Thursday, December 20, 2007

in other news

So, I heard that Michigan finally got their new football head coach, and it's someone they think will really help with experience luring high school athletes. Yeah, apparently they're giving the job to Jamie-Lynn Spears.


Or maybe I shouldn't try reading the news from USA Today over a guy's shoulder in the airport.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Travelin' Uncle Matt goes to...

http://johnspartan.blogspot.com/2007/01/laptop-thing-aka-my-own-personal.html

back to the scene of the crime. I'm going to DC for business... actually a client is flying me up and putting me in a hotel pretty much just to take me to lunch. I'm so sexy.

PS since I never concluded that other story --- let's just say that when you have the time you got a cab, the location you got it, the address it dropped you off at, the cab number and the driver's license #, lost possessions sometimes have a tendency to "appear at lost and found". No thanks to the freaking DC po-po, or the cab company, or the cab authority...

Meanwhile I'm STILL getting headaches from the fact that I reported the checks stolen and then told the bank I got them back. Ugh.

Anyway, this trip should be nice. Up and back, I return tomorrow night. And then a Christmas party Friday and a Christmas party Saturday (one of THREE we were invited to... not only am I sexy and 29 I'm a social freaking butterfly 8-))

Can't actually blame TLMS for the fact I haven't been posting much... blame the mystery neighbor who is no longer donating wireless service to me. Fascists!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

technicalities

Got caught at a Christmas party on what some might see as a small yet critical detail... for reasons I still can't particularly articulate, though if nothing else at least now I have a new story for people who are bored of "Alabama Girl".

Very nice event, at a lovely home on the water, hosted by family friends from back before my days anyway... and I somehow introduced TLMS as "My wif.... errr girlfriend, Sarah".

I can't think of anything better then that's how I've heard people presented at parties over the years... though that doesn't even make sense to me and I said it!

Helpful advice from Carrie, as per usual... the guidance to "don't screw this up." Always a good idea.


Happy 29th birthday Katie Holmes!

Monday, December 10, 2007

In retrospect, maybe "1-800-HEY-BUSH" wasn't the best super-secret phone number...

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3973925&page=1

Seems a 16 year old kid in Iceland (may have) called the private unlisted number of the White House to invite W. to come over and play reindeer games.

Hell, if Ellen can get him, I don't see why Gunther the dialin' Iceberg can't.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Rudy Thing

Among my friends and also in the conservative media, I've heard a lot of people try to make the case for Rudy Giuliani, esp. when it comes to his credentials as a "true conservative".

It seems the conversation generally goes something like this.

"Well, sure he's got a record and tradition of being pro-choice, but he'll change when he's president instead of mayor!"

"Well, sure he has a different position on homosexuality from a lot of the party, but that won't come up when he's president."

"Well, sure he's not strong on gun control, but he's said he'll be different as president."

Well, why should we vote for him, then?"

"Why, because of everything he's done as mayor, of course!"


Hmmm...

There's the whole "he can beat Hillary" thing... and despite the media's desperate desire for a horse race in the lefty scuffle I still say I wouldn't bet against her with money I'd found. And Rudy vs. Hillary doesn't poll considerably better than the other leading candidates on the right against her.

Now, if you want to get into a really nuanced argument, and start looking at states like New Jersey as being possible swings, okay. But I'm not even convinced that those that might vote for Rudy as the GOP candidate outnumber those who would be less than enthused by him being the head of the ticket and stay home.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

how exactly do you raise awareness on something everybody already knew?

http://www.scrappleface.com/?p=2793

More kudos to Al Gore for raising awareness on the delicate nature of the environment, his revelation from the last year that got him a Nobel Peace (PEACE?) Prize and an Oscar and an island in the South Pacific and a free date with Carrie Underwood...

So nice of him to draw attention to this issue that has never been raised before.

Except, ya know, his own book Earth in the Balance 15 years ago before his two terms as Vice President of the United States, Time Magazine naming Earth as the endangered planet man of the year 20 years ago, 35+ years of Boo Production Yay Earth Day hippie festivals...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I can make it there... but why would I want to?

Was asked the other day with incredulity (incredulity is a 10 cent woid) why I don't move to New York City and take an offer there.

Offhand, ummm... one good reason is that this is the view from my apartment building.








Another is that it's 74 degrees out with a 13 mph wind right now.

Being 28 and having to have someone explain to you what the phrase "Wintry Mix" means isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Helps that it's 10 minutes to the office, and I'm NOT paying unreal rent for my place that would be "big" by any NYC standards.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

more random thoughts

Couple of things that have bouncing around in my noggin that I find randomly amusing... not enough for whole blogs but just some "how bout that airline food" style observations.

- That segment of Jeopardy when Trebek talks with the contestants about some interesting little vignette from their lives... years now, I don't think I've ever heard anyone actually having ever done anything interesting, ever. I may not know a lot of the works of 18th century French painters, but you can damn well be sure that if I had a mic in my face on national television, my most interesting story would not be "I ate four straight sandwiches once. Yeah, when I was a kid, I was really hungry. They weren't the same kind though, they were different."

- The best part about Vinny Testaverde starting again in the NFL is that it's great to see one more guy in the league who was in Tecmo Super Bowl. I hope he holds that fact in proper admiration.

- Ron Paul fans are strange. This coming from a confessed semi-Libertarian... that's a damned odd bunch. Honestly the whole lot of them should probably be checked or made to pee in a cup or some such thing.

- I hope Edwina never becomes a normal-sounding name.

- They should have a new legal standard that says you can't file suit if you're freaking stupid. If you see a TV commercial where a car skids around snow and ice and slides effortlessly into a parking lot, and your mortal coil is SAVED by a little line across the bottom that says "Professional Driver, do not attempt"... if THAT's what causes you to set the keys back down and not try to tow an elephant up Mount Kilimanjaro, you're honestly probably best not left unsupervised to begin with and will surely find some other way to hurt yourself. Hopefully not too many others have to pay for your ignorance.

