Thursday, September 29, 2005

my parents think my robot is trouble

I have been forced to buy some Old Glory robot insurance. Those comment bots have been awfully pesky, and although I don't like the tackiness of it, I've turned on the word verification for comments option.
I don't even know why the scientists make them.

now playing:

Explosions in the Sky Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die/Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever

you've been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequel to your life

I'm going to break a longstanding tradition this coming Monday. Monday will be my birthday, and instead of spending it with a girl I have a crush on, the way I have for the past (I think) six birthdays, I'll be spending it with my parents. Thinking about this, by the way, has made me recall that one of those was my most crushing crush ever. Six years ago. A girl I had every chance in the world with, but I never made it happen. She was single, and we had mutual attraction to one another, but she was emotionally unavailable. Boy did I like her, though. Anyway....

I'll be going down to Charlotte to partake of the Panthers game. Probably the only one I'll make it to this season. Interestingly, this will be the second year in a row that they've had a home game on my birthday. I didn't go last year because I was in Canada at some boiling hot shopping mall with Amanda. I didn't even hear the score until after we got back to North Carolina two days later. We lost that game (27-10 to the Falcons), and the only other time we played on my birthday (1999), we got beat by the Redskins 38-36 on a last second field goal.
That 1999 game was crap. Tshimanga Biakabutuka had three touchdown runs (60 yards, 1 yard, 45 yards) in the first quarter alone. I believe at the end of the first quarter he had five touches for 123 yards. Then, dumbass George Siefert did something that Panthers fans still talk about to this day. He benched Biakabutuka. Dude was glowing hot, but coach had to stick with his retarded game plan of platooning Biakabutuka and Fred "Dead Boy" Lane.
Third time's a charm? I hope so. The last two Panther games on October 3 haven't ended so well. However, we've got the unenviable task of hosting an 0-3 Packers team that has no business being 0-3.

Alas, I will not be going on another fake date this year. Nor will I be lavishly treated to fancy dinner by good friends. Read two different accounts of the same birthday dinner that Reid treated this mysterious "Megarita" to. I will be eating a football stadium hot dog with 70,000 strangers. And I'm gonna love it.

Actually, I'm going to a surprise birthday party for someone else on Saturday night, and it's also be a celebration of my birthday. Sort of. I'm told that I'm halfway expected to make out with the birthday girl, who is a close friend of Dr. Awesome's girlfriend. I've met her on several occasions, and I wouldn't mind making out with her. There's a catch, though. Sort of. She's a lesbian. However, they say she likes to make out with dudes when she gets drunk. If this were to happen, there obviously wouldn't be any strings attached, so it would just be fun. I'm not sure, but there might also be another girl there who DA's lady has been trying to set me up with.

The details I'll provide about that will be vague at best. Chances are, nothing at all will happen, but we'll see.

now playing:
Explosions in the Sky -- The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
Explosions in the Sky The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

open up your purses and the boys will reimburse us

Yeah..... another Scrabble post.

See, I went through a spell for about a week and a half where all I could do was lose. I could blame the tile gods for doling out the cruddiest vowel-heavy racks, but I won't. I know that it was more than unlucky draws. I was playing like ass.
My biggest weakness as a competitive player is that I try too hard to bingo. I swing for the fences instead of settling for extra-base hits. I try to manage my rack to make it more bingo-prone, and I cast off undesirable tiles two or three at a time for nominal points. By the time my fishing bears fruit, I'm too far down for the bingo to do me any good. I have to learn to sacrifice some of those bingo-friendly tiles in the name of points.
I've been working on that lately, and I've been working on being more patient. It's done wonders, as I've turned my game around and got it right about where it belongs right now. I had to go on a massive winning streak to do it, but I'm there now.

I just had a game that was on the sensational side. I'm not as good as Kevin, but I think even he would be happy if he had a game like this. I had four very easy bingos. I didn't even have to work hard to get them, and they were pretty common (at least in Scrabble circles) words.
Very early in the game, I missed a relatively easy ENABLES, but one play later, the bingos began.

A lower case letter indicates the use of a blank. A letter in parentheses indicates that it was already on the board
  • TRAINE(E)S 66 points

  • (C)ErATINS 80 points

  • INFARES 66 points

  • FOAMERs 104 points (double-double)

Infares and foamers came back-to-back, but my next rack was CDILNUY. No bingo in there. No turkey for me.
I finished that game with 529 points, and I've got my rating almost where it should be.
Incidentally, if I had noticed that ENABLES was available, then my TRAINEES play wouldn't have been. There's no telling how the game would have panned out.
Sorry for geeking out on you guys again.

