Woooooooooooo, Halloween! I plan to party in style tonight. A while back, I found a bottle of Romanian wine with a vampire on the label. I plan to drink a glass, spill the rest down my shirt, and then convince the neighborhood kids that I've been stabbed. The only thing that can save me? Their candy. Pay up, fools!
Abbreviated post, due to Halloween merriment.
It's not often that a subject of my expertise becomes a major news story. This is because the mainstream media is usually more interested in celebrity weddings and reality tv shows than in Wii Bowling and Newsradio episodes. Every once in a while, though, life tosses me a bone. This was the case on Saturday when the Trinity football team pulled off a completely wacky play that's since been on every sports show, website, and hologram service since.
In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, check this out. My favorite part of the video is #50 on Millsaps. With about a minute left in the video, he appears to die on the 35 yard line in the bottom left of the screen.
After watching this thing about a few dozen times, I declare the entire thing is completely awesome. When I'm invited back as a celebrity alumnus, you better believe I'm calling that play quite frequently. There's no point in saving that for the end of the game when you can run it every other play.
Secondly, I can say that the clip you just saw has no actual relationship to a normal division III football game. DIII games are a lot like junior high football games in that the guys aren't incredibly big, fast, or good. Actually, junior high games may be slightly better in that division III teams don't have bands or snack bars in the stadium. Also, in junior high, your team actually plays the other teams in your city, whereas in DIII, your team plays a lot of militant Lutherans from the Pacific Northwest who hold hands in the stands and sing hymns during half time (true story). I say all of this coming from a division III powerhouse.
While in a few ways the games are kind of lame, they're also a lot of fun. You know how when you're watching a pro game and somebody misses a tackle, and you think, "Man, I could've taken that dude down"? Well, in a division III game, you probably actually could take that dude down. Maybe not consistently, but for one play, oh yeah, you could drill him good. Another excellent aspect is the fact that none of the players are drugged up, sexually aggressive lunatics. Drugged up, sexually aggressive lunatics have no interest in playing in front of 400 people, nor in the liberal arts and sciences in general. It's fun to root for good guys who go to class and probably won't shiv you in the pizza line.
It's not often that Trinity athletics finds its way into the public eye, and I'm happy that it's for something totally bad-ass like this play. The football players I know were all great guys and clearly, they're not afraid to bring the funky stuff onto the field. Division III, beware! We'll keep trying that play until it fails.
I accidentally turned my kitchen into a fiery, olfactory hell over the weekend.
There are only two smells that I really can't handle: burnt insulation and maple syrup. While I don't encounter burnt insulation a whole lot, I do bump into maple syrup quite a bit. For some godforsaken reason, syrup is a breakfast staple for some (including Laura) and as much as I'd like to, I can't only associate with fellow syrup haters. I tolerate it.
If I can't stand the smell, then it follows that I don't eat syrup regularly. I think I actually like the taste, but since I rarely eat it, I'm not entirely sure. All of this is pointing towards something, friend.
On Saturday, I woke up, did a little exercise, and decided to make some breakfast. I remembered back to the previous Sunday when Laura and I were putting groceries away; she specifically mentioned how happy I'd be with the bacon she picked out. "Let's light this bacon candle," I declared, "and then eat aforementioned bacon candle."
I opened up the bacon package and... it smelled a little weird. Its smell was 93% bacon, 7% syrup. I scoured the packaging and I did not see a single mention of syrup. Had I seen those words, I would've thrown the package away and buried the trash can in the back yard. I respect my loathing of syrup.
I proceed to cook up the bacon and the smell didn't go away. We all know how excellent bacon smells, and this had all of that, just with that slight maple twinge. I tested one of the pieces and, good lord, it was perfection. The thing could've been drenched in syrup for all I cared; I was in breakfast heaven.
I rocked the breakfast scene, cleaned up, and left for the rest of the day. When I got back to the house, and I do not lie here, it smelled like a maple syrup factory. It smelled like some mean-spirited pranksters had slipped into the joint and dipped everything in that sticky devil-sauce. You'd think I had broken into Miss Butterworth's house. I opened the windows and shook my fist at the heavens.
