Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What TV did to me today

On FOX NEWS, Shepard Smith is admiring a pumpkin carved by a FOX NEWS admirer. The pumpkin reflects his name on the wall and reflects the channel’s logo in the opposite direction.

CNN addresses the EBONY magazine question: Does the Reverend Jesse Jackson still matter? By CNN’s conclusion, he certainly does. They keep on showing the Reverend chant, “Keep Hope Alive!” I don’t know what to make of the Reverend because I don’t know that much about him, but he strikes me sometimes as a sketchy fellow, like Joel Osteen.

Halloween means cinematic masterpieces like, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, grace the FX channel. Who could forget Brandy’s performance? Brandy lost the tight Oscar race for best supporting actress to Angelina Jolie for her performance in Girl, Interrupted.

Members of the Minuteman Project make an appearance on FOX NEWS. While some politicians and political analysts debate over immigration policy, FOX shows us gray-haired war veterans and their spouses looming at the border with binoculars. I don’t understand why they feel so threatened.

Yes, UPN has Jerry Springer’s Halloween Special. I have been watching the show for four minutes and I don’t know what is going on. There are two women and two men on stage. One woman is dressed in a revealing maid costume. The other dawns a sleazy nurse outfit; the kind that I thought could only be worn in a porno, except this is Jerry. One man is dressed in some Indian garb, and the other in street clothes. Street clothes guy proposes to nurse, who is most likely from the Valley, which is widely considered the porn capital of the US. Nurse says yes. Hung-over pastor comes from the back to perform the ceremony on stage.

Now I am watching MADE on MTV. A girl wants to become a soccer player. Things get really ugly when she asks what “being on offense” means. Enough.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

November 7

November 7th is approaching quickly. Many of you know that is the day you go to the polls for the 2006 midterm elections. Sadly, some of you might not know this, or might not be voting.

It is hard to believe that checking a box could send this hyper-power of a country in a different direction, but it can, if that isn’t enough think about the countless millions that don’t have any say in what their leaders do. Not only is it your freedom to vote, at times I feel it is our duty as citizens to vote. Politicians can do a lot of good, and politicians can do a lot of bad while in office, but we put them there. It isn’t too late to become informed on at least one issue on the ballot. In Colorado, we have seven amendments and seven referendums on the ballot along with candidates for Congress, Governor, and a broad spectrum of government positions.

If you don’t know the first thing about who is running for what, you can visit http://www.vote-usa.org and enter your address to get a sample ballot. This ballot won’t include amendments, referendums, county issues, and city issues, but for all that stuff you can visit http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/Bluebook/Bluebook2006.htm
for summaries and fiscal impact statements for each of the amendments and referendums.

You surrender your critiquing power when you surrender your vote.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Formula One > NASCAR

The Formula One season came to a close on Sunday. Fernando Alonso ended up winning the championship, but not the last race. The Brazilian Grand Prix went to Michael Schumacher's teammate, Massa. Everyone's eyes were on Schumacher though, it was his last race. He was all over the board. Starting in tenth, Schumacher moved up to sixth before flatting a tire. After his pit he was last in the current field at eighteenth. He then drove quickly the rest of the race, eventually moving up into fourth for the checkered flag. It was really an unbelievable show of driving skill. I don't know another person that watches Formula One, so I feel a little awkward writing about it on here. Maybe it is an audience of one, me. The next season starts in April and you should really think about watching it. Don't worry, it isn't anything like the boring racing we have here in America. The commentators aren't all American and they regularly make fun of NASCAR. Another favorite pastime they share is to mention the Formula One drivers that have come over to the US and won the Daytona 500, or say, the Indianapolis 500, for shits and giggles.

I had a couple of pints with The Mick tonight. It was good.

