Thursday, February 28, 2008

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

On a kind of spur-of-the-moment decision, I went to a matinee of There Will Be Blood. I had seen umm, a "less legal" version of it, but thought that I should see it in the theater to get a better idea of it, and to get the full effect. I'm glad I did. I liked it, a lot, and Daniel Day Lewis definitely deserved the Best Actor award. But it's not a movie that I'm going to go out and buy the day the DVD becomes available (like I will for No Country for Old Men, March 11th). The acting, directing, cinematography, and everything was great. I like Paul Dano a lot, and think he should've been nominated for supporting actor. Hopefully he'll continue his great roles (he was great in this and in last year's Little Miss Sunshine), and have plenty of opportunities to snag a nomination and even an award or two. So go see the movie if you haven't, because it's really, really good. Not quite my favorite P.T. Anderson film (I think that might be Punch Drunk Love), but still worth seeing in the theater. Worth it enough to get a coveted 5 Flenker Thumbs Up!

I haven't done a music recommendation lately, so here are a couple of bands for you. First up, Silversun Pickups (website | myspace), from LA. I think I like these guys a lot, they remind me of Hum, if Hum were more wiener and less grungy, but still kind of with an edge. My favorite song by far is "Lazy Eye," but I like "Well Thought Out Twinkles," too, along with the others.

The second band I'll mention is for Bill. Ever since Rushmore, he and I have both been fans of Jason Schwartzman, and Bill loved The O.C., and the theme song, "California," performed by Phantom Planet, a band with Schwartman as the drummer (I'm pretty sure he was the drummer. . .). Well, he's in a new band, Coconut Records. His song "West Coast" is pretty good, so give it a listen!

This may be my last post for a few days, I'm heading north tomorrow, going up to the wonderful Twin Cities area, to hang out with H and friends. Should be a rousing good time, and who knows, maybe some good stories will come of it. See you later!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The First Annual Flenkys

Welcome to the first annual Flenkys! We're here today to acknowledge the best and brightest from 2007 in the world of music, movies, and anything else that I can come up with! So without further ado, let's hand out some awards!

Movie Section

Best Movie seen by Flenker
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Juno
  • King of Kong
  • Ratatouille
  • I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With
  • Hot Fuzz
And the winner is. . . No Country for Old Men!!!

While there were some excellent movies in the year 2007, for me, by far, the best one was No Country for Old Men. I mean, it got a rare 6 Flenker Thumbs Up!!!

Biggest Badass in a Movie
  • Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men
    The Flenky goes to. . . Javier Bardem!
Again, not even close. Not another contender for this one. He wins.

Random Section

Best Overused Word of 2007

  • "green"
  • "the"
  • "change
"Green," come on down!

Seriously, it was ridiculous.

Biggest Waste of Government Money in 2007
  • Congress investigation into steroids in baseball
  • War in Middle East
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie!!!

What the hell? On both accounts! One, why is congress taking its time investigating steroids or HGH or whatever? I guess they don't think they have other, more important things going on. Like a fucking war that no one likes.

Sports Section

Best Sports Story - Baseball
  • White Sox Suck
  • Colorado Rockies make the Series
  • Cardinals Suck
  • Mets Choke
  • Royals (slightly) improve
The Flenky goes to. . . The Rockies!

They went on a ridiculous streak to end the season and force a one-game playoff with the Padres, won that in dramatic fashion, then tore through the NL playoffs. Sure, the National League is kind of like Quadruple-A, and it showed in the Series, but still, very very impressive.

Best Sports Story - Football (College)
  • Notre Dame Sucks really bad
  • Iowa beats Illinois
  • Stanford beats USC
  • Appalachian State beats Michigan
  • Iowa State loses to UNI
Notre Dame, you won something!!

For as many struggles as the Hawkeyes had, it cheered me up to no end to see the Fighting Irish do so terribly. Any season in which they're terrible is a good season.

Best Sports Story - Football (Professional)
  • Reggie Bush makes slightly more money in pros than he did at USC
  • Mario Williams becomes a beast
  • Patriots go undefeated (regular season)
  • Rex Grossman's and Kyle Orton's neck beard
  • Bob Sanders - Defensive Player of the Year
Bobby Sanders, here's a Flenky!

I gotta stick with the Hawkeye here. He was a monster this season, signing the highest-paying contract for a safety, and laying down the law.

Best Sporting Event Attended by Flenker in 2007
  • Iowa vs Northern Illinois @ Soldier Field, Chicago
  • Kansas City Royals @ Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
  • Syracuse vs Iowa, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
  • Twins @ Royals, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
  • Astros @ Cubs, Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
  • Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards, Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The award goes to. . . Iowa vs Northern Illinois!

This was such a great atmosphere, like a bowl game (and the closest game the Hawkeyes played in to a bowl game), tons of Iowa fans, and a trip to Chicago. What more could you ask for??

Music Section

Best Song

  • The New Pornographers - "Challengers"
  • Animal Collective - "Fireworks"
  • Of Montreal - "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger"
  • Spoon - "The Underdog"
  • Loney, Dear - "I am John"
  • Devendra Banhart - "Lover"
  • The Apples in Stereo - "7 Stars"
In the closest category of the day, the award for Best Song goes to The Apples in Stereo!

