Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Further Pixar Domination

Click that link. in the early 80s the Pixar bosses saved scores of employees by volunteering to get canned themselves. i want to go to there.

You should watch this. I'm gonna have to ask Scott which studios have had runs like this. The thing that blows me away most of all is how good they are with the eyes. Inexplicable.


Yeah I'm gonna stock up too.


This is so so so good. Remind me of the time Pat woke up and got a surprise email flight confirmation to come stay with me and Steph for graduation. (sorta NSFW for some brief scrotum. don't let that deter you though.)

Insidious Worm Makes Unauthorized Purchases When Computer User Is Drunk

speaking of worms, ignore any and all movies Magda may post. they're really dirty and will give you incurable viruses.

Turns out the copyright folks took that Pixar one down. Too bad, but I should have known that would happen. Sorry. In its absence, please enjoy this short mind-blowing clip. Stay til the end.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Memories, and because Ben told me to post these

Hey guys, remember this?? We were WAY cooler back then and you know I'm not being sarcastic. I am so mad the people I met at Penn were not as cool as you guys.


Ben owns us all

I love Jen running around here, and Ken takes out that kid who looked like Ron. Who was that guy anyway?


It's real magic, people.

Katie Humm is the best.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Noah James Machuca

(Cynda said she wasn't sure when she'd be able to post, so here's a preview... I'm sure she'll update soon.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 4 Encounter Love

Hey, my people.

So my sister just got back from DCE last night, with tears in her eyes and big ol’ bear hugs for all. I got to see the chaos that was their return home – those kids were high on love, there’s not really any other way to say it and it’s a really rare to see that kind of thing.

So of course I couldn’t help remembering what an amazing two weekends I had on my encounters. And even the second time around, at the beginning of senior year, I didn’t know half of you well enough to even exchange cookies with you all. Hell, it wasn't until after that that we had most of our beach trips and Twister tournaments and meteor showers and kickball games and long nights at Ian's, etc. And it may be cheesy to say it, seven years later, but not so much on day four: I love you guys, each and every one of you, and you’re still my best friends and favorite people in the world. Even if I only get to see you a couple of times a year. Just so you know, you’re kind of a big deal.

P.S. It made me really want to go back to St. Benny’s and be an adult leader or a cook on one of those weekends. I’d love to see what a co-ed encounter’s like, anyone else maybe want to go in April?

P.P.S. It was also announced last night (and I feel obliged to report) that my sister beat Mr. Massey in the final throes of Birdie on a Perch to win it all. I am so proud.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Merry Christmas, Gravy

Hey Party People,

First off, wanted to wish everyone a happy christmas season. This really is the best time of the year. I know many of you doubt ben when he claims cool things are about to happen. I've been hearing about the coolest hangout ever in his basement for the last eight years and that has yet to happen. But we really are having a beach trip over christmas break and if you are a reader of this blog and went to high school with us, you're more than welcome. Even you, katie bieze. Just contact Ben. I repeat ben, not myself, and you'll get all the details.

Cam Newton got the Heisman. He's gonna have to give that back. Anyone who thinks differently, i'll put 100 on it.

Go ducks.

Favorite christmas tradition. Go.

For me, it's going to my uncle's on christmas eve. We've gone there ever since we moved to Portland. It's gotten even better since we've gotten older. My uncle thinks its funny to get us drunk knowing that we go to the christmas eve mass at jesuit right afterwards. But i defy anyone to turn down one of his martini's. They're real and they're spectacular. Good times. But interested to hear all your christmas traditions. hopefully they're a little more wholesome.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Miss You Nancy!

Let's hang in the east bay, okay?


Click the link, you'll love it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have a Glorious Thanksgiving!

might have to reconsider naming Tracy Morgan the funniest man alive


bringing the country together...though as thoroughly unAmerican as I am, I voted for cranberry sauce

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day after Thanksgiving

Anyone up for a potluck at our house? I know a few people will be coming to town so if interested let me know and we'll throw something together!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

extremely mint and very cherry


attn everyone: please stop stealing my ideas

i was gonna do this exact same thing except I'd call mine The Wake House and we would schedule real irish wakes in between performances and other stuff. (also taken: pizza place+record shop on belmont where It's A Beautiful Pizza used to be. Hall of Records.) jealousy aside, someone check it out for me. right off the ross island I think.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apple pie

So instead of unpacking today Ben and I made an apple pie. Ben was very helpful! At one point he climbed on the counter (which was covered in flour because I was rolling out the dough) and laid on it. I yelled "Benjamin!" and rather than Ben making any move to get off the counter he continued to roll around on the counter and exclaimed in a high pitched mocking tone "Benjamin! get down!" Then he just laughed and continued to lay face down making something akin to flour angels. Of course Ian remained sitting on the other side of the counter and laughed at me!

