Monday, December 12, 2005

Livin Fast and Dyin Young Like an Endless Poetry, My Motor Psycho Nightmare Freakout Inside of Butt

Sorry this picture of a Whistle Pig just sat here for so long. I really suck at using the internet when I am not in my usual settings. As a result, I jobviously did not update my blog.

Anyway, the day before we left Buffalo for the Twin Cities was a day full of errand running in advance of the movement. We hit the outlet mall and on our way home drove by this restaurant which I have seen since the first week or so that I lived here. The sign on the top of the restaurant indicates very clearly that it is "The Home of the Whistle Pig" but I had absolutely no idea what this delightful sounding device might be.

We had a couple for lunch and not only were the economical, they were both incredibly brilliant and incredibly delicious. Here is the basic idea: take a good quality hot dog, wrap it in bacon, grill it, serve it with cheese sauce. Add to that your onions, mustard, ketchup, assorted relishes, and you have a high quality dawg. I can't believe I had never considered wrapping bacon around a hot dog before, since the addition of bacon, as I have often said, makes pretty much anything good.

Real update soon to follow above. Again, sorry bout having to look at the whistle pig for a month.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

If You Believe, They Put a Man on the Butt

I had to pick up some more Coke Zero at the Tops this evening. I am totally addicted to Coke Zero in a way that makes it just under infinitely more enjoyable than drinking Diet Coke. The difference, I learned in the not too distant past, has to do with the fact that Coke Zero is based on the formula for Coca-Cola Classic, while Diet Coke was based on the formula for New Coke. Hence the taste difference has less to do with the difference in sweeteners (which is almost non-existent) than with the fact that they are two entirely different beverages. Anyway, I went to buy that and some other random crap from the store.

The last area I visited was the ice cream section, cuz we were in dire need of Mint Choco-Chip. Right across the aisle from the ice cream are located the alcoholic beverages, by which I mean beer, malt liquor, and Boone’s. There was a family standing there, with two kids of about 12-14 years of age. I’m not a great estimator in these calculations, but there is no way either of them was more than a second year in high school. Anyway, family at Tops, not surprising. However, the family was each selecting their own type of wine cooler. I mean, the two girls in that pre-teen/early teen area were arguing over which flavor of wine cooler they should buy while the parents tried to convince them to compromise. I cannot, of course, rule out the possibility that these girls just really wanted to pick out their parents drinks for some reason, but I got the very distinct impression that they would be the ones imbibing. Their parents even tried to move them along when I shot them a momentarily confused glance. Anyway, to all the drunk 13 year olds in Lockport tonight, while I don’t necessarily condone your behavior: holla!!

We have made some incredible inroads into our backed up Tivo situation today, aided of course by the fact that reruns have already begun for the holiday season. We will be home long enough to see the Survivor finale, but will depend on the kindness of friends, family, and maybe a couple strangers who will tivo the other events for us. There is still an Apprentice finale to worry about, though I feel confident that Randal will take it home. I think we will miss the Amazing Race 2 hour conclusion, but since it has been a terrible season anyway, I’m not sweating it. I’ll have to worry about finding episodes of Lost and such when the season’s resume in January of ought-six, but I’m depending on the good karma I plan to rack up in the TC.

We are leaving Tuesday after Katie’s yoga class to begin our journey home. We wanted to have at least a day at my dad’s place with Hippo to get her settled before we hauled off to the Hyatt for 4 days. We have a Motel 6 reservation in Toledo somewhere, so we’ll drive 5-6 hours on Tuesday night, stop at about midnight-one, get up and leave nice and early, hopefully getting into the twin cities in the early evening. We can chill with the Persian, set up her scratchy post and such. That’s as specific as I can be about plans at this point.

On a sad note, I saw that Richard Pryor passed away today. I was obviously pretty young when Richard Pryor was at his prime, but I think I caught up enough on my stand up back in the day to appreciate what he did. I guess it was far from unexpected, in a sense. He hadn’t been in good health for a while and he lived hard by anyone’s standards. I suppose he can’t be lumped in with the Belushis or Farleys, dying at the height of their fame, but still, rest in peace.

While Hippo has enjoyed having us around all day, I think she wants to sleep on the computer, so I will relent. Saturday or not, she needs the old catnap.



Friday, December 09, 2005

Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Butt

We had to do a little preparatory shopping for the Rochester Holiday/End of the Semester party last night and so, as good Minnesota transplants, we went over to Target to buy essentially random commodities from people in khakis and red golf shirts. This was one of the Targets laid out with the entrance on the right hand side (maybe everyone else doesn’t pay so much attention to the general organizations of Target stores, but they tend to be either organized with the entrance on the left, the right, or both and the departments correlate) and hence the bathroom was just to the left when I entered the store. Knowing that Katie would spend a bit of time on the dollar area I stopped into the bathroom for a second.

I entered the bathroom and heard someone talking and assumed, in the abstract I guess, that he was talking to someone else in the bathroom. However, he was on the phone, jobviously, talking ostensibly to someone not in the bathroom. I don’t know if there are any ethics or common standards about talking on the phone in public bathrooms, I have always felt uncomfortable about it and not because I think there is anything so private and disgusting about the use of the bathroom that it wouldn’t be allowed. Maybe it has something to do with electronically transcending the literal walls created for the purpose of compartmentalizing the restroom-function, I will leave that determination to Baudrillard. Even if I am simply crazy and public bathroom cell-phone usage is entirely without issue, as I was leaving the restroom I heard this phrase: “Yeah, make sure you get me a raspberry-lemon…” Yes, he was ordering something, my guess is dessert, from a public bathroom stall. I have expectations, when entering the Target bathroom, that I might find piles of toilet paper on the floor, I might read something about someone’s sexual proclivities, or where they might be and what they might be doing on 12/17 at 6:45, but I operate under the assumption that I will absolutely not need to hear anyone discussing a raspberry-lemon anything.

I’m saying this, btw, while an SNL sketch about Target is on my new TV, and the irony abounds. Maybe not irony so much as coincidence and not so much coincidence as simply not at all interesting. Maybe if this was about the Target bathrooms it would be interesting. Its not.

Two debate discussions that I have stayed out of are going on right now, on different debate areas, that are interesting to me. One concerns travel and the concerns of coaches about traveling too much. I have a very odd perspective on this situation, I think, having coached a team that traveled a fair amount in Minnesota, and now dealing with collegiate debate, where the idea of a local tournament means 3-4 hours away. For most of our tournaments we drive home after one prelim and octos/quarters on about 5-8 hours. I hate it, don’t get me wrong, but it makes “travel” for most of the tournaments Minnesota teams attend seem kinda funny. I get, of course, that I’m not in the situation where I can’t miss Fridays/Mondays cuz I have a professional career, that would obviously reshape the situation.

I don’t have a team, and prolly won’t anytime soon have a team, in contention to take a run at winning the TOC. But if I did, if I had the money, time, and desire to make that run, I would be furious if the MSHSL said I had to choose between state sponsored events and “out of state” travel. Anyhow, the point is this: I am ambivalent on this question, though I feel for both sides.

I maintain that ambivalence about the proposition for OSD (Open Source Debate) that is floating around the college world. I fundamentally do believe that I could handle coaching debate at the high school level in the long run, though its probably not my number one career choice. But college debate, as it is, would kill me if I tried to really do it to it. The idea of making all the evidence available to everyone, that is, eliminating the almost impossible and excruciatingly boring demands of research in college debate, would make me almost consider handling it. I know I’m a cocky person, but in all honesty, I don’t think there is anyone who understands debate as a game better than me. There are, however, A LOT of people who cut more and better cards. I don’t know that I would care enough to try, OSD or not, to be an “elite professional debate coach” (whatever that means), but I would consider it, which is a lot more than I can say now.

Hippo, not surprisingly finds this discussion boring and would instead like me to play her new favorite game. Its called “Stick your paw in the handle on this huge TV box even though there is nothing in reachable distance and fish around like you were gonna find a floating snack or something.” The name doesn’t even approach explaining how cute it is.



Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some Hearts, They Just Get All the Right Breaks, Some Hearts Have the Stars on their Butt

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. I cannot believe it. I can’t even believe that I am making the following statement, cuz I might have otherwise said that it was a contradiction in terms. Of ANTM’s final three, THE RIGHT GIRL WON!!! If you have been watching the show, you know how impossible it is to imagine this fact, cuz it literally has never happened. In many seasons the woman who won was literally the third best of the three. Almost better, I mean, definitively not better, but still almost kinda better, but jobviously not at all better, is the fact that freaking Bre was kicked out in place number three.

Bre was seriously annoying, I mean, she was very likely even beyond Yaya in terms of assfaced annoying. She wasn’t annoying in the same pseudo-intellectual way, she was more just obnoxious to everyone decent who was ever on the program, but still, the point is clear. Nicole was my second favorite I think, after Kim. I liked Jayla for a while, but she turned out to be less cool then I thought. There still has not been anyone for the past two seasons who can compare to the two all time greatest ANTM contestants of all kind: Norelle and Shanthrax.

While I love the fashion related reality programming and will certainly have a lot to say about it with the recent debut of Project Runway season 2, I have not even mentioned what is arguably the best thing about watching them. That is, my television itself. We have been operating with a tolerable TV for a couple years now. Its not small, but by no means big. It was a good TV, it served us well. Anyway, it is technically Katie’s rent’s TV and they are now in need of it again. So, we decided to buy a new television. My thought was that we would spend a couple hundred bucks, get something moderate, but tolerable.

At the same time, I just feel stupid spending 200 dollars on a TV that is so far behind technology as to be all but irrelevant in the near future. For one thing, who still purchases televisions that aren’t flat screen? Secondly, we are like a year from the supposed “non-manufacturing of non-HD televisions stage” for the purpose of bringing HD in as the standard, so I didn’t feel great about buying one of those either. Finally, I just wanted something widescreen. I love the idea of fitting the shows and movies that I love perfectly on the television in the proper aspect ratio, not bothering to either miss the sides or have black space.

