Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hard Times

Terrible ticking noises started to come from my laptop late last night. A conversation with a kind Indian man at tech support confirmed that the hard drive is shot.

I back up data semi-regularly, but I did lose a few things. I lost some blog ideas and I lost some more personal documents (letters written but not sent, child pornography, etc.).

Post should remain semi-regular even without my own functioning cpu. Advice is accepted, particularly if I should buy a new laptop now, wait for this new Windows program to come out, what not to buy, and so on.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Read What I Read

The American national mythology revolves around the idea that the promise of America is best seen in the West - wide open spaces, don't fence me in, home, home on the range, etc. Metaphorically, that might be true. But economically, the real place to witness the promise of America is the Midwest, where, for most of this country's history, the products of the range were manipulated for fun and profit. When the cowboys serenaded their stray calves to "Git Along, Little Dogies," they left out the part where the little dogie is railroaded to Chicago to be slaughtered by some underpaid, overworked immigrant, en route to its manifest destiny as a New Yorker's supper.

--Sarah Vowell, Take the Cannoli

Thursday, July 28, 2005

No Ann Ardor

Really, this is the same as Lawrence. The school is bigger, and there are a disturbing number of ice cream/custard shops here given the population, but it's basically the same as any Collegetown, USA. Restaurants and shops, shops and restaurants. A river.

It's not trashy, but it smells like it. For some reason - a bad one, I think - rubbish bins and dumpsters are located near the sidewalks.

A friend once said that she didn't really mind the smell of skunks, and I think I understood her, even agreed with her. The same cannot be said of garbage. Garbage is foul, awful, horrible - well deserving of its name. It's locked in a battle with rotting flesh and feces for a #1 ranking.

Ann Arbor: get it together, and put that stuff in the alley.

* * *

I'll be home tomorrow, and while my class hasn't taught me much...fuck. I should mention something about the class.

Shawn and Phil were in a class together in college - an English class, I think. All of the students were saying their names, their majors - you know how it is. Phil encouraged Shawn to spice up his introduction, and when it was Shawn's turn, he unleashed this nugget:

"I'm Shawn, I'm a sophomore, and I'm an architecture major. Oh yeah, and I'm a Pisces, for all you ladies out there."

I thought of Shawn's line this Monday when my fellow students were introducing themselves. It's a small room with only a dozen students. I'm nearly the last to go, and I mimic Shawn's line, substituting my job info and my own Zodiac sign, axing "for all you ladies out there".

I didn't see anyone smile.

I could have used a fun night out this week, and I considered making an announcement in class, inviting everyone to meet at the brewery for some good times. In the end, I decided the odds of enjoying myself around that group were too low to risk the effort. So, last night, I sampled 4 ounces each of 9 beers, ate two soft chicken tacos, and finished my book. There was a loud guy at the bar, talking at the unlucky man to his left about his career and so on. I feel like this trip has taught me something about That Guy. That Guy is in our bars, our coffee shops, our museums, our parks. He was at Borders today, asleep in a chair, snoring. He's out of place and he's strange, but it's important to know why he's there. He's got nowhere to be, and nowhere to go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ann Arbor Arbor

Went to the Nichols Arboretum today. As in, from 1:30 until 5:00. The pamphlet says it "celebrates the dramatic topography", and I guess I'd have to agree.

I actually walked through the arboretum to UMich's north campus to see something called "The Wave Field". It was listed as an attraction on the Visitor's Bureau website, so I googled it:
A pure earth sculpture, made entirely of soil covered with grass, 'The Wave Field' collapses the boundaries between nature and art, earth and water, object and pedestal. The sculpture, which took over two years to complete, is approximately 90 feet by 90 feet square. The waves, which rise from the natural ground plane to five or six feet high, make a subtle transition into the piece, blurring the distinction between the sculpture and the space in which it exists.
I guess I'd agree with that, too. But I also might say that it's a little disappointing. I mean, two years for this?

Anyway, then I walked back through a different path in the arboretum, and came up to the dorm. I'm going to go get the sampler at one of the downtown breweries, and probably finish High Fidelity.

