Monday, May 28, 2007

In Between Days

Just back from camping. Took pictures with film-filled, waterproof camera. Will post when developed. Leave for Oregon this week. Will write about that, too, with pictures. Your patience will be rewarded. Kind of. Maybe. Perhaps.

Monday, May 21, 2007

One Weekend

The momentum of this college town can be discouraging. Milestones of youth come at regular intervals -- move-in day, the first day of class, the homecoming game, spring break, finals. This past weekend was graduation, and I was relieved to have a full schedule -- to also be moving forward -- rather than simply buying groceries and mowing the lawn.

This weekend was the type I'd hoped for since deciding on this atmosphere.

Friday Night. Drinks at a lively but kitschy bar, followed by a bad but hilarious after-hours party.

Saturday. I'm getting my haircut when my heretofore quiet barber asks, "So when does this Transformers movie come out, anyway?" nailing his audience, sparking a prolonged and earnest conversation. (And the haircut was excellent, too.) I walk around the corner, finding one friend at work in the coffee shop, and another in line. We're encircled on the patio, enveloped by 70-degree weather. I sip an outstanding glass of iced tea; an ART PARADE marches by. There's another chance meeting and a brief chat when more friends walk by the patio.

The group disperses, and I return home for a sandwich and a DVD. Another friend stops by, with Harp.

I have a smooth drive to Kansas City, no air conditioning needed, and meet two more friends for dinner, which turns into two pints of Boddington's while watching the rest of Westport shuffle in and out of worse bars. The evening ends, but I'm back in Lawrence in time for more drinks and conversation downtown.

I'm not hungover, again, on Sunday morning, and despite the grocery-purchasing and the lawn-mowing, my mood is upbeat, because I will and do play A LOT of badminton that evening, at the same house as last year, but with different graduates.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tornado Slide's Hot 9

Yesterday, I noted several poor selections in Maxim's "Hot 100" list. Today, I highlight a few women that were not included on that list, as a way of pointing out the obvious, inherent problems magazines ignore when compiling such rankings.

Before we begin, I'd just like to point out...

...How easy it was to find ridiculously attractive women that were excluded from Maxim's list. I thought it might be hard -- I was a little concerned that I would be trying to tackle a problem too big for tonight's spare time -- but I was wrong. There's a metric shit ton of attractive, famous women out there, ready for the choosing.

...Maxim nailed one selection I assumed they had missed: Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars.

...the requirements for making my list were: A.> Rather famous, B.> Not jailbait, C.> Somewhat classy, and D.> "The Fergie Factor", i.e. "One assumes that this female, unlike Fergie, is free of infectious disease". And, as I mentioned above, these women were excluded from Maxim's list.

#9: Charlize Theron

(Excluded Peers: Catherine Zeta Jones, Rachel Weisz)

Here's the thing -- a woman can't be considered one of the hottest women on the planet and then, 4 short years later, NOT be placed in this top tier, even if they look exactly the same. Granted, Rachel Weisz was super pregnant a few Oscars ago, and that might have freaked us out, and Zeta Jones has popped out a few kids with Michael Douglas, and that definitely freaked us out, but these women look the same! You can drop them a few points, but you can't just exclude them, right?

#8: Naomi Watts

(Excluded Peers: Kate Winslet, Lauren Graham)

Naomi personifies a group of women that aren't quite mind-consumingly hot. They're just hot. And, apparently, they're usually foreign.

#7: Norah Jones

(Excluded Peer: Lisa Loeb)

Maxim included Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore -- fair enough. But Ashlee Simpson and Avril Lavigne? There's no way they compare to Norah -- she comes from the seed of the world's greatest sitar player! That's top notch stuff!

#6: Norah Jones wearing a wig and playing rock music

(Excluded Peer: Fiona Apple)

Yeah, she wore a wig once. I don't really have a comment here, except that if Norah tickling a piano is nice, then Norah slamming a riff is twice as nice.

#5: Winona Ryder

(Excluded Peers: Kirsten Dunst)

Until Winona Ryder falls into a vat of bubbling acid, shouldn't there be a rule that she's in these kind of lists? Same thing goes for Dunst, only she's out once her perfect breasts start to sag. Swing low, sweet chariot.

