Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The parents visit us

My parents are on their way to Milwaukee as I write this. I love seeing my parents and spending time with them, but I don’t think I have been this excited to see them in a while. I have so much to share with them. Kate and I have so much to share with them. There is a lot of catching up to do in the next five days.

I hope when they leave all of us feel a bit refreshed, a bit more in touch with a little slice of home as we left it in Colorado and Wyoming, and a bit more comfortable with our new home in Wisconsin. I also hope that it is enough to tide us over until the next visit because I know that is a while away.

I am really grateful right now to have parents on both sides of the family that are excited and willing to travel anywhere to see us. Yeah, Milwaukee isn’t London, they aren’t flying across an ocean for us, but they are flying. They care. They love. And they are almost here.

I’ll be back on Sunday, if not, then at random times before then.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

V-O-D-K-A

I upload this shot because it is of a gigantic bottle of vodka, not just any vodka, but vodka from Costco. You can see the brand at the top, Kirkland Signature.

Yep, Kate and I have a Costco membership now. I guess I have a little soft spot for Costco. My first trips there were with my grandparents in the Valley. I would usually visit them for weeks in the summer and one of the first things we would do when I got there was to go to the local Costco. I remember them buying pretty much anything I said I wanted while we were in the store. Huge jars of pickles. A few years supply of Skittles. And a barrel of my favorite cereal.

When Kate and I walked into a Costco in the north Milwaukee suburbs it was like taking a little trip back in time. I don't think I had been into one since I had gone last with my grandparents in California.

I noticed some things had changed. I was now paying for everything we put in the shopping cart which, by the way, could hold a small family. Because I now have to pay for anything I want, the cart was less full when it came time to check out. I could now take advantage of Costco's luxurious liquor section with a wide selection of vodka, tequila, wine, and spirits in bottles the size of my femur. The vodka bottle pictured is almost two feet tall. And, instead of throwing everything in the cart that I liked I had to police Kate a little. You see, Kate has an affinity for Costco. Her family drives almost three hours to the Costco in Salt Lake City every month or couple of months. When they go they get it done by dropping hundreds of dollars on butter, ground beef, cheese, scallops, shrimp, tubs of garlic, dog food, bacon, a dog tent, good beer for drinking, cheap beer for cooking, and maybe a couple packs of underwear. When they get home, nearly all of it goes into their deep freeze.

We don't have a deep freeze. We have limited storage space. We have limited resources, but I am happy we made it out of there with the first bottle of liquor we've bought since being here.

Family Guy does Star Wars

Quick, before they are taken off of YouTube, check out Family Guy's Star Wars episode. It was an incredibly smart spoof of one of my favorite movies. Here is part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad Transcript

Mr. Andrew Sullivan has posted a link to the transcripts. Go through his blog to get them. Here is a segment:

MR. ZREMSKI: Yes. Okay, great.

We have many, many questions, starting with this, which directly relates to your speech. How important do you think that the worldwide spread of Islam is to creating the sublime and beautiful world that you envision? And is there room for other religions?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We think that all religions and all divine religions have the same message. They all come from the same place. They have several clear messages: to invite man to worship God, which is the root of all goodness; to invite man to justice, which guarantees love, friendship and viable security; to invite man to dignity and to respect of mankind; to invite man to love the rest of mankind.

These messages are set in the religion of Christ -- of Moses and Christ as well as the holy passage of Islam. These prophets have all given the same messages. They never had differences in that respect. There was never a conflict there because their root goes back to the same -- (word inaudible) -- and their message was the same as well.

MR. ZREMSKI: Does that mean there is room for Christianity --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: They all believe in beauty and goodness --

MR. ZREMSKI: -- (off mike) -- that you're describing?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: They're all brothers. They all want the same thing, justice and friendship, and this is the common ground for all religions. True pious people have no differences with other --

MR. ZREMSKI: Yes, but do those religions have a place in the world you described?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: They're all human beings and followers of different religions, and all of their views should be respected. We should all build a prosperous community together, and we must all move hand in hand. This is a responsibility for all.

If you missed the question and answer session with Ahmadinejad you didn't miss much. He couldn't directly answer any questions. Most of his answers just made me want to powerbomb the guy.

Columbia's President Introduces Ahmadinejad



Ahmadinejad is a nut, that's why I was surprised at Bollinger's attacks, given the guy is sitting across the stage from him. I found Bollinger's comments greatly entertaining and inspiring.

Some favorites, "you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

Speaking about the Holocaust Deniers Convention hosted by Ahmadinejad "for the illiterate and the ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda. When you have come to a place like this, this makes you, quite simply, ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

And Ahmadinejad's claim that "we [Iran] don't have this phenomenon [homosexuality]" was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard from a world leader's mouth. I am really glad students laughed at him.