Borat in the news

I found this fascinating profile of the man behind the increasingly famous character of Borat and Ali G, Sacha Baron Cohen, on the Guardian's website. I am intrigued by a lot of comedians because you know they have to be wicked smart to be that funny. Baron Cohen is 34, and a graduate of Christ's College, Cambridge. Here is the full link:


And an excerpt:

"He was born in 1971, the second of three sons, to Gerald and Daniella. His father, who is Welsh, runs a successful clothing shop in Piccadilly, London, while his mother is Israeli. After a private education at Haberdashers' Aske's School in Elstree, also the alma mater of comedians David Baddiel and Matt Lucas, where he was much liked and well-behaved, he attended Christ's College, Cambridge, to read history. University friends remember him as belonging to the fringes of the extrovert Footlights drama society set. 'He was a decent enough actor. I recall him doing very well in Cyrano de Bergerac,' says one. 'But he was never exactly a leading light.' At the same time, he was involved with Habonim, a Zionist youth movement.

In his third year at Cambridge, Baron Cohen wrote a thesis about the role of Jews in the American civil rights movement. 'He took it very seriously,' remembers a contemporary. 'He spent time in the USA researching it during the summer holidays; it was extremely well received.' The existence of this thesis suggests that Baron Cohen has more than a passing interest both in Borat's specific American targets and in the wider challenges of social integration and bigotry with which his comedy deals. His description of a black American southerner as having a 'chocolate face' retains its capacity to shock and the method Baron Cohen employs to expose the prejudices of others is still amusing."

-Oliver Marre, Sunday, September 10, 2006 The Observer

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Pub

Sorry to get all sentimental on here again, but I miss pubs...British, Scottish, Irish, and the like. Sure, I can go over to O'Shays on Main Street and order up a couple amber ales, but it won't be the same. I sat at my computer tonight looking through hundreds of old pictures and reading anything that might prompt a response to put on this blog. I didn't come up with anything. I wished some friends were around to walk down to the local pub, but there isn't one. When I realized this it hit me, I miss the pub culture. Going to the pubs after work in London was one of my favorite things to do. Pub life is so engrained in that culture it would be impossible to replicate every element of it here in the States. Part of the culture is the building itself and I drank in a few pubs over there that are older than this country. I miss a lot of that culture, but above all else--what I miss most--is cultivating a friendship over a pint. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fall Foleyage

For the most part I have found political cartoons in the UK's newspapers boring and confusing. Thanks to last weeks Guardian Weekly for not continuing that trend.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More on Miller's Book

I am happy to say Blue Like Jazz, rather Donald Miller actually, didn't send me to the dictionary once. I am sure he could have sent me there, but it was comforting to sit down and read this popular book and not see any huge words or latin sayings that one in fifty people recognize.

I have doubted myself on more than one occasion because of my vocabulary. I don't think my word bank is impotent, but it sure feels that way when I read "prolixity", "antimacassars", "mien", or "conflagration" in one chapter. If an author stumps me twice in one page I really begin to worry. Even if I tried, I couldn't send some poor bloke to the OED more than once every thirty pages.

It was comforting to have Miller's words roll through my brain without them getting hung up, thus stalling the point mid-sentence. His observations weren't missed and his thoughts were easy to follow. It is good to know writing like this can be published. Neither Miller's vocabulary, or the complexity of his sentences mattered. Yes, he couldn't be illiterate and still get published, but you don't have to sound like Lacan to provoke some thought.


I worked forty hours this week for Starbucks. That being my busiest week with them so far.

I am pretty tired, but I thought I would get on here and just type to see what came out.

I finished Blue Like Jazz in four days. I am sure I would have finished it sooner if I didn't have work. Donald Miller is a stud. That book really is amazing. It makes me want to go to Reed College and audit classes, sit in a pub or coffeehouse in Portland, and it makes me want to travel without a destination or an end in site.

I started in on Slaughterhouse-Five today. I haven't finished State of Denial, actually, I am not even close. It is an intriguing book, but not a page turner. I will finish it soon though.

