Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Timbecca Dissolution

The Timbecca empire is no more.

Today we met to execute the Marital Settlement Agreement, which means we divided up the last of our stuff.

This blog is officially retired. Please refer to Tim Alone for any further Tim-related news.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Timbecca Hiatus

For anyone who hasn't heard yet, Rebecca moved out of Timbecca Manor last week. She wants a "trial separation."

Tim's public thoughts can now be viewed at Tim Alone.

His private thoughts can be had by contacting him directly.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Prius Geek Report

It's now been six months since we bought our beautiful, beautiful Prius, Smuggy.

Smuggy got a new license plate in January:

Now our blog and our car have similar labels. It's one small step closer to building our Timbecca empire. I also like the new license plate because it differentiates our car from all the other silver Priuses we see driving around town.

I'm still totally smitten with the car, even though our mileage has taken a beating over the winter months. Smuggy doesn't like the cold. When I first calculated the aggregate miles per gallon the car had gotten last November, it was at 46.54. Since then, that average has slowly crept downward as the average temperature has dropped. (When it's cold out, it takes longer for the car to warm up, which negatively affects the mileage. Plus the wind is worse in the winter, and Smuggy and I hate the wind-- unless it's directly behind us, in which case we love it.) During January, I was lucky whenever I broke 40 miles per gallon on my commute to work.

As of the end of February, our aggregate mileage has fallen to 43.41. Here is a chart that shows how many MPGs I got each time I filled the car up:

As you can see, aside from the fact that I've totally geeked out over my new car, our best mileage was during September & October and the worst during December & January. Now it's starting to get better again as the weather gets warmer. Yesterday, on a trip to the tennis center, I averaged over 50 MPG for the first time in months.

Now I have yet another reason to love spring.

Although our decision to buy a Prius was not a financial one, it is worth noting that since buying Smuggy last August, we've saved an estimated (by me, of course) $676 in gas costs. That's more than two car payments out of six. So every third car payment is paid for with gas savings.

We love you, Smuggy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Love Weather

Throughout this winter season, I've been obsessed with the state of the pond behind our apartment. It always seems to freeze and attract wild life in strange and beautiful patterns. I first noticed it last January when it froze in a weird S-shape:

Since then, I've hauled out the camera on seven different occasions to document the pond's condition, often making me leave late for work. Here's a snowy S covered with geese:

On this clear day, most of the pond is frozen except for a ring around the edge:

Frozen pond with goose sprinkles:

Windy day. Pond is half frozen and half choppy:

And two more:

I bring this up because I got an unexpected surprise this morning. I've been sick the last four days, and missed last Friday and yesterday (Monday) from work. This morning I was feeling better and ready to get back to work. In the bathroom I heard a weather report that there would be a winter storm warning today and we might get 3-5 inches snow this evening. Hmmm, I thought, maybe we'll get a snow day tomorrow. I got showered and dressed and was eating breakfast when the phone rang. At 6:30 in the morning, the only reason our phone ever rings is that my boss is calling me to tell me that the college is closed. That was, in fact, what happened. I was confused, because this is what the pond looks like this morning:

As you can see, there is no snow. There is also no ice. Here is what the main road in front of our apartment looks like this morning:

Notice the presence of cars and the absence of any kind of inclement weather. Apparently, the weather is a lot worse down south where my college is. So after a 4-day weekend (I was weak with a slight fever and much sniffles), I get an unexpected extra day off.

I don't know what to do with myself today, hence this long-ass photo-filled blog.

UPDATE: 3 hours later, the snow has come. Here's the field in front of our house:

Monday, February 25, 2008

I See Illiterate People

There's a bit of graffiti in the men's room in my library that delights me. In one of the stalls, someone drew a ghost saying the word "Boo!" Right next to that, someone added, "Wow, you literally scared the crap out of me!"

I love that exchange because it's a rare instance of someone using the word "literally" correctly, and not, as the current trend seems to be, as a synonym for "really" or "very." (For example, when someone says, "I literally blew my top" when what they really meant was, "I really blew my top.")

I've been feeling very anal with regard to language lately, since I seem to notice typos and misuse of language all over the place. I feel like the grammar equivalent of that kid in The Sixth Sense: I see typos. They're everywhere, and most of them don't even know they're typos.