- I could sit down right now and spend 3 hours playing the original Legend of Zelda and not think twice about it. I have to wonder if 20 years from now, people will say how re-playable anything on store shelves today would be.

- Lists of mini-rants are "hella-lame".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

pinko anti-smokers

Sort of a random entry... but then hey it is a vanity blog.

Have you been watching TV lately (and by lately I mean in the last decade or so) and seen an anti-smoking commercial come on?

Well no, really, you pretty much haven't. Here's why.

The commercials don't really focus on "cigarette smoking stands a good chance of crapping out your health."

Instead, we get year after year, hour after hour of "Tobacco companies are a bunch of lying bitches! They're really, really evil companies."

What would be the process of berating the public repeatedly to try and convince them that tobacco companies are sinners? Could it be a coincidence that lawsuits against these companies have yielded like bashing a pinata?

Bothered me in some of the elections I worked in, I'd hear "oh we're going to use the tobacco settlement money to build new schools"... "Elect me and the tobacco settlement money will pay so that every stoplight has red, yellow, and a green light that not only flashes but yells FREAKING GOOOOOOOOO!" (actually I rather like that last idea). Gee I thought the tobacco settlement money was supposed to recoup state government accrued HEALTH CARE costs.

Besides, so long as huge taxes are on cigarettes... taxes that pay for all sorts of pet social causes... they don't REEEALLY want you to stop smoking. They just want to have their "bad guy".

Besides, it's all capitalism. I don't recall hearing in all of these Truth Meanie McAssalots! commercials ever suggesting that the companies tied people down and forced them to el puffo against their will.

Try some Chewlies Gum instead.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Starring Faye Dunaway and Burt Reynolds

I think in the 70s they should have just made one movie called "Kung Fu Black Indian Disco Trucker Cop" and gotten the whole fad over with.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A night with Bambi

After 11 and I'm just getting up... two long days in NYC working and flew back later than I expected.

One of those days where I go to bed, and wake up, and when I get out of bed I stumble around like a baby deer learning how to walk!

Going to a seafood festival today with TLMS, and then to watch FSU - Bama. Should be a good day :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our Lady Of the Blessed Weinke

Had a great weekend last week, always nice when something you've been looking forward to for about 4 months actually ends up going very nicely.

Somehow and for some reason, TLMS agreed to travel with me to Tallahassee. The occasion was really twofold --- go to a home FSU game and visit with my best friend in recognition of 10 years (!) since we first met and became fast friends. That and a chance to run around all my old haunts, threefold (our chief weapon is fear, fear and surprise...)

10 years ago... hmm... I was a lot thinner, a bit more starry-eyed, and convinced I was headed for a career in politics. But I'm not going to head down that introspective path this time around, gonna stick with this week's trip.

Was more than a little bit nervous about spending the second straight weekend that would consist of three full days with the main squeeze. But I knew this would be a blast.

Was a bit funny, variations on a theme...
Friday:
"Oh look, a Bible Education Center, see I bet you'd like working there."
"We're not moving here."

Saturday: "See these houses out here? They cost about the same as your condo."
"Yeah, ummm, see we're NOT moving."

Sunday: "What should we do this afternoon?"
"I dunno, go see a real estate agent?"
"We're NOT moving here."

I do have to give TLMS credit for (at least) one irrefutable point though --- one that I have to hold up like a marble and admire from all sides... which basically was along the lines of "Who would want to move to a college town when they're not even a fan of that school?"

Still, we had fun. Carrie's littlun was amazingly well-behaved when you consider that "gameday" basically meant being oat and aboat on her best behavior for about 6 hours and well past her bedtime. There was another little Nolita there so that helped.

What might have been the most memorable experience from the weekend though, and the one referenced in the title of the post (sorry it took so long for me to get to this point) was that we went to a unique sort of church service on Sunday. It was actually my idea to go to one while we were in town, I thought it'd be a nice touch and we had time... plus I guess subconsciously I thought it would make the idea of spending a weekend up there more palatable!

This is a new church community, I think they said about 5 years old, that is still raising funds to build a church in "downtown" (hah!) Tallahassee. Meanwhile, they're meeting in the Tallahassee Little Theatre, which is about exactly what you'd figure a community theater would look like. It wasn't surreal enough to see a church service not in a church though --- I mean say what you want about today's churches but I'm used to seeing things on a stage as being admittedly fiction!!

No, add to that the stage was still decorated for whatever little show they happened to be doing now. Very weird to get The Word from a typical 1940s house community stage set. I half-expected to see a marquee out front with "10 AM Seek and Ye Shall Find... 1 PM Waiting for Godot"

Also memorable was something I'll likely never find in another town. Wisdom imparted with metaphors and stories in the sermon using as illustration what else? The Seminoles, of course. I've always said I need sermons to relate things to points of reference I can understand and identify with --- well, any service where I hear an appreciation in times of adversity being compared to the 1993 FSU - Gator game and get a virtual play-by-play of Charlie Ward to Warrick Dunn as a way to clear up the Gospel, well...

You know the old teaching movie cliche where the HS teacher gets the kids to behave in class by relating classic literature to their own problems? (Weee Hamlet's mom is a whore and a bunch of people die!) Well, comparing the saturday afternoon tradition with Sunday morning tradition does not suck.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I could go be smarter... or prettier...



If you haven't seen this yet (and it's hard not to have seen it if you're active enough on the Internet to be here). Miss Teen USA South Carolina... wow. Not a resounding endorsement of my friends in the South.

Neither is the news that The new state motto of Mississippi is apparently "Home of the FattyfatFatties."

Nice to have some states OTHER than Florida being laughingstocks for a change.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

zen and the ancient art of Pac-Man




This is a... "mockumentary" from SNL in the early 80s, about "video game junkies". Pretty funny stuff. Not too far of a cry from those days to the home systems and people who are hooked on Madden and Halo and such.

