i'm pretty stoked (again)

His speech last night rekindled my fire for this year's election. Yes, it was calculated. Yes, it was orchestrated. And, yes, the whole 'giving it on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr's speech in DC' was a little heavy handed and kind of cheesy. But still. The man gives good speech. It was a little too heavy handed about his working class past, but I think that was definitely necessary to sway some of Hillary's supporters and the undecided Independents. Although, I never really understood why the working class was so in love with her in the first place—she's way more blue blood than Obama. But I digress, I think he did a good job of attacking McCain and outlining what he can do for the country that McCain can't. And hinted at some fire and steel in his character that Kerry never did. And, it was a pretty strong image to see him in that huge stadium surrounded by all of those fanatics.

We're definitely at a major turning point and I believe that Obama holds the keys to a better future for all Americans and McCain will only continue to take us down the road to the fall of the American empire that Bush has set us on. Hopefully, the rest of the American people can see that as well, and want a brighter, more hopeful future.

Also, after reading a lot of articles about Biden over the past week, I grudgingly think that he was probably a good choice for VP. Let's just hope that he doesn't say anything too crazy between now and Nov. 4th.


you've seriously got to check this out

Remember those things they had in the 80s that were made up of a bunch of flattened steel pins? And when you pressed, say, your hand, or your face, or...other body parts into one side, the pins created a 3D representation of it on the other side?

Well, Radiohead has brought that concept into the Oughts. They created an entire video without using cameras. Instead they used lasers to create a 3D map of what they wanted to appear in the video. Then they poured water over the lasers to distort the image.

If nothing else wait until the 2.22 mark when they start showing scenery instead of just faces.

weary bones

The R-dog has had the same bed since she was just a little puppy. Twice, over the years, I'd tried to buy her a new bed, but she wanted nothing to do with either one of them. Mostly because they were so cushy that she couldn't stay on them. So, I'd given up on finding her a new place to lie down.

She's 10 now so her old bed has been with us for a little bit. And the R-dog likes to swim and then come home and lie down on her bed. And it's pretty easy to wash the cover, but not so easy to wash the foam... Are you getting the picture? Yeah. It had gotten really, really stinky. Yesterday I decided it was probably time to invest in a new one whether she liked it or not, so I geared up and made the trek to PetSmart. There were two choices, a thin $30 kennel mat that didn't look nearly big enough for a large, 95-lb puppy, and a larger, 4-inch thick, $90 one that looked like a good size, but I was afraid might have the same 'too cushy' problems as the other ones we'd tried. I was standing there, pondering, and thought, 'She's old and has weary bones, she deserves a nice, soft place to rest.' So I bought the expensive one and hoped that she'd like it.

She hasn't moved since I put it down yesterday afternoon. It was worth every penny.


i'm kind of disappointed

I really can't decide how I feel about Obama's pick for V.P.

I feel like ever since he won the nomination, Obama has been drifting toward the middle and compromising on quite a few of his stances that he professed during the primary campaign. I realize that a little bit of this is probably necessary if he wants to get elected, but it makes me wonder what he'll capitulate once he's in the Oval Office.

It makes me think his whole 'I Am Change' message was just a bunch of mularkey.

And picking Joe Biden as his V.P. only serves to solidify my feelings. I mean, Biden? C'mon. He. Is. Crazy. Yes, yes, he has a lot of foreign policy experience, but this means that he is also old school politics. Really old school. And, yes, it's Polyanna to think that Obama could've gone into the White House and completely changed the way things were done, but this just feels like so much cowtowing. I would've been happier with practically any other choice but Biden. And, I think he would've been wiser to pick a woman. But, we'll see I guess, if this is just another brilliant play in a fairly smooth and genius strategy, or if it's his first major blunder.


In Olympic news, I was happy to see Sonya Richards finally redeem herself last night. By a lot. It was pretty exciting to watch. As was the men's 4x400 relay. And we didn't drop the baton!

The gay blogs are all aflutter because a gay Australian won men's platform diving, but I can't really see why his sexual orientation should matter one iota. But then I never really understand why anyone still cares who sleeps with whom.

Today is the last day of competition and I am equal parts sad and relieved to see it come to an end. I've enjoyed watching these games, but, like Papa D am kind of annoyed with NBC's coverage. Show us more highlights of all of the events. Who won shotput? Decathalon? Long jump? Table tennis? Mountain biking? Why hardly any Velodrome races? You'll show almost the entire marathon runs, but won't show wrestling? I wanted to know more about all of the events, not just the ones that NBC thought I would care about.

At any rate, it will be nice to turn off the tv and start getting outside more.


