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Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
These are the things I'm thankful for. Without these in my life, I wouldn't be who I am:
My Dharma Chalupa Mug-- It may be one of a kind. After it was offered through the Apropos of Something blog during his yearly "Lostvivor" series, CafePress shut it down. I'm one of the elite few who received one before hand. It's currently my favorite mug for my morning coffee and newspaper reading.
Little Nemo DreamMaster- rediscovered in Greg's boxes, this Nintendo game (8-bit NES--very retro) was amazing for it's time. Narrative, intertactivity, immersive content, all the theory elements that now get played out in MMORPGS (like World of Warcraft) and the Wii. It was also rich with intertextuality. The original story of course comes from the comic "Little Nemo in Slumberland" which was a turn of the century funnies page thrill. It also might explain why it never caught on enough for a sequel. Not to many 80-year-olds played the regular Nintendo.
The Brothers K- out of my entire collection of books, this is one of the few where I can honestly admit that I would not be who I am without it. This book made me think, laugh out loud and several times (more than I care to admit), the book made me cry. It's a powerful tale of a seventh-day Adventist family raised in faith bubble coming to grips with the real world and learning to rediscover faith in new ways. Powerful stuff.
My '67 Ford Mustang- I killed the engine a year ago after I blew a head gasket. It's sitting under a tarp on a concrete slab at my Dad's farm in North Florida. And that's just fine. When I've got my degrees under my belt, I'm going down there to get that car fixed up and then I'm going to drive it to my new campus. Yes, I'm going to be that professor with the cool car. I couldn't find a good picture of Christine on this harddrive. But in her better days, my car looked much like this. But with Krager wheels.
"It's A Wonderful Life"- Indeed it's a Thanksgiving tradition: Macy's Parade in the morning, (Mimi leaves on the dog show if a Cocker Spaniel is competing), then the movie It's a Wonderful Life in the evening. It remains one of the most central stories of my life, putting into context that which is really important. My parents made me watch it as a kid during one Christmas season. I hated it. Then later in my high school days, I watched it again and was struck by the rich narrative of the story. The story of how the movie itself became classic is interesting in it's own right. Originally, it flopped because people expected it to be a comedy. It's a Wonderful Life is a dark movie. But that's my kind of movie after all, melancholy with the touch of hope.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Jack Bauer's Back...
"24" really hit it's stride as a counter-terrorist show released in the wake of Sept. 11. Is it still relevant?
Let's see if this time Kiefer Sutherland can spend more time on the set and less time behind bars.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
(This again raises the issue of Greg's ability to survive in the nation's most PC city)
On a trip to the National Press Club for friday night tacos, the students began discussing the next days' Thanksgiving Day festivities and talking about the different ways they enjoy their dinner cooked, specifically with the stuffing or without.
One said, "I like the stuffing in the back, sucks up the moisture."
Another, "It's harder to make that way. And I don't like stuffing in the butt."
Me: "I like it in the butt."
It took a moment for the double-entendre to hit, but I got it. Yeah. Didn't mean it like that, but the students sure got a kick out of it. (One laughed so hard his head turned red). I'd talk about the possibilities this could hold considering my future understanding of stuffing during the holidays, but I think this is one of those downward spirals that can't be recovered.
Leave that one behind...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
(Thanks to Ian for pointing this out)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Waiting for the bus today, I hit the wayback machine in my head and found myself remembering the cruel cruel days of singlehood (I really don't envy the single) and one of the misadventures I had there.
In my sophomore year of college, I went on a date with a girl I worked with. I use the word "date" loosely since it was one of those ambiguous "let's-go-outs" that just in the end leads to awkwardness and confusion. It was the typical coffee-movie date. Matchstick Men was the movie. No, I don't know what I was thinking.
We were only a little into the movie when my date told me she had to go to the bathroom. I watched her go out and then realized that now I had to go too. So I got up, went into the bathroom and got into one of the stalls. It was then that I had a startling realization:
There were no urinals when I came in here.
I peaked through the crack in the door, and sure enough there was a girl doing her makeup. Yep. I was in the girl's bathroom. Even worse, I was there with my date.
How am I going to get out of here? I stepped back and tried to formulate a plan. Eventually, I decided I'd wait until it got quiet, rush out of the bathroom and run into the men's bathroom (to wash my hands there instead--I'm an idiot, not a pig.)
