Monday, January 31, 2005

Yeek Yeek, Woop Woop, I Ain't Playin' Around, Make One False Move and I'll Take Ya Butt

So we are at the Cornell Tournament this weekend, back judging in CEDA East. Its been a long time since we were judging collegiate debates and I had begun to slip back into the high school debate mentality. Maybe its not the high school debate mentality, but rather my own particular experiences in Minnesota. By that I mean having lots of people I know at debate tournaments, not having to deal with a billion+ students and generally just feeling comfortable. This is my second full year judging debates in this region and while I think that most of the people around here know who I am, I'm still not entirely comfortable in these parts.I also think its notable that in terms of the quality of debate, these kids would get crushed by Minnesota. I mean, seriously, I don't know if anyone at this tournament, in any division, would even have a chance to get out of the Southern district.

This team from Vermont is running The Scream Kritik. They pretty much ran this argument in every debate last year and I kinda wanted to hit them back then. It has apparently begun to rear its ugly head again this week. The argument itself is not completely ridiculous, its an idea of statism, the alternative for which is to express frustration through screaming against the state. I am not sure if the author of this shit really intends people to audibly scream about their oppression or is using the scream as a metaphor, though my intuition is the latter. The folks from Burlington, however, have selected the former. This means that each negative speech is punctuated, several times, by ear-shattering screams. Like seriously, they freaking bellow, and not like shouting "Damn you STATE!!" (fist shaking) they just scream, in the way you might textually represent as "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!" This seems silly to me, but even if its right, can't you just do it once, maybe at the "alternative " section of your argument. Do you need to do it every time you mention that the alternative is to scream ("Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!" ) in each of the negative speeches. By the 2nr I've got the idea already. (TIME PASSES) No longer in the scream debate, now I appear to be embroiled in a headlong contest regarding the positive and negative aspects of an immediate nuclear war, spark baby.

I like that Faulkner-esque insert of (TIME PASSES) in the above paragraph, I've got a bombasss stream of consciousness blog going on up in here. I've had this Ludacris song in my head (Get Back) for like 2 days now. I picked it up watching the MTZ Hitz the other day, stayin in touch with the kids. It is teaming up with Lindsay Lohan's "Over" to contend for my new favorite song, a slot most likely still held by Ashlee. You know how funny the talking goat is by the way, I hadn't listened to that shit in years until the other day and it really is comedic gold.

So last Wednesday or Thursday night Hippo went into the bedroom closet and managed to get really dirty. My suspicion is that she got shoe polish or something on her, becuase she was all grayish black on the left side of her face. Anyway, we tried to wipe her off with a washcloth and then thought about just letting her take care of it in her cattish ways, but ultimately determined that the stickyness combined with the discoloration was not good and decided to thoroughly wash her off, which meant her first bath, of sorts. Not surprisingly, Hippo was not especially keen on the idea of taking a bath. Katie thought it would work best in the sink, rather than the tub, and holy ass was she wrong. At least in the tub she didn't feel all claustrophobic. Anyway, we should have taken a picture but I was all occupied by making sure that hippo didn't hate me. It was hilarious, she was about 1/3 of her normal size and looked like a long haired skinny chihuahua. The funniest part was that we were trying not to get her head really wet, so the fur on her face was still totally puffy. I'm certain this will happen again at some point and I will make sure Katie has the camera ready.

So at the Econo-Lodge which was our home away from home for the weekend (I could pretty much, at this point, by the way, make an exhaustive survey of Econo-Lodges in the upstate New York region, "Econo Lodges of Upstate New York: Wireless Internet, Frozen Waffles, and/or Pert Plus") the "continental breakfast" came up completely weak style. Don't get me wrong, the wireless came correct, but it was coffee and one of those plastic pastry cases full of cinammon rolls and muffins. It didn't completely wrap its mouth around sheep-genitals, but it lacked the usual charm of cereal and certainly the sophistication of toaster-delectables. Anyway, today they added to the cinammon rolls one of my all-time favorite breakfast treats: bread-bag powdered sugar donnettes. If you don't know what I am referring to, first off, you poor unfortunate ass, and secondly, think of a long plastic bag (bout like a bread-bag (whoop-whoop) but full of mini-powdered-sugar-donuts instead of (whoop-whoop)). These are specific, they aren't just the regular Hostess powdered donettes, they transcend that earthly state and through the medium of the bread-bag (whoop-whoop) gain some sort of cool dryness that smacks on your tongue like the English forest-fire-prevention-representative.

