Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

But since it's been a while since I've seriously blogged, I suppose it's time to get down to business, as the kids say.
Yes, I'm sitting at home on Christmas night. I headed up to Milwaukee yesterday to spend some time with the family, and had to come back to Chicago tonight as I have to be at work at 7 tomorrow morning. Christmas was good - it was pretty low-key, as usual. My brother, my mom, and I worked on this huge crossword puzzle from one of the Toronto papers:


I helped make dinner this afternoon, which was a really nice beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and taffy apple salad. I seared off the steaks and ransacked my mom's cabinets and refrigerator for something to go with it - I ended up making a quick mushroom stock out of button mushroom stems, some carrots, celery, and onions, and a pinch of this "Italian seasoning" stuff, sauteing sliced button mushrooms in the pan I seared the steaks, deglazing with the mushroom stock, throwing in a couple of beef bouillion cubes, reducing, and mounting it with a cubic ton of butter, and it turned out pretty well. Otherwise, my brother and I watched basketball (have I mentioned how much I hate the pro game yet?) and we opened presents and all of that. Did I mention I got an iPod nano? My reaction was somewhat like this (I know, it's old, but whatever, it's still funny.):

And hey, as long as we're on the Christmas topic, let's see what good ol' Mike Huckabee has to say about it:

No amount of Mr. Rogers sweaters or subtle crucifixes in the background will make me believe that this commercial is about nothing but getting votes. Seriously, Mikey, the entire country generally isn't as stupid as Arkansas.

What does Charlie Brown have to say about Christmas?

Shut up. Four years later, it's still funny to me.

One last thing for you kids. I was stumbling around the internet last night and came across NORAD Santa. Let's first discuss what NORAD is doing wasting their time and energy on a site that tracks Santa while he delivers presents. I dunno, but shouldn't they be...um..."...continuously provid[ing] worldwide detection, validation and warning of a ballistic missile attack on North America and maintain[ing] continental detection, validation, warning and aerospace control of air-breathing threats to North America, to include peacetime alert levels and appropriate aerospace defense measures to respond to hostile actions against North America"? (Thank you, Wikipedia!) "Continuously...unless Santa's coming!"
So ANYWAYS, I came across this site, and on Christmas Eve, the map was updating every five minutes to alert its viewers of where "Santa" was at the moment. And can you believe the places where the United States government allows Santa to deliver presents?


No, that isn't in the slightest bit photoshopped. Thank you, PRINTSCREEN!
"Ho ho ho! Random-probably-not-terrorist, what do you want for Christmas?"
"Um...can I go back home to my family?"
"Uh...how about a Nintendo Wiiiiiii! Merrrrrry Christmas!"

So, um, I think someone might have screwed up on that one.
If that whole thing isn't enough of a waste, our tax dollars are also going to create videos of Santa's journey!
But there's still no money for body armor.

Oh! I finally saw the Simpsons movie (on the train ride home tonight, on my brand new iPod Nano). It was pretty good. Also, I'm currently reading three books at once: What is the What by Dave Eggers (very good), The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks (good), and Stiffs by Mary Roach (creepy, but really interesting).

Hope you all had a great one!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


No, but seriously, life is good.
I sincerely apologize for the lack of recent updates, but life's been incredibly busy. Aside from the normal rigors of working, sleeping, going out, and all of that, I've been out of town on my last days off, which hopefully, I can explain to you all after the holidays.
I'll be back in Wisconsin with the family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (I know, I was shocked I don't have to work, too), then my brother and his girlfriend will be coming to Chicago a couple of days later.
So have a merry Christmas, everyone

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, ALABAMA.

The subject line has absolutely no relevance to this post except that it's what I'm listening to. Just thought I'd explain.
From regrettheerror.com: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections. It's a pretty long list, but totally worth it if you've got a few minutes (and all real, by the way). My favorites:

From The Sentinel-Review (Woodstock, Ontario):

"In an article in Monday’s newspaper, there may have been a misperception about why a Woodstock man is going to Afghanistan on a voluntary mission. Kevin DeClark is going to Afghanistan to gain life experience to become a police officer when he returns, not to shoot guns and blow things up.
The Sentinel-Review apologizes for any embarrassment this may have caused."

From the Daily Telegraph (UK):

"APOLOGY: In Friday’s article on Liz Hurley’s wedding it was wrongly stated that the actress is holding a pheasant shoot on the Sunday after the ceremony. Game shooting is of course illegal on Sundays and the pheasant season ended on Feb 1. We apologise for the error and accept that if any shooting is to be done it will be by the paparazzi, who have no season and do not observe the Sabbath."

From The Guardian:

"We misspelled the word misspelled twice, as mispelled, in the Corrections and clarifications column on September 26, page 30."

The Mirror (UK):

"BIG Brother’s Carole is a sexual health worker, not a sex worker, which usually means something rather different (Page 33, July 13)."


"In the May 25 “Explainer,” Michelle Tsai asserted that an eight ball is about 10 lines of cocaine. While the size of a line depends on personal preference, most users would divide an eight ball into more than 25 lines."

And so on, and so on.
Hmmm...my life has been decidedly dull as of late, so there's nothing else to report!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thoughts and opinions.

I'm 25 years old, and sledding is still fun.
I don't know why I thought vodka and coke would be a good combination. (It's not.)
I want to get into a fistfight with a panther. Tim knows why.
Mike Huckabee is insane, and seems to have a shot at the Republican nomination.
I wish baseball season would hurry up and get here already.
For some reason I feel like I'm too old to still be buying furniture at Ikea. I do it anyways.
I win so much, they wanna know who I'm coached by.
My Christmas shopping isn't even CLOSE to finished, and I'm not the least bit stressed about it.
I have no New Year's resolutions.
And, I think that's it from me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sick days and snow days.

Hey kids, if anyone wants the Cold Sensation That's Been Sweeping the Nation, come on over! It's now in full effect. And I thought it'd be over a couple days ago. As usual, please excuse the rambling - but this time, I can at least blame it on the Robitussin.
I saw this messed-up movie last night that I got from Netflix, called "Death of a President." My brain is too messy right now to come up with a proper synopsis of my own, so I'll be copying and pasting here to give you a better idea - (from netflix.com) "This provocative mockumentary imagines the assassination of President George W. Bush and the fallout that follows, including the media's reaction, the rush to convict an assassin, and the machinations of President Cheney."
It was quite strange, especially since this fictional assassination took place in Chicago, at the Sheraton right around the corner from where I work, so I recognized a lot of places where it was filmed.
I've also been watching a lot of "Law and Order: SVU." That really also creeps me out. For those of you who don't know, "SVU" follows the normal "Law and Order" format, but focuses on victims of sexually-based offenses. This is why Tivo is a bad idea. I'm starting to get bored of it, but we've got 30+ episodes recorded (thank you, USA marathons), so when I've got nothing better to do...
And what would any monotonous, repetitious show be without a drinking game? I'm not a big fan of actually participating in them, but the idea cracks me up, at the very least: (This was pulled from http://www.chatteringmagpie.com/Chattering-Magpie-blog/83/law-and-order-svu-drinking-game):

  • Discovery of body missing parts = 1 drink per missing body part

  • Subsequent discovery of body part matching body = 1 drink per body part

  • Discovery of body part not matching original body = give a drink to someone else

  • ME or CSI find single piece of evidence (eg. fiber, hair, drop of blood, bite mark) that ties perp to vic = 1 drink

  • Russian mob hit = 1 shot Stoli

  • Mafia hit = 1 glass Chianti

  • Asian gang hit = 1 cup plum wine

  • Sexual perversion you’ve never heard of = 1 drink

  • Sexual perversion you’ve engaged in = 1 drink and hope no one notices

  • Detectives trick a suspect into giving up DNA sample (eg. by inciting suspect to spit on them) = 1 drink

