Monday, December 31, 2007

Review

Memo to 2007: Fuck you.

That is all.





Okay, fine. There were some good moments:

  • London
  • 299 game
  • Concerts (Pat Benatar, Nelly Furtado, TMBG, MIA/Bjork)
  • The crush
  • Cashing at tournaments
  • Getting a Wii
Everything else = BALLS, particularly

  • Office flooding
  • Endless renovations
  • Death (read previous posts)
  • July
I'm sure there's other stuff, but I'm hopeful that I will forget it. Come on 2008 -- it can't get any worse.

Read More......

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dog Gone It

"So, yeah, we have the extra room now so come on up whenever. You can also see the new floors."

I went home for a visit over the summer, just a day trip so that Sarah could get some good Middle East cuisine and see the happs in Dearborn. Part of the visit included visiting the house. Mom was the only one there so we all chatted for a while. Mom mentioned that Kathy was going to get around to replacing the 15 year old, dog drool-stained, matted down, faded, generally gross looking carpet once Oreo died.

"Yeah, it's been a fun-filled couple of months, eh? See you next week."

I'm sure it was for the best. That dog did not have the life it should have had. Oreo was a border collie that really needed acres to run on and a sheep to boss around. Instead, she had my dad who gave her the same sort of diet that he had. All she would do is move around, plop down, and start pinching you when she wanted to be petted. And her pinching hurt. We assume her first owners abused her, as she had an unusual fear of surfaces like hardwood floors or linoleum, thunderstorms, and the hum of the refrigerator. Which probably resulted in her not eating much food as her dish was right next to the fridge.

She was a sweet dog -- but she deserved so much better.

Read More......

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Kubler-Ross

My dad passed away this morning.

Since I was a teenager, actually since before I was born, it was always a question of when rather than how. He could not be classified as a hypochondriac because he was not only afflicted with several ailments but he did not take care of himself.

He had a collapsed lung sometime back in the '70's. I remember him smoking, not puffing, SMOKING cigars until about 1990.

He had what we think was a minor stroke back in the early '90's which resulted in some memory loss, including my name. I was around 10 at the time.

In 1996 he needed a quintuple bypass. In 1997 he needed a quintuple angioplasty. The doctors speculated that the arteries/veins used in the bypass had scarred as a result of my dad's chronic psoriasis. I speculated it was his post-bypass daily intake of grilled peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. And his daily intake of about a gallon of $3 wine.

After my parents split up in 2002, he decided to move to Nevada. By himself.

Then there was the conversation I had with my mom when I was moving out of Asia House at the end of my second Conference Services summer.

"So, how are things?"
"Let's wait until we get on the road." [Red flag shoots up immediately]
In the car
"Your father is missing."

It was a bizarre couple of weeks. My sister Mary and I were thinking it was some sort of 48 Hours or Unsolved Mysteries episode waiting to happen. Or something mob related (he did like to gamble -- I think I may have been named after a character on the show Maverick). Dad would have liked either option, actually. Missing persons reports were filed remotely from Michigan, stories were in the Las Vegas area newspapers, it was crazy. It turns out he went to some casino, with no ID I think, and had some sort of brain hemorrhage and ended up in some hospital. My mom ended up moving to Mesquite, Nevada to take care of things - primarily because they did not formally divorce or separate so in the eyes of the law their finances were still intertwined. Things sounded miserable.

He has been there for two and a half years. I never saw him -- I couldn't handle it. Besides our lack of relationship, he had some sort of retrograde amnesia or something that put him back in a time before I was born. How do you handle something like that?

It is unsettling a little bit. Since my 14th birthday I had to deal with the "so what happens when he dies?" This was when he had the first heart surgery. As I grew more resentful towards him, and as he continued to not take care of himself, my thought process start changing from "what happens when..." to wondering "so, when it happens, what will it be like?"

My mom called a few moments ago. She was obviously upset that the man she was married to for 42 years (37 non-separated) had died. I was just sitting there listening, the only internal monologue happening was "Huh." As my mom explained, the head nurse at the home had gone in to feed him the night before, but he was in a light sleep and somewhat gaunt. When she checked on him this morning, he had passed in his sleep -- no struggling, probably no pain.

I don't know what happens next.

Read More......

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lightswitch

My life would be so much easier if my emotions and memories could be controlled by a switch. I'm not talking about long-standing grudges (I'm glaring at you Evil Roommate) or the important events in life. I'm referring more to the occasional slights that happen now and then with no lingering consequences other than angrying up the blood whenever I think about them -- sometimes incessantly.

Though, in fairness, positive feelings also get caught up in this cycle of white noise, which has kept my spirits up. I'm still referring to the general subject of my last set of posts. (Don't worry: eventually something else will come up in my life that will be the subject of future posts. Maybe?) To that end, I am going to continue reading too much into every single interaction. Partly because I like the warm fuzzies and partly because I apparently lack the ability to read the nuance of the situation. So far there are only two downsides to this course of action:

  1. As I am making eyes (since I somehow turned into a 12 year old girl from the late 1800's with that turn of phrase) I realize more and more that rather than being all doe-eyed I think I'm coming across as more Cookie Monster-eyed: A step beyond "googly" with no control of my pupils as I become victimized by a bizarre eating disorder. Or something.
  2. I keep thinking of the creepy Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer claymation thing CBS shows every December. "CUTE. She thinks I'm cute!" Then I start flying around until my fake nose falls off and starts to glow. And then I'm on the Island of Misfit Toys. And then things really start getting fucking weird.
Although I may be wasting my time, I think I'm getting experience of some sort. Maybe?

