Month: February 2004

Time Zones

Three days, three time zones. And I’m doing it backwards (going from Pacific to Mountain in day three) which makes the adjustment even more difficult. Is it 10:00 (physical time zone) 12:00 (home time zone) or 9:00 (where I spent the previous 24 hours)? Strange. I was in LA Monday night, today, then flew into Phoenix Tuesday. No time for fun in LA, although I did drive by Dodgers’ Stadium, the Staples Center, and the LA Coliseum on the way to the airport Tuesday afternoon.

I experienced an incredibly odd sensation Monday: my plane flew over my house. Other than when I lived in a dorm that was easily recognizable from the sky, I’ve never knowingly looked down on my home before. If I’m working in the yard and see a plane overhead, I might wonder where it’s going, who’s on it, and what their stories are. I never thought of the other perspective. Looking down, I could tell if a strange car was parked in our driveway, if the home was on fire and emergency workers were present, or just seeing it sit quietly (which is what I saw). It was a strange feeling of helplessness, because if something was going on, I not only couldn’t do a thing about it, but wouldn’t be able to until I landed in Chicago 50 minutes later.

The roads of Arizona are full of snow birds and spring training fans. Today on the drive from Phoenix to Prescott, I saw license plates from three Canadian provinces, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Michigan, and Illinois among others. Or maybe they’re just people who have moved here recently and haven’t changed their tags (like a certain well-regarded blogger from Indianapolis).

There were exactly three subjects on the radio on the drive up. The Passions of the Christ. Gay marriage. And steroids in baseball. In order, A) I doubt I’ll see the movie, but not out of any bias or anything like that. I’ve seen two movies in theaters in the last 12 months. The odds just aren’t good. I think the controversy is a little silly. It’s a movie, and one told from a very definite point of view (an extremely conservative, Catholic point of view). Don’t discount its message, but don’t consider it the final word, either. B) I’m extremely thankful that President Bush pointed out that if Bill and Gary down the street decide to get married, my marriage is a total sham. That’s good knowledge to have. Seriously, if gay couples chose to get married, it doesn’t affect my marriage any more or less than the more numerous loveless heterosexual marriages, or hetero marriages based on convenience or full of dishonesty and infidelity. Frankly, what any other couple in the world does, gay or straight, in no way affects how successful, happy, and loving my marriage is. Honestly, I respect people who come out and say, “I’m offended by gay couples” a lot more than those who hide behind political language that states a desire to “defend marriage.” At least come out and say what you mean, rather than trying to offend as few people as possible while pandering to a political base. C) I’ve not seen Jason Giambi yet, but I can’t wait to see if he’s really lost 15-20 points, or the five he claims. To be honest, I’d much rather all the attention focused on steroids be spent working on the labor/financial situation in the game. In modern times, there have always been, and will always be performance enhancing drugs. It’s too late to take away Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire’s home run numbers. It’s not too late to keep $200 million payrolls from becoming the norm.

Monster House is one of my favorite shows. It’s right up there with the World Poker Tour and Nick & Jessica (Yes, I would have been at Crown Center screaming with the 12 year olds if I knew Jessica was there). On Monday’s episode, there was a couple with a baby named Kansas. Yep, it’s been added to the list. Unisex!

For some reason, ABC Family is showing a heavily edited Office Space. The printer destruction scene was just on. By far my favorite moment in the movie. It kills me every time.

The new Nike commercial with athletes competing in different sports: brilliant.

I’m flying home tomorrow. I hope to finish Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama, listen to a lot of music, and maybe knock out a Listening Post entry (Like I haven’t started about 20 of those on recent flights and got nowhere).


Sometimes Life Just Isn’t Fair

It’s all come to an end. Not only has the snow finally melted, bringing millions of birds to our yard, but my hair was trimmed by a Caucasian person today. It was disappointing to walk in and not see anyone of color perched smiling behind their chair, motioning me over. The people who were working seemed almost apologetic to service me, as if they knew there was something wrong with the situation. But we somehow got through it together, and I guess it’s ok.