The pie turned out perfectly by the way. I mean if you can get past the fact that a toddler was laying on the counter before I rolled the dough out. Well, that as well as a certain someone not being able to keep his fingers out of it...and Ben wasn't much better.

I would just like to let Mike know that I spent way too much time worrying about whether I used the word lay correctly in this post and I still have no idea whether I did or didn't.

Oh and yes Pat, maybe we should have a Thanksgiving party here (even though I'm guessing you won't be here)! Will anyone be coming home for Thanksgiving?

Friday, September 24, 2010

I can't take credit for the jimmy johnson picture. That was a stroke of genius by our good friend ben vincent. I was just watching vh1's top 100 hundred artists tonight. They had elvis at number 8, prince at number 7, led zeppelin at 3 and the boss a 21!!!. If you disagree with these rankings (as i do, quite vehemently) make your voice heard. This is a travesty. Prince before the boss, and not just before the boss, but 14 spots ahead. America, stand up.

I'm also choosing to issue a challenge right now. I know many of you still frequent this blog, wondering if anything new has been posted. Well, my challenge is that every time you come to this page, you issue a post. Doesn't have to be anything. For example, "Hey, this is ian. i just moved into a new house and it's really cool. we're getting all settled in, but rest assured, this will be a party place soon enough." Ian was thinking it that but afraid to say it. So i did it for him Not the point. Just let us know you're still there. Say something, can be anything. If you want me to say it for you, i can do that. Believe me, i can put words in your mouth better than you can. But over the last month, the only posters have been myself, ben and ian. And if that's all who is reading then fine. But if not, leave a comment. Or even better, post about what's going on in your life because we want to know what you all are up to. This blog was popping during high school. Just like porch monkey, I'm bringing it back. We're all friends...lets stay that way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hello, ladies and germs, Pat Spear here with something to say. So, it's been a while since i've posted anything here, my apologies i've been a little busy. I feel especially bad about it because i know that without my postings, this blog will die faster than a child with AIDS who also contracts pneumonia.

Hey, football's back. Go ducks. We should all get a fantasy football league together for next year. If you're interested let Ben know, he's coordinating all of that. We need at least ten people, so ladies, i know you nothing about football but i don't think in our group we have ten guy friends, as sad as that is, so feel free to join and you'll just be dead weight which will make us guys feel better about ourselves (that last sentence makes me sad because i know that if the colonel were in the states he would call me on a run-on...i miss that) Colonel, come back!!!

In other news, i had my first flight the other day. I try not to be self-serving here, but it was freakin' awesome. Flew upside down for a while. Beyond that, someone else needs to get married. Quick. Weddings are a lot of fun. Only this time, whoever gets married needs to have bridesmaids that i actually have a chance of hooking up with. I'm looking at you ben, and to a lesser extent ken. I figure i'll have a couple of chances at ken's weddings. and doug, i don't care what your students say, it's just not appropriate. steer clear big tuna, head to open waters.

I don't know how many of you read ben's blog, i'm assuming it's very few, but the rumor about renting a beach house over christmas break is true. It will be for two nights sometime in between christmas and new years. Again, contact ben if you're interested. All men and women with loose morals are invited. I've agreed to provide a keg, if that sweetens the deal any.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Since we rehash this conversation so often...

My favorite part is how screwy Utah is. Apparently they can't drink Coke so its all Sprite there. Also love the stark Oregon-Cali divide. Way to fuck it up, Jackson and Josephine!

I've added Julie's movie blog over on the sidebar. Should have done it earlier, didn't really even think about it, but her piece on The Office was spot-fucking-on and amazing and should be read by everyone who cares about that show. Read That Blog


Monday, August 09, 2010

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Nay! We are enemies!

Douglas and I are in a mileage battle, 25 weeks, from now until Christmas Eve. The loser faces a lifetime of humiliation and ridicule. The winner gets a keg of his choosing. Truly stakes have never been higher.

You are either with me (and, by extension, on Team Jacob)
or with DOUGGLES (and Team Edward/Chris Dodd)

I am the bad guy. Just in case the picture didn't make it clear. And since this is real life, the bad guy will win. and enjoy his frothy prizes. FROTHY PRIZES I TELL YOU!

If you want to share in MY FROTHY PRIZES you should join team ben/jacob and try to trip doug for me when he goes on jogs. and steal his bananas. that would be helpful too. oooh and send him delicious cheeses and scotches and such. and distract him with dvd boxsets.

I love having minions, even if they're in my head. being a supervillain is great.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The National @ Daughters of the American Revolution Hall

I'll admit it, I was holding a grudge against The National for not just rewriting Mr. November 30 times. Their last couple albums had given me the ol' blue balls. Where was the catharis? All build and no payoff. Wouldn't even have gone to see them except a coworker really wanted to go and didn't have anyone else to go with. So I decided to give them one more shot before writing them off as tasteful background music for semi-cool yuppies. (Minus Alligator of course.)