I know this syrup thing is a little weird, so I wasn't going to bring it up to Laura. For all I know, the first sign of schizophrenia is a constant smell of one's least favorite scent. Anyway, when Laura got home, the first thing she said was, "Wow, this stinks like syrup." Exactly!
I had already cleaned all of the plates, pots, and silverware from the breakfast explosion so I had no idea where this was coming from. I was ready to coat the kitchen in kerosene, light it up, and call the realtor, when Laura ventured the trash can might be the source. As soon as I took that out, things improved immediately. I can hardly smell the syrup in the kitchen now, meaning that I hardly want to stick my hand down the garbage disposal when I enter the kitchen.
I blame the bacon packaging, the poor ventilation in our kitchen, and the syrup industry, in decreasing order, for all of this.
Somebody's got to do something about these delinquents.
If you were a delinquent who wanted to write a message on the back of a truck, telling the world that Tulsa, OK sucks, what would you write? Here are some options.
Tulsa Sucks - the simple, classic option.
Tulsa Sux - the alternate spelling is a little edgier than plain old Tulsa Sucks.
Tulsa Suks - slightly dumber, but you're still making your point.
As you can see, I'm a reasonable man when it comes to putting into words just how lame Tulsa is. There is one option that I would never, ever, ever okay, though, and it's the one that I saw on the back of a truck this afternoon. It read: Tulsa Sux's.
Tulsa Sux's? What the hell is that? Even if you ignore all of the weird stuff with the apostrophe and just read it phonetically, it's still gibberish. Tulsa suckses. I'm letting the world know how much Tulsa is sucksing! Sucks on that, Tulsa! Sucksers!
I can only hope that Tulsa Sux is the dude who owns the truck, and he was simply tagging his own truck to show pride of ownership. That barely, barely makes sense. The other option, that some dude violated my brain will trying to insult Tulsa, is way more depressing.
Let's not harass the messenger too badly here, since Tulsa really does suck.
John Mellencamp has been sent by aliens to destroy me and everyone else who watches sports on TV. In case you're not a part of that group, you're missing out on some stirring stuff in a truck commercial with Mr. Mellencamp. Namely, you're missing out on the fact that this is our country.
Let that sink in. Simmer in the patriotism, Mellencamp-style.
I realize that's not such a bad line. It's not so profound, but it's not entirely stupid. John Mellencamp is making a point about the United States, and we, as citizens, might want to listen up and learn a little something from the 'Camp.
The problem is that we haven't just heard that this is our country once or twice or a hundred times, but roughly 11.8 infinitillion times! Just watch a football game sometime. At the end of the game, you may not remember the score, the announcers, or even the teams involved, but you will remember that John Mellencamp says this is our country.
Not only am I no longer sure what year it is, I can no longer even recall what country Mellencamp is singing about. What is this thing I'm typing into? Is this a Mellencamp communication machine? All I know is, I'm buying one of those Mellencamp-mobiles from the commercial, and I'm killing anyone that John Mellencamp tells me to.
What I don't understand is how, somewhere, there are people who think this commercial is still a good idea.
There's somebody at the truck company reviewing their prospective ads and saying, "Gentlemen, I'd like to buy something new, but we have a little something called John Mellencamp and a bunch of cliche Americana crap, and if it ain't broke, we ain't fixing it!"
There's somebody at the TV station saying, "I know there are more entertainment options today than ever, and so we must offer compelling, fascinating options for our audience. All of that being said, let's crank the Mellencamp."
And even stranger, there's someone out there who's seen this commercial 893 times and, instead of loathing it and throwing rocks at the neighbor kids when it comes on, this person sits up on the couch and says, "He's right. This is our country. Now what the hell is he advertising and where the hell is my checkbook?"
After hearing this commercial again tonight, I can tell you that John is wrong. If it's anybody's country, it's Mellencamp's.
