Saturday, December 30, 2006

Consumerism Continues

I bought these shoes. I like buying things. Especially buying good quality things. They're shiny and new for a while, and then they're just old and functional, and then they still work. At least that's the idea. Also, that's how I can justify buying (/receiving for Christmas) three super-premium (coat and backpack) or unnecessary (shoes) things for my Europe trip. (note that I mean "justifying to myself." It's not like anyone else is telling me "you buy too many things!") I just say "they'll last for longer; therefore, it's worth spending a lot of money on them." Which is true.

(hopefully. the thing not to do is say "it'll last for longer" and then buy another one soon anyway for another reason- you lose the first one, or get sick of it, or whatever.)

I think it's the sustainable thing to do, despite the hurt on my (or my parents') wallet and the environment right now.

Also, man, I really like breakfast cereal. I mean, a whole lot. If it weren't societally unacceptable, probably unhealthy, and destructive towards one of my hobbies (cooking), I could probably live somewhat contently on a box of GoLean and a half gallon of soy milk per day. Maybe a little more food; that's a little low in the calories department. Actually, check this out:
1 box GoLean- 1120 calories
1/2 gallon plain Silk- 720 calories
1 bag Trader Joe's Harvest Hodgepodge (The Best frozen vegetable mix)- 150 calories
500 calories' worth of assorted fresh fruit- 500 calories
Total: 2490 calories; pretty good for me if I'm not active. If I am, ramp everything up a bit.
I'd be set in terms of protein, carbs, and fats. As for the micronutrients, I'd probably need a multivitamin to fill in gaps, but I wouldn't be doing all too badly there either. Not saying this is a good call, but if I ever get trapped inside a Trader Joe's that happened to only stock three items plus fruit, I'd be in good shape.

I was reading a column about famous sign-off lines, and I thought, how cool would it be if a famous newsanchor used Wesley Willis's sign off:
Rock over London, rock on Chicago. Wheaties- breakfast of champions.
Then companies could pay that anchor to borrow the last part of his sign off.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pro sports and cons

Hey! I went to a Cleveland Cavaliers game tonight. Let me first say that it was delightful. We met one of my dad's clients (who was treating us) and went to the Hyde Park Grille for a burger. Not the first thing that would have popped into my mind when someone said "let's grab a burger before the game," but the burgers cost $10 anyway, which is about what you'd pay for a burger at Fuddruckers...

Supposedly it was a Kobe beef burger with Gruyere... which sounds to me like a maraca filled with diamonds. When you're massaging your cows and feeding them beer, why put their meat through a grinder? I couldn't tell the difference, really. (note that I am not a supertaster.)
If our country had reasonable alcohol laws, I might not have felt so out of it while they ordered cocktails and I ordered a diet coke. (with a side order of cancer!)

Another question: What do you order if you're not ordering beer or wine? I may need to know this at some point in the future. The only thing I know that's reasonable is a gin and tonic, because that's what my dad drinks. Martinis? Rum/Jack and coke? A white Russian? (<-- clearly the best drink I have come across) Will these things get me laughed or sneered at? I appreciate any advice you might have, and you can make it as longwinded and condescending as you want. I'm swallowing my pride now, so that I can avoid having to swallow it later as everyone else orders something dignified and I order a Fire and Ice. ("...the forces of good BAND TOGETHER to route the hosts of chaos")
Note also that that should probably be "rout" the forces of chaos. Unless, you know, they're kinda telling the chaotic forces where to go.

Foodly and drinkly matters aside, the game was a blast too. I mean "blast" in that "good quality time with your father experience" sort of sense. It was a little awkward because the clients were there, and dad had to talk business with them a bit, but all in all, all went well, LeBron dazzled, Donyell Marshall chipped in 7 3's, and we won big.

And I once again confronted the Pavlovian spectacle that is a professional sporting event. Part of me is really repulsed by it all. You know, "Fans! Up on your feet and make some noise! It's time for the Taco Bell ball toss!" and then they would toss crummy little plastic balls out into the audience. But another part of me says that it's the same as anything else: it gives people an outlet to get excited. I'm all for spontaneous excitement- if you see a leaf on the sidewalk that makes you go nuts, and you start cheering and making a big deal out of that leaf, good for you! Or say you win a dollar in the lottery, and you make a big deal out of it and spend the dollar on Pez candy and ceremoniously dole them out to your friends... rock on! So what's wrong with sports? Well, nothing, I guess!

Besides, it was a lot of fun in high school.

But then, there's Beej's idea: nobody over 30 who really likes what he/she does for a living is really into pro sports at all. (I can't confront my dad with this hypothesis, because he doesn't, and is, and I don't really need to remind him...) It seems kinda true. Why is that? Is it just because there's less Quality in pro sports than in other pursuits that super-fulfilled-people like to pursue?

Speaking of Quality, I just bought(/received for Christmas) this coat. It's awesome. Mountain Hardwear is (supposedly) The Best. I mean, Everest climbers wear Mountain Hardwear stuff. It's what all the preppy suburban North Face wearers should have bought. Also, it's waterproof (Gore-tex style), has a removable liner, is lightweight, offers lots of movement, has a zip-away hood and a powder skirt, nice pockets ... and is apparently a women's coat? Um, I think this is it, and I know it's called the "Descent Trifecta," and I couldn't find that name under men's stuff. Huh. Well, whatever! I fell in love with it at second sight. And I got it for a little over $200 (end of year overstock). It will last me a long time, including all through Europe. If you're ever on the west side of Cleveland, stop in here. It's The Best.

