Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sometimes the Comments Are Better Than the Posts

I am going to do something today that I hadn't previously considered. I planned on having time to write another post today, but instead ended up focusing on the "fight" between myself and Megan (Moflo) in the comment section of the previous post. The "fight" ended up being so hilarious, that I decided to actually post it here as today's entry, since everyone probably does not check out the comments section. The thing that I enjoy most about writing back and forth with Megan is that we distort each other's stories so far that sometimes even I can question what actually happened. If anyone wants to try to piece together the actual events from any of the Megan vs Andrew wars (couples competitions or the comment episode), you are more than welcome to post your thoughts. I am willing to pass on the factual information to anyone with a great desire for the truth. Be warned though, the versions appearing in the blog are much more entertaining. Honestly, the end of this comment war was absolute perfection. It could not have been better. Enjoy!

Moflo said...

You have excellent taste in music, darling. It's not our fault that, being musicians, we have a superior ear for what is Good and what is Very Bad (Kenny Chesney? Are they fucking serious?)

I wouldn't have wasted my money seeing Van Halen in their wheelchairs either, but you should have gone to Danzig with me.

Andrew said...

Maybe I would have seen Danzig with you... but you wouldn't even speak to me at that point.

Moflo said...

Whatever! Just because you only had enough nerve to stare at me like a stalker from down the hallway and leer at me when I wore short skirts doesn't mean I wouldn't have talked to you. And I believe it was I who first talked to you anyway. You wouldn't even invite me into the limo the night of the Christmas party, so there!!

Andrew said...

Hey, hey hey, hey. Leer at you like a stalker? Leering maybe, like a stalker... no. It was only like one time, geez.

I tried to talk to you several times, even in the hours before the Christmas party. I thought of inviting you then - "If she'll talk to me, maybe the Christmas party will come up, then maybe I can invite her for the limo ride." So, I tried, I asked if you needed help setting up the table of refreshments for the pre-Christmas party that involved carrying buckets of ice and multitudes of food and drinks out of various offices - a good opportunity to chat. But you wouldn't even say "no", you just shook your head no like I wasn't even worth a vocal response. But still, I tried again, asking if you needed help taking the stuff back to the offices after the pre-Christmas party was complete... and again, just the shaking of the head.

Pre-Christmas party Megan = absolute refusal to speak to Andrew

So, there, yourself!!

Moflo said...

If I was shaking my head it was because I was BUSY moving all the food and drink from various offices out to Tim's dissertation party and then back again. You were drinking beer and doing tequila shots in the hallway, for Christ's sake. It was quicker and more efficient to just do everything myself. Not to mention the fact that I was distracted by the severe hand injury sustained in shoving the razor sharp beer bottles down into the bucket of ice. I waited around at the stupid dissertation thing, trying to make eye contact with you, smiling at you, hoping you would invite me to go the Christmas party with you later, but you were too drunk to notice me at all. On top of all that, you just now came into my office and tried to get out of buying me lunch by insisting we not eat anything and instead just "go back to my apartment." God only knows what you have in mind. All I know is, you are buying me lunch!

Andrew said...

Point/counterpoint continues...

"BUSY moving all the food and drink" - FALLACY - busy moving cases of beer, one bottle at a time from the office to the hallway - funny how only some of the bottles made it all the way to the ice bucket. I found the stash of empty bottles on your desk in the office.

"You were drinking beer and doing tequila shots in the hallway" - FALLACY - They were shots of bourbon.

"more efficient to just do everything myself" - FALLACY - from part one of this counterpoint- one bottle at a time could not be considered efficient. Accepting someone's help that is capable of opening "heavy" doors would likely increase efficiency dramatically. Someone capable of opening doors would easily be able to carry more than one beer bottle at a time.

"I waited around at the stupid dissertation thing" - FALLACY - waited around from inside the office for everyone to leave, possibly... it would be difficult to make eye contact through a wall. But also easier to slip back out of the office after everyone has left so you could "find all the leftover alcohol a good home".

"you were too drunk to notice me at all" - FALLACY - Who was it that was spotted drooling on the table? Oh wait, that wasn't me... it was you, wasn't it?

"God only knows what you have in mind." - You aren't invited back to my apartment now, but I will have to go back there during the day so I clean up the rotting food from the romantic, gourmet, catered, candlelit meal that I had delivered there so it would be a surprise. Fine, we'll go to that omelet-making restaurant so you can order a cheeseburger again. You win... I guess. Geez.

Moflo said...

"Romantic, gourmet, catered, candlelit meal that I had delivered there" - it is 12:53 in the afternoon and broad daylight. The sun is out. "Candlelit?" Please.

"Drooling on the table" - we won't mention who was weaving up and down the hallway, unable to keep his balance.

