Thursday, June 30, 2005

a couple of things to share

I saw two things on my television in the last week that have taken my breath away. Both were probably intentionally constructed to evoke some emotion in their own respective rights, and both succeeded.

The first is a commercial, believe it or not. Want a quick marketing lesson? Take a look at this ad, which I think is brilliant. I am not a runner. In fact, from an outsider’s point of view, this product seems kind of silly. But this commercial is so smart, I’m actually tempted to buy a pair:

Run Barefoot

Nike is doing a few different things here, not the least of which is brand re-positioning. In the last few years, the company has both pissed off the world with its sweatshops (guilty or no- it doesn't matter) and created an immense following among more contact-driven sports, like soccer and basketball. Even though they have the second most recognizable icon in the world (after Disney, I'm guessing), with a campaign like this, they're actually trying to rebuild or reintroduce themselves as a company sympathetic to the city-dwelling-runner-who-wants-to-run-barefoot crowd. Again, I'm not a runner, but that's beside the point. Bravo to them - to the cinematographers and to the marketers. I hope it works. Not so much because I want them to succeed, but because I like good commercials.

Secondly is something you're going to have to find on your own. I've never really given much notice to My Chemical Romance before, but the music video they put together for their song, "Helena" makes me miss watching the MTV of days long passed. (I'm told MTV2 has more videos these days, but that package just isn't in the budget...)

In the meantime, watch it on Rhapsody, AOL, or sign up for a free account at Yahoo, and get it through their music video section. Hell, mtv.com might even have it.

I caught this one randomly online, and it immediately tugged at the ol' heartstrings. From what I can tell, it's about a guy saying goodbye to his gf who killed herself. I imagine some of the english majors in the crowd would have a more inventive analysis, but even aside from that, it's a great video.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

humina humina humina...

...ten days and counting.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tuppence, patiently, cautiously, trustingly invested

I had to fight with M&T Bank earlier today, but I won, and they relented, and I got my $96 back. I was forced into playing my trump card though, and I feel a little bad about it. Not so much because I was bluffing, but because it was a one-time-use weapon. I certainly can't just threaten to take my money somewhere else now, because, well, I don't have any.

Oh well. It was my only victory of the day, so I'm going to celebrate it with some sun tea.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

And of course, they broke the record for heat yesterday.

If you’re new to the RT, let me bring you up to speed: UB Law is dragging their feet, so Lisa and I are moving to Albany in August. Huzzah and huzzah for Albany Law School! I haven’t updated in a few days because we’ve been trekking through the mean streets of Albania, trying desperately to find our future home.

Long story short, I think I can call “mission accomplished”. Or at the very least, we know we found a place that has everything we need/want:
Security, check
Proximity to school, check
Hardwood floors, check
Size, check
On-site laundry, check
Neighborhood, double check
Coolness factor, triple dog check

We’re sending in the application today, and the security deposit tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the rest of the trip:

BEST LAUGH OUT OF LISA:
Lisa: You need to turn left up here.
Me: I don’t think I can get over.
Lisa: Yeah, left onto Riverton.
Me: (I pass it) Oops. Looks like I screwed the pooch on that one.
Lisa: What’d you say?
Me: That I screwed the pooch?
Lisa: (having never heard this expression) …BWAAAA-HAAA-HAAAAAA!

BEST NAME OF A MUSEUM THAT SOUNDS DIRTY OUT OF CONTEXT:
The Tang Museum at Skidmore College

NICKNAMES WE MADE UP FOR LANDLORDS:
“Nedison”
“Dawn Mom DeFazio”
“Oatmeal Booger Bob”
“Captain Steubing”

And of course, “Sweet Jay”

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

the good the bad and the drywalled

This summer, I was lucky enough to land a very prestigious clerkship with the well-known firm, “Dad”. Okay, it isn’t as glamorous as you might think. But the benefits are unbeatable.

