Sunday, July 20, 2008

Look Away, Dixie Land

This weekend I'm going down to Chattanooga for Dr. Church's (a.k.a. Sergio's) wedding. Given that this wedding is going to feature the convergence of Uber260, Quantum, Brownsox, (I believe) Irish McJew, and myself on a small town in Tennessee (a tiny hamlet called Signal Mountain), I'm expecting hijinks to ensue. Largely because of the presence of Brownsox, a thoroughly obnoxious Bostonian, and Quantum, a New York snob of epic proportions; McJew has at least a passing familiarity with the South, I believe, while Uber knows his ways around small towns, and I myself originally come from a border state. But still, there's something about the concept of "the South" that should prove to be off-putting for a bunch of yankees like us.

In fact, I'm fairly sure we're going to get drunk and act like a bunch of carpetbaggers. (Particularly Quantum, whom I'm now encouraging to bring an actual carpet bag and buy up some Southern land with his epic wealth.)

In consequence, I anticipate several drunken brawls, many re-enactments of the Civil War (which I refuse to consider as the War of Northern Aggression), at least one shotgun wedding, and us being run out of town on a rail. In other words, typical fare for a bunch of drunken former Northwesterners.

So to prepare for this trip, I'm inviting you, dear readers, to contribute things we can do to really offend the Southerners there. I'm beginning a list below, but please feel free to add with your own comments.

1. Refer to everyone as "Johnnie Reb."
2. Affect a faux Southern Accent.
3. Constantly be humming the banjo motif from Deliverance.
4. Ask how many of them are born of incest.
5. Faulkner jokes. Lots of them.
6. Act surprised by any evidence of modern technology, constantly repeating "I had no idea you had x this far South."
7. Narrate every event with the following opening: "Now folks in Hazzard County..."

That's about all I've got thus far. Other suggestions?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Have a PhD in Horribleness

So if you're one of the three people on the interwebs who has yet to hear about "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," then what the heck have you been doing with your time? Why are you even still reading this blog, when you could be going to this site and seeing it in all it's horrible-ly goodness.

Still not sold?


Ok, so it's a live-action musical comedy in three acts about a wannabe supervillian who blogs about his attempts to conquer the world, join an exclusive club called the Evil League of Evil (led by the tyrranical Bad Horse, the Thoroughbred of Sin, he of the terrible death whinny), and defeat his nemesis Captain Hammer.

Still want more?

Ok, it's created by Joss Whedon, and it has Nathan Fillion in it.

That just sold half of my readership right there.

It stars Neil Patrick Harris.

That just sold the other half.

Seriously, go check it out. It's broken into three parts, each for free viewing only this weekend. Part three debutes on Saturday, I believe. Each part is roughly 14 minutes long, and each part is comic gold. And the music ain't half bad.

But really, go check it out for all the NPH goodness. "It's about destroying the status quo. Because the quo. The world is a mess and I just....need to rule it."

Ok, go.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

These Eyes Have Seen a Lot of Love, But They're Never Gonna See Another One Like They Had With You

And so today was one of the more surreal experiences of my life.

I was doing an outreach for the Writing Center this morning, where I go to classes and teach a bunch of high school students how to prepare for and write in-class essay exams. This particular group was a bunch of high school juniors, nice enough folks, but at the end of the session they somehow raised the issue that, to use their words, I "looked like that dude from Superbad."

Yeah, they couldn't get over that.

So apparently I look like Michael Cera, because this isn't the first time someone's thrown that my way. Could be worse, I guess. They could have thought I looked like "that fat dude from Superbad" or "that McLovin dude from Superbad." Michael Cera, pretty ok in my book.

Luckily, this seemed to give me cache with the youngsters, including the several who wanted their pictures taken with me. God bless the digital age, when every high schooler has his or her own camera with them at all times. I expect to be showing up on Facebook in the not-too-distant future. (Though they didn't seem to catch my Iron Man reference when I told them I didn't want to see this popping up on their MySpace pages. Oh well.

But I drew the line when they asked me to sing "These Eyes" and do the dance. That's just not how I roll.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Of Weddings, Brakes, and a Moratorium

As promised, this week was a highly elaborate event of blogworthy proportions. This past weekend, my very good friend the Puncher got married in mid-state Michigan, which prompted a road trip, an excellent time, and the further destruction of my car.

Day One: Thursday, myself and Sarah drove up to the tiny little town of...someplace. Yeah, I don't even remember the town's name. It may have been Springfield Township. Population like 25. Not sure exactly. But the Lady in Black lives there now (her hometown), and she had volunteered to drive Sarah up to Midland for the bachelorette party, thus cutting roughly two hours of travel time off my trip. For I, instead, was headed back down to Ann Arbor to visit Irish McJew and see this other college town that claims some kind of rivalry with Madison.

Needless to say, McJew pulls it through when his boy comes to town. Granted, he lives right in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, thus violating the cardinal rule of being a grad student: Never live where the undergrads live. Equally granted, this made parking a bitch, as everything was metered, and I ended up parking in a garage that I had to vacate by 6:00 am the next morning. I, of course, was horribly hung over and missed this deadline, and was trapped in said garage until a maintenance man came to collect more money from me to let me out.

