Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All signs point to the end of the world

This morning, the ad on the side of my bus spontaneously fell off on the highway.

My fingertips are tingling, and my right elbow is slightly colder than my left.

The women's restroom smells like Froot Loops.

And, most importantly, a drawing of mitochondria has mysteriously appeared on my work notepad.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tiramisu for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Due to recent dreams of chewing rocks, I am on a strict diet of tiramisu and mashed potatoes. I'll be publishing my diet book soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I reiterate, no hidden meanings

Last night I was having a totally normal dream I can't remember, when a giant tarantula came crawling in from the side of the screen and started eating the dream. When it was finished it started crawling down my arm and over the edge of the mattress to hide under the bed. I had to turn on the light and check under everything to make sure it wasn't really there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dreams don't have hidden meanings

The other night I dreamt that I had one of those rainmaking sticks like you can buy at the Renaissance Festivals. There was a giant black python that was evil and I turned the rainmaking stick into a bunch of little green snakes that killed the black python and then came back and turned into the rainmaking stick. Except one of them went slithering off and didn't come back. All I thought was "I hope no one finds out that that was my snake."

Last night I had a dream I was eating rocks out of spite.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My nose itches

I've had my legs crossed the same way for too long and one of my feet is starting to fall asleep.

I accidentally put one black clip and one brown clip in my hair this morning.

It's a little too cold for iced tea but a little too hot for hot tea.

I have a hangnail and my glasses are a little loose.

My jaw hurts and I had a defective q-tip this morning.

My cubicle cartoon is no longer amusing me.

I feel like there's a loose piece of hair on my face, but I can't find it.

I forgot the day of my doctor's appointment, and anyway I have to call to cancel.

My Spongebob pencil-topper's hair stopped changing color.

And there are still 15 minutes left in the work day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunburn on the backs of my knees

Here is what I did this weekend:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lessons Learned

So, in case you're not from where I'm from and you wanted a quick primer on at least some of what Minnesota (and parts of Wisconsin) is "like." Here is a quick fact for you:

I have twice nearly run out of gas while AT a gas station. Both times were hunting-related.

In the first instance, I was a high school pizza delivery driver and so quite often running on fumes from town to town while waiting for my next two dollar tip. In this case I had just delivered an extra large with extra pepperoni to the bar in Shieldsville, and rolled into the only gas station for about 10 miles. The needle was already on zero. Sadly, that day, the local owners of the station had "Gone Hunting." Luckily much of Montgomery is downhill from much of Shieldsville and I didn't have to hike back along the highway for very far.

In the second instance, I was making one of countless trips between the Twin Cities and Chicago (I think in this case it was when Houseboy and I were first visiting the University in fact) and I had miscalculated how much gas I had left in the tank, expecting to make it as far as Tomah. Instead, I see one of those blue and white "Gas -- Food" signs and a sign for "Millston" just as I'm thinking I have about 5 miles left in the tank. Pull into the station to discover, whoops, it's the Fishing Opener. In that case I actually had to call AAA to bring me gas.

Now, some people might interpret this as me telling you that Minnesotans and Wisconsonians sure do like their killing. And there is that, of course. But there is also the fact that, in addition to the good old-fashioned Midwestern work ethic there is a deeply built understanding of what life is all about. And it's not about making the customer happy. It's about fishing.

P.S. For more Minnesota fun, see the Fourfold Root .

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bedroom Banter

In case all you Houseboy fans out there ever wondered what Antelope-Houseboy relations are like at home, here is a small sampling of recent conversations.

Conversation 1: In the bedroom

How it started: Houseboy--"I like the new Chargers helmets"
How it ended: Antelope--"I think the average of all the colors in the world is probably brown."

Conversation 2: In the restaurant

How it started: Antelope--"I like the flowers."
How it ended: Houseboy--"Ok! Ok! It's red-red orange! Hey, you're not even calling the credit card company, I can see on your phone!"

Conversation 3: Instant Messenger

How it started: Houseboy--"Beans and a Pumpkin"How it ended: Antelope--"Is hell humid? That was never made clear to me."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blogs are like rabbits

If you're not careful, they'll multiply. My DC friend pulled me into a new blog, The Fourfold Root, which will contain all future installments of the Yankees versus Virtue discussions. For those of you who aren't baseball fans, this might be welcome news as it means this blog will probably be more free from baseball rantings in the future.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Why I wish Voldemort would Avada Kedavra the Yankees

Ok, so I have a friend in DC who has a coworker who is a Yankees fan. He's apparently made it his life's mission to find out why she hates the Yankees and somehow I have gotten dragged into it all. So, in response to some angry ramblings I sent her about payroll and signing bonuses, etc., he sent the following 7 points. My response follows after that.