Bobby, thanks again for use of this camera. It makes me feel like I have a purpose, if that makes any sense.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

$40 a Day: Ann Arbor

The day starts at 8:00 a.m., and you're feeling a bit peckish. Why not treat yourself to Hostess Frosted Donettes? You already ate a handful yesterday morning, but according to the box, they're fresh until August 1st. At $2.79 for the 14 oz. box, you've got a big breakfast with a tiny price.

Cost = $2.79 divided by the 4 breakfasts you can get out of one box = $.70

Break time! The university has generously provided coffee and tea during the interval. Have a cup of English teatime, free!

Class is over, and it's time for lunch! The weather's looking a little sketchy, so why not look at shit on the internet until the showers pass?

Now that the skies have cleared off a bit, grab your backpack and head west! The art museum doesn't serve any food, but you're just looking to kill time. Check out the modern art exhibit - ooh, don't those Warhol soup cans tempt your taste buds? It's 2:30, and it's time to find a great meal!

After ambling around downtown Ann Arbor for a half hour, you decide on Gratzi, because it's open and Italian sounds nice. You're the only one in the restaurant, so why not sit at the bar? Enjoy Gratzi's huge, classical painting-style mural while they prepare a signature dish, Pollo al Marsala. It's on the happy hour menu, so it's even cheaper than you'd think! So why not take that money you saved and buy a glass of shiraz? Enjoy its redness as you taste the bread and olive oil. Feeling frisky? Eat a few of the bar's pistachio nuts! They're on the house!

Cost = $10 entree + $6 wine + tip = $19.00
Total so far = $19.70

You're kind of sleepy from the wine, plus you've uncovered every hidden treasure downtown Ann Arbor has to offer - why not trudge back to your dorm room and look at shit on the internet all evening? Sure, you're kind of hungry again around 10:00 p.m., but you'll be asleep in a few hours, and you don't get hungry when you're asleep!

Total for the day = $19.70

See you in the morning for lil' chocolate donuts!

Blessed Saint Nick

Why is failure the first thing I think of when I find myself in this sort of situation? Why can't I just enjoy myself? But if you have to ask the question, then you know you're lost: self-consciousness is a man's worst enemy. Already I'm wondering whether she's aware of my erection as I am, and if she is, what she feels about it; but I can't even maintain that worry, let alone anything else, because so many other worries are crowding it out, and the next stage looks intimidatingly difficult, unfathomably terrifying, absolutely impossible.

Look at the things that can go wrong for men. There's the nothing-happening-at-all problem, the too-much-happening-too-soon problem, the dismal-droop-after-a-promising-beginning problem; there's the size-doesn't-matter-except-in-my-case problem... and what do women have to worry about? A handful of cellulite? Join the club. A spot of I-wonder-how-I-rank? Ditto.

--Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

First, I saw High Fidelity the movie. My boss had read it and recommended the film. I loved it - it's still one of my all time, top five movies, but I never read the book until now. I read About a Boy - it was the first book I ever read in under 24 hours - after borrowing it from my boss. From there, I read Speaking with the Angel, which he edited and contributed a short story to. Then, waiting for a week to pass and grad school to start, I read the brand new How to be Good. I've read The Polysyllabic Spree, and after High Fidelity, I'll be down to Fever Pitch and his latest, A Long Way Down.

But part of me is comforted in knowing there's books of his yet to be read, and I hesitate to finish them off and be left with nothing. Even as I read this novel, I try to savor it in small bites, rationing it as best I can.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Tornado Slide's photoblogging this motherfucker at my Flickr account!

They're mostly in order, but it's not perfect. I'm so fucking sorry.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Desperate Young Teens Want It!

I've arrived in Ann Arbor. You'd think heading hundreds of miles northeast would translate into heat relief - it has, but just barely. I just spent 3 hours walking around the University of Michigan campus, and I'm soaked with sweat. It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

I've borrowed Bag's digital camera - during this evening's hike, I explored the campus, took pictures where appropriate, ate some salmon cakes, and headed back to the dorm.

The dorm, by the way, is an old building. The old building on the UMich campus you're picturing? That's precisely what it's like. Ditto the room.

Anyway, campus has been explored. Check. And walking back to the room and its window air conditioning unit, I thought, "Well, I saw the football stadium. What the hell am I going to do tomorrow?" I'm getting tired of thoughts like these.

