Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy St. Andrew's Day

  • Cripes. How can it only be Wednesday? You suck, weekdays.

  • I suppose it's not all bad. As mentioned earlier, today is St. Andrew's Day. Get your kit off, ladies!

  • Like a lot of people, I have my blog set up to send me an e-mail every time someone makes a comment. It ensures that I get to see all the witty things you say.
    Unfortunately, the feature doesn't tell me to which post a person has responded. Usually i can figure it out, but this can sometimes be a problem when people respond to posts that have slipped from my memory (i.e., posts that are more than two days old). As such, I have no idea to which post the following comment is in reference:
    "He is a somebody! He is a Disney favorite. Guess you spend to much time on the internet talking about things and people you know nothing about to have children. Why dont you read up before you post any dumb comment. thanks"
    Of course the comment came from "Anonymous" and in classic angry commenter style, it has grammar/spelling mistakes. I think this may be an unwritten rule of negative commenting -- we see a lot of it in the Global Media Conspiracy. Most of the people who write in to complain that we are treasonous homosexual abortionists who are pushing our liberal socialist agenda to take God out of the schools struggle to string words together. But I'm intrigued; what Disney favorite could I have slighted that it would earn an angry response?
    According to the Blogger dashboard feature, I have spoken about things and people I know nothing about some 640 times on this blog (this post included), so it's difficult to just go through the archives and find the comment. I don't expect you to know, either, of course, but which Disney favorite do you think I might have insulted?

  • Scientologists -- crazy? Oh, hell yes.

  • Another reason to stay calm when driving: if you road rage, Ric Flair might kick your ass.

  • I have been feeling something very strongly today, but I only feel like stating it enigmatically via two sentences:
    - The No. 1 rule of broadcast journalism is that there are no other rules when you have good video.
    - Eight months feels like a long time.
  • St. Andrew Leads To St. Nick

    My latest column is out. It contains passing reference to Chris and Jenny and this line: " Here, have some eggnog. Each cup is worth about $30."
    Please forward it to all your friends and family; it makes the perfect holiday gift.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Road rage

    It was raining last night while I drove home. When I parked my car, my windshield wipers -- as they are sometimes wont to do -- refused to shut off. Usually this problem corrects itself if I shut off the engine; when the ignition is turned back on, the wipers will move into the off position and stay that way. But after killing the engine two or three times without success, I decided that I couldn't be bothered and simply assumed that it would all sort itself out by the morning.

    Overnight, the rain turned to snow.

    When I got out to the car this morning, it was under about an inch or two of snow. I started the car, cranked up the defrost, and then walked down the street (Rachel and I live in the city, so we park our cars in the street) to the truck to finally retrieve the second snowbrush that has been sitting in the cab since our Ford Shitmobile died.

    I wiped the snow off the rear window, the side windows and the windshield. Then, as I was scraping the ice off the windshield, the wipers suddenly came to life (the car had been on for about five minutes).

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Wow, that's annoying," I thought.

    WUPBUPBUP

    I reached in the car and clicked the wiper switch on and off, hoping that would somehow get the wipers to shut off.

    WUPBUPBUP

    I carried on scraping the ice off the windshield, dancing around the wipers, and telling myself calmly: "Do not rip the wipers out. That would be bad. I will need those again at some point."

    WUPBUPBUP

    According to my Pooh watch, I was already late, so, even though the windows were still all fogged up, I set out for work:

    WUPBUPBUP

    "There's got to be a way to shut off these damned wipers. I guess I could just pull the fuse, if I could..."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Fucking rear-wheel drive doesn't do shit on these icy intersections. The weather guys said it was going to be like this, but apparently no one who works for the city watches the news -- heaven forbid they should put sand and salt on the roads."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Where the hell is the fuse box in this fucking car? A smart man would put it right fucking here -- but I've already learned that this car was not designed by a smart man."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Dude in front of me, why are you going so slow? It's icy, yes, but you don't need to... Whoa. What the hell are you doing? The road is over here! Have you ever driven in America? Just because you can't see the lines doesn't mean there's no road. You're going to hit one of those Hasidic Jews that are always walking up and down this road. I'm pretty sure that killing a Jew is a straight-to-hell offense."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Motherfucker! It's like that Chinese water torture, these fucking wipers! I can't believe the fuse box isn't anywhere close. Those fucking GM cocksuckers probably put it under the hood."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "What the fuck is the hold up here? Shit. There's probably a wreck on the freeway and things are backed up all the way into the neighborhood. I am going to be so late."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Gah! Fuck you, General Motors! $250 was too much for this piece of shit. No wonder you're laying off 30,000 workers -- no one but a fucking retard would buy one of your fucking cars new."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Shut up, you stupid fucking wipers! Just...

