Sunday, February 28, 2010

There are a couple more Olympic hockey posts up at the Stranger here.

This has been the most prolific month for 'Spondence since its early days. I think there are several factors contributing to this. One, I've been traveling less as I've been working in NYC some and ultimate is in the off-season, so I have more time for you. Also, writing for the Stranger has made me feel like I need to set the record straight about what is really going on in my life somewhere else on the internet.

Last night at Marino's birthday Ali reminded me of this near-perfect literal video interpretation, which I've posted before here, but I just watched it again and laughed out loud and you should too. There's nothing wrong with reruns if they are awesome.

Also, you know I love viewing gruesome sports injuries and yesterday's hit by Ryan Shawcross on my beloved Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey is one of the worst I've seen in Premiere League, though this you tube clip really does not do it justice.

Today I went to the park to run a fartlek pyramid and I could not make myself do it alone. I did 10 hard minutes again instead. I thought about it and I would rather get in a barrel of snakes than run that workout. I would rather you put that mask from 1984 with the rats that eat your face on me, so go ahead. I will not run that workout alone. So there.

My Hoyas are wildly inconsistent so I can't be too shocked about the loss to Notre Dame and this weekend was no better for U of K. Syracuse is really scaring me as we near the Big East tourney.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saving your life, only so I can control it

Apparently, I have become the man. Look out. I am now the New York City Metro Sectional Coordinator for the women’s division for the UPA. (Thanks a lot Dorko!)

I’m a known UPA loather. They are well established as consistently taking the ultimate out of ultimate, being pedants for pedantic’s sake and generally not supporting the members. I think you remember when they banned Ali and Amanda for ALL OF NATIONALS for what they agreed was a typo. They even suspended their own rule, I. C:

“Captain’s Clause: A game may be played under any variation of the rules agreed upon by the captains of the teams involved. In tournament play, variations are subject to approval by the event organizer. Such things as game length, field dimensions, number of players and stall count can easily be altered to suit the level of play. Before a game starts, each team designates one captain to represent them in disagreements and arbitration.”

The point of the captain’s clause is that our sport is THE ONLY sport where the players have all the supremacy. Not coaches, not referees or officials. Not jackasses in Boulder. Players. Calling rank with the ‘event organizer’ term about an irrational suspension served only the UPA’s need to be in control and ‘right’.

Not top be outdone, last year those jackasses made the cool kids from Bashing PiƱatas play in beaters because a few of the jerseys did not have the same sponsorship on the back. Nice work UPA. You’ve got that Letter of the Law down. Now if you could ever learn the spirit of it.

I think there’s an inherent tension between the core feature of our sport being player supremacy and an overarching body making decisions. The UPA is definitely a necessary evil. It’s nice to have insurance. Someone has to organize the national qualifications. But just like politics, egomaniacs that like to be in charge are the ones who run for positions and then act exactly like you would expect.

Anyway, now I’m one of those egomaniacs, but on a local level. Look for me to wield my power with a clenched fist and a bloody disc. I’m thinking Sectionals will be single elimination, losers put to death on the field by the winning team. Might help hold registrations down to a manageable number.

Last Sunday I took an 8-hour CPR and first aid certification course recommended, but not required, for my coaching position. I am ready now, so do not give me an excuse to compress your chest. I learned a lot but here are a few things to keep in mind if you don’t have time to take a course:

1) Get help first. Someone who’s lost consciousness, isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse needs to get to a hospital ASAP. If you are alone, you need to call 911 first.

2) If you know help is on the way, you can try to keep a person’s brain from dieing using rescue breathing and CPR.

3) Give two 1-second breaths into the person’s mouth (after opening the airway and sealing the nose). You’ll see the person’s chest rise.

4) Give 30 hard chest compressions right on the sternum. Pretty fast (a rate of 100 per minute). You need to push way down (2 inches) to actually compress the heart to make blood circulate, so you’ll likely tear the cartilage around the breastbone and maybe break the sternum. That is the least of this person’s problems, so don’t let that stop you.

