Saturday, July 11, 2009

Forcing ourselves to go on record for UFC 100

UFC 100 is tonight, and it looks to be an awesome card. I'm writing this entry in the car on the way to the beach. In the spirit of putting ourselves on record, Kyle and are going to give our picks for tonight's fights. We'll know by tomorrow how well we did.

Taking the main card from bottom to top, here are our choices:

Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago: We're both picking Fitch, and we're both of the opinion that it will be by a long, slow, full-three-round grind.

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher: We're both going for Belcher. I'm thinking TKO. Kyle agrees but adds that it will one of those ref stoppages the Japanese fighters won't like.

Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping: Henderson by three-round decision or, as Kyle put it, Henderson by Bisping having no take-down defense. Expect a long night on his back for The Count.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves: We both pick St. Pierre, and we both figure he'll win in the third or fourth round. GSP is going to frustrate him and then beat him.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir: We're both picking Lesnar, and we both agree Mir will be a bloody mess at the end of it. Neither of us is sure whether the bulk of that punishment will from standing strikes or ground and pound, but it will happen. Kyle guesses it'll be G&P.

Now, on to the undercard, where we are functioning with a paucity of data.

Matt Grice vs. Shannon Gugerty: Neither of us know anything about these guys. Kyle's going for Grice. Just so we disagree on something, and because of Jennie's theory that Gugerty's last name alone had to toughen him, I'll pick Gugerty.

C.B. Dolloway vs. Tom Lawlor: We're both picking Dolloway, though neither of us likes him. Kyle says he'll win by lips.

Dong-Hyun Kim vs. T.J. Grant: Kyle's going for Kim on the principle that you shouldn't bet against a man with the name "Dong" and says we should watch for him to take Grant's back and sink in the third hook. I have to concur.

Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien: I'm picking Jones, which most people are, but Kyle is going with O'Brien. He believes O'Brien is the superior wrestler and so will take down Jones and win by decision. I think Jones will lose the first round and knock out O'Brien in the second.

Mac Danzig vs. Jim Miller: I'm going with Miller, and Kyle is picking Danzig in the belief that the sour vegetarian will pull off the victory.

Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar: This fight exists to keep the entertaining and popular Bonnar under contract. We're both picking Bonnar to win over the older and less skilled Coleman. Kyle thinks it's quite possible that Coleman dies from a heart attack during the fight. I think Coleman is going home very bloodied.

Tune in to Sunday's blog for an analysis of how we did.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The next two weeks

I will be on vacation at the beach. I will be going off email and voicemail, though if someone needs me urgently enough for business that she or he calls me many times, I'll probably get back to them.

I was going to quit blogging during this period, but I've decided that instead I will do some unusual blog entries, with the goal of hitting an average of one a day but not necessarily daily. You'll have to say tuned to see what I mean, but I'm currently thinking at least some cool pictures and some previously unpublished material. We'll see.

During this break, I intend to eat bad foods, watch bad movies, sleep as much as I can manage, and generally take it easy. I am way past burned out and very much need this break.

All that said, I will keep writing every day; it's what I do.

Allergy clinic blues

Today, I had to go to the allergy clinic to get my serum for the two shots I give myself once every three weeks. As I've explained in previous entries, the clinic will no longer give them to me unless I show up for a serum test. This process consists of a med tech putting one tiny amount of each of my serums under the skin on my arm, making me wait ten minutes, and then coming to see if my reaction was too strong. The med tech gauges the reaction size by measuring the size of the circle around the injection point; if its diameter is above 11 mm., the reaction is too big, and they have to remix the serum.

As usual, the experience was a winner.

After I checked in and was in the room with the med tech (MT), this dialog ensued. Please note that it is not my fault that MT has almost no English.

MT: What your name?

ME: Mark Van Name

MT: That no funny. What your name?

ME: That is really my name. My last name is Van, like a moving van, and Name, as in "my name is."

MT: We no moving. What your name?

ME: My last name is two words: Van (pause) and Name.

MT: Oh, yeah, yeah. I remember. Funny name. (Rummages in refrigerator, emerges with serum, and shows the two bottles to me.) This you?

