Thursday, October 30, 2003

Back to the USS...Back to the USS...Back to USS Army Academy

Technically its not going back to the US(S) Army Academy in West Point, NY, since I have never been there before. Nonetheless, I am indeed going to that exact place this weekend for a debate tournament. My hope is that I will actually have some time over this weekend or whatever to write something which doesn't detail random debate travel. Moreover, I simply need to not be traveling some weekend, I like being home.

Anyway, we are rolling ass early in the morning tomorrow. Same routine as to Vermont, driving to Rochester and then taking a bus from there. This time there are rounds on Friday, so we have to be there early, but the drive isn't as bad. I guess we can sleep all day tomorrow on the bus, thats the nice thing about not driving to debate tournament. Arguably it is the only nice thing about not driving to a debate tournament, but still its hella fucking nice.

On one non-debate tournament note, Katie and I were chilling at home watching Survivior (fucked up episode by the way, they brought the ex-survivors back as a third tribe which competed against Drake and Morgan) when they roll a Channel 4 Accu-Weather Forecast Message at the bottom of the screen. I am consciously trying not to pay attention to it, as I often do when these types of messages go during my favorite shows. All of a sudden, Katie is like "wow, that is cool." So I actually pay some attention to the whole message thing and instead of a flood warning there is an advisory about the Northern Lights.

I have never seen the Aurora Borealis, maybe that is shocking for someone from Minnesota but whatev, so we roll out to find somewhere absent light pollution to enjoy them. We drive around for a while and then I recall that at Outwater Park, right on Lake Ontario, is where they shoot of fireworks. So we get there and there is a line of other cars, validating my opinion that this was the place to go. So we hang out for a little while, standing in this scenic overlook area with 10 or so other people. A couple of them are talking about how they saw the Northern Lights earlier, like 2 hours before. Others are saying that they ended up there for the same reason Katie and I did. I had come to the conclusion that we weren't really going to see them, but it was a very pretty late fall evening, not too chilly, but sweater weather, very definitely. So we stared at the stars and enjoyed the night for a couple minutes, one of those very few situations where you wish you had brought a thermos full of hot cinnamony apple cider to share with the impomptu "gang" but you take what you get. We decided then that we were not going to be able to see them and walked back to the car. Well, it so happened that the direction of that walk pointed directly to a place in the sky which Katie was able to identify as a very small, but definitely existing, speck of Northern Lights. It didn't stand out too much from the rest of the night sky, but was a perceptible patch of lighter purple which would sparkle and fade in and out. There were some points, sparkling dots, but most of it was just a pale luminescence. It was pretty sweet. Apparently sometimes there are sweeping lines and swirls of different colors against each other. I can't imagine how incredible that would be.

Anyway, from what I have heard there is a chance they will still be around tomorrow night, rock on solar flares.



Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Plus de Chicago

So anyway, Saturday evening rolled around, and it was time for food again, as it often is. I spent the afternoon juding, but I had one round off so I strolled around Michigan Avenue with Dave and Amy (coaches at Mac). It was a very nice day so I wasn't cold or hot, if I would have had something to eat it would have been perfect. Regardless, I hadn't been there in a long time, and all the shops are kind of neat. I didn't have much desire to go into the Gucci store or anything, but it was much cooler to see them now that I have some appreciation for the quality and expense that actually goes into the whole deal.

I ended up judging the folks from Concordia, as a matter of fact, those folks specifically being Dan Faulty-sack and Nikki. I think Nikki was actually like the second person I saw when we walked into the school, but it was still a little weird when I found out I would judge them. Technically there is obviously no conflict. I mean, I have been friends with Nikki, but obviously there is no restriction against judging your friends. Still, it seemed awkward to be judging someone who you have known as a "peer" for so long. I will admit that they were pretty good, not incredible, but pretty good. They are all psychoanalytically kritiky now, as is hip, but they seem to have a decent understanding of the material. From what Nikki told me she is doing all of her collegiate work on Zizek (I don't know how much work you can do on Zizek when you go to Concordia and don't have a professor in 200 miles that can explain the objet petit a (then again, maybe I am being harsh, I don't know who teaches around or even at Concordia, I shouldn't exclude the possibility that there is someone there who can figure it out) but still) and its obvious that Faulty-sack likes to read this shitty.

I mean, you can only know so much about Lacanian shitty when you don't have a professor who knows more than you do, but still, they at least made some distinctions between the symbolic and the name of the father and the real and some shit. I mean, there are some confusions there, but I wouldn't expect any less. With the exception of this woman from NYU they were the most impressive people on Zizek debating this year. Maybe they were tied with the Rochester team, still, you get the point.

In the quarters debate I ended up judging the next morning there were three people from Minnesota who I knew, and two whom I had routninely judged against each other. Nikki and Dan from the dot faced off against Andrew James of Edina fame and his unnamed partner. Mr. James also appears to be a Zizek debater and rolled nine minutes of it against the folks from Moorehead. He got beat, not like viciously or anything, and not so much on the substance of the debate as simply because he was against two better debaters, with more experience and such. It was weird though, I felt totally comfortable with them, like the other two dudes on the panel, who were in all reality much more qualified to be on a panel at a college tournament, were in fact oout of place. Regardless, it was a quality weekend at least on that front. Some entertaining but easily decideable debates which didn't require any thought or argument on my behalf.

On the negative side of this whole proposition, it seemed a little sketch that I judged open debates all weekend and indeed high level open debates for the most part (a couple of undefeated open rounds on Saturday) when I have no qualifications and no legitimate means to be there while several much more qualified women (Katie, Natalie Woodward, and Amy) were all judging novice for the most part. I understand that some of this scheduling was difficult because all of the people mentioned were struck against Macalester, but so was I. I can even understand my being in half these debates, but all of them versus none of them seems more than a little off. Katie and I both thought about saying something, but we weren't exactly sure how to go about asking "Excuse me, did you purposefully put the drastically overqualified women in the pool in novice because you wanted the chicas judging the ninos or what" without being pretty rude to a potentially random or accidental scenario. Its not like there were no women judging in open, but it was weird.

Besides the whole debate thing we also ate dinner on Saturday. I mean, we ate dinner on Friday too but it wasn't that interesting. We went to the PF Chang's down the street and while I enjoy PF Chang's I don't think that I would ever select it as the place to go. I mean, if I want Chinese food I will roll to a full fledged Chinese restaurant. If I want Americanized Chinese food I will go to Leann Chin. I suppose that if I were in a city that was not Minneapolis and I had an incredible desire for Americanized Chinese food than I might consider going to PF Changs. Fundamentally, however, their food is just good, its not great. It is however, more expensive. Its not ridiculously so, its like 11 bucks-13 bucks for a dinner entree, but that is more than you pay at a random Chinese take out place. The more significant and related problem is that there isn't enough food. When I order General Tso or Egg Foo Young I expect to either leave fucking stizzedy stiz-nuffed or with leftovers in a little white foldy box. At PF Changs Katie and I each ordered an entree and as per usual Katie ate only about half of hers. Meaning I had 1.5 full entrees at PF Chang's and still would have been very happy to eat a considerable amount more. Had there been a McD's on the way home I would have stopped in for a value meal. I think I still would have ordered the number four, but probably not supersized it. I mean, I might have supersized it, but more to get the free Best Buy bucks than anything else.

Regardless, on Saturday night we walked around looking for somewhere to go. It was an annoying time to go out looking for food, especially in the area which we were. There are plenty of restaurants, but also plenty of tourists and general homeboys-girls who wish to enjoy a night on the down fucking town. We ended up at a Chicago institution anyway, that being Pizzeria Due (the accross the street overflow version of Pizzeria Uno obviously) and enjoyed some delectable pizza. I must admit that as the years go on I learn to love deep dish Chicago style shitty more and more. We rolled a spinach pie and it was hella good. All garlicy and cheesy and shit. Even Katie enjoyed it, though she also had a piece of the pepperoni that the debaters brought home from Giordano's down the street.

