Old Whines and Neuroses

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I’m not sure if this is another series / category yet — I’ll edit that later if I decide to continue.

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but whenever I write an e-mail, I have trouble coming up with a suitable subject line. A lot of the time, all I have to say is “Hello!” or something, but I’m always nervous that it’ll get caught by a spam filter or virus checker or something. I mean, if I got an e-mail from an unfamiliar address with the subject “Hello,” I’m not sure I’d open it. More like call in the bomb squad.

To avoid this, I put more and more details into the subject of my messages. An e-mail that would’ve been titled “Hello” gets titled something like “Hello from Bry, who was in your 10th grade English class and this is not a spam so please read it even though it’s not that important and I guess you might as well delete it anyway.” (And then the message body reads, “See subject line. –Bry”)

A certain person, whose birthday is incidentally today, used to send me e-mails with the subject line blank, which was sweet of her, not only because of the e-mails, dear as they were to me, but also because it let me know that I could send her e-mails without agonizing over the subject line. However, Thunderbird, my e-mail client of choice, spoilt this by reminding me every time that I hadn’t included a subject line, did I want to?

Ah well. It’s irrational issues like this that prevent my online-mail-order-ED-drug business from taking off.

Ebooks from eLibrary!
Ebooks!

Crisis of faith

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

or, A post in which I contemplate rooting for the Saints in their second season after Katrina while conscientiously avoiding calling myself a “fair-weather fan”

Back to the old grind.

I am finding it difficult to root for any team with that player on it, and I say this after he had three touchdown catches last game (granted, against the unimpressive Texans). The team I really want to support is New Orleans.

For one thing, New Orleans is basically a Cowboy satellite state right now. Head coach Sean Payton, as sports commentators keep mentioning, ran the Dallas offense the last three years.

(Less frequently mentioned: Payton is an Eastern Illinois University alumnus, as is Cowboys backup QB / fan favorite Tony Romo, whom Payton coached the last few years. Of the 32 NFL head coaches, three are EIU alumni: Payton, Mike Shanahan of the Broncos, and Brad Childress of the Vikings. Payton, Romo, and Shanahan were starting QBs for the Division I-AA Panthers.)

Rob Petitti, who started 16 games at RT for Dallas last year, plays for the Saints. Two of their three starting linebackers (Shanle and Fujita) were brought over from Dallas.

The Cowboys have so much LB depth that even running a 3-4 defense, i.e. starting 4 linebackers, they

  • let the Saints take Shanle and Fujita, who both had started last year,
  • cut Rocky Boiman, whom they had given an $1 million signing bonus, and
  • regularly leave 2006 1st round pick Bobby Carpenter off the game-day active roster.

Also, I cannot forget ex-Cowboy and current Saints starting SS Omar Stoutmire, much as I would like to.

What else? I can totally pull for Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister, both of whom are playing really well despite recent potentially career-ending injuries. Reggie Bush and Joe Horn have got to be a lot of fun to watch, and as regards fineable touchdown rituals, cell phones trump Sharpies any day.

Oh, and they can actually finish the job against the Eagles. *muttermuttermutter*

The problem? The Saints are 5-1 right now, and nothing screams “bandwagon” more than deciding to switch loyalties to a team that’s 5-1. (It’d be breaking a Man Law.) I mean, Cowboys fans are notorious for bandwagonism as it is. And I wasn’t exactly out there every game rooting for the post-Katrina Saints, when every NFL fan was required to support them. I can make excuses — I’d be cheering for players I like (the Scotts, particularly), and I can hardly wait for Payton to break out Blue Steel — but 5-1 still nags at my sense of decency.

I do want to make it clear that if I transfer my loyalties to the Saints, that’s it for me as long as the player has a star on his helmet. I don’t mean I wouldn’t be happy if he won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys, but the Saints would be “my” team. Whichever I decide on, I’ll support, even at the detriment of the other.

Which means, of course, that you should be circling 10 December on the calendars, folks, because that’s when this crucible culminates. We’ll see what I’m saying then:

“…I love to watch them lose to the Cowboys…”

or

“Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints!”

In the meantime, the Saints have got a bye this Sunday, which gives me another week to come to some kind of decision. Of course, if it weren’t for that bandwagon thing, my choice would be easy. Still, New Orleans has a tough schedule coming up, so maybe I should be hoping they lose some games so that I can cheer for them with an easy conscience.

(PS: The first football game I ever attended was a preseason game between the Cowboys and the Saints.)

Monday Aftermath #4: The Things

Monday, October 16, 2006

Here’s another Navel-Centric Examination, in which I take apart the Fiascos I create and show you how they got to be such fiascos.