Today, this young intern taught himself a bit about drywall. See, I’m not as knowledgeable about this kind of fixerupper stuff as some people, although I’ll admit I am known far and wide for my ability to fake it. So a couple of days ago, when I stopped into the Offices of Dad, I was terrified when the office manager gave me a list of odd jobs to do. Obviously, she’d been taken in by my overarching (albeit fake) aura of natural talent, and assumed tasks like “hang shelves in storage room”, and “fix cabinet hinge” and “oil squeaky door”, and especially “re-hang suction canister” were everyday occurrences for me.

She might just as easily have added “sit in for father on next wisdom tooth extraction”.

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and drove over to Home Depot, where at the very least I knew how to get lost. (John and I worked there a few summers ago and only learned how to dodge customers and avoid work, just like the real professionals. We most certainly did not learn about drywall.) My hope was that I might magically happen down some aisle, that like Brigadoon only appears every so often, and contains a tool of the gods that can hang shelves, fix cabinets, oil hinges, and re-hang suction canisters. I assumed it would be made by Ryobi.

Well, no such luck, but I did find the drywall screws. And the shelving units that the office manager asked for. And though I couldn’t find bens 100, I did pick up a can of WD40 – which never goes out of style.

My confidence bolstered by the fact that I had only wasted 45 minutes in HD, I hurried back to the office and walked in like a vigilante cowboy might saunter, squinty eyed, into a saloon. If only I had my tool belt, I bet the squeaky door would have inherently known to whistle that “oo-ee-oo-ee-ooooo, wa, wa, waaaaa” Clint Eastwood theme, instead of just a shrill whine that sounded more like “WD40, my ass…”

I attacked the shelves first. I hung the unit in the wrong place and didn’t buy enough supports, but I got it up and functioning, so we’ll call that one a tie.

The cabinet innerworkings looked like something out of Frankenstein’s lab. I tightened a few bolts, tweaked a couple of hinges, but they still didn’t hang quite right. I decided to wait until there was a lightning storm, and moved on.

My previously bolstered confidence wasn’t too happy with a 0-1-1 record, but I tried to fix the suction thingy anyway: “Okay, Garvey, you can do this. The screw anchor that had been there just tore through the wall after a few years of use, and short of simply replacing the whole office, I have no clue what to do about it. Move it over? Then I have a big hole in the wall next to it. Fill in the hole and start again? Well, there is plenty of toothpaste around I could use, but I think dad needs that stuff for his patients. Wait, the anchoring screw I got is bigger than the one already here, I might as well try it out in case… What the f… It worked?!? I AM THE GREATEST HANDY-GUY IN THE WORLD. ALL SHALL BOW BEFORE MY FIX-IT-ABILITIES.”

After that, the squeaky doors were no match for my over-inflated ego. And my can of WD40.

Monday, June 20, 2005

the I-love-books! meme

Oh, gracious gods above, thank you outgrabes for giving me a topic today. I haven’t exactly been napostian blogapart lately, in part because I’ve been so busy with a hectic summer, and in part because the well of creativity seems to have run dry in the last few weeks. I’m sure once I get back into school I’ll be far too busy to post then, so of course I’ll post more then.

In the meantime, outgrabes memed me to talk about books. She isn’t an easy act to follow (thucyd-who?), but we’ll see what we can pull off the shelves.

Number of books I've owned:
a great deal. If you include text books, it’s an even greater deal. If you include comics, well, those numbers don’t yet exist.
Last book I bought:
An Introduction to Legal Reasoning, by Edward H. Levi. It’s suggested reading for students entering into Albany Law School. They also recommended A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr, but I’ve already seen the movie…
Last book I read:
How we are Hungry: Stories by Dave Eggers. If you were even remotely into indie lit in Chicago over the last five/ten years, Eggers is required material. You can find some excerpts here.
Five books that mean a lot to me:
Man, this wasn't easy. I've read a lot of good stuff over the years, and much of it, I think, "meant a lot" to me. Roald Dahl when I was a kid... Michael Chabon more recently... Technically, I have a copy of The New Testament that I've never read, but it was the one that Papa carried with him when he was in the war. Naturally, that would go on the list of "things to grab in case of fire", but I think for this meme, we're talking more about content, so here goes:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.
American Gods by Neil Gaimen is one I’ve gone back to a number of times. I even met him once when I asked him to sign a copy of that and a Sandman comic.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. First and last book to make me cry.
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid (Art by Alex Ross) Can you follow Steinbeck with a comic book? Okay, sorry, I mean “graphic novel”.
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis. This whole series kick started my love of fantasy, and generally opened the door into nerdular nerdance when I was a kid. I’m trying not to let my hopes get too high for the movie.

