Sunday, July 29, 2007

fare thee well, IC

Well, this is looking like it'll be my last past as a resident of Iowa City. I'm going to be spending the rest of the night and (hopefully) all day tomorrow packing and moving, so my time needs to be spent on not blogging.

I just wanted to thank Iowa City for everything, it's been a great place to live for the past 4 years, a city that I know and love.

There will be a more reflective post later, but I just thought I'd make a quick little post, acknowledging my departure from one great city.

This means that most likely, there's going to be a little lull here around TPoL. Don't fret, I'll have plenty of free time in about a week. Between now and then, I'll be pretty busy, including a Neil Hamburger performance and a trip to our nation's capitol. I'll check in when I can, and there will be a very, very special post coming in the near future.

Until then, enjoy yourselves!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

nap time

For the second year in a row, I did not win the Bix. I did improve on my time from last year, though, by over 20 minutes, coming in at just over 1 hr 20 min. It was a little bit slower of a pace than I wanted, but I felt ok about it.

More in the near future, right now, I need to go into recovery mode. Which involves not much of anything.

See you soon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

On your marks. . .

Well, the first round of stuff has been moved out of Iowa City and back to Muscatine, but I'm still a long ways from being moved out. Something that's going to make it even more fun is running 7 miles in about 9 hours from now. . . And I can't wait!

Tomorrow is the 33rd running of the Quad-City Times Bix 7. The race gets its name from Bix Beiderbecke, a pretty incredible jazz musician from Davenport, IA. Last year was the first time I had participated in the race, as a walker, this year I'll be running it. My dad's up for his 17th run tomorrow, an impressive number to me. I hope that I'm able to make it back that many times!

Sorry this is such a short post, but I need my sleep! I'm pumped up to use my new shoes and to sport the headband again, plus a new purchase today that I'm hoping will help me top the photo from last year, if possible. (here's the photo from last year, along with a more in-depth write-up of the Bix!)

I'll report back tomorrow if I survive. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

don't call it a comeback

Again, sorry for the downtime here, I've been busy with work, a party, some running, and a lot of playing NCAA football. (Plus, my "internet" has been kind of testy lately.) Sunday I played it with a member of the Iowa Hawkeye football team (Bradley Fletcher) and won! It was pretty wild, playing with someone who is actually in the game. (I won on a last-second play, after Fletch had been screwed with fumbles and interceptions dropped by his secondary all game long. I felt bad for beating him, but I had to.)

The party on Saturday went well, there was much drinking, some games played (washers, where you try to throw a washer into a box with a cup in it, kind of similar to horseshoes, and beer pong), grilling done, and some hanging out. Here are a few pictures, courtesy of my new camera. (click on any photo for a [much, much] larger version!)

We threw a football around a little while, Jim is catching the ball here, even though he has perfect form for punting it

Jeff goes for the leaping catch

I admire my perfect spiral

My brother struts around like this a lot (and looks a lot fatter in this picture than he actually is... he's sticking his chest/gut out a little here)

My mom and step-dad

My family. . .

Mom's so proud

My sister, excited about playing washers (we were on a team for one game, which was won with a clutch toss by me, right into the cup)

Me and Kay, in what I think it one of the best photos of me ever taken (and not just because I'm standing next to a pretty girl, I just look like the money here)

Me and Jim (and yes, he did come home with me that night)

I swear this was Angela's idea

I'll leave it at those photos for now, but there are a couple more pretty entertaining ones from afterwards, when Jeff, Jim and I were at my place. And note: these are all obviously pre-haircut, but the hair was lookin' pretty good for the last go-round.


Well now, I've been in and out for a bit here, and my poor little blog has been ignored. Sorry blog. I do have to warn you, that could happen again, at any moment, without warning. It all depends on how ambitious I'm feeling (which, at the moment, may be at an all-time low) and how good of a connection I can get (also very low lately). I apologize in advance. Hopefully after this next week or so, things will be a little more reliable for me.

