14 Apr

The Kerfuffle Shuffle

Posted by on April 14, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Last Friday Jason and I went to a concert at the U of U, known as The Grand Kerfuffle, with my brother Andrew and his fiancé Simone. What is a kerfuffle you ask? The answer: I have absolutely no idea. I think it must be something akin to a shindig. Whatever it is, the U’s event is not just your average kerfuffle-it’s a GRAND kerfuffle. So all you schools that put on common kerfuffles-take that!

Although I’m still not entirely sure what exactly a kerfuffle is, this I do know, The Grand Kerfuffle is an outdoor concert thrown every year for the student body. It used to be an entirely free event and now students pay just five dollars to attend. Since my bro and Simone are both students at the U, they were able to get $5 tickets for me and Jason. The bands performing this year were Augustana, Hellogoodbye, and Shiny Toy Guns. Since I like all three of these bands, there was no way I could pass on $5 tickets to see them.

The weather on Friday was supposed to be warm and springish, unlike the other days last week that it snowed and felt like February again. But alas, the weathermen were slightly off on their prediction of when the warm front would move in, and Friday didn’t feel anything like mid-April. So I wore my boarding coat on top of another coat, and a beanie to this concert. Drew somehow forgot that it was freezing outside and didn’t bring anything but a hoodie. He had to borrow every extra warm thing we had brought. Common sense is not a strong trait in my family.

Drew and Simone

Drew and Simone

We had a lot of fun at the concert, despite a couple peculiarities. Yes, some things were peculiar. First of all, the crowd was very cheering deficient. Seriously people, do you not know how to clap? I felt like I was one of the loudest people there. Even when they were obviously enjoying themselves, their cheering was rather pathetic.It was a strange phenomenon.

Another thing that I thought was somewhat obnoxious was the couples making out roughly a foot away from us. Okay people, we realize you are anxious to get some action, but at least go to the back were you aren’t so conspicuous. Is that really so much to ask? If I had wanted that kind of show I would have just stayed at home. College students…was I ever that dumb?

But yes, regardless of these oddities, I had a great time. We didn’t make it in time to see Augustana, unfortunately, but we did see most of Hellogoodbye’s performance. The crowd was obviously not terribly familiar with their music and didn’t really get too into it, until they played their one hit, All of Your Love.

Me and Jas

Me and Jas

The crowd reacted much differently to Shiny Toy Guns. Their applause was still lacking, but they were definitely energized and grooving with the music. The masses were jumping, moshing, and crowd surfing. I took the opportunity to jump too, even with my temperamental tendon. Simone, I discovered, is a woman after my own heart. She and I bounced around and rocked until our legs felt like jelly. I can’t say the same for the boys. Though, with some strong encouragement, I actually did get Jason to jump with me a little. He looked a bit like the guys from A Night at the Roxbury, but I was glad to see him do something beside just stand there.

All the bouncing paid off for me and Simone. We stayed nice and warm while the boys froze. Those boys…

I still had a great time even with Mr. Lethargic. It was a fun, energetic, and cheap concert. So thanks Drew and Simone for inviting us to tag along, and thanks Simone for shaking it with me. There was a whole lot of kerfuffling going on!

P.S. It has come to my attention that kerfuffle means a disorderly outburst or tumult. We learn something new everyday.

10 Apr

My Therapy After Therapy

Posted by on April 10, 2008 at 8:41 pm

As those of you who have been reading my blog know, I have been going to physical therapy for the tear in one of my peroneal tendon for about six weeks now. This has been a new experience for me. My only impressions of physical therapy up to this point were based off movies. You know exactly the type of movie I’m talking about. Yes, the one where the guy is hurt in the car accident and is told he is never going to walk again and then through some dramatic physical therapy rehabilitation work he somehow miraculously regains use of his legs.

Now, after having actually done physical therapy myself, I can say it’s not quite as entertaining as it may seem in the movies. In fact, most of the therapy work just makes you feel like an idiot. Yes, all of you who have done physical therapy before are nodding your heads right now in agreement. But for those of you who have not had the physical therapy experience, let me enlighten you.

Physical therapy is meant to strengthen and remobilize your injured area-wherever that may be. In my case, this area is of course my ankle. So, for roughly an hour per session I have to do awkward ankle exercises and stretches while the physical therapists observes. Doesn’t sound too bad to you? Then you really aren’t imagining it correctly. Do you remember those days in junior high gym class where they combined the girls and boys classes and you all did aerobics together? Well, back then, all the boys made complete fools of themselves. Yes boys, you know it’s true. Your clumsy representation of “the running man” was definitely laughable and the fact that you couldn’t even get jumping jacks right was pretty pathetic. Of course, I was much too nice to make fun of all of you back then-so let me do so now. You looked pretty moronic.

