Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My happy discovery of the night is that iTunes broadcasts my favorite L.A. radio station, Indie 103.1. If you like any or all forms of indie rock, you should check it out. I particularly recommend the Sunday alt-country show Watusi Rodeo and the insane daily ramblings on Jonesy's Jukebox.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I'm currently tied for 5th place in the my tournament pool, but the quirk given this year's results is that only 4 teams in the entire pool have any Final Four teams--and no one has more than one. The 4th place entry and mine are the only two that can win. I have UCLA in the final game, and she has LSU; whoever's right wins the thing, and whoever's wrong finishes out of the money. The 1-3 teams are guaranteed spots 2-4. Let's just say that if LSU wins on Saturday, I'm finally going to have to invest in one of these.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Attempting to kick start the recently-sluggish blog meme-etically...

The meme is this: "Recount a one-line anecdote for each state you have visited [and then demand that others do the same]."

This may take a while, as you can see here:

create your own visited states map

AL: Mailed a postcard in a town that had recently had a large mining disaster
AK: Helicoptered onto a glacier
AZ: Attended the second-worst attended NFL game of the 2003 season
AR: Completed my first 1000-mile driving day in Memphis in order to avoid sleeping here
CA: Won both academic and pop-culture trivia tournaments the same weekend playing with this meme's author
CO: Drove through Denver on I-70 at rush hour and expected death at any moment for about 2 hours on the steep grades
CT: Bowed with reverance at Stamford's Titan Tower, world HQ of the then-WWF
DE: Learned that the University of Delaware was founded in Pennsylvania
DC: Wandered into quiet residential neighborhood in failed quest to find Mauratanian embassy
FL: Went to Indian casino miles from civilization with no working ATMs on a Friday night
GA: First saw humans actually utilizing a Segway, in Hartsfield Airport
ID: Passed an entirely unmemorable night in a Pocatello motel
IL: Saw a concert at Chicago Blues at the not-quite-legal age of 20
IN: Got freaked at by the sight of a busload of Mennonite teenagers eating at Steak and Shake
IA: Ran 360 feet for possibly the only time in the last 10 years at Field of Dreams
KS: Visited Museum of American Fan Collectors, the finest museum I have ever attended of those located in the lobby of a corporate headquarters
KY: Stopped at Mammoth Cave purely to use the facilities, not the cave-related ones either
ME: Drove a convertible for the first and only time on the way back to NH from a Portland Sea Dogs game
MD: Attended the first home game in the (brief) history of the Washington Warthogs of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (the once and future MISL)
MA: Was very disappointed by what can more accurately be described as Plymouth Pebble
MI: Saw Damion Easley hit for the cycle
MN: Drove I-94 across the entire state without seeing any twine at all
MO: Bowled a game at the International Bowling Museum
MT: Converted "$"10 Canadian into $6 at a Kalispell bank
NE: Nothing interesting has ever happened to anyone in Nebraska
NV: Drank 75-cent margaritas at 12:45 p.m. on a weekday in Laughlin
NH: Purchased liquor at a highway rest stop
NJ: Went to Barnegat Lighthouse and the surrounding beaches
NM: Drove an hour out of the way to ride on U.S. 666, with our extra reward being discovering a Sonic
NY: Dropped a penny off the Empire State Building; fatalities inconclusive
NC: Drove to a gas station from Myrtle Beach and bought a soda, just so I could add NC to the list
ND: Saw both the Roger Maris and Maury Wills shrines in Fargo
OH: Saw an actual Cinerama movie in Dayton
OK: Attended two minor league baseball games at Bricktown Ballpark two years apart
PA: Almost swooned upon seeing and walking into Zipperhead, for perhaps non-obvious reasons relating to my favorite song ever
RI: Drove across the state without stopping, listening to the CD "Ska Third-Wave Vol. 1" the entire time (~45 minutes)
SC: On consecutive days, went miniature golfing and Minotaur Goffing
SD: Was served ice cream and ice water by friendly Belorussian teens at Wall Drug
TN: Won trash tournament in Nashville after (arguably because of) a crazed 13-hour overnight trip (nay, pilgrimage) to Graceland
TX: Ate a 5 ounce steak at The Big Texan in Amarillo, a mere 67 ounces smaller than the house specialty
UT: Was told by a contemptuous Denny's waitress, "There is no smoking in Utah."
VT: Spent a New Year's Eve playing Apples to Apples with 60somethings I did not know in White River Junction
VA: Went outlet browsing at a huge mall that turned out to be entirely devoid of big and tall clothing
WA: Rode a bus from Seattle airport to Canadian border, and that's it
WV: Saw Demolition regain the WWF tag team titles from the Brain Busters in Wheeling, and 15 years later saw minor league arena football in the same building
WI: Drove 50 miles out of our way to return to a particular Starbucks in downtown Milwaukee, my favorite Starbucks in the world
WY: Listened to the most in-depth analysis of the California gubernatorial election that I ever heard on Wyoming Public Radio in Rawlins