Next up: I will buy this backpack. It, too, will be The Best. I hope.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I feel like I've been asleep for ___ years...

Happy Christmas! Not happy Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. You don't see Christians going around and saying "Happy Pentecost" or "Happy Ash Wednesday", do you? Then why do we think that Jews would want us to say "Happy Hanukkah"? Kwanzaa is just made up. By this guy. And for that matter, what about the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. And don't start with that Christmahanukwanzmas crap, or even Festivus. Sorry, it's not funny anymore.

Here's something I was going to post on December 4. I would do the "draft" thing, but then it will post it from today, right? That's not correct. Or maybe I don't understand how Blogger works. At any rate, it's all still true:
I'm done with networks.
I'm a terrible TA. (This is not actually true; I'm only saying this because I'm comparing myself to super hardcore math folks)
I'm awesome at improv. This is not true either, but Sunday and Thursday's workshops were fantastic.
I love live music. This is not true; usually it's boring. However, the Hell Yeah the Hellcats show at the Quiet Storm on Saturday was pretty cool. I enjoy their band. (edit: the other Hellcats show I saw, on Friday the 15th, was neat too. It was in a pool hall. Really, it was just a bar, with a big smoky room for doing things. Pool, pinball, etc. Also a projector was showing the 80's movie "Rad" behind their show. Why? Ehh, beats me.)

But now it is the present! What has happened between then and now?

- I actually did finish Networks, and even got an A in it.

- I finished the rest of school, pulling out a B in Neural Nets. GPA hovers at the just-as-good-as-a-4.0 level (3.8), despite the toughest semester yet. Rock on. Although hopefully it's all downhill from here. And I mean that in the "getting easier" sense, not the "getting worse" sense. You got to admit, it's getting better. All the time.

- TA'ing finished off well. Not spectacularly, at least in my eyes. I still felt kinda distant from all the students. But they mostly did well on the final (although tests and grades aren't the best way to measure anything... more on that later). I don't think I really got anyone jazzed up about Concepts of Math. I don't think I really let anyone down either. Maybe by college it's too late for that? Hopefully my two hours a week with them were relatively pleasant.

- I went skiing for a week! If I've been out of touch, sorry. It was The Best. At least, The Best skiing I've ever had, and The Best week I've had in a long long time. Stayed with my friends from high school, the Gadomskis. They were The Best hosts. I skied for 6 days at 5 places. I meant to only stay 4 days, but thanks to The Best blizzard ever, I managed to get stuck there (woohoo!) for three more days. Did I mention how the Gadomskis were The Best hosts? I mean, skiing with Pete, Brian, and Pete's girlfriend Sarah (or "Mar", making her the second person I know with that nickname) showed me that I can do more than I thought I can do, and reinstilled my faith in my enjoyment of skiing. Then we'd come home and Mr. and Mrs. Gadomski (or Guy and Cathy, as they insisted that we call them) would make dinner, and we'd all play cards or a game or something. And we had fresh snow almost every day, including a foot (!) on Thursday. If you'd like to geek out about skiing sometime, let me know, and I will explode with excitement about this trip.

- Christmas happened. Luckily, I managed to make it to Tampa with the rest of my family, then we drove to The Villages, where my grandparents live. We also saw my aunt and uncle. It was nice! We had a nice Christmas yesterday, and it reminded us of how lucky we are, blah blah blah, and then we (and by this I mean my parents) went totally overboard buying gifts, and now we have a car full of stuff that probably won't fit on the plane back home, and holy cow. I got a great backpack! And a coat! And a bunch of books about Europe! Hey, another third of the First World, here I come!

Notable thoughts I have had:
"this is a cool restaurant, despite the boringness of the food" - inside Red Mountain Grill, in Dillon, CO. The decoration was a combination of Maya, Aztec, Mexico, and Disneyworld. It was the kind of fake-authentic thing that might show up at Crocker Park. Had Crockerparkesque food too. But it was neat.

"when I become a professor, I shouldn't give students grades" - while reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It's a great book. I'm almost done. Note that I soon second-guessed this thought, and then third-guessed it, and I'm still wondering.

"this is a worldview I might be able to buy" - same book. He talks about the grand duality of everything (calling it Classic vs. Romantic) and then talks about how maybe Quality (aka Goodness) isn't in one side or the other, and it's not some third prong somewhere else, but instead, it's the generator of the whole thing. I still don't quite understand it. But I kinda like it. Also, he brings in Taoism, which always gets me going a little bit. (it's the "Fiery Furnaces" of the religions, in my mind, which is to say that I like a lot of bands, but the Fiery Furnaces a little more than most)

"why am I not studying Dutch or German right now?" - hmm... a lot. I should work on that. Also, I'm going to cook dinner. More later!

Friday, December 08, 2006


I am the TONTIE master.

Are you?

(Grow is pretty good too)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

District B13

is a great action movie.
For serious.
This movie is everything I wish other action movies were. If you get a chance, go see it. Stuff like Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is great, but French dudes jumping over walls and stuff are pretty awesome too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I saw a snowflake yesterday

and it was awesome.
Also, I'm getting my annual cold now, before ski time and holiday time and Europe time.
Things are ending, and it is nice.
"No matter what I do, it always feels better when I stop doing it" - Dogbert