Friday, December 16, 2005

Better Run, Run, Run, Run, Run

122 days out.

I officially started training for the 2006 Boston Marathon this week. I say officially because I am on an 18-week training schedule and this is week 1. Of course since in week 1 I'll be doing 53 miles, I've been building my base so my body can handle this load. I'm substantially stepping-up my mileage this time around. For Columbus 2003 my highest week was 40 miles....for Detroit 2004 I hit 50...this time around I'll be hitting 70 a couple of times. If you look over to the right I have a link to my running log where you can follow my progress if you so choose. I'll probably be commenting periodically here too. Most training plans start on monday and, traditionally, sunday is the long day -- anywhere from 13-22 miles. Being the anal-retentive person that I am, and the fact that the Boston Marathon is on a monday, my training weeks go from tuesday-monday so all runs will be on monday -- just like I'll be doing in April. The first day I had a great run -- 8 miles nice and steady with all splits between 7:09 and 7:15. I'll take that. :)

In conjunction with the running, I've started lifting again. The main goal is to strengthen my leg muscles so I can 1) handle the training I'll be doing, and 2) handle the hills that are infamous in Boston. After a few days of lifting again, I feel incredibly weak! Not that I've ever been a no-neck meathead, but even when I was lifting consistently 2 years ago I was able to put up a lot of weight. I just want some definition to an upper-body that has gone to pot with all of my running.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Birthday Parties, Cheescake

OK, this is a day late, but that is alright. A very happy 6th birthday to my neice Madelyn. She's a sweetie...a bit of a drama queen at times, but she's wonderful nonetheless. She's in kindergarten and learning a lot. She is also a budding swimmer which, of course, makes me happy.

There is something about the first week or so of December and birthdays. It seems like everyone and their mother has a birthday this week. Seriously. Here is a short list of people I know who've had birthdays in the past week: Myself, Darrell, Gabor, Jaime, Grandma, Dan, Brian, Sarah, Meghan, Angela, Madelyn, Liz, Roman, Stanley...I'm sure I"m forgetting some there too. I said there must be something about I take that back: there must be something about March. I guess spring arrives, the weather gets a little warmer, and parents feel the need to procreate.

Then there is the whole concept of the December birthday -- of course as you get closer to Christmas there is the aura of getting screwed out of gifts. I never thought this was a rational way of thinking. Let's take two brothers, Aaron and Bart. Aaron has a birthday in June while Bart has one in December (close to Christmas). The parents spend $50 on Aaron for his birthday and then another $50 on him for Christmas -- $100 total. The same amount should be spent on Bart, regardless of when his birthday is. If his birthday is on Christmas, then he will get $100 in presents, while Aaron gets only $50. Yes, there is the perception of favoritism/spending more, but when you bring Aaron's birthday into the picture it's an even deal.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Get My Kicks Above the Waistline, Sunshine

I watched the Knights of the South Bronx the other night. No particular reason why I watched it other then I saw a very-gray (or is it grey?) Ted Danson and thought he looked strikingly like some other no-name actor. Anyway in one scene a couple of neighborhood bullies confront Walt from Lost (new theory: the Others are really a street gang from the Bronx) and the one guy says "I thought you were gonna do me a solid" or something like that. Nothing special really, just ordinary dialogue...or maybe it is a devout Seinfeld fan such as myself who wrote this line. Yes. Way back in the day in the infancy of what is one of the greatest TV shows of all time, the one known as Kramer uttered such a line in an early episode regarding a suede coat and Elaine's Dad. Thanks the the enhancements on the DVDs, it was an early catch-phrase of Kramer's that never...erm...caught. I've used it myself on occasion and have gotten blank stares. So much for getting it into the vernacular. In the world of Seinfeldisms, I am also a fan of saying "You're sooo good looking" when someone sneezes. Try that and the world will be a better place.

I was at Best Buy awhile back and noticed that they are selling Seasons 1-3 of Seinfeld in a special edition box set. This box set comes with such things as pepper & salt shakers from Mort's and a copy of an early script. At that time I had a moment like many Star Wars fans do. George Lucas, being the egomaniac that he is, is constantly re-releasing new editions of his epic saga. First there was the original trilogy...then the original enhanced trilogy...then the special edition enhanced trilogy...then the directors cut special edition enhanced get the idea. Anyway, Star Wars fans are so fanatic about their movie that they will buy each one of these as they are realeased. Afterall, you're not a true fan if you don't have EVERYTHING. So yeah, I basically thought "Oh, I'll rebuy seasons 1-3 just so I can get the extra stuff." In other news, a couple days later I was seriously contemplating paying $45 for an R.E.M. mug at the R&RHOF&M.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We're One But We're Not the Same

Rest of U2 Perfectly Fine with Africans Starving
Gotta love the Onion. I remember awhile back when I was reading the Onion when the offical female of MoL looked over my shoulder and mistook it for real news! I told her about the nature of American humor. Anyway, is it too late for me to get on the Bono backlash wagon? He just gets to be too much for me most of the time. Yes it is nice that you want to help people out, but do you have to be so vocal about it? I think I would agree with it more if he went about saving Africa in a more quite, behind-the-scenes way. Worry about your coif and making over-indulgant records. I was at home for Thanksgiving and was reading Time Magazine. They asked previous recipients of "Person of the Year" who should get it this year and someone mentioned Bono. C'mon now, not him! I could think of many people who would be more deserving then him. As someone brought up, how about Mother Nature? That would be a real good choice for Person of the Year.

Speaking of satirlical news forums...I'm really enjoying The Colbert Report. I'm digging it so much that I've given up watching the first half-hour of Leno so I can hear Stephen run his mouth on current events and politics. My only criticism is the theme music -- sounds too much like The Daily Show. He does a great amalgamation of Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough, Rush Limbaugh, etc. I love it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I'm Special, So Special

I'm the Geburtstagskind!

Not a whole lot to report here today, except to make sure to check out what Greer put up today.

I spent most of the weekend working on a paper and presentation. I was ready to go today, but due to time constraints, I got push-backed till wednesday. It is OK, though, as it appears I will be giving another kick-ass presentation.

I posted about this awhile back when I first found out about the blog, but if you haven't visited or heard about PostSecret, go do so now. The book just came out and looks to be one of the best-selling books for the Christmas shopping season. If you need to buy someone something I suggest this book. The images and writings can be extremely powerful and once you read one, you want to read them all.

Questionable Content

I first discovered this webcomic last january. I proceeded to start from the beginning and read them all in order to catch-up. Last week was the first time the action got pretty heavy. The author writes the comic full-time and makes money by selling t-shirts and other items. The comic is especially entertaining for 20-something hipsters who can identify with the topics in the comic.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Make it Charged With Controversy

Congress to look into BCS mess?
Ok, I don't mind Congress getting involved into sports when things such and performance enhancing drugs are being abused. But getting into the whole BCS debate. C'mon folks, don't you have better things to do like figuring out Health Care or Tax Reform.

I've been thinking about weighing in on the whole BCS debate for awhile. Up until this year I was a firm anti-BCS critic and felt that a playoff would be the best way to decide the national champ. I am now sold on the BCS. With the BCS you get two things. First, the whole season acts as a de facto playoff. In order to guarantee a spot in the BCS title game, a team has to run the table. This means each week is essentially a win-or-go-home scenario. If you are to lose, you want to lose early and then hope for help along the way. In a playoff scenario, a loss (or even two, see Ohio State, Notre Dame this year) does not hurt you as much. Secondly, the BCS has people talking about the pros and cons of the system. Every week it seems there is talk about if the BCS should stay or if it should go. You know that phrase "any publicity is good publicity" -- thats what I'm talking about. Also, since this year it is pretty much guaranteed that the Rose Bowl will be USC vs Texas, if there was a playoff, how many analysts would be chiming in about who shold play in the Fiesta Bowl? Side note, if either of these two teams lose this weekend, I would still support USC/Texas Rose Bowl -- these teams are that good. Even with a playoff -- 4 teams or 8 teams, there will be teams saying "we should be in there," so what point does it serve? If there is a change to be made, I would support a selection committe, much akin to one the NCAA uses for March Madness, to decide who plays in each of the 4 BCS Bowls. A selection committee is much more valid then using an ultra-complicated equation that is constantly being changed each year.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Take a Picture Here, Take a Souvenier

As I take a brief break from the usual crap I talk about, here are some pictures from the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Here is the family at the beginning of a wonderful meal

I was forced to include this one as it shows proof of me being domesticated. I sport the classic "are you really taking a picture of me drying dishes" look on my face.

Me and some unnamed girl on the busiest bar night of the year. Yeah she's quite wonderful.

Madelyn and Elliot decide to wrestle with Uncle Mark immediately after I gorge myself on Thanksgiving Dinner. These two have 2 uncles, myself and my brother-in-law's brother. I feel there is an unspoken rivalry between the two of us. I asked them if their Uncle Brad wrestles with them like that and they said "no." Point for Uncle Mark.