Lately, the Spaniards at work have been listening to the same mix CD a lot. It's latino music from the eighties, and some of them sound like very specific songs in English from the eighties. They aren't covers, but there's this one, for example, that sounds almost exactly like "The Painted Desert" by 10,000 Maniacs. I am, therefore listening to 10,000 Maniacs right now.

now playing:
10,000 Maniacs -- In My Tribe
10,000 Maniacs In My Tribe

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

i thought i could organize freedom -- how scandanavian of me

Some things have gone on at work.

A week ago, one of our bartenders was feeling really under the weather. We were really amazingly slow, so I made him some soup. The amigos watched in amazement, and one of them asked me "how do you know how to do that?". What, are you kidding? I've been cooking professionally for 13 years and managing kitchens for 10 years. Yes, I can make soup from scratch. Actually, I can make a couple of really kickass soups from scratch. Evidently, the recipient of the soup was equally amazed. It was all he could talk about for like three days. I think it's funny when people are surprised that I have skills. I'm no CIA or Johnson & Wales graduate, but I have a few skills.

The next night, some crazy wild stuff happened. One of our regular customers was there late night having a few drinks. Apparently, he was under a lot of stress, and his blood-sugar level was low and whatnot. He was fine one minute, then he suddenly fainted. Not "passed out drunk", but fainted. He came back to, and was fine for a little while, but then it happened again. We made the decision to call 911. So it was a Thursday night, not a whole lot going on, and it was about 12:30 at night. Say what you will about Emergency Services, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that firemen were on premises in less than two minutes. Ambulances were there in less than three, and cops in less than four. Of course this was more commotion than was necessary, and it kind of frightened some of our customers, but everything was fine.

In other work news, I've been officially offered a salaried position. The terms of the deal aren't known at this point, but I've agreed to it in principle. I've enjoyed the past couple of months being just a regular joe, but I knew it wouldn't last forever. I've also recruited one of my favorite guys from my previous place, and I've got another one of those on stand-by. I think it's going to shape out just fine. I had a long talk with the owner (who happens to be an extremely beautiful woman) yesterday. Some of it was about the job, most of it wasn't. I had to make sure of one thing before I even agreed in principle, and that was that I didn't want my hockey schedule to interfere with her expectations of me. I have taken every stride to make this a known variable since I was hired in May, but I just wanted to make sure. No problems there.

Yesterday, somehow I let it out that I was a bit of a Scrabble enthusiast, so I ended up playing two games against some of our other employees. I held back a little bit, laying off of the odd three-letter words, but I was still trying to do well. I won both games handily, and I actually kinda felt bad in one of them after getting the pretty common complaint made by living room players "man, I just played five tiles and got 9 points, then you laid down two tiles and got 36 points! That's not fair!" It's okay, though. They'd crush me if we played chess.

now playing:
Sigur Rós -- Takk...
Sigur Rós Takk...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

your sister says that i'm no good

In the spirit of the list posted by my good friend Kevin, and in keeping with my obsession for posting bulleted lists, here's another.

My top seven nine single plays (of 100 points or more)ever in Scrabble:
(a lower case letter indicates the use of a blank tile)
  • QUEUeING 212 points

  • STARKERS 194 points

  • REPRISES 149 points

  • aBORTIoN 144 points

  • DETOXING 125 points

  • QUILTERS 118 points (not landing on a triple-word)

  • WRINKLED 113 points

  • sNAGgIER 113 points (added 09.18.05)

  • INMATES 100 points (not landing on a triple-word; same game as 'sNAGgIER')

Unlike Kevin's VINEGARs which was for 149 points in an over-the-table game against yours truly, none of these have come in real over-the-table games. They've all been on isc.

Also, unlike Kevin, I've never had a natural hat trick¹, or a "turkey"² ( getting three consecutive bingos). I've had quite a few games with two consecutive bingos (including some in over-the-table play), but I've never been able to get the turkey. I've got quite a few (including some over-the-table) games where I was able to get a hat trick (three bingos) or better. Just none of the "natural" variety.

One of my favorite consecutive bingo plays came just a few days ago when I played RAINiER vertically for 73 points and on my very next play, I went horizontally through the N to play RAINIEST for 62. Not a ton of points, but it was pretty flashy. If that had occurred in a tournament, I would have won some prize for that. But alas,... I just get to boast about it and sound like a neo maxi zoon dweebie .

¹ In hockey (or soccer), a natural hat trick is when one player scores three goals in a game without a teammate or opponent interrupting the streak. Much less common than the garden variety hat trick. I've been witness to this rare feat once in my life (Josef Vasicek of the Hurricanes versus the San Jose Sharks on 10/28/03).