ME: Yes.

MT: All correct?

ME: No. My address is wrong. (I pointed at the error.) This 1 should be a 2.

MT: You move?

ME: No. Someone in your office simply made a typing error.

MT: Not possible.

ME: Please just change this one number.

MT: No. (Hands me a pen.) You do.

(I do.)

MT: You pick up [other location].

ME: No. I want to pick up my serum here.

MT: Open all time there. Here only one day one hour week.

ME: That location is almost half an hour away from my home or office. This location is less than ten minutes. I'll come here.

MT: (nods and strokes his chin) Hour changes some weeks.

ME: Okay. I'll ask.

MT: Could be hard to find.

ME: I'll take my chances.

(He shakes his head and points to a chair. I pull up my left sleeve. He walks in front of me.)

MT: Which arm?

(I point to the one with no sleeve covering it.)

ME: Good choice.

(I resist saying, "WTF?" What if I'd chosen the other arm? Would he punish me?)

(He gives me the two tests.)

MT: Go. (He hands me one thin piece of tissue.) If you bleed lot. Ten minutes.

(I know the drill, so I don't ask for clarification. I am to go to the waiting room and sit for ten minutes, at which point he'll come and check the two test areas. I do, and after ten minutes, I ask for him.)

(The receptionist looks up from talking to her boyfriend, points to the corner chair, and says, "Wait.")

(I wait. At the fifteen-minute mark, he emerges. As he walks out the door, I push up my sleeve to show him the test arm.)

MT: Which arm?

(I point to the arm with the sleeve up.)

(He studies my arm. One test spot has a tiny reaction; the other has none.)

MT: I do two?

ME: Yes.

MT: I see one. No other reaction.

ME: That's good.

MT: No reaction.

ME: So I pass, right?

MT: (Steps back and again rubs his chin.) Okay. (Hands me the envelope with my serum.) You go.

You can bet your ass I left.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Top 10 solutions to my pants hangers problems

Since I wrote the entry on this topic, a few folks have offered very practical suggestions, such as shopping around for better pants hangers. Upon further consideration, however, I think stronger solutions are in order. Here are the top ten solutions still under consideration.

10. LAIBC - Large arrays of inexpensive binder clips. You know those big clips never let go of anything.

9. Make Sarah and Scott live in my closet and hold up my pants. The problem with this approach is that I have too many pants for the kids to hold all of them straight. Oh, yeah: They also might not enjoy the job.

8. Nail my pants to the wall. Todd left this idea in a comment on the earlier entry, but it's such a good one that I had to include it here.

7. Apply for Federal stimulus money for a research program into bringing pants hanger research and production back to the United States. I'm confident that with a $20M grant I could solve this problem. No more foreign hangers!

6. Send pictures of my troublesome hangers to Lady Shelley Sawers. She'll post them on her Facebook page, as she did the pictures of her husband, the incoming head of MI-6; millions of people will view them in the first few hours; and someone will pop up with a solution.

5. Pad the cuffs of all my thin pants. I could start a new fashion trend. Maybe I could be as cool as this guy.

4. Declare the pants hangers to be terrorist threats. In no time at all, we'd have multiple U.S. agencies working the problem, the NSA would be monitoring the status of all the pants hangers here and abroad, and Hugo Chavez would vow to make Venezuela the world leader in pants hanger manufacturing.

3. Sell ad space on my hangers to Google. They'd then give me custom hangers, get some staffers to invest a day a week in designing better and more lightweight hangers, and as long as they got to install cameras in my closet and choose what I wear, I'd be all set.

2. Tell the RIAA my hangers contain music from artists on their labels. My hangers would be the tightest things on the planet in no time! And, I'd make money from lawsuit settlements any time an unauthorized user touched my pants hangers--or my pants.

and the number one solution is

1. Stop wearing pants. No pants, no pants hangers, no problems!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fashion image mash-up

I have to see this movie, which Jennie first brought to my attention:

Don't you? I'd buy the DVD just to see the geisha transform. The day this one is available online, I'm ordering it.