The immortal Spice Girls performance

LHS class of '97 alumni singing "Love Shack."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I'll Tell You What I Want

Adolescence can be a scary thing. Being 14 years old, a freshman with raging hormones can cause us (particularily men) to do some wacky things. And sometimes we end up paying our penance 12 years later. I was at that tender age when I was faced for the first time in my life with the undaunting task of telling a young lady that I prefer the company of someone else to her company. Being at that age and a complete coward, I figured the best way to let her know was in the form of a note* (although some may argue it was really a dissertation). I spent a great deal of time carefully choosing the words to quote-unquote, let her down easy. I delivered the note and figured we'd all move on with our respective lives. Well sometime fate throws a cruel wrench or two in the situation. Wrench 1: I became pretty good friends with said girl. Wrech 2: Girl holds onto The Note. Well in the 12 years since the writing of The Note, it has grown to be somewhat of a legend in our circle of friends. It had been years since I last saw The Note and entered into a little wager with the friend -- if The Note could/could not be produced, one of us would have to entertain the crowd with a karaoke performance.

A few days ago I was informed that The Note had been found and that I better get ready. I arrived at the bar in anticipation of the event and began to consume the amount (a lot) of fermented & distilled beverages required for me to get through this ordeal. Friend was not there and there was still hope that 1) Friend would not show, 2) Note really was not found, and 3) Song was not available on Karaoke. Well shortly, Friend showed up and proceed to produce the note, pass it around to our group of friends. Everyone (including my new girlfriend) was able to read the elegant words I wrote and complimented me on my tact and choice of words. In order to fulfill my destiny, a Karaoke slip was filled out and submitted for me. My heart was pounding in dueling bouts of fear and anticipation of what I had to do. A couple of people had sang when I heard the fateful words of the DJ calling my name.

I strolled up to the microphone, saw the title "Wannabe by the Spice Girls" and downed my drink in order to numb my experience. As the song was cued up, a sense of calm came over me as all fear left my body. Instead of running from performing this song, I decided to run with the song. The whole 4-5 minutes seemed like a blur as I entered a trance like state. The words were lighting up and I was following along, word for word, beat by beat, right on cue. I changed voices as I adopted one Spice Girl persona for another. I was dancing and providing choreography. I had rhythm -- a rhythm that has been absent in all previous dancing, but I reached down into the depths of my genes (thank you Lusins) to garner it for all it was worth. The screams from the crowd were deafening. I kept going, doing karate kicks after each "Zigazig ah." I pushed forever upwards into a realm of performance art that may not be duplicated again in the history of karaoke at Corky's. As I ended I knew I had reached a new level of entertainment. The patrons of the bar had gone in looking for some drinks with some friends and enjoy a song or two. They left with the satisfaction of having seen one of the greatest karaoke performances of all time.

*Will be known as The Note for the rest of eternity

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wake Up Kids

I orginally wrote a post the other night but forgot to save it and lost it for all of posterity. It contained lots of fun (that's for you to decide) links. In a nutshell, last weekend (the 11-13) I traveled back to the land of the Cuyahoga. I brought with me a female companion (psst...that's her on the right) and introduced to to Cleveland, Ohio. We spent some time over at the campus of ol' Case Reserve. We checked out the new dorms and I showed her Spartan Stadium. Upon walking into said stadium she remarked "You call this a football stadium?" Her only experiences of American Football are attending two games in the other Spartan Stadium. Quite a difference. By the way, for you Case readers, they've having a Throwback Weekend in February featuring uniforms of the Red Cats and Rough Riders. I should contact Uni Watch.

In other happenings, I had a group presentation today. We've been sitting through these each day for the past 3 weeks or so. All the groups have been very monotone, lack excitement, and didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. They would go up there and talk for a half hour going from one group member to the other. Very unimpressive. Being the lone grad student in the class, I made sure my group (me and 3 girls) was up to the challenge. Our topic was "Sports and Media," and we decided to have some fun with it. We did a mock ESPN SportsCenter. Myself and one of the girls were the co-anchors and the other two were "guests with expert knowledge" who we did Q & A sessions with. This was augmented by a PowerPoint presentation that featured audio and video video clips. We also had slides that flashed "Applause" after one of our "guests" had finished. Given the topic, the style we did it in was all quite appropriate. Some of the things we featured: voice inflection (what a concept!), talking between group members (vs just going through each member and them presenting their topic), and we dressed up! Yeah I like to look good for presentations, but people would go up there with sweats on. C'mon folks, get with the game.

So yeah after the presentation our professor always asks for positive, negative, and positive feedback (she calls this the "feedback sandwhich," get it? get it?). Lots of positive feedback and she told us we were "marvelous." Basically, we kicked ass. To keep the whole sports metaphor going, it is akin to a competition where participate one at a time (think diving, gymnastics, ice skating, slam-dunk contests). We set the bar so high that the other students (athletes) just responded in disbelief and thought "how did they do that?" and sat there, deflated. There is a look in a competitors eyes when he knows he still has a shot...there is also the look when they see how well someone else does that they are now competing for 2nd place. We'll see if wednesday's group takes any cues from us.

A couple of minor things went wrong. I had sweet ESPN font for all the headings of our slides. Since the font was not installed on the computer that we used, it was not visible. :(
We also had a clip from the 1972 Munich Games in which we talked about how sports media can negatively impact real news events. The DVD was not cued up properly and instead of waiting for things to get resolved, we (me and my coanchor) said "we're having some technical difficulties and will move on." We did a good job on the improv. And to close it out I said "Keep it classy KIN 445."

Turkey Day is 3 days away. I. Cannot. Wait.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Get Those Old Records Off the Shelf

This may be a bit of rant, so I apologize in advance.

I'll get it out right now, I hate cheesy wedding music. And for this moment I'll admit that I'm an elitest "holier then thou" prick when it comes to music. Since I'm at that age where lots of people I know have been getting married over the past year or two I've had to endure evenings of dancing to horrible music. There was one exception to this and I'll get to that in a bit. First, let's check out some of the main thorns in my side.

Number 1, with a silver bullet
I think the all-time worst offender of the wedding-music genre is Bob Seger and his Old Time Rock & Roll. First of all, the song sucks. There is no getting past that fact. Secondly it serves as an invitation for all uncordinated middle-aged white guys to come out and dance. It never fails. For some reason you put an average uncoordinated guy on the dance floor while that song is on and it's like an exponential function into the upper stratosphere of uncoordination. At least with a lot of more dancy stuff, you can fake it and not look ridiculous, but this song is just the daddy of them all. And for some reason when it comes on, the MAWGs (that is on HELL of an anacryonm, and you heard it here first folks), think it is one of the best songs ever and get up and dance. Horrible, just horrible stuff.

Number 2
The Electric Slide. I never learned this dance. I don't see the appeal in line dancing the same 16 steps for 5 minutes. A good time to vist the bar and get a double-shot of Wild Turkey. Side note, to you LHS alums, how many times did you do the Macarena and say "hey, we were doing [basically] the same dance to Personal Jesus (and a superior song) way before this crap."?

Number 3
Celebration. Can you believe that the same geniuses behind Jungle Boogie also came up with this offender? How many weddings haven't played this one within the first 10 minutes of being at the reception. Yes, it's a wedding. We ARE going to have a good time and you know what Mr. Kool? We are celebrating. We don't need you to tell us.

Number 4

The Love Shack. Now don't me wrong here, I rather enjoy this song. But it is way overplayed at weddings. The song has been devalued due to its association with the other songs on this list.

Number 5
Any cheesy slow, slow-rock/kenny g/etc crap for the father-daughter/mother-son/etc dances that we are forced to sit through.

Number 6
Any Country. This should actually be higher up, cause I'm at a wedding and I don't want to hear about how sexy your tractor is.

So there are your prime offenders. There are more, but I don't go to weddings to list down all the songs that suck. Since I'm on the topic, how offensive are wedding DJs that play this crap? They all have those classic crappy radio voices, trying to encourage people to dance to the stuff they choose to play. Sometimes I wonder how clued-in they are. I've been at more then one wedding where the DJ screwed up the introductions of the bridal party (including the bride & groom) -- just wrong man. And sometimes they play songs that no one knows and just clears the dance floor. Don't do that, it ain't cool.

Probably the best wedding DJ I ever experienced was this past summer at Gellin-Alexander Fest 2005. They chose to have a friend of ours (Mr. Michael Monaghan) DJ the wedding. Mike asked for us (the Case Swimming Alums) to provide mix CDs of songs that were a big part of when we were in school. We came prepared and there was a steady mix of 80s classics along with the songs (Shimmer, Veronica, etc) that had actually meaning to us. Add this to the fact that Mike is an actual DJ and mixed the songs was a great time.

