Saturday, July 26, 2008


I feel like posting, but I don't have any good stories. Instead, I am just going to list items I have written in my mini notebook over the last couple of weeks.

"Don't play well with others"

"She is just a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those being 'in his vicinity' and 'ever'."

"Guy in wheelchair = costume?"


"Invest in baby boomer's demise."

"All I know is 'LOL' and 'G2G'"

"Ivy, you're not in charge of the world. Shut your mouth."

"Why are you staring off into space? There aren't any cute boys over there."

"Carrots are nature's diabetic candy."

"Get the fuck out of my candy store."

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Monday, July 14, 2008


Sarah and I went down to Louisville this weekend for a festival: Lebowski Fest. It is a little like a Star Trek convention, only with funnier costumes, wittier conversation, and more white Russians. We drove down Friday and arrived at about 10:30. We missed the documentary about the event and a couple of the performers, but we were present for the outdoor screening of The Big Lebowski.

Typically I am not a fan of people who speak the dialogue of a movie as you're watching it. Punchlines get ruined, emphasis is lost, and I'm not watching a movie to listen to you. But at Lebowski Fest, it is a bit different. I think the entire movie was spoken by the audience, but the level of emphasis imparted by the speakers varied so much. Lines that you might consider to be insignificant might be shouted by someone else. I actually found this viewing to be pretty enjoyable.

The next day started at about 5pm when we headed to the Garden Party. This was at the same location as the movie screening, only now along with the musicians they had some fairway games set up.

Game One: Ringer Toss. Get into the driver's side of The Dude's car and toss the ringer (bowling bag filled with Walter's underwear) over the car. If you hit the Nihilist, you win a prize.

Game Two: Dunk the Marmot. Hit a catapult with a mallet to launch the marmot. If it lands in the tub, you win. I won some Nihilist Gum (they don't believe in flavor).

Game Three: Mug Shot. Throw a coffee mug at a picture of The Dude. If you hit him in the forehead, you win.

They also had a couple of games of Cornhole set up. The boards had silkscreens of various Lebowski characters. We played a couple of games before heading to the bowling center for the Bowling Party. The line started forming at about 7, but the doors didn't open until 8 so it gave us an opportunity to check out some of the costumes people were sporting. There were plenty of Dudes, Walters, Jesuses (Jesi?), and Maudes, but other costumes were clever and/or obscure. A couple required some explanation, such as the woman wearing a lampshade and carrying what looked like a log wearing a baby bonnet. She was "New Shit Coming to Light", a line from the movie. My favorite of this type of costume was "Beaver Picture": two girls in beaver costumes walking around with a cardboard picture frame so that people could get photos. Awesome. That required some major dedication on their part because it was really hot and muggy on Saturday, so those costumes must have been uncomfortable.

Sarah and I didn't do costumes, but I wore my Oberlin button down bowling shirt and Sarah wore her Cleveland Steamers t-shirt (they're a roller derby team, sickos). One of the guys standing in line in front of us not only was from the Cleveland area (there were a lot of Cleveland people, actually), but he also works at Sherwin-Williams, just a few floors above Sarah. Very small world.

When we finally got into the bowling center we scrambled to find a lane to bowl on. A guy in a Dude costume invited us over to play on Lane 22, so we joined him. A few others joined our lane and we started to play. Sarah had an amazing first game, bowling a 197. This would ultimately be the 4th highest score of the night overall. After the first game we had some people leave and new people join us, and it was a pretty steady stream of people mingling, taking photos and enjoying the atmosphere as you sipped your beer or white Russian. Jeff, The Dude on our lane, and his wife (dressed as Ms. Jamtoss, the teacher who graded the homework assignment left by Larry in the car) were a constant presence and they are awesome.

At about 10, the guy who played Liam (The Jesus' bowling partner who shakes his hips at the beginning of the movie) got up on the makeshift stage and did a ball-buffing and hip-shaking demo. About ten minutes later, he joined us on our pair and rolled a couple of shots and took pictures. He's a really nice guy and is just tickled about his entire Lebowski experience.

About an hour later, the costume contest got underway. There was a general category for costumes like Beaver Picture, a superhero named Not-on-the-Rug Man, and This Aggression Will Not Stand -- two people dressed in Middle Eastern garb circa 1991 rolling around on office chairs. There were also separate categories for Best Dude, Walter, Jesus, and Maude. The winners in those categories would bowl in a one-shot roll-off, the winner receiving a check for $0.69 (ref. the grocery store scene). Maude won.

We ended up staying to the very end of the bowling and then headed over to the host hotel for the afterparty. I think what I enjoyed most about the whole event was that despite all of the alcohol flowing and the abundance of Walters at the venue, I did not see anyone being a jerk or engaging in obnoxious behavior. Everyone just seemed to have a good time and wanted everyone else to have a good time.

Everyone was an Achiever, and proud we are of all of them.