This was a tough choice. All of the songs listed were great, and then there were so many other that could have been nominated. But "7 Stars" just makes me feel good, gets me going. I'm pretty sure it was a 6-way tie for second.

Album of the Year
  • Loney, Dear - Loney, Noir
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?
  • Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
  • The New Pornographers - Challengers
  • The Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
In another close one, Radiohead takes the Flenky!

Radiohead's innovative method of release (pay-what-you-want) worked incredibly well, and their innovative music was even better. I think they'll go down in annals as one of the best bands of our generation.

Best Concert Attended by Flenker
  • Reel Big Fish - LeClair Park, Davenport, IA
  • Jose Gonzalez - The Parish Room, Austin, TX
  • Loney, Dear with Of Montreal - First Ave, Minneapolis, MN
  • Project Jenny, Project Jan with Fujiya and Miyagi - Club De Ville, Austin, TX
  • Animal Collective - The Picador, Iowa City, IA
The Flenky goes to PJ, PJ with Fujiya and Miyagi!

This was a fun show, with good company, a few gin and tonics, and excellent music, all around. Plus, I was able to talk with both bands, and got the feeling that they both loved what they were doing. How can that be bad?

Mixed Media Section

Best Book I Read (note: books may not have been published in 2007, but I read them anyways!)

  • You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers
  • What is the What? by Dave Eggers
  • A Weekend of Long Goodbyes by Paul Murray
  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  • Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
You Shall Know Our Velocity!, you win!

Not quite the runaway that Best Movie was, but a fairly easy choice for me. I loved all of these books, but this one just had something to it that made it stand out above the rest.

Best Short Story Read by Flenker (see above for qualifier)
  • All Aboard the Bloated Boat: Arguments in Favor of Barry Bonds by Lee Klein
  • Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice by Nam Le
  • About the Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her by Dave Eggers
  • American by Joshua Clark
Lee Klein gets his first Flenky!

This was one of the most well-written, well-argued pieces of work I've ever read. It deserves its own post, and will probably get one soon.

Best Video Game of 2007
  • NCAA Football 2008 (Xbox360)
  • Madden '08 (Wii)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
  • Rock Band (Xbox360)
NCAA Football is the winner!

I almost put The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess up there, but it was released in 2006, so I couldn't do it. NCAA '08 is a great game, though. Almost enough to make me buy an Xbox, just so I could play it.

Screw You I'm Giving Myself
Some Awards Section

Best Post on The Politics of Lonely
Super cute girl, you may not have noticed, but here's a Flenky!

It's still one of my favorite posts, I was funny back then. And the girl was really cute.

Best Gimmick at The Politics of Lonely
And the winner is. . . Flenker Thumbs Up!

I like watching movies. And I like putting lots of little pictures of me in a goofy pose up. It's the obvious choice.

And finally, the last award of the day

Most Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence

ooh, the suspense!

The winner is Dwight Howard, for this play, which made me stand up in the middle of the bar and yell "oh my!!!", right in the middle of a conversation. I remember this moment well

Howard has a good chance at this award again next year for his performance in the Slam Dunk contest, but he may get a run for his money from this guy

So, thanks for coming, everyone looked so nice all dressed up. Make sure you pick up some trash on the way out, instead of getting janitors, we got this gigantic inflatable cat.

Come back again next year!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Move over Flying Burrito, there's a new (airline-themed restaurant) sheriff in town

Sweet sassy molassey, I think I had one of the best lunches in a long time today. I met up with my brother and went to Flying Weenie, a hot dog place that also sells gyros and ribs and some sandwiches. I'm so so sorry that I hadn't eaten here yet. It seems like a good place to go eat every day, the people at the counter were so extremely nice, the food was freaking delicious, and the atmosphere was incredible. My brother's been there a number of times, to the point where the lady at the counter knows his name. I'm jealous of him. I want to reach that status.

I had today's lunch special: the "double play," two dogs, with everything on them (onions, sweet relish, kraut, ketchup, mustard, pickle spear, peppers, and tomatoes) with fries and a drink. Holy crap. It was amazing. Travis got the gyro, which looked mighty delicious. I may have to get that next time. There will be a next time.

The decor is awesome, with an airplane sitting on top of the building, and all sorts of flight paraphernalia inside, including an engine block from a plane, some planes made out of soda pop cans, some arcade games, posters, and even a few Beanie Babies that were for sale. The only thing I can complain about is the distance from me. It's not like it's very far from home, only a couple of miles. So really, there's no problem with it.

Except on days like today, where the temperature is hovering right around 32 degrees, the rain is falling, and things are getting icy. But hey, at least the temperature is supposed to continue dropping, and then 5-8 inches of snow fallows! I imagine we may get an inch or two, but 8? I'm skeptical. Nevertheless, I prepared myself to be confined to the house for a day or two. On the way back from lunch, I stopped at the store to get some essential survival goods. Beer and cookie dough. I should be set.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On dating, with Flenker and H

Yesterday I picked up a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. My plan is twofold. First off, I think it'd be awesome to make something to wear. My first project, I've decided, is a scarf. Really straight-forward and simple. Next, a pair of socks. After that, maybe some underwear. I don't know how comfortable those would be, but they'd be a hell of a conversation starter (yes, I frequently talk about my underwear with people. You'd be surprised by how many people have actually seen me in them. But that's another story).