When I get married (whenever that may be), the music will be important. Really important. Being a music snob you will not see any of the above songs played at my wedding. Of course in my dream world I'd have R.E.M. serve as the wedding band, but that is my dream world, and not reality. I like the idea of having a friend serve as DJ or having a live band. In the few times I've experienced a live band at a wedding, it didn't go wrong. Yeah, you miss some of the fun Rap/RnB/dancy songs (Baby Got Back, Bust a Move, etc) that are hard to replicate in a live setting, but you gain so much more from having a live band. If for some reason I do have to hire a DJ, I'll be very particular and probably give him the list of songs that I want to be played and will additionally give him a no-play list. Some may not like it, but hey, it's my wedding and I'll only be doing it once.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Along Came Jim Dandy

File Under: Random updates from the life of Mark

I've got a midterm wednesday and instead of studying, I'm updating my blog and watching "How I Met Your Mother." BTW I'm digging Neil Patrick Harris on this show. Seems like he's finally recovered from the stigma of being Doogie Howser. Gotta love procrastination.

Let see...the little sister came to visit over the weekend. I think we all had a good time, even though I did make her do a shot of tequila friday night. I took her on a de facto campus tour which turned into us going to the MSU/NU football game. We bought tickets from some scalper. Face value of $46 each and we paid $45 for two. It was right around kickoff time (12:00) and a word of advice: if you are purchasing tickets from a scalper, the value decreases once the game begins. The scalper's mentality turns from "lets see how much I can get for these" to "I need money...anything is better then nothing." The tickets were not together, but we did sit together. Unfortunately MSU decided to pretty much not show up and NU routed them...something like 52-14. Ugh. So what a couple of weeks ago looked like a promising season has suddenly turned ugly Such is the life of an MSU football fan.

Looks like I'm still on the Victoria's Secret mailing list. I peered into my's always fun when you see something in there. It makes you feel special. Then when you realize its: 1) a bill, 2) junk mail, 3) something unimportant the moment suddenly turns sour. So yeah, the lone item in my mailbox is the current VS promotional item -- a free Very Sexy for Her 2 spray (.25 oz size) plus (gotta love this) $5 off any bra. At least I have someone that can hopefully use it this time around -- not that Kelly didn't use it...but to me that can use it. So this perfume...rather this Eau de Parfum is called "Very Sexy for Her 2." Two logical conclusions come from this: one that this is the second installment in the VSfH series. This is the updated, more trendy version of the spray. Second, since this is called Very Sexy for Her it would infer that there is a Very Sexy for HIM. Seriously, what guy would 1) buy something for himself at VS, or 2) buy something for HIMSELF at VS. Of course the witty & observant individual would comment that while technically a guy may be buying something for his girl at VS, it really is for him. Although it would be interesting if VS started a men's line of stuff. You would need some good marketing people to pull that one off.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

There Goes the Fear Again

So last night I worked at the Lansing Jaycees Haunted House. People who know me understand how busy my life is and wonder how I manage to fit something else in. Well this was one of my few free nights and so I decided to put some time in, and I had a good time. The attendence was pretty ho hum, but it is still 2 weeks before Halloween. Anyway I was part of the "Electric Chair" room. Basically I was dressed in black (hey, anyone remember my pseudo-goth days?) and I had a black head cover on that showed only my eyes and mouth. There was a button on the chair that, when pressed, set off a lound buzzer and a strobe light. I would then act like I was getting electrocuted. It took me awhile to perfect my role. I started out by yelling things like "please save me, I didn't do it" or "you kids look just like the onces I killed by slitting their throats" and then hitting the button. I realized I got a better effect if I just sat there motionless, in a slumped position. I could hear people say "is he real?" or "he's gonna do something." Then I would wait until the last possible second and hit the buzzer and writhe around. That worked a lot better. I definitely enjoyed scaring the crap out of people. I worked in tandem with a guy who was in a "spook spot." Basically these are hidden doors where workers can jump in front of/behind the "victims." There was a scare spot in the rear of my room so once the victims went past, the monster would walk up behind them and get them. We had a nice little team going. I am quite sore today, however, from banging my body on the wooden chair. My elbows and my external occipital protuberance (bump on the rear of the skull just above where the neck starts) are especially sore. But hey, no pain no gain, right?

So I'm walking down Grand River the other day. I pass the purveyors of trendy college-chic known as Urban Outfitters. There is an empty storefront next too it and it is plastered with posters saying "Coming Soon: American Apparel." I let out a collective "Ugh." I first became aware of their existence through a link on Pitchfork. Being somewhat of a t-shirt junkie, I was curious. I went to their site and my first impression was "all you sell are solid colored shirts/pants/underwear." I was highly unimpressed. Then I read this (make sure to read the comments) by Mr. Alex Blogg. I have a link to his blog, but I'm not sure which of you read it on a regular basis. Anyway, I enjoyed his commentary on AA and their "mission." He also did his version of one of their ads. Apparently they are also opening a store on Coventry. Can we do something to stop these guys? Seriously though, I feel like printing out about 1000 copies of Mr. Blagg's opinion and doing one of the following: posting them in the near vicinity of the store; hand them out out to people leaving/entering the store; or going into the store and "accidently" dropping them all over the store.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm Swimming Through the Stereo

Zen and the Art of the Mix Tape

Rob: The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.

And that qoute is from one of my favorite movies, the 2000 masterpiece starring John Cusack, High Fidelity. I've been thinking about this post for quite awhile and finally decided to put said words to print.

Courtesy of my favorite online reference source, here is some history on the mixtape.

When I bought my first computer back in the summer of '97, it was just prior to the MP3/CD/DVD burner revolution. MP3s were practically unknown, CD Burners were only for the few bourgeoisie who could afford one, and DVDs were just coming into the marketplace. That said, I did not get my first CD burner until August of aught-four when I bought my sleek new laptop. Having a CD burner I actually got to be able to make mix-CDs. As I have made various mixes throughout the past year for both myself and others, I have realized that making a mix CD is a definite fine art.

The Songs
When making a mix, the songs are the meat. They provide the substance and will convey the message you are trying to send. All of the mixes I have made have some sort of meaning. Whether it is making a CD to get me pumped to run a send to someone across the sea I've never met...or making a sweet-ass 80s mix, each song must serve a purpose. It is exteremely difficult to make a good mix with some shitty filler music. CDs hold around 74 minutes of music. That is a lot of songs. Most of the professionals (i.e. the guys that you hear on the radio) rarely use all 74 minutes. Most CDs don't even go a full hour. That said, the home mix-maker feels not only inclined, but it is a duty to fill up the whole CD. Not only do you need a lot of songs, but you need upwards of 15-20 songs that have both significance and meaning to the theme of the mix.

I am a personal believer in themes when it comes to making a mix. I find it particularly hard and honestly, the quality is bad, when various songs are thrown together that seem to have no connection. Having a theme doesn't mean you need to stick to similar sounds & genres. No. But you need the glue that holds your meat together. OK, perhaps that is not the most accurate metaphor, but my readership is an intelligent one and gets the idea. The theme is that glue. Whether it is a "Names Named" mix where each song title is a person's name aka "Alison, Kate, Wendell Gee, King Nothing...etc" or a all songs that contain a similar word (World is a good one for that), a them is not only needed but really required in order to have a valid mix.

Song Order
Once the songs are determined the next order of business is the song order. This may be even more crucial then the actual songs themselves. You need a song order that flows from one song to the next. You are always going to have sections that move from loud to soft and from slow to fast. These sections are where you need to pay careful attention. The song order will make or break your mix CD. After I have my songs selected, I will pine for hours listening to the last 30 seconds of one song and the first 30 of the next to make sure I have a good transistion. For the hard-core musicphiles out there, knowing the keys of the songs will ensure smooth and elegant transitions. A lot of people like to make the mix top-heavy where the first couple songs are "the best" and the last songs get lost. That is a no-no. You need to order the songs so that the mix ebbs and flows. When you realize how hard it is to actually order the songs you will appreciate the fact that bands pay careful attention to song order and spend copious amounts of time to perfect it.

Two of my all-time favorite transitions come from, who else, R.E.M. From their 1988 output, Green, the song The Wrong Child* (probably one of their least favorite songs amongst their hardcore fans) comes before Orange Crush (one of their more favorite songs). At the end of The Wrong Child, Michael Stipe holds onto an innocent plea of "it's Okayyyyyy" while an acoustic guitar backs him. This follows with a moment of quiet leading into the snare-drum intro into the hard-rocker Orange Crush. Likewise on their 1998 LP (and debut as a trio) the song Hope leads into At My Most Beautiful. The last minute or so of Hope is an instrumental mess of building noise and dissonance. At the last second the noise releases, reverberates for a split second leading to the quiet piano intro of At My Most Beautiful. Two styles: soft to loud and loud to soft are both described here. In the context of their respective albums and songs, it takes the whole experience a step higher.

