Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stupidest-est Invention Ever

Segué, originally uploaded by Rich_Lem.

I hate segues.

There are completely ridiculous and should be forever banished from the earth. If you ride one, you look like an idiot. A lazy idiot.

So there.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rear Window

So I am sitting here on our back "porch" (it is fully enclosed but lined with windows) watching a family across the alley. They just pulled a large cover off an old '70's-era car (I know nothing about cars so I cannot, from 100 feet away, identify the make and model of this particular vehicle) and now all 4 of them (2 men, 2 women) are peering under the hood. The younger man just threw up his hands in a gesture of confusion and frustration while the 2 women watched him. Now the older man's head is buried in the engine.

I should also say that the sky is currently turning black and it appears as if the heavens might open up at any moment. Why these 4 people should be compelled to come outside and scrutinize this car at this particular time I have no idea. It is pea-green color and of that hideous 70's type automobile design (think El Camino). Perhaps this is the younger man's car (he seems the most interested in it) and it refuses to start. Perhaps he needs the input of the entire family despite the fact that the 2 women seem to have nothing to say on the matter. Perhaps this car cost a ridiculous amount of money and all parties present are heavily invested in its well-being. Who knows. But watching it is kind of like watching TV with the sound off. The soundtrack is completely up to you and almost anything could be happening.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Meeting the Man

Today I met Floyd Landis. And by "met" I mean he signed a poster for me. But we did have a real conversation. He expressed surprise at seeing such a large photo of himself and I explained that Baker and I had been given the posters because we'd been gracious enough to give up our front row seats (which were mistakenly left open) for the V.I.P. s at the event. I'm sure the exchange will be forever etched upon his memory.

This epic conversation took place at the grand opening event held at the new Chicago facility of VisionQuest Coaching, a company run by Robbie Ventura, Floyd's coach. I found out about the 2-hour presentation on the VQ website during the last day of the Tour. I signed us up, sure that Floyd wouldn't actually show even though he was on the list of special guests. When the whole doping scandal broke out, I was even more sure he wouldn't show. In fact, we had decided to scrap the whole thing. Until we got an e-mail last week from Robbie himself, assuring all those who registered that Floyd would indeed be there.

Overall, Landis seemed somewhat subdued but still in good spirits. He made a crack about not wanting to be held liable for giving people training advice that might be dangerous. He said he was already being sued by enough people. Robbie had tried to recreate the famous Bicycling magazine interview printed before the Tour, in which CSC rider Dave Zabriskie asked Floyd a set of questions. The two are supposedly really good friends and seem to do incredibly inane and stupid things when they get together, like challenging each other to cappuccino drinking contests in Italian cafes. (And we wonder why Europeans see Americans as animals?) Zabriskie lived up to his reputation as a 12-year-old trapped in a 27-year-old's body except today he seemed more like a ridiculously worn out adolescent as opposed to a hyper, caffeine-crazed one. He said a few things in a dopey voice and then sat slumped in his chair the rest of the time.

Unfortunately, I can't say that my faith in Floyd has been restored as a result of my interaction with him today. I've resigned myself to the fact that his true actions will forever remain a mystery to me. I'd really like to believe he didn't cheat, but it is impossible to know either way. Regardless, I'd hate to be him right now, even if I were still receiving standing ovations and being asked to sign giant pictures of myself. Even if he succeeds in eventually proving his innocence, he's got a long, hard road ahead of him to get there.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To the victor go the spoils

Today I won a contest. No, it wasn't "most beautiful woman in Chicago" or "most intelligent person east of the Mississippi." I won a contest in which I had to correctly name the inventor of the bicycle. (Do you know whom it is?) Or at least I had to correctly name the guy who invented what would later be called the precursor to what is now known as the bicycle.

Anyway, it was a contest offered via e-mail. The message said that prize would go to the first 2 people to respond correctly. Since I didn't even look at the e-mail until 2 hours after it arrived in my inbox, I thought my chances of winning were slim to none. But I was wrong! This morning, a lively e-mail bearing the subject "YOU WON A CONTEST!!!" greeted me when I opened my mail. It was fabulous.

So what have I won, you ask? Oh, nothing less than the most thrilling prize you could ever imagine. I am now the proud owner of 2 free tickets to the 7 p.m. screening of this weekend's Bicycle Film Festival! These babies were going for as much (and as little) as $10 a pop, but I didn't have to spend a cent. The no-cost-to-me tickets will be waiting for me at will call at the theater on Friday night. Aren't you jealous?

To be honest, the prize is really, well, beside the point. I am just content to bask in the glow of my winner status. Of course I've always claimed to have been a winner in the figurative sense. But now I have the proof. How do you like them apples?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My get-up-and-go musta got up and went...

I am currently attempting to rewrite a paper for which I received a less-than-stellar grade. Every time I sit down with my computer to work on this project, I decide that I would rather stick burning hot needles into my eyes than look at this paper again, and inevitably I end up looking up recipes that use basil or planning my courses for next fall. It's become so bad that I feel close to exhausting all my sources of procrastination.

Meanwhile, I wonder why doing this rewrite has become so excrutiating. Or really what I wonder about is how my tolerance for such pain got so low. In the height of any given finals period, I've been known to withstand great waves of crippling frustration and mind-bending paper-writing agony in 2 or 3-week stints. But now, when I have virtually nothing else to work on except this one paper, I've been reduced to a spineless, whimpering mound of jelly with not even an ounce of willpower left. I don't know what's happened.

I'd like to blame it on the heat. That would be convenient, eh? But damn it, the 5-day streak of 98 degree temperatures is about to end. Then I'll have no excuse. Argh. Maybe it's just the fact that it's summer, and the elementary school student in me still just wants to play all day. I hope she gets it out of her system soon, cause this paper definitely ain't going to re-write itself...