Actually, I waive my win. You can have it. In the spirit of generosity, I declare you champion of this battle.

I am keeping your soul, however.

Andrew said...

I am champion! Finally, a win at something! If I were in possession of my soul, maybe I could feel happiness.

Wait, are you just humoring me?

Moflo said...

Bitch, please.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Music's Biggest Cash Kings" = Pathetic

I caught this article from the Yahoo! News page yesterday and thought it was worth discussing. As a quick summary: the article reports the income of the top ten recording artists of the year.

Here is the rundown of the dollar amounts that each artist earned during 2007.

10. Rod Stewart $59.3M
9. Van Halen $63.8M
8. Celine Dion $82.7M
7. Rascal Flatts $84.2M
6. Tim McGraw $85.3M
5. Miley Cyrus $87.4M
4. Justin Timberlake $95.7M
3. Kenny Chesney $96.2M
2. Josh Groban $104.6M
1. The Police $142.3M

The list breaks down into these basic three categories: the music that older people listen to (Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, The Police), music that very young people listen to (Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake) and music that people with small minds listen to (Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney). Honestly, I have no idea which category Josh Groban fits into since I've never heard any of his music. After a little searching and listening to clips from his albums, I'm still not sure - so I'm just going to ignore him altogether - as I apparently have up until this point. For the argument that I was planning on making, it really doesn't matter anyway.

The point is this, where is the representation of the people of my ilk? The 18-35 year olds with relative intelligence seem to be underrepresented. Or is it that my preferred genre of music, modern rock, is non-existent? Of this list, there is only one band that I would even consider seeing - and I passed. Van Halen was performing at Kansas City's new downtown arena (The Sprint Center, which I have yet to visit) and I decided that I'd rather just stay home then travel the less than two miles distance between my apartment and the arena.

There are only two possible explanations that can reconcile this observation. The first is that people like me, are too busy or poor to attend concerts. They are the college age or early career individuals that are trying to establish themselves and pay off student loans and other debts. The second explanation would be that the state of current music, dominated by corporate radio, is in such poor shape that there are no acts even worth seeing - or conversely, the music that I prefer is crap. I happen to refuse the belief that the music I listen to is crap, because I think it's good. And I am the ultimate judge of what is good and bad. Right?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Name That Tune... A Competition?

The weekend competition (if one could call it that) in the form of Name That Tune (for the lead-in to the competition see the post "Weekend of Competition"), took place across two different days in two different venues using two different types of audible transmission devices. The results however, were nearly identical. The competition began at my apartment with Megan's shiny new 8GB iPod Nano loaded with 1500+ songs and attached to my stereo system via a dock with remote control. The mp3 player was set to shuffle and we had a quick practice round of about ten tracks. The first person to name the artist/song title was to be awarded the points (one point for artist, one point for title, so either person could gain up to two points per song - if there were ties - saying artist/song title, the point was split). The practice round was not scored, but seemed to be dead even. In retrospect, either she was toying with me, giving me a false sense of security, or it just happened that there was a random run of tracks that I just happened to know - i.e. luck.

Name That Tune – A Debacle in Skaff Manor

"The Wyco Waif" Megan "MoHotShit" Florance


"The Marshalltown Mauler" Andrew "The Lebanese Dream" Skaff

Megan "MoHotShit" Florance began Round 1 with great vengeance and furious anger, swiping the first seven points. Skaff dug in his heels and took points where he could, but he was clearly outclassed. This became evident when the sheer force of Florance's thunderous call of "The Monkees, I'm A Believer" literally displaced Skaff from his timid perch on the couch, sending him toppling over his modern coffee table and nearly into his television stand. The dazed Lebanese Dream slowly rose to his feet, but Round 1 had come to a close with the score of 16.5 to 6.5 in favor of the Wyco Waif.

The highlight for the evening, as expected, belonged to MoHotShit. In the day’s ante-penultimate round (Round 6), Skaff was reduced to weeping into his neatly pressed dress shirt after being defeated in humiliating fashion, 25-5. Two rounds and two victories later, Florance found herself sitting on a comfortable 192-108 lead after 245 songs – the conclusion of Day 1.

The venue for Day 2 was shifted to the humble abode of The Wyco Waif. The rules at the new location remained the same, but the equipment was changed slightly. The stereo system from Skaff’s home was replaced with a splitter attached to dual headphones. The iPod, which had been paused at the end of Day 1, resumed in the same place in the randomized, 1500-song playlist. Skaff had hoped that a night’s rest would allow him to regain his edge, but he clearly did not appear to be confident. He arrived at the venue with his dress shirt miss-buttoned, hair mussed and may or may not have been wearing matching socks. Clearly, he was unprepared for battle, but he vowed to press on and “take my beating like a man… like a man being physically overmatched by a small child.” The last part was nearly inaudible over the sobbing, but after some time with the tape, a technical crew was able clean up the audio enough to make out the final words.