² We don't really call three consecutive bingos a "turkey" the way you call three consecutive strikes in bowling a turkey. It just doesn't come up that often.

Friday, September 16, 2005

wanted to show you all the records i bought

The New Record gods are quite cruel.

In a penny pinching effort, I haven't set foot in my favorite record store in a couple of months. As punishment for this, the New Record gods have bombarded the store with records I ought to buy.
I didn't jot down the list of new records that made me go "Oh, hell yeah!", but it was long. Here's a partial list:
  • The Dandy Warhols Odditorium

  • Sigur Rós Takk...

  • Portastatic Bright Ideas

  • Björk Drawing Restraint 9

  • Michael Penn Mr Hollywood, Jr 1847

  • Rosebuds Birds Make Good Neighbors

  • New Pornographers Twin Cinema

  • Death Cab for Cutie Plans

You see my predicament? That's just the short list!

I only walked away with the new Dandys and the new Sigur Rós. I'm not a gozillionaire. So far, I'm only a few songs deep into the Dandys record, and I like it. Tonight I shall listen to Takk several times.

now playing:
Dandy Warhols -- Odditorium or Warlords of Mars
Dandy Warhols Odditorium or Warlords of Mars

Thursday, September 15, 2005

minerals, ice deposits....

I don't really have anything of great import to talk about here, so I thought I'd introduce a fun list. Two lists, actually. One of things with which I am obsessed, and another of things with which I was recently, but no longer, obsessed.

  • Explosions in the Sky. A wonderful post-rock band out of Austin, TX. In the same vein as better known bands like American Analog Set and Mogwai. I've been listening to them a whole lot lately.

  • Hockey news from a source that is infinitely better than I go back dozens of times a day every day.

  • Carolina Hurricanes message boards. I spend a lot of time there every day. Some of the people are complete imbeciles, but I'm sure there are some of you among us who can relate to spending way too much time on sports message boards (I'm looking at YOU, areseven and southpawgrammar)

  • whiffle ball, and its vastly superior cousin, whiffle beer. Although we didn't play this past Sunday, and I won't be playing this Sunday, it's still an obsession.

  • Gene Hackman. Maybe Netflix "made me do it", but I sure have been watching a lot of Gene Hackman movies lately. The Conversation was great, but anyone who says it's better than The French Connection has got to be on the heroin.

  • the four-pack of Solitaire games I downloaded for my phone. Totally retarded. Do I play the game because I'm insomnic, or am I insomnic because I'm playing the game?

  • Crystal Lite lemonade. Mmmmmmmmm! I drink a lot of this stuff. It isn't as tasty as handmade lemonade, but it's much easier and cheaper. If it'll prevent me from drinking soda, then I'm all for it anyway.

  • using Pavement lyrics to title my posts. This has a backstory, which I will perhaps share. Sometime soon.

  • my hockey blog and the universe surrounding it. What? I've gone 18 months without NHL hockey, and opening night is (check the timer) almost upon us. You didn't really expect me to sit on my hands the whole time, did you?

  • Badly Drawn Boy. This comes and goes, but I have presently gone about a week without listening to him.

  • Tetris I have a Tetris game downloaded on my phone which used to keep me up all the time, but I've thankfully gotten off of that. Reminds me of our 1993 Tetris Tournaments.

  • Jessie, a "new girl" at work, who I have seen exactly once. I developed a crush on her right away, but we never work at the same times. As I've said before, though, it's never a good idea to fish off the company pier.

  • Yetisports. Remember a couple of years ago when we all discovered that little flash game where you were a Yeti and you hit your penguin buddy (who was dropping from the edge of a cliff) with a bat, trying to get him to fly a long way? There's a whole series of games where the Yeti and the penguin are the characters. Go there with caution, but I should warn you to stay away from "Seal Bounce" unless you want to find yourself staying up all night, calling in sick to work and forgetting to even eat dinner.

now playing:
Dirty Three --She Has No Strings Apollo
Dirty Three She Has No Strings Apollo

¹ Heather Creegan, who writes the dandy hockey blog [so.very.obsessed] explains that when she got into hockey a few years ago, a friend commented about her obsession. She replied that it was beyond obsession. She wasn't obsessed -- she was "so very obsessed". She used it as the title for her blog. I like it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

it could have been a brilliant career


Maybe I need to cancel my Netflix subscription. Every time I write about a movie I've just seen, it starts with "I finally got around to watching (movie), which I've had for about two weeks".

