A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Who is Ron Mexico?

Or, rather, who is Cesar Izturis?

Cesar Izturis is who the Cubs are getting from the LA Dodgers in exchange for first-ballot Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.

What is Cesar Izturis?

Cesar Izturis is a utility infielder, although he won a Gold Glove (and an All-Star appearance) as the Dodgers' regular shortstop in 2004.

Why Cesar Izturis?

Now, at first I thought this would be a slam-dunk answer--because Ronny Cedeno sucks, that's why! But I'm a scientist, and I need some nice, hard, firm proof to legitimate my position.

Name Avg Slg OBP OPS EqA
Izturis .260 .339 .295 .643 .226
Cedeno .261 .344 .292 .636 .217
(career numbers from Baseball Prospectus)

Why Cesar Izturis? Because Jim Hendry's a goddamn moron, that's why. He also traded Todd Walker, meaning that Dusty Baker's wet dream of being able to pencil in Neifi Perez's name on the scoresheet every day is finally coming to pass.

Talent Show

I was kinda bored this weekend, so I put together a little talent show in the garage with some of my friends in the neighborhood.

I built a stage out of bricks and plywood. We had 8 contestants, and the adults were the judges. They sat in lawnchairs in the driveway, fanning themselves between acts.

I lost because during my hip hop dance routine, my shoe got kicked off and landed in the watermelon bowl I carved for the afterparty, containing fruits of some note: Canteloupe, or "musk melon", honeydew, strawberries, blueberries and grapes. Some of the adults laughed when it happened, thinking it was part of the act, but when I ran off the stage crying and got on my bike and sped off, everyone was just looking at their shoes in shame.

A girl who did a baton routine to "Hot Child in the City" won, runner-up a ventriloquist act, and finally, the kid who turns his eyelids inside out.

The Bats Strike Back--Return to Bat Country

My roommate David reports that at or around 3:00 am last night, a bat squeezed itself through some invisible gap between a bedroom window screen and the wall. After chasing it out of his room and slamming the door, the bat crawled under the door, back into the room, and then escaped through a different window.

Later this week: concert highlights for both Ted Leo (last Friday in Lansing) and The Roots (this Thursday in Deeeetroit).

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Next Episode


The trip will not be happening, as I learned that this particular firm doesn't "reimburse costs associated with first-round interviews."

This strikes me as a ridiculous policy, not the least because it means that I, personally, am SOL. Think about the type of question that you face as someone considering spending ~500 bucks on a trip to a job interview. Under what conditions should you take the trip?

First, if you're exceedingly confident that you'll get a job offer, then you might do it. When you're sitting in your new office in the Big City making an embarrassing amount of money, that 500 bucks will be essentially trivial. However, to have that kind of confidence you need a way to infer that they're serious about hiring you; not picking up the tab is a strong signal to the contrary. Your confidence, in all likelihood, would be misplaced.

Second, if you just happen to be loaded, then you also don't care about the 500 bucks and you might as well go. Good for you.

Third, if you're desperate and not at all confident that you'll be getting offers from anywhere else, then you might go. The 500 bucks is a risk, but even if you're risk-avoidant (which most of us are, on average), that is still more attractive than being totally unemployed.

So, the first category of people won't be coming, and the second is probably not relevant since anyone in that category either has a great job already or is a card-carrying member of the Idle Rich. I'd propose that all this policy does is select for that third group. Lots of luck finding those diamonds in the rough, fellas!

(Ironically, this is for a place that specializes in "risk management." How can you manage risk and not understand incomplete information and signaling?)


Crazily, the phone interview I had for the financial consulting job has turned into an offer for a real interview next week in New York. In the unlikely event that someone I know is reading this who will be in or around Times Square on Monday/Tuesday, and this person wants to drink some beer, say something.

I'll also be heading to Lansing tonight, to either see Ted Leo or get all up on Gov. Jennifer Granholm depending on the breaks.