Ok. I see the frustration here. My responses:

1. The Yankees are not solely responsible for running-up prices and causing this overall 'lack of loyalty.' I mean free agency has been in effect for over 30 years and lots of teams have thrown money around. Who gave ARod $250M? Who signed Gil Meche (Gil Meche!!) for $11M/year? Not the Yankees. Who gave Barry Zito $126M? Not the Yankees.
2. The Yankees have paid the other 29 teams $100M in luxury tax and revenue sharing money. That's over $3M on average, per team. So, they pay for their excesses more than any other franchise on the planet. What do most owners do with this money? Pocket it. Can anyone make a serious argument that owners couldn't afford to take this money and pay a draft pick an extra $500K not to go to college? Seriously?
3. Another related point on the talent developed in the farm systems.keep in mind that when these guys reach the majors they get the major league minimum salary for probably the first 5 years of their career and they become arbitration-eligible. So, knowing that you're going to pay the kids chicken feed for a while, why not spend a bit more to ensure they sign with you after the draft? Penny-wise and pound-foolish if you ask me.
4. Most owners operate teams solely to make money. Now, I understand that it's important to make money on your investment. That's fine. But, most owners refuse to understand that the best way to make money, in the LONG TERM, is to put a winning team on the field. Period. I remember when the Yankees were lucky to draw 2 million in a year. This year they'll draw 4 million. That's not because Yankee Stadium is in the best part of town, either. Steinbrenner's first goal has always been to win, which I've always appreciated. I do feel sorry for the Twins that Carl Pohlad spent probably 5 years convincing Selig to contract the team just so he could get a good deal on the team and be finished. This gets to my next point:
5. Most owners cry poverty rather than being creative. So the Yankees start the YES network-nothing more than a regional sports network. Is this business model impossible to replicate in other markets? I would seriously doubt it.
6. The Twins will be opening a new stadium in 2010. Not that I've researched it, but I'm assuming this stadium will be built largely on the generosity of the taxpayers. So, unencumbered by stadium costs, will the Twins make an investment in player salaries to put a good team on the field in 2010 to drive up attendance, merchandising, etc. and really take advantage of their new environment? Or will they continue to look to save $2M by trading all-star caliber players? At some point, I don't care if you're in MN or NY, you have to make an investment and spend money to ensure longer-term success.
7. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the fact the Yankees are richer than everyone else isn't new. It's been that way for 100 years. The Yankees still haven't won every year. So, other teams must have some way of competing with them.

So, my first response to this was an off-the cuff diatribe about what Carl Pohlad's soul probably got him on the open market and how there is an East Coast mentality that basically says "If I have the money, why not spend it?" and "Well, we're the greatest, therefore everyone must love us. There is nothing good outside of New York except maybe fall foliage." Then there's the Midwest which says "Why spend now when you can save for later?" and "Well, we're the greatest, and no one knows it, which is good because it means less traffic." You can see where this becomes a problem in any conversation of the way baseball teams are run.

The following is the longer, more carefully crafted response I came up with. If you want the actual numbers in the attachment I refer to, I can send them to you.

Ok, try this on for FACTUAL rebuttal:

While it is true that Carl Pohlad MORE than has the money to throw at the Twins if he chose to (he's a billionaire after all, and George Steinbrenner is just a lowly hundred-millionaire), I think the issue should not be how much out-of-pocket money the owner is willing to put toward the team. It should be how much they take in each year, based on their revenues from ticket and fan product sales. That will HELP toward the understanding that the Twins and the Brewers really do work in a different world. So, let me make three inter-related points:

#1. The Twins work in a smaller market, with a population with less disposable income than the Yankees.
#2. Twins tickets and merchandise are cheaper than Yankees tickets and merchandise
#3. The Twins do more with the money that they have than the Yankees do.

#2 and #3 are incontrovertibly shown in the attached document. If he argues with #1 then you just have to give up on him because he's "touched." As you can see in my table, the Twins have an average ticket price more than $10 cheaper than the Yankees. This combined with a smaller market probably explains why their annual revenue is less than half of the Yankees'. In fact, they are at exact opposite ends of the rankings in revenue: the Yankees bring in the MOST and the Twins bring in the LEAST money of any major league team.

All that said, you can also see that in 2006 the Yankees had 97 wins and the Twins had 96. That puts the Twins at 27th in payroll cost/win (ranked highest to lowest) and the Yankees once again in first. So, obviously, the Twins are somehow able to muddle through with WAAAAAY less money. Now we're getting to the crux of the issue. The market in Minnesota and surrounding states is pretty well tapped. I don't see the kids out in Souix Falls and Brainerd shelling out for a cable channel (they tried it with hockey, and if Minnesota won't pay for hockey then they certainly won't pay for baseball), nor do I think you'll get away with big ticket-price raises in the new stadium (which, by the way, will seat about 10,000 fewer fans) or $100 Santana halter tops. So, go ahead and come up with "creative" ways to make more money... all he's really saying is pass more of the cost on to the fans, and I'm saying that just won't fly in the thrifty Midwest. And it's not like we're selling a lot of caps overseas like the Yankees are.

So, we come back to the owners. I hold out hope that Pohlad will crack open that vault of his and throw a little money to us lonely beggars so that they can field a competitive team in the new stadium. However, I don't really think that's fair to him. Why should he have to pay for the mistakes of others? Because, really, I'm not mad at A-Rod. A-Rod is an all-star and I'd love to have him on my team. His salary is exorbitant, but it's not really like Jason Bartlett is going to go into contract negotiations with THAT salary in his mind. The problem is all the failures they've paid too much for. All the young kids who got those signing bonuses and never made it big. The slow and steady increase on players just out of serfdom.