I finally got around to watching The Conversation, which I've had for about two weeks now. I liked it a lot, but I know I'm gonna have to watch it again.
Gene Hackman is great as the best wiretapper/surveillance expert "on the west coast". Like a contract hitman, he's not supposed to care about the subjects he surveils. It's just a job. On this job, though, he's haunted by past demons and becomes maniacally obsessed with keeping these people out of harm's way. In the process, he becomes quite paranoid, thinking that he himself is the subject of a surveillance project.
So here's what I want you folks (I'm looking specifically at you, Mrs. Howard) to think about and share your thoughts with me.

I think it's obvious that the couple know that they're being watched and eavesdropped. This is why they do the "walking around in circles" thing. This is also why they move to a particularly noisy area to discuss some of the important points. They may have known they were being surveilled, but they had no idea how sophisticated and elaborate the equipment was, or that EVERY WORD was captured on tape. One of the key points is the sentence "He'd kill us if he had the chance". The first time we hear it, there's no specific stress on any word. Later on as Caul replays the tape again and again, he suddenly hears emphasis on the word "us". "He'd kill US if he had the chance". Certainly changes things and makes it clear that they're plotting a murder that they feel the need to justify. However, it's quite possible that the stress wasn't really there, and it was a product of Caul's mania.
Right about the same time of the conversation, the couple walks past the "half-dead" bum on the park bench. The man says "He's not hurting anyone", and Shirley from TV's Laverne and Shirley says "Neither are we." That has to mean something, but I don't get it. Obviously, they are hurting somebody. I'm not sure why she says this.

Okay... to the big question. At the end, where's the bug? OR... is there a bug at all? Is he just going crazy with paranoia like that guy in Pi. If there is a bug, some folks think that it's inside the actual saxophone. To support this, they point to a very brief flash across the screen of a dude carrying a saxophone at the surveillance expo. Why on earth would a guy have a saxophone there? I don't think I can support the "in the saxophone" theory, as the recordings would have been horrible at best. Too distorted to be useful. I like to think that the girl who took the tapes while he was sleeping also planted a bug somewhere in the frames of his glasses. There's a bunch of theories about how they used some telephone activated satellite recording, but I don't think I can subscribe to any of those theories.

Like I say, if there was a bug, I like to think it's in his glasses. It is fun, though, to think about the possibility that it's all in his head.

What say you?

now playing:
Flaming Lips -- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Thursday, September 08, 2005

i have the password to your...

I had another one of my crazy imaginary mix tapes going through my head the other day at work. It all got started when I was thinking about a fantastically brilliant song that I, unfortunately, can't share with you.
To explain:
I was thinking, because it's early September, about the song "September Gurls" by Big Star. Little did I know, but their frontman, Alex Chilton, lives in New Orleans and was rumored to have been washed away by Katrina. Fortunately, he's safe and well.

Anyway, thinking of "September Gurls", which is an incredible song, got me thinking about a month-name mix tape. I didn't quite finish off, and I had to stretch a little on some of these, but here's what I came up with without the benefit of access to my own library or to the internet:

    January -- "Happy New Year" by Camera Obscura. I know.. A bit of a Stretch.
    February -- "Valentine" by Lois (a really big stretch)
    March -- (I couldn't come up with anything)
    April -- "April 18" by Neutral Milk Hotel
    May -- "Cinco de Mayo" by Liz Phair
    June -- nothing
    July -- "Fourth of July" by Galaxie 500
    August -- nothing
    September -- "September Gurls" by Big Star
    October -- "October" by U2
    November -- "November Spawned a Monster" by Morrissey
    December -- nothing

Help me out here. I need one song for each month. This list isn't that good.

I was all set to come home and host an mp3 for "September Gurls", but then I realized that I don't own "Number One Record", so I can't do it. Curses!

now playing:
Big Star -- Third/Sister Lovers
Big Star Third/Sister Lovers

Monday, September 05, 2005

i'm taking these dumb paper lanterns down

In the wake of the ado/adieu discussion the other day, I stumbled upon something that made me laugh. Really hard. First I laughed, then I felt actual pity. Okay... I'll explain. It'll take me a while to get to the point, but the point is that I stumbled upon someone writing a phrase the wrong way, and in a way that was "breathtakingly bad".