Read More......

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nonrequited

So I got my ping. Rather, my pong: the results came up negative. This does not bode well for my track record, or my psyche.

You see, there's a huge difference between "unrequited" and "nonrequited". With unrequited, you may get "sorry, I'm just not into you," which can be countered with bizarre displays involving skywriting or guitars played outside windows. It's all about trickery and manipulation and the manufacturing of co-dependence. Y'know, romance. With "nonrequited" you get "I'm NEVER going to be into you." This is the other side of the "you don't choose to be gay" coin that doesn't get much press time since, well, it kinda bums people out. You can call heads or tails on that coin: you'll be getting neither.

I would think at this point in my life experience I would be able to cope with the frustration and the general down feeling of nonrequited a lot better, but I'm doing the exact same thing as the last time and the times before all the way back to high school: find the best Sarah McLachlan or Ben Folds Five song that encompasses my "totally unique" experience and then superimposing myself into my own Annie Hall like montage and moping around until something happens. I'm guessing that will be when I take the GRE over Fall Break and start actually working on The Plan.

Dammit.

Read More......

Rebuttal

DAMMIT.

Discuss.

Read More......

Thursday, October 4, 2007

'Dar

As you know, I am plagued with uncertainty 80% of the time. Or maybe 90%? Anyway, one of the consequences of such a low level of confidence is an inability of really being able to read people.

Sometimes I'm the person I can't read. One of my least favorite questions I was sometime asked during high school was "so why don't you have a girlfriend?" This was before I was 80-90% certain that I was gay, so dealing with this question was even more peculiar. The question was never mean-spirited; it was more of a curiosity about how someone who is obviously the complete package could be going through life single (I'm paraphrasing...slightly). I think what bothered me more than the fact that I was single was that I couldn't actually answer the "why" question. Well, not at the time.

Fast forward to college and the question shifted from "why don't you have a special someone" to "is he gay or what?" Although I'm sure the conversation happened more than I am aware, since the latter is more of a gossip starter, it really is an awkward situation when someone just asks you point blank. This is where another shift occurs. With the "why single" question, the asker is asking out of concern and seems to come from a place of admiration in that the asker recognizes positive qualities in the person. Not so with the "so, gay?" question, which in my experience has been used as a means to justify or resolve a disconnect between behaviors and social norms or what "straight" is. And the question is of the "do you still beat your wife" variety, in that any denial could just be met with an "mmm-hmm, right". Though it is fun to gobsmack people with an equally blunt "yes" to their question. Good times.

Assuming that I'm still the same complete package I was in high school (work with me on this one), it would seem to follow that I should be getting the "why don't you have a boyfriend?" line of questioning. Well, the difficulties of uncertainty and identity politics, and my need to obsess over them, has rendered my gaydar completely useless for the people I find myself attracted to. It has been driving me crazy recently, as having a "ping" or some sort of confirmation would make life a lot easier right now. Not because the time has been unbearable (it hasn't), but because if there is a next step to take, I would like to do so this decade. And if not, I would like to not be coming across as creepy or whatever (I don't think I am, but again, not good at reading any room I'm in). Without some sort of ping, my only course of action would be to do the "so, gay?" thing which is beyond inappropriate and totally shows my cards. I'm so not going to do that.

So if anyone has a way of calibrating a gaydar that isn't Gay or European?, I'd appreciate the assist.

Read More......

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Redemption

I know I've been complaining about my job a lot lately. Since mid-July, things have been pretty much non-stop with renovations, new staff, new leagues, and a whole bunch of people asking questions that I'm supposed to know the answers to. Despite all of the stress and hullabaloo, this weekend is a perfect example of what I enjoy about my job.

Today was the first intercollegiate bowling tournament of the season. Typically this event is held at Rebman's up in Lorain, but this year it was moved to Pittsburgh. The last time I was in Pittsburgh for a bowling tournament, things were less than stellar so I approached this weekend with a certain level of skepticism.

Due to the distance, we stayed overnight. Since we didn't leave Oberlin until well after 7pm Friday, no one was really up for extensive partying and many of us turned in relatively early. Somehow even with 4-5 hours of sleep, just about everyone seemed refreshed going into practice at 7:45 this morning. Tom's goal with the tournament, and with every tournament really, is that every bowler bowls to the best of their ability, supports their teammates, and has a fun learning experience. For some reason, everyone took those criteria seriously. People on both the Crimson (A) and Gold (B) teams were winning their head-to-head matches and also bowled some big scores on really challenging conditions. I don't think the energy dipped once on the Gold team, which featured many bowlers who have not gone through the gauntlet of a bowling tournament. The Crimson team had a slightly more challenging road, but they managed to win 3 out of 5 head-to-heads in their match against Saginaw Valley (the 2-Time defending National Champions) and only lost the team total by 25 pins. I know that sounds like "umm, that's great? I guess?", but if you told me that was going to happen today I probably would have stopped paying attention to you. The coach from Wright State (a really nice fella who has been extremely helpful on several occasions) even commented that Oberlin's marked improvement over the last couple of seasons is creating a buzz among the other schools.