Excellent topic, my friends. And to pass the torch:
Scott (who is out of town, but can pound this one out when he gets back in a couple of weeks. He’ll be upset I stole the Narnia book anyway.)
Esther (put aside the baby things, and talk books with us.)
Cecilia (cookbooks are allowed.)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Rhapsodic update

Help me out here. Am I the only person in the world who can be totally placated by finding the solution to a problem when it comes to customer/tech support? Rhapsody C/TS just sent me the most convoluted, user-unfriendly email in response to the problems that I've been having (glitches in their software, I should add) and it took me a good two days to figure it all out.

But I'm happy. Despite hair-ripping frustration, music surely has calmed the mighty pissed off beast. I even got my playlists back. And now, I'm sitting here, knowing that I really should be upset with the infinite monkeys who caused these issues, but instead the Flaming Lips are good for my ills. I know I should be using my mind to come up with a Power-of-the-Consumer campaign that will show the suits over at Real that they can't push us around, but instead I'm using my mind to decide whether or not I like Arcade Fire.

To celebrate my infantile response to such corporate apathy, here's the playlist for Esther's CD. If you remember, E asked me to make her a comp disk to help her get through the hospital babying process. I played this for her yesterday and she seemed to like it:

The Sleep Like A Baby Mix 2005

Cake – When You Sleep
Cowboy Junkies – Sweet Jane
Love – Always See Your Face
Nick Drake – One Of These Things First
Jem – Flying High
Jack Johnson – Banana Pancakes
Ani Di Franco – As Is
David Gray – January Rain
Barenaked Ladies – Light Up My Room
Joni Mitchell – A Case Of You
Eels – I Need Some Sleep
Beatles – Julia
KD Lang – Bird On A Wire
David Gray – Be Mine
Coldplay – Green Eyes
Simon And Garfunkel – Kathy’s Song
Eels – Manchild
Nick Drake – Time Has Told Me
Foo Fighters – Virginia Moon
Joshua Radin – Winter
Joe Cocker – Bye Bye Blackbird

And here's a Rhapsody playlist for those of you who would like to play along at home.

RHAPSODY LINK - baby

You'll notice it isn't an exact match, but until the Beatles manage to find their way online, that'll never be a one to one ratio. Hope you like...

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Public Service Announcement for Rhapsody Users

Hold off on updating your software for a bit.

I was having trouble signing on the other day, so I used the “search for updates” function. It’s working okay now, but it ERASED ALL OF MY PLAYLISTS. That’s including the “Sleep Like a Baby” mix I was making for Esther.

Okay, okay, it’s my own fault for not reading the fine print, but I was optimistic, and jonsing for more of the new foo’s album, which by the way, is pretty good. I put in a letter to the RealNetworks customer/tech service group, so maybe they can wave a magic wand or something. In the meantime, I’ll be listening to the rhap freestyle until I can build back up my playlist library. Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

watch where you step

I swear it wasn't me.

(Thanks to Aly, who was doing her friendly duty in sending me this link...)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My trip to Alaska in blog form

Yesterday, I sat down and started to type out the story of my trip to Alaska. What happened, who I met, how many more fish did I catch than Louis... that kind of thing. And I realized there was just too much.



So, I cracked my knuckles and put all my favorite pics and stories into a new blog:

Pictures of Moosen

I'm not getting rid of the toybox or anything, this is just a temporary side project so I don't have to force vacation pics on anyone. Believe me, even though these pictures could never do my trip justice, these are definitely worth a look-see.

DISCLAIMER: I'm using a free account through ripway.com to host these pics, and it turns out that I can only access so many MB per day. So, if you go to the new site and there aren't any pics of me, drunk and unshaven, just wait a bit and try again. And if any more web-savvy people have any suggestions as to improve that, let me know.