Consider me converted. They are indeed true believers and Matt Beringer fucking screamed. I mean, he sang too, mostly in fact, in that ridiculously cool baritone of his. But when the band went nuts, he cut loose, and the crowd, much to my surprise, actually ate it up. These were screams that would put most hardcore dudes to shame, but they fit so flawlessly with the crescendoes of the band that they seemed absolutely necessary, but no less thrilling.

The tour is a little spendy, but if you can see them, do so. They put on a helluva show. God bless that Midwest work ethic.


Internet rumors say that the National laid down some tracks with Sufjan MY NEMESIS Stevens for an upcoming album Matt says will 'blow some minds.' I am ashamed to admit that I am on pins and goddamn needles.

The Antlers opened. They have one good song. The sound guy fucked them over.

Still hate you, Broken Social Scene.

Walkmen, you've been reprieved.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


When I was sure there was no (vegetarian) substitute for a turkey sandwich, this beautiful bastard came was introduced to me:

You can put all sorts of tasty shtuff in there! Endless possiblities! I've had four different ones this week!

(Oh uh yeah, about Thursday, I'm sorry baby... I swear it wasn't my fault. My buddy just wanted some Mexican. The fish tacos meant nothing. I was thinking of you the whole time.)

I should stop, I'm tearing up. I love you Falafel. Never leave me.


the new girl in the lab is from China and right off the bat she told me I looked like the psychologist from Bones. Uh, they don't put people who look like me on TV, I said. But sure enough...


That's the same dopey grin//Buddha eyes I have in every picture.

Friday, June 11, 2010

That's my Roommate

This was one of my two-year roommates

This is the other (in yellow)

Great dudes

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pat/Barney's Baby Rules

1. You promise to always love me more than the baby.

2. Once a month I get to use the baby to pick up chicks.

3. That may involve the baby falling from a two story window and me heroically catching it.

4. No breastfeeding in front of me.

5. Forget about 4, it’s cool.

10. It’s middle name must be Barney (Patrick. or Eugene).

17. If I’m hungry you have to feed me first.

25. Never ask me to babysit.

25a. All babysitters you use must be female, hot, and of age.

32. As tempting as it might be, you’re forbidden from using a 19th century president’s last name as the baby’s first name.

34. You cannot use it as an excuse to not do something cool with me.

38. You can only talk about the baby 3% of time.

39. For every picture you show me of the baby I get to show you a picture of me having sex.

42. When it’s of age, I get to have the “sex talk” with it.

45. The baby must wear a suit once a week.

46. The baby must call me dad.

50. I get to take it trick or treating if I want.

50a. While trick or treating, the baby must dress as a lil’ version of what I’m dressed as.

59. It has to like me more than Ted (Doug).

62. Me, Ted (Doug), and Marshall (Ian) get to re-enact the movie, “Three Men and a Baby” for a weekend.

65. You must introduce me to hot single moms.

66. If it ever has a hot teacher, I get to bring it to parent teacher conferences.

69. Sixty nine. Always funny.

72. I get to bring it to look at colleges.

76. If it throws up on me, you owe me $1,000.

83. … and if all 5 circumstances involving the baby and the strip club should come to pass, I take no responsibility for any of it, because it is your fault for having the baby in the first place.

i know you won't believe me but i don't actually read this thing. er, on a regular basis. i do however own The Bro Code and for that i will make no apologies

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Exciting news!

Ian and I are expecting a baby on December 23! Just had the ultrasound today and everything looks perfect!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I Survived the Great Nashville Flood of 2010

Wait till 1:22. I was driving down this road literally an hour before this happened. I must have just missed the flooding. Crazy. I've never seen so much rain in my life. And as an Oregonian, that's saying something. Something like 7 people died. I ended up having to stay the night in Nashville, as I-24 is the road that goes between here and there. The entire city was shut down. Worst weekend destination decision ever. (Except maybe that time Cynda, Magda and I decided to drive to Santa Clara and back without sleeping for two nights.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things I learned in college

