In addition to hanging out a ton with existing friends, I also started meeting some new people. I joined OKCupid, at the recommendation of a friend, so met some folks that way (yes, it’s a
dating site, and I did go on some dates, but didn’t really have the spark and excitement with any of those people that I need to date someone. I am happy to report that I am still friends with at least a couple people from there, though. Additionally, the fact that I was hanging out with everyone I knew meant that I met friends’ friends, too, including a few particularly noteworthy people: John K (met via high school classmate John B), Marta D (met via college friend Matt E), Rachael T (met via high school friend Courtney S), and Mary P (met via college friend Naomi K).
Monday Night Dinner
The end of the summer also marked the beginning of a wonderful tradition: Monday Night Dinner. No, it’s not just that I started eating dinner on Monday; I may be a poor excuse for an adult, but I do manage to eat something almost every night. It started with Summer Music and Movies, an annual event put on by the Walker Art Center and some other local businesses. For the past few decades, they’ve run this event for a series of weeks at the end of the summer, which consists of a [usually?] local band playing at Loring Park (on the edge of Downtown Minneapolis), followed by an old movie being projected on a big screen after sunset. Although I’d attended a time or two the previous year, I made it more of an official event that summer, to have a little picnic with some friends, play some frisbee, and hang out for the evening. The core members of the group at that point were Naomi K, Emily B, and myself, with a few others showing up once or twice.
Once the events ended, though, I didn’t want to give up that weekly experience, so I suggested that we just move the event to my place, and make dinner together. I think the first such event was held at my new condo, and we made
hobo dinners, at my suggestion. (Hobo dinners were a creation I’d learned to make while camping in Boy Scouts, which are basically chopped-up vegetables (and optionally meat), with sauces and seasonings as desired, wrapped/sealed in foil, and grilled (traditionally over a campfire, but we made do with a grill).) Anyway, the dinner idea was a hit, and we not only continued (thankfully alternating between hosting at my place and Naomi’s place), but invited others, and the group grew. As of this writing, over a year later, we’re pulling a crowd of ~9-14 every week!
Oh yeah … and I bought a condo (pictures)! After the breakup at the beginning of the summer, I kind of knew I needed a change. I momentarily toyed with the idea of packing up and moving, mostly unannounced, to Seattle to take the implicit standing job offer at Microsoft, complements of now-Microsoft-employee/college-friend Josh J (who is perpetually very flattering with his remarks about my abilities in the field). However, I realized that probably wasn’t the most prudent course of action, given how much I needed my friends right then, and almost all my friends were in Minneapolis. So, wanting to get out of the apartment Adrianne and I had lived in, but hating to move, I decided that I shouldn’t rent another place, because then I’d just
haveto move again a little bit down the road (i.e. when I decided to stop renting that apartment), but instead should buy a place.
I didn’t really know what I could–or should–spend, but I used some online mortgage calculators to give me an idea, and started looking at listings right around the 4th of July. It wasn’t much later that I went on my first tours, and over the course of three consecutive weekends, saw a number of different units in a number of different developments in Downtown Minneapolis with the help of Ben Gange of the Downtown Resource Group. I did my best to never forget he was a realtor, and was thus invested in getting me into the most expensive place possible, but he was a young, friendly guy who dealt exclusively in Downtown realty, and it definitely showed. As I think most good realtors do, he seemed to know a lot of people as we went around to various places, and seemed knowledgeable about the various developments and developers in the area. I never signed a buyer’s agent agreement, which I’d learned (in a class I had to take to qualify for the first-time home-buyer mortgage program offered by the city of Minneapolis) was necessary to bind a realtor to act in the buyer’s best interest, so I was always a bit weary of whether he was biased in which units/developments he was showing me, but I went along with it anyway.
I shortly narrowed down my decision to two different units in Skyscape, and went on one last tour to decide. I was a bit annoyed when there was a retirement-age couple waiting to go on a tour, too, but they were interested in a unit significantly more expensive than mine as a weekend home. They lived somewhere about 45 minutes from Minneapolis, and liked the idea of being able to come in to the city for the weekend to go to the Guthrie Theater, or something. So, naturally, they were going to buy a floor-to-ceiling window two-bedroom corner unit for probably $750,000. I don’t know what it is, exactly, about things like this, but it makes me feel like a toddler yelling
NO FAIR! I would get more/better use out of that condo than them, so they shouldn’t be allowed to be rich and buy it … right? It’s dumb, I know, but I have, before, considered that the typical life order doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense: when we’re young and adventurous, we don’t have enough time or money to go do all the awesome extreme things there are to do, and then once we’re old and typically less healthy and energetic, etc., then we do have the time and money. (I realize that doesn’t apply in all cases, but it’s mainly just me wishing I had more money, so just ignore this.)
