Friday, March 30, 2007
I don't if the President thought this video was going to be edited or not, but either way, pay close attention to how many times Bush repeats himself, especially when he starts talking about the art hanging in the Oval Office. Guessing by the number of times he says things twice, I would assume he was ensuring that the artists and objects were doubly recognized.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The other day a friend of mine expressed to me her shock that I am so into American Idol. I am also shocked that I have lasted this long. My infatuation with the show, even if it only lasts one season, is genuine because you can watch the show from any number of angles. I can watch it for a guilt-inducing dose of American pop culture. I might watch it for the bad singers. This late in the show, I definitely watch it for the good ones. I watch to apply my critique and cynicism to every aspect of the show—this being perhaps the dominant reason for my watching.
The show is down to nine contestants and I feel as though my interest has waned in the past few weeks, but I still keep coming back Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I am honestly excited to see what Melinda sings every night. That girl is amazing. I don’t know how it is possible that she is not a star already. Her singing, performances, and interpretation of the lyrics are so much better than anyone else on the show it is embarrassing. With that said, she may not win.
Having watched this much of the show, I know how fickle Idol voting is. Sanjaya demonstrates every week that he has poor taste, is generally genderless, can’t sing, and sucks. Hopefully, change comes later on in the show, but to make it to the top nine you don’t have to be talented at all. Sanjaya is proof, and so is Haley, who shows more skin, or wears tighter clothing with every week that passes, in an attempt to get more males to vote for her. It has worked, she was in the bottom three last night, but her method prevailed.
Sanjaya wasn’t even in the bottom of the group. I have heard some explanations regarding the Sanjaya phenomenon.
1. People keep voting for Sanjaya to see how long he will last.
2. The votefortheworst.com following has kept him on for this long.
3. The Indian community is behind him.
4. Every week Sanjaya has a different style. He has no style, and that is what people like about him.
I subscribe to explanations 1 and 4. Sanjaya is proof of the flaw in the American Idol system. Chris Sligh, whose performances since round 2 have been less than amazing, was voted off last night, but he could out sing and out perform Sanjaya at any given moment.
Although I like contestants on the show, I don’t like any Idol winner from past seasons. I don’t even like the wildly popular Daughtry (not an Idol winner), who has (as of today) 312,022 friends on MySpace. The Idol can mold good singers into amazing singers and performers, but it can’t make them good songwriters, and that is why I will probably be more of a fan for the singer on the show than for the artist after Idol fame has faded, or in Daughtry’s case, been eclipsed by a popularity that the show cannot bring.
It was warm yesterday. I went for a comfortable run and got pretty sweaty. I woke up this morning to see it had snowed almost six inches. It is supposed to by 65 on Saturday. I love Colorado weather.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Wal-Mart's representative believes Longmont residents are in favor of another Supercenter because the Supercenter at Main Street and Highway 66 is busy. Don't encourage them by going to either store. There are good alternatives in Longmont and, you might be surprised, better deals.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I am hitting this pretty heavily...
Black Mirror and My Body Is A Cage and everything in between - The Arcade Fire
Wincing The Night Away - The Shins
The Crane Wife 3 - The Decemberists
Red Rabbits - The Shins
Girl Sailor - The Shins
Left and Leaving - The Weakerthans
Clark Gable - The Postal Service
and of course...
Perfect Gentleman - Wyclef Jean
You turn 21 today. Be careful. Alcohol is not something you can dabble in like you have done with the hookah. We send the people that do that to AA meetings.
In your own unique way you take crap from no one and copy everyone. You adopt a lot from your surroundings, but everything is different through your eyes. That is beautiful.
I treasure our many long conversations and I know there will be many more in the future. I hope I can keep on being that friend that you can confide in. I am excited to see where you go and to listen to your song.
Monday, March 26, 2007
So the immigrants are going to boycott? Let them. Our economy was much better off without them. My personal case in point: I have had credit cards for a number of years; never had a problem with any [there should be an “of” here, but this one must have slipped by the T-C editorial team] them. Within the last three to four years, I’ve had two credit card numbers stolen, with purchases made in Mexico. …Who do you think is paying for credit card fraud? Yes, the American citizens.
I am intrigued by this caller’s assumption that there was a time in this nation’s history in which there were no immigrants. I wonder how this caller thinks he ended up in America? Chances are, the caller is not a Native American, but even if that was the case, the caller cannot blame recent economic woes solely on immigrants. Hey, remember the ‘90s? Those were the lean years (note sarcasm), and yet, we still had immigrants.
