Friday, August 31, 2012

Things I've Done: Dig IN A Taste of Indiana 2012

This used to hold Pulled Pork BBQ.
I’ve said before, that I love food, but I am one lousy “foodie.”
If I am given something that looks delicious, it is not my first instinct to pull out my phone and take a picture of it to post on Filtergram or The Twitter. No, it is my first instinct to take said deliciousness and insert it into my face, so it can rest happily in my belly. Presentation is lost on me. I like food with flavor, and a lot of it. Now, with that being understood…
Dig IN: A Taste of Indiana is held at White River State Park on 08/26/2012 and it offers up samples of local foods made with local ingredients, local brews, and local wines. It is a fine time of food and fellowship, especially due to the social media presence. However, try as I might, I wasn’t able to score a set of tickets to this event via contest means, and since I’m still very tight financially, that was the only way I was going to be able to go. Oh well, such is life, right?
Well, along comes awesome bald man @CS_Indy who knew that I really wanted tickets to the event. He had happened to win some tickets himself, and he said he wanted to give them to me. After initially protesting, then being threatened by being “blocked for life,” he put the tickets in my name in “Will Call” and told me I was heading over. So on Sunday, I hopped into the Cardis and drove down to White River State Park.
I pulled in around 11:30 and had a lot of fun finding parking for the event. I finally asked directions, and was pointed to the underground parking garage by the Eiteljorg. After paying my $5, which isn’t bad for event parking, in my opinion, I hiked out of the garage and over to the event, which wasn’t really THAT far, but walking up a ramp heading out of a parking garage is a bit of a workout.
Arriving at the event, I found out that what we thought were standard passes were actually VIP Passes, which got you in at 11AM instead of the 12PM start time for the masses. Well, I grabbed my pass, took a look at the map/menu, and made a bee line to the item that I had been craving and desiring the most, before the crowds got there.

I need to learn how to take better photos, and to take them before I go "FOOD!" and dig in.
That’s right, it’s a slow cooked Bison Taco, filled with Indiana Pico, and a Goat Cheese Slaw, courtesy of J. Fords Steakhouse out of Terre Haute, IN. As you can tell, instinct kicked in as the taco has a big bite out of it before I took a picture.
Now, honestly, almost everything was a blur. That, right there, was my high point. It was what I was fixated on during my entire quest to attend this, and it was consumed well before the public even got there. Plus, I started out taking some photos and notes, and then I started running into friends, and my brain just went bye bye.
Walking Taco
Yeah, I’m just shy of 200 posts, and I still need to get the hang of this whole “blogging about events” thing and “people like pictures” thing. Sorry.
So anyway, after this, I do believe I grabbed a “Walking Taco” from Goose the Market/Smoking Goose. This was a taco in a bag that you got to assemble yourself, choosing your own toppings and salsa and the like. Then, when you were finished, there was a pork rind in the bottom. I don’t know why, but that’s what everyone was talking about. Me, I just thought, “Oh, a pork rind. Cool.” CRUNCH. Anyway, it was tasty, but the bag was falling apart before I had the chance to finish it, so I couldn’t enjoy the whole thing. Everybody else was raving about it, however, and the line quickly swelled to Disneyland-like proportions soon after the event opened. Goes to show what I know about food, right?
To complete what I like to call my “Taco Trilogy,” I also hit the Joseph Decuis booth for what they called a “Wagyu Tongue & Cheek Taco.” This was a VERY close second to my holy grail of the Bison Taco, with fresh jalapeno, a flavorful sauce, and… well, it was gone before I even though about getting my phone to grab a photo, or taking notes about it.
Other things that I consumed too quickly to get a photo of:
·         Gourmet Cookies from Just Rennie’s. Large, thick cookies that were actually very light, and not heavy at all. Delicious, but I always question the wisdom of including Oatmeal Raisin as an option when there is Chocolate Chunk available.
·         Chilled Peach Soup with Smoked Duck Salad from R Bistro. This is one of those items where I didn’t think about it, I just tried it. I’ve never had duck, and if I really thought about it, that combo with peach soup just wouldn’t sound that appetizing. However, luckily I didn’t think about it, so I tried it and I enjoyed it! Go me, and go R Bistro!
·         Strawberry and Banana Soup from Second Helpings, complete with a bit of cookie. Very cool, very light, it was a breath of fresh air in the heavy, almost oppressive heat of the day.
·         Great Organic Garden Gazpacho from Traders Point Creamery. Something else I’ve never tried before. So, is gazpacho like a very smooth salsa without the bite? That what I got from it. I liked it!
·         Fermented Garden Kraut from Fermenti Artisan. Sadly, this did not sit well with me. I just was not able to stomach it. Just my personal preference, though. No fault of the chef!
With the heat, this was
the best beverage I had.
Another awesome thing was the alcohol. I tried beers from Mad Anthony Brewery (Summer Day Wheat I enjoyed, their lager just wasn’t my style) and the Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale from Flat 12 (I need this. Seriously. I need more of this in my life.) Oh, and the Indiana Wineries? I tried something from them all, and I was happy with what I had, although I was travelling with a crew that actually knew about wine, and I’m standing there, clutching my little tasting glass like a sippy cup, looking clueless and going “SO WHAT IS SWEET AND FRUITY AND DOESN’T TASTE LIKE GRAPES?”
For the record, it was often Blackberry. I like blackberry.
Finally, there was also the Social Media component, and the swag. There was a Tweet Up at 2:30PM, but I was also running into people well before then. I ran into Twinkle VanWinkle, Slick LaRoo, Robby Slaughter, Kathy Slaughter, Sara Croft, and Ed Trauma all before the place got too packed. Then, during the Tweet Up, I saw them all again, along with Ryan Puckett, Amber Recker, and others folks who, sadly, I did not catch the name of.
Pint glass, wine tasting glass, VIP Pass, on top of a T-Shirt.
After picking up some swag for myself, plus a Free T-Shirt for my most excellent provider of the tickets, I meandered off by myself. At this point, it was blessed hot, I’d been standing in direct sunlight since 11:30AM so I was getting VERY toasty, and it was packed. I mean, seriously sold out, tents shutting down because they were running out of food, packed. At this point, I wandered over to the cool tent, grabbed a bottle of water, then did a quick pass through the Artisan Section where I grabbed a Lemonade Marshmallow from 240 Sweet (Yum!) before heading out.
However, on the way out, I did remember to grab one last photo:
I sure will. However, I will make sure to have sunscreen, a VIP Pass, a plan, and I’ll remember to take more pictures.
Before I go, I will leave you with this little video. It was taken by Twitter Friend Slick LaRoo for an AWESOME local blog she reports for called DoItIndy. If you don’t read this, do so. They love the city, and it shows, letting you know all the events happening inside 465, and encouraging you to #BeUrban.