But just as equally granted, living at the heart of downtown makes all the downtown stuff all the closer, particularly the bevy of bars that we went to. We met up with some friends of his and hit up 3-4 different places, including a truly spectacular place that had $.55 PBRs and Big Buck Hunter, as well as live karaoke. We easily matched his mates drink for drink; indeed, we did them one better and showed how we partied Northwestern-style. This means that, while they had about 5-6 beers, we had about 5-6 beers after we pre-partied by consuming a half a bottle of Bushmills (while killing things that were different than us), and we closed the party with very stiff Crown & Cokes. That's just how we roll.

Day Two: Friday, after hungoverly watching The Simpsons for about three hours, we went out to this extremely dive-y greasy spoon that wasn't so much in a building as it was a trailer. But the food was excellent, and the tons of potatoes included were more than adequate for staving off the death of a PBR hangover. This more than mitigated my earlier parking difficulties.

Bidding McJew adieu, I commenced my journey to Saginaw, land of the wedding and the affordable hotel (not to mention a fairly high crime rate, so I would later learn). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had been upgraded from the room I had reserved--single room with a king-sized bed--to one of the larger suites. Said suite, of course, was bigger than my old apartment, with two king sized beds, a fully-stocked living/dining room, two tvs, a pseudo-jacuzzi in the bathtub, etc. In a word, it was decadent, and I took full advantage of it by napping and tv-ing my hangover away. Red-Headed Stepchild was splitting the room with me, but as she didn't arrive until roughly 3:00 am, I got to lounge around and feel like a big man. Which I did.

Day Three: Saturday was the wedding. Slept in until 12:30, had a rushed lunch with Red and Sarah, and then got our wedding on. I of course was a bit unnerved by the Presbyterian-ness of the church and the service. Particularly the church. No icons, no stained-glass, no statutes, no false idols or graven images for me to worship at all. The writing on the walls was in English, not Latin. There were notepads in each pew for churchgoers to take notes on the sermon. For a Catholic such as myself, it was very unsettling. I managed to perform several moments of sacrelige just to calm my nerves.

The wedding of course was wonderful, and the Puncher looked absolutely gorgeous. There were brief moments of hilarity in the vows section, when the minister's love of pausing led to some egregiously-oversimplified repetition on her part (e.g. Minister: [husband's]...... ; Puncher: [husband's]....., with just enough of an ironic eyebrow lift on her part to evoke a giggle from the row of Madisonians). But by and large, the wedding itself was very tasteful, and the Madison crew of course came looking respectively dapper and smokin' hot, as is our want.

Reception followed shortly, as is the style of the times, where we drank, danced, enjoyed multiple desserts and a late-addition nacho bar. Turns out the Hillbilly and Crypto-Jew can really cut a rug together, the Puncher can walk like an Egyptian with the best of them, and drinks at reception bars are always, in fact, significantly watered down. Unless you order a white russian. Then you apparently get a glass full of rubbing alcohol. Sadly, though I drank and drank I did not get drunk. Though I guess that's just as well when you have a seven hour car ride the next morning. Side note: the groom got the best job ever, since the tables' names were all derived from "Stuff He Thinks is Cool." We personally were split between the Vampire table and the Bear Grylls table, but they also had the Chuck Norris table, the Bacon table, etc. Good times.

Day Four: We returned home, after breakfasting at a local eatery called Tim Horton's, which is apparently the Canadian equivalent of Dunkin Doughnuts. Tasty stuff, I suppose, though I'm told it's kind of a big deal if you live up north.

The entire way back to Madison, including a side detour in Lansing due to Mapquest and US Interstate idiocy (seriously, Sarah can back me on this, for some reason the exits changed numbers and skipped a few), my brakes were grinding something fierce. That combined with the general strain of the drive led to some severely short nerves and shorter temper on my part, which I adequately vented on the moronic drivers of downtown Chicago who caused me to slam on my brakes every 20 seconds. I believe she thought I was going to either have a heart attack or start murdering people. Truth be told, I wasn't all that far from either.

Anyway, long story short (too late), we got back, I took my car in, and now I'm spending a small fortune to get my brake pads and rotors replaced. Given that I just spent a fair amount on one wedding, with two more to go this summer, I can tell already that my lavish expenditures are all to be curtailed for a while. No more crack for me, I guess. But along with that, I'm placing a moratorium on weddings. No more weddings for a while. Seriously. Stop getting married, people! I forbid it!

Ok, got that out of my system. But really, don't do it. All it does is cost me money and remind me how horribly sad and lonely my life is. Oh, and I suppose the married couple gets something out of it, but really, who cares about them?

Notes from the trip:
-Ann Arbor, while cool, is not "Madison" cool. Suck it, McJew. Advantage: Badgers.

-The Lady in Black seriously lives in the middle of nowhere.

-Seeing LiB and the Puncher reminds me just how much I miss them both and how awesome they are. More trips to Madison are demanded. I'd come to you, but apparently my car will fall apart.

-Michigan has a town with the largest Christmas store in the world. I'm proposing a winter road trip right now (in someone else's car).

-No more weddings. Just live in sin like decent, god-fearing folk.