Sunday, April 20, 2014


All things go in waves. Four years later, I'm blogging again! Check out for the next part of my life.

ps - if you want to fill in time between 2010 and 2014, Alicia has a ton of posts (one a day for a year!) on her blog.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The sun is setting on "Brian Blogs in Brooklyn"

I believe the end of an era is approaching. As you may have heard, Alicia and I will be returning to live in Minnesota. Given that this blog is entitled "Brian Blogs in Brooklyn," I've got two options.

1) Rename the blog.

2) Retire the blog.

Well, I suppose there's a third option: I could always move to Brooklyn Park, MN. But that just seems silly.

To be fair, I certainly could just rename the blog. But I really like the name of this blog. I think it has captured (even if only through a sprinkling of posts) my life in New York City. I think this blog has given my family a window into my life they couldn't have seen any other way. More than letter writing or telephone calls, this blog allowed me to actually post photos of the life Alicia and I carved out of Brooklyn for ourselves. Retiring this blog just seems to be a natural last step as we set sail towards Minnesota.

But never fear, I'm not out of New York City yet. And you can bet good money that I've got a few good posts brewing in my mind. There's definitely a New York City Rant in the works, plus photos of our move.

And just as my previous website continues to tell the story of my life in Duluth and the move to New York, so too will this blog float on in the ocean of the internet.

I've returned the blog to it's old theme, since it might as well finish the way it started almost two years ago. Be sure to check back over the next few weeks while Alicia and I pack up everything and get more and more excited to move to Minnesota. I'm sure it'll be a lot of good reading.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Google Reader Backlash

I'm feeling upset about Google Reader lately. For those of you who don't know, Google Reader is an RSS reader that acts like an email inbox for the various things you read across the internet. You tell Google Reader "I'd like to be sent copies of everything so-and-so website publishes." Google Reader then keeps an eye on the so-and-so website, grabbing a copy of every new article. When I decide to sit down and read Google Reader, I've got a copy of all the new articles around the internet.

The problem with Google Reader is that it send you everything. You get every single article published on a particular website. This can result in about 20 to 30 a day, depending on the source. That's overwhelming. And even worse, I don't typically want to read 20 or 30 articles from the same source. I've really started to burn out reading a few of my favorite websites.

Much worse, a lot of the bigger internet blogs have engineered their feeds to make it difficult to read. Nowadays, they always include ads. Much worse, occasional websites won't let Google Reader copy the whole article.  As a result, I've got to actually visit the website to read the article.

So, every day, I've got 100 things waiting for me to read in Google Reader.  I've got to manually click through each one. Even if it's just a simple click to indicate that I don't want to read the article, it's still more work than I've been willing to do.

I hate to admit it, but I think I'm done with Google Reader. I think I'm going back to manually surfing websites I'd like to read.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Let's talk, it's been too long.

Hello! Have we sat down and talked, lately? It's been too long, I think!

The last month has been filled with a lot of happenings.

We were just visited by good old friends, photoed above. I'll call them Andrew B. and Nicole A. to protect their identities. No wait, maybe that gives away too much. A. Berns and N. Anderson. Better. They may not want it advertised that they were associating with us Copelands.

It was a short trip, but we packed in some good times. There were burgers made, New York skylines viewed, brewery tours taken, fancy meals eaten, and even a trip to see some Art. They brought along good weather and even better subway luck. I doubt we spent more than five minutes waiting for all seven trains combined.

Berns took a great picture of me cooking some burgers, which I'm now using without his permission. 

Most importantly, though, they harassed our cats. Which is awesome.

Doesn't Livia look abused?

I turned 25 years old in March. Alicia treated me like a king, with some scavenger hunting, a few gifts here and there (Scotch glass! Minimalist art book! Book by this guy! Trip to Target to buy Neft Shotgun!), and even a midnight trip to a bar to celebrate a quarter century. I guess I've gotta thank my parents. But if I do that, I have to thank their parents, and so forth. Oh well. Thanks Mom and Dad! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa! On both sides! 