Still, I’m kind of a cheapskate when it comes to spending money on things ostensibly for myself. I don’t know why that is, but it is. Anyway, by convincing me that it would ultimately count as my Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and birthday presents for the upcoming year, Katie convinced me to buy this:

It’s a really incredible TV, especially for what we paid for it. I’m still not totally comfortable with how much it cost, but oh my God. For one thing, it’s big. 26 Inches in widescreen seems like a lot more than 26 in 4:3 aspect ratio, even if it’s not, mathematically. A bigger TV in a living room this small would border on the ridiculous. Additionally, this TV is HD ready, has like 30 inputs, and, even just connected via cable (since we’ve been too busy since the purchase to get the S-video connection set up or the new HD box) the clarity is pretty incredible. The brightness and color blow the old TV out of the water. We got a good price and good financing, so it won’t cost us too much in the long run and honestly, we watch so much freaking television that it makes sense to spend this cash in this situation. I don’t try to use my blog to reassure myself most of the time, but my priest doesn’t take confession at 11:30 on Thursdays. Certainly not about TVs.

Hippo, however, has clarified that she does take petting and attention at all times of the day, so my kitty and I will go back to watching tivoed Survivor Wednesday on OLN.



Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Can't Live Without Your, Love and Affection, I Can't Face Another Night On My Butt

Long time. My bad. I’ve been eating turkey almost literally for two solid weeks. It was a great weekend that has been followed by a rampage of work leading up to the end of the semester. I am attempting to get a couple things done before I leave here for the holidays and head back to Minneapolis and while I’m not 100% confident that all of them will get concluded in time, at least the pressing has invigorated me around the mid-point of the year.

Collegiate debate is done for 2005, after this weekend’s John Carroll Tournament in Cleveland. For the most part I love this tournament, for a lot of reasons that are not at all intrinsic to the tournament itself (it is in Cleveland, only three hours away, and the opposite direction of every other tournament we attend) and a number of others that are (good debates, technical proficiency, nice hotels, more sleep etc.). Both times I have attended this tournament we have been hit on Friday by a hella snowstorm. Two years ago it wasn’t that significant, just slowed down the last half hour or so. This year we got nailed pretty much the moment we left the New York thruway, and were destroyed pretty steadily into the parking lot at JCU. It took us almost 5 hours in total to get from our apartment to the school, compare that to the less than three hour trip we made on our return voyage.

Once we got into town I was very pleased that the snow was falling. I love the climate of a snowy day, the lax regulations on driving, and especially making fun of idiots who think its cold or can’t drive in the snow. There’s just something about the feel of a serious blizzard, the cleanness of it all. Also, we had a debater from Texas who had never seen one before, so that was an interesting situation.

My absolute favorite thing about the John Carroll tournament, beyond everything else, is the judges’ lounge. A lot of things about the judges’ lounge are pretty normal, cheetos, chips, candy, blah blah. They have donuts, not just bagels with vegan cream cheese, like a couple of tournaments in this state, in the morning and specifically they have some really excellent glazed cherry cake donuts, a personal fave of mine. But far more importantly than those tasty-m-cakes, was the greatest thing at any debate tournament ever. A FOUNTAIN SODA MACHINE.

Yep, there is a fountain soda machine which enables me to have free unlimited Diet Pepsi over the whole course of the tournament. Since I am a freaking genius who was aware of the existence of said Diet Pepsi miracle, I brought a 20oz bottle and refilled it once, maybe twice, maybe three times a debate. It is the best thing in the history of debate tournaments, end of story.

I am going to cut this post short, cuz the poor little Hippo had to take a bath tonight and now wants to sit on my computer to warm up.



Wednesday, November 23, 2005

One Thing I'm Sure of, I'm in the Deep Freeze, Cold Turkey Has Got Me on the Butt

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I am officially excited. I think I’ve done all the prep work I am gonna do before the morning, that includes brining the turkey, prepping the bread for the stuffing, cleaning the kitchen, shopping for wine and produce, and now am kicking back, waiting just a bit for the proper time to open my first Sierra Nevada Celebration of the season. It ain’t Summit Winter but it’s a damn tasty beer and certainly the best winter brew available to me at the Lockport Tops.

Our meal tomorrow is gonna be incredibly good, I believe. I am adapting my turkey technique slightly, based on an article in Bon Appetit and another in Gourmet. That joins with the traditional roasting maneuvers we all know and love alongside Alton Brown’s classic episode “Romancing the Bird.” I’m following that up with Sausage Stuffing with Carmelized Onions and Leeks. Then a White Cheddar Butternut Squash Gratin, which I think looks incredible. We have the mashed taters, turkey gravy, and Katie’s incredible fresh rolls. She is attempting to outdo her own baking expertise with a chocolate pecan pie, which I can already taste. I’m making some white cheddar puffs with green onions as an appetizer, really just because I was concerned that otherwise Katie me and Hippo, with our 14 pound turkey, would not have enough to eat. My hope is that this is the last Thanksgiving we will not have people enjoying our tasty feast with us, and I think that is distinctly possible.

Jean-Luc Nancy, author of, among many other notable books and articles, The Inoperative Community, came to Buffalo yesterday. It was probably the biggest event the department has had since Žižek was here, almost three years ago. I thought there were probably in the area of 150 or so people there, a couple other people I talked to estimated between 120-175, which is a pretty big deal for a free lecture on “Church, State, Resistance.” I know people were in attendance from New York, Toronto, and Rochester, but my guess is there were a couple from other areas as well. It was his only stop on this North American tour, which I suppose makes it not much of a North American tour. Regardless, despite some really odd questions, it was pretty sweet to see him speak. Hippo told me that she jives with a lot of his argument about the constitutive nature of the separation between church and state, but I got more out of the discussions of political theology. Very cool though.

In just a couple hours the greatest holiday of the year begins. This will be Ms. Hippo’s first celebration of football, food, and alcohol as a Baxter-Kauf. She is not quite as excited for the large bird as I am, but purring in anticipation none the less.



Well We're Movin' On Up, To the East Side, To a Deluxe Apartment, In the Butt

I started writing on blurty a long time ago and to be honest, I did it simply because it was the first free journal thing I found. While I am obviously not tremendously technologically inclined in general, the fact of the matter is that virtually every new internet-related device is built to interact with blogger. Google has a bunch of applications, Flickr is linked into it, and the list goes on. I guess my point is this. I hadn't switched over cuz I am far too lazy, a problem that Katie solved. So after a good amount of her long boring work, I give you:

Dizneuce Redux

Yep, my wife and cat go and I am soon to follow. Meaning every creature I am aware of with the last name "Baxter-Kauf" has a message like this on their original blog as we speak. Kinda sweet I spose. All the archives have moved and are now prolly kinda searchable. Also sweet. Hippo approves, since Katie did some consulting for her too.



Saturday, November 19, 2005

For You I Know I'd Even Try To Turn the Tide, Because You're Mine, I Walk the Butt

We've had an incredibly ridiculously normal suurban weekend. Since there was no debate tournament we got to avoid spending our Friday-Sunday driving vans full of college students to college towns in the NorthEast and butchering pop-culture philosphy in relation to human rights questions, and instead, go on a date of sorts. I'm generally a very chill-at-home sort of guy. We have tivo and hbo/showtime as well as pay per view, so I don't need to go to movies for enjoyable entertainment. I think the fact that I spend so many weekends in various Econolodges and other meh-ish motel chains means that I want to enjoy my couch and remote control when I get the chance. Still, the upcoming holidays encouraged us to leave Hippo by herself for a Friday night.

The stage for that evening began to be set the night before, when Thursday ushered in our first lake-effect snowstorm of the season. It was beauftiul and sunny when I left the house for class on Thursday morning, around 8. The radio began to read a list of schools that were closed and I literally laughed out loud, assuming it was a joke based on the uncharacteristically mild fall-winter season we've had. Apparently though, as the cars in the UB parking lot testified, about 10 miles South of school, it was coming down in sheets. Every school in the "Southtowns" had been closed, as well as at least some of the community colleges in the downtown Buffalo area. It was apparently 6-ish inches of blowing snow since midnight, so nothing to scoff at. The band of precipitation didn't hit us until late that afternoon as Hippo and I plugged away at our analysis of "Kant avec Sade." I know that snow can be annoying, it can cause bad driving conditions, slow you down, etc. But fundamentally, I kinda like the snow. It looks cool and generally makes even pointlessly ugly parts of landscape fairly pretty.

I had to go in for a lecture on Friday, a very good one actually, though the turnout was less than I would have imagined. After some cleaning and grooming and the like, we left home around 6:30 on our way to the Red Lobster. I know RedLob is far from fine cuisine, but they do rock the unlimited shrimp boat pretty hard and I was in an all you can eat shrimp sort of mood. While I admit that their cocount shrimp is fundamentally no better than anyone else's coconut shrimp, their dipping sauce has a sweetness that no other one in my experience can match. Its like shrimp frosting, delicious. We were keeping up the long-standing Baxter-Kauf tradition of seeing Reese Withersppon movies on opening weekend, so we braved the Harry Potter crowds to see Walk the Line.

