Sunday, January 28, 2007

I wonder if she could play tennis... in the Labyrinth

A few things kind of clicked for me today as I was watching Dark City. This epiphany probably isn't going to be what you're thinking, unless you're thinking Jennifer Connelly. In that movie (released in 1998) it made me think that when she is at her prime, there probably isn't an actress in Hollywood better looking than her. Then I was reminded of a discussion of Anna Kournikova I had while watching the Duke basketball game (¡desastre!) and how it seemed absurd how she's one of the most famous tennis players of the past decade and she sucks at tennis. But we all know her because she's gorgeous. And in case you don't, here are pictures.

Life is just easier for people who are that good looking. I think on some level, average looking people hate them for it. Then again, you want to root for the pretty ones, too. It's a weird duality of opinions that's hard to explain. Think about it -- when you watch a movie or a sporting event or something, if you have no other rooting interest, you'll cheer for the prettier, won't you? I do that with Jeopardy sometimes. I either want the prettiest girl or the person with the coolest voice to win. And if a hot chick (well, Jeopardy hot) is up against a heavy black guy from Alabama with a really deep voice, I'm a little conflicted; tie goes to the female.

Think about the Patriots. In 2001, they were the underdogs, so we kind of wanted them to win. They continued their workmanlike approach to building a football program, and it worked. Good coaching, discipline and focus on teamwork led to success. They would, of course,won two of the next three, now most folks are tired of them. (By the way, the Super Bowl in that stretch that the Pats didn't win was won by The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I will also be cheering for Indy on Sunday, in case you wanted that information.) Also, Bill Belichick dresses like a hobo.

When you see beautiful women getting to cut in line or discounts or something, doesn't it bother you a little bit? But if you were in a position to give it to them, would you? (If you are a lady reading this, just make the appropriate gender substitutions yourself.) You'd at least think about it. It doesn't seem fair, really. But I think that's just something that ugly people say.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Slang is so clever

You can probably tell that I am picky about language. There are words and grammar I try to stay away from, like on-lineisms and ending a sentence with a preposition, because I am educated. There are, however, slang words that some people used that irritate me to no end. I think it's a function of overuse, but really, I don't think I need a reason for things to irritate me. Like Rachel Ray, for example. She's comparatively nice looking, I'm sure her food is delicious, but she's just too much. Too much what I can't say.

The word I recently heard that set me off was the slang word "rock" for diamond. I wish I could tell you why this is unsettling to me, but I really have nothing to say about it. Maybe it has something to do with rock being slang for like anything -- diamond, football, testicle -- but in the context of diamonds, just say diamond. Another one is "do you want to come with?" when they really mean "do you want to come with me/us?" English isn't Spanish; pronouns aren't optional, particularly object pronouns. "Shrooms" is almost on this level. It suffers from overuse. Sure, the drug angle was kind of funny the first time you hear it referring to a portabella or shiitakes because it's a little incongruous. It's not funny enough to ever hear it again, though.

I'm sure there are others; there always are. There are some ok ones, too, but at the moment I can't think of any. That's the problem with this sort of outlet. I need a little tablet to keep in my back pocket so that I can track of these things and when the list gets long enough. Until that time, stop using "rock" in place of diamond.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

But wait, I own that

On my way back from church today, I heard What is and What Should Never Be on the radio. That's great, because Led Zeppelin is pretty awesome. As I'm pulling into my driveway, though, they followed it up with Hey Hey What Can I Do, which, by any metric that songs are measured, is at least four or five times as awesome as WiaWSNB. I considered sitting in my driveway, listening to this epic sonic masterpiece, with my key in the ACC position, which I interpret as the major American automakers rebelling against crappy Big Ten football. I decided against it, though, in part because it was cold. I also own that song on cd, so I could listen to it in my bedroom with much louder speakers.

There aren't that many songs that really make you want to sit in the car after you get home and finish them. I can think of maybe 5 -- Hey Jude, Good Vibrations, Layla, When the Levee Breaks, Can't Always Get What You Want, November Rain and if I'm feeling charitable, Won't Get Fooled Again -- and I own most of them. Even though I still own them, it still has a different feel when I hear them on the radio, as you I was meant to hear that song right then. Complaining about a bad test? You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need. Then again, it could go the other way: Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good. When God speaks to me through the radio, I listen.

It's kind of the same way with movies on tv. If you're flipping through the channels and nothing is on, but you come across The Hunt for Red October, that's a huge find, compared to reruns of Murder, She Wrote and the Lifetime channel. But, even though you probably own this movie, you probably don't feel like committing to the two hours and fifteen minutes to watch it. But tuning in on USA to hear Sam Neill say, "I would've liked to have seen Montana," is totally worthwhile. Way better than whatever movie Lifetime is showing, even if it has a former power ranger with an eating disorder in it.

