Sunday, October 29, 2006

An Incomplete List of Things I Learned While Eating Brunch Today

1) The wind is inclinced to pick up table umbrellas and shove them through my face.

An Incomplete List of Things I Learned While Eating Brunch Today

1). I do not like chèvre cheese in my omelettes.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

21 - 3 = Scene?

I saw Live from…the Hook tonight. The movie covers the 1970s-80s Charlottesville music scene, and it cites the raising of the drinking age to twenty-one as one cause of that scene's decline.

Having played my share of gigs in town, I'm inclined to agree. Added bonus: the U.Va. frat scene has to compete with the bars and clubs for the eighteen-to-twenty-year-old crowd. Better social options for the underage folks. More potential fans for the bands. Fewer people going to frat parties. It's a win-win-win.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

eVoting Let Down

The WaPo reports today on an electronic-voting-machine failure affecting Charlottesville, Alexandria, and Falls Church:

U.S. Senate candidate James Webb's last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot used by voters in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names, city officials said yesterday.

The Post report doesn't suggest any malicious intent—the error is the result of an increase in text size, presumably designed to help people vote more easily. But this is just the sort of thing that a close election doesn't need: the appearance of impropriety, even in the absence actual malfeasance. And I presume that our election officials are up-in-arms about the mix-up.

Well, sort of. Rick Sincere, the current Secretary of the Electoral Board in Charlottesville blogs the controversy, explaining that a software fix is available but is stuck in state certification (and informing me, to my delight, that a permanent paper-trail fix is on the way, too; huzzah for that). But Rick also says:

It is the candidate, not the State Board of Elections or the local Electoral Board, who chooses how his name appears on the ballot. If Jim Webb had chosen to have his name appear on the ballot as "James Webb" or "Jim Webb," this would not be an issue.

Hm, methinks that bar is set a wee bit high, Rick. If a particular jurisdiction has limited character space available—even if it's just on the summary page, as in this case—the burden falls on the officials of that jurisdiction to inform each candidate, lest the candidate exceed the available space.

That's the funny thing about bucks. They so rarely stop anywhere. But then, I have an especially long last name, so maybe I'm just touchy. Regardless: extremely disappointing.


My mom called tonight to check in, a weekly ritual that confirms that I'm still a bad son who never calls home. (Untrue! Well, sort of...) An excerpt:

Mom: I just know that it can be hard for you to drive here for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Stanley: Yeah, I mean, it's only an hour, but given my work schedule, it can be challenging.
Mom: Well, just know that, if you'd ever rather have us up there for Thanksgiving or Christmas, that'd be fine by us.


I interpreted this as a suggestion that I should be hosting my immediate family for at least one of these holidays, which was wholly surprising. At many a family holiday event, I still end up at the kiddie table (and I love it; you can totally play with your food there and no one cares).

The suggestion that I host a Major-Holiday Family Dinner was an indication that I had leap-frogged the whole kiddie-table-to-grown-up-table transition, and was now expected to have turkey and a clean house and an actual passion for the holiday at-hand. Which just seemed weird.

Yet: my mom is super-busy with a new job, so I'm inclined to call her back and invite them all here for Thanksgiving. 'Cause I know I can host a good dinner party as well as anyone. Thoughts?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Professional Hoop Jumper

One of the most valuable skills I acquired as an undergraduate is the ability to jump through bureaucratic hoops. Forms to apply for loans. Forms to apply for scholarships. Forms to declare a major. Forms to change a major. Phone calls to an endless array of offices, agencies, administrations, automated systems. Oh, and what's that? You need a notarized copy? In triplicate? Signed by the Pope and Jimmy Hoffa? By tomorrow at 9am? You got it.

At the end of four years, most undergrads are experts at navigating through the hallways and hold times of The Bureaucracy. And I was no exception. But a couple years out of school, I'm woefully out of practice. I don't have as many deadlines. There is no Final Registration. Once I've paid for gas, water, phone and electricity, I'm pretty much set for the month.

Which is to say: I've gotten soft. I'm frightened by bureaucracy. The DMV? Downright horrifying. The latest example of this fear is the case of the stolen passport.

