Free-Floating Hostility

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Why our Children Won't be Going to College

Today April and I got together to spend our money. Well, that wasn't the plan per se, but that's what it amounts to when you arrange to visit an outlet mall. The trip was the brain child of a quasi-friend of April's who's married to one of Alex's friends, and we waited two hours for this person before saying "screw her" (this may have been more on my end) and going to get a fancy lunch. The fancy lunch took 90 minutes itself, so we weren't actually on the road till 3:00, which was the optimal time to get out of town because it was 104 degrees. I begged April, "Don't let me spend money. I need a wallet and a strapless bra, that's it. But if I do buy stuff, it can't be anything slutty." I had the best intentions. I even planned to get stuff for Michael, cause that would make me feel better about the money. But you can see where this is going. My mom and her friend Antoinette (real name) once went on an extended bargain-shopping spree, during which they repeatedly assured each other, "We're saving a fortune." At the end of the day Antoinette sighed, "I don't think we can afford to save any more money."

In retrospect, it's a pity we didn't hit Banana Republic first. I assumed they would be too expensive, but they had some kind of crazy fire sale going on--I got a $100 jackeet for eleven bucks, I'm dead serious. But no, we decided to be disciplined and went to Ann Taylor to look for work/school clothes and both wound up saving our own personal fortunes. We also lost each other for twenty minutes, forcing April to stand in the door of the fitting room calling "Anna?" This elicited a timid "Yays?" from the elderly occupant of an adjoining stall; I was up by the register at that moment, looking for April. After a quick stop for Sobe we decided to give Banana a quick look, expecting it to be outside our already stretched budgets and generally off-putting. We quickly realized our miscalculation, and saved another fortune each before losing each other again. This time I stood in the fitting room calling "April?" but I got no response. I gave up on her and went to the nearby Maidenform on the deranged logic that my spending would be justified if I actually came away with one of the items on my original shopping list. I failed in that mission, however, because as I explained to April's amazement, most lingerie companies do not make D-cup bras that differ substantially from back braces. The detour proved a good strategy, though, because April found me, and this time we made a plan. "If we get separated again, meet me by the thongs," I cautioned her as I went to try on a strapless contraption that looked like it went with matching compression stockings.

In the time it took me to establish that the granny bra gave me bullet boobs, April had gone back to Banana to purchase a second pair of 8-dollar pants. I went to find her and wound up buying myself another pair of pants, too. They fit like a glove at 50% off, what was I supposed to do? As I slunk up to the register for the second time, the cashier offered me a Banana Republic credit card. "It's obvious I have a problem," I snapped, "Let's not make it any worse." We nipped into Calvin Klein to get Alex his one shirt (I had gotten Mike one shirt too, and not from Calvin Klein), and headed home, exhausted. "Will you be modeling your new clothes for Michael?" April asked. "Hell no," I answered, "I'm just going to tell him I bought a lot of slutty skirts."

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Friday, July 29, 2005


Adventures in Loafing

For the first time in about a month, I took an honest-to-goodness day off. And while the to untrained eye it might have looked like I was watching too much television as every piece of dirty laundry in the house slowly made its way through the wash, it really was a day full of adventure:

--8:00 a.m.: The biggest struggle is getting clothes into the washer at all. As we left the house to take Anna to work, someone -- and I'm pretty sure it was someone who doesn't actually live here -- was changing her load of laundry. This is profoundly annoys me. Although maybe I shouldn't complain. Usually when strangers enter the McNeil Manor laundry room they pull a Hamilton Defecator.

--10 a.m.: I seem to have picked up the show Dawson's Creek when it airs during the day on TBS. It's a good clock by which to measure progress, two commericials is a washer load and three is a dryer. The show is remarkable drivel, yet I can't seem to stop watching. The sad part is that I know quality reruns of ER are on the TNT, exactly one channel below TBS, but I can't pull the trigger. It should be noted that I mute the Paula Cole intro song to hide my shame from the neighbors.

--10:20 a.m.: Watched Maggie Gyllenhaal's painful interview on The Daily Show repeat. I briefly considered dropping her from my team because, seriously, I want good quotes on in my locker room. Back to Dawson.

--1 p.m.: Heading out to move clothes I encounter our mitupple-mit-kinder neighbors as they returned from the doctor. Apparently the 2-month-old, who looks like he should be in kindergarten, needed his first shots. As we were talking, a ringing fart emanated from the kid's diaper region. This, it seems, was cause for celebration because both parents cheered.

--2 p.m.: Remember Claire Danes? I watched The Rainmaker, a movie in which she plays a battered wife who is saved by crusading lawyer Matt Damon. Part of her will always be Angela Chase to me, so I maintain some loyalty to her. But frankly, I just don't get the point of her anymore. Seriously, can someone explain Claire Danes to me, preferably on my next day off when I have time to listen.

--3 p.m.: Laundry complete.

--3:30 p.m.: I'm very happy to hear that Bill Frist now supports stem cell research. But the next pundit who says that his support means something because of Frist's credentials as a doctor/scientist is cordially invited to Davis, CA for a glass of SHUT THE FUCK UP. "Dr." Frist is the slimy motherfucker who claimed to diagnose Terry Schiavo via video tape and who said on national television that HIV can be spread by through sweat and tears. Shouldn't you have to forfeit the title "Doctor" for saying stuff like that? Frist's opinion on stem cells matters because he's the majority leader of the U.S. Senate and because this is a policy shift away from the Christian conservative party line. But if Bill Frist gets to call himself "Doctor," then we need a new name for the people who work in hospitals and treat sick people.

--5 p.m.: Venture off the McNeil Manor grounds to retrieve Anna from work. We have a date with about eight (8) of my colleagues tonight.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005


How Marriage Works, Part III

This is what passes for a grand romantic gesture in our house:

Today I went to the Food Co-op, and instead of getting the regular basil, I bought purple basil. Purple is Anna's favorite color, so I thought it would be cool if I whipped up purple pesto as a surprise. Instead, I spilled the beans in the middle of the afternoon, Anna made the pesto when she got home from work, and it came out green in the end anyway. Also, I've never actually made pesto.