Burninating the countryside

Somehow, over the course of the last year, I had forgotten what makes living in Texas especially sweet. There are some definite rough patches: it's searingly hot & ridiculously humid, there is some definite redneck culture going on here, and the racial divide seems a little wider than elsewhere (but that could be just in my mind). This week, however, I experienced a revelation: It's about the fucking bars, dumbass. Sure there are some cheesy, soulless sports-bars around but you'd be hard-pressed to find a place where they don't exist. They do, however, serve an essential purpose come Sundays during football season, especially if they also have the Sunday Ticket.

Last night though proved again how great some places around here are. We went to a tavern called Molly's and were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves in the midst of a low-lit, wood-heavy saloon. Point: bar. We ambled over to the long serving area, located in the middle of the establishment. To my amazement, I see probably about 60 or so beers on tap. Shit! I had been to many places where the only things available were Bud, Shiner, and Miller. Just when I didn't think it could get any better, I saw a tapper of Boddington's, one of my absolute favorite draughts, which I chose it for my wife, saying "I think you'd like this." I then got a Stella Artois draught for myself. I don't really know why I did this because the preference should have been the other way around in the first place--I like the Boddington's, so I should get it for myself. I think I was just giddy with beer choice excitement. Anyway, we get them, though served in Pilsner-type glasses, and the grand total was $7. Are you kidding me? I then spied the game of "darts" on the other side of the bar. Now, I don't know if you've ever heard about this game, but it's amazing. You take these flying missile projectiles, called "darts," and you throw them at a circular cork-board delineated into different point values. This cork-board is called a "dart-board." Needless to say, it was a rollicking good time. At one point, my wife threw these "darts" at my head for fun! And we laughed...

But anyway, the darts were also fun--and free! Texas baby. Texas. Of course, during our playing, we did overhear some stupidly drunk dudes with Dark Side of the Moon baseball caps turned backwards asking some black skater dude about "watermelons and fried chicken" and something about never being able to refuse a free drink because of his color. Sigh.
Another great bar incident of late came on Tuesday. I went into Houston to meet some of the music editing staff from the Houston Press. We met up at a tiny dive called Leon's Lounge. Supposedly the oldest bar in Houston? Anyway, there was a big fluffy bardog, a grand piano, it was dark as hell (yet there were stained glass windows), and the layout was sort of cavernous...little niches where you could have your own little soiree, if you so chose. But the best part: they had a shuffleboard table. I had never seen one of these things before, nor played shuffleboard, but it was fucking great. The table had been sprinkled with salt to make the pucks slide better. And the concept was sort of "curling-esque:" you each had 4 pucks and you tried to get your pucks past certain lines to score higher points, but at the end of the board (and along the edges), the sliding surface drops off. I'll include a picture since I am not successfully describing this very well. Anyway--great bar game.

I guess the moral is: it's good to get out once in a while and enjoy a cold beverage. Anybody planning that this weekend? I think I'm going to see Miami Vice. Hell yes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sort of esoteric, but whatever

Random, and y'all probably know all about it, but I just discovered tinyurl.com. I mean, what a simple, but quite useful concept! I know it has somewhat limited usage, but great thinking and practicality nonetheless.

I'm going to find the creater of that website and buy him/her a beer. And not one of them commie imports. No siree. For good ol' fashioned inginuity like that, it'll be a patriotic domestic. Something frothy and foamy. I'm thinking Old Milwaukee Light. Cause he/she is probably concerned about his/her waistline, pragmatic soul that they are.

(stats for OML: 3.9% alcohol by volume, 110 calories. That just sounds disgusting)

Holy shit

Rachel and I just watched the multi part NOVA I've been tivoing the last couple weeks--"The Elegant Universe" about string theory and unified theory. It totally blew my mind and was incredible, the best thing I've watched in a long time. You can watch it online:


Something that amused me was the talking heads--it occured to me that I was so used to seeing talking heads in documentaries and especially on the news that are all labelled "American University" or like "Southern Arizona State University" that it's almost novel to see "MIT," "Stanford" or other prestigious university. I've always wondered if the current intentional distrust and disgust with academics and people who know stuff in the USA has been caused by the continuous misuse of the the media and whatnot of 3rd rate academics.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My friend says

My friend says you can put a silk hat on a pig, but it's still a pig. But my friend is wrong- True, it's still a pig, but also one that can gain admittance into any of the finest opera houses in the country.