"when you're doing the donk..."

Like all good satire, it works partially cuz it makes ya uncomfortable... laughing about addiction and abuse.

I think about when someone was asking Mel Brooks about why he so often jokes about Nazis and Hitler, which would seem to most people to be an odd subject for an older Jewish person to be making light of. He made the point that if you can laugh AT someone, if you can make fun of that person despite their complete hatred of you and despite whatever their actions are, you are in a true position of power. In a sense, if you can really laugh at your demons, you are most of the way to conquering them.

Hmmm... I didn't expect this post to be so philosophical, I just wanted to share that video clip. But anyway, there it is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

an important anniversary approaches

August 22, 2007 will mark a very important anniversary... one that commemorates something which has become critical to me and come to take up much of my time...

I am speaking, of course, about the 20th anniversary of the release of the Legend of Zelda for the NES.

I lost HUNDREDS of hours to that game. I still know it enough to be able to sit down in front of it and remember where all the secrets and all the hidden levels are.

And that was BEFORE I went to college and downloaded the emulator onto my PC. Wild crazy college guy that I was.

You think I'm kidding, you haven't heard my ringtone.



Oh, it's also 5 months for me and TheLovelyMissSarah (who may or maynot be herein referred to as TLMS). That too.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm cheating on someone...

That'd be me...

I'm starting a new blog for the Miami Seminole Club... check it out from its very creation at http://miaminoles.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

birds of a feather are good for the gander...

You know you have an interesting group of friends when the following statements can be made in an evening, and it doesn't seem odd...

1. "You're a fountain of bullshit."

2. "I think it was Alexis deToqueville who said... nah I'm just kidding."

3. "You don't taste like your usual alcohol."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

life, at present, does not suck

Reporting from outside , a sidewalk cafe/bar/italian restaurant in the Brickell area of downtown Miami... piggybacking on a random wireless signal, waiting on my girlfriend to show up so we can have a nice relaxing romantic dinner together. Looking forward to it. And there she just rolled by.

T minus ten minutes to a Peroni :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Art Bell....

come back!

obligatory july post

Today (well, now yesterday I guess) may prove to be a day of some long-term significance, so I guess this is recording it for posterity.

Tickets booked today to go to Tallahassee and a football game with someone special (who may or may not have storms brewing in her eyes... flight and hotel package, going up for FSU - UAB game which is the start of the season.

Besides gameday it should just generally be good fun. Expected stops on the tour include PoBoys, Bullwinkle's, Poor Paul's, maybe Pockets, maybe BW3 or AJ's... hope to track down my old boss Jerry. Also have to mark 10 years with someone who will probably be one of the first to read this :)

People will meet for the first time... big step. Nothing to be nervous about though --- would rather be there now though and with apologies to Tom Petty, the Waiting is the Hardest Part...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Travelin' Matt goes to...

Traveling Uncle Matt is back in Joisey.

After Thursday (and an unexpected Friday morning) of working, I'm out at my dear sweet brudder's place outside of Trenton. Very nice house, and even if all I get out of the weekend is tonight it's been a nice mini-vacation.

My brother works in the City, and I met him after he was done with work. We took a train out to Jersey, and had a very nice dinner, followed by commemorative "missing man ceremony" of cigars out on the patio, accompanied by a couple of glasses of really potent single malt scotch.

Hey, I don't recall anybody ever saying "Don't drink and blog" ;-)

There's someone out there I miss nearly all the time we're apart. Still, it's nice just to miss someone, so long as they're in your life. She was supposed to come along, but it didn't work out logistically. Might have been just as well, because I wouldn't have been much fun in Nueva York Ciudad, working most of the time I was there.

Nice surprise is that I'm flying back first class from Newark to Miami. Not paying extra or anything, but it'll be good to have a little more room and perhaps an extra beverage or two.

Last thing --- I had lunch at Carnegie Deli... a corned beef hash that could have fed at least four comfortably. Good stuff!

Monday, June 25, 2007

random thoughts... as opposed to?

this one might be even more rambling and incoherent than usual...

* Joe, Jr! One of my good friends is a pop. Odd to think of a college friend entering the world of diapers and having a little dude depend upon you, but anyway there it is. And he'll do a great job. Be interesting to see if he mellows at all from the experience.

* Hershey's Chocolate Flavored Bubble Gum is in fact almost exactly as bad of an idea and as odd-tasting as you probably figure it would be.

* I wonder sometimes what I would have thought of today-me if I could go back and introduce myself to 13-yr-old-me.

* My lease runs out in the end of March.


* Sucks when you finally get around to renting a movie people were talking about six months ago when it actually came out. It's not as if you can artfully steer a conversation to giving your opinions on Casino Royale.

* Lots of people rent furnished apartments. Somehow I found an apartment furnished with really expensive paintings. http://www.artbrokerage.com/site/thumbnail_view.php?artist=169 $15,000 paintings, apparently. Gotta say though, the shit has a very Emperor's New Clothes sort of feel to it --- I'd rather have the money, because I sure as hell don't get it.

* Enough with the sequels, already. Let's get some new ideas in the mix. Open the vault and pull out a few secrets.

* What the hell is LinkedIn, and why do I feel so competitive about it?

* George Harrison could have had a really nice solo career if it weren't for all the Indian sitar garbage. Blow Away and When We Was Fab and All Those Years Ago and a bunch of other songs are actually quite nice.

* There's an alternate ending to Little Shop of Horrors that apparently cost several million dollars to film and completely changes the story. If you haven't seen it, check YouTube. Or don't, and I'm fine with that too.

* A friend of mine has gone Off The Grid. I didn't even know you could still do that these days. Phone number doesn't work anymore, no listed address online, and he hasn't had e-mail in at least two years. Man. I think the only way I could find him would be to try to find the restaurant I think he works at in Jackson, Tennessee. Yeah, ummm, pass.