At least I get points for trying.

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How Marriage Works Part II

Another true-to-life dialogue from this evening:

Michael: Banana, you are the Platonic conception of Wife.

Anna: I don't know about that. I think if you checked with Plato he might have something to say about it.

Michael: Ah, what did he know; Plato used to fuck little boys.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005


At Least He's Staying in the Family

So this moved across the wires less than an hour ago

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Knicks have hired Larry Brown as head coach.

This was no surprise of course, given that Brown called the Knicks his "dream job," earlier this season and that he was recently fired by my favorite team, the Pistons. The good news is that we can keep rooting for Larry Brown because he's going to Anna's favorite team. In fact, he may render the Knicks watchable again.

For what it's worth, the Pistons made a huge mistake in firing him. Flip Saunders is a perfectly reasonable choice as coach, but I don't think he's all that much better than Stan Van Gundy. That's bad because the Pistons and the Heat are still the best teams in the East (although Indiana is back in that group with the return of Ron Artest) and Detroit no longer has such an advantage on the sidelines. It also means that Pistons owner Bill Davidson is actually worse than George Steinbrenner when it comes to firing people, the unionbusting fool. Detroit has won 50 games in each of the last four years and has had two coaches during that time. It's sort of crazy.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


The Ad Council Goes Apocalyptic

You probably hear about the Ad Council all the time on the radio, the people who sponsor all sorts of public service ads. Those are the ads that networks or newspapers who can't sell enough advertisments use to help fill time or space. Today, as I sprawled in front of the air conditioner like a pregnant dog, I saw a particularly bone-chilling ad on the local sports channel.

The pictures are three cute, freckle faced white kids with missing teeth. And the message is: "Have a plan in case of terrorist attack."

This is actually a decent idea in theory, but the tone is pretty frightening. It just seems like the Homeland Security Department, the Ad Council's co-sponsor, should adopt a tone that makes preparing for eventualities something a little less scary. I also think it is perhaps free Bush administration advertising since every time people are scared they seem to starting loving him. So there you go.

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Monday, July 25, 2005


Our Trip to Seattle in Pictures


One of the more surprising features of Scott and Rachel's home is the toilet in their basement. They had some french guests who mistook it for the guest bathroom for three days before Scott noticed. Posted by Picasa

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Mike and Scott at Gasworks park, which is so cool. Posted by Picasa

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FFH with the city in the background Posted by Picasa

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  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at July 28, 2005 7:51 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • This picture almost makes up for the elections of George Bush and the Holy Fuhrer

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 28, 2005 11:31 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • If I get a chance I might see if Fritz's "modest photo editing" improves it, and then who knows what disasters might be forgotten in the dazzle of the lake.

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Anna and Rachel by the sound. Posted by Picasa

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Those wacky kids! Rachel, Scott and Mike clown around at Golden Gardens. Posted by Picasa

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Laura, who is one of my all-time favorite girls. Posted by Picasa

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  •   Posted by Blogger Laura at July 28, 2005 5:44 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Yay! I wonder how many times over the years you and I have banged heads...

    My name will link you to my inchoate blog. It's supposed to be about writing but I haven't had much time to write lately.

    My more daily blog thing is over here. I think I tried to explain that most of the interesting things are only visible if you also have an LJ account, so all you'll see right now is that I have a cold and am whiny about it. But if you sign up for a free LJ account, you can keep up with me and Jess more easily, should you so desire!

    It was so fantastic to see you!

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Laura and Anna were asked to pose for a photo and promptly banged heads, yielding a less elegant composition. Posted by Picasa

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Scott demonstrates the allure of communism. Posted by Picasa

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Mike skips to the troll under the bridge in Fremont. Posted by Picasa

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Scott looking pensive at Dick's Hamburger Posted by Picasa

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Mike preparing to throw a rock at Sunset Bowl in Ballard. Posted by Picasa

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Flying puppy! Posted by Picasa

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Hilarie and Patty Posted by Picasa

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The sisters Cash Posted by Picasa

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Anna and Patty Posted by Picasa

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The Cash Women Posted by Picasa

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Hilarie and Luke Posted by Picasa

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Mike with a sleeping Toby. Posted by Picasa

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Anna, looking rather the worse for wear, gives Duchess a good-bye petting at 4:34 am. Duchess is a prolific cat, and Anna finds herself spitting out feline hair all the way to the airport, but it is obviously worth it. Posted by Picasa

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Seattle, in Prose

Here's our trip to Seattle, in highlight form: There may be pictures tonight.

Thursday:
-We arrive around 10 p.m. and secure the rental car without having to set foot outside. This would be fine if it were raining, which it does 10 months out of the year in Seattle. I also buy too much insurance, which means that I am adopting, to borrow a phrase from Gary, the "Never skimp on a splurge" posture.
-Winding through the streets of Scott's neighborhood, we learn very quickly that Seattle is non-orthogonal.

Friday:
-Rachel, working midnights in the ER, arrives home at 7:30 a.m. and proceeds to make us pancakes. She then goes to sleep. This is a running theme.
-I try to drop Anna off for a run around Green Lake near Scott and Rachel's and get hopelessly lost. After finding Green Lake, I also get hopelessly lost trying to find the coffee shop I had indentified to sit in. Anna reports getting lost on her way back to home base as well.
-Anna, Scott and I converge on the house at almost the exact same time despite coming for different locations. This is because Scott is a Jedi.
-The three of us head to Pike Place Market (which is Pike Street Market if you're me and Pikes Place Market if you're Rachel and Pikes Places Markets if you're being contrary). We see the famous fish tossing, encounter the first-ever Starbucks and eat delicious macaroni and cheese. The monorail is in a nearby mall. The only line from The Simpsons' monorail song I can remember is "Not on your life, my Hindu Friend."
-When Rachel awakens at 5 p.m., we hit a beach, then quickly eat Indian food so that she can make her shift at the ER.
-Anna's friend from nerd camp, Laura. arrives. Mostly we tell old stories from various periods of our lives. Laura was chosen to be in the Jeopardy contestant pool late last year, but Ken Jennings' success has created a huge backlog of contestants and she doesn't know if she'll get back on.
-Scott wins an online poker tournament.

