Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shelf Life.

I have a lot of books. Some would say too many. There are times when I wonder if I'll ever read them all. Or, quite frankly, if I should.

Is envying the bedridden a bad sign?
Does longing for a minor ailment portend ominous intentions?
Is it bad to wile away a lazy afternoon in the company of dog eared pages instead of performing chores or talking to humans?


After having to read 1600 pages a week in college, I've found that my tolerance for the verbose and the obtuse is waning. I am less forgiving. It used to be unthinkable not to finish a book. Now, if I find my attention wandering too often, it's off to another story or adventure.

I prefer modern over classic.
Short story collections over novels.
Adventure over enlightenment.

I tried to read Honey for the Bears by Anthony Burgess (of Clockwork Orange fame), but didn't care for the characters and lost interest. Amazing vocabulary though.

I'm currently reading The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem. He's a phenomenal writer, but the story is a bit plodding and, well, it better pick up soon.

Also picked up David Sedaris's new collection of stories, Let's Discuss Diabetes with Owls, and, if you like his stuff, liked the first two stories. So there's that.

Oh yeah, also did the first two Insanity workouts. That has nothing to do with reading. Not directly. I just thought I'd share how I try to offset my sedentary tendencies.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Creative Process ... so sexy!

When watching the show Mad Men, advertising looks pretty attractive. In reality, it is. Probably more so. But it can also be less so. On a recent tour, I came across a display that purported to show how the name "Maker's Mark" came about, way back when. What's funny is that it's pretty much the same process that I would use today: One part word association, one part pencil on paper, and two parts time. Mix well with frustration and serve hot over ice. Or is that my grandad's recipe for hot toddy's? 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lessons from Louisville

Some friends of mine and I recently took a short trip over on down to Louisville. We had a great time and recommend it for anyone who likes lush, verdant rolling hills, plenty of bourbon and other libations and folksy accents. One thing you won't get: good recommendations from the staff on fourth street. Here are a few of the lessons I learned.
1. Don't go to fourth street unless you're in your mid 20s and like dancing on the bar. It's hard to balance up there.
2. Don't ask the staff where a good "dive" bar is because they will tell you to go to the dueling piano bar next door. Not the same thing.
3. If you're looking for a clean taxi, ask for Captain Ron. He's the best.
4. If you have money to spend on fancy drinks, check out Proof downtown and The Silver Dollar further out. Both excellent.
5. If you don't have money to spend on fancy drinks, go to the place across from The Silver Dollar. Look for the tiger mural or follow the toilet smell.
6. The Maker's Mark tour is worth it. It's on a beautiful farm-like setting and is very idyllic.
7. The Evan Williams' tour is jealous of the Maker's Mark tour. Not a bad tour, but they tried too hard to compare themselves to Maker's Mark.
8. The fireworks to kick off The Derby Festival are some of the best I've ever seen. Three words: Bridge Fireworks Waterfall.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hungry, hungry hockey

A local vendor offered me four tickets to the hockey game last night and I decided to reward some coworkers who had worked late nights the week before. Turns out the seats were amazing. Club seats! What??? That meant free beverages and food … delivered to your seat for most of the game. What???

Here are the final game stats:
Chicken Fingers = 3
Bosco* Sticks = 1
Super Pretzels = 1
Budweiser = 1
Sierra Mist = 1
Water = 1
Bag of Peanuts = ½
Cupcake = 1
Drumstick ice cream cone = 1

Oh yeah, and the local team won in a shoot out. Good times!

*Basically a bread stick filled with cheese

Poetry Slammed

A friend of mine sent me an intriguing email late last week, “you see, there’s poetry and choir music and wrestling and Emily Dickinson.”

To which I replied, “It’s just crazy enough to work!”

The STL Chamber Chorus, inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Musicians Wrestle Everywhere”, commissioned a piece, inspired by wrestling. And then held their concert in a wrestling hall.

