Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frozen Lakes and Music

It's getting fairly chilly here in Madison- we've had quite a bit of snow as of late. Epic is dealing with the problem in particularly crazy fashion by keeping their artificial river running throughout the winter. Granted, it leads to this pretty awesome view:

In other news, the girl and I have been concert going fiends as of late. First this past Sunday we went to a Doomtree concert featuring our favorite rapper, Dessa!

She is ridiculously talented- for one of my favorite songs of hers, check out the video below:

We also went to the Trampled by Turtles concert on Friday. They focus on contemporary bluegrass and are from Duluth. An example of their music is below:

In other news, I've been formally attached to a customer team and they are glad to finally meet me. So far the work hasn't been too tricky, but I hear there will be a lot more soon.

That's it for now- lots of busy work this weekend, but not too terribly much.

Until next time...

"We often feel sad in the presence of music without words; and often more than that in the presence of music without music."
- More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Apartment Video

Finally got the video of my apartment to show! Now, this is from when we just moved in so there have been a few modifications since, but the layout's the same. Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Anniversary and Certification

I have finally gotten solid proof of completing a certification; behold:

Yeah, I'm awesome. I should also have Inpatient and Mychart finished up today- now there's only STC to go  and I'm good to work. Which is a good thing as people from my hiring group are already starting to get customers, and once that happens I'll have no time to do any more training. So gotta get er done!

Also this past week was Ms. Carroll's and I's (mine? my? stupid possessives...) 5th anniversary. Kind of boggles the mind to think that we've been together for 5 years as it doesn't seem so long.

Anyway, we of course had to give gifts to one another. My gift, continuing a theme from last year, was making her some Dr Who miniatures, this time the 11th doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion Amy Pond.

 And the complete group for full measure. All of the miniatures  (except for the TARDIS) come from Heresy Miniatures, bt dubs.

She probably one upped me, though, by biking out to far away places in the rain to deliver me this:

She even put it in a little basket with Easter grass and wrapped it in plastic. Makes me tear up a bit to think about how good that Nettle Gouda is going to taste paired with the cracked pepper beer...

We also went out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant on the Capitol square called the Blue Marlin and then ended the night with a sold out viewing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Excellent meal, pretty darn good movie and of course amazing company.

We closed out the weekend with modeling (me) and studying (Rachel), though we also had a cozy game night Sunday night. One of the beers that we bought for the game night still has me stupefied; it's called Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewery. It tastes like beer flavored malt syrup, but better than what that description sounds like. It still has a bit of bitter character, but the sweetness is through the roof and the beer itself looks like amber colored glass.

As Lagunitas put it (in very fine print around the bottle), "We believe this Special Ale is Something Unique. Feeding Brown Cane Sugar to otherwise Cultured Brewery Yeast is a'kin to feeding Raw Shark to you Gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without Human Intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened and now it's too Late." Truer words never said.

Until next time...

"What ought to be done to the man who invented the celebrating of anniversaries? Mere killing would be too light. Anniversaries are very well up to a certain point, while one's babies are in the process of growing up: they are joy-flags that make gay the road and prove progress; and one looks down the fluttering rank with pride. Then presently one notices that the flagstaffs are in process of a mysterious change of some sort--change of shape. Yes, they are turning into milestones. They are marking something lost now, not gained. From that time on it were best to suppress taking notice of anniversaries."

- Mark Twain's Notebook, 1896

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finished with app camp!

I'm finally finished with Inpatient Application Camp! Only took about 2.5 months...

Anyway, I still have lots of projects and tests to do before I get my certification, so the upcoming week will be filled with all sorts of fun times. I'm confident though that I'll be able to at least get the lion's share of my training out of the way before I am assigned a customer... which might happen before the end of November. Yay!

Speaking of fun times, this weekend was pretty fun, though accidentally so. Friday was pretty quiet in the apartment, both of us just getting some work done, but Saturday was going to be our big night out. First there was to be bowling with my work friends, then an Olde Tymey Drinking Party at Dwight's where we would have Olde Tymey cocktails and wear Olde Tymey clothes.

