November 30, 2007

Painting



I was at Jake's place and mentioned the fruit basket on his table. I wanted to paint it. That son of a bitch called me on it - without even getting up he reached back and pulled out a canvas and paints. He threw down the gauntlet. These paintings are the result, a fruit basket in modernity.

Jake and Shira did the work, I was in more of a consulting role. But now all I want to do is paint. Climbing and philosophy are dead to me.

Meanwhile, Jake and I have been brewing a little chinese rice wine, marinating baijiu in cranberries for nearly two weeks now. It should be peaking just as finals end. Smells like a baijiu party to me.

I spent yesterday teaching and meeting with students. Then split a bottle of wine and caught up on grading. I love grad school. I don't think they let you drink wine for most jobs, but what do I know. I live in an ivory tower.

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November 26, 2007

Old Man Crosswords

Thomas got a dog, his sister’s dog for some reason. He named it boner. What a charming Jr. High reference, I don’t think I’ve had a boner in years. Just saying it makes me feel young, like being afraid to stand up in class because the girl in front of me has little boobs and a spaghetti strap top.

Those awkward situations that make you feel old have been occurring in rapid succession. This was the first Thanksgiving in which I preferred the sweet potato mashed potatoes to the white potato mashed potatoes. No one under the age of old likes sweet potatoes, what is happening to me?

I find crossword puzzles exceedingly irritating, even the venerable NY Times. They tend to be so sloppy and imprecise, it can make a philosopher irate. Just yesterday, the clue was premise, the answer was maxim. I was incredulous, these two concepts have nothing in common. I had to look it up, just to make sure. According to some shitty dictionary I found lying around, that ignoramus Webster (oh how I covet the OED), a premise is an assumption used in argumentation, a maxim is a universal law or code of conduct. Sure both are used in philosophy, but it would be like asking engine and answering transmission. “But they have to deal with automobiles,” says Will Shortz the douche bag. Well, you’re dumb.

I was at some gym last night, and of the five TVs that were on, the only one with sound was playing Fresh Prince of Bel Air reruns. I got nostalgic and took it as a sign. I remember it being fairly enlightened (I just called Fresh Prince enlightened) for portraying a black family as rich on prime time TV, yet parts of it are really fucked up. Like the racial hierarchy within the show. Guess who is darker, the butler or anyone else on the show? Of course, the darker the skin the lower the class. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if it weren’t playing into such a common theme in society.

I went out with the hight school gang in Davis, there were a lot of us, it was a little like a time machine. This chick was totally hitting on me, she was made of bronze.

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November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving



Here’s a game, called “masturbating or carving a turkey?” Go. Time’s up. Wrong, I wouldn’t do that in the kichen. I thought I came from a fairly intelligent family until they let the vegetarian carve the turkey – talk about a lack of investment in the outcome. I’ll cut it, I’d probably kill the bird, but I’ll be damned if any of that soul-filled shit enters my mouth. Disgusting.

I haven’t been home in a while, and how things have changed. Two of our neighbors, entirely independently of each other, got pet llamas. Confounding, I don’t get it either. Yet somehow I want one now, a pretty one, one to cuddle with on lonely nights. This is Lenny, I named him and gave him a background story. Lenny was the scruffiest llama in the herd, and all the other llamas made fun of him for it, but then it got really really cold, and all the llamas were cold and miserable, but Lenny had so much scruffy fir that he made a blanket and saved the entire herd. I hear llamas spit like camels, but all I felt was love.

I think there should be some sort of system to facilitate a relative swap, some web 2.0 startup needs to pick up on this. My relatives live in NorCal, and I’m sure there is someone out there in NorCal with relatives in the south. So we switch it up – I’ll borrow her family while she visits mine. Everyone wins. Kind of like a timeshare. Craigslist might be the appropriate venue.

God damn I fucking love pumpkin pie.