-Everything tastes better with beer (especially crappier beer)
-Milwaukee is actually a pretty sweet town if you're over 21 and it's summer. Otherwise you've got to be a bit creative
-Baseball games are just an excuse to yell at people for 3-4 hours
-You can leave a Papa John's pizza out for three days and it'll still be edible, just a little mummified
-When your concrete canoe collides with Notre Dame's concrete canoe (which had a statue of Mary on its bow, like a goddamn Jesus pirate ship or something), God will not let you win that one
-Along those same lines, don't apply concrete sealer to your canoe in a building full of medical clinics. You'll get some public safety complaints. "High VOC's." Whatever, suck it up sick people.
-The best way to remove a 300-pound, 20-foot long canoe from your lab is through a window
-Never, EVER, under any circumstances, play wine pong. Ever.
-If you throw a rotten pumpkin out of a window, make sure nobody's watching
-Same goes for sandwiches, unless someone's trying to catch the sandwich. They should probably watch for it.
-Tetanus shots are good for like 7 years, right?
-The maximum number of Chipotle burritos one human being can eat at a time is 3
-The maximum number of Chipotle burritos one human being can keep down at a time is somewhat less than 3
-When you're riding in someone's trunk, make sure you set down ground rules before hand that stipulate "no donuts"
-City league kickball is serious business
-Scurvy is avoidable
-Don't shout "oh shit" and wave your arms. It will only encourage the herd of cows to come your way
-Don't e-mail your mentor repeatedly about a project when you're on pain meds post wisdom tooth removal. It will not end well.
-If you're climbing an active volcano and your guide starts running, you should probably start running too

Please add your wisdom to the list. Yay graduation.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best of 3

That's what we got left. I really don't think enough has been written about these blazers. About how they're a joy to watch, they do everything the right way and the never complain. I don't know how many of you follow the nba, but complaining has become the norm. Whenever something doesn't go right it's either the refs, injury's, or some other pathetic excuse. Not your Trail Blazers. B-Roy goes down, they go out and win game one. No excuses. The game tonight was one of the most fun games I ever watched. B-Roy was at maybe 50 percent. He just had surgery that would put all of us out for a month, he was playing a professional basketball game in eight days. Was it his best game, no. But the lift he gave to the crowd and the team is immeasurable. Not to mention the room he made for LA. And I think this was his coming out game. Blazers are paying him big money because they believe in him. And tonight, he showed why. When that outside jumper is hitting, he's unstoppable. Think Rasheed Wallace, except he has a good attitude and know how to use his strengths. But B-Roy played tonight like he needs to play for the blazers to win this series. Let the game come to him and then take over in the fourth. Exactly what he did tonight. And kudos to the Portland crowd as well. There's a reason all the calls went Portland's way in the fourth. So good for the crowd. This thing's definitely going seven, unless Portland can end it in six. But I go back to my first point, this team is fun to watch. Batum, finally showing a tougher side, shoving Amare. I loved it. Sure, it cost us a point, but it showed that we will not be pushed around and dominated. Just think about it, if we get by Phoenix it's either Spurs or Mavericks, two teams we dominated this year. Think big, Portland fans. And that's who it rests on. The fans. Can't have another performance like game 3. Can't lose another home court game. Need to intimidate the refs, make them scared to call a foul on the blazers. It's a three game series. With B-Roy back and LA finally breaking through, I'll be disappointed if we don't advance. High expectations, yes. But after watching this team all year, how could have anything but?

Friday, April 09, 2010

the only Momversation I want is Jolene asking me how I like my eggs


my first WSND project freshman year. was originally supposed to say "Got a face for radio?" but that got shot down. kind of a redundant question anyway. at Notre Dame, everybody has a face for radio. except Brady "the Bronco" Quinn. and Steph I guess. miss you Brady!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I thought you sports fans might enjoy this.

This morning Ben came to me with the Orgonian sports page, which had a picture of a basketball game on it. Ben then ran over to the tv and pointed back and forth between the paper and the tv.

Unfortunately there were no games on this morning, but I did have the Jesuit championship game recorded. I turned it on and that seemed to pacify him, as you can see below.

I fear that this combined with the giant basketball hoop in my living room is proof that my son has been sucked into the sports world never to be seen again (at least not during a basketball game). Seriously, you should see him and Ian Saturday mornings! It is quite the sight!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Go Big Red!

wouldn't have guessed the country was so behind them...I voted for Northern Iowa. love those bastards

also, no one in New Mexico has the Internet. and Iowa, watch your back, Wisconsin is holding a grudge about something

in other news, the blazers blew a golden opportunity last night, playing the most anemic 4th i've seen in quite some time. if they played with half the heart NIU does...ah fuck


with Lucas out for MSU, and either Tenn or Ohio State down the pike, its plausible. also, nice jump on the ol' bandwagon there, Idaho. And Maine, don't you have some galoshes to put on?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ryan Reynolds is a douchebag

Wow, looks like my earlier post has generated some buzz. No surprise, I'm kind of a lightning rod for conversation.

Duke is unathletic because they only have one athletic guy on their team, Smith. When talking about guys like us, sure they're all athletic. When talking about division I collegiate basketball we have to hold them to a higher standard. For example, if you can't dunk you're not an athlete in the college basketball world. So scheyer, although a great shooter and pretty good ball handler, would not be considered athletic. Same for Singler. I know he can dunk, but he's 6'9" so he should be able to. If you watch Singler play, he doesn't really beat opponents with his quickness or athletic ability, but rather his basketball IQ and tenaciousness. I'm not saying it's a bad thing but they are what they are.