My friend says that he would rather die on his feet than live on his knees. Not me- when I die, I hope I'm at home, in a comfortable bed, surrounded by family and friends.

My friend and I were walking down the sidewalk when he pointed and said, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." I laughed to myself and ignored this advice, because he had no proof. Then I went back to counting every other of my footsteps, because if I don't, my father's face will explode.

Railroad Tycoon the Boardgame: Get into it

This game is awesome--Rachel and I have played 4 games since yesterday. I highly, highly recommend it. It's fun even with two players (up to 6 players) and the rules are very simple and the game can be very competitive. But then me and like 10000 other people on the internet are the only people who play boardgames anymore, so...



Mark Prior is working a no-hitter against the Mets after 5 innings.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I know that it's summer and all, but does this graphic seem messed up to anyone else? Shouldn't there be a little variance in hues here, or is this pretty much par for the course in summer? I'm guessing Southern Kansas is the worst place to be right now. (Let's forget Death Valley...it's never too pleasant there in summer I'm guessing.)

You know what sucks?

Network television. I broke down and bought an antenna, also known by its technical name as "rabbit ears." It's been alright so far--I watched Tiger take the British Open and have enjoyed various local coverage of Houston weather patterns. (Check out the large swath of green around Houston and Galveston right now.) But, for the love of God, can network programming be any worse? I guess I may have too small a sample size, because I know that some shows are okay by me (e.g., House, Law and Order), but last night I endured some really painful shit. Actually I do have corroboration: my wife also endured this painful shit with me. Two and a Half Men? Christ on a Cross! And whatever the next show was, something with Doogie Howser, M.D. in it, was just as bad. Maybe I'm just spoiled by the glory years of network T.V.: ALF, Punky Brewster, Doogie. Well I guess those aren't exactly glorious feats themselves. Oh well. At least the Playstation 2 consoles. The bitter steve v. jefe rivalry was ratcheted up a notch last night, with the indominatable Uruguayans besting my pesky 'Roos from Down Under. I capitalized that because that's what I call Australia, thank you very much.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Jefe wasn't kidding about the Mountain Goats. They fucking rule.


The only words I understand in the song 99 Luftballons are "Captain" and "Kirk" because I took Spanish in high school and college instead of German. Now, whenever I hear that song, I'm just bobbing my head in rhythm, like a chump, waiting for that Captain Kirk part.

Consumer Whoring for the Win

Last week's arrival of my... FREE NINTENDO DS (that's right, free--thanks to the Econ Lady recognizing what a gaping hole my DS-less-ness was creating in my life, and finding an Internet site that actually paid up in exchange for her signing off for some "exciting free offers!!!") set off a long-dormant consumerist time-bomb in me. Not having made a single discretionary purchase beyond beer and fast food all summer, I think I was pretty responsible all things considered. Let's look at the videotape.

1. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)-- I really have to say that I disagree with Nintendo's decision to take out the flying element. Am I supposed to be satisfied with the Koopa Shell instead? It's a hollow, hollow replacement. Although I can tell it's supposed to be an easy game, I'm so out of practice with platforming that it's been a slog. Econ Lady is having trouble getting out of World One, unfortunately.

2. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)-- This was actually my first game purchased, having snagged it a couple of weeks ago on Ebay for 15 bucks w/ shipping. I haven't played much of it, but I definitely look forward to exploting backwards compatability in the future. Which segues into...