I'm now watching last week's edition of Point Pleasant. Its Marti Noxon's new show, on Thursdays at nine on Fox. That is incredibly weak of the Fox-crew of course, but since they always intend to destroy their best programs (qua Wonderfalls and Firefly), not much of a surprise that they didn't move House to play it after American Idol or something. The show is pretty good through 3 episodes, a very Buffy-like set up of good and evil. I thought it had some chance to resonate with people (the few who weren't watching the Apprentice or CSI) due to the popularity of the whole Desperate Housewives evil emerging in innocuous places thing. Unfortunately, however, Katie tells me the reviewers trashed it. Beyond the generally high quality style of the program, it also features the comeback of one of America's greatest loved actresses: the chick who played Diz in Starship Troopers. Let me tell you, she doesn't play second fiddle to Carmen Ibanez anymore, not even in Johnny's heart. My bet is they cancel it in 2 more weeks, so enjoy this year's installment of Fox licking its own scrot while it lasts.



Wednesday, January 26, 2005

When Love is Running Wild on the Diamond Butt

So I know its been forever, its my bad on that one. Busy crazy times back in the MSP are over and done with and we have returned to Buffalo, just Katie, Hippo, and me. The trip back was good, listened to football, stopped in Chicago and hung out with Katie's uncle and cousins. It was fun. The second half of the drive was a bit longer and encompassed more than a little bit of snow towards the end, but beyond that uneventful. Hippo actually did pretty well in the automobile, she meowed and was nervous for the first half hour each day, but then she found a comfy place to sit and slept most of the trip. We had her pretty well set up in the back seat and in a world where the entire car wasn't loaded down with shitty it wouldn't have been difficult at all.

This weekend, when we went down to my sister's hockey game, my dad surprised me, telling me that he had (in the process of googling his own name or something) found my blog. While he didn't mention any issues of content (though I'm sure they exist) he made a pretty good argument about my occassional propensity to work blue. I guess it is possible that people who would potentially employ me could see this or that it could in some way damage things. Anyway, I don't plan to lose my general style and certainly none of the content, but maybe just a toning down of the langue and/or parole (for all you Sausurrians in the hizzy).

Lets see, what deserves mention from the remainder of the month in Minnesota. We judged a good amount of important Minnesota tourneys, two sections for me, State, and the Southern NFLs. The sections were uneventful, State was pretty easy. I mean, I didn't judge on Friday, so the whole finding a different restaurant for ech round business wasn't likely to put me in the ICU. Katie had a slightly more difficult afternoon. I judged three debates, including the quarters and semis. They weren't especially difficult to adjudicate, but the sems debate was especially close. I really like alot of the kids from Edina and obviously I go way back with Joe, but damn do those folks need some guidance on the K. Apparently they were real proud of their frontline to ManWest's Agamben dealio, which I didn't hear, but you can only blabber about the Mearshimer evidence in so many ways. I understand not wanting to switch your negative strategy over, especially when you've got something that works so well for you in the first place, but you gotta be able to deal with changing trends. Anyway, when you've only got one real weekness even people who don't like it will try to exploit it. Thankfully those weaknesses did not prevent their top team from winning State and qualifying for a trip to Philly. Katie, who was coaching at Mankato West, also managed to help them go undefeated at Southern and clear at State, losing to the eventual champion. Yeah rah to her, I think the 507 crew got their money's worth (though obviously the debaters and existant coaches had something to do with their own success :) ).

The Most Assy End-of-the-Minnesota-Season award goes to Rosemount, in my mind definitively the second best team fielded in the state this time around. They ran into Edina in Sems (and while it very often happens that the best two teams don't meet in the finals, in this instance I think it was quite a gap (admittedly, I did not see the team from Eagan who was in the final debate) and at the semi-debacle that is the Southern NFL Bloodbath had to hit them in round the one down bracket (its a double-elimination tournament). Edina won that debate and Rosemount, who, at the absolute least should have been in the rounds deciding who goes to nationals, was eliminated before some of the throw-away teams had left the building. What was even worse was what sounds like the pretty sketch nature of their first loss and while I will continue my policy of not claiming to know precisely what occurred in rounds I did not see, let me just say, ouch.

So Hippo is doing really well. She seems to dig her new surroundings. Anytime she is not locked into a single room and doesn't have to worry about the constant threat of other hissing cats or inquisitive dogs, she seems to be in heaven. She found a place that she likes to sit and especially enjoys sitting on the back of the couch where she can leap towards anywhere in the apartment while also being able to bat at Katie's hair and scratch her shirt. I'm sure I'll have some pictures soon.