UN-DISCLAIMER: The bandwidth issue is fixed. If you can't see any of my pictures, reload your browser.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm up to my beard in sockeye and unread emails

My friends, go to Alaska. Drop what you're doing, call up these guys, and go fishing with three other guys who like to drink and swear and give the middle finger in funny ways as appropriate. Believe me, you won't regret it, and if you're as good a fisherman as I am, the fish won't mind either.

By the time you get back, I should be done reading all of Esther's posts below, sifting through my emails, transferring pics from my camera to my computer, and generally getting the sweet stink of salmon roe out of my clothes. Thanks to the big sis (and also to Aly, who I love and will be getting a spacebar from me as a wedding present) for posting for me this past week. And sorry to Cecilia who is probably pissed at me for changing my blogger password. Neener neener!

Oh, and while you're waiting for my fish stories, click on this link to NPR's quiz show, "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me". Then click on "listen to the show" and either check out the whole thing because it really is pretty funny at points, or go straight to the 11th minute where you'll hear my uncle, Dan Garvey, as a call-in contestant.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

fishy fishy fishy

Alaska update: Mike caught a fish! The first fishing excursion was a deep-sea trip and the guys caught a collective 300 pounds of halibut. One fish weighed 100 pounds and they had to SHOOT IT. The next day was a river trip where Dad, Lou, and John all caught 20+ pound salmon. Yesterday they fished the river right behind the lodge and none of them had success until the evening when Dad caught a 44 inch, 40 pound salmon! Everyone think good fishy thoughts for Mike so he is not a one fish wonder on this trip.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

27 years of apology

Although its obvious from his brilliant blog posts that Little Mikey hero-worships me, and that mom does indeed love me more, I have not always been the nicest big sister. In fact, I was meeeeeeeeean. Mike has referred to me as Angelica, the bratty big sister on Rugrats, and I’m the first to admit that it’s a fitting description for how nasty I was growing up.

Now that Mike has turned over the RT reins, I figure my first order of business should be a public apology. Much of my behavior was the standard emotional abuse commonly inflicted by evil young girls: name-calling, threats, lies, blackmail. That part is hard to quantify but you can imagine how harsh I was after having my peaceful three-and-a-half-year single-child experience disrupted by an annoying little brother.

He got me back, physically, as most little brothers do. All the kids in the neighborhood build a big fort with couch cushions, blankets, and other linens I’m sure our moms didn’t want outside. We secured the blankets to the railing of our apartment building by setting heavy objects on top of them (yes, we were engineering geniuses) and then crammed about 15 kids underneath. Mike tried to get in and I informed him there was no room (after he helped us build the fort) so he stormed off. As he left, he grabbed a hammer from the railing and tossed it in the general direction of the tent. Turns out my head was also in that general direction, and I ended up with stitches to show for it. AND I STILL GOT IN TROUBLE, despite my injury.

It wasn’t until we were a little older that I became truly malicious. When Mike was learning how to write, especially proud that he could spell his name, I carved HIS name into the side of HIS dresser. Of course he took the fall, and I didn’t admit to such brilliance until recently.

So, Little Mikey, I’m sorry for my years of cruelty. You seem pretty well adjusted despite my best efforts. I’m glad we’re friends now :)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

guest guest blogger

If any of you are interested in contributing to a Mike-less week, send me a post! Our friend Alyson is taking advantage of that offer in today's post:

so mike garvey asked me to submit an entry into his blog. i agreedwithout thinking (of course, as i have no filter between my mouth and my brain)-- so you'll have to all deal with the facts that i cannotspell to save my life, i swear like a trucker and i can't write. nobig deal, right??my name is alyson. i am a wutz (i'll explain why this is important ina second), a new puppy owner (HOORAY!! check outhttp://dogster.com/pet_page.php?j=t&i=152437) and i too am gettingmarried this year (check outhttp://www.theknot.com/ourwedding/AlysonWutz&StephenCulliton). yup, iKNOW i'm this much of a dork, i do have shame, and no, i will notdemonstrate my shame here. come, win my wedding, then we'll talk. (which, sidenote, will be incrediably fun as both mike and esther arein the wedding and c is making the cake. THE CAKE!!! mmmm cake).

