Our love is God, let’s go get a Slushie

One of the only worthwhile things at my godforsaken undergrad institution was Chapel at Six, every Monday night. To this day it remains the model for what I look for in a church experience. They also ran a “service learning” program with the motto “College IS the real world – it’s just not the WHOLE world.” They were the only people there with any sense of perspective. But I digress…what if that’s overshooting the mark? What if in fact, high school is the real world? And it’s not the whole world – but the whole world IS high school?

Think about it. What is modern America – the politics, the culture, the attitude – but the nerds vs the jocks writ large? The punk kids versus the rednecks? The art and band nerds against the bitch gang in the girls’ bathroom? Everything unbelievably superficial, nothing but scorn for sincerity, and the real problems of life completely overlooked? And here’s the thing – high school comes with a built in time limit. Survive through the end of the 12th grade and roll out. But if real life has become high school, when do we get to graduate?

I think sometimes that maybe I really do need profound psychological help. It would explain a lot – like my profound distaste for contemporary high school movies, my abiding love for Heathers, my tendency to still identify with the just-slightly-weird-enough kids, my obsessive interest in gifted education for somebody who doesn’t even have children…The fact that I can still see the patterns of the old days two decades on may be proof of advanced psychosis…or maybe I’m just brilliant. But if I’m so bloody brilliant, why can’t I find a way to get the hell out of school?

(Or at least stop thinking so fondly of Heathers? You sure couldn’t get that film made today…)


Vanderbilt beats Miami (Ohio). That makes five wins. Bowl eligibility requires six.

One more river to cross.

Unfortunately, the names of those rivers are Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest. However, based on the way things have gone this year, you have to think that any of those can be had. And hell, if you finish the season on a 4-game losing streak, you didn’t deserve a bowl bid anyway. All I ask is please, no frickin’ Music City Bowl. Nothing worse than going to a bowl in your own hometown.

Plugging right along…

…at the new job. Big task today involves figuring out backup server software and getting a program in place to make sure everything gets backed up routinely. A good idea, and actually a core criterion of whether I’m doing my job. Me, I’m counting on Leopard to take care of all my personal backups going forward. I just have to sort out the dog’s breakfast of hard disks and server systems at home (and my server systems, I mean the one iMac that everything’s plugged into).


I stumbled across an article by John Rogers. If you don’t know him, he’s most famous these days for being the first-draft author of that abysmal orgy of Hollywood idiocy called Transformers. Someday he may live that down, and when he does, it will be based on such trenchant observations as are made in this piece. Such as the fact that there are four times as many Americans living in urban areas as rural areas. Or four times as many people in New York City alone as there are farmers in the whole country. There are half again as many people in computer and mathematical jobs as there are in farming. And yet, the default notion of what is “Middle America” is rural, agrarian, and completely out of step with what the actual median lifestyle is in this country. This is why all these stories about “real Americans” make me want to spit nails. I’ve lived in the exurban South, the suburbs of Washington DC, and the heart of Silicon Valley. THIS is real America. Car commutes, satellite TV, Starbucks by the quart, straphanging on the Metro, public notices in three languages. That’s every bit as American as a bunch of pickup trucks circling the Dairy Queen all night on the weekend – in fact, by the numbers, it’s four times as American.

Put that in your corncob pipe and smoke it.

Judgement Day

Tennessee 17

Alabama 41

Vanderbilt 17

South Carolina 6

I should be running drunk through street smoking three cigars at once, but I’m not even cised. I think it may be time to consider that something is wrong with me beyond just the sudden onset of senile sanity…

Idle thoughts

* Vandy has two quarterbacks. Which means they have no quarterback. I think that’s in the commandments somewhere after “thou shalt not kill” and coveting they neighbor’s ass but before don’t put metal in the microwave and don’t serve red wine with fish.

* I’m sort of torn…the iPhone isn’t a complete laptop replacement, but it almost seems like I should have gone with a MacBook Pro. The step up to the MacBook isn’t quite enough, but it’s still the blogger’s delight as far as battery life and wi-fi performance. And yet I still need to have a pen and a pad for some reason.

* I have struggled through a couple of different 0.38mm gel pens recently (0.38? Really? We need to get down to HUNDREDTHS OF A MILLIMETER? We can get down to hundredths of a millimeter?) but am not really satisfied. For some reason, gel ink has never worked as well for me as the plain old roller ball ink from the classic Pilot VBall in Extra Fine 0.5mm, which carried me through most if not all of my college education and several years after. The problem with me and retractable gel pens is obscure and weird, but there it is: ever since seventh grade, I carry my pen in my right hip pocket next to my wallet. Have done so for well over twenty years now and no plans to change. However, a retractable just doesn’t fly there, because if you push the button at the wrong time, boom, leaky pen point in your hip and a big black smudge in your 501s.

The practical upshot of this is that I have long coveted the telescoping Fisher Space Pen. I have bought three. I have lost all three. This is what is known as “bad arithmetic.” Until I can be assured of not losing it, I am reluctant to splash out money that would buy me two whole boxes of extra-fine Pilot G2s, which most people seem to think is the god of pens. For the first time, it occurs to me that the caliber of paper on which I am writing could be making an impact. Something to think about. Damn, I wish I could find that third retractable space pen. (The reason it works is because to extend the pen point you have to pull out on the end rather than pushing a button, making it basically impossible to open accidentally while preserving the efficacy of one-handed operation.)

