Tuesday, February 26, 2008

it's 10:04 - do you know where your things are?

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

36. High-tech toys. I just love 'em.

One of my great moral failings is my unseemly delight in electronic gadgets. We bought a Kodak digital camera today to replace the stupid old PukePix Shootslikecrap that we bought at Target several years ago. The Kodak is a mighty machine, and we armed it with a 4-gig memory card, which holds nearly 1600 images (at 8 megapixels per), or a ridiculous amount of video with audio (yep, does that). It has 6 different image capture modes. Gonna be a lot of fun.

While at the toy store, we saw the new Mac laptop that's 10 mils thick, the Air MacJordan or whatever the heck it's called. The Apple people, if I hadn't mentioned, are not allowed in the house. Evil, evil people. Of course we want one!

37. Block-buster NHL trade deadline deals. I just love 'em.

Our beloved Pittsburgh Penguins made a good trade for 6'7" defenseman Hal Gill, whose job description includes "beatdowns," as well as "getting all them buggers out of the front of the net." They need that.

But they also made the biggest trade of the season, with minutes to spare, for big-time goal-scorer Marian Hossa. Nobody expected this. In fact, their general manager, Ray Shero, swore up and down that he wasn't going to make a big deal.

They also got a useful player, Pascal Dupuis, who in addition to being French-Canadian, is also a decent checker. They had to trade away a promising winger, Erik Christensen, a potentially dynamite prospect, Angelo Esposito, and a huge fan favorite and teammate favorite, Colby Armstrong. Apparently, the Fox Sports Pittsburgh broadcast of tonight's Penguins-Islanders game included fan reaction: weeping over Colby leaving. Lauren is also very upset, because Colby and Crusher (Erik's nickname: everybody who plays hockey goes by a nickname, by international law) were two of her favorite Penguins.

Ray Shero isn't allowed in the house, either.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lulu's back in town (me too)

Puebla is gorgeous.

My doneness, on a scale from 1 to 10, is about 17. I think I taught classes today. I think they went well, too.

I'm watching a DVD of a 1993 Penguins-Rangers game, which is only important because it's the game in which the Pens set the NHL record for consecutive wins.

In any case, it's time for

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

37. Comidas tipicas de Puebla. I just love 'em.

One good way to visit a place is to eat the food. Especially if that someplace is Puebla. Oh, Moose alive, is the food in Puebla incredible.

Of course, there's mole poblano, the chocolate-based sauce that is best-known and most closely associated with Puebla. This is astounding. It's got something like 800 ingredients, and tastes like centuries, pepper, garlic, turkey stock, unspeakable herbs, blood, magic, with a hint of stardust.

But as incredible, as obviously the most vastly superior sauce any human has ever made as mole poblano is, I can't decide if I'm not fonder of pipian verde or pipian rojo . It's ridiculous.

36. Good conferences. I just love 'em.

We went to Puebla for the 10th annual meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Media. I'm the only person who's been to every conference, which is a point of irrational pride.

In recent years, SPaM (affectionately) has had some rough times. Conference papers have sometimes been weaker than they should have been, there's been strife of various sorts. But this year was stronger and gave me hope that the future is bright for us.

The hidden fact here is that the Society for Phenomenology and Media once gave me a reason to hope when I didn't have one. This year, again, it fit together well, it made sense, and the papers were very very good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

two things for a bright springlike afternoon

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

38. Multi-purpose gag lines. I just love 'em.

Down in LA to get out of our place and our headspace for a couple days, we watched two excellent Penguins wins over the weekend (on Saturday against the very sad LA Kings, on Sunday against the vile and hated Philadelphia Flyers). During the Flyers game, which featured typical Flyers thuggery, it occurred to me just how little actual defense their defensemen play, especially Darien Hatcher. Hatcher can't skate, doesn't hit anybody, is often out of position, and I think he realizes this, so he makes up for it by simply cross-checking anyone he can reach. He's disgusting.

I thought to myself, if I played against the Flyers, I would feel stupider and less talented, because nature abhors a vacuum.

Thus was born our latest multi-purpose gag line. You can use it in all sorts of situations:

Political debates: Candidate A must hate debating Candidate Z. Every time they debate, Candidate A gets stupider and loses leadership ability, because nature abhors a vacuum.

Teaching critical thinking: You know, after reading this paper, I suddenly can't tell whether this is a valid argument or not. I've lost most of my logical ability, because nature abhors a vacuum.

Divorce proceedings: It's so upsetting to have to face my ex in court. Whenever I'm there, I feel like I've lost my capacity for empathy and human decency, because nature abhors a vacuum.

Committee meetings: It's no wonder bureaucrats talk like they do. They used to be able to communicate in plain English, but not after all those committee meetings. After all, nature abhors a vacuum.

39. Hockey sticks. I just love 'em.

We also bought hockey sticks. I haven't owned one in I don't know how long. Lauren's brother Zach had bought one, and that prompted me. It's not a big deal, I didn't get one of the $100 composite things that always snap, I just got laminated wood. We shot pucks around for an hour or two, and we bought a puck suitable for street use, so we're about to make tons of friends in the neighborhood with our rowdy hockeying activities.

Friday, February 08, 2008

in questionable taste

First off:

In the aftermath of stunningly deadly and destructive tornadoes, this hard-hit community now has other worries — looters, power shortages and a large number of residents still unaccounted for.

Of course, I was thinking: FEMA.

I'm modifying the list of people not allowed in the house. I'm prepared at this point to remove Regina Spektor from the list, inasmuch as we'd love to have her for dinner.

It may be helpful to clarify that being included on the official Not Allowed In The House list is not, in almost all cases, meant as a sign of disrespect, nor a criticism of the work of the people on the list. We love Bjørk, for instance, we just think it's prudent not to allow her in the house. That said:

In a controversial decision, Steely Dan is allowed in the house, as long as they don't bring their cousins.

In other news, imagine you're the Republican Party. You're holding a presidential nominating election across numerous states. John McCain keeps winning delegates, and suddenly you're down to McCain and Mike Huckabee. Wow.

Are we ever ripe for a third candidate election. Yeesh to follow.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

morbidly obese Tuesday

Happy voting!

Today could turn out to be Superphat Tuesday for your favorite candidate!

We're walking to the polls after breakfast (coffee cake; coffee; a pear). More later.

Monday, February 04, 2008

pulling together

I collected Lancelot's remains from the vet's office this afternoon. That prompted a mental conversation, in which I tried to explain to him that we tried our best and did what we thought was best.

One reason this was so difficult is my firm belief that Lancelot never wanted to give up. He had given up on recovering, but he never seemed to ask us for an end. I was thinking about the last couple days with him, how he spent most of his time looking out windows, isolating himself (which, if you knew Lance, you know is very strange behavior for him). Lauren was sure he was trying to get outside and find somewhere to hide. When he wasn't doing that he was trying to get some comfort from us, but he never really could.

I'm going to try writing about something else henceforth. We're in a state of mind now where we can think about life, the world, and the future again. Things that had disappeared or seemed utterly trivial are starting to have weight again.

Thanks to everyone for supporting us and helping us.