Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Employee ID Card

For some reason, namely: I haven't taken the time to go to the Student Center & get it done, I've put off getting a new ID card for a long, long time. My old one dates back about 9 years I suppose. I remember when I got it; I was still teaching @ WCC. I think it was my 1st semester as a Lecturer. Its time had definitely passed though. I haven't been able to get things out of storage @ the library lately which is contingent on having as updated card. W/ that in mind, I decided today would be the day because I wanted a couple of old Halloween DVDs. Of course it had nothing @ all to do w/ anything even peripherally related to academia. Looking @ the old one & the new one side by side, there are a couple glaring concerns. It looks like my hair may have gotten a little shinier & my eyes seem a little more experienced. Regardless of the hair color, it's also clear that my hair style has been ridiculous for a quite a while. You can also note that the top is cracked off of the old one after sitting in my wallet for 9 years. The final thing I need to point out is that I've apparently gotten a promotion. Maybe I need to let the union know about this loop-hole in the contract... the old one says "Lecturer;" the new one says "Faculty."
Circa 2000
Circa Today

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Honeymoon in VT

In May of 1998, after our wedding, Stephanie & I took a road trip to the Green Mountains where we stayed in a couple of B&Bs for 4 nights. The 1st 2 nights were in Northfield. While there, we made a short trip to Barre, Ben & Jerry's & then Burlington where I realized that the dude who got Lake Champlain Great Lakes funding was a tool. There's nothing great about lake Champlain... you can see across it for Christ's sake. Then we spent a couple nights in Hancock. The place in Northfield, The Northfield Inn was by far the nicer of the 2 places, but in Hancock, The Sweet Onion Inn left me w/ the better memories. The Inn was 100% vegan, & it was right on a beautiful river where we spent an afternoon skipping stones. Hancock is also right on the Eastern edge of the Green Mountain National Forest through which we took a nice drive & went for cool hike to a waterfall. The reason I'm writing about this right now though is because while in Hancock, we missed the series finale of Seinfeld; it was on again last night & got me thinking about it. While we couldn't see it then, we had to listen to the daughter of the owners of the inn get all excited because her parents were going to let her watch it. I didn't feel right asking if we could hang out in their living room & watch w/ them... but I really wanted to. instead, we went to a bar across the street & waited to see it until we got home. Stephanie's dad taped it for us so we were alright.People have spent the last 11 years suggesting that it didn't do justice to what is commonly considered the greatest sit-com of all time. Watching it again last night, I realized how much I disagree with that sentiment though. There were only a few options for ending the series; I remember everyone assuming they'd get killed off so the close call on the plane was clearly in reference to that rumor. Plus, during the near crash, we find out that George cheated in the masturbation contest... awesome! Then bringing it back to the show-w/in-a-show from a few seasons earlier is great. That even gives George's dad a chance to talk shit about NBC execs before the parade of secondary characters in the 2nd half of the show. The post-modern stuff is all throughout the episode, & the fact that the stupid "Good Samaritan law" doesn't really make much sense should be given a little lee-way since it's really just setting up the courtroom parade of characters. Besides, any episode w/ Jackie Chiles is a good episode... & he gets to find out that Terri Hatcher's tits are real!

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Post; Old Music

As I was leaving the house the other day, I grabbed a CD to which I hadn't listened in years & years. It has always had a place in my heart, but for all sorts of reasons, I'd neglected it in general since about 1996. I imagine the last time I listened to it @ all was maybe 3 years ago when I happened to score a free ticket to a show at Meadowbrook. It's interesting how music that gets a lot of play 1 year can fall off of a personal radar a few years later. It's too bad too because as i have been listening to it this week, I've been reminded of how good it is. The CD in question is Travelers & Thieves, the 2nd album by Blues Traveler. When we were younger, Stephanie & I saw them more times than any other band; clearly by now we've seen the different incarnations of The Dead/Phil's band/Bob's band more, Blues Traveler will always be the one that reminds me of my college days the most. In fact, I even spend this morning, while grading, listening to some old shows on the Archive & was again blown away by their talent.

