Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stupid Commercials

Anyone remember this one, mid-'80s or so:

(kids playing baseball, one of them breaks a window - guy comes out of house, dismayed. Window-breaking kid runs up. Cue operatic/musical number:)

Kid: Mr. Robertson! Mr. Robertson!

Guy: Oh, what a horrible mess.

Kid: I broke your window! With my ball!

Guy: You?

Kid: And I've come to confess!

Few lines I don't remember, but basic plot is guy is berating kid ... but then...

Guy: But I'm proud of you child, for you have displayed... honor! (crescendo) The stuff from which heroes are made!

Kid: I told the truuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuth!

It was a commercial for Latter-Day Saints, though what any of that had to do with anything, I'm not sure. I sorta thought it was a local Denver/Boulder thing, but quick searches indicate people around the country remember it.

And it's been stuck in my head all day, after I probably went a good 18, 19 years without thinking of it. First Sheriff, now this.

Update: doesn't appear to be on YouTube, but a complete transcription is in the comments here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Watching Over

This appeared fairly recently along Ponce De Leon, by the old railroad bridge and looking down upon the street. I'm guessing (not much of a stretch) that it's from Paris on Ponce, the sort of funky/oddball antique shop just a little ways up -- it's behind PoP and probably on its property, and it has the same folk art feel as some of the other pieces (see ape on Eiffel Tower, here) on the store's grounds.

I'm not sure what it's supposed to represent -- there's a vaguely religious feel to it and my first thought was that it's a representation of Mary, but I think that's wrong -- the figure is protecting two children, and neither of them seem very Jesus-ish, though I'm not sure how you'd tell. In any case, it's pretty striking and a cool addition to the area.

This is what the figure's watching over -- a small stretch of the street that's forgotten and rather trashed, despite being between two heavily-trafficked areas (the Borders/Whole Foods/Home Depot complex on the grounds of the old Ponce De Leon Park on one end, Paris on Ponce and the beginning of Virginia-Highland on the other). I'm not sure what plans there are for this no man's land, though I have a feeling it'll be affected by the Beltway.

Paris on Ponce has a couple old Tyson's Furniture signs along the way, and I don't know if the owners just found them somewhere and thought they were cool, or if this building (it's a big ol' warehouse, painted a shocking orange) used to be Tyson's Furniture. I can't find any record of a Tyson's Furniture in Atlanta (there's one in North Carolina), but I haven't exactly done exhaustive research.

Paris on Ponce is one of those cool, rambling places that merits endless exploration. If you go there looking for something specific, you won't find it, but you will find fascinating stuff that you never knew existed. The last time I went there, I was looking for something to contain wooden spoons -- I didn't find that, but I did find a pile of 1970s Czechoslovakian movie posters (unfortunately, too water-damaged to be appealing to me, but still neat).

Just for reference's sake, this woulda been roughly the old third-base line in Ponce Park. Aren't you glad to know that?

After strolling over that way, I curved around and explored some of the area on the rise beyond Paris on Ponce, along Ponce Place -- behind the old right field wall, I guess, to keep that up. There's a stretch beyond Ponce Place's buildings where the trains used to run, and while it's close to me, I haven't walked over there in a long time (probably five years or so) -- in part because I took a bunch of pictures on a previous trip, partly because I knew it had changed a lot.

I was glad to see this building still around and still sporting the brick company sign, though an antique faded neon-making sign is now gone. An old electrician's building nearby (next to Paris on P) was recently torn down, and buildings surrounding this guy are being converted to help alleviate Atlanta's devastating loft shortage, so it's good to see it's still there. It looks like it contains something interesting -- the lobby looks like it's made to be a used bookstore, though sans books, if that makes any sense. But I'm not sure if it's a public business or private offices. In any case, it's pretty neat.

The last time I was over here, this was an abandoned loading dock for the old trains; some of the old signs were still there. Now it's unrecognizable (I'll have to dig out the photos from the last time I was there). I can't really begrudge them this -- yeah, apartments are more productive than an abandoned building, and these do look like pretty nice places. I just want some trace of the old stuff to stick around.