And while I'm at it:

British Columbia: Fell in love with Vancouver in the exactly two hours I spent driving through and waiting to board a cruise ship
Alberta: Spent a night in Medicine Hat and yet completely failed to acquire any merchandise bearing the name "Medicine Hat"
Saskatchewan: Got my only speeding ticket ever, ironically just outside of Swift Current
Manitoba: Ate McDonald's fries with white vinegar packet for the first time
Ontario: Attended the finals of the inter-provincial under-19 Canadian football championships
Quebec: Watched DEK eat 13 meats at one meal, the same meal where I finally completed a longtime quest to drink rye whiskey

Poland: Shared a train with hundreds of heavy metal fan teens traveling to "Polish Woodstock"
Germany: Got a very embarrassing giggling fit at Checkpoint Charlie museum
Denmark: Went to Elsinore Castle in Helsingor
Norway: Ate Mongolian barbecue for the first time, in Oslo of course
Sweden: Was very confused by the presence of several August Strindberg paintings at the National Museum
Finland: Saw Jackie Brown in Finnish with English and Swedish subtitles

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Here's the short version of my last four days: basketball, basketball, alcohol, food, basketball, basketball, morning drinking (St. Patrick's Day), basketball, basketball, this post. OK, actually that's the medium-length version.

This post plus its comments pretty much sums up the downside. I will say that the group I was with actually liked the Sonic commercials, but otherwise pretty much agree. One special highlight was when someone figured out that "Alan" in the Midas commercial with Fred Flintstone is the same actor as the Sonic tot-smacker. Also, the Southwest commercials didn't really seem to fit the "Wanna get away" motif, particularly the exploding ball one. I also had a hard time convincing people that How I Met Your Mother is actually a good show based on the ads.

Finally, yes, very bitter, let us never speak of it again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Since several people have asked, no, I haven't found a sublet for summer yet. After the previously documented debacle, I decided to stop looking for a while because it was just making me mad and piling on stress that I don't need. I'll start looking again after this weekend.

Speaking of which, one of the reasons I haven't posted anything lately is that it's that time of year again, when I'm refreshing and Deadspin approximately every 38 seconds looking for information about "sleepers," "Cinderellas," and "chalk." It's appropriate to warn you that I've picked my most vanilla bracket ever this year, so expect chaos. Final Four is UCLA, UConn, Villanova, and Iowa, with UConn over UCLA in the championship game. As usual, all I'll be rooting for by Friday night is that all the #1 seeds get knocked off ASAP. And, of course, Pitt, now that those Kent bastards don't seem to have any future Pro Bowlers on the roster this time. Other than Pitt, I can't see any major conference teams that I'm really rooting for, so I hope the mid-majors can mix things up a bit.

BTW, if you're a commentator on a major sports website, and you're asked to predict an upset and you pick a 10/7 game, you should just be stopped. In my mind, upset = 12 seed or lower in the first round, and "Cinderella" means a 5 or above in the Elite Eight, an 8 or above in the Sweet Sixteen, or a 13 or above winning a game. Anything less is simply business as usual.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I think I speak for all Steeler fans everywhere when I say that I sincerely hope that this works out better for the national defense than it did for the local defense.

I've had a strange week where a lot of little things have gone badly--none of them bad enough to really bitch about individually, but collectively a pain in the ass. That probably led to the heavy heavy drinking of Thursday night, and the sitting around and doing nothing but watching basketball, which arrived 6 days early yesterday.

The exciting thing Thursday night was that for the third time recently I had the strong perception with an actual evidentiary leg to stand on that a total stranger was interested in me. The really exciting thing was that this time it wasn't a dude. The less exciting thing is that I was too much of a moron drunk to do anything about it. But still, good sign. And it's giving me just enough of a swelled head that I've taken to wearing short sleeves even though it's been too cold for them the last couple of days, in an effort to show off what I am almost approaching the point of thinking about unironically as "the guns." OK, ironically still, but still with more justification than I've ever had before.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

If you haven't done so already, I implore you to watch the end of Flavor of Love on VH1. Here's the schedule. All you really need to catch is the Episode 9 recap show, but do yourself a favor and watch the pivotal Episode 8. One of the final three (OK, I'll go ahead and say it--final two) contestants is "New York" (everyone's got a stupid pseudonym), and she is one of the great reality TV characters ever, for the simple reason that she is absolutely 100% bat-shit crazy. I swear to god the producers must've told Flav to keep her around because she's so nuts. OTOH her mother is absolutely no-nonsense, and the interaction between the two in Episode 8 is off the charts. It's basically New York saying things like "But I love him," and "We're totally soulmates," and Mama New York saying things like, "Does he dress like that all the time?", "I forbid you to love him," and "He hasn't actually touched you has he?" Priceless.