I had predicted that it was a good night to go to a movie that wasn't Harry Potter, and I was really dead on. a number of great things ensued: 1) our neighborhood Regal theater has an ATM/ticket buying machine in the lobby, which I adore. I just choose my movie and the number of tickets, run my card through, and it spits them to me. I have no idea why people were waiting in line for a teller when two of these machines were wide open on the side of the lobby, but as long as morons continue to populate Western New York by the assload I will take advantage. My only thought is that people were actually buying their movie tickets with cash. I think that the use of cash at virtually any establishment which isn't a bar or a hot dog cart is pretty ridiculous these days and although the Buffalo/Lockport area has improved drastically since I've been here, I'm still blown away by the idea that there are businesses that don't use them. Anyway, the good thing was simply that I got to skip by the line and buy tickets from a machine. 2) The lobby was divided in two: half for the Harry Potter fanboys/girls and half for the rest of us. That meant we got our own concessions with really short lines, we didnt have to stand with the people dressed as Dumbledore, and didnt have to interact with all the children up way past their bedtime. Seriously, the popcorn challenge in the HP pen was probably 5-10 minutes, I had one person in front of me. They were jammed in shoulder to shoulder and some of them had without question been there for an hour or more. 3) Our theater was way less full than a movie with this kind of buzz should be on an opening Friday. I don't think the movie is gonna have any problems, but at least some of the crowd was probably deterred by the snow and the over-representation of wizards. I could put my feet up on the seat in front of me, my jacket on the seat beside me, and not worry about anyone finding the necessary amount of seats. This was a 9:00 show too, I might add, not exactly out of primetime.

Unrelated to the Harry Potter situation, but still awesome, was the movie itself. I expected good things, especially since I am a fan of both Johnny Cash and bio-pics. I had read good things, since Katie had directed me towards a couple solid reviews. Still, I was very impressed. Joaquin Phoenix is legitimately incredible, with both quality acting and incredible singing. I mean, really, dude is legitimately good in addition to sounding an incredible amount like Johnny Cash. Going for the music alone would not be a poor choice. There are even a couple scenes where the camerawork and editing were brilliant and unexpected. Some of the things Katie read suggested that Phoenix was overshadowed by Reese Witherspoon's work as June. Her voice was good, a really hawt Southern twang, and she's good in the role. But on no level that I was aware of could she be said to outshine Wah-keen. Regardless, you should go see Walk the Line.

This morning I felt like Frank the Tank, when I woke up and Katie and I decided to run some errands. We had to go to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, the grocery store, maybe Bed Bath and Beyond. I don't know, I don't know if there'll be enough time. Seriously though, it was totally suburban couple-dom par excellence, buying shelving at the Home Depot, ice-scrapers and gravy seperators, and having lunch at Panera. I don't think I'm risking the little bit of indie-cred I had in the first place by confessing to all this. But maybe I should listen to Lifter Puller or something, just to be safe.

Hippo and Katie are napping on the couch at the moment, so I can't pretend that Hippo is demanding I go and play. I can, however, simply turn my attention back to the Iron bowl. Hippo does love her SEC football.



Thursday, November 17, 2005

Raw Metaphysically Bold, Never Followed a Code, Still Dropped a Butt

I am thinking that the crew at the Colbert Report has the same challenge creating a new intro that uses the word truth every day as I have with my blog. Of course, they're daily and I am semi-weekly at best. At the same time, I'm much more restrictive about where the word itself fits in the whole thing. It can only replace a one syllable word and has to come at the end of a lyric, prolly stuff that is patently obvious. I don't really have the same sarcastic self promotion comedy bit down Colbert style, but maybe I will start working on it.

Last weekend featured two different debate tournaments: Wake and UMass. The former is a the season's biggest tournament, is long, complicated, stressful (I would imagine), and filled with the best teams in the country. The latter is one of the smallest tournaments of the year, elongated on Saturday but generally concise, the most laid back thing this side of napping on a Sunday afternoon, and essentially having only novice and junior varsity teams. Since neither Ken, Gordie, or myself, had any desire to make our way to North Carolina, Katie took a hit for the team with the top two teams and the rest of us rolled to Amherst, Mass. We made killer time on a beautiful day, arriving before 8:00 at the most expensive Howard Johnson in the country. We hung out with some folks from Vermont, watched a good amount of The Wizard of Oz on TBS, cut some cards, blah blah blah. Saturday's rounds didn't start until 8:30, which gave us a nice respite. Leaving the hotel at 7:45, rather than 7:00 on the dot, makes a huge difference.

Besides all those qualities I also got to see Maggie, who came down with a JV team from Dartmouth. It was actually half an open team and a raw novice, but you get the point. I haven't really talked to her at all since Blake last year, but I always enjoy trading stories of high school and onwards. Thats not even to mention the fact that having her around gave my teams the chance to be judged by her and consequently get an rfd from someone I respect without any reservations. There are a number of people in this region I conditionally think is a good judge, people who can comment on at least some things with authority, whose comments and/or decisions are probably more accurate marks of what happened in the round than the debaters, for instance. There are probably even a couple whom I cannot imagine disagreeing with, but I just haven't known them for that long or had anywhere near enough discussions with them. I haven't coached Maggie for 5 years now and I'm not trying to simply be a "great, late elims at the NDT debater=great judge sort of person, but I have confidence that she will give my students comments pretty near to the same ones I would have provided, which is invaluable when I'm among the only ones who doesn't start the RFD with "I usually think topicality is evil." We talked during lunches and breaks and the like, she also came over to our HoJo on Saturday night.

Outside of Maggie and the less than difficult schedule, the weekend was still alright. We had alot of people debating for the first or second time, alot of others debating a division higher than they are used to. Still managed to clear half the teams we brought, including the wonder novice squad in their first tournament as JVers and a 6-0 JV team. The drive home was just as easy as the trip out, but with a decent conversation amongst the Merk, Heroin, and myself. Nicknames on the squad have progressed a little bit over the past couple weeks, but a substantial portion of the team is still referred to by their first name. It just doesn't seem right for a team atmosphere, maybe I'm still stuck in sports mode or something, but I don't think I called anyone who hung out in the Loo by their Christian names either. Gordie's analysis, that every squad needs at least a Sparky and a Pepper, really rings true for me. Pepper just hasn't fit with anyone as well as Strategery or Team Crack+Smack, still half a year to go.

OMG aim has launched these two stupid bot things that you can ask questions of and get movie and shopping info. Its especially stupid because its less convenient than just going to any of a million websites that contain the same information in better packaging and easier to search functions, but that is beyond the point. The point is that I was playing around saying rude things to the bots and seeing how they might respond. First, I might note, it is humorous. Secondly, if you pretend that you are just talking to Andy and type the word "balls" you get two movie hits: Balls of Fury and Guys and Balls. I will see these movies just for their titles. Without question. One is a terrible looking film about ping pong, which does feature Lt. Dangle from Reno 911 and the other a German flick which appears to be a gay male romantic comedy. I was certain they were both pr0n until they showed up on imdb. If I was a movie producer I would simply insert the word balls into every title. It would be so awesome to have pre-built authority or responsibility without having to go through the whole "earning it" phase, cuz I have some awesome ideas.

Hippo appears to have an awesome idea of her own: stop typing on your blog and get my freaking bag of catnip down from the cupboard.



Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Time Doesn't Wait, It Will Only Accelerate, As the Days and the Months, and the Years Go Butt

I should probably finish up the whole Eugene thing, since its been weeks since I came back. I'm not gonna detail every moment of the trip, since I don't remember them that specifically and it would bore you even more than the regular blog reading thing. We had good times at a couple bars: one was a lesbian joint that which Sanjay did not realize was a lesbian joint until the night he entered it sober, the other notable one was Max's, which apparently is the inspiration for Moe's tavern on the Simpsons. It certainly does have similarities in terms of the rough set up of the bar and is at least cited by several online sources as the inspiration. Wikipedia disagrees while Maxim argues that it is at least partially responsible. Regardless, we had a couple beers. Andy also convinced me to play erotic memory on the Touch Maxx bar video game thing, which I endulged since he was driving and not drinking at all. Not to mention that I fucking wasted him at it, cuz I have a way better erotic memory. Other brief mentions: ate breakfast at a pretty sweet hipster diner joint with great hashbrowns and biscuits and gravy, for the first time I successfully won a game of Risk based on the Siam at all costs strategy, came in 2nd to Jimmy in both poker tournaments we played, and tried a bunch of high quality local beers. My favorite was the Terminal Gravity IPA, a tasty hoppy beer with a pretty dark finish. The beer selection at just the grocery store was incredible, it made the Tops out here, a store probably 3 times the size of the market we were in, look like a case of Bud Light and a couple 40s of IceHouse. Not that its much more than that anyway, but you get the drift. There were probably 30+ various ales that I had never tried in just this cooler, so I can't imagine what the really "great" beer selections in Oregon look like.

On Sunday afternoon, sometime after both the Vikings and Packers had their weekly losses solidly in the bag, we jumped in Andy's car for a trip down to the Oregon coast. It was actually the first time I had ever been to the Pacific Ocean. We walked out onto these jettys, and by jettys I mean big piles of rocks that extend a ways into the ocean. We had a good time out there, but I could not in any way make it out all the way to the end. At some point we got from "rocky ground" to just "big rocks stacked on one another." I could probably have gone all the way out, given a bunch of time, more suitable clothing, and less fear of death. At some point though, I decided to stop. I have never been the most co-ordinated of gentlefolk and it would have surprised me not at all had I fallen, smashed my head open and/or twisted the hell out of my ankle. I stopped not only in the interest of my health, but in the interest of the near impossibility of my getting back to the car in the event of such a situation. Regardless, it was a beautiful afternoon, even without the sun. There were some crazy fools surfing just beyond one of the largest beaches I've personally ever seen. The drive there had been directly through the mountains and I really can't explain how much I like the combination of mountains and water. If I have to spend my life outside Minnesota I would drastically prefer it to be somewhere with those elements.

We had our best food that night at the Bridgewater Restaurant, right on the coast. Sanjay had a delightful Halibut Parmesan while Andy opted for the traditional but still delightful fish and chips. I myself took advantage of my geography to chow down on some grilled oysters. Andy didn't appreciate their freshness and oceany flavor, but I loved it. We had a full dinner, with some tasty dessert, a couple drinks and so on. The clam choweder was also great, especially the bowl we got covered with cheese and peppers. It wasn't the best chowder I have ever eaten, but its certainly the best I've eaten outside of Massachusets. We still managed to get back to the apartment before the West Wing started and got to catch the Bills blow a late game lead to the evil Pats. The flight home was alright, though it had to go through both freaking Cincinnati and Atlanta. The Portland airport has free WiFi, while parts of Atlanta don't appear to have access at all, which seems impossible for an airport that size. I had tasty chili in Cinci, at the Gold Star, a chili joint which I had seen on the food network a while back. They wanted very much to refer to it as "Cincinnati style chili" since it is served on spaghetti. I was cool with their use of the terms "Three way, Four Way, and Five way" though I snickered as I read the menu. But growing up in a family that was at least half Wisconsin born and bred, chili on spaghetti is just chili. Maybe its the same thing Chicago style hot dogs if you are from the Windy city, I don't know.