3. F-Zero GP (GBA)-- old school F-Zero goodness (I really, really love me some F-Zero) that I found for five bucks at Toys 'R Us. I'm definitely thinking that Toys R' Us is a vast and untapped resource for game purchases--each time I've been there, they've actually had games on sale, which is generally not the case.

4. MVP Baseball 2005 (GC)-- I found this for $12 at Sam's Club. The gameplay is an improvement on the already outstanding (and also sitting in my collection) MVP 2004. I'm just hoping that this, the last EA baseball game before 2K Sports' exclusive license kicked in, fixed player progression and off-season AI (ie, in 2004 there was no free agency because every team just resigned their own players no matter what.)

5. Winning Eleven 9 (PS2)-- I ended up paying for this new (see earlier post), getting the last one at Toys 'R Us on the F-Zero trip. Very weird feel to it, but hopefully I'll get better (and hopefully I'll get my memory card back soon, so I can get some real team/player names in there w/o starting from scratch and then go online and get horsewhipped).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Art Imitates Life

I finally picked up WE9 yesterday. In my second full game, I played England against that Asian powerhouse, Iran.

Won 1-0, with Beckham scoring the winner off a free kick about 10 minutes in. The rest of the game saw a sloppy, chaotic English attack soar up and over the Iranian goal.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What? No. We can't stop here. This is Bat Country!

I came home this morning and, the smart shopper and concerned citizen of earth that I am, turned off the box fan that was going in my living room. Except this fan came with a prize--a dead bat, just kind of hanging out inside of it. God knows how it got in there, or how I'm going to get it out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stylus's top 100 music videos of all time

I don't know if you kids are aware, but Stylus Magazine is posting its 100 top videos of all-time on its website. They're currently up to #40; the rest will be released Thurs. and Fri. I'll put in my favorites so far (though #60-40 have a lot of good ones).

Juvenile - Back dat azz up

Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice

Radiohead - Karma Police

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mr. Anderson... You Disappoint Me

So, I've been asked for a phone interview with a financial consulting firm in New York. That's wonderful, except for one very important point. I sent my resume to this firm through a job search page hosted by UM's Career Center, and apparently they changed partners last week. This means that A) I don't have a login, and B) Even if I did, it's not clear that I can access my previous account info. These conditions lead to a point C), which is that I don't exactly know what position it is I've "applied for."

That said, does anyone in the peanut gallery have any advice for phone interviews writ large? I don't even answer my phone about 85% of the time, and now I have to go for 30 minutes with a HR person?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The series has resumed

Jeff 2 Steve 0.

A wicked strike in stoppage time by the Ivory Coast sent Nigeria down 1-0 and then a tough as nails clattering game between Valencia and Lyon (I think) ended in penalty kicks with Valencia taking them 4-3 in sudden death PKs.

Catscratch with a side of dog

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Catscratch Fever

Because we don't have nearly enough baby animal coverage on this site:

Moral Conundra

After the story about Sony's new PSP advertising campaign broke--here's the image; the contraversy ought to be self-explanatory whether you agree with it or not--I decided I was done purchasing Sony products. I'm not looking to rehash the debate, get on a moral high horse or conspicuously mention just how goddamn principled I am. It was just a simple decision I made for myself that, in all honesty, wasn't that difficult since they seem intent on driving away as many customers as possible as it is.*

The convenient thing is that it was easy for several other important reasons. I've already bought my PS2, so I'm not sacrificing any games that I might have wanted to play on their hardware this generation (read: things by Square; Winning Eleven). I signed a new cell phone contract six months ago, which among other things has me locked into a SonyEricsson phone for at least the next 18 barring an Act of God. And since the PS3 is going to cost $600 dollars, I'm not even a potential candidate for their next major product.

Which brings us to today.

It would take another long entry to explain why I haven't had my PS2 memory card or most of my games since Spring Break, but it happened. It's also about to end, since in honor of my little brother's 21st birthday we're doing a hostage exchange program where I ship him the FF7 and FFT copies he's been whining about and I get all the loot I left at my parents' house the last time I was there. This puts me in a position to purchase the latest Winning Eleven, WE9, and finally get some bullshit 2-1 victories via ramming the ball straight down the middle of the field against Steve over the teleontological ether of The Internets.