Saturday
-We decide not to go hiking in the mountains.
-Anna and I have breakfast at a place near the university called "Atlas Foods." The meal was fine. The Ayn Rand references, I could have done without.
-Trip to the Fremont District means a tour of public art. That includes a troll, Lenin, a rocket ship, and Chia-Pet Dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs are by far the lamest.
-We go for sushi, something that I don't really like. The place we go to has a gimmick that everything moves on a conveyer belt. I am reminded of an auto plant and therefore eat happily.
-Scott, Anna and I attend a performance of The Tempest in a nearby park. It's actually funny, which all of us agreed was pretty surprising.
-After three days of non-stop Lebowski references, we go bowling. Anna bowls a 90 in the final game, a lifetime best. Scott and I attempt to bowl without our thumbs like the pros. I create a wacky sort of spin that has my ball traveling 2/3 of the way up the lane along the left gutter, then taking a near 90 degree turn into the left gutter.

Sunday
-Without another night shift, Rachel joins us for lunch, which is sandwiches from the Essential (as opposed to existential) Bakery and a trip to Gasworks Park. While there, we watch two dogs playing a game of water fetch and are transfixed.
-We bid farewell to Scott and Rachel and head east to Hilarie's in Duvall, Wash.
-Anna meets her neice, Patty, for the first time and we spend a delightful night in a very cool house. There are lots of animals, plants and nice people. I suppose they are in-laws to me. All was great.
-We go to bed wondering just why we don't live in Seattle.

Monday
-4:00 wake-up Ugh.
-Fly back to Sacramento
-98 degree heat Ugh.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005


Free-Floating Hiatus

FFH is leaving town this weekend for Seattle to visit Hilarie, Scott and Rachel and perhaps a few other people.

The current plan is not to post or check e-mail or really do anything that would connect us to our usual life back in the Central Valley. That could change as events warrant, but who can really tell. We'll be back Monday, if not sooner.

For people who can't enough FFH, try these classic old posts. I've helpfully separated by days so you can enjoy the posts once a day just to get your fix.

FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY

See you Monday.

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Potter

I meant to delay purchasing the sixth Harry Potter book until after the initial furor died down. But then I got sick and sunburnt, and in a fit of self-pity I ran out to the local independent bookstore and bought it. I finished it in 48 hours and found it to be as sad as advertised. The Potter series is not my usual taste in books, but Rowling's rich imagination has created a series that's just too appealing to avoid. At least for me. Later on, I'll likely purchase the book on tape so I can listen to that in the car rather than sports-talk radio, which can get pretty gruesome in this region.

So there you go. I await Jeff'y's taunts.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Anna Learns to Play with the Paint Application


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Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Yes Thank You

I am feeling better. A day off, the first day in two weeks not to break triple digits, meant I had a chance to recharge my batteries and was even feeling up to dinner with Alex and April. Trixie has ordered that Anna not get sick, and we're hoping that works.

I had planned a post about the Supreme Court nominee, but I had never heard of him. Then there was this from the Associated Press. As Anna said, "Yeah some white guy."

"He has been a judge for only two years and authored about 40 opinions, only three of which have drawn any dissent," said Wendy Long, a lawyer representing the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, adding that his record appears to suit Bush's desire to nominate a judge who will apply the law, as written, and leave policy decisions to the elected branches of government.

That's the fun part of the Supreme Court these days, playing guess the nobody that's being put on the court. I assume that leads to pedestrian minds being named to the bench, since no one with a record on anything controversial can get confirmed. So let's see what we hear about soon-to-be Justice Some White Guy over the next few weeks. Hopefully Queenie will keep us appraised.

5 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at July 20, 2005 3:51 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • This guy will be rough on law students trying to keep the Justices straight. He joins Justices "Marshall," "Douglas," and "Stewart" as Justices with tremendously generic names.

    Also, he looks like the type of guy Scalia and Thomas would have fun hazing.

    Justice Roberts: Hey guys. You know I'm new here. I was hoping you could help me out and show me where the nearest bathroom is to my chambers.

    Justice Thomas: Its just around the corner to the left.

    Roberts: Yeah, I saw that one, but it was marked as a ladies room.

    Justice Scalia: Listen Johny, can I call you Johny?

    Roberts: uh... I prefer...

    Scalia: Good. Johny, you are a student of history. I should know. I read your bio. And as you know, the addition of female justices to the court is a recent development. In fact, the founders could never have conceived of having a women serve as a Justice.

    Thomas nods.

    Scailia continues: It would never have crossed their minds. As a result, all the bathrooms in the building are mens rooms. When the women came onto the court, in effort to respect precedent, Sandra and Ruth used the same bathrooms their male predecessors always did. Everything around here is unisex.

    Roberts: Is that true? All the bathrooms used by both men and women?

    Thomas nods

    Scalia (drawing close and whispering): Yeah, and if you read any of Ruth's opinions on gender equality, you have to believe she prefers it that way.

    Roberts: OK. I guess you guys know better than me.

    Roberts walks around the corner. A door opens and then Ruth Bader Ginsburg screams. Throws Vanity Fair magazine at Roberts.

    Roberts (around the corner, apologetically): Oh..I am so sorry...

