Aloha amigos. In these times of woe, it's nice to remember that there's never a financial meltdown here on codypowell.com, largely because we have no money and no clear ideas on how to get money. That really simplifies things, I find, and allows me to focus on my specialty: producing content that doesn't make a lot of sense.
I hate to continue harping on this whole economy thing, but I can't help but think I made a really great decision at the start of this year to go way over-budget on a house and then a bunch of wedding stuff. Sorry, world markets, you can't take money from me that I already spent! It's almost like there's this part of my subconscious that devotes itself to world class economic analysis, but doesn't happen to inform the rest of my brain about any of this.
I've been very busy lately, and I think that for the most part, it's hard to tell. I still find time to eat well and exercise and read and everything, but one area has slipped through the cracks. It's my Netflix queue. Laura and I have two queues going, and I think we've watched a grand total of 1 movie in the past 4 weeks. (In all fairness, that movie was Casino which should count for 2.5 movies.) I imagine someone at Netflix gets a huge guffaw everytime I add something onto my queue, knowing that we'll probably hit the heat death of the universe before I make it through the 170 movies listed there.
The only solution I can come up with here is to start watching my movies in little bitty chunks. You know how prisoners dig their tunnel to freedom by emptying one pocketful of dirt into the yard a day? That's the same as my Netflix Queue Freedom strategy. If I'm falling down on something, I'm glad it's Netflix and not eating, sleeping, or going to the bathroom.
WAHHHHHHHH, it's late September, which means that here in Austin, it's time to get dirty, broke, and deaf. Friends, I'm talking about Austin City Limits Fest.
I have a love/hate relationship with the festival. I love the idea of it, this tremendous festival right down the road, and I love sharing this big experience with my friends and I love actually being there when I get a great seat for some unknown act that just stuns me (great example: Broken Social Scene in 2004). What I hate is a lot of the rest. I hate the dirtiness and the parking and the beer prices and the port-o-potties. Okay, I dislike a lot of things about the festival but I really only hate the beer prices and the port-o-potties.
I don't let rationality get in the way here, though; I've been every year and I'm not stopping any time soon. This year, I'm a groomsman in a wedding 200 miles away the night before. This is no mere wedding; this is the blessed union of Diddy and CB, where all have been encouraged to take off the training wheels and ensure that the alcohol fees don't go to waste. I'll be in a tuxedo. I sprained my MCL, but I'm determined to dance it up until the wee hours of the morning.
Clearly, I will not be in good shape that next morning. Does that stop me and Laura? No. We're like the crazy Kenyan in a marathon who sprains his ankle, vomits violently, and then wets himself at mile 13, but just keeps going to that finish line.
Okay, so we'll only be there on Sunday. I'm catching Okkervil River and Band of Horses. The rest of the day, there is no telling; I could very well get locked in one of those godforsaken port-o-potties for most of the afternoon. There is a good chance that the port-o-potty will be lit on fire while I'm inside of it, like last year (not that I was trapped, I was just an enthusiastic observer). And then, in the midst of putting the fire out, the fire dep't will probably knock the port-o-potty on its side.
Would that affect me going next year? It would not. As I get older, I get fewer chances to hoist the flag, and enjoy myself and excellent music in a reckless, possibly unsanitary fashion. The changes I get, I plan to capitalize on, like some sort of anti-ee cummings.
Lines are being drawn in our neighborhood right now, and if folks aren't careful, someone's going to get a bullet through their voter registration card. Until this evening, I had no idea about any of this. Then, while I was out walking the dog tonight, a neighbor shared the news: someone's been stealing the Obama signs in our neighborhood and lighting them on fire.
First of all, this is a confusing political statement. Is the thief saying he hates Democrats or that he loves warmth? Maybe he hates both democrats and warmth, but he loves the smell of burning plastic.
It's so disorganized, I suspect a conspiracy. I assert that this very well could be Obama himself lighting the signs on fire, in the hopes that people will blame it on McCain hooligans and we'll start some sort of grassroots movement here in Northwest Austin that results in the disbanding of the Republican party. Yes, it sounds like a tall order, but then my neighbor is reallllly pissed about this whole thing.
Laura actually got an Obama sign for our yard so we're right in the middle of this thing. Neighborhood, I vow to protect this sign, at least during the daylight hours when I'm at home and the blinds are pulled up. I am not a political creature by nature, but I'm a home owner and I reserve the right to use my yard to support whatever lunatic candidate I want. You steal Obama, I put up Kucinich. You steal Kucinich, I call Ron Paul, ask him who's a little too far out there, and get a sign advertising that dude. You steal that, I find a candidate on the internet whose sole platform is to ban sex crimes performed by extraterrestrials, and then he comes and stages a rally in my driveway.
This is American politics, baby.
Weddingpalooza continues this weekend, as I have Diddy's bachelor party to attend. One interesting factor about this whole social event is that there's a softball tournament smack in the middle of it. It just makes sense: get a bunch of guys together, get them boozed up, and then give them bats and projectiles.
