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Date:2008-12-30 02:36
Subject:A Look Back at the Year

Since it is now 45 hours until the beginning of 2009 (in regards to which I'm still not entirely sure where the last two weeks of December have gone... I'm still somewhere around the 17th), and I was, as I recall, several weeks late in reviewing 2007, I might as well get 2008 out of the way now before anything else bad happens that I have to add to it.

Overall, 2008 turned out to be pretty good. I started the year out moping over my ex-girlfriend for about three weeks, and then re-discovered the joy of casual relationships the next week. January was mostly unremarkable, as was February for the most part. Somewhere around January I met my new (at the time) friend Katie, who is fantastic and I love talking to. Eric and I went to the Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks game in the middle of January, which was much fun.

In March, I decided to let Stephanie set me up again, resulting in my current relationship of just over nine months with Sarah as well as the demise of my casual dating adventures. We were awkward and shy around each other for a couple weeks and then started actually going out. This occupied most of my month of March. St. Patrick's Day resulted in the usual festivities here of corned beef and cabbage, at which point I discovered that Sarah does not like most of the food that I eat.

Also, early in March (or possibly in late February), I started hanging out with Kaitlin Connor again, who I had a crush on from first to sixth, and then ninth grades.

Shortly following this, in April, I went back to working overnights at Sun Country, but this time as a lead. Consequently, I don't recall much of April.

Or May.

In June, I flew out to Seattle with my mom and my grandma (first class, no less!) to visit my great-aunt and her family. This was, without question, one of the most miserable three-day periods of my life, as we stayed with my great-aunt and uncle. I did, however, discover that I have a couple of really cool cousins and other family members out there, and as a result added yet another Katie to my phonebook. I managed to talk to Sarah a lot, and watched a lot of Degrassi at night while I was there. These two things prevented me from going completely insane.

Sarah bought me a Minnesota Fighting Saints jersey for my birthday, which was fantastic. Especially considering I had an unfantastic and mostly unrecognized birthday in 2008.

Ah-ha! At some point in May, I bought a Yamaha keyboard. We also took a 5% pay-cut at work.

The rest of June was unremarkable. I spent the Fourth of July at work, watching fireworks on the ramp from at least six different towns. In the end of July, Sarah and I went with her friend Sherri to visit Sherri's sister in Door County, Wisconsin for a week. We had a fun vacation looking at all sorts of things, and I managed to score a first-edition printing of Douglas Southall Freeman's book Lee's Lieutenants.

Somewhere in here, Sarah introduced me to Half-Price Books.

In August, I volunteered for the Republican National Convention on the basis that I'd probably not have the opportunity again in the foreseeable future. I worked at the Minneapolis Convention Center as part of CivicFest, which exhibited a variety of displays related to American political and Minnesota history. I met a number of people at this event, including Newt Gingrich, Laura Bush, and a variety of other political names. I got to know a couple who worked with me the first few days; the husband flew rescue/ASW helicopters in Vietnam. We really enjoyed each others' company. I also learned more about American flags than I ever thought I would know.

September gave me the opportunity to sit in an A-10 Warthog, my favorite modern combat aircraft. The man who owned the farm we hunted since I was born died.

At the beginning of October, my company's owner was arrested for fraud. We took a 50% pay-cut at work and declared bankruptcy. I bought my first digital SLR. One of the guys who taught gun safety with me and my dad died unexpectedly.

Jeff and I sat up watching the election results. I voted for John McCain out of innate distrust and outright despisal towards Obama. For the first time, I took an election personally. The week after the election, I purchased my an AR-15. November stayed nice and let me drive my Mustang past Thanksgiving before putting it away. I found a first-edition copy of a book about Theodore Roosevelt printed in 1903. I spent Thanksgiving with Sarah's family, followed by mini-Thanksgiving the next day at home. I also experienced Black Friday shopping for the first time.

Most of December was spent planning out Christmas shopping. The holidays went well. Sarah bought me books. We juggled Christmas between both families. Eric got a girlfriend before Christmas, one who is actually good for him. I didn't work for Christmas. Our pay was reinstated at work on the 19th.

Last night, around 10:30, my grandpa died. He was 90.

2009 approaches.

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Date:2008-06-21 22:53
Subject:Slackin at work

So it's been awhile. Not a whole lot is new... work is pretty sucky, since we've been losing people like lepers lose limbs (how's THAT for alliteration??). I just got back from Seattle a couple days ago, which was the most miserable vacation I've ever taken. More on that later.