* The new job has cut into my blogging time. Not because I was blogging at work at the old place, but because, oddly enough, I had a little more clarity of mind after work when I was there. Three months ago, I would leave the office and come home, and before I could even get on the freeway, I had shut off the work portion of my brain and was dedicated to something else. Now, with a new job and having not yet proven myself (and still trying to get my feet under me two weeks in, thanks to the paperwork and byzantine complexities of this particular contract), I find that even though I’m not thinking about work after hours, there is a low-grade fug that’s probably a by-product of the anxieties that go along with being back in ramp-up mode. It’s comforting to see that I was writing the same things three years ago, though – and as it stands at the moment, I have one built-in upcoming disaster to help weather and then a built-in two-week break from same, which means I have an excellent opportunity to prove my chops without getting burnt out early in the process. Always good to hope.

* It’s finally autumnal and crispy at night, and the days have been heavy and leaden and overcast and not warm at all. PERFECT. I could take 360 days a year like this. Maybe I really should consider a transfer to Scotland…

The LORD giveth, and the LORD taketh away…

Well, there’s Vandy down the tank. Needed that one. And I seriously doubt that Kentucky will roll over for us. No undefeated teams left in the SEC. Stand by for some sclub school like South Florida or Hawaii getting a berth in the title game. Actually, don’t. The undeserving teams always get paired with the ones they’re most likely to beat, so they can eke out a win and them complain that they deserve a piece of the title. How about this: play more than one ranked team and then talk to me. Better yet, play the #1 team on a neutral site. Be sure to write out your farewells to loved ones first. If South Florida had to go into Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, you could bury the whole team in one casket. Preferably closed.

Meanwhile, Cal…memo to Kevin Riley: there will be better days coming. Freshmen were put on this earth to do stupid things, and if that stunt you pulled in the last 14 seconds is the dumbest thing you do on or off the field this year, you got off light. Believe me when I say that. You did a lot of good things under trying circumstances, and will get better with every opportunity. However, deciding to leg it with a linebacker between you and the endzone – with a 29-yard tying field goal still possible if you threw the ball away – was hands down the stupidest !!!!-ing thing anyone has done all year in college football. I know Tedford was defending you up and down in public, which is good, but somebody needs to tie a cinderblock to your ankles in practice this week. THROW – IT – AWAY.

Your new Top 3: Ohio State, Boston College, South Florida. Everything that has happened in college football for the last 10 years has made it a worse game, and I’m running out of patience. Most of all, I’m getting sick of one 5-win season after another in Nashville. Even an Alabama team crippled by probation with an amiable dunce at the controls managed 10 wins and a New Years’ Day bowl. Either suck less or cancel football.

Say what you like about our football…

…but you can’t quibble with our alums.

Muhammed Yunus 2006

Al Gore 2007




(yeah, your boy is NEVER claiming his undergrad school again. How glad am I that I didn’t get the tattoo?)

Day 3

I had a bloody excellent 4-day weekend after leaving OldNewJob (or is that NewOldJob?) and as I type this am getting ready to go in to work at NewNewJob for Day 3. Unfortunately, things being how they are, I’m afraid that I may not have work email for two weeks and may not have a badge until after the first of the new year, which is kind of a show but can’t be helped.

The scary thing is that I have had more than one flash of “maybe I could do this for another 10 years.” I don’t know if it’s just Phase 1 or what, but it’s strange sensation that I think you humans call “optimism.” =)


Yep – that really was Vanderbilt going down to Auburn to shat the bed. Effectively a five-touchdown loss (a garbage-time drive for a TD against Auburn’s fourth-string D hardly counts), it’s becoming painfully obvious that this isn’t going to be the year. Kentucky’s a fraud as a top-10 team, but they’re still better than us, and Georgia won’t be caught sleeping again. There are a lot of games left to play, and 3 wins in the next 7 could get it done, but there aren’t 3 wins out there to pick up.

Meanwhile, the SEC…Arkansas lost to Alabama lost to Georgia lost to UT (BADLY) who lost to Florida lost to Auburn lost to MISSISSIPPI STATE. Auburn whales on Vanderbilt and Florida but spits the bit to MSU and South Florida? (Don’t come talking up South Florida. Nobody ranked 6th in the country should be tied 7-7 at the half with Florida Atlantic. Another fraud team.) I don’t know if the whole SEC is really that good or if everyone’s that inconsistent, but right now, if Florida goes down bad tonight, I think you have to consider the possibility that the SEC this year consists of LSU and a bunch of spastics.

Speaking of fraud, Wisconsin at #5 loses on the road? Badly? Add the Kentucky loss, the substandard South Florida performance*, all the top-10 losses last week, and you have to start considering the very real possibility that nobody knows anything, and that the foreordained LSU-Pac 10 matchup is really going to happen. (Consider, too, that the #3 team in the Pac-10 could conceivably go 11-1 and wind up in the Sun Bowl, and you will have proof once and for all that the Pac-10 doesn’t take care of its teams.)

I wish I had an answer for Vanderbilt, but short of a trade to the ACC, I don’t.

* South Florida is this year’s Rutgers: feel-good team out of a mediocre conference, with one or two good wins and an utterly diabetic schedule otherwise. They were sweating the fourth quarter against Florida Atlantic, and if you have to hang on by your nails against a Sun Belt team, you’re not a top 10 program. Anybody who votes the Bulls up this week deserves to lose their ballot.