What have I been up to in the past few days? For starters, today was my last day of work here in town. That was nice, although uneventful. The only thing I really have to do right now is pack pack pack. I'm moving out of my current location on the 31st, back home to Muscatine for a month. But that month will be spent on the go go go, with stops in DC, long layovers in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids (where my brother now owns a house!!!), and possibly a trip to the Ames area and maybe even Minneapolis, if I can swing it. Also, I'll be up in Chicago on Labor Day weekend, there's going to be a Hawkeye invasion as Iowa takes on Northern Illinois in Soldier Field on September 1. I'll be there on the 31st of August for the Cubs game, then hanging out that night and hitting up the game the next day. I'm very excited for it! And maybe if some of my Chicago-land blog friends are lucky, we could work something out to meet up.

Also, the Bix is coming up this weekend, on Saturday to be exact. Mentally, I feel ready. Physically, I'm hoping my mental readiness will carry me. At least this year I won't have to move the very next day. I at least have a day off in between now. yay

I promised some photos of my haircut the other day, and I'm not one to break promises. I just hope you are all ready for it.

First is Flenker on Friday

The shaggy do that everyone has known and loved. But now, it's time for a change. A new phase of my life is coming up, so a new style was needed. So may I introduce to you, ushering in a new era, the New Flenker!!

At first I wasn't quite sure of the new look, but I'm starting to come around to it. It needs to grow out just a tiny bit, but I think I'll enjoy it. I haven't had my hair this short in quite some time (possibly years), so it was time to go back.

I think that's going to be it for now. I have a post started about this past weekend that I'll try to have up some time soon, hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yes, I'm still around

Just thought I'd write a quick note to tell everyone that I'm still alive and well, or as well as I can be with a new haircut that I hate at the time being. (You'd think for $30 they'd be able to get it right.)

Anyways, I'll be back with some pictures of said haircut, as well as some others from the weekend, taken with my fancy new camera! Ok, it's not really fancy, but it's new and it does what I want, so whatever.

But for now, I need to get ready for work. Only 2 days left there!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A bit of wind

2 tornado warnings in the past 3 days were fun, especially since I was at work. We herded all of the customers to the back room, and handed out cookies and water while we waited for everything to pass over. A friend of mine and I just kind of wandered around the empty store checking things out. Monday was nothing really, just some strong winds and a reported touch-down somewhere, but not much threatening Iowa City. Yesterday, however, was some pretty intense weather, I was outside watching and saw a huge wall cloud come through, and felt the much cooler temperatures and strong winds that came with it. I didn't see any funnel cloud or rotation or anything, but some friends said that they did, but no reports of anything touching down. Still a kind of exciting time. Today, finally, the weather is beautiful, so I'm going to enjoy it tonight as much as I can.

Other than that, nothing has been going on around here of any note. I've been playing a lot of the new NCAA football game, and love it. I had some wonderful sushi today, and have been running/walking almost daily (when I can between the raindrops). This weekend I'm heading to a party I'm co-hosting at my brother's place here in town, but other than that, nothing exciting on the horizon until the Bix on the 28th. I need to get my ass in shape, or at least to a point where I won't want to vomit after running 7 miles.

Anyways, that's about it for now. Just thought I'd let everyone know that I'm still kicking it in Iowa City, just livin the dream.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shoot it Like Stephon?

Stephon Marbury is saying that he's going to play basketball in Italy when his current contract is up in 2 years. He says "It's like a [David] Beckham thing." He is, of course, referring to the English soccer superstar David Beckham coming to lay in the US, Los Angeles specifically. (sorry, I don't know the team name. Honestly, I wasn't sure if there were still soccer teams in the US. I will admit that I probably wouldn't have heard of Beckham if it weren't for that "Bend it Like Beckham" movie, and I still don't quite know what that phrase means. But I promise I will not turn this into a soccer-bashing post. I'll save that for when I'm a little drunk and feeling rowdy.) I think Stephon's got it a little wrong, though. I mean, Beckham was an icon in England, known by probably the whole country, and throughout the world. Marbury is a good basketball player, he's got some shoes named after him, basketball fans know him well, casual fans have heard of him, but probably don't know what position he plays or for which team he plays. He's most likely not world-famous, at least nowhere near as much as Beckham. (There was never a movie called "Cross-Over Like Marbury.") He would be leaving a sport that is probably 3rd-most popular in the country to play somewhere that it is more popular. The leagues in Italy are already well-established. David Beckham is leaving a continent that lives and breathes soccer to come to a country where relatively few people over the age of 15 care about it. And I don't know if his star power can bring more Americans out to the games. (His wife could, though.) Besides, isn't Beckham past his prime, getting old, and that's why he's no longer playing in England? He couldn't make the grade there, so he thought he'd come to a place where he could school mostly everyone, or am I wrong?