how do i know mike do you ask? well, through esther (mike'swonderfully hugely pregnant lawyer sister who is just the bees'knees). how did esther and i meet and why do i adore her family?well, she is (and mike, and the rest of the fam-damn-ly)a garvey. i ama wutz. once apon a time there were two young men-- we'll call thempapa garvey and grandpa wutz. they lived down the street from eachother and grew up together. they went to war together and remainedincredibly close for the majority of their lives. unfortunately, papagarvey passed away before i had the honor of meeting him-- yet hecontinued to give his friendship to the wutz family by giving theworld esther's family. happily, esther and i have picked up where ourgrandfathers had to leave off. you would think that is all to thisstory-- but my favorite part is the fact that esther grew up in ahouse where her grandfather kept a bar in his basement. i grew up in ahouse where my grandfather kept a bar in his basement. turns out thesebars of our grandfathers (thank you papa garvey and grandpa wutz) arefrom the exact same bar-- split in half and given homes in therespective best friends' basements. it's the south buffalo version ofa best friend necklace. these are great men. :)

i would also like to thank grandpa wutz for my uncanny ability toscrew up any situation by swearing. i get excited and four letterwords pop out. not even thesomewhat-respectable-you-might-be-able-to-get-away-with-it-in-front-of-your-grandmotherwords. the "oh fuuuuuuuuuuuudge" word of a christmas story pops outmuch too often. tell me you got a job and i swear. tell me you got arolex and i'll REALLY swear. engagements? *&%@#!!!!! in front of yourentire family. at least reputation precedes me however, and all isforgiven b/c i am a "wutz". (see?! so important. i meet cool peopleand am allowed to swear freely. THANK YOU GRANDPA WUTZ! thatsonofabitch, the sonofabitch). :)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mike Garvey: sweet, thoughtful, funny...organized?!

Welcome to my week at the RT! Mike was thoughtful enough to leave someone in charge of entertaining the masses while he spends the week making up fish stories over lots o' whiskey. Who better than his mega-pregnant big sis? Besides the fact that I can barely reach the keyboard over my belly, typing is the perfect physical activity for me these days. In appreciation for this opportunity, I planned to pay homage to Little Mikey over the course of the week in my own way, but who knew the first post would be this easy.

Granted, this may seem a little backhanded to those of you that do not know Mike to take the "path of most resistance" as I do. Simple tasks are easily complicated, and plans are never what you made them to be when you make them with Mike. He's been known to show up at restaurants on the wrong day for dinner dates with friends. But today he rose above the masses of testosterone standing at the curbside check-in, and I for one am duly impressed.

Mike started packing days ago. He was up on time this morning, dressed and ready for the flight before Louis (our crackhead little brother) was even home from the bars. He spent the night at Mom and Dad's to streamline the airport transportation. He even came up with an extra pair of headphones for my husband John at 3:30 this morning. John has been understandably busy with a new house, new tenants, pregnant wife, and pending trip. I was happy to see him load everything in the car this morning, on time, checked off checklist in hand. If headphones were the most significant forgotten item he was in good shape.

After our collective goodbyes at the airport, Mom, my sister Mary, and I headed back to the cars. Mary and I pulled out of the garage behind Mom who proceeded to slam on her brakes, screech her tires backing up to us and yell "John's driver's license is expired and they won't let him on the plane! You need to go home and find him another ID!" So Mary called John to find out where this "other ID" was located, and I started having little contractions as I did 80 down the 33 at 5am. Apparently the contents of John's purged wallet were on our mantle. I made it home, up the stairs and to the livingroom without giving birth. I sorted through this pile of wegmans cards, media play gift cards, buy 9 get the 10th free coffee cards, and finally called John to find out what the hell he was looking for. He was frantic, thinking there was a voter registration card or something there, but there was nothing to prove who he was, just where he shopped. I asked about his birth certificate because i had a reasonably good idea where i could find it, and he happily said "oh yeah!!! ITS IN THE CAR!" um, that would be the same car that I just drove like a madwoman risking, life and limb and my unborn child to get back to the house.