The caller goes even further in blaming credit card fraud on immigrants, and assumes that anyone using a credit card in Mexico must be Mexican.
On boycott day in Longmont, I hope that this caller tries to …
build a house
hire a landscaper
get fast food
build a road
build any structure
hire a painter
run a business
… and discovers through the painful process of being denied all those everyday, taken-for-granted services that immigrants are the backbone of this country's economy. Many of them work the jobs we don’t want, take the shifts we don’t want, and enable us to sit in our swivel chair with our feet up on the desk, while our iTunes music library is being pumped through our Bose noise-canceling headphones as we surf the internet.
Friday, March 23, 2007
In typical Bryce fashion, I arrive doubting my ability to fit in, get some work done, and feel like part of the company. Time proves me wrong. I learn a little, then, I learn a little more, get to know my co-workers, and sooner or later things start to flow fairly well and the intern awkwardness washes away. By the time I leave I am genuinely sad to be leaving such young friendships and good people.
I will especially miss the editorial team, slaying wasps, talking about the Idol, going to Outtakes, trying to name all 50 states in 10 minutes, chilling with Mr. Rumisek and Mr. Brush, the plethora of music on the DiningOut server, and rocking out to "No Cars Go".
I won't miss the traffic, the drive through the smelly crotch of Denver that is Commerce City, and the gruelling spine editing sessions.
Keep in touch.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
A majority in each country either think the U.S. is mainly a negative influence in the world or mainly a positive influence in the world.
Out of the 27 countries polled, three think U.S. influence on the world is mainly positive. They are as follows, with the percentage of people that think positively about U.S. global influence:
Some of the highest negative percentages were from Indonesia 71%, Turkey 69%, Greece 78%, Germany 74% and France 69%.
The countries that are viewed most positively:
And guess where the U.S. is on the spectrum. Nope, not right below China, but with such classy, high-standing countries as Russia, North Korea, Iran and Israel. The U.S. is the third most negatively viewed country in the world.
Also, even within our own borders, U.S. influence is viewed as negative by 51% of Americans polled. Maybe if they called me it would be 52%.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
There is no explaining Haley and Sanjaya being on the show anymore. Perhaps Sanjaya has a legion of sniffling, ugly-when-they-cry throng of teenage girls voting for him. That has to be it.
Haley is now selling the sex, because if you have watched the show once, you know she can’t sing. She makes makes me tilt my head to the side and raise an inquisitive eyebrow whenever she speaks because I just can’t figure out if she is really that dumb.
The Idol entertained, but the voters, whoever the heck they are, got an F for the night.
Sharing a green beer with The Mick who really went all out on Saturday with the green, thrift store jacket, the wife-beater, gold cross chain and the Guinness cap.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I hope you have a pint on this, your golden birthday. I had one on mine, when I turned 3, but only got a sip in before Dad took the brewsky away. Thankfully, that was enough to give me a jolly good nap in my bubbling drool, as if I needed the help.
To say that I am thankful for your friendship is a drastic understatement. I am proud to call you my friend. You don't need my blessing or encouragement to continue to have a wonderful time today, but I wish you the best. Enjoy the company of friends, both old and new. I wish so much I was there to toast to your birthday. I'll toast from here. Happy Birthday.
*I only thought of doing a post like this because of Aaron's post for Chris on his birthday. Chris, I would like to say to you now all of what I said to Erik above. See above text, substituting "Erik" with "Chris" and disregard the portion about the golden birthday. I love you. From what I read on your blog it sounds like you had an excellent 21st.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Writer – an honorable title that you can’t give yourself. That is the way I have thought of the title and profession for a long time. For me, it takes more than a blog to make someone a writer.
Having a blog is a lot like having a MySpace page nowadays. I am not going to lie, that makes me want to cry.
In order to have a blog, one should be required to make the minimal investment in punctuation by capitalizing the first letter of every sentence.
You must invest in a blog. If months pass between blogs, have the decency to recognize that your blog is dead. Example: Collin Moore.
That is it. I wouldn’t want my thoughts on the blogosphere to influence anyone’s blogging, except for that punctuation rule. Since I have known what blogs were, they have been serious templates for thought, a medium to be respected and not a place to dumb down your writing and punctuation. If you want to do the latter, write in a journal, because if you have a blog, you want to be read, and people will be reading.