Florance continued to exert her will over her hapless competitor, securing victories in the first three rounds and extending her lead by 55 points. Round 4 contained, possibly, the most notable event of the competition. Skaff had managed to close a large deficit to force a tie at 35-35 before Florance resorted to an act of treachery to maintain her dominance. The Lebanese Dream recalled the details of the event,”Through my muted perception (because of the headphones inserted into his ears), I believed her to say ‘Eminem, Business,’ calling out the artist and song title. However, the song being played was clearly Dr. Dre's "Forgot About Dre", featuring Eminem.” In reality, she was actually giving a command to her 143-pound half-chow/half-manbeast she refers to as "Izzy". Instead of "Eminem, Business" she spoke the words "rend him handless," which sent "Izzy" lunging over the arm of the futon and beginning to feast on the meaty flesh of Skaff’s left hand. As Skaff writhed in pain, Florance took the final 11 points of the round to maintain her victory streak.

Skaff gave his best effort to continue, despite the physical damage to his body, battling on for two more rounds, each ending in disappointment. His blood soaked towel was thrown in after the sixth round with the final score for the day; 203.5 – 125.5. While Skaff may be had a slightly better showing on Day 2, Florance was still dominant. The overall final score was 395.5 – 233.5, covering 475 songs in total.

Florance’s victory celebration included dancing wildly on the futon, under which Skaff could be found curled up into the fetal position and crying loudly. Florance was unable to hear the sobbing, however, because her headphones were still firmly in place while blaring Queen’s “We Are the Champions”.

NOTE: As mentioned before, I have never competed against anyone that posed even the slightest challenge (even with skewed scoring systems to favor my opponent in one case) in a Name That Tune competition. Now, not only have I been challenged, I have been defeated. Not only have I been defeated, I have been humiliated to the point that I may never be able to listen to music in the same manner. The "Wyco Waif" was not simply dominant in a physical sense, but a metaphysical sense as well as she now is in possession of my soul.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Megan!

The weekend competition posting about the Name That Tune game has gotten a little out of hand and is being delayed even further by the fact that I have gotten somewhat busy at work. Today I have decided to preempt that post to wish Megan a very special and happy birthday and to tell a quick story about the birthday gift I have gotten for her.

For weeks I had racked my brain trying to figure out what to purchase for someone who has come to mean so much to me in a very short period of time. I tend to be fairly observant around people and usually do a "moderately decent" job picking out gifts that the recipient would really want/need but have it be something that they would not expect to receive as a gift. Megan and I have been dating for over a month now (but in terms of "time together as a couple vs. dating" we are much further along than that having spent at least part of every single day together since our first date) and I have had a multitude of opportunities to determine what she needs and wants.

Eventually, I decided on something rather extravagant in the column of something that I thought she would appreciate. But, I vowed to keep my senses perked and would be willing to change the gift to something else if she made mention of something specific that she clearly wanted. About ten days before her birthday, a mention of something was made. We were eating a fabulous lunch of leftovers from the dinner the night before in the "office" that is attached to my laboratory. She was making fun of the vintage telephone that resides on the office desk, and mentioned that she would like to have an even older, more useless, model of the phone for herself - a rotary phone. Of course, I made the mental note and began a search. The difference between the gift that I had planned and the rotary phone is clear - I knew that she wanted the rotary phone, but I only suspected that she'd like the other gift. From this birthday forth, it will forever be known as the year that Megan lost a Caribbean cruise to a rotary phone.

You're welcome, Megan, I hope you like your "new" phone!

As a quick bonus, here are the top five words from my vocabulary that Megan has appreciated me using in day-to-day conversation.

5. lax
4. prognosticate
3. musculature
2. acuity
1. corporeal

Disclaimer: Megan will not actually be receiving a rotary phone for her birthday, because I really do like her very much and would rather not have a rotary dial shaped impression on my forehead. I hope that she will like her gift(s), but she has been promised that if she is to guess the content(s) of the wrapped package, she will be getting the Caribbean cruise. Good luck, Megan!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Review: Cloverfield

There will be complete coverage of the weekend competition between "MoHotShit" and myself in tomorrow's post. I wanted to write a little something about the new J.J. Abrams film that Megan and I took in over the weekend while the viewing was still fresh in my mind. Delaying coverage from the weekend's events will also give me a chance to recover from utter humiliation.
Megan and I decided to give the new monster destroys New York City flick, Cloverfield, a chance. Both of us are fans of the Abrams created television series "Lost", and we were curious to see the latest project attached to his name. Before the movie began there were the standard crappy commercials that are now commonplace at theaters. When the movie should have started, we noticed that the commercials had gone into a loop, repeating a series of shitty trivia questions in a time frame so short that even a patient with a severe case of advanced Alzheimer's wouldn't have difficulty recalling the answers.