A very short girl and a taller male stopped me on the walk home. She spoke to me.

"Are you 21?"
"Yeah, don't I look 21?"
"Yeah, you do. Will you buy us a fifth?"
(rolls eyes, looks around)
"A fifth of what?"
"Bacardi Limon."
"Yeah--" (I'm interrupted before I can complete the phrase, "Yeah, the thing about that is...)
"Oh, great! We've been waiting forever to get someone to do this."
"Where is the liquor store?"
"Right around the corner."
"What's going on tonight?"

The boys says something I can't comprehend, not being from the area, but I know the evening is going to be capped off by "hanging out".

"No drinking or driving, that's for sure," the tiny girl says reassuringly.

I walk into the liquor store/market. A fifth of Limon is $8.99.

"Can I help you, sir?"
"In a minute."

I walk around the store, looking at the food. I was carrying the camera and a box of lil' chocolate donuts I'd bought just earlier at the gas station. There is an exit sign near at the back of the store. I walk to it. There's a storeroom and a large gray door. I hate walking through doors like that - I always think and alarm will trigger if I open it, even though that's never actually happened to me.

I walk past the counter and out the front door.

"I decided not to. Bye."

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid of breaking the law. In another state. For no good reason. It was more than that, though. In the end, it wasn't going to make me feel good. In the end, I don't give a shit if those two get fucked up tonight or if they spend a sober evening playing Old Maid.

And $8.99 for a fifth of rum? That's some bullshit.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


I'll be out of town this week, but should have internet access. In other words, maybe something will pop up on the site, maybe not.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Andrea Mitchell was in the news today for the Darfur bullshit; as a result, I learned that she's married to Alan Greenspan. She was born in '46. Greenspan is 77 years old. Gross. Chalk one up to the maestro.

* * *

Switching frequencies on the drive home tonight, I paused when I thought I heard Def Leppard's "Rocket". A few moments later I realized my error - it was Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly" - and promptly changed the channel. Two things:

1.> Has anyone ever, in earth's history, confused the bridges of those two songs? It's a unique personal event - the first of its kind since last week, when I was the world's only twentysomething male drinking shiraz while winning a game of EA Sports' NCAA Football 2006.

2.> Does my "Oh no, it's NOT Def Leppard" reflex (especially considering my simultaneous rejection of Pink Floyd) disqualify me for anything important, e.g. heaven or planetariums?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Do You See What I See?

I'm between writing projects at the moment. In the meantime...junk:

I thought I would hate having an infant in the workplace, but it's actually been kind of nice. The baby gets fussy sometimes and cries, but it humanizes the office. A wailing child somehow makes work more enjoyable.

I remember back when this kid was in the womb, the mother was talking to co-workers about her ultrasound. Like Magic Eye art, ultrasound pictures always looked like nonsense to me. The picture was in black and white, and reminded me of a Rorschach test. "I'm having a butterfly!" I thought, and chuckled. Then I realized it isn't that funny. Yet here it is, typed. Huh.

I had to interpret Rorschach tests once - something about my parents' divorce. Maybe I had to have an IQ test before I could choose who to live with? Fuck if I know. It'd be nice to have that experience on video now. I think it would be fun to see how my answers then would compare to now.

What does this look like?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Oklahoma City Recap

"You promised me a fight."
"Just wait."

Brian had not yet spent an evening at J.R.'s Bar and Grill without witnessing violence. A half hour later, bareknuckled fisticuffs erupted in the parking lot of, stretching Brian's streak to record lengths. Watching from a distance was bittersweet. I appreciated the insanity of the roadhouse, but it was now clear that the Friday night police response time to the southern outskirts of Oklahoma City was poor. If the motorcyclists or the would-be frat boys (as in, they would be frat boys if they could get in to the community college up the road) inside had a problem with me, I'd be square in the middle of a vicious cockfight.

There had been precisely one non-country-western song performed by J.R.'s karaokists, and Matt wanted me to sing the second. Prior to our arrival, I had planned to sing "Nothing Compares 2 U", but the roguish atmosphere intimidated me. Imagine my surprise when the younger set danced and cheered my rendition of the Spice Girl's "Wannabe", and I escaped J.R.'s without a scratch.

