confirmation that there was a pipe leak or burst in our home in bloomington (the one we've been trying to sell for who-knows-how-long and that we're going to have to start renting), but no word yet on the damage; and if it's merely the sort of thing where we can pay a friend to go over with a carpet shampooer and some anti-mold paint or if it's bad enough that we'll have to drive back to bloomington and re-drywall/mud/paint a room.  hopefully we'll know by the end of today- tomorrow mid-day at the latest.

personally, i'd much rather be able to stay here and have friends come out to visit us because our place really just needs a plumber to fix a small leak so that the water can be turned back on- but we'll see.  it's an unknown, so there's no use fretting at the moment.  we'll plan accordingly when we have the details.

in other news, we had family in for christmas- katie's sister sherin and her husband jp, katie's mom and jack.  bbq ribs for christmas dinner, a trip up to a closed-down portland (everyone gone from maine for the holidays), a bit of time in portsmouth, some candle-pin bowling.  candle-pin bowling is an interesting one: the pins are symetrical- narrow on the bottom and top with the roundest part in the middle, while being quite a bit smaller than normal pins and more widely spaced apart.  the ball is much smaller also, about the size of a bocce ball (although a bit heavier) with no holes for your fingers.  all-in-all, it is much more difficult to knock the pins down and the technique is much different than typical bowling.  as such, you get three rolls per frame and the downed pins aren't cleaned up after each roll- they can be necessary to help get the rest of the pins down.  we had a few spares over our two games we played, but apparently a good game of candlepin bowling- the best players- only bowl about a 130 or so per game.  i guess it's huge in northern new england (mass, nh, maine).

today we're having some sort of major heat wave- it's around 56 and i'm in flip flops walking through the slushy snowmelt- it's sad to see the snow going so quickly, but if this doesn't totally take down our ice up in the mountains it could mean some very fat conditions when it all refreezes in a day or so.  i've got my fingers crossed its enough to help but not really hurt.  i haven't gotten out ice climbing yet this winter (our first trip out was called on account of a pretty swollen creek not being frozen over yet, and then it was family in for christmas) and the month of january is really when i'm hoping to be outside enjoying that infamous new england ice- although i don't really think i have to worry about it disappearing when this is where we get to go now:

check out those ice routes in the backcountry at the end of the vid!  some are well into the 1,000's of feet worth of rock and ice.  awesome.

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winter has arrived

Dec. 22nd, 2008 | 09:56 am


we've been shoveling for a couple of days now.  the clouds decided to dump buckets between thursday and last night:

On saturday my friend Ben (here's his wife's blog) and I braved the roads and drove up to Waterville Valley on a two-fold mission: to pick up his season pass (i'm still deciding if i should get one, more on that later), and to get in some tele-skiing.  If you're not sure what tele-skiing is per se, here's a basic breakdown: it's sort of like alpine skiing on x-country skis, but you have beefier boots, bindings, and skis than normal x-country skis.  To turn, you need to do a lunge onto your outside ski like this:

All-in-all, a very different sort of skiing.  I'm used to alpine skiing, where it is something of a mindless exercise in speed control- but going out saturday, I must say I got my little butt handed to me on the slopes- it was my first time tele-skiing, a skill that i have long wanted to learn but haven't had the time or location to work out.  i knew it would be a thigh-burner, but i wasn't quite prepared for how tired it got me.  by the end of the day, my legs just didn't want to hold me up any more and i ended up finding myself just toppling over when lunging into a turn by the last run.  good thing the mountain was closing by that point.

but it was gobs of fun- a very focused, intent sort of exercise that i could see getting into.  luckily, we have a couple of places here in new hampshire where one can ski without paying- either backcountry locations, or ski resorts that have for one reason or another closed- but where a loyal few still keep the trails down clear enough to ski on, so that those who really want to exercise can hike up and ski down, or ski across a ridge from a nearby resort with a lift.  here's one of those locations.  hopefully i can get out a few more times this winter and start to nail it down.  i was just getting the hang of it yesterday, but unfortunately it coincided with my legs deciding that they'd had enough.

katie and i also love us some x-country skiing.  we have a great place just 5 minutes away from our house that offers some 5-6 mile trails through woods and fields.  we went out there yesterday with nootka (she, by the way, LOVES romping around in the snow), and we'll head back out there again after it warms up just a bit today.  i promise to take a couple of pics to post up here.

we're SORE, but happy.  snow is good.  hopefully it'll stick around long enough for us to get some enjoyable days out on it.  i'm sure it will- after all, we're in new hampshire, right?

