Kenny Smith | blog

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Auburn, fresh off a 35-14 win at Oxford, has clinched the SEC West title and is now number three in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today poll.

Because I've slide back -- where I belong -- into mediocrity in the weekly football contests with friends, there will be no bragging.

But there are a few places where I have abnormally high ranks. For example, if you search for chubby bunny death in wisconsin I'm the eighth link. Friends will appreciate how this irks me, but if you were to search for Tommy Tuberville bio I come up ninth. Instant kharma I suppose. I'm tenth for Birmingham I-59 detour accident. My favorite, though, is the number 10 spot for victims of muhahaha.

No idea.
The clocks changed. At six p.m. it was dark and the mind was thrown into anarchy. It shouldn't be dark this early. And if it is dark this early that must mean it is winter. And if it is winter, we shouldn't be standing out here sweating.

This didn't sit well with the earlier, indoor, perception. If it is slate gray outside at the end of October it shouldn't be 80 degrees.

Here's another interesting confusion: the Washington Redskins lost today. This is politically significant; since 1936, each time they win their home game immediately before a Presidential election the incumbent wins the Tuesday vote. When Washington loses, that's good news for the other guy. So that would mean good news for Senator John Kerry. Meanwhile, the Halloween mask sales have went heavily to President Bush. They, too, maintain a successful prediction rate. Even the novelty polls have no idea what is going on.

I was mentally berating a friend for following the lyrical advice of Eminem today, that imagined conversation totally got ruined just now: Ted Nugent is on TV espousing the views of the right. Maybe, though, if the candidates won't talk enough policy we could just get the entertainers to do it. Maybe Eminem could rap about global politics while Ted grinds his axe about the right wing. I'd pay to see that show.

So I'm about halfway through this take-home exam. Fifty-six points answered, 44 more to scare up. Maybe if I write an essay a night this week I'll further scare myself to death about this masochistic torture of graduate school I've chosen for myself.

It isn't quite that bad, but this is Halloween. Boo and stuff.
Just dodged -- Matrix style -- a bullet I've been looking forward to for a month or more. This big midterm for my Models of Communication class was promptly turned into a take-home test about 10 minutes in.

Good thing too, as I've come to think of this material in a most unorthodox way. This must be the closest you can come to understanding dyslexia. No matter how many times I read over this stuff -- and I've read over it a lot -- nothing sticks. Couldn't tell you what I just read. Shouldn't be a reading comprehension problem, I've always tested well in that, it just doesn't click in my head for the ease of regurgitation on a test. Now I'll have copious notes to consult.

Off to work!

Friday, October 29, 2004

I'd never vote for someone because of a song or a sign or a bumper sticker, but does that mean I can't do the opposite? Though I like the guy I want to vote against him, just for the really bad jingle he's put on the airwaves.
Why voting is beautiful.
In the 10 days since the West Texas farmer and World War II pilot decided to stop dialysis and was slowly succumbing to kidney failure, something was on his mind. Something, he told his son, he just had to do.

He wanted to vote.


He went to sleep after that and didn't talk to his son or wife again. The next day, Oct. 20, Welch Flippin passed away.
Tuesday. Don't forget.
Friday drive flotsam and jetsam:

The picture drought continues; three great ones found on the way home.

I've long known why I don't like techno music. Now, after listening to a techno CD on the way home I know why it makes me angry. It's not that its repetitive. It's not that its bad. It's that it is repetitively bad. Plus, how do I know if the disc is skipping?

To the marked up, long haired, black fingernail painted, initials on your plastic leather watch band, German iron cross wearing 17-year-old working the cash register (At Food World. In Alabama, mind you.): Your's might not be worth that much, but for the rest of us life is short. Get on with it.

Speaking of time, the pumpkins are starting to droop. Where does entropy ever end?
Hey Kenny, what are you doing for Halloween weekend?

Saturday it will be studying, Auburn game on TV during the evening and then more studying. No phones and no doors will be answered during the game. If any little security soccer mom brings her kids to my house Saturday night -- so they can celebrate a pagan holiday before their Methodist Sunday School -- I'll sneak out back, around the house, and hit them all in the shins with a baseball bat.

Then exam on the real All Hallow's Eve, thus more studying. The three hours of the game will be my one big reprieve. So this means I don't have to buy candy. The only problem: I might unknowingly attack the pizza delivery girl with a baseball bat. Guess I'll have to do carry out for the game.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

My friend J.D. Crowe got a little too excited in his latest cartoon. Politics of it all aside, Justice Antoine Scalia as a cancer? Unless he was born in late June or July, that's a little overboard. But I love J.D.'s cartoons.

Speaking of politics, have you seen the latest Presidential parody? The image and voice quality drops off a bit from jibjab, but Flowgo's Bohemian Rhapsody is right up there in comedy. They've also done a nice nod to Rocky Horror as well. Surf around and check it out.

You can avoid, however, Hershey's S'mores. Just had a "fun size" version. Middling chocolate -- even for an American candy bar -- mostly marshmellow and just a vague hint of graham crackers. Not worth your time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Red Sox have won the World Series. Did the moon come back? The accursed curse was good for baseball. Three generations of futility made for good copy. Now all that's gone.

This is wholly unnatural, watching Boston celebrate. This team, that city and region are bred of baseball angst. Now they've done the impossible. Suddenly 1918-2003, Bill Buckner -- banished to the solitude of Montana for his sins -- and four "this close" finishes don't seem so important.