Unfortunately there were a few hitches. I went to pick Rachel up from her volunteering/studying on Saturday night but through miscommunication and ridiculous traffic thanks to the Badger game what should have been a 5 minute pick up turned into half an hour. Then actually getting geared up to start our evening took much longer than we anticipated, pushing us back to 8 o'clock before we could even get out the door, tanking our chance at bowling. So we ended up waiting until 9 to head over to Dwight's.

Well, we still had Olde Tymey drinks to look forward to, right? Wrong. Apparently the party had been cancelled the day before but since we were silly and didn't RSVP we didn't end up getting the message. So we stood awkwardly outside of Dwight's place for a few minutes ascertaining this information and jumped back into the car.

We drove for a bit, crestfallen that our magnificent attire would have nowhere to go, so we pulled off into a parking lot to mull our options. We eventually decided to take our awesomely bedecked selves to a local Irish pub and just hang out. Turns out it was very fun- the place was hopping, the drinks were good and we got to actually have a lengthy conversation which is sadly becoming a rarity these days thanks to work and whatnot.

Still, it's a shame that we didn't get to show off ourselves... oh well. There's always next time, and my coat still looks awesome.

Until next time...

"There is probably no pleasure equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it."
A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain

Monday, November 8, 2010

The past week at work was a bit crazy. I spent a lot of time studying at home and spending 10-13 hour days onsite with early morning tests and late night project work. Fortunately I think most of that crazy work schedule is behind me, at least the working at home bit. From now on I'm resolved to leave my work at work, as it'll take enough of my time away doing just that.

Fortunately I had plenty of ways to relieve stress over the week and over the weekend. On Wednesday I finally got to play a Warhammer 40k game that turned out to be quite fun. I took part in a demo game with an older gentleman (who is responsible for the pic above, btw) and we just had a blast going over the rules and integrating pretty much every single one into our game. Hopefully I'll be doing that more often in the coming weeks, as it's a source of fun that I've been sorely missing.

Rachel and I also recently went to a "Post-Halloween Smug Fest" where we ate dumplings. This was an awesome party, as not only were the dumplings delicious but I got to debate comic books and Star Trek pretty much the whole night. Plus I came away from the party with a borrowed copy of Snow Crash, which I've heard from many people is a book that I really need to get into.

We also tried to get some karaoke in over the weekend but kind of failed. We got to sing along with a lot of the people who got to go up on stage but unfortunately I apparently needed to bribe the DJ beyond my $1 entry fee to actually get up on stage and sing. Still, pretty fun, and I learned that apparently you CAN sing death metal karaoke style if you really want to. Cool the first time, kinda sad the second...

I've also started working with a trainer at my gym to build a work out, and I've figured out that I'm pretty out of shape. Hopefully working out 3-5 times a week will change that around as I really don't have the time or opportunity to do much else- guess I'll just have to make the most of it!

Finally, I've been watching AMC's new series The Walking Dead and it's amazing. Granted I'm a post-apocalyptic fanboy and zombie apocalypse tenured professor so take my recommendations with a grain of salt, but I have been blown away with the depth that they've managed to get out of the ol' Undead Apocalypse. The impact of seeing your loved ones turned into ravenous corpses was definitely the focus of the first episode, leading to a lot of emotional scenes as the survivors try to cope with the changes in their world. The "walkers" as they are known in the show are also frikkin' creepy, especially since they still exhibit certain echoes of their past lives- the little dead girl picking up and clutching her teddy bear before trying to eat you, the dead wife coming to her old house every night and trying the door knob... great, chilling stuff. That combined with the great production values makes for some pretty terrifying ghouls.

If you're interested in getting into the series the first episode is streaming on the AMC website- definitely the place to check it out. Unfortunately it looks like they won't be streaming any of the other episodes, but I think most of you know some... "alternative" ways to get your programming so I won't go into that.

Well, that's it for now. Lots of tests and projects this week like last week so wish me luck!

Until next time...

"Each man is afraid of his neighbor's disapproval--a thing which, to the general run of the human race, is more dreaded than wolves and death."

- "The United States of Lyncherdom" by Mark Twain

*Images used without permission from

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween Pics

Well, that was a false promise if I ever made one. Sorry about that... anyway, here are some pics from the Halloween weekend. Enjoy!