I was having a discussion the other day about how I think every significant sized city in the country should be required to develop its own specialty food. It just makes travel and eating so much easier when you are out of town. It can be really easy if you have some sort of proximity to where specific foods are grown or made or harvested or whatever that would work fine, if not, just choose something and run with it. Its not like they raise special cheesesteak cattle in Philly for God's sake. You could pretty much just choose your favorite sandwich, build some carts to scatter on important street corners, and convince local restaurants to start braggin that they have the best. Even if they don't, to start with, give any area with 100,000 or more people the desire to build the best tuna salad and you will probably end up with some freaking delicious sandwiches. Every city doesn't even have to have a unique food, Chicago and New York both claim pizza and hot dogs after all. It would just make regional travel way cooler if I knew that I was looking for the best corn dog in Amherst, Massachusets or could count on a great batch of waffles in Ithaca.

Regardless, at the end of my descriptions of the trip to Eugene I wanted to add a public shout out to Andy and Sanjay, as well as Sarah, for the comfort and the great times. Hippo wanted to add that she enjoyed having the house to herself but would appreciate my bag being spiked with catnip before I came home.



Sunday, November 06, 2005

Paid My Dues, In the Mood, Me and The Girls Gonna Shake the Butt

I should start this discussion by noting that the Packers suck. I am aware of that fact, fully aware, and have been saying as such even before the season. Losing your first three runningbacks doesn't help, along with half your o-line and a couple receivers. Those things are neither here nor there however, since my point is merely this: we are precisely just a little bit worse than whomever we play in a given week. Brett played pretty well this week, though his stats don't reflect it. 200 odd yards and an INT isn't hideous (its more passing yards then the Bills starter has recorded in almost 2 seasons, a fact the local sports rubes attribute even more laughability to then I do) especially when you consider that the interception literally bounced off Driver's hands. It was a first down that hit him dead on and in stride before he bumped it into the air volleyball style for the Steeler's secondary. Brett didn't play perfectly, coughed up a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and threw an incomplete pass when he could have easily run for a first down. Those are both things you have to live with when you play #4, they happen when you have a QB who is always shooting for the win. Still, we didnt get blown out by Pittsburgh, at times the defense even looked good, since 17 points came off turnovers, 7 didn't require an offensive play, and for another TD Charlie Batch only had to work a 25 yard field. It seems that whether we play the Vikings, who suck in approximately the same proximity as the Pack, or the Bengals, who look pretty legit overall, we play badly enough to come within a touchdown or so of the game. Anyway, I can't get too upset about the fact that we lost number seven when six were already down the tubes. At least I got to sit at home and spend the afternoon watching the foosball with my Katie and my kitty.

We just finished watching the live debate on the West Wing. Overall I am pretty impressed by the episode, both because of the way it was done (unscripted, Smits and Arkin studying briefing books and position papers to prepare) and based on the actual product they put out. To some extent the "lets forgo the rules and really debate" theme is a little too trite for Vinnick to bust out, but it was still interesting. I overall felt like, evaluating the debate on its own terms, Vinick won. From what I have heard it would only make sense for them to not decide who was supposed to win and let it develop as it might. I think that Alan Arkin is simply better and more forceful a person in his own right than Jimmy Smits. Santos' closing argument was far better and the arguments that he was winning he was pwnzing him on, still perceptually it just felt like he was behind. There are apparently rumors that whoever wins the poll after the debate was who NBC was going to have win the election, an argument that I think is obviously crap, you aren't that far behind on your storylines in mid November. I know the election isn't gonna take place next week or anything, but you can't stretch it out until March without any idea whats gonna happen. Not to mention, if the writers are so un-Sorkin like as to leave their storylines up to chance like this they don't deserve to end the series without jumping the shark. The great thing is that, they have an easy argument based on the reality of the last election to say that even if Santos gets destroyed in the debate he can win the election. Anyway, as Ihave been saying, I am a sucker for gimmick episodes. I loved it when the West Wing did "A Day in the Life of CJ", I like all the temporally fucked up episodes they've done on Buffy, Dawson's Creek, West Wing and others. Sucker, right over here.

Back to Eugene, I suppose, I should return, but only for a couple quick notes. Andy and I went to LCC on Thursday morning for the presentation itself. I felt good about my speech, though I'm not sure anyone besides Andy really felt what I was talking about. Thats not to say there weren't smart people involved, both the mayor and the PoliSci professor Andy had invited seemed to be on top of their respective games. The student was kind of weird and did end his speech by essentially saying that we should help the homeless because it looks good on a college application, but overall it was a decent conversation on a complicated topic. Andy and I had a good convo with the professor guy after the lecture and I think he may be even more conspiratorially inclined than I am. There were only really two hilarious parts of the morning: 1) Andy's cell phone went off as he was giving the opening remarks which made his authority oh so much more convincing to his assembled student body. Secondly, we stopped on our way to the lecture to pick up food and beverages for the speakers. Andy bought a decent selection of donuts, some pastries, and some bagels and shmear. He had a specific drink order from the student and I had him buy me a Starbucks DoubleShot. Besides that he assembled random beverages from the drink area, including a Snapple Peach Ice Tea, some Minute Maid Lemonade, a Sobe, and Diet Rockstar. It was freaking hilarious to me to offer the Mayor of Eugene (with all the prestige and power such a title confers) a Diet Rockstar or a bottle of Sobe. When the Mayor asked him for a bottle of water he was only able to come back with one of the above and even he could laugh about how ridiculous that situation was.

Other hilarious story. Sanjay is at a bar, waiting for a drink. Some guy is standing next to him and doesn't like, for one reason or another the cut of his jib. So he turns to Sanjay and says "Did you win the lottery?" Sanjay has gotten some bad vibes from this guy and responds with a slightly antagonistic swagger. He says "Does it look like I won the lottery?" The guy responds, I shit you not, with the line that I have adapted to nearly everything I have said to Sanjay since "Does it look like I'm asking, A-rab?" Seriously, who says A-rab, outside of maybe the high school debaters referenced by Natalie? Maybe its an opportune time for INS guy to make a comeback.

Katie and I rearranged the living room a bit last night and Hippo has been somewhat confused about where to sit all day. She has been alternating between Katie's laptop and the windowsill all day, but now looks in a mood to play in her persian kittenish fashion. I cannot even express how cute she is when attempting to determine whether she can make the jump onto the console table. She stands on her back legs like an ewok and tries to see what is there before she leaps. Better safe than sorry. Regardless, I have to grab her crackly fish toy before she attacks my leg in retribution.



Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm The Luckiest Guy, On The Lower East Side, I've Got Wheels, and You Wanna Go For a Butt

Landed in Portland and got picked up by Andy and Sanjay in a car belonging to their friend Jimmy. Jimm'y s a really sweet guy, he hung out with us pretty much every night when I was in town. Dude's got a gambling problem and an unhealthy obsession with men with monosyllabic names, but a sweet guy without question. It was totally awesome that he let us use the car btw, since it would have blown to ride the 2 hours from Portland in the back of Andy's mid-80s Camry. While the Pac Northwest at least has Jack in the Box, and can hence claim one measure of civilization beyond Western New York, it has not been well graced by the Krispy to the Kree-ame so we made our way to the closest one to Eugene in the Western suburbs of Portland, I think. Jimmy, Oregon boy that he is, had never had a Krispy Kreme donut. I felt horrible that he did not get to experience it while the hot light was on, but check this out: THE PORTLAND KRISPY KREME IS NOT 24 HOURS!!! We got there about 30 minutes before it closed and the ordering process was a disaster, since Andy kept insisting on selecting random donuts despite sitting in the backseat, not being in condition to reasonably order donuts, and yelling over everyone. There was also a significant dispute over how many bottles of milk were required and some moments which bordered on Tenacious D at the drive-thru. Sanjay for some reason reacted to this nonsensical explosion by ordering half a dozen of our assortment to be Raspberry Filled Glazed donuts, which, in my mind should be illegal. We did buy 3 full dozen that evening, so I got my share of the Original Glazed that I wanted (fundamentally there is no other Krispy to the Kre-ame in my world).

We spent the parts of the drive back that were not crammed with donuty goodness making fun of Sanjay's I-Pod. Not becasue there is anything wrong with Sanjay's I-Pod, but Andy had informed me that Sanjay is really pissed at the Nano because everyone wants it and so his favorite toy (the big I-Pod) is not considered as cool, though he insists it is better in every way shape and form. If you are ever in a conversation with Sanjay, ask him how he can even walk when he is carrying that gigantic tank of a music player, wouldn't it be easier to just carry a boombox on your shoulder like a stereotyped breakdancer on a Fat Albert cartoon or something. There are moments from the trip to Oregon that simply aren't appropriate for public discussion, but believe me when I say they were awesome. We partied for a little while on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and I didn't get to sleep until somewhere around 4:30 AM.

