Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fired Up

Today my roommate brought me an Obama '08 sticker, given to her at work by "some crazy homeless person." She knew I liked Obama, and, she being a Ron Paul fan, figured the invisible hand of the free market should carry this sticker to me, presumably so I could help kill more unborn babies. (Just kidding Bayleaf! Thanks for the sticker!)

In general, I consider myself a bit of a political-news junkie. I talk politics and news all the time. And I've been an Obama fan for awhile, convincing my mom and sometime commenter Boobers to read The Audacity of Hope. But putting a sticker on my car has always bugged me a bit. I don't know why.

Part of it is co-workers. I work with a fair number of GOPers, and it just seems like a "why rock the boat?" kind of things. Which, on reflection, is just kind of silly. Any co-worker that holds such a thing against me is not likely to be of any import to my day-to-day work. So whatever.

I donated $100 to Obama's campaign today. A small drop in the bucket, but a drop nonetheless. I like the guy, and I like his odds against likely GOP nominee McCain. I'm going to stop being lame and put my money and my sticker where my mouth is.

On my bumper.

</mixed metaphor>

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Things they are a-cooking

So, I read The Pioneer Woman's post about quesadilla-making. Mouth-watering stuff.

It reminded me of a sidedish my mom used to make: sautéed mushrooms. Basically, mushrooms and butter in a pan, sautéed till awesome (you'll know it when you see it).

I left work with a singular focus: make that sidedish, which I did, adding wine at the directive of TPW. It was delicious. And nutritionally worthless. But whatever.

> > >

Everyone is sick. My roommate (see here: he had a fever of 102.7°!). Three of my co-workers. I feel the sick closing in around me and I've nothing but my buttery-mushroom-infused immune system to keep it at bay. Fight the good fight, li'l white blood cells.

(Also: thanks to Dr. B. for offering good fever-breaking advice and keeping me calm because HOLY CRAP MY ROOOMMATE'S BRAIN IS BOILING!)

> > >

I've decided I need a vacation. I haven't had a true one in years. At least since 2004. It's time. And I will go. Somewhere. Despite my utter lack of PTO and Comp time. Somehow. Dammit.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Free New Zealand Verbal Post Number One

First and foremost, friends and lovers, ignore or politely deal with whatever rambling strange punctuation burrows itself into this post, as I am not at a computer, in the flesh, typing away to you; rather, I yell my post across Lake Dunston to an unnamed (not that he doesn't have a name, just that he won't tell me) and highly-tatooed Kiwi sitting on a dock with a Brilliance 150P3 comp and a large dull gray satellite dish aimed above the mountains. 'Wry and stanley dot com!' I yell to him. 'Ryan Stanley don't work, mate!' he yells back. And on and on.

I've named him Teddy (not me name, not even close).

Greetings from the old gold-mining town of Cromwell, Central Otago, New Zealand. Used to be quite the gold stockpile, the tatooed man tells me (the kid's right) then things slowed down, fruit farming came into play, it was decided by the New Zealander powers that be that the basin was prime real estate for a giant dam. Subsequently, half of the town is underwater, much of the good apple and cherry orchards, a few bridges, maybe two or three dozen homes, half the rugby field. But with this new great lake came awesome water sport tourism and the realization that with all the sunlight hours (bright as a doctor five in the morning till ten thirty at night, real bugger for sleeping) and the lake recycling heat and sunlight, why this would be a great place to grow some dank Pinot Noir. And henceforth and so on.

So here I am, swimming in the lake at night, getting sunburnt, riding my bike around to all the little wineries, tasting bottles in the owners' kitchens and living rooms, trudging around in the cellar, doing a bungee or two, getting sunburnt again (a lie if there ever was one: kid wouldn't do a bungee if the fate of the world depended on him), playing my mandolin on the front porch of my cabin, trying to make friends with the Germans who live next door.

Pictures and the like on their way. Teddy says Hi (Did not, but I do. I do say Hi.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

No, tell me what you really think

Last night found Band B in Harrisonburg, at a large venue with two separate performance areas. We opened for the inimitable Sons of Bill (who played a great set, by the by), and while we played a bluegrass band graced the venue's second, smaller stage.

After our set, I retired to the second-stage-area bar, for there were lines shorter and crowds thinning out. The bluegrass band had just finished up, and, waiting for my bourbon and Diet Coke (yeah; I know), I chatted up the middle-aged couple standing at the bar.

"How was the bluegrass band?" I inquired.

"Better than the other band that was just playing in there, I tell you what," said Red, whose wife Pebbles echoed his sentiments.

Bonus points: they really were named Pebbles and Red, and Red told me I could call him Bam-Bam.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hear, Hear

I've mentioned before my particular proclivity for waking with a random song stuck in my noggin. But I realized the affliction is broader, striking me at odd times throughout the day.