 Here's me as everyone's favorite antagonistic superhero, Captain Hammer. If you don't get the reference, watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog already. Sheesh.

 Rachel didn't want to get all made up for Friday's outings so she quickly made herself into baby punk/goth.
 Epic continued to get into the spirit of things with a reference to one of my favorite comix.
 Rachel's actual costume as Delirium from the Sandman graphic novels. She's following her fishy!
 "I am following the Bogart Rantipole... who I turned into a fishy to be in-con-spicuous..."
 Our friend Jesse as post-apocalyptic Dorothy. Her scars show that she has been turned into her EVIL TWIN already.
 Another of our friends as Hit Girl...

 EVIL Captain Hammer! And now I have my OWN MONOCLE!

... did I mention this was an awesome party?
 Another of our friends who happened to dress up as Death, also from Sandman! Rachel was also turned evil, hence the mustache... or maybe it was just Delirium screwing around. Who knows.

 On the way up to the party there were scenes of a struggle...
 Pumpkins impaled on pumpkins...
 Scared... seedless.
 Murdered in clever ways...
 And disemboweled.

Happy halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween, Part 1

I'll be doing some quick updates this weekend to document the Halloween festivities. First up today: the Epic website.

The IT team has had a bit of fun changing around all of our screens today, so I though I'd show you one of them. Check it out before it goes away!

More stuff later...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Meat Cupcakes!

And my posting continues to slip... so first, some life news. I have a string of certification tests over the next couple of weeks with the first one tomorrow so I may be distracted and posting may suffer. My apologies in advance.

But to make up for it... meat cup cakes!

Rachel: I think we should make meatloaf this week.
Me: What about meat cup cakes?
Rachel: ... what?
Me: It's meatloaf... but CUP CAKES! We can use mashed potatoes as frosting!
Rachel: ... OK, I'm in.

So, we (and by we I mean Rachel, thanks honey!) made meat cup cakes... which it turns out is actually EASIER to make than meat loaf.

Step 1: find a meat loaf recipe
Step 2: make meat loaf mix
Step 3: put mix into cupcake wrappers and/or into cupcake tin. REMEMBER: meat doesn't rise, so if you want a dome shape, you have to make it!
Step 4: bake for 1/3-1/2 the normal meatloaf time
Step 5: Profit! I mean, Cup Cakes!

The little red bit on top is ketchup, but you could probably also put that in the core for molten goodness. Add other toppings like mashed potatoes, cheese, etc. as desired.

Plus, our meat cup cakes were actually HEALTHY. Did you hear that? HEALTHY MEAT CUP CAKES.

My mind, is blown.

Until next time...

"But when the time comes that a man has had his dinner, then the true man comes to the surface."
- Progress in Medicine speech by Mark Twain, 1902

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Epic in the Mist

Before we get to the mistiness, update on the week. I finished learning one programming language last week and am now halfway through another- we move pretty fast around here! I have a pretty good grasp of the languages but today I seemed to be slipping a bit more than usual... not a good sign since I need to take the certification test in these languages in two weeks. Might've been because my old friend Insomnia has been hanging around, but I blame stupidly intriguing game systems and Tom Clancy for that. Stupid interesting things keeping me up...

Also this weekend Rachel and I went to our friend Dwight's house for brunch and it was a delightful experience. Dwight is a guy that we met at an English party even though he is only tangentially related to the department. Now we're hanging out all the time cuz he's a pretty cool guy who knows how to do EVERYTHING. Heck, the man even makes his own Limecello... Anyway, every so often he has a small group of friends come to his house for amazing brunch and conversation, mixing around the group each time to hear more interesting ideas. Really cool concept and the food was delish. Now if I can just get him to fork over the Bread and Beer party pics...

I'm also getting to know my coworkers better, and in pursuit of that goal I'm going to the Madison Brewfest this Saturday. I know, big sacrifice for me :) I'll give you a rundown of the different beers come next week. For now, pics!

 These pics came about because the entire campus was wreathed in fog one morning a couple of weeks back. I thought the campus looked really cool, so took some pics. Enjoy!

Until next time...