For the most part, Ahmadinejad avoided all attacks and questions with deeply religious propaganda that didn't go anywhere near addressing the real issue, his dictatorship, hatred, disobedience, and ignorance.

30 Hours of Work

There is something funny about working someplace for only four days. I never thought I would quit something so quickly, but I did. After four days of stocking shelves, beautifying my favorite author’s shelves, and helping customers find the erotic fiction anthologies, I quit Borders.

I love books. My favorite part of the Borders job was getting to touch so many fresh books. I love the feel of the finely cut pages, the feel of the texture on the covers, the smell, and the designs of them all, but that doesn’t mean I love selling them. Although Borders and I are good friends, and we have been for a while, it is better that we part ways and only come back together intermittently when I want to peruse its shelves and buy, buy, buy.

During my brief tenure at Borders, the idea of working at the Bucks kept sounding a little better, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t romanticizing a job that I remember disliking a decent amount of. I got in touch with the closest Bucks, which happens to be within walking distance, and I will likely start work there on the 1st.

I weighed the pros and cons of working at Borders versus working at the Bucks. It was sort of a depressing activity but the Bucks won in 9 of 12 categories. Ouch.

Also, I got a call last week about a connection here that could really turn into something positive and exciting. I have a meeting scheduled on October 2 to look into that opportunity.

And, worthy of mention, I got my first freelance writing assignment ever. It’s a start, and it excites me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The "a"

Some of you might have noticed the blog below this one titled "a". I was in an Apple store today. I was trying to write a very short blog on an iPod Touch. I only got so far before the thing wigged out on me. I didn't think it even posted. Well it did, and it's pathetic.

a

Friday, September 21, 2007

Writing a novel in a month

I really like this idea. I first heard about it here. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. To do it, you would have to write an average of 1,666 words a day. It is novel writing with a sense of abandonment, freedom, and carelessness. I don't know much about novel writing, but that seems like a good approach to get the ball rolling. The website is right, there will be a lot of crap written, but it will be written, and that is good.

Sign up on October 1. This is one of the those things that I think is freaking awesome, but might never do for no legitimate reason at all. I might think I don't have the time. The novel will be crap. I couldn't possibly write 1,666 words everyday for a month, at least not words I would feel comfortable about letting the public read. The list goes on. You know the drill. Talk yourself out of another adventure.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why do they do that?

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Fox News kept on referring to Osama Bin Laden as Usama Bin Laden. They even write it that way. I did a little research because I had never heard him called Usama before. Sure enough, that is an alternative way of pronouncing the man's name. I am pretty sure they didn't always do this though.

I haven't seen Usama used anywhere else. And, I am confident that they used to refer to him as Osama. Why change now?

Jobs

It has been an interesting couple of days. I am not really enjoying the Borders job as I thought I might. In fact, it’s making the Bucks look good. I don’t know what I am going to do right now, but I may have a different job next week. Who knows?

After a few days in the bookselling business I have come away with some simple observations.

The store I work at has too many copies of Joel Osteen’s book. Not to worry though, he has a new one coming out in October.

Joyce Meyer. Wow. Another big televangelist. She also has 30 books or something like that. I know they take up too much space, so do Max Lucado’s books.

I beautified shelves today. I made the books flush. I faced them out. I alphabetized. I got rid of leaners. I paid particular attention to Bill Bryson’s books. His shelf in the travel section is a thing of beauty. Really. If you are ever here, you should check it out. I also paid a lot of attention to Donald Miller’s shelf. It looks fabulous. I didn’t have to do much to Rob Bell’s books. They were already beautified. I am tempted to turn certain books around or accidentally stock some books right over some ugly covers. I haven’t.

Music sales have been in double-digit decline for the last few years. A manager told me that in five years Borders and stores like it won’t even carry CDs.

This is amazing. Winnie, from The Wonder Years, also known as Danica McKellar, is a math genius. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a mathematics degree. She has written a book promoting women’s mathematical education. She even has a mathematical theory partially named after her.

Books.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On the Job

I realize that I haven’t talked with many of you for a while. I feel you are due for an update on my life via this blog. I am also due for an update on your lives via whatever form of communication most suits you at the time the aforementioned communication is so desired with me.

I took a job last week. Today was my first day at Borders. It was okay. To say the least for now, it was great motivation to look for some other job, and quickly. I filled out some paperwork, stocked shelves, and got a tour of the store guts.

I didn’t know how long I would be there today so I didn’t bring a lunch. I ended up working from 8 to 5 so I did get an hour long lunch break. I walked across a huge parking lot to go into the mall’s food court. I got a one entrĂ©e plate that was too expensive. I sat by myself and got depressed about my new found lot in life, only as pertaining to my job.

