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It starts with a little confusion, wondering why my stuff is scattered around the car floor.

Then, I notice the wires hanging from the dash.

My car stereo was stolen overnight, while my car was parked in my garage. I have things stacked in front of the people-sized door, and the overhead door requires a key to open from the outside. The cop said they can pop the keyswitch out and open the door that way.

It's a pissy way to start the day. I have a presentation due tomorrow for my webdesign class, something else pissed me off yesterday (more on that later), and now this. Grrrrr.

One bright thing: I'm a firm believer in $0 deductible Comprehensive auto coverage. This means that there's no cost to me to get the wiring harness repaired (the theif snipped all the wires) and put a new stereo in.

Nerds, be proud! I finally bit the bullet and wrote an RSS Feed for this website. If you use an aggregator software of any kind, the link is:
Have at it!

I'd long thought Fargo was devoid of any internet culture -- Yeah, I've ran into some personal websites, but usually they aren't updated often enough to be considered 'culture'. Yahtzeen had the most promise, but it seems permanenly 'coming soon.' Same goes for other Yahtzeen-spinoffs like Duffy's Jukebox and has a handful of followers. But, it seemed to me there's not really anyone documenting their real-world life to the internet. Well, other than me, that is.

I suppose if I looked harder, I'd find local bloggers. Today, though, I had only to look as far as my referrer logs. The Cranky One has linked to me...and she's from Fargo. Not only that, she's been blogging since 2001. My online scope has always been looking outward, to the rest of the world -- in 1999, when I started writing here, I pretty much was a single voice. I haven't really stopped to look any closer.

New photos of Destiny are afoot! It's a figure-eight walk through scenic Downtown Fargo, mixing pics of Destiny with photos of various buildings.

The only interruption in our photoshoot was Destiny. A while back, she was nervous about being watched while taking pictures. At age 6, when your dad tells you to stand on a busy street and stare at the fence a half block away, you're definitely a little self-conscious.

I don't remember how we arrived at this solution, but when Destiny is feeling watched by someone, she smiles and waves at whoever is present. Who can resist smiling and waving back? If you're doing something silly and strangers smile and wave at you, it's nearly impossible to feel dumb. Our photoshoot was interrupted by little bursts of Destiny friendliness, needing me to wait only a fraction of a second on pressing the shutter.

Derek Recommends:

Big Fat Liar

Okay, it's got it's goofs, it's rather formulaic, but it's still good fun and not overly predictable. It's also acceptible for kids, despite it's PG rating. It has quite a few good lines, plenty of original characters, and unlike a lot of other teen movies it doesn't dwell on bodily functions or sexual innuendo. The main character has one thing on his mind: proving to his father that he wasn't lying. How he gets from start to finish moves quickly, tightly interlocks the various steps along the way, and resolves itself happily and without groin kicks...well, there's one, right at the end, and it feels like it was tacked on simply for that reason. Beyond that, it's a quick, goofy movie, worthy of an hour of family TV time.

Just back from lunch, I strolled through the marble-lined reception area of my office building. I hit the "up" button, and expected one of the two elevators to open. One said it was already on the first floor, but it didn't open. The doors waited for the other elevator, on its way down from 5th floor. The lighted numbers proceeded past third and second, and stopped on the first floor. With a ding, the elevator opened.

Three office chairs -- chrome tube construction with orange seats, not a desk chair -- lined the back wall of the elevator, and in each sat a woman from the office below mine. Each woman crossed her legs on the same side, and each smirked with malicious amusement. The one in the middle held a small stack of papers.

"Can we help you?" one asked, and the other two giggled uncontrollably.

"Ummm...going up?"

Destiny is an odd duck, partly because of my preparation.

All day yesterday, she was excited: She was going to the dentist after school! Chess club, yeah, haircut, sure -- but DENTIST! was paramount in her mind. She was so excited, she could hardly contain herself. She was getting a new tooth brush, she was going to get a toy, and her name was going in the "No-Cavity Club" drawing for a big stuffed animal. A visit to the dentist was not to be missed.

Her adult teeth are coming in behind her baby teeth. It's not a condition to worry about, but I had told Destiny that if the baby teeth don't come out on their own, the dentist will have to pull them out. I explained the novocaine shot, and how it'll be done quick. I've had my wisdom teeth pulled, so it's no big deal, I explained.

After the dentist checked her over, he said the baby teeth will come out on their own soon enough, and not to worry about them.

After he left, Destiny asked, with a disappointed little frown: "He's not going to pull the teeth?"

Guess who I saw tonight? The marquee to the left is a little hint...still not sure?

I saw Roger Ebert! In association with Concordia College, Mr. Ebert appeared at the Fargo Theatre to talk about movies, the Oscars, and do some Q&A with the audience.

I can hear the groans -- "Man, Derek is so cool, what's he doing at a Roger Ebert performance? Isn't that guy, like, lame or something?" Pardon my french, but no: he's 'cool.' Actually, Roger was probably one of the best speakers I've seen in a while, even counting some motivational speakers my employer likes to bring in from time to time. He was very quick-witted, he mixed a lot of humor in with his analysis of this year's Oscar nominees, both leading up to and during the Oscars, from Michael Moore to Spirited Away. At no point did I look at my watch during his speech; I nearly wish I had a tape recorder with, to take notes, but I'm no reporter here. You'll have to go find Ebert yourself if you wanna hear what he has to say. I highly recommend it.

Before the show I watched for familiar faces in the crowd, and I found several: Kristin RudRud, a handful of Fargo Forum and local TV dignitaries, Troy Parkinson, and Marty Jonason to point out a few. After the show, I talked to Marty about voice acting training (who doesn't want to do voiceovers sometime in their lives?) and I had to go shake the hand of Tom Pantera, elusive writer/editor for the Fargo Forum.

But, before I could leave, I slipped into the autograph line, and got Roger Ebert's signature on the freebie magazine being handed out. See, Ebert isn't just a guy who talks about movies -- he once helped a literary magazine get off the ground, a little publication called "Ascent." Here's how Concordia College got involved: After some problems early in the life of Ascent, it finally found a home with Concordia College's english department. Unfortunately, because it wasn't really his book he signed, Ebert wasn't willing to do a dedication to me in his autograph. My mom, however, not only bought one of Ebert's books and had him dedicate it, she also got him to put "To Kathy" inside her freebie book. She's slick, that mother of mine.

Email, where have you gone? I'm emailless right now., while operating normally and error-free, isn't accepting my passwords for any of the email accounts I've created.

I'm a bit torn: on one end, the silence is rather nice, and all the time I've saved by not having to delete spam has allowed me to do other things, like read fark. On the other hand, like not having phone service, I'm plagued by the worries about who has tried to contact me, but isn't getting a response. "Why hasn't he emailed me back?" "What has happened to Derek?" "Doesn't he realize that I'm offering the cheapest viagra on the internet?"

But, then again, I have 3-4 other email accounts out there. It's not completely silent in here.

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