What a first day of the tournament. Overtime, buzzer beaters, close games, notre dame losing...what more could you ask for? Unfortunately, it was mitigated by a very bland and boring second day, although props to both cornell and gonzaga for getting me some good wins.

Finally, as if it weren't enough that ryan reynolds is married to one of the hottest women on the planet, i just found out he's gonna be the green lantern. You all probably knew that already but I would just like to say that this casting decision is like choosing rowan atkinson to be the next bond. For shame hollywood, for shame.

"Smart Pig! Oink Oink!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Love Bill Simmons, But...

he's no longer the common sports guy. Which was one of the main things he had going for him. Dont' get me wrong, I still read everything he posts and he's still in my top 5 sportswriters (if you're wondering my top 5 consists of Bill Simmons, Jason Whitlock, John Hollinger, David Thorpe, and Jason Quick). It's just a case of misrepresentation. When you get coach's and players to talk to you you're no longer the common fan. Read his articles from 6-7 years ago and then read them again today. He's still funny today but you can tell he's watching his back. And I know i'm harsh, and he's got some dick ESPN editor's breathing down his back but he's gone away from what's made him great. At least for me, I've always loved his writing and he's went away from that lately in favor of the podcasts. Which is exactly my point. The common sports guy doesn't have featured podcasts on ESPN. Not to say I don't appreciate what he says, but it seems to me like he's castarized(spelling?) now by the network. I may be way off here but that's just what I think.

Now that I have that out of the way, I have something for the gravy. I'm gonna start posting here a lot more, mostly about sports but just in general (depends on my sobrierty). Of course after that comment, about 95% of the readership will ignore the rest of what i'm about to say because they either don't like sports or drunk people. Anyways, the major sports story nowadays is the ncaa tournament. Let's get into it shall we?

Before I even get into winners and losers, can I say a word about the bracket in general? How is it that the number one team in the draw gets ohio state, georgetown, maryland, michigan state and tennesse in it's bracket. And yet Duke (going by the same seeds in its region) gets villanova, baylor, purdue (without robbie hummel), texas a&m, and notre dame. Really? Okay selection committee. Imagine there was no money involved, i have a hard feeling the bracket would look like that. Basically, what happened is the most talented team got a very difficult draw, a team that is talented but lacking in athleticism( Duke) which the networks love, got the easiest draw, and who really cares about Syracuse or Kentucky. Calipari is such a slimeball I always want his team to lose.

That takes me into the brackets. Before the brackets came out, I had kansas, ohio st. and georgetown plus one other team in my final four. That was what was in my mind. Thanks to the selection committee, that's not gonna happen. Thanks guys. Anyways, I really like Kansas. I have them winning it all. In the west, I like gonzaga over byu (yeah, you like that ian). In the east, i have west virginia over cornell (who's your boy now ken?) and in the south its duke over baylor. Then for the final game i have kansas over west virginia. I know i'm a sucker for kansas but they are the best team out there, and ian if you beat me because of syracuse again i might punch little ben in the face. Just saying.

I won't hesitate to punch a child. A couple comments for the immature kids out there:

Q: If you could have sex with any person in the history of time, who would it be?

A: The Virgin Mary

Q: What's the worst possible song for a stripper to play during her dance?
A: Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton

Watch steve nash videos

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i clog the internet therefore i am*

travy morgan in character...i think...funniest thing i've seen all year

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tracy Morgan
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorVancouverage 2010

Turtle Fence is maybe the best song of 2k10.333

and finally, pat agreed that you should watch this one:

*i think i'm gonna write a movie about dutch gangsters who literally clog people to death ie kick with clogs on

Monday, March 08, 2010


That thing is heavy. I wish I had inspected it more before handing it off to the next eager beaver.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Things That Suck and Two Things That Rock

hey, um, American Apparel? mind your own fucking business, mmmkay? some of us have sad, ramen-filled lives. we need this.

no just kidding. i mean, i do have a sad ramen-filled life, but i semi-applaud (yep, i can applaud one-handed, fuck you ZEN) the effort. though i think its gonna reach a natural saturation point...right?...and Uggs, right?....this all has to end eventually, right???

So they are replacing the other, lesser, 7UP sign, the one on 12th and NE Sandy. this blows. There used to be another one right off I-84 at 39th or so. they were dignified and beautiful and made me irrationally loyal to 7UP even though Sierra Mist is better. my childhood is disappearing before my eyes. my digital yet weeping eyes. at least its not another ugly Budweiser sign.