Everything was making me mad or sad. My hourly pay is despicable. I don’t really like customer service. Food courts are disgusting. The old lady across from me just dropped half her meal from McDonalds on the floor. She uses a walker. That sucks. I felt better for a little while until the smell of the food court got to me. I devoured my China Max dish and decimated my soda, that’s right, 9/10 of my soda was still left in the cup when I threw it out.

I walked across the scorching lot. It was 85 today…apparently very hot for Milwaukee in mid-September.

I got my schedule for the rest of the week. 8 to 5 tomorrow. 8:45 to 5 on Thursday and Friday. Weekend off. My schedule for next week: 8:45 to 5 Monday – Wednesday. Then, I’m off the rest of the week because my parents are coming out on Wednesday night.

We will have an awesome time. Kate is taking Friday off. She also gets the weekend off. We are going to take the train to Chicago and hit up the architecture tour and relax.

Here’s to myself and all of us for never having to eat some China Max for lunch by ourselves in the Southridge Mall in Greendale, Wisconsin. Ever. Again.

Poll Results

There are ten votes in my first poll so far. Even though there are 11 days left to vote, I have a feeling most of the readers of this blog have already voted. Woo hoo for 10 readers. I know for a fact there are some out there that haven’t voted yet. Get on the ball.

Let’s take a quick look at the results. If the election were held today, and only SHOS readers could vote, Obama would be the next President of the United States of America. He has 50% of the vote, while five others have 10% each. The Republicans have two votes. The Dems have the remaining eight.

There are a couple things worth mentioning. That no one voted for Giuliani and Tancredo makes me very happy with all of you. Congratulations. Keep up the good work. Obviously, there are quite a few on the list that I wouldn’t vote for, but at the very least, don’t insult the rest of us with the 9/11 banner boy and well, some dude that dislikes everyone that isn’t in this country that is trying to get here, and those that have successfully immigrated here. You know…like me and you and everyone we know.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cheesehead Country

So sad. So, very sad. An insert in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Sundays in College

I was almost always the first one to wake up. I rose quietly, showered, dressed, and ate breakfast by myself in the typically cold main room of our apartment. My roommates were sleeping in from a late night of sex, drinking, doing nothing, watching movies, or playing video games.

I would usually get a call from Kate when she was five minutes from picking me up. We went to a great church every Sunday called Emmaus Road. It still meets. I am sure it still rocks too.

Depending on how much work I had to do that Sunday, and there was always work, I had a hard time relaxing at church. Often I was so exhausted and dreadful of the long day of studying or writing ahead of me that I couldn’t bring anything to worship. I had very high expectations of this church to give me something, to feed me some thought, God, or something else. I came empty handed every Sunday with a just as exhausted Kate. We loved it.

Kate would drop me off at the apartment. We would say our goodbyes and wish each other good luck with our work. We preferred to get it done and have some time to relax later that night. We usually split at 12:30. I would walk in to find my roommates having a very late breakfast, or for them, an early lunch. The TV would always be on and it was always football. I didn’t mind. I like football.

I would wolf my lunch down and reluctantly take to my room to tackle whatever paper was waiting to be written. Sometimes it was a paper that needed to be finished. Sometimes it was studying. Most of the time it was a paper not even started that was due the next day. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be in my room from 1 to 7:30 working the whole time on a paper.

I would usually come out of the room twice to relieve myself or grab something from the kitchen. Curiously, the TV in the main room would still be on, but my roommates had long retired to their respective corners of the apartment. I would switch the TV off. I sometimes peeked into my roommates’ rooms. On occasion they were studying. More often than not though, they were IM-ing, watching TV, or doing both.

Returning to my room I often was full of rage. I had eight more pages to write and from the looks of it my roommates don’t go to college because they study as much as I did in high school and I didn’t even challenge myself in high school. I really never understood it. I did my best to hide my frustration from them, to refrain from saying something like, “Go study”, “Go read something”, “Are you going to graduate?”, and so on. I had to vent to someone, so Kate got the brunt of my frustration.

Hours later I would emerge victorious, having found a huge string of BS running through “The Cask of Amontillado”. I had woven 15 pages of arguments, persuasion, theory, and reference into an A paper. In these years, my last two at UW, I pretty much left the room every Sunday knowing that I had just written an A paper. After a few weeks of this it was automatic. Breakfast. Church. Lunch. Write. Rage. A lot more writing. Read. Edit. Re-read. Print. Staple. Put paper nicely into a folder for delivery the next morning. Triumphant exit from the room. A quick dinner. A nod to the roomies at their desks or on the couch and out the door to Kate’s apartment. I was a robot, a slightly tormented but efficient, robot.

