Friday, June 30, 2006

I Need You, More Than Anyone Darlin, You Know that I have From the Start, So Build Me Up, Buttercup, Don't Break My Butt

I lied about the possibility of an increasing frequency to the whole posting on the blog thing.  I could say that I have been busy, and this is true. I have been cutting cards, assembling my own cards, and generally debate-camping my way to fame and fortune. I recognize that this isn’t the DDI, but I am pretty impressed with the increase in quality that has occurred in most of these kids. We’ve put out some good files and had a hella lot of practice debates, drills, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that a couple of these teams will be elite squads if they decide to stick with it, cuz they are all smart and most of them are wickedly determined. On the final day of the institute, I am somewhat unsure about only the decision to have a tournament with wins and losses, since after two weeks (a long time for a group mostly composed of sophomores and first years), hearing that you lost a debate on an argument you worked to develop for a week seems to be somewhat devastating. I don’t really understand that mentality, but I can imagine that it would not be the best way to spend a Friday in the summer.

Katie and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary this previous Monday. We stayed that night at the Minneapolis Hilton, at least a small step up from 312 Sorin Hall. More important than that, we had dinner at fucking Manny’s. I know that there are those who do not consider Manny’s the best steakhouse/restaurant/place in Minnesota/the world. This is in no way to diss those people or the Silver Butter knife Steak. In my mind, however, there isn’t really anything you can do to get better than this joint. I recognize that in many ways the place is exactly geared to the things I value. The d├ęcor is classy but not fussy, dark woods, clean lines, aprons and jackets on the waiters. The place is comfortable, always busy but rarely so jacked that you feel hot or out of place. The menu cart is so awesome, the fact that each of the servers get to do their own bit is brilliant, and that doesn’t even get to the generally impressive hugeness. I have never gotten to enjoy either the double-porter or the $125 Australian lobster tail, but someday they will make the ultimate surf and turf.

I didn’t even mention that we were dining virtually free on a gift from Kari and Karly, which got us each a couple glasses of wine, a very very rare porterhouse for me, a nearly charred (but still delicious) baseball steak for Katie, an order of the world’s best hashed browns, and some legitimately enormous asparagus. If there were downsides to eating at Manny’s (and I’m not so much saying there are) there would be two that are possible: 1) The rest of the world just seems like someone turned the volume down. Food pretty much seems like gruel for the next week, cuz how do you match that up. 2) Its hard to eat dessert. I pretty much eat steak, potatoes, and vegetables until I no longer feel physically capable of doing so. Its usually shortly after that point that your snappy looking wait-person comes around to offer you the enormous brownie sundae, the ricockulously large slab of cheesecake, etc. etc. This is a tough position, because while you are hella certain that you should not follow up a steak as large as what you just ate with a brownie as large as what you see on the next table, you are also hella certain that the brownie on the next table is ex-fucking-actly what you need to follow up the steak with. So you can either overeat a second time in the course of one meal or refuse one of the best desserts you are likely to see for a while. We got out of this dilemma with a delightful surprise, that being Manny’s providing us with complimentary dessert for our anniversary. I guess I had mentioned that it was, in fact, our anniversary when I made the reservation, but it really did surprise me when they did so. I had never had this particular dessert before, but it pwnd Manny’s style: it was a brownie, topped with a thick layer of chocolate mousse, topped with a thick layer of whipped cream, which was then dumped upon by a classic gravy boat full of hot fudge. The crazy thing was that, enormous as it was, it was still small by Manny’s standards. We managed to put the whole thing down, though I like to think I was responsible for about 90% of that. Brownie French silk pie: ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Manny’s and the Minnesota State Fair are pretty much my two favorite places and this meal pretty much put any hierarchy (which would have previously had the fair strongly in the lead) in question. More importantly, of course, was that I got to spend a wonderful 24 hours with Katie. She got me an incredible tapestry like woven thing which features both a bunch of really cool colors and textures, as well as kitty cats. Considering we have like 25 times as much wall space in our new place as we do now, having some things to hang there would be hawt. We got to watch some TV that wasn’t just recorded World Cup games (not that there is anything wrong with that) and enjoy some wedding cake redux, courtesy of Wuollet’s.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with Hippo the next day, cuz she wanted to say congratulations and all, but we didn’t get to hang out long. She sent me an email yesterday, meowing about how she missed us. She is really ready to go back to New York, but likes having the stairs to race up and down—little does she know….



Thursday, June 22, 2006

You Might Have Heard I Run With a Dangerous Crowd, We Ain't Too Pretty We Ain't Too Proud, Might Be Laughing a Bit Too Loud, That Never Hurt No Butt

We finally got freaking internet access up in here. I love being home, I love seeing my family and friends, I love working with the kids at this institute, but being away from my TV, away from my cat, away from my DVR, air conditioning, my own schedule etc. is driving me up a wall. I will probably never be as affected by this as Katie and some others are, but I understand somewhat better why they would feel that way.

I would never expect dorm food to be particularly good, but at the moment it has been both not particularly good and entirely geared towards 2 year olds. I assume this is because the other significant group at Hamline at the moment is a gymnastic camp that features mostly people in the 2 year old range. We have had hot dogs on at least two occasions, chicken patties, grilled cheese sandwiches, and sloppy joes. I don’t mind any of these foods, though their sloppy joes were a) not extra sloppy (even though they should know that kids like ‘em sloppy) b) not especially good. They do have a surprisingly good soft drink selection, which kind of blows my mind. I mean, they don’t have any non-cola diet choices, but they have both Coke and Pepsi products, both cherry versions, Mountain Dew and Mello Yellow, Dr Pepper, some lemon and other ades, root beer, and approximately one literal buttload of juices.