Shortly after making this realization, a theater employee entered and gathered the attention of the attendees by saying, "Excuse me everyone, but there is a problem with the projector and the start of the movie will be delayed by just a few minutes. Someone is working on it and it should only take another minute. It's just the projector and it's being fixed. It should only take a minute as the attendant is working to repair it. The projector should be repaired shortly and the movie will begin as soon as the projector is fixed which is being done as we speak. With any luck the movie will begin soon as in about one minute."

I inquired in reply, "So you're saying there's a problem with the projector?"

Shortly there after, the theater employee returned and approached each person in the audience saying, "Can I offer you a free small drink because of the delay?" Thinking about this for a few seconds, I realized how easy it is to keep the inconvenienced theater-goers (sheep) happy. If all it takes is a free small drink to calm a theater full of people, then they have the right idea. Chances are, this "problem" will actually generate more revenue for them than if the "problem" never even occurred.

Please allow me to diverge slightly with some quick mathematics. First, I will assume that there are 50 occupants in the theater. The approximate actual cost to theater in "giving away" a free small drink to the audience, would be about $5.00, or 10 cents per coupon (including the cost of the cup and drink). Now assume that every audience member gets up and redeems their coupon at that moment while the projector is being repaired and returns with only the "complimentary" drink. In this scenario, the theater would lose $195 in profit (assuming $4/drink less the $5 cost). However, the odds of this happening are infinitesimal, especially since the "projector will be fixed in about a minute and the movie will begin shortly," not even providing enough time to redeem the coupon before the movie will inevitably (supposedly) begin. More likely scenarios would include the - discarding of the coupon by the audience members (cost to theater - value of the printed coupon - i.e. nothing) - OR - people will get the "free" small drink and other concessions that they would not normally get because of the "free" compensation for the two minutes of inconvenience - OR - the audience will remember that the theater wanted to make things right after something abnormal occurred, keep the coupon (or not) and become regular patrons of this particular theater whether or not it is their regular theater.

Chances are, the the actual usage of the coupon will fall into a mix of the above scenarios with most people (like myself) cramming the coupon into my wallet, never to be seen again (or at least until the wallet is cleaned out in 3-5 years). With little doubt in my mind, I believe that the projector "problem" will likely not cost the theater anything at all, and potentially could be profitable. Which brings me to the point - was there really a problem with the projector, or was the theater just trying to drum up some more business?

That was quite a long tangent. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Cloverfield. Once you can get accustomed to the bouncy camera work, the film was amazingly entertaining. The special effects were fantastic and the story was well scripted. Megan and her intensely analytical mind drew parallels to the 9/11 attacks and the imagery of terror in New York City during the entire film while I was pondering things like - "did that girl just explode?" My suggestion: Grab your significant other, take a Dramamine, go see Cloverfield and just enjoy the film for the sake of being entertained - then discuss it with the more intelligent half of the relationship and have them explain to you what the movie meant in simple terms that you can understand.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekend of Competition

For those that appreciated the posts this week about the ongoing couple-based struggle for superiority between Megan and I, next week will provide more of the same. The words "It's on bitch," have already been uttered for two different skill based challenges. The contracts have been signed* (see below for the modifiable contract composed at the hand of the apparently legal-minded Megan that appeared in the comment section of this blog on Monday), and the events defined. Here are the battles on the books for the weekend:

1) The first challenge will be a grueling weekend long fight testing memory recall - Name That Tune. Both of us have extremely similar taste in music and both have the ability to quickly recall bands/song titles from a very short sampling of a track. I once tested Megan with only a single guitar chord from a CD in my car without her previous knowledge of even the presence of the album in my vehicle. She passed with ease after only a few seconds of thought and I knew at that moment that I may have found my arch nemesis. I had previously only met people that thought they could challenge me at the Name That Tune game. After crushing them one by one into mere shadows of their former selves, I believed myself to be unrivaled. For the first time, I am not terribly confident heading into this competition.

The venue: My apartment.
The equipment required: Apple's iPod Nano (provided by Megan) that has been pre-loaded with 1150+ songs as of this post, but could contain as many as 2000 songs by the time the competition is to begin, headphones or stereo (if I can find the media cable to plug into my receiver). All songs will be added to the list and the shuffle button will be activated.
The time-line: All weekend long that is spent in the presence of the equipment.
The scoring system: Speed based - name the song title/artist first - get the points. Two points per song with partial scoring. Scores will be added cumulatively throughout the weekend and a winner will be declared.