38 years ago

Walt Disney World opened in Orlando
Kissinger began secret peace talks with Hanoi
The top movies were 'Patton', 'Love Story' and 'Hello Dolly'
The Senate voted to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Apollo 13 said, 'Houston, we have a problem.'
A loaf of bread cost $0.24
Four protesting students were killed by the National Guard at Kent State
The population of the Unites States of America was 204.9 million
OSHA was established
A new home cost an average of $23,400
A first class stamp cost only $0.06

and on this particular day, a 5lb 9oz baby boy was born to a young couple in Panquitch, Utah.

They've regretted it almost every day since.


well, at least we're good at something

For some reason I'm not as stoked to watch the qualifying runs of the track and field as I was for the swimming races. I just want them to get to it already. Maybe because it's more nerve wracking? Because the winner is so up in the air, and with most of the swimming, it was, 'Oh look, the United States won again.'

And if I have to hear Bob Newmayer say, one more time, 'What's the emotion?' I'm gonna reach through the tv to China and punch him myself. As most of the athletes he asks clearly want to do the same thing. 'I just lost my only shot at a medal in these games, you asshole, what do you think the emotion is?'

And we're really pretty much sucking at diving this year. Where's Greg Louganis when you need him? Apparently he's coaching in China.

Holy crap! Go men's water polo team. 10 - 5? That seems rather unheard of to me. I mean, I'm not a water polo aficionado or anything, but doesn't that seem like a really high score for a water polo match?

I'm really glad that volleyball is over. That was getting pretty old.

And why does everyone say, 'Oh. They only got bronze.'? Like it's the worst thing that can possibly happen? Hello? A bronze medal is still better than two-thirds of the other competitors. Can you imagine how shitty the 4th person feels?

mid life crisis?

I've wanted a tattoo ever since I was old enough to get really drunk and make bad decisions. And, I can't tell you how many times I've come this close to getting Snoopy or some other dumb thing etched permanently into my flesh when I'd had three too many beers. Luckily, if you're visibly hammered, they won't permanently etch things into your flesh. All of this to say, I've thought about it a lot over the years, but couldn't ever come to a conclusion about a tattoo that I wouldn't be embarrassed about when I'm 75 and drooling in the nursing home.

For some reason, this week, I decided that it was time. So I drew this up and last night, got it carved into my arm. I may regret it in a couple of days/weeks/months/years, but for now I feel pretty good about it.

And I've already thought of others that I want to add.



Those Jamaicans sure are fast.

I wouldn't want to meet any of the discus throwers (men or women) in that proverbial dark alley. Those people have some girth. Although the American woman, Stephanie whatsername, who won a surprise gold was pretty cute about wanting to meet Mary Lou Retton, who is the main reason Stephanie whatsername became an athlete in the first place. I would just love to see the two of them standing close together in the same room. Mary Lou probably comes up to Stephanie whatsername's hip bone.

And, did you see the Croatian gymnast who won the only medal (for his pommel horse routine) ever for his country in the entire history of the Olympics? He was pretty cute also, hugging his coach after he found out he won.

That right there is why I like the Olympics.

We didn't do so well in springboard diving. Didn't we used to be good at that?


i really need some fresh air

For the entirety of my life up to this exact moment, I'd always considered the most boring sport in the world to waste any time watching on tv to be golf. I think I've found one worse. Marathon running. Seriously NBC? You're gonna show the entire 2 hours of the women's marathon race? How 'bout just showing the beginning, a very brief chunk of the middle, and then the conclusion? But I can't change the channel unless you decide to show something worth watching.

You know what's not boring to watch? The trampoline competition. I think maybe because it relies more on grace than brute strength is why I actually found myself enjoying a gymnastics event today.

Well, in case you are living under a rock, or are M5K or LSL, the Golden One is now tied with Mark Spitz for 7 golds in one Olympics. I think it's sort of unfair that he has to rely on three other people to win his last one. Although, he barely won that 7th one (by an actual fingernail the announcers said), so maybe he's happy to only swim one leg.

I hope Dara Torres kicks all kinds of ass tonight.


In other, non-Olympic, news: It's rained now for two straight days which is awesome for the grass, but not so awesome for the walking of four-legged critters who really need to poop, but refuse to use the back yard. Which is the only reason I have a yard, but who am I to argue? It's also not so good for the running, so I hope it quits tomorrow so I can actually burn some calories.

I just completed one of the most tedious, mind-numbing projects I've ever worked on in my long, storied career as a graphic designer. Thankfully, as a freelancer who charges by the hour, it didn't really bother me all that much. I just kept thinking, 'Good. One more hour I can charge them.'

