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Showing posts from July, 2006

Velkomen Til Iowa!

Here is where I am right now. I'm sitting in the local coffee shop using the wireless internet. My parent's dialup connection is just too much to bear. (We'll be addressing their need to enter this century later in the day.) Magpie is run by a Christian group that brings city kids with drug and alcohol problems to the middle of midwestern nowhere and rehabilitates them. They work here to earn money. The coffee is pretty good, actually...I can actually get a respectable iced americano here, which you would not expect in rural Iowa. Decorah is a little gem of a town. It's about 8000 people, and has a liberal arts college and picturesque scenery. Iowa is not known for picturesque scenery, but Decorah is nestled in the limestone bluff region in the Northeast corner of the state so it's got lots of hills and trees and craggy rocks. I hated growing up here. There is an "elite" in the town, consisting primarily of families that have lived here for gene

New York

Tom and George and I had delicious dim sum on Friday for lunch. We ate all sorts of delicious goodies. My favorite was the taro cake with oyster sauce, I think, though I like the beef noodle. We also liked the shrimp-wrapped-in-bacon, dusted-in-rice-flour, then-deep-fried-until-crispy-and-dipped-in-mayo, but we don't like to admit that because it just sounds wrong. I got blisters on my feet from walking in pouring rain in sandals that were too big. The Royalton rocks, even by my extremely picky industry insider standards. It's hip without being stuffy, the bar has a nice, relaxed atmosphere, and the rooms are pretty big for NYC. It's an Ian Schraeger design property that is part of the Morgans Hotel Group. The rooms are white and cherry wood, and feel vaguely like art deco steam ship cabins meeting modern, clean line sensibility. The beds rock...very comfortable, and great for sitting and reading. Huge closets, which I like. My room had a gigantic shower, but I know others

Back in the Midwest

My. Oh my. Had a fabulous weekend in Manhattan (of which I will tell in future posts,) and got on a plane at 1130 this morning to fly to Minnesota for my 10 days here. There is something about boarding a flight to the midwest...you somehow feel that you've actually left as soon as you get to the gate. You're surrounded by friendly types with broad Fargo- esque accents, wearing shoes that are more sensible than fashionable. The average BMI of the people around you goes up about 2 - 5 points. (This is not said in a snarky way, a) because I, myself, raise the average for most groups, and b) I did not set it off with the tell-tale "*".) Waistbands rise about two inches and you see more Dockers per capita than you have in a long time. People chat to strangers and place considerate phone calls to their loved ones alerting them to the status of their flight. (Yes, in my travels I've found this to be more prevalent when flying to Chicago and Minneapolis. Apparently

Theraputic Dancing

FYI, Tom and I have just discovered that doing the Kate Bush Wuthering Heights dance is quite theraputic. Try it now. EVERYONE!

AA Flight 107

I am sitting on CPman's couch drinking a fabulous cup of coffee after a good night's sleep. Abigail, the fugitive kitty, was quite the talker, but I was freakishly tired and didn't let it keep me awake. It's nice to be home, even if it took a flight to get here. I hate flying. Between work and living abroad I do a lot of it, so this is not good. I hate the confined space, I hate the whole airbound thing, I hate turbulence, I hate pretty much everything about it, except getting off the plane someplace totally different than where I got on. I flew from Heathrow last night. I highly recommend the timing of the 630 PM flight to JFK, as you have the day to prepare for your flight, you travel to Heathrow outside of rush hour, and you land at 910 PM in New York so all you have to do is stay up really late and then you get relatively into time zone the next day. But even the perfect timing of the flight can't make up for the goofballs that were on it. I had a great se

Tuesday Afternoon

England is in a heatwave. It's 91F today. The air feels like bathwater. There's not a cloud in the sky, so at least it's pretty. If you're in the shade. If you're not, then the sun is a scorcher. With some sort of laser level intensity that causes third degree burns if you're not careful. People are wearing as few clothes as possible. The English are generally wardrobe challenged as to what constitutes appropriate office attire, but today all hell has broken loose. I saw the thong of a 50 year old woman above her trousers. My hair is, by Mindy standards, freakishly long. Today I want to shave my head. And it's supposed to be hotter tomorrow. Pleh.

40@40

I still have 10 or 12 entries to post for a complete online songlist, but there's no time for it now. You'll have to a) wait until I give you your copy, or b) make up the rest. If you choose option b, please make me fascinating with excellent taste. And no Huey Lewis, please.

