Saturday, December 31, 2005
Best purchase of 2005 = my iPod shuffle. It has made commuting not only bearable, but downright funky at times.
Runner up = our new Apple computer (purchased shortly after we realized our old computer was three operating systems behind the minimum needed to work an iPod...geesh...)
Best trip of 2005 = our anniversary weekend in Calistoga (which, as of today, is under like 6 feet of water...guess we shouldn't have sacrificed all of those goats to Baal).
Best book I read this year = Beasts of No Nation, by Uzodinma Iweala. Powerful, horrifying, and fast-paced all at the same time; I could not put this book down, even though certain passages made me want to cry.
Best new habit = running (even though I haven't been going as often as I should)
Second best new habit = haircuts (even though I haven't been going as often as I should)
Most fun/potentially troubling new habit = online poker (so far, I am only playing the free tournaments...so far...)
What should probably be considered my best new habit = working again.
Lifetime Achievement Award = George Lucas. No series of movies has impacted my life more than the Star Wars saga, and by wrapping up the series in a (mostly) satisfactory fashion this past summer, I can now look forward to finding something else to occupy my downtime. TK421, why aren't you at your post?
Hope 2005 was a good year for you; it was a banner year for me. See you in 2006, and remember to nominate your favorites for next year's awards!
Friday, December 30, 2005
By the way, I am proud to report that, as 2005 comes to an end, so do those pesky undergrad student loans! With today's paycheck, I will make my final payment to Sallie Mae and officially close out my account with them for the loans that helped propel me through EKU (in conjunction with the aforementioned jobs and grants). I was on the ten year payment plan, and did it in a little over six, thus depriving SM of at least a little of their hoped-for interest. It couldn't have happened to nicer people.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
While we were sitting there, laughing and talking, I was reminded of something that happened a few weeks ago coming home on the train. A woman was wondering where to get off to go to the new De Young, so she asks...the homeless guy. Not a lot of transit experience, I'm guessing. Anyway, this guy not only tells her (accurately) how to get to the De Young, but how to get to other SF museums, when they are open for free, how he has been going to them since he was a kid, and speaking of when he was a kid, how he raised a rooster as a young boy, and how it was a very pretty rooster, even though it liked to fight...you get the idea. This went on for an uncomfortable twenty minutes or so.
Eventually, the lady got off at her stop, and so the homeless guy's attention shifted...to me. It was tough to avoid him, so I nodded politely, throwing in an occasional small comment ("It liked to fight...you mentioned that, yes"), until he finally got to his stop. As he exited the train, he stopped, looked at me, and said, "Thank you for talking to me...most people just ignore me."
It was a good reminder to me of just how lucky I am; I have regular, meaningful human contact with people I love and care about, something I take for granted occasionally, but something a lot of people simply don't have.
I hope you had a nice holiday weekend, and I hope you had a chance to spend it with people you love.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Unfortunatley, unlike my Moot Court experience, I did not have the opportunity to work Phil Hartman's Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer character into my closing argument. Maybe next time.
Monday, November 28, 2005
There were photographers shooting everyone at the finish line; they email you based on your bib number and ask you to buy copies. I saw them as I approached the finish, and tried for an appropriate "determined but not in too much pain" look on my face. I think I pulled it off, but all the people walking in the background may give me away. If I get a picture, I will ask my friend Jen how to post it on this blog.
Three miles down...many more to go...
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Anyway, other than that, things look good in my mouth, in case you were wondering. If you see me soon, ask to take a look; showings are every hour on the hour.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Sunday, November 06, 2005
One of the coolest parts was seeing the reaction of the deaf audience; they were enthralled, and it occurred to me that they probably don't have the chance to "see" Shakespeare that often. I loved applauding in ASL; it's a lot like jazz hands...and who doesn't love jazz hands?
Monday, October 31, 2005
And that's where the fun begins. I have flown SWA a few times now, and I am always fascinated at the human nature on display when it comes to lines. There are always the Line Nazis, the people that want to line up as early as possible. These people annoy me because they start the whole problem of having to line up as early as possible, rather than getting to stay seated. Then there are the Line Breakers, people who line up, but intentionally do it in a non-linear fashion (say, off to the side, or stay seated but put their luggage in...not cool in today's airports). These people are even more annoying, because they are really Line Nazis in disguise, just not as honest: their place in line matters, but they go out of their way to make it look like they don't care. The final group, the Line Wanderers, actually fall into two sub-categories: the Confused, who either have never flown SWA before, or have never entered human society before and have therefore never stood in line, and so wait until the flight is called, then obliviously stroll to the front of the line, freaking out the Nazis and outing the Breakers, who get just as pissed. Then there's the Refusniks, who stay seated and pretend not to see the line, or make fun of the line, and just sigh, roll their eyes, and get at the end of the line when it's their turn.