We bought great, cheap seats for the OKC Redhawks game Saturday afternoon. The ticket girl was reading the new Harry Potter book - she didn't yet know who the half-blood price was yet, and believe me, I asked. On the way to the stadium that night, the three of us took a denim short census. Within 20 minutes, we counted twelve adult males sporting jean shorts. Fair enough, Oklahoma City, fair enough. Maybe we all jumped off that bandwagon a little too hastily.

A fat boy raced a skinny girl during one inning break. The fat kid put on the oversized uniform more quickly than the girl, who especially struggled with the pants.

MATT: Congratulations, you peaked. Enjoy life.

The Redhawks' effort that night was lacking, but ours was not. After enjoying fine Boddington's and Guinness', we headed to the Wormy Dog Saloon. There was a steep cover charge, yet the bar was packed, presumably to hear the live band. To my surprise, I did not hate them - it was a huge upgrade from the previous night's country karaoke, and the band even pulled off sweet covers of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and Reel Big Fish's "Beer".

MATT: I guarantee you we are the smartest people in this bar.

Several beers and shots later, that fact might have changed. One of the attractive women directly in front of was showing plentiful cleavage, but our view was obscured by an Asian male.

MATT (to me): Look, I'm sorry that tidal wave killed all those people. Now move.

On the way home, we pepper Patrick, our cabbie, with curiosity. A different cab driver had once told Brian and Matt that he had driven Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake - we asked Patrick about his famous fares. "The Riverdance guy," Patrick said, and we knew he wasn't lying.

Brian wasn't lying, either. "I left my apartment keys in the car," he said, referring to the cruising sedan parked downtown. We climb back in with our man Patrick to retrieve them.

ME: Maybe we should have just broken a window.
PATRICK: Is there a window you could break? It might be cheaper.
ME: No, only the patio's sliding door. Hey - did anybody lock the sliding door? I didn't.
ME: We could climb up and get it that way!
BRIAN: No we can't.
MATT: Well...
PATRICK: I used to do things like that, back in my younger days...
ME: Let's do it! I've done it before at Lance's place! Let's do it!

Patrick made the U-turn, and soon we were studying the building's architecture. Breaking in to Lance's second story apartment was simply a matter of standing on the lower rail and reaching up to the second floor. This building had higher ceilings. Brian lived on the third floor. There was no chance of repeating the Lance method.

It's terribly difficult to describe the first attempt, but suffice to say it required more upper body strength / Jackie Chanesque abilities than I possessed, especially half-drunk at 2:00 in the morning. My first pull-up attempt fails; standing on a pitched roof overhang thingy 2.5 stories up, I ready myself for another try.

ME (to myself): Remember, you don't want to fall to your death while trying to break in to an apartment.

I axed the second attempt. We survey the situation again.

MATT: What if you stood on the rail and--
ME: I see where you're going with this, Matt.

Utilizing a nifty, undescribable move, I manage to reach the balcony's rail. I look back at my mates and gave Patrick a fist pump. "Thanks for believing in me, Patrick!" The door slides open, and I unlock the front door from the inside. Parody of happiness, arms around each other's shoulders, our triangle jumps clockwise as we shout stereotypically happy yeas. I've got an old text message from Matt is still on my cell phone. It reads, "I like the way my boner feels in the palm of your hand".

But this little dance is the gayest thing we've ever done.

We head over to the apartment pool to celebrate. After a brief period, a cop spoils the fun. He kicks us out of the pool and moves on to harass the similarly quiet group in the hot tub.


I woke up late Sunday morning. Earlier, I heard Matt open the front door a couple times before going back to sleep. I asked him where he went.

MATT: I went to my car to get the charger for my phone.
ME: Who were you going to call?
MATT (pauses):
God. I was going to call God...
...I was going to ask Him when the joke is going to be over...
...and if He thinks he's funny...
...and if He wants to fight.
It would be the funniest thing I've ever heard if it was a joke.

The janitor at work liked to talk. Because I drink water from a plastic KC Royals cup, he assumed I liked sports and would ask me about whatever game occurred the previous night. If it was up to him, the Royals would have re-signed Carlos Beltran AND brought Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson on board. It was a stupid idea and I hated the obligatory chats with him. Still, he didn't deserve to be stabbed to death last night by his 14 year-old stepson. He said something to me last week - something bad must have happened last weekend, because he said something vague about letting go, just trying to have a good time from now on. His new philosophy didn't last a week.