The way I see it, a more fitting comparison would be if Jerry Rice were to go play for NFL Europe (RIP, oh NFL Europe, I hardly knew ye!). An aging superstar at one of the most popular sports in the nation that a lot of people know (my mom knew him, probably because he's one of my favorite players, but still, I would almost guarantee that she hasn't heard of Stephon Marbury), considered the best-ever at his position, if not in his sport altogether. Fading skills, but still the desire to play, even if it means playing in a place where no one really follows the sport. That's more like a [David] Beckham thing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm pretty sure this post cements my "dork" status

Rain today and yesterday prevented my morning runs, much to my chagrin. Yesterday it was a thunderstorm, today just a normal rain shower, so I probably could have gone out today. I just don't want to get my new shoes soaking wet in the first week of owning them. Plus it gives me an easy excuse to not go out and run. Plus, I'm in day 6 of 7 in a row of work, so I'm feeling a little lazy when I'm at hom.

NCAA Football 2008 came out last night at midnight, and of course my brother and his roommates went and picked it up. (This was all after the storm died down a little bit. There was a point last night when I was questioning whether we'd get together for it or not, since I'm pretty sure my oxen weren't going to be able to ford the river that sprang up where Gilbert Street used to be. Luckily for me, we persevered.) I stayed back at the house with a few other guys while they ran out to the store, so we were sitting around and talking when we notice a vehicle get pulled over right in front of the house. I say "there's no way that's them." Apparently, there was a way that was them. We tried to think of a way to get the game from the car while they were waiting for their ticket (for running a yellow light. . . come on!) to be written, but didn't really come up with anything that didn't end in someone getting tasered or tackled by the cop. So we just sat and the porch and made comments to ourselves. Which was really just a way to hide our concern of everyone in the car getting arrested, everything getting confiscated, including the game. I don't know if we could've handled a loss like that. Fortunately, everything worked out for the best (well, except for Jake, who was driving. This is going to be one of the most expensive video game purchases for him.), and we got to play the game. At least sort of. We've only done the recruiting before the season, so we haven't actually played a game yet. Or I should say I haven't played a game yet, I left around 2 am, I'm sure at least two people stayed up to play.

In entertainment news, I saw Transformers this past Sunday. It was freaking sweet. Now Transformers were a large part of my childhood, both the toys and the cartoon, so this was a nod to that time. But seriously, there were gigantic robots fighting! How could that be bad? And Megan Fox is pretty hot. (Insert joke here about last name being Fox.) Plus, I really wanted to buy a new Camaro. There's like a 30-minute section that's basically a commercial for it, which I was fine with. It's a sweet looking car, even if it doesn't really exist yet (from what I've gathered, it was the body of an '09 Camaro, but it was grafted over a new GTO. Let it be known that GTO's are also freaking amazing cars). I can't remember the last time I really had to fight the urge to stand up and cheer during a movie, like when Optimus Prime first appeared in the form of a semi. The action was pretty good, I could've done with less humans and more robots beating the crap out of each other, but it's fine. Good times. This movie gets 4 Flenker Thumbs-Up!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weekend Videos

It seems like a good time to post some videos. I don't know what qualifies today over any other time, but whatever. Maybe this could be a recurring theme on the weekends, when I'm feeling too lazy to write any actual posts. We shall see.


This is a band I listened to a lot in high school. You may recognize the lead singer, he's Jonah Matranga of onelinedrawing and New End Original. This song, "Mother Mary" is off of the album Water and Solutions, one of my all-time favorites. I was hoping for a video of their song "Bury White", but this will suffice.


Another band that I listened to a lot in high school, hearing them and Far right now take me back to trips to and from tennis practice. These two bands were about as close to the "grunge" genre as I got.