Now the rest of us have to "Wait 'til next year," when free agency ruins a good team. They'll start another slide to irrelevance next April when pitchers and catchers report.

Hopefully no one dies in Boston tonight.
"Beware the ruts man," the psychodelic hippie in your brain warns. "They'll sap away your life."

What, you don't have a psychodelic hippie in your brain? Me either, but if I did he'd look and act like a far out Dennis Hopper. Or maybe like the crazy guy at Starbucks tonight.

Bear in mind that I don't go Starbucks, not being a coffee drinker eliminates the need. The desire to not be pretentious reinforces the decision. But tonight there was a marathon study session for my Models class. Midterm Sunday, we're all fussy about it and confused. We commisserate and generally make life miserable for everyone else in the store. Not that I care. They're drinking six dollar coffee out of styrofoam, their emotional condition is the least of my worries.

So that, added to the routine, makes for a long day.

Oh yeah, and my digital camera is somehow magically broken. Who knows how long it will take to get that fixed. Going to be at least Wednesday until anyone sees it. The separation anxieties have already started. Everywhere this afternoon, "Oh, that'd be a good picture." That never happens. Guess I won't take it to Florida next week.

But I get ahead of myself. Exam first.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Drove through what you can of the junction this morning. Had to take 59 N to 65 S. The only way through there on that side of town. With the destroyed bridge gone -- though they're still clearing out one of the artificial embankments -- it looks like a crater. With powerful lights glowing it is very ethereal to see a guy just standing there looking down over the edge. Then the curve of the interstate takes you around and away from it.

Overview: 65 S to 59 S is and has remained passable throughout. 65 N has two lanes open to 59 S and the only thing that's totally closed, through the duration I suppose, is 59 N straight through. The state is accepting bids for work, with one of the conditions being an end-year completion date. There's a $50,000 reward or penalty for being under or over the deadline. It gives pause; does one really want to drive over a bridge thrown up in two months?

Monday, October 25, 2004

So this was the weekend of reconciliation. Tripping to Auburn, visiting with Fin, catching up, etc.

Each time I go to the Plains now it seems less and less like the home it was before. Disheartening for a place that so readily took the title. But it has grown from a lovely green to a sticky hot, grey cement. Such is the price of progress.

Every time I've been back to campus I wrestle with nostalgic melancholy. That's been worse (in the two trips of) this past year knowing that I can't look up some of my fine friends who've moved out or moved on. But Fin is still there, for eight more months he says, and he was the point of this trip. Somehow he managed to help fight off the sad strands of memory until Sunday.

There was the obligatory catching up of stories, jokes and braggadocios misadventures. Fin's doing all right, dear friends. He's going to make us proud, you can just feel it.

We ended up going to the Auburn game. So if anything happened Saturday afternoon, we each have alibis. Then there was more football on TV, as I quietly watched Alabama lose in a room full of BAMERs. I'd never seen anyone kick a TV before ...

Then food, with Fin establishing himself as the defacto grillmeister in the region. Stayed up late talking, got up early Sunday, did the tour of reverie on campus and came home.

It was then that I stumbled onto a theory about progress: we fear it sometimes because it concedes the faults of our youth. If we have to make progress, the good ol' days must not have been too grand. It is difficult to make that thought fit in with the ugly early stages of construction or terminally closed campus roads, but it was there all the same. How do you say, "It is perfect," and then go back and tinker with something in the mix? Why stir more spices into the chili?

You don't tinker with perfection. You don't make new walkways and you don't add new science buildings if everything is already perfect. But now some campus planner is putting the stink of imperfection on glorious times of my youth. Charlatan! Heretic! Drag him out and display his shame on the ever-more crowded College Street!

At one point Sunday I caught myself figuring out when to leave my undergrad memories to meet my postgraduate reality. You'll all be either relieved, stunned or saddened by this, but a particular scripture rode a gust of wind into my mind. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I was all three: relieved, stunned and saddened.

These days the sun is sliding low more quickly, the leaves are beginning their technicolor fade. Some friendships have sadly faded, others grow stronger by the day, new ones are being built and still another is having its color restored. That's progress too.
This humble little site -- and humble may understate the case -- broke a humble little record for daily hits Friday. I thank you, especially those who've been providing the occasional links. Keep telling your friends!
Hey, NBC newsman Tim Russert is coming to UAB "to provide his view of the national political landscape following the presidential election." I hope he brings his chalkboard with him!
Sports -- Auburn wins, beating a hapless Kentucky. Wish we could do that well in basketball season too. Bama loses most conservatively to Tennessee. UAB gives away a heartbreaker to Tulane; no defense there. Troy (who has a new and improved site) takes National Champion (haha) LSU to the brink.

Alabama, for the third pitiful time this season, is ranked as only the third best team in the state. It has become such old hat I'm tired of making screencaps. And they keep losing players. On to something relevant, AU is 8-0 and ranked three or four in every poll. Glory, glory to old Auburn, A-U-B-U-R-N. It is a blessed life. But for reasons having nothing to do with football. Lest you think I am shallow.

Elsewhere I'm trailing now in both football contests at work -- one is totally a lost cause. I am, however, still winning where it matters; though the pack is tightening. I'm losing track on how many weeks I've won the Pick 'em, but I know it won't hold. I fear Brooke. Though she's in fifth place, it is only 14 points.

