After a mild heat streak last week, it has now cooled off and it feels like fall is here. I took last week off from work and was busy, busy with lots of different projects and generally enjoyed the amazing outdoors (hence, no posts). Soon, I will have some finished projects (remodeling, music?) and books to report on. Until then, a picture of Zoey hanging out on our landing and looking very suave.

Zoey on the steps

Contax Zeiss Ikon CameraI used to thrift a lot, but over the course of the past few years I’ve sort of let my habit dwindle, only stopping once in awhile to see if I can find a decent pair of pants, a dress shirt, or a vintage tie. I usually scan the book shelves, spin through the electronics isle, and look at what’s usually a sad and discarded pile of CDs.

Today, though, I was at a local thrift store when I saw an old camera laying in a bin of stuff that still needed to be put out on the floor. At first I thought it might be another cheap clunker knockoff, but after checking it out a bit more, I realized that it was the real deal.

So, for $3.99 I got myself a vintage 50s Zeiss Ikon Contax camera. It’s one of the most solid 35mm cameras I’ve hoisted in my hands, blowing away my already nice Canon AE-1. It has a built-in light meter and lots of other neat little features. The best part of the whole deal is that it looks like it’s barely been used at all. The shutter works like a charm at all speeds, the lens doesn’t have a single scratch on it, and it doesn’t seem to have any issues at all. As a photo major in college, I was more than a little bit giddy to run across such a nice find.

Sad PowerbookAlthough I do quite enjoy the Powerbook that I got late last year, I’ve had some weird little issues cropping up with it in the past couple months. When it wouldn’t recognize a CDR (four different brands) last week to burn a disc, that was the last straw. I took it into the repair shop and it has been sent back to Apple for some repairs. I was hoping to have it back for the July 4th weekend so I could get some things done, but alas that wasn’t in the cards.

Because of this, I’ve been forced back onto my old desktop computer (a 400mhz, pentium 2 PC) in the basement. I hadn’t turned this machine on in months, and going back to it seems like a chore after being able to haul my Powerbook around and set it up anywhere.

Oh, and there’s a big spider crawling across the front of my monitor right now. Sweet.

This past week or so has been sort of a blur of business as usual around here. I’ve been writing and reading and working on some music and tending to the garden and the yard and attending a few family events and trying to keep my sleep patterns normal after the warmer weather threw me off. I’m about halfway through with a nearly 600 page book, I’ve felt the agony of defeat several times as the baseball team I follow (Nebraska Cornhuskers) limped into the conference tournament after a great season start, and I got my haircut shorter than it has been in years.

There have been other things, but that’s about the jist of it lately. TG is taking not only an online summer course, but an intensive 3-week course that basically has her doing homework every single night (including weekends), so I’ve found things to do by myself and have kept busy at them. This past week has been great (other than the every present wind) for rollerblading especially, and I’ve taken advantage of it. In the past 5 nights, I’ve managed about 30 miles, including a burnout in 85 degree heat yesterday that left me gasping in a good way.

This seems to be a bit of a quiet period for the most part. Plants are growing but not producing yet, several little projects are still floating on the hard drive in states of various completion, and the changing weather is making everything seem like a bit more of a chore than it should be.

At least the beer is cold.

Wedding photoIt’s almost midnight (and therefore May 8th), so I think I can get away with saying that it’s officially the 2nd Anniversary of TG and I. The weather today was a lot cooler than it was two years ago, and I distinctly remember a rather severe thunderstom the night we got married. I remember the latter because our dogs were staying at a kennel for the night and we talked about how we hoped they weren’t too frightened by it while being away from home.

I don’t know that I have any great wisdom to impart from the first two years of marriage, but I will make mention of the same thing that I told a relative who’s about to tie the knot in a couple weeks.

Before I met TG, I was one of those people who basically ate what I could to have enough energy to do what I wanted to do and get by. I could follow a recipe well enough, and even whip up a decent batch of chili if I wanted, but I didn’t take too many chances and it wasn’t a rare occasion for me to eat the same thing 3 or 4 nights in a row.

When I met TG, I discovered that when cooking for someone other than yourself, it becomes a lot more fun. Instead of just trying to fill the hole in your own stomach, there’s someone else to hopefully impress. Over the course of the five years that I’ve known TG, my cooking skills have grown exponentially, and if circumstance neccesitates it, I’m able to take a look into a decimated refridgerator and somehow pull something together that tastes good to both of us. Of course, it goes the other way as well, and I’ve often eaten things that TG has cooked that taste much better than one could get at a restaurant.

We’re both super busy people and have our own interests, and while there are several nights per week where we don’t spend much time together at all, we manage to sit down and eat dinner together just about every single night. There have been a few times where we’ve plopped down in front of the television with a bowl of food (which inevitably leads to a string of jokes about “the ‘merican way” of eating), but for the most part we join each other at the table in the evening and eat and talk about our days. It’s a nice little given, and on the days when it doesn’t work out (TG is out with friends, etc), my day feels slightly out of sync.