As you well know, I'm into hockey, and I've been spending WAY too much time reading up about all the free agency moves and rumors and the like. I spend lots of time following stories about players on teams that I hate. Example: The Detroit Red Wings are having a lot of trouble getting one of their star players signed. The rising star Pavel Datsyuk (DAT-sook) is threatening to stay in his home country of Russia if the Wings cannot satisfy his contract needs. No surprise there, but his agent gave the Red Wings a deadline of today (September 5) to work out a deal. That's a little odd, but there's a growing trend of players making ultimatums (or is it ultimati? Ultimata? Ultimatae?) and otherwise dictating the terms of negotiations.
Anyway, I've been following this because it's kind of a big story. I was reading about it on, and I went to one of the bulletin boards to see what other fans are thinking and writing.

One guy lamented Datsyuk's demands, and he said "it's Pre-Modona crap and selfish". Um. Wow. Obviously, he meant "prima donna" What exactly does he mean by "Pre-Modona"? Maybe he meant "pre-Madonna". I also saw someone else write that Marian Hossa, of the Atlanta Thrashers, is a "Pre-Madonna". I'm actually trying to make sense of this, and this is what I get:
    before Madonna
    before the Virgin Mary
    more important than the Virgin Mary

This might be their line of thinking for calling someone a pre-Madonna, but it just doesn't make sense.

It's much simpler. In opera, the leading lady (prima donna) is sometimes a bear to work with because of her unreasonable demands in the dressing room and on the stage, her overinflated sense of self-worth, and her general attitude. There's where the derisive term "prima donna" came from.

For the record, I do think that Datsyuk is a prima donna. I think that Hossa doesn't get enough respect, but he still comes off as a bit of a prima donna in my book.

now playing:
The New Pornographers -- Electric Version
The New Pornographers Electric Version

Friday, September 02, 2005

she, she, she, she's got it. world cup fever

You may or may not recall that I work with a bunch of Mexicans. I've been taunting them for weeks about tomorrow's USA v Mexico soccer matchup. I've been telling them all along that it's going to be either 2-0 or 3-1 in favor of USA. To be honest, I know very little about our team, but I do know that Kasey Keller has some insane shutout streak going. I admit that I'm not really a soccer fan, but in this case, it's a national pride thing.
Every day, we tease each other about the game. We'll all be working tomorrow night, and we probably won't know the outcome of the game until after we've all gone home.

Last night, one of the amigos was lingering around quite a bit after he was scheduled to be gone. I didn't need him anymore, but he looked like a guy who was desperately trying to do anything but go home. I asked him what was up, and I finally got out of him that he's having troubles at home. He isn't very confident in his English-speaking, but I think he does fine. Anyway, he told me that he and his wife have not been getting along and that their personalities are clashing so much that it isn't working out. They've got two kids (aged 4 and 1). He said they've been having problems for a while, and they've been staying together "only for the children" but that he doesn't want to do it anymore. I feel so bad for he dude. He was confiding this stuff in me, and I have no idea what to say to him. It isn't a language barrier thing, I just don't know what to say. I'll leave him alone when I gloat after the USA wins against Mexico.

now playing:
Belle & Sebastian -- Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
Belle & Sebastian Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant

Thursday, September 01, 2005

the people we have met in the worst five years, and will we remember them in ten more


Sometimes, if I get bored at work, I start thinking about strange things like bizarre movie connections, or people I haven't seen in 10 years, or some dumb shit that happened in the fall of 1993. Sometimes my thoughts flow into pretty good ideas, but more often than not, it's stupid stuff. I usually make plans to share those thoughts in this forum, but I sometimes have a hard time getting it to make any sense. Once I start writing it, I realize that it's no good.

I'm going to share some of the sick, twisted shit that was in my head last night. I will also offer the caveat that the following is in extraordinarily poor taste. I am fully aware that if Hell exists, they have a place reserved for me there.

Because of all the really bad Katrina and the Waves references lately, I started thinking about the worlds most tasteless mix-tape. Actually, I only came up with seven songs. What do you want from me? I was at work(i.e. not able to cheat by doing internet searches), and although I'm pretty good, I'm not a walking Trouser Press guide. Without further ado, here's the tunes. Some more tasteless than others.


    Katrina and the Waves -- Walkin' On Sunshine
    Scorpions -- Rock You Like a Hurricane
    Bob Dylan -- Blowin' in the Wind
    John Denver -- City of New Orleans¹
    Pixies -- Stormy Weather
    Love and Rockets -- Waiting for the Flood
    Led Zeppelin -- When the Levee Breaks

That was about all I could do. I started to feel bad about how wicked I am.

I do feel bad for those hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are in complete turmoil right now, and making light of the situation isn't a very nice thing to do, but I did offer the caveat. Several times.

now playing:
Cat Power -- You Are Free
Cat Power You Are Free

¹ I know that John Denver didn't write this song, but at the time, I had no idea who did, and this is the version we all know, anyway.