*My roommates got their degrees and are both very successful in their respective fields. One of my roommates during my last year was much younger than me. He is now a stand out swimmer and will graduate next year.

IF YOU HAVEN'T, VOTE IN THE POLL.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Entry Poll

Blogger has a lot of quirky sidebar additions that I never use, but I have been meaning to try a poll. I don't expect the poll to become a permanent feature of this blog.

So go ahead, answer the question to the right.

Blogger Play

This is a neat thing the Blogger team put together. Read about it here.

See it here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Expectations precede it

What is it with the coffee shop? Why does Bryce think he can walk in there with a laptop or notebook and think he is a writer?

He always has these expectations for coffee shop writing. Like the atmosphere is going to overload his senses with motivation and ideas for blogs, stories, or books. It never does. He usually walks away with a few pages of ramblings that even with the most meticulous rewording could not be kneaded into a blog, a story, or a book.

There might be a paragraph about the two middle-aged men playing Magic: The Gathering near him. Sentences therein might read something like this: One man, perhaps 45 years-old, is balding, tall, and gangly. He is dressed in casual business attire, but his shoes stand out. They are leathery clogs. His friend is wearing Chacos. He looks granola-ish, and oddly out of place in the Midwest. He wears cutoff jean shorts that are accompanied by a blue tank top. He is topped by a mop of bleached dreadlocks that frame his full beard. A surprisingly pretentious pair of reading glasses rest on a nose that protrudes from his face in a knobby fashion. Green eyes rest in a tanned, weathered face that is twisted in confusion at his opponent’s recent play.

Bryce might dabble in a rant about a barista who is asking everyone if they would like the large for just fifty cents more even though they asked for the medium. He thinks good baristas should shut up and just make the medium as good as a large. He could imagine a conversation with her and write it down.

“Would you like to get the large for just fifty cents more?”

“No! I would not. Do you think I think there is only one size here? I picked the medium for a reason. Do you think that I picked the medium because the fifty cents more for the large is going to put me on food stamps?”

“No I don’t, sir. I’m sorry for the confusion. I was just pointing out…”

“You were just pointing out what? I chose the 16-ounce drink because I wanted the 16-ounce drink.”

Many authors have written books in coffee shops. Or have they? He only remembers reading one author that mentions how he wrote a book in coffee shops and pubs around the Portland area. Why does he think many authors have done the same? Well, this is the place where book lovers go, right? The smell of coffee might do it. He likes it; it reminds him of cracking a fresh book and taking a whiff of the binding. No, he thinks. It must be the music; it’s always there, but it’s always absent in a way. If he doesn’t listen to it, it goes away. If he listens for it, it is there. For these reasons the music is magical, and since the music is in the coffee shop it makes the coffee shop magical. Magical places must inspire, he thinks.

He admires the wood furniture. Aged, scratched, weakened, and creaky, the wood cries out to be made into words. His heart cries out to make the wood into words. A transformation of the coffee shop into words, that is what he wants, but he never gets. The people on the wooden furniture, the purveyors and consumers of the coffee, and the ears listening to the music all distract him from the purity.

Bryce walks away from the coffee shop feeling like it let him down today. He casts a forlorn look into its deep hallows as he drives by and wonders about its potential. Will it ever give him something good? Can it ever give him something good? He wants to return to show that it can be made into words. The chair, the desk, the mug, the wisps of steam, the beans, the walls, the music, the dark, comfy corner…all into words.

*He wrote this at home.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

D is for Decimate

decimate.

Literally the word means to reduce by a tenth (from the ancient practice of punishing the mutinous or cowardly by killing every tenth man). By extension it may be used to describe the inflicting of heavy damage, but it should never be used to denote annihilation [oops], as in this memorably excruciating sentence cited by Fowler: “Dick, hotly pursued by the scalp-hunter, turned in his saddle, fired, and literally decimated his opponent.” Equally to be avoided are contexts in which the word’s use is clearly inconsistent with its literal meaning, as in “Frost decimated an estimated 80 percent of the crops.”


- Bryson, Bill. Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words. New York: Broadway Books, 2002. [Brackets mine].

Today, during my reading of this fabulous dictionary, I covered “D”. I am guilty of using decimate to denote annihilation. I am sure somewhere in this blog, perhaps recently, I have used said word to produce an image in your head of a flattened building, when in fact it should have only given you an image of a building with the corner room missing. My apologies.

Sweet!