You know what I'm giving up my Thursday night to see tomorrow? A demo of bug-tracking software! How do I feel about this? I am actually very excited!
Joel Spolsky of JoelOnSoftware.com and Fog Creek fame is going to be in town demoing FogBugz, and I am going to be there. That's right, I'm hanging with the bigwigs. So everyone there knows I'm a man of some importance, I've already packed a monocle, a powdered wig, and a burly, working-class type that I can periodically hit with a buggy whip.
I've been reading Joel's site for several years now, so this ought to be very cool, assuming my buggy whip doesn't get confiscated.
I'm still working my way through season 1 of The Wire, and I feel competent enough to build a case around a major drug dealer. I know the lingo. I know how to take the pictures of the bad guys. I know how to dress. I know how to interrogate. Most importantly, I know how to yell at my supervisor when he's cheezing my case up.
I think that Omar is the most interesting character so far. In fact, I think he's so interesting that I've really thought about going as Omar for Halloween. Only two things are stopping me from doing this. First, no one would know who I am. Second, in this day and age, I'm pretty sure it's not appropriate to go in black-face any day of the year, even Halloween.
Did you know that I had a short-lived TV show in college?
We called it "Cody's Cookie Time", and Will, Paddy, and I all collaborated on it during our freshman year. It was sort of a variety show, where we did a bunch of different stuff with me serving as the host. Campus TV has a pretty low bar already set for it, and we glided under it week after week.
We didn't have any money, we didn't put much time into it, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but people actually did watch the show. I attribute that to one thing: Will's graphic skills. Any segment we did where Will made some graphics always blew everything else out of the water completely; I'm certain that people watched the show on mute, just to see the awesome graphics. I remember one of those graphical segments well.
During the 2000 primaries, John McCain was making quite a run at George W. Bush. I was minorly obsessed with him during that period. Around this time, we started thinking that it'd be kind of funny if we did a photo essay where John McCain showed up at Trinity and I showed him around campus.
There were a few pictures of us in the dorm, the library, the cafeteria. There was a picture of me and McCain working on my homework. Then I explained that McCain and I really hit it off, so we decided to vacation together for the weekend. Then we showed pictures of me and McCain in our bathing suits at the beach, and another shot of us snow skiing. I'm telling you, the Secret Service themselves would've looked at those images and thought that McCain and I were on the bunny trail.
After those pics, I said that unfortunately, John and I got into a big argument at the beach. The next picture had me punching John McCain's head off in front of Will's dorm room. There was blood and body parts all over the parts: a veritable political explosion. People loved it.
We only did a couple of really good shows, but hanging at the beach with McCain was one of the best. In retrospect, we definitely should've done more of these. Anyway, I'm thankful to say now that the Secret Service never got involved and I did end up getting an autograph request solely based on that one segment.
We had another recurring segment called "Who Wants to Win a Jar of Taco Sauce?", where we did a Regis Philbin/Millionaire sort of thing. If I can find any of those images, you can expect a lengthy, lengthy entry. That was the best game show I've ever seen centered around a big jar of taco sauce purchased at Big Lots.
I think I promised a Darjeeling Limited review for today. Here it is in a sentence: it's really, quite, pretty good.
Okay, here's a little more. The only problem I had with the movie was that some of the characters were unforgivably creepy/weird; I'm looking at you here, Jason Schwartzman. This may be one of those moveis I need to see a few times, though. I did like everything besides ol' Creepy Pants Schwartzman.
I know I'm an old and lame now because I can hurt myself just by sleeping. I know for a fact that I don't flail around in my sleep or anything like that, but when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I've been savagely beaten with a shovel. This leads to two different hypotheses.
First, I am being beaten savagely with a shovel. Somehow, I'm sleeping through this attack.
Second, my mattress is dying and it no longer accommodates all of my weird sleeping positions.