The second reason behind my acquisition of the needles is the real ingenious part of the plan: for the girls.

I have it all figured out, you see. A girl will see me knitting (once I'm comfortable to do it in public. people will be talking), and ask me about it. I'll reply with, "yeah, I figured I may as well guarantee that I'll never touch a girl again and took this up." She'll either feel sorry for me (in which case I'm in), or she'll laugh and realize that I have a ridiculously awesome sense of humor. And they'll be intrigued. They'll see it as a challenge, and maybe think I'm "sensitive." And what girl wouldn't want a hand-knit somethingorother for Valentine's Day? Even if it's just a pot holder the first time around, she knows that I'll improve, and be making her that bikini top that she wants for next year.

Don't just take my word on it, though. I've run this by my crack team of analysts, and it checks out. Don't believe me? Here's H with her thoughts.

I think Flenker may be onto something with this knitting thing. Dating today has gotten so complicated; with the advent of cellular phones and text messaging, dating Web sites such as eHarmony, and those pesky STD tests, many folks long for the simple dating ways of yesteryear.

First of all, there’s so much confusion surrounding relationship statuses. When you first meet someone and are certainly “into them” but have only been on a handful of dates, what are you? Are you seeing each other? Are you dating? Bringing it up would only create a domino effect and presumably send the guy (or commitment-phobic girl, I don’t mean to create stereotypes here) running for the hills; no one wants to have that “So, what are we, exactly?” talk too early on. But once it’s been established that two people are together, it doesn’t get any easier. You’re in a relationship…until you “go on a break” or “take some time apart.” One person can call the other their boyfriend or girlfriend, while the other may introduce their partner as their “special friend” or “significant other.” And you may still have one person who just can’t commit to committing, who, in a committed relationship they may be, refuse to call their partner anything at all. In cases such as these, the other partner may be delighted to hear the response “I assumed I would be doing whatever you’re doing” to the question “What did you have planned for Easter?”1

But back in the day, there was no such confusion. First the man would ask the woman on the date; if all went well, the man would ask the woman to go steady; and finally, the man would ask the woman to marry him. First you had a date, then you went steady, then you got married. It was as simple as that. If things weren’t going to work out, one party would politely break up with the other, in person; perhaps the very wealthy and sophisticated would toss a martini in someone’s face if things ended on a sour note. There was no leaving people hanging by not returning phone calls (especially in the days before Alexander Graham Bell opened that can of worms), no “We were on a break” a la Ross and Rachel, and no dumping people via e-mail or, worse, text message2.

Yes, those were simpler, happier times. We need to bring back the dating ideals of the days of yore, and I think Flenker’s idea to start knitting is a savvy one. In this age of technology, people can seem cold and impersonal. All the virtual interaction that has replaced regular human contact has trained people to talk to machines and not other humans. Men should do something that humanizes them, that brings out their softer side, and knitting seems like the perfect way to go about this. One might be inclined to use poetry, but poetry is a slippery slope; unless you claim “Poet” as your occupation when filing your tax return, poetry should be used sparingly as to avoid creating the impression that you are trying too hard. Knitting makes it look like you are not trying at all. In fact, it makes it look like you are trying to repel women. This will create an aura of mystery and intrigue, like a tractor beam sucking the ladies right in. You will be deemed “intense, but sensitive.” Isn’t that what every man wants?

1 This actually just happened to someone I know.

2 After a friend recently dumped his girlfriend over the phone, we were discussing the worst possible ways to break up with someone. Over the phone was rated the fourth worst way to dump someone, preceded by text message, instant message, and e-mail.

I was actually "dumped" by someone via email. But, it was one of those "dating" relationships, where neither of us were sure if we were "boyfriend/girlfriend." Well, I guess she was sure when she sent the email. Added on top of that was the fact that it was a long-distance "relationship." When you're not sure what the status of the relationship is, and there are more than 10 miles between the two parties, chances are there's not much of a relationship there. It would've been nice for someone to tell me that 10 years ago. Hell, it would've been nice to remember that 2 months ago. Live and learn and forget and relearn I guess.

Now that I'm out of school and not working, I have no idea how to meet people. This isn't necessarily going for just meeting girls, either, but making "buddies," too. For today's purposes, though, we'll stick with finding dates.

I've never been big on the bar scene, contrary to how it may come off here. I like going and hanging out with friends and having a good time, but the only times I've ever met anyone at a bar have been when I'm pretty smashed and start randomly talking to people. Most of the time I get the "get this drunk ass away from me" look. If the other party is drunk enough, then a barely coherent conversation will take place, and that's usually the extent of it. I'm not one to ask for phone numbers, or to make "after hours" plans, especially now in my "older" age. Besides, do I really think a lasting relationship will be founded at a bar? (note: this only pertains to myself. I'm sure plenty of people have met the love of their life at a bar. I just don't see it happening for me) So where can the Flenker find love? Here's what I've come up with:

  1. Bookstore - meet someone that likes to read, and if things go well, can impress someone with my book collection and vast knowledge. Plus, there's a chance she might wear glasses.
  2. Coffee shop - as long as it's not Starbucks or something like that, it's probably a cooler person, someone who likes to hang out but in a relaxed manner. Baristas, though, you have to watch out for. You never know what they're thinking
  3. Music store - again, at an independent place. And could be touchy, you might not like the same bands, which could doom a relationship from the start. Or, it could be a ticket in, educating each other about different music. In my relationships, it's usually me educating the girl, I kind of dominate that role.
  4. Grocery store - I've heard it's a good place to meet people, especially "organic" places. I guess I could see that.