The Reason
Ahh yes and so we've come to why you are making said mix. Some of the reasons for a mix: participation in a mix-CD trade; a party mix; a road trip mix; maybe you want to give someone (a friend, family member) exposure to other styles of music; and of course one of the most popular reasons to make a mix is for that special someone in your life. Whatever the reason, I've thought about the songs that have 1) been given to me on a mix and 2) I have given to others on a mix. And this has gotten me thinking:

If someone puts a song on a mix for me, am I allowed to put it on a mix for someone else?
and the corollary:
If I put a song on a mix for someone, does that forbid me from putting that song on another mix for someone else?

Are songs that are shared between people effectively contracts between the two parties or are they just an entity of the public domain that anyone can share and can be shared by many peoples? I have broken the 2nd part of my corollary. I did it without even thinking about it. But then it got me thinking about my own style of making mixes -- to include at least one song I've had on other mixes as a way to overlap them. Now that just makes my corollary invalid, but I'm just stating questions & opinon here. By no means are these rules set in stone. Just thoughts I've had.

As a reward for those that have made it this far, I'll leave you with two links from Tiny Mix Tapes. OK, that's officially three, but who's counting. The first is an article entitled "Music Snobbery in the Dating World." The second is to their Automatic Mix Tapes Generator. Readers can submit topics to be covered and others will provide a written mix of songs for that compilation. It is a fun read for both the topics people submit and the songs on the mixes. It updates every couple of days.

So the next time you do a mix, think about what you are doing. It is a true art form. Each song has meaning and where that song occurs in the mix gives it enhanced meaning. Go forth and make good mixes!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Do You Really Want to Live Forever?

The sweet words of the German group Alphaville. You can check out their website here.

Hope you made it to the "new" site. Welcome. Shalom. Willkommen. Bienvenue. Recepcion.

I recently made an aquaintence. We were doing the whole "asking questions about each other" thing -- age, where we're from, etc. Girl is 22....ok....has some kids....plural....she is quite many?....FOUR! I stopped asking questions as I was afraid of the answers I would get. Seriously. I just don't wanna know.

So I caught some of SNL last night. Jon Heder of Napolean Dynamite fame hosted. I couldn't help but thinking about how type-cast Heder will be. Yeah ND is a funny film and has become an instant cult classic movie, but I feel bad for the guy. Foreve he will be known as Napolean Dynamite. I'm sure he's a good actor but he may be suffering from Stiffler (Sean William Scott) syndrome where every role is has is some amalgamated version of the character he is famous for. Although I'm thinking that Heder is a far superior actor then Scott. Even if Heder takes a dramatic turn I see this happening:
Scene: Sebastian is consolling David (Heder) after David learns of his ex-girlfriend's behavior post-breakup
Sebastian: So what are you gonna do?
Audience then yells in Rocky Horror fashion, "whatever I feel like I wanna do! Gosh!"

Of course Heder is still young and has a promising career ahead of him. I still see him in 50 years in an old-folks home and guys coming up and saying "Gimme some of your tots." After years and years of enduring this and being a good sport, Heder goes postal at the old-folks home. Speaking of ND, I think Uncle Rico doesn't get as much respect in quoting the movie. Here is a paraphrase of his lines loosely based on my life:
How much you wanna bet I can jump over them backstroke flags?...Yeah...If coach would've put me on that relay we would've made state...No doubt. No doubt in my mind.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Don't You Cry Tonight

Reminder: this sunday the url of MOL will change to

Tuesday I set a new personal record that I am not particularly proud of. Because of my actions/words/etc I made, count 'em, 4 different people cry. The List:

One of my swimmer's
Parent of a swimmer

I coach/instruct a group of 15 or so novice swimmers. MSU runs a learn-to-swim program and after they matriculate through the program and they are still interested in the sport, they come to me and join the "Beginning Competitive Swimming" program. My skill level ranges from very raw & beginner swimmers to much more experienced swimmers who understand interval training and I can push harder. One of the benefits from particicpating in sports is learning valuable life skills. Sports have taught me how to set goals, self-motivate myself to achieve these goals, and be responsible for my actions. Aside from the health & performance benefits, I want my athletes to learn these other skills as well. I have one swimmer, for argument's sake we'll call him Che. Side note: I watched The Motorcycle Diaries last night. A very good and enjoyable movie. My limited knowledge of Che Guevara is that he was a Cuban Revolutionary and that lots of people like his image, but don't necessarily have knowledge of his dubious actions.

Back to my swimmer. Che is 11 years old and constantly runs late. He is also the "King of Excuses." Whenever I ask him about something he always offers a rationale as to why he messed up. I have mentioned to him numerous times in the past about his tardiness and asked him if he could try to get here a little earlier. Last week he showed up a good 10 minutes late and I said to him, "Che, next week if you come late you will not be able to swim." Luckily I wrote it down in my notebook for tuesday's practice, or I will have forgot. Needless to say Che arrives a good 10 minutes late. I ask him if he rememebers what I told him and of course he does not. I tell him that he is not swimming today and he again gives me an excuse. I explained to him the concept of arriving on time and perhaps he needs to leave earlier so he can make it here on time. The kid is 11 and I feel this is an age where one needs to start learning self-responsibility. I could see the tears starting to form in his eyes as I was talking to him. I did not see him cry per se, but I'm pretty sure he did in the locker room. I felt bad and do not enjoy being the bad guy in anyway, but Che needed to learn a lesson. My worst fear was that I would never see him again. Well thursday rolls around and who is not only on time but early? Mr. Che! I told him I was proud of him and hopefully this was the start of some new behavior from him.

This was the first time I've ever kicked someone out of practice/not permitted them to swim. Then about 10 minutes later another swimmer shows up -- this is my 5-year old. He mom asks if it is ok for her to still swim. This is right after I did not permit Che to swim. Here I am thinking "OK, you just told one kid they could not swim because they are late, but you are going to let someone else who has arrived later swim?" I told the mother in a somewhat grumpy tone that yes she can swim today. She's 5-years old, I'm not going to kick a 5-year old out. On the same token I had minutes ago set a standard and in my mind I'm sending dual messages like "if swimmer A comes late they can't swim, but it's ok for swimmer B to come late and swim?" I felt very...compromised. Later on I chatted with the mother (during practice which is not a particularly good idea) and she explained that 5YO would always be late on tuesdays. I mentioned if it would be possible for 5YO to come in on wed/thur instead of tue/thur? I told her I would think about the situation and get back to her. Honestly, I do not like kids coming in late. I feel that it gets harder for them to get incoporated into the practice and usually I have a plan for the day based on the personnel I have. A swimmer shows up late and it wrinkles things up a bit and sets off my equilibrium. Also, a 5YO doing two 1.5 hour workouts a week? I want no part in contributing to her hating the sport in 10 years.

So thursday rolls around, Che shows up on time and I'm in a good mood (like most thursdays for some reason). My boss (and member of my thesis committee) shows up and asks why she had a mother of a swimmer in her office crying. I'm like "oh no." And I explained what exactly had happened on tuesday. If it had been any other day then when I told Che he could not have swam, I would have been grumpy, but would have 5YO swim and would have said nothing. It was just on that day and that situation and things became a bit unraveled. Now mother is most likely pulling 5YO out of the program -- I will be making a phone call today to kiss some ass, clear up the situation, and hopefully get 5YO back. Speaking of 5YO swimmers, my sister tells me my neice is becoming quite the swimmer -- Uncle Mark certainly likes that to her. Keep up the good work Madelyn.

Since one of my on-going dreams (along with Rock Star) is to become a swim coach, I figure I'll have to deal with these situations at some point. But it's never fun. I think that is why I want to work with older kids. They understand that if I kick them out of practice, it's nothing personal, they just screwed up. I know that is one area I am weak in -- being emotionally supportive. If a kid (any age) is going to come up to me and start crying, I find it hard to say "there there, it is ok." It is not my personality type. Thats why I either need to really improve here or have people on my staff who can do that. But the more I face situations like these, the better I'll become in dealing with the situations and know how to handle all the circumstances.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Flesh You So Fancifully Fry

There is nothing quite like retroactive blogging, ya know?

As a reminder, this sunday I will be changing MOL's url to -- be sure to change your links & bookmarks accordingly.

So monday I was walking back from class and had the chance to pass by a protest that PETA, (this PETA, not this PETA) was doing. Having nothing to do with their organization I denied any opportunity for them to give me their "literature." Just after the fact I thought to myself, "Now self, you should say something praising all the virtues of red meat." This is because one of the by-products of the PETA campaign is to endorse a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Like always, I kicked myself for not speaking up.