Did you like how I pointed out that the blessings in life have nothing to do with football and then went right back into football? I worked on that for 19 whole seconds.

Hey Kenny, where's the pictures from the weekend?

Look for them at the end of the month.

Hey Kenny, where's the tall tale of your weekend?

Coming later today.

Friday, October 22, 2004

I'm leaving you behind for a weekend on the Plains -- hanging out with Fin -- and feel as if all four faithful readers of this humble little page have been neglected today.

But, like apologists throughout time, I have an excuse. Like to hear it, here it goes! There were a few thoughts rumbling around with the grey matter upstairs, but blogger kept me from typing them all up and vainly trying to find a cute way to hook them together.

By the time the fine people at blogger got that situation resolved, I was shin deep in photo galleries for work. There's nothing like the photo gallery tool to sap the life out of you, and they say what we have now is a huge improvement over the old system. It isn't that it's that bad, it just isn't that good.


The guys at work have figured out how to manipulate the library system. "I'll turn it into my personal Netflix," one says. Then they start to feel guilty after they spell out how they can order up books and DVDs online, have them collected by others and waiting on a special shelf near the door when they go to the library.

"Nonsense" I say, "you are merely maximizing your tax dollar. You pay their income with your taxes, if you didn't put them to work this way, having them track down your own books and media, they'd be wasting your money. Going against the design of the system is counterintuitive. This is merely you spending your tax money efficiently."

Then we riffed on John Kerry shilling his ever-ubiquitous "plan" and website.

Funny, we're little more than a week out from election and it is so painfully easy to make scathing jokes about world leaders. Comes with the territory though; open up to that much examination and anyone will look like an idiot.

Maybe our elected representatives should join Verizon and get pop quiz help via their cellphones. "Cellphone, now with more to do than just playing Snake! Verizon now offers a $5.75-a-month SAT-tutoring service that automatically e-mails questions to cell phones. Hey maybe Junior should spend a little less time on the phone and more time doing something educational, like TV.

What, your children don't watch History or Discovery?

Anyway, my time here is up. The things you just read were not the things that were mentioned at the top of this little entry. They were merely items cobbled together at the last minute. Therefore, the quality may be substandard. Or improved. Let me consult my cellphone. It has a plan too.
Blogger is a great tool. When it is working. All day long with the problems...
Another truck fire this morning. Nice way to start the odyssey of the new daily commute. I caught it, as firemen say, "fully involved." Fortunately this particular truck didn't burn under a major overpass. They are neat pictures nonetheless, that should appeal to the pyromaniac in all of us. They'll go up with the rest of the pictures at the end of the month.

Then, of course, I had to detour around all of that to resume my normal (new) route to work. That's a detour in itself. Forty minutes to work today. Next week I hope to have it down to an even half hour. A far cry from the normally easy 20 minute trip in. Odyssey is the right word.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

If you're still curious about the fiery accident at I-59 and I-65 in Birmingham today, here's 11 more pictures. I whipped out the old media pass this afternoon and marched right up to the caution line ... OK, I meekly asked if I could take a few pictures -- more flies with honey -- and the nice police officer waved me through.

Then I didn't leave the nanosecond she told me to and she got mad. We had a few words, but I let her win; she had cuffs, mace and a gun. Just another day of the uneasy truce between police and the media.

Heard a soundbite later from the fire department about how the bridge "suffered some structural damage" and would be out of commission for a few days. That was an old quote. You could stand underneath the overpass and see through the girders to the sky. If the dust and falling chunks of cement didn't land on your face.

Anyway, tell all your friends about the new images. Its a rare unscheduled picture dump around here, but news doesn't wait. And neither do my studies or chores!
Tell me this isn't the most trite thing you've ever seen. We're doing water giveaways at work. School water. I wonder what they taste like ... oh oh, let me guess ... WATER!

Bet that Bama water stinks though. Probably has a bitterly foul aftertaste too.
Crazy much?

So I open the door, round the corner and walk into the restroom. Something catches my eye under the little half-wall that separates the stalls and I glance that direction. There's someone with a peg leg in there?

A few seconds later the other half of my brain finally answers back, Who wears a peg leg anymore? Glance again, the peg leg was the cardboard insert of a roll of toilet paper, standing on end.

Thankfully we aren't being invaded by pirates today.
Want to see what Malfunction Junction looks like after this morning's fire?

That's the first picture of what was the interchange between I-20/59N and I-65N in Birmingham. Fortunately the driver suffered only minor injuries in the accident. Faintly you can see the city skyline. In between the foreground and background of this picture is the literal most highly trafficked road in the state. Remember two years ago almost the exact same thing happened in almost exactly the same place, but with deadly results.

As the day progresses I-59 is closed in both directions; obviously no one is driving on that overpass. And they'd just recently finished a nice expansion project too.
Those evil, vile, wicked kids. Wanting a flag in their senior portrait. The nerve!
A group of roughly 25 defiant Sonoma Valley High School students turned themselves into symbols of patriotism by protesting a school decision to ban all props - including the American flag - during last week's senior panoramic photo.


During the week prior to the photo, seniors had been notified in the daily bulletin not to bring any flags or other "props" with them to the shoot.