The problem now becomes actually talking to people at these places. It's one thing if you see someone over and over again, but a totally different ballgame to go in upon first meeting or even glance.

Flenker, I think you’re thinking a bit too modernly. We need you to take a step back in time. You could meet girls at the:

  1. Bookstore. I’ll leave that one on there, as people have been reading as long as there’s been papyrus to write on. I think you might be onto something there. As always, avoid women you may see in the self-help aisle. Look for them in the cookbook aisle instead.
  2. Coffee shop. Okay, I’ll leave that on there as well, since a coffee shop is an ideal place to sit quietly, reflect and…knit. That’s right, I suggest you break out the needles at your neighborhood Brews Brothers or similar. Just be extra careful not to spill – that cardigan you’re knitting may be given to your newfound beloved, and even she doesn’t want a coffee stain reminder of the first time you met.
  3. Music store – the kind of music store where you go to buy strings for your banjo. She will be there playing her harp. Just trust me on this.
  4. Instead of the grocery store, think farmer’s market. Once the weather gets warmer, that is. Some girl may impress you with her candied yams.

Ahh, much thanks H. Your valuable insight should prove successful. A farmer's market, of course!! Also, my banjo is in need of some new strings, and I can't find my finger picks, so there's another opportunity right there!

I guess this shows that clothing isn't the only thing that should be retro. Everyone says how much simpler things were in "the good old days," so what better way to employ that thinking than in the dating venue? Simplify. I guess it's that easy. Well, as easy as things get in the dating world.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

An open letter to J.J. Abrams, and a double dose of music

Dear Mr. Abrams,

Can I call you J.J.? Or James? What about Jimbo? Oh, your first name is Jeffrey? Sorry, my bad. Let me start, Jeff, by saying that I liked the episode of The Office you directed. And while I don't really watch Lost, I know some people that like it a lot, so you must be doing something right. I've seen one episode, the first one of this current season, and didn't really know what was going on, and kind of thought that the main dude, Jack or whatever his name is, was kind of an ass. Which brings me to the reason I'm writing this letter.

I just saw Cloverfield. It was pretty good, but a few changes could have made it great. Like getting rid of the whole love story. Who cares? You should've learned something from Transformers, people want to see gigantic robots fighting, or a monster totally destroying a city and fighting things. I think I speak for all bitter, jaded 20-somethings when I say that I could give two shits about whether or not this dude is in love with a girl in movies like this. But that's not my point here, that's not what I thought the biggest flaw was.

I did not feel for, or relate to, or even root for the characters in the movie. By the end, I was kind of wishing that the monster would eat them. The main character, we'll call him Douchebag #1 (DB1), was kind of a whiny bitch. And a douchebag. I didn't care if any of the characters lived or not. Which brings us back to the love story. If that wasn't included in the movie, then development, or lack of development, wouldn't have been a big deal. But maybe that's not your thing. I did like that the son from Carpoolers was in your movie, though. I like him on that show. But again, not so much his character in the movie.

All in all, I thought it was a decent movie, but the build up and expectations I had for it were probably a bit much. I've noticed on IMDb that there's supposedly a sequel in the works, something that I wanted right after I got out of the theater. It could be done really well, and while not overtly answering some questions posed, could help understanding things better. So good luck with that. But get some things more realistic. I can suspend my reality to believe that there's a gigantic monster attacking New York. But I'm not so sure about seeing someone with rebar through their chest in one scene, only to see this person sprinting in the next. That's not the only one, but I don't want to spoil things for those who haven't seen your movie yet. I'll still tell them to see it, I'll warn them that it's a little cheesy, but worth seeing. Heck, I'll even give you 3-and-a-half Flenker Thumbs Up

You would've gotten another half if you had made the monster Cthulu. Then I would have stood up and cheered. Instead, I had to be the only solo dude in a theater of couples. Awesome. Who knew that you made a date movie??

Well, good luck with your future endeavors. I hope the Star Trek movie is good. If you mess that up, you will have millions of huge nerds upset with you, and they'll write about you in their blogs. . . wait a minute. . .

Sincerely yours,



Today's music recommendation is kind of a cop-out, because it's from a band that I've already mentioned lots and lots of times. But, this time there's new music, so I'll validate it that way.

WHY? has put up a ton of new music on their (his?) myspace, I'm thinking it's from the new album, Alopecia, due out March 11. I've been listening to it for the past couple of days, and have been enjoying it a lot a lot. Let me know what you think.

And, since this isn't a new band, I thought I'd revisit another band, just to make it a good music day. As if WHY? isn't enough. But here you go, Vanilla Fudge with one of the best performances I've ever seen. Yeah, this is another one I've posted once or twice, but damn, it's good. When we finally have books that have little videos on the pages, you'll see the last 30 seconds of this song in the dictionary under "epic." Enjoy

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Post about girls

First off, today's music!