Listening this week, I realized a few things:
1) Bobby Sheehan was a monster bass player. When he died, I was already listening to them less & less, so I was rather unaffected, but back in the early '90s, I'd always been impressed by him. Now I realize my original feelings were more than just blind fandom; he was awesome. Check out his runs on "Onslaught," "Ivory Tusk," & "Support Your Local Emperor." He's all over the place playing a 2nd lead behind Popper's harmonica while Chan Kinchla & Brenden Hill hold down the beat.
2) Popper's lyrics, while sometimes a bit cheesy, are really complex. He's dealing w/ big issues, & saying some cool things; much cooler, in fact, than his ridiculous libertarian views would suggest.
3) Having listened to Travelers & Thieves, I then grabbed Save His Soul & also put in On Tour Forever. I doubt I'll go into any of the more recent stuff, but those other discs hold up really well too. On Tour Forever is a live, bonus disc that was packaged w/ only 10,000 copies of Travelers & Thieves. it 4 song long & runs nearly an hour. It also features Carlos Santana on a 20 minute version of "Mountain Cry." Of course, the studio version features Greg Allman, so that's pretty cool too.

Do yourself a favor & grab an old disc, 1 you haven't listened to in a long time, & give it another go. You'll be glad you did... I sure am.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I learned this Weekend (W/ Halloween Post #2) or Holy Shit! Miley Deleted her Twitter!

Along with that adorable little rap classic, I also learned, via Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, that those of you w/ dogs should be checking this site out, but be warned: once you see a dog dressed as a sexy nurse, you can never unsee a dog dressed as a sexy nurse. You can pimp your pet for Halloween. Make your Schnauzer sexier or your Highland Maltie as hot as a Hairless Khala w/o the need for another Brazilian. It's too bad they don't make the sexy costumes for cats though since there are so many people out there going as sexy cats already. I have yet to determine the "sexy" angle for my costume this year. Maybe "sexy sanitation worker" or "sexy manual masturbator of caged animals for artificial insemination worker." We'll see.

Speaking of masturbation, if you haven't heard, Marge Simpson will FINALLY get a spread in Playboy. I've never really been a huge fan of the show, but I've been waiting for 22 years for a glimpse of her sweet sweet body. I'm going to destroy it. like that the title of the pictorial references our favorite classic '70s porno too. I also like that they've got some sort of Farah Fawcett tribute in the new issue as well. Although, titling it "Our Angel" is a bit odd. I know Joe "used to" have the famous bathing suit poster in his room; my cousin had it too, but I never understood the appeal. By the time I was old enough to be into bathing suit photos, I guess it was just outdated. I suppose this post will have to stand in for the belated Farrah Fawcett tribute we missed on here during the MJ frenzy last summer.

Speaking of MJ, he's got a new single, I learned this from The Soup last night, hitting the airwaves on the 28th. I hope this can really revitalize his career... where's he been lately anyway?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hallowewen Post #1: Jenny's Dexter Market

After the kids' game this morning, we made out annual trip out to Jenny's Dexter Market to get pumpkins and random canned goods: salsa, jam, pickles, etc. We've been going there since 2004 & the kids have always loved it. I stumbled upon it one afternoon when taking the scenic route home from Holly's house in Howell; it's just west of Dexter @ the fork in the road where Dexter Rd. turns North towards Pinckney. The kids played in the hay-bale tunnels for a while before picking out their pumpkins, pumpkins that I made them carry back to the car for the first time. Aiden was shocked...
"Can't I get a big one?"
"Can you carry a big one?"
"You can!"
He was certainly correct about my awesome strength, but he was wrong about who was going to carry them. After we took care of that, we headed into the little shop to score cider & doughnuts & the canned stuff. Outside, Isaiah got to check out the chickens, horses, & donkeys (aka ponies) which of course was his favorite part... other than climbing the hay-bale mountain which I think made him feel like such a big kid. Jenny's is definitely a cool place, so if you're looking for a good spot to score your pumpkins, look no further than that weird fork in the road just west of Dexter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2 Things Distract Me: Soccer & Teaching