So, in the interest of scientific inquiry, I have for the past week or so documented each instance of earwormery, hoping to discover some unforeseen pattern or otherwise illuminate my condition.

Alas, no pattern do I see. But it seems my subconscious has a pretty terrible taste in music. The results:

  • "The Way" by Fastball—Sitting at my desk, not having listened to any music that day.

  • "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show—Getting ready for bed, having played a show (but not this song).

  • "Like a Virgin" by Madonna—Walking to the bathroom at work.

  • "Poison" by Alice Cooper—Sitting in silence in my dining room, strolling around the interweb.

  • "If I Only Had a Brain" by Arlen and Harburg (Wizard of Oz)—sitting at my desk, writing an e-mail.

  • "Escape" by
    Enrique Iglesias—Waking up in my bed. (Yeah. I don't know either.)

UPDATE! Today was even worse:

  • "I'm Your Lady" by Celine Dion—Sitting at my desk sipping coffee. AHHHHHHHHH!

Monday, January 21, 2008

To leave a callback number, press five

Driving home, I got a call from an unfamiliar Maryland phone number. I didn't pick it up, and after a few moments, I got notification of a new voicemail.

The message was short. It started with classical musical in the background, and then a sweet old-lady voice chimed, "Wrong number. So sorry!"

It was adorable, and so nice of her to explain. Most people would just hang up, I presume. I was mad at myself as soon as I deleted it. It was a perfect candidate for The Voicemail Project, whose founder was in town over the weekend to talk about the project. Very cool idea. You can listen to some of the voicemails she's captured at the project's myspace page.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cold Butts, Warm Hearts Can't Lose!

This post reminds me that of course I have my petty annoyances with my roommates. (And likewise, they have theirs with me, no doubt.) After all, they cook stinky food and leave the greasy pan for several days. They watch stupid TV shows. And two of 'em talk about Ron Paul way, way too much.

But heck if I don't come home from work on a snowy day to find they've made a snow bench in the backyard. It's enough to warm even the coldest of hearts. And so we took a house picture (our first, I think):

Aren't we adorable? You can see why our neighbors love us so.


Other random things I meant to tell you about:

  • My beard. It died [Bonus! Those are Boobers' boots in that there pic.]

    • Did I tell you about the best sound guy ever? He lives in Raleigh. Most sound guys (and gals) check each individual drums drum [goddammit] and then say, "All right, let's hear the whole kit." This guy in Raleigh goes, "All right, whole kit: give me an up-tempo beat with a roll on the toms."

      Specific! I liked it. Turns out he's a drummer. His buddy was there, too, and also a drummer. The buddy advised me to substitute cotton balls for the pillow I was using in my bass drum. Better resonance and lower bass response. I was hoping they'd fly all around inside but they pretty much just stay still. Sounds good so far, but the true test is tonight: gig in Richmond. I better get going.

    Thursday, January 17, 2008


    I was going to regale with the long version of my airport-security lament, but we all know the lows to which air travel has sunk. So I'll spare you the painful if unsurprising details.

    Rather! Let me share a felicitous discovery from my travels. To wit, Shirt Stays!

    Elastic straps from your socks to your dress shirt to keep the latter tucked in (and, presumably, to keep the former from sliding down)! WANT.

    Okay, what I really want to is to don some Shirt Stays in conjunction with suspenders, then jump around on a pogo stick. I think it would feel as if I were a human Slinky®. And who wouldn't want to experience that?

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Radio Silence

    Been quiet 'round here. Sorry. Some sudden events found me arranging a quick flight to northern climes. Stories forthcoming—such as how you too(!) might be selected for "extra screening." Also: did you know there are certain kinds of lotion whose residue on your laptop can set of the explosives detector?! Me neither! But there are!

    Lastly: did my cob-logger leave the country again? If so, sorry I missed your going-away. Happy trails, compadre. Don't forget to write.

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    The One Where They Build A House

    Finally, causing an overwhelmingly genuine excitement from friends and random dudes at parties, I have "gotten into" Arrested Development. It took me all of Season 1, and was spurred because, previous to AD, I "got into" The Office. And yesterday I received great bear hug man love from buddies and knowing looks from females, looks saying kind of "I knew you were smart, and now I have proof" - all just for admitting that the show is "funny" and that I'm "looking forward" to Season 2 (which everybody pities me for the fact that I have not yet seen, but they are patient).

    Mentioning you're a beginner AD viewer prompts, from apparently every TV watcher in Charlottesville, massive well-scripted tirades on jokes hidden beneath scenes, three-year running gags, leftism on Fox TV, and Michael Cera being the funniest thing since that time when my friend was swinging a Katana around and hit himself in the balls, then vomited, then passed out. I never knew this, but people do not consider you to be a complete human being unless you agree with them about their theories on the Bluthe Family Banana Stand.