The Flying Machines (site | myspace) are a band of Fender-wielding lads from New York City. To me, they sound like if ELO and Queen's illegitimate daughter hooked up with Rivers Cuomo. They've been tearing it up on XM, and have a great, catchy sound that gets your head a-bobbin'. A great band to listen to during a winter that would have had Les Stroud saying "fuck this!" at least twice a week. (note: Les Stroud deserves, and will get, his on post sometime in the near future. That guy is the fucking man. I wish I had a page on Wikipedia that said my occupation was "musician/survivalist.")

I still have no idea how I have yet to totally wipe out, to have my ass hit the ice while I'm walking around. Of course you know now that it'll happen sometime in the next 36 minutes. But I don't know what a tenant is supposed to do to the sidewalks. Shoveling the snow off is nice, but if it's done too well, then there's just a sheet of ice that requires a blade to cross, as opposed to the traditional rubber tread. If no snow is shoveled, then you're up to your balls in snow. Believe me. Over the past week, I've walked in/on/through it all.

On sidewalks where nothing is done, I glance at the house, and shake my head. Places that have been shoveled down to the ice layer, well, I spend too much time trying not to bust my ass to worry too much about it. There were many times when my foot slipped and I let out a high-pitch "woo!" as I regain my balance, and then chuckled to myself as I imagined what I looked/sounded like. A lot of places had some snow still dusted on the ice patches. Those actually were the best places to walk, there was at least some traction, and not enough snow to coat the cuff of my pants. Somehow, I still haven't figured it out, there were a couple of places that had the sidewalks totally cleared! I wanted to go knock on the doors and shake the person's hand that was responsible, maybe even a hug. And, if they had an attractive daughter around my age, I would probably try to court her, because she comes from a good family.

Which brings me to a different topic altogether. Why is it that there are so many girls my age that are married? Sure, 27 isn't "young" young, it's not like I'm 22 anymore. But still, I hate that I'm to a point in my life where I have to glance at someone's hand for a ring. Like today, the cute girl at the mall who sold me a vanilla cream Italian soda. She was really cute, and really nice. And had a wedding ring on her finger. But, it's not like it would have changed anything if she didn't. I still wouldn't have really talked with her. I'm pretty sure she was being nice because she's a nice girl, and because I was the only customer at the time. For a second, though, I thought there was a connection. I mean, I've been looking good lately, the hair is rockin' out pretty hard, and I had even sort of recently shaved. Is it too much to think that a girl is interested? Besides, she may have gotten a better tip if her household didn't have a second income.

I did get hit on last night, though! I got gas, and stopped inside the station for a Diet Dr Pepper, and decided to get a Whatchamacallit bar. The girl at the counter said "ooh, I love these!" I said, "yeah, they're good." She said, "I try to stay away from them, though, they're not really good for you. It doesn't look like you need to worry about that, though," and smiled at me in a strange way. I laughed uncomfortably and left. She might have been kind of cute if she were a few years older and not working at a gas station. And maybe lost like 10 pounds. And if I had about 7 beers in me. She may have had a chance if all those things happened. (Not that I'm picky or anything. I'm not really desperate either, though.) But still, it was a little confidence boost. Though, I could be reading too much into it, she probably just really likes the peanut flavor crisps, along with the caramel and rich chocolately coating.

Well, that's not exactly where I was planning on this post going today, but hey, that works. I feel good about it. And I"m listening to my music recommendation for tomorrow. Also tomorrow, look for an open letter to J.J. Abrams.

This post took 2 days to write. And it still sucks

We're in the midst of a record-setting winter here in Eastern Iowa, over 60 inches of snow, good enough to crack the top-10 all-time winters. This weekend added in anywhere from 5-8 inches, on top of about an inch of ice. Good good times! Which meant that this Saturday, some of us took part in the age-old sport of drunken ice walking to the bars in the freezing rain. Surprisingly, I was one of the few that didn't totally wipe out, just a few close calls. I'm amazing at that game, I guess. I need to try out for the Drunk Winter Olympics.

So I've been working for the past week, just a temp job at the University hospital in Iowa City. I open boxes, connect devices to computers and check them in. For a long time every day. It's extremely mindless and repetitive, but I get paid extremely well to do it, so it's very easy to tolerate. Especially when I can basically wear whatever I'd like (unfortunately, pants are required, I'm still looking for the perfect job where they aren't), and I can listen to my mp3 player. Alas, the job is drawing to a close soon, so gravy train will be pulling to a stop. I should be finding out the KC job soon, within the next couple of weeks. Here's to hoping everything will come up Flenker!! (edit: I started this post a couple of nights ago, but quit to go to sleep. Turns out we finished everything today, so the job is over. It's nice that I'm home now and can sleep in, but it would've been more than $350 for me if we had stayed until we were supposed to be done. Oh well.)

Anyways, with this recent job, I've been staying at a friend's place, who happens to live just under a mile away from the hospital, so I've been walking. I'd like to think it's because of the exercise I'm getting, but really, it's because I don't want to pay the outrageous $14 a day to park at the ramps. The sidewalks were, you guessed it, covered with ice! There were some parts where it was over an inch thick. Yikes! And the snow on the side is probably up to my knees, but there are some spots where the shoveled snow is over my head. Not in parking lots, either, but just the driveways to people's homes. So we've gotten some snow.