This is not just any softball tournament, though. It's a softball tournament for CPAs. This means that when we lose, we have absolutely no excuse. It's one thing for me to strike out and look like an idiot; I'm familiar with that kind of humiliation. It's another thing entirely for me to strike out, look like an idiot, and then hear the entire other team shout in unison "Amortize that!" In the unlikely event that we do win, an audit is pretty much a sure thing.
In off-topic news, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia starts its new season tonight; if you get FX, you should watch this show. The new Calexico album is excellent and I recommend it to all, unless we happen to be enemies in which case I recommend the entire Dashboard Confessional catalog, played in a loop forever.
Finally, if you're in Texas, I encourage you to contribute in some way to a food bank or any other organization that could help out the victims of Hurricane Ike. Things sound pretty bleak down in SE Texas, so anything helps.
If you're like me, you're slightly concerned with this whole financial meltdown that seems to be happening across the globe. In this situation, I have a few words of advice.
The good news is, you are reading Goulash so your problems are pretty much solved. Who do you think reads this site? My market research shows it's me, you, and a bunch of billionaires. I fully expect these billionaires to prop both me and you up in this unpleasant financial climate. After all, that's the spirit of the freaking Internet.
In the unlikely event that my billionaire fan club fails to save me, I've worked up a bit of a plan. First, liquidate your retirement, stock, checking, and saving accounts. Isn't that selling low? Yes. Well, maybe not. I'm not sure actually, because there's a very good chance my plan here results in the imminent collapse of global commerce. In that case, it's a great idea to get out now.
Once you have this money, what do you do with all of it? I recommend buying things. Don't buy stupid stuff like gold or pork bellies or land, buy things that could help you in the upcoming monetary apocalypse. Specifically, I'm talking about mason jars and grenades. Why mason jars? Well, you're going to need to hide your crap somewhere when the highwaymen strike. Why grenades? You're not getting everybody else's stuff without putting up a bit of fight.
You've got all of these mason jars and grenades, and what happens now? Here's the beautiful part: just wait. The next few weeks will feature the cratering of thousands of companies and financial institutions. Don't be surprised if noted financial experts like Suze Orman and Warren Buffett show up at your house, looking for a place to crash. If they try to get pushy, show them the box of grenades and they'll get the message.
What happens if you run out of food in this time? Again, show the box of grenades to someone and just see where it goes.
Eventually, modern economics will be dead and anarchy will reign supreme. Most folks, in a blind fear, will begin to obsess over the only two things that can protect. First, they'll want something they can stick their stuff in so that it may be buried in the yard and thus hidden. Second, they'll want something to blow up other people's hiding spaces so that they can take that stuff. Mason jars and grenades, friends. The bull market has just begun.
(What if you want to hedge your bets? I don't know, buy some Euros or something.)
I've basically been given two wedding jobs. The first is to prevent any roving bands of Visigoths from sacking the reception; I'm hoping that 21st century America just takes care of that for me. The second is to come up with some tunes to which the reception attendees can get crunkin'.
I have a vast, varied collection of music; my iPod says it's got about 10,000 songs on it right now. Surely from that, I could get some wedding jamz, right? I really don't know. You know all of that stuff on the radio that people like to dance to? I don't have any of that. Much of my music features fat weirdos shaking their fists at society's institutions. The rest features the same fat weirdos talking about getting drunk, or lamenting their ability to get drunk now that society's institutions have disenfranchised them. Good music for many occasions, but I don't see my second cousins throwing up devil horns and shaking a tail feather to the sweet strains of Steve Earle or the Minutemen.
I'm trying to fix all of this. Step 1: get acquainted with hip hop. I've bought/borrowed a ton of this stuff lately and I'm actually liking a lot of it; if the CIA were bugging my car right now, they'd probably assume that I'm the president of the Lil Wayne fan club. People of all ages dance to this stuff though?
Newsflash: rappers like to discuss fornication in frank terms. Sometimes, they're so into the subject, they drop the f/c/other c/t/w bomb into the title of the song. I have no problem with my wedding being that kind of wingding, but I'm guessing that the folks who are actually attending/paying for the event may disagree. This leads me to a question: is there an easy way to get Young Jeezy's works translated into Portuguese?
The answer here is probably to take this whole hip hop idea and dial it back to a family-friendly level. Think four hours of the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
When I upgraded to a a new version Movable Type (the software I use for Goulash), a lot of stuff broke. This includes comments, the ability to search, the icemaker in my fridge, and, most startlingly, the American banking system. I've done some peeking around and... it's just a lot of work to fix this stuff. I do have short term solutions, though.
When you feel the urge to make a comment, head to your local bar with a Sharpie and write your comment on the bathroom wall. Come back the next day for a reply; bar bathrooms have frequent, witty repartee. When you feel the urge to search through the Goulash archives, just copy each entry into one big document in Notepad and use Notepad's search feature to locate the entry in question. There! I am a problem solver by nature.
In other news, the people of Austin are getting worked up about Hurricane Ike. I don't think this is unreasonable; a hurricane named after the bane of Tina Turner's existence SHOULD be feared. At the same time, I don't know how logical it is for me to load up on hundreds of dollars worth of canned peaches and powdered milk. We are a couple hundred miles from the coast; it just doesn't seem right to me that a hurricane is going to turn Austin into Lord of the Flies. (Nevertheless, I shall control the conch if it does.)
