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.