Now I can share Daily Show videos much more easily. Instead of finding illegal clips of the show on YouTube I can use official clips from comedycentral.com and embed them here. This one was from a couple nights ago. John Hodgman is great.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

100 things - 76-100

76. I want Kate to own her dream car someday. I don’t care what it is. I hope she gets it.

77. I think I weigh 230 pounds. I haven’t checked in a while.

78. I weigh 16.4 stone. A stone is equal to 14 pounds.

79. I don’t drink coffee. I find it rather putrid.

80. I have always wanted to take a crack at a triathlon.

81. I don’t think I can because I don’t have a road bike.

82. I think I might be okay at them.

83. I consider myself a decent swimmer. I don’t think I am half-bad at running.

84. I have on my computer the top 20 quotes from the 2002-2003 Arizona training trip. The quotes are priceless. Most of them are extremely crude. It’s locker room humor, college locker room humor. You get the picture. A lot of my favorites came out of the mouth of Guy Ferber. I quote him here. Just for clarification, this isn’t a conversation. The quotes are independent of one another.

“I can spread my legs all the way and Adam still fits.”

“Come on, Josh. Tell me how healthy it is…it turns me on.”

“My relay change-overs are as fast as a light.”

“I am so glad we have a washdisher.”

Guy to Adam: “Did I touch you again last night?”

85. The first screen name I gave myself was Toby1601. Someone said I looked like a Toby. I was 16. I was to graduate in 2001.

86. I met Kate for the first time twice. We started dating in May of 2003 shortly after long IM chats. When me met face to face the second time it went something like this, “Hey, are you KatieFsh?”

“Yeah. Are you CowboyBryce?” She said.

“Yes, I am, darling. Nice to meet you.” I said.

87. The first time we met was at a swim meet in November of 2002. I was enamored with another girl then, a total waste of my time, and hers, but she was friends with Kate. She introduced us. I was oblivious of Kate then. When I try to recall those introductions I remember meeting a pretty blond with a good smile. She did leave an impression.

88. I would love to witness that encounter again. It would be awesome to see me lumbering into the room, trying to look cool and fast (even though I had been out of the water for twenty minutes). What a thrill it would be to tell this guy that he just shook hands with his future wife, to tell him what was to become of them in the next five years. How cool is that? I can think about that all day long and smile.

89. Kate and I were driving back from Chicago in August of 2004 when we stopped by Grand Island, Nebraska, and took this picture of my roommate on a billboard. Pretty sweet.

90. When I move back to London, with Kate this time, I’m going to stand here for another sunset.

91. When I move back to Colorado, with Kate this time, I’m going to stand here for another sunset.

92. I don’t think Starbucks is a corporation to hate or fear just because it is a corporation. I hate it when I know people are hating on Starbucks just for that reason.

93. This was the first house I lived in. Canoga Park, CA.

94. The last time I probably had a little too much to drink was the night of my bachelor party. You just have to watch out. You never know what the Man Tube of Power will do to you.

95. I probably will take a job at Borders on Friday.

96. The next time I see my sister she will be a mom.

97. I used to look forward to Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues.

98. I think the Iraq War has made the world a more dangerous place for Americans and westerners.

99. We are going out to eat with Kate’s co-workers tonight. They are coming over for dessert afterwards.

100. Kate and I baked a cake last night.

It's 7:30am...

Time to wake up, Bryce.

The country you live in is now being invaded by highly skilled and intelligent illegal immigrants from India. You must proceed with caution.

A war with Iran isn’t too far fetched. Say hello to World War III.

Two tropical depressions in the Atlantic have formed. The coasts just aren't safe anymore. It is good you live inland.

And, wow. It's a good thing you don't have kids, Bryce. I mean, what would you buy them, toys? There are no safe toys in America. You must freak out.

Every earthquake now has the potential to create a tsunami that will wipe out hundreds of thousands of people, including you, if you decide to take a vacation to Southeast Asia.

Have a nice day now, you hear?

Burn, Baby, Burn



Thanks to Jarrod for sending me this link. He thinks I have readers, that's why he told me to put it up here.

This is very impressive. Obviously, they have a long way to go before salt water can power a Suburban, but you have to start somewhere.

My fear is that the government and very powerful people will try to smother this new fuel as long as there is $100 trillion worth of oil buried in the Middle East.

At least we will have something to turn to when the world runs out of oil reserves in 50 years.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

100 things - 51-75

One-hundred things. That’s a lot of things. It is much harder than expected to come up with 100 things about myself. But I push on now, with only fifty things left.

51. I am convinced the next computer I get will be an Apple laptop. This purchase won’t take place for a while, but I am very excited about it.

52. I mentioned a regret in the last 25 things I posted. I want to make clear that I don’t regret that many things. Regretting is a big trap. I try, rather, to note my mistakes, tweak my approach/way of thinking, and forget about it. It is easier said than done, but nonetheless, that’s my plan.

53. I used to be obsessed with the WCW and the WWF. In a way I still am. I mean, I don’t watch it anymore. I couldn’t name most of the wrestlers on the TV shows, but a part of it will remain boyishly magical and curious to me.