"Warren G. Harding: Our Worst President, by Stephen Colbert. Historians debate feverishly over who is the best President in American history. However, there is little disagreement over who was the worst. His name was Warren G. Harding, and he sucked. The reasons why he sucked are many and to be truthful have been widely catalogued in the annals of presidential history, so with your indulgence, I'd like to focus instead on the intensity of his sucking. Warren G. Harding was a worthless piece of shit. F--- him! His presidency was a taint, not just in the sense of a stain on the office, but literally a taint, the anatomical area between the anus and the testicles. I hate Warren G. Harding. Stephen Colbert is the Arthur Schleshinger Professor of American Studies at Harvard University." - read by Stephen Colbert, in America (The Audiobook)
Sunday, March 18, 2007
I knew before I found Blogger that I eventually wanted to make a career out of writing. Blogger was intriguing because it made that first step—getting some of my work out there—so easy. Write, click and I am a published author. For me it sounded too good to be true. Turns out I was right.
By definition, if you have a blog, you are publishing your creation, whether it is pictures, poetry or prose, but I haven’t come to think of it that way. I want my work published, and if I am the publisher it doesn’t count. In no way has a blog made me into more of a writer than anyone else. In the blogosphere there is a common misconception that having a blog makes you a writer. The two aren’t synonymous. I am sorry, but writing just isn’t that easy and blogs have done a lot to undermine good writing. I could be undermining good writing right now. If I want to read some writing, I go to the library. Having a blog and producing a few good, honest pieces does not qualify me as a future author of a book. It doesn’t mean that I will ever be found in the “Literature” section at Borders which reminds me that it takes years, tough, dry years, to accomplish what most of the authors on those shelves have accomplished. They are my heroes. I haven’t begun to know what making a career out of writing really means, but I am sure every other author on that shelf would tell me it is very hard. I don’t think they are lying. Sometimes I wish they weren’t as brutally honest as Hemingway was when he was quoted as saying, “Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities. The other, unfortunately, is talent.”
For many, writing has lost some of its intimidating, but attractive, allure with the invention of the blog. Everyone becomes published. Everyone writes. C’mon now, join the fad, writing is easy. I am glad that I can read about my friends’ adventures with one click of this mouse, but let’s not get carried away. These blogs don’t qualify us as writers. Heck, I chuckle every time I see the words “The Author” above my name on the sidebar of my own blog. I haven’t earned the title.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Anyway, I am far away from everyone else in the office and I get lonely sometimes. I need to walk up to the other offices every once in a while to feel like I am part of the company. On one of my trips today there was a discussion about blogs. Two of us in the conversation had our own blogs. The third didn’t, but he brought up a valid concern about blogging. He asked if it was going to make getting published harder. I brushed it off and said, “No, I don’t think so.”
On the way home I got to thinking about this a lot more and remembered a conversation that I had with Boeke. We were talking about a blog that the two of us had come across. The author of the blog couldn’t spell, compose coherent sentences or write. Essentially, we were awestruck by the illiterate meanderings of the author. Boeke said he read that there are more writers now than there are readers. Excellent.
My co-worker’s comment today reignited some feeling about the issue of blogging, its relative ease and grand scale. While I am extremely grateful to have a place to publish my work, I worry that the invention of the blog might be taking some of us a few steps backward in literacy, writing ability and reading comprehension.
"No way," He exclaimed. "There is no way that it is selling more than the XBOX."
Having grown accustomed to Nintendo's occupation of the #2 and #3 positions in the console wars, I was reluctant to believe the news, but a little proud of the company for making a gamble with the Wii and hitting a home run.
Here are the numbers, JROD.
Units sold in February:
Xbox 360: 228,000
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
On to this week's quote. A recent controversy at Longmont High School involves a male student being sent home to change because he was wearing a skirt, or a related article of clothing. This sparked a protest by students against the school and its so-called discrimination of gays. Like small-town newspapers are supposed to do, the Times-Call reported on the controversy. Now, the quote:
I’m disappointed the Times-Call is featuring alternative lifestyles. Example: the teen cross dresser who disrupted school with his attire. Schools should have a dress code, and all students—both male and female—should comply. Regarding the lesbian couple who was featured as a “family,” the Bible clearly states homosexuality is a perversion and abomination to God. Always has been, always will be.I am so sorry. Pardon the Times-Call for failing to censor any material that might be objectionable to anyone. I don’t know what they were doing by reporting a local happening? And alternative lifestyles, what were they thinking? Listen, this caller, and countless others in the city of Longmont, myself included, want to live in a world with one lifestyle and one culture, a world where patriotism means complying to the rules…all the time. The Times-Call would no longer be able to report on diversity in a totalitarian regime. If they did, they would face strict penalties from the ruling class. That is what I would like to see. No more tomfoolery on the front page. No more shenanigans from the Times-Call.