The pain's always in my back and shoulders, and that's definitely NOT where I'd attack someone with a blunt instrument while they slept. (I'd definitely go for the shins.) For that reason alone, I'm thinking it's the mattress.
If it were up to me, I would use this to go to a hammock-only arrangement. Really, why do we need mattresses? Do the Posturepedic people manufacture demand like have a deal like DeBeers? Unfortunately, it's not just my bed. As much as I'd like to live like a jungle man in my hammock-oriented room, and perhaps fire a few blowdarts out the bedroom window on occasion, I don't see that happening. We'll probably just get a new mattress.
Wooooooooo, Wes Anderson's new movie, The Darjeeling Limited, opens tomorrow. I am excited! I enjoy Wes's work quite a bit, so much that Diddy and I once took an impromptu tour of locations from Bottle Rocket. Remember the freezer inside the cold storage place where Kumar was hiding? Yeah, we were there.
In the spirit of the opening, I thought I'd do a quick overview of Wes's prior movies, likening them to breakfast foods.
Bottle Rocket : bacon and eggs. Bacon and eggs is a staple; it consistently makes me happy, it's hard to mess it up, and it's always a nice surprise when I've been trying stranger breakfast foods for a while. Bottle Rocket fits all three criteria, with the added bonus of killer jumpsuits.
Rushmore : cinnamon toast. One summer when I got my first apartment, I ate cinnamon toast for breakfast every day. The reason I stopped was not because I got sick of the taste, but because I ran out of cinnamon. This is a particularly good analogy for Rushmore because during my freshmen year of college, Comedy Central had Rushmore in an endless loop and I probably watched it twice a week with my wallmates. I still watch it whenever I come across it on TV.
The Royal Tenenbaums : the world's greatest omelette. Who among us could eat the world's greatest omelette and not go a little kooky with happiness? I expect the exact same results from one serving of the Royal Tenenbaums. I'd like to adopt Gene Hackman from this movie.
The Life Aquatic : incredibly elaborate French toast. I'm not always in the mood for French toast, but if it's a fancy variation with lots of crap sprinkled on it, I must salute the craftsmanship. Similarly, I don't watch the Life Aquatic that much because it's not quite as enjoyable as the other movies, but I do recognize the artistry on the screen.
The Darjeeling Limited: mystery breakfast pie, stolen from Sasquatch's house through the use of a secret government invisibility ray. I only say this because I haven't yet seen it.
I'll fix this over the weekend, and I'll give you a full report on Monday. That is, unless a mule kicks me in the head and I lose all capacity for breakfast food similes.
After many, many glowing reviews from those whose opinions I trust, I recently got season 1 of the Wire off of Netflix. I've only watched one episode so far, but man... I'm ready to go undercover. I want to bust up a drug ring, and I want to do it before I watch episode 2.
Does anybody else wonder why HBO makes such good series? Sure, they've misfired a few times; John from Cincinnati was both stupid and incomprehensible, and Tell Me You Love Me features slightly more male nudity than I can watch comfortably. Everything else is consistently great, though.
Are the higher-ups smarter over there? Are the creative types better? Does it have something to do with not worrying about advertisers? Does HBO offer such excellent benefits that mediocre contributors become superstars? (By excellent benefits, I am specifically referring to free haircuts at work. I bring this idea up at work at least once a year, and it's never taken seriously. Maybe my boss would change his tune if he knew that this seemingly strange perk single-handedly produced the Sopranos.)
One thing that always interests me is how certain small organizations can consistently produce cooler, more appealing products than larger organizations. Think Apple versus Microsoft, HBO versus all the major networks, anyone in music versus Toby Keith.
There's an answer, and it's free haircuts. These people are beautiful due to their hair, thus they spend less time worrying about their appearance, thus they have more time to create crazy drug lords like in the Wire. They're more confident in their hair, thus they're more confident with their artistic talents, thus they create better scripts. They have more money from getting their hair cuts for free, thus they can spend more on fancy pencils and Garfield notebooks into which they feel more comfortable pouring their souls.
It's the little things.