5) Keep up the cycle of 30 compressions and 2 breaths until real help arrives or it is no longer safe to continue.

This is no alternative for taking the course, but the way I see it, if you are around someone who is not breathing and no one else is better equipped, they are going to die soon, so you might as well try to help. The outcome of trying and doing this wrong won’t be any worse than not trying.

Today we got 17 or so inches of snow. It is pretty out, but has delayed my getting into shape. I was going to try and rally folks on Saturday for a cross-training and ACL tear prevention session but something tells me that more than a foot of snow on the ground is going to put a damper on attendance.

Also a problem is that usual support structure is not in place. Dorko moved to Philadelphia after she finished laundering drug money for the Mexican drug cartels . Ali played on her plantar fasciitis too long in cleats and has been recovering FOREVER. P-Funk hurt her hammies at Kaimana. Kate has some cocktail of hamstring injury and Sciatica that threatens to sideline her for too long as well. Mara is in Rwanda. That is no fair. I cannot do this on my own. I need you there to watch me or I will slack.

All of this is to begin the long process of making excuses. I did a hill workout in deep sleet yesterday. I ran the Prospect Park hill stoplight to stoplight 6 times. It sucked and I ran slow. Though I told myself I was going to run each of them ‘all out’ I ran them all in about exactly the same time which, of course, means I was dogging it. If you run hard, your times increase. If you don’t run hard, you’ll stay the same, which is a complete waste of time.

I had the exact same time on the first 3: 60 seconds on the first part to the fire hydrant (where slacker slumlord Jesse begins his hill) and 2:40 total. All 3 exactly the same, to the second. On the fourth one I passed a guy so I had to run hard to keep that up, and finished 2:30. On the fifth one I did the universal 'next to last one let up' and ran a 2:55. On the 6th I think I have the Hawthorne effect to thank that I did the 6 reps at all, because I was all alone in that park, and if I didn’t have you to tell about it, I probably would just have run home. and final one I tried to psyche myself up as much as possible and ran, you guessed it, a 2:40.

Here we are on Day 18 of the month-off drinking. So far so good. It’s nice to be one the second half. It has mostly been annoying to hang out in bars with my friends and not drink. Saturday is Marino’s birthday and I’ll be there for a while so maybe I’ll try O’Doules.

Maybe you don’t need to know about every one, but I’ve had another Stranger post. You can see all of my posts here sorted by author.

Tonight I’ll write some kind of preview for the gold medal game. Oh Canada!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Finer Points of Time Travel

Hey there. Here's a few recent pics off Leroy:

Sorry I had my finger over the lens and I am too lazy to crop it out. This is a new program to allow people refill water bottles rather than buy new ones. I love it. Thanks Aveda!

This is your typical truck in NYC. What you got Vancouver?

This is Prospect Park, and that is a giant snowball Stonehenge fort.

That's me by the subway by my apartment. The sleeping bag coat is really warm, and has recently been named Sheila. Person-sized, Sheila is my quiet friend who tags along with me when it's cold out, and who needs her own chair.

A few notes on time, and its passage. I ran around the park again today. We all know that doesn't make you better at anything, not even running around the park. Maybe it makes me a little better at singing along with my iPod shuffle. Practice makes perfect.

No, it's the second half of February and that means it's 'time', (Maybe way past time, folks?). Time for intervals. Time for fartleks. Time for pain. Today I ran the '10 hard minutes' workout for maybe the 100th time in my life. I've written here before about my ability to be re-astonished about the same things, and my inability to learn certain things (Pack a jacket! Bring a jacket, even if you think it will be warm: Vegas, West Palm Beach, LA, Miami, Adelade, Howth. Pack a jacket. Why is that so hard?!?!?)

This is another example of the phenomena. You know the workout: run for 10 minutes to warm up and then run '10 hard minutes', with a minute off to recover in between each off them. I like to tell myself that 'the odds are on.' So I ran hard the 11th, 13th, and so on until the 29th minute. It went okay, but every minute of the workout, I was re-astonished about time. Every minute! Fool! Every 'on' minute I try not to look at my watch until I think it must be almost over and every on minute I look at about 20 seconds in. Even when I count. Every 'off' minute, I look at my watch at what I think is the half-way point, and instead it's about 53 seconds in and I have finally stopped gasping like a fish in the boat and just about have to start running again.

