Friday, May 21, 2010

Time For A Little Bromance

The man in the middle is getting married next week. I'll be driving out for the occasion. Leaving Sunday. Doing it in one shot. 1,045 miles to Fort Collins, a beautiful horizon, best friends and the wondrous outdoors, like only Colorado can deliver them.
I have four books on CD, Red Bulls and a case of New Glarus beer in the trunk for Mac. Bring on the open road.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's Like AOL All Over Again

I saw this guy in Starbucks last weekend. He had a computer. I couldn't see what he was doing on it as I was sitting across the store from him, but he seemed to be having a lot of fun, even smirking at times with muffled laughter. I guess I believe the general population to be pretty perverted, whether accurate or not, because I sat there thinking to myself, he's looking at porn. No doubt. You see he was up against a wall so he was the only one that could see his computer screen. Perfect. He's in Starbucks, mooching some internet, looking at porn and there is nothing anyone can do. What a sicko. It makes it gross that he's in his 50s. Eww. Why is he smirking? Weird.
I leave. I come back today and see him again, with that same look, although this time I can see his computer screen. With one glance I instantly see the thing that this old man has discovered. This preoccupation, like a person seeing snow for the first time, utterly infatuated he sits and smiles and laughs. It's sort of still porn. It's Facebook. And he's chatting. Oh, how cute, Grandpa's discovered Facebook. Now, just don't get too excited.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Movies: North Face

North Face chronicles the attempts of Germans and Austrians to climb the Eiger in 1936. No man had climbed the north face, and this, among other crackpot goals of the Third Reich, was not acceptable to Hitler and his entourage. Thus, it was decided that summiting the Eiger would be the perfect way for Nazi Germany to jumpstart the 1936 Olympic Games.

A summit was encouraged and two of the climbers, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Toni Kurz, made an attempt in July of 1936, although, it is worth mentioning, not for the glory of Nazi Germany, which makes them much more likable in the movie. North Face focuses on their attempt, although other climbers weave in and out of the story. To be cliché, but accurate, it is an edge-of-your-seat thriller, which has received many positive reviews. I would also recommend it for its beautiful shots of the Alps and a window into the now extinct era of exploring, when you could say you were the first to summit the Eiger via its north face.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Orwell

"Stamp-collectors are a strange silent fish-like breed, of all ages, but only of the male sex; women, apparently, fail to see the peculiar charm of gumming bits of coloured paper into albums." - "Bookshop Memories" - George Orwell

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sport as Warfare

With the World Cup nearly upon us, I find the following passage to be appropriate--almost necessary--to counteract all these lovely commercials on TV depicting football players and fans as cheery and peaceful. I love sports, but I have to agree with the following.

From George Orwell's essay, "The Sporting Spirit":
I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations, and that if only the common peoples of the world could meet one another at football or cricket, they would have no inclination to meet on the battlefield. Even if one didn't know from concrete examples (the 1936 Olympic Games, for instance) that international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred, one could deduce it from general principles.


Anyone who has played even in a school football match knows this. At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Vacation

Booked nine days in advance, Kate and I went to Cancun last week. It was originally a week that we had looked forward to for many reasons--all of which proved to be disastrous exercises in hope, following one's dreams, being adventurous, etc.--one of which buying our first house together and another, exploring our new, and hopefully exciting, hometown. As for the other one, you should know by now--and I am sorry if you don't--it ended miserably on April 5 when I received my tenth and final rejection letter in, what I had previously thought to be, my first and, as yet undecided, only attempt to get into grad school with all the factors in my favor: age (I am getting on in my years), maturity (personally, I think I've always been ahead of the curve here), connections (not many, but I figured good enough), and writing skill (which needs a lot of work and will never be perfected, I know this, but I thought it sufficient enough to get in, right?). Well, I was wrong, miserably, embarrassingly wrong. Chalk one up for the real world again. Another dream squashed and this trip, for me, was at least taken as an attempt to forget that, as I have said before on this blog, magnificent failure. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

The first site of Cancun. Caribbean beaches beckoning to us from the air.

All great beach resorts have a swim-up bar. We set up camp on the shores of this resort's swim-up bar on our first day, within lazily-wading distance of the bartender, Jesus.

The view from one of the restaurants.

A pier, owned by the hotel. The beach was great, the water as warm as a hot tub almost, the sand--superfine and white--was so soft underfoot.

Floating in the pool with diners in the background. Some tables were set out over the water so you could float right under people eating their lunch or dinner. That was sort of weird, but I liked it.

The view from our chairs one day. We liked staying up near the pool and then meandering down to the beach for a dip or a walk whenever we felt like it.

As with all resorts in the Yucatan, there were iguanas wandering around. This one actually jumped (I guess, can iguanas really jump?) onto some woman's chair. I zoomed in and took this picture from across the pool. This guy was at least forty feet away from us. It was funny when the owner of this chair walked up to it and finally saw the iguana. She shrieked and stood upright like a soldier.

The morning of our departure. We got up early to take some pictures of the resort and beach.

Wyoming pride, baby.

A busted pier. Actually, two shots of the same pier. One with the sun directly in the picture and one with it just out of the frame below. I prefer the above shot to the one below.

Looking back on the resort's pier as we stroll north on the beach.

The ubiquitous self-portrait with some other resort in the background.

The parting shot of Cancun, as seen from the exit row of the Boeing 737. AirTran, if you'd like to use the picture in an advertisement, please email me and we can negotiate a contract.

Cruising over Lake Michigan, almost home, and no land in sight. Our own little ocean.

Sullivan on Elena Kagan

"Her entire life seems to have been a closet - in the pursuit of a career." Read the rest here.
I am a little worried that the people who are supposed to do the research for us non-journalists can't even determine how a nominee for the Supreme Court would rule? What is she like? From the sound of it, being appointed to the court has been a life long goal. I don't think that's bad at all, but it seems to be mentioned more as a criticism then anything else. I suppose, if you wanted to be a justice on the highest court in the land, you would walk on eggshells for your entire life/career up until you actually find yourself on the court. This way, you could spend a vast portion of your life not sharing much of your opinions, and that is apparently what many people think she has done, for precisely this time, when the nomination has come and no one knows what to think about her. Well played, I say, if she is confirmed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tapping In

Writing to me now is a source of energy, a performance-enhancing drug. When I am swimming and I am in a tight race and I need some energy all I need to do is to think about writing, how it hasn’t done anything for me, how people think I am no good, I think of all of the schools standing on the other side of a doorway flipping me off and then the door shuts, and I pull from those darkest depths of disappointment and depression the reserves of energy and aggression that cannot be matched, that make me surge forward in the pool, or throw myself into the last turn on the track, or jump that extra three inches to block that guy’s shot. Writing is a drug right now that helps with anything but writing at the moment. I am indestructible when I think of it. I am the Hulk. I am Michael Phelps. I am Jordan. I am Usain Bolt. I am that blast of frigid air that spits snow in your face. I am a Category 5 storm. I am Arnold. Come with me if you want to live.