    WUPBUPBUP

    "FUCK!"

    WUPBUPBUP

    "I'm 20 minutes late. And the defrost barely works -- I can't see out my rear window. And the goddamned alternator is squealing. How did I end up like this? What did I do that I should end up..."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "GRRRRRRRR FUCK!"

    WUPBUPBUP

    "FUCK FUCK FUCKITY FUCK!"

    WUPBUPBUP

    "FUCK YOU ALL TO HELL, GM! You cocksucking can't-build-a-car-for-shit bitches! I fucking hate you! Do you hear me, GM? Hate! Fucking hate! As soon I get out of this car..."

    WUPBUPBUP

    "Fuck you! As soon as I fucking get out of this fucking car, I am fucking going to fucking kick it as fucking hard as I can. I am fucking wearing fucking steel-fucking-toed fucking boots today, motherfucker. I will kick you, you fucking car! I am going to kick you!"

    WUPBUPBUP

    You have to admire that 1980s steel. They don't make cars like that, anymore, boy. My foot hurts.

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Martha is just alright by me

  • Now that it is no longer possible to stave off Christmas, I have taken to enjoying the holiday tradition of drinking egg nog. At present, I am taking the easy way out and simply adding Jameson to the stuff you buy at the supermarket, but I have visions of making my own nog from scratch. This is a little more difficult than one might think, though.
    A few years ago, the child bride and I attempted to brew up Martha Stewart's egg nog (link is a bit wonky) and it was undrinkably high octane. My friend, Paul, drank a cup of it and passed out.

  • I anticipate some people would criticize me for using a Martha Stewart recipe in the first place, but how can you not love an old boozehound felon like Martha? On her website she has a feature that allows you to search for recipes by ingredient and it's clear that the lady loves her hooch. Here are the number of recipes I found containing various spirits:
    Rum: 79
    Brandy: 63
    Whisky/Bourbon: 56
    Cognac: 53
    Vodka: 40
    Gin: 15
    Tequila: 13
    The search for "beer" returned 225 recipes. Hey. I'll tell you something for nothing -- that Martha Stewart is my kind of lady.

  • The Vikings won another game. Brad Johnson is unstoppable. We're going to the Super Bowl, baby! Super Bowl! This is our year! Never mind that three of the four teams we've beaten this year have sucked.

  • If I wrote headlines: Motor City Kitties Boot The Mooch

  • This weekend I was having a discussion with Esther about information that is blog appropriate, and I envisioned some insufferable blog in which a person wrote about all sorts of things that no one else would want to know, like expertly documenting a rash.
    It was one of those jokes that cuts dangerously close, though, so I will avoid telling you that the duct tape worked.

  • There is so much wrong with this story, I don't know where to begin. Although, I wish I had thought to propose to the child bride via a kiddie pool full of chocolate pudding.

  • When I was in high school, I had a four-year crush on a girl who was a fan of the Moody Blues. This was in the early 90s and as much as I liked her, I couldn't get over how dumb I thought it was to be a fan of the Moody Blues.
    Once again displaying my amazing teenage capacity for duplicity, however, I was an unabashed fan of bands like Blackfoot and Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Freebird" still makes me weep. It runs in the family -- my uncle used to claim that he could be heard on a Skynyrd live album clearly answering the question, "What song does Dallas want to hear tonight?"
    Blackfoot had slipped into almost total obscurity before I had even heard of them and I doubt that even the radio god that is Dave could name their biggest song without Google-searching, but I feel a certain sense of vindication to have learned today that Skynyrd will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Sunday, November 27, 2005

    Merry Christmas, bitches

    BeforeI am the sort of person who generally likes to hold off on thinking about Christmas until at least 1 December. But my wife comes from a family that keeps Christmas trees up year-round.