So, yeah, that was Chicago.



Monday, October 27, 2003

Chicago--Chicago (pt. 1)

So we got up early ass early on Friday and made the long but relaxing drive to the city of windy-ness. I actually slept for an hour or so of the drive and Katie did the same. Besides the long stop right off the Indiana toll road that seems to be an intrinsic feature of Chicago traffic we rolled pretty easily. We had both breakfast and lunch on the road at various McDonald's restaurants, both because who doesn't love McBreakfast (specifically the McGriddle of course) and because McD's has the Monopoly game again. I have been explaining to people for a while now that I have been relentlessly playing the Monopoly game since I was very young and have yet to win anything besides various free food items. Pretty much a free drink, a free small fries, a free apple pie, this is about it. One time Maroney won like 20 bucks in the year they gave out cash instant win prizes, but that was the coolest McD's contest experience I have ever had. At the very least this year I have already gotten two Best Buy Bucks, which means I can at least get a discounted DVD. I shouldn't say just me, Katie has contributed as well. We are two-thirds of the way towards winning the Plasma TV, I think it will be mine shortly.

Anyway, I typically have a severe difficulty being in big cities. I mean, I'm not in many big cities, pretty much the only one I am ever in is Chicago. Its not being in big cities really, its that I don't like being downtown for the most part. I mean, I utilize the downtown when necessary. I went to shows at First Avenue and dinner at Manny's and drinking at Grumpy's or Nye's or late night stops at Sex World etc. I don't have a down-town phobia to such an extent that it interferes with my daily life, but I vastly prefer psuedo-downtown areas. By that I mean places like Dinkytown or Uptown or much of St. Paul or Evanston, Illinois. There are commercial establishments within walking distance, you probably should have a car, but you can go grab a bite to eat, or a pack of smokes, or something to drink, or a cup of coffee, without needing one. They are fun and trendy and stuff, they have bars that you can walk to, but they aren't teeming with people. The streets aren't difficult to navigate, it isn't literally fucking impossible to park.

Regardless, this weekend got me a little more used to the whole prospect of the city. There are places which are tolerable and once things are centrally located enough its not as annoying. The problem is primarily that I don't know that I could handle the city without a fuckload of money, enough that I could live somewhere nearby where we were staying this weekend, in a place that would allow you to escape at least from the portions of the city that could sometimes annoy me. I mean, we were staying a fucking block off Michigan Avenue right next to Marshall Fields, its not exactly random real estate. Regardless, it was a good time. It doesn't much matter, because its not likely that I will end up with a gig in the City that is Windy, but you never know.

The things that I really love about Chicago were prominent in the two days I spent there. My lunch on Saturday was for the most part predetermined, since while Vienna Beef is rare in Minnesota, it is absolutely non-existant in Buffalo. Right around the corner from the tourney location on Saturday was a restaurant whose delicacies were surpassed only by their name. That joint was the legendary " Mister J's Dawg and Burger" and I spelled it exactly as it was on the sign. Mister was spelled out, it wasn't Mr. J's. I don't know how long that place has been around and whether or not it was hip to spell Dawg in such a fashion at that point, but it rocks. In fact, I might go so far as to say it roxxors.

Anyway, it was a trashy little joint with bars on the windows and grease stains on everything. You could skate on the floor in your sneakers as the layers of fat have condensed on the floor over the many years of grilling greaseball burgers and dumping baskets of hot cut fries in the windowed fry container that sits on the counter. I looked at the cheap diner style menu (you know, the ones with the pepsi symbol that are white with little blue letters that slide around on them) and eventually found what I needed. I ordered up the big-ass meal, you know, the one designed specifically for me. It was two delicious Vienna Beef hotdogs, a large fries, and a large Pepsi. It was only like four bucks, four fucking bucks, for a fantastic meal. They load those babies up to, I love being able to respond with the classic "everything" when they ask what I want. Mmm-hmmm. Tasy beef sausages topped with mustard, onions, pickles, tomatos, and peppers. Ja reuce, it gets me pumped up to even think about it.

Anyway, I intended to continue this further, but I am too fucking tired. I will return at some other point, likely late tomorrow, to describe the tournament and the remainder of the weekend.



Thursday, October 23, 2003

Windy Style

I know I have only recently finished describing last weekend's adventures, but I will just let you know that this weekend will be spent in Chicago. A city almost as famous for its hot dogs as it is for its pizza. Don't get me wrong, I dig Chicago, I have occassionally had some good times there. Regardless, we are going for another debate tournament, and of course, to hang around with Katie's amigos from the cities.

It should be a good time, so I am looking forward to it, even if the drive is a little long for my taste. Nothing much has happened this week, pretty much just school and shitty. I mean, we did some grocery shopping, but I am pretty certain that you are not interested in the details of that adventure. Imagine like 9 pages of this "first we went down the soup aisle, we looked at a number of types of soup, but the Campbell's Chunky was on sale, and in all honesty I would prefer Campbell's Chunky anyway. So we chose a couple different cans, Katie liked New England Clam Chowder but I went for Garlic and Herb Chicken with Potatoes..."

You get the point, I have done shit like that, but I won't do it to you right now. Maybe I will write later or something, but for the time being I am going to pack my shit up and go to Chicago. The Pack has a bye this weekend, so we will be sending them extra mojo in preparation for the Sunday night game to boot off the November season.



Wednesday, October 22, 2003


To continue on the train of this past weekend. I woke up on Saturday morning and looked out the window while I was brushing my teeth. It wasn't a sunny morning, but it was a normally overcast NorthEastern day. I had to go outside and check out the area, so I packed my shit up quicker than the rest of the folks and made my way to the porch. It was a fantastic example of exactly what a porch is supposed to be by the way. There were two classic looking benches on either side of the door, with untreated wood "tables" in front of them both bearing a big black ashtray. It was one of the world's best smoking environments, I felt awful that I couldn't satisfy it with what it needed. Instead of smoking I just enjoyed the scenery.

Let me tell you, the scenery was incredible, just mindboggling, and its not like we were in the most beautiful place in Vermont, not by far. We were out in the country, in a farmhouse situated on 37 acres, located on a dirt road, surrounded by hills and trees and fields. Both in front of and behind the house were those perfect deer locating areas, where there is a small grass patch and then the tree line. I didn't see any deer there, but I only got to look at the area for about 25 minutes total. I am pretty sure you could throw a block of salt out there and draw them even closer, but its the type of area they will end up in anyway. I did however, get to see a big flock of turkeys a little way down the dirt road. They were walking around, as they tend to do, but I wasn't quite close enough to hear them gobble. Regardless, the whole turkey thing emphasized the idyllic nature of Vermont, it was a good quick summary of the area.

I haven't yet mentioned the trees, what President Bartlett so gracefully referred to as "leaf peeping," and let me tell you, the trees really are incredible. This is coming from someone who has lived in Minnesota their entire life and has seen their share of beautiful fucking leaves. The difference between Minnesota falls and New England falls is pretty clear though, we have a much better selection of oranges but they kick our ass with red. I mean, there are some colors of red in Vermont I have never before imagined to exist in nature. Regardless, that isn't the thing that really sets Minnesota and Vermont apart, its the hills. The one thing that I have very very little experience with is hilly areas. Neither Minneapolis or Buffalo is exactly bluff-filled mountain terrain. The thing about hills is that they have this incredible ability to display trees in rows of beautiful colors.

Alright, lunch time. I know I rarely do any of this writing shitty before lunch, but I am now. Eat-diddly-eat-deat.



Tuesday, October 21, 2003

My Rats Come In Packs Like Sammy and Dean Martin...

I have been oot for the past several days because Katie and I took her debate team up to Burlington, Vermont for the weekend. It was actually two of her teams, a raw novice squad composed of two kids who are hella smart and pretty cool, and the JV team she also took to Rochester last weekend. We were fortunate enough to get a ride up there with the folks from Rochester, who were taking a giant coach bus thing. That solved the biggest problem with the weekend, which is that I would have had to drive the 8-ish hours home after the end of the tournament on Sunday night. Instead, while it wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world, we got to let driver dude do his job and get some sleep in the bus.