I was mad when it was big names, because it made me jealous. But really, the Twins were never in that market much. They weren't bumping up payroll by acquiring veterans from other teams; they were slowly losing their own veterans to the better deal elsewhere. That was always upsetting, but usually the Twins had someone in the background who was as good, or better, and would make the minimum (Mientkiewicz becomes Morneau, Pierzynksi become Mauer, Guardado becomes Nathan... if he's been my favorite player, he's been replaced... ).

The scary thing to me now is the infiltration into those younger ages. If we can't compete for veterans, and so are destined to always be a young team, then we have to have faith that the people working in our AAA and AA and even A systems are the next Mauer. But if we can't afford the next Mauer either, because he gets a big signing bonus elsewhere, or because he knows we won't pour money all over him the first time he comes up for arbitration, then we are, as the pope would say, fucked.

And I don't blame Pohlad for not opening his purse under those conditions. "Penny wise and pound foolish" he says? Well, that may be true for some players, but when they are that young you can hardly KNOW that... if you have $200 million to throw around, you can afford to hand out signing bonuses to every kid you get that tingly feeling about, and you can give your feisty whelp with 3 years service time 5 million dollars in the hopes that he'll remain worth it. But when your market only brings in $2 million to the Yankees $4 million, you might not be able to just go on faith like that. And honestly, Midwestern values back in action, I don't think you SHOULD.

Oh, and just to throw it out there, the real reason I hate the Yankees is because they assume I love them. I hate New York and I hate LA because they think they're better than the Midwest and they expect us to agree. The Yankees are NOT "America's Team." The very thought sickens me.

The Houseboy as well as my Washington friend have been crafting their responses as well, so check back here for updates.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Threat to National Security

Have you seen those commercials lately where you can send in your gold in a special envelope and receive cash in return? They are full of the requisite testimony from "real customers." The only plausible explanation I can come up with for this business is leprechauns. Think about it. You know I'm right.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Strap in; it's about to get bumpy

So, while trying to get through seemingly endless mindless reading for an assignment at my job this week, I’ve been rewarding myself for making small bits of headway by finding quotes I like and decorating them prettily and posting them around my desk. One in particular sparked an argument with Houseboy and made me want to get all serious and deep-like. Here is the quote:

The concept of “Mental Health” in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of The System and does so without showing signs of stress.

Now, there are all sorts of levels of acceptance of this quote at face value, and resistance can be encountered to the idea that much (if not all) of psychological diagnosis stems more from what we as a society value than from any inherent or biological cause. But the real impetus of the argument we had was over the author and the work. It comes from a work technically named “Industrial Society and its Future,” a.k.a. the Unabomber Manifesto. Houseboy helpfully pointed out that I might want to avoid just putting up a quote and putting “Ted Kaczynski” under it, as it might offend or hurt people who read it (not to mention making me look like a crazy person).

Well, I countered, isn’t that part of the point? Of course the man was bad and wrong to kill innocent people. I really REALLY wouldn’t want people to misunderstand me in that. I don’t think it’s ever acceptable to kill people in pursuit of an ideology. And probably most people would say that was their problem with Mr. Ted. But many (most?) people would actually be internally inconsistent on that matter. At the very least, our societal understanding of the definition of murder doesn’t bear that out. War is not murder, yet war results in the death of many innocent people, and is usually the result of pursuing an ideology, whether that be Democracy or Capitalism or whatever. The most extreme example of this is Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We literally obliterated not only soldiers, but women, children, puppy dogs, hamsters and goldfish. Rebuilding efforts don’t exactly make up for that.

The point is that this quote should make you think on its own merits, even if you didn’t know who wrote it. But knowing who wrote it might actually make you think even harder. It should make you face WHY there is something in your brain (and mine too) that wants to turn a valve when you hear that name. That there is this overwhelming desire to put him in the crazy box and shelve him way up high in the attic of crazies and never ever think of him again.

There is an ongoing debate in the world of literary exegesis about the role of the author in his/her work. This is of course a many-layered and complicated discussion which I’m going to boil down willy-nilly for my own purposes. Basically there are two sides to how much you should think about what the author intended in reading a novel/play/poem. On the one side, the author is paramount—his or her intention is what we as readers should be trying to discern. On this side, WHO the author is becomes very important—so Kaczynski’s murderous acts factor in to what we think of what he says and how much import we attach to his words. On the other side, the author is essentially meaningless. Once they have left the mouth or the pen, the words become public property and have mutable, pliable meanings. Each reader brings his/her own history and preconceptions and shapes the text in reading it. I’m pretty sure there’s some Derrida in there, if you’re interested. In this view, the author’s own actions, history and personality have little to no relevance. We must take the words alone, without attachments, and create our own significance. So, here, we can look at Kaczynski’s “manifesto” and pull meaning as it applies to us and our worldviews, or as it problematizes the same.