  • Successful DNA match as a result of above = 2 drinks

  • DNA evidence subsequently thrown out by a judge = 3 drinks

  • Seriously whack family dynamic = exchange drinks

  • Det. Stabler squints and looks intense = 1 drink

  • Det. Stabler worries about his daughters’ safety = 1 drink

  • Any reference to Det. Benson being product of her mother’s rape = 1 drink and circulate number of local rape crisis hotline

  • Det. Munch bitterly refers to previous marriages/wives = 1 drink per ex-wife/failed marriage

  • Det. Munch interjects conspiracy theory or other paranoia = cover your glass with your hand and drink so no one can see you

  • Det. Fin Tutuola says, “That’s messed up.” = 1 drink

  • Det. Tutuola uses urban slang = drink a 40 plus one for my homeys

  • Suspect flirts with/hits on Det. Benson = 1 drink and take a shower

  • ADA Novak gets chewed out by judge or boss = apologize insincerely and sip a glass of dry chardonnay
I'll add "Any time the phrase 'lawyered up' is used," "Any time Fin uses a pun that could be easily followed by one of those muted trumpets' 'wah-wahs'" and "Any time the detectives suspect a 'victim' cried rape because they had a case of 'buyer's remorse.'"

I got new books! "What is the What" by Dave Eggers, "IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas" and "Killing Yourself to Live," both by Chuck Klosterman.

So anyways, I've got to get ready for work.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I see no reason why we have yet to come up with a cure for the common cold.

As my generation continues to "grow up" and have more of an influence on what the world sees, hears, and believes, this whole retro thing'll end up growing a little tiring. Case in point:

Just like when Wendy's thought "Blister in the Sun" was an appropriate song to use for a commercial, I'm burned out of the whole Mario thing, the "oh yeah the 80's were awesome!" by people my age and younger who don't even remember the 80's (I was eight when 1990 struck, so, um, not too many clear memories there). Anyways.

Somewhat big news coming up, but I'm reluctant to share for a couple weeks until everything is finalized. Guess you'll just have to keep checking back, huh?

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I am so done with this. Anyways.

Movies I've seen recently, for lack of anything better to write about:

Ratatouille: Yes, I finally saw this. Lame story. Good animation. Nice detail. I want a kitchen like that.

Live Free or Die Hard: Comes in at #3 of the 4 Die Hard movies (1, 3 (at a very close second), 4, 2). Justin "I'm a Mac" Long has done too many comedies to allow me to suspend my disbelief for this one. But I did enjoy the flying-semi-crashing-into-the-helicopter scene. And John "No One Dies Harder Than...." McClane is awesome in the end.

Alpha Dog: Lame.

Off to work.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I can't believe I already have to go back to work tomorrow. Let's leave it at that.

I had big plans for today, but now I just don't feel like it. Maybe I'll go in my room, close the blinds, turn off the lights, and spend the afternoon playing Goldeneye.

Today's episode of "did he really just say that?" comes from former attorney general John Ashcroft. In a speech last night on national security at the University of Colorado, Ashcroft appeared to claim that he would be willing to be waterboarded. My head is still spinning around this, so just go ahead and click the link, okay?

I just got "Live Free or Die Hard" on Netflix, so I think I'm actually going to have a marathon in my pajamas - including all four Die Hard movies, all three bonus discs from the original trilogy, and a copious amount of "Yippee-ki-yay!"s. I'm just kidding, really...I'm not THAT big of a loser - but these guys are (warning: includes some possibly not safe for work language):

Catchy song, though.

I read an interesting column in Esquire the other day (Chuck Klosterman, pp. 94-96, Dec. 07 issue) which postulates that the common ice-breaking question "What music do you like?" doesn't really say much about who that person is.

Klosterman writes, "...I'm starting to suspect this seemingly innocuous inquiry...might be weirder and more complex than I originally assumed...But here's the problem: This premise is founded on the belief that the person you're talking with consciously knows why he appreciates those specific things or harbors those specific feelings. It's also predicated on the principle that you know why you like certain sounds or certain images, because that self-awareness is how we establish the internal relationship between a) what someone loves and b) who someone is. But this process is complicated and (usually) unconsidered. It's incredibly easy for me to grasp that I love the first fourteen seconds of "I Don't Need No Doctor." A harder task is figuring out why exactly I feel that way...I can isolate and answer the question more specifically than anyone I've ever met. Yet not only does my answer fail to reflect anything meaningful about my personality, it doesn't even reflect what I fundamentally like about music..."

At the very least, it's an interesting theory. Personally, I grew up listening to a diverse range of styles of music, and therefore have a greater appreciation for the classical/opera/jazz genres than most people my age. But while I could stereotype endlessly about what one's preferences say about them (I'm a dork because I like myself some Beethoven, the 35 year old who still identifies with punk rock lyrics needs to grow up, people who cry at Celine Dion concerts have unresolved emotional issues), it doesn't really say anything. I guess I identify with the author as the whole "what kind of music are you into" question has vexed me for years. (By the way, Klosterman suggests that instead of that tired question, one should ask "What kind of music do you think you like?") I'm into anything that strikes me, which is far less tangible than an aisle at the local record store.
And no, I can't explain it either. What kind of music am I into? I'd probably say, "Um, you know...pretty much everything." (blank stare) "You know... (trails off)." A quick sort by genre in iTunes reveals that I'm a fan of rock, rap, classical, old-school country, punk rock, hip-hop, grunge, folk, hair metal...but this says nothing.
Klosterman's list includes both of the spectrum, from "The closing 1:02 of AC/DC's 'It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)' when Angus Young's playing devolves into an inverted riff-o-rama in response to the bagpipes" to "The vocal sequence from Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone' where she sings and talks to herself at the same time." But I bet Chuck Klosterman wouldn't identify himself as a Kelly Clarkson fan.
Music is so visceral, so intangible, that in my opinion, it's hard to sneer at someone for their preferences. So what are mine? Another quick glance through my iTunes....

- the chorus of Dave Matthews Band's "Warehouse."
- the end of Less than Jake's "All My Best Friends are Metalheads," in which the end of the chorus is repeated ("paranoid of every sound...") with the horn overlay
- the opening guitar riff to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" - let's call it the first fifty seconds - in which every single piece of that band, from guitar to bass to drums to vocals, begins to come together and crescendo. No matter where I am, I'll stop what I'm doing and air-guitar. I'm just that big of a nerd.
- the first thirty seconds of Chopin's "Nocturne in E Flat, Op. 9, No. 2"
-"I make my money, man, without the coca, livin' la vida without the loca..."
- 0:19 - 0:40 of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone"
- the drum part of American Hi-Fi's "The Art of Losing"
- ditto for the Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Off to Boston"

So, draw your own conclusions.
"No one dies harder than John McClane, even when his wife's stuck on a plane..."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It burns!

"Get this - free gym bag!"
Lu just dragged me to the gym. We ran a mile, and surprisingly, I didn't collapse on the treadmill. And yes, I'm joining, only on a month-to-month basis so we can see how it goes. Not that I feel like I want to bulk up, or anything - even if I wanted to, I don't think I have that in me - but I'd forgotten what a great stress reliever running can be.
And now, of course, we're off to IHOP to unburn (?) all those calories.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm off to work feeling a bit depressed, to be honest, as this is the first Thanksgiving of my life, I think, that I haven't been able to see my family. Luckily, my awesome roommate is here and we got to spend the morning hanging out and playing video games, so at least I've had some normal interaction to give me a little sense of "home" before the orders start coming in.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, loyal readers. Hope yours is a good one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All I want for Christmas...