The RED campaign has raised $18 million worldwide. A good number, but it sort of makes me wish there was no RED campaign. Making people aware of the struggle is important, but is it more important than handing that $100 million over to those that are going to truly fight the diseases?
*numbers from TIME, March 19, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Maybe I should explain just a bit. Kate interviewed at three hospitals for residency programs. The hospitals were in Chicago, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee. These are one-year programs that don't necessarily turn into long-term gigs with the hospital that you might be a resident at. After Kate finished her interviews she had to list the hospitals from most preferred to least preferred. She did that today.
In roughly twelve days time we will find out if the hospital's interest in Kate matches with Kate's interest in them.
Taking into consideration Kate's opportunity at each residency, location, job opportunities (for the both of us) and distance away from home, here are our top three choices:
2. Salt Lake City
This may surprise some of you. I have received bad reactions about Milwaukee from nearly everyone I have spoken to. I too have been eager to push it further down the list just because the name, Milwaukee, but I came to the realization that it doesn't seem like a bad place to live and everyone that has been telling me otherwise couldn't tell me one damn thing about the city. I suppose that if I were to follow that kind of rational I would miss out on a lot.
On a lighter, less serious note...
Sanjaya survived the cuts last night on the Idol. If there was one person that needed to be voted off, it was him. Not that you care, but I just had to express my disappointment with the pubescent girls for keeping him on the show. Poor choice, ladies.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Most of television is crap, but the first few nights of each season of American Idol are some of the best nights on television. Whether these people are there to make fools of themselves, or if they are in it to win it, I don’t care. I watched for the bad singers in the first few nights of this season, and marveled at the impossibly ignorant performers marching off the stage in tears, evoking a dark chuckle from me. The Bucks takes me away for quite a few nights a week, and even then I started to record the shows. Amazingly, I am doing something I never thought I would do: I am watching the entire American Idol season, or as I like to call it, “The Idol.”
Having paid no attention to the guts of the show before, I find it addicting and I watch with a number of questions in mind. Are these really good singers? What makes a contestant popular? How many people actually vote? Who votes on contestants besides pubescent girls? If put on a scale, would Ryan Seacrest weigh in over 100 pounds? What must it feel like when a contestant knows they are awful compared to the rest of the field? And, of course, who will get voted off this week? Who will win?
With sixteen contestants left, they are all better than me, and they have been since the first cuts. I can’t sing, but with the Idol, everyone becomes a critic. I have found my favorites, Melinda and Lakisha, and my least favorites, Antonella and Sanjaya. And then there are the floaters, like the bushy-haired, Simon dubbed Teletubby look-a-like, Chris Sligh, that could go either way when it comes to elimination day. Although, I hope he stays in for a long time. The guy is funny, he can sing, and he appears to be in an agreeable mood most of the time.
I was prepared for Simon Cowell to be this big old jerk that would tell nearly everyone on the show that they are crap and sub-par material. It turns out he isn’t a jerk; he just says what everyone else is thinking and won’t say. He picks his favorites very early on and doesn’t liberally dole out praise like Paula is apt to do. However, this doesn’t mean that Americans will keep Simon’s favorites on the show. If they [American Idol voting Americans] are smart and side with Simon, they will promptly vote off Antonella and Sanjaya tonight or I am going to move to Canada with Alec Baldwin.
Speaking of tonight's show, I need to set the recorder.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Back to Wikipedia and its factoids. The Russian ex-KGB spy Alexander Litivinenko used to live in Muswell Hill. Maybe I saw him one day when I was in London. If you forgot, he was the Russian that was all over the news not too long ago because someone got mad at him and had him whacked with unconventional polonium-210 radiation poisoning.
What does Wikipedia say about Longmont? The city was 61st on the 2006 list of the top places to live in the United States. That isn’t too good; can there really be 59 levels of degradation between here and the 1st-ranked Fort Collins? The 2005 census reports 76,181 residents. The median income for the household in Longmont is $51,174. Per capita income was $23,409. Most interesting is the “Notable residents” section. Vance D. Brand, Kylie Ireland, Greg Biekert, and David Pauley are listed. Brand is no surprise, being a former astronaut. Biekert, born in Longmont, used to play in the NFL. Pauley, a Longmont High School graduate, pitched for the Boston Red Sox last year. Lastly, we have Ireland, who is listed as an “American pornographic actress” who specializes in lesbian scenes, and has starred in 264 films.