Most of the people that check this blog also check This Is Not An Exit. If you haven't lately, please check out the October 18th post. Awesome, http://throughtincansandstring.blogspot.com/

I am for gun control. At times I think it would be good if this nation rejected the Second Amendment. Hah, that will never happen. I wasn't kidding though. I think. I don't know.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Blue Like Jazz

I finally started to read Blue Like Jazz. It has been hard to read the book and forget about all the good reviews and hype I heard about it in the last two years. Every once in a while it seems like a book in the Christian community is so popular, it is obsessed over, it is treated as something just short of the Bible. Wild at Heart, The Purpose Driven Life, The Prayer of Jabez, and now, Blue Like Jazz have all been treated this way, not by me, but by the majority. I admit, when I first read Wild at Heart it was the second best book ever written. I never read The Purpose Driven Life. I never read The Prayer of Jabez. I don't know why exactly, except in the case of The Prayer of Jabez, the idea of that book is dumb to me, but with The PDL I could not read it and expect honest change in my life because of the book. I might get to a chapter that I would find particularly challenging, but then I would think, ah, that sly Rick Warren, he would say that and try to get me to change. Well, I am not falling for it because the book and the effect it is known to have on people cannot move me anymore.

I always wanted to read Blue Like Jazz, but I waited this long in order for the hype to die down. I was afraid of reading it just because it was the book to be read among Christians. If I had read it earlier it would have been too trendy for me. The time is right now, and I am loving Miller's words.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

25 Yards of Familiarity

I stood on the lip of the pool deck yesterday, wondering about the swim that was ahead of me. If I thought long and hard about how to move in the water I couldn’t remember how I used to do it. I stepped closer and the cool water lapped at my toes, inviting me to jump in and get exhausted, after all, the water had missed me. It was my first time back at a pool since February of 2005.

I did all the things that used to be commonplace. I stretched, tightened my suit, checked the goggles, and jumped in, fully submerging myself in the water, and then extending my long frame upward from the beckoning liquid. My hair hung dripping in front of my eyes. With a swift flick of my head backwards the hair was out of my way. I went under again, but I took my time listening. The familiar amplified sound of the pool was comforting.

I pushed off the wall, and left all of my doubts there as they slipped off of me in the smooth water. How to cut and glide through the water is something I will never forget. You do some things in life so often that knowing how to do them could never leave you. Stroke after stroke, flip after flip, and breath after breath I discovered that I hadn’t forgotten one thing.

Three thousand yards later I put my hands on the deck, squatted low in the water, and jumped out of the pool landing both of my feet firmly on that memory ridden tiled surface. I looked admiringly out at the pool, like I just had a great visit with a long lost friend that reminded me of how good it all could be.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Departed

If you can deal with headshots, brains splattered on walls, extremely vulgar language, and the gangster life on the big screen, The Departed is the right movie for you. The new Scorsese flick is top notch. I felt redeemed watching it, like this was supposed to be the next movie he made after Goodfellas. Scorsese does the over-the-top, violent, high profile criminal life so well, I could never figure out why he made anything else? You have to test the waters though. Luckily, Scorsese has come back to his roots for this film. Baldwin, Damon, Dicaprio, Nicholson, Sheen, and Wahlberg are playing their A game. Not one of them hogs the screen. They all own their roles. For any other director it wouldn't be the same.

"Martin Scorsese has got his groove back, or most of it, with what is arguably his best picture since GoodFellas: a big, brash, splatteringly violent mob opera starring Jack Nicholson giving it the full Pavarotti, with an outrageous and enjoyable performance that doesn't so much go over the top as go over the ionosphere." ~ Guardian Unlimited, UK

Friday, October 13, 2006

Red V. Blue

Two of my heroes, Stephen Colbert and George Lucas, were recently on the same show together. At the end of the clip Colbert and Lucas have a lightsaber battle.

Offer a polite thank you.

I haven’t written much more about work on here. A church member came in today and said, “Oh, I bet you get a lot of good writing material while working here.”

Does that mean I had to work here to realize people are weird? Or that they are rude, nice, smiley, or mean? No. However, work has given me the opportunity to spy on people. That might sound a little weird, but what I mean is I can see a wider variety of people everyday because I am at work. I record what some of them look like. Do they speak weirdly? Are they short, fat, skinny, tall, hairy, or bald? There is that one girl that dresses like Avril Lavigne, but there are thousands of those girls.

