Monday, August 30, 2004

Dreaming of reruns

I think I really want TiVo.

I worry that, right now, I watch too much television. And by "watch," I mean "stare at that box till something else better comes on, then stare some more." I'm often just flipping around till I find something even moderately watchable (read: not good in and of itself, just better than the other dreck). Interesting fact: especially in the early afternoon, that is usually something on the E! network. Surprised me, too.

So here's my theory: with TiVo, I may actually watch less television, since I would know that I could turn it on, go immediately to something I want to watch, do so commercial-free, and then move on with my life. Granted, what I usually want to watch are reruns of Seinfeld or The Simpsons (IMHO, both still better than any other scripted show on TV), but that's my right as an American, yes?

As soon as I get a job and can afford TiVo, I'll test my theory and publish my results for you. The New England Journal of Medicine awaits.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Should I feel dirty watching the Olympics?

Misty May, member of the US Olympic Women's Beach Volleyball team, has a mole on her left inner thigh.

I really shouldn't know this. Her doctor should know this.

But I know this because when NBC flew to Greece for its Olympic coverage, they forgot to pack their shame. Their coverage of Women's Beach Volleyball has been the most overtly sexual thing on my television ever since my wife made me call the cable company and tell them we were getting Cinemax for free.

And just in case NBC's slow-motion replays of the women diving into the sand from every angle aren't enough for you, there's more. In between games, the venue actually has female cheerleaders in even more revealing swimwear (not easy to do) dance suggestively while the atheletes take a break.

Maybe I should be outraged, maybe it's a celebration of women taking control of their sexuality, or maybe it's just sex-marketing business as usual. Let me know what you decide. In the meantime, I'll probably be making disapproving comments...but probably not changing the channel.

And Misty? I'd get that looked at, if I were you.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I'm no Phil Gordon

Damn...I watch Celebrity Poker Showdown religiously, have seen Chris Moneymaker win the 2003 WSOP several times on ESPN, and have even read Positively Fifth Street by James McManus. So shouldn't I be better at poker by now?

Answer with a question: how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

Actually sat down and played for the first time this weekend, and was the first one out. Had a blast doing it, was basically losing my wife's money since I'm still unemployed, and picked up a few things about my own game and the playing habits of the others at the table.

I'll do better next time. But for now, off to practice. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 06, 2004

My religious/cancerous experience

There are film snobs, wine snobs, music snobs, and so on. I am not a cigar snob per se, but I can talk the talk, and I finally got the perfectly legal chance in Aruba to enjoy the producto de Habana that I have read so much about: a sweet, sweet limitado edicion Cohiba cigar. And afterwards, I have never come closer to considering violating the trade embargoes of the United States.

For those of you who are not cigar lovers, skip this paragraph. For those of you who are, I have to say it was the most perfect cigar I have ever enjoyed. Beautiful brown maduro wrapper, springy to the touch, nice torpedo tapered-head (not a true torpedo, but close), and I would guess about a 40 ring. After lighting, it kept a uniform coal the whole way through, and burned evenly and slowly. The draw was phenomenal, and the aftertaste was like slightly overcooked popcorn, never bitter, even towards the end. Being the first cigar I have smoked in years, coupled with its flawless flavor, I was truly blown away.

While enjoying it, I thought of my old friend Russ from Alabama; we taught together for a year, and after school on Fridays would sometimes go to a local smoke shop, walk into the humidor, and pick out something new. Then we'd head to a bar around the corner, fire up the cedar, and enjoy a good smoke, a good beer, and some good company. Good times.

I wonder whatever happened to Russ; I hope he's doing well wherever he is, but for a few minutes last week, he was in Aruba with me enjoying a fantastic Cohiba and laughing about the students.

I still can't blow smoke rings.

SPF 85?

So explain this to me:

We spent four days in the Caribbean. Every day, without fail, I applied a sunscreen lotion with an SPF of 45 (for reference, mayonnaise is about a 40), was NEVER in the direct sun for more than 10 minutes, and I still got a nice, pink sunburn.

Why does God want me to burn?

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Ahhh...MUCH better...

So, we're back from a great vacation in Aruba. When we were planning a vacation several months ago, here's what we decided:
  1. We DID NOT want to learn anything, see anything, or tour anything. We didn't want an itinerary, and we certainly never wanted to set an alarm clock for fear of missing any of the "sights."
  2. We DID want to roll out of bed every day at the crack of noon, lay on the beach reading trashy novels and drinking rum-infused frozen cocktails, only leaving to eat and sleep.
Decision: go to a great beach we've been to before. Mission accomplished.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for culture, learning about the indiginous peoples, etc. But not this time. I just wanted to relax, and so here's just about everything I learned on this trip:
  • The people of Aruba speak four languages; their native Papiamento, Dutch, English, and Spanish. I can understand one of those.
  • However, Dutch isn't really that hard of a language to figure out. For example, "Pannekuikhoos" is "Pancake House." I figured that one out quick.
  • Balashi is a local beer brewed in Aruba that in any other climate would probably be considered fairly weak. However, I found that after a day of 90 degree weather and the accompanying dehydration, this was the little beer that could.
  • Europeans hate cinnamon, and don't understand why Americans like it. If you order cinnamon on your pancakes at the Pannekuikhoos, the Dutch waitress will shake her head and laugh, and remark that she has heard that Americans even have a gum with cinnamon in it called "Beeg Red." How can you hate cinnamon?
That's about all I learned, and even that veered way too close to "culture" for my tastes.

We'll take a trip involving museums next time.