Now that I'm back in CR, there will be some real blog posting coming up. The first one will be later today, sometime. Today being Wednesday. Yeah. That was one nice thing about doing a mindless job, I got to sit around and think about stupid stuff all day. Then you guys get to hear about it! O joy of joys!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A tale of an event that hasn't happend (yet) -or- Whiskey and Flenker, a match made in a dirty dirty bar

Sorry for the late post on a Friday night. Like you all had anything else to do anyways, I knew that you wouldn't be able to enjoy your collective selves without having read my blog for the day. Well, you can all relax now, for not only is my blog updated, but it's being updated by the very very lovely WhiskeyMarie!! (sorry, no music today. It's taking the weekend off, but will be back soon.)


Whiskey and Flenker: shaken, not stirred.

(Flenker sits in a dimly lit bar, nursing a beer. She’s late- what else is new? Damn broads. He begins to question his judgment- after all, who meets a total stranger for cocktails at noon on a Tuesday in Iowa?)

(The front door opens. A tallish brunette almost makes it in, but her purse gets caught on the door and she’s jolted back, as if attached to a rubber band. The contents of her purse, including her monogrammed flask and bottle of muscle relaxers, go tumbling to the floor. She curses like a sailor on meth, making the bartender blush. A minute passes, and she manages to compose herself. Only then does Flenker notice that she is wearing two different shoes. He chooses to keep this to himself.)

(She approaches the table.)

“Flenker! Hi! Sorry I’m late by my cat threw up on my first outfit, so I had to change, but then the one pair of jeans didn’t fit right, so I thought maybe I should wear a skirt, but it’s so f**king cold, and I hate tights, and then I’d have to wear boots, and… you know?”


“Holy balls I need a drink. Bartender!”

(She sits down, takes off her coat and settles in. She’s wearing a Loverboy t-shirt, jeans and boots. Her hair is a wavy mess under a stocking cap. Flenker is in jeans and a t-shirt. For some reason he’s wearing pink fuzzy slippers. Don’t ask.)

Flenker breaks the initial silence:

“So, Whiskey- Are you liking Iowa so far? I know it’s cold up there in Minnesota, so at least the weather shouldn’t be so bad for you.”

“Well, I’m thrilled to be in town to celebrate your 1-year blogiversary and post #300! Awesome! But, to be honest- it’s kind of flat here. Kind of windy. But I like it just fine. Very pastoral and serene…Jesus! Who’s a girl gotta blow to get a martini in this joint?” (motions to the flustered bartender. A martini the size of a fishbowl is unceremoniously plopped in front of her. Flenker decides to order a Jameson- make it a double.)

(Flenker clears his throat)

“Um, it sure was nice of you to make the trip down here just to hang out with me, Whiskey. Are there any sights you’d like to see in beautiful Iowa?”

“Well (takes a big gulp out of her drink), I sure would like to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in the beautiful metropolis of Burr Oak. Did you ever watch that show? Wasn’t Michael Landon dreamy?”

“Uh…sure?” (pounds back his double whiskey in one giant pull wondering what the hell he’s gotten himself into.)

“If you’re not into that, we could go to the Prairie Meadows racetrack and casino in Altoona. We could totally bet on horses and get rich! Wouldn’t that be awesome?”

“I’m in if you’re buying.”

“Of course I am, Flenker. My treat. You just get the drinks, o.k?” (Finishes her drink, motions for another. Flenker does the same.)

“Drinks? With you? With me paying?” (He starts hyperventilating.)

“Don’t worry- we totally have time to sell one of your kidneys before we go. I hear it’s not painful at all with all of the modern medical advancements. Trust me.”

“O.k., Whiskey. How could I ever not trust you?”

“Great! Let’s celebrate with shots! A “Dirty Girl Scout” for me, “Three Wise Men” for you. Bartender! Keep ‘em coming!”

(Shots are downed, several more rounds are ordered. It is nearly dark outside as the two stagger out the door of the bar many hours later.)

“Hey Flenkerrrr. Lesh go to to ‘nuther barrrr. I want sum margerritaaaass.” (starts singing loudly) “Wastinnnn way ‘gin on margerrrrrriitttaaaaaaaaaaaville..”

“Hey! Wishkey. Come here. Let me tell you a seeeecret.” (leans in close to her hear)


“Hahahahhhaahhahaha! Fenker- you so crazy!”

(The two stumble off, forever friends. This night will be remembered fondly as: The night in which Whiskey accidentally married the president of the Blue Oyster Cult fan club and Flenker woke up in a trailer with two monkeys and no pants.)

(Flenker will also make a new rule for himself after this fateful evening:
Never drink whiskey with Whiskey ever again. Ever. Damn. Those monkeys followed him around for two months and threatened to post the pictures on the internet.)

(Damn monkeys)


WM, thank you so very much! You know you are always welcome down in these parts. And in Iowa! It's amazing how well you know me, especially the waking up with no pants part. That happens more often than not, unfortunately it's never been with anyone else, monkeys or no.

And what the hell, here comes some music, courtesy of a recommendation of Captain Crab. Play the video, then re-read Whiskey's post, and imagine the band playing at the bar. It works on so many levels!