Last night I read Augusten Burroughs’ hilariously twisted novel Sellevision. It revolves around several employees of a cable shopping network and their utterly ridiculous lives. In an effort to get a visible minority presence, all network employees are asked to look into their backgrounds to see if there is any African, Asian, or Native American blood coursing through their veins. If anyone happened to be ethnic, even in some small way, the network could avoid hiring a true minority. One hostess discovers despite looking completely Irish, she has a Native American ancestor several generations back. Later, her mother informs her they were mistaken, she is just Irish. The woman, who had taken to parting her hair in the middle and wearing it straight, and wearing turquoise jewelry tearfully admits to a coworker that she’ll have to take down the Indian artifacts and miniature teepee she had set up in her apartment.

That’s kind of how I feel this afternoon. My ethnic identity has been stripped away. Suddenly, I’m just a guy of Northern European descent with really good hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was just nice to be part of “the community” and “el barrio” even if for a brief moment in time.

Who’s up for going to the Gap?

Happy weekends to all. The next time you hear from me may be from LA. Mmmm, In ‘n Out Burger!


D’s Notes

I’ve got a week in the office to get caught up before I head west for my first business trip of the year. That means cleaning out the in-box, and getting a few things posted to the blog.

I’m writing this while watching the NBA All-Star game on Sunday night. Bill Simmons had a great point a couple weeks back. He talked about how great mid-February was if you were a boy growing up in the 1980s. The SI swimsuit edition showed up right about the same time as NBA All-Star weekend. If you didn’t have older brothers, like me, SI was about as close as you could get to regular access to porn. Why do I like brunettes? I’m pretty sure Carol Alt had something to do with it. Then the All-Star weekend was actually an event back then. The Slam Dunk contest was full of things we had never seen before. I can still hear Rick Barry breaking down Michael Jordan’s amazing dunks in the 1987 contest. “He’s actually turned his body so it’s almost parallel to the ground!” People actually got fired up about the 1988 finals between Dominique Wilkens and Jordan like it was a real game. We’d rush to the nearest eight foot goal to try to recreate the insanity that had gone down on TNT. Plus, the All-Star game itself was actually interesting to watch back then. Those were very good times.

Things I liked during this year’s All-Star game: the court and uniforms were nicely understated in an old-school way. Watching some old All-Star games on ESPN Classic earlier in the day, I was horrified at some of the atrocious uniforms and court designs used in past years. Many resembled what I imagine my shirts will look like once the baby comes and I’m getting puked on 20 times a day.
Things I didn’t like: I’m all for relaxing the officiating during an exhibition game. I don’t need to see Shaq fouling out. But I also don’t need to see players literally walking with the ball for ten feet, then suddenly remembering they’re in a game and making half-assed attempts to dribble and nothing is called. Give players an extra step so they can throw down spectacular dunks, that’s fine. But when Steve Francis gets a rebound, puts the ball under his arm, and takes three steps towards the perimeter, then dribbles, you’re pretty much telling me the whole thing is a farce. Also, it was sad seeing how poorly most of the team shoots compared to say the 1981 All-Stars. That game was full of spectacular plays, yet still looked like a basketball game. Players screened, moved without the ball, and knocked down every open shot.

I’m officially addicted to Sam Adams’ Winter Lager. A terrific, terrific beer. I may start hoarding massive amounts of it before it disappears. Then again, the utterly brilliant Guinness commercials for St. Patrick’s Day have me craving tasty, thick stouts as well.

I’m thoroughly disgusted on two levels by Alex Rodriquez’s move to the New York Yankees. First, that it was so easy for the Yankees to make the deal and in the process assemble a payroll that’s seven times as big as the payroll of several other major league clubs. Second, on a personal level, because I was so into the A-Rod to Boston saga of November and December, to the point where I ran out and watched ESPN News every 30 minutes for updates on deadline day. For some reason, anyone but the Yankees spending absolutely ridiculous amounts of money to stockpile players is ok, because it’s a way to keep the Yankees from winning. If the Red Sox had picked up A-Rod and Maglio Ordonez, realistically they would be big favorites to win the AL East over the Yankees for the next 3-4 years. The ends justify the means when you’re trying to beat the evil empire. Baseball is stupid.