* Even when I didn't like country music, there was still some I liked. Now I like some more... but only "the fun stuff".

* If you aren't saying anything, how do you know when you're done? Doesn't this seem now like one of those threads that just stops mid-

Monday, May 28, 2007

smacking myself in the face

or "You can never go home again".

This is not, contrary to appearance, going to be about my famous lack of grace and swan-like poetry in motion --- though it would be fitting. Rather, this is the sort of introspective epiphany usually found in these sort of self-indulgent egocentric blogs...

more simply put, here's something I've learned about me...

I had an odd experience this weekend, in essence a chance to go back to who I was. Over the long weekend with The Beautiful One out of town, I was basically back to doing what I have been for the past year or so --- sitting around playing bad video games, occasionally going out late with my friends barhopping or dinner with O Mein Mama. And I realized something...

while that's fun in small doses, and it's a nice, key part of a life, it's not enough. I saw who I was, I lived who I was... and I realized that I was, at best, wasting time and probably more likely bordering on unhappy. It's probably human nature not to ever be able to get true perspective on a situation you're in as solidly as you can in hindsight. I think I knew all along I was pissing life away... but regardless this futility really kind of surprised me.

It's not just that I'm not thrilled with who I was. It's that I wasn't thrilled with it even at the time.

What does it mean when you've come across someone in two blockbuster months that's changed your paradigm so much that even a jaded, stubborn soul openly embraces a new life as being brighter? Hmmm... we'll doubtless discuss more on that in months to come.


Someone very close to me, who is going to read this eventually, is going through a similarly interesting chapter right now. This person is, in a way, going back to the first time to what life was 7 years ago before some little curveballs and one rather big curveball came along... What will make it even more odd is that this person will be back in the same place physically as before the big changes came. But just as life is like toothpaste, refusing to go back in the tube, your environment will never be the same as time marches on.

I'll be interested to walk through this with her... I think she'll learn and grow from this. It won't be easy though. It's well-known separation makes you realize how much you appreciate the one you're missing... I think I'm learning that separation makes you look at yourself too.

Monday, May 21, 2007

trying my hand at parables

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this, but anyway I've been thinking about this a lot lately...

A physics teacher has two particular students in his class he's keeping an eye on to see if they can pass his class.

He's interested in keeping the classroom orderly so he can impart the subject material to the kids... physics is complicated stuff, but if they'll listen he can get it through to them.

"Alright you two, you're going to listen to me because I'm in charge in this class. Everything I tell you is going to be true, because in this classroom I am it. If you act up, you're going to detention. If you realize who the big cheese in this room is, you might just pass this here class with flying colors." The teacher goes on over the next several weeks to explain torque, how to calculate for a drag coefficient, and other complex physics notions.

He tries his best to use language and terms the kids understand, but being heavy material they still pester him with questions... "but why is this? why can't it be easier? Why do I have to learn this?" Sometimes he tries to explain it, but often he resorts to "that's just how it works" and perhaps even the occasional "just trust me, I know." He occasionally reminds them that he's the one with all the answers.

It's the day before the final exam, and the teacher asks the students what sorts of questions they expect to see on the final.

One says "I figure it will be applying the various physics lessons that you tried to impart to us. I don't pretend to have gotten it all, but I have been trying all year long and I think the exam will show I'm trying to understand."

The second one says "I think the exam will be asking us who's in charge. And you're in charge! You have the information, and you're running the show!"

The question: Who do you think will pass the test?

The better question: What's on The Big Test? And with our religion class, are we to focus on the Teacher, or on the lectures?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Travelin' Uncle Bop Goes to...

Greetings from Disney World!

First time I've been here since college days, we made the stop from FSU a couple of times in easier days. Plans are to make it back here with someone special someday soon.

The "real" reason I'm here is that we're taking my 8 yr old nephew around as a belated birthday present.

Last night was the Pirates Dinner Adventure. Who would have guessed, a Pirate dinner show in Orlando would be cheeky and campy! Will wonders never cease.

Of course, it's always nice to have an excuse to get around the parks and pssst I'm gonna have a leeettle fun too.

Plus I've been having recurring dreams about being at EPCOT and not getting to go on the Figment ride for some reason... maybe destiny calleth me to him...

Imaaaaaaginaaaaation.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Little known fact....

28th rule of Fight Club, subsection (b) paragraphs I and II, as amended...

Don't talk about any Fight Club wholly owned subsidiaries, LLCs, partners foreign or domestic, licensed contractors or service providers....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Well anything to be a snob...

Anyone who knows me (and honestly what the hell are you doing here if you don't) knows that at sometimes I can be cheap, sometimes I can be stubborn, and sometimes I can be elitist. So given that, perhaps this isn't all that surprising...

I don't have cable in my new apartment. I've been here for almost three weeks and I still have just what you get from pluggin' into the wall.

Of course, I've been very merrily distracted as of late, so that's part of it. Plus I don't want to say what cable company I'd be doomed to but let's just say it rhymes with ComSchmast, and they don't exactly have the best of deals.

Who knows, maybe I'll even READ on occasion.

Or maybe I'll just go back to quasi-disgruntled blogging.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

when your dry wit dries up

Well, someone has come along and taken away (nearly) all of my bitter jadedness.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I've been told by someone who's been observing me pretty closely for the last three weeks or so that I'm smiling a lot more.

It's what I've been waiting for for, oh gosh about 9 years... but it's murder on blog motivation ;-)



I will share this bit... I am confident that any story that starts with someone saying "When I was eighteen I dated a stripper." will be more than a little bit interesting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Travelin' man goes to....

This week's letter from travelin' Uncle Matt sees my life's journeys having brought me to.... Hamilton, New Jersey, near Princeton.

Specifically, I'm sitting on my brother's back porch, sipping a glass of rather good cognac, and smoking a cigar in about 35 degrees of a clear, crisp "what is a Miami boy doing in the north in March" sort of night. There's something poetic about the whole thing --- which perhaps is what drove me here --- anyway there's a thin line between creativity and boredom.