The next time you fly, try Southwest...it's as close to a legal Skinner Box as you'll probably get these days.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Inside, it says I'm getting a raise. Turns out that during my two-year probationary period, I get a performance review every six months. If I am doing poorly, they can fire me. If I am doing well, they say nice things to me and give me more money. Huh.
Being a former classroom teacher, I was completely unprepared for this. It's bad enough I still don't have the hang of taking vacation time, but now you're giving me more money?
Monday, October 24, 2005
We went to see A History of Violence (btw, good movie...not great, but good) at the Century 20 in Daly City. Maybe I should have expected it at a megaplex, maybe I should have expected it on a Sunday afternoon, maybe I should have expected it in Daly City, but the whole experience was just awful. People walking around, talking in normal volume, cell phones going off, and worst of all, people "theater hopping" (i.e. walking into various theaters, watching for 10-15 minutes, then moving on). I had no idea your ticket price allows you to be a nomad for the afternoon, watching a little bit of everything. I guess the high ticket prices reflect this movie-buffet-all-you-can-watch mentality.
So I move one step closer to hermitage. Time to update my queue.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Still, fun to see college basketball again, although when the commentators were talking about UK's big wins last season, I notice they didn't mention the first round squeaker against my beloved Colonels? They're scared, I tells ya! Scared!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
When the hot asian girl asks you if you want to go to the back for a "rinse off," you say, "Yes!"
Before you get concerned about my marriage, it was just that: she rinsed my head. Still, a nice touch, and one that will keep me going back. Just don't tell my wife.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
[since I got the link from one Alabama friend, I thought it only fitting to get the title of this post from another Alabama friend]
Thursday, September 29, 2005
We were invited as guests of the director (felt semi-important for a minute there!) to the final dress rehearsal, so there were producers scurrying around throughout the performance, checking light and sound levels, making copious notes, and generally taking me out of the moment. The music is amazing: it is beautiful and soft one moment, then discordant and angry the next. Many of the vocalists were clearly not going "full volume" for the final dress, so it was tough to understand them sometimes, but Gerald Finley, in the role of Robert Oppenheimer, was outstanding.
We are thinking that we now need to go see something a little more classical before we make our final judgment on whether we can be "opera people," but this was certainly a fascinating introduction.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Or I should say, leather-and-chain clad masses if you are lucky. To get your ticket/sticker to enter, you have to walk past the "No Nudity" sign to the topless girl selling the stickers. Ahem. Once past the ticket booth, it was literally anything goes: I can't even imagine the level of self-confidence involved in walking around wearing nothing but a leather hat, shackles, and flip-flops, but there were dozens of people who could clearly answer that question. I think my favorite part was seeing the line of people waiting to get spanked for a donation of at least $5 to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund. I love this city.
Didn't get to test drive the car due to the street closures, but certainly didn't go away bored! We also found this cool Spanish restaurant that had amazing tapas and some of the best sangria we've had in a long while. It's cool to eat the fruit out of the wine glass, right?
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
Why the change, you ask? Not sure I could tell you exactly. Part of it deals with our bathroom: there is only one outlet, and it is so old that the plug falls out, meaning I have to hold the plug in with one hand while I cut with the other. Awkward, to say the least. Related to that is the idea then of where I have to cut my own hair: I usually did it in the shower (always a good idea to take an electric device into the shower, kids!), but due to the outlet, I was cutting it over the sink, which was just messy and annoying. Honestly, though, I think I was also just tired of cutting my own damn hair.
So the streak is over. I paid $10 (outrageous!) for the cut at a little salon down the street, which was far better than the $18 (scandalous!) the barber shop next door wanted. And, I have to admit, it was nice. No clean up, nice and neat, even the neck looks good.
Might have to go back before 2020.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
There were a lot of similarities, but the most striking difference was the portrayal of Kinsey himself. In the movie, Prok is shown as a more compassionate person, laughing, understanding that love is important, struggling with his father, etc. In the book, the opposite was true: Prok was a domineering, overbearing taskmaster who drove his team and all those around him with imperious precision.
I don't know which is true, or if the real man (as is probably often the case) was a combination of both, but one scene that occurs in both the book and movie was very telling: Kinsey having sex with his male researcher. In the book, Kinsey is clearly the aggressor, beginning choreographing, and guiding the affair from the beginning as sort of a "test" to see if indeed the young interviewer will be effective and not "sex shy." However, the movie plays the same scene very differently: Kinsey is hit on by his interviewer, and is shown to go along , albeit somewhat reluctantly, with the young man's advances.