"No flags will be allowed in the picture," said the announcement. Teachers typically read the bulletin to homeroom classes.
Nice to see how the educators are now characterizing this as an altogether different issue. I believe Newt Gingrich when he speaks to me though, and I heard him talk about this recently. Kids 1, Teachers 0. Here's why: as seen above there's the "No Flags" mandate. Then buried at the end of the story is this little nugger of chagrin:
For upcoming portraits, "We are certainly open to having a senior photo that displays the American flag and the California state flag in a dignified and respectful manner," said Superintendent Jamieson.
The empty keg the story refers to, that's patriotic genius.
The city is mummified in a white shroud of fog. I thought about using that verb this morning as I drove down streets with near zero visibility. Mummified. Good word. Great imagery. And then I saw this story, 2 corpses found in shuttered mortuary, which used the word in the proper context. Somehow the fun of my imagery is gone.

And then there were the accidents, numerous enough to shut down several major arteries and burn a tractor-trailer to cinders. The tanker burned through the morning, and now there's word that the state's largest interchange is again damaged and impassable. Second time in three years.

Commutes are going to be fun for a while. Bumpers will be closer together. Detours will be well-trod. Road rage will mount.

Speaking of tension, did you see that baseball game last night? Rather anticlimactic after the drama of the three games previous. A 10-3 blowout as the BoSox make history, totally ruining my explanation of baseball. Oh yeah, on request I explained the entire poetry of the sport in four paragraphs yesterday. And I quote myself:
Alright, Yanks lead the best of seven series three games to none. In game four, a must win for Boston ... goes 12 innings, stretching the teams thin. Endurance ... As Boston wins, extending their season at least one more night, they celebrate knowing that they're down 3 games to one. The next game is just 21 hours away.

So then on Tuesday night, it becomes another struggle of strategery and outfoxing. Again Boston, poor belittled, belovedly cursed Boston, somehow finds a way to win. Teamwork. They were sacrificing their spots and roles for others who might better help the team win. And in 14 innings, they did. So now its 3-2, and Boston is still a game away from elimination. Both pitching staffs are decimated.

That brings us to last night. Curt Schilling takes the mound for the Sox after getting shelled in game one. He's hurt. A week ago they didn't know if he'd pitch again this season. He pitched seven masterful innings, allowing only one run, while the offense scored four times ... And not his dominant overpowering stuff, but he displayed a masterful control of the game. Determination. Boston hits a home run, but it wasn't. But the umpires got together and made the right call, it was a home run. Drama.

Later, 'The Curse' breathes on Boston's ear. In the eighth, Schilling's relief lets a run score, 4-2 in the game. This club hasn't won the World Series since 1918 and already Sox fans feel the inevitable. The only question is how the unthinkable happens again. Then a Yankee is called out on a key play, the New Yorkers boo lustily as their guy is sent into the dugout. Controversy. Trash is rained down onto the field from the unapproving fans. Darker side of humanity ... Boston escapes with a win 4-2, in the regular nine innings this time. History. No team had ever been down three games to none in baseball and forced game 7. In the history of the sport it had never happened. Tonight, game seven. Someone goes to the World Series, someone goes home empty handed.
Hey, I said baseball, not the stuff I write, is poetry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tired of the mud slinging? Battle it out in a game exhibiting gentlemanly statesmanship. Table tennis. Select your opponent and then play for the electoral votes of each state. Just like on November 2nd, first to 270 wins. Enjoy!
Awww, what do you know, a year they've been running this program and they're finally getting around to a "tentative Graduate Handbook."

And I quote "Nevertheless, it also depends upon close collaboration between teacher and student." This is, of course, preceeded by "It therefore requires independence of spirit and accomplishment."

At least I have an idea of the course load now.
Go ahead, vote in Florida today!

Linky appreciation: Dr. Steven Taylor's Poliblog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

This is just sick.

Have you ever asked yourself what a coat of Elmo would look like. Just sick.

The problem here is that there's no ground that PETA can stand on. Elmo didn't really ever exist. And if he did, he would have been the one animal so annoying that even PETA would line up for a shot. "Ordinarily we would never advocate such violence upon nature," PETA's executive director said, "but have you ever heard this thing? It's just 'La la la' all the friggin' time. Something has to be done! Oh, my turn? Where's the club?"

Suppose there was one or three Elmo supporters out there -- this is already satirical, let it be fiction as well -- what would they do? You couldn't pour blood or paint on the fur, it couldn't be seen over that luscious red pelt. What's an indignant protestor to do?

The Elmo fur boys and girls, what all the kids will be wanting this Christmas.
Once again I'll ask: Why can't it rain like this when I'm at home, in bed, and at peace with the oneness of my pillow and comforter? All morning it has rained down. All morning I've lobbied for nap time. A good solid rain; thudding and respectful. No piddly little mist today, these have been gigantic, cold drops. Perfect timing now that we're all (not) ready for the flu.
"The tolerance of ambiguity."

That's what my department head/advisor said last night. It's what his advisor told him was the single biggest thing to learn in grad school. It's what he's offering to me now. At least we've cleared that up.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Wads points out how truly great it is to be an Auburn Tiger. "Looks like we might have to start scheduling UAB instead of UAT if we really want competition." For an embarassing second time in one season, UAT is the third ranked D-1 football team in the state.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Matt the drum majoring step-brother writes in: " of last night we are going to STATE! We got an 80.2 at Warren Central for the ISSMA (Indiana State School Music Association) Regional Competition. Out of 15 Bands represented, we ranked 4th, to be included in the top five which go on to state competition. The RCA Dome in Indianapolis is waiting for us now. This upcoming Saturday, October 23, at 11:31am Central Standard Time, Floyd Central will be taking the field. It has been nine years since Floyd Central has done this. Please wish us luck ..." Good luck hypo.
Safely home from Nashville. Had a fine time with the family. Far too much Italian food. Three cheeses and marinara I need not.

