Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
At any rate, a joyful Christmas Eve to you all, and have a blessed and Merry Christmas.
Monday, December 22, 2008
How are all of you Oregon folks dealing with your snowed-in holiday time?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
ps 2*37=74 more minutes
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
U of O is taking over the Made in Oregon sign, but they're leaving the stag (and Rudolph nose) so I'm ok with it. I remember when I was younger it used to say White Stag, which was apparently a clothing brand, and when it was made in 1940 it used to advertise White Satin sugar, because people don't buy sugar unless you remind them to. (If someone wanted to take one last picture of it for me, I wouldn't object.)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Also makes good moonshine.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
What's new? Someday my communication skills will advance back to the domain of feeling comfortable using a phone to call people on a regular basis...wait, I was never that skilled. I'll be vying for it. Anyway, here as the semester/term/this half of the senior year wanes to Christmas, I'm just wondering what's going on with you guys.
I've got like 10 papers due between now and the end of the semester, but comprehensive exams are over and hopefully done with. I usually would be freaking out about that sheer number. They're totally doable, you know, and I'm finding they don't faze me right now. They don't particularly enthrall me, either, but whatever. It's like COMPs were the Battle of the Bulge for my senior year: It was the decisive battle that determined victory or not, and now that they're over, there's still fighting to be done, but the victory is in sight. I had a senior moment the other day. Not like, "Why did I start walking this way, again?" but more like, "Wow, I'm a senior." It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this would be my last Friday, November 7, standing here in the fall foliage next to the basilica in the near future.
Also, because it seems to be a conversation starter that every single person who learns you're a senior in college feels entitled to wield, I thought I'd direct toward you, even though it can be some people's very least favorite question: What d'you plan on doing post-college?
I've no idea, save that I'm taking a year off from school (at least) and going to a friend's wedding in Florida in June.
Now all we need is one more post to enter quadruple digits.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Someday we'll all make this country proud. It's all about service. You need to use your life to better the lives of others. If you leave this Earth without having made an impact on others, you life is for nothing.
Do you know that this is the first time in our lives that the news has shown people in other countries waving our flag instead of burning it?
Today marks the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It also marks (unfortunately) the anniversiary of Kristallnacht. Hopefully the good will in the coming year will outweigh the bad.
Happy November 9th!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has
never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible
odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try,
or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple
creed that sums up the spirit of a people. Yes we can.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
2. Register your information to receive a coupon for one free 20-oz. Dr Pepper.
3. When your coupon arrives, redeem it wherever Dr Pepper is sold.
4. Drink your Dr Pepper slowly to experience all 23 flavors. Dr's orders.
5. Realize that Cherry Coke is just a Dr. Pepper ripoff.
6. Question everything
7. Realize Blogger has really neat Qs
8. Blog more
9. The Gravy gets very popular/inspirational with the youth of China.
10. Chinese youth begins movement for democracy.
11. Thanks Guns N' Roses!
*Steps 1-4 lifted from Prefix Magazine*
Not fair. The Qs on the posting page are way different than the ones on the homepage.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
-I've become very literal. For instance, when I say "how you like them apples?" I am actually referring to the general deliciousness quotient of a bushel of apples. (Answer: 4.318)
-In that same vein, I can't write a complex, metaphor-laden essay anymore. However, I can be brief and to the point. "George Washington was the first American president. He was also a surveyor. How you like them apples?" That's good enough for a BC here at Marquette.
-If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, well then it's probably a duck. Don't look at me, I'm not a goddamn biologist. I just cover stuff in concrete.
-When in doubt, add more concrete.
-You can get away with anything when you're wearing a reflective vest.
-I can come up with cost estimates for things on the spot. For instance, that hobo who hangs out down the street from where you live will probably sell you an 8th of crack for the cost of a box of 3 1/2" wood screws.
-The simplest explanation may be the correct one, but it's just not as much fun as the roundabout, Rube-Goldberg machine way of explaining things.
-I'm really good at estimating liquid volumes. That's probably true for any college student though.
-I am fucking in love with parenthesis. (Not kidding (for serious)).
-"Meh, we're only off by a half a foot" becomes a big problem when that half an inch is between the end of your roadway and the beginning of your bridge. Whoops.
So in conclusion, never drive in Southeastern Wisconsin. I cannot guarantee your safety.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
After the accumulated hours of the first three debates, I made my choice as to who is the lesser of two douches, even though the final debate hasn't happened yet. Does that make me rash? Especially since the debates were such a toss-up between the impeccably dressed, strong-voiced, well organized answers of Barack Obama and the empty rhetoric, obvious pandering and double speak of the cliché-loving, tired sounding John McCain. Earlier, I was thinking, “I can't believe these are the two best people they could give us to pick from.” But now I don't even feel that bad voting for someone who voted against BAIPA.
I think one of the funniest turn of events in the election is when Sarah Palin, who we've known for six weeks, posed the question after Barack's 20 months under the spotlight, "Do we really know the real Barack Obama?" Gee, she lost the verdict on the political scandal probe, as well as my respect, gosh darnit! “Palling around with terrorists?” If you don't have anything substantial to say, get back in the kitchen and start being a mother to kids who seem like they need it. (In that last bit – the pandering to Pat is just an added bonus.)
I think John McCain's RNC speech was his most inspirational one yet – I stayed awake the entire time!
This might be my meanest / most tasteless post; and yet, I don't think it will generate as much controversy as the last election cycle. So I'll close with a few quotes from my current favorite presidential candidate:
We are taxing income from work at nearly twice the level that we're taxing gains for investors... as my friend Warren Buffet put it to me - "If there's class warfare going on in America, then my class is winning."