How can I be unable to learn that? How can time in pain run so much more slowly than time out of pain that even when I tell myself that it just seems like time the minute is up and really I have to wait longer, that still doesn't get me close?

One thing I thought on the 27th minute was that, it does seem that the best way to slow time down is to go as fast as you can, which made me smile and I think is perhaps good approach for living your life. Give that a go and let me know how it works out.

Brief update on the month off alcohol (which is actually passing fairly quickly): So far it's going pretty well. I don't really miss drinking. 10 days down. There have been a couple of annoyances. Twice since the start of the month on the wagon I've gotten the Delta complementary upgrade to first class. I typically take this as a personal challenge to drink as much Woodford as they'll give me. Anything else is like leaving change in the ashtray of a rental when you return it. Take what is yours! Instead I've sipped my club soda and it's never tasted so flat.

Socially, it's a bit of a bummer as well. I went to a birthday party that would have been a lot more fun if I had been drinking. More bothersome, I just don't have a way to see people as I mentioned a couple posts ago. I now have two more folks on the 'let's get a drink' backlog, waiting to catch up when I start acting like a normal adult again. See you in 20 days Matthew and Erica. Have one for me.

And finally, I'm adding a category I didn't cover in my Julie Andrews post, this is my favorite ever ultimate jersey (Ryan Scribner, designer). Hot!


Here's something from last week that my editor rejected as stiff and too long. (Insert your own Beavis & Butthead joke here.) It might not be good enough for the Stranger, but it's good enough for you.


This was a tough sports viewing weekend.

I guess Seattle can be forgiven if you’re not exactly excited about watching Oklahoma Zombie Star Kevin Durant win the NBA H.O.R.S.E. competition and then represent his new city in the NBA All-Star Game.

Never fear. Bite back that bile and tune to NBC. The international spectacle that is the Olympiad is here.

If the Olympics are an excuse for rampant, irrational nationalism (think chanting if U. S. A.! U. S. A.!) and yet another kick in the gut to ‘have-not’ countries, the Winter Olympics take that all a step further. There’s not a lot of pick-up ice hockey played in Bogota or in Asmara. Events like Curling, Skelton and Biathlon have limited general appeal worldwide. Doubles luge has me questioning what is sport and what is losing a bet.

The Winter Olympics lack the star power and name recognition of the Summer Olympics. One possible exception to that is US Speed Skating Star Apolo Anton Ohno but he has forfeited any respect or admiration from me as long as he has that ridiculous facial hair.

SI Cover Girl Lindsey Vonn has sparked Shin-watch 2010, but if you are like me, you are finding it hard to stay focused on that particular injury vigil.

Instead there are a couple other items I’ll be paying attention to in the Vancouver coverage.

One of these will be the riveting Biathlon (cross country ski and then shoot). Keep an eye on Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who should bring the traditional Norwegian pizzazz to the chocolate/peanut butter perfect combination of cross country skiing and shooting. Hungry for more of this same type of drama, I’ve made a petition for more combined-skill events. What about a downhill toboggan race and chili cook-off? What about a 400-meter speed skate combined with an ice-fishing competition? Perhaps a 24-hour ice-dancing marathon crowned by a synchronized ski jump for any couples still standing? These are the type of ideas that could save the winter Olympics for me.

Also garnering some of my attention will be men’s figure skating. What will Johnny Weir wear? The Lady Gaga of the US figure skating team, Weir has already been forced to change his accommodation plans due to his flamboyant costumes outraging animal rights activists. Weir is known for skating in corsets, feathers, fur and all manner of bedazzling. I think this is the type of thing that the judges will take in to account when evaluating not only the artistic interpretation score but also the of difficulty score. I know it would be a challenge for me to be seen in front of a crowd wearing any of the above and I cannot fathom how he keeps his concentration, but I’m glad he does as it is certainly a good show.