I don't know if this is a cultural shift or this is only happening to me, but I am definitely becoming more of a pansy. Consider the following.
1. I no longer use bar soap in the shower. Instead, I use body wash. I didn't start doing this intentionally; I just couldn't find the Irish Spring at HEB one day. Instead, I settled for some body wash and man, there's no going back. The first shower with body wash will go down as a hallowed day in my personal hygiene chronicles. Why? As an objective third party, I declare that I now smell PHENOMENAL!
Also, with bar soap, there's a real lack of lather, while with body wash, it's latherpalooza with me playing the main stage. It's easier to make soap beards with a lot of lather.
2. I'm getting kinda weird about moisturizer. Immediately after a shower (featuring the aforementioned bodywash), my face need to be moisturized. If it doesn't get moisturized, I feel my skin start to shatter, wrinkle, and ooze plasma. At my very worst, I've been known to pack some travel moisturizer when I'm going out of town.
Combine one and two, and you've got one moist, sweet-smelling fella. As long as I'm not in prison, I'll take those qualities. Fortunately, I still have a few habits that prevent certain dandification.
1. I wear stained clothes nearly every day. Everybody says to use Oxiclean, but that crap can't handle the other, separate crap I spill on my clothes in the course of eating, drinking, and kung fuing.
2. I only use generic shampoo. I'm no sucker.
3. I only shave with razors I get from the dollar store. Again, I'm no sucker.
4. Any loofah sponge I find around Powell Manor gets ground up and fed to the hogs.
Okay, half assed update due to tonight's .NET User Group meeting.
I think my neighbor is working a collapsible sailboat scheme. First of all, he seems like a nice guy. Secondly, I'm not even sure that's the correct name for the vessel that they keep parking out in the street. It's got some pontoons on the bottom and a mast that folds down; it's a bit of an eyesore, but then we're duplex people and so the street is pretty much covered in eyesores.
It usually sits on a trailer across the street from our house. That's slightly problematic because sometimes I like to park over there, but at the same time, it's not like I've annexed that side of the street into Powelldonia. I wasn't actively mad at the sailboat. Also, for a long time, I had no idea whose boat it was, so I was content to let collapisble sailboats be collapsible sailboats.
Last week, I get home from work and I see a police car next door. My first thought is that some sort of murder/suicide occurred, perhaps over an argument about the legion of stray cats that infest my neighbor's garage. As I step out of the car, I see the neighbor in question and a police officer standing in front of the boat. The neighbor is gesticulating wildly.
I think, "Wait, the sailboat belongs to him?" What makes that particularly strange is that I don't think he has a running automobile. Shouldn't you really nail down that first mode of transportation before you move on to a secondary mode?
Anyway, as I walk to the mailbox, the neighbor calls over, "Did you call about the boat?" And the way he asks it, I sense that he thinks I did call about the boat; there's a little edge to his voice. He's a mover by profession, which takes some strength, and I know he'll use his powerful mover hands to bust my front door down and ring my neck like a chicken if he suspects I'm pulling sailboat shenanigans here. I didn't make the call, though. I wouldn't even know what number to call about a sailboat that's blocking the parking spot I illegally use in front of some random dudes' house.
I tell him no, I have no sailboat issues, and I go inside. I look out of the window about an hour later, and the neighbor's still out there, arguing with the police. I have no idea now what he was saying, but I bet it was something like, "You have some nerve, picking on a guy with a tiny sailboat!"
Eventually, the police officer leaves and the boat disappears. Like I said, I don't think my neighbor has a working car and he certainly doesn't have a car capable of towing a sailboat. For a minute or two, I wonder about where the sailboat went but eventually, my mind moves on to larger concerns.
Now we fast forward to this weekend. The street we live on is pretty long, and I'm on it, perhaps 300 yards from our house. There, in between the parked cars and the garbage cans, is the collapsible sailboat! It's parked in front of somebody else's house completely, but it is most definitely the same tiny, collapsible sailboat!