Anyway, back to the real story: I looked at the two units in Skyscape, and despite the fact that one was on a higher floor AND less expensive, I decided to go with the other, due to its dark wood finishes, slightly more conservative (as opposed to modern) style, and natural stone tile in the bathrooms (as opposed to ceramic polished tile). This set into motion the chain of events including: mortgage approval, writing a five-digit check of
earnest money, and making an offer, countering, etc. While a couple friends (who, for the record, had never purchased a home) encouraged me to
low-ball the s*** out of them, I wasn’t prepared to offer something like 33% below the asking price, but I did lower my initial offer as a result. I’m glad that I did that, though, because I think I ended up paying somewhere closer to what my original offer was going to be, after going back and forth a few times with offers/counter-offers. Eventually the realtor told me their most recent counter-offer was
as low as they can go, but I said I’d sign if they could find a way to go $x lower, and low and behold, they made that happen. I’ll always have to wonder if I still ended up paying tens of thousands more than I really could have, if I was an expert, or really aggressive, or anything like that, but I’m here now, and I haven’t missed a payment yet, so I guess that’s what counts. We’ll see how things shake out when I go to sell.
I almost tried to close by the end of July, but that was going to end up being too soon, so I closed at the end of August instead. However, I couldn’t really give notice of my lease termination to my landlord until I knew I had this in the bag, so it worked out alright, anyway. If I’d managed to close on the condo at the end of July, I think I would’ve still had to pay rent through September, anyway, so it was really better the way this worked out. Things even got a little nerve-wracking as the later closing date approached, and I hadn’t heard anything from the mortgage broker since she’d told me that she wasn’t sure if things would be ready in time. When I eventually asked her about it, and she said they were going to be ready, I realized that I still needed to get the cashier’s check for my down-payment, and that meant transferring money out of mutual funds at another financial institution over to my bank. For reasons beyond my understanding, the electronic transfer of funds between major financial institutions takes an unreasonable amount of time, and can apparently be done in different ways. I think I actually ended up having to pay to have the
faster (fastest?) of the methods used, in order to ensure the money would be in the right place in time, but the important thing is that it did get there in the end, and I was able to briefly hold in my hand a little piece of paper that represented a great deal of my money. And then I give it away :(.
I took the morning off work to have a final walk-through and draw up the
punch list, after which Ben (the realtor) and I went over to the office of the people who handle all the paperwork for the ordeal. My father is an attorney specializing in contract law, so he offered to be present at the closing to answer questions, review documents, and help resolve any potential issues that could arise, and I accepted. I still made a point to read any documents I hadn’t seen before, but it was nice to have him there for explanation of which forms were standard, and helped push for a slight addendum to the purchase agreement, which required the Chicago-based developers to send something quickly by fax. But, overall things went well, and, although it was a little time-consuming, I still made it to work in time for lunch. It’s weird, but I remember what I was wearing that day: bicycle-toed black leather dress shoes, black flat-front dress pants, and a dark blue-green button-down shirt.
I started to kind of split my time between the condo and my apartment a block away, largely due to the fact that air conditioning was included in the association dues of my condo, versus being included in my electric bill at the apartment. With the assistance of Amanda S, I picked out paint colors from Home Depot not very long after closing, only to be told the next day by two separate co-workers
don’t use BEHR paint, which is of course the kind I’d picked. They both recommended Sherwin-Williams paint, which did have brand familiarity to me (not that my brand familiarity in paint should account for anything). I went to the Sherwin-Williams web site to locate a store, but in the process, discovered their web-based paint selector. I’m not a very big fan of Adobe Flash overall, but this was a brilliant use of it (i.e. doing what it’s meant to do … be an interactive, multimedia web-based application–not just used in lieu of a conventional web site).