* * *

#46 -- "The Invention of Morel" by Adolfo Bioy Casares

After eating wings and fries for lunch yesterday, followed by three bowls of chili for dinner, not forgetting lots of beer, I didn't have the most restful sleep last night. At one point I woke up after a stupid dream, and unable to get back to sleep, read this one through (it's just over 100 pages, so it's not like I was reading "Infinite Jest" here).

I got this a while back, through one of those cool New York Review of Books deals where they sell a selection of a few novels for a slightly discounted price. It was an interesting and fast read, though with some flaws.

I can't talk too much about the plot -- doing so would ruin a lot of the book for anyone who might read it. Basically, a fugitive ends up on a deserted island, finds a few mysterious and abandoned buildings, then a group of mysterious people appear -- and our narrator is both terrified and fascinated by them.

It's not clear what's going on, and it unfolds gradually -- but despite this there's a clarity to the writing that makes the ambiguity all the more alluring. I thought I'd figured out what was going on pretty early; when you eventually do find out, it's rather ... wistful? Not sure that's the right word, but there's an element of trying to eternally preserve a certain point in life. If that makes sense.

The first half, two-thirds even is pretty much flawless. Unfortunately toward the end everything is pretty much laid on the table -- the narrator explains everything that's happened in the book in point-by-point form. Some of those points were decipherable by reading between the lines; others better left ambiguous. The urge to wrap everything up neatly obviously took over and the book is poorer for it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vacation Continues

Technically, since the last two days were my normal weekend, this is the first true day of vacation. Great things will be accomplished, in the form of drinking beer and watching the Bucs, and then going to a friend's barbeque. I think there's only about five Sundays this football season where I'll actually get to drink beer while watching the games, so this is a great day.

#45 -- "Coyote V. Acme" by Ian Frazier

I'm guilty of a little lapse in double-checking here -- I knew Frazier had written a few books about the American West, and so I figured all his books were about the West (much as you can conclude from "Summer of '49" that David Halberstam wrote solely about baseball), and so when I decided to read something of his, I picked this because I liked the cover.

It's actually a collection of short pieces that I'm guessing originally ran in the "Shouts and Murmurs" section of my favorite liberal elitist magazine, The New Yorker. Much like the regular S&M section, it was pretty inconsistent -- some of 'em made me laugh out loud, others left me cold, I'll probably have forgotten all of them by tonight. At least I got this from PaperBackSwap, so I didn't have to pay anything.

I'll have to read some of Frazier's (presumably) meatier work, but it'll probably be a while. Sometimes, I only cheat myself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Status Update

A hell of a week here, busy busy busy at work and exhausted at all other times. Now, though, I've got vacation, two weeks off and no real plans or responsibilities to fill them. Not planning to go anywhere, and I don't know if I've ever had two weeks off just here in Atlanta. Maybe surrounding a birthday once or twice, but those were generally filled with birthday-style events, and Fidel was still in town, rendering Atlanta a non-stop party. Now, Fidel's gone, the Ski Bum is out of town for a few days, and the PPA proprietor is rather lazy.

I'd intended to get up and go wander around decrepit parts of Atlanta for the first time in ages, but it's been 50 and rainy all day so the camera got put away. So I did virtually nothing all day -- grocery shopping, cooking, writing (10% of Friday) and drinking wine/playing BurgerTime (90% of Friday). It's too bloody cold to go out without reason, so it's a Friday night inside. No bad thing in these economic times, and a $5.99 bottle of shiraz from Trader Joe's gets me just as tipsy as paying $8 a glass elsewhere.