#4: Rachel McAdams

(Excluded Peers: Rosario Dawson, Elizabeth Banks)

Wasn't Rachel McAdams THE Hollywood "It Girl" as recently as 12 months ago? Wha happened? The Family Stone?

#3: Amy Adams

(Excluded Peers: Rashida Jones, Jenna Fischer)

These Office alums are all pretty hot, which makes the Scranton branch roughly 400 billion times more attractive than my own workplace.

#2: Zooey Deschenel

(Excluded Peers: Alexis Bledel, Christina Ricci)

I guess you'd call this group "unique-looking women with dark hair", which just happens to be my thing. Case in point...

#1: Natalie Portman

Seriously? Really? For true? You've got a list of 100 hot women, and Natalie Portman doesn't make the cut? I once turned down an imaginary BJ from Scarlett Johanssen for the same chance with Natalie Portman; as a result, Mr. Jack Serpentine called me a fag. Whatever. I love you, Natalie, and I will avenge you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On Beauty

Maxim magazine. We all know it's garbage. We all know its demographic is chimps. On the toilet. Still, a magazine written by oversexed frat boys should be able to compile a decent list of "hot" women. Maxim's 2007 "Hot 100" is not that list.

It's not just that Lindsay Lohan is #1 (again, it bears repeating that this is a list for the current year, not 2004). Ashlee Simpson is #16, just one slot behind AVRIL FUCKING LAVIGNE.

I don't have time to click through the entire 100, so I'll stop listing the questionable choices there. Well, okay, one more... Fergie is in the top ten. Fergie.

I'm tired of these lists, full of "meh" women like Sarah Silverman, and wouldn't-touch-her-with-yours whores like Fergie. I'm going to make my own list.

Check back soon. Soonish.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jihad Me At Hello

I've got a question for the gentlemen arrested for plotting an attack on Fort Dix:

How retarded are you?

It's clear that there's some degree of retardation at work; in fact, your retardedness is probably off the scale. To wit...
The case began to take shape in January 2006, when an employee of a store told the FBI someone had brought a "disturbing" video to be duplicated, Christie said.

The video "depicted 10 young men who appeared to be in their early 20s shooting assault weapons at a firing range in a militia-like style while calling for jihad and shouting in Arabic 'Allah Akbar,' " (Arabic for "God is Great"), according to an FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaints.
News flash, tards: it's all digital these days. Rather than take your suspicious video to a retail outlet, how about making additional copies yourself, on a personal computer? It might have saved you some trouble -- and by "trouble", I mean "FBI informants infiltrating your group".

And your plan. Jesus, your plan...
One quote from [an informant's] alleged recordings was defendant Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer saying, "My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers. ... This is exactly what we are looking for. You hit four, five or six Humvees and light the whole place [up] and retreat completely without any losses."
Wow. Jesus. Have you guys ever even WATCHED a movie? Like, in The Matrix, when Keanu and that broad equip themselves with 1,000 guns each and storm that building where Morpheus is being held -- did you see how fucking hard that was to do? It was really, really hard! And those guys could fly and run up walls and shit! Can you fly? No? I thought so.

Did you see Goldfinger? James Bond pretty much rapes Pussy Galore in a barn... but that's not really my point. My point is that Auric Goldfinger plots to rob Fort Knox. I'm just ballparking it here, but Goldfinger's plan was roughly 40 billion times better than yours. My man Auric worked out an aerial gas attack to render the Knox's soldiers unconscious! A little more efficient than your "shoot at some Humvees" approach, no?

See, kids, there's a reason why nutjobs have been launching attacks in public places: subways, schools, and the like -- it's a little easier to accomplish, compared to bum-rushing the home of trained soldiers. It's too bad you got caught prematurely, or you could have learned that lesson on your own. That is, if you're capable of learning anything at all, retards.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Snoopy Incident

Before his family moved to Omaha two years later, Zack introduced me to strange and fascinating things: a pet ostrich in his backyard, midnight snacks, my first and only first-hand exposure to the board game "Clue". He was one of my best friends.