The paint selector had colors grouped in pretty useful configurations, but, more importantly, it presents a few room
types to choose from (e.g. bedroom, bathroom, living room, etc.), and then provides photographs of a few different rooms of that type to choose from. While it’s unlikely to find a room that’s a dead match for one’s own home, I was able to find rooms that looked close enough to mine (or at least what I envisioned them looking like) for the exercise to be useful. Once a room is selected, colors can be dragged from the palette onto the different surfaces of the room, in order to show how a room would look when painted accordingly. It’s obviously not a perfect representation, but given how much trouble I have making decisions in general, and how much time I’d already invested in choosing paint chips at the store and narrowing down the options based on paint chips at home, I was quite content to just play with the paint selector a little while, pick something, and be done with it. To make matters even better, the paint selector lets me email my paint selections (and the associated room mock-ups) to myself, which is a perfect way for me to keep a record of that. In addition to displaying and listing the colors, the email even included a link to the same configuration state of the paint selector, which makes it fantastically easy to tweak colors and get input from others. Kudos for a great webapp, Sherwin-Williams.
Anyway, after that two-paragraph tangent about selecting paint, it’s probably time to get back to the real story. I ventured over to the Sherwin-Williams store up in Columbia Heights (I think) by bus, and ambitiously picked up four gallons of paint, a roller, roller pan, pack of roller covers, two tarps, a paint brush, and maybe other things I’ve forgotten. I regularly manage to carry slightly more on my person / in my backpack than I probably should, or would probably estimate I could if planning ahead, and this was definitely such an occasion. Anyway, I made it home, and got to painting. …Unfortunately, it turns out that I’m very meticulous (who knew?!), which makes the already slow process of painting take approximately for ever. So, despite my original intentions of painting my bedroom and being able to move right in there, I decided to forgo the painting (which had no deadline) and just focus on moving (which needed to be done by the end of September).
I still wanted to avoid the hassle of
painting around bedroom furniture, so I just deposited my mattress on the floor of the living room, and put most of my other belongings on the floor of my den. The moving process itself was relatively painless, largely due to the approach I took: roughly once a day (typically late at night), I’d load up my backpack and a box or armful of things from my apartment, and make the ~one-block walk over to the condo :). It made for a pretty low-stress move, though I still did procrastinate a little more than I should have, so I had to impose on a few friends on Monday, September 29 (after Monday Night Dinner!) to help carry the last few large items before my check-out the next day. (Aside from Nick J helping me with the couch (thanks!), Lenny S helping me with the mattress (thanks!), and a few folks from dinner that Monday (thanks!), I did carry all my belongings by myself. There’s a testament to my stubbornness, if I’ve ever heard one.)
After spending fewer words on the previous ~year than I have on the late summer/fall of 2007, I’m worried I’m rambling aimlessly again, so I’m switching formats mid-post from roughly chronologically autobiographical to … um … I’m not sure what to call this, but it’s different. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned some of the new people I met during this time period that played and/or continue to play a large role in my life. I’m sure I could eventually cover the various events and circumstances that crossed our paths, but that may take another few thousand words, so I’m going to try to just address them on an individual basis, without any other premise.
I met John K at a birthday gathering for a high school classmate, John B. John B and I hadn’t been particularly close friends in high school, nor had we kept in particularly close contact during college (during which he was an hour+ south of Minneapolis at St. Olaf). But, after college, John B moved back to Minneapolis, and when I received an invitation to his housewarming party, I couldn’t refuse a social gathering. That went well enough, so when he invited me to a birthday gathering mid-October, I accepted as well. That event started at John B’s apartment, but then moved to
The Happy Gnome, a bar a few miles away. John K and I met just briefly at the apartment, but then started talking more when we carpooled over to the bar. John K is a very social guy, so conversation flowed well, and we discussed making plans to hang out again. Although, on principle, I didn’t accept the facebook
friend request he made some time within the next 24 hours, we did solidify plans to get together again with some people, and the rest was history.
Over the next several months, I learned just how social John K was. He threw huge parties at his house on nearly a monthly basis, drawing dozens of people and running until 4 AM or later every time. Out of his own pocket, he’d furnish his bar to provide a menu of signature drinks, completely unique for every occasion. John B, our original mutual acquaintance, once remarked
huge parties, lots of liquor…it all seems very Great Gatsby to me, and I don’t entirely disagree. The grand scale / spectacle of the ordeals is reminiscent of the decadent galas therefrom, but if John K has the same singular, personified goal of perfection he seeks to win with these parties, it certainly hasn’t been made as clear to me as was that of the tragic protagonist.