It was unfortunate that on the way to Rochester to get on the bus, we all had to ride in my car, so that there were four kids in the back. Thankfully Adam is a small one, so they were in less pain then they could have been. Regardless, it sucked that our drive up there was at night, because I think the whole area would have been beautiful. The folks from Vermont were kind enough to supply us housing, so we stayed in this absolutely stunningly gorgeous farmhouse out in the Vermont countryside. We found out later from speaking to the woman who lived there that it was 198 years old and it was just gorgeous. Old fashioned fireplaces and hardwood floors and just incredible shit overall.

I'll say more about the tournament and the Vermont experience later on, but at the moment I am still involved in catching up on the tremendous amount of sleep I have lost over the past three days.



Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I Don't Mean to Go Off on a Rant Here, But...

Jim Rome was talking about the Cubs today, not surprisingly, since everyone in sports was talking about the Cubs today. As of yet the declaration by every commentator has been absolutely correct, this dude should not be faulted. First of all, everyone in that fucking stadium would have done the exact same fucking thing if they were in his place. A ball is coming at you, you reach out and try to grab it. Look at the fucking picture of the dude, there are like 5 fucking arms reaching for the ball, they just didnt happen to be the one dude who actually hit it. If you are at a game and a ball is hit towards you it is both instinct and drilled into every kid who goes to a baseball game wearing their glove. Part of the fun is catching foul balls, thats just how it goes. Dude did nothing wrong, this happens 100 times a year, it just happens to be a big deal because it was in the NLCS.

Secondly, lets blame the people who actually fucked up the game. Moises Alou who threw a fit like a fucking 6 year old because one of HIS FUCKING FANS, one of the people who pays him, who was there to watch him, tried to catch a ball. It wasn't ruled interference, the left field ump was right there, so go back to your position and get ready for the next pitch. Don't throw the concentration of your entire team off, don't direct their attention to left field, when you are five outs away from the World Series. Focus on the next fucking pitch, the next ball that will be hit to you, where you throw it, your timing, etc. Lets blame Alex Gonzalez , who fucked up a routine infield grounder that could have been a double play ball. At both of the points I just mentioned the Cubs were winning by at least two runs, they had two opportunities to not fuck up and they blew them both. The team fell apart, the crowd fell apart, and the poor dude who happened to be sitting in the first row had no role in the Cubs loss last night, not his fault at all.

I am glad that I am not a true Cubs fan today, because I would be embarassed, really truly embarassed. This dude is one of you, come on, don't be a dick. Don't yell at this poor dude, don't post his picture and his name on the internet. Shame on the fucking Chicago Sun-Times, by the way, for mentioning his name. The dude didn't show up to work today, and while we shouldn't even know that because why the fuck do we even know the dude's name or care where he works, and how fucking awful is that, the dude has a legitimate fear about going to work today, about leaving his house. Not that it is safe to be there either, however, since people have been giving out the dude's number and address and etc. Its fucking sickening. I have felt moments where I was ashamed to be a fan of one organization or another and it sucks.

I am not assaulting you, individual Cubs fan, and for the most part everyone outside Illinois is exempt. But the people in Chicago standing around the water cooler blaming this poor dude, the people at the newspaper interviewing his neighbors and his dad, the people with websites who are studying and annotating the photos, ya'll need to suck a big fucking fat one. Get a clue and deal with the fact that your TEAM folded last night, this guy just happened to be in the seat.

I still hope the Cubbies win tonight, I really want them to be in the World Series, both because I am rooting for them and because I want this dude to not be the story anymore. If they don't however, Chicago fan, I am gonna be pissed, really truly pissed, if I even once here you blame this guy. If even one thing happens to this dude, I don't care how much my fiance's family loves this team, I am not going to be able to cheer for them.

Finally, let me send a big FUCK YOU to Dusty Baker, for criticizing this guy. Be happy I don't have a say over this team, because I would call the dude, make sure he had fantastic seats to tonights game (and for that matter, probably tickets for life), have Dusty apologize to him for even thinking about saying what he did, and then telling the city of Chicago that if anything bad happened to this guy, to his house, to his dog, to his yard, to his friends or family, that the Cubs would be forfeiting game seven.

I am a pretty big sprots fan, I understand loving the game and being passionate and getting pissed off and yellign and being angry. That is all good. There is a line not to be crossed however, when you let the game matter more than another person's well-being, its gone way too fucking far. It is not important enough, even if this dude singlehandedly jacked the Cubs up the butt, its not worth this.



Tuesday, October 14, 2003

A Sailor's Life Is the Life For Me

I know that the line in the song which my title is based off is "I never ever ever do a thing about the weather cause the weather never ever does a thing for me." I know that is the case, but I always remember it as "I never ever ever give a shit about the weather cause the weather never ever does a shit for me." I have no idea why it is that I don't change the second "do a thing" in the song, but I don't. For some reason that song was in my head for about half the day today, which is odd, because for the other half of the day I was busy reading and studying Lacan and Badiou.

Regardless, I am glad that I am not a hardcore Cubs fan tonight. They were looking alright until the 8th inning, which may have been the most disastrous inning in baseball history. 8 runs, they gave up 8 runs. While I am not a lifelong Cubs fan I am cheering for them and even my casual fandom kind of hurts based on the last 20 minutes. I can, however, really easily relate to the situation, assuming that the Cubs do not make a significant comeback this evening, since my Pack coughed up a lead of even greater proportions (maybe 17 points in football is about the same as 3 runs in baseball, I am not knowledgeable enough of the great American pastime to really say-by the way, is that how you spell pastime, because it doesn't seem right, but pasttime seems much more wrong and past-time seems fucked up, hyphens aren't really American anyways). If they lose this series in game 7 at Wrigley Field tomorrow I will feel horrible for the people of Chicago, specicically those Cubs fans related to the lovely Ms. Kauf.

Regardless, so I didnt have any coffee today and I think I am paying for it right now because I am tired like a motherfucker after a long ass day of motherfucking. I did my normal Tuesday routine, up at 7, Sportscenter, teaching, Buffy, class, break, class, home dinner, TV. I did, somewhere in the middle where I was not sining little Popeye tunes to myself, manage to finish grading a sizeable amount of papers and I think to more thoroughly understand the initial discussion of the Freudian Das Ding. I am absolutely sure that none of you give a fuck about that, but still, that is what I did.

On a briefly serious note, my parents have yet to generate a guest list type thing for our wedding, like which people are supposed to be invited and such, and that sucks. I wish they would get on top of it. :)

Back to less serious notes, have you ever thought of what would happen if squirrels were renamed badgers. I mean, as we all know from reading Saussure, the actual signifier has no specific connection to the signified, but still, it would be confusing. Someone would be like "Oh what a cute little badger over there, its getting so close to us, I wonder if we can feed it" and I would fucking scream because while badgers (the real badger, not the renamed squirrel badger) are indeed cute they are also ferociously violent and often for no good reason. Since my preference is always not to be mauled by a cute animal rather than attempt to feed it, I simply prefer that we continue calling a squirrel a squirrel, but still, it would be fucked up right.

Finally, let me conclude with an observation I made while watching a Papa John's commercial the other night (several discussions of Papa John's have occured earlier on this blog). The commercial is for Hawaiian style pizzas of which, only one of the two is actually Hawaiian. I guess I just assumed that Hawaiian pizza refers to pizza with pineapple on it, because otherwise I am completely out of the loop. These, however, are not based on pineapple and instead are focused around BBQ chicken, which is hella good but not entirely Hawaiian, at least as far as I know. Don't get me wrong I am not dissing Hawaiian BBQ, even though I think that technically the practice of roasing a whole pig in an underground pit would most often be considered Hawaiian BBQ. Of course, you would likely be able to do that with a chicken or with some chicken breasts or whatever too, but nonetheless, BBQ chicken is no more Hawaiian than my ass is German and let me tell you, Mein assen nichte eine Berliner.