I'm not even turning on the tv tomorrow. I swear. My brain is numb from too much boob tube. Even if it has been riveting.

I didn't spill anything on myself today!


all of it's hanging out

Michael Phelps is a government created cyborg bent on world domination. Remember the story of Captain America? And his meltdown? Yeah. I don't want to be there when it happens. What he's accomplishing is just simply amazing. And sort of once in a lifetime. Like a comet or something.

And, let's all of us pause for a moment and give some recognition to Rebecca Soni. She stomped all over everybody else (in a really tough race and in her first Olympics) and was contrite and self deprecating afterwards. That there's a true Olympic athlete, kids.

I can't watch beach volleyball any more. Every time I see it, I start laughing about what Mama D said about it. And can't stop. So, I have to change the station. At the risk of offending her, I'll share her words of wisdom with you:
We are enjoying the Olympics too--well, all except that stupid beach volleyball crap. Why do they insist on showing that when there are legitimate sports out there? Who wants to watch two women with it all hanging out, slapping a little ball around a sandbox? There is true sport out there folks!
Makes me laugh every time I read it.

No more Michael Phelps montages, please. And I don't want to hear any more about his double jointedness. Or his 'flat backside'. Seriously, they just said that on the tv. Hilarious.

I can't watch the women's all-arounds either. I just can't. The night terrors.

the kindness of strangers

I didn't get a chance to run this morning and was pretty busy all day until about 4p, so as soon as I finished up what I was working on, I put on my running shoes, did a couple of stretches, plugged in the iPod and headed out the door. Today was long-run day, so I turned left at the corner and put some speed on.

About a mile in, a strong wind suddenly burst down the street and kept on coming, kicking up dirt and making my eyes water. I looked up ahead and saw a dark cloud forming, but there was still blue sky overhead, so I decided to keep on going.

When I hit the 2-mile mark it started to rain. Kind of hard. And the wind was still blowing everything sideways, so I got kind of wet. A couple in a white car with a baby in back stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. 'No, no thanks. I'm fine,' I said. And kept running.

A couple minutes later the hail happened. At first it didn't seem like that big of a deal, it was kind of tiny and didn't really hurt all that bad, so I kept going. Then it got bigger. And harder. And stung like a b*%$@ when it pelted me in the head. Which was frequent and often.

I saw a farmhouse up ahead so I decided to duck onto their front porch. A second later, a woman poked her head out the front door and, in response to my asking, said it was ok if I stood there for a second. Five minutes later, after waiting for the storm to abate with it only getting stronger and stronger, she came back out and said that her husband was willing to give me a ride if I wanted it.

I gladly accepted.


i'm feeling cynical today. sorry.

The Olympics coverage just had the most blatant Michael Phelps orgasm I've seen yet. A montage of all of his winning swims. And then the announcers got on and started spelling out the eventual fall of the Golden One. I love it. Before he won five golds here they were all behind him, but now that he's actually coming dangerously close to Spitz's record, they're trying to discover scenarios in which he won't remain the King.

Oh and the reason that the women gymnasts freak me out? The combination of super, muscled-up, steroided bodies below the neck and the eye shadow and glitter and lipstick above the neck. What are we trying to tell these women when we idolize them for being strong enough to hurl their bodies around the gymnasium, but expect them to look 'pretty' doing it? It's creepy. And nothing you say will be able to convince me otherwise.

For some unfathomable reason I hate that thing the swimmers do with their mouths while they're pressing their goggles into their eye sockets. Like they're trying to pop their ears.

Synchronized diving is pretty frickin' cool when it all comes together.

yes, i'm still talking about it

Mama D says that nothing is more worthless than beach volleyball, and friend T agrees, but I have to respectfully disagree. It takes quite a bit of athleticism for two people to do what it normally takes six to accomplish. I think anyway.

Nothing is creepier to me than women's gymnastics. Watching them do the vault last night gave me the heebs. And, I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no way on this green Earth that the Chinese gymnasts are 16. And, I don't understand all of the perfunctory hugging after they get done with every one of their routines.

That Alisha girl is totally kicking herself today for losing the gold medal for her entire team, but I'm glad the Chinese competitors' families are still around to see another day.

Ok. Ok. Michael Phelps. Yeah, yeah. And poor Katie Hoff just fell apart. I was just the other day saying she was as good an athlete as MP, but apparently I was wrong. No one is.