Marta D and I may not have said more than
Hi to each other the first time we met, which was on a late-September Thursday at a show for the EDM DJ Paul Van Dyk. I went to the show with Matt E, Tim T, and Dave G (two friends from college and another friend they introduced me to later, respectively), and, once there, those guys met up with their friend Ben S and his companion Marta D. I use the word
companion because, while I originally assumed that Ben and Marta were dating, I later learned that wasn’t the case. Anyway, for the first of only two times in my life (as of now), I ended up drinking a little more than I should have that night (who knew that it’s not the best idea to get a shot every time you go to the bar to get a drink…which you do every time you finish a drink?), so I was feeling pretty happy and was pretty outgoing that night. Marta later told me that I actually managed to leave a positive impression on her that night, so, while I can’t remember every detail of what happened that night, I guess I didn’t make a complete ass of myself (phew!).
I saw Marta again at a mid-October Dave Dresden show, where she was again accompanied by Ben. Unlike our first encounter, though, we actually talked a bit that night, and I significantly limited my alcohol intake (perhaps abstained entirely). That said, I did kind of keep some distance at that point, still assuming she was dating Ben. When we saw each other the next day at Matt and Dave’s house, though, for a little party they were throwing, we talked a bit more, and started a facebook correspondence. We chatted a bit the following week, and one of us mentioned going out somewhere, I recommended Zeno, and we decided to meet there on Friday evening. I don’t remember if it was slightly before or slightly after this, that Tim informed me that Marta was not dating Ben, and possibly that she had some interest in me.
To shorten the story, we went to some EDM shows, danced at clubs, went to Elgar’s Enigma and Variations at Orchestra Hall, and otherwise
dated for a couple months. Some late fall evening, I got a phone call from Ben (with whom I’d probably only spoken twice in my life, and to whom I had definitely never given my phone number). We chatted briefly, and then he asked if we could grab a bite to eat or something. Going against
rational judgment, my inner saint compelled me to agree to meet him later that evening at Brit’s Pub for dinner. After about an hour of casual chit-chat (during which it was awkwardly revealed bit by bit how much Ben already knew about me, despite the fact that I knew nothing about him), the inevitable subject of Marta came up. Ben explained that he and Marta had dated for a Long Time™, then he decided he could do better dating other people, so they broke up, but he decided that was a Mistake™, and she took him back, then they broke up again for some reason I don’t remember (maybe the same reason as before?), but now he again realizes that was a Mistake™, and he was really serious that time. (Whew! The intentional run-on sentence illustrates how I felt during the real version of the story being told.)
He asked a variety of questions, then, about my relationship with Marta: was it serious, did she talk about him, was she happy, did we have a future, and so forth. Basically, though, he was beating around the bush, but basically saying something along the lines of
I’m more serious about her than you, and I have all this history with her, so would you please give her back to me? Although Marta had told me that she had no interest in getting back together with Ben, and was actually kind of upset with his unceasing advances, I didn’t feel it was really my place to related that, nor that he would have even believed it, coming from me, so I did my best to just give him advice as if I was an unbiased third party. We went around in circles a few times, with him asking for lots of detail, and me replying
that’s not my place to answer that question or
I’m not going to talk about that, but eventually he got the idea and gave up. We parted ways with Ben awkwardly insisting he’d still really like to be friends, I said something like
alright, sure, and he accusingly demanded
do you really mean that, or are you just saying that? Despite his insistence at the time, he never contacted me again. I guess I should’ve asked him if he was really serious :p.
Anyway, Marta’s a really cool girl, and it was great to mutually enjoy some great music, art, film, food, and wine with her. I went to her apartment a few days before Christmas, where she’d cooked a nice meal, had a bottle of wine, and had beautifully adorned her walls with pine boughs, soft white Christmas lights, and generally had filled the room with a hint of cinnamon scent. Despite her small kitchen (we would’ve been hard-pressed to prepare the meal of crab legs we’d done at mine), the meal turned out wonderfully, the wine complemented the meal well, and–not that this was ever an issue–the conversation flowed effortlessly. After dinner, we talked for a while, and it was clear Marta had some things on her mind, based on the depth and direction of some questions and comments she voiced that evening. Consequently, I wasn’t terribly surprised when I got a message from her late Christmas Day explaining that she’d been thinking a lot, and wanted to call things off, but I was a bit surprised when she said she was getting back together with Ben. So, I wished her the best of luck with that, and said it’d probably be best for all parties involved not to talk for a while (I know if I was in Ben’s shoes, I’d be weary of Marta maintaining frequent contact with me at that point, but maybe I’m just insecure), but to feel free to say ‘hi’ at the end of January, or whenever she felt comfortable.