Full blown panic

I just realised that I have way too much to do between now and getting on a plane Thursday. Holy crap. My team took me out for dinner tonight to celebrate my birthday, which was fun. But then I remembered that I have an appointment with my trainer at 630 AM and then I have to work and get a ton done before I can leave and then I have to mow the grass and pack and sort out my homework and prepare a presentation on what I want to get involved in for an in-company project for my MBA and hunt down the stuff for my 40@40 so I can burn CDs for my willing public and run to the bank to make a deposit and file my expense reports and straighten the house up and all of this must happen before Wednesday at 8AM. PLEH> With all I have to do, it's likely I will spend tomorrow night posting on this site to avoid work, but then it will be a new-entry-free zone for about a week. Too much madcap socialising with CP, Lulu, and the gang for the weekend, and then I'll be in the Midwest where
Number 11 11) Weapon of Choice: Fatboy Slim Great song to spaz dance to…I feel like an iPod ad. Plus the video features Christopher Walken. Yummy.

Number 37

37) Popular Mechanics for Lovers: Beulah This QLS is one of the best, because it’s tragic and unrequited and perfectly captures the angst of the relationship-retarded (something I know a bit too much about.)

Number 14

14) You Shook Me All Night Long: AC/DC I grew up in Iowa , and the heavy-metal influence of the top 40 from the early eighties lies latent in my hipster soul. Even at forty, when this song comes on the radio I bang my head and sing along. Ask Bethany .

Freaky sleep

Between a late night on Friday with our Oscar's party and a late night last night wearing off the caffeine I'd ingested for the drive back from Nottingham, by the time I went to bed at 230 AM I was ready for a serious sleep. I play the Garden State soundtrack every night when I go to bed and usually am asleep by track 7 or so. Last night I think I made it to track 2 at most. I'm a bit of a sleep thrashabout so, under normal circumstances, I would have woken up in the same position in which I'd fallen into bed and wonder if it's possible that I'd not moved at all in the night. So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up at 830 this morning curled in a little ball at the foot of my bed with my back against the footboard and my feet pointing towards the pillows. I don't remember getting up, I don't remember fitful dreams, I can't think of anything that would cause me to do this. And it took more than turning over to get myself back into a normal

Number 39

39) Amy Grant: Young Fresh Fellows “When she comes home from church, she’s gotta take off her pants…that’s what I like about Amy Grant.” It still feels like I’m subverting the Religious Right when I sing it.

Number 2

2) Add It Up: Violent Femmes When I was 14 years old I discovered KUNI, a college radio station that changed my life. It introduced me to all sorts of great music…including the Violent Femmes. Which made me much cooler when I got to St. Olaf, because I already knew the words to this song.
Once in a Lifetime Drove to Nottingham tonight to meet my friend Susan for a curry on her free night (she's on a study tour of England geared towards museum types.) It was a beautiful day, and I drove 95 miles an hour up the M1 with the windows wide open and Talking Heads blasting. Saw visions of this video and felt I must share it with you. Echo, David Byrne is DEFINITELY on my list. Behold him in all of his nerdy goodness.

We were robbed

We had our MTP day yesterday, which is short for the Mid-term Plan. Everyone in the company went to Oxford for the day, where we had a company meeting that summarised last year's performance and to announce initiatives for the coming year. Things are going well, and they gave us some outstanding new employee benefits like time off for charity work and opportunities to take sabbatical to do things we love. Oh. And we get our birthdays off now. We had a teambuilding in the afternoon, and had to get strangers to lie on the ground and form letters to spell words. We found French exchange students in the park who were more than willing to oblige, and then bonked off to the pub for a few shandies on the patio at the edge of the Thames. That evening we had our black tie dinner and Oscars ceremony. All the films were shown, and they were all great. We didn't even get nominated. I think it was because we were too cutting edge for the likes of the masses. We're the Todd Solo
Lessons from VH1 Classic Kate Bush is one weird chick. Goofy voice, crazy hair, and that Wuthering Heights song is just stupid. She looks like a reenacter.

Number 31

31) Loser: Beck Beck Hanson is brilliant, and I’m so happy that this song introduced me into his world. The lyric, “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey,” has always resonated with me. Plus it’s fun to sing “I’m a loser” in Spanish.

Number 18

18) Sylvia Plath: Ryan Adams When I was young, tragically messy lives full of literature and emotion and wild adventure seemed exotic and much better than the one I was living. This song reminds me of that time in my life. I don’t want it back, but I remember it fondly.

One Week Countdown

I always get crazy excited in the time up to a vacation. And one week from right now I'll be on a plane about halfway to New York. This is VERY exciting. Like most people who flee the small towns of the Midwest for urban pastures, I thoroughly enjoy the thrill of living a metropolitan life. I like cities. I like public transportation. I like eating in restaurants at 1 in the morning just because I can. And living abroad has made it all more exotic...it's been almost two years since I first got the offer to move to the UK and I still can't believe I'm here. Driving on the left side of the road is second nature to me now. I've developed local comfort foods and can read the signs at roundabouts and tell people I'll give them a bell when I mean I'll call them. I actually say toMAHto. I miss my friends and my family, but I feel so alive when I think about my life here. Not only am I living a childhood dream, this has become my home and I'm relatively

Number 32

32) Soul City : Southern Culture On The Skids Redneck soul. Good for dancing, good for drinking, good for curing what ails you.