Oh yeah, A-Rod is a money grubbing whore.

While we’re on the topic of things that disgust me, I was disgusted by the number of books I threw away before we moved. Boxes and boxes of books that I couldn’t sell or donate got thrown into dumpsters. I was disgusted not only by the numbers, but the amount of money I had spent on them. So I vowed to buy fewer books and start going to the library more and with that in mind, I went out and got a library card Saturday. It’s my first public library card since high school. Oh I’ll still buy books; I think that’s some genetic thing I can’t avoid. But I’m going to make an effort to always have a couple around from the library to avoid the urge to go on $80 sprees at Barnes & Noble. For those of you who follow my list of Zen on the right side of the page, you’ll be amused this time next week when my first pregnancy-related book hits the list. I’m about 200 pages into The Expectant Father.

Speaking of the pregnancy, all is well with that. We’re in the midst of week 16. S. continues to feel good the majority of the time. She’s in that high energy phase that I’m sure we’ll both look back fondly on when she feels miserable in a couple more months. Every so often she gets a strange pain and winces, and I ask what hurts. “Fetus decided to poke me, I think.”

We were out and about the other night, and when we pulled back into our neighborhood, there was a large lump in the road. “What’s that?” asked S. “Looks like a possum. Maybe it’s ours.” “That would be awesome!” she exclaimed. I looked at her in mock horror. “Well, I mean I’m not glad if it is ours that got killed, but at least we wouldn’t have to deal with it then.” For the past couple weeks, there’s been a fair-sized melted spot in the snow on our deck that is no doubt from the body heat of our possum which is slumbering below.

We rented our first movie in a month Friday, Seabiscuit. I loved it. I haven’t gone back to reread reviews to see how far, if at all, the movie strayed from the real story, but I really enjoyed the pace, the acting, and of course the story. “Have a nice race, Red.” Not quite as good as The Return of the King, though.

Who knows what’s going on with this band The Darkness? They’re clearly insane, and completely geniuses. But I can’t figure out if they’re kind of a British Tenacious D, or if they’re serious. The video for I Believe in a Thing Called Love is one of the most amazing things every, and proof that videos can still matter.

My rather brief trip to KC last week was not as impressive in culinary terms as my epic return in October. I was only, only, able to drop in on Gates and Waldo Pizza. My trip to Gates was noteworthy, though. The hostess, or whatever you want to call her, was quite enamored with my hair (and with Mike A’s bald pate as well). If I knew my hair had this kind of affect on ethnic women, I would have grown it out in college.

Where Were You?

It’s fair to say I feel ambivalent about Miracle. The previews are certainly exciting and interesting (and the early reviews are glowing) but in many ways, this seems like one of those moments that should be left alone. I remember a thoroughly horrible TV movie shortly after the fact. Maybe as a member of the generation that has ownership of this moment (at least the childhood perspective of it) I’m worried that a movie will replace the actual moment and people’s memories will be of the cinema and not where they were that Friday night in 1980. But if you watched, can those memories ever really be replaced or augmented by a movie a quarter century later?

Each time ESPN Classic replays the original game, I’m taken back to our living room in Jackson, MO. I remember sitting there alone (that had to be one of the first times my mom ever let me stay home along) watching on my chair literally inches from our 13″ TV. I had my massive National Geographic atlas on the floor by me, so I could see where the USSR was (as I had done with Czechoslovakia and Sweden earlier in the tournament). And I totally remember completely wigging out when the clock counted down. I don’t care what your sport and team affiliations are: if you’re between 30 and 40 and you saw that game that night, there’s been no bigger sporting event in your life. Sorry, it’s not even close.

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