Ricky Gervais created and starred in the BBC's (the original version of) The Office. He was interviewed in The Guardian:
In among all of his theories about comedy, one that he won't accept is that it must always come out of a kind of darkness, the tears of a clown. I ask him if there have been times in his life when he has felt down; has he ever not wanted to get out of bed in the mornings?

He looks genuinely appalled at the idea. 'No. No depression. Oh God, no. I mean, when someone dies I cry. But I would never say: "What is the point of life?" I know there is no point to life. The point to life is having a laugh, getting on with everyone. Full stop.' He thinks about this a bit. 'I know how lucky I am. I don't allow stress. Being out of my comfort zone annoys me a bit; you know, if I have to drive a long way or something. Then I go: "Gervais. Your Dad used to hod-carry. Fucking grow up." That always tends to work.' He giggles to himself at this admonishment, at the idea of unhappiness, and, as ever, you cannot help but join in.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

MTV Reality Programming Summary

The Real World - Some people I hope to never meet live in the same house for a while and try to "hook up".

Pimp my Ride - An individual exchanges his battered car for a car that people will intentionally batter.

The 70s House - Some people I hope to never meet live in the same house for a while to demonstrate that things have changed since the 1970s.

Next - People I hope to never meet try to "hook up".

Date my Mom - An individual determines who to "hook up" with after listening to someone's mother lie about her offspring.

Room Raiders - An individual determines who to "hook up" with after judging others' belongings and bedroom decor (more specifically, the belongings and decor others feel comfortable displaying while living with their parents).

Cribs - Wealthy individuals demonstrate what the wealthy can purchase.

My Sweet Sixteen - Wealthy families demonstrate what the wealthy can purchase for their offspring.

Diary - Celebrities speak candidly about things I already know or assume about celebrity life.

Punk'd - Celebrities are made to think they are in a bad situation, when in reality they are not.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Watermelons, Want Her Melons

Yesterday's post took a lot out of me, so today I'll be lazy.

I read a comment at Stereogum yesterday that perfectly sums up my feelings on Lindsay Lohan:
...just 2 1/2 years ago, she was thought of as a promising young actress with good comedic timing. she's just become cracked out and stupid. it's not necessarily permanent. she's 19. i'm 27 now and if you had followed me around when I was 19, the headlines would have been something like: "sex addict stoned again." That said, she seems pretty stupid. right now, it's a function of age but she better watch out.

Posted by: janine at July 12, 2005 10:25 AM
Today I found this sentence, a hidden gem at the end of an AP article:
Gallagher is best known for smashing watermelons with a sledgehammer.
I hope that's his obituary.

Reference Letter, Bar of the Court of Appeals of Maryland

1. How long have you known the applicant? ____10____ years

2. In what capacity or under what circumstances have you known the applicant? Describe any opportunities you have had to observe the applicant (for example, as a coworker, employer, or neighbor).
I've known Mr. Serpentine for many years, in many capacities. Our first meeting was by chance - he and I happened to frequent the same track, and we exchanged pleasantries one Tuesday afternoon at the lower-level ATM. I thought I'd let him in one some inside info on one of the ponies, only to find that he knew it already! "You hear that from Sully?" I asked, and he was like, "Yeah! But I had to beat it out of 'em!" We shared a good laugh about that one - you'd laugh too if you knew Sully. What a boot shaker that guy was - knew his way around the business end of a pipe. Anyway, the fix was in and the bet paid off real nice, so we agreed to go celebrate the next day. Wednesday lunch became like a regular thing with us. We'd meet up at this little place on the north side, Ricko's, and the people there would treat us nice. The food was great, real fine scotch, all that - and nobody there poked around about your business, you know? But the highlight was always after our meal - Jack swore by these one cigars, Cubans. "They just don't taste the same if you buy them here," he always said. That's why he went down himself - he knew some pilot that flew down to the island every couple of months, and he'd tag along, you know, pick up a few boxes of cigars and bring them back. But that's the thing about Jack - he'd never hold back. You were always welcome to share the bounty. So every Wednesday, after our meal, we'd head over to this spot for a cigar. He said he'd been going for years, every week, like clockwork, and after I started going I understood why. I'd never seen a park like this - it was amazing, real nice grass and trees, and it shared a chain link fence with Saint Agnes' Academy. We'd sit on a picnic bench and smoke our cigars and watch the girls run around and jump rope and frolic. Real peaceful-like, real quiet, except for the girls laughing and squealing and you know, that's a sound that you never get tired of hearing. I always looked forward to the Wednesdays.