In this campaign, we will not stand for the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon.
We serve an awesome God in the blue states.
I'm Cory Donahue, and I approve this message.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I've been excited for this one and it was just about what I hoped it would be. Fleshing out the other guys in the band and dropping the drunk girl lost in the city bit might have made it great, but I'll be grateful for what it is, a starry-eyed, good-hearted tribute to being young and out on the town. And hooking up in recording studios, God knows we all love that.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
A couple of Wednesdays ago, I went to Chicago, and decided I wanted to build an enormous baroque opera house. And I saw Sigur Rós. I stayed awake for the openers, Parachute (who sounded remarkably like a happier, cleaner American Sigur Ros)but there was a long intermission and the week started taking its toll, so I was only completely awake for the set opener and the closer, meaning that I can really be fair to just those songs. Here goes:
Svefn-G-Englar is fucking interminable.
Goobledigook was transcendent.
In between those two bookends, i caught up on some sleep. I wish it had turned out differently, because I do love me some Sigur Ros. But I think since they were my go-to fall-asleep band when I was worried that with one more listen, 'The Trapeze Swinger' might wear out its welcome -250+ listens later, still hasn't happened, which is something like 40 hours of my life...ok let's not overthink that- my little reptile brain decided it was naptime. Which is too bad, because they're more than an indie kid's Sounds of the Ocean (Complete With Real Whale Calls!) They're a Saturday night band, but not that kind of Saturday night. More like when everybody has left and you're moping around the room, reading, or putting together some postcards. When its dark and so you turn on all the lights but it still seems too dark, so you put Sigur Rós on and things are a little bit better. Its amazing that i was falling asleep with that much noise- it could be pretty damn abrasive, more so than any album work I've heard- but its a testament to them how they can make it beautiful AND brutal. It was like i was getting bludgeoned to sleep by the benevolent god of Nyquil. (Yeah, just like that). In every level between wake and sleep they was great, just like it was on all those nights that would have been a little tougher without them.
Rating: N/A due to me being a sleepyhead.
So it was lucky to find a real review of the Chicago concert (linked above). And in semi-related news, on the Radiohead [live] post I just linked a cokemachineglow article about the very same St. Louis show confirming my seeming hyperbole as fact. You can trust those guys cuz they're way sadder and more critical than you are. And by induction you can trust me too.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Driving to the beach; defying death in the van; climbing the roof of Jesuit; Polish pancakes; Harry Potter parties and Quiddich; capture the flag; concerts in Portland; scavenger hunts; the Roxy…
Sad though that I feel I can’t get all that back. Great memories, though. I hope everyone is superbly happy!
I can’t wait for the winter holiday. I’ll be home and hopefully you will be, too. (You being all of you). Will you be?
PS Last night at Jazz in the Park, I met my Latin Lover. Every girl needs one. Fact.
Monday, September 22, 2008
And Hotel California's guitar solo live (double neck guitar!!) is probably the greatest concert moment ever. Actually, the whole song complete with horn intro. Fucking chilling.
Yeah just thought I'd brag. Let's hear it for major concerts scheduled the same time as major football games in the Midwest!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I remember back after freshman year, Scott was talking about how the Gravy and Maggie's and Cynda's blogs were some of the first things he checked when he got on the internet. I can relate, because that's exactly what I continue to do. Pretty much every time I get online, I go through the same compulsive routine: Email check, Facebook check, Gravy check, Maggie check, Cynda check, Ben check, Doug check (no real reason to the order, that's just the way it first got set, I guess). Anyway, how's life, kids? I know that senior year is probably leaving everybody incredibly busy and focusing on making the most of the time they have left with the folks in their college lives.
I begin really missing Oregon this time of year. For the first bit of school, I'm a little disoriented, because I'm only there 1.4 days (max) before classes start, so it's kind of a shocking immersion into something I haven't experienced for 3 months. Then I'm desperately trying to get into the groove of school, and now as I've given up on getting into the school groove (oh, it always ends like this), I wind up being connected enough with myself to realize that my longing for the hilly Oregon expanse of conifers, memories of Jesuit community, family, culture, and nature never really goes away. Haha, dang. It took me for a loop last year when I wasn't sure I wanted to be home, because the faith life I experienced there seemed so lifeless, so NOT what I came to love at school, and so I felt pretty lousy at either place. But now, even looking toward maybe seeing another Oregon Fall in the not-too-distant future makes me feel excited to be both at school AND to come home. It's strange how realizing how you really feel if it's been bothering you for a while can all of a sudden change your reactions to everything.
Aaanyway, I probably ought to devote an hour (give or take 45 minutes, most likely take) to some studying and general homeworking. Sorry for the strange blogging that probably merits to be put on a personal blog or something more along those lines. And A, I don't want to obscure the deepness of your thought. But I just wanted to let you all know that you're missed, despite however lousy at communicating or picking up the phone or any of those things I may do when I have the opportunity to be reminded why high school was such a monumental 4-year period in my life (youse guys). I look forward to seeing you guys again sometime relatively soon.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Only two more workdays then road trip!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
5. Hawthorne/Belmont District
4. Washington Park
1. Scott's Basement THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID
yeah I done it.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
#9. Join a Cult: Join a cult with her, only you'll be faking. Wait until she's converted and totally into the cult, then go home.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
A principal architect of the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush, Karl Rove, 57, has charted a long course from the internship he landed with the Republican Party in Utah almost four decades ago. Here, the president’s former deputy chief of staff reflects on his fear of going broke, his impatience, and his voracious reading habit.
What is your current state of mind?
Energized, challenged, ready.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Too many books.
What is your greatest fear?
