Archive for April, 2005

Taming the City

I finally got wifi from our hotel room after struggling with it for a few days. But not having it for the first couple of days made us go to the New York Public Library and walk through metal detectors, so at least that’s cool.

We’ve had a busy, but fun, time so far in the city this week. I won’t bore you with details now, but I will bore you with them later.

Bye.

Auto-Erotic Spirituality

(Hey — any New York readers want to meet up for lunch? Give me a yell.)

Here’s something that probably hasn’t been collected in one place yet: Buddhist blogger reaction to the appointment of Pope Benedict XVI:

  • Woodmoor Village
    “I’m neither pleased nor disappointed, not following Catholic doctrine myself, but I would have preferred a progressive thinker that would have changed direction in the church toward inclusivity and less dogmatism.”
  • PaperFrog
    “Of particular concern to Buddhists are some rather ungracious comments made by Cardinal Ratzinger to the French press in 1997, labeling Buddhism as an “auto-erotic spirituality” that offers “transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations.” Spiritual masturbation, in other words. He views both Hinduism and Buddhism as future “enemies” of the Church, replacing Communism as the creeping threat of the a century.”
  • From My Window
    “There is speculation that he’s a former Nazi, and that he deserted the German Army when he found out about its hellish ways. Perhaps true, perhaps not. I do know for sure, however, that he thinks me and my fellow tribe members deserve to burn in hell. Nice fella.”
  • The Republic of T. (also)
    “From my perspective, November 3rd of last year was one victory for hatred and intolerance. So it today. The difference is that back in November it was bald-faced hatred and intolerance. Today it is disguised as divine love.”

10 years ago

Tonight marks 10 years since I hosted what ended up being my most memorable radio show at college. Sure, “memorable” is a relative term when you’re talking about a station that, at the time, got more listeners by opening the window and turning up the monitor speakers than over their painfully weak AM signal, but this show was one that I’d go back and listen to more than any other in the following years.

The show was the final show of my freshman year and featured a bunch of friends coming up to freestyle about anything and everything. A few of us were deeply involved with hip-hop and others were just guys that came to curse on the radio. The one thing we all had in common: we rhymed off-the-head with nothing whatsoever preplanned. Sometimes the result was outstanding, other times it was painfully bad. It was all fun, though.

I think I’ve featured the two clips below before, but I’m doing it again in honor of the special freestyle edition of “Sounds from the Attic” that aired on April 15, 1995. Enjoy.

THERE ARE NAUGHTY WORDS IN THE LINKS BELOW. DO NOT LISTEN IF BAD WORDS MAKE YOU CRY. OR IF YOU’RE MY MOM.

Freestyle over the “Unration-Al” beat featuring Laze and Mista Midnight
This bit starts off with Poetic, who was easily the best off-the-head of anyone in the room, and he attempts to jump into the beat, but declares it too fast. Without missing a beat (literally!), I jump in and take over with one of my best freestyles of the night, keeping it right on track (aside from getting the year totally wrong in the beginning). Best lines: “Check my melanin, I have none, my friend, / ‘Cause I burn so easily and now I’m gonna’ freeze G’s…”

After my section comes Mista Midnight, who throughout the night made up loads of words if he couldn’t find a rhyme. In fact, the section starting at 1:52 and going to the end is almost entirely made up words.

End of the night freestyle featuring Poetic, Laze, and Mista Midnight
This one’s significantly slower, but shows the fun we were having just vibing off of each other.

I don’t condone a phone with no dial tone

As I was wishing my grandmom a happy 86th birthday yesterday, we got disconnected. I hung up, waited for a minute or two, and tried to dial again, but alas, no dial tone. I tried another phone and it too was dead. Oddly, though, I was able to get online. I guess DSL doesn’t require a dial tone to do whatever it does.

So last night I went out in the dark with a flashlight to the side of our house to the NID with a phone handset. It was dead out there, too. I got online (still, weird) and set up a service call for today to come and fix the line.

Also, we’re getting some of our carpets cleaned today.

Tomorrow, the rest of the couches are being delivered.

The Shrimp Murder Mystery

We have an ecosphere, a nifty self-contained mini-ecosystem that houses shrimp and algae. The shrimp take oxygen from the water and exhale carbon dioxide. The algae take that and exhale oxygen. The algae need the shrimp and vice versa. It’s pretty neat to watch and requires no maintenance.