My passport was stolen many, many months ago. I immediately downloaded the appropriate forms for reporting it stolen and re-applying. I filled them out. And then I filed them away, because, ugh visiting the passport office?! What a drag.

Cristóbal kept urging me to take care of it, so I could come visit him in South Amuricka or perhaps we could go to Europe for a few weeks. Lately, Eek has been hatching plans for Springtime trips(!). To Ireland(!). Or somewhere else(!). So she's been on my case, too (for which I'm infinitely grateful; I think I need a kick in the arse on this one).

Fast-forward to this morning, which found me at Charlottesville's main Post Office, filling out the forms (again). When it was my turn, I went into a small office with Lando, the clerk, who was nothing but polite and professional. He proceeded through my documents. "Yep. Mm-hmm. Okay. Yep." And the then, the dreaded and inevitable: "Hm. Houston, we have a problem."

Turns out I needed an official copy of my Birth Certificate, which makes sense. Which means: a hoop! To jump through! My pulse quickened. Sweat beads formed on my forehead. A faint but familiar sense of excitement tingled in my toes.

I raced home and logged onto the interwebs. I clicked through page after page at the Illinois Department of Vital Records. Punched in my credit card number. I faxed in my confirmation. And now, I wait.

But that wasn't enough. I had gotten a taste. That old feeling of Getting Shit Done. I called the local public radio station and made that pledge I had been meaning to make. (Bonus! I get a mug.) I called City Hall to see why our gas didn't work. I emptied my inbox. I drank multiple cups of coffee in an hour. I was on fire.

Why can't someone just pay me to do piddly shit? I mean, seriously. I kind of get a kick out of it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In a Subjunctive Mood

Johnny Blaze, in a fit of helpfulness, offered up this example:

"Dude, sometimes I wish I were a chick."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wherein Ryan Posts The One About Books

1. One book that’s changed your life

In that my life is ever changing, and in that every seemingly unrelated detail of the universe has changed my life in some way - Orion's Belt, Bo Jackson, the Smurfs, that one time when I was six when I overheard my dad say 'fuckin' right I stole it' - I would say that every book I've ever read has changed my life in a way that I couldn't possibly assume to understand much less describe. Probably even the books I haven't (and won't ever) read (in a million fucking years) have changed my life (and this includes all books with either "The" or "Lord" or "Of" or "The" or "Rings" in the title, which, good friend, I won't ever read in a million fucking years).

2. One book that you have read more than once

Maniac McGee, by Charles Something. Pinelli? It could be. It very well could be Pinelli. I'd look it up, but.

3. One book you would want on a desert island

Idiots Guide to Photoshop. But, seriously, today a complete stranger called me an asshole. I'm not kidding. And there's a book called Tristram Shandy that's very interesting. There's nothing like it. In one part the guy slams a window shut on his junk.

4. One book that made you cry

It's hard to cry on Valium, internet friend. Not that I haven't, but it certainly takes more than a book these days.

5. One book that made you laugh

Calvin and Hobbes.

6. One book you wish had been written

If one were to wish a book had been written, one should get off their ass and write that book, lest one be all talk and no game.

7. One book you wish had never been written

They should all have been written. Although I often wonder about your blog. Yes, yours.

8. One book you are currently reading.

Brothers Karamazov

9. One book you'’ve been meaning to read

The Lord of the Rings j/k!!!!!!!!!!11111!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Undercover Normal

I was startled by the sound of car doors slamming outside. Men talking. Bustle. More car doors. More men talking. A car idling in front my my house.

I step out the front door and see three large men, sitting in a dark-blue Ford Bronco. They're wearing camouflage uniforms. The interior light is on, and they're passing folders and pieces of paper among them. They laugh and banter.

I stepped back inside. Then, hesitantly I returned outside. I watched for a few more moments. Okay. I approached the car, noisily, so they'd know I was coming.

"Hey, guys. Everything all right?" I ask.

No answer.

Louder now, I ask "Excuse me, guys, are you just idling here? Everything cool?"

The youngest, maybe 25, in the passenger seat, turns to me annoyed. "Yeah. Oh. Um. Yeah. We're going fishing."

Recognizing this dude as my neighbor's son (who might live there? I'm not sure) and relieved, I stammer, "Oh, uh, oh. Cool. Well, good luck . . . . With the catch and all."