Number 4

4) Agua De Beber: Astrid Gilberto I fell in love with Brazilian music a few years back, and this is a personal favorite. It compares the singer’s heart to a flower, and her lover’s affection is rain that keeps her alive. (Swoon)

Retard Love Island

There is a popular reality show here called Love Island . They take C and D list celebrities, maroon them on an island with a posh house and a pool, and make them act sexy and hit on each other. It is classic British tv...take celebrities whose claim to fame is that they pose nude in "Nuts" or were once in a boyband that had one hit in 1999, be sure they're complete morons, ask them to do tasks that are either senseless or easily accomplished by an 8-year-old, and then reward them for acting sexy and doing raunchy things. What celebrities do they have on this time? Let's see....Pierce Brosnan's ginger son Chris is on. No talent. Not particularly nice, and sadly he also appears to be adopted. And there's this freakishly skinny kid from Hollyoaks who looks like he's still in puberty and has never seen boobies before. Speaking of boobies, there are at least four sets of fake ones attached to equally fake women. And there's a professional ballroom d

Martha's getting wacky

Things are going haywire over at Martha Dumptruck .

August 3rd

Spread the word, Minneapolitans and St. Paulites...somewhere in the Cities on 3 August 2006 there will be a large social gathering. I don't have many free nights while I'm in the midwest, so this is your chance to see me. Unless you want to drive to Decorah and play scrabble with me and my folks. But be prepared for a pantsing. Hanzliks don't need no stinking "u's" to get a triple with a "q". Details to follow soon.

Number 25

25) This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody): Talking Heads There is a Mindy-specific genre of music called Quirky Love Songs, and this is definitely one. I’ve always thought it would be spectacular to have someone tell me this song makes them think of me. "There was a time before we were born if someone asks, this is where I'll be." Now that's some heady romance.

Number 8

8) You're Crazy for Taking the Bus: Jonathan Richman Many a person has danced a hoedown in my living room to this one, and come to like this song in spite of themselves.
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed This is a classic Barry Manilow song, not because it was ever a hit but because of the sheer ridiculousness of the lyric. Plus you get the added bonus of the silly jumpsuit looking thing he's wearing and the very gay hip gestures. Why is you're wife sleeping with the mailman? Ask your boyfriend, Barry.

Jesus of the Week

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This is such a happy Jesus that I felt I needed to share.

Number 30

30) S.O.S.: The Meat Purveyors Other than Tom, the best thing about living in DC was West Virginia Public Radio, which played a lot of bluegrass. This song combines bluegrass AND Abba, which is a heady combination when you think about it.

Hairy Potter

Spent the day in the editing studio today creating the final cut of my Harry Potter film. The studio is in north London near Ealing, so we had to leave at about 7 AM to get there...the traffic is awful on the M1 in the morning. I drove, which makes this my first official drive in London proper thus far. Pretty impressed with myself, actually. The studio was a bit of a dump. It was in this run down post-Bauhaustian looking building with lots of grime on the windows and chipping paint on the steel siding. You had to ring a bell to get in, and this grandmotherly woman let you in. The offices were unassuming, but when you got into the back rooms there were thousands of pounds of sound and video equipment. We'd recorded about 45 minutes of film, and had to cut it down to five. We started by arranging our favourite takes in the proper order so we had one film. This meant we first had to determine our favourite takes, which took about an hour and a half. But once they were in

Number 16

16) Talkin' At the Texaco: James McMurtry JM is a brilliant songwriter and this song totally captures the essence of small-town life. Want to know why I hated growing up in Decorah? It’s all here in this simple song.

Number 3

3) Miss You: The Rolling Stones This song will always remind me of being at the Hippens while I waited for my folks to pick me up. Ben did a killer Mick Jaggar impression. Once he did it on the coffee table.

Number 38

38) When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty: XTC QLS extraordinaire. And XTC is the music of my years living with KC/Chris/Daren on Dayton Ave , so this reminds me of them. You can’t have naked dinner parties at 40, but it’s nice to remember when you did.