Seriously, visit their blog. They let me use this video, return the favor!

See you all next week! Have a safe weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things I've Done: Indy Fringe 2012

Tickets and... programs? Playbills? What's the preferred nomenclature?
I am not much of a live theater person. Sure, I did a couple shows of Godspell when I was in High School, and I’ve seen “Spamalot” at the Murat back in 1997, but past there I haven’t had much on my Radar. So I guess that is why Indy Fringe has never been on my radar.
According to their website, Indy Fringe started with a planning meeting back in 2001, when it was decided to bring a Fringe Festival to Indianapolis. It’s still going strong today, scattered throughout theaters along the Mass Ave. District on the Indianapolis East Side.
Now, like I said, this is the sort of thing that isn’t on my radar. When I say it’s not on my radar, I mean, at all. Sure, I’ll see friends post about it on The Twitter, but it’s not something I would think about attending. I’m not familiar with Mass Ave. besides MacNivan’s, Mass Ave. Toys, and catching the occasional Weird Al concert at the Murat. However…
An awesome friend from The Twitter had won VIP Tickets to the show, and was looking for people to attend shows with since her husband couldn’t hit them all with her. After some discussion, I found out that one of the shows caught my interest, so I headed downtown after work and, by some miracle, found parking near all the theaters on Mass Ave. and was able to figure out the electronic meters.
Yeah, I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier sometimes.
So, after meeting up with Rhi, and feeling like a creeper as I’m stalking her on one side of Mass Ave. as she’s walking down the other, calling me… “No, look to your right. Keep turning… too far. Back to your left.” Yeah, that wasn’t creepy at all. Anyway, after we got coordinated, the evening of entertainment begun with the first show, “Don’t Cross The Streams: A Cease and Desist Musical.” It's a show about a theater group in New Jersey that wants to put on a show based on the very popular 80's movie about a group of paranormal investigators. Just as they get started, WHAM! Hit by a C&D by good old Columbia Pictures, and insert hijinks here as they look to work around it.

If you EVER have a chance to see this musical, do so. The characters were great, and the person portraying Louis Tully did a DEAD ON Rick Moranis. The pacing was excellent, the changes they made were hilarious, and all in all, the geek in me was sucked in and the ADD was able to be ignored for an hour.

When that show let out, Rhi and I hauled ourselves over to the next show, "Imagine That." This show was a piece about a man, his imaginary girlfriend, his brother, and a counseling session. This piece was interesting, and while it had some comedic moments, it came off to me as a serious piece that, while still entertaining, didn't hold my attention as well. However, since I had been up since 6AM, I don't blame the artists as much as I blame my lack of caffeine and dropping blood sugar.

When they let out around 9, and after a futile attempt to find a quick bite to eat, we headed over to the last show, "And I Am Not Making This Up!" I have a feeling that I would have enjoyed this one a LOT more had I been awake. The stories and the performance were both interesting, but her voice was a bit too calm, the theater a bit too dark, and the seats a bit too comfy for someone who had been up all day. However, I did catch all of her show, which was entertaining. I just wish I had grabbed a nap during the day so I'd have been more attentive!

We finished up the night trying to find some food. We found some pub grub at the Mass Ave. Pub. Unfortunately, it was after the cooks had left, and our waitress wasn't too familiar with the menu or how to work the deep fryer. Luckily, it was I with the iron stomach who found the undercooked chicken, and was able to warn Rhi before she bit into a piece. Luckily, the next round of chicken was fully cooked, and the mozzarella sticks were decent, but when we saw another table get nachos, we were kinda bummed because, well, nachos are awesome.

Little mis-steps like that, and the lack of sleep aside, it was a great evening, and I'm glad Rhi put up with my tired arse. This is something I think I'm going to try to hit next year, making sure I'm well rested and more mentally prepared for live theater, especially for three back to back shows with totally different vibes.

