Monday, October 30, 2006

Turkey Day Dilemna

I was talking with my grandma yesterday and she said Thanksgiving is going to be at my aunt's this year because my aunt's 3 stepdaughters are all coming and bringing their boyfriends. Seeing as how I loathe one of said boyfriends, it leaves me with a Turkey Day dilemna:

Do I...

A) attend Thanksgiving and just not give the little putz the time of day?

B) attend Thanksgiving and be outwardly rude to the asswipe?

C) attend Thanksgiving and be the bigger man, not being anything but gracious to the little fuckwit? (Actually, seeing as how this option would give me an ulcer or move me to drink more heavily than is advisable, I am removing this option from consideration.)

D) go to my dad's family's for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Is the thought no longer what counts?

I feel this way every single year and yet it still surprises me everytime. What is happening to us with respect to the concept of gift-giving?

I e-mailed my stepmom about what to get my dad for Christmas. I mentioned some of the things I was considering. I think I was looking for confirmation that they were fine ideas and/or insider information as to whether he already has one or what his size might be, etc etc. What I got was notification that they would be putting out a Christmas list and could I please send them one too. I realize that they mean well, but I really don't like this whole thing that seems to be so common now of putting out a list or exchanging lists. If I go buy you something from your list and you go buy me something off of mine, and we have a set date like Christmas in which we will make an exchange...where's the surprise in that? Where is the fun? "Oh look at's the exact shirt from Banana Republic I linked everyone to in precisely the size and color I wanted. Thanks (checks card again), Dad." It makes no difference which gifts came from who! It's indistinguishable! Why don't we just save the gift wrap and buy something for ourselves instead? Obviously, that is not the idea behind giving gifts, especially at The Holidays, but if we're just exchanging lists, really, what's the difference?

How did it come to this? I think it's one part laziness (who has the time or energy to have to think of a gift on their own, right?) and two parts fear of getting someone something they don't like. I think we become so fixated on getting the right gift for someone that in doing so we lose the original principle of giving the gift in the first place. Isn't the thought what counts? If so, then we shouldn't be exchanging registries and checking things off like milk and butter off a grocery list; we should be sitting down and thinking about who we're buying for and what we think they might like or need. If we get it wrong, then we get it wrong. When receiving gifts, we should be appeciative of the thought that went into it, regardless of whether that thought was spot-on or miles off. Right? Isn't that what "it's the thought that counts" means?

Before I get up any higher on my soapbox I will admit that I made a list this year. I gave it to my grandma because I figured "respect your elders" outranked "it's the thought that counts" as far as axioms go. I realize my dad and stepmom are also my elders, but I am just not feeling good about Christmas going in this direction again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

GO YANKEE(candle company)!

I've got one of these babies burning today....MMMMmmmmm, don't it smell delicious. Who cares if it's 85 degrees outside today? I will force this to be Fall!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I (heart) Ted
I have a non-sexual crush on Ted Allen from "Queer Eye" and Nicole knows this. She surprised me with a cooking class hosted by Ted himself!

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Yeeeeeeah, I'm gonna have to sort of 'disagree' with you there..."

Uncle Pete, I love you, but you are just plain wrong.

With roughly two minutes to go in the game and leading by three, USC found itself with a third and goal at the Washington 4-yard line. Washington had only 1 timeout remaining so conventional wisdom says you should run the ball to force them to call their last timeout. The Trojans went to the air and failed to complete the pass, thus bailing out the Huskies.

Asked if he had thought about running the ball, Pete said, "Yeah, we could have, but it was worth going for the touchdown and seeing if you could score it there. We thought we had a call we could make."

I'm fine with that....AS LONG AS you are planning on going for it on 4th down should you not complete the pass on third down. Pete instead elected to kick the field goal. This makes absolutely no sense.

What good does a six-point lead do when they are getting the ball back at the 20 yard line with a timeout in their pocket and a passing game that has marched down the field at will all day long? It certainly doesn't serve you any better than the three point lead you already have does. Taking the field goal is no better than going for it on 4th and failing; either way, a touchdown beats you. It's actually worse to kick the field goal because your kickoff is most likely going to give Washington the ball at at least their own 20-yard line. If you go for the TD and fail, they are starting from the shadow of their own goal at the 4. I think you absolutely MUST go for the touchdown in this situation. You must put the game away. Win it by going on the offensive, not the defensive. Play to fuckin' WIN, not to avoid losing. Is there no play in the playbook that has a better chance of netting a paltry 4 yards than a defense does of stopping an attack they have not stopped all day? An SC touchdown wins the game outright. A chicken-shit field goal leaves the door wide open and begs them to come on in. And what if it fails? You're still in the lead! A touchdown beats you either way! True, failing to convert the 4th down would allow Washington to send the game to overtime with a field goal. Woopity Friggin' Doo! Are we afraid of going to OT at home against an unranked opponent? I guess so. Not only was Pete's decision strategically illogical, but it makes no sense from an emotional/momentum standpoint either because it makes SC look afraid. I realize that the lack of experienced players is largely responsible for the more conservative playcalling this season. But it doesn't hold water for me. Give your players the experience of going out and claiming this game. Give them that confidence. In this very game, they went for it on 4th down around the Washington 40-yard line to maintain a drive and they converted. And now you're not going to go for it from the 4 to WIN the game?! Foolish and cowardly, I say.

"Kicking the field goal is exactly the right thing to do," Uncle Pete says, "You make them have to score a touchdown with one timeout left. I don't know any other way to do that."