I'm teaching even more, now. I picked up an additional teaching gig Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until the end of the semester. It's through the tutoring center at Citytech, so it only pays half of my normal teaching gigs, but it will still work out to a little extra cash every week. 

I have not yet received my teaching appointments for the summer and fall, but I've got no reason to suspect they won't come. Apparently I can keep teaching college mathematics as long as I'd like. I'm worried that the position is a bit of a dead end (I can't get a better position without a degree) and it's limited money, but for now, it's good to have a decent paying job. 

Taxes are done! I actually did them myself this year. I feel like I understand taxes about a thousand times more than any time before. Which is to say I don't understand them very well, but at least I know what's going on now. I'm just proud we didn't procrastinate until April 14th. 

Would I do them myself next year? I'm not sure. I really, really enjoyed the experience and I felt like I've now got a good handle on tax preparation. Still, I might want to run it by a tax service next year to make sure I'm not costing us money. 

I'm happy! It's been strange not attending class this semester. In fact, it's been scary not knowing what the future will hold. Never in my life has my future been so wide open. I could be doing a hundred different jobs in a few months. I'm disappointed that I'm being rejected for jobs that seem perfect for me (bank teller?). But I've really started to relax about the whole experience and try to keep an open mind. 

 This picture is unrelated to anything above. But Berns really got a good looking photo of us, didn't he?

I'll see if I can't return to my old update formula later this week. But take that with a grain of salt. If you're reading this, you know my record on blog posting. 

Good talk! 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Boston Trip

You may have seen Alicia's fantastic coverage of our March 29th trip to Boston. Here's my contributions.

We started out the day early as heck. I believe we woke up at 5am to leave at 5:45am to catch the 7am boarding of a bus to Boston. It was a 8 hour round trip, but it was really nice to leave the city. 

Here's Alicia in the bus station when we arrived: 

That's the smile of "I'm not sitting on a bus anymore!" 

I was a bit worried about all the walking, as we didn't have any means of transportation in Boston. Luckily for us, everything in downtown Boston was within our usual walking distance of Brooklyn. 

First stop, Boston Commons. It's like Central Park in NYC, but supposedly used for much more than a park. It was nice, wide open, and comfortable.

Yeah, that's rain. There was a lot of it.

From there, we saw a lot of history. Let's skip all that and go straight to what I remember: 

What? It was raining outside and it was my Spring Break!

We saw a lot, and Alicia documented it pretty well. My camera is getting up there in camera-years, and really couldn't handle the rain. Thus the lack of pictures. But it took a good photo of this half drank beer at the Cheers bar built into the tourist shopping center. 

Overall, the trip really tested the strength of our Umbrellas. But it was a fun trip and really cheap! 

Me with my beard. Had you seen that yet? I've finally figured out how to keep it short.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Copeland Picture of the Year

This is what happens when I try to touch Alicia.

Well, okay, when I try to touch Alicia after accidentally touching bird poop. Luckily, the camera was ready. Talk about a Kodak moment.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Playing the Lottery

I thought I'd come out and confess that I've started playing the lottery. They started featuring the Powerball, one of the biggest multistate lottery in the US.

But that's not what got me started. What got me started is a list of instructions to follow should you win. I hadn't actually thought of the logistics of winning the lottery. I couldn't find any copyright concerns and the website was called "Rotten Library," so I'm going to go ahead and publish the list here for you:
   Strangely enough, winning millions in the lottery can be the worst thing that ever happened to you. The money can strain relationships with your spouse and relatives. It can turn your friends and neighbors into leeches. It can ruin your privacy. It can cause security problems, threaten your physical safety. Paradoxically, it can lead you down the road to bankruptcy. And, of course, it can also turn you into a raging asshole. 