Their more popular song is probably "Stars", but I always loved this song, "The Pod". Both are off the album You'd Prefer an Astronaut, again, one of my favorites.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

I'm moving more into my early college days with this group. T(I)NC came from the ashes of Refused (featured in a video post before), so to speak. They share a lead singer in Dennis Lyxzen (who may get my award for favorite last name, after Flenker of course), but this band is a little more 60's-rock influenced, with definite agendas and messages. This is "The Reproduction of Death" from Survival Sickness.

Rival Schools

This is another band from the first year or two I spent at Ames, and a regular contributer to my weekly radio shows. Charczuk and I would totally rock out while this song, "Used for Glue" was playing, doing some pretty intense air-guitaring at around the 2:22 mark of this video (embedding is disabled, so I can't post it here, but definitely check it out. This song rocks pretty hard, and I used to have a crush on the girl in the video.)

The Weakerthans

One of my favorite bands, this was my favorite song from their latest album Reconstruction Site. "Psalm for the Elk's Lodge Last Call" is a slower-paced song, kind of has a reflective tone, but the video always cracks me up. I love it!

Bonus Video!!!

I thought I'd add this Hum video that I just found, a live performance of "Stars". Matt Talbot is wearing a Bix 7 shirt, and that amused me to no end! These (nerdy-looking) guys from Champaign/Urbana get pretty heavy in this awesome version. (They're probably the only good thing to come from the University of Illinois campus.)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Just imagine the "Chariots of Fire" theme while reading this

I think these new shoes are going to work out. I've just been walking around in them to make sure I like the feel, but from now on they will be exclusively used for running. And in the past, that meant that I would wear them twice a year and forget about them, but since I actually spent the money on them this time, I feel obligated to used them more often. On days like today, it's hard not staying outside. It's absolutely perfect. Which works out well for me, I don't have to work until 5, so I've had most of the day to do whatever I'd like. This has involved getting some sushi for lunch, doing some laundry, walking downtown to the Java House, and very soon, going for a jog. I was planning on jogging this morning, but while I was sleeping, I got a massive cramp in my left calf, to which I woke up, screaming in pain. I think I was saying something like "damn this hurts," or maybe something with more swears. Then this morning it was still hurting when I tried to walk, so I decided to take it easy for a little while. It figures that I'd hurt myself while sleeping.

Anyways, the weather is too nice to not go for a run right now. I've got my headband on and everything, I mean business. I've got 2 weeks to break these shoes in and get in shape myself to run 7 miles.



Just got back from the run. The shoes and socks combine well to keep my feet very dry and well-ventilated. The sushi and cookie combine to keep my lungs not-well-ventilated. All in all I think I did about 2.5 miles in about 30-minutes. I need to step it up a little, but feel alright. I only slightly feel like puking!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Flenker has some new shoes!

I am now the proud owner of a new pair of shoes, the adidas Viper Cushion. I feel that these shoes are the right ones for me, and will make me run much faster for the Bix 7, coming up in 2 weeks. I should probably start training. Now that I have the shoes in which I will be running, I can start breaking them in while training. I even bought a couple of pairs of socks that are supposed to provide air flow for the foot, while wicking away sweat. Neato!

My trip to Arkansas was a success, my grandpa got moved up to the Quad-Cities! Although his stuff will remain in Mountain Home, AR, for the time being. There was a little snag in the plan for getting a moving van, but really, it worked out for the best, we didn't have to worry about moving everything, which allowed for a quicker trip. His stuff is being delivered sometime next week, in the meantime he's staying in a furnished apartment at Lighthouse in Silvis. It's a super nice place, with a bunch of really nice people. He seemed to like it from the start, hopefully that'll continue.

This past week and the future months will be a busy time for the Flenkers on the move. My brother just had his offer accepted for a house in Cedar Rapids, so he will be moving in August to his new home. Very exciting for him, he'll be graduating in a few weeks, then moving and starting his full-time job. Then, I found out tonight that my dad and step-mom may be getting a condo in Davenport, IA, the town in which I was born and the city my dad lived in for most of his life. So that's pretty awesome, it sounds like an amazing place, hopefully it'll all work out for them, getting their current house sold and whatnot. Then of course, I'll be making the move to Austin in September.