The point of this is simply that the BBQ chicken pizzas (one with bacon the other with pineapple) which are advertised as Hawaiian contain a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen. What does it say, you might ask. Specials may not be available in Hawaii. Ja reuce.



Monday, October 13, 2003

I am Constantly Being Fooled By Rocks

I just received an incredible email offer. JLo's personal assistant wants my input on whether or not she should remain with Ben Affleck. So already, I have received a compliment, right. I mean, I am no Alicia Silverstone as Miss Match or anything, but I guess I know a thing or two about relationships if someone as significant as Jennifer Lopez wants my advice. I mean, I guess its technically her assistant who wants my advice, but I figure that she doesn't go far outside of Jenny from the Block's influence. I mean, I know the last three sentences have started with "I mean" but I mean, ccme on.

Beyond that, however, there is something that extends even further. Not only does JLo want my advice, she is willing to enter me into a drawing for 500 dollars just for answering that one simple question, is she better off with or without Ben Affleck. I can only assume that this 500 dollars is out of JLo's own pocket, some sort of a reward or bounty to be paid to her most worthy advisors.

So here is what I think I am going to say (technically, I only get the option to mark one of two little check boxes, one next to an image of Bennifer in a heart and the other of the same picture, only the heart is ripped in the middle, so that Ben and iffer are on differnt sides of the ripped heart, very clever): Jennifer, JLo, Jen, Jenny, baby, we have known each other for a while now. I remember those long nights in Brooklyn, sitting out on the step, sippin a bottle of Crys with Beyonce, Ja-Rule, and Ludacris. Those people who don't know us from those days might say that all the hip hoppers I just mentioned aren't even from Brooklyn, but what do they know.

One night I remember we took the low rider out so we could cruise down to the club. Your booty was all huge and shit and you were wearing some stupidly wrapped bandanna around your head. I looked in your face and told you the same thing then that I will tell you today:

"Jennifer, JLo, Jen, Jenny, baby: some day you will star in an awful movie with one of the Fiennes boys. It will be awful, truly truly horrible. I will go to see it and thus contribute seven more dollars to the Fund for the Destruction of All that is Good About the World. You will wear this dress, and though everyone will say it is beautiful it will actually be fucking hideous with this godawful bow thing going on in the middle of your chest. Its too horrible, I can't think about it anymore. The point is, if someone like Ben Affleck, the worst actor of our time who would currently be night manager of a Mass Turnpike Roy Rogers were it not for Matt Damon but is instead incredibly rich, though no one will ever be able to explain why based on the huge piles of shit that he turns out year after year after year even going so far as to drag decent actors like Samuel Jackson down with him into the pit, if he will stick with you through your shit, go with him. Ride him as far as it will go because the both of you are only a bottle of Johnny Walker away from your E! True Hollywood Story."

Thats my story, and I am sticking to it.



Sunday, October 12, 2003


It was absolutely sickening. The Pack was rolling for 3 quarters of hardnosed asskicking football today. Leading what I would have said, until today, was the best team in the NFL by 17 points with 15 minutes to go. Ahman Green was on-fucking-mark and Brett was back to true form. He gave up one pick, but it wasn't his fault at all, it hit Driver in the air and just got fucking tipped up. That is the truly shitty part about this, not just that we lost. I went into this game expecting that we would come out 3-3 and thinking that in all actuality, that wasn't too bad based on what I thought about the team coming into the season. But today the offense looked fucking good. I mean, fucking good. The defense fell apart at times, but the KC offense is solid. We shut down Priest Holmes for the most part, and with the exception of Brett Favre he might be the best offensive player of the last 5-10 years (I mean, Randy, Marshall Faulk, you can make arguments, but whatev). When you concentrate that hard on one person you will leave some open receivers, and KC played off that. Obviously you pick your battles against a team like that, and with the exception of the drives where we just caved, I was happy with the Packers decisions.

It just sucked that when we really needed something, when we needed a big 3rd down stop or a big tackle for a loss or a big touchdown or a big catch, for the most part, we fucking buckled. At least we did in the 4th quarter. Overall, we outplayed the fucking Chefs today, we really did, going into OT they had like 35 more passing yards and we had like 140 more rushing yards. We had almost 10 more first downs, spread the ball like a motherfucker, and without a scoreboard or a good memory no sane person watching this game could have imagined that the Chiefs were in it. Nonetheless, we lost. We didn't get screwed or anything, we just lost. It really sucks to outplay a team which is this good and end up blowing a win that would have been this big.

Enough, I refuse to further complain about my Pack-related woes for the day. I am watching the Bills get slaugtered and while I generally cheer for, rather than against Buffalo, Bledsoe is just getting hacked and its kind of amusing. Finally, in sports news, the Cubs are involved in a game 5 situation against the Marlins, at least a Cubs World Series appearance will redeem the underdogs.

I realized after finishing that paragraph that I have very little besides sports to discuss. I watched football and baseball all day yesterday. The only other interesting thing Katie and I have done was to visit a cute black-and-tan dauchshund at the pet store next to Damon's today. Katie went down there and saw it during half-time when she went for a walk, so we stopped by to see how much he was and maybe play with him for a while. Katie felt bad for the little dude, being in his cage, and she really wanted to name him Snickelfritz, based on her (somewhat resaonble) desire that all daschunds have German names. Katie wanted me to agree that we could get him, luckily, since he was a wiener-dog puppy at a pet store, I was simply able to agree that if we could possibly buy him we would. It turned out that this particular daschund must have had magical powers or something, because while I expected him to be 4-5 hundred dollars (far more than we can afford) he was nine-fucking-hundred-fucking-dollars. That is ridiculous, by the way, absolutely ricockulous. They will probably sell it too, someone will give them damn near a thousand dollars for a dog that you could get for a couple hundred from a breeder. It wasn't a perfect show-quality example of the breed either. I mean, it was a cute dog, but he had a spot on his face. He wouldn't have won you any money.

I like my animals, I really want a persian cat, knowing that I will pay 300 or so dollars for one when I could easily get a non-Persian kitty whenever I wanted one for 50 bucks at the pound. I am willing to pay a little more than the average folk for a really sweet pet, but 900 for a wiener-dog. Even the baddest dawg has to work pretty hard to be worth a g. I mean, a little mini-dog couldn't bring me my slippers (assuming 1) that it wanted to and 2) that I had any slippers to be fetched) it couldn't fetch the paper ( assuming 1) that it could get into my mailbox and 2) that I got the paper), it can hardly fetch a raquetball. Though I must admit, that wiener dogs chasing after raquetballs that they tend to overpursue and then have to backtrack for, which requres spinning thier tiny little legs, is fucking adorable. Regardless, our apartment remains wiener-dog free, at least for know. Over and oot.



Friday, October 10, 2003

What Is This Feeling Takin' Over

I am writing my annual Friday night, Katie is forcing me to watch What Not to Wear entry in the bloggedy-bloop. The woman who is on the show tonight looks alot like one of Katie's old roommates, not identical, but similar in a shocking number of ways. Anyway, my mouth hurts much less today than it has for a long time. I don't even think that my mouth actually hurts, rather that my jaw is still just a little sore and the tissue on the left side of my face is a little raw. For the most part however I am back to eating normally and able to concentrate on things again. I sat and read a couple hours worth of the Ethics of Psychoanalysis today and wasn't constantly distracted from Lacan's flagrant use of Greek words which I can't always keep straight by face pain.

My day was actually surprisingly productive. I woke up fairly late and Katie wasn't really feeling well. I made us some small lunch type foods and then Katie ended up taking a nap. I read Lacan, watered my Bonzai tree, and cleaned up the living room. I did a load or so of dishes. I did a load of laundry, since Katie was all but completely out of underwear (I would explain further, because she wasn't technically out of underwear, but I think the fact that I have already discussed Katie's lacy underthings in a semi-public bloggeriffic fashion for this long may result in her smacking me) while I wrote a bunch of emails that needed to be done.