What has this effect on you? Do you stay in your car to listen to Stayin' Alive? (I certainly hope not.) Will you stop on tv for Coyote Ugly (which, incidentally, I own but have never actually watched, but that's a story for another day)?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A flaw in our bathroom paradigm

I, like most people, use the bathroom on occasion. I also like to wash my hands when I finish. It's really what separates us from the animals; cats dig in the dirt around their business, dogs just leave it it and people wash their hands. People - 1, animals - 0. Then again, animals are delicious, so I guess a fairer score would be people - 1, animals - 1.

I'll bet all of you have been in a situation where you are wearing a suit and need to quickly lose some weight. (If you're a girl who doesn't wear suits, I have not idea if there is an appopriate analog. Also, I'm not sure there are any girls who read this anymore.) After just finish up and you're pulling up your pants, tucking in the shirt, and buttoning up, I realize that in order to do all of those things I had to use my hands. The very same hands which are unfit for contact with the outside world. Instead, we have all sorts of bathroom germs on our pants, shirts and (heaven forbid!) belts. I can't say I'm particularly comfortable with this realization.

We all would be pretty alarmed if we saw our waiter leave the bathroom without washing his or her hands, right? Or a guy offer to shake your hand without, at the very least, a rinse? But unless you're in one of those handicapped stalls with the sink in there with you, you are literally wearing those very same germs on your person. My pre-realization respect for these handicapped accessible stalls were limited to novelty sake of having the room, if necessary, to park my car in the stall with me. That's all changed now. I am absolutely going to take advantage of the interior sink to wash before tucking. I'm no barbarian.

Granted, I'm no microbiologist, so I have no idea if the germs will live or die on my shirt, pants or (heaven forbid!) belt. But I suspect they are building some sort of tunnel system not unlike Boston's subway for rapid transit to get after my socks or possibly even tie. I think we need to make a push of relocating the sinks in every bathroom to be inside the stalls. We can't let the animals win.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

We're all living in a material world and I am a material girl (or boy)

I had my first on-site interview of my graduate career, so I have been busy this past week. I flew into Washington, DC (my first time there) and saw the Capitol all lit up and the Washington Monument in the distance... all from the tiny, tiny window in the airplane on the taxiway. I would have liked to get a slightly closer view, but I didn't really have time for that. I had roughly 1 hour of unscheduled time that didn't have to be spent driving, so getting in and out of Reagan-National to the Mall just wasn't in the cards.

This started to get me thinking about having real money, as opposed to graduate student money, which is largely imaginary. They try to convince you that since you get tuition for free that you're really making $40k more than you're actually getting paid, and here's what I have to say to that: bunk. Christmas and my birthday just happened, though, so I'm financially secure for a little while at least. One of the things that comes up a lot is the living arrangements, since it would be awfully grand to have a little more room to put my useless junk. Buy or rent is a big question, and it's one of those that makes you realize you've transitioned from interesting, young person into a boring adult. Next I'll be talking to people about interest rates on investments. Good Lord, now I remember why I went to grad school to avoid this in the first place.

Anyway, the fun things are that I can start to think about what I want to put into that house. Since I'm going to start making something like 5 times what I currently make at any job, in my estimation, that's essentially limitless funds. Wondering if I should get the SNL DVD box set this month or next month will seem a little trivial. At least I hope so. But there are things that I think I want in my so-called "dream house" that without them would really fall short of my "dream." So, basically, here is a list of things that I will consider my life a monetary failure if I don't have them in one of the houses I will eventually live in:

  • Water fountain - For some reason, water just tastes better to me when it comes out really cold in a water fountain. Unless it's an old fountain, then it reminds me of the older gym I used to play basketball in when I was younger, which made everyone wonder if the metal in the pipes was being entrained (we probably wouldn't have used this word then) into the flow (sorry, engineering thinking coming out) and into our mouths. Almost made going thirsty seem preferable.
  • Urinal - Honestly, if you went into someone's bathroom and found a urinal, wouldn't you be intrigued? It would be really convenient and probably save a lot of water in the long run, so in my laziness I'm really trying to help save the world.
  • Fireman pole - This would be way more awesome than stairs. The only trouble is that I would need stairs to get back up anyway, unless I have like Batman (Adam West era) had with rocket powered launchers to carry me back up. Might be cost prohibitive, but I can think of nothing that would be more awesome than that.
  • Toucan - For some reason, I've always wanted a toucan. And I think I would let him try to crush the skull of anyone with his absurd beak if they ask if his name is "Sam."
  • Movie theatre - It wouldn't have to be very big, but it would be neat to have a small room with an overwhelmingly large television that's stadium seated. Maybe have room for 12 people or so, not too gawdy, but be slanted like the floors in a theater. We could watch movies in there, or just things like the news or, if I'm really bored, the Food Network. It seems like everybody's watching that these days and it would give me something to talk about.

