Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Question of Adaptation

Charlie loves orchids. How can he plant ten orchids so that he has five straight rows of four orchids each?

I blame Eileen Brennan

This week was a little too easy, apparently. Unfortunately, it wasn't easy for me, but after I missed two questions in the first round, I was out of the running for first; the winning team missed a total of one point. A miss at halftime cost me any shot at a prize. Considering the halftime questions were about Halo 3, and I've never owned, played, or seen anyone play any of the Halo series, the fact that I got any of them right is a coup.

1. In what state does the movie Beetlejuice take place?
2. In quidditch, what is the ball used for scoring called?
3. What was Chuck Norris's given first name at birth?
4. What original Halo weapon makes a comeback in Halo 3?
5. How many books by L. Frank Baum comprise the "Wizard of Oz" series?
6. Who was the last act at the original Woodstock music festival?
7. Name the six suspects in the original Clue boardgame.

Friday, September 28, 2007

So, Where Was I?

Ah yes, engaged.

The girl: we met two years ago, sometime during graduate student orientation. I was walking downtown to go to the bank, and passed another group of students in my department. As we all exchanged pleasantries, she mentioned that she liked my Death Cab For Cutie t-shirt. I replied that I knew several members of the band, and friendship was born.

(A note: the f claims this conversation took place in a math department hallway. I'm sticking to my story; I believe she's thinking of the time I asked her why her shirt said "British Sea Power" if it had a picture of a deer on it.)

I found her attractive, but thought she was out of my league. Plus, she had a boyfriend, and I was busy working my less-than-considerable charms elsewhere. The point is, I really didn't think of her as anything other than a friend, even when she lived with me for the summer. In fact, particularly that summer, as a) I was seeing someone else b) her boyfriend was in the process of moving back to Clemson c) she was paying me rent.

The first "date:" Last November, Death Cab played at Clemson. As it happened, both of our relationships had suddenly ended a few weeks earlier. She wanted to go to the show, but the now-ex-boyfriend had her ticket, and she didn't want to deal with him to get it back. I managed to get an extra ticket, and took her with me. We now talk about this as our first date, but at the time, it was just two friends going to a show together; when my mother heard about my "plus one," I made sure to point out that we were not dating, nor did we have any plans to do so.

The first kiss: I don't know what changed in the next three months, although we did end up hanging out together a lot. One day, though, she came over for dinner, we were watching a movie (Top Secret!, a movie which I will probably never get to watch again, because she hated it), and we kissed. She said it was a mistake and she wasn't ready for this, and left my house crying. That's right, the first time I kissed her, she cried and ran away.

That weekend, we were at a party, and the same thing happened, with the same result. Mercifully, the next week was Spring Break.

The next weekend, there was another get-together, and I promised to make pancakes for the entire drunken crew the next morning. Only one person came for breakfast.

For some reason, we decided to keep the relationship a secret. That lasted less than a week.

The proposal: She knew I was going to propose at some point, but had no idea that it would be this particular weekend; in fact, she had taken me to a jewelry store the previous weekend, unaware that I had already bought a ring.
We made plans to have dinner with some friends on Saturday. I was planning to propose during dessert, but I didn't have much of a plan beyond that. We were the first to arrive, and while we were waiting for everyone else, she mentioned that, on Friday night, one of our friends had commented on the sort of man she "was marrying." The friend had just slipped; neither one of us had said anything. Still, we were worried that one of us would let the cat out of the bag before we were actually ready. She said, "I wish we could just tell them." Sensing an opportunity, I replied, "well, why don't we tell them when they get here?" Before I knew it, I was out of the chair and on one knee. Our friends walked in just as I was getting up, to the applause of the surrounding tables.

And now you're caught up.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mourning Becomes Electric

It was a musical weekend. Friday was Karaoke Night at a local watering hole, which was uneventful except for the extremely disturbing experience of three ten-year-old girls singing "Fergalicious." But, you know, they're not promiscuous.
Sunday, the f and I attended a concert. First up was Amos Lee. I didn't know his music; the f assured me that I was a cultural illiterate. We missed about half of his performance, but enjoyed what we heard.
The second act was Elvis Costello, who strolled onto the stage in silver shoes, and played a 45-minute acoustic set with no accompaniment. There is no ambiguity about Costello's politics, at least as they relate to the current Administration; but while a lesser showman would have ended by rolling "Scarlet Tide" into "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and ridden the antiwar applause right off the stage, Costello put this duo in the middle of his set, then spent an additional 20 minutes rocking. His aim was true.
After Costello came the headliner, Bob Freakin' Dylan. After an introduction which rivaled that of Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein, Dylan took the stage with His Band, which, judging by their recycled swing riffs, was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. It's nice that they're still finding work. The ensemble proceeded to work through almost two hours of lounge-band covers of Dylan songs, whilst the Great Man himself played the keyboard and channeled Tom Waits. While the f was less than enthusiastic about wholesale changes to the songs, I view it as a matter of practicality. Dylan had trouble hitting the high notes in his own songs forty years ago; now, with his vocal range reduced to about ten notes, it's necessary to turn them into mainly instrumental events, with the lyrics more spoken than sung. I can't say that it didn't work; the songs were energetic, and the crowd was definitely into the music (maybe the Pixies should take note). Still, watching a blues-rock spectacle, with not one song accompanied by fewer than six instruments, was not what we had in mind when we bought tickets to a Bob Dylan show.
I should point out that, while it wasn't everything I thought it would be, I did enjoy the show. However, I was disappointed by the encore, which was "All Along The Watchtower," arguably the one Dylan song which should be a rock song. I fault the backup band for this, as they turned it into a formulaic reproduction of the Jimi Hendrix version of the song. The bottom line on this show: if you mark the day that Dylan "went electric" as the end of the counterculture movement, or if you're hoping to hear all the songs off those old albums you have, you should stay away. If you just want to say that you saw Bob Dylan live, or if you're an Elvis Costello fan, go ahead and get a ticket; it's good music.
I guess that's about it for the news this weekend. Oh, except for the whole getting engaged thing. More on that after school.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dropping the g