Which brings us to my Principled Moral Stand, described in the opening paragraph.

The video game industry essentially follows Gillette's marketing strategy for razors--give the razor itself away for free, and then make a killing by selling razor cartridges. Video game consoles themselves are sold at a huge loss (by Microsoft and Sony, anyway), which they make up on the flipside via the licensing fees that developers have to pay in order to release games for their systems.

To wit: if I buy WE9 used, Sony doesn't get any money. I save five dollars relative to the price of a new copy. EBGames/Gamespot gets about a $20-25 margin. What's worse is that Konami, the fine people behind WE, don't get another sale tally. The better they do, the more likely they are to have more professional licenses in new versions, and the more likely they are to bury the FIFA series, the soccer franchise put out by EA that huffs all sorts of ass. If I buy WE9, I support Konami, but I'm also giving a cut to Sony.

Now that I'm wrestling over how best to cast a $40 vote against a muli-hojillion dollar corporation, I think I'm officially an Ann Arborite.

*"Our games may cost as high as $59.99, but no higher than $100."

Weeds- Season 1, disc 1

Plot: A
Take the utter banality of the California suburbs and throw in some high-quality hydro. Bam!
No, but it's good. Mary-Louise Parker plays a Mom who lost her husband. To maintain her quality of life, she sells dope. So far, the series is especially interesting because it's really more about the suburbs than the drugs. The drugs just sort of add an interesting twist to the real conflict: surviving the PTA meetings, the teen-aged angst, the boredom.

Characters: B+
I really like Mary-Louise Parker's character and her sidekick Mom Elizabeth Perkins. It's pretty funny to see Kevin Nealon in there playing a pot-head too, though an extremely paranoid CPA one at that. The kids are good too. My only real complaint is with the black family who are Parker's source. First, I just wonder about the whole set-up, with her coming to pick up the weed and her very chummy, glib relationship with them. There are hints of how they met, but I just wonder about this interaction.

Directorial style: B+
Nothing too flashy. Just straight ahead scenes with the various protagonists doing their respective thangs. But it works in the whole "this is the 'burbs" setup of the series.

Overall: Episodes 1 & 2: C+; Episodes 3-6: A-
The first two episodes were a little problematic, with the characters trying to find their grooves and the show trying to find direction. Sort of to be expected, really. But then things pick up in episode 3. The characters grow more nuanced, conflicts arise in Parker's business, and storylines suited to each character's situation emerge. I think it's an interesting series with a great premise. I am excited to see Parker put up her "front" business while she takes the distribution to the next level. I'd recommend putting Weeds in your queue.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The whole wedding industry needs to die for being so opaque with no way of evaluating it.

The moral is, clearly, don't get married.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006



Next step, US national team coach???


Has anyone here ever applied for consulting jobs?
This individual should enjoy working collaboratively on teams and thrive in an entrepreneurial environment.

Amy Sedaris on Colbert

Sorry, but this just made my day.

I suppose that explains some of it...

In regards to Zidane headbutting the guy:

"BBC Radio Five Live asked for help from a deaf lip reader, Jessica Rees, who read the words phonetically to an Italian translator.

She deciphered the insult as being "you're the son of a terrorist whore" - a translation also carried by many national newspapers in Britain on Tuesday."

FIFA fair play indeed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Klingons Near Uranus

So, here's a proposition to discuss:

Last night, the Econ Lady and I watched "Six Degrees of Separation," the first-season episode of BSG where a flesh-and-blood Six appears on Galactica and accuses Baltar of treason. It's a good episode, but not great; it's certainly nowhere near the highlights of the series.

That said, it's way, way, way beyond anything on DS9, the quasi-mythical seasons 6 and 7 included.