Friday night we had Italian before going to Opry Mills. There used to be a themepark there. Now, the glory of crass commercialism. Walked around looking for stuff with no success -- how do two outdoor shops not have dive knives? -- then saw Team America. Not a date movie. Not a take-your-parents movie. I walked in apologizing to the Mom, I walked out apologizing to the Mom. She feigned offense, but I caught her laughing.

Saturday was the big day, Bill and Robbie's 50th anniversary party. They had old pictures made into a slide show, food, family, kids; the typical reunion type affair, only with a bigger reason to celebrate. After that, more Italian food. By then it was after 8 p.m. and I was ready for sleep. But I've been on such a role studying that the trend had to continue. Only it was too noisy in the hotel room, too noisy in the lobby and -- through clenched teeth -- I was left with being thankful that I didn't live in a dorm during undergrad. Many hours later, 15 pages read.

Sunday, more Italian! And more window shopping! Then home. I followed the sun, the beams poking through clouds helping to show the way. After about a half hour the rain started, just as the song on the stereo uses rain as a metaphor. I'm beginning now to look too hard for parallels. Couldn't find them in between the colorful trees though. It promises to be a beautiful leaf turn this year.

Just north of Birmingham the interstate widens back out, as I take the new left lane I am swarmed by four Jettas. Friends, I wasn't poking. They took off and left me, never to be seen again. The Four Volkswagens of the Apocalypse were hauling.

Football update: I'm once again on top of the Pick 'em. Elsewhere, Auburn is ranked third in the nation. Careful though, the athletic department is tempting fate by sending out an Email calling for media requests to the SEC Championship in Atlanta.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Sleeping late is a nasty habit. The less said about that the better.

Wrapping up the week, paying the bills and finishing up the correspondence. The car is packed up and, in a little while, I'll pretend to follow the compass in my car that doesn't exist, and head due north. It is a weekend getaway to lovely and festive Nashville, where the family will gather in happy masses to eat finger foods and sweets in the traditional commemoration of a 50th wedding anniversary, in this case, Uncle Bill and Aunt Robbie.

So it will be a weekend in a strange bed, full of restaurant food. The latter being better than the former. Perhaps there will be shopping. Most likely there will be studying. The certainty of it all will be six hours -- roundtrip -- in the car.

Will those hours be best served listening to CDs or talk radio? I have no use for music radio anymore, as the programming has detriorated beyond bad in the past few years. The radio experts, trembling now, are right in saying Howard Stern will change radio. Again. The greatest irony of the progression to satellite radio is that the bulk of their marketing is spent on conventional radio.

But I digress.

Carnival now has a port in Mobile. You should check out the new cruises. When you go -- and there's no stressing this part enough -- take me with you. Hey, someone has to be there to chaperone and perform quality control. It might as well be this humble writer.

Good news from Wendy today. Just starting her job search as she prepares to leave Auburn and she's already one-for-one on the interview front. Now with one offer on the table, I suggested she play them off one another. "I don't know sir, Mr. Williams is offering me six-figures ... " If it works for athletes it should work for people with marketing degrees too.

Well, it is about time to wrap up the rest of the loose ends, so I'll leave you with this:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. -- Romans 12:9-10 (New International Version)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Know what makes you feel foolish? Waiting on pictures to print from that photo booth thing at the mall. Oh sure, somewhere along the way -- maybe as children -- they might have been cool. Somewhere along the way -- maybe with your first date -- it was cute. Adult, alone, not so much.

I had to get a new picture for a new ID for my SCUBA diving card. The brilliant idea comes to mind that finding one of those photo booths would be far easier than setting up a tripod, making a good self-portrait, taking it to get printed and so on. I did not account for the waiting. Or that the booth would be right next to the food court of the mall on a day when apparently no kids were in school. Even better, you can't just get normal pictures. Oh no, I know have eight exposures framed with the words, "WANTED: $1,000 Reward."

That feels foolish.

Speaking of pictures, there are 21 marginally decent new ones on the picture page. Follow the HOME link to the right to find them. Remember, I'm adding pictures at the first and end of the month now.

Had a bit more traffic on this humble little site the past few days. Apparently my blatant self-promotion on a few high-traffic blogs was beneficial. Glad you're here. Hope you keep coming back. Tell your friends, I need all the hits I can get.

I'm such a shill.
Having a great long talk with Fin. Doesn't matter that I just ate lunch, I'm hungry like a wild animal and really want some spaghetti right now. Maybe you can go home again. You just can't go to The Grille anymore. You can, however, go to the Auburn-Kentucky game in nine days. And that is what we intend to do.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Didn't my professors teach me how to be concise? In 90 minutes I jotted down 2,279 words on the Presidential debate. You can read them all at Fear, Folly, Politics.

My fingers must now rest.
It's in the crisp autumn air. It's in the haybales and pumpkins -- placed in such trite positions that they go around the dial and seem natural again. It's in the sweet smell of wood and leaves burning in the distance. That's where I find the whispy feeling that something is missing. Your guess is as good as mine.