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November 21, 2007

My Car



This sentra of mine is pretty much bad ass. It's hauled a queen sized mattress and box spring two hours, with a rope wrapped through the windows, locking the doors like the General Lee. That climbing rope has never been quite the same. I've fit four people, climbing gear, and camping gear on a 15 hour ride across Utah and Nevada. It has no back seat because I needed more room for crashpads and sleeping. It's been attacked by a bear, bottomed out in the triple digits, and still gets 40 mph on the freeway. What a fucking sweet ride.

I treat the car like a mobile home. I just realized that my trunk has a better stocked bar than most houses. It is not uncommon for it to contain a bottle or two of baijiu (chinese alcohol at 56%), mixing for the occasional Tom Collins (imported vodka, limes, club soda, agave nectar), a bottle of cheap wine, typically Charles Shaw, and the accompanying utensils (knife, cutting board, corkscrew, bottle opener, etc). Its primary shortcoming is an acute lack of glasses - I have a feeling the difference between heaven and hell may be nothing more than this. Both have all the alcohol you could want, but in one you have to drink straight from the bottle like a hobo.

UPDATE: Upon reflection, my well stocked trunk is indicative of the fact that I really haven't been drinking recently, those studies are taking their toll. I know I don't have my act together well enough to replenish supplies if they ever get low, it takes me days to get toothpaste when I run out. Thinking back, I haven't had a Tom Collins in two weeks, my old buddy must feel neglected. I suppose Baijiu is the one true winner here, I can never say no to the B. He's too useful for my training, the ultimate performance enhancing drug.

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November 18, 2007

Midnight Rubidoux



Yesterday was full of research and climbing. Studies in the morning, an hour at the quarry in the later afternoon, studies studies studies, then a midnight Rubidoux bouldering session. I soloed Original Sin (5.11b) by headlamp at the quarry, whew. Soloing at night is strange, the darkness makes you feel like you are either right off the ground or a mile up above a void.

Jake and I took turns shooting the pics at Rubidoux while Vodka was spotting. I forget how much fun night climbing is, and drinking climbing, and so when you combine them to night-drinking climbing, it kind of blows my mind. We started off midway up on a boulder, overlooking the city lights. I did some more ninja shit cuz that's how I role.

Then we went to the top. There's a castle tower up there for some reason, but who cares why when castles are involved. You build them just because the world needs castles, like puppies or hugs or farts. So we both climbed it, of course. Then there was this bridge thing, which we also climbed. Really cool, a stone pedestrian bridge over a trail, that way you don't have pedestrians crossing the trail getting run over by pedestrians walking on the trail.

I leave off with a moment of brilliance. After I climbed the tower, the alcohol was doing its thing. Jake was on point, and got this perfect photo. Although words can probably do it justice, they just aren't the same as seeing it.

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November 17, 2007

Elephant Man



I had my second go seeing Nick's play on Thursday, somehow I managed to get there on time. An accident, I'm sure. I could never pull that off on purpose. I'm like a gas - I expand to fill the time I've got to get ready. Give me ten minutes or an hour, I'll be five minutes late, guaranteed. Or later.

Nick managed to pull it off. Through sheer force of personality and skill he made a cast of high schoolers interesting. Don't ask me how, you know they're nothing but a bunch of cocksuckers.

This photo is from my favorite scene, when the young co-ed takes her top off so the elephant man can see her boobs. It all happens behind a screen because Nick is a tease like that, but it's probably better that way since she's like really really young. Senior year of high school, does that make her 14? Do kids even have breasts at that age? It kind of made me feel dirty, but I liked it.

Today I found the CD of Embarrassment that Abi and Colton were generous enough to make me in China. These were shot at the Lizard Lounge, my chinese living room. I had trouble taking Scotty seriously after seeing him do the macho man thing on the boulder pad. I think he might have been drinking. And Tyson is just awesome. I think he might have been drinking as well.



November 15, 2007

Grading Finished

Just finished grading sixty midterms for my kiddies, a mindless and thankless task. I was too nice, and my averages were higher than they should've been, but I'd be damned if I'm going to look back over those damn exams again. Now it's done, out of my hands and into theirs.