The biggest game of the day happened in the final baker series between the Crimson team and the University of Cincinnati C team. Going into the set Oberlin was leading Cincy by about 50 pins in the overall standings. Cincy won the first match by about 20 pins and they earned a 20 pin bonus for winning the match. Cincy earned another bonus after they took the second game by 10 pins or so. Going into the 15th baker game of the day (which followed 5 team games), everyone was ready to go home and tired of the ever-frustrating lane conditions. Bryan led the charge by chucking the ball as hard as he could, as speed and power were what the lanes called for. The other guys decided to follow suit and managed to string together a 5-bagger that gave them a score of 223. At this point Cincy was mathematically eliminated from winning the third game and the 20 bonus pins. Cincy ended up bowling a score that completely canceled out their advantage from the first two games, allowing Crimson to maintain their position in the standings.

As Crimson finished, the Gold team was in the 2nd game of their final baker series against OU-Chillicothe. Chillicothe joined the conference last year and the best way to describe them would be "ragtag". But like the A-Team, not like the Island of Misfit Toys. The people on the team are really nice and they remind me of the Oberlin C team when I first started. Due to the lower strike percentages on both of these teams, the rest of the center had pretty much cleared out while they finished up. After every shot there was sincere cheering and support within and between both teams. At this point, Tom declared the match-up as the championship final, since both teams were meeting the criteria he established prior to the tournament. The Gold team took all three games, but there was so much mutual admiration between the teams that we were all winners. It's rather Montessori, I know, but doggone it I much prefer leaving a tournament with none of the bowlers pissed off about something. Everyone had some victory or positive experience to take from the tournament and I am now filled with optimism about this season. Afterwards, Brian invited us all to this pizza place in the city that allowed everyone to relax and have a good meal before hitting the road.

No one got lost. No one blew up in the parking lot. Everyone bowled well. Pittsburgh has redeemed itself.

Read More......

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

OLD!

So I'm working on a new mix for the lanes and I'm combing my iTunes library. "Ooo, 'Electric Youth'! I should...oh. Oh, God."

The date on the song is 1987. That predates many juniors and sophomores. Aside from explaining who Debbie Gibson was (aside from her appearance on Celebrity Fit Club) I would feel obligated to include the video as well:



Oh, Deborah. Save me from myself.

Read More......

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The heart is deciduous transliterated

Everybody has the list of concerts they want to see, even if it would require the reanimation of a corpse or two. Until cryogenics steps up production or American Idol sells reanimation technology via text votes, I'll just have to work on the currently alive and kicking artists. The newest check mark: Bjork.

So far the Volta tour has only three dates in the States: one coming up in Atlanta, one in New York, and last night's in Detroit. Oh. Mah. GAWD. That was the best concert I have been to. The show was at the Fox Theatre, a gorgeous venue that totally matched the aesthetic that Bjork was trying to accomplish. The opening act was M.I.A. (by the way, EEEEEEEEE!). Although I love her, the last time I saw her in concert was a bit more enjoyable. There were a couple of major differences: 1) The Fox is an actual theater with seats and no dance floor, a fact that M.I.A. mentioned later in her set when she talked about how "[she] usually does this joint in clubs." 2) The opening act for Bjork is at a different level than the opening act for LCD Soundsystem. When she opened for the latter, I think there were more people in the crowd there to see her than LCD. Not so much the case this time. 3) When there is a Tiger game happening across the street from the theater, parking is a bitch-and-a-half, or maybe three-quarters. So people were running late. As a result she got the standard opening act treatment -- foolish concert-goers.

I'm glad there was an opening act because you then get to see the set construction in between the two artists' sets. As the light guys were getting in position the stage hands were setting up a series of flags. I got the feeling that the show was going to have a plot of some sort, or at least include some of Bjork's more militaristic songs. When the lights finally dimmed, a line of ten women playing a processional on brass instruments entered the stage. It may have been the mythological references hidden through the architecture of the theater, but I interpreted their staging as incorporating the essence of the Greek Muses.

Then the first grunt of "Innocence" and a blast of confetti. And Bjork came out on stage and the rocking out began. The entire band was getting into it, but instead of being choreographed they were all dancing in their own way. So cool. After every song, Bjork would go up to the microphone to say "Thank you." The staging also included video displays where you could watch the different electronics manipulated by her bandmates, which was intriguing.

The sound was awesome. The only problem I had was during "Pluto", partly because you couldn't really hear the build-up of the tension and partly because it was the last song of her set. After a lengthy ovation she returned to the stage to perform "The Anchor Song" in English and, I assume, Icelandic. My only other major critique was that the brass band did not bust it out during I Miss You, which surprised me since that song is all about the ecstasy of the brass section.

The final song was a riveting performance of "Declare Independence". Perhaps it was the M.I.A. performance from earlier in the back of my mind, but I never realized how political Bjork's music is. Though nothing says "Fuck you" better than the song 5 Years, particularly the live version. The way she was mocking the target of the song had me giggling. I giggled more watching her dance. Bjork dances to her music the way my sister would dance while listening to Bjork. I find that validating.

So yeah, Bjork is the shit. As if you didn't know.

Read More......

Monday, September 3, 2007

Clubbed

Brad and Kathy are in town this weekend and Sarah and I went to hang out with them last night, in a roundabout way. Brad originally had a DJ gig at this club on the east side and so Sarah and I headed there first. I sort of knew how to get there, since it was only a few blocks away from where Sam lived. Of course, since it has been a year and a half, I did forget the nuances of the neighborhood, particularly every street having the words "Cedar" "Overlook" or "Euclid" in their names. After several turnarounds, we finally found the general area where the club was, parked, and started walking over. I sent a text to Kathy to find out where we could find them.