Sarah and I are doing well. The usual relationship stuff, good and bad. I'm incredibly happy with our relationship though... it feels really really good.

Other than that, I'm just tired. I shall attempt to write more soon.

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Date:2008-05-04 22:56

Well, I survived my first few days running the show on overnights. We had a little excitement on my first night (Thursday a.m.) with a security breach, which is the first one I've seen in almost three years of being there. It was interesting to see all the procedure, and probably a good experience for me to see while someone else was there with me. Everything has been pretty laid-back thus far, and everyone seems to be in pretty good spirits. Hopefully I can keep it this way.

Didn't do a whole lot otherwise, other than try to recover from switching my schedule. Sarah watched the Flyers/Habs game with me last night before I went to work, and she hung out with me for a little while this evening.

I'm attributing my current less-than-fantastic mood to mostly having to completely flip my sleep schedule in the past week. Hopefully I'll start feeling better pretty soon.

I need to get a new phone this week, once I get paid. Yay, phone shopping.

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Date:2008-04-30 23:13

I'm kind of wondering right now why exactly LiveJournal felt the need to "restore the previous draft" which was the last post I wrote... fickle computers.

Anyhow, today was a pretty nice day. Work was really laid back. I got to say my goodbyes to everyone on day shift, which was kind of sad for me, but I'll hopefully still see most of them. My co-worker Jack, who is my fellow history nut and also a veteran of Korea (!), told me that he was sorry to see me going and that he'd miss having me around. I really respect him a lot and enjoy talking to him, so it was nice to hear that he liked our interaction as well.

After work I got to hang out with Sarah for a couple hours, and it was fantastic, as usual. I got home from dropping her off at work to find Jeff at my house... again. Hm.

So now, I must attempt to stay awake for another... lot of hours. Oof. I'm looking forward to my new position and everything, but I've got my concerns. It'll all work out.

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Date:2008-04-29 23:09

Existentialism is my downfall. Enough said, for the moment.

I had a pretty pleasant day. My Minnesota history class is extremely fascinating, and, for the first time, I find myself wishing that a class wouldn't end. I've got a great teacher and... well, it's history, so of course I'm interested. I'm discovering, though, that I need some sort of outlet for my historical interests that I definitely don't have right now. I'm going to try to start writing something over the summer, I think, but I need some sort of conversational exchange of a historical nature as well. Rebecca and I had a lot of that, which was really nice, but that ship has sailed (for the infinite better). I don't exactly know how I'm going to rectify this situation, but I'll figure something out; advice is welcome.

Work was uneventful. Tomorrow's my last day with my current crew before I switch to nights, so it'll be an interesting day. I've grown really close to some of my co-workers (one of whom is about as interested in history as I am, so I'll be disappointed to not be working with him anymore), and I'll miss them a lot. Anyway, I got all the emergency phone numbers I might need programmed into my phone and discussed stuff with my boss for my upcoming bout of responsibility. Did planes, yada yada yada. I took a trip to Target with my work-mom during our break and helped her pick out curtains for their new house... was a lot of fun. Came home and consumed leftover pizza, then went to Stogies with Jeff for a cigar and lots of conversation.

I discovered what may be my next purchase while I was at Target... it's an awesome charcoal grill, which I find myself desperately needing, and it's only $99.

Anyhow, for my last bit of randomness, I'm stealing inspiration from Sarah and compiling a list of bands I'd like to see in concert, in very little particular order aside from maybe the first five or so.

1. Taking Back Sunday (again)
2. Paramore
3. Goo Goo Dolls
4. Foo Fighters
5. 30 Seconds to Mars
6. Jay-Z
7. John Mayer (again)
8. Blues Traveler
9. Outkast
10. The Killers
11. Bon Jovi
12. U2
13. Thrice (again)
14. Motion City Soundtrack (again)

There's probably more... but they escape me. Oops.

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Date:2008-04-29 00:09

Yes, I should really start writing again. And yes, I've said that a lot before. Here goes another attempt.

Life is pretty good. School is still being school; I'm planning on taking some time off after this semester, I think. Some time away to reevaluate things and regroup will be beneficial. Work is going well. I've been promoted to a supervisory position, and I'm spending the summer on overnights (so if you want to hang out, Maria, I'll be on your schedule!), which I'm actually looking forward to. Family is good.

