25 June 2008

some things i'm thinking...

First of all, i've decided today that google is scary. Perhaps not scary in the dark, evil Giant way that Microsoft is scary, but when i logged into gmail today google asked me:

Would you like to...
Add to calendar
dinner""Betsy" and "Je...
Thu Jun 26, 2008

Now this may night seem frightening in and of itself, but all they had to go on was an email i'd written to 'the boys' about playing some golf. A sampling of that email reveals that there doesn't seem to be enough info for a computer to realize i've got something scheduled:

"We will likely be in town Thursday early-ish (i'm thinking around 4-5), but i think we're having "dinner" with "Betsy" and "Jeff", which likely takes thursday off the table (unless somewhere has glowBall golfing or i can sneak out of the commitment)..."

That's all there was, but it was enough for google to ask me if i'd like to pencil betsy and jeff in. What does this mean, you may be asking yourself. Well, it means google is now a sentient being and will soon be taking all of us over... hopefully for the better.


In other news, Turkey just lost the first Euro 2008 semi-final and they played a hell of a match. Outplaying Germany early on, taking an early lead, appearing to come back AGAIN. They had an amazing tournament, man what a fun final that would have been, but UEFA & the German national team had other storylines in mind. Surely there's better coverage elsewhere, but let me be the 3rd to say, bravo Turkey... i'll wear my soccerJacket with pride... when it's not so hot out.


And then some kudos to ABC... for their lineup last night. Wipeout was everything i dreamed it could be. Brooke rightly pointed out that the final round wasn't funny anymore, but adding in a small amount of skill to this 'MonkeyBall but for Real' game was a fair price to pay. Then I Survived a Japanese Gameshow was a bit to drama-y and 'you're-fired-y' for my taste, but still a fairly enjoyable experience. Well done with the cheap summer fill ins. I think they were mostly leftover from when the network was afraid of a neverending Writer's strike, but still... ABC gets a dribbling single that probably should have been an error.

23 June 2008

missing links

Saturday morning at 6:45 am i found myself for the first time in far too long a time pulling into the gravel parking lot of Turtle Green's Golf Course just west of Clinton with my brother tim. It'd been almost a year since the last time i'd golfed, also with tim, at an Omaha course, but this was something different, entirely. It was the course i "learned" to play on, and it was not yet 7 in the morning (a couple of guys were finishing up the 9th hole as we pulled in).
The clubhouse was still closed & locked up, so we headed for the first tee-off, then realized we didn't have a scoreCard. There were none outside, but tim checked the carts and found this one clipped to the steering wheel of one. I took on the "Ace" line, naturally. Tim played as Floyd and we were ready.
The last time i'd teed off at Turtle Greens was during our rehearsal dinner, and i'd played just the first hole, but hit what was & is the best tee shot i've ever had. It was lofty & long and ended up just over the lip of the small hill before the first green (my second shot, a 9-iron, went perpendicular to me and straight into the treeline). This time around i was a bit nervous at having overachieved so much my last attempt, but my first shot was strong & true, pretty much the same shot, just shorter.
Now, let me just say straight out that i am not a good golfer. As my scorecard above can attest to, i lack consistency, focus, and a good scanner. That being said, though, i think i'm starting to realize that i really love golf. If only i did it more than, say, once or twice a summer. Already, after just one time out i've got a shortlist of Must Have Clubs (a 7 or 8 wood & a pitching wedge - in my own bag i have a "loft wedge" which is occasionally useful, but when the next club up is my 9-iron, i have a lot of holes in my short game {mostly having to do with the fact that i'm a terrible golfer}). I hit 9 pretty decent tee shots (only #6 & #9 were out of the fairway and those because i actually went over the green).
Overall, it was a pretty lousy round of golf (though i did beat my goal-score from when i was 12 years old), but it felt great. Who knew you could get up at 6:30 and feel so good... i should do it all the time. In fact, if only i didn't have to work all the time, i think i'd be golfing constantly. Yet another reason to retire immediately. So, everyone, dust off your clubs (if you haven't got clubs - Nathan Gilkerson, i'm looking at you - go buy a set at a garage sale), hit the municipal courses and let's start cracking some windshields... Golf-Ho (that'll be my code-name)

19 June 2008

the era of the mini-pundit

So, i know i don't often wax (wane?) politico on this blog, but with a bit of inspiration from my new e-stalkee & a quick 4-minute segment on CNN this morning i have something to get off my chest...

Just before i left the house this morning CNN's "American Morning" was interviewing the youngest superDelegate for the 2008 Democratic Primary & a slightly hot, exceedingly severe College Republican... They were talking, purportedly (which i think is the snider way to say supposedly), about the "youth" vote & the "issues important for young people today"...