Let's get up to date on various things in the dullest way possible:

Books: I'm reading "Garden of Eden," by Ernest Hemingway -- the book that got me chatted to during a sushi dinner not long ago -- and it's resoundingly ... ok. It feels like Hemingway writing with Fitzgerald characters. Not bad at all, often quite beautiful in fact, but when I'm reading Hemingway I want it to inspire me to go strip shirtless and fight in the Spanish Civil War and make love to a nurse and drink wine and carouse and make love again and fight and lose the nurse. This makes me want to quit my job and go be very emo on a beach somewhere, which isn't quite as cool. It's short but I'm having some trouble getting through.

I pulled "Black House" by Stephen King and Peter Straub off the shelf today -- it's been sitting there for years, to the point where a panicked spider hurriedly fled as I opened it. I haven't read a King novel in years; I haven't finished one since the craptastic twosome of "Desperation" and "The Regulators." I think I tried both "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" and "Bag of Bones" in recent years, but finished neither. There was a time when a new King novel was an event, now I see one in Borders and think "how many is that now?" This is a sequel to "The Talisman," which I loved... but I was 15 then. We'll see how it goes.

And I'm reading "Europeans," by longtime New Yorker writer Jane Kramer, a book I didn't know about until I noticed a mention in Bryson's "Neither Here Nor There" (on, uh, the 36th time I read the latter). All essays, some interesting, some less so, all well-written.

Music: I finally got that goddamn Sheriff song outta my head. Better stuff I've been listening to:

* Spiritualized, "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" and "Let It Come Down." There's a new Spiritualized album out, by all accounts really hot shit, but my way of dealing with the economic downturn is to not buy new albums. Instead, I'll dig out those I haven't listened to in a while. These both sound fantastic -- as I grow older, I suspect these are getting better each time I dig 'em out. Beyond the soaring/orchestral/druggy/shoegazer stuff, "Twelve Steps" off the latter album is one of the best rock songs extant. When it comes up in the car it gets repeated a minimum of three times, so feel lucky you don't ride around with me.

* Ignition, "Complete Services" discography CD. Assist to Brushback on this one -- I'd been listening to the Warmers' first album off and on recently, but for some reason I didn't make the necessary logical leap and dig this out until his recent post. What a great band -- one of my all-time favorites on Dischord (let's see -- Minor Threat, Lungfish, these guys, Fugazi, Circus Lupus -- yeah, definitely top three or four) -- and in retrospect, a band way ahead of their time. They were able to do the political/concerned thing without sounding naive or contrived. This makes me want to start a band just to cover Ignition songs; hell, just to cover "Proven Hollow" over and over would be enough.

* John Coltrane, "Live at the Village Vanguard" box set. I can't write anything intelligent about jazz, beyond "I like John Coltrane," so instead a story. When I was writing for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Noah started mocking me for referencing Coltrane in a music review, snidely asking which period Coltrane I meant. Months later, he was at my house and exclaimed on the many Coltrane CDs I owned -- "I didn't think you really listened to him!" The punchline is that I was referencing Coltrane in an Iceburn review, so he really should have continued mocking me.

* Unwound, various albums but mostly "Repetition" and "New Plastic Ideas" these days. Goddamn, another great band, and this isn't really a rediscovery because they've never been far from my playlist since "Fake Train" came out, but if I go even a few weeks without listening I'm blown away by just how great they really were when I pick 'em back up. That last sentence is a nightmare to parse, I'm sure, but I'm kinda deep into the wine now. All the best of Sonic Youth at their most aggro but without any of the wankery. Maybe I'm mistaken but they seem largely forgotten today, and that makes me sad.

Writing: A much-loved PPA tradition comes to an end this year, as I won't be starting Nanowrimo only to abandon the effort a week (and 1,500 words) in. That's because -- and I risk cursing myself here -- the more general novel-in-progress is going well (in fact, it's going for the first time in a long while). To properly date it, the n-i-p predates the birth of the PPA -- I think the last time I gave anyone other than TSB anything to read was about six months before I started this here blog. (which was meant to spur my writing, and the evidence now suggests that it held it back. hmm.) Anyway, the dust is off and it's going kind of well, and after writing this last part I've just guaranteed I won't touch it again 'til August of 2010.