After an even madder dash back to the airport, we delivered the birth certificate and Mary called Mom to assure her that all was well. Apparently, Mom walked back into her own house to find Dad's cell phone and Louis's brand new EMS jacket sitting on the table. She said "I hesitate to use the word stupid, but..."

So today I have to congratulate my brother Mike on remembering his cell phone AND his jacket, and making that trip to the DMV, planning ahead so he'd be able to get on the plane. Brilliant.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

got to see a man about a fish

Now, I know that you, as I do, fear change. But bear with me. This is, really, for the best.

Starting this Saturday, and ending on Sunday the 12th, I’ll be on hiatus, trekking through the wilderness of Alaska, high on whiskey and cigars (Middleton Rare and pre-Castro Cubans, respectively - neener neener), and waging war on the halibut population of the north. Of course, I’ll be thinking of each and every one of you during my trip, and I’ll be sure to send anyone a King Salmon if they ask nicely.

In the meantime, I’m leaving the babysitter in charge. If anyone can appreciate the very fragile nuances that make the RT so great, it’s elder sister Esther, esq., and I have no doubt that by the time I get back to share my pictures of moose droppings and whatnot, you’ll actually prefer her mom-loves-me-best jokes to my own.

Anyway, treat her good. She won’t be the only one guest-blogging for me while I’m gone, but any others will just post through her. That is, unless you’re Cecilia and you’ve somehow figured out my password.

Since I’ll be packing and resting (pftht) all day tomorrow, here are a few final thoughts before I shove off:

One last weird coincidence comment: I was helping Mr. B. move an old trunk out of his parents’ house that, except for a few scraps of newspaper, was empty (the trunk was empty, not the house. Or his parents.). Nixon’s impeachment was on the cover, and an advertisement for a Corvus Problem Solving Calculator the size of my thigh was on sale on page four. The date on the paper? June 2nd, 1974. spooooooky…

One last pissy old man comment: buffalo radio stations suck, but at least they don’t play as many commercials as the Toronto stations. I’m pretty sure 102.1 The Edge’s hourly formula is: one part Red Hot Chili Peppers, one part Sum 41, three parts Greenday, ten parts jokes about America, and seventy four parts commercials.

One last countdown comment: 36 days!

One last goodbye comment: later!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A score ta settle with tha DMV

Oh ho, wait’ll you read this one. I’m going to the DMV today, an experience certain to piss me off and generate a blog post full of clever puns and writhing wit, culminating in the mass realization of some great enlightenment about county efficiency. It’s only about 9am right now, and I’m about to leave, but I just wanted to get an introduction put down on paper so I can allow my frustration to blog unfettered when I finally escape their evil clutches some time tonight.

Okay, I’m writing this part of the post from my ipaq. It’s about 9:30, and I’ve got all of my paperwork so I can get my car’s registration renewed. In a perfect world, this would be simple. I provide the documentation and the $45, and you give me a sticker to put on my windshield. Done and done. But of course, the insurance card has my parents’ mailing address, since it’s through their agent, so I’m guessing at some point the DMVites are going to have to require the broom stick of the Witch of the West or a shrubbery or something before it’s all taken care of in the eyes of the county. But I’m ready. My blood is pre-boiled. I’m rarin’ for a fight.

Okay, I’m done. Here’s, roughly, what happened…

9:31:00 – Me: “Good morning. I need to get my car’s registration renewed.” I say, smiling. What I really mean is “Just try me, punk.”
9:31:05 – Her: “No problem,” the demon-spawn sputters. “I just need the application we sent you in the mail. Thanks.”
9:31:07 – clickity clickity, print print, stamp stamp
9:31:16 – Her: “Here you go. Have a nice day.”
9:31:16.5 – Me: “YOU CAN TAKE YOUR NICE DAY AND… oh, ah, thanks.”

So, yeah, sixteen and a half seconds, I’d estimate. They even had The Beatles playing in the background. (Not Baby You Can Drive My Car, though.) Oh well. I didn’t really feel up to “writhing wit” today anyway.