I dread making a drink for this other customer who is so impatient. She paces back and forth, checking her watch, and shooting flustered stares in my direction. Does she not understand that there were customers ahead of her? “Do you have my drink?” She asks.

“Yeah, I am working on it now.” Which makes sense because I just got done working on the drinks for the woman that was ahead of you. If you haven’t figured this out yet, we keep it orderly around here. I wish I could say that and not get fired.

“Okay,” she says, adding, “It is just that this is the slowest place I have been to. It isn’t you. It is everybody.”

“The definition of everybody is every person. Are you saying that I am not a person? I doubt you are, but if I am in fact a person, I am also an employee of this store and am included in ‘everybody’. So, it is me.” I didn’t say that, but I wanted to.

“There is a store down the road that I can go to.”

Borrowing from the wit of Bill Bryson, I saluted her as she went out the door, “Thank you, die soon.”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

New Look

This is the new look. I would write more, but tweaking with this site for the last couple of hours has made me very tired. I hope I have the mental capacity to fully appreciate The Daily Show.

I leave you with some things I don't understand...

Why are Europe and Asia often referred to as different continents?
Stereos on motorcycles.
How writers become writers.
Urban sprawl. Also, why is everything further and further away?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Nuke Kid On The Block"

I have switched to Blogger Beta, which is great, however, I need to switch to a different template to use some of their easy modifying tools. Take this as a warning that the appearance of this blog is going to change. I may shuffle through a few templates at first to see which one I like best. If you think one is ugly let me know.

In the meantime, watch Jon Stewart make even the most dire and dismal global situation into hilarious TV.

High School Volleyball

The gym smells differently. It doesn’t smell good. It smells like there are ten guys sweating up and down and on the basketball court, except there are twelve girls on the volleyball court. The shrieks and cheers bring me instantly back to that awkward time, high school. Can I really only be five and a half years removed from going to these games as a student and jumping along to those awful cheers? I am embarrassed at the thought.

Girls’ high school volleyball hasn’t changed at all. Not one of them on the court believes in their team’s destiny. One team wins the first game, but then loses the next three and the match. Robotic claps and cheers do little to the girls once they have settled on the loss. It is aggravating to witness. There is no fight in them and way too much emotion. In all high school athletics this is true. Nevertheless, the volleyball match was agonizing. I wanted to go down there and play myself. Sure, most people would flee for their lives from the gym once I had wiggled into some spandex, but it can’t be worse than that cheerleader over there yelling, “Jump. Shake your booty. Jump. Jump. Shake your booty.” No. Please, stop. I enjoyed my dinner. I don’t want to lose it on the next guy.

At this level a common occurrence is to see the better team lose. Fort Collins should have beat Loveland tonight, but as soon as they lost the second game the splinter was in there for the next two. They don’t fully believe in their ability at this stage. This becomes less of an excuse as athletes compete at more competitive levels, i.e. college, or the pros. Once you make it there you have left behind so many people that, initially were by your side, you know you have some special petrol that makes you go longer and harder than they could. But everyone has a finish line. I crossed mine in February of 2005. I visit and revisit that race when I run, swim, compete, and even when I go to a girls’ high school volleyball game.

The stands provide uncomfortable seating. The backless, hard benches weren’t made with ergonomics in mind. How do I say this without sounding arrogant? I don’t. I am uncomfortable because I can go down to that court and do a better job, but I have to watch these athletes collapse in defeat before the match is half over.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Donald Miller Interview


This is a fascinating interview with Donald Miller. I haven't gotten around to reading any of his work, although I periodically check his website. The excerpt he reads from To Own a Dragon was real. I wanted to add simply in the last sentence, but that would be erroneous. To write as honestly as Miller does is not simple. Many of us try, and fail. Miller, on the other hand, has become a treasured author for many because he succeeds at this.

Who hasn't left those books behind?

"401ks are the greatest things," Mom said.