The story of my introduction to Rachael actually dates back to early July, when my friend Courtney S told me to block off a specific date at the end of July on my calendar because she had a surprise. I grilled her about it a little, but she wouldn’t give any details at first, so my calendar entry was listed as
Magical Courtney Mystery Day. At some later point–I don’t remember exactly how or why; perhaps Nick let something slip–Courtney did reveal that her friend/college roommate Rachael was coming to visit over the weekend in question, and that she was really fun. When the date eventually arrived, we met for dinner at the downtown Rock Bottom Brewery (along with Courtney’s boyfriend Nick J, Courtney and Rachael’s other college roommate Colleen P, and our friend Kalin L). We had a pleasant dinner, after which we walked around a bit, giving me the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Rachael a bit. We had more than enough to talk about, as we made our way over to an … um … novelty shop … then some fireworks, and finally back to Kalin’s car so we could drive to Chino Latino in Uptown.
To make a long story short (mainly because the rest of the story isn’t the most interesting thing in the world, at least until we fast-forward to Spring 2009), we talked more that night, then talked on a ton on facebook and AIM after Rachael went back to Milwaukee. In a move that was hugely embarrassing to me, I misspelled her name as
Rachel in my first facebook message to her, but I’m clearly not the first person who has made that mistake, so, while she pointed it out right away, she was pretty understanding about the whole thing. Rachael later extended the invitation to me to come out to Milwaukee with Courtney in late November for her birthday, and I excitedly accepted. Unfortunately, my body has a tendency to take efforts to foil any of my attempts at happiness, so came down with a wicked cold just the day before I was supposed to leave for that. Determined not to let that stop me, I read up on the Mayo Clinic’s information on treatments for the common cold, and purchased a humidifier, lots of orange juice, and the best chicken noodle soup featured in the research they mentioned. Still, it was apparently too little too late, because, by the time I reached Milwaukee, I felt just about ready to die, which detracted significantly from my normal cheery demeanor. (I later received a considerable amount of grief about this.) But, my health-faulted failings that weekend, we kept up correspondence through the fall and winter.
And last, but certainly not least, is Mary P, a co-worker of Naomi K introduced to our Monday Night Dinners just before Thanksgiving (Monday, November 24, 2008, Mary suggests). I was later informed that when Naomi had mentioned me to Mary, she’d decided to say
he’s always really punctual (a claim which I wish were true, but sadly is not). So, Mary’s first impression of me was being acutely aware of my tardiness. Also, apparently I was wearing a black button-down shirt that day, though Mary’s claim of remembering this has come into question after making the same claim of another friend, who then proceeded to explain that he does not own such a shirt … so … credibility–. :p The real embarrassment came the next week, though, when dinner was held at my condo, and I [uncharacteristically] tried to actually use the name of someone I’d just recently met (i.e. Mary). If it’s not already obvious, that ill-conceived attempt did not go well, as I called her
Molly at least a couple times uncorrected, before someone else finally used her name in conversation. Ugh. It’s still painful thinking about how much of an ass I felt/feel like for that.
Fortunately, though, Mary was apparently very forgiving, since she not only continued to come to dinner, but was even nice enough to keep talking to me! I enjoyed that, though, and was happy to see her smiling face nearly every Monday for the rest of the year. The story gets a little more interesting in 2009, but you’ll have to tune in later to hear about that.
I know there are others I met during this time frame as well, and I should probably mention some of them, too, but at 5000+ words already, I need to draw the line somewhere. If you met me during the late summer or fall of 2008, and are offended by my failure to write about you, please let me know, and we’ll work something out :). I [probably] still like you, I’m just bad at time management, planning, prioritization, remembering, etc.
This blog is [kind of?] supposed to be about me and my life, but sometimes big events in others’ lives leave an impact in mine, so I’ve decided it’s worth mentioning. It must’ve been mid-to-late September when I got a text message from my friend Courtney S along the lines of
Well, we have something new in common. This clearly intentionally cryptic message was begging for a call, which I made immediately, during which I was sad to learn that our new commonality was from unfortunate events in relationships and, more specifically, finding out about them by seeing text messages on a s.o.‘s phone. I sent a scathing text message to Nick (with whom, I feel compelled to note, I’d been friends since ~7th grade; been friends with Courtney since 11th grade), but then recanted, and decided I should get his side of the story before I pass judgment.