"We're going to Bounce!"

D'oh. I'm glad we found out before spending an hour playing "Marco Polo" in some place with a bunch of Case Western freshman being all "WOOOOOOooooo! PAR-taaaaYYYYYyyyyYYY!" Besides, we could now have the same atmosphere only with a bunch of drunken queens dancing to some really bad music. After a few more turnarounds (it's a little tough approaching a place from the east when you usually come from the west) we eventually met up with the dynamic duo.

We ended up staying in the Union Station part of the building because the drag show had a $5 cover. Having already seen one female impersonator pushing another around in a wheelchair (and later seeing the wheelchair one walking around mingling), taking the cheapskate route was probably the right call. Instead we were watching the music videos and snarking them to death. The best one of the evening:



Awesome. Of the dozen or so videos that we saw, I was surprised by how many artists I recognized yet how few songs I knew. Not that that is a bad thing. One of the artist/songs that I never heard of gave Kathy a conniption. It was Lucas Prata "And She Said..." I would post the YouTube of the video, but I can't find it buried under all the performances of his at the Staten Island mall. No joke. Apparently he performed at Kathy's little brother's prom this past spring. Oh, Lord.

Eventually, even the videos became to tiresome and we decided to call it a night. Brad will be DJing at the Sco tomorrow, which should be fun. It's good to see them again.

Read More......

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Journalism

I just found out that the final issue of the Weekly World News hits newsstands this week. Another institution falling victim to the electronic word.

And yet I continue blogging.

Read More......

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apropos

Today's City Rec group was listening to 96.5 (Cleveland's KISS-FM station) instead of 107.9 (Hip-Hop/R&B). During the last five minutes of the group, DMX "Party Up" started playing. I don't think I could come up with a song that best describes my mental state right now AND is wildly inappropriate for a group of 6-year-olds.

And the radio edit doesn't really sound all that different from the original. They didn't do a good job of bleeping. I laughed. I laughed harder when it was immediately followed by Elliot Yamin.

Read More......

Monday, July 23, 2007

Safety

Today was one of those days where I really wish I could shoot lightning out of my fingertips. Not to hurt anyone, mind you, just enough to intimidate. That would have been useful today.

Let me back up. For those of you who have escaped my summer kvetching, work has been horrendous. It has been just me for a week and a half with another week to go. Last week I had two 11 hour days, five kids groups, four leagues, open bowling, and a general feeling of endlessness. If I never have to work another kids group with glow bowling, I will be very happy. Ain't gonna happen until September, but whatever. We close for renovations Friday and I can't wait.

But I have to get through this week first. And as a warning to everyone, the safety on the bitch switch is off. Open bowling today was okay, but there's that moment of dread that hits at about 1:35 on Mondays when I realize that the Boys and Girls club will be invading. I am not fond of this group. First of all, when they set up their activity, they gave us an estimate of about 20 kids a week but today they had 7. That's been about average. Of course, we did our pricing based on 20 kids so we are getting totally hosed on this deal. Also, even though we quoted and reconfirmed a rate of $2 per kid, each kid is sent with $5. Not only do our 1's get drained but now all these kids are armed with vending machine money. Oh my fucking God. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if Uptown Girl wasn't there. I call her that not because she's been living in a white-bred world (wh-oa-whoa), but because she looks like a cross between Brittney Murphy and Dakota Fanning. I shit you not. If that hybrid wasn't bad enough, she doesn't fully form her words when she speaks (a trait I assume was described as "cute" by some drunken aunt and therefore reinforced the behavior) so I'm put even more on edge. Gah.

Then the basketball camp. With the boys age 10-14. Who of course make fun of the way I talk. Fuckers. Aside from trashing the place, the counselors were under the impression that payment was supposed to be collected (we bill, so no). Unfortunately, the counselors are not helping in the fight against the "dumb jock" stereotype. They decided the best way to collect payment was to use a plastic bag to actually collect the cash and have everybody get in line to pay at the end. As soon as they started their announcement I said to myself "Nope. That idea is not going to work." And it didn't. Not that it matters to me since, like I said, they aren't paying directly and I think it is more of a scam than anything else. How that basketball camp has stayed in business is beyond me.

Four days to go. Gotta make it to Friday.

Read More......

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Is this gonna be on the test?

Try not to write anything unfavorable about a game show contestant on the interwebs -- it can be far more annoying than it is worth. VH1's second edition of its awesome summer series The World Series of Pop Culture started this week and I have been fairly active in the conversation about it over at TWoP. This show only has a single thread rather than a forum, so all discussion -- be it the reactions to an episode, clarification about questions, and chatting among past and present contestants -- is confined to the same space. On the first night, there was a category requiring players to identify 80's songs from a given lyric. One contestant, rather than take a wild guess when it was her turn, opted to use the excuse that she wasn't born until 1982, therefore she didn't know the answers. This caused a minor shitstorm about strategy, "easy" questions, and the inevitable "How did she get on the show?" The arguments go as follows:

A. This player/team sucks (based on personality traits)
B. Those players/teams are awesome (based on knowledge)
A. They may know their stuff, but I don't want to be locked in a room with them.
B. I don't see you trying out to be on the show.
Repeat as Unnecessary.

