Tuesday, February 28, 2006
In honor of the event, I am including this video that reflects my feelings right now (also one of Miguel's favorite songs):
Electric Light Orchestra presents "Mr. Blue Sky"...
I love the Blue Blockers sunglasses.
I am postively psyched that I have figured out how to attach video into my postings.
ps - I have another "real" entry below...
Without being obnoxiously redundant, I stayed with my mom's 72-year old cousin, Ardy, who is just the coolest older woman in the world (besides my own mother, that is). She's intelligent, fit, youthful, and very nice too. We just hung out at her cute little bungalow house having dinner on Friday night, but then she drove me all around Phoenix on Saturday so I could get a feel for the city. It's really a lot like Tucson except richer, greener, and prettier, and much bigger too. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a drive around the very wealthy neighborhood surrounding the Biltmore Arizona Hotel, which is apparently the neighborhood where Nancy Reagan's parents lived in their old age. I guess her dad was a wealthy doctor in Phoenix. Here is a picture I took of one of the rather ostentatious homes:
Speaking of Nancy Reagan (and her parents), I saw a whole lot of old people waltzing around this area of Phoenix (that "good weather and lots of money" combo seems to get the rich old birds crawling out of the woodwork). Doesn't it suck that by the time you can afford to live in a neighborhood as nice as this you are likely also suffering from arthritis, corns, incontinence, colonitis, and cataracts? I took this picture out of the front windshield as proof:
But back to money. I have a theory that money doesn't buy class. Look at what these people have done to the front of their beautiful home:
What's up with the bronze horses? Are we living in ancient Greece?
And on a final note, while we're on the topic of gorgeous homes and ancient civilizations, I also visited my former co-worker, who lives in a suburb of Phoenix with his wife and their 2-year old son. Their swimming pool area also reminded me a bit of the ancient Mediterranean:
I'm liking the dispensing of chlorinated water by the large urns.
And last but not least, here is mi amigo and his familia:
End of procrastination. Start of productivity.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Therefore, I must go soon to get started on writing this B.S. nightmare, but first I had to draw your attention to something absolutely hilarious that I found in the rodeo program yesterday. So here I was browsing through my $5.00 program last night in bed before going to sleep, and I came across these two photos of a father and son who are involved in the horse breeding business for rodeo, which apparently involves some very big money. However, look at the son's name on the right:
Did Bennie and his wife really mean to exact cruel and unusual punishment on their offspring?
I wonder if it's pronounced Rhett "Byute-ler" or Rhett "Boot-ler" or god forbid, Rhett "But-ler." Although maybe it's better to be Rhett "But-ler" than Rhett "Byute-ler." Oh, and maybe his girlfriend is Scarlet O'Harrison...
Here's that other Rhett:
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Anyway, today was the finale, where the final 12 contestants in each of the seven rodeo categories got to compete. Apparently, the points earned in all of the national rodeos go toward an annual total that are used for entry into the World Rodeo Championships in Las Vegas each year. Therefore, the cowboys I saw today are from all over the U.S. and Canada and are considered the best in North America...
So here are my pictures from the day...
View from our seats:
Setting the scene... here are the "chutes" where the bucking horses and bulls start out. The announcers and cameramen sit up in the little booth. (BTW, we were definitely in the "nosebleed" seats, but we did get a good view of the whole arena.)
Looking to the right:
Here is the area where the horses and calves come from for the tying competitions as well as the barrel racing. The calves run out of that blue shoot, and the cowboys get ready to run from the horse pit section where a lot of commotion seems to be taking place in this picture.
The horse pit area:
Here is a picture from down on the ground next to the horse pit section. These are some of the competitors as well as some of the wranglers.
You've got to start young:
Look at the little mini-roper!!
Event #1: Steer Wrestling
This event involves two horses and a steer, which is sandwiched in the middle of the two horses. The rider on the right (in blue) is just there to keep the steer going straight. The cowboy competing is the one that is jumping off of his brown horse closest to us. He's jumping onto the steer, which he then throws to the ground. The best time for this event was around 5 seconds. (BTW, that is a very large spectator in the background... wearing grey.)
Event #2: Team Roping
Here are two pictures of team roping, which looked really hard. One guy ropes the calf's horns in the front, and the other guy goes around back and ropes his tail legs. The guy who ropes the legs has to be very fast and very talented. Lots of guys missed on this event. I liked that the calf's wore little protective helmets, I guess to keep the rope from cutting the area around their horns. You can click on the pictures to see them at a larger scale if you want to see more detail...