Yesterday's food spill of the day. Black beans all down my white t-shirt from my Chipotle burrito. I put it back on this morning to take the dogs for a walk and didn't notice until I was about halfway through our excursion that it had black bean juice spots all over the front of it. Awesome. I think Rebel is right, I need a bib.


i'm so confused

Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame has his own recording label, Saddle Creek Records, right? For some reason, unbeknownst to me he has been adamant about not allowing any albums from his record label to be sold on eMusic. Until he came out with a solo album, didn't record it on Saddle Creek Records and is allowing it to be sold on eMusic. Look. Look up there, there's proof. Don't misunderstand, I'm very excited that I can download it here, pretty much for free, rather than buy it off of Amazon for $2M, but I have to admit, I'm perplexed.

What gives?


olympic musings

Michael Phelps = 'Merika. I know I'm not supposed to say this out loud, but I'm kind of sick of him. Yes. He is an amazing athlete. Lance Armstrong amazing, but Jesus people, can we just stop talking about him all. the. time.? Plus, he kind of sounds idiotic when he talks.

Aaron Piersal = I just got stoned before I came out to swim. Dude. You should've been there.

The USA men's gymnastic team = muscled up hobbits ramped on testosterone. Those are some short dudes. And I mean duuuudddes. They're bro'in' it up all over the place. But. Pretty amazing what they're accomplishing tonight. In their first Olympics. Against some stellar competition. Even if they don't medal, they've had a great night (day, whatever it is in Beijing).

That kid from Korea that won the silver medal in the 200 free flashed a gang sign on the podium. Awesome.

I'm glad the Chinese are doing well, because when they don't I imagine their government is maiming their families back home. You know before the Olympics began the Chinese government rounded up all of their relatives and promised death and dismemberment if the athletes didn't perform well.

How come they don't show the women's swimming medal ceremonies? For that matter, why do the women swimmers get pretty dissed (Blogger recognizes 'dissed' as a word. How awesome is that?) overall? They've been performing some pretty amazing feats as well, but noooooo, it has to be all Michael Phelps all the time in the Water Cube.

Settle in people, there will be much more where this came from. You might want to just skip my blog for the next two weeks.

product placement

I'm always of two minds when I hear one of my favorite artists' songs in a commercial. On the one hand, musicians need to make money, too, right? They're just using their innate talents to make a living like the rest of us. On the other hand, they're using their innate talents to pimp stuff. Artists are supposed to suffer, right? Are they selling their souls just in order to sell beer? I guess the truth of the matter is when they show up in a product I don't really care for, I get annoyed and think that they're copping out.

Here are some talking points:

1) Wilco has basically become the spokesband for VW. This one has me on the fence. Especially because VW has used many more than one of Wilco's songs in their commercial. Do I get mad about it? Or does it make me want to buy a VW because they know cool music?

2) The other day I saw a Bud Light Lime commercial that featured a song by Santogold and vowed I'd never listen to her album again.

3) And yesterday, I saw an AT&T/Olympics commercial that played the intro to 'The Crane Wife, Pt 3' by The Decemberists and was at first disgusted and angry and then started thinking, 'Why not?' I mean it's the Olympics not diapers.

I guess I can kind of see the point either way and therefore am very confused about the issue.


if only they were still done naked

I love the Olympics. I know it's just a sporting event, but man, does it get any better? Really? I love everything about it: the underdog stories; the heartbreaking stories of overcoming personal trauma only to become better, stronger, faster; the stories of the 'old' people who no one thinks should even be competing, and yet there they are, with all of the 20-year-olds. I especially love the looks on the athletes' faces when they win their event, even if it's just a qualifying heat and how excited the families are sitting in the stands. I love that these somewhat obscure athletes become famous for a short period of time just because they are better than everyone else at swimming, or running, or biking or whatever.

My favorite events of the summer Olympics are anything that happens in the pool followed by track and field, mostly because these are the ones I understand the most. But I'll watch any and all of it. Today, I was entranced by the women's weightlifting competition and how excited the Chinese competitor was when she did the best job of all of the other competitors of picking up that heavy bar and popping it up over her head. Without dropping it. The only thing I really don't care for are the ones that involve horses. I guess I just don't understand why anyone considers them a sport. I equate equestrian endeavors with golf and NASCAR in my mind.

Seriously, though, the super human feats and effort put into the winning of these things are amazing to me. Can you imagine how stressful it is? It would probably blow my brain right out of my skull. I know they're all used to competing, but still. And, I even think it would be stressful to be one of the announcers. To have to correctly pronounce all of those foreign names and know all of the facts and back stories of all of the competitors...I certainly couldn't do it.

The whole thing is just massively impressive. And it lasts for two weeks!

My only question about this year's event is how many Chinese people had to starve in order for their government to build the Olympic arena. I mean, China is not a wealthy country, right? How could they possibly afford it?

