Tsjaz in Minneapolis (consumer of popular culture) tries to be of service to others, posting with reasonable regularity, although to be honest, he'd prefer laying on the couch and sleeping to describing the excruciating minutiae of his life to you.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

powderhorn park 

On Saturday, there were these three men hanging out in the park on a day when it was too cold for most people to really be hanging out in the park. Although the 2 liter bottles of soda on the picnic table they were using were notable, the most salient thing going on with them for me was the radio they had blasting  the Greg Kihn Band's "Breakup Song."

"Breakup Song" includes the parenthetical "(They Don't Write 'Em)", but I imagine even that won't help most people remember which song this is. It's one of those songs that you'll know it when you hear it, though. There are so many songs like that from the 70's and 80's especially where I know the whole song but I don't know the name or the singer. I like doing those songs for karaoke. "The Breakup Song" is recognizable for the often repeated phrase "they just don't write 'em like that anymore." It wasn't that long ago when I was first able to parse the words in the phrase instead of just knowing it phonetically. The song also has the "ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba" part.

Anyway, I hope those guys enjoyed their day off in the park. I think people just hanging out is maybe third on the list of what park people are doing. Hanging out ranks above birdwatchers and below team sports players and dog walkers. It might be below regular walkers, too. There's ultimate frisbee practice there all late summer and fall. Ultimate is probably fun, healthy, and inclusive, but my visceral reaction is not positive, perhaps because of my experience with ultimate in college.

The UNC club was just being started by nerds who named the team "The Dark Side," and I went to one practice, I think. Then one of the nerds connected to the computer I was on doing whatever the IM equivalent was of that time. I did not have a positive reaction to this interruption. Also, he was in the same computer lab I was. I knew who he was, but he didn't know me. So now ultimate is ruined for me for life, and I started playing a new real sport, one with a ball, because almost all real sports have balls, not frisbees.

What's the quote I think from the ESPN book about what makes a sport? Cardiovascular output and some form of defense?

Monday, October 31, 2011

running prefs 

We ran the Monster Dash half marathon on Saturday, and I said that I wouldn't be doing any more Team Ortho races. I had signed up for the series last year, which included Saturday's race, and so I was already financially committed for Saturday. I made my proclamation as we were waiting in traffic to park to get to the start. They won't miss me at their races, which are enormously popular. I really have enjoyed the small races I've run, without the hassles. Like getting a parking ticket while running in to packet pickup. I missed the sign that said "No parking 4-6pm" because the parking meter said "enforced until 4:30." I thought the timing was terrific since it was 4:45, but it turns out the timing couldn't have been worse. Had I been a little later, I would have seen all the vehicles there with parking tickets because the whole block got them. Instead, my 10 minute window was when the ticketing occurred.

Yes, we're watching and enjoying "American Horror Story."

Saturday, October 08, 2011

running, lately 

We ran Twin Cities marathon on Sunday. I hadn't run this marathon in 10 years or something like that, because I thought I could only run one marathon a year. This thinking might be true for me if I want to do a good job in a marathon. I'm not sure that you even really need to train for a marathon if you start out able to run a few miles without collapsing and don't care how long it takes you. People can run farther than they think they can. Running fast is another story, however. I've moved toward accepting the "just participating" position with running, but it's difficult. Lots of good runners don't think they are trained for a marathon because they would like to run a good marathon.

As far as winter runs go, the Securian half marathon in January was always a good one, save the inexplicable mixup this year where they placed the turnaround for the out-and-back course too soon. I can't comprehend how that mistake gets made, since the course would be something would would know about a long time before race setup begins. Well, we all PR'ed at the 11.7 mile distance. Team Ortho, whose races are geared toward those who favor participation over speed, has the Polar Dash after the new year. I would recommend Team Ortho races to new(ish) runners. There are lots of choices for Thanksgiving and Christmas runs. Kenyon, Minnesota puts on a 5k in February. Hopefully they will close the course to traffic this year so I don't have to run around moving cars on the route. I did Rocky's Run last November, which is a cross country race. That was a good, small race with a good long sleeve tee. I can't figure out how to register for it right now, but it's on November 6. I'll probably do it this year. If ever there were a race to run barefoot, that would be the one.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