We was more than friends, though. Over time, we started a business partnership. Well, we didn't "start" it so much as we took it over. You know, these other guys had started it, but we convinced them to give it up and leave town, pronto. They knew we meant business (literally!). I gotta give all credit to Jack on that, too. Jack knew business, and he's great at it. Like, that pilot? I never would have thought to bring him into the business. Jack had the idea, and soon enough we were selling Cubans all over the city. (The cigars, not actual Cubans, because you know, it's a lot tougher than you'd think to get the people over here. Too many headaches - where to hide 'em, where to feed 'em - and people start to ask questions. Believe you me, one shipment of those was enough.) I can't brag on the money we made too much, because really, it was all Jack's plan, and he deserves all the credit. People would call him "Brains", you know, because he was so smart in business. And I'm like, "Brains? Ain't that a switch! You used to just be the muscle!" and we'd have a good laugh on that. I guess you guys know he's so smart, though, I mean with the law school and all. He went off to school and it kind of shocked me, you know, because I knew some of his family was locked up, but I didn't think he cared. That uncle of his, after he got convicted Jack just said, "He'd better keep his mouth shut." Didn't cry or nothing. So I got the impression he didn't like his family much, but I guess he does, otherwise why would he go become a lawyer, taking up the cause like that? But that's just Jack Serpentine - all around good guy.

3. Has the applicant to your knowledge been involved in any incident which might reflect unfavorably on his or her character? If so, please describe the incident.
I'd be real surprised if you can find any eyewitnesses to an incident involving Jack.

4. Do you recommend that the applicant be admitted to the Bar based on what you know of the applicant's conduct, general moral character and standards, legal ability, honesty, integrity, and fitness?

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Video Wake Up

I watched MTV this morning. Before exploring the programming, let's take a moment to discuss the circumstances that lead a 26 year-old professional, bowl of imitation frosted mini-wheats in hand, to 7 a.m. music television. Sportscenter now features more "breakdown" segments and Crossfire-esque shouting matches than highlights. Today, GMA, and The Early Show all feature the same news stories that NPR will cover more efficiently during my commute. All the other programming, sans MTV and VH1, can't be properly viewed during a 15 minute breakfast. Until I buy a TiVo, I'm stuck with the above.

This morning's first video was Jessica Simpson's remake of "These Boots are Made for Walking". As pointless as the remake itself is Willie Nelson's appearance in the video (he's Uncle Jessie in the movie), and the video's finale - Simpson washing the General Lee in a suggestive manner. One of these days, those boots are going to walk all over you. For now, they're just going to get wet while I pour soapy water over my huge rack.

Next was Kanye West's "Diamonds of Sierra Leone". Could this be the most important rap song ever? If Kanye pointedly expresses the injustice of the diamond trade over a sick beat (I don't know if how dope the rhymes or rhythm are - I wasn't following too closely this morning, I was reeling a bit from the fact that there was a rap video discussing the African diamond market), consumer behavior may change. Think of the repercussions! "Iced out" and "Bling" exit the lexicon! And that guy that bought a bigger engagement ring than you? Turns out he just loves exploiting African workers more than you! Thanks, Kanye! Thanks, a.m. MTV!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Was Curly's Gold Just a Legend?

ME (eating 4 Krispy Kreme donuts): "What Billy Crystal movie is this?"

GAVIN: "The one where he goes horseback riding."

And after my morning viewing of City Slickers, it's no wonder they made a sequel. So many unanswered questions.

Lean Pockets

Here's Buddy Bell, about to get ejected from last night's Royals game. It was just one of the events that inflated last night's game time to 3 hours and 32 minutes. 20 runs, 33 hits, 9 pitching changes - but it was all worth it, because we redeemed our ticket stubs for two dozen free Krispy Kreme donuts, and now I can get diabetes like I always wanted.