"You know what isn't the greatest thing?" Bryce said.


"That Christianity Today listed Left Behind in their list of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals."

"Oh, but it has. Even though I have never agreed with them, the books have shaped a lot of evangelicals."

"Well, it didn't shape me."

"I remember you read the first one and really liked it."

"Yeah, I was young and ignorant then. Luckily, I wised up and didn't finish the second book."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

An Update

Today, I finished my fourth week of work for Starbucks. Right now, Starbucks and I don’t have a long future. I have committed to work through the end of the year. I need the money so bad I need to be working. Whether that will be with Starbucks until June, I don’t know, but I will be employed by some company until then. I am tempted to boot up an intense job search in late November.

Kate is living in Fort Collins with the grandparents for two weeks. Having her live here has spoiled both of us, evidenced by making it hard to say goodbye tonight even if we are going to see each other on Wednesday. We plan to see the new Martin Scorsese movie, The Departed, that night. Our wedding is June 23, 2007. If you are invited, it will be great to see you. If you aren’t, well, that means we are saving Kate’s parents over $40. There will not be more than 220 invited to the wedding. There won’t be a blanket invitation to church members, something I am pleased about. Kate and I have never been concerned about sharing this moment in our lives with our outer circle of friends and acquaintances. The inner circle is what I want to see at our wedding. Either way, finalizing a guest list is a pain in the arse.

I have been reading Strunk and White’s Elements of Style for the last week. This is sort of sad because the book is less than one hundred pages, but punctuation, grammar, and gerunds, don’t make for a page-turner. I bought Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial, last week. I am eager to read it, but I haven’t had some time to sit down and read beyond the introduction yet. Recently, Woodward has been in magazines, in newspapers, on radio, and on television because of his claims in the book. From what I understand, the current administration at first denied that a meeting, described in the book by Woodward, didn’t happen, or that Condi wasn’t there. Later that same day, I believe, the administration reversed that statement and did say that this meeting did occur on, or around, July 10, 2001. Also, Woodward has received criticism for using on-the-record interviews for this book even though the interviews were conducted for different stories in the past. Lately, Woodward appeared on Meet the Press and said that Cheney expressed anger and disappointment with Woodward’s use of an on-the-record interview in his new book. Cheney said this was “bullshit”. What does he expect? Once you are on the record, you are on the record. C’mon Cheney, Cowboy Up.

Not that any of you care, but the penultimate race of the Formula One season was today. Michael Schumacher has announced that this is his last season. Going into today’s race he was tied with Fernando Alonso, 23, of Spain. Schumacher was a few laps from victory in the Japanese Grand Prix when his engine blew up. This was the first Ferrari engine malfunction in six years or something like that. Alonso cruised to an easy win and most likely the driver’s championship. With only the Brazilian Grand Prix left in two weeks, Schumacher will have to finish first and Alonso will have to finish lower than eighth in order for the veteran to finish on top. Alonso has hundreds of Formula One races ahead of him, but I want the Legend to finish on top.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Blog of Note

I didn't know what this blog was going to become when I started it. Heck, I barely knew what blogging was, but I knew it was a way for others to read my work, if that is what you want to call it. The idea of quasi publishing anything I wanted to on a website was enough for me to give Blogger some obligatory information about myself in order to get http://sixhoursonsunday.blogspot.com .

From the beginning, I wanted this site to be listed as one of the "Blogs of Note". You can laugh, it's all right. It is a little less embarrasing to write that on this site than to say it to your face. I shamelessly admit, it would still be nice to achieve that status. I suppose writing this on my own blog won't help the chances. Some Blogger minion is probably looking at this page right now, shaking his head in disbelief, forever eliminating SHoS from making an appearance on the list.

I can't blame that person. All the blogs that are noted seem to have a theme, and if this blog has a theme, all the other famous blogs have a much narrower theme. I have thought about starting a new blog with a defined theme. Ideas have come and gone, but nothing has sprouted. SHoS persists to be the location for my public reading material.