Looking for something to buy me for Christmas? Look no further..
Off to the couch again to nurse my massive headache.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I've had a good day, but right now I'm bored out of my skull. Thankfully I'll be saved from that one in about an hour.
I've been getting a feeling lately (I don't know where it's coming from) that I should start collecting something. But I don't know what. Any ideas? (And no, "dust" is not an answer. I've got plenty of that already.)
Real life Mario Kart!

Oh, and here's the Mike Huckabee/Chuck Norris video which I mentioned in my last post. It's absolutely surreal. Remember, folks, this is an actual campaign commercial.

The word of the day is lackadaisical.

I think I spelled that right. I can see the dictionary sitting fifteen feet away but I'm really in no mood to go check it. That should really give you a clear picture of my current malaise-a-riffic state of mind. It's a cold, dark, and rainy Monday, perfect for a pot of coffee, Massive Attack on the iTunes, and just generally staying indoors.
So anyways, kids, I apologize for the lack of updates. Really, Daddy wishes he could be around more and not miss your t-ball games, but with work and friends and the goings-on of everyday life, the blog will have to make some sacrifices.
So, as usual, I don't have much to say, so we're going to discuss some interesting things running around the internet as well as what's happening in that thing called...um...oh yeah, real life.
I'm attempting to post this picture, but either Photobucket or Blogspot hates me, so it's not showing up in its full size, so I'll have to link to it. I can't decide who's actually in charge of this, but Nike and Major League Baseball have teamed up to create this map (which in turn sells more t-shirts, but such is the nature of capitalism). But, it is really cool. It basically breaks down a map of the United States into its support of each major league baseball team. It's actually very well done, so you can take a minute and check that out here.

The apathy of the Democratic party is really starting to worry me. We voted last November for change. I'm not sure if anyone was honestly expecting such measures as a Bush/Cheney impeachment hearing to actually come to fruition, but there was a sense after the votes were tallied that things would finally start to change.
Instead, sadly enough, what we've gotten hasn't been much better than "Republicans Part Two." On Saturday night, members of the California Democratic Party put forth a motion to censure Sen. Dianne Feinstein for, among other things, voting to confirm Mukasey as attorney general (despite his unwillingness to clearly define waterboarding as torture). Kudos to the grassroots movement who hoped to place on official record their disappointment in the Senator "for ignoring Democratic principles and falling so far below the standard of what we expect of our elected officials." Unfortunately, this measure was struck down Saturday night without even a vote as it was doomed from the beginning on procedural grounds. However, maybe this'll finally be a sign to all the Democrats who unfairly used our anger to gain votes, and then chose to do nothing once elected to office. Fair warning: we've put you there for a reason, and if you don't do your job, we'll fire you, too.

Headline today on the New York Times' politics blog The Caucus : McCain, Giuliani vie for 9/11 Brand.
I'd recommend that you read this article, but it's sickening that one of our nation's biggest tragedies needs to be used for political gain.

Mike Huckabee is slowly going insane.
In an interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday, his new campaign ad was previewed, slated to run in Iowa beginning today. I'll just quote the story (written by the Associated Press, by the way, not the Onion) and let you decide for yourself:

"Huckabee also previewed his first television ad of the campaign on the program. The 60-second spot, which features actor Chuck Norris, was to begin running in Iowa on Monday.

"My plan to secure the border. Two words: Chuck. Norris," says Huckabee, who stares into the camera before it cuts away to show Norris standing beside him.

"Mike Huckabee is a lifelong hunter who'll protect our Second Amendment rights" on gun ownership, says the tough-guy actor, who takes turns addressing viewers.

"There's no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard, only another fist," Huckabee says.

"Mike Huckabee wants to put the IRS out of business," Norris adds.

"When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the earth down," Huckabee says.

"Mike's a principled, authentic conservative," says Norris.

In closing, Huckabee says: "Chuck Norris doesn't endorse. He tells America how it's going to be. I'm Mike Huckabee and I approved this message. So did Chuck."

Huckabee acknowledged that the ad probably will not change many minds.

"But what it does do is exactly what it's doing this morning," he said. "Getting a lot of attention, driving people to our Web site, giving them an opportunity to find out who is this guy that would come out with Chuck Norris in a commercial."

Thompson's campaign said the ad shows Huckabee is not serious about immigration, an issue in Iowa.

"With his new campaign ad featuring Chuck Norris, Mike Huckabee has confused celebrity endorsement with serious policy. What would Huckabee do to secure America's border against millions of illegal immigrants pouring into our country? According to his ad, 'Two words: Chuck Norris,'" said Thompson campaign spokesman Todd Harris."


Anyways, I feel an aneurysm coming on, so enough politics for one day. How about some videos?

"How We Met" : You've just got to watch it.

"(My iPhone) is quite possibly the only thing that keeps me sane these days. Well, that, and the meth." - unaired, from SNL.

And finally, the best prank ever.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It's been a crazy, crazy week, and I don't even want to discuss it. Everything's good, I'm just physically and mentally worn. So onto the random, mind-numbing things that keep you people reading.

I say this every year, but Christmas shouldn't be allowed to start before Thanksgiving.

I've got half an eye on the Bears game, and I really don't care what happens. Call me a fair-weather fan, but as far as I'm concerned, their season is over and I'm just watching for the sake of not really having anything better to do.

So I have to admit that I've become somewhat of a couch potato lately. The second season of "Prison Break" is just so good. But we've discussed that before.

According to two separate polls taken in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton's lead in the national polls has shrunk by nine or ten points, depending on which poll you believe. There is such a thing as peaking too soon. (What are Howard Dean and John McCain doing nowadays? Certainly not running the country.) It gives us all a reminder that the election doesn't happen for another year, and as of right now, it's probably smart to support the candidate in whom you believe, not whomever's leading the polls.

Thanks, Blogspot, for opening my eyes to The To-Do List Blog. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. I personally find this whole thing fascinating and hilarious. You can find a blog about absolutely anything on the internet, whether it's a collection of passive-aggressive notes , an assortment of photos taken of "Creepy, Abandoned Chi-Chis", or the classic viral internet cliche, Captioned Cats (known throughout the internet community as "lolcats." It's all incredibly funny and mindless.
So if you'd excuse me, I've got some To Do notes to read.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

From johnkerry.com :

"This country should never stoop to torturing people, and we need to put the government on record saying that. This is an important legislation to close loopholes and stop the double-talk and obfuscations from the Bush Administration. Torture doesn't work, the information you get is unreliable, and it's a black mark on the honor of any country that condones it.

Please add your voice to the chorus of Americans standing up and saying, "Not in our name!" We won't have torture committed in our name by any branch of our government. We believe in the rights and dignity of individuals, and our country is too great to be lowered to the level of torturing people. This will be a big fight, and I'll keep you updated with any further ways you can help win this fight for the soul of America. And, when you sign the petition, if you'd like, leave a comment in your own words explaining why you think this is important.

Underneath the petition I'll include the text of the legislation. Thank you so much for your help. This is an important fight for the dignity of all of us.

Thank you so much,
John Kerry"

You can sign that petition here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


"Remember when you asked me what the definition of irony was, and I said AAAAHHHHHH!!!"

Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post reported yesterday on the Bush administration's inability to grasp this simple concept . (Mr. President, Alanis Morrissette is holding on line 1 for you...)
Democrats may have thought Christmas came early this year, when White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was asked "Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?', the response was "In our opinion, no."
Are we repealing the Patriot Act? Closing Guantanamo? Ending unconstitutional wiretapping of private citizens?
Uh, not so fast. Ms. Perino was talking about Pakistan.
Oh. Uh, that makes sense.
For those of you out of the news loop, President/General Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and suspended the Pakistani constitution. And apparently, the appropriate response is to worry about curttailing of civil liberties...in Pakistan.
Click on that link above ("Bush administration's ability to grasp that simple concept."). The professional writers'll be able to explain the situation and the irony a lot better than I will.