What they really showed, though, were a couple of prematurely 50-year-old Talking Heads using strict partyline talking points to "debate" Obama's help kids pay for school plan. First of all, the idea that the driving issue for 'young people' (which i'm starting to realize no longer really includes me) is how to pay for college is belittling & an oversimplification. This, of course, is not surprising for cable news (it's remarkable how little insight or information you can pack into 1 hour of cable news coverage), but it speaks to a larger issue i've been thinking about lately, namely old people.

The impetus for my discussion of this rampant problem is the crotchety senior citizens hired at Miller Park to walk through sections harrassing young people during poorly attended midweek games. Brooke & i had $6 nosebleeds (sponsored by Miller High Life - which, miller high life, if you'd like to sponsor this blog i'd be more than happy to sing your praises as often as necessary) and being a dead Wednesday nite (this is a subltle Miller plug) game, we found some better seats available on the Loge level. We sat down alongside a large contingent of other seat jumpers and made the classic seat jumper blunder of sitting a few rows back from the filled in seats (for those wishing to get better seats, the secret is 1) enter a section that is not currently being watched by old people & 2) choose seats that are in the row directly behind (or even better in front of) established sitters... They likely won't check tickets for large numbers of folks, but this system can still fail if - you're young-ish looking.

That's right, agial profiling is going on at Brewer's Games. I personally observed crotchety old people check tickets of several groups of youngFolks, but bypass an older couple of men in windbreakers who obviously didn't have tickets for that section (they were seated several rows behind the end of the sold tickets, but weren't checked because they were old).

Most disturbingly was the way we were addressed when the old man confronted us. He said "Sir, do you have tickets for this section?"

"No," i said, which momentarily confused him. I suspect he was waiting for a 'i can't find my ticket ploy', but he recovered and said "Do you have tickets on the Terrace Level, sir." His insinuation was that we clearly did not belong here, among the over-priced seats, but we clearly belonged 'up there'. Add this to our experience of a few nights prior when our Beer Pen seats were otherwise occupied and when we told the usher this she said, "aw, go find some other seats." (Admittedly this was later in a blowout, but the section, while having some empty seats, was significantly fuller than the Loge level seats we were occupying). I really wonder, though, if we'd been doddering old folks would we have gotten our seats...

This all points to, i think, a larger issue we're really facing, that of a true cultural divide between young & old. Walter Benjamin talks about this a lot in his early writing, the idea that the youth must revolt & drive social agenda, but the problem we have with American culture is that the youth pretty much has to rally behind an old person... No matter where you draw the line of 'old guy' & youth the average age of national leaders is telling... I'm not necessarily calling for a Logan's Run style abolition of old folks (i'd be finished in both the film & book versions), but there's something here and i'm not sure what it is.

Obviously, youth grow up & become older. For a while they're an 'in-between' stage, where i think i find myself now. Not sure i want to buy in totally to the Programme of american commerce/democracy (commocracy?), but also pretty sure that if i don't soon i will "be in trouble later"... Get your pension in order, workworkwork while you still can, maintain your health benefits (by never quitting your job or making sure you always have another one waiting) so you can stay healthy...
But what i wonder is, is there a way to maintain youth when you grow older. To continue to believe in the things you believed in before. Old white guys on the radio (i'm looking at you AM 620 - WTMJ in Milwaukee) will tell you that when you get older & "wiser" you realized you were confused when you were younger, that you just didn't realize how things worked, but what it really is is that you get scared by the Programme and then have to start telling everyone else to 'get with it' so you feel ok for joining up... (it's a lot like the housing market & how i tell everyone that it's really starting to come back & look good now that i own a house).

If we look at the art historical tradition of (??? early 1800/victorian/1600s? Art Historians help me out here) painting children as if they were miniature adults alongside this morning's CNN "youth minute" and even our entire educational system, which trains children, adolescents, and young adults to fill out forms - to complete strictly defined tasks, essentially to be middle-management we see that this Programme (yeah, i've taken a liking to that term) isn't what we want, isn't useful, and is infectious (spreading both in strength & geography). Perhaps the only solution is to turn the world's keys over to it's new drivers as soon as possible. It's better than being stuck behind a Cadillac that's had its left turn signal on for 15 miles and going 42 in a 55.

17 June 2008

Weekenders Return

Having heard from jp now regarding his magic shoes that he left behind at our place, i can at least safely assume that one car made it back to minneapolis & will trust that all made it back home after the Colonel's Grand Opening.
Granty-kins - while lots of photos were taken during the course of the evening, alas they are on another computer so i had to steal some from shane's facebook album... Thanks shane
Thanks everyone for making the trip down, up, or over. We'll try to do it again soon, often, and repeatedly. What with the Thursday, Saturday, & Sunday flood drives to & from minneapolis (as well as some somewhat associated trips to & from Omaha) the need for a fantastic weekend was high.

Tailgating went almost as perfectly as i could have imagined. Except for the lack of ladder-ball & the slightly embarrassing nature of Toss Across. But good times were had and PBR & vodka slushies were drunk... the newly acquired mini-grill assembled easily & the asian cole slaw was outstanding, seriously. Inside, the game was ugly, but the Beer Pen* was an interesting experience, with free t-shirts, anarchic seating situations, and not a little Twins fan harrassment (i was quite impressed by the number of homer-hanky-havers that made the trip down).