Fast-forward to today. Again I'm walking back from class and again I go through this war-zone. Additionally, there was an artice in the paper regarding these protests. The PETA group is using large, blown-up images of animal cruelty and comparing these conditions to slavery. Apparently this is not a wise analogy to make as a number of Black students are offended (rightfully so) and suggest that they [PETA] have no right to make this analogy. Seeing my opportunity ahead of me, I go balls-into enemy territory. Even as I was having a cell phone conversation with my sister, this did not deter the mighty force of the PETA protestor. I was quickly offered a card to take with me. I polietly declined and verbally suggested my preference to cooked animal product. This was their outer ring defense; I got by unscathed but was continuing on through the belly of the beast. Gaining momentum, and confidence, I quickly pulled out the big guns. Using my vocal skills which I honed through years of cheering at swim meets, I rightfully (and loudly!) extolled the virtues of such things as bloody steaks and seasoned beef and all things meat. The enemy was caught off guard and had no defense prepared. I had survived my trip through the gaunlet and raised my head a little higher as I continued my journey back to my dorm.

Now, I have nothing against vegetariansvegans. I don't necessarily agree with their eating habits, but I know plenty of vegans and don't think any less of them. What I have a problem with is extreme demonstrations like the one going on in this example. Does it ever cross the minds of these people (not just PETA, but all protestors like this), that maybe these graphic images and analogies that are stretching the truth, are a bit ineffective There are certainly better ways to go about getting your message across and in a much more civil way. Well it is PETA. IMHO, once this world is free of all the incruelty and rights-violations that go on with humans (hey China, are you reading this), well then we can move onto animals. From my perspective, these people would much rather save animal lives then human lives. That is all fine and dandy, but we should all really worry about our own kind first, because when it comes down to it, a single human's life is far more important then any animal's life.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Public Service Announcement

An announcement from yours truly at MOL:
On Sunday October 9, 2005 I will be changing the url to this-here blog. I haven't decided what it will ultimately be but it will be something along the lines of or or Comments/feedback are appreciated. Once I determine what I will publish as I will let you all know so you can change your bookmarks & links accordingly.

By the way, my friend Ms. Alicia Kendig has started a blog. Be sure to check it out.

No Dark Sarcasm

Circa 1997

I was a freshman undergraduate. The advent of the Internet and personal computing was upon us. My sister had received her baccalaureate degree the previous spring. When she entered school in the fall of 1993, computers were not something that were required of students attending university. Fast-foward 4 years as I am entering my undergraduate career and not only are computers everywhere, every student is expected to bring one to campus with them. I arrived on campus as a wide-eyed uncynical 18-year old and my computer was outfitted so I could reap all the benefits of a 24-hr high-speed internet connection. At this time most people were only familiar with AOL and the unfortuneness that is dial-up. This was the toddler years of the Internet: MP3s had just started to arrive, google still meant 10^100, and Windows 95 crashed seemingly daily.

Part of the undergraduate experience is keep in touch with (or falling in touch with) friends from high school. Email helped with this as we would all send out mass-emails to proclaim the virtues of our respective schools & to coordinate social events when we were in town. Shortly into that year, AOL released a little piece of software called AIM. Users of AOL always had the ability to message with other users ("Instant Messaging" for those of the less-saavy tech persuasion), but AIM extended this use across the Internet. I quickly downloaded the program and encouraged all my friends to as I expanded my Buddy List. One of the perks/pains of AIM was choosing a suitable screen name. You wanted it to reflect who you were but at the same time have some fun with it. This led to many a sweet-folloy-of-youth as people chose names that sounded good at the time but now scream out "what was I thinking?" Stuff like "spartanstud97."

My two best buddies, we'll call them "Brian" and "John," each downloaded AIM so we could chat and catch-up. Many a deep and philisophical debate happened in these conversations -- such as establishment of the cuteness factor and the vortex. One of the hardest things to understand while communicating strictly through the written word is tone. Even if you are fully following a conversation, one is never entirely sure of how the words are intended. This is especially important in the case of sarcasm. When IMing with someone it can be very difficult to figure out if someone is being sarcastic or not. In a spurt of creative wisdom the three of us decided that to help in our conversations we would use that underutilized punctuation symbol the tilde (~) to represent sarcasm. This was a revelation! Our IM conversations were so much easier to follow and in some sort of little-way we felt like we were setting a precedent.

A couple weeks ago I had an IM conversation with a friend and I brought up this idea of using the tilde to denote sarcasm. It had been years since I had done this, but felt like sharing my wisdom. I figured it was our little thing and thought nothing of it. The other night I came home from work and began this post. unfortunately the site was down for maintenance so I was unable to do my post. In the meantime, I decided to do a little research on our friend the tilde. So I went to the definitive source of everything, Wikipedia and looked up tilde to figure out what it is truly used for. If you read the whole entry you will find the following sentence:

"The tilde is also used in instant messaging and other online chat communities, to indicate sarcasm."

I stopped. WHAT? That was OUR thing. Seriously. I'm not trying to take credit for it, but the three of us figured it out on our own 8 years ago. As far as we're concerned, this is the first recorded instance of the tilde to denote sarcasm. Maybe its a case of Newton and Leibniz discovering the bases of Calculus independently of each other...but now in my eyes I have helped to set an Internet Precedent.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Maybe I Ride, Maybe You Walk

I've been thinking about this one for quite awhile now, so I apologize in advance if I get a bit long winded here. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way and I lost half of my 12 readers, onto the topic of the day.

This year I am doing a considerable amount more driving around campus. This is mainly due to the fact that this year I am in a parking lot that is across the street versus a lot that is a solid 25 minute walk away. During my various travels across campus I have noticed 3 very-obvious and very-distinct populations -- the walkers, the drivers, and the bicyclists. Of course there is that guy on the Segway I see occaisionally but we'll ignore him for this discussion. Each has their own pros and cons. I will now offer a brief treatise/manifesto on these various populations.

The Walkers.
These people are the masses. They control who goes where and when. They are most powerful in numbers and crossing the street against a light. A lone motorist (or group of them) is powerless when their numbers thrown caution to the wind and cross when they most feel like it. Within the walkers there are two subgroups. You've got the fraidy cat walkers and the balls out walkers. The fraidy cat walks stop at every crossing and wait for traffic to clear to cross the street. These people have no will and no guts. These are the pacifists of the campus transportation groups. A driver will also look for these, often lone, individuals as the FCW will not impede the progress of any driver. On the other end of the spectrum you've got the BOWs. These folks (of which I am a pround member) follow the mantra that is posted on the yellow traffic signs that say "Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk." These folks have no fear and will not miss a step to enter a crosswalk. A car 10 feet away going 30 mph? Pshaw! Like I"m gonna stop! And yet they have a right to. That little yellow sign gives them all the freedom to cross and forces the drivers to slow down.

The Drivers
These are the most unpredictable of the 3 groups. Being a member of this group (yeah, I've got dual membership, I rock!) I have gained insight into the disharmony that they present into the system. Speed Limits are merely a recommendation. This is especially true in parking lots and parking garages. There are so many blind spots there I don't understand why there are not more accidents. Then there is the whole driver/walker interactions. The drivers like the FCWs ans the driver stays in power. Drivers need to be especially aware of the BOWs. There are several locations on campus (traffic circles) where there are multiple crosswalks in a close vicinity. BOWs have stopped multiple cars before and even when traffic clears, another one may quickly enter and continue to hold up a driver's progress. And since parking spots are like caviar when one is spotted a driver will take all risks to get to that spot ASAP.

The Bicyclists
This crew are the fewest in number but probably take the most risks out of the three groups. They constantly try to fit themselves through the narrowest of openings between people, trees, buildings, etc. They also travel at a higher then recommended speed which leads to problems. I've seen several accidents between fellow cyclists and between cyclists and walkers. It is usally due to too high of a speed and bad decision making. These people also think that it is a good idea to try and ride their bike while talking on their cell phone. SERIOUSLY dude, the call can wait. People think drivers with cell phones are are far worse.

The three of these groups come together at certain peak hours of the day to create a perfect storms of sort. I seriously fear for my life during these times when I'm out. There is so much unpredictability and chaos going on. I just try to drive slow and keep it safe for myself. If I get through this year without any sort of car accident...well I deserve something.

This post wasn't nearly as funny as it was in my head, but I commend anyone that makes it this far.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Come On Aboard's Page 2 Daily Quickie is hopping onto the Spartan bandwagon.
The Spartan's a top 5 team? Um...not quite yet. The season is still young and the Spartans still have a lot to prove. They still have to get past a reeling Michigan team this week (my pick -- the Spartans will ROLL over the inept Wolverine defense). And then have 2 weeks to prepare for the sickness that is the Buckeye's defense. I will comment more on that game as it approaches but to seriously consider the Spartan's a Top-5 team they will have to beat both UM and OSU. I'm looking forward to how the Spartan O handles the OSU D and vice versa. Like it or not, OSU is still the team to beat in the Big Ten and should be up there in the top-5.

I did laundry yesterday and I think I set a new personal record. After everything was folded I was left with, count 'em, SIX solo socks (Marv Albert voice: alliteration! yes!). How does that happen? Usually I have one or 2 left over who's mates did not make it into that load but SIX? Damn...