54. For the most part, I do the grocery shopping around here.

55. I was offered a job at Borders yesterday.

56. I think “The Final Countdown” by Europe is a seriously good song to rock out to. I jammed to it today while putting away groceries.

57. On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks I wrote this in a journal, “It has been one year since the attacks and I feel like America hasn’t forgotten. I also feel that there is much more violence on the horizon that is inevitable.” Hmm. I was right about the violence, but I would have to disagree with the inevitable part. That’s why Iraq sucks so much. It was avoidable.

58. I am tempted to write a blog about how much the VMAs sucked and how out of touch MTV really is with good music. I won’t do that. I will just let you know that the show sucked. Chris Brown can dance…that was a highlight, everything else was forgettable

59. According to my mom, in a recent email she sent me, my wedding thank-you letters have become legendary. They are, apparently, quite the hit with those that have been lucky enough to get them by now. I remember writing to one family and saying thanks for the toaster they gave us and how it “pairs nicely with slices of bread”.

60. I like the idea of a timeline in Iraq. There are deadlines for success that need to be set at this point.

61. I am currently reading Diana – Her True Story, a book by Andrew Morton.

62. My dream automobile used to be a Dodge Ram V-10 truck, a.k.a. the Testosterone Truck.

63. The Dodge truck hasn’t been my dream automobile for a long time now.

64. My dream vehicle is that big, great looking, all electric-powered SUV with plenty of room for people, junk, my legs, and my head. This car hasn’t been designed yet.

65. I haven’t had Chipotle since I have been in Wisconsin.

66. I used to be called “Butterfingers” in elementary because it was believed I couldn’t catch.

67. For the record, of the people that called me that name, none went on to D-I athletics.

68. Butterfingers did.

69. I am 6’9”. Many of you know this, but my height isn’t the thing I am sharing here, it’s just background information. Something people have always liked to tell me after I tell them I swam in college is this, “Yeah, you just fall into the water and you’re already across the pool.” No matter who they are I immediately call them a dumbshit in my head.

70. I don’t feel bad about doing that. Actually, when you see me smirk and nod right after they say this, is when I am doing that which I mentioned in #69 of 100 things.

71. “The Untimely Death of Brad” by Five Iron Frenzy is a great song. “It’s on the internet, so then, it must be true. The untimely death of Brad, how sad it must have been. If you see him anywhere, remember to console him.”

72. The first time I heard an acquaintance talking about sex like he had actually had it was in the 11th grade. We were in the locker room after a basketball game.

73. I have one dollar in my wallet.

74. The restaurant I miss the most: The Rio Grande.

75. I have a hand held electronic dictionary by my computer at all times. I love it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pick N Slave

I have been meaning to complain about this for a while. Here goes…

I think it a uniquely luxurious experience to have someone bag your groceries. I didn’t realize how much I took this for granted until I lived in the UK. Everyone bags their own groceries there. It wasn’t a hard job, but it sure is nice standing there watching someone else do the work. I am doing the tough part here. I did all the walking around the store. I made all those u-turns to go back to the produce section because I had forgotten something on the list. I snaked my way through every aisle, scanning top to bottom looking for parchment paper. I stretched. I crouched. I got on my tip-toes to see what was in the next aisle. I waited patiently for the elderly man to pick out what kind of Depends he wanted so I could get to the paper towels. And, I am spending the money here.

The least Pick N Save can do for me is to bag my groceries. They don’t. It’s simply un-American.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Good Morning, Wisconsin

Kate's pretty excited for the sunrise.

The sun, it's almost here.

This was beautiful. I am so glad we got up to do this. We'll do it again.

I was taking a picture of Kate. The sun got in the way.

It was a good morning.

Friday, September 07, 2007

26 through 50

26. I don’t like Catcher in the Rye. In fact, I dislike it very much.

27. I have little or no faith in the 2008 presidential candidates.

28. I choked on a hotdog at a friend’s house sometime when I lived in New Jersey.

29. I feel pretty confident I could beat the crap out of at least 90% of all the people I see on a daily basis. Of course, only one at a time and only if there was a legitimate reason.

30. When my parents told me we were moving to Longmont I threw a fit.

31. I just don’t get it. Most overrated movie ever: Citizen Kane.

32. I went on a recruiting trip to West Virginia.

33. I also went on a recruiting trip to Cal. StateBakersfield.

34. George Washington University offered me 40%. That was awfully kind of them, but going there still would have been at least $20,000 a year.

35. When Wyoming finally called me they thought I had just finished my junior year in high school. I had just graduated high school.

