July 31, 2005

Here we go

Here are some of the places we'll be going in the next three weeks. You'll see it's Poland-heavy, as that's where our guides are from. As with any whirlwind trip through the Baltic States, our schedule is subject to change.

Berlin, Germany
Poznan, Poland
Bydgoszcz, Poland
Brda River
Torun, Poland
Malbork, Poland
Sopot, Poland
Gdansk, Poland
Stutthof Concentration Camp
Krynica Morska, Poland
Vilnius, Lithuania
Klaipeda, Lithuania
Palanga, Lithuania
Riga, Latvia
Kose, Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia

Anybody know anything about flipping houses?

July 29, 2005

This is the question

Now that I have an iPod, a Razr phone, and a MINI, am I cool yet?

Comments welcome.

July 28, 2005

Now I can prove it

If you look here, you can see that I really am the new assistant coach at Wheaton. It's good they got this up here, since it's an easy way for the many people I call to click over to the website and say to themselves, "Hmm, I guess he does coach there. So, there it is.

July 26, 2005

Real Estate

Some day, we'll buy a house. I'm not sure when this will be, since there's the matter of coming up with a down payment. In this part of the country, that's a pretty sizable sum. It's more money than I have right now, that's for sure. I do know it will be after Janet finishes school, since we'll be headed out toward Wheaton most likely. We can't afford to buy a house out here in Oak Park, anyways.

This is all to say, I'm really hoping for the real estate market in suburban Chicago to absolutely crater. If you live out here and are thinking of selling your house in a few years, this is nothing personal, I just think my life would be better if the real estate market fell off a cliff. I'm sure you understand. That down payment is a lot less when the houses aren't worth so much.

July 23, 2005

Have I mentioned this yet?

Janet and I are a mere week away from again becoming world travelers. Thanks to some "hey, how's it going" emails and a hastily made decision, we're joining Duke Wrestling on yet another tour of Eastern Europe. If you'll recall, or maybe you won't, I tagged along on a trip to Russia five years ago with Duke Wrestling. This time, we're flying into Germany, heading into Poland, and following that up with a jaunt through Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Somewhere in there, we're scheduled to meet with Lech Walesa, though when he came to Messiah back in 2002, he gave his speech in Polish. I'm wondering if we'll have much to talk about. I joked to Janet that I'm going to ask him if he knows Ohm's Law (a little electrician humor for you there).

That said, if anyone has any experience with the Baltic States, you let me know. Our digital camera is primed and ready to go global. It's going to be a whirlwind of an 18 day trip, with a lot of sightseeing and some wrestling to boot. Personally, I'm planning to be exhausted, but with stories to tell. Hopefully, I won't get my money stolen this time, and we won't have to leave anyone there.

July 21, 2005

the card that pays you back

All those Discover Card purchases, dutifully paid off before I was charged interest have finally paid off. I'm currently listening to our new silver iPod mini, courtesy of the cash in 20 Cashback Bonus dollars for 40 bucks deal at Sharper Image. Obviously, we cashed in more than 20. Now, I am as cool as the next kid, though maybe I should drop it on the floor a few times so it doesn't look like I'm late to the iPod party. It took us forever to work our way up to the iPod; what should we save for next?

You Wore Flip Flops to the White House?!

That about sums it up

July 20, 2005

Are you ready to rock?

Take this list, find these songs, burn them to a CD, and rock out on the commute home

1. All Because of You - U2
2. Turn the Page - Bob Seger
3. Fool in the Rain - Led Zeppelin
4. Landed - Ben Folds
5. Runnin' Down a Dream - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
6. Bright Future in Sales - Fountains of Wayne
7. Take the Money and Run - Steve Miller Band
8. The Old Apartment - Barenaked Ladies
9. Worth Fighting For - Judas Priest
10. An Ode to Maybe - Third Eye Blind
11. Shackled - Vertical Horizon
12. Rock and Roll Band - Boston
13. Caroline - The Clarks
14. Drive My Car - The Beatles
15. Interstate Love Song - STP

You can thank me later.

July 19, 2005

Cool New Phone


razr, originally uploaded by ajvogel.

Janet and I got ourselves some new cell phones this past week. I found a place where you could get the Razr V3 for free after a rebate. Cingular wants 200 bucks for one, but this is much better. They are as cool as the commercials make them look.

July 18, 2005

Andy's rant for Monday

Can we all get together and agree to just call it a blog? Especially since that's what they all are. You know, blog, short for web log? Livejournal, Xanga, Blogger....these are sites that make creating and maintaining a blog easy. You can have a blog on Xanga. You can't have a Xanga.