So, what is a Miami boy etc etcing? Tomorrow morning I stand as godfather to my nephew, the first born and very adorable little boy of my brother and s-i-l. Today was the first time I got to see the little Michelin Man (we are a well-fed family)... so at this point just about any jokes about being named godfather to a baby in New Jersey are more than a little bit funny. Though it was only mildly and politely received when I asked before if this meant that I had to settle all debts with the five families... mostly fell on deaf ears. So I guess tomorrow I have to limit it to, like, four bad Al Pacino impressions tops.

That notwithstanding, the whole thing is a considerable honor. Best man at the wedding, and now this. 90% of the time it's true what John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans"... but there are also the events that come along that you know in advance are going to be significant life experiences. This is doubtless one of them. Pictures will be taken, if you'd like to see some let me know --- if you're reading this, there's a good chance I'm going to thrust them upon you whether or not you ask!! :-)

I may be starting another journey too... one that has me, so far, finding myself happy a lot more these days. More on that, well, whenever. A definite stay tuneder though.

Completely arbitrary and transparent change of subject, I've just started reading "The Great War: American Front" by Harry Turtledove. It's an alternate history book, the second in a series. The idea behind the story is that he goes back to a single point in the history of the Civil War, a pivotal point which it can be argued eventually led to the South's fall, and what-ifs out the possibility had that one event been different. In the first book, "How Few Remain", it's about 1885 and the South ultimately was victorious in "The War of Secession". Lincoln is still alive, having been voted out unceremoniously in 1864 having failed to gain real traction in the war. The book plays out a new war betwreen the confederacy and the union, and features significant story lines for Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, General George Custer....

This second book continues about a generation later on the dawn of WWI. I won't get too much into the second book --- partially because I don't want to ruin the possibility of reading the first for you and partially because I'm only on page 35... but consider: If the French and English had, as they were so close to actually doing, supported the South... where would that have left the US in European relations? Suddenly the Germans fall in a different light.

I seem to like alternate histories, I read a very good one when I was in Washington as well.


I should have more to share after tomorrow's big doings. I enjoy spending time with all of my brother's in-laws whenever I come up here, and we have some cousins and such scattered around as well who may also join in, so it should be good times.

I think... think I am sufficiently appreciative of the fact that I have been blessed with drawing the card in The Big Deck that says "good family life". I know there's nothing like it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Remember there's no i in recipe... oh, wait...

Here's something I posted on my old website. Now generally, the closest I ever come to real cooking is a really bad Swedish Chef impression. However, this was fun to put together and is a damned tasty dish.

I've kept it in my original phraseology... see I used to be a really sarcastic guy with a fairly random sense of humor. Thank goodness that phase was short-lived... err...




SPAGHETTI ALA GERBER!!!!



NOW PAY ATTENTION, DAMMIT.

(cuz we're not responsible for anyone you kill if you don't follow the directions carefully!)



IN GREEDY YENTS

spaghetti (duh)

one egg, the kind that come from chickens and don't have lil' chicks in them.

*do not use dinosaur eggs*

butter

bacon (none of that phony stuff neither)

parmesan cheese

garlic salt



WATT TOO DUE

1. Fill a pot with water and boil it ("it" being the water). When the water is boiling, insert the spaghetti.
2. Cook the spaghetti for EIGHT minutes. Thou shalt not cook to 7. Neither shalt thou cook to 9. 8 is the number of minutes thou shalt cook to and thou shalt cook to the number of 8 minutes. 10 is right out…

6. While your spaghetti is cooking, melt a few Patz of butter and beat up one egg.

9. Cook a few pieces of bacon.

11. Strain the water out of the pot, throw the eggs and butter into the pot. The spaghetti should magically cook the eggs enough so as to not risk your insides getting eaten by diseases and little germie critters, but just in case you may wanna throw the whole mess back onto the oven.
12. Tear up the bacon into tiny pieces and sprinkle fortuitously throughout the spaghetti.

14. Add proper seasons. The garlic salt and parmesan cheese work well here, so do winter and spring. Don't go using, like, brandy or Mad Dog 20/20 as a seasoning .
15. Put it on a plate. Find something good on TV and eat it, dammit. A glass of milk goes well with it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do you know who I am?

"No deary, but if you ask at the nurse's station up front, they'll tell you."


The following story is true. The names have been changed to protect the search engines.

When I was in college I did an internship with an arena football team. I did most of their day-to-day PR work. One day I had to attend the cheerleader / dance squad tryouts so I could write a press release about the girls that got selected. I know, horrible fate, right?

We invited a couple of "celebrity judges" to help with the selection. I use the term celebrity loosely because, well, this was Tallahassee after all. Turns out I didn't know how far into the barrel we were going.

I was walking down the line asking politely the names of all our guests --- I needed to write them down so I could include it in the release. A local radio DJ, I think a former beauty queen... Everyone was being very friendly and good-natured, and at the end of the line a thin, dark-haired woman just stared at me. I looked back, and after a beat she turned to the lady next to her and said "Well! I GUESS he doesn't know who I am!"

Having only been in town a few years and working as an intern at that, I thought perhaps I'd missed something. I said "No, ma'am, umm I'm sorry?" Thinking she'd tell me she was, perhaps, the state secretary of education or something and I just didn't know better. Certainly someone copping that sort of 'tude would be recognizable by her name?

She deemed me fit to be let in on the secret. "I'm Julie Monta----".

You know how in cartoons when they used to ring up the old-style cash registers and the "no sale" flags pop up? That was probably my expression.

"Hmmph". She sided. It probably was added insult to injury that I had to ask her to spell it to make sure I got it right. The name meant nothing to me.

I found out a bit later on she was the weekend TV evening news anchor for the local NBC or CBS or whatever affiliate. Mind you, Tallahassee is, what, something like the 120th biggest media market in the US. Rah.