I don't want to even get into the fake FEMA press conference, which, to be fair, I have no idea whether or not the Bush administration privately embraced and publicly scorned. Real journalists everywhere should be angry, that's all I'll say.

And we'll round out today's segment by wishing a happy birthday to The Kit-Cat Clock.
Must be a slow news day at the Seattle Times, who reported that Company President Woody Young credits lifetime sales of "well over 10 million" clocks to the feline's "disarming smile. I've had people say they talk to Kit-Cat because with its eyes and tail moving, it gives the sense of being alive; you feel like it's got a heart beating. This is something you don't get from a regular clock."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Case, meet point.

Halloween really is from the devil. All of this candy sitting around + boredom = me eating a LOT of it. I tend to get into trouble when I'm bored. So I've got the super combination of a headache, stomachache, and, of course, the impending doom of the dreaded sugar crash.

Speaking of that fit of boredom, don't ever Google your own name if you find yourself caught in one. You'll be sorry. (And NO, I did not write that.)

Yawn. Here it comes. And since I have nothing else relevant to say (do I ever?), that's it from me.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

21st century marketing at its best.

I have to delay grocery shopping for a few minutes so I can show you this.
Apparently, Nike's ad people have decided that the best way to market their new golf ball, Juice, is to make a bunch of short films showing the ball being fired from a high-powered cannon into various every day objects. So if you've ever wondered what happens when a golf ball with a 312-dimple pattern (how this is a great improvement over the standard pattern, I couldn't tell you), here's your shot. Waste some time and watch some slow motion video of the Juice ball being shot into a gumball machine, a jar of mayonnaise, a gingerbread house, a lava lamp, whatever. And since I'm not much of a golf player (I've only played mini-golf, actually...I think on the small scale), if you get me these golf balls for Christmas, I promise to invite you over so you can see me recreate some of these videos for myself. Objects being considered now are a bottle of fish sauce, the next door neighbor's picture window, and a pile of the upstairs neighbors' newly harvested tomatoes.
Caalllll me!

*Note: Author claims no responsibility for arrests, subsequent prosecutions, or any other negative consequences resulting from reader's actions, regardless of whether or not said reader was "totally encouraged", by author or any other participant, into blasting a "Juice" ball through the front window of an oncoming Blue Line train. This is a stupid thing to do and you should've known that. Have fun in jail.


The remnants at the bottom of the coffee pot have been reducing for nearly four hours now, concentrating themselves into a bitter syrup. I'm drinking it anyways. Such is the life of an addict.

I desperately need new clothes for winter. I'm not much of a shopper, but I opened my closet today to find polo after polo, with a hoodie or two mixed in. Most of the nicer clothes I own have been stolen from my brother (who made the fatal mistake of leaving them behind on his way to Canada), but it's about time I start getting my own things. So if anyone wants to dress me - preferably before it gets too cold - I'm too skinny to not own sweaters - give me a holler. Apparently this year's theme is stripes. I've been looking on all of the usual suspects' websites, and that's all I can find. "Prison chic," I think they call it. Or maybe I just made that up.

I've decided that in the interest of not collapsing from an aneurysm as I angrily pound the keyboard, today's posts will be politics free. Unless something big happens. No, today will be spent on the couch with the football game.

Lukewarm coffee is still the worst. (Again, still drinking it.)

So...uh...waste of a post.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Irrelevancy at its finest.

Quoted from Time magazine, http://thepage.time.com/huckabee-stirs-the-mormon-issue-2/ .

For the “Political Players” series, CBS News’ Brian Goldsmith talked with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

CBSNews.com: “Do you believe that Mormonism is a legitimate form of Christianity?”

Gov. Huckabee: “You know, Mormonism is a faith that people adhere to. And I think people ought to respect anybody’s faith. I am not all that familiar with the intricate details. I have enough trouble keeping up with my own faith. So, I do not spend lots of time trying to evaluate somebody else’s.”
CBSNews.com: “But do you think they’re real Christians?”

Gov. Huckabee: “Once again, I am not going to try to judge. That is for them to determine whether they accept Jesus Christ as the only revelation of God on Earth. And, if they do, then that is how a person is a Christian, not by the label they wear, but by the position they take on the role and the personhood of Christ.”

Huh. Didn't really answer the question, did you, Mikey? Now, I know I should waste my breath (typing fingers?) on someone who's at the very best considered a fringe candidate, but to me, this example illustrates two huge issues with politics today.

1. Gov. Huckabee hides nothing of his Baptist-preacher-turned-politician background. In fact, it's a focal point of his campaign. His slogan is "Faith. Family. Freedom." So he HAS to know something about the LDS church. What would happen if a parishioner came to him and said, "You know, I was thinking about joining the Mormons...is that pretty much the same thing as being Baptist?" Do you really think he'd say, "Uh...I dunno."? If he's worth his salt as a Baptist preacher, he'd know the difference. He's avoiding the question because to answer, regardless of which way, would be political suicide. If Gov. Huckabee said "yes," he'd probably alienate all of the "values voters" (the "Christian mainstream" - meaning anyone but the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other denomination commonly looked upon by other sects as "way out there" )on whom he so desperately depends. If he said, "no," he'd alienate the Mormon crowd and could pretty much forget about Utah's five electoral votes, assuming, of course, it came to that point. Instead of telling us what he really believes in, he thinks that the proper response is to avoid the question altogether, therefore avoiding a controversy, therefore avoiding widespread criticism, therefore (in his mind, at least), having a better shot at the Republican nomination. (

In a sense, he has a point. But if you ask me, this country is a bit tired of all of the posturing and politics. Trust is a huge issue now. We've spent the last seven years being lied to after twice electing the candidate with whom we'd most like to have a beer instead of the one who could properly run the most powerful country in the world, and now, hopefully we'll be a bit more careful and demand answers. The challenge for every candidate is to find a proper balance between the two - this country as a whole seems like it wants someone who isn't too wooden (Gore) or elitist (Kerry), but really seems like it wants to move ahead of that and (gasp!) elect someone who can actually do the job. Gov. Huckabee, tell us where you stand. We'll appreciate your honesty more than anything. To the mainstream media, stop suckering the candidates into questions which can't possibly be answered simply to stir up controversy. Which brings me to my next point...

2. Where exactly is this relevant? We're choosing a PRESIDENT here, not the new minister of our local church. Call me old fashioned, but I'm of the opinion that in such a diverse country, we shouldn't need to know whether or not a candidate is religious. A large percentage of voters are put off by Romney's Mormon faith. Early in the campaign, Obama was swift-boated by people who made a huge deal out of the possibility that he attended a Muslim school as a child. And now, what do we have in office? A "compassionate" conservative whose actions have led the nation to understand that he's anything but, who has destroyed the lives of countless innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, who mocked Karla Faye Tucker on her way to the execution chamber, who believes that lining the pockets of his friends at Halliburton and Blackwater is the proper way to run any civilized society. Congratulations America, you've wet the bed on this one, and now you have to lie in it. I'd vote for a Scientologist if he (or she, don't want to offend anyone here, do we?) could hand me a comprehensive plan to balance the budget, get us out of Iraq, provide health insurance to every citizen, and fix immigration. Let's stay away from religion when we discuss politics, and maybe we'll get answers to the politically relevant questions at hand.