When Andy reads this, if he ever does, he will inevitably get pissed that I am making fun of him. I have attempted to elide this complaint by first mentioning a funny story about making fun of Sanjay and second, by intedning to include all the positive impressive things Andy has been up to. That said I am going to make fun of Andy on occassion, there are just too many good stories. For one, Andy has like 4 alarm clocks requiired to wake him up. There were at least 5 total alarms between the various clocks and cell phones he set the night before. He did manage to get up and get going the following day at least, but returned home sometime in the afternoon and canceled his class. If you havent been in college for a while, you may have forgotten that this is something proffessors do, its one of the good parts of our gig. Its not high school and sometimes other shit gets in the way. This is not funny. The funny thing is that one of ANDY'S STUDENTS CALLED HIM ON THE PHONE AND CHEWED HIM OUT FOR CANCELING CLASS. I cannot imagine what I would even say if one of my students told me that I was not allowed to determine whether or not class would take place. Not to mention, who gets mad cuz their class is canceled. I mean, yeah, it can be kind of frustrating to get something done in time and then find out you didnt need to put in the extra work, but still. Maybe I'm the only one who loved it when you'd show up, assuming you were condemned to an hour or two of boing ass French lecture, for instance, and then realize that you had 2 free hours. If you want you can do your work, its bonus time. If not, you hadn't planned on gettting anything done then anyway, so there is no loss.

Hippo is, despite my assurances to the contrary, content in her belief that the cords to my computer are attacking her and as a result she has deployed her vicious finsihing move the "Multi Paw Hippo Fire" against them. Before she chews her way into my hard drive, I am gonna go play.



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And I Guess That's Why They Call it the Butt

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long busy travlin etc. time. I said hey right before West Point, so I will pick up with a brief description of that weekend, In some ways there is not a tremendous amount I can add from my previous descriptions of the beauty that is the Hudson River valley in the fall. I mean, its incredible, the colors are magnificent, the river is perfect at that point, and the campus, despite the occassionally pain-inducing severity of the architecture, is actually quite lovely. This was the first year I have ever actually driven to this tournament, since we rode Rochester's coach bus the past couple years. Thankfully it wasnt snowing, cuz I really got my rented minvan trucking on those downslopes.

OMG I have to make a brief sidenote about the worst minivan in the history of civilization, which, not surprising, I was driving on this particular weekend. It was supposedly, a brand new, Kia Sorento. I can testify that it was indeed a Kia Sorento but it appeared to me to be from somewhere in the mid 80s. Sure it was somewhat shiny and blue and crisp outside, but inside everything was analog, it lit up with a dull green glow and the radio, I swear to God, was slightly less sophisticated than the one in the Corsica I drove in high school. The gray plastic panels just refused to seem new and the fucking shift lever was in the middle of the front panel exactly where my knee rests when I put on the cruise control. The car might, and I emphasize might like a South Dakota novice policy debater on a solvency flow, have been designed by a blind monkey. It was a horrible horrible minivan and I think that the Enterprise Rent-A-Car was taking a chance at my death, but regardless we got back in a reasonable amount of pieces and the like.

We had a fairly successful tournament, clearing 4 of our 6 teams, losing in octos, quarters, quarters, and finals. I judged all but one of the rounds but had Saturday's last prelim off and managed to drive around and find the Catholic chapel on the West Point campus and went to mass on Saturday evening. It was a really pretty old building, not large or elaborate but beautifully done and positioned a level or two above the rest of the campus on the hillside. Perfectly timed to, so I got to investigate, go to church, drive a little bit longer, and was still back in time to greet Ken's arrival and catch the kids coming out of round 6. I was hella tired, we got back hella late, had some nonsense with certain debate programs I'm not gonna mention, but all around a good time. The car ride back featured excessive discussion of laced Eggs Benedict, which was way funnier than it currently sounds.

We got home and didnt have a tremendous amount of turnaround time before Katie and I began our journeys for that particular week. We got to spend Monday recuperating and enjoying each other's company in the absence of hotel rooms, debate rounds, and so on. We had a nice dinner, didn't cook though, and we probably should have tried to break up the monotony of fast and otherwise prepared meals that dominates one's schedule in the abscence of a kitchen. Regardless, it was a very good day, followed by a pleasant evening, and a bright, but early morning.

Andy had booked my ticket through whatever crazy ass travel agent he is required to use by Lane Community College and the ticket she finagled was among the worst itineraries in all of history. At first glance it appeared that I was flying from Buffalo to Hotlanta, and Hotlanta to Portland. Thats not bad, you can't expect to get non-stop flights from an airport as small as BUF to the other side of the country. Closer inspection revealed that the flight from Buffalo to Hotlanta stopped in Detroit. Yep. Not only did they make me fly west, before flying south and east, to again fly north and west; not only did they put a 50 minute break, for no apparent reason, in the middle of my day, they made me get off the damn plane. I was perfectly content to sit with my computer, my Nintendo DS and my enormous novel by Norman Mailer, doing whatever I needed to while waiting for them to reload. I even mentioned that I would be happy to move to a seperate part of the plane if they had to clean row 14 and put new copies of SkyMall in the seat back pockets. Nope, had to literally leave the aircraft and walk around the DTW terminal for 25 minutes before they let me board again. I watched their giant screen TVs and poked around in a shop that catered to cat and dog lovers. Still, it was a bit infuriating.

Had to sit in the Hotlanta airport for closer to two hours, but there was a comfortable bar near my gate where I could watch Sportscenter, the opening moments of the world series, and have nachos and whiskey, a classic combination if ever I've heard one. It turned out that the three people sitting next to me at the bar were all on my flight as well and my initial optimism that the plane might be undercrowded was put in momenary jeopardy. I got pleasantly intoxicated for a reasonable price and hopped on the plane. I should back up to one of the people who was sitting with me at the bar however, cuz she was the drunkest person I have ever seen actually fly on an airliner. When she showed up in the bar she already sounded drunk, but since she was just off a previous plane and wandering into the bar, I decided to assume that this was just the way she was. I should note that my experiences with this woman were fairly limited, between 7:45 Eastern and 10:55 Pacific, so maybe she is like this all the time, but at this particular moment, she was drunk. She hit on our incredibly unattractive bartender. After sitting there for approximately 15 minutes, in a fairly smoky room (since it is also the ATL smoking lounge), surrounded by people sucking down their Marlboro Lights, she exclaimed "I can smoke in here?!?!" This would be a somewhat tolerable thing to do except for the fact that she followed it up by 10 minutes later exclaiming in exactly the same voice "I can drink in here?!?!" Maybe you could write that off as a funny joke or something based on her not remembering to drink her beverage despite its sitting there for however long. Each one, however, was repeated at least two more times, including one while she was holding a still burning cigarette. She had a tall beer, a rum and coke, and two lemon drops in my sight, though I left the bar about 5 minutes before she did. I was certain that this lady would never get on the plane, but about 30 seconds before they closed the aft doors she comes a-stumbling in.

There was no body on the plane, maybe 25 of us for the whole plane. I don't remember precisely what kind of plane it was, but a big one with two aisles and 9 seats per row. No one in the aircraft sat in the same set of seats as anyone else and while I didnt' even attempt to sleep during the flight, it would have been money to stretch out on accross the whole situation. I had decided to characterize my trip to Eugene as a vacation, so I decided that my commencing of drinking signaled the end of my working for the day, so I ordered a beer on the plane and sat back to watch the movie: Batman Begins. I was a little surprised they would show this movie on the plane, though I was totally psyched to watch it again. It was less good on the small screen and even less good given the editing applied by the airline to make it acceptable for all ages. Still, its a decent flick and kept me busy for 2 hours. They followed that up with an episode of Nightline and some other crap that I didnt watch before they got to Bewtiched reruns and the Travel Channel's list of Top Ten Ballpark Foods. The final item was cut off after Wrigley field so we could get off the plane and all, but I appreciated the effort.

The trip has a multitude of stories in itself, but I figure I will convince myself to go in manageable batches. Not to mention, Hippo has been very excitable since I got home and is ready to play with some cat toys. OMG, Katie ordered checks with Hippo's picture on them today. Absent the presence of the fluffy Ms. Hipp herself, they are the cutest things ever.



Sunday, October 16, 2005

Listened to Preachers I've Listened to Fools, I've Watched all the Dropouts Who Make their Own Butt

Do you think the Viking's sex cruise tired out Smoot too much to play defense? I did not see the epic confrontation with the Bears today, but 28-3 is not the type of score you want in your journey towards putting a floating sex party scandal to bed. Hehehehe, putting a sex scandal to bed. Though I suppose if they would have used beds instead of renting boats on Lake Minnetonka, none of this would have ever come out. I mean, the sex toys prolly still would have come out and if you are paying in the six figure range for les prostitutes, you figure one of them might let the word get out, but still. Even the Vikings organization might have to consider getting rid of Mike Tice at this point, though they are only a game out of first place in the NFC North.

Packers have the bye week, so I have the great and unadulterated pleasure of relaxing at home today and watching football in my living room, rather than having to run to the Casino or whatnot. This is not to say that I don't enjoy those excursions, simply that I like relaxing on the couch, with my kitty and my Katie, and watching the Bills. Shockey got me 18 points in their contest with the Dallas Cowboys, so I was pleased, even though I think it may have given Buddy a brief heart attack with the last second touchdown in regulation, worked out alright for his evil team anyway. We also got to see the spanking (kinky) that the Dolphins took from the Bucs, I suppose because of the AFC East thing around these parts. Ricky did not play enough to hold my attention, maybe he needed a bong rip on the sidelines.

I got up at 5:30 yesterday morning and drove out to Rochester, NY, for the New York College English Associations fall conference on "Literature and the Obscure." I was presenting on one of the morning's first panels, so I had to be there by 8:00 or so. I was pleased with my argument and its reception. There were about 15 people in the room for the panel I was on, which was a pretty decent showing. I was shocked by how well the papers all worked together, especially given their often less than descriptive titles. Most of the rest of the day was alright, interesting but not worth reporting on, with the exception of some of the lunch convo. There was a nice luncheon situation involved, institutional food, but banquet style decent institutional food. I was sitting at a table with the only other dude who was within about 5 years of my age and assorted other people with whom I had no connection. A couple of them worked at Buffalo-area communitiy colleges, a couple others at private schools throughout the state. None of them worked at any institution of significant prestige, and I say that not to diminish these people as scholars (whom I know nothing about) nor to piss on their institutions (since I know little about them as well and in no way think that these few teachers are in any way representative). The thing that shocked me, and the only reason I mention where they were from, was that they were ridiculously pompous and entirely dismissive of anyone who was not essentially a highly devoted English major. Over the 40 or so minutes that the table was making small talk (from when we sat down to the beginning of the keynote speaker) these people diminished: athletes (most notably football players, but baseball, soccer, and basketball all got time in as well), engineers, physicists, less than perfect students, undecided majors, and film studies. Thats not even to mention that the one oldish dude who was the most cockassy was visibly disturbed when he learned that I studied primarily psychoanalysis and 20th Century American literature--it appeared that given his specialties of Milton and Shakespeare that he was not of the opinion that much of the 20th Century counts as "literature" but maybe I was reading too much into it.