Seems like it's never the Jimmy Stewarts of the world who say "Don't you know who I am?" It's the D-listers that think having played "2nd Ex-Girflriend" in a straight-to-DVD teen movie that think they can throw their weight around.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

ohmmmm......

I used to be developing this theory that in Heaven, you get to go back to points in your life and see how your life would have unfolded differently if you'd made different decisions along the way. So you can see how things would have happened if the one true love hadn't gotten away, or if you'd taken that job in another city, or if you stopped someone from going into a hospital they never walked out of.


Then I realized this was probably just an overly dramatic way of dealing with the fact that I just second guess stuff a lot.


Now after the crisis of faith I'm just left with crappy science fiction TV shows and their time travel.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Mueva te!

I used to think that people didn't place nearly a high enough priority on getting the hell out of my way... whether on the road or in the grocery store, it should be a) your own personal health and well being, and b) getting out of my damn way. And really, if you think about it, the second one directly relates to the first.

Then I thought about the poor homeless. The man who hasn't shaved in a month, whose hair is all matted down, and who probably doesn't have a change of clothes. And I realized...

I bet people don't get in his way. Maybe he's not really down on his luck --- maybe he just flipped and was tired of having people clogging up the aisles in front of him at Walgreens. If you see someone who smells like their religion prohibits toilet paper, you'd get out of his way.

Lucky bastard.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Other then that, what did you think of the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

I'm lucky to be here.

Not so much in the Chamber of Commerce sense of some of my posts, but more in the general direction of being lucky to be anywhere, and not have to get there by blowing into a straw or blinking my thoughts.

By all rights I should probably be dead.

One of my father's admonitions to me was: "Since you'll probably never go to war, the most dangerous thing you'll ever do will be drive a car." A couple of weeks ago I once again apparently tried to prove him right.

Okay enough foreshadowing, I should probably get to what happened, then I can return to waxing philosophic... I was driving south on US1, doing forty-hmmprhmhprh to get through a yellow light before it turned. As I reached the intersection (where Brickell meets Coral Way, right in front of Gordon Biersch for the faithful readers who know Miami), a woman coming north decided she was going to go ahead and turn left.

Time slowed down.

Her SUV, a Toyota Hillfucker, plowed into the front left side of my car, impacting probably around the left light. The airbag and seatbelt combined to stop me from going through the windshield. The fairly lucky "I shouldn't be here" part is that if she'd got me a split second later she would have plowed into the driver's side door instead of the front left side of the car... and I probably would have been on the evening news for the first and last time.

As it was, I somehow managed to escape with only a small bruise from where the airbag hit me. The Nissan Riceburn wasn't quite so fortunate, and that's really another indicator of level of severity --- a week and a lot of insurance calls later, it was totaled. So, significantly more than $11,000 worth of damage was done to my car... and my only residual mark was a left breast that looked like I walked into the door behind Luca.

In a greater way perhaps, I'm also fortunate that my mother came down to the scene immediately, put me up in the house, and helped with the securing of a new car and whatnot. Without getting to into it, I've always been blessed to count on my mom, ever since some tough times as a teen. I'm slowly learning and reaffirming a life's lesson, looking at my friends and my own family --- that there's nothing quite like having people who care for you that you can rely on in the trying times.

So, I'm okay, the other gal was okay... I've got a new car... got a good deal on a used Chrysler 300 (very nice luxury car... perfect for a guy that learned how to drive on a Cadillac Sedan DeVille!) Now all that remains is some paperwork. But sometimes in life, you consider yourself lucky just to be able to fill out a form.

It occurs to me this accident happened before my trip to Tallahassee... I intrigue myself in realizing I posted about that first before this. Maybe it was easier.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Travelin' Man goes to...

Life's journeys have taken me to Tallahassee. Back to my old stompin' ground.

I'm here ostensibly for an alumni association conference, but also I have some ulterior motives. Other reasons include in no particular order a Seminole baseball game this weekend, staying in touch with my old boss, and seeing my best friend and her two adorable little girls again.

Worst kept secret is that I'd be lying if I said I don't have designs on my life leading me back here someday. The town's changed a lot since I was here in 2000... but a lot of the charm is still undeniable. I love the lush greenery. I love that every block has cars with FSU tags and stickers, a "Renegade Barber Shop" or "Osceola Hardware", and students that just look genuinely happy to be alive. And of course college football is bar none my favorite sports experience.

It's admittedly not a great place to be 25. Being a smaller town (about 150,000 soakin' wet), there's not a lot of professional opportunities. But when you start having thoughts of a family, or when you want reasonably priced real estate... or when you're far enough removed from student age that your social circles are "grown ups" instead of kiddos, well... rolling hills call!

Friday, February 9, 2007

how do you say "gimme the damn remote, Duck Tales is on" in Hungarian?

Probably dating myself a bit here, but hey someone has to date me :)

I'm sorry, but I will always find this either fascinating... or likely both... I guess nowadays it's classified only as "blogworthy".... ya see, people from other countries talk funny.


Which just goes to prove my theory... GERMANS LOVE DAVID HASSELHOFF!




The Gummi Bears theme, in Hungarian.



Jem and the Holograms, in Italian.

True story, as a kid in like first grade I watched Jem and the Holograms when it first came out... till one day another guy at school told me that was a "cartoon for girls" and that boys weren't supposed to like it. Last time I watched it!


http://homepage.ntlworld.com/brien.hannah/frenchintro.zip

This one's pretty damned funny, couldn't find it other then in that zip file... it's the A-Team theme in French. What the hell are the French doing watching the A-Team? Yeah, a bunch of vigilantes military for hire that go around blowing shit up. Bonjourrrrrr, ya cheese eatin' surrender monkeys!




And a couple more I wanted to put up in English because... well hell I don't really need a reason do I? I just liked these shows too and couldn't find them in any other language as an excuse to put'em up. Turns out they're actually all foreign products imported to the US. Not that I knew that when I was watching them in the lower living room in my undies.