As an added challenge, the actual contestants have started to post in the thread (the episodes were taped a couple months ago). I mentioned in one of my posts that I didn't particularly care for one team, that I thought they "bugged" during their exit interview (they were eliminated) and that ruffled the feathers of one of the people on the team who posts. What followed was essentially a call for an inquisition on all the "haters". That is so Jenny Jones I don't even know where to begin.

It is so trivial...yet I feel compelled to write about it.

Speaking of trivia, an interesting thing happened at work today. The Friday City Recreation "group" (two kids "supervised" by two adults) was bowling and the adults were engaged in a round of Bible trivia. Let's break this down. "Trivia", by definition, is "useless knowledge". Now, those who excel at Bible trivia would have to know the book pretty, for lack of a better word, religiously. Yet would those who excel at Bible trivia ever call it "useless knowledge"?

This is what happens when I'm left unsupervised with my own thoughts.

Read More......

Friday, June 29, 2007

"The kids still listen to Hammer, right?"

I finally got around to hooking up my PC to see what files have been gathering dust over the last couple of years. And to free up trunk space in the car. AND to retrieve the music files that have yet to make the transition to my iTunes.

The iTunes reason should really be at the top of the list. During the summer our clientele at the lanes is about 80% kids courtesy of Oberlin City Recreation and the sport and music conferences that visit Hotel Oberlin. Most of these groups do glow bowling which requires one thing: Music. This presents a challenge, surprisingly enough. We don't have a DJ setup where we can take requests or tailor the music selections to the group demographics -- we have mix CD's. Now I have been making mixes since I started working at the lanes, but I have more leeway in terms of obscurity and the occasional naughty language when I am making mixes for college students. Kids mixes are TOUGH.

I am not alone in this challenge. We have had a number of prolific mixers the last few years, each of whom has had their own aesthetic: Susie was alt-rock; Jeanne was hipster with Spanish and hip hop influence; Oneida was R&B with a focus on Soul; Kimi is modern dance/hip-hop with Phil Collins/John Mayer tendencies (I'm still on the fence about that second part); my style has been described by myself and others as reminiscent of middle school dances. I suppose my style can be described as oldies in a sense, since there will always be at least one song in a mix that is older than the youngest person in the group and sometimes the entire group.

After a birthday party a couple of weeks ago, I was determined to make a mix that would meet the following guidelines:

  1. No swearing
  2. Contemporary without being entirely disposable -- basically the songs will need to still be enjoyable/recognizable 6 months from now
  3. Even though the target demo is kids, the mix should be accessible to adults also
The first criterion is the easiest one, obviously. Number 3 is relatively easy -- if I have it in my iTunes it must be somewhat tolerable to adults. Basically I didn't want the Kidz Bop versions of songs creeping into the project. Number 2 I think is the major stumbling block. If you pick a song that has been around for six months, you run the risk of it being played out and annoying the listener. If the song is relatively new, you have to try to predict the future in terms of how popular it will be. Also, I might like it but it might drive everyone else crazy, or vice versa. Also, older songs (1-2 years old) shouldn't be off limits, but what still qualifies as "cool"?

The answer: American Idol, Now That's What I Call Music, and Kidz Bop. Those entities thrive on market research and are time capsules of the zeitgeist. AI also has the added benefit of expanding to older music (thanks retro theme weeks!) so I have a little more flexibility in breaking up the beats in a given mix. I finally made what I think is the quintessential birthday mix (for the time being).

HOWEVER, when I showed up to work yesterday and today, Tom had a few reports from the field. Specifically, requests for rap/hip-hop. Balls. I was also given specific song requests: "Party Like a Rockstar" -- a song that I heard once on the radio and instantly went, "why is this popular? There's nothing going on."; "Gimme That" -- which Kimi has included on a mix, so I may have to track it down; "I'm in Love with a Stripper" -- no. I know we will need at least one more kid friendly mix (because I will go crazy if I have to listen to the current one 25 more times) but rap/hip-hop -- particularly current songs with little to no swearing -- is going to be a tall order.

Though listening to Tom try to be conversant about current pop music is remarkably entertaining.

Read More......

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Carpet Bagger

The following people are dead to me: People who ask if we have socks to rent at work. I have a number of issues with this. First: EWWWW. Okay, I can understand people who are kinda grossed out by the idea of bowling shoes. Even though we are meticulous about spraying shoes between uses, the idea of community shoes is just too much for some people. But socks? Seriously?

I suppose the theory is that we would launder socks after each use, but let's break it down. We charge a dollar a pair, a little high for a "rental fee" but a good unit price. But how many pairs would we have to rent before we got enough to do a single load of sock laundry? Also, what if someone tried to walk out with our socks? With shoes it is worth it to chase someone because those go for as much as 40 a pair.

Anyway, that's not what the crux of this post is about. While the sock thing was the later bookend to my day at work, the early bookend dealt with carpet samples and the future of the walls of the lanes. We've been working with two potential ideas for the new wall carpeting.

Idea One: The Glow Bowling Wall. With this design, the bottom half of the wall would have a black background and a blue/orange cross-hair motif. There would be a thin stripe of orange separating the bottom half from the top, which would be a blue similar to the one in the pattern.
Pros: Will look great during glow bowling.
Cons: Will look hideous/ridiculous the other 90% of the time.


Idea Two: The Oberlin Wall. Our school colors are Crimson and Gold, and the pattern would be half and half, with a swoop towards the end of the lanes.
Pros: School spirit and will hide dirt better than the Glow wall.
Cons: The swatches may turn into something severe in greater quantities.