Tips for the Latest Instant Millionaire
[Bear in mind that none of us is a lawyer or a lottery millionaire, so these recommendations are anything but authoritative. Caveat emptor, you rich bastard.]It's great to be rich, but fame is a bitch. So your primary mission is to claim the money without divulging your identity or having a mental breakdown. Here's how to do it:
  1. Don't tell anyone. The single most important rule for maintaining sanity after winning the lottery is: Do everything you can to keep your precious anonymity intact. Of course that means keeping your goddamned mouth shut. Don't share the news with your friends, neighbors, coworkers, or family. Resist even the urge to tell your spouse or significant other, at least for the time being. Otherwise you will have forever blown your one chance at being anonymous. You can always spill the beans later, after all the excitement has died down.
  2. Don't sign the ticket. After you write your name on that ticket, you might as well call up and announce the news to your local TV stations and newspapers. Remember that the state lottery commission will publicize the identity of every claimant. Toss the ticket into a clean Ziploc bag (to avoid spills, etc.) and temporarily stash it someplace away from excessive heat, sunlight, pets, children, roommates, coworkers, etc. Make sure it's someplace safe that you won't forget.
  3. Act casual. Maintain your normal routine. Continue to attend work, school, church, social functions, etc. Whatever's typical for you. When people ask you what's up, refer to rule number one.
  4. Make a few photocopies. At your earliest opportunity, take a trip to a 24-hour Kinko's around 2am when nobody's around and make six copies of the ticket, both front and back. Use one of the self-serve machines and take any and all bad copies with you (i.e. leave none in the trash). And before you leave, doublecheck to make sure you didn't leave the original in the machine.
  5. Rent a safe-deposit box. Contact your bank and see if they have any vacant safe deposit boxes, tell them you're going on a trip and need to store some documents for a few months. Make a point of asking them how much it costs, even though you couldn't care less. You're trying to keep up appearances. When you go down to the bank in person to open your box, you will probably need some ID and your bank card. Bring the ticket, along with some other (fake) papers. Don't show them the ticket, obviously. Loose lips sink ships. Stash the ticket in the box and put the box key on your keyring. Don't lose the key.
  6. Open a blind trust. Hire a tax attorney. Once you're a client, the lawyer is legally bound to maintain your confidentiality. Tell them you want to open a blind trust in order to claim the lottery prize as an anonymous trustee. Provide three photocopies of your ticket. All contact with the lottery commission will be made through your lawyer.
  7. Contact a financial planner. Rich people don't tend to stay that way without a little planning. If you have the choice between annual payments and a single large payout, you should consider the big jackpot. It's less money total, but it's probably about the same as the annuity if you take the lump sum and invest it in interest-bearing savings bonds. However, the single large payout may incur a higher tax rate. Ask your tax experts.
  8. Tie up any financial loose ends. No reason to procrastinate now. Pay all those traffic fines and parking tickets. Catch up on alimony or child support payments. Settle any debts. Instruct your financial planner to scrub those black marks off your credit score, but don't cancel your credit cards -- that'll screw up your rating. And don't think it won't matter anymore. It matters.
  9. Draft or update your last will and testament. If there were ever a time for estate planning, it's now.
I read that, got excited about the lottery, but then thought the same thing I always do: it's a waste of money. The odds are simply so far against me that they are not worth trying. What finally pushed me to purchase my first lottery ticket was realizing two things:
  1. Tickets are only $1. Seriously... Is there anything in this world that is actually only $1 anymore? My god is that cheap, and it lets me think about having fun with the logistics of winning the lottery. 
  2. I was married in Las Vegas. I love gambling. Maybe spending $1 a week isn't so bad. After all, that will come to a whopping total of $52 at the end of the year. Perhaps I'll skip a fancy meal once a year with Alicia. 
So, I've got my Powerball ticket posted on the pinboard above our desk. I'm using my cell phone as a random number generator, because if anyone's going to generate some random numbers, it's me. I'm actually considering switching to a smaller state lottery. The odds of winning the Powerball are so low, it's almost no fun. I'd take $500,000 just as happily, ya know? My only complaint about the smaller lotteries is that it happens every day. I can't afford that! 

If I take the advice above, you probably won't ever find out I've won it. Sorry! Wish me luck anyway!