It was unorthodox, but entertaining. I haven’t attended too many choral concerts in my day, so I didn’t really know what to expect. The performers were outstanding and unified, if not a touch too dignified for a concert held in a sweaty gym. I guess that’s where I was a bit underwhelmed—the pageantry. I was hoping to hear a Bruce Buffer-esque introduction—“Weighing in at 200 pounds out of Warsaw, Poland, Marge ‘note strangler’ Plotzman!!!”—or see the group come out in luchador masks (I mean, is a sequined half-cape really too much to ask?). Instead, they wore their concert blacks and it seemed like a missed opportunity. Also, I heard a lot of songs about wrestling, but they didn’t feel like wrestling. Granted, many of the songs just used wrestling as metaphor, but still.

Overall, I enjoyed the chance to experience something new and wholly foreign. And the opportunity to pin the conductor with a figure-4 leg lock. And … it's over! I can't believe it! Ladies and gentlemen ... we're done!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Big in China

In looking at my Google Analytics--my GoogAnz, if you will--I noticed that the majority of my traffic is suddenly from China. This is curious as I have not written anything regarding China lately or at all. So if I all of a sudden show a more than usual enthusiasm for General Tso and collecting credit card numbers, please know that my blog has been hacked. As you were, comrades.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gut Check

Last Friday night, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live to see Saturday morning. And, no, I’m not being overly dramatic.

Let me set the stage: I met up with some buddies I hadn’t seen in a while and we enjoyed a few beers throughout the night—not so many as to be irresponsible, but just enough to where decision making was suspect. The last of those decisions, the crucial one, was to eat a slinger* at a greasy spoon, emphasis on the filthy, grimey unwashed spoon.

How this place passed the health code will remain a mystery, primarily since I don’t know that I ever want to return. For one, you have to be buzzed in and, once inside, you realize that the criteria isn’t all that strict**. Secondly, the kitchen was manned by either a woman and her son or a woman and her son, who might possibly be her lover. It’s a coin flip. Also, the man had the worst teeth I’d ever seen outside of an African fundraising commercial, but, to be fair, also had a robust repertoire of jokes, many of which were actually funny.

The two worked efficiently behind the wellworn counter that sat underneath a bank of all-too-bright fluorescent lights. Some would say too efficiently. For example: me. Call me an old fuddy duddy, but I’d like the person handling my food to be a different person than the one handling the trash—or at least be a person who washed their hands in between.

As for the slinger itself … not bad. Just the right amount of heart clogging goodness at a fair price.

Upon leaving the establishment, one of the guys summed it up perfectly.

“I think I just got Hepatitis F.”

*A local delicacy consisting of eggs, sausage and hash browns covered in chili with a side of toast, primarily served as a means of sobering up quickly and efficiently.
**Basically, do you look like a murderer or not?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Well this is just plain embarrassing

In January, I made a pledge to ride 2013 miles in 2013. This past weekend, a couple of friends reminded me of it. It being April, I embarrassed to say that I haven't even cracked my first 100*. Ouch. Looks like I need to ride 50 miles every week for the rest of the year if I'm to make it. Still quite doable. 

*You like excuses? How about, I was busy running in preparation for a fun run. Okay?

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Drive-Thru Rule

Apparently, many of you are not familiar with Article 7, Clause B, Subsection Epsilon of the drive-thru courtesy handbook that states:
  • The number of food/beverage items ordered via the drive-thru must equal the like number of people in said vehicle
Since most of you aren't fluent in pseudo-legalese, let me interpret on your behalf. It means you can only order for the people in your car, otherwise go inside. Picking up treats for the whole office? Inside. For the family? In the car, drive-thru; at home, inside. You and your carpool buddy? Drive-thru. You and your carpool dummy? Inside.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool's Day

Popular pranks being pulled today:
1. Re-hiding all of the Easter eggs
2. The one with the fake illness and the sympathy
3. Got your nose!
4. The launch of Google Ouija
5. Adopting friends named Luke, so you can actually be their father
6. Saying "Pull my finger", but not farting
7. Filling an office with balloons and when they're popped reveal that everything is covered in aluminum foil
8. Congress approves a balanced budget
9. Wichita State is in the Final Four