New York might not have made it through Episode 8, but "Pum'kin"'s mother blew her daughter's cover. Apparently in an earlier episode some girls had been sitting around talking about all the reality and dating shows they had been on, or had tried to be on, and Flav was bugged by this because it shows the girls are more about TV than they are about gettin' their Flav on. Pum'kin had participated in the "out"ing of those girls. Flashforward to Pum'kin's mom telling Flav, "This isn't the first time she's done something like this."

This led to my single favorite reality TV personal interview quote of all time, as Pum'kin presented her side of the story:

It's not like I'm trying to get on TV. I've only been on four game shows, Blind Date, some talk show and then this.
Folks, if that doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what else I can say.

P.S.: I'm super-excited that I finally made it through a post this week without saying fuck. Oh wait. Shit!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The other fucking shoe:

Joe -
Hey I am really sorry, I have some bad news. My roommate had a place to move into May 15th ish (as I told you), and now she is saying she cannot get the place for her and her dog until the end of July. I hate going back on my word - But I really do not want to give this girl the boot. She is a friend. At the same time I did tell you, you could live here as long as you pay the $ 100. However, I do not believe any harm will be done seeing as how, we just talked about this Saturday and we memorialized everything several hours ago. I am so sorry. I am, at the same time, a man of my word and if you really believe this would be an atrocious wrong, then say the word and I will boot her. But you would be doing me an enormous favor if you would give me the go ahead to just let her stay. Again, I am hoping this has not caused any trouble.
--some asshole*

*Name changed to protect the guilty

Monday, March 06, 2006

I don't want to jinx it, but I'm about this close to having my summer sublet lined up, a two-bedroom house at the Marina del Rey-Culver City border that I'll be sharing with the SoCal law student who currently lives there. (No one I know.) It's located almost exactly at the tip of the white spiky part on this map, directly above the space between "Playa" and "Vista." I'm not sure what to add other than that the location fucking rocks, and so does the price. I'm pretty much waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it looks like I've got the place. Man, how cool is not being completely broke? Or, rather, going to be not completely broke. But still.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

In the past week I have doubled the number of movies I've seen that are up for major Oscars this year: seeing Capote on Monday and Brokeback last night. I liked both, probably Capote a little more, but there's no question these are two really good movies.

The shame about Brokeback is that it's always going to be thought of as "gay cowboy movie," when in fact there's a whole lot of other interesting stuff going on there. Most movies nowadays seem to try to suck out all the ideas (compare Rollerball to Rollerball), but Brokeback is chock full of them. For one thing, it's about social class--these are two poor working-class guys who come from nothing. One of them marries up and starts leading a relatively normal middle-class life (which he interprets as "wealthy"), and the other continually struggles to feed a family in temporary and seasonal jobs. It's also about the U.S. West and rural America in the second half of last century. Jack ends up selling super-expensive equipment for use in agribusiness, while Ennis tries to continue the largely outmoded life of ranching. There are also complex family issues that arise for both men--some of which have little to do with what went on at Brokeback Mountain, and some which are directly connected. And also, of course, there's the butt sex.

One thing that surprises me after juxtaposing these two movies is that Brokeback is getting all the publicity for the gay angle, while that's been downplayed with regard to Capote. In some ways, Capote is the more progressive film, and the one that should scare the red-staters more. In Capote, a gay man is our (admittedly ambiguous, perhaps amoral) hero, and he's in an openly gay relationship, and it's hinted that he has dalliances on the road as well. You know what's made of this? Virtually nothing. If acceptance of homosexuality is all about people being allowed to be gay and having it treated as no big deal, like they're just a regular person whose life includes homosexuality as one aspect, then Capote's the perfect film for that. Brokeback no doubt gets more publicity on this point because it's the bigger movie with bigger stars, and because it's the central drama of the movie. But Brokeback is all about hand-wringing, hiding, teeth-gnashing, etc. You could say that one difference is that the butt sex in Brokeback happens in a red state wihle in Capote it's just about urbanite New Yorkers, so it's less threatening to Middle America. That's true to a point, but it's pretty clear in Capote that everyone knows who this guy is, and while it's not that no one cares, he certainly doesn't come to any direct violence or harm over it, for all the time he spends in western Kansas.

I recommend both films, and neither one would do the Oscars a disservice if it were Best Picture. Then again, they normally get this right in the sense that while it doesn't necessarily go to the best movie, it does go to a good movie. I've seen 40 Best Picture winners, and I'd only classify one of them as a bad movie--yes, Forrest Gump, I'm looking at you.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I'm currently in the 26th hour of my 48-hour Constitutionalism in South Africa takehome final. OK, currently currently I'm procrastinating, but I'll be back at said final soon. The rules forbid me from making any specific comments about it at this time, but I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that it's no fun.

On a totally unrelated note, what kind of a weird ego thing leads to people putting the words "serious inquiries only" in a classified ad? Do those people think that everyone else is openly inviting frivolous inquiries, which they have somehow foreclosed? Has anyone ever considered responding to one of these ads on a lark, but then seen the "serious inquiries only" label and thought the better of it?