While not every single one of our interests overlap, we have a good middle ground and seem to learn different things from one another. TG puts up with my bleep bleep bloop music and obscure band trivia and I’ve absorbed a rather large amount of information about clothing design and textile history while we both contribute to an out-of-control book collection that tips the scales at almost fifteen hundred books.

Good times. Good times.

For some reason or another, I always get just a little bit excited in the back of my head when I know that there’s a possibility for bad weather. Yesterday, the weather forecast was saying that something would be rolling in at some point during the day, and by late afternoon I could see some pretty heavy weather moving in from the south.

By the time I got home from work, there was a visible line of dark clouds moving over, so I went out and played with Elsa (TG had to take Zoey to the vet after she ripped a claw out, she ended up being fine) until the rain started coming down.

As it turned out, we got a little bit of rain, but not a whole lot in terms of really bad weather. There was a severe thunderstorm warning for awhile and a bit of wind, but nothing that sent us to the basement. Based on spring in Nebraska, though, I doubt this will be our last encounter with the green sky and storms.

Oncoming storm

antiPod The Panasonic Panapet R-70 is portable transistor AM radio from the 1970s. They are housed in a round plastic case that comes in a variety of colors and has two small silver dials (on/off switch/volume, and tuning) that make it look like Pac Man when viewed from the correct direction. Powered by a single 9-volt battery, the radio has a surprisingly strong antenna and comes attached to a large metal keychain to loop around a finger, attach to a belt loop, etc. Coupled with a 1/8″ adapter and a pair of Pioneer SE-50 headphones (also from the 70’s), this bulky twosome makes for the perfect revolt from today’s sleek digital music players.

Sadly, the AM-only tuner limits your listening abilities to little more than an occasional country station, right-wing talk show programs, Christian fundamentalist bleatings, and wide swaths of static. Fortunately, though, it also picks up some sports stations, so I personally end up dragging my radio outside to listen to a baseball game while I’m gardening or even have it playing in the background while I’m cooking later dinners during the summer months. Even though I also own an iPod (which gets a lot more use), I have a place in my heart for the charming and playful Panapet, which is partly space-ace, and partially downright clunky.

Long before I actually really truthfully played the accordion as a member of the band Marianas, I was a moron in college who liked to sometimes pose for the camera. During my sophomore year of college, I lived on the floor of a dorm that was completely inhabited by other males, and as seems to be par for the course, several of them were into playing guitar.

One night, Mike (left), myself (middle), and Evan (right) all got together and formed an impromptu “band.” Of course, both Mike and Evan could actually play their respective guitars when they were plugged in, but for one moment, we posed like we were the most bad-ass finger-tapping, guitar-soloing, accordion-wheezing klezmer rock band around. Or something like that.

Actually, I just think the picture is kind of funny.

Mike, Aaron and Evan Rawk

(oh, and speaking of photos, thanks to Mouser for providing all these hilarious pictures of yore on a disc)

the panapetFor some reason or another, some people are very surprised to find out that I’m secretly a sports fan. I don’t follow every sport, and I don’t get into professional teams at all, but for some reason I’ve become a big fan of both college baseball and football since I graduated from college.

Being from Nebraska, I suppose that the college football part of the equation was bound to happen, but I’ve also gotten so I really like having a baseball game on during the spring and early summer. It’s relaxing to me, and for some reason all the numerical components of the game really appeal to me (whether its batting averages, pitcher ERAs, or even how a double play was turned).

While thrift shopping a couple years back, I found a little AM radio from the early 70s that was made by Panasonic called the Panapet 70 (pictured). If one were to stretch, they could say that it was the ultimate precursor to portable audio, as it’s not only stylish, but it has a headphone jack and is even attached to a metal keychain. I can’t imagine anyone actually attaching the radio to their belt, but it does add a fun element to the little radio. For the next couple months, the Panapet and I will be good buddies.

Sadly, my goth and my “act like a ham for the camera” phase seemed to coincide during my first two years of college or so. There are many, many photos from this period, including some that make me cringe a little bit when I see them. It was during this time that I dyed my hair jet black and let it grow out to about shoulder-length, resulting in some minor questioning from my family and some odd looks (and rather vicious rumors) from people in my small town when I visited home during the holidays and summers.

I can’t seem to recall who took this particular picture, but for some reason it’s my favorite. It’s mainly because of the odd perspective, but partially because I’m not smiling at all, despite the cheesy finger-pointing pose. I was so, so, serious. Oh yeah, and to top it all off, I’m wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt. Head like a hole, dudes!

a goth just floated by

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