Living foolishly above my means and running out of money.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Not being authentic.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Try to be more patient.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Strength of character.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Fabulous!” After that, “Look … ” followed by an explanation.
Which talent would you most like to have?
To play a musical instrument or sing worth a darn.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The who are my wife and son. The what is America.
Where would you like to live?
Texas, of course.
What is your favorite occupation?
What is your most treasured possession?
My books, starting with the first one I can ever remember reading, Great Moments in History.
Who are your favorite writers?
In alphabetical order: Jorge Luis Borges, Gabor Boritt, Ray Bradbury, G. K. Chesterton, Winston Churchill, David Herbert Donald, T. S. Eliot, Joseph Ellis, Gary Gallagher, F. A. Hayek, Paul Horgan, Paul Johnson, Tom Lea, C. S. Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, John D. MacDonald, David McCullough, Merrill Peterson, Robert Remini, Andrew Roberts, William Shakespeare, Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Evelyn Waugh, and Robert Wiebe.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Travis McGee or Borges himself. (Was he real? Or not?)
Who are your heroes in real life?
The men and women who volunteer to go into harm’s way wearing the uniform of our country’s military.
What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty and loyalty.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Energy and precision are tied.
How would you like to die?
At home in my bed asleep, sound of mind and body but just too damned old.
What is your motto?
I like the one that used to be the motto on the unit coin of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse: “Be prepared! Find the bastards. And pile on!”
Ok, the toolbagness of this just amused and appalled me. There are too many comments to make, I'll just let it stand on its own. The link has quizzes from lots of interesting folks, Cusack's is good.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
A great, unlistened to (often forgotten about, only to be happily rediscovered by yours truly) Canadian band that sounds like Springsteen fronting AC/DC making soundtracks for Dirty Harry movies comes to Portland and I found out about it yesterday and went tonight, and they still had tickets and I missed openers Ladyhawk (very regrettably) but got to see a whole set of intense rock songs for all those times you know (I know you know) you find yourself pawning off all your possessions to buy a gun to get your family of town, or else maybe you need some help to bridge the gap between the moment you think you're done and then realizing you can't be broken, yeah maybe, and then they came out to encore with Ladyhawk and it was quiet and I knew something good was coming so I yelled and then the whole crowd starting yelling and then Street Fighting Man came on and it was the triumph at the end of the movie, the closing satisfaction and the credits, played by 8 guys having the time of their lives, reminding you that in case you forgot, rock and roll is for the guy who never got to be cool, it gave a voice and a posture and a moment to be the coolest guy in the room and you know what, as long as there are poor boys there'll be rock n roll bands
Monday, June 30, 2008
I was playing volleyball with friends when a 777 flew overhead so i got excited - "i did that. that left wing- that was me!" but let me backup- this little autobiographical occupational history ought to put it all in context.
at my first ever interview, the interviewer said, "so what do you think you can bring to the company?"
i said, "well, i have a stapler.... i don't have a whole lot else. that's kind of why i was hoping you could give me a job."
i ended up getting that job... at mcdonalds and every year they have a quick employee review. so they said, "what are your short term and long term goals?"
i answered, "well, my short term goal is to stay awake while your talking to me...
and my long term goal is to steal an entire Xerox machine, one piece at a time."
i ended up losing that job over one silly little disagreement with my boss. you see, i wanted to keep my job, and they didn't see eye to eye with me on that one little issue.
one of them said i kept overstepping my authority. so i told him he's fired.
or here's another one -
"i see you've been missing a lot of work lately."
"I wouldn't exactly say i've been MISSING it."
"I can't believe you'd talk to your boss that way."
"oh you're right. i wouldn't say i've been missing it, SIR."
yeah, she didn't like that.
i think they got sick of my sarcasm. "what? that's it? after one year of faithful service, it's just 'so long, good luck'?" he says, "I don't recall saying good luck."
so i picked up my pride and my bags and headed to seattle, to write excel macros to format and analyze data and to plagiarize other comedians' monologues. i was sad to learn George Carlin died. but i was to honored to read that a guy running and smiling in the rain and in short shorts reminded A of me (that's me to the T). seriously. so honored in fact, i couldn't just put a comment on her post cause it might not have gotten read cause it was a while ago cause i scroll back to the last post i read than i get all caught up every three months. so thank you A. tty in September.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
(God I love procrastination! Also, $60 Polaroid digital cameras apparently don't have a "focus" option. )
(PS Someone walked into my room and shouted "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??" like I was making a bomb or committing murder or something while I was doing this. Don't judge.)
Monday, June 09, 2008
So I ran from Madison to Chicago this weekend with 10 other people (okay, 22 miles of the 200 from Madison to Chicago). Through the storm of the century. In 90 degree weather and with 100% humidity. And slept in a Winnebago known as "THE WARRIOR." And had a pizza delivered to a parking lot at 11 o'clock at night. And learned exactly how disgusting a port-o-potty can be. And how disgusting Miller Chill tastes. And had to ask "do I smell burning?" one too many times. And got pissed off at Ham radio operators. And sat in a ditch with a bunch of other runners and played with a frog during one of two tornado watch holds on the course.
I also saw a guy who reminded me of Cory Donahue only like 20 years older. He wouldn't stop smiling, even when he was running across fresh 90-degree asphalt. He also had very short shorts. We got a shot of his butt cheeks. It was kind of awkward, not gonna lie. Still, a pretty cool guy.
Hood to Coast someday? Maybe. I have 48 hours of missed sleep to catch up on. Also, the Fox River flooded my work, so I really have nothing to do but call up the Red Cross and ask if they need a hand with sandbags or poo-shoveling or whatnot.