Don't know much about trigonometry

I seriously don't know anything about trigonometry. In fact, I've never heard those words before you mentioned them. Now leave me alone.

Don't know much about math

For as long as I can remember, people have always said you can't divide by zero. When leaving the house my mother would say, "Look both ways before you cross the street. And don't divide by zero." All through high school and college it was the same thing. My professors would say, if not on the first day of class, the second, nonchalantly, "Oh, and don't try to divide by zero. It's impossible." Impossible?!? Well, that sounded like a challenge to me.

I was a PhD candidate in mathematics, and I decided that I was going to prove all these people wrong, and entitled my thesis I'm Dividing by Zero and You Jerks Can't Stop Me. Then I went to work.

I read all the literature. I did the homework. I talked to people. I thought. I theorized. I drew complicated-looking formulae on mirrors and glass because it looked cool. Then, finally. I sat down and wrote it out: 1 divided by zero equals. I didn't know how to solve it. I tried it on the calculator. It said "Error" over and over again. The jerks had been right. I failed.

Then I pushed clear, and keyed "58008" and turned the calculator over and it spelled "Boobs"

I changed my thesis to that, spelling "boobs" on the calculator and turned it in. Defending my thesis was a snap.

When I got my grade two weeks later, it was an F. And they also made me replace several mirrors and windows because I used permanent marker on them and were now ruined.

I don't know much about science

When I was a kid, I used to think the moon was illuminated by the sun’s light reflected off of stars. Now that I’m older and college educated, I know better: The earth had a baby, and it was the moon, and the baby swallowed a candle.

No matter where I went, the moon would always follow me. When I turned and gave chase, though, she would shrink away and I could never catch her, no matter how fast I ran. But when I turned my back and walked away, she would follow me again. We would play this game for hours, this chasing game, running through people’s lawns, hiding behind trees, laughing down the empty streets. Later I found out it wasn’t following me at all- I had gotten malaria on a recent trip to Panama and had a 109 temperature.


Probably the best show on TV right now, Deadwood, just had another spectacular episode last night. And boy was it a doozy. Probably the most brutally realistic fight scene I have ever seen. I don't know if I'd really like to watch it again. I'm also reminded how happy I am not to have lived and died in the old West. I'm happy to be getting rid of the cable, but I will miss the weekly Deadwoods.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Let's play...

I make a post, you disagree with my statement and tell me how stupid I am. Or I guess you could agree...

Post: REM is the best band of the last 30 years, with a string of great albums with nary a dud. Incredible live as well. Discuss.

This post brought to you by relistening to REM a lot.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Matador

So we're getting rid of our cable. I know it may sound crazy, and at times it does even to me, but I'm just tired of TV. I had the TiVo, but even then I just couldn't find enough to watch that was worth my time. I'm also hoping to get some reading, writing, and studying done--activities that I haven't really participated in for too long.

So, in lieu of TV, we'll be getting some Blockbuster treats on a semi-regular basis. I'm going to try to review them best I can. The first of these occurred yesterday: The Matador, starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear.

Plot: B
A middle-aged hitman, Brosnan, goes to Mexico to "put some work in." Or, as he explains his job to Kinnear during a bullfighting match, "sometimes people need to be eliminated." Kinnear is also a middle-aged dude himself. Apparently under a lot of pressure from some business deal or another. He also goes to, you guessed it, Mexico!

Directorial style: B
I kind of liked how the director used big bold letters to show locations, the colors were bright, the sets were interesting, overall I liked it. There were a few excessive uses of surrealism which served no purpose (Brosnan walking through his hotel lobby in his skivvies, jumping in the pool with a beer in his hand, only to discover, you guessed it, he was in a Shark pool!)

Characters: A- and F
Brosnan's character was interesting. Here he was, a middle-aged hitman who was still "living the lifestyle." Various sordid affairs with women half his age, carrying out hits, and his sweet sweet mustache. I found him interesting, and he does have a good screen presence.
Kinnear, however, sucked ass. Totally unbelievable--a sort of clueless, wimpy, mama's boy who somehow was involved in these million-dollar business deals in Mexico. Also shown to be totally innocent, yet incredibly trusting of some guy who kills people for a living.