I watched a lot of Nickelodeon growing up. Remember these?


Danger Mouse


Today's Special



You Can't Do That on Television

Monday, January 29, 2007

my·o·pi·a (mī-ō'pē-ə) n.

1.Ophthalmology. a condition of the eye in which parallel rays are focused in front of the retina, objects being seen distinctly only when near to the eye; nearsightedness
2.lack of foresight or discernment; obtuseness.
3.narrow-mindedness; intolerance.


Let's see if you can figure out what sounds not particularly well thought out in this exchange.

"We have to get all these Mexicans out of our cities. More and more people are speaking Spanish."

"What cities?"

"Oh, San Antonio, Santa Fe, San Diego, Las Vegas...."


Illegal immigration is wrong because it's illegal. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if we don't know who's coming across our border, then we don't know who's coming across our border. Another nugget o' knowledgeitude. And certainly anyone off the grid shouldn't be a drain on our tax rolls with benefits and whatnot.

But many on my side of the aisle claim to have a problem with illegal immigration, when if you ask why they eventually get around to some pretty xenophobic (read: racist) reasons, basically advocating the perceived superiority of pre-existing cultures...

However... Florida and El Paso and Los Angeles and Santa Cruz don't just coincidentally have them thar Spanish sounding names. The reason why you can get white bread in Laredo is because we did a mighty good job of eventually moving in there on a (reasonably) open market.

You wonder if they'd be as upset if there was a large influx of Canadians.

Of course, a party requires a certain percentage of extremists to a) vote for them and b) shut th ehell up. But that's a post for another night....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Recycling is not our friend...

Movies they never need to make again....

  • The Fair Game Fiancee -- It's a week before Barry's wedding... so what's he going to do about the wacky (wedding planner/chauffeur/beer wench/gal stranded in airport) that he's forced to spend 48 hours with before his wedding? Who will he choose, the dull one-dimensional second-tier star who's waiting for him, or the spontaneous free-spirit he's improbably forced into compromising situations with? Why hasn't anyone else involved with the wedding (except maybe his best man) noticed he's spent the whole week with the girl who drinks tequila and cuts off his tie?
  • Tough Love -- There's a new teacher in town at John Shaft High, but in a world plagued by gang violence, teen pregnancy, drugs, and 1980s style ridiculously large "ghetto blaster" boomboxes, can anyone reach these youths, or will the system continue to abandon them? Watch as the teacher gets the kids to become interested in learning again by (gasp) having the lessons pertain to stuff from the kids own lives! See, counting is a blast when you realize shooting two cops plus shooting another two cops = shooting four cops. And gangs think Shakespeare's cool when they realize guys fought over whores back then too. And when the knocked-up 16 year old girl decides to drop out, the teacher goes to the kid's house and talks to her, pointing out school's important for having a good future, the girl tearfully comes back. The movie ends with the kids standing up for the teacher who's gotten in trouble for unconventional teaching methods.
  • Lose, Train, Win -- A team of kids really suck at a sport. They lose a game huge. A coach on his last-chance comes in and gets them to practice, a lot. There's a training montage with a good song that shows them working really hard. The night before the big game, he gives a big speech in the locker room where he says they are winners just for trying. Then they go out and win in slow motion (or in an oh-so-shocking twist, end up losing anyway but they sure did learn something about how a team can be almost like a team with some teamwork)
  • Something and Dance --- Turns out ballet and generic rap music do mix! Watch the life lessons that can be learned as two kids from opposite sides of the track find out that their love is strong enough they can battle their families to go hang out for a while and learn little bits of each others stereotypes. Turns out that uptight prissy whites can have fun doing something they thought only minorities did, and minorities can make a scene at girlfriend's dad's country club when he pitches a fit by standing up and accusing them all of being (gasp) shallow and elitist. But eventually minority parents and Muffy and Todd see their kids are happy and learn that other cultures besides their own are probably okay, in moderation.
  • Ask Me Twelve Times --- Guy sees hot girl in different social arena from his. Guy asks girl out, she says no. He asks again and she says no again. He finds some creative and silly ways to get around her and her friends, where she says no again. He says he's gonna ask one last time and she says no again. She realizes the guy she's dating is a prick. She goes to chase the guy she's been turning down for like a month, only to be amazed to see he's hanging out with a different chick. She storms off, he chases after her to no avail. He later makes a big, very public and very embarrassing apology. She reluctantly chuckles and takes him back. They kiss, movie ends.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

life among the faeries, part 2

I lost serious guy points today... I suppose it's a sign of being more well-rounded, but it's certainly not good dude karma.

I missed nearly the entire first half of the NFC championship game today, because I was at the theatre. Seeing a musical.

If it counts as a mitigating factor, the musical was Spamalot. So it's not like I went off to watch The Full Monty or something. Plus, I bought the tickets for a Christmas present for my sister back in October to go with a group of friends, so it's not like I was sitting there saying "Hmmm, I wonder how their opting for a matinee compares against what the starting time of the earlier Sunday game might be."

Still, it's a sign of my gradually increasing queeritude.

Offhand, the number of musicals I know backwards and forwards....
  • Guys and Dolls
  • The Music Man
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Evita
  • Tommy
  • Grease
  • West Side Story
  • Rent
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • My Fair Lady
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • Chicago
  • 42nd Street
  • Avenue Q

mon dieu!

An old American man is at Charles DeGaulle Airport going through customs. The French official looks through his passport and speaks in an offended tone, "Monsieur, is it possible that in these advancing years, you 'ave never visited France before?"

"Well," says the old man, "no, I've actually been here once before."

"Sir zat ees impossible you must be mistaken. French officials are very effective, and eef you had been here before it would appear on your passport."