Saturday was looking to be a beautiful day... we put the guests to work (thanks guys) & got ready for the house-warming. The mpls kids wandered around milwaukee for the day, got to the Safe House & the marina then got back for a rain shower which moved everything into the house & the garage, though we got back outside later. Overall a fine party. I know grantykins had a good time. Sunday we went for brunch (with excellent crabcake Benedict in spite of incredibly bad waitering) at Barnacle Buds & most of the crew was off & back home. Seriously, thanks all for coming. We had a great time...

*geographic animosity never ceases to befuddle me. I mean, true fan animosity (like the way i hate most Cubs fans) is one thing... It's rational (or at least rationalizable) - the average Cubs fan doesn't understand nor want to understand the finer points of a baseball game. they just want to see homers & see the scoreboard click up for them... But a minnesotan's despise for a wisconsinite? the way Omahans talk about Iowans? Even, to some extent, the way coasters see the entire middle of the country as 'quaint' is difficult for me to process... Anyway - this Derrick guy had quite a different view of the Beer Pen than I had... anybody recognize him?

12 June 2008

Sticks in my Cray...

Crayfish or Crawfish...
Last night we went to Barnacle Buds for just the second time for their 1st annual Crawfish Boil. It was quite an experience, though not all that we'd hoped... It was cold & windy outside, so we ate inside...

I don't know if you've ever been to a Crayfish Boil (maybe i'm way behind here), but the setup was... unexpected. When it "boiled over" they dumped it all (a mix of Crawfish, Corn on the Cob, Red Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic Cloves, & Andouille Sausage) along a table covered in newspaper & sort of said 'have at it'. All they had were a few rolls of paper towels & we were a bit confused. One guy quickly went over how to eat (or access) a Crayfish, which i only partially got so it's very likely i was eating Crawfish brains & poop, but naja, new experiences and all...

I wished we'd had an expert (i'm looking at you, dave yost) to help us along with the eating & the entire process... & if it had been nicer out i think part of the point is that you all just stand around the table eating and chucking shells away. We were angesprochen several times by a guy (who i think may have been Barnacle Bud) who looked like a cross between Santa Claus & the Gorton's Fish Stick Fisherman Guy (who i'm convinced may be the same person, just in different seasons)

**Note: Loyal reader(s) may have noted the increased usage of full names the last couple of posts... This is a throwback to an earlier idea i'd had about an occasional Membership Drive segment for Roman Numeral J, but just a lazier version... in hopes that people still google themselves (do they? I know i do from time to time...) Anyway, if you've found your name here and would like it removed let me know and i will give you a codename like Kojak or Kojak2

11 June 2008

Oh Yeah, Eu-Ro

Who's got Euro 2008 fever. This guy (& andy, evidently who made multiple soccer-related phone calls on day 2 of the tourney). Generally i have a fairly moderate interest in the tournament and don't really pay attention until at best Round 2 & often just the semis & finals, but this year feels different.

Perhaps it's that the first (lame) SeegerOlympics point of the year is up for grabs, or that I have an extremely low key temp job with outstanding high speed internet so i can watch the games online, but whatever it is, i'm hooked. Not since i'm pretty sure i saw Chris Rogers in a bar in Bratislava watching the Euro 2000 semi-finals have i been this invested in the outcome...

Of course my rooting interest is conflicted by the SeegerOlympics pick... I always sort of want Germany to win, but my tourney pick was Portugal who won their first match soundly and are playing in a little under an hour.

In fact, i've made a couple picks against my better judgement (or against my rooting interest, perhaps in fact with my better judgement) these last few weeks... When we didn't go see the Tubes last week Andy & i made NBA finals picks. Now, i think i can safely say that i care less than almost anyone who would call themeselves a sports fan who wins the finals this year, but I thought it would be the Lakers, even though my very minor rooting interest would be for KG & therefore with the Celts... So, go Kobe, i guess... & go Portugal, really?

Fandom is a bit of a sticky thing for me... I mean, aside from the really obvious ones (Brewers to win the NL Central & da Bears) i have a lot of problems with finding fandom... Even this Friday, when we go to the Brewers/Twins game i feel like i'll want to wear my Brewers t-shirt & my Twins hat... Who am i cheering for? a 2-1 split? When i watch an MLS game i really can't figure out who i want to win... Having a local team helps, sure, but i can't say with any real sense that i was a Bucks fan when Chad Jorgensen gave me a ticket to a game, nor do i really care if the Omaha Royals were winning or losing (minor league baseball is an even more complicated fan situation, because when the players you root for get too good, they leave town)...

So, i guess go Portugal, go Germany (but boo Andy), go Sweden (because your fans throw their beers into the air every time you score) & go watch some Euro 2008...

05 June 2008