Good times. Can't wait to come back to Oregon in 3 weeks.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Horse Feathers: Crowd was a little too loud for this, and the guitar was barely audible for half the performance, which made it all the more clear how integral the lead singer's unintelligible but very evocative vocals are to Horse Feathers. The violinist broke out the saw a couple times which was interesting. The new songs weren't too impressive, but then again it sure *looked* like some intricate finger-picking.
Starfucker: These guys are getting the shit hyped out of them, I kinda groaned when they took the stage because the three fellas all look like Brooklyn transplants, and things didn't improve much as they set forth an opening five minutes of noise barrage. But when they got started, it was pretty evident that they could write a helluva dance song. I guess if The Postal Service went a little more organic, and a lot happier, it would sound like this. The bassist/2nd drummer came pogo-ing out into the crowd and bumped into me a couple times. They got a huge ovation and I definitely wish they could have had a longer set.
The Shaky Hands: Gave them a second chance, and I don't know why, but they just don't sound good. Nice guys, fun to watch, but I hit the road after a half dozen songs when some kids from the burbs started moshing way way too hard. A fight kinda broke out and they killed a song and the lead singer was like 'go to a slipknot show man. actually, we're slipknot. we broke up, dumped the masks, and decided to kick it old school. good job.' They actually sounded better outside the club, so I hung out by the windows for a couple songs. Yeah, don't waste your time.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Click on the title to see what I've been up to. Unfortunately, some family stuff kept me from going to Guatemala in October and January. Next January I should have some stories though!
This community in the Guatemalan highlands (think the middle of nowhere) has been waiting literally for decades for a chance at clean water. They commissioned the initial, overly-expensive design from a local civil engineering firm. They purchased the rights to the spring they needed. They bought the right-of-way from that spring to their community. All they needed was a better, cheaper design and the means and guidance to build it. That's where Engineers Without Borders and Marquette University stepped in.
Our five-person team, led by my boss at work, has been working for just about a year on the design of the system that will finally give these people what they need to have a little more comfort in their lives. It feels good to have the design phase behind us, but now the real work is beginning-- building the damn thing! 26 kilometers of pipe won't dig themselves into the ground.
One of our team members, Amy Mikus, is down there for the summer helping to build the water system we devised. It should take a full year to get everything up and running if our funding pulls through.
Take a look at the article and the slideshow. The photographer that went down on the January trip was phenomenal... I think there's a link to some of her other work up on that page somewhere. She has some other pictures of Guatemala on her personal website that were also taken during the trip.
Check out Engineers Without Borders if you're interested in what they do. Even if you're not an engineering student, most student chapters will take anybody who is willing to pitch in a pair of hands to build anything from bridges to water systems anywhere from Guatemala to Kenya.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
(seriously giveup a kidney to see them play)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
we get fleet foxes, the shaky hands, beirut, the whigs, the national, the new pornos, okkervil river, modest mouse, and r.e.m., all in a row, employing a couple well-timed stage transitions.
they prolly still have tickets and i think you should come.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Hello my fello gravy afionados! Magda and I have collaborated to put a mixtape online for you. Its kind of bluegrassy-americana-ish stuff for the most part and all of it is dance(or jig)able, though some parts of some of the songs are not. Its very good gettin'-stuff-done music. My esteemed colleague may elaborate further. She picked out six of the songs, and so did I, and then I moooshed 'em all together and voila. Please give it a listen, and perhaps create one yourself. Let us know which songs you dig the most. There is another one in the pipes. Good luck gettin' through finals everybody! [Or for Pat, Ian, and Cynda: HAHAHAHAHAHA enjoy another month and a half suckers]
a benandmagda joint production all copyrights reserved and shit
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Civil engineering students have this yearly ritual. It involves 6 months of blood, sweat, tears, and epoxy as well as a weekend long gathering known as the American Society of Civil Engineers Great Lakes Regional Conference. Because we love our acronyms, it's the ASCE GLRC. Word.
Anyway, 14 schools design and build (amongst other things) concrete canoes and then race them to see who is the best. Or in the case of Marquette's region, who can come in second to UW-Madison, the creators of the greatest concrete vessel in the WORLD last year. I'm not even kidding. They beat those kids from the Netherlands at worlds.
Our scrappy band of misfits' goal this year? To bring a canoe that wouldn't break in half on the way down. And it didn't! But alas, my hull design made it impossible to turn so we came in last in all the races. Oh well. Still better than last year.
In short, a weekend of shenanigans that included Notre Dame and Valpo's canoes showing up in two pieces (ND took theirs out on the water after the competition anyway), another canoe literally falling apart in the water, and some other dudes sinking. Oh, and Madison killing everyone.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I cried a little bit
Sunday, April 20, 2008
So this November, don't vote for a candidate based on empty promises. Vote for someone with a concrete quality you can count on - a hook.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Oh. My. God. Greatest concert I've ever been to. I know that is like 9, so its not particularly hard. This was the first time that I've been to a concert where I absolutely loved the band. LastFm says I've listened to them.. 517 times. And that's not including the last two days, and that's not including last summer in Ian's car. God, I've had some good times in that car.... But that's besides the point and not likely to bring about any domestic felicity to any newlyweds that we might now. Basically, Ian had a leaked copy of Challengers and I've been listening to them ever since. So I was basically able to sing along with the entire set. Which is amazing. Oh right, and the starters were pretty damn decent to. I had never heard of Okkervil River before I found out that they were playing with NP, but Magda was crazy about them, so I gave them a shot, and more or less like them now. It is so weird to have a concert begin with a single funny-looking guy just saying "The president's dead" and playing by himself on an acoustic. The rest of the band didn't join until half way through the song. It was kinda unnerving, and he kinda sang a little too into the mike and was really loud and hollow sounding, but then again he was drunk off his ass. It was pretty funny, he kept knocking down mic stands. Other than that, they were pretty good, played the two or three songs that I really like, but a few slow songs like they do, but still loud rockin' and with a lot of guitar, and I'm just thinking this is great, but its going to get oh so much better. And it was. The NP were great. The only down side was the Neko was sick, and kinda warbled through her songs, and couldn't hit high notes. She had a particularly hard time with "These are the Fables" and started just skipping the high parts. The crowd was encouraging, though, and it was fine. I kinda expected them to basically just play songs from challengers, which isn't my favorite album, but they didn't. Actually, it was just about an even distribution. There could have been a lot more Neko songs, and I think they probably cut her part short. They were playing with a lot more energy then they do in the albums, and they were kinda just shocked that there were so many people who love them even in a middle-of-nowhere place like Ithaca. I don't really have any other words besides awesome. So I'm just going to leave it at that.