Shannon meets the Job tomorrow, and is taking her frustration out on my through this graph. Solar power is cool and all, but is she trying to make me depressed - just scroll down, you'll get there too. What a jerk she is. At least she'll be a rich jerk, a masters in aeronautical engineering from stanford is apparently impressive on a resume.

We've got more social commentary rap, this time with Sinatra in the background. Killer Mike, you tell it like it is, street style. "We wear our fuckin' pants big because our mothers were too poor to buy our size," Mike levels. "Call it what it is, nigga: It's fucking poverty." True.

MP3: Killer Mike: "That's Life"

November 12, 2007

Weekend



A long weekend is what I've got this week. I'm not god or an ex-president or anything, but I wish I could conjure up holidays at will. I don't have to meet with any of my students today, sick.

Jake and I went to an M.I.A. concert on Friday, there's one of her videos down there at the end. She dances like a duck stepping on broken glass, but there's something way hot about it. We pulled the concert off in style. Our tickets were for the balcony, which would be total shit, so we worked our way down onto the floor. In the process of sneaking ourselves in, we helped get 6 or so others down there as well, not out of altruism, but as a means to our end. It was like some fantasy story, where the old man you help early in the adventure turns out to be a powerful mage and ends up aiding you in the final fight. But the mage was under 20, and had downstairs tickets instead of magic.

Then we wanted to get down into the pit, but we needed armbands for that. So we turned our 21+ bands inside out to approximate the color and walked in like we know our shit. Well played. M.I.A. fell back into the crowd at one point and I totally messed up her hair. Like a noogie but sweeter. She loved it.

My goal was to see Nick's play on Saturday, the elephant man, but surprise I was late and the doors were locked. J-Tree takes a long time to return from when there's traffic I guess. He got mad at me but I bought him a cake today so I think it's forgiven. I'll try again Thursday, with any luck I won't fuck it up this time. I probably will.


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News

There are only a handful of mass media news outlets in the world that I trust, and I spend most of my time reading the New York Times, the Financial Times of London, and the Daily Yomiuri out of Japan. The BBC on NPR also gets some props, but everything else in this country is a crock of shit.

Remember this classic Simpsons episode where Homer is accused of sexually harassing the babysitter. CNN interviews him and doesn't like his responses, so they re-edit the footage to get something sexier as the clock jumps back and forth in the background. I want some of her sweet sweet can.

[UPDATE]: The video has been taken down, just to spite me I'm sure.

Sure enough, CNN actually does this. Check out this short interview with some wrestler dude. When asked about steroids, he practically admits to using them - and I don't doubt he has, look at that guy.


Now watch the unedited clip of the interview. He claims to have absolutely not used steroids, and then goes into the fairly articulate diatribe that was in the edited version. What a bunch of douche bags. They turned his no into a yes. What sort of magic are they using? Does it work with girls? Only if they are on TV? No complaints, those ones are hotter.

November 08, 2007

Thriller

All I've got to say is that if creepy were wine then Michael Jackson would be Jesus because it flows through his veins or whatever. But god damn, he was fucking cool back in the day, which is why he has managed to keep some measure of pop culture currency. My phone ring has been thriller for a while now, and the music video is still badass, epic. The disclaimer is irony. Deep personal convictions prevent him from the occult, yet allow him molest little boys.

But the real genius came later. International Thriller Remakes. First is from bollywood - I don't think he's singing thriller but the dance is certainly the same. Maybe not the moves, but the sex appeal for sure.


Next is form the philipines. 1500 prison inmates dancing. Watch it, words won't do. Then read more.

Buildering



I've been gimping all week because of this damn church. Proof there's a god, a limpy knee as punishment for rock climbing? I could swear this wasn't the worst thing happening in the world saturday night, but he singled me out to be made an example of. At least I got a shitty photo - Jake and I on top, a first ascent of the South East Ridge of the Riverside Episcopal Church (5.3).

I think I tweaked it a little during the competition, I seem to recall some pain when it was finished. I did really well, at least if the goal was falling and tearing off chunks of skin. My two year comp hiatus seemed...long. You've got to see the results, 11th place in a local comp, yeah.