Tom asked for my opinion, and I couldn't come up with a good answer. When we discussed it a couple of weeks ago I was okay with the Oberlin wall at first but the more I thought about it, the more I realized we would be rivaling the set of the $25,000 Pyramid:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Looking at the swatches today, the Glow wall may rival the set of the $10,000 Pyramid:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I'm hoping the next round of swatches ease my concerns. Otherwise, I may have to start building a winner's circle. Here is your first subject: "Things on your Feet"

Read More......

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm Like a Bird

Last night I went to the Nelly Furtado concert at Tower City. I realize that nowadays there is a bit of a love-her or hate-her response with most people given the explosive success of her most recent album Loose. Really you can thank/blame Timbaland for that. However, I have been a huge Nelly fan since day one, way back in 2000 when her first album Whoa, Nelly! dropped. Truth be told, that album is in my all-time top 5 (the other four in no particular order: They Might Be Giants Lincoln; Fiona Apple When the Pawn...; Bjork Homogenic; Ben Folds Five).

This isn't the first time I've seen Ms. Furtado in concert. I saw her way back in 2001 as part of the Area: One concert. That line-up was incredible: Nelly Furtado, The Roots, Incubus, Outkast and Moby. Even though she was on the mainstage and had a billing, she was still essentially the warm-up act: an unenviable position. I remember how excited I was to see her back then and it paralleled my excitement for last night.

The opening act was...well...his name was Saukrates (pronounced like "Socrates"). Yeah, that about sums it up right there. He wasn't quite as good as the one-man synth band that opened for Beck, but he was better than that guy who opened for Fiona Apple. Come to think of it, I've been relatively lucky with opening acts. VHS or Beta, M.I.A. (she technically opened for LCD Soundsystem) and a few others who were at least decent. Saukrates just seemed a little green, but he redeemed himself later on in the show. The second warm-up act was Kenna, someone I had actually heard of beforehand. He was pretty good and I would recommend checking his stuff out on iTunes.

Then the main show started. I know I'm going to sound like an old fogey when I say this, but why do concerts have to be so loud? I'm not asking that in a "am I going to go deaf?!" sort of way, but rather it was so loud that the sound was getting distorted. If the overall volume was lower, it would be plenty loud for everyone to hear with the added benefit of understanding what was sung. It has to do with the venue: I had the same issue at Pat Benatar. Anyway, the set for the show was awesome. The main stage was a three-tiered white platform with a huge lite-brite inspired backdrop. And if you haven't seen what Nelly looks like, she is absolutely gorgeous. We had SRO tickets, so we were pretty far back from the stage but she just radiates beauty.

I could go on about each individual song, but there's only so much gushing that can be stomached. Everybody got their dance on, everybody rocked out, and everybody had a good time. Well, except for this one dad about 6 rows in front of us. He had brought his daughter and a group of her friends. They were having a blast -- he seemed rather ambivalent. Oh yeah, that was the other thing: the crowd was probably the most diverse concert crowd I've been a part of. Rock on!

Read More......

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Revolution will be Televised



Could someone check in on me in a week or so? 'Preciate it.

Read More......

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Transition

My babies graduated yesterday. I don't know why I keep referring to them as such. I think it has to do with the fact that they were first-years when I was a junior -- a year where I felt like I was coming into my own. It's four years later (!) and now I get to deal with the fact that next year's graduates will be the last group of people who were students when I was still a student. And I'm still here. Eep.

After the Commencement ceremony Sarah and I decided to celebrate our coolness-despite-our-aging the only way one can: Pat Benatar at the Cleveland Ribfest! Oddly, we weren't the only ones there doing the c-d-o-a thing (imagine that). I drove to Sarah's new apartment in North Olmsted and we took the RTA train into the city. Everyone else on our car had the same destination in mind. There was a guy who brought a bouquet of flowers to give to Pat, but he handed out a couple of flowers to people who would sing a few bars of "Heartbreaker". He was really wasted, but both Sarah and I really wanted him to belt out "Love is a Battlefield". Didn't happen, at least not in our presence.

The rib cook-off wasn't quite what I expected. I pictured endless rows of booths with different preparations of ribs from all corners of the rib-eating world. I think there might have been half a dozen or so booths serving ribs with the rest of the booths serving beverages, hosting radio stations, or selling the tickets to make food purchases. The booths that did have ribs also had the largest trophy collections -- both in quantity and in style -- I have ever seen. I'm curious as to how one gets into the world of competitive rib-cooking (and I'm curious what the jargon is to describe "rib-cooking"). It is an art form. Before yesterday, I was not a fan of ribs, mainly because the few times I had them growing up they were not all that tasty. Part of that may have been an aversion to BBQ sauce I had when I was younger but I overcame that when I had my sampler dinner. Delicious.

We finished dinner just as Pat took the stage and we scooted to the amphitheater. The crowd was more of a hodgepodge than I expected. I would have thought the average age would have been about 40, but there were quite a few youngins there voluntarily which brought the average down to around 30, I would guess. The show started at 6:30 and they had an 8 o'clock curfew, so the set was of the "greatest hits" variety as opposed to "this is off my new concept album..." My favorite revelation happened during the intro to her 5th song. She prefaced the performance with how before every show she debates whether or not to sing it. She doesn't want to sing it, but the crowd practically forces her to. As a result, she made the crowd promise that they will sing the part that she hates to sing. Then the opening riff to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" started to play over the speakers. Awesome. Of her songs that I know, that one is probably my least favorite and I'm glad we see eye-to-eye on that.