We are getting down to solid brass tacks on the whole wedding situation. Karly (Katie's sister) toured the reception facility for us and the ballroom they want us to use at the Hyatt is fantastic. Its not the ones we use for Edie, so it doesn't feel like an extention of the tournament. At the same time, the decor of the hotel is more or less uniform. I mean, the Nicollet Ballroom (which we will use) has darker wood fixtures and generally just looks classier, more St. Paul. It is also more set out from the hotel and restaurant traffic and while the Hyatt's location at the far end of the Skyway and the Nicollet mall often relieves the foot traffic burden, you can never tell whether or not Manny's and Oceanaire traffic will be heavy, especially on a Saturday night (Saturday night). The woman at the Hyatt told us that the majority of the hotel will be occupied by Nurses, attending the American Nurses Association conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I don't know if Nurses will be a rowdy party sort or not, I would imagine that every significant sized group has a younger hard drinking base and probably some older people who want to get trashed as well. Spike's-the sports bar in the Hyatt is open til two, just like all bars in Minnesota apparently are now. Our reception won't run any longer than that, probably a little shorter, so we shouldn't have to worry about post-bar drunken wanderers in our area. That also means that if our reception finishes up before 2 or so we can have any late drinkers stop by for something to tide them over.

That is also the nice thing about having the reception in a hotel, not having to worry about as many people driving. I mean, I know not everyone will stay in the hotel or anything, but a number of people will and Katie and I hope to have at least a couple rooms that our friends can utilize. I think there is little question that the wedding party will have rooms at the Hyatt, though we don't know exactly who they will be yet. Another thing we have to nail down.

We watched the majority of E!'s (on an awkward side note, what do you think is the proper grammatical construction for the possesive form of E! I mean, I know that grammarians probably had not prepared for the application of the rules of possesivity to television networks whose names contained emphatic punctuation as the concluding character, but I would imagine, nonetheless, that Microsoft Word's Spelling and Grammar Check would have a fucking field day with the previous sentence, and, for that matter, this particular run on sentence, which it would actually just call a "Long Sentence-Consider Revising" but you get the picture) countdown of steamy Hollywood hookups. They were not as crazy and steamy as it seems that they should be. I mean, there were a couple, like Antonio Banderas and Mel Griffith repeating sex when dicussing their lives together, but a majority of them were just remarking that certain people had dated. This is what happens when you try to make the list 101 Juicy Hollyood Hookups.

If you hold that list to like 20 Juicy Hookups then you stop just listing people who have dated each other in the past to fill out that shit. I mean, Dennis Rodman and Yasmin Bleeth's 5 day crazy transvestite buttsex romp in Vegas is a fucking hell of a lot more juicy than Gavin and Gwen. I mean, they are a good Hollywood couple, but not really in the true spirit of the countdown. You can do a countdown of the 101 Best Ever Hollywood Couples, but that is a different fucking list. An elephant could tell the difference between those two lists and elephants can't tell the difference between peanuts and Valleyfair commemorative baseball caps. Trust me folks, that makes this shit easy.

I also think it is ridicuolous the people who they hire as commentators to work on these things. I mean, I know that I am not a professional comedian. I don't think that I would be a successful comedian, I don't really have the look or the outrageousness. If I had decided in high school that I really wanted to put my mind to becoming a successful comedian or a comedy writer or whatever, I could probably pull it off. Would I work my way up to Conan or John Stewart or Jack Black status, probably not. Would I ever get beyond writing for a WB comedy, probably not likely either, but who knows. I think I can be a funny dude and when I get rolling with someone else we can just fucking go, I mean go on and on and on. Plus, how fucking sweet of a job is that shit. At least part of the time your job consists of getting intoxicated and talking about shit to generate ideas. I mean, I suppose not all comedians generate their material in that fashion, but I am pretty sure that the ones I really like tend to do so. Anyway, if only I had some credential. I mean, I could be the professor dude who has written some crappy book on pop culture and is always used for stock quotes on VH1 or E! or whatever. Maybe I could get a job consulting for Celebrity Justice or something. Until then I should probably finish the Ethics of Psychoanalysis.



Thursday, October 09, 2003

Let By Gones Be By-Gone and So On and So On

I got up this morning and my mouth actually felt great. There was, for the most part no pain whatsoever, and not even much soreness. I have been trying to make sure that I was able to get by without serious painkilling, so I did not take either the big ass Ibuprofin or the Vicodin before I went to school. I showed up there about 9 and put all the papers I had graded into the computer. I hadn't said anything, but I hadn't thought of doing so either.

Then of course, I started my class. I had a good deal of talking that I had to do in order to make up for the class that we missed on Tuesday. I was rocking and rollin with so much soul that I could rock till a-hundred-and-one-years-old until about 10 am. Then my mouth began to be sore. After another 5 or so minutes I was in pretty severe pain. I did my best to turn the conversation over to the students, even though it didnt really make any sense in terms of advancing the plan of the class. I mean, I always like the students to have input in the class, but they often don't know in which directions they should be going, so I help steer the conversation. Regardless, I let them talk before I had really indicated what they should be talking about and I let the class discussion continue a while longer than was likely educationally necessary in order to take a rest. I ended up dismissing the class about 10 minutes early because I just couldnt handle it. I mean, come on, no one should be expected to deal with that kind of pain and continue talking. I am a person who is able to handle silence when necessary and certainly when the alternative is pain.

Anyway, I sucked it up and headed to my office for a couple of hours. I watched the rest of the first episode of Angel season 5, which was solid. I went to debate practice with Katie last night, so I am still downloading episode 5-2, but I should have it fairly soon. I realized that I left my book at home, so I graded about half the papers I got that day before coming home. Besides that the day has been a series of nice but brief things.

Katie went out and bought some My Little Ponies. They are going to be a bridesmaid thing, but have not been executed yet, I will let you know more later, when she sends them out or something.

We did some other shopping. Katie bought a pair of jeans which look really really solid and some stationary to use on a couple letters she has to send out (I especially dig the stationary, for that matter).

We made dinner, which was Bruschetta Chicken, a recipe that Katie's mom gave us but we hadn't tried yet. It is really tasty, essentially baked encrusted chicken with some parmesan cheese and an olive oil-tomato-garlic-basil mixture. You know, its essentially bruschetta on top of chicken rather than bread. I really like bruschetta and I really like chicken so I was all like "Fuck ya babe! Bruschetta up that chicken. And while you are at it, chicken up that Bruschetta."

Its like the age old question of whether I got chocolate in your Peanut Butter or if, as Pete Nikolai continues to obstinantly maintain, Claire Daines got hairspray in her own mayonnaise. Seriously, I know that doesn't make sense to alot of you right now. But give it some thought, sit down and imagine: "What if Claire Daines did gett hairspray in her mayonnaise. What would that matter. More importantly, who had the opportunity, and who stood to gain from the situation." We can say for sure that everyone conclusively wins when I get my chocolate in your peanut butter. The worst case situation in that world is that the peanut butter cookies you make have a little chocolate sprinkled throughout. Maybe instead you enjoy a tasty sandwich of peanut butter and butter on warm toast. "Oh NO!!! My delicious sandwich was moderately enhanced by the delectable sweetness of this chocolate bar."

Here is what I don't get about vending machines. There are so many different ways that you can vend things nowawdays, what makes a company choose one over the other. I say this because I had to walk through the Alumni Arena at UB today and there were three seperate drink machines side by side. The first was a classic soda machine. The front had a picture of a coke bottle and you hit a button on the side and then your soda appeared in the slot below. If I said: picture a soda machine, this is what you would picture. Its a classic soda machine. Don't overthink this shit, the first one was a fucking coke machine. Maybe Pepsi. Seriously, you are getting us way the fuck off track, its irrelevant what brand of soda was in the machine. Both Pepsi and Coke have machines like this. I even think RC Cola has machines like this, which is weird because who the fuck buys RC Cola. I mean, I know they are associated with A and W and maybe Tahitian Treat or something else, but its irrelevant. Fuck dude, let it be. Fucking soda machine.