After the game I met up with Bennett to meet the fiance. They are on a diet.
FIANCE: "I even got him to eat Lean Pockets instead of Hot Pockets!"

BENNETT (nodding): "Lean Pockets."
One thought from last night that lingers on: when is pink going to go out of style again? I'm ready.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I'm Not Laffing

Robert N. of Ringgold, Georgia. I have a question for you.

It's regarding the question posed in your Laffy Taffy submission. You know, when you asked, "What's yellow and writes?"

I didn't know what was yellow and writes. A pencil seemed obvious - and really, are those yellow or orange? Orange-yellow? In any case, not Laffy Taffy material. I thought the riddle might refer to a well-schooled Asian child or a jaundiced journalist, but again, I wasn't confident in those answers.

Imagine my surprise when I read the punchline, "A ball point banana".

Are you fucking kidding me, Robert N.?

Ball point bananas don't even exist.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Other Archives - TNG

Star Trek: The Next Generation invaded the last two days of my life.

Tuesday, as I sat in the hospital for 3 hours avoiding the books I intended to read, I absorbed afternoon television. Rachel Ray taught me how to make italian mac & cheese within 30 minutes. MTV displayed vacuous dating programs and pimped one ride. MacGyver accomplished something. The real highlight, though, was Captain Picard's efforts to collapse a temporal distortion via a static warp three different time periods. Now that's good captaining.

Today I learned that a co-worker used to have dreams about Picard. Those kind of dreams.

In honor of my TNG week, here's an excerpt of an e-mail I once sent:
The Next Generation Star Trek on SpikeTV right now has opened with a poker scene. Apparently, in the future, poker is played with chips of one color: silver. Oh, and Security Officer Worf has informed the group that "Klingons never bluff."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Take A Look At Me Now

I spent some time with my family in Wichita over the weekend. When I drive north from Wichita, I look forward to this spot on I-35, in the Flint Hills. I first noticed it during Christmas break in 2002, on the way to visit Phil and Zach and Anastasia. If you look east at the crest of a particular hill, you see a little holding pond between two large hills, framing more green, rolling hills that stretch to the horizon. I always want to share that scene with others who haven't seen much of Kansas. See? The hills? The picturesque landscape? See? Kansas is pretty!

I was listening to old mix CDs on yesterday's drive, and Genesis "That's All" came on. (Possibly my favorite Genesis song, but I guess that's not saying much.)

"Because I loved you / more than I wanted to / there's no point in trying to pretend"

I wondered - did someone dearly love this song back in 1990 for its message? Did this song help someone get through some tough times? And looking back now, do they hear "That's All" and think, "Really? That was meaningful for me? Phil Collins? The 'Sussuido' guy?"

I've got a CD full of supportive songs that will hopefully stand the test of time. I'm confident that, a half-century from now, Elliott Smith will be looked on as a James Taylor, not as a Richard Marx. And when I hear his songs, I won't be ashamed that I relied on them. God, I hope. Because if "No Name #5" sounds like Air Supply's "I'm All Out of Love", I'm going to feel like an idiot.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Other Archives - Canadian Karaoke

Paul sent this e-mail to me one year ago. Behold, his Independence Day weekend, 2004:
also, here's a tale from the karaoke mic that i thought you might enjoy. during my trip over the 4th, myself and 3 friends went up to windsor, ontario on the night of the 4th. the festivities kicked off around 4:00, and we found ourselves in a karaoke bar around midnight. for some reason, a hot girl started to karaoke the star-spangled banner. two of my friends and myself thought it was appropriate to join her on stage. so, you had 3 drunk guys and one hot chick singing the anthem to a bar full of canadians. if that wasn't enough to fuel the fire, i felt it was necessary to take the mic over to an american flag hanging on the wall after the singing was over, point to it, and say "these colors don't run" (which may also be the greatest wal-mart t-shirt of all time) while pointing to a table of canadians that had booed during the anthem. needless to say, it didn't go over too well, and we were quickly asked to leave the bar. apparently freedom of speech isn't as valued north of the border as it is here.
I'll be back with a post on Monday.