I kind of already have that last one now; my roommate bought a hugous projector so I got to watch the National Championship game in nearly life size. I'm glad the Gators won, but I think I'm already getting tired of Gator fans. Anyway, it's about lunchtime and I'm going to go and pout since I can't get my drink from a fountain.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holy Crap! Two in one day!

Terry Bradshaw, a bloke who is an NFL hall of famer, is now an announcer at various levels of football and a huge idiot. Wait, that sentence was ambiguous; Bradshaw's always been an idiot. In the year immediately following the Janet Jackson Nipple Incident (JJNI), Paul McCartney was selected to perform at the half-time show because he's a lot less likely to get naked after his songs (although it would shore up the aging female Baby Boomer demographic...). In the pregame for this Super Bowl, Bradshaw sang "A Hard Day's Night" with Sir Paul, which would be thrilling for anyone, even an NFL Hall of Famer with four Super Bowl rings. So thrilling that he got the words wrong. In fact, the next year, even Howie Long, another idiot extraordinaire, called him out on it. I include this to make clear that I am no fan of Bradshaw (or Long and his horrible, horrible Radio Shack commercials. Teri Hatcher is ok, though.).

Bradshaw and Long were in the booth of the Sugar Bowl last night, and I was braced for horror -- like Aliens popping out of your chest horror. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to kill myself after watching the telecast. Bradshaw and Long weren't awful. In fact, they were good. Bradshaw made comments about what the QB was looking for in coverages, how even though a particular pass was complete is wasn't well thrown, and even said that he wasn't smart enough to play for LSU. That level of self-deprecation deserves to be rewarded. Not smart enough for

I watch a lot of football, so I know a little about the game and football theory. I can identify a dumb play call or a poorly executed run. But I've never played quarterback and would have no idea how to tell if a defensive back is in man or zone based on how there eyes scan the offense or exactly what went wrong on the release which led to a spectacular catch. That's the sort of commentary I'd like to see in my football. I could give a damn about listening to Jamie Foxx or Matthew McConaughey has to say about anything. You hear that Kornheiser? I don't like Bradshaw as an interviewer or sports anchor, but I will never bitch about his commentary again.

Ironies of the Holidays

I got a pretty healthy injection to my wardrobe over the past two weeks. Good thing, too, because I was starting to look like a hobo. I think the clothes all look better than what I was wearing before, but I still don't trust myself to select things by myself in the future. It's like being in the cockpit of an airplane; a layperson can identify someone who is a good or bad pilot pretty easily, but making those decisions yourself it's a little intimidating so it's nice to have someone in there with you.

I think that the reason people always talk about getting into shape as their New Year's resolutions is so that they can fit into all those new clothes they just got. Every time I go home, I feel like I gain 15 pounds because my mom is a very good cook, but her sense of proportion is a little off. For example, the amount of food she makes for a meal would be appropriate if my family were the defensive line for the Miami Dolphins. We usually don't go hungry. Now, though, I need to discipline myself into resuming exercise or exchange all my pants.

I guess I should've been more active while I was at home, but I was really looking forward to the bowl season. That's really an unusual source of regret, don't you think? For like a month and a half, I was looking forward to watching all of the college football games (I pretty much achieved it, except for the odd one that even I couldn't muster any interest in or were airing simultaneously), but now I wish I had, maybe, played a game of basketball or something. The weather was nice, and I don't think I took sufficient advantage of it because I slavishly obeyed my plan. Maybe next year.

There's also a lot of family that explodes over Christmas. I find it amusing how easily it is to get worn out and run out of things to say to the more tangential relatives. It's also tiring to tell the same stories over and over again to different people, which I think is a big part of the problem. I should write out a pamphlet with the essentials and just hand them out when I meet people I haven't seen for six months. "Oh, how's school going?" Look at bullet point #4. "How long do you get to stay?" Intro paragraph. If they have interesting questions, you know, the sort that I'd expect someone who has known me for my whole life to ask, then that's one thing. Maybe I'm just being picky. I should probably do some exercise anyway.