But that's enough politics for one day. Now we go on to a series called, "Nate watches it so you don't have to." I was bored out of my skull last night, home after finishing a stretch of eight consecutive work days and a back-to-back from the previous night. I was flipping channels, and found out my roommate had recorded a marathon of "The Restaurant." I remember being asked about this show when it was actually on the air, and had never seen it - so I said, "Hey, I'll give it a shot until I fall asleep." (7:00 on a Friday night - yes, I am that pathetic.)
I don't think I've ever seen a worse show in my entire life. The "real-life restaurant," Rocco's in New York City, was obviously an invite-only crowd - from the customers to the "this is my big break!" actors playing Rocco's employees. (Give it up, NBC, we're well aware that this show was a sham.)

I could've sworn I saw this guy in the kitchen.
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"You seen my gun...now I wanna see yours."

I could just see the producers on the set of this one. "Hey! You look Mexican. Be on this show!"
"Uhh...I'm Guatamalan."
"Whatever, you look Mexican enough, get to makeup!"

The funny thing is about this guy (which I just learned, by the way, his name is Noel Gugliemi), is that although he's half Italian, he plays "stereotypical Hispanic" in EVERYTHING. Here's a quick bio - I would've gotten the official one from IMDB, but this one from Wikipedia is so much more funny (and makes my point a bit better):

The Fast and the Furious: Hector
National Security: Latino Convict
SWAT: Latino Convict
Ode: Cholo
Hotel California: Chino
11:11: Julio
Four episodes of The Young and the Restless - as two different characters! (Two as "drug dealer," two as "Satchel." No one ever said, "Hey, wasn't Satchel dealing drugs a while back?")
It reads on and on like this. "Latino Thug." "Cesar." "Warehouse Rooftop Hood."
So...uh...I guess my point was that they just grabbed a whole lot of people a lot less famous than this guy to play the Hispanic kitchen crew.
So anyways, "The Restaurant" is terrible. Don't waste your time. I'd rather make out with Britney Spears (and it would take a lot for me to do that at this point, trust me) than watch ten more minutes of this show.

Catch y'all on the flip side.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I love Keith Olbermann.

No writing today, because I'm lazy. It's easier to just copy and paste. Plus, the video speaks for itself.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I love feeling nauseous.

Not really. But it's happening.
The last couple of days have been INSANELY frustrating, but I'm not going to even get into it on my blog. I don't think I could even get into it with a therapist. Or a combination analyst/therapist. (First one who gets that reference wins a cookie. And I make good ones, too.) What I've got lurking in the darkest reaches of my brain would send them screaming.
Ever get the feeling that you're being punk'd? Like Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out with that stupid trucker hat any second now to laugh hysterically in your face? (Joke's on you, Ashton - have fun getting that bloody lip sewn up.) If I had a nickel for every time I said in a week, "You've gotta be kidding me," or "This has to be some kind of sick joke," I'd be able to quit my job and buy an island somewhere that doesn't even know what MTV is.
So this shall be my rant for the day. I expect the mood to continue for the next few - but life goes on. Luckily there are a few good, totally unexpected things and people happening in my life right now that keep me smiling on the outside.

Monday, October 29, 2007


What a weekend.
First, the Halloween party on Saturday. It was rad, despite a couple of minor incidents , and pictures will be posted as soon as they're uploaded from the digital camera. Jeremy, if you're reading this, thanks for coming - it was awesome to have you just randomly show up like that! - and I hope you and Becca had a great time.

So after the party, I went to work on half an hour's sleep - bad idea. I was a zombie throughout, but it was worth it. I was so tired I took a nap in the adjoining banquet hall on my lunch break. I was so sleepy when I got home that I only caught an inning of...wait, what happened last night? Oh yeah.

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World Champions.

*EDIT* (March 5, 2008) - I'm noticing a lot of traffic directed to this post from Google images. If you happen to be one of those getting here from a Google image search, could you drop a comment and let me know what you searched for to get here? I'm just curious - thanks.

I read somewhere (sources? I don't need no stinkin' sources!) that, during the postgame celebration, a loud contingent of Red Sox fans chanted "Yankees suck! Yankees suck!"
Now, I'm not going to debate the fact that the Yankees do, in fact, suck. We have all known this for a long time now (well, most of us - you know who you are!), but the whole idea of a "Yankees suck" chant seems defeatist and just plain dumb when you aren't even PLAYING the Yankees.
Now that the Red Sox have become the team of the moment to either love or hate (dare I say it? the new Yankees), those idiots from the Bronx are becoming, in Jimmy Carter's words (kindof), increasingly irrelevant. It's high time Red Sox fans realize what they've got - two world championship trophies more than the Yankees in the past four years, 25 guys that love playing in Boston, and - dare I say it? - the makings of a possible dynasty hardly whispered at since that other team from New England reeled off wins in three of the last six Super Bowls and are in a beautiful spot from which to do it again this year. The Yankees shouldn't even matter anymore. Yes, I'm well aware of the deep rivalry. But maybe we should be enjoying this one without thoughts of the Evil Empire lurking in the background. It's juvenile, immature, and really, completely irrelevant.
So A-Rod has opted out of his contract and there's talk about bringing him to Boston. I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. First of all, we need to remember that he isn't a born third baseman - he only got there due to the Yankees' Derek Jeter dilemma - with an All-Star shortstop already, that was really the only place to put him. So we need to keep that in mind, because there's no way Mike Lowell is replaceable - unless, of course, he asks for an unholy amount of money as his contract is up this year - which I don't really see happening. So you could bring in A-Rod to replace Lugo at short. I guess I'd be okay with that.

The aforementioned work on my arm is done. It's a bad picture at a bad angle, but you get the idea (well, I hope so - it's a butcher's diagram of a rabbit). It's on my left bicep, in case the angle of the picture is throwing you off. I love it, love it, love it.

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I've had an odd obsession with escape movies recently. Here from Netflix now is the first two discs from the second season of "Prison Break", as well as the old Clint Eastwood flick "Escape from Alcatraz." If anyone wants to interpret that for me, you're more than welcome. I should mention that the final episode of the first season of "Prison Break" (the part where the President, etc. are in a kitchen, supposedly in D.C., was filmed ten feet below me during dinner service one night at the Fairmont Hotel. We attempted to crash the set prior to filming by strategically placing bottles of fish sauce and Nutella in random locations and scratching our initials into boxes, but the director must have noticed because there's no sign of any of it on the final cut.

That's it from me, have a good night, y'all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


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As reported by numerous news agencies, lifelong Yankees fan Rudy Giuliani announced in Boston that he's rooting for the Red Sox to win the World Series.

"If I keep looking at that hat, I may start crying," he said to chuckles, before adding, "Good luck to the Red Sox!"

Pundits immediately declared the comments a shameless play for votes from a man whose name is almost synonymous with Bronx Bomber - a big-game regular in the box seats next to the Yankee dugout....

"The next time he goes to Yankee Stadium, we will boo," vowed Charlie Egan, 36, a carpenter from Rockville Centre, L.I. "Yankee fans forget nothing."

"He said that?" exclaimed a shocked Bob Herbert, 49, a Brooklyn maintenance worker. "He should be ashamed of himself."

"He is doing what Hillary did," Herbert added, referring to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, whom Giuliani mocked just last week for dividing her loyalty between the Yankees and the .National League Cubs of her native Chicago. "He is just doing it for votes."

The GOP front-runner insisted his sudden conversion to Red Sox fandom was "not just because I'm here in Massachusetts."

"In Colorado, in the next week or two, you will see, I will have the courage to tell the people of Colorado the same thing, that I am rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series," he said.

But the former mayor will still have the electoral math on his side. Colorado has a total of nine Electoral College votes, compared with about 30 in Red Sox Nation - Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and about half of Connecticut.