    No, really. My mother-in-law has a disturbing obsession with Christmas to the extent that she keeps up at least four trees all year long. Recently I was looking at pictures from our wedding day and I was thinking: "A few generations from now, people will look at these pictures and think that Rachel and I were married in December."

    We were married in the month of June.

    Our Christmastime compromise, then, is that Rachel is not allowed to start celebrating the Yuletide season until after Thanksgiving. On the day after Thanksgiving we drove out to Hansen Tree Farm to cut down a tree and drag it back home. It had snowed that day, so it actually felt Christmasy as Rachel and I wondered through the rows of trees, looking for the one that looked pretty enough to kill.

    AfterI always like to tell the story of our first Christmas together, when Rachel and I bought a massive 9-foot tree and could afford no ornaments for the damned thing. So, we drove up into the Sierras (we lived in Reno, Nev.) to collect the large pine cones that fall from the Ponderosas -- we used those and a few strings of lights to decorate the tree.

    Over the years we've collected a handful more ornaments than I've managed to drop, so our tree looks a little more legitimate. Although, there still aren't enough ornaments to go all the way around the tree -- the side facing the window is bare.

    My favorite element to our tree is Black Santa -- a 16-inch tall black man with a French horn and the most stylin' fur-lined robe ever made, for a man of any size. Black Santa, of course, sits in his rightful place atop the tree, making sure that all Christmas happenings are to his liking.

    Now we just need to put some presents under the tree.

    Friday, November 25, 2005

    Impatient


    Rachel and me
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    This is what Rachel and I look like whilst standing out in the cold and waiting for my dad to get his damned camera to work.

    We were taking pictures to turn into Christmas cards (yes, we are those people -- the ones who send Christmas cards of themselves) but by this point had lost all patience with my dad's camera.

    "Well, it keeps shutting off on me," my dad said.

    "I need to get you a new camera for Christmas," I said.

    "But there's nothing wrong with this camera."

    "Yes there is. We've been standing here for five minutes and you haven't taken a picture yet."

    "Ah. There it went."

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    Self-made meme

    Even though I wasn't asked to do so, I thought I might steal the meme on Dave's blog from a few days ago. But then I decided I didn't really like the particular meme, so I've just made up my own:

    What were you doing 10 years ago?
    Nov. 23, 1995, was Thanksgiving Day. My girlfriend at the time, Sara, and I had Thanksgiving in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., at the orchard where she worked.
    This is where that Steely Dan song comes in. Annandale-on-Hudson consists of little more than Bard College, a tiny liberal institution of higher learning tucked away in farming country. Steely Dan originally formed at Bard, with Chevy Chase as their drummer. The group (sans Chevy) eventually went on to immortalize Annandale-on-Hudson with their song "My Old School" in their 1973 album "Countdown to Ecstasy."
    As indicated by my seven years of marriage to Rachel, things with Sara didn't turn out as well as perhaps they could have and for comedic effect I have a habit of playing up how pear-shaped it all went (conveniently ignoring my own culpability). As such, I am particularly fond of "My Old School" and the lyrics: "California tumbles into the sea -- that'll be the day I go back to Annandale."
    Interestingly, oleanders used to grow just outside the window of her dorm room.
    Anyway, 10 years ago, I took time from my busy schedule of failing all my classes at Moorhead State University to spend Thanksgiving and Sara's birthday (Nov. 26) with her.
    The dinner was hosted in a barn, with two or three massive tables stretching from end to end. Both sides of the family that ran the orchard were there; they had more family members than I had to that point thought could exist in a family. With Sara and I and another girl who worked the orchard serving as the only non-family members, there were at least 70 people at the dinner. Normally when I tell this story, I put the number at about 85 to 100, but Sara occasionally reads this blog, so I am trying to be conservative in my estimate. No doubt I am still off -- I have a horrible memory. If she were telling you this story, she would name everyone there and tell you what each person ate.
    Before dinner, a number of people went on a hayride that went around the orchard, and Sara and I walked around in the cold for a while. I have always thought, and continue to think, that miserable cold weather is romantic. There is not a woman alive who agrees with me on this, so Sara sniffled and swore at the cold until she could stand no more.
    The barn was warm and alive with all the people. Sara's letters to me used to read like menus, so she would, of course, remember better all the food that was available, but I do remember that there was a lot of it -- turkeys and venison that had been killed that day; a whole table of pies; and loads of wine. It's probably odd that I remember the wine. To put it very politely, my attitude toward alcohol at the time was priggish*, but I remember that I tried a very small amount of strawberry wine and wished that I could drink more. My stupid drama king pride refused to allow me to do so.
    This was the year that Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday. Before then, the holiday hadn't meant a whole lot to me. I come from what my cousin, Shawn, once described as "a dysfunctional family where everyone likes each other." We achieved this happy state by not forcing ourselves to spend a whole lot of time with one another, so Thanksgivings growing up were sporadic. When my family moved to Minnesota, my mother decided that just the four of us -- her, my dad, my brother and me -- weren't worth the trouble of making a turkey. Our tradition became that I would barbecue a rack of ribs.
    That Thanksgiving at Annandale-on-Hudson was amazing to me, though. I felt as if I were in some film or book. Like when you see one of those Jane Austen films and everyone is at the ball and you think: "Who did that really?"
    Who actually has a Thanksgiving like the one in "Avalon?" We did, motherfucker, and it was bigger.