Post script is that I thought Johnny won the whole thing last night, though people say he didn't have the degree of difficulty he needed.

words and their 'meanings'

I wrote this to someone else recently, but later thought you might want to know it too. (Yes, this is why I chuckle every time you say we need to "eliminate more waste".)

My dad gave me this baby physics book when I was 4. I remember it so well. It had a chapter on simple tools like levers and pulleys. It also defined some basic terms like mass and work. (Do work, son.)

I can still see so clearly the drawing that accompanied 'work' with two clowns. There was a happy clown lifting a feather and a sad clown pulling on a chair that was nailed to the ground. As work is the movement of an object through space or some such thing the happy clown was the only one doing work. I felt so bad for the sad clown then. When I go to 'work' I am the sad clown pulling on the chair in so many ways. (Hence the part time track...)

I had this book on raising a healthy puppy when I was 8 (for Penelope Lane who was my dog almost my whole life in Cherry Hill, Dallas and Rochester). The term the book used for potty training was 'eliminate' as in 'how to train your puppy to eliminate outside'. I like to pretend this is the ONLY meaning of the word, which is a little joke only for me. Every time I see or hear 'eliminate' I imagine the object is being shit out by a dog. Risk is often eliminated, also positions and sometimes individuals. The mental image this creates for me is hilarity.

Also 'terrific'. I used terrific a lot at work with people who worked for me to mean adequate. I would ask for a status on x and they would say they did x and I would say 'terrific' by which I meant, "I will not have you fired today, you imbecile."

I use 'interesting' to describe pain, as in 'interesting meetings' or 'interesting ideas' both of which are actually unbearably stupid.

I use 'high energy' as code for a total loathsome jackass. That I stole straight from Accenture. If you ever read a review of a person that had 'high energy' in it you knew to steer clear. It means moron.

So there, maybe that will help you to crack the code.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poor Man's Space Camp

Only in Brooklyn: In my lap around Prospect Park today I saw I guy jogging with a pit bull. It was 25 degrees out and pit bulls have short, sleek coats. Instead of a more traditional doggie jacket, the pit bull was wearing a Mike Vick Falcons jersey. I guess he is a big fan. Woof! (I am almost always with Leroy, but I don’t run with him, or I’d have a photo.)

I had started my run HATING the October Courtney that wouldn’t commit to Kaimana. Why am I not in Hawaii right now?!?!?!?! Seeing the Mike Vick dog took some of the edge off.

I gave blood today. All the snowstorms have canceled scheduled drives and reduced walk in donations, creating quite a shortage. Be sure to make an appointment and give soon!

On loving 55s: I have such an affinity for people wearing my number. I am just sitting around and Xavier is on the TV. I am only half-way paying attention and suddenly I cheering for developing a sports crush on Jordan Crawford every time he drives the lane (about half the Musketeers possessions.)

Last night I watched the Hurt Locker, which is getting a lot of the Oscar buzz. I felt a little beat over the head by the heavy-handed message. (Spoiler Alert? I don’t think I’m giving anything away that isn’t in the preview…) Every single scene tells us that the inherent risk in his work has made the highly effective James a cavalier cowboy. The dark, brooding bomb-specialist can’t get the adrenaline rush he needs from anything but the high-pressure situations of defusing IEDs. His addiction ruins him for civilian life and endangers his fellow soldiers. Maybe it was all the hype, but I feel a little let down. The subject of the Iraq with and all the hardships and chaos seems like fertile ground for incredible drama and this was more of a weak sauce 24. For me, Hurt Locker never approached the drama of the climactic scene in Space Camp where we all watch nervously to see if the teens will trust Rudy to correctly rewire the circuit.