36. I tried out for basketball at Fort Collins High School.

37. I didn’t make it.

38. I played my junior year at Longmont on the JV team.

39. When living in Fort Collins I loved throwing crab apples at passing cars and school buses with Trey.

40. I voted for Bush in 2004.

41. I regret it, but the alternative choice wasn’t going to solve the problem either.

42. I voted all Democrat in the 2006 Midterm. Not because I loved them all, but thought it was high time to give someone else a crack at it. They haven’t done a good job.

43. I don’t believe in a global war on terror.

44. On occasion, I enjoy vacuuming.

45. Another one I just don’t get. Guinness is wrong, the beer that is.

46. The first time I ever saw a picture of a naked lady was in the 5th or 6th grade. One boy, I can’t remember who exactly, got a hold of some magazine and brought it to school. We gathered around on the ground during recess to look at the woman in the picture like she was some alien. It was all very exciting and hush-hush at the time.

47. I can tell the make and model of most cars from over a hundred yards away.

48. I don’t know my Presidents. I seem to have forgotten most of them with old age.

49. In elementary I was lights out fast compared to everyone else because my legs were so damn long. They still are. But anyway, a chunk of the boys caught me and passed me when we came out of our prepubescent years.

50. I have never had an MP3 player.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

100 Things - The First 25

I have always liked lists, numbered lists specifically. In my brief past I have also enjoyed filling out surveys with questions like “What is your favorite book?” “Do you believe in God?” “Do you smoke after sex?” I find enjoyment in reading surveys filled out by acquaintances and friends, although, admittedly, not as much as I enjoy filling them out.

  1. People tell me I look like Nicholas Cage or Clive Owen. I don’t see it. I think I look like Bryce Perica.
  2. The first place I drove after getting my license was Taco Bell. Trey and I hopped in the Man Van and put some tunes on. We were in heaven.
  3. Excluding living in a dorm room, I have inhabited eight houses or apartments. Six with my family. One in college. One with Kate. One in L.A. and New Jersey. Three in Fort Collins. One in Longmont and Laramie. One in Wisconsin.
  4. I love New Belgium products. They cannot be found in Wisconsin.
  5. I didn’t kiss that many girls growing up.
  6. I can’t remember the name of my first kiss. I know it was sometime in Junior High.
  7. California used to be my top choice for places I wanted to live.
  8. I have puked only once from working out.
  9. I am good at saying “No.”
  10. Star Wars movies will always be my favorites.
  11. I prefer the original trilogy to the prequels, but I still enjoy the prequels.
  12. My favorite childhood toy was my trampoline.
  13. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I went to school with someone as tall as me.
  14. I constantly check myself for arrogance. I guess this means I have never wanted to carry with me an air of superiority for any reason, including my parents’ background, the size of my house, the cars we drive, the clothes I wear, the gadgets I have, the college I went to, the initials after my name, or the God I worship.
  15. Although I constantly check myself for arrogance, that doesn’t mean I never am that way. I know I have been arrogant before, but I try to keep those moments at bay.
  16. I know when I am not being cocky. When those moments coincide with other people being cocky my blood boils.
  17. With respect to guns and the murder rate, I want the US to be more like Canada.
  18. Even better, in that same respect, I want the US to be more like the UK.
  19. I first thought I was going to be a computer science major in college.
  20. I think we’ll move right back to Colorado next summer.
  21. It is also too early to say.
  22. My family won Family Feud. I wasn’t born yet.
  23. As often as I could when growing up I sneaked glances at the pages of Victoria’s Secret catalogs.
  24. I once swam 75 yards without breathing.
  25. I pulled an unconscious swimmer off the bottom of a pool after he tried going for 100 yards.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Goodnight, Wisconsin

I presume Wisconsin sunrises are more dazzling than its sunsets, with the sun rising over that massive lake, but this one was still worth a picture from my deck. I think I'll get around to seeing a sunrise. They are just so damn early around here. Are they early where you live too?

Jesus Camp, the movie

I don’t really know what to say about this film. Like so many documentaries it is disturbing, but the why is usually different. So, why? Why did I find this particular film disturbing?

It is disturbing because Levi, a 13-year-old at best, committed his life to Christ at the age of five because his life, he says, was empty and he found no fun in any childhood games.

…Because one leader speaks of Harry Potter as if he is the devil incarnate. I almost agree, but not for religious reasons. This lady says that Harry Potter should die. She goes on to warn kids of witchcraft, as seen in the Potter films, and says it is the devil’s work.

…Because many kids are seen crying out desperately like their life has run aground and is empty. They are displaying a level of agony and pain that a kid just shouldn’t be experiencing. By what I can tell, many kids featured in the movie have been brainwashed into a faith, that adults tell them they “need”, without any level of self discovery involved.

…Because most of them are educated at home. Their parents teach them that science doesn’t prove anything, any level of evolution is a hoax, and that global warming is a scam.