One of the best parts of the concert was the contrast between a decent rock band who was slow at times and played too loudly and a very crisp, clear kinda pop band. You kinda got both. It was great.
(I forget the ranking system, but I'd go with almost perfect, and subtract a bit for a sick Neko)
PS: My friends, who went with me, said the concert was "good." I am counting down the days until I leave.
PPS: After the concert, I came home and spent all night writing a paper that I barely started. I didn't sleep, and can't exactly remember if the paper has a thesis or is coherent in anyway. Right before I turned it in, I noticed that I forgot to capitalize a sentence. The concert was totally worth it.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Your Intrepid Hero Relaxes After Infiltrating North Korean Nuclear Silos Disguised as a Cat. Mission Accomplished!
*There was a part in his speech where he talked about all the speeches he'd given and all the babies he'd kissed, and he pointed out into the crowd and said "That's a cute baby. I'm gonna kiss that baby." And the mother literally handed her baby forward on the hands of the crowd to receive a kiss. A crowd-surfing, Moses-on-the-Nile, baby. It was hilarious and heart-warming.
Unfortunately, I read it in English because apparantly it really does get harder to learn a language as you get older. I hate being old.
I don't really know how to talk about an autobiography. I mean, I want to tell you how exciting and terrifying and conquering it is, but that sounds silly. Its true though. Arenas wrote in Cuba during the beginning of the Castro dictatorship, where he was harshly persecuted both for being a dissident writer and a homosexual man. It provides a lot of insight into his novels, but would very easily stand alone, especially since it is coherently written (mostly keep a continuous flow of time, which I didn't think he could do). Arenas is very explicit and humble and confident in the man he was. And from time to time, the elements that make his Pentagonia so unforgettable peak out and remind you that this was a man who had the vision to see into the being of things and understand how the world really works, the magic that hums quietly and only reveals itself to the awake and waiting. More than anything else, this is a document of a courageous individual not bowing to the overpowering demands of a totalitarian state, a message that no force on earth can make you compromise yourself. That a man, a survivor and exile, still had the voice to call for revolution and freedom for the countrymen who spied on and betrayed him. He still found joy in life, and that is a heartening challenge.
*I do not actually believe this, but one of the inner-Bens (the cocky one who lives in my spinal fluid) does. He gets me in all sorts of trouble.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Okay, so that was the over-exaggerated white guilt part of me. Honestly, its not all that bad, and people there are on the whole surprisingly happy with life. And its seriously a fun place to visit. The people who I went with this year were a lot more fun to be with, and I was a lot closer to all of them. It was also Holy Week, so we really didn't do that much "work", we kinda just chilled and watched the processions, which was cool. We went around the lake in a boat a couple of days, and shopping, where I bought hammocks, a blanket, and a few other things. It was all pretty cheap, of course. We went to this really sketchy bar one night, that was fun, but I swear, Guatemalans are the lamest partiers ever. It was mostly just guys, and they all just sat around being nervous around the handful of women or drunk off their asses. We were the life of that bar. The band was playing American and British songs from the 70's. It was pretty sweet. We went hiking up the mountains a couple of time, and seriously can't wait to hike a lot more. This summer, guys: hiking. Seriously. Cynda is the only one with a valid excuse not to hike. The last night, we ate tacos from some really sketchy street vendors. I think I got a little sick as a result, but totally worth it. Um, so yeah. That was pretty much it. I'll put pictures up eventually.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
[I have only read East of Eden, Mice and Men, and Grapes of Wrath. I hear Cannery Row and The Pearl are good. I also hear birds.]
This is a fun little bit of a book with good heart and its own lacksadaisical little world to get lost in. Apparantly, though I wouldn't have guessed it, its loosely based around the Knights of the Round Table. It tells of the lives of a group of rascally friends in Tortilla Flat, just outside of Monteray, California after World War I. They have some pretty amusing and unscrupulous antics, but make each other into better men as they share a small home and their lives, as if Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and their gang got to live together forever. Its the best, the humblest, I ever seen Steinbeck write, with a tender affection for these characters and their exploits as if he was the bemused guardian angel taking care of them that he mentions once in the book. You could read it in one day, easily in two, and you won't regret doing it.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
So I was going to start doing book reviews over the summer, even sketched a few out in my old moleskine (since disposed of) and somehow couldn't find the energy to put them up here. Pretty weak.