I do. Take the game out of their hands. Put it in the end zone and get ready for a Gatorade shower. Pete is a defense-oriented coach but face the facts, Pete...the defense was not playing well enough on this day to warrant the choice of putting the game on their shoulders rather than on those of the offense. No sacks in two weeks, and very little pressure on the quarterback at any time in the game.

Luckily...and I really mean luckily, the decision Pete and Lane made did not come back to bite us this time. But the fact that the call was made and still defended after the game only sets us up to get beat next time we find ourselves with a choice of gaining 4 yards or defending 80 yards to lock up a win.

Friday, October 06, 2006

When did this happen?

Unless you have been listening to ESPN Radio lately, this will probably be meaningless to you...

There have been these ads for realtors lately which is fine. It's surprising that there is nothing really annoying about them because most ads on the station are quite grating. Anywho, there is one thing I don't get....They have apparently changed the pronunciation of the word "realtor." All my life, it's been (real-ter). Now they are saying (real-TOR) like they are some sort of He-Man character. It just doesn't sound right. I know I am the only one on the planet that this bothers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Okay, seriously...

The use of the word "hero" is getting waaaaaay too liberal, isn't it?

I once was given too much change at a Carl's Jr. drive-thru and I gave it back. Does that make me a hero?

Cruiser once picked up an injured pigeon from the road and brought it home. Is he a hero?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

So not feeling like working that am driven to bad poetry

I wish I could be out walking today
But I’m stuck inside this cubicle cell
A fluid mind in a frozen body
A thinking man’s living hell

Strolling among pumpkins
Falling into banks of crisp auburn leaves
A tall stack of recycled paper
My closest thing to a tree

Sipping spiced cider
Feeling the cold air in my lungs sting
A climate-controlled maze of metal
Burnt coffee and static cling

I want to be listening to James Taylor!
I need to be wearing a scarf!
Dear God, a bowl of clam chowder!
Reheated fish sticks know nothing of a Fisherman’s Wharf!

Let me walk with an old camera
Taking bad pictures of beautiful scenes
Let me smell raindrops on grass fields
Take me away from these machines!

A farmer’s market in the clearing
Selling jam and fresh cut flowers
Kneel to pet a sweet old dog
Or rot in traffic at rush hour

America in autumn
Wool socks and football games
America in corporate offices
To be numb is the greatest pain

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

From the Director who brought you "Dude, Where's My Car?" comes...

"The Great New Wonderful"

I watched it Friday night. Insightful, funny, powerful emsemble dramedy.

Netflix describes it as:

New York City a year after the 9/11 tragedy is the setting for Danny Leiner's comedy portraying five stories of vastly different lives in the same uncertain surroundings. A psychologist (Tony Shalhoub) and an ordinary yet angry man; two pastry purveyors (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Edie Falco); a married couple; two immigrant friends; and an older woman (Olympia Dukakis) set in her ways -- they all try to rebuild their lives as the city does as well.

It sounds like another too-soon, not-interested 9/11 movie but this is a movie that smartly neglects to show any footage from September 11, 2001, real or recreated because it knows it doesn't need to. The horrifying images from 9/11 are burned on our brain already and the depiction of a distant, innocent plane against a blue sky one year later is the perfect pin prick to put the story into a Post-9/11 context without recalling a flood of visions that would drown out the quiet subtleties of the movie, not to mention it's surprising humor. Which is not to say that this movie is not as upsetting as "World Trade Center" or "Flight 93" probably were to those that saw them. It's just that "The Great New Wonderful" sneaks up on you. I didn't feel overly emotional at any point in the movie and I was nowhere near tears. For a while, I was even wondering what any of it had to do with 9/11. Yet I couldn't manage more than two hours of sleep Friday night.

Here is a review that explains it much better than I do:

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fall Y'all

This is not me, just some lucky stranger.

This is me. Welcome, Great Pumpkin!

"You've Got Mail" was not a great movie but I do love the part about loving New York in the fall including the reference to a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils...

The pumpkin spice latte....the taste of autumn for those with no autumn


Where's burnt sierra when you need it?

The gold standard of personal organization

Remember these?


So the Angels are not in the playoffs...but at least the Red Sox and White Sox aren't either. I'm ready to watch some October baseball, stress-free for a change. I think I am rooting for the Twins in the AL and the Mets in the NL although I really wouldn't mind if any of the teams not from Oakland won it all. Once the A's are out, which should be in about 4 games, it's all gravy. Go Twins!

Somewhere leaves are beginning to change colors, just not here. I am digging the fact that it actually rained a bit this morning. I had to hold myself back from busting out a sweater and cords. I expect to see the scarves start coming out in full force any day now. I'll have my pepto bismal ready for that day.

I could sure go for a nice cup of soup today...a beef vegetable...perhaps a bisque of some sort. A chicken breast and brown rice will have to do.

This is just about the time of year when I really hate living in LA (other than the proximity to friends, family, and USC football). When other parts of the country are experiencing actual seasons, ours are designated by temperatures in the frigid 70s and the arrival of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. You really have to sort of create autumn and winter for yourself here, I think. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the scarf-wearers after all. I guess the good news is that it challenges the imagination somewhat, but even if you talk yourself into feeling Fall in LA, it's never really real and that's always kind of bittersweet. To me anyway. This reminds me of elementary school when the teachers would decorate the classroom for each month or season. October would mean brown and orange all around, with leaves and pumpkins mixed in with the crepe paper. That was fun. Who's up for arts and crafts?