The machine next to that is a Snapple Machine, which you may have also seen, they are around a fair amount. They have a little slogan written on them: "Watch the Bottle Drop!!" I am not entirely sure why this slogan is so interesting, since I would imagine that almost everyone has seen many bottles drop in their career. Even if one is not a professional bottle dropper or anything. I don't know that there are alot of bottles which drop in such a fashion however, so that they don't break because they land on a specially insulated bottle drop robber mat. So that is soda machine type two. I have never seen anything besides Snapple in this type of machine however, so the brand is relevant to this question. Do not get soda machine types one and two confused, there is a significant difference between them.

So, machine number three is new I think, I had never seen it before today. Upon first examination, which was admittedly a very very rough examination, or rather, not an examination at all, since I had no intention of purchasing a drink, it seemed to be machine type two. More specifically, I had no intention of purchasing a bottle of milk, which is what this particular vending machine was selling. I did however, run into another woman from my department on my way out of the building, and hence ended up standing nearby the milk machine for a while. At some point I looked over at it and noticed that it had significant differences from type 2. Both of these machines had glass fronts on them. The drinks behind these glass fronts were organized in rows going back away from the glass. The purchaser can see the front of the bottle while the others of the same variety are behind. When you buy a drink, specifically a Snapple, from machine type two, the bottle will fall down from its row onto the specially insulated bottle-dropping pad and can then be retrieved through a pushable area much like would be found on a candy machine. Its pushable area is essentially a plastic triangle. But anyway, you push that in and get your drink. On type number three there is a little elevator thing which moves to the row and column that you have selected. Then the bottle slides out onto this elevator mechanism. That elevator carries the bottle to a little bottle retieval area, similar to machine number 1.

The point of all this however, is very simple. Why the fuck do we need these three different types of soda machines and maybe more importantly, what is next in the soda machine development of the world. These are the questions I hope to answer over the course of this blog. God speed!



Wednesday, October 08, 2003

At the Copa...Copa Cabana...The Hottest Spot North of Havana

So today has been rocking in several respects. I have gotten all of my paper grading done, though I should have done slightly more work. Regardless, today is my last official day of serious post-surgical recovery, so I don't feel too bad about that. I will have to do more tomorrow and Friday to make up for it, but I can handle that shit. Why, you ask. Because I fucking roxors and shit, that is why.

In a second respect, I had some food that was not drinkable for the first time today. I was like, I think I would like pancakes, because I know I an eat them. So Katie was like, cool go make pancakes. I was like, alright, but just so you know, I am going to use Bisquick pancake mix, I am not going to actually make pancakes according to the recipe. I recognize, of course, that Betty Crocker pancakes fundamentally taste better, but they take longer to make and are much more work. I was all about the situation whereby I pour flour shit in a bowl and add appropriate water until the mixture is pancakey. I didnt want to measure and wisk and shit. Anyway, Katie, being the pancake snob that she is, refuses to allow me to make pancakes in this fashion. Alright, says I, I says, I says, you are free to make pancakes in the Betty Crocker fashion.

I think this is a perfectly fair arrangement. I want some food, I am going to make it, if she wants me to have different food instead, she should feel free to make it. I mean, its not like I was saying, "I am going to wash your clothes with ketchup instead of laundry detergent." I was just making myself some breakfast. I even understand that Katie is disgusted by even the thought of certain foods. Take for example the cottage cheese which I enjoyed while my jaw left me undable to eat more solid food. Katie happens to think that cottage cheese is incredibly disgusting, so much so that she was a little pissed off that I even ate it. Regardless, Katie is not disgusted by pancakes that are not up to her standards. I was not gonna force feed her sub-par pancakes or anything. If the smell or something was disgusting, if the cooking of hot sweet buttermilk batter nauseated her or whatever, I would have no problem. But if I am like, "Hey I want to drop this table on my foot." I don't really understand why someone should have veto power.

I don't mean this to say that Katie is being bossy or anything, her incredibly unique combo of food snobbery and eating Beefaroni is one of the reasons I love her. Regardless, because of this combination of factors we decided to go get some brunch, actually just breakfast, but it was like noon. So we rolled to Denny's, since it was on the way to run the rest of our errands anyway. We broke fast in a solid way, but that really isn't too relevant. It took me alot longer to eat my food and it was really difficult with a half shut jaw, but I rocked out. The sweet part was when we were just about to pay and leave when I found a dime in my pocket. They had one of those little water filled jar things by the register where you can drop change in and you get a little prize if you catch it on a platform. So I did it, I fucking nailed the dime style. That meant that Katie and I will receive a free piece of pie on our next trip to Denny's, oh yeah.

Thats why the call me "10 Cent Slice." Its a great fucking deal, even if its a slice that cost the company 3 cents to produce aforementioned slice. Anyway, this is 10 Cent Slice, signing off.



Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Getting This Shitty on Track

Hopefully I will be able to get back up to the present day with this brief little entry thing. Finishing off the whole birthday trend, I received a couple other sweet presents. Katie's parents sent me some cookies (with for some reason, when baked by a woman whose last name is Kauf, are infinitely better than any other cookie ever baked) and a sweet ass cookbook. I haven't had the opportunity to cook from it yet, but it includes both the basics of many fancy dishes as well as more complicated variations on those themes. It also has alot of meat recipes, which is what Katie and I are really lacking in based on our large collection of Betty Crocker style books.

My dad and my grandparents both sent me some money, which was phat, it paid for our chwe-at dinner at RedLo and some other random shit. They both were in cards, obviously, but my dad's was actually really nice and sincere. It was surprising in many respects, but a very welcome surprise. My sister even sent me a present which was a Bonzai tree. I don't know how she thought of sending it to me but I really dig it. Its a cute little tree and its sitting on my desk. I water it every day and look at it and adjust it so its in the sunshine. I want to get some fertilizer and a book and some little clipper things so I can figure out how to trim it Miagi style. I guess that they are supposed to be really relaxing and that is very cool with me. Overall it was a really present intensive birthday, something which is not a big deal to me, but admittedly is quite fun.

Anyway, after my birthday we had some non-eventful days for the most part. I mean, we did some stuff, Katie coached a little of the ole de-bate, I hung out and read and stuff, you know just doing my thing. On Saturday we took Katie's UB Debate team of Yassin and Charlene to Rochester for their opening tournament. I was hired to judge and its really only like an hour from our house, so we rolled over pretty early. I was juding novice for prelims, which is sweet with me because they don't always use all their time. Now that I don't smoke and don't really have anyone to coach I am in all my debates before even the teams. I am ready to start whenever they are and I have my ballot in like half an hour or so before most of the others show up. I was never the last ballot in most circumstances, but now its insane.

Anyway, I had round three off so I went to the drug store to get some anesthetic, trying again to deal with the rapidly increasing sever throbbing pain in my mouth. I was able to fix it somewhat and I watched most of Katie's debate with her while I finished up Badiou's Ethics. She got yelled at by some crappy first year from Cornell and I had to laugh at this kid. After spending so much time not dealing with crappy talk-backers it just looked so ridiculous. This kid wasn't trying to learn or discussing things in the spirit of academic inquiry or even healthy competition, but rather simple arrogance. Anyway, we both got round 4 off, so Katie got her team ready and we went home. We were both pretty tired and I was in pain so we ate some leftovers or whatever and went to sleep early.

We got up early again on Sunday and hit the ROC for round 5 at 8. I judged another novice round, enjoyed a free bagel and Krispy Kreme coffee. The UB folks finished 2-3, which is legit I think for their first tournament of the year at a school that has never really had a program. Because of the odd setup of the Rochester tournament they cleared to Varsity octofinals (which would never ever ever happen at a "regular" tournament without a winning record) and Yassin was the 7th JV speaker. As my RHS compadres would say; "yeah-rah!"