I was still rocking out to "Heartbreaker" this morning when John came in to drop off his keys and get his bowling equipment. I tried to track him and Kayla after the ceremony yesterday but it proved too challenging with the number of people. Also, it is so awkward to say "See you later" to people you really respect when "later" is so open-ended, though avoiding it altogether has a set of cons that far outweighs the pros. After John left, I started thinking about the first time I saw him. It was during one of my first Saturday shifts at the lanes and he and his posse came in. I don't know why, but my gut was telling me that he was going to be an important person during my time at Oberlin. I should listen to my gut all the time.

Read More......

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fun Raiser

Thanks for the pin, Tom!


So. That was my day. I love Alumni weekend.

Read More......

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Idol of America - Part II (Short Form)

From the Steve and Edie cover of "Saw Her Standing There" to the going over, this was the most ridiculous finale ever. Why did the Idol contestants get so little screen time? When will the sound guy get fired? Even Kelly was off tonight -- not good. Why does Taylor dance like Jackie Rogers Jr.? Why did Bette Midler sound like Mae West?

Okay, those last two aren't the show's fault, but they enabled them by providing a venue.

I suppose the only good thing about tonight was that the final medley may be an indication that a Beatles night might happen next season. Yay? Speaking of, why didn't LaKisha get the line "I get high with a little help from my friends"?

This season seemed promising, but even the confetti at the end didin't register with me -- and confetti always registers with me. Sigh.

The only thing that made this finale more endless was the local news' top story being about a girl who got shot in the face a few months ago and was voted prom queen and the multiple ads for the story. I'm not happy with TV at the moment.

Read More......

Idol of America - Part I

I caught the Idol Rewind this weekend and they had the Kelly/Justin finale on. Man, same venue, but the staging was so scaled back it looked like it could have been made in a basement. My how times have changed.

Also, thanks for the Seattle recap, show! I missed the Seattle episode the first time around and I didn't realize until reading the most recent recap that both contestants were from that group. And Blake -- you are my guitar hero.

And for tonight's show...

Blake

I think he is trying to throw the competition -- you NEVER choose to go first. More on that later.

You Give Love a Bad Name: I liked the Bon Jovi the second time around. It seemed a bit more polished this time, however the shock value that encapsulated the first performance just didn't resonate tonight. Definitely the best performance of the night. And it was absolutely adorable how geeked he was to be on that stage.

She Will Be Loved: Squeeeee! At least I got my wish that he would perform that song. I do agree with Simon that tonight was not the best night to whip it out (dirty!), and seemed very "Black Horse and The Cherry Tree" of Blake to do so.

This is My Now:
Yuck. Not your fault, Blake. Even if he were able to put his own spin on the song, it still would have been a hot mess. If he doesn't want to win, that song should seal the deal for him. If he is legit, then choosing to go first may have been quite the strategic move.

Jordin

Fighter: The sound seemed really weird -- like she was singing in a closet or something. Regardless, Jordin lacks the ferociousness needed to approach that song. Whither the ball busting, Jordin?

A Broken Wing: Love the outfit (finally)! It was alright. I seemed to recall liking it the first time around, but it certainly wasn't memorable then or tonight.

This is My Now: She escaped the iron lung -- good for her! I loved the audience shot with Melinda: she looked stupefied. I'm so glad she didn't have to sing this drivel, especially since her voice would not match it.

At this point I'm ambivalent since 1: Melinda isn't there, and 2: Most of my prognostication this season has been wrong and I'm tired of picking the wrong pony.

Lastly: Kathy Griffin! Squeeee!

Tomorrow: Bloatfest VI

Read More......

Monday, May 21, 2007

Spam

My work e-mail account has a spam filter that e-mails you a listing of potentially naughty/non-sensical items sent to the address. It's a nice occasional giggle every afternoon around 2:30. All the listings show is the source e-mail address, the subject line, and a button to click if you wish to allow the e-mail to go through.

Today's subject line giggle: "This may happen on its own or with an attack of meningitis."

It is equally horrifying and hilarious to imagine what that subject could be referring to. I didn't pass it through the filter since it is undoubtedly an ad for Ci@l!s (I didn't know meningitis caused that) or a plea from some dignitary from Africa (which tends to happen on its own).

But maybe it is referring to something else? Maybe it's the new tag line for Heroes?

Read More......

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rube Goldberg Goes Dancing

I don't think I've been to a straight club before. At least not one that wasn't The 'Sco, which...no. Doesn't count. I have to say that I did not get what I expected, both positively and negatively. Our case study: The Velvet Dog.

Positives

  • I did not feel completely out of place. I knew clothes-wise I'd be okay (thanks H&M!), but you know body-wise I'm not exactly Hottie McHottiehots, Ph.D. There was a good looking crowd, but as I was discussing with Carla, the lookers seemed to have happy and healthy hamsters running things behind their eyes.
  • I honestly was worried that I'd be a little old, even at 24. That might be the case at 18+ clubs, but since this was 21+, I shouldn't have been concerned too much. There were people of all ages there and I was actually near the average age for where I'm at (usually the bowling lanes) for once.
  • Downtown Cleveland is pretty hopping on Friday nights. There were people walking around and taxis were all over the place. I've never experienced that in Detroit, and most likely never will.