Twice in less than 10 minutes this afternoon two different ladies asked where they knew me from. Has there been another woman's conference that I wasn't told about? If not, I feel especially sorry for any guy that has to look similar to me.

Library and groceries done. Now its time to settle in for a long night of college football, playoff baseball and the debate. I'll be live blogging that at Fear, Folly, Politics.

My project for Communication Effects has to do with the debates, so that is almost like studying. After that I'll try to make a dent in Hauser's Evolution of Communication which is required reading for my Models class.

Which begs a question, is that professor getting a kickback? We paid 15 bucks for Shannon and Weaver's Mathematical Theory of Communication. We were told to read 34 pages (basically the introduction). Paid 55 bills for Hauser's book, of which we were instructed to read about 180 pages (of 776). Not that I'm complaining. At all.
Lately there are the fall colors to enjoy. From places like Vermont, Utah, Minnesota and New York.

It won't be fall here for weeks yet, but someone should tell the thermometer. We won't see 70 until the weekend, its 59 right now. One night this week it'll dip into the low 40s. What a horrible life.

Another couple of warm, dry spells may head this way. It is only mid-October after all. And then winter will be upon us. Remember, it's not the cold, it's the humidity.

All this means maybe one or two more trips around the yard on the lawnmower. Then, a few days to sneak off and find nice colorful pictures.

I know I hinted at this earlier, but what am I supposed to do? All plans and agenda points have escaped my memory. There is some studying in my very near future, and a return trip to the library and grocery store, but what else?

In the ever-trendy need to promote consumerism, I have these products to shill: If you'd like this generation's nod to Crosby, Stills and Nash with a perfumed pop feel, check out The Thorns. It's Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge, and there's nothing wrong with that. There's even a Jayhawks cover on there. I'm a little unnerved that my take on this album is so similar to what I just read on Amazon. Eerie. What's that you say? You'd like something with piano, percussion and electronic synth? Try the almost fragile sounds of Kean. They're British. Nice little indie-pop change of pace.

Did I mention the new picture policy around here? While there was once a loose theme to the pictures, they're going chronological. They'll now be organized on a monthly basis over on the picture page. To break up the workload, I'll push up pictures at the middle and end of each month. The plan is to do the first half of October tomorrow, and show off the rest later. Meanwhile, all the random pictures that used to be on the old blog design have been grouped together for your rehashing pleasure.
Hey, I'm awake. Sleeping 11 hours will do that for you. After work yesterday I picked up my new textbook, read about two pages and went to sleep.

I woke up several times through the night and early morning, remembering very odd dreams. Maybe its a good thing that I normally sleep a lot less and recall fewer dreams. Strange stuff.

Got to work early this morning, driving through a persistent little mist. The pre-dawn drizzle made everything seem just out of reach somehow. Since it hasn't rained in a few weeks even the die-hard early morning road warriors were standing on their brakes. Four lanes of nothing but brakelights at 5:45 in the morning. That's always fun.

So, since now I feel mostly rested, I resolve for this to be a productive day. There's certainly enough things to get accomplished. Here's to hoping a dent can be made in the list.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Time is an interesting mechanism. The drips and drops of it I mean. The bends and flows and oozes and races.

I've been thinking a lot about time the last few days. Had it been just one more week, an aunt could have celebrated her 50th anniversary without the mourning of her mother. Had it been just another two seconds the truck in front on the interstate would have hit me too.

The guy was OK after hitting the guardrail, came back onto the road and rocked across two lanes before spinning halfway around and going back to the guardrail. And, just three car lengths behind him in the next lane, I'd fished my phone out before he stopped. Here were both thoughts about time.

The fragility of it all: if there's some great plan, did Dr. Hamilton keep me from harm Thursday? By something as simple as a quizzical look, he could have been the reason. Maybe the answer I offered wasn't clear enough, maybe I rephrased it and that delay kept me safe.

The speed of it all: how do we perceive time differently in different situations? Adrenaline prompts more blood flow to the brain and promotes a greater recall. But what about remembering periods of time? It seems like just a few moments ago when I gave a woman money for gas. She was moving and had packed up her purse or something. "Welcome to the neighborhood," I said, palming her a few bucks.

Though the memory is still immediate, that was 30 hours ago. I've had a two hour class since then. I've driven two hours north and back, had a half-hour media strategy phone call, another on politics. A two hour talk with the parents since then. A funeral. Digging into my wallet seems the freshest memory. How do we select what we place so prominently?

Today seems an endless series of trips up and down the highway, from house to funeral home to church to cemetery to church and on and on. All the dirty little buildings blurred together, but I could tell you where you could get ribeye steaks for $4.99 per pound.

And the prayerful rain at the cemetery.

Friday, October 8, 2004

I've been a bit mentally and physically out of it today. Sorry there's been nothing of substance for you to read. Fridays are really taking their toll these days and I'm not sure why. I think its just the culmination of the week -- which is never that strenuous anyway -- catching me. Here's to hoping I can stay awake through the debate tonight. Should be the best of the meetings. And there's baseball and Chris Rock and ... I should set all the recorders I guess.

Fairly quiet Friday, the most exciting thing was the new JibJab song, 'Good to be in DC!' Go right now and see their brilliant new work. Those guys are hysterical.