Character interaction, thus the conflict of the movie: F
It was all going OK until Kinnear and Brosnan meet and interact. You could see it coming: it was going to painful, and full of shitty buddy-isms that were obviously a waste of time. I'll be honest: I watched until about 50 minutes in. Then the inane dialogue and sheer stupidity made me give up.

Musical score: D
There were some good cuts on there in terms of rock hits and whatnot, but the wife and I noticed a similar occurrence--for some reason Hollywood insists on putting in totally inappropriate "filler" score while the movie plods along. It's a sort of chime-y, happy-go-lucky score that ruins any sense of seriousness that the scenes may have. We noticed it in another horrible piece of work: Must Love Dogs. I don't know what Hollywood is thinking, but it made both movies lose any sense of drama that they may have had.

Overall: D
I'm sure there are worse films out there these days, but this one was a real disappointment. I liked the premise, and we had recently seen an Ebert and Roper where they sang the praises of The Matador. It was really bad though. Has Hollywood forgotten how to write movies with acceptable, real dialogue?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Those were the days

Happy fun time. And hooray for Friday!

Dinosaur Jr. - "Freak Scene"

Pixies - "Debaser"

Replacements - "Goddamn Job"

Nirvana - "About a Girl"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Top 6 worst cups of coffee

I likes me a good cup of joe. I've vacillated between abstaining and abject addiction, and I think I prefer the addicted me on coffee better. (Than the no-coffee me. Don't you just hate it when people write I like x better...Than what dumbass?) Anyway here's a list of my 6 worst coffees. Of all fucking time.

06. Ricoffee. This was the only readily available coffee in Mozambique. From time to very rare fucking time, you'd be able to get a hit of Nescafe smack, but for the most part you had to deal with Ricoffee. It was, of course, instant, and infused with a dollop of chicory. I know chicory may be the norm in NoLa, but goddamn if it wasn't the worstest, nastiest bit of bitterness that I've ever had to stomach at 7 am. In fact, Ricoffee was so bad, I had to switch to tea. Yes people. Tea in the morning to wake my ass up. I suppose the presence of goats in my front yard sort of allowed the whole episode to filter over into Bizarro world anyway.

05. Cafe du Monde. Again with the chicory badness.

04. Maxwell House Coffee Singles. So I had been seriously hurting for coffee at work for a while now because my only option was the communal office Bunn coffee pot (see #01). I scrounged and, lo and behold, encountered Coffee Singles by Maxwell House. Think of a tea bag with coffee inside instead of tea. So I heated the water, dunked the bag, and sipped away. I should have known from the translucent liquid that it would be bad. Pretty much tasted like ass too.

03. Decaf. What's the point unless you're 50+?

02. Millstone. I think this is the brand in our cafeteria. It is seriously some of the shittiest coffee I have tasted. There's a Starbucks around the corner, but the line was long and I decided to take my chances. Big mistake. There wasn't enough cream or sugar that could mask this cup's horrid taste. In fact, I remember literally laughing at how bad the flavor was on this one. It was as if the Sumatran bean gods had decided to kick me in my lymph nodes while I was down. Even more troubling is that I see tens of twenties of people daily walking around without a air of worry, happily carrying these frothy concoctions of ick.

01. Communal office Bunn coffee pot. I honestly don't know if anyone ever brews coffee in this thing or if it just erupts from a hidden coffee spigot nestled deep under the cabinetry. Regardless, this is just unacceptable. It is the definition of fetid toxicity. It's also a pot that has two burners--one for keeping your pot warm while brewing another "fresh" pot. The coffee comes pre-packaged in round, sausage patty-like filters. I'm guessing that the office ordered in bulk a few years ago and is still working on depleting its reserve. Additionally, the machine needs a thorough hosing down; somehow salt deposits have formed on its faux-chrome exterior. All around, a very disturbing phenomenon.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

America, America

For the record, celebrating the nation's independence for me consisted of sitting down eating a piece of chicken grilled on the foreman grill then eating 3 whole corn on the cobbs while drinking a hearty glass of water.