Maybe they're charging exorbitant prices for hotel rooms and single servings of Szechuan Dog.


alpha and omega

1) Look! I'm done. I'm done. I'm done. I had to create a whole new flower bed in the back yard to accommodate the leftover rock and then put about four more 'barrows full in the area that already had a bunch of rock in it, but I'm done! And, so help me god, I pray I never have to do that again. Ok. I guess it wasn't that bad, but I need a few years before I see the combination of tiny rocks and shovel and wheelbarrow again.

2) I am addicted to Whole Foods' blackened chicken salad. What I just discovered though was that I shouldn't eat it while I'm on the computer, because I just spilled half of the sandwich I'd made all down my shirt and keyboard.

3) Did anyone else see that Dennis Kucinich has 100,000 signatures on a petition to impeach W? And that he gave it to Pelosi. God, I love that guy.

4) My new favorite website.

5) The Olympics are on!


yard work is hard work

Yesterday, before the rains came, I'd managed to finish this much of the moving of rocks from one place ot the other:

So, I started back up at noon thirty today and by 2p it looked like this:

(Try to imagine what it will look like once the grass is grown in and I plant some ground cover type shrub-y things. Cool, right? Right?)

So, after finishing up the area that I'd bought the rock for in the first place, I still had a shit ton of rock left. And for once I'm not exaggerating. I pondered for a few minutes on what I could do with the left over. And, I put it in the only really logical place. The front yard. Unfortunately, after filling up this area that used to be not filled with rock:

I still have this sitting out in the street:

What do I do with it? What? I had to stop at 5p because my back couldn't take any more shoveling and I won't have time to move it on Friday, so it will still be sitting there on Saturday. Looking at me funny.

Anyone want some river rock? It's yours for the low, low price of get-it-out-of-my-sight-now-please.

this is what sisyphus has to worry about

Do you ever, occasionally, stop whatever activity is cluttering up your day and think, 'I spent many, many, many, many, many, many hours in school and didn't really learn a damn thing of any practical value.'?

I've started filling in the nuclear waste ground area in the back yard with tons (literally. 5 of them to be exact.) of 'river rock'. My first question was, 'How do I lay down the landscaping fabric?' 'Do I overlap the different swaths? And by how much? One inch? Two? Three?' 'They gave me 'fabric pins', what the hell do I do with these?' These are things, similar to how to use a checkbook, that no one really teaches you in school. And it's been so long that I've sort of forgotten who won the Civil War and why we fought it in the first place, so all I'm saying is that whatever modicum of learning I did gain from formal education has evaporated almost completely from the lack of using my minuscule brain. Maybe if they'd taught more practical lessons, all of that money and time wouldn't have been a complete bust.

But I muddled through and hopefully no weeds will show up through the rocks in two weeks. That's what the landscape fabric is for, right? After quite a few trips of wheelbarrows full of said rock, my second question was, 'Why the hell am I doing this again?' I only completed about half before severe thunderstorms brought a halt to my manual endeavors. So, it's back at it again today.

Loving your Mother is hard work, y'all.


hang on

Does anyone else think that Dr. Dog is The Grateful Dead for the 21st century? Whatever the reason, I'm completely enamored with this song.

Hang On - Dr. Dog


the bihedral

I hooked up with new 'friend' Joel for some climbing in Boulder Canyon. After careful consideration of my wussiness, we decided to hit The Bihedral because there were plenty of moderate climbs in my range.

Where's Ray 5.8+
Somehow, (and I know we did it, but looking at it online it seems really weird that we did) Joel turned this into a 3p sport route. I'm kinda glad he did though, 'cause it was a lot of fun. It was a nice one to start out on and let me warm up as it'd been about two months since I climbed last. What we did, I think, is do Where's Ray and then the second and third pitches of Flags of Our Fathers, 5.9.

Bihedral Arete, 5.10a
This was by far my favorite route of the day. Nice use of the arete for the bottom half with a nice, perplexing crux that I had to hang on for a bit to figure out, and then some great, pinch-y stuff for the second half. One thing I've noticed is that all of my constant bouldering has really helped me hang on to small, tiny holds that I would've never been able to even six months ago.

After Joel did the first two pitches of Flags of Our Fathers to get our gear back, we headed over to Hold the Line, 5.9.
Fun, thin, slabby moves on the bottom half and then a really sweet crux through a pseudo-chimney. I had just finished the crux on this when it started to rain. Big, fat, cold splatters that instantly soaked both of us. Joel told me I could just come down and we could pull the rope, but I had to finish it, dammit. So, I did. Even though the rock slicked up pretty quickly.

Once I owned it, we hightailed it out of there to escape the looming thunderstorms.