What I’m suggesting is that we try to pull a little away from the first and into the second. Try to see the concept in its own light and address it on its merits first. Then, if you agree or disagree with it, you can address Kaczynski as an exemplar or an anomaly. Think about his protestations of the alienation of man from society and the ways we let the structures we created control us. Think about how it controlled him and about how he attempted to break free in a devastating and destructive way. Think about what we can do to regain our humanity in a faceless technological society without sending anonymous mail bombs. And finally, think about why we don’t want to think about some things, like what being “crazy” really means, and why we are afraid of the implications of addressing our societal structures as impermanent and not handed down from God.

Then go get a snack, because you’re probably hungry.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Final All-Star Push

So Pat Neshek is on the final "Monster 2007 All-Star Ballot" and he needs your votes. He throws side-arm, which is neat. Can you throw side-arm? I didn't think so. So, vote for him. I also recommend Webb on the NL side. He's a sinker-baller, and that is almost as neat as a side-armer. Can you throw a sinker? Yeah right. Throwing a 60-mile an hour pitch that "sinks" because it barely makes it to the plate doesn't count. So, click on the link above, then on "Cast Your Final Vote." Then, you know, cast it. Because you all pretty much owe me for f-ing this up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Relationships are Hard Work

So, Houseboy and I had a major knock-down drag out fight last night and let me just tell you he's lucky to be alive today. Despite the glory of soon-to-be-3-time-Cy-Young-winner Johan Santana's triple against the Mets, Morneau's coughing-up-blood plate collision and Mauer's two homeruns on Sunday, I am a little miffed with my beloved baseball this muggy day.

Last night, with little ceremony, they crossed a line in the sand and they (along with their defender, Houseboy), owe me a big apology. I didn't even see it coming. There we are, top of the first, ready for a thrilling victory over the Blue Jays. Vernon Wells doubles, but Alex Rios grounds out. I'm calmly thinking how nice a strikeout or short fly ball will be... how they can easily make an out without that runner advancing... suddenly, Matt "Fatt" Stairs pops one up nice and pretty in foul territory. Little Nicky Punto runs his brains out and catches it while falling lovingly into Luis "King of the Elves" Rodriguez's arms in the dugout. How nice! An out recorded with no deleterious side effects! But what is this? What is Bert saying about the first enactment of some new rule? WHY is Wells just trotting over to third? Why is he doing so in response to the beckoning of that evil, cheating umpire?

With a great deal of googling I was finally able to find an explanation. A February 2007 update to the rules that I was not aware of:

FIELDER ISSUES 18. Catching ball in dugout


A batter is out when --
(a) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;
Rule 6.05(a) Comment: A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch, and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area. Ball is in play, unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead. Status of runners shall be as described in Rule 7.04(c) Comment.

Just so you know, that "status of runners" allows them to advance one base. It is my understanding that this change is the result of the incident last year where Ryan Freel, in following a foul ball into the stands, basically shivved some old lady. That probably really sucked for her, but I still don't like this rule. Mostly, because if you watch the video of the Punto catch, you'll see that that kind of athleticism just deserves reward. He even manages to get that good BestBuy product placement in.

But also because, in my heart of hearts, I feel like it's a different type of rule, with different stakes, than any other rule in baseball. So, if you're Little Nicky, and you see that ball traveling rapidly toward your comrade-in-shortness Elrond in the dugout, and you realize you might not be able to record that out without allowing your little toes over that line, what do you do? Well, on the one hand, you could let it drop and hope your pitcher has another strike or two in him... or another easy out to provide you with. Maybe you join the mound conference and ask him to ignore DIPS theory for just a moment and furnish you with a foul ball just a few feet further west (or east? I'm not sure on that). OR, you can record that out, allowing the base runner to advance. In what other situation do you have that kind of choice? In a sacrifice fly, but in that case at least the runner has to actually do the running... you theoretically COULD throw them out. Same on a long foul ball. The offense actually has to do the work of moving forward on you, weighing for themselves the likelihood that you can throw them out. In this case, in the very ACT of catching the ball, you have given someone a base. Boooooollshit, I say.

Anyway, to address Señor Baseball Himself for a moment, you owe me an apology. Houseboy made me vegetarian tamales and took off his shirt. You're probably going to have to work a little harder than that. I MIGHT be willing to accept a 10-game winning streak from the Twins, but we'll see.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Voting Is Your Duty

The All-Star Voting is open, and already the general idiocy of Americans and the ridiculously expansive free time of Yankees fans is becoming apparent. For this reason, I am reaching out to all of you, most of whom are not really big baseball fans, but who have the common bond of probably not wanting to see my head explode. Vote here, and PLEASE do me a favor and don't even THINK about clicking on any Yankees or Red Sox? If you are really confused, and just want the good guys to win, but you're not sure who they are, you can use my sample ballot, below. Just remember that I pay a fly's eyelash worth of attention to the National League, so some of my choices there may be a little wonky (i.e., based on the two games I've seen them play against the Twins, or their former careers in the AL). Oh, and you can vote up to 25 times on one e-mail address, so just enter your choices and keep hitting "Vote Again." Your choices are saved from the last time. America thanks you.