Much to my relief, I was able to watch almost all of the All-Star Game on Tuesday night! We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, and made it to the room in the 4th inning. Which means I was able to see Ichiro's historic inside-the-park home run (the first homer of the sort in an All-Star game), saw the NL's attempt to come back, and best of all, saw Eric Byrnes' dog swim out to sea. For those of you who missed it, have no fear, it is all captured on youtube! At least two of the three things mentioned are in this video, so check it out. It's seriously worth it, just for the dog.

Watching this happen live was hilarious, even my mom was cracking up. Just ignore the commentating (especially the stuff about 300), Joe Buck and Tim McCarver shouldn't be allowed near microphones.

Also, I'm starting to think Tony LaRussa shouldn't be allowed near a baseball field anymore, the Cardinals are sinking and he threw away his chance at winning this game. Why would he not pinch-hit Poo-Holes in the bottom of the ninth? And that's just the most obvious mistake (I think) he made. Maybe he realized that the outcome of the game (home-field advantage for the Wold Series) won't have anything at all to do with him, since the Cardinals won't be anywhere near the post season.

One last thing, it has been decided that the Flenker Bros Going Away/Graduation party will be taking place in Iowa City on July 21. Anyone and everyone is invited, and more than welcome to come to the festivities. I'm pretty excited for it, now I just need to get the night off for work. . .

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Return

Just to let everyone know, I made it home safely from Arkansas. And, since I've gotten about 6 hours of sleep total and spent nearly 23 hours in a car the past two days, I'm going to bed. See you all sometime tomorrow.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A post for the road

I'm in Muscatine right now, using my mom's old computer. I'm pretty sure it's the only computer out there still running that's older than mine. But hey, it works.

Anyways, this will probably be my last post for the next couple of days, since I'll be heading south to Arkansas. I'm looking forward to this sort of mini-vacation, even if I'll be moving a bunch of stuff around. I need a little break from Iowa, one where I don't have to worry about anything or pay for anything (thanks Mom!). Who knows, maybe it'll put me in the mood to actually start packing my own stuff up and getting ready for my move.

Now that I mention my move, Adam and I have a tentative schedule worked out for the big trip to Austin. Everyone's going to be coming here (somewhere) for September 8th, going to see the Iowa Hawkeyes' first home game of the season, and then rocking out Iowa City-style, one last time. Adam's going to be most likely flying up to Minneapolis since it's ending up a lot cheaper to fly in there than anywhere near here, but luckily he'll be able to hitch a ride down with either Haley or Jim, or both if they carpool. We'll hang out here a few days to make sure everything is squared away, then we'll head to Kansas City on either the night of the 11th or the morning of the 12th, catch a Royals/Twins game, and meet up with Charczuk, hopefully crashing at his place. From there, we'll go to Dallas to meet up with some of Adam's friends, stay there, and go to Austin the next day, right in time for the Austin City Limits festival! Perfect timing! At least, that's the plan. We'll see what actually happens.

But alas, I should hit the sack. I'm going to be waking up in about 5 hours, then hitting the road. I hope everyone has a wonderful time, I'll check in if/when I can. Much love to everyone.

This is strangely involuntary!

A few sports-related notes:

Tomorrow I'll be missing the All-Star game for the first time ever. I'm going to be going to Arkansas with my mom and step-dad to help my grandpa move up to the Quad-City area. (For those of you unfamiliar with the QCA, it's on the border of Iowa and Illinois, made up of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, and Moline. At least that's the way I see it. Some people throw in East Moline. Whatever. Anyways, it's about 30 minutes from my mom in Muscatine, so he'll be a little bit closer than the 8-hour drive to Arkansas). Oooh, wait, I'll just get someone to tape the game for me. Or I guess maybe TiVo or DVR. Does anyone even "tape" stuff anymore?