It's rare that things really go wrong, but when they do, they really do. On Sunday, I had about 20 minutes between work & soccer to deuce & chill, & during that time I found out I'd been served papers regarding my car crash last summer. The guy I hit, who didn't have insurance or an injury, is suing me for $3,000. His 1994 Ford pick-up was probably worth about $800. With these factors in mind, I'm not too worried about the case, but I'd be lying if I said the time consumption & the fact that 3 grand is hanging on this didn't affect me @ all.

I found this out, freaked out for about 5 minutes, & then went to play. Even though this ridiculousness was in the back of mind my before the game started, once we started playing I forgot about it for 90 minutes. It's 1 of the 2 activities that can always help me forget my problems for a little while. Of course, afterwards, I grabbed a couple beers w/ Dan before going home to continue the earlier freak out. Soccer worked this way a few years ago too when Stephanie & I were going through our dark times. Clearly, this court case isn't as bad, but @ the moment, it's yet another distraction I don't need, & it's nice to have something to take my mind off of it once in a while.

Teaching has always worked the same way. Once I get my game face on, Skynet could be taking over & I'd still be alright. As I was just on my way back from class I realized how much I really like my job. When I get into the classroom, the problems, the distractions, the general bullshit falls aside, & I'm completely focused on what I'm doing. I was wondering how the Hell I was going to do this today w/ a 3 grand law suit in the back of my mind, but it never crossed my mind once I started talking shop. It worked the same way a few years ago too. Even when I'm sick, the classroom has some sort of recuperative thing going on. I've walked into class w/ a 102 fever, but after a few minutes, I've been focused & relatively clear. @ 103 the hallucinations start which makes for an interesting lecture, but even then it goes pretty well... then again, I wonder if the students really notice a difference. Teaching is pretty awesome.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Balls & Ovaries... & the Tigers: The Big Talk

On Tuesday evening, starting during the bottom of the 3rd & running through the top of the 6th inning, we had the Panthers' U10 soccer practice. It was a rainy, crappy, evening. I've always loved playing in that kind of weather, but coaching is another thing all together. Afterwards, I put the ball-bag in the trunk, we dropped another kid off @ his house, & then we headed home. Listening to the game on the radio, we heard that whoever was batting had 2 balls.

Aiden then asked? "What'd that guy on the radio just say?"

Me: "The batter has 2 balls."

Aiden: "I've got a bunch of balls!"

Me: "What do you mean by that?"

Aiden: "In my ball sack!"

Solstice: "HAHAHAHAHA"

Me: "A bunch? How many balls do you think you have?"

Aiden: "I don't know... a ton?"

Solstice: "HAHAHAHAHA"

Me: "Do you really not know?"

Aiden: "No; how should I know?"

At this point, I realized a little science was in order. I proceeded to explain the testicles, the scrotum, and semen.

Solstice: "Scrotum? We call it a ball sack or a nut sack."

Me: "Yeah, I'm aware of those phrases, but the technical term is 'scrotum' or 'scrotal sack.'"

Solstice: "Well, kids these days say ball sack."

Me: "Yes, I understand that; I'm telling you the scientific term for it. Besides, it's not like your generation coined the phrase."

Solstice: "So how come I don't have any balls?"

Me: "Are you kidding?" (I think she may have been kidding.)

Me: "Because you have ovaries."

Solstice: "What are those?"

At this point, I'm pretty sure she was fucking w/ me, but I wasn't positive so I proceeded to explain.

Me: "It's where your eggs are made."