I have a theory here. My neighbor waited for nightfall and then he dragged his tiny sailboat down the street, dropping it in front of a stranger's house. Now who will the police hassle? It's a phantom sailboat! They'll just leave it there, allowing my neighbor to enjoy that sailboat willy-nilly, or at least as much as he can enjoy it without being able to tow it to a body of water.
I admit, this is a pretty good idea on his part.
Today, I saw some lesbians at Chipotle. That, in itself, is not newsworthy; I see lesbians all the time. I think I actually see more lesbians than heterosexuals (or homosexual men, for that matter). I don't think this is a coincidence, either; I think there's a concerted effort by a major lesbian group to make me more lesbian-friendly. I don't really know if that's necessary because I'm already pretty lesbian-friendly. I know, I'm tooting my own horn. Just to really rub it in, over the past few months, I've ridden in a car with lesbians, eaten dinner with lesbians, and yes, I've even played board games with lesbians. So, lesbians, there's no need to indoctrinate me any further because I'm definitely on your side.
Back to Chipotle.
The interesting thing about these ladies is the fact that they were both wearing Red Sox hats and shirts. Today's the first Red Sox playoff game, so I assumed it was a coordinated act of support for a baseball team. I think it's cool when people really support a team like that.
Then, immediately afterwards, I see another lady in Chipotle also wearing a Red Sox shirt. She sat on the complete other side of the patio, so I know she wasn't in baseball cahoots with the other ladies. I didn't have time to ask her about her sexual orientation, but I'd give it 20% that she was also a lesbian.
In summation, there were three different ladies, all eating burritos, all wearing Red Sox attire, 66.67% of whom were certain lesbians. All of this begs the question: which crowd really loves the Sox, lesbians or women in general? (I hypothesize that Kevin Youkilis plays a large role in all of this.)
I think life would be more exciting if teams weren't based geographically. Instead, each team could appeal to a broad demographic group. We could have the Lesbian Red Sox, the Alcoholic Knicks, the Science Fiction Enthusiast Redskins, etc. Then, whenever I saw someone wearing a Cowboys shirt, I wouldn't say, "Oh, he must be from Texas." Instead, I'd say, "Alas, someone else here shares my love of clogging!"
I got a little too involved in the Rockies/Padres game last night to post. I don't really feel so badly about it, because that was an excellent game. One of the benefits of rooting for a crappy baseball team is that I can pick teams at random to support during the playoffs; this year, I'm going for the Rockies and the Indians.
If neither of those teams win, I will cry. I will probably be so despondent, my coworkers will confiscate my shoelaces and belt. I'll probably start listening to lots of Morrissey, not the later stuff, which is listenable, but the early stuff when no one was sure about his sexuality. I'll eat nothing but Hot Pockets (NOT Lean Pockets) and I'll be too depressed to throw the cardboard pocket-sheath away. Literally, my bedroom will be filled to the brim with pocket-sheaths. I'll watch Dead Poet's Society a lot, maybe writing a little fan fiction about the Ethan Hawke character. I'll cover my neighbor's collapsible pontoon boat (or whatever the hell it is) with Sylvia Plath poems and, when confronted about it, I will put out a clove cigarette in my own arm. I'll buy a lot of weird liquor from Eastern European websites and drink it all, while staring at Grady Sizemore's stats page and sighing meaningfully.
What happens if one of those teams wins? I'll eat some Skittles and watch some Telemundo or something. Play-off baseball: feel the heat!
In other news, this weekend confirmed two separate things. First, it confirmed that I am a certified tapas maniac. I'm not exactly sure that's the correct term for what I was eating at a certain lady's birthday party on Saturday night, but I'm going to act worldly and say that yeah, those were totally tapas. They also seem like they'd be fun to make, because they're so tiny.
Second, this weekend confirmed that I really have no idea on this golfing thing. For the past several months, I've been confusing a 7 iron with a loft wedge; for the record, the little icon on the club could be an L or a 7 or perhaps an uppercase gamma.