I just find it particularly obnoxious when people, of any sort, not just academics, get so damn wrapped up in what they do that everything else becomes worthless and beneath them. I am cool with you not likign football, thats your loss. But a back-up NFL running back will make more money, be better known, and most likely accomplish more in their short career than you will in your 30 plus years of intellectually whacking-it. Thats not to say that I don't see the value in studying Shakespeare or Milton (who I personally find incredibly boring), but simply that if you want to talk about which one is better by any objective measurement, professional sports have got you powned. Its surprising to me, the people I know or have worked with who tend to be from way more "prestigious" institutions (again, not that I provide any significance to such measurements, simply noting them) are almost never this intellectually exclusionary. Maybe it has to do with an interiority complex, but I really hate resorting to such cheap psychologism.

I'm just over a week away from leaving on my trip to Eugene, Oregon, the furthest West this Midwestern son has ever been. I've got a week's wotth of school and a trip to West Point in between my and the closes thing I have had to a vacation in quite a while. Its pretty weak that my vacation doesn't include Katie, but I think she's gonna be heading down to Harvard anyway. Wonder if she needs to get her hair highlighted? Hippo says that she would be happy to accompany me, but I think a night in Sanjay and Andy's apartment would convince her otherwise. Besides, she is a first class kind of persian, and my ticket is coach at best.



Thursday, October 13, 2005

And We Can Ride the Boogie, Share That Beat of Love, I Wanna Rock With You, All Butt

I have been a combination of busy and sick for the past little while and as a result not posting and the like. I think I got through the Buffalo tournament, up until the point where we got home Sunday night, crashed for like 13 hours and were completely wiped the entirety of the next day. We did, at one point, have the chance to run to Target, where Katie bought me my birthday present. It is the totally sweet NINTENDO DS (to be read in the Cartman sense of SEGA DREAMCAST) and its greatest possible accompaniment Nintendogs. I have a really awesome Siberian husky named Jordis who is totally cool. She has learned how to sit, lay down, shake, and chase her tail on command. I can't even explain how cute it is. I'm gonna get a pug dog pretty soon here, but wanted to get the hang of the game first. So while they are delayed, I just wanted to send out a mad round of props to Katie for the present, which is awesome, and allows some video-based gaming on the often long and boring road to debate tournaments and the like.

Second thing of note: I ran to Wal-Mart the other day to pick some up some romance novels for Katie when she was not feeling well. Besides the fact that the photo lab now has a sweet machine that makes gift cards with any picture on the front (like Wal-Mart cash present gift card things) there was one thing really out of place. Parked next to me in the Wal-Mart parking lot, on Saturday afternoon, when every store in the world was open, was a brand new Bentley. Seriously, a car that potentially costs multiple hundreds of thousands was shopping for something at the cheapest of cheap ass locations. I understand that people who are rich get that way by not spending money all the time on random shit, but if you can afford even thinking about a Bentley its time to move up to Target full time.

We have watched alot of TV to make up for the tremendous lack of televisual moments that occurred between Kings and Buffalo. I'm up to date on Lost and Desperate Housewives, both of which I am happy to report, have not yet jumped the shark. While the basic satirical form of Desperate Housewives will prolly always leave it teetering on the edge, Lost appears to be going as strong as ever, now that everyone has determined like I did last year, that the show should be primarily about Locke. Jack's important and all, but without the incredible moments of Locke's feelings about the island the show would prolly end up meh at best. My three favorite new shows so far are Surface, Threshold, and Extras, the first two being pretty radically distinct from the last. Surface and Threshold are somewhat in the vein of Lost, at least insofar as the takeoff of odd mystery shows represents. I spose they also have a bunch in common with shows like The 4400. Surface also prolly connects with my childhood obsession with the Loch Ness monster, which I studied and wrote papers about for no specific reason for a while. I am still way behind on Rome and Invasion but I am happy for both. The disappointments, as of yet, are pretty limited, but two episodes in Commander in Chief is a not good program. I will give Geena Davis a couple more full weeks in office, but she is a pretty craptacular president thusfar.

Packers won big, it was a crazy awesome occassion, let me tell you. I'm not gonna equivocate like the NFL Live folks and think that the fact that we are only one win behind the Lions means that we have the chance to turn the season around, we're still a 6-10-ish team that just happened to encounter the perfect point-scoring storm in Lambeau field last Sunday. Brett Favre gets 3 touchdowns without playing a down after 3:00 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, a productive running game producing two rushing TDs, and (I can hardly believe I'm writing it) 14 points produced by the defense and a near shutout. We beat-up the Saints, not exactly the Cowboys of the early 90s I might add, who were playing with injured/weakened/whatever Deuce and Brooks. I'm not trying to diss on the Pack-Attack, since I loved it more than just about anyone not wearing shoulder pads and the number 4, but I don't think it changes anything about the quality of the team. I'm just gonna enjoy that win for what it was.

Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are out of the playoffs, so the sports world can't be all bad. I haven't ripped on the Yankees as much as I normally would, insofar as I now work with two rapid Yankee fans. Similarly, I coach enough rubes from the Red Sox Nation to not bother making fun of the chowds. Suffice to say, not having to listen to either camp brag in their obnoxious East Coast accents for the rest of the year is reason enough for me to tolerate baseball. I wasn't surprised that the Chi-Sox took down Boston, but must admit that the dumbest named team in the history of professional sports surpsised me by defeating Steinbrenner's lackeys.

I almost forgot to mention one of last week's most exciting endeavors. Katie and I took our Friday night off and pretended that we were a normal couple that didnt spend every weekend in a random NorthEastern EconoLodge, instead deciding to go out for a nice dinner. We headed to a place called Marinaccio's for dinner, though we had just happened upon it. It was a decent Italian joint, small but classy enough. Katie had a tasty piece of trout while I rolled for the seafood, goat cheese, and tomato-cream sauce deliciousness that was the Agnelotti Paolo. I've really had a thing for the Southern-Northern Italian mixemup represented by the tomato-cream sauce lately, just thought I would throw that out there.

Afterwards we hit up the real highlight of the evening though: Butterwoods Dessert Restaurant. I won't go through the history and what all of the place, you can read the website if you care. The point is this: its a restaurant that serves elaborate multi-course plated desserts. It has coffee and a bakery with incredible looking cookies, pastries, cakes and whatnot, but those are all in second. You'll never believe how much in second they are until I tell you this. Katie and I ordered two things to share this is my description of the one which was NOT the best: it was called The Belgian Chocolate Pyramid. It was presented with a stick of chocolate in the top, atop a fluffy bed of whipped cream and accompanied by a creme puff swan. It was beautifully presented, and I haven't yet explained the dessert itself. The pyramid shaped concoction was coated with a hard chocolate shell. Directly underneath that shell was a layer of mousse, thick, delicious, chocolatey mousse. All that was atop something that was somewhere between a brownie and a flourless chocolate torte. On any other night it would prolly have been the highlight of the evening. Instead it was served at the same time as the Apple Tarte Tartin. The dessert meals were almost a combo of tapas desserts or something, since there were 7 mini desserts included. Some of them are described on the menu, but there was far far more.

The dessert came on a large rectangular platter about 2.5 feet by 1 foot. From my perspective, this is what it contained: in the near right hand corner was the tartin for which the dish was named, a delightful baked apple concoction with layers of apples, cinnamon, and flaky pastry, served with a creamy caramel sauce. To its left was the marscapone creme brulee, something which is so self-obviously delicious that I refuse to explain it to you, topped with a cookie thing and a mini-scoop of creme fraiche ice cream. Further to the left was a sort of shaved apple ice, which had a specifc name I cannot possibly remember. It was flavored like apples and green tea and was apparently made by freezing an apple, shaving it into little chunks of ice, and flavoring those with some herbs and syrups and the like. Bordering on savory dessert, but wonderful. Behind it, the back left of the platter, was a half an apple, poached in a ginger syrup and served with sour apple sticks. Nextdoor was three full sized apple chips, standing upright in two other scoops of homemade ice cream, one banana and one ginger. Wonderful. The ultimate highlight was next, an apple tempura. Damn was it delicious. I fully intend to whip that up with some caramel sauce and ice cream at some point, or, as Katie suggested in her infinite brilliance, a caramel apple tempura pie. The final note in this apple composition was a green apple sorbet, so deliciously sour and cold. It was great, really truly great.

It was my first endeavour into the world of dessert restaurants, but I think Katie and I have defintively decided to make return trips to Butterwoods. There is a chocolate pistachio beignet just waiting for me to devour it. We are not sure about their pet policy, but Hippo has been meow-sisting that we take her since the moment we got home. I'm pretty sure that more than a couple bites would have doubled our petite kitty's weight, but when she gets an idea in her persian head, you know how it can be.



Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Can't Live Without Your, Love and Affection, I Can't Face Another Night On My Butt

After the grocery store we did Wal-Mart for some awards and then headed up to the Amherst area Motel 6 which was to serve as the tournament hotel. It really pisses me off that there continue to be hotels that do not have wireless internet of some sort. Don't get me wrong, I am pretty pissed when I have to pay for wi-fi, its just something I feel entitled to at this point, but at least there is an option for me. The Motel 6 was prolly the first hotel I had been in for quite a while that had no ability for high speed internet of any source. In order to cut the politics cards I needed I had to do lexis "downloads" for like an hour prior to my leaving. I put downloads in quotes there because my lack of a lexis code has forced me over to academic universe, which has no "download" capability. What I actually did was copy and paste articles one at a time into freaking word documents so I could read them later.