When everything was quiet, I opened the door with a squeak and then rushed out toward the entrance. I ran face-first into a young woman whose forehead immediately wrinkled at the sight of me. She looked at me, looked up at the sign, looked at me, looked at the sign. Then she burst out laughing.
I ran past her and hid in the men's bathroom. After a good handwashing and series of self-depricating thoughts, I walked out of the bathroom just as my date was leaving. She had an odd smile on her face, but didn't say anything. We got back to the movie and the movie continued on and still she didn't say anything.
Did I really get away with this?
But I couldn't shake the feeling that something felt wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it at first. I felt my pockets. My cellphone was gone. I looked around my seat and must have muttered, "Where's my cellphone?"
My date responded, "Where do you think you could have left it?"
I had a pretty good idea actually. I leaned back in my chair, shook my head and just sighed. There was no way I could sneak into the ladies' room again. I told her. She burst out laughing, drawing the attention of everyone in the auditorium. At the end of the date, she checked the ladies' room, I checked the men's. Very romantic.
It wasn't my best showing.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This morning, I got to work with my head still pounding from a marathon 40-page paper editing the previous day. Still talking in morning grunts, I went to make coffee upstairs and opened up the coffee container to fine only dust.
So I walked on over to the locale coffee shop. The lady behind the counter smiled at me when I got there and gave me a nod. By the time, I got to the front, I decided to go out on a limb.
"I'll take the usual."
She nodded. "Small latte, 2 percent." And rang me up.
And here I thought it only worked in the movies. Come to think of it, is it a good thing that I'm at a coffee shop enough to have a usual?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Heard in class the other day:
Boss: "You know Christian movies and porn movies have more in common than you think--
(Class sits in stunned silence)
Boss: "Both are done on a small budget, both have bad acting and you always know how they're going to end."
To which I add that both are also sold in special bookstores and no one admits watching them.
Alright, it's weird and I can admit it. I think I like Gossip Girl. I've been warned that strange TV addictions like this can happen, but I was fairly convinced (after watching the pilot more than a year ago) that this would be the last show I would watch. My wife, Mimi, suggested we rent it so we could be up to speed with what my former youth group kids were watching. Sounds good right? Educator keeping up with kids.
The first disc went by uneventfully. I kept thinking to myself: "Man these girls are just snobs. Phhh! Like I'd want to live on 'upper-east side.'"
But by the end of disc two, something scary happened. I began to have different sorts of thoughts: "Man, Jenny really is an up-and-comer. Blair better watch out, or the princess will lose her throne," "Gossip Girl is always open on Jenny's computer...could she be...no!
Too easy. They won't introduce her until, like the LAST episode. And
it'll be Serena," and "Chuck Bass!? What is Blair thinking? Spotted: Total idiot!"
So in true form, I have decided to outline the factors that have led to this:
(1) Catfights- Catfights are like car accidents. You don't want to look, because you know what you'll see. But you have to look anyway. Blair says something to Serena. Then Serena lets it slip to Jenny then it makes it back to Blair and it is on. The cruelty and meanness of these fights makes you want hide under the couch, hoping not to incur the wrath waiting for the characters, but you have to watch it happen.
(2) Guys you can cheer for- in some shows, the guys are so ridiculously portrayed, you wonder if the writers have ever actually had a conversation with some one of the opposite sex. But in Gossip Girl, you find yourself thinking: "you know, Dan's just a pretty cool guy. I would have totally punched Chuck Bass for that," or "Rufus may not be the most successful musician, but he's living the dream."
(3) Alien Culture- coming from the guy who did a stint in a trailer park during college, this is a completely different world. The riches of course are beyond my comprehension, ("Oh sure, let's just ride the limo around New York until we see someone we know!) but I feel like I'm understanding my wife to a much better extent.
When we reached the "Masked Ball" episode, I told Mimi: "Masked Balls are only cool if the Phantom of the Opera shows up. This is just going to be the classic case of mistaken identity because someone will switch masks."
To which Mimi responded, "Oh this is so fun!"
(4) Gossip Girl's Got Sass- At first, I thought the narrator (the mysterious Gossip Girl blogger) was really annoying, but what can I say, she's got attitude. I find myself waiting to hear what she says. "Spotted: Friendship in flames! Looks like things are going a little heated in the upper-east side."