…Because many of the Christians in the film equate following in Jesus’ footsteps to voting Republican. It is not about voting Republican or Democrat.

…Because I think I am more tolerant than the people featured in the movie, but then I catch myself being extremely critical of them.

…Because I don’t know how to approach a Christian like this because I don’t feel like they would respect the way I follow Jesus.

…Because my approach, I feel, would only further their cause and conviction that my Christianity is weak and insignificant because it is devoid of convulsing on the ground, declaring war on God’s enemies, and speaking in tongues.

…And, above all, because they are kids. They need to find the truth themselves.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! A new blog was born today, authored by Jarrod Renaud. I don’t know what he is up to, but he has some good product. So, I would expect to see some cool things. No promises though. It’s all up to Jarrod to keep you coming back for more. Welcome.


http://isyournamegary.blogspot.com/

Obese States

The new Time got here on Friday and I was flipping threw it by the pool and saw a graphic called “Obesity in America”. I told you it was impossible to go a week without hearing something about the obesity problem in America.

The graphic shows state by state the percentage of the adult population that has a body mass index of 30 or higher, in more basic terms, adults who are obese.

The highest percentage belongs to Mississippi, at 30.6%. No surprise there. Alabama, Louisiana, and West Virginia aren’t far behind.

Some other standouts: Wisconsin at 24.8%, Texas (home to five of the ten most overweight cities in America) at 26.3%, Tennessee at 27.8%, Montana at 20.7%, and California at 22.7%.

At 17.6%, the lowest percentage by over two points, making me proud, is Colorado. Time says, “Outdoorsy Colorado is still the least overweight state.” That’s damn right.

Also noteworthy in the new Time is a report that American Gladiators will return to NBC. What a bad idea.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The 11th

September 11. It's almost here and the commemoration and remembrance of it is about to be all over the news once again. I remember last year's five-year anniversary very well. The reading of the names. The overuse of the American Flag. The patriotic news music that day that coaxed people to tears or to stand up and salute their flag on their TV.

When is remembering on such a level enough? This New York Times article addresses the touchy subject.

The article.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pokes Win!


The game today between Virginia and Wyoming certainly didn't pan out like Virginia had hoped. Wyoming went on to win 23-3 in front of the fifth largest crowd ever in War Memorial history. I am sure it'll go down as one of the best season openers in UW history. I wish I could've been there.

College Football Begins

I was pleased to find the CU v. CSU game on FSN out here. Having busied myself with other things for most of the day it is awesome to sit down to the TV and see that CSU has come back from their 17-14 halftime deficit. They are up now 28-25. I am not a CU fan. I am always happy to see them lose to CSU. Watching it here, now, in Wisconsin, is a good taste of home, but it’s not nearly as good as watching from Invesco last year. The game has now gone into overtime and the Buffs won with a field goal. That’s alright, they need to get the victory every once in a while to justify their arrogance for another few years.

Usually there aren’t touching moments in college football. It’s almost always about winning, hitting people, and tearing down the goal posts, but today there was actually a touching moment in this testosterone soap opera. The pre-game honoring of the Virginia Tech students was the best way Blacksburg, VA and the VT community could honor the victims. Football is known to bring people together, but I am pretty sure it has never meant so much to Virginia Tech as it did today.

A trademark of the early college football season is the games that athletic departments schedule to meet their athletic budget. If they don’t schedule one for that reason, then they schedule one to feel good about themselves.

This is what happens.

Virginia is playing Wyoming today in Laramie. Virginia probably paid Wyoming a huge sum of money to play them. We are talking at times upwards of $2 million. The smaller school, in this case Wyoming, loves the money and playing a big time program will also draw a bigger crowd, hence today’s sellout. The big program, in this case Virginia, will pay a big amount of money to play a small program that they could possibly wipe out 45-0. It is a bit of a gamble, but usually it pays off pretty well for both teams. Wyoming may get abused today, but they’ll play hard in front of a big crowd. It’ll be fun. Virginia will win and get a nice kick start to their season. That is the idea. At times, the plan goes to crap for the big program and they lose. In this case it becomes a win-win situation for the smaller program. They get the money and the W. As I write this, Wyoming is up 13-3.

Also on TV today, some of the Track and Field World Championships. I love when the winner of an event wraps themselves in their country’s flag and does a victory lap. The crowds cheer and the victor is at the top of their game. You are happy for them, usually. I just had to feel a little bad for the winner of the pole vault today. I have nothing against the event. It looks impossible to me, but it doesn’t hold the attention of the crowd like the 100-meter or 200-meter sprints. So this dude was taking his victory lap and it just looked like no one was paying any attention to him, like they didn’t even know the pole vault just ended. Poor chap.