Monday, September 26, 2005

So I Dive Into a Pool

So guess what I did today? Something I haven't done in quite awhile. Well since most of my readership demograpics either have multiple degrees or are working their way toward's one, you probably have figured out that I went swimming. As one of the perks of working at the Runner's World Shoe Testing Lab (besides a multitude of free shoes) is a membership at the M.A.C. Today was my first time using the facilities. I got in a nice 1600 meters. Yes, the pool is a 25-meter pool. Can't say I've ever used one of these on a regular basis. One key was that when I was doing some 50s my fastest (time wise, not effort wise) time was :40. Even though I've swum minimally since I retired in Feb 02 I know I can muster better then :40 for a 50-yd swim. So David Whitbeck (aka the purveyor of all swimming knowledge) if you ever read this, maybe you can let me know if that is a decent time or not. Just like riding a bike...except that you're in a pool using no really its NOTHING like riding a bike, but you know what I mean.

The M.A.C. is probably the nicest health club I've been a part of. After the swim I went into the locker room and soaked in the hot tub for a few minutes to relax my aching muscles (my legs are still a bit sore from yesterday's run). A couple things I noticed in the locker room -- old men like just walk around naked and chill out naked. I don't mind nakedness per se...but it might take some adjusting too. It might be a generational thing. I mean even when I swam the majority of us just showered in our suits and then changed at our lockers. Also most of the lockers have name plates on them and are reserved for members. One question -- what do I need to do to get my very own vanity locker? So my plan is to try and get in and swim 2-3 days a week. Just a little something to get back into it. One thing -- it felt REALLY great to swim again. Its a whole evisceral experience that involves the physical and the mental to create my very own special place. Yeah, swimming (or as the Germans would say, Schvimmen) rocks.

So a few days ago I posted some comment like "I got wasted last night and woke up hand-cuffed to some girl..." Just to let you all know, this 1) did not happen, and 2) I hope never happens. I think the majority of my readers know me well enough to realize that this is not something I would do. It was also meant as a comment to kinda poke fun at other bloggers out there that do post about all aspects of their lives. I rarely post personal stuff here that involves other people. And the "personal" stuff I do post is very focused on my self and the views/opinions/feelings I have. So yeah, I apologize for any misunderstands about this. I can see my parents talking about it now "I KNEW we raised him to be better then that."

What else? I was thinking earlier today (while folding laundry) about how my life is going pretty darn good right now. Yes I have a lot of work and jobs...but I'm managing and I'm a lot happier then I have been in quite awhile. Most people realize I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, but now I"m happier-go-lucky.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

We Shall Hide Together Here

Its been awhile since I last posted something here.

First off, the new season of Lost premiered this past wednesday. Music for Robots posted an mp3 of the song (Mama Cass Elliot - Make Your Own Kind of Music) that lead off the new season. It was a very anachronistic (one of my favorite words) beginning as you heard this very poppy/happy song and had absoultely NO idea how it fell into the context of the show (a flashback? a new character? the others? the boat? a commercial?). Then we quickly found out it came from underneath the bunker/hatch and at the end we find a mysterious visitor from Jack's past. How about Matthew Fox and that sweet-ass early 90s hair? MFR also links to Flight 815 which then links to other Lost fan sites. My particularly favorite one is The Lost Numbers...I mean where do these people find the time for this? Anyway I meant to do a live-blogging of the premier episode but I had some company over and thought that may be a bit rude. Perhaps later on in the season.

Lets see...I ran the Capital City River Run 10-mile race earlier this morning. My final time was 1:04:10...I would've been happy with 1:07ish and thought that 1:05 (6:30 per mile pace) would be really good. Considering I would not define me as being in total running shape, this was a very successful run. I also like how I paced it -- I kept it nice and even throughout. This bodes well for Boston in the spring. I also finished 12th I believe. I thought I counted around 20 but looking at the results post-race it said 12th overall. The real kick-in-the-nuts though is that 1:04:10 was only good for 4th in my age division which meant I finished out of the awards. BASTARDS!

The MSU Spartans literally rolled over the not-so-fighting Illini of Illinois yesterday. Seriously, the Illini laid down on the field and all the MSU players rolled over them. Quite a bizarre incident I must say. The MSU offense is a juggernaut and just clicking on all cylinders. We're now #11 in the AP poll and have a big game at home next week against Michigan. Actually I'm thinking the Spartans should win that game. The Wolverines are just not..very...good this year. Somehow they were ranked #3 at the beginning of the year. They could have a very bad season. MSU should beat them and right now they only way they will beat OSU is if Lloyd Carr is fired and the team rallies around the coach to beat OSU (a la Earl Bruce in 1987). Ohio State is one of the most physical teams I can remember in recent years.

Lastly I got me some Indians playoff tickets yesterday. I've got 4 tickets to the first game (ie game 3) and 2 to the second game (game 4). They just need to hang on this last week of the season.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Number of Irrational Fears

First off, I've been meaning to get this in here for awhile now. So awhile back I watched most of my Seinfeld DVDs in the span of a week or so. One of the early episodes has Elaine getting a job for George at Pendant Publishing. George, working late one night, makes a little eye contact with the cleaning lady (sweet Lupe!). The two proceed it on at the office. Elaine's (and technically George's) boss, Mr. Lippman (played wonderfully by Richard Fancy) becomes aware of the situation and confronts George about it. The dialogue goes something like this:

Mr. Lippman -- It has been brought to my attention that you have had relations with the cleaning lady.
George, in a complete deadpan -- Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon . . ."

That was one of the early classic George Costanza lines. It is slowly prying the door open to the dysfunctionality and neuroticism that we would come to love and enjoy and what would ultimately define the character of George Costanza. Like it or not, we all have a little (or a lot) George Costanza in us.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I started thishere blog way back in January. I did it on a lark and was mainly inspired by one Erin Greer. I didn't really expect anyone to read the drivel that I put here. Or if they did, it would only be a few choice people. Well slowly my readership has grown. It is still mainly my friends, but that has grown from my close friends to those that may not be as close. My family (mom, dad, both sisters) also read this. While I am no Stephanie Klein (nor desire to be), it seems that my readership is growing, which is a good thing.

As I get more readers, I've started to self-censor what I put up here. This blog is by no means a tell all of my dirty little secrets and sweet follies of youth...but on the same token you never know how people are going to react to words that may or may not be about them. Or even what details of my life you would rather not know. There are some out there that would argue that self-censorship is wrong and I should be able to write whatever I want. I can do that. I just choose not to. If I was willing to deal with those consequences, by all means I'd write every detail of my life on here, but I also realize that the words I write here can have an impact beyond my everyday readers.

I've read a few articles about how blogging has affected people's professional lives. People have not been hired based on what they write on blogs. I try to keep this fun and I mostly comment on the mundane minute of everyday life. Every once in a while I do offer a valid social/political commentary along the evolution posts I just did. But do I want a sentence that I wrote 6 months ago in some pointless post to affect whether or not I get a job when I get my degree in the spring? Heck no. I mean I did get totally hammered last night, woke up this morning naked in a pile of my own vomit handcuffed to some skanky looking girl and there was a used condom on the floor....

There is also the fact that I find it very uncomfortable and somewhat embarassing to admit that, yes, I do blog. I feel like...I dunno...I just feel that people will look down upon me when I say that. I think that their opinon of me will change from 1) the fact that I do blog and more importantly 2) what I write on here. I am very hesitant to admit to people that I do blog. I know that the interent has grown to be a big part of our everyday lives and that if you participate in online forums, postings, bloggings, etc this doesn't mean you are a "single unkempt non-hygenic single male" or such stereotypes that existed during the infancy of the internet. Yes somehow I still perceive (really this is unjustified) people will see me this way. Really MOL is an extension of myself & my personality and if anything I should be proud of the writings and work I put up here.

Hey its September. Looks like I'm getting called up to the majors. Time to show management what I've got.

I Crawled the Earth, But Now I'm Higher

I've been having a hard time sleeping lately...that is one reason I'm posting this at the time I am. I've got nothing better to do until I leave for work at 7:30 or so.

Anyway I wanted to do a follow up to my previous comments on ID and Evolution. One thing that I failed to mention is regarding the theory of evolution. If this theory is true and does hold up it means that we, as humans, are still evolving. We have yet to reach perfection. In another million years the humans that are around (provided we haven't killed ourselves through our direct actions or through destroying the environment or we are out of resources, etc) will not be the same humans that we have now. They will be a form of Super-Humans who are physically and mentally superior then we are today. Of course maybe we have reached our evolutionary peak. But I seriously doubt that as good as we are, we can still use some improvement.

Lastly, I got the following item from my mom. Hope you enjoy.

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 131: September 12, 2005

Holt, Scientific Societies Oppose Teaching Intelligent Design as Science

"When the tenets of critical thinking and scientific investigation are weakened in our classrooms, we are weakening our nation." - Rep.
Rush Holt

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), a physicist, spoke out this month against teaching intelligent design as science in the nation's classrooms.
"A scientifically literate nation would not permit intelligent design to be presented and treated as a scientific theory," Holt wrote in an article appearing on the Internet. "Public school science classes are not the place to teach concepts that cannot be
backed up by evidence and tested experimentally," he added.