Also, Tyler Smith has been allowed to play next season at Tennessee, the NCAA ruled. He won't have to sit out the customary year for transfers, since he moved home to be closer to his dad, who is fighting an advanced stage of lung cancer. Like I've said before, I don't hold a grudge against Tyler for transferring, and will cheer for him in Tennessee. His addition should make an already good team immediately better. So right now, I'm making them my (very very) early pick to win the title next season. Don't let me down Tyler.

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to a showing of Ratatouille, at the suggestion of Marin. I was a big fan of The Incredibles, and love cooking, so this seemed like a good movie for me. And it was, I thought it was very clever, and though it had a couple of cheesy parts (get it, because of the rats!), it definitely had me smiling and laughing out loud. The animation was beautiful, and it has Will Arnett from Arrested Development (TV show, not the rap group) as a voice, both pluses. It also had some good lines in it, like the one I used to title this here post, and the line "She believed in heaven, so she's covered... after-life speaking." I would highly recommend seeing this movie, especially if you like other Pixar films. I'm giving it 4 Flenker Thumbs-Up!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday's Big Ups

First and foremost, Big Ups to Roger Federer for winning his incredible 5th-straight Wimbledon title. The maddest of mad props to him. We are witnessing the prime of (in my opinion) the greatest men's tennis player ever. Federer won his 11th Grand Slam title, tying him with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg for 3rd on the all-time list. That's kind of good company. And he's not even 26. (It kind of depressed me the first time that I found out I was 7 months older than Roger Federer. I've come to accept it now.) If he keeps up his dominance, he could have the most Grand Slam titles in a year. Most impressive.

Also getting Big Ups from me today are the Kansas City Royals. In their last 13 games (starting from, coincidentally, the game after I saw them in Milwaukee), they are 9-4, putting up 12 or more runs three times, including a 17-3 beatdown of Seattle and today's 12-4 win against Tampa Bay as they go into the All-Star Break. While I don't necessarily agree with Gil Meche being their representative in the game (I was leaning more towards David DeJesus or John Buck), I wish him the best, I hope he'll get some decent playing time.

That's it for today. I'm going to get ready to catch a showing of Ratatouille. So look for a new edition of the Flenker Thumbs-Up soon!

A trip to Cedar Rapids!

I went to a Cedar Rapids Kernels game last night with Jeff, a newer friend of mine. I met him through H and Bill. They actually met each other (H and B) through Jeff. Jeff met his (now) ex-wife through H. I think Haley got the better end of the deal so far, out of that group. Overall, I got the better end, because I met them all. (Aww Chris, you're such a sweetheart, you're too nice, blah blah blah. I know. I'm awesome.)

Anyways, Jeff and I hit up CiCi's Pizza, a buffet that was cheap and pretty good. They had a macaroni and cheese pizza!! I had to get a slice. It tasted like macaroni and cheese on top of a slice of pizza (there wasn't tomato sauce, I think it was an alfredo-esque sauce). Kind of different, but worth trying. The desserts were the best thing on the buffet: cinnamon rolls, dessert pizza (always a favorite of mine), and brownies. Yum!

After stuffed myself silly, we headed to the game. There was some sort of mix-up with the tickets that Jeff had purchased ahead of time, so we had to stand at the Will-Call desk for a few minutes while the people working tried to figure it out. For those of you not in the Midwest, it's been warm here (mid- to upper-90's), with a ridiculous humidity (80-plus percent). While we were waiting, we were standing directly in the sun at the same time as being sheltered from the breeze. Nothing like sweating profusely while standing still. Eventually it all got sorted out, we found our seats, and thankfully they were in the shade. Still sheltered from the breeze, but out of the blazing sun.

The game went well, the Peoria Chiefs were in town, managed by former Chicago Cub Ryne Sandberg. To us, it seemed like the Kernels should have been getting pounded, the Chiefs were hitting pretty well and getting walked, but a few good plays defensively kept Cedar Rapids in the game. The final score ended up being 4-1 with the Chiefs winning, but it didn't feel that close. It was a fun game, the Kernels' 2nd baseman made a few really nice plays, including throwing a runner out at the plate with a perfectly-thrown ball. It was beautiful. The rest of the team, however, wasn't really making great plays. There was one inning in which two runs were scored without a hit, on a walk and a couple of errors. Single-A baseball, you gotta love it! There was a pretty solid fireworks display after the game, so that was pretty awesome.