Came home on Sunday night and opted for la cuisine de la chinoise. That is, Katie called the Hong Kong restaurant down the street and went out to pick up some sweet and sour chicken and an order of chicken egg foo young. I was feeling a little better by the time she got home and we stayed up longer than I would have imagined. We watched Trading Spaces 100 Grand edition, which was fun, and fell asleep on my way to the bed.

Monday morning was dentistry. The dentist told me to get my wisdom tooth out to solve the pain. I wanted to do it then, they got me an appointment with the oral surgeon later that day. Katie took me out to see him and although she had to sit around for way way way too fucking long, I was very appreciative that she supported me through the whole damn ordeal. I am fucking neurotic about doctors in general, but surgery and mouth surgery even more so. Its like needles plus. Anyway, the surgeon was a sweet dude, he took care of me phat style and to be honest the actual removal of the tooth didn't hurt at all. The tension and fear before hand was much worse than the actual process and the only thing that really hurt was the novacaine shot. After that I was cool until we got some Vicodin, Ibuprofin, and antibiotics at Target. I don't know why ya'll would care about this. The point is fundamentally that I stopped at Target, Katie bought me some stuff at the grocery store so I could eat and we came home.

I am not a big fan, let me say, of not eating solid foods. I mean, it could be worse, I am suriving, but I don't really like it. The first day I wasn't really hungry anyway. I don't know if that was from the pain or the anesthesia or what, but I didnt really eat anything more than a little Campbell's creamed soup cup thing. I guess I had a White Cherry Icee at Target (definitively the world's best frozen slush like beverage, I have often gone to Target just to get their fucking Icees-on a side note to the side note, Katie had never even had a Cherry Icee until like 2 weeks ago, which is fucked up, but churee) but that ain't really food, judge. We have also enjoyed pudding and ice cream and yogurt and cottage cheese, and by we I mean me. Katie has, rightfully so, not backed off her pizza and Eggo waffle diet.

So that is about it. I am feeling somewhat better and my hope is that besides some minor annoyances I will feel on top of my game by Thursday. I mean, who knows, I might even try to eat something which cannot be poured down a drain tomorrow. I really like the idea of carbohydrates, I miss bread.



Elevator Logic

Surprisingly, Mr. Soucheray is in no way the inspiration for this phrase, but rather some random structuralist philosopher of the early 90s. I suppose that this person could have stolen "elevator logic" from "Garage Logic" but I don't even know when that title began, nor do I imagine that this random dude happened to listen to Twin Cities talk radio. Regardless, lets just assume that its not related to Joe-Joe. The phrase is related to structuralist philosophy as an alternate illustration of the "chess game" example.

(I don't mean to patronize anyone here, but here is the very rough form of the argument: structuralist philosophy says there are underlying structures, or rules, that govern human behavior, language, traditions, etc. The philosophy that results from this assumption tends to take the form of descriptions of what these rules are. Of course, in classic Platonic style, the limititations of temporal humanity mean that we have no direct access to these rules, but can intuit them only through observing societal formations and the like. A great example, if you are interested, is Levi-Strauss's classic Structuralist Anthropology, a really good book in general. Check out his discussion of the incest taboo for a pretty clear argument. The chess analogy is a way to understand how this could work: imagine that you know nothing about a chess game, you have never seen a board, or the pieces, but then you sit down and watch two grandmasters play a couple games. Pretty soon you will be able to figure out the basic rules, which pieces move in which ways, when they can move, etc. After a little while you will start to understand some strategy and you will elarn the game your damn self.)

The elevator logic example argues that if you watch people get in an elevator together they will, for the most part, behave in certain ways. They will divide up the space in very specific fashions depending on where the other people are standing. When more people get on or off most often there will be adjustments in the way people are standing even if there is no obvious reason for them, like no one is touching, but they still will. Anyway, the clearest way to understand that this is really the case is to go into an elevator and do something that fragrantly violates these rules, or wait until someone does it in your elevator. There will be a palpable sense of discomfort amongst almost everyone. Some people would say that this is because someone is violating their space, but for the most part this is never the case. Even the people whose space is not being violated will feel uncomfortable when elevator organization is off. The same people will feel entirely comfortable when in an elevator with 10 people when they are "correctly" organized.

I bring this up only because this motherfucker got into an elevator with me and this other dude today and totally fucking broke the rules. There were two of us, we spread into the back corners of the elevator, which means that this dude should be roughly in the front center. Instead he faced my wall (the right) and was right in front of the other dude. It was totally weak and we were both very obviously distrubed by the flagrant violation of elevatorial ettiquette.

Off the tangent and back to some updation. Last Tuesday was my birthday and unfortunately I had to work pretty much all day. I mean, I got up at like 7 and got ready. Katie gave me a ride to school because she had some appointments for work interviews that afternoon. I taught and had class and shit. In between my classes I got to utilize my first birthday present, which Katie insisted on giving me the night before, which was seasons 3-4 of Buffy. That was totally sweet. I had been talking not too long before about how much it sucked that I was so far behind on the best series of all time, and she just smiled shyly, as she so often does when she has already beaten me to the punch. Anyway, I watched a couple episodes and then went to my two classes that afternoon. The classes were actually pretty hella good. I love listening to Ernesto Laclau talk, dude is fucking smart as a fucking motherfucker, just unbelievable. Regardless, I got done with my classes and Katie picked me up at school. We decided to splurge a little and rolled to the RedLob for some dinner. I couldn't decide earlier if I would prefer having steak or lobster, but Katie is more of a seafood girl than an Outback Steakhouse chica so I opted for the Loob-ster.

Katie rolled some pretty sweet salmon stuff, I think it was covered with a Cajun style sauce thing. I only had a couple bites, but it was tasty. I got to enjoy the Red Lobster shrimp special with an Ultimate Seafood Feast, which featured fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, the new barbecued shrimp, and a lobster tail. The barbecued shrimp were really awesome, they are pretty new and all, but very tasty. I think they will keep them around for a long time and I will continue to order them in this exact meal, with the exception of Lobsterfest, where I will go for more Lobster. I also got to enjoy the biscuits, which I need to get the recipe for, because they rock so hard. Regardless, Katie also made an uber-tasty double decker chocolate cake frosted with, what is essentially, melted chocolate. There is still a tiny bit of it left, unfortunately I cannot eat it because of my fucking tooth situacion. Fucking sugery.

Maybe later again tonight, we will speak again. Until then dudes and dudettes...



Monday, October 06, 2003

Kings College Rocks

So I will just quickly list the reason that the King's College Debate Tournament was the best ever:

1) I wasn't coaching anyone-I know this isn't unique to this tournament, I have even been at other tournaments where I was not coaching, but it is a crucial element in the best tournament ever. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with coaching or anything, just that it makes tournaments much more enjoyable when you have fewer responsibilities.

2) The Packers didn't play on Sunday-again, I am just trying to get all the random non-unique things out of here first. Obviously there are other weeks that the Pack was not on Sunday, but since the worst thing about debate is missing the Pack and that is followed up only by missing other football games, this is a biggie.

3) College Debate pays SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than high school debate. Katie and I were offered 25 bucks a debate to judge in PA, which is a phat deal. We paid for our hotel (2 nights) ate a couple of solid dinners (TGIFriday's tasty new Garlic Chicken (which really is very garlicy) and one night where we ordered like 2 of everything on Wendy's dollar menu, which I always think is fun), had free lunches which were pretty solid (pizza and subs, I mean, it was standard debate tournament food, but it was free, tasty, fairly plentiful, and convenient), used about 1 and a half tanks of gas and stuff and still ended up with a 200 dollar profit or so. I mean, this fucking rocked, it rocked hard.