Holt's article followed comments by President George Bush on August 1, in answer to a reporter's question about whether both evolution and intelligent design should be taught in public schools. "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. Recalling his response as Texas governor to the question of teaching creationism, he said he "felt like both sides ought to be properly people can understand what the debate is about." John Marburger, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who has repeatedly stated that intelligent design is not a scientific concept, said in an interview with the New York Times that Bush meant intelligent design could be addressed as part of the "social context" of science.

Two Member Societies of the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU), issued responses to Bush's remarks. APS President Marvin Cohen stated that "only scientifically validated theories, such as evolution, should be taught in the nation's science classes" (see for the complete APS response). AGU Executive Director Fred Spilhaus declared that "ideas that are based on faith, including 'intelligent design,'
operate in a different sphere and should not be confused with science" (see here for the complete AGU response).

Holt's article, entitled "Intelligent Design: It's Not Even Wrong,"
originally appeared in the September 8 "Talking Points Memo"
Internet blog, and can be found at
here. Selected portions of the article follow:

"As a research scientist and a member of the House Education Committee, I was appalled when President Bush signaled his support for the teaching of 'intelligent design' alongside evolution in public K-12 science classes. Though I respect and consistently protect the rights of persons of faith and the curricula of religious schools, public school science classes are not the place to teach concepts that cannot be backed up by evidence and tested experimentally.

"Science, by definition, is a method of learning about the physical universe by asking questions in a way that they can be answered empirically and verifiably. If a question cannot be framed so that the answer is testable by looking at physical evidence and by allowing other people to repeat and replicate one's test, then it is not science. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study. Intelligent design offers no way to investigate design scientifically. Intelligent design explains complicated phenomena of the natural world by involving a designer. This way of thinking says things behave the way they do because God makes them behave that way. This treads not into science but into the realm of faith. A prominent physicist, W.
Pauli, used to say about such a theory 'It is not even wrong'.
There is no testable hypothesis or prediction for intelligent design.

"It is irresponsible for President Bush to cast intelligent design - a repackaged version of creationism - as the 'other side' of the evolution 'debate.' Creationists and others who denigrate the concept of evolution call it a theory, with a dismissive tone. They say that, as a theory, it is up for debate. Sure, evolution is a theory, just as gravitation is a theory. The mechanisms of evolution are indeed up for debate, just as the details of gravitation and its mathematical relationship with other forces of nature are up for debate. Some people once believed that we are held on the ground by invisible angels above us beating their wings and pushing us against the earth. If angels always adjusted their beating wings to exert force that diminished as the square of the distance between attracting bodies, it would be just like our idea of gravitation. The existence of those angels, undetected by any
measurements, would not be the subject of science. Such an idea of
gravity is 'not even wrong'. It is beyond the realm of science. So, too, is intelligent design.

"Colloquially, a theory is an idea. Scientifically, a theory is an accepted synthesis of a large body of knowledge, consisting of well-tested hypotheses, laws, and scientific facts, which concurrently describe and connect natural phenomena. There are actually very few theories in science, including atomic theory, the theory of gravity, the theory of evolution, and the theory of the standard model of particle physics. Without the ability to test the hypotheses of intelligent design, it cannot be considered a theory in the scientific sense.

"So who cares? What difference does it make if schools spend time on unscientific ideas? This raises the role of science education in the United States. A scientifically literate nation would not permit intelligent design to be presented and treated as a scientific theory. Science education is necessary for all students, especially for those who are not going to become professional scientists. We must not lose the important American characteristic
- hard, practical thinking.

"Traditionally, Americans are a faithful people. Most say they are guided by their faith in their God. Also, Americans are an intellectually lively people. Our forbearers did not lapse into lazy thinking. Sometimes it has been called Yankee ingenuity or good old American know-how. Whatever you call it, it has been a source of our prosperity and quality of life. Throughout our history, every farmer, every business owner, every manufacturer, continuously has been thinking how things work and how to make them better. Americans have thought like scientists. Not just those in lab coats, but many Americans, even most Americans. We must not allow this American intellectual habit to be replaced with wishful thinking or lazy thinking. Intelligent design is lazy thinking."

"Our weakened state of science and mathematics education reverberates throughout national and even global issues, and this should be the focus of our school systems rather than a 'debate'
that only diverts attention away from the challenges at hand. The United States must prepare for the changing global economy through fundamental scientific research fueling technological innovation.
When the tenets of critical thinking and scientific investigation
are weakened in our classrooms, we are weakening our nation. That
is why I think the President's off-hand comment about intelligent design as the other side of the debate over evolution is such a great disservice to Americans."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Monkey to Man

Quick follow-up on my last post....the Big Ten laid a big egg this weekend. At least OSU kept it competitive. Thoughts -- Vince Young is a tough kid and one hell of a QB. This weekend MSU visits Notre Dame. Before you all jump on the ND bandwagon remember these things: of all opponents, ND has gotten beat by MSU the most (that includes Navy, Michigan, and USC), MSU has won at ND the past 4 times they have been there, and lastly, MSU has a high-powered offense and a vastly improved defense.

Now onto more pressing issues.

This week The Daily Show is presenting a theme week titled "Evolution Schmevoluion." Basically they are addressing how "Intelligent Design," a PC-term for creationism is increasingly being reintroduced into school science curriculums over the theory of evolution. To avoid getting on a soapbox (ha ha), what is going on in this country? I don't get it. Are we moving backwards? We, as a society, are supposed to be be moving forward into the 21st centruy not backward into the 19th century. Great use of italics there, eh? This country is becoming increasingly right-wing Christian, and I don't like. Mark, you say, are you both not right-wing and Christian? Yes. My religion (Go RC!) is an important part of my life and I am a registered Republican. I'll tackle these topics more in-depth in future postings, but not today. Although I am both of these things, I am by no-means the monster beast that is the Right-Wing Christian (from here-on out to be denoted RWC). RWCs live their life with blinders and live in a Puritanical and very Footloose way. These people seem to support Dubs no matter what and fail to see his short comings.

In contrast to RWCs, there are people such as me who are both right-wing and Christian but are able to put both in perspective and are able to make sane and rational decisions. There is a difference here folks. I believe in both Creationism...oops..I mean "Intelligent Design" and Evolution. As a somewhate devout Catholic I believe in a higher power that created this world of a novice researcher and through my various studies I also believe in the scientific process. RWCs read this and don't believe the two can go together. I say that they can. I realize the limitations in the creation story presented in the Bible; this doesn't mean I reject my faith and what it stands for. There is much more to religion, specifically Catholicism then the story of Adam & Eve...from what I'm told the emphais is on Jesus and his works and the writings surrounding him. We focus much more on that then how the world was created. Yes it is important, but really how often is it addresed at church? There is the discrepency between the Biblical time table and the evolutionary time table. I find it fascinating that constant discoveries of these fossils that are millions & millions of years old. I find it equally fascinating that the fossil record from monkey to man is still incomplete. We have yet to find thae infamous "missing link" It makes me wonder how many valuable fossils are buried under modern day civilizations. Oh yeah a few years back PJPII (RIP) announced that the theory of evolution could be accepted by Catholics. Good to know I won't be going to hell for that.

So these schools are teaching ID and there is no problem with this? It seems to be pretty obvious that ID is religion-based (where's the scientific proof?) and from what I remember there is this little thing called Separation of Church and State (SOCAS for those who like acronyms). This just bugs me. Since when has ID been a proven fact? While evolution is not without its holes, its a bit more scientifically valid then ID. I'm trying to think of an original witty analogy for this, but its too late. Anyway, hopefull this nation will get its heads out of its collective rears and realize the big mistake we're headed toward. Oh yeah, in conjunction with this and all the other crap going on, the GOP is gonna lose big next year (thanks mom for that tip-off).

On the lighter side of things, ever have a Pseudo-Date? Nick Miller turned me onto this phenomena once and it has struck a chord with me all day. That was in May of 2002 and that link is from August 2001. I would add another definition to the one that author lists: when one person has romantic intentions toward another and the two go out. The first person is unaware of the 2nd person's feelings so the whole time they are stitting there thinking "is this just a friend thing or is there a possiblity of us being naked at the end of the night." It is a great term to use....not necessarily a great thing to do.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Now It's On

Good times with T & A.

Let's go over some results thus far....
Notre Dame @ University of Michigan...Check.
Hawaii @ MSU....Check

And now THE BIG GAME will be starting in less then an hour.
Quick prediction before heading out with T & A: Texas in a close one, but after the above two scores, I'm feeling very confident for OSU. We'll see what happens. If you are anywhere near a TV, WATCH THIS GAME!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dance Ten, Looks Three

The Infamous Prom Date

Happy 27th birthday to one Katie Laskey. She can be an odd one at times, but we love her nonetheless. She's actually one of my best female friends. She's actually one of the few people left that I want to hang out with when I'm in Lakewood. KL, you rock.
An aside, it seems every picture of me I post I'm dressed up. Damn, I'm dapper folks.

