Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Go Bathrobe Man

So, two quick things while I'm awake before I head into the lab today. Both involve sports to which I haven't historically actually paid any attention.

1) Sunday, I was awakened by a few hundred people outside my window, cheering on a few Kenyans and two Americans that probably didn't actually need encouragement to continue doing what they were doing. Then by a few thousand more who were trying to do the same thing as the guys who had passed by earlier. Evidently, my building is on the route (at approximately the 15K mark) of this year's LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. I didn't actually mind that much (which is a lie, I did mind it quite a lot as I was asleep and like to remain that way, but I'll pretend I didn't) as I was planning on being outside to see one of my friends pass by while running the marathon. I ran down at about 9:15, at which point I was introduced to a new sport. Not marathon-running, but watching other people run marathons. I was later informed that the reason I found this culture so strange is because I don't run long distances. That might be true. If any of you do run long distances or like watching people run long distances, let me know. Anyway, the goal of watching marathons appears to be to cheer for as many people as possible, with the end goal of getting the guy in the bear mask and bathrobe or a member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to raise their hands above their heads. Leonardo if at all possible. If you see someone running with their name taped across their chest, you must scream it as loud as possible despite the fact that you have no idea who it is. Repeat this for as long as you can. The person we'd gone down to see passed by after we'd been out there for about forty minutes (I'd tried to figure out when she'd get there based on the pace she'd mentioned, but forgot to account for how long it would take to get to the starting line) and I left the scene immediately. Leaving the Turtles, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the guys in the bathrobes, the bear mask, and the guy in the three piece suit to try to finish running a very long distance.

2) I haven't really paid too much attention to hockey since I was in high school. I don't know why. I remember watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2002 and somewhat last year, but haven't actually paid attention to the Penguins in a long time. Part of that is because of the fact that they're broadcast on a channel (Versus) that isn't exactly included in any cable package I've had in the past few years. This year is no different, except that I have absolutely no chance to see anything as 've abandoned cable for stations I get via antenna (which is more than I thought I would, actually, and substantially more when I rely on the internal antenna than when I spent a while fooling with antennae from Best Buy). Last night, I discovered that, unlike MLB which makes you pay for anything even close to listening to an out of market game, the NHL offers apparently free radio feeds of both the home and away commentators. I've discovered that hearing Mike Lange come up with bizarre little expression is something I've missed over the past few years. I'll be listening to that over the rest of the season. It helps that the Pens are doing well to begin the year. Hopefully, that will continue.

I'm watching City of God and have learned that I don't speak Portuguese.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Apples, Rick and Art

I've not been updating much recently, but then I've been somewhat busy. So you'll have that. A few things that I've recently discovered which have confused the hell out of me:

1) Food. Mystery. Novels. While I understand how the final two words in that sequence are supposed to work together, I'm still a bit lost on the first. I've discovered the existence of this genre while doing my laundry. In the laundry room of the building I'm living in, which is mostly vacant when I'm home to do my laundry (Fridays after, like, 1am) there's a folding table that holds a stack of apparently communal books. Things to read if you're hanging out in the laundry room near the creepy darkened fenced in section under the tree that wants to die because it's in a laundry room. Many of the books are standard $1.99 paperbacks that never quite made it big, several of them mysteries and some of them, that's right, food mysteries. Things like this that focus a whodunit plot on eating, cooking and the like. Several have recipies in the back that relate to whatever the central food of the mystery is. They've got names like "Dying on the Vine", "Death Al Dente", "Candy Apple Dead" and "Double Shot". They appear to be written mostly by either a man named Peter King or a woman named Ellen Hart, evidently the luminaries of the field. I don't actually know what demographic finds these most appealing, though I suppose it's simply a combination of two things people might like. I remember reading two different mysteries that had a hockey theme when I was very young, presumably because young boys might like both hockey and mysteries, but I don't think I'd be able to comprehend "Hockey Mysteries" as as much of a genre as "Food Mysteries" seems to be. Maybe I'm missing something though. I haven't read any of the books in the laundry room of my apartment building, but may have to just to understand what the hell is going on.

2) Evidently, in defending the War in Iraq, Santorum through out some complex, crazy-assed Lord of the Rings reference at the debate yesterday that kind of implied that the current strategy for the war on terror is to keep Iraq unstable and have terrorists kill people over there so that we're not getting killed. While "not having us killed" is good, simply substituting people to get killed for us is not, some of those people he's substituting are troops, and diverting terror attacks onto other targets isn't really a viable goal. But the real problem, at least from my perspective, is that he likens terrorist organizations to the "Eye of Mordor". Ignoring for a moment the problems with comparing the war in Iraq to a fantasy novel, including the problems of comparing the varied terror organizations and individual terrorists a single consolidated eye, the real issue is that his comparison fails because the Eye was the Eye of Sauron. Mordor was a location, and while that's where the Eye was located, Mordor did not posess the eye.

PA voters: If you're not going to take this guy to town for any of the seriously bizarre things he's said and the fact that he's pretty far off the nutty end of the pool, and that his best defense is to now liken what he does in Washington to Tolkein novels, at least demand of your Senator that he know what the objects in his metaphors are called. Vote. Him. Out.

3) I've been listening to a lot of weird stuff at work lately, since buying my super-awesome and super-freaking-huge wireless headphones so that I can listen to streaming audio in this impregnable radio fortress. Mostly NPR and podcasts of Penn Jillete's radio show, which is pretty damn good, and narrowly avoiding what I would think to be my low point today by refusing to listen to C-SPAN radio. Incredibly strange stuff to be found here, where you'll find a schedule for what public radio station is playing what program when, including Deutche Welle Radio. I figured I'd listen for a perspective outside of the Chicago radio I'm usually listening to, and having minored in German know at least a minimal amount about what's happened in the recent history of Germany. Today's "Movement Featured on DW-Radio That I Never Knew Existed Because I'm Not Exactly Plugged Into Art But Am Not Surprised That It Does": Stuckism.

Who knew.


I'm going to be going through my blog over the next couple days attempting to put labels on as many posts as I can. So watch for that. Also, I have a cut on my palm from a rough piece of glass that I got yesterday and is really more of a scratch, but is in a terrible damn place and hurts quite a lot. So there's that.