    What were you doing five years ago?
    Nov. 23, 2000, was the day before Thanksgiving. I was working at a now-defunct Internet company that paid me to do little more than eat Rice Krispie treats and teach myself Welsh.
    Being a media hack, I was not able to leave town for Thanksgiving, so Rachel and I had dinner with a few other media hacks -- Jim "Landeros" Landrith and Gene Vance. Continuing the Steely Dan theme, Landeros has a habit of analyzing the band's lyrics when he is drunk:
    "'Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book' -- That is great, my friend. That, Mr. Cope, is fucking genius!"
    Landeros now produces a show in Sacramento, Calif., and Gene has gone back to being a photographer in Reno, Nev., but at the time we were all living and suffering in San Diego.
    The dinner was hosted at Landeros' house in Tierrasanta and he did the brunt of the work -- fixing the turkey and the stuffing. Rachel did everything else and Gene, strangely, brought a 5-pound ham that he had bought at Boston Market. I did nothing but sit there and drink Corona.
    There was far too much food, the warm Southern California weather made it feel terribly un-Thanksgiving-like, and I had to leave early to get to work, but its still ranks up there as one of my favorite Thanksgivings. It's very hard for me to explain why I like Thanksgiving without sounding like the blog equivalent of a Precious Moments figurine, but that Thanksgiving had all the necessary elements for me.

    What were you doing last year?
    Nov. 23, 2004, was two days before Thanksgiving. I wasn't doing a whole hell of a lot -- I was at the same job, putting the same useless crap on my blog. The only difference, I suppose, is that the creator of Stove Top stuffing was still alive.
    One year ago I was, as is the case this year, looking forward to Thanksgiving at my parents' house in the suburban wonderland that is Bloomington, Minn. Rachel woke up early on Thanksgiving morning to make a delicious, task-intensive turkey; my dad made the stuffing; my brother and his wife brought desert; and my mother and I sat around drinking beer. As will be the case this year.
    The only real difference between this year and last year will be that my brother and his concubine will bring desert. Jon separated from his wife, Erica (whom he now calls "Ex-ica"), shortly after Christmas last year. Replacing her will be Vanessa, whom I refer to as "the concubine" because Jon is still legally married. The concubine is smarter and bigger breasted than Jon's wife, so I guess things are moving forward.

    What will you be doing one year from now?
    Nov. 23, 2006 will be Thanksgiving Day. The child bride and I will be living in Cardiff, hosting a dinner for all the poor souls who do not usually celebrate Thanksgiving. Britons regularly criticize the fact that Americans seem to have a holiday for everything, but this is one that's worth carrying over. It has no real religious or patriotic association and no one expects gifts -- the sole purpose is to get together, eat, drink, and say: "Here's to livin'."
    If you can get there, you are invited to join us.

    *If you are one of the people who is able to expound on my duplicitous stances on alcohol consumption, please remember that this is my blog -- I can delete comments.