    Justices Scalia and Thomas snickering.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 20, 2005 7:16 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I'm not sure I like the idea of being appraised by my mother-in-law. Apprising I'm up for.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at July 20, 2005 6:13 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • So first, the adverts at the bottom of the blog were about Supreme Court, and Fritz actually filled out the poll, as a 40 year old white male protestant from Birmingham. But when Fritz came back, the ganges river valley had claimed all the ads.

    Hope FFH reaps a nickel.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 20, 2005 8:31 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • FRITZ!!! You must stop or we are going to be forced to remove your posts.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Queeie at July 20, 2005 9:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Queenie would love to keep you guy appraised or apprised of the Robert's nomination, but she has to rely on the super slueths at Alliance for Justice, MoveOn.org, and People for the American Way. All are searching his background and positions statements. We do know he argued some time ago for Roe v Wade to be overruled, so that is clearly a demerit.

    Ed Helms' description of the guy on the Daily Show tonight was "he's really white". To quote Robin Williams from another time: Robert's is the archetypal caucasian. But, is he the type who joined an all white golf club???? That may be our only hope since no one is going to take him on for having been in the pocket of the corporate interests and a card carrying member of the Federalist Society.

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Monday, July 18, 2005


Guns, Germs and Steel--Except not Steel. Or Guns.

Mikey is down with a nasty bug that kept us from supper with Alex and April tonight. He is very sad. It's only a matter of hours before I get it too, because that's how germs generally work at FFH. We have it coming though, since according to blog records we haven't had any palpable infection for seven and a half months.

In more cheerful news I really really really want to watch March of the Penguins. Here is a story about penguins and families: when I was about two years old, my mom took it into her head to institute the practice of sharing ones dreams each morning over breakfast (she'd read somewhere it was an Italian custom I think). So for about four consecutive mornings when she woke me up from my crib she asked me what dreams I had had the night before, and for about for consecutive mornings she received the answer, "I had a dream about a lovely baby penguin that loved its Mommy." Around the fourth morning she said to herself, "Shit. I'm being humored by a two-year-old."

4 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at July 18, 2005 8:19 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I forbid you to be sick. This is an order from Trixie

  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at July 19, 2005 9:52 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Department of Amplification re: Penguin Story from Trixie

    First, the look on the two year old's face was the most false expression of ingratiation I have seen from that day to this. A poison sugar smile. A grin that can only be called shit eating. My interpreation: a determination, even at age 2, to keep one's mother out of one's unconscious. So unfair.

  •   Posted by Blogger Prof. Trixie at July 19, 2005 9:52 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Department of Amplification re: Penguin Story from Trixie

    First, the look on the two year old's face was the most false expression of ingratiation I have seen from that day to this. A poison sugar smile. A grin that can only be called shit eating. My interpreation: a determination, even at age 2, to keep one's mother out of one's unconscious. So unfair.

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at July 19, 2005 9:38 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Stereo amplification, no less!

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Sunday, July 17, 2005



Mike on the beach in Santa Cruz this morning,
having temporarily escaped the heat.Posted by Picasa

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Oh the Wretched Fucking Fucking Heat Part 2

True story from last night's baseball game:

Monday through Friday, our paper has a P.M. deadline, meaning that I usually have time to head to the locker rooms after the game for quotes. On Saturday nights, however, we're writing for Sunday morning, meaning that our deadline pressure is quite intense. I spent about 60 minutes on the field before Saturday's game, watching batting practice in 105 degree heat and gathering quotes from large sweaty men. Upon entering the elevator back to the press box, I had this paraphrased conversation:

Team employee: Beautiful night for baseball.
Me: Yeah, maybe if you've spent the last two months in the Ganges River Valley it is.
Other Reporter: The last thing I expected to hear about in this stadium was the Ganges River Valley.

Quickly realizing I was going to have to banter about this for the rest of the night, I hit the stadium's wireless Internet connection, and came up with these numbers. These are actually Monday's forecasts, which were a little warmer in India than Sunday's, but you'll get the point

Varanasi: 95 degrees, 95 percent humidity
Allahbad: 96 degrees, 94 percent humdity
Sacramento: 108 degrees, 40 percent humidity

So it's 12 degrees hotter outside my apartment than in the Ganges River Valley, which I discovered is actually called the Ganges River Basin. And while the humidity makes a big difference, I think my point is pretty clear. Summer in the Central Valley sucks beyond measure. Other interesting facts about the Ganges:
  • It is home to a rare breed of freshwater shark
  • It is the most holy river in Hinduism
  • It is 1,560 miles long
  • 8 percent of the world's population lives along the river
Some facts about the Sacramento River
  • The first steam vessel on the River was called the "Sitka" arriving during the gold rush
  • Development of the River Delta began in 1861 and was eventually overseen by something called the "Board of Swamp and Overflowed Land Commissioners"
  • 407,018 people live in Sacramento, appoximately .00006 percent of the world's population
  • The river runs past Old Sacramento, which, while not exactly a holy place, seems to attract the tourists

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at July 19, 2005 9:44 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • No one expects the Ganges River Valley! Our chief weapon is freshwater sharks. And Hinduism. Our chief weapons... among our weapons are chiefly sharks, and Hinduism. And ninjas.

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Saturday, July 16, 2005


FFH Embraces Sternian Rambling

So Mike was telling me (because I do not personally pay attention to this sort of thing) that certain members of the press have started referring to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as "Brangelina." I already think combining names a la Bennifer is disturbing, as it happens to fly in the face of everything I believe to be constructive about monogamous relationships. But that being said, Brangelina is such a stretch it undermines the very concept of word play--either that or a lot of people don't actually get the point of puns.