I have some pretty fantastic friends, still. Jeff, despite his shortcomings and the fact that he gets on my nerves sometimes, becomes (for better or worse) more and more my brother all the time. Eric, while neurotic, over-worked, and impossible to find opportunities to see, is also still hanging in there. Eric's busyness has actually been pretty positive in one respect, as it's given his sister and I time to talk more. She and I have grown pretty close in the past year or so, and we're able to give each other a somewhat unique perspective for our respective ages, so it's a nice friendship. Theo and I seem to be growing closer than ever, and there are all sorts of other people around as well that I'll not go into at the moment.

I recently acquired an extremely fantastic girlfriend, and consequently added yet ANOTHER Sarah to the confusing litany that already exists in my cell phone phonebook. This is, once again, Stephanie's fault. It's going awesomely well, a whopping few weeks in. Sarah's a lot of fun, and I really enjoy spending time with her.

I would dearly love to write more, however since I have class in about seven hours, it's definitely time for bed.

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Date:2008-01-24 09:53
Subject:A New Year... three weeks ago

So, I guess I've been remiss in not giving a wrap-up of 2007. Here goes.

2007 was a pretty good year for me. I stopped working overnights at Sun Country and switched to the day shift at the end of April, which is probably the most significant moment of 2007. I experienced a marked increase in happiness as a result of this, and also gained the opportunity to work with some really awesome people. I once again really look forward to going into work every morning. I also got a promotion, so I now get to boss people around here and there.

I bought a car, which most of you know. I love it, even though it very occasionally irritates me.

My friend Nick and I flew down to Orlando for a day in February to get out of the cold, so I got to go to DisneyWorld for the first time. Better late than never.

I went to Alaska with Rebecca in August. It was one of the best vacations I've ever had (there's only one other that competes with it), and I managed to catch the biggest fish I've ever caught. She and I went to Washington, D.C. a couple weeks afterward for the weekend.

Rebecca and I started going out on the 14th of July, and broke up on December 17th.

I discovered my love for country music on a weekend trip up to the Mohs' family cabin in September.

All in all, 2007 was solid. It had its downsides, but in general, it was a good year. 2008 has started out in less-than-spectacular fashion, but I trust that it will improve. 2008 is going to be a year of change; I've already started cutting out a lot of the unhealthy things in my life, and physically feel good. I'm working on improving my mental mood, which will require a good deal of effort, but I am up to the challenge.

I still intend to become a history teacher, however I also accept that it may be a circuitous route bringing my to that goal. I applied for a job with the Federal Air Marshal Service last week, and am also considering enlisting in the Army with the goal of becoming an AH-6 Little Bird assault helicopter pilot with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. I anticipate things to become very different in the next year.

To those of you who have stuck around, I appreciate it. I have not been the friend to many of you that I should have been; I am truly indebted to you. There are a number of people I have neglected and have fallen out of friendship with, and I hope to rebuild some of those relationships.

Here's to a new year.

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Date:2008-01-12 17:28

Eh, to satisfy the demands of a female dear to me, here you have an equally pointless survey.

Commence the PointlessCollapse )

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Date:2007-10-30 22:38

Songs That Have Been in My Head for A Couple Days, Retroactive to Last YearCollapse )

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Date:2007-10-02 21:32
Subject:Other thoughts

1. Being surrounded by people who have bronchitis while not having medical insurance is less than fun.

2. Developing a slightly menacing cough is even LESS fun.

3. Animosity towards a variety of people from my past is on the decline, with semi-frequent flares that remind me WHY they're a part of my past.

4. I need some new clothes. I also need to start saving money for Christmas.

5. Really, really want to get school over with and start teaching.

6. I feel constantly bored. A big part of this is the fact that I have horridly inactive friends.

7. Finished watching Ken Burns' "The War" tonight. It was, without question, the finest documentary I have ever seen, and I will be extremely surprised and appalled if it does not win major awards. The variety of interviews from such a broad spectrum of different communities was absolutely riveting and provided a wide viewpoint of local, individual insights that had never been accessed in regards to World War Two. I saw video and images that I had never seen before (which is saying something) in addition to many of the "standard" photos of the war. Burns' high-water mark of the entire film, however, is the level of emotion he brings to the table; not only did the documentary fearlessly display graphic, terrible, and painful images of the war, but also, through both live, recent interviews and reenacted recitations of letters, newspaper articles, and the like, brought light to personal reactions that were never disseminated beyond the academic and research community. While the entire documentary is a bit long for use in the education field as a whole, selections will certainly be found in history classrooms for years to come. Whether you have a passing interest or a rabid obsession in the Second World War, but, most of all, if you know nothing of the war, this film is for you.