But then, having seen that trailer, wouldn't you love to see the outfit in this picture on a person you know? Woman or robot; who knows? Who cares?

No, don't even ask if I read Jak and Jill regularly; I don't.

I do, however, check out boing boing from time to time, and I find Susannah Breslin to be worth a periodic scan. (WARNING: Don't click that link if you don't want to read the words of someone who frequently covers porn.)

Writing and work are calling for me, and they're yelling loudly. I'm out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Things that piss me off

Wimpy pants hangers.

Which seem to be all pants hangers.

I like pants hangers. I don't iron, so my approach to wrinkle removal is to hang my pants by their cuffs so they can more or less stretch out their wrinkles. Pants also consume less closet space this way and generally look tidier.

The problem is that sometimes you have to hang a very thin pair of dress pants, other times you have to hang jeans, and pants hangers seem unable to cope with this range of fabric thickness. So, once you've used a hangar for jeans, it doesn't hold thin pants well. After a while, normal clothing rotation means no pants hanger in the house can hold dress pants.

You may wonder why a guy who's never been accused of having a fashion sense will go on so much about stupid hangers. The answer is the painful comedy routine that goes like this:

1) Notice a pair of business pants hanging in the closet has almost slipped out of its hanger.

2) Try to fix this pair by reaching into the hangers and pulling up these pants.

3) In the process, dislodge another pair of dress pants, which then fall to the floor.

4) Pick up that pair and reach for its hanger.

5) Dislodge the initial pair.

6) Repeat until all dress pants are on the floor or in your arms, in which case they'll end up on the floor anyway and in the course of trying to pick up all of them while angry you'll stand too quickly, knock your head into the closet pole, grab for support as you're falling, instead grasp a pants hanger, and collapse in a heap among the pants, still clutching the useless first hanger.
Not that this has happened to me. I've just heard about other people suffering this sad fate, and I want to help them. That's all.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More on the Fourth

A few folks have been kind enough to share some of their photos of yesterday's fireworks party.

Steve Burnett sent me copies of these three photos, which nicely capture some of the fireworks in the sky and, in the last picture, from the ground view.

Dave, who also does the thankless job of cleaning up after the show, donated this shot of the assembled wreckage; the chair provides a sense of scale.

Finally, for a collection of lovely photos by Paul Cory, check out his flickr page for the party (a link he also provided in a comment to yesterday's entry). From some of Paul's pictures I think you can get a reasonable sense of the scale of the show.

It was awesome, and I thank these folks for capturing images of parts of it.

An excellent show indeed!

I love the Fourth of July. I love celebrating our nation's independence, and I love thinking about the people who set on course what I still believe is the greatest nation in the world.

And, of course, I love blowing up a lot of fireworks.

We gathered at the Drake's, where we always hold our party. Step 1 was unloading all the fireworks from the deathmobile; as you can see here, Kyle and I did indeed survive the ride, and so did the many boxes of 'works.

After helping with party setup, we all then sat about, chatted, drank, sampled various tasty foods, and generally took it easy until it was time to grill the meat.

For a party with about a hundred people, we grill a lot of food: about 84 hamburgers, 72 hot dogs, and 12 veggie burgers. We used to do it on my household grill, but it was really inadequate to the task.

A neighbor of Dave's saved us a huge amount of time and hot, sweaty work by loaning us a very large cooker, which we now use. Having this enormous cooking surface makes it possible for us to grill all the food in about an hour. The photo here shows but one of several times we fully loaded the grill.

By the way, Kyle and I had the best burgers of all: double cheeseburgers fresh from the grill. Wow, were they good!

After a little rest, we did show prep, then waited, lit sparklers, and finally it was dark enough for the show itself. I have no photos to share--I'm hoping someone there will email me a few--but from my vantage point directly under the fireworks it was awesome and primal and amazing and wonderful and worth every cent.

I am always amazed that anyone who sees this show does not beg to join the launch team, but I guess most people are considerably smarter more sane more reserved than I--and that's a good thing, because without them, we'd have no audience.

I hope your holiday was every bit as good.


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