I never thought I'd be in a position to be supporting Germany in anything, but that was before it came down to them versus the fucking Italians. Deutschland Uber Alles; Ich bin ein Berliner, etc.

Sean Connery: Yeah, you think you're so clever, don't you Trebek? With your dago moustache and your greasy hair!

Alex Trebek: What did I just say about ethnic slurs?

Monday, July 03, 2006

You Had to Send a Wrecking Crew After Me

Who: The New Pornographers
Where: Comerica TasteFest, Detroit

Travel: A-

As Ali G might say to the Michigan Department of Transportation, "big up yourselves" on actually getting the highway interchange by the Econ Lady's place working correctly. Still waiting on my jetpack, though.

Karma: A+

The Comerica TasteFest is equal parts food festival and urban reclamation project. For that reason, it's a little rough around the edges; the "New Center" project north of downtown Detroit showcases the same combination of stunning architecture and staggering poverty that characterizes most of the area. What it also means, though, is that you're both sampling food and helping the less-fortunate pick themselves up. Or you're helping Comerica brand itself as a corporation that helps the less-fortunate pick themselves up. I'm going to choose the believe the first one.

Libations: B+

My "golden margarita" cost me 9 tickets, which is $5.40 in real money. Of course, it came in a plastic cup so there wasn't any rock salt to suck on, but what are you going to do? The woman who served it to me sang "do you want a margarita?" to me, which ultimately was the clincher. Marks off for (lack of) quantity; between the pick-up soccer game I had right before we left for the city, having driving duty and the warm sun overhead for the early part of the evening, more alcohol really wasn't in play.

Parking: A+

$5.00 for a spot about 50 yards from where the main stage was. Huzzah.

Music Speaking Across Ethnicity, Culture: D-

The festival overall broke down something like 90-10, black to non-black. The rock show went something like 90% white, 10% Asian. I guess that's the way life goes.

Uncomfortable Reminders of the Past: C+

The girl member of the New Pornographers looks like an ex-ladyfriend, minus about 4 or 5 stone. Which actually leads to another category...

Living Well as the Best Revenge: A triple-plus.

The Music on its Own Terms, Divorced from the Previous Three Categories: B+

Very relaxed, very chill, very Canadian show. Econ Lady remarked later that they got considerably sloppier as the show progressed, which I have to agree with; I suppose an outdoor show is like that--as is having your drummer drinking beer and smoking a blunt during your songs while the frontman is drinking Red Bull. These things, tragically, are on different pages.

In a lot of ways, it was a little too chill. My favorite songs from their last album are, predictably, the two fastest ones. The rest is still stuff I can enjoy listening to, just not nearly as often, nor while standing for over an hour. I'd probably go to another show of theirs, but it wouldn't be an automatic decision. However, good times were indeed had by all.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I'm really dissappointed by the tactics I've seen at this year's world cup. It's almost completely 4-5-1 and very cautious. This would make sense if you had a team (Portugal) that has a slew of great midfielders and no logical 2nd striker--and a striker who's used to playing all alone up front (Pauleta). But when you look at a team like France, who are playing 4-5-1 and have Trezeguet sitting on the bench... I don't know. Nevermind Brazil--of course Ronaldinho is pretty much playing forward but still more of a deep second striker. But Brazil with one forward? I don't get it.

More than that I think it's hurting these teams that are playing it. The midfielders who are supposed to be coming up the wings or coming late for crosses just aren't coming. I think given that you have to play the second real striker up front since the midfielders are just not working hard offensively, perhaps because of the pressure of the World Cup and not wanting to be the guy who didn't get back to protect his goal, perhaps that's what they've been instructed.