I got the Rents coming into town for a visit this weekend. I like nicknames. I have more nicknames for my dad then my mom...Big Guy, Old Man, the seed from which I sprung (OK, I just made that last one up). But awhile back, I came up with a new one for them, and its a doozy. Since they are Terrence & Adrienne I have come up with the oh-so-original (drumroll please)....T & A. And yes I have used this to reference them in coversation before. Like "Oh, I'd love to tailgate with you on saturday, but I've got to entertain T & A."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Walk Right Through the Door

Every week or two, offers Uni Watch from Paul Lukas. He details trends & changes in uniform designs. All the links open up in a 2nd window so you can just alt-tab back and forth between the two. It's one of my favorite columns that offers. Speaking of ESPN, they recently sacked everyone's not-so-favorite College GameDay commentator, Trev Alberts. We cry for you Trev, we oh most certainly do.

So I was over at the M.A.C. earlier today as my first day working in the shoe lab. I've got a part-time position working at the Runner's World Shoe Testing Lab which is located here in East Lansing. Basically I'll drawing from my two fields of study -- the mechanical testing I learned in my Materials Science & Engineering degree and the Biomechanics/Kinesiology degree I'm getting here at MSU. The building contains the M.A.C. along with medical facilities. Entering the building there are signs that say to use the revolving doors. It is not a big deal to me and I feel no need to disrupt authority so I go through the revolving doors. Fast-forward to later when I am leaving. There are no signs saying which is the preferred door to use upon exiting. I see people approaching the revolving doors coming in, so I head for the manual doors. There is an older gentleman getting dropped off outside. I'm about to open the doors when they open up automatically. Apparently they are motion-activated. Cool deal. So I head out and pass the older man and he says to me "You don't look like a cripple."

WTF? Seriously, WTF dude? I'm just walking out the door man, chill out. I'm not trying to show you up. Although if I knew ahead of time he was going to comment to me, I would have proudly displayed my awesome physical prowessness when it comes to bipedal motion. I know I can walk with the best of them, and unfortunately from the looks of it old man, you can't. Your days are well behind you. So the doors have the little Handicapped symbol on them. Does that mean we discriminate and only let you "cripples" (from what I'm told they don't like that term. But maybe it's like with other minority groups where those within the group can address themselves by terms that would otherwise be considered offensive. i.e. blacks calling each other nigger, gays calling each other fag...but that's a topic for another day). Listen fella, I have as much right to that door as you do. One thing I've learned throughout the years is that we all need to be inclusive. To me means letting in people from outside of your demograpic group. The street goes both ways. We want non-tradional populations to be incorporated into traditional ones AND we want traditional populations incorporated into non-traditional ones. Do you follow old man, or are you just old and cantankerous? Although I shouldn't blame him. My goal is to be as cranky & crotchety as possible when I'm in my golden years.

And to end on a completely unrelated note, I can't get enough of the new Stellastarr* song, Sweet Troubled Soul. Good stuff. And for whatever reason (good or bad has yet to be decided) I'm digging on the new Franz Ferdinand song, Do You Want To? It's nice to have a band (i.e. guitar, drum, bass) that can make you dance!

Monday, September 05, 2005

They Were Cheering & Waving

Happy Labor Day Everyone. Click here for a brief history of the day.

Bonus points to anyone who can find the link to today's lyric & the topics discussed below.

R.I.P. William Rehnquist.
Dubs announced earlier today that he is nominating John Roberts to be Chief Justice. I first found this odd, as he [Roberts] isn't even on the court yet. Shouldn't the President nominate a standing judge to rise to CJ? Let's look at who's left: Breyer, Ginsburg, Thomas, Souter, Kennedy, Scalia, & Stevens. Obviously Dubs wants a conservative judge. Of those left, the two most likely candidates are Thomas & Scalia. These two, however, are two of the most polarizing and conservative judges. I do see a big cat fight from the left coming if he nominated either of these two for CJ. Roberts is fairly young and will be able to set a legacy of 20-30 years (depending on how long he serves) of the "Roberts Court." Add to the fact that the talk is that his nomination should have minimal difficulites getting through, and it becomes a more obvious choice & a smart decision by the President. And people say he's dumb! That leaves Dubs with another nomination. I could see him going with a more conservative nomination and maybe (hopefully) one of the women that was discussed when Sandy retired earlier this summer. Maybe one of you Law students (or lawyers) that read this could comment?

Well the opening weekend of college football is all but over (save for Miami/FSU tonight). It was quite the successful weekend I must say. I started the day on saturday by going out for a nice 12 mile run at 9:30 am (averaged 7:52/mile fyi). The KSU/MSU game was at 12, so tailgating was in full swing when I went out. What a beautiful day it was! As I ran through campus, I was joined for a few steps with a tailgater offering me encouragement? 3:00 into an hour and a half plus run, I didn't think it was a good idea to guzzle down some beer. It was nice to see the sea of green & white around campus. I unfortunately had to work at 2:00 so I only got to see most of the 1st half of the game. My mum taught me well as I settled in my room with the MSU game on the radio and the TV switching back-and-forth between the MSU/KSU game and the OSU/Miami game.

My reactions: The MSU offense was on a roll! They rang up 685 yards of total offense including 354 on the ground. That's 2nd most in school history folks. To go with my comments from friday, KSU was Kent Defend. The MSU defense, which will decide how good of a year we will have, held KSU to only 14 yds on the ground. Next week we've got Hawaii at home then head into South Bend to battle with a Notre Dame team who were quite successful in Charlie Weiss's debut as head coach. That may be a high scoring affair. From what I saw of OSU, they looked pretty good. They've got Texas coming into the Horseshoe next saturday night for what will easily be one of the biggest games of the year. The beauty (or ugliness) of the BCS is that if you do lose, you want to lose early. So whoever loses (read: UT) isn't totally out of it. And if both teams win the rest of their games it bodes well for both teams (quality wins, only loss is to a top-5 opponent). One thing I like about OSU is that Tressel knows how to get his team up for the big games. He's found a way to beat Michigan 3 out of 4 years and upsetting a heavily-favored Miami team in the aught-three Fiesta Bowl.

Friday, September 02, 2005

They Say Its Your Birthday

Liz and some disturbingly handsome fella

A very special happy birthday to my friend Liz. She has now officially joined the ranks of us 26-yr-olds and is now closer to 30 then 20. At least I think its her birthday. I'll need confirmation for that one. Anyway, she's a great friend of mine and I'm glad to have known her throughout the years. Cheers!

So it's Labor Day weekend. Nothing special going on with me. Actually I'm working at Kohl's most of the weekend -- tonight, tomorrow afternoon/night, and most of sunday. That leaves monday for work/fun. On the fun side of things, tomorrow MSU opens its football season against Kent Read, Kent Write, Kent State. I'm not expecting that much from our Spartans. A bowl game will mean a successful season.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This Ain't No Mudd Club

CBGB's lease won't be renewed
For those of you not in the know, this issue has been around for awhile. CBGB, the seminal club that helped launch Punk Rock in the 1970s owes months in back rent. The club which, coincidentally stands for Country Blue Grass and Blues featured bands such as the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Blondie, and Television. Hopefully all interested parties will be able to work things out, but right now things look pretty glim.

I've taken a step to alleviate the amount of spam left on my comments. If you want to leave a comment you now have to do a word verification. Yes, its one more step for you my faithful readers, but this is war and a you're either with me or with the spammers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All These Changes Taking Place

A very Happy 32nd Anniversary to the wonderful people that brought yours truly into this world. I am blessed with many of their genes which make me the evolutionary dominant specimen that I am today. But seriously folks, my parents rock and I think its just great that they've made it this far. They are more then a statistic, they are a representation of what hard work and love can accomplish. I just hope one day to be able to have what they have. Thanks again for everything.

So I went out for a run yesterday. Mind you the day was August 30. So I'm out running and I notice something. Something that happens every year, but usually not this soon. I saw that the leaves on some trees have started changing colors already! This is seriously depressing folks. That means cold weather is just around the corner. I enjoy wearing shorts and after the hot summer we've had (which I loved) I am NOT looking forward to the cold weather. C'est la vie.

It appears that I have a new reader to this here blog. "The Restless Graduate Student" has been posting comments. It is kind of funny, because I have no idea who it is. It could be someone I know (from MSU, CWRU, or elsewhere) who is using an alias, or it could be some random person that I really don't know. My money is on the former. Whoever you are, I enjoy your comments and look forward to more. And as far as your identity is concerned, right now I'm fine not knowing who you are, as it adds an air of mystery to this.

You know, after a long time of being on the outside, I've been gradually working my way back into the Vortex. I hear a spot has opened up for me?