For example, our library is hosting a bunch of posters in celebration of Black History Month. Since I'm on the Diversity Education Committee, I volunteered to hang them. When the posters arrived, they looked great: large glossy foam board pictures of various African Americans with a small text about who they were/are. Then, as I was hanging them, I made the mistake of actually reading the text. Here are some of the errors I noticed:
  • Rosa Parks was not a "42 year seamstress" during the famous bus scene; she was a 42-year-old seamstress.
  • W.E.B. DuBois was not a "civil rights leaders", he was a civil rights leader.
  • Louis Armstrong was not "still with in band" when he died, he was still with his band.
  • And the granddaddy of typos: Phyllis Wheatley's book did not have a forward "sign by" John Adams, she had a forward signed by John Adams.
That last example strikes me as particularly illiterate; something written by someone who's just sounding out the words and doesn't read. It really bothers me. These posters were designed and approved by the college's public relations department, and it bugs me that people whose job it is to present the public face of the college would fail to catch such errors. When I pointed out the errors, they re-did the posters, at a cost of several hundred dollars.

Then this week I received an email from our human resources department. They're advertising a new position. Ironically, it's a position as a remedial English instructor. The job description reads, "...three year's of teaching experience..."

I thought of pointing out this "typo" to the person who sent the email, but then I think, I don't want to be that guy. The one who's always correcting other people. If they find a remedial English instructor who doesn't notice that mistake, I guess it'll be a match made in Heaven. Literally.

[And for my irony-impaired readers, that was an intentional misuse of the word "literally."]

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't Tell Me!

I know everyone's talking about it, but please don't mention to me who won the Illinois state wrestling championships last weekend. At least not for the next eight to ten weeks.

I don't know why I have this habit of developing hobbies that I'm slightly embarrassed about. The latest example of this is my interest in high school wrestling. I was a wrestler in high school, so it's not a completely random hobby, but in the last two years, after a 16-year hiatus, I have become re-acquainted with the sport of my youth. This time, however, my involvement is merely that of a fan. Over the past two seasons I've gone to a few local meets and followed the results of wrestlers and teams throughout the state on the Illinois high school wrestling website.

As fate would have it, the state wrestling tournament is held in Champaign every year, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend it last weekend. It's a two-day orgy of the best wrestling the state has to offer, and I've taken the day off work two years in a row to attend it. I don't know why I feel slightly sheepish about admitting this.

Maybe it's because I was one of the few people sitting in the stands who wasn't currently involved in the sport in some way or wasn't a friend or family member of a participant. I had two people ask me last weekend if my "kid" was competing, and I had to respond, "No, I'm just a fan." Theoretically, there shouldn't be any difference between following local high school wrestling and following something like the NFL, but there is. With the former, there's the expectation that you wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have some vested interest in one of the participants. Following the NFL, on the other hand, is considered a activity in its own right; it's on the list of acceptable hobbies (NFL widows notwithstanding.) I guess my biggest discomfort stems from the fact that it's a lonely hobby-- there aren't many people to share it with. This must be how American soccer fans feel.

The state wrestling tournament, while exciting, is also a frustrating exercise in multitasking. There are six mats set up at Assembly Hall, so you have to divide your attention between six different matches going on at once. If you're a bracket junkie like myself, it means you spend most of the time trying to figure out which match is about to end, so you can write the results into the program that you paid $5 for. Of course, there are marquee matches that you really want to see, so you'll pay more attention to them, to the detriment of your bracket.

After two days of sitting in a plastic seat and watching hundreds of (snippets of) wrestling matches, there were times when I overdosed on the whole thing. But after a short break I was usually read for more action. The state tournament is fun because seasons and careers are ending all around you. You see some kids achieving their lifelong (to that point) goals and some falling just short of them. It can bring out the best and worst in sportsmanship.

I attended every round of the tournament, but had to leave before the finals because Rebecca and I had another event to attend Saturday night. In the lobby they were pre-selling DVDs of the championship matches, so I paid $40 to order a copy for myself. You can imagine my disappointment when the girl who took my money informed me that it would be eight to ten weeks until they sent out the DVDs.

Have you ever recorded a game on TV and hoped to watch it later, all the while trying to avoid any mention of the outcome? I'm going to have to do this with the wrestling DVD, only I'll have to avoid it for 8-10 weeks. Luckily, high school wrestling is not water-cooler conversation fodder, so I should be able to accomplish this, as long as I remember not to go to the wrestling website I spent so much time on before the tournament.

So please keep your discussions of the championship matches to yourself. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This is how I feel after a library instruction session.