American League

First Base: Justin Morneau. This is absolutely a tragic joke. David Ortiz (former Twin, beloved by all Twins fans) is currently leading this position. He has played at this position for just about 3 tenths of a second. He is a DH. I'm sorry that you can't vote in a DH, but that's just too fucking bad, Red Sox. Get over it and put someone in this slot that actually fields.

Second Base: Luis Castillo. A great player. Mostly I'm voting for him because he's a Twin. But that makes him inherently superior, so if you really know nothing and have no opinions, just do as I do and vote as I vote.

Shortstop: Jason Bartlett. Not even on the leader board right now, which is really sad. He doesn't exactly have huge offensive power, but I'm pretty sure he actually starts fielding balls BEFORE they're hit. Psychic powers or something.

Third Base: Troy Glaus. Besides looking disturbingly like a high school classmate of Houseboy's and basically ripping a giant hole in reality every time he plays against the Twins, Glaus has 268 career home runs and a .300 batting average this year. He could stand to walk a little more, but he can actually field a bit too, so that kind of evens out.

Catcher: Joe Mauer. Joe Joe the Monkey Catcher Mauer. He's a CATCHER. He won the BATTING TITLE. He's 24 years old, 6'4" and still growing. He and Morneau used to share a bachelor pad where they stayed up late playing video games and eating Doritos and Mountain Dew and making prank calls. He's slowly teaching Morneau the intricacies of facial expression. Look, it's just a no brainer, so stop thinking about it and vote for him.

Outfielders: I'm going to try to avoid a long tirade on the ridiculosity of lumping three positions into one as if putting your left fielder in center field for a game wouldn't just make the Metrodome cave in on your head, and give you my picks.

Michael Cuddyer. As Bert Blyleven said during an interleague game a little while back: "WHY do they keep RUNNING on Michael CUDDYER?!!?!?!!!" He has a cannon. And it has a laser sight. And if you try to squeeze an extra base out of that weak little right field hit, you're going to be very, very sorry. Oh, and he recently explained the intricacies of playing balls off the Hefty Bag, and it actually made sense. This was either a well-guarded secret of Twins outfielders, or he's the first one to actually figure it out logically.

Torii Hunter. Please. If you make me explain this I will actually scream. HE. CAN. FLY. LITERALLY.

Shannon Stewart. Former Twin, former member of the "Soul Patrol." Came in to numerous (including my own) cries against wasting money on a mid-season replacement that we'd never be able to keep. Stayed for another 3 seasons and made us cry when he had to go. Never had a nickname except: "SHANNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!"

National League:

Prince Fielder, Orlando Hudson (O.Hud!), Cristian Guzman (GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZ), Craig Counsell, Benjie Molina (I like him, ok?), Alfonso Soriano (big surprise), Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jacque (not JOCK) Jones.

Ok, so get to voting!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Classified Ad

Seeking: A reliable house sitter. Nonsmoker preferred. Must look after cats. Particularly the fat one. Watch him carefully. No particular reason. Will pay base of $5 and up to $10 a day, depending on services rendered. Optional services may include cleaning, opening and shutting blinds on the half hour, spraying Raid in the northeast corner of every room, monitoring mold growth on bathroom tiles. Perks: large variety of hard liquor, satellite television and demon-fighting reference collection on premises. Must meet before I leave for my "trip." To interview, please bring references and a hair sample to 225 Glenvista Road.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Protect the Employees

So, while waiting for my frozen Amy's Bean and Veggies and Rice and Stuff bowl to heat up in the microwave today, I spent a little time examining the above poster, which is hanging in the corner of the little kitchenette area. Now, this is a standard poster, and obviously intended to provide useful information to as many work situations as possible, so my list below should not be read as a criticism of the poster makers or their brethren, but rather as a simple "Aren't workplace situations funny sometimes" observation. Much like Apocalypse Now.

Things This Poster Will Help Me Address at My Downtown Chicago White Collar Office:

1. Severed Body Parts
. This is an exact quote: "body parts." They refuse to get more specific. I can only assume that we are meant to be covering everything from a situation in which my SAS program goes horribly wrong and my hands are sucked into my keyboard to a Lorena Bobbitt domestic violence showdown. Either way, we are informed that we should NOT put the "part" directly on ice, nor should we attempt to clean the "part."

2. Chemicals in the Eyes. In the strong likelihood that I accidentally pour acid into my eyes while distracted by writing the introduction to a report on summer school, I should attempt to flush them using one of the following: an eyewash (sadly my job has not provided these for every floor), a water fountain (very reasonable), or a garden hose. I guess I'll be making a trip to the rooftop garden, since we don't have a water fountain nearby.

3. Blocked Airways. When someone inhales a giant chunk of hot dog at next week's "Summer Solstice" celebration, I will know exactly what to do. First, make the person's cheeks transparent. Second, ram two fingers down their throat. Third, retrieve the hot dog for later use. As warned above, do NOT put it directly on ice.