An example:
You have an email address. You tell someone, "I'm checking my email." Maybe you'd say, "I'm checking my Yahoo! email." You would never say, "Let me go check my Yahoo!" unless you're checking up on Captain Jimmy, who is an actual yahoo. Otherwise, you would get a well-deserved funny look.

That's all for now. Are you not entertained?

July 17, 2005

I saw Jennifer Aniston's back

And that's about it. She walked by in the upper part of the theater, and I only caught a glimpse as she walked past while I was down on the floor.

Maybe I should back up.

I was an extra in the latest Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston movie, The Break Up, one day this past week. I found out about it from Leah, and mailed in the necessary information. They then called and told me when and where to be. For a while, I was worried that my placement in the concert scenes being filmed that day (featuring the Old 97s, who I hadn't heard of) would result in the chances of spotting myself in the film were nil. Then, by some random act, I was chosen to move down to the first level of the theater. The camera was maybe seven feet away and pointed in my general direction. Based on my guesses, if they decide to use the scene, I should be recognizable in the final production. So, if you go see this movie when it comes out months from now, look for the girl with the green shirt and cowboy hat. I'll be the short guy behind her to the left.

It was a seriously long day. There's no glamour in being an extra. I was there from 8:40am to 10:30pm. Janet says she missed me. They did feed us, which was good, but the main thing you do when you're an extra is nothing. You sit and wait and make a friend or read while waiting for them to tell you what to do. Since there were 800 of us, the "holding area" was a college gym, and the theater/set was three or four blocks down the road. Some people do this kind of thing all the time, but I think every once in a great while will be enough for me. What I'll take away from it most is not the $125 I made, but more the experience and the story to tell. "Hey, I was an extra in a major motion picture," I can say, and you will be impressed, right?

Anyhow, I'd recommend it if you get the chance, if for no other reason than to be able to say that you did it. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't beat at the end of the day, and it took a lot of effort to avoid falling asleep on the train ride home.

July 13, 2005

Smart People

I have the good fortune to be working with a bunch of really smart people in my new job. Not just smart, not just smart and they know it, but smart and they know it and they don't care if anyone else knows. That's the kind of smart that gets things done. The only problem is that they seem to be underappreciated by the college, which is tough. I think it is because most people just don't "get it" when it comes to wrestling. It's not something that is terribly easy to relate to, especially if you don't have any sort of understanding about the sport. It's not that hard to understand, but it is sometimes. In business, you want hard workers who can deal with adversity, work toward difficult goals, have intensity when it matters, and have strong character. These are the same attributes you learn and develop in wrestling. If more people understood this, wrestling might be in better shape in a lot of places. I don't know what it will take to get this point across to more people, but I'm learning.

July 10, 2005

Theme of the week

The theme of the week is Internet Connectivity and How I Can't Get It. Or, at least, it was. I am now connected at work. It was a big hassle involving multiple forms and taking my work laptop over to Computing Services so they could install a truckload of stuff on it to make it talk nice to the network. Actually, it's supposed to keep me and their network "secure," but with the way this Novell software takes over my computer, it makes you wonder if a virus would be worse. I've never really liked any of that Novell stuff because it, like AOL, tries to take control of your system in ways I'm not totally comfortable with. Ah, well, such is life. At least I can get on the Internet and continue my work of compiling lists of potential recruits.

The real problem is here at home. I still have to hitch a ride on some nice neighbor's wireless connection because SBC still hasn't sent me anything. Not only that, but I'm not scheduled to receive my equipment until the 12th and I won't have service until the next day. I wonder what is taking so long, since I ordered over the phone a week ago. Why does it take them 10 days to connect me, especially when they don't even have to come out and do anything, not to mention that it shouldn't take them 10 days to mail me my stuff. It's frustrating, but at least we'll live.

July 4, 2005

IKEA

I went to IKEA for the first time today. The store was massive. Three stories of pretty much anything you can imagine for your home. I can't believe I'd never been there before. I'd heard of it, but nothing prepares you for walking in and seeing it for yourself. Today, it was especially crowded, but the trip out to Schaumburg was worth it. When we have more space than we do now someday, that will be our first shop. Specifically, there was this leather couch that I was ready to bring home with me today, but of course I didn't since we shouldn't be buying couches right now. Still, if you get the chance to go, do it, if for no other reason than to get a $1 cinnamon roll. They have a restaurant that they can't be making any money on, based on the prices. I think they use it to get you in the store, but that's fine with me. Again, check it out...the website just doesn't do it justice.