Allow me here a medium-length digression on publicly missed puns which will probably start a big kerfuffle over at 34. In 1976, the legendary design artist Milton Glaser was hired for an ad campaign featuring the slogan "I love New York" which was being launched by the City to boost morale. Glaser was in a taxi on his way back from the meeting where his original design had been well received when he conceived picture we know today, wherein a red heart conveys "love" in lieu of text (he called back and reconvened the meeting, and they all thanked their stars that he had). The design was purposely not copyrighted because the idea was for people to use it as much as possible, and as we know it soon spread all over the literate world, involving far more objects of affection than the original New York. That means that relatively few people ever thought of its having been designed in the first place, but the absence of the explicit word is not some unobserved cultural phenomenon, it was created as a visual pun. That is why Glaser gets annoyed when he sees shopping bags with the word "love" written out in the heart, and it is also (and here's what I've been driving at) why David O. Russell is an idiot.


Milton Glaser I am Not Posted by Picasa

Anyway, the Brangelina incident led to a bit of idle name melding on our parts, mostly to demonstrate why this is not a useful way to refer to most couples. For those who don't care to call us The Mirers (or FFH), we might be identified as Micah, or my personal favorite, Ankle. Scott and Rachel would be Scotchel. Alex and April would be Apex. Andy and Jesse would be Antsy. Dave and Sharon would be Shave. We had thai food last week with a couple named Death.

4 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at July 17, 2005 6:05 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I would like to throw into the mix the new athletic naming convention that has produced A-Rod and J-dub and change my couple name to be "D-Ron." Except when we check into a hotel to avoid the paparazzi. Then we are known as "D-Ron Mexico."

  •   Posted by Anonymous KTA at July 17, 2005 7:27 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • A few weeks ago, the Metro (the free newspaper they give out on the T) had a column where they tried to give Bennifer-style names to famous Bostonian couples. I guess there aren't too many famous Bostonian copules, because they ended up just listing a lot of weird name combos for Red Sox players and their wives. I don't remember most of them, but the ones I can recall were just weird: "Maniana" sounded like a psychiatric ailment, and in any other context I would have assumed "Kartek" was some place you'd go to get a stereo installed in your bad-ass Honda. That's why it's a free paper, I guess!

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at July 19, 2005 9:36 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • As the single most knowledgeable person in the world about the combination of I (Heart) Huckabees (note the parens; Unicode isn't quite universal yet) and free newspapers, I am uniquely positioned to comment and meta-comment. And yet I'm not one to fall for kerfuffle-baiting, so I will hold my tongue, which I've been using to type. Starting... nowssmrrrrppph.

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at August 31, 2005 10:04 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • http://www.cafepress.com/nucleartacos.26721820

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Friday, July 15, 2005


More Fun with Names

Much of the summer has been devoted to assigning blog names to people in order to preserve anonymity on the blog. My sister and her boyfriend requested and received "Easy Lola" and "Fast Eddie," respectively. Anna had previously come up with "Fritz" and "Queenie" for my parents. I figured, therefore, that responsibility for choosing the names we'd use in the future for Anna's parents, fell to me.

Today I settled on "Ricardo" and "Trixie."

I picked Ricardo because my father-in-law owns a particular blue shirt that he says makes him look Puerto Rican. Trixie was chosen because it seemed to come from the same vein as Queenie.

The issue of anonymity, Anna points out, be a non-starter now that we've started posting pictures of ourselves on FFH. In addition, we actually have a link to Trixie's home page using her real name along the side bar. I appreciate all of those issues. Fritz and Queenie have stuck as names because my parents seem to have developed some fondness for them. So we'll see what happens. You can't force these things.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005


The Wretched Fucking Fucking Heat

I covered a baseball game that was 100 degrees at first pitch and still high 80s when I ambled to my car around 11:30 p.m. This is to say that it's absolutely a terrible time to be alive in the Central Valley. Anna has born the brunt of it this week. I've had to take the car into Sacramento for events each day so she's had to walk home in this heat.

When I walked in, Anna was sacked out in front of the air conditioning. This seemed like a brilliant idea, and I went to bed on the other couch. I don't know when Anna woke up and went into bedroom, but she was there when I woke up around 6:45 this morning. We may end up moving into our living room since the wall A/C unit we have is fairly weak and also half obscured by furniture. The forecast is for triple-digits through the weekend, which means we might watch every piece of shit Hollywood throws at us this month.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005


In Which I Highlight my Defects as a Nature Photographer

Today at work, Adam (the one who is scared of vegetables) found a tiny baby lizard scuttling down the hallway of our building. It was very cute, and when Adam picked it up it just held still and breathed, waiting to be photographed. I can't figure out how to crop pictures without making them blurry, so this photo's not so sharp. This means, of course, that it's so hot outside that even the desert animals are seeking sanctuary by the air conditioner.


Lizard Baby Posted by Picasa

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And then, on my way home from work, I saw this bird, which was standing so still it took me a while to rule out the possibility of a new bird statue. During the time it took me to make my decision, the bird spotted me and flew across Putah Creek. Therefore this was the only picture I got. It, too, looks blurry thanks to cropping, but it was really cool in flight.


Can you identify this bird? Posted by Picasa

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at July 14, 2005 4:51 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Regarding blurry. Use flash even if not needed, that reduces exposure time and thus shakiness.

    For long shots, optical zoom to the max to fill the view, lean arm on something to reduce shaking.

    Cropping doesn't blur stuff, it does break up into pixels.

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Making you Happy Makes us Happy

FFH just had it's 3,500th hit in just under six months (I think it was Fritz). So we just want to thank you for reading, kids. It really makes us feel good to know we entertain you.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Poetic Justice Sold Here

Apparently my in-laws really like being called Fritz and Queenie. I received an email today in which Fritz referred to himself as such throughout a story of how he ran into someone in Detroit. I don't get why, but I think it's adorable. So that got me to thinking about pseudonyms. Most of the names I've made up for people have been codenames that were never intended to be used in front of their objects. Most often they spring up as a way of identifying someone not known to someone else (Ray? Who's Ray? You know, Ray the Sad Accountant). Alternatively there are common names that demand useful descriptions, such as at nerd camp in 1995 when Jess came up with the system of distinguishing Disgusting Chris from Chris Who's Cute when he Falls off his Chair and Blows his Nose (I googled the latter Chris this morning; he's a PhD candidate in computer science now, and still cute). But sometimes it's purely malice, and that's how one of Mike's old coworkers came to be called Judy the Slag. Anyway, here is a list of creative names we've come to use for people over the years. Those marked with an asterisk were actually rechristened by us.