Survey Says

You know my policy...I do not forward emails, but will respond publically in this forum. 1. FIRST NAME: Melinda 2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not really. My folks wanted to call me Mindy (after a singer named Mindy something, I think,) and so they tried to find a name that would allow Mindy as a shortened version but be respectable for when I ruled Europe. 3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? About 15 minutes ago, at the finale to You've Got Mail . I'm a total sap, and must be destroyed. 4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes. It's like my own secret language, as no other human can read it. 5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Lunchmeat = very bad 6. KIDS? Love them, but won't have them. 7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably not. I don't like fat people. 8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? This is it, baby. 9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Actually, I don't think I do. 10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? No 11. WOULD YOU

If only I lived in NYC

There's a new opera called Grendel, and it looks really exciting. It's based upon a book that retold the Beowulf story from the dragon's perspective. I loved this book when I read it back in college, and it will make a perfect opera. It's got pathos, drama, monsters...what more do you need for a compelling libretto? Plus it's staged by Julie Taymor, whose artistic vision is perfect for something mythologically complex like this. This is going to be GREAT and I can't believe I'm missing it.

Secrets of the Site Meter

This week's favourite search phrase: "butt crush giantess"
Weird Al Yankovic-I lost on Jeopardy This one's for you, Tenacious

Macroeconomics

Every Breath You Take This is how my economics lecture opened this AM. In the spirit of "Partners Day" here at Cranfield, I though I'd have you be my dates and let you enjoy part of the lecture.
Devo - Mongoloid by Bruce Conner 5) Mongoloid: Devo You can imagine how Devo spoke to my rebellious misfit teenage soul.
The Tubes - She's A Beauty Thanks to echo, I've been reminded that the Tubes created one of the best videos of all time, and decided you all need to revist their perfection.

Big foreheads

I've found another physical characteristic on which to obsess. It is so distracting that it may well replace the long-waisted proportion on my list of things to categorically avoid. What is so horrific, so vile that the long waist would become acceptable, you ask? Giant foreheads. I'm not talking about receding hairline type foreheads where the hairline has abated. Or an expansive forehead that is balanced by a face. I'm talking about a Texas-sized forehead that throws a human face out of all proportion, dwarfing the eyes/nose/mouth section so that it covers less than half of the facial area. I'm talking about bulbous Pinky and the Brain type foreheads. Foreheads that look like Squidworth or that John Pankow who played Ira on that show with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. I am aware that this is shallow and unkind, and that my physical imperfections certainly outnumber any potential offense committed by these mammoth heads. It is right to loathe me. I should be asha

George Bush joke of the day

Yesterday in Economics this was the GWB joke of the day. It's like George Bush says. The allegations are false. We MUST hunt down the allegators.

Secrets of the Site Meter

I am closer to Bombay than I am to Seattle or Sacramento.

Number 28

28) I Believe the Lies of Handsome Men: Blossom Dearie Don’t we all? Thanks to Tom and Georgie for showing me the wonders of Blossom.

Eye of the Storm

Just got home from school. Stopped for dinner and a beer with my old teammate, Ashish, and then sat through the first half of the Germany/Italy game. There was an obnoxious guy named James heckling me from across the room so I decided to take my leave at the break. James gets a bit too much pleasure out of teasing me. In a room of 20 people he kept asking me questions like, "Mindy, when do you think Germany should put Balloch back in?" and "Could you explain the offside rule to me one more time? I'm kind of fuzzy on it." Seems every time we're out in a group he decides to have a go at me...always in supposedly good natured fun, but he doesn't seem to know when to stop. I think he's harmless enough, but he gets on my nerves. I'd intended to leave anyway, but it was great to have a reason to make a show of leaving because James had made it clear I wasn't welcome. I believe I could use one of my new words to describe him.

Success!

We have officially finished our warehouse, with NO big hiccups. We even managed to redo steelwork (not our fault) mid project, only had one week of deadline slippage, and made £96K profit. This is roughly 13.5%, and for construction they tell us this is excellent. We placed second of ten. Quite pleased with that! The boys are not happy with Tom's analysis. Simon is not scary, and now he feels bad. Kieren is asking for clarification that he is Australian, not British. And Joe wants a new picture so you'll see he's actually a bit of a catch.

Totally Excellent Band Name No.2

Chucklehead. Indie band from Boston that Sarah Brown used to listen to. Not famous, but great name, none the less. And their music was good, too.

Number 12

12) You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go: Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks is still one of my favorite albums, and I think this song is romantic, bittersweet, and lovely.

My Team

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Since Friday AM, I've been pretty much at uni fourteen hours a day. The project management course we're doing this week is miserable. We've got to figure out how build this warehouse, we've been drawing up Work Breakdown Structures, Critical Path Networks, gantt charts of the project, and generally ripping our hair out managing workers and accommodations and cranes and equipment and materials. P-L-E-H, pleh. For the next five months, the five gentlemen you see below will be my life for three full weeks and the occasional weekend. They all have strong personalities and opinions, and you've probably figured that I'm no shrinking violet myself. In fact, the boys seem to think I'm kind of scary. Especially when I get quiet and scowly because I'm thinking. Or because I'm frustrated that I'm making dumb mistakes, so I berate myself and give a mental spanking but people assume I'm mad at them because I'm not myself. One of the problems with bei