FMG doesn't stand for what you probably think it does 

FMG doesn't stand for what you probably think it does

At one point in my life, around junior high-ish, I decided that the ideal litmus test for a potential girlfriend was whether I could picture hanging out with her at Valleyfair. Plausibility was no restraint in my imagination. I could imagine being on a ride with every cute girl at my school and discovered that some pairings just didn't feel right. (In no way does this mean that I would have said no to someone I couldn't picture myself with on Excalibur. The exercise was PURELY academic.) Maybe I learned from doing this that I valued personality in a potential partner, but probably not at the time. 

I always say that I don't really remember junior high. That's not exactly true. I remember lots of things, lots of moments, but it's almost as if I was not quite present for those memories. I don't know that there's been a more anxious time in my life. I didn't know how to act or what to do, and it seemed as if other kids did. 

At Grass, Troy F. made fun of my "Beastie Bucks" t-shirt. The school newspaper had a gossip column  in which my initials never appeared. I guess the word "sophisticated" would be too much to describe the gossip column, but it was actually entertaining and funny, more so than you might think from junior high kids. I was a member of the Red Carpet Club, which helped introduce new students to the school. I don't remember getting recruited for the club, getting trained, or most anything about it except for my first charge immediately becoming more popular than me. Glad I could help. First day of Spanish class, choosing Spanish names. Steve U. shouting "I'M JESUS!" "It's pronunced hay-ZOOS, Steve."

I could go on. 

This awkwardness is part of why I tried to get a job at that level when I changed jobs. For as much as people say how hard that age is, apparently there aren't a lot of openings because I didn't get a single interview for a junior high age job. It's always seemed easier for me to get along with younger kids. I don't know how much longer I want to work with a population that ignores you when you say "hello" and rejects all teaching that doesn't look very traditional (and then complains about how boring the class is). 

On the other hand, I probably wouldn't have the opportunity to create a misconceptions list based on all the things that a single loud student vociferously lectures the rest of the class on. "If I say something's right, it's right," he was heard to remark last week. The week before, he derisively questioned another student about not knowing why 666 is a "bad number." "It's the devil's birthday!" he explained. They worked out together that the devil was born (!) on June 6...uh...year 6. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Another annoyance is when someone speaking to a group (usually the speaker correcting himself rather than being corrected) says something like this:

"Welcome back, guys!" [then hastily] "And girls!"

Everyone knows your warm comments weren't reserved exclusively for the males in the audience. No one was offended.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sharing my gift for putting a finger on human nature, as always 

I planted the backyard garden around July 23. Since then, it's barely rained here. This is frustrating for two reasons: 1) The transplants need water to survive B) IT'S A RAINGARDEN

I really like the TV show Bob's Burgers. I get the sense that it's really, really close to cancellation, but I'll enjoy it while I can. The voices are tremendous, just a murderer's row of voice talent.

Last night at the outdoor Oktoberfest event at the Herkimer, Amy remarked on how smoky it was, even though it was outdoors. We've become so accustomed to smoke free indoor places that it's very noticeable when anyone is smoking anywhere. I know a number of smokers, but I still don't get smoking. I get being addicted to the nicotine, but I don't get public smokers. Whatever inconsiderate thing I do that I haven't thought about, I don't think it's putting carcinogens into the bodies of other people. Going back to the state  fair, there were plenty of people who were smoking in the throngs. I feel like many smokers would/could wait until they were in an area where there weren't many nonsmokers to have a smoke, but the State Fair clientele has many of the people who don't really think about that. There's a difference, though, between the rude State Fair smokers and the rude Herkimer smokers. While the State Fair smokers are unrefined, the Herkimer ones are self-absorbed.

Reading the first Game of Thrones book and enjoying it tremendously. No one will get this: Now, wait...is he trying to tell us that Valyrian steel is high quality?

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