Two shows that have gotten me thru the last couple weeks (damn you olympics/NBC!)
and they've both been picked up for second seasons. so you should catch up so we can have inside jokes. like Tastyface

ARCHER is a spy-spoof, which normally i don't go for cuz 85% of spy stuff IS spoof, so its y'know well-trodden ground. but this stuff is pretty great and really offensive and the main spy is basically Pat if Pat was drunk all the time.

its getting slowly rolled out on Hulu.

PARTY DOWN features Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, and lots of guest stars from Veronica Mars cuz Rob Thomas makes it. awesome. its more dark and not as laugh-out-loud, but yeah the characters are all pretty round/great and its definitely relatable to those of us in the business of being fuck-ups.

so far I think you can only catch up on Netflix Instant Watch aka The Best Thing Ever aka The Beginning of the End

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Taylor Swift, Everybody

yeah, I kinda already hated on her over on my blog, so my hate reserves are running low, just want to point out this hilarious article and mention that she went to high school for one fucking year.

ps that's as small as i can make it without exerting additional effort

Monday, February 01, 2010

Favorite Film of 2009

While Ben actually had a jump on things and posted his favorite album at the end of the year, I used January to play catch-up on some films I missed throughout 2009, as well as some that were still coming to Portland. And while I know you guys listen to a lot more music than watch movies, well...what the hell.

Fantastic Mr. Fox was, by a nose, my absolute favorite film of 2009. And, to pimp my own stuff for a second, here's what I wrote on my blog, which includes the rest of my Top Ten (it's not all artsy shit, either, though there's plenty of that).

Yeah, still working on how to describe how truly wonderful this movie is. If directing can be defined as making a million small decisions that somehow add up to a cohesive, artful whole, one COULD make the argument that Wes Anderson is the best director of the year. By building a certain folk-American tradition into Roald Dahl's British novel, rolling his own eccentricities and concerns into it, making (by modern standards) outrageous demands on his animation team - real fur, no CGI influence, 12 frames per second instead of 24, and casting the film to perfection whether that means an A-list actor (giving one of his best performances, as it turns out) or his close friends (or people who fall into both categories), Wes Anderson has truly crafted a film within an inch of its life that feels at once effortless and like a tremendous undertaking. It's as breathtaking as it is an absolute joy. I couldn't ask for more from a film. Oh, and you wrote a bad song, Petey.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So while I do have a blog chronicling my misadventures...

...I figured that after 6 months of not saying anything, it was high time to put up a blog post.

Peru is lovely right now. That might simply owe to the fact that I'm on vacation and can do as much or as little as I want in a day. This will be changing soon, so there may be a sudden drop in the fuzzy feelings.

Awesomeness of living within the tropical zone of the world aside, I want to dedicate this blog entry to things that I miss like nobody's business. I'll be walking along on an average day here and suddenly get hit by an image or memory of home in a fashion similar to a metaphorical sledgehammer. Yeah.

-Pacific Northwest Fruit: This includes good, crisp apples, a nice variety of pears, berries of any type and quality whatsoever, lemons (because they don't believe in them in Lima). The tropics are nice for some exotic new and delicious ones, thousands of potatoes and sweet potatoes, purple corn, etc, but it'll be too long before I have a strawberry rhubarb pie.

-Dairy: See, the dairy here isn't half bad, but it's very different. It's not an average part of the diet, I don't think, and it costs more. Remember when Charlotte came out west in 2006 and you all brought gifts of dairy, a Christmas tree, a watermelon, and Ben got cured of paraplegic paralysis? Can at least the first part of that equation be revived when I arrive?

-Obsession with High Fructose Corn Syrup as Opposed to Sucrose: Gosh do they like sugar here. Everything is sweet. Everything. Empty carbs and sugar are a basic part of the average person's lifestyle here, whether it's by choice or by necessity of poverty or a combination of both. I don't like HFCS much, but I can avoid it in the states.

-Hugs: While the hugfest that was Christmas Eve left me aglow, 364 days is a long time to go without strong hugs. It's just not a part of the culture here. I'll just add that some handshakes are pretty weak, too. The dead fish phenomenon doesn't even seem to be something that people ridicule here.

-Music: There's this song "I Know You Want Me," and every time it comes on I want to destroy things. Unfortunately, it is a popular hit on the radio. I was lucky to meet a guy from NYC with a similar hatred. He joked, "Dude, something is wrong. I don't hate this song as fervently as I used to. I'm getting complacent." Please, please, please stop playing the same songs on the radio.
And this just has to do with me, I think, but as I'm not Peruvian, nor do I immediately hear and understand song lyrics, a great number of the songs by certain Peruvian groups all sound EXACTLY the same. If I found the arrangement they've decided to use pleasant, it would be one thing, but they have chosen what (for me, mind you) sounds just utterly grating and whiney. I'd like to think that this might just be culture versus culture, but they ADORE English and American music (at least my 15 year olds do). Maybe I am just a snob.