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Date:2007-10-01 20:29
Subject:Random Stuff

1. I'm greatly enjoying my car. Paying for it is less than fun, but it's totally worth it whenever I drive it.

2. Work is pleasant. I work with some pretty fantastic and fun people.

3. I'm currently satisfied with my recent spate of vacationing (Alaska & Washington D.C.), although I'd like to get down to Orlando soon to visit a friend of mine.

4. I have an awesometastic new user pic that I freakin love :)

5. I have an awesometastic girlfriend that I freakin love, too.

6. Yay, more guns!

7. ...so not motivated to write anymore right now. Meh, I'll write more.

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Date:2007-06-01 15:57

Well, on Saturday, I finally broke down and did it.

I bought a Mustang.

It's a 2005, with the 4.0 liter V6. It's an automatic, and has just about every option except for the top-end stereo... which is fine, cuz the stereo that's in it is pretty damned good.

Here there be picturesCollapse )

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Date:2007-03-07 15:46

A TBS Song That Isn't The Generic One That All The Little Emo Kids KnowCollapse )

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Date:2006-11-09 22:18

This will probably be my last entry in here for awhile.

There's not a point in having one of these when you don't feel comfortable writing about what and how you feel.

Pretty much everyone here should know how to find me elsewhere... if not, my email's in my info.

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Date:2006-11-06 22:46

I have never been so glad to have NOT been carrying a firearm in my life.

Eric and I were out driving for awhile, mainly around downtown St. Paul but also up around his house near Hamline. As he was pulling into my driveway to drop me off, another car pulled in behind us. We both watched in the mirrors, expecting it to back out and turn around on the street (which is a fairly common occurence in my driveway), until a flashlight came out of the car's sunroof and started shining at us. Eric rolled down his window, intending to look out and see who was behind us, when we heard the good old "put your hands up!" followed by a UC officer approaching our vehicle with his sidearm drawn. Needless to say, our palms met the roofliner fairly quickly. The cop went through the usual "where are you coming from, where are you going, where do you live" routine, and then, after checking IDs, explained that someone in the area of Eric's house had called and reported people driving around in a white car waving a gun around. He then returned to his car (which was an unmarked Mercury Sable, something I'd never seen before in STP) and left, along with the other marked squad which had also pulled up behind us.

As Eric and I got out of the car, we both realized that, had he bothered to make us step out of the car and patted us down or anything of the like, it probably wouldn't have looked too good in relation to what was going on if either of us had been carrying...

Can't say I've ever been pulled over in my own driveway before!

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Date:2006-10-22 03:21
Mood: aggravated

I really, really love how inconsiderate and, as a by-product, borderline retarded people can be.

Is this what you call tact?
I swear you're as subtle as a brick in the small of the back
So lets end this talk
And end this conversation
(Have another drink and drive yourself home
(I hope all the roads are icy
(And that you think of me when you forget your seatbelt
(And again as your head goes through the windshield) -- There's No 'I' in Team -Taking Back Sunday

I've grown exceedingly weary of putting effort into things and getting nothing out of it. I'm further tired of being accused of not trying.

I'm also interested in the contradiction of how I'm supposed to still care about some things, and yet I'm fairly certain I'll shortly be accused of sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.

Don't apologize
I hope you choke and die
Search your cell for something with which to hang yourself -- Seventy Times 7 - Brand New

I think I'm going to stop behaving myself for awhile.

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Date:2006-09-11 07:39
Mood: contemplative

Five years ago, I was sitting in room 211 on the second floor of St. Bernard's High School, just after the start of my first-hour Christian Ethics class with Mr. Maurer. He had just finished taking attendance when Mr. Stovall, one of our English teachers and the theater director, stuck his head in the door and asked if Mr. Maurer had heard anything about what was going on in New York. Mr. Maurer replied that he hadn't, and Stovall grabbed one of the TVs out of the academic dean's office and brought it into our classroom.

As he turned the TV to channel 5, immediately an image appeared from the ABC national news office, showing the North Tower of the World Trade Center burning. After listening for a few minutes, we learned of the airplane collision which is now infamous. Quiet discussion circulated throughout the room as we speculated along with the ABC anchors that the collision was some sort of accident.