Thanks again to Rhiannon for inviting me along and covering for the post-show snacks! I owe you and Kevin for this! I really appreciate it!

See you all Friday,

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Change Of Pace

A good rainy morning to you all! Did we all have a great weekend? I know I did! Sure, I have blisters on my heels, and I’m sunburned, and I’m sore, but I regret nothing!
I had a lot going on this weekend, and I’m not going to write about it all today. In fact, today’s post is going to be rather short, to let you know what the plan is, starting this week.
Starting today, I’m going to be guaranteeing an update on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I might post on other days as well, and since I know most of my readers come from my Tweets, postings on The Book of Face and the Plussing of Google, I know you’ll catch everything just fine.  Since I’m pushing 200 blog posts, I figure it’s okay for me to slow down for a little while so I can put some focus into other projects.
Those other projects are, namely, Geeking in Indiana. I’m going to start updating that on Tuesday and Thursday, starting tomorrow with reflections on GenCon, and what I did while I was there. This is how it’s going to be for the next few months, especially as I work to get the actual and websites up and running.
So, to run down, my plan for the week is:
·         Tuesday on Geeking in Indiana: GenCon: A Social Event
·         Wednesday on *INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE* - A Sampling of Indy Fringe 2012
·         Thursday on Geeking in Indiana: GenCon Game Review: Big Bang Theory Party Game
·         Friday on *INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE* - Dig IN: A Taste of Indiana 2012
Starting next week, we’re going to just follow a similar format. If I’ve done something cool, it’ll go up on this personal vanity blog. If I’ve done something Geeky, it’s going to go up on Geeking in Indiana. Also, when my family gets back, family activities will go up on The Troxell Pack.
And how did I fall into this mess again?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food Trucks, Fringe, and Dig IN!

First, I would like to thank everyone for their offers of help and information pertaining to yesterday’s post about trying to learn Wordpress and Gimp. And for frak’s sake, NO, Gimp is not “that leather bound creature from Pulp Fiction,” Mr. I Hate Bananas. It’s going to make learning this go a bit easier, and I really appreciate it.
This is going to be another full weekend. First, Keystone Crossing is going to have a Food Truck Block Party today from 11-2 in the parking lot just south of the 9000 building, and Tony is going to get himself some NY Slice. Also there is going to be the Scratch Truck, Scout’s Treats, Mac Genie, Nicey Treat, Der Pretzel Wagen, Byrne’s Grilled Pizza, Taco Lassi, Slider Station, and Duos. That’s a lot of tasty trucks in this complex. Then, this evening, after work, I’m heading down to Mass Ave. to catch a show at Indy Fringe. It’s something called “Don’t Cross The Streams: The Cease and Desist Musical” that a friend is bringing me to, and it looks to be interesting.
Saturday, I did win tickets to Linkin Park/Incubus through DoItIndy, but sadly I will not be able to make it to the show like I was hoping. Looking at my budget, the amount of money I have for gas, it’s just not in the cards. However, I have passed the tickets on to my little brother’s former college roomie, and someone who was another member of his wedding party, so I know that they are going to be enjoyed. And no, I did NOT take money for them. I won them, they were free, so I am NOT being bitten by Karma by taking money for them! So, Saturday will instead be used for cleaning, laundry, and relaxation. Oh, and trying to put GenCon thoughts on paper for Geeking in Indiana.
Sunday is Dig IN: A Taste of Indiana at White River State Park. You might remember how I was shooting to be a Gastronaut for that event. Well, while I was not chosen, I was given tickets by the ever awesome @CS_Indy, so I’ll be attending that on Sunday from Noon to 5PM. It has been asked that I represent the “Big Boi Balds” so I’m hoping I don’t bring shame and dishonor to that name, whatever it might be. I’m looking forward to an awesome day of local meals and beverages, meeting more social media people, hearing some good local music, and I see that they have something about “urban gardening” which I’m also very interested in, especially if they can cover things pertaining to apartment gardening.
Then Monday, it’s back to the office, and I try to start distilling the weekend into blog posts.
Have a great weekend, folks, and keep an eye open for my bald fat arse and say hi, if you want!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wordpress and Gimp: A Learning Experience

Holy carp, it’s Thursday already?
Have you ever had those weeks that just seem to fly by? This has been one so far, but now that I’ve brought it up, and put it in writing, I have a feeling that Thursday is going to hit the emergency brake. Such is life, you deal with it, and move on. Besides, if the day feels like it’s going slower, that’ll give me more time to write, correct?
So, I was working on Geeking in Indiana last night, and I was working on my list of things that I need to get done. Every piece on that list is annotated with the need to learn how to do it. I need a banner image? I need to learn how to put one together in Gimp. I want static posts? My old theme isn’t available, so I need to put together a new one. Some of these will go up after I have the site back up. Some of these keep the site from going up. However, all of them I have to learn at some point.
I hate asking for help on these. I’ve actually brought it up to friends in the past, but I rarely follow through. Something like this is a skill, and it’s a skill that I need to learn. Asking others to do it for me isn’t going to help me if the site goes down again, and I’m not going to learn. Plus, since it IS a skill, it means that it’s something that people need to be compensated for when they help me. Even if they say they’re helping, this is their livelihood and I owe them something, at least in my head. However, I can’t offer anything more than limited free publicity, and that doesn’t put food on the table.  I hate the phrase “It’ll look good in your portfolio!” because that’s the cop-out of someone looking for free work.
However, I AM going to ask for a little bit of free help here. I’m going to ask for some advice.
I’m working on the website using the current version of Wordpress. I’m working on photos using Gimp. If you have worked with either of these, what do you recommend as a good resource for study? What should I really learn to help out? Do you have any books that you recommend, or any websites that you keep bookmarked for reference?
Yes, I know that I could host these sites on the free Wordpress site, or on the Blogger site, but I like the thought of having room to grow, and of having control over my site. Unfortunately, control also means dealing with your own problems. However, I’m going to do what I can to work around them. It’s like home ownership vs. renting an apartment. It’s much more satisfying to own your own home, but it’s also more work.
Too bad I’m also lousy with plumbing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rental Property Hunt Update