Elsewhere there's only been the natural slowdown of the week. Tomorrow guarantees excitement, however, with the arrival of the new dishwasher! The rest of the weekend promises to be fairly routine until leaving town Sunday night. Hopefully I'll find two or three clever things to share before then.

Until then, check out some of the latest from a co-worker's daughter: Taylor meets Chef Boy-R-Dee.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

My great-grandmother just died. No more hard candy. No more long talks. No more memories older than I am. And though we had never talked of him -- some memories are too tough -- one less tangible tie to my grandfather.

I want the happiest and longest memories to be these: recently I visited her by myself, unencumbered by people who'd rather be elsewhere, we talked for more than an hour and a half about her life and watching my mother and my great-grandmother singing old songs together this past fall. Immediately I wish for more of those talks. Immediately I wish that she and I had the same songs to share.

She was a remarkable woman. Mentally sharp well into her 98th year, living in her home into her 97th. A college graduate at 91, the oldest ever from her University. She was still doing her own taxes into her 90s. A remarkable woman.

I'm so thankful that the last thing I told her was how beautiful she was. That I meaningfully told her I loved her.

How fortunate am I, to have been able to appreciate -- and say -- that I have five wonderful grandmothers.

What a blessing.
Auburn faculty member wins 2004 Ig Nobel Prize:

Steven Stack of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA and James Gundlach of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA, for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide."

PUBLISHED: Social Forces, vol. 71, no. 1, September 1992, pp. 211-8.
I must read this study.

Linky appreciation: Terry's Possumblog.
I am, apparently "so silly." This may be right. Kind of liberating in a way, the chance to prove wrong the litmus test of others. Where some see challenge is truthfully an opportunity. It is yours to make something of it.

That's an awful lot of pop-philosophy from the drastically unqualified for so early in the day. And on so very little caffeine even.

Watched Timeline last night. Pretty good, I think I enjoyed it more than the book, read several years ago. I kept expecting Morgan Freeman to stride through when the trebouchets made their appearance. But not Kevin Costner. Or Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The biggest problem with the movie -- and I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I know this -- is that the professor tries to save his own life by offering the English the secret to Greek Fire. However, no modern man knows the secret. Recent experiments have proved successful in replicating the effect, but the ingredients remain only an educated guess.

Also finally got around to watching Spiderman. Not my favorite comic as a kid, but a good character and a fun movie. Favorite part: learning how to shoot webbing. Funny stuff, that. Almost everyone raved over the sequel, so now I'm looking forward to that.

Its odd how I managed to miss out on some of the biggest blockbusters in the past two years, yet know about Greek Fire -- invented by the Byzantines by the way.

Yeah, I'm the life of the party.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

A spicey conversation ...

Me: Nothing a little Thyme won't cure. I hope.
Kel: Boo! Hiss!
Me: Don't like Thyme? I like Thyme. Some things should just happen over -- you guessed it -- long periods of Thyme.
Kel: That was just Peppered with bad puns!
Me: What are you doing? Throwing Salt on my wounds!?
Kel: I can't believe you'd think I'd do such a thing! Sage it isn't so!
Me: I'd Savory every moment if you wouldn't be so cruel!
Kel: You know, your attitude about this is leaving me a little Chili...
Me: Wasabi with that?
Kel: LOL!!!! You're killing me with your wit. Anise a moment...
Me: I'm so very Sorrel. I didn't mean to get Carawayed.
Kel: Don't worry, I wouldn't want you to Saffron over your actions.
Me: Sumac so that I should be Pomegranated a pardon.
Kel: I think I Cayenne do that for you. I'll Curry up so that you Shallot suffer too long!!!
Me: ... Szechuan pepper to the other. Meanwhile, the Elder of us suspects a Caper. 'Paprika!' Sesame seed, 'I have found the Mastic Allspice!'

Somebody's witty!
Two references in a row about sleep. It must be mid-week! I may resort back to the tried and true sleep all day/all night formula. The eyes feel tired and less rested than normal, which isn't saying much. Maybe I did a little sleep walking early this morning -- there was evidence of that when I got up today.

I'm tied up in this conversation about the best closing lines in movie history and, of course, the two prominent movie experts in the office picked this week to be on vacation. Maybe next week I can win some points in the movie line debate.

Did anyone watch the Veep talky special last night? I caught a bit. I know, I know ... Normally I'm far more dedicated, but some things supercede a Vice President from Wyoming and a Senator from North Carolina. One of those things is a bunch of guys who work in Minnesota working in New York. Its the baseball post-season, try and make me care about the Veep's debate. The 15 minutes I caught justified my initial belief: Cheney is calm and measured, Edwards is tangled in the dreaded talking points. Beside, thanks to the everyday miracle that is the Internet I still got the night's best zingers.

I'd much rather see a poll on which side won the spin. Forget the debate all together, let the spin artisans just make up the debate in their heads (it has happened before) and then poll the surrogates. Matter of fact, where do I sign up to vote for Mort Kondracke?

That's just a fun name to say. (A good read too.)

Also fun has been cracking wise on today's tinfoil hat model. This should be a regular feature, particularly when the Emails are this good:
It is regrettable that the CIA and other "state secret services" use their job in personal interests. Thus to see how the stock exchange is working they have implanted a microphone near my brain. More, they continue to do experiments on my body. This is the job of the national agency?