A Wobble Board, an instrument of humiliation

A Wobble Board, an instrument of humiliation

Physical therapy is much like those pitiable gym classes, only the teacher is concentrating just on you and all your idiotic moves. There are no other morons to distract them. And to top it off, you are working on the weakest and most uncoordinated part of your body so you make a mess out of simplest of movements. Needless to say, throughout physical therapy you know you look completely ridiculous.

Despite the embarrassment, physical therapy seems to be helping my ankle. I will have to do it for one more month before a definite decision is made by my doctor on the next course of action. Surgery is now looming in my future so I will happily swallow my pride and do my silly looking exercises in hopes that they will decrease my chances of getting sliced open.

On the upside, the physical therapist I have been going to has been very nice, helpful, and great to work with-much nicer than any gym teacher I ever had. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a chance to publicly humiliate themselves through therapy.

6 Apr

Boardgameous dorkus maximus

Posted by on April 6, 2008 at 1:10 pm

There is a strange and unique species of geek, a relative of Videogameous dorkus nocturnous, which thrives on a specific activity-playing board games. This species is known as Boardgameous dorkus maximus.

Although they are in the same geek family, there are several differences between Videogameous and Boardgameous. Unlike its cousin, Boardgameous actually enjoys being in the presence of real human beings and having genuine social interaction. To the non-geek, the type of socializing that occurs at board gaming events might seem strange and perhaps undesirable, but it is still interaction between actual living beings, and is therefore less geeky than the atmosphere Videogameous dwells in, which is devoid of any human contact.

Now, if when I mention board games, you are envisioning the likes of Monopoly, Clue, Cranium, Battleship, Sorry, or Life- you are grossly underestimating the caliber of geek I am referring to. Boardgameous would never be satisfied playing such games, they are for lesser beings. Instead, Boardgameous enjoys games such as: Arkham Horror, War of the Ring, Descent, Robo Rally, Puerto Rico-games that all you non-game geeks have probably never heard of. If these games are unfamiliar to you, rejoice, for you are less geeky than me and there is still hope for you.

Jas, Simone, and Andrew geek it up playing Yspahan

Jas, Simone, and Andrew geek it up playing Yspahan

These geeky games are much more complex than your standard board game. In fact, some of their rule books are about the same length as Crime and Punishment and take an equivalent time to read. And if reading the rules for a game doesn’t take you a decade, playing the game certainly will. The playing of some of these games is an all day event.

I must admit, that while I am not really into the extreme hard core geek games, such as Arkham Horror or Descent, I do quite enjoy geek gaming. Nearly every Saturday night for over a year now Jason and I could be found at the Rowley’s playing some geek board game. Now that the Rowley’s have moved to New Jersey we will have to relocate our game night, but the tradition will continue.

Speaking of the Rowley’s-no discussion about board game geeks is complete without mentioning Jeremy Rowley. He is a perfect example of a special sub-species of Boardgameous. This subspecies is practically unable to function unless given a regular infusion of board games. I am happy to say, that while I am geekier than I would like to admit, I am not THAT geeky. (Halleluiah!)

So there you have it, my confession. Although I am much less obsessed than Jeremy Rowley, I am a board game geek, and I have no intention of reforming.

30 Mar

Mountains of Mashed Potatoes

Posted by on March 30, 2008 at 7:40 pm

On Thursday Jason, Jeremy Sabin, Aaron Blakely, and I went snowboarding at Sundance Resort. Novell had arranged for their employees to get super cheap lift tickets so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity even though we weren’t sure how good the snow would be this late in the season.

I also really wanted to go one more time before the season was over to improve my toe carving and cement it in a little more so next season I wouldn’t feel like I was starting all over again. I even got my physical therapist to approve this outing. After five weeks of therapy he thought boarding would be a good test to see how much my ankle had improved.

When we first got to Sundance we rode the Arrowhead lift all the way to the top. This proved to be a less than wonderful idea. The snow at the top, due to melting and refreezing, was basically like a solid sheet of ice. It was extremely difficult for me, a boarding novice, to control my board well. Even the boys had some spills due to the hard surface. You only had to fall once to realize just how compact that snow was. It was like falling on concrete; the bruises on my knees attest to the fact.