I would like to apologize for the radio silence yesterday. I had to actually WORK at my job, and that took a lot of time out of my day. However, there was overtime involved, which is always appreciated, and I volunteered to help out, so you’re not going to hear me complain.
A few days ago my place of employment made some announcement about where our office is going to be. You might have heard it, and I’m not going to go into too much detail since I’m still trying to keep some semblance of separation between my job and my personal online life. However, it has been announced that our office will be moving from Keystone Crossing to 96th and Michigan Rd. in a few months. So, this has changed my moving criteria around a bit. Despite my desire to move near some of you awesome people on the East Side, in some of those beautiful historic neighborhoods, I’m just not sure about the advisability of driving from one corner of Indy to the opposite corner of Indy every day.
One major issue I’m having is that I am in no way familiar with that part of town. I don’t know what apartment complexes are good, what apartment complexes make The Cottages of Fall Creek look like a high end, luxury complex, and what neighborhoods are decent to find a small home to rent. I also have some co-workers and supervisors who are having these same questions. People who got apartments in the Castleton and Keystone area so they were close to the office, and now are looking close to the new office for when their lease is up.
So, here is the updated wish list for a new home for the Troxell Pack:
·         Price: $600 or less
·         In the area of 96th and Michigan. I’ve heard near Butler might be good?
·         House or apartment? Yes
·         Safe neighborhood, family and specifically child friendly.
·         At least 2 bed/2 bath. More bedrooms = more money, so I can live without an extra guest room/office.
·         Oh, my credit is lousy while my rental history is stellar.
Once again, you are all awesome, and I appreciate the info I have received so far in this hunt. My lease is up at Avery Point, and I have to be out by the 31st of October, so I really need to buckle down and find someplace!

Monday, August 20, 2012

General Post About GenCon

Goodness gracious, what a weekend! It was a big enough weekend to make me dust off the phrase “Goodness gracious,” for crying out loud! You see, it was GenCon weekend.
I will be writing a LOT through the week at Geeking in Indiana about specifics on the con, but I at least want to give my “fans” some tidbits here.
First, this is the first time in years that I’ve hit a con for more than one day. When I was in High School, I used to hit Starbase Indy for two of the three days, but that was also a small con when compared to GenCon, in a hotel instead of a convention center, and I had a hotel room to rest in when needed. Attending San Diego Comic Con back in 2001 was comparable, but that was only a single day, not three days.
GenCon ran Thursday through Sunday, and I attended Friday through Sunday. I pulled into the con at about 8:30 Friday morning, got my 4 Day Badge, and then headed around the con, checking out games and exhibits, enjoying costumes, and meeting up with friends. I had Scotty’s Brewhouse for lunch and dinner, had a chance to try the Dragon’s Milk Stout from New Holland, and was able to catch up with friends that I haven’t seen in years. I believe I finally wrapped up that day around 11:00.
Saturday morning, I kind of overslept, but still pulled in about 9:30 in the morning. Saturday was full of costumers, checking out more than the edges of the Exhibition Hall, meeting some friends from Social Media, mainly The Twitter, and totally ignoring some things I wanted to do so I could meet and hang out with new friends and old, something that I don’t consider a failure. Saturday evening was dinner with friends at The Ram, and then a show by the great Luke Ski over at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, attached to the old Union Station. I love that guy, in a purely platonic fashion, and his new setup with video is excellent. After the show, I escaped around 11:30PM.
Sunday was family day, so I headed over to my brother’s house and rode in with him and my nephew. After picking up their badges, we were able to start walking around and looking at about 10:30. We mainly did the circuit of the Exhibition Hall, looking for Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh cards for my nephew, and Batman stuff for my brother. The mission was accomplished, going so far as getting a custom Yu Gi Oh card with my nephew’s picture on it for him, and my brother picked up some art of Batman and Spider-Man from a local artist in Artist’s Alley. However, after looking at much of the same things over and over, my nephew started getting bored, so we jetted at around 1:30. Hey, you can’t blame the kid. He’s six, and one can only look at the same booths selling Steampunk, cards, and minis for only so long.
However, after a couple of 14 hour days on my feet, since I didn’t sit down much, my trick ankle is being, well, tricky, and my knees are screaming at me for abuse. Yet, I regret nothing. It just means that I need to get in better shape for the next year. Plus, I need to plan ahead. I really like hitting the con for the full term, but I need to actually look at events so I can participate in some of the gaming that is available, and some of the programs by buying the advance event tickets. In addition, I felt almost naked not walking around in some manner of costume, so that is going on the agenda for next year.
Once again, for more details, keep an eye on the Geeking in Indiana blog this week and next, as I try to get some of my thoughts and impressions into postings that make sense!
I’ll see everybody later!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quick Update About My Silence