More allow some future killers of Germany to steal my money, thus I cannot come on the Internet and (have) access to studies having a distribution converging at 0.
I'm not totally sure what the last part is supposed to mean either. But, this person sent us a few links too. German police are a recurring theme, as they're paying companies to not hire her. Seems silly if you ask me, because if those companies knew that her brain had the secret workings of the stock exchange they'd snap her up in a minute. That's why the CIA is apparently in her brain ... I hope this person finds the help she's looking for.
Snooze buttons are good for the soul.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Summer is leaving. Fall is smearing herself across the sky. The maple leaves let go a few weeks back, the oak leaves are gliding to the ground now. The sweetly faint dust of autumn has taken over from honeysuckle as the perfume of choice. In the air the electric blue is a broad swath of flate white. Somehow one cloud was holding on to a dark blue shade. Miles away to the south it stood out alone. Probably it was just the last straggler of summer heading out with the birds. We're on our own now, just the southerners ill-suited for mild winters. Next week's cold front will flirt with the 40s.
Alabama facts

Speeding has overtaken drunk driving as the top killer on Alabama's roadways. Of 1,001 traffic deaths in the state in 2003, 417 were alcohol related. Meanwhile, speeding is blamed for 469 deaths.

No word on how they rank drunks who were driving too fast. And while we're still dealing with a critical drought of state troopers, Alabama's DUI fatality rate is down 60 percent since 1982.
Must. Retract. Siegelman. Jokes.

The Army Wins, John Kerry loses. An op-ed in today's New York Post.
Paul Finebaum is, at best, unoriginal. What's more, he's using the phrase incorrectly.

His continual employment remains a mystery.
Monday night class wasn't much of one. The professor begged out early in the day. Apparently he has a "wife" and there was "car trouble" so he left us to our groups, which meant nothing was going to get done. Precious little did. But that put me home just before 8 p.m., with groceries even. Fourteen hour days are plenty long thank you very much.

My classes are full up with interesting people, some more interesting conversationalists than others. We talked about perception among single people, and how that varies from big city to small town. Apparently no woman with self-respect would pick up a man in Atlanta. I'm still trying to understand the formula, but I boiled it down -- anecdotally of course -- to the notion that if you don't demand respect for yourself, why would anyone bother giving it to you. That seemed to be what they were getting at.

Kinda like the guy at the grocery store, cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve, cowboy hat pulled down tight over his barely visible camoflage cap. I couldn't stay on the same aisle as this guy because every time I saw him I wanted to laugh. Only he was huge, and it would have been "Clean up Kenny on aisle 6 please."

The greatest indicator of the passage of time again made itself known last night. I noticed that it was homecoming at the high school. And -- its been this way for at least the decade that its mattered to me, yet still -- suprisingly its homecoming at Auburn this weekend too. Nine years since the HS, four since the U.

The part of the mind that controls fantasy wanders off to a time when you will live in some faraway exotic place and decide to grace the local peasants with your presence one weekend, swooping in to make a triumphant return to both homecoming festivities. Why? No one would know you at the events; its a quirk of linear time, but sadly, non-linear memory. No one cares if you're there or not. Maybe its the elements that make the fantastical thought so appealing: faraway, exotic, swooping.

Elsewhere, Vice Presidential debates or Spiderman on DVD. VP or Spidey ... VP or Spidey ... tough call tonight.

Monday, October 4, 2004

Quick catch up on the rest of the weekend ... OK, quick catch up on the rest of the weekend minus the mundane.

That'll make this really short.

I had lunch Sunday next to a young couple with baby in tow. They looked the American Dream, succesful, going places, yuppie to the max. They never talked to each other. There was the painfully sad impression that if it weren't for the child sitting there they wouldn't be sitting there. What do people think about when they are not talking to their spouses like that? Maybe they were just tired. Or worse.

Skipping more mundane stuff until class, where we discussed proxemics and my favorite part of the day: SIER theory. Its hierarchical, so read from the bottom and work your way to the top. If you really care I can explain it to you later.

Told you it would be short.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Auburn wins big on the road, 34-10. You know its bad when the headline uses the word "easily," but we like it that way.

If you're down with the J you already know this, but Troy handily beat Utah State 49-21. UAB stuns Cincinnati on the road 30-27. And finally, Alabama just plain looked bad, falling at home to South Carolina 20-3. It occurs to me that if you play to not lose, you won't win. Also, my boy Matt Caddell had only one ball thrown his way -- and that out of bounds. The trend here is easy to spot: two games in a row with out a completion for Matt, two Bama losses.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Top ranked football. Number 1 Hoover hosts Number 3 Vestavia Hills.

UPDATE: Cause you care. Hoover won 21-14. Turnovers, the option and trick plays gave the Buccaneers the win.

Good game, nice festive atmosphere. This particular rivalry has grown so large in recent years that I wonder about these kid's sense of reality though. The Met was packed. Hoover is outdrawing the Barons in their own venue. There were more people in that stadium for this game than when Bo Jackson was rehabbing with the Barons, when Michael Jordan was on the team or even the baseball version of the mother of all rivalries: Auburn - Alabama at the SEC championships. But anyway, fun Friday night.
Well, that was painless.

Nothing like starting your weekend off with good tunes, good snacks and a massive webpage change. Its official, the new design to my pages is up. Pardon any scuff marks the movers made, we'll get all that straightened out in the coming days.

Remember, the beauty of this new design is that it will allow for frequent changes. The pictures will change, the background colors will shift to compliment the new pictures and so on. It will be fun!