HC Kometa Brno: They've sunk to second in the 1.liga, but they're a mere point behind leaders Slovan Usti nad Labem, and the teams meet up Saturday. Spare a thought for HCKB, wouldya? Also: it appears I may have secured a t-shirt.

Health: The least-fun thing to write about. Subsequent tests have basically confirmed the initial diagnosis; I'm going about getting a second opinion for reassurances' sake and because heart surgery isn't something you just leap into, but I'm also proceeding as if this will happen. I met the presumptive surgeon a few weeks back, who was both reassuring (seems to be an expert in the field) and terrifying (if a trivia contest ever calls for a comprehensive list of things that can go wrong during heart surgery, call me -- it's SEARED INTO MY BRAIN). One positive, at least -- he told me to avoid strenuous exercise, giving me an awesome excuse.

Politics: I wasn't going to share this story, but then I realized it's a bit late to be worrying about my dignity. A few days back I was talking about the Clash, and I mentioned their singer -- "Joe Plumber." Oh god I can't wait for November 4.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh, Sweden

Slightly NSFW -- words can't do this justice. Thanks to Jes for sending it along. Jan Huokko gets honorary membership (Swedish division) in the Czech defenseman list for this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jackie R

#44 -- "Jackie Robinson: A Biography" by Arnold Rampersad

If I had the foresight for these kinds of things, I would have made this #42.

This is the second biography of Jackie Robinson that I've read -- the first was back in elementary school, and all I remember is that in it he had a cartoon talking baseball floating over his shoulder, giving him advice throughout his life. I always thought that would come in handy. There have been times when I could have used that talking baseball. ("No, Greg, don't do shots tonight!")

Rampersad's book inexplicably leaves out the talking baseball, but is pretty comprehensive in all other ways, giving a lot more insight into one of the most-analyzed sporting lives of the 20th century. He gives as much weight, if not more, to Robinson's non-sport life as his baseball career, which is pretty interesting. I sort of vaguely knew about his civil rights work post-playing, but let's face it, generally when I think of Jackie Robinson I think about baseball. So it's really illuminating to get much deeper into his life. A good book (and another that's been sitting on my shelves for a decade).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eagles Song for Jay Farrar to Sing

First of an ongoing series -- cheese songs that Farrar can make respectable:

1. "Take it Easy" by the Eagles

Indian Summer

Summer stormed back briefly this week, getting up to 90 and reminding me that people aren't really meant to live here, but all-day rain yesterday cooled it off about 30 degrees and now I'm comfortable bringing the flannel shirts out of mothballs. It's been said 3,600 times since I started this blog, but autumn in Atlanta is pretty damned beautiful, and I wish it were a longer interregnum between between hell-on-earth summer and pissy/drizzly/damp winter. But it isn't, and I'll just appreciate it while it lasts. I have two weeks off from work starting next Friday, coming at the right time (I'm at that point where I'm thinking "only five days 'til my weekend" when the work week starts). I probably won't end up going anywhere because I have enough to keep me busy here, and any time off is good, wherever I may be.

* * *

After I made Miroslav's Meatloaf last week, the Ski Bum expressed surprise that I'm a firm fan of Czech defensemen besides Tomas Kloucek. Because I rarely have anything better to do, I subsequently made a canonical list of the Czech Defensemen I Like But No One Else Is Really Into. It's as follows:

Tomas Kloucek
Frantisek Kaberle
Jiri Bubla
Jiri Slegr
Libor Zabransky (now in charge of HC Kometa Brno -- who sit atop the Czech 1.liga!)
Petr Prajsler
Miroslav Dvorak
Ales Pisa (showed NHL promise, bolted when he couldn't get a one-way contract, last seen when the now-vanished Vakfan described him thusly: "Overrated, overpaid. Headlines about Pisa normally start with 'suspension' or 'stupid penalty'." Oh Ales.