Wow, yesterday was a busy day! I kept trying to get on here to jot down some thoughts for the blog, but between meetings, paperwork, and GenCon prep, it totally got lost in the shuffle. However, I HAVE put up some of my Must See items at the Geeking in Indiana blog on what I’m doing this weekend, so you might want to pop over there and check it out.
In fact, that’s where I’m going to be the most active this weekend. I’m going to be heading downtown Friday and Saturday, immersing myself in the convention, trying games, meeting people, doing social media events, and just generally having fun and losing myself in the geekdom.
And Sunday will be the day of rest, laundry, and figuring out what to do with everything in my head from GenCon. Mostly everything will end up on Geeking, but I’m definitely going to put some highlights up on here on Monday.
Well, because of a short day today, and a lot going on, this’ll be it for this week. You guys are awesome, and I appreciate everybody visiting my little sliver of the internet.
High fives all around!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So Many Posts, So Many Views, So Much Anxiety

Sometimes, you start doing something just to see if you can do it. For some people, this is running a marathon, or trying to climb Mount Everest. For me, it was starting this blog.
In case you can’t tell, I’m not a writer. I was never good at writing papers in school, I have no concept of sentence structure, I forget the difference between a noun and a verb, and yet here I am, still at my keyboard at work, putting, well, I want to say words on paper, but not quite that. Text on Microsoft Word 2007, perhaps. Either way, I’m still doing it.
I guess I’m enjoying it. I mean, since I started the blog with the first post on September 25, 2011, I’ve written 185 posts (this will be 186.) I’ve been viewed 4191 times, with an average day pulling in about 25-30 views.
This. Blows. My. Frakkin’. MIND!
Honestly, I sit down at my computer at work in the morning, get my morning job duties done, pull up my “Blog Postings” file, and just start typing thoughts down until I think I’ve put down enough, then I copy and paste it into Blogger, perhaps attach some tags, give it a title, then post it, tweet it, and forget about it. I don’t care about SEO, ABC, CBS, or whatever acronym the social media/blogging “experts” like throwing around. I just write whatever simmers to the surface of my brain, tweet it, and forget it. And somehow, I have people that read this.
Not only do I have this, but I also have a blog for my family on Wordpress, and a local Geek Blog also hosted on Blogger. Those blogs also get a few hits, but the Family Blog is kind of on hiatus since, well, I currently have no family, and the Geek Blog will probably get a small influx of people due to GenCon this week, and then will probably calm back down.
This blog, though, seems to be consistent. I find this weird, since it’s more of a “train of thought” blog than one focusing on one single subject. It’s more of a journal, either describing my day, or going off on a tangent or subject that’s on my mind. My top posts talk about the lack of a Comic Con in Indianapolis and issues with neighbors while living in apartments, but I still get more readers on posts concerning my daily activities than I have members of my family that have an internet connection and/or this blog address.
Having some actual readers gives me a small sense of anxiety. Have I already written about this before? Is what I’m putting down making sense? Is it easy to find old postings, if someone wants to refer back to something? Is the posting too long? How about too short? These are the thoughts that go through my head.
And then I get distracted by something flashy on the TV, and consider the post done.
See you tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Mess

And it’s the beginning of another week, and it’s starting out REALLY busy.
At work, I’ve got a new training class, I’ve got a reporting meeting all morning, I’ve got a position that I’m putting a resume in for a different position at the old Place That Pays The Bills, so hopefully it will be able to pay ALL the bills. If not, then I’m going to have to search for someplace that WILL pay all the bills!
After work, I believe we’re having our first face to face planning meeting for Pie Wars 2012, so I’m heading down to that. After the meeting, it’s grocery shopping time, as I am COMPLETELY out of groceries. I’m so completely out of groceries, I’m living off coffee and water today at work. Anyway, once that is done, then it’s dinner time, and then hopefully I’ll be able to get some walking in. Of course, I always say that, but maybe for once, I’ll be able to do it.
Oh, and for those who were curious, I won’t be hitting Dig Indiana 2012. Heck, I haven’t even received the tickets for GenCon yet, so who knows about that? Oh well, I’m still thinking that I’m going. I trust the person who said they were sending them.
Apartment/rental home hunting is still in effect. I’ve found a couple that I might be interested in, that are in my price range, but they are asking 3X the rent in TAKE HOME. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much I MAKE, if after taxes and insurance I’m not bringing home $1800 a month, then I’m not even considered. Now, I understand that they are a PRIVATE party, and they need to do what they can to keep from getting ripped off by their tenants, but seriously? If I’m walking in from an apartment with higher rent that I’ve had, in good standing, for over two years, to someplace with lower rent, what makes them think I’m going to not be able to pay? I just… wow. I just don’t know. It just makes me glad that I have a few months to look, as opposed to a few weeks.
Past that, I’m hoping to have a good week. My GOAL is to hit a treadmill, or just the streets, to walk 5K a couple nights every week. I figure, I need to give myself a tangible goal. I’m sure C25K is great, but it’s just not working for me, especially the whole “running” thing. So, I’m going to walk, I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to walk faster, I’m going to get in better shape, then I’m going to start to jog. The thing is, with these knees that I’ve written about before, I need to drop some weight before I really stress them out, or else this is all going to end before it’s even begun. However, even with the little I’ve done the last few weeks, between that and watching what I eat when I DO eat, I’m finally below 260 lbs again.
Every little bit.
I’ll see you tomorrow, when I can hopefully put some coherent thoughts together.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Let Me Be A Gastronaut!