Yes, I am posting more than usual lately. I’m procrastinating my next sports blog post for the Stranger. I don’t feel guilty because I’m at my laptop, ‘working on it’. See?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Well I am a famous Internet personality now, but don’t worry. I know you knew me when. Slogging the Super Bowl had almost nothing to do with the Super Bowl and was pretty fun. I lost all my Super Bowl bets, but was glad that the Saints won, which served as a decent hedge. It was no Eli face but any time we get to see a Manning face is a good time.

I went on yet another Gastronauts dinner this week and as the photos indicate I was pretty miserable. I almost heaved up my Natto, and that was the least gross thing we ate. Hipster Fear Factor was fun anyway; it was good to hang out with Curtiss, Benji, JK, Arnie and Rachel. Nice work Arnie on the snowy ride home.

On the woozy heels of all that sake and cod milt I made a decision. It’s risky for me to declare this early, but I’ve kicked off another ‘month off’. It is time for the 2010 edition. Once we get to April its time for Fools Fest (Flash Taco!), and the spring tournaments and before you know it baseball, and you know the Mets will drive me to drink. I’m sure it will be tough, but looking at the calendar, this was the time with the fewest landmines. I’ll let you know how it goes. 3 days down so far. Heading for March 11.

Already I’ve almost failed twice. It’s just social. If I want to see anyone, I meet them for a drink. I wanted to see Tim “Baby” Dahl (fellow Tesltra Alum) who is working in the big city for once, so I was halfway through sending him the, ‘Let’s get a beer sometime’ e-mail when I remembered I was out of commission. I tried to imagine fashioning the e-mail some other way. Tim, let’s get some soup? Tea? No. And showing up and watching him drink is a set up. I’d be pissed if he did that to me, so I’ll try to sync up with Tim next month and hope he isn’t ‘Into the Wild’ yet. Same with P-Funk. I want to see her, but it’s just too weird to invite her over for a biscuit. Maybe we can go for a run.

One of the best things about being in Ft. Greene is being a short jog from Prospect Park. I like to run a lap around the park on days I am in town. You know I am always posting my +/- here.

Today I ran around the park and looked at all the snowmen and forts. I love Brooklyn. A guy ‘Hey-Babied’ me today, while he was pushing a stroller. How was that going to work, exactly? Is he looking for a sitter?

My favorite part of the run is just at the foot of the big hill when I run past the mini-zoo where this happened. I’m transfixed by the story. Those kids were 11 in 1987, just like I was. What fascinates me about the story is the three boys hatching the plan, but only one being eaten by a polar bear. The New York times story explains that they folded their clothing in neat piles, which I might do too while I was stalling, but is pretty thin on how this actually went down. Either there was some group think and team daring and the boy who went first was just the bravest and got into trouble before the others had entered. Or maybe, he was the dumbest, and the other two 11-year-old boys were picking on him, goading him and never planned to go through with it at all.

Now as men, the surviving two are somewhere right now, and they still know and maybe those two alone, if they tricked that boy into being eaten by a polar bear, or if they were only luckier co-conspirators in the same poorly considered scheme.

I think at 11 I was pretty aware of consequences and dangers. I think I knew predators in the zoo would attack humans if they had the chance. I think I knew I couldn’t out run a polar bear. I don’t think I would have wanted to wade in the water enough to get in a bear enclosure (and you know that I really do want to get in the bear enclosure).

I think that at least one of them knew what was going to happen, but that it would have been easy for them to lie that they didn’t because adults would prefer to believe that to some juvenile manslaughter attempt gone ‘wry’.

“The third boy decided not to go wading in the moat and remained outside the enclosure, although he had taken off his trousers.“ You guys go ahead. I’ll be right there. See, I’m taking my trousers off.

RIP Teddy and Lucy.

When I go run in the park, I have to wear gear. I am on a team. I am training for something. I am not just out for a jog. I am running intervals and fartleks for a reason. I don’t think I could make the full lap without my 55 on display somewhere. It’s an excuse and a crutch, like I need my headphones on the airplane. I just don’t have the motivation to go out and run 6 miles if I can’t tell myself I have to try hard for a team, or for an event. I wonder if I will even be able to run after ultimate.