After one trip down we decided that we needed to come up with a new plan to avoid having to do anymore ice boarding. We opted to eat an early lunch at the Bearclaw cabin at the top and then ride down to the lower regions. Our hope was that by the time we finished our lunch the snow would have warmed up and become a little slushier and that down in the lower areas of the mountain it would be slushier still. This plan worked splendidly. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and the snow the rest of the day was slushy and soft.

Sundance

Sundance

In the nice slushy snow, referred to as “mashed potatoes” by Aaron, I practiced my toe carving. I am absolutely thrilled to report that I got the hang of it. I could still use some more practice to become a little more graceful, but I was actually doing real toe carving! This may not seem like much of a feat but it has been many years in the making and for me it is a major accomplishment. I have to say that boarding is a much different experience when you are able to carve and link carves. I’ve always enjoyed this sport but it is so much more fun now! Wow! What a difference!

The boys already have my boarding plan mapped out for me. Toe carving was first-next is supersonic speed, and then wicked mad tricks.

Thanks boys for cheering me on Thursday! Maybe someday I’ll actually be able to keep up with you…maybe.

Also as a side note-for any of you considering going boarding or skiing one more time this year-there is still plenty of snow. We only noticed a couple patches where the ground was exposed, so if you hurry you can get one more time in. I’m actually very tempted to try to go one more time in the next few weeks-but I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull it off.

29 Mar

Making the World in Miniature

Posted by on March 29, 2008 at 6:12 am

My niece, Madison, got an American Girl doll for Christmas. For those of you who were never little girls and do not have little girls, you may not be familiar with the American Girl dolls. The American Girl dolls are believed by many to be the epitome of what a doll should be. They are 18” tall and pricier than most dolls (about $90). You can buy just about any accessory for them imaginable; you can even buy matching outfits for your little girl and her doll. There are also several shrines to American Girls located randomly throughout the country. The closest one is in California.

Sewing AG clothes with Madison

Sewing AG clothes with Madison

It seems all little girls love American Girl dolls and easily get sucked into their cute miniature world. Madison has definitely been obsessed with American Girls since she got her doll, Felicity. She has now added Josephina to her collection as well.

Tiny parts to a tiny dress

Tiny parts to a tiny dress

 

Since the little outfits for these dolls run about $30 apiece, I decided to offer my sewing services to Madison. Thus far I have sewed 4 outfits for her dolls. For those of you who are thinking that sewing little doll clothes would be a cheap and simple task, let me bring you back to reality. Although the outfits I have made have virtually cost me nothing since I used scraps of fabric from other sewing projects, the time involved in making these miniature clothes is much more than you would expect.

American Girl Princess Dress

American Girl Princess Dress

 

I have been sewing for many years and have undertaken numerous complicated and time intensive sewing projects, such as a civil war period dress reproduction. So I was expecting sewing these doll clothes to take very little buy lasix from uk time, a common error amongst sewing enthusiasts. However, when you are used to working with a 5/8” seam, a ¼” seam can be quite frustrating. I have learned that you have to be much more exact with doll clothes and that that precision takes time. So if you are tempted by the cheap price tag to try sewing clothes for an American Girl doll just remember to give yourself plenty of time, and don’t expect it to be an easy task.

Another AG dress

Another AG dress

 

With that said, my niece loves the outfits I have made and I have promised to make a couple more before I retire from tailoring these tiny clothes.

Yet another dress

Yet another dress

 

I have also learned from Madison that while clothes are nice, dolls need more than just outfits, they need somewhere to rest their heads. Last Saturday my friend Robyn, who is an expert seamstress, invited me and Madison over to her house for an American Girl party and sewing extravaganza. Madison was all over this. Robyn’s girls, Rebecca and Nicole, have all sorts of American Girl clothes, furniture, and accessories; Madison was in heaven. Another friend of mine, David, brought his two little girls and so, while Robyn and I sewed, the girls went crazy with their dolls, 8 dolls in total. The dolls even had a picnic with American Girl sized grilled cheese sandwiches and cupcakes while their larger counterparts ate their lunch.

An AG picnic with Quinci and Madison

An AG picnic with Quinci and Madison

 

Robyn and I were able to make mattresses, bedspreads, and pillows for each of their dolls while the girls played.

All the dolls with their beds

All the dolls with their beds

 

Those little ladies are already plotting to have another American Girl party sometime in the near future.