Then I might have had some beers. This is actually quite amazing. I had 10 pints of relatively dark premium, all somewhat equivalent to a new castle. A pint is 20 ounces, so that's the same as nearly 17 beers. At 150 calories each, I drank 2,500 calories of alcohol, an entire days worth. I seldom even eat that many. No wonder I rushed through the pain like a hyena, I woke up and couldn't straighten my leg.

UPDATE: It took a physics Ph.D. to correct me, but there are only 16 ounces in a pint. So I only drank nearly 14 beers at 2,000 calories. His conclusion, I should have had more.

At some point we ended up on top of the Riverside Museum of Art, with a great view of city lights. Buildering always makes me feel like a night ninja. If philosophy doesn't work out - I'm sure the job market can't be any worse.

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November 07, 2007

Birthday



Jesse is now older, I think it was a birthday or something. They do that, don't they - make you older. I came on down to Irvine to celebrate, we might have had a lot to drink. Vodka and redbull at the gym, then tequila back at his place. Then more vodka. Jesse blacked out. Al blacked out. That's a party, when half the people there can't remember.

On my way out of town I had to stop by the Hostess Bakery Outlet to get Jesse a present. I ride by it every day, but I never felt trashy enough to go inside. Then I saw this and come on, that's adorable. Death as cartoon character, it smacks of Joe Camel, but sweeter. Only a vegan can appreciate a blackberry pie made with beef fat. Mmmmmmm, that's good.

This is interesting, apparently the US is the most heavily armed country in the world. Not a big surprise I suppose, but hold up. The US has more guns than any other country - 9 guns for every 10 people? Second is Yemen, third is Finland. I'm not sure what I expected exactly, but this isn't it. Where is Iraq, don't they have like twenty AK47s per family or something? I mean, shouldn't some fucked up country be number 1? Wait...

Finally, this is brilliant - not Georgia on My Mind, but Georgia Bush. Ray Charles isn't exactly known for his political commentary, but hearing his voice behind a condemnation of Hurricane Katrina incites nostalgia for bygone days, a time before we all discovered that George Bush hates black people.

MP3: Lil Wayne: "Georgia...Bush"

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November 06, 2007

Escape



Next weekend makes two in a row in SoCal. This isn't going to work - the situation has to change. I escape into the past, a photo John sent me from my last trip to Yosemite. Check out the colors, John le Douche is getting to be quite the little photographer with his published photos and all. He's got more on his blog, check it out.

I'm at a coffee shop with some brawny chick next to me who speaks inane. She's been in 11 car accidents apparently, but says she's a better driver now. How is this possible? How can one person get in that many accidents, let alone survive them? I get in one and I'm fucked in the hospital - she gets in 11 and still gets to dumb down an entire coffee shop. And who lets this chick drive? Don't we have paternal laws in this country, like wear your seatbelt and don't drive if your fat and incompetent? Not that the fat part is really important, but it is.

I made this in the airplane, god damn I was bored. It's my name in occupied lavatory sign. I had a dry spell for a while until they served drinks, but I think red is much better than the open green. My airline was so cheap, the charged me to check a bag - $10. I was ready for this bitch maneuver on the way back and hassled my way out, but it caught me off guard at first. A bunch of assholes, except for the gay flight attendant who shamelessly hit on me, he was nice in an I want to get in your pants kind of way. Of course he had no chance, our signs are totally incompatible. Totally.

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November 01, 2007

The Hero



Carolyn made me a photo here, Super Alan vs Jaguar Man, Scourge of Guatemala. I doubt he has a chance against that pounce of mine. A jaguar may always land on its feet, but I always land on my prey.

In other news, Chile is giving nearly a half million of its poorest citizens a box of nine books, including "The Catcher in the Rye" and Kafka's "Metamorphosis." How cool, I'm sure those books will get a lot of love, probably as much as my full set of Encyclopedia Britannica from 1973. My plants are higher and my stereo has a nicer home, so I guess that in Chile they won't have to bend over to pick up their beans or monkeys or whatever and they can straighten out their huts.

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