-Seasons: Lima's not exactly prone to variation, I'm afraid. Some sun, some clouds, and lots of humidity. It can get pretty chilly in winter, but not the kind of beautiful cold that we have in the States, where snow has artistic power and the mornings can be crisp.

-Friends: This is where I get to the point. The number of times that I've regaled my community (which is lovely) with anecdotes about adventures and misadventures and witticisms of the friends I've had since JHS and the amount of entertainment it has brought and the number of fond memories it's given me the excuse to revisit and treasure has been a bittersweet blessing.

In spite of what was a little bit more of a whiney post than I wanted, I want you to know that life down here is, in fact, good. I'm in great shape and speak Spanish at least proficiently and enjoy my farmer's tan (it's getting intense) and trying out foods that don't exist in the States, but every once in a while, things just aren't like home in a way that makes for a very bitter sting. Know that you're missed. My travel blog is and is more upbeat than this, usually, although with less point. Much love and missage from the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy the rest of winter, because our summer's halfway through and gosh I can't believe that I'm missing my fifth Oregon spring in a row.

Keep in touch, por favor.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hey So...We're on Twitter...Don't Throw Your Shoes At Me PLZ

user name: mmmgravy
password: (Shh our high school shhh!)
followers(so far): 2 randos wut wut!

so i was drunk and angry that all my good twitnames had been taken by jerks who only posted twice. then it hit me. i have to protect mmmgravy!!! so i did.

and then i selected an assortment of awesome people we should follow. and ken.

aaaand just requested to follow Bieze. yeah so i'm aware that i'm missing the whole point of this thing. except that i hope Pat will drunktweet for us. cuz THAT would be worth reading.

but yeah, everyone can and should use it. just sign off with your name maybe. yeah and follow whoever you deem funny/relevant. i did mostly comedians I like+Taylor Swift cuz i gotta stalk her if she's ever gonna be my gf. cuz that's how that works. c'mon, it's gonna be fun. fun i tell you!

(pss ian help! i can't get it show retweets. pss everyone else: feel free to customize it. except don't change my Dino J pic)

i freaking love the guy and can't wait to see what's next

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dispatches From Guatemala

Welp, I couldn't join in on the New Years' insanity, but I hope that I had some comparable adventure down in Guatemala again this January.

The goal this year was to construct the footings of two bridges, survey for a third which will become my senior design project, and demonstrate a single family scale water filtration device. All of this in 15 days, which was no small feat to say the least. We met these goals and demolished them, pouring both abutments for our first bridge and pouring one abutment and preparing another for the second. Whew!

Our first week was spent in the community of El Aguacate, Quiche, Guatemala. They needed a 30-foot concrete cast beam vehiclar bridge to replace their old one which had been underdesigned and was, until they demolished it a few weeks before our arrival, being propped up at the foundation with tree limbs. So all 16 of us jumped in and started working on that. At this same community we planned to work on our water filter. We invited both communities, a couple of Peace Corps workers, and a group of Jesuits from Mexico to come and watch us build one. The filter consisted of locally obtainable materials-- sand and stone-- run through sieves made of chicken wire and mosquito netting and placed in layers in a locally-purchasable water container. You can run 5-10 gallons of water per day through one of these filters, and thanks to the wonders of mechanical filtration (and later on a biological process which develops too), clean water pops out the other side. People seemed quite interested in this, and were taking notes in English, Spanish, and the local Mayan dialect of Quiche.

El Aguacate was a very interesting place. There were a lot of English speakers who had just returned there from America either due to deportation or leaving the country due to a lack of jobs. It costs roughly Q40,000 (US $5000) to pay a coyote to get you across the border. Given the national minimum wage of Q50/day, this is a HUGE investment. Some people had been in the US for as long as 9 years before leaving again. It's also getting harder to run the border-- one man who we talked to had crossed twice. The first time, he took about a day to cross the border. The next time he was walking around in the desert for 5 days before being able to cross. A lot of people die out there according to him.

After playing around with power tools at El Aguacate for a week, we packed up and left via private chicken bus for our next community of Tres Cruces. At El Aguacate we were spoiled-- we got to sleep on the tile floor of a house. Tres Cruces had us camping literally on the side of a mountain. We found a small flat spot that we could get a couple of tents on, but other than that... well, don't lose your footing! It got cold at night up at this site, but that was just because the coldest weather in 8 years was rolling through Guatemala. 40's were the norm, not too bad for Wisconsinites. And the tradeoff was that we were able to shower in a waterfall fed by a mountain spring a couple of times.