Our neighbor to the southwest has a much more respectable Wikipedia article. It has a section titled “Boulder in fiction”. Boulder was either referred to, or partially featured in The Stand (Stephen King), Mork and Mindy, South Park, Sleeper, and About Schmidt. And their notable residents list is substantially improved by the presence of Vader (Leon White), the WCW and WWF wrestler that awed fans of the “sport” with his Vader Bomb.
So why was Fort Collins ranked 1st? Wikipedia supports Fort Collins’ high placement with a list of breweries—New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, and the Fort Collins Brewery—that call Fort Collins home. Clearly, this city deserves to be on top. It is also home to Colorado State University, a school of 25,000 students, whose football team bowled CU over this year, but were blanked by the Wyoming Cowboys in the Border War. Jon Heder, the title character in Napoleon Dynamite was born in Fort Collins, so was Jake Lloyd, who played little Anakin Skywalker in the much criticized first installment of the Star Wars prequels, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Although afraid to find out what Wikipedia had to say about Laramie, Wyoming, home of my alma-mater, I typed it in anyway. Wikipedia is a marvelous melting pot of useless information that is dangerously addicting. The online encyclopedia informed me about the “Laramie Cigarettes” brand from The Simpsons that is named after this town. Dan Marino has a vacation home in Laramie. The humble town “was ranked in the top ten places to live by Bizjournals, in the top 40 outdoor college towns by Outside Magazine, and third for the best places for outdoor activities by MSN.” Keep on, keeping on Laramie.
Monday, March 05, 2007
There is a lot that goes into a wedding. I knew this before I was planning my own, but you would think planning the wedding is a lot of fun and nonstop excitement. I am here to tell you that it isn’t all sweet, even though throughout the process I have been able to envision the end product: a worshipful ceremony, the closest friends (who are really close enough to just call family), a party, my beautiful wife, and a great sendoff for the next stage of our lives together. There are many decisions to be made. The only way around them is to hire an expensive wedding coordinator like in The Father of the Bride. There is one more way to eliminate the details, but first, a list of some of the decisions that need to be made.
Ceremony site, Reception site (if different from ceremony site), Cost, Food or not, Design of invitations, Date, Colors, Flowers, DJ, Formal or informal wedding, Save the Date cards, Music, Dresses, Shoes, Tuxedos, Cake, Guests, Time of day, Registries, Toasts, Photographer, Honeymoon, Bridal Party, Groomsman gifts, Bridesmaids gifts, Marriage License, Flower Girls, Ring bearers, Wedding bands, Moving, Ushers, and Candles
“Ha hah, no,” I would respond.
You get the point. The other way around most of these decisions is the elopement. When Kate and I just touched the tip of this iceberg she jokingly said, “Do you just wanna elope?”
Kate still asks, and my response is pretty similar to what it was in the beginning, only the ending has changed. “Ha hah, yes.”
We would never elope I suppose, but I would be perfectly fine with it. We could even make the rounds in a matter of days; driving from house to house getting a congratulatory handshake and hug from the would-be guests. Heck, I suppose that wouldn’t be eloping.
We have joked about having the Reverend Perica officiate the ceremony in the family room. My mom could be the witness. It would be quick, save Kate and I a lot of money, and I could polish the 17”s on the Maxima to a mirrored shine for the drive off into the sunset.
Having finally narrowed the guest list to something around 135, it boggles my mind to know that almost four times the amount of people Kate and I have invited came to my sister’s wedding. All I can say is, thank God I am not that popular.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Some of you might be familiar with the "T-C Line" in the Longmont paper. Anyone can call in and voice their opinions. It is a lot like writing a letter to the editor, except you don't have to be literate, coherent, and you can remain nameless. In the future I will be putting some of the best lines up here for a little humor. I have one for you today. Let's call it a little sneak peek at the stupidity that awaits you:
"I received my Dex book in Spanish, too, and I can read Spanish. I don't want my Dex books in Spanish. I'd really like them to take it back."
Have a good weekend.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Kate has an interview on Friday morning in Milwaukee. She flew there this afternoon. She has already flown to Chicago and Salt Lake City for interviews. By March 21 we could know where we are going to live next year. Pretty crazy.
And tonight, for the first time in a long time, I get to watch The Daily Show at midnight. I just haven't been staying up that late with the early morning drive to Denver. I have tried to watch reruns in the afternoon or early evening but I miss them most of the time.
This week I listened to Jon Stewart's book, America (The Audiobook). I haven't heard anything funnier. It is simply amazing. I promise to put up some of my favorite quotations from the book.
I will leave you with Colbert's introduction:
"America the Book (The Audiobook) is intended to give students a basic understanding of the fundamental underpinnings of United States government, its history, and its people. It should not be considered a replacement for watching television."