I was on the way home from a lap few weeks ago, when I had a mini incident I was meaning to tell you about. I was running on Vanderbilt, downhill with the light. I ran into the crosswalk about the same time as another person running uphill entered the crosswalk. Just then a speeding car heading up Vanderbilt made a right turn into the crosswalk. I screamed and jumped back and the other runner yelled as well. We both yelled at the car. I quickly slipped right into my “4 Wheels Bad, 2 Wheels Good” bleating mode.

I was jangled. I had been wronged, and frightened. In an instant, I reacted by forming an alliance with my fellow runner. We had been wronged. We had nearly been run over. The other runner banged his fist down loudly on the trunk of the car. “He could have killed you!” I encouraged. Teammates.

The car pulled over to the side. The other runner was yelling. “You have to stop, man. You have to look!” I was nodding from the curb.

Then the other runner spit on the windshield of the car.

Oh. Uh oh. We were right a minute ago, but we just lost ‘right’ and CMFK loves to be right like she loves brunch.

I stepped back and looked around. I looked at the allegiance I had so quickly joined. Two yuppies in performance gear, iPod shuffles and running shoes from Jack Rabbit Sports yelling in the street. And who were we yelling at? A middle-aged black man.

Now the other runner was waving his finger in the drivers face. Some people from the neighborhood had stopped to see what the shouting was about. Some other locals. Some black people. Who were these two gentrifying yuppies dressed like EMS devotees and why were they yelling at that middle aged man? Why indeed! I ran off. Ran home. I’ll try to be more choosy when casting my lot in with strangers going forward.

A few contributions for the links share program:

In the new entrant category:
The trick is to figure out which one your friends are. Jesse says I am Gus.

Jesse reminded me that these guys are still bringing it strong:
I need to get my Alabama State Chief Kickingstallions jersey made so a can be famous here too.

Kate sent along this website of blizzard instructions from the DC government:

I love you Tobias, I love you Dr. Manhattan
. (Thanks to TG)

I know I say this all the time, but if you have not be staying close with Awkward Family Photos, then you have been missing out. I check it every day and every day I laugh, and since laughter is the best medicine, I no longer need to worry about the death of the health care bill.

One more for the why Terrorists Hate our Freedom list: Yale.
(You may not believe it, but all my research indicates this is NOT a joke.)

Finally, in the file under good ideas category:
Think it over.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm gonna live forever!

It's a Slog!

Check it out:

Snail Herding and other Professions

For your days at work when “herding cats” just doesn’t cut it.

Often I tell you I don’t have much to report. This is not one of those times.

Since I last updated, I spent an uneventful (for once) Christmas at my sister’s house in Raleigh, NC. The girls got touch iPods for Christmas and seemed to like them pretty well. I got some sweet running gear (thanks Mom and Dad) and my sister and I had an aneurysm in a shoe store and I bought 7 pairs of shoes in 10 minutes. Thanks Lynn, that was fun.

For New Year’s I played some serious Pictionary with Erica and Tatiana. Who knew “earthquake” was such an abstract concept? Much fun was had.

More critically, I was in good shape (for once) for the New Year’s Day Hat. Thanks to the Sultan of Tim for organizing again this year. I showed up at 12:15, about 90 minutes early for a noon start time. Ultimate players know what I mean. Thanks to Rebecca for getting me a coffee and Pat Stoltz for giving back my megaphone and for bringing the handle of Makers. It’s my megaphone. For the first time ever, I had captaining duties (calling subs, telling lies, placing bounties) and it did not really backfire. We (representing Brownsville) won the whole party with major contributions from Scott Arnold, Dave Cheiken, Talesin Thomas and a wide cast of Saturday players. I caught some goals and had a blast. The prize money was split equally.

I went to see Of Montreal at the Highline Ballroom. The show was a good time. Susan Sarandon was nuts but I didn’t take any pictures.