Early prediction: Megan "MoHotShit" Florance wins with a final score of 536-475 over shattered Lebanese Dream

2) The second challenge will be a test of strategy in the form of the game given to me at Christmas by my brother and sister-in-law, Khet. Neither of us have played this game before, but it sounds intriguing. Any game that utilizes lasers and mirrors would, by definition, have to be a quality game.

The venue: My apartment
The equipment: The game
The scoring system: Most likely a best of seven series. There are three different starting sets for the board, the first three games will be played with the standard configuration. The next two will use the first alternate configuration and the final two games (if necessary) will use the third orientation.

Early prediction: Skaff loses game 1, recovers and takes the series 4-2.

This Agreement is entered into on this the ____ day of ________, 2008, by and between Andrew "The Lebanese Dream" Skaff, an individual, and Megan "MoHotShit" Florance, an individual.
In consideration of the mutual promises set forth hereunder, the sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, Andrew "The Lebanese Dream" Skaff and Megan "MoHotShit" Florance agree to the following:
(Clause 1)Each party is promising to engage in _________________ competition in which the rules and winner are clearly defined. (Clause 2)Each party shall perform to the best of his/her ability. (Clause 3)This competition shall take place heretoforth as agreed by each party no later than 48 hours after the spoken words "It's on, bitch!"
This agreement may be terminated as follows: This agreement shall be terminated only by one or both party's death from ___________________________________.
Time shall be of the essence in the performance of this Agreement.
If any part of this Agreement is held unenforceable for any reason, the remaining portion of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect, and shall be carried out in a manner which is consistent with the intentions of the parties hereto.
If any legal action or proceeding, including any arbitration of disputes, arising out of, or relating to, this General Contract is brought by either party, the prevailing party as determined by the Court or Arbitrator, shall be entitled to receive from the non-prevailing party, in addition to any other relief that may be granted, reasonable attorney's fees, costs and expenses incurred in the action or proceeding by the prevailing party.
This General Contract is entered into on this _____ day of _________, 2008, in the City of ___________, the County of __________, State of ____________.


Megan "MoHotShit" Florance

Andrew "The Lebanese Dream" Skaff

Monday, January 14, 2008

Anatomy of an Eat-Off: Part II - It's On Bitch!

Note: For ultimate viewing pleasure, please allow yourself to absorb all that is contained within Anatomy of an Eat-Off: Part I before continuing with this post.

And so, the competition began. Please note that what takes place in the following post is exactly how I remember it - meaning it is precisely as it occurred. Embellishment is not in my nature.

The lights dimmed in the Red Robin restaurant and the PA announcer's voice boomed out the introductions over the loudspeaker.

"Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages, to the hundreds in attendance and the millions watching worldwide - today's contest is scheduled for three rounds of grueling torture. Allow me to introduce to you today's contenders for superiority in the field of eating.

"In one corner - standing in at 6'3" and 225 pounds, he is the Marshalltown Mauler, Andrew "The Lebanese Dream" Skaff.

"In the other corner - standing in at 5'11" and 87 pounds, she is the WyCo Waif, Megan "MoHotShit" Florance.

"Let's get ready to rumble!"

Round 1: The Appetizer
The appropriate appetizer selection for this competition seemed completely obvious to me - the tower of onion rings. They are ideal for two reasons: 1) they are extremely heavy, the winner of Round 1, could, if not careful, destroy his/her chances of even continuing on in the competition by eating too fast, or eating more than necessary, 2) the winner will be clearly defined because there are exactly 13 onion rings in the tower - devour exactly seven rings and the round is yours. There is an additional strategy with the tower. The rings at the top are smaller and they get larger as they approach the bottom. If you eat quickly early, you might be able to sneak in an extra small ring before having to tackle the large rings near the bottom. But pacing can also be virtuous, as the human stomach can handle only so much grease before problems can occur.

Megan "MoHotShit" Florance started off strong and managed to keep pace early in the round. Eventually, the pressure became too much for her tiny frame to handle, and she then turned to psychological warfare. "You have only eaten three rings, you are behind," she claimed. The Lebanese Dream had done his homework and was aware of the tactics the Siren-esque WyCo Waif might attempt in an effort to squash the hopes and dreams of her larger competitor. Shrugging off the verbal barrage, Skaff rolled on to a Round 1 victory with the final score of 7-4. The remaining rings were left on the table as a reminder of defeat to Florance even after the server removed her tear-filled plate.