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low on electricity

Dec. 14th, 2008 | 03:17 pm
location: warmthishness
mood: giddygiddy
music: damien juradoness

so apparently the northeast was hit by an ice storm.  really, it was about 3-4 days of straight-up rain that slowly became ice thursday afternoon when the temperature dropped to 31 degrees.  rumor has it the mountains got about 15 inches of powder, but i've forced myself away from the outdoors until i've finished my projects due monday: a 20-page research report, a communications log for a program, and mailings for a job fair.  i think they're all done.  snow and/or ice this coming week.

but the storm:
it didn't feel like that much of a storm, really.  sometime thursday night our power went out, then came back on again.  then, an hour later, it went out again.  an hour after that, it came back on.  at 530am, it went off again.  we woke up around 745 to no power, and; not sure what it would entail, we headed out- hoping to find breakfast and coffee somewhere in town.  what we ended up finding was a town completely dark- roughly 1/3-1/2 inch of ice brought down trees, tree branches, and subsequently powerlines all over the place.  unsure but hopeful due to our family in new york's experience in a blackout being next to a fire department, we headed to Adelle's- a fantastic coffee shop in town that is across the street from town hall and the police station.  the hunch paid off- they were on the same power grid, a power grid that was immediately restored so that emergency operations could be run from a command center.  we checked out our situation online (adelle's has free wireless internet, not to mention free refills on excellent coffee), which was saying something to the effect of this ice storm being worse than the infamous ice storm of 1998 that left people without power for a week.  

i texted out a message to our friends in the area (who also desparately needed internet and electricity for their projects) and soon had adelle's front room taken over with outdoorsy-looking ruffians.  beards and carhartts, that sort of thing.  friday was spent sitting at the coffee shop as the stress began to build in me: pipes bursting, papers going unwritten, months of cold and darkness, spoiled bison meat in the freezer.  i left everyone (including katie) at adelle's and drove from hardware store to hardware store, looking for a kerosene or propane heater.  of course, everything was sold out- until i got to home depot.  although they had told me on the phone that they were out of heaters, i stopped by anyways.  there was a wall full of them.  i picked up a propane heater (keep a window open because of the carbon monoxide poisoning, they told me), and on the 4th try found a full propane tank outside- an infinitely more confusing ordeal than i expected- and drove back to adelle's feeling much relieved.

we took nootka out to kingsman farm- a university-owned chunk of woods and fields that the mountain biking team maintains and a favorite trail running and hiking destination for us.  the sun had come out and ice was falling off trees and power lines (sometimes 20-foot segments falling onto the road, even better if onto the car in front of you)- the sun was warmer than the house- so we hit the field.  nootka had been holed up away from the rain for a few days, and the chance to run/sniff/get dirty was a huge hit with her.  here's a pic:

Saturday was spent sitting in front of the climbing wall on campus, doing a mix of exercise and writing while katie watched a matinee of Australia at the mall (she says the dog looks just like nootka, but that's not a good enough reason to see it).  I had stressed out enough friday night that we shut off the water supply so no pipes would burst, and i took our freezer contents out to the garage.  having me out of the house was probably a good thing.  

sometime saturday afternoon the electricity was restored at our house, and we moved back in without major incident.  a number of our friends, though, are still without.  we had one friend come by last night with her little shit-poo dog (shitzu/poodle mix), but ended up staying elsewhere.  another is on his way over with pizza in exchange for warmth and wireless internet while he gets work done. 

myself?  i'm feeling pretty relaxed, what with the balmy 59-degree house (the warmest it's been for a long time, we're only using a little space heater!)... so relaxed i think a little damien jurado is in order.

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a curious stink

Dec. 8th, 2008 | 11:32 pm
location: a less smelly place
mood: curiouscurious
music: do-do-do-DOOOO-dododo!

i promise you that this totally made our night.

it's somewhere around 9 degrees here, but supposed to warm up wednesday to like 55, then turn back into snow.  just be winter already!

but anyhoodles, without further ado:

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searching for a place to rest

Dec. 4th, 2008 | 12:49 pm
location: all by myself
mood: sicksick
music: the indian version of thriller

sickness.  it's not fun.  i've come down with a nasty little head cold, right during the last week of the semester when i need to writing 2 final papers- one for statistics and one for research methodology.

although it could be worse, i could be sick right AFTER the semester ends when i should be ice climbing and skiing.  and writing research methodology stuff.

anyways, katie and i are in the doldrums so i've been tracking down stuff that brings the funny... sometime last night i decided that, although i know i should probably find it somewhat offensive, engrish funny was one of the best things i had seen lately.  i laughed hard, despite myself.

especially upon finding this:

i would have embedded the video, but it seems like it could be just on edge of not deserving a spot on our blog.  so instead i'll just say that you shouldn't click on it unless you understand that we're actually quite cultured and inclusive people, and only frank in his lameness finds it amusing.  if you feel sensitive in an internationally-cultural p.c. sort of way, you may not want to check out either of the sites mentioned in this blog.

anyways, that's about where i'm at so far this morning.  time to get back to my statistics!

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