4. Choking. This one is a fairly straightforward description of the Heimlich maneuver. Except that they add additional instructions for people who are pregnant or "Very Obese." Mercifully, the drawing shows someone pregnant, but one can extrapolate to imagine grabbing a very, very fat man around his man-boobs and squeezing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Top 10 Dugout Chats

So, one time, I wrote this blog about how much I liked a certain dugout chat about Mr. Alfonso Soriano. Now, the site has actually personally requested that I make a list of my favorite chats! You can see the personal request right on their front page. It doesn't mention me by name, but you can see the little hints that it's really meant only for me. Anyway, I'm not one to ignore a general request from someone I've never met, so here's my list:

10. Jim Thome sings about the Twins Obviously, I have my predilections toward certain teams. Particularly the best team in baseball in the whole entire universe. I also appreciate the characterization of the legendary Twins-killer on this site as essentially a butterfly-chasing four-year-old. It makes me giggle.

9. The Straight Man Chatroom, Part 1 and Part 2 These really can't be separated, though the second one has most of the punchline. Somehow, the A-Rod and Derek Jeter are gay lovers joke never really gets old for me.

8. Josh Papelbon Gets Drafted Jon Papelbon is slightly more intelligent than Jim Thome on this site. Though only slightly. Also, "/tomfoolery" might be the funniest one line I've ever seen.

7. Who is Your Tiger? I remember watching the Tigers play in 2003 and seeing poor Dmitri Young running around trying to play all 9 positions and slowly, slowly having his spirit crushed by the utter incompetence and disinterest of his teammates. This chat is ushering a new era. Or something.

6. A Jeep Thing Again, Jim Thome is like a giant, adorable, home-run-smashing, dream-crushing teddy bear. With footy jams.

5. Yor on defense Jon Papelbon outsmarts Kyle Farnsworth. Golden.

4. Pete Rose Stains the Game This is really a series of chats, all of which have the same joke. This is my favorite, but here's a runner up, featuring Stain'd

3. Kirby He has a space on my couch anytime. Though it might be kind of weird for him to come back to life just to stay on a futon in Hyde Park. I wouldn't ask questions, though.

2. The Twins Rule Everyone else drools. But no one knows it. More people should know it. But not so many that I'll start seeing hipster doofuses (doofai?) wearing Twins gear. As Slug says "It sucks that you think where I'm from is whack, but as long as thats enough to keep your ass from comin back"

1. You Saw This Coming Alfonso Soriano. Frank Robinson. Confusion. Buying 20,000 second base bags. It doesn't get any better.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Photo Diary of Curry

So, for all who have been hungering for an update on Houseboy's delectable cooking, I present this photo diary/montage/bunch of pictures.
First, we have shy Houseboy doing his thing. He tried to do the Lemony Snicket "turned away from the camera" pose, but I stood there until he needed to refresh himself and snagged one. Drinking and cooking is Houseboy's trademark. Ordinarily this goes very well. Once he "accidentally" drank a whole bottle of wine and basically spent the evening spinning around the apartment saying "Wheeeeeeeeee!"

This is the curry as it is cooking. It looks like a hot mess right now, but I promise you it's delicious. Or, at least the curry was when we ate it. I make no promises about the picture. That is our nicest-looking and highest-quality pan. Make no assumptions about the quality of our kitchenware from this fine specimen, which my mom bought for me. A lot of the rest of it is beaten up camp ware and "nonstick" pans that are contributing their own special vitamins to every dish we cook these days.

The finished product. I got those plates from Old Navy while waiting in line to pay for some work pants. Work pants + Plastic Plates = A Good Day. You can take that math to the bank.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What is this?

Besides filthy, germ-ridden and disgusting, what would you call the implement pictured above? Because the reason (in part) that it is so ugly is that I've been trying, in vain, to replace it for months.... I've looked at our local grocery store, drug store and Target, and I've searched for it online through Peapod and department stores and discount stores. I've tried keywords such as "Dish Brush," "Dish Scrubber" and "Scrub Brush," all to no avail. At this point, washing our dishes is kind of a cross between a joke and a daredevil stunt. Since I tend to have a kind of arthritic-old-man's grasp on reality, I'd be inclined to think that I imagined the thing and there has never existed any kind of scrub brush made especially for dishes. It always has and always will be sponges and nothing more. But blogspot let me upload a picture of it, so I have reason to assume I'm not that crazy. Though, if you are reading this and there is no picture above, or if the picture is actually of my ass or something, I'd appreciate a heads-up and a padded room, please.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sponsor Me!

So, I've come up with a list of things I'd like to be able to do, and I'm relying on you, my WIDE and VAST and AFFLUENT readership, to sponsor me. Probably I'll set up a paypal account or something. Or just mail me cash, and write on the bills in sharpie which item you're sponsoring.

Item 1: Run a Triathlon. I need help here in buying equipment, making me get up to run in the morning, and mostly pushing people out of my way in the water so I don't get scratched or drownded. Possibly I would accept you constructing some sort of plastic bubble for me to float along in. Though ideally that would be for the running part so I wouldn't have to work too hard.

Item 2: Live in Spain as a fishmonger. This is a well-known dream of mine, but so far no one has volunteered to pay my airfare or to teach me the monger. I could also use people speaking Spanish at me in that weird accent they have with the "ths" and "shs" and all.

Item 3: Be 5'6". This involves a baseball bat, a weird metal instrument and absolutely no squeamishness, from what I understand. Or, you could fly me to Mexico where they'll pretty much do whatever surgery you ask them to.