4) The kids were for the most part, hella cool about everything. You know how high school kids in good debates get at intense tournaments. These kids were the exact opposite the whole fucking time. I had heard that college kids at tournaments like Wake and shit were even more intense, fucking staying up all night to cut cards, being so intense and argumentative and all this shit all the time. The people debating at Kings weren't racing through the buildings, they weren't fighting with each other or yelling or anything. They weren't lazy bastards either mind you, they cared about their debates and they prepped and thought of arguments and everything, but no one freaked out if they couldn't find the newest piece of repetitive evidence. If people said anything about my decision, it was to ask what I thought of this or this. It was always asked in a spirit of genuine inquiry and I never felt that I was being undermined or attacked. Admittedly, I know more about debate and shit in general then most of these kids and there was never a situation under which the decision was in question, but that tends to be true in high school, where I often felt like people were at least attempting to intimidate me. These kids liked to debate, they tried hard, they didn't freak out if they lost, or blow an eight-ball of coke after they won to keep them up for the next round. Most of them were pretty smart and I don' think any of them were thinking of all the horribly stressful shit we read about on edebate (the college debate list-serv) all the time.

5) The coaches were hella cool about everything. Again, I never got shook down and I was never questioned. I mean fuck, these people didn't know me at fucking all. I had never, never, met anyone there before. None of these people had even heard of me (well, maybe a couple of Katie's friends had, but for the most part no one did) and the assumption was not "who the fuck is this moron." How cool is that, it really works out. There was not nearly as much overcoaching as you will find elsewhere which played into the next factor.

6) Shit ran on time. I don't mean the way you say that all tournaments essentially run on time because you assume in advance that they won't run on time. This tournament ran way on fucking time. There were three debates on Friday and Katie and I were at Friday's eating garlic by like 10:30. Considering we also had to check into our hotel and find the place, I think that was pretty good. On Saturday we started at 9, pretty good since many tournaments have the first debate at 8. There were three debates and any necessary double-octas scheduled for that day. Rounds 4-5, the first two on Saturday, were lag powered. If anyone happens to be reading this who is not in debate, lag-powered means a slightly less accurate competition, but saves about 40 minutes per round or so. Hence, we were done with round 5 by around 1 in the afternoon and eating our free lunch. Now, back when I was coaching I would have been pissed about that. I mean, that hurts some people, it technically does decrease the quality of competition, but sitting there, pleased about things in general made me wonder what was really damaged by lag powering one fucking debate. Lots of things weren't hurt, for instance, everyone's ability to have some sort of a Saturday night to themselves and their friends, even if those Saturday nights are spent in Wilkes-Barre. These kids were still debating, they were still learning, the activity was every fucking bit as educational in that round 5 as it would be otherwise. We judged one more round that day, got off doubles since there were only like two debates, and were at the hotel to watch Trading Spaces by like 5 or 5:30. Damn! That is off the fucking hook. We were home on Saturday of a debate tournament that cleared to fucking octos by 5:30 on Saturday! The next morning we judged octos and came home. We could have stayed later, but they said we could go. We took our cash and enjoyed a stunning ride back up and through the river valley.

I will make a couple concessions that probably deserved to be mentioned. I am getting old. By this of course I mean that I am and was myself guilty of a lot of things I just expresssed dislike for. I am willing to admit my mistakes. Ultimately I am quickly realizing that the burnout that I have felt so strongly since Northwestern two years ago was largely based in the way I viewed the activity and the way that those widely held views impacted the running of tournaments. It was way too fucking much, I couldn't handle that and would never go back to it. Tournaments like this however, are totally different.

Finally, I will concede that the quality of competition declines slightly. Maybe its more than slightly, maybe not, I don't know how to judge such a thing. These kids did not know their theory debates as well and there were some people who forgot to put offense on the disad. I never would have expected that I would have to tell varsity debaters some of the things I told them that weekend, but they weren't stupid. Most of those kids were hella smart and it was obvious that they were getting alot out of this activity. The real difference in the "quality" of the debates at Kings and the "quality" of the debates at the Kentucky Round Robin (which, by the way, deserves some shout outs, both to Scotty P, the winner, and my former debater, Ms. Margaret Berthiaume, who is off to a hella good season start) is not the intelligence of the kids or their knowledge of issues, but rather the inbred knowledge of debate and the practice involved in skillful execution. I don't deny the value of those things, but they are pretty small in comparison to what I see the benefits to be.

I may post something about this to the Minnesota Debate Forum at some point, since people there always seem interested in discussing the nature of the activity and its obscure drive to self-destruction. Regardless, I will most likely be back in Wilkes-Barre, mad props to the folks from Kings.



Its Been A While

Sorry about that shit, I know all my rapt and attentive readers must be furious that I have been so lax in updating but there have been some conditions, my birthday, illness, out of townness, etc. I will get to them, I promise Let me start from the beginning. It all began last Friday...

Katie and I got up fairly early, like 7 or so, and took off for the King's Debate Tournament in Wilkes-Barre, BA. I had never really understood why people spoke of upstate New York so highly, I mean, I have driven from here to Boston and really nothing gets impressive until Massachusets. Regardless, we drive from Buffalo to Syracuse, stopping briefly at McDonald's to enjoy some McBreakfast. I finally got to really thoroughly chow down on a couple McGriddles, though I could admittedly go for a three bacon-egg-and-cheese-sandwich-wrapped-in-pre-syruped-griddle-cake meal, I probably won't do so for a while. After that we turned South in Syracuse onto I-81 and holy shit, it was like an immediate transformation of the place wherein I live. First of all, the city is really quite nice. Its not far from Buffalo, only like 2 hours, but it looks so much more like St. Paul, a prettier Midwestern style city.

Beyond just the buildings and the general tone of Syracuse, New York, it quickly is noticeable that the whole place is set deep within a river valley. This means, of course, that immediately after leaving the downtown areas all the suburbs are set into beautiful hills with a scenic river running through the middle. There are little town churches and houses and shit. This continues non-fucking-stop for the entire 2-3 hour drive to Wilkes-Barre. Katie's dad told us that he thought the drive from Syracuse to Binghampton was the most beautiful he had ever made, and I can't help but agree with him. I have never been to the mountains really and only really to the ocean when I was in the Carribean. I mean, I would still drastically prefer to set on one of Antigua's 300+ white sandy beaches, enjoy a Cuban cigar, a margarita, and the pleasurable company of one Ms. Kauf, but with the exception of the islands, I have never been in a more beautiful place. Green lush hills, little villages. Beautiful old architecture, white wooden churches, barn-style homes, and gigantic tree lined bluffs. There were so many places that a person could find a nice view and just relax. I was stunned.

The town of Wilkes-Barre, tucked in amongst the Scranton area, continues that beauty. In the five or so miles around the area the valley just opens up, instead of just a beautiful but narrow valley, there are rolling hills within a big bowl of an area. As you enter of 81 you can suddenly see mist covered divots of earth extending miles across. Its what I imagine a well devloped suburb in Ireland would be like, the mist, the green and so on. Loved it. I will discuss further, a little later on, the debate tournament which occurred in Wilkes-Barre, but let me say, first of all, that it rocked. The whole weekend was fantastic, but the debate tournament rocked very hard. It may have been the best debate tournament I have ever been to and was certainly the most laid back. I was slightly tired on Saturday morning, but besides that, literally, the whole thing came off without a hitch.

I will hopefully get around to updating again this evening, maybe even doing the whole debate tournament story so that I stay all chronological like. Right now, however, I am going to take some medicine, since I spent this afternoon getting one of my wisdom teeth removed. This was an odd experience, since I hadn't planned on getting this done until this morning, when the checkup to solve the cavity that was hurting me yielded this new discovery. Having this done actually sucks much less than I thought it would. I mean, I didn't enjoy getting the shots of novocaine or whatever, but the removal of the tooth part felt extraordinarily moderate considering it actually involved the fucking removal BY GRIPPING AND WRENCHING of a fucking tooth from my mouth.

Anwyay, I am back motherfuckers. I will be back on the updating trip which the end of September was rolling on. Give me a while to swallow all this Vicodin, but trust me, its on.