I've been meaning to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius for a long time, since before I read You Shall Know Our Velocity!. It always cost too much at Powell's, and was checked out at our library. So I finally recalled it a week ago. And I am here to briefly inform you that you need to read it. Need. You know I wouldn't say that lightly. I've never even told anyone they need to listen to any album, some particular songs yes, but never an artist or album. So please believe me when I tell you that to be a member of our generation, you must read this book. This book is from our older brother Dave Eggers; a call-to-arms from the next evolution of Holden Caulfield. This novel is all-encompassing, all-pervading, all-true. It is everything you need to hear, exactly as you need to hear it. It is post-media, post-sensory over-saturation, post-cynicism. It is the manifesto for a group who know this is all bullshit, and want to transcend, but know their limitations, see their pride and self-aggrandizement, feel the pull of duty to family and friends and believe they can fulfill this, and beyond. That they are golden gods, capable of feats not yet seen, ready to will their dreams into existence and form. This book is a human, an extraordinary human exposed, cut and made real in order to summon you to his side. It is all bullshit and completely bullshit free. It is everything.
The story follows Dave as he raises his much-younger brother after both his parents die in short succession. He struggles with their loss, their shortcomings, as he becomes their replacement for his brother Toph. He attempts to be the super-parent while starting Might magazine, that which will reveal his generation to itself, will sound the horn for an age ready to be real and strong. You will laugh at his anecdotes with his brother and feel his righteous rage as he struggles between impulses to tear the world apart and become the world-healer, the broad-shouldered one who takes care of his friends, his brothers and sister, his life. Yet throughout he is aware of his actions shaping the story he is making, is cognizant of the artifice he is creating, is self-rebuking yet sure that he is doing the right thing, sure that while it may appear to injure him and the people he cares about, it is a blood-letting, a sacrament to move on and reach the heights of which they are capable. This book is not perfect, it drags in a few places, but it is closer than anything to the Great American Novel than I have ever read, because it is closest to the Great American Life as anything I have ever read. We are orphans, we are triumphant, we have no history, we have no future, we are what the world wishes to be. Pick up a copy.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
New SF Music Festival Has Good Lineup/Maybe We Could Crash With Nancy or Ken or Doug's Crazy Uncle/Let This Not Distract You From the Below Posts
A bunch of these bands (Wilco, BSS, Tom Petty, Drive-By Truckers, Devendra, Regina, Two Gallants, Black Mountain, Beck) I've been wanting to see and won't be at Sasquatch. Music festival movie? I hope a certain little fella isn't late.
Ouch! I didn't check the price until just now. Quite a bit for three-day passes, no word on when single-day passes will be available.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
...yeah, just joking. Ben might kill me.
I only had the tiniest amount of time to be in this fantastic city, in that awesome country, so I can only say a little bit. Somebody who's been there for, say, a semester (e.g., Jeff) would have some pretty cool stories to tell about it.
I'd been pining for Europe for a long time. Even being in the nation's capital, there's something so...young about it. There's something awesome being in the Pacific NW at any time of year, but especially in the spring or summer when life is abundant and you can just feel the pulse of something bigger than yourself. The pulse of old European cities is a bit different, as it's less the life of the trees or wildlife and more the life of human history that's so suddenly and inexplicably tangible and sensible to you. I had experienced that in Paris (not so much in Berlin; it's a young city) and was eager for it in Rome. And Rome did not disappoint.
Everywhere you go in Rome, you will find a) a Piazza, b) a Church, and/or c) ruins that have an aura of awesomeness exuding from them. The alleys (comprising a rather large portion of downtown Rome's streets) are all made of cobblestone. You feel connected to so many centuries of history and humankind merely by walking down the street. If you have a history professor or an archaeologist telling you about the history of the city, you start wondering how many ruins are actually directly beneath your feet at any given moment; the city has layers to it. You are walking on thousands of years of history with every step. I might just be weird, but it was so incredible...there was a never-before-experienced connection with humankind going on during that trip (slightly exaggerated? perhaps, but not much).
Being a Catholic kid from the Catholic University of America, I can't get away with not mentioning the churches. There were lots of them. Several of them don't look all that different from the other ancient buildings surrounding them. In fact, if it weren't for the little Vatican insignia on the facade of the building, I doubt that I would have known they were churches. Some of them don't really display their insignia all that prominently. You could very well walk into what you thought was an apartment and, whoa, jeez, it's a church. But they're beautiful inside. They're not the places I'd pick to have a quiet moment to pray or reflect or go to Mass. They're a little much for that...maybe? Maybe it's just that I got more out of being a "pilgrim", in a sense: Connection to humankind, once again, on the Christian and Catholic front in a special way this time. Walking in the parishes where saints celebrated Masses, trekking along paths that St. Paul might have been dragged along before his martyrdom, going up the stairs (imported from Jesusalem) that are apparently the stairs Jesus ascended when brought before Pilate. Hard to explain, I guess. It was a good experience for the faith, too, suffice it to say.
Speaking of which, got to see the Pope twice. I swear they just like to show off how many languages they know. He's gonna be coming to Catholic in mid-April, too, so it's been a semester chock-full of Benedict XVI.
We were at a hotel near a small square called Campo di Fiori...the place becomes an awesome marketplace during the morning, selling spices and fruits and pasta and various other comestibles (and Grappa...which I hated). It was awesome to be able to go to a pastry shop, buy a croissant-like thing with Nutella in it, and then go buy a blood orange and/or some other piece of fruit and have the total cost not exceed 5 Euro. That was awesome.
The first half of the week was spectacular, weather-wise. You could wake up to a pleasantly brisk morning breeze and by noon it would be in the 60's. Wednesday marked a huge change in weather, with rain and cold (and all the weather typical for winter in the mediterranean) making an appearance.
I saw some of the major sights during that week: The Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Victor Immanuel I Memorial, Sts. John Lateran, Peter, and Mary Major, Villa Borghese, Piazza Garibaldi, the Arch of Titus, the Forum, the Vatican Museum...other things, too. A lot, a lot, a lot, but there is so much more to see. I will just have to go back and spend a few weeks there.