Have you heard of Dig Indiana at White River State Park? It’s a taste of local goodies! It has food and drink, fellowship and music, not to mention education about local food and pairing food and drink. It’s being held in a few weeks, on Sunday, August  26th from Noon to 5PM, and I really want to go.
Oh ho! I don’t just want to go, though! I want to tell everybody about the experience! Dig Indiana is having a contest to allow two lucky people to get VIP Tickets, Dig Indiana gear, and a chance to cover the event as a Gastronaut! I really think that this looks to be a lot of fun! Now, what does a Gastronaut DO, you might ask? Well, according to the contest site, the responsibilities of a Gastronaut are:
  • Tweet (#DigIN12) about your experience at Dig IN.
  • Help share blog posts about Dig IN with your friends and followers leading up to the event.
  • Help share info about giveaways for tickets, Dig IN gear, Dig IN pint and wine glasses and other great stuff.
All right, that’s good stuff! I could do this. Seriously, let’s take a look at the list:
·         Tweet about the experience? Heck, I can tweet, post photos, check in to FourSquare, even tell my Circles on Google +. Plus, I can go all day, since my Evo has a replaceable battery, and I always carry fully charged spares with me! It’ll be the same way I cover GenCon for Geeking In Indiana!
·         Blog posts? More than happy to! If I’m willing to post on my blog about how I want to be a Gastronaut, I’m MORE than willing to do blog posts talking up the event! I’m sure my 25 hits a day would, well, never mind how many hits I get! I’ll do it!
·         Giveaways? I LOVE giveaways! I love doing giveaways! I wish I had stuff to give away for my blogs! This I can do!
Frankly, I really want to do this because it looks like a lot of fun, and I’m really starting to pay closer attention to what’s going on locally. I like being able to share fun things, too.
I’m not sure this blog post will even be read, I’m just hoping that they are willing to give me a chance!
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trick Knees

I am sore this morning. Sadly, it’s not from any workout or physical activity.
Yeah, I hurt myself doing laundry.
I have trick knees. The tendon that is supposed to be growing down the middle of the kneecap is actually growing down the outside edge of the kneecap. It came from a growth spurt when I was younger, and the muscles on the outside of the knee were stronger than the muscles on the inside of the knee, so they pulled the tendons outward.
At least, this is what I recall from the doctor back around 1989. I was in middle school and in a lot of pain at the time, so my “facts” could be a little skewed. You see, the problem with these tendons being in the wrong place is, well, essentially my kneecap doesn’t stay in place. It gets pulled to the side, and the bones go out of whack, and essential parts rip, and I hear a loud cracking sound, and I’m going to shut up now because just thinking about it is making the knee throb. In fact, I was going to Google up some more precise information, but just looking at the pictures in the search results made me cringe.
Anyway, the first time this happened was playing dodgeball in middle school. I heard a loud pop/snap, my left knee was in pain, didn’t hold weight, and I went down. Being a wimpy dork who never really was big on gym class in the first place, the substitutes for the class just had me sit and not worry about it. Luckily, the NEXT time it happened, a few months later during Volleyball “Bumping” tests, the actual gym teacher/wrestling coach/trained physical therapist was there, and knew exactly what happened. That’s when I was pulled out of class, had my parents called, and brought to the doctor for X-Rays and what not.
There was no real surgery or anything, just exercises. At the time, I was told that surgery MIGHT fix the problem, but the odds were just as good that it wouldn’t, and could be worse, so we didn’t worry about it. I would just be careful, wear a brace on the left knee, and live with it.
I had minor problems through school, including some pretty bad incidents like having it pop out while running down a steep hill, but one of the worst was when I found out BOTH knees had the problem. It was the first official day of track practice my senior year, and we were running a hard 100 to cool down. I had to run with two distance runners, which was a joke since I did shotput and discus, and even those I didn’t do very well. I mainly did it to get into shape for summer camp. Anyway, I was actually almost beating one of the distance runners when I crossed the finish line, started trying to stop using my “good” leg, and CRACK! The snap was heard by the coach 10 feet away, I slid down the track, and I learned my right knee was also giving me a world of hurt. It was swollen to twice its size for a few weeks, wouldn’t hold any weight for a month, and my track experience came to a quick, painful end.
I am very careful these days, but it will just randomly give me issues. It caused me to miss Further Fest and most of Horde Fest in the summer of 1998. Almost every time I move apartments, I have it either slightly pop out, or drastically pop out of socket. That time it happened when I was stepping off the tailgate to my old Dodge Dakota was the worst. Wow.
So, this is always my major fear when I’m on a treadmill, walking, or doing leg exercises. Plus, it’s a constant worry when I’m playing with the Geekling. What if it goes out when I’m carrying her on my shoulders? No, I don’t let these worries STOP me from playing with her, but it does go through my head.
Which leads us to last night. I was home, I was fed, and I was starting some laundry before getting ready to go outside for a walk/shuffling jog. I picked up the laundry basket, turned from the bed to the bedroom door, and POP! I’m down. That kinda put a damper on my evening.
So if you ever see me tweeting about my knees bending the wrong way, or anything like that, now you know what’s going on.
Til tomorrow,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Apartment Hunting Time