Is it an important distinction? My guess is that there was an actual affair between the two men. However, for the movie version, I'm guessing the producers felt that the idea of their leading man Liam Neeson seducing a younger man may have been too much for the audience? Ironic, given the subject matter and content of the film, and an unfortunately short-sighted decision, given what Kinsey himself was trying to promote.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Good read, although I'll admit sometimes I wondered if anyone was reading over my shoulder and what they thought of me. Then I wondered what Kinsey would have thought of me getting embarrassed about what other people thought of me. Then, to quote Kevin Nealon, suddenly I lost interest. I'll give it a solid B: good read, interesting subject, great style choice by the writer.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I felt a little dirty, and wanted to reassure him that it was a one-time thing, that their pad thai meant nothing to me, and that I would always love his basil chicken in the future, first and foremost. But it all went unsaid.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Not sure I like what this says about where my head is at recently, but I guess it's better to take out my frustrations on pixels and bits than on my idiot neighbors or the moron who keeps parking in front of my driveway.
Monday, August 15, 2005
In the past, it hasn't been that big of a deal. But then we brought our new little toy home...and got stopped cold. It turns out that our Windows operating system is two systems behind the minimum needed to operate an iPod, our USB port is too slow, etc. I asked the pterodactyl inside the hard drive for help, but couldn't hear his answer over the wooly mammoth vacuum cleaner.
BTW, in case you were wondering, yes, I felt very old just buying the damn thing. Even the bag made me feel bad; it is designed to be worn like a backpack, unless you look like me. Then it is designed to be carried awkwardly in both hands, like a combination of nuclear waste and a present for the grandkids.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Since I'm an ex-teacher, I'll go with grades: I give this book a solid B for being thought provoking and entertaining, if a little quick to make assumptions. Good effort.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
- A large fight down a side street, which looked like it involved at least five young men, arms and legs swinging.
- An almost-fight at the gas station, in which the gentleman in front of me and the cashier got into a huge profanity-laden argument, resulting in the cashier coming out of his bullet-proof booth with a baseball bat, and the gentleman in front of me reaching into his jacket, but then apologizing to me and the two small children behind me in line, turning, and leaving. [cue release of breath]
- Four loud pops in succession (which I am trying hard to pretend were firecrackers), followed a few minutes later by four racing Richmond police cars, three of which pulled into a housing unit, leaving the fourth to park across the entranceway, so no one could get in or out.
When I was in the gas station, the little kids helped me pick out a Vitamin Water (they said I should buy the Formula 50, because Fifty Cent [or, as I call him, "Fiddy"] advertises it). They were adorable, and very pleased that I made the right choice (btw, Fiddy makes a pretty good drink). I thought of them when I got back on the highway later and realized that I got to leave. They have to live there.
Monday, July 25, 2005
It was a "freeze out" tournament, which means once you bought in, you played until you ran out of chips, and then you're out: no re-buys, no do-overs. For $33 in real money, each player received $350 in "poker" chips, meaningless blank chips you couldn't walk out with and cash in anywhere. We started with around 120 players (9 tables, 12 people per table, plus a lot of "alternates" who filled in the first openings as people went out in the first round).
I did well: made it to somewhere in the top 20, down to three half-full tables, but didn't get into the money (you had to make 7th and up for $). The star of the show, however, was my amazing wife, who was down to her last two chips, and then went on an "all-in" explosion, winning the next four hands and knocking out about 7 players in the process. She not only made the final table, she not only made top 7, she knocked out several more players and eventually went "heads up" against the only other player, eventually losing out on a final all-in.
Very exciting stuff! The Big Rake proves her Vegas dominance (2nd Vegas tournament, 2nd final table) once again, and wins enough money to make our new dining room table a reality! WSOP, here we come!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Normal shopping experience (the "control," right?) :
- Time: usually Saturday AM
- Wearing: t-shirt and jeans
- Buying: same old stuff
- Employee reaction: over the years, I usually am greeted upon entering, but am otherwise ignored. Also, in all of this time, I think I have NOT bagged my own groceries maybe twice (even though there are actual baggers working).
Yesterday's shopping experience:
- Time: Tuesday PM
- Wearing: navy pinstripe suit, blue dress shirt, blue/lavender tie (came straight from work)
- Buying: same old stuff
- Employee reaction: I was greeted several times, asked by five different employees if I "needed any help finding everything," and was additionally asked by four different employees if they could "help me." At checkout, a bagger not only left a different lane to bag my groceries, but I was additionally asked by two other baggers if I needed help out to my car.