I went to Assisi on Friday. It was a bit crazy, because we had to be back by 8 PM to go to dinner with the group, so we woke up rather early to get to the train station. We switched trains in Foligno without a hitch, and got to Assisi mid-morning. It was so beautiful. The city is essentially built on a hill, and you take a bus up to the main part of it. The Roca Maggiore (a castle) is perched on the top of the hill, and watching the mist parting to reveal the castle and the rest of the amazing town was breathtaking. The grass was greener than Dublin pubs on St. Patrick's day. We had the privilege of snow and sleet and rain while there, but it was beautiful. The town and countryside is just so...pure. I can't describe it. Photographs are pending...one of my friends who is without facebook took the majority of pictures there. But it was so awesome to be in the city in which St. Claire and St. Francis once lived and where their bodies now rest...yeah. Just really cool.
While I was there, we went to several pubs run by Irishmen. This is because hard liquor was something that other nations introduced to Italy: Italy is known for wine, not for stout or whiskey. I found myself speaking with a passable brogue on numerous occasions, leading some other tourists to ask me which part of Ireland I'm from. These people were Italians, so it wasn't like authentic Irish people thought I was from Ireland, but that's okay. I also spoke in the brogue without the influence of alcohol. I don't need alcohol to do strange things. But man, some good chianti with some good pasta while looking at the Tiber River...yeah, hits the spot.
I was also introduced to fried artichokes and oxtail stew. The former was fantastic. The latter was interesting, at least.
so that's what I was doing for the first week of March. It's a bummer I didn't get to see those of you folks who were in Oregon for the Machuca's wedding...I raised my glass to all of you (especially Ian and Cynda) as we flew back to the US of A. The cherry blossoms are in bloom here in the District and I'm thinking of you all. I didn't really take great pictures while in Rome...but several pictures were taken of me.
This is us atop the hotel...it was pretty sweet, especially during the non-cold mornings and nights:
This one is at the bottom of the Spanish Steps...as you can tell, we are very cool:
This is at Scholar's Irish Pub. Not my fav, but it was cool to hear some live music:
Mmmmkay. time to go be preemptive in my schoolwork so that the last two weeks of school don't slaughter me. Take it easy, champs. Peace!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.
If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?
If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?
Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
What hair colour do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?
Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.
In Addition to Road Trip Movie and Baby Movie and Treehouse Movie, Let Us Buy a Typewriter and Begin a Coming-of-Age Screenplay
(I want to go to the Oscars.)
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (Skinny Love is perfect)
Yeasayer: All Hour Cymbals (2080 is my newest favorite song)
Dirty on Purpose: Hallelujah Sirens
Vetiver: To Find Me Gone(I love Maureen)
Two Gallants: S/T (My Baby's Gone)
The Helio Sequence: Keep Your Eyes Ahyead (No Regrets) (From Beaverton)(How was the show Magda?)
Elvis Perkins: Ash Wednesday(While You Were Sleeping)
Townes Van Zant: S/T, anything you can get
A Place to Bury Strangers: S/T (Dave, this is hard enough for you)
Deer Tick: War Elephant
Okay, that's all I can think of for now.
[Hurry Sufjan, hurry!]
Well, If March is Gonna Be All Mine, I Might As Well Say Something Interesting/Fill it With Nonsense/I Have Many Exams Rapidly Approaching
I work in the library. business majors don't know how to use the library, they have never wanted to know. this is why they are business majors. so usually i don't have to deal with them. this makes me happy. occassionally, one of their professors-really stop and ask yourself what kind of person is a business professor. it makes no sense- puts something on reserve. I can't tell if this is done ironically or not. i hope so. i hope these professors are just very disillusioned, self-hating people whose only joy in life is watching these 'students' jump through hoops and not realize what absurd jokes they are. the following is an excerpt from one of their 'readings', "Chapter 5 Cost Behavior: Analysis and Use":
'Memorize the elements of the equation Y=a+bX. You need to understand this equation to complete most of the homework exercises and problems.'
AAAAAHHHHHH! I hate them all. Notre Dame is regularly a top 20 school, and somehow our business school is supposed #3. (I am dubious of the former and disgusted by the latter.) This is for a 200-level accountancy course. They are learning something we all know from 6th grade. I hate them all. Really and truly. This is not a joke. I hate them.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
"It is the world's fourth-most-important food crop, after maize, wheat and rice. It provides more calories, more quickly, using less land and in a wider range of climates than any other plant. It is, of course, the potato." So says The Economist. So says I, greatest of all potato mashers.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A NEW PUN!- A Shakeer, Sean and Ben Joint Recently Uncovered From 2005! Have Your Own Copy For The Low Low Price of $19.99!
yeah count it! five levels of contrivance my friend, if you grant us the abbreviation of G's for G-man, a common nickname for FBI agents in WWII-era America.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
XYZ Affair: MmGravy
British Sea Power have always seemed like they were from a different world, like our world split with theirs after the war and they did nothing but seem totally otherworldy last night. They don't tour much, and are generally kinda reticent with the media and such. With their lyrics and vocal styles, well it just doesn't feel, to me, like they are guys you can live next door to. They live on an island you've never heard of because everybody forgot about it one day. The six-piece came out in costumes like if you decided to play warship with all your street urchin friends and you kinda did your best to look like sailors but it was really just some of your big brother's clothes and a lot of imagination.