Have a hell of a damn weekend, folks!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

So yeah. Today's Valentine's Day. Whatever. More importantly, today is H's birthday! Go there, and wish her a happy day!!!!

Read last year's post for my thoughts on the day. Yeah, now that I can say that, I'll be refering to last year all the time now! It'll just be a replay of the past 12 months.

The music recommendation for the day comes from one of my favorite musicians of all time. Mr. Miles Davis! The man inspired countless musicians, including the one that writes this blog, so much so that some people have even gotten tattoos that reflect such adoration. Here's the video clip that everyone needs to watch (listen to). And yes, I've had a few beers.

Happy VD.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's business time!

Today marks the first anniversary of the first post of my second blog! One year ago today, I made my first post here. Now I don't really have a lot of time to make a big post, but I'll try to make it up to everyone this weekend!

For my music today, I'll leave it to one of my favorites, one that Jack mentioned in a comment the other day, New Zealand's fourth most popular digi-folk paradists, Flight of the Conchords!

They have tons of stuff online, they're not exactly an "underground" or unheard of group, I mean, they have their own show on HBO, but still, it's my blog's birthday, and I can pick whoever I want!

So check them out if you haven't heard of them, if you have, listen to them some more! And enjoy, I'll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I definitely need to get myself a new cape

It's snowing. Again. I'm supposed to go to Iowa City to start a job (just a temporary thing for just over a week), but I'm not sure if I should try the roads or not. I already had to help my brother get his car out of the driveway, so we'll see. . . Although, I am looking forward to being in the IC again for a little while, I can go get my falafel on and stop by the Java House. Should be good times!

Today's music suggestion is MGMT!! (I think it's pronounced "management," but then again, when talking about them on XM Radio, one of the DJ's said that it wasn't an abbreviation for anything. So who knows!)

I saw that performance when it first aired, was really into it, then started noticing them more and more on XM. They're awesome. They've kind of got a "retro" feel to them, while still putting out their own style. The version of "Time to Pretend" they played on Letterman is different from the studio version in instrumentation - live it was more guitar-driven, the synth is more prevalent in the recorded version. Both are great, though. There's a video for the song, but for some reason, they turned off embedding for it, so I'll put the link to it here. Be sure to check out all of their songs on their myspace page, and if you like, go buy the album!

Like I said, I'll be working the next few days, but I'm going to do my darndest to get posts up in a timely manner, especially tomorrow. It's a special day around these parts!

Monday, February 11, 2008

THIS. . . . IS. . . . FLENKER!!!!!

Welcome all, to the beginning of the celebratory week, starting off with my 300th post! It's going to be a lot like the movie 300, but with less half-naked dudes and no weird dancing naked girl, but more grunting, more gravely voices, and more over-the-top dramatics. And who knows, I may kick someone down a well!

What else can you look forward to seeing? Well, my daily music recommendations will be back for a little while, maybe another photo story or two, a couple guest posts, maybe the force behind the Unified Theory of Flenker, and some highlights from the past. Oh, and I've decided I'm going to become a cheese connoisseur, so you have that to look forward to, as well.

Today, besides the wonderful photo above (it's supposed to be a 300, get it? Made with relics from my diet of late, frozen pizzas, beer, and Diet Dr Pepper), I'll start right in on the music recommendations!

This is one group that I've been really excited about lately, I'm not sure if it's because I really like their stuff (I do!) or that I think the girls in the band are really cute, especially the lead singer.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you - minipop!

(there's a couple places where there are some pantheon-level bad acting moments. It's alright with me, they're a band, not an improv troupe)

I first heard them on my XM Radio as I was driving back from Austin, and damn, I liked it a lot. Somewhere on their myspace page, they describe themselves as "dream pop;" I can't think of a better way to describe them, that's exactly how they sound. They have the above song, along with a few others, on their myspace page, which at the moment is serving as their only website. Play them, feel dreamy, sit back, comment, and enjoy the ride that will be Celebration Week!

Any suggestions on anything you can give would be great, if you have a band I should check out, a favorite post from the past, a delicious cheese I should check out, let me know! And be sure to check out my friends off to the right there. There are some excellent blogs, something to entertain, or just kill time. And, as always, leave comments. We get warm fuzzy feelings when people do that.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thoughts while on puppy patrol

I'm back in Muscatine for the day, watching Nyles and Kenna. It's been a good time so far, aside from the whole being woken up at around 5:45 by dogs playing on my bed. But once they were fed, let out, and settled down, things got much better. I was even able to fit a nap in, which always makes for a good day. Until I look at the clock and realize that it's almost 5. Damn! I had wanted to read and write this and stuff, but I've just played my DS most of the time. That'll happen, I guess, when your life is as rough as mine.

This week is going to be a special one here at TPoL. There are a few milestones coming up, which will be celebrated with photos, music, and words other than mine, so everyone should have a good time! But for now, go over to H's place, where she is celebrating a milestone of her own. Then come back on Monday, for the start of the festivities!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Unburied, not in a ditch, ready to go

Eastern Iowa was pounded by a snowstorm for the past day or two, leaving upwards of 16 inches of snow. My brother's vehicular situation is not a good one at the moment (his car is in Iowa City with a bad transmission), so I've been giving him rides to work in the morning. Yesterday morning, that was not happening. We tried, but the snow was up to the doors, the streets were unplowed, and my car was handling like a brick. He decided he could do some work from home. Good choice.