"Go Red Sox! 9/11!"

On another note, call me overly involved, paranoid, whatever. According to the USDA website, they will answer any question in five business days. According to my count, tomorrow will be five. If I don't hear from them by then, I'm contacting my congressman to see if I can't get this explained.
So that's it from me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

This just about sums it up.

Tessie is the Royal Rooters rally cry
Tessie is the tune they always sung
Tessie echoed April through October nights
After serenading Stahl, Dinneen and Young
Tessie is a maiden with a sparkling eye
Tessie is a maiden with a love
She doesn't know the meaning of her sight
She's got a comment full of love
And sometimes when the game is on the line
Tessie always carried them away
Up the road from "Third Base" to Huntington
The boys will always sing and sway

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only

The Rooters showed up at the grounds one day
They found their seats had all been sold
McGreevey led the charge into the park
Stormed the gates and put the game on hold
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only

The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Boston, you are the only only only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Red Sox, you are the only only only

Dropkick Murphys - "Tessie"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Worst Documentary Ever?

I kid you not - I was just browsing around the "recommendations" section to see what stupid movie Netflix thinks I should see now when I come across:

"Helvetica. We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs -- and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit's unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, whose readability has made it the most popular font in the world. Interviews with designers and artists offer insight into the development, use and universal acceptance of Helvetica as the typeface of choice for everything from writing letters to creating corporate logos."

Let me see if I got this right. Someone made a movie about a FONT. And expects me to PAY to watch it. Huh.

Speaking of movies, I saw Blood Diamond last night. The idea was dramatic enough...but there was practically no character or story development. I'm sorry, Leo, but one scene of "my parents were brutally murdered when I was 9" does not a tragic figure make. So, I can't recommend that one, either.

It's 1:00 and I'm still in my pajamas. So it's time to go fix that. But first, something to read for the day.
I ran across this article by Roland Martin while browsing through my del.icio.us bookmarks, and while it's six months old, the issue will be relevant for years to come:

"When did it come to the point that being a Christian meant caring about only two issues,­ abortion and homosexuality?

Ask the nonreligious what being a Christian today means, and based on what we see and read, it's a good bet they will say that followers of Jesus Christ are preoccupied with those two points.

Poverty? Whatever. Homelessness? An afterthought. A widening gap between the have and have-nots? Immaterial. Divorce? The divorce rate of Christians mirrors the national average, so that's no big deal."

Read the rest of the article here.

He's right. Why do Christians such as myself hesitate to be labeled as "Christian"? It isn't a point of embarrassment, it isn't that I'm afraid of being called a "Bible thumper" or a "Jesus freak," it's that I'm tired of being associated with the psychos who hijack the name of Christ to advance their personal wars.

I refuse to be associated with Jerry “The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews” Falwell or Pat "assassinate Hugo Chavez" Robertson, because we don't believe in the same God. Sorry, Reverends, but the Jesus I signed up with taught peace, love, and compassion (yeah, all of that hippie crap you guys are so scared of!), not fear, hatred, and intolerance. As long as "Christians" like these continue to use their bully pulpits to push their warped agendas, I'll continue to make it very clear what exactly it is I believe in when I'm identified as a Christian.

And I'm not trying to say that there's no such thing as a Republican Christian. But don't castigate me for being a Democrat. Don't tell me I support the "mass murder of unborn babies." By the way, I don't LIKE the idea of abortion by any stretch of the imagination - who does? - but in six and a half years in office, what has GWB done to end abortion in America? And yes, I understand the mathematical theory behind "There's no such thing as 100% safe sex," but it seems rather obvious to me that you can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't avoid teaching kids to have safe sex, and then bemoan the rising abortion rate - because if someone doesn't know what a condom is, they won't use one, leading to pregnancy, leading to abortions. Point is, abstinence-only education is only giving rise to the number of abortions in this country.

One last, last thing. WOW.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

And again...

Domain Name
usda.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address
199.128.117.# (USDA Office of Operations)
USDA Office of Operations
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : District of Columbia
City : Washington
Lat/Long : 38.9097, -77.0231 (Map)
English (U.S.)
Operating System
Microsoft WinXP
Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.1)
version 1.3
Resolution : 1152 x 864
Color Depth : 32 bits
Time of Visit
Oct 18 2007 8:39:53 am
Last Page View
Oct 18 2007 8:39:53 am
Visit Length
0 seconds
Page Views
Referring URL

Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click

Time Zone
Visitor's Time
Oct 18 2007 9:39:53 am
Visit Number

If you don't hear from me, see you when I get back from Guantanamo.

I sent the USDA another message stating:

"I asked a question a couple of days ago, and while it was answered to my satisfaction, I noticed that my personal blogs were visited a total of three times by USDA employees after my question was sent. Could you explain to me the reason for doing this, and how you found my blogs in the first place? If there's something in the PATRIOT Act regarding this, by all means, go ahead, but I was a little surprised to see visitors as I made no mention of either blog (or even the fact that I had one) in the question I asked.

So we'll see what happens with that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The government is stalking me.

Or, something strange is going on.
Yesterday, I visited the USDA website to get the full text of this year's Farm Bill and to email them regarding some clarifications I needed. I used the USDA's comment form, typed in my question with email address, and was on my way.
Frequent readers of this blog (both of you) will remember my post last week about SiteMeter, the tool attached to this blog which allows me to check up on who's reading this. So imagine my surprise when I checked my statistics an hour later to find:

Domain Name
usda.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address 168.68.1.# (USDA Office of Operations)
ISP USDA Office of Operations
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Maryland
City : Bowie
Lat/Long : 38.9576, -76.7566 (Map)
Language English (U.S.)
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070914 Firefox/
Javascript version 1.5
Resolution : 1280 x 1024
Color Depth : 32 bits
Time of Visit Oct 16 2007 10:29:45 am
Last Page View Oct 16 2007 10:29:45 am
Visit Length 0 seconds
Page Views 1
Referring URL
(my old blog)
Visit Entry Page http://natehamilton.blogspot.com/
Visit Exit Page http://natehamilton.blogspot.com/
Out Click
Time Zone UTC-6:00
Visitor's Time Oct 16 2007 10:29:45 am
Visit Number 97

Curiouser and curiouser. Not only did someone at the USDA office look at this page, but they got here through a link from my old blog! I've googled the heck out of this, and I can't find any way to get to EITHER blog from the information I provided in that email to the USDA.
It's not like I'm worried, I'm not sitting here typing anything too inflammatory - that is, until criticism of a sitting administration becomes an actual crime - but I am slightly bothered by the fact that someone in the USDA feels like they need to check up on me. Don't forget, as well, the million-dollar question: How did they even find my blogs? Did I miss something in the Patriot Act?
I'm angry and I'm actually going to call them on this - I'll email them back and see if I get any more hits on here. What I say in the internet is completely irrelevant to the question I've asked, wouldn't you agree?
But, to the United States Government - I don't need my question answered anymore. I haven't found the answer, but if you feel like you need to dig through my blogs to properly answer my question, I'll find another avenue, thank you very much. Go find something better to do with your time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh, come on.

Excuse my rambling. I've got half an eye on the Red Sox game.

Anthony Bourdain is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
In an article in People magazine (it was posted on Fark.com, NO, I don't read People), Bourdain tore into "celebrity chef" Rachael Ray for her promotion of Dunkin' Donuts.

"I'm not a very ethical guy. I don't have a lot of principles. But somehow this seems to me over the line. Juvenile diabetes has exploded. Half of Americans don't have necks. And she's up their saying, 'Eat some [...] Dunkin' Donuts. You look great in that swimsuit – eat another doughnut! That's evil," Bourdain said.