Item 4: Become a world-famous juggler. As I am currently a regionally-famous clutz, this might actually involve impersonating me in performances and then allowing me to bask in the glow of fame and riches that will surely follow.

Ok, that's it. Let the money and favors roll in.

Monday, May 7, 2007

I have been remiss

So, those "in the know" tell me that one is supposed to blog more often than once every few whenever I feel likes its. I'm not sure WHY this is, or what exactly it would accomplish for me, but I can only assume that there are secret prizes lurking in the wings for best posting average (rate stat) or largest number of posts (counting stat). Blogger's Prospectus is of course coming up with new ways of measuring who is the best poster all the time, like VORB (Value Over Replacement Blogger).

Anyway, all statistics/baseball joking aside (*audience sighs*), there WAS a Houseboy meal recently that I neglected to record for the annals of time (read: until the Pulse wipes out technology or I erase my blogger account). So, this particular meal was cooked... say, Thursday, and it was pepper-crusted salmon, asparagus and Houseboy's first crack at mini Mexican chocolate souffles (soufflai? soufflora?). I have to say, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a comical deflation of of the soufflè, but got over it quickly and enjoyed my delicious muffin full of air (I'd never had a souffle before, and that's the best description I can come up with). I took a picture of the empty container, but Houseboy is not as interested in downloading pictures and e-mailing them to me as he is in cooking for me, for some reason.

Anyway, I was able to bring some leftovers to work for the advancement of my bragging career, but no leftover soufflè, so I don't have much hope for the Superstar award this month (not that the scones won it for me LAST month anyway... apparently some people really hold a grudge when you fill their keyboard with superglue).

Ok, so outside of following a good friend around on a self-declared bender this weekend (resulting an out-of-town friend wandering through Cabrini Green alone and an acquaintance being thrown out of the beautifully named "Joe's on Weed" for punching a wall), not much is new in the world in or around me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm all social and whatnot

So, normally I'm what I like to call "mildly agora-resistant." Meaning I really prefer to stay under my many ratty blankets eating microwaved pot pie and Easter candy and watching baseball to just about anything else. I get my groceries delivered. I get my pet food delivered. I once tried to get Houseboy to brush my teeth for me so that I wouldn't have to walk the 7.3 steps to the bathroom.

Anyway, that should make it all the more shocking that, not only have I "done stuff" three times in the last week, it was all (yes ALL), unusual, mildly irritating and generally out of my comfort zone. First, last Thursday Houseboy and I used a gift certificate to go see a play at The Goodman called Massacre. Upshot of this play was that it was about how Hispanic people in this country have allowed their hearts and minds to be co-opted and controlled by white racist charactarizations of their culture. I was kinda hoping for more blood.

Then, on Wednesday, we went out with Houseboy's baseball friend: a person I like very much, but who happens to be a sign of one very wrong thing in baseball: he's a native Texan and a Cubs fan (f'n WGN). Anyway, a friend of his was a part of a travelling socialist puppet troupe. Yes, I recognize that that sounds made up, but there's really nothing I can do about that. I promise it's real, and I promise we went. I can still smell the general reek of artsy socialists and their apparent disdain of soap and deodorant. Lesson learned there was that... um... oh, something about George Bush and the war, but there was a giant puppet elephant that was cool.

Finally, yesterday I lured Houseboy out to a forum on the non-profit industrial complex with the lure of Greek food. Panelists discussed the control of 501(c)3 nonprofits by the government, the wealthy, and foundations and how to escape the cycle of tax breaks and social control. Then I ordered a whole pizza and a giant bowl of hummus.

This weekend I will not be answering the phone or opening the curtains, and I will most likely smell like a socialist by Monday.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Vote for ME!

Last night I was feeling grumpy and generally out-of-sorts, despite the Twins' imminent sweep of the Orioles (undefeated! Yeah! If this were football we'd be rolling!). So, Houseboy thoughtfully constructed some delicious scones out of the remaining milk, butter and chocolate in the house. Not only did this brighten up my evening, it gave me a reason to get out of bed this morning AND something to share with my coworkers to make them jealous, increase my chances of winning the Data Superstar award and all around make up for that time I flooded the floor because I wanted to know what it would be like to work on an island.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Torii Hunter's a big copycat

Last night was Twins opening night, so of course Houseboy did a reprise of the afore-blogged-about mac and cheese and invited over our ex-roommate/Catholic convert to watch it on the real TV... this was one of the two Twins games that will probably be televised on ESPN this year since winning their division 4 out of the last 5 years, having last year's Cy Young, MVP and batting champion winners and being all-around upstanding citizens does not make them worth watching according to the Secret Tribunal of Sports Importance. I'm sure there will be more on this the first time I see NASCAR on during a baseball game.

Anyway, Houseboy had Jason "Bartles and Jason" Bartlett as his "pick to do really good tonight," Roomie had Justin "Island of Dr." Morneau, and I had Torii "Can't Pick Him as My Favorite Player Because Then He'll Leave or Get Traded" Hunter. Things started off in Roomie's favor, as the Doctor hit a clutch second inning homerun. Dusty Baker was guest-commentating and he actually used the word "clutch" to refer to scoring the first run of the game. However, not to be outdone, Torii "Should Have Gotten Credit for, Like, 50 Homeruns Last Year If You Count the Ones He Stole From the Other Team" Hunter came up next and did the same damn thing.