Regardless, Katie had to be there to send out pairings, work on the computer stuff, do early registration, and talk with the Buffalo kids in preparation for the first tournament of their season. I was sad that I had no access to my tivo, my couch, or my wireless, but we all make do. I didn't finish cutting the politix story until like 10:00 in the evening, but the evidence was pretty spectacular. I can't imagine the story will be that good come West Point, but we can always hope. I even got the impact story to play in the right direction. It was, admittedly, one of the moments I remembered what I like about coaching debate: finding a quality strategy, a good set of useful arguments, figuring out a way to smack somebody around. Anyway, in between those moments I talked with the Buffalo kids, ate another freshly baked cookie or two, and went to get dinner at a Thai restaurant down the road. The place was quality and was hella busy this particular Friday night, so I decided to wait outside the restaurant and talk on the phone while they got my curry, pad thai, and satay ready to go. Since I was as close to Asia as I was likely to get for a while, and my brother was not, I gave him a call.

As a potentially necessary piece of backstory: my brother has wanted to go to Asia, more specifically to Japan, for quite a while now. It has been his obsession in college, the language, the culture, the history, etc. I appreciate the history and art and most notably the food, but I've never had the intensity of the interest he did. Regardless, it turns out that there are enough young Americans with the same ideas about going to Japan as my brother that the process of getting a job and getting over there is kinda long and complicated. To make a long story short, he and Melia decided to go to Thailand in the meantime. They left this last Saturday night, flew from Chicago to Seoul, spent a day there, and then were on to Bangkok. My dad forwarded the email he sent upon his arrival, but besides that I don't have much to report. He is going to be living in a city called Loburi or Lopburi, though the information I've gathered about it online is pretty limited. They do have a pretty awesome monkey festival, which I am looking forward to seeing pictures of, but besides that I can tell you only that its a medium sized city in central Thailand. The point of all this was that I talked to my bro for about 45 minutes while waiting for my incredibly late dinner order and was able to catch up before he was on his way to O'Hare. I only saw him for a day or so this summer and before that not since Christmas. I don't know when I will see him again, but I just wanted to send good blog wishes to him and Melia. I think they are down in Phuket, on the coast, at this point, so prolly enjoying a much more interesting place than Buffalo has been recently.

Nothing else much occurred that night, since we went to sleep fairly early in an attempt to get up at 5:30 ish the following Saturday. We woke up to an especially playful Hippo for 5:30 am and were out of the house before 6:00. Our routine wasn't too horrible, we were at Manhattan Bagel before 6:10, I dropped Katie off and unloaded the car, then was on my way to the remaining breakfast related stops at Duncan Donuts, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks. All of these businesses had generously donated various delicisosities to the tournament cause, though Starbucks apparently employs a number of illiterate managers, since they were not prepared for which weekend we would be arriving--though it was clearly indicated on the letter. It took care of itself after only a little bit of discomfort on my behalf and we got our free coffee. The tournament got going on time, rounds progressed as planned, I got the chance to cut some cards on Army's affirmative, which ultimately helped us win a quarter's debate, even though there is work that still needs to be done on the counterplan. I digress, everything worked out well on Saturday, we got food there on time, cleaned up the room where it was served and accomplished 5 rounds.

Sunday morning was essentially the same routine. Up early, bagels, school, donuts, coffee, school. I managed to go the whole weekend without judging a debate,thank goodness for having Rochester teams in late elims I guess. We only managed to clear 4 out of our 13 teams, but 8 of those 13 were raw novices, so there was certainly nothing to be upset about. Two novice teams got out, a JV team that went 2-4 last week ended up 4-2 this week, losing a 4-1 round to end up as such--they ultimately lost in quarters. Buddy and Rohan had the weekend of their dreams, at least for this early in the season, 8th and top speakers, 5-1 with a loss to Case Western in prelims and victorious through the final round, ultimately beating Case on a 2-1 at the end. It was a hasty strategy that we put together, seeing as how I had not even looked at Case's odd Confuscianism/Empire aff, but I guess we had a thesis that we could sell to the panel in a more explainable sense then the aff. I told everyone that the debate would be decided based on who could more clearly articulate their alternative in terms that did not require an in-depth understanding of Hardt and Negri or whatever.

We also had, in that debate, a really odd situation where we managed to piss off a critic because he was not able to understand what was going on. From my understanding this came from the formal issues (i.e. speed and tech) and not the subject matter (Empire and Zizek). As an FYI, this Case team is high quality, they are smart, they are fast, and they are technically proficient. While the panel was not the fastest in history, two of them could keep up with most situations. Somewhere during the round, prolly going into the block, ROC decided that we were gonna get blown out of the debate if we didnt pick up the speed. Anyway, at some point a decision was made by both teams that one critic would have to get blown off for the sake of the other two. This isn't uncommon, I should note, its a decision we've all made as debaters and coaches, at least a couple times. If you've judged any decent amount of outrounds you've probably been blown off a panel at least once. That doesn't mean that you don't vote for whom you think you won and it doesnt mean that your vote won't be the deciding one when the teams split the two judges they were going for, it just means that to focus on winning you would have cost two ballots. I guess that my feelings about debate as a competitive activity first and foremost makes me a little more understanding of being blown off a panel than others are, but I simply don't get being pissed about it. Not only do I not get the mentality which refuses to see the competitive necessity behind it (emboddied in some aspect or another of every competition by the way, from the sac-fly, to taking a safety or penalty, to tripping a player on a breakaway) but I cannot imagine being pissed enough about it to rant within the context of the debate. Fundamentally, why do you care? It doesn't chance anything about your life, it doesnt effect your teams or the tournament, its just plain irrelevant. Either way you judge the debate, you vote for one team, you say why, and you go home. It actually makes the decision easier, cuz you have the absolute defense that the teams made no effort to win your ballot, so it was all but a random shot in the dark.

Again, that doesnt catch us back up to this moment. But I'm getting closer. Needless to say, Buddy and Rohan won the debate in question and I think the whole ROC staff was pleased to get our fist championship of the season out of the way so early. Hippo concurs, but wishes that instead of pressuring China, the topic consisted of petting Persia(ns).



Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I, I Love the Colorful Clothes She Wears, and the Way the Sunlight Plays Upon Her Butt

Been a long time. It was, specifically, a time filled with a tremendous amount of crap. I will go briefly through the major events that have occurred from September 20th until this evening. I'm sure sme things will get filled in at different levels later on. Anywho.

A couple days after my last posting was the departure for Wilkes-Barre, King's College, and as such my return to the debate coaching ranks. All three were pretty decent experiences. I drove a mini-van full of college kids (full being a generous term) about 4 hours into the Pennsylvania valley. My van arrived first of course, so after checking in to the Holiday Inn and the like I managed to cut at least a couple pages of cards. Katie and I combined to put out 41 pages by the following day at 11:00, which included my contending with the old people in the tour group to get a couple waffles from the deluxe continental breakfast. While I recognize that not everyone spends as much time as I do in mid-level hotel breakfast areas, the inabiility to work a waffle iron with instructions clearly printed on the base makes you an idiot. Not only was this old chick a waffle-iron illiterate, but she had actually jumped in front of me in line. I ate a bowl of frosted flakes standing up behind her just to demonstrate how unhappy I was with the situation. I think my message was somewhat undercut by helping her to work the damn waffle machine, but I couldnt risk her trying to make another one when the first came out raw on one side and burnt on the other.

We coached some rounds, I judged a couple blah blah. We cleared 4 teams, two in jv, an open, and a novice. I didn't coach any of those in prelims, notably, but regardless. It was a pretty good showing for the first weekend of the season, of Ken's tenure as Rochester's DOF, and mine as a college debate coach. Drove back just barely in time to get my car from the rental joint and drive back to Buffalo. Hippo was very excited to see us, especially since she had gotten used to us not going out of town for 4 days every couple weeks. She jumped up onto Katie's lap, read some blogs and checked email with her, then meowed around the house for a little while. She really does enjoy the crisp fall air thats developing here in Buffalo, so the windows are of even more interest than they used to be. That got messed up yesterday afternoon when Katie and I decided to turn the air conditioning back on, in response to 80+ temperatures in the first week of October, but she digs a last taste of the human induced freeze for 2005.

The week that followed was pretty much all prep for the Buffalo tournament all the time. I got a good amount of work done on several of these days, finishing and sending off an article I had written on the premiere of CSI: NY and approaching completion on the paper I'm presenting in Rochester on the 15th. The dissertation hasn't gotten quite all the attention it deserves, but still working on the whole multi-tasking affair. Still on track, but a little sidebar for the week. Jonathon Culler, whose book On Deconstruction is really quite incredible, came to UB to speak on Thursday. His talk, which notably had a great title "The Most Interesting Thing in the World: Derrida and Literature" was pretty informative and admittedly did alot with material I am far from familiar with. If you ever get the chance you should drop by and hear him speak. He may end up being unfairly overshadowed by Jean-Luc Nancy's appearance in November, but the point being that it was good. In many ways it was a break from the avalanche of activity which was to come soon afterwards.