Skaff 1, Florance 0

Round 2: The Main Course
Red Robin provides the ideal venue for the eating competition because of this: there are a multitude of different sandwiches that are all of similar relative size and come with the so-called "endless" basket of steak fries. Therefore, if the main course with steak fry basket were to be completed by both competitors, additional orders fries could be continually delivered until a winner could be declared. In this round, both competitors made errors of judgment in the selection of sandwich. MoHotShit opted for the Bleu Ribbon Burger, which reeked of disgustingness, and The Marshalltown Mauler selected a fried chicken sandwich, which would add even more grease to his already nearly saturated stomach.
The competition became vocal as both competitors struggled. Dinner topics, which will be left undiscussed here (as they became increasingly lewd), stooped to all-time lows in attempts to force the other to stop devouring their meal. Eventually, Florance turned to even lower tactics by displaying a tomato covered in Blue Cheese dressing in an attempt to force a forfeiture. Skaff showed his disgust by dropping his sandwich into his basket. In what became the turning point of the event, Skaff rallied back and showed that his stomach is stronger than his brain and laughed in the face of Florance (while displaying a mouthful of partially masticated chicken), retrieved his sandwich and quickly completed his sandwich and remaining fries. Florance again wept into her basket still containing copious amounts of inedible "food" and was forced to admit defeat.

Skaff 2, Florance 0

Round 3: The Dessert
Although the lead in the competition was insurmountable and The Marshalltown Mauler was preparing for his coronation as World Champion, Round 3 was still fought... for the sake of competition. The Wyco Waif ordered a chocolate malt while Skaff chose a chocolate milkshake. Round 3 was rather uneventful (as the overall winner had already been determined), with the exception of Florance's oscillation between crying (at having been beaten so resoundingly) and moaning (due to the waves of nausea). The completion of the competition was not without controversy, however, with each competitor claiming to have finished more of their respective dessert. The ensuing shouting match was finally resolved by the official of the event measuring the remaining volume in each glass. In fact, the official declared the event a tie with both competitors being awarded a point for the round. Skaff was disgusted at the ruling, hoping to preserve the shutout to prove ultimate dominance in eating. Florance, who also was not happy with the result, began wildly gesticulating and claimed that Skaff had poured out straw-fulls of milkshake into a napkin which was then discarded. After a tense ten minutes of conferencing with other officials and examination of the replays, the official declared that the video evidence of the event was inconclusive and the tie ruling was upheld.

Final score: Skaff 3, Florance 1

The coronation began, the lights were dimmed, the spotlight illuminated the majestic Skaff as he gracefully made his way to the podium. Behind the podium was his bitter rival, Florance, who was forced to place the crown meticulously crafted from Red Robin balloons around the victorious, over-sized head of the Lebanese Dream. Skaff then celebrated his victory with a short speech, followed by a brief interpretive dance and then 45 minutes perched upon a throne of porcelain. The remainder of the day was spent in agonizing pain for both competitors. However, following the event, both competitors were quoted as saying "If the challenge were to be raised again in the future... I would have only one response - It's on bitch!"

Anatomy of an Eat-Off: Part I

Today will begin a two part entry detailing the second of many couple competition related postings (see Throwdown: 1978 vs 1979). The first competition revolved around birth year superiority and was a beat-down proportion, landslide victory for Megan. The second competition, undocumented to this point, was a good old-fashioned cook-off. I will provide further details regarding the cook-off in a future post, but, despite an impressive personal effort, I was again forced to admit defeat.

While reeling from two resounding losses, I was hoping to find something that could (potentially) grant myself better odds at victory. One night, at a local pub, Megan made a comment about having the capability of eating large quantities of food. Despite the cocky twinkle in her eye, her frail (nearly waifish) physique drew me to the conclusion that this just might be my opportunity to reassert some form of dominance in some category... any category (please?). While I have trimmed down to a weight not visited since early high school, my graduate school days were spent exercising my gastric system to possibly inhuman capabilities. In other words, I can still put it down, I just choose not to. I liked my chances, so I smoothly suggested the next competition in what will become a (likely) life-time long series of battles.

The challenge was accepted (with the only appropriate phrase to accept a challenge - "It's on bitch!") with the date and venue to be determined at a later time. Saturday provided the appropriate conditions. We had eaten an early dinner the night before, neither had eaten breakfast that morning and we had about three hours before the early NFL playoff game was to begin. The rules were determined on the way to the now-determined venue (Chili's). The competition would consist of three rounds* (see the note below for the reasoning behind the selection of the term "rounds"): the appetizer round, the main course round and the dessert round - which must consist of some form of ice cream. After each round is completed a victor is declared before the next round is to begin.

We hit an early snag when we arrived at our venue (camera crews and hundreds of fans in multiple city block caravan formation behind us) only to find that the Chili's had closed some time ago and was now a vacant building. And so, the search began for an alternate setting. Very little time had passed when Megan asked "what's Red Robin?". I slammed on my brake and made a hard left across four lanes of traffic - "It's where we're going" I replied. Had I known there was a Red Robin there, it would have been my selection of venue to begin with.