Take a minute to find the irony of this coming from a man who:
1. claims to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day - is there any better example of people being conned into doing something bad for them thanks to good advertising?)
2: goes to great lengths to prove that his body is an amusement park, not a temple, and
3: whom I wouldn't be surprised to find on my front step one day in a white-collared shirt and tie trying to convince me how much happier my life would be if I would just drink a pint of duck fat a day.

Of course, we ARE talking about Dunkin' Donuts here (which doesn't hold a candle to the flavor of duck confit, in my opinion), but it's a little condescending and elitist to eschew one kind of fat over another, just because you think your palate is more refined.

And what has the world come to where people care to hear the thoughts of a chef who wrote some overblown, testosterone-laced half-work of fiction about life in a professional kitchen? (For that matter, what has this world come to where people care what I think about Anthony Bourdain?) (Just a personal note - yes, Kitchen Confidential was entertaining. But true? Don't believe everything you read.)

But I'm gonna tell you anyway. Being a cook, I get asked fairly often what I think about Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Emeril Lagasse, and the rest of the Food Network crew. The popular action among professional cooks is to brush them aside as a waste of space, "not real chefs," and
(especially in Emeril's case) "sellouts." In my humble opinion, this is the thoughtless idiocy of the cooks who got into this business because they believed the lies Bourdain spews. But let's overlook all of that in favor of what these cooks, and as a whole, the Food Network, have done for the restaurant business. Long story short, a television network dedicated to happy, exciting personalities introducing the mass public to different styles of food, different kinds of cuisine, and more interesting ingredients can only be good for the restaurant business.
As a cook, I might get castigated for this opinion, but I find it verrrrry difficult to argue. It allows the restaurant I work in to serve things like beet sorbets, goat cheese, and mache, instead of the same old steak/mushroom/red wine, pasta/chicken/vegetable/cream sauce, and romaine lettuce/caesar dressing/roasted garlic combinations. Educating the public about what we do is GOOD. In my view, it's like what television did for Major League Baseball (and, to reverse-engineer that statement, what the lack of television coverage has done to the NHL). Expand the market, expand the fan base. How could this be any more clear?

Anyways. On to another topic. I've been sitting in my apartment almost all day (save for about an hour outside - it's just one of them days), so I've got a lot to say. Bear with me.
I watched the Top Chef reunion special today. I hate reunion specials. I did have an interesting debate with myself, though (wow, could I possibly come off as any more of a loser?). Bravo set up a montage during the special of (the eventual winner) Hung's use of the sous vide technique. Sous vide entails vacuum-sealing any kind of food in plastic and poaching it slowly in water. It's a fairly "new" technique, invented in the 1970s in France but is quickly coming into fashion as chefs realize that a tough meat cooked by the sous vide method comes out of that plastic bag exquisitely tender.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of it. Aesthetically (can I use that word to talk about flavor and texture? Let's run with it.), I like my food to have some texture. A melt-in-your-mouth braise, to me, tastes and feels entirely different than something poached for four hours in a bag. But more importantly, at what point do we let machines do all of the work? At what point to we keep our hands off altogether and turn into a Jetsons-esque eating culture, in which all of our food comes out of a robot? If a food doesn't have soul, it doesn't have anything. (It sounds cliched, but it's true.) If things continue the way they are, we'll lose the ability to cook altogether.
But where is the line drawn? I'd fervently argue for technological innovations like gas burners, brulee torches, and deep-fryers. Does this make me a hypocrite? Or just unwilling to let the standards slip any more? Does it even matter, as long as the food comes out great?

The Red Sox have lost in grand fashion (giving up 7 runs in the 11th (Thanks, Eric Gagne! - and you've gotta click on this link - it's hilarious AND and apt metaphor.) )- I think that's it from me. I have nothing else even remotely relevant to say.

To all you cheaters:

You're BUSTED.
I've got a nice little program attached to my blog called SiteMeter. I'm a sucker for stats, so it helps me keep up with how many people are looking at my blog, where they're from, and how they got there. For example, if you were to Google anything on the blog, then click on the blog from the results page, I would know exactly what you searched for in order to get here.
So imagine my surprise yesterday when I checked out SiteMeter and found the number of visitors to this page had risen exponentially. Sorting by location, I found a number of odd places - I've had visitors from cities from where I know no one. So I'm thinking, how are people from Jackson, Mississippi; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Custer, Washington; Lexington, Kentucky; and Portland, Oregon finding this page? Clicking on the "details" section, I discovered that one of my first posts was coming up in the first page of a Google search, with everyone searching for the phrase "eponymous rink jump." My best guess is this clue had appeared in a nationally-syndicated crossword puzzle in the past few days.
You little cheaters!
By the way, the answer is "SALCHOW."

Note: This post isn't as vitriolic as it may seem - please, I Google answers to crosswords all the time. I got nothin' but love for y'all. Just thought it was funny.

Who can remember the last time I had a Saturday off? Me neither. And I've got NEXT Saturday off, too - I must've done something good. So, of course, I'm off to waste it in front of the baseball game and doing who knows what else.

Note, part 2: I just started my first cup of coffee, so please excuse the fact that this post might very well be the most disjointed thing I've ever written in my entire life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I have to be up in three hours and thirty-four minutes, to be precise, and I'm wide, wide awake. There's nothing really in particular keeping me up, I've just got a lot on my mind right now, I guess, for no particular reason at all. It's too late to take a sleeping pill or drink some tea (or maybe some of that five month old Valium in my cabinet - is that still good, you think?), so I've gotta try it the natural way. Darn it all anyways.

See, what did I tell you about baseball? The Yankees suck and the Red Sox don't. In all seriousness, it fascinates me when an All-Star team like the Yankees starts the season 21-29, and from that point forward has the best record in baseball, only to blow it in the first round (which they've done for three consecutive years now, and haven't won a World Series since 2000). I don't get how so much money can be spent on a team that quite simply, doesn't get the job done. Anyways, the next round should be interesting. Four very good teams are left and there's some great baseball to be played yet. The Red Sox and Indians finished the 2007 campaign with identical records, while the Rockies and Diamondbacks played 19 times this season and virtually split them. So I doubt any one of the four is headed to the championship on the heels of a sweep.

Both of my tattoos are getting reworked in the next couple of weeks. Ideas are coming together. I'm not even going to ask for opinions since, well, a tattoo is such a personal thing, and it's me that's got to deal with it for the rest of my life. But I like what I'm thinking of so far. Sketches have been made and outlines have been drawn, from this point forward it's all about the artist doing his thing and reworking so it fits. If I were a bit more ambitious, I'd get something insane drawn across my back. The entire score of Beethoven's Fifth. The "George Washington Crossing the Delaware" painting by Emanuel Leutze. 40 different recipes containing foie gras. A detailed major-league baseball field as viewed from the batter's box. You get the idea - but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men**...so I'm sticking small. So nothing more will be revealed at this point - the next you'll hear on this subject should be when they're done.

Three hours, twenty four minutes...let's try this "goodnight" thing again.

**(they often go astray).

Stressed over something stupid.

Irony: (noun):
Everything that really should stress me out is rolling right off my back. It's the little annoyances that are really bothering me right now.

Does anyone else NOT have a Halloween costume yet? I've been wracking my brain for ideas, and I guess I just haven't been in a creative mood the last few weeks. It doesn't help that we're throwing a huge party (you're all invited, by the way - Saturday, Oct. 27th - you all know my phone number to get my address), where costumes are absolutely required. All the ideas I have would be difficult to tastefully pull off - Barack Obama, zombie Jerry Falwell, pre-steroids Barry Bonds...so, the search continues.