I also need to get off my chest that I’ve had a concept shared with me that I just have to share with you. I can’t take credit for it, but I can’t hide it under my bushel either. We all endorse Flipping the Script, but I’d never heard of using the concept as a noun until a recent and life changing story. Let’s just say that the use of “Script-flipper” as a noun is now so mandatory it hurts. I feel like there are limitless applications, but the most obvious is a game-changing rookie. Think Joe Smash’s first year with PONY. He’s a Script-flipper no doubt. Joe Smash! Skyla Sisco is a Script-flipper. Likely so is John Wall. Genius. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Book Reviews: Over Christmas I finally finished the Mildred Burke Story The thing is (Spoiler alert!) it’s just not that good a story. Aghast! A young, woman in the 50s was manipulated by a man? They all were?!?!?! The book creeps at a snail’s pace through all manner of wresting minutiae (E.g., Then A was in a fixed match with B, then B was in a fixed match with C, then D was in a fixed match with A, then E was in a fixed match with B, B grew up in Louisiana, Louisiana was acquired…). The book is supposedly working towards the greatest female wrestling match of all time, but the payoff match is a snoozer and a disputed draw, depending on which media reports you believe. This, ladies and gentleman, is not Super Bowl 34 coming down to the last play (One Yard Short). This is a series of yawns and disagreements in a fake sport. If anything, it’s a story about the lack of talent representation. Mildred Burke’s life would have been very different in the era of Drew Rosenhaus. I would give this book a pass.

Last weekend, I hosted a UPA coaching clinic led by BVH. It was a bit of work, but a pretty good deal. I got to sit near Linwood, so that’s payment enough. I should be a more ethical coach now, post clinic, or rather I should have less excuse not to be. I'm certified now, so treat me with all the respect that affords me (none).

And where are we now? We are in a coffee shop on 13th street. Two hypnotizing things have just occurred: First, the DB in line in front of me in a European suit and a San Diego accent just ordered a small skinny latte with ‘half an equal’. He’s working on some Michael Bolton hair. Go ahead and splurge Mr. DB. Go ahead and have a full equal packet in your latte. He has looked back at me at just the moment to bust me at laughing at him. He knows I think he is ridiculous. He is unphased.

Only moments and a few feet away I'm settled in at my table for a long session of returning e-mails. The following conversation is observed two tables away:
Business schoolie 1: “So Rap, the music, what does that stand for?”
Business schoolie 2: “what? “
Business schoolie 1: “Rap. What does Rap stand for?”
Business schoolie 2: “uhhhh… well most Rap is about self promotion, and crime… (??!?!?)
Business schoolie 1: “No. RAP. R-A-P. What does that stand for?”
Business schoolie 2: long pause. “ uhhhhhhh. Well, I’m not sure that is an acronym. I think it just means 'talk'.”
Business schoolie 1: “Rant About Parties? Rage Against Parents? Read Aggressive…..”

All that aside, what I really wanted to tell you about in this post was my myriad of fake friends in Knoxville, and my deep appreciation for them:

I love you, fake friend at the Avis/Alamo counter in Knoxville TYS with the Redwings watch. I love how you don’t ask me about the car seat or the GPS anymore, even though I know you are supposed to read the entire script. Just for you, I am going to look up the Red Wings. (9th place in the West? 3rd in the central? Tom Holmstrom looks allright…)

I love my fake friend at the Kroger checkout. Yes, that is a fruit salad and some snow peas again. Now you know that I do not have a Kroger card, and you don’t ask me about it any more. You also please have a wonderful day. Is your hair like that accidentally or intentionally?

I love the hotel room service delivery guy. Yes, ESPN again. Yes, college basketball. Yes, I would like it on the desk again just like every other night. Yes, pasta again. What do you know? I love how you pick up railing on your wife just where you left off the night/week before. (I’m sure you never annoy her at all.) Thanks so much.

I love the Avis rental return guy. Yes! I am back again! Me! Again on Wednesday! Yes, the car was fine thanks. Yes, I would like to leave it on the card. Thanks for the receipt. Thanks, I will do my darndest to have a safe flight, to the extent it is in my control (none).