Once the snow finally stopped, sometime in the afternoon, we got out the shovels and attacked before we got too lazy. We both realized how out of shape we are when we both felt like vomiting after about 10 minutes into the shoveling. We finished, but it took a lot of bitching, and a lot of breaks. The rest of the day was spent playing Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin on my DS. It's a freaking awesome game. Everyone should go buy it if they have a DS, if they don't have a DS, they should go buy one of those, and then buy the game.

In my last post, I had mentioned something about using the New York Giants' season as a metaphor for my year so far. You see, the Giants, like myself, had a rough start to their year, losing the first two games in spectacular fashion, and seemingly in total disarray. Much like the way my year has started out (I didn't lose any games per se, but still, I think an almost total disarray is pretty apt). Their third game was looking the same, down 17-3, but then they came back in the second half, and kept the Redskins out of the endzone when they had 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. For me, things started to look bad (with the tire and all), but since then, I feel like they've turned around a little bit, I can feel the momentum shifting. From there, the Giants went on a 6-game winning streak, pulling them back into the playoff picture. That obviously means that I will get a great job and meet the love of my life and all will be well. Sure, there might be a rocky spot or two (the Giants were 4-4 over their last 8 regular season games, including a real stinker vs the Vikings), but that happens. And once that passes, it'll make things that much better. Although I think it means that I'll find eternal bliss with less than a minute remaining in 2008. But hey, it might be worth the wait.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bust out the champagne -or- You got no fear of the underdog, that's why you will not survive

I just made it back to Cedar Rapids after a pretty intense drive from Davenport. I went to D-port to watch a football game with my dad, and while I was there, a blizzard sprung up and dumped about 6 inches of snow, 8 inches in Iowa City. So, I thought it'd be best if I stayed the night and left early enough the next morning to miss freezing rain that was supposed to come today. As luck would have it, I left just in time to be driving through the worst of it. Nothing like going 30 on the interstate during a thunderstorm, lightning and all, with rain, sleet, and snow falling concurrently. Falling very hard. Add in semis passing, doing about 70 and throwing even more shit onto the windshield, and you have an adventure. I understand that they're getting paid to get stuff to its destination on time, but when there's a nasty-ass storm, and EVERY CAR ON THE ROAD is going about 40 mph below the posted limit, I think you gotta be a little more mindful of others. Then there are the SUV drivers that think their vehicles can ignore the road conditions. It's strange how those types of vehicles were the ones I most frequently saw in the ditch (I counted around 34 cars in ditches. Although I gave 2 pointsfor a semi I saw, and another 2 points for watching an SUV that had just passed me go in). I made it, though, for all the troubles my car has given me, it's never had any problems in the

As some of you may have heard, there was a little bit of a football game last night. I may go as far as to say it was one of the greatest NFL games I've ever seen that didn't involve the 49ers (the All-Time #1 football game of any level for me is still, and always will be, Iowa's 30-25 victory over LSU in the 2005 Outback Bowl). The only way it would have been better is if I actually liked the Giants. But, my dislike of the Patriots was enough to overcome that.

It was a defensive game, I loved seeing Tom "There's no Way We're Scoring Less Than 17 Points" Brady getting leveled time and time again, and then missing wide open receivers. But, what I liked even more was watching former ISU Cyclone defensive back Ellis Hobbs getting absolutely torched on the game-winning touchdown by a Big-10 player, Plaxico Burress, who had made a prediction that the Giants would win 23-17. Brady had laughed at that, saying that he wasn't giving the Patriots enough credit, that he should've said something like 45-42. Look who's laughing now! (I've always liked Plax, from when he basically single-handedly beat Florida in the Citrus Bowl, then I got him on my fantasy team his rookie season). Plus, it was great to see Eli Manning outplay Brady. His play on 3rd and 5 on the last drive will go down as one of the biggest plays in NFL history, and will probably have its own nickname (like The Immaculate Reception, The Catch, The Catch II, The Music City Miracle, and 4th and 26, to name a few). Maybe The Escape. That's what I'm going to push for. If you missed it, turn to ESPN any time this week, you'll probably see the play within 45 seconds.

I'm sorry Charczuk, I know this is all probably pretty painful for you. I wouldn't really know, since my team has never lost in a Super Bowl. And the year they went 18-1, they won the Super Bowl. I did think it was hilarious that in ESPN's crawl across the bottom of the screen, it said something like "Patriots - 3rd team in NFL history to finish 18-1 (49ers 1984, Bears 1985)." I wish it would've said something like "49ers and Bears both won the Super Bowl." Last night just proved my thinking that this year's Patriots weren't the best team in NFL history. I still give that to either of the other 18-1 teams, but I would say the 9ers team was the best. They lost one game (by 3) and DESTROYED the Dolphins in the Super Bowl. Plus, they had the real best-QB and best-WR ever, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.

One last quick thing, my interview went well this past week, I'll find out in the coming weeks if I'm hired or not. I'm excited about things, I even thought of a good metaphor using the Giants' season this year, but I'll save that for the next post. Until then, stay safe in this winter weather Midwesterners! And hey, why not everyone else stay safe, too!