    Now I'm told I need to "get into" Flight of the Conchords, not only because it would be good research for New Zealand, where I will be living for the next four months, but because the show is "badass funny." True? Is there an entire world of TV DVDs awaiting Ryan, even though he doesn't own a TV? I need your advice on how to entertain myself next.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Chipping Away at a Menace

    Of the many indicators of the continued disintegration of America's moral fiber is the advent of Tostitos®-brand Scoops!®. Of course, the indictment against this menace could easily be pages long. But, for the sake of brevity, let us consider three of the many terrible things about them.
    1. The[y]* have a dumb-ass name. Setting aside the completely gratuitous exclamation point, Scoops!® are named such as to indicate what one might do with them. How utterly presumptuous of you, Tostitos®. (Okay, this criticism is kind of lame. Mostly I hate the exclamation point.)

    2. They're completely unnecessary. Prior to the pernicious market debut of Scoops!®, there already existed a device perfectly well-suited to conveying a perfect amount of salsa (and other delicious items) from bowl (or plate) to mouth. It was called "a tortilla chip," and it came in many varieties—circular, triangular, blue-corn, etc. Scoops!®, on the other hand, allow one to acquire superhuman amounts of salsa (and other delicious items) with a single chip, a clear instance of rank American exceptionalism and gluttony.

    3. Their structure is annoying and hurty. The folding of the edges leads to numerous, reinforced corners, areas far harder to chew. The result: annoying super-crunchiness and the potential for Cap'n Crunch®-esque mouth-roof lacerations.

    In sum, Tostitos® Scoops!®: you suck.

    *Thanks for the typo heads-up, eekbeat!

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    I can't get much wronger

    So I downloaded the latest Kanye album, because, you know, I'm hard. And what should I discover but—heavens to betsy!—dude grew up a scant eight miles from where I grew up.

    This fact clearly and unequivocally explains my ongoing musical successes.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Wherein I'm Helpful to You

    With my birthday just around the corner (okay, it's over a month away, but it's never too early to start shopping!), I thought I'd point out that, yes, in fact, I would be elated to receive this totally awesome lamp on the appointed day.

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Wednesday Morning Admissional

    In the spirit of the Friday Afternoon Confessional, I offer up a midweek and secularized set of admissions.

    I admit that I've all but stopped making coffee in the morning. It's too loud to grind the beans, and, while this is easily fixable by (a) not being a snob who grinds his own beans or (b) being slightly less a snob and pre-grinding my beans the night before, I instead succomb to the convenience and deliciousness of Mudhouse coffee, preferring to pay $2 rather than dealing with the hassle and the noise.

    I admit that my coffee purchases increasingly include fresh-squeezed orange juice, bringing my morning beverage total to $5 and assuring my continued slide into effete toolishness.

    I admit that I attended the cVillain New Year's Eve party, hosted by commenter TwoOFour. I admit that I sucked at poker. I admit that I probably drank too much Jack Daniels. I admit I (jokingly, of course) suggested that shooting down the Ron Paul blimp would be the ultimate mindfuck for a libertarian, forcing a choice between second-amendment wankery and the sanctity of private property. I admit I think about Ron Paul too much and have decided he doesn't really matter much in the long run.

    I admit that my other weekend bloggerish party was the whirlwind UnfoggeDCon 2.0. I admit that I feel increasingly like I didn't actually meet anyone, conversations being brief by and large. I admit I find this immensely disappointing, as I fully blame myself for not being more sociable but rather overwhelmed.

    I admit that I ate too many of those caramel things with the white center yesterday. What are those called? I admit that I would eat just the white centers, were they sold separately.

    I admit that, on the day of the unfogged party, I ate for the first time at Temperance Hall with Emily and Tom. I admit that it saddens me to learn this establishment is changing hands, but I'm hopeful by the waitress' assurances that the menu will be largely unchanged. I admit that I raved to my roommate Hambone about the excellence of the garlic fries, prompting him to undertake a foolhardly attempt to recreate said fries, based solely on my description. I admit that he has a Plan B for the fries, which will likely happen tonight. I admit this excites me.

    I admit that tonight I'm attending my third meet-up in under a week, but this one's not for a blog but rather for a college paper I used to write for. I admit I expect it to be informal and fun. I admit I'm somewhat anxious about it nonetheless.

    I admit that this year's version of the Holiday Mix CD Exchange was an unqualified success, as eleven people stepped up to participate, including one stranger (well, someone only one of us has met). I admit that this means we increased participation by a full 37.5%, a trend which, should it continue, will put fifteen CDs in my hot little hands next year. I admit I still haven't sent my track listing to Ryan but I will soon. I swear.

    Feel free to fess up to whatever you need to in comments.

    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    Funniest thing this year

    At work, on the phone with someone from very, very far away. A call comes in on a radio in the background. He interrupts me: "Can you hang on a sec? I'm doing air-traffic control."