Their set was great for over an hour-played half-and-half old and new, blackout was a fucking phenom and drowning was pretty great too. Then it dissolved into feedback wankery. And i'm a man who appreciates good drone and feedback and noise and gets down when ira does it. the boys (and girl violinist cuz god forbid an indie band had a dude violinst besides mr. bird) just weren't great at it. for moments their songs would shine through and sound brilliant, but they were just a little too high and they definitely lost the crowd that was totally with them. at the end though, i wish you would have been there, the lead guitarist had cut his hand earlier and was bleeding forever and he finally gave his guitar to the trumpet/keyboard player who played his trumpet while spazzing out on the guitar and then the lead singer did a hand stand and the violinist was running around and the three-stringed bass kept everyone jamming and you definitely should have been there. sorry i didn't take any pictures. i need a partner for these things. oh and earplugs would have been nice. second row definitely cost me.
British Sea Power: MMGravy
all hipster girls dance the same.
Friday, February 29, 2008
FOR THE 1998 TOYOTA CAMRY. (Mine has better hubcaps.)
Although my ex-roommate used to call it "Toby," I refer to my 1998 Toyota Camry LE by the only real name that can reflect its awesomeness- "THE CAMRY." You have to say it as if it's in all caps. Now, I have no clue as to what the word Camry actually means and Wikipedia isn't telling me, so I can only assume that it's Greek or Japanese or something for "TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME." This car ferries me to the far away town of Waukesha, Wisconsin on a daily basis, its Oregon plates with their expired tags proudly showing off that I ain't from around these parts.
"A," you may ask, using one of my 6000 nicknames, "but why is THE CAMRY so awesome? All you've really done for the past paragraph is state that it's awesome because it's awesome... you sound like you're running for president! Provide some facts."
Well, children, ask and ye shall recieve. In the form of a bulleted list, no less:
- The Camry has an amazing gray foamy stuff interior that will trap in scents for years to come. Mine STILL smells like the coffee my Dad used to drink on the way to work!
- The Camry can go from 0-60 in anywhere from 93 to 2.5 seconds. It really depends on how close you are to rear-ending the dude in front of you.
- Once I hit an iron gate with the Camry. Its front plate got dented; the gate was totalled. Goodbye good driver insurance discount! Hello super front bumper plastic!
- If it's below 0 out, the Camry sounds like an old man when it starts. Seriously, it'll tell you to get off its lawn. Silly car, you don't have a lawn, even though you are forest green!
- Looks awesome when covered in road salt.
- Apparently it doesn't need engine coolant because mine has been leaking forever and still no problems!
- The trunk was first broken open. Then the Camry corrected things and magically broke it shut!
- No anti-theft system because this car is so badass people are afraid to steal it.
- Sometimes (but only sometimes) the tires will explode when you take a curb a little too fast. But then you get sweet ass tires and really cool hubcaps, so it's all good.
- Assembled in Kentucky. KENTUCKY. Badass.
Seriously, if you want a dependable car that will live forever no matter how many times you decide to try and kill it, go for a Camry. The little bastard will not die. And that's good, because usually when your car spontaneously dies in traffic you end up not-alive to a certain extent too. Even when I eventually sell the immortal Camry and buy myself something sexy (like a Mustang or one of those new hot 2010 Toyota Camrys), it will live on in the hands of some poor college student like a 1980 Volvo that is too stupid to quit.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
So what does yours truly do at work all day? Your tax dollars are indavertently at work providing me with gas money (and by gas I mean beer, the gas that keeps college students up and running. Usually in kind of a zig-zag pattern, because, you know, they're wasted. But I don't drink beer, so yeah actually gas.) because I follow this daily routine, or as the pros call it, workflow:
6 AM: Wake up, swear, hit snooze button, laugh at my roommate getting ready to go do pushups or practice killing babies or whatever people will have you believe it is they do at Army PT in the morning, go back to sleep. I think that they play foosball, but Kate insists that they do sprints and climb ropes and other things which are far inferior to the supreme sport of foosball.
6:30 AM: General OH SHIT I HAVE TO BE AT WORK IN AN HOUR freakout.
7:00 AM: Flip off someone in a minivan on the way to work. What? It's tradition.
7:30 AM: Arrive at work. Spend next hour "checking e-mail" (on Facebook).
8:30 AM-4:30 PM: Workin' on stuff for 8 hours. This usually means drawing up plansets, modelling roadways, cutting profiles and cross-sections, and screwing up and having to do it all over again. That's the life of a co-op. Work abruptly ends when I recieve a text message from a fellow co-op stating that either traffic sucks or the weather sucks or they're bored and want to go home and hang out with me and make fun of people doing homework together so it'd be a good time to leave.
4:45 PM: Almost get hit by a bus or semi truck on the way home from work. What? It's tradition. And I'm a very bad driver. Irony much?
5:00 PM: Come home, try to find where my roommate hid my giant stuffed chicken this time. I'm beginning to think that the giant stuffed chicken is a metaphor for my soul and/or dignity. Either that or my roommate is just a giant meanie pants.
So as you can see, it's a very hard life. And by hard I mean awesome. Rewarding, too-- I modelled a road yesterday that would absolutely kill anyone who drove on it. Like, car-in-a-burning-heap-after-running-into-retaining-wall killed. Apparently having a road ending in a large wall is a huge no-no. Who would have thought it? Oh well, that's why I'm a co-op.
Someday driving on my roads will not result in death, I mean if you're lucky and my "large robotic dinosaur which chases and eats the cars of motorists driving too slowly" that I have a patent pending on doesn't get released into the interstate system during rush hour, when the average Wisconsin motorist drives roughly 3.stupid miles per hour. That's an exact measurement. We have it on file somewhere, probably under "useless statistics we can put into a brochure and give to angry people who are placated by useless statistics."
So in conclusion, it's a sweet deal. Discuss?