I woke up this morning, did my morning routine, checked my bow tie, and walked out the door. Taped to the door was a note from my apartment complex telling me that, if I choose to renew my lease, it will be a $50 increase for 12 months, $44 increase for 13 months, $40 increase for 15 months, and $154 increase if I go month to month. This is on top of the increase I paid when I extended my lease back in 2011, which was another $30-$40. Oh, and watch out! This offer EXPIRES on 10/27/2012, just mere days before my lease is up October 31st. I wasn’t really planning on extending my lease, but this just cements it.
One issue that comes up while apartment hunting, though, is my proximity to my workplace. My office is currently located at Keystone Crossing, that office complex behind the Fashion Mall. However, they are moving in a few months, and they have YET to tell us where they are moving to. I have a feeling they’re looking to the North West corner of 465, but I have yet to get any confirmation.
I have raised this subject up on The Twitter today, mentioning that I’m looking for someplace new to live. And, once again, The Indy Twitter People are jumping in on this. What side of town am I looking at? How many bedrooms? What price? Is the Geekling in school?
Indy Twitter People are awesome.
Anyway, here’s what I’m looking for.
·         Price: $600 or less
·         Side of Town: Not really anything below I-70.
·         House or apartment? Yes
·         Safe neighborhood, family and specifically child friendly.
·         At least 2 bed/2 bath. More bedrooms = more money, so I can live without an extra guest room/office.
·         Oh, my credit is lousy while my rental history is stellar.
Anything on top of that is icing on the cake.
Before I wrap up this wish list, I would like to thank @BenRisinger, @that_girl_lola, @AWishin and @matthew_conroy for jumping in with advice and information on houses and apartments in their areas. Plus a shout out to @slicklaroo and @Cantplaypiano for being cheerleaders for the East Side and the North Side, respectively. And that’s just the people who jumped in this morning.
You guys are great,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Fun Day, That's Monday!

Good day, everybody! How are you all, today? I know I’ve got a shaved head, a shaved face, a new bow tie, and I’ve had to hit the ground running this morning, so I’m doing okay.
Except for that whole hit the ground running while wearing Chuck Taylors. I don’t know how David Tennant did it.
So, Saturday morning I did Day One of Couch to 5K, a program designed to get yer arse off the couch and moving. When I say I did it, what I mean to say is I did a good job on the walking parts, but the running was a slow, plodding shuffle that, even in 60 second stretches, kicked my arse. Even with the limited amount of running/jogging they had you do, I still couldn’t do all the sections, so this evening, I’ll be repeating Day One. However, I will not be doing it in my Chuck Taylors.
I was doing this, and some bike riding, out at my parent’s house near the Henry/Hancock County line. The roads on the Henry County side are horrible. I have ridden on trails, and walked on Boy Scout Camp roads that are in better shape. My bike just couldn’t handle the cracks and potholes, and I had to turn around after only ¾ of a mile. Then, when I went to do the walk/run, I almost turned an ankle a couple of times on the uneven pavement. Needless to say, from now on, if I’m house sitting for them, I’m going to stick to swimming.
Either that, or I’m going to buy them a treadmill and stationary bike.
I need to do some major time budgeting this week to start getting everything done. I NEED to get content posted and the Geeking In Indiana site up by this coming weekend, as GenCon is next week. Thanks to the Doing Indy blog, I have a pair of 1 Day passes to the party. If Shannon can make it back by then, and we can find a sitter for The Geekling, then we’ll hit Saturday. If not, I’ll be hitting Saturday and Sunday covering it completely for the blog. I’ll be trying to get some video for the YouTube channel, and some actual audio clips, along with a lot of pics for the album. I figure it’ll be a nice BANG to get the site back up and running.
Other than that, the goal is to exercise more this week than I did last week, which was two days. However, I am down 6 pounds just by watching what I’m eating, so I guess I’ve got that going for me.
I’ll bug you all tomorrow. Have a great day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Wrap-Up

Good morning, peoples! It’s Friday! Friday!
Yeah, I know there’s probably some really weak sauce YouTube song floating around in there somewhere, but I never listen to it or watched the video.
It’s been another week of bachelorhood. Exercise, diet, working on putting articles back on Geeking in Indiana, those have been the things keeping me busy. I’m down 4 lbs this week, so I’ve got that going for me, too. No celebratory donuts, please.
I have a new goal with my Library Card/eReader, and that is to go through the Library of Congress list of the 88 Books That Shaped America. This was brought to my attention by my friend, world record bell ringer, and sometimes marathon finisher Leilan McNally, who posted the list on his Hyper Monkey Media blog. This has given me a goal to check out these books, even if I’ve read them before. The ONE exception might be “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, since I just read that last fall. Check that, two exceptions, as I read “The Cat in the Hat” to the Geekling fairly regularly.
Personally, I feel “Hop on Pop” is a book that’s shaped America better than “Cat in the Hat” but I’m not a scholar with the Library of Congress, I’m just a sub-par blogger.
So anyway, before I wish you all a good weekend, I’d like to express some disappointment. As of 9:55AM on this Friday the 3rd of August, my post griping about apartment neighbors has had 52 views, my post griping about customer entitlement has garnered 31 views, and yet my post talking about some GOOD neighbor experiences in apartments has only garnered 13 views.
You know, says the guy who put it out there in the first place.
Have a great weekend, everybody. I’ll see you Monday.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Apartment Living, Something Decent