The competition had been defined, the venue selected, the time was appropriate. "It's on bitch". It's on bitch... indeed.

Check back for Part II tomorrow!

* We debated the use of "rounds" and "stages" as the appropriate descriptor. Stages - as in the Tour de France, as in a grueling competition that can be won with the mentality of longevity over sheer force. Or, rounds - as in boxing, where the beginning of each round signifies a period of knock-down, drag-out competition that can leave one or both competitors bruised and/or broken. We finally decided on "rounds" because the Tour de France is gay.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Penultimate KU Trip

I have debated for several days about even posting material like this anymore. What will follow is neither hilarious or sappy, but rather just the transmission of information about the goings on in my life. Talking about my every day life has been put on the sidelines for a while on this site and I'm not entirely sure that I want to return to the detail oriented posts. However, since I already wrote this, I may as well post it. After consulting with my creative adviser over the coming weekend, there will hopefully be a series of alternating hilarity and sappiness based postings in the near future. For now, allow your eyes and minds to feast on the mundane.

The project that takes me out to KU about once a week for the last several months is coming to a close. The intense data production phase has already been completed and the final results are going to be coming in shortly. It will also signal the transition of the project to the next phase, which will require me to stare at a computer screen for hours at a time while mindlessly adding colorless liquids to a sample tube. The main negative aspect to going out to KU is just the one hour drive each way. I enjoy the work that takes place there (probably more than the work I do in my own lab) and it should help make myself more marketable in the transition from academia to industry that will be (hopefully) be occurring the not-so-distant future. Because of this the long trips have been worthwhile.

Monday, January 7, 2008


My own self reflections tend to get quite philosophical. Many times in this blog I have written about pathways- the path that brought me to where I am now, the path that I am traveling now and the path that will be traveling in the future. For months I have been asking myself: "If I hadn't done (insert event), where would I be now?" How would changing a single event from my past effect what/who/where I am now? Every decision, every event from my past has brought me to this point, shaped who I am and determines what I will become.

The best example of this introspection is this - during my first year as an undergraduate I was with the individual that would become my (first) wife, but we were separated by 220 miles of I-35. During that particular year, I was considerably unhappy (for a number of reasons - including anything from the transition to being away from home/on my own, starting school/university life, and the relationship itself was not entirely, what I would necessarily call "good" for reasons other than distance), and nearly reached the conclusion to end things with her. Eventually, I second-guessed the concept and continued on the path I was traveling. Six months later, we were engaged and two years after that we were married and I considered myself to be "happy". With the events that unfolded over the last year, I had regretted that particular decision.

A few months ago, after some consideration, I concluded that if I were to be able to go back and change a single event from my past - the decision to stay with her would have been the the most tempting. It would erase all the pain and stress of the entire fiasco that the marriage would become. But what else would it have altered? Would I have gone to graduate school and finished the PhD? Would I have returned to Kansas City and/or taken my current job? How, if at all would my appearance be changed? Would I have had more/different experiences in my life to this point? I am confident that my educational path would have been unchanged, but perhaps, it would not have taken an extra year to complete - general malaise tends to sap ambition. I likely would not have come back to Kansas City right after finishing school. The other questions I can barely contemplate. Although I would never be able to solidly answer any of these questions, the thought of removing the pain would the most preferable. But this train of though occurred many months ago and now things are different.

It was only in the last few weeks that I have changed my opinions on this introspection and my newly formed relationship with Megan has been the driving factor. I have never felt anything so intense. While I thought that I was, what I referred to as, "happy", years ago, that feeling bears no resemblance to the present day which is seemingly on an entirely different plane of existence. Only the last several weeks have allowed me to realize that any event that I would have considered changing from my past would have precluded even crossing paths with Megan. At this moment I can say that I would not want any event from my past changed in any way. Everything that has happened in the past has brought me to where I am now and I believe that I am truly happy. I have always believed that the past is of great importance and mistakes are meant to be learned from. I will always continue to reflect on decisions I have made, but I will not do so with such harshness. Everything seems to happen for a reason.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Chiefs' Season Review

I originally planned to keep this short because I am capable of summarizing the Chiefs' 2008 season in a single word. But I feel obligated to introduce a new concept in athletic management performance review. It has ended up getting somewhat longer than anticipated, but if my proposal is put into effect, then it will all be worthwhile.

First of all, Kansas City fans didn't expect much from this team this season. A second year head coach was getting his first season with personnel of his choosing and undertaking the task of attempting to make the team younger while staying competitive. After the first seven games of the season, Herm (whom I will refer to by first name only because he has not earned enough respect for use a more proper moniker) appeared to be a genius. His team was 4-3 heading into the bye week with a chance to regroup, heal and prep for the rest of the season. What followed was a comedy of errors on all fronts and resulted in losing all nine remaining games in the season including losses to the lowly Jets and the freakin' Raiders (at home, ugh). You have to go back almost 30 years to find a season this bad in the Chiefs' record book. 30 years. 30 *expletive* years.