I saw him not too long thereafter, since we had tickets for a concert. We avoided the subject until the end of the night, at which point I asked him some rather blunt questions. He explained the situation (of which I’ll spare everyone the details), which did further my understanding of what happened, but didn’t really contract anything I’d heard from Courtney. It was obviously a difficult/uncomfortable situation for him, but it was also a little difficult for me to find the right balance between calling him a moron/asshole and being constructive / consoling. I did my best (which I didn’t feel was too awfully bad) to encourage complete honesty and open communication between the two of them, but acknowledging that it’d be reasonable if Courtney needed time to process everything. No two situations are going to be completely alike, but I’d been through a situation not entirely dissimilar to theirs before. My own experience was closest to Courtney’s position in this mess, but I still had opinions for both of them on how to approach some things.
I have no idea if they appreciated my input, but I think they selectively adapted and took some of the advice I gave, while completely disregarding other pieces (like that they should cease to live together). I tried to hang out with both of them individually a fair amount, and alternate inviting them out with friends, but at some point they started coming together. This confused me a bit, but I didn’t bug them about their de facto couple status. But, when their lease expired the following spring, they did move out, but continued to see each other a ton (by my observations, anyway). Courtney basically explained that was all she knew, so she just continued to do it by default, but I continued to argue that if she was, in fact, determined not to get back together, then this behavior was unhealthy for both her and Nick. I’m now well past the
Summer/Fall 2008 time-frame in this saga, but after going back and forth a couple times between pseudo-dating and
we’re not talking, Courtney started seeing other guys some time late summer 2009, which Nick took pretty hard, but I like to believe they’re both making personal progress. It’s my belief that in situations like this, the respective individuals need to individually heal, move on, and get to a better place before they have a chance of rebuilding any sort of healthy friendship, so I’m happy they finally seem to be on their respective paths for that.
As I mentioned briefly above, I went to a number of concerts/shows during fall, 2008. The first, Paul van Dyk, was an invitation from one or more of Tim T, Dave G, or Matt E. I’d heard the name before, but wasn’t specifically familiar with his stuff, so I checked out a couple of his songs on YouTube, and agreed to go. Electronic music had been in my catalog for quite a while (likely introduced by soundtracks of movies like Hackers, Swordfish, and somehow introduced to Prodigy), but I’d never really pursued or explored it. That show made something
click inside me, after which I really started to embrace EDM.
After Paul van Dyk, I attended performances of Dave Dresden and Crystal Method, attended Too Much Love (DJ set every weekend at First Ave, and dramatically expanded my personal music collection. Through John K, I met Lacee J, through whom I discovered and immediately feel in love with Deadmau5. I didn’t open my account on last.fm until January, and they don’t have this feature anyway, but if you were able to graph my playback by genre, I think electronic would’ve been a silver before this point, and have grown to occupy a decent chunk of the graph by now.
EDM isn’t the only music I enjoyed, though. I rekindled my old love affair with Mute Math. I grabbed the new Beck album (), and then happened to see he was touring, so saw him in concert. (Aside: I didn’t know MGMT at that time, so when I saw they were opening for Beck, made no particular effort to see them. What a crime that was :(.) Marta took me to Elgar’s Enigma at Orchestra Hall, I made her watch The Fountain, and she made me watch The Hours (on account of its soundtrack). She later also passed along a link to a song by Ludovicio Einaudi, which made me immediately procure his most recent album, and I cannot emphasize enough how beautiful that music is.
I’m sure you’re saying to yourself
What? Only ~6500 words, and you’re going to quit already? Well, given that I already wrote more than twice as much for this span of 4-6 months as I did for the preceding 12, I hope you can forgive me. Perhaps my next entry will be 13k words and only cover three months, followed by a 26k-word entry for a month; we can always dream, right? (Dear God, I hope not.) Anyway, that’s my high-level recollection of what happened in the summer and fall of 2008. I surely forgot some huge items, but I guess the internet just doesn’t get to know about them. If you know about one, just feel like you’re in an exclusive club that knows that secret :).