I drove to Kinko’s today (because I woke up in a cold sweat last night thinking “SHIT!! Oh yeah, Kinkos.”) and on the way back I passed this truck.

You are reading that 100% correctly. The Eager Beavers of the Box Business. Either someone shares my sense of humor or someone knows very little about euphamisms for vagina. However, if you are in “the box business” (interpreted either way) you have likely heard “box jokes” before. I hope you appreciate that camera phone shot, however blurry it might be, because it almost cost my life to get it, insofar as I was in the process of passing that truck at around 45 mph with cars in front of and behind me when I took it. I think the dude behind me appreciated the necessity of such a picture, since he appropriately backed off until I had captured the moment.

Tom, Katie’s father, got a Motorola Q last week, and I am ricockulously jealous. I mean, this thing is phat. Not only would it have alleviated my internet woes during the first parts of the institute, it would always leave me with something to do and probably destroy my thumb joints within a month. Katie still needs some convincing that a 45 dollar monthly data package is a smart idea in our limited budget, still, I really like it. I would be willing to cut back my clothing, make-up, shoe, and black licorice purposes to literally nothing to balance out my increase. Maybe the terrible office job I anticipate having in the fall will turn out to benefit me because I will have some legitimate justification for having more access to the internet then my home, my office, and every retail business in the country.

I finally got to see Hippo again this morning and she was meowtastic as usual. She was furr-ious at Landon Donavan and the assbag of miscreants known as Team USA Soccer, but purry and such nonetheless. She, as per usual, says meow.



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

If You Don't Give My Football Back, I'm Gonna Get My Dad on Butt

So I totally suck at updating my blog when I am at home. I admit this freely. It should be a bit better during these two weeks, when I will be at the debate institute at Hamline but beyond that, I’m sure I won’t be back to fully regular until we are set up in Rochester. I will take props from Katie and simply go list style, cuz its easier than any sort of coherent thematic organization:

  1. I’m a bit worried about the cast selected for Last Comic Standing. They don’t seem, up front, to be as funny as the previous casts, but I will give that time to work itself out. More importantly, they selected a bunch of people who were TERRIBLE, simply because of their quirks. They also didn’t appear to select even one one-liner/straight comic in the grand Mitch Hedberg-Steven Wright tradition, which makes me personally sad. Its also weird to see Mr. Not Even as Famous as Jay Mohr repeat the exact same intro lines. I get that the Jay Mohr hosted format wasn’t working, but if he is good enough to represent Diet Pepsi in the hard fought negotiations with Jackie Chan, he’s gotta be better than Mr. Sitcom Terrible.

  2. The kids at this debate camp have this crazy game which I can only describe as Shock Roulette. The game has a button and four spots in which people can insert their thumbs. When the button is pressed a sort of countdown timer begins and when it ends one of the people playing gets a small shock. That’s it. End of game. I understand the initial appeal of this game to some people. Its certainly novel and it admittedly captured some of my curiosity. This is the third day of the institute, however, and there is not yet any sign of the popularity of Shock Roulette slowing down. I have not seen any women join in the game yet, but I have seen a number of dudes play it by themselves. By that I mean they put two or more fingers in different slots and press the button, I guess for the curiosity of determining which of your fingers gets shocked. I could go off on the potential that this game is an American teenage male version of the vagina dentata, but I won’t.

  3. I have developed a serious addiction to World Cup Soccer. In most of the games I don’t really have a favorite, though I enjoy rooting for the “3rd World” and generally the underdog. I was a fan of the US team coming in, though their general suckitude has made that less possible. That’s not even to mention that in the best case scenario we get smizacked by Brazil in the round of 16. As a sidenote, when I was trying to quickly get through part of the Spain-Tunisia match yesterday I watched about 20 minutes on fast forward. The way the ball bounces when you fast forward soccer is really quite hilarious. In fact, it made me think pretty specifically of foosball. My new theory is that foosball was created by watching soccer in fast forward. Of course in the end, foosball distorted Mitch Hedberg’s view of soccer, cuz he cannot do a backflip, much less several in a row with several other guys who all look like him.

  4. Air conditioning is awesome. I mean, really really awesome. It keeps the air all cold and stuff. In fact, air conditioning probably makes my top 10 favorite things overall. The one thing I was really not happy about in the idea of psudeo-living in a dorm for almost two weeks was the lack of any adequate air conditioning. Last night, when we had to stay in a supplemental dorm because of electricity problems we ended up in one of the freak dorms which had an air conditioner sitting in the middle of the room with a vent-thing that directed the hot air and chemicals out of the window. I assume its built to be used in windows that are not the proper up-down closing specific width scenario. It is wicked awesome, I almost stole it, and I want one. I suppose I would rather just be in places that didn’t need to have portable air conditioners, but you take what you can get.

I have not seen my adorable Hippo in almost three days now, and it is driving me insane. I can hear her plaintive meows in the morning all the way from Rosemount. I know she understands that our being here is crucial to keeping her rolling in catnip and happily full of kitten chow, but I miss her.