Still, it is going to be a bad weekend for a lot of people along the coast. Here's hoping everybody stays safe and that this Ike, again like Ike Turner, fades meekly into the background.
My sister threw a couples' wedding shower for us over the weekend, and it was actually pretty great: good folks, lots of quality repartee, adult beverages, and so forth. Just as great was the fact that we were showered with presents.
The presents weren't a big surprise to Laura, since she created our gift registries for the wedding. Being terrible at that kind of thing, I've largely stayed out of the gift registries and thus I had no idea at all what was wrapped up in front of me. It was tremendously exciting. We'd open a box of fancy glasses and she'd say, "Excellent, I remember these glasses," and I'd say, "Holy crap, more glasses! We could use these!"
We got a lot of good stuff, but I was particularly curious about two gifts: a Roomba (robotic vacuum cleaner) and an ice cream maker. A Roomba is pretty much the closest thing I can get to Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons. I've only used it once thus far, and did it disappoint? It did not. I purposely left a mess in the living room floor before I turned the Roomba on, and it was both more effective AND more entertaining than watching the dog lick it up.
As for the ice cream maker, well, let's just say that the fastest path to regime change in North Korea would be to parachute a few of these babies into Pyongyang. Again, there's only been one usage thus far but I foresee a day in the next two weeks or so where I get all nutrition from super-potent homemade ice cream.
I know it's a bit of a stretch to call an ice cream maker a robot, but I'm doing it anyway. The Roomba and the ice cream maker have brought me into the future, and I like it. It's about time that robots started contributing positively to my life, rather than chasing me around and firing lasers.
First Pick: Sasquatch. As long as you get points for Yukon Destruction in your league, you can't go wrong with Sasquatch. He's a figurative and literal beast.
Second Pick: Santa Claus. Yes, he's 900 years old. Stats from last year were amazing, though: 3 billion toys delivered, 2.5 million tons of skim milk consumed, and 8 tiny reindeer. Be warned that he tends to take it easy after December 25.
Third Pick: Bilbo Baggins. Yes, he is tiny. Yes, he is likely to take a play off here and there in order to break into song. Where else do you get ringbearer points, though?
Yoda: Due for a breakout year after all of that Phantom Menace bullcrap. All bets are off if Hayden Christiansen is a waiver-wire pickup for Team Jedi, however.
Jean-Luc Picard: get him into the open field and get ready for some diplomacy. Yes, Riker gets some of his touches these days, but there's only one Cap'n.
Odin: Probably the year's dark horse. In a lot of leagues, he may even last into the seventh round. However, if you're looking to run up the score in fury, prophecy, and poetry, treat yourself to a shot of the Old Norseman.
The Terminator: Yes, the T1000 is on the draft board. Yes, that guy can turn himself into a big knife. Have we learned nothing about shape-shifters, though? Total injury concern. Take the enormous, steel android who is a guaranteed winner in sequel points. "I'll be baaaaaaaaack." You said it, dude.
Merlin: Oh, you've already got a Grand Wizard of Camelot? Not bloody likely. Valuable bowl-haircut points.
The Cowardly Lion: Yes, by definition, he is a coward. Half of his games are against munchkins, however.
Marty McFly: The new kid on the block. Look for contributions in the following areas: vests worn, Chuck Barry covers, DELOREANS (capitals for emphasis), covert Calvin Klein ads. A future version of himself may end up murdering Marty, but until that happens, stomp that gas pedal up to 88.
Let's get it out of the way: I had my bachelor party over the weekend. I'm not telling any stories and I'm damn sure not sharing any pictures. All you, the crazy people of the Internet, need to know is that no one went to jail, no one married a stripper, and no one got deported. Yet. These things take time, so I make no promises.
Thinking back on it now, I can't help but be impressed with how much stuff we accomplished in a single day. I bet if we had devoted that energy to something slightly less debauched like feeding starving Africans, we'd have to send an enormous shipment of XL sweatpants to Ghana this morning.
In other wedding news, I'm going on a honeymoon and it ain't to Waco. Here's the funny thing about trying to go on a trip to a tropical destination in late December: no matter where you try to go, it's ungodly expensive. Whether it's Mexico, Hawaii, or Tahiti, it's all around the same price and would practically involve us having to melt down and pawn the fillings in our teeth to really whoop it up over there.
I think that both Laura and I had a collective flipout while checking packages yesterday and said, "Hot damn, if that's much to fly 3 hours away, it'd probably cost a metric crapton of money to go to Europe." Then we checked. Funny enough, it's not so bad since it's cold there at the time. After a bit of comparison, we concluded that we actually could go to Paris for the same length of time, swank the hell out of the whole trip, and come out of it cheaper than our originally planned trip to Costa Rica. So, that's what we're doing.
Prepare yourself, people of Europe. I am coming for your chocolate, your castles, and your fancy beer. I expect English everywhere, incredible hospitality, and hamburgers on every corner.