If you would like to see pictures and some video, click here:

Lebowskifest 2008

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh "Brother"

I've been toying with the idea of adding a semi-regular feature to this blog where I write about why I TiVo what I TiVo. Hey, not much is going on right now and we might be watching the same shows. I wasn't sure where to start, but after skimming this morning's TV news I found my first topic. So, without further ado I bring you: Why I TiVo: Big Brother 10.

I used to be a fan of Big Brother. I watched the dismally dull first season off and on and was surprised that it was picked up for a season two. They revamped the show the second time around and it was WAY more fun. That season had more interesting characters (Evil Dr. Will, Monica) and the players took care of eliminations instead of the viewers. The third season was also realllly entertaining, with contestants who were even more batshit crazy.

Then the show took a turn. It became about the twists and most of them made things unbearable rather than tantalizing. Season four featured ex-boyfriends/girlfriends ("X-Factor"). Five was "Project DNA" which featured identical twins switching in and out of the game (awesome) and reuniting long-lost half-siblings (not as awesome). Season six, the "Summer of Secrets" (these are not my titles, by the way) featured people playing in pairs. At first they were secret, but the houseguests soon figured it out. Of these three seasons, six was certainly the best one. The show then did an All-Star season for seven, which almost always is a bad idea. As with The Amazing Race and the first All-Star season of Survivor, all the characters you liked before end up becoming realllllly unlikeable.

Last summer was season 8 and a new executive producer, Allison Grodner, took the helm. She champions all the twists and soul-and-relationship crushing brought on by the show. At first the cast was fun but then the house sociopath (and eventual winner, as is usually the case with the house sociopath) Dick systematically alienated and violated the other contestants. The worst instance was when he BURNED ANOTHER CONTESTANT WITH A CIGARETTE. That was one of the most nauseating things I have ever seen. As a result, I decided not to watch any of this past winter's Season 9.

I was going to pass on this summer's edition as well, but today they released the identities of the new contestants. I skimmed the article and got down to the bullet point list and started looking at where people were from. Here is a transcript:

"...southerner...southerner...souther--hey! Dearborn!...OH MY GOD!"

Dan Gheesling, 24, Dearborn, MI. I went to Sunday school with the guy. We were sorta buddies, but then he changed churches in 4th grade and we didn't cross paths again until middle school. Although we got along at Sunday school, he was kind of a jerk 6th-8th grade. He was part of the "pretty people" crowd, a phrase that still causes anxiety and my blood pressure to rise. Of course, it isn't really fair to hold middle school against people, so I was curious to see if maybe he turned out alright.

To quote Julie Chen during the cast reveal video segment: "Dan is going to have a problem with a lot of the women in the house." I don't think right-wing nutjob is the fairest assessment but, well, take a look at his bio. Oh, and he was the only person that Julie said anything remotely negative about.

I have a feeling the only change in opinion I will have will be to something more unfavorable, but I'll just have to wait and see. My guess: he will either be the first out or around for a LONG time.

Big Brother 10: Tuesdays at 9p, Wednesdays and Sundays at 8p. Starts July 13. All times Eastern.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Status Quo

Today was my first real day as a salaried employee of Oberlin College. Well, sort of. Mooch had asked me Saturday if I had received my letter yet, and I had no idea what he was talking about. This might have been related to my visit to Human Resources a day earlier when I tried to fill out some paperwork and they had no file of me whatsoever. Great.

When I got to work on Monday, Tom filled me in that I will need to take my letter of appointment to HR -- once I get it that is. He also said that Linda Gates was finishing those up that day, so it might be a day or two before I become for realsies. Today when I got to work, Tom left me a note saying that Linda's secretary Barb needed my address. Why that is not on file -- oh right, there is no file, even though I have been getting paychecks and W2's sent to me with no problem. Also, my suspicion is that the address is for my letter when it would have been faster for me to run across the street and pick up the letter in person. Save a stamp and envelope and let me get through the bureaucracy, please?

Not that I would have had much of an opportunity to take care of such an errand. James decided that he wanted to celebrate my new status by having some bizzaro back spasm (I told him that he really shouldn't have, but he insisted). It was totally random -- he had just gotten the oil machine in position to get lifted onto the lane and as he reached for the handle his back seized up. From what I saw and what he later confirmed, he had not yet engaged in the lifting motion, so it does not seem to be directly related to the oiling machine. Really, I think this is just his way of making sure I included everything I needed to in the Injuries section of the Worker's Guide that I wrote up yesterday. I did actually miss a step in the process, but a note in red ink would have been just as effective. He should be okay, but it will take a while to recover. The best part is that both Tom (who met up with James at Allen ER) and James reported back that the doctor suggested "let pain be your guide", in terms of how to dictate activity. Er, that sounds like a decent rule of thumb for life but okay.

Who knew that becoming salaried would be so chaotic?

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