  • Brian the Ass Grabber*
  • Pervy Pervertson* (an old test subject at the clinic)
  • Wheelchair Hottie* (an alluring parapalegic)
  • Perpetually Experimenting Gay Chris* (as distinct from Gay Chris)
  • Cheap Ghetto Ho-Bag* (a certain [male] schnorrer who lived on Carman 11)
  • The Woofer* (a rather attractive and perfectly sweet suitemate; the idea was to torment someone named Uri who had a thing for her)
  • The Rusky Husky
  • Big Dumb Ellen
  • Skinny Ho* and Redneck Joe* (a couple)
  • Same Shirt Kid (Trevor, who came up with this name, subsequently wound up working airport security at JFK, and found Same Shirt Kid in line for the metal detector. Trevor exercised his powers and ensured that Same Shirt Kid's bag would be searched so that he could count the number of different shirts inside.)
  • Same Face Girl (a pair of identical twins)
  • The White People* (originally a family that lived upstairs from my parents; now Ryan and Sarah)
  • Sphere Head (someone who was mean to Ryan in 1998)
  • Redwood (she was tall)
  • The Lag Midget (I cannot attempt to explain the story behind that one, but Scott is brilliant)
  • Dr. Amazing* and The Magic Pen* (two physicians I once worked with who nearly turned me into a Scientologist)
  • Prof. Dickless*
  • Admiral Fancypants
Of our own uncharitable nicknames, the only ones that have ever gotten back to us are Silent Bob or Jesus for Mike and Squirrels for me. I have been obsessing over what Squirrels might mean for 8 years--if anyone from the Haverford Boys' School Glee Club is reading this, I demand an explanation.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at July 13, 2005 8:02 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Like the Big Dumb Ellen reference, but the other "Bigs" get no love. What about the Big JC and Big Daddy Backstreet?

  •   Posted by Blogger jess at July 27, 2006 12:35 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Man, I've been falling behind on all blogs, and all sorts of good stuff has been happening on yours.

    We have Iced Tea Joe and Smarmy Joe. At Smith there was Go-To Girl (who always wore the same sweater, her go-to sweater), Silly Putty Girl (she was very tall and disproportionally thin -- she looked like she'd been printed on silly putty and stretched), and No-Ass Man. My parents used to call their stockbroker Wild Bill Harrison, and now they call the new one Diamond Jim.

    My particular thing is to invent long names for people with short names, such as Philliam and Russtopher. But that's not really to distinguish them from other Phils and Russes. (In fact we distinguish the Russes with the perfectly prosaic "Math Russ" and "Accordion Russ.")

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Monday, July 11, 2005


What's in Mike's Vocabulary? Part II

More for the Michael Lexicon:

  • I'll wear that. Used when owning up to something, i.e. hating little league, listening to Harry Potter on tape while parked in his own driveway.
  • That's just how I roll. The defensive alter ego to "I'll wear that." Can be used to justify aberrant behavior from eating off the floor to orientalism.
  • Fuck Piece (var: Fuck Stick). Derogatory, i.e. the guy that turns without signalling is a total fuck piece.

These are some bits of California slang I'm trying to work naturally into my vocabulary, so far without success:

  • Agro. This, I believe, is an adjective meaning either "flipped out" or "about to flip out" or "prone to flipping out," and connoting aggression.
  • -osaurus. A suffix. Usage example: Where I would have said "crank up the a/c,"a native Californian might say, "A/C, man, crankosaurus rex." This is why moving across the country can be confusing.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005


On Judy Miller and Journalist Shields

Let's take a trip to Benefit-of-the-Doubt Land, where during her embedding in Iraq, NY Times reporter Judith Miller was just trying to report the best story possible when let her sources in the Pentagon read her copy before she filed it. And she certainly didn't get, what was at first, the glamour embed post by peddling the Bush administration's WMD line during the run-up to the war. And she absolutely wasn't kept on the story because Howell Raines wanted to prove that he wasn't reflexively anti-Bush. And she absolutely didn't cultivate Iranian spy Ahmed Chalabi because he could invent enough sources to provide a scoop even if there were no real facts to support it. So you could believe all that if you wanted to, but you'd be naive.

It's enough to make one think that the Bob Novak's source on the Valerie Plame story called Miller, and eventually got her involved in this mess to try and restore her journalistic reputation. What all of 2002 and early 2003 proved, is that it's useful to have someone ambitious and uncritical at the most important newspaper in the country. The photos of herself being led into court can make people forget that she violated all the rules of journalist during her war reporting. She got too close to sources, she peddled their line, and she rushed inaccurate stories into print. It also irks me that one of her sources is Karl Rove, who probably thinks this whole thing is pretty damn funny.

Many in the last couple of weeks have suggested creating a federal journalist shield law, which would prevent courts from using jail to compel reporters to give up their sources. While I don't relish the idea of anyone going to jail, a special protection for journalists is a bad idea. For the government to create a right for reporters, it must first define what exactly journalism is and who constitutes a reporter. This ground is stickier than President Bush's copy of Guns and Ammo. Free speech and a free press are important checks on government power. Part of the reason they've been so effective over the centuries is that anyone can do it. Anyone can request information from public records offices. Anyone can call a public official and ask him or her questions about what they're doing . It's a democratic pursuit that affirms that government is accountable to everyone. Are bloggers journalists? Some -- like seriously only 2 or 3 but still -- actually fact check and use the mulitple source rules before posting things. Journalists may receive special access, but that's a different question.