Jeff and I had a good time, it was a bonding experience, sharing stories and whatnot. Earlier in the day we had talked about maybe hitting the town and stopping at a bar or two, but we were both too worn out from the day to do too much. I had been up since about 5:45 and worked most of the day, so I really wasn't feeling it. I know, I know, that's weak, I should've drank like a champion. I just didn't have it in me. Besides, I had to save myself for tonight, it's a friend's birthday. Nothing says summer like drinking on a Sunday night!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Quote of the day from Chris Onstad

(This appears as the alt-text for today's Achewood comic strip. I found it humorous.)

Friday Recipe Korner: A spoonful of whiskey for every burden you shouldered in the name of getting the fuck by this week.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday, and is getting the fuck by this week.

Return of the thumb

I've watched a couple of movies in the past week that I had not yet seen, so today will mark the return of Flenker Thumbs-Up, as everyone has eagerly been anticipating.

First up, is Pan's Labyrinth, a movie that received much critical acclaim, and extremely well-liked by a lot of people that I've talked to.

I didn't like it.

Honestly, it wasn't terrible. It wasn't even bad. I could see why people would like it a lot. It just wasn't my sort of movie. I'm not a big fan of the fantasy genre, at least fantasy movies like this one. I'm picky about them, I guess. I didn't really like Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Princess Mononoke, etc. (I think I'm more into the sci/fi-nerdcore side of fantasy, like Star Wars or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.) I really didn't like the character of the faun. He was just too creepy for me. I thought that the gore, though relevant in spots, was a little too over-the-top and sometimes unnecessary. The plotlines that I was interested in weren't as developed as the ones I didn't care about. But, I can see how people would really like this movie, I don't want to totally trash it. I just want to explain my position. So it gets 3 Flenker Thumbs-Up (one being AI, 5 being Trading Places).

The next movie that I saw was Knocked Up. I caught a matinee of it yesterday with a couple of friends. Now I was a fan of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, so I kind of new what to expect. And while this wasn't that creative or inventive of a movie, I definitely enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty hilarious, the kind of movie that I appreciate on occasion, where I can just sit back and laugh. There were a few parts (none that I can think of specifically right now, of course) where I was the only one laughing at something maybe a little more subtle than the rest of the movie (I of course, get all kinds of humor, nothing passes me by. Especially sarcasm.) but for the most part it's pretty straight-forward, jokes about beards, masturbating, and a pretty good "Gabe Ruth" joke. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes funny stuff. It gets four-and-a-half Flenker Thumbs-Up.

Now I'm not saying that I think Knocked Up is a better piece of cinematic work than Pan's Labyrinth, I'm just saying that I enjoyed it much more, whatever that's worth. Apparently, it's worth one-and-a-half Flenker's.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's a celebration bitches!

Happy 4th of July, my fellow Americans! I hope everyone's weather is as beautiful in their cities as it is here. I just finished up grilling some sweet corn and a few Johnsonville brats (hot and spicy ones, if you're a fan of food you should try them), and have the whole afternoon ahead of me. I'm really looking forward to the fireworks tonight. I don't know why, but I love me some fireworks. I'm like a little kid when it comes to these sort of things. Last year, I was in Washington DC for the 4th, and, as you may imagine, they put on a pretty decent show. Watching the fireworks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as they are being shot off over the Washington Monument is almost overwhelming. Especially with an estimated 500,000 people watching in the Mall. It's quite the scene, if you ever have the chance to go, do it!

(this is footage from last year's fireworks in DC. Not taken by me, this guy's a little closer than we were, but it was still impressive)

Apologies to my Canadian readers for not wishing them a joyous Canada Day, I hope all went well!

Speaking of Canadians, congratulations to Jad for surpassing 10,000 hits! I know I've supplied my fair share of those ticks on the counter, but that is a rather impressive stat! Keep it up man, and everyone keep his counter rolling!

And also a hearty congrats to Joey Chestnut, winner of this year's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition. Chestnut ate an astounding 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. 66! He takes the crown from Takeru Kobayashi, who had won the past 6 years' competitions. Mad props Joey, mad props.