I have regular readers. I think I know all of them, but who is to say if they would visit this site if they didn't know me? Not I, but I have my doubts. Does that mean I don't believe my writing has any universal quality? Maybe, at times. I also have been known to occasionally think I have been misled to a dream of writing for a career. This can exist because I do not yet know if I am any better at writing, which is what I want to do more than anything, than I am at basketball, acting, or making the next latte--strike that, I do know I can write better than I can bar at my place of employment.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Look

What do you think of this blog's design? Do you like the layout and colors? It may not matter to you at all, but it does to me. I like messing around with the html code to change features on my page, but since this template is not one hosted by blogger it seems to me that it is more difficult to modify. The templates available to bloggers on blogger.com are limited in design and style, but I have been tempted recently to switch back to one of those. Luckily, I have an old blog to try other templates on. http://piccadillyline.blogspot.com

Periodically check that site if you care at all about the appearance of this site. If you see a template you like let me know.

If you missed The Daily Show last night you missed a lot. Jon Stewart and his crew reporting on Foley was capital. Click on the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2Pvqe36nRs

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Big, Ugly Box

Through walmartwatch.com I was directed to an article from The LA Times on Wal-Mart's business ethics. The world's biggest retailer is rotting America from the inside out and their practices have spread beyond borders to bring more economic hardship into regions of the world that don't need Wal-Mart's help to become a poverty stricken nation. You would think a company with $245 billion in sales last year would have the decency to raise wages, legalize unionization in their work force, and offer better products to its customers. No can do. Wal-Mart runs on greed, and that means forcing business partners to cut production costs, quality, and American jobs to offer a product to its biggest buyer, Wal-Mart, at the always low price that Wal-Mart demands. Wal-Mart's stinginess seems to have paid off for the executives at the top, but not for the rest of their 1.2 million workers and the future of the American economy.

Read The LA Times piece. http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2004/national-reporting/works/walmart1.html

Monday, October 02, 2006

Throwback Audio

When iTunes updated itself to 7.0 the other day it searched far and wide on my hard drive for every audio file that it could include in my music library. While the computer was slowly thinking I had left the desk and when I got back my library had many more songs than it had had before the update. Confused, I scrolled down to the bottom of the library to find professional wrestling quotes, Star Wars audio clips, and MIDI versions of my favorite video game music--gosh, I am such a dork.

I can explain. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I used to be a huge professional wrestling fan when I was a sophomore in high school. I watched five hours of wrestling a week on television. I can't take those hours back. I know, it is awful. Anyway, when I wasn't in front of the TV watching wrestling I was downloading wrestling theme songs and quotes from over the top wrestling staples like Ric Flair, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Scott Hall.

About the Star Wars quotes, I am a nerd. Are you familiar with Triumph, the insult comic dog? He ridiculed and made fun of fans in line for the premiere of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones. You can view the clip here: http://www.starterupsteve.com/video/Conan-Triumph-Star-Wars.html The great thing is, or the sad thing depending on which way you look at it, I can relate to some of the people in line. The clip is absolutely one of the funniest things. You must take the time and watch it. My Star Wars obsession is still alive and, like the wrestling obsession, I used to spend a lot of time looking for Star Wars quotes online. Among my favorites is Han Solo's quip at Chewbacca, "Laugh it up, Fuzzball." Also, Darth Vader's ultimatum, "Join us, or die." And, Princess Leia's comeback, "Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking, nerf-herder."

I used to play a plethora of video games and found the music in some games quite pleasant to listen to. The next logical thing to do was to search for MIDIs created by other Zelda fanboys. I ended up keeping some.

These songs and the other audio clips made the transfer from my old computer to the one I have now. I had forgotten about them until iTunes found them on the C drive. I have revisited all of the clips and songs. I came across one in particular that is priceless. It is a quote from Kevin Nash, a professional wrestler. Nash is speaking seriously to his competitors in this speech. Pay attention to what Nash thinks is an adjective. I will leave you with his exemplary string of words.

"This is where the big boys play, uh? Look at the adjective, play. We ain't here to play."