Conclusion: might not be worth the dry-cleaning bill, but dressing up for the grocery store certainly get results!
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Suburban Dad never takes transit, instead driving to work in his SUV and paying for parking. Suburban Dad, therefore, has no "commuter courtesy." What this means is that Suburban Dad, riding BART for the first time with Bored Wife and Anxious Kids (all in matching brand-new Giants hats they picked up at the mall), likes to stand in the middle of the train platform and stare at the map, too afraid to ask for help or directions, but apparently not afraid to block the way for others who know where they are going. Suburban Dad stands in the middle of the escalator, because it's a ride, right? Suburban Dad assumes everybody else is going to the baseball game and not trying to go home, and so stands in front of the turnstyle, fumbling for his unused ticket, instead of standing aside so people can get past him.
In short, Suburban Dad is a jerk and a nuisance, but worst of all, Suburban Dad doesn't know that he's a jerk and a nuisance because he's too self-absorbed to turn his head slightly to the left and realize there are other people on the train with him, people who don't give a rat's ass that he's using the firm's tickets with his family instead of clients for the first time in years.
Not that I'm irritated or anything...
Saturday, June 18, 2005
The last meaningful conversation we had was when we both flew to California for my grandfather's/his father's funeral in 1998. We met on the porch the night I got into town, did that awkward hug/slap on the back that men do, and then sat down and actually talked for the first time in several years. He shared with me that he had never been close to his father, that they too hadn't spoken in years, that they were friendly, but never friends. He told me he was hesitant to speak at his father's funeral because he really didn't feel like he knew him very well, and didn't want to dishonor his father's memory nor embarrass himself with a lack of information. Then he paused, and for the first time that evening actually looked me in the eyes. I thought, finally...here it comes. My dad is going to let his guard down, speak to me as an equal rather than a subordinate, and admit that he was sorry that we had perpetuated the cycle. Then I could do the same. He opened his mouth and said, "Well, good to see you, we should go to bed." That was the last time we spoke.
At the time I was angry at the perceived irony and hypocrisy, but I am starting to wonder if that was as close as he could come to admitting he had been wrong, and that I probably should have taken the lead and admitted my share of the guilt as well. That never happened, and now never will.
Sorry for the heavy note heading into Father's Day this weekend, but if your dad is still around, please, learn from our mistakes.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
This week has also highlighted my turn to the Dark Side, my willing obeisance to my Dark Lord, the coffee bean. So far, I haven't fallen into the trap of the afternoon cup, but I need a couple cups in the morning if I have any chance of making it to noon, let alone the end of the day. I tried going a day without, and the slicing headache that ensued brought me back in line and reminded me who's boss.
What is your bidding, my master?
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Sorry we couldn't be there to celebrate with you, old friend. Hope you got our card and gift certificate to the Olive Garden, and here's to our neon-bright future together!
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
By the way, I am not sure if the "565" in the upper left corner is some sort of counter, just there to look cool, or some DaVinci Code-esque clue that will unlock the secrets of the Sacred Feminine (i.e. my code name for that group of 40ish women I used to teach with who always wore shiny jogging suits). Take your pick.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Anyway, here are the clues:
Thursday, May 05, 2005
I feel the same way about St. Patrick's Day, my brothers...mi hermanos. Stay strong.
Monday, May 02, 2005
So imagine my ironic chuckle (no, it was a little louder than that) when, last week, I got a notice for jury duty starting May 23...the Monday I start my new job! Funny, sad, a chance to make $15 a day; take your pick.
Anyway, I just got off the phone with them, and they have an option to serve early. I am not doing much for the next couple weeks, so why not? Maybe they'll even pick me; it would be interesting to see the view from the box. If you're downtown Monday afternoon, I'll see you then!
Monday, April 25, 2005
What did the 0 say to the 8?
Nice belt. [rimshot]
If you have others, send them my way...I need more help distracting people while I play terrible, terrible hands for no explicable reason. Oy.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I put in my old childhood address, and it turns out that whoever lives there now has a pool! Good for them; those hot Cleveland nights just begged for a pool, somewhere to sit and relax and watch the sun go down, the industrial wastes in the sky turning amazing shades of orange and purple...huh...so that's why I have asthma!
Friday, April 08, 2005
But an upcoming show is exciting me on premise alone: 30 Days, a new series on FX starring Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame). I thought his documentary was fantastic, and a must-see for everybody regardless of how you feel about McDonald's. I especially think his movie is a must for anybody who (like me) read and enjoyed Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. Spurlock's movie covers some of the same ground, but in a much more personal, here's-what-happened-to-me-make-your-own-decisions kind of way. (BTW, if you want a great example of the different styles of the two guys, make sure to watch Spurlock's interview with Schlosser in the DVD's extras; Schlosser never dismounts from his high horse during the interview, and apparently had his sense of humor removed one summer during high school).