The last couple of days, I’ve had some real ranting postings, so I wanted to switch it over a bit.
Apartment living isn’t totally bad. Sometimes you end up with some really awesome neighbors, a great office staff, and people who care about the community.
There was once an apartment we spent a few years in, actually renewing the lease a few times before we got the aforementioned spoiled brat that played “Scarface” at full blast late at night, all through the night, right below our bedroom. Oh, and I can confirm he was a spoiled brat from his attitude when trying to deal with him, and confirmed by one of Shannon’s co-workers who had gone to school with him. He was a son of a local car dealer, one of those with the really annoying commercials, and his parents paid for EVERYTHING, including his rent. Anyway.
Up until that point, we had some great neighbors there, though. People who would trust us with their apartment key while they were gone to go feed their fish. People that we would loan tools to, and help out with problems, and talk with, and just be communal with. If the music was a little loud, we worked with each other to find the good volume. If Shannon was at work, and I was asleep in the middle of the day (I worked thirds at the time) and someone slight bass was going through the wall, I just slept right through it. If one of us was having a lot of friends over, we’d warn the others, not just because of the noise, but the parking. We tried to watch out for each other as much as we could.
Unfortunately, this was just one small experience in many years of renting. It could have ended up totally different if we had a communal laundry area, too, but I doubt it. They were just some decent people. However, in any apartment, people come, and people go, and thus we went.
And thus I go.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Customer Entitlement, The Customer Is Not Always Right

As many of you know, I used to work retail. I have worked a lot of retail. I have worked in positions ranging from overnight to early morning stocking, to sales floor, to register, to management. I have known the madhouse that is Black Friday from the salesperson standpoint. I have known the wrath of a customer who is upset because they can’t return their DVD or CD after they ripped a copy and tried coming up with an excuse that the flawless disc can’t play in their player and wants a refund, even though every retailer out there will only do an exchange for the same title.
Yes, I am used to the customer attitude that they are a precious, unique snowflake, and they are not bound by the rules and policies that apply to any situation but theirs.
You see, people blindly believe in the saying that “The customer is always right.” I have NEVER worked at a retailer that has that slogan, and I have never worked with a retailer that has that slogan posted anywhere. In fact, I have had to blatantly inform customers that they are, in fact, wrong.
You see, when a customer comes in with a simple request or a simple problem, most retailers will do what they can to work with you. They will replace your product, occasionally offer a discount on another product, or generally just try to work with you to solve your problem.
However, if you come in with something completely insane, or if you come in looking to pick a fight, your request is going to be rightfully ignored, and you do, in fact, stand the chance of being mocked by your fellow customers.
I couldn't make this example up if I tried.
If you come into a store with a game system that is covered in dirt that looks like an animal has chewed through the cables, in a water-stained (at least, I hope it was water) box and no receipt, acting all offended that we sold you this system last week, don’t act insulted when I look you in the eye and politely tell you you’re full of bull. Especially don’t act offended when it’s a game system we haven’t sold in the years I’d been at the store, let alone in the last week, and if I had any boxes that looked like that, they would have been written off as a loss long before it made it to the sales floor.
And yes, this person tried dropping “The customer is always right” on me during his tirade against me, after which I told him he was not a customer, as he did not purchase the item from us, and he was just trying to take money from us instead. Further on, he was welcome to contact the district manager, but unless I heard from him, he was not allowed back in our store. At that point, when the person realized I wasn’t losing my temper, and I was actually grinning and trying hard not to laugh, he packed up his gear and left.
People like this always just made me shake my head, and then laugh about them with the next customer in line.
Another person that always throws me off are those demanding discounts. Sure, I’ve worked places that provide discounts for people who are seniors, or active duty military, or members of AAA, but not everyplace does that. Yet, for example, I have seen people demand a senior discount at places that very clearly state they don’t offer such a thing, and then act hurt that they don’t get one. I’ve also seen the same from active duty military, except they will get even more indignant and drop the phrases “patriotism” and “for your country.”
Yeah, you know what? I’m glad that you’ve lived to be an old coot, but that doesn’t mean you get a discount. And if you enlisted so you could get a few cents off your order, then buddy, I’m not rewarding you for your messed up priorities. If you don’t like it? Write in to corporate. Write a blog post, start up a Facebook, and stage a boycott. We all know how well THOSE work, right? Perhaps on online petition will help. Who knows? Either way, the poor register jockey isn’t able to change the policy. Chances are, especially if you’re being a giant bag of douche about it, the manager won’t bend the policy. So just chill out about the entitlement discounts, okay?
Remember, folks: Don’t be a dick, especially to your service workers. Unless they are being a total dick to you, then have at it!