Neck and neck in the "I'm smart and picked a good player to do well in this game" race, Roomie and I were on the edges of our seats for the next appearance of our picks. Morneau hit a liner down right center and got erroneously called out at second. Torii winked in my direction and then knocked out basically THE SAME HIT and pulled in safely to second, assuring my victory. A lot more stuff happened that wasn't nearly as interesting and then the Twins won 7 to 4.

Also, poor Soriano suffers on in the dugout chats:

And I saw the Sun Times headline this morning about the Cubs escaping the "Evil Grasp" of the Tribune... or somesuch. Anyone have $600 Million I can borrow?

Thursday, March 29, 2007


So far this week, Houseboy has been really on his game in the "keeping his sugar-momma happy with food" department, and I almost don't know which delicious dish to write about first. As you can see, to your left, Monday's dish featured homemade macaroni and cheese in little individual dishy thingies with like 17 kinds of cheese and yummybreadcrumbcrustycheesy topping.

There was also some sort of green centerpiece arrangement that silly Houseboy said would help that heart pain I've been having lately.

You can also see in the background the beer bottle cap coffee table that only took about 5 years and 2.5 livers to create. We like to eat modern Japanese style: sitting on the floor in front of the television.

Last night, solemn Houseboy created one of my personal favorite dishes, Eggplant Parmagian. I didn't get a picture, because I kind of accidentally inhaled it all before Houseboy was finished pouring my wine. My excuse is that all I'd had to eat all day was 4 diet cokes and 3 cups of tea. That, and it was fried eggplant smothered in pasta sauce, parmagian and mozzarella. God bless this food to our use and all that.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Huffing Paint

Disclaimer: If happen to know me and know you are from my hometown, please recognize that if you are reading this right now it is most likely because I like you at least well enough to not avoid you completely, which is saying a lot. Therefore, don't take anything you're about to read to apply to you. Probably. Thank you and have a nice day.

So, I was interacting via the world wide interwebs today with an illustrious alum of a certain small town high school which shall remain nameless (though certainly obvious), and she informed me that our 10 year high school reunion is coming up. Two things are obvious in this: #1 That is simply a falsehood and the bitch should watch her mouth in the future, and #2 I dropped out of that school so I'm unlikely to be invited, even if it were true. Which it is not.

Anyway, it started me off on an unfortunate train of thought about how important it is that I am better, smarter and prettier than all those losers I grew up with, and how difficult it would be to explain that to all of them at a beer bash in Richter's woods. I'm pretty sure it would involve new jeans and some sort of t-shirt that says "I'm good at math and make more money than you and I live in the same building with 'people of color' and don't even freak out about it and I can walk to an art gallery and a coffee shop and where I live it smells like people's shit instead of like cow's shit." And you can see where I'm having a hard time here.

So, mostly then, I was thinking that rather than bragging about living in a city I hate or doing a job none of them would understand, or marrying a man who is neither Czech nor related to anyone in town, that I would find some sort of "I've never huffed paint" angle. I could work on showing all the ranges of emotion I'm still capable of feeling and expressing with my face or saying complete sentences with minimal slurring.

I think we're on to something here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I love to hate Alfonso Soriano

Since he's pretty much exactly the kind of player I love: small (ish), athletic, fast... OBP in the 300's, slugging in the 500s.... yet for some perverse reason he always chooses to play for teams I hate: the Yankees, the Rangers (now known as the Texiera Rangers), the Nationals, and now the Cubs (though for once he chose the team I hate LESS in the region).

Anyway, that's all lead-up to this dugout chat from last year's spring training, which is currently in my top 5 funniest things I've ever read.


Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm reclaiming the term "houseboy"

There's a good chance the herein discussed person will not appreciate the term, but I like it and until he's working full-time and I'm in school, I get to assign the titles. That said, this is going to be the first in what I hope is a long line of posts about Things My Houseboy Cooked for Me. So maybe he'll forgive me since it's sort of a song of praise.

For St. Patrick's Day this year we decided we wanted to be as authentically Irish as possible. Something that is perhaps ironic since the 1/4 of me that is not German is Scotch-Irish and English, so I'm basically the Protestant Rapist Oppressor of the good Irish Catholics. I'm o.k. with that.

So, anyway, "authentically Irish" mostly seems to involve various boiled and spiced meats, but we managed to find one fish dish called "Cod Cobbler." It's basically a casserole of cod and cheese, topped with scones. And it is to the endless praise of Señor Houseboy that this was not TOTALLY inedible. It was, however, basically globby boiled fish in milk with some delicious scones on top. Yum.

Next year I'll let him do what he originally wanted to: make the totally un-Irish sounding Teriyaki Glazed Salmon recipe off that Irish Recipes website.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


One Time I Got Married.

The End.
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Friday, March 2, 2007


It's kind of grainy... not as nice as I'd have hoped. But here she is:

"Taper Jean Girl" was her favorite song.