Well, that's it for me! I hope everyone has a fun and safe celebration, we don't need any missing fingers or eyes put out or parts of thumbs cut off, and we don't want anyone to try to tackle 67 hot dogs in 12 minutes. That would not end well.

Happy 4th everybody!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A couple videos, sandwiched around some words, and love

This video is for Captain Crab, who sent me the link this morning. It's awesome, truly hilarious!

Last night I apparently decided that I wanted to sleep on my futon in the living room. My room just felt too warm, the living room was much more comfortable. But while I was laying there, I really felt like falling asleep watching television, which presents a problem: we don't have cable, and can't receive any channels very well through an antenna. And it's worked out pretty well, there are very rarely any times where I "need" to watch TV, and not having anything to watch made me actually do stuff. If there's ever anything I have to watch (the World Series, Hawkeye away games, etc), I can just go over to my brother's place and watch it on their gigantic plasma-screen TV. There are the times, however, like last night, where having the Food Network or ESPN or the History Channel or the Discovery Channel would've been pretty amazing. Then again, I'd probably have to pay for it, and I'm not sure how I fell about that.

Something else happened last night that may have changed my life. At work, I found out that there is an ice cream flavor (I think Ben & Jerry's) called something like "Cinnamon bun batter" or something similar. This, when added to apple pie, has the power to bring about world peace, I'm convinced. It made me feel like life isn't so bad. I'm pretty sure when I took a bite of the ice cream and pie together, I saw love visualized, appearing before my eyes in the form of colors, and birds, and shooting stars, all on top of a grass-covered hill in the middle of a meadow. This combination made me want to cry. It seriously made me weak in the knees. I can't explain it, you must try it for yourself. Preferably with a warm, homemade Dutch apple pie. But if you fall into a love-(or sugar-) induced coma, don't say I didn't warn you.

And now, for a musical interpretation of love, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Chet Baker!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Recently overheard in Iowa City

One (drunk) dude talking to a (drunk) group:

"Don't let Michael Bay convince you that the Autobots are good!"

Well shoot, where does that leave us, then??

Another quote, this time from a girl at a bar, talking about this guy that snuck up behind her and surprised her. Obviously this was said after he left.

"He was so ugly he sobered me up"

I love drunk people sometimes.

Downtown Jazz

Well, the weekend was fun. It was Iowa City's annual Jazz Fest, so that along with the beautiful weather we've been having made it a wonderful time.

Saturday was spent at work most of the day, then kicking some ass at tennis in the afternoon. Later, a friend had a party for a good cause, a "Kegger for Cancer", so I felt ok paying $5 to go, even though I'm usually adamantly opposed to that sort of thing. As long as (some of) the money goes towards something like that, I'm alright. After a little bit, my friends and I headed downtown for a little bit, sneaking into a bar to avoid the cover charge, and then getting free drinks for the rest of the night. One of my friends is the manager of a liquor store, so he knows people in all the bars, and drinks for free. So, we do too. Awesome!

Yesterday Jimbo was in the area, so we went out for lunch at El Ranchero. It was an amazing lunch, cheap and delicious. Any time I can go out to eat and get full off of $6, I'm happy.

(note: photo borrowed from the Cedar Rapids Gazette website)

Interspersed throughout the weekend were trips downtown to listen to some live jazz and to eat some wonderful food. Oasis had a stand setup, but I didn't stop there... They were doing plenty of business, and I wanted to eat something that I couldn't get on any normal day. So Friday night I stopped at a place that had gumbo, and was glad I did. With a little hotsauce, it was tasty. Yesterday I opted for some ice cream. Sitting on the grass of the Old Capitol building, eating an ice cream cone, and listening to some excellent free music is something that I will always love. It's also something that I will really miss about Iowa City. (not that Austin won't have plenty of this, I'm sure I could probably do something similar every weekend of the year. But still...)

Another thing I will miss is running into people that I know everywhere. Iowa City's small enough that I can see someone I know almost everywhere I go. Just ask Captain Crab, I think at some point in our adventures he asked me if I knew everyone in town. Almost, Cap'n, almost.