My best friend, Jeff, was sitting next to me, and I noted to him that I had the feeling that the incident was intentional, that it just didn't add up as a mistake. As I finished saying that to him, the room fell quiet as we heard the words "Oh my God" on the TV. Looking up at the screen, we watched a Boeing 767 enter the frame and disappear in a gigantic explosion, tearing into the South Tower. Watching the second airliner slam into the World Trade Center removed from all of our minds any question as to the nature of what had just happened.

To hear Jeff retell the story, something we often do, the next words from my mouth were, "We're going to find the fuckers who did this and clean up." I don't remember saying anything after watching the second plane impact.

Soon after, the rumors began flying. Although it seems like no one else recalls, I remember hearing on the news a report of a truck bomb in front of the State Department. As the FAA cleared U.S. airspace (a Herculean feat by one of the largest groups of unsung heroes of the day; air-traffic controllers), there were reports that either two or three aircraft were still unaccounted for. We watched half an hour later as a 757 hit the Pentagon. Still, the world wondered where the other aircraft was or were.

As we switched classes, to my second-hour English class with Mr. Docherty, he announced that we would continue with class as usual. The terrorists would not accomplish their goal of inciting terror in room 110. However, even Mr. Docherty's will was disrupted as we finally heard reports of the last missing airliner coming down in Pennsylvania. We ended the school day early with a memorial service in the church.

Looking back on that day, five years later, it still shocks me to see how quickly and permanently life changed over the course of an hour and a half. I see the way it shattered the world, shook the security of the United States, and (ultimately) divided the country. The patriotism and solidarity that followed 9/11 rapidly gave way into pacifists and warhawks. I see the way it changed the life of a couple people who are very important to me, changing drastically either their past or their futures.

As far as I go, a big part of me still wishes I had it in me to go take my part in the fighting, but I remain convinced that my temperment is not one that would fit in the military. I continue to hold a lot of animosity toward the Middle East in general. While our current war in Iraq may be, now, of dubious relation to 9/11, I still stand behind President Bush. The man has done his best with the information he has had, and I believe it is because of his swift action following the 9/11 atrocities that the United States has not been successfully attacked since.

I still hate Osama bin-Laden and hope every day that he will someday be killed in the most prolonged, merciless fashion possible.

I like to think that United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania because the terrorists were overcome by the resisting passengers, who forced the plane down before the hijackers could regain control. Taking into account the construction of cockpit doors, it's probably not likely, and there's still a niggling thought in my mind that our Air Force might have managed to knock Flight 93 down before it could reach Washington; I still tell myself that it was the heroism and American spirit of a few men and women who decided that they would not allow their flight to become another Kamikaze.

September 11 did a lot to restore my sense of patriotism and freedom. Seeing our flag moves me, as I think of the men and women who have given their lives over the past 230 years in defense of what those red stripes and white stars stand for. I become very irritated and intolerant of those who disgrace the honor of our soldiers and our country, but quickly find myself chastised as I recall the rights our country gives that are so often taken for granted.

May we never forget to honor the 2,978 who died or went missing on September 11, 2001, and those who have served or died in the years since defending our country.

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Date:2006-08-22 19:40
Subject:The Firearms Update

Since last updating this... sometime around a month ago... I have acquired:

1. A pair of Colt Official Police .38 Special revolvers -- one constructed in 1937, the other in 1951. Both served as security sidearms at a fairly well-known horsetrack in New York.

2. A Smith & Wesson M&P .40 S&W semi-automatic pistol. 15+1 rounds of .40 caliber goodness, all in a lovely polymer and black stainless steel package that is about thirteen times more ergonomic than a Glock.

3. An Enfield SMLE No. 4 Mk. I .303 British bolt-action repeating rifle. Manufactured in the United States by Savage Arms Corp. for the British Military. Mine was built in 1943.

4. A Marlin 1895 .41 Remington Magnum lever-action rifle. My dad's been lusting after one for several years, so I picked one up when given the opportunity.

Also, this weekend, I was able to compile a (incomplete) list of...

Firearms I Wouldn't Mind OwningCollapse )

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Date:2006-08-22 19:39

Go see Snakes on a Muthafuckin' Plane!

No, seriously, it's badassly amusing!

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Date:2006-07-26 11:28

Dear Rascal Flatts,

Let it be known that I have always thought of you as a group of douchebags creating hack music. However, given the recent release of your "cover" of Tom Cochran's Life Is a Highway, your level of douchebaggery has exponentially risen and will likely continue to do so. The likes of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, et. al. no doubt weep upon every occasion of the playing of your music.

Thank you,

Zach Bauman

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