The gf is now just the f. As in, someday she'll be the w.
More later. Or not. For now, I'm going to bed; it's been a big day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Call me White Goodman

No place at trivia again, as we got the first difficult final question in weeks. I'm beginning to think the restaurant manager reads this blog, and put in an entire round of questions about Saturday morning cartoons just to wind me up. Seriously, I'm considering a different Thursday night activity at this point.

1. What is the life expectancy (in years) of an average human being?
2. Who was the last U.S. President who was left-handed?
3. How many muscles does it take to frown?
4. What school was home to the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner?
5. How many female Smurfs were there?
6. What action hero was bestowed the title of Honorary Marine, in March 2007?
7. What woman has the most appearances on the cover of Time magazine?
8. In the average human being, which lung can hold more air (left or right)?
9. What was the first state to abolish the death penalty?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

When Garmin Fails

This week's puzzle:
Four truckers were hauling loads to four different California cities. Along the way, each trucker was delayed by an unforeseen event. Determine the name of each trucker, his cargo, his destination, and the event that caused his delay.
Some hints to help you out:
  • The trucker headed for San Francisco was delayed by the car accident.
  • Dave's destination was not Los Angeles.
  • The town festival delayed the trucker hauling cashews.
  • Ron did not go to San Francisco.
  • Mr. Mason was not delayed by the rockslide.
  • Mr. Reinhold was delayed by a flooded bridge.
  • The trucker hauling paper was not headed for San Jose.
  • Dave, whose last name was not Reinhold, was hauling sporting goods.
  • Mike Anderson was not delayed by the car accident.
  • Paul, whose last name was not Reinhold, was traveling to San Diego.
  • Mr. Simpson was hauling oranges, but was not going to Los Angeles.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar Does Not Sleep. He Waits.

Trivia this week got off to a great start. Of course, when the category for the first question is "States that rhyme with Borida," most of the teams probably started well, but I was on fire. I missed two questions in the first half, and even nailed the halftime questions, which were based on Chuck Norris Facts (the chief export of Chuck Norris? Pain). I had a huge lead coming out of the half, but then disaster struck. I missed the entire fourth round, failed to properly manage my points in the last round, and wound up fifth.
Trivia night at this restaurant has always tended towards 80s pop culture, but it's gotten a bit silly lately, with multiple questions each week devoted to Saturday morning cartoons and the original TGIF lineup. The misses:

1. What was did the U.S. pay for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803?
2. Where did the Gummi Bears live?
3. On Saved By the Bell, what was Screech's girlfriend's name?
4. What was the original title of Saved By the Bell?
5. What newspaper does Carrie Bradshaw write for on Sex And the City?
6. What Atlantic pirate was known as "The Gentleman Pirate?"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Perhaps he's a Robot In Disguise

Coming soon to a TV near you*: Detroit Lions receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson.

*assuming said TV is in the Detroit area, because no one else gets the Lions games

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Group of Seagulls is a "Flock"

The first round of trivia established a pattern: I would write down the correct answer, think for a minute, cross out said correct answer, and write down something else. By the time my teammates showed up, I had missed every question in the first round. When the final question rolled around, we had finally gotten enough points to match the top teams' halftime scores. Needless to say, we did not take home a prize. Here are some selected misses:

1. Who was the first U.S. President to receive the Nobel Peace Prize?
2. Which planet is home to our solar system's largest volcano?
3. What is Hulk Hogan's real name?
4. What is the term for a group of kangaroos?
5. What was the first movie in which the soundtrack rights cost more than the rest of the production combined?
6. Who was the first man to be elected President despite finishing second in the popular vote AND the electoral college?

Catching Up

Updates on our top stories:

TV: The gf's brother was named as the alternate in the "American Ninja" competition. He is in Japan right now, watching the taping of the new season of Ninja Warrior. He might still be tapped to compete; we won't know until he gets back later this week.

Running: I mentioned a while back that I had to stop running six years ago because I hurt my foot. It turns out that never quite healed. It's odd that it's bothering me now, because I haven't been sedentary the last six years, but I'm trying to figure out how I can run at night and still walk again in the morning.

Trivia: I'll post some of this week's questions in a bit. Let's just say there are a lot to choose from.