But last week, we noticed something amiss in the world of our four shrimp (“Al” – short for Albino, the largest shrimp that is usually transparent, and the uncleverly named Friends #1, 2, and 3). One of the shrimp had died. He was laying on the bottom, motionless, a much brighter pink color than the three living shrimp.

The next day, the shrimp had been moved to another part of the ecosphere. A day later, most of his body was gone.

Huyen and I are convinced. One of the shrimp is a really, really, really tiny Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed his friend and then ate him. The only problem is trying to find the weapon… was it a tiny knife? A small amount of poison? A mini lead pipe in the conservatory? Only time will find out. But, rest assured, the police have been called.

Done Being Stupid

Yesterday’s 5k went even better than expected. I finished a full 1:30 faster than my previous best, at 24:47, a 7:55/mile pace. (My time also beats my time in my first 5k by about 2 1/2 minutes.) That should place me in about the middle of the pack of 55 based on previous years’ results. I think I may also now hold the record for 29-year-olds (of course, I should note that there’s only one other 29-year-old to ever have participated in this race… but, hey, I’m faster than HIM!).

I’m definitely pleased with my performance… not bad for a “pretend runner.” And I beat the 77-year-old woman (who, God bless her, ran a damn fine race). And, more importantly, I felt good throughout the run and wasn’t feeling totally dead at the end.

Want pictures?

OK!

Stupid Running

So even with all this talk of glass in my foot (written about here not because it’s at all a big deal but because it’s the only thing of interest I can write about at the moment), I’m going to run a 5k this weekend for fun. Not just any 5k, though, the Stupid Little 5k!

This race is generally sparsely attended, cheap to enter, and doesn’t benefit any charities. It’s just running for the sake of running. Yet, the web site is one of the most entertaining running sites I’ve seen in quite a while. The site has silly amounts of statistics, a 76-image tour of the 5k and 10-mile courses, and a good sense of humor. 25th place overall gets a monetary prize and the normal race giveaway of a t-shirt has been eschewed in favor of a pencil. They also give out trophies for various placings, none of them featuring runners. Kinda’ wacky.

Looks like it should be a fun race. I may wear a shirt that says, “I’ve got glass in my toe!” just to make anyone who finishes behind me feel really inadequate.

Evening foot update

I’m going to change the name of my blog to “twist of foot accomplis.”

Left work at 3 (’twas a gorgeous day, so I certainly wasn’t sad about getting to spend a little time outside) to go to the foot doctor. End result: glass is still in toe.

Since it’s not bothering me, even to the touch, he’s got me wrapping it up, soaking it in warm water, and coming back to him in a couple of weeks. Apparently, to be sure they’d get it out, a large S-shaped incision the height of my toe would be called for and it would leave a big scar (new movie character: Scartoe). He said I can keep on running if it doesn’t hurt and that if it’s not infected by now, it’ll be fine.

Who am I to argue with a foot doctor?

Three Things I Hate

I try to be positive and optimistic about things, even when I’m complaining. But screw that, here are three things I hate with all my heart right now.

  • Aetna. What kind of stupid insurance company gives you coverage but refuses to give you a group number or membership number because “it hasn’t been assigned yet.” I HATE YOU, AETNA.
  • The person who designed my GP’s voice mail system. To get to “referrals,” I had to go press “3” for referrals, after which I was transferred to another office and had to press “2” for referrals, after which a person answered and upon hearing I needed a referral, told me she’d transfer me to the department that handles that. Apparently, pushing the button for “referrals” two different times only gets you to the person that knows how to get you to the referrals department. Then, the referrals department requires you leave a voice mail with (deep breath): your first and last name spelled out, your date of birth, your contact number, when your appointment is, who your appointment is with, the referring doctor, the diagnosis, your insurance company, the specialist’s phone number, and if you want your referral faxed, the specialist’s fax number. I ran through about 3/4 of this information as fast as I could when I was cut short. Apparently there’s a time limit to give all this information. Honestly, not even the Micro-Machines guy could have finished in time.
  • Stupid hotels who not only don’t post their check-in/check-out times on their web site, but don’t answer e-mail about the subject.

Glass In My Toe

Glass In My Toe

I went for an x-ray today to see if the glass was still in my toe, even after 15 minutes of digging around by the doc. Sure enough, there it is and now I need to go to a specialist to get the beast removed. What fun, indeed!