The kids at Tres Cruces were adorable when they weren't dragging us down hills, learning how to do the fist bump really really hard, clinging to legs and being carried around that way, running around with a wheelbarrow trying to ram people all day, or babbling on in Quiche (they don't go to school at Tres Cruces because it's really hard to get there without a bridge, so very few kids in the community know Spanish, the second language up in the highlands). We did manage to teach them one word in Spanish-- dulce (candy)-- by the end of it. And how to say "MU rocks" and "I'm the boss" in English. Their moms must hate us. We also befriended the fattest puppy I've ever seen in Guatemala. The kids learned that when we got pissed off they could hand us the puppy and instantly make things better. Many offerings of the puppy were given.

Tres Cruces was a pretty difficult site due to high water levels. We had to fight the river the whole way with two nonfunctioning pumps, sandbags, and eventually a bucket brigade. Before we could pour footings we had to pour a subbase which consisted of soupy cement and huge rocks thrown or pushed off a ledge. This artificial rough surface will allow the footings to stay in place and prevent the river from scouring them out so we don't wind up with the original El Aguacate bridge.

Somehow in between all of this hooplah we also managed to survey for the replacement of a bridge in Joyabaj, the main city in the region. This will be a 42-foot vehicluar bridge that will serve roughly 20,000 people in the region with a shorter route to schools and markets in the city. The river there is pretty dirty, so we were very cautious when running around the place, but we got our survey done without even touching water once. We also began to chip out footings in the extremely hard rock on the banks of the river. Three days with 90-pound jackhammers led to little progress in the granite-like material. So naturally one expert Guatemalan rock splitter with a really huge hammer and another really brave guy holding a stake for him had the whole thing finished for us in a week. I think he weighed about 90 pounds himself.

We aren't sure if we'll use concrete or steel for this bridge, so towards the end of the trip we visited a Guatemalan steel fabrication plant in Guatemala City to see their facilities and process. Steel is not forged in Guatemala, so they import it from around the world (US, China, Russia, Israel) and then form it into shapes in country. The guy who ran the place was a Purdue grad, 3rd generation of the family to work in the business. It was really cool.

After all of our work was done we returned to Antigua for a free day and HOT SHOWERS and A BED. Life was good. We climbed Pacaya volcano again. It had just reopened to the public after being too active and dangerous a couple of days before. During our climb we saw a really huge amount of lava. My photos have nothing in them for scale, but trust me when I say that the lava pictures show a flow of several hundred feet rolling down the mountainside. It wasn't the thick syrupy stuff that I saw last time that is common in Hawaiian volcanoes. It was more crumbly and contained distinct bits of rock. Also some Australian girl was wearing soccer shoes during the climb and her soles melted almost all the way through. Note to Adidas: test your shoes for lava resistance next time! Our guide was very good and kept us safe. We were quite a distance away from the action, thankfully. It was still pretty damn warm.

Hopped on a bus to the airport at 4 AM and now I'm back in Milwaukee. Whew! If you want to see some trip photos, check out:

Hope to go adventuring with some of you some time again soon! If my company is still in Haiti doing disaster relief (we just got called up to help FEMA pull its head out of its ass) when I go full time this summer, you may wind up getting some dispatches from there as well. In the meantime, donate to the Red Cross. Please.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Better Off Ted, etc.

yeah so obviously that didn't air, but i just wanted to say that you should check out the two seasons of Better Off Ted at some point. i should have said that a couple months ago, before ABC decided to kill it off, showing two episodes a night along with the rotting corpse of Scrubs. Its definitely the 'smart comedy' heir to Arrested Development, and Portia de Rossi is really fun to watch as the ruthless boss. they coulda easily put it on Wednesdays and saved it, but its becoming increasingly clear that TV executives even dumber than wall street execs. Yes, i'm looking at you NBC.

so anyway i really couldn't sleep the other night and consoled myself with the fact that there are 2(!) new 30 Rock's this week. then i figured i'd put the shows i looked forward to the most in order, to show where Better Off Ted fits. (and yeah, i think 60% of the reason for its failure is that meaningless title)

Top 10 (only 10) Shows That Get Me Through the Week:

1. 30 Rock
2. How I Met Your Mother
3. Community
4. Better Off Ted
5. The Daily Show
6. The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. {Jay i hope you die of cancerous herpes}
7. The Office
8. Parks & Rec
9. Modern Family
10. Glee (I'm sorry. I'm really really sorry)

So yeah, this list one of the sadder things I've ever done. but waiting for a job/to head back down to berkeley, well its pretty boring.

I like Sunny in Philly a lot too, but we don't have cable and i have 4 seasons to catch up on so I think i'll wait until I'm trapped in a forest ranger tower. Also excited Eastbound & Down is getting a second season. looking forward to someday watching that with Pat, pretty drunk, while we wait for ken to fall asleep so we can draw on him.

i'd also like to catch up on Breaking Bad and Mad Men at some point. that is all.

Sunday, January 10, 2010