Post bye week, the offense quit producing entirely and the defense became so worn out (due to the ineptitude of the offense), that nothing was working on any level. They didn't just lose games, they discovered new ways to look like a laughing stock to the rest of the league. Two days ago, the team has announced the firing of the offensive coordinator and three other coaches. Also, they have decided that Brodie (again, lack of last name because he has not earned enough respect to deserve being called by anything other than his ridiculous first name - Brodie, what the hell kind of name is Brodie anyway?), is still the QB of the team and will not be drafting a potential replacement. These kinds of coaching decisions have deserved more action than the firing of four people.

This is where my proposal comes in to play. Because the team has performed at such a poor level, the entire staff comprising the management needs to be held accountable. The poor results on the field should be reflected more on the people behind the scenes than the personnel they have chosen to play on the field. The management, starting at the top with GM Carl Peterson and include the entire coaching staff and trainers, should all be lined up in the Arrowhead parking lot and then begin what will be referred to as - Trial By Firing Squad. If their bullet ridden bodies can survive, then they will be allowed to continue at their current positions. Those not so lucky, will have their newly opened positions will be filled with the best possible replacements available. I believe that some people might find this method to be somewhat harsh, but any true football fan will agree that something drastic must be done so that another season, like this one, cannot ever occur again.

The one word to describe the 2008 season, if anyone was curious - pathetic.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Throwdown: 1978 vs 1979

Eventually, after spending enough time with some one, conversations tend to lead to an odd form of competition based on pride. Who was born in the better city or who had the better first car. Conversely, looking for sympathy there is always the negative side - who had the most difficult childhood or who spent the longest time feeling lost just trying to figure out what the hell they want to do with their life. These are just a few of the many examples that everyone participates in on a regular basis.

Megan and I recently had a similar conversation about our birth years - 1978 (mine) vs 1979 (Megan's). Initially, a typical discussion of this nature begins as "well I was born in this year, so it was clearly superior... blah, blah blah". Ha ha. As neither of us particularly like to "fight", so we decided to take the argument to the most obvious of arenas and allow VH1 to make the decision for us. What makes VH1 the obvious deciding factor in this particular debate, you ask? They just happened to be airing a marathon of the series "I love the 70s, Volume 2", with a one hour segment dedicated to each year of the decade. We recorded both episodes and judged based on the quality of pop culture that influenced each year.

We watched 1978 first and I knew I was in trouble early on. 1978 seemed to be a pretty bullshit year (in terms of pop culture), with Battlestar Galactica being the lone bright spot (seriously, Andy Gibb and Mr. Whipple can hardly be considered positives). The 1979 episode could have stopped 5 minutes in after covering the creation of ESPN and it's most important program, Sportscenter, and ended with victory. But add on the emergence of the B-52's (check out 1/1/08 "Resolutions" post to see the importance of the B-52's to this blogger) and the debut of the Happy Meal and I was totally sunk. I was forced to admit defeat in shame. Damn you VH1! Maybe it isn't a total loss and the argument can still be alive, if, and only if, VH1 had used 1978's best material in the Volume 1 of the series. The best I can hope for is a draw, but for now, I will be forced to cling to that one glimmer of hope, that one ray of sunshine to make my desperate plea for help.

Note: Wow, that took an odd turn at the end. I get a little carried away some times. I could have gone back and rewritten it, but I find it amusing, so it stays.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


In accordance with standard New Year’s practices, I have decided (in conjunction with the author of ilaxstudio) to craft a series of resolutions for 2008. The resolutions that follow are completely real and should be read with no sarcasm whatsoever. Additionally, the post is the first of many with the aid of the new official creative consultant (Megan).

1. I resolve to put on 40 pounds. Initially, I will attempt to add 40 pounds of muscle. However, if I am having difficulties achieving this, I will resort to alterative methods, including two daily commutes to Go Chicken Go – once in the morning for the new A.I.O. breakfast burrito* and once in the afternoon for the 21-piece bucket of savory goodness.

2. I resolve to finally watch the entire library of the great thespian Steven Segal in chronological order.

3. I resolve to complete my screenplay, the long awaited sequel to Spaceballs – entitled Spaceballs Zwei (scripted entirely in German).

4. I resolve to learn to play the electric guitar so that I can form a Flock of Seagulls tribute band that only plays B-52’s music.

5. I resolve to stop creating fake resolutions.

*The A.I.O. breakfast burrito contains all internal organs (livers/gizzards/hearts) with macaroni and cheese, eggs and is wrapped in a fried mashed potato tortilla.