Friday was technically my birthday, though I am not quite sure why I inserted the word technically in there, since it was my birthday by all accounts. Katie was obviously more than slightly occupied by the tremendous amount of crap involved in running a debate tournament for 180ish people, but managed to make it a very happy day nonetheless. The first part was really quite wonderful by all accounts, as we left at 10:00 and drove out to the apple orchard to pick a bushel's worth of Cortland, JonaGold, and Crispin apples as tournament snacks. It was a beautiful fall morning, cool with a bit of a breeze and bright sunshine. We got some fresh baked cookies and were able to drive ourselves right into the orchard. The Crispins were not my favorite, but had a good balance of sweet and sour. The Cortlands were at the very end of their season, as the trees were nearly bare, but were incredibly sweet, like candy almost. The JonaGold's were incredible however, only a step away from the Golden Delicious which I adore. They were tart and delightful, so I think I ate at least 3 of them standing amongst the trees. Its a little ridiculous how odd an apple orchard feels, like I don't really cognitively understand that apples grow on trees until I am removing them from said trees and eating them directly. We only had that 30 or so minutes to enjoy the morning and then it was a mad dash towards Monday morning.

I will accomplish only one more event, and hence one more rant, on my attempt to blog at a reasonable pace. That one will involve the grocery store. We stopped at our friendly neighborhood LaPerna family Tops to pick up certain amounts of condiments and the like. Beyond just mustard and chips and such, we also had to purchase all the things which would ostensibly enable the vegan folks to "eat reasonably" for the weekend. That included vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese slices, soy milk, and possibly a couple other things I don't remember. My rant is simply this: I hate being considered a dirty hippy for dirty hippy elements I don't even subscribe to. I have no problem with people eating whatever it is they choose to eat, those choices, to my knowledge, have no impact on me at all. I can even understand not wanting to eat meat. What I don't really understand is the decision to not eat animal products for ethical reasons, but to eat things that "taste like" animal products. I recognize that it has no effect one way or the other, but it doesn't feel right. My obviously somewhat inaccurate analogy was that if you thought that killing people was wrong, but you really liked killing people, and they started making cloned psuedo-people whom you could kill and it would sort of seem like killing a real person, would you be killing them. I think the point in both situations is to confront the fact that there is something that you like which you shouldn't like, rather than to just find ways to eat it that don't hurt anything. I'm sure I would feel differently if I was a veggie, but pork, beef, and chicken taste good. Hippo agrees, though she would like to add that whatever additional ingredients are used to flavor Cat Chow are just as tasty as any prime rib.



Tuesday, September 20, 2005

California Here We Come, Right Back Where We Started Butt

This was the final weekend that we were debate commitment free for the year 2005. I mean, there are other weeks that we don't have tournaments, but everything begins in two days when we officially embark on the voyage to King's College. Anyway, we took advantage to do some reasonable normal human things. We went, for instance, to the mall on Saturday for a mercifully brief bout of shopping and a viewing of Reese Witherspoon's new film. It was somewhat more interesting than I thought it would be and since I've resigned myself to seeing all Reese Witherspoon's romantic comedies anyway, it wasnt bothersome. There were some sad parts and all, but mostly just fluffy and humorous. I did however realize that the previews they show with these films are not at all directed towards me. The Iron Range sexual harassment film with Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson was the one I was most likely to see and that one really only because it is set in Minnesota and has Woody himself. I wanted to see this animated flick about birds that they were showing a preview for but then it turned out that it wasn't really a movie but just a fake promo to tell people to turn their cell phones off.

The lack of football on Saturday (I mean, it wasn't a total lack of football, but less than the previous week for certain) set me up for a football explosion on Sunday afternoon. The bar where we watched the Pack last week was less than adequate, since it was totally lacking in food, had a beer selection slightly below that of Shenanigans and was somehow less comfortable then just standing up. While all the games were on, we had horrible sound and low quality televisions with small screens to boot. So you would imagine my excitement in discovering this fact: Casino Niagara has erected (hehehehe) a SPORTSBOOK!!!!! That is correct, sports gambling is now legal in Ontario, at least Niagara Falls. Meaning that about 30 minutes away, when you include the bridge into Canada, I can watch my Packers play on this:

That is part of the 6 plasma screen TVs and two larger screen HDTVs that compose the primary TV wall which was, on this wonderful Sunday afternoon, full of the NFL's best. Well, there were some technical glitches and for a little while one of the plasma TVs was for some reason on a rerun of Just Shoot Me. The rest of the time it was good though. There was also a wholly seperate racebook area and at least 5 random plasma screens scattered around the seating area. The chairs were pretty comfortable where we were sitting, there was a tasty cheap food assortment, and while I am too poor for it now, there is sports gambling, which is an even cooler way to lose money than poker. BTW, they also opened a poker room, which means there are three places to play cards within a half hour of my apartment, at least one of which has 2-4 hold em tables, and thats in Canadian dollars.

Again the Packers lost, but that really doesnt come as much of a surprise at this point, since they suck. It doesnt help that we lost Brett's new go to guy for the year, but thats beside the point. I've adopted an attitude which makes watching the games pretty much just as enjoyable as always, and that is this: I just want to watch Favre play well. If I get to watch #4 throw for some touchdowns and enjoy the game, than Sundays are worthwhile. He looked good in the 2nd half this week, after the two interceptions, one of which was a fluke, but his fault, and the other, which was about half his fault and half the facft that Ferguson hadn't expected to be the new speed-honcho and hence, was not ready to get the Walker-like fade route. While one of the touchdowns was an all but pointless almost game ending drive, it was still a good time. The rest of the NFC North sucked potentially even harder though, with the VIkings taking it from Cinci and Daunte looking like he did 3 years ago. Might put the Moss trade into perspective.

Beyond that I am writing and thinking about debate and trying to get all ramped up for the first tournament of the year. I've put out some decent arguments and I think we could have a quality season opener. Hippo is not excited about us leaving for the weekend, but she is very excited about the fact that she has made a good amount of Persian friends on her new catster account.



Friday, September 16, 2005

I Know That You're Gonna Have it Your Way or Nothing At All, But I Think You're Moving Too Butt

The summer reality shows are winding down and it has not been the best season ever. Thats not a diss on the programs, since Big Brother and Rockstar (the two most noteworthy certainly) are both deserving of their respective props. I was too broken up when last writing to mention that Jordis Unga, the queen of rock and roll, was completely fucked over by the boys of INXS, not to mention the voters, who I think are being unfairly dominated by Australian bastards which would be the only possible explanation for Mig's success. Yeah, the night he did Peter Frampton was good, but besides that he is a Russian fighter jet who is 100% mediocre. It won't color their old music for me, but I'm not listening to any new stuff if they choose Mig. J.D, while an asscock, is at least a talented and livewire-y artsy asscock. Mig has nothing going for him besides 1) the fact that when he played the lead in Grease, they prolly didnt need any wardrobe or makeup and 2) he could also be a circus ringleader.

Anyway, Jordis rocked out, with a quality version of We Are The Champions and a original that she wrote with Marty. I know people loved J.D.'s original and it has grown on me now that its been on the show 4 damn times, but I think Jordis singing "baby, baby" over and over to a decent tune beats it every time and there was absolutely no doubt that Marty's "Trees" was better. It sounded, in ways, like great early 90s grunge rock, the first genre of music I really truly loved. Regardless, the point is, we miss you Jordis. Whenever I am next in the TC I will be on the look out for Jordis Unga. She was one of my favorite reality contestants of all time, not just cuz she was from St. Paul, not just cuz I can totally imagine running into her at the Turf some night, not just becuz dredlocks are hawt. She just rocked all around. We miss you Jordis.

Tonight was a funeral ceremony for the other great reality woman of the summer, though she was only my second favorite member on the show. Yep, Janelle took it on the chin when Ivette, who if it were not for Jan's girlfriend/wife, would have less reason to exist than anyone else in the universe, won the final HoH. I should also note that while Katie disputes my claim that April is the dumbest houseguest in history, there is no doubt that Ivette is in that conversation. She confirmed it by selecting--despite, mind you, constantly reminding all of us how much her family could use the money to the point that I kinda want to shoot her family in the head out of general principle (not her girlfriend though, whose comment that she liked Janelle and thought Cappy was a tool made my night a couple weeks ago)--Maggie to accompany her to the final two and solidifying her complete inability to win. If she only loses 6-1 she did well with this jury. Reality TV for the fall has just begun, with Survivor's inagural Mayan adventure this thursday, but I will withhold comment until I can remember at least a couple people's names.

Had a nice conversation with one of my professors this week who was more optimisitic for my options on the job market than anyone else has been. He confirmed for me that even in the event of an unusccesful search I would get some quality experiences out of the deal, so I think all is going according to plan. Other things are falling into place too, since the convos I've had with debaters seem to be yielding fruit and the article I have been writing about CSI: NY is within about 2 hours or so of completion. It turned out better than I expected, actually, I impress myself. Writing critically about TV rocks, btw. I wish there was a Cultural Studies and Television department out there somewhere, cuz I would pwn.

We made some really tasty jumbalaya a bit ago and I am still coming down from a shrimp-sausage-okra induced high. I swear to God that Tops has been stocking fresh okra every time I have been in the produce department until the one night I actually intended to buy it. The canned stuff is fine, but I don't believe I've ever cooked with fresh and it would've been fun to try. I spose living in Minneapolis and Buffalo hasn't put me in the fresh-okra belt of the country, but I've stayed away from a good deal of racist rednecks too I suppose. Thats prolly not really fair to the South, since while they've gotten to avoid a tremendous number of hideous Ole and Lena jokes, they've prolly never had legitimately incredible sweet corn. Though there is no freaking comparison between okra and sweet corn, so thats not really fair to the midwest. Fact of the matter, the Midwest is cooler than the South, and the fact that I have never really been anywhere more Southern than St. Louis, Lexington, or Charlotte does not affect that fact. I mean, even KC has great barbecue. This paragraph turned out way more vicious than I intended it to. It reminds me of one of Mitch Hedberg's old joke (RIP Mitch): "I wrote a letter to my dad and I wanted to write "Dear Dad, I really enjoyed being here" but I screwed up and accidentally wrote "rarely" instead of "really." But I didnt want to start over so I just wrote "I rarely drive steamboats, Dad. There's alot of shit you don't know about me. I know this letter took a real harsh turn from the start."

Hippo always loves that one. Right now, for instance, she laughed and purred at the same time, which resulted in her snorting. Hella cute.