These are the people that comprise my life; that actually make it much better. Days with them are much better than days without them. It’s a nuanced social contract for the transitory. Don’t give me much, but give it to me every time. Fake friends!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Open about the Process...

You have Brendan to blame for encouraging me to record a video response to this Stranger slog question.

(British Knight, Sorry it was 4 days late. I was a bit tied up...)

My reaction is such a classic case of overkill, with a touch of overreach.

For those of you who don't click links (Hi Mom!) the gist is this:
"Is the Super Bowl a legitimate sporting interests for many, or is it just an example of everything that is wrong with the USA?"

First I wrote out this response:

I'm gonna have to throw my lot in with the both answer. Yes and yes, the Superbowl is a legitimate sporting interest and also one of the many signs of our declining US Hegemony

The Superbowl is the tail end of a football dependency reduction program that seems carefully laid out by a methadone clinic official. The entire football season culminates in two wonderful weekends where first there are four meaningful wildcard games where heroes rise and anything is possible. followed next weekend by four divisional playoffs where we are reminded both that there is a reason that those teams earned the bye, and that Norv Turner is who we thought he was.

At the end of that Sunday, we are tweaking. We can’t fly closer to the sun. The gradual weaning begins. The following weekend is just two conference championship games. Then there’s the long two week wait for an overhyped game that more often than not is a blowout, and is really only interesting if you’re a fan of one of the remaining teams.

The actual game is pretty lame, but the promise of one more hit is essential at the end of the conference championships or hard core fans like myself would riot like Walmart ran out of Blu Rays on Black Friday..

The two weeks of hype is perfect too. It’s long enough that I have to really focus on college basketball and start asking questions like is John Wall getting all the hype while DeMarcus Cousins is doing all the work? Do work son!

On the other hand, for those of you who can’t tell a field goal from a free throw, and never want to be able to, the SuperBowl offers you something as well. The chance to get bogged down in the crowd favorite Abortion debate. In one of the planned commercials, Tim Tebow* is going to explain how his mother chose to have him against medical advice. Cincinnati fans who traveled to New Orleans this year for the Sugar Bowl (and pretty much the rest of the SEC) lament her decision. Tim, no one is trying to make abortions mandatory, and I think going out of your way to cast dispersion on women who might make that choice in life of the mother, health of the mother situations is despicable and inexcusable. Those women are already in an incredibly difficult, personal situation and drumming up public disapproval helps no one.

That, and usually there are some commercials with monkeys. Monkeys. I'm gonna set the Monkey sitings under/over at 3 and half and watch expectantly.

Later on.


* Those of you not up on your Tebow might read this to get some background.

Then, I took a stab at recording my video response. I think writing it out first actually made it worse. I tried to record it a couple of times. It was really annoying. I just kept trying to imagine sitting across a bar from Jesse and discussing this stuff I rant about all the time, but watching myself on my MacBook was really distracting. This is what I finally posted:

The finished product comes across much less funny than I was going for and much more moralizing and Conscendo.

I hate it of course, but I won't bother to try again (like some terrible college papers I wrote, I'm not proud of the end product, but I'll be damned if I'm going through that again.) It's interesting when two ingrained traits but up against each other. I'm vain, and I'd prefer to look smart and well spoken (instead of slurring Norb Turver and watching with, "Baited Breasts?"). But I'm lazy enough not to try again. And (surprising me) paramount here is my unwillingnes to fold.

Anyone who's played hold'em with me is nodding right now. The right answer might be to bail, but I wanted to at least try for Brendan, who, I like to think, wanted me to try for me. I'm lazy enough not to try hard enough to get it right, but not lazy enough to bail entirely. I guess I'll just have to fess:

That is me. Nervous, alone in my Ft. Greene apartment, just because the green light on my MacBook is blinking at me. Luckily for me, it's the four of our's little secret.

Also, based on this effort, he might retract it, but if he's too polite, I'll be live blogging the Super Bowl with Brendan and some other straight Gs.

Commenters: Do you like the written version better than the live version? Does that mean I'm better off writing, or should I just shut it down?

Look out Stewart Scott, this is just the beginning.