I own 13 jerseys once belonging to the aforementioned guys (seven Kloucek, two Pisa, one each of Zabransky, Prajsler, Slegr and Kaberle. Probably another of those things I shouldn't admit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Misfiring Synapses

For about three days now, off-and-on, the 1980s hit "When I'm With You" by Sheriff has been creeping into my head and refusing to leave. If you don't remember it and want to hear it, you can find it on -- I went ahead and listened, and it's pretty awful, but that didn't purge it from my poor brain. I loved that song at one point, which I find difficult to credit now -- most songs that I liked as a kid, I can at least remember what struck me (I can still tolerate Night Ranger, for chrissakes), but this is just grating.

Weirder still, the period when I loved this song coincided with getting into Black Flag and Husker Du. I'm trying to remember what it must have been like, going back and forth between, say, this or Alphaville's "Forever Young" ... and "Slip It In." Being a teenager is a tough time, I guess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Miroslav's Meatloaf

It's been a while since I've done any cooking that didn't involve "punch holes in film, microwave for six minutes," but Saturday I finally broke my recent habit of eating all my weekend meals in bars and whipped something up. Czech-style, natch.

Miroslav Dvorak was a pretty good defenseman for the Flyers back in the 1980s. A few years back, I wrote to him to get the above photo signed (yes, yes, I'm a nerd), and he responded very graciously -- wrote a letter talking about what he was doing, encouraging me to visit the Czech Republic and drop by his business (a hotel/restaurant/sports complex, I think). When he passed away this past summer, I was pretty sad. So in his honor, and in the tradition of Bubla Vodka -- let's cook up some Czech meatloaf -- in Miro's memory.

This recipe is more-or-less taken from "The Czechoslovak Cookbook" by Joza Brizova, with some alterations based on personal preference and how much meat I'd bought.

Mix one pound ground beef and one pound ground pork together. You may have also bought ground veal, because you remembered the recipe wrong. Save that for something else. (if anyone has any suggestions on recipes involving one pound of ground veal, kindly e-mail me.)

Add salt, pepper, and two eggs. Stir.

About this time, fix yourself a vodka with limeade. This is called an "Anonymous L.P." in these parts, because Anonymous L.P. was the first to point out to me that vodka with limeade is really, really good.

Drink that.

Open the package of dinner rolls that you got about two days ago. Exclaim in disgust that several of them have mold already. Remove those and throw them away, vowing to move to a place where things don't get moldy in two days. You only need three rolls, anyway. Soak them in a cup of milk until they're good and sodden.

Squeeze the excess milk out of the rolls. This feels kind of gross -- try not to think about it. Tear them up, and throw them into the meat mixture.

Chop up about three strips of uncooked bacon. Put half of that into the meat mixture.

Take the onion that you've had sitting around for a while, note with relief that at least it isn't moldy, chop it. Fry it and the other half of the bacon.

You probably need another Anonymous L.P. about now.

Once the bacon and onion are good and fried, toss them into the mix. Stir it all up really well. Form into one big mass.

Melt half a cup of Crisco in a roasting pan. I use Crisco without any trans-fats, which means it's really good for you, right?

Place the meatloaf into the roasting pan. Roast it at 350 degrees for an hour and a half, occasionally opening it all up and dumping some beef stock on top. Drink a few A.L.P.s during this time.

Enjoy! Beer probably goes better with this dish than vodka. May I suggest Czechvar?