"Well, when my unit landed here at Normandy in '44, I looked around but I couldn't find any French officials to look at my papers."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

say what now

Weirdest thing I've SEEN in the last 24 hours: A beer wench who just finished her master's in neuroscience.

Weirdest thing I've HEARD in the last 24 hours: "My dad took my mom to a whorehouse in the Dominican Republic for a rugby party."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

life among the faeries....

I live in the heart of South Beach. I usually triangulate it for people by clarifying that "I'm close enough to News Cafe and Ocean Drive and the Clevelander and Lincoln Road that I can walk to all those things, but far enough away that I don't get the noise at night." While many people have the same general understanding of the residents of South Beach (the clubs and bars are mostly populated by tourists and people from other parts of town), I only recall one friend ever actually posing the question.

"Aren't there a lot of, you know, GAYS around there?"

Well, yes... actually there are.

The next question --- while presumably just the continuation of the person's thought, is what intrigued me...

"Doesn't that bother you?"

Hmmm...

Now, I don't claim to be among the most enlightened, all-forgiving love all groups sort of Kumbaya-er. But I do try to favor pragmatism in my opinions whenever possible. So I recall my response having been a probably less eloquent version of:

"Well, what's supposed to bother me? The ones around me are very friendly and concerned about the safety of the neighborhood and their property value. They landscape in their spare time, they don't throw wild parties, they make damn good money... should I care what they're doing in their own places? What's the big negative... oh no, they have small dogs!!"

I consider myself fairly lucky to have the opportunity to have grown up in South Florida, and to be able to live here now. And that's not just because of the fact that at 12:30 in the morning I'm sitting on my front stoop in January under a palm tree and it's about 58 degrees with a soft breeze blowing. I think there was a certain point growing up when I actually had to realize that it wasn't everybody's normal experience to have on any given day a medianoche and empanadas for lunch and matzoh ball soup, knishes, and latkes for dinner. Fact is in the right environment you can appreciate diversity for the selfish reasons of what it can offer you without really having it forced upon you.

Growing up? Again, not necessarily the bastion of "all men are created equal", but perhaps more of a leaning towards a libertarian, laissez faire approach. If someone doesn't bother you then, well, why should they bother you? Not much accomplished except waste of energy by being mad at someone just for being. If they're not infringing upon you in any way shape or form, there's certainly enough other things that DO affect you AND are in your control to focus on. I'm not expressing that as well as I should because it sounds more like "tolerance through laziness" then any sort of acceptance, but anyway there it is.

My friends and I have gotten to the point where we joke about it. I'll play straight man (another poor choice of words) by tossing them an underhand pitch like chatting about how now, by virtue of "scrapbooking", I have a coffee table book where I've mounted all my ticket stubs from sporting events and concerts and such for display. This gets the intended result of them teasing me lightly for living "among them" for too long!

Someone else asked me once, if I could live anywhere, where would it be... another interesting question if given some thought... the truth of the situation is I CAN live anywhere... I've got no restrictions as such, I've had the opportunity to travel all over to see some of my options, and I work in a field where I could probably find a job in nearly any civilized, English-speaking town. And I find myself here of my own free will, with no real wanderlust save the occasional weekend trip for a football game. Here among the soft breeze, the stone crab claws, the ocean views, and the faeries....

Monday, January 8, 2007

life is like a different candy

One of my new favorite expressions... I read where someone said "Life isn't all beer and skittles."

Amen to that.

What surprised me was that I looked it up and it turns out the statement goes a ways back... long before the candy, even. Apparently, like everything else, "skittles" was apparently once an obscure old British version of bowling.

Well Bob's your uncle!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

the laptop thing... aka "My Own Personal Beautiful Mind"

a pitch black, cold, rainy night in Washington. I come out of the airport in a long old trenchcoat, carrying nearly every piece of respectable-looking clothing I own in two bags that weigh so much the plane skipped into town. Add to my load a satchel with my checkbook, an organizer that I've had since several jobs ago, directions to my new office, and a laptop with everything I've read, thought, or written for the past two years. I was about to begin a month-long special assignment in our DC office knowing almost nobody in the town and never having ventured more than about three blocks from any given monument before.

I walkstumblecollapse into a yellow cab, having deposited the dufflebags in the trunk and electing to cling to the laptop bag.

I should take a second here to interject that I am a borderline OCD traveler. That's not to say that I have problems with the actual flying/driving/busing etc.... rather I'm the kind who will check my ticket 5 times between the house and the airport, and have often arrived at the airport in excess of 3 hours early just because I'd rather be the first one sitting at the gate reading a book then have to Pink Floydesque Run Like Hell.

Alas, back to our story... I'm clutching a sheet of instructions half-convinced that if I put it down, it will evaporate. Of course I can't go straight to my new apartment --- that would be too easy. I have to go to an empty, closed office building in the night, go up the dimly lit path in the rain, and reach into an old-style cast iron black mailbox on the front steps and hopefully pull out a large manila envelope with my name on it in big letters that contains special instructions, a map, and my key. I have to do all this while the cabbie presumably waits patiently with all my earthly possessions.

So, being the manic traveler that I am, while in the cab I try and remember what I can --- the name of the cab, the time I picked it up, etc. I key the driver's permit number into my cellphone to have a permanent record. The notion of two stops in a cab just never set well with me.

I get the instructions and the keys from the deserted office's dropbox. I get back in the cab and go on to the apartment. After a few misses, we finally get to the apartment (honestly, how hard can it be to find 234 6th street SE in a town where the numbers actually correspond?) By now it's approaching midnight. I wearily get out, grab my two checked bags, and start thinking about how to get them up a flight of stairs. I'm not thinking about the fact that the cab is pulling away with my laptop bag in the backseat.

I'm standing there like a damned fool, half-expecting the guy to turn around and come back upon realizing I've left several thousand dollars worth of technology on his backseat. Without my bag, I don't even have the address of the office I'm supposed to be going to in the morning.

More in chapter 2... if I ever get around to writing it...