One more television show added to the list. Where does the madness end?
Monday, April 04, 2005
- North Carolina will win the NCAA tournament this year, AND
- It will be on the shoulders of my man, Sean May!
If only this could have been a Tar Heel/EKU Colonel final matchup, but it wasn't meant to be. Maybe next year.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Still, got to see that much, and what I saw looked pretty good. Hopefully, they will continue to play the Cats tight, which could lead to positive national coverage, which could lead to higher levels of recruiting, which means it won't be another twenty six years before the Colonels dance again!
Monday, March 14, 2005
Now, though, the drama is palpable, and the story writes itself: Travis Ford, now coach of the upstart Colonels, faces his mentor Tubby Smith, coach of Ford's alma mater and the team Ford went with to the Big Dance. Two Kentucky schools, less than 30 miles apart, one a national powerhouse who has recently been struggling; the other, a small school whose program has gotten stronger year after year.
I could not be more excited. This is what March Madness is all about, and this is why the NCAA tournament is the greatest sporting event of the year.
If you need me Thursday morning, you know where to find me.
Monday, March 07, 2005
For the men's team, this is the first time since 1979 that they have been to the Big Dance. Additionally, their 22-8 record (11-5 in conference) is their best record in school history. On the women's side, this conference win punches the Lady Colonel's ticket to the Madness for only the second time in school history.
After watching the EKU game on ESPN2 yesterday, I really hope they get some rest before the tournament starts, because they looked tired. However, I have full faith that Travis Ford will get them ready for the Madness, and I have already filled out my brackets: EKU is going to St. Louis, baby!
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
More importantly, she felt she had good cards (pocket Aces on the second hand!), and most importantly, she felt she played well. She said her shining moment was when, at the first table, she built such a huge chip lead that she was making change for everyone at the table. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
Final note: she thinks that our weekend game has prepared us well, and she says we are ready to make the jump into some (small) local tournaments. Bay 101, here we come!
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Also, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the local newspaper, reviewed the play at the final preview before opening night. Please note that although the reviewer apparently wasn't too fond of the staging, he liked the cast a lot, including my mom, a "local stage favorite." Very nice!
Continue to break your leg, Mom!
Friday, February 04, 2005
My wife had the flu all last weekend, and then Tuesday, I started coming down with it. But by Thursday morning, I was feeling better, and by that afternoon, I was up, moving around, felt just fine. Not bad, I thought. Not bad.
But then I wake up this morning, and it's back! And, if that's not enough, it's worse than Tuesday. Can that happen? Are there "eye of the hurricane" moments for illness, to fool you into making plans and feeling great, so that a few hours later you body can BETRAY YOU COMPLETELY and get sick again?
This has to be illegal. Body, I hope you enjoy your thirty pieces of silver, because it will be a long time before I trust you again.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Thursday, January 20, 2005
By the way, this link to TVTome describes the episode and some of the editing it apparently underwent before being shown again in certain markets. The one they showed last night included all the WTC shots, but I was cooking dinner during the point where the guy in Tower 1 calls all the people in Tower 2 "jerks," so I am not sure if it was left in. They left in the Betty Ford Clinic musical number ("I'm Checking In") and references to the CHUDs, and that was enough for me.
So, to share some of the fun, here are some fun poker links:
- Is anybody else trying to win a seat in the World Series of Poker? I play "Mr. Vegas" every time, thinking that one of these days it will work, but I have a feeling my chances are pretty slim regardless.
- The All In Poker Fantasy Camp sounds like a GREAT vacation and learning experience...if you would like to sponsor me, I will gladly wear your hat and t-shirt!
- Speaking of all in, the new poker magazine All In released its first issue last month, and looks like a lot of fun. We got a gift subscription for some departing friends in our poker group; we hope they enjoy it!
Saturday, January 15, 2005
But thankfully, Alton Brown saved me yet again. I watched Good Eats the other night, and then tried his cheese grits recipe this morning as a "test run." Result? Quite easy, very tasty, and I think I actually prefer them plain rather than with the cheese (although they were very good with the cheddar as well).
My brunch boast is safe. Thanks again, Alton!
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Obviously, not every picture makes the site, in large part because it's a free Geocities website, and the bandwidth is pretty low. If you want more pictures, email me and I'll send some (digital or physical) your way.