Event #3: Saddle Bronc Riding
This is just like Bareback Riding (which is the one event I didn't take a picture of) except that it uses a full saddle, and rider is definitely sitting more upright. He also kicks his legs back instead forward like the bareback riders, who kick the horse while they're almost lying down, thus putting their boots in the horse's shoulder area. The saddle riding looks a lot easier, if you ask me. The horse on the left is preparing to wrangle the bucking horse after its rider disembarks. Minimum time allowed per ride: 8 seconds.
Event #4: Bull Riding
This is just insane. I had to really zoom in to get this picture because the riders were really far away from me. They cordon off just a tiny area around the chutes for this event because I guess its easier to control a bull in a small area. This shot really shows off this bull's private parts. I think the rider is getting bucked off too.
Event #5: Tie-Down Roping
This is one of the coolest events because the horse has a big responsibility. He has to pull back on his own to tighten the noose around the calf's neck, which incapacitates it temporarily so the cowboy can flip it over and tie its legs in the air. These horses were really smart and well trained! The calf did look rather pathetic for about 10 seconds (one can't help but feel sorry for the little critter) but then it's all over, and the calf is up and running around again after the event. I guess that's better than being veal...
Event #6: Barrel Racing
This is the one chick event. These girls race full speed around three inflated plastic beer cans (umm, I mean barrels). They get time tacked onto their scores if they knock over the beer can (oops, I mean barrel). Classy ad placement, Coors.
This was sort of the half-time show:
Here is the Quadrille de Mujeres Precision Riding Team with a lot of colorful cowgirls, cascading blonde curly locks, and well-groomed horses. Probably a lot of make-up under those hats too...
And finally, a couple of small observances in the stands. Sorry, my blog would not be complete if I were not to point out two of the more interesting "people watching" events that occurred:
Here is the fat lady that took off her white L.A. Gear tennis shoes to my left:
In my opinion, rodeo bleachers are not exactly a place for the health of the bare foot. This woman sat through most of the rodeo with her shoes off. Not only did her feet look very similar to Bilbobaggins', but there was a lot of long yellowed toe-nail action going on... I really wish I'd been wearing blinders.
Check the ill-fitting top to my right:
I really want to know what some people see when they look in the mirror before going out. Here is a Mexican lady that sat diagonally in front of us wearing a top that was clearly two sizes too small. While this picture makes it seem that her crossed arms are creating the cumbersome cleavage clearly apparent in the photo, I assure you that the cleavage was awkwardly heaving out of her shirt in any and all positions in which she was sitting, creating a very mangled, mashed, distorted chest line that looked very painful. The back flesh squeezing out of the rear "peek-a-boo" hole only made me wince more at what must have been a very difficult effort to put this shirt on. She might just have to tear it off at the end of the day if it doesn't rip open like the Incredible Hulk's shirt.
Who is this broad?
I was certain that I was getting sunburned on my neck so I put my collar up. I also wanted to recreate 1986. Oh, the memories...
View of South Tucson:
We were in the upper-most row of bleacher seats so here is the view directly behind me. Pretty wicked skyline, eh?!? Oh yes, and the inevitable Tucson strip mall and mega-parking lots too...
I have to go do homework now... KVB
Saturday, February 25, 2006
What will it be? Samoas, Do-si-dos, or Thin Mints?
I must report that the Girl Scouts of America have descended upon the University of Arizona like a swarm of locusts during the past three days. There must have been 50 young Brownies and Girl Scouts hawking their carb-ladened treats in the center lawn area of the university, set up in no less than EIGHT cookie-selling tents.
WTF?!?!? OK, I was a Girl Scout. When the cookie time of year rolled around, I dreaded it because it meant that I had to walk around my tiny neighborhood of about 12 houses and awkwardly ring the bell and force people to buy something they didn't necessarily want from me. (I've never enjoyed sales.) Of course, the goal was to sell as many cookies as possible for... THE PRIZES IN THE CATALOG! I always aspired to win the boom box or the mini-television or the Sony Walkman. However, my paltry sales generally qualified me for nothing more than the Girl Scouts bookmark set or the ballpoint pen and pencil kit. My parents were NOT taking my cookie sales sheet to work and selling them for me as appears to be the case today -- oh no, I was learning how to market and sell those cookies myself. And yes, I sucked totally and paid the price. There was certainly no sitting outside Safeway with my mom, there was no setting up in mall parking lots, and there was certainly no tent on a university campus. I know, there are a lot of child molesters out there today so it's not safe to go door-to-door anymore, but it just seems so easy now.