It's strange that I don't remember sitting next to him on the bus that morning. I'm certain he was on board -- later that morning, when the music teacher asked why I was late, I asked Zack, my only witness, to explain -- but I can't picture it. I only see his sister, Rachel, sitting in the back of the bus, near my brother, near the seats half-obstructed by the rear wheels.

Rachel and Zack were the unfortunate victims of the school district's questionable school bus route. Their home was located less than three miles from the school. Rather than being picked up as the bus approached its final stop, they were picked up first, and traveled over five miles before they saw additional passengers. My house was a ranch-style home built from brown bricks, separated from a dirt road by a long driveway, surrounded by 80 acres of sandy soil or wheat, depending on the season -- it was the bus' second stop.

The bus proceeded west after we boarded, down one of the largest hills in the area, toward a small wooden structure that barely qualified as a bridge. The short, narrow bridge spanned less than 20 muddy feet of earth, the terminus of the Cowskin Creek, and was only truly necessary in times of flood -- even then, if the rain was substantial, the bridge was submerged, and the area was impassable.

A car approached from the west, a plume of dust rising in its wake, as the bus rolled downhill, gathering momentum. The car skipped over the bridge and continued forward. As the vehicles met, each hugging their respective sides of the road, our bus hit a bump. It was our turn to cross the bridge.

Behind me, my brother began to cry.

"Mrs. M, I think Chris is hurt," a worried Rachel said to the busdriver.

"He's not hurt," Mrs. M replied. Her conviction was surprising.

She directed her attention to me, her eyes meeting mine in the wide rearview mirror perched above her head. "Was your dog out today?" she asked.

I didn't really understand the question. Our dog -- Snoopy, the beagle, named by my brother, presumably with help from our Peanuts-loving parents -- was always "out". We lived in the country, where there was no such thing as indoor pets. Cats lived outside, and dogs lived outside -- ours had a little red doghouse, complete with shingles, purchased from the lumber supply store one town over. We didn't have cattle, so there was no fence surrounding our property. Snoopy was free to roam the premises -- as far as the eye could see, really, from the wooded creek to the north to the farmland to the south (and east, and west). Snoopy ran. Snoopy dug. Snoopy chased jackrabbits. But he was never so far away that he couldn't hear you -- if you stood in the backyard and shouted, "Snoooo-pyyyyyy!!!" as loud as you could, he'd come barreling toward home in a matter of moments. So yeah, Snoopy was out. He was always out.

"Yes," I replied.

"I think I got him," she said.

My dog had been hit by our school bus. My older brother -- sitting in the back, near the rear windows, as was his right as a fifth-grader -- was crying because he saw it happen.

The rest of the ride was long and awful. My brother moved from his position in the back to a middle seat, and made me sit next to him. He didn't stop crying. I was quiet. I tried to find a silver lining -- no more arguing over who'd go outside to feed Snoopy. No more monitoring his bowl in the winter to make sure his water hadn't turned to ice. New passengers stepped past us on the way to their usual seats, unaware of the situation, curious to know the story behind the grief-stricken boy and his embarrassed, stoic sibling.

At the end of the line, the church near the school, my brother sought help from his religion teacher, Mrs. W. She guided us across the street to the town's only general store, where we were allowed to call home. Mom knew the situation, having already received a call from our very upset and apologetic busdriver. After moving Snoopy's body from the side of the road, she picked us up at the church. We headed home to bury our first pet.

Mom instructed my brother to retrieve a cardboard box from the basement. She overrode his first selection, because it was marked by Anheiser-Busch. "We need to bury him in a box of something he liked," she explained. We found something that met her approval, and headed toward the creek to bury Snoopy in the place he loved the most. I know I didn't have to dig, and I know I never saw the body. I can't remember where we buried him.

Against our wishes and to our shock, my brother and I were driven back to school at mid-morning.

* * *

Now, I feel sad for our poor old dog, who heard the bus's roaring engine and mistook it for the sound of an oncoming car on the other side of the road. And I sympathize with my brother, who lost the dog that was technically "his", and my mother, who had to supervise Snoopy's funeral and teach us the tough lesson of moving on. Most of all, I feel bad for the busdriver, Mrs. M, a sweet woman who assumed Snoopy would get out of her way, and who had to endure 40-some minutes of a fifth-grader's wails and cries as a result of her error.