So there you go, the perfect way to start off the hockey season. I was going to do a NHL preview, complete with literary references and suggestions that Red Wings fans are of subpar intellect, but that's probably not going to happen. If you want hockey coverage, look over along the right side.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nobel Winners I've Read

Regarding the last post, more for my own edification than anything else, here's a list of the Nobel Literature winners I've read:

1907 - Rudyard Kipling (as a kid, granted)
1938 - Pearl S. Buck -- uh, good question which one. Again, it was as a youngster -- one of her books seemed to get assigned in every literature class I took. But I can't remember which. Not "The Good Earth."
1947 - Andre Gide ("Amyntas")
1954 - Ernest Hemingway (most of his novels/collections)
1955 - Halldor Laxness ("Independent People")
1957 - Albert Camus ("The Stranger," "The Plague")
1962 - John Steinbeck (various and sundry)
1969 - Samuel Beckett ("Waiting for Godot")
1982 - Gabriel Garcia Marquez ("Love in the Time of Cholera")
1983 - William Golding ("Lord of the Flies")
1993 - Toni Morrison ("Beloved")
1999 - Gunter Grass ("The Tin Drum")
2001 - V.S. Naipaul ("A Turn in the South")
2006 - Orhan Pamuk ("Snow")

Geez, not a real hot record, huh? Now there's a few disclaimers -- of course I've read T.S. Eliot and Eugene O'Neill, and a few other poets and playwrights, but I'm hard-pressed to remember which one. I read Faulkner in a lit class at some point, but since I can't even remember which book, I won't include it -- I've also read some Seifert, but if you asked me what I couldn't tell ya. And I've got books by several other Nobel winners (here's a list, by the way) waiting on my shelves -- Saramago, Mahfouz, Andric. AND, I'll go so far as to say the Nobel committee has done itself a disservice over the years by overlooking your Nabokovs, your Pynchons, your Roths, your DeLillos, all of whom I've read.

Still, pretty bad record there, Greggers. Get to it.

Autumn Reading

I think we're safe to say that it's fall here, as I haven't muttered "goddammit, it's hot" lately and it's really actually quite pleasant, a term I don't often apply to Atlanta. Today it's been going back and forth (often within a minute) between overcast/threatening and blindingly bright, which is a bit unsettling, but at least I'm not pouring sweat.

It's this time of year that I really wish I had a balcony or patio, and that's my excuse for spending a lot of time in bars. Of course, my favorite bar doesn't have a patio, and I live across the street from two bars that do have large patios and I never visit either, so I guess we go back to the original excuse, which is that I spend a lot of time in bars because I like to drink beer.

* * *

#43 -- "Amyntas" by Andre Gide

When some fellow I'd never heard of won the Nobel Prize for Literature earlier this week, I felt kinda bad that I haven't read more Nobel winners' work. Then I grabbed this off the shelf (part of the aforementioned "clean out these shelves" project), read it, and realized: I've just added a Nobel winner to the "read" list. Good job, me.

These are his journals from time spent in Algeria and Tunisia around the turn of the century. As you'd kind of expect from a great writer's journals, they're a mixture of breathtaking observations and parts that make me say "who gives a shit?" It's more impressionistic than narrative, and that's fine -- that makes it a bit different from the travel lit I normally read. But at one point toward the end, Gide asks "why am I writing this?" right about the same time I was asking "why am I reading this?"

There's a curiously timeless quality to writing about the desert. "Amyntas" covers travels in the first decade of the 20th century, but there's little to separate it from the imagery in the post-war "The Sheltering Sky." There's a doctoral thesis in there somewhere, for someone other than me.

* * *

Moment from last night: while out eating sushi and reading, a girl and her date sat next to me -- girl looked at the book I was reading and shrieked delightedly, "oh my god, I love that" and proceeded to talk about how she recommends the book to everyone she knows. She said to her date "look, he's reading that book I love," and date responded "uh huh" in a tone that managed to convey "I hope Book Guy here dies painfully." It's always nice to be reminded that while I'm the weirdo reading and eating sushi alone, other people out there do enjoy books. And it's given me an idea for a literacy campaign: "Reading: Chicks Dig It."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Atlanta Culture Watch

I always loved reading the restroom walls as a kid, to the chagrin of my parents, and apparently some vestige of that remains.

* * *

#42 -- "Fury: Inside the Life of Theoren Fleury" by Andrew Malcolm

I'm trying to clear off my bookshelves a bit, so I finally read this -- I was sent a review copy back in the late 1990s, about the time Theo was traded to the Avalanche.