This week, on Friday Fiasco #4:

  • How I painted myself into so many corners that, in order for me to be simultaneously in all these corners, there would have to be enough dimensions to support string theory
  • How many licks it takes to get to the center of the F# two octaves below middle C
  • The worst thing about The Phantom of the Opera, other than the other hundred worst things about The Phantom of the Opera
  • What this would’ve parodied if it hadn’t been The Presidents (with audio!)
  • What exactly Mark Foley was doing in the last lines of this song, and how many innuendoes I could’ve put into this bullet point instead of writing “What exactly Mark Foley was doing in the last lines of this song”
  • How the ending line about Mark Foley, although seemingly straightforwardly obscure, actually has enough dimensions to support string theory

All this is below the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Fiascos #4: The Things

Friday, October 13, 2006

I have been waiting to put this up for a long long time! Therefore I am happy to present it at long last, even though I know in my heart it’s not all that good.

Some of you may be familiar with the work of gentleman-songster Jonathan Coulton, who recently completed his (first?) Thing-a-Week cycle of 52 original songs, covers, mashups, text-to-speech recordings, and other things.

I have penned a tribute to it, done (mostly) to the tune of Thing number thirty, but the effect is rather spoilt by my inability to sing, alackaday.

Oh, would that someone would record this properly! Oh, if only there were someone with a good singing voice who knows the subject matter and the source tune well and who might be made aware of this Fiasco by an e-mail I have sent!

(Only kidding. Enjoy your tour.)

As is my custom, I’ll dissect (or vivisect) this on Monday, so check back then to see all the awful things I have to say about this. (UPDATE: Here’s the link. If you don’t understand the joke in the last line, click the link.) For the meantime, suffice it to say, yes, it’s artificially sped up.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/2155203/view]
powered by ODEO

Even if you have a sensitive ear and do not want to risk it by listening to me caterwaul, I hope you will click the link and look at the lyrics.

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In lieu of a post today

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I have updated my About and Bio pages.

Written after listening to the same co-worker’s ringtone ad nauseam.

Dear Enya,

As I understand it, you are a musician, and you are sensitive enough to pronunciation that you spell your name so that English-speaking readers would be inclined to pronounce it as it is in your native tongue. For these reasons, it may be presumed that you are sensitive to accent, meter, and stress.

In fact, you have demonstrated none of this sensitivity. Even a particularly distasteful wart of a child knows that in the phrase “only time,” which not only occurs repeatedly in the lyrics of but also comprises the title of your biggest hit, there are only three syllables, two of which are stressed (viz. “ON-lee TIME”). Of these two stressed syllables, or, should I say, syllables stressed in correct spoken English, neither is the syllable (“ly”) that you accent in the song itself.

I might suggest changing the lyric to “Time only,” which would at least make the final result within the realm of acceptable English.

Please take this into consideration. I await your reply.

Yours,

Bry

I should note that I could’ve liked the song if my exposure to it hadn’t been from tinny cell phone speakers set to repeat.

Today: Anatomy of the Win-Loss Record.

The win-loss record usually takes the form of

X-Y,

where X and Y are integers between 1 and 16.

The Dallas Cowboys’ win-loss record is calculated as follows:

X is the number of games the Cowboys have won this season.

Y is the number of weeks, not including bye weeks, during which Cowboys fans demand Drew Bledsoe’s head.

Occasionally, though rarely, the win-loss record takes the form

X-Y-Z,

sometimes known as the win-loss-tie record.

Here, Z represents the number of games in which Mike Vanderjagt misses at least two game-winning field goals.

Monday Aftermath #3: Anatomy

Monday, October 9, 2006

First off, let me just say I’m glad I committed to writing about Friday Fiascos and not about fiascos in general, because I really don’t want to talk about Sunday.

The thing about writing these Navel-Centric Examinations is that, as I say, it reveals the sausage-factory quality of these works. Anatomy, for instance, works best if it can appear effortless, and anything I say about it will ruin that.

Well, not anything. For one thing, as I say, a lot of it was written some time ago, and all I did this week was patch it up a little to have it up as an emergency substitute for the piece that I planned to have up Friday, which will be ready this Friday.

My notes follow.

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Friday Fiascos #3: Anatomy

Friday, October 6, 2006

I’m quite disappointed that I couldn’t finish what I was going to put up here in time to post it this week. However, since I promised last week that there’d be something worthwhile here, let me dust off something that has been on back burners for a while but that I’ve just hunkered down to finish.

Finger on the button, eye on the ball,
Nose to the grindstone, back to the wall,
Nail in the coffin, foot in the grave,
Heel of the despot, lash for the slave,
Back to the future, face from the past,
Toe in the water, arm in the cast,
Bone of contention, jaws of defeat,
Mouth of a river, side of a street,
Left-handed compliments, right-handed screws,
Hip to the lingo, mind p’s and q’s,
Shoulder the burdens, foot all the bills,
Pore over problems, head for the hills!

Not much else to say today. See you Monday.

— Bry

Aside from the pedals…

Thursday, October 5, 2006

…playing the piano is nothing like riding a bicycle. It is not really something that you can do well after stopping for years.

I have no desire to write more today. My fingers have been through enough.