How have I become bitter about Girl Scout cookies? Perhaps it is the reprimand I received yesterday from a militant Brownie, who was positioned smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalk as I tried to maneuver my bicycle around her, as she shouted at me to buy her cookies. I had just come from the rec center pool, my hair was standing up in 10 directions from the chlorinated water, and I was trying to scurry through the middle of campus en route to my apartment to take a shower. Bitchy Brownie decides to step forward and shout at me, "Do you wanna buy some cookies?" Feeling as though it would be rude to ignore the child, I yelled out to her, "I already bought some yesterday," in a light-hearted tone, right at the same time she was ending her sales pitch with the word "...cookies?" Had I waited for her to finish her line, I would have been about 10 yards down the pavement (as I was riding quite quickly on my bike), which clearly would not have allowed me to give her an answer. As a result of this small overlap in our verbal exchange, this little nazi screams out at me, "It's rude to talk when other people are speaking!" My mouth dropped in appalling shock... was I just chastised by a Brownie? Should I turn back and confront this little moralistic witch or should I just keep riding? But then I thought, maybe her parents are sitting there and that could get ugly. And honestly, what the hell am I thinking?... the kid is only about 7 years old, and I am a lot more powerful than her. I don't want to scar her early memories. Although a u-turn on my bike followed by a lengthy evil-eye staredown might have been appropriate...
"Buy some cookies from me, bitch, or face my moralistic wrath!"
Thursday, February 23, 2006
My sorrow runs deep. My poor little Sasha choked again... and the Japanese girl was not even all that good!
On another note, outside of my sad skating addiction, I went to a fantastic lecture earlier tonight given by University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole, one of the top Shia Islam scholars in the U.S. He hosts a great blog (uhhh, far more intellectual than mine...) at www.juancole.com. I highly recommend reading it if you want to know what's going on right now in Iraq. His speech was incredibly good (a well-articulated and easy-to-understand explanation of what the hell is going on in Iraq, and what to expect... ummm, more war for many years. Big surprise.) Juan Cole also gets major cool points for being named one of David Horowitz's "101 Most Dangerous Professors," according to the right-wing a**holes anyway. Wow, Juan Cole actually tells the TRUTH about what is going on in the Middle East. I guess that makes a person dangerous.
Also, because I pride my blog on being almost completely non-intellectual, I just have to mention that Juan Cole is extremely similar to Harvey Pekar's co-worker in the movie, American Splendor (ie: "I am going to a mooovie. It is called Revenge of the Neeeerds.") You know who I'm talking about if you've seen the film. But seriously, not only does Juan Cole talk very similarly to the character, Toby Radloff, but he actually looks rather like him too (except that he's loads smarter of course):
American Splendor's Toby Radloff (left) separated at birth from Juan Cole?
It's late, and I have devoted far too much time this evening to figure skating (doing Arabic homework on commercial breaks).
Time for bed. Ciao...
PS - Lamest commentator comment tonight on the Olympics: Sasha doesn't just perform in Romeo and Juliet. She is Juliet. Barfbag please...
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
1. Pebbles, pebbles, pebbles. They are inescapeable. As there is nary a blade of grass to be found in this town (minus a few apartment complexes, golf courses and small sections of U of A), the general landmass is covered in small brown rocks. These rocks easily get caught in the tread of your shoes, meaning that there are flipping pebbles all over my apartment all the time, on my car's floor mats, and generally anywhere else you can think that your shoes tread upon. Plus, most driveways or parking areas are full of these damn pebbles, and it's one of the first things I noticed upon returning to Tucson from winter break. I couldn't even roll my suitcase from the car to my apartment door! I never thought I'd utter these words, but I really miss pavement. Grass too.
2. There is a bizarre affection for vertical blinds. No matter how old or new a home or apartment is, there is at least a 75% chance the windows will be reeking with vertical blinds. Reeking of the 80s that is, which is when every other city in America realized how totally passe' they looked by the time we hit the 1990s. Tucson keeps chugging though! Here is a photo of the window of a brand new house they are building next to my apartment.
Can you believe they put vertical blinds in a brand new custom home? Yuck!