So I should probably describe my greatest discovery of the past month or so: its a screenplay I intend to write called "Himmler's Donut." Its basically an ethical dilemma story in the vein of Sophie's Choice. Here is how it breaks down: you are sitting around somewhere, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, Himmler shows up and offers you a donut. Its not just any donut mind you, its a fresh, Hot Now Krispy Kreme donut, somehow its the greatest one in the world. Himmler didn't have anything to do with the purchase or production of the donut, notably, there is nothing evil about the donut itself. Himmler just picked the m up off the table and is offering them to you. You have no other donut options, if you want a donut you are going to have to go through Himmler. What do you do?

The crazy thing about Himmler's Donut is that everyone I have proposed it to so far is firmly convinced that it is not at all a conundrum and respnd with something like "thats easy, obviously everyone would choose X." This is only odd when someone that person would usually trust says the same thing with "y." There are also a number of marvelously expressive possibilities for innuendo in the suggestion that one is "eating Himmler's donut." Hehhhehehehe.

One other good random story: the last night I was in Minnesota I met up with a bunch of the crew at Old Chicago to have a final Summit or three. Thor, Maroney, Wilking (on his way through the TC to FermiLab for the Spring), Reuter, and Nermgoise were all there at various points in time so it was a good crowd in general. Apparently the folks I was meeting had a couple drinks earlier while watching Ski-U-Mah lose a series to Michigan-freaking-Tech, so after a couple Stoli-Red Bulls Wilking was ready to make a trip to the TouchTunes jukebox. If you've never used this particular technology (as I, for instance, had not) it apparently has the ability to not only play the 100 or so songs programmed into it, but can also download pretty much anything you request. Well, Wilking decided to search for some Sonic Youth and came acrross the epic conclusion to Washing Machine "Diamond Sea." I won't pretend to be a huge Sonic Youth fan and truth be told I have often hated them. Nonetheless, let me just inform you that I at one point have heard this track enough to know what was coming. Its 19:34 minutes long and a pretty intense combination of soft lyrical harmony and fairly aggressive noise-rock. Here is a pretty decent little description. Anyway, you might imagine that the crowd at the Apple Valley Old Chicago would not be incredibly receptive to such a song. Wilking had played it largely to see if it was the 5 minute edited version or indeed the nearly 20 minute full-length track. It was indeed the latter and by about the 3rd minute of non-stop guitar noise the rest of the patrons were beginning to be audibly annoyed. There were a number of comments, most of which were pretty funny.

Finally the relentless rhythm gave in to temporal pressure and was replaced by The Barenaked Ladies' "The Old Apartment" which the balding late 20s guy at the next table had urgently selected with the play-it-now option during the particularly repetivite section at about the 13 minute mark. One of the drunken secretaries out for margarita night commented on how happy she was to "finally hear some words." Reuter, with the impeccable genius only he can sometimes muster, went back to the jukebox and re-downloaded Diamond Sea, and, in some confusion that may or may not have been influenced by Stolichnaya, also selected play-it-now. Hence after three minutes of one of the worst songs ever recorded, Sonic Youth for the second time that night (and probably the second time ever) graced the suburban land of 100+ beers. There were two hilarious results of this occurrence, the first very predictable. The quicker folks in the crowd quickly began to wonder if "they had just heard this song" or "if the jukebox was working" and to comment loudly about its anal-qualities. When the noise began again in full, the displeasure in the room was tangible, and more than just the bald dude went to try to displace the track. The second, probably funnier consequence, was that Wilking decided that not only would the crew from Andrew Morgan and associates enjoying their tall Miller Lights at the next table respectfully disagree with our musical tastes, but might decide to go Grand Theft Auto on the bit and decide to take it into the Americ-Inn parking lot. He reacted to this by cowering in the corner of the booth and freaking out something fierce about how quickly we needed to run screaming from the restaurant.

I can't possibly explain how funny that moment was, unless you know how Wilking seems in this situation. I will leave you with a thought that Hippo posed to me today: The blogosphere and its occupants are both proof of the increasingly seperated and alienated cultural divide and the hyper-connectivity allowed for by an electronic conversation with hundreds of people at a time. She hasn't quite grasped the fineities of the interweb yet, but its pretty smart for a 5 month old.