A reporter's willingness to go to jail should reinforce the idea that politics and journalism are not just sports and drama for the unathletic and boring. Even if Washington is just a sophisticated sewing circle where people peddle gossip and carry out grudges, there are real-world consequences. The person or people that leaked the name of a covert CIA agent are those who believe that politics is merely the exercise of power to settle scores. In reality, the leak put American homeland safety at risk by likely cutting off potential sources of intelligence and American troops at risk because it impeached the honest reports that Saddam Hussein hadn't actually tried to obtain uranium.

I suspect those aren't Miller's motives for going to jail. But it's an important point anyway.

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Friday, July 08, 2005


The Lullaby of C Street

So I am not great to share beds with. In fact, when I am only partially asleep I really suck. This can be quite shocking and upsetting the first time. I once kicked my roommate, who informed me as though she'd just had an epiphany: "You're a horrible bitch." My mom also claims I kicked her as a child, but I was there and she's lying. That being said, I'm not very likely to recognize my loved ones. I've been known to put Mike through a rigorous test to establish his identity before I let him into bed. It usually starts with "Who are you and what are you doing here?," but "What's my brother's middle name?" is a recurring favorite--learn this trivium if you intend to pose as Mike some night. If awakened from a REM cycle I will generally flip over and defend myself from what I am convinced is some kind of attack. Sometimes I just scream. When I'm in bed by myself I have a habit of falling asleep diagonally, which necessitates my being moved. Mike reports that I generally respond to that by "groaning as though you're being asked to go fight a fire," and producing a "nostril harrumph" (this is exactly how my old roommate got kicked). Under no circumstances, however, will I be the first to respond to an alarm clock or phone. I say first, because when I'm by myself I will generally respond to either one.

So yeah, I'm not easy to sleep next to. But neither is Mike. He's extremely talkative for a sleeping person, and has been known to go for strolls. In fact, if I am an angry Wolverine, then he is a decompensating Jean Grey, getting telepathic messages from other mutants all night long. Jeff coined the term "Satanic mumbling" for the nonsense syllables Mike produces in between world class snores--I personally do not notice the snoring anymore, but he's successfully evicted some of my other roommates with it in the past. One time he got dressed, put his pants on inside out, and walked out of my dorm room and halfway down 115th street before waking up. He thinks he was going to visit Jeff in Woodbridge, which almost makes me sorry he didn't make it. To my discredit, I slept through the entire thing.

Mike's quirks are generally related to extreme fatigue. Now that we're civilized people I don't get much in the way of entertainment out of my sleeping husband, but every now and then he'll produce a real gem, such as the night when he sat bolt upright in bed to tell me, "Diana Ross is very excited!" Back in his students days he was a laugh riot though. In fact my predecessor used to try to feed him prompts; I am told he once gave her a detailed report from the front lines, informing her that General Burrito was amassing troops along the river or something like that. But my very favorite came on the night of the Turkey Shoot (in which the outgoing board of the Columbia Daily Spectator chooses the new board over a series of interviews lasting about 20 hours total--after which they all get drunk, being college students, journalists or both). So when all that was done, Mike came back to the apartment around 6 am where he found me already awake for the day. I informed him he smelled like cooked garbage, which was true, and asked him how the Turkey Shoot had gone. He was giving me a rundown of the new masthead when he got to Katy Aronoff, who was the new Opinion Editor.

Anna: Is Katy going to be the only editor or will there be two?

Mike: She has a hospital in the central Congo.

Anna: Huh? What was that? (At this point I thought he might be using some kind of journalistic lingo, like "Turkey Shoot" that I just hadn't learned yet. )

Mike: (huffily) She has a hospital in the desert with no water.

Anna: Aaaaahahahahaha, dude, you fell asleep in the middle of your own sentence.

Mike: Fine, sure, you laugh. But when you have no water and a camel...snoooooooooore.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005


I Hate My Coworkers

My boss is on his honeymoon, which he scheduled nearly a year ago. I am not mad at him. But suddenly last week, word came that the other sportswriter, who we will call F, had accepted an invitation to go to some Pacific Island (Hawaii or New Zealand, I can't remember which) the same weekend. That meant I was left to run the sports department all by myself. That wouldn't have been much of a problem, except that the college I cover reached an administrative milestone that we decided as a desk needed to be marked with a five-part series. Those articles were all to be written, of course, by me. So this has been my week since Tuesday:

5:25 a.m.: Alarm wakes me up, hit snooze button.
5:34: Actually get up, stub my toe on something strewn about on the floor and repeat "Fuck, Fuck, Fuck," as I walk into the shower.
5:35: Ask Anna, who is determined to wake up more cheerfully these days, to kindly read the story I'm submitting because I've been working on it for far too long.
5:50: Exit shower.
6:00: Put coffee in thermos and grumble about breakfast of three 120-calorie fruit bars that I started eating when commenced the diet and now seem incapable of avoiding. Maybe there's cocaine in them. (Actually this is an exaggeration. Anna made me a delicious breakfast this morning.)
6:30: Arrive at the office. Try to piece together the garbled language of some of our stringers while pushing the sleep out of my eyes. Bad prose and daybreak is not a good combination.
9:00: Print proof of front page and give to one of the chipper, morning-person editors. Watch as they scrawl all over the stringer's garbled article, pointing out all the commas I didn't put in or run-on sentences I didn't shorten or eliminate.
11:00: Send out final black and white pages. I am a fanatic about being done by 11. Others, like F, always seem to work until noon. What are we to do?
11:01: Wander across the office my desk. Many of the other reporters are on a kick to redesign the newsroom. That would entail cleaning out my desk so that someone burly could move it around. I still haven't found all of my papers -- my business papers -- since the last time I cleaned out my desk in order to get a new one. Today I told that group that I was in favor of redesigning the room, but only if they do all their measurements in picas, a newspaper-centric page measure. Everyone laughed as though I were joking.
Noon: Eat lunch
1 p.m.: Try to find something cool on the wire about baseball or soccer to put on one of my pages for the next day.
1:03: Get bored, start searching for pictures of Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova and the WNBA on the photo site.
1:05: Okay, back to work.
1:10: Give up on finding cool story and instead take something about NASCAR.
1:30: Slap page together and hurry out the door.
2:00: Arrive home intending to get a jump on the next article in my---wait, is Around the Horn on?
2:30: Okay, time to get to---Oh wait, Michael Smith (fucker) is guest hosting PTI, have to watch that.
3:00: Okay, well, you know a couple of games of Yahoo! Euchre might be fun, just to get me in the mood to write.
3:45: Goodness, where has the day gone?
4:00: Hey is that the Tigers?
5:00: Leave house to pick up Anna from work.
5:15: Sit in Anna's office waiting for her to finish work (mark my territory)
5:45: Return home to apartment, which is suddenly stifling. Try to focus on work, but am hungry and hot and want to nap.
6:00: Dive into delicious Anna-prepared salad or similar. It's probably a cool meal, since it's hard to sit here and cook.
7:00: Well a 1/2 hour of crap TV won't hurt.
7:30: Fuck, fuck, fuck, I really need to start.
7:31: Shit, have we blogged tonight?
7:31:30: I don't know what to blog about.
7:32: Think about what to blog about.
8:32: Fuck. Fuck. Fuck
9:05: Start actually working on article
9:30: Wish Anna goodnight
11:30: Finish article and stumble into bed, toe stub optional. Mostly just try to avoid any hint of covers since it's too hot and I'm sharing the bed with an angry wolverine who doesn't quite recognize me through the fog of sleep.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

See how glamorous sports journalism is?

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005


S. Epatha Merkerson for President '08

Have I lost my mind, or is the search for a new Supreme Court Justice being led by the guy who plays the DA on Law & Order? If I didn't know how adept the Bush White House was at controlling a story, I would really think the world was on its ass.

Can we take the fact that he played Roseanne's sadistic boss, too, as a sign that he's a moderate?

5 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at July 06, 2005 10:01 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I think his personnel instincts are pretty good. I mean, he did know enought to fire ADA Serena Southerlyn. And anywhere, I hear Bush is considering hiring Sam Waterston as White House Counsel once Gonzales is nominated.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at July 07, 2005 4:00 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • By the way, a recent LAO rerun featured a Brearly alumna who it seemed had hired a contract killer to take care of her husband, a NYC building contractor. I fell asleep before the end, so I don't know if she was ultimately guilty or not.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 07, 2005 7:00 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I doubt it. Getting caught hiring a contract killer seems more like a Hewitt alumnae activity. Can you imagine doing those class notes? Congratulations to Phaedra Cartwright on her marriage to Kingsley Shacklebolt in Maine this summer. Speaking of shackles, Bonnie Stone is in the clink! She writes, "women's prisons are still not quite as tough as men's, but I can't emphasize enough the emotional benefit of a single-sex reeducation."

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 07, 2005 7:37 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I forgot how reactionary Dalton was given that he is scripted to say a few rational things on L &A. Maybe we should suggest Jeb Bartlett since he is going for TV politicians.
    Queenie

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 08, 2005 4:14 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Would it premature to nominate Geena Davis?

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005


In which I Redeem the American Lunch

I have never been a big fan of the sandwich. I cannot in my heart of hearts accept it as either beautiful or fine. Most sandwiches involve mayo, which I detest, or peanut butter, which I crave exactly four days a month but otherwise detest at least as thoroughly as mayo. Since going vegetarian I have relished sandwiches even less, since the ones I did like back in the day involved tuna or salami. What good vegetarian sandwiches are there? Egg salad is messy and generally better eaten with a fork, cheese is only appropriate if grilled open-faced, and fake meat I can tolerate but not with any regularity.

The real problem, though, isn't the filling, it's the bread. I dislike most bread. When I was a child my dad was terribly concerned that I wouldn't grow because of my self-imposed Celiac Sprue (he also worried that my chin was too pointy). I only like bread if it is soft on the inside, chewy at the crust, relatively fresh and utterly free from chemical crap. I didn't actually realize these were my requirements until I went on my trans-fat jihad and discovered that trans fats appear in most commercial breads and that that's probably why I didn't like them. Then I went through a bread-baking phase, which yielded two decent challahs and about 15 stony lumps that refused, mockingly, to take on the consistency of an earlobe (desirable for baking). I blame the Davis water.

So what's a girl to do if she wants to brown-bag her lunch and can't always rely on leftovers from the night before? The sandwich is such an elegant solution to the portable meal. I decided that I needed to stop whining and be more creative. Just because the rest of the world is eating ham and mayo on Pepperidge Farm squares doesn't mean my sandwich has to be gross. There's lots of things that I only like when I make them, like pesto. So I dug in, and today I announce success. The summery sandwich I made myself for lunch is so tasty and satisfying that I'm posting it. Jeff's not the only one who can throw together a recipe, though following it might depend on your proximity to a California farmers' market:

The Peacenik Sandwich

Two slices not-fake, not-gross peasant bread
Two glops Black Bean Hummus
One half a yellow cucumber (leave the peel on, it's not bitter)
One handful sunflower greens
1 oz. crumbled feta
freshly ground black pepper (legally required in all non-dessert recipes)

1. Spread hummus on both pieces of bread. Thinly slice the yellow cucumber and arrange it on Side A.

2. Mince the sunflower greens and sprinkle them on Side B, along with a light dusting of feta and black pepper.

3. Mush.

4. Cut in half.

5. Revel.

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Monday, July 04, 2005


Fourth of July in Davis

We took the camera for a spin in the midday sun and took some shots of our town. These are they.



Mike and an egghead statue. There's lots of them on the UCD campus; we forget why. Posted by Picasa

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