3. There are more helicopter chases in Tucson than in any other city in which I've lived. For the record, I have lived in many cities, including a residence in Adams Morgan, the heart of Washington, D.C.'s nightlife. OK, fine, it's not Southeast D.C., but still, if there were to be helicopter pursuits/searches in Northwest D.C., I believe Adams Morgan would qualify for a likely venue. Which brings me, weirdly, to Tucson. Not a hot nightlife scene, quiet, dark (no streetlights here), and seemingly peaceful. But when the bewitching hour of 11pm rolls around, especially on Friday nights, this place sounds like a scene from "Cops." So weird.
4. I would like to see demographic statistics of this place because I swear that 50% of the population is under the age of 25, and the other 50% is over 45. Where are mid-range people? Where, oh where?
5. Finally, I am going to address the issue of Tucson's old cars. Today, I decided to scout around my neighborhood on my bicycle after class. Mind you, I only tapped into about six total blocks of street area, yet check out the treasure trove of 70s and 80s automobiles I found in such a tiny radius. The really amusing bit is that my grandmother's old 1988 Honda Accord (with flip-up lights, thank you very much) that I drive here is actually young compared to some of these machines. Here is a photo record of my findings... again, one day --- one neighborhood... the number of old cars simply boggles the mind:
First, the Japanese collection (there are far more old Japanese cars around than American cars, and I attribute that completely to the superiority of Japanese engineering):
My god, what is this car? Its shape says "Datsun" to me, but the back of the car had NO make or model on it so I'm just venturing a guess. Definitely 1970s vintage.
Lo and behold, it's another Datsun. I believe I checked the back of the car, and this is a Datsun 610 Wagon, year unknown. Anyone want to venture a guess?
Oh look! It's a Honda Prelude circa 1979! We had a little 1980 Honda Civic when I was growing up, but I think this is an even older model (when the Civic had that really round little back on its hatchback). Can you believe how much the Prelude has changed? I took this pic in a church parking lot, and the only other car in the lot had all of these crazy Jesus stickers all over it. It reminded me of the Koresh compound so I snapped the picture and scrambled away so as not be questioned by the firebrands.
Here is the Datsun pick-up truck, likely from the early 1980s. Note the "Datsun" logo on the front grill. My dad had a truck just like this when we lived in Florida in 1980, but his was a green Toyota.
This is a Toyota Celica circa 1980 (I must admit to taking this photo in the airport parking lot... but this is the only one taken outside of my small neighborhood). This was the car I had in high school, except that mine was colored butter yellow.
The American Collection:
I was quite sure this was the sedan version of the AMC Eagle (better known as the car given away by Wink Martindale on "Tic Tac Dough"), but upon closer inspection from the chain link fence surrounding this pebble-strewn home, I concluded that it was some type of Chrysler. If anyone can enlighten me in the comments section, I would be a better person for it.
This baby here is a Chevy Nova. Too cool for school.
I love this one. Although it doesn't appear driveable, I have a special affinity for the old Thunderbird because my aunt and uncle had a green one back in the early 80s. I distinctly remember riding in the back seat and being totally psyched about my "mini-window" that I could peer out of.
Let us not forget the 70s workhorse, everyone's favorite: the El Camino. I'm not sure if its owners were protecting the hood from the sun or if they were covering up a gaping hole that spelled out "no engine, " but either way, I had to include it.
6. On a final happy note, I purchased a very eccentric plant over the weekend at the Phoenix Botanical Garden. It's latin name has "fenestreria" or something like that in it (meaning window), but its common name is "baby toes" because it looks like, well, baby toes. However, I assert that it looks much more like a little sack of french fries. Apparently, it gets light through the ends of its stalks, which have these little clear windows. It's really bizarre but oh so cute. It looks bigger in this photo than it really is. It's only about 3 - 4" high and the pot's diameter is only about 5". Here he is perched on my bathroom window sill:
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
THE EMMETT & EMILY CONNECTION:
To be honest, I think Emmett's "out" dress is actually more attractive than the real deal. Can you even imagine what Michael Kors might have said about the dress on the right?
I AM SO LOVING THE PANTSUIT!
Any "muscle-y" girl should really wear the pantsuit.
I must finally state that if I were a lesbian, I would be marrying Sasha Cohen. Even not being a lesbian, I love her. Not only did she come in first, but she looked great! She might be a diva, but she rules. It's really too bad that Johnny Weir is so flamboyantly effeminate as they might have made an interesting couple...