The narrative's pretty familiar to anyone who was watching hockey in the 1990s -- Fleury the small guy who overcame all sorts of obstacles to make good. This suffers a bit thanks to something that's not at all the author's fault -- Fleury's rather public self-destruction later on revealed demons that really aren't apparent here.

It's decent. I don't really read a lot of sports books any more, and this is in the camp of "not bad, but I wouldn't seek it out if it hadn't been languishing on my bookshelf for a decade." Some of it's kind of entertainingly dated, especially references to the NHL being a sport on the rise and making inroads in the U.S. It can be really choppy, too. It jumps around by necessity, but sometimes obviously significant references are made and then not followed up for a while.

Ok, about time to give "Mason & Dixon" another stab.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Helpful Hints

If you need to turn off the water to unhook a dodgy appliance -- if you're one of those people who says "calling a professional is for suckers" -- remember it's all the way to the RIGHT to turn it off. Not left.

If you turn it all the way to the left, you will wind up drenched from head to toe, shrieking "shit!" and "fuck!" in a not-at-all-impressive falsetto, as your neighbor from downstairs bangs on the door, wondering with justifiable agitation why there's water dripping from his ceiling.

Hope this is useful.

Friday, October 03, 2008

There's a BurgerTime Joke to be Made

Above you see an unexpected delicacy of Nashville: deep-fried pickles with horseradish sauce. I ordered them as a novelty at a BBQ place one night; surprisingly, they turned out to be fantastic.

I really ate healthily on this trip -- deep fried pickles, BBQx15, bratwurst nachos, not to mention the aforementioned key lime martinis and copious amounts of beer. I'd like to say that since coming back I've been on a strict raw vegan diet, but that would be a lie.

* * *

In a sort of "fall cleaning" mood today, I've stripped out some dead blogs from the links over there and added some new ones. Take a peek, won't you?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Blogger Who Came In From the Cold

Oh, hey. Yeah, I'm still alive -- just distracted by work, the health stuff (about which more sometime soon, after I have a stiff drink), home stuff, and the ability to play Qix on MAME.

I really am going to post Nashville pics at some point -- I guess I just have to let the calm of a vacation completely fade before I can get some photos up. Here's one, just for kicks -- the utterly bizarre/vaguely demonic-looking AT&T building in the center of downtown.

It's the tallest building not only in Nashville, but all Tennessee, as you'd know if you just looked at Wikipedia like I did. It's pretty intriguing, though I still don't know if I actually like it.

* * *

Other stuff: oh, hey, I read books, but both are books I've read a million times before:

#40 -- "Neither Here Nor There" by Bill Bryson

#41 -- "The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian" by Lawrence Block

Both are very funny and you should read them!

* * *

And oh look, it's hockey season, so it's time for Don Cherry to say something that puts my teeth on edge. I realize that most hockey fans are somewhere to the right of Newt Gingrich, but God, it remains a constant embarassment that this xenophobic weirdo remains the most prominent spokesman for the sport. The sad thing is, he does make some good points about the unfeasability of European expansion, but it's in such an obnoxious manner that I end up rooting for the Flames to move to Helsinki.

And that calls for a hockey update: HC Kometa Brno are in second place in the Czech "1. liga," just a point behind league leaders HC Vrchlabi (booo! hiss!). I still do not have a HC Kometa t-shirt.

And in 11 13 games with HC Barys Astana, PPA hero Tomáš Klouček (or Томаш Клоучек, as he's known in Kazakhstan) has three assists and 53 penalty minutes. Go TK!

Here's a video of Barys Astana (in blue) winning a game recently -- I think you can actually see TK on the second two Barys goals, starting at about 1:50. He's #22. However, since the guy I think may be Клоучек is doing things like jumping into the rush -- very unKloucekian behavior -- I may be wrong.

More stuff coming soon, a bit more regularly, for all six of you that are still reading.