Check out my friend Jenn's work. She does jewelry and metalworking stuff. It'd be pretty cool if I was a girl, I guess.
So go here and buy things.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Go America.


"We're interpreting the Geneva Convention properly" turns into "If we didn't torture and something happened, you'd ask why we didn't torture (9/11 9/11 9/11)" turns into "We get to decide what the Geneva Convention really says" turns into "We don't care what the Geneva Convention says."
Dana Perino is obviously a little uncomfortable. Good. When your Press Secretary starts to sound like a 9th grader in speech class, you've got problems, you think? Anyone else tired of this administration's blatant disregard of the law?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday night randomness

Let's get one thing out of the way - Yankees suck, Red Sox don't. Seriously, how can anyone not love baseball right now? We've got two teams in the playoffs that really shouldn't be (the Rockies and the Phillies), incredible parity in the league as a whole (no teams with 100 wins), and at the dawn of the playoffs, some great, great games. You've got to love October.

So where was I going? Oh yes. There's a reason you haven't heard from me for a week. See, we had a fuse blow, and then when we plugged everything back in, the computer monitor wasn't working. It took us until this afternoon to realize that the monitor wasn't broken, it just had an extra on/off switch, which, of course, was off. (We're not that dumb - you have to be Indiana Jones to find the stupid thing.) I blame my roommate - she's supposed to be good with technology (no, NOT because she's Asian, you stereotypers (is that a word?), because she says she's good with it). I also suck at technology. I'm about 20 years too young to be saying that, but alas, it's true.

I have a cat on my lap and Mozart playing in the background, so I feel a bit like a James Bond villain at the moment. The cats don't know they're leaving Saturday (they're just here while their real owner straightens out his living situation), but while I've grown a bit attached to them, they're getting too smart for their own good. I kid you not, they have figured out how to turn a doorknob and let themselves into a room. Insanity rules in this house.

Dinner's done so I'm out. Did you miss me?


I just logged in to Blogger and found this post sitting in the "saved" section, which I thought I had published. I figured I might as well publish it, as five-days-past as it may be. I also realized that I suck at technology - see next post.

If one begins to say something enough, does that make it true?
Is it possible to utterly and completely convince yourself of something if you just repeat it over and over?
I didn't think so, either. But it never hurts to ask.

It's been an odd Sunday, to say the least. I've had so much running through my head all day, and I've just been sitting here attempting to make sense of it all. But life goes on, huh? I could ask it to slow down all I wanted, and it wouldn't make a difference. (See: first sentence.) Compliance isn't one of this world's stronger suits.
I just ate a ton of Burger King, which my system craves even though I know it's terrible. My friends, especially the ones who are cooks, don't understand it. I can't say I do, either. But it's time I came to terms with the fact that I'm a junk food junkie. I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing. My palate's refined enough, and honestly, there's something about sinking my teeth into a Double Whopper after spending eight hours knee-deep in truffle oil and caviar that just knocks me out.
But I hate, hate, HATE the Olive Garden. I don't see it as a contradiction at all. Sure, Burger King uses liquid smoke and puts an unholy number of fat grams into my system (but at 6 feet and 145 pounds, I need all the fat I can get). But I don't care. At least Burger King doesn't try to trick me. Doesn't anyone else hate the Olive Garden commercials where they try make you believe their cooks have been trained in Italy? The ones that con you into believing that REAL ITALIAN families have reunions in their dining room(s?)? Do they really expect me to believe that there's an army of Italian grandmothers in the kitchen rolling meatballs? (Note to Rocco DiSpirito - bad idea.)
Don't even get me started with the layouts. All I'll say is if I was unfortunate enough to be caught in an Olive Garden while it burned to the ground - I wouldn't stand a chance.
But what really bothers me about the Olive Garden is the food. I'm not a snob - my allegiance to Burger King should be proof enough of that. And a certain lack of soul is expected from a chain with hundreds of locations. But, as Hung would say, "My monkey could cook better Italian food than that."

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Sorry for the lack of updates. It's been quite a busy week.

The big news this week is that I've interviewed for and been offered a line cook position at the new Trump Hotel, which is opening here in Chicago in early December. I'd be working at the 120 seat fine-dining restaurant there. I probably will take the job, mostly because it'll definitely be a challenge. The chef (with whom I interviewed on Thursday) is Frank Brunacci, and he seems like a crazy, crazy guy. But crazy is good if it's in the right context. And, for once, the food actually seems like it'll be interesting. They'll be changing the menu daily and doing an a la carte, tasting, and blind tasting menu. So that should be fun.

In the news this week: the Chicago Sun Times reported Tuesday:
"...Now comes word President Bush takes it personally when he spots a fly buzzing around the Oval Office...Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow claims when the president spots one, he chases it around the Oval Office. 'It drives him crazy when flies get in,' said Snow."

I'd like all of you just to take a minute to think about that one. Do we need any more proof that the leader of the free world isn't as...well...mentally stable as he'd like us to think? If a man gets all bent out of shape about a FLY in his office, is he really of sound mind to lead a country?

Can I discuss Rudy Giuliani for a minute? I'm really struggling with the mere idea that this man could be the leading choice of Republican voters. Now, I know the Republicans don't have much to work with anyways (Giuliani? Fred Thompson? Mitt Romney? The RNC just WANTS to lose this one, don't they?), but this guy is a certified idiot. Ask him any question, any question at all, and he'll make you remember who was in charge on September 11. If you asked the guy how he thought the Yankees would do in the playoffs this year. he'd probably start with, "If there's one thing I've learned since that fateful day when our towers fell, it's that..."

Don't believe me? In a July visit to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he was "asked about increasing support for HIV medications."
Obviously, the response was:

"My general experience has been that the federal government works best when it helps and assists and encourages and sets guidelines… on a state-by-state, locality-by-locality basis. It's no different from the way I look at homeland security. Maybe having been mayor of the city, I know that your first defense against terrorist attack is that local police station, or that local firehouse."


In a speech last week to the National Rifle Association, that bastion of the Republican Party, Giuliani cut himself short to answer his cell phone. This is rather odd behavior for someone that wants to run the country. I don't know why his advisers didn't, well, advise him that this is going to make one's potential supporters feel ignored and unimportant, like they're on a date in which the guy keeps interrupting to make plans with his bros for later in the night. You're interviewing for a job here, Rudy, do you really think this is appropriate?
Oh, but it was. In an interview posted this morning with Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, Giuliani explained his lack of familiarity with the "silent" feature with...what else? (If you said 9/11, you win...but the country loses. Funny how that works.)

Giuliani explained that, since 9/11, he and the missus always chat before flying.

"Quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other," the Republican presidential hopeful told the Christian Broadcasting Network.

I find it quite ironic that Giuliani wants to remind voters who was in office on September 11. "I'll keep you safe from terrorism...this time." If he wants to knight himself and the Republican party as the great protectors of the United States, I'd like to know what they did to try to prevent the attacks from ever happening, because, from what I hear, Giuliani's first response was "Thank God George Bush is President," while the aforementioned Mr. Bush continued to read "My Pet Goat." Why SHOULD I feel safe in your hands? Because you did NOTHING the first time? Or because you call the capture of the man who initiated these attacks "irrelevant," instead choosing to focus your time and resources on an escalating series of lies leading to the capture and execution of a dictator, who, while not quite innocent, had nothing to do with the collapse of the Twin Towers, and now, condemning Columbia University for hosting the president of Iran, all the while comparing him to Hitler as a slaughterer of American soldiers, while not even digging yourself out of your ethnocentric hole enough to realize that Ahmadinejad doesn't even control the Iranian military and is not much more powerful than the Queen of England.

Whew. Sorry about that. I went back to read what I just wrote and it could be a little more clear, but...eh.