"Diligence is a good thing, but taking things easy is much more--restful."
- Speech by Mark Twain, 3/30/1901

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Non-Epic Things: Bread and Beer, paint ball, and a special guest

So I've been posting a lot about Epic, and I'd like to say that no, that is not all that happens out here... though that is a lot of it. A lot of my time has been spent doing hobby things that you can read about on my other blog, but there has been some other stuff. For instance, two weekends ago Rachel and I hosted a very successful Bread and Beer party at our house, celebrating two of life's greatest carbohydrates. Lots of people showed up and brought delicious beer and bread that we are still eating to this day. Man, I love generous people who don't take their stuff away again... I made a pair of loaves of heffenzupf which were devoured quite quickly while Rachel made delicious red velvet cupcakes with homemade icing. Yum!

We've also been working out pretty much daily (well... until this week...) at our gym downtown. It's great because there's almost never a crowd there when we go to work out so if we see a machine, it's ours. Plus they have cable and are very friendly about switching the channels... yay!

This weekend I went paintballing with some coworkers at Apocalypse Paintball. It was a lot of fun and very welty, though I seem to suck at the actual shooting bit. Oh well, just need to practice I guess..

A bit blurry, but that faint pinkish bit is still some paint stuck in my hair. Yay!

Last but not least Rachel Carroll, Girl Reporter saw OBAMA last Tuesday. OBAMA!

He was speaking at the campus and Rachel and a couple of her friends (plus about a hundred thousand other people...) went to go see him speak. Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, some pics from the party hopefully later this week, as well as maybe some pics from around Epic again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So this past week was the User's Group Meeting, where thousands of our customers descended on us for a week of entertainment and classes. The employees of Epic, in the meantime, are called to volunteer and- and I hesitate to mention this heinous crime- wear business casual. Hence the tie and vest in the pic above.

Speaking of dressing up, apparently some employees celebrate Formal Friday, because every other day is a casual day. I think I might play along with that one...

Anyway, I volunteered for a lot of different positions. I got to help do costuming for the big musical production (in which many musicals were parodied by switching the focus to Epic software, but still quite good and funny), play lunch catering host (and get to steal lots of tasty food!), and play traffic cop. Hence the yellow vest above. Most of this last job was rather boring, but one thing made up for it:

Golf carts. Buzzing around the campus, driving anywhere I please (even on sidewalks) was awesome. Every single person I saw driving a golfcart had a smile on his or her face, and for good reason. It's full of yippee!

I also attended a few classes and learned a bit of what to expect from a go live and what can go wrong then and thereafter. So I have a bit of an idea of what's coming, though I'm sure the actual thing will be much different. Oh well, sounds like fun!

Until next time...

Do your duty and repent tomorrow.
- Mark Twain Speaks, Paul Fatout; More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Epic, Week 2

Week 2 at Epic proved to be a bit more interesting. We took a course called Epic 360 which familiarized us with how work flows through a clinic and a hospital and how our software allows the clinicians and staff to do their jobs. It was pretty cool finally getting to understand all of the medical lingo which I am sad to say that I never learned from the doctor in my family. Thanks Dad.

We were also exposed to how Epic handles tests around here- fast and quick! We started our course on Tuesday and wrapped up with an exam on Friday, which thankfully I passed. Half an hour later we started our MyChart Fundamentals course which wrapped up that day. If it weren't for the Users Group Meeting this week I may have taken the test on Monday, but thankfully I have a bit more time to prepare.

This week's photo tour is going to one of the featured perks of the Epic campus: the treehouse! Called Endor, my office mate Laura and I decided to take a break from MyChart studying to take a quick jaunt and explore it.

The treehouse was constructed from leftover wood from Campus 1 construction as a cool place to have meetings.

But it's not just office space.

There's a second floor!

And even a secret third floor with a trap door!

A little dark, but that's a swing chair/hammock there on the second floor.

There's also a path that goes underneath the treehouse...

... and leads to Pelennor Fields! And yes, that is the name.

A view of Deneb from the rear

And a campsite...

... complete with outlet. The BEST kind of camping!

Until next time...

"There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can recreate them; it can debase angels to men and lift men to angels. And it can do any of these miracles in a year -- even six months."
- "As Regards Patriotism" by Mark Twain