Solstice: "I'm gonna lay an egg???"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shades of Grey: Yet Another Piece of the Puzzle Falls into Place

If you know me, you know I've never been secretive about my love for old hip-hop. By old we're talking about what I would point to as the "Golden Era of Rap," the period between Raising Hell & The Chronic. I wasn't loving Run DMC @ 1st, but when I was in 8th grade, I scored a copy of LL Cool J's underrated masterpiece, Bigger & Deffer. I saw LL on SNL in October of 1987, when he performed "Go Cut Creator Go." At the time, I had no clue that it would change my life. Afterwards, I drifted between an interest in hip hop & an interest in hair bands, but, thankfully, the hip hop won out. A few years later, I had the opportunity to see LL cool J in concert @ Joe Louis Arena. He was touring w/ a slew of smaller artists including NWA, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, De La Soul, & MC Lyte. Although the gang warfare inside the arena made us leave a little early... to the sound of police in street clothes w/ baseball bats & brooms sticks telling us to get to our cars... I was sure that was the life for me. I got heavily into the political stuff being released by the Jungle Brothers, BDP, & most specifically, Public Enemy. This influence lead my friend Marques & I to start our own group along w/ a kid from down the street whose father hooked him up w/ a small mixing "thing" so he was our DJ. I think he went by Matt D... as his name was Matt & his last name began w/ D.Why am I taking this walk down memory lane? Because last night, after a completely unrelated conversation w/ Solstice & Aiden about balls & ball sacks, she refused to believe that I was ever in a rap group. She thought there was no way in Hell I could ever have been cool enough to be in a rap group, when in fact, I was never cool enough to avoid such ridiculousness. Obviously, it's not like we had a contract... or ever actually performed, be we had dreams & we wrote a shit load of songs. I only wish I could remember a couple of them. Oh, & in case you're wondering... Marques went under the Nom de Mic, Question Marq. Mine? A Plu$$ of course. It had less to do w/ my GPA & more to do w/ the fact that we fancied ourselves some sort of PE influenced group out there spreading positivity... of course.

And check back tomorrow for "The Ball Sack Story." (Yes, it has something to do w/ the Tigers' tragic loss yesterday evening.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bless You Bonderman

We scored Tigers tix from the Schoolmasters yesterday... Don's father has a ticket package but couldn't go... so I got my 1st game of the season, Stephanie got her 1st @ Comerica Park, & Isaiah got his 1st ever. Solstice & Aiden went to a game w/ Elizabeth & Dan a month or so ago & saw Ordóñez hit a grand slam. I think Aiden was under the impression that that would happen every time. He was wrong.
here's what I learned:
* Aiden wasn't afraid to squeeze out a few tears over the final score
* Aiden was actually paying a lot of attention & asked a million questions regarding the rules & the strategy
* Isaiah loves balls... no, not those balls. I knew he was nuts for them by the way be watches soccer on TV, but even from the upper deck 1/2 way down the 1st base line, he was watching the pitches & the foul balls saying, "ba... ba... ba."
* Bonderman is a bad ass. He plunked Delmon Young w/ his very 1st pitch after then Twins hit Thames, & nearly missed Evertt & Thames a 2nd time.
* Leyland isn't afraid to go ape shit. He's usually so reserved, but after Evertt was almost hit, he refused to leave the field until after getting in both the home plate umpire's & the 1st base umpire's face for a good 5 minutes after being ejected.
* An old dude in line for beer was wearing an '84 replica jersey that said, "Bless You Boys" on it. I'd forgotten about that slogan... I never quite understood it then & it seems to make less sense now.
* Rally caps might not actually help
* Isaiah is kind of scared of Carousels
* Solstice digs baseball & seems to understand it really well
* We may need to save up for a small ticket package soon
* Ball park hotdogs might not be vegetarian, but I don't care... they go so well w/ beer & peanuts
* My early season pick of Thames was spot-on!
* Aiden has a weird disdain for all things tradition; he won't sing the song during the Stretch, not will he participate in the Mexican Wave
* People who refer to it as the Mexican Wave watch too much European soccer
Rally Caps
Drinking cheap beer
The view fro our seats
Isaiah on the carousel