Negatives
  • The place was empty. I know there was a baseball game but maybe there was something else going on that kept the crowds away. We were there at 11 and it was as if we got there as soon as the place opened. Not so great for dancing. Also, the club advertised 3 floors of dancing. I thought that would mean different music on each floor, but it's just a way to spread people out.
  • Also not great for dancing: the music. When we arrived, they were playing what I could assume was a new Gwen Stefani song. This was followed by Fergie (Y-U-C-K), soon followed by Nelly Furtado, another Gwen Stefani song, Pink (best described here), ANOTHER Fergie song, ANOTHER Nelly Furtado song, Cyndi Lauper (only half of that song), and Black Eyed Peas. That's 2.5 Fergies/Hour, or per capita, or whatever. Is the Top 40 really made up of 7 people? Oh, and the songs were the radio edits. The hell?
  • The bathroom has someone monitoring things. I suppose that's to prevent people from getting freaky-deeky, which I guess is fine if laughable. Bounce, the gay club I sometimes go to, just has a sign that reads "Please -- One to a stall." Anyway, all was well and good until I went to wash my hands. As soon as I step near the sink, the guy turns on the faucets for me then holds the soap dispenser so that he can put soap in my hands. I realize when you go dancing, there is a certain expectation that your bubble of personal space is quite limited. In exchange, everyone else's bubble is limited as well and everyone seems to be in agreement that unless you're being an asshole about it, there's no sense getting bent out of shape if you keep bumping into people. The bathroom should be an exception to this. I am fully capable of washing my own hands, thank you.
All in all, the experience was okay. We didn't get to do much dancing, but we did end up at an awesome martini bar before the night was over. I think this was a chance to get my feet wet without going overboard.

Read More......

Monday, March 26, 2007

Exercise

Meet Althea and her daughter Doris. Doris was moving stuff into her car while her elderly mother supervised. Let me set the scene:

Saturday afternoon, overcast, the ground moist from morning drizzle. A group of four women are jogging down the street. The one closest to the street is wearing a sports bra and short shorts. The other three are wearing t-shirts and shorts of varying lengths. Althea and Doris observe from their porch.

Althea: What are they doing?
Doris: Jogging
Althea: But they're buck nekkid.
Doris: That's how you do it.

Scene.

Read More......

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tension

Meet Tati. After my first direct interaction with her, I left with the assessment "Bitch all drama'd up with nowhere to go." A bystander who knows her more closely kindly pointed out (in case I missed the nuance) that Tati can be a bit of a drama queen. Everything is something with her.

I can picture it now. A corporate setting -- Tati is dressed in a calculated manner. A suit, a skirt replacing the slacks, very neatly pressed. The color of the blouse selected has taken all current office dynamics and cost benefit analyses into account. Though her hair is down, it is pulled back in a way that adds tension to the room. She is currently writing a lengthy note to be posted on the break room refrigerator addressed to "The Individual Who Did Not PROPERLY LABEL Their Food." Today is Thursday.

Back in the present, Tati is ten years old.

Read More......

Airport

Meet Kevin. If I were straight and 8-10 years older, this is who I would be -- provided that I had lost my sense of social self-awareness.

I encountered Kevin at Heathrow. After arriving 3 hours early, checking in, and going through the initial security, I ended up in the Long-Haul Terminal lounge. I took a seat where I could see the departure board and happened to be a couple seats away from Kevin and his significant other. He and she were chatting about something and reached a lull in the conversation. After a moment of quiet in their conversation, he started to sing.

I saw the sign. It opened up my eyes -- I saw the sign.

He stopped as quickly as he started. Perhaps he was singing along to the music piping into the terminal, but I determined after I focused my hearing that it was not Ace of Base but "Shakira, Sha-KIRRR-a!" playing over the loudspeaker. Kevin and his lady friend continued chatting, gossiping about a new boyfriend in a female friend's life and reached another lull.

Yeah they were dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin'

And then he stopped. The thing about the Long-Haul terminal is that multiple airlines use it. Gate 12 could be for an American Airlines flight while JAL could be boarding at Gate 13. I looked over to see if I could get an idea whether or not Kevin would be on my flight. Luckily, he was flying on United (I was on American). Then it happened.

Doo-do-do-do, doo-do, doo-do, can't touch this. Doo-do-do-do, doo-do, doo-do, can't touch this.

I believe I was terrorized.

Read More......

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Detroit

Meet Claude. He is a bowler on the Wayne County Community College District bowling team. I don't really know anything about him beyond this, but he instantly reminded me of anyone who is truly from Detroit.

John had made a ball change and the result was exactly what he wanted. As he passed me he remarked "I'm in love." "With a stripper?" Claude added. I don't think it registered with John that this addition was related to what he said as he didn't even acknowledge that anything was said. I registered a feeling of solidarity. You see, if you inadvertently say the first half of a lyric in the vicinity of a Detroiter, s/he will almost always complete the line with a 50% chance of bursting into song.

I attended an open casting call for a game show a number of years ago which began with going through all 100+ people in the casting group introducing themselves. Some of the intros were bland (such as mine) while others featured people familiar with networking brunches and video dating services. One woman gave a list things she did in her spare time and her likes and dislikes. Item #4: "I like the nightlife." No fewer than eight people immediately followed that with "I love to boogie." In unison. Right down to the cadence.

I have yet to experience this outside of a Detroit connection.

Read More......