Waving from the "score booth" -- my mom is annoyed by all the little kissies and hugs and baby waves that go on prior to the release of the scores. She thinks it's very fake.
OK, that's my commentary for tonight. On a final note, I do promise to update on my trip to Phoenix last weekend, but I will leave you with a final image of my glorious Saturday morning, picking fresh tangerines off the tree in my cousin's back yard. Oh, my goodness, is it really February? Are you scraping ice off of your car windows and shoveling snow and seeing your breath while shivering in wind chills below zero? I'm soooo sorry... and here I am picking citrus in Arizona (OK, yes, I am dorky enough to take an "artistic" photo of my own hand selecting fruit):
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Here I am today photographed with her outside of the U of A Law School! She is pretty short...
So tomorrow, I am driving up to Phoenix after my Arabic mid-term exam in the morning. I am going to visit my mom's cousin, Ardith, who has lived there for a few decades. She's making me a "well-needed home-cooked meal" (her words) and then we are going hiking on Saturday morning. Not bad for a woman over the age of 70! She seems very cool... and I am looking forward to spending some quality time with her.
Well, I have to go study for Arabic now, pack my bag for tomorrow night, and then watch Johnny Weir kick some ass on the Olympic ice.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
As for Project Runway, GO DANIEL V.! I knew Kara would get voted out... she's just too boring and uninspired. I was, however, surprised that everyone turned on Chloe at the end. OK, she's tailored and "safe," but she also designs rather classy-looking garments. However, really, Daniel V. is definitely set to win the finale. Santino doesn't stand a chance with his frilly, goopy, overdone dresses. Yuck... I really don't like his style.
Finally, just a note to say that I got yet ANOTHER phone call from ANOTHER friend who is "with child" (hint: her name starts with a K) and an e-mail today from a different friend that I used to work with in Seattle whose wife is pregnant. This makes a sum total of four pregnant friends now and a friend with a pregnant wife, and a plethora of others who've just had kids. The most interesting part is that every single one of my friends with the exception of one (J. Mack & lil' Kate) have had boys. So this is just a warning for any of you considering childbirth... I seem to be the golden touch for male children. Therefore, if you know me, you have a 95% chance of having a boy. If you want to have a female child, I suggest you cease and desist all contact with me.
Good night to all!
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
And guess who met Brian Boitano a couple of years ago at a silent auction in DC? Moi! I met Brian Boitano! He's quite tiny and a bit pale and doesn't look overly "athletic" but then again, 1988 was long time ago... But good lord, who am I to be critical? Look at me in this photo! I look like I weigh about 50 pounds more than I really do ... in fact, I resemble a cow! Eegad, bad picture! But for the sake of celebrity, here is our photo together:
Brian Boitano, 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, and yours truly. Go Brian!
Let's sing Brian's praises a la South Park:
What would Brian Boitano do
If he was here right now,
He'd make a plan
And he'd follow through,
That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
When Brian Boitano was in the olympics,
Skating for the gold,
He did two sow cows and a triple lutz,
While wearing a blind fold.
When Brian Boitano was in the alps,
Fighting grizzly bears,
He used his magical fire breath,
And saved the maidens fair.
So what would Brian Boitano do
If he were here today,
I'm sure he'd kick an ass or two,
That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
Now here are my final few thoughts on the Olympics (especially for you geeks who are as into watching them as I am):
1. I love the Chinese figure skating couple, Pang and Tong, just because of their names.
2. How about the other Chinese couple where the lady fell and looked like she mangled her knee but then got back on the ice and ended up winning? Very impressive, but their outfits were really garish.
3. I'm liking the pants/tights worn by women in ice skating now, and I think they should ditch those frumpy little skirts. Also, on the whole, I think people should not wear burgandy or brown on the ice. It does nothing for their coloring, and the brown especially looks rather dung-like floating around the white background.
4. NBC is remarkably CHEESY, which is totally unsurprising, but the whole Michelle Kwan memory montage made me want to barf.
5. Bode Miller is an overrated chump.
6. On the other hand, that red-head Shaun White, the snowboarder, is really cool, and I'm glad he won.
7. I love the uber-gay ice skater, Johnny Weir, especially with his dramatic red glove swan short skate. I enjoy that he likes freaking conservative religious people out and even told them to "eat it" in his NBC personal profile.