Oh. Duh. I'm an idiot.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Wow. This is neat. I've been to only one exquisite-corpse-type party, and it was wonderfully fun. I haven't tried calling yet, but next time I have four friends around, we're going for it.

(discovered via this boingboing link, which points to the the source of these cool things [and a few more])

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Got a Gato

Sparks, or Holmes, as the roommate insists on calling him (yes, yes, he's her cat, but I feed him, and hang out with him, and let him warm himself along me bum*):

*Yes. I'm blogging about my cat. And my bum. Fuck you. Ryan's still working, like, 90 hours a week. I gots to do something 'round here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Whom are you going to call?

I wake up on a normal day and assume that my friends couldn't possibly be any cooler than they are. Then I find out that Bay and Hammy have painted this on their car's hood:

Fucking. Sweet. They did the door, too. Check out a couple more photos here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On Perquisites

Honest-to-goodness thing that a co-worker said:

"You know what my favorite perk here is? Free ice!"


Hey, Ryan:

We've been immortalized in verse.

We've also apparently missed some sort of C-ville blogger meet-up. I'd like to think that it's because we've attained some status as C-ville's blogger pariahs. But in reality, I suspect it's 'cause we don't read enough C-ville blogs to know about this sort of thing.

Oh well. I guess we'll just have to keep trying for that pariah thing.


Monday, October 02, 2006

La Bibliothèque

Teofilo tagged me with this book meme, my very first venture into the magical land of memery. Here goes nothing:

1. One book that’s changed your life

Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen. Nothing groundbreaking, but it shifted my focus from US-focused Political Science to International Relations. And I read it in a class on "less-developed countries," the same class I was sitting in when turrists attacked Amuricka. Which, as we all know, changed everything

2. One book that you have read more than once

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. AP English. I thought I had missed something, so I re-read it immediately upon finishing. (Yeah, I had missed something.)

3. One book you would want on a desert island

An e.e. cummings poetry anthology. I mean, if you're going to go crazy, I say really go for it:





4. One book that made you cry

I whimpered a lot while reading Cortázar's Rayuela (Hopscotch in the English translation). But then, it was a very rough time.

Good book, by the by.

5. One book that made you laugh

Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Yeah, I'm a pig.

6. One book you wish had been written

My maternal grandmother re-married after divorcing my biological grandpappy (dubbed "Bio" by one and all in the fam; yeah, they had some ill will). She re-married a spark of a chap named James. He owned a hunting and fishing store on Chicago's far Southside and was a Schlitz beer distributor. He died on on the day after Christmas, less than two months before I was born. I wish I could read his memoirs.

7. One book you wish had never been written

Any of the Harry Potter series. Because I'm a humorless boor.

8. One book you are currently reading.

I'm actually kind of reading three different books: Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words and Management-Speak Are Strangling Public Language by Don Watson, Thomas Geoghan's Which Side Are You, and, yes, The DaVinci Code. The first two are excellent so far. The last one I'm reading out of spite, because I'm sick of trying to mock the book and its author based only on second-hand sources. It's really quite painful, and teo's approach of strict avoidance is clearly the wiser choice.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read

The Birth of Bebop by Scott DeVeaux. It's been on my shelf, unread, for years.


Well, that was interesting. Let's see what LC, [redacted—sorry, dude!] Rev. Dr., t(h)om have been reading. Tag!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elgoog McElgoogs

Here are the most recently googled things on Stanley and Beth's computer (that are not entirely embarrassing or surprisingly X-rated (Stanley? The Liberator?))::::
- bizarre bazaar
- for pleasures
- french kiss
- Greek-occupied North Africa
- jose gonzales heartbeat lyrics
- jose gonzales heartbeat lyrics TAB
- jose gonzales heartbeat lyrics TAB easy
- the knife heartbeat lyrics
- pour some sugar on me lyrics TAB
- car insurance
- easily accepted car insurance
- percentage accept credit card
- cheap credit card
- Wal-Mart credit card
- Kroger Plus card
- An Introduction to Language and Linguistics
- project runway
- last week's project runway
- project runway bloopers
- bloopers, project runway
- mistakes project runway
- funny things from project runway
- project runway runway
- Home Alone
- traveling with cat on bike